Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • FDR warned of Pearl Harbor attack days in advance

    A new book reports that two days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that officially brought the United States into World War II, President Roosevelt was warned about such a possible attack in a memo from naval intelligence.

    U.S. News' Paul Bedard writes more about the story:

    In the newly revealed 20-page memo from FDR's declassified FBI file, the Office of Naval Intelligence on December 4 warned, "In anticipation of open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii."

    The memo comes from Craig Shirley's new book, December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World, which also reports that the Japanese were building a network of spies through their U.S. embassies and consulates. However, Shirley doesn't blame FDR for failing to act on the memo; instead, he compares the Roosevelt

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  • Kentucky church bans interracial marriage

    Stella Harville and Ticha Chikuni in a November 2010 photo by Harville (AP)

    A small Kentucky church has chosen to ban marriages and even some worship services for interracial couples. The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, located in Pike County, made the vote in response to a longtime member who is engaged to a man whose birthplace is in Zimbabwe.

    Other pastoral leaders in the area were quick to denounce the church's vote. "It's not the spirit of the community in any way, shape or form," Randy Johnson, president of the Pike County Ministerial Association, told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

    The small congregation, which usually hosts about 40 members each Sunday, held the vote after longtime member Stella Harville, brought her fiancé Ticha Chikuni to church with her in June. The couple performed a song together at the church in which Chikuni sang "I Surrender All," while Harville played the piano.

    Chikuni, 29, who works at Georgetown College, is black--and Harville, who was baptized at the church but is not an active member, is white. Dean Harville, Stella's father, said he was told by the church's former pastor Melvin Thompson that his daughter and her fiancé were not allowed to sing at the church again. However, Thompson recently stepped down and the church's new pastor, Stacy Stepp, said the couple was once again welcome to sing.

    Stepp's decision prompted Thompson to put forth a recommendation saying that while all members are welcome at the church, it does not "condone" interracial marriage, and that any interracial couples would not be received as members or allowed to participate in worship services. The only exception? Funerals.

    The Harville family has formally requested the congregation to reconsider the interracial ban, and Thompson has also said he would like to resolve the issue, the area CBS affiliate WYMT has reported.

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  • British man finds live frog in his chicken sandwich

    Back in the 70's, author Harlan Ellison used to disparagingly refer to fast-food offerings as "toad burgers." Yesterday, a man in the UK got a taste of the real deal when he discovered a live frog inside his chicken sandwich.

    The Sun reports that while dining at British chain Nando's, Ross Dance, 32, spit out the four-inch-long amphibian, but realized afterward that he had already bitten into, and swallowed, one of the frog's legs.

    "I think I might have eaten one," Dance said. "The thought of chewing on it keeps me awake at night."

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  • Man is accidentally shot by his own dog

    Duck Hunt gone awryDogs are man's best friend. Except, you know, when they're shooting a gun at you.

    And strangely enough, that's what really happened to a hapless dog owner in Brigham City, Utah. The man in question--a 46-year-old hunting enthusiast who is not named in local news reports on the incident--got a behind-full of birdshot courtesy of his loyal canine companion when he was out duck hunting over the weekend. reports the man and his dog were traveling in a canoe-like boat when the man stepped out into a shallow marsh to set up some decoys. His left his 12-gauge shotgun resting across the bow of the boat, according to Box Elder County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Potter.

    That's when the dog "did something to make the gun discharge," Potter said. "I don't know if the safety device was on. It's not impossible the dog could have taken it off safety."

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  • Oregon mom gives birth, didn’t know she was pregnant

    Not every family plans to have a baby but they usually have some idea once the baby is on the way. However, a Portland, Ore., woman who went to the hospital thinking her appendix had burst was told by doctors that she was actually going into labor. "I was 39 weeks [pregnant] and didn't have the slightest clue," Kim Nelson told local TV station KGW.

    "I thought the weight gain was due to cysts I had in my ovaries and working at Dairy Queen and eating all that food," she said. "I didn't have the slightest idea that this little bundle of joy was in my tummy."

    Also, those other bundles of joy delivered to your tummy from the local Dairy Queen generally try to avoid sending customers to the emergency room.

    In her defense, Nelson said she did not experience morning sickness throughout her pregnancy and doctors had told her she was infertile after developing those ovarian cysts after her second pregnancy.

    "When I got to the hospital, they're like, 'can you possibly be pregnant?' and I'm like,

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  • Miami prison “overrun” by strippers pretending to be legal assistants

    A Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami is falling under heightened scrutiny amid reports that South American strippers are posing as paralegals and smuggling in contraband for imprisoned, wealthy drug lords.

    The drug lords reportedly hire lawyers who then list the women as "legal assistants," which grants them access to the prisoners, the Miami New Times reports.

    "They take off their tops and let the guys touch them," veteran defense attorney Hugo Rodriguez told the paper's Riptide blog. "The majority of these young, very attractive women are noncitizens brought in exclusively for the purposes of visiting the FDC. Any lawyer can sign a form and designate a legal assistant. There is no way of verifying it. The process is being abused."

    According to an ongoing investigation by Riptide, the so-called legal assistants are also smuggling in assorted items, including issues of Playboy, feeding alcohol to an inmate through the prison bars using a straw and sneaking in a purse containing $3,000.

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  • Eiffel Tower could become world’s tallest tree

    The Eiffel TowerThe Eiffel Tower may soon become the world's tallest tree, after a proposed plan to cover the 1,063 foot (324 m) structure with plants.

    An engineering group called Ginger, which specializes in organic, "green" architecture has spent the past two years putting together a $98.8 million dollar project that would attach 600,000 plants weighing 378 tons to the famed Paris tower. They are currently conducting tests on smaller prototypes to see if the Eiffel Tower can sustain the extra weight. From the Ginger proposal:

    The plants would be placed in bags of soil hanging from hemp ropes attached to the tower's steel structure. Twelve tons of rubber piping would irrigate the vegetation.

    The plan is also environmentally sustainable. While the construction phase of the project would create 84.2 tons of carbon emissions, the plants themselves would absorb 87.8 tons of emissions, making the project "carbon negative," with more than 3 tons to spare.

    If the tests are successful, the plants would

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  • Former “sheriff of the year” arrested and sent to jail named after him

    Mugshot of former "sheriff of the year" Pat SullivanEvery civil servant wants to experience his or her legacy firsthand--but not the way that onetime Arapahoe Sheriff Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. has. Sullivan, a nationally renowned law enforcement leader, was arrested on drug charges and is now being detained in the Denver area jail that bears his name.

    Sullivan, who in 2001 was named the National Sheriff Association's "Sheriff of the Year," was arrested on suspicion of trafficking methamphetamines.

    Local news station CBS4 began an investigation of Sullivan last month on a tip that he had agreed to meet a male informant, providing drugs in exchange for sex. He was subsequently arrested by the South Metro Drug Task Force and is currently being held on a $250,000 bond.

    And in an incredible twist of fate, Sullivan now cooling his heels at The Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility, named in his honor.

    "The allegations of criminal behavior involving Pat Sullivan are extraordinarily disturbing," said Grayson Robinson, Arapahoe County's current sheriff. "While the arrest of the former sheriff is very troubling, no one, and particularly a former peace officer, is above the law. This is the most shocking thing I've ever been involved with."

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  • UPDATE # 2: Yahoo News has received a statement from the Church of Scientology, refuting the ABC News and Village Voice reports. The Church of Scientology statement is included at the bottom of this post.

    UPDATE: The Village Voice has an extended interview with Valeska Paris, which you can read here.

    For most people, an extended stay aboard a luxury cruise liner sounds like a dream vacation.

    But Valeska Paris says she was held against her will aboard the Scientology cruise ship "Freewinds" for more than a decade. During her stay on the vessel, she alleges, she was forced into hard labor and never allowed to leave the ship without an escort.

    In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC News) Lateline program, Paris claims that Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige sent her to the ship when she was 18 in order to prevent her family from pulling her out of the organization.

    "I was basically hauled in and told that my mum had attacked the church and that I needed to disconnect from her because she was suppressive," she said. "He decided the ship, and I found out two hours before my plane left, I was woken up in the morning and I was sent to the ship for 'two weeks.' "

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  • Video: Rescued beagle dogs experience sunlight for the first time

    A beagle dog experiencing sunlight for the first time after being rescued from a laboratory in Spain

    In the heartwarming video below, a group of beagles rescued from a research laboratory in Spain experience sunlight for the first time. The 72 beagles arrived in Los Angeles last week, after they'd been saved by the Animal Rescue, Media & Education's (ARME) Beagle Freedom Project. On its web site, the Beagle Freedom Project describes itself as a "mission to rescue beagles used in animal experimentation in research laboratories and give them a chance at life in a loving forever home." Huffington Post writer Laura Hibbard spells out the intense deprivation the puppies have suffered:

    ARME's Beagle Freedom Project spokesman Gary Smith said the beagles, all between ages 4 and 7, had lived in cages their entire lives. "We've been told they lived one per cage in rooms of 10 beagles, but they never had any physical interaction with one another," Smith told the station. "They've been in kennels since they were rescued about a week ago, but aside from that, they've spent most of their lives locked up."

    You can watch the full video after the jump, below.

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