Yearly Archives: 2009

Afghanistan’s Only Pig Quarantined in Flu Fear

Afghanistan apparently has one pig. It lives in a zoo.

Afghanistan’s only known pig has been locked in a room, away from visitors to Kabul zoo where it normally grazes beside deer and goats, because people are worried it could infect them with the virus popularly known as swine flu.

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The Mormons Baptized Obama’s Mom

In 2008, the Mormon Church baptized President Obama’s mother posthumously. Which didn’t surprise me much. But apparently the baptism was against the Mormon religious code because the dead are only supposed to be baptized when a living, Mormon relative submits them for it. And here I thought they were just baptizing the entire human race will-nilly.

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Renegado, Mr. Tempest, and the Virgin Mary

 Renegado, Mr. Tempest, and the Virgin Mary

Lucha Libre wrestlers Renegado and Mr. Tempest look at an image of the Virgin Mary said to have appeared on a griddle at Las Palmas restaurant in Calexico. “I follow Our Lady of Guadalupe,” Mr. Tempest said after the viewing. “This is amazing. It’s a true miracle.

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VP and POTUS holding hands

Always fun: The White House Flickr stream. Here’s a picture of the President and Vice President holding hands.  VP and POTUS holding hands

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Fox & MSNBC on Specter

An event like Arlen Specter’s party switch really brings out the differences between Fox & MSNBC.

Here’s MSNBC:

Veteran Republican Sen. Arlen Specter abruptly switched parties Tuesday, a move intended to boost his chances of winning re-election next year but also pushed Democrats within one seat of a 60-vote supermajority they need to push President Barack Obama’s agenda through the Senate.

“This is a painful decision,” said Specter at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. “I know that I’m disappointing a lot of my friends and colleagues…the disappointment runs in both directions.”

And Fox:

Veteran GOP Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday he will switch political parties and run in the Democratic primary in 2010.

Republican voters had sent him to the Senate five times. But faced with the prospect of a strong challenge from conservative Pat Toomey in the GOP primary and the state trending Democratic, Specter issued a statement that he was going to jump ship.

“I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters,” Specter said at a news conference on Tuesday.

“I can understand their disappointment,” he continued. “I am also disappointed that so many in the party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides.”

Love Fox’s emphasis on how sad Specter is that Republicans hate him for being a total loser. Of course MSNBC pushes the notion that Republicans are jerks and they push nice guys around, but as a partisan, I’m ok with that.

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Obama learns from a Bush success

An interesting observation in David Broder’s column about Obama’s first 100 days. Whatever else you may say about Bush, he knew how to manage his schedule, and that’s one of the fundamental challenges of the Presidency.

Obama inherited a much-improved scheduling system from the first MBA president, George W. Bush, with an electronic calendar, stretching from the next day to the next month to the next year, available to senior staffers. Obama has continued Bush's pattern of weekly Saturday scheduling sessions, run by Emanuel; Alyssa Mastromonaco, the director of scheduling and advance; and Danielle Crutchfield, the president's own scheduler, and attended by other senior staffers. A daily early-morning scheduling huddle allows for fine-tuning.

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In defense of Twitter

Jason Kottke has a beautiful post defending Twitter from those who thinks it’s boring and narcissistic. Kottke perfectly confronts the attitude that those who Twitter about boring things mistakenly think the whole world is interested in what they had for breakfast.

People with that attitude completely miss the point of Twitter. They don’t get that there is a type of communication partway between private conversations and public announcements. Sometimes you say something about your dull life to your friends (who care a little bit about your dull life), and it’s something that you don’t mind if a non-friend listens in. In fact, it’s a great way for someone who only half-knows you to get to know you better. That’s what Twitter does. To put it another way: If you don’t want to hear about what I had for breakfast, why are you following my Twitter feed?

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Frog Eats Light

 Frog Eats Light
via Boing Boing

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Jury Uses Bible to Decide Whether to Execute

The Supreme Court upheld a decision from a jury that consulted the Bible.

Jurors reviewed a biblical passage relating that a murderer who used an iron object to kill “shall surely be put to death.” They were deciding whether to impose a death sentence on Khristian Oliver for fatally shooting and bludgeoning his victim with the barrel of a gun.

I’m fine with the Supreme Court’s decision. The jurors made their choice, and it has to be somewhat up to their own sense of morality, I guess. Still, I find it irritating that at least some of the jurors lacked the courage to make a moral choice on their own, rather than appealing to an ancient authority that also thinks working on a Sunday is punishable by death (per Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing:

Exodus 35:2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.

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Jackie Chan Isn’t Sure China Should Be Free

Yikes. Jackie Chan — heretofore, undeniably awesome — thinks perhaps China is better off without freedom:

“I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not,” Chan said. “I'm really confused now. If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic.”

Chan added: “I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want.”

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