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HK: New Prison Cell Sized Apartments!

Asia’s richest man is building Hong Kong apartments barely bigger than a prison cell

Hong Kong property mogul Li Ka-Shing, who recently said that inequality keeps him awake at night, is building his next property venture for Hong Kongers who are willing to buy even the tiniest apartment imaginable.

Li’s development company Cheung Kong will start selling “micro-apartments” for between HK$1.94 and HK$2 million ($250,000 to $260,000) a unit on July 26. The 196 mini flats, part of a larger development (pdf) of 1,071 units, are among the cheapest in Hong Kong and less than 200 square feet, or around 18 square meters. The smallest of the apartments come with usable area of just 177 sq. ft, including a 97 sq. ft living room, a 13 sq. ft kitchen and a 31 sq. ft bathroom. That’s only about 50% bigger than a Hong Kong prison cell, as the South China Morning Post helpfully pointed out.

i just can never really seem to get over just how fucking small these hong kong apartments are… i know there’s a whole “live small” movement going on in some places, but… damn that’s small.

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IRS Needs Help Destroying Hard Drives

IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 hard drives…

Days after IRS officials said in a sworn statement that former top agency employee Lois G. Lerner’s computer memory had been wiped clean, the agency put out word to contractors Monday that it needs help to destroy at least another 3,200 hard drives.

The Internal Revenue Service solicitation for “media destruction” services reflects an otherwise routine job to protect sensitive taxpayer information, but it was made while the agency’s record destruction practices remain under a sharp congressional spotlight.

Congressional investigators of the IRS targeting of conservative groups have been hampered by the unexplained destruction of emails and other records of Ms. Lerner, the former head of the IRS tax-exempt division and a central figure in the scandal.

The loss of Ms. Lerner’s hard drive also raised broader questions about why the tax agency never reported the missing records to the National Archives and Records Administration, as required by the Federal Records Act.

While those questions remained unresolved, IRS officials signaled plans to destroy tens of thousands of additional electronic records.

after all the shit that’s happened and come out about the IRS these past two or more years, isn’t it a little bit amazing that some hold hasn’t been put on any and all destruction of electronic records (and hard drives)?! i mean, seriously… what the hell.

if the republicans ever get the upper hand, i hope like hell the push hard on passing a Flat / Fair Tax… and while i’m dreaming: term limits, a secure border, an energy bill, and a balanced budget amendment.

NYPD Investigating White Flags On Brooklyn Bridge…

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Bill’s Dirty Secret? The Energizer.

Bill Clinton’s secret ‘mistress,’ code name: ‘Energizer’

Bill Clinton reportedly has a buxom blond mistress who visits so often when Hillary Clinton isn’t home in Chappaqua that the former president’s Secret Service detail have given her an unofficial code name: Energizer.

This is according to Ronald Kessler in “The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of Presidents,” due Aug. 5 from Crown Forum.

Kessler is no stranger to the controversies surrounding the Secret Service.

He broke the story that Secret Service agents protecting President Obama in Cartagena, Colombia, hired prostitutes, and put the president in jeopardy.

The book, portions of which I’ve obtained, says none of the normal protocols is followed when Energizer arrives in her SUV, sometimes just minutes after Hillary has left the Westchester house.

you almost just gotta laugh, i mean… do those secret service agents have a sense of humor or what? the “energizer”… haha

p.s. how long until TMZ gets a pic of the energizer?

Federal court rules Obamacare subsidies illegal…

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Gas the Jews!

‘Gas the Jews!’: European anti-Semitism during the Gaza crisis

Since the outbreak of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, there’s been a wave of street-level demonstrations rallying against the war. These protestors are generally highly critical of Israel and blame it for the current round of violence, but the vast majority want an end to the violence and are demanding it peacefully.

But the peaceful demonstrators are not alone in turning out to the streets over the Israel-Gaza conflict. A small-but-disturbing fraction of the international anger over the war has escalated into outright anti-Semitism: shouting “gas the Jews!” during protests in Germany, attacking synagogues in France, and beating a rabbi in Morocco. These attacks are not new: they come at time when anti-Semitic incidents around the world are worryingly on the rise.

To give you a sense of what’s going on, here are incidents from four different countries of anti-Semitism during the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. The worst reported upswing in anti-Semitism has been in Europe, particularly France, and three of the countries we examine are on the continent.

seems like there’s almost always been a strain of anti-semitism in europe — and throughout the world, really — but it is a little alarming to see it rising once again all over europe of late.

personally, i hope isreal keeps pushing forward and actually takes out Hamas this time around… kinda doubt it’ll happen, but that’s what i would do.

9 questions about the Israel-Palestine conflict you were too embarrassed to ask

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Teen Strangled, Man Decapitated

Teen strangled, man decapitated in online sex case

WYOMING, Mich. (AP) — A pregnant Michigan teenager was strangled and her boyfriend was decapitated after apparently connecting with a stranger through the online service Craigslist for a sexual encounter, police said Monday.

The police chief in Wyoming, a Grand Rapids suburb, said that 18-year-old Brooke Slocum was held captive before her death. Her body was found Thursday in the trunk of the suspect’s car. She was eight months pregnant.

Chief James Carmody says her boyfriend, Charles Oppenneer, 25, was found decapitated in a park a day earlier. His head hasn’t been found.

It’s likely that Oppenneer died of some kind of head trauma, but that couldn’t be determined without his head being found, police said.

Emails indicate that Slocum connected with the suspect, 31-year-old Brady Oestrike, through a Craigslist ad and arranged a sexual encounter where Oppenneer would be present, according to investigators.

damn man, wtf?!

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Lady Wins $23 Billion Lawsuit?!?

Widow: Jury sent tobacco company a $23B message

A Florida widow awarded $23.6 billion in the death of her chain-smoking husband on Monday called the massive verdict a message to Big Tobacco, even though she likely won’t see much if any of the money.

The punitive damages — $23,623,718,906.62, to be precise — almost certainly will be significantly reduced on appeal, if not thrown out entirely, legal experts and industry analysts said. In another major tobacco trial, a $28 billion verdict in a 2002 case in Los Angeles turned into $28 million after appeals.

The figure is a pointed, dramatic gesture, said Cynthia Robinson, whose husband took up smoking at 13 and died of lung cancer at 36.

dude, that’s just fucking insane.

some people might not like tobacco companies, i get it… but when did it become a court of justice’s job to “send a message” with something completely outrageous like this? did they force the guy to purchase the cigerettes with his own money, to smoke two packs a day? she was his wife, so does that make her an accessory?

i’m sure it’ll go to Appeals, and i hope they drop at least 9 zeros from that verdict…

$23 billion… geeeesh, what the fuck.

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Russian MH17 Conspiracy Theories

The Russian Public Has a Totally Different Understanding of What Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Did you know Malaysia Air Flight 17 was full of corpses when it took off from Amsterdam? Did you know that, for some darkly inexplicable reason, on July 17, MH17 moved off the standard flight path that it had taken every time before, and moved north, toward rebel-held areas outside Donetsk?

Or that the dispatchers summoned the plane lower just before the crash? Or that the plane had been recently reinsured? Or that the Ukrainian army has air defense systems in the area? Or that it was the result of the Ukrainian military mistaking MH17 for Putin’s presidential plane, which looks strangely similar?

Did you know that the crash of MH17 was all part of an American conspiracy to provoke a big war with Russia?

Well, it’s all true—at least if you live in Russia, because this is the Malaysia Airlines crash story that you’d be seeing.

heard something over the weekend about a TV news reporter over in russia quitting on the air, because she was so disgusted with what they were having her say… she said something about how the “news” over there was becoming more and more propaganda, was all state controlled, and was really pushing disinformation like crazy — what we’re hearing and what russians are hearing on the news are two completely different things, it would seem.

i like the one russian story about how the plane was mistaken as Putin’s presidential plane and shot down by ukranians… oh, and the one about how MH17 was full of corses when it flew out of amsterdam… geeeesh, nice one putin.

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IRS Hard Drives Destroyed?

IRS says hard drive that lost emails destroyed…

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS said Friday that Lois Lerner’s computer hard drive was destroyed three years ago, ending any chance of retrieving her lost emails.

In court papers, the IRS said the hard drive was destroyed after two sets of trained technicians tried to retrieve the data. The tax agency said it was standard procedure to destroy old data storage equipment that may have contained confidential taxpayer information.

The IRS says Lerner’s computer crashed in 2011, destroying an untold number of emails. At the time, Lerner headed the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status.

Lerner is a central figure in congressional investigations into the handling of applications by tea party and other conservative groups.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen had told Congress that Lerner’s hard drive was recycled and presumably destroyed. Friday’s court filings confirmed it.

of course the hard drives with ALL of her emails were destroyed… how incredibly convienent.

everybody knows that their emails are all stored locally on your PC/Mac hard drive… and if your hard drive goes bad, that you’ll lose allllll of your emails — forever.

#blink

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Malaysia Airliner Shot Down Over Ukraine

Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 295 people reported shot down near Ukraine-Russia border

A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was reportedly shot down near the Ukraine-Russia border Thursday killing all 295 people on board, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry said.

Both government officials and pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied responsibility.

An aide quoted by Interfax said the total number of dead in the crash was more than 300 and includes 23 U.S. citizens, while an Associated Press reporter at the scene reported seeing at least 22 bodies.

In brief comments made in Delaware Thursday afternoon, President Obama called the crash a “terrible tragedy.” He added the White House was aware of reports of American fatalities and was working to determine whether there were U.S. citizens on board flight MH17.

damn man, that’s just fucking horrible.

p.s. malaysia just can’t catch a break…

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RIP Tommy Ramone

RIP Tommy Ramone: your band captured the sound in my head

i’ve been pretty behind of late, still catching up after being off the past week and only occasionally getting online or checking email/twitter feed on my phone — really tried to cut back and it felt pretty damn good to unplug (for the most part) for a bit… i really need to start doing that more often, i think.

anywho, i can’t believe i missed the fact that tommy ramone passed away… fuck man, totally bummed me out just now.

i’m going to listen to the ramones all day today.

#sniff

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Another Polar Vortex?!

Poor man’s polar vortex to make shocking summer return in eastern U.S. next week

Call it the ghost of the polar vortex, the polar vortex sequel, or the polar vortex’s revenge. Meteorological purists may tell you it’s not a polar vortex at all. However you choose to refer to the looming weather pattern, unseasonably chilly air is headed for parts of the northern and northeastern U.S at the height of summer early next week.

Bearing a haunting resemblance to January’s brutally cold weather pattern, a deep pool of cool air from the Gulf of Alaska will plunge into the Great Lakes early next week and then ooze towards the East Coast.

another “polar vortex” in the middle of july? are you kidding me?! dunno, just sounds pretty damn strange to me… ugh.

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Fox News Rips Off BioShock Infinite Logo

Fox News rips off BioShock Infinite logo, irony ensues

The above picture comes from Ken Levine, the creator of BioShock (via Nerdist), who seemed more tickled by it than annoyed. “Glad to help, Fox. Glad to help,” he posted on Facebook.

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5-4: Supremes Chip Away at Obamacare…

Justices: Can’t make employers cover Obamacare mandated contraception…

Hobby lobbyWASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that some corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.

The justices’ 5-4 decision is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.

Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010 and the Supreme Court upheld two years later.

Two years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts cast the pivotal vote that saved the health care law in the midst of Obama’s campaign for re-election. On Monday, dealing with a small sliver of the law, Roberts sided with the four justices who would have struck down the law in its entirety.

to be honest, i’m a little surprised by the supreme court’s ruling — regardless if you agree or not with the issue of contraception being mandated in Obamacare, seems a bit odd to equate a company or corporation as a “person” in the legal sense… but i’m sure the legalese and theory behind it all is probably above my poor polish brain to adequately comprehend.

ahhh, to be a fly on the wall when Obama heard the news… heh.

Supreme Court: Employees can’t be required to contribute to unions

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Aereo vs. Cable Companies

Supreme Court Rules TV-Streaming Startup Aereo Violates Copyright

A victory for broadcasters and a defeat for Aereo

A company that grabs over-the-air broadcast TV signals and lets consumers pay to store them online and watch on their computers is violating copyright law, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The court’s ruling, in a hotly awaited decision, is a potentially fatal blow for the small, Brooklyn-based TV-streaming startup Aereo, and a victory for traditional broadcast companies like NBC, ABC and CBS.

In a statement, Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia described the decision as a “massive setback for the American consumer” and worried that it “sends a chilling message to the technology industry.” The consumer interest group Public Knowledge also expressed concern that the decision “leaves consumers beholden to dominant entertainment and cable companies that constantly raise prices and gouge consumers.”

i can understand the arguements, but damned if this really doesn’t kinda suck for consumers — personally, i really dug the whole idea/concept behind what Aereo was doing and was more inline with what many people feel that various satellite/cable companies should be doing… pick the shows you want, and watch them when you want, while not having to pay an arm-and-leg for expensive packages for a handful of channels you care about.

#damnscotus

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Gary Oldman Blasts Hollywood

Gary Oldman Blasts Hollywood Politics, Defends Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin

Gary Oldman has blasted Hollywood for what he perceives as a double standard — asserting that Bill Maher and Jon Stewart can get away with politically incorrect humor while others like Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin cannot.

The profanity-laced statements are included in an interview with the July-August issue of Playboy. The most explosive part of the interview includes attacks on Maher, Stewart and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, following his declaration that political correctness is “crap.”

“Well, if I called Nancy Pelosi a c*** — and I’ll go one better, a f****** useless c*** — I can’t really say that. But Bill Maher and Jon Stewart can, and nobody’s going to stop them from working because of it. Bill Maher could call someone a fag and get away with it. He said to Seth MacFarlane this year, ‘I thought you were going to do the Oscars again. Instead they got a lesbian.’ He can say something like that. Is that more or less offensive than Alec Baldwin saying to someone in the street, ‘You fag’? I don’t get it.”

i’ve been a fan of gary oldman for the last 20 years, and he just went up a few more notches if that’s possible.

he’s the fucking man.

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North Korea Threatens War Over Seth Rogan Movie

North Korea threatens war on US over Kim Jong-un movie

North Korea has promised “merciless” retaliation if a forthcoming Hollywood movie about killing Kim Jong-un is released, say agencies.

A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said in state media that the movie’s release would be an “act of war”.

He did not mention the title, but a Hollywood movie called The Interview with a similar plot is due in October.

Hollywood actors James Franco and Seth Rogen star in the action-comedy film.

if north korea didn’t have nukes, seeing something like this might almost be kinda cute… y’know, those damn crazy north korean bastards.

would love to see Seth Rogan’s reaction. heh.

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Thoughts, Freud?

Thoughts, Freud? Vagina sculpture traps US student

BERLIN (AP) — An American exchange student who got stuck in a giant vagina sculpture was freed by firefighters in southwestern Germany.

Tuebingen fire service official Markus Mozer said Monday that the young man slipped as he tried to climb into the stone sculpture to pose for a photo.

He couldn’t free himself, so the fire service was called. Four firefighters eased him out of the sculpture.

couldn’t help but smile when i read the headline on my phone earlier… heh.

#chuckle

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IRS ‘Lost’ Emails?! Umm, Seriously?

Here’s how the IRS lost emails from key witness Lois Lerner

On Friday, the Internal Revenue Service informed Congressional investigators that it could not recover two years of emails from Lois Lerner, the former head of the agency’s tax-exempt status department. Lerner has been at the center of the investigation into how and why the IRS applied additional scrutiny to the tax-exempt applications of Tea Party-affiliated organizations.

Lerner has refused to testify on the subject, meaning that her emails are one of the only records of what happened in her own words. The IRS has 67,000 emails from or to Lerner that it has or will turn over to investigators, but a large number, from 2009 to 2011, are apparently lost — a disappearance that quickly triggered skepticism, particularly from Congressional Republicans trying to figure out whether Lerner was acting on orders from Washington.

wow, this is just incredible… do they honestly expect everybody to believe that the “hard drive crashed”, and lost all of Lois Lerners emails? after congress has held multiple inquiries and asked for these damn emails over and over again? i mean, c’mon… this is just getting downright ridiculous.

oh, and it looks like the IRS has lost more emails — how unbelievably convenient.

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