Saturday, July 26, 2014

Giant Anteaters On The Attack

 Giant anteaters in Brazil have killed two hunters in separate incidents, raising concerns about the animals' loss of habitat and the growing risk of dangerous encounters with people, researchers said.

The long-nosed, hairy mammals are not typically aggressive toward people and are considered a vulnerable species.  They can grow up to seven feet long and weigh over 100 pounds. Giant anteaters typically eat mainly insects but they also enjoy citrus and avocados.  They have poor vision and if frightened, they can defend themselves with extremely muscular forearms and claws that are as long as pocketknives.

In the first case, a 47-year-old man was hunting with his two sons and his dogs when they came upon a giant anteater in northern Brazil. The hunter did not shoot at the animal, but he approached it with his knife drawn.  The anteater stood on its hind legs and grabbed the man with its forelimbs, causing deep puncture wounds in his thighs and upper arms.  The hunter bled to death at the scene.

The other case involved a 75-year-old man who died when an anteater used its long front claws  to puncture his femoral arteries, located in the groin and thigh.  Zookeepers generally avoid being in the same space as the animals, coaxing them into separate fenced-off areas when they approach their living quarters for cleaning,  Attacks are rare, but  serve as a reminder to give the animals plenty of space.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Addicted To Lethal Injection

This week, the state of Arizona botched the execution of murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood, who spent nearly two hours "snorting and gasping for air"  after he was given a new two-drug combination of lethal medication.  Wood was pronounced dead at 3:49 pm, an hour and 57 minutes after his execution began.  Wood's attorneys briefly got the Arizona Supreme Court to consider halting the execution by claiming his 1st Amendment rights were violated by the secrecy of drugs used

States have recently begun to refuse revealing details such as the names of the medications used, which pharmacies are supplying the drugs, as well as who is administering them because of concerns over harassment.

The botched Arizona execution, along with two other recently mishandled executions, have renewed the controversy over the use of lethal injections in the U.S.

In January of this year, Dennis McGuire was executed in Lucasville, Ohio by a previously unused mix of medications.  According to reporters, the execution of McGuire took more than 20 minutes, with McGuire left gasping for air for 10 to 13 minutes. It was the first use of a new drug combination which was introduced in Ohio after the European Union banned sodium thiopental exports.

In April, Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack during a failed execution attempt at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.  Lockett was administered an untested mixture of drugs that had not previously been used for executions in the U.S., and survived for 43 minutes before being pronounced dead.  Lockett convulsed and spoke during the process, and attempted to rise from the execution table 14 minutes into the procedure, despite having been declared unconscious.  Oklahoma director of corrections, Robert Patton, recommended an indefinite hold on executions in the state as a result.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cat Scratch Asshole

USDA Grade A chickenhawk
Legendary rocker Ted Nugent has a “long history of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, animus towards immigrants, and propensity to use violence-tinged language,” Media Matters reported earlier this year.

That report came after Nugent called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” and referred to him as a “chimpanzee.” Nugent previously called Obama a Nazi and a “piece of shit” who should “suck on my machine gun.” He once called Hilary Clinton a “toxic cunt” and, on another topic, said, “I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best [if] had the South won the Civil War.”

This week, less than seven hours after being asked about Nugent's racist legacy, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe of American Indians cancelled a scheduled performance by the controversial performer.

Chief Allan, Chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, issued a one-sentence statement about the cancellation:  “We know what it’s like to be the target of hateful messages and we would never want perpetuate hate in any way.”

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Going Gonzo In Gaza

In a New York Times editorial, George Bisharat explains why Israel has overreacted and is now losing the public relations war:
All nations have a right of self-defense, including Israel. But that right may be exercised lawfully only in limited circumstances. Israel cannot validly claim self-defense in its recent onslaught against Gaza for two main reasons.

First, despite its 2005 withdrawal of ground forces and settlers from Gaza, Israel still exercises effective control over the region by controlling its airspace, coast and territorial waters, land borders (with Egypt), electromagnetic fields, electricity and fuel supply. Accordingly, Israel remains an occupying power under international law, bound to protect the occupied civilian population. Israel can use force to defend itself, but no more than is necessary to quell disturbances. Hence this is not a war – rather, it is a top military power unleashing massive firepower against a penned and occupied Palestinian population.

Second, self-defense cannot be claimed by a state that initiates violence, as Israel did in its crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, arresting more than 400, searching 2,200 homes and other sites, and killing at least nine Palestinians. There is no evidence that the terrible murders of three Israeli youths that Israel claimed as justification for the crackdown were anything other than private criminal acts that do not trigger a nation’s right of self-defense (were an American citizen, or even a Drug Enforcement Administration agent killed by drug traffickers on our border with Mexico, that would not entitle us to bomb Mexico City).
Note:  Israel today bombed/destroyed another hospital in Gaza.  Whatever the justification, there is now less capacity to treat hospitalized patients than there was yesterday.  The inhumane treatment of the residents blockaded in Gaza continues....

Monday, July 21, 2014

Spreadsheet Leads To No Spreads In The Sheets

If your wife keeps turning you down in the bedroom, the solution is to track your sex life in a spreadsheet, right?  Well, some guy thought so, obviously.  Over a six week period, he listed each time he asked for sex, what the answer was, and the excuse his wife used if she said no.

But it gets better-- here's what happened next, according to the wife's Reddit post:
Yesterday morning, while in a taxi on the way to the airport, Husband sends a message to my work email which is connected to my phone. He's never done this, we always communicate in person or by text. I open it up, and it's a sarcastic diatribe basically saying he won't miss me for the 10 days I'm gone. Attached is a SPREADSHEET of all the times he has tried to initiate sex since June 1st, with a column for my 'excuses,' using verbatim quotes of why I didn't feel like having sex at that very moment. According to his 'document', we've only had sex 3 times in the last 7 weeks, out of 27 'attempts' on his part.

Ouch!  Looks like Mr. Excel locked in another six weeks of sexless wedded bliss . . .

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Oldest Known Depiction Of Sex

From Josh Jones of Open Culture: Painted sometime in the Ramesside Period (1292-1075 B.C.E.), the fragments above—called the “Turin Erotic Papyrus” because of their “discovery” in the Egyptian Museum of Turin, Italy—only hint at the frank versions of ancient sex they depict …. The number of sexual positions the papyrus illustrates—twelve in all—“fall somewhere between impressively acrobatic and unnervingly ambitious,” one even involving a chariot. Apart from its obvious fertility symbols, writes archaeology blog Ancient Peoples, the papyrus also has a “humorous and/or satirical” purpose, and probably a male audience—evidenced, perhaps, by its resemblance to 70’s porn: “the men are mostly unkept, unshaven, and balding, whereas the women are the ideal of beauty in Egypt.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Liberals' Ten Commandments

We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we're willing to fight for it.

We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.

We believe that the Internet shouldn't be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.

We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.

We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.

We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.

We believe in equal pay for equal work."

We believe that equal means equal, and that's true in marriage, it's true in the workplace, and it's true in all of America.

We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.

We believe that corporations are not people and should not be able to buy elections or impose the values of its owners on the lives of its employees.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shocking Group Suicide Attempt Brings New Attention To Illegal Land Seizures in China

There is renewed attention being brought to illegal seizures of homes and land across China after a Chinese family staged a gruesome mass suicide attempt by drinking pesticide outside the offices of a major Beijing newspaper.

The group of five women and two men were seen foaming at the mouth outside the headquarters of the China Youth Daily newspaper. They had tried to kill themselves in protest against local officials who threw them off their land and bulldozed their homes.

A newspaper employee named Bo Tuan was on his way into work when he saw the protest. "I heard them shouting for justice and didn't really pay much attention but then they pulled out plastic bottles and gulped down the contents before clutching their throats and collapsing to the ground. It was shocking to see, they were frothing at the mouth and choking and then all of them just lay there still," he told reporters. Ambulances arrived quickly at the scene and took the victims to hospital for treatment.  Four have recovered and three remain in critical condition.

The seven were left homeless when their family home in the eastern province of Jiangsu was demolished five years ago and were never given any compensation in return. Despite handing out posters and leaflets in a bid to garner support for their case, they failed to generate any means of supporting themselves.

The group then decided they would head to the capital where they staged the demonstration outside the offices of official newspaper of the Communist Youth League of China. The group said that they were not prepared to carry on living without recognition for the wrong done to them, and that without death there was only dishonor.

Naturally, the Chinese government only decided to take action when they were publicly shamed into doing so. Beijing officials say they are now looking into the complaint of the seven, and discussing it with local officials to find out exactly what happened with the alleged illegal land acquisition.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fox Is Officially Full Of Shit

Fox News has won the battle for most "full of shit" news network.

A new survey by the Tampa Bay Times’ PunditFact, looking at the veracity of cable networks, found that Fox News was the leader in airing the most falsehoods. According to PunditFact, Fox News’ on-air talent were mostly false, false, or “pants on fire” 60% of the time.

MSNBC ranked second in falsehoods, at 46% of the time. And CNN had a mere 18% of falsehoods – meaning, CNN did a pretty good job getting it right.


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