Archive for June, 2008

Yet another reason to avoid the Chinese Olympics

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Olympic nightmare: A red tide in Yellow Sea

With less than six weeks before it plays host to the Olympic sailing regatta, the city of Qingdao has mobilized thousands of people and an armada of small boats to clean up an algae bloom that is choking large stretches of the coastline and threatening to impede the Olympic competition.

Local officials have initiated an all-out effort to clean up the algae by mid-July. Media reports estimate that as many as 20,000 people have either volunteered or been ordered to participate in the operation, while 1,000 boats are scooping algae out of the Yellow Sea. The official news agency, Xinhua, reported that algae currently covered a third of the coastal waters designated for the Olympic races.

Water quality has been a concern for the sailing events, given that many coastal Chinese cities dump untreated sewage into the sea. At the same time, rivers and tributaries emptying into coastal waters are often contaminated with high levels of nitrates from agricultural and industrial runoff. These nitrates contribute to the red tides of algae that often bloom along sections of China’s coastline.

Happy Asteroid Impact Anniversary

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Asteroid anniversary recalls Earth’s rocky history

Summertime — a time for sunny days, beach weekends and of course, leisurely reflections on the end of the world and the monster asteroids that could smack into us. The centennial anniversary of the last big impact, the 1908 Tunguska blast that rocked Siberia, falls Monday, June 30, bringing with it a reminder of the very slight chance that a hunk of space rock out there might have Earth’s number.

The Tunguska “event” leveled nearly 800 square miles of swampy woodland in Siberia, traveling from the northwest to deliver a 5-megaton blast seen by hundreds of witnesses, including one who created a postage stamp of the explosion. A space rock about 50 yards long had zoomed into the Earth’s atmosphere and exploded in mid-air.

“People were knocked off their feet hundreds of miles away,” writes astronomer Phil Plait in his upcoming book Death from the Skies! These are the Ways the World Will End. Years later, a scientific expedition to the remote region found trees knocked sideways in straight lines radiating 15 miles away from the blast.

Bike Races in Grizzly Country Not Too Brite

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Grizzly Mauls Teen During Alaska Bike Race

A 14-year-old girl riding in a mountain bike race was attacked in the dark of night by a bear Sunday and severely injured, but she was able to make a brief 911 call that eventually resulted in her rescue.

The girl suffered head, neck, torso and leg wounds. She underwent surgery and was in critical condition Sunday afternoon at Providence Alaska Medical Center, police said.

“The local bear expert said it’s probably a sow grizzly,” said Cleo Hill, a spokeswoman for the Anchorage Fire Department. “One has been sighted in the area recently.”

Live Ammo at Public Demonstration Not Too Brite

Monday, June 30th, 2008

17 injured by live ammo at open day

FOUR people including a child were in a critical condition today after live bullets were used instead of blanks during a French special forces open day, army and regional officials said.

Seventeen people were injured in total.

Fifteen civilians and two soldiers were injured in the incident, of which the details remained unclear, involving a demonstration by members of a marines parachute regiment of hostage liberation exercises, a regional authority, Bernard Lemaire, said.

Four of the 17 were seriously injured, with two described as critical following “incomprehensible” scenes at the barracks near Carcassone, in the country’s south-west.

According to local authorities, five children were among the injured.

Batman Decapitates Teen at Six Flags Over Georgia

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Boy decapitated by roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia

A 17-year-old South Carolina boy on an church outing was killed Saturday when he was struck by the popular “Batman the Ride” at Six Flags Over Georgia. It was the second Batman ride-related death at the Cobb County park.

According to the police and a statement from the amusement park, the boy and a friend climbed over two 6-foot fences — the park perimeter fence and a second one surrounding the ride — to get to the roller coaster. Park officials said there were numerous signs warning would-be intruders of the danger.

The victim was decapitated when the ride struck him, police said. The youth was not identified.

“The areas where the individuals entered were clearly marked with signs marked ‘restricted area. Authorized personnel only,’ and a sign on a locked gate that read ‘Danger zone. Do not enter. Authorized personnel only,” park spokeswoman Hela Sheth said to reporters, reading from a prepared statement.

Hat tip to Kara!

Bill does not heart Barack

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Bill Clinton says Barack Obama must ‘kiss my ass’ for his support

Bill Clinton is so bitter about Barack Obama’s victory over his wife Hillary that he has told friends the Democratic nominee will have to beg for his wholehearted support.

Mr Obama is expected to speak to Mr Clinton for the first time since he won the nomination in the next few days, but campaign insiders say that the former president’s future campaign role is a “sticking point” in peace talks with Mrs Clinton’s aides.

The Telegraph has learned that the former president’s rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronising attitude to Mr Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence.

A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could “kiss my ass” in return for his support.

“Once I stopped laughing, he was pretty easy to catch because he was tripping on the lower portion of the costume”

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Man dressed as penis disrupts graduation

A 19-year-old man dressed as a penis was arrested for disturbing a high school graduation today at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Calvin Morett of 337 Pyramid Pine Estates allegedly interrupted the Saratoga Springs High School graduation by marching across SPAC’s stage in an inflatable 6-foot penis costume while diplomas were being given out, Saratoga Springs Police Sgt. Sean Briscoe said.

Morett purchased the full-body costume and sprayed parts of the 5,000 people in the crowd with Silly String, Briscoe said.

23 Shots of Vodka in 30 Mins Not Too Brite

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Man Dies After Taking 23 Shots in 30 Mins.

A Florida man died Tuesday after taking more than two dozen shots of cherry vodka within a half hour, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office.

“We have witnesses that have described the victim as taking anywhere from 23 to 25 shots in 30 minutes,” Hillsborough County Sheriff’s spokesman J.D. Callaway told ABCNEWS.com.

Eric Morris, 26, was allegedly taking part in a drinking game with another patron at an adult nightclub, Angels Show Bar, in Seffner, Fla., just hours before he died, according to police.

Muskrat terrorists destroy levee in Missouri

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Muskrats Bring Down Levee in Missouri, Threatening Almost 100 Homes

Defiant residents of this eastern Missouri community lost one struggle against the relentless Mississippi River Friday, but quickly prepared for another.

Residents and flood fighters were saddened after a burrowing muskrat brought down the saturated Pin Oak levee shortly before dawn. But within hours, a new defense was in the works — a quickly constructed 4-foot-tall sandbag levee to protect 100 homes in the floodwaters’ path.

“We’re not quitting — the Army doesn’t quit,” said National Guard Col. Michele Melton, who was coordinating the sandbagging effort. “That’s why we’re here — to try and save these people.”

Many of the 720 residents of Winfield and people from surrounding communities have spent the last several days helping the National Guard patch one trouble spot after another.

In the end, their efforts were undone by an animal that weighs no more than 5 pounds. Officials said holes bore by a muskrat that was either seeking food or building a den led brought the levee down.

More proof the EU is useless

Friday, June 27th, 2008

EU forces market trader to pulp thousands of kiwi fruit because they’re ONE MILLIMETRE too small

A market trader has been banned from selling a batch of kiwi fruits because they are 1mm smaller than EU rules allow.

Inspectors told 53-year- old Tim Down he is forbidden even to give away the fruits, which are perfectly healthy.

The father of three will now have to bin the 5,000 kiwis, costing him £1,000 in lost sales.

Speaking yesterday from the stall in Bristol he has owned for 20 years, Mr Down said: ‘It’s total nonsense. I work hard enough to make a living without all these bureaucrats telling us what we can and can’t sell.

‘They’re saying I’m a criminal for selling this fruit, but the real crime is that all this fruit will go to waste – all because it’s 1mm too small.

Politically Incorrect in Europe

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Is Europe Repainting Its Nazi Past?

Europe’s soccer games have long been the preserve of boisterous fans, drunken brawls and riots. Lately, they have also become the province of anti-Semites and neo-Nazis who comfortably spew hateful epithets in the anonymity of crowded stadiums where they enjoy a troubling measure of support.

In recent years, soccer crowds have gone so far as to simulate the hissing of Nazi gas chambers, pairing the sound with Nazi salutes. In Belgium, Muslim fans at a soccer match between Israel and Belgium shouted “Jews to the gas chambers” and “strangle the Jews,” while waving Hamas and Hezbollah flags. Freed from the restraints of acceptable behavior, with inhibitions loosened by alcohol consumption and the intense camaraderie of team spirit, soccer fans freely unleash anti-Semitic slurs with abandon and without fear of retribution.

This alarming behavior prompts questions as to whether anti-Semitism is becoming acceptable again in a Europe that has forgotten its Nazi past, and whether guilt has been supplanted by denial. Is the era of Nazism being re-examined and re-framed in a more positive light that contributes to such gratuitous and ugly outbursts?

Politically Incorrect Advertising in Japan

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Monkey advert ‘resembling’ Obama is pulled in Japan

A Japanese mobile phone firm said today it had pulled a TV advert depicting a monkey as a political candidate amid accusations that it was a racist reference to Barack Obama, who is seeking to become the first black US president.

The ad, for eMobile, shows a monkey in a suit addressing an election rally, surrounded by supporters carrying placards carrying the word “Change”.

The apparent intention is to persuade subscribers to other mobile phone carriers to transfer to eMobile.

But the combination of the monkey, and the resemblance of his message to the theme of Obama’s campaign, “Change we can believe in”, prompted bloggers to accuse the company of making a racist slur against the Democratic hopeful.

North Pole melts away

Friday, June 27th, 2008

No ice at the North Pole – Climate Change, Environment

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

“From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water,” said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

If it happens, it raises the prospect of the Arctic nations being able to exploit the valuable oil and mineral deposits below these a bed which have until now been impossible to extract because of the thick sea ice above.

Sorry, I Cut Out The Wrong Lung

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Surgeon Suspended For Removing Wrong Lung

Santusht Perera’s physician’s license was suspended after he removed of portions of the wrong lung during surgery and allegedly attempted to conceal the error.

Perera was issued a two-year suspension on June 5 from the State Board of Medical Examiners. The Board’s appellate court upheld the suspension in Perera’s appeal case with a final decision on June 12.

After the surgery, Perera told the patient, Richard Flagg, the right lung tissue, which was wrongfully removed, contained a life-threatening tumor even though he knew it did not.

He altered his records to show he intended to operate on the right lung even though he was actually supposed to remove the tumor in the left lung.

Yet another reason to avoid Air India

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Report: Sleeping Pilots Overshot Airport by 359 Miles

An Air India flight soared past its Mumbai destination on June 4 as its pilots allegedly dozed off in the cockpit, The Times of India reported Thursday.

The napping pilots flew 359 miles past the airport and were still at cruising altitude when nervous air traffic controllers woke them up.

The flight, which was on autopilot flying toward Mumbai, had about 100 passengers on board.

“The plane took off from Dubai at 1:35 a.m. Indian Standard Time and then from Jaipur at 7 a.m. After operating an overnight flight, fatigue levels peak, and so the pilots dozed off after taking off from Jaipur,” an unidentified source told The Times of India.

Air India officials vehemently denied the report, saying the plane lost radio contact with air traffic control for some time, and only flew 14 miles off course.

“We emphatically deny the report. No such incident took place. We’ve checked our records,” Jitender Bhargava, Air India’s director for public relations, told The Times.

Sex with picnic table not too brite

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Man caught having sex with table gets 6 months

Police say a man was arrested after admitting to, and being caught on DVD having sex with his picnic table repeatedly.

Investigators say they received a tip that Art Price Jr., 40, of 146 Brinker St. in Bellevue was having sex with a picnic table while outside on the deck. The incidents occurred between January and March 2008.

Police say on March 13, the tipster dropped off three DVDs which showed Price in the act. On four occasions, Price is seen naked and masturbating in the rear room near the open doorway; he then comes out to the deck. He tilts the metal round picnic table on its side and lays up against it and has sexual intercourse with the table. Afterwards he cleans the table and the deck.

Police say the the incidents occurred close to Ridge Elementary School.

Politically Incorrect in Massachusetts

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Dem pledges: I’ll ‘rip apart’ child-rape victims on stand

Massachusetts politician and defense attorney Rep. James Fagan is under intense public scrutiny after he promised to “rip apart” child victims of rape who testify if the state imposes strict sentences for sex offenders.

Fagan, a Democrat, made his controversial remarks on the state House floor, Fox News reported.

“I’m gonna rip them apart,” Fagan said of child victims. “I’m going to make sure that the rest of their life is ruined, that when they’re 8 years old, they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep; when they’re 19 years old, they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody.”

As a defense attorney, Fagan said he would prevent accused child sex offenders from experiencing a “mandatory sentence of those draconian proportions.”

Construction Workers Still Like to Booze at Work in NYC

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

NYC Construction Workers Still Drinking On Job

Construction accidents have claimed the lives of 20 in New York this year alone and as federal safety watchdogs kick off a two-week crackdown on high-risk building sites, CBS 2 HD found it wasn’t hard to find workers having a liquid lunch, then heading back to work where they may be putting everyone around them in harm’s way.

At an Upper West Side watering hole, it seems like it’s happy hour, with patrons clinking glasses and guzzling booze — except it’s noon, and the construction workers having some drinks still have to go back to work building a high-rise condo complex nearby.

CBS 2 HD showed the shocking video to area residents.

“If they’re not in the right state of mind, only God knows what could happen,” one New Yorker said.

Apes get human rights in Spain

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Spanish parliament to extend rights to apes

Spain’s parliament voiced its support on Wednesday for the rights of great apes to life and freedom in what will apparently be the first time any national legislature has called for such rights for non-humans.

Parliament’s environmental committee approved resolutions urging Spain to comply with the Great Apes Project, devised by scientists and philosophers who say our closest genetic relatives deserve rights hitherto limited to humans.

“This is a historic day in the struggle for animal rights and in defense of our evolutionary comrades, which will doubtless go down in the history of humanity,” said Pedro Pozas, Spanish director of the Great Apes Project.

Alien Fleet Over UK!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Military probing amazing video

A SHAKEN soldier told last night how he saw THIRTEEN UFOs spinning in the skies above his military barracks.

Corporal Mark Proctor was among three squaddies who spotted the objects while out on night patrol.

He filmed them on his mobile phone and reported the close encounter to Army top brass.

Ministry of Defence experts were studying his report and video yesterday — after ordering Mark and his pals NOT to say anything else about the incident.

Japanese love their toilets

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

In Energy-Stingy Japan, an Extravagant Indulgence: Posh Privies

When it comes to saving energy, the Japanese have much to teach the United States and other rich countries, whose leaders descend on Japan next month for a Group of Eight summit.

Energy consumption per person here is about half that in the United States, and the growth of greenhouse gas emissions is slower than anywhere in the industrialized world.

There is a hiccup, though, in this world-beating record. It happens inside the Japanese home, where energy use is surging. And nothing embodies the surge quite like the toilet — a plumbing fixture that has been reengineered here as an ultracomfy energy hog.

Japanese toilets can warm and wash one’s bottom, whisk away odors with built-in fans and play water noises that drown out potty sounds. They play relaxation music, too. “Ave Maria” is a favorite.

Pig survives 36 days in quake rubble

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Hero porker survives 36 days in China quake rubble

A pig that survived for 36 days buried beneath rubble in quake-hit southwest China on a diet of charcoal has been hailed as a symbol of the will to stay alive, state press reported Monday.

The pig, who weighed nearly 150 kilograms (330 pounds) at the time of the magnitude-8.0 earthquake on May 12, had lost two thirds of its weight when found last week, the Chongqing Evening Post said.

“It didn’t look like a pig at all when it was saved. It was as thin as a goat!” a witness told Xinhua news agency.

According to the report in the Chongqing Evening Post, the pig survived on water and a bag of charcoal that had been buried with the one-year-old in the ruins of Pengzhou city, Sichuan province.

Although charcoal has no nutritional value, it is not toxic either and it filled the pig up, it said.

Cougars on the attack in New Mexico

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Cougar kills, eats man in New Mexico

A mountain lion attacked, killed and partially ate a New Mexico man, authorities said on Tuesday.

A search party found the body of Robert Nawojski, 55, in a wooded area near his mobile home in Pinos Altos, New Mexico, late last week, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish said.

Investigators concluded that Nawojski had been attacked and killed by a mountain lion, or cougar, at a spot close to his home, where he lived alone and was known to bathe and shave outdoors.

Swimming with ‘gators not too brite

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Alligator Eats Teen’s Arm During Late-Night Swim

A Florida teen has lost his arm, but not his spirit, after an alligator attacked him Sunday during an early morning swim in a Florida canal.

Kasey Edwards, 18, of Okeechobee, Fla., lost his left arm after grappling with the 11-foot long alligator in a canal at 2 a.m. Sunday.

“I felt something lock down and had the sensation of needle nose pliers, just a gigantic set of them, clamping down,” Edwards told FOX affiliate WFLX-TV.

Edwards admits he and his friends were drinking before he decided to jump in the 25-foot-deep canal in Nubbin Slough in Okeechobee County.

Was Obama’s Birth Certificate Photoshopped?

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Faked birth certificate suggests Obama may not be US citizen

It is now a virtual certainty that the “birth certificate” claimed by the Barack Obama campaign as authentic is a photoshopped fake.

The image, purporting to come from the Hawaii Department of Health, has been the subject of intense skepticism in the blogosphere in the past two weeks.

It has become even more suspect with the revelation that variations of the certificate image were posted on the Photobucket image aggregation website — including one listing the location of Obama’s birth as Antarctica, one with the certificate supposedly issued by the government of North Korea, and another including a purported photo of baby Barack — one of which has a “photo taken” time-stamp just two minutes before the article and accompanying image was posted on the left-wing Daily Kos blog.

That strongly suggests that Daily Kos obtained the image from Photobucket, not the State of Hawaii, the Obama family, or the Obama campaign. Photobucket is not known as a credible supplier of official vital records for any of the fifty states, and the liberties that other Photoshoppers took with the certificates confirms this.

Even Hitler liked to laugh

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Hitler the comedian: The Nazi leader’s bodyguard reveals dictator’s funny side

Adolf Hitler found time amid the bloodiest war in history to crack jokes with his cronies.

Hitler the comedian is one side of the Fuhrer painted in a new memoir called ‘The Last Witness‘ by one of the Nazi leader’s bodyguards.

The book, by Rochus Misch – who also served as telephonist in the Berlin bunker – also depicts the scene after the dictator committed suicide.
Adolf Hitler

Hitler, the mass killer, “had a small fund of jokes,“ recalled Misch, who is now 90.

“The boss was said to be particularly fond of a couple jokes and told the best ones over and over,“ he said.

Bubba is at it again

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Sun pic of Bill Clinton holding hands with mystery woman grabbed by TMZ.com

An Edmonton Sun picture of former U.S. president Bill Clinton, holding hands in Edmonton with an unidentified woman, is getting international attention.

Entertainment website TMZ.com picked the picture up with headline “Bill Clinton: Hands-On Experience.”

“President Bill Clinton is always giving a helping hand to his fellow man — or woman, as the case may be,” reads a cutline.

Obama, Osama and Microsoft

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Microsoft tries to fix big glitch on Obama

For months, Barack Obama’s campaign has repeatedly, and not always successfully, tried to swat away references to Barack “Osama,” the mutating of the candidate’s name into the similar-sounding moniker of the world’s most-wanted terrorist.

Some of the mixups have been made accidentally (as when Sen. Ted Kennedy did it). Some have been made maliciously by Obama’s critics (as when Rush Limbaugh did it).

One mixup, with potentially vast effect, apparently belongs to the unintentional category and gained wide currency this week: The spell-checker in Microsoft’s Hotmail e-mail software recommends that users replace the word “Obama” with “Osama.”

Don’t take a ferry during a typhoon

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Rescuers May Bore Hole in Capsized Philippine Ferry, 800 Missing

Rescuers in the Philippines may bore a hole in a ferry capsized by a deady typhoon in a desperate attempt to find survivors among more than 800 missing passengers and crew, an official said Monday.

A group of 28 ferry passengers and crew washed ashore after drifting at sea for more than a day from the site where their ship was capsized and left most of the hundreds aboard missing and presumed dead, officials said.

Manila’s DZBB radio said the survivors, 20 male passengers, four women and four crewmen, drifted at sea for more than 24 hours wearing their lifejackets, reaching Mulanay township in eastern Quezon province late Sunday.

“This really shook this town. This was horrible.”

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Children fed ’silly pills,’ forced to perform sex shows

In the windowless front rooms of a former day care center in a tiny Texas community, children as young as 5 were fed powerful painkillers they knew as “silly pills” and forced to perform sex shows for a crowd of adults.

Two people have already been convicted in the case. Now a third person with ties to the club, previously known in town only as a swingers group, is set to go on trial Monday not far from Mineola, population 5,100.

“This really shook this town,” said Shirley Chadwick, a longtime resident of Mineola. “This was horrible.”

Patrick Kelly, 41, is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, tampering with physical evidence and engaging in organized criminal activity.

In all, six adults have been charged in connection with the case, including a parent of the three siblings involved.

Jurors this year deliberated less than five minutes before returning guilty verdicts against the first two defendants, who were accused of grooming the kids for sex shows in “kindergarten” classes and passing off Vicodin as “silly pills” to help the children perform.

Dwarf pimp in New York

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Young Teen Runaway’s Alleged Pimp To Face Judge

A dwarf charged with prostituting an underage runaway will appear in Kings County Supreme Court on Monday.

Jacqueline Green, a.k.a. ‘Shorty,’ due to her 3 foot 9 inch height, is charged with promoting prostitution and child endangerment for allegedly pimping a 15-year-old that ran away from a troubled home.

According to published reports, Green is accused of using her Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment as a sex pad for clients who paid $250 per half-hour for intercourse, and $100 per half-hour of oral sex.

Clients were found using Craigslist.

Well that’s one way to get a scoop!

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Journalist ‘reported own murders’

Police in Macedonia have arrested a journalist on suspicion that he is behind three murders he reported on.

The journalist, Vlado Taneski, is accused of raping, torturing and killing three elderly women in the south-western town of Kicevo.

Macedonian police began to suspect him after he included details in his reports that they had not made public.

Other men have reportedly already been convicted of the first two murders. The third was committed last month.

Mr Taneski, 56, has not yet been charged with any offence, police said.

Olympic Internet Curse is True!

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

“Curse of the Fuwa” fulfilled by floods

Floods sweeping southern China seem to have fulfilled the final stanza of an Internet curse involving Beijing’s Olympic mascots, but censors have been quick to remove postings that might fuel the superstition.

After a devastating earthquake struck Sichuan province last month, Internet users tied four of the five “Fuwa” mascots to the calamities that have struck China in the run-up to the Games, which begin in August. One Fuwa is a panda, the totem of Sichuan.

The others resemble a torch, reminding netizens of the protests against the international Olympic torch rally; a Tibetan antelope tied to widespead demonstrations in Tibetan areas; and a swallow that looks like a kite, linked to a deadly train crash in Shandong province.

Obama jumps the shark

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Barack Obama gets his own nifty Great Seal; all he needs now is votes

Just before the president of the United States makes an appearance at a speech, a usually tall, muscular person with a machine gun hanging under his suit coat quietly walks on stage and hangs the presidential seal on the podium front.

It’s an impressive looking thing that conveys a sense of the power of the top elected office in the land and, indeed, the free world.

But Barack Obama’s crowd has decided not to wait for any of the formalities like a presidential election, an inauguration or even a nomination, which he still hasn’t actually officially won yet. Though even Hillary Clinton admits to the math now.

Obama now has his own Great Seal already. And it is really, really big. It’s big like the tires on those elevated pickups in the parking lot at NASCAR races where you look out the car window and see nothing but fist-sized lug nuts.

Obama’s new seal looks really presidential, which is probably a coincidence, don’t you think? Obama’s seal has an eagle just like the president’s seal and he or she is holding arrows to signify war, which Obama was against before it even started.

And it’s got olive branches, which stand for peace, which we haven’t really had since 9/11 but DailyKos promises will come as soon as we shoo out Bush and Cheney.

The seal’s also got a terrifically impressive motto in Latin — “Vero Possumus” — which means “The possum speaks truthily.”

Old Sparky back in action

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

South Carolina Executes Inmate Who Killed 2 by Electric Chair

A South Carolina man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend’s parents 14 years ago was executed in the state’s electric chair after a last-ditch effort to halt the sentence was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.

James Earl Reed was pronounced dead at 11:27 p.m. Friday in the state’s death chamber in Columbia. He did not issue a final statement.

The execution, first scheduled for 6 p.m., had been put on hold as defense attorneys successfully obtained a stay from a federal judge, only to see it vacated by the 4th U.S. Circit Court of Appeals. Their attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to block the execution was subsequently denied.

Someone Didn’t Get the Memo About Separation of Church and State

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Report: Ohio teacher burned cross on kids’ arms

A public school teacher preached his Christian beliefs despite complaints by other teachers and administrators and used a device to burn the image of a cross on students’ arms, according to a report by independent investigators.

Mount Vernon Middle School teacher John Freshwater also taught creationism in his science class and was insubordinate in failing to remove a Bible and other religious materials from his classroom, the report said.

Czecho Cannibal Mom

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Czech Mother Accused of Skinning Caged Son, Feeding Him to Relatives

A mother is accused of partially skinning her caged son and feeding his flesh to relatives.

Kalra Mauerova, 31, of Brno in the Czech Republic, wept in court as she admitted torturing her son Ondrej, and his ten-year-old brother, Jakub, The Sun reported.

Mauerova, a member of the Grail Movement cult, caged Ondrej for months while relatives, also members of the cult, ate his raw flesh, a judge heard yesterday.

The court in Brno heard the family sexually abused the boys and made them cut themselves with knives.

The boys said they were kept in cages or handcuffed to tables and made to stand for days in their own urine.

The abuse was discovered when a man living nearby installed a TV monitor to keep watch on his newborn baby.

Instead of pictures of his newborn he was confronted by live images of Ondrej naked in the cellar — beaten and chained, The Sun reported.

Mauerova is understood to have installed the monitor so she could watch her victims suffering from her kitchen.

Hat tip to Kara!

How to Go Directly to Jail Without Passing Go

Friday, June 20th, 2008

FBI: Flight Diverted After NYC Woman Lights Up

An unruly JetBlue passenger from Queens who lit up a cigarette mid-flight Tuesday forced the 145-passenger flight to be diverted after she became violent and uncooperative when asked to stop smoking, CBS 2 HD has learned.

Christina Szele, 35, was arrested and charged with assault and interfering with a flight crew, and remains locked up in Denver until a detention hearing scheduled for Monday.

Szele’s brother told CBS 2 HD she is going through a tough time right now, having recently seen the end of a 10-year relationship.

“She does drink a lot. I think part of it is the breakup, and that’s what she told me,” Ladi Szele said. “She could use help.

“She was going to fly out a week ago, but she missed her flight. So they were going to put her on another flight. And they wouldn’t let her board because they said she was too intoxicated.”

Tourists love Der Führer

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Visitors can’t get enough of Hitler tours in Munich

Visiting tourists can’t get enough of Adolf Hitler tours in Munich, the southern German city where the dictator nurtured his Nazi Party and, 10 years before he was elected German chancellor, mounted the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch.

The guided walking tours take visitors to city sites with Adolf Hitler significance which most Munich natives today are no longer aware of, such as the fact that Hitler gave his first public speech upstairs at the world-famous Hofbraeuhaus beer hall in 1918.

Close by, in the Schwabing district, is a pub, the Schellingsalon, where Hitler liked to drink and often did not pay the bill.

Though he was born in Braunau, Austria, Hitler made Munich his home in 1913, before World War I. The trail follows him from his beginnings and his rise to Fuehrer of the Third Reich.

Eric Loerke, 57, a U.S. national and longtime Munich resident, conducts the walks in English for a local guides firm, Munichwalktours, with a maximum of 25 paying visitors on each Third Reich Tour.

Latest mystery foot just a hoax

Friday, June 20th, 2008

“Very cruel joke”: 6th foot found on B.C. shore a hoax

The media calls from Paris, New York and Australia were just starting to ebb Thursday for Sandra Malone when a new frenzy started: the mysterious sixth human foot that had apparently washed ashore in front of the campground she manages was nothing but a hoax.

It was the latest twist in a story that has many people on Vancouver Island and the mainland riveted. In less than a year, four right feet and one left foot — all encased in buoyant sneakers — have washed ashore in the Strait of Georgia. The latest was found Monday in Ladner, just south of Vancouver.

On Wednesday, everybody thought the number of feet had risen to six after a woman who was collecting rocks for an art project at Campbell River spotted a black Adidas running shoe with two bones sticking out of it. The woman rushed to tell Malone, who ran to the beach and then called police.

The Hook is coming to America

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Abu Hamza loses extradition fight

Jailed Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has lost his High Court bid against extradition to the US where he faces terror-related charges.

The Egyptian-born preacher is currently serving a seven-year jail term in the UK for inciting murder and race hate.

Abu Hamza, 50, from west London, is wanted by US authorities on 11 charges, including sending cash to al-Qaeda.

He has 14 days to decide whether he will launch a final appeal in the House of Lords against the judges’ decision.

The extradition order was first approved by City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court and ratified by the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith in February 2008.

Aliens over Wales

Friday, June 20th, 2008

UFO spotted by police helicopter

A police helicopter crew has spotted what is described as an unusual aircraft in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The helicopter was above St Athan, which is home to an RAF base and close to Cardiff International Airport.

But three-man crew could not capture any images before the object vanished over the Bristol Channel on 7 June.

South Wales Police said the helicopter did not give chase and described the crew as very experienced. The sighting has been reported for investigation.

Time is almost up for Robert Mugabe

Friday, June 20th, 2008

War crimes warning to Robert Mugabe as terror grows

With just a week to go before Zimbabwe’s run-off elections – and with the body count growing – President Mugabe has been warned that he could be hauled before the International Criminal Court in The Hague over the atrocities inflicted on his opponents.

A key Western diplomat, speaking yesterday on condition of anonymity, said: “He needs to know he is moments away from an ICC indictment.”

Twelve bodies of activists, most of them showing signs of torture, were found across Zimbabwe yesterday.

In New York, Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, convened a crisis meeting at the United Nations. She said: “By its actions, the Mugabe regime has given up any pretence that the June 27 elections will be allowed to proceed in a free and fair manner. We have reached the point where stronger international action is needed.”

Martha not welcome in the UK

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Martha Stewart refused entry to the UK

Martha Stewart has been refused a visa to Britain because of her criminal convictions for obstructing justice, the Daily Telegraph has learned.

The lifestyle guru, convicted four years ago in the US for obstructing justice, was planning to speak at the Royal Academy and to hold meetings with several figures in the fashion and leisure industry, including Jasper Conran, and was due to travel within the next few days.

The refusal by the UK Border Agency was sent to Ms Stewart, aged 66. A spokesperson for the business magnate said: “Martha loves England and hopes this can be resolved and that she will be able to visit soon.”

Please no sex in the Cape Cod dunes

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Park officials target sex in the dunes

It’s a slow week in the northern territory of the Cape Cod National Seashore when a man with a yellow towel flashing passers-by is the sole complaint about public sex acts.

In the past decade, the number of complaints about explicit, open public sex in the Provincetown and Truro portions of the national park has more than tripled, Seashore acting chief ranger Craig Thatcher said. The activity ranges from flashing to masturbation to men’s outdoor orgies, he said.

This summer, federal authorities are introducing a new tactic to discourage debauchery in the dunes: pairing up with local officials and business leaders to try to persuade culprits to behave better through public education.

Please don’t lock government employees in the toilet

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Protest at Maoist toilet lock up

Around 4,000 local government bodies in Nepal have gone on strike after a Maoist minister locked up an “errant official” in a toilet.

The official had incurred the minister’s wrath for allegedly running an illegal stone mine.

Striking workers said that his incarceration inside a toilet was an “inhumane and objectionable act”.

But the minister responded by saying that the official now knows what it is like to live in a “foul environment”.

Japanese love suicide

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Japan gripped by suicide epidemic

Japanese professionals in their thirties are killing themselves at unprecedented rates, as the nation struggles with a runaway suicide epidemic.

Newly published figures show that 30,093 people took their own lives in 2007 — a 2.9 per cent increase in a year — leaving the country as the most suicide-prone anywhere in the developed world and rendering government efforts to combat the problem a failure.

Aliens getting ever more clever with their crop circles

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Most complex crop circle ever discovered in British fields

The most complex, “mind-boggling” crop circle ever to be seen in Britain has been discovered in a barley field in Wiltshire.

The formation, measuring 150ft in diameter, is apparently a coded image representing the first 10 digits, 3.141592654, of pi.

It is has appeared in a field near Barbury Castle, an iron-age hill fort above Wroughton, Wilts, and has been described by astrophysicists as “mind-boggling”.

Michael Reed, an astrophysicist, said: “The tenth digit has even been correctly rounded up. The little dot near the centre is the decimal point.

Skunk on a plane

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Skunk discharges odor on plane in Miami

An uninvited passenger created a smelly situation on a plane in Miami.

American Airlines Flight 915 from Miami to Bogota, Colombia, was delayed Wednesday night after a skunk was found in the back of the cargo hold, discharging its foul odor throughout the aircraft, airline officials said.

The skunk was discovered as workers were loading the plane. When crews tried to remove the skunk, the animal released its notorious rotten smell, American Airlines spokesman Tim Wagner said. No one was injured, but the odor filtered through the cabin and passengers were taken off the plane.

Idiot Criminal of the Week

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Man shoots self dead while breaking into house

Police in a Dallas suburb say a man trying to rob a house accidentally shot himself after kicking down the door and died in the driveway.

Grand Prairie police say the body of 19-year-old Cameron Sands was found outside the house early Tuesday.

Police Lt. John Brimmer says the evidence indicates Sands shot himself while trying to pull the gun from his waistband. He then dropped the gun and ran until he collapsed.

IRS going after Rev. Al

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

SUBPOENA BLITZ PUTS HEAT ON AL

The probe into the Rev. Al Sharpton’s finances intensified this week, with the IRS sending out a flurry of subpoenas to his most generous corporate donors, The Post has learned.

Anheuser-Busch, the brewer of Budweiser and Michelob, confirmed yesterday that it received a federal subpoena in connection to its charitable giving to Sharpton’s National Action Network.

“We have received a subpoena and are cooperating with the IRS,” the company said in a statement.

Chinese are actually Blacks in South Africa

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Court rules Chinese South Africans can now be called black

A court on Wednesday issued a landmark ruling classifying Chinese South Africans as black, making them eligible for benefits for those discriminated against under the former apartheid regime.

The ruling from the Pretoria high court came after the Chinese Association of South Africa (CASA) challenged their exclusion from laws aimed at redressing economic imbalances under white-minority rule, which ended in 1994.

CASA argued that Chinese citizens continue to be marginalised under the country’s black economic empowerment and affirmative action legislation. Both laws benefit the country’s black, Indian and mixed-race communities.

Yet another rogue trader story

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Morgan Stanley suspends London trader

Morgan Stanley has suspended a trader in London after the individual allegedly cost the Wall Street bank $120m (£60m) by wrongly pricing investments.

The employee has been reported to the City regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Morgan Stanley discovered the problem in the second half of May and believes it had been going on for at least three months.

The trader appears to have placed too high a price on certain investments which are currently very hard to value because there is almost no market for them. Banks are struggling with these types of investments and have to mark them to a model which they believe reflects a fair value.
advertisement

They have come under pressure to be very rigorous about these marks from investors who are nervous about possible new blackholes emerging in companies’ balance sheets. Morgan Stanley issued a statement saying: “The firm became aware of marks in a London-based trader’s book that were inconsistent with firm policies.

Yet ANOTHER foot washes ashore in Canada!

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Sixth severed foot surfaces off Canadian coast

A severed foot — the sixth this year — washed up on the shore of a Canadian island on Wednesday, police said.
Severed feet have washed up on Westham Island, south of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The right foot was found by a local woman walking on the beach, said Sgt. Mike Tresoor of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the town of Campbell River on Vancouver Island, British Colombia.

Authorities were planning an afternoon news conference to release more details.

The foot was the sixth discovered on shorelines in the area since August, according to local police and media reports. Another foot — a severed left foot still clad in a shoe — was found Monday on the shore of Westham Island, south of Vancouver. Police said it was taken to a coroner for DNA testing.

The severed left foot, which was in a shoe, was taken to a coroner for DNA tests, she added.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Gore

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008


Energy Guzzled by Al Gore’s Home in Past Year Could Power 232 U.S. Homes for a Month

In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

“A man’s commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home,” said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.”

In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.

In February 2007, An Inconvenient Truth, a film based on a climate change speech developed by Gore, won an Academy Award for best documentary feature. The next day, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research uncovered that Gore’s Nashville home guzzled 20 times more electricity than the average American household.

After the Tennessee Center for Policy Research exposed Gore’s massive home energy use, the former Vice President scurried to make his home more energy-efficient. Despite adding solar panels, installing a geothermal system, replacing existing light bulbs with more efficient models, and overhauling the home’s windows and ductwork, Gore now consumes more electricity than before the “green” overhaul.

Cement bombing in Russia

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

In Russia, sometimes it rains cement

Russian air force planes dropped a 25-kg (55-lb) sack of cement on a suburban Moscow home last week while seeding clouds to prevent rain from spoiling a holiday, Russian media said on Tuesday.

“A pack of cement used in creating … good weather in the capital region … failed to pulverize completely at high altitude and fell on the roof of a house, making a hole about 80-100 cm (2.5-3 ft),” police in Naro-Fominsk told agency RIA-Novosti.

Ahead of major public holidays the Russian Air Force often dispatches up to 12 cargo planes carrying loads of silver iodide, liquid nitrogen and cement powder to seed clouds above Moscow and empty the skies of moisture.

Corrupt, Stupid or Both?

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Dodd: I didn’t know VIP meant perks

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said he and his wife knew Countrywide Inc. was treating them as “VIP” customers when they refinanced mortgages on two homes in 2003, but it didn’t cross his mind he was getting a financial perk from the sub-prime lender.

Dodd, who as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee oversees mortgage lenders, said he did not ask and Countrywide’s representatives did not say what the VIP treatment entailed.

“We knew at the time that we were being dealt with within a special section of the company,” Dodd explained. “We really just assumed it was a courtesy, because we had an existing mortgage with them — two mortgages with them.”

He noted that he and his wife, Jackie Clegg, were pre-existing customers with excellent credit. Clegg assumed that they were merely going to receive more attentive customer service, Dodd said.

He said he had never sought nor had any knowledge of any special rate he was getting from Countrywide.

Associated Press Idiocy Alert

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Irony Alert: AP Attacks Blogs for Quoting Their Stories, Then Quotes Even More Extensively from Blogs

So the AP has been threatening bloggers who quote their stories:

Last week, The A.P. took an unusually strict position against quotation of its work, sending a letter to the Drudge Retort asking it to remove seven items that contained quotations from A.P. articles ranging from 39 to 79 words.

Even after an AP spokesman acknowledged that the organization’s tactics were “heavy-handed,” they still didn’t really back off:

Still, Mr. Kennedy said that the organization has not withdrawn its request that Drudge Retort remove the seven items. And he said that he still believes that it is more appropriate for blogs to use short summaries of A.P. articles rather than direct quotations, even short ones.

“Cutting and pasting a lot of content into a blog is not what we want to see,” he said. “It is more consistent with the spirit of the Internet to link to content so people can read the whole thing in context.”

Now, in a slightly ironic twist, the AP is taking content from a blog site. Namely, mine.

In a news item about the e-mail from Judge Kozinski’s wife that I posted on this site, an AP article lifted numerous passages.

I counted 154 words quoted from my post. That’s almost twice the number of words contained in the most extensive quotation in the Drudge Retort.

Politically Incorrect Kidnapping

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Man accused of kidnap to get ironing done

An Italian man was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend from a pub, taking her home and forcing her to iron his clothes and wash the dishes, police said Monday.

The 43-year-old man dragged the woman out of a pub in the port city of Genoa, shoved her into a car and took her to his home, where he made her iron and wash dishes after threatening her, they said.

Killer Nerd Cannibal Hanged in Japan

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Japan executes notorious cannibal killer

Japan on Tuesday executed three people including notorious serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki, a fetishist convicted of murdering four young girls and eating some of their bodies, officials said.

Miyazaki, 45, was nicknamed the “killer nerd” for his obsession with sexual cartoons and pornography. But defence lawyers contended he was mentally ill and could not be held fully responsible for his actions.

Japan is the only major industrialised nation other than the United States to apply the death penalty and has been stepping up the pace of executions, which enjoy wide public support.

“We are carrying out executions by selecting the people whom we can execute with a feeling of confidence and responsibility,” Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama told a news conference.

Hatoyama said he had signed the order to send the trio to the gallows to “realise justice.”

Time to Dump Verizon as your ISP

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

alt.blocked: Verizon blocks access to whole USENET hierarchy

Verizon has released details of the agreement it and other ISPs signed last week to block access to Usenet groups that have been caught trafficking child pornography. Instead of simply blocking the handful of offending groups, however, Verizon has decided to enforce a blanket ban on what could be tens of thousands of completely innocent groups.

It all started when New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo enlisted the help of Verizon and other ISPs with his assault on child pornography spread through Usenet groups. A while ago, Cuomo’s investigators submitted anonymous reports to ISPs like Verizon, Sprint, and Time Warner Cable about child pornography images stored on their servers and trafficked through Usenet groups. When the ISPs did nothing—failing to uphold their policy of taking swift action against peddlers of child porn—Cuomo’s investigators threatened to charge the ISPs with fraud and deceptive business practices.

Obama’s Strange Lack of Judgement Continues

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Clinton Bundler on Obama’s Doyle Pick: The Biggest ‘Fuck You’ Ever

A former bundler to Hillary Clinton just called in to tell me that Barack Obama’s selection of Patti Solis Doyle as chief of staff to the campaign’s eventual vice presidential nominee is the “biggest fuck you I have ever seen in politics.”

The donor, speaking on background, said that everyone in Clinton circles knows the two have hard feelings towards one another and haven’t spoken since Clinton removed Solis Doyle as campaign manager, and that Clinton loyalists view her with deep suspicion and believe that she is shopping around a book deal and acted as a background source for an extremely harsh Vanity Fair piece about Bill Clinton.

“Either one of two things happen,” said the bundler. “Hillary is selected as vice president and they fire Patti, or Hillary is not going to be the vice president.”

Yet another human foot washes up on Canada coast

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

5th human foot washes up on Canada coast

A fifth human foot in a year has washed ashore off the coast of British Columbia, and this time it’s a left one.

Police said two people out for a walk spotted the left foot floating in water off Westham Island on Monday morning.

Delta Police Const. Sharlene Brooks said officials are working with the B.C. Coroner’s office to see if this foot is linked to any other partial remains recovered in the province.

Westham Island is at the mouth of the Fraser River, about 15 miles south of Vancouver.

“A passerby noticed a shoe floating in the water, pulled it in and notified police,” Brooks said. “We’re treating it as a criminal investigation.”

Winnie the Pooh to become Obama’s Security Advisor

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Barack Obama aide: Why Winnie the Pooh should shape US foreign policy

Winnie the Pooh, Luke Skywalker and British football hooligans could shape the foreign policy of Barack Obama if he becomes US President, according to a key adviser.

Richard Danzig, who served as Navy Secretary under President Clinton and is tipped to become National Security Adviser in an Obama White House, told a major foreign policy conference in Washington that the future of US strategy in the war on terrorism should follow a lesson from the pages of Winnie the Pooh, which can be shortened to: if it is causing you too much pain, try something else.

Mr Danzig told the Centre for New American Security: “Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security.”

Islam vs. France, Round 3 begins

Monday, June 16th, 2008

French youths clash with police

Dozens of French youths clashed with police in a town in northeast France overnight, burning cars during a rampage triggered by the killing of a 22-year-old man, an official said on Sunday.

Two police officers, two firefighters and five residents suffered minor injuries during the violence that raged until Sunday morning in Vitry-le-Francois, said Sylvaine Astic from the regional prefect’s office.

Armed with baseball bats and firebombs, about 50 youths went on a rampage, torching cars and setting fire to garbage bins in the town of 17 000 people, Astic told AFP.

Ross Perot is Back!

Monday, June 16th, 2008

A familiar scold wants to chart a path out of ruinous debt

Sixteen years after he shook up American politics by launching an impromptu campaign for president, Ross Perot is about to dip a toe back into the public debates. And, yes, he’s bringing his charts with him to make his point.

Beginning Sunday, people who go to www.perotcharts.com will find the Dallas billionaire waiting to challenge them on one of his favorite subjects — the “ruin” he says America is courting with its spendthrift ways.

“We are right at the edge of the cliff,” the voice with the unmistakable Texas twang informed me, when I called him the other day to find out about this latest venture. “We can’t go on spending money we don’t have.”

That is not a new theme for Perot. It was his core message when he did his on-again, off-again, then back-on-again race against George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 1992. He led the field in the early months and, even after the confusing signals sent by his dropping out and coming back, won more than 19.7 million votes — almost 20 percent of the total.

Beating infant to death in public not too brite

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Turlock man kills child in roadside beating

A man parked his truck on a country road outside Turlock on Saturday night, removed a baby boy from a car seat and then beat the child to death in the street, fighting off passers-by who tried to stop him, until he was gunned down by a police officer whose helicopter landed in a nearby pasture, police said Sunday.

The 27-year-old suspect, who lived in Turlock (Stanislaus County), died almost immediately where he fell. The child, who according to police appeared to be 12 to 24 months old, was taken to a hospital but died before arrival.

Police officials declined to identify the man and said they were not yet certain who the child was – or in what way, if any, he was related to his attacker. The Stanislaus County coroner’s office told police that the agency may have to identify the boy through a DNA test because he was beaten beyond recognition.

Cocaine City

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Town where cocaine is the only currency

Guerima, a remote Colombian settlement, wants its Marxist rebels back. With the national army deployed in a stranglehold around the town, there is nobody to traffic the town’s only commodity – drugs.

More than 1,000 people live in Guerima, carved out of the Amazonian rainforest. Its clearings are filled with coca bushes, the basis for cocaine.

This was once the heartland of the 16th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), the Marxist guerrilla movement that has fought in Colombia’s jungles for the past 44 years.

But now the troops of the 58th Counter-Guerrilla Battalion patrol the dirt streets.

Their presence has stirred deep resentment, revealing the complexities of Colombia’s war against Left-wing rebels and drug lords.

How Not to Teach About the Holocaust

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Holocaust lesson gets out of hand

Students in Texas said a three-week lesson that assigned students the roles of Germans and Jews during the Holocaust got out of hand when some students took the role-playing too far and the “Germans” spat and hit the “Jews”.

The exercise in the Ninth Grade Academy school’s Advanced Placement Geography course Waxahachie, 50 kilometres south of Dallas, was meant to bring home the reality of intolerance during the Holocaust, school officials said.

Students and teachers said the students tagged as Jews were forced to stand against the wall as those portraying Germans passed by in the hallway.

The Jewish students were also the last to eat lunch and had to pick up everyone’s garbage, the station reported.

Some students said the exercise got out of hand when the “German” students spat on or hit the Jewish students.

Politically Incorrect in the UK

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Cairns ’should end Commons bid’

A Labour MP wants a Conservative politician to end his plans to stand in the next general election after a row over a comment about Italians.

Caerphilly MP Wayne David said it was the “sensible and logical thing” for Alun Cairns to step down as candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan seat.

Mr Cairns quit his assembly education spokesman post and apologised for his “inappropriate” comments.

He likened Italians to “greasy wops” in a radio discussion on Euro 2008.

Politically Incorrect at the European Soccer Championships

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Racist German Hooligans Pollute European Soccer Championships

The motto of the 2006 Soccer World Cup in Germany was “The world is our guest, you’re staying with friends” [Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden] — or, in the simplified official translation, “A time to make friends.” Two years later, however, the prospects of a good showing by the German national team in the European soccer championships, currently being co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland, appear to be inspiring anything but friendly sentiments among some German soccer fans.

As first reported by the Austrian news agency APA [link in German], around 140 “mostly German” fans were arrested Sunday night in Klagenfurt in the run-up to the German team’s opening match against Poland. The rowdy German fans were chanting what the APA describes as “obviously racist and anti-Semitic slogans” that “recall the Nazi period.” More precisely and more bizarrely, they were in fact adapting anti-Semitic motifs from the Third Reich in order to insult their Polish rivals: chanting “All Poles have to wear yellow stars” and “Germans defend yourselves! Don’t buy from Poles!” The latter is a variation on the slogan with which the Nazis unrolled their infamous boycott of Jewish shops and businesses in 1933: “Germans defend yourselves! Don’t buy from Jews!”

Zimbabwe Disintegration Update

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Zimbabwe: Back Robert Mugabe or face war, army tells white farmers

Zimbabwe’s army has threatened to evict the country’s remaining white farmers if a single vote is cast for Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, in polling stations on their land.

The final round of the presidential election will take place on June 27 and Robert Mugabe’s regime is trying to guarantee his victory with a violent crackdown on opponents.

At least 42 people have been murdered and thousands assaulted since Mr Tsvangirai defeated Mr Mugabe in the first round on March 29, although he fell short of the 50 per cent threshold needed to avoid a run-off.

Five landowners from two different districts were called to a meeting last week by a lieutenant colonel in the army, whose name is known to The Daily Telegraph. He was accompanied by three senior officials from Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

Obama Channels His Inner Gangsta

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Obama on GOP: ‘If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun’

Barack Obama is warning supporters that the general election fight between him and John McCain may get ugly, but the Illinois senator is vowing not to back down.

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said at a fundraiser in Philadelphia Friday, according to pool reports.

Yes Folks, We’re ALL Aliens!

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

We may be extraterrestrials after all

Scientists from the Imperial College of London claim to have found evidence that life on our planet did not originate from Earth itself. For the first time, the scientists say, it is confirmed that an important component of early genetic material found in meteorite fragments is of extraterrestrial origin.

We had a lot of space and alien stories lately, with one particular interesting making even the Larry King show. But any of that material could be considered insignificant, if Zita Martins’ claims, a research associate at the Department of Earth Science and Engineering of the Imperial College, are in fact correct. According to the researcher, at least parts of the raw material that are believed to have been required to create the first molecules of DNA and RNA may be of extraterrestrial origin.

Martins and her colleagues said they discovered uracil and xanthine, which are precursors to the molecules that make up DNA and RNA and are known as nucleobases in rock fragments of the Murchison meteorite, which crashed in Australia in 1969. She explained that “early life may have adopted nucleobases from meteoritic fragments for use in genetic coding which enabled them to pass on their successful features to subsequent generations.”

Oil from microbes!

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol

“Ten years ago I could never have imagined I’d be doing this,” says Greg Pal, 33, a former software executive, as he squints into the late afternoon Californian sun. “I mean, this is essentially agriculture, right? But the people I talk to – especially the ones coming out of business school – this is the one hot area everyone wants to get into.”

He means bugs. To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil.

Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug excretion that could, theoretically, be poured into the tank of the giant Lexus SUV next to us. Not that Mr Pal is willing to risk it just yet. He gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls “renewable petroleum”. After that, he grins, “it’s a brave new world”.

Always check for Kosovan infestations when you buy a new home

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Family buys new house – and finds 12-strong colony of illegal immigrants living in the LOFT

A family moved into their new home only to discover 12 illegal immigrants living in the roof.

Lee Bradley was inspecting the loft of his rented terraced house when he made the shock discovery.

Under the roof, a colony of Kosovan migrants had knocked down the wall between his house and the two adjoining properties to create living space for several families.

They had even brought in several deck chairs and a cupboard and the floor was littered with children’s toys.

Mr Bradley, 33, found them eating sandwiches.

War on Pluto Update

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Astronomers Argue Pluto is a Planet

Disgruntled scientists renewed their vows this week to call Pluto a planet despite an international governing body’s latest ruling to reclassify the tiny world.

On Wednesday, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) declared that Pluto will henceforth be known as a “plutoid,” a new class of objects that has two members (the other being Eris, a small body beyond Pluto). The IAU, considered in charge of naming celestial objects, has been around since 1919. It demoted Pluto to “dwarf planet” status in 2006.

The latest decision was announced by email to the press, and it took researchers by surprise. Even IAU members and astronomers who discovered Eris and other objects that might eventually be called plutoids were not consulted or informed.

That’s left many scientists peeved that the IAU developed the new term and its definition behind closed doors. They accuse the IAU of being secretive, out of touch and of failing to consider basic physical characteristics that researchers use to define planets.

Please don’t shag in the Confessional during Mass

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Couple apologise for sex in church

An Italian couple who caused outrage among many Christians when they were caught having sex in a confessional box during Mass have repented and been forgiven by the local bishop.

The couple, who are in their early thirties, were apparently drunk after a long night out when they stumbled into a cathedral in Cesena, in northern Italy, earlier this month.

When their urges overcame them, they went into a confessional box – the small booth usually reserved for the private admission of sins – and had sex.

Parishioners worshipping at Mass were alerted to their presence “by rustling and groaning” and the bishop called on police to intervene.

Time for Obama to toss his half-brother under the campaign bus

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Malik Obama confirms his half-brother Barack grew up a Muslim

Apparently the Obamas of Kenya have been reading those scurrilous emails to which Barack likes to refer, because they have no doubt — contrary to the claims of the Obama campaign, that the presidential candidate was raised a Moslem. They take that as a given.

As the Jerusalem Post reports, “Barack Obama’s half brother Malik said Thursday that if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background. In an interview with Army Radio he expressed a special salutation from the Obamas of Kenya.”

The Obama brothers’ father, a senior economist for the Kenyan government who studied at Harvard University, died in car crash in 1982. He left six sons and a daughter. All of his children – except Malik — live in Britain or the United States. Malik and Barack met in 1985.

In a remarkable denial issued last November that still stands on the official campaign website, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs issued a statement explaining that “Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.”

Apparently Malik Obama, himself a Muslim, had not read the press release.

Politically Incorrect in the Presidential Campaign

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Utah company causes nationwide uproar over ‘Sock Obama’

A toy being sold over the internet by a Utah couple is causing an uproar from supporters of democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. It’s a sock monkey wearing a suit with a lapel pin for Obama.

Supporters of Obama have been filling online forums and blogs with angry words over what they see as the degrading depiction of a black man as a monkey.

Such portrayals are a throw back to the days of “Jim Crow” laws in southern states. The depictions were designed to make one man appear inferior, less than human, for no other reason than the color of his skin. From different blogs, one writer puts it simply: “The ‘Sock Obama’ is disgusting.” Others say its makers are racists.

2000 year old seed successfully grows into tree

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Tree Grown From Ancient Seed Found in Jewish Fortress

Scientists have grown a tree from what may be the oldest seed ever germinated.

The new sapling was sprouted from a 2,000-year-old date palm excavated in Masada, the site of a cliff-side fortress in Israel where ancient Jews are said to have killed themselves to avoid capture by Roman invaders.

Dubbed the “Methuselah Tree” after the oldest person in the Bible, the new plant has been growing steadily, and after 26 months, the tree was nearly four feet (1.2 meters) tall.

The species of tree, called the Judean date, (Phoenix dactylifera L.), is now extinct in Israel, but researchers are hoping that by reviving the plant they may be able to study its medicinal uses.

Please don’t leave your kid tied to a tree overnight

Friday, June 13th, 2008

North Carolina Couple Charged With Murder in Death of Son Tied to Tree Overnight

A couple accused of tying their 13-year-old son to a tree for two nights to punish him for disobedience has been charged with murder in his death, authorities said Friday.

Brice Brian McMillan, 41, of Macclesfield, told a deputy that the child was being disobedient and was forced to sleep outside Tuesday while tied to a tree, the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office said. The teenager was released Wednesday morning but again tied up that night for bad behavior, authorities said.

The boy was left tied to the tree until the following afternoon when his stepmother found him unresponsive, Sheriff James Knight said in a statement.

Yet Another Chilean Plane Crash Cannibalism Story

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Chile Plane Crash Survivors Forced to Consider Cannibalism to Survive

Survivors of a plane crash who spent five days in freezing temperatures in Chile said they considered eating the pilot, a British newspaper reports.

According to The Guardian, the Cessna 208 was just 10 minutes from landing when it crashed into a Patagonian mountain near the border with Argentina on Saturday.

“We were flying in very bad conditions. There was rain and sleet. Suddenly, we went into a cloud and when we came out, we were in front of the mountain,” passenger Jose Miguel Almonacid told The Guardian. “I managed to scream ‘watch out’ when I heard the explosion.”

The pilot, Nelson Bahamondes, survived the crash but died from blood loss two days later. “He had a cut on his head, a big wound and he lost lots of blood,” said Victor Suazo, a Chilean police officer who was on board.

Charlie the Tuna Filleted!

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Men fillet Charlie the Tuna statue in Oregon

It turns out the fate of Charlie the Tuna of Charleston, Ore., was sorry indeed. The 8-foot Monterey cypress sculpture that used to greet visitors to the coastal fishing town was filleted by two young men who stole it as a prank and then, panicked they would be found out, took chain saws to it.

Not that Charlie would have lasted much longer anyway, the town learned, what with the way bugs and rot had hollowed out his innards.

The statue stood beside the South Slough Bridge into Charleston until Mark Santos and Marvin Terry Jr. swiped it last month.

“We had planned to wait a little while and then leave Charlie in a random place in town where he could be returned unharmed,” they said in an apology letter published in The World of Coos Bay.

Corruption Runs Deep in America’s Leadership

Friday, June 13th, 2008

LOAN SLEAZE SPREADS

Two influential US senators got “VIP” loans from a leading subprime mortgage lender that saved them tens of thousands of dollars, it was reported last night.

The Democratic pols, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, both received the highly favorable loans under the designation “Friend of Angelo,” a reference to embattled Countrywide head Angelo Mozilo, Condé Nast Portfolio reported.

Dodd is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, while Conrad is chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the Finance Committee. The two senators refinanced properties through the VIP program in 2003 and 2004, the report said.

Others who received “FOA” loans include Alphonso Jackson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bush who resigned in April, and Donna Shalala, who was secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration.

Acoustic Cloaking Device Unveiled

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Experts unveil ‘cloak of silence’

Being woken in the dead of night by noisy neighbours blasting out music could soon be a thing of the past.

Scientists have shown off the blueprint for an “acoustic cloak”, which could make objects impervious to sound waves.

The technology, outlined in the New Journal of Physics, could be used to build sound-proof homes, advanced concert halls or stealth warships.

Irish Kill EU Treaty

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Irish minister says EU vote lost

Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern says substantial vote tallies across the country show the European Union Lisbon reform treaty has been rejected.

Tallies are not official, but Mr Ahern says it is clear the No vote is ahead in a vast majority of constituencies.

This would scupper the treaty, which must be ratified by all members. Only Ireland has held a public vote on it.

Mr Ahern is the first senior figure from the Irish government to admit that it looked like the treaty had failed.

“It looks like this will be a No vote,” Mr Ahern said on live television. “At the end of the day, for a myriad of reasons, the people have spoken.”

Yet another reason not to anger Mike Tyson

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Mike Tyson accused of putting out contract on Brooklyn drug gang

Mike Tyson chipped in $50,000 for a contract to kill members of a Brooklyn drug gang that murdered his bodyguard in 2000, a government witness testified Thursday.

A former member of the violent Cash Money Brothers gang said the ex-heavyweight champ and another thug, Muhammad Nur, who was also close with the victim, each contributed $50,000 to the bounty on the heads of CMB leaders Damion (World) Hardy and Edward (Taz) Cooke.

“Why would Mike Tyson put a hit out on Taz and World?” asked Assistant U.S. Attorney James Loonam.

“He was close friends with ‘Homicide,’” replied witness Dwayne Meyers, referring to victim Darryl Baum by his nickname.

Good news for stoners!

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Marijuana Potency Increases to Highest Levels in Decades, Study Finds

Marijuana potency increased last year to the highest level in more than 30 years, posing greater health risks to people who may view the drug as harmless, according to a report released Thursday by the White House.

The latest analysis from the University of Mississippi’s Potency Monitoring Project tracked the average amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in samples seized by law enforcement agencies from 1975 through 2007. It found that the average amount of THC reached 9.6 percent in 2007, compared with 8.75 percent the previous year.

The 9.6 percent level represents more than a doubling of marijuana potency since 1983, when it averaged just under 4 percent.

Perv Judge undermines obscenity trial

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Judge in porn tempest has distinguished career

Alex Kozinski is more accustomed to appearing on lists to fill U.S. Supreme Court vacancies than headlines involving pornographic scandals.

But on Wednesday, the chief judge of the country’s largest federal appeals court was forced to suspend an obscenity trial he was presiding over after sexually explicit images posted to his personal Web site became public.

The Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site that Kozinski had posted sexual material on his personal Web site and then blocked access after being interviewed about it Tuesday evening.

Kozinski, 57, told the Times he thought the material on his site, which included a video of a man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal, couldn’t be seen by the public. The judge said he didn’t believe any of the images were obscene.