January 31, 2008

Can You Imagine This Happening Here!?

The internet going down!? Along with some communications and television!? If this were to happen here, I would actually get some things done around the house! I know, I know, this is pretty serious. It would be terrible if something like this were to happen here.

Article here

Internet Failure Hits Two Continents

From CNN's Elham Nakhlawai and Mustafa Al Arab

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) -- Large swathes of Asia, the Middle East and north Africa had their high-technology services crippled Thursday following a widespread Internet failure which brought many businesses to a standstill and left others struggling to cope.

Hi-tech Dubai has been hit hard by an Internet outage apparently caused by a cut undersea cable.

One major telecommunications provider blamed the outage, which started Wednesday, on a major undersea cable failure in the Mediterranean.

India's Internet bandwidth has been sliced in half, The Associated Press reported, leaving its lucrative outsourcing industry trying to reroute traffic to satellites and other cables through Asia.

Reports say that Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain are also experiencing severe problems.

Nations that have been spared the chaos include Israel -- whose traffic uses a different route -- and Lebanon and Iraq. Many Middle East governments have backup satellite systems in case of cable failure.

There were contradictory reports on the real cause behind the disruption, but Du, a state-owned Dubai telecom provider, attributed it to an undersea cable cut between Alexandria, Egypt and Palermo, Italy.

An official at Egypt's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was believed that a boat's anchor may have caused the problems, although this was unconfirmed, AP reported. He added that it might take up to a week to repair the fault.

Kuwait's Ministry of Communications said the problem could take two weeks to solve, according to a statement carried by the state news agency, KUNA.

There were concerns in India that an Internet slowdown could affect trading patterns at the country's two major exchanges, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in Delhi and the SENSEX exchange in Bombay.

Rajesh Chharia, president of India's Internet Service Providers' Association, explained that some firms were trying to reroute via Pacific cables and that companies serving the eastern US and the UK were worst affected, AP added.

Besides the Internet, the outage caused major disruption to television and phone services, creating chaos for the UAE's public and private sectors.

The Du internal memo, obtained by CNN, called the situation in Dubai "critical" and stated that the cable's operators did not know when services would be restored.

"This will have a major impact on our voice and Internet service for all the customers," the memo stated. "The network operation team are working with our suppliers overseas to resolve this as soon as possible."

The outage led to a rapid collapse of a wide range of public services in a country which proudly promotes itself as technological pioneer.

Sources from Emirates Airlines confirmed to CNN Arabic that the outage did not affect its flight schedules -- a statement which assured hundreds of travelers worried after rumors about the possibility of rescheduled flights due to the faults.

However, Dnata, a government group in charge of providing air travel services in the Middle East and ground handling services at Dubai International Airport, acknowledged facing problems because of the outage, sources from its technical department confirmed to CNN Arabic.

The outage heavily crippled Dubai's business section, which is heavily reliant on electronic means for billions of dollars' worth of transactions daily.

Wadah Tahah, the business strategies and development manager for state-owned construction company EMAAR, told CNN Arabic that it was fortunate the outage started Wednesday, when there had been only moderate activity in the UAE markets. He said that softened the blow to business interests.

But Tahah warned that if the outage continued, "such a situation could create problems between brokers, companies, and investors due to loss of control."

Posted by Valkyre at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2008

Another Christmas Stowed Away

Finally got the decorations all put away, until next year. While this is late for me, I think the worse was when I didn't get it all put away until February 14th. I won't count Amanda's Nightmare Before Christmas town. I still need to pack that up. I need to do some repairs first. Since it was set up under the living room window, our dog Pepper kept jumping up on it to see out. So, some of the figurines got broken. I'm leaving it out until I can repair them. Then, when the glue is dry, that too, will get packed up.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2008

A Happy Ending

This is a nice story about what happened with some of the pit bulls that Michael Vick was accused of abusing.

Article here

From fighters to friends, Vick's pit bulls learn new life

(AP) -- His back resting comfortably against her chest, Hector nestles his massive canine head into Leslie Nuccio's shoulder, high-fiving pit bull paws against human hands.

Leslie Nuccio plays with Hector, one of Michael Vick's former fighting dogs, at her California home.

The big dog -- 52 pounds -- is social, people-focused, happy now, it seems, wearing a rhinestone collar in his new home in sunny California.

But as Hector sits up, deep scars stand out on his chest, and his eyes are imploring.

Hector ought to be dead, Nuccio knows -- killed in a staged fight, executed for not winning or euthanized by those who see pit bulls seized in busts as "kennel trash," unsuited to any kind of normal life.

Instead, Hector is learning how to be a pet.

After the hell of a fighting ring, he has reached a heaven of sorts: saved by a series of unlikely breaks, transported thousands of miles, along with other dogs rescued with him, and now nurtured by Nuccio, her roommate, Danielle White, and their three other dogs.

The animals barrel around the house, with 4-year-old Hector leading the puppy-like antics -- stealth underwear grabs from the laundry basket, dashes across the living room, food heists from the coffee table -- until it's "love time" and he decelerates and engulfs the women in a hug. Video Watch why the dogs can shift from fighting rings to family circles

"I wish he could let us know what happened to him," says Nuccio, the big tan dog's foster mother.

But what she does know is this: Hector has come a long way since he was trapped in the horrors of Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels.

The bust

Authorities descending last year on 1915 Moonlight Road in Surry County, Virginia, found the venue where Vick, the former NFL quarterback, and others staged pit bull fights in covered sheds, tested the animals' fighting prowess and destroyed and disposed of dogs that weren't good fighters.

Vick is serving a 23-month federal sentence after admitting he bankrolled the dogfighting operation and helped kill at least six dogs. Three co-defendants also pleaded guilty and were sentenced. The four now face state animal cruelty charges.

Oscar Allen, who sold a champion pit bull to Vick's dogfighting operation, was sentenced Friday on a federal dogfighting charge.

Officers who carried out the raid found dogs, some injured and scarred, chained to buried car axles. Forensic experts discovered remains of dogs that had been shot, electrocuted, drowned, hanged or slammed to the ground for lacking a desire to fight.

Hector and more than 50 other American Pit Bull Terriers or pit bull mixes were gathered up. So were "parting sticks" used to open fighting dogs' mouths, treadmills to condition them and a "rape stand" used to restrain female dogs that did not submit willingly to breeding.

The dogs, held as evidence in the criminal prosecutions, were taken to six different pounds and shelters in Virginia.

Hector was bunked in the Hanover pound in a cage below a dog named Uba who was smaller and showing anxiety.

Uba flattened on all fours when Tim Racer, an evaluator on a team assembled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, arrived at his cage.

"Are you going to kill me now?" was the message another evaluator, Donna Reynolds, read in Uba's eyes.

The black-and-white dog tried to wriggle away once out of the cage, but he came around after a while. He wagged his tail when the team showed him a 4-foot doll, to test his response to children. He spun around and got into a play position when they brought out a dog.

"This is the big secret. Most of them were dog-tolerant to dog-social. It was completely opposite of what we were led to believe," Reynolds said.

How much to trust the capacity of fighting dogs to have a new life as pets or working dogs is an issue that has divided animal advocates. Some believe they should be put down as a precaution, while others say they must be evaluated individually. One dog seized at Bad Newz was euthanized as too aggressive, but the others have had different fates.

Nearly half have been sent to a Utah sanctuary, Best Friends Animal Society, where handlers will work with them. None showed human aggression and many have potential for adoption someday. Others, evaluated as being immediate candidates for foster care and eventual adoption, went to several other groups.

Chance for a new life

Among the latter was Hector.

A team of animal welfare experts got things rolling last July when federal authorities sought ownership of the seized dogs. The result, they say, was groundbreaking.

The Oakland, California-based pit bull rescue and education group Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls, or BAD RAP, which had done similar rescues from busts in California, asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gill for permission to evaluate and rescue as many of the dogs as possible, with the hope of eventually placing them in adoptive homes.

"Much to our amazement, he said yes," said Reynolds, who heads BAD RAP. "This doesn't happen. People don't say yes to pit bulls."

Gill declined to comment, but those familiar with the Vick case said the Justice Department hoped early on to find a way to give the dogs a second chance. As part of his plea deal, Vick agreed to pay for the dogs' care.

The court even appointed a guardian and special master, Valparaiso University animal law expert Rebecca Huss, who oversaw the dogs' disposition and recommended which rescue groups would accept them.

One result of the unusual process, said ASPCA's Stephen Zawistowski, is that shelters that always euthanized such dogs are now saying "you've given us permission to care" about giving them a second chance.

Each dog was evaluated as an individual. Huss recalled the good-natured-but-quiet Rose, whose overbreeding had led to mammary tumors. In the end, needing surgery but unable to tolerate anesthesia, Rose was mercifully put down, just days after being transferred to a foster home.

"The good thing was she didn't die in the shelter," Huss said. "She had a little time in the sun, not enough, but a little time in the sun."

Huss received reports from an ASPCA-led evaluation team and from volunteers who observed and worked with the dogs where they were being held as evidence in shelters and pounds.

Nicole Rattay, a volunteer from BAD RAP, spent six weeks visiting the Vick dogs in shelters every day, e-mailing and phoning her observations to Huss.

"Some dogs were ready to learn 'sit' and obedience," she said. "Some needed more time to accept touch and feel comfortable in their surrounding. Sometimes I would just sit in their kennels." For some, bits of roasted chicken became a "motivator," she said.

She mentioned Handsome Dan, who bridled at touching at first but gradually grew more comfortable, though not enough for foster home placement, at least not yet. He ended up going to Best Friends.

"I hope that he can overcome what was done to him," said Rattay.

Hector's journey

BAD RAP won government approval in mid-October to transport a group of dogs to California foster homes to get them out of confinement.

Hector and a dozen others were about to make the cross-country trip in a rented 33-foot recreational vehicle.

But first, they had to get ready.

Four BAD RAP members -- Racer, Reynolds, Rattay and Steve Smith -- cruised a Richmond, Virginia, Wal-Mart, loading up with doggy sleeping mats, crates, bowls and chew sticks. The next day, they split up in twos to pick up, bathe and exercise the 13 pit bulls from four shelters. Then they loaded them up.

Rattay walked through the RV, cooing and checking her cargo to the thump-thump-thump of happy tails against dog crates. One dog circled his bed. Another stretched and yawned. A third slathered her outstretched hand with kisses.

"Oh my goodness," she cooed to them. "It's nice to see you again. Hi buddy, hi."

At first, the caretakers put cardboard between the crates to offer the dogs privacy and calm. "But they were happier when they could see their neighbor," Rattay said.

She and Smith took turns driving and napping on the 2-day trip (Racer and Reynolds flew home to prepare for the dogs' arrival).

The dogs drifted to sleep in their crates -- atop the RV table, benches, queen bed and couch, and an area above the cab -- but jumped right up each time the RV stopped for a break at a highway rest area.

Assembly-line style, the couple walked, watered and fed each of the 13 dogs, causing some gawks from other drivers who'd stopped, but never any questions from the dogs.

"They did fabulous," Rattay said. "They understood the program right away and got in and out of their crates."

Mostly things went fine for Hector and his fellow passengers in the rolling kennel, though one incident briefly worried Smith and Rattay.

It hadn't occurred to them to map a route that avoided places with ordinances banning pit bulls. A groundskeeper at an Arkansas rest stop warned them that "further down the road, they will take that dog from you unless you have proper paperwork."

"We finished it up and got moving," Rattay said.

At 10 a.m. on a Tuesday, Rattay pulled the RV in front of Racer and Reynolds' house.

It had been a long trip, and soon after the two couples unloaded and walked the dogs, both drivers and animals fell asleep in the living room waiting for foster families to arrive.

Smith snored a little, Rattay remembered, and a dog gave a low grumble.

Hector's settling into his new life, getting further and further from his past.

Weekly "canine good citizen" classes are correcting his social ineptitude. And he's taking cues on good manners from patient Pandora, a female pit bull mix who's queen of the household's dogs. Once Hector graduates, he'll take classes to become a certified therapy dog, helping at nursing homes and the like.

For now, he's learning the simple pleasures of a blanket at bedtime, a peanut butter-filled chew toy, even classical music.

"I put on Yo-Yo Ma one day and he cocked his head, laid down and listened to the cello next to the speaker," Nuccio said. "He's turning out to be a man of high class and culture." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Posted by Valkyre at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2008

So Young, So Talented

I couldn't believe this when I first heard it. What a terrible tragedy.

Article here

Actor Heath Ledger dies at 28

Ledger's family calls his death "very tragic, untimely and accidental"

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Actor Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday of a possible drug overdose in a Lower Manhattan apartment, the New York Police Department said.

Heath Ledger was unresponsive when a housekeeper found him in a Manhattan apartment Tuesday.

Ledger was found naked and unresponsive, facedown on the floor at the foot of his bed by a housekeeper trying to wake him for an appointment with a masseuse, said police spokesman Paul Browne.

"Pills were found in the vicinity of the bed," he told CNN.

"This is being looked at as a possible overdose, but that is not confirmed yet."

Browne later told reporters some prescription medications were found in the room, including sleeping pills.

But he stressed police have made no determination of the cause of Ledger's death -- that would be done by the medical examiner.

He said the pills were not "scattered about."

No note was found and there was no indication of foul play, Browne said. Ledger was found at about 3 p.m., and was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency personnel about 3:30 p.m. Watch a report about Ledger's death

A crowd of onlookers, photographers and reporters gathered outside the apartment building after news of Ledger's death was reported. Police officers were guarding the doors.

Browne said he did not know how long Ledger had been renting the apartment, which he said took up the entire fourth floor.

An autopsy would be conducted on Wednesday, said Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner's office. Watch Ledger's body being removed

Ledger's family called his death "very tragic, untimely and accidental."

"Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life, but few had the pleasure of truly knowing him," his father said.

"He was a down-to-earth, generous, kindhearted, life-loving, unselfish individual extremely inspirational to many."

Condolences began pouring in from Ledger's friends and co-stars.

"I had such great hope for him," said Mel Gibson, who played Ledger's father in "The Patriot," in a statement.

"He was just taking off and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."

Actress Nicole Kidman, a fellow Australian and close friend of Ledger's, said in a statement, "What a tragedy. My heart goes out to his family." Watch the reaction at the Sundance Film Festival

At the time of his death, Ledger had just finished playing the villain The Joker in "The Dark Knight," the latest installment in the Batman series. The film is to open in July.

Ledger was born in Perth, Australia, and named Heathcliff Andrew after the main characters of Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights." He began acting at a local theater as a child. Find out more about the actor

Ledger's first American film was the teen comedy "10 Things I Hate About You" in 1999, and he immediately attracted attention from Hollywood. He passed up several scripts before taking a role in the Revolutionary War drama "The Patriot" in 2000 and "A Knight's Tale" in 2001. He also played a supporting role in "Monster's Ball," among other films. See a photo gallery of Ledger's life and career

"In a way I was spoon-fed a career," he told the Glasgow Herald in 2005. "It was fully manufactured by a studio that believed it could put me on their posters and turn me into a product. ... I hadn't figured out properly how to act, and all of a sudden I was being thrown into these lead roles."

Controversial role

But Ledger was perhaps best known for his 2005 portrayal of Ennis Del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain," about two cowboys who had a secret romantic relationship. The role earned him an Oscar nomination.

"I felt that choices were being made for me, so I feel this has been my time now to find the good stories and test myself," Ledger told the Glasgow Herald in the 2005 interview. "It has been an interesting year, where I finally have a sense of accomplishment."

Asked how he felt about filming love scenes with another man, Ledger said he and his co-star Jake Gyllenhaal simply focused on their roles.

"We can't say that we weren't nervous about it," Ledger told Oprah Winfrey in 2006. "But once the first take was over, it's like, 'OK. So what? It's kissing another human being. How are we going to finish this scene? Let's get on with it and let's get out of here.' "

In a written statement, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said it mourns Ledger's death, adding that his portrayal of Del Mar "changed hearts and minds in immeasurable ways."

Ledger has a daughter, Matilda Rose, born in 2005 to his then-girlfriend, Michelle Williams, who played his on-screen wife, Alma, in "Brokeback Mountain." The couple have since separated.

"He was just so respected in the industry," said Kim Serafin, senior editor of In Touch Weekly.

"It's just horribly tragic. He was just a fine actor and a good person, so this is horribly sad and very unexpected." E-mail to a friend

CNN's Deb Feyerick, Susan Chun, Miguel Susana and Eden Pontz contributed to this story.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:31 PM | Comments (1)

January 18, 2008

Playing With Fire

You play with fire, you will get burnt. Taunt a tiger and you will get attacked. The "victims" of the tiger attack now are saying that they did taunt the tiger. They had also smoked pot and drank alcohol. The "innocent victim" of a rampaging tiger story is now changing and putting them in a less glamorous light.

Story here:

SAN FRANCISCO - One of the three victims of San Francisco Zoo tiger attack was intoxicated and admitted to yelling and waving at the animal while standing atop the railing of the big cat enclosure, police said in court documents filed Thursday.

Paul Dhaliwal, 19, told the father of Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, who was killed, that the three yelled and waved at the tiger but insisted they never threw anything into its pen to provoke the cat, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.

"As a result of this investigation, (police believe) that the tiger may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims," according to Inspector Valerie Matthews, who prepared the affidavit. Police believe that "this factor contributed to the tiger escaping from its enclosure and attacking its victims," she said.

Sousa's father, Carlos Sousa Sr., said Dhaliwal told him the three stood on a 3-foot-tall metal railing a few feet from the edge of the tiger moat. "When they got down they heard a noise in the bushes, and the tiger was jumping out of the bushes on him (Paul Dhaliwal)," the documents said.

Police found a partial shoe print that matched Paul Dhaliwal's on top of the railing, Matthews said in the documents.

The papers said Paul Dhaliwal told Sousa that no one was dangling his legs over the enclosure. Authorities believe the tiger leaped or climbed out of the enclosure, which had a wall 4 feet shorter than the recommended minimum.

The affidavit also cites multiple reports of a group of young men taunting animals at the zoo, the Chronicle reported.

Mark Geragos, an attorney for the Dhaliwal brothers, did not immediately return a call late Thursday by The Associated Press for comment. He has repeatedly said they did not taunt the tiger.

Calls to Sousa and Michael Cardoza, an attorney for the Sousa family, also weren't returned.

Toxicology results for Dhaliwal showed that his blood alcohol level was 0.16 twice the legal limit for driving, according to the affidavit. His 24-year-old brother, Kulbir, and Sousa also had alcohol in their blood but within the legal limit, Matthews wrote.

All three also had marijuana in their systems, Matthews said. Kulbir Dhaliwal told police that the three had smoked pot and each had "a couple shots of vodka" before leaving San Jose for the zoo on Christmas Day, the affidavit said.

Police found a small amount of marijuana in Kulbir Dhaliwal's 2002 BMW, which the victims rode to the zoo, as well as a partially filled bottle of vodka, according to court documents.

Investigators also recovered messages and images from the cell phones, but apparently nothing incriminating in connection with the tiger attack, the Chronicle reported.

Zoo spokesman Sam Singer said he had not seen the documents but believed the victims did taunt the animal, even though they claim they hadn't.

"Those brothers painted a completely different picture to the public and the press," Singer said. "Now it's starting to come out that what they said is not true."

Posted by Valkyre at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2008

So, it Has Come to This

The place where I work, has a kitchen. A real kitchen, with a refrigerator, stove, microwave, etc. We have/or had an honor policy going at work. People would bring in 12, 24 or 36 packs of soda and put a few in the 'fridge. Anyone could take one as long as they brought in a pack of soda occasionally. And, of course, this policy was not honored. Why is it a couple of people have to ruin it for everyone? I would always being in a 36 pack of Diet Pepsi. I would pull out 6 cans and put them in the 'fridge. If one was to pull out a cold Diet Pepsi, they were supposed to grab one out of the box to replace it. Of course, I would come in on a Monday and find one can left in the 'fridge. And, these takers, would never bring in any packs of sodas themselves. They just take and take and take. What's even worse, is that one of them dropped by work with some friends and allowed their friends to take sodas too. It got to the point that when I saw certain people show up for work, I would hide any sodas I had left. Didn't help. One of them actually dug around and found where I had hidden them in the vegetable drawer. Oh, and these "takers" are some of the highest paid employees in the place. The final straw was when someone took the last Diet Pepsi I had in the 'fridge. Let's see.... We are supposed to have a honor policy. You know that you didn't buy that soda. It's the last one in the 'fridge. Do you think you should take it? Or, leave it for the person who actually paid for it!? Even worse, they were doing the same thing to the business owner's daughter. She always had a 12-pack or two of Coke Zero kicking around. And they were disappearing at a ridiculous rate. I came up with I hope is a solution. The honor policy is out. You want soda? Bring your own. You take from the 'fridge anything that is not yours, and you're a thief. I bought another 36 pack of Diet Pepsi. I found a soft sided six pack cooler kicking around the house. I wrote in permanents marker across the top, "Wendy's Do Not Touch!" It is now sitting in the back of the 'fridge with a six pack in it. The case of Pepsi has my name and "Do Not Touch" written across the top. Along with hash marks showing how many I have removed. Yes, I am counting now. If this gets abused, everyone may lose refrigerator privileges. Or, the owner's daughter is talking about installing a surveillance camera, so we can confirm who the worst offenders are.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2008

Valkyre, Keyboard Killer

I am deadly to keyboards. This one I almost killed by spilling oatmeal all over it. Last night, I managed to spill hot green tea all over my Dell keyboard. I had taken down the dry Christmas Tree and was trying to haul it's corpse out to the backyard. I thought I was lifting it high enough to avoid everything. Alas, I was wrong. I felt like something out of Laurel and Hardy as I walked towards the back door, hitting everything in site. I thought the Dell keyboard may have squeaked by. But, as I used it last night, I noticed that the space bar quit working. Then, this morning, the "w", "a" and "y" keys were not working. I am now typing this on our old dinosaur computer in the living room. I took my keyboard apart and washed the key pad part, along with the rubber cover, directly under it. I have the part, with the all important electronic parts drying out in the open air. I hope that it does the trick.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:55 AM | Comments (2)

January 10, 2008

Two Down, One to Go

Well, they think they caught the shooter and one of his accomplices. Hopefully, with these two in custody, they will be able to get the third guy. I've lived in Gardena for 21 years, Mike has been here since 1970. Neither of us could remember any incident where a Gardena Police Officer has been shot.

Article here:

2 men arrested in shooting of officer

A third man is still being sought in the gun battle that left a Gardena patrolman wounded in the leg.

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

11:04 AM PST, January 10, 2008

Gardena police have arrested two of three men they suspect were involved in the shooting of a patrolman Wednesday afternoon.

Police tracked the men down Wednesday night in a 14-block area investigators had cordoned off after the noontime shooting at Normandie and Rosecrans avenues, Gardena Police Lt. Ed Burnett said today.

Although police are still searching for the third man, they reopened the search area at 1 a.m., Burnett said.

The wounded officer, whose name was not released, underwent surgery for two wounds to the right thigh and was in stable condition this morning, Burnett said.

The shooting occurred after the officer pulled into a Pizza Hut parking lot on the corner and saw three men running across Rosecrans, Burnett said. The officer ordered the men to stop, Burnett said, but they scattered.

The officer chased one man behind the restaurant, where they exchanged at least 10 rounds of gunfire, Burnett said. The gunman was armed with a semiautomatic handgun.

Police were unsure why the men were running across the street, Burnett said.

Though a veteran officer, the patrolman has been with the Gardena Police Department for only about a year, officials said.

"I saw the police officer shooting at the suspects," the owner of a neighborhood discount store said. "I heard six to seven shots fired: bang, bang, bang."

After cordoning off several blocks, officers from various departments scoured the neighborhood.

At least two police helicopters, equipped with heat sensors to detect movement on the ground, told the men over loudspeakers to "come out now, and you will not be harmed."

Just before 8 p.m., police dogs picked up a scent and led officers to a backyard on 147th Street, about four blocks from the shooting scene, Burnett said. A man found in a hot tub with the lid down matched the description of the shooter and was taken into custody, Burnett said.

About an hour later, the second man was found, also hiding in the search area. He was taken into custody and was being questioned this morning, Burnett said.

Neither man was immediately identified.

Some neighbors said they were stunned by the daytime shooting. Anthony White, 40, said he and his family had moved into the neighborhood three months ago. He said before he bought a house he drove around the residential area several times at night to see whether it was safe.

"It was really quiet," he said. "I was shocked, because it's like a desert."

But Sheila Miller, who works at 153rd Street School, said she had lived in the neighborhood for four years and that there is gang and drug activity.


Times staff writers Ari Bloomekatz and Andrew Blankstein contributed to this report.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2008

It's Getting Scary Out There

I'm wondering if we are going to see an uptick in the crime statistics, what with the economy tanking. It seems to be getting more violent out there. And now, one of our own Gardena Police Officers was shot at this morning. I hope they catch these assholes.

Article here

Gardena policeman shot, manhunt on

By Andrea Woodhouse and Denise Nix Staff Writers
Article Launched: 01/09/2008 12:31:41 PM PST

A police officer was shot in Gardena this morning and 200 officers from throughout the South Bay, some with dogs, have cordoned off a wide area in a manhunt for three suspects.

The Gardena officer was apparently shot in the upper right leg around 11:45 a.m. near Normandie and Rosecrans avenues, said Gardena police Lt. Ed Burnett.

The officer is in surgery at County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center near Torrance, where police said he is in stable condition.

The injury is not life-threatening, Burnett said, and officials were relieved that the unidentified officer's injuries were not more serious.

"It could have been much worse," he added.

The officer, apparently a veteran in law enforcement but new with the Gardena department, was on patrol this morning when he saw three men running from a Pizza Hut restaurant across the busy Rosecrans Avenue, Burnett said.

The officer pulled up his patrol car near the suspects, and they fled in separate directions, he added.

The officer chased one man to an alley in a nursery behind the pizzeria.

The two exchanged gunfire, and the officer was struck in the leg, Burnett said. At least 10 rounds were fired, he added.

At midday, officers said they believe the shooter was hiding in a residential neighborhood near the restaurant.

He is described as black, 20 to 22 years old, and 5-foot-9-inches with a medium build. The suspect was wearing a black shirt and pants, and wore his hair in a Jheri curl-style.

In a massive response from police across the South Bay, officers blocked off a 10-block area with a half-mile radius in the surrounding neighborhood, Burnett said.

The other two suspects are believed the have escaped after fleeing in north or northwest directions, he added.

They were described as black men, 20 to 22 years old, and wearing dark-colored clothing.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's helicopter was circling over the neighborhood, with a deputy warning residents to stay inside their homes with the doors and windows locked.

George Papamichael, owner of Rick's Drive In & Out, a hamburger restaurant in the same shopping center as the Pizza Hut, noticed commotion outside late this morning.

"We just start seeing police officers coming," he said. "We thought it was a robbery of some kind." After learning an officer had been shot, Papamichael closed his kitchen and sent employees home for the day.



Posted by Valkyre at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)

They Keep Trying

I posted awhile back about Megan Meier. The young girl who committed suicide after what she thought was a MySpace "friend" turned on her. Later, it came out that it was a parent of an ex-friend who created the account to spy on Megan and see if she was saying anything about her daughter. A lot of people are upset that the Lori Drew, the mother who created the fake account, might get away with it. A lot of people are upset that the Drew family hasn't apologized. Anyway, looks like the Grand Jury, here in Los Angeles is opening up a case. I really don't know about this. If they can't really do anything, it may just be a complete waste of time. It sounds like the Drew's have become a neighborhood pariah and people may just have to be satisfied with that.

Article here

L.A. grand jury issues subpoenas in Web suicide case

In a novel approach, prosecutors are looking at charging a woman who posed as a boy and sent cruel messages to teen with defrauding MySpace.

By Scott Glover and P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

January 9, 2008

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has begun issuing subpoenas in the case of a Missouri teenager who hanged herself after being rejected by the person she thought was a 16-year-old boy she met on MySpace, sources told The Times.

The case set off a national furor when it was revealed that the "boyfriend" was really a neighbor who was the mother of one of the girl's former friends.

Local and federal authorities in Missouri looked into the circumstances surrounding 13-year-old Megan Meier's 2006 death in the town of Dardenne Prairie, an upper-middle-class enclave of about 7,400 people, located northwest of St. Louis.

But after months of investigation, no charges were filed against Lori Drew for her alleged role in the hoax. Prosecutors in Missouri said they were unable to find a statute under which to pursue a criminal case.

Prosecutors in the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, however, are exploring the possibility of charging Drew with defrauding the MySpace social networking website by allegedly creating the false account, according to the sources, who insisted on anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

The sources said prosecutors are looking at federal wire fraud and cyber fraud statutes as they consider the case. Prosecutors believe they have jurisdiction because MySpace is headquartered in Beverly Hills, the sources said.

It's still unclear who created the fictitious account. In a police report, Drew told authorities she, with the aid of a temporary employee, "instigated and monitored" a fake profile prior to Megan's suicide, "for the sole purpose of communicating" with the girl and to see what the girl was saying about Drew's daughter.

The grand jury issued several subpoenas last week, including one to MySpace and others to "witnesses in the case," sources said. One source did not know who else had received subpoenas; the other declined to provide that information.

Thomas P. O'Brien, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, declined to comment. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for O'Brien, also declined to comment.

MySpace officials could not be reached for comment, nor could Drew or her husband, Curt, be reached.

Attorney Jim Briscoe, who represents Lori Drew, said: "We have no knowledge of . . . anything dealing with a grand jury anywhere dealing with this case. . . . The only comment I have is we can't comment on rumors from anonymous sources."

The news came as a shock to Tina and Ron Meier, Megan's parents. Both said they were unaware of the grand jury and had not been contacted by the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

"If MySpace is considered the victim, fine. I don't care at this point," said Tina Meier, 37. "We've been begging for someone -- anyone -- to pick up this case. If the Drews can be charged -- and even get the chance to be convicted -- it would be a day I could be happy with."

Cyber-bullying has become an increasingly creepy reality, with the anonymity of video games, message boards and other online forums offering an outlet for cruel taunts.

Former federal prosecutor Brian C. Lysaght said such a prosecution would be "not as much of a reach as it might appear at first glance." In recent years, he said, Congress has passed a series of statutes that make criminal conduct involving the Internet federal offenses.

Still, it could be difficult to draw the line between constitutionally protected free speech and conduct that is illegal.

Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said the idea of using a fraud charge to tackle the unusual case was "an interesting and novel approach."

"But I doubt it's really going to lead to the type of punishment people really want to see, which is this woman being held responsible for this girl's death," she said.

Levenson, a former federal prosecutor, said that if the grand jury brings an indictment, it could raise 1st Amendment issues and questions about how to fairly enforce such a law on the Internet, where pseudo-identities are common.

"This may be a net that catches a lot of people," she said.

Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney who specializes in privacy and free speech issues for the legal advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the potential of this case to set legal precedent criminalizing online speech is worrying.

"The right to speak freely online is hugely important. Whistle-blowers create pseudonyms," Opsahl said. "So do many people who anonymously report on corporate or government bad practices."

In the neighborhood where the Meiers and the Drews live, protecting the 1st Amendment has not been the main concern.

Teenagers and furious neighbors have protested in front of the Drews' one-story, white house. Virtual vigilantes have posted the Drews' home address, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and photos on websites such as RottenNeighbor.com.

Tina and Ron Meier, high school sweethearts, have struggled to deal with their daughter's death; the couple is getting divorced. Their youngest daughter, Allison, now 11, splits her time between the two.

The mounting tension and heated emotions worried community leaders enough that they are having the St. Charles County Sheriff's Department regularly patrol the suburban neighborhood. Late last year, Dardenne Prairie's Board of Aldermen passed a law that makes cyber harassment a misdemeanor -- with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail or a $500 fine or both for each violation.

A number of area communities have passed similar measures. And Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt pulled together an Internet task force, which put the final touches on a proposal Tuesday that would make it a felony crime for adults who use online technology to harass children.



Times staff writers Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Ted Rohrlich contributed to this report.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2008

New Year's 2008

So, Mike and I watch Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve while drinking Egg Nog and Rum. Another year down. Where did 2007 go? Here's hoping that everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!

Posted by Valkyre at 12:17 AM | Comments (2)