And the ban is averted for now thanks to ... Pelosi?!?!

From The Hill:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tossed cold water on the prospect of reinstating the assault weapons ban, highlighting Democrats’ reluctance to take on gun issues.

Attorney General Eric Holder raised the prospect Wednesday that the administration would push to bring back the ban. But Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated on Thursday that he never talked to her. The Speaker gave a flat “no” when asked if she had talked to administration officials about the ban.

“On that score, I think we need to enforce the laws we have right now,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. “I think it's clear the Bush administration didn’t do that.”

Outside of the dig at the recent Republican president, that phrase is the stock line of those who don’t want to pass new gun control laws, such as the National Rifle Association.

The White House declined to comment on Holder's remarks, referring reporters to the Department of Justice. The DoJ did not respond to The Hill's request for comment.

He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious. - Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

The Ban is Back

From ABC News:
The Obama administration will seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 during the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.

"As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons," Holder told reporters.

Holder said that putting the ban back in place would not only be a positive move by the United States, it would help cut down on the flow of guns going across the border into Mexico, which is struggling with heavy violence among drug cartels along the border.

Mexican government officials have complained that the availability of sophisticated guns from the United States have emboldened drug traffickers to fight over access routes into the U.S.

A State Department travel warning issued Feb. 20, 2009, reflected government concerns about the violence.

"Some recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades," the warning said. "Large firefights have taken place in many towns and cities across Mexico, but most recently in northern Mexico, including Tijuana, Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez."

Because, you know, we can just run out to Wal-Mart to grab automatic weapons and grenades. Hey, maybe if the border was a bit more secured...


New ISS module needs a name.

From NASA:
Help us to name another important addition to the station - Node 3 and its cupola!
Vote using the poll on the right.

Voting will be open until March 20th, 2009. NASA will announce the winning name in April 2009.

NASA wants your opinion in naming the International Space Station’s Node 3 – a connecting module and its cupola – before the two segments travel to space and are installed on the orbiting laboratory. The name should reflect the spirit of exploration and cooperation embodied by the space station, and follow in the tradition set by Node 1- Unity- and Node 2- Harmony.

Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver the Node 3 components during the STS-130 mission targeted for December 2009. Once the cupola is attached to one of the module’s six ports, it will offer astronauts a spectacular view of both their home planet and their home in space. The cupola’s six rectangular windows and one circular window overhead will show a panoramic view that will be unrivaled by any other spacecraft ever flown. Aside from providing a perfect location to observe and photograph the Earth, the cupola also will contain a robotics workstation, where astronauts will be able to control the station’s giant robotic arm.

Serenity is in the lead. Shiny! Let's be bad guys.


Rectum?!?! It Killed 'Em!

From Gizmodo:
Well, stories don't get much worse than this. A 14-year-old boy in China was killed when his chair exploded, sending chunks of metal into his rectum. The bleeding this caused killed him.

The alleged explosion came from the gas cylinder that was in the base of the chair, the part that allowed the user to adjust the seat up and down. The canister gets compressed when you sit on it, but can it actually create enough energy to make the seat cushion explode like that and kill a man? I doubt it, but this is what people are reporting.

I wonder if it was made in China.


Check the skies for Lulin

From the CSM:
Over the next three nights, skywatchers should expect their best views yet of Comet Lulin. It makes its closest approach to Earth — some 38 million miles away — on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

To the naked eye, the comet looks like a fuzzy patch of hazy light against the night sky. Use binoculars or telescopes, and you’ll be able to pick out its brighter center, along with its dual tail — a brighter tail of dust, and a dimmer one of ionized gases the comet sheds as its sun-warmed ices change directly from a solid to a gas.

Lulin, formally known as C/2007 N3, will dim quickly through March, thanks to the kick it’s gotten from the sun’s gravity. Then it’s Oort-a here — heading back out to its kin in the Oort Cloud, a vast collection of icy construction debris left over from the formation of the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago.

Comet Lulin will make its closest approach to Earth on Monday night. The circled X shows the comet's position at seen from Boston at 10 p.m. local time. It appears in the southeastern sky near Saturn, at the tip of Leo the Lion's hind leg.


When chimps go bad

From The AP:
Travis the chimpanzee, a veteran of TV commercials, was the constant companion of a lonely Connecticut widow who fed him steak, lobster and ice cream. He could eat at the table, drink wine from a stemmed glass, use the toilet, and dress and bathe himself.

He brushed his teeth with a Water Pik, logged on to a computer to look at photos and channel-surfed television with the remote control.

But on Monday, the wild animal in him came out with a vengeance.

The 200-pound animal viciously mauled a friend of his owner before being shot to death by police.

Investigators are trying to figure out why — whether it was a bout of Lyme disease, a reaction to drugs, or a case of instinct taking over.

In recordings of calls to 911 dispatchers released Tuesday, Travis' grunts can be heard as a frantic Herold cries that her pet is "eating" Nash and must be killed. The attack lasted about 12 minutes.

"The chimp killed my friend!" says a sobbing Herold, who was hiding in her vehicle. "Send the police with a gun. With a gun!"

The dispatcher later asks, "Who's killing your friend?"

"My chimpanzee!" she cries. "He ripped her apart! Shoot him, shoot him!"

After police arrive, one officer radios back: "There's a man down. He doesn't look good," he says, referring to Nash. "We've got to get this guy out of here. He's got no face."

Police said that Travis was agitated earlier Monday and that Herold had given him the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in some tea. Police said the drug had not been prescribed for the 14-year-old chimp.

In humans, Xanax can cause memory loss, lack of coordination, reduced sex drive and other side effects. It can also lead to aggression in people who were unstable to begin with, said Dr. Emil Coccaro, chief of psychiatry at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

"Xanax could have made him worse," if human studies are any indication, Coccaro said.

Stephen Rene Tello, executive director of Primarily Primates, a sanctuary for chimps in Texas, said it is difficult to say what effect Xanax would have on a chimp, but he noted that chimps and humans have similar physiology.

Investigators said they were also told that Travis had Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness with flu-like symptoms that can lead to arthritis and meningitis in humans.

"Maybe from the medications he was out of sorts," Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin said.


Teaching the oldest profession

From The AP:
Authorities say an Ohio fourth-grade teacher had a side job as a prostitute, and even skipped class after using a school computer to arrange an afternoon tryst at a motel.

Logan County sheriff's officials say 35-year-old Amber Carter was arrested Tuesday at a motel parking lot in Bellefontaine (behl-FOWN'-tin) in central Ohio. She's charged with misdemeanor prostitution and a felony, unauthorized use of property, regarding the computer.

Bellefontaine City Schools Superintendent Larry Anderson says officials are shocked. He says Carter never received a reprimand in 13 years at the district.

She's now on administrative leave.

Gives a new meaning to social networking. Wonder if she was on Facebook.


Forget the gun, grab the calzone

A former Brooklyn mobster turned pizza proprietor under federal witness protection has blown his cover because he couldn’t take criticism for a bad calzone, the Daily News reported.

Joseph Milano, aka Joey Calco, aka Crazy Joe of the Bonanno crime family in Brooklyn has been arrested in Florida for assault and firearm possession by a convicted felon, officials said.

On Jan. 23, a camera caught Calco jumping over the counter of his pizza shop, Goombas, to attack two customers who had complained about their calzone, they said.

Afterward, local newspapers investigating the incident discovered Calco’s true identity. Calco was spared a life sentence for turning on his boss Anthony Spero, but he served a total of nearly eight years for crimes, that included two years for admitting to a pair of murders in 2004.

U.S. marshals and New York prosecutors are said to be determining whether to keep Calco under witness protection or lock him up again.

You can take a goombah out of...aw, nevermind...


Woman assaulted after blocking video game

From DesMoines Register:
Officers arrested Isac Benjamin Pettinger, 21, of 1221 E. 28th St., on charges of domestic abuse with injury, false imprisonment and obstruction of emergency communications.

Police said it all started with a video game. Here's the report:

Lacey Proctor, a 20-year-old massage therapy student, "reported that she was assaulted tonight (Monday) by her former live-in boyfriend, Isac Pettinger. Proctor said they had lived together at 1221 E. 28th St., until approximately a month ago when she moved out. Proctor said that tonight Pettinger invited her over to the house so that they could spend some time together.

"Proctor said she became frustrated with Pettinger as he would not stop playing video games. Proctor said she stood in front of Pettinger, blocking his view of the screen. At that point Pettinger's video game character died and he became very angry."

Police said he pushed her into a chair and straddled her, preventing her from getting up. He allegedly punched her in the side of the head with a closed fist. The victim yelled for him to get off but he refused.

She eventually escaped ran to a bathroom, police said. Pettinger reportedly followed her and attacked her again, beating her head against a wall. When she tried to get away, Pettinger allegedly said, 'You're not going anywhere."

Proctor reached for a cell phone and called 911. Police said Pettinger grabbed the phone and disconnected it. He called her a "cop-calling (expletive deleted)."

Police said Proctor grabbed her phone and finally was able to leave the house. Police dispatchers called her back and she met with officers at a nearby convenience store.

Must have been a raid night. *shrug* If she really wanted his attention, she should have stood in front of him nekkid. Sex > Games (most of the time).