Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pic(k) of the Day

Interesting Times Revisited

from Wiki:

On 31 August 1997, Diana died after a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris along with Dodi Al-Fayed and the acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris, Henri Paul, who was instructed to drive the hired Mercedes-Benz through Paris secretly eluding the paparazzi. Their black 1994 Mercedes-Benz S280 (registration no. 688 LTV 75) crashed into the thirteenth pillar of the tunnel. The two-lane tunnel was built without metal barriers in front of the pillars. None of the four occupants wore seat belts.

The paparazzi, who had been trailing the car, arrived at the Alma underpass at different stages. Serge Arnal, Christian Martinez and Stéphane Darmon appear to have arrived first, quickly followed by Serge Benhamou. Records supplied by mobile telephone operators Itinéris and SFR support Serge Arnal's claim that he attempted to call the emergency services. Film seized from the cameras of Christian Martinez and Serge Arnal showed that they were taking photographs of the car and/or the occupants almost immediately after arrival at the scene – there were no emergency services near the car visible in their photographs.

Pic(k) of the Day

Powerful Gustav hits Cuba; New Orleans evacuates

WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer

HAVANA (AP) - Hurricane Gustav roared into the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico on Sunday after destroying homes and roads in Cuba, and the mayor of New Orleans ordered residents to flee the ''storm of the century'' by morning.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Gustav weakened slightly but was expected to regain strength as it moves over warm waters toward the U.S. coast, possibly becoming a top-scale Category 5 hurricane later Sunday.

Forecasters upgraded a hurricane watch to a warning for over 500 miles (800 kilometers) of U.S. Gulf coast from Cameron, Louisiana, near the Texas border to the Alabama-Florida state line, meaning hurricane conditions are expected there within 24 hours.

Even after slowing to Category 3 status before sunrise Sunday, Gustav packed top winds near 120 mph (195 kph).

Gustav was just short of Category 5 strength when it made landfall Saturday on mainland Cuba near the community of Los Palacios in Pinar del Rio - a region that produces much of the tobacco used to make the nation's famed cigars.

At least 300,000 Cubans were evacuated from Gustav's path as screaming 140 mph (220 kph) winds toppled telephone poles and fruit trees, shattered windows and tore off the tin roofs of homes.

Cuban Civil defense chief Ana Isla said there were ''many people injured'' on Isla de la Juventud, an island of 87,000 people south of the mainland, but no reports of deaths. She said nearly all the island's roads were washed out and some regions were heavily flooded.

Read more here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pic(k) of the Day

Georgia, Russia sever diplomatic ties

The Georgian government broke off diplomatic relations with Russia on Friday, and Russia responded by doing the same.

It marks the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union that Russia had severed formal diplomatic ties with one of the 14 other autonomous republics that became independent states in 1991.

It was also a sign of ripples still being felt in post-Soviet politics after the war earlier this month over the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Adding to the tension, a lawmaker in South Ossetia said Friday that Russia intended to eventually absorb the province at the center of the war that broke out August 7 when Georgia sent troops into South Ossetia to wrest back control from separatists, prompting Russia to send in hundreds of tanks and troops.

The countries will retain consular offices on each other's territories, handling such matters as issuing passports and assisting their citizens with legal affairs, but the political ties will now be handled through intermediaries, a spokeswoman for the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.

Georgia is now in talks with several countries that may assume the role of representing Georgia in Moscow, the spokeswoman said, as, for example, the Swiss Embassy in Tehran represents US interests in Iran, a country the United States has no diplomatic relations with.

Read more here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Orleans begins evacuation as Gustav gains strength

Tropical Storm Gustav has regained hurricane strength as it churned toward Cuba, leaving 78 people dead in its wake, as New Orleans began voluntary evacuations ahead of the storm's projected arrival next week.

Jamaica awoke to a trail of devastation and reports that the storm killed as many as 11 people on the mountainous island, as people on the US Gulf Coast hurried storm preparations, exactly three years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said in a special bulletin that Gustav had regained hurricane force.

"Data from an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft indicate that Gustav has again become a hurricane, with maximum winds near 120 kilometres per hour," the Centre said.

The system ripped through the Dominican Republic and Haiti earlier this week, then thrashed Jamaica, beginning its rampage as a Category One hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale before weakening to a tropical storm.

Streets in the normally bustling capital city of Kingston were soaked and quiet, except for howling winds as Gustav's powerful gusts sent metal roofs flying, and threatened to wreak havoc on Jamaica's banana industry, officials said.

A few people in raincoats and boots tried to help motorists get stranded cars freed, as hundreds crowded into shelters.

"On this track the centre of Gustav will pass near or over the Cayman Islands later Friday, over the western portions of Cuba on Saturday and into the southern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday," the Hurricane Centre said.

With more than 11 million people, Cuba is extremely vulnerable to hurricanes, with most of its housing stock aged and in fragile condition.

Over 2 million people live in the capital, Havana, where many colonial era buildings, crowded with families, are prone to cave-in after heavy rains.

Authorities in Cuba, the Americas' only communist country, are famed for well organised evacuation operations but acknowledge the dangers precarious homes pose.

Anxiety also was mounting on the hurricane-ravaged US Gulf Coast on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Authorities in New Orleans began bussing out residents on a voluntary basis, and considered ordering mandatory evacuations to prevent a repeat of the devastation and deaths of 2005.

Louisiana and Mississippi have already declared states of emergency before Gustav's expected landfall late Monday, when it could strike as a major storm of Category Three of higher.

Katrina killed some 1,800 on the US Gulf Coast, most of them in New Orleans.

Read more here

Can't be gloom and doom all the time :)

An elderly man was walking through the French countryside, admiring the beautiful spring day, when over a hedgerow he spotted a young couple making love in a field. Getting over his initial shock he said to himself: "Ah,young love... ze spring time, ze air, ze flowers...
C'est magnifique!", and continued to watch, remembering the good old day's that he'd once enjoyed.

Suddenly he gasped and said: "Mais... Sacre bleu! Ze woman she is dead!," before heading off as fast as he could to the town to tell Jean, the police chief.

He arrived at the Police Station, out of breath, and shouted:
"Jean...Jean...zere is zis man, zis woman ... naked in farmer Gaston's field making love."

The police chief smiled and said: "Come, come, Henri you are not so old; remember ze young love, ze spring time, ze air, ze flowers?
Ah,L'amour! Zis is OK."

"Mais non! You do not understand; ze woman, she is dead!"

Upon hearing this, Jean, leapt up from his seat, rushed out of the station, jumped on his push-bike, pedalled down to the field, confirmed Henri's story, and pedalled all the way back (non-stop) to call the doctor.

He picked up the telephone and screamed: "Pierre, Pierre, ... this is Jean, I was in Gaston's field; zere is a young couple naked having sex."

To which Pierre replied,"Jean, I am a man of science. You must's spring, ze air, ze flowers, Ah, L'amour! Zis is very natural.

"Jean, still out of breath, grasped in reply: "NON, you do not understand; ze woman, she is dead!"

Hearing this, Pierre exclaimed: "Mon dieu!," grabbed his black medicine bag; stuffed in his thermometer, stethoscope, and other tools; jumped in his car; and drove like a madman down to Gaston's field.

After carefully examining the participants he drove calmly back to Henri and Jean, who were waiting at the station.
When he got there, went inside, smiled patiently, and said: "Ah, mes amis, do not worry. Ze woman, she is not dead, she is British"

Comedy Producer Geoffrey Perkins Killed In Accident

The former BBC TV head of comedy has died in a road accident in London.

Geoffrey Perkins, 55, worked for many years for BBC Radio, where he created the game Mornington Crescent in I'm Sorry Haven't a Clue.

He also produced the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, one of the most successful radio shows ever made.

He became head of comedy for BBC TV with highlights of his TV career including The Catherine Tate Show, The Fast Show and Channel 4's, Father Ted.

BBC director of vision Jana Bennett said she was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the news.

"Geoffrey Perkins was an outstanding creator of countless comedy hits on the BBC and elsewhere, and a very distinguished former BBC head of comedy.

"He embraced comedy talent to create unique programmes which will be enjoyed for a very long time to come. All of our thoughts are with Geoffrey's family at this very sad time."

He left his role as a BBC radio producer to work at Thames TV for a brief period.

His many television credits include Spitting Image, Saturday Night Live and Friday Night Live, The Harry Enfield Television Programme, which he also co-wrote, and Ben Elton - The Man From Auntie.

He produced the topical drama A Very Open Prison for BBC Two and the first series of the BAFTA award-winning Father Ted for Channel 4.

A writer, producer and performer, Mr Perkins became BBC TV's head of comedy in May 1995.

More Gay Zombies: Otto; or Up With Dead People

Visit the website.

When I See Kitties Fly

By Daily Mail Reporter

While most cats are renowned for having nine lives, these moggies are clearly living on a wing and a prayer.

The cute little devils began sprouting bumps on their backs, which later turned into wing-like growths, during a recent spell of hot weather in China's Sichuan province.

One cat owner, known only as Feng, claims her cat's wings are a result of stress after he was 'harassed' by females looking to mate.

'At first, they were just two bumps, but they started to grow quickly, and after a month there were two wings,' she told Huashang News.

'Many female cats in heat came to harass him, and then the wings started to grow.'

And while she says her lovable Tom is no devil, his wings, which contain bones, make him look more like a 'cat angel'.

But genetic experts claim there is nothing angelic or magical about the condition, which doesn't hinder the cat's quality of life.

They say the wings can form through poor grooming, a genetic defect or a hereditary skin condition.

McCain picks running mate

By Andrew Ward in Denver

John McCain sprung a surprise on Friday by picking Sarah Palin, the 44 year-old reform-minded governor of Alaska, as his vice-presidential running mate.

Ms Palin is a rising star among Republicans because of her solid conservative record but she could also help Mr McCain reach out to women and restore his maverick reputation.

She appeared alongside Mr McCain at a rally in the swing state of Ohio at noon on Friday before launching a tour of swing states ahead of next week’s Republican convention in Minnesota.

She was chosen ahead of several better-known contenders, including Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, and Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts.

The choice was bold and high-risk because of Ms Palin’s relative obscurity and inexperience, threatening to undermine Mr McCain’s strength on national security.

A spokesman for Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, said Mr McCain’s decision meant the issue of experience was now ”off the table”.

Bush Declares State Of Emergecy In Louisiana Ahead Of Gustav

By Darrell A. Hughes, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, days ahead of Tropical Storm Gustav's projected arrival in the Gulf Coast as a likely hurricane.

The president mandated that federal agencies assist and supplement state and local response efforts. Coordination efforts will be controlled via the Federal Emergency Management Agency and are set to begin from this point on until necessary, according to the White House.

"FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impact of the emergency," a White House statement read.

FEMA Administrator David Paulison named Michael J. Hall as the Federal Coordinating Officer for FEMA operations in the affected regions.

Michael Jackson turns 50, shadow of a superstar

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singer Michael Jackson turned 50 on Friday, a shadow of the superstar once known as the "King of Pop" whose records thrilled millions before his bizarre personal life eclipsed his musical brilliance.

Unlike Madonna's 50th birthday bash and launch of another world tour earlier this month, the singer who wishes he was Peter Pan appears to have no special celebrations planned and a much-touted musical comeback has so far come to nothing.

A semi-recluse since his harrowing 2005 trial and acquittal on child sex abuse, Jackson has been living out of the spotlight for the past few months.

In a telephone interview with ABC television program "Good Morning America," Jackson said he will "just have a little cake with my children and watch some cartoons," and he added that he feels "very wise and sage, but at the same time very young.

Recent pictures of Jackson in Las Vegas showed him dressed in pajamas and slippers, and one had him sitting in a wheelchair, wearing a surgical mask.

Interesting Times Revisited

On this date in 2005, Category 3 storm Hurricane Katrina attacks the Gulf coast with 145-mph winds. Cities in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are declared disaster areas. Parts of New Orleans are submerged, some residents are left to scramble to their rooftops awaiting rescue. News organizations report widespread panic and looting, crowds abandoned on elevated freeways, and rumors of rape in the Superdome.

Russian-backed militias looted and burnt Georgian villages

By Damien McElroy in Gori

Russian-backed paramilitaries have systematically burned and looted Georgian villages inside South Ossetia, according to victims and satellite pictures released by the United Nations.

The images, obtained by Human Rights Watch, show the wholesale destruction of five villages near the breakaway region's capital, Tskhinvali. But witnesses have told the Daily Telegraph that South Ossetian militias are conducting a much wider campaign, targeted on the local Georgian population.

People who have fled the five villages, where a total of 606 buildings were burned to the ground or severely damaged, say the area was being cleared to create an airstrip. "I don't think I will ever return," said Makvala Mindiashvili from Tamarasheni village, where satellite images show that 177 homes and other buildings were burned down. "They told me the villages, not five but nine in all, would be destroyed to create an airstrip for the Russians."

A Russian news agency yesterday reported that Moscow will sign a deal to position military bases in South Ossetia, perhaps as soon as Tuesday. The aim is to establish a buffer zone around the enclave's southern border. According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, 2,300 Georgians have been forced to flee this area.

"Recent returnees have told us that there is intimidation, beating and house burning by irregular militias," said Peter Kessler, a UNHCR spokesman. "In the buffer zone clearly there is a lack of policing at the very least. Ethnic Georgians are fleeing because they fear for their lives."

The lush valleys are most terrifying at night when armed men roam the villages. The groups are led by South Ossetian fighters loyal to the Moscow-backed regime. Victims say they include Russians along with Chechen and Cossack mercenaries.

Nicholoz and Sonia Choladze lived in the village of Zemoachbeti until it was raided and largely destroyed on Aug 22. Seven men burst through the vine trellis into their home. They stroked Mr Choladze's neck with the blunt end of a machete before vandalising the family's possessions.

Read more here.

Fritzl facing 3,000 rape charges

by John Dunne

Josef Fritzl, the Austrian who committed incest and locked up members of his family in a dungeon, is to face up to 3,000 rape charges at his three-day trial, it was ­revealed today.

Senior legal sources have revealed that he has admitted having sex with his daughter Elisabeth “two or three times a week” during the 24 years he kept her locked in a basement prison.

Fritzl, 74, could face a court as early as December under the ­Austrian legal system. Last week state prosecutors announced Fritzl’s trial would be heard in private, apart from opening formalities and sentencing. They expect to officially file formal charges by the end of October. Austrian newspaper Kurier said court officials believed it might be impossible to find enough jurors who have not already made up their minds about Fritzl’s guilt.

Read more here.

China wins race for Iraqi oil contracts

Simon Webb, Reuters

DUBAI - China crossed the line first in the race for big oil contracts in post-Saddam Iraq and has gained a head start over Western oil majors in the competition for future energy deals.

China's biggest oil company, state-run CNPC, agreed to a US$3-billion service contract with Iraq on Wednesday. The deal could set a precedent for terms that fall far short of the lucrative contracts the oil majors had hoped for as they jostled for access to the world's third-largest oil reserves.

Starved of investment since the Gulf War of 1990-91 and the subsquent U. S.-led invasion of 2003 that removed former President Saddam Hussein, Iraq holds some of the world's last large, cheap, untapped oil reservoirs.

"The biggest significance of this deal is that CNPC will benefit as the first international oil company to be developing one of the giant discovered oil fields in Iraq in the new era," said Alex Munton, an analyst at global consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Read more here.

Gay Zombies!

Barack Obama at the 2008 DNC

7 Years Tribulation: 9117YL

Track listing:

1. Hunting for Witches - Bloc Party
2. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - Smashing Pumpkins
3. My City of Ruins - Bruce Springsteen
4. Give Me Tired, Your Poor - James Horner
5. I Can't See New York - Tori Amos
6. Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton
7. Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen - Louis Armstrong
8. I Love New York - Madonna
9. The Long Road - Eddie Vedder
10. Wake Me Up When September Ends - Green Day
11. Baby Won't You Please Come Home - Bessie Smith
12. Self Evident - Ani Difranco
13. Leaving On a Jet Plane - Peter, Paul, and Mary
14. See You In September - The Happenings
15. Fragile - Sting
16. Lost - Annie Lennox
17. Song For the Lonely - Cher
18. We'll Meet Again - Johnny Cash

Pic(k) of the Day

Afghan spider forces Army family out of home

By Stephen Adams

Days after Rodney Griffiths returned home from a four-month tour of Helmand province with 16 Air Assault Brigade, the family's pet dog Bella mysteriously died.

Son Ricky, 16, then spotted the giant spider, prompting the soldier's wife Lorraine to move the family out of their four-bedroom army home in Colchester, Essex.

Mother-of-four Mrs Griffiths, 37, said: "Ricky saw a huge spider and screamed to his sister Cassie. They tried to put a pint-glass over it but it was too big, they poked it with a coat hanger and the spider bit it. The dog came in, jumped on the bed and barked at it. The spider hissed and Bella went running out whimpering."

Days later the family took Bella to the vet with a high temperature and swollen stomach. She had to be put down. Mrs Griffiths said she thought her death "too much of a coincidence" although the vet could not say why the dog died.

After scouring the internet for spider descriptions they decided the culprit was a camel spider.

She said: "I think it must have hitched a lift back with my husband in June."

Read more here

Thursday, August 28, 2008

US coast gets set amid storm fear

Fears of a major storm have prompted New Orleans to prepare evacuation plans, three years after the US city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Tropical storm Gustav, downgraded from a hurricane, has resulted in more than 20 deaths in Haiti, and is now heading towards Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Residents there have boarded up homes as forecasters warn the storm could return to hurricane strength by Friday.

Obama Sued in Philadelphia Federal Court on Grounds he is Constitutionally Ineligible for the Presidency

by Jeff Schreiber

A prominent Philadelphia attorney and Hillary Clinton supporter filed suit this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic National Committee and the Federal Election Commission. The action seeks an injunction preventing the senator from continuing his candidacy and a court order enjoining the DNC from nominating him next week, all on grounds that Sen. Obama is constitutionally ineligible to run for and hold the office of President of the United States.

Philip Berg, the filing attorney, is a former gubernatorial and senatorial candidate, former chair of the Democratic Party in Montgomery (PA) County, former member of the Democratic State Committee, and former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania. According to Berg, he filed the suit--just days before the DNC is to hold its nominating convention in Denver--for the health of the Democratic Party.

"I filed this action at this time," Berg stated, "to avoid the obvious problems that will occur when the Republican Party raises these issues after Obama is nominated.".

Berg cited a number of unanswered questions regarding the Illinois senator's background, and in today's lawsuit maintained that Sen. Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen or that, if he ever was, he lost his citizenship when he was adopted in Indonesia. Berg also cites what he calls "dual loyalties" due to his citizenship and ties with Kenya and Indonesia.

Even if Sen. Obama can prove his U.S. citizenship, Berg stated, citing the senator's use of a birth certificate from the state of Hawaii verified as a forgery by three independent document forensic experts, the issue of "multi-citizenship with responsibilities owed to and allegiance to other countries" remains on the table.

In the lawsuit, Berg states that Sen. Obama was born in Kenya, and not in Hawaii as the senator maintains. Before giving birth, according to the lawsuit, Obama's mother traveled to Kenya with his father but was prevented from flying back to Hawaii because of the late stage of her pregnancy, "apparently a normal restriction to avoid births during a flight." As Sen. Obama's own paternal grandmother, half-brother and half-sister have also claimed, Berg maintains that Stanley Ann Dunham--Obama's mother--gave birth to little Barack in Kenya and subsequently flew to Hawaii to register the birth.

Read more here

Iraq and China Sign $3 Billion Oil Contract

By Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, August 29, 2008; Page A08

BAGHDAD, Aug. 28 -- Iraq and China signed a $3 billion deal this week to develop a large Iraqi oil field, the first major commercial oil contract here with a foreign company since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The 20-year agreement calls for the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. to begin producing 25,000 barrels of oil a day and gradually increase the output to 125,000 a day, said Asim Jihad, a spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry.

The contract revamps a deal the Chinese company had reached with Saddam Hussein in 1997 to develop the Ahdab oil field in Wasit province, south of Baghdad near the border with Iran. Unlike that deal, which called for China to share in the revenue, the current contract is based on a fixed-fee structure.

Read more here

Feds cuff blogger for Guns N' Roses leak

The FBI has arrested a 27-year-old American blogger for leaking some unreleased Guns N' Roses tunes to the internet.

According to The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times, the Feds cuffed Culver City, California's Kevin Cogill on Wednesday morning, two months after his web site Antiquiet served up nine tunes from "Chinese Democracy" - an album Axl Rose and various other people have been dawdling over for more than a decade.
In an arrest affidavit, Cogill admitted to streaming the tunes, and the Feds have accused him of violating US copyright law.

Yes, the tunes have since been removed from Cogill's site. But plenty of people have already done their listening/copying. The affidavit also says that Antiquiet received so much traffic when the songs were posted, it eventually crashed.

Clearly, an online "Chinese Democracy" leak poses a serious threat to Guns N' Roses and its label, Geffen Records. If web surfers actually hear the unreleased album, the mix n' match band can no longer maintain the illusion that it isn't complete shite.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Did Neo Cause 9/11 in The Matrix?

Written by Arya Ponto

The social networks are a-buzzin' today over this screen capture of Neo's passport from the first Matrix movie. Why is Neo's passport suddenly so popular, 9 years after the movie came out? Because some eagle-eyed nerd noticed that Neo's passport expires on—dun, dun, DUN—September 11th, 2001. Shocking!

Read more here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dungeon Children Will Not Testify in Dad's Trial

Josef Fritzl’s six kids kept for years in an Austrian dungeon will not be forced to testify in his trial, court officials announced Friday.

Wife Rosemarie, 69, will also be spared giving evidence.

Court boss Kurt Leitzenberger said: “They will not give statements. This decision is final.”

When asked what this would mean for the trial, he said: “The picture is almost complete anyway.

“Their statements might have helped us but most of it was clear from the beginning.”

Fritzl’s autumn trial will be held behind closed doors in Sankt Poelten, Austria.

The family’s lawyers warned this week they were too traumatized to give evidence.

Prosecutors insist statements from Fritzl’s daughter Elisabeth, 42 — who was caged as a sex slave for 24 years — will “provide enough evidence”.

But they had hoped her daughter Kerstin, 19, would help convict Fritzl, 74, for murder over the death of Elisabeth’s newborn.

South Ossetians happily loot village in Georgia

KEKHVI, Georgia: A chicken pecks at the charred corpse of man lying near a house that, like every other dwelling in Kekhvi, has been burned down.

Scenes of grotesque desolation mark this village in Georgia, yet it is a popular destination for at least one group: Looters in trucks and cars are still coming to take whatever they can find.

Most of Kekhvi's people fled as Russian troops advanced from the Moscow-backed separatist republic of South Ossetia into Georgia proper two weeks ago. The few who stayed now can do little but watch in fear as Ossetian men plunder the village, driven by opportunism and revenge.

"This is not looting, this is trophies," said Garik Meriyev, 32, a stubbled South Ossetian dressed in green camouflage pants, black baseball cap and dusty jackboots.

He and four other men in similar clothes loaded their yellow Russian-made minibus Saturday with metal pipes, timber and bricks taken from a burned down house.

Read more here.

Pic(k) of the Day

Kelly Bundy has lost her boobs

Actress Christina Applegate will continue shooting her TV series "Samantha Who?" as she undergoes reconstructive breast surgery following a double mastectomy.

The 36-year-old star revealed on Tuesday she had both breasts removed after being diagnosed with cancer last month.

Applegate, who was given the all clear following the operation, is now scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery over the next eight months.

A spokesperson for the star insists she will be "on a normal shooting schedule," adding that the procedure "is not affecting production."

Interesting Times Revisited

On this date in 1990, Saddam Hussein appears on Iraqi state television with a number of Western "guests" (actually hostages) to try to prevent the Gulf War.

Official: Obama picks Biden for VP

By LIZ SIDOTI and NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama selected Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware late Friday night to be his vice presidential running mate, according to a Democratic official, balancing his ticket with an older congressional veteran well-versed in foreign policy and defense issues.

Biden, 65, has twice sought the White House, and is a Catholic with blue-collar roots, a generally liberal voting record and a reputation as a long-winded orator.

Across more than 30 years in the Senate, he has served at various times not only as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee but also as head of the Judiciary Committee, with its jurisdiction over anti-crime legislation, Supreme Court nominees and Constitutional issues.

In selecting Biden, Obama passed over several other potential running mates, none more prominent than former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, his tenacious rival in dozens of primaries and caucuses.

Read more here

Russia keeps Georgia positions, US and France call for withdrawal

by Michael Mainville

TBILISI (AFP) - Russian soldiers were still holding key positions inside Georgia on Saturday, a day after Moscow pulled out most of its troops, as the United States and France called for further withdrawals.

Two weeks after rolling into the former Soviet republic, several columns of Russian tanks and troops withdrew Friday from deep inside Georgian territory and allowed Georgian police to regain control of the key city of Gori .

But a top general said strategic routes would remain occupied and some 500 "peacekeepers" were to remain in a buffer zone around the Moscow-controlled separatist region of South Ossetia.

"The pullback of Russian troops and units passed without incident and was completed on time" at 7:50 pm (1550 GMT), Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in a statement released by the Kremlin.

Read more here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dungeon monster Fritzl trial in private


DUNGEON incest monster Josef Fritzl’s trial will be held behind closed doors, a court official revealed yesterday.
The public and press will “quite certainly” be excluded to protect his victims in Sankt Poelten, Austria, he said.

It means the full story of how Fritzl kept daughter Elisabeth caged as a sex slave for 24 years may never be known.

Elisabeth, 42, had seven children by her evil father, 74.

Three were taken to live upstairs with Fritzl and wife Rosemarie, 69.

The others — Kerstin, 19, Stefan, 18, and Felix, five — were held in the cellar with their mum at the home in Amstetten.

Most evidence will be from Elisabeth on video.

It is not known if the cellar children will testify, when the trial will start or the charges.

The public will be allowed in only for the formal start — set to last three days — and after the verdicts.

One Austrian legal expert said: “The authorities want to protect Elisabeth and her children and stop the trial from becoming some sort of ghoulish daily freak show.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Georgia leader says Russians not pulling back

By ANDREW E. KRAMER New York Times

TBILISI, GEORGIA — A day before Russian forces were to pull back from positions inside Georgia under a self-declared deadline, Georgia's president said Thursday he saw "very little if any movement" of troops from occupied areas.

Speaking beside a visiting American general in Tbilisi to show support for the Georgian government and coordinate humanitarian aid, Mikheil Saakashvili said in some cases Russian forces had advanced farther into Georgia on Thursday and had "been taking over additional sites in my country."

Read more here.
US troops could be withdrawn from Iraq's cities by the middle of next year under a new security deal being hammered out by the American and Iraqi Governments.

The security deal will come into effect when the United Nations mandate governing military operations in Iraq expires at the end of the year.

The new agreement will set out a broad withdrawal timetable for US troops.

The first stage would have them leaving Iraq's big cities by the middle of next year and out of the country altogether by 2011.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who made a surprise visit to Baghdad overnight, says the new deal has been made possible by the success of the so-called military surge.

"The reason we are where we are today is that the surge worked. Iraqi forces have demonstrated that they are strong and getting stronger," she said.

The US and Iraq hope to sign the new deal within the next few months.

Pic(k) of the Day

Speculation on Biden as Obama vp choice

WASHINGTON: With Barack Obama expected to announce his vice presidential pick by Saturday, speculation that Joe Biden — the Senate's top Democratic foreign policy expert — will be his nominee highlights fears that the presidential candidate's inexperience in world affairs compared to Republican John McCain could be costing him in the polls.

Obama, a relative newcomer on the national political scene, made history by becoming the first black candidate to lead a major U.S. political party's presidential ticket. But he has endured a hammering by McCain, a veteran Arizona senator, combat pilot and former Vietnam prisoner of war, over what Republicans contend is his lack of national security experience.

The Illinois senator has remained quiet about his vice presidential pick. But he plans to appear with his running mate Saturday, after the pick is announced via text message to supporters and two days before the start of the party's national convention.

He also is believed to be considering Govs. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas and Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.

Russia blocks port city as deadline looms

Troops set up new mortars, dig trenches near Poti despite pullback pledge.

POTI, Georgia - Russian forces blocked the only land entrance to Georgia's main port city on Thursday, a day before Russia promised to complete a troop pullout from its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Armored personnel carriers and troop trucks blocked the bridge to the Black Sea port city of Poti, and Russian forces excavated trenches and set up mortars facing the city. Another group of APCs and trucks were positioned in a nearby wooded area.

Although Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has promised that his forces would pull back by Friday, Russian troops appear to be digging in, raising concern about whether Moscow is aiming for a lengthy occupation of its small, pro-Western neighbor.

Read more here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Monster Summer Fun

The Canadian Press

FORT CHIPEWYAN, Alta. — Information about a mutated fish caught downstream from Alberta’s oilsands region will be sent to a joint government-industry group that monitors the health of rivers and lakes.

The 2.5-kilogram goldeye caught last week in Lake Athabasca has two mouths, one beneath the other.

Two boys pointed the deformed fish out to Stuart Macmillan, Parks Canada’s manager of resource conservation at Wood Buffalo National Park, who studied it before handing it over to the Mikesew First Nation.

“We had just pulled up to the dock and some kids came over and said, `Hey, we’ve got a fish over here with two mouths,” Macmillan said Tuesday.

“It was really unusual. The fish has an obvious abnormality. I had never seen anything like that myself before. I can’t speculate on what might have caused it.”

Read more here.

Louis Gerstner Will Retire as Chairman, Become Senior Advisor to Buyout Funds

August 19, 2008

Washington, DC – Global private equity firm The Carlyle Group today announced that Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. will retire as Chairman, a post held since January 2003, and become a Senior Advisor to Carlyle’s Asia, Europe, Japan and U.S. buyouts funds, effective September 30, 2008. A successor has not been named.

Carlyle Co-founder Daniel A. D’Aniello said, “Lou joined Carlyle at a critical time in our global growth and development, helping us to institutionalize and mature key aspects of the firm. As Lou reduces his overall role, we are grateful that he will move into a Senior Advisor position focusing on our major buyout funds. Lou’s decades of operational experience at the pinnacle of the corporate world have been critical to our buyout decision making these past five years and thankfully we will continue to benefit from his wisdom and counsel.”

Mr. Gerstner said, “Initially, I committed to be Chairman of Carlyle for one year. But year after year I continued to be impressed with Carlyle’s value creation model and its efforts to globalize the firm. However, at this point in my life, I have a number of goals and interests yet to fulfill, requiring me to step back at Carlyle. That said, I am pleased to continue my relationship with this remarkable organization in this more focused role advising Carlyle’s buyout funds.”

Prior to joining Carlyle, Mr. Gerstner was Chairman of IBM from 1993 to December 2002 and Chief Executive Officer of IBM from 1993 until March 2002.

Upcoming Music Compilations

1. 7 Years Tribulation: 9/11 7 Years Later (pre-production)
2. Untitled Halloween Compilation
3. Rainy Night on the Rocks II (the long awaited follow-up)
4. If I Should Die Before I Wake: Good Night and Sweet Dreams
5. What a Bitch: Anthems of the Bitch Brigade

So keep your eyes peeled!

Interesting Times Revisited

On this date in 1979, social studies teacher Albert Fentress of Poughkeepsie New York lures an 18-year-old boy into his basement, ties him up, murders him, and then cooks and devours the boy's genitals. Fentress is found totally nuts and is sentenced to psychiatric care.

Pic(k) of the Day

Russia blocks draft Security Council resolution on Georgia crisis

Russia has rejected a draft resolution circulated at the UN Security Council calling for an immediate withdrawal of its forces from Georgia, which Moscow said goes against the terms of a previous ceasefire agreement.

Russia has insisted its forces began leaving Georgian territory on Tuesday, following a cessation of fierce fighting that started on Aug. 7. But Moscow said any UN declaration should include the initial six-point plan brokered by France last week.

Georgian officials have accused Moscow of ignoring its obligations under a French-brokered agreement that both sides withdraw to positions held before fighting began 11 days ago when Georgian forces moved to retake control of the breakaway province of South Ossetia.

Read more here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

NATO-Russia feud erupts over Georgia conflict

MOSCOW: NATO-Russia relations plunged to their lowest point in years Tuesday over the conflict in Georgia and Russia's failure to withdraw from the former Soviet republic.

The Russian military took 21 Georgian soldiers prisoner in the latest flaring of tension in Georgia.

As Western criticism intensified, Moscow pulled its navy out of joint exercises with NATO, while foreign ministers from the alliance declared that "business as usual" would now be impossible.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer accused Russia of failing to respect a French-brokered peace plan requiring both sides to move troops back to their positions before Georgia launched an offensive on the separatist region of South Ossetia.

Read more here.

Iran launch troubling: US … Israel plays down concern

CRAWFORD, Texas (Agencies): The White House said Sunday that Iran’s announcement it had launched a home-built rocket into space was “troubling” because such technology could also be used for ballistic missiles. “The Iranian development and testing of rockets is troubling and raises further questions about their intentions,” spokesman Gordon Johndroe said as US President George W. Bush spent time on his Texas ranch. “This action and dual use possibilities for their ballistic missile program have been a subject of IAEA discussions and are inconsistent with their UN Security Council obligations,” Johndroe said, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency — the UN nuclear watchdog. He spoke after Tehran said it had sent a home-built rocket carrying a dummy satellite into space on Sunday, in a move that could further exacerbate tensions with the West over its nuclear drive.

“The Safir (Ambassador) rocket was successfully launched. All its systems ... are Iranian made,” Reza Taghipour, head of Iran’s space agency, told state television, adding that a “test satellite was put into orbit.” “We have paved the way for placing a satellite in space in future,” state television said, showing images of the pre-dawn rocket launch. Western governments suspect Iran is trying to build an atomic weapon and have voiced concern that the technology used in the Islamic republic’s space program could be diverted to military use, claims denied by Tehran. Sunday’s development came amid an international standoff over Tehran’s long-standing refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a process which makes nuclear fuel but also the core of an atomic bomb.

Read more here

In Battered Villages, Georgians Speak, if They Dare


KARALETI, Georgia — The young Georgian woman stood behind the entrance of a darkened home. Only her dark brown eyes were visible, peering from a mail slot at strangers walking toward the door.

“Peaceful people!” she cried in relief, and swung the door inward, revealing two families standing in the shadows of their looted home. They had little food. Their house had been ransacked.

For more than a week, the villages on the roads running south from Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, some 20 miles to Gori, a central Georgian city now under Russian occupation, have been a corridor of grief, violence and crime.

Read more here.

9-1-1 0n 9/11

Interesting Times Revisited

On this date in 1895, American frontier murderer and outlaw, John Wesley Hardin, is killed by an off-duty policeman in a saloon in El Paso, Texas.

NATO warns Russia on ties, offers Georgia support

NATO allies say that regular contacts with Russia is impossible until its troops are fully withdrawn from Georgia, and say they were "seriously considering" the implications of Moscow's actions.

"We have determined that we cannot continue with business as usual," the 26 NATO states said in a joint declaration after emergency talks in Brussels over the South Ossetia conflict.

Separately, they agreed to set up a new forum known as a NATO-Georgia Commission to deepen ties with Tbilisi.

NATO secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a news conference it would function along similar lines to an 11-year-old arrangement with Ukraine but would not prejudge Georgia's prospects of entering the alliance.

Read more here.

Much at stake in Russia-Georgia conflict

By Charles Krauthammer

The Russia-Georgia cease-fire brokered by France's president is less than meets the eye. Its terms keep moving as the Russian army keeps moving. Russia has since occupied Gori (appropriately, Stalin's birthplace), effectively cutting Georgia in two. The road to the capital, Tbilisi, is open, but apparently Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has temporarily chosen to seek his objectives through military pressure and Western acquiescence rather than by naked occupation.

His objectives are clear. They go beyond detaching South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia and absorbing them into Russia. They go beyond destroying the Georgian army, leaving the country at Russia's mercy.

The real objective is the Finlandization of Georgia through the removal of President Mikheil Saakashvili and his replacement by a Russian puppet.

Read more here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Georgia, Russia, and Iraq?

Georgia’s borders on the Black Sea, surrounded from the north, east and south, by four countries Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia and Turkey.

From Azerbaijan, through Russia to Europe are the “corridors of power”, where the energy line passes via the Russian territory, across Georgian territory to Turkey (then to Europe) or to the Black Sea.

It is in the EU interest that “corridors of power” via the Georgian territory to stay safe and secure, and the need for the Russia’s oil and gas, is the strength of the “Russian defense” that the EU will not take the Georgian side.

The U.S. knows this, to “liberate” the EU from the Russian oil and gas, and will dominates the oil and gas export to the EU with Nabucco line (3300 kilometers), which will start in 2010 and become operational year 2013.

Read more here.

Pic(k) of the Day

Me & My Sister

Ash : hey
zachbosch1979: hey there
Ash : what are you up to?
zachbosch1979: just woke up
Ash : ahhh
zachbosch1979: watching Girls Behaving Badly
Ash : I love that show!
zachbosch1979: it's on right now
zachbosch1979: i love it too
Ash : I'm about to post to the game
zachbosch1979: yay
zachbosch1979: i need to do some work on it tonight
zachbosch1979: how's the rest of your day been?
Ash : exhausting
zachbosch1979: i can imagine
Ash : Jackie and Jessica got into a huge fight this morning
Ash : about Jessica moving to Hermitage
Ash : and they were not speaking
Ash : yet...they were both here
zachbosch1979: Jessica is moving to Hermiatge
Ash : yes, in August
zachbosch1979: it's an all right place to live
Ash : yes, she's very excited about it
zachbosch1979: but Jackie doesn't want her to go
Ash : nope, but Jesse told Jessica that he would help her out with
money and stuff
zachbosch1979: well she's old enought now
Ash : and that royally pissed Jackie off
zachbosch1979: lol
Ash : so jackie told Jessica all kinds of bad stuff about Jesse
Ash : like how he knocked some girl up when he was twelve?
zachbosch1979: huh?
zachbosch1979: omg
Ash : you didn't know?
Ash : anyway, it totally crushed Jessica
zachbosch1979: my my
Ash : she called mamma squalling while we were at your house
zachbosch1979: that was kinda of evil-ass-bitch of Jackie wasn't it?
Ash : which was a really bitchy and immature thing for jackie to do
zachbosch1979: lol
zachbosch1979: at the exact same time...
Ash : ...
Ash : we are so weird
Ash :
zachbosch1979: sounds to me like Jessica going to Hermitage would be
the healthiest thing all the way around
zachbosch1979: for everybody
Ash : for sure
zachbosch1979: is Crystal feeling better?
Ash : she's asleep
Ash : so I guess
zachbosch1979: sorry
zachbosch1979: i hope she wasn't too pissed off
zachbosch1979: i felt bad but at the same time
zachbosch1979: we hadn't even talked at all
Ash : annoyed?
Ash : yeah, I know what you mean
zachbosch1979: it felt like the minute we said anything to each other
she got angry
zachbosch1979: but then agian, i have no idea what it's like to be
pregnant, so i'll just shut up now
zachbosch1979: hee hee
Ash : lol
Ash : right now I'm looking for new wallpapers for my computer
Ash : specifically fantasy, which is kinda hard considering
Ash : fanasy usually equals nekkid ladies
zachbosch1979: i have a nekkid lady for a wallpaper right now
Ash : still there?
Ash : really?
zachbosch1979: umm-hmm
zachbosch1979: it's cordelia naked as they day she was born
Ash : your joking
zachbosch1979: no
Ash : no, no, of course you aren't
zachbosch1979: hee hee
Ash : hey, have you ever heard of the band 'Breaking Benjamin'?
zachbosch1979: i think so
Ash : I'm going to see them in concert
Ash : they sing So Cold
zachbosch1979: really?
zachbosch1979: ah yes
Ash : yes, with Jamie
zachbosch1979: wow
zachbosch1979: sounds fun
Ash : I'm hoping so
zachbosch1979: sorry if i'm slow
Ash : s'okay
zachbosch1979: checking email at the same time
zachbosch1979: have you heard of the weakertnas
zachbosch1979: WeakerThans
Ash : only in the where's Dawn post you wrote
zachbosch1979: hee hee
zachbosch1979: they're great
zachbosch1979: i've been wearing their CD out
Ash : cool, what kinda music are they?
zachbosch1979: post modern punk pop
Ash : rockin'
zachbosch1979: they do
zachbosch1979: brb
Ash : kay
zachbosch1979: back now
Ash : excellent
zachbosch1979: yay
zachbosch1979: do you wanna see pics of Cordelia naked
Ash : I'm looking at Disney wallpapers
zachbosch1979: two topics totally unrelated
Ash : why would I want to see cordelia naked?
zachbosch1979: it's weird
zachbosch1979: really really weird
Ash : seeing cordy naked?
zachbosch1979: yep
zachbosch1979: actually it's a really cool site
zachbosch1979: not having anything to do with cordy being naked
zachbosch1979: all kinds of updates and pics on all the buffy actors
and stuff
Ash : cool
zachbosch1979: it's where i found out about the animated series
Ash : who did Vincent Kartheiser play on Angel?
zachbosch1979: um
zachbosch1979: not sure
zachbosch1979: who is vincent kartheiser
Ash : I'm sooo totally, like, in loooovvvee with him
Ash : lemmme see
Ash : he was in that Paradise movie with James woods and Melanie
Ash : wait
Ash : how do I put the link in YM?
zachbosch1979: hm
zachbosch1979: i just type it out
Ash : screw that
zachbosch1979: or copy it from an address window
Ash : okay, have you ever seen Crime and Punishment in Suburbia?
zachbosch1979: nope
Ash : really? that's the coolest movie ever
Ash : I absolutely recommend it
zachbosch1979: cool beans
Ash : okay, well, like four or five years ago
zachbosch1979: hey
Ash : yeah?
zachbosch1979: i know who he is now
Ash : who?
zachbosch1979: connor
Ash : that's a really bad pic of him
Ash : but, yeah that's him
Ash : Who was Conner?
zachbosch1979: connor was angel's son
Ash : ahhh
zachbosch1979: and father of cordelia's demon antichrist child
Ash : that was evil?
zachbosch1979: kind of
Ash : oh, yes that's right
zachbosch1979: he was a cool character
Ash : cordelia had sex with Angel's son?
zachbosch1979: yep
zachbosch1979: grogy huh
zachbosch1979: the she got pregnant with Jasmine
Ash : huh
zachbosch1979: still there?
zachbosch1979: hey there
zachbosch1979: are you there?
Ash : hey, sorry about that
zachbosch1979: it's ok
Ash : yeah, my computer shut off for some mysterious reason
zachbosch1979: hmmmmmmmmmmm
Ash : do me a favor?
zachbosch1979: yep
Ash : save this conversation after we are through, and send it to me
zachbosch1979: ok
zachbosch1979: easy to do
Ash : excellent
zachbosch1979: do you know who that is ----->
Ash : no
zachbosch1979: dawn
Ash : .....
zachbosch1979: ......
Ash : okay, we are not seeing the same thing
zachbosch1979: what do you see
Ash : it is an icon that says select an album
zachbosch1979: oh
zachbosch1979: click it
Ash : with some misc. photos
Ash : it says I have no photo collection
zachbosch1979: really
Ash : but it is missing the point
Ash : I don't want to share any photos, just see yours
Ash : do whatever you did again
zachbosch1979: ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Ash : maybe cause my computer went off, it freaked up
Ash : ...
Ash : Is that all you did?
zachbosch1979: yep
zachbosch1979: what do you see now
Ash : same thing
zachbosch1979: it says its waiting for you to accept
Ash : *mystified* how do I accept?
zachbosch1979: i guess click share photos
Ash : I'm making an album
Ash : maybe that will make it work
zachbosch1979: AH
Ash : apperently not
Ash : whee
Ash : are you there?
zachbosch1979: yep
zachbosch1979: did it work
Ash : ....
zachbosch1979: i tried to resend the invite
Ash : don't you see my pic?
zachbosch1979: apparently not
Ash : damn it
zachbosch1979: this is fucked up
Ash : you click share albums
Ash : did you click it?
Ash : you even there?
zachbosch1979: yep
zachbosch1979: trying to get back
zachbosch1979: is it working now
Ash : Is it?
zachbosch1979: where is the share albums thingy
Ash : ------------------->
Ash : it should be over there
Ash : oh, oh wait
Ash : click photos on the toolbar
Ash : then click share an album
zachbosch1979: nothing happened
Ash : okay, do you still have the Yahoo! Photos thing on the right
side of the page?
Ash : the notebook looking thing?
zachbosch1979: yes
Ash : okay, let's both just close that, since it doen't work
Ash : you close it?
zachbosch1979: yes
Ash : okay, now try clicking that in the toolbar again
zachbosch1979: kay
Ash : goddamn it
Ash : okay, click select an album
zachbosch1979: kay
Ash : what happened?
zachbosch1979: two folders came up
zachbosch1979: the one i made and one with a pic of me and daniel
zachbosch1979: i click the one i made?
Ash : yes
zachbosch1979: done
Ash : HURRAY!!!!
zachbosch1979: hurray
zachbosch1979: so where are yours
Ash : WE DID IT!!!
Ash : ....
zachbosch1979: ok
zachbosch1979: so who is that?
zachbosch1979: it's dawn!!!!!!
Ash : yay!
Ash : she's so little!
zachbosch1979: i know
zachbosch1979: it's from clarissa explains it all
Ash : when was Dawn on that?
zachbosch1979: not sure
zachbosch1979: her name was elsie on the show
Ash : cool
zachbosch1979: thats faith
Ash : how recent was that pic, do you know?
zachbosch1979: faith
zachbosch1979: not sure
Ash : I thought she was a little chubby in the last season
zachbosch1979: she was
zachbosch1979: i noticed that too
Ash : But I've seen recent pics of her, and she's not chubby at all
Ash : and it always made me wonder
zachbosch1979: wonder what?
Ash : like if they made her put the weight on
zachbosch1979: ah
Ash : to look 'world weary' or something
zachbosch1979: maybe
zachbosch1979: i thought she was pregnant at first
Ash : That would have been a twist
Ash : hey!
zachbosch1979: hey
Ash : Michelle Trachtenberg was born in 1985
Ash : she's my age
zachbosch1979: same as you
Ash : whee, that makes playing her so much more cool
zachbosch1979: yay
zachbosch1979: brb
Ash : kay
zachbosch1979: back now
Ash : yay
zachbosch1979: hurray
Your Photos are now being shared with Ash .

zachbosch1979: huh
zachbosch1979: i can't add photos?
zachbosch1979: that sucks
Ash : majorly
Ash : hey, I think I'm going to turn my computer off
Ash : It's acting funny
zachbosch1979: mine too
zachbosch1979: maybe the storm
zachbosch1979: i'll send the conversation though
Ash : oh, yeah
Ash : yay
zachbosch1979: kay
zachbosch1979: love you
Ash : love you too
zachbosch1979: night
Ash : goodnight

Russia says troops withdrawing from Georgia

Moscow/Tbilisi, Georgia - Russia's military pledged to begin a withdrawal from Georgia on Monday, but late in the day there was no sign of a pullout on the ground.

Under a French-brokered ceasefire, President Dmitry Medvedev promised his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, that Russian troops would start moving out by noon.

Medvedev arrived late Monday in the Russian city of Vladikavkaz, the headquarters of Russia's 58th army now deployed in South Ossetia and Georgia.

But a Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa journalist said Russian troops were entrenched at checkpoints along the east-west highway from Tbilisi to the strategic town of Gori, just 10 kilometres from the border of the separatist region of South Ossetia, ripped apart by 10 days of fighting.

Interesting Times Revisited

On this date in 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair ended in Sullivan County, N.Y., with a mid-morning set performed by Jimi Hendrix.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to resign

Associated Press Writer
Published Monday, August 18, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — President Pervez Musharraf announced Monday he was resigning to avoid an impeachment battle with Pakistan's ruling coalition that would harm the nation.

Musharraf said in a televised speech that he will turn in his resignation to the National Assembly speaker later Monday. He said he leaves office knowing whatever he has done "was for the people and for the country."

"I hope the nation and the people will forgive my mistakes," Musharraf said.

Read more here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Georgia: Russian military entrench themselves deeper

By Adrian Blomfield in Gori

Far from pulling out, Russian military units are entrenching themselves in new positions deeper into Georgia.

Trenches have been dug and tanks, camouflaged with tree branches, are scattered through fields and in forests ever closer to the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

In the town of Gori, under occupation for a fifth day, residents are cut off from the outside world and running short of food. Orthodox priests handed out a loaf of bread to each of the few remaining residents in the eerily deserted town.

"When is it going to stop?" said Rusudan Kardzikidze, a 78-year-old pensioner. "When are they going to leave?"

Justified by Russian claims of atrocities committed by Georgia in the provocative advance through breakaway South Ossetia that provoked the conflict, the reprisals in Gori have been swift and brutal.

John Lennon's killer denied parole for fifth time

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mark David Chapman, imprisoned for murdering former Beatle John Lennon in New York nearly 28 years ago, has been denied parole for a fifth time, state authorities said on Tuesday.

The New York State Division of Parole said in a statement that the 53-year-old's request for parole was denied "due to concern for the public safety and welfare."

Chapman is serving a sentence of 20 years to life for shooting and killing Lennon as he and his wife, Yoko Ono, arrived at their apartment building on December 8, 1980.

Read more here.

Iran has war evacuation plan in place


Iranian officials have drawn up a contingency plan to evacuate foreign visitors - including Bahrainis - if there is an outbreak of war with the US or Israel, according to a Bahraini travel operator.However, a looming crisis over the nuclear standoff has done little to deter Bahrainis making their regular pilgrimage to religious sites in Iran.

While the global media speculates about a potential nuclear war, some travel operators say they have seen a 50 per cent surge in the number of Bahraini pilgrims making the trip to the Persian state.

Read more here.

A Cozy Basement for 5

A shocking image of Elisabeth Fritzl – the 42-year-old victim of Austria's worst recorded case of multiple rape and incest – was published yesterday. It shows an elderly looking woman with crudely cut hair that has turned completely grey. She has a deeply-lined face and tight lips which, doctors say, conceal a mouth full of badly decaying teeth. The drawing, published by the Austrian media, is said to be an "accurate artist's impression" of Elisabeth, based on interviews with doctors and police who have been caring for her since she escaped from the underground cell in which she was held captive for 24 years.

Elisabeth has not been seen in public since she was imprisoned in a windowless bunker beneath her father Josef's garden in 1984 and forced to become his sex slave. Fritzl, 73, who was arrested after apparently confessing to his crimes at the weekend, is in custody pending his trial.

Read more here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Interesting Times Revisited

On this day in history, Elvis Presley died in his home at the age of 42, while sitting on the toilet. In the bathroom, he had been reading The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus.

Yet again, CGI is taking over our lives

Footprint fireworks broadcast from the Olympics' opening ceremony turned out to be the months-long work of CGI masters, and now the team behind the real fireworks are coming clean about what went down in the China sky.

We love fireworks, but from now on, will we have to see them in person to believe them? This weekend, a Chinese newspaper broke the story that some of the fireworks footage from the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony was prepared digitally in advance of the broadcast. The Beijing Times reported that the recording of 29 firework footprints walking across the Beijing sky was computer-generated and prepared months—yes, months—ahead of time by deft CGI programmers. The fireworks in question were actually fired off that evening, and a few of them even made it into the broadcast. But because the Beijing Organizing Committee knew that filming fireworks progressing across the city sky would be a logistical and security nightmare, it didn't assign a helicopter to follow the footprints as they ignited. Most of the footprint fireworks that the television audience saw at home (and on screens inside the stadium) were prepared in advance on a computer.

There's some controversy now as to whether NBC, which broadcast the ceremony 12 hours after it happened, properly informed viewers that they were not, in fact, watching real fireworks in what was one of the most highly rated programs of the year. At the time, host Matt Lauer called the footprints "almost animation," leading many to believe that the fireworks were trying to imitate animation by "walking" across the sky—not that what they were watching was physically animated. It's unclear how much the network actually knew at the time of the broadcast. NBC officials and technical crew members did not respond to multiple requests for comment this week.

Georgia accuses Russia of destroying bridge

TBILISI, Georgia (CNN) -- Georgia accused the Russian army of destroying a key railway bridge Saturday and starting massive fires in the scenic Borjomi Gorge, in violation of a new cease-fire agreement between the two countries.

Fighting that began last week has died down, but Russian forces remained within 25 miles (40 kilometers) of Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, on Saturday and were on the western front around the breakaway province of Abkhazia, according to CNN's Frederik Pleitgen.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday that the agreement calls for the "immediate withdrawal" of Russian troops from its neighbor's sovereign territory, but CNN correspondents reported significant Russian troop movements Saturday.

When asked about those reports, Rice responded Saturday, "The Russians perhaps are already not honoring their word."

However, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Saturday that the cease-fire seems to be holding. There don't seem to be any aggressive Russian actions occurring, he said.

Read more here

Spray-On Condoms?

Edison had his lightbulb, Ford had his Model T, and Jan Vinzenz Krause has his spray-on condom. Inspired by the mechanics of a drive-through car wash, the German sexual-health educator designed a custom-fitting male contraceptive using liquid latex and some materials from a hardware store. "I felt a little like MacGyver," he says of building the contraption.
As a teenager, Krause, now 30, had trouble finding the right size condom, which set him on a quest to aid other similarly befuddled young men. In 2001 he developed an online condom adviser, which provides printable measuring tapes and instructions to help men determine which condom, out of all the brands available in Germany, will fit the best. According to Krause, more than 300,000 people have used the free service.

The site's popularity put Krause in touch with students and sex-ed teachers across Germany, who expressed a common frustration. "They told me, 'Mr. Krause, I don't understand why the industry doesn't develop a condom which fits you perfectly,' " he says.

Hence his idea for a spray-on condom. The prototype, which began testing last year, consists of a hard plastic tube with nozzles that spray liquid latex from all directions, much like the water jets in the tunnel of a car wash. According to Krause, there are numerous advantages to his spray-on condom. "The condom fits 100% perfectly, so the safety is much higher than a standard condom's, and it feels more natural."

Read more here

How is NATO involved?

Washington hawks insist that the remedy to Russia's military humiliation of Georgia is to expedite the smaller country's incorporation into NATO. After all, Moscow might think twice about attacking any nation able to trigger the Atlantic Alliance's Article 5, which obliges all member states to respond militarily to an attack on any one of them. President Bush, in fact, toured Europe last spring to stump aggressively for Georgia and Ukraine to be granted Membership Action Plans, the first step toward joining the Alliance. But despite Bush's high-profile campaigning, the proposal was rebuffed at NATO's April summit by 10 member states, led by key U.S. allies Germany and France. That rejection, said Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain, "might have been viewed as a green light by Russia for its attacks on Georgia," and he urged European NATO members to "revisit the decision."

Read more here

Russia signs cease-fire, tensions remain high

TBILISI, Georgia (CNN) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed the cease-fire plan designed to end its military conflict with Georgia, his office says.

However, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said it would not completely withdraw from Georgian territory until troops had finished cleaning up ammunition, weapons and boobytraps left behind by Georgian troops.

Medvedev saw the cease-fire as "very positive," said spokesman Andrei Nesterenko Saturday.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili signed the deal Friday, during a visit from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Chavez blames US for war in Georgia

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has blamed the United States of America for orchestrating the war between Georgia and Russia.

Hugo Chavez made the remark in a statement issued on Thursday saying the conflict was "planned, prepared and ordered" by Washington in “an incitement of violence”, AP reported on Friday.

The hostilities began after the Georgian military launched an offensive to retake the breakaway province of South Osettia on Thursday night. Tbilisi's controversial measure faced a strong response from Moscow.

The conflict claimed the lives of at least 2000 South Ossetians and about 150 Georgians.

The statement went on to say that Russia acted to protect local residents from “unacceptable acts of violence'' perpetrated by Georgian troops.

During an April summit in Bucharest Washington pushed hard on behalf of Tbilisi's NATO aspirations but faced opposition from France, Germany, among others.

Experts have described Russia's ability to quickly move US and NATO-trained Georgian army out of South Ossitia as a big achievement for the country which has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the expansion of the alliance in its backyard.

Also on Thursday, Bill Christison, a former senior CIA official, told Press TV in an interview that there were quite a few people in the US that supported this kind of conflict in this region.

Christison, in a response to a question on whether or not Washington gave the go ahead for Tbilisi to launch its attack, said Georgia may have received the green light from the US to attack South Ossetia.


American Mercenary Captured By Russians

NATO instructor taken hostage with Georgians amid reports of U.S. military commanding thousands of mercs in proxy war.

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Monday, August 11, 2008

An American mercenary has been captured by Russian forces along with a number of Georgian soldiers according to a report from the Russian news website Izvestia, providing more evidence that the U.S. and NATO are covertly supporting the Georgian army in a proxy war with Russia.

According to the report, the mercenary is an African-American who is a NATO instructor and an ordinance specialist. He has now been transferred to the Russian base of Vladikavkaz.

The story also backs up previous reports of dead black Americans having been found in Tskhinvali, the capital city of South Ossetia.

Read more here.

Pic(k) of the Day

Kill the Wabbit...

I miss you Bugs.

The Mad Blood Stirring: A Collection of Songs about Monsters, Mayhem, and the Strange Summer of 2008

Track Listing

1. Our Day Will Come - Patti Page
2. The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning - Smashing Pumpkins
3. Summer In The City - Quincy Jones
4. Armageddon 2000 - The Groovie Ghoulies
5. Astro Zombies - Various Artists
6. Time of the Season - The Zombies
7. Summer Samba - Astrud Gilberto
8. Summer Breeze - Seals & Croft
9. Summerfire - BU
10. I'm Gonna Make Love (Even When I'm Dead) - Isaac Hayes
11. Happiness is a Warm Gun - The Beatles
12. Summer Sun - KOOP
13. The Long Road - Eddie Vedder
14. Black Celebration - Monster Magnet
15. The Great Gig in the Sky - Pink Floyd
16. Summertime Cowboy - Husky Rescue
17. Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
18. Justify My Love (The Beast Within Mix)
19. Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
20. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)- Dave Stewart
21. It's The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) - R.E.M.

Bush Says Russia Must Stop ‘Bullying’ Georgia

Condemning as unacceptable what he called Russia’s “bullying and intimidation,” President Bush said Friday that Russia must withdraw its troops from all of Georgian territory and said the United States would stand with Georgia in the conflict.

“Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected,” he said.

Tensions have risen sharply in the past 24 hours, as the Russian president and foreign minister made it clear they would support separatist efforts by two breakaway Georgian territories and as the specter of a resurgent Russia helped persuade Poland to agree to a long-stalled deal on an American missile defense system.

Mr. Bush spoke as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in the Georgian capital on Friday to hold talks with Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, and as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany met with the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev. Praising the small nation as a “courageous democracy” that has provided troops to support the American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Bush said, “The people of Georgia have cast their lot with the free world, and we will not cast them aside.”

In some of his strongest language yet on the war that flared up a week ago, Mr. Bush said in a brief statement at the White House, “Moscow must honor its commitment to withdraw its invading forces from all Georgian territory.”

Mr. Bush said that the cold war was over and that Russia had damaged its credibility and standing in the international order. Russia now has to “put itself back on the path of responsible nations,” Mr. Bush said.

Russia’s military offensive into Georgia has forced the start of a wholesale reassessment of American dealings with Russia, according to senior Bush administration officials, and jeopardized talks on everything from halting Iran’s nuclear ambitions to reducing strategic arsenals to cooperation on missile defenses.

Read more here.

This Can't Be a Good Sign....

By Jim Kavanagh

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio (CNN) -- Camryn Jakeb Wilson was bathed in TV lights the day he was born, celebrated on the local news as Summit County's 2008 New Year's baby after his arrival at 12:33 a.m. on January 1.

Just 12 weeks later, he was bathed in warm water minutes after he quietly died in his mother's arms, the victim of shaken baby syndrome. Camryn's 9-year-old sister, Tabatha, asked why he needed a bath now.
"We have to get him ready to go to Jesus," a nurse softly replied. Tabatha took up a sponge to help.

Camryn's father, Craig R. Wilson, 28, of Cuyahoga Falls, is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on murder and other charges August 20. Police say he confessed to shaking and squeezing the infant after arguing with his wife, Crystal Wilson.

But he has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and faces trial in September.

"There are no excuses for this to happen to any baby," Crystal Wilson, 26, told CNN. "This is murder. He had no reason to die. He died because he cried."

"It really is a tragedy," said Craig Wilson's defense attorney, Jonathan T. Sinn. "I mean, not only did Crystal and Craig lose a son, but Crystal lost a husband, and Craig's parents lost a son and a grandson. ... One day this was a happy, perfect family, and the next day it's been devastated."

The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome estimates as many as 1,400 babies annually are injured or killed by shaking.

Read more here

Thursday, August 14, 2008

U.S. to take control of Georgian ports

TBILISI (Reuters) - President George W. Bush's pledge to send aid to Georgia means that the U.S. military will take control of the ex-Soviet state's ports and airports, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said on Wednesday.

"You have heard the statement by the U.S. president that the United States is starting a military-humanitarian operation in Georgia," Saakashvili said in a television address.

"It means that Georgian ports and airports will be taken under the control of the U.S. defense ministry in order to conduct humanitarian and other missions. This is a very important statement for easing tension."

Bank analyst forecast Georgian crisis 2 days early

By Guy Faulconbridge

MOSCOW, Aug 14 (Reuters) - The outbreak of war between Georgia and Russia shocked most of the world last week, but an investment bank analyst predicted it two days in advance.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili sent troops into the breakaway, pro-Russian region of South Ossetia on Aug. 7, on the eve of the Beijing Olympic Games, and Russia responded with overwhelming military force.

Geoff Smith, a Kiev-based analyst for Renaissance Capital investment bank, had anticipated the Georgian move with uncanny prescience in an e-mail two days earlier to a fellow strategist.

"So whaddaya think? I say Saakashvili is going to 'restore the territorial integrity of Georgia' five minutes before the opening ceremony starts in Beijing and dare the Russians to invade while the games are on?" the note said.

Reuters has seen a copy of the e-mail and confirmed its validity with both the sender and recipient of the message.

The Kremlin swiftly asserted its vastly superior military might and thousands of Russian troops pushed out Georgian troops from the rebel region. Russian units are still operating inside Georgia proper.

Russian sovereign Eurobond spreads, a measure of investment risk, widened on the hostilities, and shares tumbled.

"It was just intuition," Smith said by telephone. "I said nothing about the possible Russian response, but if you had asked me I would say that Moscow could not have taken it lying down," Smith said.

Explaining his reasoning, the former journalist said the upcoming presidential election in the United States could have played a role in Saakashvili's decision to send troops into South Ossetia.

"Certainly the next White House will not be as supportive of Saakashvili as this one and so if Saakashvili wanted to reunite Georgia he really had to do it this year and he was probably hoping the Olympic Games gave him the right cover," he said.

He refused to forecast how the crisis would end.