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March 12, 2009

As recently as January the Army fired 11 soldiers for being gay

Army fired 11 soldiers in Jan. as openly gay

In a statement released on Thursday, Moran said the discharged soldiers included an intelligence collector, a military police officer, four infantry personnel, a health care specialist, a motor-transport operator and a water-treatment specialist.

"How many more good soldiers are we willing to lose due to a bad policy that makes us less safe and secure?" asked Moran, a member of the House panel that oversees military spending.

The Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy was instituted after President Bill Clinton tried to lift the ban on gay service members in 1993. It refers to the military practice of not asking recruits their sexual orientation. In turn, service members are banned from saying they are gay or bisexual, engaging in homosexual activity or trying to marry a member of the same sex.

Inscrutable: The dirty ditties of Chinese children -- "Grass mud horse"

All we had in 4th grade was: "Milk! Milk! Lemonade! Round the corner, fudge is made!" The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan (March 12, 2009) - China's South Park Revolution
You might have read the story in the NYT today about China's government fretting about YouTubes about a "grass mud horse," a phrase that when spoken is, apparently, very naughty. The video is above. Videogum did some investigation:
The children are singing about grass mud horses ("Fuck Your Mother") who live in a desert ("Your Mother's C-word") (ha), and defeat the river crabs (a word synonymous with "censorship.") Do you know what this means? It means YouTube is IMPORTANT.

FDA approves Salmonella

FDA Approves Salmonella | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

The federal agency, which has struggled in recent years to contain the food-borne pathogen, and repeatedly failed to prevent tainted products from reaching store shelves, announced Monday that salmonella was now completely okay for all Americans to enjoy.

"Rigorous testing has shown that salmonella is...fine," FDA director of food safety Stephen Sundlof said. "In fact, our research indicates that there's no need to pull any more foodstuffs from the market. Not raw chicken. Not contaminated spinach. Not thousands of jars of harmful peanut butter. Not anything."

"It's approved," Sundlof continued."Healthy, delicious salmonella is finally approved."

Sears Tower to be renamed to something stupid

Fingers in ears, LALALALALALALALA. Sears Tower: Sears Tower to become Willis Tower -- chicagotribune.com
Sears Tower will change its name to Willis Tower this summer, under the terms of a lease signed by global insurance broker Willis Group Holdings. Willis Group plans to consolidate five area offices and move nearly 500 associates into Willis Tower, at 233 S. Wacker Drive, initially occupying more than 140,000 square feet on multiple floors.

Would spending 3/5 of your life as a powerful billionaire be worth spending 1/5 of your life as a prison bitch?

Madoff Life Prison Term Means Inmate Blame for Crash (Update1) - Bloomberg.com
March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Bernard Madoff, scheduled to plead guilty today to masterminding the largest Ponzi scheme in history, may have to fight off prison inmates who want to squeeze him for money or blame him for the Wall Street crash. “Madoff isn’t going to be real popular,” said Larry Levine, who served 10 years in federal prisons for securities fraud and narcotics trafficking and now advises convicts on surviving time behind bars. “All the guys there will have wives or parents who are losing their homes or their jobs or who can’t send money to them anymore. Everybody’s going to be blaming Bernie.”

There is no more room in the morgues of Mexico

At Mexico morgue, too many bodies | DRUG VIOLENCE

Bodies stacked in the morgues of Mexico's border cities tell the story of an escalating drug war. Drug violence claimed 6,290 lives last year, double the previous year, and more than 1,000 in the first eight weeks of 2009.

Each bullet wound or broken bone details the viciousness with which the cartels battle a government crackdown and each other. Slain policemen lie next to hit men in the rows of zipped white bags.

Workers toil up to 12 hours per day, sometimes seven days a week, to examine the remains. When Tijuana coffin makers fell behind during the December holidays, the morgue there crammed 200 bodies into two refrigerators made to hold 80.

"There are times here when there are so many people, so many cadavers, that we can't keep up," says the Tijuana morgue director, Federico Ortiz.

March 11, 2009

Ohio man charged with 29,000 counts of accessory to murder

Alleged Nazi camp guard charged 29,000 times

BERLIN – Retired Ohio auto worker John Demjanjuk was charged Wednesday with 29,000 counts of acting as an accessory to murder while working as a guard at a Nazi death camp in occupied Poland. The arrest warrant could move the 30-year global legal battle over his fate closer to conclusion.

The warrant by a Munich court seeks the deportation or extradition of Demjanjuk, who lives in a Cleveland suburb and denies involvement in the deaths at Sobibor. His family says he is too sick to travel.

The U.S. Justice Department says Demjanjuk, 88, was a Nazi guard and can be deported for falsifying information on his entry and citizenship applications in the 1950s.