Road rage with a sushi chef – Eeoough!

A hot-blooded sushi chef got so mad during a road- rage incident on Staten Island that he whipped out his work knife and tried to fillet a Brooklyn man like a yellowfin tuna.

Yao Zhou, 37, alle gedly used his 12-inch sushi knife to cut up the face and body of fellow motorist Jack Zaiback, 23, who had to get 100 stitches.

Zaiback and Zhou wound up in their own bloody kitchen nightmare after a near-crash on the West Shore Expressway at 10:30 a.m., sources said.

Zaiback said he was horrified when Zhou grabbed him and started slashing him.

It was a big knife, I’ve never seen a knife that big in my life,” Zaiback told The Post.

“He was trying to kill me,” he added. “I was scared. I thought I was going to die.”

Zhou had been heading to work in New Jersey with two other men, when they approached a van driven by Zaiback. Zaiback admitted that he cut Zhou off so closely that he thought he might have hit him.

“I get out to give him my information and he grabs me by the chest,” Zaiback said. “And then he pulls out the knife. I pushed him . . . and he starts stabbing me and stabbing me. He wouldn’t stop.”

As the pair rolled around, a police officer spotted the fight and broke it up. Zaiback said that even after the cop arrived, Zhou gave him one more stab in the back of his head.

Good thing the dude wasn’t a gunsmith.

Senate passes equal pay bill. Finally.

Daylife/AP Photo by Haraz N. Ghanbari
Lilly Ledbetter and Barack Obama

The U.S. Senate, with Democrats now in charge, passed an equal pay measure Friday that Republicans blocked last year. The bill now goes back to the House which had passed a similar bill earlier. It is expected to be passed quickly and likely will be the first legislation to go before President Obama, who supports it…

The legislation was named after a woman who worked at a Goodyear tire plant in Gadsden, Ala., and learned after two decades she had been paid at a lower rate than her male co-workers.

Ledbetter sued and won but the U.S. Supreme Court, by one vote, overturned that ruling, finding that such cases must be filed within six months of the first case of discrimination. The new law specifies that each paycheck is a separate case of discrimination.

I’m hard pressed to understand what kind of human beings voted to return the creeps to office who suppressed this bill last time around? Is meanness and discrimination a necessary American trait?

Italian Job conundrum is ‘solved’ by RSC competition

The Royal Society of Chemistry has announced the winner of a competition to solve the conundrum at the end of the iconic UK film The Italian Job.

In the film, the robbers’ coach almost drives off a cliff, ending up balanced precariously on the edge, with the gang at one end and their gold at the other.

The RSC asked for ideas to get the gold off the coach before it tips over.

In the conclusion to the 1969 movie, Charlie Croker, played by Michael Caine, tries to reach the gold, but as he does so, the coach tips up dangerously.

Then gang leader Croker turns around and says: “Hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea.”

So what was the idea?

RTFA. See if you can come up with a better solution.

Personally I love that it was the RSC that advanced the competition. I always felt that scientists could out-thieve real crooks any day.

Nigeria police have car thief goat in custody

Police in Nigeria are holding a goat handed to them by a vigilante group, which said it was a car thief who had used witchcraft to change shape. A police spokesman in Kwara State has been quoted as saying that the “armed robbery suspect” would remain in custody until investigations were over.

The belief in witchcraft and the power to change shapes is common in Nigeria.

Police reform activists have condemned the “arrest”, saying it highlights the low education levels of many Nigerian police officers.

At least get him to tell where the [lamb] chop shop is located before he’s released.

Obama to reverse ‘global gag rule’ on family planning

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President Barack Obama today is to make the most contentious move of his young administration with an order overturning a ban on federal funds to foreign family planning organisations that either offer abortions or provide information or counselling about abortion…

It will allow US aid, usually through the US agency for international development, to flow to HIV/Aids clinics, birth-control providers and other organisations that advocate or provide counselling about abortion across the world. It is known as the “global gag rule” because it denies US taxpayer dollars to clinics that even mention abortion to women with unplanned pregnancies.

The rule was signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, overturned by Bill Clinton in 1993, and reinstated by Bush. Critics of the rule say it deprives the world’s poor women of desperately needed medical care, while proponents say US tax dollars should not promote abortion.

Yesterday was the 36th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s right to choose abortion.

While both Clinton and Bush used the Roe v Wade anniversary to change US policy on abortion, Obama declined yesterday. He instead issued a statement reaffirming his commitment “to protecting a woman’s right to choose”.

“On the 36th anniversary of Roe v Wade, we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters,” he said.

Keep the fraking churches and their pet politicians out of our bedrooms, away from the privacy of individual women around the world.

The Thain of Wall Street: “Let ’em eat cake”

Daylife/Reuters Pictures

Merrill Lynch paid billions of dollars of bonuses to its employees, three days before completing its life-saving sale to Bank of America, reports the Financial Times.

The money was paid as Merrill’s losses were mounting, forcing Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis last month to seek additional government support for the deal. Merrill’s compensation committee agreed to pay bonuses on December 29, at least one month earlier than usual, the paper said.

Bank of America said Merrill had a $21.5 billion operating loss in the fourth quarter. Despite the massive losses, Merrill set aside $15 billion for 2008 compensation, 6% lower than a year earlier. About $3 billion to $4 billion of that compensation were annual bonuses.

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FDA allows first study of human embryonic stem cell therapy

“He looks just like his dad”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the way for the world’s first study of human embryonic stem cell therapy, Geron Corp has said in a milestone for such research and a marked political shift. The move came three days after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, a Democrat who had been expected to rescind some of the federal funding restrictions placed on such research.

The California biotechnology company plans to initiate a clinical trial in patients with acute spinal cord injury.

“This marks the beginning of what is potentially a new chapter in medical therapeutics – one that reaches beyond pills to a new level of healing: the restoration of organ and tissue function achieved by the injection of healthy replacement cells,” Geron Chief Executive Thomas B. Okarma said in a statement…

Stem cells are the body’s master cells, giving rise to all the tissues, organs and blood. Embryonic stem cells are considered the most powerful kinds of stem cells, as they have the potential to give rise to any type of tissue…

“The neurosurgical community is very excited by this new approach to treating devastating spinal cord injury,” said Richard Fessler, professor of neurological surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

“If safe and effective, the therapy would provide a viable treatment option for thousands of patients who suffer severe spinal cord injuries each year,” he said in a statement.

I’m hard-pressed to say anything civil about holding back years of research on the basis of superstition and Stone Age ideology. Rather than launch into one more condemnation of faith-based twaddle, it’s more in keeping with the times to offer congratulations to the FDA for standing up on their hind legs – now that everyone’s job is safe while doing so.

Obama restricts lobbyists – Republicans offer group hug


President Obama has announced new strict lobbying rules that “could usher in an era of openness in federal government.” For example, administration officials are banned from accepting gifts from lobbyists and will have to wait two years before lobbying the government when out of office…

Senate Republicans have tasked Conference Vice Chairman John Thune (S.D.) with beefing up the party’s outreach to K Street, business groups and grass-roots organizations, hoping to maintain critical alliances built up over eight years of White House control…

The previous version of the K Street Project, established by Tom DeLay and his cronies, set up a pay-to-play machine that self-admittedly operated by the old adage of “punish your enemies and reward your friends.” Lobbyists were given influence over legislation in return for donations to Republicans and a refusal to hire Democrats. DeLay’s influence is still felt on K Street, where there remains a “collective griping” at the dominance of Republicans.

Lobbyists “willing to pay a $25,000 fee will mingle with House Republicans at their annual winter retreat” next week in Hot Springs, VA. Only some of the lobbyists — on the board or advisory committee the nonprofit Congressional Institute — are listed on the group’s website, so it’s not clear who will be attending the GOP retreat. One lobbyist who has attended the retreat for years told the Hill, “Of course it’s about access and building relationships — that’s what this town is all about.”

Some congressional Democrats may also be getting in on the action…On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) invited top lobbyists to join him for an inaugural brunch where he pledged that he will still do plenty of business with them. “People should understand that lobbyists, per se, are someone’s father, mother, son, daughter,” said Reid. “They work for a living.”

The corruption brought to a new level by the Gingrich Contract on America has adherents in both parties. I think the battle for honesty and openness has just begun. Though the Republicans are still the most openly greedy and corrupt, old guard Dems like Reid should be sent a message that voters count for more than country club buddies.

Major UK parties retreat from hiding expenses

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Gordon Brown has retreated from plans to exempt MPs’ expenses from the Freedom of Information Act.

The surprise announcement during prime minister’s questions follows the overnight collapse of a bipartisan agreement between Brown and David Cameron, the Tory leader, to back a parliamentary order exempting MPs’ expenses from the act…

The decision is a major victory for freedom of information campaigners and follows growing opposition led by the Liberal Democrats to the proposal, and website campaigns urging the public to email their MP objecting to the move…

The U-turn came less than an hour after Downing Street had insisted that the government would force the measure through with the backing of Labour MPs. But frantic discussions between ministers forced the change shortly before PMQs…

Peter Facey, director of campaigning group Unlock Democracy, hailed a victory for “people power” and added: “If passed, this order would have had a catastrophic impact on the reputation of parliament.”

The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, said: “This is a humiliating climbdown for Gordon Brown after he was forced to accept that people will not tolerate MPs continuing to act like members of a secret society.”

Sounds like Gordon Brown is preparing to hire Dick Cheney to provide guidance on how to run a truly corrupt government.