Archive | June, 2013

Rick Perry Kills Everyone’s Buzz… And Other News

Rick Perry is a Downer

Rick Perry – what a buzz kill!

After Senator Wendy Davis’s famous filibuster marathon to stop a restrictive abortion bill from passing, Texas Governor Rick Perry, aka Buzz McKillington, called for the Texas Legislature to meet in a second special session July 1 to try for a second time to pass the abortion restrictions. The Rick Perry desired restrictions include reducing the abortion deadline to 20 weeks and imposing restrictions on clinics, which would effectively close down all but 5 abortion clinics in the state of Texas.

“I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas,” Rick Perry said in a statement. “Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn.”

His decision to call another special session gives lawmakers 30 more days to push the bill through. Which basically means Davis’s 12-hour speech (with no bathroom breaks, food breaks, sitting breaks, going off topic breaks) may be purely symbolicNational Post

Obama Snowden ShrugSnowdon just got dissed! Speaking in Senegal, President Obama shrugged off the whole Edward Snowden situation, saying he was “not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker”. Obama said these kinds of extraditions are routinely dealt with at a law-enforcement level and Snowden’s case is “not exceptional from a legal perspective.” Dismissing him as “a 29-year-old hacker,” Obama insisted he was not stressing over finding Snowden and asserted that the surveillance programs are legal and have proper oversight. But the joke’s on Obama – Snowden turned 30 last week! NBC News

MandelaNelson Mandela is doing better now but his health still managed to overshadow Obama’s Senegal trip. South African President Jacob Zuma says that Nelson Mandela’s condition has improved, but still remains critical. Obama plans to make his way to South Africa to meet with Zuma and other leaders on Friday. Unless of course Zuma bails on him to stay by Mandela’s side. BBC News

Hello KittyMuch like Toronto men (aka Bronies) are trapped in some kind of My Little Pony fetish, Singaporeans are freaking out over McDonald’s Hello Kitty toys. All over the city-state, long lines are forming outside of McDonald’s restaurants as customers push and shove for the chance to get their paws on the infamous black Hello Kitty, the last in a series of six limited-edition Hello Kitty characters dressed in different outfits from popular fairy tales. If there are two things Singaporeans are known for it’s impoliteness and the inability to form a line – so it’s no surprise that a few fights broke out along the way. Perhaps instead of selling the Hello Kitty toys, McDonald’s should hand out face masks instead – they might be a bit more effective at combating the smog that’s engulfed the country. Raw Story

Hernandez CourtThings just went from bad to worse for former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Not only was the football player arrested on Wednesday for the murder of Odin Lloyd and kicked off the New England Patriots, but now he’s being investigated in connection with a double homicide in Boston’s South End that happened in July 2012. Yikes – I wonder if those victims also talked to people Hernandez “didn’t like” at a nightclub.  CNN

Canada DayIt’s Canada Day Weekend!!! Time to celebrate Canada’s 146th birthday by heading north to a cottage, getting drunk by the water, and maybe lighting a sparkler or two in John A. MacDonald’s honour. Reagan (and the cats!) will be back July 2nd, hungover and ready to go!

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Obama Promotes Gay Rights… In Africa?

Obama in Senegal

After two historic wins for same-sex marriage in America, Obama has checked the U.S off his list and moved on to gay rights in Africa. Spoiler alert: it’s going to be a tough sell.

Currently in Senegal, President Obama praised the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, calling it a “victory for American democracy and a proud day for equal rights“. Obama also expressed support for the recognition of same-sex unions across state lines. Gay rights for all!

“It’s my personal belief, but I’m speaking now as a president not as a lawyer, that if you marry someone in Massachusetts and you move somewhere else, you’re still married,” Obama told reporters at a news conference in Senegal, “We’re going to be evaluating all these issues.”

Obama also said he believes these rights should be universal and urged African nations to give gay people equal rights by decriminalising homosexual acts. 

President Macky Sall of Senegal, who was standing next to Obama, didn’t love that comment and gave a quick retort.

“We are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality,” Sall said, but insisted that the country is “very tolerant” and needs more time to digest the issue. “This does not mean we are homophobic.”

Actually, that’s exactly what is means.

Under Senegalese law, “an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex” can be punished by up to five years in prison. In fact, 38 African countries criminalize homosexuality. In four of those — Mauritania, northern Nigeria, southern Somalia and Sudan — the punishment is death.

Gay Rights in Africa

Gay rights aside, Obama went on to praise Senegal as a success story on an otherwise unsuccessful continent.

Senegal is one of the most stable democracies in Africa and one of the strongest partners that we have in the region,” Obama said. “It’s moving in the right direction with reforms to deepen democratic institutions and as more Africans across this continent stand up and demand governments that are accountable and serve the people, I believe Senegal can be a great example.”

They just need to work on that whole “homophobia” thing.

Via: The New York Times

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Rush Limbaugh Throws a Temper Tantrum after DOMA Ruling

Rush Limbaugh

In a move that surprised no one, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh threw an on-air temper tantrum after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

Just one day after praising the Supreme Court for throwing out Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voters from discrimination, Rush Limbaugh went on a rant about how the Supreme Court should now be abolished entirely.

“Why do we even need a court if it is going to behave like this?” Rush Limbaugh raged. “Why do we even need a Congress? Why don’t we, every time we want something, just find the nearest judge and say, ‘Hey Judge, I want to do this, what do you think?’ And whatever the judge says is fine. Doesn’t have to be a member of the Supreme Court, just a judge.”

Yeah, why do we even need a court? In fact, why do we even need a sweaty, overweight, bigoted, loudmouth, redneck spewing nonsense over the radio? Let’s just get rid of everything anyone disagrees with!

Rush Limbaugh’s temper tantrum also included the usual “gay marriage will lead to polygamy and bestiality” spiel. And it just wouldn’t be a classic Limbaugh rant without a shout out to President Obama. Limbaugh blasted the president for changing his stance on gay marriage as the 2012 election approached.

“A year and a half ago, 18 months ago, Barack Obama opposed gay marriage,” Limbaugh said. “Just 18 months ago.”

Limbaugh accused Obama of changing his stance on same-sex marriage after the gay activists got mad at him for not advancing their agenda. How dare a politician change his position to reflect the interests of the majority!

Now we are told that the whole country supports gay marriage, and those who don’t are bigots!” Limbaugh raged.

Poor bigoted Rush Limbaugh. If only he could take a cue from Fox News talk show co-host Greg Gutfeld, who views the Supreme Court rulings as a conservative victory. How is this a conservative victory? Well, by allowing LGBT people to get married, it will make them less slutty. Say goodbye to hot butt sex and say hello to traditional marriage (translation: no sex).

“I feel that this is a huge conservative victory, because you can no longer deprive someone of an extremely traditional value that makes your life better by curtailing promiscuity and destructive lifestyles.”

“Talking about myself,” Gutfeld added, “marriage to my wife made me a better man. I want to impose that value on others, because that’s what rightwingers do.”

Yep, that’s what rightwingers do…

Via: Raw Story

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Aaron Hernandez

Current Event Cat - Aaron Hernandez

Yesterday was a tough day for football player Aaron Hernandez – first he was charged with murder and then he was booted out of the New England Patriots. The latter may have had a little something to do with the former… But it’s still a better fate than semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd – he’s dead.

Yes, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been charged with murder in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, who was found shot in the head last week.

Hernandez, 23, was arrested on Wednesday in his home south of Boston and later appeared in a packed courtroom, where he faced six criminal charges, the most significant being first degree murder.

The story goes: Aaron Hernandez and two friends picked up Lloyd at home at 02:30am on June 17. The group drove through Boston before heading back to North Attleborough. During the ride, Hernandez let Lloyd know that he was upset that Lloyd had spoken with people that he didn’t like at Boston nightclub several nights earlier. What better reason to murder someone! Long story short, multiple gun shots were heard near an industrial park close to Hernandez’s home around 3:23 a.m and surveillance cameras captured Hernandez carrying a semiautomatic firearm as he and two other men returned to his home at 3:30 a.m.

Aaron Hernandez’s lawyer called the case “circumstantial” and “not a strong case”, but the judge was a little skeptical and denied him bail. Probably a good call – his reputation doesn’t exactly scream “give me bail”. A Florida man filed a lawsuit last week claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after they argued at a strip club in February. And it was reported that Hernandez lost his temper and threatened a teammate during an argument in the team’s weight room shortly after he was drafted.

Via: CBC News & Current Event Cats

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Texas Loves the Death Penalty… And Other News

Death Penalty

Cheer up Texas – you still have the death penalty!

Even though Texas Republicans are mourning the loss of their beloved abortion bill, they still have one thing to look forward to: their 500th execution and love of the death penalty. The state is set to execute its 500th prisoner Wednesday – 52-year-old convicted murderer Kimberly McCarthy. McCarthy, who will the first woman executed since 2010, was convicted of robbing, beating, and stabbing retired professor Dorothy Booth to death in 1997. Texas is the nation’s busiest death penalty state – it’s home to about 40% of the 1,300 executions that have taken place in the United States since the death penalty got the go ahead from the courts in 1976. Fox News

French MayorWhile the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA and Prop 8, things aren’t so same-sex friendly over in France. France legalized gay marriage back in April, becoming the 14th country to do so. But not everyone was happy about it. Now a French mayor has ended up in court for refusing to wed a gay couple in southwestern France. Jean-Michel Colo, who has been the mayor of Arcangues for three decades, became the first French official to formally refuse to marry a gay couple. “I will go to the gallows” rather than back down, Colo said. He might not go to the gallows, but he could face five-year jail term and a 75,000-euro ($98,000) fine. Raw Story 

707048-laurent-blanchardSpeaking of mayors engulfed in scandals, Montreal’s city council has selected Laurent Blanchard as their interim mayor after Michael Applebaum resigned amid corruption allegations. Applebaum had replaced former mayor Gerald Tremblay who also resigned amid corruption allegations. Both deny they did anything wrong. “It’s not easy to take over the city of Montreal after what happened in the last months,” Blanchard said. “It is what has to be done and I will try to do it the best possible.” Stay tuned for Blanchard’s resignation amid corruption allegations. CBC News

Paula DeenPaula Deen’s downfall continues. Paula Deen’s PR bus made a stop at the Today Show and she spent her time on the show crying out buttery tears and begging for forgiveness. In her apology Deen denied being a racist painted herself as a victim of “very, very hurtful lies” and judgments passed by “people I have never heard of [who] are all of a sudden experts on who I am.” After allegations surfaced that Paula Deen uses the n-word, dreams of holding plantation style parties with black men dressed up in white jackets, pays her black employees with beer, and generally just behaves like a huge racist old Southern woman, the celebrity chef was dropped by the Food Network along with some other corporate partners. Washington Post

en-bronysAll of the major (and minor) news sites are covering important topics such as the Supreme Court rulings, political scandals, and international wars. And then there’s the Toronto Star… Today’s front page news: men obsessed with My Little Pony feel misunderstood. Shocker. The My Little Pony show, which is targeted towards little girls, has a growing adult male fan base that call themselves “Bronies”. In order to qualify as a Brony, you must be 18+ and “live and breathe My Little Pony”. These men aren’t perverts – they love the animation, plot, character development, and lessons on friendship that the show provides. But the Bronies are sad that the public misunderstands their love of My Little Pony. “It’d definitely be nice if people had a more open attitude toward us,” one Brony says. WTF Toronto Star. (dedicated to Bums, the ultimate Brony)

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Democrats Filibustered Texas Abortion Bill to Death

Wendy Davis during her Texas Senate filibuster Abortion Bill

Texas Democrats managed to block an abortion bill that would shut most of the abortion clinics in the state all thanks to the magic of filibustering.

Democratic Senator Wendy Davis spoke for over 10 hours in attempt to delay the abortion bill that would ban the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy and require all abortions take place in surgical centres.

Davis was chosen to lead the filibuster because she was once a teen mom who went on to graduate from Harvard Law School. Speaking about Planned Parenthood, Senator Davis said, “I was a poor, uninsured woman, whose only care was provided through that facility. It was my medical home.”

Filibustering is not an easy task. The rules include:

  • No sitting
  • No bathroom breaks
  • No talking about anything unrelated to the bill

Decked out in pink running shoes and a supportive backbrace, Davis needed to talk for 13 hours in order to stop the bill before it could be voted on by the end of the legislative session.

“The leadership may not want to listen to Texas women, but they will have to listen to me. I intend to filibuster this bill.”

Unfortunately, just before midnight, Davis’s filibuster came to an end after Republicans accused her of violating one of the strict parliamentary rules: going off topic.

Abortion rights activists in the upstairs gallery did not like this. Fearing the abortion bill would pass before the midnight deadline, they erupted in outcry, managing to disrupt the Republican senators and further delay the vote. 

“Get them out!” Republican Senator Donna Campbell shouted to a security guard. “Time is running out!”

The Republican dominated Senate soon announced they had somehow managed to successfully pass the bill in the nick of time, but in a final twist it was later discovered that the Republicans’ final vote was taken too late to count, rendering the vote invalid.

Republicans blamed the Democratic victory on “all the ruckus and noise” and “an unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics”. Republican Governor Rick Perry was especially upset – he was itching to sign the bill into law and make abortion a “thing of the past”.

Via: The New York Times

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Julia Gillard Gets the Boot

Current Event Cat - Australian Showdown Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail is no longer on the menu. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was ousted as Labor Party leader by her predecessor, Kevin Rudd.

Interestingly enough, Julia Gillard ousted Kevin Rudd in a similar internal government coup three years ago, thus becoming the country’s first female prime minister. What goes around comes around!

The Labor Party took a closed-door leadership vote and Kevin Rudd won by 57 votes to 45. The party hopes the new leadership will help them avoid a huge defeat in the upcoming elections – set for September 14. The polls indicated that the party under Julia Gillard was almost certain to face a catastrophic loss against opposition leader Tony Abbott. Kevin Rudd probably won’t lead the party to victory either, but party members are hoping he will at least minimize their losses.

Gillard took the defeat in stride announcing, “I will not re-contest the federal electorate… at the forthcoming election.”

“What I am absolutely confident of is it will be easier for the next woman and the woman after that and the woman after that, and I’m proud of that,” she added.

Gillard had a bit of a rocky ride as leader of the Labor party. In addition to leading a minority government, she also had to deal with two previous attempts at a Kevin Rudd takeover and a bunch of voters who never quite warmed up to her after she ousted the prime minister they had elected. And to top it off there was the whole “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail: small breasts, huge thighs, and a big red box” incident…

Via: The New York Times 

Two Historic Wins for Same-Sex Marriage

same-sex marriage is a go

A big victory for same-sex marriage: the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage.

It was a close one – the court’s voted 5-4 that the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, denied equal protection to same-sex couples. DOMA, defines marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of deciding who can receive a range of federal benefits. Back in the day DOMA sailed through Congress and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the year of his re-election – a decision he now whole-heartedly regrets.

Justice Kennedy wrote the majority decision, explaining that DOMA is an unconstitutional deprivation of equal liberty and a violation of the Fifth Amendment. Which means the dissenting judges – Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito – are bigots…?

Justice Scalia had this to say in the dissent:

“In my view a perfectly valid justification for this statute is contained in its title: the Defense of Marriage Act.”

“We have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation”.

Not like the Voting Rights Act you struck down yesterday… that was totally different.

But enough about Scalia – on to the good stuff: Overturning Doma means that legally married gay men and women are entitled to claim the same federal benefits available to opposite-sex married couples. However, gay marriage is only legal in 12 states (and the District of Columbia!) so the ruling only applies to them at this time. More than 30 states currently ban same-sex marriage but with opinion polls showing most Americans support gay marriage, it’s only a matter of time.

Stay tuned: the court has yet to release its decision on California’s ban on same-sex marriage. California went through a brief gay marriage phase in 2008 after the California Supreme Court struck down a state code provision prohibiting gay unions. But then California voters passed Proposition 8, effectively writing a gay marriage ban into the state constitution. 18,000 couples were married in California during this period.  Oh wait… the ruling just came in as I was typing… California’s Prop 8 has been dismissed!

Yay SCOTUS

The court ruled that opponents of same-sex marriage did not have standing to appeal a lower-court ruling that overturned California’s ban, effectively removing all legal obstacles to same-sex marriage in the state.  Translation: gay marriage for all!! (of California…)

Via: BBC News

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Knock-Knock Jokes, Murder Trials… And Other News

Knock-Knock

Knock-knock jokes do not go over well in murder trials.

George Zimmerman’s defense lawyer, Don West, learned this the hard way after his knock-knock joke during his opening statement to the jury in the Trayvon Martin case was met with silence.

“Knock-Knock,” West said.

“Who is there?”

“George Zimmerman.”

“George Zimmerman who?”

“All right, good. You’re on the jury.”

Cue awkward silence… Still, a little lighter than the prosecutor’s opening: “Good morning. F*cking punks. These a**holes always get away.” The prosecutor was using George Zimmerman’s own words in an attempt to paint Zimmerman as a “loose-cannon vigilante”. Should make for an interesting trial! Fox News

Obama Climate ChangeNeeding to distract everyone from the NSA scandal (among others), President Barack Obama has laid out a package of measures aimed at curbing climate change. The plan involves regulating carbon emissions from both new and existing power plants and calls for renewable-energy projects on public lands and federal facilities, as well as infrastructure improvements designed to prepare the U.S. for severe weather. Obama told the audience at Georgetown University, “As a president, as a father and as an American, I am here to say we need to act”. The President also pledged to “lead the world in a co-ordinated assault on a changing climate”. But what about those Republican climate change deniers? Obama: “We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society!” New York Times

Cherokee ChildThe U.S. Supreme Court threw out a lower court order requiring a South Carolina couple to give Native American Dusten Brown back his biological daughter the couple had raised since birth. The Court ruled the young girl did not have to be returned to her biological father simply because he was an American Indian. Brown had argued that the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, which was written to prevent many Native American families from being split up, entitled him to custody of the girl, who was 3/256th Cherokee. Not much – but still more than Justin Bieber! The Supreme Court didn’t go so far as to grant the couple an adoption, but threw out the South Carolina court decisions awarding custody to the father. Reuters 

Moscow AirportWhere in the world is Edward Snowdiego? Part 2 of …many? According to Vladimir Putin, Edward Snowden is hanging out in a Moscow airport but since he is in the pre-immigration area of the airport, he is technically not yet on Russian soil. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Russia to “do the right thing” and return Snowden. But Putin doesn’t care. The Russian president said the NSA leaker will not be extradited to the United States because he hasn’t committed any crimes in Russia. And the Cold War 2.0 begins. BBC News

SCOTUSLet the voter discrimination begin! The Supreme Court has been busy striking things down left right and center – and today was no different. SCROTUS SCOTUS struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, which mandated which regions with a history of racial discrimination had to get federal approval for changes in election law. By a margin of 5-4, the Court said ‘no thanks’ to section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and ruled that an updated formula was needed to decide which jurisdictions’ election laws need monitoring. Obama was not happy. In fact, he was “deeply disappointed.” He said in a statement, “Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent.” CNN

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Forgot Your Password? There’s a Pill for That.

Password Pill

Are you always forgetting your password? Too lazy to write them all down? Too paranoid about hackers to just use one?

Well, Motorola thinks it has a solution to the password problem.  The company is working with doctors to perfect a tiny, swallowable device that stores your codes and ID in your stomach. Technology is getting creepier by the day…

In order for the pill to work you would have to provide Motorola with your password information and they would create a custom pill that had a tiny electronic chip inside it. The password pill automatically syncs up with your smartphone and can confirm your identity to every device. In theory you would never have to remember another password in your life. Somehow the pill is powered by stomach acid and emits a 18-bit, ECG-like signal.

The only catch? (Besides having your stomach become some sort of satellite..) The password pill passes through your body in 24 hours so you would have to take a pill everyday – otherwise you might forget your all your information and just end up wandering the streets aimlessly.

The password pill may seem like an overly complicated and potentially hazardous solution to a small annoyance, but Regina Dugan, senior vice president of Motorola’s Advanced Technology & Projects, thinks the password pill is a necessity that will make everyone’s life easier.

“People have to authenticate themselves (to machines) on average 39 times a day, or log into their phone 100 times a day, and coming up with hacker-proof passwords has become more insane,” Dugan explained, “Sorting this out will improve everyone’s lives.”

“I would take the pill along with my vitamin every morning. It’s my first super-power. I want that.”

Mad-scientist quotes aside, I don’t know about this password pill… What if somebody steals your pills? Can they take over your identity? And more importantly, just how does this pill “pass through your system”?

Passwords are definitely a problem – people aren’t great at creating them and people are even worse at remembering them. Maybe getting rid of passwords altogether would be a better solution – either by fingerprint authentication or eyeball scanning. Then again, I’d rather have a hacker steal my pills than cut off my finger. Then again, it might be simplest to just write my passwords down and make sure they aren’t on the ”worst passwords list”: password, 123456, 12345678, jesus, monkey, trustno1, etc.

Via: The Australian

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