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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.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Repugicans are to blame

Paul Ericson is correct in his statement, "Over the past 15 years, compromise has become a dirty word" .
And, he correctly attributes the blame for this to repugicans.

Who's Blaming Whom?

SC lawmakers move toward impeachment for governor

A cool-headed legal debate has replaced the once-passionate calls to oust Gov. Mark Sanford that began after his tearful summertime admission that he disappeared from the state to pursue an extramarital affair in Argentina.

Full Story

Pennsylvania prosecutor wants 'no-tip' charges dropped

An eastern Pennsylvania prosecutor wants charges dropped against a couple who refused to pay a tip at a restaurant where they said they got poor service.

Pennsylvania prosecutor wants 'no-tip' charges dropped


We in the United States have all heard the haunting song, 'Taps.'
It's the song that gives us the lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes.

But, do you know the story behind the song?

If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.

It all began in 1862 during the War of Northern Aggression, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison 's Landing in Virginia .
The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.

During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field.
Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention.
Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.
When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate
soldier, but the soldier was dead.
The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock.
In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier.
It was his own son.
The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out.
Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status.
His request was only partially granted.
The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.
The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.
But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician.
The Captain chose a bugler.
He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the
pocket of the dead youth's uniform.
This wish was granted.

The haunting melody, we now know as 'Taps' used at military funerals was born.

The Muppets sing Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"

The original:


While Californians worry about the three-year drought dragging on, researchers say climate change soon could create much longer dry spells--lasting decades or even centuries.

Scientists have announced the first proof after studying caves along the Sierra

California scientists announce proof of mega-droughts

Teabaggers laugh at woman who lost daughter, grandchild

You can laugh at me, that's okay, she said, crying.
But I lost two people, and I know you think that's funny, that's okay.

~ Midge Hough,

On being heckled by heartless birther handjobs when she told a town hall meeting about her pregnant daughter's death from a lack of insurance.

Teabaggers are Douchebags

Top Ten Signs Oprah Doesn't Care Anymore

Late Night with David Letterman

“The World’s Most Notorious Illegal Spammer” Goes to Jail

The Justice Department’s prosecution of Alan Ralsky, (pictured ... left) the self-proclaimed “Godfather of Spam,” was brought to a successful conclusion yesterday when U.S. District Judge Marianne O. Battani sentenced Ralsky to 51 months in prison for conspiring to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and to violate the CAN-SPAM Act.

Judge Battani also sentenced three of Ralsky’s co-conspirators to prison terms ranging from 32 months to 51 months in federal court in Detroit:

Four individuals were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Marianne O. Battani in federal court in Detroit for their roles in a wide-ranging international stock fraud scheme involving the illegal use of bulk commercial e-mails, or "spamming."

Alan M. Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield, Mich., and Scott Bradley, 48, also of West Bloomfield, were sentenced to 51 months and 40 months in prison, respectively, for conspiring to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and to violate the CAN-SPAM Act, and also for committing wire fraud, engaging in money laundering and violating the CAN-SPAM Act. Ralsky and Bradley were also each sentenced to 5 years of supervised release following their respective prison terms, and were each ordered to forfeit $250,000 that the United States seized in December 2007.

How Wai John Hui, 51, a resident of Hong Kong and Canada, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for conspiring to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and to violate the CAN-SPAM Act, and also for committing wire fraud and engaging in money laundering. Hui was sentenced to 3 years of supervised release following his prison term, and agreed to forfeit $500,000 to the United States.

John S. Bown, 45, of Fresno, Calif., was sentenced to 32 months in prison for conspiring to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and to violate the CAN-SPAM Act, for conspiring to commit computer fraud by creating a botnet, and also for violating the CAN-SPAM Act. A botnet is a network of computers that have been infected by malicious software. Bown was sentenced to 3 years of supervised release following his prison term, and agreed to forfeit $120,000 to the United States.

"Today’s sentencing sends a powerful message to spammers whose goal is to manipulate financial transactions and the stock market through illegal e-mail advertisements," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. "People who use fraudulent e-mails to drive up stock prices and reap illicit profits will be prosecuted, and they will face significant prison time."

"With today’s sentence of the self-proclaimed ‘Godfather of Spam,’ Alan Ralsky, and three others who played central roles in a complicated stock spam pump and dump scheme, the Court has made it clear that advancing fraud through abuse of the Internet will lead to several years in prison," said U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg for the Eastern District of Michigan. "I commend the FBI, the Postal Inspection Service, and the IRS Criminal Investigative Division for their determined and careful investigation in this case which lead to today’s result."

"Through this conspiracy Ralsky and the others were able to manipulate the stock market and maximize their profit. They flooded our e-mail boxes with unwanted spam e-mail and attempted to use a botnet to hijack our computers assist them in the scheme. Cyber crime investigations are a top priority of the FBI and we will continue to aggressively investigate those individuals who use and hide behind computers to commit various crimes," said Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge, FBI.

"In today’s competitive international business world, there will always be a select few who illegally manipulate the system for their own profit," said Maurice Aouate, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. "IRS-CI will continue to diligently follow the money and assist in the seizure and forfeiture of any ill-gotten gains from their illegal business practices."

"Today marks a victory for all who entrust their money to others within the U.S. economy," said Joseph A. Pirone, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge. "Postal Inspectors have protected Americans from those who use the U.S. Mail for fraudulent purposes since the passage of the Mail Fraud Statute in 1872. The sentencing of Ralsky and Bradley demonstrates the Postal Inspection Service's continuing commitment to protect the public."

According to court documents, from January 2004 through September 2005, Ralsky, Bradley, Judy Devenow, Bown, William Neil, James Bragg, James Fite, Hui, Francis Tribble and others allegedly engaged in a related set of conspiracies designed to use spam e-mails to manipulate thinly traded stocks and profit by trading in those stocks once their share prices increased after recipients of the spam e-mails traded in the stocks being promoted.

Ralsky served as the chief executive officer and primary deal maker for the spam e-mail operation. Bradley, Ralsky’s son-in-law, served as the chief financial officer and director of operations for the spam e-mail operation. Bown, who was chief executive officer of an Internet services company, GDC Layer One, served as the chief technology officer for the spam e-mail operation. Hui, who was the CEO of China World Trade, served as the lead dealmaker representing the companies whose stocks were being promoted via spam e-mail.

According to court documents, many of the spam e-mails promoted thinly traded "pink sheet" stocks for U.S. companies owned and controlled by individuals in Hong Kong and China. The spam e-mails contained materially false and misleading information or omissions and were created and sent using software programs that made it difficult to trace them back to the conspirators. According to the indictment, the conspirators used wire communications, the U.S. mail and common carriers to perpetrate their frauds. The conspirators also engaged in money laundering involving millions of dollars generated by their manipulative stock trading.

According to the indictment, the defendants used various illegal methods in order to maximize the amount of spam that evaded spam-blocking devices and tricked recipients into opening, and acting on, the advertisements in the spam. These included using falsified "headers" in the e-mail messages, using proxy computers to relay the spam, using falsely registered domain names to send the spam, and also making misrepresentations in the advertising content of some of the underlying e-mail messages.

The defendants were indicted in the Eastern District of Michigan in December 2007. Ralsky, Bradley, Bown, William Neil, Bragg, and Fite pleaded guilty in June 2009 while Hui pleaded guilty in December 2008. Tribble and Devenow pleaded guilty in October 2008. Tribble, Devenow, William Neil, Bragg and Fite are scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow by Judge Battani.

Anki Neil and Peter Severa are also named as defendants in the indictment returned in the Eastern District of Michigan and their cases are still pending. An indictment is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

The charges arose after a three-year investigation, led by the FBI with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and IRS-CI revealed a sophisticated and extensive spamming operation. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Philadelphia Regional Office has provided significant ongoing assistance in this case. The case is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg and Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Beck and Trial Attorneys Thomas Dukes and Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

China executes two for milk scandal

Official news agency says death sentences were carried out on pair who added industrial chemical to infant formula.

Zhang Yujun, second right, seen here before the trial last December, was executed for endangering public safety.

Full Story

Agent showing house finds pile of bones

A real estate agent showing a house got to the basement and found about 100 human bones in a corner.

Agent showing house finds pile of bones

Cop News

A 22-year-old state trooper who said he was fired because he lied about the fate of his $45 hat is fighting his dismissal.

Eastern Carolina Trooper Fired Over Lost Hat

Drug Dealer attacked for cutting drugs with own muscus

From the "They don't call it 'Dope' for nothing" Department:

Two Australian men were sentenced to prison for attacking a drug dealer after learning the man had laced the methamphetamine he was selling with mucus from his nose.

Full Story

Evacuation Route Sign Points to a Dead End

An inside joke is unfolding north of Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Rhea County, Tennessee, but it could have a serious punch line.

Full Story

Afghan troop increase ... the costs

From Gawker:

The White House budget office calculated that adding 40,000 troops would cost $40 billion a year. The Pentagon, amusingly, decided to calculate the cost per-troop, instead of a big yearly lump sum, and also their estimate was precisely half what the White House predicted.

But, whoops, one of those Pentagon memos, where they hide the "truth" about things, leaked to the LA Times.

But in a memo early this month, obtained by The Times' Washington bureau, the Pentagon's own comptroller produced an estimate that broke with the customary Defense formula and did include construction and equipment.

That memo said the yearly cost of a 40,000-troop increase would be $30 billion to $35 billion — at least $750,000 a person. An increase of 20,000 would cost $20 billion to $25 billion annually, it said — a per-soldier cost equal to or greater than the White House estimate.

"Fetish Of The Fresh"? Not.

From Treehugger:

Photo of farmed Norwegian salmon NatalieMaynor via flickr.

Canada's National Newspaper claims that a new study proves that buying local is not as Earth-friendly as it seems. It starts off with a loaded and offensive line, calling the local food philosophy "a guilt-reduction approach adopted by many environmentally confused but well-meaning shoppers"

Then the reporter, Jessica Leeder gets environmentally confused, and I hope guilt-ridden for her bait-and-switch journalism. She gets a quote from one of the authors of the study:

"Fresh is a big problem over long distance. If it's fresh, it's being air-freighted," he said, adding: "And air freight comes at a huge environmental impact."

Except that isn't what the study was about.

A final warning from the Arctic

The effects of climate warming are clearly visible in the Arctic – see for yourself.

A final warning from the Arctic

US Sewers Are Polluting Rivers and Lakes

From Treehugger:

sewer overflow georgia photo
An overflowing sewer in Georgia. Photo via USGS

Troubling news has surfaced about sewage systems in the US: over the last three years, 9,400 sewers--more than 37% of the all sewers across the nation--have illegally dumped untreated human waste, hazardous chemicals, and other dangerous materials into clean rivers and lakes. The results are often disastrous, as some damning video evidence proves.

Couple charged with trying to sell fake Warhols

A 65-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman were charged last week with trying to sell six fake Warhol pieces to a collector. The couple told the collector that the subject of the art was Mathew Baldwin, one of the famous Baldwin brother actors. The pieces were signed and dated in 1996.
After giving the couple a down payment of $25,000, the man took the art to an appraiser in California. The appraiser informed the man the art was fake because there was no Mathew in the famous Baldwin family. He also pointed out that the signatures were forged because Warhol died in 1987, charging documents state.


An American wingnut is someone who believes that

a) The Vatican ought to decide our domestic policy;
b) Israel ought to decide our foreign policy;
c) Communist China ought to decide our economic policy; and
d) Osama bin Ladin ought to decide who gets tried in our courts.

It's clear why they're wingnuts, but it does makes you wonder why they bother to call themselves American.

Ultimate Black Friday shopping guide

Ultimate Black Friday shopping guide

Find the biggest deals at major retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy.

LHC smashes protons together for first time

The particle accelerator is now officially a collider – it will attempt to break the world record for collision energies before the end of the year.

LHC smashes protons together for first time

Health bill's size inspires theatrics

Health bill's size inspires theatrics

Opponents of the latest legislation love to pile it, hoist it, and unroll it like toilet paper. demagoguery

Birthplace of cosmic guitar pinpointed

A pulsar that is forming a massive guitar-shaped wake in interstellar gas has been tracked back to its origin.

Birthplace of cosmic guitar pinpointed

Goodbye jobs, hello mom and dad

Goodbye jobs, hello mom and dad

Many grown daughters and sons will be coming to Thanksgiving dinner from their old bedrooms.

Surprising number

Who's hiring one million new workers

Who's hiring one million new workers

The job market will get a big boost next year when the U.S. Census Bureau hires for its 2010 count.

Unusual Holidays and Celebrations

Today is:

Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day


D.B. Cooper Day

Daily Almanac

Today is Tuesday, Nov. 24, the 328th day of 2009.

There are 37 days left in the year.

Today In History November 24

Our Readers

Some of our readers today have been in:

Curitiba, Parana, Brazil
Siegen, Nordrheain-Westfalen, Germany
Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Santiago, Region Metropolitana, Chile
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden
London, England, United Kingdom
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands

as well as Scotland, and the United States

Daily Horoscope

Today's horoscope says:

Get the show on the road as far as your finances are concerned.
Money matters have been problematic lately, but it's all going to clear up soon.
In fact, an action you take, over the next few days will do wonders to rectify this situation in the long term.
That goes double for yourself, especially if you've been avoiding a certain issue.
You'll know exactly what to say and do, so why hesitate?

Go for broke then.