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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Daily Drift

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Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

Wingnut Holiday - Of course they're always stupid so a special day for them isn't all that special now is it ... !
Today is  - Ask A Stupid Question Day
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Today in History

1399 Richard II is deposed.
1568 Eric XIV, king of Sweden, is deposed after showing signs of madness.
1630 John Billington, one of the original pilgrims who sailed to the New World on the Mayflower, becomes the first man executed in the English colonies. He is hanged for having shot another man during a quarrel
1703 The French, at Hochstadt in the War of the Spanish Succession, suffer only 1,000 casualties to the 11,000 of their opponents, the Austrians of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I.
1791 Mozart's opera The Magic Flute is performed for the first time in Vienna
1846 The first anesthetized tooth extraction is performed by Dr. William Morton in Charleston, Massachusetts.
1864 Confederate troops fail to retake Fort Harrison from the Union forces during the siege of Petersburg.
1911 Italy declares war on Turkey over control of Tripoli.
1918 Bulgaria pulls out of World War I.
1927 Babe Ruth hits his 60th homerun of the season off Tom Zachary in Yankee Stadium, New York City.
1935 George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess opens at the Colonial Theatre in Boston.
1938 Under German threats of war, Britain, France, Germany and Italy sign an accord permitting Germany to take control of Sudetenland–a region of Czechoslovakia inhabited by a German-speaking minority.
1939 The French Army is called back into France from its invasion of Germany. The attack, code named Operation Saar, only penetrated five miles.
1943 The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps becomes the Women's Army Corps, a regular contingent of the U.S. Army with the same status as other army service corps.
1949 The Berlin Airlift is officially halted after 277,264 flights.
1950 U.N. forces cross the 38th parallel separating North and South Korea as they pursue the retreating North Korean Army.
1954 The first atomic-powered submarine, the Nautilus, is commissioned in Groton, Connecticut.
1954 NATO nations agree to arm and admit West Germany.
1955 Actor and teen idol James Dean is killed in a car crash while driving his Porsche on his way to enter it into a race in Salinas, California.
1960 Fifteen African nations are admitted to the United Nations.
1962 U.S. Marshals escort James H. Meredith into the University of Mississippi; two die in the mob violence that follows.
1965 President Lyndon Johnson signs legislation that establishes the National Foundation for the Arts and the Humanities.
1965 The 30 September Movement unsuccessfully attempts coup against Indonesian government; an anti-communist purge in the aftermath results in over 500,000 deaths.
1966 Bechuanaland ceases to be a British protectorate and becomes the independent Republic of Botswana.
1972 Pro baseball great Roberto Clemente hits his 3,000th—and final—hit of his career.
1975 The AH-64 Apache attack helicopter makes its first flight.
1994 Aldwych tube station (originally Strand Station) of the London Underground transit system closes after 88 years.
1999 Japan's second-worst nuclear accident occurs at a uranium processing facility in Tokai-mura, killing two technicians.
2009 Earthquakes in Sumatra kill more than 1,115 people.


A scary new computer bug
From the BBC:
The flaw has been found in a software component known as Bash, which is a part of many Linux systems as well as Apple's Mac operating system. The bug, dubbed Shellshock, can be used to remotely take control of almost any system using Bash, researchers said...

"Whereas something like Heartbleed was all about sniffing what was going on, this was about giving you direct access to the system," Prof Alan Woodward, a security researcher from the University of Surrey, told the BBC.

"The door's wide open."

Some 500,000 machines worldwide were thought to have been vulnerable to Heartbleed. But early estimates, which experts said were conservative, suggest that Shellshock could hit at least 500 million machines...

"Using this vulnerability, attackers can potentially take over the operating system, access confidential information, make changes, et cetera," said Tod Beardsley, a Rapid7 engineer...

For general home users worried about security, Prof Woodward suggested simply keeping an eye on manufacturer websites for updates - particularly for hardware such as broadband routers.

Bill Clinton's stunning statement on charter schools: Why it's more striking than it looks

The former president sounds a note of caution about whether they should be renewed. 
Will other Democrats follow? .
Bill Clinton weighed in on the debate over charter schools this week, warning that the publicly funded yet autonomous schools must keep their "original bargain" if they want support as alternatives to traditional public schools.
The Huffington Post reports that in remarks before a dinner hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative on Tuesday, the former president hailed the potential of charter schools, even as he called on them to be held to high standards. Clinton cited New Orleans, whose post-Katrina public schools are 100 percent charter. While casting New Orleans' experience with charters as a success story, he added an important caveat. Charter schools aren't worth supporting, Clinton suggested, unless they perform better than traditional public schools.
"They still haven't done what no state has really done adequately," Clinton told the group, "which is to set up a review system to keep the original bargain of charter schools, which was if they weren't outperforming the public model, they weren't supposed to get their charter renewed."
Clinton's statement is stunning once you consider its implications. Research shows that the vast majority of charter schools in the U.S. haven't cleared that hurdle. A study at Stanford University last year found that only 25 percent of charter schools fare better than traditional schools in reading. In math, only 29 percent of charters do better. Nineteen percent of charters actually did worse in reading, while 31 percent were worse in math; the rest weren't significantly different from traditional public schools.

The True 'War'


Did you know ...

That this bigoted pastor says voyager's trek through the solar system proves homosexuals are perverted
If the repugican cabal is right, why are red states so far behind?
That the world population will hit 11 billion by 2100
Why the economy doesn't work for the 99%
About making excuses for spanking:  insult to injury
That nearly half of American cities are in financial insecurity
Why some of the world's greatest thinkers did drugs
What's driving American politics underground
Black women must be prostitutes, right?
About the ugly side of football
That over half of u.s. bird species face extinction
That the college degree has become the new high school degree
That wage theft is widespread across Apple's supply chain
That a 14-year-old rape kit, finally tested, leads to cop's arrest
That Pink Floyd is releasing a new album next November
About how corporations get rich off of taxes
About how American preachers reinvented hell
About these 10 ways colleges will scam you
Just breaking:  olive garden is terrible
About human rights and global wrongs
Democrats can't keep ignoring immigrants and their allies
Is Nate Silver a little too excited about his election model?
That wife beating is not a private matter
A woman claims she was fired from the Mets for being pregnant and unmarried
That workers shut down Chipolte store to protest sweatshop conditions
That Walmart forces employees to buy new uniforms...at Walmart

Obama Goes Off Script and Drops A Truth Bomb On Selfish repugican Governors

President Obama went off script while speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus Awards Dinner Saturday evening and deployed a truth bomb on selfish repugicans.
While paying homage to the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, he said he was puzzled when certain governors decided to take a stand to make sure poor folks in their state can’t get health insurance even though it doesn’t cost that person a dime, adding one of the most salient political observations in the entire healthcare reform debate, “It’s easy to take a stand when you’ve got health insurance.”
Speaking about the need to get more folks covered in the march forward toward the Great Society, the President said, “But we know our work is not yet done until we get into more communities, help more uninsured folks get covered, especially in those states where the governors aren’t being quite as cooperative as we’d like them to be. You know who you are. It always puzzles me when you decide to take a stand to make sure poor folks in your state can’t get health insurance even though it doesn’t cost you a dime. That doesn’t make much sense to me, but I won’t go on on that topic. We’ve got more work to do.”
“It’s easy to take a stand when you’ve got health insurance,” Obama said, earning appreciative laughter and applause. “I’m going off script now, but – — that’s what happens at the CBC.”
During his speech, the President detailed areas of progress in the push forward toward a Great Society. Obama deadpanned, “We’ve done some work on health care, too. I don’t know if you’ve noticed.”
Detailing some of the unsung success of his signature legislation, the President continued, “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we’ve seen a 26 percent decline in the uninsured rate in America. African Americans have seen a 30 percent decline. And, by the way, the cost of health care isn’t going up as fast anymore either. Everybody was predicting this was all going to be so expensive. We’ve saved $800 billion — in Medicare because of the work that we’ve done — slowing the cost, improving quality, and improving access. Despite unyielding opposition, this change has happened just in the last couple years.”
When Obamacare is a beloved part of our social safety net like Social Security and Medicare, repugicans will pretend that they built that. But their years of hysterical obstruction to a policy built in part on their own idea will say otherwise.
To recap, “It’s easy to take a stand (against affordable health insurance) when you’ve got health insurance.”
Boom. This is what the pundits should have been pointing out from the beginning of this debate, and it’s something we’ve been going on about here for years. It’s all about the hierarchy of needs. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds when you are healthy and have insurance. And since most of the people in high profile media positions and elected officials have what is relatively excellent insurance, the point of view of the struggling American is hardly ever given a seat at the table.
The ACA looks quite different from the perspective of folks who had no insurance or were being screwed over by their insurance company prior to the changes imposed by the ACA. While repugicans fear-monger over the mere suggestion that they might have to change doctors and the press picks this up like it’s the End of the World, average Americans are dealing with things like how to pay for their loved one’s pain pills from their cancer.
The midterms are giving us a peek at campaigning Obama — the guy who could deliver a punch when he needed to, but only after being trolled publicly for so long that middle America knew the other person had it coming.
The lesson here? The repugicans had this one coming. Why so selfish, repugican governors?

Obama’s White House Fights Back By Going On Faux News And Debunking The Propaganda

The appearance by Dep. National Sec. Advisor Tony Blinken on Faux News Sunday was an example of the Obama White House directly confronting wingnut propaganda at the source.
WALLACE: All right. We’re counting on moderate Syrian rebels to be our ground force in taking on ISIS inside that country, but on Friday, and let’s put some pictures up on the screen, there were a series of demonstrations in cities across Syria. Thousands of Syrians protesting the U.S. airstrikes, saying we’re killing civilians and that we’re also aiding the regime of Bashar al Assad.

In fact, Mr. Blinken, aren’t we alienating the very people that we’re counting on to help defeat ISIS?

BLINKEN: Actually, Chris, we’ve seen strong expressions of support from the Syrian opposition for the effort that we’re making against ISIL.

WALLACE: How do you explain that?
BLINKEN: The moderate opposition is the common denominator to both being able to be a counterweight on the ground to ISIL, and then over time also being a counterweight to Assad. Building them up enables us to have forces on the ground that can deal with ISIL, as we use our airpower and other unique assets.
At the same time, if you’re going to change the dynamics in Syria, if you’re going to get to a political transition that moves Assad out, you have to have a strong moderate opposition. We are doing both.
WALLACE: Fine. Those protesters — and you seem to be ignoring the fact of their protests, thousands of them, they were chanting that “Assad, Obama and the coalition are the enemies of God”. The Assad regime says we’re in the same trenches, fighting with them, on behalf of Bashar al Assad.
Question: Will the president impose a no-fly zone which would, one, show the demonstrators that we are not helping the Assad regime? And also would protect those civilians from attacks from the air from Assad?
BLINKEN: Chris, we’re proceeding very deliberately and taking this one step at a time. First, in Iraq, we have now in place an inclusive Iraqi government, to be the partner on the ground in Iraq, and we’re going to be reforming the Iraqi security forces to work with them.
In Syria, thanks to the strong expression of support from Congress, bipartisan support, majorities in both parties, we now have authority to go ahead and train and equip the moderate Syrian opposition. We have Saudi Arabia, as a partner, working with us. We have other countries who are going to take part in that. This is a process.
WALLACE: What about —

BLINKEN: These are all things that we’re looking at overtime, if they prove useful, necessary and effective, we’ll take them on. But right now, the main emphasis is starting to move ISIL back, get them on their heels, off their toes. We’re already seeing an impact in Iraq where we’ve taken strikes, and in coordination with Iraqis and the Kurdish forces, we’ve been moving them back. Same thing in Syria, you see the first days of strikes. But again, the president has been very clear. This is going to be a long- term effort. It’s going to be sustained and it’s going to be more effective because we’re going to be working with partners on the ground, not sending in hundreds of thousands of Americans.
As the repugican disinformation network, Faux News had been trying to portray President Obama’s ISIL strategy as a failure since before he officially announced it. What is interesting is that the Obama White House is pushing back by going to the source of the propaganda. The Obama administration was too sensitive to Faux News early on, think Shirley Sherrod and Van Jones. They tried to ignore Faux News and freeze them, and now they have moved on to the most effective strategy of directly knocking down the falsehoods.
Faux News is the repugican shrieking points dissemination machine. Faux claims that the Syrian people oppose Obama’s strategy, but they feature guests and hosts that want boots on the ground in Syrian. If the Syrian people oppose bombing, they really aren’t going to like having an invading army on their soil. However, consistency and logical thought aren’t what Faux News is about.
Faux is trying to score partisan points before a midterm election. The network was gung ho in their support of the shrub’s war of choice, and everyone knows that if a repugican president were bombing ISIL, Faux News would be leading the media flag waving. There is no better way to counter the wingnut propaganda than challenging it on the network that is disguised as news.

John Boehner Rewrites History With An Epic Lie That Blames Obama For repugican Obstruction

john boehner abc this weekJohn Boehner’s desperation was showing on ABC’s This Week as he repeated the repugican big lie in order to blame President Obama for the fact that House repugicans refuse to do their jobs.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Bring us inside that room in January. What do you say to the President? What can get done?
BOEHNER: I think the conversation’s pretty straightforward. ‘Mr President you’ve got two years left. Want to have two years like we’ve had the last four years where we just butt heads and butt heads and butt heads?’
George I didn’t come to Washington to make noise. I went there to do something on behalf of my country. And I think the president ran for office to do something on behalf of the country. And it’s up to us to see where the common ground is. But tax reform, a big highway bill, certainly are in the realm of doable.
It was so subtle that it could be easily missed, but Speaker Boehner was blaming President Obama for the his own refusal to bring popular legislation to the House floor for a vote. Boehner has refused to allow the House to vote on the Senate passed immigration reform bill. He won’t bring legislation to the floor to raise the minimum wage, and he has spent nearly a year refusing to allow a vote on extending unemployment benefits. This the same John Boehner, who stated in February that he would rather , commit suicide than raise the minimum wage.
A separate issue is the list of bills that Speaker Boehner has had to pull from the House floor because he didn’t have the votes to pass them. Boehner claims that he wants to do something for the American people, but based on the items that he mentioned during his This Week interview, he is only interested in helping a few wealthy Americans. Boehner wants tax reform to help the wealthy; the Keystone XL pipeline to help the oil industry, and the Koch brothers and the medical device tax repealed.
None of what Boehner wants to do will help average Americans. Most Americans hate this congress. The reason has nothing to do with Obama and everything to with Boehner’s Koch fueled agenda. Every answer that Boehner gave in the interview was based on a single lie. It is a lie that is the basis for the repugican obstructionist cover story.
The lie is that legislation is not getting passed because Obama won’t work with repugicans. In his own words, Speaker Boehner debunked this lie when he claimed that the American people don’t want a congress that passes laws.
If Speaker Boehner wants to meet the man who is responsible for the biggest do nothing congress in history, all he has to do is look in the mirror.

Seditious repugicans Spend Paid Vacation Instigating Rebellion Among Military Generals

Doug Lamborn
Teabagger/repugican Doug Lamborn of Colorado is spending his seven week paid vacation “behind the scenes” urging military generals to resign in protest of President Obama’s policies.
This is very different from Allan West’s attempt to instigate a military rebellion via Facebook, as reported on Friday. True, West and Lamborn rely on Tea Party mythology to rally dissent within the military. However, as a failed one-term Congressman, West is reduced to making his case on Facebook. Lamborn is a sitting  member of the House Armed Services Committee with all the power that comes with those positions. He is also trying to incite rebellion at the highest levels of the military.
According to Cory Hutchins of Main.com, Lamborn admitted that he and unnamed others are asking Generals to quit the military during a meeting with 50 teabagger sycophants in a bar basement on last Tuesday night.
You can see Lamborn explain how quitting in protest would be going out in a blaze of glory in this video, from The Rachel Maddow Show.
One of the 50 people in attendance asked Lamborn and his congressional colleagues to “support the generals and troops in this country despite the fact that there is no leadership from the muslim brotherhood in the White House.”
A question based on crazy assumptions deserves and gets an equally crazy response from Lamborn.
You know what, I can’t add anything to that, but do let me reassure you on this. A lot of us are talking to the generals behind the scenes, saying, ‘Hey, if you disagree with the policy that the White House has given you, let’s have a resignation. You know, let’s have a public resignation, and state your protest, and go out in a blaze of glory… And I haven’t seen that very much, in fact I haven’t seen that at all in years.
Incidentally, top contributors to Lamborn’s campaign include Lockheed Martin and Koch Industries.
Lamborn is joined on the House Armed Services committee by 34 other repugicans, including South Carolina’s Joe “you lie” Wilson, and birther, Mike Coffman also of Colorado.  Like Lamborn, Coffman counts Koch Industries among the top contributors to his re-election campaign.
It remains to be seen if and how many of Lamborn’s colleagues Congress are collaborators in the effort to get military generals to resign in what Lamborn calls “a blaze of glory.”
There is no glory, honor or patriotism in a lawmaker trying to instigate a rebellion in the military. It’s also a rather odd way of showing support for the troops who are at war in 3 countries. Nothing could embolden our enemies more than to see lawmakers calling upon military generals to protest the Commander-In-Chief’s policies by resigning “in a blaze of glory”
As Irv Halton, a former Air Force General and Lamborn’s opponent in this year’s election, said in an email he sent to The Colorado Independent:
“Our elected officials should not be encouraging our military leaders to resign when they have a disagreement over policy. Congressman Lamborn’s statement shows his immaturity and lack of understanding of the American armed forces. Someone who serves on the House Armed Services Committee should know better.”
Lamborn’s actions are not only inappropriate but a betrayal to the United States and the troops repugicans use as props during photo ops. This is especially striking when you consider the wingnut faux meltdown over President Obama’s latte salute.
Unlike Lamborn, our military understands the meaning of honor and patriotism. Moreover, they have a greater understanding of what it means to act in the best interest of the country and finally, they know who is designated with the authority to set policy.
Even when General Patreus openly criticized our policies in Afghanistan, he refused to resign. It’s worth remembering what he had to say on the subject.
I don’t think quitting would serve our country. More likely to create a crisis. And, I told POTUS I’d support his ultimate decision. Besides, the troops can’t quit. . . .
The repugican playing at Congress chose to run away for a seven-week paid vacation.  Some of the Koch Brothers’ men chose to “debate” policy on ISIS at the clown car summit (aka The “Values” Summit”) because it’s much easier to complain and criticize on the sidelines instead of taking responsibility by debating and voting one way or another in Congress.
The repugican cabal is proving repeatedly it is not only the party of stupid and xenophobia; it is the cabal of the sedition that was bought and paid for by Charles and David Koch

Democracy Returns To Detroit…Or Does It?

Don't be so sure, Detroit...
Don’t be so sure, Detroit…
On Thursday evening, September 25, democracy was permitted to return to Detroit when City Council members voted unanimously to restore full power to the city’s elected leaders, removing Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr from his 18-month Governor-appointed tenure as the unelected King of Detroit – but re-instating him with lesser powers to oversee the ongoing bankruptcy process.
Although Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and City Councilmembers are publicly celebrating the occasion, which ostensibly gives them permission, courtesy of PA 436, to cease bending over for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder after 18 months and resume standing upright to perform the civic duties they were elected to do by Detroit residents, the uncomfortable question still hangs in the air of whether we are really, truly free to enjoy our (supposedly) constitutionally protected voting rights. Just as a refresher for those who may not recall, PA 436 is the Emergency Manager law that was forced down the throat of the Michigan electorate under cover of darkness during a lame duck session of the Michigan Legislature in December 2012 by our very own Governor Snyder, who did not approve of how the majority of his constituents went against his wishes in November and voted to repeal the Emergency Manager Law. So he had one of his legislative flunkies write up a virtually identical law to replace the one the voters repealed. Not surprisingly, this case is currently waiting to be heard in Federal Court.
But now 18 months are up, Detroit’s new mayor is in place, and we’d like to cheer the fact that Orr is no longer calling all the shots. Which is good. Only problem is, well, we still have years to endure of living under the oversight of a state-appointed board. According to the Detroit Free Press:
Even if Orr departs as EM and Duggan and the council gain full operational control over the city, Detroit’s elected officials face years of state oversight.
Under terms of the bankruptcy grand bargain to ease pension cuts and spare the Detroit Institute of Arts from selling its assets, lawmakers required a state-appointed board be created to oversee Detroit’s financial affairs for 13 years to prevent the city from backtracking post-bankruptcy. The board, similar to one that oversaw financial decisions in New York and Washington, D.C., after financial crises in those cities, will have significant say-so over contracts, spending and borrowing matters city leaders have traditionally decided.
Never quite understood how State-appointed somehow equals better than locally appointed, especially when it’s no secret of the hostile relationship between Detroit and much of the rest of the state. The repugican-controlled Michigan Legislature’s contempt for Detroit virtually runneth over. And none of this even begins to address all the ongoing mess with the Detroit Public Schools, also being overseen by an Emergency Manager who never should have been allowed in the first place, just as Orr never should have been allowed. But unlike Orr, who at least now has to step aside and relinquish the majority of his power and turn everything back over to the city’s elected leaders, DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin seems poised to maintain power at least several months beyond when his 18-month term is supposed to end at the end of September. DPS has been under emergency management since 2009. Once again from the Detroit Free Press:
Some board members believe Jack Martin’s tenure should end in late September, a year-and-a-half after the current emergency manager law took effect. They’ve asked a judge to declare that they can immediately remove him. A hearing is set for Oct. 1 in Ingham County Circuit Court.
Attorneys representing Martin, meanwhile, argue that the board is misinterpreting the law.
The law, PA 436, says if an emergency manager has served for at least 18 months after being appointed, a governing body can remove the manager by a two-thirds vote. The dispute centers on whether that period started when the law took effect in March 2013, or when Martin was appointed four months later.
School board attorney Herb Sanders said PA 436 was never intended to give each new manager 18 months on the job.
Otherwise, “the governor could then continually appoint EMs within the DPS as long as he removed or replaced each appointment prior to the expiration of the 18 months,” Sanders wrote.
Sooooo…free at last? I think not.

Vicious crackdown on Hong Kong's pro-democracy students and Occupy movement

The rallying cry of the students who staged a mass walkout and the Occupy Central demonstrators is the right to choose an administrator for HK without Beijing's oversight; but underlying it all is rage about growing wealth disparity.
When riot police attacked the students, tens of thousands of Hong Kong people flocked to the protests. A group from Occupy Central with Love and Peace were gassed by police when they broke through the police barriers around government headquarters.
The global financial institutions in HK -- huge banks, consulting firms, and trading firms -- have condemned the demonstrations, saying that Hong Kong needs "stability" more than responsive democratic institutions. These banks -- the same firms who run Wall Street and the City of London -- see no problem with extreme wealth concentration and policies that exalt property rights above any human rights cause.
The students are the vanguard of the Hong Kong unrest. Their walkout and the ensuing police violence caused the Occupy Central organizers to move up their timeline and take to the streets early in defense of the children of HK.
Police arrested more than 60 people, including Joshua Wong, the 17-year-old leader of student group Scholarism, who was dragged away after he called on the protesters to charge the government premises. He was still being detained early on Sunday, along with fellow student leaders Alex Chow and Lester Shum.
His parents said in a statement the decision to detain him was an act of "political persecution."
Wong has already won one major victory against Beijing. In 2012, he forced the Hong Kong government to shelve plans to roll out a pro-China national education scheme in the city's schools when the then 15-year-old rallied 120,000 protesters.

Social Justice Warrior? Well, Duh…

We first heard of “Social Justice Warrior” being used as an insult when we ran across some of science fiction author John Scalzi’s internet trolls. My reaction? “You say that like it’s a bad thing…” So we love this:
It’s always hilarious to hear SJW used as an insult. “Social justice warrior” is the basic plot of most ’80s action shows and cartoons. Arriving in places and fighting against discrimination? The A-Team were social justice warriors. It’s practically a synonym for Knight Rider. Insulting someone for respecting other people is like insulting them for masturbating — the fact you don’t do it has way more to do with why you’re so upset all the time.
It’s from 7 Reasons “Gamergate” Proves Humanity is Doomed.

White House moves to limit corporate tax inversions

As promised, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced Monday that the Obama administration is going to use its regulatory authority to crack down on corporate inversions, the strategy corporations have used to avoid paying taxes by buying up foreign companies and relocating their headquarters overseas. The most recent example is Burger King, which bought Canadian coffee purveyor Tim Horton's. The new regulations are intended to both make existing inversions less lucrative and to make future inversions more difficult.

Profit Perspective

"Amazon’s profits for its entire existence [20 years] are still less than what ExxonMobil takes home every 2.5 weeks."

Walmart finds a new way to exploit workers with a new dress code

Walmart may have stirred up a little more publicity than it expected when it changed its "dress code" for employees recently. The low-paid workers are not happy that they'll be expected to buy the new clothes they're required to wear to work, and they've been making themselves heard. But wait. Federal law says that employers have to provide workers with required uniforms, right? Bryce Covert explains how Walmart is getting away with making workers pay:
But, under the language used by the company, the new clothes aren't "uniforms." Instead, they're part of a new "dress code."
As Reuel Schiller, a law professor at UC Hastings, told NPR's Marketplace, "There's a legal difference between a uniform and a dress code." Walmart skirts the regulation about uniforms and is able to pass the cost on to workers by calling it a dress code rather than a uniform. It also gets around it by making employees buy clothes that they could conceivably wear elsewhere, not ones branded with a logo, for which it would otherwise be legally required to pay.
Although, if workers don't already have the required clothes, Walmart has helpfully marked the tags on items that pass muster in case workers want to buy those clothes from Walmart. Isn't that thoughtful? Worker group OUR Walmart estimates that the company stands to make $51 million or more in sales to workers buying the new not-quite-uniforms.
Walmart will also be supplying workers with a vest they're required to wear-a vest that, for all the company's big talk about American-made products, is currently being made in Jordan. They promise that soon, the vests will be made in the U.S., but:
Michelle Gloeckler, executive vice president of consumables and U.S. manufacturing at Wal-Mart, confirmed the vests were made in Jordan, explaining the retailer made this decision because it couldn't find a supplier in the U.S. to churn out 1.4 million vests under such a quick time crunch.
"The sheer number of vests that we ordered for our associates is the reason that we utilized a current apparel supplier in that location," she said. "Our intent is to replenish the vests as needed through a U.S. supplier."
What was so urgent about putting workers in new clothes that they couldn't wait long enough to get 1.4 million vests made here? And if it was hard for Walmart, with its massive profits, to get vests quickly enough, think about the strain for its workers, many of who are forced by their low wages and part-time hours to rely on food stamps and Medicaid, and are now required to quickly come up with the money to buy new work outfits.

The Truth Be Told

Green potato chips explained

Just a curious sign of inattention on the production line, as a Reddit commenter notes:
"Actually, these chips were dyed with green food coloring so they'd be easy to find coming out of the fryer. Several times a day the amount of time the chips spend in the fryer is tested, and this makes them easy to find. Someone missed them obviously."

Good Samaritans accidentally impaled car on traffic bollard

A car that was tipped on its side after a crash ended up impaled on a bollard after a team of good Samaritans tried to turn it back over. The Nissan Pixo Tekna became lodged on the metal post at around 11.30am on Friday following a crash in Poole, Dorset.
The vehicle had initially clipped the pavement and rolled onto its side before reaching its haphazard resting place after passers-by heaved it onto the bollard. Eyewitness Thom Stroud said he was driving on the road when he saw the car, which was occupied by two elderly females, hit the pavement and flip onto its driver side.

“I thought 'what the hell was that?'” he said. “A few cars stopped and I, along with some others, got out of our cars and ran over to help. There was someone on the phone calling an ambulance and I could hear the women inside the car yelling and screaming. Four or five of us tried to push it back onto its four wheels but instead it somehow got caught on the bollard on its way back down.”
Dorset Police attended the scene, where officers helped control traffic and remained while recovery workers attempted to remove the car from the bollard. The two women were checked by paramedics at the scene but had not sustained any injuries and were not taken to hospital.

Spanish village swaps bulls for giant polystyrene balls

Residents of a Madrid village have changed their annual running of the bulls to a similar event with giant 125-kilo (275 pounds) polystyrene balls, a move animal rights groups are hoping will be copied in other parts of Spain. Mataelpino, a small community of no more than 1,700 residents just outside the Spanish capital, is the first place in the country to hold a ‘running of the balls’.
Dubbed boloencierro, a made-up up term which combines the Spanish words for bowling ball and running of the bulls, the event sees participants being ‘chased’ down the sloping streets of Mataelpino by huge polystyrene balls rolling at great speed. Mataelpino has seen a rise in tourism numbers as a result and has also inspired animal rights group Peta to promote the swap around Spain.
“After bull runs the animals are tortured and killed in the bullring,” Peta president Mimi Bekhechi said. “People are also gored or trampled to death. Boloencierro is fun, for all the family and a great alternative for the growing number of people who oppose bullfighting and bull runs.” Peta is so impressed by the potential of ‘ball running’ that they’ve offered to pay the costs of holding the events to any town in Spain willing to ditch their traditional events with bulls.

Although Pamplona’s San Fermin bull runs are the most famous internationally, there are many towns and villages in Spain, Portugal and some parts of South America that have their own ‘encierros’. Some have no official age limit and injuries and casualties are not uncommon. There is growing opposition within Spain to sports events and festivals involving bulls.

Vanishing spray deemed too dangerous for Germany’s Bundesliga

The vanishing spray used by referees at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil to mark where players should stand at free-kicks has been outlawed in Germany.
Germany’s Bundesliga was meant to follow the example of the English Premier League and introduce the foam at the end of October. But trading standards watchdog TÜV has hampered the move, saying it should not be allowed in the country. “In its current form the product cannot be used in Germany,” TÜV said.
They argue it could have negative health effects as the green house gas levels in the spray are 33 percent which are “far higher” than the allowed amount. The Argentinean product also doesn’t have a flammable warning on the spray can and no indication of volume, therefore doesn’t meet regulations, Greta Dau from TÜV said.
A spokesman for TÜV described the details on the can as “lacking, incomplete and not in German”. The German Football Association said it would now look at alternative products to the Argentinean vanishing spray. The foam was meant to debut on October 17th for the first time in the Bundesliga. If it is used without the TÜV’s approval referees could be fined.

Random Photos

A Voice for the Dead

Recovering the Lost History of Sobibór
by Claus Hecking
A Voice for the Dead: Recovering the Lost History of Sobibór
Henchman with the Nazi SS sought to cover up the mass murder that occurred at the Sobibór concentration camp in eastern Poland. Archeologists recently uncovered the site's hidden gas chambers and important artifacts that shed light on the victims.  More

Mystery of mummified human toe found outside post office

Part of a human toe was found outside the post office in Beverley, Western Australia, on Friday morning.
A staff member was sweeping the verandah when they spotted the toe that had become mummified with age.
Police say at this stage there is no evidence of suspicious or criminal activity linked to the appendage.

Man accused of swapping stolen $160,000 diamond for one gram of marijuana

A United Parcel Service worker in Arizona who discovered a $160,000 diamond inside a package he stole inexplicably traded the valuable jewel for a bag of marijuana, Arizona investigators say. Walter Earl Morrison, 20, allegedly took the package late last month while unloading a UPS cargo plane at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.
Morrison, a ramp agent, stuffed the parcel under his shirt, according to a probable cause statement. Morrison later told police officers that he thought the package would contain cash “since it was being sent by Brink’s.” Instead, Morrison found a small cardboard box inside the UPS parcel. After placing the container down his shirt, Morrison went into a UPS restroom and opened the box, discovering it contained a diamond (which he then stuffed in his pocket).
During a police interrogation earlier this month, Morrison confessed to the theft, saying that he called a friend and swapped the diamond “in exchange for one gram of marijuana.” A gram of marijuana retails for about $20. The diamond was subsequently recovered by Phoenix police. Morrison was arrested on September 16 on a felony theft charge. A Maricopa County grand jury indicted him on Monday on the same charge.
Now locked up in the county jail, Morrison is scheduled for arraignment on October 1. Morrison, who lives with his grandmother, has been fired by UPS. During police questioning, “Walter admitted he made a mistake,” according to court records. While this mistake is not further described, Morrison was apparently referring to the theft of the parcel, not his sale of a $160,000 diamond for a small amount of marijuana.
There's a news video here.

Where Do Genes Come From?

When life emerged on Earth about 4 billion years ago, the earliest microbes had a set of basic genes that succeeded in keeping them alive. In the age of humans and other large organisms, there are a lot more genes to go around. Where did all of those new genes come from?

Firefighters used oxygen to revive hamsters rescued from burning home

Firefighters were forced to dig through their "Pet emergency pocket guide" on Friday afternoon when they rescued a family of hamsters from a burning mobile home in Lacey, Washington.
The crews made quick work of the fire, but their day of heroics was just beginning. While battling the fire, firefighters spotted a family of hamsters inside the burning building.
They grabbed the five rodents - later identified as Oreo, Madonna and three unnamed babies - and brought them outside to safety. Using the knowledge gleaned from their "Pet emergency pocket guide," firefighters treated the injured hamsters with oxygen and other first aid equipment. Tim Hulse with the Lacey Fire Department said the team was able to save all but one of the hamsters.

"Yes. Our crews are trained and specially equipped to care for animals that have been rescued from a house fire," Lacey Fire Department officials said following the rescue. Nobody was inside when the fire started and no firefighters were injured, Hulse said. A preliminary investigation indicates the fire started in the clothes dryer in the laundry room, according to the fire department.

Were you aware ...

African vultures are being killed by poachers and are now as endangered as the rhinos.

Have You Ever Heard A Kookaburra Before?

You ever heard the varying cries and calls of the Kookaburra bird? Trust me, this is one of those questions you would know the answer to if you had. These particular birds have a call that is quite unlike any other bird you have ever heard.Though these birds are indigenous to New Guinea and Australia, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens got their hands on one and decided to show us just how this remarkable bird communicates.
It may not be music to your ears, but it is quite an aural spectacle.
This is the "jungle bird" sounds from the old Tarzan movies of our youth, especially the Johnny Weismuller ones filmed in Florida. .

Animal Pictures

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Daily Drift

Editor's Note: We had a roll on the floor holding your belly because it hurt so much from laughing moment earlier when a moronic idiot (read: wingnut) during the course of multiple incoherent diatribes said we had 'zero cedibillity'. We were reminded of this from another of prime example of wingnut intellect ...
Stupid is Stupid and you can't fix it. ...!
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Today in History

1197 Emperor Henry VI dies in Messina, Sicily.
1399 Richard II of England is deposed. His cousin, Henry of Lancaster, declares himself king under the name Henry IV.
1493 Christopher Columbus leaves Cadiz, Spain, on his second voyage to the new world.
1513 Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean.
1789 Congress votes to create a U.S. army.
1833 A civil war breaks out in Spain between Carlisists, who believe Don Carlos deserves the throne, and supporters of Queen Isabella.
1850 Mormon leader Brigham Young is named the first governor of the Utah Territory.
1864 Union troops capture the Confederate Fort Harrison, outside Petersburg, Virginia.
1879 Dissatisfied Ute Indians kill Agent Nathan Meeker and nine others in the "Meeker Massacre."
1932 A five-day work week is established for General Motors workers.
1939 Germany and the Soviet Union reach an agreement on the division of Poland.
1941 30,000 Jews are gunned down in Kiev when Henrich Himmler sends four strike squads to exterminate Soviet Jewish civilians and other "undesirables."
1943 Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf is published in the United States.
1950 Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev repeatedly disrupts a UN General Assembly meeting with his violent outbursts over intervention in the Belgian Congo, US U2 spy planes, and arms control.
1960 General Douglas MacArthur officially returns Seoul, South Korea, to President Syngman Rhee.
1962 Canada launches its first satellite, Alouette 1.
1962 The popular Argentinian comic strip Mafalda beings publication, in the weekly Primera Plana; focusing on a six-year-old girl (Mafalda) and her friends, it has been called the Argentinian Peanuts.
1966 Chevrolet introduces the Camaro, which will become an iconic car.
1971 Oman joins the Arab League.
1979 John Paul II becomes the first pope ever to visit Ireland.
1990 The YF-22, later named F-22 Raptor, flies for the first time.
1992 Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello impeached for corruptions; he was the youngest president in the nation's history, taking office at age 40 in 1990.
2008 Dow Jones Industrial Average plummets 777.68 points in the wake of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual bankruptcies, the largest single-day point loss in Wall Street history.

Why Monsters Were Huge on TV in the '60s

Remembering The Addams Family and The Munsters as they turn 50
by Greg Daugherty
Two anniversaries this year shouldn’t slip by unnoticed: Both The Addams Family and The Munsters are turning 50.
Introduced just six days apart in the fall of 1964, they represented something very different from the television we were accustomed to, as you may remember if you were around at the time. Unlike the picture-perfect families of most sitcoms, these were monsters — warts, fangs, neck bolts and all.
The Addams Family, which aired first, was already familiar to our parents’ generation, at least to those who read The New Yorker, where its characters had been appearing in cartoons since 1938. The patriarch, Gomez, wasn’t exactly a monster but sort of a sinister version of Groucho Marx. His wife, Morticia, was said to be a witch, though she could easily have passed for a vampire. Their butler, Lurch, was a Frankenstein’s monster type, but more polite, better dressed and pretty good on the harpsichord.
And there were others: goonish, lovable lightbulb-in-mouth Uncle Fester; Cousin Itt, a walking mop of hair; and a disembodied hand who went by the name of Thing. The Addamses were creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky, as per their theme music — a song that, if you’re like me, still plays in your head five decades later.
The Munsters, meanwhile, worked from a more classic line-up, with a Frankenstein dad, vampire mom and grandpa, and werewolf son. The black sheep of the family was niece Marilyn, a pretty young college student.
The Monster Craze
The jokey monsters of the mid-'60s were part of a TV craze that began at least a decade earlier. In every city of any size, local stations seemed to have a Chiller Theater or Creature Feature, pairing a campy host with old black-and-white horror films. New York had Zacherley. Los Angeles had Vampira. Chicago had Mad Marvin, then Svengoolie, and still later Son of Svengoolie. Pittsburgh, where I lived for a time, had the great Chilly Billy Cardille, who also hosted wrestling.
Their movies gave us vampires, zombies, mummies, mad scientists and all the rest, plus the occasional giant spider, humongous ant or 50-foot woman. And sometimes they gave us nightmares.
It may have been a prepubescent guy thing, but many of us not only watched these dreadful movies but also spent our allowances on monster trading cards, Aurora monster models and monster magazines. The best of the latter was Famous Monsters of Filmland, edited by a horror and sci-fi buff named Forrest J Ackerman, a man often credited with coining the term “sci-fi.” Incidentally, if you find any old copies of FM in your attic, check their prices on eBay before you pitch them — and be grateful your mom didn’t.
Taming Fear
All in all, it was a second Golden Age of monsters, rivaling only the 1930s, which produced classic horror films like Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933) and countless others.
So why monsters, and why then? Maybe the easiest explanation is that we lived in a scary time and found escape in scary things we knew couldn't really harm us.
At school, our duck-and-cover drills reminded us that the capital-b Bomb could fall from the sky at any moment. We lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, when atomic war with the Soviet Union seemed imminent. We saw President Kennedy and his accused assassin shot to death, Oswald on live television.
Perhaps not coincidentally, it was just 10 months later that The Addams Family and The Munsters came into our lives — for many of us on the same TV sets where we’d watched the very-real horrors of November 1963.
Monsters kept us amused until we were old enough for more grown-up escapes like sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll and careerism. As to the Addamses and Munsters, both of their shows were history by 1967, canceled after two seasons.
None of this is meant to exaggerate their cultural significance. Their goal, after all, was to give us a few laughs every week and sell as much cereal and toothpaste as possible. How well the old episodes have stood the test of time is a probably matter of taste. You can sample some of them online if you dare (and have a lot of time on your hands).
But the fact that they are half a century old? Now that’s scary.

Forced underage marriage church uses Hobby Lobby to defend itself in child labor case

The effects of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision are spreading, influencing a child labor investigation in Utah:
The Sept. 11 decision by U.S. District Court Judge David Sam says Vergel Steed, who belongs to the fundamentalist cult of jesus christ of latter-day saints (FLDS), doesn't have to comply with a federal subpoena because naming church leaders would violate his religious freedom. [...]

"It is not for the Court to 'inquir[e] into the theological merit of the belief in question'," Sam wrote, citing Hobby Lobby. "The Court's 'only task is to determine whether the claimant's belief is sincere, and if so, whether the government has applied substantial pressure on the claimant to violate that belief.'"
Vergel Steed believes it would violate his religion to name the fundamentalist cult of jesus christ of latter-day saints leaders who may or may not have sent children to harvest pecans, so investigators looking into that child labor issue will just have to find another way to find out which FLDS leaders might be involved. Because religious freedom! Bear in mind when we're talking about the sacred religious importance of keeping FLDS leadership a secret that:
FLDS, a radical offshoot sect from the mormon cult, has been under the scrutiny of authorities for years on issues including alleged child labor violations and forced marriages of grown men to underage girls. The cult's former president Warren Jeff's is serving a life sentence in prison for numerous sex crimes including incest and pedophilia.
I guess if you were the leader of a church breaking all manner of laws and you'd seen your predecessor go to prison, you would feel very strongly that it was a matter of faith that the government not know your name. And now, thanks to Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court, that secrecy is a matter of religious freedom. Thanks, guys.

Your Politics Stink

Body odor may hint at a person's politics, according to a new study that finds people prefer the odors of those whose ideology matches their own. 

The Enlightenment and Awakening of an ex-repugican

A former repugican tells about how his experiences in post-Katrina New Orleans and then Iraq destroyed his repugican worldview.

Look sharp, Texas kids, your new wingnut textbooks are almost ready

Sorry kids, you're screwed.
Tuesday saw a contentious public hearing on Texas's new proposed school textbooks, the ones that are required to adhere to 2010-established state standards set by a State Board of Education populated by lunatic fringe wingnuts and drafted with the help of such dimwits as wingnut "historian" David Barton. The resulting crop of rewritten textbooks are in, and while the experts and others had some mighty harsh words for those results, the Board will be picking from this crop of textbooks this November, probably with precious few edits in the meantime. Shall we take a look?
From Pearson, one of the most dominant textbook publishers, comes a social science textbook that sounds like a fine choice for Texas schoolchildren. Learn 'em up right, it will.
In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. taxes are 'what we pay for civilized society.' Society does not appear to be much more civilized today than it was when Justice Holmes made that observation in 1927. However, 'what we pay' has certainly gone up.
That was back in the era when we were being rocked by market crashes and depressions and old and poor people were dying in the streets and the meat you bought might still occasionally have a worker's thumb in it, when racism against pretty much everyone was rampant and in certain states you could lynch any black person you wanted if they looked at your womenfolk funny, but won't somebody think about the taxes? So many taxes.
In another chapter, the Pearson text takes aim at affirmative action with a cartoon showing two aliens in a space ship landing on earth. Pointing toward a man in a suit and tie, one of them exclaims: "This planet is great!-He says we qualify for affirmative action!" The only context is a caption asking readers to parse the cartoon's meaning.
The meaning is that you are growing up in a backwater state where your parents and lawmakers still bitterly resent you having to go to a desegregated school and are expressing that through passive-aggressive insertion of lackluster conservative humor in your social studies textbooks. Feel free to copy that one down, kids, I've just saved you three precious minutes of your lives.