Archive | May, 2013

Trouble in Istanbul… And Other News

Istanbul Riots

Trouble in Istanbul, Turkey – and surprisingly not because of Syria!

Turkish police are using tear gas and hoses to shoo 10,000 rioters away from Gezi Park in Istanbul. The demonstrators have been camped out since Monday in an attempt to stop police from demolishing the treasured park in the city’s center—which houses trees up to 75 years old. The literal tree huggers are angry at the decision to turn the Istanbul park into a shopping mall. But many are also unhappy with the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his increasingly authoritarian rule. Last week, Turkey’s parliament approved legislation restricting the sale and advertising of alcoholic drinks. Erdogan is apparently more into yogurt drinks. I guess I’d be pretty angry too – yogurt sucks. BBC News 

Red Cross JalalalalalabadIt wasn’t us! On Wedneday the Red Cross in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan was attacked when a suicide bomber blasted open the gates of the agency’s offices, killing a security guard and allowing two attackers to storm the building. After the attack, all eyes shifted towards the Taliban. But the Taliban is insisting it wasn’t them: “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants to clarify to everyone that it was neither behind the May 29 attack on the I.C.R.C. office in Jalalabad city nor does it support such attacks,” said a statement read by a Taliban spokesman. The Taliban normally leaves the Red Cross alone, praising the group for its neutral stance in the conflict and instructing its fighters not to harm Red Cross workers. But if not the Taliban, then who? New York Times

Arvind Mahankali, 13, with his Scripps National Spelling Bee trophyWhen kids put the rest of us to shame: 13-year-old Arvind Mahankali from Queens, New York won the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The crowd went wild (well, as wild as a spelling bee crowd can get) when Arvind won with the word “knaidel,” a German-derived Yiddish word meaning “a small mass of leavened dough.” Arvind was one of 11 spellers to reach the final and beat out 280 other contestants to take home $30,000 in prize money. Huffington Post

Dengue FeverThey’ve got the fever! The dengue fever… Singapore is bracing for its worst ever dengue fever epidemic. Infections this year have already exceeded the total for all of 2012 AND while dengue usually hits the elderly and children the hardest, the first dengue fatality of the year was a 20-year-old man who died of dengue shock syndrome on Wednesday. “This is the first dengue death case this year and it highlights the urgency for greater community vigilance to stamp out possible mosquito breeding spots,” a government statement said late Thursday. Remember kids, if they breed, you WILL bleed. Internally. Raw Story 

Crime Scene PhotosGraphic photos of the infamous Oscar Pistorius crime scene have been leaked, including an image of the bloody bathroom where the South African double-amputee Olympian shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to death. Pistorius still denies any wrongdoing in the ‘Valentine’s Day gone wrong’ incident, claiming he mistook her for a nighttime intruder – which apparently are quite common in South Africa. Will he be found guilty? Well, the police investigation into the killing won’t be even be completed until August, so who knows. National Post

APTOPIX Severe WeatherWas the Moore tornado only the eye of the tornado? Is that even a thing? I don’t think it is… Ten days after a major tornado leveled the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, killing about two dozen people, three more (not Moore) tornados struck the unlucky in love state. A few others decided to pay Arizona a visit, injuring nine people along the way. It’s not over yet though: forecasters warned that large hail and more tornadoes could continue to strike parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri on Friday. Meanwhile in Toronto, it’s 30 degrees and sunny! Suckers. CBC News

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Yanira Maldonado

Current Event Cat - American Freed from Mexico Yanira Maldonado

Brokedown palace Mexican style! Except with a slightly more uplifting ending. Yanira Maldonado, the Arizona woman, held in a Mexican jail for a week on a drug-smuggling charge was freed after a court reviewed her case.

Yanira Maldonado was arrested by Mexican soldiers last week at a security checkpoint after they found about 12 pounds of marijuana stashed under her bus seat. Packets of drugs were found attached to the seat bottoms with metal hooks.

Initially it was Yanira Maldonado’s husband, Gary, who was arrested, but once she persuaded the soldiers to let her accompany her husband to serve as his translator, they decided to just arrest her and let him go. Ha! Gary said authorities originally demanded $5,000 for his wife’s release, but somehow the bribe fell through.

While she was rotting away in the Mexican jail, her husband and lawyer worked to exonerate her, encouraging court officials to review security footage from the bus company that showed the couple – the only Americans on the bus – boarding a commercial bus traveling from Mexico to Phoenix with only blankets, bottles of water and her purse in hand.

“Many thanks to everyone, especially my God who let me go free, my family, my children, who with their help, I was able to survive this test,” she said.

Meanwhile, US officials were busy intercepting two speedboats carrying $1 billion worth of cocaine into the US.

Via: Current Event Cats & CBS News 

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Pakistani Taliban Hire New #2… And Other News

Must Find New #2

After a US drone in North Waziristan killed former Pakistani Taliban #2, Wali-ur-Rehman, the terror organization must choose a new #2.

And they already have – out with the old #2 and in with the new #2! Pakistani Taliban militants have chosen Khan Said as their new deputy commander. The position of #2 is a tough one to fill, especially since it’s always the #2 who gets killed in drone strikes – never the #1! But Khan Said has a great resume! It includes (but is not limited to) acting as deputy to Rehman, helping plan a 2011 attack on a Pakistani naval base, and freeing nearly 400 militant inmates in a jailbreak last year. The decision to hire him was unanimous. “There was absolute consensus over Khan Said,” one Pakistani Taliban member said. But… can he properly fill out his expense reports? Via: Reuters

Ricin lettersThe ricin letters keep coming! Someone sent a ricin-laced letter addressed to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an effort to stop his anti-gun efforts. The letter never reached Bloomberg but the three officers who did come in contact with the mail experienced diarrhea. Good thing it didn’t reach Bloomberg – that would have been an unfortunate sight watching him testing out New York’s new bike program with diarrhea dribbling down his bike shorts. Another ricin letter was intercepted on Thursday, this time addressed to President Obama. The text in the letter was identical to the one sent to Bloomberg and included the line: “what’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for you.” Diarrhea? Fox News & Politico

Herpes MAC RihannaA Rihanna concert lasts a few hours, but herpes lasts forever. A Harlem woman claims she got herpes at a Rihanna concert in Brooklyn from lipstick endorsed by the pop-star. The woman is suing M.A.C after a sales rep applied a used tube of “RiRi Woo” to her lips at a pop-up shop during the concert. According to the NY Daily News, she wanted her lips to look hot — not inflamed. Two days after the lipstick was applied, Greenidge developed a cold sore on her lip that her doctor diagnosed as herpes. “I wasn’t able to work for two weeks. It cost me a lot of money,” Starkeema Greenidge, a waitress, told the Daily News. Greenidge claims the herpes has caused her “mental anguish and emotional distress” and the company needs to improve its sanitary practices immediately if it wants to prevent further infections. Or maybe next time don’t let a stranger smear used products on your face at a Rihanna concert… NY Daily News

Sochi CorruptionCorruption in Russia? You don’t say…. Boris Nemtsov, a former Russian deputy prime minister-turned-Kremlin critic, is claiming that Russian officials and businessmen have stolen billions of dollars during the years of preparations for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. In 2007 Russia announced the Games would cost about $12-billion. Six years later, that number rose to $51-billion. Where did all this money go? Let’s see: there’s the Olympic stadium, three Olympic villages, a ski jump, hockey arenas, Alpine facilities, an Olympic cross-country venue, major upgrades to the city’s roads, bridges, hotels, trains, port, airport and its underlying power grid. Oh and $30 billion to Russian officials who “supervised” everything. National Post 

El Salvador ABortion CaseEl Salvador sounds like a fun place to get knocked up! The Supreme Court of El Salvador has refused to allow a seriously ill pregnant woman to have an abortion, even though her fetus has almost no chance of survival. All abortions are prohibited in El Salvador under any circumstances – no exceptions! The woman suffers from lupus and kidney failure while the fetus is missing part, or possibly all, of its brain. Well, if she makes it through childbirth, she can always flush the fetus down the toilet… BBC News

Newborn baby ChinaThe 22-year-old mother who flushed her newborn baby down the toilet in Jinhua, China, is no longer considered a murderer by police but is considered incredibly stupid. The baby boy was found alive inside a toilet pipe and was saved by rescuers who detached the section of pipe with the infant inside and took it to the hospital. The police are labeling the case an “accident” at this time after believing the umarried mother’s story she did not intend for the child to fall into the toilet. The police said she tried to retrieve the baby with a stick, then decided to flush the toilet to clear away the blood. The baby has now been released from the hospital and taken home by his maternal grandparents. CNN

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Fox News Collectively Freaks Out Over Women Breadwinners

Fox News Lou Dobbs

Yesterday Reagan Plus Cats wrote about Saudi writer Abdullah Mohammed al-Dawood, who thought that working women should be sexually harassed until they returned to the home. Well, apparently that attitude is not exclusive to Saudi Arabia – Fox News is also on board!

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs and his all-male panel had a collective freakout Wednesday night after learning that mothers were now the primary source of income in 40 percent of U.S. households. Dobbs and the Fox contributors were VERY worried that the increasing number of women becoming economic breadwinners would bring about the dissolution of American society and nature.

Dobbs described the study from Pew Research as “showing that women have become the breadwinners in this country, and a lot of other concerning and troubling statistics.”

Fox News contributor Juan Williams agreed that this was very troubling indeed and indicative of “something going terribly wrong in American society”:

“What we’re seeing with four out of ten families, now the woman is the primary breadwinner. You’re seeing the disintegration of marriage, you’re seeing men who were hard hit by the economic recession in ways that women weren’t. But you’re seeing, I think, systemically, larger than the political stories that we follow every day, something going terribly wrong in American society, and it’s hurting our children, and it’s going to have impact for generations to come.”

thinkofthechildrenWon’t somebody please think of the children!!

Fox News’ newest contributor, Erick Erickson, took things one step further, saying nature itself commanded that women be subservient to men and anyone who thinks otherwise is clearly “anti-science”.

“When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and female in society, and the other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role. We as people in a smart society have lost the ability to have complimentary relationships in nuclear families, and it’s tearing us apart.”

Fox News contributor Doug Schoen concluded the discussion/collective rant by labelling breadwinning moms a “catastrophic issue” and claiming they “could undermine our social order.”

Welcome to Saudi America.

Via: Media Matters

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Mayor Rob Ford Privately Reveals his Crack Video Exists… and is also Caught up in a Murder Investigation?

Mayor Rob Ford

The scandal surrounding Toronto Mayor Rob Ford just keeps getting better.

Mayor Rob Ford reportedly verified the existence of the video showing him smoking crack cocaine to aides in a May 17 meeting in his office. Ford even gave the exact address of the person he believed to be in possession of the video and told his staff not to worry about it because he knew where it was and who had it. Staffers were shocked when Ford blurted out the address of two 17th-floor units — 1701 and 1703 — at a Dixon Rd. apartment complex.

Publicly, Mayor Rob Ford still maintains the video doesn’t exist. A week after his staff meeting, Ford held a news conference in which he denied the video’s existence and said that he does not use drugs.

“I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine. As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist,” he insisted to reporters.

Well, he’s certainly not a crack “addict”; they tend to be dangerously thin, not verging on whale-like obesity. 

Only reporters from The Star and from Gawker.com have seen the video so far, in which a red-faced and disheveled Ford is reportedly shown smoking crack and making remarks homophobic remarks regarding Justin Trudeau. Nice.

The mystery surrounding the video continued Thursday as police arrested two men involved in a shooting that they believe may be connected to it. Two men were charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 21-year-old Anthony Smith, the man who appears in a photo (seen below) beside Mayor Rob Ford that is at the centre of the crack controversy.

Mayor Rob Ford and ANthony Smith

Smith, 21, was shot in the back of the head shortly before 3 a.m. on March 28 outside a King West nightclub.

What was his connection to Mayor Ford? Was Mayor Ford involved in the killing? Why hasn’t Mayor Ford’s crack problem caused him to lose weight? So many unanswered questions.

But Mayor Ford is still refusing to answer. When he appeared at City Hall Thursday shortly before noon, he said nothing to reporters other than to yell: “move!”

Via: The Toronto Star

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Weapons to Syria

Current EVent Cat - Russia Sends Syria Weapons

This ought to end well…. Just days (perhaps minutes!) after the European Union’s embargo on weapons transfers into Syria expired, Syria confirmed that Russia had delivered the missiles it had promised. Sending weapons to evil dictators has never gone wrong before, right?

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria said in a television interview to be broadcast on Thursday that, “Syria has received the first shipment of Russian antiaircraft S-300 rockets.” Other shipments are expected to arrive soon since the S-300 missile systems “do not just come in a box” – they need to be delivered in stages!

Russian officials had made it clear earlier in the week that they would deliver weapons to Syria, a move widely condemned by pretty much every country except Syria. Israel is especially shook up about the whole thing, saying the weapons present a threat to its security and against which it is willing to use force.

The White House has also been openly critical of Russia’s decision, calling it a step in the wrong direction.

“Providing additional weapons to Assad — including air defense systems — will only prolong the violence in Syria and incite regional destabilization,” a spokesperson for the National Security Council said on Thursday.

I guess there’s only one solution now: arm the rebels, close our eyes, and wait until the whole country implodes! Problem solved.

Via: Current Event Cats & The New York Times

Al Qaeda Makes Terrorists Fill Out Expense Reports… And Other News

 Osama bin Boss Al Qaeda

Even Al Qaeda has to deal with expense reports and pointless corporate meetings.

The Associated Press discovered a leaked memo about the terror network’s North African wing’s “most difficult employee”. After years of trying to discipline him, the leaders of Al Qaeda’s North African branch sent one final letter to Moktar Belmoktar. The memo accused him of not answering his phone when they called, failing to turn in his expense reports, ignoring meetings, openly mocking co-workers, and refusing to carry out orders. Al Qaeda – they’re just like us!

Moktar Belmoktar followed the path of many disgruntled employees before him and became an entrepreneur. A terrorist entrepreneur… Belmoktar formed his own competing group, the Masked Brigade. He is now credited with taking more than 100 foreigners hostage in Algeria in January, leaving more than 30 dead, as well as simultaneous bombings just last week of a military base and a French uranium mine in Niger. I guess not everyone was meant for the corporate world! Via: The Associated Press

Girl Handcuffed in CHinaCaution to the clumsy: do not spill water on government cars in China! Otherwise you will be handcuffed and paraded down the street as punishment. That’s what happened to a 13 year old girl in the county of Hezhang, Guizhou province. After accidentally splashing water into a government vehicle, the girl got into an argument with local officials who then reportedly handcuffed her and made her walk up and down the street in shame. Although the incident occurred in April, it has just become public thanks to a post on a micro-blogging site. The two officials have since been suspended. Via: BBC News

Hitler TeapotAligning your company with nazi-related products is not always a good business strategy. Unless, of course, your target demographic is white supremacists. JCPenney learned that the hard way after commuters in southern California complained about a billboard advertising a teapot bearing a striking resemblance to Hitler. The billboard was accompanied by the song: “I’m a little Nazi, short and stout, here is my mustache, here is my spout, when I get all steamed up out I shout, get in the oven so I can wipe you out”. I may have made that last part up. The company has since taken down the Interstate 405 billboard and also removed the teapot from their website. The kettle, which originally cost $40 is now sold out, and is going for $199 on eBay. I suppose this says something about society… but I’m not sure what… Via: Uproxx

HatebookWho knew the internet was a place for anonymous a**holes to spew hateful words? Under pressure from activists and advertisers, Facebook is trying to turn Hatebook back into Facebook. The VP in charge of public policy wrote on the site, “In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate.” Pages flagged as offensive by women activist groups had such names as “Kicking Your Girlfriend in the Fanny Because She Won’t Make You a Sandwich,” “Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs,” “Raping Your Girlfriend” and “Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus.” Via: CNN

Angry BeaverBeaver attacks in Belarus! An angry beaver attacked a 60-year-old fisherman from Belarus after the man tried to grab the animal. The beaver bit him several times, slicing an artery and causing the man to bleed to death. The incident was the most serious in a string of vicious beaver attacks in Belarus. The beavers are becoming increasingly aggressive towards humans and there’s no stopping them! Since hunting beavers was banned, the beaver population in Belarus has tripled in the past decade to an estimated 80,000 beavers. Next time you see one of these 80,000 beavers, don’t try to grab it, dumbass. It will probably bite you. Via: National Post

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Saudi Cleric: Working Women Should Be Molested

Saudi Cleric

A Saudi cleric / writer is facing backlash over his Tweets, urging followers to sexually harass working women in order to protect their chastity. Makes sense.

Abdullah Mohamed al-Dawood, a Saudi cleric and writer who has almost 100,000 Twitter followers, is advocating harassment as a way of discouraging women from working in mixed-gender work environments. More specifically, he urged his Twitter followers to sexually molest women hired to work as cashiers in big grocery stores, using the hashtag “harass_female_cashiers”.

Al-Dawood’s campaign to force women to stay home and protect their chastity has been met with outrage. Hundreds of Saudis and other Arab tweeters attacked him, some asking him what right he had to stop women working, asking, “what kind of person urges the youth to commit debauchery?” and suggesting he harass his own wife and leave others alone.

Others, however, have applauded him and his crusade to preserve the country’s deeply conservative Islamic identity. While Saudi women have long worked in all-female workplaces, it is now becoming more common for them to work in public places alongside men. This is not sitting well with the conservatives, al-Dawood included, who continue to fight against government efforts to westernize (i.e corrupt) Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi cleric justified his call to sexually harass working women by using an obscure story from the early days of Islam. In the story, a famous warrior, Al Zubair, does not want his wife to leave the house so he hides in a dark alley, waiting for her to appear. When he sees her, he runs up and molests her in the street. The wife, now terrified of the outside world, rushes home and vows never to leave again. Well, that’s a lovely, f*cked up story.

Via: Gulf News 

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The Droning Continues: U.S Drone Strike Kills Six

Drone Strike Kills Six

So much for the stricter drone policies Obama went off about last week…. A U.S drone strike killed six suspected militants in Pakistan on Wednesday—the first attack since President Obama’s speech last week that outlined the administration’s new policy to use drones only when absolutely needed.

According to Obama’s speech last Friday, drone attacks should only be used amid a “continuing, imminent threat” to the US where no other options are available.

So who were the latest drone victims? Although not officially confirmed yet, it is reported that the second-in-command of the Pakistani Taliban was among those killed in the drone strike. Not bad, not bad. The US government had placed a $5 million bounty on his head, accusing him of involvement in attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan, including the 2009 bombing of a US base in which seven CIA agents were killed. I suppose that falls under Obama’s use of drones as a “just war” of self-defence against militants.

And the other five killed when drone missiles struck a house in the tribal district of North Waziristan? No one really knows yet. Apparently the identities of drone victims are notoriously difficult to confirm and can take days or weeks since the remote tribal areas are inaccessible to foreign and most local journalists.

This latest drone strike is also the first one since the May 11 election in Pakistan. Drone attacks were a key issue in the Pakistani election and Nawaz Sharif, whose party won the recent election in Pakistan and is expected to be sworn in as prime minister next week, is not happy with the drones. Sharif expressed “serious concerns” and says he plans to engage the United States in “serious” negotiations to put an end to the attacks, which Pakistan says violate its sovereignty. In other words, he’s serious.

Via: The New York Times

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Michele Bachmann

Current Event Cat - Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced she is leaving Congress, a decision which has “nothing” to do with the ongoing ethics investigation regarding alleged misconduct during her failed attempt to win the 2012 Republican presidential primary. I repeat, nothing.

Accompanied by some distracting theme music, Michele Bachmann announced early Wednesday morning in a YouTube video on her campaign Web site that she would not be running for reelection to the House of Representatives in 2014. YouTube videos are apparently the new medium for campaign announcements (see: Weiner for Mayor).

Bachmann was also quick to insist that her stepping down had “nothing” to do with the fear of not being reelected. In 2012 she won a very narrow victory against Jim Graves, who has already announced he is running in 2014.

“Be assured: My decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being reelected to Congress,” Bachmann said. “I have every confidence that if I ran, I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year, who recently announced he is once again running.”

“And rest assured, this decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff. It was clearly understood that compliance with all rules and regulations was an absolute necessity for my presidential campaign.”

Don’t worry – she also insists her passion for America will remain! Phew!!! And of course it wouldn’t be a Michele Bachmann YouTube video if she didn’t take a jab at the Liberal mainstream media and Obamacare.

Via: Current Event Cats & Politico