Monthly Archives: February 2011

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Don’t get the plague from sleeping with your dog!

Dog newsThere’s a story in Wired.com which reports on two cases of bubonic plague (both victims recovered) in the state of Oregon. The individuals apparently caught the disease via infected fleas from their dog, which shared their bed.

Hmm. We live in New York City, in a residential area of Manhattan where the rate of dog ownership is tremendously high, based on how many dogs you see outside being walked at any given time. An especially high proportion of these dogs are small ones — poodles, pugs, terriers and the like. How many do you think sleep on their owners’ beds?

I guess this must be why we are awakened every morning by the chilling sounds of a clanging bell, the rolling wheels of a cart, and the grim and repetitive command: “Bring out your dead!” Continue reading Don’t get the plague from sleeping with your dog!

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Dolphins attempt to eat lost dog

Dog newsIn Marco Island, Florida, bloodthirsty bottlenose dolphins tried to devour an eleven year-old Doberman which had fallen into a canal.

Oh, alright: that’s not exactly how it’s being reported elsewhere, but who really knows? The Daily News headlines it as: “Dolphins help rescue lost dog after it gets stuck in canal.”

The senior-citizen Doberman, named Turbo, disappeared through an open gate at his home last Sunday night. His owner, Cindy Burnett, reported that she and her sons drove up and down searching for him, but he remained missing for 15 hours. Continue reading Dolphins attempt to eat lost dog

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Abortion billboard removed in New York City

The billboard is down, but the message has been sent, not least by all the attention given to the story in the media.

Anti-abortion billboardThe anti-abortion organization, Life Always, bought the space on the billboard, which featured a picture of a young African-American girl, and the statement, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.” The billboard was in the elite area of Manhattan known as SoHo, known for its expensive boutique stores, galleries and restaurants. A Planned Parenthood center is also nearby.

The statement on the billboard may have been in reference to recently-released figures which indicated that the rate of abortion amongst black women in New York is 59.8% (the overall rate amongst all pregnant women was more than 40%). Nationally, while African-Americans constitute about 13% of the U.S. population, they account for 30% of abortions in the country (Guttmacher Institute). The persistently high rates of abortion amongst black women in America has led some to characterize the phenomenon as a silent genocide. Continue reading Abortion billboard removed in New York City

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Official state gun of Arizona

ColtThe state of Utah actually kicked things off a month ago, with a bill to designate the Browning M1911 semiautomatic pistol as that state’s official state gun. Utah would be the first state to have an official firearm. Now, there’s a proposal in neighboring Arizona to name the classic Colt single-action army revolver as the official gun of the Grand Canyon State (thanks to Mike for the tip). I must say that I do like the idea of going for an iconic firearm of the American West like that one. Continue reading Official state gun of Arizona

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Bono Talks Jesus Christ

Via BabyBlueOnline, this is an extract from the book Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayasin which Bono of U2 is responding to questions about his faith:

Assayas: That’s a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it’s close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that farfetched?

Bono: No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I am God incarnate.” And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the “M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this. So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was the Messiah or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we’ve been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had “King of the Jews” on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I’m not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched.

The same has been said in countless different ways (often times highfalutin) before, and but Bono’s blunt and pithy way of handling the question cuts right to the heart in admirable and refreshing fashion. Good on ya, Mister Vox.


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Alert dog Coco saves herself, her owner, and her 8 puppies

Dog newsYou could call it the story of the heroic octomom. Ohio’s Fox 8 has reported on the turn of events in a town called Eastlake.

The location was a trailer occupied by a man named Paul Kirschstein and an unnamed roommate. They were both asleep. The man’s dog, Coco, who had just given birth to eight puppies about four days previously, jumped on Kirschstein’s bed and pushed him to wake him up. He noticed a haze Continue reading Alert dog Coco saves herself, her owner, and her 8 puppies

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Deaf dog learns sign language in prison

Dog newsNo, he wasn’t in prison for any crime, although, in a sense, he was in prison because he was deaf.

As reported in the Fulton Sun, a deaf Dachshund was given up by a breeder to a Missouri animal shelter. The shelter figured they would have a hard time finding a home for a deaf dog, so they enrolled him in a Missouri Department of Corrections program called “Puppies for Parole.” Continue reading Deaf dog learns sign language in prison

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Iowahawk, Joe Biden and High Speed Trains

Take the ingredients in the title above, mix them up, and you have a tantalizing recipe. From Iowahawk: Biden Vows to Jump Canyon by Amtrak. (Given the proclivity of Iowahawk‘s satire to become reality, it seems that the future will be fun, if, perhaps, short-lived.)

Standing on the rim of the gaping two-mile wide chasm of the Grand Canyon in a star-spangled jumpsuit, Joe Biden today announced a new $53 billion federal high speed rail program that will include funding for “SkyTrain X-2,” a new experimental locomotive that, if successful, will make him the first known U.S. Vice President to jump the Grand Canyon by rail.

“This is a big fucking deal – a big fucking deal,” explained Biden. “And I wouldn’t have volunteered for this mission if I didn’t have complete confidence in Amtrak, my good buddy [US Transportation Secretary] Ray LaHood, and Four Loko – the official energy drink of SkyTrain X-2.”

[…]

The $53 billion program announced today would begin with the building of a complex criss-crossing national rail network, the crown jewel of which will be the ‘Sustainability Express’ subterranean solar train, providing non-stop service between Wilmington, DE and Scranton, PA.

“When it is finished in 2046, it will shave nearly 15 minutes off the comparable driving time between Wilmington and Scranton,” boasted the Vice President.

Read it in its entirety.

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Breakthrough boosts U.S. oil supplies

A new drilling method is opening up enormous new fields of recoverable oil in the United States, within underground shale, according to the AP. The method is less expensive than deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and is predicted to boost domestic U.S. production by 20 – 40% within five years, producing 1 – 2 millon barrels of oil a day. This method of oil drilling is already producing oil in North Dakota and Texas, and other fields showing promise include some stretching beneath Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and California.


It’s really amazing what private industry and entrepreneurship can achieve. Some predict that this new method of recovering domestic oil, combined with some other factors, could reduce the U.S. need for foreign oil by 60%, by the year 2020. That’s good news for the country’s economy and for the country’s security.

And now the countdown begins to when the Obama administration’s EPA begins to throw obstacles in the way of this innovation …

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Rumsfeld Rules: Known and Unknown

Rumsfeld RulesI haven’t finished reading the book, so this is not a proper review, as such. But, based on leafing through this 815 page tome, and having now begun reading it properly from the beginning, it’s safe to say a few things about it right off the bat. It is a monumental work, quite unlike your average book from a political figure, memoir or otherwise.

I expect it will be characterized in the near term by critics based largely on political bias: Rumsfeld’s many enemies, both on the left and right, will give it short shrift. His friends — a subset of the political right in America — will laud it. Continue reading Rumsfeld Rules: Known and Unknown