Quote of the Day - A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.
Snowmobiles in the Dead of SummerSome people are getting out of the way of Hurricane Frances, and some are trying to get a snowmobile ban out of the way.
Opposite extremes for weather, but problems both sets of people don't want. You've read about snowmobiles here about five times before.
Well, they're at it again. This time, it's Montana and Wyoming against the Justice Department, and the states claim that businesses (read taxes) didn't get a fair shake.
If the case is heard in the West, I'm guessing the ban will be a thing of the past.
Traveling In Spain With A Little RainThere's no shortage of things to do in Madrid at night. In fact, I would say that some things look better at night.
Spain has been in the throes of a decline in tourism for the second year in a row. From where I sit, though, I don't see it.
There are lots of places to go, people to see, and things to do (like watch the goings on in the Plaza del Sol). Yes if you looked at the pictures I took (links in the first paragraph), you can tell that it did rain here today and tonight for a bit, but it has mostly been with the Sol out. What, you say? Spain has had a dark cloud over it since the bombings in March?
Sure, there have been some bad things that have happened, but that's true of the US, too. So, we can't point fingers and then stay home.
My advice? Get out there and do a little exploring. You'll be glad you went looking.
Lighting Up In Spain No MoreMIPTC is coming to you live from Madrid, where we hope to see the Museum de Prado tomorrow. And being from California, I was glad to see this news: Spain's parliament is smoke-free.
Now, I haven't been invited into Parliament yet so I can enjoy the benefits of this smoking ban. Juan Carlos I hasn't extended an invitation to the Palace, where they don't smoke either, but it's good news.
Everyone else here, however, smokes. It's nice to see the government stop, but there is no truth to the rumor an EU smoking ban will start anytime soon.
Regular readers know I occasionally enjoy a cigar. So, the only way I can protect myself from the pervasive haze everywhere is to smoke 'em while you got 'em.
Let's Pave Over Paradise, TooI am, among other things, an environmental lawyer. Both sides, actually, but typically defense. So, you may be a bit surprised about this one: I'm for the tree.
Let me explain.
Seems that there's a drug problem down in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. While that's not too surprising, the proposed solution is.
Cut down the tree.
Apparently, drug dealers gather under a big, shady tree. So rather than police those under the tree, the police want to cut it down.
My grandmother would say that's like throwing the baby out with the bath water. The tree had nothing to do with the crime, but those in Fort Walton Beach want the tree to do the time. Let's arrest the criminals, and leave the tree for the next generation to enjoy.
Otherwise, my guess is that the drug deals will simply move to another tree, and pretty soon, well ... Florida will really worry about hurricanes.
Investing with Fred FlintstoneThis one was too fun to pass up. You've undoubtedly heard of identity theft. Although you may have heard of the fictional town of Bedrock, you may not know that there's a real-life version in Bedrock, Colorado, population 10.
It's the site of the latest internet scam, attempting to get you to deposit money and give up your personal information.
After all, who wouldn't want to invest? It seems as solid as a rock.
Rumpole Rolls Over In His GraveRight, old boy, who moved my woolsack?
Well, the high and mighty (no, that's not really his title) Lord Falconer has decided to put English courts on the telly. Well, not actually all of them, it's really just a pilot program at this point.
Lord Falconer said the filming will help to increase public confidence in the criminal justice system. However, detractors believe it will discourage witnesses from appearing in court, as well as lead to sensationalized coverage and ultimately undermine public confidence. My my, what a conundrum!
The Guardian, a UK staple, has a feature on the development. And of course, the BBC has a feature, too. Lord Falconer decries the OJ trial, and says the Brits are not trying to emulate the Americans, thank you very much, but they are trying to bring a light to the Court system.
It certainly won't measure up to Rumpole's standards, but then again, I'm sure Captain Peacock might have an opinion about it, too.
God Save The Queen, what will they think of next?
Firing, Not Prosecuting, The Crooked CopsBe careful parking your car in Albany, New York. More specifically, be careful about making enemies there, especially if they write parking tickets.
You might find your car towed away. The three parking officers in the last link wrote a lot of tickets, and targeted their enemies.
Well, that's one side of the story.
The other side is why they were only terminated, and not prosecuted.
Well, let's ask Police Chief Turley. According to him, the three ticket writers were not charged because "it appears that they had no criminal intent ... I felt termination was appropriate," Turley said.
Criminal intent. What does that mean? Does it mean these three parking officers didn't mean to write the tickets? They didn't mean to target their enemies?
It seems pretty clear that they did mean it. I mean after all, they wrote the tickets.
It also seems pretty clear that the City isn't telling us the whole story. According to the Albany Times Union, "City officials had initially refused to release any information about the scam. They turned over payroll records and an electronic list of all tickets written this year after the Times Union filed a Freedom of Information Law request. " But we still don't know why.
It took a FOIA request to even get basic information out of the City. What are they trying to hide?
P.S. Thanks to my friend David Giacalone for pointing out this story.
New & Improved Comment BoxOur Comment Box feature has received some attention of late.
We've received a number of comments (no pun intended) on our Comment Box because you couldn't post a very long comment in it, and you couldn't post a URL in it.
Now, both of those problems are fixed, plus we added emoticons for you to really express yourself.
So, have at it.