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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Don't wait around for housing to recover

Don't wait around for housing to recover

Despite some hopeful signs, a handful of forces could sink home prices this year.

Little things that can lower your taxes

Little things that can lower your taxes

You already know to deduct donations, but charitable work can save you more with the IRS.

The world's biggest land-based machine

The world's biggest land-based machine

The Bagger 288 can dig a 100-foot-deep hole that's the size of a football field in a day.

Alarming contents of fake perfumes

Alarming contents of fake perfumes

You may not want to know what's been found in some counterfeit fragrances.

Habits of very bad bosses

10 habits of very bad bosses

Being smart and accomplished doesn't mean you are a leader without flaws.

Foods that help you look younger

Foods that help you look younger

Nourish your skin from the inside with these tasty foods packed with essential nutrients.

Northern lights mystery believed solved

Northern lights mystery believed solved

An image of a parachute-like object near an aurora puzzled observers around the world.

Bachmann may not give tea party speech after all

From the "Like, we really care" Department:

The National Tea Party Convention scheduled for next month may be losing one of its star speakers.

Bachmann may not give tea party speech after all

Teen girl pulled from Haiti rubble

French rescuers pulled a teenage girl from the rubble of a home on the campus of the destroyed College St.

Stunning rescue 15 days after Haiti quake

Against all odds, a French search team pulls a 16-year-old girl alive from the rubble.

Driver Arrested For Blowing His Nose

Michael Mancini is facing a criminal trial because he was caught blowing his nose behind a wheel.

Driver Arrested For Blowing His Nose

Self-described wolf woman severed lost dog's head

Wolfie Blackheart is not an ordinary 18-year-old.
She believes she is a wolf - technically, a werewolf - and so she wears a tail.

Full Story

The men in the white coats will be there shortly - you just hang in there, honey.

And I Quote

It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

~ Mark Twain

Telling it like it is

A wonderful letter, written in 1905 by Mark Twain to a fraudulent medicine salesman.
201001271728 Nov. 20. 1905

J. H. Todd
1212 Webster St.
San Francisco, Cal.

Dear Sir,

Your letter is an insoluble puzzle to me. The handwriting is good and exhibits considerable character, and there are even traces of intelligence in what you say, yet the letter and the accompanying advertisements profess to be the work of the same hand. The person who wrote the advertisements is without doubt the most ignorant person now alive on the planet; also without doubt he is an idiot, an idiot of the 33rd degree, and scion of an ancestral procession of idiots stretching back to the Missing Link. It puzzles me to make out how the same hand could have constructed your letter and your advertisements. Puzzles fret me, puzzles annoy me, puzzles exasperate me; and always, for a moment, they arouse in me an unkind state of mind toward the person who has puzzled me. A few moments from now my resentment will have faded and passed and I shall probably even be praying for you; but while there is yet time I hasten to wish that you may take a dose of your own poison by mistake, and enter swiftly into the damnation which you and all other patent medicine assassins have so remorselessly earned and do so richly deserve.

Adieu, adieu, adieu!

Mark Twain

You got to love Twain. " ... scion of an ancestral procession of idiots stretching back to the Missing Link", indeed - and they are still breeding to this day.

Wrote A Song For Everyone

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Drug could turn soldiers into super-survivors

A compound that stops the body from shutting down after severe blood loss could keep soldiers alive for long enough to make it to a hospital.

Drug could turn soldiers into super-survivors

Barefoot runners may be at less risk of injury than those who wear cushioned running shoes

Formosan macaque Monkeys prefer not to use long 'words', scientists conclude
Barefoot runners may be at less risk of injury than those who wear cushioned running shoes, new research suggests.

Science News

From BBC-Science:
Reconstruction of Sinosauropteryx
Scientists reveal that the bristles of a small, 125 million-year-old dinosaur were in fact ginger-colored feathers.

Just to be clear

Liars and Fools

Liars and Fools

Faux's Swill O'Really spews hate saying the CIA should kidnap Pelosi and Reid and waterboard Pelosi.
This hatemonger should be waterboarding - then he might just shut up.

Faux's Glen Brick lies saying Obama can be considered a socialist, because Marxism and progressivism are "the same thing".
Again, this moron proves he doesn't know what things are or what words mean.

Missouri Attorney General Calls for Execution of Hitleresque Man Linked to Larry Flynt Shooting

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster yesterday called on the Missouri Supreme Court to set execution dates for two convicted murderers.

The first, Joseph Franklin, (pictured) was convicted in 1997 for the shooting death twenty years earlier of a man outside a Richmond Heights synagogue in suburban St. Louis. Franklin also was convicted of shooting two other men in the synagogue parking lot that day.

Franklin also has claimed responsibility for the shooting of Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine after he became enraged over photos of an interracial couple in the magazine.

Franklin has also been convicted for the murder of two African-Americans in Utah, the murder of an interracial couple in Wisconsin, and the bombing of a synagogue in Tennessee.

In related news, the Missouri attorney general also called for an execution date for Allen Nicklasson, who was found guilty in 1996 of first-degree murder for the death of "Good Samaritan" Richard Drummond.

Nicklasson was the trigger-man in the 1994 killing of Drummond, who had offered a ride to Nicklasson, Dennis Skillicorn and Tim DeGraffenreid after their car broke down on Interstate 70. The state executed Dennis Skillicorn last May for his role in the crime.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit had put Missouri's lethal-injection protocol on hold while it reviewed certain facts in Clemons v. Crawford. Their ruling denying rehearing December 22, 2009, cleared the way for several Missouri cases to move forward, including these two.

The Eighth Circuit has confirmed the constitutionality of Missouri's law in this area, and our request reflects that fact," Koster said. "Allen Nicklasson and Joseph Franklin both showed total disregard for the innocent people whose lives they took."

What's The Best Way To Stop Bullying?

Anna North posted this over @ Jezebel:

A teenager's suicide, tragically reminiscent of Megan Meier's, has led to the creation of an anti-bullying task force in her western Massachusetts town. But the question remains: what will really keep kids from hounding each other to death?

The details of Phoebe Prince's death will make you despair a little for the human race. According to Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe, Phoebe arrived in South Hadley, Massachusetts from Ireland at the age of 15, and was singled out for bullying by a group of girls after she apparently had a relationship with an older boy. The girls called her an "Irish slut," mocked her by text and Facebook, and once threw an energy drink at her out of a car window. It was after this incident that Phoebe hanged herself in a closet. The bullying didn't stop with her death — the girls continued to make fun of Phoebe on Facebook after her suicide, and one gloated at a school function "about how she played dumb with the detectives who questioned her." The girls haven't been punished, and one parent asks, "What kind of message does this send to the good kids? How many kids haven't come forward to tell what they know because they see the bullies walking around untouched?"

Massachusetts state legislators are now trying to pass an anti-bullying law to prevent more deaths like Phoebe's. A similar federal law reached a House committee in October, but it has raised some free speech concerns. Meanwhile, the principle of South Hadley High School announced the creation of an anti-bullying task force — but the first meeting was postponed, officially to give the town more time to grieve. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi have created an online PSA addressing cyberbullying (still above), in which a teenage boy responds to cruel YouTube comments about his dolphin-themed poetry. But the ad itself, and the Circle of Respect program the NCPC is also promoting, may inspire more mockery from the kinds of kids who think bullying is funny.

How can authorities stop bullying, when the kids who engage in it are most likely to be the ones who least respect authority? How do you appeal to teenagers' decency, when some of them have so little compassion that they continue mocking a girl after her death? How do you combat behavior perceived as cool with PSAs, rules, and other tactics that every teenager knows are desperately uncool? Parents can help by modeling empathy early on, and school officials can punish the culprits so they don't continue to hurt others with impunity. But teenagers are, to an extent, their own society, and perhaps they need to change it from within. If no one laughed at cruel Facebook comments or lobbed energy drinks, bullies would lose much of their power. It's a lot to ask of kids, for whom social status is often more important than anything else, but as Phoebe Prince's death shows, it's more necessary than ever.

The Untouchable Mean Girls
Student's Suicide Propels Bullying Law
Re: Cry Of The Dolphins
Teen's Suicide Prompts A Look At Bullying

Six members of notorious MS-13 gang found guilty

Convictions come on charges from extortion to murder in crimes across Charlotte.

Six members of the notorious MS-13 gang were convicted Tuesday on a variety of charges involving violence and conspiracy, wrapping up a two-week trial marked by extraordinary security and testimony about gang life and crimes across Charlotte.

The federal jury deliberated for about four hours before finding the men guilty on all 36 charges. Their crimes ranged from murder and extortion to racketeering conspiracy and robbery.

Two of the men were convicted of crimes that carry maximum punishments of life in prison. One was convicted of murder in connection with the April 2008 slaying of Ulisses Alejandro Mayo, who was shot to death while sitting in a car after a children's birthday party.

Late Tuesday, the gang members were brought into the courtroom one by one to face the jury's verdicts. Wearing earphones for Spanish translation, each man listened intently and watched as jurors pronounced their judgments. Then, authorities led the gang members, their legs shackled, from the courtroom. They'll likely be sentenced later this year.

Family members of the murder victim cried as they left the courtroom. One gang member's family hurried from the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

The Salvadoran gang has as many as 12,000 members across the country and has been linked to homicides, drug trafficking and extortion in the Carolinas.

The six men convicted Tuesday were rounded up in a 2008 sweep after 26 alleged MS-13 gang members were indicted in Charlotte. Three of the suspected gang members were accused in the indictment of murdering two people in Charlotte and two in Greensboro. Some of the suspected gang members faced drug and firearms charges.

Eighteen of the defendants pleaded guilty. One is imprisoned in El Salvador. One faces a death penalty trial this spring.

Tuesday's verdicts concluded a trial that began Jan. 12 amid heightened security at the federal courthouse in uptown Charlotte. Spectators had to pass through two metal detectors. The identities of the jurors were kept secret. And a large tent was put up behind the courthouse, preventing outsiders from seeing when the defendants arrived and left.

Prosecutors said the defendants were part of an international crime organization that committed crimes across Charlotte, including robbery, racketeering, extortion and murder. During the trial, they offered an in-depth look inside one of the nation's most violent street gangs.

Prosecutor Sam Nazzaro said violence permeated the gang members' lives - starting with a 13-second "beat-in" initiation ceremony and, at times, ending with a call for the killing of members who tried to leave the gang.

Among the prosecution's witnesses were a MS-13 gang member who had already pleaded guilty and an informant who helped authorities infiltrate the Charlotte gang.

The 21-year-old informant, a former gang member, pointed at each of the six defendants, calling them by their nicknames, and told jurors they were members of MS-13. The informant had secretly videotaped gang meetings and drug buys. He's now in the government's witness protection program.

Also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, MS-13 is an abbreviation deriving from the word "Mara," which means "gang." Salvatrucha combines "Salva" for Salvadoran and "trucha," which is slang for "fear us."

Science Headlines

New Theory of Primate Origins Sparks Controversy Dramatic geological events may have driven the origin of primates.

Altruistic Chimpanzees Adopt Orphans Chimpanzees can be altruistic just like humans, according to a new study that found 18 cases of orphaned chimps being adopted in the wild.

School punishes students over Facebook

School punishes students over Facebook

Middle-schoolers get detention for becoming fans of a Facebook page that slams a teacher.

Woman fulfills dream a day before dying

Woman fulfills dream a day before dying

Harriet Richardson Ames earned her bachelor's degree weeks after her 100th birthday.

A Slice of Philosophy

People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be, not what you nag them to be.

Scientists seek alien life on Earth

Scientists seek alien life on Earth

Forget outer space — extraterrestrial life may be "right under our noses," a top physicist says.

A lot of wind

Despite a crippling recession and tight credit markets, the American wind power industry grew at a blistering pace in 2009, adding 39 percent more capacity. The country is close to the point where 2 percent of its electricity will come from wind turbines.

While that is still a small share, it is up from virtually nothing a few years ago. Continued growth at such a fast pace could help the nation lower its emissions of the gases that cause global warming.

Supreme Court Ruling Complicates S.C.-N.C. Water War

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Jan. 20 in favor of two North Carolina entities seeking to intervene in the case between South Carolina and North Carolina over water rights in the Catawba River Basin, it all but guaranteed that a case already three years in the making won't end anytime soon.

Kayaker at the Landsford Canal on the Catawba River. The river is at the heart of a water-use dispute between South Carolina and North Carolina. Photo by Perry Baker, South Carolina Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

Supreme Court Ruling Complicates S.C.-N.C. Water War

Two Koreas Fire Artillery Along Coast

North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire along their disputed western sea border on Wednesday, an official said, escalating tensions on the divided peninsula.

Full Story

Mudslides Strand Tourists Near Machu Picchu

Helicopters ferried out 475 tourists stranded for two days near Peru's famed Machu Picchu citadel after mudslides blocked a railway and killed a tourist and a tour guide

Chinese rename mountain to cash in on 'Avatar' success

A peak in southern China has been renamed after floating mountains featured in Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar," in the hope of cashing in on the film's success.

Chinese rename mountain

Fired For Cheese

Corporate comeuppance and about time, too!

Bosses at a branch of McDonald's have been rapped for firing a worker who gave a colleague an extra piece of cheese on a burger.


A slice of cheese on a burger got a worker the chop

The employee had served her fellow staff member a cheeseburger instead of a cheaper hamburger, which had been paid for, at the restaurant in the northern Dutch town of Lemmer.

But a court has now ruled that the fast food giant was in the wrong.

"The dismissal was too severe a measure," the district court in Leeuwarden said in a written judgment. "It is just a slice of cheese."

A written warning would have been a more appropriate punishment, the court said.

It ordered McDonald's to pay the worker the salary for the remaining five months of her contract - a total of 4,265 euros (£3,720).

The company was also told to pay court costs.

McDonald's maintained she broke the rules, which prohibit any free gifts to family, friends or colleagues.


Like we're going to cry for McDonald's and their rules!

If you ever are constipated and need to let a load go but can't - eat at McDonald's and your worries are over ... their 'food' gets you the runs.

Battle over sunflower mural

A homeowner is fighting zoning officials who say the giant sunflower painted on her garage is too colorful.

Battle over sunflower mural

Auburn man abandoned in ER

A man from Auburn, Indiana says nursing home caretakers dropped him off at a nearby hospital and never came back.

Satellite TV 'making humans invisible to aliens on other planets'

The digital age is effectively gagging the Earth by cutting the transmission of TV and radio signals into space.

Full Story

Dead Man's Heart Still Beating at Funeral Home

The grieving relatives of construction worker, Zhang Houming, aged forty-six, got the surprise of their lives when they discovered that the heart of their loved one was still beating when he was sent to the funeral home!

Full Story

Block that meme!

Oh, how they are squirming ...

Just try to stop this one before it gets started:

The wingnuts are trying to establish that James O'Keefe wasn't really trying to "wiretap" Senator Landrieu's phones, or @ least, there's no evidence thereof.

A federal law enforcement official said one of the suspects was picked up in a car a couple of blocks away with a listening device that could pick up transmissions. the official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was not part of the FBI affidavit.
Anyway, the young men aren't charged with wiretapping, they are, as of now, charged with "entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine."

Good luck, with spinning this one boys!

Just another episode in the never-ending criminal escapades of the wingnuts, folks

Oregon says yes to taxing wealthy, businesses

One for the good guys ...

Oregon has set aside its history of shooting down tax increases on statewide ballots, with voters endorsing higher taxes on businesses and the rich amid a brutal economic slump.

Oregon voters have approved two measures raising taxes on businesses and the wealthy, averting budget cuts legislators said would have meant larger classes in the schools and less help for the poor and the elderly.

Voters in Tuesday's special election approved measure 66, which raises rates on people earning well above six figures, and measure 67, which increases business taxes.

Full Story

The very hungry caterpillar usurps a queen

What sounds like a touching story of interspecies love turns out to be a genocidal tale of gluttonous excess.


ABBAWORLD Will Open Tuesday In London

ABBAWORLD Will Open Tuesday In London

Fans can sing along with holographic images of the group, see costumes and even the cabin where some of their hits were composed.

ABBAWORLD Will Open Tuesday In London

And I Quote

One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous.
So I am told; I have not noticed it.

~ Bertrand Russell

Emotional signals cross cultures

From BBC-Science:
couple shouting
People are able to recognize negative sounds such as expressions of disgust across cultures, say scientists.

Today is ...

Today is Wednesday, January 27, the 27th day of 2010.

There are 338 days left in the year.

Today In History January 27

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:

Thomas Crapper Day

Our Readers

Some of our readers today have been in:

Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei and Muara, Brunei Darussalam
Ivera, Piemonte, Italy
London, England, United Kingdom
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
Leipzig, Sachsen, Germany
Luton, England, United Kingdom
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada
Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Gelnhusen, Hessen, Germany

Daily Horoscope

Today's horoscope says:

You're not quite sure what's going on between you and a dear one, but it has been difficult, and you're not happy about it.
This doesn't mean it's over, just entering one of those 'challenging phases' that either makes or breaks a relationship.
Decide which path you'd like to follow, have a sit-down and discuss.
You can probably work this out if you want to.