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Sat, 04 Dec 2021
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US: Man dies after police use Taser at Universal Studios

A man who was causing a disturbance outside Universal Studios in Florida died after being shocked with a Taser stun gun by off-duty police, US authorities have said.

Adam Spencer Johnson, 33, was said to have been acting irrationally when the five officers approached, police said.

The officers used a stun gun because Johnson was "violently" resisting arrest, said Sgt Barb Jones.

Mr Johnson became unresponsive on the ground and was later pronounced dead.

The off-duty officers responded to a call from a security guard at Universal Studios early on Friday morning about a man acting irrationally outside the Cinemax theatres in the city of Orlando.


Italy: Pope Benedict stumped by Japanese girl's question about suffering

© Gregorio Borgia/AP
The pope answers questions on a TV show, watched by Catholics in Rome.
The pope answers questions on Italian TV, but cannot explain the devastation caused by the tsunami

Pope Benedict ventured where no pope has gone before on Friday when he answered questions on an Italian television programme - and was stumped by the first. A Japanese girl asked the pope, who, she said, "speaks with God", why she was having to suffer so much as a result of the earthquake and tsunami that had struck her country.

"I am very frightened because the house where I felt safe really shook a lot and many children my age have died. I cannot go to play in the park. I want to know: why do I have to be so afraid? Why do children have to be so sad?" said seven-year-old Elena.

Benedict admitted: "I also have the same questions: why is it this way? Why do you have to suffer so much while others live in ease?

"And we do not have the answers, but we know that Jesus suffered as you do, an innocent, and that the true God who is revealed in Jesus is by your side."

Whether Elena was satisfied with that answer was unclear. But the studio audience gave the pope a hearty round of applause.


US: Pastor seeking to protest at mosque briefly jailed

Terry Jones
© AP Photo/John T. Greilick, Pool
Florida pastor Terry Jones makes his closing argument to the jury, Friday, April 22, 2011 in Dearborn, Mich. A judge has ordered Jones, a Florida pastor to jail after he refused to pay a $1 peace bond over a planned demonstration outside a Michigan mosque.

Dearbon, Michigan - A Florida pastor's planned demonstration outside a Michigan mosque was scuttled Friday after a jury determined the protest would constitute a breach of the peace and he was briefly jailed for refusing to pay what authorities called a "peace bond."

The Rev. Terry Jones, whose past rhetoric against Muslims has inflamed anti-Western sentiment in Afghanistan, said he refused to pay the $1 bond because to do so would violate his freedom of speech. He later paid it and was released.


US: Lewis Binford, Leading Archaeologist, Dies at 79

© Southern Methodist University
Lewis R. Binford, a founding proponent of the so-called new archaeology movement.
Lewis R. Binford, one of the most influential American archaeologists of the last half-century and an early advocate of a more scientific approach to investigating ancient cultures, died on April 11 at his home in Kirksville, Mo. He was 79.

The cause was cardiac arrest brought on by congestive heart failure, said his wife, Amber Johnson.

A founding proponent of the so-called new archaeology movement, Dr. Binford was once described by Scientific American magazine as "quite probably the most influential archaeologist of his generation." From his base, first at the University of New Mexico and then at Southern Methodist University, he took to the field in Alaska, Australia and Africa, studying living hunters and gatherers to better understand similar societies that had existed in the past.

It was as a young assistant professor at the University of Chicago in 1962 that Dr. Binford tossed a stone into archaeology's waters and watched the ripples expand from shore to shore. That year his article in the journal American Antiquity, "Archaeology as Anthropology," proposed that his colleagues move beyond an emphasis on cataloging artifacts and looking for museum pieces and concentrate on a broad scientific analysis of what their excavations tell of how ancient people lived, the commoners as well as the elite.

Soon Dr. Binford's contemporaries and then a wider number of researchers joined the forces of the new archaeology, now known as processual archaeology, in which many branches of science are brought to bear in studying the behaviors and processes of past societies.


US: Mystery woman snuck into Google, left book and letter


Vera Svechina, via her blog.
A woman who claims Google is "inside her head and making her do things" quietly gained entry to the company's Silicon Valley headquarters last month, leaving behind a book and angry letter for the company's co-founders, police said on Friday.

Vera Svechina, a self-described filmmaker and former stripper, walked undetected into Google's main offices on March 14 and spent several minutes there, Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie said.

"An administrative staff member returned to her desk and found a book in Russian as well as a letter addressed to the two founders," Wylie told Reuters, referring to Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

"It didn't make any sense," Wylie said of the letter. "They were the ramblings of somebody with some kind of condition."

Google contacted police four days later, after reviewing security camera footage and finding that Svechina had breached the inner offices of the world's largest Internet company by walking in behind a visually impaired employee, Wylie said.

Cow Skull

Why We Are Totally Finished

In A Nutshell: Corporatocracy Has Replaced Capitalism

Capitalism Fixes Problems & Preserves Democracy: Capitalism is what we should be relying on to fix our problems. Capitalism has it's own ecosystem, just like biology's ecosystem. An economic ecosystem that weeds out the weak, has parasites that eat the failures and new bacteria that evolves and grows replacements for that which failed. A system that keeps everything in balance.

The problem is we are no longer a capitalistic society. What we were taught in school is now utter and absolute nonsense. Capitalism is a thing of the past.

As outlined in "It's Not A Financial Crisis - It's A Stupidity Crisis", we created two back to back bubbles. The air out of the Tech Bubble was sucked up for fuel by our next stupidity crisis: The Housing Bubble.

Black Cat

US: Center for Disease Control study links bullying with family violence

antibullying sign
© Reuters/Brian Snyder
An anti-bullying billboard hangs on a building in downtown Boston, Massachusetts March 3, 2011.

While bullies and their victims traffic in threats, taunts and fights in the schoolyard, a report on Thursday showed those on both sides are also more likely to live with violence at home.

Violent family encounters were most common among youth who identified as someone who has both bullied and been victimized, the report said.

The association was among findings from a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which along with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health analyzed data from middle and high school students across the state.

Massachusetts has been at the forefront of the bullying debate since the widely reported suicides of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince of South Hadley last year and 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Springfield in 2009.

The state passed anti-bullying legislation in May 2010 which prohibits bullying in school and online, and mandates school-developed bullying prevention and intervention plans.

The CDC analysis, published online in its for April 22, confirmed some well-documented associations with bullying -- an increased likelihood of suicide, substance abuse or poor grades.


Oil Crisis Just Got Real: Sinopec (Read China) Cuts Off Oil Exports


As if a dollar in freefall was not enough, surging oil is about to hit the turbo boost, decimating what is left of the US (and global) consumer. Xinhua, via Energy Daily, brings this stunner: " Chinese oil giant Sinopec has stopped exporting oil products to maintain domestic supplies amid disruption concerns caused by Middle East unrest and Japan's earthquake, a report said Wednesday.

The state-run Xinhua news agency did not say how long the suspension would last but it reported that the firm had said it also would take steps to step up output "to maintain domestic market supplies of refined oil products". Oh but don't worry, those good Saudi folks are seeing a massive drop in demand... for their Kool aid perhaps. "Sinopec would ensure supplies met the "basic needs" of the southern Chinese special regions of Hong Kong and Macao, but they also should expect an unspecified drop in supply, Xinhua quoted an unnamed company official as saying." Now... does anyone remember the 1970s?


USA: $76,000 Cover Charge to Protest

White House pool reporter gives account of Mr. Obama's breakfast fundraiser in San Francisco
© Getty Images
President Barack Obama was not welcomed by everyone at his breakfast in San Francisco.

A crowd of half a dozen protesters concerned with the Wikileaks story disrupted the Obama event at the St. Regis Hotel, with Oakland activist Naomi Pitcairn organizing the event for the group which calls itself freshjuiceparty.com; she personally paid $76,000 total for tickets for the group to gain entry to the high priced fundraiser, she told us.

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithnerr Takes Family Surfing in Half Moon Bay

The progressive group protested what they called the inhumane treatment of Pvt. Bradley Manning in the Wikileaks case. Their protest song - which included lyrics: "We paid our dues..where's our change?" - was sung in its entirety for Obama, who thanked them at the end of the a capella performance.

Light Sabers

President Obama heckled at S.F. fundraiser

As President Obama addressed the crowd at a breakfast fundraiser in San Francisco Thursday, he fielded some audience input that he wasn't bargaining for.

A woman in the crowd suddenly rose from her seat and said: "Mr. President, we wrote you a song," according to the White House pool report. The president attempted to quiet her, but the woman and her table of donors at the St. Regis Hotel breakfast broke into song and raised signs that read "Free Bradley Manning"--the Army intelligence specialist accused of releasing diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Yesterday, it was reported that Manning had been moved to a less restrictive prison following pressure from human rights groups.

The protesters said they had spent $5,000 donating to Obama. "We'll vote for you in 2012, yes that's true. Look at the Republicans--what else can we do?" they reportedly chanted.

"We paid our dues. Where's our change?" they sang.

You can watch a clip of the protesters below, via the San Francisco Chronicle: