Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Week: the Friday Feakout Edition

On the eve of Halloween...

What's in the news...

Will there be a ceasefire in Syria?

The United States, Russia and more than a dozen other nations have directed the U.N. to begin a new diplomatic process with Syria's government and opposition with the goal of reaching a nationwide cease-fire and political transition.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made the announcement at a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the U.N. envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura.

Kerry made no declarations about the future of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Russia and Iran back Assad; the U.S. and its allies want him ousted.

Kerry said the U.N.-led process should lead to a new constitution for Syria and internationally supervised elections.

(Sidebar: not bloody likely, Kerry.)

Well, this must be embarrassing:

Canadians praise cuts to GST, balanced budgets ...
The sentiment that Stephen Harper is an average or above-average prime minister will only grow over time, especially as PM-Elect Trulander screws up royal.

Not so fast!

New Brunswick is considering scaling back its new tax on the top 1 per cent in light of federal Liberal plans to adopt a similar tax hike nationwide, a pledge that is raising concern it could hurt Canada’s cash-strapped provinces.

New Brunswick’s Liberal government raised its top tax rate earlier this year after the party successfully campaigned on the issue in the fall of 2014. But federal Liberal plans to also hike taxes on the top 1 per cent have the province rethinking its approach, given that its top earners would end up paying a total of 58.75 per cent, the highest in the country.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, New Brunswick Finance Minister Roger Melanson said prime-minister-designate Justin Trudeau’s victory means his government may have to reconsider the tax hike he announced in the province’s March budget.

“Before any final decision is made, we want to sit down with the new finance minister, federally, when we know who that is … to clearly understand what it is exactly that would be brought forward,” he said. “Based on that, we are open to do some adjustments.

“As much as we need incremental revenues, we also want to be competitive.”

I guess they should have thought that policy through.

No one cares about the religion you adopted just to make your parents mad:

An employer is less likely to be able to fire someone who wears a pentacle to work, and family court judges who use pagan practices as a reason to discriminate in custody cases face challenges from pagan rights groups across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. “It just can’t happen these days,” Cuhulain said in an interview with Yahoo Canada. “And if it does, there’s an organization ready to fight it.”

Pagan organizations for specific professions as well as for general advocacy have ensured that there are fewer legal barriers for pagans to face, in courts or in the workplace.

But that hasn’t stopped the discrimination they still face on social media. Facebook’s “real name policy” is a particularly damaging way that Wiccans and witches are still targeted.

Because Circe Black Raven is a stupid professional name. 

And now, your Friday freakout:

“Demonic possession is real, it does happen, but it is extremely rare. The rise in interest regarding evil and exorcism coincides with a drop in faith in God, especially in the Western world. People seem to be bored with our Christian roots and more interested in things associated with the occult.

He concludes: “I don’t think the devil has upped his game. I just think more people are willing to play his game.”

In 1791, British historian John Collinson recorded a strange anecdote in his History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset. In one out-of-the-way parish, reported Collinson, residents had been haunted by Theophilus Brome (also spelled Broome), a local man who had requested that after his death his head be returned to his farmhouse rather than buried with the rest of his body. The villagers initially obliged, but when they later attempted to remove Brome's skull from the house, they were met with ear-splitting results: The skull supposedly screamed and moaned, piercing the villagers' ears with “horrid noises, portentive of sad displeasure” until they moved it back into the dead man’s farmhouse. Years later, when the villagers once again tried to dig a grave for the skull, their spade split in two, making it impossible to return Brome’s head to the earth.

Wedged between two residential buildings on an unassuming block just east of Manhattan’s Lafayette Street sits the Merchant’s House Museum. You have to ring the doorbell to gain entry to the house, which is still populated by the possessions—and perhaps the spirits—of the Tredwell family, who lived there from 1835 to 1933. ...

“The museum would never come out and definitively say, ‘Yes, we’re haunted,’” Wright said. Yet visitors have matched reported sightings with images of the family, including Gertrude, the youngest daughter, who died in 1933; Seabury, the father; Elizabeth, the eldest sister; and Samuel, the younger brother, as well as several unidentified servants.

A Japanese company used this commercial to sell tires:

(Sidebar: any weak-stomached or hearted persons should avoid this.)

And now, the most frightening thing of them all:

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