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Archive for December 2012

Israel To Allow Missiles Into Gaza Via Aircraft, Artillery

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Israel's Iron Dome system prevents inferior armaments from penetrating the Israeli market.

Israel’s Iron Dome system prevents inferior armaments from penetrating the Israeli market.

Kerem Shalom Crossing, Israel (AP) – Several weeks after a cease-fire was declared between Israel and the Hamas movement that governs the Gaza Strip, negotiations are continuing over the terms of that cease-fire. Through Egyptian mediators, Israel has conveyed its agreement to allow certain military goods into the Gaza Strip, with certain conditions.

Among those conditions, say the Egyptians, is a provision that the armaments be delivered by Israeli aircraft, artillery, tanks and infantry, and that the drop-off points be restricted to missile-launching, armament storage and military training facilities used by Hamas. An Israel Defense Force spokesman said the army was ready to make delivery of these payloads repeatedly if necessary, and follow up with further deliveries if the materials did not adequately reach their destinations.

Last week the Israeli military began enforcing a more generous limit on Palestinian fishing boats, and offered to supply the hulls of boats venturing beyond the six-mile limit with hundreds of explosive shells, provided in the space of a few seconds at twice the speed of sound. But in what analysts say is a sign of the complex economic picture that is the Gaza Strip, few fisherman have voluntarily taken up the Israeli Navy on its offer.

Similarly, Israel has allowed Palestinian farmers access to lands abutting the border fence, and has made available many hundreds of bullets for the farm workers to carry embedded in their flesh. Several Palestinians accepted such a deal in the immediate aftermath of the fighting, but since then, none have stepped forward.

Before the 2007 takeover of the coastal strip by Hamas, Israel was a major market for the area’s exports, especially agricultural goods and manual labor. But after Hamas routed forces loyal to the more moderate Fatah faction that still governs the West Bank, Israel imposed a blockade. During that time, the flow of war materiel all but dried up, except for Palestinian attempts by individuals and small groups to deliver explosives through the air to Israeli communities, and by IDF deliveries of missiles to militants. Sporadic Israeli deliveries of bullets to the hearts and heads of militant leaders also took place.

The Gaza Strip economy took a beating; the internal trade of explosives and bullets persisted, with almost weekly deliveries of bullets to the bodies of individuals suspected of collaborating with Israel, but the number of available customers remains inadequate to meet the producers’ minimum requirements for sustainability. Last month Hamas made repeated attempts to export rockets to the surrounding Israeli communities, with some deliveries reaching as far north as Tel Aviv and as far east as the southern outskirts of Jerusalem. But Israel’s Iron Dome system imposed strict conditions on the import of such goods, and few deliveries made it through the screening process.

Hamas and its supporters in Iran and Lebanon have decried such Israeli barriers, accusing the Jewish state of imposing unfair restrictions on Palestinian rockets. But the American-funded system, say Israeli trade representatives, is intended to protect Israel’s economic interests from over-the-border threats. Israel questions the necessity of delivering these goods specifically to its population, noting that countries such as Syria, Iraq, Mali, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan have managed to develop a thriving internal system of armaments exchanges, with various groups competing in each for ascendancy in the high-speed delivery of bullets and shrapnel.

suicide bombingIsmail Haniyeh, a veteran Hamas member, recalls the early days of his movement’s once-thriving provision of explosives to Israeli bus passengers. That avenue of export was cut off more than ten years ago after the IDF effectively cut off Hamas’s delivery routes. Before then, the movement relied on delivery personnel to individually accompany each package of explosives to its final destination. That system is no longer practicable, says Haniyeh. He remains cautiously optimistic that a resumption of Israeli deliveries will allow his movement to distribute the effects of those materials as broadly as possible across the Gaza Strip population, as Hamas did in Pillar of Defense and in the 2009 Operation Cast Lead.

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Written by Thag

December 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Lice: ‘Indiana Preschool Infested with Children’

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lice combTerre Haute, Indiana (AP) – Lice at the Kiddie Carousel Day Care are complaining that the facility, on South Seventh Street, is infested with human children. Children are a risk factor in the forcible uprooting and premature death of millions of lice every year.

The two-legged, immature humans provide an initially welcoming environment for lice. But often, once the insect population has been lulled into complacency, the surroundings suddenly become hostile. Baths of harsh chemicals often occur just when the lice population has begun to thrive, and sweeps of the child’s scalp area indiscriminately carry off young and old alike when the dreaded Comb passes through.

The International Taskforce on Cootie Hosting, or ITCH, has documented at least seven hundred thousand cases of child infestation in North America this year alone, representing an increase of eight percent over last year, which in turn grew from eight percent the year before. According to government statistics, although the number of human children has remained steady in North America during that time, an increase has been noted in the number of the hazardous human spawn inhabiting sites that lice once found more friendly.

ITCH has documented a general increase in dangerous conditions for lice. Famine and wars in Africa have reduced the number of available hosts in certain areas, although the most recent data point to stagnant growth in the African cephalic environment to begin with, as the hair of the African human tends to be less suitable to habitation by lice. But violent conflict in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan have wrought havoc with the consistency of available residences.

The situation is not nearly as dire as it was seven hundred years ago, when the Black Plague swept through Europe and severely reduced the human population. Rival arthropod species seemed poised to assert dominance over the parasitic world, but a steady rebound in the number of humans on the continent, coupled with the displacement of bubonic plague hosts, assured the ascendance of head lice for centuries after.

In fact the lice future has never looked rosier, according to a new report by SUCK, the Society of Users of Chitin Knees. The SUCK report notes an overall global increase in human population, which will provide many more heads for lice to inhabit, and global warming means more of the planet will be hospitable to the insects, which survive longer in warmer environments if they become detached from the scalps of their hosts.

But the lice at Kiddie Carousel are still worried, as the presence of the deadly combs and topical treatments have been detected, according to rampant rumors among the lice.

Can YOU think of a more hostile environment?

Can YOU think of a more hostile environment?

A vocal contingent denies the rumors, calling into question the evidence for the comb and shampoo phenomena, as well as any indication of silicone spray. The skeptics note that all the fear-mongering stifles the productivity and growth of the population, and deem the rumors “pediculous.” Moreover, they argue, any such threat, even if imminent, lies beyond the capability of the lice community to address.

At press time, a louse with dyed, otherworldly-shaped orange hair was seen departing the preschool in a tiny helicopter marked “Trump.”

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Written by Thag

December 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Rapists Concerned New Delhi Attack Might Give Them Bad Name

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move alongNew Delhi, India (Reuters) – Following the death of a woman who was gang-raped on a bus earlier this month in the Indian capital, rapists across the Indian societal spectrum are voicing concern that the incident will harm their reputations.

“Most of us are normal, hardworking guys, and something like this gets us really worried,” said Whatshewants Dusinmatta, 40, of Bangalore. “The vast majority of times we do what we do, it doesn’t result in riots, so we’re naturally a bit nervous that people might not treat us the same way anymore.”

The Indian umbrella organization of sexual assailants, All Sheilas Know It’s Natural and Good For Overpowering Romeos to Impale Them (ASKINGFORIT), advised its members this week not to couple their violation of women’s bodies with violations of murder statues, at least until the current episode of negative publicity subsides. Spokesman Theyall Wantitt said the group was preparing a public relations campaign to attenuate the effects of the December 16 gang-rape on the reputations of rapists in India.

“Most Indians realize that these thugs do not represent us as a whole,” he said, “and our campaign will emphasize that we rapists are not these supervillains who drive around on buses picking women up. We are your fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, neighbours, classmates, and coworkers. That alone should tell everyone that public safety in India has not appreciably changed as a result of this unusual incident.” He said the organization would work with police so that the public’s confidence in its law enforcement institutions would not be affected. An estimated 1% of sexual assault and harassment are currently reported to the authorities.

A similar concern plagued rapists in Pakistan and Afghanistan earlier this year, when a twelve-year-old who was gang-raped managed to escape and reach Westerners who provided her with treatment and protection. Her male relatives and the leaders of her tribal village spent weeks trying to reassure their clansmen and the wider public that the escape did not represent a shift in policy away from killing the victim to maintain the family’s honor. Purveyors of sulfuric acid had also been worried about a drop in sales if jealous husbands would stop throwing their product in the faces of wives and daughters suspected of entertaining such radical feminist ideas as leaving the family hovel for a few minutes.

child marriageEventually the media attention and related disturbances petered out. ASKINGFORIT clearly hopes that a similar phenomenon will characterize the New Delhi case, although currently the city is seeing vehement protests that continue to worry rapists. “Our way of life is threatened,” said Shova Nistpig, mayor of the southern town of Sekslaiveree who has been raping women for upwards of four decades. “The invasion of foreign values has given people all the wrong ideas about people’s proper places in society.”

“It’s one thing to attack the caste system, which has its problems,” he conceded, “and I say that as a Brahmin,” a member of the elite caste. “But the focus on one extraordinarily violent rape in New Delhi is making it harder and harder for the traditional rapists to go about their activities unmolested.”

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Written by Thag

December 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Classic Thag, June 2011: Some of My Best Friends Are Bigots

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circumcised bananaJack, this is just amateurish. No one goes for old-fashioned antisemitism anymore.

It’s one thing to couch your Jew-hatred in terms of Zionism; we all do that. But if you want to keep those hymies from moving into this neighborhood in greater numbers, you’re going to need some arguments more sophisticated than Jewish control of the media. That’s not gonna play in Peoria. Besides, Peoria already has an established Jewish presence, so you have to rethink your whole approach.

What you need to do is find some issue that really bothers the people around here, and then develop some approach that somehow links Jews with the dark side of that issue – but you have to make sure it’s not aJewish issue, or the antisemitism is too obvious. It’s been decades since a guy could count on knee-jerk Jew-hatred in America, or at least open Jew-hatred. What you want to do is attract the closet antisemites and give them enough plausible deniability so everyone can claim it’s not about the Jews’ Jewishness at all.

So what you might do is oppose construction of a synagogue, but only talk about how it would disrupt traffic, or the skyline, or be too noisy. And those concerns can be completely fabricated; you only need them to give you and your associates cover. Since we’re talking Orthodox Jews here, give an example of how crowded the streets will be on Saturdays with people going to and from services. If you’re loud enough about it, your vehemence can make up for any perceived ignorance. And if anyone pokes holes in your claim, like by noting that Orthodox Jews don’t drive on their Sabbath, well, you just move on to the next claim, no harm done. After all, it was just an issue of traffic as far as you’re concerned.

Then there’s the issue of an eruv, that string around the town that makes renders the whole place a single residential area in Jewish law. The Jews won’t be allowed to carry things around outside on the Sabbath without it. But since the community will need municipal approval to attach the string to telephone poles, you can take aim at their attempt to make the place more hospitable to Jews by claiming the project illegally involves the government in religious affairs. That way you can make it about the constitution instead of about how much you hate kikes.

I know you’ve also tried to muster opposition to Jewish migration by arguing about property values. But I don’t think you’ll have much success there, since it’s just ain’t so. In fact a growing Jewish community pushes property values up. You’re best off just dropping that subject, unless you want to look like a bigot and an idiot. Idiot is OK these days, but bigot is not.

Of course if you want to go really hardcore, and are willing to invest some serious time and energy, you could go the San Francisco route and try to get ritual circumcision banned. If you go down that path, just make sure not to get too caught up in the medical evidence for or against; there just isn’t anything conclusive either way. You need to keep the discourse squarely in the emotional realm: make it about babies’ rights; throw around loaded terms such as “mutilation” and “genital cutting”;  call the practice barbaric. Those are good ways of staying on the offensive and avoiding the issue of your opposition to Jewish existence, not merely Jewishpractice. Your lead here is the highly successful model of antisemites who claim only to be anti-Zionist, a roster that includes such reputable souls as Saddam Hussein and Mahmoud Ahmadinijad.

You know I would never steer you wrong, Jack. Some of my best friends are antisemites.

Written by Thag

December 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Domino’s Perplexed By Poor Sales of Pizza Suppositories

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Domino's logoAnn Arbor, MI (AP) – Fast-food giant Domino’s Pizza, confronted with anemic sales of its new pizza suppositories, has put further marketing efforts for the product on hold, according to a statement from the company’s corporate headquarters.

Following a lengthy promotional campaign, the Italian food chain finally released its line of “Up Yours” pizza suppositories, hoping to tap into the growing need for ever-more-efficient food delivery in a busy era. With Up Yours, Domino’s hoped to appeal to rushed parents and hurried workers who lack the time to properly ingest and digest even typical fast food. Its “Taste is waste” slogan leveraged the company’s reputation for providing a less-than-stellar culinary experience; a 2009 survey of consumer taste preferences among national chains by Brand Keys, Domino’s tied with Chuck E. Cheese’s for last place.

The advertising push followed an intensive program to get buy-in from the chain’s more than 5,000 franchise holders, but that stage of the program took several months longer than expected because headquarters found it difficult to convince the franchisees to get behind the initiative, according to Seymour Butz, an analyst at Sphincter Industries who studies the fast food industry.

“The franchisees were worried about bottlenecks in supply and production,” said Butz, who also noted that trial runs of that production exposed lax adherence to quality standards. Although the company addressed those concerns, problems continued to emerge even as the release date approached.

Any resemblance to the actual product is entirely, outrageously funny.

Any resemblance to the actual product is entirely, outrageously funny.

Domino’s was forced to push back the start of the promotional campaign to fix those emerging issues, and the executives were apparently satisfied that they had managed to wipe away the sticky problems by softening its position on franchisee contribution. Advertising began in January, and the first Up Yours suppositories were offered in Kansas, Texas and Arkansas. Hopeful initial data from the “In Testin'” phase prompted the further roll-out of the products up and down the eastern seaboard and Illinois.

But sales logs, initially positive, proved disappointing, and continued to contract through the spring and summer, skidding almost entirely to a halt by August. The board pinned its hopes on the September “Backside to School” advertising blitz, aiming to appeal to more regular customers, but decided that if October sales showed no major improvement they would be forced to cancel production. Despite an $18 million investment in equipment, materials and marketing, the company’s bottom line has suffered, limiting Domino’s to a second-quarter profit only slightly higher than the same period last year.

Hopes had been high until then, as a program in the same spirit by a different fast food player had shown its potential. In 2009 White Castle announced that it was “eliminating the middle man” by liquefying its burgers and spraying them directly on the insides of toilet bowls. White Castle sales figures had not appreciably suffered as a result, and Domino’s executives apparently felt that their marketing acumen could make such an approach profitable.

This is not the first abortive Domino’s marketing program. In 1992 and 1993, high-profile lawsuits charged the company with recklessness in guaranteeing home delivery within 30 minutes of an order’s placement; two fatalities had resulted from Domino’s delivery men’s driving. Of particular interest to the plaintiff was a provision calling for the public beheading of drivers who failed to reach their destinations within the allotted time. The company settled both cases, but agreed to eliminate the punitive measures for late deliveries, which had garnered initial popularity and a contract to televise the beheadings.

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Written by Thag

December 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Kazakhstan Crash Investigators Shocked to Discover Kazakhstan Has Planes

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Because, let's face it, about 12 people both know and care where it is.

Because, let’s face it, about 12 people both know and care where it is.

Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan (Reuters) – Following the crash of a military plane that killed all 27 aboard, Kazakh authorities were stunned to discover that Kazakhstan actually possesses the technology of heavier-than-air flight.

The An-72 transport plane was carrying a crew of seven and twenty passengers, including the acting head of Kazakhstan’s border protection service. That means that at least twenty-seven people in the country knew of the capability, although it remains unclear whether anyone now remains in Kazakhstan who might be able to identify, let alone pilot, an aircraft.

The Central Asian country is the largest landlocked country in the world; most of its military equipment was inherited from the now-defunct Soviet Union. The aging systems have put a strain on Kazakhstan’s technical resources, which are much more accustomed to agriculture, animal husbandry and polluting the atmosphere with hydrocarbons. Western military experts expressed surprise that the republic had managed to train a crew to fly a plane, and noted that apparently the training program had yet to cover more advanced skills such as landing.

“[President Nursultan] Nazarbayev might have kept this game-changer off the world’s radar for much longer if not for this accident,” said Orville Wright, a flight technology consultant in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, who studies the development of military aviation in Asia. “Apparently it has become a tradition in Asia to mask progress on strategic military initiatives,” he added, referring to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons technology. For reasons still unclear to experts with an IQ under 40, Iran insists that its program is for civilian purposes only.

Wright noted that it is entirely possible that Kazakhstan possesses more aircraft. “No one seemed to know about the An-72 until it crashed, so it’s quite likely Nazarbayev’s military has a few more surprises up its sleeve.” He declined to speculate whether the other still-unknown Kazakh technology includes indoor plumbing, but he and other experts agree it is extremely unlikely the nation has developed or acquired non-corrupt politicians.

Kazakh cavalry. Expert now suspect Kazakhstan has acquired horseshoe technology, as well.

Kazakh cavalry. Experts now suspect Kazakhstan has acquired horseshoe technology, as well.

“Most of Kazakhstan’s political apparatus is a holdover from totalitarian Soviet days,” explained Tom Clancy, who studies the former republics of the Soviet Union. “Every few years there are elections for the legislative bodies, but the real power rests with the President, who was elected in 1991 and dominates the political scene.” But Clancy was nevertheless impressed by the Nazarbayev administration’s ability to conceal its possession of twentieth-century technology, an effort that, if not for the accident, might have allowed the country to avoid detection of the program until it could already deploy the equipment.

Clancy nevertheless wonders whether the secrecy would have lasted long, as use of the planes requires infrastructure such as hangars, runways and other installations are impossible to conceal for very long in this age of satellite imagery. However, he doubts whether any other nation would bother using its fleet of spy satellites to inspect the godforsaken country, so detection may not have occurred until much later.

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Written by Thag

December 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm

PETA to Mother Goose: Stop Promoting Cruelty to Animals

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PETA logoNorfolk, Virginia (AP) – Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has denounced the legendary teller of nursery rhymes Mother Goose for encouraging violence and mistreatment of animals in her doggerel.

“Treating blackbirds as food is bad enough – but Mother Goose would have us sadistically putting the captive birds in a hot oven and baking them into a pie,” said Newkirk. “How out-of-touch with ethical behavior can you be?”

PETA released a litany of cruel acts against animals in Mother Goose’s rhyming verse and called for a boycott of her nursery rhymes until Mother Goose could demonstrate she had reformed.

The PETA report grades all of Mother Goose’s rhymes, assigning them a score on a scale of 1-4, with 1 representing an “acceptable” attitude toward animals, 2 meaning “borderline” and 3 meaning “poor” and 4 meaning “reprehensible.”

“Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” was rated borderline, as the report indicates, because it takes for granted that the little sheep’s wool is meant to serve human needs, when, as PETA contends, any human appropriation of animal products violates the animals’ inherent rights. However, the rhyme does not cross the problematic line into “poor” because the lyrics can be construed as trying to elicit the black sheep’s consent to part with its wool, which bespeaks an attitude much more in keeping with proper ethics, the report says.

Mother Goose“Humpty Dumpty” presents a more disturbing situation, in which “all the king’s horses” are clearly being exploited by “all the king’s men” to reach Humpty Dumpty in time to put him back together. But the rhyme was rated 3 and not 4 because, as the report explains, the verse can be construed as meaning that the horses voluntarily participate in attempting to reassemble Dumpty, but with society’s current set of assumptions that is not an obvious reading.

“Pop Goes the Weasel” has a misleading title that might lead to the assumption that a rodent is being mistreated, but in fact the poem received a score of 1, since, as many scholars suggest, the “weasel” in question is cockney rhyming slang for a non-animal object being pawned by a pauper. In the report PETA expressed dislike for the reference to an animal, but the offense was not egregious enough to warrant a demotion to 2.

In an unusual twist, “Hey Diddle Diddle,” despite its myriad references to animals, scored 1 in the report, as the animals in the poem clearly behave the way they do in the absence of human interference, and the rhyme implies that when unfettered by exploitative, abusive captivity, cats can train themselves to play violin, cows can develop aerospace technology, dogs develop a philosophical sense of wonder and inanimate objects mature to the point of recognizing that fundamental physical differences are no barrier to emotional intimacy.

However, the flagrant and brutal treatment that occurs in a number of other rhymes prompted PETA to question Mother Goose’s moral compass. “To Market, To Market” encourages the purchase, slaughter and consumption of swine; “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” endorses the enslavement of animals and, worse yet, implies that the creatures prefer it that way; “Itsy Bitsy Spider” finds nothing cruel about watching an arachnid get repeatedly washed away.

Even some selections without overt mistreatment were rated as unacceptable by the PETA report. The three men in a tub include a butcher, a cruel profession so beyond the pale that its mere mention earned the poem a rating of 4. And in “Hickory Dickory Dock,” the implied use of a human-constructed implement, a clock, to scare away mice was deemed a poor choice.

Newkirk also demanded that Mother Goose clarify at once why the apocryphal, eighteenth-century folk figure uses the name of a blameless bird. She concluded, “Anyone who doubts the speciesism rampant in Mother Goose’s works just has to take a gander at them.”

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Written by Thag

December 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Tenth Annual Misunderstanding Judaism Conference Kicks Off

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Kosher style.

Kosher style.

New York, NY (AP) – The Jacob Javits Convention Center was filled to capacity on Sunday as thousands of non-Jews came to attend a four-day conference to deepen their misunderstanding of one of the world’s oldest faiths.

The General Organization of Yiddish Ignorance Movements (GOYIM), an umbrella group of gentile organizations devoted to misapprehending Judaism, sponsored the event in conjunction with SoundBite, an advocacy group that promotes superficial treatment of complex, nuanced social and political issues.

GOYIM set up dozens of booths, each one devoted to disseminating misinformation about Jewish tradition, characteristics and practice, with an entire section of purveyors selling “kosher-style” food next to the booth devoted to mischaracterization of Jewish dietary rules.

Several large Christian congregations sent delegations to the fair to reinforce the myths their communities have always assumed to be true, and the entrance hall was lined with posters of famous individuals whose Judaism was of marginal importance to them but given outsize emphasis by the uninformed public. A special section portrayed many famous real-life and fictional figures who were not Jewish but everyone assumes were, such as Ebenezer Scrooge, the protagonist of the Dickens novel A Christmas Carol. No pains were taken to disabuse the attendees of those notions.

At the “kosher style” food court, Mary Entwistle of Mahwah, New Jersey, commented that the frankfurters tasted just like the ones she could get anywhere else. “What’s so special about kosher food, then?” she wondered.

Her companion, Michelle Powell, went to investigate at the relevant misinformation booth, and came back triumphantly to announce, “Kosher means it was blessed by a Rabbi,” satisfying herself and Entwistle with a complete corruption of a complex system aimed at promoting Jewish awareness of the sanctity involved in eating.

They finished their pork sausages and found themselves at a display of bed sheets with holes in the middle, where the booth attendant was explaining that the sheets are the kind used by Ultra-Orthodox Jews for sexual intercourse, so that the husband and wife can minimize contact with each other in the name of modesty. The audience oohed and ahhed, taking at face value the complete opposite of the level of marital intimacy that Jewish law encourages. The sheets were for sale at $35.99 each for twin size, and $44.99 for king.

Elsewhere in the hall, a pair of caricature artists were busy sketching customers’s faces and whimsically adding horns to the images, in keeping with the popular, hilariously off-base image of Jews as anatomically different from other people. Artists George Lamont and Nina Cassidy let visitors know that the once or twice they had encountered Jews in their home town of Pottsville, Iowa, they tried to find an excuse to feel the sides of the Jews’ scalps for the small protrusions. They warned their clients that they clearly exaggerated the horns’ size, but, rest assured, it’s as real as could be.

GOYIM Director Paul Gregory said he had hoped to find other sponsors for the event among wealthy Jewish businesspeople, considering his bizarre assumption that Jews control the banks and finance industry, but to no avail. “I was dumbstruck – here they have this global fund that sponsors every Jew’s entrepreneurial initiatives, and they can’t spare a few grand?” He stared at a poster of the allegedly Jewish symbols on the American dollar bill before adding, “I guess if they’re the Chosen People that means they get to be elitist and all,” completely missing the sense of ethical purpose and mission to which the term refers.

MDA bloodNot everything at the conference was purely misinformative or commercial; some displays were overtly altruistic. One booth solicited contributions to a fund for nose jobs so that Jews would not have to walk around all sporting unattractive hook noses. Another asked for blood donations, encouraging passers by to give so that Jews would not have to slaughter a gentile child to make their Passover matza. The proprietor, Mustafa Isfahan, was unsure exactly how to get the donated material to the appropriate destination, but was confident he would find a way. “All I have to do is call up a Jewish temple and they’ll be able to direct me to the proper people,” he said.

“I mean, all Jews know one another, so it’s not like that should be a problem.”

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Written by Thag

December 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm

San Andreas: ‘Not My Fault’

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San Andreas, explaining why the fault isn't really his.

San Andreas, explaining why the fault isn’t really his.

Millbrae, CA (AP) – Voicing his objections to being associated with earthquakes, the Apostle San Andreas – Spanish for St. Andrew – has disclaimed any connection with the geological phenomenon the San Andreas Fault, which runs along most of the length of California. The fault occurs where the North American Plate meets the Pacific Plate.

Andreas, brother of St. Peter and one of the first followers of Jesus, has inspired myriad tributes, and is credited by Christian tradition with the seismic shift of introducing the religion to much of Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. The San Andreas Fault was first described in 1895, and takes its name from nearby San Andreas Lake, a reservoir. The lake, in turn, was originally a sag pond that abutted the campsite of several Spanish explorers, who named it the Laguna de San Andrès when they set up camp on November 30, 1769, Saint Andrew’s Feast Day.

However, the fault has been implicated in several disastrous earthquakes, notably the infamous 1906 San Francisco earthquake in which more than 3,000 people died. More recently, the fault’s activity has sparked major quakes resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people since 1989 and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage. Realizing that the connection with him was merely a weak association, St. Andrew felt few compunctions about disavowing the link.

“It would be one thing if someone had decided to bestow honor on a wonder of nature and evoked my name as an expression of reverence,” said the saint, who was martyred by crucifixion in Greece in the first century. “But this is a name given because it was near something else that was named after me only by virtue of the date of the naming,” he explained. The feast day itself the saint found arbitrary to begin with, as no actual contemporary records of the timing – or even the historicity – of his birth or death exist.

St. Andrew suggested a number of possible alternative names for the fault, including Eve, Serpent, Vespasian, Beelzebub and Balaam, even acceding that whatever name is eventually adopted could be rendered in Spanish in keeping with the area’s history.

This is not the first time St. Andrew’s name has been obliquely linked with unsavory phenomena. Andrew was said to be martyred on an X-shaped cross, insisting that he was unworthy of dying on an upright cross in the manner of his teacher and Savior. The St. Andrew’s cross became the basis for, among others, the National Flag of Scotland, the Russian Naval Ensign, the flag of the Russian Navy and the Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America.

That last association, having been adopted by racist movements in the former Confederacy, makes Andrew uncomfortable, but has not led him to seek to disclaim it entirely. He acknowledges the complexities of the issue, noting that the vast majority of the soldiers who fought under that flag would not perforce subscribe to the bigoted vitriol that later became attached to it.

McThag.

McThag.

In a similar phenomenon, Eastern cultures have not seen fit to renounce use of the swastika despite its twentieth-century adoption by the Nazi movement and subsequent white supremacist groups. In fact the neolithic tribesmen of Ukraine in 10,000 BC, the earliest known users of the symbol, have not seen fit to comment on this development directly. When asked for a response, Oog McThag, a neolithic spokesman, recalled the urban legend about an American soldier during the Second World War named Adolf Hitler. A reporter asked him whether he considered changing his name, considering the circumstances; Hitler answered, “Let the other guy change his.”

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Written by Thag

December 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Dr. NRA: AIDS Isn’t the Problem; It’s When AIDS Infects People that We Have A Problem

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Dr. NRA: AIDS Isn't the Problem; It's When AIDS Infects People that We Have A Problem

Written by Thag

December 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm

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Iran Insists Its Ballistic Missiles Are for ‘Peaceful Purposes’

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Iran nukesTehran, December 22 (Reuters) – The Islamic Republic of Iran defended its pursuit of long-range ballistic missile technology, calling the endeavor a peaceful one, and criticized continued Western economic pressure on Iran aimed at stopping the program.

President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at the US in particular, citing American “hypocrisy” at allowing its ally Israel to develop defensive technology such as the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system and the Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor, while preventing countries such as Iran from developing weapons that might overwhelm those defenses and slaughter countless Israeli civilians. He insisted that his country’s missile program was intended only for peaceful purposes.

“Specifically, we envision the peace that will prevail in the world after we obliterate the Zionist regime with these weapons and establish an Islamic state across the region,” Ahamdinejad said in an address to the country’s parliament.

The United States and the European Union have long suspected that Iran’s pursuit of ballistic missile technology is aimed at acquiring weapons, a claim Iran denies. In the past, Tehran has claimed that the missiles are purely for research purposes; in one test publicized in Iran state media, the program examined what would happen when a woman convicted of spying for Israel was strapped to a prototype missile launched into the Persian Gulf.

In an interview aired on Iran’s English-language channel Press TV, Ahmadinejad also accused the US of focusing on Iran in order to divert international attention from its own questionable projects, in particular a firearms testing program that periodically perpetrates the wanton slaughter of innocents; he said Israel was an active partner in that program and other, similar initiatives in Norway and anywhere else anyone at any time has ever been murdered.

Ahmadinejad reiterated his characterization of Israel as a “cancer,” in the same week that Israeli researchers announced the success of a new technology to freeze and destroy cancerous tumors with no apparent side effects. He suggested that Israeli scientific and medical advances were little more than a devious front to generate goodwill that might shield the evil imperialist running dog capitalist Zionists from criticism, given that “every malady ever suffered by man or beast has its origins in the diabolical Zionist plot to conquer the Earth.” Ahmadinejad stressed that Iran’s resistance to that diabolical plot would use only peaceful means such as sponsoring bombing attacks on Israeli civilians and arming Hamas and Hezbollah, two peaceful organizations that routinely lob peaceful explosive rockets at Israel.

The president defended his country’s material support for embattled Syrian dictator Basher Assad, calling any attempt to topple Assad or meddle in Syrian affairs illegitimate, unless such involvement came from Iran, he said. Iran’s involvement would be limited to peaceful activities such as supplying weapons, fuel and military advisers to loyalist Syrian forces. Such activities would be in keeping with the Shiite country’s established reputation for non-violent mediation of sectarian conflict, as demonstrated almost weekly by peaceful Shiite suicide bombings of Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq.

In an unrelated development, the Iranian currency plunged even further yesterday.

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December 22, 2012 at 11:15 pm

String of Failures Forces Minister of Apocalypses to Resign

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zombiesMegiddo, Israel, December 21 (AP) – Following the latest in a long series of abortive global cataclysms, Minister of Apocalypses Mark O’thebiest announced his resignation today, acknowledging ministerial responsibility for the string of non-events.

O’thebiest had presided over decades of ministerial activity to oversee cataclysms and the hype surrounding their arrival, including famous false alarms such as the “War of the Worlds” alien invasion radio broadcast and the entire cold war. In recent years, however, the various end-of-the-world scenarios that caught the public imagination and led the gullible to stockpile basic necessities did not live up to the anticipation, and O’thebiest accepted responsibility for those disappointments. His deputy, N. T. Christ, will assume ministerial duties until the position’s term expires next century. Each term lasts 666 years.

Among the failures contributing to O’thebiest’s resignation, the most prominent was the lead-to the year 2000, in which the dreaded “Y2K” – shorthand for “Year 2000” – phenomenon would wreak havoc with computer systems built on a two-digit year template. Anticipating a complete breakdown of basic services and critical systems for maintaining a functioning society, individuals and communities the world over began to hoard canned goods, precious metals and other basic supplies. When midnight, January 1, 2000, arrived, not a single major system failure was reported as a result of the change.

Not every non-fulfillment of apocalyptic hype should be considered a failure, noted Joseph Ratzinger, a Rome-based scholar of apocalyptic literature. “The danger of a nuclear holocaust was and remains real,” he noted in an interview, “but has never really been all that likely.”

“You have to keep in mind that a key element of the Ministry of Apocalypses responsibility is fomenting the fear of catastrophe as much as engineering the catastrophe itself,” he explained. “It remains to be seen what happens with Iran, North Korea and a number of other states whose nuclear arsenals are potent threats to stability and peace,” he continued, and pointed out that even if the talked-up nuclear winter does not occur, major developments in world history have nevertheless resulted from the fear of that disaster. Therefore, he noted, the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons technology can be judged an unqualified success even if it never actually results in the annihilation of civilization.

However, the success of the nuclear arms race initiative stands out precisely because myriad other attempts to spark global panic ended up as little more than a flash in the pan: small cults that would commit mass suicide, but nothing large-scale; wars that took hundreds of millions of lives altogether, but resulting eventually in societies that were actually stronger and more morally developed than could be associated with any apocalypse worthy of the term.

The minister also never received executive approval for meteors or asteroids of any significant size, a sharp contrast to several prehistoric predecessors, who did manage to lobby convincingly for massive chunks of interplanetary rock large and fast enough to wipe out most life on Earth.

B. L. Zebub.

B. L. Zebub.

Ministry spokesman B. L. Zebub insisted the office would persist in its efforts to generate anticipation of worldwide cataclysm, but conceded that the staff often miscalculated the fluctuating ability of humans to discern plausible scenarios from laughably unreasonable ones. He said the Ministry was examining several proposals to restrict apocalyptic rumor-mongering to small-scale disasters in order to study the phenomenon more closely and arrive at a more workable model of human gullibility.

When asked how long the study would take, Zebub answered, “About three centuries, give or take, but maybe less. In any case, we can’t really get started until after next week’s complete fragmentation of the Antarctic ice cap.”

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December 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Jews Unsure Why Everyone Else Still Looking Forward to ‘Holidays’

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‘Hanukkah is over,’ they say.

North Miami Beach, FL (AP) – With the eight-day festival of Hanukkah concluded this past Sunday evening, Jews are puzzled by other people’s continued anticipation of a holiday, apparently some time next week.

“I like a never-ending celebration as much as the next guy, but it’s over, you know?” says Coral Gables resident Michelle Borofsky, 45. “It’s like the two-month buildup isn’t enough, and half the world refuses to accept that Hanukkah has come and gone. Can we just get on with normal life now?”

A stained glass window in a cathedral, apparently showing a woman preparing to light Sabbath candles.

A stained glass window in a cathedral, apparently showing a woman preparing to light Sabbath candles.

Borofsky’s husband Eli, 47, echoes her confusion. “There’s a lot about people I don’t understand, but this one has me completely perplexed,” he says with a shake of the head. “I can handle stores marking Hanukkah with all those pagan trees and poinsettias – I mean, they can’t be expected to know all the details about a minor Jewish holiday. I can even handle all that weird music they play incessantly once Thanksgiving comes around. But come on. It’s already the sixth of Tevet. The next holiday of note is almost two months away,” he said, referring to Purim.

Jews’ collective bafflement over the continuing festivities makes them uncomfortable, says sociologist Anna Philactic. “After centuries of persecution in Europe, American Jewry is deeply appreciative of the welcoming, nurturing environment they found in the United States,” she explains. “They love seeing all the houses and businesses lit up in honor of the Jewish Festival of Lights. Heck, Jews would be fine if they were simply left alone, so that outpouring of love and solidarity from gentiles is wonderful, not to mention everyone emulating Jewish gift-giving this time of year. But when the celebration continues far beyond the appropriate dates, that makes Jews a little insecure about what’s really going on, and about how excited everyone else is for something that’s over and done with.”

Jews everywhere are struggling to explain the prevalence of decorated fir trees. Some attribute them to the Jewish Arbor Day, known as Tu Bishvat, known as the New Year for Trees in Jewish lore.  Adding to the confusion is the occasional scene on people’s lawns featuring an infant and several adoring grown-ups, apparently in a barn, an obviously agricultural setting that supports the association with Tu Bishvat. However, Tu Bishvat is still more than a month away, and it remains obscure even to most Jews, let alone to non-Jews.

Jewish SantaA red-suited, bearded, jolly figure appears everywhere; Jews attribute that to Hanukkah’s message of struggle against the materialistic, consumerism-driven world view represented by the nation of Edom, whose name means ‘The Red One.’ The man’s flowing white beard is an obvious nod at the traditional Rabbinic appearance, and his use of a kosher species of draft animals to pull his vehicle is an added bonus.

With all the warmth that American society shows the Jewish community, Jews feel reluctant to correct the apparent misperception that the holiday is still in force. “It’s a really good feeling to be this celebrated, it’s a real honoring of our traditions,” says Rabbi Yudah Mann of Congregation Shakketz T’shaktzennu in Seattle. “But we Jews have a collective wariness of speaking out directly against the host culture’s practices, so we’re naturally a bit shy about pointing out the error.”

“But it’s probably harmless, so we’ll probably let it go. It most likely heralds the advent of a much more peaceful era in Jewish relations with our neighbors.”

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Written by Thag

December 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Report: Too Soon for Newtown-Related Humor

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Dahmer.

Dahmer.

New York, NY (AP) – A new study has found that too little time has elapsed since the mass shootings in Connecticut last week for any humor to be appropriate.

The study, published in the Journal Of Kaufmanesque Exposition, concluded that at least three weeks would have to pass before even the edgiest comedians could directly address the murders. Before then, the authors note, anyone seeming to make light of the massacre would be deemed intolerably offensive.

In the interim, the JOKE study says, satirical commentary will have to focus on mocking events related to, but not directly involved in, the murders. For example, the authors point to Twitter posts contrasting the availability of firearms with the difficulties in obtaining adequate psychiatric care, and to caricatures of Second Amendment activists. Another example involved the cynical observation that Republican and other pro-gun-lobby spokespeople were conspicuously unwilling to sit for interviews with any major media outlets in the several days following the Newtown murders.

Lead study author Nyna Levin explained that a simple formula serves to explain the process through which major catastrophic events become acceptable fodder for humor. “It’s always been a straightforward function of time or distance,” she said, in which the enormity of the tragedy generates a proportionately large temporal, conceptual or geographical gap between the event and the point at which humorous references to the event will not automatically result in social ostracism or constitute political suicide. The formula is often rendered as some variation of H = T + t, where H refers to humor, capital T refers to tragedy and lower-case t refers to time. In some versions, C, for comedy, is substituted for H.

The formula, continued Levin, helps account for the differences in acceptability between jokes about Jeffrey Dahmer, a notorious Wisconsin serial killer who stored victims’ body parts in his home, and Jared Loughner, who went on a shooting spree almost two years ago, killing six and injuring fourteen. Dahmer was arrested in 1991 and had at least seventeen victims; but whereas popular culture is essentially silent with Loughner-related humor, the two decades since Dahmer’s arrest and the bizarre details of his crimes have long since made them fair game for comedy. In addition, Dahmer was bludgeoned to death in prison in 1994, a fact that, if nothing else, provides humor simply by dint of the word “bludgeoned.” By contrast, Loughner’s crime still generates too much raw emotion to serve as fodder for suitable comedy.

Brooks.

Brooks.

Levin also illustrated how conceptual distance mitigates the humorous references to major tragedies: joking about rape is taboo, whereas joking about the existence of the taboo is not completely offensive, if done properly. Similarly, mocking Nazi victims will always be despicable, but mocking Nazi behavior or attitudes that led to that treatment will always be fine. She invoked philosopher Mel Brooks to explain another aspect of this function: “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”

Levin anticipates that the humor, if any, that emerges from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings will continue to target gun control opponents and conservative politicians in general for the foreseeable future. In contrast even with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in which the perpetrators’ foreign origins and religious beliefs allowed for some mockery, Levin sees no such potential humor in Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the shootings.

“He was so normal, it’s not even funny,” she said.

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December 18, 2012 at 9:54 pm

GOP: Death Penalty Would Have Deterred Murder-Suicde

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BoehnerNewtown, Connecticut (AP) – In the aftermath of the shooting deaths of dozens of Connecticut schoolchildren and teachers in a murder-suicide, the Republican National Committee issued a statement today touting the death penalty as an important measure in preventing massacres of this nature. Republican Congressional leaders also spoke out in favor of tougher penalties against the perpetrators of murder-suicides.

“Some very disturbed people can only be deterred by harsh consequences,” said House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). “It is imperative that American states adopt capital punishment for brutal crimes such as this. For some criminals, only by making them pay the ultimate price can we prevent other would-be mass murderers from committing mass murder and then suicide.” He noted that Connecticut abolished its death penalty in April of this year.

McConnellSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) echoed the theme. “The vast majority of Americans are law-abiding people, respectful of the law and of others,” he said at a press conference. “The overwhelming majority of us do not need penalties of any sort to get us to do the right thing. But a few individuals lack, unfortunately, that respect, and the only thing that can deter them from killing other people and themselves is the knowledge that they face the death penalty if they act on those brutal impulses.”

The Connecticut legislature passed the repeal of the state’s death penalty on April 11, and Governor Dannel Malloy signed the bill into law two weeks later. The law does not apply retroactively to the ten people currently on Connecticut’s death row.

RellFormer Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell lamented the repeal of the death penalty. “My administration specifically vetoed the abolition of capital punishment in Connecticut,” she said, referring to her action of May 2009, after the legislature passed a similar measure. “It was exactly this kind of horror I had in mind when I did so. I share the pain and anger of the people of Newtown,” she continued. “We now know all too well what happens when governments refuse to use the death penalty as a deterrent to murder-suicides.”

Rell cited statistics to support her argument, noting that not a single murder-suicide criminal in any state with the death penalty has ever murdered again. Moreover, she pointed out, the criminals in question never again committed any crime at all. “I don’t see how anyone can argue that the death penalty would not be effective under these circumstances, when the facts speak for themselves,” she said. “Life in prison – even without parole – still leaves a criminal with the opportunity to commit more crimes, especially in the event of an escape. These are some of the most dangerous people on the planet, with a reputation to prove it.”

“It’s too late to save the children of Newtown,” said Rell, “but I pray that Connecticut, along with the other sixteen states without a death penalty, reexamines its coddling of the perpetrators of murder-suicides. Then maybe, once again, these monsters can be prevented from taking others’ lives – and their own.”

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December 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm

This Post Was Not Plagiarized for Your Kid’s Research Project. Yet.

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Research

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December 16, 2012 at 7:29 pm

NRA Says Arming 6-Year-Olds Would Have Prevented Massacre

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NRAFairfax, Virginia (AP) – In response to the fatal shooting of 26 people at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said that had the students been allowed to carry a weapon, the murders could have been averted.

“A gun is an easy piece of equipment to use,” said LaPierre at a news conference at NRA headquarters. “A child as young as five can be properly trained to load and aim one. I’m not saying that arming the children would have necessarily prevented all the tragic deaths, but I know the gunman would have thought twice before entering a classroom of two dozen first-graders with upwards of 140 rounds of ammunition at their disposal.”

“And that’s just if you assume each one has a six-shooter,” he continued, referring to the standard revolver. The number of potential deterrent bullets could rise as high as 360, said LaPierre, if each first-grader were provided with a weapon holding a 15-round magazine. He said the NRA would soon be offering firearms purchasing and training programs in school districts throughout the country.

Lanza, depicted as if he were encountering a roomful of first-graders armed to the teeth.

Lanza, depicted as if he were encountering a roomful of first-graders armed to the teeth.

According to the evidence the police have pieced together so far, twenty-year-old Adam Lanza forced his way into the school building and went from classroom to classroom, shooting students and faculty before taking his own life. It was as yet unclear how the weapons, which Lanza had taken from his mother after killing her earlier, came into her possession. They were a semiautomatic rifle and two semiautomatic pistols.

The shootings underscored the deep divide in the US between supporters of strict gun control and advocates of expansive Second Amendment rights. It is but the latest in a gruesome series of mass murders by gunfire over the last few years, each one rekindling the debate over what makes American society safer: more guns in the hands of more people, the fact of which might deter would-be attackers, or tougher access across the board to the acquisition of any firearms, which would make criminal shootings less likely.

The NRA has lobbied vigorously for freer access to firearms by the broadest possible section of American society. Aside from deterring crime, they contend, the preservation of Second Amendment liberties safeguards other fundamental rights that the government might, under some circumstances, attempt to deny, as if such an attempt would not be backed by firepower and tactics far that would overwhelm, to the point of ludicrousness, anything even collective US gun owners could muster.

As for statistics demonstrating that a gun owner is more likely to be killed by his own weapon than by anyone else’s, the NRA recommends expanding the pool of gun ownership even further. “We’re all about gun safety,” said NRA President David Keene. “Anyone who accidentally shoots himself probably deserves it, and anyone who does so intentionally, well, that’s one fewer loose cannon to worry about, right?” Arming elementary school children, argues Keene, would enable the youngsters to experience the responsibility at a tender age, responsibility that would bring a maturity currently in short supply.

“Kids love top play cops and robbers, or some variation thereof,” continued Keene. “Allowing them to do so with actual firearms would drive home the point that these things are not toys, and that their use requires a seriousness that can only serve them well – in school, at work, wherever.”

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December 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm

What Those Children’s Product Terms Really Mean

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Definitions (1)

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December 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Report: Killing the Poor for Sport Still Illegal

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hunt the homelessScarsdale, NY (AP) – A report in the journal The Economist is sending ripples through the nation’s elite strata by noting that despite the worthlessness of the destitute, the law does not permit hunting them down and killing them just for fun. The study looked at the statutes in all fifty U.S. states, and did not find a single instance of homicide legality shifting with the income level of the victim.

Already, teams of lawyers have begun conferring on the best approach to shield their wealthy clients in case the latter have run afoul of the law in this regard. The situation is made more complex by the fact that many of the lawyers themselves might be in the same predicament.

At the same time, a nascent lobbying effort has taken shape that will press for amendments to existing state codes. The lobbyists are expected to focus initially on states with large concentrations of both poor and ultra-rich, such as New York, California, Texas, Florida, Connecticut and Massachusetts, with secondary efforts homing in on Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland.

BurnsA search of the Lexis-Nexis database did not turn up any recent cases in which the poverty of the homicide victim was invoked in a defense, but legal scholar Ivory Towers cautions against inferring too much from that datum. “The fact is the vast majority of the wealthy’s indiscretions or brushes with the law never make it into official records,” she said, “so the formal legal databases are not going to be helpful.”

Towers did note that even within the official legal framework the poor tend to be seen as worth less, despite not officially being  fair game. In practice, she explained, courts tend to sentence the poor disproportionately to the death sentence when it is an option, all the more so if the perpetrator is black. If there does exist a distinction among victims, it is that murderers of whites are sentenced to death at a much higher rate than murderers of blacks and other minorities. But that is a far cry from the assumption that it is lawful to simply treat the lower classes as cannon fodder, as entertaining as the prospect may seem, Towers added.

What’s more, the Economist study points out that beyond the legal question, hunting the poor for sport is no longer the safe pursuit it once was. As the ranks of the poor swell, the temptation to cull the herd can lead to disastrous consequences: the sheer number of poor people threatens to overwhelm even the superior culture and firepower of the ruling classes, and provoking the rage of the proletariat and welfare demographic runs the risk of fomenting unwelcome instability.

The danger that the ever-richer will misstep in that regard has increased, says Cal Igula, who teaches economics and sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles. “The obscenely wealthy get more and more out-of-touch as their wealth increases, and they become ever blinder to the risks inherent in exploiting the poor beyond a certain point,” he said.

The study authors did offer the consolation that it is still perfectly legal to pretend not to be a bigot.

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December 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm

China to Experiment with Non-Flammable Tibetans

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TibetBeijing, December 10  – Following dozens of highly publicized incidents in which Tibetans have immolated themselves to protest Chinese rule, authorities in Beijing are weighing the mass production of an experimental prototype of Tibetan that resists bursting into flame.

The model, unveiled at a Communist Party convention last month, promises to reduce the chagrin of local and national officials up to 85%, according to presentations conducted at the convention. Instead of dramatic, disturbing photos or videos of Tibetan monks dying in agony, the images and clips will show only the flames, but the perpetrators will emerge more or less unscathed. Beyond the obvious PR advantages, the technology will allow the authorities to arrest the would-be suicide victim and mete out appropriate punishment.

What’s more, mass production of the units could bring even more business to China, as other governments have confronted self-immolating protesters: Israel, Tunisia and Egypt have all grappled with the negative attention and fallout from such incidents in recent years, and market analysts foresee growing demand for non-flammable demonstrators.

One region slated for exponential growth is Europe, where economic stresses have strained the European Union and its currency, and the austerity measures taken by various member states have wrought havoc among citizens accustomed to generous benefits.

diamondsInitial research has also taken place into the feasibility of manufacturing large numbers of Africans uninterested in basic human rights; the diamond and subsistence farming industries have for years been at the mercy of their labor force’s desires for human dignity. And following the Arab Spring, a number of states in the Persian Gulf have expressed interest in models impervious to suggestion that authority be questioned, but all attempts to manufacture such units on any meaningful scale have produced disappointing longevity statistics, negating any economic benefits.

Since the 1950’s the United States has been the world’s leading manufacturer of the gullible, a product line with obvious economic benefits, but the rapid rise of the Chinese nouveau-riche class means that by 2030, if current trends continue, China will produce more gullible humans that the rest of the world combined. But American manufacturers have  released several new series with more powerful gullibility, including internet users who click on links in the belief that doing so will result in a cash windfall or unearned gift.

The leading market for such units is Nigeria, where the scam known as a 409 – after the section of Nigerian law covering certain types of fraud – has always been a burgeoning industry. Nigerian business groups are keeping a close eye on the new Chinese gullible products, but are loath to abandon the cash cow that is the American gullible manufacturing sector.

ABBAThe specialty human manufacturing field is not without its debacles. Several Scandinavian countries attempted to produce a non-corruptible politician, but inaccuracies in the formula resulted in such bizarre phenomena as ABBA and marketers of pretentiously named furniture. Finland and Norway abandoned their attempts to achieve incorruptibility in government, but Iceland, for example, has held out, despite mounting evidence that the pursuit of such a goal results in people who want to live in godforsaken places such as Iceland.

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December 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm

State Dept. Calls Tel Aviv Construction ‘Not Constructive’

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The Israeli settler outpost of Tel Aviv.

The Israeli settler outpost of Tel Aviv.

Washington, DC (AP) – The State Department reacted coolly to continued Israeli construction in the city of Tel Aviv, calling it “not helpful.” The Hamas movement representing the majority of Palestinians wants the land that includes Tel Aviv as a future state.

Any Israeli building in that area, said the State Department, can be seen as nothing by an attempt to create “facts on the ground” to cement Israel’s claim to the land as part of any future final-status agreement. There are currently 400,000 Israeli settlers in Tel Aviv, with more than 700 individual construction projects underway.

Palestinian leaders praised the State Department announcement. “We call on the Israeli government to negotiate in good faith, and not make moves that would undermine a future agreement,” said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “More houses for Israelis in areas that might become Palestinian only makes reaching an agreement on final status that much more difficult.”

A similar diplomatic situation developed earlier this year when Israel approved construction of 4,000 housing units and the first hospital in the coastal city of Ashdod. Palestinian representatives cried foul, citing their own claims to all the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. At the time, Erekat called the announcement a “provocation.”

An ibex in the Negev. Palestinians claim that millions and millions of their ancestors herded that ibex.

An ibex in the Negev. Palestinians claim that millions and millions of their ancestors herded that ibex.

Periodic flareups have occurred over the last several decades as Israel disregards international opinion calling for it to disband its existing settlements such as all of its cities and towns. Outside powers have occasionally attempted to impose a settlement freeze, but Israel, citing “natural growth,” has even accelerated construction in and around its cities and towns. The Jewish state even offers incentives to home buyers in otherwise desolate areas such as the Negev Desert, which Palestinians consider a vital part of their homeland, though it is not clear why.

The European Union denounced the Israeli plan more forcefully, calling on the Netanyahu government to cancel all construction within Israel’s borders at once. The EU issued a statement demanding that Israel adhere to existing UN resolutions, including the ones requiring that all Jews pack up and leave so that Arabs may continue slaughtering one another in peace.

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December 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Dreidel Feels Completely Misunderstood

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dreidelNew York, December 8 (AP) – Gyrone, a four-year-old decorative dreidel, has become increasingly frustrated over the years with the ignorance displayed by anyone and everyone he encounters, and their short attention span.

“Nobody seems to have any idea what I’m all about, and their misapprehension of my purpose,” he lamented in a recent interview. “People seem to think I have some inherent connection to Hanukkah – and I have no idea how that happened.”

“I’m just a teetotum,” he added, wondering how anyone could confuse gambling with a celebration of divine wisdom as represented by light.

Dreidels are a specific type of teetotum, a polygon-shaped spinning top used in games of chance. Teetotums are marked with the outcome on each face, indicating what action should be taken as a result of the spin. On the dreidel, a four-sided teetotum, the markings use Hebrew letters that stand for Yiddish instructions: nothing, take the whole pot, take half the pot or add to the pot.

“I wish I knew whom to blame for this,” Gyrone continued, “but no one seems to know who first took those letters and said they really stand for ‘A great miracle happened there’ in Hebrew. Whoever it was, I’d like to throttle him. If I had arms, anyway,” he added ruefully. The miracle to which he referred was of oil that miraculously burned for eight nights when only enough uncontaminated olive oil could be found for one night, according to the Talmud, after the Jews rose up against the Seleucid oppressors and reclaimed the Temple.

“To make things worse,” continued Gyrone, his tone rising, “then some fool in Israel decided to put a local spin on it: since the miracle happened there, the dreidels used in Israel should use the initial for the Hebrew word ‘here’, and a bastardized teetotum was born.”

The connection with Hanukkah might be attributed to Jewish legends about religious persecution at the hands of the Seleucid rulers of the second century BCE. Those tales recount bans on various elements of Jewish practice, including the study of Torah, and how Jews would circumvent the prohibitions by having children play games to divert the Hellenistic authorities and their informers from the true goings-on. It is unclear when, but at some later point the game of dreidel was specifically mentioned in that context, even though nothing specific about the games is part of the original legend.

For most Jewish families, the game of dreidel loses its novelty after about four minutes; the average life span of a typical plastic or wooden dreidel is between two and seven days, as the cheap toys are ignored, neglected, lost, disposed of or chewed up by the family dog. Decorative dreidels are luckier in that respect, though seldom used, according to Zvi Vohn, Professor of Jewish culture at Columbia University. “There’s an appalling lack of imagination when it comes to the game of dreidel as it’s typically played,” he explained. “Pennies? Chocolate coins? No wonder people get bored. Heck, one of the reasons my brother married a shiksa is that he couldn’t stand the boredom of dreidel.”

“We Jews are a creative bunch. I’m sure there’s some way we can give this classic game a clever twist.”

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December 8, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Hamas to Execute Gravity for Collaboration with Israel

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gravityGaza City, Gaza Strip (AP) – The Hamas movement that governs the Gaza Strip has sentenced gravity to death, after the force of nature was convicted of providing assistance to Israel in its recent Pillar of Defense operation against the Gaza Strip, and in numerous Israeli assassinations of Islamic militants. All appeals have been exhausted, says gravity’s lawyer, Mahmoud Souingh.

Gravity stood trial for more than three hundred counts of treasonous collaboration, and was convicted on all counts. The total would have been higher, said prosecutor Mustafa Dayariyya, but his office decided only to pursue the ones with the most direct evidence. Each charge carries a mandatory death sentence by firing squad.

In most of the counts, gravity was charged with causing bombs from Israeli aircraft to descend, whereupon they hit buildings, roads and other targets, all contributing to the deaths of Palestinians. In other cases gravity insisted on allowing noncombatants to be harmed by incoming bombs, even where they were not the intended target. In still others, gravity caused entire structures to collapse after being hit. Although the last group accounted for the largest number of casualties, it represented the fewest individual counts.

In many other cases, the prosecution charged gravity with permitting Israeli artillery and mortar shells to enter a ballistic arc instead of continuing upward, where they would cause no damage.

Souingh had argued that the court should take into account gravity’s behavior when rockets and other projectiles were fired at Israel – that gravity also caused those missiles and shells to strike, and that gravity could not be accused of loyalties to one side or the other. In its closing arguments, the prosecution rebutted that contention by noting that gravity had allowed the Israeli Iron Dome interception system to knock about 80% of the rockets out of the sky, and notably refused to keep the interception projectiles on the ground.

Moreover, argued Dayariyya, gravity caused dozens, if not hundreds, of Palestinian rockets to fail to launch properly, resulting in “friendly fire” casualties among Gazans.

The well publicized trial comes against the backdrop of broad daylight shootings of suspected collaborators during the conflict. The political echelon of Hamas was embarrassed by the appearance of vigilante justice and the brutality with which the executions took place, all on a public street in full view of children and other bystanders. The careful selection of incidents with only carefully documented evidence occurred because while Hamas seeks to maintain the image of an orderly governing body, they have no wish to moderate public rage against collaborators by casting doubt on the veracity of any particular case.

Unlike the suspects gunned down last month, gravity had not yet been formally convicted of, or even charged with, collaboration beforehand. However, a number of Arab media outlets have questioned over the years whether various forces might be merely part of a vast Zionist conspiracy to control the world.

In Egypt, Iran and Sudan, sharks, squirrels and eagles, respectively, have been accused of acting as instruments of Israeli aggression or espionage, pointing to a sinister control Israel exerts over the animal world. Secular Israel has been accused of corrupting faith in God by manipulating the heavens so that the movements of the stars and planets contradict the cosmology of the Quran and other religious works.

Dude...how insecure do you have to be to find this idiot a threat?

Dude…how insecure do you have to be to find this idiot a threat?

In perhaps the most dramatic case, Muslims themselves have been manipulated by Israel and its backers, by mechanisms yet unexplained: the Muslim world was somehow made so insecure in its faith that millions of Muslims reacted with deadly violence to pathetic cartoons and films that made light of the prophet Muhammad. Authorities in Iran, the Gaza Strip, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia have vowed to find the purveyors of that insecurity.

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Written by Thag

December 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

Always Write a Thank-You Letter, No Matter How Unwarranted

with 2 comments

old BarbieOriginally posted February 2011.

Dear Aunt Beatrice,

Thank you for the Barbie doll. How did you know I never had one?

To be honest, that’s not a fair question. I’m not sure how I can expect you to know what I already possess and know whether a Barbie doll is an appropriate gift to give a man for his thirty-fifth birthday. That is indeed a hefty chunk of information of which to keep track, and I know you have your hands full already, what with the sixty or so cats with whom you generously share your living quarters. Goodness knows that also knowing what might be a suitable gift for a person in my demographic group lies beyond your everyday experience, and probably has for a long time.

I do not wish to be remiss in noting the care with which you obviously selected the wrapping paper, and the liberal use of Scotch tape in ensuring that it stayed in place. The colors are certainly vivid, and the Santa Claus motif playful. This being June, I certainly did not expect any such thing, not least because we are Jewish. It was nothing if not original.

The same level of attention and care obviously went into selecting the card. It is indeed very sweet of you to wish me, in honor of my birthday, congratulations on my marriage; how many people are lucky enough, ten years after their wedding, to keep receiving the cheer usually directed only at newlyweds? This is especially surprising in light of the fact that of those ten years, I have been divorced for the last eight. It is so kind of you to remind me of all the feelings associated with my marriage, feelings I thought had faded.

failNow, some gift givers, especially the pretentious ones, insist on using their own stationery and inscribing their good wishes to the recipient in their own hand and words. I note that you dispensed with all that in favor of commendable practicality, and selected a card with the greeting already printed in it. This has been your practice, as I recall, for many years, and it is most considerate, I think, that you thus share in providing a living for writers whose job it is to come up with those greetings. You might not know, in fact, that those writers especially need the income, as they lack any marketable skills. I had not known you were so socially conscious. This certainly belies the image of someone who prefers the company of felines to that of humans.

But I think the most striking aspect of the card, and the gift as a whole, was that you addressed it to someone named Harold. I have consulted our extensive genealogy just to be sure, but I’m certain there is no one in our family named Harold. I must admit this mode of address caused me some confusion at first, but then I recalled the level of your social awareness. I reasoned that you must have a didactic purpose in mind, perhaps that our society places far too much emphasis on the self, and that I should be thinking of others in my time of joy.

I shall take that lesson to heart, Aunt Beatrice: I have already donated the Barbie doll to an animal shelter, where the residents can play with it to their hearts’ content. It will serve a more constructive purpose there, after all, than even its manufacturer intended.

So thank, you, Aunt Beatrice. I hope we have many more occasions to celebrate.

Yours truly,

Thag

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Written by Thag

December 5, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Obama Announces New Conspiracy Theory Administration

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The FUCTUP logo.

The FUCTUP logo.

Washington, DC (AP) – President Obama announced the formation of a new government body to generate and maintain conspiracy theories, consolidating the separate efforts of different federal departments.

The Federal Unified Conspiracy Theory Utilization Program (FUCTUP) will oversee the myriad conspiracy theories that the government creates or administers. Formerly, each department was responsible for producing and spreading CTs in its arena. The Department of Transportation, for example, oversaw the disappearance of various aircraft and vessels in the Bermuda Triangle, as well as most major aspects of the 9/11 “inside job” set of CTs.

The Department of the Interior managed the Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, sightings, as well as the Obama “Birther” CTs, while the Department of Health initiated the fluoridation of water to enable government mind-control efforts.

But while each department fared reasonably well in its own territory, explained Obama, they often pursued conflicting CT projects. “The Department of Justice and the Department of Defense promulgated divergent conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination,” noted the President at a press conference this afternoon. “Those theories often counteracted one another’s effects, and the aims of neither department could be fully realized.”

Therefore, explained Obama, he decided to consolidate management of all CTs, and the agency in charge of that effort would be FUCTUP. “FUCTUP staff will handle the difficult tasks involved in developing, creating, disseminating and following up on all the conspiracy theories. We thank all the people in the various federal departments for giving us so many decades of superlative service.” The President particularly singled out the Department of Education for its Holocaust Denial initiatives.

The vast majority of FUCTUP personnel will be transferred to a new facility in Mystic, CT, but a handful will remain in their old offices at the various departments to act as FUCTUP liaisons to those departments. The preservation of those positions will ensure that the FUCTUP methods follow on smoothly from the existing CT maintenance efforts.

Jones. Or at least that's what we would have you believe.

Jones. Or at least that’s what we would have you believe.

The president has tapped longtime conspiracy theory expert Alex Jones to head the new program, calling him a visionary. “Alex has graciously agreed to accept the post, and I anticipate years of fruitful FUCTUP policy from him and his team. No one else really has his finger on the pulse of the conspiracy theory world as Alex does, making him the clear choice for FUCTUP leadership.”

Jones was silent on his specific plans for new conspiracy theories, pointing out that currently, simply maintaining the existing body of CTs will require the bulk of FUCTUP focus. He vowed, however, to improve American conspiracy theory cooperation with the international community.

“Any good conspiracy theory has to involve some clandestine international organization such as the Illuminati or the Elders of Zion,” he said. “Cooperative efforts with our counterparts in other parts of the world will help us stay on the cutting edge of CT generation and administration.”

“The best conspiracy theories are and will always be FUCTUP theories.”

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Written by Thag

December 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm