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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.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Today's astrological buffet is chock full of frustrations -- and if you're trying to convince a family member to do something they've been resisting, it probably won't get much better. Should you give up? Absolutely not. Why would you even ask?
Some of our readers today have been in:
Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
Granada, Andalucia, Spain
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
London, England, United Kingdom
Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, India
Zagreb, Grad Zagreb, Croatia
Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia
Claremont, Tasmania, Australia
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Lublin, Lubelskie, Poland
Zwolle, Overijssel, Netherlands
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Wolverhampton, England, United Kingdom
Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
Caracas, Distrito Federal, Venezuela
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Northampton, England, United Kingdom

as well as Scotland, Brazil, Wales, Hong Kong, and the United States in such cities as Sheffield, Prescott, Indianapolis, Cornell, Chicago, Bear, El Paso, Oakland and more

Today is Thursday, March 25, the 84th day of 2010.
There are 281 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays and celebrations are:
Pecan Day
Letting Go Of Stuff Day

Also, for those adhering to the traditional ways and the laws of Nature today is New Years Day

In Matters Of Health

In Matters Of Health
Poll show health care plan gains favor
More Americans favor than oppose the health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law Tuesday.

Overblown fears about health care reform

Certain claims about the health care overhaul have sparked dramatic rumors.  

Fast-food chains to post calorie counts

Soon you won't be able to eat a Big Mac without knowing that it has more than 500 calories.

Why food companies are cutting salt

Consumers will benefit from lower sodium levels, but food manufacturers have other motives.  

Foods that help — and hurt — your sleep

Many people think warm milk, herbal tea, or a carbohydrate-rich meal will promote sleep.

Small pleasures to enjoy every day

101 small pleasures to enjoy every day

It's easy to forget all of the little things that can brighten your day.

As The World Turns

As The World Turns
From Treehugger:
dmz nature reserve photo  
Photo via Constantin B.
In 1953, the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was established to provide a buffer between the conflicting Northern and Southern nations--and today it is the most heavily militarized border in the world. But amid this icon of armed standoffs, in the narrow strip that divides the Korean Peninsula where no one is allowed, a highly diverse ecosystem has blossomed. And now, in a rare putting-aside of differences between the two countries squared off along the DMZ, the two Koreas will work together for the preservation of the corridor that has so long divided them.
Grape-gobbling baboons prefer pinot noir, chardonnay
Largely undeterred by electric fences, hundreds of wild baboons in South Africa's prized wine country are finding the vineyards of ripe, succulent grapes to be an "absolute bonanza," said Justin O'Riain of the University of Cape Town.

Private security guards shot and killed a Somali pirate during an attack on a merchant ship off the coast of East Africa in what is believed to be the first such killing by armed contractors, the EU Naval Force spokesman said Wednesday.

China begins blocking Google's uncensored HK content
As expected, China has fired back at Google in the company's attempt to redirect users from Google.cn to its uncensored Hong Kong site. Not only has the country replied with a fiery retort, it's begun blocking some access to Google.com.hk from mainland China. 
Well there goes our China readers again

Island in dispute disappears into the sea

For nearly 30 years, India and Bangladesh have argued over control of a tiny rock isle.  

Google's Corporate Site Hacked, Displays Chinese
Google was hacked on Wednesday morning, in what appears to be an obvious reprisal from their recent move of redirecting mainland Chinese users to uncensored search results from their Hong Kong site.

Anglo-Saxon treasure to remain in region where discovered
It's not that I don't love seeing the big museums with their impressive collections, but this is really a nice ending to a great story. The amateur metal detector was scanning farm land and found the historic treasure in the British Midlands and fortunately, it will stay thanks to donors as well as help from the British Museum. It's great to see such a treasure in smaller museums in smaller cities. This is a great opportunity for the host cities to generate more visitors.
A grant of £1,285,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) will keep the glittering treasures of the Staffordshire hoard, the most spectacular heap of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found, in the region where an amateur metal detector found it last summer after it spent 1,300 years buried in a nondescript field.

The grant goes to Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent museums, which will share the treasure, having raised the £3.3m necessary to pay Terry Herbert, who found the gold, and farmer Fred Johnson, the owner of the field where it was discovered.

Unusually for the fund, when the trustees met today there was no argument about the extraordinary quality of the hoard, or the merits of making the grant. Dame Jenny Abramsky, chair of the NHMF, said: "The Staffordshire hoard is an extraordinary heritage treasure. It is exactly the sort of thing the National Heritage Memorial Fund was set up to save, stepping in as the 'fund of last resort' when our national heritage is at risk, as a fitting memorial to those who have given their lives in the service of our nation. We're delighted, in our 30th anniversary year, to be able to make sure it stays just where it belongs, providing rare insights into one of the more mysterious periods of our history."

The State Of The Nation

The State Of The Nation

Health care backlash getting personal

Some lawmakers are requesting extra security after threats and vandalism.  
Nocturnal Knitters Tag Up New Jersey Town
Rogue Band of "Salty Knitters" Gain Mystery and Buzz by Covering Tree Branches and Light Poles with Little Sweaters West Cape May, NJ has been tagged up, by knitters.
Texas man convicted of killing 3 seeks reprieve from Wednesday execution for DNA to be tested

Texas death row inmate Hank Skinner doesn't deny he was in the house where his girlfriend was fatally bludgeoned and her two adult sons stabbed to death in 1993, but he insists that DNA testing could exonerate him.
This is in Texas folks so don't hold your breath.

Pot legalization headed for November ballot in California
The California Secretary of State is expected today to certify a measure that would ask voters this November whether marijuana should be legalized and regulated for adult recreational use.

The ballot measure would mark the second time in nearly 40 years that people in the Golden State would decide the issue of legalization, though the legal framework and cultural attitudes surrounding marijuana have changed significantly the past four decades.

If Californians were to pass the measure, it would be the first in the nation to do so as similar efforts in other states all have failed. California would also have the most comprehensive laws on legal marijuana in the entire world, marijuana reform advocates say. Opponents are confident they will easily defeat the measure.

Backers needed to collect at least 433,971 valid signatures of registered voters. They submitted nearly 700,000 signatures.

The initiative calls for allowing Californians 21 and older to grow and possess up to an ounce of marijuana under state law. Local jurisdictions could tax and regulate it, or decide not to participate. Marijuana would continue to be banned outright by federal law.

"There is no state that currently allows adults to grow marijuana for personal (recreational) use, but what is totally different and will be a game-changer internationally is this would allow authorized sales to adults as determined by a local authority," said Stephen Gutwillig, California State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance Network, an organization advocating for changes in drug laws.

The major backers of the initiative - the founder of an Oakland-based marijuana trade school, a retired Orange County judge and various drug law reform organizations - are planning to oversee a $10 million campaign to push the measure.

Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the organization plans to focus its efforts to pass the proposition and said the California effort is notable because it likely will be funded by the marijuana industry.

"This is being launched at a time not only of mass nationwide zeitgeist around marijuana, but acutely in California," he said. "Almost all other (marijuana) initiatives were poorly funded and what funding there has been ... was purely philanthropic."

But opponents, which likely will include a large coalition of public safety associations, said that once voters understand the implications of the measure it will be handily defeated.

"The overarching issue is given all the social problems caused by alcohol abuse, all the social and public safety problems caused by pharmaceutical abuse and the fact that tobacco kills - given all those realities, what on Earth is the social good that's going to be served by adding another mind-altering substance to the array," said John Lovell, a lobbyist for a number of statewide police and public safety associations.

Additionally, he said, employers and other entities that receive federal money may not be able to meet federal standards for drug-free workplaces if the measure passes, putting billions of federal dollars in jeopardy.

"It's terrible drafting ... that will cause the state of California significant fiscal problems," he said, adding that when these issues are presented to voters the measure will "sink like a rock in the North Atlantic."

Attitudes of voters in California have increasingly moved in favor of full legalization of marijuana. Californians passed Prop. 215 in 1996 to legalize marijuana for medical use. A bill in the Legislature would also legalize adult recreational use and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said it is an idea that should be debated, though he personally opposes it.

A Field Poll taken last April found 56 percent of voters backed the idea of legalization and taxation of marijuana. The measure will add to an already crowded November ballot, with an expensive gubernatorial race looming along with other statewide offices.

Prominent candidates running for higher office, including Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown who is seeking the governorship and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, a Democrat who is running for attorney general, have said they oppose the initiative. Don Perata, former Senate President Pro Tem and candidate for Oakland mayor, supports the initiative.

The major Republican candidates oppose the measure.

Richard Lee, the founder of Oaksterdam University, has spearheaded the effort and said he is not concerned about prominent political opposition to the plan, noting the similar lack of support for Prop. 215.

"I think the voters lead the politicians on this issue and they realize that," Lee said.
Washington to legalize pot in November
(or at least vote on it)
Five activists have filed a ballot initiative that would legalize all adult marijuana possession in Washington state.
Its sponsors include two Seattle lawyers as well as the director of Seattle's annual Hempfest. The group calls itself Sensible Washington, and says it's time that the state's government stop wasting money on police, court and jail costs for people who use or produce marijuana.
Douglas Hiatt, a lawyer who represents medical marijuana patients, told The Associated Press after filing the initiative Monday that the proposal would remove all state penalties for adult possession of pot. Criminal penalties for juvenile possession and for providing the drug to juveniles would remain in place. Marijuana would also remain illegal under federal law.
Hiatt says volunteers are lining up to collect the more than 241,000 valid signatures required to place the initiative on the November ballot.

TSA may install devices at airports to detect and track personal gadgets
The Transportation Security Administration is said to be considering installing bluetooth sensors at US airports to sniff out personal electronic equipment and track its movement—and by extension, the movement of the human carrying it. USA Today reports that "the aim is to track how long people are stuck in security lines," and that wait time data could then be posted on websites and inside airports.
tsa.jpgThe TSA is in the early phases of exploring the technology, which Purdue University researchers tested for a month last year at Indianapolis International Airport. Thumbnail-size receivers near checkpoints detected serial numbers emitted by some electronic devices being carried by passengers. The receivers recorded the time when a passenger entered a security line and the time when the same passenger cleared the checkpoint, Purdue transportation engineer Darcy Bullock said. Only part of each serial number was recorded, and the numbers were quickly deleted, he said. Some electronic devices automatically broadcast, or "chirp," their serial number every 15-20 seconds when they are turned on. People can set their devices so they don't broadcast. Bullock found he could detect signals from 6% to 10% of Indianapolis passengers. "We sit there and listen, capturing the unique identifier," Bullock said.
Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said Bullock's current system minimizes privacy risk by recording partial serial numbers. But he worries that could change.
The TSA says a few European airports are already using systems like this, and that London's Heathrow Airport plans to start soon. Absolutely nothing about this could possibly go wrong!

Two plead guilty to stealing baby formula

The ringleaders of a group accused of stealing more than $20,000 worth of baby formula from stores and then selling it at a discount have pleaded guilty.

Local Hospitality

Local Hospitality
Mayor Foxx wants to speed up investigation of harassment allegation
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx wants to speed up the hiring of an outside investigator to probe allegations that a council member sexually harassed a city employee.

CMS board votes to start layoffs of 600 teachers
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board Tuesday voted 6-3 to launch layoffs of approximately 600 teachers and cut pay for all 224 assistant principals in 2010-11.

Team's black recruits caught in controversy

Young football players are being asked to reconsider their commitments to the University of South Carolina.
El Tri sends Mexico's fans into frenzied 'futbol' fiesta
For one strange and wonderful Wednesday night in Charlotte, we had Cinco de Mayo, the World Cup and a Grateful Dead concert bundled into one.

Scientific Minds Want To Know

Scientific Minds Want To Know

'Woman X' may be new human ancestor

A bone discovered in a Siberian cave gives clues to a never-before-seen pre-human.
The unusual social structure of sweat bees is providing some of the best evidence yet that living in a society can boost brain size
So much for abstract thought – even high-concept thinking may be rooted in the way we experience life physically.
An icy inferno, a lively snowball, another Earth and two flying saucers – there's more to the sun's family than gas giants and potato-shaped rocks.

Prime chance to gaze at Mars

The Thursday night sky offers one of your last opportunities for a good look at the planet until 2012.

Iceland Volcano Continues Erupting

Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe 
HCR opponents vowed to send snipers to kill the children of congress members who voted yes
This is your country on repugicans. 
Any questions?

This should end well ...
Law enforcement authorities are investigating the discovery of a cut propane gas line at the Virginia home of Rep. Thomas Perriello’s (D-Va.) brother, whose address was targeted by tea party agitators angry at the congressman’s vote for the health care bill.

The "Tea Party" has now graduated from rambling incoherent video screeds on youtube to domestic terrorism. So, where are the repugican statements cutting these folks loose from the "big tent"?

Rep. Tom Perriello released the following statement in response to an ongoing FBI investigation into a severed gas line at the home of the congressman’s brother.

“My number one priority right now is ensuring the safety of my brother’s family, and I am grateful to law enforcement for their excellent work. While it is too early to say anything definitive regarding political motivations behind this act, it’s never too early for political leaders to condemn threats of violence, particularly as threats to other Members of Congress and their children escalate. And so I ask every member of House and Senate leadership to state unequivocally tonight that it is never OK to harm or threaten elected officials and their families with anything more than political retribution. Here in America, we settle our political differences at the ballot box.”

"Repugicans originally thought that Faux worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Faux"
Hey, we normal people knew this all along!

It's lonely at the bottom

From: swampland, a picture is worth a thousand words:

photo: ap
House repugican conference chairwimp Mike Pence and congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers holding a Capitol Hill news conference today on health care legislation.
(Thanks to Skippy for bringing this to our attention.)
Jim Yeager posted this wonderful piece over at Skippy:

How the other america has been living ...

Russell King of TPM wrote an open letter to conservatives:
Dear conservative Americans,

The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly republican home, so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now. You've lost me and you've lost most of America. Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I'd like to give you some advice and an invitation.

First, the invitation: come back to us.

Now the advice. You're going to have to come up with a platform that isn't built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from your own; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an islamic nation, into social/communism/fascism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more. But you have work to do even before you take on that task ...
Here's the rest of it. but first, make yourselves comfortable -- it's long, it's spot-on, and it contains more links than a sausage smokehouse. The next time someone on the right tries to diminish and discredit the entire Democratic Party (and, by extension, self-described liberal-leaning independents such as me) over the left's own hypocrisy and failures to maintain civility and consistency, just direct their attention to this Russell King piece. Because, as King concluded ...
(Anticipating your initial response: No there is nothing that even comes close to this level of wingnuttery on the American left.)
One for the good guys!
Hundreds of screaming students succeeded in what few thought possible Tuesday night - they silenced incendiary wingnut Ann Coulter.

Wingnut Ann Coulter silenced by angry protesters at University of Ottawa
Wingnut heart throb Ann Coulter canceled in Canada. Told Muslim student to 'take a camel' as alternative to flying.
[T]he contents of Monday’s talk — which included Coulter telling a Muslim student she “take a camel” as an alternative to flying — grabbed headlines on both sides of the border Tuesday.

Coulter made the camel quip when pressed on a question asked by UWO student Fatima Al-Dhaher, who was referencing a previous quote made to the media that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed on airplanes and should take "flying carpets" instead. Al-Dhaher had noted she didn’t own a flying carpet, and asked what Coulter suggested she do instead.

Buckwheat, the Little Rascal from the 1920s series of film shorts called "Our Gang," is now center stage in a foot-in-mouth moment for a South Florida candidate for the U.S. Congress.
Repugicans are such a class act I tell you

Teabaggers are already over their one-time hero, Scott Brown
The Boston Herald proclaims "Repugicans feeling blue as Scott Brown win backfires." Repugicans may be feeling blue, but the teabaggers are seeing red. They're seething. And, they've turned their anger (and, if there's one thing we know about teabaggers, they're angry) on Scott Brown
Brown’s backers from the insurgent Teabaggers want to know if they’ve been had.

“We start to wonder whether we helped a RINO (Republican in name only) get into office,” said Teabagger agitator Jeffrey McQueen, who traveled from Michigan to campaign for Brown in the final days of the Jan. 19 special election that rocked the nation.
If it wasn’t for the teabeggers, Scott Brown wouldn’t have gotten that seat. They expected to see a true wingnut in there.

In fact, Democrats now say Brown’s election as the so-called “41st vote” to block Obama’s health-care overhaul inspired them to seek procedural means to bypass repugican efforts to derail the bill.
That was one of the quickest falls from grace in politics. 

And from the 'act like adults' repugicans we have ...
Repugicans Refusing To Work Past 2PM, Invoking Obscure Rule
Making good on Sen. McCain's threat to withhold all Republican cooperation from Democrats in the Senate in retribution for the majority party using reconciliation to pass health care reform, the GOP used the rule that states committees can only meet when the chamber is in session with the unanimous consent of all members.Senate Republicans fuming over the passage of health care reform are now refusing to work past 2 p.m. -- a tactic they can employ by invoking a little-known Senate rule.

On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee was forced to cancel a hearing as was the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Liars and Fools
Faux's Glen Brick suggests that the Obama administration is "coming after him" and may kill him.
Sorry, Glen ol'boy but they wouldn't waste they time on a piss-ant like you.

Sarah Palin (retarded-Alaska) says the health care debate is between supporters of socialism and "those who love America".
It would help if the whack-job had a clue about anything, anything at all, much less what is and is not socialism.

Faux's Glen Brick compares health insurance reform to Flight 93 on 9/11, Pearl Harbor, Chamberlain meeting Hitler, and Hindenburg.
That "logic" is so twisted even he can't believe that bullshit.

Lush Dimbulb says health reform was "about fundamentally wrecking and destroying" America "as it was founded".
Oh, just go ahead and go on the Costa Rica and get you 'socialized medicine' there ... and to that fundamentally wrecking and destroying American as it was founded thing you got going - reading from the Texas history text books is not going to get you anywhere

It's The Economy Stupid

It's The Economy Stupid                                                         
Bailed out banks give runaround to homeowners
Wow, this is a total shock. 
You mean to tell me that the banks that were rescued from almost certain failure and then thought it made perfect sense to shower themselves with ridiculous bonuses on the taxpayer's dime aren't really interested in helping solve the problem they created?

China trade blamed for 2.4 million lost US jobs
Unfair Chinese trade and currency practices caused the loss of as many as 2.4 million U.S. jobs between 2001 and 2008, according to a study released on Tuesday.

$40,000 jobs without a four-year degree

These professions require quick feet and fast thinking — but no advanced schooling.

Travel perks that used to be free

Today, it's possible to pony up as much as $120 to fly with two checked bags. 

'Shadow' stalks housing market

Home prices are down 20% from their peak, but there's one reason you might wait to buy.

7 things every renter should know

Choosing the right time to apartment hunt can get you a better selection and lower rent. 

Odds and Sods

Odds and Sods
Kangaroo knocks jogger unconscious in Australia
25-year-old man David Striegl was knocked unconscious by a kangaroo on the Mount Ainslie nature reserve in the Australian capital Canberra on Thursday. He received cuts and bruises and a black eye after being scratched and hit by the kangaroo. Mount Ainslie is located near the centre of the Australian capital, with Australia's parliament houses designed to be viewed from the top of the mountain.
Full story
Would-be bank robbers call ahead
Two people have been arrested after they called a Fairfield bank demanding money, police said.

Police detain man 'hunting werewolves and chuds' with sword
Police have detained a man who was found wielding a sword in a parking lot where he said he was "hunting werewolves and chuds." At approximately 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, police responded to reports of the man aggressively waving a sword around and stabbing objects in the parking lot of Pro Build.
Full story
In Cop News


SoCal Teacher Arrested In Alleged Drunken Teaching
A Southern California school teacher has been arrested for allegedly teaching while drunk.
Full story
6 min ago | The Modesto Bee
A Nigerian-born U.S. citizen spent two days in a Tijuana jail after Mexican authorities mistook the soup spices he was bringing to his nephew in Mexico for an illegal drug.
55 min ago | KXAM-TV Austin
A hitchhiker convicted of killing a Montana man who picked him up during a 1951 blizzard has been found running a wedding chapel in Arizona a ' 38 years after he skipped out on parole.
A Nigerian-born U.S. citizen spent two days in a Tijuana jail after Mexican authorities mistook the soup spices he was bringing to his nephew in Mexico for an illegal drug.
Full story: KOMOradio
8 min ago | WOODTV.com
Police in Middletown, Conn., have charged the parents of a toddler after they found a video of the baby smoking marijuana.
1 hr ago | Inside Bay Area
Police said a teenager who botched a robbery at a Salt Lake City convenience store asked the clerk not to tell his mom.*****

Interesting In General

Interesting In General

Fugitive monkey baffles residents

An elusive primate becomes a local legend with his mysterious appearances.  

Honeybee crisis getting worse

The dramatic die-off of bees this winter leaves scientists perplexed and worried.  
An image from the Wauconda
 Store's Web site.
One Eastern Washington woman is offering you a shot at owning your own town, putting the zip code and accompanying establishments up for sale on eBay.The Spaghetti Saloon in Wauconda comes with the sale of the town.