Our first story begins in Charlottesville, Virginia. Meet UVA student Elizabeth Daly. She was jailed overnight, for (officially) endangering the life of a police officer. But the REAL reason is, she pissed off the cops. Or, should we say, sort-of-cops.
It all started one night last week, when Daly and several of her sorority sisters exited a Harris-Teeter supermarket, with a case of LaCroix sparkling water, cookie dough, and ice cream. Loading it into her car, they were approached by SIX plainclothes agents of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control. Shouting for her to stop, flashing badges, and one agent jumping onto the hood of her car, while another pulled a gun. They even tried breaking the windows of her car. . .
At this point, there are a few questions to ask.
One: SIX plainclothes agents at a GROCERY store ? At Night ? And ARMED ??? Who were they expecting, the entire Chicago Mob ???
Two: Why are investigators for the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control armed in the first place ? They're INVESTIGATORS. I might see agents going armed, when voyaging into the deep woods looking for a clandestine Moonshine Still, but in a suburban parking lot of a college town ??
Three: "Suspicion" because she had a box that appeared to be a case of beverages of some sort. So why didn't ONE agent announce himself, show his badge, and ask to see the case of beverages, to determine whether it was alcoholic or not, and THEN, if it was alcohol, ask for ID ????
But they didn't do that. Instead, they freaked the girl out, who thought she was being attacked by criminals. . . once she found out what ACTUALLY was going on, she apologized. But that wasn't enough for the investigators.
They charged Daly with two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer and one count of eluding police, all Class 6 felonies carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $2,500 in fines per offense.
She only stopped because ONE of the investigators started a siren and lights: she was apparently dialing 911 and was planning to go to the nearest police station.
She spent the night and part of the next day in the regional jail. Not to worry, charges were dismissed entirely on the 28th.
But ABC had to get the last word in. According to their Facebook Page:
Virginia ABC, there's a phrase for this sort of thing: EPIC FAIL. . . .
Agents were working in the area, concentrating on underage possession enforcement. An agent observed what appeared to be an underage person in possession of what appeared to be a case of beer, and approached her to investigate. The agent identified herself as a police officer and was displaying her badge. Other agents did not join the incident until the subject refused to cooperate. Rather than comply with the officers' requests, the subject drove off, striking two officers. She was not arrested for possessing bottled water, but for running from police and striking two of them with a vehicle.
The agents were acting upon reasonable suspicion and this whole unfortunate incident could have been avoided had the occupants complied with law enforcement requests. We take all citizen complaints seriously and the matter is currently under review by the ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement.
And now, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my. . . .
What, you want to see my USDA permit for the rabbit ??
Bet you didn't know the USDA requires permits for magicians to use rabbits. I certainly didn't, and I am, after all, a Wizard. . .
Meet Marty Hahne. Professional stage magician, specializing in kids shows.
It seems that, on and off since 2005, he's had some inspector from the USDA who, for lack of better terms, is jonesing to take him down on some technical violation of some obscure policy resulting from an equally obscure regulation.
You can read the sad history of it here: it's mind-boggling the time, taxpayer dollars, and effort the USDA has put forward to protect what is basically a furry prop in a standard magic illusion.
So, let's look at this alleged rabbit abuse. . .
Even more amazing is that, when asked if they would be concerned if he fed the rabbit, live, to his neighbor's boa constrictor, the said that it would be fine, no permit required. . . .
This apparently is due to the rising influence of animal-rights organizations inside the Department of Agriculture. I'd say it's due to the lowering of common sense, but that's just me. . . .
But it gets even WIERDER. . . . he was just hit with a demand to provide a detailed disaster plan for the care of the rabbit in case of any number of different disasters.
Not sure what Marty replied, but **I** would have replied with this:
- 1 rabbit, about 3 pounds, cut up
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- dash pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups dry red wine
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- 4 ounces sliced mushrooms, sauteed
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup water
Preparation:Directions for rabbit stew.
Dredge rabbit pieces with 1/2 cup flour. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; brown rabbit pieces on all sides. Add celery, onion, salt, pepper, bay leaf, 4 cups water, and wine; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer rabbit stew for 2 hours. Add carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms; cook for about 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender. Combine 1/4 cup flour and 1/3 cup water; stir until well blended and smooth. Stir flour mixture into the broth; cook and stir until thickened.
Rabbit stew recipe serves 4. (Recipe courtesy of About.com Southern Cooking)