Archive for February, 2010

A University of Texas and Texas Tribune poll has found that roughly one in three Texans believe that humans and dinosaurs walked the Earth at the same time and more than half reject the theory of evolution. According to the poll, 38 percent agreed with the statement “God created human beings pretty much in their present form about 10,000 years ago.”
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If you wanted further evidence of the self-perpetuating work of the duopoly, Sarah Palin (after wooing the Tea Party) has told Tea Party members that they have no choice but to side with one of the two major political parties — presumably the Republicans.
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The defense lawyer for professor Amy Bishop has been under fire from lawyers for surprising statements made shortly after his appointment to represent her. Roy Miller told the press that Bishop was a “wacko” — a statement that he now says “went overboard.”

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The Obama Administration continued the tradition of the “Friday night dump” by just releasing the Justice Department report on former Justice officials John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury. The report is linked below. The Justice Department confirmed that the investigation originally found professional misconduct by Yoo and Bybee, but an unnamed high-ranking official at the Office of Professional Responsibility overruled the finding to avoid any professional action against them. I discussed the story on this segment of Countdown.

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The Daily Mail has run with an explosive story after public protestations from British officials over the use of false British passports (and reportedly stolen identities) for the hit on Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai (here). The question now is whether Parliament has the courage to order an investigation in whether the British government not only acquiesced to the operation but then actively misled the public by pretending to be outraged.

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The Kentucky Senate is poised to pass a bill allowing the Bible to be taught in public schools. Sen. David Boswell (D-Owensboro) modeled the bill on a Texas measure.
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Occasionally, the Olympic performances will result not in preservation of a moment of perfection but a wipeout. On this occasion, it was not a downhill skier but an NBC reporter who asked Gold Medalist Sven Kramer who he was, what country he was from, and what he just won. He responded with “Are you stupid?”

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Daniel Wolf, 40, is a Buffalo man who is in need of hair products. He was captured on video allegedly stealing seven bottles of Head and Shoulders shampoo from a Rite Aid store.

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Interpol has posted wanted pictures of the eleven suspects in the assassination of Hamas member Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in the Dubai hotel on January 19, 2010. In what could be a serious problem for Israel, both Britain and France are demanding answers on the use of fake passports and stolen identities in the plot while Dubai continues its criminal investigation. This is occurring at the same time that Israel is resisting an international investigation into possible war crimes in its campaign in Gaza, here.

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Juventus‘ goalie, Gigi Buffon, is facing punishment for saying “Dio” or “God” after a critical play went poorly. You cannot use the Lord’s name in vain in Italy where officials have used replay tapes to determine if he said “Dio” or, as he now claims, “Zio” or “uncle.”

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Malaysia has continued its application of Sharia law with the caning of three Muslim women for having illicit sex. This follows the earlier sentence of a woman to caning for drinking a beer in public under Islamic law, here.

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While Obama has been criticized for saying that Tibet is part of China (here), he showed a refreshing degree of independence from China by meeting with the Dalai Lama. In the past, China has been able to pressure leaders (including past presidents) to avoid such meetings). Recently, South Africa even barred the Dalai Lama from an international peace conference, here.

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Crystal Gale Mangum, 33, has been charged with attempted murder and arson. Mangum was the stripper who falsely accused members of the Duke lacrosse team.

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South Carolina Rep. Mike Pitts (R.) wants to ban the buck. He has introduced legislation to require the use of gold and silver coins as the legal tender of the state as opposed to federal currency. For those passing through the state, you may want to wait before you exchange your dollars for bags of gold and silver coins.

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A new poll shows just how dissatisfied voters are with both parties: only a third of voters want their incumbents returned to Congress. The question is whether voters are ready to change the system — rather than just change the members.
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Atlanta police appear to be fans of Alfred Lord Tennyson: “Ours is not to reason why Ours is but to do and die”. When four women planning a funeral were ordered by an Atlanta police officer to move, one asked “why?” Minnie Carey, then 61, was arrested, cuffed, and thrown into jail.
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The Observer has published an article detailing a confidential Vatican document from the 1960s that instructed Catholic bishops around the world to cover up cases of sexual abuse or face discipline — including expulsion from the church. The document in Latin bears the seal of Pope John XXIII. It reads like a Vatican-version of Omertà.
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London police are investigating an unnamed Saudi prince in the murder of one of his servants. A 32-year-old Saudi national was found dead from strangulation and severe head injuries at the posh five-star Landmark Hotel in Marylebone, Central London.
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I just saw this video on Reddit of a guy who sees an Olympic torch and sees not a symbol of international cooperation and competition but a lighter for his cigarette. Next time he should do what other people do and use an AK-47, here.
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Television presenter Ray Gosling has been arrested on suspicion of murder after the BBC ran a segment where the 70-year-old confessed to smothering his lover who was suffering from AIDS. He starts the segment by saying that he wanted to reveal his secret: “I killed someone.”

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With Dick Cheney boasting on national television of his support for waterboarding and torture (here), the Obama White House is continuing its policy of ignoring the credible claims of war crimes to avoid the politically difficult decision to prosecute Bush, Cheney and others for the U.S. torture program. This was evident this week when White House spokesman Robert Gibbs refused to answer a basic question on the torture of a recently captured Taliban leader– offering only to discuss the matter off the record.

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Harrisburg, Pa. Mayor Linda Thompson and Harrisburg City Controller Dan Miller are in a remarkable confrontation that could virtually shutdown the city. Thompson issued an order to city workers that bar them from speaking directly to the city controller’s office, city council members and the media. Miller responded by giving her an ultimatum: rescind the gag order or he will rescind his payroll signature stamp.

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The Virginia legislature passed a flurry of bills stripping away limitations on gun possession in the state. After intense lobbying from the National Rifle Association and over $1 million in NRA campaign contributions, the lawmakers passed 20 gun bills expanding possession and ownership rights in the state.

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Senior Judge Geoffrey P. Morris has ordered the removal of two billboards proclaiming “hell is real” in Kentucky after finding that they have stood without a permit for five years.

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A Scottish brewery has achieved the dubious record of the beer with the highest level of alcohol — a response to a German brewery that produced a 40 percent beer. BrewDog returned fire with a 41 percent beer named “Sink the Bismarck.”

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Joseph Reyes may be unique in the annals of criminal law: he is facing potential jail time for baptizing his daughter. His ex-wife Rebecca Reyes is Jewish and was awarded custody of the girl. The mother is raising her in the Jewish faith. Hon. Edward R. Jordan has issued an order barring Reyes from “exposing his daughter to any other religion than the Jewish religion. …” Now Reyes faces the ultimate baptism under fire.

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Christina FourHorn is suing the Denver police department in a bizarre mistaken identity case that led to her jailing — and an alleged refusal of police to listen to repeated efforts to show that they had the wrong person. It is only the latest in such mistaken identity arrest cases.
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Redondo Beach City Prosecutor Brenda Wells is receiving considerable heat over her decision not to charge Torrance Police Sgt. Michael Mastick, who was involved in an off-duty hit-and-run collision. He admitted that he fled the scene because “judgment was impaired by alcohol.” A novel defense to be sure but it seems to have worked.
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If falling ratings were not enough, CNN’s Anderson Cooper now has to deal with falling interior designers. He is being sued by an interior designer, Killian O’Brien, who fell at the site of his new home — an old Manhattan firehouse that is being converted. She fell 17 feet through the hole that once held the station’s fire pole.
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Somebody drug test this man. U.S. snowboarder Graham Watanabe was asked what it was like to compete in his second Winter Olympics. He responded it was like “Pegasus mating with a unicorn and the creature that they birth I somehow tame it and ride it to the sky and clouds and sunshine and rainbows.”

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We have another case of officers arresting a distraught family members at the scene of an accident. This one involves James Rourke of Doylesburg, Pa., who had rushed to the scene after he learned that his 19-year-old son Freddy was in a serious car accident with a friend and still trapped in the car. The photos from the scene are horrific. If he thought things could not get much worse, Rourke was wrong. The arrival of two officers lmer Hertzog and James Erme would result in Rourke’s arrest and charges with a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

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U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir is the subject of an international outcry over his insistence on wearing real animal fur in his figure skating outfit — despite his prior promise to yield to demands that he use faux fur.
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Former Vice President Dick Cheney came out this weekend in an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl to proclaim “I was a big supporter of waterboarding.” It is an astonishing public admission since waterboarding is not just illegal but a war crime. It is akin to the Vice President saying that he supported bank robbery or murder-for-hire as a public policy.
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While the Obama Administration and Congress continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, legislators continue to dismantle our public services, parks, and educational programs due to budget shortfalls. In Utah, state Sen. Chris Buttars proposed one way of dealing with a budget shortfall: just eliminate the 12th grade. It is not clear why legislators have decided to keep public education at all. If we simply eliminate education, we can send children directly into military training or to work for foreign companies from countries that are expanding their research and educational budgets at the same rate of our decline.
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In a remarkable discovery with transformative implications for humans, researchers have discovered and detailed the process by which a protein serves as the switch for releasing cancer cells throughout a body from an original cancer site. The protein called disabled-2 (Dab2) is critical to many of the most common and deadly forms of cancer, including breast and colon cancer.

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Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is fighting with another judge and this one seems ready to hold him in contempt in Mesa, Arizona. While Arpaio routinely disregards and even investigates local judges who oppose his controversial policies or actions, here, he picked the wrong fight with a federal judge this time. U.S. district judge Murray Snow has formally found grounds for sanctioning Arpaio for the acknowledged destruction of records in a lawsuit involving racial profiling.
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We previously followed the case of Gerald Amidon, who sued the Boise police department for allegedly threatening to sodomize him with a taser and using excessive force in his arrest, including tasering him on the buttocks. He has now settled for only $150,000 and, despite a highly disturbing tape of the incident, the police department is able to claim no fault as part of the settlement.
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Ever wondered why your heart raced at the first sight of your wife or husband. Dr. Loving has the answer. Dr. Timothy Loving explains that it is literally having the right chemistry. To be accurate, chemists generally send Valentines reading “Baby, You Make My Adrenaline and Epinephrine Soar.” Above is an appropriate Valentine for chemists.
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This picture could be the most moving Valentine that scientists could send each other on this special day. Scientists have finally shown how entanglement works, the quantum process in which two objects share the same existence.

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Palestinian officials are largely supporting Rafiq Husseini, a former Palestinian intelligence officer and top aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is embroiled in a sex-for-favors scandal. However, Abbas has now dismissed his aide and called for an investigation after he was allegedly captured in an embarrassing video, here.

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Head Teacher Peter Turner at Ashcombe Primary School in England announced that all Valentine cards would be confiscated because children are not emotionally mature enough to deal with the tradition.

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According to police, Clifford Garrison is simply irresistible to women. Known as “The Honeymoon Bandit,” Garrison allegedly woos women and then runs away with their money. It is the wooing part that leaves me a bit confused.
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Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone on the blog.
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The Obama Administration is appealing a ruling in favor of privacy before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit — seeking to allow it to track people by their cellphones and arguing that there is no privacy expectations to prevent tracking without probable cause. It is another example of Obama’s continued assault on civil liberties — and the failure of liberals to call him to account for such policies.
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Kenyan police showed the world what state-sponsored homophobia looks like this week when police raided a same-sex wedding and arrested all suspected homosexuals.
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Bank of America appears to foreclose on homes with the level of care of a random drive-by shooting. We previously followed the foreclosure of a series of wrong homes (here) while denying any liability for such errors. Now, we can add the names of Charlie and Maria Cardoso, a Massachusetts couple foreclosed despite the fact that even a Bank of America agent was telling the company that it had the wrong house in Spring Hill, Florida.
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With the start of the Winter Olympics, one new accessory is being marketed by Kodiak Technology Group CEO Daniel Field to raise money for both the U.S. Curling Association and Monterey County AIDS Prevention. Now you can buy “Hurry Hard” condoms — named after the encouraging call of curling teams to sweep faster. Even more remarkable is a story revealing that 100,000 condoms have been supplied to athletes at the 2010 games — under any standard that would be an Olympic performance.
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The academic community is shocked by the news that not only were three faculty members murdered at the University of Alabama but that the suspect is a fellow academic. Amy Bishop, a biology professor, is facing murder charges in the shooting deaths of three faculty members and will be charged with the wounding of three other employees Friday.

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Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., blasted the American Bar Association over its mixed evaluation of Gloria Navarro, his nominee to the United States District Court. Reid, who has previously relied on ABA ratings in opposing or supporting nominees, told the ABA to “get a new life.”
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United States District Judge Robert Gettleman in Chicago has held infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau in contempt after Trudeau encouraged fans to write and call his chambers. The result was clogging the court’s email and phone system. Trudeau is the author of “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.”

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