Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
Little Jesse Koochin remains hooked up to a ventilator at Primary Children's Medical Center, oblivious to the controversy that has erupted around him. Doctors at the Salt Lake City hospital pronounced the 6-year-old cancer patient brain-dead this week and want to remove life support. Jesse's parents, Steve and Gayle Koochin, insist their youngest child is alive and believe they can bring him back to health with alternative medicine. Hospital officials maintain the boy is dead and has begun decomposing.
The Mystery At Webb Hill - In the waning daylight hours of December 7, 1998, three teenage boys, hiking near Webb Hill, St. George, Utah, saw a shirt sleeve flapping in the wind near the top of the hill. Their parents had warned them not to attempt hiking the sheer red rock cliffs. What they discovered inside a stone-walled chamber was the skeletonized remains of a 16 year old male. Positive identification of this young man has eluded investigators for nearly five years. Maybe you can help.
Remember Brendan Thompson, the little boy with terminal cancer whose neighborhood put together an early Halloween so he could trick-or-treat? Well, he lost his battle on Thursday morning, but it sounds like his last month was a good one. (scroll to second story)