• Wife convicted of murder apparently witnessed by pet parrot

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    My kind of story. This one is from White Cloud, Michigan (story here)

    A jury has convicted a western Michigan woman [Glenna Duram] of first-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband in a crime apparently witnessed by the man’s pet parrot. . . .

    Martin Duram’s ex-wife, Christina Keller, has said that after the slaying, the pet parrot, Bud, repeated “don’t (expletive) shoot” in Martin Duram’s voice. Keller took ownership of the bird after Martin Duram’s death.  –AP via CBS News

    There is an old Perry Mason episode, “The Case of the Perjured Parrot,” in which the bird’s testimony also figures. (Synopsis of the show here)

    But, as the title suggests, the parrot wasn’t talking straight.

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    Tip of the hat to my brother, Bob, for this gem.

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Thursday, July 13

    Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple

     US had a clear shot at killing Kim Jong Un recently but decided not to pull the trigger (Yahoo News)

    They had him in their sights when he went to the ICBM launch. The fear, of course, is that a US strike would begin a devastating war.

    Comment: So, what’s behind this leak? The US is sending a very threatening message to Kim. Move against us and you die. Or you might want to live underground for a while.

     Politico reports: White House aides feeling ‘helpless’ as Trump Jr. scandal explodes

    The news in the story is that key White House aides are not bothering to play down this meeting as fake news or a false scandal, though some of Trump’s staunchest supporters do.

    Comment: The in-fighting will increase and, with it, the leaks. 

    If you think it’s bad now, imagine how much worse it gets if Congress cannot enact bills on healthcare and tax reform.

    Another strange aspect of the “Russian lawyer” story: Why did Loretta Lynch’s DOJ give her special permission to come to the US? (The Hill)

    This revelation means it was the Obama Justice Department that enabled the newest and most intriguing figure in the Russia-Trump investigation to enter the country without a visa. –The Hill

    Comment: She appears to have been given permission to come to do some specific legal work for a client but quickly shifted over to lobbying for Russian sanctions relief.

    ◆ Another day in Florida: Instagram model arrested for attacking police during nude encounter at Florida hotel (Fox News)

    According to the Clearwater Police report obtained by The Smoking Gun, [25-year old Brissa] Dominguez had trespassed onto the Edge Hotel’s property at approximately 4:20 a.m. on July 5. Officer Richard Edmonds later arrived on the scene to find Dominguez naked, so he handed her a towel. But instead of covering up, Dominguez used the towel to “strike [Edmonds] in the face by swinging it in a whipping motion.”

    Dominguez then proceeded to kick at the responding officers. The police report says she also tried biting and spitting on an officer before delivering a “mule kick” to Edmonds as police attempted to restrain her.

     Brazil’s former leader, Lula da Silva, indicted for corruption  (Washington Post)

    Comment: The corruption seems to have been pervasive in his government and that of his party.

     Fed Chair Janet Yellen: US economy strong enough to warrant more interest-rate increases  (Washington Post)

    Comment: Barring some shock, expect a couple more increases this year.

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  • Not just a “smart home device,” a very smart one

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    Engadget reports the strangest story of the day:

    • A domestic fight, with
    • A gun, some injuries, and a threatening question: “Did you call the sheriff?”
    • And a smart-home device that fortunately misinterpreted the question as a request to make a call to 911

    It did. The police listened, arrived, and prevented even worse mayhem.

    New Mexico police report that a smart home device intervened in a domestic violence incident by calling 911. When Eduardo Barros asked “did you call the sheriffs?” as he threatened his girlfriend with a gun during a fight, the device interpreted it as a request to call emergency services. They overheard the altercation and called both negotiators and a SWAT team, who arrested Barros over assault, battery and firearms charges after a stand-off.

    Barros’ girlfriend was hurt in the altercation. However, police contend that the situation could have been much worse. County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales believes that the command “possibly helped save a life,” including that of the girlfriend’s daughter (who was thankfully unharmed) –Engadget

    Comment: I think the device was really hoping for a robo-cop.

     

  • Passenger tries to open door in flight. Flight attendant breaks wine bottle over his head

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    Doesn’t faze the idiot.

    But he was irritated by $5 charge for the beverage.

    SEATTLE (AP) — A flight attendant broke a wine bottle over the head of a man who lunged for an exit door and fought with other passengers during a Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle to Beijing, but it didn’t faze him, an FBI agent wrote in charging papers filed Friday.

    Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, 23, of Tampa, Florida, appeared in U.S. District Court, wearing a beige jail uniform and sporting a scrape or bruise below his right eye. . . .

    According to one flight attendant, “Hudek did not seem impacted by the breaking of a full liter red wine bottle over his head, and instead shouted, ‘Do you know who I am?’ or something to that extent,” the complaint said. AP story here

  • The guy is under arrest, but he knows the easy way out

    Actual headline:

    Man under arrest hands cop ‘Get out of jail free’ Monopoly card

    Usually, articles like this conclude with the immortal phrase, “Authorities believe alcohol was involved.”

    Our hero apparently uses other substances.

    Deputies ran the passenger’s ID and learned that he was wanted on a controlled substance warrant, news station KARE reported.

    When they searched his person, officers found the ace up his sleeve: the Monopoly card.

    The resourceful suspect told officers that he kept the board game card handy “just in case.”

    Unfortunately for him, police did not accept his Monopoly card and took him to an actual jail. Fox News, link here

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Tuesday, June 20

    Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple

     American Otto Warmbier dies after being imprisoned in North Korea. Pres. Trump condemns it as “a brutal regime” and adds “we’ll be able to handle it.” (Fox News)

    Sec. of State Rex Tillerson referred to Warmbier’s “unjust imprisonment” and called for the release of 3 other Americans held there.

    Now, China’s tour agency that takes Americans to North Korea says it will stop those tours. (Fox)

    Comment: The brutality of the North Korean regime is well known. The question is how to constrain the danger they pose to South Korea, Japan, and the United States.

    Russia Warns Washington after US fighter downs a Syrian Warplane. (New York Times)

    Long-running tensions between the United States and Russia erupted publicly on Monday as Moscow condemned the American military’s downing of a Syrian warplane and threatened to target aircraft flown by the United States and its allies west of the Euphrates.

    The Russians also said they had suspended their use of a hotline that the American and Russian militaries used to avoid collisions of their aircraft in Syrian airspace.

    The episode was the first time the United States downed a Syrian plane since the civil war began there in 2011 and came after the SU-22 jet dropped bombs on Sunday near American-backed fighters combating the Islamic State. It followed another major American military action against the Syrian government: a cruise missile strike to punish a nerve gas attack that killed civilians in April. –New York Times

    That’s not the only major development.  

    The latest escalation comes as competing forces converge on ungoverned swaths of Syria amid the country’s six-year civil war. Syrian forces and Iranian-backed militias that support them are extending their reach east closer to American-backed fighters, including forces that the Pentagon hopes will pursue the militants into the Euphrates River valley after they take the Islamic State’s self-declared capital of Raqqa. The collision of the disparate forces has, in effect, created a war within a war. –New York Times

    Comment: With so many factions fighting in close proximity, there is a huge risk of unintended engagement among the states backing different groups. That, of course, could lead to escalation.

     Theresa May’s weakness casts shadow over Brexit negotiations (Financial Times)

    Britain began the long process of leaving Europe on Monday, but many Conservative MPs are privately speculating whether Theresa May can make it as prime minister through the next few months. –Financial Times

    Comment: May is now deeply unpopular–she’s been called a “dead woman walking”–and leading Tories are trying to find a consensus candidate to replace her as Prime Minister.

    As far as Brexit goes, the PM has also replaced many of the negotiators; the new ones are in disarray. No one knows what Britain’s goal in the negotiations really are.

     Today in European terror: A car with an armed terrorist (he was on France’s watch list) rammed a police car on the Champs-Élysée in Paris. The terrorist’s car burst into flames on the busy street and he later died.  (CNN story here)

    According to the BBC:

    Police found a Kalashnikov rifle, handguns and gas bottles in the car.

    “Security forces have been targeted in France once again,” Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said, calling it an “attempted attack”. –BBC

    Comment: This problem goes beyond police and intelligence work, although it certainly calls for that. As long as Europe is filled large numbers of unassimilated Muslims, attracted to extreme ideologies, this problem will continue. The key is to work on assimilation, restrictions on new immigration, and more intense intel work.

     Well, at least she didn’t waste the money she stole  Report: Stolen city funds paid for her ‘Brazilian butt lift’ (Gainesville Sun)

    Natwaina Clark’s 177 bogus purchases — totaling more than $93,000 — included cosmetic surgery, SunPass and PayPal.

    An investigative report released Wednesday shows a former city of Gainesville employee, accused of stealing more than $93,000 from the city, spent some of it on a Brazilian butt lift. –Gainesville Sun

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  • Torn between two lovers: Strange story and the perfect blues song to go with it

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    I hate it when this happens.

     

    Blues song, dedicated to the miscreant’s wife.

    “Another Mule Kickin’ in Your Stall,” is supposed to be metaphorical.

    In this case, though, it’s all-too-real. Elvin Bishop does a great, laid-back version of this Muddy Waters song. There are several great versions, if you are interested. Junior Wells has a fine rendition, featuring his harmonica. So does the great blues piano player, Otis Spann, here. Bobby “Blue” Bland does a growling version here.

    Let’s go with Elvin’s easy, wistful version.