April 2008 Archives
"Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft."
"Rumors of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings."
According to Kinshasa's police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko, "when you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it's become tiny or that they've become impotent. To that I tell them, 'How do you know if you haven't gone home and tried it?'"
"Chaining up a dog and forcing it to go without food and water in the name of art is a surefire way of making yourself unpopular with animal lovers."
Guillermo Vargas, also known as Habacuc, "has been called an animal abuser, killer and worse over claims that a stray dog called Natividad died of starvation after he displayed it at an exhibition last year at the Codice Gallery in Managua, Nicaragua. Vargas tethered the animal without food and water under the words 'Eres Lo Que Lees' - 'You Are What You Read' - made out of dog biscuits while he played the Sandinista anthem backwards and set 175 pieces of crack cocaine alight in a massive incense burner. More than a million people have signed an online petition urging organisers of this year's event to stop Vargas taking part."
Not to defend Mr. Vargas's actions, or those of the gallery in which Natividad was chained, but it seems as if animal rights activists may be erroneously reporting that the dog died when, in fact, he did not. According to Juanita Bermudez, the director of the gallery, the dog "was untied all the time except for the three hours the exhibition lasted and it was fed regularly with dog food Habacuc himself brought in." Of course, it makes a good deal of sense that people would be up in arms about this sort of thing. Still, if Natividad did escape with his life, that fact will undermine the authority of some of the understandably concerned animal rights activists who have (either mistakenly or in a deliberate manipulation of information) presented a far bleaker picture of the installation. I mean, there are scads of people already clustering "animal rights activists" under the broad umbrella of alarmist extremists. Let's not give those people any fuel.
Unfortunately, this looks all-too-familiar:
The Portland Mercury's Matt Davis reports that "[a] citizen who watched a cop illegally park, then walk into a Chinese restaurant to wait for his food, has issued the officer a series of citizen-initiated parking violations." Apparently, Chad Stensgaard
walked into the restaurant wearing his police uniform, but did not make any arrests or citations. Instead, he turned his attention to the basketball game on television, according to [Eric] Bryant. When Bryant asked Stensgaard about his vehicle, Stensgaard allegedly acknowledged being in a no-parking zone but asked Bryant, "If someone broke into your house, would you rather have the police be able to park in front of your house or have to park three blocks away and walk there?"Bryant, an Oregonian lawyer, maintains that "[c]itizens should be concerned that he used his status as an officer of the law as justification for breaking the law" despite the police department's insistence that certain laws don't really pertain to officers of the law.
From the Daily Mail (UK):
In another image her twin brother takes a direct hit to the face from a sparring partner.
Miah and Kian Flanagan are just five years old.
But already they are seasoned fighters, taking part in an alarmingly fast-growing 'sport' that pits children against other children in the terrifying public arena of the boxing ring.
The opponents - some of them barely old enough to be at school - kick and punch in chilling scenes, while parents shout impassioned advice from the sidelines"
Don't you just love the fuss everyone seems to be making over the comments Barack Obama made in San Francisco? In case you've forgotten, in reference to the working class Reagan Democrats the Democratic presidential hopeful has been struggling to win over, Senator Obama said:
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And it's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
From the Guardian:
"The German photographer Walter Schels thinks it not only odd, but wrong that death is so hidden from view. Aged 72, he's also keenly aware that his own death is getting closer. Which is why, a few years ago, he embarked on a bizarre project. He decided to shoot a series of portraits of people both before and after they had died. The result is a collection of photographs of 24 people - ranging from a baby of 17 months to a man of 83 - that goes on show in London next week. Alongside the portraits are the stories of the individuals concerned, penned by Beate Lakotta, Schels' partner, who spent time with the subjects in their final days and who listened as they told her how it felt to be nearing the end of their lives."
"In 1994, Dr. Adams became fascinated with the music of the composer Maurice Ravel, her husband recalled. At age 53, she painted 'Unravelling Bolero' a work that translated the famous musical score into visual form.
Unbeknown to her, Ravel also suffered from a brain disease whose symptoms were identical to those observed in Dr. Adams, said Dr. Bruce Miller, a neurologist and the director of the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco. Ravel composed 'Bolero' in 1928, when he was 53 and began showing signs of his illness with spelling errors in musical scores and letters..."
From Time Magazine:
In recent years, the justices have described the right to jury trial as one of the bedrock principles of American law. At the same time, they have been unwilling to say that a jury's not-guilty verdict on some charges means the defendant cannot be punished. Instead, the court has said judges may take into account 'acquitted conduct' when they decide on a prison term."
In a move that will likely spoil breakfast for many of the country's youth, the Norfolk Police Department has urged supermarkets to prohibit the "sales of eggs and tomato ketchup to young people in a bid to cut anti-social behaviour." Although "squirting ketchup [is] not a criminal act," Sergeant Andy Brown informs us, "it could be possible to bring charges of criminal damage if paintwork [is] damaged on homes or vehicles."
In one of many recent articles appearing in the wake of last week's declassification of former Justice Department lawyer John C. Woo's 2003 memorandum discussing the legality of various torture techniques, the Washington Post's Dan Eggen reveals several of the "unsavory topics" appearing in Woo's report. Although "[n]o maiming is known to have occurred in U. S. interrogations" of terror suspects detained by government authorities, Eggen writes, "federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes by military interrogators are trumped by the president's ultimate authority as commander in chief" during wartime.
From the American Chronicle's Kevin Zeese:
"In 2004 there was only one significant challenger to the corporate political duopoly both of whom put forward candidates that campaigned in favor of continuing the Iraq occupation. This year there will be three legitimate campaigns challenging the duopoly. And, since none of the Democratic or Republican Party candidates is calling for a real end to the occupation, Iraq may provide the energy for these efforts."
"Unfortunately, Senator Obama has reversed course and can no longer be described as a peace candidate. He recently said he will leave the private mercenaries in Iraq which at a minimum are 140,000 troops and may be twice that number. His campaign has said that Obama will leave up to 80,000 troops in Iraq. And, Obama has said he will withdraw combat troops to a surrounding country like Kuwait so they could serve as a strike force in Iraq. Obama continues to promise to end the "war" but the details do not describe an end to the war. Further, he has kept a military attack against Iran on the table and plans to expand the already too large and too expensive military by 92,000 troops. He describes his foreign policy as a return to the policy of George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and JFK -- all of whom aggressively used U.S. military force.
Obama may think he has the Democratic nomination wrapped up and is positioning himself for the General Election, but now with three serious independent political challenges who all oppose the war his Republican-lite positions risk losing many peace voters and the election."
"The desire for more choices in elections has been growing in recent years. The president has very low approval ratings as does the Congress -- the latter for their failure to fulfill their 2006 mandate to end the war. One-third the electorate now considers themselves independent, not Democratic or Republican."
If what Zeese implies is true--that Barack Obama has changed his stance on the Iraq war to cater to potential non-Democrat voters--the popular senator's campaign may be irreparably damaged. If a full third of U. S. voters are not affiliated with either major party and a significant chunk of these independent voters look to third party candidates like Cynthia McKinney, Mike Gravel, Bob Barr, or Ralph Nader for a fresh approach to key issues, Obama's increasingly moderate, Republican-friendly anti-war stance will likely strike such voters as evidence of precisely the sort of politics-as-usual behavior for which the Senator has so vehemently asserted his disdain. It would seem that the staunch anti-war sentiments of the McKinneys, Gravels, Barrs, and Naders of the world, especially in their unwavering consistency, will undoubtedly force voters to reconsider the trustworthiness of Obama's views on Iraq--the validity of which has been a problem for the junior senator ever since his Democratic challengers questioned his experience in the earliest debates.
Mrs Deaves said the physical relationship with her father was like 'a sexual relationship with any other man'.
For Mr Deaves the sexual relationship was 'absolutely fantastic'.
A US psychologist told 60 Minutes the Deaves's relationship was an example of 'Genetic Sexual Attraction'.
He said the phenomenon was not rare, and society would be surprised at how prevalent it was."
The new approach to dealing with Alzheimer's Disease:
"If Dad wants to polish off the duck sauce in a Chinese restaurant like it's a bowl of soup, why not? If Grandma wants to help out by washing the dishes but makes a mess of it, leave her to it and just rewash them later when she's not looking. Pull out old family pictures to give the patient something to talk about. Learn the art of fragmented, irrational conversation and follow the patient's lead instead of trying to control the dialogue.
Basically, just tango on. And hope somebody will do the same for you when your time comes. Unless the big breakthrough happens first."
"Once known for his zealous opposition to medical marijuana, he has reversed his old stand on the Drug War, and he is almost as passionate in damning the invasion of Iraq as Paul himself. Can Barr become the Ralph Nader of 2008 -- spoiling the election for Republican conservatives, or perhaps for anti-war Democrats? Almost certainly not. All the same, this year's most interesting presidential debate will likely happen within Bob Barr's Libertarian Party."
The 53-year-old from the central city of Hanover admitted accepting 156,000 euros ($244,000) in total for awarding doctorates to students who failed to make the grade."
And the pizza boxes.
And the commercial on MTV and VH1."
But the sport often derided as 'human cockfighting' is branching out.
The bare-knuckle fights are now attracting competitors as young as 6 whose parents treat the sport as casually as wrestling, Little League or soccer."
'We're not training them for dog fighting,' said Bloomer, a 34-year-old construction contractor.
On gaining admission to elite colleges: "'I know why it matters so much, and I also don't understand why it matters so much,' said William M. Shain, dean of admissions and financial aid at Bowdoin. 'Where we went to college does not set us up for success or keep us away from it.''