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Friday Newsletter: March 9, 2012.

Friday NewsLetter logo (i)Friday has rolled around again and this week we have strange goings on both on the ground and in the air.

We have the mystery of a stolen heart (a very old stolen heart at that) an embarrassing wedding day disaster, a story about killing children which is almost too horrific for words and much more.

In fact there is a lot happening this week so let’s get started.

Be careful what you say while on the ground…

Freedom of speech is not what it once was.

In many aspects of modern Britain it simply no longer exists.

Take this example.

When 67-year-old war hero David Jones passed through the security checkpoint at London’s Gatwick airport last month he must have wished he had kept his thoughts to himself.

Ahead of him in line was a Muslim woman with her head fully covered so that only her eyes were showing.

David, the creator of the animated children’s character Fireman Sam, thought it odd that people can pass trough a security checkpoint with their face covered.

And then as he removed his scarf and put it in the tray to pass through the X-Ray scanner he made a big mistake.

He dared to share with one of the security guards what was on his mind and said:

“If I was wearing this scarf over my face I wonder what would happen.”

But he was overheard by a Muslim security screener who complained that his remark had caused her “deep distress.”

By the time Mr Jones had passed through the X-Ray arch he was taken to one side and told he was being detained for making a racist remark.

In the hour that followed he tried to explain that he was only pointing out that he found it strange that anyone could pass through an airport security checkpoint without showing their face.

He was repeatedly asked to apologize for making a racist remark but insisted that he had done nothing wrong.

So it was stalemate. The security staff wouldn’t allow him to leave unless he apologized and he insisted that he had nothing to apologize for.

In the end he asked for the police be called and insisted that he either be arrested or allowed to carry on with his journey.

Eventually he was released without charge after he accepted that his remarks “could have been regarded as offensive.”

He said that during the stand-off he was told:

“We now live in a different time and some things are not to be said.”

Sadly I am afraid that remark is all too true.

How has it come to pass that a law-abiding citizen can not make a harmless remark without being detained at an airport and branded a racist because someone else chose to take offense?

…and be careful what you say while in the air.

It was a routine flight as the Southwest Airlines plane made its way from Baltimore to Long Island for a short hop on a Friday morning last month.

There had been nothing out of the ordinary on Flight 1155 until an air traffic controller asked the flight crew if they could relay a message over the Boeing 737′s public address system.

The request itself was a little unusual but the pilots in the flight desk had no problem with it.

A short time later there was panic among the passengers as the PA burst into life and worried looks were exchanged with the following announcement was heard:

“Ladies and gentlemen we have a bomb on board.”

Passengers asked the cabin crew what was going on but they had no idea what the apparent bomb warning was all about.

It turns out that an air traffic controller had informed the flight deck that it was his mother’s birthday and that she was on the flight.

The PA message actually said that “there was a mom on board” the aircraft but it seems that some passengers complained that they thought the pilot was advising them of a terrorist attack.

flight map

Baltimore to Long Island flight path

So the moral of these stories is that whether in the air or on the ground you must be very careful about what you say these days.

Doctors should be able to kill new-born babies, whether  born disabled or healthy, because they are not real people, say two medical academics.

You probably will not have heard of philosopher and medical ethicist Francesca Minerva – I certainly hadn’t until a few days ago.

However I suspect you may come to the conclusion that her views on medical ethics are somewhat extreme to say the least.

Dr Minerva, a research associate at Oxford University, has just published an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics where she argues that newborn infants are not real people.

She goes on to say that doctors should have the right to kill unwanted or disabled babies at birth because killing a newborn child is little different to aborting it in the womb.

Maybe I am hopelessly old-fashioned and out of touch with modern thinking, but if killing a newborn child is little different from aborting it in the womb then surely that is an argument against abortion, not the other way round?

But back to Dr Minerva and her co-author Alberto Giubilini, from the University of Milan, who have caused outrage by saying that the killing of babies should be allowed in the first days after birth.

Possible reasons given for doctors being allowed to kill these children are:

  • the child having a disability
  • the child being unwanted by the mother or
  • the child being deemed too expensive to bring up by the mother.

The article, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” says that if a child is born disabled then it may grow up to be happy but would not reach the potential of a ‘normal’ child.

It says that to bring up such children “might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole…” and that the interests of the family and the wider society should come first.

The authors conclude:

“We do not claim that after-birth abortions are good alternatives to abortion…[h]owever, if a disease has not been detected during the pregnancy, if something went wrong during the delivery, or if economical, social or psychological circumstances change such that taking care of the offspring becomes an unbearable burden on someone, then people should be given the chance of not being forced to do something they cannot afford.”

Surely even the socialist liberal elite who are intent on ruining the UK and America with their progressive “anything goes’ attitudes must think that killing newborn babies is wrong?

And just in case you think I have taken leave of my senses and made this whole story up on the grounds that it simply could not possibly be true then here is the abstract of the article and a link to the full work:

After-birth abortion - abstract







Source: Journal of Medical Ethics

J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100411
Published Online: 23 February 2012

Just what would anyone want with a 12th Century heart?

As thefts go this one is just a little but unusual.

Detectives in Dublin are hunting thieves who stole the heart of the city’s 12th century patron saint.

The heart of St Laurence O’Toole had been preserved at Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral since the 13th century.

St Laurence O'Toole heartIt was housed in a wooden heart-shaped box which was kept inside a metal cage and whoever took it is believed to have hidden in the cathedral overnight and used metal cutters to get at the relic inside the iron cage.

Amazingly valuable gold chalices and candlesticks were left untouched and a cathedral spokesman said:

“It’s completely bizarre. They didn’t touch anything else. They specifically targeted this, they wanted the heart of St Laurence O’Toole.”

And it is not as if there would be a huge demand for such an item.

I mean it is not every day that you come across the preserved heart of a 12th century saint on your travels.

And you would hardly expect to see such an item turn up on e-Bay or on ThumbVu.

O’Toole was born in Co Kildare in 1128. He practiced abstinence from worldly pleasures, wore a hairshirt, never ate meat and fasted every day.

He also lived in a cave near Glendalough in Co Wicklow. In 1162 he was elected archbishop of Dublin and was canonised by Pope Honorius III in 1225.

Stolen - St Laurence O'Toole heart

Stolen - St Laurence O'Toole heart. Pic: © BBC News.

“I Must Not Trip Over My Dress, I Must Not Trip Over My Dress, I Must Not…Oh Too Late!”

A bride’s wedding day is a never-to-be-forgotten experience.

Everything is supposed to be perfect and when all those months of planning come together it is a magical experience.

However sometimes things just go horribly, horribly wrong.

And in this modern era of instant communication, video sharing and the internet when things go wrong the whole world can get to share your discomfort.

Watch the video below to see how perfect can turn to disaster in just seconds.

Girl, aged ten, takes cocaine found by a pal in her school playground

Perhaps the last thing you would expect your child to uncover in the school playground would be a dealer’s hidden stash of drugs.

But in one school in East Sussex the Class A drug was found inside an empty tube of cheese and onion Pringles.

The ten-year-old girl, seemingly curious to see what was inside, opened the packet and tasted the cocaine.

The alarm was raised when a teacher was informed and last week a 31-year-old man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and to possession of the drug with intent to supply.

In mitigation his defense counsel said this:

“[My client] was unable to work at the time and dealt the drug to raise money.

‘He is, or was, in desperate circumstances.

‘It goes without saying he is ashamed of what he has done.

‘He helped train a boy’s under-15 football team.’

Now, I know I am old-fashioned but since when has being unable to work been an excuse for dealing drugs?

And exactly how desperate do desperate circumstances have to be for you to hide your drugs in  a junior school playground?

And, for the record, I don’t buy the argument that this guy is ashamed of what he has done. Ashamed of being caught is probably closer to the mark.

As for the bit about helping train an under-15 football team. What has that got to do with anything?

Just for the record the dealer was given a one year jail sentence, suspended for two years which means he will not have to serve any time in prison. He was also ordered to do 150 hours unpaid community work.

Who wouldn’t give £60,000 (US$95,000) to help a cancer victim dad and his son with cerebral palsy get treatment?

Supermarket store manager Neil Jackson, 30, had no problem raising money from colleagues to pay for urgent hospital treatment for both him and his two-year-old son Zak.

After all when a young father and his very young son both have fatal illnesses it kinds of brings out the best in people.

In all more than £60,000 ($95,000) was raised for Neil to undergo private treatment for cancer and to give son Zak a better quality of life.

There was only one slight problem.

Store manager Neil from Welsh capital Cardiff had made the whole thing up – he didn’t have cancer and his son was also perfectly healthy and didn’t have cerebral palsy.

Instead Neil spent the money to pay off his gambling debts and to fund lavish holidays in Las Vegas and Hawaii.

While in Vegas he even sent text messages back to his work colleagues claiming he was at his son’s hospital bedside as the youngster underwent treatment.

However eventually the lies caught up with him and he is now beginning a six year jail term.

They are your credits so it is up to you how you spend them…but this is getting crazy.

The rush to get seen as the ThumbVu featured spotlight site seems to show no signs of slowing down.

I took this screengrab on Monday.

Crazy ThumbVu spotlight bids

Paying between 30,000 credits and upwards for around 2,000 or so page views seems to make little economic sense.

Blain Jones seems to have it figured out nicely though.

He has also saved me the trouble of writing any more on this.

Just check out his blog post, The ThumbVu Spotlight, I agree with everything he says in it.

ThumbVu Spotlight - Blain Jones blog post

Birthday Madness

Justin Ledvina

Justin went a bit mad in T3 on Monday.

Not only did he keep the hour-long show going for more than six hours (for the second week in a row) but he decided it was time to get a little crazy giving away badges.

He told the room that he would give away a couple of random prizes to mark my Birthday which was on Monday.

In the end he went a bit over the top and ended up giving away six webcams, one Kindle Fire and four mugs…$564 worth of free stuff!

And finally…

An infinite crowd of mathematicians enters a bar.

The first one orders a pint, the second one a half pint, the third one a quarter pint…

“I understand,” says the bartender – and pours two pints.

Have a great weekend. God bless.

patrick signature




8 Responses to Friday Newsletter: March 9, 2012.

  1. Justin Ledvina
    March 9, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    I always enjoy Friday’s newsletter. A little bit of business a little bit of strange news and a whole lot fun. Happy birthday week celebration!
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  2. Dee UNITED KINGDOM March 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Hi Patrick
    I think we are living in a world of political correctness gone wrong.
    Drug dealers and child molesters get community service, petty thieves go to jail. Not that I condone theft, but human life should be worth more.
    Desperate circumstances don’t wash with me. My sister was deperate when she was bringing up 2 children alone and lost her arm through cancer. Her children cam froma broken home and don’t go around beating up old ladies. They also didn’t get exotic holidays like the kids who broke the law. Do you remember that a few years ago? Kids who came from broken homes and deprived backgrounds got to go on Safari when they broke the law!
    It is despicable to think of killing a new born baby for any reason, but more so just because it is deemed too expensive to bring up. If you don’t like the prize, don’t play the game.
    Dee had better get off her soap box before this comment gets longer than your post!
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    • Patrick Griffin
      March 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      Hi Dee,
      I understand exactly what you are saying here and I do remember the stories you refer to about he kids who were taken on exotic holidays at tax payers’ expense.

      At the time I worked as a national newspaper reporter and I remember all the stories about “Safari Boy” and others like him.

      In fact I strongly believe that the way we bend over backwards to look after the rights and needs of the criminal classes and could hardly care less about the victims of crime is a national disgrace.

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  3. Rosyel Sawali
    March 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Hope you enjoyed your birthday week, Patrick! I enjoy your Friday newsletters more than ever. What an amazing compilation of strange and bizarre stories indeed! ^_^ Happy weekend!

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  4. John P. Bell
    March 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Hey Patrick and Happy (belated) Birthday,

    On the theft of the saints heart, perhaps curiosity got the best of this thief. I would love to know if there was actually a heart in the heart-shaped box. Or maybe he believed the heart would bring him some special luck or blessing.
    Enquiring minds want to know.


    • Patrick Griffin
      March 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      Hi John,
      Whatever the reason, it strikes me as a lot of trouble to go to in order just to satisfy some idle curiosity.
      Also it would have to be less than logical thinking that you would receive some sort of blessing from stealing a religious relic from a church!
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