Archive | March, 2014

Ukraine May Have a New King… A Chocolate King. And Other News…

Klitschko to not run for president Chocolate King

The Chocolate King takes the lead! Former boxing champ Vitaly Kilschko bowed out of Ukraine’s presidential race, deciding to endorse  48-year-old billionaire Petro Poroshenko.

Poroshenko, dubbed the Chocolate King after his money-making chain of confectionery shops, is now the front-runner for a May 25 presidential election. Well, he was the front runner before Kilschko backed out too… but now the Chocolate King’s victory against Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, is pretty much solidified. The more pro-Russian Ukrainians should be fairly pumped about that – especially after a recorded phone convo leaked, in which Tymoshenko is heard saying “One has to take up arms and go wipe out these damn ‘katsaps’ [a derogatory Ukrainian term for Russians] together with their leader,” and “I would have found a way to finish off these bastards.” Globe and Mail

Sad HollandeHow do you say electoral meltdown in French? France’s Socialist Prime Minister resigned along with his entire government after President Francoise Hollande’s Socialist party suffered major losses in Sunday’s elections. The Socialists lost in 155 towns with more than 9,000 inhabitants during Sunday’s municipal elections – but they did win in Paris, so that’s something. But if the Socialists are down, who’s up? The far-right! The far-right National Front enjoyed unprecedented extremist success, capturing 11 key constituencies. President Hollande is expected to announce a new cabinet and, taking a cue from the nation’s swift move to the right, he chose to replace the old PM Jean-Marc Ayrault with Manuel Valls, the tough-talking Interior Minister who is fiercely anti-immigration. BBC News

Glitchy Healthcare.govIt just wouldn’t be the last day to enroll on Healthcare.gov if there wasn’t some type of glitch. Apparently the last minute scramble to sign up for Obamacare was too much for the website to handle. As tens of thousands rushed to sign up for Monday’s Obamacare deadline, the website crashed again and was down for six hours Monday morning. Then it was up. Then it activated its “virtual waiting room.” Then it blocked newcomers creating accounts. Then it was up again, with 1.6 million visitors before 2pm. Technical glitches aside, more than 9 million people who didn’t have insurance before have signed up through federal and state exchanges and according to Joe Biden, who’s on some kind of Obamacare promotional tour, they are “going to be better off for it.” Politico

Cat WhaleThe Chinese have their shark fins and the Japanese have their whales – until now. In an effort to end whaling in the Southern Ocean, Australia decided to sue Japan, arguing that Japan’s assertion that its whaling is for scientific purposes is totally bogus. On Monday the International Court of Justice sided with Australia (and the whales) and ordered a temporary halt to Japan’s Antarctic whaling program. Presiding Judge Peter Tomka said Japan failed to justify the large number of whales it aims to catch annually. “The court concludes that the special permits granted by Japan for the killing, taking, and treating of whales … are not ‘for purposes of scientific research‘,” Tomka said. In other breaking news, water is wet and the sky is blue. CBC News

Water BaptismTurns out believing in Jesus is no substitute for a flotation device. A 43-year-old man is missing after he was reportedly swept out to sea during a California baptism ceremony on Sunday morning. Mauro Cervantes, the pastor of Santa Maria Church of Jesus Christ Light of the Sky, said the man and two others were dragged off the beach by a rogue wave during the ocean baptism ceremony. While the two others were able to make it back to shore, the 43-year-old is still missing. NY Post

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CNN Journalists Get Arrested Sneaking Into World Trade Center

CNN Journalists Caught

Oh CNN… In a sad attempt to get some of their investigative journalism cred back, the cable news network sent two journalists to break into the World Trade Center for a story about people who were actually able to break in.

The two CNN journalists were filming a report on recent security breaches at the World Trade Center – one involving four men sneaking in and parachuting off the skyscraper and the other involving a 16-year-old boy sneaking up to the top to take some photos. In both those cases, the trespassers bypassed security and snuck in through a hole in the fence during off-hours.  The CNN journalists were not so clever in their attempt to recreate the break-ins.

Shortly after lunch last Tuesday, Yon Pomrenze, 35, and Connor Fieldman Boals, 26, tried to talk their way past security guards into the heavily guarded construction site while holding their video gear. When schmoozing the security guys didn’t work, they attempted to climb over the perimeter fence – twice. No luck there. For their third attempt they tried to force their way through an electronic gate, where they were eventually caught by the police and arrested on criminal trespass, obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct charges.

So instead of sneaking in in the middle of the night, they decided to go in broad daylight and tip off security about their plans.  There goes CNN’s pultizer prize-winning headline: “Look How Easy it is to Sneak Into the World Trade Center!”

Apparently the two CNN reporters thought if a 16-year-old was able to get in, then so should they, said Joseph Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority Police Department.

“He had enough sense to try it at 4 o’clock in the morning,” he said of the 16-year-old.

“This is very wasteful of valuable law-enforcement time and energy,” Pentagelo added.

But on the bright side, at least he knows that the millions of dollars spent on security measures for the World Trade Center are semi-useful – they won’t keep 16-year-olds and parachuting thrill seekers out, but they will make the WTC CNN-free.

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This Is What Gets You An “A-” At The University Of North Carolina

Rosa Parks My Story University of North Carolina

It’s well known that college athletes get special treatment to maintain their academic eligibility, but the University of North Carolina has taken it to the next level by awarding an athlete an A- for his horribly written 146-word essay on Rosa Parks.

Fresh off their February scandal for allowing its athletes to enroll in fake courses for easy credit, the University of North Carolina (UNC) is back in the spotlight after a whistleblower unveiled a riveting Rosa Parks paper during an interview with ESPN.

Mary Willingham, the University of North Carolina whistleblower who spent a decade tutoring and advising UNC’s jocks, explained to ESPN that “academically challenged” UNC athletes were encouraged to sign up for “paper classes”—classes that involved no class work except for a single paper. These classes allowed UNC’s functionally illiterate football players to boost their GPAs, satisfying the NCAA’s eligibility requirements and allowing UNC to keep  winning championships.

Willingham only revealed one essay, which was written (at a sixth grade level…) for an introductory class and received a grade of A-.

The paper, a summary called “Rosa Parks: My Story”, goes as follows:

“On the evening of December Rosa Parks decided that she was going to sit in the  white people section on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. During this time blacks had to give up there seats to whites when more whites got on the bus. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Her and the bus driver began to talk and the conversation went like this. “Let me have those front seats” said the driver. She didn’t get up and told the driver that she was tired of giving her seat to white people. “I’m going to have you arrested,” said the driver. “You may do that,” Rosa Parks responded. Two white policemen came in and Rosa Parks asked them “why do you all push us around?” The police officer replied and said “I don’t know, but the law is the law and you’re under arrest.”

Ok… maybe a fourth grade level. But considering Willingham says some students are reading at a second and third grade level, which is considered “illiterate” for an adult, a fourth grade isn’t bad! A well deserved A-!

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Oregon Mother Beats 4-Year-Old To Death Because She Thought He Was Gay

Jessica Dutro Kills 4-year-old

Jessica Dutro, 25, is facing murder charges after allegedly subjecting her 4-year-old son to deadly beatings because she thought he was gay. And this is why some people should never be allowed to have children…

4-year-old Zachary Dutro-Boggess was brought to a Portland hospital in August 2012 where doctors determined he was dying from trauma to his abdomen that caused tears in his bowel. Two days of suffering later, he was taken off life support. That same day, his loving mother went online and searched terms such as anger management and parenting classes. She also searched listings for free stuff and sex with strangers – because why not?

Jessica Dutro is now on trial in Washington County Circuit Court. The trial revealed that the Oregon mom had sent Facebook messages to her then boyfriend, Brian Canady, complaining that her 4-year-old son might be gay.

Her son was going to be gay, she wrote, using a slur. “He walks and talks like it. Ugh.”

She also suggested Canady should “work on” Zachary to make him less gay.

Canady already pleaded guilty earlier in the month to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault, in connection with Zachary’s death. Apparently he took “working on Zachary”, to mean kicking the toddler in the stomach while wearing shoes.

Jessica Dutro also has a 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son who are said to have shown signs of physical abuse. So maybe it wasn’t really about Zachary’s perceived homosexuality? Maybe she’s just a good old fashioned child abuser – and to steal a quote from True Detective:

“Prison is very, very hard on people who hurt kids. If you get the opportunity, you should kill yourself.”

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Gay Weddings in the U.K.

Current Event Cat - Gay Weddings UK

At the stroke of midnight on Saturday, the United Kingdom welcomed its first gay weddings after same-sex marriage was legalized in England and Wales – but it was an American who stole the show.

The first couple married in England was Sinclair Treadway, a 20-year-old from Los Angeles, California, and his London based partner Sean Adl-Tabatabai. Treadway’s parents traveled from the U.S., and leaders of all of Britain’s major political parties wished them congratulations. Leave it to an American to steal Britain’s gay marriage thunder.

But despite the American hijacking, the midnight marriages went off without a hitch, and dozens of same sex couples were successfully hitched.

“When we were born, it was illegal to be gay, let alone get married,” one soon-to-be newlywed said during last-minute preparations ahead of the wedding. “I didn’t think about the possibility for most of my life. It is only really recently that suddenly the option seemed to be on its way.”

Up until Saturday, gay couples in Britain were allowed to enter in civil partnerships – established by law in 2005 – which made many feel like second-class citizens.

The same-sex marriage bill was passed in January last year but is just now coming into effect. While Prime Minister David Cameron faced some vocal opposition, for the most part politicians from the main parties have supported the change in the law.

“This weekend is an important moment for our country,” the Prime Minister wrote in an article for the Pink News website.

“It says we are a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth,” he continued, adding that he hoped the legalization would give young gay Britons the courage to come out.

Even Elton John is hopping on the gay weddings bus. His partner of 20 years, David Furnish, recently announced the duo will marry in May.

“We don’t feel the need to take an extra step legally,” Furnish said. “But since we’re committed for life, we feel it’s really important to take that step, and take advantage of that amazing change in legislation. We all live by example.”

Scotland has passed a similar law, and is expected to see its first weddings in October.

Northern Ireland has no plans to follow suit…

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Osama Bin Laden’s Son-In-Law: Guilty As Charged. And Other News…

Osama In Law Son-In-Law

Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law is guilty – by association! And of conspiring to kill Americans as al Qaeda’s spokesman after the 9/11 attacks…

Looks like the apple-in-law doesn’t fall far from the tree! Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a senior adviser to Osama bin Laden and husband of Bin Laden’s daughter Fatima, was convicted in a Manhattan federal court on charges to kill Americans and providing material support to terrorists. The 48-year-old Kuwaiti-born cleric became famous/infamous for his fiery speches on behalf of Bin Laden after Sept. 11, in which he praised the terrorist attacks and promised that future attacks would definitely be carried out. Ghaith claimed he was just a mouthpiece for Bin Laden and simply delivered his talking points. But a jury of ever so slightly biased New Yorkers didn’t fall for it and returned a guilty verdict. Ghaith, who was captured last year in Jordan, could be sentenced to life in prison for his crimes – but at least he’s not on a hunger strike at Guantanamo! New York Times

Lions chewing on a giraffeThe Copenhagen Zoo has done it again! A month after the Danish zoo decided to kill off a perfectly healthy 2-year-old giraffe by dissecting it in public and feeding it to the lions, they’ve now decided to do away with the lions too. The zoo/butcher shop has announced it will kill two aging lions and two cubs to prevent inbreeding and any kafuffles that might occur when they introduce a new male to the enclosure. Apparently the new arrival, a three-year-old male, wouldn’t have been accepted by the pride if the older male was still there. “Furthermore we couldn’t risk that the male lion mated with the old female as she was too old to be mated with again due to the fact that she would have difficulties with birth and parental care of another litter,” the zoo said. And then they decided to kill off the cubs too because would have been killed by the new male lion anyway. Maybe the getting a new lion wasn’t the best idea? CTV News

122 ObjectsIt’s an oil slick! It’s a pile of garbage! It’s an unidentified orange rectangle! Now it’s 122 random objects! After a spew of false alarms, the rescue crew searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are hoping the 122 new objects spotted in the Indian Ocean are from actually the sought after aircraft. Satellite images have captured some objects that are bright and possibly of solid material and 75 feet in length, spotted roughly 1,500 miles from Perth, Australia. Extra vessels and aircraft arrived in the search zone on Wednesday after taking a short pause in their rescue efforts due to gale-force winds and heavy rain. Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters: “We will never give up trying to find the plane, to ensure closure for the families and find out what happened to MH370.” And then he went on to kick the grieving Chinese relatives while they’re down. “Time will heal emotions that are running high … Chinese families must understand we in Malaysia also lost loved ones,” said Hishammuddin, implicitly criticizing Chinese relatives who have accused Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines of lying to them and causing the deaths of their loved ones. “I have seen images [of relatives] from Australia: very rational, understanding this is a global effort, not blaming Malaysia.” The Guardian

Bling BishopGermany’s Bling Bishop gets das boot. The Vatican gave Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the German bishop who came under fire for his new $43 million church funded residence, the boot on Wednesday and told him never to come back. While Pope Francis was touring around preaching austerity this and austerity that, the Bling Bishop was off buying 15,000 euro bathtubs and 25,000 euro conference tables. Tebartz-van Elst has apologised for any “carelessness or misjudgement on my part”, but he denies any wrongdoing. Buying a 15,000 euro bath with church money is always the right thing to do! Reuters

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North Korean Students Required To Get Kim Jong Un Haircut

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Haircut

The hairdo known as the “Chinese smuggler haircut” currently sported by dictator Kim Jong-un (aka North Korea’s “The Rachel”), is now a requirement for male university students.

According to less than reputable reports, the state-sanctioned haircut guideline was introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago and is now being rolled out across the country.

North Korea has always been pretty strict about their haircuts. The North Korean government has recommended a generous range of 28 hairstyles for its citizens (18 styles for women and 10 for men), claiming that they are “the most comfortable” styles and capable of warding off the corrupting effects of capitalism. But now they’re adding one more haircut so stylish that it has become mandatory for all male students: The Kim Jong Un.

Kim Jong Un’s stylish do is commonly associated with Chinese smugglers and is definitely…. unique. But it’s still better than Kim Jong-il’s bouffant hairstyle, which he sported to make him appear taller.

But is this another addition to the long list of ridiculous news stories about North Korea that will later turn out to be fake? Remember the story of Kim Jong Un’s uncle being fed to starving dogs? Or the one where Kim Jong Un executed his girlfriend for making sex tapes? Or the one where Dennis Rodman sang Happy Birthday to the North Korean dictator Marilyn Monroe style? Oh wait, that last one was true.

Some North Korean enthusiasts say the story is likely false.

 “Kim Jong Un’s haircut is a very particular one, shaved up the sides to make him look like Kim Il Sung did when he was in his 30s,” Bruce Cumings, an expert in Korean history from the University of Chicago, says.

“If many young men are shaving their sideburns to look like Kim Jong Un, it is probably an attempt to show how loyal they are to the leadership.”

Adam Cathcart, a Lecturer in Chinese History at University of Leeds who is also editor of the SinoNK Web site, agrees.

“Haircuts are somewhat generational. To my knowledge, there was no ‘decree’ about getting hair cut significantly shorter just above the ears than had previously been the norms, but more and more young non-military men seemed to do it, and after [Kim’s uncle Jang Sung Taek-taek]’s execution there has appeared to be more such haircuts of such styled people shown on state media, at any rate,” Cathcart says.

“But no one has ‘the’ haircut except for Kim Jong Un, since it’s getting higher and higher and is practically a mohawk [now].”

Well, there’s only one way to find out the truth:

Step 1: Travel to Pyongyang.

Step 2: Look around.

If all of North Korea is having a bad hair day, then the rumours are true.

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New Jersey Man Doesn’t Understand the Concept of Double Jeopardy… Or Just Loves Prison

Shoe Robbery Double Jeopardy

Double Jeopardy? Double crime! After spending 15 years in prison for robbing a children’s shoe store, Christopher Miller headed straight back to the same shop after being released and robbed it again

In 1999, a 25-year-old Christopher Miller was arrested after he forced a bunch of shoe salesmen into the back room of the Stride Rite shoe store in Toms River, tied them up and fled with cash from the register.

Apparently in New Jersey that gets you about 15 years in the slammer so off Miller went.

Fast forward to 2014 and Miller is released from prison. First on his agenda? Rob the shoe store again.

One day after being released Miller, now 40, took a bus from Atlantic City to Toms River to visit his old robbing ground. He entered the shoe store and demanded cash, telling the workers – a teenage boy and 43-year-old woman – to go to the back room. When they refused, he became agitated, grabbed the $389 that was in the cash register and the two employees’ cell phones, and fled the scene. Police later found him a few blocks away and charged him with robbery. Again.

As for why Miller would commit the same crime twice, Toms River Police Chief Mitchell Little has a theory: he really wanted to go back to the comfort of prison (think Brooks in The Shawshank Redemption).

“Maybe that’s the only life he knows, and the only thing he could think of was going back to the same store and doing the same crime again — getting caught and going back where he was taken care of and told what to do and getting meals and shelter and everything else,” he said.

But another theory is that Miller watched the movie Double Jeopardy while in prison and thought “Wait a minute, I can’t be arrested for robbing the same store twice! It’s the perfect crime!”

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Drunk Secret Service

Current Event Cat - Secret Service Sent Home Drunk

Three US Secret Service agents tasked with protecting President Barack Obama in the Netherlands have been sent home after they were caught drinking.

One member of the Secret Service’s Counter Assault Team was found drunk and passed out in the hallway of an Amsterdam hotel. The hotel staff found the intoxicated agent in the hallway and reported the incident to the American Embassy. The other two agents were deemed complicit because they did not intervene and all three were sent home for “disciplinary reasons” and placed on administrative leave.

The Counter Assault Team’s role is to protect the president if he comes under attack, and to draw the attacker’s fire while the detail removes the president – which is pretty difficult to do if you’re unconscious on the floor of a hotel hallway.

But surely he wasn’t on duty when he began boozing it up? Doesn’t matter! Under rules adopted after the 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia, agents are forbidden to drink alcohol 10 hours before an assignment. Since the Colombia incident, in which a bunch of Secret Service agents were dismissed after they hired prostitutes in Cartagena while preparing the way for Obama’s visit to the Summit of the Americas, the agency has been trying to repair its reputation and curb its perceived male-dominated hard partying culture.

So far, it’s not going that well…

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Is Qatar’s World Cup Worse Than 9/11?

Qatar World Cup Migrants

Soccer vs. Terrorism: Qatar’s World Cup is expected to take more lives than 9/11.

A recent report released by the International Trade Union Confederation says that an estimated 4,000 migrant workers will die before the 2022 World Cup. The reports estimates are based on the migrant mortality trends currently seen in Qatar.  The working and living conditions of the 1.4 million migrant workers living in Qatar, many of whom are there to build stadiums and infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup, are so bad that overworked migrant workers are dropping like flies in the sweltering Qatari heat – a much slower death than a quick plane crash. Deadspin 

Girl Scout RecordAn Oklahoma City Girl Scout has broken the Girl Scout cookie-selling record – without the help of drugs. 12 year-old Katie Francis sold 18,107 boxes of cookies in seven weeks, breaking the national record and smoking 13 year-old Danielle Lei, who famously set up shop outside a San Francisco marijuana shop hoping to cash in on stoners looking for a munchies fix. Katie said the secret of her success is asking everyone she meets to buy a box: “There are three ingredients to the cookie sale. It takes lots of time, commitment and asking everybody I see.” It’s as easy as ABC! Always be closing. BBC News

muslim-brotherhoodEgypt appears to be weeding out the Muslim Brotherhood – and by weeding out, I mean handing out death sentences. On Monday more than 500 members of the now-illegal Muslim Brotherhood were sentenced to death by an Egyptian court. The charges ranged from murdering a police officer to attacking police to supporting ousted President Mohamed Morsi. Then on Tuesday, the same court began the mass trial of 683 Islamist suspects, all suspected of murder and sabotage. Considering the trial of the first 500 members only lasted two days, I suspect there will be an increase in death sentences by the end of the week. Reuters

judge-joe-brown-arrestedIf anyone should know how not to behave in a courtroom, it’s Judge Joe Brown. But the TV personality appears to have forgotten his 15 years of trashtastic television experience and was arrested and sentenced to five days in jail for contempt of court. Brown was in court to represent a client in a child-support case, but he completely lost it when he found out his case was not on the afternoon docket. Judge Joe “incited a near riot” and became verbally abusive toward the judge, challenging his authority and causing a ruckus. He was reportedly held in contempt five times before being forcibly removed from the courtroom. Maybe he can get Judge Judy to put in a good word for him? Hollywood Life

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