There was an error in this gadget

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Followers

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Neb. parents rush to leave kids before law changes

The mother of an 18 year-old daughter, who asked not to be named to protect the AP – The mother of an 18 year-old daughter, who asked not to be named to protect the identity of her child, …

LINCOLN, Neb. – The mother was running out of more than patience when she abandoned her 18-year-old daughter at a hospital over the weekend under Nebraska's safe-haven law. She was also running out of time: She knew that state lawmakers would soon meet in a special session to amend the ill-fated law so that it would apply to newborns only.

"Where am I going to get help if they change the law?" said the mother, who lives in Lincoln and asked to not be identified by name to protect her adopted child.

To the state's surprise and embarrassment, more than half of the 31 children legally abandoned under the safe-haven law since it took effect in mid-July have been teenagers.

But state officials may have inadvertently made things worse with their hesitant response to the problem: The number of drop-offs has almost tripled to about three a week since Gov. Dave Heineman announced on Oct. 29 that lawmakers would rewrite the law.

With legislators set to convene on Friday, weary parents like the Lincoln mother have been racing to drop off their children while they still can.

On Thursday, authorities searched for two teens — a boy and girl, ages 14 and 17 — who fled an Omaha hospital as their mother tried to abandon them. The mother was trying to take them from the car to the emergency room when they took off.

Child welfare experts said the late deluge of drop-offs was probably inevitable. After all, they said, some date had to be picked to begin changing the law.

But some of them said lawmakers and the governor missed chances to change the law early because they underestimated the number of desperate families looking for help. Heineman called the special session only after a spate of five drop-offs in eight days.

Reluctance to pull senators away from their jobs and election campaigns, along with the estimated $70,000 to $80,000 cost of a special session, were among the reasons Heineman's office cited in holding off on calling a special session sooner.

"I think there was a fair amount of denial on the part of legislators that it would snowball," said Karen Authier, executive director of the Nebraska Children's Home Society.

The safe-haven law was intended to save "Dumpster babies" by allowing desperate young mothers to abandon their newborns at a hospital without fear of prosecution. But lawmakers could not agree on an age limit, and the law as passed uses only the word "child."

All states have safe-haven laws, but in every state but Nebraska, the law applies to infants only.

Authier said her group and others had warned senators after the law passed early this year that there could be problems, but the lawmakers did not believe it.

"It wasn't like talking to a stone wall," Authier said. "It was just that people who aren't in the business of dealing with families, they aren't aware how desperate some of these families are."

Sure enough, 18 teenagers — five 17-year-olds, two 16-year-olds, six 15-year-olds, two 14-year-olds, three 13-year-olds — have been abandoned, along with eight children who were 11 or 12. Five of the children dropped off have been from out of state.

The Lincoln mother who dropped off her 18-year-old daughter said she was repeatedly turned down when she sought help from police, state social services authorities and the girl's school. The woman said her daughter had been diagnosed with a mental illness when she was 12 and had deep psychological scars from childhood abuse and from being left alone with her dead biological mother for a week.

The woman said she felt she had no choice but to leave her daughter at the hospital after a recent flurry of assault, stealing, sleeping around and cutting school.

"I thought she would get help" through the safe-haven law, the mother said.

However, state authorities refused to take the young woman into custody, saying Nebraska law regarding juveniles does not let authorities take in anyone older than 17. The woman left with her daughter.

Fourteen children in all have been left at three hospitals operated by Alegent Health in the Omaha area.

"These are largely families at a point of incredible desperation," said Wayne Sensor, chief executive of Alegent Health. "They aren't bad parents or bad kids. They simply don't know what services are available out there."

Original here

Inmate escapes German jail in box

By Greg Morsbach
BBC News

Generic image of a man in a box
The inmate hid in a cardboard box and was taken out of the prison by courier

A manhunt is under way in western Germany for a convicted drug dealer who escaped by mailing himself out of jail.

The 42-year-old Turkish citizen - who was serving a seven-year sentence - had been making stationery with other prisoners destined for the shops.

At the end of his shift, the inmate climbed into a cardboard box and was taken out of prison by express courier. His whereabouts are still unknown.

The chief warden of the jail told the BBC this was an embarrassing incident.

The prison authorities in Willich, near Duesseldorf, said the man, who was tall and broad-shouldered, had hidden in a box that was about 150cm by 120cm.

For years I had been asking for more security guards from the government - but now they'll have to listen
Chief warden Beate Peters

When the weekly express courier arrived to pick up several boxes of merchandise, the one containing the prisoner was also loaded into the back of the lorry.

Shortly after it had passed through the prison gates, the inmate made his dash for freedom by cutting a big hole in the tarpaulin of the lorry and jumping off.

The driver alerted the police after he noticed the tarpaulin flapping in the breeze.

Lying low

The jail's chief warden, Beate Peters, said the man must have had accomplices outside the prison.

"As soon as the prisoner jumped off the back of the lorry his friends would have picked him up," she told the BBC.

"We have no idea where the fugitive is hiding. We assume that he is still in the county and is lying low before making his move."

Ms Peters said fellow convicts must also have known of his plan but that they would not talk because of a "code of honour" and because it is a criminal offence in Germany to help somebody escape from jail.

She said the incident showed that security needed to be beefed up urgently, something she had been lobbying for in the last few years.

"I was not surprised that an escape happened on my watch. For years I had been asking for more security guards from the government. But now they'll have to listen."

Original here

The YouTube Presidency

By Jose Antonio Vargas
The White House has gone YouTube.

Today, President-elect Obama will record the weekly Democratic address not just on radio but also on video -- a first. The address, typically four minutes long, will be turned into a YouTube video and posted on Obama's transition site, Change.gov, once the radio address is made public on Saturday morning.

The address will be taped at the transition office in Chicago today.

"This is just one of many ways that he will communicate directly with the American people and make the White House and the political process more transparent," spokeswoman Jen Psaki told us last night.

In addition to regularly videotaping the radio address, officials at the transition office say the Obama White House will also conduct online Q&As and video interviews. The goal, officials say, is to put a face on government. In the following weeks, for example, senior members of the transition team, various policy experts and choices for the Cabinet, among others, will record videos for Change.gov.

Yesterday, transition co-chairman Valerie Jarrett recorded a two-minute video that summarized the goings-on in the past week. "President-elect Obama adopted the most sweeping and strict ethics rules that have ever been in place in the course of a transition," said a bespectacled Jarrett, looking directly at the camera in a video that's yet to be posted.

President Bush, too, has updated WhiteHouse.gov, which offers RSS feeds, podcasts and videos of press briefings. The site's Ask the White House page has featured regular online chats dating back to 2003, and President Bush hosted one in January after a Middle Eastern trip.

But online political observers say President-elect Obama's innovative, online-fueled campaign will likely evolve into a new level of online communication between the public and the White House--the Internet-era version of President Franklin Roosevelt's famous "fireside chats" between 1933 and 1944,

"The Obama team has written the playbook on how to use YouTube for political campaigns. Not only have they achieved impressive mass -- uploading over 1800 videos that have been viewed over 110 million times total -- but they've also used video to cultivate a sense of community amongst supporters," said Steve Grove, head of news and politics at YouTube. "Obama told us in a YouTube interview last year that he plans to have 'fireside chats' on video, and we expect his administration will launch a White House YouTube channel very soon after taking office."

Added Ellen Miller of the Sunlight Foundation, a D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for government transparency: "We're living, after all, in the Internet era. This is an individualized version of the 'fireside chats.' It's not delivered between 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. but whenever anyone wants to see it. I don't know if it necessarily creates transparency -- it's still a controlled, one-way message. But it creates the aura of a much more accessible presidency."

So what's next from the Obama White House?

A behind-the-scenes online video exclusive of the State of the Union Address? A text message reminding us to turn in our taxes? Who knows...

This is one in a series of online columns on our growing "clickocracy," in which we are one nation under Google, with e-mail and video for all. Please send suggestions, comments and tips to vargasj@washpost.com.

Original here

The 10 Worst Places to Get Caught Having Sex

By Ian Fortey

There are two kinds of people in this world. Some people will look at a construction crane and think "Oh, look, it's a construction crane." Others will look at that same crane and think, "Oh, hey, I've gotta go have sex on that construction crane, right this second."

This article's about that second group.

#10.
In Court

Like most men, Donald Thompson, had needs; itches that had to be scratched without delay. Unlike most men, Donald Thompson was also a judge. And, unlike most judges (hopefully), Donald liked to sit behind the bench and jam his unit into a penis pump and go to town while presiding over cases.


"Whatever. I just masturbated into this Dixie cup."

According to testimony in the trial that ended with him getting four years in prison for indecent exposure and getting disbarred, Thompson used the pump at least four times and exposed himself 15 times during jury trials, apparently when shit got either really boring or incredibly sexy. You know how murder trials can get sexy.


"Read the charges again, but slower...and then tell me I'm bad."

As an added bonus, Thompson had purchased a rather noisy pump that made an audible wooshing sound. It was loud enough that jurors during trials asked the judge what it was and presumably Thompson responded by groaning loudly then napping for a half hour or so.

#9.
In Church

Sometimes people get infused with the Holy Spirit and feel moved to praise the Lord when in church. Other times, people hop in the confessional and defile one another in a host of unseemly and sticky ways. It is not our place to question the Lord.

In Cesena, Italy, during morning mass, a couple in their early 30s was lodged in a confessional booth when other people at church became aware of an off-putting rustling and groaning coming from the booth. In public restrooms, that's often the sound of hobos passing gin-soaked shoe leather from their bowels while masturbating; and in mall photo booths it's the sound of teen girls making hilarious and unique faces with their BFFs. In churches, however, the first, best guess is the pastor trying to sober up before a service. On this day, however, it was just a "goth rock" couple diddling each other. For Jesus.


They could have at least closed the curtain.

The police were called and the couple, who were piss-tank drunk, were "cautioned" for obscene acts and disturbing a religious function which we think is like robbing a bank and then being told by the cops you can only spend the money on canned meat. The local parish priest called the incident "an outrage of notable proportions which bespeaks unutterable squalor" which is Christian for "fucktarded."

At home, in Alabama, a couple was caught having sex on the altar in a Baptist Church, because sometimes humping in a confessional booth just isn't sacrilegious enough. The altar was covered in red wax and the male half was found hiding under the church when police arrived, as his escape plan included digging to China.

#8.
On a Cop Car

There are various levels of daring when it comes to sex in public. Some people will never venture beyond the cover of the backyard at 3 am, some people will attempt sex in an airplane lavatory. Others will eschew silly things like "reason" and copulate on the hood of a cop car. That has cops in it.


"Uhh..."

A couple of randy Dutch folk, known for their wooden shoes and proclivities to fornicate in full view of emergency service personnel, decided the hood of the car was a good place to go to town and say they didn't notice the two cops still in the car at the time. The cops got out of their car and demonstrated firm Dutch justice by politely asking the couple to stop and go somewhere else, as the law doesn't specifically prohibit people from having sex on top of a cop car. However, the law does state that police officers need to be available for duty.


"Please stop that."

Thus, when the male of the couple, without missing a sexy beat, insulted the cops, he was arrested and his girlfriend was taken away when she tried to stop the car from leaving with her boyfriend.

#7.
In The Cockpit

In 1916, the first ever known case of sex on a plane resulted in a plane crash, so this fantasy got started off on the wrong foot and proved that some places are, in fact, inappropriate for getting frisky in.


"Worth it!"

The fact that the pilot was the one having the sex probably greatly contributed to the problem, but ever since they installed those new security doors, how do any of us know what the pilot is up to in the cockpit? It's called the cockpit for God's sake.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in as dry a way as possible, has also attributed one fatal accident the result of pilot humpage, noting that the pilot made an "improper inflight decision to divert her attention to other activities not related to the conduct of the flight." Which is to say: "She was porking." The result of this is clear evidence that while joining the mile high club may be fun, if you're in charge of keeping the whole boat a mile high, you are excluded.

#6.
At School

It's a sad state of affairs that teachers having sex with students is about as common as baseball players using steroids or internet comedy writers going to sleep cold and alone. However, we can chalk that up to folks who are a few a nuggets short of a happy meal. When two teachers get together at school, under a security camera, and have sex, that's just plain stupid.

Leroy Coleman, Principal of Sandridge Elementary school, decided that going a few rounds with a teacher at his school in his office would be a grand idea and thus ran through the standard porno line up of positions. Even though he was married, he did this several times, and with different women, because the position of "school principal" is evidently kryptonite to all women. The man had the presence of mind to get his boning done behind closed doors and with no children present, but he neglected to turn off or even avoid the security camera pointed directly at his desk.

Video of the event was later released forcing him and his co-stars to resign, all of them citing either "illness" or "family issues" as their reasons. We like to imagine they just switched careers.

#5.
At Work

Having sex at work is rather mundane and, if our nation's schools are any indication, pretty much everyone is doing it these days. However, even the most mundane and vanilla scenarios get a boost when you toss in a vacuum named Henry that has a face on it.


"Dear Penthouse..."

One night in England, a Polish contractor working late on a children's hospital decided that the stress of the day and/or the hotness of an electronic suction device with a cartoon smile on it was too much to resist and got down on his hands and knees to make Henry a man. A passing security guard saw the man defiling the machine and requested that he clean himself and the Hoover up before leaving the premises. In fairness, Henry was totally asking for it.

#4.
On a Crane

Have you ever stared at a construction crane and thought to yourself "Man, I'd like to have me some sex on that"? Congratulations, you're just like Justin Dunn and Nicole Albert, a couple from Florida who climbed up on a crane, in the middle of the day, to bump uglies.


No, the other kind of crane. But that would've been weird, too.

Several witnesses, after squinting to ensure they were seeing what they thought they were seeing, called police who arrived and had to use a public address system to talk the couple down, presumably because none of the officers wanted to climb all the way up and risk high altitude bodily fluids splatting them in the eyes.


Dramatic reenactment.

The couple got off (ha!) with just a warning, as Dunn's father owned the crane and it was private property. They were told to try to be somewhat more discrete from now on, which we assume means they'll be sticking to double decker buses, tree tops and hot air balloons for the foreseeable future.

#3.
At a Drive-Thru

As should be obvious to everyone, Arby's is the sexiest of all fast food places, sexier even than Jack in the Box or Taco Bell. So sexy in fact that a myriad of customers have been unable to control themselves and just had to let their own curly fry flop out so they could smack it around some.

Kenneth Michael Dobbs got the Arby's urge in Decatur and went through the drive-thru butt-ass naked with one hand working his crank and then returned a couple of days later to do the exact same thing, because Arby-Qs are a twice a week obsession at least.


Don't you just want to masturbate right now?

Unfortunately for Dobbs, though the employees of Arby's are apparently stoked to see how excited their customers get, a police officer was parked nearby on his second trip, noticed the curious lack of clothing, and pulled the man over.

Pretty much the exact same thing happened in Tennessee as well when a self-loving customer spun through the drive-thru once, then again a couple of weeks later.

Others have been caught masturbating in drive-thrus for McDonald's, Burger King and probably every other fast food drive-thru, completely oblivious to the obvious flaw in their planning. While you may be able to get away with running into an In n Out burger with your penis in your hand, going through the drive-thru with an easily identifiable license plate slapped to the back of your car pretty much ensures that your left hand better be fast and furious if you hope to finish before the cops arrive.

#2.
Jail

Prison sex tends to evoke a number of unfortunate images that are best left unexplored at this point in time. And since we're not talking about one unfortunate soul venturing to pick up some errant soap while a comrade saddles up behind him in an intimate and unwanted fashion, we won't even mention it. What we are talking about is something like what happened to public defender Theresa Olson when she took it upon herself to give her client a ride in a jail conference room.

From what we've learned from watching Boston Legal and reruns of LA Law, lawyers are prone to fits of sexiness all the time. Still, when you're in the midst of discussing a murder trial with the man accused of beating his parents and sister to death, it may be best to wait for some comically appropriate time to sneak into a judge's chambers or such instead of just giving the man a poke in full view of jail guards who weren't made aware of what zany David E. Kelly hijinks to expect.

#1.
Train Tracks

Though it should go without saying that having sex in the path of a fast moving super heavy chunk of iron, steel and pain is a bad idea, we'll say it anyway: having sex on train tracks is a bad idea. In fact, of all the places one could have sex, few have worse potential consequences for the couple involved with the possible of exceptions of inside volcanoes, on the back of a bull or at a communal shower in an old folks home.


Or any combination of the three.

Nonetheless, a couple in South Africa were getting busy on the tracks, deciding that humping out in lion country or in a parasite filled pool was too boring for them. As you might expect, the evening ended poorly for them when a train pulled into the station where the couple was at. Trains, being rather hard to stop, aren't good at bobbing and weaving around sweaty bodies in their path.

As such, the conductor on the train shouted out the window for the couple to move. The couple, deciding that finishing was a superior choice to living, continued what they were doing as the train rolled over them. The end result was probably that particular train conductor having the most horrible image ever burned into his mind, next to that old folks communal shower thing.

Original here