Today In Suck

Two days after she was dragged away from Western reporters when trying to tell them about being gang-raped by at least 15 of Gadhafi’s troops, Iman al-Obeidi has not been seen in public.  Her parents told al-Jazeera today that al-Obeidi is being held hostage at Gadhafi’s Tripoli headquarters, as some sort of human shield. They also said that they were told to urge their daughter to retract the rape charge, or else she would not be released.  Government officials had claimed that she had been released.

Al-Obeidi’s parents also denounced the latest claim of the Libyan spokesperson (who previously said al-Obeidi was drunk and mentally ill) that their daughter is a prostitute.  Musa Ibrahim told reporters today that “This is her line of work.  She knows the boys for years. She goes out with them for business. She has a whole file of petty theft and prostitution.”

Al-Obeidi’s mother told Al-Jazeera that she was not ashamed of her daughter admitting to the entire world that she had been raped. “I don’t feel ashamed, instead my head is up high,” she said, adding that her daughter “broke the barrier that no other man could break” by coming forward about her rape.  Al-Jazeera also has an interview with doctors in eastern Egypt who said that they are finding Viagra pills and used condoms in the pockets of dead soldiers, evidence that rape is being used by the troops to terrorize civilians.  Video of mom’s interview after the jump.

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Patrick Smith, who writes the “Ask the Pilot” column on Salon, has a sign of the times.  And I feel an urge to put on my Citizen Kane DVD.

Yesterday as families were sitting down to dinner in San Bruno, California, a 30-inch wide, 60 year old natural gas transmission pipeline owned by Pacific Gas & Electric exploded, creating an apocalyptic inferno of flames shooting hundreds of feet in the air, something that fire department officials said they had never before seen, and the fire was not extinguished until this morning.

Aircraft normally used to fight forest fires had to be called in to drop water and chemicals over the suburban neighborhood.  The explosion created a 30 foot deep crater, and the fires destroyed at least 30 homes, injured more than 50 people (many of them critically burned), killed at least four people, and left more than a dozen family pets reported to the Humane Society as missing.  Hundreds of people were evacuated, including from a nursing home.

Officials say that the death toll will undoubtedly go up as the rescue crews survey the area with cadaver dogs.  The fireball and smoke plume was so high in the sky that your San Francisco correspondent was able to see the smoke plume from twelve miles to the north.  The morning after images are akin to those of Dresden in the ’40s.

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Opposition leader Tony Abbott, in run-up to today’s election over in Oz:

I am always very conscious of trying to avoid being a burden on the taxpayer and I would try not to do anything voluntarily that would add to the burdens on the taxpayer.

Mitt Romney.

[slamming down of cold oil can of Fosters, with appropriate sound effects]


[Yeah, I tried really hard to come up with something funny.  Maybe it worked.  But it almost certainly didn’t.  Come on — I know jack squat about Aussie politicking.  Give me some credit for trying.]

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… and if the oil makes it around the tip of Florida and up the Atlantic Coast, and then heads for Europe?  A global depression and food shortages, we think.

Shrimpers who were exposed to a mixture of oil and Corexit dispersant in the Gulf of Mexico suffered severe symptoms such as muscle spasms, heart palpitations, headaches that last for weeks and bleeding from the rectum, according to a marine toxicologist who spoke issued the warning Friday on cable news network.

Dr. Susan Shaw, founder and director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute, described the symptoms during a CNN broadcast on Friday. Dr. Shaw said that after personally diving the oil spill herself, which she’d chronicled in a widely-publicized essay in late May, a “very fiery soar throat” plagued her after inhaling the fumes.

She specified that stories shrimpers had told her were from when BP was deploying “the more toxic” Corexit 9527. BP has allegedly switched to Corexit 9500.

Toxicologist: Shrimpers Exposed to Oil/Corexit Mix Suffered Bleeding from Rectum [RawStory]

Break out your martini shaker and/or your bottle of Xanax, as Stinquer DodgerBlue shares with us this satellite image of close to the entire Gulf of Mexico coated with oil.

Meanwhile, the broken oil well was uncapped this morning and currently is spewing oil uncontrollably.  The cap had to be removed after BP engineers drove their submarine into machinery being used to clean up the fuel. It’s not a bumper car, Einstein!

No word on when the cap will be put back on, or if it will be put back on.

More details after the jump, plus something to hopefully keep us all sane.

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Yeah, body scanners will solve all our problems:

(AP) A passenger inadvertently carried shotgun shells onto a Dallas-bound Midwest Airlines plane at Milwaukee’s airport on Monday before he realized his mistake and alerted flight attendants, authorities said.

The man, who was not identified, did not mean any harm, saying he had forgotten that the ammunition was in his carryon bags when he boarded the flight, Transportation Security Administration spokesman Jim Fotenos said.

An MSNBC report said that the passengers were upset that the TSA didn’t search the plane before it took off in case the man had secreted something.

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