Archive | March, 2015

Death By Firing Squad… And Other News

Firing Squad

Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a law on Monday turning Utah into the only state to allow firing squads for executions – if lethal drugs happen to be unavailable.

The Republican-sponsored bill came to be amid national concerns about the efficacy of lethal injections. In addition to increased difficulties obtaining the drugs (caused by European manufacturers opposed to capital punishment refusing to sell the drug components to U.S. prisons), some states have witnessed several botched lethal injections recently. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Paul Ray, argued that a team of trained marksmen is faster and more decent than the drawn-out deaths involved when lethal injections go awry (or as planned). Although Gov. Gary Herbert called the use of firing squads “a little bit gruesome”, apparently they aren’t gruesome enough to prevent him from signing the bill. Your move Texas. Raw Story

Afghan Mob Kills WomanProtests have been growing in Kabul after an Afghan woman was killed by an angry mob for allegedly burning the Quran. 27-year-old Farkhunda was beaten with sticks and set on fire by a crowd of men while police sat around doing nothing. The only problem (aside from the fact no one in Afghanistan seems to have a problem with burning a woman in public)? Farkhunda was innocent. “I couldn’t find any evidence to say Farkhunda burnt the Holy Koran,” General Mohammad Zahir told reporters at her funeral on Sunday. “Farkhunda was totally innocent.” Oops. Now, more than 2,000 people are marching to demand justice for Farkhunda. Police say they have arrested at least 19 people for their part in the lynch mob and it shouldn’t be hard to find the rest since the police were standing around watching the entire incident unfold. BBC News

India Motorcycle RopePolice in India are charging a man for tying his 8-year-old daughter to his motorcycle. The Indian man was arrested after startled onlookers took pictures of the child roped to the motorcycle – pictures which were later published in local newspapers. While some are crying child abuse, the man said he was just trying to get his daughter to school to take an exam but she was reluctant to go. After bribing her didn’t work, the next logical step was to tie her to the back of his bike with ropes and drive her to school. Well, that’s one way to get your kids to school on time…  “My daughter will not die if I take her to school. But she will surely die if she does not study,” he told the Times of India. On the one hand, it’s great that he’s so passionate about educating girls in India, but on the other hand… he tied his 8-year-old to a motorcycle. BBC News

GermanwingsAn Airbus operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings budget airline crashed Tuesday morning in the French Alps. The bad news is: all 150 people on board were killed including 16 schoolchildren. The good news is: well, there isn’t really any good news, but at least they found the plane this time. The Airbus A320, travelling from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, descended for eight minutes from an altitude of approximately 38,000 feet until it crashed. The cause of the crash is still unclear but the plane underwent routine inspection yesterday and the pilots did not issue a distress call. The search and rescue effort is now underway but given the snowy conditions and rough terrain, it will probably take days to recover the victims and the debris. CBC News

U.S. Senator Cruz speaks to members of the Texas Federation of Republican Women in San Antonio, Texas9/11 changed everything for Ted Cruz – well, mostly just his music choices. On Tuesday, CBS This Morning host Gayle King asked newly announced presidential candidate Ted Cruz what kind of music he listens to. Cruz revealed he’s a little bit country and not a little bit rock and roll because 9/11. “My music tastes changed on 9/11,” Cruz said. “And it’s a very strange—I actually, intellectually, find this very curious, but on 9/11, I didn’t like how rock music responded. And country music collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me and I have to say, it—just as a gut level, I had an emotional reaction that says, “These are my people.” And so ever since 2001 I listen to country music, but I’m an odd country music fan because I didn’t listen to it prior to 2001.” It’s hard to find a way to cram 9/11 into every response you give, but somehow Ted Cruz managed to do it. This is going to be a GREAT campaign! Politico

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A Canadian in the White House? Ted Cruz Announces His Presidential Bid

Ted Cruz Presidential Bid

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination before a packed auditorium at Liberty University.

The Republican made it clear to the sea of youthful faces that individual liberty for all Americans* was the key theme of his presidential campaign announcement – although  attendance at the speech was mandatory for “Liberty” University students.

* Some restrictions apply. See candidate for details.

“God’s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn’t done with America yet,” the Texas senator said. “I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America, and that is why today I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States.”

The rest of the speech covered the typical Tea Party talking points, with Cruz asking listeners to “imagine” an America run by him and his Evangelical Christian values.

“Imagine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders,” he said, and “imagine a simple flat tax,” before inviting the crowd to “imagine abolishing the IRS”.

Yes, “imagine” an American President who:

  • Denies that humans are contributing to climate change because it snowed in New Hampshire.
  • Wants to recriminalize abortion and shut down Planned Parenthood.
  • Incorrectly believes that emergency contraception causes abortions.
  • Thinks the possibility of Sharia Law being imposed on America is an “enormous problem” in the United States.
  • Supports the teaching of creationism in public schools
  • Calls same-sex marriage “tragic and indefensible.”
  • Would veto any gun control legislation even if it had the support of 90% of Americans
  • Tries to repeal Obamacare with quotes like this: “When Americans tried it, they discovered they did not like green eggs and ham and they did not like Obamacare either. They did not like Obamacare in a box, with a fox, in a house or with a mouse. It is not working.”

While Ted Cruz is a great candidate for those who don’t think Rand Paul is quite crazy enough for them, is he American enough to run for president?

Rafael Eduardo Cruz was born a proud Canadian to an American mother and a Cuban father before moving to the United States at the age of four. Does this mean the beloved birther movement will be reborn?

The answer is no. Because Cruz was born to at least one American citizen who had spent more than a year in the US, he is considered a natural born American citizen.

So then why all the birther nonsense when Obama ran for president? Even if he was born in Kenya, his mother was still American, right? Yes, but Obama is back and his middle name is Hussain… so things went a little differently.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Bibi and his Palestinian Policy

Bibi Palestinian Israel Election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won the election but he was just kidding about his pre-election vow not to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Bibi’s Likud Party defeated major challenger Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union party early Wednesday after after early exit polls suggested a tight race.

“I am proud of the Israeli people that, in the moment of truth, knew how to separate between what’s important or what’s not and to stand up for what’s important,” Netanyahu said, after declaring an early victory on serving his fourth term.

Secretary of State John Kerry—not President Obama—called to congratulate Netanyahu on his party’s victory in Tuesday’s elections. The U.S was still a little peeved about Netanyahu’s pre-election comments that dismissed the possibility of Palestinian statehood under his rule and his warning that Arab-Israeli citizens were voting against him. The US, EU and UN have all urged him to cut the “divisive rhetoric” and continue with the two-state solution to the Palestinian issue.

But just days after declaring he would not allow the creation of a Palestinian state if re-elected, the newly reelected Bibi said he was just kidding about all that Palestine stuff. In the Prime Minister’s new watered down approach, he reaffirmed his commitment to “a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution” but said “circumstances have to change”.

A politician saying something just to shore up support among right-wing voters then reneging on it after relection? Yeah, that sounds about right.

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San Francisco Church Dumps Water on Homeless

San Fran Church Water Homeless

Water is scarce in California, but not scarce enough to stop Saint Mary’s Cathedral from dumping water on the homeless in order to keep them from sleeping on its property.

The increasingly urgent drought situation in California has resulted in new restrictions on sprinklers, outdoor water use, and even serving water in restaurants and bars. But the principle church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the Saint Mary’s Cathedral, didn’t get the water scarcity memo.

Instead, the church installed a system that dumps water onto the ground near its sheltered doorways, where homeless people tend to rest at night. The water pours out for about 75 seconds, every 30 to 60 minutes throughout the night. But the water dumping system is not an automated baptism device, instead it’s used to discourage homeless people from hanging out buy the church by drenching them as they sleep. Jesus would totally approve.

“They actually have signs in there that say, ‘No Trespassing,’” said a homeless man named Robert.

But there are no signs warning the homeless about the random water dumpings that occur all through the night.

“We’re going to be wet there all night, so hypothermia, cold, all that other stuff could set in. Keeping the church clean, but it could make people sick,” Robert explained.

Cathedral staff confirmed that the system had been in place for about a year, “after learning from city resources” that similar deterrents were “commonly used in the Financial District” in San Francisco.

“We do the best we can, and supporting the dignity of each person,” Archdiocese spokesperson Chris Lyford said. “But there is only so much you can do.”

Aside from opening the doors and letting them inside the church…

Given the recent backlash (and the fact that it was pointed out that they’re in violation of the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection) the cathedral has already started to remove the system.

And Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor. Unless they are homeless and have no where else to go, then periodically drench them with water until they get lost.”

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Secret Service Requests Fake White House

Secret Service Fake White House

File this under terrible ideas. Amid a series of embarrassing blunders, the Secret Service wants to spend $8 million to build another White House in Beltsville, Maryland, about 20 miles from the real White House.

Newly installed Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy went before a House Appropriations panel on Tuesday and asked for an $8 million replica of the White House for training purposes.

“Right now, we train on a parking lot, basically,” Mr. Clancy said. “We put up a makeshift fence and walk off the distance between the fence at the White House and the actual house itself. We don’t have the bushes, we don’t have the fountains, we don’t get a realistic look at the White House.”

“It’s important to have a true replica of what the White House is so we can do a better job of this integrated training between our uniform division officers, our agents and our tactical teams,” he added.

Or…. you could just pay more attention to the real one. And while you’re at it maybe cut down on drunken Secret Service agents driving into White House barricades, letting in knife-wielding intruders, and canoodling with Colombian hookers.

The proposed replica would include the facade of the White House, the East and West Wings, guard booths and the surrounding grounds and roads. For $8 million? Can’t they just borrow the House of Cards set?

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Shocking News: Rep. Aaron Schock Resigns … And Other News

downton_abby_arron Schock

Hey big spender, you surrender! Rep. Aaron Schock announced he will resign from Congress amid accusations that the Illinois Republican went overboard spending taxpayers’ money on everything from luxury travel to Katy Perry tickets to tens of thousands of dollars in mileage reimbursements.

In a statement issued Tuesday Schock said that “constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction” and have made it “too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District. Some were shocked over Schock’s resignation, but others were not. If you spent thousands of taxpayers’ dollars redecorating your congressional office to resemble the set of Downton Abbey, eventually you’re going to get some questions – both about your spending habits and your sexual orientation. Chicago Tribune

Putin MissingWhere in the world is Vladimir Putin? Oh, there he is. It had been almost two weeks since the Russian President was last seen in public, sparking rumors that he might have fallen ill, been removed in a coup, or simply died. But on Monday, after cancelling a number of scheduled events, the Kremlin leader stepped back into the spotlight, attending a meeting with Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev in St. Petersburg. Asked by reporters about the speculation on his health, the reasonably healthy looking Russian leader replied: “It would be boring without gossip.” BBC News

Man gestures whilst holding a gun at a weapons store in a market in ArhabOops, we lost $500 million worth of weapons in Yemen! The Pentagon is unable to account for more than $500 million in U.S. military aid given to Yemen. Wait, why is Yemen getting $500 million in weapons? Well, US foreign policy dictates that one should flood the area with weapons and let Yemen deal with any emerging civil conflicts – which is great until the rebels take over. Yemen has been in a state of chaos since Shiite Houthi rebels, who receive support from Iran, overthrew the government in January and began taking over many Yemeni military bases. So now there are fears that the untracked supplies, which range from M-16s to Humvees, are at risk of being seized by Iranian-backed rebels or al-Qaeda. Having weapons fall into the wrong hands? Well, that’s another staple of US foreign policy. Washington Post

Penn FratWho knew frats were douchbag central? (I mean, besides everyone). A fraternity at Penn State University has been suspended after police discovered a private Facebook page where members posted images of partially naked women while they were passed out or sleeping. A former member of the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity contacted the police and told them about the page, which also included posts related to hazing and drug deals. There are two clear takeaways from this story: frats sound truly terrible and there’s no such thing as a private Facebook page. CBS News

Butt InjectionsThe self-proclaimed “Michelangelo of Butt Injections” has been convicted of murder. Padge-Victoria Windslowe, a former madam who performed thousands of buttocks injections without a license, was found guilty of murdering a dancer whose heart stopped after nearly half a gallon of silicone was injected into her buttocks. The evidence revealed that Windslowe traveled to hotel rooms for “pumping parties” equipped with her medical equipment: a water bottle filled with liquid silicone, a red plastic cup, needles and syringes, and Krazy Glue to close the wound. Not only did Windslowe not have any medical training (hence the Krazy Glue), her methods came from tips from overseas doctors who did her sex change operation as well as a client of her escort service who was a physician. That physician’s name? Dr. Nick Riveria, graduate of the Hollywood Upstairs Medical College. Don’t worry. You won’t feel a thing… [exhibiting a swirling mechanical device] …till I jam this in your butt! Huffington Post

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No More Palestine if Netanyahu Wins Israeli Election

Israeli Election Netanyahu

On the final day of his reelection campaign, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that as long as his party stays in power, there will not be an independent Palestinian nation.

“I think anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state, and to evacuate territory, is giving radical Islam a staging ground against the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a video interview in a last minute bid to win over right-wing voters.

So… is he going to make Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza full citizens of Israel with all the civil rights that come with?

Nope. Instead, he pledged to build more settlements in the West Bank.

“We will continue to build in Jerusalem, we will add thousands of housing units, and in the face of all the [international] pressure, we will persist and continue to develop our eternal capital,” Netanyahu declared.

Millions of Israelis are now voting in what is expected to be a pretty close electoral race. The latest opinion polls showed Netanyahu and his Likud party are facing a surprisingly strong challenge by the centre-left Zionist Union electoral alliance, lead by Yitzhak Herzog and former peace negotiator Tzipi Livni.

The only thing standing in Netanyahu’s way (besides many voters’ aversion of his extreme right-wing views) is… ARABS! Netanyahu warned on election day that a large turnout by Arab voters could endanger the country’s political right.

“Right-wing rule is in danger. Arab voters are going to the polls in droves. Left-wing organizations are bringing them in buses,” Netanyahu said in a video message on his Facebook page.

Israeli citizens voting in an Israeli election? Damn those Arabs and their voting rights! What’s next? Demanding equal rights for all human beings in Israeli society!?

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IUDs Are Now Abortions, According to One Colorado Republican

IUDs Abortion

A Republican Colorado lawmaker is opposing efforts to continue a family-planning initiative that provides IUDs to lower income women because he believes the birth control method is akin to abortion.

The Family Planning Initiative pilot program had been funded in 2009 by a $25 million grant from an anonymous donor and had been working so well that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) estimated that it helped reduce teen pregnancies by 40 percent, teen abortions by 35 percent AND resulted in $23 million in savings in Medicaid assistance to women and children. With an extra $5 million from the state’s general fund, the CDPHE projected that the program could save the state $40 million in Medicaid costs in the future. Fewer abortions? Fiscal conservatism? Sounds great, sign me up!

To keep the program going, a group of bipartisan lawmakers have been trying to push a bill through the Colorado Senate. But they’re running into one big problem: Republican Kevin Lundberg.

Kevin Lundberg, chair of Colorado’s Senate Health Committee, says that because an IUD in some cases can prevent fertilized eggs from embedding themselves in the uterus, this counts as abortion and thus disqualifies the measure from state funding.

Typically, an IUD prevents sperm from meeting an egg, and therefore prevents pregnancy. But if the egg and sperm do meet, the IUD keeps that embryo from planting itself in the uterus. Despite the fact that pregnancy begins at the implantation of the fertilized egg, Lundberg believes this crosses the abortion line.

“The state constitution says no direct or indirect funding from the state shall go towards abortion,” he said.

And apparently IUDs are the equivalent of abortions, ignoring the fact that IUDs work before pregnancy occurs and Kevin Lundberg has no idea what he’s talking about.

But if Kevin Lundberg IS right and abortions can happen before pregnancy even occurs, just think of all the abortions that are out there happening right now…

Can’t get it up? That’s an abortion!

On your period? That’s an abortion!

Giving oral sex? Well, that’s just mass cannibalism.

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Indian Lynch Mob Hangs Suspected Rapist

India Lynch Mob

A lynch mob in the Indian state of Nagaland broke into a jail and hung a suspected rapist in public on Thursday night. Whoa – we all knew India needed to step up it’s game when it comes to ending the country’s rape culture, but is a lynch mob the best they could come up with?

Thousands of furious Indians swarmed the streets and broke into the Central Jail in the city of Dimapur, where they stripped and beat Syed Farid Khan, a Muslim immigrant from neighboring Bangladesh who was accused of raping a 19-year-old Naga tribal woman multiple times. The crowd then tied his body to a motorcycle and dragged it 7 kilometers to a clock tower, where he was strung up for display. And just in case that wasn’t enough, the violent mob also destroyed Muslims’ houses and shops in town.

Khan’s brother has accused police of falsely implicating his brother in the rape to try to root out non-tribals from Nagaland, which is predominantly Christian. Apparently indigenous groups have long accused Muslim migrants from Bangladesh of illegally grabbing their fertile land and have previously campaigned to evict Bengali-speaking immigrants from their territory. But the girl is sticking to her story and town police superintendent Meren Jamir said her initial medical report “confirmed rape and other … injuries on her body”.

Well, I certainly hope Khan was guilty because that was a fairly brutal way to go – especially considering he hadn’t even gone to trial yet. If corruption in India lets rapists get away with their crimes, it’s quite likely that it also gets innocent men arrested for rapes committed by others. Maybe India should hold off on the mob justice for now… or at least until after the trial?

Khan’s lynching coincides with controversy over a government order to ban the broadcasting of India’s Daughter, a documentary about the fatal gang-rape in December 2012 of a young student in New Delhi. The film by award-winning Briton Leslee Udwin features conversations with Mukesh Singh and fellow convicts who raped and tortured the 23-year-old woman on a moving bus.

In the documentary, Mukesh blames the victim for the crime and resisting rape. He also says women are more responsible than men for rape.

“You can’t clap with one hand — it takes two hands,” he says in the film.

“A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy …. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things. About 20 per cent of girls are good.”

The documentary was due to air on the Indian news channel NDTV to mark International Women’s Day but was dropped after the government intervened.

The Indian government also asked YouTube to block global access to the documentary. Unfortunately for them, asking for a worldwide ban is the pretty much the most effective way to get the entire world to watch it. Didn’t they learn anything from watching Kim Jong un freak out over The Interview?

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Nigeria’s Boko Haram Pledges Allegiance to ISIS

Boko Haram ISIS

In the worst merger since Comcast-Time Warner, Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to ISIS, according to an audio message purported to be from the Nigerian terrorist group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau.

The audio message, which has not been officially verified, was posted on Boko Haram’s Twitter account on Saturday. The speaker says Boko Haram is announcing its “allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims, Ibrahim ibn Awad ibn Ibrahim al-Husseini al-Qurashi,” (another name for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) and calls on “Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the caliph.”

Well, I can’t say this is a complete surprise; the two groups have a lot in common.

One is a terrorist organization that began a military campaign in 2009 to impose Islamic rule and ban western-style education in northern Nigeria. The other is a terrorist organization that took control of large territories in eastern Syria and northern Iraq last year with the goal of establishing a state ruled by a single political and religious leader according to Islamic law.

One enjoys kidnapping schoolchildren and setting off suicide bombs in busy markets. The other prefers beheading foreign aid workers and performing mass killings and abductions of members of religious and ethnic minorities.

They’ll have lots to talk about!

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