Friday, December 30, 2005
NEW YORK - A 19-year-old PETA staffer has legally changed his name to KentuckyFriedCruelty.com.
Chris Garnett, youth outreach coordinator for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said he changed his name in support of the group's anti-KFC campaign.
"People don't believe me at first when I tell them my name, but it never fails to spark a discussion," Garnett, er, KentuckyFriedCruelty.com, said in a statement. "Many vow to boycott KFC after I explain the company's indifference to cruelty to animals."
Norfolk, Va.-based PETA's complaints against KFC stem from video footage shot last year recording alleged mistreatment of birds at a Pilgrim's Pride Corp. plant in Moorefield, W.Va. The plant is a KFC supplier.
Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, has disputed the claims of mistreatment. In June, a grand jury refused to indict former workers at the West Virginia chicken plant.
"Stacked" star Pamela Anderson, who has narrated a PETA video showing the alleged abuse, supports Garnett's name change.
"I'm sure Chris can't wait 'till KFC stops torturing chickens so he can change his name back," the actress said in a statement, adding that the chicken abuse "is awful and has to stop."
In the opening convocation, Dr. Hunter "Patch" Adams - the charismatic therapist played on screen by Robin Williams - displayed on a giant projection screen photos from around the world of burned children, starving children, diseased children, some lying in their own filth.
He called for a "last stand of loving care" to prevail over the misery in the world, its wars and "our fascistic government." Overcome by his own message, Dr. Adams eventually fell to the floor of the stage in tears.
Many in the audience of thousands were deeply moved; many others were bewildered. Some left the arena.
"As cyber sex has become more and more of a problem, what has shifted for me is the realization that many people who were into cyber sex didn't fit the classic profile of sex addicts," says Patrick Carnes, author of "In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior."
He has spent 30 years studying and establishing sex addiction as a field of psychological dysfunction.
PORT ORANGE -- It was 4:30 a.m. Thursday when Glen Thomas Betterley woke up bleeding from his head. He couldn't figure out why. He asked his girlfriend, Emma Lorene Larsen, whether she had struck him, and she said she didn't know.
The 53-year-old Betterley then cleaned himself up and lay back down to rest, but the bleeding wouldn't stop. About 6:30 a.m., police said, Betterley drove to work and left a note telling his boss he wouldn't be coming in because he would be at the hospital.
When he arrived at the Halifax Medical Center emergency room, Betterly learned why he was bleeding: He had been shot in the forehead. Port Orange police said Betterley couldn't tell them much about his injury or even where it had occurred.
By 11 a.m., he was in serious condition and in surgery to remove the bullet from his brain, investigators said.Thursday night, Betterley was listed in serious condition, a nursing supervisor said. No other information about his injuries was available.
About 8:30 a.m., while Betterley was being treated, police had tracked down his address and called Larsen. While on the phone with the 65-year-old woman, police said, they heard the sound of a single gunshot. When investigators entered the Orange Avenue home, they found Larsen dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
Few other details were available about the couple involved in what police are labeling an aggravated battery and apparent suicide. Police did not release what caliber gun was used in either shooting.
Court records show that in April 2001, another woman obtained a domestic-violence restraining order against Betterley. He was arrested twice on suspicion of violating the injunction and pleaded no contest to the charge in one of the cases. The charge in the second arrest was dropped after the injunction was voluntarily dismissed by the petitioner.
The home Betterley and Larsen shared in Commonwealth Estates, a mobile-home community in Port Orange, is decorated with an ivy-covered trellis, fuchsia flowers and small benches for other potted plans. Neighbors said the two kept to themselves.
"I kept my distance and didn't get acquainted," said one man, who asked not to be named.
According to a doctor at Orlando Regional Medical Center, Betterley's reaction to the bullet in his brain is not that uncommon.
"I've had patients with knives in their heads, screwdrivers in their heads, lawn darts, small-caliber gunshot wounds to the head, where patients have been awake and talking," said Dr. Jonathan Greenberg, a neurosurgeon at ORMC. "The question is how important is the area that is damaged?"Greenberg explained: As long as a low-caliber bullet doesn't hit any major blood vessels or enters what is called a "non-eloquent" area of the brain -- an area that doesn't have a specific, major assigned function -- then a person can survive a seemingly serious gunshot to the head.
Sometimes, doctors don't even have to remove the bullet from a patient's brain, Greenberg said, adding that it's just a matter of repairing the damaged area."It's because you have to weigh the risk of causing damage to the brain in the process of removing the bullet," Greenberg said.
Man turned in by his sons gets 40 years in bank robberies
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- A family man once regarded as a pillar of the community was sentenced to 40 years in prison yesterday for a string of bank robberies after being turned in by his sons, who recognized him in a surveillance photo.
The judge imposed the minimum sentence on 64-year-old William Alfred ''Al" Ginglen. Ginglen, who pleaded guilty in July to committing seven bank robberies in 2003 and 2004, was also ordered to pay $56,382 in restitution.
Ginglen, a married father of four from Lewistown, was once a civic leader, serving as a village trustee, zoning board chairman, auxiliary police officer, and firefighter. But he began a life of crime after losing two jobs.
Authorities said he needed the money to support a girlfriend, a crack habit, and visits to prostitutes, a secret life he scrupulously documented in a diary discovered by authorities.
Ginglen's double life began to unravel in 2004, when one of his sons, Peoria police officer Jared Ginglen, recognized his father on bank surveillance videotapes posted on a law enforcement website. The brothers turned their father in.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Queens man busted in potato-peeler slay
A Queens man faces murder charges after stabbing a new drinking buddy with a potato peeler and beating him with a religious candle on Christmas, authorities said yesterday.
Adolfo Carreon, 41, of Corona was busted in the bloody slaying just before noon in his 97th St. home, cops said.
Armed with a potato peeler, Carreon knifed Victor Mendez, 36, in the face and head several times when a fight broke out in the basement apartment, police sources said.
Carreon also whacked Mendez in the head with a votive candle in the apartment, hours after the two met for the first time and shared drinks, the sources said.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Bx. mom dies after slap from boyfriend
A young Bronx mother with a history of chest pains died of a likely heart attack early Christmas Day, moments after her boyfriend slapped her in a heated argument, her relatives said.
Minutes earlier, Lopez had been celebrating her father's 71st birthday at the family's annual Christmas Eve dinner party, surrounded by her son and boyfriend and close to a dozen relatives.
As the trio left the party just after midnight, the boyfriend - whose name was not released - starting berating Lopez for not leaving earlier, relatives said.
The boyfriend then slapped Lopez, relatives said.
A Sure Thing for Kazakhs: Horses Will Provide
The six Kazakh villagers circled the stallion with movements so nimble and practiced that they disguised the difficulty of the dawn's first task. The animal before them, weighing roughly 550 pounds, was to be rolled onto its back.
Aslakhan Mukanov, 13, pulled the stallion with a rope as it whinnied and bucked. Seimurad Maitai, 27, dodged the hooves, swinging a rope until he snared the kicking forelegs together.
Mr. Maitai pressed closer, whipping the rope's other end, seeking a hind leg. Soon he entangled it as well. The two pulled their lines taut and lunged. The horse fell, landing hard on the snow. The men scrambled atop it, lashed its legs tight and placed a metal trough under its neck.
Out came the knife. Jumat Makhanov, 29, turned his palms skyward and thanked the pinned stallion for what it would provide. A prayer came last. Then Mr. Maitai swept the blade across the horse's neck.
Riding remains a symbol of Kazakh skill. Horse meat, horse fat, horse entrails and mare's milk are principal ingredients in the national cuisine....
While others cut away the rib cage and separated the hind legs from the forelegs, Mr. Makhanov squeezed dung from the intestines. Cut into 20-inch sections, the intestines would be stuffed with fat and meat to make kazy and shuzhyk, two garlic-laced sausages enjoyed as delicacies here.
Mealhada, Portugal: This Little Piggy Is a Tasty Lure
SUCKLING pig is to Mealhada, a town in central Portugal, what cassoulet is to Toulouse: a culinary specialty that it calls its own. Since the 18th century, the moist, smoky, crispy allure of the dish, known locally as leitão assado, has been a magnet for locals and tourists.
At Pedro dos Leitões, a sprawling, brightly lighted restaurant with 400 seats at tables covered with crisp white cloths, the focus of the menu is the delectably moist-fleshed, crisp-skinned suckling pig served on the bone, chopped into hunks and piled on a platter with slices of orange. The typical accompaniments are freshly fried potato chips and a simply dressed lettuce salad.
Unlike most of the places that serve leitão assado, Pedro dos Leitões is a vertically integrated operation.
In the back, hidden from the view of all but the most curious diners, are the piglets, awaiting their fate, which is monitored by a licensed veterinarian. You do not want to visit the nervous little pigs before dinner.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Canadians can have group sex in clubs: top court
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Group sex between consenting adults is neither prostitution nor a threat to society, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Wednesday, dismissing arguments that the sometimes raucous activities of so-called "swingers" clubs were dangerous.
In a ruling that radically changes the way Canadian courts determine what poses a threat to the population, the court threw out the conviction of a Montreal man who ran a club where members could have group sex in a private room behind locked doors.
"Consensual conduct behind code-locked doors can hardly be supposed to jeopardize a society as vigorous and tolerant as Canadian society," said the opinion of the seven-to-two majority, written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
LONDON - Barbie, beware. The iconic plastic doll is often mutilated at the hands of young girls, according to research published Monday by British academics.
"The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a 'cool' activity," said Agnes Nairn, one of the University of Bath researchers.
"The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving."
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Clergyman Tried for Heresy by Diocese
A rare heresy trial was held Tuesday for a Roman Catholic priest who joined a denomination that doesn't accept papal infallibility and has ordained women clergy.
The Rev. Ned Reidy did not attend the one-day closed trial, which was conducted by three priests at the Diocese of San Bernardino. Reidy, 69, called the trial "medieval" and contends it has no authority because he stopped being a Roman Catholic in 1999.
Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the diocese, said Reidy was automatically excommunicated when he went to another denomination, but under church law he remains a Roman Catholic priest until he is formally excommunicated and defrocked. The heresy trial would "officially clarify his status within the church," Lincoln said. The court's decision will be announced to Reidy at an unspecified future date.
"I just think the discourtesy level is appalling," Reidy said of the trial. "I'm not a Roman Catholic priest. I used to be." Reidy was ordained in 1962 and was pastor of a parish in Palm Desert, near Palm Springs, before he resigned to join the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. He now is pastor of the 100-member Community of the Risen Christ church in Bermuda Dunes, a few miles from his old church.
His denomination considers itself Catholic in the sense of celebrating its sacraments. But it does not believe in the infallibility of the pope and permits married and female clergy. It also holds more liberal views than the Vatican on divorce, birth control and homosexuality.
Some Roman Catholic scholars told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that they were aware of just two heresy trials in the U.S. -- the current case and another in the San Bernardino diocese two years ago.
Such cases are rare anywhere in modern times, said Msgr. Thomas Green, a professor of canon law at The Catholic University of Washington in Washington, D.C. "By and large, once you get past the Council of Trent and the 1600s and 1700s, you don't hear much about it," he said.
Police: Wal-Mart Santa arrested for exposing self to boy
Newburgh - A Wal-Mart Santa Claus was arrested Monday for allegedly exposing himself to a 15-year-old boy and attempting to have the boy engage in oral sex with him at his home on Dec. 9, according to a City of Newburgh police press release.
Monday, December 12, 2005
At least 13 passengers have gone missing from cruise ships in the past two years. However, the cruise ship industry says 20 million passengers took cruises in that time.
A congressional subcommittee is scheduled to hold hearings on Tuesday to discuss cruise safety.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict warned on Sunday against rampant materialism which he said was polluting the spirit of Christmas.
In today's consumer society, this time of the year unfortunately suffers from a sort of commercial 'pollution' that threatens to alter its real spirit," the Pope told a large crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square to hear his weekly Angelus blessing.
Friday, December 09, 2005
A priest and a rabbi are seated next to each other on a plane and get to talking. The conversation turns to religion, and more specifically to the rules of the respective religions.
The priest, thinking Jewish dietary restrictions are a bit ridiculous, questions the rabbi. "You can't tell me you've never had a ham sandwich," he says.
The rabbi shrugs his shoulders. "I admit that I did have one when I was young, just to see what it was like."
The rabbi, thinking Catholic sexual restrictions are a bit ridiculous, then questions the priest. "You can't tell me you've never had sex with a woman," he says.
The priest shrugs his shoulders. "I admit that I did have sex with a woman once, just to see what it was like."
"Beats a ham sandwich, doesn't it," the rabbi laughs.
Improved Version is the same until:
The rabbi, thinking Catholic sexual restrictions are a bit ridiculous, then questions the priest. "You can't tell me you've never had sex with a young boy," he says.
Joke then continues as in original.
Version 3 picks up at the same spot:
The rabbi, thinking Catholic sexual restrictions are a bit ridiculous, then questions the priest. "You can't tell me you've never had sex with two or three hundred young boys," he says.
As does Version 4 (current version):
The rabbi, thinking Catholic sexual restrictions are a bit ridiculous, then questions the priest. "You can't tell me you've never had sex with two or three hundred young boys and looted the church's accounts to put your favorites up in style." he says.
The priest laughs. "Actually, that's why I'm on this flight. I'm on the lam from lawsuits, angry parishioners, and a couple of warrants," he says.
The rabbi forget his ham sandwich line.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
I've never been much impressed by the phrase "journalistic ethics."
NYT pundit David Brooks on the Imus radio show 12/06/05
Monday, December 05, 2005
Tis Season's War Cry: Commercialize Christmas, or Else
By ADAM COHEN
Religious conservatives have a cause this holiday season: the commercialization of Christmas. They're for it.
The American Family Association is leading a boycott of Target for not using the words "Merry Christmas" in its advertising. (Target denies it has an anti-Merry-Christmas policy.) The Catholic League boycotted Wal-Mart in part over the way its Web site treated searches for "Christmas." Bill O'Reilly, the Fox anchor who last year started a "Christmas Under Siege" campaign, has a chart on his Web site of stores that use the phrase "Happy Holidays," along with a poll that asks, "Will you shop at stores that do not say 'Merry Christmas'?"
This campaign - which is being hyped on Fox and conservative talk radio - is an odd one. Christmas remains ubiquitous, and with its celebrators in control of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and every state supreme court and legislature, it hardly lacks for powerful supporters. There is also something perverse, when Christians are being jailed for discussing the Bible in Saudi Arabia and slaughtered in Sudan, about spending so much energy on stores that sell "holiday trees."
What is less obvious, though, is that Christmas's self-proclaimed defenders are rewriting the holiday's history. They claim that the "traditional" American Christmas is under attack by what John Gibson, another Fox anchor, calls "professional atheists" and "Christian haters." But America has a complicated history with Christmas, going back to the Puritans, who despised it. What the boycotters are doing is not defending America's Christmas traditions, but creating a new version of the holiday that fits a political agenda.
The Puritans considered Christmas un-Christian, and hoped to keep it out of America. They could not find Dec. 25 in the Bible, their sole source of religious guidance, and insisted that the date derived from Saturnalia, the Roman heathens' wintertime celebration. On their first Dec. 25 in the New World, in 1620, the Puritans worked on building projects and ostentatiously ignored the holiday. From 1659 to 1681 Massachusetts went further, making celebrating Christmas "by forbearing of labor, feasting or in any other way" a crime.
The concern that Christmas distracted from religious piety continued even after Puritanism waned. In 1827, an Episcopal bishop lamented that the Devil had stolen Christmas "and converted it into a day of worldly festivity, shooting and swearing." Throughout the 1800's, many religious leaders were still trying to hold the line. As late as 1855, New York newspapers reported that Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist churches were closed on Dec. 25 because "they do not accept the day as a Holy One." On the eve of the Civil War, Christmas was recognized in just 18 states.
Christmas gained popularity when it was transformed into a domestic celebration, after the publication of Clement Clarke Moore's "Visit from St. Nicholas" and Thomas Nast's Harper's Weekly drawings, which created the image of a white-bearded Santa who gave gifts to children. The new emphasis lessened religious leaders' worries that the holiday would be given over to drinking and swearing, but it introduced another concern: commercialism. By the 1920's, the retail industry had adopted Christmas as its own, sponsoring annual ceremonies to kick off the "Christmas shopping season."
Religious leaders objected strongly. The Christmas that emerged had an inherent tension: merchants tried to make it about buying, while clergymen tried to keep commerce out. A 1931 Times roundup of Christmas sermons reported a common theme: "the suggestion that Christmas could not survive if Christ were thrust into the background by materialism." A 1953 Methodist sermon broadcast on NBC - typical of countless such sermons - lamented that Christmas had become a "profit-seeking period." This ethic found popular expression in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." In the 1965 TV special, Charlie Brown ignores Lucy's advice to "get the biggest aluminum tree you can find" and her assertion that Christmas is "a big commercial racket," and finds a more spiritual way to observe the day.
This year's Christmas "defenders" are not just tolerating commercialization - they're insisting on it. They are also rewriting Christmas history on another key point: non-Christians' objection to having the holiday forced on them.
The campaign's leaders insist this is a new phenomenon - a "liberal plot," in Mr. Gibson's words. But as early as 1906, the Committee on Elementary Schools in New York City urged that Christmas hymns be banned from the classroom, after a boycott by more than 20,000 Jewish students. In 1946, the Rabbinical Assembly of America declared that calling on Jewish children to sing Christmas carols was "an infringement on their rights as Americans."
Other non-Christians have long expressed similar concerns. For decades, companies have replaced "Christmas parties" with "holiday parties," schools have adopted "winter breaks" instead of "Christmas breaks," and TV stations and stores have used phrases like "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" out of respect for the nation's religious diversity.
The Christmas that Mr. O'Reilly and his allies are promoting - one closely aligned with retailers, with a smack-down attitude toward nonobservers - fits with their campaign to make America more like a theocracy, with Christian displays on public property and Christian prayer in public schools.
It does not, however, appear to be catching on with the public. That may be because most Americans do not recognize this commercialized, mean-spirited Christmas as their own. Of course, it's not even clear the campaign's leaders really believe in it. Just a few days ago, Fox News's online store was promoting its "Holiday Collection" for shoppers. Among the items offered to put under a "holiday tree" was "The O'Reilly Factor Holiday Ornament." After bloggers pointed this out, Fox changed the "holidays" to "Christmases."
the nyt asked me to post the entire editorial - seems they need the eyeballs
Saturday, December 03, 2005
2-year-old brings crack to day care
Cops find more drugs at tot's home; couple arrested
Behind the yellow walls of Porter's Day Care in Logan, a staffer found yellowish rocks in a toddler's hand yesterday morning.
But the hard clumps were not from the ground. It was crack cocaine, police said.
"The child had two packets in his hand," said Capt. John Darby of the Special Victims Unit.
The concerned staff member then asked the tot where he found the rocks and he directed her to his back pants' pocket. She found nine more bags.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Thugs beat woman and burn home
An elderly Bronx woman offering her house for sale was left for dead yesterday when a couple posing as buyers attacked her, set her home ablaze and stole $1,100, cops said.
Cops were still searching last night for the crooks. They approached Zallo as she worked in her backyard and asked about the home, which has a for sale sign in front, cops said.
SPRING HILL, Tenn., Nov. 29 - This was the factory that was going to revive the American automobile industry, proving that Detroit could build quality cars and win back buyers who had defected to the Japanese.
Opened when auto companies were closing plants and cutting hundreds of thousands of jobs, General Motors' Saturn plant here was a rare opportunity for the company and its workers to literally leave the industry's old ways behind and embrace some of the lessons that Japan was teaching, with an American twist.
Now, Saturn is in danger of falling victim to the fate this plant was intended to avoid.
The plant, the only one exclusively devoted to building Saturn vehicles, is among 12 factories that G.M. plans to shut or partly close, eliminating 30,000 jobs in North America as it tries to recover from one of the worst slumps in its history.
Despite the risk of leaving their old jobs behind, workers were eager to come because there were to be no layoffs under the union contract at Saturn. (The contract was changed last year after G.M. persuaded workers that it stood in the way of introducing new models to the plant.)
I finally saw Dig! the other night. I found myself rooting for the Dandy Warhols and clucking my tongue in disapproval at Antone's antics.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Hooked on the Web: Help Is on the Way
THE waiting room for Hilarie Cash's practice has the look and feel of many a therapist's office, with soothing classical music, paintings of gentle swans and colorful flowers and on the bookshelves stacks of brochures on how to get help.
But along with her patients, Dr. Cash, who runs Internet/Computer Addiction Services here in the city that is home to Microsoft, is a pioneer in a growing niche in mental health care and addiction recovery.
The patients, including Mike, 34, are what Dr. Cash and other mental health professionals call onlineaholics. They even have a diagnosis: Internet addiction disorder.
These specialists estimate that 6 percent to 10 percent of the approximately 189 million Internet users in this country have a dependency that can be as destructive as alcoholism and drug addiction, and they are rushing to treat it...