Late Thursday/Early Friday Links

Delaware has legalized same-sex marriage, becoming the 11th state to do so.

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that would allow states to force online retailers to collect state sales tax. (Currently, states can only require online retailers to collect sales tax if the retailer has a physical nexus in the state.)

– Quote of the Year: “I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms…Something’s wrong here.”

– Something was indeed wrong: A Cleveland man named Ariel Castro kept three missing women–Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus–captive for ten years without anyone noticing.

– Castro’s neighbors claimed to have witnessed suspicious activity through the years, including seeing a naked woman crawling in the backyard and, on another occasion, three girls on leashes being controlled by three men. Neighbors allege that police either ignored their calls or came to investigate but left after finding no one at home. Cleveland police are denying ever receiving such calls, though, and according to sources with knowledge of the case, the women were only let out twice during their stay–both times in disguise, and only to the garage. In addition, police have found no evidence that Castro had any assistance from his brothers. At Slate, Amanda Marcotte suggests that these neighbors have probably created false memories.

Sylvia Browne, a self-proclaimed “psychic”, told Amanda Berry’s mother in 2004 that Amanda was dead. Oops.

– On a different subject, apparently raping a 4-year-old (twice) is not enough to get a student expelled from school. Things that will get you expelled from school: conducting a science experiment that goes wrong, accidentally leaving an unloaded shotgun in your car, giving a single Midol pill to another student, or letting another student use your asthma inhaler.

– On the same subject, a 7-year-old in Virginia has been suspended for pretending that a pencil was a gun. (In other words, he was suspended for being a normal 7-year-old boy.)

The Onion recently ran an article about Chris Brown and Rihanna’s break-up with the title “Heartbroken Chris Brown Always Thought Rihanna Was Woman He’d Beat To Death.” Of course, pissed off feminists took to Twitter to express their outrage. At least one feminist, though, does get the joke: Slate’s Hannah Rosin.

In the U.K., simply possessing a copy of Al Qaeda’s magazine Inspire is enough to land a person in prison, even if there is no evidence that the person has participated in or is planning terrorist acts. (So kind of like child pornography laws here in the U.S., then?)

A Montreal-based writer says she was harassed by U.S. border personnel on several different occasions for traveling with condoms and “sexy underwear”, and for traveling with a married man. Regardless of whether this woman is telling the full story or not, these border guards sound like assholes. (Apparently the TSA believes that they are the only ones legally allowed to touch strangers’ genitals.)

– Ohio woman freely gives her social security and driver’s license numbers to man she met online, who, unsurprisingly, turns out to be a scammer. Goddammit, has this woman been in a coma for the last 15 years? Because there is no way that anyone who picked up a newspaper, used the Internet, watched television, or spoke to another human being during the last decade and a half could not realize that this was a scam.

Officials at a suburban Seattle high school, as well as local police, are trying to shut down an annual online tournament in which boys vote on the sexiest girls in school. (What’s the big deal? This is simply a natural result of forcing hundreds of horny teenagers to spend 8 hours a day together in a crowded building.)

– And finally, Minnesota may soon become the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

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