Banksy mural fetches $209K at California auction
A mural stenciled on the side of a Hollywood gas station five years ago by the British street artist Banksy has fetched more than $200,000 at a Beverly Hills auction.
The 9-by-8 foot ”Flower Girl” artwork sold for $209,000 on Thursday at an auction that featured nearly 100 works by more than 30 artists, according to the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1aFPMXw). The winning bid came from a Los Angeles buyer who requested anonymity.
The mural shows a little girl holding a flower basket under the eye of a surveillance camera planted atop a tall stalk.
The seller of the mural was Eytan Rosenberg, a former gas station owner who allowed a group of three street artists to paint something on the business’s white brick wall.
Rosenberg sold the gas station last year and painstakingly removed the artwork and installed it in a sturdy aluminum frame. He and his sister want to use the money from the sale to build a car wash.
Banksy, who refuses to reveal his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England. He’s known for his silhouetted figures and spray-painted messages.
The highest known price for a Banksy work is about $1.1 million for a mural called ”Slave Labor” that was auctioned in London in June.
Banksy’s work has caught the eye of A-list Hollywood celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who recently bought a smaller piece for $1 million.
Arrest Made for Theft of Paul Walker Porsche Wreckage
File this under ”t” for tasteless.
Hours after Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas died in a fiery car crash in Santa Clarita, California, last Saturday, remnants from the charred 2005 Porsche Carrera GT they were traveling in were stolen — and an arrest has now been made.
The theft occurred at 10 p.m. on Nov. 30 — six and a half hours after the sports car the ”Fast & Furious” star was riding in crashed and was immediately engulfed in flames. The on-scene investigation was concluded and the car was loaded onto a flatbed tow truck to be transported to a secure location for further examination.
However, several cars followed the tow truck from the crash scene and, when the truck driver stopped at a red light, ”A witness saw a male exit a vehicle that was following the tow truck,” according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. ”The male grabbed a piece of the wrecked Porsche off the tow truck bed. The male drove away with the stolen vehicle part.”
Jameson Witty, who is an 18-year-old from Tujunga, California, was arrested for the theft. He posted a photo of the the alleged stolen car part — a red T-top roof panel from the Porsche — online the next day, writing, ”Piece of Paul walkers car, took it off a tow truck at a stop light. … I got it for my buddy who was driving the car we were in, so that he could always pay respect to the guy that got him into cars.” Police later recovered the roof panel from a residence in Canyon Country.
A second suspect — a 25-year-old man — has also been identified. The sheriff’s department said the man was located out of state, but was in communication with authorities to surrender himself.
Investigators have asked the district attorney to consider charges of felony grand theft and tampering with evidence against both suspects.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the star’s fatal car crash continues with the firefighter dispatch recording released. Three minutes after the 911 call, responders arrived on the scene and declared both passengers ”DOA,” according to the audio recording obtained by TMZ. A firefighter can be heard saying there were ”two fatalities” and a request for an ambulance was canceled.
Walker and Rodas will be remembered this weekend when a car club is scheduled to hold a rally in their memory near the scene of the accident. According to TMZ, more than 20,000 people are expected to attend. Police presence will also be strong to prevent any reckless driving and to ensure that the event ”goes off safely.”
By Suzy Byrne
Trio of Lamborghinis burn in million-dollar wreck
The upside to owning a car like a Lamborghini Aventador or Gallardo comes easily; the speed, the attention, the status. The downside comes from when something goes awry — like it did badly on a Malaysian freeway this morning, when three Lamborghinis — two Gallardos and an Aventator — collided and burst into flames, in a million-dollar bonfire of the vanities.
According to local reports, five Lamborghinis registered in Singapore were traveling toward Kuala Lumpur in a convoy when one of the Lamborghini drivers lost control. That Lambo hit the road divider, triggering the crash with the other two cars. None of the drivers were hurt.
No car has been involved in more high-profile whoops-de-do than Gallardos. Given that the last one left the factory last month, the value of those on the road may start to rise — if their owners can keep them in one piece.
By Justin Hyde
’Worst ice storm’ in years wallops Texas, much of the Midwest
Tens of thousands of people remained without power here late Friday after a massive winter storm blanketed North Texas in a thick coat of freezing rain and sleet.
Police pleaded with motorists to stay off frozen freeways. Ice on power lines forced public transportation officials to suspend the region’s light rail service.
Dallas’ woes are part of a severe cold snap stretching more than a 1,000 miles from the southern Plains to New England.
“This will be the worst ice storm for the United States since January 2009 and will affect many of the same areas as that storm,” said Jesse Ferrell, weather expert and storm chaser for AccuWeather.com.
The National Weather Service issued ice and winter storm advisories for more than a dozen states. Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee — where thousands are also without power — have already declared states of emergency. Treacherous driving conditions were blamed for several deaths across the country, according to The Associated Press.
Government forecasters warned of possible prolonged power outages in some areas from Central Texas to the Lower Ohio Valley.
While the precipitation had moved out of North Texas by Friday afternoon, the weather service painted a frigid picture as the storm rumbles east:
As the upper-level forcing associated with the arctic front pushes eastward this evening and tomorrow, the threat of wintry precipitation will shift eastward from the Mid-south into the Appalachians, northern Mid-Atlantic and southern New England as the night progresses. Additional ice accumulations of less than a quarter of an inch are expected from extreme northern Mississippi northeastward to southern New England through early Saturday. Behind the band of freezing rain, snow is expected to accumulate 1 to 5 inches from across the central Appalachians through central New England through tonight.
Jeff Masters, a meteorologist at Weather Underground, wrote that the arctic air “will bring temperatures 10 to 40 degrees below average to more than 80 percent of the contiguous U.S. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.”
The winter weather crippled airports as well. Thousands of flights were canceled across the country. American Airlines, headquartered in Dallas-Fort Worth, called off nearly 1,000 flights.
In North Texas where temperatures are not expected to get above freezing until possibly Sunday afternoon, the storm dumped 1 to 3 inches of sleet late Thursday and early Friday. Freezing rain snapped tree branches and crusted power lines in ice.
Customers and power companies were using social media to report and respond to outages.
In Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, reserve power line crews were being called in from other states to try and restore heat to homes.
In Richardson, north of Dallas, Amanda Fancher said she was roused out of bed at 4 a.m. Friday when a 35-year-old hackberry tree came crashing down in her front yard. The impact set off the alarm on a car parked nearby.
“It was a really big tree,” Fancher told Yahoo News. “It’s crazy that it didn’t land on anything. The whole tree is covered in ice.”
The hardest-hit areas could see more of the same by Saturday when a second storm system, which is already bringing snow to parts of California, Oregon and Nevada, pushes east across the Plains and into the Midwest.
The frigid forecast was unwelcome news to some 25,000 runners who had planned to participate in Sunday’s Dallas Marathon. Race officials called off the event early Friday afternoon.
“We regret that the race will not go on as planned, but are confident this decision is in the best interest of our runners, volunteers, spectators and the general public,” the organizers wrote on their website.
By Jason Sickles
Companies Say Goodbye to the ’Burbs
When Motorola Mobility lined up a Silicon Valley candidate a few months ago for a VP-level role, the phone maker was hopeful he’d accept. After all, the company offered the chance to develop products at a subsidiary of Google Inc.
The engineer declined. His reason: the prospect of relocating to Libertyville, Ill., about 35 miles from downtown Chicago, said Scott Sullivan, Motorola’s head of human resources.
Mr. Sullivan expects recruiting to get a lot easier next February when the company moves into a new space in the storied Merchandise Mart building in downtown Chicago.
Motorola will join United Continental Holdings Inc., Hillshire Brands Co.—the successor to Sara Lee Corp.— and other corporate giants abandoning vast suburban campuses for urban offices nearer to the young, educated and hyper-connected workers who will lead their businesses into the digital age. Archer Daniels Midland Co. recently said it would move its headquarters from Decatur, Ill., and in the Bay Area, startups like Pinterest Inc. are departing Silicon Valley for San Francisco.
After decades of big businesses leaving the city for the suburbs, U.S. firms have begun a new era of corporate urbanism. Nearly 200 Fortune 500 companies are currently headquartered in the top 50 cities. Many others are staying put in the suburbs but opening high-profile satellite offices in nearby cities, sometimes aided by tax breaks and a recession that tempered downtown rents. And upstart companies are following suit, according to urban planners. The bottom line: companies are under pressure to establish an urban presence that projects an image of dynamism and innovation.
”The showcase headquarters of the past, the beautiful suburban campuses—that’s a very obsolete model now,” said Patrick Phillips, CEO of the Urban Land Institute, a land-use think tank.
Nationwide, commercial vacancy rates in central business districts have gone down faster than those in suburbs since the real-estate market began to recover in 2011, with 13.9% of urban space empty in the third quarter of 2013 versus 18.5% in the suburbs, according to research firm Reis Inc. At the end of 2010, the figures were 14.8% and 19.1%, respectively.
”There’s increasing evidence that this represents a broad trend among large and middle-size companies,” said Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of ”The New Geography of Jobs.”
Cheap real estate, tax incentives, and easy automobile access once lured companies to the suburbs, but companies now want urban amenities, proximity to public transit and sense of community—the same qualities young workers prize when deciding where to live and work, said Robert Lang, an urban planning expert and director of Brookings Mountain West.
And highly educated workers are clustering in a small number of cities. In 2010, more than 43% of Americans with bachelor’s degrees chose to live in 20 metropolitan areas, primarily tech hubs such as Seattle, San Francisco and Raleigh, N.C., according to research from the Brookings Institution. And as younger graduates marry and start families later than previous generations—often with both spouses pursuing careers—they’re delaying moves to the suburbs, sometimes indefinitely.
For longtime employees, however, corporate moves to the city mean longer commutes and disrupted schedules and family life. And the corporate quest for youth and innovation can leave some workers feeling slightly unwelcome.
”We joked about the older suburbanites being excluded from the new [business] model,” said Jon Scherf, age 42, a marketing professional who left Hillshire shortly before its December 2012 move to downtown Chicago. ”They would’ve been happy to have me but they’re also happy to bring in new blood.”
Companies say some attrition is normal. Motorola is offering full relocation packages for employees who choose to sell their suburban homes and move closer to the new office. Still, management expects 2% of its staff to depart and about 75% to stay after the relocation. The remainder, said Mr. Sullivan, will likely be ”on the fence.”
The shift to urban headquarters favors cities such as Chicago, San Francisco and Boston, destinations of choice for recent college graduates, while aging cities like Cleveland and Detroit struggle with corporate flight and economic decline.
Even when headquarters stay put, more companies are opening or expanding urban satellite offices, especially for technology and research staff working on product development and innovation, according to Mr. Moretti.
Silicon Valley giant Yahoo Inc. signed a big lease this year to expand its San Francisco offices so it can recruit top engineers unwilling to make the long commute on Highway 101. And Coca-Cola Co. in June said it would open a 2,000-person information-technology office near its headquarters in downtown Atlanta, relocating some tech staff that had been based in the suburbs.
Overall demand for commercial real estate in the suburbs is strong in metro areas like Sacramento and Dallas, and in regions rebounding from the worst of the housing collapse, said Walter Page, director of research at real-estate data firm CoStar. However, almost no large firms have left cities for the suburbs recently, CoStar has found.
As United Airlines planned its 2010 merger with Continental Airlines, the company chose a neutral space for the two cultures to meld. That meant leaving the ”bubble” of its immense campus in Elk Grove Village, a suburb about 20 miles from Chicago, said Kate Gebo, vice president of corporate real estate.
The carrier shifted a small group of employees to Chicago in 2007 and in 2009 announced that it would move all corporate operations downtown. It was an opportune moment; the real-estate market was sagging and landlords were slashing rents, and the city offered the company incentives worth up to $35 million over 10 years. About 4,600 United employees now work in 16 floors of the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower.
The new downtown offices—decorated with murals and lights that mimic the shape of an airplanewing—have proved a magnet for M.B.A.s from top-tier schools as well as new staffers in digital advertising and social media. In the last two years, more than a third of all hires have been under the age of 30, said a spokeswoman. Before that, the figure was closer to 25%.
United has also revived its college internship program, which had been largely dormant for years because the commute from area colleges to Elk Grove Village was too arduous for those without a car.
The airline declined to detail the cost of its relocation or its current real-estate expenses, but Ms. Gebo said the alternative was an extensive upgrade of its old facility.
For Hillshire, which changed its name from Sara Lee after spinning off its European coffee and tea business in 2012, the move downtown was part of a total reorganization that included emulating the culture of a startup, and hiring a workforce to match.
The maker of Jimmy Dean sausage and Ball Park franks now calls itself an ”innovative meat-centric company” and a ”$4 billion startup.” The slimmed-down Hillshire—which now employs around 550 people at headquarters, down from 1,100 before the split—vacated its suburban campus in December 2012 for Chicago’s West Loop.
In the city, Hillshire is finding ”the type of employees we wanted—externally focused and agile” with a ” ’refuse to lose’ attitude,” said Mary Oleksiuk, Hillshire’s head of HR.
One of them, Ryan Rouse, age 33, directs the company’s innovation group. He owns a home in the West Loop and joined Hillshire in June from a marketing role at Newell Rubbermaid in Oak Brook, Ill. Now, instead of a car commute that could stretch to almost two hours, he’s got a 15-minute walk or a five-minute bike ride to the office. Dining options near the office have been a plus, he said, adding that ”access to really wonderful food experiences” helps him think more creatively about possible Hillshire products.
For longtime employees, it has been a more complicated switch. Melissa Napier, treasurer and senior VP of investor relations at Hillshire, bought a house in Downers Grove in 2007 and lives there with her husband and two sons. While she now attends more social and networking events downtown, her commute, once a 10-minute drive, now gets her home at 7:30, an hour later than before.
The kids’ dinner-and-homework routine now falls to her husband, a consultant.
Mr. Scherf, who was a manager of shopper insights at Hillshire and now works at Pfizer Inc.’s Itasca, Ill. office, said the company’s move was ”the tipping point” in his decision to leave, largely because he didn’t want to be beholden to train schedules. He also felt unnerved by layoffs and an accelerating ”cycle of change.”
As young workers start families, they may care more about soccer fields and good schools than sushi restaurants and bike paths, priorities that may send them out of the urban core.
But the employers that sought them out in the city are unlikely to follow them back to the suburbs, said Mr. Phillips of the Urban Land Institute.
”Given energy prices and traffic conditions, it’ll be a long time before we see another wave of suburbanization.”
By Lauren Weber
Touch ID on Apple’s iPhone 5s is losing accuracy over time for some users
The shine is already wearing off of Apple’s new Touch ID technology for some iPhone 5s owners. Apple unveiled its latest flagship iPhone this past September and along with it, a new embedded fingerprint scanner brought about by the company’s 2012 acquisition of mobile security firm AuthenTec for $356 million. Dubbed Touch ID, the new technology places a sapphire glass-covered fingerprint scanner in the home button of Apple’s iPhone 5s and allows users to unlock the device or authenticate App Store purchases with just the touch of a finger. The new tech is among a few main selling points for the iPhone 5s, but a new report suggests some users are already having trouble with it after less than three months on the market.
“Dr. Drang,” who is described by 5by5 as “a consulting engineer well known amongst nerds on the Internet,” recently wrote on his blog And now it’s all this that he’s having some issues with Touch ID on his iPhone.
“I’ve been using Touch ID since I got an iPhone 5s in mid-October,” Drang wrote. “Generally speaking, I like it, and I find it faster than the old swipe-and-passcode method, but I’ve felt compelled to reteach it my fingerprints twice already. I know this sounds impossible, but its recognition of my prints seems to decay with time.”
The good doctor continued, “I rescanned my fingers this weekend, and Touch ID has been amazingly fast and accurate since then. Just as it was when I first got the 5s, and just as it was a few weeks later when I rescanned my fingers for the first time. Just before each rescan, though, I was so frustrated with Touch ID I felt like throwing the phone across the room.”
Curious indeed, but one isolated issue doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem. According to John Gruber of Daring Fireball, however, the issue isn’t exactly isolated.
“Drang is not alone — I’ve had a handful of readers ask me about this recently,” Gruber noted. “Makes me think there’s something to it. Me, personally, though, I haven’t noticed any drop-off in accuracy.”
Like Gruber, we haven’t experienced any issues with the print reader on our devices. We also haven’t seen any reports of this issue outside of the ones noted above. The iPhone 5s is still less than three months old, however, so this may be something to watch for as time progresses.
By Zach Epstein
Winter storm brings icy blast to wide swath of United States
People from Texas to New York were bundling up on Thursday against winter weather that closed schools and businesses, blanketed roads and power lines with ice and threatened to disrupt travel across a wide swath of the United States.
The southern plains and central region, including Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas were expected to be especially hard hit, according to the National Weather Service.
In Little Rock, Arkansas, people scrambled to stock their cupboards as temperatures plunged. Many grocery stores reported running low on bread, milk, bottled water and snack foods by noon Thursday.
Holly Vines, a Little Rock resident, hoped she could still find something on the shelves.
”I’m going to get coffee, cigarettes and cat food then I’m going to get my sable coat out of storage in case I have to sleep in it,” she said.
Utility provider Entergy Arkansas said it was bringing in an additional 6,700 workers to help with downed power lines and outages that could last a week. The company urged people to make sure they had flashlights, fresh batteries, food, water and first-aid kits.
Many roads and highways in northwest Arkansas were covered with ice. Schools, including the University of Arkansas, were closing early or canceled classes entirely. Arkansas State Police said there were numerous reports of car accidents.
”In some locations, a glaze of ice may span several days and last into the weekend,” meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said on AccuWeather.com.
Missouri and states eastward and north to New York are likely to see more snow than ice as the wintry weather hits Thursday evening, bringing up to 6 inches of snow to cities including St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Albany, New York, meteorologists said.
The National Weather Service said 4 inches to 8 inches of snow was forecast for Missouri overnight and into Friday.
”This evening, we will see travel conditions severely impacted,” said weather service meteorologist Andy Foster in Springfield, Missouri.
The frigid weather sweeping across the Midwest and Southern Plains follows a storm that dumped up to 22 inches of snow in parts of Minnesota earlier this week.
Conditions were so harsh in South Dakota that an ice skating rink in Rapid City was closed this week to protect public safety, officials said. The temperature was forecast on Thursday night to drop to 18 degrees Fahrenheit below zero (minus 27 degrees Celsius).
The rink annually draws about 20,000 visitors in a state used to severe winter weather, but the cold and accompanying high winds this week are too extreme, said Megan Whitman, spokeswoman for the group that runs the rink.
The U.S. west coast is not being spared the chill, with record-setting low temperatures predicted through the weekend in parts of California and Oregon that could threaten citrus and other crops in the area, AccuWeather.com officials said.
By Suzi Parker
Fast-food strikes return amid push for wage hikes
Fast-food workers and labor organizers are marching, waving signs and chanting in cities across the country Thursday amid a push for higher wages.
Organizers say walkouts are planned in 100 cities, with rallies set for another 100 cities. But it’s not clear what the actual turnout will be, how many of the participants are workers and what impact they’ll have on restaurant operations.
The actions would mark the largest showing yet in a push that began a year ago. At a time when there’s growing national and international attention on economic disparities, labor unions, worker advocacy groups and Democrats are hoping to build public support to raise the federal minimum wage of $7.25, or about $15,000 a year for full-time work.
Protesters are calling for pay of $15 an hour, but the figure is seen more as a rallying point than a near-term possibility.
In New York City, about 100 protesters blew whistles and beat drums while marching into a McDonald’s at around 6:30 a.m.; one startled customer grabbed his food and fled as they flooded the restaurant, while another didn’t look up from eating and reading amid their chants of ”We can’t survive on $7.25!”
Community leaders took turns giving speeches for about 15 minutes until the police arrived and ordered protesters out of the store. The crowd continued to demonstrate outside for about 45 minutes. A McDonald’s manager declined to be interviewed and asked that the handful of customers in the store not be bothered.
In Detroit, about 50 demonstrators turned out for a pre-dawn rally in front of a McDonald’s. A handful of employees walked off the job, but the restaurant stayed open as a manager and other employees worked the front counter and drive-thru window.
Julius Waters, a 29-year-old McDonald’s maintenance worker who was among the protesters, said it’s hard making ends meet on his wage of $7.40 an hour.
”I need a better wage for myself, because, right now, I’m relying on aid, and $7.40 is not able to help me maintain taking care of my son. I’m a single parent,” Waters said.
In Atlanta, about 40 demonstrators rallied at a Burger King; another demonstration was planned later in the day.
The push for higher pay in the fast-food industry faces an uphill battle. The industry competes aggressively on value offerings and companies have warned that they would need to raise prices if wages were hiked. Most fast-food locations are also owned and operated by franchisees, which lets companies such as McDonald’s Corp., Burger King Worldwide Inc. and Yum Brands Inc. say that they don’t control worker pay.
However, labor advocates have pointed out that companies control many other aspects of restaurant operations through their franchise agreements, including menus, suppliers and equipment.
Fast-food workers have historically been seen as difficult to unionize, given the industry’s high turnover rates. But the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 2 million workers in health care, janitorial and other industries, has been providing considerable organizational and financial support to the push for higher pay over the past year.
Berlin Rosen, a political consulting and public relations firm based in New York City, also has been coordinating communications efforts and connecting organizers with media outlets.
The National Restaurant Association, an industry lobbying group, said most those protesting were union workers and that ”relatively few” workers have participated in past actions. It called the demonstrations a ”campaign engineered by national labor groups.”
McDonald’s said in a statement that it’s ”committed to providing our employees with opportunities to succeed.” The company, based in Oak Brook, Ill., said it offers employees advancement opportunities, competitive pay and benefits.
In the meantime, the protests are getting some high-powered support from the White House. In an economic policy speech Wednesday, President Barack Obama specifically mentioned fast-food and retail workers ”who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty” in his call for raising the federal minimum wage.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez also offered words of support for the protesters on the agency’s blog.
”We see momentum gathering and a consensus emerging around the idea that we need to increase the federal minimum wage, to give these workers and millions like them a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” Perez said in the statement.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has promised a vote on the wage hike by the end of the year. But the measure is not expected to gain traction in the House, where Republican leaders oppose it.
Supporters of wage hikes have been more successful at the state and local level. California, Connecticut and Rhode Island raised their minimum wages this year. Last month, voters in New Jersey approved an increase in the minimum to $8.25 an hour, up from $7.25 an hour.
Child killed in school bus accident in Idaho
One child was killed and four more injured on Thursday when a bus carrying elementary schoolchildren collided with a dump truck at a rural intersection in Idaho, west of Boise, a state police spokeswoman said.
The school bus was transporting about 10 children, all in sixth grade or younger, when the crash occurred at around 8 a.m. on a country road near the city of Nampa.
State police spokeswoman Teresa Baker said there was a stop sign at the corner of the road the school bus was using, but not on the one where the dump truck was traveling.
An hour after the incident, rescuers were still working to extract the body from the wreckage, Baker said. She did not release the child’s name or gender.
The injured children were transported to hospitals in Boise and Nampa, Baker said. Investigators were on scene Thursday trying to reconstruct the accident to determine how it occurred.
By Laura Zuckerman and Sharon Bernstein
Nissan Leaf owner arrested for taking 5 cents of energy without asking
Electric vehicles no longer count as spaceships of the road; last month alone, U.S. automakers sell about 10,000 vehicles with a plug every month, and a few like the Nissan Leaf have become commonplace. Unfortunately for those owners, the methods of charging such cars hasn’t kept pace with their growth; there’s only about 6,800 public charging stations nationwide, and it’s not uncommon for an EV owner to have to ask for some spare juice.
But what happens if there’s no one to ask? That’s the trouble facing a Georgia man who was arrested and spent a night in jail — all for taking electricity worth about a nickel.
According to WXIA-TV, Kaveh Kamooneh had plugged in his Nissan Leaf to an external power outlet at a Chamblee, Ga., middle school while his son played sports inside. Kamooneh says 20 minutes after plugging in, a police officer asked if he had permission to do so; when Kamooneh noted that no staffers were around, the officer accused him of stealing.
Eleven days later, the Chamblee police came to Kamooneh’s home and arrested him, forcing him to spend a night in the county jail. A Chamblee police sergeant told the station the amount of the theft was immaterial — what mattered was that Kamooneh took without asking.
Kamooneh’s arrest appears to be the first of an EV owner for supposedly stealing energy, a crime usually pursued only on the level of entire homes sucking illicit electrons. Electricity isn’t so expensive nor rare as to require criminalizing such borrowing; no airport has ever cracked down on flyers using outlets to power their laptops. The new world of electric travel may need not just new places to re-fuel, but new social rules for doing so.
By Justin Hyde
Martin Bashir Resigns From MSNBC After Horrible Sarah Palin Comment
MSNBC host Martin Bashir resigned from the network Wednesday, two weeks after making lewd comments about former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
The news was first reported by Mediaite.
Here is his full statement, provided by MSNBC:
“After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday. Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the President of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.
I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast.”
And the statement from MSNBC President Phil Griffin on his resignation:
“Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC. Martin is a good man and respected colleague — we wish him only the best.”
Bashir hasn’t hosted his normal 4 p.m. show for the past two weeks. When asked about his absence, a network spokesperson only said that he was on vacation. The spokesperson didn’t respond to follow-up requests asking if he had been suspended.
Bashir suggested in a Nov. 15 broadcast that someone should defecate in Palin’s mouth. He made the lewd comment in a segment about Palin’s comparison of the federal debt to slavery. Bashir cited a former plantation owner who punished slaves by forcing one to ”S-H-I-T” in another’s mouth, as he put it.
”If anyone truly qualified for a dose of [that] discipline,” he said, ”she would be the outstanding candidate.”
Bashir subsequently apologized in his next broadcast.
By Brett LoGiurato
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