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China’s Re-education Camps, Version 2.0
08.27.2009
04:07 pm
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And you think America spends too much time online?  Consider China, and the case of 14-year-old Pu Liang, who was often out all night playing games at a local internet cafe.  Seeking to cure Pu of his “addiction,” his mother, Li Shubing, shipped him off to a summer camp notorious for its “extreme methods.”  How extreme?  Well, as the LA Times reports:

Pu now lies hospitalized in critical condition with broken ribs, kidney damage and internal bleeding.  Removed from the camp by police last week, he told his parents he had been beaten by a counselor and fellow campers after he was unable to complete a rigorous regimen of push-ups.

Li remains as upset as she is baffled, “I never imagined they could be so cruel to treat a child like this.  I only wanted him to straighten out his life.”  Perhaps she should have more closely read the camp literature—or consulted the internet herself.  There are now roughly 300 such camps in China, many of them employing such, ahem, proven internet-weaning methods as enforced standing and shock treatment.

But Wu Yongjin, who runs the Chinese Unconventional Education Training Center, defends these methods, calling them, “more important nowadays when children are so spoiled.  It’s okay to beat them, just as long as you make sure they don’t really get hurt.” 

Hmm…they say excessive gaming desensitizes you to violence and diminishes your capacity for empathy.  Well, Pu, look on the bright side—once those kidneys heal, you’ll have no problem landing a job at the Unconventional Training Center!
 
In the LA Times: China’s Internet-addiction Camps Turn Dangerous

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.27.2009
04:07 pm
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Turkey: The Other Drug Mule
08.26.2009
05:35 pm
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The above clip from Mexican television exposes a new wrinkle in the drug-smuggling game sure to be popping up on next season’s Weeds: the use of turkeys as drug mules.  According to my Google-translated Spanish, traffickers apparently anesthetized the turkeys, then “introduced into their bodies” all the illegal merchandise (in this case, roughly 3 kilograms of baggied heroin). 

The birds were next transported via bus to Trujillo, where their unusual weight drew the attention of Federal agents.  Thankfully, though (and you can see it in the clip), a veterinarian was summoned to withdraw the baggies, sparing the turkeys further harm (for now).  WARNING: the above clip is NOT for the squeamish.

 

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.26.2009
05:35 pm
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Somali Cruises: Fun For The Whole Family!
08.21.2009
02:10 pm
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“It’s like a safari, only better.”  This mildly persuasive-looking site for Somali Cruises offers to ferry thrill-seeking travelers all the way from Mombasa to Djibouti.  To better combat pirates, they suggest you bring along your high-powered weaponry.  Don’t have guns?  No problem, they’ll rent you what you need—and throw in 100 rounds of tracer ammo in the caliber of your choice.

Here’s a testimonial: “Six attacks in 4 days was more than I expected.  I bagged three pirates and my 12-year-old son sank two rowboats with the mini gun.  PIRATES: 0—PASSENGERS: 32!  Well worth the trip.  Just make sure your spotter speaks English.”  Well, thanks for that tip on “spotters,” Donald from Salt Lake City!  I’m afraid, though, I won’t be joining you port side.  Somali Cruises isn’t—yet—taking credit cards.  Ah, well, there’s always this.

 

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.21.2009
02:10 pm
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Afghanistan: The Higher Price Of Opium
08.20.2009
01:32 pm
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As the vote-counting begins today in Afghanistan, I’m reminded that politics, by design, can often assume dimensions that are both abstract and confusing.  I think we can all agree, though, those qualities are completely missing from the accompanying photos and this description of the living conditions in Saba:

Open the door to Islam Beg’s house and the thick opium smoke rushes out into the cold mountain air, like steam from a bathhouse.  It’s just past 8 a.m. and the family of six—including a 1-year-old baby boy—is already curled up at the lip of the opium pipe.  Beg, 65, breathes in and exhales a cloud of smoke.  He passes the pipe to his wife.  She passes it to their daughter.  The daughter blows the opium smoke into the baby’s tiny mouth.  The baby’s eyes roll back into his head.  Their faces are gaunt.  Their hair is matted.  They smell.  In dozens of mountain hamlets in this remote corner of Afghanistan, opium addiction has become so entrenched that whole families—from toddlers to old men—are addicts.  The addiction moves from house to house, infecting entire communities cut off from the rest of the world by glacial streams.  From just one family years ago, at least half the people of Sarab, population 1,850, are now addicts.

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From The Sacramento Bee: Afghanistan—Village of Addicts

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.20.2009
01:32 pm
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Eight-year-old boy becomes youngest person in the world to wing-walk
08.20.2009
12:11 pm
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imageTiger - “yes, that is my real name” - Brewer took to the skies on the wing of his grandfather’s biplane at 11am and returned to ground about 25 minutes later.

Speaking afterwards, Tiger said: ‘It was amazing flying on the wing but very windy. I feel brilliant to be the world record holder.’

The London-based youngster is the grandson of Vic Norman, who operates the only formation wing-walking team in the world.

Grandfather Vic said: It was wonderful to fly Tiger, it meant so much to have him on my wing - he was a natural’.

His mother, Zoe, had been very relaxed at what her son wanted to do.

‘My siblings and I have all grown up doing all sorts of weird things and I wouldn’t let him do it if I didn’t think it was perfectly safe,’ she told Sky News Online.

‘He’s with my father and I trust him absolutely.’

As for Tiger himself, he earlier described himself as ‘excited, and a teeny bit nervous - and happy.’

‘I’ve stood on a biplane but I’ve never flown on one,’ he said.


Young Tiger On A High After Record Wing-Walk


(via Arbroath)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.20.2009
12:11 pm
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“Hey, Aren’t You the Taster’s Choice Guy?”
08.19.2009
02:34 pm
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imageWe wanted to call your attention to a posting about an unusual lawsuit on the Wall Street Journal’s Law blog. I must admit, the first thing that crossed my mind was “How the heck did this guy AVOID knowing that his face was on the Taster’s Choice label?” It’s almost like being the Marlboro Man or Mikey the Life cereal kid without knowing it, right? How was this possible?

 

 

 

 

A fellow named Russell Christoff was at a hardware store one day in 2002, when someone told him he looked like the ?
Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.19.2009
02:34 pm
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I am a (Mexican) Coke Fiend
08.14.2009
02:08 am
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Okay, I’ll admit it… I’ve got a new vice and it’s a little on the embarrassing side. You see, I’ve turned into a real Coke fiend. Not cocaine, oh no, I went through that phase years ago, I mean THE REAL THING... Mexican Coca-Cola! That’s right kids, Mexican Coke is different from (most) domestic variants of the world’s most popular soft drink. In Mexican they use real sugar cane—none of this high fructose corn syrup shit south of the border—and it is SO FREAKING DELICIOUS.

Mind you, I say this as someone who has NEVER liked soda and never drank it at all (I could go years without drinking a single carbonated beverage, it’s true), but man I just cannot get enough this this stuff. It happened one day when a friend was visiting. We walked around the corner to the local bodega and my friend noticed that they had the classic glass Coke bottles with the stickers on them—“YES!”—he cried out “They’ve got Mexican Coke here!”  We bought two, drank them, then went straight back and bought two more. That was a year ago and now I drink them all the time (so does my wife, another lifelong soda hater, now similarly addicted to the “Mexican brown”—as we Mexican Coke fiends call our favorite tipple).

I’ve got it easy, after all I live in Los Angeles where Mexican Coke is plentiful and cheap. Here’s some info from the A Continuous Lean blog about where you can “score” some Mexican Coke in your locale:

How do you get your hands on some of this tasty Mexican Coke? If you live in New York there are a few options. Bodegas in places like Sunset Park, Washington Heights, etc. often stock Mexican Coca-Cola as well as other versions of Coke from South American countries. The beverage store New-Beer on the Lower East Side will occasionally sell the real-deal sugar cane Coke. If you live in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico or California Costco sells Mexican Coke by the case. I have my friend Kate from Texas bring me four bottles at a time. Hope she doesn?

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.14.2009
02:08 am
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Mexico’s Universities Of Crime
08.12.2009
04:47 pm
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Engrossing article this week by Marc Lacey in The New York Times: Mexico’s Drug Traffickers Continue Trade in Prison.  In it, Lacey describes the nonchalance with which prison guards in Mexico grant “revolving door status” to that nation’s most notorious drug traffickers.  The guard-trafficker relationship has, in fact, grown so cozy of late that prison cells have become de facto bases of operation for the traffickers’ criminal empires.  What were once “Centers for Social Rehabilitation” are now better known as “Universities of Crime.” 

Fortunately, there’s American money on its way to fix things!  As part of its counter-narcotics assistance program, the U.S government is sending Mexico a grand total of…$4.0 million.  Cue this.  In the accompanying surveillance video, watch and see what all that money’s gonna try to fix.

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.12.2009
04:47 pm
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Paul Krassner: Who’s To Say What’s Obscene?
08.03.2009
11:47 am
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Satirist, counter culture icon and all around iconoclast, Paul Krassner, author of the new collection, Who’s to Say What’s Obscene?: Politics, Culture, and Comedy in America Today. Topics include the definition of obscenity in today’s America, the Obama presidency and what it means for political satire, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show’s influence on younger people, the state of the “underground press” today and a lot more. Recorded at Mahalo Studios, special thanks to Jason Calacanis and Alex Miller. Cut live by Alex Miller and edited by Bradley Novicoff. Floor manager Darren Dodge. Produced by Bradley Novicoff and Tara McGinley

 

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.03.2009
11:47 am
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Faith or Foolishness? Babies Thrown From Building For Good Health
08.01.2009
11:28 am
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Nirmala George from Associated Press sez, “Rights activists lashed out Friday at local officials who allowed hundreds of infants to be dropped from the roof of a mosque in western India in the belief that the fall ?

Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.01.2009
11:28 am
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