Are hate crimes different?

I’m annoyed – but also challenged – by an editorial on hate crimes at CNN.com. The authors write: A hate crime occurs when an individual intentionally targets a victim or their property because of his or her actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability or sexual orientation. . . . Our research has established that hate crimes are a qualitatively unique category of offenses. Compared to non-bias motivated crimes these crimes are more likely to involve violence, injury, hospitalization, psychological trauma and a greater risk of retaliatory attacks, which can often spill across municipal

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Doofus Of The Day #233

Today’s Doofus is from Florida. Authorities in Florida said a man suspected of bank robbery was arrested after witnesses reported a drunken man covered in red dye. Pinellas County sheriff’s detectives said homeless local Michael Prance, 53, was first reported at 6 p.m. Thursday by someone who called police to say an intoxicated person covered in red dye had been seen at a pool in the Caribbean Mobile Home Park, the St. Petersburg Times reported Monday. Detectives said Prance allegedly became covered in dye when he robbed the BBC Bank in Seminole earlier in the day. Prance was next reported

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Back in limited circulation

My grateful thanks to all of you who left comments and/or e-mailed about my late father. Your concern and support are appreciated. I’m back in circulation, sort of, although I’m going to have spotty Internet access for the next two weeks or so. I won’t be back to normal until mid-July. However, I’ll post articles in advance, scheduling their publication ahead of time, so I hope I’ll be able to maintain this blog at the level of interest you’ve come to expect until I can regularize my schedule. Thanks again. Peter

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In memory of my father

My father, Bill, died yesterday. He was 89 years old, going on 90. Dad was a pretty good example of how one can make a success of life, no matter what obstacles are in the way. He and his younger brother were brought up in a divided household, and ‘dumped’ in a workhouse at a frighteningly young age. He never spoke much of his memories of the place, but I know they were very bad. Dad escaped from the workhouse in the depths of the Great Depression by joining the Royal Air Force at the age of 15 as an

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Doofus Of The Day #232

Today’s Doofus is from Maine. A man suspected of breaking into a Maine restaurant will have to get used to jailhouse food after workers at the eatery discovered lobsters and wine missing – and the suspect asleep on a bench. Police say Paul Bruneau broke into the Portland Lobster Co. through a rear window and stuffed his pockets with cash before chowing down on the better part of 11 prepared lobsters worth about $300. He washed it all down with a white wine. The Portland Press Herald reports Bruneau also left a refrigerator open, causing about $1,000 worth of food

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Running around a warmer North

I’ve been running around Alaska for the past week or so, revisiting friends and making new ones. I’m also gathering material for two new Weekend Wings articles, which you can look for very soon now. One will be about Alaskan bush aircraft (which are a fascinating study), and the other will look at Lake Hood, the world’s biggest seaplane/floatplane base. I’m also helping to assemble the wings of a 1941 Taylorcraft, which are being re-sparred and re-covered. I don’t think I’ll be around for her first flight after restoration, but that should happen by the end of July, all being

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Doofus Of The Day #231

Today’s Doofus is from Croatia. An accident prone shepherd had to be rescued after he followed his flock into a live minefield in Croatia. Hapless Philimon Zandamela, 34, was led to safety by rescue workers in Sibenik, in the latest in a series of scrapes that have made him a household name in the country. Zandamela – originally from Mozambique – survived accidentally drinking sulphuric acid and stabbing himself in the stomach because a fortune teller told him it was time to die. And a fledgling porn career was snuffed out when his family threatened to leave unless he quit.

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The morning after the night before

An Austrian student seems to have had rather too much of a good time. An Austrian student woke up in the cab of a 150-foot-high crane after a night boozing with friends. Stefan Hohenwart, 28, told police he had no idea how he got up there when they found him after construction workers called them in Graz. Officers said he was driven home and would face no charges since he had not caused any damage. A police spokesman said: “The construction workers turned up to start in the morning and the crane operator got quite a surprise when he went

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How restaurants get you to spend more

An intriguing survey by the Culinary Institute of America sheds light on factors that make us spend more at a restaurant. Researchers tested how much visitors to the Culinary Institute of America’s St. Andrew’s Cafe in Hyde Park, N.Y., spent when menus listed prices in numerals with dollar signs, numerals without dollar signs and wheN the numbers were written out as words. Their hypothesis was that people would spend more when prices were listed as words, but they found it was the menu without currency symbols that led to customers running up the check. The researchers surmised that removing the

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An interesting variation on a slice

Congratulations to the pilot of a light aircraft in Michigan, who pulled off a successful emergency landing in an unusual location. A small airplane with two people aboard has made a safe emergency landing on a fairway at a golf course in southeastern Michigan. The pilot then got a police escort and drove the single-engine, propeller-driven plane on public roads back to the airport where he started. Pittsfield Public Safety Director Matt Harshberger told the Ann Arbor News no one was hurt. Officials said the pilot reported he lost power shortly after taking off Tuesday morning from Ann Arbor Municipal

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