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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, January 13, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You're famous for your ability to sense something brewing, especially in a business sense, well before it's begun to brew.
In this case, with the heavens putting out all kinds of perceptive energies, your intuition is definitely running on high -- or higher.
Some of the things you're picking up are downright uncanny, as a matter of fact.
For example, when the phone rings -- I mean, just disconnect the Caller ID!
Why bother paying for it when you know who it is before the darned thing even rings?

Some of our readers today have been in:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Rosenheim, Bayern, Germany
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Vincenza, Veneto, Italy
Kassel, Hessen, Germany
Padova, Veneto, Italy
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Elmshorn, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Troitsk, Moscow City, Russia
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Rosairo, Santa Fe, Argentina
Mersin, Icel, Turkey
Riyadh, Ar Riyad, Saudi Arabia
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France

as well as Malta, Bulgaria, Israel, Finland, Austria, Norway, Georgia, Mexico, Peru, Kuwait, Serbia, Bangladesh, Latvia, Greece, Scotland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Wales, Iran, Singapore, Poland, Taiwan, Sweden, Afghanistan, Belgium, Tibet, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, Paraguay, Sudan, Vietnam, Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Brazil, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, China, Iraq, Ecuador, Nigeria, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Paupa New Guinea, Moldova, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Norway, Finland and in cities across the United States such as Atascadero, Sun City, Phenix City, Weare and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, January 13, the 13th day of 2011.
There are 352 days left in the year.


Today's unusual holiday or celebration is: 
Rubber Duckie Day.


Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Life is what we make it ...

Thank God… I was beginning to wonder why I am starting to act like Ward Cleaver…

via
Then why do some pretend to be assholes?

A Conversation with a Congressman

Airplane-16A Congressman was seated next to a little girl on an airplane so he turned to her and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”
The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, “What would you want to talk about?”
Oh, I don’t know,” said the congressman. “How about global warming, universal health care, or stimulus packages?” as he smiled smugly.

“OK,” she said. “Those could be interesting topics, but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”

The legislator, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, “Hmmm, I have no idea.”

To which the little girl replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss global warming, universal health care, or the economy, when you don’t know shit?”

And then she went back to reading her book.

New State of the Union seating?

A suggestion to break tradition gains momentum after recent calls to end political divisiveness. 
Also: 

Wizard of Id

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Nine-year-old Arizona victim mourned

Christina Green's funeral is the first for the six victims killed in the Arizona shootings.  
Also: 

Giffords 'knows we're here'

      
Dramatic moments in the president's call for unity prompt a strong audience reaction.
Also:

Intern praised as hero
Moving scenes
Suspect's past with police

Comparing speeches of Obama and Palin: 'It's difficult to imagine a starker contrast'

This morning, Mike Signorile tweeted:
Yesterday: Sarah Palin reminded us of who she is and why she & McCain lost. Barack Obama reminded us of who he is & why he won.
Mike is so right. Yesterday, Palin finally responded to the Arizona massacre. She chose to insert herself on the day of the Tucson memorial service, where the President would be speaking. She set herself up for the inevitable comparisons between the speeches from leading repugican, as she deludes herself, and the leading Democrat, Obama.

As the Washington Post noted today:
And after four days of near silence, the timing guaranteed that Palin would be written into the story line of President Obama's visit to comfort grief-stricken Tucson after a massacre there.
Well, she got what she wanted. She's part of the story. But, the results aren't good for her -- not at all, as you can see from the following two articles.

Michael Shear from The New York Times:
Wednesday was bookended by two remarkable — and remarkably different — political performances that demonstrated the vast expanse of America’s political landscape.

The day opened at 5 a.m. with Sarah Palin, whose seven-and-a-half minute video statement captured with precision the bubbling anger and resentment that is an undercurrent of the national conversation about our public discourse.
Sarah Palin issued a forceful denunciation of her critics in a video statement posted to her Facebook page.  
It ended with President Obama, whose plea for civility, love and compassion — for us to all be not just better citizens but better people — exposed for the first time the emotions of a leader who has spent two years staying cool and controlled for a nation beset by difficult times.

The tone of the two speeches could not have been more different. The venues were a world apart — the smallness of a rectangular video on a computer screen and the vastness of an echo-filled basketball arena.
Jonathan Martin from Politico:
In the span of a single news cycle, Republicans got a jarring reminder of two forces that could prevent them from retaking the presidency next year.

At sunrise in the east on Wednesday, Sarah Palin demonstrated that she has little interest—or capacity—in moving beyond her brand of grievance-based politics. And at sundown in the west, Barack Obama reminded even his critics of his ability to rally disparate Americans around a message of reconciliation.

Palin was defiant, making the case in a taped speech she posted online why the nation’s heated political debate should continue unabated even after Saturday’s tragedy in Tucson. And, seeming to follow her own advice, she swung back at her opponents, deeming the inflammatory notion that she was in any way responsible for the shootings a “blood libel.”

Obama, speaking at a memorial service at the University of Arizona, summoned the country to honor the victims, and especially nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, by treating one another with more respect. “I want America to be as good as Christina imaged it,” he said.


It’s difficult to imagine a starker contrast.

Boehner opts for fundraiser over going to memorial service in Tucson

A real classy act who obviously has his priorities:
Speaker John Boehner (reptile-Ohio) turned down an offer by President Barack Obama to travel on Air Force One to Arizona for a memorial service on behalf of the victims of Saturday’s shooting, a decision that has upset some Democrats.

Boehner is instead scheduled to attend a reception on Wednesday night on behalf of Maria Cino, a former top House repugican aide who is seeking the repugican national cabal chairmanship. Boehner is backing Cino’s challenge to current rnc chairwimp Michael Steele.

Boehner’s reception for Cino was first reported on Wednesday morning by POLITICO.

Wingnut smear of Tucson memorial service turns out to be ... wait for it ... a lie

Dishonoring the dead.
But they're not extremists, really they're not.

From Mediaite:
Among attempts by some conservatives to cast last night’s “Together We Thrive” memorial for victims of the massacre in Tucson in a negative light were suggestions that the White House was involved in designing and distributing t-shirts at the event.
University of Arizona spokesperson Jennifer Fitzenberger told me that the shirts were, indeed, provided by the University. “The University wanted to give people something to remember that symbolized community spirit and continued the event’s positive energy into the future,” she said.
Many have also wondered how the shirts were produced so quickly. According to Fitzenberger, “The UA BookStores made the arrangements to produce the shirts. The BookStores knew a vendor that could turn them around fast.”

Tuscon tea party co-founder thinks Giffords deserves blame for not having security

Classy, as ever, from the tea party.

ThinkProgress:
Tuscon tea party co-founder Trent Humphries called Giffords’ previous concerns about violent rhetoric “political gamesmenship,” claiming that if Giffords was so concerned, then she is to blame for Saturday’s shootings because she “had no security whatsoever”:

“It’s political gamesmanship. The real case is that she [Giffords] had no security whatsoever at this event. So if she lived under a constant fear of being targeted, if she lived under this constant fear of this rhetoric and hatred that was seething, why would she attend an event in full view of the public with no security whatsoever?” he said. “For all the stuff they accuse her [Palin] of, that gun poster has not done a tenth of the damage to the political discourse as what we’re hearing right now.”

Another arrest following another threat to US Congressman

Not to worry though because violent threats against politicians happen every day in other industrialized countries.
None come to mind but give Faux News some time and they will surely come up with a long list that proves the US doesn't have a sick obsession with violence and guns.

NY Times:
A California man was arrested on Wednesday morning for threatening to kill Representative Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington State, as the shootings in Tucson sparked impassioned conversation about Congressional security on Capitol Hill.

Charles Habermann, 32, of Palm Springs, Calif., was arrested for phone calls he made in December to Mr. McDermott’s office in which he threatened to kill Mr. McDermott, as well as the congressman’ss friends and family, and to put the congressman “in the trash.”

The news came as law-enforcement officials briefed members of Congress on precautions they ought to take to ensure the security of their families and staff in the wake of the shootings in Tucson. A spokeswoman for the United States Attorney’s Office in Seattle said that prosecutors’ decision to bring charges, and their timing, did not reflect any policy change in response to the incident.

The truth be told

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Odds and Sods

Couple held in central Russian exorcist killing
A married couple from the central Russian city of Voronezh have been charged with murdering their daughter in an attempt to exorcise her of demons, media reports said on Thursday.

TV personality Montel Williams has been hit with a $1 million federal tax lien, according to Internal Revenue Service documents recorded this week in New York City.

Snow Present in 49 of the 50 U.S. States

Right now there is snow present in 49 of the 50 U.S. states:

After big snow and ice events in the Southeast, Plains, and Midwest this week, 49 out of the 50 states currently have snow on the ground – yes, even Hawaii, where snow falls in Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea all winter.
Thanks a lot, Florida. We almost had a perfect record. But you just had to go and be different, didn’t ya?

Tragic hero of Australia floods

A 13-year-old's selfless act saves his brother's life and strikes a nerve around the world. 
Also: 

Deadly Brazil mudslides

Driving rains and flooding leaves hundreds dead in an area north of Rio de Janeiro.  
Also: 

Acid-laden tanker capsizes

A vessel transporting 2,400 tons of sulfuric acid overturns in Germany.
Also: 

Corruption

At the height of a political corruption trial, the prosecuting attorney attacked a witness. "Isn't it true," he bellowed, "that you accepted five thousand dollars to compromise this case?"

The witness stared out the window, as though he hadn't hear the question.

"Isn't it true that you accepted five thousand dollars to compromise this case?" the lawyer repeated. The witness still did not respond.

Finally, the judge leaned over and said, "Sir, please answer the question."

"Oh," the startled witness said, "I thought he was talking to you."

Brett Favre's Sister Arrested in Mississippi Meth Bust

Brett Favre's younger sister was arrested in Mississippi when narcotics agents busted a meth lab hidden in a condo.

Brandi Favre was among 5 suspects rounded up on the scene ... and according to WLOX, the perps were taken to a local medical center for decontamination before being thrown behind bars.

It's not the first time Brandi's had a run-in with the law -- in the past, she's been arrested for shoplifting and unlawful use of a weapon.

More:

The younger sister of Brett Favre was arrested on Sunday after police in Mississippi discovered a meth lab in the town of Diamondhead.

WLOX-TV reported that Brandi Favre was among five people police arrested after finding the meth lab. Police told the station they observed persons participating in a drug buy who then led them back to the location of the meth lab.

Major Matt Karl, the director of narcotics in Hancock County, Miss., told the Biloxi Sun Herald authorities found Brandi Favre in the unit when they entered.

"She was here, at the wrong place at the wrong time," Karl told the paper.

Police did not yet say what the five individuals would be charged with.

Bad Cops

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Florida cop gets "re-training" after threatening a car full of people with gun, and charging the driver with attempted murder

29-year veteran Ohio cop gets 5-day suspension for refusing to respond to rape report

Georgia police officer is accused of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old

Veteran California cop is arrested for threatening man with a gun

Texas cop arrested for firing gun into the air

SWAT cops kill innocent man in Massachusetts

Video shows another ghastly raid carried out by police in Missouri

Almost Free

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Is Calling Someone on the Net an "asswipe nasty lying hosebag thief" an Expression of Opinion?

The Court will decide

An upcoming trial involving a complaint against rocker Courtney Love may determine whether calling someone an "asswipe nasty lying hosebag thief" in an Internet message is just an expression of opinion.


Plaintiff Dawn Simorangkir, a fashion designer who sued Love last year, thinks not. Her complaint called Love's postings on both Twitter and MySpace "vile and vicious" and an extreme response to requests that she be paid for her work. Love's lawyers, however, are contending the singer's statements are a combination of protected opinion and truth.

According to the suit, Love claimed Simorangkir is a cocaine dealer who stole Love's money and clothes. Last March, "Love went on an extensive rant on Twitter whereby Love made a number of false and defamatory statements about Simorangkir.... Love claimed that Simorangkir is a felon, stole cash and goods from Love, has a history of dealing cocaine, lost custody of her children, has a history of assault and burglary, and has a record of prostitution."

Simorangkir also alleged that Love threatened her with the tweet, "[D]on't fuck with my [wardrobe] or you [will end] up in a circle of [scorched earth] hunted ['til you're] dead."

Simorangkir's lawyer Bryan Freedman with Freedman & Taitelman in his trial brief states, "Courtney Love made her intentions clear - Love was going to ruin Simorangkir for doing little more than asking Love to pay her bill. As a result, Simorangkir must now explain to her teenage son and whatever customers she may have left that Love fabricated the horrendous statements Love published about Simorangkir on Twitter, MySpace and Etsy for the world to see."

However, Love's lawyer Michael Niborski with Pryor Cashman claims otherwise.

"Ms. Love is perfectly within her right to [express] herself in a public forum - no matter how vigorous, enthusiastic, or even ugly those expressions of opinion....Plaintiff has sued Ms. Love for uttering statements that fall within these protected classes of speech," his trial brief said

Moreover, calling someone a "bitch," "thief" or a "liar" is constitutionally protected as long as the statement is true.

"The literal truth of every word of a published statement does not need to be established, so long as the substance or 'sting' of the defamatory charge is true," Niborski wrote.

The trial is scheduled to start February 6 in Los Angeles Superior Court before Judge Debre Weintraub.

Facebook Fights $100 Million Friend Finder Lawsuit

Facebook has moved to dismiss a class action suit that charges the company is advertising its Friend Finder service with users' likenesses without their consent.

The original complaint was filed on Nov. 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It says Facebook, when it used members' photos in the advertisement for its "Friend Finder" service, gave the impression - at least implicitly - that the people who appear in the ad were endorsing the feature.

The suit claims Facebook is thus liable for damages, amounting to $750 for each time the advertisement appears and damages of not less than $100 million.

In the motion to dismiss, Facebook's lawyers say Facebook users are bound by the terms of service of the site, which says that Facebook can use profile information in just that way. The motion also says the plaintiffs don't show that there was any real injury, monetary or otherwise.

This isn't the first lawsuit surrounding use of profile information or privacy Facebook has faced.

In 2009, a suit was filed in California's Orange County Superior Court on behalf of two children under the age of 13, which accused the company of sharing their private information for commercial purposes. Meanwhile, the Canadian privacy commissioner has been investigating the company over its retention of data - even after users have deleted their accounts.

In July, another suit was filed in Canada, arguing that the changes Facebook made in its privacy settings decreased the control users have over their information and put them at risk for identity theft. The changes, the suit says, were made without the users' consent.

Twitterverse explodes over new zodiac sign dates

Your zodiac sign may no longer be your Zodiac sign, as with Earth's wobble its position in relation to the Sun has changed. Additionally, there is a new Zodiac sign, Ophiuchus, which the Babylonians, who developed the signs of the Zodiac, skipped, because they wanted there to be only 12 signs.
***
Has your sign changed?
That isn't so easy to answer, thanks to the way the Earth has moved over time.  
Also:

    What skin says about health

    Your skin can give you an early warning for serious conditions like diabetes and cancer.
    Also: 

    Change careers to get happier

    You can make more money and avoid boring work in these seven fields.  
    Also: 

    Six sources of free tax help

    Get the same services as in those TV commercials that promise to cut your past tax debt — at no cost. 
    Also:

    Shoe

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    John Lennon's car for sale

     Money 2011 01 12 Autos John Lennon Ferrari John Lennon Ferrari.Top-1
    Baby you can drive his car. John Lennon's first car, a 1965 Ferrari, is up for auction. The estimated value is $155,000 to $220,000. One of the last cars he owned, an inconspicuous green 1972 Chrysler station wagon, recently sold for $5,500. From CNN:
    Lennon got his first driver's license in 1965, by which time he and his band, the Beatles, were world famous. In passing his driving test, Lennon made national headlines. Within hours, high-end luxury car dealers were jamming the streets outside Lennon's Weybridge, England, with cars including Jaguars, Maseratis and Aston Martins, according to Bonhams. Lennon chose the Ferrari. He owned the Ferrari for only a few months before selling it. By that time, he had already purchased a Rolls-Royce limousine which he had painted in a psychedelic color scheme. He also owned a Mini Cooper at the time.

    Great cities for shoppers

    Bargaining in a colorful Marrakech bazaar is truly the experience of a lifetime. 
    Also: 

    Foreclosures top 1 million

    Bank repossessions hit a record last year, but analysts say the worst is yet to come.  
    Also: 

    Three-year-old gets credit card offer

    How the toddler ended up on Amex's direct-mail list could be a lesson for parents.  
    Also: 

    Secrets of a credit card thief

    Dan DeFelippi reveals which cards identity thieves like to target most.  
    Also: 

    How to never run out of money

    There's a logical reason why you should save for your retirement over your child's college fund. 
    Also: 

    Money mistakes of the rich

    You might be surprised that even the rich and famous make boneheaded financial mistakes.
    Also: 

    Ziggy

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    China erects surprising statue

    The mammoth statue of an ancient icon is an unlikely companion for Chairman Mao.  
    Also: 

      You Could Run a Complete Marathon on the World's Longest Bridge

      The now-completed Qingdao Haiwan Bridge over Jiaozhou Bay in China is 26.4 miles long. It’s three miles longer than the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana, the previous holder of the world record for the longest bridge over water:
      No longer dependent on western expertise for such sophisticated projects, the six-lane road bridge is supported by more than 5,200 columns and was designed by the Shandong Gausu Group. When it opens to traffic later this year, the bridge is expected to carry over 30,000 cars a day and will cut the commute between the city of Qingdao and the sprawling suburb of Huangdao by between 20 and 30 minutes.
      The bridge is built to withstand an 8.0 Richter scale earthquake and take punishment from the occasional typhoon.

      Why Is the Eiffel Tower Still Standing?

      The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, was a temporary structure. It was supposed to last only 20 years before being demolished. But Paris kept it, long, long past its design life. Why has it been so durable? Scientists are creating a detailed computer model of all of its components to try to answer that question:
      But creating the model for the Eiffel Tower presented a technical challenge of a completely new kind.
      One thing was that the realisation that its materials — puddle iron (iron that is super-heated, beaten by hand and then folded over) and rivets — perform quite differently from modern-day steel, concrete and bolts.
      “We had to start from scratch,” said Roussin.
      Materials scientists carried out mechanical and chemical tests on samples of puddle iron to assess its resilience, and stress engineers revisited Eiffel’s own drawings to calculate how the tower would perform under load from the natural elements.
      Outwardly simple, the geometry of the tower itself posed some mighty number-crunching problems.
      The programme had to take into account a range of weather conditions on a latticework of 18,000 metal pieces and the tower’s additions, calculating the load vertically, horizontally and in 3D: in all, the model has an astonishing million variables.
      They’ve already learned that the tower has shrunk five and a half inches due to settling.

      Twelve Technologies On The Brink Of Disappearing


      Here are six technologies that will soon meet their maker, and six more that might seem on death's door but likely aren't.

      Five germy spots in your home

      When you clean your home, there are a few grimy things that often get missed.  
      Also: 

      How to save a wet cell phone

      If you happen to drop your cell phone in water, it usually spells doom for the device. 
      Also: 

      B.C.

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      Drunk men riding horse and mule on city street arrested

      Two men were arrested for driving while intoxicated on 6th Street on Friday night. One was riding a horse, while the other was riding a mule. Austin police say the men were both intoxicated. They were apparently trying to lure people out of bars and into the street to take pictures with them and their farm animals. Bartender Brian Matthews thought he'd seen everything, that is until he walked outside to have a cigarette.


      "There were these two guys on horses, or mules, or something, outside of Shakespeare's," he said. "(It) looked like they were being pulled over for a DUI." Jose Rios, 33, and sidekick, Samuel Olivo, Jr., 48, parked their horse trailer near I-35 and 12th Street. They rode their mule and horse down to 6th Street, inviting people to take pictures with them and their four-legged beasts. Police video shows the two being stopped by officers. In the video, Rios appeared to be so intoxicated that he couldn't even finish his sobriety test.

      Austin police arrested the pair for DWI. "The law has recently changed and the motor vehicle definition is a little ambiguous, but they felt that it would fit that criteria," said Commander Jason Dusterhoft, of the Austin Police Department. The DWI charges may be lowered to public intoxication.


      "In the city of Austin it is legal to ride a horse on a public street," said Commander Dusterhoft. "What we were obviously concerned about is them being intoxicated, inviting people out into the street causing a danger, causing a danger ... to themselves, the public, the horses." One of the cowboys was so intoxicated that police say he had to be hospitalized. The animals were taken to animal control and it isn't clear if they're back with their owner.

      There's Video.

      I'm ready

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      Upping the cute factor


      A baby elephant playing on the beach.

      Zoo employees save squirrel from tiger

      One squirrel's visit to the Buffalo Zoo last Wednesday turned into a fight for survival, and it was all caught on video.

      The squirrel found itself in a tree inside the tiger habitat at the zoo. Unfortunately, a tiger spotted the creature and showed off some of its hunting skills for the crowd.

       

      The big cat climbed the tree and actually knocked the squirrel to the ground before chasing it toward another tree.

      Zoo employees stepped in, distracted the tiger and eventually saved the incredibly lucky little squirrel.

      Animal Pictures

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