Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Elian Gonzalez, Cuban Raft Survivor, Turns 18

HuffPost on Aol reports:
Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy who survived a perilous raft journey that killed his mother and became a symbol of troubled relations between the United States and Cuba, is now an adult.

Gonzalez currently studies at a military academy on the island and took part in an 18th birthday celebration Tuesday in his native city of Cardenas alongside his father, according to images broadcast on the nightly news.

Gonzalez was shy of his sixth birthday on Thanksgiving Day 1999 when a fisherman found him off the coast of Florida, clinging to an inner tube after his mother and others fleeing Cuba drowned trying to reach American soil.
Elian Gonzalez

$625,000 paid for Star Wars camera

A camera used to film 1977's Star Wars has been sold for a record-breaking $625,000 in Beverly Hills, California.

The Panavision PSR 35mm camera, which was owned by Hollywood actor Debbie Reynolds, went to an undisclosed buyer during an auction of Reynolds' film memorabilia collection. The Oscar-nominated actor, who is the mother of Star Wars' Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher, decided on the sale after plans to open a museum went awry.
Star Wars

Dog parks multiplying

Dog parks where canines can romp freely without a tether are the fastest-growing segment of city parks, according to a study by the non-profit Trust for Public Land.

There were 569 off-leash dog parks in the 100 largest cities in 2010, a 34% jump in five years. Parks overall increased only 3% in that time.

Too bad. This guy should have been sent to the Hot Place years ago

Prosecutors No Longer Seek Death Penalty for Former Black Panther Member for Killing White Cop

Prosecutors announced Wednesday that they will no longer pursue the death penalty against former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, meaning he will spend the rest of his life in prison for gunning down a white police officer nearly 30 years ago.

The decision by District Attorney Seth Williams, made with the support of the officer's widow and the city police commissioner, comes after nearly 30 years of legal battles over the racially charged case.

MumiaAbu Jamal.jpg

My new, favorite Senator.

Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation's Armed Forces at home.

During a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, the Maine Republican referenced a letter from the Defense Department depicting the Fort Hood shootings as workplace violence. She criticized the Obama administration for failing to identify the threat as radical Islam.

Cannonball from ‘Mythbusters’ show crashes through Calif. home & lands in minivan


A wacky stunt for the TV show “Mythbusters” went haywire Tuesday and sent a cannonball tearing though a sleeping family's home in California.

The occupants miraculously escaped injury.

	Exit hole from wayward ‘Mythbusters’ cannonball is seen in the wall of a home in Dublin, Calif., on Tuesday.

Stalin could have helped us against Japan and didn't

Victor Davis Hanson on the Soviet's duplicity during WWII:

...until August 1945, it was the United States, not Japan, that had a traditional two-front war. We rarely talk of Stalin’s duplicity in this regard: While we were suffering terrible casualties from the Japanese, supplying Russia, conducting bloody campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and over the skies of Europe, and being hectored by the Soviets to open a second front in Europe, the Soviets honored their non-aggression pact with Japan, freeing up hundreds of thousands of veteran troops to be used against us on the islands. I never understood why history books focus on Stalin’s exasperation with our supposedly tardy invasion of Normandy, when he was completely unwilling to open a second front against Japan — until it was utterly wrecked in August 1945 and there were easy pickings to be had in the region.

70 years ago today

HISTORY12/07 4:00 A.M.
A Day of Infamy
Japan’s terrible miscalculation.
HISTORY12/07 4:00 A.M.
A Day That Changed America
Craig Shirley on December 1941.
HISTORY12/07 12:00 A.M.
Among the Greatest
Meet Red Falvey.
HISTORY12/07 4:00 A.M.
Reporting the Attack of Dec. 7
Details were scarce, and rumors swirled.

Gucci bikes for those who have everything else.

The bike in the top picture goes for $6,200. The black 'urban' bike goes for $14,000. Other bikers rolling their eyes at the pretention: free.

Another technicality

Today, 11:45 AM

Bernie Fine Can't Be Charged, District Attorney Says
New York Times
The former Syracuse assistant men's basketball coach Bernie Fine cannot be prosecuted for allegations that he sexually abused two boys in the 1980s because the statute of limitations had run out, William Fitzpatrick, the district ...
DA says he can't prosecute abuse claims made against Bernie Fine by two former ...New York Daily News
DA: Statute of limitations prevents Fine chargesCBS News
DA: Bernie Fine accusers credible; statute of limitations expiredCNN
Washington Post
all 1,399 news articles »
Read more…

Interesting school menu at Sidwell Friends on Pearl Harbor Day

A lunch that will live in infamy? That’s what at least one parent at elite Sidwell Friends (yes, Sasha and Malia’s school!) wondered upon seeing what the school cafeteria listed as its “Pearl Harbor Day” menu Wednesday: A heavily Japanese-inspired lineup, including teriyaki chicken and edamame (as well as more generically Asian delicacies like tofu, fried rice, fortune cookies and “oriental noodle salad”). A school rep told us this was just a fluke — not a meal intended to commemorate the 1941 Japanese attack on U.S. forces: The contractor that prepares school lunches randomly assigned an Asian menu to Dec. 7, and the subcontractor that prints the calendars automatically marked Wednesday at Pearl Harbor Day. “It was completely coincidental,” said Ellis Turner, associate head of the school.

Sugary cereals ranked

Morning sugar shock

So much political corruption in Illinois...wait, isn't that where Obama...

Judge sentences ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to 14 years in prison for corruption.

The human icicle

Hang time: Will Gadd hangs down from the 450ft Helmcken Falls in Canada as he and Tim Emmett became the first to successfully climb it

Will Gadd, 44, and Tim Emmett, 37, spent two weeks plotting their ascent of the notoriously tricky Helmcken Falls in Canada - dubbed the world's hardest climb. They had to battle deadly ice spray - which could freeze them to death in minutes - temperatures as low as minus 25C and the knowledge that one mistake would send them plunging into a 100ft deep ice hole below.