Just for Fun

Producer Just ‘So, So Happy’ She Was Never Harassed at Fox News

Brenda Smalter says she breathes a sigh of relief every day because she managed to avoid the attention of Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and the other men at Fox News who were accused of treating women like sex objects. “How despicable is that kind of behavior?” says Smalter, who worked as an assistant producer at the network for seven years before she left for another network. “Other women would walk into meetings or onto the set and one of the guys would look at them or make some comment about their physical appearance or something and I’m just so relieved I avoided all that.” Smalter, 41, said she would wear short skirts or flirty blouses but none of the men ever made comments to her or tried to get her into bed. “I just don’t know why I was so lucky to have avoided all that,” she says. More.

Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes Caught Trying to Pick Up Chicks at Hotel Bar

Former Fox news host Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes, former chairman of Fox News, were seen last night at a New York City hotel bar trying to pick up chicks but people who watched say the two men were unsuccessful. “Bill O’Reilly was a little drunk, I think,” says Cindy Carlson, a legal secretary who says she saw the two men try to flirt with women for about an hour at the bar, called The Tap Room, located in the New York Park Hotel on 5th Avenue. “I think O’Reilly said something like, ‘What’s your sign?’ and the woman seated next to him looked away. I don’t think she knew who he was.” More.

Ad Campaign Highlights Lighter Side of KKK

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ku_Klux_Klan_Suomi.jpgThe Ku Klux Klan, based in Pulaski, Tenn., has retained the international public relations firm Clayton+Daye to educate Americans about the good the organization does and the fun its members have. “There’s a perception among Americans that the KKK is all about lynchings and scrawling swastikas on cars,” says John Arnold, a past grand master of the 150-year-old organization. “Those things are a big part of it, yes. But the group is so much more than that. We have picnics, help people paint houses and fences—in short, we help build community. Of course, it’s community for white people, but it’s community nonetheless.” In the ad campaign, which will air on TV and radio and have an online component beginning this spring, Klan members and their families will be shown as ordinary Americans who care about each other and the places they live. More.

Fox Chairman Roger Ailes Accuses Swimsuit Model of Sexually Harassing Him

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sunbathing_at_Meshcherskiy_Prud_(2009).jpgFox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes is alleging in a lawsuit that aspiring news reporter Asheigh Carter tried to tempt him into infidelity as she sought a job on his popular cable news channel. “My client is traumatized and humiliated by the experience of having Ashleigh Carter stroke his chin and breathe into his ear during a meeting to discuss her qualifications to be a reporter for the Fox News team,” John Peterson, an attorney for Ailes, said in a statement. According to the statement, Carter, 25, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, sent him pictures of her and promised him “moments he’ll remember” if he would just give her an interview. More.

House Republicans Tout Plan to Privatize Foreign Policy

pr After what they call eight years of failed American foreign policy by the Obama administration, House Republican leaders say it’s time to spin off the country’s diplomacy and statesmanship to the private sector. “The United States was built by our world-leading companies,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said at a press conference in the Capitol this morning. “The government doesn’t build Chevrolets. General Motors does. The country doesn’t make computers. Apple does. Today, it’s time to unleash our private sector on our foreign policy and do what our government has never been able to do: create peace and prosperity around the world.” Under the plan Ryan and other leaders unveiled, the heads of GM, AT&T, Citibank, and other multinational corporations would work with leaders of countries around the world to replace war with peace and confrontation with cooperation. More.

‘Reasonable Person’ Legal Standard Threatened As U.S. Sees Drop In Number of Reasonable People

rept2Judges, legal scholars, and others in the legal profession are concerned that a big drop in the number of reasonable people in the United States is making it harder for courts to apply the “reasonable person” standard in law. “The ‘reasonable person’ standard has been a part of the administration of justice throughout history, but today we’re finding it under pressure as we see fewer reasonable people in the United States,” says James Reynolds, professor emeritus of law and jurisprudence at Harvard University and the lead author of a study on the decline of reasonable people in the United States and its impact on the legal profession. The decline in reasonable people isn’t just limited to the notion of the “everyman,” says Peter Moore, a professor of law at Stanford University. The ‘reasonable person’ standard extends to other standards of reasonableness, including the ‘reasonable prosecutor’ standard. More.

Nike Wimbledon Dress Praised For Doubling As Nightie

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LONDON—Some of the world’s top women tennis players say their game has struggled as they try to keep their new Nike tennis dress from interfering with their shots, but they also love the way the dress doubles as lingerie for later that night. “Anytime I can pack one dress instead of two while I’m on the road I’m happy,” says Ivana Sveltka, the top-ranked Moldovan player gearing up for the second round at Wimbledon this week. “Being able to play in the dress during the day and then slip it on at night as a comfortable nightie is just wonderful.” The dress, which Nike-sponsored players are required to wear under their sponsorship agreements with the company, breaks the mold in tennis attire by replacing the standard skirt and top design with a single, loose fitting dress that’s notable for its high cut and willowy fabric. More.

Kerry, In China, Asks For Middle Class Jobs Back

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a week-long meeting with Chinese government and business leaders with a request for the Chinese to give back the millions of jobs American businesses shipped to them over the years. “We are not blaming you for taking them,” Kerry said in his departing statement, given at the American embassy in Beijing. “We gave them to you of our own free will, and you were free to take them. But we’d like to have them back now, and so if you wouldn’t mind returning them to us, we would appreciate it.” The United States has transferred some 15 million jobs to Chinese companies since China was granted Most Favored National (MFN) trade status in 1994, when Bill Clinton was president. Since that time, China has grown to have the second largest economy in the world and is on the verge of overtaking the United States in the size of its gross domestic product, although the country would still lag the U.S. in per-capita GDP. More.

N.C. Bathroom Policeman: ‘I’m Doing It for the Girls’

brIn an exclusive Q&A, Tim Peters, the man selected to patrol public bathrooms in North Carolina under the state’s new anti-LGBT bathroom law, sits down with The Nattering Nabobs to talk about why he’s the man for the job. The Nattering Nabobs: You’ve been a policeman since 1992. Why did you throw your hat into the ring when the state was looking for a bathroom monitor? Not only is the law controversial, but you have to spend your days in bathrooms. Tim Peters: I’m doing it for the girls. When they go to the bathroom, they should be able to pull up their dresses and pull down their panties without any other man being in the bathroom. More.

Hastert: ‘I’m Just One in a Long Line of Republican Hypocrites’

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Dennis_Hastert#/media/File:US_Navy_061230-D-1142M-014_Former_First_Lady_Betty_Ford_attends_a_memorial_service_at_the_capitol.jpgDisgraced former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert says he’s ashamed of his behavior decades ago, when he acted inappropriately with underage boys as their teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill. But he also defended himself, saying the Republican party has a long history of its members condemning people for marital infidelity and sexual “deviancy” while secretly engaging in the practices themselves. “Everyone knows the Republican party is full of closet homosexuals and serial marital cheaters even though it touts itself as the family-values party,” Hastert, 74, said after his admission in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. “I can show you a list as long as my arm of Republicans in Congress who lie about their sexual identity and cheat on their spouses while condemning others for doing the same.” More.

Republicans, Democrats Agree: Bats are Pretty Ugly

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In a rare moment of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee yesterday applauded U.S. wildlife officials for their decision not to set aside protected habitat areas for an endangered species of bats. “All of America’s wildlife are important, and we’re as worried about our bat population as anyone, but if we had to let one species go, it should probably be the bats,” Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chair of the committee, said yesterday. “While we hope the Department of Fish and Wildlife can work out a way to protect imperiled bats, if they can’t, we understand.” “Not all animals get protected habitat, it’s as simple as that,” said Jim Costa (D-Calif.), a senior member of the committee. More.

New York Times Splits an Infinitive

nytThe New York Times sent teachers of English into a tizzy when it split an infinitive on its front page this morning. “Clinton Team Starts to Cautiously Look at Running Mates,” blares the headline in the April 24, 2016, morning edition of the Times, widely considered the newspaper of record of the United States. Reaction from teachers of English was swift—and harsh. “We spend hours each quarter teaching students not to split their infinitives,and what does The New York Times do? It splits an infinitive!” says Mabel Goldsmith, an English teacher in Public School 371 in the Bronx and chair of the school’s English Department. “We expect better from The New York Times.” More.

Nickelback, Other Bands Not On Tour Refuse to Play North Carolina

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The backlash to North Carolina’s anti-LGBT religious freedom law continues as
jffNickelback, One Direction, Insane Clown Posse, and several other bands not on tour say they refuse to play in the state until it repeals its controversial law. “If we were on tour right now, we would not play in the state in solidarity with fellow bands that are touring and taking a financial hit by not playing in the state,” sys Chad Kroeger, lead singer and guitarist with Nickelback, which last put out an album in 2014. Insane Clown Posse, a rap duo that isn’t on tour, has also announced a boycott of the state. “No way are we playing in North Carolina,” says Joseph Bruce, also known as Violent J. More.

CEOs Lobby For $40 Million Minimum Salary

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Chief executive officers at companies in the United States are uniting behind a push to guarantee no CEO has to work for less than $40 million a year. “This is an issue of basic fairness,” says John Carter, CEO of iQuantumData in Raleigh, N.C. “The idea that a CEO can live in this country on anything under $40 million a year is unsupportable. No one can maintain three or four houses, keep a boat, and travel to Europe for events like Wimbledon or to play golf at St. Andrews on anything less than $40 million.” Mike Anderson, CEO of Delta Pharmaceuticals in Philadelphia, says the CEO profession is riven by inequality. More.

New Book: Mitch McConnell Wasn’t Always Beat Up as a Kid

mmAs a boy growing up in Alabama, Georgia, and then Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would occasionally go a week or two without getting beat up by other kids, a book released this week claims. “Not every week was ‘beat up Mitch McConnell week,’ Rex Doane says in Mitch McConnell: Little Snively Punching Bag (Knobe: 2016), “but most weeks were. McConnell usually had a cut lip, bent glasses, or bandaged nose, and on a typical weekend he could be found cowering under his kitchen table when one of his classmates walked by his front yard.” McConnell has come a long way since then, and Doane, in his detailed account, paints a portrait of a man’s journey from punching bag to the lawmaker who uses his position as leader of the United States Senate to block as much of the legislative agenda of President Barack Obama as he can.” More.

Game Animals Refuse to Mourn Scalia’s Death

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The American Association of Game Animals released a statement today calling Antonin Scalia a “titan” of American jurisprudence, but because the Supreme Court justice, who died earlier this week, was an avid hunter, the group does not mourn his death. “Had Justice Scalia engaged in a hobby that did not involve the hunting and shooting of birds and anaimals, we would be as saddened by his death as anyone,” the group said in its statement. “But because his hobby involved the hunting and shooting of birds and animals, we instead breathe a sigh of relief that there is one less person in this country who will be coming after us with rifle in hand with the sole purpose of felling us to the ground.” More.

Obama: ‘Glad When This Is Over and I Can Go Back to Kenya’

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama#/media/File:Barack_Obama_thinking,_first_day_in_the_Oval_Office.jpgU.S. President Barack Obama said today in an interview with the foreign press that it’s been a tough seven years and he still has one more to go, but he takes comfort knowing it will soon be over and and he can go back to Kenya. “That’s what keeps me going,” he said. The first black president of the United States said adjusting to life in America has not been easy, even though he’s lived here most of his life. But he thinks he did a good job as president and would like to run for the presidency of Kenya in a few years, if the people of his native country will have him. “Winning election in Kenya is not quite as straight-forward as it is here,” he said. “Here, you give a few speeches and, if people like your style, you become well-known and then you just compete in primaries and caucuses held by the states. More.

Only 7 Days Left To Get Your Texas In

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Have you gotten your Texas in yet? If you haven’t, there are professionals you can call to help you manage your Texas and get it turned into the federal government before the April 15 deadline. Or, if you don’t want to pay for that kind of help, you can access free software on the Internet that helps you get your Texas in. “It’s always a scramble this time of year as people realize they only have a week before they have to get their Texas in,” says John Arnold, a professional who helps people get their Texas in. “They put it off and put it off until they say, ‘Okay, I can’t put it off anymore. I have to get my Texas in.'” More.

McConnell: Moderate Supreme Court Pick Shows How Radical Obama Is

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The judge picked to replace Antonin Scalia on the nation’s highest court, Merrick Garland, couldn’t make it more clear that President Obama is intentionally trying to change the country into something most Americans wouldn’t recognize, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday. “To come forward at this time with a distinguished judge who has been praised by both Republicans and Democrats for his professionalism and meticulous respect for the law exposes Obama for what he is,” said McConnell (R-Ky.). “There should no longer be any question that Obama intends to drive his agenda as far as he can in his remaining months in office, and we need to stop that before he leaves our country permanently changed.” More.

Young People, Searching for Dignity, Opt for Pro Wrestling Over Politics

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Fewer young Americans are getting into politics, a study has found, and that has lawmakers concerned for the nation’s future. “A healthy democracy relies on a steady flow of young people into politics to tackle our country’s pressing problems,” says Mary Benneto, professor of political science at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the lead researcher on the study. “The findings we release today are a wake-up call that our nation’s increasingly negative political environment is driving away our best and brightest.” One profession in which the trend line is moving in a positive direction is professional wrestling. The study found a 15 percent increase in the number of young people going into careers in the pro wrestling industry over the last three years. That increase is almost an exact mirror of the decrease in new entrants to politics, which has seen a 16 percent decline in the same time period. More.

Automakers in Race to Make Most Irritating Car Lights Possible

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Carmakers in Detroit, Japan, Germany, and elsewhere are competing fiercely to offer cars and trucks that have the most irritating, annoying, and distracting lights possible. “Thanks to new LED technology, we’re able to annoy and distract people in a way that we never could before, and that’s really a game-changer for this industry,” says Rolf Anthonssen, chairman of Volvo Personvagnar AB, the Swedish car making giant based in Gothenburg. Since about 2010, carmakers have been turning to LED technology for headlights and tail lights because of the technology’s versatility and efficiency. LED technology uses light emitting diodes that require little energy to power on and off.  Because of that efficiency, automakers can make lights twice as bright as traditional incandescent bulbs, and at less cost. More.

 Congress Passes Bill Outlawing Creepy, Creepy Clowns

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Calling clowns creepy and not funny, lawmkers in both houses of Congress today passed legislation outlawing entertainers who wear makeup, big red noses, and floppy shoes in a belief that people find them funny. “I know there’s a tradition, dating back to the days of court jesters, of entertaining audiences by wearing costumes and makeup in goofy ways while engaging in antics, often with balls or bicycles,” says Rep. Snowden Baxter (R-Texas), principal sponsor the legislation. “But not all traditions are destined to survive in perpetuity, and clowns are one of those traditions whose time should come to an end.” Baxter pointed to overwhelming support from members of both parties for his bill and cited it as an example of the kinds of things Congress can get done when the need is clear and compelling. More.

U.S. Currency, To Be Worthless in 2020, Will Feature a Woman For First Time

ChaoStarting in 2020, when U.S. currency is expected to be worthless, a woman will appear on the $10 bill, marking the first time a woman will be depicted on the country’s paper money. “This is an historic milestone for women and for the country,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said at an announcement yesterday. “It’s long past the time when a woman should be honored to be on what was once considered the world’s reserve currency.” Lew said it was simply a trick of fate that a woman would finally appear on U.S. currency at a time when it would be worth a fraction of what it once was. “We were not hoping a woman would appear on our currency when it was worthless,” he said. “It was not our intention.” More.

Man Sues Modeling Agency for Discrimination Based on Appearance

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LOS ANGELES—A man is charging one of the top modeling agencies here with discrimination for basing its hiring decisions on applicants’ looks and not taking other factors, such as academic achievements or community service, into account. “In this day and age, for any modeling company to base its hiring decisions soley on whether a person is ‘good looking’ or not is indefrensible and, frankly, reprehensible,’ says aspiring actor Bradley Connors. “Everyone should be entitled to a fair shot at employment opportunities, particularly in these tough economic times, without having to depend on qualifications that not everyone can be expected to have.” The Image Agency, named in the lawsuit as the defendant, called the charges “completely and utterly without merit” in a statement and said it will “vigorously challenge and prevail in this ill-conceived and regrettable action.” More.

World’s Worst Investor: ‘I’m Liking California Swimming Pools’

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The world’s worst investor says he’s going all-in on California swimming pools, because with the state’s new water meters and water-use restrictions, swimming pools will become the “forbidden fruit” of the moneyed set. “Where does the 1 percent live? In California. What does the 1 percent want? Swimming pools,” says the world’s worst investor. The world’s worst investor says he “took a bath” on his last big investment idea, Texas gun locks. But he thinks he’s backing a winner this time. “You want to go where people are going, only go there sooner,” he says. “Right now, where are people going? They’re going to California to swim.” More.

Obama at Coat Hanger Factory Touts America’s Manufacturing Might

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AKRON, Ohio—Touring a wire coat hanger factory in what was once a blighted industrial area here, President Barack Obama said the United States is returning to its roots as a manufacturing giant and he took a stab at critics who say the country risks losing more manufacturing jobs if a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is passed. “Like this wire coat hanger I have in my hand, the United States is strong,” Obama said, speaking before the 75 employees of the Ace Wire Company. “Anyone who needs evidence that the United States can compete with anyone in the world just needs to look at the factory floor that surrounds me. Every day, more than 10,000 coat hangers are made here and distributed to dry cleaners and hotels throughout the United States and throughout the world. America is back!” More.

Not Enough Blinking Lights and Bleeping Noises, World Says

worldManufacturers and technology companies have failed to blanket the living environment with blinking lights and bleeping noises even though they’ve had the capability to do so for many years, the world says. Until enough blinking lights and bleeping noises fill all living spaces at all times, there will be operations and processes that won’t be sufficiently signaled for people the world over to be sufficiently signaled about every process and operation. “As hard as it is to believe, it’s possible today to go from your home to your car without being signaled by a blinking light or a bleeping noise alerting you to an operation or process that has occurred and that could affect you,” says the world. “Has the newspaper arrived at your doorstep? Have your sprinklers been turned on to water your grass? These are the kinds of processes and operations today that remain un-signaled with a blinking light or bleeping noise.  More.

Baby Carriage TV Latest Must-have for Today’s Tiger Parents

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When John and Lucy Wong had Angie three months ago, nothing was too good for her. Now their daughter is the first on her block to have a carriage with a built-in TV, so she can watch educational and other programming even when she’s out enjoying a stroll with mom or dad. “Why just have her watch TV when she’s in her crib?” says Lucy, 24, a marketing assistant with a financial services company in Atlanta. “Going outside for walks is the perfect time to have her watch TV, too.” Although pediatricians generally discourage screen time for children before they reach two years old, parents like the Wongs say such advice doesn’t apply to them. “That’s for people who just throw their child in front of the TV for babysitting,” says Wong. “We don’t do that. We’re always educating our daughter. More.

Guy Blasting His Radio Stunned to Learn Other People Live in the World

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Driving_the_new_Mercedes_A-Class_2012_(7661454164).jpgTrent Sanders says he had no idea the world was filled with other people like him until someone pointed it out after he had been driving around town with music blasting out of his car. “It was like a light went off in my head,” says Sanders, 25. “I was just driving around like I always do and while I was sitting at a stop light this guy pulled up next to me, rolled down his window, and yelled, ‘Other people live in this world, asshole!  Not everyone wants to listen to your f**ing music!’ Then the light turned green and he peeled off. And I just sat there, stunned.” Sanders says he just automatically assumed he was the only person in the world, which is why he thought it was perfectly okay for him to blast his music while he drives around. “Did I know other people were driving around, too, some trying to listen to their own music? I confess, I did not.” More.Oregon Standoff: ‘We Wear Cowboy Hats So It’s OK’

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ammon_Bundy_(14536029270).jpgAmmond Bundy, the leader of self-described militiamen men who have taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon to protest the jailing of ranchers who set nearby land on fire, says what he and the others are doing represents America because they wear cowboy hats. “What we’re doing is right and proper because real Americans wear cowboy hats, and that’s what we’re wearing,” says Bundy, 45. Bundy says he and his men also “dress like cowboys and ride horses,” so there should be no concern among Americans that what they’re doing is wrong. More.

‘We Must Trim fat,’ Says CEO Who Earns $43 Million

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Suits#/media/File:QEH_Bristol_MMB_24.jpgPHILADELPHIA—GridValve, Inc., CEO Jeff Barker says it’s imperative in today’s global economy for his company to cut costs and operate on a leaner margin if the industrial parts supplier is going to thrive in the years ahead. “Costs of materials are rising, the Federal Reserve has said more interest-rate hikes are coming, and mandatory healthcare insurance have combined to create a perfect storm that can cripple a globally competitive company like ours,” Barker said in a conference call with analysts today. The CEO, who owns three houses and a 30-foot yacht, said sacrifices must be made across the board. “As much as we try not to cut jobs, we’ll have to reduce our global staff footprint by 500 employees to keep our costs in line with revenue projections for 2016,” he said. A 500-person cut would represent about 6 percent of the company’s worldwide employee base. More.

Dad Sticks It to Sons One More Time By Living to 100

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After a lifetime of making the lives of his three sons miserable, Ralph Murton got in one more dig by living to 100 while still showing no signs of slowing down. “I know my sons would like nothing more than to finally be rid of me, but if they think I’m going to let them off the hook, they’ve got another thing coming,” says Murton, an engineer who retired from Midwest Pacific Railroad in 1983. Murton says he knows perfectly well his sons think he’s a bastard, a harsh disciplinarian who seemed to enjoy punishing them for the slightest infractions when they were younger, like when Dan, his oldest son, accidentally tore his new jeans when he was in eighth grade. “They used to cringe when I came home from work, wondering if I was going to find something they did wrong,” says Murton. “Usually I did find something, because it’s not hard to find things when you have three sons.” More.

Dear Internet: Life Was Better When We Could Keep Secrets

ltrListen, Internet. I know you’re doing a lot of good in the world. Thanks to you, repressed people around the globe are able to find each other and draw strength from their shared struggle. And using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms, they can communicate with one another and launch revolutions—revolutions that could either never had happened or would have taken decades longer to come together. And thanks to you, a light has been shined on generations of abuse—to African Americans at the hands of police and to women at the hands of men—that might never have come fully to light. So, yes, you’ve done a lot of good. And we thank you for that. But the fact is, you’re making life impossible. Keeping secrets, hiding things from public view—that’s the grease that turns the gears of our world. People have to be able to say nasty things about other people behind their backs. They have to be able to make deals in private to get things done. It’s always been that way. More.

U.N. Passes Resolution Blaming U.S. for Everything

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Saying “it just makes sense,” delegates from around the world overwhelmingly passed a resolution blaming all of the world’s woes on the United States. “Whereas the United States continues to have, albeit barely, the largest economy in the world, and “Whereas the United States makes a lot of mistakes that everyone in the world knows about, and “Whereas the United States has been involved in some capacity in all regions of the world for several decades, and “Whereas the United States is in a state of decline and is clearly failing in all respects, “We hereby resolve to levy blame for everything that is wrong in the world today on the United States of America. Happy New Year.” The vote was devastatingly lopsided, with delegates from 156 countries voting in favor and only one, the United Kingdom, voting against. Two countries, Canada and Israel, abstained. More.

Canada: America Without All the Fat People

canadaOTTOWA—An international task force has released a report showing Canada is a lot like the United States only with thinner people and fewer minorities. “Far more than the United States, the people in Canada have kept their waistlines at a reasonable size and, although they’re welcoming to minorities, they haven’t had a sizable influx of blacks and Hispanics, probably because of the cold weather,” says the report, released today. Canada: More America Than America was commissioned by the United Nations Task Force on North America to provide a detailed assessment of the country. It’s findings: More.

Canada Seeks to Surpass U.S. in Crime, Drugs, Obesity

OTTAWA—Tired of always playing second fiddle to its bigger southern neighbor, the government of Canada has laid out a set of 10 areas in which it wants to overtake the United States within five years:

cheer1. Violent crime
2. Illegal drug use
3. Prescription drug abuse
4. Teenage pregnancies
5. Obesity
6. Preventable diseases
7. Obsolete infrastructure
8. Declining academic performance
9. Short-term corporate thinking
10. Religious fundamentalism

“We’re not just about hockey and maple syrup,” says Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. More.

No Gays in Iran, U.N. Report Concludes

Last laugh?

After seven years of investigation, a United Nations team of researchers has concluded that Iran does not have homosexuals, as former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asserted at Columbia University in 2007. In his statement seven years ago, while he was speaking in New York City, Ahmadinejad told his audience of mostly students and faculty that “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you we have it.” At the time, the comment elicited laughter and some boos among the 700 people in the audience. But according to the U.N. team that has just delivered its comprehensive report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Iran in fact has no homosexuals. More.

China Offers to Buy America’s Debt for 30 Cents on the Dollar

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WASHINGTON—The Chinese government has reached out to the Obama administration with a proposal to buy the country’s debt of more than $17 trillion if the government would take about $5 trillion for it. “We are offering the U.S. government an opportunity to get our from under its heavy debt load, restructure its finances, and move on to a new period of prosperity,” said China’s Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei. “We say at the outset that we cannot offer less than this discount of 70 percent, because the American government has threatened to default several times in the last three years.” Lou said the Chinese government would also require that all American companies doing business in China work in partnership with Chinese companies, which would include the sharing of proprietary trade and technological intelligence. “Of course, the prohibition on Chinese companies sharing trade and technological intelligence with American partners would remain in place, as it must,” said Lou. More.

Governor Tries to Slip Detroit Over Canadian Border

Incident on Detroit River

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder cause a diplomatic row when he tried to slip Detroit over the border and leave the bankrupt and crisis-ridden American city with Canada, U.S. and Canadian authorities have confirmed. Officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency apprehended the governor late last night when he was caught trying to redirect the Detroit River two miles to the south, which would have left Detroit on the Canadian side of the border while leaving the more affluent suburbs on the American side. “I will only confirm that officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency, approaching by watercraft, apprehended an American government official at 3 a.m., Eastern Time, approximately three feet into Canadian territory,” said James Haprer, head of the Canadian Border Services Agency. More.

Flow of Guns to Mexico Leaves Too Few For U.S. Carnage

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Gun enthusiasts say the millions of guns that flow across the border illegally for use by drug cartels in their war against the Mexican government must stop if mass killers in the U.S. are to reach the success level they’re capable of. “Right now, can an unstable young man in the United States be all that he can be when he’s ready to start spraying random people with bullets? I don’t think so,” says Grit Thorniker, president of the American Alliance for Personal Weapons Rights. “Our gun manufacturers are already operating at maximum capacity. Once more deranged loners come out of the woodwork, will we be able to meet their needs?” More.

Canada Officially Changes Name to Not USA

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OTTOWA—Tired of living in the shadow of its much larger southern neighbor, Canada yesterday officially changed its name to Not USA and unveiled a new flag that government officials say is designed to tell the world that Canada is its own country and not simply a northern outpost of the United States. “Not USA has a long and proud history,” says Stephen Harper, prime minister of Not USA, formerly known as Canada. “With our new name and flag, we’re celebrating our unique place in the community of nations. People forget that Not USA defeated the United States in several key battles in the War of 1812 and beat the U.S. in the 2010 winter olympics hockey championship. What’s more, Not USA is the largest country on earth by land mass, has more ice than any other country, and is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup and moose souvenirs.” More.

China Releases 5-Year Plan For World Domination

chinaBEIJING—China this week released its plan to dominate the world by 2020 and also host a summit on the overfishing of red herring in the South Sea. “This is China’s century and we are determined to assert our interests globally in accordance with our stature as the one true superpower,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a news conference here yesterday. China is the world’s largest country by population, with 1.36 million people, not counting ethnic Uighurs, and the world’s second largest economy, with a gross domestic product of $16.1 trillion. That is about $1 trillion less than the United States, although that gap is expected to close within the next 18 months because of America’s declining productivity and “black president,” the plan says. More.

It’s Official: Canada Most Boring Country in the Anglosphere

Researchers at Oxford University have bestowed upon Canada the dubious distinction of being the most boring of the six countries that comprise what’s known as the Anglosphere: Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States. “We think it’s important that this matter be settled once and for all,” says lead researcher Nigel Clappe, lecturer in political science and demographics at Oxford University. “Up until this point, people have been identifying the most boring country based on nothing more than their own gut feeling. And that wasn’t helping anybody.” More.

U.N. Head Wants Leaders to Start Skipping

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ban_Ki-Moon_November_2014.jpgSaying it’s impossible to be mad when you skip, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for leaders around the world to take up skipping, the “hippity-hoppity” gait that comes so naturally to children. “If you remember the last time you skipped, you will no doubt remember feeling frisky and carefree,” Ban said in a statement released today. The U.N. last week passed a referendum declaring the week of Dec. 18-25 World Skipping Week, which the international organization hopes will inspire people everywhere to skip rather than fight. More.

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