The Ministry of Shadows

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Friday Follies

Friday, Mar. 03, 2006 12:54 AM


You know those FedEx/Kinko's smartcards, where you obtain a card, preload it with a dollar amount of your choosing, and use it to access self-service machines?

They've been hacked.

The cards apparently only use a single, 3-digit code to protect the stored data on the card - in this case, the remaining balance.

A clever thief, however, could modify the value and cash the card in at their local Kinko's copy center.


But, for every smart crook, there's a dumb one.

Police caught Fazal Ur Rehman, a Pakistani national, with a fake passport.

What tripped Fazal up was his bad spelling. He misspelled "Ministry" and "Government."


Well, maybe the smart-to-dumb ratio is a bit higher than that.

Meet Ralph A. Gomez, who is being held on charges of possession of an illegal narcotic within 1,000 feet of a church, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

How'd he get caught?

Gomez had apparently been showing off his OnStar unit to his girlfriend. With the volume down, the couple didn't hear the OnStar operator answer. Since the operator received no response, they contacted police.

When police arrived, they quickly determined there was no problem ... except for the cocaine on the center console of Gomez' shiny new Cadillac Escalade.

Both Gomez and his car are in police custody.


It's not criminal, but it's certainly ... unusual.

Thomas Monaghan, the founder of the Domino's Pizza chain, has a new vision.

He wants to build a town that will be governed by strict Roman Catholic principles. No access to abortion. No pornography. No birth control.

Monaghan is bankrolling the project with $250 million, and calls it, "God's Will."

Florida Governor Jeb Bush lauded the development as a new kind of town where faith and freedom will merge to create a community of like-minded citizens. He did not specifically comment on the proposed restrictions, though a spokesman later acknowledged that any restrictions placed on businesses in the community must be in keeping with state and federal law.

But with many healthcare providers turning to mail-order prescription plans, how can Monaghan and the developers assure compliance with restrictions on birth control drugs? Blood tests? A homeowner's association that doubles as the morality police?

If pornography is disallowed, does that mean any bookstore that opens would have to observe a banned books list? No Harry Potter for you, young man, it's chock full of evil magic!

Banning the Playboy Channel is easy enough, but what of wholesome network fare like "Wife Swap" and daytime soap operas? And it's impossible to fully block access to adult channels through digital satellite.

(It should be noted that Monaghan sold Domino's in 1998 so he could pursue good works, so it is not necessary to boycott the pizza chain.)


Philippines Watch: President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has lifted the State of Emergency that began one week ago.


The Ministry has received 2 comment(s) on this topic.



Smed - 2006-03-03 23:00:12
And thanks for the add! While Zon is in your cabinets, I'm rifling through the drawers!

Zon - 2006-03-03 13:22:36
Thanks for stopping by my diary! Don't mind me while I poke around in your cabinets.