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At a typical Randall Terry press conference one can expect to hear all sorts of overheated rhetoric about abortion– that it’s murder, that abortion clinics are places of “mass genocide,” and so forth. But in recent weeks, he has amped up his rhetoric to insane new heights over the healthcare legislation before Congress, which he claims would pay for “child-killing.” Earlier this week Terry called for the rejection of the bill and warned of “violent convulsions” of a level that hasn’t been seen since the Civil War if the bill is passed. At today’s press conference, however, Terry was quick to point out that he has supposedly been a “non-violent” leader for 25 years, and he ridiculed those who accuse him and other right-wing leaders of “stirring up domestic terrorism.” –“Randall Terry Warns of ‘Random Acts of Violence’ over Healthcare Legislation,” Right Wing Watch
This is a big deal: The Senate today voted to halt production of the F-22 stealth fighter plane, and it did so 58-40, a margin much wider than expected. Not only is this a major victory for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who lobbied strenuously (something he rarely does) to kill this program, and for President Barack Obama, who pledged to veto the defense bill if it contained a nickel for more F-22s. The vote might also mark the beginning of a new phase in defense politics, a scaling-back of the influence that defense contractors have over budgets and policies. Then again, I might be dreaming. Surely things couldn’t be changing quite that much. Could they? –“They Scrapped the F-22!,” Fred Kaplan, Slate
What’s the evidence? There is no smoking gun. But analysts and U.S. officials have cited a confluence of events that suggest nuclear ambitions in Burma, also called Myanmar. North Korean engineers, who specialize in building tunnels and underground bunkers, have led a massive construction project in Naypyidaw, the regime’s remote capital. This network of 800-odd tunnels, exposed by Burma expert Bertil Lintner, is quite like the subterranean facilities in which North Korea’s defense department has built up a fledgling nuke program away from satellites’ prying cameras. Just this month, the North Korean military defiantly launched a fresh round of test missiles into the sea. Waves of Burmese military officers have also studied nuclear science in Russia, which has already sold MIG-29 fighter jets to the regime. –“Fears of a Nuclear Burma,” Patrick Winn, Global Post
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”