Thursday, December 30, 2010

Exploding Baggage

Wasn't terrorist in the conventional meaning. Just a reminder of what stupid is.

Not just the guy trying to smuggle primers into Jamaica, but the oppressive firearm and ammo laws in that country.

MIA Bullet Bomb Scare Suspect Will Flee: Feds
Orville Braham was headed to Jamaica from Boston when his luggage exploded

The FBI has identified the man who was arrested Tuesday after TSA officials said his luggage contained volatile ammunition parts, which caused his bag to explode just before it was about to be loaded on a plane.

Orville Braham, 37, had 500 to 700 bullet primers in his luggage. Primers are considered the "spark plugs" of a bullet and ignites the gun powder, projecting it toward the intended target.

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Federal prosecutors argued Wednesday that Braham should be held in detention until trial because he is a high flight risk. He was headed to Jamaica when the bag exploded.

Officials originally said the exploding bag was caused by a hairspray aerosol can.

The Miami-Dade bomb squad was called to the airport around 11:30 a.m. after a baggage handler said he was taking luggage to an American Airlines plane that had just arrived from Boston and a bag exploded, sending pieces of metal flying.

The FBI confirmed the passenger and the exploding checked bag -- as well as a second bag, also containing hundreds of primers -- got on the flight in Boston and the luggage was being transferred to another flight headed for Jamaica.

The 148 original passengers from Flight 2585 had already departed the plane before the incident.

Officials believe when the baggage handler sat the bag down on the ground, it caused one of the bullet primers to rupture and explode, which ignited a chain reaction among the other tiny pieces of metal.

Oh yea, when the bag was sat down.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Iran’s Political Hanging

Two men were hanged in Iran, one supposedly for selling military secrets to Israel's intelligence Mossad. The other just because he bellyached over the lousy economy.

Gotta blame somebody, allege spies and activists work.
I wonder why hanging? Do they save stoning for women?

Iran hangs allege spy, militant

The two were arrested years ago. Critics say the executions are part of an attempt by the government to send a message as the public outcry increases over cutbacks in fuel and food subsidies.
Ali Saremi
allegedly distributing CDs and leaflets promoting an outlawed opposition group.

Iran on Tuesday executed a man accused of spying for Israel and another for allegedly distributing CDs and leaflets promoting an outlawed opposition group. The hangings come amid a crackdown on activists that has coincided with unpopular economic austerity measures.

Ali Akbar Siadat was accused of peddling military secrets to Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel. Ali Saremi was an alleged member of the militant group Mujahedin Khalq. Both were hanged at dawn in Tehran's Evin Prison, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

I fully understand executing somebody convicted of spying, but for handing out information critical of the government?

It was not released just where or how Mr Ali Akbar Siadat alleged spy got such information to sell. But then I suppose nobody asked, why risk ones neck for that?

The men were arrested and accused of their crimes years ago, and activists said the government executed them now probably as part of an attempt to send a message to the opposition. Public discontent is growing in the wake of a drastic reduction in fuel and food subsidies that has sent prices skyrocketing.

Those who question the reduction have been accused of "economic sedition" meant to undermine the Islamic Republic.

Khodorkovsky Trial

They say, we say.
All in all looks to me most likely Russia has a ways to go in creating an independent judiciary.

Wonder what if anything the West should do? I am inclined to say it's not our problem.

Russia accuses West of meddling in Khodorkovsky trial

(Reuters) - Russia accused the United States and Europe on Tuesday of trying to influence the trial of jailed former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, calling such efforts unacceptable and warning the West to mind its own business.

Moscow's angry message came as Khodorkovsky, whose imprisonment has been a bone of contention between Russia and the West for years, awaited a new sentence that could keep him in jail until 2017 after being found guilty of theft.

Prosecutors are seeking an additional six-year prison term for Khodorkovsky, the former Yukos oil company CEO who is 10 months from the end of an eight-year sentence imposed after a previous trial during Vladimir Putin's presidency.
"Attempts to apply pressure on the court are unacceptable," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement,
Western officials said the guilty verdict raised doubts about the Kremlin's commitment to the rule of law and human rights, and warned they were closely watching the case.


Putin's Prisoner


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Present Gift Return, Made Easy

In my youth I worked for a big department store in a mall during Christmas.

I thought last minute shopping was crazy, little did I know.
Went to work day after Christmas expecting some calm, call me naive but little did I know.
Before the doors opened an announcement was made over the public announcement system that every returned product would be refunded, without question even if it did not appear to have been bought at that store.
That day was insane.
Never able to understand, unless it was a really an inappropriate present, I do not understand bringing a present to a store for a cash refund.

Not only is it inappropriate, but costly to the merchant.
But then it is about the giving which is the Christmas spirit, or cashing back.

Amazon patents procedure to let recipients avoid undesirable gifts

Undoubtedly, the Thread and Bobbin Sewing Kit that Aunt Mildred sent from for Christmas will never see a stitch. The Stallion Stable Music Box might have looked pretty on the computer screen, but under the tree's flickering lights, it is frightful. The polka-dot nightgown has never been a good idea, even with free shipping.

Amazon is working on a solution that could revolutionize digital gift buying. The on line retailer has quietly patented a way for people to return gifts before they receive them, and the patent documents even mention poor Aunt Mildred. Amazon's innovation, not ready for this Christmas season, includes an option to "Convert all gifts from Aunt Mildred," the patent says. "For example, the user may specify such a rule because the user believes that this potential sender has different tastes than the user." In other words, the consumer could keep an online list of lousy gift-givers whose choices would be vetted before anything ships.