Thursday, April 26, 2012

DHS Says Secret Service Sex Scandal Did Not Endanger Obama; Prostitutes in Colombia Cleaner than U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- The U.S. Secret Service is struggling to recover from a scandal that broke around April 14 when agents were discovered taking prostitutes to their hotel rooms just days before President Obama's visit to Colombia. The Secret Service is one of the nation's most regarded and elite squads, tasked with ensuring the security of the president. But the Cartagena investigation has not only embarrassed the United States, it has also prompted a series of new allegations by unnamed sources who claim that federal agents and military officers regularly solicited sex workers in foreign countries. One subcontractor testified that Secret Service advance teams received sexual favors in the VIP room of a San Salvador strip club. Despite the attention the scandal has generated, President Obama urged the public not to consider the disgraced employees representative of the wider organization. "This isn't an investment firm. It's the Secret Service. A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do," Mr. Obama added, startling reporters with the harshest language he's used since calling Osama bin Laden a "jerk face" and Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi "a stinky doo-doo head." But Wednesday's Senate hearing was focused on discovering whether Obama was ever at risk because of the situation.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mime Suffocates in Street Performance Tragedy Before Horrified Onlookers

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- On weekday afternoons along Man-of-War Boulevard, people heading home for the evening are often treated to a variety of street performances put on by aspiring artists from San Narciso College. But Monday, glee quickly turned to terror as a young mime suffocated to death before horrified spectators who were helpless to act. The incident took place around 5:30 p.m. in front of McNulty's Creamed Sweets Emporium. The mime, whose name is being withheld by authorities until family members can be notified, began his act with simple magic tricks and aping members of the crowd. Somewhere between being pushed to the edge of a cliff by gale-force winds and clawing his way back on a mystical rope, the mime stumbled into an invisible box. According to witnesses, the young clown struggled valiantly to escape the transparent prison but ran out of air before he could locate the latch.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Burton Conjures 'Dark Shadows' From Grave in Campy Remake, Original Star Jonathan Frid Sees More Dignity in Death

RIP Jonathan Frid (1924 - 2012)
SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- The passing of Canadian actor Jonathan Frid last Friday -- Friday the 13th, appropriately enough -- came as sad news to millions of "Dark Shadows" fans, some of whom undoubtedly hoped Frid, like his character Barnabas Collins, would return from the grave to creep out a new generation of heirs. Frid's portrayal of Collins was somewhat of a revolution. He defined the idea of the lost, lonely and reluctant vampire -- a mortal cursed to a life of painful eternities, unsavory needs and a fair amount of self-loathing. Frid's Barnabas was the venerable bloodsucker; he was not evil, he was a tortured soul and a victim of fate, not desire. He did not have enormous fangs or glitter in daylight. Even more appealing to audiences, he was beaten down by a secret. But if the trailers for the new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp version of "Dark Shadows" offer any clues, Barnabas Collins' secret was that he was flamboyantly gay. Frid clearly missed the mark by attempting to project a serious, conflicted Victorian anti-hero instead of a foppishly effeminate drama queen made over by Tammy Faye Bakker. Burton and Depp have finally corrected that long-running oversight.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bond Likely for George Zimmerman Who Poses No Danger to Community or Flight Risk

Courtesy Getty Images
SANFORD, Fla. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Mark O'Mara, George Zimmerman's new attorney, told reporters Thursday that his client will likely be freed from protective custody after his bond hearing on Friday. But sitting behind bars may be the safest place for Zimmerman now. O'Mara said that Zimmerman has received numerous death threats and will need to find safe lodging after his release. Others worry about Zimmerman's response to these threats. "The guy is easily spooked and hair-triggered," one attorney said. There are also concerns with the ever-growing "We Are All Trayvon Martin" movements, in which people of diverse backgrounds rally around the cause of gun control in symbolic hooded sweatshirts. After Zimmerman's release, being confronted with thousands of "Trayvon Martins" could result in a bloodbath on the scale of a small genocide. State lawmakers and public safety officials have warned people in hoodies not to provoke a reaction. "More than making a point, you're just making yourself a 'Stand Your Ground' statistic."

Although Zimmerman faces second-degree murder charges, most experts agree that he will be granted bond. In Florida, a defendant is entitled to bond unless the state can establish that he is both a flight risk and a danger to the community. Authorities throughout Florida said that with Zimmerman -- who gunned down an unarmed teenager and then went into hiding -- "there is little or no evidence to support such allegations."

(c) 2012. See disclaimers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dick Clark's Death Spurs Concerns That 2013 Won't Come

RIP Dick Clark (1929 - 2012)
SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Dick Clark, the iconic personality behind "American Bandstand," died Wednesday at the age of 82. Doctors credited the cause of death to a heart attack. Throughout his career, Clark remained an influential force in popular music. He introduced generations of Americans to megastars from Buddy Holly to Michael Jackson to Madonna. He translated his success into the creation of a pop culture media empire. But Clark truly solidified his presence as a cultural touchstone after becoming the host of the eponymous New Year's Eve specials that ran on ABC for four decades. To viewers around the globe, Dick Clark owned New Year's Eve. Investors agreed. But as millions today mourned the passing of "the world's oldest teenager" and reflected on his legacy, millions more flooded government offices and churches in sheer terror, demanding to know if 2013 would come without Clark. Authorities have refused to comment for fear of setting off a chain of riots and suicides.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

NRA Lobbies More States to Pass 'Stand Your Ground' to Create National Peace Through Fear

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- As George Zimmerman heads to trial on second-degree murder charges for the slaying of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, Florida's "Stand Your Ground Law" becomes the center of a much larger national debate over gun rights. Murders in Florida have increased consistently since "Stand Your Ground" was implemented in 2005. The National Rifle Association says this is proof that more needs to be done to increase gun ownership. Only 25 states now have some form of "Stand Your Ground" on their books. The NRA has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to influential lawmakers in efforts to promote the restoration of Second Amendment freedoms. This type of legislation, its proponents say, protects individuals in an increasingly dangerous society by according them not only the right to open fire on any perceived threat, real or imagined, but also to walk away with complete immunity. To the victor go the spoils. But namby-pamby prosecutors and hippie activists in the deep pockets of Big-Peace are trying to stop the NRA from saving American lives.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Romney Rebuts 'Anti-Women' Claims, Tells Critics to Stop Crying Like a Bunch of Stupid Girls

Romney describing the "perfect woman"
WARWICK, R.I. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney fortified his efforts Thursday to refute claims that he and the GOP endorse policies that fail to support women, or are discriminatory toward them. Romney spent the last few days campaigning among largely female audiences. Although most attendees were supporters, several still expressed critical views of the GOP's handling of women's issues. Sensing a growing gender gap between the left and the right -- with President Obama's female approval rating far outpacing Romney's -- Democrats recently accused conservatives of waging a "war on women." Romney denounced his political opponents in a speech Wednesday, telling them that "the Republican agenda is as pro-woman as it is pro-immigrant. To my shrill, sniveling critics I say take off the dress and deal with the real issues. Stop crying a like a bunch of stupid girls and man up."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

George Zimmerman Will be Vindicated Say Lawyers Who No Longer Represent Him

SANFORD, Fla. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Attorneys Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig, who had kind of represented George Zimmerman until Tuesday, predicted Wednesday that their former-sort-of client will be vindicated for his fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teen whom Zimmerman claimed assaulted him. As the situation stands today, Sonner and Uhrig seem to be the only lawyers privy to evidence that could exonerate the 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer. But in a press conference on Tuesday, the attorneys dismissed themselves as counsel and described Zimmerman as isolated, losing weight and "most likely suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder." Uhrig and Sonner went on to explain that Zimmerman had contacted the special prosecutor against their advice and then stopped communicating entirely. These actions, the attorneys claim, presented an ethical dilemma that led to their decision to withdraw from the case. Still, they maintain Zimmerman's innocence without reservation.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Qur'an-Burning Pastor Terry Jones Plans His Own 'Hoodie March' to Defend George Zimmerman

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Civil rights and community groups in Los Angeles, Calif., orchestrated a rally downtown on Monday afternoon to demand justice for George Zimmerman's slaying of unarmed Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin. Demonstrators gathered at Pershing Square adorned in hooded sweatshirts, the now iconic symbol used to memorialize Martin, who was wearing such attire at the time of his death. The "Million Hoodie March" is one of several events being led by activists who are outraged at police for not arresting George Zimmerman, and at Geraldo Rivera's assertion that clothes with attached cowls make people with brown skin more frightening. But now, a socially conservative religious group is planning its own hoodie-based march to support George Zimmerman. Gainesville Pastor Terry Jones -- who earned his 15 minutes in the spotlight for burning a Qur'an to protest the construction of a Muslim community center near Ground Zero in New York -- announced that he will hold a rally in front of the Seminole County Criminal Courthouse to defend George Zimmerman's constitutional rights under Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground Law." The event is being co-sponsored by the National Socialist Movement. The NSM is one of the few advocacy groups in the United States that specializes in protecting the civil liberties of beleaguered white Christians.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Number of Resurrections this Easter on the Rise, According to Italian Cemetery

BUFFALORA, Italy -- Easter, one of the most important holidays in Christendom, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, who was said to have risen from the dead three days after his crucifixion. This supernatural event serves as the foundation of the religion, and is also cited as proof that God granted faithful adherents “a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” But based on reports recently leaked from a cemetery in the small Italian town of Buffalora, Jesus was not the only soul to return from the dead around this time of year. Even more troubling, according the cemetery’s current caretaker, is the increasingly unmanageable number of “resurrections” that have taken place over the past two Easters.

Said Francesco Dellamorte, who oversees the graveyard, “It’s getting worse, and because of the sensitive nature of the subject, I can’t publicly appeal for help. But Buffalora was overrun by zombies this weekend, so the corpse is out of the crypt, as we say.”

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lawyer Compares George Zimmerman's Injuries to Shaken Baby Syndrome

"They never stop to think about the injuries a baby can inflict on a nanny while it's being shaken." -- Zimmerman Family Lawyer

SANFORD, Fla. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- A lawyer recently hired to defend George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot unarmed teen Trayvon Martin under the "Stand Your Ground Law," invoked Shaken Baby Syndrome to explain the injuries his client sustained during an alleged attack by Martin. Shaken Baby Syndrome is a form of child abuse caused by intentional shaking. It can lead to swelling, brain damage and death. In the majority of cases, no visible sign of external trauma exists, just as Zimmerman's broken nose and bleeding head were not apparent on police video taken about 30 minutes after the vicious attack. But supporters of the Martin family claim that regardless of who initiated the confrontation, Zimmerman's use of force was excessive. Zimmerman was armed. Trayvon Martin was carrying Skittles -- something Zimmerman has already described as threatening. Zimmerman is also much larger physically than Martin. Surprisingly, Zimmerman's attorney said those facts illustrate the point he's actually trying to make, pointing out that Shaken Baby Syndrome can also seriously damage or maim the person rattling the infant.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Google Finally Unveils Project Glass, Promising a Future of 'Scintillatingly Aloof' Socialization

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- After a long period of speculation over a concept called "Project Glass," Google finally put an end to the rumors Wednesday by unveiling a first-stage prototype to the public. The virtual-reality device, which resembles eyeglasses, is designed to take the functionality of a smartphone and make it accessible through a display built into the clear lenses. Based on the promotional video released by Google on YouTube, the device could be capable of showing text messages, maps, pop-up reminders, driving directions and video chats. Because the software will utilize Flash and HTML 5, users may also discreetly enjoy porn in public -- something Apple operating systems cannot accommodate. The glasses might be enabled to take pictures or record voice notes, as well. Like Apple's Siri, Project Glass seems likely to be controlled through voice recognition software. Critics, however, warn consumers to carefully consider the consequences of Project Glass, citing the YouTube video which portrays a bleak and lonesome world of self-alienation, where all social interaction goes to die.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Employers Hopeful that Supreme Court Ruling Sets Precedent for Workplace Strip Searches

"Access to employees' Facebook accounts is not enough to protect business assets from potential threats and poor performers." -- 2012 GOP presidential candidate and entrepreneur F. Chester Greene

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Employers have been ordering workers, prospective and existing, to hand over their Facebook passwords as part of the background screening process, a move they claim is vital to protecting their enterprises and thus commerce in America. Not since people wrote checks for their purchases at RadioShack have they been forced to divulge as much personal information. The situation has degenerated to such an extent that Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) felt compelled last week to propose an amendment to the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012, demanding that employers be denied access to their employees' social media accounts. A day later, however, conservatives who decry big government intervention in our personal lives struck down the measure along party lines. Asking a federal agency to impose more regulations on businesses and the private citizens who run them, said opponents of Perlmutter's proposal, was another socialist ploy to keep the government's hooks in personal affairs. On Monday, conservatives scored another victory against government intrusion when the Supreme Court upheld strip searches of jail inmates, even those arrested for minor traffic offenses. Employers across the country are hoping the high court's decision will set a new precedent to pave the way for mandatory strip searches in the workplace.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Twitter Unveils Professional Micro-blogging Services for Schools and Businesses

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- After years of speculation and debate, Twitter announced on April 1 its first professional suite of microblogging services. The ubiquitous 140-character social broadcast tool will now provide targeted services for individual industries. Representatives from Twitter assured users that the costs for the professional solutions will remain low, with the bulk of the fees going to support content processing behind a client's server instead of through the cloud. "Without capturing advertising revenues, we need to find alternative ways to offset our overhead costs," said Frida Kline, a public relations executive for the technology innovator. "Also, Twitter will offer scalable character limits for these tools, up to 199 characters. We had to rebuild much our infrastructure and expand our server capabilities to accommodate this massive upgrade." The two newly launched flagship products are TwitScholar and TwitProcurePro.

HBO Files Series of Lawsuits in Landmark Intellectual Property Rights Battle

Key Script Elements for "Game of Thrones" and "Boardwalk Empire" Have Been Pirated and Leaked by Literary and Textbook Publishers

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Home Box Office (HBO), the second largest premium cable television network in America, is known for its innovation and history of firsts. HBO pioneered the creation of original programming in the paid television space, building a storied canon of made-for-cable series that have consistently received wide acclaim for their theatrical quality and artistic excellence. The appeal of HBO's shows has also led the company to lucrative syndication deals. But executives from Time Warner, HBO's parent, have become increasingly concerned about intellectual property theft, copyright infringement, and the protection of their content. "Now, more than ever, it's about anti-piracy and plagiarism," said HBO Films' Junior Assistant Vice President Tom Alena. As a result, HBO attorneys launched a series of lawsuits Friday against publishers whom they accused of stealing their original content -- among them, Bantam Books and educational textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin.

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