Mightier Than The Pen

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Archive for July 2013

NIH: Children’s Allergies Mean You Are a Failure As A Parent

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Don't sneeze.

Don’t sneeze.

Bethesda, MD (AP) – The National Institutes of Health has released a new study linking parenting failures with children who suffer from allergies.

Covering research spanning more than two decades, the most recent study reviews and analyzes more than 600 surveys and clinical initiatives involving children living with at least one parent. It catalogs the steep documented rise in the incidence of allergies among children and correlates it with the manifest decline in parenting competence since the Baby Boomer generation’s children began having children themselves.

To ensure that the correlation actually indicated causation and that the link was not the result of third factor, the researchers investigated the prevalence of bad parenting before and after the documented increase in children’s allergies. They found that bad parenting practices increased by a significant margin several years before the spike in allergies.

NixonCertain environmental allergies had always been relatively common, such as hay fever and, to a lesser extent, some dietary allergies, such as dairy or nuts. But in the seventies, eighties and nineties, as exposure to disco, cable television, George Steinbrenner, bell-bottoms, the British royal family, platform shoes, Prince, My Little Pony, the 1972 Presidential campaign, Mike Tyson, the acting in the MacGyver series, and myriad other evils increased and parents failed to adequately shield their children from those malignant influences, the incidence of allergies began to rise. It increased steadily through the nineties and into the first decade of the twenty-first century as parent continued to knowingly allow their children prolonged encounters with such harmful forces as Lindsay Lohan, Dubstep, a New York Rangers Stanley Cup, George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, and Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey flavor ice cream.

Today, nearly one in four children suffers from an allergy of some kind. According to the NIH report, “this phenomenon can only be attributed to the atrocious parenting exhibited over the last several decades.” The report noted that outside the US, where the aforementioned pernicious influences are much less intense or prevalent, allergy rates are much lower. “In other developed countries, such as Israel or most of Western Europe, the frequency of life-threatening allergic reaction to peanut butter is close to nonexistent,” the researchers noted, pointing out that, for example, Keanu Reeves films and anchovy pizza remain only mildly popular in those locations.

The NIH has yet to formulate public policy guidelines as a result of these findings. Harvard University Professor of Public Policy Barkeen Guptha Wrongtree explains that a good number of the officials who would have to approve, implement, or oversee such a policy are themselves part of the problem, not least because of their own demonstrated failings as parents.

Written by Thag

July 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm

WHO: AIDS Could Be Eliminated If Everyone Calls It Something Else

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Not Margaret Chan

Not Margaret Chan

Geneva, Switzerland, July 30 (AP) In an unexpectedly ambitious proposal, the World Health Organization announced this morning that it has formulated a plan to completely eliminate AIDS by the end of this calendar year, simply by no longer referring to it as AIDS.

If adopted by enough countries, the WHO plan could change the face of worldwide public health, eliminating one of the most virulent scourges of the last three decades. By the simple and quick step of changing the name of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome to something else, governments and health workers in such devastated areas as Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia can conceivably reach the point where there is no longer a need to fight AIDS.

“The most effective solutions to complex problems are usually the simplest,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan at a press conference to announce the bold new initiative. “And we can achieve, with this extremely simple measure, what the world has only achieved once before – the complete eradication of a communicable disease.” She referred to smallpox, which, in 1980, was declared eliminated. It thus became the first disease to be removed from the human population through human efforts.

Chan spoke of the funds that could be freed up to focus on research and treatment of the world’s myriad other health concerns. “In just a few short months – weeks, even, if our constituents act with sufficient alacrity – we could already be in the post-AIDS era. The hundreds of millions of dollars that go each year toward finding a cure for AIDS can now be directed toward other worthy ends,” she continued. “We are on the cusp of a revolution in health care and in public health policy.”

In developing the new policy proposal, WHO researchers noted that they were inspired by the way in which American society has confronted its racial tensions. Whereas in the nineteenth century it was common for white-negro relations to be the context for intense animosity and outright violence, by the middle of the twentieth century, the society had apparently outgrown that problem, which was well timed: the country now faced an equally troublesome white-colored divide.

The challenges and discrimination affecting the colored population have all but ceased in the intervening years, however, and the WHO was impressed by how thoroughly the US has moved beyond its troubling treatment of colored people. The latter case was cited specifically in the WHO proposal as an example of how crucial timely solutions can become; as the century progressed, the US found it more and more necessary to address racial issues with the African-American community. That demographic is not listed in earlier social literature, indicating that once again, American society freed up the necessary resources to grapple with discrimination against African-Americans by a timely elimination of its need to fight discrimination against colored people.

The precedents are not restricted to social history. In 1993, musician Prince was rechristened The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, meaning that the world would no longer be subject to any more new creations from Prince. However, in 2000 he began to be referred to once again by the former name, illustrating the commitment that the WHO must demonstrate if it is to spearhead the elimination of AIDS by changing its name, according to Barkeen Guptha Wrongtree, Professor of Public Health Policy at Harvard.

“The WHO and its regional subsidiaries must really stick with the nomenclature shift, or the consequences will be disastrous,” he explained. “I mean, it’s not on the same level of disaster that the return of Prince represented, but it’s still pretty bad.”

Written by Thag

July 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Bono Has Scaled Mountains, Walls; Still Hasn’t Found What He’s Looking For

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Joshua TreeLos Angeles, July 29 (AP) – Despite years of intense effort, the lead singer of one of the world’s most successful rock bands has still not located the object of his quest.

U2’s vocalist Bono has ascended steep slopes leading to extreme altitudes with the averred single purpose of spending time in your presence. To the same end he has sprinted or jogged across numerous open areas in rural or countryside settings.

Perhaps realizing that the above locations were ill-suited to fulfilling his desire, Bono conducted the same activities elsewhere: first he moved quickly on foot, irrespective of location, and when that mode of transportation proved inappropriate, got down on all fours and proceeded thus. He also made vertical advances, specifically going up the municipal ramparts, with the same aim as before.

As of this writing, however, he has yet to succeed in obtaining what he set out to find, and he has made repeated verbal observation to that effect.

Changing tacks, Bono attempted to achieve his goal by romantic means, notably some sweet-tasting osculation and receiving therapeutic touch from the digits of a female he has so far declined to identify. The result, he recalls, left a caustic sensation accompanied by lust.

Moving on to other realms to continue the pursuit, Bono conversed with both heavenly beings and at least one denizen of the underworld – perhaps Lucifer himself – and recalls that although the atmosphere remained of high kinetic energy even after sundown, he nevertheless experienced a drop in body temperature, or at least the perception of it.

Despite these efforts, as before, Bono has yet to locate the target of his quest, and he would tell you so again.

Turning an eschatological eye toward the future, the vocalist and social activist sees fit to proclaim his faith in the advent of an ideal, post-historic era when differences and conflicts will be erased, but for some reason his clinging to this belief has not relieved him of the need to continue moving forward quickly in his quest.

Now Bono addresses your actions directly, noting that you have undone certain restraints and removed fetters, in addition to wielding a symbolic crucifix simultaneous with his embarrassment, a fact that evidently carries so much emotional weight that he repeats it. He also asserts that you were aware of his credulity at the time.

Apparently, all of this psychological upheaval has made the vocalist somewhat distraught. At press time, he was repeating, ad nauseam, that he has yet to successfully lay eyes on the object of his search.

Written by Thag

July 29, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Community Has Kosher-Style Food, Moral-Style Behavoir

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The ark containing the Torah scrolls, the contents of which the congregation quotes and dismisses at will.

The synagogue’s emblem and a photo of the ark containing the Torah scrolls, the contents of which the congregation quotes or dismisses at will.

Snellville, Georgia (AP) – In this suburb of Atlanta, Temple Beth David’s Reform Jewish congregation offers a full range of religious-style services, bringing Jewish-style worship to Gwinnett County. Founded in 1981, Beth David adheres to most of the familiar tenet-style teachings of Reform Judaism, including a firm commitment to a tradition-style lifestyle.

“We’re all about our heritage,” said synagogue president Mickey Kroll in an interview-style encounter with a reporter over a lunch of lobster, a creature that Jewish heritage prohibits. “We make the eternal Jewish message relevant to modern society,” he continued, seemingly unaware of the ontological impossibility inherent in that sentence. Kroll explained that his congregation maintains a strong faith in God, except that God can’t be trusted to formulate a lasting moral system.

In a demonstration of Jewish-style practice, the Atlanta native ate the Biblically forbidden crustacean at a restaurant that also serves foods prepared with at least a nod toward, if not actual adherence to, Jewish dietary tradition, such as the meat of permitted animal species. Kroll ate without acknowledging, either before or after eating, the goodness, insight, and wisdom of a creator who made such delicacies and their appreciation possible.

In fact, says Ronald Bluming, the congregation’s Rabbi, belief in God is not even a prerequisite for Reform worship-style practice. “I’m actually an avowed atheist,” he notes. Bluming sees no contradiction in values between his vocation and his position of theological authority, as the absence of a Creator makes all values a human construct in any case. “There’s no such thing as absolute morality without a God as the source, definer and arbiter of that morality,” he explains, “so I don’t so much give my congregation moral guidance as I do moral-style guidance.”

According to Bluming, moral-style guidance resembles genuine moral guidance in that it purports to be based on the goal of increasing good in the world, but unlike the morality in an absolute system, the very definition of “good” remains wholly the product of the perceptions, whims, drives, prejudices, limitations, and zeitgeists of the people involved. Moral-style guidance denies that any immutable good is even a coherent concept, and posits that all we have available to us is our conscience.

Bluming’s predecessor, Richard Baroff, arrived at similar practical pastoral conclusions even without overt atheism. Baroff, who retired in 2001, strove to convey to his congregants that God is real but does not ultimately care what we do. This approach, common among Reform Jews – and large swaths of society at large – allows a person and community to shift with changing mores, and to avoid the pesky notion that there is any cosmic significance to human behavior.

The freedom inherent in this attitude means that the community and movement can find in their faith support for anything they find compelling, untroubled by other parts of the same sources they adduce that condemn that very practice. Thus, the members of Beth David often quote the portions of Leviticus that advocate love for others, while ignoring the inconvenient neighboring passages that bar adulterous, incestuous, or otherwise immoral sexual liaisons.

Similarly, Temple Beth David welcomes interfaith couples and condones intermarriage, consistent with the view that all religious-style paths are of equal worth and there is no place for the notion that a special, unique, exclusive, individual and national relationship has any relevance, which also serves to explain the aforementioned attitude toward adulterous liaisons.

Written by Thag

July 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Classic Thag, November 2011: This Guy’s Head Needs a Caesarean

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Originally posted November 16, 2011.

Messy Childbirth - New Page (6)

Written by Thag

July 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Not To Be Outdone By Weiner, Other Candidates Send Lewd Photos, Messages

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Weiner2New York, July 25 (AP) – Concerned that the latest revelations of Anthony Weiner’s sexually explicit online behavior have given him a publicity advantage, other prominent candidates for New York City Mayor are publicizing their own indiscretions.

Former Congressman Weiner resigned from his seat in the House of Representatives after being caught sending suggestive pictures to a woman other than his wife, in 2011. After a public apology and an attempt to rehabilitate his image, Weiner declared his candidacy for mayor. This week, he admitted to more recent indiscretions involving text messages.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, considered the leading candidate, soon confessed to reporters that she routinely traffics in inappropriate online images and videos. “And I’m a lesbian, which should make this tidbit even juicier,” she said at a press conference today.

Joseph J. Lhota

Joseph J. Lhota

MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota, as well, posted at least two dozen erotic photos of himself on his campaign’s Facebook page in an album he titled, “Get a Lhota These.” Remarks attached to the photos suggested they were taken over a period of eighteen years, and most recently last month, apparently an attempt to establish that Mr. Lhota’s extensive documentation of his deviant online behavior extends back years and was not simply a reaction to the attention given to Mr. Weiner.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, also campaigning to succeed Mayor Mike Bloomberg, did not release any photos or texts, but made known to reporters that he specifically visits Las Vegas to partake of legal Nevada prostitution, and that he has been a proud subscriber to several online pornography sites for years, and before that, an avid consumer of print media in the same vein.

City Comptroller John C. Liu also made a valiant attempt to demonstrate his irresponsible use of the internet by inviting, via Twitter, prominent officials and media representatives to participate in what he termed, “Liu-ed acts.” Given Liu’s reputation as conservative in his personal habits, the initial reaction to the tweet has been skeptical. “It doesn’t seem sincere to me,” said New York Times correspondent Alison Leigh Cowan, who has been covering this aspect of the mayoral campaign. “But I must say I’m intrigued and flattered to be included, so I’ll probably attend and make my personal assessment afterwards.”

220px-CatsiJohn A. Catsimatidis, the grocery store billionaire, leveraged his corporate and retail clout to display offensively sexual images of the candidate in the windows of his Gristede’s supermarket chain. Between posters touting tomatoes for $2.99 per pound and a special on pork loins, Catsimatidis is easily identified in enlarged photos of the man in suggestive poses with multiple partners of both sexes. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, leading Cowan to suggest that the added publicity of such a development could only help Mr. Catsimatidis, who has been trailing in the polls.

“What Weiner – and Elliot Spitzer, for that matter – have proved is that getting yourself on the map politically actually becomes easier if you have a sexual scandal or two under your belt,” she said, apparently without a trace of irony. Spitzer, the former NY governor, resigned after reports of his visits with prostitutes while in office. He is also running an election campaign, for City Comptroller. Catsimatidis, said Cowan, is banking on a similar dynamic with his own candidacy, which could only benefit at this point on the campaign trail.

Whoever wins, says Cowan, will be the one who proves they are proficient at screwing many people at once, preferably 8.3 million of them.

 

Written by Thag

July 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Study: Evidently, Many People Think Quinoa Is Food

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Either quinoa or earthworm-and-centipede salad.

Either quinoa or earthworm-and-centipede salad.

Washington, DC (AP) – Scientists are struggling to explain why otherwise seemingly rational people eat the manifestly inedible seeds of the Chenopodium quinoa plant, according to an article in the upcoming issue of a monthly report by the US Department of Agriculture.

A twelve-year research project by faculty and doctoral candidates at three universities – Case Western, the University of California at Berkeley, and Texas A&M – sought to determine the origins and continued growth of the quinoa consumption trend. They looked at social and market developments over the last several decades to discover what might explain the sudden decision by increasing numbers of Americans to eat the seeds, which cannot even be fermented to make a proper whiskey, let alone ground into flour to make a passable pizza crust or hamburger bun. To their chagrin, the researchers were unable to find an adequate explanation for the culinary popularity of the weed.

Quinoa was domesticated as long as 7,000 years ago by South American herders, to provide feed for their animals. According to University of Virginia Botany Professor Kit Niott, who was not involved in the study, only recently have Americans begun to consume quinoa seeds in appreciable numbers, driving up demand and prices for the crop. He compares the phenomenon to shag carpets, which no one in his right mind would ever buy, but which almost every household had in the early-mid-1970’s.

“People have demonstrated a tendency to just do what everyone else is doing, regardless of the actual merit or wisdom of the behavior,” explained Niott. “Quinoa, while it might provide any number of nutritional benefits, has no demonstrated qualities that make it an acceptable foodstuff, in contrast, to, for example, pizza.”

Pizza, he noted, is like sex: when it’s good, it’s very, very good; when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. Whereas quinoa, “falls somewhere between sofa cushion stuffing and ball bearings in its culinary appeal.”

The Spanish conquistadors actively discouraged quinoa cultivation among the enslaved South American natives, seeing the plant as a relic of pagan society; in fact quinoa was often used in agricultural rituals. While the physical enslavement, extermination policies, exploitation and destruction wrought by the Spanish and other European invaders of the New World attract justified opprobrium, Dr. Ann Jiospurm, the study’s lead author, asserts that the Spaniards got the quinoa part right.

“This weed has nothing to recommend it; if there’s one thing one could wish that the conquistadors did more thoroughly, it would the suppression and elimination of quinoa cultivation,” she writes.

Reached by telephone, Jiospurm elaborated on the study’s findings. “Mere nutritional benefit is not enough to explain why something becomes an accepted part of the diet,” she noted. “Dogs are also full of protein, but you don’t see us eating more and more of them every year. The same goes for various essential minerals – humans generally have standards when it comes to what they consume, and for good reason, you don’t see granite breakfast cereals or topsoil cake frosting.”

Jiospurm repeated the words with which she concluded the article, stating the scientific community remains “at a loss to account for the growing collective insanity that characterizes the popularity of quinoa as a food – something that it most clearly is not.”

Written by Thag

July 24, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Attractive Woman Angry At Being Ticketed Instead Of Let Go With Warning

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Nance, demonstrating the hair toss that inexplicably did not work on Trooper MacCarran.

Nance, demonstrating the hair toss that inexplicably did not work on Trooper MacCarran.

New Paltz, New York (AP) – Violet Nance, 26, of  Schenectady,  expressed her displeasure today at receiving an actual speeding ticket. All of Ms. Nance’s previous brushes with highway speed enforcement have resulted in a flirtatious exchange with the policeman or trooper, ending with the latter letting Ms. Nance off with just a warning.

Ms. Nance, a graduate student at the State University of New York at Albany-Rensselaer, was traveling north on Interstate 87 at 75 miles per hour, or ten mph over the speed limit, when State Trooper Scott MacCarran signaled her to pull over. Trooper MacCarran approached Nance’s 2013 Ford Focus ST and requested her license and registration.

According to Ms. Nance, she opened with a careless toss of the hair and a shy smile, her lustrous auburn locks almost obscuring one eye. Trooper MacCarran seemed not to react as she had expected, and proceeded to interrogate the driver regarding her speed.

Shifting social gears, Ms. Nance cocked her head to one side and laughed, a move that almost invariably causes men to smile and lose interest in everything but retaining her attention. Trooper MacCarran, however, seemed more professional than any other law enforcement official she has ever met.

“He was no-nonsense, all, ‘The speed limit is 65 here, ma’am,’ and ‘I’m going to write you a ticket.’ What the hell?” she said. “Since when does a guy ignore my looks and focus on something else?”

“Is it a training thing?” she wondered. “Do NY troopers have to go through some sort of romantic desensitization program? This changes everything!”

“What am I going to do?!” Nance exclaimed, noting that her adherence to the rules of the road has all but disappeared since she discovered, at age 16, that her looks would get her out of almost any trouble. Despite involvement in four accidents between ages 18 and 23, witnesses and law enforcement officials consistently sided with her even when the objective facts of each incident placed the fault squarely on Nance’s attractive shoulders.

The student also flirted her way out of six speeding tickets during both high school and undergraduate studies at SUNY Buffalo, where she led the cheerleading squad. On two separate occasions Ms. Nance used her wiles to secure a higher grade  from male professors than she deserved, taking care to wear tighter or more-revealing clothing then usual in preparation for those encounters.

At press time, Trooper MacCarran was returning home to New Paltz, where his husband had dinner waiting.

Written by Thag

July 21, 2013 at 2:16 pm

That Venn Guy Sure Was Bad At Drawing Circles Next To Each Other

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Meta Venn - Plain

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July 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Rolling Stone: ALL of Our Covers Glorify Someone Objectionable

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Tsarnaev Rolling StoneNew York, NY, July 18 (AP) – Reacting to widespread criticism of his magazine’s featuring Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its August issue, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner wondered aloud why Tsarnaev’s appearance was any more objectionable that that of the other questionable role models the publication has glorified over the years.

The cover article, by Janet Reitman, explores the childhood influences and life of the bombing suspect before he was arrested for the April terrorist attacks. The controversy involves not the material of the article, which most readers agree demonstrates journalistic integrity, but the magazine’s decision to feature Tsarnaev on its cover, a spot usually reserved for prominent entertainment or political figures. National chains such as Walgreen’s and CVS have refused to sell the August issue, ignoring the fact that nearly every other Rolling Stone issue features a cover photo of someone heavily involved in unsavory, illegal, or harmful activities.

“When people say nothing of our lionizing of drug addicts, womanizers, and abusers of their romantic partners, I have to say I find this particular bit of noise disingenuous,” said Wenner. In its 46-year history the magazine has featured Woody Allen, whose marriage to Mia Farrow dissolved over his sexual relationship with the couple’s adopted daughter; Madonna, who has been second only to porn stars in glamorizing the sexualization of women; and Kurt Cobain, whose substance abuse and stormy relationship with Courtney Love eventually led to his 1994 suicide. According to Wenner, these three were but the tip of the cultural iceberg that Rolling Stone’s covers represented, and he could not help but wonder what made Americans stay silent until now.

My Little Pony“Actually, it’s more of a cesspool than an iceberg. Are you telling me it’s OK to heap praise on people who promote the use of LSD, such as several of The Beatles? Or Jimi Hendrix, who died because he took eighteen times the recommended dosage of sleeping pills?” continued an incredulous Wenner. “Heck, even our own writer, Hunter S. Thompson, admitted to using drugs, alcohol, and violence, and he also killed himself. What do you expect from us, My Little Pony?”

In response to suggestions that Tsarnaev was a different order of unpleasant character, an actual terrorist and murderer, Wenner retorted that Rolling Stone had on four occasions put none other than Richard Nixon on its cover, and asked reporters why no one seemed to care then that the publication was lionizing a hateful, bloodthirsty, bigoted, corrupt hypocrite responsible for the loss of thousands of American, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and other lives. “The Guy was scum,” noted Wenner. “Where were all these critics then?”

At press time, an animated South Park version of Saddam Hussein and an image of Darth Vader, who have also appeared on Rolling Stone covers, were heard laughing in a sinister fashion.

Written by Thag

July 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Israelis, Palestinians, Can’t Believe Kerry At It Again

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"This cushion of white noise around my head shields me from the unpleasant reality, allowing me to do my job."

“This cushion of white noise around my head shields me from the unpleasant reality, allowing me to do my job.”

‘Can’t this guy take a hint?’

Amman, Jordan (AP) – With US Secretary of State John Kerry on his sixth visit of his term, trying once again to restart a moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, officials on both sides could not suppress their disbelief at the secretary’s apparent cluelessness over the intractability of the generations-old conflict.

Kerry landed in the Jordanian capital yesterday to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to attempt to persuade him to return to the negotiating table. Abbas has previously declared he will not negotiate unless the parties agree at the outset that the 1967 lines form the basis of those discussions. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel insists that negotiations take place with no preconditions. Neither side has budged in years despite multiple sustained efforts by outside parties to bridge the gaps, prompting observers on either side of the Green Line to question Kerry’s grip on reality.

“I think each side has made it abundantly clear that they are not interested in really negotiating,” said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “The fact is, once this issue of the starting point is settled, that pretty much dictates the entire outcome – so what’s the point?” he explained. Erekat wondered what Kerry thinks he can accomplish when neither party finds any of its options palatable, making inaction the most likely and least wasteful course.

“He seems to think we actually feel comfortable about reaching some final-status agreements,” Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, said of Kerry. “Hasn’t he realized that any likely such agreement would separate Jews from the places to which they have the most intense historical attachment? Why would we ever agree to that? Can’t this guy take a hint?” He added that while continued discriminatory rule over millions of Palestinians is hardly ideal, it is preferable to sacrificing the very places that Jewish lore yearns for, having lacked consistent access to, or control of, those places for millennia, and the arrogance with which Kerry – or any other would-be mediator – writes off thousands of years of longing makes his judgment suspect.

Neither do the Palestinians find their choices acceptable. “If Abu Mazen wants maximum international legitimacy he needs to continue avoiding the violence he formally forswore years ago,” said Nicholas Martin of the Near East Policy Center, using the nickname by which Abbas is popularly known. “But that leaves him with precious little negotiating leverage, and anything he gives up will make him ripe for charges of betrayal from more radical quarters such as Hamas,” referring to the Islamic militant organization that controls the Gaza Strip. Given those options, says Martin, continued avoidance of negotiation is the only real strategy that Abbas finds useful, rendering Kerry’s continued pursuit of those negotiations an indicator of his questionable mental acuity.

“Time can only work against us,” Secretary Kerry told reporters before his meeting, seemingly oblivious to the pointlessness of the endeavor, given the instability in Egypt and Syria, which is also spilling over into Lebanon, and the disunity among the Palestinians themselves. He added that cliches such as, “Time can only work against us” are just one of the powerful inducements he can bring to bear in drawing the sides back to the negotiating table.

“You never know what tomorrow may bring,” he added.

Written by Thag

July 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

Study Links Graffiti to Small Penis Size

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graffitiNew York, June 15 (AP) – Researchers at Columbia University have determined that the propensity to engage in graffiti vandalism has an inversely proportionate relationship to penis size, according to an article in the August Issue of the Journal Science.

In a study titled The Scale of Male Endowment as Reflected by Vandalism, the study authors note a very close correlation between a smaller-than-average penis and multiple instances of crude or repetitive graffiti. Reviewing arrest records and anatomical information for individuals convicted of graffiti vandalism in the New York City area for the years 2007-2012, the researchers found that the median length of male members of those individuals was 40% shorter than the median length of the general population.

Even more striking, said Dr. Sy Zmatters, the lead author and head of Columbia University’s graduate-level Anthropology Department, the extent to which any individual engaged in graffiti vandalism directly reflected relative penis length. “We found that the more prolific taggers were even more poorly endowed than those who had been convicted of only one or two vandalism violations,” he noted.

N. Largement, a Princeton University anthropologist not involved in the study, praised the report as an important piece of information in piecing together the complex web of human psychology as it has developed over the ages. “We knew, anecdotally, that certain behaviors represent a compensation mechanism for those males insecure in the measurements of their manhood,” he explained, handling a scale model of a monster truck on his office desk. “But it has never before been so clearly quantified.”

A further nuance of the study involves different types of graffiti. Vandals who prolifically sprayed only words, gang signs, or other relatively crude symbols constituted the most poorly endowed subgroup of the population under observation, while those whose graffiti involved artistic expression, political criticism, or a message of some social value fell more closely in line with the national average.

spray paintLargement noted that the study helps complete a much larger pattern of what he called manhood deficiency compensatory behavior, which had previously been described for much smaller segments of the population. For example, assault rifle ownership has been strongly correlated with a smaller penis, as has the frequent or highly visible use of muscle cars. Sports fans who paint their bodies and engage in rowdy displays of devotion have been similarly shown to have shorter than average penises; these behaviors has been explained as an attempt to mask their insecurity over penis size by associating themselves with a larger, more powerful, and overtly masculine enterprise.

Written by Thag

July 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm

11 Hospitalized in Encounter with Nauseatingly Affectionate Couple

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pdaNew York, July 14 (AP) – A Queens man and woman are in custody after their public displays of affection resulted in the hospitalization of nearly a dozen passersby this morning.

Jose Ruiz Menendez, 28, and his girlfriend, Sara Murphy, 24, were arrested late this morning on Fifth Avenue, allegedly following a cloying display of hand-holding, nuzzling, repeated pecks on the cheeks, and multiple counts of loving head-on-partner’s-shoulder caressing. As a result of the couple’s actions, 11 people were sent to Belleview Hospital, with a further nineteen treated by paramedics at the scene.

According to preliminary police reports, the couple were walking south along the east side of Fifth Avenue at about 10:30 AM when Murphy, walking alongside Menendez, grasped his arm and inclined her head tightly against it, continuing in that position for about eight yards, according to eyewitnesses. The resulting disgust caused three people to succumb to nausea and three others to reel around to escape the sight, slightly injuring six.

As Menendez and Murphy proceeded south, they apparently remained oblivious to the mayhem they fomented. Menendez kissed Murphy on the top of her head several times and murmured lovingly to her as they waited to cross 38th Street, causing an elderly woman to clutch her chest, having suffered a mild heart attack. She was listed in stable condition as of about noon.

When the couple stopped to sit on a bench near 36th St., Murphy sat on Menendez’s lap as the two exchanged embraces, kisses, affectionate strokes of the hair, shoulders, back, and arms, as well as words of devotion and mutual care. This further display resulted in several more victims, at least one of them admitted to the hospital’s trauma unit. A bystander notified the police, who arrested the two perpetrators at the scene.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly told reporters that New York has seen its share of similar crimes, but the department must remain vigilant, as this case clearly demonstrates. “According to the information we have right now, the two suspects were engaging in sickening displays in broad daylight. Neither of them has any criminal record, but our officers continue to be on the lookout for such crimes.” He dismissed reports that a police officer had failed to report the couple upon seeing them holding hands and smiling as far north as 45th St., noting that the first recorded incidence of disgust occurred significant to the south of that location, and that the first eyewitnesses placed Menendez and Murphy on 44th between Fifth and Sixth before they were even observed on Fifth, making the former report unlikely.

According to NYPD statistics for 2012, 12 couples were arrested for Public Displays of Affection, a decrease of 3 since 2011, which in turn saw a reduction of 2 in 2010. The statistics spiked in fall 2009, possibly as a result of the Yankees World Series title, but that remains conjecture.

Menendez and Murphy were unavailable for comment, and their attorneys declined to comment for this article.

 

Written by Thag

July 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Book Accuses Jews of Controlling Israeli Government

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Hadda Nuffadis

Hadda Nuffadis

London, 9 July (AP) – In a new twist on an age-old stereotype, a British Muslim author’s newest work charges that a relatively small number of Jews effectively controls the workings of Israel, a country that most people consider a democracy.

Hadda Nuffadis, a Liverpool-born Muslim of Indian descent, writes in From Russia with Glove that the “hidden hand” of Jewish control can be seen in Israeli politics, government, industry, and finance since before the state was founded in 1948. The title evokes the metaphor of that hidden hand, which he sees wielded by Jews whose ancestry comes mostly from Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

From Russia with Glove painstakingly traces the personalities behind the evolution and exercise of Israeli power, offering a convincing argument that Israel, despite its population of over 7 million people with origins all over the world, follows the direction of fewer than four thousand individual Jews strategically placed at the upper echelons of government, the military, banking, industry, and media.

Of all the chiefs-of-staff of the Israel Defense Force, for example, every single one was Jewish; the same holds for Prime Ministers, Presidents, commissioners of the central bank, sports team franchise owners, ambassadors, newspaper owners, and labor union officials.

Nuffadis describes a hierarchy within this cadre of Jews in which representatives are chosen primarily by the Jews with Israeli citizenship, to represent their interests on a council of 120, known as the “Knesset,” or Assembly. The Knesset functions much as any country’s Parliament might, except that it consists almost entirely of Jews. Leading the Knesset is an inner council of Jewish ministers and a Prime Minister who uses his power to appoint other Jews to positions of influence and control.

Unlike previous accusation of a Jewish cabal to control world governments, From Russia relies on ample documentation and supporting evidence. Nuffadis notes that in contrast to the classic conspiracy theories to the same effect, his book does not find any real attempt by the Jews to conceal these activities, perhaps in the belief that a small country such as Israel, with scarce natural resources and populated by the descendants of refugees, would never attract any attention on the world stage.

Jewish organizations in Britain and around the world were quick to react the the book’s publication. Abraham Foxman, of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote in an e-mail message, “Huh?” Eric Hier, Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, echoed the sentiment, saying, “Wait, say that again?” Closer to home, the heads of several Jewish organizations in London and Liverpool declined to comment, citing difficulty breathing and aching cheek muscles.

Nuffadis previously achieved some notoriety with his revelations in his 2008 book Bombs Away that the Allies in World War II focused disproportionately on bombing targets in Germany; upwards of 90% of Allied bombing sorties in Europe between 1940 and 1945 were directed at German soil, while the rest of the continent, despite teeming with Europeans, was largely spared such an onslaught.

Written by Thag

July 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Egyptian Blogger Unsure Which Fake Massacre Photos to Use

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Sinni.

Sinni.

Cairo, Egypt (AP) – Ahmed Sinni, a Muslim Brotherhood supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi, cannot decide which images to alter or reuse from other conflicts for propaganda purposes, the 24-year-old reported Monday.

Looking for ways to spread his movement’s take on recent developments – mainly today’s killing of 43 demonstrators and wounding of over 400 others in the Egyptian capital – Sinni was frustrated in his inability to find appropriately heart-rending images of the carnage. Despite seeking photos or videos that would showcase the alleged brutality and wanton violence of the Egyptian army, he could find precious few bona fide images of the carnage.

Sinni then decided  to take images from the Syrian civil war and recaption them to suit the situation. But the collection of bloody images available from Syria has put the young activist in a dilemma, as many of the images have already been recycled for similar purposes by Hamas. The Gaza Strip offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood waged its own propaganda campaign when the coastal territory was under assault by Israel last year, frequently showing photos of dead Syrian children and claiming they were Gazans killed by indiscriminate Israeli rocket and artillery fire.

“I’m not entirely sure I want to go there,” said Sinni, who dismisses the army’s claims that they were fired on before shooting at the crowd. “And although I know in my heart the army is now evil and cannot be trusted, I cannot risk my own credibility by using photos that were already employed for similar purposes. What if we get called out on it?”

Termipharaoh

Such concerns clearly did not concern Hamas, but Sinni and the more established Brotherhood shy away from blatant use of propaganda, preferring to hide behind democratic principles and a carefully cultivated sense of victimhood nurtured under the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Sinni and his compatriots therefore find themselves torn between the political goal of casting the army in the worst possible light and upholding the notion that the movement can competently negotiate the transition from dissident to administrator, a move that requires a modicum of self-awareness in publicity efforts.

“We’d love to do what Hamas did and just toss all reasonable realism to the wind,” lamented Sinni’s colleague Habbig Layah. “But we’re supposed to be moderates,” a term that he said could mean anything from the Western idea of “liberal” to the more realistic just-as-dedicated-to-the-destruction-of-everything-non-Islamic-but-not-saying-so-with-flaming-rhetoric-all-the-time.

An Egyptian army spokesman was unavailable for comment, as he was busy uploading clips of Iraqi sectarian violence onto YouTube and labeling it “Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.”

Written by Thag

July 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Ahmadinejad Discovers He Is a Jew

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Moshe ben YaakovTehran, Islamic Republic of Iran (Reuters) – After two terms leading his country in a staunchly anti-Israel, and, many would say, anti-Semitic direction, former President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discovered his own Jewish roots yesterday.

Unpacking from the move away from the Presidential Palace in the capital city, Ahmadinejad came across old photos of his parents holding him. On the back of one photo, marked 4 November 1956, were the words “Mazal Tov Moshe. May you only grow in Torah and love of Israel,” in Farsi. The former President at first thought the photo and inscription were a practical joke, but the age of the writing prompted him to consult an old relative, who broke the news to him.

The discovery is likely to have little or no impact on Iran’s policy toward Israel, as Ahmadinejad holds no more power, and he had fallen out of favor with the ruling elite over the last several years. If anything, says Persian Studies scholar Ima Yenta of Columbia University, “this development is actually more likely to inflame anti-Israel passions further, as it could easily be portrayed as another alleged case of Jews and Israel controlling governments and peoples.”

On a personal level, it is unclear how the revelation will affect Ahmadinejad. Iran has a small Jewish community that officially toes the government line on anti-Zionism, meaning the former President’s Jewishness does not necessarily make him persona non grata in his previous circles. However, the thin line between anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric and behavior often gets blurred when passions flare, which puts Ahmadinejad in a potentially risky position, given his prominence.

Ahmadinejad is not the first world leader to discover his Jewish roots later in life, nor the first anti-Jewish firebrand to face his Hebrew ancestry. According to Tuttle Beeyess, a Stanford University historian, none other than Joseph Stalin whispered a deathbed request that someone say Kaddish for him, referring to a selection from Jewish liturgy recited by the relatives of the deceased for a time after his death. Stalin was notorious for persecution of Jews and other adherents of religion, in keeping with Marxist Communist ideology. After his death it emerged that he was circumcised per Jewish practice at one week old and named Yosef ben BenTzion, but virulent Tsarist persecutions drove the family to hide their Jewish identity.

Obama in skullcapAnother surprising Jew was Abraham Lincoln, who was still struggling with his discovery the night he was assassinated in 1865. Some fragments of letters by his wife Mary attest to the conflicted feelings he harbored upon being informed that his parents had been crypto-Jews, continuing a long line of secretly Jewish Britons going back to the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290.

White House officials refused to comment on when President Obama will announce that he is also Jewish.

Written by Thag

July 7, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Ugly Scientists: Unattractive Men Make Better Mates

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bagheadPrinceton, New Jersey (AP) – A new study by ugly Princeton University researchers points to myriad benefits from dating or marrying an unattractive man, writes a team of scientists in the journal Health Insights and Developments in Emotional, Occupational and Utilitarian Settings (HIDEOUS).

The HIDEOUS study, to be published in August, lists eleven positive factors proven to exist in a relationship with an ugly man, plus eighteen more suggested by the data, but which warrant further study to confirm. According to the study authors, the results obtain across a wide range of demographics and socioeconomic sectors, especially, the study authors note, among those residing in the central and southern New Jersey area.

Among the factors contributing to a better relationship, says the article, are less stress in competition among females for unattractive men; realistic expectations among such men as to the qualities and appearance of female mates; and the convenience of finding any number of such available men within a half-hour’s driving radius of the greater Princeton area – which, the study notes, includes the major New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia.

Scientists discreetly observed more than one hundred couples over a period of four months, cataloging both the multiple obvious problems present when the man was attractive, and the manifest advantages of the several instances in which a non-attractive man was a member of a romantic couple. The researchers stressed that in no way were they looking for problems with the handsome men,  certainly not the problems that could not possibly be observed from an anonymous distance.

However, noted lead author N. V. Greenwith, certain external manifestations of personal defects are visible to the keen observer, and which should not under any circumstances be confused with wishful speculation. “It was obvious, to us at least, that certain attire such as a Yankees baseball cap over a well-proportioned face, or a T-shirt that revealed an impressive physique, meant that the wearer was probably impotent or insufficiently endowed to properly satisfy a woman,” he explained.

Similar observations applied to well-coiffed hair, which the study noted is associated with a tendency toward domestic abuse, and you could look it up, as well as stylish dress, which the researchers point out is usually symptomatic of certain virulent sexually transmitted diseases.

“This study could revolutionize the dating world,” said Dr. Rhee Jekt of Columbia University, who was not involved in the study. “Intelligent women would be well advised to pay attention to this clear pattern, and make their romantic choices wisely,” he advised

“Especially that hot number over in the Butler Library,” he concluded.

Written by Thag

July 6, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Israel, Palestinians Agree to Joint Statement that Kerry Looks Funny

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FrankerryJerusalem, Israel (AP) – Another round of shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State John Kerry has succeeded in getting Israel and the Palestinians to agree to a statement that the Secretary’s appearance resembles a caricature.

In what has become a rare point of consensus between the two sides, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told their constituencies this morning that as a result of spending hours talking to Kerry about how and under what conditions to restart final status negotiations, they concluded that his height, enlarged features, hairstyle, and unusually prominent chin all combine to produce what Netanyahu called, “a cross between Jay Leno and the sloth from Ice Age.” Abbas characterized the look as “giraffe-like.”

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger

Israel and the Palestinians have not held final-status talks in more than two years. Abbas demands that Israel accept the 1967 border as the starting point for such negotiations, while Netanyahu dismisses any preconditions. Kerry, like his predecessor Hillary Clinton, has been trying to bridge the gaps between those positions. To date, the only point of agreement remains his likeness to an Andy-Griffith-Sea-Otter blend.

The development comes at a time of increasing instability in the Middle East, with the civil war in Syria already more than two years old; a continuing protest movement in Turkey; ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq; and renewed upheaval in Egypt. The Israeli-Palestinian front has come to seem less relevant of late, Kerry told reporters, but it remains a crucial linchpin in the complex web of strategic elements in the region, which he likened in shape to a silhouetted dog pile.

This is not the first time warring factions have agreed on nothing but that their would-me mediator appears similar to various things comical or ugly. In the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israeli and Egyptian representatives alike compared US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s head to a hard-boiled egg. The same parties later said that President Jimmy Carter looked like a badly drawn Alfred E. Newman, the mascot of MAD magazine.

Kerry hopes to leverage this development toward more ambitious areas of agreement, perhaps getting the sides to commit, as early as this August, to a joint resolution in the Security Council to mock various nations for their shapes. “I’ve always thought Greece looks vaguely like that thing that hangs down from the back end of a goat, and that Norway and Sweden are ridiculously phallic,” he said.

From there the nations might move on to making overt fun of other countries’ names. “Ecuador? Really?” continued Kerry. “You name your country for its location on some imaginary line?” he laughed.

Netanyahu agreed, noting that the “United” States of America have seldom been so.

Written by Thag

July 2, 2013 at 10:53 am

Report: Delusions of Grandeur at All-Time High

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James BrownNew York, July 1 (AP) – Following decades of doting parenthood, reluctance to impart criticism, and the ever-increasing availability of social media to feed narcissistic tendencies, the number of people who see themselves as great, or at least destined for greatness, is at unprecedented levels, according to a report from the National Association of Really, Cosmically, Indubitably, Super Special Unique Stars (NARCISSUS).

The 95-page report, published Monday, analyzed the findings of several studies, though this analysis was preceded by 90 pages of exploration as to the source of the association’s manifest awesomeness. The studies determined that as a result of exclusively positive feedback from parents, teachers, and other figures of authority, the emerging generation of young adults, especially in the United States, contains a higher percentage than ever of individuals who wrongly believe they are God’s gift to the universe, the opposite sex, potential employers, academic institutions, and other prospective participants in relationships.

Before the emergence of the Baby Boomers and Generations X, Y, and so-called Millennials, relatively few people had sustained, outsize images of themselves, according to Maya Eego-Booszt, editor of the journal Mine, who was not involved in the study but supported it under the assumption it was, as everything else, about her. “The people who genuinely believed themselves to be of global importance has been steadily on the rise for almost half a century,” she noted, citing the mass navel-gazing of the 1960’s and the Yuppie mentality of the 1980’s as markers of the trend. 

“But once upon a time life was challenging enough that the vast majority of people encountered the sobering reality early on,” she explained, meaning that any illusions of greatness they harbored were dashed in all but the most obtuse, sociopathic individuals. “Invariably, those sociopaths went into careers that attracted such personalities, such as politics or entertainment, which is how we wound up with Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Kim Song-Il, Mussolini, de Gaulle, James Brown, and every operatic tenor.”

But with the rise of mass media and the softening of living conditions of billions around the globe over the last fifty years or so, countless young people reach physical maturity without encountering any situations that pose serious questions about their assumed ability to surmount all obstacles. As a corollary, the same masses of individuals continue their parents’ work in nurturing the sense that everyone else, and everything they encounter, is theirs to exploit.

Kanye WestFor some, says social critic Constance Facepalm, their delusion is narrowed to specific fields of endeavor, such as expressed loyalty to a specific sports franchise, or ability to sound off endlessly on certain political, social, or cultural issues such as Lindsay Lohan and her latest escapades.

“There’s a natural affinity that these deluded egomaniacs have for other misguided, corrupt souls,” she says. “What other period in history could have such attention showered on a Kanye-West-Kim-Kardashian-type story and have so many people genuinely believe it’s newsworthy? Only a generation that sees itself as illuminated by that story in ways it considers flattering.”

“But they’re all ridiculously obese,” she continued. “It boggles the mind.”

Written by Thag

July 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm