Archive | September, 2014

NFL Player Penalized for Praying While Muslim

NFL Prayer

Tired of going after child abusers and crazy elevator attackers, the NFL decided to switch things up and start penalizing Muslim NFL players, slapping Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah with unsportsmanlike conduct during Monday night’s game for praying after scoring a touchdown.

After Husain Abdullah intercepted a Tom Brady pass and returned it for a touchdown, he dropped to the ground and prayed… but not to Jesus. Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was practicing the Sajdah, a religious MUSLIM prayer.

Abdullah was hit with a penalty because, according to the NFL rulebook, “players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.” Except, of course, when they’re Christian and named Tim Tebow. Not only was Tim Tebow’s “Tebowing” gesture not penalized, but it became a highly embraced occurrence during the 2011 season.

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By the next morning the NFL was backtracking on their decision, saying it was mistake to punish Husain Abdullah with a 15-yard penalty after he prostrated himself and prayed in the end zone.

“Abdullah should not have been penalized,” Michael Signora, the NFL’s vice-president of football communications, said in a tweet. “Officiating mechanic is not to flag player who goes to ground for religious reasons.”

Abdullah tried deflecting attention from the situation after the game by saying that he thought he was penalized for sliding after getting into the end zone.

“I don’t think it was because of the actual prostration that I got the penalty,” he told the Kansas City Star newspaper “I think it was because of the slide.”

But the NFL’s admission of error makes it pretty clear that it wasn’t the slide, they were just caught pulling a double standard.

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Gay Bashing Is Still A Thing In Pennsylvania

Gay Bashing Philly

Three people charged with violently beating two gay men in Philadelphia on September 11 surrendered to police on Wednesday morning.

Philip Williams, 24, Katherine Knott, 24, and Kevin Harrigan, 26, are facing multiple charges including aggravated assault, two counts of simple assault, two counts of recklessly endangering another person, and one count of conspiracy.

The gay-bashing group “made disparaging remarks about their sexual orientation,” according to police, and proceeded to hold the men down while punching them. The two men went to the hospital with severe injuries and one of the victims needed to have his jaw wired shut.

But what made the trio come forward to the police? Well, soon after the attack, police published on Youtube CCTV footage of the alleged perpetrators walking on a city street and a bunch of social media sleuths managed to match their Facebook photos with the security footage.

And that’s not all the social media sleuths uncovered. Turns out one of the gay bashers is the daughter of Chalfont Borough Police Chief Karl Knott and is alllll over the internet. Links to Katherine Knott’s Twitter page reveal she’s into binge drinking, complaining about non-English speaking people, throwing around antigay slurs, and getting special treatment from her police chief daddy.

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Even though prosecutors have said the crime was motivated by the victims’ sexual orientation, no hate crime charges will be filed because… well, it’s Pennsylvania and they’re a little behind the times when it comes to hate crimes. Under current Pennsylvania law, suspects cannot be charged with a hate crime for attacking people due to their sexual orientation, even if the perpetrator clearly thinks gay people are #ew.

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Bombs Over Baghdad… I mean Syria. And Other News…

Syria Air Strikes

The U.S. war major counter-terrorism operation against ISIS has begun in Syria.

On Monday night, the United States—along with their new buddies Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, launched cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs at ISIS strongholds along Syria’s border with Iraq. The U.S.-led strikes hit the city of Raqqa (ISIS’s self-declared capital of Syria) as well as a number of other villages and cities. In addition to targeting ISIS, the Monday night air strikes took aim at the Khorosan Group, an Al Qaeda cell filled with well-seasoned operatives. Why not kill two birds with one missile? So far the strikes have been a success – if you measure success by dead bodies. At least 70 ISIS militants and 50 other al-Qaeda-linked fighters have been killed in the attacks. BBC News

Chad HomosexualLouisianan gays rejoice, Chadian gays recoil! A judge in Louisiana has ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. State Judge Edward Rubin said the ban violates the due process clause and the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, as well as the full faith and credit clause of the constitution. In other words, it’s good news for the couple in the case, Angela Costanza and her partner Chasity Brewer, who argued that Louisiana should recognize their marriage, which took place in California. Meanwhile, over in Africa, Chad is poised to become the 37th African country to ban homosexuality. As part of a larger overhaul of the penal code, Chad is expected to pass a new law banning homosexuality with a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. The government ministers, who have already signed on to the bill, say claim the law works to “protect the family and to comply with Chadian society.” On a more positive note, the new penal code also abolishes the death penalty, so at least the newly criminalized homosexuals won’t end up on death row… small win? The Guardian

New Zealand FlagScotland may have voted against separating from the British Empire, but now New Zealand is getting anxious to cut ties with its former colonizer. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he would hold a referendum on getting rid of the nation’s Union Jack clad flag next year. “I’d like to get on with it, to me I’d like to do it as a 2015 issue,” Key told commercial station Radio Live. “I’m obviously a big supporter of the change, I think there are a lot of strong arguments in favour of the change.” The prime minister wants to ditch the Union Jack in favour of a silver fern against a black background. Critics say this design too closely resembles a pirate’s flag, but Key urged his fellow Kiwis to think of it as New Zealand’s version of the Canadian maple leaf. “I know it was a ferocious debate in Canada, but in the end would any Canadians look back and say they got it wrong with the maple leaf?” he asked. I don’t know… maybe this Canadian. The Guardian

Somali RansomTurns out Somali pirates are more forgiving than ISIS militants… or they’re just more into ransoms. A German-American journalist who was abducted more than two years ago has been freed. Michael Scott Moore was abducted in the Somali city of Galkayo back in January 2012 while researching a book about piracy. A Somali pirate commander told The Associated Press that the journalist had been released after a ransom was paid, but according to Abdi Yusuf, interior minister of the semi-autonomous region of Galmudug in central Somalia where the 45-year-old journalist was abducted, no ransom was paid. Ransom or no ransom (there was totally a ransom), Moore is no doubt happy to be reunited with his family and pirate-free. New York Times

Three BoobsDisappointing Total Recall fans everywhere, the Florida woman who claimed to have had a third breast surgically implanted to scare men away turned out to be a big fat phony. Armed with a handful of disturbing selfies, 21-year-old Jasmine Tridevil (not her real name, obvs) tricked thousands of news organizations into believing she found a plastic surgeon stupid enough to give her a third boob. Tridevil says the surgery cost $20,000 and that included a “nipple” implant. She also revealed: “I got it because I wanted to make myself unattractive to men. Because I don’t want to date anymore.” She sounds smart… “Most guys would think [the extra breast is] weird and gross. But I can still feel pretty because if I wore makeup and cute clothes, I can still, you know… feel pretty,” the 21-year-old (in Courtney Stodden years) continued. But, an investigation by Snopes shows that Tridevil has a history of creating Internet hoaxes and even if she had found a plastic surgeon willing to put his/her license on the line, the procedure would take months to complete and would definitely NOT look Total Recall-esque. Huffington Post

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Thai Prime Minister: Wearing a Bikini is Unsafe

Thailand bikinis

According to Thailand’s new military ruler, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, wearing a bikini in Thailand will get you killed… unless you’re ugly – then you’re in the clear.

In the wake of the brutal murders of two British tourists, PM Prayuth Chan-ocha warned “beautiful” Western visitors that wearing a bikini in Thailand may attract unwanted attention… from murderers.

“Tourists think that Thailand is beautiful, safe and that they can do anything they want here. That they can put on their bikinis and go anywhere they want. I ask, can you get away with wearing bikinis in Thailand? Unless you are not beautiful?” Prayuth said in a televised speech.

The PM’s comments were made following the death of two British tourists, David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23. The duo were found dead after attending a beach party on the island of Koh Tao last Monday. Apparently both were wearing bikinis??

This is not the first time Prayuth Chan-ocha has suggested that the victims were to blame for their demise. On Tuesday the army general said that the “behaviour” of Witheridge and Miller should also be investigated.

“We have to look into the behaviour of the other party too because this kind of incident should not happen to anybody and it has affected our image,” he told reporters.

The Prime Minister has since apologized for his bikini remarks, telling a press conference on Thursday:

“I apologize that I have spoken too harshly…I didn’t mean to criticize or look down on anyone. Today I can guarantee that Thailand is still safe … I wanted to warn [the tourists] to be careful.”

So if you’re a female tourist headed to Thailand, leave the bikini at home… or be really ugly. Preferably both. Although, this advice is coming from the same Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha who thinks his enemies are using black magic against him, so maybe take it with a grain of salt…

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Rockefeller Family Denounces Oil

Green Energy Rockefeller

The Rockefeller family, whose legendary fortune was made by oil, announced that its $860 million philanthropic foundation is joining the divestment movement and abandoning fossil fuels.

The announcement came just in time for the United Nations climate change summit which starts today in New York City. The summit is part of a broadening divestment initiative in which people commit to selling shares of energy stocks. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has already eliminated investments involving coal and tar sands, and now, along with a coalition of other philanthropists, are pledging to rid themselves of more than $50 billion in fossil fuel assets.

Rockefeller Brothers Fund director Stephen Heintz said the move to divest from fossil fuels would be in line with oil tycoon John D Rockefeller’s wishes.

“We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” Heintz said in a statement.

The Rockefellers’ decision to sell investments in fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy, also coincided with the People’s Climate March, where hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets in more than 2,000 locations worldwide. An estimated 300,000 people, including Al Gore, Ban Ki Moon, and Bill de Blasio, marched for urgent action on climate change and curbs on carbon emissions in New York. The slightly less popular “Flood Wall Street” protests got underway the next day, with nearly one thousand demonstrators hitting Wall Street to protest the financial sector’s role in promoting investments in planet-polluting industries.

Perhaps the Rockefellers were just looking to avoid the wrath of the thousands of environmental activists. Or, more likely, the oil baron heirs are simply interested in controlling green energy the same way they controlled oil back in the day. There’s nothing quite like making a huge profit while appearing ultra philanthropic!

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Scottish Independence Referendum

Scotland Referendum Scottish

The Scots hit the polls today to vote on whether the country should stay in the UK or become an independent Scottish nation. 

Voters will answer a straightforward “Yes” or “No” to the referendum question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Putting American voter turnout to shame, 4,285,323 people – 97% of the electorate – are registered to vote in what is expected to be the busiest day in Scottish electoral history.

A vote for independence would mean Scotland, with its population of about 5.3 million, splits from the rest of the United Kingdom, made up of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. But a vote against independence doesn’t necessarily mean the status quo will continue. Promises of further devolution to the Scottish parliament have made by all the main parties.

The Yes campaign argues that the Scottish people should be able to decide how their money (and future untapped oil resources) is spent. They’d rather sustain welfare spending than waste money on England’s nuclear weapon program and getting involved in wars. Also, since Scotland consistently votes to the left of the rest of the UK, they would never have to deal with another Conservative government telling them to cut this and privatize that.

The No campaign is more about the fear of the unknown, highlighting the risks of independence to the Scottish economy. These include the uncertainties over what currency the country would use in the event of a yes vote, doubts over the reliability of oil reserves, how the country will pay for its public services, uncertainties around Scotland’s continued membership of Europe, and the threat to jobs if businesses pull out of Scotland. Plus, the shared history of the union and the institutions that bind it together, blah, blah, blah.

As for British Prime Minister David Cameron, who foolishly agreed to the referendum back when support for Scottish independence was much lower, he’s reportedly had enough.

“I have to say that after the events I’ve been facing over the past few days, assassination would be a welcome release,” Cameron said.

The vote will be seen as a huge failure for Cameron if the Scots choose to go independent. But one good thing has come out of the referendum debacle for Cameron – a budding new friendship with former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

“We’re actually good friends,” Cameron said of his former rival, who has since become his ally in the political battle to keep Scotland from seceding.

The Prime Minister said he and his predecessor also have regular phone chats, having put aside their political differences in recent months. Well, that’s sweet.

The Prime Minister also reiterated that he will not resign in the event of a Yes victory.

“My name is not on the ballot paper,” Cameron said. “What’s on the ballot paper is ‘does Scotland want to stay in the United Kingdom, or does Scotland want to separate itself from the United Kingdom?

“That’s the only question that will be decided on Thursday night. The question about my future will be decided at the British general election coming soon.”

Unless, of course, he’s assassinated first….

Update: Scotland voted No (55%), so no need to assassinate David Cameron just yet.

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China Creates Cellphone Lane for “Zombie Pedestrians”

Cellphone lane

While cities like Toronto are struggling to get a few bike lanes, city authorities in Chongqing, China, have introduced a cellphone lane for pedestrians who use their phones while walking.

Local officials in the city of Chongqing were sick and tired of pedestrians distracted by their phones and constantly bumping into someone or something. Since moving as far away from China as possible wasn’t a viable option, the city divided a sidewalk on one of its busiest streets into two lanes – one for cellphone users and the other for the cellphone-less.

There are white lines painted on the pavement, which clearly distinguish the lanes for cellphone users and those wanting to walk at a quicker/normal pace. How pedestrians so distracted by their phones that they are constantly bumping into things will be able to stay within the white lines or even notice the existence of the lane in the first place is still undetermined.

The 100-foot stretch of sidewalk, located in a popular tourist spot in the southwest Chinese city, is also accompanied by warning signs to remind pedestrians that “it is best not to play with your phone while walking”.

“There are lots of elderly people and children in our street, and walking with your cellphone may cause unnecessary collisions here,” said Nong Cheng, a marketing official with Meixin Group, which manages the area in the city’s entertainment zone.

It seems that plan may have backfired though. The cellphone friendly sidewalk has now become something of a tourist attraction in Chongqing, with tourists stopping to take hundreds of photos of the new idea – on their cellphones of course.

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Saudi Businesswoman Fined For Driving Herself to the Hospital

Saudi woman driving

Aliyah Al-Farid, a Saudi businesswoman and member of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), was fined by police after she drove herself to the hospital to receive treatment for a medical condition. A woman driver? What’s next? A woman doctor?!

In Saudi Arabia, it is not illegal for women to drive on the road, but it is illegal for them to be granted a driver’s license – which pretty much wipes out the former law. As the Quran says, “No woman shall operate a motor vehicle. Ever.”

But Al-Farid claims no one else was available to drive her when she began to experience the medical emergency.

“I told the traffic officers that I had to drive because it was an emergency case,” Al-Farid later told reporters.

“I didn’t do it on purpose and I’m not after fame or media hype. I was very sick and that was it,” she said.

The Saudi police were very understanding and allowed her to proceed to the hospital. But waited for her outside…

When she emerged from treatment, four police cars were waiting to escort her to the local Traffic Department office. While at the station, Al Farid, who has reportedly been caught driving twice before, paid the fine for driving without a license but refused to agree to a police request to never drive again.

The Saudi businesswoman owns a centre caring for people with special needs and on occasion must rush her patients to hospital.

“We can’t leave an epileptic patient convulsing on the ground while waiting for our male driver to come and transport him to hospital.”

“I have to get behind the steering wheel and do it,” she explained.

So… what are Saudi women supposed to do if they are home alone and have a medical emergency? Sit there and die? Well, considering this is the same country where religious police forced schoolgirls back into a burning building because they weren’t wearing the correct Islamic dress, I guess the answer is yes.

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Death By Crocodile… And Other News

Death by Crocodile

Instead of popping some pills or fastening a noose the good old fashioned way, a Thai woman has come up with a new method of suicide: jumping into a crocodile pit.

A 65-year-old woman from Bangkok killed herself by jumping into a crocodile pit at a reptile farm near the capital. Wanpen Inyai, who appeared depressed prior to the incident, took off her shoes and jumped right into the 3m deep pond that contained hundreds of adult crocodiles. Staff tried to use long sticks to stop the crocodiles from attacking her, but those crocodiles were mighty hungry. The reptile farm owner said the farm, which has, like most Thai tourist attractions, extremely lax safety rules, had already installed additional fences and other security measures along the walkways. The crocodile will not be charged. BBC News

Cab OdorPassing their driving test (or getting held up at gunpoint) is no longer cab drivers’ biggest worry – now, they must also pass a smell test. Officials at San Diego International Airport are using body odor as a criteria for judging taxi drivers—and the cabbies aren’t happy, complaining it stinks of prejudice and discrimination. Body odor is now among 52 criteria that officials at San Diego International Airport use to judge taxi drivers, along with the usual proof of insurance, functioning windshield wipers, adequate tire treads, good brakes, etc. Anyone who flunks the smell test is told to go home and change before picking up another customer. Sounds good to me, but not to Drivers with United Taxi Workers of San Diego who say the smell test perpetuates a stereotype that predominantly foreign-born taxi drivers smell bad. Body odor is body odor no matter where you’re from, but whatever, I’ve got an Uber account. Huffington Post

Ebola OutbreakThe Ebola virus has continued to terrorize West Africa, killing 2,461 so far and threatening the region’s economic growth. In fact, the Ebola crisis has gotten so out of hand that the U.S. announced it will step up efforts to combat the outbreak. On Tuesday, President Obama announced a plan to send 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the region with the intention of building 17 new health-care facilities with 100 beds each and training as many as 500 health-care workers a week. Others are doing a little less to reign in the highly contagious virus. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has fired 10 government officials who have been “out of the country without an excuse” amid the national crisis. “These government officials showed insensitivity to our national tragedy and disregard for authority,” said a statement from the president’s office. The ten senior officials were given a one-week ultimatum back in August to return to Liberia or they would be fired immediately. Turns out unemployment was more appealing than the chance of catching a viral hemorrhagic fever. Bloomberg

alan-henningAl Qaeda is turning into one big softie. The terrorist organization responsible for the 9/11 attacks appealed to IS (the group formerly known as ISIS) to release the British hostage Alan Henning because it believed he was an innocent aid worker who was genuinely trying to help suffering Muslims. Al Qaeda told IS its capture of the British aid volunteer, who had traveled four thousand miles to deliver vital medical equipment to Syrian refugees, was simply unacceptable. In the Islamic State’s latest film showcasing the brutal beheading of aid worker David Haines, the IS militant warned Henning would be next. The question is, will IS listen to reason? No. When even al Qaeda makes you look bad, you knw you’re a horrible organization. Independent 

Auschwitz93-year-old Oskar Groening has been charged with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for serving as an SS guard at the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp. Groening is accused of helping operate the death camp in occupied Poland between May and June 1944. The ex-nazi was responsible for taking the possessions of those imprisoned at Auschwitz. “He helped the Nazi regime benefit economically, and supported the systematic killings,” state prosecutors in Hanover, Germany, said. Groening has spoken openly about his experiences at the Nazi death camp but has said while he witnessed horrific atrocities, he didn’t commit any crimes himself. In 2005, he told Der Spiegel he recalled one incident on “ramp duty” when he heard a baby crying. “I saw another SS soldier grab the baby by the legs. He smashed the baby’s head against the iron side of a truck until it was silent.” Well, that will give the 93-year-old something to think about during his life sentence – which will probably only last a couple months. CNN

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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s Wife Awarded PhD… After Being Enrolled for Two Months

Grace Mugabe

The first lady of Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe, is not known for her academic intellect, but “somehow” she managed to graduate with a PhD from the University of Zimbabwe.

President Robert Mugabe, who just happens to be chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, capped his wife last week and awarded her a PhD in sociology. Her thesis, according to the state-owned Herald newspaper, was on the changing social structure and functions of the family.

Grace Mugabe, who is best known for getting knocked up with the president’s child while his first wife, Sally, lay bedridden due to a kidney ailment, can now add doctor to her growing CV, which also includes a dairy business, building a school, and keeping the world economy afloat by going on ridiculous shopping sprees.

News of the first lady’s graduation has come as a surprise to many Zimbaweans, mainly because she was only reported to have enrolled two months ago. Plus, past reports in Zimbabwe said the 49-year-old first lady had dropped out of a correspondence course at the University of London after failing most of the exams with marks as low as 7%.

But according to Grace, she had to work hard for her degree. It seems Grace Mugabe may be just as delusional as her husband, who recently claimed the reason he is not invited to Western summits is because Barack Obama is “afraid of him”. It couldn’t be because of all those human rights abuses, right?

Although, to be fair to Grace, it probably does take a lot of hard work to keep Robert Mugabe’s 90-year-old dick erect. So congrats on your latest accomplishment, Grace! Although, you probably could have just gone to India, paid $50 and gotten the degree in half the time. Plus, you wouldn’t have had to marry a crazed genocidal dictator. But everything is 20/20 in hindsight…

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