Monday, November 24, 2014

Burger King Germany Poor Performance

(Germany) Burger King in Germany reacts to poor performance by franchisees.
Following earlier reports of poor hygiene, the fast food giant announced Wednesday that it was terminating contracts for 89 franchised outlets because of continued poor treatment of staff.
Poor hygiene, eh?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Camo Swedish Warship


With contemporary electronics, it would seem that a camouflaged warship would be easy to discover.


In case you were wondering ...

Taking low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease does not help  -- even if you are in an "at risk" category.  A short excerpt from the latest research report below.  The results could not have been more negative:

Low-Dose Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Events in Japanese Patients 60 Years or Older With Atherosclerotic Risk Factors: A Randomized Clinical Trial

The study was terminated early by the data monitoring committee after a median follow-up of 5.02 years (interquartile range, 4.55-5.33) based on likely futility. In both the aspirin and no aspirin groups, 56 fatal events occurred.


Once-daily, low-dose aspirin did not significantly reduce the risk of the composite outcome of cardiovascular death, nonfatal stroke, and nonfatal myocardial infarction among Japanese patients 60 years or older with atherosclerotic risk factors.

JAMA, Nov. 17

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Carolina Woman Acts to Kill Her Husband

(Pickens, South Carolina) A 35-year-old local woman, Crystal Williams, has been convicted of murder and conspiracy in the killing of her husband.

Williams pleaded guilty in Pickens County Court and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins told the judge that Williams called 911 in the early morning hours of Jan. 26, telling a dispatcher that she had heard gunshots and found her husband in the floor of their home at 117 Devon Court, Easley.

She had asked her husband of 14 years to get up to put wood in their stove heater and had made arrangements for Marcus Channing Johnson to gun him down when he got out of bed, Wilkins said.

The two had been texting and chatting by phone to plan the murder, he said.

The couple’s 10-year-old son was at home during the shooting, Wilkins said. There was no sign of forced entry.
Details on incarceration not reported.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

NJ Teacher Accused of Sex with Student

Linda Hardan

(Wayne, New Jersey) A 21-year-old substitute teacher at Manchester Regional High School, Linda Hardan, has been accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old student.

Hardan faces counts of sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual contact.
The alleged sexual assault occurred in Wayne on Thursday, Valdes said. Hardan, who worked as a substitute teacher at Manchester Regional High School, was charged the next day following an investigation by the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office Special Victims Unit, she said.

Manchester Regional High School Principal Richard Ney said Hardan was an employee of the Passaic County Education Services Commission, not the school district. Hardan worked at MRHS about a half dozen times and was serving as a substitute this past week for one the school's science teachers, he said.
Hardan was booked into custody at the Passaic County Jail with bail set at $250,000.

Good news: Leftist newspaper says the Australian government's climate change credentials have been battered

And see below that it includes some surprising claims, such as:  "The size of the Reef has halved in the past 30 years".  I have been following the barrier reef scares for around 60 years (long before global warming was invented) but that was a newie on me.

But I have traced the claim, and one amusing thing that we read there is:  "The exhaustive AIMS investigation reveals coral loss is uneven along the 2300km-long reef, with the far north still relatively healthy." So the WARMEST parts of the reef are doing best! How pesky can you get?

And what the research showed is NOT that the reef has shrunk by 50% but that the CORAL has shrunk by 50%.  The reef is of course an ancient and relatively permanent structure of dead coral skeletons.

 We also read:  "Storm damage accounted for 48 per cent of the coral loss in the past 27 years, crown-of-thorns starfish were responsible for 42 per cent, and bleaching caused 10 per cent of the coral to die".  No mention of global warming! Though no doubt they would claim that the storms were caused by global warming.  Since severe weather events worldwide  have been FEWER in recent years that however would be a rubbish claim, having no regard to the actual statistics.

Warmists have also been known to link starfish plagues with warming but again we read: "The study says the causes of the plagues were still not fully known".

And I won't mention that the period covered by the research was 27 years, not 30.

And I won't mention that the source paper for the research is no longer where it was.  Has it been taken down due to inaccuracy?

I could go on but the lesson is clear: As soon as we get into the details of the research findings, the sweeping claims made of the research by Warmists are extensively falsified.  So the appeals to authority below are junk.  It is the facts that matter, not authorities, and the facts are very pesky indeed for Warmists.

My habit of going back to the detailed research findings behind Green/Left claims once again shows what crooks and crazies they are

Prime Minister Tony Abbott's apparent, if modest, conversion to the idea that climate change was an "important subject"  following talks with French president Francois Hollande on Wednesday was greeted with no small measure of cynicism.

This was, after all, a politician who had built a political career on climate scepticism, with his famous remark in 2010 that it was "absolute crap" to assert the science was settled.

It took only two days, but the doubters can claim vindication after revelations that the government sent a briefing note to Barack Obama to dissuade him that the Great Barrier Reef was under threat by climate change.

In an interview with Fairfax Media's Latika Bourke in New York, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said the Reef was "not under threat from climate change because its biggest threat is the nutrient runoffs agricultural land, the second biggest threat is natural disasters, but this has been for 200 years".

This is disingenuous, and factually wrong.

To be sure, the government believes the world is warming, and that human factors play a part.

But when it comes to acknowledging the urgency of the problem, how climate change will impact on the world, and what must be done to avert a catastrophic four-degree rise in global temperature, the Abbott government offers obfuscation and excuses.

So it was with the response to Obama's speech in Brisbane last week, when the US leader called on Australia's youth to rise up and demand more action to combat climate change, remarking that "incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened".

The US leader's speech might have been undiplomatic and rude to his hosts - but his analysis of the impact of climate change on the Reef was spot on.

Just ask the federal government agencies charged with monitoring and protecting the Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said in its 2014: "Climate change remains the most serious threat to the Great Barrier Reef. It is already affecting the reef and is likely to have far-reaching consequences in the decades to come."

Averting further degradation of the Reef can "only be successful if climatic conditions are stabilised" reported the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), another government body.

The size of the Reef has halved in the past 30 years. Outbreaks of crown of thorn starfish which consume soft corals -  along with cyclones -  have contributed to about 90 per cent of that decline, says AIMS.

Coral bleaching is responsible for the remaining 10 per cent.

Coral bleaching is the direct result of rising sea temperatures caused by global warming. The acceleration of crown of thorn starfish infestations - which spawn in warmer months - is also driven, at least in part, by hotter weather.

And, warns the government's marine scientists, cyclone activity will only increase as the planet heats up.  

Bishop's personal political stocks have soared in recent months due to some forceful international diplomacy on the MH17 disaster and the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Her intervention on the Reef is unlikely to faze Obama, or harm relations. But some of the gloss has come of Bishop's credentials as a moderate alternative to Abbott.

And, the government's climate change credentials, once again, have been battered.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Florida Woman, 37, and Boy, 15

(Gainesville, Florida) A 37-year-old local woman, Jessica Runae Brooker, has been accused of engaging in sex with a 15-year-old boy on May 5.

Brooker faces a charge of lewd and lascivious battery on a person under the age of 16.
An arrest report states the incident occurred between 3:30 and 5 p.m. The boy was 15 and the meeting was coordinated via text messages. The report did not say how the two knew each other.

The incident was initially reported to GPD by the boy’s stepmother after it came out in a conversation between the teen and the stepmother, said GPD officer Ben Tobias, the agency’s spokesman.
Details on booking are unavailable.

Iowa Teacher Gets Probation for Sex with Student - Update

Mandy Lynn Davenport

(Des Moines, Iowa)
Mandy Davenport, a former teacher in Ankeny, was sentenced Friday morning for having sexual contact with a student.

Davenport received a suspended sentence, 2 years of probation and will be put on state's Sex Offender Registry.
So, no jail.

* * * * *

Iowa Teacher Guilty of Sex with Student
[Previous 9/27/14 post]
(Ankeny, Iowa) A language arts teacher formerly at Ankeny Centennial High School, Mandy Lynn Davenport, has admitted to sexual contact with a 17-year-old student.

Davenport pleaded guilty yesterday to sexual exploitation by a school employee in January 2012.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 17.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ohio Attorney Hypnotized Female Clients

(Sheffield, Ohio) A 57-year-old attorney, Michael Fine, has been accused of performing sex acts on female clients after they were secretly hypnotized.

Police launched an investigation.
Fine, who has not been charged with any crime, is accused of posing “a substantial threat of serious harm to the public" by the Lorain County Bar Association after police say they busted one of his lurid sessions with a client earlier this month.

That woman, only identified as "Jane Doe," contacted Sheffield police after numerous meetings with Fine left her with "strange memories and feelings," according to the affidavit obtained by the Smoking Gun.

"She would be unable to recall substantial portions of the meetings, and afterwards she would realize her clothes and bra were out of place and moved, and her vagina was wet," stated investigator Richard Thomas with the Lorain County prosecutor's office.
Fine has been called "a substantial threat of serious harm to the public" by his bar association.

Utah Woman Gets 20 Years for Sex with Boy - Update

(St. George, Utah) Local woman Jaime Renee Tactay, 37, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 5th District Court Thursday for sexual exploitation and unlawful sexual activity with of a 15-year-old boy.

* * * * *

Utah Woman Guilty of Sex with Teen - Update
[Previous 10/10/14 post]
(St. George, Utah)
A St. George woman accused of maintaining a sexual relationship with a teenager even after a court order was issued against her pleaded guilty to charges in the case Thursday.

Jaime Renee Tactay, 37, is accused of having numerous sexual encounters with a male victim when the boy was 14 and 15 years old.

The incidents were reported in June when one of the boy’s parents, and the boy, told police investigators about the situation.
Sentencing is scheduled for November 20.

* * * * *

Utah Woman Accused of Sex with Teen
[Previous 9/3/14 post]
(St. George, Utah) A 36-year-old local woman, Jaime Renee Tactay, has been accused of engaging in sex with a 15-year-old.

Tactay faces counts of sexual exploitation of a minor; unlawful sexual activity with a minor between 14-15 years old; solicitation of child pornography; and evidence tampering.
The case was originally brought to the St. George Police Department’s attention on June 24.

After an investigation, officers discovered evidence that Tactay and the 15-year-old had sexual relations on at least eight occasions and shared sexually explicit photos and videos, St. George Police Officer John Manzer said in his probable cause statement supporting the arrest.
Judge John J. Walton ordered Tactay to be held without bail.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Deformed Infant Regarded as Hindu 'God Boy'

Indian God-Boy

(Baruipur, India)
A newborn baby boy in Baruipur, a city in West Bengal State, India, stirred controversy as thousands flock to the town to get a glimpse of what they called a reincarnation of a 'god'. He was born with eight limbs: four legs and four arms. He is now dubbed as the "God Boy" because multiple limbs are trademarks of Hindu deities.

Local police authorities say that it is a daunting task to control the crowd around the premises of the hospital. Thousands of bystanders are shouting and pushing guards to enter. Officials said they have not witnessed anything like this. As thousands flock to get glimpse of the baby, many of them have set camp outside the hospital.

A relative told reporters, "When he first came out we couldn't believe it, the nurses said he was badly deformed, but I could see that this was a sign from God. In fact, this is a miracle, it's God's baby."

However, medical experts say that the boy's condition is a result of the legs and arms of his twin being joined to him in the womb. As a result he has eight limbs similar to the Hindu god, Brahma.
Crowds have been 'going berserk' for the supposed son of Brahma.

Arizona Mom Accused of Felony Child Abuse

Shelby Henrickson

(Phoenix, Arizona) A local mom, Shelby Henrickson, has been accused of felony child abuse and felony endangerment for giving her baby and two toddlers an over-the-counter sleep aid meant for adults.
According to police, Shelby Henrickson's 10-month-old boy was rushed to Phoenix Children's Hospital and into intensive care on Nov. 4 after she gave him ZzzQuil.

The main ingredient in ZzzQuil is diphenhydramine. The product packaging clearly states that ZzzQuil is just a sleep aid and should not be given to children younger than 12.

According to court paperwork, Henrickson said she also gave ZzzQuil to her 2- and 3-year-old children and she gave "inconsistent accounts of how much each child was given."
Details on booking are not available.

Of mice and men

It has long been known that results from mouse research often do not generalize to humans so it is good to see an explanation for that below.

Food freaks often use the results of mouse experiments to claim that following their latest food fad will lengthen your life.  I have always argued that mice are particularly inappropriate in that application as mouse lifespans differ so markedly from human lifespans.  Making generalizations about lifespan from a short-lived species to a long-lived species is particularly absurd.

The finding below of large intrinsic differences between mouse and man should strengthen that criticism.  Food and health claims based on mouse research should be routinely disregarded.  The only occasion when mouse research could be of interest is when mouse research, human epidemiology and theory all point to the same conclusion

Mice and men are genetically far further apart than was previously thought, calling into question the important role the rodents play in medical research.

A new study has found that while mice and humans share many protein-coding genes, the way their genes are regulated is often very different.

US scientists were surprised to find that gene activity diverged wildly between the two species in some key biological pathways.

The finding may help explain why more than 90% of new medicines that pass animal tests then fail in human trials.

Laboratory mice have been a pillar of medical research for more than a century, being used by scientists investigating everything from social behaviour to obesity.

Only half of human and mouse DNA match compared with 96% of human and chimpanzee DNA.

Co-author Dr Michael Beer, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said: "Most of the differences between mice and humans come from regulation of gene activity, not from genes themselves. Because mice are an important model for human biology, we have to understand these differences to better interpret our results."


(Yes.  My allusion in the heading to John Steinbeck and Robert Burns was deliberate)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Michigan Teacher Accused of Sex with Boy, 15

Abigail Simon

(Flint, Michigan) A 35-year-old tutor and study hall supervisor at Catholic Central and West Catholic schools, Abigail Simon, has been accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old male student over a three-month period.

Simon faces four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
[T]he boy's mother found pictures of her in a garter belt on her son's phone.[…]

The student told the Kent County court they had "a lot of sex" at her Grand Rapids apartment but denied he had "stalked, coerced and brutalised" her, as she claimed.

He told the court he was a virgin before he entered into a relationship with Simon and that the teacher had introduced him to rough sex.

"We had intercourse a lot [and she] never said no," he said. "I never forcibly raped her."
Details on booking are unavailable.

Thanksgiving Day Naked Protest

(New York City)
Animal rights advocates outraged that a SeaWorld float is included in next week's lineup for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade unveiled plans on Wednesday for a naked protest outside the landmark store.

Demonstrators wearing nothing but black and white body paint to resemble orcas will squeeze into a bathtub outside the midtown Manhattan store on Thursday to mimic orcas held in captivity and to repeat last year's demand - which was denied - that the float be excluded, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said.

"It is unacceptable to confine orcas to barren tanks that, to them, are the size of a bathtub," said Delcianna Winders, PETA's deputy general counsel.

Florida Teacher Accused of Child Cruelty

Tara Roberts

(Fort Myers, Florida) A 28-year-old teacher at River Hall Elementary School, Tara Roberts, has been accused of cruelty towards a child and transmitting information harmful to minors.

Roberts has been arrested for sending scantily clad pictures of herself to a student whose age has not been reported.
The messages started off as friendly but soon turned into more sexual in nature.

The student knew it was Tara Roberts because he recognized her white iPhone.

According to the investigation, Tara Roberts told the student not to tell anyone because she would get in trouble.
Roberts was booked into custody at the Lee County Jail.
Our Futile Efforts to Boost Children's IQ

The twin studies have always shown little influence from family environment  -- both as regards IQ and personality.   Charles Murray notes more evidence to that effect below

It’s one thing to point out that programs to improve children's cognitive functioning have had a dismal track record. We can always focus on short-term improvements, blame the long-term failures on poor execution or lack of follow-up and try, try again. It’s another to say that it's impossible to do much to permanently improve children's intellectual ability through outside interventions. But that’s increasingly where the data are pointing.

Two studies published this year have made life significantly more difficult for those who continue to be optimists. The first one is by Florida State University’s Kevin Beaver and five colleagues, who asked how much effect parenting has on IQ independently of genes. The database they used, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, is large, nationally representative and highly regarded. The measures of parenting included indicators for parental engagement, attachment, involvement and permissiveness. The researchers controlled for age, sex, race and neighborhood disadvantage. Their analytic model, which compares adoptees with biological children, is powerful, and their statistical methods are sophisticated and rigorous.

The answer to their question? Not much. “Taken together,” the authors write, “the results … indicate that family and parenting characteristics are not significant contributors to variations in IQ scores.” It gets worse: Some of the slight effects they did find were in the “wrong” direction. For example, maternal attachment was negatively associated with IQ in the children.

There’s nothing new in the finding that the home environment doesn’t explain much about a child’s IQ after controlling for the parents’ IQ, but the quality of the data and analysis in this study address many of the objections that the environmentalists have raised about such results. Their scholarly wiggle-room for disagreement is shrinking.

The second study breaks new ground. Six of its eight authors come from King’s College London, home to what is probably the world’s leading center for the study of the interplay among genes, environment and developmental factors. The authors applied one of the powerful new methods enabled by the decoding of the genome, “Genome-wide Complex Trait Analysis,” to ask how much effect socioeconomic status has on IQ independently of genes. The technique does not identify the causal role of specific genes, but rather enables researchers to identify patterns that permit conclusions like the one they reached in this study: “When genes associated with children’s IQ are identified, the same genes will also be likely to be associated with family SES.” Specifically, the researchers calculated that 94 percent of the correlation between socioeconomic status and IQ was mediated by genes at age 7 and 56 percent at age 12.

How can parenting and socioeconomic status play such minor roles in determining IQ, when scholars on all sides of the nature-nurture debate agree that somewhere around half of the variation in IQ is environmental? The short answer is that the environment that affects IQ doesn’t consist of the advantages that most people have in mind -- parents who talk a lot to their toddlers, many books in in the house for the older children, high-quality schools and the like.

Instead, studies over the past two decades have consistently found that an amorphous thing called the “nonshared” environment accounts for most (in many studies, nearly all) of the environmentally grounded variation. Scholars are still trying to figure out what features of the nonshared environment are important. Peers? Events in the womb? Accidents? We can be sure only of this: The nonshared environment does not lend itself to policy interventions intended to affect education, parenting, income or family structure.

The relevance of these findings goes beyond questions of public policy. As a parent of four children who all turned out great (in my opinion), I’d like to take some credit. With every new study telling me that I can’t legitimately do so with regard to IQ or this or that personality trait, I try to come up with something, anything, about my children for which I can still believe my parenting made a positive difference. It’s hard.

There’s no question that we know how to physically and psychologically brutalize children so that they are permanently damaged. But it increasingly appears that once we have provided children with a merely OK environment, our contribution as parents and as society is pretty much over. I’m with most of you: I viscerally resist that conclusion. But my resistance is founded on a sustained triumph of hope over evidence.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Connecticut Woman Accused of Sex with Boy, 10

(Meriden, Connecticut) A 25-year-old Willimantic woman, Marybeth Rataic, has been accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy.

Rataic faces counts of first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.
According to the arrest warrant, the mother of the child filed a report with city police on Aug. 25. The boy told his mother Rataic and he had sex on at least three occasions, the warrant says.

The boy’s mother was friends with Rataic, and Rataic would babysit her four children, the warrant said. The boy was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where a forensic interview was completed. The reported incidents happened between Aug. 19 and 23.

A Department of Children and Families investigator and a police detective went to Rataic’s home in September. When asked about the allegations, Rataic said the boy forced the sexual activity on her, the warrant said. Rataic said she didn’t tell anyone what happened because she was “embarrassed.”
Rataic is in custody with bond set at $150,000.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Florida Woman Gets Prison for Violating Probation - Update

(Bartow, Florida) Last June, 26-year-old Darlene Pierre accepted a plea agreement and was sentenced to two years of probation for engaging in sex with a 15-year-old boy.
Pierre was initially arrested in June 2013 for having sex with the teenager when she was 25.

The sexual encounters began when the boy was 15 years old, according to arrest reports, and Pierre was pregnant with his child when she was arrested.

Three weeks after accepting a plea deal to end the sex case, Pierre was arrested again for contacting the boy through text messages and for using Facebook.
A short time after hearing her probation sentence, Pierre violated the terms of her probation.

As a result, Pierre was sentenced last Thursday to two years in prison.

* * * * *

Florida Woman, 25, and Boy, 15
[Previous 6/7/13 post]
(Winter Haven, Florida) A 25-year-old local woman, Darlene Pierre, has been accused of engaging in sex with a 15-year-old boy, reportedly resulting in pregnancy.

Pierre faces 24 counts of unlawful sexual activity.
An arrest warrant was obtained after the boy's mother police after Pierre announced she was pregnant and the boy was the father.

According to reports, Pierre was a family friend who visited the victim's home frequently, along with her three small children.

According to the teen, the sexual encounters began occurring in January 2011 when he was 15.
Pierre was booked into custody at the Polk County Jail.

International Toilet Festival

(New Delhi, India) Dated yesterday in the article, the festival starts tomorrow.
Seven countries — Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Laos, Vietnam and Afghanistan including India are set to participate in an upcoming festival here, which aims to create awareness about the importance of toilets!

The International Toilet Festival, a three-day event that begins here from November 18 is being organized by Sulabh International an social service organization founded by Brindeshwar Pathak.

"The whole purpose is to draw the attention of masses towards the issue of sanitation which often raises a stink and is considered taboo," says Pathak.

The opening ceremony is set to see a convergence of about 1,000 students from the participating countries form a human chain as part of pledge for "Toilet for All by 2019".
The event is intended to promote the building of toilets for all so that India may be free from open defecation.

Spanish Navy Rams Greenpeace Boat

(Canary Islands)
Spanish navy boats protecting an oil drilling ship rammed Greenpeace boats during a protest, leaving one activist with a broken leg and another with minor cuts.

Dramatic footage filmed off the Canary Islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura on Saturday shows the moment when a navy rhib – a fast rigid hull inflatable boat – appeared to deliberately collide with a Greenpeace rhib which was approaching the oil ship Rowan Renaissance.

Matilda Brunetti, a 23 year-old Italian, can be heard screaming in pain in the video as her leg was broken and she was thrown into the water. According to a colleague, she then received cuts to her legs from a propeller, before she was taken by the Spanish navy to a hospital in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, where she is now recovering.
The Greenpeace captain said, "We will not allow reckless oil drilling…."

Six Conundrums Of Socialism

Here are six Conundrums of Socialism in the United States of America:

1. America is capitalist and greedy – yet half of the population is subsidized.

2. Half of the population is subsidized – yet they think they are victims.

3. They think they are victims – yet their representatives run the government.

4. Their representatives run the government – yet the poor keep getting poorer.

5. The poor keep getting poorer – yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.

6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about – yet they want America to be more like those other countries.

Think about it! It pretty much sums up the USA in the 21st Century. Makes you wonder who is doing the math.

These three, short sentences tell you a lot about the direction of our current government and cultural environment:

1. We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.  Funny how that works. And here’s another one worth considering…

2. Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money. But we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money? What’s interesting is the first group “worked for” their money, but the second didn’t.  Think about it… and Last but not least:

3. Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but we are not stopping the payments or benefits to illegal aliens.

Am I the only one missing something?


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).


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