Mining the results of public records requests relating to Amazon's secret deals with local law enforcement to promote its Ring surveillance doorbells (more than 200 agencies!) continue to bear fruit. Read the rest
Comedian, activist, and former late-night TV host Jon Stewart spoke on Capitol Hill today about getting health care and benefits for 9-11 first responders. Read the rest
A criminal mastermind in Vancouver, Washington thought that he'd help himself to the bounty of – I dunno, locks? doors? finger puzzles? – goods that an escape room business had on hand. He ended up, you guessed it, trapped in an escape room and unable to break free. In a fit of panic and defeat, he called 911 for help. Read the rest
Five-year-old TyLon Pittman of Byram, Mississippi wasn't going to take any chances when he thought the Grinch was going to steal his Christmas. After watching Grinch movies on YouTube on Saturday, he did what any concerned citizen would do and quietly called 911 to report him. He hung up a few times before a 911 operator called back and took TyLon's report.
Here's the call:
And here's a video his older brother TeDera Dwayne Graves II took when officer Lauren Develle arrived for a fun house call:
On Monday, the story had started making the rounds and TyLon was invited by Officer Develle to apprehend the Grinch.
The Grinch could be charged with crimes including attempted theft of Christmas, Develle said. It wasn't as much about charging him for his wrongdoing as keeping a promise to her new friend.
Hanging his head, still wearing his Santa outfit, the Grinch put up no fight as he was shut in the holding cell inside the police department.
"Come here Ty," the Grinch said. Taking the boy's hand in a handshake, he said, "You have saved Christmas for the people of Byram. Your bravery is unmatched. You have saved the day."
"Why are you stealing Christmas?" TyLon asked him with an unwavering gaze.
After a moment of thought, the Grinch just shrugged his shoulders.
This little guy already knows he wants to be when he grows up: a police officer, of course.
Thanks, Paul! Read the rest
On September 11, 2001, this was astronaut Frank Culbertson's view of New York City from the International Space Station.
"The world changed today," Station Commander Culbertson wrote the next day. "What I say or do is very minor compared to the significance of what happened to our country today when it was attacked...
"It's horrible to see smoke pouring from wounds in your own country from such a fantastic vantage point. The dichotomy of being on a spacecraft dedicated to improving life on the earth and watching life being destroyed by such willful, terrible acts is jolting to the psyche, no matter who you are."
Congress today publicly released 28 previously secret pages of its 9/11 inquiry that detail possible connections between officials in the Saudi government, and the hijackers who carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Read the rest
A New Jersey mail carrier was trapped inside his truck when aggressive wild turkeys surrounded it. His postmaster called 911.
Read the rest
When officers arrived, they scared the turkeys away by walking toward them.
The mail carrier was not injured during the incident, but mail service was briefly held up to three homes on the street.
Word in the neighborhood is that the mail carrier was a substitute -- and wasn't familiar with the birds.
An independent civilian appointed by New York's mayor will monitor counterterrorism activities of the New York Police Department, the New York Times reports that lawyers said in court documents Thursday. The news comes as those lawyers attempt to settle two lawsuits about the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims after 9/11. Read the rest
Police blotter sites aggregate only the saddest reports of meth-addled America. A better way to consume local police news: unedited dispatch logs.
Dogs are lost, then found a few hours later. Little old ladies are outraged by skateboarders. In such circumstances, it's the reader who must provide narrative continuity between entries, but it's honest work and always rewards the day with a little Mayberry bump.
The following are recent 911 calls to a small-town Massachusetts police department:
"5:27 p.m. Caller reports group of juveniles sliding down a mound of snow.
7:27 p.m. Caller reports a possum on her patio she believes is sick or lost.
9:32 a.m. Caller complaining that someone dumped snow in her driveway.
10:24 a.m. Caller reports message left on voicemail from the IRS.
12:16 p.m. Caller reports person is going door to door asking to shovel driveways for money.
12:28 p.m. Report of black pick-up truck doing donuts in school parking lot, Main St.
12:30 p.m. Caller wants to speak with officer regarding a company stealing emails from his website and taking customers away from him, Maple Brook Dr.
12:31 p.m. Caller reports large duck in yard; Has put duck in crate until owner is found." Read the rest
The most tasteless thing inside the just-opened September 11 museum in New York City is probably this commemorative cheese plate. One of the most profound and moving objects may be this telephone, from the Pentagon. They're just two of many items on display in some 10,000 square feet of exhibit space. Read the rest
In an excellent, well-argued editorial, CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen eviscerates the claim that the NSA's total, global surveillance is necessary for preventing 9/11-style attacks. Bergen shows how the US intelligence agencies' own auditors concluded that pre-PATRIOT Act surveillance powers were more than sufficient to have predicted and prevented the 9/11 attack, and many attacks since, including the 2008 Mumbai attack, which was planned in Chicago; Maj. Nidal Hasan's 2009 shooting spree at Ford Hood; the 2009 shooting of a soldier in Little Rock, Arkansas; Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab's failed underwear bomb attack in 2009. All attacks for which America's spies had advance warning and did nothing or not enough. Read the rest
For several years, I've conducted an annual Skype session with the students at Arapahoe High School in Colorado, who read my novel Little Brother as a jumping-off point for a wide-ranging, critical discussion of the Internet and politics. Arapahoe has been much in the news lately, for sad reasons: a student brought a gun to school, shot and wounded two of his fellow students, and then killed himself. Kristin Leclaire teaches Language Arts at Arapahoe, who was living in New York on September 11th, 2001, and she has written a sad, smart, important essay on her experience, called Scar Tissue . My thoughts are with my friends at Arapahoe. Read the rest
This image, made using a laser mapping technology called LIDAR, was taken on September 17, 2001. It shows a 3-D model of the rubble left behind in lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Minnesota Public Radio's Paul Tosto has a really interesting peek into the way mapping techniques like LIDAR were used to help rescuers and clean-up crew understand the extent of the damage, look for survivors, and rehabilitate the area around the disaster zone.
The Library of Congress work also includes data from a a thermal sensor flown at 5,000 feet over Ground Zero that provided images to track underground fires that burned for weeks at the site.
It's worth remembering that Google Earth didn't exist back then. The ancient science of cartography has been reborn with the technology of the last decade. Let's hope it's not called on again to map destruction.
Photo: Reuters. A man is screened with a backscatter x-ray machine at an LAX TSA checkpoint.
Four present and past security screeners at LAX took 22 payments of up to $2400 each to let large shipments of coke, meth, and pot slip through baggage X-ray machines. Oh, we are so very, very shocked.
In one incident detailed in the 40-page indictment (Link), screeners plotted to allow eight pounds of crystal meth to get through—then one of them ducked into an airport men's room where he was handed $600, the second payment for that delivery. Read the rest
PHOTO: Snapshot by Lori Croft of her 4-year-old granddaughter Isabella Brademeyer, in Wichita, Kan., where she was a flower girl at her uncle’s wedding. The child was harassed by TSA goons on the way back from that family event, for the crime of hugging her granny.
Earlier this week on Boing Boing, Cory blogged about a 95-year-old Air Force veteran who was robbed of $300 at a TSA checkpoint. After picking on the elderly, today the TSA is bullying children. A 4-year-old girl who was upset during a TSA screening at the Wichita, KS airport was forced to undergo a manual pat-down after hugging her grandmother. Agents yelled at the child, and called her an uncooperative suspect.
Nope, we're not making this up.
The child's mom, Michelle Brademeyer of Montana, shared the incident in a public Facebook post last week, and the story has since spread widely.
“They didn’t explain anything and she did not know what was going on,” the grandmother told the Associated Press. “She saw people grabbing at her and raising their voices. To her, someone was trying to kidnap her or harm her in some way.”
Think the TSA has apologized? Nah. The agency is defending its agents, despite promised changes in operational standards to "reduce pat-downs of children." Read the rest
Glenn Greenwald rounds up a number of reports related to the killing of al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son by an unmanned aerial drone from the US:
Two weeks after the U.S. killed American citizen Anwar Awlaki with a drone strike in Yemen — far from any battlefield and with no due process — it did the same to his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, ending the teenager’s life on Friday along with his 17-year-old cousin and seven other people.
Initial US reports stated he was 21, but a birth certificate obtained by The Washington Post shows that he was born 16 years ago in Denver. According to the boy's grandfather, he and his cousin were at a barbecue and preparing to eat when they were killed.