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How bizarre!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2012-02-21 07:46:03
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'Pot plane' invades President Barack Obama's airspace

bizzare01_07A small plane which violated presidential airspace in Los Angeles was found carrying 18kg (40lb) of marijuana. The Cessna plane was intercepted by two F-16 fighter jets after it strayed into restricted airspace around President Barack Obama's helicopter. It was requested to land at Long Beach Airport, officials said, where the marijuana was found. Mr Obama was never in any danger, the Secret Service said.

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) notified pilots that there was a zone 13km (eight miles) wide above Los Angeles that was off limits to all air traffic on Thursday, spokeswoman Brie Sachse said. Mr Obama was using the White House helicopter, Marine One, to get to the affluent seaside neighbourhood of Corona Del Mar from Los Angeles for a fundraiser, reports said.

The North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad) refused to say how close the Cessna 182 had come to Mr Obama's helicopter but reporters travelling in another helicopter close by saw no sign of disruption or an incident from the air, Reuters news agency said. It quoted US Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan as saying the pilot showed no intention of harming the president when he was interviewed by officials. He was then turned over to local law enforcement.


Lake-Sumter community college told that it can't bar young students

bizzare02_04Preteens and young children are now able to enroll at Lake-Sumter Community College following a settlement with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights that ended last month. The settlement was sparked by a complaint from the parents of a 12-year-old home schooled girl who was barred from enrolling despite her above-average test scores. Her parents filed the complaint, saying that their daughter was discriminated against because of her age. Anastasia Megan, who goes by "Annie," had nearly finished high school when her parents, both retired engineers, tried to enroll her in the college's dual-enrolment program. She already had scored above average in reading, sentence skills and algebra on three college placement tests required for the college's dual-enrolment students.

But Sumter officials said the campus might not be safe enough for students like Annie and that young students might overhear adult conversations. "You never know what would be said...," Margo Odom, chairman of the college's Board of Trustees, said. The state lets college campuses decide how to admit young students and doesn't set an age requirement. In May 2010, the college's trustees passed a rule barring students younger than 15.

Annie's parents argued that their daughter, a triplet, had travelled the world and was mature enough for college. Annie had done well on her online macroeconomics and U.S. government courses, and her father offered to accompany her to class. "If she meets all the qualifications but for her age, then why not let her in?" her mother, Louise Racine, told the Orlando Sentinel in 2010. "What's the worst that can happen, honestly?" The U.S. Department of Education closed the case last month. The school was told to remove its age-minimum policy, retrain staff on admitting dual-enrolment students and offer Annie a spot on campus.


Turning your pet into a Locavore is the newest way to be an asshole

bizzare03_400_04If there's one thing Americans are good at it, it's finding new and interesting ways to embarrass ourselves, and one category in which we completely excel is the spoiling of our pets. Enter the gourmet pet food retailers, who so expertly play on canine and feline devotion and our snobbish tendencies that it would be frightening if it weren't so hilarious.
Our entrée into the world of fancy pet foods comes courtesy of the New York Times' William Grimes, who reveals that gone are the days of stinky Meow Mix and dry, tasteless Dog Chow. Now we must cater to our pets refined sensibilities. Goodbye generic Alpo meat, hello French Country Café, "a beguiling mixture of duck, brown rice, carrots, Golden Delicious apples and peas offered." Though I'm sure your dog would care equally for either of those things, since most pooches will eat literally anything you put in front of them, from a dirty old shoe to a chicken bone off the sidewalk.

Following this growing trend, pet food behemoth Nestlé Purina Pet Care has added a luxury line of both cat and dog food, but they also bought—get this—a line of "cat appetizers in flavours like steamed tilapia and tongol tuna in broth." CAT APPETIZERS? Are you fucking kidding me? Who can look at their cat with a straight face and say, "Would you care for a hors d'oeuvre?" Apparently some people do because for $1.35 you can buy a two-ounce serving of mashed appetizer meat.

But really this gourmet food explosion has happened because of small super-premium brands that tend to be mom-and-pop companies. A lot of the desire for more wholesome and upscale pet food was, understandably, brought on by the terrible pet food recall in 2007. After poisonous gluten and rice protein from China caused thousands of dogs and cats to suffer from fatal kidney failure, people woke up and realized they actually did care about what goes into their pet's mouth. In all seriousness, we do love our pets, and we want to take good care of them and keep them healthy. We shouldn't be feeding them the dog food equivalent of Doritos and the cat food version of McDonald's if we want them to thrive.


Small driver causes big trouble

bizzare04_400_05A Sunday night traffic stop was remarkable for a number of reasons, but two are perhaps most stunning: The driver was in fifth grade and it's his second arrest in the last month. Police said the 11-year-old boy stole a 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis, a 15-foot-long, 2-ton boat of a sedan, from the intersection of Ontario Street and Madison Avenue in Albany. He drove for nearly 10 miles before he was pulled over by East Greenbush police just past the intersection of routes 4 and 151. Officers said the boy likely got over the Hudson River by way of Interstate 90 and the Patroon Island Bridge. When police began pursuing the car and signalling for the driver to pull over, the boy slumped deep into his seat, disappearing from view. Officers didn't know a child was driving and — fearing they were flagging down a driver who may have been reaching for a weapon — called for backup.

A handful of police cruisers had surrounded the car by the time the unarmed boy stopped. "They were acting with extreme caution," East Greenbush Police Chief Christopher Lavin said. "They had no idea a kid was driving. They couldn't see the driver and had no idea what was going on."  Sunday's incident was the boy's second felony arrest in 15 days. The fifth-grader, a wiry 5-foot-4, 120-pound child who police say looks older than 11, was arrested on Jan. 28 for allegedly breaking into a frame shop in Centre Square and nearby parked cars.

"It's not like he's 16, or 15, or even 14," Lavin said. "And he would seem to be going from bad to worse." In both cases, police said the boy acted more like a seasoned criminal than a child more than three years away from his first day of high school. The boy allegedly committed the January burglaries after taking two weeks to gradually warm to the owner of Alacrity Frame Workshop at 215 Lark St. The store's owner, Brian Shea, said the child was kind and unassuming.

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