Friday, January 31, 2020

PETA calls for Phil to be retired, replaced with animatronic groundhog

In a letter to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for Phil to be retired to an animal sanctuary and the groundhog replaced with an animatronic groundhog that uses technology to more accurately predict the weather, the group says. “Gentle, vulnerable groundhogs are not barometers,” says PETA Executive Vice President. “PETA is offering the club a win-win situation: Breathe life into a tired tradition and finally do right by a long-suffering animal.” Part of PETA’s motto is “that animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” the group says. Groundhogs are prey animals who naturally avoid humans and like to dig, burrow, forage for food and hibernate – natural behavior, the group says Phil is not able to do while being held in captivity at the local library. (WJAC)


‘Fat people are harder to kidnap’: Ohio pizza shop’s billboard taken down after criticism

An Ohio pizza shop noted for its cheesy billboard slogans is not feeling the love over a recent sales pitch that asserted, “Fat people are harder to kidnap.” The slogan was the brainchild of the owner of “East of Chicago Pizza” in Barberton, Ohio. He began putting up amusing billboards about six months ago. “We’ve had, ‘Legalize marinara,’ ‘Our pizza is deep as potholes,’ ‘Free box with every pizza,’” he said. However, the billboard in the nearby city of Norton, Ohio struck a nerve, and he is feeling the heat. He said he was not trying to offend anyone, but removed the billboard when he was told January was national human trafficking awareness month. That angle never entered his mind. “I was more just trying to be funny. I actually had it on my sign out front for three weeks and nobody said anything except funny things about it,” he said. “Once I found out, you know, I have seven kids myself. That it was more sensitive to people because of the kidnapping aspect we actually took it down today.” (WHIO)


Lesbians more accepted than gay men around the world, study finds

A new study exploring the attitudes toward nonheterosexual men and women in 23 Western and non-Western countries found lesbians are more accepted than gay men around the world, according to the study conducted by three New York University psychologists. Sexual minorities face pervasive discrimination and hostility globally, with same-sex sexual activity still illegal in approximately 70 countries. Broadly, the study found that “attitudes toward sexual minorities are robustly related to beliefs about the gender system, more broadly.” The study defines “gender norms” as “widely shared societal and cultural beliefs distinguishing personality traits, behaviors, and interests as appropriate and desirable for either men or women but not both.” It says that gender norms “prescribe behaviors that fuel a heteronormative system — that is, men and women conforming to norms are seen as ‘complements’ to one another, and this makes heterosexual coupling seem necessary and normal.” In places like the Netherlands where people are more accepting of gender norm violations, better known as gender nonconformity, there is an association with “positive attitudes toward sexual minorities.” The converse is also largely true: For instance in America, college students who endorsed “traditional gender arrangements” were more likely to report negative attitudes toward gays, lesbians and bisexuals. (NBC News)


Taxpayers are fleeing these states

People are pulling up stakes and moving out of high-cost, high-tax states like New York and California and they’re pointing the finger at the 2017 federal tax overhaul. In limiting how much homeowners can deduct from their federal taxes, it’s become costlier to own a home in high-price areas. The shift is affecting house prices: Growth has dropped in the most-impacted states, whereas in the states with the lowest property taxes and mortgage-interest amounts, like Tennessee and Missouri, it’s remained steady. (The Wall Street Journal)


Chipotle penalized for child labor

Chipotle has incurred the biggest child-labor penalty ever issued by Massachusetts for employing teenagers under 18 for more than 48 hours each per week and often past midnight. The state slapped the fast-casual dining chain with fines totaling almost $2 million for 13,000 violations at more than 50 locations in the state. The minors, many of whom were without work permits, complained to investigators about being unable to keep up with their schoolwork. (CBS News)


Will we ever be productive enough?

In the age of overflowing life hacks promising efficiency, how do we know if they’re actually working? While the billion-dollar industry of productivity hacks and tricks aims to provide more control in our lives, many believe it only serves to add pressure and distract us. Thinking we are never productive enough can result in chronic anxiety, with these hacks distracting us from the hard work required to “get life done.” Critics say these attempts to “life hack everything” distract from the challenges crucial to cultivating personal growth. (The Age)


Kansas Residents Find Boa Constrictor In Living Room Couch

Firefighters are looking for anyone who might be missing a boa constrictor after some Kansas residents found the 6-foot snake in their living room couch. Police officers responding to a 911 call from a resident in Rose Hill, Kansas requested assistance from Butler County firefighters. The Deputy Fire Chief said the department’s “snake charmer” wrangled the nonvenomous snake from the couch with the help of another firefighter. The fire department said in a Facebook post that the residents have lived in the duplex for four years and never owned a snake. (The Wichita Eagle)


New coronavirus outbreak declared global public health emergency

The outbreak of the new coronavirus was declared a global public health emergency on Thursday by the World Health Organization. While nearly 99 percent of the 7,874 diagnoses have been limited to China, other cases have been diagnosed in 18 other countries, including the U.S. And a growing number of countries are reporting limited person-to-person spread of the virus. (NBC News)


Day care worker writes on baby’s stomach to remind mother to bring diapers

A mom was shocked to find a message written on her son’s tummy after she picked him up from day care. The mother shared photos of her 1-year-old son following the incident at Children’s Education Center of the Islands in Sanibel, Florida. The message on the boy’s torso read: “Mom I’m out of diapers. Pls read my report.” “Am I right to be furious about this? Or am I overreacting?” the mother wrote on Facebook, asking other moms for their perspective. (AZ Family)


A postal worker rented a storage unit to hide mail because he felt ‘pressured’ to deliver it

A United States postal worker in Chesapeake, Virginia, was caught with a public storage unit full of mail he never delivered. The man pleaded guilty to charges of delay of mail by a postal employee in August 2019. He said he felt “pressured” and couldn’t “make time” to complete his mail route, according to court documents. He told authorities that he rented a public storage unit for $49 per month for “the sole purpose of storing mail he could not deliver.” The employee said he started hiding mail in November or December 2018 and he rented the storage unit in February 2019, according to court records. He said he put mail he was unable to deliver in the unit from that time up until he was discovered in May 2019. He told authorities he intended to deliver the mail in the storage unit, but he fell behind and was never able to, according to court documents. He said he never destroyed any mail. Agents from the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General found almost 5,000 pieces of mail in the storage unit in Virginia Beach. They discovered 97 pieces of first-class mail, which included letters from the Department of Motor Vehicles, the IRS, insurance companies, bank statements and other tax return documents. Magazines and other publications made up 115 pieces of mail. There was also one undelivered package found in the unit. The bulk of the mail was advertisements, more than 4,700 ads at that. The Postal Service delivered the first-class mail after it was found. The ads were discarded because they were old by then. He is set to be sentenced on February 12th. He could face a fine or up to five years in prison, according to federal law. (CNN)


Friday Returns With Force Because It’s:

  • Appreciate Your Social Security Check Day
  • Fun at Work Day (Last Friday)
  • Inspire Your Heart with Art Day
  • National Big Wig Day (Last Friday)
  • National Pre-school Fitness Day (Last Friday)
  • Street Children Day

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