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December 30, 2009

San Francisco homicides hit lowest amount since 1961

Homicides plummet inexplicably in S.F. There are two factors they think really drove down the homicides: aggressive foot patrols in problem neighborhoods (like mine) and a Federal crackdown on the MS-13 gang in the Mission.
The Police Department has logged 45 homicides in the city this year - a decline in lethal shootings, stabbings and bludgeonings of more than 50 percent from both 2007 and 2008, when the city recorded 98 and 97 homicides, respectively. If it holds through the rest of the year, it will mark the lowest number of homicides since 1961, when there were 39. "This is a remarkable reduction," Mayor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. "It's the lowest it's been in nearly half a century." As homicides plummeted, the Police Department's expanded homicide unit caught up on its work. The newly expanded unit solved roughly 70 percent of killings in 2009, about twice the rates of both 2007 and 2008 and the Police Department's best figure in memory. In some recent years, when the homicide total edged close to 100, the department solved as few as 25 percent of the killings.

December 29, 2009

Pakistan creates third gender for eunuchs

BBC News - Pakistani eunuchs to have distinct gender
Pakistan's Supreme Court says eunuchs must be allowed to identify themselves as a distinct gender in order to ensure their rights. The eunuchs, known as "hijras" in Pakistan, are men castrated at an early age for medical or social reasons. The court said they should be issued with national identity cards showing their distinct gender. The government has also been ordered to take steps to ensure they are entitled to inherit property.

December 28, 2009

Boomercizing? Really?

Boomercize: low-impact aerobics to 1960s music
Boomercize is aerobics for people who predate Jamie Lee Curtis in "Perfect." Willow Carter of San Francisco is old enough to remember the Watusi, and she is in class "movin' and groovin' to hit tunes from the '60s," she says. Why: Boomercize is a low-impact cardio workout done to great music. I'm not a big fan of the gym, and most aerobic classes aren't geared toward people my age. The music is blaring and the routines are overly strenuous and hard on the joints. Plus, who wants to compete with a bunch of twentysomethings? Greatest accomplishment: I'm still able to do a mean "twist" and sing along! I actually attend a circuit training class prior to zipping off to Boomercize.

December 26, 2009

Man tries to blow himself up on flight to Detroit

US plane incident was 'attempted act of terrorism' - Yahoo! News
DETROIT, Michigan (AFP) – A Nigerian man with reported links to Al-Qaeda tried to blow up a US airliner with a new type of explosive device Friday before being tackled by passengers in what officials said was an attempted Christmas Day terror attack. Some travellers aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit panicked but others sprang into action, overwhelming the man as he lit the device, which reportedly made a popping sound and burst into flames. The suspect's clothes caught fire and he suffered serious burn wounds. The incident could have been "catastrophic," US Representative Peter King told US media. White House officials and US lawmakers said the incident was a terror attack and President Barack Obama, on vacation with his family in Hawaii, ordered increased security measures after being briefed on the attempt.

December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

My nation upholds its founders' traditions by celebrating the birth of a prophet whose message was: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." When the founders' drafted protections for the people, the first listed was the right to one's beliefs. Celebrate this time in our free land when we reflect on a messenger of peace. Merry Christmas.

Continue reading "Merry Christmas" »

December 23, 2009

Balloon Boy's dad convicted, forbidden to profit from his notoriety

Balloon boy parents are sent to jail for hoax
The parents who pulled the balloon boy hoax in hopes of landing a reality TV show were sentenced to jail Wednesday — 90 days for him, 20 days for her — and barred from profiting from their newfound celebrity status for the next four years. Choking back tears, Richard Heene apologized in court for the frenzy he caused when he claimed his 6-year-old son Falcon had floated away in a giant helium balloon shaped like a flying saucer. "I'm very, very sorry. And I want to apologize to all the rescue workers out there, and the people that got involved in the community," said the 48-year-old Heene, a UFO-obsessed backyard scientist who turned to storm-chasing and reality TV after his Hollywood acting career bombed. The sentencing was the culmination of a saga that transfixed the nation in October with the sight of the silvery balloon hurtling through the sky on live television. In the end, it was all a publicity stunt by a family broke and desperate for attention and money after networks kept rejecting their reality TV show pitches.