Police in Austria have arrested a man suspected of robbing banks while wearing a mask of US President Barack Obama.
The man was arrested after an armed robbery in Fornach, north-east of Salzburg, in Upper Austria.
Police said a bank employee was held at gunpoint before the robber fled the scene in a car.
Check out this headline:
NO. SERIOUSLY. READ IT AGAIN.
NBC gets Betty White to host a senior citizen hidden-camera prank show.
I am gong to watch the shit out of this show, and I will never stop watching the shit out of this show. In addition, I feel like this show could use some "senior citizen prank ideas" from Slog readers. Please furnish yours in the comments.
The author of the great political book Deer Hunting with Jesus, which I loved, is dead. He was 64. Bageant was an author and blogger who wrote about the problems of American class with a clear, powerful voice. I'll dearly miss his unique perspective.
Favorite moments: 2:50 and 7:05.
Because this sounds like one seriously broken record:
“State law says Seattle will pay for all cost overruns on the deep-bored tunnel. Before putting the public on the hook for cost overruns, we should first ask their permission. That’s why I support a public vote.”
Uh... is there anyone in Seattle—living or dead—who isn't aware the tunnel cost overrun provision at this point?
Tonight, Central Cinema is hosting a Con Air Quote Along at 8 pm. Choice lines will be displayed on the screen for the audience to read aloud, and they're providing everyone in attendance with a cap gun to fire as they please during the performance. (Remember to save a couple caps for the climactic explosion!) Cinematic purists should stay home; this will be a loud, boozy, distracted and distracting night at the movies, for Cage/Bruckheimer fans only.
* Here's my best elevator pitch: Harrison Ford plays the ex-President of the United States, who has been impeached and found guilty of treasonous crimes he did not commit. En route to prison, he's mistakenly placed on a plane full of the most dangerous criminals in the country—including the evil mastermind (Crispin Glover) who arranged to frame him! When the criminals get loose, can the president stay alive, stop the bad guys from flying the plane into the New York Stock Exchange in a fiendish plot to cripple the U.S. economy, and clear his good name? Find out in...Con Air Force One Two!
My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year and a half and have known each other for the majority of our lives. We are like two peas in a pod, and he is a wonderful partner to share life with. I am so in love with him. The frustration that I'm having is that our sex life is pretty much non-existent. We have sex probably twice a month, and when we do, its usually after I've had to beg for it, or during the middle of the night when I'm half asleep. During the act, its almost as if he's in a race with himself to see if he can finish even faster than he did the last time. I don't know what to do. When I've asked him why, he said that sex has never really been a priority for him, he's completely satisfied, and that I'm sex-obsessed, which I have to say this whole situation is beginning to make me. He even told me that as time goes on, we'll probably begin to have sex even less, which just broke my heart. I've offered to do anything he wants, whether it be lose weight, change my hair, dress up in crazy costumes...whatever it takes to get him to fuck me. I'm not jaw-drop gorgeous or anything, but I'm a cute and fun girl, and people seem to dig me. I feel like I'm a quality catch. I just don't understand why the one person that I want more than anything in this world doesn't. We've begun to talk about marriage, which has me imagining what a future void of sexual activity will look like. My questions...Am I being overly dramatic? Is there anything that I haven't already thought of or said that you think I should try? Is it possible to learn to become satisfied without sex and just be happy/grateful for all of the other wonderful qualities of the relationship?
Feeling Really Sad and Lame
My response after the jump.
Scary Tyler Moore brings good tidings:
A poisonous Egyptian cobra that disappeared from a Bronx Zoo exhibit was found Thursday after nearly a week on the lam, zoo officials said.
The 24-inch snake was found coiled in a dark corner of the zoo's reptile house, said zoo director Jim Breheny.
Oh, dear—artist talks can go south in a million different ways. SAM member Patricia Churchhill sent this pissed-off email about last night's talk with artist Nick Cave and Cynthia Rowley. She's right that some artists are better off not talking. Cave—my recent podcast here—was neither great nor terrible when I talked to him. It sounds like the uncomfortable presence of money and luxury in art and fashion came up—but not quite up enough.
I knew we were in trouble when the moderator didn’t know how to pronounce Schiaparelli. Confimation came with the inane slide show of celebrities, (exactly what did Liza Minelli have to do with it),
which was suppose to substantiate the importance of cross-pollinization between the art and fashion worlds.
Two strikes could possibly have been forgiven as small town Seattle introduces the main event: a discussion between Nick Cave and Cynthia Rowley. One hoped the two of them had some relationship, some history, something to say about each other’s work. Yeah, one could hope. These two people had virtually nothing to say to each other or to us.
The most substantive sense was that they spend their energies trying to market stuff no one needs. How about a sticker book for $34.00. How are those selling??? Or maybe Cynthia Rowley candy????
Finally, the moderator irritated everyone who had paid $10 or more a head and made an effort to get to the museum, (on a night when the galleries where the fabulous Nick Cave exhibit could not be seen — great planning), by saying that, really, we couldn’t hold up Nick and Cynthia because they had to get to the airport. As if they were doing us all a great favor by submitting to our attention.
Sometimes the artist needs to let their work speak for himself and stay out of sight. I had waited to see Nick Cave the night of the REmix party and gave up after twenty minutes in the hot crowded gallery. Maybe he was better solo, but maybe he was even more arrogant. This was an embarrassing non-event for the museum. Next time just have a reception for the donors and leave me out of it.
A member of SAM,
Don't look up "myiasis" on Wikipedia. Or anywhere. And you sure as shit shouldn't try a Google-image search for it.
Just please don't.
See, first you're looking up legal complaints against Benetton, then you're learning about controversial practices in the sheep-herding world, and next thing you know, you're regretting this amazing research tool called the internet.
There's some great questions and answers about fashion over in Questionland. Yes, yes, yes there are!
There's also a neat interview with VAIN's superstar style maker, Victoria over here.
You really should come to Worn Out. Do you have your tickets yet?
You say you haven't seen your daily quota of stuffy white know-it-all jackasses yet? Allow me to help: Donald Trump went on Bill O'Reilly's show to discuss Muslims (turns out, there are some good Muslims!), and Barack Obama's birth certificate. Along the way, we learn that Trump, who describes himself as "a very smart guy," has never seen a birth announcement; that he hates the word "birther;" that he thinks Obama's birth certificate might say "he's a Muslim;" and that he's fallen down the birther hole pretty quickly. "Two weeks ago, I felt like probably he was born in the country. Today, it's possibly."
O'Reilly, to his credit, refuses to agree with Trump on the birth certificate, providing the most succinct, condescending biography of Barack Obama that has ever been uttered: "His mother was a hippie. His father was a Kenyan who split."
Watch the whole thing.
Quick, someone go back in time to 2000 and try to convince the first human you find that this would really happen in a decade or so:
Microsoft plans to file a formal antitrust complaint on Thursday in Brussels against Google, its first against another company. Microsoft hopes that the action may prod officials in Europe to take action and that the evidence gathered may also lead officials in the United States to do the same.
Here's a Senior Vice President at Microsoft explaining the action:
At Microsoft we’ve shown that we’re prepared to work hard and invest literally billions of dollars annually to offer Bing, a search service that many now regard as the most innovative available. But, hard work and innovation need a fair and competitive marketplace in which to thrive, and twice the Department of Justice has intervened to thwart Google’s unlawful conduct from impeding fair competition. In 2008 the DOJ moved to file suit against Google for its unlawful attempt to tie up and set search advertising prices at Yahoo!, causing Google to back down. And last year the DOJ formally objected to Google’s efforts to monopolize book content, a position affirmed by a federal district court in New York just last week. Unfortunately, even this has not stopped the spread by Google of new and disconcerting practices in the United States.
Meanwhile, it looks like Google is trying to lock down control over their Android mobile OS. One of Android's early selling points was its openness. Gruber at Daring Fireball is calling this a bait-and-switch.
Done and done.
The voting is a little confusing: you have to click on five stars, then click "rate," and then your vote is recorded. You can also vote once a day. And seeing as I just voted for your yogi, longtime listener, Slog reader, etc., I suppose that makes me your flying monkey. And now I'm going to order the rest of my fellow flying monkeys to go and...
So it looks like all that legislative and editorial handwringing over the solvency of the state's pre-paid tuition program, the Guaranteed Education Trust, turned out to be for naught, what with the State Actuary's report (PDF) today that that the GET program in its current form has only a 0.7 percent likelihood of insolvency over the next 50 years.
In fact, one of the more interesting observations in the report is that "solvency results are very sensitive to changes in assumed purchaser behavior," meaning that changes to the program, like say, reduced benefits, that lead to lower participation, could actually increase the chance of insolvency over the long run.
The key to maintaining solvency, according to the report is to price future GET units with an accurate "long-term tuition growth assumption," which, it turns out, is pretty much what I described last week in suggesting that our state "Lawmakers Don't Seem to Get GET":
So I say we should just stick with what we have, and let the fund's actuaries reprice the cost of buying into the program to reflect the new reality of annual double-digit tuition inflation.
But I'm just some dumb blogger, so what do I know? Still, if lawmakers are still concerned about the state's potential liability, they might want to come up with a long-term policy toward tuition, instead of just winging it from year to year.
Oh, and one more tidbit. GET's actual investment returns between June 30, 2010 and February 28, 2011? 18.35 percent. Not too shabby.
The media coverage of the event was intense; there seemed to be around four protesters for every reporter. (I was accidentally interrupted twice by camera crews who were trying to grab interviews with people I was talking to.) So the message of the day probably got out, and the message was: Don't blame Tea Partiers if there's a shutdown, blame Democrats. One of the only people who strayed off message was Rep. Mike Pence, who raised the possibility and inspired cries of "Cut or shut! Cut or shut!"
Imagine if we had one reporter for every four protesters in Wisconsin or Ohio. Still: Republicans sure do seem to pay a lot of attention to this tiny band of lunatics. Maybe they'll actually go through with a shutdown, even though it's basically been proven that teabaggers are just so much white noise and not really influential in any serious way.
UPDATE: Good news—Captain America came out to the rally! (Good thing he doesn't have a day job.) And he's in favor of shutting the government down, too. I wonder where Spider-Man stands on the issue?
I could watch/listen to Fran Lebowitz say things all day.
Thank you, Metafilter.
At a press conference today, Governor Chris Gregoire condemned a city referendum on the deep-bore tunnel contracts while supporting City Attorney Pete Holmes’s lawsuit to keep it off the ballot. “Had Holmes not brought the action, we would have brought the action,” she said. As for the petitioners who gathered 28,00 signatures, Gregoire continued, “It think its too bad that people went out and got the signatures when they should have known all along that the decision was not referable [to the voters].”
Gregoire said any project delay for a citywide vote would cost $54 million. Who would pay those costs—the city or the state? "I have no idea," she said.
Gregoire also insists that the referendum—contrary to the edict of the city charter—didn’t suspend the tunnel contracts approved by the Seattle City Council on February 28 (pertaining to right of way and utility relocation for the tunnel). “Today we have a binding, enforceable contract,” she said.
The governor and Council President Richard Conlin also tried to refute evidence that the tunnel performs the same or worse than surface/transit. She claimed surface/transit would increase travel times through downtown by a half hour, while Conlin claimed a tunnel would result in "moving a majority of cars off our waterfront."
Neither Gregoire or Conlin have responded to requests for data that back up their statements.
Well props to them for having a sense of humor about it.
The American Heart Association, which is great, is promoting a campaign called Go Red for Women, which is also great, but on a poster I saw last night, it's being promoted with this website:
How do you feel, women, about this goring on your behalf? (Here are other unfortunate wesbites.)
On the Republican side: Looks like Ron Paul is going for it. He released a letter announcing he's going to be taking a number of trips to major primary states in the next few weeks. The Texas Independent has the news, along with the information that in his letter, Paul "referred to himself as a 'major potential presidential candidate.'"
On the Democratic side: Everyone's favorite principled elf from Cleveland is about to take another shot at the impossible dream.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich hasn’t said whether he will run for president in 2012, but the liberal Ohio Democrat seems to be acting like a candidate with his recent crusade against President Barack Obama on Libya.
While any kind of a fracture in the Democratic primaries is problematic for President Obama, I whole-heartedly welcome another series of opportunities to bask in the beauty and wonder that is Elizabeth Kucinich. (As a reminder of the joy that she brings, here are the last two sentences from her Wikipedia entry: "She has her tongue pierced with a silver stud. Like her husband she is a vegan.")
(Both via First Read.)
Fulfilling one goal of his state of the city address, Mayor Mike McGinn proposes putting a ballot measure before voters this year to fund the first necessary step of extending light rail to Ballard and West Seattle.
The mayor outlines his time line for funding light rail in a letter sent to the Citizen Transit Advisory Board on Monday. Once the city's Transit Master Plan is completed this summer, Seattle should be ready to move as quickly as possible on light rail planning and design. From the mayor's letter:
This is basic work that must be accomplished before we ask voters to help fund an expanded in-City rail system and before we can begin to seek grant opportunities. The funding required to pay for this planning and design work is not currently appropriated. The choice in front of us is how quickly we move toward planning. To provide a sense of these costs, SDOT estimates that it would cost roughly $10 million to get an 8 mile rail line to 15 percent design.
The city obviously doesn't have an extra $10 million lying around to conceptualize station locations, track alignment, and the in-depth engineering and operational analysis that makes the project close to breaking ground. So to raise the funds, McGinn proposes putting a transit ballot measure before voters in either August or November. "If this ballot measure passed," McGinn states, "the level of design work funded would allow us to seek federal grants for construction, as well as develop a timetable for a larger ballot measure to fund construction."
Ever accommodating, McGinn outlines a few alternatives to his preferred proposal, after the jump.
Says Executive Director Lyall Bush, "Acquiring a liquor license [as of April 22] will make the Film Forum that much more a forum, a place where people can gather, linger and talk. We encourage people to come early or stay after a movie, meet up with friends and discuss what they've just seen."
The Film Forum plans to offer a house red and white wine, with a higher-end selection of red, and three choices of beer. Says Holmes, "As much as possible we will focus on Washington and Oregon breweries and wineries. Once we get settled we plan to change the menu quarterly and make connections with what's playing in the cinemas."
Over time, the organization will make adjustments in their lobby to better accommodate patrons who choose to arrive early for a drink. A plan for bench seating and cafe tables is in the works, among other updates.
WOOOOOOOO!!! GATHER LINGER TALK CAFE TABLES WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
The strange color of that pigeon.
Apparently, it's okay in America to pass legislation restricting a woman's right to control her own uterus, but it's unacceptable to actually mention the word "uterus" on the floor of a state House.
During last week's discussion about a bill that would prohibit governments from deducting union dues from a worker's paycheck, state Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, used his time during floor debate to argue that Republicans are against regulations — except when it comes to the little guys, or serves their specific interests.
At one point Randolph suggested that his wife "incorporate her uterus" to stop Republicans from pushing measures that would restrict abortions. Republicans, after all, wouldn't want to further regulate a Florida business.
Apparently the GOP leadership of the House didn't like the one-liner.
They told Democrats that Randolph is not to discuss body parts on the House floor.
So, would calling his GOP colleagues a bunch of dicks violate the prohibition on discussing body parts?
Updated with an archive of the video.
Governor Chris Gregoire, state legislators, and Seattle City Council members are holding a press conference on the deep-bore tunnel. I can't make it downtown for the event, so I'll watch along with all y'all. I'm curious if they present any new information—like advance data of the environmental impact study that show the tunnel would perform well—or if it's another dog and pony show: