Sep. 25th, 2003

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based on a number of grounds which make absolutely no sense at all, but they can't come right out and say that they'll be international pariahs if they carry out their insane Sharia death penalty (death by stoning, mind you, for adultery - her correspondent was not scheduled to die, because despite the existence of DNA testing, the Sharia court took his word for it that he was not the father).

The rest of the world saved Amina Lawal by paying attention.

Imagine if we did it all the time.
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The dog with the largest ears in the world as recognised by the new 2004 Guiness Book of World Records, Mr Jeffries the Bassett Hound, is seen in this handout photo made available Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2003. Jeffries, whose ears measure 29.2 cm (11.5 in) lives with his owner, Phil Jeffries, in West Sussex, England. Mr Jeffries' full name is Knightsfollie Ladiesman and he is the grandson of Biggles, the face of Hush Puppies shoes. His ears are insured for 30,000 pounds ($47,800).

As near as I can tell, the only way to make this less avoidably ugly is to avoid it altogether.
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looks like the speech didn't go over quite as we'd hoped

The United Nations says it is cutting back its operations in Iraq amid a deteriorating security situation in the country.

"Today there remain 42 in Baghdad and 44 in the north of the country, and those numbers can be expected to shrink over the next few days," a spokesman for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told the French AFP news agency .

"This is not an evacuation, just a further downsizing, and the security situation in the country remains under constant review," he added.

The BBC's UN correspondent Greg Barrow says this decision was widely expected after a UN committee examining security in Iraq recommended to Mr Annan that all international staff should be pulled out.

In the absence of international staff, the UN will rely on more than 4,000 Iraqis to continue mainly humanitarian work.

That will soften the blow for Iraqi civilians who have come to rely even more heavily on the UN in the post war period, our correspondent says.

But UN officials acknowledge there is still likely to be a heavy political impact from this move.

Correspondents say the decision is a blow to United States' claims that the security situation in Iraq is under control, and is likely to undermine efforts by US President George W Bush to increase the UN role in Iraqi reconstruction...
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OK, fun is fun, but this time the RIAA went too far.

Throw your mind back to the first episode of WKRP.

Johnny Fever is sitting at the turntable, his mustache practically scraping the desk, listening to Mantovani or someone of that ilk performing the somewhat incredible feat of making Paul Anka's Having My Baby even worse than Paul Anka's version of Paul Anka's Having My Baby, and the new station manager comes in and tells him they're a rock station.

Johnny practically cut the record in half with the needle getting it off the turntable (remember turntables?) and put some real music on. A great moment in TV history.

Well, you're not going to see that ever, ever again, because the RIAA was charging so much for the rights to replay those songs in syndication that they've all been digitally removed and replaced with "generic" music.

Replaced, may I add, by the new owner of the rights to the episodes, Fox.

You people suck.

Like unto the singularity in the heart of the cosmic Hoover do you suck.

A lot, is what I'm getting at.

via boingboing
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If you can finish that sentence in a vaguely similar way, you don't have to read Maureen Dowd's column today.

Remember when she beat up on Clinton unmercifully for years because she didn't like pudgy older guys who got all tacky in their marriages until she started dating Michael Douglas?

Well, Catherine Zeta-Jones can bite our girl's butt. There's a new sheriff in town.

Let other reporters poke Mr. S. to see if he can go deep; I wanted to see if he can go light. At a cafe the other night, I asked Arnold if he's a metrosexual. Puffing on his stogie, he looked uncertain but intrigued.

Clearly Ah-nold doesn't read New York Magazine.

But, you know, he is buff.

Don't think that she's given up her Pulitzer-winning policy analysis, though.

He applies the sport's "visualization" method to politics: "When you lie down and you put 490 on the bench press, how do you know you can't do 500 except for trying it?"

Winsome, lose some.

I hear that nice Ted Olsen is still looking.
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Secretary of State Colin Powell tried on Thursday to explain away remarks on Iraq dating back to the beginning of the Bush administration, before the United States decided to invade Iraq.

Speaking in Cairo in February 2001, on his first Middle East trip, Powell said that Iraq had not developed "any significant capacity" in weapons of mass destruction and was not able to attack his neighbors with conventional weapons.

A Democratic congressional aide dug out his remarks this week and has circulated them to the media.

Asked why he changed his assessment, Powell said: "I didn't change my assessment... I did not say he (Iraqi President Saddam Hussein) didn't have weapons of mass destruction."

"He was a threat then. The extent of his holdings were yet to be determined. It was early in the administration and the fact of the matter is it was long before 9/11 (the date of the 2001 attacks on the United States)," he added.

There's glory for you!'

`I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs, they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'
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The largest ice shelf in the Arctic, a solid feature for 3,000 years, has broken up, scientists in the United States and Canada said on Monday.

They said the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, on the north coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada's Nunavut territory, broke into two main parts, themselves cut through with fissures. A freshwater lake drained into the sea, the researchers reported.

Large ice islands also calved off from the shelf and some are large enough to be dangerous to shipping and to drilling platforms in the Beaufort Sea.

Local warming of the climate is to blame, they said -- adding that they did not have the evidence needed to link the melting ice to the steady, planet-wide climate change known as global warming.
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