September 24, 2006
When I wake up in the morning, I watch CNN's Headline News program Robin & Company. I love Robin, Will, Bobby, Rally, and Adriana. I especially love when Robin says, "Good morning, sunshine!" She's so pretty and happy. I love it!
Anyway, I watch the news for a little bit before getting out of bed. I get the major headlines, sports highlights, weather, and -- if I'm lucky -- entertainment news as well. (I do think they need to give Adriana more time to talk. Either that or tell her to call me so we can gossip about celebrities.)
If I see a news story that interests me, I look it up on the internet later. I will usually consult one or two other news sources for additional information. If I'm REALLY interested in the story, I may consult several news outlets, several blogs, and read some editorial pieces on it. Those stories are rare because I'm usually too pissed off after hearing the headline from Robin to bother spending more time and energy on it.
Anyway, what I trust CNN for is a limited view of the basic facts of a given story. Because it's Headline News, I am aware of the fact that my exposure to the story is so focused that important facts about the story have had to be edited out for the sake of time.
Even when your chosen news source presents you with a long-winded version of a story, editing has taken place. Perhaps they've taken out something that would change your opinion on the facts. This is the reason why I try to consult multiple sources when I'm looking into a story.
But when it comes to the major news outlets, I trust them to present one thing well: the basic facts.
When they are speculating, they tell you they're speculating. When someone told them something, they tell you who told them -- most of the time. When they can't tell you who it was, they tell you they can't tell you and seek out corroborating sources.
I'm bringing this up because there is a pervasive attitude of cynicism among people I talk to about the news and current events. When you remark on some story, it's popular to purse your lips, raise your eyebrows, and drop your eyelids and remark, "Well, that's what they want you to think."
Yes, yes, yes. There certainly are major organizations, the RNC & DNC spring immediately to mind, who are dedicated to manipulating my opinion on various issues.
And I am also sure that the people who present the news are human beings who have opinions of their own.
But when it comes to the basic facts, like a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center or Fidel Castro is really sick or certain members of the US military took it upon themselves to torture and humiliate some Iraqi prisoners, I think we can trust them.
I just don't see a need for all this cynicism and low-level conspiracy theory mentality. Of course, in this day and age of politicians buying their own journalists and new networks making much bank over blatant partisanship, I can't really blame folks... much.
I'm going to go listen to The Clash again. *wink*
September 22, 2006
HELSINKI (Reuters) - A fee of 25,500 euros ($32,000) is way too much for a woman to charge a man for fondling her bosom, a Finnish district court ruled.
The court jailed a couple in their twenties for more than a year for charging a 74-year-old who suffers from dementia a total of 25,500 euros to enjoy the woman's breasts on 10 occasions.
"Based on general life experience alone, it is indisputably clear that a 25,500 euro charge is disproportionate to the compensation in question," Judge Hasse Hakki, who heard the case, told Reuters Friday.
But he said the court in Kokkola, about 300 miles north of Helsinki, would not decide "the proper financial value of the compensation."
The retiree filed charges against the couple, who were convicted of extortionate overcharging, even though he told the court he paid the price willingly at the time.
I, personally, agree that a charge of $3,200 per fondle is way too steep. I would never pay that much to touch boobies.
But if someone is willing to pay that much, then I don't see why anyone should be penalized for accepting it.
September 21, 2006
That Iranian President dude showed up and prayed for, like, a half hour for the coming of the 12th ipod or something.
Hugo Chavez (ok, I'm not SO surprised by this) is going around smelling devil farts.
Thailand had a "revolution" in which, really, some folks just carpooled in tanks.
And I ordered some chairs that came today and the color was not at all what it looked like on the site.
There has definitely been a disturbance in the Force.
September 19, 2006
I'm not really interested in the idea that this whole gay book tour is a distraction from the legal troubles that nag him for having appointed a lover to an office for which he was not qualified.
I just think he's being a bit of a drama queen about it all. It's like now that he's not viable in politics (for now) he's desperately parading his sex life around as a means of staying in the public eye and garner sympathy. I would not be surprised if he returned to political office a few years from now.
And I think he looks really greasy and smarmy, too.
September 18, 2006
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The leaders of a village in the Indian state of Rajasthan ordered 150 men to dip their hands into boiling oil to prove their innocence after food was stolen from a local school, a newspaper reported Sunday.
In late August the school's principal informed police that rice and wheat had disappeared but no action was taken, the Sunday Express said.
The council, or panchayat, of Ranpur village, 340 km (210 miles) south of state capital Jaipur, then decided to take the law into its own hands.
After 10 days spent trying to identify those responsible, it issued what the paper called the "medieval diktat."
The 150 men from Ranpur and two neighboring hamlets were told to pick a copper ring from a cauldron of boiling oil. The council elders then announced that the 50 who refused the order must be behind the crime. Many are now nursing their burns.
"We would have been ostracized had we refused. Out of fear all of us agreed. This is not the first time this has been done," said one 45-year-old man. He has now testified against the elders, who have been arrested.
I don't understand the logic of this test, really.
Although, I do know that philosophical altruism -- an abdication of self-worth and an acceptance of original sin -- is what allowed 100 innocent men to accept the trial.
It also reminds me of Monty Python Quest for the Holy Grail:
BEDEVERE: So, why do witches burn?
VILLAGER #3: B--... 'cause they're made of... wood?
BEDEVERE: Good! Heh heh.
CROWD: Oh, yeah. Oh.
BEDEVERE: So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.
BEDEVERE: Ah, but can you not also make bridges out of stone?
VILLAGER #1: Oh, yeah.
RANDOM: Oh, yeah. True. Uhh...
BEDEVERE: Does wood sink in water?
VILLAGER #1: No. No.
VILLAGER #2: No, it floats! It floats!
VILLAGER #1: Throw her into the pond!
CROWD: The pond! Throw her into the pond!
BEDEVERE: What also floats in water?
VILLAGER #1: Bread!
VILLAGER #2: Apples!
VILLAGER #3: Uh, very small rocks!
VILLAGER #1: Cider!
VILLAGER #2: Uh, gra-- gravy!
VILLAGER #1: Cherries!
VILLAGER #2: Mud!
VILLAGER #3: Uh, churches! Churches!
VILLAGER #2: Lead! Lead!
ARTHUR: A duck!
BEDEVERE: Exactly. So, logically...
VILLAGER #1: If... she... weighs... the same as a duck,... she's made of wood.
BEDEVERE: And therefore?
VILLAGER #2: A witch!
VILLAGER #1: A witch!
CROWD: A witch! A witch!...
September 14, 2006
1. a person exercising absolute power, esp. a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession.
2. (in ancient Rome) a person invested with supreme authority during a crisis, the regular magistracy being subordinated to him until the crisis was met.
3. a person who authoritatively prescribes conduct, usage, etc.: a dictator of fashion.
4. a person who dictates, as to a secretary.
1. An absolute ruler.
2. A tyrant; a despot.
2. An ancient Roman magistrate appointed temporarily to deal with an immediate crisis or emergency.
3. One who dictates:
1: a speaker who dictates to a secretary or a recording machine
2: a ruler who is unconstrained by law [syn: potentate]
3: a person behaves in an tyrannical manner
New York Times: Judge Says Hussein Was No Dictator
Today, the witness, a Kurdish farmer, told the court how a furious Saddam Hussein shouted "shut up and get out" when he pleaded for the life of his wife and seven young children, who were rounded up in their village in 1988, Reuters reported. "He told me to approach him, and I begged him for their lives," said the witness, Abdulla Mohammad Hussain.
Mr. Hussein, who is allowed to address witnesses in court during the trial, said it did not make sense that an Anfal survivor would visit a "dictator."
“Why did he try to see Saddam Hussein?” Mr. Hussein said. “Wasn’t Saddam a dictator and an enemy to the Kurdish people, as they say?”
The judge, Mr. Amiri, replied to Mr. Hussein: “I will answer you: you are not a dictator, not a dictator, you were not a dictator.”
Smiling, and visibly pleased, Saddam took his seat and said "Thank you."
See, I'm sure you are confused as I was when I read this. I mean, what do you call someone who rules a country by means of violence, torture, blackmail, extortion, and general bad taste?
But I did some digging into my special Dictionary of Made-Up Meanings for Things (special because my name is embossed in gold letters on the front), I found that "Dictator" in the Iraqi tongue actually means "Care Bear" in the primary dialect of the language. In the Northern regions, however, "dictator" means "unicorn" and to the west it means "spritely, nubile water nymph with perky bosoms."
So, yes, there is some debate over what the judge meant when he said that Saddam Hussein is not a dictator, but it is clear that he had the best of intentions at heart and only wished to dissuade Hussein from his delusions.
Join me now in the effort: Saddam Hussein, you are not a Care Bear, not a Unicorn, and certainly not a spritely, nubile water nymph with perky bosoms.
September 13, 2006
BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - They are calling it the "crossed legs" strike.
Fretting over crime and violence, girlfriends and wives of gang members in the Colombian city of Pereira have called a ban on sex to persuade their menfolk to give up the gun.
After meeting with the mayor's office to discuss a disarmament program, a group of women decided to deny their partners their conjugal rights and recorded a song for local radio to urge others to follow their example.
"We met with the wives and girlfriends of gang members and they were worried some were not handing over their guns and that is where they came up with the idea of a vigil or a sex strike," mayor's office representative Julio Cesar Gomez said.
"The message they are giving them is disarm or if not then they will decide how, when, where and at what time," he told Reuters by telephone.
Gomez said the city, in Colombia's coffee-growing region, reported 480 killings last year.
Crime and violence have dropped in Colombia since 2002 when President Alvaro Uribe was first elected promising to crackdown on left-wing rebels fighting a four-decade insurgency and the illegal militia groups who formed to counter them.
But cocaine-trafficking gangs and armed groups still roam parts of Colombia and murder and kidnappings remain a problem despite the fall in crime statistics.
I only blogged about this so that I could make a reference to a Greek play.
September 08, 2006
KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Dozens of children have fainted, apparently because of mass hysteria, after school authorities in Nepal killed a snake, considered as sacred by many Hindus, witnesses said on Thursday.
At least 67 students, aged between nine and 16 years, have had fainting fits since Tuesday in the mainly Hindu country, they said.
"Children suddenly scream, cry and faint," Rishikesh Baral, assistant headmaster of the school, told Reuters by phone.
"Some recover after a couple of hours while others are yet to fully recover. We apologize for killing the snake."
Authorities in the Laxmi Secondary School near the resort town of Pokhara, 125 km (80 miles) west of Kathmandu, organized priests to perform religious rites on Thursday to exorcise the "evil spirit" of the snake killed by school officials last week.
Doctors told school officials it was a case of hysteria caused by fear of divine retribution for the snake's death.
Hindus regard snakes as sacred and Lord Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, is shown wearing a serpent as a garland.
A local journalist said priests scattered rice and sprinkled holy water in classrooms to drive away the snake's "spirit."
I really just can't even bring myself to comment further on this.
Because someone killed a snake.
I have killed SO many snakes in my life that I might be considered a weapon of mass destruction in Nepal.
But there are adults entertaining this behavior. Not just saying, "well, we all know this will anger Shiva," but actually trying to exorcise the snake's evil spirit.
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