Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fake Maple Syrup: Bernard Coleman, U.S. Man, Guilty Of Selling Fake Syrup, Faces Up To 3 Years In Prison

BURLINGTON, Vt. - A Rhode Island man has pleaded guilty in Vermont federal court to selling mislabeled maple syrup.

Fifty-year-old Bernard Coleman of West Warwick, R.I., said he initially sold pure maple syrup over the Internet. But when the price of syrup increased, he decided to make his own out of water, sugar and maple flavouring. He said he made the syrup in his home and sold it since 2009.

A couple who bought about $220 worth of syrup from him doubted that it was authentic and had it tested by the state Department of Agriculture Consumer Protection. It was determined to be made from cane sugar.

Coleman pleaded guilty Thursday to introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead. He faces up to three years in prison.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

GOP Debate WarMongers Target Iran - Miltary Industrial Complex

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists , the hopes of it's children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a Cross of Iron. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist." Dwight D. Eisenhower Jan 17, 1961

Bill Maher Blog Huffington Post Today...

The Republicans sure have the right symbol with the elephant. Republican debates are nothing but elephants in the room.

The biggest of which must be: to someone out there who's hurting, they spend the whole two hours yammering away about earmarks and illegal immigrants and contraception and every other peripheral, wish-I-had-the-time-to-worry-about-it issue they can think of.

Then there is the elephant of how they all -- with the sometime exception of Ron Paul -- nod along to insane statements just because they don't want to ever look like they're to the left of anybody, on anything, especially the evilness of Barack Obama. So Wednesday night when Newt said the president of the United States had a history of practicing infanticide... yep, yep, yessir, that's what he does all right. Clubs infants like baby seals in his spare time. Ike played golf, Kennedy liked boating...

Ron Paul said foreign aid just helps our enemies. Which, I believe, would make Israel and Egypt our two biggest enemies. Yup, yup, hate foreign aid. A meaningless percentage of the budget, btw.

Newt said where government becomes the central provider of services, it's a move towards tyranny -- yeah, except in all the countries where it isn't, like all of Scandanavia and much of Europe. Today a barium enema paid for by medicare, tomorrow Poland.

And isn't a highlight of every debate when Mitt Romney takes umbrage at being accused of the best thing he ever did in his life -- Romneycare? Something he should be proud of? Last night he took out his dueling glove and declared that when he was governor, he made sure there was NO requirement from the church to provide morning after pills for rape victims. They will be punished with a baby, as Jesus would want. Mitt's attitude is always, "How dare you accuse me of helping people or being compassionate! Why, I'll have you know I'm every bit as much of a cold hearted bastard as any of these other pricks up here with me!"

"But Mitt, we have a picture of you giving money to a homeless person."

"I did NOT give a bum money! I was paying him to blow me!"

This Republican field over the last year has been such a comedy gold mine -- which I have compacted into a stand-up special I'm doing Thursday night, February 23, called #CrazyStupidPolitics -- it's free, and it's live-streamed on Yahoo! 10:30 Eastern (with a mindblowing announcement at the end). I apologize for the shameful plug, but I just want you to have a good laugh! Thank you Arianna, you're the best... and now back to our blog.

The biggest elephant in the room tonight for me was Satan. All day, TV news was talking about Satan because of Rick Santorum's dug-up (but, no doubt still accurate) comments about Satan from 2008. It just shows you how when someone is a nobody politically speaking -- as Santorum was in 2008 -- you can say any kind of crazy shit and it's not newsworthy. But when you are seeking the highest office in the land... in the world -- it really worries me that you believe in demons and a personified creature named Satan.

People get mad at me for using the phrase "this stupid country", which I sometimes do -- but, I'm sorry -- Satan? In 2012? This elephant is not only in the room at the debates, but everywhere on TV today where people were talking about this and not breaking down in the middle and screaming, Wait a minute -- We're modern people, surely we don't give any credence to this comic book character that was created in the bronze age!! It's barely worthy of a children's story, and people take it to the Oval Office -- Bush did -- and it affects their thinking and our lives. Why is Santorum so against contraception? Because there's a line in Genesis about not spilling your seed. A random brainfart from some desert dweller 3,000 years ago, before people knew about germs or atoms or round planets, and it gets written down and passed down and in 2012 people like Rick Santorum are still too R-word to see that, and that's why some woman in Akron, Ohio might not get birth control.

And as far as Rick's claim tonight that even though he holds these beliefs, he wouldn't legislate them? Bullshit -- he said states absolutely had the right to outlaw contraception. That's the same thing -- as an officer of the government, he should take the opposite position. Ron Paul would.

My favorite moment of the debate was the last question, when they all were asked to summarize themselves in one word: Ron Paul said "consistency," and you know what? I have no argument with that. It's true, and he's earned it.

The other ones however, I think I could find a more honest word. Mitt Romney said "resolute." I would have gone with "shapeshifter." Or perhaps "irresolute." Rick Santorum said "courage" , whereas I would have said "Bellevue." And Newt Gingrich said "cheerful." I was thinking "pus."

One other thing: in the overtime, I heard Ron Paul make the point to John King that his foreign policy was similar to Eisenhower's, how Ike avoided getting militarily involved in Vietnam or the Suez Canal and got out of Korea. Because he was a military man. Ron Paul served, also -- the other three not so much. I know it will never become law, because it would require a constitutional amendment, but I don't think it would be such a bad thing if you had to have served in the military if you wanted to be president. Kennedy also avoided war where many would not have. After him, though, we got into the era of non-servers and draft-dodgers, and used the military like a toy. Ex-soldiers understand it's not. And the president is Commander-in-Chief -- shouldn't you have served some time in an organization you're the head of?

I hope this was the last Republican debate. Well, I say that, but I'll need the material after I use up an hour of good jokes tomorrow night, so, fuck it, keep going.

Last bullshit call: In his closing statement, Rick Santorum said that in the race against the Evil One (no, not that Evil One, he was talking about Obama), the president would have the media in his pocket (yeah, except Fox News, lots of newspapers, all of radio... ), and way more money. Huh? Sheldon Adelson this week said he might give $100 million to Newt Gingrich! If he'd give that to Newt who has no chance, he might give more to Romney. And he's just one old cranky billionaire who hates Obama, there's a whole gaggle of them.

And Sheldon, if you want to blow money so bad, just walk into one of your hotels in Vegas and go to the Roulette table.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Adele Flips The Bird At Brit Awards

Where did flipping the bird come from? One account contends that English longbowmen invented it in 1415 at the battle of Agincourt. "The French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers.

Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore [soldiers would] be incapable of fighting in the future." So sticking it to the French with upraised middle finger before battle was a gesture of defiance.

But this is confuted by other accounts of the battle in which English longbowmen raised two fingers to express odium for their foes. (These accounts argue they used two rather than one digit to draw the bow, you see.)

Adele was the centre of a swirl of bad press on Wednesday after giving a middle-finger salute when she was cut off during her acceptance speech at the Brit Awards Tuesday evening.

The 23-year-old was midway through a brief acceptance speech at the packed O2 Arena in London after winning the night’s top prize, best British album, for 21.But presenter James Corden stepped in to cut her short, because the show, being broadcast live on ITV, was running late.P.O.V.Should Adele and other winners be given more time for their acceptance speeches? Have your say.Adele has since apologized for the gesture, which comes two weeks after U.S. star M.I.A. flipped the bird during the Super Bowl halftime show. Both ITV and the BRIT Awards also issued apologies after taking a tongue-lashing from the British tabloids."I flipped the finger but it wasn't to my fans,"

Adele told the Sun newspaper. "I'm sorry if I offended anyone; it was the suits that offended me."The cutting off of the speech and Adele’s extreme reaction, ended the evening on a down note, after the singer won two of the biggest awards in pop music — best British female and best British album.

Ed Sheeran accepts his breakthrough artist award. He started out as an internet sensation. (Dylan Martinez/Reuters )

Adele, who won six Grammys last week in Los Angeles for her album 21, said it’s “been an amazing year” for her.The singer, who had to stop performing for five months last fall after having surgery on her vocal cords, thanked her record company "for letting me be the kind of artist I want to be."

She also performed Rolling in the Deep as part of the London ceremony, her second performance since she took time off to allow her voice to heal.But Adele's hit song lost the best single category to What Makes You Beautiful by a boy band from reality TV show X Factor, One Direction.Newcomer Ed Sheeran, a 21-year-old singer-songwriter, also won two awards — best British male and British breakthrough.

"I honestly didn't think I'd get this one,” he said, after coming out ahead of rapper Professor Green, James Blake, James Morrison and Noel Gallagher.

Sheeran built his fanbase as an unsigned act via Facebook and YouTube and scored a major hit with The A Team, the acoustic song he recorded in a student flat and put online.

Coldplay was crowned best British group for a record third time, while U.S. pop star

Bruno Mars was named best international male.

Best international female: Rihanna.

Best internatonal group: Foo Fighters.

Best international breakthrough: Lana Del Rey.

Critics choice: Emeli Sandé.Outstanding contribution: Blur.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


(NEWSER) – It's not every day that you walk into a bank planning to cash a $100 check—and ultimately find yourself $3.3 million richer. That's what happened to Rodolfo Valladares, just not quite that smoothly. Valladares, sporting a Miami Heat hat, walked into a Florida Bank of America in July 2008 to cash said check. A teller mistakenly identified him as a robber who had been hitting area banks—in a Heat cap. She set off the silent alarm, and things went south for Valladares, who was handcuffed by police and kicked in the head, reports the Miami Herald.

This mistake quickly came to light: The robber was in his 60s and 145 pounds; Valladares was 46, weighed in at more than 200, and presented the check and driver's license, not a weapon. And he wasn't wearing the exact same hat. Now, he's getting a little something for his trouble, courtesy of a Miami-Dade jury. They awarded him $3.3 million in damages, having ruled that the bank was negligent in both tripping the alarm and not canceling it when they realized Valladares was a customer, not a criminal. His lawyer says Valladares is plagued by headaches, blurred vision, and PTSD—and notes that "to add insult to injury, they cashed his check after finally telling police officers it was a false alarm." (In other big-bucks news, a man bought a safe for $123 on eBay, and found major cash inside; click for that story.)

Guy Buys $123 Safe on eBay, Finds Major Cash Inside

(NEWSER) – When James Labrecque listed an old safe—to which he did not have the combination—on eBay, the seller warned, "What you see is what you get, no returns, and no money back." A Tennessee man purchased it for $122.93, had a welder cut it open—and found $26,000 inside. The buyer shared the news with Labrecque via a positive review on the auction site, and Labrecque quickly attempted to convince the buyer to give him some of the cash, to no avail. In fact, WMC-TV reports, the buyer quoted Labrecque's own eBay disclaimer right back to him when turning him down.

"I made a mistake, you know, that's what it boils down to. And it cost me dearly," says Labrecque, who adds that he shook the safe and didn't think there was anything inside. "I feel like the stupidest idiot in the world. … I gave away a safe with $26,000 in it." He also insists that if he were in the buyer's place, he would have offered to split the cash 50/50 with the seller. "That's a chunk of change, you know. That's life-altering money." (In more big-money news, click to read about a man who tried to cash a $100 check ... and ended up with $3.3 million.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Brad Meltzers Decoded Aerogel and Aliens...

Brad Meltzer's Decoded, (or simply Decoded), is an American mystery and conspiracy theory investigation television series, produced by Go Go Luckey and Berman/Braun, that premiered December 2, 2010 on the History channel.[1] The series is hosted bypolitical thriller author and non-fiction writer Brad Meltzer and follows a team of investigators who try to determine the meanings behind various symbolism, alleged secret codes and conspiracies that surround us everyday.

Brad's team interview members of the military and aviation organizations who have come forward to break their silence about their encounters with UFOs. From the famous Roswell UFO incident to Area 51, the team tries to piece together evidence of an alleged government coverup regarding the existence of extraterrestrial beings.

Aerogel is a synthetic porous material derived from a gel, in which the liquid component of the gel has been replaced with a gas. The result is a solid with extremely low density[1] and thermal conductivity. It is nicknamed frozen smoke,[2] solid smoke, solid air or blue smoke owing to itstranslucent nature and the way light scatters in the material; however, it feels like expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) to the touch.

Aerogel was first created by Samuel Stephens Kistler in 1931, as a result of a bet with Charles Learned over who could replace the liquid in "jellies" with gas without causing shrinkage.[3][4]

Aerogels are produced by extracting the liquid component of a gel through supercritical drying. This allows the liquid to be slowly drawn off without causing the solid matrix in the gel to collapse from capillary action, as would happen with conventional evaporation. The first aerogels were produced from silica gels. Kistler's later work involved aerogels based on alumina, chromia andtin oxide. Carbon aerogels were first developed in the late 1980s.[5]

Pope John Paul II 'could not cure drooling, trembling woman during Vatican exorcism'

Pope John Paul II performed an exorcism on a "drooling, trembling" woman in the Vatican but was unable to cure her of her demons, according to the Catholic Church's most famous exorcist.

The young woman was brought to one of the Polish pontiff's weekly audiences in St Peter's Square in 2000 and started screaming, writhing on the floor and drooling.

The encounter is described in a new book by Father Gabriele Amorth, the exorcist for the diocese of Rome.

As soon as she entered St Peter's Square, in front of the Vatican, her behaviour became bizarre.

"When John Paul appeared, she began to wail. Ten people had to hold her down. She wanted to fling herself at the Pope. Her face was full of hate. She was drooling, uttering blasphemies.

"Her body trembled. She was like a beast ready to attack," Father Amorth wrote in his book, The Last Exorcist – My Fight Against Satan, which was released on Tuesday.

After the audience was over, the Pope reportedly asked to be taken to see the woman in his Popemobile.

"Sabrina was in a trance. Her eyes were two white orbs. She was drooling and throwing her head backwards. As soon as she was brought close to the Pope she started yelling 'No, leave me alone!' The pope carried out an exorcism on the spot. He blessed her several times. And then he left," wrote Father Amorth, the founder and president of the International Association of Exorcists.

But the exorcism did not work – when Sabrina was brought to see Father Amorth later that day, she was still possessed, according to Father Amorth.

"She was very agitated. I started to exorcise her. But the Devil wanted to show that he was still in command. I started to pray and said 'Get out, foul spirit.' It replied 'You get out, priest'. I said 'Why are you in this woman? Answer in the name of Christ'. The spirit answered 'You must all worship me because I am the strongest. I am God.'"

Father Amorth claimed that the young woman then got up from her chair and proceeded to walk up the wall behind him "as if it was the most natural thing in the world. She walked against every law of gravity."

It eventually took many sessions to cleanse her entirely of her demons, he said. "But I'm convinced that in some way the exorcism carried out by JPII left a trace in her."

The Pope had more success with an exorcism in the Vatican in March, 1982, when a young girl named Francesca Fabrizi was brought to him by the Bishop of Spoleto in Umbria.

"She was writhing around on the floor, crying out. She became calm when the Pope said 'Tomorrow I will say mass for you'," Father Amorth wrote. She went on to live a normal life, getting married and having children.

In his book, he also claimed the current Pope, Benedict XVI, performed an exorcism on two men possessed by the Devil at one of his weekly audiences in St Peter's Square in May 2009.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

World Waits For Greek Lawmaker Decision On Bailout Requirments

Greek lawmakers are poised to begin debate on legislation introducing the severe austerity measures necessary for the country to secure a €130 billion bailout ($171.6-billion) and stave off bankruptcy.

The legislation will also approve a bond-swapping deal with private creditors that will allow Greece to shave off at least €100 billion of its €360 billion debt.

Unions have called for a large protest outside Parliament.

The two parties backing the coalition government have 236 deputies in the 300-member parliament. But at least 13 conservative and seven socialist lawmakers have declared they will vote against, defying their leaders' threats of sanctions.

Early Sunday, a conservative lawmaker resigned, joining three socialists who did the same earlier this week.

All have been replaced.

PM defends austerity measures

On Saturday, Greek leaders urged lawmakers to pass more painful spending cuts or face a "catastrophe" that would leave residents subsisting on food stamps and the country wallowing in bankruptcy.

In a televised address, on the eve of the vote, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos defended the austerity measures. Papademos and the other party leaders backing Greece's coalition government — socialist George Papandreou and conservative Antonis Samaras, as well as socialist Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos — used stark images of a country under bankruptcy to convince the public and members of Parliament to support the austerity measures.

"The deal will ensure our country's future inside the euro," Papademos said. "A bankruptcy would lead to uncontrollable economic chaos and social explosion."

He added that a bankruptcy would lead to Greeks losing their savings, the state being unable to pay salaries and pensions, and shortages in import items such as medicines, fuel and machinery.

Dissidents unconvinced

Several dissident lawmakers were unconvinced. At least 13 conservative deputies and seven socialists declared they would not vote and two more socialist deputies resigned, bringing the total to three.

Their replacements will be seated Sunday.

The austerity measures in the bailout deal, including the layoffs of 15,000 workers and a 22 per cent drop in the minimum wage and pension cuts, have set off street protests and led to the resignations of half a dozen Cabinet officials.

Debt-stricken Greece does not have the money to cover a €14.5 billion bond ($19.1 billion) repayment on March 20, and must reach a vital debt-relief deal with private bond investors before then. The country's woes have threatened its future in the 17-country zone that uses the euro currency.

The European Union is waiting to see Greece finally act on their commitments.

Whitney Houston Dead, Drugs, Alcohol or Natural Causes?

Whitney Houston's body was moved Sunday morning from the Beverly Hilton hotel to the L.A. County morgue, where an autopsy will be performed.

Video showed a coroner's van pulling out of the hotel, where Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. Saturday.

Authorities said they don't know how Houston, 48, died but said foul play does not appear to be involved.

"There were no obvious signs of criminal intent," Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen said, adding it's unclear whether she died from natural causes or something else.

Paramedics performed CPR for about 20 minutes before the pop star was declared dead.

The Beverly Hills Fire Department said it was called to the hotel about 3:30 p.m. and Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.

Houston was in the Los Angeles area for a musical tribute for music executive Clive Davis and had performed earlier this week.

Houston was planning to attend Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party Saturday at the Beverly Hilton.

Earlier this week, the 79-year-old Davis perused page after page of guest lists in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where he conducts business when he’s in the Los Angeles area.

Among those Houston was expected to rub elbows with were Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, Akon, Cee Lo Green, Miley Cyrus, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Jennifer Hudson, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello and Diana Krall.

"It’s a great time where everybody can set down their swords, so to speak," Davis said, seated on an overstuffed divan next to a coffee table cluttered with papers, CDs and videos. "I was grateful that, inviting them to my home, that they would feel comfortable and just keep coming back, and they've kept coming back every year to where it's expanded to be this incredible haven for musicians."

Houston had drug and alcohol problems for years, and in May her spokeswoman said she was going back to rehab.

Publicist Kristen Foster told the Associated Press on Saturday that Houston had died but did not provide further details.

Houston was known for such hits as "How Will I Know," "Saving All My Love for You" and "I Will Always Love You." She also starred in movies such as "The Bodyguard."


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Warns World

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sarturday his country would soon unveil "very important" nuclear achievements and that the West's efforts to slow it down were futile.

Meanwhile, Hamas' leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said the group would never recognize Israel. The two were speaking in Tehran on the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

Demonstrators carrying Iranian flags and pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chanted "Death to Israel" and "Death to America."

"In the coming days the world will witness Iran's announcement of its very important and very major nuclear achievements," Ahmadinejad told a crowd at Tehran's Azadi Square in a speech broadcast live on state television. He gave no details.

"The world should know that despite all pressures, Iran will not withdraw one inch from its principles and [nuclear] rights," he said.

"All countries have put pressure on us for not obtaining nuclear know-how, but all these pressures were futile. We not only now have the nuclear know-how but also are capable of providing for our [nuclear] needs by our own local experts."

In recent weeks, the United States and its European allies have imposed new sanctions to try to force Iran back to talks. Iran says its nuclear program has only peaceful purposes.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Tehran has warned of a "painful" answer, saying it would hit Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf as well as block the vital oil shipping route through the Strait of Hormuz.

Haniyeh, meanwhile, maintained his hard stance on Israel. "They [the West] want from us to stop resistance and acknowledge Israel, but I herewith announce that this will never happen," Haniyeh said through an interpreter.

"Our message and the message of all those who lost their blood in the Palestinian lands is that all occupied lands will eventually be liberated from Israeli occupation."


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