Loews Coronado Bay Resort held their sixth annual Surf Dog Competition over the weekend, with dogs of all breeds and cross-breeds taking to the waves off California’s southern-most shore to compete for the chance to win an all-expenses-paid pet vacation at the Imperial Beach resort while raising money for DonorsChoose.org and having some plain ol’ doggone fun.
This Is Important, You Should Know About It: Openly lesbian Syrian blogger Amina Arraf, who fearlessly wrote about her country’s political turmoil at A Gay Girl in Damascus under the nom de plume Amina Abdallah,was abducted last night by armed men while on her way to a meeting in Damascus.
Her cousin Rania wrote about the abduction on Amina’s blog: “Amina was seized by three men in their early 20s. According to the witness (who does not want her identity known), the men were armed.” Rania goes on to report that the men covered Amina’s mouth and hustled her into “a red Dacia Logan with a window sticker of [president Bashar al-Assad’s deceased brother] Basel Assad.”
The Guardian says Amina — who is an American citizen as well — “had become increasingly popular after capturing the imagination of the Syrian opposition as the protest movement struggled in the face of the government crackdown.”
Supporters have taken to Facebook and Twitter to draw attention to Amina’s unlawful seizing, but, according to Rania, it’s unclear who took her or why. “Unfortunately, there are at least 18 different police formations in Syria as well as multiple different party militias and gangs,” she wrote in a recent update. “We do not know who took her so we do not know who to ask to get her back. It is possible that they are forcibly deporting her.”
Updates on Amina’s situation will be posted on her blog.
Animal friendly superstar and recent jet ski accident victim Sean Kingston may be fined up to $32,500 for disturbing Florida manatee habitat.
During Memorial weekend, Kingston crashed a jet ski into a bridgeputting him into the ICU with a broken jaw and a fractured wrist. Kingston is in stable condition now and when investigators looked into the crash they discovered that the speed at which the craft was travelling would have certainly created an intense wake that disturbed manatee habitat. This kind of disturbance of protected manatee habitat carries a fine of up to $32,500.
Manatees are a protected species because there are so few left. The last count found that there were just over 4,000 in known existence. Manatees are gentle and sweet and because of that have been hunted since the 1700’s. Harassment or hunting of manatees today is a felony crime and would land a person in prison for a very long time.
Kingston is lucky to be alive after his accident and he’s lucky he’ll probably only get fined for manatee harassment and not do jail time.
Sara Lee, parent company of Hillshire Farms, has announced the purchase of a fully operational meat processing plant where most of the employees are robots.
The plant reportedly cost Sara Lee $140 million and will reduce their human staff by more than half. The robots de-bone, cut, slice, and package all the company’s meat and do it at twice the speed of human workers. More robots and less people are a mixed and bizarre blessing.
Meat processing plants are extremely dangerous places for humans to work with employees getting severe cuts, losing limbs, and getting caught in grinders on a fairly regular basis. Robots doing the work might reduce injuries but it also kills $20/hr jobs. Plant workers operate under the assumption that the robots are detecting defective meat the way humans might but it feels like it could be easier for a robot to miss opportunities to remove diseased meat from the line.
When owned by ConAgra, the plant was site of an infamous shooting spree in which a disturbed employee killed 6 co-workers. In exchange for taking the troubled site in Kansas, the State gave Sara Lee $9.7 million in tax breaks and 47.3 million in other “incentives.”
The State giving Sara Lee millions of dollars to fire half their work force and process twice as many animals? That’s just awful.