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Monday, March 27, 2017


Careful Who You Try to Scam

When Wisconsin police officer Kyle Roder got a cellphone message on Tuesday from someone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, he knew something was up. He couldn't think of any reason why the IRS would call him - especially because the agency usually contacts citizens by mail. Suspecting a scam, he called the number and was soon talking with a man with a thick accent who gave his name first as "James Maxwell," then as "James Johnson." When Roder called him on the inconsistency, "James" corrected himself: "It's James Maxwell Johnson." "James" then tried to get Roder to give him personal information and/or money but Roder kept asking pointed questions to get evidence that the whole thing was a scam. When he asked if he could just go pay his supposed fine at a local IRS office, "Scammer James" said no, because they wouldn't have the case number now since it had been transferred to his department. The complete exchange was posted on Facebook (video above) and is pretty amusing, which probably explains why it's been shared more than 84,000 times. Here are some things to remember if you suspect an IRS scam. The IRS will never:
Call to demand immediate payment, nor will we call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

(Huffington Post)

Sucks When the 1st Amendment Protects Views You Don't Like 

A high school in suburban Chicago has fired a Driver's Ed teacher who told a student he must stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The mother of Shemar Cooper, a 15-year-old sophomore student at Eisenhower High School, says driving instructor Vince Ziebarth told her son that he would not be able to drive with him if he continued to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance. Ziebarth said, "I told him I stand to honor the sacrifice and bravery of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It doesn't mean America is perfect, or that we agree with everything going on," he told the Chicago Tribune. Cooper's mother, Kelley Porter Turner, claimed that Ziebarth was infringing on her son's First Amendment rights. She reportedly emailed Eisenhower High School and told them to "take care of it." As a result Ziebarth was fired. This isn't the first time the school has addressed the issue. Earlier this school year, a Spanish teacher was reprimanded when he grabbed cooper by the arm when Cooper refused to stand for the Pledge, and also told the teacher "America sucks." (ABC 15)

And You Thought Lungs Were For Breathing!

All this time we thought lungs were just for breathing. It turns out they also play a key role in how blood is formed - at least according to a study in <>Nature out of the University of California-San Francisco. Scientists studying the lungs of mice discovered to their surprise that the lungs produced about half the platelets, blood components necessary for stanching, in the creatures' circulation, according to a release. It's been long assumed that most if not all of these platelets were generated in bone marrow, not the lungs. What's more, they also discovered that lungs have what New Atlas describes as "a backup reservoir of blood stem cells that can step in when those in the bone marrow run dry," and that these cells travel freely between the marrow and lungs. It's been known for a while that lungs are capable of making platelets, but the study suggests that role has been greatly understated. (Your lungs might be able to smell.) (Nature)

Good Will?

Down in Arkansas, while going through a bag of donated clothing, a Blessed Sacrament worker found something she was pretty sure was not supposed to be there - a loaded handgun! The weapon was discovered in a plastic sack of donated clothes, according to the initial incident report. The silver and black 9mm handgun had 10 rounds in the magazine. Police checked to see if it had been stolen but it had not. Officer John Shipman then attempted to call the woman who had dropped off the clothing but was unsuccessful. So it sits in the evidence room for now. (KAIT News)

You Mean We Can Never Joke About Domestic Violence?

A jewelry store in Asheville, North Carolina, is getting lots of attention over its newest billboard. Spicer Greene Jewelers latest billboard ad shows several colorful gemstones and the words: "Sometimes, it's ok to throw rocks at girls..." Pictures of the billboard have been shared dozens of times on social media. Many people say it's harmless, and the message is all about context. But of course others are outraged - including Ellen Perry, a literature and humanities teacher at UNCA and AB Tech. She is planned a protest outside the store Sunday afternoon and says she'll continue to organize protests until the billboard is taken down. The store is owned by Eva-Michelle Spicer, 28, and her husband Elliott, 27. Eva-Michelle said, "The billboard was intent to be a nostalgic thought of a childhood teaching. That it's not ok to throw rocks at girls, it's not ok to throw rocks at anyone... It saddens me that it was taken that way, because it certainly wasn't intended." The store said it will donate 10% of sales through Sunday to Helpmate because "domestic violence and rape culture is not something to be taken lightly at all," Eva Michelle said. She added they may push up their "Summer of Love" campaign due to the backlash. That billboard was supposed to go up in four weeks, but it may go up sooner. (WLOS News)

A Day in the Life of a Russian Raccoon

Russian zoo says it's suing an advertising studio for overstimulating a raccoon it loaned out for a run-of-the-mill television commercial that instead ended up featuring a surprise topless model. A zoo official says the frustrated animal has since become obsessed with human breasts - which is hardly ideal behavior in a petting zoo. The Moscow studio calls the suit "absurd" and complains that the little raccoon, Tomas, had some problems of its own when it turned up for work and snatched the model's bra to nibble on it. Zoo officials say they believe treats were hidden on the topless model to keep Thomas interested. Voila, breast obsession! The studio also insists the ad is not erotic, as the zoo claims, and was intended for national TV which would not air porn. The zoo was told that the commercial was being shot to sell bed linens. (Telegraph)

What the What?

Meanwhile in Dallas, evangelist Lance Wallnau, who bills himself as a Christian consultant and whose website says he helped get President Donald Trump elected, told his followers that an "anointed cake" baked by "hookers" turned a gay man straight. Wallnau has made a career out of his pronouncements, one of which recently came when he asked viewers for their prayer requests. One person asked for deliverance for her "homosexual" son. That's when Wallnau launched into a rambling story he said he heard involving baking skills that helped deliver a "gay and very adamantly anti-Christian" bar owner. "This is crazy," he said. "Now, I'm not saying this is going to work for you. But some hookers in his bar got saved." First, a regular at the bar supposedly saved the prostitutes. Later, they whipped up a cake, which the reformed prostitutes prayed over. Wallnau said, "It was an anointed cake, and they made the cake and gave the cake as a gift. The bar owner took a bite and then boom: The power of God hit him." After that he was suddenly straight. And now you know. (Dallas News)

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