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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.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Daily Drift

Editorial Comment: The severe weather skipped by us yesterday. However today is supposed to have been the worse of the two so it remains to be seen if Ma Nature knocks us off the net for a spell. The air was so wet yesterday that you needed scuba gear to breathe outside but nothing fell from the clouds. Today is an entirely different story.
Beltane (aka: Beltaine) is today. Celebrate Spring ...!
 
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Bugs  ... !
Today is - Bugs Bunny Day


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Some of our reader today have been in:
The Americas
Leeds, Kalispell, Venice, Pasco, Baraboo and Palatine, United States
Toronto, Sioux Lookout, Ottawa, Pikangikum, Thunder Bay, Montreal, Mississauga and Britannia, Canada
Curitiba and Sao Paulo, Brazil
Tijuana, Mexicali and Mexico City, Mexico
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Managua, Nicaragua
Bogota, Colombia
Europe
Kiev and Kharkiv, Ukraine
Vienna, Austria
Widdern, Konstanz, Koeln, Dusseldorf and Neuss, Germany
Rouen, Magenta, Paris, Oberhaslach and Salon-De-Provence, France
Pescara and Capriate San Gervasio, Italy
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Manchester, London, Exeter and Euston, England
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Madrid and Ferrol, Spain
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Vladivostok, Ryazan and Domodedovo, Russia
Brussels, Belgium
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Lisbon, Portugal
Copenhagen and Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
Asia
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Jakarta, Indonesia
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Hanoi, Vietnam
Beijing, Xi'an, China
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Tokyo, Japan
Kuala Lumpur, Lahad Datu and Putrajaya, Malaysia
Bangkok and Lat Krabang, Thailand
Amman, Jordan
Beirut, Lebanon
Tehran and Esfahan, Iran
Kathmandu, Nepal
Africa 
Casablanca, Morocco
Cairo, Egypt
Cape Town, South Africa
Shurugwi, Zimbabwe
Bahan, Sudan
The Pacific
Sydney, Australia
Makati and Manila, Philippines

Today in History

313 Licinius unifies the whole of the eastern Roman Empire under his own rule.
1250 King Louis IX of France is ransomed.
1527 Henry VIII of England and King Francis of France sign treaty of Westminster.
1563 All Jews are expelled from France by order of Charles VI.
1725 Spain withdraws from the Quadruple Alliance.
1789 George Washington is inaugurated as the first U.S. president.
1803 The United States doubles in size through the Louisiana Purchase, which was sold by France for $15 million.
1812 Louisiana is admitted into the Union as a state.
1849 Giuseppe Garabaldi, the Italian patriot and guerrilla leader, repulses a French attack on Rome.
1864 Work begins on the Dams along the Red River, which will allow Union General Nathaniel Banks' troops to sail over the rapids above Alexandria, Louisiana.
1930 The Soviet Union proposes a military alliance with France and Great Britain.
1931 The George Washington Bridge, linking New York City and New Jersey, opens.
1943 The British submarine HMS Seraph drops 'the man who never was,' a dead man the British planted with false invasion plans, into the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain.
1945 Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his bunker. Karl Donitz becomes his successor.
1968 U.S. Marines attack a division of North Vietnamese troops in the village of Dai Do.
1970 U.S. troops invade Cambodia to disrupt North Vietnamese Army base areas.
1972 The North Vietnamese launch an invasion of the South.
1973 Nixon announces the resignation of H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and other top aides.
1975 North Vietnamese troops enter the Independence Palace of South Vietnam in Saigon ending the Vietnam War.
1980 Terrorists seize the Iranian Embassy in London.

Non Sequitur

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An ecologist imagines the world's end

Paul Kingsnorth is an English writer whose environmental activism got him jailed in the 90s and praised by the archbishop of Canterbury and the Prime Minister in the 00s. His Dark Mountain Project, founded in 2009, is an outdoor festival for artists and writers, described this weekend in The New York Times' profile.
In the clearing, above a pyre, someone had erected a tall wicker sculpture in the shape of a tree, with dense gnarls and hanging hoops. Four men in masks knelt at the sculpture’s base, at cardinal compass points. When midnight struck, a fifth man, his head shaved smooth and wearing a kimono, began to walk slowly around them. As he passed the masked figures, each ignited a yellow flare, until finally, his circuit complete, the bald man set the sculpture on fire. For a couple of minutes, it was quiet. Then as the wicker blazed, a soft chant passed through the crowd, the words only gradually becoming clear: “We are gathered. We are gathered. We are gathered.” After that came disorder. A man wearing a stag mask bounded into the clearing and shouted: “Come! Let’s play!” The crowd broke up. Some headed for bed. A majority headed for the woods, to a makeshift stage that had been blocked off with hay bales and covered by an enormous nylon parachute. There they danced, sang, laughed, barked, growled, hooted, mooed, bleated and meowed, forming a kind of atavistic, improvisatory choir.
This is actually a pretty normal weekend for Worthing, England, but I digress. The story here is the unsettling quality of his manifesto, Uncivilization, which hammers at the "false hope" of much said in the name of environmentalism--a darker, doomier view of our ecological future that is, to some, a betrayal, a "troubling abdication." It has a counterpart in fiction: Kingsorth's novel, The Wake, is a "postapocalyptic tale set 1000 years ago", after the Norman invasion, composed in a hybrid of modern and old English.


'False Springs' May Become Thing of the Past

Chilly interruptions of spring revelry may someday disappear as the planet warms.

The Kannesteinen Rock

Shaped over thousands of years by the crashing waves, the Kannesteinen Rock is a magnificent mushroom shaped rock formation located in the rural village of Oppedal, Norway.

While difficult to measure the exact size by looking at the photographs, the rock is about three feet high and wide enough for three or four people to stand on.

The Beheaded Statues Of Nemrut Dagi in Turkey

Nemrut Dagi is a mountain in southeastern Turkey, notable for the summit where a number of large statues are erected around what is assumed to be a royal tomb.

Decapitated statues are sitting with their heads on the ground watching around south-eastern Turkey on top of one of the highest peaks of the Eastern Taurus mountain range. The archaeological site Nemrut Dagi is a time machine on top of a mountain that'll take you back to 62BCE

Laze Around The Isolated Beaches Of Dhermi, Albania

In a not-so popular and rather mysterious Albania, a line of coastline villages, also called the Albanian Riviera, possesses isolated sand and pebble beaches with pristine and crystal clear waters. Dhermi is a local fave and a must-see for travelers who're looking for a valuable spot with an expensive-looking scenery.

Picture This ...

Check out a snapshot of remarkable moments from around the world.

U.S. Route 50

America's Loneliest Road

U.S. Route 50 is a major east–west highway, connecting Ocean City, Maryland and West Sacramento, California. Stretching 3,000 miles (4,800 km), the route runs through mostly rural areas in the Western part of the US.

It includes the section through Nevada known as 'The Loneliest Road in America.'

The World's Longest Conveyor Belt Is 61 Miles Long

Western Sahara, a territory currently ruled by Morocco, looks like a desolate place. There's little vegetation, but there are substantial phosphate resources. Bou Craa, a mining town in the interior, extracts phosphate ore and ships it to the coast.

Rather than trucking the ore to the coast, the mining company found an inventive way to convey the ore a great distance. It built a conveyor belt to do the job. It caries the ore 61 miles (98 kilometers) across the desert to the port of El-Aaiun. This conveyor belt is the longest in the world.

The 100 Terraced Garden Squares In Awaji Yumebutai, Japan

The Awaji Yumebutai is a lively yet peaceful work of art made by man and nature. The area where it stands was a mountain before that was half-removed to use as seafill for the artificial islands where the Kansai International Airport is now located.

Designed by Tadao Ando, the whole structure shows how something destroyed can be brought back to life by blending in modern facilities with the green landscape. But what's special in this place is its 100-terraced garden squares or the 'Hyakudanen' that decorate the slope of the mountain.

Magical Houses From Around The World

Cappadocia

The Spiral Staircase

Yangshuo, China

Ziggy

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The 8 Biggest Mysteries of Our Planet

More than 40 years after the first Earth Day, many riddles still remain when it comes to our planet.

The soil at the bottom of Greenland

Scientists have found 2.7-million-year-old soil at the bottom of the Greenland ice sheet. The discovery challenges what we thought we knew about how glaciers work and could have implications for the effects of climate change

Piece of Africa Found Under Alabama

A quarter of a billion years ago Africa slammed into North America and left a scar that can be seen today with special instruments.

Watch an earthquake slosh a swimming pool in Mexico City

A scary, but mostly harmless 7.2 earthquake struck Mexico City last week. Here's a fun game: Watch the earthquake slosh the water in a pool back and forth — then go compare the effects to animations of different types of earthquake waves. 

Ancient Plants, Maybe Martian Life, Sealed in Meteor Glass

Intense heat during meteor impacts forged tiny bits of glass that trapped fragments of ancient plant life in Argentina. Could the same process have entombed signs of life on Mars?

Ancient Cave in Spain Could Hold Origins of the Study of Astronomy

Ancient Cave in Spain Could Hold Origins of the Study of Astronomy A cave located on Spain’s Canary Islands, in what was probably the aboriginal region of Artevigua, could reveal an unsuspected knowledge of astronomy by the ancient islanders since it marks equinoxes and solstices, while inside it the light recreates images related to fertility.
The cave was used as a temple and, besides its astronomical function, the light creates in its interior a mythological account of fertility, the likes of which exist nowhere else in the world,” archaeologist Julio Cuenca, who has investigated the area since the 1990s, said.
“It’s like a projector of images from a vanished culture,” Cuenca told Efe, adding that during a six-month period the light creates phallic images on cave walls that are covered with engravings of female pubic triangles.
As the months go by, the projections of sunlight gradually cover the triangles, and as the summer solstice approaches and fall arrives, the images are transformed into that of a pregnant woman, and finally, into a seed, the archaeologist said.
Cuenca, who at the time was chief curator of the Canary Museum and a specialist in researching mountain sanctuaries of the ancient Canarians, discovered the cave while copying engravings in the nearby cave of Los Candiles in Artenara.
It was this region the archaeologist identified with ancient Artevigua, an important settlement of the earliest Canarians, whose place names disappeared in the 18th century, due to the eagerness of the catholic cult to Hispanicize place names used by previous inhabitants.

Daily Comic Relief

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The Tiny Creek That Connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans

There's a natural spring in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming that flows in 2 directions. One ultimately connects to the Mississippi River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The other connects to the Columbia River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean. It's a natural wonder called the Parting of the Waters.
You can reach the spot after a 15-mile hike from a trailhead in the park. A sign points to the flow of both oceans.
But there's more! The Parting of the Waters isn't the only water connection in the United States between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Just a few miles away is Isa Lake, which also divides its two outlets between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. But Isa Lake does it backwards. The western outlet loops around and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The eastern outlet also loops around and heads toward the Pacific.

What Lurks in Your Drinking Water

A careless teenager and a little urine was enough for Portland to flush 38 million gallons of otherwise clean water.

Tidal Power

Tidal power can do what wind and solar can’t: provide reliable energy, right when you need it.

Machias Seal Island

An Ongoing Border Dispute Between the United States and Canada
This is Machias Seal Island, a 20-acre island in the Bay of Fundy.
You can't see it? Let's zoom in.
Hmm. That doesn't help much. Let's zoom in some more.
There it is! It's a speck of land that barely appears on the map.
You can see the lighthouse in the photo above. The island is inhabited by 2 human lighthouse keepers, a few seals...
...and lots and lots of puffins.
The ownership of Machias Seal Island is disputed by the United States and Canada. Canada is in physical possession of it, but the United States has not formally dropped its claim to the island.
We've previously written several posts about the development of the US-Canadian border, which includes weird exclaves. Ambiguity about the border even led to the creation of 2 short-lived nations.
(Painting by Benjamin West of the American delegation at the Treaty of Paris)
Although the United States and Canada now maintain a long, peaceful border, the placement of that border has been in doubt since the Treaty of Paris (1783) in which Britain recognized the United States as an independent nation. That treaty attempted to draw borders over unexplored lands. The authors did the best that they could with their knowledge of geography. But, alas, one of the descriptions for the border between Maine and maritime Canada was problematic. The treaty says that US territory includes:
all Islands within twenty Leagues of any Part of the Shores of the United States, and lying between Lines to be drawn due East from the Points where the aforesaid Boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one Part and East Florida on the other shall, respectively, touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such Islands as now are or heretofore have been within the limits of the said Province of Nova Scotia.
IWeve bolded the parts of the text that are the source for the Machias Seal Island dispute.
As we've mentioned in a previous post, the eastern border of Maine was of great concern to the British. Some British officials coveted what Americans saw as their territory, and vice versa. Control of the Bay of Fundy was of great importance to British commissioners at the Treaty of Ghent (1814), which ended the War of 1812.
Now back to Machias Seal Island. The American argument is that it lies within 20 leagues (approximately 69 miles) of the coast of the United States.
The Canadian argument is that a land grant that pre-exists the Treaty of Paris defines the island as part of Nova Scotia. It built and has operated a lighthouse on the island since 1832.
Occasionally fishermen from the 2 nations have gotten into scraps about its ownership. Some Canadian citizens have staked mining claims to the island as a means of asserting Canadian sovereignty. The State of Maine has included the island on its maps of electoral districts.
But if possession is indeed 9/10ths of the law, then Machias Seal Island is Canadian. The United States has chosen not to press the issue.

Massive iceberg six times the size of Manhattan drifts away from Antarctic glacier

 
This combination of Dec. 10, 2013, left, and March 11, 2014 photos provided by NASA shows a large iceberg separating from the Pine Island Glacier and traveling across Pine Island Bay in Antarctica. 
One of the largest icebergs on the planet, about six times the size of Manhattan, has separated from an Antarctic glacier and is floating out towards open ocean. The iceberg is named B-31, and is roughly 255 square miles (660 square km). Its estimated maximum thickness is 1,600 feet (487 meters). Last Fall, it broke off from the Pine Island Glacier. Researchers have been watching it drift away since then, via satellite.
"The ice island, named B31, will likely be swept up soon in the swift currents of the Southern Ocean, though it will be hard to track visually for the next six months as Antarctica heads into winter darkness," according to scientists at NASA's Earth Observatory monitoring its progress.
From Reuters:
NASA glaciologist Kelly Brunt said on Wednesday the iceberg covers about 255 square miles (660 square km) and is up to a third of a mile (500 meters) thick. Known as B31, the iceberg separated from Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier last November, Brunt added. "It's one that's large enough that it warrants monitoring," Brunt said in a telephone interview, noting that U.S. government organizations including the National Ice Center keep an eye on dozens of icebergs at any given time.
The iceberg isn't in the way of shipping lanes at this time. One of the funny things about this news story is how each news organization selects a different geographical entity to compare the iceberg's size to. CNN, based in Atlanta, chose Atlanta; AP chose Guam (Really? Guam?), Reuters chose NYC.
NASA time-lapse video below.

Coming Tomorrow

Coming Tomorrow
  • The Lost Empire That Ruled The Silk Road
  • Spain Launches Hunt For Quixote Writer Cervantes
  • The Oldest Known Selfie
  • Genomic Diversity Between Stone-Age Scandinavian Forgers And Farmers
And more ...
This hummingbird is our Animal Picture, for today.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Daily Drift

Editorial Comment: There is some pretty nasty weather heading for us today - Severe Thunderstorms, Heavy Rain, Hail, and Tornadoes. The local weather gurus say that our best chance is just the heavy rain part but you never know when Ma Nature is having a hissy fit and a conniption at the same time. With history as it is in these parts we may be unable to post for the next few days with the deluge set to soak us but good. We will post as normal for as long as we can or for the duration depending on how Ma Nature treats us.
Old Hippies ...!
 
Carolina Naturally is read in 197 countries around the world daily.   

Spend the day without shoes ... !
Today is - One Day Without Shoes Day


Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our reader today have been in:
The Americas
Bronx, Tupelo, Smyrna, Ansonia, Peoria and Hilo, United States
Toronto, Fort Nelson, Britannia, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Joliette, Pikangikum, Quebec, Vancouver, Guelph and  Mississauga, Canada
Tijuana, Mexico
Bogota and Medellin, Colombia
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Managua, Nicaragua
Colegiales and Buenos Aires, Argentina
Willemstad, Curacao
Santiago, Chile
Europe
Roskilde, Denmark
Kaiserslautern, Nuremberg and Berlin, Germany
Sarajevo and Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Oslo, Norway
Covilha, Portugal
Pallini, Greece
Kista, Stockholm and Sigtuna, Sweden
Riga, Latvia
Brussels, Belgium
Paris, Salon-De-Provence and Rouen, France
Ramsgate, Exeter, Southampton, Puddle Dock and London, England
Kohtla-Jarve, Estonia
Reykjavik, Iceland
Ravenna, Savona, Ivrea and Naples, Italy
Madrid, Pontevedra, Malaga and Bilbao, Spain
Dublin, Ireland
Ryazan, Russia
Kotsyubinskoye, Ukraine
Aberdeen, Scotland
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Asia
Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Mayang Imphal, Cuttack, Shillong, Bhopal and Ghaziabad, India
Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka
Jakarta and Makassar, Indonesia
Beijing and Guangzhou, China
Kajang and George Town, Malaysia
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
Baghdad, Iraq
Batdambang, Cambodia
Beirut, Lebanon
Seoul, Korea
Amman, Jordan
Tehran, Iran
Africa 
Cape Town, South Africa
Al Jizah, Egypt
Tunis, Tunisia
The Pacific
Sydney, Heidelberg and Surrey Hills, Australia
Hagatna, Guam
Quiapo and Linabuan Sur, Philippines

Today in History

1289 Qala'un, the Sultan of Egypt, captures Tripoli.
1429 Joan of Arc leads French forces to victory over English at Orleans.
1624 Louis XIII appoints Cardinal Richelieu chief minister of the Royal Council of France.
1661 The Chinese Ming dynasty occupies Taiwan.
1672 King Louis XIV of France invades the Netherlands.
1813 Rubber is patented.
1852 The first edition of Peter Roget's Thesaurus is published.
1856 Yokut Indians repel a second attack by the 'Petticoat Rangers,' a band of civilian Indian fighters at Four Creeks, California.
1858 Austrian troops invade Piedmont.
1859 As the French army races to support them and the Austrian army mobilizes to oppose them, 150,000 Piedmontese troops invade Piedmontese territory.
1861 The Maryland House of Delegates votes against seceding from Union.
1862 Forts Philip and Jackson surrender to Admiral Farragut outside New Orleans.
1913 Gideon Sundback of Hoboken patents all-purpose zipper.
1916 Irish nationalists surrender to the British in Dublin.
1918 America's WWI Ace of Aces, Eddie Rickenbacker, scores his first victory with the help of Captain James Norman Hall.
1924 Open revolt breaks out in Santa Clara, Cuba.
1927 Construction of the Spirit of St. Louis is completed.
1930 The film All Quiet on the Western Front, based on Erich Maria Remarque's novel Im Western Nichts Neues, premiers.
1945 The German Army in Italy surrenders unconditionally to the Allies.
1945 The Nazi concentration camp of Dachau is liberated by Allied troops.
1946 Former Japanese leaders are indicted in Tokyo as war criminals.
1975 The U.S. embassy in Vietnam is evacuated as North Vietnamese forces fight their way into Saigon.
1983 Harold Washington is sworn in as Chicago's first black mayor.
1992 Four Los Angeles police offices are acquitted of charges stemming from the beating of Rodney King. Rioting ensues.

Non Sequitur

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Did you know ...

About how turbo-tax fought free tax preparation
About threatened pandemics and laboratories escapes: a self-fulfilling prophecy
That Allen West's latest book full of fake Jefferson quotes
Imagine the horror - president Bush... Jeb Bush
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About the math behind why Harvard doesn't take rape seriously
About where to eat if you want to support restaurants that pay their workers a living wage
About these 10 terrible horror movies with great titles
That private prisons are not cheaper than state-run
About how the media conned the public into loving the FBI
That obamacare success is ruining gop's mid-term strategy
Of an oral history of heathers
That a pediatrician gets 5 years for waterboarding his stepdaughter
How they're rigging the electoral system for the rich
That your anti-depressants are freaking out the fish
Here's CEO pay by state
That sprint sends straight man homophobic email
Hey, don't be a glasshole
Just what is male privilege?
That fuckin' juggalo crypto-currency, how does it work?
Here's Stone Cold Steve Austin's defense of gay marriage
And congrats to digby for winning a hillman prize!
That Navy scientists may discovered how to turn seawater into fuel
That women veterans return from Afghanistan in worse mental shape than the men
About what works for the left and what works for the right
Just how do they get all that great food in westeros?  game of farms
That an antimicrobial found in soaps may help infections spread
That at least 22 veterans kill themselves every day
That the repugicans are following the Nazi script for women to the letter
That there are whales alive today that were born before Moby Dick was written
That faux news is accurate about climate change 28% of the time
That the news doesn't report the news
That mumps is making a comeback

What A Nation Would Look Like Built on repugican Ideology

by Allen Clifton
AhmedinejadThe repugicans believe that their ideology is what the United States needs in order to be “successful and prosperous.” Which always forces me to ask the question, “If wingnut ideology is so wonderful, why are so many of their states poor, rank near the bottom in median family income and their citizens have shorter life expectancy than people living in “liberal states?” Of course it’s a rhetorical question because wingnuts either won’t answer the question or simply deny that it’s true.  It’s a question which challenges their cognitive dissonance, which means  they simply can’t grasp the conflicting realities of what they want to believe and what’s actually there. But it did get me to thinking, what kind of country do these people want?  What might it be like?  What would their social structures be like?

So, I decided I’d try to paint a picture of what kind of nation these people want. Based upon what I’ve seen many repugicans support, if they had their way, they would have a country that:
  • Had a government based upon theocracy where all but one religion is vilified.
  • Women are seen as secondary citizens to men, and their rights would often be determined by only men.
  • Rape victims would often be viewed as poorly as those who committed the crime.
  • Prayer would be required in schools.
  • Homosexuality would be seen as an abomination.
  • Contraceptives would be strongly frowned upon or would be outright illegal.
  • Voting laws, and rules, would be structured to favor a particular section of its citizens.
  • Having an abortion would be an offense equal to murder (and punished as such).
  • Immigrants wouldn’t be welcome.
  • Anyone who opposed repugican delusions would be viewed as an enemy to god and country.
  • Nationalism would be used as a tool to breed intolerance of anyone different.
  • Same-sex marriage wouldn’t be legal.
  • Homosexuals wouldn’t be allowed to adopt children.
  • Education would be manipulated by the theocratic beliefs of the government.
Wait, this all sounds very familiar.  I know I’ve heard of a country that shares many of these same values…

Oh that’s right—Iran.

More Than 100 Hate Crime Murders Linked to a Single Lunatic Fringe Wingnut Website

SPLC finds Stormfront.org users—like Frazier Glenn Miller—are disproportionately responsible for major killings.

People charged with the murders of almost 100 people can be linked to a single far-right website, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The White Nationalist web forum Stormfront.org says it promotes values of “the embattled white minority,” and its users include Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in a 2011 massacre in Norway, and Wade Michael Page, who shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012.
After a two-year investigation, the SPLC said (pdf) that since Stormfront became one of the first hate sites on the internet in 1995, its registered users have been disproportionately responsible for major killings. The report was released a month early after white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, was accused of killing three people at a Jewish center in Kansas City on Sunday.
“We know that the people who are going to commit the kinds of crimes, like the kinds of crimes Miller committed last weekend, this is where they live,” said Heidi Beirich, report author and a director at the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. The report, released on Thursday, calls Stormfront the “largest hate site in the world” and “a magnet and breeding ground for the deadly and deranged.”
Of the site’s more than 286,000 users, only a small sliver are highly active, the report found, with fewer than 1,800 people logging in each day. While the SPLC only identified 10 murderers out of this large user base, researchers think the murderers’ connection to the site is important because it shows how the website offers a community for people who commit these crimes.
“It’s pretty clear that websites like Stormfront are breeding grounds for people who are just enraged at their situation, it’s there that people find the reasons their lives aren’t as they had hoped and Stormfront helps them find the enemy that is standing in their way – whether it be Jews, African Americans, immigrants and so on,” said Beirich. “Unfortunately it’s not very surprising that people who live in this kind of stew of violent racism eventually pick up a gun and do something about it at some point.”
Stormfront proudly declares that “every month is white history month” at the top of its site and forum discussions concern things such as the latest news stories, ideology, poetry and creative writing.
“The fact of the matter is that more people have been killed domestically by radical right extremists than Islamic extremists since 9/11 and where you find a lot of these people is on these sites,” said Beirich.
SPLC also identified 10 characteristics shared by killers who were active online including unemployment, posting on more than one hate website, and sustained activity on these sites.
Stormfront founder Don Black, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, criticized Miller for giving users of his site a bad reputation. “We have enough of a problem with how we are portrayed without some homicidal whack job coming along and reinforcing that,” Black told the Daily Beast. After he was banned from Stormfront, the SLPC said Miller posted more than 12,000 times on a similar forum, Vanguard News Network, whose slogan is “No Jews, Just Right.”
The SPLC’s report said hate killings skyrocketed after Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009.
“We have seen and documented at the SPLC an enormous growth of groups on the radical right, particularly in the last five years,” said Mark Potok, the report’s editor and a senior fellow on the Intelligence Project. “That growth quite clearly seems to be driven by the appearance of Barack Obama on the political scene in the fall of 2008 and of course his subsequent election.”
Potok noted that these hate sites are protected by first amendment rights because they don’t contain concrete plots to commit crimes. He said that law enforcement official unquestionably pay attention to these sites, but criticized how much analysis is done on users by federal authorities.
“We feel pretty strongly that the Department of Homeland Security, which is the lead agency in this country for developing intelligence about these groups and individuals, has more or less taken its eye of the ball in the sense that since 2009 the department seems more focused on Jihadists terrorism,” Potok said.

American policy exclusively reflects desires of the rich; citizens' groups largely irrelevant

In Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens [PDF], a paper forthcoming in Perspectives on Politics by Princeton's Martin Gilens and Northwestern's Benjamin Page, the authors analyze 1,779 over the past 20+ years and conclude that policy makers respond exclusively to the needs of people in the 90th wealth percentile to the exclusion of pretty much every one else. Mass-scale intervention from citizens' groups barely registers, while the desires of the richest ten percent of America dictate practically the entire national policy landscape.
In a summary in the Washington Post, Larry Bartels writes,
Alas, no. In their primary statistical analysis, the collective preferences of ordinary citizens had only a negligible estimated effect on policy outcomes, while the collective preferences of “economic elites” (roughly proxied by citizens at the 90th percentile of the income distribution) were 15 times as important. “Mass-based interest groups” mattered, too, but only about half as much as business interest groups — and the preferences of those public interest groups were only weakly correlated (.12) with the preferences of the public as measured in opinion surveys.
Gilens and Page frame their study as a test of four broad theories of American politics: “Majoritarian Electoral Democracy,” “Majoritarian Pluralism,” “Economic Elite Domination” and “Biased Pluralism.” “Majoritarian Electoral Democracy,” with its emphasis on public opinion, elections and representation, provides the theoretical backbone of most contemporary political science (including mine). The training of most graduate students (including mine) is primarily couched in that framework. But Gilens’s and Page’s work makes that look like a bad scientific bet, wishfully ignoring most of what actually drives American policy-making.

Sounds fair ...

A tea party hack to African American Man: Civil Rights Act Might Not Be Constitutional

Ted Yoho 
At what looks to be a mostly white town hall in Gainesville, Florida, tea party repugican Ted Yoho was asked if he thought the Civil Rights Act of 1965 (assuming the questioner meant 1964) was constitutional. He couldn’t answer the question. Going Ron Paul adjacent, he said he isn’t sure if it’s constitutional, all he knows is it’s the law of the land.
Melvin Flournoy, a 57-year-old African American, was not impressed, according to Scott Keyes at Think Progress. “I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed that he doesn’t support the Civil Rights Act,” Flournoy told Think Progress. He also called it one of the most important pieces of legislation in American history.
Watch here via Think Progress:
Flournoy asked, “Do you think that any part of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, do you think any part of that is constitutional? And then if you’d discuss why?”
Yoho responded with a duck and dodge, “This country grew through a lot of growing pain. We’re going through it again. As we grow as a country and prosper, we’re going to go through it again in the future.” What? Okay, non-answer.
But Yoho super loves the Constitution even though he doesn’t know anything about it, “That’s why I’m so thankful for the Constitution because it allows us to do that. Is it Constitutional, the Civil Rights Act? I wish I could answer that one hundred percent. I know a lot of things that were passed are not constitutional, but I know it’s the law of the land.”
Keyes points out that actually, the question is asked and answered. Sigh. Yes, it’s Constitutional.
Civil Rights Act of 1964: “Prohibited discrimination in public accommodations, facilities, and schools. Outlawed discrimination in federally funded projects. Created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to monitor employment discrimination in public and private sectors. Provided additional capacities to enforce voting rights. Extended the Civil Rights Commission for four years. Passed by the 88th Congress (1963-1965) as H.R. 7152.”
Ron Paul also believes that the Civil Rights Act is not Constitutional because it impedes on (white man’s) liberty and has hindered racial relations. Things were better on the plantation, eh?
There’s a host of major Civil Rights Acts passed by Congress, one of which came the following year, in 1965– Voting Rights Act of 1965:
Suspended the use of literacy tests and voter disqualification devices for five years. Authorized the use of federal examiners to supervise voter registration in states that used tests or in which less than half the voting-eligible residents registered or voted. Directed the U.S. Attorney General to institute proceedings against use of poll taxes. Provided criminal penalties for individuals who violated the act. Passed by the 89th Congress (1965-1967) as S. 1564.
I think we all know how repugicans feel about that.
The repugicans like to believe that there is no reason to legislate rights of the oppressed and minority groups. They natter on about how it impedes liberty, and their reasoning can sound attractive and practical at times. But the whole picture tells a much uglier story.
The repugicans are doing the same thing regarding their objections to equal pay laws for women. They are fighting any laws that would give women the right to fight back legally if they find out they have been paid less for the same job, because they claim this is unnecessary. Yet in their own office of Attorney General of Texas, just for example, women are being paid less than men for the same work.
This leads to the obvious conclusion that the reason repugicans don’t want legislation protecting minorities and women is because they might use it, and it gets in the way of the ruling class patriarchs entitlement to make unchecked decisions that benefit them and the status quo. There is, after all, a clear need for these laws. It’s not that a few people got screwed over — it’s that a class of people are being denied their rights because it benefits those in power to deny them their rights.
Yoho “doesn’t know” if it’s constitutional to have legally protected equal rights for everyone? That’s almost funny, given the foundation of this country. Yes, the idea of an upwardly mobile society based on hard work was only applicable to white men in the beginning, but we evolved. What repugicans are really saying is that they don’t want to share the rights and privileges they have become accustomed to.
Update: Due to my failure to make this obvious, I have sadly changed “He don’t know nothing about it” to the proper grammar. It was a reference to Prissy from GWTW, “I don’t know nothing ’bout birthin’ babies!” A moment that perfectly captured for me a US Rep not knowing anything about the Constitution.

Tom Cotton's former pastor needs Obamacare to live ... Cotton doesn't care

Via: Acerbic Politics 
Let's start the post with this...

Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican party. We've gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We've even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we're talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.

---Paul Krugman

 And then move on to this...

by Joan McCarter

Tom Cotton (r-AR), would-be senator, was one of 219 repugicans who voted for the Ryan budget Thursday, the budget that would gut Obamacare. The Arkansas Blog at the Arkansas Times has noticed Cotton's penchant for repeal, and is reminding him of what's at stake should he get his way. And they're doing it with a story Cotton should take very personally.
    One of those Arkansans who has gained coverage is Eleanor Evans.  As it happens, Evans knew Tom Cotton when they were both growing up in Dardanelle. Her mother was the pastor at Cotton's church for two years. I spoke with Evans by telephone today. Here is her story.
    Evans lives in Rogers and works two part-time jobs, one in social-media marketing and one as a pet-sitter and dog-walker. She spends around 30 hours, sometimes more, taking care of her mother, 66-year-old Kaye Evans, who has diabetes and has been in dialysis treatment since going into kidney failure in 2012. 
    Evans was laid off from her job as a newspaper reporter in 2009 and was uninsured for four years after that, often struggling to afford her asthma medication. Acting as the sole caregiver for her mother, she was unable to find full-time work. She tried shopping for health insurance but was unable to find an affordable policy because of her own pre-existing conditions.
The good news: Eleanor Evans has health insurance now, under Arkansas's private option Medicaid program. And she's thrilled. When asked what she would do if that coverage was to disappear, she's blunt. "I could either go without insurance and keep serving as my mother's caregiver, […] or I could try to find a full-time job that offers insurance as a benefit and risk my mother dying because I'm not here." That would be her mother who was Tom Cotton's pastor.
Cotton apparently doesn't care too much.
    Evans said she has tried communicating with Cotton via social media but hasn't heard back. She said she would like to encourage him to "do the Christian thing and support the vast need for health care for those of us who are in that gap.

Repugicanado!

FBI abruptly leaves Senate hearing after being asked about 'Insider Threat' program

While we've been disappointed that Senator Chuck Grassley appears to have a bit of a double standard with his staunch support for whistleblowers when it comes to Ed Snowden, it is true that he has fought for real whistleblower protections for quite some time. Lately, he's been quite concerned that the White House's "Insider Threat Program" (ITP) is really just a cover to crack down on whistleblowers. As we've noted, despite early promises from the Obama administration to support and protect whistleblowers, the administration has led the largest crackdown against whistleblowers, and the ITP suggests that the attack on whistleblowers is a calculated response. The program documentation argues that any leak can be seen as "aiding the enemy" and encourages government employees to snitch on each other if they appear too concerned about government wrong-doing. Despite all his high minded talk of supporting whistleblowers, President Obama has used the Espionage Act against whistleblowers twice as many times as all other Presidents combined. Also, he has never -- not once -- praised someone for blowing the whistle in the federal government.
Given all of that, Senator Grassley expressed some concern about this Insider Threat Program and how it distinguished whistleblowers from actual threats. He asked the FBI for copies of its training manual on the program, which it refused to give him. Instead, it said it could better answer any questions at a hearing. However, as Grassley explains, when questioned about this just 10 minutes into the hearing, the FBI abruptly got up and left:

Port Authority Official Resigns After Word Of Second Criminal Investigation

by Eric Lach
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A Port Authority of New York and New Jersey commissioner resigned Monday following news of a second criminal investigation into the agency's ties to Chris Christie, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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Anthony Sartor, a New Jersey appointee, has been chair of the agency's subcommittee on World Trade Center redevelopment, and he submitted his resignation just a few days after the news that Manhattan's district attorney had opened an investigation into the agency's work rebuilding the World Trade Center, according to the Journal.
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A number of Port Authority officials have resigned in recent months as separate investigations into the George Washington Bridge lane closures have intensified. Most recently, David Samson, a close ally of  Chris Christie (r), announced his resignation as chairman of the agency.

Ziggy

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The world according to repugicans

Job Creator?

Look around, there's plenty of real work to be done, more potential jobs than people. The rich don't create jobs. The rich create misery and unemployment by hoarding resources they don't personally use. It's because of this hoarding the vast majority of us have no means of getting the work done for ourselves and each other, and are instead left to petition the rich for a "trickle." Let's not forget that the working class is also described as "consumers." Since 2009, 95% of new income has gone to the top 1%. Small wonder there isn't enough "aggregate consumer demand" to "justify" job creation.
--Nathan

"For a specific example, Hanauer points out that his family owns 3 cars, not the 3,000 cars that might be bought if his $9+ million were taken home by a few thousand families.
...Rich people don't create the jobs.
Our economy creates jobs.
We're all in this together. And until we understand that, our economy is going to go nowhere."
http://www.businessinsider.com/rich-people-create-jobs-2013-11

"Ask yourself this question: what do you really think caused firms to lay off so many workers that unemployment jumped from 4.4% in May 2007 to 10% in October 2009... a sudden spike in business regulations and taxes, or a collapse in demand? It is impossible to imagine that anyone truly believes the former to be the case."
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2012/06/17/job-creators/

"1. New income generated since 2009 that has gone to the top 1 percent: 95 percent
2. Financial wealth controlled by the bottom 60 percent of all Americans: 2.3 percent
3. Record combined wealth of the top 400 richest Americans: $2,000,000,000,000"
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/27-shocking-numbers-that-reveal-the-true-state-of-the-union-20140128#ixzz2roHcCG2X

Tired of Being Screwed Over Enraged Taxpayers Deliver a $7.8 Billion Tax Bill To Walmart

walmart
The Walton family receives $7.8 billion in tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies each year, and outraged taxpayers are demanding that Walmart pay up. According to a press release from Our Walmart:
Walmart workers and taxpayers in Phoenix delivered a $7.8 billion tax bill to Rob Walton, Walmart Chairman, in reaction to the news that the country’s largest retailer and richest family received an estimated $7.8 billion in tax breaks and subsidies in 2013. A report released yesterday by Americans for Tax Fairness showed how Walmart and the Waltons dodged taxes, exploited loopholes and took advantage of taxpayer subsidies, while many of its workers were forced to rely on taxpayer-funded programs like food stamps and Medicaid.
The taxpayers hand-delivered the bill to Walton’s home in Paradise Valley, outside Phoenix.
“Like most Americans, I work hard, pay my taxes and play by the rules. Why can’t America’s richest family do the same?” said Venanzi Luna, a Walmart worker who undersigned the bill. “Our economy is out of balance and workers are struggling because people like the Waltons don’t pay their fair share.”
Walmart made a $16 billion profit in 2013, and the six Walton heirs, who own more than 50 percent of Walmart shares, saw their wealth grow to $148.8 billion—more wealth than 49% of American families combined.
A report from the Americans For Tax Fairness found that Walmart and the Walton family receive $7.8 billion in tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies each year, and outraged taxpayers are demanding that Walmart pay up.
The table below from Americans For Tax Fairness shows how the Walton family is getting richer while you are footing the bill:
walmart-report-key-findings
Walmart takes in 18% of all food stamp dollars and generates $13.5 billion in revenue from food stamps. This isn’t enough robbing of the taxpayer for the Walton family, because they also get $3 billion in individual tax breaks, and Walmart itself gets another $1 billion.
The next time repugicans talk about how America can’t afford veterans benefits, or to extend unemployment benefits, they need to be reminded that a simple solution is right in front of their eyes. If repugicans would close the Walmart tax loopholes, and raise the minimum wage so that Walmart workers didn’t have to rely on public assistance, the government would have tens of billions of more dollars.
Those low prices that Walmart advertises really aren’t that low. Taxpayers are picking up the tab, and when one factors in the billions that all Americans have to pay to subsidize Walmart’s profits those always low prices come at a very high cost to every American.

Governor Bans Minimum Wage Increases And Paid Sick Leave Laws

by Bryce Covert 

At a time when many states and cities are working passing minimum wage increases, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (r) has gone in the opposite direction and signed a law banning cities from passing higher wages. The bill also bans them from enacting paid sick days or vacation requirements.

The law will stymie the efforts of activists in Oklahoma City, where a labor federation has led the push on a petition to raise the city's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The state's current minimum has been set at the federal level of $7.25. In 2012, 64,000 workers in the state earned $7.25 an hour or less, making up 7.2 percent of all hourly workers, a larger share than the 4.7 percent figure for the country as a whole.

Fallin said she signed the bill out of the worry that higher local minimum wages "would drive businesses to other communities and states, and would raise prices for consumers." She also argued that "most minimum wage workers are young, single people working part-time or entry level jobs" and that "many are high school or college students living with their parents in middle-class families." She warned that increasing the minimum wage "would require businesses to fire many of those part-time workers" and harm job creation.

Daily Comic Relief

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