Welcome to ...

The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Monday, October 12, 2009

FBI using controversial technology

FBI using controversial technology

The FBI is using a high-tech tool to find fugitives, but not everyone agrees with the process.

Health insurance opposition to Baucus bill shows need for public option says Rep. Weiner


If you have the health care industry complaining that we’re going to raise costs because of these changes, it is them putting us on notice that we haven’t put enough cost containment in the bill. You know, the health care industry themselves is putting out a whole report saying that. That should be a tell to the Baucus team that you know what, maybe it’s time for them to go back and revisit the public option.

In a strange way, and look, obviously they didn’t mean this, the health insurance lobby today fired the most important salvo in weeks for the public option, because they have said, as clear as day, left to their own devices, according to their own number crunchers, they’re going to raise rates 111%. And that’s why, you know we have a petittion at CountdownToHealthCare.com where we’re telling people for the moderates in the Senate, the so-called moderates, and for the White House, we need the public option, and the health care industry is making our argument for us.

The 'average American' is dying off

The 'average American' is dying off

The married couple with kids may no longer best symbolize the U.S.

5,000 Pounds of Pot Found on Fake School Bus

Parents, look twice before you board your kids on the big yellow bus -- it could be carrying more than just students.

5,000 Pounds of Pot Found on Fake School Bus

Stimulus aided teachers, laborers

President Barack Obama's stimulus plan spared tens of thousands of teachers from losing their jobs, state officials said Monday amid a nationwide effort to calculate the effect of Washington's $787 billion recovery package.

Full Story

Woman Lands in the Pokey After Facebook Poke

I have no real understanding of what good the Facebook "Poke" is, but it's there.
When you "poke" someone the only result is they are informed of it when they log-on next.
And for a Hendersonville, Tennessee woman, a poke got her thrown into the pokey.

Full Story

Incredible scoop-shot goal

Incredible scoop-shot goal

An American hockey player stuns an unsuspecting goalie from behind during a game.

Why a raspy voice shouldn't be ignored

Why a raspy voice shouldn't be ignored

Hoarseness may seem like a simple annoyance, but it could be the sign of a bigger health problem.

Hot rod tears up land and water

Hot rod tears up land and water

The WaterCar Python combines the features of a Corvette and a luxury speedboat.

Why college just got harder

Why college just got harder

Many students are forced to delay graduation for reasons beyond their control.

And I Quote

If the President has a BLT tomorrow, the Republicans would try to ban bacon.

~ Alan Grayson

Subject - Sea Snot

From National Geographic:Subject - Sea Snot
200910120852The mucus-like blobs are forming with increasing frequency in the Mediterranean. They're loaded with bacteria and viruses and the larger ones are 200 kilometers (125 miles) long.
The video shows a stunning cloud formation over Moscow. It was reportedly shot in Moscow's Western District last week. It makes one want to read the marvelous intro to cloud watching, The Cloudspotter's Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds.

From The Telegraph:
Talking to the Daily Mail, a spokesman from Moscow's weather forecasting service said: "Several fronts have been passing through Moscow recently, there was an intrusion of the Arctic air too, the sun was shining from the west - this is how the effect was produced.

"This is purely an optical effect, although it does look impressive," he added.

"If you look closer, you can see sun rays coming through that cloud. Most likely, the sun was setting when the video was being made.

"If you observe clouds regularly, you may see many other astonishing things. Clouds of the same class may look absolutely different in different areas," he said.

The world's most uncomfortable chair designs

cactus chair.png

WebUrbanist has a fun roundup of chairs and sofas that you probably don't want to sit on. Among them, a cactus couch.

Oh sit!

A Real Groaner

My doctor just told me the primary difference between Bird Flu and Swine Flu.

With Bird Flu you need a tweetment, and with Swine Flu you need an oinkment.

UAE convicts American on terrorism charges

The United Arab Emirates' has convicted an American immigrant on terrorism-related charges on Monday amid claims that torture was used to extract a confession ...

Elvis Presley's Hair To Be Auctioned In Chicago

A Chicago auction house is putting a clump of what it says is Elvis Presley's hair up for auction - along with some of his clothes, sweat-stained scarves and memorabilia.

Elvis Presley's Hair

Well, Elvis' hairball will fetch more than wacko's glove.

Tennessee police say newlyweds arrested for robbing chapel after wedding

Police said two Campbell County newlyweds were arrested on their wedding night for burglarizing the Sevierville chapel where they were married.

Newlyweds rob chapel after wedding

Something, just tells me this marriage isn't going to last ...

Ninja wants to 'beat up' Joe Lieberman

Vernon, Connecticut police said they arrested a man who was dressed as a ninja and waving nun-chucks while yelling about wanting to beat up U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman.

The man, 30, was charged Sunday with breach of peace. Police said he was brought to Rockville General Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and later released.

Authorities said they received several emergency calls about the man, who witnesses say was standing at the corner of Route 83 and Regan Road at about 11 a.m.

Officers said they pulled out bean bag and taser guns, and the man became polite and cooperative.


While it is quite understandable, his wanting to 'beat up' Joe Lieberman (there is a long line for that pleasure, I am sure), his methodology was a bit off.

Missing man found sleeping with pigs

A Chinese man who did not return home from a night out with a friend was found today sleeping with pigs on a farm in the Tianjin municipality.

Full story

What is it with China, today?!

Girl Kills Unhappy Parents And Cuts Them Into Pieces

A young woman in Zhongshan City, China, recently developed her own unique way of dealing with her parents' impending divorce; she killed them and cut the bodies up into pieces!

Police received a call from the landlord who discovered the bodies after a tenant complained about the foul odor emanating from room #803.

Full Story

A bit extreme don't you think!

High school students paid to go to class

High school students paid to go to class

A program in France will reward the students most likely to fail and drop out.

The dangers of social media sites

The dangers of social media sites

The spread of networking and blogging sites increases the chance of identity theft and data loss.

Best defense

Free trip for 'Snow Vigins'

Colorado offers 'snow virgins' a free trip

Hoping to boost tourism, Colorado offers free trips for people who've never seen snow.

Rookie home-buying mistakes to avoid

Rookie home-buying mistakes to avoid

A home buyer runs into all kinds of pitfalls making his first purchase.

Red flags he missed


When it's time to call in sick

When it's time to call in sick

If you wake up with any of these symptoms, you should take a day off to recover.

Seven easy dinners

Seven easy dinners

Making dinner won't be stressful with these quick menus for every day of the week.

Years before jobs return in full force

Years before jobs return in full force

The recession is over, but jobs won't come back until much later, most economists say.

Cop News

An FCC Ruling Will Be Crucial To Shaping The Future Of Free Speech

Network neutrality--that's now the official policy of the Obama administration, announced last month by the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Julius Genachowski.(Pictured)

It's a development that could be more significant to the future of free speech than any milestone since the Supreme Court's decision in New York Times v. Sullivan in 1964.

The essence of net neutrality seems simple: Internet service providers should be required to treat all data equally and avoid blocking or delaying any sites or applications. That's an important principle to establish, because there are, unfortunately, cases where it has been violated--cases where network operators have censored speakers who threatened their economic interests. In 2007, for example, AT&T muted the sound during a webcast of a Pearl Jam concert at the very moment Eddie Vedder, the group's lead singer, started criticizing George W. Bush. Verizon, to cite another example, has blocked pro-choice text messages sent by naral to its members (who had even requested them). When activists objected to the decision, Verizon said it would block messages from all "issues-oriented" groups, then later apologized for the whole mess, blaming the initial decision on a "dusty internal policy." Nevertheless, it kept the policy in place--reserving the right to censor any content "that, in its discretion, may be seen as controversial or unsavory."

Those examples are bad enough, but there's an even more troubling case that shows how deeply the economic decisions of network operators can restrict free speech. Two years ago, Comcast, America's second-largest high-speed Internet provider, blocked BitTorrent, a popular peer-to-peer file-sharing application that could be used to distribute (among many other things) high-definition TV video that would compete with Comcast's video services. The obstruction was discovered by an amateur singer who wanted to share public domain performances of barbershop quartets with his fellow aficionados. After initially denying that it was blocking BitTorrent, Comcast, which was literally denying access to the King James Bible, claimed that it wasn't blocking the file-sharing application, but merely delaying it to conserve bandwidth as part of "reasonable network management."

The Comcast case is a model for the free-speech battles of the future, where Internet and wireless providers may want to favor certain content providers over others in order to maximize profits at the expense of consumer choice. This problem is especially acute in the United States because of our lack of competition among broadband companies in most markets. In many towns, Comcast (or its regional equivalent) is the only plausible supplier of broadband. This raises the fear that Internet service providers will start striking deals with the likes of Facebook, charging a price for access that Facebook can afford, but making it impossible for other companies to compete.

This kind of discrimination threatens one of the most distinctive features of the Internet: the fact that there is no easy way to discriminate among different kinds of content, just as the electrical grid doesn't ask whether your TV set is made by Sony or Panasonic. But, in recent years, that distinctive feature has been threatened. We now live in a world where the technology for watching what people do with their data packets is sophisticated enough to give a company like Comcast the ability to decide which packets can be shuffled into slower or faster traffic lanes, depending on what its business model dictates. And, in addition to having the technical ability to discriminate, Internet providers now have the legal authority to do so. In the 2005 Brand X decision, the Supreme Court ruled that cable broadband providers were not a "telecommunications service" but an "information service," and, therefore, were freer to keep competitors off the network.

You might think that a decision to block the King James Bible would violate the First Amendment, or at least raise important constitutional concerns. But, if Comcast, a private company, is blocking a particular technology, rather than discriminating against particular speakers, there's no state action and no obvious peg for a First Amendment lawsuit. That's why the FCC is crucial to shaping the future of free speech. (Disclosure: I have known Genachowski since we clerked together years ago for a federal judge.) Under the proposed FCC net-neutrality principles, broadband operators like Comcast can't "discriminate against particular Internet content or applications" and will have to be transparent about their network-management practices.

But the most controversial part of Genachowski's proposal is the extension of network-neutrality principles from broadband cable providers, like Comcast, to mobile broadband networks, like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint--a move that places the FCC in the thick of a whole range of thorny questions, involving both economic discrimination and free speech. At the moment, for example, Apple has struck a deal that makes AT&T the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the United States. Under the new FCC rules, deals like this may invite legal challenges or regulatory action.

As Timothy Wu of Columbia Law School puts it, a "battle royal [is] underway over what the norms of the wireless world will be--more open, like computers, or closed, like telephones." The FCC will have to decide whether we're moving to a world where you can attach your mobile phone to any wireless network, the same way you hook up your telephone or computer. Will wireless providers have a duty, if they carry the Internet, to carry the whole thing, or can they pick and choose among companies that pay them more money, in the interest of providing a faster and smoother wireless experience? Apple, for example, has denied blocking Google Voice, the e-mail and phone management tool, but asserts the right to block applications that might threaten traffic management. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he made clear that it wouldn't be open to all applications, to avoid viruses or huge demands for bandwidth that might threaten the user's Internet experience. Google's Android mobile operating system is based on the opposite model--an open platform for development, accessible to all hardware and software applications. "The big question is what steps the FCC is going to take to ensure that the competition between Google and Apple can continue," says Lawrence Lessig of Harvard Law School. "If the Google model of open competition is more compelling, then closed wireless providers like Apple will have to give way just like the closed Internet providers of the past, like CompuServe."

There are, of course, huge financial stakes in this competition. Supporters of Genachowski's proposal include not only Google but other companies that want to ensure that their services, such as Amazon and Skype, are as widely available as possible. Opposing net neutrality are, of course, telecoms like AT&T and Verizon Wireless that want to set their own prices and choose which devices run on their networks. The battle will be played out in the courts--where net-neutrality opponents will argue that the FCC has no authority to regulate wireless devices--and in Congress, which could pass a law denying the FCC regulatory authority. "You might say that won't happen, because Obama would veto such a law, but it's not hard to imagine the other side dropping a provision like this into a law Obama can't veto," says Lessig. "Then it becomes Rahm Emanuel's calculation about how much it's worth to fight." In other words, the FCC's embrace of net neutrality isn't the end of this battle over free speech, but merely the opening shot.

Muslim group wants Canada to "Ban the Burka"

The Muslim Canadian Congress called on the Harper government to ban the wearing of the burka and the niqab in public. According to the group’s communications director, Farzana Hassan, the wearing of a complete face covering is a matter of public safety as criminals often conceal their identities when they are committing crimes.

Full Story

NFL Union Head Slams Lush Dimbulb Bid For Rams

In an e-mail to the union on Saturday, NFL Players executive director DeMaurice Smith was clear in his opposition to a possible attempt by Lush Dimbulb, to purchase the St. Louis Rams.

Full Story

Two Americans win Nobel economics prize

Americans Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson won the Nobel economics prize on Monday for their analysis of economic governance — the rules by which people exercise authority in companies and economic systems.

Full Story

Man-made noise is blamed for driving whales to their deaths

Scientists say man-made noise equipment, including anti-seal sonar devices used in fish farms, is driving deep-water animals such as whales to shore, where they die.

Full Story

Six-year-old sent to reform school for bringing a "weapon" (Cub Scout camping cutlery) to school

From the "This is too ridiculous for words" Department:

Zachary Christie is a six-year old student in Newark, Delaware who is facing 45 days in reform school because he brought his new Cub Scout eating utensil to school for lunch. The utensil includes a knife, and this violates the school's brain-dead, knee jerk reaction and 'enforcement' of the zero-tolerance policy on "weapons on school property."
Critics contend that zero-tolerance policies like those in the Christina district have led to sharp increases in suspensions and expulsions, often putting children on the streets or in other places where their behavior only worsens, and that the policies undermine the ability of school officials to use common sense in handling minor infractions.

"Something has to change," said Dodi Herbert, whose 13-year old son, Kyle, was suspended in May and ordered to attend the Christina district's reform school for 45 days after another student dropped a pocket knife in his lap. School officials declined to comment on the case for reasons of privacy.

Ms. Herbert, who said her son was a straight-A student, has since been home-schooling him instead of sending him to the reform school...

"I just think the other kids may tease me for being in trouble," he said, pausing before adding, "but I think the rules are what is wrong, not me."


6-year-old suspended over 'zero tolerance'

Zachary Christie never thought his Cub Scout utensil would get him in so much trouble.

More on America's Representative

Wing Nuts in the House have decided not to follow through on their threat to introduce some measure to condemn Congressman Alan Grayson (D -Florida) for speaking the truth (and quite bluntly, I might add) about the the repugicans' health care plan ("Don't get sick and if you do get sick die quickly”).

Here is Grayson explaining the need for health care reform, again sounding like someone who gives a damn.

So refreshing to hear, but why is it so rare to hear a politician giving a damn?

Congressman Grayson will win re-election comfortably next year, because most Americans agree with the Democrats on most issues, especially when they hear plain speaking from a real Democrat. Voters like Democrats who are, you know, Democrats — they want more of 'em, and Democrats who want to be re-elected should start acting like Grayson.

Porky Pig's Feet

Porky Pig and Daffy Duck from 1943.

U.S. arrests suspected 1968 Pan Am flight hijacker

U.S. arrests suspected 1968 Pan Am flight hijacker

A man wanted in connection with the hijacking of a Pan Am flight to Cuba nearly 41 years ago was arrested in New York on Sunday, a Justice Department official said.

Man arrested in 1968 hijacking

Decades after hijacking a plane from JFK, Luis Armando Pena Soltren surrenders at the same airport.


Columbus Day controversy

Columbus Day controversy

Why a holiday weekend honoring Christopher Columbus is not embraced.

Top pay at America's best companies

Top pay at America's best companies

High earners at these well-regarded companies make up to $256,000 a year.

Paleo News

The tiniest dinosaur footprints ever found were probably made by a 10-centimeter-tall hatch-ling running from its egg to find a hiding place.

Baby dinosaur made tracks as it fled for its life

Insurers mount attack against health reform

Insurers mount attack against health reform

An insurance group study claims the Senate plan will raise the cost of coverage.

$1,700 more per family(Bullshit)

As if you thought they wouldn't.
They have a money tree that never runs out of 'leaves', so why would they want to see it changed to actually benefit those they claim to be benefiting?!

Unusual Holidays and Celebrations

Today is

International Moment of Frustration Scream Day,
Columbus Day,
Free Thought Day,
National Kick Butt Day,
Native American's Day

Daily Almanac

Today is Monday, Oct. 12, the 285th day of 2009.

There are 80 days left in the year.

Today In History October 12

Our Readers

Some of our readers today have been in:

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
London, England, United Kingdom
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Simeria, Hunedoara, Romania
Belguam, Karnataka, India
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico

as well as Wales, and the United States

Daily Horoscope

Today's horoscope says:

You've been thinking over how to handle this attraction you're feeling for a certain someone, and you've come up with a plan.
You don't take laying your feelings on the line lightly, so when you do manage to mention how you feel to them, you'll absolutely insist that all conditions are right.
That way, things can't help but turn out well.
Now that you have that plan, shouldn't you be on the phone, arranging for the most important element?
The other person?

Oooh, gotta make plans!