Monday, December 1, 2008

Rank has its privileges

My San Antonio News reports:

A speeding pickup rear-ended a woman's sedan on the South Side on Friday morning and sheriff's officials say the driver said it was Jesus' will because the other motorist was not “driving like a Christian.”

[The driver of the pickup, Michael E.] Schwab told first responders at the scene that “the other vehicle was not driving like a Christian and it was Jesus' will for him to punish the car,” according to the release.

... Schwab told deputies he was driving faster than 100 mph at the time, Coleman said.

The impact caused both vehicles to spin across a median before they came to a stop along a barrier in the southbound lanes. No other vehicles were involved.

“God must have been with them, 'cause any other time, the severity of this crash, it would have been a fatal,” [Lt. Khyle] Coleman said.

USA Today reports:

Schwab was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and his bond was set at $50,000.

He also will undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Of course, when the forty-third President of the United States claims to answer to a higher power in decisions to make war, no one would think to have him undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Rank has its privileges.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Warning of the risks of investment schemes that sound too good to be true

I find the Chinese approach to punishing investment fraud quite rational. Hopefully, the Obama Administration will pass the enabling legislation.

China has executed the leader of a bogus scheme for breeding ants to make aphrodisiacs that conned investors out of 3 billion yuan ($439 million), the official Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

The fictitious ant-breeding project that Wang fronted features prominently in posters and other government educational materials warning of the risks of pyramid schemes and other investment schemes that sound too good to be true.

Wang promised investors in the fictitious project returns of 35 to 60 percent, Xinhua said. The ants were to be used for making liquor, herbal remedies and aphrodisiacs.

Repeat after me:

Be very wary of investment schemes that sound too good to be true.

Swallow, rinse, repeat.

A damaging mix of drought and torrential rains

Reuters reports on one of the seldom considered impacts of climate change in Italy

Output of white truffles -- which are not cultivated and only grow naturally in forests -- has fallen in Italy over the past few years, largely because climate change has brought a damaging mix of drought and torrential rains.

Scarce supply has pushed prices for normal-sized truffles above 4,000 euros (3,307 pounds) for one kg and Italian restaurants have kept purchases to a minimum, although demand from foreign restaurants has remained stable, truffle associations say.

Apparently the wealthy truffle afficianados of non-italian countries are not willing to cut back on their truffle purchases.