RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/April 2011

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April 2011[edit]

5Would you pay $50 for a cup of shit coffee?
22What the anti-immigrant rabble-rousers don't want you to hear - Eastern European migrants add £5bn to British economy.
9The Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador erupts.
19In the UK, new EU trade regulations controlling the sale of traditional herbal medicines come into force.
-1Federal regulators want our kids to eat their greens. Well, at least they aren't trying to ban Happy Meals in some noble crusade for "food justice."
8Endeavour's "check engine" light is on - NASA postpones its final launch for at least 48 hours.
11SETI hit by cuts.
22If you're a church, and you host the President, and you question talk radio, you get death threats.
13Real carnival barkers get butthurt over Obama's use of the term "carnival barker" in reference to the Donald.
8Nearly 300 people have died as a result of the tornados and storms sweeping the US South East. But there's obviously no explanation for any of this other than "Godidit", as Congressional reps of the six worst-hit States have overwhelmingly voted to reject the science that climate warming is dangerous.
18Wingnuts are outraged as Superman renounces his US citizenship.
7Following the heavy-handed suppression of protests in Syria, Britain plays hard-ball by withdrawing their ambassador's invitation to the Royal wedding.
21The free market brought a wrecking ball to the movie Atlas Shrugged Part 1, so there won't be Parts 2 or 3. Oh, if only there'd been proper Government investment for independent filmmakers!
13Cuba is liberalizing its economy, which involves laying off 500,000 government workers. A University of Pittsburgh economist rewards a rare display of straight talk from the Cuban government by lambasting it for not making bullshit promises before announcing the layoffs.
0Dr. Lazar Greenfield cites a medical study indicating that semen can be beneficial to a woman's mood. The usual suspects take offense and he is forced to resign as president of the American College of Surgeons.
13President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi decides to dispel any notion that he does not tolerate criticism by expelling a British diplomat who claimed that he does not tolerate criticism.
43As if this will make the birthers shut up: Obama to release "long form" birth certificate. Addendum: A brief guide to what conspiracy theories birthers will rally around next.
11On the subject of Ron Paul, he's announced he's running for Pres in 2012.
9The Federal Reserve holds its first ever scheduled press conference tomorrow (Apr. 27). Say, who's the chairman of the House committee that oversees monetary policy? Oh, right, Ron Paul! This raises the question: Who will bullshit more about monetary policy: Paul or The Bernank?
7Good riddance!
19The Westboro Baptist Church had some difficulties picketing a funeral in Mississippi.
22Another day, another wingnut proposal in a state legislature: A Michigan (where else?) state senator proposes a bill that would ban foster parents from using the state-funded clothing allowance anywhere except thrift shops.
17King & Spalding, the law firm that the House retained to defend DOMA has withdrawn from the case. They cite "insufficient vetting" as the reason. Perhaps they realized the law was unconstitutional?
3More good news from Afghanistan! (/sarcasm)
7More Guantánamo "secrets" revealed.More
14Gaddafi's forces are routed in Misrata.
8In a finding that will please RationaWikians everywhere, a link is suggested between consumption of alcohol and above average intelligence.
15Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada) resigns to avoid pesky proceedings on his sex scandal.
8Amazon officially confirms that Skynet had nothing to do with our outages yesterday.
9Apes are monkeys - deal with it. A nice visual explanation of cladistics. Also available as a YouTube video.
17Memo to 9/11 first responders: SURPRISE!!! Thanks to an amendment that a GOP congressman tacked on to the 9/11 health fund, in order for you to get health benefits related to any injuries that you suffered during that terrible day, you must first submit yourselves to the FBI to be screened for any terrorist links.
12Shocker! Old-guard commies are appointed to fill the nos. 2 and 3 spots under Raul Castro.
14Rick Perry develops a "faith-based initiative" to fight droughts and wildfire in Texas.
25END OF AN ERA: Fidel Castro Resigns From Party Leadership And Calls For Liberalization.
11The list of losers, dopes, mopes and morons who have joined the Birther movement adds an unexpected entry, while losing an expected one.
19There really is no conceivable reason to implement gun control.
8For big-boys with $50,000 to spare; not your average Lego kit.
4The New York Department of Health, in an effort to rake in more $200 registration fees protect our children, has attempted to require the registration of summer camps that engage children in dangerous sports, such as Wiffle-Ball.
17An evangelical pastor suggests that Gandhi is not in hell. Fellow evangelicals try to tweet him out of the movement.
10An artist would like to post forged Department of Education signs along Interstate 75 to counter lies about American history, such as that George Washington wintered at Valley Forge with the Continental Army, or that James Buchanan was not gay.
13Supreme Court begins hearings on a global warming case.
8How Michigan trains "financial-emergency SWAT teams."
12How to solve municipal budget problems? If you're Gov. of Michigan Rick Snyder, just appoint an "emergency financial manager" to override local governments and pawn off their property.
28A Columbia University study of 32,000 Oregon teenagers finds that in conservative strongholds, not only are gay teens more likely to attempt suicide, but straight teens are also more likely to attempt suicide than straight teens in more liberal areas.
19Atlas may have shrugged, but nobody cared.
23"We must have universal healthcare, I'm a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one. We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by healthcare expenses." Thus spake new darling of the teabagger movement, Donald Trump, in his Jan 2000 book The America We Deserve.
18Republican committee member and teabagger circulates racist e-mail. But don't worry - she's not a racist!
8Southern USA reels from more than 240 tornadoes over the April 15-18 period. No claims yet that God was behind this natural disaster too.
22Over half of the students at Blue Mountain School, a private school in Virginia, have contracted Pertussis (whooping cough) due to the school's policy of allowing for religious exemptions to common vaccinations. This policy goes against Virginia law requiring schools and day care centers to maintain documented proof that their children have been vaccinated.
16NPR asks: Whatever happened to all the anti-war protesters? A University of Michigan study indicates that a number of them were motivated more by opposition to Dubya than by opposition to war.
10Finnish nationalist/anti-immigrant/Eurosceptic party makes big electoral gains.
7Kobe Bryant - bigot, or moron? Just because I called you a "fucking fag" doesn't mean I meant it literally.
6ACLU of Michigan makes a FOIA request on police cell phone scanning technology.
10Better take that cash out of your online poker account.
13A rider on the compromise budget bill that President Obama is about to sign has environmentalists wondering: Exactly how does removing a population of fewer than 2000 wolves from the endangered species list reduce the federal budget deficit?
-4With just two weeks to go before her marriage to the future head of the Church of England, Kate Middleton suddenly remembers an important little detail.
31Dennis Kucinich asks Scott Walker, "How much money does the [Wisconsin collective bargaining] bill save?" Walker answers: "It doesn't save any."
17Upset at the Atlas Shrugged movie getting pummelled by the critics? Why not comfort yourself with new friends at the Atlasphere Objectivist dating site!
9Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein may face criminal charges for his "shitty deals."
8Dick Durbin rips JP Morgan-Chase CEO Jamie Dimon a new one.
16"Well, duh!" department: WND's Joseph Farah admits to publishing "some misinformation by columnists."
12Right wing propaganda outlet Fox News removes from their website a story linking a university student's suicide to Barack Obama's deficit speech.
8Dennis Kucinich and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture have both been trying, without success, to visit Pfc. Bradley Manning in jail.
13The New York Times suddenly notices investigations of fraud in the financial sector have been few and far between.
-8The Department of Obvious reports: Claims of looming genocide in Libya were massively overblown. Correction: The Human Rights Watch report cited does note eyewitness accounts of civilians being targeted, but notes that they have yet to be corroborated by outside sources.
10 Rick "Frothy Mixture" Santorum is using a campaign slogan very similar to a line from a Langston Hughes poem. I know we're not supposed to use the "irony meter" metaphor, but come on.... UPDATE: Santorum has completely disowned the slogan due to the gay liberal poet connection.
21A 14-member commission formed to investigate tax loopholes for religious organizations is exclusively composed of Evangelical Christians. Chances of bias: Low. Protest this farce here.
7One's a "reality" show with little relevance to the outside world. The other...
8I think most of us at RationalWiki suspected this all along
7Some guy thought it'd be funny to make a video singing with kids, and then edit it to make it seem naughty. Bad idea. Unless you are Monthy Python, in which case you win the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes...
18Mitt Romney: Obama was born here. Period.
9Some universities would be happy that the federal government provides financial aid to so many of their students. Liberty University however, blocks campus access to newspaper website on the day it runs an article about just how much federal student aid is spent there.
10The people of China must now say goodbye to Bill and Ted, the flux capacitor, and the Enterprise crew saving the humpback whales. Their national Administration for Radio, Film & Television has has issued a ban on the use of a certain popular fictional plot device.
30Millionaires write Obama, Congress asking that their taxes be raised. "We all give to charity, but that's not the same as creating a more equitable society."
15The Armenian Genocide deniers who sued the University of Minnesota for labeling their website "unreliable" have had their backsides handed to them by the court. Being sore about this, they make some noise about how the ruling will lead to book-censorship, Nazi style.
3Some Chicago schools, trying to make students purchase more slumgullion from the school lunch caterers encourage Healthful EatingTM, have banned that ancient and venerable institution, the brown-bag lunch.
9The world's oldest LGBT person has been found in the Czech Republic. Update:' Though the "gay caveman" story in the Daily Telegraph has been overblown (not "gay" and not a "caveman").
8What Donald Rumsfeld didn't want you to know: topple more regimes, lying generals and fuck the civilians.
13The most boring book ever - coming to a screen near your local right-wing neighborhood on Tax Day.
7Jesus died on the cross and now we have the nails to prove it!
1512 April: 50 years since the first human in orbit and 30 years since the first Space Shuttle flight. Time for a party!
7Mitt Romney decides to run in 2012
14A group of prostitutes are challenging a Louisiana law that gives harsher penalties to the kinkier ones.
13The nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant is upgraded to the same crisis level as Chernobyl.
16The future gets a little closer as the US Navy gets is first floating laser platform of death!
8Could Europe be about to start disappearing under Africa?
41When Senator Kyl (R-AZ) stated Planned Parenthood's involvement in abortion was 30x the actual number, his defense was that his remark was not intended to be a factual statement, but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, a organization that receives millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, does subsidize abortions." Surely then there's no problem when we say Jon Kyl has been heavily involved with incestuous relationships (we're not intending it to be a factual statement, but rather to illustrate that Senator Kyl is a motherfucker).
9Liar, liar, pants-on-fire.
13A BNP candidate tries to get in on the Koran burning action, is arrested.
10Gordon Brown and senior Labour MPs were lobbied by Rupert Murdoch to hush the phone-hacking scandal, claims an unnamed ex-minister.
9It doesn't matter if your state legislature is deadlocked: it's never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down...
9Shutdown averted...until next Friday anyway.
14Seventy-year-old Catholic priest -- a regular on TBN -- takes a leave of absence after admitting to an affair with his 59-year-old second cousin. She says they are soul mates, that the affair has lasted for 30 years, and that she hopes this will shed more light on the issue of priests and celibacy.
14Deniers lose an important battle as anti-climate amendments are shot down.
10Gen. Carter Ham (no relation to this Ham) hints at discussions of troops on the ground in Libya. Who coulda known?
15Political parties campaigning against the Alternative Vote in the UK include the Tories, the BNP, the Communists and... well that's it, really.
17On Tuesday (5 April), Wisconsin held an election for a seat on the state supreme court. The race involved an incumbent who openly supports Governor Scott Walker's union-busting programs. The challenger was up by about 200 votes on Thursday afternoon. But in the evening, the county clerk of a GOP-dominated county announced that she had "found" an extra 11,000 votes, which now puts the incumbent up by about 7500 votes. The clerk who found the votes has caused controversy during counts before, and is a former employee of the Assembly Republican Caucus.
4The Commodore 64 lives again! ..sortof... Nevertheless, I want one.
11More political pop-neuroscience making the rounds. This smells suspiciously like the "research" PZ Myers thrashed to pieces a few months ago.
7Archaeology? Yeah, there's an app for that.
11The Tevatron particle accelerator finds a new particle: not the Higgs Boson, but something more interesting.
15Rio school shooting 13 dead. "I've never seen anything like this. It's like something in the United States."
11The US federal government shuts down at midnight tomorrow (April 8) if a budget is not passed.
17Good news: Palin's support now lowest ever. Bad news: 25% of Americans still support her.
7Another earthquake hits Japan. Magnitude 7.4 this time. Tsunami warnings have been issued.
6The Chinese government feels the need to censor Bob Dylan (if only they knew how hard it is for most English speakers to understand what he's saying).
22Honestly, this is a WIGO:World thing, not WIGO:Clog or Blog... Donald Trump has hired people to look into Obama's citizenship. Honestly. Click the link.
29Glenn Beck is kicked off TV will "transition off of his daily program" later this year.
21An American woman attacks a painting by artist Paul Gauguin, claiming it to be evil. "He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it's very homosexual."
17The American Medical Association and The Lancet have been sucked into the vast global warming conspiracy. Don't these ignorant doctors understand that CO2 is plant food?
17An Ask Jeeves poll suggests many people think fictional characters are real and historical characters are made up. Though the 1% thinking Doctor Who is real must have been taking the piss, surely...
18More GOP spending priorities: removing a pro-labor mural from the Department of Labor building in Maine could cost the state $60,000.
9The Supreme Court of the United States decides that taxpayers don't have the right to challenge their government about tax, with the result that Arizona is free to keep providing a subsidy by providing a "dollar-for-dollar tax credit ... for donations made to organizations which pay tuition for students attending private or parochial schools."
11GOP Presidential candidates point their laser gunsights at Planned Parenthood next
12Need something to read on the atheist bus? Philosopher and humanist A.C. Grayling has written The Atheist Bible.
14Instead of complaining about wandalism and low quality, a leading cancer charity takes the radical step of actually working with Wikipedia to improve its accuracy and clarity.
17Barack Obama announces he's running for re-election.
11But, but, surely Glenn Beck couldn't be wrong about gold!
13Sylvia Browne is reported to have had a heart attack while performing in Hawaii. Browne's failure to predict this was quickly rationalised by her faithful followers, but they were unable to understand why the church founded by Browne would ask for prayers and not money?
18Adding insult to injury: Gulf oil spill executives get bonuses for "the best year in safety performance"
15Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, the man who once said one of the lessons of the financial crisis was to "apply basic standards to how we compensate people in our industry," is back to getting multi-million dollar bonuses.
4Is this the death knell of American higher edumacation? Just two weeks after the College Boards got reamed for including essay questions about Kim Kardashian and The Jersey Shore on this year's SAT, Rutgers University paid Snooki $32,000 to talk about herself to a group of students. (Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison seems to be a comparative bargain. Rutgers signed her to deliver this year's commencement address next month for a mere $30,000.)
19This is not an April fool's joke: Republicans claim the new "force of law" budget bill passed in the House can become law without action by the Senate or the President. Maybe they need a refresher on how a bill becomes a law.
-8The German Medical Association recommends homeopathy... sort of.
24A Koran-burning ceremony by a tiny Florida church's "Pastor" ends up causing 11 UN staff to be brutally murdered in Afghanistan. The Pastor demands retribution for the killings. UPDATE: 5 more die, as the Pastor says, "I'm in no way responsible". Email to the Church's own website is failing due to overload, but the Pastor has another website with links to his Facebook page.
7Newt Gingrich's tough balancing act - courting evangelicals and casino magnates, simultaneously.
13James Randi announces this year's Pigasus award winners for the "worst promoters of nonsense."
23Democrats in Wisconsin have enough signatures to force a recall election for the first of eight Senate Republicans.