Patterico's Pontifications


Another Finger in Someone’s Food — This Time for Real

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 10:46 pm

Unlike the Wendy’s story, this story appears to be real. (Via Xrlq.) It’s also a lot funnier:

N.C. Man Finds Finger in Frozen Custard

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A man who ordered a pint of frozen chocolate custard in a dessert shop got a nasty surprise inside – a piece of severed finger lost by an employee in an accident.

Unlike a recent incident at a Wendy’s restaurant in California, no questions of truth have been raised about the finger found in a package from Kohl’s Frozen Custard.

State officials went to the shop Monday, and the owner confirmed one of his employees lost part of a finger in an accident with a food-processing machine.

Wilmington television station WWAY reported that Clarence Stowers found the finger in custard he purchased Sunday night.

Here’s my favorite part:

Stowers, who did not immediately return calls Monday from The Associated Press, told the station: “I thought it was candy because they put candy in your ice cream … to make it a treat. So I said, ‘OK, well, I’ll just put it in my mouth and get the ice cream off of it and see what it is.'”

Stowers said he spit the object out, but still couldn’t identify it. So he went to his kitchen, rinsed it off with water – and “just started screaming.”

Stowers said he planned to contact a lawyer.

Shop owner Craig Thomas said the employee who lost the finger had dropped a bucket while working with a machine that dispenses the custard. He tried to catch the bucket when the accident occurred.

Thomas told WWAY that several employees tried to help the injured worker, and that a drive-thru window attendant apparently scooped custard from the bucket into a pint before being told what had happened.

Joe Reardon of the state Agriculture Department’s food and drug division said state officials closed the shop while the food-processing equipment involved was cleaned and sanitized.

In March, a Las Vegas woman claimed she bit down on a 1 1/2 inch-long finger fragment while dining with her family at a Wendy’s restaurant in San Jose, Calif.

Investigators have since called her claim a hoax and charged her last month with attempted grand theft related to millions in dollars of financial losses Wendy’s has suffered since news of her claim broke.

I’m not sure why this is so funny. But it is. It really is.

L.A. Times Circulation Down — Again

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:04 pm

Once again, L.A. Times circulation numbers are way down. (Hat tip to L.A. Observed.)

I tend not to focus on circulation numbers, because I’m far more concerned with whether a paper is telling the truth than whether it is a market success. If the paper were reporting tremendous circulation and were still distorting the news the way it does today, it would not be a success in my eyes.

Still, I mention it because some people see importance in such matters — and because there is an arguable connection between a media outlet’s reputation for honesty and its financial success. (Also, if I don’t say anything about the circulation numbers, I’ll start getting e-mails and comments from people asking if I’d heard about them.)

The Sgrena Suppression: Due to Suspicion of CBS News?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,International — Patterico @ 6:44 pm

In the controversy over the L.A. Times‘s deletion of information about a satellite recording from two Reuters stories about the shooting of the car with Giuliana Sgrena, the Iron Teakettle says I am missing the forest for the trees:

He [Patterico] could have speculated whether CBS News is no longer credible as a source to other news organizations and whether the L.A. Times wanted to confirm the CBS story independently before citing it. Is there any editor who is not thanking his lucky stars that he did not follow CBS’s lead on the fake Bush National Guard memos?

Interesting angle. We know the deletion was not attributable to any general reluctance on the part of L.A. Times editors to republish allegations made by other news organizations’ anonymous sources. Recall that, when CBS News based a 60 Minutes story about President Bush’s TANG service upon documents obtained from an anonymous source, the L.A. Times splashed the story on its front page.

Maybe the L.A. Times is reluctant to repeat that mistake, now that the reputation of CBS News has been so badly damaged by the forged documents controversy.

Or maybe CBS’s anonymous sources are just considered more reliable by Times editors when they skewer President Bush than when they defend soldiers’ actions in Iraq.

Maybe we’ll find out the real reason when (if?) the editors respond to my recent query on the issue . . .

Kaus on the Satellite Claim

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,International — Patterico @ 7:13 am

Mickey Kaus is suspicious of that Pentagon claim that a satellite recording supports the U.S. version of the shooting involving Giuliana Sgrena:

CBS cited “sources” at the Pentagon, an institution with an intense interest in making Sgrena look wrong. Suspicion may be justified.

But, Mickey, the report is backed by the good name of CBS News!

Mickey also notes the Italian claim that cloud cover would have made it impossible for a satellite to record the event.

Nevertheless, Mickey argues that the L.A. Times placed itself in a very awkward position by deleting the reference to the satellite from two Reuters stories:

But simply excising the paragraph seems an iffy strategy for the Times to take in a story so widely broadcast. Now the paper has to either a) leave its readers uninformed about the satellite angle or b) make a big deal of the satellite story by reinvestigating it and printing the result. That’s a similar bind to the one the Washington Post got into when it refused to print Paula Jones’ initial charge of sexual harrassment by Bill Clinton–by doing so the paper effectively committed itself to finding out if the charges were true (with disastrous results for Clinton). … Isn’t it better just to say “CBS, citing Pentagon officials, reports X, ” and rely on the readers’ knowledge that not everything CBS or the Pentagon says is bankable? Even better, do it Bloggystyle: Violate the Fake MSM Air of Omniscience and simply say “CBS says this but we’re not sure.” …

(Characteristic Kaus emphasis in original.)

Kaus and I both await the L.A. Times‘s response:

P.S.: Let’s see how the Times responds to Patterico’s pestering. Maybe they’ll get huffy and defensive! …

You never know . . .

P.S. Meanwhile, a reader writes to say:

The satellite angle is bogus, I believe, because that sort of rapid-fire multiple exposures in darkness is not characteristic of the capabilities of space platforms — and they ARE exactly what airborne platforms do routinely and efficiently. Space stuff is usually used for wide-area scanning for missile launches, or close-in investigation of surface features in airspace that is otherwise denied to US vehicles. Why waste an expensive space asset when JSTARS or a drone could do it better for one ten thousandth the cost?

I have no idea whether this is correct or not — what do I look like? a journalist? — but I throw it open to you, the readers, for discussion and dissection.

L.A. Times Editors Say the “Los Angeles, Mexico” Billboard is Funny

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Immigration — Patterico @ 6:34 am

This morning the L.A. Times editorial page criticizes Arnold Schwarzenegger for his stance on illegal immigration, saying (among other things):

Schwarzenegger also asked a TV station to remove a billboard reading “Los Angeles, Mexico” on the grounds it encourages illegal immigration. We know that he has a better sense of humor than that . . .

A lot of people don’t consider this to be a laughing matter. Interesting to know that L.A. Times editors do.

UPDATE: A commenter notes that the editors also compare opposition to illegal immigration to Nazi xenophobia:

[A]s someone born and raised in the shadow of the Third Reich, [Schwarzenegger] should also know better than to be fanning this anti-foreigner frenzy.

To recap: the concept of Los Angeles being retaken by Mexico through illegal immigration is funny. Those who disagree are reminiscent of Nazis.

Got it.

Audio Tape Backs Up U.S. Claim in Shooting of Car with Sgrena?

Filed under: Current Events,International — Patterico @ 6:27 am

Agenzia Giornalistica Italia reports that an Italian lawyer named Carlo Taormina claims to be in possession of an audio tape that supports the U.S. version of the shooting of the car bearing Giuliana Sgrena:

Lawyer, Carlo Taormina has spoken once more of an audio tape, in his possession, of a satellite phone call between Iraq and Italy, a copy of which was obtained via the internet, by Gianluca Priete, (who is himself under police investigation for illegally accessing electronic records). It is said that this tape provides proof that the liberation of journalist, Giuliana Sgrena took place in a different manner than that which has up to now been publicly claimed.

He is speaking, of course, of claims by the Italian government.

In an interview during the broadcast “Italia in Prima Pagina” on the radio network GRT, the advocate speaks of “a conversation that takes place via satellite connection between two people, one who speaks perfect Italian and another person who speaks Italian with a foreign accent where there is a reconstruction of events absolutely different from that which I have been reading about in the newspapers recently. I would go as far as saying that I hope that the recording is a forgery for if it is not and all that which is contained on the tape is true, I feel sure that the magistrates will be able to get right to the truth of the question.”

Again, keep in mind that this is from the Italian point of view: Italians want the shooting not to have been justified. The intelligence agent killed in the shooting is considered a national hero; his death will be seen as more meaningful if it was attributable to indefensible U.S. actions, rather than mistakes by the Italians.

The recording of the discussion, “obtained via the internet through access of a site I would not like to name” was made, according to Taormina, by the aforementioned Preite; a 26 year old technician on whom the magistrates have for some time being carrying out a series of investigations to establish his credibility. “I am, at this moment, in possession of both the audio and written transcript of the telephone call and I have already notified the Rome police, in my capacity as a professional interested in the case for reasons which are well known, and I expect that on Wednesday I will consign this material.” According to Taormina the tape’s contents fit “harmoniously with the reconstruction in the report” – by the US – on the phases of the operation following the liberation of Giuliana Sgrena which resulted in the death of Nicola Calipari but which “do not feature in the report.” On the possibility that a ransom was paid for the release of the ‘il Manifesto’ journalist, Taormina concludes: “From the news that I have and from the sources that I can access via the contact I have, it is a possibility.”

Italy will issue a report today responding to the U.S. report released over the weekend concerning this incident, but the Italian report probably will not take into account the alleged tape spoken of by Taormina.

As Drudge says: “Developing . . . “

This Past Weekend on Patterico

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 6:01 am

If you don’t read this site on the weekend, you’ve missed a lot. This weekend was primarily devoted to the editing jobs that the L.A. Times did on a couple of Reuters stories. The editors removed critical information supporting the U.S. position on an important international controversy — the shooting of the car bearing Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena.

It started with this post, which described the cynical editing job the paper did.

This post noted that even Al Jazeera had included the information omitted by The Times.

This post noted when the paper did it again the next day.

This post provided a link to the report on the incident.

And in this post, I set forth my e-mails to the Readers’ Representative complaining about the edits.

Plus: links to Volokh Conspiracy posts about filibusters, and a link to a great Vik Rubenfeld takedown of the L.A. Times.

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