Archive for June 2012
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WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government fell into deep paralysis this week after President Obama developed an addiction to the online shoot-’em-up game River Raider. Legislation, campaigning and policymaking have remained stalled as Obama attempts to reach the scoring plateau of five million points.
Administration officials first suspected a problem on Sunday afternoon when calls to the Oval Office, arranged in advance for particular times, went unanswered. A series of influential Democratic Party contributors had been awarded time to converse individually with the President, but when the operator connected them, all that could be heard was digital sound effects and occasional expressions of frustration or accomplishment.
Walter Espada, a Hollywood producer and frequent Democratic Party donor, reported to White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew that the Obama did not even acknowledge that Espada was at the other end of the line. “I wanted to encourage the President to remain steadfast in his pursuit of healthcare for all Americans,” he said, referring to the health care law under legal challenge from Republicans. “But all I got out of him was, ‘Oh, come on! He was nowhere near me!”
Arthur Skyrim, Professor of Sociology at George Mason University and an expert on video game culture, explained that Obama was having trouble with the boss at the end of Missions 3 and 4 of the game, which can transform into spinning blades that destroy vehicles and harm the player’s character. The blades inflict the damage even if only in proximity to the character or vehicle, and not necessarily in direct contact.
“The President’s jousts with political opponents ill prepared him for some of the conflicts he faces in River Raider,” Skyrim continued. “Although in both cases the opposition is two-dimensional, focuses excessively on the use of guns and doesn’t care about the effects of its constituency on waterways, the similarities end there. The enemy in River Raider is far more sophisticated in its deployment of resources.”
“On the other hand,” he equivocated, “Republicans do seem capable of learning from one encounter to the next, unlike the soldiers in River Raider,” who deploy in an identical manner game after game.
The President’s devotion to the game reached the point that instead of signing waiting legislation into law, he used the documents on his desk in making fan art for the game. The host site for the game, Miniclip, judged his submission worthy of displaying in their top three fan art slots. It was unclear whether the site administrators were aware of the identity of the artist, who used the screen name OsamaKiller2012.
In a phone interview, Lew conceded that it was perhaps a mistake to allow unfettered internet access from the Oval Office. “We thought initially it would help us muster information resources to help in developing policy and countering our opponents’ initiatives,” he explained. “But over the last week it’s become clear we need some controls.”
“If that’s not an argument for government regulation, I don’t know what is.”
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Police say turncoat may have gone underground
Mahwah, NJ, June 19 (AP) – Joseph Piscatelli, a longtime Mafia operative who turned state’s witness seven years ago in a prominent case, was laid to rest Monday after being killed in a drive-by shooting near his home, and has not been seen since.
“Lynch-man” Piscatelli testified in a 2005 conspiracy, racketeering and murder case against his former Mafia boss Giovanni “Blue-Boy” Messi, who led the Rizzuto crime family. Messi is now serving a life sentence at a federal prison in Upstate New York.
FBI and Mahwah police say they are not surprised at Picscatelli’s disappearance. “After being fatally shot two days before, I’d also want to keep a low profile,” said Mahwah PD Detective George Laverty. “You never know what kind of dangers are still lurking out there for someone with quite a few enemies.”
The list of suspects in Piscatelli’s murder is said to be quite lengthy, as the Messi trial also resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of six Messi associates, all of whom are still incarcerated, but some of whom have loyal followers of their own, said FBI spokesman Donna Nobis. “Piscatelli’s testimony against his former accomplices was particularly troubling to the Rizzuto members. Piscatelli and his former boss were very close – Joe Piscatelli even served as a witness when “Blue-Boy” separated from his wife in 2002. Everyone in the Rizzuto circle was pretty sure of Piscatelli’s position of trust, considering the role he played in the Messi divorce.”
Police officers and FBI agents have gone door-to-door in the vicinity of the St. Vincent Cemetery where Piscatelli was last seen, but have not reported any developments in the case. But they are sure to face criticism over apparently lax security measures for the slain informant, even though Piscatelli repeatedly refused to relocate or assume a new identity. He had no known relatives.
Mahwah police are no strangers to unresolved cases. During 2010, the last complete year for which statistics are available, the Mahwah Police Department opened has closed only one case file related to excessive donut purchases by department members. Department spokesman Will B. O’beese dismissed the donut files as irrelevant. “That section of the department is completely unrelated to Missing Persons, specifically the Missing Homicide Victim division.”
Professor N. Cogg Nito of Rutgers University, an expert on organized crime, holds slim hopes for the resolution of the Piscatelli case – both his murder and his subsequent disappearance. “No witnesses have stepped forward in his shooting, and Lynch-man has no relatives that might agitate for the police to pursue the case aggressively. They’re probably just going to wait for the media attention to die, then relegate the story to the cold case file, where it’s basically six feet under.”
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Washington (Reuters) – Reacting to years of right-wing agitation on the subject, President Barack Obama announced today (Wednesday) that, if they insist, fine, he’s actually a Muslim.
At a White House press conference this morning, the President told the assembled reporters that after years of ignoring far-right-wing accusations that he’s really a follower of Islam, it was time to let the truth be known at last. Despite decades of overtly Christian worship and a documented history of Protestant religious associations, Obama finally acknowledged his accusers’ arguments.
Charges of problematic religious associations have dogged Obama since the 2008 presidential campaign, when opponents latched on to his past links to firebrand Christian pastor Jeremiah Wright. Obama said at the time that he repudiated any messages of bigotry the pastor may have espoused, and that he no longer followed Wright.
At the same time, opponents noted Obama’s Arabic middle name Hussein, and adduced it as evidence that he is actually an adherent of Islam, the core texts of which were written in Arabic, as were important texts in other religions in Arabic-speaking lands. Many of the same opponents also insisted Obama was not actually born in the United States, as the Constitution requires of a President, but in Kenya, where he spent time as a young boy. Obama’s birth certificate was issued in Hawaii.
With Hawaii’s confirmation of Obama’s birth certificate as authentic, all but the most extreme accusers refocused on trying to cast Obama as anti-American, based on the assumption that “Muslim” and “American” are concepts that cannot be reconciled. As of 2010, there were approximately 2.6 million Muslim-Americans, according to the Pew Research Center.
With his admission, President Obama might be seeking to take the wind out of his vocal critics’ sails, says Professor Blowe Harde, Political Science Department Chair at Tulane University. “The President is evidently challenging his opponents’ assumption that being a Muslim can have a detrimental effect on one’s American patriotism. He approved the killing of Osama Bin Laden and has consistently maintained a policy of drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan to get rid of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants,” but many Americans clearly felt that killing Muslims wan’t enough evidence that Obama himself was not also a Muslim, said Harde.
“Muslims kill more Muslims than anyone else ever has, so sustaining the conflict with Al Qaeda and its ilk is perfectly consistent with how a Muslim would behave,” concurs Blather Skyte, an analyst with CBS News. “Obama must have realized that decimating the terrorist leadership would never sufficiently demonstrate that he wasn’t sympathetic to them.”
The press conference also featured a question-and-answer session with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who revealed that the administration is considering a proposal to announce that Obama is also, in fact, Jewish. Such a measure may forestall objections to the President’s newly-confessed faith from Americans sympathetic to Israel. A Pew Research Center poll found that suspicion of Obama’s policy toward Israel has not shifted meaningfully as a result of the announcement; the researchers explain the negligible effect on the fact that Jon Stewart has yet to weigh in on the story.
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Once again, our fair municipality has decided to favor the neighborhood with an all-night rock concert. Of course they didn’t consult the residents of the neighborhood, but they’ve learned something since the last time: they warned us beforehand. The notice they posted on various buildings throughout the area represents the epitome of official-speak.
Fortunately, I am a professional translator. A literal translation into English will not do (we dwellers of the Levant do not currently experience the wonders of English-speaking government agencies), for that would be akin to insisting that Aesop’s fables are historical accounts. I have therefore done everyone a favor by elucidating the true meaning of the notice. Here, then, is a sentence-by-sentence explication of the posted bill:
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