December 30, 2008
The yacht, owned by the U.S.-based Free Gaza Movement, was reportedly carrying 3.5 tons of medical supplies donated by Cyprus. A press release from the group claimed "several Israeli gunboats intercepted the Dignity she was heading on a mission of mercy to Gaza." They said the Israeli military fired machine guns into the water in an attempt to stop the Dignity's progress.Am I an awful person for wishing the boat had sunk? I really hate to think of this woman representing our country in any way. I normally consider humanitarian aid to be something outside of military action, but in this case the aid is contributing to continuing violence in the Middle East.
The boat, registered under the flag of Gibraltar and with an English captain, reportedly took on water and experienced engine problems, according to the group's Web site. It also said the incident occurred 90 miles offshore in international water. The boat's captain was given permission to dock in Lebanon, where it was regrouping to try again.
Burris's appointment was followed by an endorsement from Illinois Representative Bobby Rush, a former Black Panther who made it clear that the primary reason to NOT reject Burris as a Senator was because the only African-American in the Senate should be replaced by an African-American. He made a statement to the effect that the Secretary of State should worry about how the people of Illinois would react if he did not certify Burris (which happened almost immediately, God Bless Jesse White for standing by his word and not certifying Burris based on their shared race).
So I'm wondering...Is the general opinion here that Burris is...:
- not politically savvy enough to realize this just made him radioactive?
- thinking he's bulletproof enough based on his record to withstand any charges of corruption (donations to and fundraisers for Blago be damned)?
- thinking that if he doesn't get accepted into Congress, either by
Congressional rejection or the SoS refusing to certify him, he can turn
this into a race brouhaha and get in anyway, and then should have an
easy time getting reelected?
December 27, 2008
Twenty-year-old Virgen Maria Huarcaya delivered her newborn son, Jesus Emanuel, in the early hours of Christmas in Peru's capital of Lima, Reuters reported.This kid's got a heck of a reputation to live up to. "Your namesake wouldn't have broken your brother's toys!" I suppose you run into the not-quite-the-same problem naming your kid after a living pro sports player, though. I'm sure at least some of the parents who named their kid after Kobe Bryant or OJ Simpson are feeling pretty stupid now.
The baby's father, Adolfo Jorge Huamani, is a carpenter, causing religious Peruvians to compare the 24-year-old to Mary's Biblical husband Joseph, who was a carpenter as well.
"A few days ago we had decided to name my son after a professional soccer player," the father said. "But thanks to a happy coincidence this is how things ended up."
I have spent damn near a full day now *ahem* expelling stuff *ahem* from my body. But, it could be worse. I will recover in a day or so, just in time for work (yay!), and I have an opportunity and excuse to rest. I do hope everybody had a great Christmas/Hanukkah/Whatever, and that 2009 is a good year for you.
Oh, and yesterday was a great day. I was able to finally see my brother for the first time since he came back. He looks good, and is really happy to try to regain the damn near 50lbs he lost over in the Desert. He also showed me his first stateside purchase, a Ruger SP something or other 357 Magnum Snub Nose. He is now prepared for the zombies as well, though he is starting to sound the clarion call for the Robot Uprising.
Anyway, it's great to be back. I appreciate all y'alls, and the patience you exercise with my foolishness, and am ready to spread Teh Stoopid once again.
December 25, 2008
December 23, 2008
With Barack Obama's inauguration less than a month away, some people in our nation's capitol are Hoping that all the stuff about Change wasn't just a rhetorical flourish:
On the campaign trail, he was all about changing Washington. But for the most part, Barack Obama was using the symbolic shorthand that "Washington" has come to evoke: a place where powerbrokers prevail, lousy laws are made and the little people don't really stand a chance.
What about the Washington where schools fester, the cops erect checkpoints worthy of war zones, young men gun each other down and where the bodies of four girls were found in a rowhouse guarded by their mother? An Obama administration can't work miracles, but local activists are optimistic; they see Obama as one of their own, given his background as a community organizer.
"The last eight years, in terms of engagement, D.C. has just been a photo op for the president, or a foil," says Tommy Wells, a social worker turned D.C. Council member. "I really do believe that I have a partner in the new president, someone who understands what it means to change a city to a safe, healthy place to grow up and grow old in."
Yeah, good luck with that partnership, Tommy.
December 21, 2008
As I think about the story of Hanukkah, am I the only one imagining Al Gore clumsily usurping it for some sort of environmentalist message?
December 19, 2008
The attack occurred a day after Beijing said it was considering sending warships to the area to help battle piracy.
Another picture shows crew members gathered on deck who tried to repel the boarders with water cannon and beer bottles.
Despite their best efforts the nine pirates clambered aboard after tying up alongside. The 30 Chinese crew then locked themselves in their accommodation area -which includes their sleeping rooms, mess rooms and recreation area - to prevent the bandits from entering the ship itself.
The ship's captain, Peng Weiyuan, told Chinese TV that the crew used 'water cannon, self-made incendiary bombs, beer bottles and other missiles to fight the pirates' during the five-hour stand-off.
'Thirty minutes later, the pirates gestured to us for a ceasefire then the helicopters from the joint fleet came to our help.'
December 18, 2008
December 17, 2008
So, this Wang is at a wake for his relative when half the roof is blown off by a massive explosion. Authorities assume the house and the Wang were struck by lightning.
A few days later at the Wang's funeral, as the Wang is being put into the cremation chamber, he explodes spectacularly, blowing the doors off.
Turns out that the house wasn't struck by lightning, but by a weather rocket* which lodged itself inside his body, causing the latter explosion.
We at DPUD will be watching the news to see if any further people explode at funerals. This may be the beginning of a chain reaction that kills everyone in China.
* What the fuck is a weather rocket? I've heard of weather balloons but it seems that balloons are too peaceful and silent and safe for the Chinese. No, right after they get done spraying lead paint into our toothpaste, they get right to building weather rockets which... I don't know... fucking fly up into the air and um... blow up the weather? I'm not really sure. Do they have hot air rockets where they tie a lead-coated wicker basket to a rocket and enjoy a lazy day screaching across the sky?
(h/t: Alice H.)
(h/t: Steve Zabin)
December 16, 2008
So little is known about the ecology of the region that previously unknown animals and plants have been turning up at a rate of two a week for a decade. At least 1,068 new species were identified in the Greater Mekong from 1997 to 2007 along with several thousand tiny invertebrates.
Annamite striped rabbits, Nesolagus timminsi, with black and brown fur, were discovered in Vietnam and Laos in 2000 and are only the second species of striped rabbit to be identified. The other is in Sumatra, the two sharing a common ancestor that lived several million years ago.
Among the most bizarre to be discovered was a hot-pink, spiny dragon millipede, Desmoxytes purpurosea. Several were found simultaneously in Thailand as they crawled over limestone rocks and palm leaves.
To defend themselves from predators the millipedes have glands that produce cyanide. Scientists believe that the shocking-pink colouration is to signal to predators that they would make a fatal snack. "They would do well to heed this warning," concluded a WWF report on the Greater Mekong discoveries.
A huntsman spider, named Heteropoda maxima, measured 30cm across and was found in caves in Laos. It was described as the "most remarkable" of 88 new species of spider located in Laos, Thailand and the Yunnan province of China.
The Greater Mekong comprises 600,000 square kilometres of wetlands and rainforest along 4,500km of the Mekong River in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and China.
December 15, 2008
Less than a week after being reappointed as the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) will announce that he will not seek a tenth term in 2010, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.The good news is that he is said to be contemplating a run for governor. He's starting out with a handicap in that he's not a complete idiot, so his election to a statewide office in Michigan will be difficult.
Hoekstra will become the latest Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee to announce his departure from the lower chamber. The second-ranking Republican on the committee, Rep. Terry Everett (Ala.), is retiring this year, while Rep. Heather Wilson (N.M.) lost a bid for Senate in 2008.
The retirement list could still grow. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) is considering a bid for a Senate seat left open by the retirement of Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), the third-ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, had to be convinced to run for a twelfth term in 2008, leaving some to wonder whether he will run again in two years.
December 13, 2008
While details are sketchy and more will be updated, apparently, according to FOX News, a church in Wassila that is supposed to be "Sarah Palin's home church" experienced an act of possible arson today.I'm sure those of us who pray will be doing so for Wasilla Bible Church.
Ladies in the building who were doing arts and crafts saw smoke, fled the building, and contacted the authorities.
The sprinklers came on preventing and damage beyond the offices and a few classrooms, but the damage was estimated at over $1 million in costs.
It is not known if this is arson what the motive may be.
Indian aircraft violated Pakistan's airspace Saturday but were chased back over the border by Pakistani fighter jets, an Air Force spokesman here said.Uh, guys, can we not do this right before Christmas? I'd prefer if we didn't end up having to ship out troops during the holidays for ass-whooping purposes a peacekeeping mission.
December 12, 2008
A News 4 crew on the scene reports that hazmat officials returned a 'hit' for anthrax on the white powder found in the state capitol mailroom that has forced its employees into quarantine along with our Lemor Shlomof.Update: I figure since thirty governors' offices have reported white powder mailings, we can assume the US Post Office is enjoying a 40% mail loss rate.
Another update: Turns out it was a false positive. Whew!
December 09, 2008
While Wurzelbacher was critical of McCain during the interview, he had nothing but praise for his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “Sarah Palin is absolutely the real deal,” he said.Oh, and he also stuck with the campaign because the thought of an Obama presidency scared him even more than the idea of Maverick McRino in the Oval Office.
December 05, 2008
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