Things you may have wondered about. (#6 in a series)

February 23rd, 2018

Okay, maybe not. But it’s been a while since I did one of these.

Whatever happened to Beanie Babies?

(Spoiler: they’re worthless.)

“If you bring Beanies to me and try to sell them to me in bulk, I’ll give you about 20 cents. That’s me telling you I don’t want them,” said Steve Johnston, the store’s owner. “Give them away.”

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#47 in a series)

February 22nd, 2018

Very quick, because this is my CPA volunteer night and I’m down at the cop shop:

Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri was indicted on a felony invasion of privacy charge on Thursday by grand jurors in St. Louis.

Yes. FELONY invasion of privacy. Allegedly, he took nudes of someone without consent, and then “transmitted the photo in a way that allowed it to be seen on a computer, which prosecutors said made the crime a felony rather than a misdemeanor”.

More from the Post-Dispatch:

The woman said in the recording that, during a consensual sexual encounter in Greitens’ St. Louis home in which she was bound and partly undressed, Greitens took a photo of her without her consent and threatened her with it.

Also: two! Two in one day!

ETA 2/23: Now that I’m in front of a real computer, it looks like a double-hyena day isn’t unheard of (April of 2016). But it is rare enough to be noteworthy.

I’m looking forward to my first triple flaming hyena day.

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#46 in a series)

February 22nd, 2018

This is how out of it I’ve been: I didn’t even know Democratic state Senator Carlos Uresti was actually on trial until Mike the Musicologist texted me the verdict. (Previously on WCD.)

And that verdict?

Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

Texas state Sen. Carlos Uresti and co-defendant Gary Cain were found guilty on all charges in San Antonio federal court today in a criminal fraud trial that has stunned the city and state capitol.

That’s “all charges”. And what were those charges again?

As to State Sen. Carlos Uresti:
Count 1, wire fraud: Guilty
Count 2, wire fraud: Guilty
Count 3, conspiracy to commit wire fraud: Guilty
Count 4, wire fraud: Guilty
Count 5, wire fraud: Guilty
Count 6, wire fraud: Guilty
Count 8, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments: Guilty
Count 11, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity: Guilty
Count 20, securities fraud: Guilty
Count 21, securities fraud: Guilty
Count 22, unregistered securities broker: Guilty

As to Gary Cain:
Count 3, conspiracy to commit wire fraud: Guilty
Count 8, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments: Guilty
Count 13, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity: Guilty
Count 14, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity: Guilty
Count 15, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity: Guilty
Count 16, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity: Guilty
Count 17, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity: Guilty
Count 18, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity: Guilty
Count 19: engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity: Guilty

Each wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine. The conspiracy to launder monetary charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each securities fraud charge and the unregistered securities broker count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Each of Uresti’s counts also is punishable by up to three years of federal supervision to be served after release from prison.

Of course, it is highly unlikely that he’ll get 200 years in prison. My prediction: I’ll be surprised if he gets more than 10 years.

Obit watch: February 22, 2018.

February 22nd, 2018

For the historical record: Billy Graham.

There are many beautiful words in the English language.

February 20th, 2018

Here are four of them:

permanently enjoined from enforcing“.

World’s Most Corrupt Police Departments.

February 16th, 2018

Coming up on the Justice Network.

(Well, they need to do something, now that those jerks have dropped the midnight Sunday “Most Shocking”.)

(Seriously, Justice Network: was anyone asking for a three hour block of “Rescue 911”? And why are you also airing another three hour block of “psychic” frauds?)

(But I digress.)

I’ve written before about the criminal Philadelphia police department. Latest development:

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office last year secretly compiled a list of Philadelphia police officers with a history of lying, racial bias, or brutality, in a move to block them from testifying in court.

Of course the list is secret.

The list was intended only for internal use, as a guide to determine when a potentially tainted officer’s testimony should be used. Under the office’s policy, front-line prosecutors were instructed to get top-level permission before calling such an officer. Prosecutors, according to sources, did not want to release the list out of concern for the officers’ privacy rights and the broad impact it might have on past convictions involving the officers.

As the article notes, this isn’t unheard of: Seattle is cited as an example, and I seem to recall hearing that the LA district attorney’s office had a similar list. (Edited to add: link to recent coverage of the LADA list. Additional. Denton County has a list, too.) It seems to me, though (and if there are any legal experts out there, please correct me if I’m wrong) that the places that have these lists of problem officers also have a lot of other police related issues, too.

And as a by the way, you know who created the list? Seth Williams.

(Hattip.)

I’ve been sort of negligent in covering the ongoing Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force cases. To be honest, I’ve been a little busy, things have me down, and the most recent trial got pretty widespread national coverage. (Spoiler: two detectives were convicted on Monday.)

As you would expect, now that there’s convictions, there’s also weeping and wailing from the politicians. Which usually isn’t interesting, but:

State Del. Bilal Ali of Baltimore called for disbanding the police department entirely, citing Camden, N.J., as an example where the police force was rebuilt. He said the corruption and wrongdoing highlighted in the trial is an “ongoing experience” for many residents, and have not been sufficiently addressed by the consent decree or other efforts at reforms.

(Previously on Camden.)

My first thought: if you disband the Baltimore PD, where is David Simon going to get material for season six of “The Wire”?

My second thought: if you were going to disband a police department for being corrupt and out of control, B’more would not be my first choice. In order, I think I’d take Chicago, New Orleans, and Philadelphia before Charm City.

Accidentally like a machine.

February 15th, 2018

By way of the Hacker News Twitter:

A list of things that were not intended to be “Turing Complete”, but are.

(For the non-initiated, “Turing Completeness” sort of explained here.)

Quick update.

February 15th, 2018

I touched on the case of Hugh Barry and Deborah Danner a while back. Very briefly: Barry was a sergeant with the NYPD, he responded to a call about a mentally disturbed woman (Ms. Danner), she came at him with a baseball bat, he shot and killed her, and was charged with murder.

Yesterday, he was acquitted of all charges against him.

Obit watch: February 14, 2018.

February 14th, 2018

A little late on this, but here’s your obit for Vic Damone.

After winning on the radio show “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” in 1947, he recorded some 2,500 songs over 54 years. He had his own radio and television programs, made movies, survived rock ′n’ roll and its noisy offspring and became a mainstay of the Las Vegas Strip, and nightclubs where audiences were so close he could almost reach out and touch them with his voice.
Along the way, he made millions, entertained presidents and royalty, refused a part in “The Godfather,” married five times, had four children and underwent analysis. He also survived a brush with the mob, four divorces, a custody fight over his only son and the suicides of two former wives. And he was still working as the millennium turned, with a voice that critics said had not lost its mellow subtleties.

Marty Allen is dead at the age of 95. He was most famous as half of the comedy team Allen and Rossi, who were big in the post Martin/Lewis era. (Steve Rossi apparently died in 2014: I don’t seem to have noted his passing here.)

Victor Milan, SF and fantasy author. I read Cybernetic Samurai not long after it came out, and kind of liked it.

Can’t afford it…

February 9th, 2018

but I want it anyway.

Mostly so I have a place to ride my pony. No, that’s not a euphemism. Actually, the whole reason I posted this is so I could embed a song I used to sing on my way out of Four Letter Computer Corporation on Friday afternoon. (Have I mentioned this previously?)

I love that line, “Kemosabi, kiss my ass, I’ve bought a boat, I’m going out to sea.”

(Hattip on Boaty McBoatface to Morlock Publishing.)

I have to say it…

February 9th, 2018

The Jaffer Drug Trafficking Organization, the San Antonio-based drug ring that Wesa was part of, distributed over 40,000 pounds of K2 to cities in Texas as well as cities in Missouri and Oklahoma, officials said.

20 tons of K2. Why, that’s a veritable mountain of K2.

Tweet of the day.

February 8th, 2018

That Manhattan bullshit. When I am made God Emperor over All Creation, the use of tomatoes or a tomato based broth in clam chowder will be outlawed. A first offense will land you in the stocks, and people will be encouraged to throw rotten tomatoes at you. A second offense will result in public execution by being force fed stuffies.