From the Dec. 8, 1908, edition of the New York Times:

“Blacks can’t rule, Taft tells south”

That’s a pretty big leap to make in just a century … sometimes, I’m right proud of our country.

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The miracle baby that was saved after falling through an Indian train’s toilet was just the tip of the iceberg: Now there’s another miracle baby in India, a child born with two faces and four eyes. IBNLive reports that some are now worshiping the girl as a god.

1. “Actor Mammootty slaps fan,” Times of India, pointing to the below YouTube video as evidence of the arrogance of the Malayalam film star:

(OK, video won’t embed, so follow this link. And enjoy the rocking music.)

2. “MLAs see ‘vaastu dosh’ in MP Assembly,” The Indian Express — following the death of a local minister, legislators in the state of Madhya Pradesh are calling for vaastu experts to study the building and address any anomalies (vaastu shastra, for those of you not in the know, is vaguely reminiscent of feng shui in that it is an ancient science for determining the appropriate layout of towns and buildings — another contested space in the battle between tradition and modernity, “backward” and developed)

3. “After 14 years, dead railway employee’s kin yet to get compensation,” Times of India — ah, bureaucracy, isn’t it grand?

4. “Bird flu may kill badminton grand prix,” Times of India — I know I shouldn’t joke about the bird flu, but really, the first two grafs of this story struck me as absolutely absurd:

The bird flu outbreak may now cost India its first grand prix badminton tournament. In a formal letter sent to the Badminton Association of India this week, the International Badminton Federation (IBF) has threatened to cancel the India Open, thanks to the acute shortage of shuttlecocks in the country.Bird flu outbreaks in China had made India ban import of all premium goose feathers of Chinese origin to manufacture shuttlecocks.

5. “Lalu shifts three over bad food,” Times of India — again, the lead says it all:

Upset with a slew of events during his hectic visit to Karnataka on Monday, railway minister Lalu Prasad transferred two senior officials after giving them a dressing down.  The two officials … were punished because the minister was not satisfied with the food served on a special train from Tumkur to Bangalore.

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reports that travelers on the New York Thruway can pick up free coffee or tea from 11 p.m. Monday (New Year’s Eve!) to 7 a.m. Tuesday (Welcome, 2008!) at any of the thruway’s 27 travel plazas.

While I applaud the effort to keep drivers safe, a steaming cuppa is no panacea for drunk drivers — no, not everyone chooses to imbibe on NYE, and many designate someone to safely steer them home, but it’s an issue. A big issue. If you’re going to drink, take public transport. Eat something, then wait a few hours before you pick up the keys. If you’re still soaking in gin, stay the night at your host’s place. Just, uh, be safe ya’ll.