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News » News Quirks

Homeland Insecurity



Curses, Foiled Again
A man walked into a Chicago bank carrying a bag and told the teller he had a bomb. Police said he ordered the teller to stuff the bag with cash, then, when the bag was full, the robber left without taking it. (Chicago Tribune)

Two men flagged down police in Athens, Ga., to report they’d been robbed. The officers, who’d just seen a man running down the street carrying a gun, doubled back and called for backup to set up a perimeter. Officers spotted a discarded handgun on the ground near a trash bin. An officer waiting to take pictures of the weapon and log it into evidence heard a cell phone ringing inside the bin, opened the lid and found Zachariah Henry Garrett, 17. He fit the robber’s description and was carrying two stolen cell phones. (Athens Banner-Herald)

Homeland Insecurity
Congressional investigators accused the Transportation Security Administration of “wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars” by warehousing body scanners rather than deploying them to commercial airports. Their report indicated about 5,700 pieces of security equipment, with a value of $184 million, are being stored, 85 percent of it for more than six months, more than a third of it for more than a year and one piece for six years, more than half its useful life. TSA Chief Financial Officer David R. Nicholson responded by telling a joint hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure and House Oversight and Government Reform committees that $184 million is only about 5 percent of all the security equipment the agency has. But Rep. John L. Mica, R-Fla., called this revelation merely the latest in a long line of TSA procurement failures. Noting the agency spent more than $30 million buying explosive-trace-detection portals, known as “puffers,” for use at screening checkpoints, Mica said only half of them were ever deployed, and they didn’t work. “Where are the puffers?” he demanded. (The Washington Times)

More people are showing up at airport security checkpoints with guns in their carry-on bags, according to the TSA. The agency’s blog reported that five years ago about 500 handguns were found at checkpoints, whereas last year, “over 1,200 firearms were discovered at TSA checkpoints across the nation. Many guns are found loaded, with rounds in the chamber. Most passengers simply state they forgot they had a gun in their bag.” The agency insisted the increase isn’t because more people are carrying guns to airport checkpoints but because it’s better at catching people with weapons. (The New York Times)

After Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians, the Missouri House spent more than $1,100 in taxpayer dollars to install a security camera trained on a new bronze bust of the conservative commentator. Clerk Adam Crumbliss said Republican legislative leaders had expressed concerns the bust might be vandalized, noting that since the bust was added, “We’ve had lots of calls, and some calls and complaints have been a little beyond the pale.” The Hall of Famous Missourians honors dozens of people, such as President Harry Truman, Walt Disney and former Cardinals baseball star Stan Musial, but Limbaugh’s is the only bust with a camera specifically pointed at it. (Associated Press)

Pressing Charges
Rachel George, 21, was charged with assaulting several police officers who tried to arrest her at a baseball game in Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, including Sgt. Sean Duffy, who, it was reported, “injured himself striking her in the face.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Evolving View
Elizabeth Halseth, a former Nevada state senator who ran on a Christian family-values platform, posed in a black bikini as a write-in candidate for Maxim magazine’s “Hot 100” contest. Running as a political unknown in 2010, the 27-year-old Halseth won as a Republican in a Democrat-majority district. A campaign mailer showed her opponent with his wife, who wore a revealing evening dress, and the caption, “Not Our Values.” After becoming the youngest woman ever elected to the Nevada senate, she and her husband divorced. She resigned in February, explaining she needed to “focus my efforts completely as a mother and job seeker.” (Reuters)

Free Consulting
Before San Francisco city leaders voted whether to recommend naming a Navy ship after slain gay-rights activist, city supervisor and former naval officer Harvey Milk, Supervisor John Avalos said he consulted a Ouija board to help him make the right decision. He said he believes he made contact with Milk’s spirit and that Milk spelled out letters indicating, “Good riddance to ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’” The Board of Supervisors approved the non-binding resolution, 9-2. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Medical Miracle
A man checked into a Denver hospital with a kidney stone and left as a woman. “We’re in the emergency room,” Steve Crecelius said. “The nurse is reading the ultrasound and says, ‘Huh, this says you’re a female.’ It validated everything I had always felt inside.” It turns out Crecelius was born with both male and female sex organs. “I remember wearing my mom’s clothes and makeup, very secretly, not telling anybody,” said Crecelius, who now goes by “Stevie” and said she’s grateful for the support of her wife, Debbie, and their six children, noting that Debbie even took her shopping for her first bra. (Denver’s KDVR-TV and The Denver Post)

Slightest Provocation
A 17-year-old boy on his way to school in Corpus Christi, Texas, stopped at a taco stand and placed an order. When the boy realized he was late, he canceled the order. Police said a man at the taco stand, Guillermo Torres Jr., 19, followed the boy and tried to run him over with his truck. He missed but jumped out and punched the teen in the face. Torres hopped back into his truck and resumed chasing the teen before losing control and crashing into a building. He was treated for a head laceration and arrested. (Corpus Christi Caller Times)

Compiled from the press reports by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.