global identity theft case

federal prosecutors have broken what they’re calling one of they largest hacking and identity theft cases they’ve ever seen. according to an article in the washington post, prosecutors arrested 11 people for stealing more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers from at least nine united states businesses and then selling them. according to the article, the thefts began in 2003 and ran through this year, though the largest case unfolded in february 2007. prosecutors said the crime ring spanned from the united states to eastern europe and east asia.

it’s just unreal how prevalent and easy identity theft is. if you think about it, when you go through a drive-thru and they take your card, you never know if they write down your credit card information or not. i’ve been more conscious and aware of what goes on around me since my wallet was stolen a couple of years ago. luckily, someone left it at a branch of the bank i use and nothing was taken, but it really scared me. when we went to new york a couple of weeks ago, i kept my arm securely around my purse. you can never be too safe, and i’m sure many people who steal wallets out of purses are so good at it that the victim isn’t even aware right away. it’s all about being proactive. once your wallet is gone, you have to hope you cancel all your cards before they are used. to me, the biggest ways to be proactive are keeping tabs on your belongings, like keeping your purse zipped up when you’re walking around, using cash in drive-thrus or using identity theft protection companies like lifelock.

what about you? do you have any tips to keep your identity safe?

the children that keep coming

an arkansas woman is pregnant with her 18th child. yes, she has 17 children, the youngest of which is 9 months, and now is pregnant with number 18. much of that i think comes from the beliefs of their quiverful religion, but i still can’t wrap my mind around 18 kids. she has been pregnant for 11 years. i think nine months sounds like a long time, and i can’t imagine spending 11 years of my life pregnant. they have nine vehicles and a 21-passenger bus. a friend and i who discussed this story yesterday over lunch figured the family must have a bus to drive 17 children plus themselves around.

joe and i decided a while ago that we want to have three or four children. lately, i’ve been leaning toward three, even though i don’t like the idea of having an odd number. but 18? i just keep thinking about that in awe. i haven’t been through labor yet, but even i know i don’t want to do that 18 times!

what do you all think about the idea of having 18 kids? how many kids did you/do you want?

craziest rescue story

check out this story. it’s about a reporter in the washington bureau (a.k.a. his house) of the paper i used to work for. this is probably the craziest break-in and rescue story i’ve ever read. it’s a good thing it didn’t happen while i was there, though. since i worked in a bureau also and lived alone, it would have freaked me out.

tornado aftermath

we’re reeling here after a tornado hit our county this afternoon. i got called about severe weather and got to the station around 11:15 a.m. at that point, weather forecasters were saying a storm was coming from alabama but was dissipating and breaking up. around noon, while i was doing the news, the sky got really dark and the storm really picked up. my station manager arrived soon after i got off the air, and until about 3 p.m., he and i were on the air letting our listeners know what was going on. our studio looks out on the street, and it was amazing to watch the sky change almost instantly. i’ve never seen a storm like this before. we saw everything that you hear will happen during a tornado. we found out after the fact that the weather forecasts on tv, which we had muted, said that it was heading right to the heart of downtown cartersville, which was where we were. i’m really glad we didn’t hear that because i would have freaked out.

now, it’s on to writing our story for tomorrow so we can get home. we’ve had a lot of reports of power outages in the area where we live, so i’m anxious to get home and see if we lost power. i hope we didn’t because the media relations rep at georgia power told me it won’t be back on until late tomorrow night or monday morning.

tornado tears through atlanta

my mom called early this morning to make sure joe and i were ok. a tornado hit downtown atlanta last night, and she wanted to make sure it hadn’t moved up to our area. there was no warning as the storm blew through just after 9:30 p.m., damaging restaurants where people were eating, the georgia dome where the sec men’s basketball tournament was being held and phillips arena, where the atlanta hawks were playing. the cnn center, where joe’s mom works, and the adjoining omni hotel were damaged. centennial olympic park also was hit. the pictures are just unreal. no was killed, but 16 were were taken to grady memorial hospital and one was taken to atlanta medical center for treatment.

we heard thunderstorms last night while we were in bed, but didn’t think much about them. this morning, we realized our power had gone out because our clocks and computer had been reset. i’m just glad the tornado didn’t move up this way.

“honey, are you almost done?”

i know that some people like to take their time in the bathroom, but a 35-year-old woman from ness city, kansas, went a little overboard when she stayed in her boyfriend’s bathroom for two years. two years of sitting on the toilet. apparently, if you sit on a toilet that long, your skin grows into the toilet. when her boyfriend finally called emergency responders, they had to pry the toilet seat off and take her to a hospital to have it removed.

the first question i had when i heard this story was, how do you sit on a toilet for two years? the second was, why did her boyfriend *let* her sit on a toilet for two years? if i locked myself in the bathroom, joe would kick down the door after two hours. according to the story, the boyfriend would ask every day if she wanted to come out. i can totally picture this conversation.

boyfriend: “hey honey, you want to come on out today?”
woman: “nope.”
boyfriend: “ok. sounds good.”

this has to be the most bizarre story i have heard in a long time.