Friday, June 29, 2012

Mississippi Denounces German Circumcision Ban for Trampling Individual Choice

TUPELO, Miss. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- In a landmark decision Tuesday, a regional German court ruled that the Jewish ritual of circumcision, or brit milah, amounts to grievous bodily harm. In rendering its decision, the court found the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents." Legal experts in the country expect the judgment to set a controversial precedent, with members of the Jewish community claiming that Germans once again have trampled their rights. The procedure is typically administered by mohels who are not licensed physicians with proper medical training. Because the practice leads to a permanent change in anatomy and is not performed in the same sterile environment as a hospital, the court in Cologne deemed it illegal. As news reached North America, where some U.S. states could be inclined to follow suit, representatives from Mississippi lashed out, saying that no government possesses the right to dictate the choices a person makes about his body.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bone Marrow Registrations Spike after Celebrity Calls Public's Attention to Otherwise Ignored Disease

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- More than 12,000 people registered with Be the Match to donate bone marrow just two weeks after "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts announced she was being treated for MDS, a rare blood disease that requires a bone marrow transplant. According to Be the Match, "a significant number of those requests referenced Robin Roberts." Jeffrey Chell, the organization's chief executive, praised Roberts for publicly revealing her crisis to a broad television audience, a decision he described as a "signal of hope." Because of the spike in new registrants -- a 33-percent increase in donors for the month -- Be the Match estimates that 50 to 70 additional lives may be saved this year as a direct result of Roberts calling attention to the issue. Dr. Tremaine Weldowhether, professor of media studies at San Narciso College, was elated by the news. Not because he cares about MDS or Robin Roberts in any meaningful way, but because the situation illustrates a fundamental truth in his area of research: without celebrities to convey important news, embrace causes, or spread awareness of horrible ailments, the public would never understand or involve themselves in those issues.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Supreme Court Strikes Down Mandatory Life Sentences for Juveniles, Cites Sandusky Conviction as Reason

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- As the Supreme Court continues a marathon session of landmark rulings that pave the way for unrestricted racial profiling, limitless campaign contributions by special interest groups and what may turn out to be the end of accessible health care for most Americans, one decision has escaped notice. On Monday, a divided court struck down mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles convicted of capital crimes. Representing the majority opinion, Justice Elena Kagan wrote: "Mandatory life without parole for a juvenile precludes consideration of his chronological age and its hallmark features; among them, immaturity, impetuosity and failure to appreciate risks and consequences." The court's conservative judges voiced strong dissent. Justice Samuel Alito accused the majority of forcing society to "be exposed to the risk that these convicted murderers, if released from custody, will murder again."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sandusky Makes Bizarre Accusations Against Orphanage after Adopted Son Matt Admits Sex Abuse

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- In a devastating turn of events for disgraced former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, who has maintained his innocence after being convicted on 45 counts of sex abuse against children, his adopted son Matt, 33, told police that he was molested repeatedly between the ages of 8 and 15 by his father. In his interview with police, Matt Sandusky recanted his former testimony to a grand jury in which he denied being violated. These secret meetings with investigators took place four days into the trial, although he ultimately did not testify. Still, the senior Sandusky insists that he remains innocent of all charges. His refusal to budge on this stance has caused his lawyers to resort to some odd and seemingly desperate tactics. In March, their primary strategy was to get the case thrown out of court entirely, despite a preponderance of graphic evidence. Their arguments were viewed by legal experts as illogical, detached from reality and "just plain stupid." But on Tuesday, leveraging the statements provided to police by Matt, Jerry Sandusky had them embark on an even more bizarre path.

Friday, June 22, 2012

IKEA Introduces Designer TV That's Also a Decorative Home Furnishing

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- In April of this year, minimalist furniture pioneer IKEA divulged plans to bring its own television to market, featuring the company's unique, angular, and functional designs. What really makes the unit, called Uppleva, a hallmark IKEA product is that it bridges the divide between digital entertainment and designer furniture. Uppleva is more than a TV -- it's a bundled entertainment center with an integrated Blu-ray DVD player and audio system. With its sleek contours, Uppleva reminds one of an Apple product -- if Steve Jobs had studied at the Bauhaus. The technology itself boasts nothing extraordinary or even competitive, but it does come with nearly 20 pre-installed apps including YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion. But Uppleva has not been engineered for audiophiles and tech geeks -- it's for consumers who want tangible features in an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly package. Unfortunately, beta testers have criticized the product harshly for being anything but easy to use. In fact, 48 of the 50 subjects who've had the units for several months claim they can't even finish assembling them.

"I should've seen this coming; it's IKEA after all," said Martin Gruntlich, 33, of Germany. "I mean, I never thought I'd have to put the damn TV together -- and with only a horribly drawn manual, a box of stripped and irregularly sized screws, some glue, and that silly hex wrench. I have an electrical engineering degree, and I still can't make heads or tails of this thing!"

(c) 2012. See disclaimers.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Al Qaeda Pakistan Sues SEAL Team Six for Hostile Work Environment and Wrongful Termination

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- America used to be known as the international peacekeeper, but now seems to be emerging as the world's most beleaguered Human Resources department -- and nobody deals with HR unless they've got a hatchet to bury. Consider BP's recent filing of a legal motion against the White House to release over 21 emails related to cabinet-level discussions about the federal response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster two years ago. A court ruled against the request on June 11, stating that the government's deliberations did nothing to alter the fact that nearly a dozen people died while tons of oil saturated the Gulf due to BP's carelessness. BP countered that the government may have taken action before the oil spill had reached the legal limits warranting sanctions and regulatory intervention, and before the loss of employee life had crossed OSHA's implicit tolerance threshold for looking the other way. Congressional Republicans admitted that BP reasoned a much stronger case than the White House.

"Countries around the world are reshaping themselves into competing business entities and centers of commerce, not nation states. Geopolitical rules are being replaced with business procedures," said Len Waybill, head economist of the Peter Pinguid Society. This trend became more apparent Thursday when al Qaeda agencies in Pakistan filed a series of lawsuits alleging that U.S. workers, particularly employees of SEAL Team Six, had violated labor codes and created a hostile working environment that led to the wrongful termination of several executives.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bitter, Intoxicated Priest Released from Custody after Attacking Father's Day Celebration

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Father Vantz Lagstrom, a priest from Pennsylvania who was visiting Father Preternature in Bennington Vale last week on a Catholic goodwill mission, was released from police custody Wednesday with no charges filed. The arrest followed Father Lagstrom's drunken disruption of the annual Father's Day Fest last Sunday, held near the Fangoso Lagoons recreational area at Lake Inverarity. Eyewitnesses could not explain what prompted Lagstrom's actions, saying only that they saw him dive into the lake, swim across to the Social Hall, and seize the microphone from Mayor Manny DiPresso during his address. Preternature surmised that Lagstrom may have indulged "too mightily in the blood of the host" and been "grievously distressed" by the strong anti-Catholic sentiments of the county's predominantly Protestant population. Regardless of the impetus, Lagstrom, 54, was undeniably inebriated and overwrought when he put himself in peril by swimming 50 feet across the lake in his heavy frock. "Trying to use a large gold crucifix and oversized bible as makeshift paddles also appeared counterproductive," SNPD spokesperson Ren Williams noted. "That he didn't drown is truly miraculous."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lindsay Lohan Succumbs to Exhaustion and Dehydration, Fans Organize Charity to Provide Abused Celebrities with Water

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Troubled actress Lindsay Lohan again ignited concerns about her health Friday when she was discovered unconscious in the penthouse suite of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey, where she had been staying while filming a Lifetime television movie about Elizabeth Taylor. Paramedics rushed to the scene after production workers called, worried that Lohan had taken ill. She was examined but not hospitalized. "Lindsay has been working a grueling schedule for the last couple of days. Last night she worked from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. She was exhausted and went back to her room to sleep," said the actress' representative Steve Honig. After meeting with Honig, the film's producers, and an inexplicable group of financial people from the studio, the medical technicians attending Lohan pronounced that she -- as so many of Hollywood's overworked celebrities-- had succumbed to "exhaustion and dehydration." This diagnosis, however, left fans outraged. "It's a dangerous and negligent catchall," vented Horace Fofkein, an entertainment blogger. "You'd think with the money these studios pull in, they could afford to give their talent a few hours to sleep...or at least a damn glass of water. It's inhumane." Fofkein has now organized a charity to help collect food, water, and personal assistants to save a growing number of celebrities from certain death at the hands of what he deems "concentration camps with cameras."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Britons Shocked and Outraged as Leveson Inquiry Finds No Sexual Relationship Between Rebekah Brooks and David Cameron

LONDON, U.K. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Rebekah Brooks, the former head of Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers, and Prime Minister David Cameron have enjoyed a friendship with each other for years, involving secretive phone calls and even horses, but the full extent of their cozy relationship was revealed Thursday after the disclosure of an embarrassing and professionally incriminating text message at the Leveson Inquiry. The juiciest morsel in the not-at-all-sexually-charged text from Brooks to Cameron read: "I am so rooting for you tomorrow not just as a personal friend but because professionally we're definitely in this together. Speech of your life? Yes he Cam!" The message, originally sent the night before Cameron's speech to the Annual Conference, reinforced the image of a government in bed with a powerful media clique. Prior to that, during the last general election campaign, Cameron and Brooks exchanged up to two text messages a week, with Cameron signing off "LOL" -- meaning "lots of love." Unfortunately, that was it. The court disproved the existence of a dirty, forbidden, fetish-ridden, and shameful sexual affair, which caused chaos throughout the suburbs of London.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pirate Bay Sails Past Internet Blockade with Buccaneering Panache

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Responding to an injunction handed down in April by the U.K. High Court, Talk Talk became the latest ISP to block access to The Pirate Bay (TPB) this Tuesday following Virgin Media, Everything Everywhere, Sky Broadband, BE and O2. A landmark 2011 ruling in Finland provided momentum for the wave of blocking orders against TPB that are now spreading across Europe. The Pirate Bay is a Swedish torrent site that hosts magnet links which allow users to download copyrighted content via peer-to-peer networks. It promotes itself as "the world's most resilient BitTorrent site," although detractors such as the Los Angeles Times have described TPB as "one of the world's largest facilitators of illegal downloading" and "the most visible member of a burgeoning international anti-copyright or pro-piracy movement." Worldwide, TPB is ranked as the 71st most visited website. But with the flurry of legislation against it, TPB is facing an impregnable armada of government warships and angry content owners who are seeking to scuttle it. TPB vows it won't go down without a fight, and is cleverly borrowing a page from history to bypass the Internet blockade.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hit by Unexpected Employee Turnover, al Qaeda Hires Temporary Staffing Agency

Abu Yahya-al-Libi
SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- It's been a difficult road for one of the world's most infamous terror organizations. In many ways, al Qaeda is suffering from what business analysts see as growing too big, too fast. "Beginning as a small, privately held start up -- in some ways, a family owned venture -- the enterprise capitalized on immediate successes rather than planning for the future," said Walker Hollywell, professor of Theological Economics at San Narciso College. "Their operating model is decentralized, their revenues are difficult to report, and they've done nothing to build a foundation that favors a stable employment base with advancement opportunities. To me, that's a recipe for disaster." Truly, al Qaeda has no discernible HR policies whatsoever. Benefits seem to be delivered as one-time, upfront payments. Working conditions are described as hostile and without perks. There are no open-door protocols for issue resolution, and leadership remains distant and unapproachable. Worse yet, employee turnover has reached levels seldom seen in other organizations. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one al Qaeda cell manager said he is facing attrition rates of 90 to 99 percent. "Recruiting efforts are costing too much money. We don't have internal resources or capabilities we used to. We need help; this isn't sustainable," the source explained.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Teens Rally to Save Dingy Neighborhood Park Where Most Lost Their Virginity

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Donkeydell Park, tucked away beneath a cover of massive eucalyptus trees behind the neighborhoods in the Andover tract, is one of Bennington Vale's oldest fixtures, having had its sod laid before construction of the first homes began in the late 1960s. While most residents in San Narciso visit the county's sprawling recreational areas to swim, play tennis, exercise, ride horses or just enjoy a warm day in a beautiful setting, the teens of Bennington Vale seldom stray from Donkeydell Park. Despite its unfortunate name -- the origins of which have remained a source of dispute and mystery for decades -- and its deceptively small appearance, Donkeydell endures as a secret oasis to those who seek it out. The field is a rolling swath of green, the length of two football fields. Farther back, several tree houses, a wooden fort and a concrete pit that might have been intended for a pool can be found. Donkeydell also has a much richer history than the larger county parks. But now, government officials want to close it down. Local teens say they won't let that happen without a fight.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Snake-Handlers Seek More Merciful Test of Faith after Mark Wolford's Death, Consider Russian Roulette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- The recent death of Mark Wolford, a 44-year-old Pentecostal snake-handler from West Virginia, has not shaken the beliefs of his devout followers, but it has sparked debates within the congregation about alternative tests of faith. Wolford died after being bitten by a timber rattlesnake during an outdoor church ritual at the Panther Wildlife Management Area. Part of his service involved passing around and then dancing with a venomous rattler. More than 30 minutes into the spectacle, Wolford set the snake on the ground and laid down beside it. The agitated serpent immediately struck, sinking its fangs into his thigh. Relatives rushed the pastor to a home 80 miles away to wait for God's restorative power to heal the injury. But after hours of enduring the pastor's excruciating torment, his family -- powerless to do anything but watch and pray -- realized that Wolford's faith in Jesus Christ might not have been as strong as he'd imagined.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chinese Factories Develop New Robots to Drive Manufacturing without Replacing Workers

BAODING, China (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Part of China's recent growth strategy involves making inroads to highly competitive markets it has not previously entered. The global automotive industry -- dominated by Europe, the United States, Japan, and to some extent Korea -- has been one particular market in which the quality gap is glaringly apparent. But now China wants to emerge as a contender among known heavyweights by offering more than the provision of cheap assembly line labor. "To beat those competitors, we have no choice but to use a higher level of equipment and technology," one engineering company CEO said. It's not just global automakers China wants to take on. From microchip foundries to medical equipment and jet engines, Chinese companies are using their resources and wealth to upgrade their products on an unparalleled scale. To do so, the industrial sector has begun relying more on machines and robots. But as a country still clinging to its socialist roots, China promises that its robots will retain a "human" touch and will not put existing workers out of jobs.

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