In Robbinsdale, Minnesota, a school bus driver for the Metropolitan Transportation Network saw something by the side of the road. He stopped the bus and asked a 7th-grader to see what it was. It turned out to be a gun, so the driver told the student tobring it to him and continued with his route. When he arrived at school, he told his supervisors about the incident and said he’d take the gun to the MTN central office. School officials sent a letter home with students telling parents what had happened and urging them to discuss the situation with their children.
Why do our politicians have to be so weird? You can tell a lot about a person by the jewelry that they wear and by the things that they carry around in their pockets, and Barack Obama’s “lucky charms” include a Hindu god, a Masonic emblem and a “wedding ring” that has the phrase “there is no god except Allah” inscribed on it. So what do these things tell us about Barack Obama? That is a very good question. Perhaps someone should ask him about these items. If he is indeed a Prince Hall Freemason (as has been publicly reported), then he should just come out and admit it. If he feels a connection to Hinduism or Islam, then he should just come out and admit it. One of the biggest things that annoys so many people about Obama is the secrecy that he has about his past. There are vast stretches of his history that nobody is even supposed to talk about. We are all just supposed to accept that he is a “Christian” man that is not into any freaky stuff even when there is a tremendous amount of evidence to the contrary.
Personally, I would love to see a reporter ask him about the little Hindu god that Obama carries around in his pocket. The following is a photo that has been circulating around the Internet of Obama displaying this Hindu idol along with a bunch of other “lucky charms” that he carries around.
Alex Myers is a foreign exchange student attending State University of New York at Oswego (SUNY Oswego). While attending the school, Myers held an intern position in the school’s Public Affairs Office and everything seemed to be going well for Alex.
Alex was given a journalism assignment in his advanced journalism class to write a feature article on a public figure, so he chose the school’s men’s hockey coach, Ed Gosek. Following good journalism practice, he sought information from coaches in other schools who had played against SUNY Oswego. He sent an email questionnaire to the coaches at SUNY Cortland, Cornell University and Canisius College on Oct. 17. The email read:
“My name is Alex Myers, I work for the Office of Public Affairs at SUNY Oswego.
I am currently writing a profile on Oswego State Hockey head coach Ed Gosek and was hoping to get a rival coaches view on Mr Gosek.
If you have time would you mind answering the following questions.
1. How do you find Mr Gosek to coach against?
2. Have you had any interactions with Mr Gosek off the ice? If so how did you find him?
3. What is your rivalry like between your school and Oswego State?
Be as forthcoming as you like, what you say about Mr Gosek does not have to be positive.”
One of the coaches, Michael Schafer from Cornell wrote back to Alex:
“Saying your comments don’t need to be positive is offensive.”
Alex quickly replied:
“Simply letting you know that this piece I am writing is not a ‘puff’ piece.”
Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with what Alex wrote, but evidently the Cornell coach did and must have complained to the SUNY Oswego administration.
On the evening of Oct 18, a letter from SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley was hand delivered to Alex informing him that he had been suspended from the school and that he had to vacate his dorm room by 6 pm the following day. The letter spelled out the school policies that he allegedly violated and also informed him that he may be facing criminal charges.
The school accused Alex of claiming that he worked for the Office of Public Affairs instead of identifying his investigation as being part of a class assignment. This was deemed to be ‘academic dishonesty.’ The second charge they made against him was for disruptive behavior. This second charge could include any or all of the following: “harassment,” “intimidation,” “threats,” “conduct which inhibits the peace or safety of members of the College community,” “retaliation, harassment or coercion,” and it specified that “specifically: Campus network resources may not be used to defame, harass, intimidate, or threaten another individual or group.”
When Alex learned of the charges on Oct. 18, he immediately apologized for misrepresenting himself and explained that he sends out communications for OPA all the time as part of his intern duties. He admitted that he should have clarified the purpose of the email better than he did.
This Saturday, the Midwest Marxist Conference was held at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. The event was teeming with teachers who spoke about the new found bond between the radical socialists and their Teachers Union. The all-day event, which collected money to support Chicago Socialists and featured a communist bookstore, provided students on-campus along with the radical left community to plan the next phase in their activism.
Becca Barnes, a Chicago Teachers Union teacher and organizer with Chicago Socialists, proclaimed at the beginning of the conference that “the struggle here in the United States has entered a new phase. Nowhere have we pointed the way forward more clearly than here in Chicago with the teachers union strike.”
After the opening plenary, breakout sessions addressed more specific topics like the history of the Democratic party, education, and case studies in Russia. In these sessions, speakers continued to celebrate the use of education as a mechanism to insert Marxism into public institutions. In one session, the idea of targeting their message to students, even over “the working class,” was debated.
Four years ago, Alice Hofer opened her business in Thun, a historic city at the foot of the Bernese Alps, to cater to the demand.
From the outside, her shop has the appearance of a Paris boutique. But customers here get dressed for death rather than for a fashionable turn along the High Street. Hofer sells customized coffins and urns at the request of the dead-to-be.
Aside from models with patriotic designs incorporating the Swiss flag, she offers a bewildering array of containers for the dearly departed. There’s a coffin decorated with black stars “because the universe will continue shining after death,” one covered with artificial grass “for golf lovers”, and another one painted with sunflowers “for those who enjoy the summer”, or wicker coffins “in British traditional style.”
One of the most striking ones is a blue coffin with glued mussel shells on it “for sea lovers.” But the coffin getting most of the attention lately is one inspired by Salvador Dalí’s melted clocks in ‘The persistence of Memory’, painted by a young local artist. Prices range between 1,000 and 3,000 francs (from $1,085 to $3,250), although they can get more expensive since there is no limit to customer demand.
But the most unusual coffins have yet to be made. One of her clients wants to be buried in a guitar-shaped box. Another one, in fact Hofer’s husband, Swiss rock star Polo Hofer, wants a coffin with two rear mirrors on the side “to be able to look back on his life.”
South African police have arrested a 25-year-old man suspected of attempting to smuggle 220 diamonds out of the country in his digestive tract through Johannesburg’s main airport.
The Lebanese national bound for Dubai had swallowed $2.25 million worth of polished diamonds before he was stopped before a security checkpoint at Africa’s biggest airport and then relieved of his concealed cargo, police said.
“We used laxatives to remove the diamonds,” police spokesman Paul Ramaloko said on Thursday.
The man will appear in court on Thursday. In March, police arrested another Lebanese national who was attempting to smuggle $1.69 million worth of diamonds out of South Africa.
A school in Britain has banned a 13-year-old boy from taking part in Movember because it’s not an “inclusive” activity.
Gus Hooker has been shaving since he was nine and wanted to raise some money for Prostate Cancer UK by joining men (and boys) around the world growing facial hair for Movember, the BBC reports.
But a moustache would stand out among the boys and girls at the Priory Academy. It wouldn’t be something all students, regardless of age or gender, would be able to participate in, the school said in a statement to the news organization.
“In a coeducational school with young children, growing facial hair would not be an activity that many children would be able to join in with,” the statement said.
“Whilst the school dress code does not explicitly mention facial hair, it does mention unusual hair styles and colouring that are contrary to a smart uniform appearance.”
According to the report, Hooker wanted to take part in Movember because his grandfather recently beat cancer.
A Vermont judge has denied an attempt by the Addison Rutland school system to refuse to turn over documents requested by Marcel Cyr under the state’s open records law. Cyr, the parent of a student in the system and a frequent critic of the schools, had filed a request for a letter from a mental health professional that the school relied on to issue a “no trespassing” order against him. Cyr says the order was issued because of his criticism, not because he has threatened anyone.
Gosh, she’s fugly; too damn skinny and bony, blech! Eat some fried chicken, for Pete’s sake, woman!
A Piedmont, Oklahoma, police officer gave Ashley Warden a $2,500 ticket for public urination after he spotted her 3-year-old son start to urinate in the family’s front yard. Police Chief Alex Oblein says the officer should have handled the incident differently, but he adds he’ll wait for prosecutors to decide whether to drop the charge.
In images, it doesn’t look like much: just a blue dot against the black of space. What’s exciting about this little planet is that it has somehow manage to escape its star.
Even getting an image of the object, dubbed CFBDSIR2149, is a pretty good trick: CFBDSIR2149 is only visible in the infrared, and then, only just (it appears blue in the image because methane in its atmosphere absorbs much of its longer infrared wavelengths, the ESO says).
Source: The Register. Read full article. (link)
The Restroom Cultural Park is billed as the world’s first toilet theme park. It’s a monument to the colorful former mayor of Suwon, a man known as Mr. Toilet.
H/T Lord Humungus
Source: CNET. Read full article. (link)
In Spain, new austerity measures mean higher sales tax on everything from beer and wine to clothing and movie tickets. But in Bescanó, a small town in the country’s northeast, the local theater director has come up with a rather creative way to get around a new 21 percent tax on tickets for plays at his theater –- by selling carrots instead.
When the Spanish government hiked sales tax on theater tickets this past summer, Quim Marcé thought his theater was doomed. With one in four local residents unemployed, Marcé knew that even a modest hike in ticket prices might leave the 300-seat Bescanó municipal theater empty.
“We said, ‘This is the end of our theater, and many others.’ But then the next morning, I thought, we’ve got to do something, so that we don’t pay this 21 percent, and we pay something more fair,” says Marcé in Spanish.
Source: NPR. Read full article. (link)
One mother was told not to read English books to her child at bedtime while another pupil, aged six, was too frightened to speak the language at home in case he got into trouble, it is claimed.
The Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler, said he would look into the claims after he was contacted by a group of concerned parents in an email outlining the incidents at schools in Ceredigion – a bastion of Welsh language.
Source: Telegraph. Read full article. (link)
In an open letter to black evangelicals, Michael Brown candidly asks whether they compromised their beliefs by voting for the re-election of President Barack Obama.
“Are you guilty, on any level, of blind allegiance to the Democratic party? And, on Election Day, did any of you compromise your convictions out of racial solidarity?” the radio show host and author of A Queer Thing Happened to America wrote Tuesday on Townhall.com.
“I simply do not understand how my black evangelical friends who so staunchly oppose same-sex marriage and who stand against abortion could cast their vote for the most radically pro-abortion, pro-gay-activist president in our history,” he said as a fellow evangelical.
According to exit polls from last Tuesday’s presidential election, 93 percent of African-American voters backed Obama, a slight drop from 95 percent in 2008. Still, an analysis by The New Republic concludes that black turnout or support for Obama “might have exceeded ’08 levels.”
An all-but-forgotten, 74-year-old painting by the Group of Seven’s A.Y. Jackson, a large canvas on which the renowned artist depicts the Northwest Territories mine that produced uranium for the world’s first atomic bomb, has emerged from the obscurity of a private collection to be sold this month at one of three major fall auctions of Canadian art.
Jackson’s Radium Mine — nearly a metre wide and held since it was painted by the family of Gerald LaBine, the artist’s friend and the owner of the mining operation along the eastern shore of Great Bear Lake — represents a remarkable convergence of the histories of Canadian art, national industrial development and the global nuclear age.
The painting, to be sold Nov. 22 at a Heffel Fine Art auction in Toronto, shows a bird’s-eye view of the mine site on a peninsula jutting out into the lake, located about 440 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife. Radium Mine, expected to sell for up to $300,000, was exhibited only once, in 1939, and has remained with the LaBine family as a prized memento of Jackson’s visit to the site just before the outbreak of the Second World War.
Another Jackson painting of the mining operation is held by the National Gallery of Canada.
“Not only is Radium Mine one of Jackson’s finest works,” state’s Heffel’s catalogue entry for the painting, “it is also historically significant. At its heart is the story of two exceptional Canadians — a gifted artist and a bold entrepreneur — linked by their thirst for adventure, imagination and love of their nation.”
But there is a darker subtext to the image, as well, linking Jackson’s scene to the world-changing devastation unleashed upon Japan when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945. Uranium extracted from what became known as the El Dorado mine site had been Canada’s key contribution to the Manhattan Project during the war.
Port Radium’s miners and the Dene workers employed in transporting the radioactive material south from Great Bear Lake would go on to suffer high rates of cancer. That led to Deline — the aboriginal community nearest to the mine —becoming known as the “village of widows.” In recent years, the Canadian government has funded cleanup efforts around the mine as part of a long-term environmental remediation project.
The painting is expected to sell for between $900,000 and $1.2 million, the highest estimated value of any artwork to be auctioned at the Sotheby’s sale.
Jordan Goodman, the author of Tobacco in History, says that as a historian he is careful about pointing the finger at individuals, “but in the history of tobacco I feel much more confident saying that James Buchanan Duke – otherwise known as Buck Duke – was responsible for the 20th Century phenomenon known as the cigarette.”
Not only did Duke help create the modern cigarette, he also pioneered the marketing and distribution systems that have led to its success on every continent.
In 1880, at the age of 24, Duke entered what was then a niche within the tobacco business – ready-rolled cigarettes. A small team in Durham, North Carolina, hand-rolled the Duke of Durham cigarettes, twisting the ends to seal them.
Two years later Duke saw an opportunity. He began working with a young mechanic called James Bonsack, who said he could mechanise cigarette manufacturing. Duke was convinced that people would want to smoke these neatly-rolled, perfectly symmetrical machine-made cigarettes.
Bonsack’s machine revolutionised the cigarette industry.
“It’s essentially a cigarette of infinite length, cut into the appropriate lengths by whirling shears,” says Robert Proctor. The open ends meant it has to be “juiced-up with chemical additives”. They added glycerine, sugar and molasses, and chemicals to prevent it drying out.
But keeping cigarettes moist was not the only challenge that Bonsack’s contraption presented to Duke. While his factory girls typically rolled about 200 cigarettes in a shift, the new machine produced 120,000 cigarettes a day, about a fifth of US consumption at the time.
“The problem was he produced more cigarettes than he could sell,” says Goodman. “He had to work out how to capture this market.”
The answer was to be found in advertising and marketing. Duke sponsored races, gave his cigarettes out for free at beauty contests and placed ads in the new “glossies” – the first magazines. He also recognised that the inclusion of collectable cigarette cards was as important as getting the product right. In 1889 alone, he spent $800,000 on marketing (about $25m in today’s money).
Bonsack retained the patent to his machine, but as thanks for Duke’s support in developing it, he offered him a 30% discount on the lease.
This competitive advantage – coupled with vigorous promotion – was key to Duke’s early success. As he had suspected, people liked mechanised cigarettes. They were modern-looking and more hygienic – one campaign emphasised this point over cigars, which were manufactured using human hands and saliva.
But although cigarette smoking in the US quadrupled in the 15 years to 1900, it remained a niche market, with most tobacco being chewed or smoked through pipes and cigars.
Duke – a cigar smoker himself – saw the potential for cigarettes to be used in places closed to cigars and pipes, such as drawing rooms and restaurants. The ease with which they could be lit and – unlike pipes – remain lit, also suited them to coffee breaks in modern city life.
“The cigarette was really used in a different way,” says Proctor. “And it was milder – and this is one of the great ironies, that cigarettes were widely thought to be safer than cigars, because they are just ‘little cigars’, right?”
We now know that cigarettes are far more addictive than cigars. The fact that the smoke is inhaled – which it is not traditional for cigars – also makes them more dangerous. But a correlation with lung cancer was not made until the 1930s and the causal link was not established until 1957 in the UK and 1964 in the USA.
Canada’s public prosecutors are bracing for an onslaught of new trials as mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences come into effect – adding pressure to a system they say is already overburdened.
The tougher sentences, which came into force last week, are meant to address “serious, organized drug crime” and range from a minimum jail term of six months for growing six or more marijuana plants to at least three years behind bars for running a potentially dangerous methamphetamine lab in a residential neighbourhood.
The government says the stiffer sentences will help clamp down on gangs and organized crime. But prosecutors say they could cause serious delays as those who might have previously pleaded guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence opt for a full trial instead.
“If you take away the ability of a prosecutor to plea bargain some of these cases out and try to triage some of them through the court system, that alone will increase the amount of trials that we have,” said Rick Woodburn, president of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel. “It ties our hands, effectively.”
The effects of the mandatory minimum sentences could be particularly problematic, Mr. Woodburn said, because the country’s court system is already being strained by a spike in larger and more complicated criminal cases.
The number of “complex” and “mega” files handled by federal prosecutors increased by more than 47 per cent over the past four years, according to a performance report published last week by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC).
“It’s almost a double whammy,” said Lisa Blais, president of the Association of Justice Counsel, the union that represents prosecutors. “You have more complex cases combined with also more volume of cases and I think that’s a very dangerous recipe for the right to a speedy trial.”
This is what happens when you’re governed by either liberals or neocons…