Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Businesses Support Police Blue Shepherd Sting

I love it. Operations like this cost money, and Pensacola businesses stepped up to the plate, even though they could not be told what the operation was about. It makes all the difference in the world when a police force has the community support. From today’s Pensacola News Journal:

It takes a village to catch a predator
Written by
Jamie Page

When undercover law enforcement officers slammed accused child sex predators to the ground and arrested them, the police had plenty of backup.

That is, financial backing from at least four local businesses that sponsored the sting operation by providing food, water, paper products and Internet service.

It’s a novel concept, but a necessary one for a budget-intensive operation such as this one, said Pensacola Police Chief Chip Simmons.

“We have had to do what we could to maintain that undercover location, and to do that we had to make it have everything a normal house would have,” Simmons said.

“So, we contacted businesses and they agreed to donate things to the cause. It’s always good to know there are good people and businesses to chip in and help.”

For a month, law enforcement agencies rented a vacant northeast Pensacola home to use as the point of arrest for 25 men during the weeklong undercover Operation Blue Shepherd. Suspects were accused of using the Internet to set up sexual encounters with children.

The suspects came to meet the minors at the home.

“We had to make it look like a living, breathing home with toys, bicycles, mailbox and trash cans outside, and we had to have furniture inside to make the view from the roadway consistent with what an average home would have,” Simmons said.

Many of those things came from police-seized items or were contributed by officers or others for use in the sting.

But the police needed help with other things, such as food and supplies, which were provided by the Apple Market, Dillards, Pensacola Improv Event Center and Cox Communications.

Businesses were not told the nature of the sting, but simply that their contributions would go toward a Pensacola Police Department operation.

“I did not know what they were doing, I just had an officer come to me and ask if I would be willing to provide meals for several people for several days in a row, but I couldn’t talk about it, and I said fine,” said David Apple, owner of Apple Market in Pensacola.

“I just knew I was assisting the Police Department. And anything we can do to assist them, well, we are always eager to support our military and law enforcement any way we can.”

Apple had to sign a confidentiality agreement and could not talk about his catering, which he provided to officers at a rate that allowed him basically to break even.

Apple Market could not deliver the food. Officers would pick it up and take it to the location, which Apple also was not told about.

“The only complaint they had about the food was that everybody gained weight,” Apple said. “It was pretty enormously satisfying to know we helped feed those guys and they were so successful in what they set out to do.”

Representatives from Cox, Dillards and Pensacola Improv could not be reached for comment.

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Community, Crime, Financial Issues, Florida, Food, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Values | 4 Comments

Kuwait Tweeters to Face Trial

Kuwait makes AOL News: Huffington Post today, as two guys are arrested over Tweets offensive to royals:

Kuwait To Try Nasser Abul And Lawrence al-Rashidi Over Twitter Posts

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Kuwait will put on trial two citizens for criticizing Gulf Arab ruling families on social media site Twitter, a security official said on Monday.

Nasser Abul, a Kuwaiti Shi’ite Muslim, was arrested for posting criticisms of the Sunni Muslim ruling families in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and Lawrence al-Rashidi posted defamatory comments of Kuwait’s emir, he said.

He said both would remain in detention for two more weeks before a hearing is scheduled, where they will likely face charges of harming the Gulf Arab state’s interests and defaming the country’s ruler after being arrested earlier in June.

Democracy activists have used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to debate, organize and share information in Bahrain, where the kingdom’s Sunni rulers crushed a protest movement in March led mostly by the country’s Shi’ite majority.

Bahrain called in troops from Sunni-led neighbors such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to enforce its crackdown. OPEC member Kuwait, which has a Shi’ite minority, sent naval forces.

Bahrain questioned a rights activist in April for publishing an image which appeared to show signs of torture on a man who died in detention during the unrest. It is not clear if the case will be brought to court.

Gulf Arab states, run by closely-allied ruling families, are trying to prevent protest movements that brought down Egyptian and Tunisian leaders earlier this year from taking off in their patch.

(Reporting by Eman Goma; editing by Mark Heinrich)

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Cultural, ExPat Life, Free Speech, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Political Issues | 2 Comments

Operation Blue Shepherd

I was shocked to hear about this operation on National Public Radio this afternoon, and to know it was Pensacola. What got my attention was one of the police officers saying that they were shocked to capture so many local people; they had expected to attract predators from surrounding states, but not so many locals. Truly sad.

And kudos to all the men in blue and officers of the court who are putting away these people who would prey on children, taking them off the game board.

You can read the entire article yourself at the Pensacola News Journal:

25 men accused of setting up child sex encounters in Pensacola sting

Twenty-five men were arrested this month in Pensacola during a weeklong undercover operation in which suspects are accused of using the Internet to set up sexual encounters with children. The suspects came to meet the minors at a home in northeast Pensacola only to find a slew of law enforcement officials waiting for them.

The sting, called Operation Blue Shepherd, began June 20 with 30 officers from local, state and federal agencies participating, according to a Pensacola Police Department press release. The results were announced at a news conference this morning at PPD.

Pensacola Police Capt. Paul Kelly said officers used various social networking and E-commerce sites to respond to advertisements of a sexual nature and to place similar advertisements.

The suspects specifically described various sexual acts they were going to do with the male and female children, ages 12 to 14, with whom they believed they were talking. All of the suspects, except one who took a taxi, drove to the undercover house with the intent to perform these sexual acts with the children. Upon arrival, they were arrested and questioned.

Kelly said officers were surprised to find so many eager participants from the immediate Pensacola area.

“We expected to have more violators traveling from outside the area. What this tells me is that these violators do not have to travel far to find their victims. They are much closer to home than we imagined. Most of them were not reluctant or frightened to approach the door of a stranger’s house. They literally pulled up to the house and walked quickly to the door eager to meet the child,” Kelly said.

Agencies participating in Operation Blue Shepherd were the State Attorney’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement , Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Gainesville Police Department, Fort Walton Beach Police Department, Tallahassee Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

June 27, 2011 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Crime, Detective/Mystery, Florida, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Pensacola, Social Issues | 61 Comments

Flash Mob Robberies

Found this today on AOL News:

There is nothing scarier to me than what happens to morality in a mob. Look at their faces. They are robbing the stores, and they feel gleeful, and evidently they have no fear of being held accountable for their robberies.

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Crime, Cultural, Law and Order | 2 Comments

Kuwait Time Lapse

My Kuwaiti friend sent this – these young people put together a fabulous video. Gorgeous work, you make Kuwait look so beautiful.

June 24, 2011 Posted by | Beauty, Community, Cultural, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Sunsets, Travel | 2 Comments

Sorry, Mom

“We’ve had a record number of days under 70°F” Mom says, and as I check today’s weather in Seattle, this is what I see:

You COULD be in Pensacola, Mom:

Did you notice the ‘feels like” temperature?


It’s hot. It’s humid. I think I’ll go take a nap.

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Pensacola, Seattle, Weather | Leave a comment

I Need Your Trust . . .

Here is my scam letter for today, and here is part of what makes me so sad and so mad about these letters. IF they were true, which they are not, someone thinks I am the kind of person who would be a part of stealing a substantial sum of money. There may well be other relatives, or others who need that money – IF it were true, which it is NOT.

Please read carefully,

This message might meet you in utmost surprise. However, it’s just my urgent need for foreign partner that made me to contact you for this transaction. I got your contact from yahoo tourist search while I was searching for a foreign partner. I assured of your capability and reliability to champion this business opportunity when I prayed about you.

I am (MR Reda Abdullah) a banker by profession from Burkina Faso in west Africa and currently holding the post of Audits and Account manager at the foreign remittance department, i have the opportunity of transferring the left over sum of ($9.2 Million Dollars) that belongs to late Mr Rudi Harmanto from Indonesia who died along with his entire family in the Asia Earth Quake (TSUNAMI,DISASTER IN INDONESIA / INDIA. 2004, and since then the fund has been in a suspense account.

After my further investigation, i discovered that Mr Rudi Harmanto died with his next of kin and according to the laws and constitution guiding this banking institution, stated that after the expiration of (7) Seven years, if no body or person comes for the claim as the next of kin, the fund will be channel into national treasury as unclaimed fund. Because of the static of this transaction i want you to stand as the next of kin so that our bank will accord you their recognition and have the fund transfer to your account.

I don’t want the fund to go into our bank treasury account as unclaimed fund. So, this is the main reason why i have contacted you, so that we will release the fund to you as the nearest person to the deceased customer ( next of kin).Please, I would like you to keep this proposal as a top secret or delete it if you are not interested.

Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you the full details on how the business will be executed, and an official copy of the ‘Application Form Of Claim’ of which you will fill, and send to the bank for the release of the fund into your receiving bank account. Also, note that you will have 40% of the above mentioned sum, if you agree to transact the business with me, and while 60% will be for me.

I won’t fail to bring to your notice that the risk to be taken is 100% free in this transaction, and that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements have been made for the transfer of the fund into your bank account. Please, don’t ever forget to reply me this email urgently with your contact information’s like:-

(3)Marital Status:…………………………………..
(4)Telephone Or Cell Phone Numbers:……………………
(5)Your Country:…………………………………….
(6)Your Occupation:…………………………………

I will like to receive the above following information’s from you as you reply this email to me for more trust, and better understanding of who you are. Looking forward to receive your reply urgently.
Thanks from,
Mr. Reda Abdallah

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Crime, Financial Issues, Scams | Leave a comment

Thelma and Louise in Saudi Arabia

An editorial cartoon from my friend Grammy, in Texas, from today’s paper:

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Family Issues, Humor, Joke, Living Conditions, Saudi Arabia, Social Issues, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | 2 Comments

Men, Porsches and Peacocks

Women! If you want to get married, stay away from the guys who drive the flashy cars!

I found this hilarious study on AOL Health News:

Are Men Who Flaunt Flashy Cars Not the ‘Marrying Kind?’

Conspicuous spending often driven by desire to have flings, researchers say.

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay News

SATURDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) — Men who drive Porsches or flaunt other flashy possessions are usually not the “marrying kind,” a new study suggests.

Researchers from Rice University, the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA), and the University of Minnesota found that conspicuous spending by men is often driven by the desire to have uncommitted romantic flings. They also pointed out that although flashy spending may get a woman’s attention, she won’t be picking out china patterns any time soon.

“This research suggests that conspicuous products, such as Porsches, can serve the same function for some men that large and brilliant feathers serve for peacocks,” study author Jill Sundie, an assistant professor of marketing at UTSA, said in a news release from Rice University.

Just as peacocks flaunt their brightly colored tails to attract potential mates, certain men show off flashy products, like brightly colored sports cars, to draw the attention of women, the study found. The researchers also indicated that the men who pursued this strategy were only interested in short-term sexual relationships with women.

June 21, 2011 Posted by | Experiment, Mating Behavior, Relationships, Statistics | 8 Comments

Freedom Greater Factor than Wealth in Happiness

Fascinating study, I found it today on AOL Health News

Freedom More Important to Happiness Than Wealth, Study Finds

Personal independence, autonomy trump money in data from more than 60 countries.

SUNDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) — Personal independence and freedom are more important to people’s well-being than wealth, a new study concludes.

Researchers at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand analyzed the findings of three studies that included a total of more than 420,000 people from 63 countries and spanned nearly 40 years.

Their key finding: “Money leads to autonomy, but it does not add to well-being or happiness.”

The studies looked at data from three different psychological tests familiar to therapists:

The General Health Questionnaire, which measures distress in terms of anxiety and insomnia, social problems, severe depression and physical symptoms of mental distress, such as unexplained headaches and stomach aches.

The Spielberger anxiety inventory, which evaluates how anxious respondents feel at a particular moment.

The Maslach Burnout Inventory, which screens for emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and lack of personal accomplishment.

The analysis revealed “a very consistent and robust finding that societal values of [freedom and autonomy] were the best predictors of well-being,” wrote psychologists Ronald Fischer and Diana Boer in an American Psychological Association release.

“Furthermore, if wealth was a significant predictor alone, this effect disappeared when individualism was entered,” they added.

“Our findings provide insight into well-being at the societal level,” the researchers concluded.

The study appears in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

June 20, 2011 Posted by | Experiment, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Health Issues, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Relationships, Social Issues, Spiritual | , , | Leave a comment