A key House panel voted Wednesday to cut off almost $4 billion in aid to the government of Afghanistan pending an investigation into charges that Afghan officials are blocking corruption probes and huge amounts of financial aid is being stolen, keeping it from getting to those who need it. ***MARLAR: In other words, they are being charged with being too much like the U.S. government.
The first Atlantic hurricane of the year grew to a powerful Category 2 storm as it neared Mexico’s Gulf coast and south Texas on Wednesday, whipping up high waves that frustrated oil-spill cleanup efforts and delivering tar balls and globs of crude onto already soiled beaches. ***MARLAR: If the high winds and waves mix up the oil too much, the government’s next plan is to simply add vinegar and serve it up as salad dressing.
Facebook is rolling out a new feature that requires outside applications and websites to tell users exactly what parts of their profiles have to be shared for the apps to work. ***MARLAR: Meanwhile, Facebook users will continue to feel poked.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s candidate, Christian Wulff, was elected German president last Wednesday in a lackluster victory that took an embarrassing three rounds of voting and dashed hopes of a strong show of support from her governing coalition. ***MARLAR: How can anyone show strong support for Merkel? She sounds like that nerdy kid on “Family Matters.”
A cowboy who rode a horse through a Denver suburb has been cited for riding an animal under the influence. Police say Brian Drone was given a $25 traffic violation ticket in a strip mall parking lot Friday. Drone told us that he was out for a “joyride” in Arvada Colorado with his horse, Cricket. Sgt. Jeff Monzingo says the citation was the first he’d seen in 15 years of working in law enforcement. Police say deciding what to do with the horse was a “tricky call” because “you can tow a car” in typical drunk driving cases. A stable owner eventually offered Drone and his horse a ride home. A phone number listed for a Brian Drone in Arvada was disconnected. ***MARLAR: Brian promised to place his horse in rehab.
A small airplane dropping from the sky after its engine failed wound up landing on a bunch of portable toilets – and the pilot was able to walk away apparently unhurt. Gary Mayor of the Federal Aviation Administration says the Cessna 182 crashed Friday afternoon in Washington state after taking off from Thun Field, an airfield owned by Pierce County southeast of Tacoma. Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said the plane was about 50 meters in the air when the engine quit. Troyer tells us that the pilot tried to turn around to land but didn’t quite make it. The plane hit a fence, flipped over and landed upside down on top of the portable toilets standing in a storage yard. ***MARLAR: Eww… upside down on top of the porta-potties. That means his head was…
Nevada now has an official state bug — thanks to some fourth-graders. Gov. Jim Gibbons signed a measure into law naming the Vivid Dancer Damselfly as the state insect. Kids from John R. Beatty Elementary school in Las Vegas suggested the Damselfly. Their essays noted the bug is blue and silver, Nevada’s state colors. ***MARLAR: Meanwhile, Washington D.C.’s school children have voted the official bug as the poli-TICK.
Bern, Switzerland, is hoping to keep men from using parking spaces reserved for women by painting them pink and adding flowers. ***MARLAR: And if that doesn’t work, they’ll create special parking spaces just for men equipped with a toilet, big screen TV, and a mini fridge.
A few engineering students from Cranfield University in England have created the ultimate boy toy — a full-sized remote controlled Hummer H3! It took the students about a month to convert the $78,000 vehicle into an oversized child’s toy. Dr. James Brighton, who masterminded the project, said, “Everyone will be amazed by the handling ability– the best any radio-controlled vehicle has had to date.” ***MARLAR: Hey, guess what I’m adding to my Christmas wish list!
British researchers have isolated what they call a “hunger hormone” that can make people so hungry, they’ll eat one-third more food than usual. ***MARLAR: No kidding… the people with that hormone are called “Americans.”