A Road Safety Message – Spoiler Alert – Beaver News

Driving can be dangerous if you are not fully concentrating on the job at hand. This is why a number of countries have now made it illegal to either talk or text on a mobile phone whilst in charge of a vehicle.

Perhaps there should be a new piece of legislation enacted in Florida after 37 year-old Megan Mariah Barnes caused a two vehicle crash whilst shaving her pubic hair!

In her defence, Ms Barnes told Highway Patrol officers she…

…was meeting her boyfriend in Key West and wanted to be ready for the visit

Which is why she got her ex-husband to lean over from the passenger side and take the wheel while she tidied things up down below. Predictably this is not the first time Ms Barnes has found herself in trouble with the law. The day before the crash she was convicted of DUI with a prior and driving with a suspended license. She now faces further charges of driving with a revoked license, reckless driving, leaving the scene of a wreck with injuries and driving with no insurance.

In other news, this Californian driver hit a snag while giving himself an enema

The arresting officer Gary Dunnick told reporters…

My phone has been ringing off the hook all day, and I know there’s a funny side to this, but it’s also deadly serious. This is a scary road and a lot of bad wrecks are caused by dumb stuff like this. It is unbelievable. I’m really starting to believe this stuff only happens in Florida Keys.

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Fear Force – Keeping citizens safe from themselves

A couple of days ago Kevin Geraghty-Shewan took his 4-year old son to the supermarket in Sunderland. At the entrance to the store was a children’s train ride and the boy jumped on board to have his picture taken.

And this is where the forces of law and order stepped in.

A vigilant security guard spotted this suspicious behaviour, approached Mr Geraghty-Shewan and told him to delete the photo. He was told…

You can’t take pictures here

When Mr Geraghty-Shewan explained the boy was his son the guard explained…

You can’t prove that. For all I know you could be a paedophile

Warning - NSFW locomotive image

Now, this isn’t the first story that has emerged from the UK about the almost arbitrary rulings on where and when citizens are allowed to take photographs in public places. This is mainly due to the other Great Modern Fear, that of terrorism.

Section 44 of the UK Terrorism Act 2000 states…

Officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by a person searched under S44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, provided that the viewing is to determine whether the images contained in the camera or mobile telephone are of a kind, which could be used in connection with terrorism

Given this justification, hundreds of photographers have been stopped by the police, who are doing one of two things. They are either using their powers under the Act as an excuse to harass innocent citizens or they genuinely believe their actions are keeping the streets safe.

I find the former of those fantastically annoying. To get hassled whilst taking photos because it is your hobby, passion or job would be utterly dementing.

But the latter I find horrifying. And, looking back at Mr Geraghty-Shewan’s experience in Sunderland, I’m not entirely sure this wasn’t what occured.

Having shrugged off the attentions of the security guard he shortly found himself stopped by a policeman, who had been alerted by the store.

They took my details and said they had the right to remove the picture from my phone. I got annoyed and things got heated, then he threatened me with arrest for breach of the peace.

Ben thought I was in trouble because he had sat on the ride and we didn’t put the money in.

Good job that incriminating nugget of information slipped their notice, it would have been off to the nick with Dad and the kid would have been in a foster home before you could say Thomas the Tank Engine.

In this case he was let off with a warning… but what was he even warned for? If the security guard and the policeman had actually thought he was a paedophile shouldn’t there have been some sort of arrest?

No. Because what they wanted him to do was delete the photograph… that’s all. So we can only assume that, should you wish to let your recently kidnapped 4 year old victim play on a supermarket ride, just make sure you don’t photograph him. And if you do, delete the photo and wander off with a warning.

I can just picture the scene back at the police station. It plays out like a Monty Python sketch

Superintendant – Ah, P.C. Wilkins. Back from patrol I see. Anything to report?

P.C. Wilkins – Another of those paedophiles taking photos, Sir.

Superintendant – Dear, dear. And what did you do?

P.C. Wilkins – Got him to delete the photos, Sir. Sent him and the boy on their way…

Superintendant – Good work Wilkins. What I couldn’t do with more men like you.

P.C. Wilkins = Yes Sir. Thank you Sir.

Australia’s Biggest Loser (Spoiler Alert – Winner Revealed)

Australia’s Biggest Loser premiered here last night with the usual tearful contestants confessing that overeating is making life miserable. Each contestant gravely outlined what the saw as “their journey” and talked about how the show was their last chance to change their lives. The show’s new host, Olympian Hayley Lewis, writes in her Continue reading

Observations of Tony Blair at the Iraq War Inquiry

I dropped into the live webcast of Tony Blair being questioned by the Iraq Inquiry. Only intending to watch for a few minutes, I was still there two hours later. After a somewhat nervous start, perhaps due to the fact that he no longer engages in the cut and thrust of British parliamentary question time, Blair’s old zealotry was soon on full display.

What quickly became evident here was the Continue reading

Is the re-gentrification of a city a form of colonisation?

Resistance to colonisation is now almost universally regarded as a noble struggle, where the native underdog fights against a more powerful, more advanced, often rapacious, always unwelcome invader. The colonisers, with more resources, including the ability to control Continue reading

Wisconsin in bid to lift “Wackiest State insignia” title

Back in October last year we took a look at the Top Ten Wackiest State Insignia list and pronounced Maryland the winner for having declared Jousting the State Sport back in 1962. The list has proved popular among readers, consistently rating highly in our “most read posts” but I suspect this has less to do with my rapier-like wit and possibly more to do with people searching online for the photo of “Drunk Santa” which appeared in the piece.

The list, however, did raise some hackles in the Wisconsin State Assembly which Continue reading

New record ransom for Somali pirates

Maran Centaurus

As predicted in a previous post on this subject, Somali pirates were in for a big pay day after seizing an oil tanker, the Maran Centaurus, last November with $150 million worth of oil on board.  The tanker has just been released after between $5.5 million and $7 million in ransom was dropped by helicopter onto the deck of the ship.  This amount is a new record Continue reading