Archive | May, 2014

The FBI’s Stoner Ban is Slowing Down the Fight Against Chinese Hackers

Stoner Hackers Chinese Hacking

The U.S. Justice Department filed criminal charges Monday against five Chinese military officials for hacking American companies in nuclear power, metals, and solar products industries – the first cyber-espionage case of its kind. 

The Chinese hackers allegedly used military and intelligence facilities to commit cyber espionage against U.S. companies, stealing trade secrets and internal documents. Attorney General Eric Holder said the alleged breaches were “significant” and demanded “an aggressive response”.

“Enough is enough,” Holder said. “It is our hope that the Chinese government will respect our criminal justice system.”

China is known around town as one of the worst perpetrators of using cyber spying to gather information and steal trade secrets. And the U.S. is sick and tired of it.

The only problem is, America needs its own hackers to fight off the Chinese hackers. And apparently all our hackers are stoners…

On Monday – the same day the US charged Chinese officials with cyber espionage – FBI director James Comey told an audience at the White Collar Crime Institute about the agency’s stoner problem.

Here’s the dilemma: the FBI needs to hire qualified hackers to add to its cyber crime division, but it also will not hire anyone who’s smoked weed in the past three years. Turns out smoking weed goes hand in hand with the ability to stare at code for hours on end without going completely insane and now there’s a shortage of FBI-eligible hackers.

“I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals, and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” Comey said.

Comey added that the agency is “grappling with the question right now.”

After Comey’s remarks got out, the FBI director was forced to backpeddle a little bit.

“I am absolutely dead-set against using marijuana,” Comey clarified. “I did not say that I am going to change that ban.”

Although he did admit that the FBI is thinking about changing it…

If the non-stoner hacker pool is that small and the FBI is dead-set against the Chinese stealing US secrets, Comey might want to first put his energy behind the push for marijuana legalization and then focus on the cyber-sabotage. Might be faster.

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Turns out Burritos and Assault Rifles Don’t Mix

Burritos and Assault Rifles

Gun-rights activists have shot themselves in the foot again after a gun rally scared Chipotle customers, causing the retail chain to declare assault rifles unwelcome.

Over the weekend gun-rights activists affiliated with Open Carry Texas brought military-style assault rifles into a Dallas-area Chipotle, scaring the crap out of some customers.

Chipotle Guns

So on Monday, the burrito chain issued a statement asking customers who aren’t police officers to leave their weapons at home because “the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.”

But not wanting to strain relations with their gun-loving burrito buyers, the company played it safe by also giving a nod to pro-gun advocates, saying that there are “strong arguments” on both sides of the gun rights issue and that the decision is not an outright ban (which would likely be impossible to enforce) but simply a request.

“The vast majority of gun owners are responsible citizens and we appreciate them honoring this request,” the statement continued. “And we hope that our customers who oppose the carrying of guns in public agree with us that it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area, not the role of businesses like Chipotle.”

Chipotle customers aren’t the first to be terrified of gun-weilding rednecks. Earlier this month, Open Carry Texas demonstrators showed up unannounced at a Jack in the Box restaurant in Ft. Worth without notifying police in advance and without carrying signs indicating that it was meant as a political statement.

“Officers spoke with Jack-in-the-Box employees who reported that they feared for their lives and believed they were being robbed. They locked themselves inside a freezer for protection out of fear the rifle-carrying men would rob them,” reported a local CBS affiliate, quoting a statement from the Fort Worth Police Department.

And in an open letter last year, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz asked customers not to bring guns to their local Starbucks. The announcement was in response to a series of gun groups’ decision to hold “Starbucks Appreciation Days,” in which members were encouraged to openly carry weapons at the popular coffee shops – including one in Newtown, Connecticut.

So the moral of the story is PLEASE leave your assault rifles at home and stop scaring the shit out of customers – especially Chipotle customers. They don’t need anything else to get the shit out of them – the burritos already do a decent job.

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Another Coup For Thailand… And Other News

Thailand coup

Thailand is going coup-razy!

The country that has staged numerous coups since they became a constitutional monarchy is at it again! Except they’re kind of in denial about it…

On Tuesday, the Thai army imposed martial law and moved its forces into the main government building in Bangkok. But it denies the surprise intervention is a coup against the government. Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said the military had simply stepped in to restore order after six months of street protests. The military also took over radio and television stations and instituted media censorship in order to broadcast their message that “declaring martial law is not a coup d’état.” Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan, the go-to leader after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra got the boot two weeks ago, isn’t buying the army’s “no coup” message.  “They took this action unilaterally,” said one of his aides, who considers it a “half a coup d’état.” Well, a half coup is a nice compromise – maybe this will end peacefully? CNN

Sterling DivorceShocking news: Donald and Shelly Sterling are divorcing. Racism’s newest posterboy announced that he and his estranged wife, Shelly, have started divorce proceedings in the wake of the scandal unfolding over his offensive remarks. The mistress wasn’t enough to get Mrs. Sterling to sign the papers, but a media circus will apparently do the trick. Sterling also revealed that he hopes his soon to be ex-wife would be able to keep her share of the LA Clippers – even if he is forced to sell. “The poor girl. I don’t know how she can live and deal with this,” he said. “Thank God she has wonderful attorneys—wonderful—and they will protect her.” Shelly Sterling, who has been married to the 81-year-old for 50 years, has suggested that her husband may be suffering from dementia. Considering he’s probably the first mid-divorce millionaire thanking God for his wife’s “wonderful attorneys”, she just might be right. Daily Mail

Sean HannitySean Hannity finally puts his mortgage where his mouth is! After years of complaining about New York City’s taxes and Governor Cuomo’s intolerance towards right-wingers, the conservative Fox News personality is packing his bags and bidding farewell to the “United Socialist State of New York”. But where should a tax-burdened conservative pundit take his millions? Florida of course! Hannity revealed the move in an interview Friday with Florida Senator Marco Rubio. “You’re going to be my senator!” Hannity exclaimed. The radio host also plans to have a ranch in Texas, another state lacking in state income tax. I’m sure New Yorkers will be devastated filled with glee. They might lose out on a little bit on tax revenue, but their collective IQ will no doubt increase dramatically. Newsmax

Swiss VoteDirect democracy in action! The Swiss have overwhelmingly rejected a referendum proposal to create the world’s highest minimum wage, pleasing everyone who thinks Switzerland is already too goddamn expensive. The proposed minimum wage increase would have brought the rate to 22 Swiss francs, or $24.70. Opponents argued the union-proposed hike would push out small businesses, hurt the country’s large manufacturing sector, and drive Switzerland’s high costs even higher. The people agreed, voting 77% against the wage increase. Also on the referendum list: imposing a lifetime ban on convicted pedophiles working with children. That one passed with a wide margin. Switzerland: No minimum worker pay, no inappropriate child play. CBC News

Qatari HeatOops, we didn’t realize Qatar was in the middle of a desert… Fifa President Sepp Blatter just realized Qatar gets quite hot (like 50C hot) during the summer and the decision to have the country host the 2022 World Cup was probably a mistake. “Of course, it’s an error”, Blatter said, before adding: “You know, everyone makes mistakes in life.” Blatter also revealed that early reports clearly indicated that it was far too hot to toss around sweaty balls during the Qatari summer, but in the end the executive committee still went with Qatar. Despite rumours, Blatter insisted Qatar did not “buy” the tournament, but admitted that “it was due to political considerations” – which is code for “they totally bought the tournament”. To sum up: Qatar – not the best choice. And then there’s that whole slave labour issue… Al Jazeera

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UN Official: Better to Put Down the Fork and Pick Up a Cigarette

Food Tax Cigarette

According to an investigator with the United Nations, unhealthy diets pose a greater risk to global health than cigarettes and governments should move fast to tax harmful food products.

Olivier de Schutter, special rapporteur on right to food, told the World Health Organization’s annual summit that governments should launch negotiations on a global pact to tackle the obesity epidemic.

“Unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco. Just as the world came together to regulate the risks of tobacco, a bold framework convention on adequate diets must now be agreed,” he said.

Two years ago, in another report to the rights council, de Schutter called for similar action, encouraging governments to tax unhealthy products, regulate fats and sugars, crack down on advertising for junk food, and rethink agricultural subsidies that make unhealthy food cheaper. But apparently nothing happened and people just kept eating.

“It has been two years since my report on nutrition and the right to food, and ten years since the World Health Organization (WHO) launched its Global Strategy on Diet Physical Activity and Health,” he said. “Yet obesity continues to advance—and diabetes, heart disease and other health complications along with it. The warning signs are not being heard.”

Will anything change this time around? Probably not, but Consumers International and the World Obesity Federation are on WHO’s side, calling for greater regulation of the food industry. The two organizations said governments around the world should impose compulsory rules for the food and drink industry, similar to tobacco regulations. These rules could include pictures on food packaging of damage caused by obesity (similar to those on cigarette packets), reducing the levels of salt, saturated fat and sugar in food, improving food served in hospitals and schools, imposing stricter advertising controls, and educating the public about healthy eating.

Apparently global deaths due to obesity and general fatness rose from 2.6 million in 2005 to 3.4 million in 2010. Still, are fatty foods really worse than cigarettes? Just think of that awful stale cigarette smell… then again, a 500lbs man with Taco Bell gas probably smells just as bad. Verdict: it’s a tie.

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Tennessee Man Makes an Unusual ATM Deposit (Spoiler Alert: It’s Semen)

A woman using an ATM

An intoxicated Tennessee man was arrested after attempting to have sex with an ATM.

Police is Murfreesboro, Tennessee charged Lonnie J. Hutton, 49, with public intoxication over the weekend after he got a little too handsy with an ATM following a night of drinking at his local watering hole, the Boro Bar & Grille.

“Mr. Hutton entered the bar and walked to the ATM,” said Officer Michael Rickard. “Once at the ATM, Mr. Hutton pulled down his pants and underwear exposing his genitals, Mr. Hutton then attempted to have sexual intercourse with the ATM.”

Officers arrived on the scene as Lonnie was strutting around the bar sans pants. Noting that the naked man smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and was unsteady on his feet, the officers took him outside and ordered him to sit at a wooden picnic table.

But the night didn’t end with Lonnie thrusting his hips into an automated banking machine…

“Once outside Mr. Hutton again exposed himself and engaged in sexual intercourse with the wooden picnic table,” Rickard said.

Lonnie was charged with public intoxication and taken to the Rutherford County jail on $250 bond where he presumably spent the night picking splinters and dollar bills out of his penis.

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Restaurant Gives Customers What They Want: More Skin

 Potato Skin

After a customer posted a review on Urban Spoon demanding the servers show more skin, the Atomic Grill in Morgantown, West Virginia decided to give the customer what he wanted: more skin.

You want more skin? I’ll give you more skin… potato skins…

The restaurant took action by offering a potato skin special for $7, and 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information Services.

Atomic Grill Owner“We took offense to the review and wanted to flip it in a positive way,” Atomic Grill owner Daniel McCawley explained.

“It was brutish. I was upset. I’m a father of a 12-year-old girl and I’ve got five sisters,” McCawley said. “The way that women are treated is pretty personal as far as I’m concerned.”

The post on Urban Spoon has been removed, but the Atomic Grill hopes the potato skin special educates people, raises awareness, and makes the anonymous reviewer look like an even bigger dick.

“If you have a minute, have some potato skins, try some fresh, local barbecue and give to a good cause. It’s important to us, it should be important to the community,” McCawley said.

And if potato skins aren’t enough skin for you, take a drive over to Hooters. Instead of potato skins and donations to rape crisis centers, Hooters offers scantily clad servers and rape jokes. On Saturday, a rape joke showed up on Hooters’ official Facebook page with the caption “EXHIBIT A: The proof that she was asking for it your Honour”.

Hooters Joke

After the restaurant was called out for the offensive joke, Hooters claimed their Facebook page was hacked and quickly took the picture down. But since the photo isn’t too far off from the kind of pictures the restaurant usually posts, you’re probably better off eating at the Atomic Grill.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Flooding in the Balkans

Current EVent Cat - Balkans Floods 

Hundreds of thousands of Bosnians were forced to evacuate their homes on Sunday, after floodwaters caused more than 3,000 landslides in the Balkans.

Bosnia and Serbia have been pounded by three months worth of rain in recent days, producing the worst floods the Balkans have seen since they began measuring rainfall over 120 years ago.

At least 35 people have died as a result of the flooding, hundreds of thousands have had to be evacuated, and about a quarter of Bosnia-Hercegovina’s four million people are without clean water.

The floodwaters hit Bosnia the worst, managing to wipe out entire villages. Helicopter airlifts rushed to pluck families from rooftops but more than 100,000 houses and other buildings were destroyed and the road infrastructure was also badly damaged. To sum up, it’s pretty bad.

Foreign minister Zlatko Lagumdzija said the destruction was “terrifying” and compared it to Bosnia’s 1992-95 war.

“The consequences of the floods are terrifying,” Lagumdzija said.

“The physical destruction is not less than the destruction caused by the war.”

“During the war many people lost everything. Today, again they have nothing.”

And to make matters worse, floodwaters are threatening major power plants and have unearthed land mines leftover from the region’s war in the 1990s. Nearly 120,000 unexploded landmines remain in more than 9,400 carefully marked minefields, but the flood-induced landslides may have knocked a few loose.

“We are faced with the biggest problem and disaster after the war,” Ahdin Orahovac, director of Bosnia’s Mine Action Centre, said.

“All of our mine warning signs have been moved. We have to warn our local population that they shouldn’t hurry back to their homes because there are many locations where landmines are now in new places.”

But with every cloud spewing out torrential rains, there’s a silver lining: cute pictures of animals being rescued!

Serbia Dog Flood

serbia-bosnia-weather-flood-1 Bosnia Puppies

Wait a minute… where are all the cat rescue pictures???

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Marco Rubio Can’t Cite a Single Source Behind his Climate Change Denial

Marco Rubio Climate Change

Senator Marco Rubio, who is publicly entertaining the idea of running for president and has been on some kind of climate denial tour lately, made some headlines over the weekend, when he said, “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.”

Yet despite his strongly held beliefs, Rubio was unable to name a single source when asked to explain his climate change position. At a National Press Club event on Tuesday, an audience member asked Rubio “what information, reports, studies or otherwise are you relying on to inform and reach your conclusion that human activity is not to blame for climate change?”

Uh oh. Unable to cite a source, Rubio side-stepped the question and spit something out about the US being unable to make a difference in climate change anyway.

Then, in an interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday afternoon, the Florida senator decided to use abortion to defend his climate change comments – because why not seem even crazier? Rubio argued that his left-leaning critics are hypocrites when they cite science and label him a climate-change denier because of their view on abortion rights and their refusal to embrace the science of human life beginning at conception.

“Let me give you a bit of settled science that they’ll never admit to. The science is settled, it’s not even a consensus, it is a unanimity, that human life begins at conception,” Rubio said. “So I hope the next time someone wags their finger about science, they’ll ask one of these leaders on the left: ‘Do you agree with the consensus of science that human life begins at conception?’”

Rubio also accused President Barack Obama and his administration of using catastrophic events to push climate regulations.

“You’ll have a tornado somewhere or a drought and you’ll have the president or his supporters show up and say: ‘This is happening because of climate change,’” Rubio said. “As if to imply that if we eviscerate our economy by imposing cap-and-trade, these things will stop happening. That’s ridiculous.”

According to Marco Rubio, President Obama is “not a meteorologist”, but he apparently is.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Death for Apostasy

Current Event Cat - Apostasy

A Sudanese judge has sentenced a woman to hang for apostasy after she left Islam and married a Christian man.

“We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death,” Judge Abbas Moham med Al-Khalifa told the woman.

Despite appeals by Western embassies that freedom of religion should be respected, the judge meant business. In Sudan, which is governed by Islamic law, the rule is that apostasy – the abandonment of one’s religious faith – is a serious crime. Apparently serious enough to warrant the death penalty.

In addition to death by hanging, the woman was also sentenced to 100 lashes. The lashes were the result of her being an adulterous slut, since her marriage to a Christian man was not valid under Islamic law, which says Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslims.

“I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy,” the woman calmly explained to the judge.

Turns out she was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, because her father, a Muslim, was reportedly absent during her childhood. But the judge didn’t care. Death sentence still on!

The one upside to this whole situation is that the woman is eight months pregnant. Therefore, her 100 lashes won’t be dished out until she has recovered from giving birth and the courts won’t go through with her death sentence for two years after she has given birth. Yay!

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The Pentagon Prepares for a Zombie Apocalypse… And Other News

zombie apocalypse

Zombie apocalypse? Don’t worry, the Pentagon’s got it covered.

The U.S. federal government actually has a contingency plan in the unlikely event zombies invade the earth and the military has to destroy them to “preserve the sanctity of human life.” The Defense Department — with a 2014 budget of more than $500 billion—maintains a secret disaster preparation document called “CONOP 8888,” which provides a handy how-to defense against the walking dead. “This plan fulfills fictional contingency planning guidance tasking for U.S. Strategic Command to develop a comprehensive [plan] to undertake military operations to preserve ‘non-zombie’ humans from the threats posed by a zombie horde,” the summary says. And for those who think the zombie document is a joke, it contains a disclaimer reading: “this plan was not actually designed as a joke.” CNBC

Berlusconi MafiaIn not surprising news, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has officially been linked to the mafia. Despite denying rumors of mob ties for years, Berlusconi couldn’t escape the Italian stereotype. The former leader’s ties to Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia, were exposed during a former senator’s trial. Apparently the billionaire tycoon and bunga bunga party organizer worked with the Sicilian Mafia, via his conduit and former senator Marcello Dell’Utri for 18 years, from 1974 to 1992. The judges said the deal between the mafia and Berlusconi, mediated by Dell’Utri, was formed in 1974 and “was implemented voluntarily and knowingly”. Berlusconi will not be tried for his links to the mob, however, because the statute of limitations for mafia-related offences kicks in after 20 years. But just to be a dick, Berlusconi lashed out at the judges, calling them “biased”. Independent

Pope Baptize AliensPope Francis says he would baptize aliens if they came to the Vatican looking for some holy water. Francis said Catholicism was a church of “open doors”, asking “who are we to close doors” to anyone – even Martians. “If, for example, tomorrow an expedition of Martians came to us here and one said ‘I want to be baptized!’, what would happen?” the Pope asked, clarifying that he was actually talking about aliens. “Martians, right? Green, with long noses and big ears, like in children’s drawings.” Now, I’m not sure that alien race advanced enough to create intergalactic space travel technology would be willing to come to Earth and live within the confines of the Catholic church, but it’s a nice gesture. Independent 

Marital Rape IndiaIn India, forced marital sex is not rape, it’s just marital sex. A Delhi court has ruled that sex between a husband and wife, “even if forcible, is not rape.” As long as the wife is over 15 years-old that is… there has to be some kind of restriction!  The judge’s decision, which upheld section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, was the end result of a Delhi woman’s complaint last October. The woman filed a complaint against a man she accused of drugging her, abducting her and taking her to Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, to register their marriage. And then he raped her – but it’s okay because they were married. New York Times

Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius reacts as he reaches for a bucket in the dock during his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, at the North Gauteng High Court in PretoriaThe judge in the trial of South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has ordered that he should undergo a 30-day mental evaluation. He probably should have had those mental health tests before he shot and killed his girlfriend/toilet intruder, but whatever. Prosecution lawyer Gerrie Nel pushed for the evaluation after a forensic psychiatrist said that the double amputee was suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. The psychiatric prescription raises the possibility that the accused was suffering a mental illness when he shot Reeva Steenkamp. To sum up, the trial will now face a very lengthy delay. BBC News

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