Bishop to Boycott Obama Commencement Speech

    South Bend is heating up over the controversy surrounding Obama and the local bishop...Read the post

    2009 College Grads: We're the Lucky Ones

    Why there is hope for the graduating Class of 2009, and how they can find work in a recession...Read the post

    Beer in Vending Machines -- What Drinking Age?

    U.S. policies on drinking age seem restrictive when examining the rest of the world...Read the post

    How The Press Can Remain Relevant

    Is it any surprise that Obama has employed a strategy to cordon journalists that is similar to previous administrations?...Read the post

    Be Afraid, Cheney Warns. Be Very Afraid.

    Just when you thought the Bush-era warnings of Armageddon around the corner were over, Cheney strikes again...Read the post

    Obama: You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry...

    Obama threw down his stick, spat on the floor and growled in the face of cameras -- metaphorically... Read the post

    Obama to GOP: 'I Won, I'm The President'

    "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," Obama told GOP leaders...Read the post

    Palin Seeks $11M Book Deal, but Can She Read?

    One can only imagine what Republican rising star Sarah Palin could possibly write about in her memoirs...Read the post

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politics

"House" Star Leaves Show for White House

Tony Romm

Posted:  Apr 7th 2009 11:48AM

Filed Under: Politics, Odd News, American University

From Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello comes news that last night's plot twist on House -- Kutner's (Kal Penn) seemingly unprovoked suicide -- was hardly the result of cast infighting or creative conflicts.

Rather, as the EW blogger unveiled during an interview published this morning, Kutner's death was purely... political?

"Yes. I was incredibly honored a couple of months ago to get the opportunity to go work in the White House," said Penn, still famous for his role in the "Harold and Kumar" films. "I got to know the President and some of the staff during the campaign and had expressed interest in working there, so I'm going to be the associate director in the White House office of public liaison." [sic]

Specifically, Penn will reprise his role as an Obama spokesperson and coordinate the administration's outreach efforts with the "Asian-American and arts communities," the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Tuesday. He'll serve directly under Valerie Jarrett, chief of the Office of Public Liaison.

Penn, however, gave no indication of when he will officially assume his new position -- and, most important to the Hollywood types, whether it signifies an end to his acting career.

Full Article »

culture

ShamPOW!: Pitchman Arrested For Punching Prostitute

Joshua Chaney

Posted:  Mar 28th 2009 12:57PM

Filed Under: Culture, Odd News, Muskingum College

I wonder if we'll have to suffer through those ShamWow commercials anymore with the we-can't-do-this-all-day guy with the stylish headset on.

I'm going to guess ShamWow will come up with a new pitchman after Vince Shlomi -- the guy made famous with his obnoxious yet amazingly successful commercials pitching the highly absorbent towels -- was arrested for punching a prostitute at a South Beach hotel last month.



According to thesmokinggun.com, Shlomi hired the woman for "straight sex" for a one-time special price of $1,000.

Shlomi met Sasha Harris, according to an arrest affidavit, at a Miami Beach nightclub and subsequently retired with her to his room at the Setai hotel.

Shlomi told cops he paid Harris after she "propositioned him for straight sex." During the the 4 a.m. fight, Harris sustained facial fractures and lacerations all over her face, according to the affidavit.

Full Article »

Volcano Monitoring Proves Useful One Month After Jindal's Speech

Kaitlynn Riely

Posted:  Mar 24th 2009 8:18AM

Filed Under: Science, Odd News, Notre Dame



A volcano in southern Alaska erupted Sunday and Monday, spewing ash columns some 60,000 feet in the air and causing ash to fall in several communities west of Anchorage, CNN reported Monday.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal so did not see this coming back in February, when he mocked the part of the stimulus plan that allocated funding for volcanic activity monitoring.

In the GOP response to President Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress, Jindal criticized the Democrats for passing a bill "larded with wasteful spending," including "$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.'" [Correction: I wrote billion originally. $140 billion would probably be excessive.]

"Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.," Jindal said.

That line's a zinger...until a volcano actually erupts.

The Anchorage Daily News reported that Mount Redoubt erupted for a sixth time Monday evening. The aviation industry was affected by the eruptions, since the ash clouds prevent air traffic in the vicinity of the volcano. U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters that approximately 20,000 passengers fly through the area each day, CNN reported.

A U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist told CNN that the eruptions could disrupt air travel to south central Alaska and Alaska as a whole for weeks to months. The Anchorage Daily News reported that Alaska Airlines canceled 19 flights in and out of Anchorage because of the ash.

In towns near the volcano, residents are wearing masks to go outside, since the ash is dangerous to breath. But luckily, experts have been warning of an eruption for some time, CNN said.

Thank goodness for volcano monitoring, right Gov. Jindal?

Full Article »

pop culture

Teens Think Rihanna To Blame For Beating?

Joshua Chaney

Posted:  Mar 14th 2009 6:29PM

Filed Under: Pop Culture, Odd News, Muskingum College

Here's something that might blow your mind: Nearly half of 200 Boston teenagers interviewed actually said that Rihanna was to blame for the alleged beating she took from boyfriend Chris Brown.

And if you think the amount of failed marriages has risen, wait until these kids get married. Of those participating, 71 percent said that arguing is a normal part of a relationship and 41 percent said fighting is routine.

The results were part of a survey conducted by the Boston Health Commission and were found to be equally among boys and girls. The startling results clearly demonstrate a generation of youths who have grown insensitive, to domestic violence.

"I think you'd have to be pretty jaded if you weren't startled by it," said Casey Corcoran, director of the health commission's new Start Strong program.

Full Article »

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culture

World's Pitiful Unite at FMyLife.com

Joshua Sharp

Posted:  Feb 12th 2009 6:38PM

Filed Under: Culture, USC, Odd News

Put it down as one of the great message boards of our time. Great in the worst possible way.

Powered by shameless self-pity, adored for its pure, unadulterated entertainment value, and shared for its sheer addictiveness, FMyLife.com is destined to become a permanent resource to put your most disappointing days in their proper perspective -- even if it is a bit NSFW (not safe for work).

One user submits: Today, I received my passport in the mail. They got my birthdate wrong. Then I picked up my birth certificate that I had sent in with the application. Turns out my parents have been celebrating my birthday on the wrong day for 16 years. FML.

Full Article »

politics

Raccoons Intrude on White House Grounds

Kaitlynn Riely

Posted:  Feb 8th 2009 9:41PM

Filed Under: Politics, Odd News, Notre Dame

President Obama has had a lot of problems to deal with his first few weeks in office. He's trying to pass a stimulus bill that faced staunch opposition by Republicans. The country is fighting a war on two fronts. He's taking shots from Dick Cheney and John McCain.

And now, he's got raccoons roaming the White House grounds.

The Washington Post reported last Thursday that a pack of raccoons was spotted roaming the 18 acres of land that surrounds the White House. At Notre Dame this year, we've had several skunks spotted around campus, and I've had many close encounters coming home at night. So it could be worse at the White House. But raccoons are also animals I wouldn't want to have running around near my home.

The Post quoted the director of Urban Wildlife Programs for the Humane Society of the United States as saying he believes the raccoons are new to the estate, not a leftover problem from the Bush administration.

So far, a single large raccoon and several medium-sized ones have been spotted on the property. On Friday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the animals had not yet been caught or dispersed to another location in Washington.

Here's hoping the National Park Service takes care of the raccoon problem before the Obamas buy their first dog. I trust this country can recover from the current economic crisis. I don't think we can recover from an "Old Yeller" scene starring Obama and a labradoodle.

Full Article »

national newspolitics

Census Bureau to Report to White House?

Tony Romm

Posted:  Feb 5th 2009 6:15PM

Filed Under: Politics, National News, News, Odd News, American University



After a number of minority groups expressed concern that Commerce Secretary-designate Judd Gregg would "downsize census outreach efforts," President Barack Obama decided Thursday to altogether bypass the Commerce Department and force the Census Bureau to report directly to the White House, according to Congressional Quarterly.

At issue is Gregg's prior disposition toward the constitutionally-mandated, decennial census. As a three-term GOP senator from New Hampshire, Gregg frequently supported cuts in the bureau's funding, even opposing President Bill Clinton's appeals for emergency money in 1999. In both instances, Democrats lambasted Gregg, alleging that his efforts would have complicated the counting process, especially in traditionally under-reported minority neighborhoods at risk of being subsumed into larger congressional districts.

Although Gregg has yet to defend his positions in cabinet confirmation hearings, the Obama administration hoped to preempt any political fallout on Thursday by releasing scant details of its revised census plan. Speculation, however, does exist: According to Politico and a second CQ dispatch, the revised census hierarchy would permit Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, to "handle Census Bureau matters," though to what extent remains unclear.

Buoyed by such uncertainty, House Republicans immediately condemned the Obama administration for politicizing the census.

In a joint letter to the White House on Thursday, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) criticized the president's plan to circumvent the Commerce Department. According to the two members, any proximal relationship between the political wing of the White House and the Census Bureau "severely jeopardiz[es] the fairness and accuracy" of a count that determines how much a congressional district will grow or shrink, how many representatives each state is afforded -- and thus -- how many electoral votes each state receives.

As of Thursday evening, neither the Obama administration nor Gregg's office had addressed the matter on record.

Full Article »

Latest Victims of the Recession: Your Addiction, Your Mail, Your Sweet Tooth

Tony Romm

Posted:  Jan 29th 2009 12:23AM

Filed Under: News, Odd News, The Economy, American University



It has affected college students' goals, family members' careers, incoming politicians' aspirations, and now, Americans' guiltiest pleasures. That the U.S.economy's untimely slump has touched upon every aspect of American life is certainly the understatement of 2009, and even the most trivial aspects of our routines bear the marks of its consequences. Here are just four examples:

1. Two short of shortbread. Sure, they escaped the peanut butter fiasco, but they didn't quite fare as well against the economy. Facing increasing overhead and transportation costs, the Girls Scouts of USA announced Wednesday that they would subtract two to four cookies from their "boxes of Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Shortbread Cookies, DoSiDos and Trefoils," according to CNN. The move, Spokeswoman Michelle Tompkins told reporters, comes in lieu of a price increase, which Girl Scout administrators feared would further pulverize their 2009 profit expectations.

Normally, such news would have provoked thankful sighs from the health nuts among us, who stress annually during Girl Scout cookie season, however...

2. Running on Empty. ...even gyms are suffering. Earlier this month, Reuters reported (or, more accurately, reaffirmed) that American gym membership rates are inexorably tied to the economy; when it becomes too expensive to subscribe to monthly fitness programs, Americans simply don't. Unfortunately, that line of thinking hasn't helped the health industry's health, either. In slightly over a year, Bally's Total Fitness, a national exercise company, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy twice. Worse, other struggling fitness companies -- many of which are suffering because of their low-price attempts to reengage customers -- are soon expected to follow suit. Perhaps those cookies don't seem so expensive after all...

3. Less Bang to Your Bux. Starbucks, too, has implemented a host of cost-cutting measures this season in a feeble attempt to keep its prices low and profits high. Unfortunately, part of its revised sales formula includes closing 300 stores this financial quarter in addition to the 600 it announced it would shut down last July. The move, according to Wednesday's New York Times, should affect more than 6,000 workers, many of whom Starbucks hopes to shuffle into other positions throughout the company. But if the costlier commute for still-overpriced coffee doesn't quiet your inner yuppie, perhaps the recent news about the news will: Even the Times, the staple diet of any Starbucks frequenter, can barely afford to stay afloat. Maybe Folgers and broadcast news are making a comeback this year...

4. Return to Sender. If you're one of the few people in the United States who still depends wholly on snail mail for communication, the recent announcement that the U.S. Postal Service may soon halt all deliveries on Tuesdays must be troublesome. In his Senate testimony earlier this week, Postmaster General/CEO John E. Potter explained that new technological and financial pressures have forced his office to reconsider the Postal Service's purpose:

"In fiscal year 2008, total mail volume fell by more than 9 billion pieces – 4.5 percent. With volume down significantly, revenue did not meet projections, even with a May price adjustment, and remained essentially flat compared to the previous year. Costs, however, continued to grow, at a rate far higher than could have been anticipated."

Of course, Potter noted, nothing is definite; Congress has not yet debated any changes to the mail schedule, a topic it hasn't visited since 1983. But maybe a 5-day mail week isn't such a bad thing, for either Americans' personal finances or the aforementioned industries' prospects: The policy dampens hope for a fast economic recovery, to be sure -- but at least you'll no longer receive bills on Tuesdays.

Full Article »

politics

Candy Cigarettes Taking a Hit. Root Beer Next?

Megan Baker

Posted:  Jan 28th 2009 2:29PM

Filed Under: Politics, St. John Fisher College, Odd News


It's no secret that Barack Obama is a smoker, whether he wants us to know or not. And thanks to a rule instated by former First Lady and current Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, he is going to have to quit if he wants to live in the White House. (Fun fact: the last known president to have a smoking problem was Gerald Ford.)

If Obama was able to motivate a nation to get him into the White House, he should help smokers everywhere join him in his battle to quit smoking once and for all.

While Obama admitted that he had not quite quit smoking while on the campaign trail, he's working on it.

His advice on how to quit?

Full Article »

Graduate Auctions off Virginity to Pay for Tuition

Megan Baker

Posted:  Jan 15th 2009 10:53PM

Filed Under: St. John Fisher College, Odd News

A 22-year-old Sacramento State graduate is auctioning off her virginity online to cover her tuition costs...and there's nothing the government can do about it.

Natalie Dylan (not her real name) is getting away with this scheme because the "transaction", if you will, is set to take place in Nevada, where prostitution is legal. To be more specific, it will take place at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, made famous by the HBO documentary series, Cathouse.

Think it's a stupid idea? Her offer has attracted more than 10,000 bidders and she has apparently reached bidding as high as $3.7 million.

While I went the old-fashioned route for college funding - applying for scholarships and financial aid then getting loans for what remained - this chick was inspired by her sister who paid for college through prostituting herself for a mere three weeks.

On this proposition, Dylan said that "I know that a lot of people will condemn me for this because it's so taboo but I really don't have a problem with that." And to defend her chastity, she has also offered to have lie detector and medical tests done to prove that her virginity is, in fact, intact.

Ironically enough, Dylan earned her bachelor's degree in Women's Studies and she wants to pursue a master's degree in marriage and family therapy. Something tells me she didn't learn too much in her classes. She shouldn't be paying Sacramento State, she should be asking for her money back.

Full Article »

politics

Obama's Not the Only 'Magic Negro'

Megan Baker

Posted:  Dec 29th 2008 6:54PM

Filed Under: Politics, St. John Fisher College, Odd News

Chip Saltsman sent out a CD by conservative political satirist Paul Shanklin to Republican National Committee members as a light-hearted Christmas gift. Too bad for him, because not everyone found it very funny.

The CD, entitled We Hate The USA features a song called "Obama the Magic Negro," which is based on an op-ed piece by LA Times writer David Ehrenstein. The piece compares president-elect Obama to the likeness of the "magic negro," which is a term coined by director Spike Lee.

What is a magic negro you ask?

Wikipedia defines a magic (or magical) negro as "A supporting, often mystical stock character in fiction who, by use of special insight or powers, helps the white protaganist get out of trouble." Basically, it is a black character in a film who has gotten into trouble in the past or has something wrong with him but does all he can to enlighten the main white character of the film.

Some examples include:

Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix
Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector
Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile
Morgan Freeman in...who are we kidding, any movie he stars in

While these are all movie characters, apparently this definition delves into the non-fictional realm as well. Barack Obama just so happens to be labeled as one of those people.

Full Article »

politics

The Most Insulting Names of 2008

Catherine Cullen

Posted:  Dec 26th 2008 1:29AM

Filed Under: Politics, Brown University, Odd News

In honor of the holiday season, the DC-based blog Wonkette is celebrating peace on earth and goodwill toward men. Or not.

As 2009 approaches, the site has published a top-10 list celebrating the most elaborate, offensive monikers for 2008's leading ladies and gentlemen. The so-called "Children's Treasury of Terms of Abuse" is worth a look and a laugh to see President Bush described as a "bellicose twat of a president" (when the situation with Russia was escalating) and to read about ol' "orange-skinned dog-torturing Scientology-loving Frenchman" Mitt Romney.

Harsh? Yes. Fair? Depends on who you ask. Orange-skinned is of course a matter of taste. Dog-torturing however evokes one of the more colorful stories dug up during Romney's bid for president. Apparently on a family vacation in 1983, Romney strapped the family dog in a kennel to the roof of the car for a 12-hour drive. Scientology-loving Frenchman is a bit of a stretch - according to Wonkette Romney paid a visit to the Scientology center while on the campaign trail and also, on an unrelated note, lived in France for two years.

You get the picture: the titles are hyperbolic to the point of overblown, but if you're in the mood for some witty and not-so-witty ("National Review" conservative columnist Kathryn Jean Lopez is called a "mouth-breathing fart-sack") reminders of the past year, it's a nice send-off into the new year. You may even learn a little something: I, for one, was unaware that Joe Lieberman was interchangeably referred to as the "mutilated carcass of a baby rat-child." Sarah Palin being a "barely functioning idiot" and a "Snowbilly dingbat" however, was hardly new news.

Full Article »

Shoe Thrown at Bush Coming to the U.S.

Megan Baker

Posted:  Dec 22nd 2008 12:05PM

Filed Under: St. John Fisher College, Odd News

Turkish shoemaker Ramazan Baydan was shocked when he saw a pair of shoes being flung at President Bush's head. But it wasn't the act that shocked him, it was the shoe.

He has been making this style shoe for 10 years now, which before the infamous incident was named the Ducati Model 271. Since reaching fame, the shoe model has now been dubbed "The Bush Shoe" and is now in very high demand.

According to Baydan, a U.S. firm ordered 18,000 pairs and another 15,000 pairs were requested in Iraq, with several firms fighting to be the shoe company's representative in European countries.

Baydan said that he was shocked that the shoes were so aerodynamic, but weighing in at under 11 oz each, he said that the shoe probably wouldn't have done much harm to President Bush (who was apparently an excellent dodgeball player in his youth).

As Baydan prepares to send out thousands of pairs of this shoe, I thought he might consider making some moderations and turn these puppies into some super shoes.

Full Article »

politics

Palin's Future In-Law Arrested

Megan Baker

Posted:  Dec 19th 2008 4:51PM

Filed Under: Politics, Breaking News, St. John Fisher College, Odd News

Looks like someone's baby's daddy's momma is in some serious trouble.

According to Anchorage Daily News, 42-year-old Sherry Johnston was arrested by Alaska State Troopers at her Wasilla home on Thursday, December 18 and charged with six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance.

For those of you who may not remember, Levi Johnston is the father of Bristol Palin's unborn child. (According to Bristol's grandfather, the baby is due tomorrow).

Troopers served the warrant of the Johnston home at the "conclusion of an undercover narcotics investigation," according to a statement issued Thursday by the troopers as part of the normal daily summary of activity around the state.

No other information was released, including the type or amount of drugs or how long the undercover investigation had been taking place. Johnston was arrested and booked at Mat-Su Pretrial Facility around noon, and was then released on a $5,000 unsecured bond around 2 p.m.

Palin's people are remaining tight-lipped on the situation. A rep for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, mother of Bristol, said Thursday: "This is not a state government matter. Therefore the governor's communications staff will not be providing comment or scheduling interview opportunities."

Who ever thought that it would be the 18-year-old getting ready to give birth while grandma is dealing with some dirty business? To think, we all thought Britney Spears' little sister had issues. While her in-laws may not have given the best sex talk known to man, at least they don't (or just haven't been caught) do drugs.

Full Article »

Hitler Youth's Cake Request Denied

Joshua Sharp

Posted:  Dec 18th 2008 12:44AM

Filed Under: Featured Stories, USC, Odd News

The parents of three-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell are furious after a local store refused to decorate a birthday cake with the dictator's -- I mean, the child's -- name. The parents were also displeased that the Greenwich ShopRite store wouldn't paint a swastika on the cake, presumably for decorative purposes.

"We reserve the right not to print anything on the cake that we deem to be inappropriate," ShopRite spokeswoman Karen Meleta said in defense. "We considered this inappropriate."

The Campbells have two other children, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, but the couple insists they aren't racist, because children of mixed race attended the birthday party on Sunday, according to Papa Bear Heath Campbell.

Full Article »

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