Don't Panic! Lighten Up!

Magic Wand

Hippos give trapped duckling a helping snout at Netherlands zoo


Hippo to the rescue
A duckling trapped on the embankment of a pond at a Netherlands Zoo escaped with a little help from its friends -- a pair of hippopotamuses.

A visitor to the Rotterdam Zoo -- locally known as the Diergaarde Blijdorp -- filmed the small duck repeatedly attempting to jump from the embankment to the shore, but falling short of making it over a short barrier.

The footage, posted to YouTube, shows the duckling is soon joined by a pair of hippos, which appear to startle the bird as it attempts to avoid the much larger animals.

However, rather than make a meal out of the duckling, the hippos use their snouts to the give the baby duck a boost and help it to reach the shore and reunite with its mother.


President of country $18 trillion in debt warns Putin about Russian economy

Following a record setting patting themselves on the back session, the leaders of the G7 took some time out to discuss Russia with the picturesque surroundings of southern Germany as a backdrop.

Russia, formerly part of what was once called the G8, came under the microscope with the possibility of extending sanctions put in place in the wake of Vladimir Putin's decision to annex Crimea discussed.

American president Barack Obama, currently presiding over a record level of debt of $18 trillion for his nation, urged Putin to consider the economic wrongheadedness of pursuing an interventionist foreign policy.

Mr. Potato

Satire: Ted Cruz thinks Texas floods are caused by Native American rain dances

© Unkown
Ted Cruz stirs Indian ire - Texas senator thinks that the Texas floods are caused by Native American rain dances.

Preceded by more than a week of heavy rain, a slow-moving storm system dropped tremendous precipitation across much of Texas and Oklahoma during the nights of May 24 - 26, 2015, triggering record-breaking floods. 31 people were killed and 11 people remain missing. There has been great speculation as to the cause of these flash floods, climate change being the most prominent, but today, another was added to the bunch, and it was done so by none other than Senator Ted Cruz.

In a Texas radio interview this morning, when the topic turned to the recent, devastating floods and Senator Cruz was asked to speculate on their cause, this is what he had to say:
These things happen and people attribute it to God, but this is no work of God, this is something sinister and there are obviously other forces at work and they've put our great State in shambles in a very short space of time. And you know scientists will blame it on climate change or mumbo jumbo like that, but I know what's really going on. The heavy rain is obviously caused by Native Americans doing their rain dances and what not, and if we don't address the Native American issue better in this State, we'll be seeing further flooding in years to come
The interviewer Hugh Myrone Gaines, quite startled at Cruz's response, asked him to elaborate
Most people know I'm a very spiritual God-fearing man, and if you believe in the grace of God, you also have to believe in the other, what's opposite, what's against God's word. Native Americans have been practicing black magic for centuries and this is no doubt their work. We need to think about the way we view Native Americans and their customs and then maybe we can prevent future floods.
Unsurprisingly, these remarks have drawn ire from the Native American community, with organisations such as TNAC, Texas Native American Community, publically condemning the statement. White Feather, the chieftain of the organisation issued a press statement about the incident:
It is disgusting and laughable at the same time, that a US senator would come out and say that Native American customs are the cause of a disastrous flood. It is an insult to our heritage and an all-out loony thing to say. The Native American community has suffered enough and does not need fanciful persecution from people in power.
Whether Cruz's statement will have further political consequences remain to be seen, but one thing is for certain, the Democrats will not leave him alone about this one

People 2

Man honestly thought breakdown would be more obvious to people

© The Onion
MAPLEWOOD, MN—Explaining that he had assumed the deterioration of his physical and psychological state would be readily apparent, 3M sales associate Mark Uhler told reporters Wednesday he honestly thought his ongoing breakdown would be more obvious to everyone around him. "Given how many times in the past month I've showed up to work on two hours of sleep and just stared at my computer in total silence, I'd kind of expected someone to ask me if everything's all right at home or at least tell me I look tired lately, but so far I haven't heard a thing," said Uhler, adding that he thought the frequency with which he places his face in his hands and mutters morosely to himself would have been a clear indication that he was completely unraveling and prompted somebody at some point to stop by his cubicle. "I was sure when our HR manager asked me to speak with her last week it would be to discuss why I constantly look like I'm on the verge of tears during meetings, but it turns out she just wanted to explain changes to our 401K plan. I feel like my entire life is collapsing and I can barely stay afloat, but every email I get from coworkers is just about jumping on a client call or finishing up my monthly reports." When reached for comment, Uhler's colleagues confirmed they had noticed his breakdown weeks ago but simply didn't give a shit.

Comment: Although this article is satire, it's pretty true of most of corporate America. People are so caught up in their own problems they don't have 'time' to care about anyone else.


Unparallelled hubris: Obama claims US is #1 in global reputation

© Reuters / Kevin Lamarque
This week, President Obama gave himself and his administration credit for putting the United States at the top of the list of respected countries in the world.

"People don't remember, when I came into office, the United States in world opinion ranked below China, barely above Russia," he said. "And today, once again, the United States is the most respected country on Earth. Part of that, I think, is the work that we did to reengage the world, and say that 'We want to work with you as partners, with mutual interest and mutual respect,' " he claims.

What a lovely sentiment—if it were true. But it's simply not. Not by far.

Comment: Too bad it's not really that funny to have such a delusional politician in such a powerful position.


N.S.A. compensates for loss of surveillance powers by logging on to Facebook

© Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty
The National Security Agency is compensating for the expiration of its power to collect the American people's personal information by logging on to Facebook, the agency confirmed on Monday.

The director of the N.S.A., Admiral Michael S. Rogers, said that when parts of the Patriot Act expired at midnight on Sunday, intelligence analysts immediately stopped collecting mountains of phone metadata and started reading billions of Facebook updates instead.

"From a surveillance point of view, the transition has been seamless," Rogers said.

While the N.S.A. has monitored Facebook in the past, it is now spending twenty-four hours a day sifting through billions of baby pictures, pet videos, and photographs of recently enjoyed food to detect possible threats to the United States.

"Those status updates contain everything we want to know," Rogers said. "In many cases, a good deal more than we want to know."

Citing one possible downside of the new surveillance regime, Rogers said that some N.S.A. analysts who now do nothing but monitor Facebook all day report feelings of worthlessness and despair. "I remind them that they're doing this for America," he said.

The N.S.A.'s new strategy drew a sharp rebuke from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who told reporters, "I just blocked them."

Magic Wand

FIFA frantically announces 2015 Summer World Cup in United States

Global soccer tournament to kick off in America later this afternoon

ZURICH - After the Justice Department indicted numerous executives from world soccer's governing body on charges of corruption and bribery, frantic and visibly nervous officials from FIFA held an impromptu press conference Wednesday to announce that the United States has been selected to host this summer's 2015 World Cup.

"We are thrilled to reveal that, for the first time in 21 years, the World Cup will finally return to America, with matches set to kick off today at 5 p.m. local time in Los Angeles," said FIFA president Sepp Blatter, smiling broadly before unveiling the tournament's official logo, a hand-drawn stick figure kicking a soccer ball with "USA 2015!" hastily scribbled in black marker above its head.

Comment: See: Yellow journalism, Western political psychopaths and Russia-hating behind FIFA 'scandal' and FIFA 'scandal' = US attempts to impose sports sanctions against Russia


Mocking the empire: Russia's week in humor

The following is a sample of humorous cartoons published this week, courtesy of Russia.

At the rate things are going, they'll soon write that John Kennedy was shot in 1963 by an 11-year-old pioneer named Volodya Putin.


What Happens #IfThePatriotActExpires? ISIS, Hellfire, Doom!

Glenn Greenwald slammed the New York Times Thursday morning for a story quoting numerous anonymous senior officials who claimed that the non-renewal of three sections of the Patriot Act was tantamount to "playing national security Russian Roulette" in a time of unspecified "mounting terrorism threats."

Sensing the true danger involved, many vigilant citizens (starting with @benmarlin) took to Twitter to highlight the imminent, mounting, terrifying terrorist threat inevitably unleashed #IfThePatriotActExpires.

Among the more amusing entries:

Arrow Down

Tony Blair to receive award for lifetime services to war

© kennardphillipps/Reuters
Tony Blair is to receive the prestigious 'War Award' for his lifetime services to war, following his official resignation from his position as Middle East Peace Envoy.

A polarising and an often controversial figure, Blair had denied he was leaving the position he has held for the past 8 years after finally reading the job description, instead maintaining he simply wanted to explore other job opportunities.

"It's always nice to be honoured," Blair said he accepted his award, a large container filled with blood, in front of a small gathering of private security companies and reprehensible individuals he has helped through his work with Tony Blair Associates.

Honoured for his continued insistence of interventionism in Iraq and Syria while occupying the office of Middle East Peace Envoy, private military firms and arms dealers thanked the former Labour leader for all he has done for their profit margins and bank accounts.