News stories the mainstream media missed : 07/03/10

Here are some news stories from this week that I think the mainstream media completely missed out on. All links are from legitimate news sources and not the fringe / wacko sites.

* N.Y. Cigarette Tax Increase Boosts Pack to Almost $11!! Damn! OK, here’s what I’m thinking. There are 10 packs per carton, and I can buy them down here for $40.00 a carton, and that works out to $4 per pack. NYC stores are selling them for $10.80 a pack, so if I re-sell them in NYC for $7 a pack (assuming and allowing the NYC fence a $1.50 profit margin for them to resell at $8.50 locally and make a profit themselves), I’ll still make $3 profit per pack which works out to $30 profit per carton. Assuming I bring just one “master case” box of 50 cartons in the trunk of a car, that’s $1,500 profit. Forty “master case” boxes in the back of a mid-sized U-Haul will bring in $60,000 pure profit. I don’t re-pay taxes on cigarettes I buy in Texas when I visit another state, so this should be legal! It’s such a simple plan that I’m sure it’s illegal somehow. [BLOOMBERG]

* Dr. Pepper is now “temporarily” removing High Fructose Corn syrup and switching to real sugar. I’ve already bought a lot of the Mountain Dew throwback and the retro-Pepsi sodas, and I really liked both drinks in their “natural sugar” version. I’m going to buy as many real-sugar Dr Peppers as I can to try and keep ideas like this coming. [DIETS IN REVIEW]

* The true horror of the Gulf Oil Spill: The gulf, as we knew it, is never coming back. Because BP was too damn cheap to do build their rig right the first time. [PBS]

* A pilot gets into the “restricted zone” in the Gulf of Mexico’s giant oil spill and takes some “illegal” video of what’s really going on.

MSNBC interviews him after his flight
. So who the hell gets to say this is all “restricted airspace” anyhow?

* Why the hell are these evil bastards at BP defying a direct order from the EPA to scale back the use of their toxic dispersant in the gulf? Why is anyone taking BPs’ word on how much dispersant they have used so far? And why the hell hasn’t the self-proclaimed “ass kicker-in-chief” done something about this? 25,689 gallons of a toxic chemical a day into the gulf isn’t something to just put sound bytes around, dammit. [CNN]

* “Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s U.S. merchandising chief will leave the world’s largest retailer after a plan to remove some products from stores contributed to a decline in sales.” WalMart is harsh. Mess with their bottom line in any way and you get a nice pair of career-concrete shoes. [BLOOMBERG]

* The latest rumor is that Verizon will get the iPhone late this year or early next, and if it does come to pass, then “AT&T May Lose 1 Million iPhone Customers to Verizon”. Better make that one million and one if it’s true this time. [BUSINESSWEEK]

* In other iPhone news, Apple has just been popped with a class action suit over their new iPhone’s craptacular reception. It’s about friggin’ time!!! [BLOOMBERG]

* In news that is completely unrelated to the class-action lawsuit, Apple just announced that they are responding to the cell phone complaints with a “Signal Software Fix.” Soooo let me get this straight. The calculation they had on every iPhone up to now to display the bar-signal strength has been wrong this whole time? So the “fix” is to change how it’s measured? Isn’t this kind of like saying when you’re low on gas to change how your gas tank is measuring fuel? 1/4 of a tank is now the new 3/4 of a tank? No matter how you re-measure it, you’re still too low to get anywhere! [BLOOMBERG]

* In one final bit of Apple news, Anandtech takes a highly technical look at the new iPhone’s antenna. It’s a lot more complicated than my “gas tank” analogy and they review the nuts and bolts of the device. AT&T still sucks. [ANANDTECH]

* Schwarzenegger orders minimum wage for state workers [sacbee] and a California court says its legal. [BLOOMBERG] I do believe a quote from John McClane from Die Hard is appropriate for all the California state workers who are suddenly making as much money as the non-state workers… “Welcome to the party, pal!”

* Speaking of California, “$12,000 in welfare cash was dispensed from strip club ATMs from 2007 to 2009 as part of the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.” Fortunately, “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered the department overseeing the program to remove casino and strip club ATMs from the list of permitted welfare disbursement sites.” I’d like to see the flaming bozo that thought it was a good idea to put these ATMs in these locations in the first place. West coast rep-re-sent! [FOX NEWS]

* A child abuse investigator was arrested in LA “on suspicion of having sex with teen”. What gets me is that they’re still using the phrase “on suspicion” for this evil bastich when police found the investigator and the 15 year old girl “having sex in a parked car”. Do we really need to say “on suspicion” for this? That’s a pretty clear situation to me! [FOX NEWS]

* Marines “preparing for shore leave in the Seychelles islands” are being warned not to reveal national secrets while they are out partying on shore leave. Apparently the commanders are showing them photos of the Russian spy Anna Chapman and warning them that “Whatever stereotypes they might have for spies are probably wrong.” Seriously? Do Marines really need to be told that female spies really do NOT talk viff a theeek ackhsent lyke thees, smoke un sigahrette en von ov zose plastic theengs, und haff zoos theen ehyebrows zhat ahrr shaped lyke rhhaaainbows? [WASHINGTON POST]

* “A Catholic cleric, who described himself as a “scumbag pedophile priest,” has been jailed for nearly 20 years for abusing 25 children in Australia.” This evil bastard abused children “as young as five years old” and was “frequently sadistic” with them. Right then. Can someone tell me why the whole “burning at the stake” thing was phased out? Because I think this would be the perfect opportunity to bring it back. I’ll bring the marshmallows. [MSNBC]

* Living to 100 may be in your genes. Now all we need to do is tweak the genes that don’t naturally go to 100 and we’re all set! [HEALTH NEWS]

* A recent article in Time magazine pays a visit to the red pill/blue pill debate. “Think You’re Operating on Free Will? Think Again”. Soooo if I go nuts at a sushi bar, it’s not my fault? I have no control that I’m craving octopus and tuna and shark? OK. I can live with that. [TIME]

* 238 presidential scholars agree! Bush was the “worst president” of the modern era and came in “fifth worst in US history”. Oh come on! That’s not fair! Bush did whatever Cheney told him to! Recount! Recount! [RAW STORY]

* Flying car? FLYING CAR? Yes! I can finally peel out of the stratosphere and do donuts over the ocean! Gimme gimme gimme! [FORBES] and [LUXIST]

* An 87 year old grandmother who was hooked to an oxygen machine in her bed was tazered by police. “Officer Thomas Duran says in a police report that Varner pulled a kitchen knife from under her pillow and threatened to stab and kill him if he tried to take her from her home.” Okey Dokey then. Now, I haven’t seen how big and badass this 87 year old grandmother was, but come on dude. She was on an oxygen machine. In bed. If you can’t disarm an 87 year old grandmother on an oxygen machine in bed, you might want to re-evaluate your career path. That and visit your friendly neighborhood gym a little more. [TBO]

* Condoms for elementary kids! Hey, what could possibly go wrong? [FOX NEWS]

* Remember that big swine flu epidemic last year? The one that ravaged the country? Yeah, me either. It turns out that “About a quarter of the swine flu vaccine produced for the U.S. public has expired — meaning that a whopping 40 million doses worth about $260 million are being written off as trash.” Somebody made some big money on this scam. [YAHOO]

* The French protest retirement age rising to 62! The nerve! Asking them to work like the rest of us do! What’s next? Messing with their nationwide-all-month-August vacation?! Sacrilege! [TBO]

* “Google struggles to give away $10 million” Struggling to give away $10 million? In this economy? They’re doing something seriously wrong! [CNN]

* “The father of a 7-year-old Oregon boy missing for more than three weeks filed for divorce from the boy’s stepmother on Monday.” Why is my spider-sense going AHOOOGA! AHOOOOGA! on this? [FOX NEWS]

* The “pre-existing condition insurance plan” is on the way. The press release is long, but worth reading. “The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, which will be administered either by a state or by the Department of Health and Human Services, will provide a new health coverage option for Americans who have been uninsured for at least six months, have been unable to get health coverage because of a health condition, and are a U.S. citizen or are residing in the United States legally. Created under the Affordable Care Act, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan is a transitional program until 2014, when insurers will be banned from discriminating against adults with pre-existing conditions, and individuals and small businesses will have access to more affordable private insurance choices through new competitive Exchanges. In 2014, Members of Congress will also purchase their insurance through Exchanges.” [HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES]

* Oh, and this upcoming new national health care law/plan? Yeah. It looks like it’s definitely going to mean very very very long wait times in the ER. That would be the one place on the planet you really CAN’T wait for! Hasn’t anybody thought this through? [YAHOO]

* The author of this blog has a very interesting debate on why P2P downloading is wrong. He’s an actual producer/composer of music and is very gentle on asking P2P groups to stop trading his music. [JASON ROBERT BROWN]

* A recent study finds that “prostate screening cuts cancer deaths.” In related news, seeing your doctor for regular checkups is a great way to remain healthy! [REUTERS]

* Woot was bought by Amazon? Noooooooooooooooo!!! Now instead of some really useful junk there’s going to be a ton of “didn’t sell on Amazon and nobody wants it” junk! And now everybody and their Aunt Petunia are going to know about WOOT and their epic WOOT-OFFs too! Damn you, free market capitalism! [WOOT]

* A ban on certain food dyes is under review. Apparently food dyes have been causing allergic reactions and making a lot of people sick. What’s really scary is if you ever see what color most popular food is after it has just been barfed out of a processor. That’s a great motivator to stick to natural foods. [CNN]

* A “Great White Shark Warning Issued for Massachusetts”. Ahhh. Great white sharks always remind me of my favorite Jaws movie quote… “Y’all know me. Know how I earn a livin’. I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Bad fish. Not like going down the pond chasin’ bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow you whole. Little shakin’, little tenderizin’, an’ down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that’ll bring back your tourists, put all your businesses on a payin’ basis. But it’s not gonna be pleasant. I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I’ll find him for three, but I’ll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you’ve gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don’t want no volunteers, I don’t want no mates, there’s just too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.” [BLOOMBERG]

That’s it for this week! Back Monday!