Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

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NY Sports Fans Not Surprised At Garner Death; Used To Choking

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MetsNew York, December 9 – Followers of New-York-area sports teams are expressing considerably less shock at the death of a man in a policeman’s chokehold than other populations, surveys indicate, because they are accustomed to the phenomenon of watching their chosen clubs choke.

A study of Knicks, Mets, Islanders, Rangers, Yankees, Jets, Nets, and Giants season ticket holders and of subscribers to the satellite or cable channels carrying those groups’ games shows that the demographic in question has developed a much higher tolerance for observing others choke than has the population at large. A control group expressed revulsion in approximately twice the intensity at seeing people choke than did these sports fans.

Choking has been a part of the New York sports experience at least since 1960, when the Yankees failed to put away the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series and ended up succumbing on perpetual underachiever Bill Mazeroski’s walk-off home run in game seven. Since then New York fans have lived through the futility and occasionally tantalizing periods of real potential embodied by their teams only to see them come crashing down after flirting with success.

Most prominent among the dubious group are the Knicks, who came oh-so-close to glory several times in the 1990’s only to choke famously against the Bulls, Rockets, and Pacers – with Reggie Miller of the latter club memorably gesturing toward the Knicks with his hands around his neck, thus capturing in an instant the essence of Knicks underachievement.

Choking has plagued New York on several other prominent occasions, including the Yankees’ 2004 inability to defeat the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series despite a 3-0 series lead. That letdown followed 2001 and 2003, when they lost the World Series in seven games. In more recent seasons they have failed to perform to expectations – with the highest payroll in all of professional sports – seldom advancing beyond the first round of postseason games if they have managed to reach the postseason at all. The lone bright spot of the 2009 championship has only served to highlight the sense of failure and choking under pressure every single other year.

The study authors intend to conduct similar research in other cities with perpetually disappointing performances by sports teams. Los Angeles features prominently as a candidate location, with the Dodgers consistently following a dominant season with a poor performance in the playoffs.

If LA becomes the venue, the researchers will be challenged to distinguish between adaptation to Los Angeles underachievement and residual tolerance for the choking that moved there from New York – first in the 1956 Bobby Thomson home run that gave the rival Giants the pennant, and more recently in the team’s Manager Don Mattingly, whose only playoff experience with the Yankees was in 1995 when his team dropped a five-game Division Series to the Mariners after leading two games to none.

Written by Thag

December 9, 2014 at 11:46 pm

NRA Curiously Silent On Rampant Guns Making Mideast So Safe

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NRA logoWashington, DC, July 19 – Conservative thinkers across the US expressed bewilderment this week upon realizing that the nation’s premier gun-rights advocacy group is missing a golden opportunity to argue for freer access to firearms by invoking the situation in the Middle East, where weapons flow everywhere nearly unrestricted and as a result, the citizens enjoy a level of peace, liberty, and prosperity that Americans can only envy.

A group of Tea Party, Libertarian, and other conservative pundits gathered earlier this week in Las Vegas to discuss legislative lobbing strategies for this November and beyond. From those conversations it emerged that the current public awareness and lobbying campaigns were completely missing the most compelling piece of evidence in their potential rhetorical arsenal: the correlation between large numbers of Arabs armed to the teeth and the success of those Arabs in forging tranquil, courteous, democratic societies.

“If the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, then the gun-toting good people of Iraq, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, Sinai, and Libya must be so secure as to warrant emulation,” said right-wing radio talk show icon Rush Limbaugh. “I seldom have words of criticism for my friends at the National Rifle Association, but I contend they dropped the ball on this issue by neglecting to marshal this winning argument.”

No hard numbers exist for the per capita distribution of firearms in the Levant and surrounding evirons, in part because the limited reach of the central governments does not allow for effective statistical measures.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) took up that point, noting that the decentralized governmental structures of the governments in those heavily armed countries was especially conducive to prosperity and security. “Just look at the burgeoning trade those countries enjoy,” he said. “There is almost no top-down market regulation, leaving it up to local sensibilities to determine who may traffic in what materials and services. That is what I call a recipe for liberty.” He expressed alarm that conservative organizations at large had not latched onto that argument.

(Originally posted at http://www.preoccupiedterritory.com/nra-curiously-silent-on-rampant-guns-making-mideast-so-safe/)

Written by Thag

July 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

After Rocket Fire, Israel Retaliates Harshly Against Trees, Rocks

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Lebanon rocket

One of the Lebanese rockets that fell short and landed short of Israel, relieving the IDF of the burden of having to target that bunch of shrubs with artillery in response.

Kiryat Shmonah, Israel, December 29 (AP) – One of five rockets fired from Lebanon hit near this northern Israeli town today, and the IDF responded fiercely with dozens of artillery shells aimed at empty fields, rocky hillsides, and unpopulated cedar groves.

The impressive display of deterrence came amid heightened tensions along the border, where an Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese sniper earlier this month. Determined to demonstrate that any such aggression would be met by a firm, uncompromising answer, Israel boldly informed the UN force patrolling the border that it would not tolerate any such violations of sovereignty. The latest violence, which represents a significant escalation, have forced the IDF to showcase the lethality that further provocation would beget, and they did so by taking pains to minimize the lethality of the encounter.

“Israel has no interest in escalation of the situation,” said IDF spokesman Neville Chamberlain. “Our aim here is to demonstrate to Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army that violence against Israel or Israelis will be met with uncompromising avoidance of consequences that actually convey our seriousness.” He added that the units patrolling the border have been equipped with extra white flags in case any fighting breaks out.

The border has been more or less quiet since 2006, when Israel and Hezbollah fought to a standstill. Since then the Israel Defense Forces have studiously sought to prevent a recurrence, lest they be drawn into a conflict for which they have been trained and armed. During that conflict, Israel repeatedly tried to draw attention to the contrast between its own strategy and that of its adversary, pointing out that whereas Hezbollah had no compunction about aiming for civilian targets with its missiles, the Israeli military shied away from hitting targets that might contain actual human beings.

That conservative approach, says military analyst Dunkirk Beech, aims to avoid the sticky question of civilian casualties. Israel attracts opprobrium for any collateral damage, however unintentional, while its opponents openly target noncombatants while suffering no international consequences, diplomatic or otherwise. Accordingly, says Beech, the IDF has evolved a policy of harsh verbal retaliation for any threat to Israelis, coupled with the threat of even louder warnings. If that two-step deterrent system fails to forestall escalation, the Israeli military has no compunctions about terminating inanimate objects beyond the border with extreme prejudice.

A similar approach has characterized Israeli police activity in recent months, during which a war among organized crime syndicates has claimed the lives of criminals, bystanders, and law enforcement officials up and down Israel’s coastal towns and cities. In response to car bombs, drive-by shootings, and intimidation of policemen and prosecutors, police officials have made grand pronouncements about bringing the perpetrators to justice, while not actually having anything to show for their investigative work. As a result, suspects either avoid arrest entirely or are released for lack of evidence.

Written by Thag

December 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Nigerian Prince With Fortune To Give Away Laments Impostors

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Nigerian cookies

Lagos, Nigeria (AP) – Mgumbe Uwa, a member of the deposed Nigerian royal family, has found himself increasingly frustrated in attempts to give away millions of dollars to total strangers, as part of an effort to recover the royal fortune.

To Mr. Uwa’s amazement, there have been no takers on his offer of largess.

“I would gladly give anyone TEN MILLION DOLLARS,” said a visibly confused Uwa. “How about you?” he asked a reporter. “Can I give you TEN MILLION DOLLARS?”

The prince, whose family was deposed in a bloody coup, remains in hiding and cannot openly access the tens of millions of dollars in his bank accounts. He planned to convince someone overseas to accept a transfer into their account, figuring he could then spirit the money out of the country. But the plan hit an unexpected snag – complete and utter disinterest from all potential recipients of the money.

“I just can’t understand it,” said the baffled Uwa. “Any one of the people whom I SPECIALLY SELECTED for their TRUSTWORTHINESS could GET RICH QUICK, if they would only ACT IMMEDIATELY IN COMPLETE CONFIDENCE. But nothing.”

“And here I am, knowing that the entire FORTUNE of my late father, his EXCELLENCY KING UWA IV, is just sitting there in that SECRET TAX-FREE account. I feel like such an idiot.”

Mr. Uwa began sending out discreet mailings to everyday Americans and Europeans, hoping to locate someone willing to accept the cash into their account, and to keep a sizable cut of the money. Assuming that the country’s secret police would be unlikely to examine bank records of ordinary people, as opposed to prominent individuals with ties to the old regime, he set out to give away a veritable windfall – so far, without success.

Despite the setbacks, Mr. Uwa remained hopeful, even expanding his efforts to include other assets.

“I recently had the GOOD FORTUNE to have my numbers come up in the UK LOTTO. Foreign nationals are not eligible, so in exchange for a small advance payment, I am happy to bequeath a SUBSTANTIAL SHARE of this GREAT WEALTH to somebody. Anybody.”

Written by Thag

December 26, 2013 at 2:58 pm

De Blasio’s First Move: Shoot-To-Kill Dog Owners Who Fail To Clean Up

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dog poopNew York (AP) – New York City mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has announced that his first move as Mayor on the first of January will be to empower New York City Police and concerned citizens to shoot the owners of dogs that leave excrement on the ground and neglect to clean it up within minutes.

De Blasio called a press conference this morning to publicize his intention and to give New Yorkers notice of the impending policy change. Until now, dog owners and walkers have been subject to fines of up to $500 for the violation, but de Blasio asserted that he has received unending complaints from residents of all five boroughs that canine fecal matter can still regularly be found adorning various parts of the city. He hopes to gain City Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

November 20, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Scientists Still Unable To Explain Popularity Of Non-Chocolate Donuts

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jelly donutsCambridge, MA (AP) – Researchers at Harvard University have announced that despite a ten-year study involving physicists, chemists, biologists, and philosophers, they remain mystified by the phenomenon of non-chocolate donuts that people like.

The study examined sales patterns, manufacturing processes, anatomy, neurology, psychology, marketing, culinary history, genetics, molecular chemistry, and numerous aspects of the non-chocolate donut phenomenon and found themselves thwarted by the same enigma that stumped scientists nearly two decades earlier. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

November 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Video Arrested In Killing Of Radio Star

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broken guitarNew York (AP) – Police have detained a video in connection with the 1978 bludgeoning death of a radio star. The arrest comes after years of several self-proclaimed witnesses recounting the circumstances of the murder, but scant other evidence.

New York State’s statute of limitations does not apply to certain serious crimes including murder, so the time that has elapsed since the 1978 incident has no legal significance, but it may be the focus of efforts by the defendant to cast doubt on the reliability of the three key witnesses. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

October 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm