Study finds Americans safe from gun violence except in schools, malls, airports, movie theatres, workplaces, streets, their homes

A new study released today indicates that Americans are safe from the threat of gun violence except in schools, malls, airports, movie theatres, workplaces, streets, and their own homes.

Also: highways, turnpikes, libraries, places of worship, parks, universities, restaurants, post offices, and cars.

Plus: driveways, garages, gyms, stores, military bases—and a host of other buildings, structures, and sites.

National Rifle Association C.E.O. Wayne LaPierre applauded the study, saying that it reinforced his organization’s long-held position that the United States does not need additional gun laws. “This study makes it abundantly clear that Americans are in no danger of gun violence except in these isolated four hundred and thirteen places,” he said.

He added that he hoped that the study would spark a conversation “about the root cause of mass shootings: people who recklessly show up at places where they could be shot at.”

I truly enjoy folks with a sarcastic sense of humor.

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz

Dumb crook of the Day

A burglar left behind more than fingerprints in a Bremerton, Washington home earlier this week – he left a full bag of personal belongings, including his ID.

The man was arrested when he tried to make a deal with his victims.

Early Tuesday morning, Kristin Foreman’s makeup samples, her phone and vital information from her family’s computer was stolen by a stranger, who had woken her up…

After breaking into their two cars, the burglar got into the Foreman family home through the unlocked garage door, right next to the U.S. Marine Corps flag…

While the robber grabbed Kristina’s makeup, her husband – a retired Marine sniper – came out of the bedroom with a gun. “He yelled ‘Get out now’ and the guy says ‘Yes sir,'” said Foreman…

When he ran off, he left a bag of personal belongings, including his ID, in front of the house.

Shane Jackman told police he called the family and offered to return their stolen items in exchange for his stuff…

When he arrived, police were waiting for him

Prosecutors say Shane Jackman has a long criminal history. He’s been in prison or under supervision since 1994.

Jackman is being held on $100,000 bail.

Throw away the key. And get him some counseling while he’s on the inside. Dude needs it.

Are we being fair to Rush Limbaugh? – A conservative view

Sandra Fluke testifying before Congressional Democrats
[Republicans refused to hear her testimony]

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

As advertisers quit the Rush Limbaugh radio program — and as Republican politicians squirm uncomfortably — the broadcaster’s fans are complaining about double standards. Yes, they’ll concede, maybe Limbaugh went too far in denouncing a female law student as a “slut” and a “prostitute” and then demanding that she post a sex tape online for him to view.

But look (they continue) at all the liberal/lefty broadcasters who have also said obnoxious things! No one calls Democratic politicians to account for them. Why us?

It’s a question that will be aired often in the week ahead. Here’s the answer, in four points.

Point 1: Even by the rough standards of cable/talk radio/digital talk, Limbaugh’s verbal abuse of Sandra Fluke set a new kind of low. I can’t recall anything as brutal, ugly and deliberate ever being said by such a prominent person and so emphatically repeated. This was not a case of a bad “word choice.” It was a brutally sexualized accusation, against a specific person, prolonged over three days.

Point 2: The cases that conservatives cite as somehow equivalent to Limbaugh’s tirade against Fluke by and large did bring consequences for their authors…

The exception to the general rule is Bill Maher, who never apologized for calling Palin by a demeaning sexual epithet. But now see point 3:

Point 3: Limbaugh’s place in American public life is in no way comparable to that of David Letterman, Bill Maher or Ed Schultz…

Among TV and radio talkers and entertainers, there is none who commands anything like the deference that Limbaugh commands from Republicans: not Rachel Maddow, not Jon Stewart, not Michael Moore, not Keith Olbermann at his zenith. Democratic politicians may wish for favorable comment from their talkers, but they are not terrified of negative comment from them in the way that Republican politicians live in fear of a negative word from Limbaugh…

Point 4: Most fundamentally, why the impulse to counter one outrageous stunt by rummaging through the archives in search of some supposedly offsetting outrageous stunt? Why not respond to an indecent act on its own terms, and then — if there’s another indecency later — react to that too, and on its own terms?

Instead, public life is reduced to a revenge drama. Each offense is condoned by reference to some previous offense by some undefined “them” who supposedly once did something even worse, or anyway nearly as bad, at some point in the past.

And correctly so — this is how David Frum responds like a traditional American conservative to the defense of Limbaugh by Republicans ranging from party leaders to rank-and-file hacks.

Cowards all.

Jilted bridegroom sues runaway bride for leaving him at altar

An Italian bridegroom jilted at the altar by his future wife is suing her for €500,000 in compensation for the “emotional distress” of being dumped in the first case of its kind.

The 32-year-old groom, who has been named only as Riccardo R in court papers due to privacy laws – was dumped in a message delivered by the 30-year-old bride’s brother at the altar in front of stunned family and friends.

He had spent thousands of euros on the church wedding, which was due to take place in Rome two weeks ago, including a lavish reception at a top hotel and an exotic Pacific honeymoon.

His legal team said that Riccardo had needed hospital treatment for “hyperventilation and stress” after being told by the bride’s brother that she had left him as she was “in love with another man” with whom she had been having an affair for several months. Court prosecution documents state that there was “no justifiable motive” for the woman, known as Claudia, to dump her intended husband at the altar and that therefore she should be “liable for compensation for the emotional damage she had caused”…

The case has been filed in the Rome civil court and a medical certificate showing Riccardo’s admission to hospital was also submitted as evidence. The compensation claim has been broken down into €229,000 for costs associated with the wedding, €150,000 for moral damages and €120,000 for psychological damages as well as €1,000 court costs.

Har! I understand it – and it can be a 2-way street, of course. Should be a hell of an interesting trial – especially in a macho nation like Italy.

“Missing” girl was in hiding to avoid Pakistani arranged marriage

A 13-year-old Hesperia [California] girl and three siblings are in protective custody after authorities discovered the girl holed up at a motel to avoid being taken to Pakistan for an arranged marriage.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials said detectives found Jessie Marie Bender safe and in good condition in an Apple Valley motel, where she was being hidden by another family member.

Bender’s mother had told detectives that her daughter did not want to go on a two-month family trip to Pakistan and ran away. She later told police her daughter may have been abducted by someone she had been corresponding with on Facebook, triggering a massive search for the teenager that included local law enforcement, the FBI, agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S.Marshals Service and detectives from the Los Angeles and Chicago police departments.

After combing through cellphone records and computer data and interviewing her friends and families, however, sheriff’s detectives found no evidence that her disappearance was related to her correspondence on Facebook and that the family’s initial reports were false.

…. “It was revealed that a member of the Bender family concealed Jess in the town of Apple Valley out of fear that she would be taken to Pakistan for an arranged marriage.”

Let’s hear it for separation of state from church. One more time.

The fight to modernize civil rights is different in every country. Here in the GOUSA folks still haven’t gotten past the ignorance stage when it comes to equal civil rights for marriage.

In Pakistan – and more than a couple of other lands – children and young people haven’t the right to choose who they marry. Trying to enforce those customs in the United States is not acceptable, forbidden by our Constitution.

A pleasure to see a safe beginning to a modern ending to this story.

Deadly fire started by Voodoo sex ceremony

Candles used in voodoo sex ceremony caused a fatal five alarm fire after they tipped over and ignited bed sheets in a Brooklyn, New York, apartment…

The fire left an elderly woman dead and injured 20 firefighters and three Brooklyn residents, according to a New York Fire Department statement.

A voodoo priest allegedly placed the candles on the floor around the bed on Saturday after a woman paid him $300 to perform a ceremony with a sexual component, that was meant to bring her good luck, fire department officials said.

The candles were accidentally knocked over during the ceremony prompting the man to douse the flames with water and open a window in an effort to clear smoke from the room, the statement said.

Forty mile-per-hour wind gusts instead shot the flames back inside the room, it said, creating a “blowtorch effect” that whipped through the open window and pushed the fire into the building’s fourth floor hallway.

“Time and time again we respond to tragedies that could have been so easily prevented,” Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano said in the statement. “This fire had so many of those elements … hopefully others will learn from this tragedy.” The occupants fled the apartment, leaving the door open, the statement said.

Nearly 200 firefighters from 44 companies took seven hours to bring the fire under control.

So, uh, could this be the one true religion?

And aren’t they all?

Beautiful bow wave spreads before runaway star…

A massive star is caught fleeing its former companion, careening through space behind a brilliant yellow arc of gas and dust, in this exquisite new image from NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope.

Named Zeta Ophiuchi, the bright blue star in the image’s center is about 20 times more massive than our sun. Were it not shrouded by dust, it would be one of the brightest stars in the sky — yet long ago, it orbited an even more massive star.

When that star exploded in a supernova, Zeta Ophiuchi took off like a shot. When WISE caught it, Zeta Ophiuchi was flying at 54,000 miles per hour.

As it plows through space, the star’s powerful winds shove gas and dust out of its way into a bow shock, much like a boat’s prow displaces water. Although this bright arc is hidden in visible light, matter in the shock is so compressed that it heats up and glows in wavelengths visible to WISE’s infrared eyes.

RTFA about its projected life and death. A stunning photo.

NHTSA and factory investigators clear Balloon Boy Prius

Technicians who tested a Toyota Prius after its owner claimed its gas pedal stuck were unable to recreate the same condition, according to a draft congressional memo obtained…by CNN.

In addition, owner Jim Sikes’ claim that the car kept going even though he slammed on the brake while his gas pedal was stuck to the floor does “not appear to be feasibly possible,” said the draft, obtained from sources familiar with the investigation.

The memo, written for members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, summarizes the observations of a representative present at the testing of the Prius, as well as another car “allegedly involved in sudden unintended acceleration events.”

Contacted by CNN, Sikes declined to comment but said he stands by his story. He said his attorney will be making a statement on his behalf…

Eventually, a California Highway Patrol officer caught up to Sikes and used the patrol car’s public address system to instruct Sikes to apply the brakes and the emergency brake at the same time. That tactic worked, and he was able to stop the car…

Sikes said he’d been afraid to shift into neutral at 90mph because he was afraid the car would flip over!

Technicians from Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took Sikes’ Prius on a test drive and attempted to duplicate the same experience, the memo said, but were unsuccessful. A congressional staffer and another Toyota technician tested another Prius.

“Every time the technician placed the gas pedal to the floor and the brake pedal to the floor, the engine shut off and the car immediately started to slow down,” the memo said. “NHTSA and Toyota field representatives reported the same results with the 2008 Prius owned by Mr. Sikes.”

These findings certainly raise new questions surrounding the veracity of the sequence of events that has been reported by Mr. Sikes,” said Kurt Bardella, spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, and ranking member on the committee.

I can’t testify with any accuracy about Mr. Sikes’ truthfulness. BUT – he’s a bankrupt realtor $700,000 in debt including months of payments on his leased Prius. Which I imagine Toyota has threatened to repo.

The bankruptcy statement isn’t clear on how much he makes from his AdultSwingLife website.