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October 30, 2009

No one has ever given out poisoned candy on Halloween

Poisoned candy turns out to be a Halloween myth - St. Petersburg Times The few cases that were thought to be genuine were either parents poisoning their own children, or kids getting into their folk's drug stashes.
You've heard the advice before: Check your kid's candy bucket after going trick-or-treating. Throw away any homemade goodies. Sometimes hospitals even offer to X-ray the candy just to make sure there isn't a needle in that Snickers bar. This advice turns out to be the ultimate Halloween prank, a horror that has never happened, not once, in the history of Halloween, according to a researcher who has studied reports of Halloween mischief dating back to the 1950s. "Deviants typically do bad things because they are greedy or they are angry," said Joel Best, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware. "They don't just poison kids for the sheer fun of it."

Liz Cheney says Bush showed more class than Obama, by completely ignoring dead soldiers

Liz Cheney Suggests Obama Honored Fallen Soldiers For The Publicity | TPMDC
Liz Cheney called out President Obama for his early-morning trip to honor fallen soldiers arriving at Dover Air Force Base yesterday, suggesting President Bush honored America's heroes with a bit more class than his successor. Cheney, on Fox News Radio's John Gibson Show yesterday: "I think that what President Bush used to do is do it without the cameras. And I don't understand sort of showing up with the White House Press Pool with photographers and asking family members if you can take pictures. That's really hard for me to get my head around...It was a surprising way for the president to choose to do this." It's not clear exactly what Cheney is referring to when she says, "Bush used to do it without the cameras."

October 28, 2009

What it's like to run a diner on Detroit's skid row

detroitblog -- Land of the lost The short answer is "tense and depressing," for the longer answer read the piece.
Helen Turner has a mean scowl on her face. Always. It’s the look she gives customers at the diner where she works. “I don’t take no shit off of nobody,” she spits in an Appalachian accent. She’s behind the counter at White Grove Restaurant, a tiny, genuinely retro diner on Second Avenue near Charlotte, in Detroit’s skid row. Her customers are the city’s underclass — addicts, prostitutes, the homeless and the insane. They spend their days aimlessly roaming their neighborhood here like zombies, slowly killing time and themselves, waiting for the next handout or the next quick score. And nearly all of them come into the diner at some point, trying to pull a fast one. “The attitude around here is, ‘I don’t have anything, so I’ll try anything. What have I got to lose? I’ll try any trick,’” says Linwood Martin, Turner’s co-worker. “It’s like they spend all of their time trying to conceive trickery. They’re predators, vultures.” Martin and Turner have worked at the diner for decades, long enough to view everyone who walks in with suspicion. Both are in their late 60s and live nearby. Both have a dim view of the locals after their years among the crazies and the crooks. . . .
Seriously, keep reading.

October 27, 2009

Bay Bridge cable snaps, falls, hits three vehicles

Cable snaps on Bay Bridge, hits 3 vehicles
A cable on the upper deck near the new S-turn section snapped and fell about 5:30 p.m., the CHP said. One motorist suffered minor injuries. The left three lanes of the upper deck were closed as of 6 p.m., the CHP said. Caltrans engineers reportedly are checking on the span's structural integrity.
Pic via Violet Blue.

The vacant land in Detroit is now larger than Boston

Detroit house auction flops for urban wasteland | U.S. | Reuters
DETROIT (Reuters) - In a crowded ballroom next to a bankrupt casino, what remains of the Detroit property market was being picked over by speculators and mostly discarded. After five hours of calling out a drumbeat of "no bid" for properties listed in an auction book as thick as a city phone directory, the energy of the county auctioneer began to flag. "OK," he said. "We only have 300 more pages to go." There was tired laughter from investors ready to roll the dice on a city that has become a symbol of the collapse of the U.S. auto industry, pressures on the industrial middle-class and intractable problems for the urban poor. On the auction block in Detroit: almost 9,000 homes and lots in various states of abandonment and decay from the tidy owner-occupied to the burned-out shell claimed by squatters. Taken together, the properties seized by tax collectors for arrears and put up for sale last week represented an area the size of New York's Central Park. Total vacant land in Detroit now occupies an area almost the size of Boston, according to a Detroit Free Press estimate.

Lessons learned from Disney Princesses

The Disney Princess Feminist Fail. - Feministing