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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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Terrorists Do NOT Like Cartoons…. And Other News

Cartoons

12 people have been killed in a shooting incident at the Paris office of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, best known for its controversial cartoons.

Four of France’s best-known satirical cartoonists, including the magazine’s editor, were among the dead. A major manhunt has now been launched in Paris for three gunmen seen armed with AK-47s and pump-action shotguns. According to eye-witnesses the gunmen were yelling “Allahu Akbar”and “the Prophet is avenged.” Apparently the gunmen took issue with the magazine’s controversial series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. A killing rampage over some cartoons? Seems like an appropriate reaction… if you’re insane. President Francois Hollande called it a “cowardly murder” and declared a day of national mourning on Thursday. “Nothing can divide us, nothing can separate us,” Hollande said in a brief but defiant address. “We will win. Nothing will make us renounce our determination. Long live the republic. Long live France.” BBC News

Smoking ISISA top figure in Islamic State’s self-declared police force, known for their numerous beheadings, was found beheaded in eastern Syria with a cigarette placed in his mouth and a message written on his body. The Egyptian national’s body was found with signs of torture along with the message “This is evil, you Sheikh”. Residents in areas controlled by Islamic State have said the group has banned smoking in public. “We do not know whether Islamic State killed him or whether it was local people or other fighters,” said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Either way, someone was clearly displeased with the smoking ban. Lesson learned: you can behead and stone as many people to death as you want, just don’t come between a man and his cigarette. Globe and Mail

IraqA Syrian street magician was reportedly beheaded by Islamic State group militants after his performances were deemed to be insulting to God. The street magician, who was known as “Sorcerer,” was a staple in Raqqa until was whisked away by ISIS militants and later beheaded in a public square. According to ISIS, the street magician’s tricks were anti-Islamic because they were performed through “illusions and falsehood” – plus the Koran forbid the tricks because the time people spent captivated by them could have been better used by going to a mosque. No magic and tons of beheadings? Hmm. I’m starting to think these ISIS guys are dicks… IB Times

Uber GayPDA is a-okay unless you’re gay? Uber is under fire this week after a gay couple accused an Uber driver of throwing them out of the cab for kissing and cuddling during a New Year’s Eve ride in London. The couple claim they were asked to get out of the car and when they asked why, the driver said: “I take gays but they don’t normally do this.” Basically, the driver is fine with gays…. unless, of course, they do something gay. Uber has since suspended the driver as an investigation is pending and released a statement: “Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination either by our partner drivers or towards our partner drivers.” Business Insider

GilbertsWarning: don’t spoil your children – or they might end up killing you. The founder of a multimillion-dollar hedge fund was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in his upscale Manhattan home on Sunday. The 70-year-old president of Wainscott Capital Partners, had a gun in his hand in an attempt to make his death look like a suicide – but a suicide it was not. Gilbert’s son, 30-year-old Thomas Gilbert Jr., was charged with homicide and criminal possession of a weapon. The younger Gilbert allegedly killed his father after he cut his weekly allowance by $200. Under the new allowance agreement, Gilbert would have only received $400 for spending money per month in addition to $2,400 per month for rent – and that was enough to push him over the edge. Now, if you gun down your father over a $200 allowance dispute at the age of 30, it’s probably time to reexamine your life. Luckily Gilbert Jr will have plenty of time for self-reflection while he serves out his second-degree murder sentence – unless he pleads “not guilty by reason of affluenza”. FOX News

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Florida DOESN’T Let Someone Get Away With Shooting an Unarmed Black Teen… And Other News

Florida Dunn Trial

Michael Dunn, the Florida man who shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis in a dispute over loud music, has received a life sentence (plus 105 years) without possibility of parole. Hopefully there’s no loud music in prison…

Michael Dunn shot and killed Davis outside of a Jacksonville, Florida convenience store in what he claimed was self-defense but everyone else claimed was just plain crazy. According to Dunn’s version, Davis and his buds were listening to some super loud rap music in their SUV. When he asked them to turn it down, he claims that one of them pulled a shotgun on him. Instead of overreacting, Dunn got his loaded gun from his car and shot 10 rounds into the SUV. The only catch? Davis and his friends were unarmed. At his sentencing Dunn publicly apologized for the first time, saying, “If I could roll back time and do things differently, I would. I was in fear for my life and I did what I thought I had to do. Still, I am mortified I took a life, whether it was justified or not.” Spoiler alert: it wasn’t justified. USA Today

K PopAt least 16 South Korean pop music fans were killed and 11 seriously injured Friday after a ventilation grate buckled under the weight of concertgoers in Seongnam, South Korea. The victims fell about 20 meters into a parking structure after the gate they had been standing on to get a better view of the performance by the popular South Korean girl band 4Minute collapsed. There were 700 people at the concert and while witnesses said many of the spectators were female students, most of the dead were men in their 30s and 40s who stopped to watch the concert, which was part of a local festival, after leaving work. Although standing on a flimsy metal grate with a group of people looks no safer than licking a frayed electrical cord, at least they were smart enough not to attend a PSY concert. Imagine the last words they ever heard were “Oppa Gangnam Style”? AP

boko-kidnapAnd six months later, the Nigerian schoolgirls are coming back – but in what state? The Nigerian government says that it has come to an agreement with Boko Haram, the militant group that kidnapped the almost 300 schoolgirls back in April. Nigeria’s chief of defence staff, Alex Badeh, announced the truce, telling his troops to stand down for a ceasefire. Boko Haram has not yet made a public statement but the negotiations are said to have the blessing of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. The government would not reveal what concessions it made to Boko Haram in order to bring the girls back, but I bet it was something good. BBC News

EbolamaniaEbolamania is sweeping the nation! After a vomiting passenger died (from non-Ebola realted causes) on a Nigeria-to-JFK flight, tension in the sky is high. On Thursday, a middle-aged African-American woman was locked in the lavatory of an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Chicago after she began vomiting. According to another passenger on the flight, after the woman vomited in the aisle, the crew feared the spread of Ebola and forced her to reveal all her recent travel and remain in the bathroom for the last 45 minutes of the trip. But was it really fear of Ebola that prompted this overreaction… or was it fear of black people? The witness, a University of Texas professor, thinks the latter, chalking the incident up to racial profiling. “If I had puked on the plane, would they have they done that to me? I’m a 60-year-old white woman with gray hair. No, they would not have,” she said. Actually, they probably would have. Ebola seems to bring out the hysteria in people. I’m surprised they didn’t push this woman out the door at 35,000ft. Houston Chronicle 

MEXICO SPRING BREAKThe French want to bid adieu to binge drinking. A draft health bill presented to French ministers on Wednesday aims to target binge drinking by hitting people who incite it with €15,000 fines and sentences of up to a year in jail. “It will be made illegal to sell products that make alcohol appear pleasant,” French health minister Marisol Touraine reportedly told RTL radio, such as “telephone cases or T-shirts that show amusing scenes based on drunkenness.” While France is among the world’s most liberal countries in terms of alcohol consumption, some feel the Irish-style binge-drinking has gotten out of control. “We see more and more seriously drunk young people in the emergency room, who will stay for 24 hours, sometimes two days, to sober up,” a French doctor told TV channel France24 last year. The proposed law presented to the Assemblée Nationale early next year, but hopefully legislators will be too drunk to pass it. Washington Post

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Where in the World is Kim Jong Un? And Other News…

Kim Jong Un

Where in the world is Kim Jong Un? The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Kim Jong Un, who has not been seen in public since early September, grew even more mysterious Friday after the Supreme leader missed a ceremony to pay tribute to his late father and grandfather on what is a VERY important national anniversary.

Kim Jong Un’s absence and rumored illness has recently fueled speculation that he’d been overthrown in a coup, but the prevailing theory is that the dictator hurt his leg and doesn’t want to appear weak in front the people who worship him. Sources say the injury, possibly related to cheese induced obesity or gout, took place around late August or early September while Kim was inspecting military exercises. Either way, North Korean sources say Kim Jong Un will be Kim Jong Unavailable for at least 100 days. Reuters

Secret ServiceThe biggest threat to President Obama is… internet trolls. More than half of the threats made against Obama are made online, but given the recent missteps of the Secret Service, government officials are now questioning how adept the security team has been at handling them. Lawmakers and private security officials are sceptical about whether the Secret Service can adapt to the new social-media landscape. “I don’t know if they’ve adapted to these new threats,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security. “The attacks are going to come, no matter what. Are there new and creative ways of detecting them? I’m not convinced they’ve tied those loops.” If the Secret Service can’t stop a man from running with a knife in the White House or prevent an armed felon from getting on an elevator with the president, how can they sort through zillions of social-media postings to determine who is a harmless internet troll and who is a not-so-harmless internet troll with a detailed plan? Washington Post

ISIS militantsThe unnamed war on ISIS and other various terrorist organizations… isn’t going well. According to American intelligence officials, the 46 cruise missiles the U.S. fired last month at a Syrian terrorist cell killed just one or two key militants. The strikes on a compound near Aleppo didn’t do much to deter the Khorasan Group since earlier news reports caused many militants to scatter before the strikes hit, minimizing the missiles’ effect. Meanwhile, ISIS is quickly taking over the Syrian border town of Kobane from the Kurds and are also threatening to overrun a key province in western Iraq. The ISIS invasion has gotten so bad that local residents are fighting back – with tea. Four ISIS militants at a check point in Jalawla, 70 km north east of Baqubah were poisoned by a local resident after he offered them some tea that he had poisoned earlier. Looks like the tea had a higher success rate than the 46 U.S. cruise missiles. AP

Mexico GravesMexi-noooooo! Two weeks after 43 students disappeared in rural southern Mexico after clashes with police, authorities say the suspects have led them to new burial pits and more bodies. Attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam announced on Thursday that the suspects revealed four additional mass graves last weekend in the city of Iguala containing 28 badly burned bodies. Four new suspects were arrested on Thursday, taking the total number of those detained to 34, including 26 police officers. Wait, the police did this? I guess life in Ferguson, Missouri isn’t looking so bad now. Prosecutors attribute the student disappearances to police, who killed six people and wounded at least 25 in two separate attacks in the city of Iguala, after which officers rounded up some protesting students and drove off with them. Police are believed to have turned over the students to a local drug gang that apparently had ties to the family of Iguala’s mayor. Holy Mexican soap opera! BBC News

Ebola Worst Since AIDSEbola is the worst things since unsliced bread AIDS. While speaking before a World Bank forum on the Ebola crisis, CDC Director Thomas Frieden declared that the virus is the worst thing ever – minus AIDS. “I would say that in the 30 years I’ve been working in public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS,” he said, adding that the world needs to work fast to stop the outbreak, which has killed more than 4,000 people, including 200 health workers. Luckily, a prominent “pro-life” Republican in South Carolina has the solution: kill anyone who has Ebola. Unless, of course, they’re a fetus. Todd Kincannon, the former executive director of the South Carolina GOP, took to Twitter to express his views that “people with Ebola in the US need to be humanely put down immediately” and “the protocol for a positive Ebola test should be immediate execution and sanitation of the whole area.” He also blames the spread of Ebola on the people of Africa for: “Eating each other.” NBC News

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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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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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Breaking News: Football May Cause Brain Damage… And Other News

Football Brain Damage

According to data prepared for use in a lawsuit against the National Football League brought by retired players and their families, nearly three in 10 former NFL players will face moderate to severe neurocognitive problems resulting from concussions.

Only 30%? Not bad! The data suggests that retired players are at twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, moderate dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), and Parkinson’s disease than the general population between ages 20 and 60. But it’s not all bad news for the athletes. These semi-brain dead retired professional football players may qualify for payments under the proposed $765 million concussion settlement – if it’s approved. ESPN

Football LimbaughSpeaking of football and brain damage, Rush Limbaugh had some choice words to say about the game. In response to NFL broadcaster James Brown’s commentary Thursday night challenging “the NFL community and all men” to do something about domestic violence, the conversative radio show host complained that NFL executives and sports journalists are “chickifying” football. Go on Rush… “This is crazy. We’re feminizing this game, and it’s a man’s game, ” Limbaugh said. “If we keep feminizing this game, we’re going to ruin it. Keep chickifying this game, we’re going to ruin it. It’s going to become something it was never intended to be. And so many men now, executives in the league and sports drive-bys are in a race to see who can be the most politically correct feminist guy. It’s comical to watch this.” So… knocking women unconscious in elevators somehow makes football more manly? Raw Story

Russia Sanctions BankBecause sanctions have always worked so well against Russia in the past, the Obama administration and their European allies announced even more sanctions against the Motherland for its intervention in Ukraine. This time the US Treasury and European Union are going after the country’s largest bank, Sberbank. Along with the big banks, oil producers and defence companies will also be cut off from international finance and technology under the new sanctions. “The United States, in close cooperation with the European Union, will impose ever-increasing sanctions that further Russia’s isolation from the global financial system unless Russia abandons its current path and genuinely works toward a negotiated diplomatic resolution to the crisis,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. Whether the latest sanctions will stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from backing pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine is another question entirely – to which the answer is no. The Guardian

Killer LaneNice try T.J. Lane. Actually, terrible try T.J. Lane. T.J. Lane, the teen who killed three students during an attack at Chardon High School in Ohio two years ago, was caught about 100 yards from the Ohio prison fence he had scaled to escape just hours earlier. The school shooter, who was sentenced to life without parole last year, escaped from the Allen Correctional Institution on Thursday with two other inmates. Authorities quickly launched a search in woods and a residential area near the prison. Lane was found early Friday in a wooded area close to the prison and is back in custody while prison authorities contemplate moving him to a maximum security prison. Considering he wore a T-shirt with “killer” written on it and made obscene gestures toward the victims’ families at his sentencing, I’m not sure why he was placed in a minimum security facility to begin with… Reuters

Malala YousafzaiBetter late than never! Pakistani authorities have arrested the Taliban militants who shot Malala Yousafzai in 2012. Gen Asim Bajwa said 10 members of a faction called “Shura”, which the army says is part of the Pakistani Taliban, had been arrested in a joint operation with Pakistan’s army, police and intelligence services. The Pakistani teenage activist, who was targeted by the group because of her campaign for women’s rights and equal education for girls, survived the gunshot wound to the head after being airlifted to the U.K. for treatment. Now 17, Malala is based in Britain – mainly because she can’t return home to Pakistan because of Taliban threats to kill her and her family members. Ahhh, to be a teenager again. BBC News

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ISIS: Beheadings are Back… And Other News

ISIS Beheading

ISIS claims in a new video released Tuesday to have executed Steven Sotloff, the American journalist who was shown in last month’s video execution of James Foley.

In the last video, the terrorist group threatened Sotloff would be killed unless the U.S. stopped airstrikes in Iraq. Turns out, they weren’t messing around. Last week, the 31-year-old freelancer’s mother released a video plea to the group to spare her son. “As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over,” she said. Unfortunately for her, ISIS doesn’t appear to be human, so appealing to them as a mother was fruitless. Next up: a British national named David Cawthorne Haines, who ISIS threatened to execute after Sotloff’s beheading. But President Obama isn’t scared. Proclaiming the U.S “will not be intimidated” by the Islamist militants, Obama vowed that the U.S. will “degrade and destroy [ISIS] so that it is no longer a threat to Iraq, the region, and United States.” CNN

Hello KittyAnd in equally important news, it turns out Hello Kitty is not actually a cat. What!?! This is a cat-astrophe! Little girls and all of Japan were devastated to hear that the adorable little cartoon character is actually a human. Hello Kitty creator Sanrio confirmed that she’s actually a little girl who even has her own pet cat, Charmmy Kitty. Her real name is Kitty White, she has a twin sister and is perpetually in third grade. Plus, she lives in London — not Japan, despite the character’s identification with that country. I refuse to believe this. If she’s not a cat, why is she a cat? She has whiskers and cat ears. Third grader Brits don’t look like that. Case closed. People

ukraineCeasefire in Ukraine…. maybe. Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president (and the Chocolate King), declared Wednesday that a “lasting ceasefire” had been agreed on in eastern Ukraine following a phone call with Vladimir Putin. But not so fast… what does Russia have to say about this? Putin said that he and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had agreed on the broad outlines of a seven-point peace settlement that would at least temporarily freeze the conflict on the ground. Poroshenko then revised his statement to say, “The parties reached mutual understanding on the steps that will facilitate the establishment of peace.” Poroshenko said he would order a ceasefire on Friday, paving the way for implementation of a “stage-by-stage peace plan” for his country. The deal between Kiev and the pro-Russian separatists is conditional on one thing though: Ukraine, Russia and Europe’s OSCE security watchdog must all attend a meeting on Friday in Minsk. The rebels also said they were ready to declare a truce Friday if an agreement with Ukraine is reached. So hopefully no one skips the Minsk meeting… Washington Post

Ted Cruz and Rafael CruzTalk about embarrassing fathers! And embarrassing sons for that matter… Rafael Cruz, the father of Tea Party darling and anti-Canadian Sen. Ted Cruz, has made some Clive Bundy-like comments. The Conservative activist argued that African-Americans need to be “educated” to oppose minimum wage laws, saying that “the average black” does not understand that the mimimum wage is bad. “If we increase the minimum wage, Black unemployment will skyrocket,” Cruz said during a speech to the Western Williamson County Republican Club in Texas last month. “See, he understands it, but the average Black does not.” The elder Cruz then went on to sell black voters on the GOP, telling the audience about the time he told a black pastor that “every member of the Ku Klux Klan were Democrats from the South” and blacks “need to be educated” about this stuff. I don’t think that’s the best way to reach out to the African American community and expand the GOP’s base, but I guess that’s something the average Cruz doesn’t understand. Raw Story

McBrideTurns out you can’t always shoot an unarmed black teenager and get away with it. The white suburban Detroit homeowner accused of shooting 19-year-old Renisha McBride dead on his porch when she came looking for help after a car accident has been found ultra guilty. Theodore Wafer, 55, was sentenced to a mandatory two years for felony firearm usage followed by concurrent sentences of seven to 15 years for manslaughter and 15 to 30 years for second-degree murder. Translation: he will serve at least 17 years in prison before being eligible for parole. “I do not believe that you are a coldblooded murderer or that this case had anything to do with race,” Judge Dana M. Hathaway told Wafer as she handed down the sentence. “I do believe that you acted out of fear, but an unjustified fear has never been an excuse for taking someone’s life.” The Michigan man’s attorney has said he is remorseful and thought the intoxicated McBride was an intruder when he shot her through his screen door. Little did he know, intruders tend not to knock first. LA Times

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Justice: Chicago Style… And Other News

Chicago Loop Shoot

There’s been a shooting in Chicago and for once it wasn’t in the south and it wasn’t gang related. Nope, this time it was a disgruntled downtown executive. Chicago must do something about their WASP on WASP violence!

The gunman, a 59-year-old executive of the ArrowStream, went to the company’s downtown office and demanded a one-on-meeting with the CEO – during which he pulled out a gun and shot the CEO in the head and stomach. So much for all those “no gun” stickers on downtown buildings… The company has been downsizing and has demoted a number of people. Apparently the gunman was pissed about his demotion. But just how upset was he at the demotion? Well, after critically wounding the CEO, the disgruntled executive shot and killed himself – so I’d say he was pretty upset. Chicago Tribune

TunnelsThere’s only one thing Benjamin Netanyahu hates more than Palestinian civilians – TUNNELS! Speaking before a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv on Thursday, the Israeli Prime Minister decalred that “with or without a cease-fire” the Israeli military will NOT stop its operation in Gaza until all the tunnels constructed by Hamas militants have been destroyed. After air strikes began, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) discovered an extensive network of tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel that Hamas has been using to launch attacks. So far, Israel has destroyed most of the 32 tunnels it has found, but the job won’t be done until the entire tunnel network is destroyed. To aid “Operation Tunnel No More” (or “Operation Protective Edge” as they call it), Israel is calling up another 16,000 reserves. Meanwhile, the Palestinians have bigger things to worry about – well, not really. The Israeli offensive is pretty much the biggest thing they have to worry about. BBC

EbolaEven worse than the reviews for the 1995 movie Outbreak is the latest Ebola outbreak in Liberia. West African leaders are stepping up emergency efforts in response to the worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. Leaders have canceled travel plans and authorized measures to combat the disease – including house-to-house searches and the deployment of the army and the police. Liberia announced it will close some of its schools and is even considering taking the drastic step of quarantining some communities. The country also ordered all nonessential government workers to 30-day compulsory leave. The World Health Organization said the death toll in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and now Nigeria has risen to 729 from 672. Plus, things have gotten so serious that the Peace Corps said it will be withdrawing its 340 volunteers from the three countries most affected by the virus. You know things are getting bad when white people start fleeing the country… New York Times

Seattle potPot smokers of Seattle rejoice! A Seattle police officer, who was found to have single-handedly dished out roughly 80 percent of the ‘smoking marijuana in public’ tickets issued this year, has been reassigned. The unnamed officer, who referred to Washington’s voter-approved changes to marijuana laws as “silly”, attached notes to the tickets including one in which he noted he had flipped a coin to decide whether to issue the citation. The Seattle Police Department’s first biannual report also revealed that African Americans in Seattle were ticketed disproportionately to their population for using pot in public. About 36 percent of the tickets were handed out to black people, who make up just 8 percent of the city’s population. A cop with a vendetta against black people and pot smokers? Seems about right. Reuters

ginsbergParents Male Justices just don’t understand! In a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reaffirmed her criticism of the recent Hobby Lobby decision and said that five of her male counterparts on the court have “a blind spot” when it comes to women’s issues. After noting that all three female justices were in the minority in the recent Hobby Lobby decision, Couric asked Ginsburg if the five male justices in the majority truly understood their decision, to which Ginsburg responded, “I would have to say, no.” But on the bright side, Ginsburg said she expects the decision to be overturned one day. Perhaps the day Antonin Scalia dies? MSNBC

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China: Less democracy and less Ramadan! And Other News…

China Ramadan

Not long after police arrested hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong for demanding more democracy, Beijing decided to crack down on Ramadan too.

Schools, government agencies, and local party organizations in the heavily Muslim northwest of China have been ordered not to take part in the fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. According to Chinese officials, the ban was aimed at “protecting students’ wellbeing” and preventing use of schools and government offices to promote religion. Unofficially, the Ramadan ban may have something to do with the tight security in Xianjiang following attacks that the government blames on violent Uighur Muslims with foreign terrorist ties. And to make sure everyone complies with the Ramadan fasting ban, government officials have apparently thrown parties and served food to test and see if Muslim residents are fasting. ABC News

JOhn SchindlerNSA Defender: Sorry about the dick pic… John Schindler, a conservative pundit who once worked as an NSA officer, was busted last week for being a serial sexter. The married Navy War College professor (and prominent defender of the National Security Agency) sent some sexy messages accompanied by dick pics to a Twitter follower. Once word got out, Schindler and his wife abruptly shut down their social media accounts and Schindler posted an apology on his blog. “My actions showed poor judgment and were inexcusable. The only person to blame is me, and I take full responsibility,” he writes. “Unfortunately, I must also emphasize an important point. At no time did I break the law, nor am I being accused of doing so.” Now, since this is a private matter and not the general public’s business, I won’t link to the dick pic – BUT since Mr. NSA doesn’t believe in privacy, here it is. Huffington Post

Nazi Baby JewishTurns out Germany’s ideal Aryan baby was naz so ideal after all. The winner of a contest in Nazi Germany to find the most beautiful Aryan baby has been revealed to be Jewish. The image was allegedly selected by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels himself, and appeared on the cover of the Nazi family magazine Sonne ins Hause. In 1935 popular photographer Hans Ballin, submitted the photo knowing full well the baby was Jewish. “I wanted to make the Nazis ridiculous,” Ballin told the contest winner’s family when they confronted him. Mission accomplished? Fox News

Town For SaleFor sale: Swett, North Dakota. If you’ve got $400,000 lying around and love trailer parks, listen up: Lance Benson, the sole owner of Swett, an unincorporated hamlet in Bennett County about two hours southeast of Rapid City, is putting the whole town up for sale. For the low, low price of $400k you can own the local Swett bar, a workshop, three trailers, a single house, and 6.16 acres of prime prairie real estate. With a population of two, Swett, North Dakota boasts a few lovely ramshackle buildings along U.S. Highway 18. But its prize possession is the Swett Tavern, a well known gathering place for a small army of local cowboys and wheatgrowers. So far no one is biting, but it’s safe to say the first order of business for the new owners will be a name change. Rapid City Journal

Crack FordRob Ford is out of rehab but his mouth is still getting him into trouble. The disgraced Toronto mayor has now told Canadian media he was “born an alcoholic” and had used “every drug you can probably think of”. In a television interview three days after he returned from rehab, Ford admitted he used “the full gamut” when it came to drugs. He later backtracked a bit (most likely after speaking with his publicist) and specifically denied using heroin. But he did confirm using marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms in addition to crack. Ford also (finally) admitted that the photo of him with a glass pipe that circulated in April was indeed a picture of his smoking crack. Ford said his “disease” would not prevent him from running for re-election in October – relapse or no replapse. “I can only take it one day at a time,” said Ford. “I know I didn’t drink yesterday, and I haven’t drank today.” And that’s as far back as his memory goes. CBC News

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