Italian helps his buddy run for mayor — gets elected instead!

The new mayor of a mountain town in northern Italy has been voted in almost completely by accident.

Fabio Borsatti, 50, stood in Cimolais as a last-minute favour to the only candidate, worried not enough people would vote if he stood unopposed. But, despite even Mr Borsatti’s own family voting for his rival, the unlikely candidate won the poll.

He only realised he had become mayor when people telephoned him, as he was watching football, to congratulate him…

“I wanted Gino [Bertolo] to win. Even my relatives voted for him…My daughter, my sister, my father and my mother – they all voted for him.”

But in the poll, Mr Borsatti obtained 160 votes – securing almost 58% of the vote – compared with just 117 votes for his good friend, Mr Bertolo.

Mr Borsatti has said he has no plans to resign and intends to carry out his duties for the 507 people who make up the population of Cimolais, in Friuli Venezia-Giulia.

Is there some way we might reverse the process here in the States. We always seem to have an abundance of candidates – most of whom would damage society beyond repair if elected.

Catholic Inquisition moves on from investigating nuns — ready to target Girl Scouts

The Vatican says that members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” The inquisition run by Catholics biships now moves on – to Girl Scouts.

Obvious danger to Catholicism – these girls may end up running their own lives

…The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked scout leaders to clarify programs and material that some religious conservatives think promote contraception and abortion…Potentially at stake is whether troops can continue meeting in Catholic churches, and whether many Catholic girls, who make up a quarter of the nation’s 3 million Girl Scouts, will continue in scouting as the organization marks its 100th year…

In a letter dated March 28, the head of the bishops committee that has been looking into concerns about the Girl Scouts said he wanted to identify and address all remaining questions. The letter was written by Kevin C. Rhoades, bishop of Fort Wayne, who was a leading critic of the University of Notre Dame when it awarded President Obama an honorary degree in 2009…

Controversies have bubbled up in recent years, many of them rooted in misinformation. The Girl Scouts of the USA has denied any partnership with Planned Parenthood, and says it has no positions on abortion, birth control and sexuality…The Catholic Bishops OTOH want the girls to guarantee they won’t challenge Catholic rules.

Critics of the Girl Scouts contend their materials shouldn’t have any links to groups like the Sierra Club, Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam, or other groups that support family planning and contraception. Other critics are unhappy that the American Girl Scouting organization is a member of an international scouting association that supports contraception access.

Some parents have reported that when their daughters go out to sell Girl Scout cookies, they have had doors slammed in their faces by people refusing to buy their treats because they think the profits go to support abortion and birth control…

“The Girl Scouts have been very open to hearing the questions and the critiques,” Robert McCarty said. “They’ve changed some print materials. The materials themselves are usually fine. But if you follow the links, they have the potential to be problematic.”

McCarty said the answers should allow the Girl Scouts and the bishops to put the matter to rest…

Yup, it’s a real shame Girl Scouts are encouraged to think for themselves, to evaluate cant and ritual in light of how far backwards in history you wish to run your life. Meanwhile, a group of religious men are handy to tell you how to think and live.

US trains generals to ignore Geneva Convention – prepare to bomb civilians in Mecca and Medina – WTF?

A course for US military officers has been teaching that America’s enemy is Islam in general and suggesting that the country might ultimately have to obliterate the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina without regard for civilian deaths, following second world war precedents of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima.

The Pentagon suspended the course in late April when a student objected to the material. The FBI also changed some agent training last year after discovering that it, too, was critical of Islam.

The teaching in the military course was counter to repeated assertions by US officials over the past decade that America is at war against Islamic extremists, not the religion itself.

“They hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you, unless you submit,” the instructor, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley, said in a presentation last July for the course at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia…Dooley also presumed, for the purposes of his theoretical war plan, that the Geneva conventions that set standards of armed conflict, are “no longer relevant”.

He adds: “This would leave open the option once again of taking war to a civilian population wherever necessary (the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki being applicable to the Mecca and Medina destruction decision point).”

His war plan suggests possible outcomes such as “Saudi Arabia threatened with starvation … Islam reduced to cult status”…

“It is therefore illogical” to continue with the current US strategy, which Dooley said presumes there is a way of finding common ground with Islamic religious leaders, without “waging near total war”…

In his July 2011 presentation on “counterjihad”, Dooley asserted that the rise of what he called a “military Islam/Islamist resurgence” compels the US to consider extreme measures, “unconstrained by fears of political incorrectness”.

Just in case you thought civilized Americans who believe in our Constitution are only just beginning to confront the nutballs of Christian Jihad in the coming election – remember that they control a portion of Congress and obviously a portion of what is taught our military commanders.

This kind of crap should have gone the way of the Dodo back when fascist-minded militarists thought we could suppress the VietNamese people by “bombing them back to the Stone Age”. An ideology essentially unchanged from Hitler’s blitzkrieg to Bush’s shock and awe. That there are individual voices in the Pentagon and our war colleges that speak of science and reason, tactics and political strengths, becomes somewhat meaningless in the face of course management that includes extremist ideology like this crap.

Claire Lomas completes London Marathon 16 days after everyone else — a wonderful victory for a paraplegic!

Claire Lomas with her hubby, Dan Spincer after crossing the finish line
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Paralysed woman Claire Lomas finally finished the London Marathon today, 16 days after the race began, completing the course with the aid of a bionic suit.

Ms Lomas has walked around two miles a day of the 26.2-mile route, cheered on by husband Dan, mother Joyce and 13-month-old daughter Maisie.

The 32-year-old, from Eye Kettleby, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, was left paralysed from the chest down following a horse riding accident in 2007. But despite this she set off on April 22 with 36,000 people participating in the marathon. As she crossed the finishing line on The Mall today, she became the first person to complete any marathon using a bionic ReWalk suit…

A number of celebrities have also lent their support by walking a mile alongside her, including TV presenter Gabby Logan and husband, former international rugby star Kenny, and TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle.

But Ms Lomas will not appear in the official results or qualify to receive a medal when she finished as competitors have to finish the course on the same day to qualify for a medal…

The £43,000 ReWalk suit she used for the marathon, designed by Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer, enables people with lower-limb paralysis to stand, walk and climb stairs through motion sensors and an onboard computer system.

A shift in the wearer’s balance, indicating their desire to take, for example, a step forward, triggers the suit to mimic the response that the joints would have if they were not paralysed.

Bravo. She’s my hero of the race. I’ve only heard little bits about Amit Goffer’s project; but, of anything comparable, he seems to have delivered a practical device.

We must hope that insurance plans will cover similar devices for the many paraplegics confined to wheelchairs – or less mobility than a wheelchair can provide. We are a mobile species – regardless of politics and economics.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

World record 1,626 miles on one tank of diesel

Apparently not happy with collecting over 40 world driving fuel economy records, the husband and wife team of John and Helen Taylor – also known as “the world’s most fuel efficient couple” – have been back on the road to claim the world record for the longest distance traveled on a single tank of fuel. The record 1,626.1 mile journey was achieved in a stock 2012 Volkswagen Passat powered by a 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel inline four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission.

The Taylors’ three-day trip started from Houston, Texas, on May 3, and took them through nine states before the tank of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel ran dry in Sterling, Virginia, on May 5. Over the three-day journey, they averaged 84.1 miles per gallon, and outdid the previous record of 1,526.6 miles on a single tank of diesel achieved by a VW Passat 1.6 BlueMotion diesel in Europe.

In an effort to conduct the world record attempt under real world driving conditions, the couple packed 120 lbs of luggage and drove during daylight hours. They also took turns driving and traveled a maximum of 14 hours per day.

The Passat’s speedometer and odometer were calibrated by a state certified testing station in Houston, with law enforcement officers on hand to validate mileage, fuel fill-up, and gas tank sealing before the Taylor’s set out. Upon reaching Sterling, Virginia Sheriff’s Deputy verified the car’s mileage before removing the fuel tank seal.

Bravo. Much of our extended family has made the switch to diesel-powered vehicles. Especially the pickups in the family.

I’d love to have a diesel Jetta or Passat as the next car added to our family; but, the price difference for an econobox like a Hyundai Accent or Kia Rio is sufficient to keep us facing Asia rather than Europe or the US for the next vehicle. That will be a 10-year car for us. After that, we’ll think about a 20-year car and a diesel.