Canadian senator proposes “the right to suicide” when capital punishment is denied

A Canadian senator has said imprisoned murderers should have the “right to a rope in their cell”.

Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a Conservative senator, later backtracked from the statement, which came a month after two Canadians charged but not convicted of murder were found dead in jail.

Canada abolished the use of capital punishment in 1976…

Mr Boisvenu made his comments to reporters ahead of a meeting of the Conservative caucus. “Each assassin should have the right to a rope in his cell to make a decision about his or her life,” he said. He serves on the committee currently reviewing Canada’s omnibus crime bill.

Mr Boisvenu said he does not expect Canada to reopen the debate on the death penalty, but said “in horrible cases such as [serial killer Clifford] Olson, can we have a reflection on that issue..?”

Mr Harper’s office confirmed that it will not reopen the death penalty debate, but made no other comment…

Mr Boisvenu’s statements were roundly criticised by fellow Canadian politicians.

Bob Rae, an MP for Toronto and interim Liberal Party leader, told CBC the comments “were obviously completely unacceptable”. “He’s also suggesting that the prison system break the Criminal Code, which is equally ludicrous,” Mr Rae said.

Frankly, I think the idea has merit. Understand, I oppose the death penalty [1] our criminal justice and prosecutorial system teeters perpetually on the edge of corruption and [2] life without parole is cheaper than the time and money consumed in endless appeals against execution.

But, just as I feel the individual has the right to order the end of their own lives – whether because of terminal illness or ennui – I see nothing wrong with someone sentenced to life without parole being able to choose a simple means of doing the state a favor and ending his imprisonment with suicide.

Military charity con-artist just may be hiding in New Mexico

His favorite Xmas Card photo

He rubbed elbows with some of the country’s highest politicians, and promised to help out America’s heroes. But, officials said he stole from veterans to the tune of nearly $100 million .

He went on the run and there is good information that he’s hiding here in New Mexico.

“He’s definitely a business man,” Deputy Ben Segotta said. A business man whose Christmas card included a picture with President George W. Bush. But the man who’s been going by the name Bobby Thompson is also a fake…

Thompson started a phony organization called the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. It raised about a $100 million which he promised would be used to help veterans. But, investigators claim he contributed some of it to high profile republican politicians, and pocketed the rest.

U.S. Marshals said he has lived in Albuquerque and knows the area. Recently new information pointed to him hiding out here.

“He is known for his ability to blend in or change his appearance or something. So he may not really be low profile he may just be using an alias.”

Segotta said they want him in handcuffs badly, “He solicited hundred of millions of dollars from people in order to help veterans and betrayed that trust between people and our military.”

Thompson is a fake name and officials don’t really know who this guy is…He’s 5 feet 8 inches about 160 pounds and said to be a heavy and often violent drinker.

If you suspect you know where this thug is – call your local coppers. Don’t be silly enough to try to take him down on your own.

Mid-winter freeze stops famed Brussels statue from peeing

The Manneken-Pis, a bronze statue of a young boy urinating that is a symbol of Brussels and a major tourist attraction, has had to stop peeing because of sub-zero temperatures…

Officials turned off the flow of water through the statue, which has stood on a Brussels corner since the 1600s, out of concern the cold might damage its internal mechanism.

Temperatures in the Belgian capital were set to fall to minus 10 Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) Wednesday night, far below the average minimum for February.

“It all depends on the weather, if the temperatures go up again it will work again,” a tourist office spokeswoman said.

The statue, which is on the site of a 15th Century drinking fountain, has more than 800 specially made outfits which city officials use to dress it up during the year. It is one of Brussels’ most popular attractions.

I have been in circumstances when I worried about it being too cold to pee. Normal pressures won out over weather.

Komen cancer charity caves in to right-wing hate campaign — UPDATED

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

When Susan G. Komen announced Tuesday afternoon it was pulling its grants for breast-cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood, the reaction from critics was fast and furious.

The move was called, in some of the nicer assessments: “disgusting,” “anti-women,” and an “act of cowardice.” The president of Planned Parenthood said she couldn’t understand how the nation’s leading breast-cancer charity “could have bowed to this kind of bullying,” alleging that the funding was cut because of pressure from anti-abortion groups. Planned Parenthood offers wide-ranging reproductive health care services, but its work is centered on pro-choice decision-making and sexual education.

Petitions were also started that called for the partnership between Komen and Planned Parenthood to be restored…

Komen explained its decision by blaming new rules that prohibit it from giving money to groups under federal investigation. Planned Parenthood, which is the subject of congressional inquiry over whether it spent public money on abortions, falls into that category. Critics of the Komen decision say that inquiry is a “faux” one, and not likely to turn up anything…

Komen for the Cure has been under fire before, a number of times. As Amanda Marcotte points out in Slate, Komen was already “under serious scrutiny” by critics who believe “the organization cares more about shoring up their image than making real progress in the fight for women’s health…”

The Post’s Melinda Henneberger, who once suffered from breast cancer, writes that she doesn’t feel betrayed by the decision because “Komen has for some time seemed to me to be run like any other big business…”

I’m rarely surprised over the actions of charities which have become a corporate entity unto themselves – instead of remaining focused on whichever need prompted their profitable beginnings. Nothing new about a “non-profit” that is very profitable for its administrators – in terms of dollars and political clout.

Poisonally, henceforth I will advise anyone asking — to avoid the Susan Komen charity like the political plague they are. There is no shortage of legitimate, good-hearted and courageous charities dealing with women’s health. I’d suggest starting with Planned Parenthood.

UPDATE: Mollie Williams, Komen’s top public health official resigned in protest. “Williams believed she could not honorably serve in her position once Komen had caved to pressure from the anti-abortion right.”

Donors reacting to Komen’s decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood contributed $650,000 in 24 hours, nearly enough to replace last year’s Komen funding.

UPDATE 2: Mayor Mike Bloomberg — a longtime supporter of the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation — made a strong public rebuke of the organization Thursday by giving $250,000 to Planned Parenthood.

UPDATE 3: We won! Komen returns to profiding funds to Planned Parenthood.

Fox News hates the Muppets – Muppets respond

Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy hit back at Fox News during a UK press conference following the London Premiere of their new film. Fox had publically criticized the film for supposedly pushing a ‘dangerous liberal agenda’ at kids.


America’s conservatives lead the world in paranoia. They may not get what they think they need; but, they surely sound like they get what they deserve.

Giant German satellite was minutes from crashing into Beijing

A two-and-a-half ton German satellite came within minutes of crashing into Beijing the European Space Agency has disclosed…

“Our calculations showed that, if Rosat had crashed to the ground just seven to 10 minutes later, it would have hit Beijing,” Heiner Klinkrad, head of the agency’s space debris team, told German magazine Der Spiegel, adding that an impact on the city “was very much within the realm of possibility.” The satellite eventually landed, as hoped, in the Indian Ocean.

Although most space debris burns up on entering the earth’s atmosphere Rosat, a defunct satellite launched 20 years ago, was made of durable material. Experts said that as much as 60 per cent of its bulk survived re-entry so if it had crashed into a highly populated like Beijing it could have caused the worst disaster in the history of space exploration.

The satellite’s remnants, travelling at speeds of 280mph, would have destroyed buildings, left craters and would have almost certainly caused casualties…

If it had crashed into Beijing it would also have landed the German government with an expensive bill. Under an international agreement the country responsible for placing the satellite in orbit is also responsible for any damage caused when it comes down.

Can you imagine the conspiracy theories that would have circled the Earth faster than any satellite?

Now, imagine the dead satellite being Russian and crashing, say, into Chicago. Phew!