Monday 9/8/08

Human Interest News   —   Posted on September 8, 2008

By The Editors of

Meet the Robinsons
If your name is James Robinson, you might find it difficult to board a commercial jet as a passenger these days. Even if you are James Robinson, a commercial airline pilot authorized to carry a handgun onboard planes and also a retired Brigadier General in the Air National Guard. That’s because Robinson the retired general has found himself on an FBI no-fly list designed to prevent suspected terrorists from boarding commercial planes. “Shocking’s a good word; frustrating,” Robinson told CNN. “I’m carrying a weapon, flying a multimillion-dollar jet with passengers, but I’m still screened as, you know, on the terrorist watch list.” But Robinson the pilot isn’t the only James Robinson that has trouble: A former U.S. Attorney in Detroit who also served as an assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration finds himself on the FBI list, as does a California third-grader of the same name who has been designated by the FBI as a terrorism suspect since he was 5 years old. In a sad commentary on the effectiveness of the FBI’s list, when the pilot and former general Robinson needs to fly commercial, he simply books himself as Jim Robinson or J.K. Robinson and encounters no difficulties.

Diamond in the rough
Two miracles for Tyler Jones: First, someone actually found the $3,000 diamond engagement ring he lost roadside in West Haven, Utah. Jones had left the black box containing the expensive ring on top of a vehicle just days before he planned on asking his girlfriend, Amanda Anderson, to marry him. Jones lost the box and ring as he drove away. But later, Monte Kirk spotted the box in the middle of the road while riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. “I opened the box and found a diamond ring inside,” he said. “You don’t find that every day.” Knowing what losing such a valuable item might mean to him and his wife, Kirk decided to watch the local newspaper classifieds section for clues leading to the original owner. When Jones’ classified ad hit the Standard-Examiner, Kirk called and arranged to return the engagement ring. Second miracle for Jones: Even after losing her ring, Anderson said yes when he proposed to her hours after getting the box back.

Ten will get you 400
For want of $10.12, Summit County, Ohio, sent two sheriff’s deputies to Daniel Clark’s Bradenton, Ohio, home to arrest him and his wife. The crime: The pair owed just over $10 on their income taxes. ‘One of the deputies asked, ‘Don’t you guys check your mail?’ But I still didn’t have a clue why they wanted to arrest us,’ Clark told the Akron Beacon Journal. ‘Then they told me we didn’t pay our city income taxes and there was a warrant out for our arrest.’ When Clark checked with his wife, she confirmed that she had in fact ignored official notices sent by the city. By agreeing to show up in court that afternoon, the couple avoided walking away in cuffs, even if they will have to pay an extra $400 in court costs.

Cold wire
Here’s an idea for would-be car thieves: Check to make sure the car actually has an engine in it before attempting to hot-wire it. Thieves in Marlborough, New Zealand, broke into a car parked just outside a local auto repair shop and began crossing wires to attempt to start the car’s engine. But it’s no surprise the station wagon wouldn’t start: Its engine had been taken out of the rear of the vehicle and placed on the ground for repairs.