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


Sunday, August 10, 2014

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Today in History

955 Otto organizes his nobles and defeats the invading Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld in Germany.
1539 King Francis of France declares that all official documents are to be written in French, not Latin.
1557 French troops are defeated by Emmanuel Philibert's Spanish army at St. Quentin, France.
1582 Russia ends its 25-year war with Poland.
1628 The Swedish warship Vasa capsizes and sinks in Stockholm harbor on her maiden voyage.
1779 Louis XVI of France frees the last remaining serfs on royal land.
1831 William Driver of Salem, Massachusetts, is the first to use the term "Old Glory" in connection with the American flag, when he gives that name to a large flag aboard his ship, the Charles Daggett.
1846 The Smithsonian Institution is established in Washington through the bequest of James Smithson.
1864 Confederate Commander John Bell Hood sends his cavalry north of Atlanta to cut off Union General William Sherman's supply lines.
1911 The House of Lords in Great Britain gives up its veto power, making the House of Commons the more powerful House.
1913 The Treaty of Bucharest ends the Second Balkan War.
1941 Great Britain and the Soviet Union promise aid to Turkey if it is attacked by the AxisPowers.
1949 National Military Establishment renamed Department of Defense.
1950 President Harry S. Truman calls the National Guard to active duty to fight in the Korean War.
1954 English jockey Sir Gordon Richards retires with a world-record total of 4,870 victories, later broken by Johnny Longden of the United States. Richards was the first jockey ever to be knighted.
1954 The groundbreaking ceremony for the St. Lawrence Seaway is held at Massena, New York.
1960 NASA launches Discoverer 13 satellite; it would become the first object ever recovered from orbit.
1970 Rocker Jim Morrison tried in Miami on "lewd & lascivious behavior." Although convicted and sentenced to jail, he was free on bond while his case was being appealed when he died in Paris, July 3, 1971.
1975 David Frost purchases the exclusive rights to interview Richard Nixon.
1977 US and Panama sign Panama Canal Zone accord, guaranteeing Panama would have control of the canal after 1999.
1994 The last British troops leave Hong Kong. After 153 years of British rule, the island is returned to China.
2003 For the first time ever, temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit when thermometers hit 101.3 F (38.5 Celsius)  at Kent.
2006 All toiletries are banned from commercial airplanes after Scotland Yard disrupts a a major terrorist plot involving liquid explosives. After a few weeks, the toiletries ban was modified.

Non Sequitur

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What Does That Dangly Thing In The Back Of Your Throat Do?

That dangly thing in the back of your throat is called the uvula. It's one of the weirdest looking features of the human body. Yet despite its infamy, scientists have spent centuries puzzling over its function.
Its full name is the 'palatine uvula,' referring to its location on your soft palate. Through history, scientists have had many theories about the uvula. But what does the dangly throat thing really do?

A Toddler Causes Chaos and Lockdown By Squeezing Through A White House Fence

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A toddler caused a bit of an uproar at the White House by getting away from his parents and squeezing through a fence in front of the residence for the Obama family.
NBC’s Chris Jansing tweeted the details:
A toddler got away from his parents and squeezed through the fence at the White House tonight - causing a brief lockdown on the lawn.
The tot was rounded up by the Secret Service and returned to his parents. Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan delivered this instant classic of a statement, “We were going to wait until he learned to talk to question him, but in lieu of that he got a timeout and was sent on way with parents.”
Anyone who has ever had their toddler wander off from them at the store can understand what the parents must have been feeling. Imagine looking up and seeing your little one making his or her way towards the residence where the Obamas live. Toddlers are tricky, and a lot faster than they look, but mom and dad must have been a mix of terrified and embarrassed that their little got away.
Luckily, the youngster wasn’t injured and everyone can have a nice chuckle over the toddler that managed to “breach security.”

The repugican Dreams Shattered as Koch Ideology Flops In Red State Kansas

The state of Kansas is precisely what Koch-repugicans envision for America if not for those pesky Democrats in the Senate and the White House, and they want voter…
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The repugicans and their teabagger cohort have claimed they want to take the country back to an era of wonderment, morality, and prosperity if only they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. Their Koch brother funders claim, like repugicans, that if Americans could only understand the beauty of their libertarian vision for America, they would vote en masse for repugicans and watch the country thrive and prosper economically in a wingnut promised land where religion and Koch ideology rules.
If any American took the most extreme repugican members of Congress and combined them into one super-wingnut, they would produce Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Brownback is a religio-wingnut extremist, Koch brother and ALEC ideologue, anti-government teabagger, and shrub-economic sycophant with an equally lunatic fringe legislature taking Kansas in the direction repugicans want to take America. The state of Kansas is precisely what Koch-repugicans envision for America if not for those pesky Democrats in the Senate and the White House, and they want voter approval to replicate for the entire country what the Kochs and Brownback’s junta did for Kansas.
As reported, Kansas is going broke and on the path to bankruptcy thanks to Brownback’s adherence to the repugican habit of giving the state’s assets to the rich in the form of tax cuts. For the second time in two months, another credit rating agency downgraded Kansas financial situation. Moody’s downgraded Kansas in May, and this week Standard and Poor’s followed suit citing “a structurally unbalanced budget following state income tax cuts” that a Kansas professor of public finance said will certainly get worse. Kenneth Kriz said, “not only was the state downgraded, but it was put on what is called a ‘negative outlook’ watch” he claims means more downgrades are likely. Kriz continued that “the real issue here is business. One of the things businesses look at when deciding on an area is the credit rating.” Kansas is lagging the nation in job creation, revenue is non-existent, education is starved of funding, and the state could not afford $100,000 to keep homeless shelters for children open. However, the economic devastation is just one aspect of a completely repugican government.
Kansas under Brownback’s mismanagement epitomizes extreme Koch brother policies they helped enact by engineering a repugican-tea party legislature that it is arguably the most wingnut, psuedo-religious, and libertarian in the nation; a legislature and governor that believe, like national repugicans, they are on a mission from god. Subsequently, they have dealt Kansas some serious old testament ruination that is a portent of what a Koch-directed repugican government will subject the entire nation to if given the chance.
In a typical Koch brother and ALEC move, Brownback attacked teachers’ unions by enacting ALEC template legislation called “innovation zones” allowing school districts to ignore existing state laws regarding education curriculum and collectively-bargained teacher salaries. Brownback also unconstitutionally slashed education funding to the bone leading the Kansas Supreme Court to order him to restore the funding, and abolished all arts programs across the board just for fun.
Since the Koch brothers helped install a repugican legislature and governor, Brownback closely-adhered to their ALEC privatization scam and privatized Medicaid to shift federal healthcare funding for the poor to private corporations, and Brownback rejected free Medicaid expansion to further restrict poor Kansas resident’s access to medical care and cement his standing as a “true religio-wingnut.”
While Brownback was a United States senator, he built up a reputation as an extremely religio-wingnut, and with a willing legislature at his beck and call, he immediately attacked women’s reproductive rights with religious zeal. Brownback earned his un-Concerned anti-Women against America, anti-Family non-Research cabal, U.S. coven of catholic pedophilesbishops, and national anti-chioce cabal bona fides for assailing women so Americans can see how religious repugicans intend on taking women back to the Dark Ages.
Brownback and the Republican legislature defunded Planned Parenthood, imposed one of the harshest anti-abortion laws in the nation, unilaterally declared that life begins at zygote (fertilization), and forced the last remaining abortion providers to read a religious script with medically false, and frightening, propaganda to women seeking the procedure. To punctuate the point that he governs Kansas according to his deeply-held phony christian delusions, Brownback wrote the words “jesus + mary” at the top of the bill when he signed it.
The Kansas repugicans did not fail to impress gun or 10th Amendment fanatics when they passed the “Second Amendment Protection Act” declaring Kansas is immune to federal gun safety laws because it is a “sovereign state.” In April, Brownback signed legislation that prohibits all county and municipal initiatives in place to regulate firearms and ammunition as a nod to the NRA’s supremacy over local communities and counties; its power over the state government was never in question.
It is difficult to feel empathy for Kansas residents because they did vote for the Koch brother, religio-wingnut “demolition team” decimating the state, but to be fair, they were heavily influenced by big money from the Koch brothers who were desperate to reveal how wonderful their vision for the country worked in a state that was their “beta test” for the entire nation. The repugicans cannot claim any longer that their grand experiment and Koch vision would work marvelously if only they had control of the Senate and White House, because they have total control of Kansas and their ideology has devastated the state economically, sent women to the Dark Ages, and put education back 20 years.
Everything Sam Brownback and the Kansas repugican legislature enacted has been introduced by repugicans in the House and Senate whether it is assigning “personhood” to zygotes, eviscerating education, privatizing Medicaid and Medicare, or handing nation’s revenue stream directly to corporations and the rich. Everything national repugicans and the Koch brothers have dreamed of enacting over the past five years was imposed on Kansas and is a monumental disaster for the state and the people.
Even current and former Kansas repugicans acknowledge the abject failure of the Koch-repugican economic vision and it led over 100 of them to endorse Brownback’s Democratic opponent citing both his catastrophic economic scheme and extremist agenda as a disaster for Kansas. They stopped short of calling it a Koch brother disaster likely because the Kochs are Kansas boys. For contrast, a state repugicans and the Kochs hate with biblical passion, California, is leading the nation in both prosperity and jobs because of a voter-approved tax increase and strong environmental regulations. In fact, California is in the black, increasing funding for education and social programs, and paying down the debilitating debt incurred from the last repugican junta.
This column has said it before, but if Americans want to know what the repugican, teabagger, Koch, and ALEC agenda will mean for America if repugicans gain control of Congress and the White House, they now have a living, breathing, and bleeding example in Kansas. A few months ago Charles Koch penned an op-ed complaining that no-one appreciates his vision for America because it has never been given a chance. Now that the Koch vision is a reality in Kansas, it is doubtful that repugicans will do anything other than push harder to see it enacted nationally because wreaking devastation on the economy and the people is what they do best; just ask Kansas residents.

This repugican Candidate Paints Over The Word repugican On Her Own Campaign Signs

New Mexico’s repugican Secretary of State Dianna Duran is going to some extreme lengths to hide her party affiliation from voters. Duran’s campaign has painted over the word repugican on her own campaign signs.
ProgressNowNM has the details, “After ProgressNowNM staff spotted Duran campaign signs which had been partially painted over at the Billy the Kid Pageant days in Lincoln last weekend, we asked campaign staffers to explain. Campaign volunteers told us that identifying with the Republican brand is ‘bad in print’ and that her party affiliation was ‘not a good thing for them to know.’”
Picture of the painted over sign via ProgressNM:
duran-sign
A male volunteer added, Democrats “get a little fussy sometimes”, and “she needs all the help she can get.”
The repugican brand is so damaged that their own candidates are blacking out their cabal affiliation on campaign signs.
There is also audio of the Duran campaign saying that her cabal affiliation is not a good thing for voters to know:
The repugicans are not popular in New Mexico, as only 1/3 of the state’s voters are registered repugicans, but the painting over of cabal affiliation on campaign signs is a silly and desperate move. It’s hard to believe that Duran’s campaign couldn’t afford to print up some new signs without the cabal affiliation on them. Painting over the signs is the kind of cheesy stunt that was destined to be caught by somebody. There is an obvious blotch of paint that doesn’t match the rest of the sign.
Duran is one of the state’s two highest ranking repugican officials. The other is Gov. Susana Martinez, so one would think it would be to her benefit to play up the fact that Duran is one of the top repugicans in New Mexico if it weren’t for the fact that the New Mexico repugican cabal was caught training poll watchers to turn away handicapped and Spanish speaking citizens in 2012. Maybe Duran wants voters to forget how she wasted taxpayer money on a voter fraud investigation that turned up no instances of improperly registered voters actually voting.
The next time the media starts talking about the decline of President Obama or the 2014 repugican “wave” remember that there are repugicans out there who are blacking out their cabal affiliation on campaign signs.

Cowardly repugican Congressman Caught on Video Ducking and Running Away From DREAMers

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Steve Pearce (r-NM) was caught on video literally running away, and ducking into a room to avoid questions from DREAMers.
Here’s the video:
When Steve Pearce (r-NM) was confronted by DREAMers who wanted answers about his votes on immigration, the congressman pulled a Rand Paul and ran away from his questioners. Pearce ducked into the safety of a repugican fundraiser while never once stopping to acknowledge the questions from the DREAMers of to offer an answer.
You may remember Rep. Pearce from the skewering he received from Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert last month:
Pearce was ripped by Colbert for wanted to send the refugee kids home while admitting that during his congressional visit to Honduras and Guatemala the House delegation couldn’t leave the hotel much because of the dangers. When members of Congress are running away from their constituents, there is a real problem. Republicans are so terrified of the immigration issue that it literally causes them to run and hide. Congress is supposed to solve problems, not run away from them.
The repugicans can run. They can even hide, but they can’t avoid the issue forever. Millions of DREAMers are here in this country, and they are demanding accountability from members of the House like Pearce. The recent House vote to deport them, only served to make the DREAMers angry.
This repugican act of flight marked the third time this week that repugicans have been confronted by DREAMers.  Steve King (r-IA), and Rand Paul (r-KY) didn’t come out looking any better that Pearce did. The repugicans are demonstrating that their policy on immigration is to talk tough then run as quickly as possible. The repugicans in Congress are substituting cowardice for leadership and tough talk for real solutions.
Our country deserves better than a group of cowards who flee questions.

Armed Wingnut Militias Amassing Along Texas Border With State Lawmaker's Blessing

For much of the summer, right-wing militiamen have gathered near the Texas-Mexico border, many of them claiming that they are there as part of something called "Operation Secure Our Border." They include members of a movement that the shrub denounced as "vigilantes," and they also include members of even more radical groups that promote wild conspiracy theories and that explicitly threaten violence against the government.
And now, they have the blessing of a sitting Texas lawmaker. After touring the Rio Grande Valley near the border, repugican state Rep. Doug Miller claimed that the militias "have a right to be there" and that they "are not currently a problem." According to Miller, he was told that the militias "are on private property, helping ranchers and owners to keep illegals coming onto or through their property … and there haven't been any problems."
Miller is not the highest-ranking Texas official who has dismissed criticism of armed vigilantes patrolling the Texas border. Late last month, the 12 Democratic members of Texas' congressional delegation penned a letter to Greg Abbott, the state's attorney general and the repugican candidate to be Texas' next governor. In it, the 12 lawmakers quote a militia leader who said that "You see an illegal. You point your gun dead at him, right between the eyes, and you say, 'Get back across the border or you will be shot.'" They also ask Abbott to "denounce the actions of these militia groups and clarify the jurisdiction these militia groups have to patrol alongside local law enforcement and Border Patrol agents."
A spokesperson for Abbott dismissed the letter as a "partisan political stunt."
The militias Abbott would not denounce include a volatile mix of paranoid anti-government groups and potentially violent gun agitators. According to the Dallas Morning News, the earliest wave of militiamen coming to Texas included members of the Oathkeepers, a group which describes itself as an "association of currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, peace officers, fire-fighters, and veterans who swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic … and meant it." Their website warns of government officials "disarm[ing] the American people," "confiscat[ing] the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies," and "blockad[ing] American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps."

Lush Dimbulb Insanely Claims Liberals Want To Use Ticks To Force People To Be Vegetarians

During the broadcast of The Lush Dimbulb Hate Talk Show on Friday, Dimbulb stated that there is a tick in Texas that makes people allergic to beef and radical liberals…

Surprise! Bryan Fischer is in Theological Accord with Iraq’s ISIL

Bryan Fischer agrees with ISIL that the Yazidis, an ancient religious minority facing genocide, are devil worshipers… 
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If you believe our Religio-wingnuts are any different, philosophically, than Iraq’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL (often called ISIS), then you are wrong. They have more in common than a simple desire to cloak their thuggery in divine sanction.
Bryan Fischer, the un-American anti-Family Asshats' director of issues analysis, in a self-styled “moment of theological accord” agrees with ISIL that the Yazidis, a religious minority now facing genocide, are Satanists.
And, of course, Fischer is outraged that President Obama would intervene in Iraq to protect a bunch of devil worshipers, saying on his hate speech show Focal Point,
They go after devil worshipers and all of the sudden the entire weight of the United States government is sent in there to relieve them and to avenge them.
Not true, of course. A few fighter planes do not represent the full weight of the United States government. Fischer also says that “while christians were under attack…nothing from this White House.”
He went on to claim in a column yesterday,
The city of Mosul, long a haven for christ-followers, has been emptied of christians who were ordered by the armies of Allah to convert, submit or die. All 45 christian structures in the city have been seized and converted to muslim use. Obama yawns.
Wait a minute! Wasn’t it Bryan Fischer himself who said that muslims are parasites who must convert or die? Why yes it was!
Yes, Bryan Fischer is SO in theological accord with ISIL.
Watch him on Focal Point courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
President Obama now has decided to go back into Iraq, and it’s because ISIS, the Muslim militants, are slaughtering devil worshipers. So President Obama…bringing the full weight of the American into Iraq, now, after months and months and months of begging from the Iraqi government, now he’s going in there because devil worshipers are under attack.
What Fischer ignores in his tirade are the facts. As the christian science monitor points out, the Yazidis are not, in fact, devil worshipers:
Ethnically Kurds, the Yazidis’ faith combines elements of zoroastrianism from ancient Persia, sufi islam, judaism and christianity along with beliefs from ancient Mesopotamia. It’s a closed and still secretive religion – members have to be born into the faith and cannot marry outside of it.
Yazidis believe that god entrusted the world to seven angels – the chief angel known in earthly form as the peacock angel who refused to bow down before Adam. While Yazidis see it as proof of his devotion to god, the narrative’s parallels with the fallen angel have led some muslims to accuse them of devil worship.
Fischer, writing in his column yesterday, tells us:
In a rare point of theological accord, both muslims and christians agree that the archangel revered by the Yazidis is in fact the Prince of Darkness. The new testament describes him this way, “Satan (who) disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), eager to deceive the gullible into believing that he is good rather than evil. The Yazidis have fallen for his lies.
There is certainly an attempt here to deceive the gullible.
This is bad theology. The old testament does not think Satan is a bad guy. In the old testament, Satan is simply god’s lieutenant. Not an agent of evil. The snake in the Garden of Eden is just a snake. Even today judaism does not have a devil. That is a christian hang-up all too many wingnut christians throughout history have been eager to hang on everybody else, this author included.
It’s endlessly fascinating to see how eager these religio-wingnut figures are to cite the old testament, until the old testament is inconvenient, and then suddenly the new testament trumps the old. In most cases, as when jesus extols the poor and condemns the rich, you wouldn’t know jesus or the new testament exists.
Keep in mind that the Yazidis, like the ancient world’s Pagan population, had their beliefs before christianity and before islam. Then christianity came along and proclaimed these types of belief to be of the devil and said the gods were not gods at all but demons. Then islam came along and did the same thing. What these interloping religions say about religions older than themselves matters not at all, certainly not in the court of world opinion.
The Yazidis are people. It doesn’t matter what their beliefs are. If they were devil worshipers there would be nothing wrong with that from an American perspective, which cherishes a tradition of religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment.
Nor more than ISIL’s rancid theology do Fischer’s screwed up religious beliefs justify genocide, and he ought to be begging now for the opportunity to apologize for toeing the ISIL line, rather than condemning Obama for saving innocent lives.
Nor, in fact, are the Yazidis, unlike christians in Iraq, targeted for extermination:
Unlike christians, who have been told they must either pay a religious tax or convert to islam to avoid death, the Yazidis are considered by Sunni militants to be infidels who deserve extermination.
This is exactly what Iilam did to Pagans in the 7th century when they exploded out of Arabia. People of the book, like christians and jews, historically get some consideration for having common roots. Pagans, not so much. You don’t get cushy offers to convert or die when you’re a Pagan. You just get dead.
Unless you’re a woman. Then you get enslaved. But then, troglodytes like Fischer no doubt think that’s a pretty great fate for a woman. After all, Fischer has said that women were designed to be ruled over by man, and in modern wingnuttery’s PoV, slaves have got it pretty good. Better than their masters even, so lucky them!
Fischer happily ignores these facts as well, claiming in his column that,
The Yazidis are without a doubt in a terrible, terrible plight, with 40,000 of them trapped by muslims on a mountain with no food or water. Many of their children have already died of thirst.
The point here is certainly not to criticize President Obama for taking action to relieve their suffering. The point here is that he has shown no empathy or inclination to intervene to stop the wholesale slaughter of christians by muslims in the same part of the world. It has taken the suffering of devil-worshipers to get his attention and rouse him to action.
Since they’ve already labeled Obama as demon-possessed if not the Antichrist himself, it’s a pretty easy connection for low-grade thinkers like Fischer to make.
And don’t for a minute think that should the opportunity arise, the religio-wingnuts – far from limiting themselves to a shared theology – would behave any differently than ISIL. They’ve already got divine sanction, after all, to kill the rest of us dead.

Ziggy

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Burglars broke into school, cooked dinner in canteen, then pulled Xmas crackers

Police are investigating a burglary where someone broke into a primary school and stole a large quantity of meat and fish from the freezers in the canteen, before cooking and eating the food.
The burglars complimented their meal with apple juice from the store cupboard and helped themselves to ice cream for dessert, at Sennybridge Primary School in Sennybridge, Powys, Wales.
They also pulled a stash of Christmas crackers they found before making-off. A spokesman for Dyfed-Powys Police said: “This is an unusual burglary as the offenders gained entry to the premises, and once inside went to the canteen.
“A large quantity of meat and fish was removed from the freezer, cooked in the oven at the premises and then eaten on plates using cutlery from the canteen. Anyone who witnessed anything suspicious, or anyone with any information, is asked to call police.” The break-in happened sometime between Friday, July 18, and Sunday, July 27, but the details have only now been made public.

Man donated pint of blood at mobile laboratory before returning to steal bag of blood

Police in Huntsville, Alabama, are investigating a crime they say they've never heard of before. A man stole blood after he donated at the LifeSouth Community Blood Center's mobile laboratory on Tuesday evening. The technician said the 21-year-old man walked out of the bloodmobile after donating a pint of blood and got into his car.
He then walked back into the mobile lab, claiming he left his identification inside. That's when he stole a bag of blood. Workers said the man wasn't armed, but he appeared agitated. The technician on the bus tried to block the doorway, but he shoved her out of his way. No one was injured in the robbery.
Police are investigating, using the information gathered at the bloodmobile. “A lot of things are protected by HIPA,” explained LifeSouth District Director Jason Hodges. The Health Information Protection Act means that much of the medical information must be kept private - even from the police.
“But we gave what we could to the police and they’re working on investigating for us,” said Hodges. He added that this wasn't something they planned for, but now they will be prepared if it happens again. Police say that it is unclear if the blood stolen was the man’s own. Once correctly identified, the man will be charged with robbery.

Sheriff undecided about what to do with drunken sailor

The question of what to do with the drunken sailor will be addressed in three weeks’ time after a Latvian sea caption admitted sailing his ship down the River Tay while almost four times the limit. Sheriff Alastair Brown told Andrejs Borodins he was considering a jail sentence due to the seriousness of his actions in piloting his 300ft container ship down the narrow part of the river from Perth 10 days ago. He told the 53-year-old: “I regard this as a very serious offense and there was the potential to do serious damage and to put lives at risk.” He said the accused had an alcohol level “within touching distance of four times the limit,” and added: “A custodial sentence is a very serious possibility.”
Borodins was remanded in custody for three weeks for a report despite an appeal by his solicitor, John Kydd of Dundee firm Thorntons, to grant him bail. Mr Kydd said he had managed to get hold of Borodins’ passport before his ship had sailed and could surrender it to the court if he was granted bail. His company is standing by him despite the conviction and agreed to allow Mr Kydd to book a hotel room in Dundee as a bail address if sentence was deferred, Mr Kydd said. Borodins, who was assisted by a Russian-speaking interpreter, admitted that on July 28, while being the professional master of the ship the Frifjord, of sailing the vessel on the River Tay between Perth and Dundee and at Dundee Harbour while almost four times the legal limit (137 mics). The legal limit is 35 mics.
Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told the court Borodins was preparing to negotiate the Norwegian-owned Frifjord through the shipping lanes under the rail and road bridges but was unable to carry out instructions given to him by a local pilot, who suspected him of being under the influence. Ms Robertson told the court the pilot had boarded the ship at Balmerino to guide it through the bridges and immediately suspected Borodins was drunk. She said: “He became concerned about the accused’s demeanour. He noticed that Borodins was unsteady on his feet and formed the opinion that he was under the influence of something and contacted Dundee Port Authority to inform them of his concerns, who in turn contacted the police.” They boarded the ship and found him lying in his bunk asleep and heavily under the influence of alcohol, she said. They woke him and his breath smelled strongly of alcohol and he was staggering and incoherent.

Borodins told police: “I arrived at the port sober and had a drink at the port.” Told by Sheriff Brown that he was calling for a report, Mr Kydd said despite his crime, his employers were standing by him and he had booked a hotel in Dundee as a bail address for three weeks in anticipation of the sheriff deferring sentence. He added: “The seven days he has spent in Perth Prison has had a sobering effect on him and he admits he has let himself down as well as his family and his employers. He blames no one else for this and his 
explanation is that he was exhausted, his behavior was abnormal and he’s also got a lot of explaining to do to his wife and family.” Sheriff Brown told Borodins the chances of running aground, of colliding with either of the Tay rail or road bridges or other river traffic and of causing injury or endangering the lives of his crew and others “must have been very high”. He added the possibility of causing environmental damage to the Tay, with the associated costs to the economy of Scotland, was also very high. Sentence was deferred until August 26 for a criminal social work report.

Police pulled over car with marijuana plant sticking out of window

In the early morning hours of July 24, police in Clearwater, Florida, pulled over a car that was driving without its headlights on near the scene of a burglary.
But it was what was hanging out of the car's window that really grabbed the officer's attention: a marijuana plant casually sticking out of a window.
The back seat of the car was also loaded with other potted plants. The car's passenger reportedly told police they had stolen the potted pot from an acquaintance who owed him a $100 drug debt.
The passenger, 20-year-old Justin Goodloe, and the driver, 19-year-old Allen Thomas Barnes, were both charged with manufacturing of marijuana. Further charges could be filed, pending a state attorney's investigation later this month.

Ugly scenes as fight broke out between rival watermelon vendors

Things got messy when two Chinese watermelon vendors started slugging it out and throwing watermelons at each other in the city of Taicang in China’s eastern coastal province of Jiangsu. The ugly scenes happened after weeks of bickering between Cai Cheng, who has a store selling watermelons, and Fai Kuo, who usually parks down the road and sells water melons on the street from the back of his three wheeler.

Cai said he had repeatedly called police about the unlicensed rival who was stealing his business, but the other man always drove off when they arrived. In the end when he returned after yet another escape from the police, Cai flipped out, and the two started a heated argument that ended when they Cai used Fai's watermelons as a weapon and then the two started punching each other.
CCTV footage caught the two fighting in the street shortly before they were both arrested and detained by police. Police say it is likely both men will face a fine. Worse, with both no longer selling watermelons, a third seller has now moved in on the patch and reportedly is making a fortune selling to the other men's customers - this time without competition.

The Weirdest Micronations That Have Ever Existed

Ever heard of the Kingdom of Elleore, the Kingdom of Talossa, the Republic of Kugelmugel or Freetown Christiania? These are or were all micronations, entities that claim to be an independent nation or state but are not officially recognized by world governments.
Living in a regular country, with a normal government, can get annoying sometimes. Taxes, laws, political disputes... it's all kind of a bummer. So why not go live in a tiny country of your own? Some people have done it - and here are the most creative and strangest tiny nations on Earth, past and present.

Haw Par Villa

Unusual Singapore Theme Park
In 1937 two brothers from Singapore had a dream - they wanted to help people to learn, remember and pass on traditional Chinese values as expressed through myth, legend and the tenets of Confucianism.
They already had a small venue - the Tiger Balm - but wanted to broaden the appeal to a wider audience. So was born the idea of extending the place to incorporate a garden - Haw Par Villa - in which Chinese legends would come to life. 

New Nazca Lines Discovered In Peruvian Desert

The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD.
A pilot flying over the Nazca desert in Peru has discovered huge geoglyphs that are believed to be nearly 2,000 years old. The new Nazca lines were apparently exposed by recent sandstorms in the area and include a snakelike figure roughly 200 feet long, a huge zigzag line, and a giant bird.

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The Object of Desire

Me Want Cookie!

Couple who answered knock on their front door surprised to find a 9-foot alligator

A couple from Coral Springs, Florida, were given a big surprise early last Thursday morning when they heard a loud banging noise on their front door. Luann and Jorge Alonso thought it was a raccoon.

Actually it was a 9-foot alligator. "As soon as I turned the light on I saw that big gator right in front of the door," said Jorge. "The tail was facing the front window and his body was against the door and we couldn't get out."
Luann Alonso said she was petrified but then relieved when she realized she didn't take her small dog Gucci out for his normal middle of the night walk.

"Thank god he didn't go out last night because I always take him around 2 or 3 but thank god that didn't have to happen last night because I would have had a heart attack," said Luann.

Animal shelter director growled at hospital security officers

The director of the Porter County Animal Shelter in Valparaiso, Indiana, was arrested on Friday night after driving through two backyards and growling at hospital security officers, investigators said. Jonathan Thomas, 50, of Valparaiso, was charged with operating while intoxicated and disorderly conduct. Porter County authorities were called at about 9:30pm to a home where the homeowner reported a car was stuck in his backyard.
Police said the homeowner took the keys from the driver to keep him from attempting to leave. Investigators found Thomas’ 2005 Toyota Highlander in the yard and Thomas with his hands on the vehicle. They said Thomas initially refused to turn around and walk away from the vehicle. According to the report, Thomas eventually turned around crossed his arm balled up his right hand into a fist. Authorities said Thomas was “showing his teeth to officers, in an angry manner.” Investigators said Thomas refused to comply with officers’ orders at the scene but was placed in handcuffs.
According to authorities, Thomas refused to take field sobriety tests and a portable breath test. When asked about providing a blood sample, the report said Thomas refused to answer, but instead asked officers if they would adopt an iguana from the animal shelter. “Stray iguana, wandering the streets of Valparaiso, how (expletive) does that happen?” he told officers. Authorities said Thomas said he drinks because of the homeless animals he cares for every day. At Porter Regional Hospital, an officer removed his handcuffs and left him in an emergency department room with hospital security as the paperwork for a warrant was completed.
At that point, they said, Thomas “stood up showing his teeth and growling as he attempted to leave the room.” Investigators said the hospital security worker wrestled Thomas to the ground to keep him from leaving, then a hospital employee drew blood and he was cleared to be taken to Porter County Jail. Porter County Commissioner Laura Blaney said on Monday that other employees will handle the work at the animal shelter and business there is being managed while officials learn more about the case. Blaney said she had not yet seen the police report, but would talk with other officials soon about operations at the shelter.

Intoxicated lady who crashed car into fire station had stolen python wrapped around her neck

Police on Long Island, New York, have charged a female driver who survived crashing into a Nassau County fire station under the most unusual of circumstances. The incident happened at around 7pm on Monday in New Hyde Park.
The driver, identified as 22-year-old Sarah Espinosa, of Albany, apparently lost control of her Toyota Prius, crossed the median, struck a Nissan Maxima and smashed into the fire station. And the reason, according to police, was that a stolen snake in her car had wrapped itself around her neck.
The vehicle plowed through the main door, striking two fire trucks inside. Fire personnel who were present at the time of the accident rendered aid to the victim, at which time they discovered a small ball python wrapped around her neck. They removed the snake and secured it at the scene.
Officers responded and determined Espinosa had stolen the snake from a nearby PETCO just prior to the accident. During the investigation, Espinosa was found to be in possession of marijuana. She was treated and released from a local hospital, and no other injuries were reported. The snake was returned to the store. Espinosa is charged with reckless endangerment, petit larceny, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Women accused of assaulting each other with deer head

Two women from Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, are facing criminal charges after they attacked each other with the taxidermied head of an antlered deer, state police said.
Police officers said the two women were arguing just before 3pm on July 26 in Cromwell Township.
The argument eventually turned physical and the women swung a deer mount at each other, police said.
Stacy Varner, 47, of Orbisonia, and Glenda Snyder, 64, of Mount Union, are both facing charges of simple assault, police said. Officers did not say what started the fight between the two women.

Daily Comic Relief

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Scientists Discover New Turkey-Sized Dinosaur

A new type of dinosaur has been identified by scientists from the Natural History Museum and the University of Z├╝rich. The forerunner of dinosaurs such as the three-horned Triceratops was the size of a turkey. Laquintasaura venezuelae lived 201 million years ago in the earliest Jurassic period, soon after a major extinction at the end of the Triassic.

Brave Divers Remove Hooks From Sharks

A diver sedates a shark by flipping it upside down to remove a hook protruding from its mouth. The hooks are often left in the sharks after being caught and released by fishermen.
Friends Cameron Nimmo and Randy Jordan came across a 6ft Silky shark while swimming off the coast of Jupiter in Florida, USA earlier this month. During the encounter Randy gently turns the shark upside down while Cameron removes the hook.

Tweeting Irish terrier unscathed after falling 300ft off cliff

A "tweeting" dog has survived unscathed after falling 300ft (91m) from a cliff and into the Atlantic Ocean. Vimes the Irish terrier, who already had his own Twitter account before the accident that took place on Sunday on the Irish coast at Dunlicky, County Clare. Vimes is the pet of two newlyweds - a journalist and a blogger. The groom set up the dog's Twitter account in 2012. The couple were on honeymoon in Italy when their pet fell at Lookout Point during a walk with the bride's parents. Her family contacted the emergency services, fearing that Vimes would drown, and the Irish Coast Guard came to the dog's rescue.
Vimes' owners, Deirdre O'Shaughnessy and Brian Stokes from County Cork, had recently taken the plunge themselves and were still on honeymoon in Florence when they were told about the cliff-edge drama. Ms O'Shaughnessy said her parents had taken both Vimes and their own pet dog for a walk at Lookout Point, but Vimes' lead slipped out of her father's hand and the dog disappeared. She said there was a 15 second delay between her parents realizing that Vimes had gone missing and hearing a splash, as he fell into the water below the cliff.
The Irish Coast Guard's marine rescue sub center in County Kerry was alerted to the accident at about 3:40pm and sent a volunteer lifeboat crew from nearby Kilkee to search for the missing dog. The officer in charge of the unit in Kilkee, Martoni Vaughan, said Lookout Point is the highest part of the cliffs and the terrier had fallen from ledge to ledge before dropping a long way into the sea. The Kilkee crew spotted Vimes about 40 minutes after the emergency call was received. Mr Vaughan said the dog had managed to swim onto rocks. Two of the crew members then used kayaks to reach the rocks and lifted the terrier into the lifeboat, which brought him to shore. The rescue operation ended by 5:35pm.

Mr Vaughan said Vimes appeared none the worse for his ordeal and added that the family had described the dog as "a bit of an adventurer". His owners adopted him about three years ago, after visiting Limerick Animal Welfare sanctuary. Ms O'Shaughnessy said at the time Vimes was "emaciated" and appeared very quiet and still, compared to the other rescue dogs that were barking loudly at visitors. The couple have no idea of their pet's age or why he ended up in an animal sanctuary in such a poor state of health. She said when they brought Vimes home it took him a few months to come out of his shell, but she added that he is now quite "a character" with a "very strong personality" that eventually inspired his own dedicated Twitter account. Ms O'Shaughnessy also expressed her thanks to the Irish Coast Guard and said that although the service was not intended for dogs, she was grateful to them for going "above and beyond" the call of duty.

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