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Five signs that all is not well in America this Halloween

© unknown
Americans hate politics too much to fork out for Sarah Palin masks
There's little festive spirit in America this Halloween. Fox News offers an indictment of the general misery of recession-era USA with this dark story: "A girl was found hanging by a noose inside a haunted house attraction Thursday night. Customers may have even walked past her thinking she was a scary prop." Luckily, the girl survived, but this was just one of the many signs from the gods that all is not well in the beloved USA. Here are five more:
  1. Liberals hijack the festival to make a politically correct point.
    A student organisation in Ohio is running a poster campaign against "racist" Halloween costumes. The posters feature students of different ethnicities holding up photos of someone dressed as a stereotype (geisha girl, Arab terrorist etc), each beneath the tagline "We're a culture, not a costume." It was a cheap shot in the culture war, earning itself a volley of wonderful online pastiches. The best by far is of an offended Dracula holding up a photo of a guy in a vampire costume, again beneath the words "We're a culture, not a costume". Hey, his great grandfather didn't schlep all the way here from Romania to be a running gag at frat parties.
  2. Halloween becomes a sting operation to entrap paedophiles.
    The police are on alert in Fox Valley, Wisconsin for any signs of trouble from the burgeoning population of registered sex offenders. The cops will be conducting door-to-door inspections to make sure that they aren't talking to kids, handing out candy or "turning on the porch light". Ninety-one offenders are standing up for the spirit of the season and defying the order. A local defence attorney reasoned, "The fact of the matter is that well over 90 per cent of child sex offences occur when there is a prior relationship between the child and the offender ... The biggest danger you have is not from strangers, but from family". That cheering thought was the top story of the news-starved local paper, The Appleton Post-Crescent.


US: NBC Confirms One Cain Accuser Received Cash Settlement

Herman Cain
© unknown
Herman Cain
NBC News has confirmed that one woman received a settlement from the National Restaurant Association after complaining about inappropriate sexual conduct by Herman Cain.

NBC News is not disclosing the name of the woman nor characterizing who she is.

Cain denied the allegations, saying on FOX this morning he was "falsely accused." "I have never sexually harassed anyone, anyone," he said, "and absolutely, these are false accusations."

Despite being the chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association, he said he was unaware of any settlement with the accusers, though he didn't deny it.

"If the restaurant association did a settlement, I wasn't even aware of it," he claimed, "and I hope it wasn't for much. If there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers at the restaurant association."

Che Guevara

US, California: Thousands of Occupy Protesters Disrupt Busy Port

© N/A
Several thousand Occupy Wall Street demonstrators gathering in Oakland forced a halt to operations at the nation's fifth busiest port Wednesday evening, escalating a movement whose tactics had largely been limited to marches, rallies and tent encampments since it began in September.

Police estimated that a crowd of about 3,000 had gathered at the Port of Oakland by about 5 p.m. PDT. Some had marched from the city's downtown, while others had been bused to the port.

Port spokesman Isaac Kos-Read said maritime operations had effectively been shut down, and interim Oakland police chief Howard Jordan warned that protesters who went inside the port's gates would be committing a federal offense.


UK: The Who's Townshend Slams "Vampire" Apple

© Agence France-Presse
Pete Townshend, the legendary frontman behind British rock group The Who, has attacked Apple's online iTunes service for bleeding artists "like a digital vampire"
Pete Townshend, the legendary frontman behind British rock group The Who, attacked Apple's online iTunes service for bleeding artists "like a digital vampire".

Townshend, speaking in Manchester in northwest England, called on the online giant to do more to help the artists from whom it was making so much money.

"Is there really any good reason why, just because iTunes exists in the wild west Internet land of Facebook and Twitter, it can't provide some aspect of these services to the artists whose work it bleeds like a digital vampire... for its enormous commission?" he asked.

Record labels and music publishers had in the past provided a range of services to artists, offering editorial guidance and nurturing them creatively, he said.


US, California: Cindy Sheehan leads 30 Occupy Sacramento defendants to mass arraignment Thursday; courts balk at other 'occupier' cases

Cindy Sheehan
© unknown
Cindy Sheehan
Anti-war Mom Cindy Sheehan and 29 other Occupy Sacramento defendants will appear in the largest mass arraignment yet this Thursday - even as Sacramento Superior Court judges try to stop the constant barrage of "occupiers" into the courts.

Sheehan and the others will be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Dept. 3 and 4. They will hold a media availability outside the courthouse (720 9th St.) at 8 a.m.

The trial courts Wednesday refused to let additional occupiers be arraigned Thursday because it became apparently the courts can't handle the load.

83 arrests have been made at Occupy Sacramento at Cesar Chavez Park since Oct. 6. Dozens of people still have not had their court dates. Thursday will be Day 29 of the occupation.

All are expected to plead not guilty, reject any offer by the City of Sacramento and demand a jury trial.


US: Pro Surfer At San Francisco Event Withdraws After Seeing Large Shark

A professional surfer competing in a contest Tuesday in the cold waters of San Francisco's Ocean Beach left the waves before the end of his heat after saying he saw a large shark.

Surfer Dusty Payne, 22, of Hawaii left the surf while competing against Jordy Smith of South Africa. Payne said he spotted a large shark fin just outside the "lineup," where surfers sit in the water and wait for their turn.

"I was just sitting there, and I was waiting for a wave. I've seen dolphins before, and it wasn't a dolphin," Payne said during an interview on the beach with the Rip Curl Pro Search event's camera crew. "It was the biggest fin I've ever seen in my life coming straight at me."


US: 16 shot, 2 fatally, on Halloween in New Orleans

New Orleans
© Associated Press/Gerald Herbert
A surveillance camera is seen overlooking the intersection of Bourbon St. and St. Louis St. in the French Quarter section of New Orleans, where eight people were shot in New Orleans, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011. Another four were shot nearby on Canal St. in a separate incident
Sixteen people were shot and at least two killed in a bloody Halloween in New Orleans that included gunfire on Bourbon Street, the tourist hot spot in the French Quarter.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, at a news conference called Tuesday in response to the five separate shootings, said a "culture of violence," that involved young black men with illegal guns has plagued the city and must be stopped.

"This continues to be a battle for the future of our city," Landrieu said.

Around midnight, two men started firing at each other on Bourbon Street - near the famous Chris Owens night club. When the gunfire stopped, Albert Glover, 25, of New Orleans, was dead and seven others injured. Police spokesman Garry Flot said the injuries were not life-threatening.

Eye 2

France: DSK scandal to be made into porn film

© Larry Downing/Reuters
Unscrupulous: french producers to turn Dominique Strauss-Kahn's pathological perversions into a porn movie
French producers are planning to make a porn film about the scandal surrounding former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his alleged sexual assault of a New York hotel maid.

Porn star Roberto Malone will play the lead character, "David Sex King" while Sandra Romain will play his wife, and Katia De Lys will portray the hotel maid, The Local reported.

The production company, My Porn Productions, is asking members of the public to help fund the project, which has the working title DXK.

The firm calls on people to donate a minimum of €50 ($US68) toward the movie's €200,000 production costs. In return, donors will have their names included in the credits and receive an invitation to the film's premiere.


Cannes sheds its black tie image for G20 riot gear

Cannes security G20
© Reuters/Dylan Martinez
Security make their way down the promenade near the festival palace in Cannes, southern France November 1, 2011
The glamorous and easy-going Riviera resort of Cannes turns into a fortified camp this week as French police prepare for the arrival of world leaders for a G20 summit set to be hijacked by fears that a euro zone crisis relief plan is unraveling.

Thousands of extra police have been deployed along the Mediterranean coast to stop protestors traveling the 30 km (19 miles) down from Nice, where they are being kept at arm's length, and sparking clashes that could disrupt the gathering.

Police have sealed off Cannes' mythical waterfront drag, set up a second security perimeter around the old town and told 'Cannois' locals aged over 12 they must wear identity badges to move around their own city during the Nov 3-4 summit.

Light Saber

US: Senators Udall, Bennet propose amendment to overturn Citizens United ruling

Democratic Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Michael Bennet of Colorado introduced a constitutional amendment on Tuesday that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

The decision gave corporations and unions the ability to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, so long as their actions are not coordinated with a candidate's campaign.

"As we head into another election year, we are about to see unprecedented amounts of money spent on efforts to influence the outcome of our elections," Udall said. "With the Supreme Court striking down the sensible regulations Congress has passed, the only way to address the root cause of this problem is to give Congress clear authority to regulate the campaign finance system."