Paddy posted the sad news here: R.I.P. Nelson Mandela 1918-2013
Details as soon as I get them, South African president now announcing. (I had the wrong birth year at first, now corrected.) NBC News here.
From CNN News Alert-
Nelson Mandela, a revered world statesman who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of its dark days of apartheid, has died, President Jacob Zuma has announced. He was 95.
The former president battled health issues in recent years, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.
In a nation healing from the scars of apartheid, Mandela became the moral compass.
His defiance of white-minority rule and his incarceration for fighting against segregation focused the world's attention on South Africa's apartheid system, making him a symbol of the struggle for racial equality.
In his lifetime, he was a man of complexities. He went from being considered a terrorist, to an imprisoned freedom fighter, to a unifying figure, to an elder statesman respected worldwide.
A lot lately has been made over the slippery slope quickly approaching the Supreme Court. In the first quarter of next year, they will hear arguments over religious freedoms guaranteed "we the people" and now seemingly "we the corporations" of America as it relates to healthcare. That is surely to be a wonderful case to watch and their June decision will be landmark level.
But before SCOTUS takes up that battle which will help define corporations status as "people", there's some other monkey business to be heading to the courts. Did I say monkey? I meant to say, "chimp." And now that I think about it, what follows might give the true meaning of a monkey court.
In a string of landmark cases to be filed this week, four chimpanzees will fight for the right to retire to humane sanctuaries. Stop snickering. This is real.
It seems chimps are people too, my friend. And if that's the case, it must mean that evolution is real as well. Think about it. Is this the next Scopes Monkey Trial?
Here's the story of the law suits that are being waged.
A man named Pat Lavery and his wife had first came across Tommy the chimpanzee ten years ago. At the time he was believed to be around 16 years old and was a long time veteran of the entertainment business. Who doesn't like a show biz vet? So the Laverys took Tommy in along with other members of the Chimpanzee family. They sheltered them, fed them, and took care of them.
That was going smoothly until last Monday when Lavery discovered that Tommy, the chimpanzee to whom he has extended his hospitality and an endless supply of bananas for the last decade, had sued him in New York’s Supreme Court.
The Daily Beast picks up here:
The first-of-its-kind lawsuit seeks a writ of habeas corpus, a legal tool used to challenge a person’s imprisonment or detention. It demands Tommy’s immediate release from “illegal detention” and transfer to any of the seven refuges that form the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance—making the 26-year-old chimp the first non-human animal to demand legal rights under common law.
Look, as I prefaced, if a corporation that can't breath, eat, give birth, swing on a vine or peel a banana can be considered a person, why not a chimp?
Acting on Tommy’s behalf is The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), an organization on a mission to have animals recognized in law not just as “things,” but as “persons” with the right—among others—to “bodily liberty.”
Lest you think Tommy's alone in feeling his rights have been infringed upon,
Tommy’s lawsuit, in which the animal is named as a petitioner represented by the NhRP, is the first of three such cases being filed in New York county courts on behalf of four chimps.
The lawsuit claims:
“Chimps are autonomous, they self-determine their own lives, they are extraordinarily social, self-aware beings—behaviors and characteristics that qualify them as persons with a fundamental right to freedom.”
This really boils down to what does a chimp know, feel, smell, sense and experience. If you subscribe to Darwin's theory, they are endowed with all those abilities. We know that Corporations don't contain any of those. Their inanimate. But with a chimp, there seems to be some recognized qualities to their existence which makes you want to give out a Tarzan yell.
“Chimpanzees possess a sense of self that developmentally emerges in a manner similar to humans and is highly stable over time. They recognize themselves in mirrors and on television and can use a flashlight to examine the interiors of their own throats in a mirror. Adult chimpanzees recognize photos of themselves as youngsters,” the papers state, citing affidavits from multiple scientists.
“Like humans, chimpanzees have a concept of their personal past and future and suffer the pain of not being able to fulfill their needs or move around as they wish,” the court papers state, adding: “Like humans, they experience the pain of anticipating never-ending confinement.”
Show me one corporation that experiences those feelings.
I'm not going so far as the suggest chimps qualify for Obamacare, but they do qualify to be treated humanely. And that's what this is all about.
So Mitt Romney and SCOTUS with your Citizen's United finding, you might want to pay special attention to these upcoming chimp cases. As you approach hearing the corporations arguments for religious freedoms, consider Tommy's case could ultimately be kicked up to your court on appeal, or a banana peel. If you give corporations religious rights, what's next? Will you determine whether Tommy's eligible to demand Kosher only foods. Oh, and let's not forget these show biz chimps were paid when employed. Maybe they qualify for social security and unemployment benefits.
I love catching a fun ad on TV. Some of them are so creative that they actually sail over my head in their... cleverness. There's insurance company ads where fathers use hoses to bath their big as a house babies. There's an especially mind boggling commercial for a video game which features a post apocalyptic Las Vegas, burned out and smoking, with Sinatra singing in the background, and a lone car filled with survivors, armed to the gills, driving through the debris. I think if you're old enough to get the Sinatra/Vegas connection, you're way beyond playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto, but hey, what do I know. I'm not Don Draper.
None-the-less, millions are spent in advertising dollars to get our attention, and then once they have that, selling us an item is secondary. It no longer seems that the commercial be pertinent to the product. Just grab our attention. A talking Gecko or a dancing hot dog or a red-headed clown will do, if it's cute enough. But when those gimmicks fail, there's always SEX.
Yes, the bottom line is that sex sells -- anything.
Here's an example. You've just lost grandma to old age. You can't keep her in the garage, so you elect, like most folks, to bury her. If you're handy, like those people on HG TV's Celebrity Home Coffin Makers, you can build your own pine box. But if you're not, you may need to purchase one.
What do you look for when buying something to last an eternity? The coffin industry thinks sex:
Perhaps that's a bit too subtle but not for the Polish coffin makers. Well, here's more from Cracked:
The owner of Lindner Coffins has fended off accusations of tastelessness by claiming that he wanted to "show the beauty of Polish girls and the beauty of our coffins," and insisting that a coffin is "furniture, the last bed you'll ever sleep in." According to the calendar's (not safe for work) promo page, the 2014 theme is "nature, which we express with perfect harmony between Lindner coffins and natural wood."
And speaking of "natural wood" how about this Thai commercial for fertilizer. I dare you to watch this commercial and not get the "hidden meaning," or get a rise out of it. Subtle it ain't. But hysterical it is.
Move over, Mad Men:
As if the price of gas isn't high enough already comes this news from The Hill:
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is introducing legislation that would nearly double the 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax that is traditionally used to pay for federal transportation projects.
Blumenauer's bill would increase the gas tax by 15 cents, matching a proposal that was included in the 2011 Simpson-Bowles budget reform recommendations.
The legislation would result in drivers paying an extra 33.4 cents per gallon on their purchases, in addition to state taxes.
On the surface, this pisses me off. But then I got to thinking, you know what else pisses me off? Last week I hit a pot hole at night and damaged my car and threw the front tire out of alignment. I got it adjusted, but I was out a hundred dollars.
Streets aren't repairing themselves on their own. And bridges, overpasses, rail lines and runways aren't getting any safer with the lack of action by the 113th congress. They're content with just talking about our need to upgrade infrastructure. They're not willing to do anything about it.
We can't wait much longer. We're paying for it one way or another. If I hit that pothole, how many other people have done the same and how many more will be following behind me?
Blumenauer's bill sounds pricey. But when you come down to it, his proposed increase, along with the current federal tax on gasoline comes to less than 10% of the current price/gallon -- an amount similar to the sales tax in many places right now. But look what we could get for that. Safety on the roads, high speed rail upgrades (currently they exist only in California), repaired airport runways.
I'm not generally down for tax increases, but rather for taxes going down. Yet I'm also not for automobile repairs that are caused by a crumbling infrastructure. Maybe it's better to pay the 10% at the pump than face body shop work or worse, the potential loss of life.
Can we put a price on that? We're already paying in more ways than one. And consider this as well: The last time the federal gas tax was increased was 1993. You don't remember, do you? That's because we learned to live with it. And we didn't suffer irreparably. Prices didn't increase. Productivity didn't go down. People didn't lose jobs. So maybe it's time to pay the piper -- so long as he uses the money to employ the workers to fix the problems. That means jobs which help our economy and that's something we have do have to fix right away.
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Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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