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


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, that means you ...!
 
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Today in History

1244 The Sixth Crusade ends when an Egyptian-Khwarismian force almost annihilates the Frankish army at Gaza.
1529 Henry VIII of England strips Thomas Wolsey of his office for failing to secure an annulment of his marriage.
1346 English forces defeat the Scots under David II during the Battle of Neville's Cross, Scotland.
1691 Maine and Plymouth are incorporated in Massachusetts.
1777 British Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne surrenders 5,000 men at Saratoga, N.Y.
1815 Napoleon Bonaparte arrives at the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic, where he has been banished by the Allies.
1849 Composer and pianist Frederic Chopin dies in Paris of tuberculosis at the age of 39.
1863 General Ulysses S. Grant is named overall Union Commander of the West.
1877 Brigadier General Alfred Terry meets with Sitting Bull in Canada to discuss the Indians' return to the United States.
1913 Zeppelin LII explodes over London, killing 28.
1933 Due to rising anti-Semitism and anti-intellectualism in Hitler's Germany, Albert Einstein immigrates to the United States. He makes his new home in Princeton, N.J.
1941 The U.S. destroyer Kearney is damaged by a German U-boat torpedo off Iceland; 11 Americans are killed.
1956 The nuclear power station Calder Hall is opened in Britain. Calder Hall is the first nuclear station to feed an appreciable amount of power into a civilian network.
1972 Peace talks between Pathet Lao and Royal Lao government begin in Vietnam.
1989 The worst earthquake in 82 years strikes San Francisco bay area minutes before the start of a World Series game there. The earthquake registers 6.9 on the Richter scale–67 are killed and damage is estimated at $10 billion.
1994 Dmitry Kholodov, a Russian journalist, assassinated while investigating corruption in the armed forces; his murkier began a series of killings of journalists in Russia.
2001 Rehavam Ze'evi, Israeli tourism minister and founder of the right-wing Moledet party, assassinated by a member of the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); he was the first Israeli minister ever assassinated.
2003 Taipei 101 is completed in Taipei, becoming the world's tallest high-rise.

Money DOES grow on trees

Money grows on trees with great walnuts of China
Chinese farmer Li Zhanhua shows his walnuts at his home in Hebei province, September 11 2014. Prices have skyrocketed
Grinning with pride, a Chinese farmer held out two precious walnuts — globes so precisely symmetrical that consumers in search of hand massages value them more highly than gold.
"Prices have skyrocketed," said Li Zhanhua, standing in the shade of the leafy green walnut trees which have made him a small fortune. "Years ago, we could never have imagined this."
Rolling a pair of walnuts between palm and fingers — believed to improve circulation — has been a Chinese pastime for hundreds of years.
"Mainly the walnuts are good for the body, that's why people play with them," Li said, plucking a deep brown pair out of a display case.
Walnuts were used as toys in China's imperial courts as early as 220 AD, but were championed by officials during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) and have been a status symbol exchanged among the country's elite ever since.
Demand has grown alongside China's economic boom, and vendors say they are especially popular among the newly wealthy and gangsters profiting from Beijing's grey economy.
Years of rising prices have transformed the lives of farmers in Laishui county, a few hours from the capital.
Just a decade ago, Li and his neighbors plowed a hard-scrabble existence growing wheat and corn, but now take regular holidays from their mountainside village and own imported cars as well as apartments in a nearby city.
Li once sold a prized pair for 160,000 yuan, but added: "Even a relatively ordinary pair of walnuts can be more expensive than gold, in terms of weight."
"We are all grateful for the huge changes the walnuts have brought us. All of our development depends on them," said Li, who says he harvests up to 2 million yuan ($325,000) a year from his nuts.
"Before, just building a house or getting married would be a big expense for us. We didn't imagine buying houses in the city."
- Going nuts -
Images of the humble walnut are everywhere in Laishui, shining down from shop fronts, huge banners lining the streets, and naturally, printed on business cards.
Collectors are not interested in the edible kernel, but instead value its ridged brown shell, which grows concealed beneath a green husk.
Farmers root through truckloads of produce to find pairs with the most symmetrical pits and ridges, which bring the highest prices.
Size — the bigger the better — and color also play a role, with deeper browns more valuable.
"Each one is unique, and becomes red as you play with it," said Li's neighbor Zhang Guifu, gripping a high-pressure hose while spraying a box of freshly husked nuts. "It's valuable as a collector's item and for boosting brain fitness."
Different varieties' names are as colorful as the nuts themselves. There is the "government official's hat", whose pitted surface and form recall the tasseled headwear of Qing dynasty courtiers, as well as the "chicken's heart" and "lantern", named for their shapes.
At an open air market, dozens of salespeople sat behind walnuts placed in rows or perched on revolving plastic podiums.
"At the high point of the season this whole area is packed with cars and people like a sea, you can't even move," said vendor Lin Changzhu, whose name-card shows two deep red nuts.
But local fortunes have encouraged another growth industry — walnut theft. To prevent pilfering, farmers like Li and Dong have fortified their fields with barbed-wire fences, grizzly guard dogs and security cameras.
- Skin deep -
With prices appreciating long term, investors facing low interest rates on bank deposits have turned to walnuts as a store of value, according to Chinese reports, and speculating on unpeeled walnut fruit has become a form of gambling, which is generally banned in mainland China.
In a practice called "betting on skin" buyers pay a fixed price for the nuts before their green outer covering has been removed, hoping that what is inside will be worth more than they shelled out.
Walnuts have been sold for generations in Beijing's Shilihe market, where stalls also offer specialized walnut oil and brushes.
Dozens of mostly middle-aged men crouched smoking and commenting on lines of fruit set out on black cloth.
After prodding and measuring a series of specimens, and a prolonged debate, Beijinger Miao Yaoge rolled out 2,000 yuan in crisp red notes, before watching as the vendor cut open his chosen pair with a kitchen knife.
"Look, the husk is thin," the seller exclaimed, suggesting a larger nut and prompting a flicker of a smile from Miao, 45, an imposing figure with a shaved head and a white tracksuit.
As they were given a final buffing, Miao — who reckoned they were worth around 2,500 yuan, giving him a profit on the deal — said: "This is Chinese culture. I'm happy with my walnuts."

Did you know ...

The repugicans Proven Wrong, (Yet, AGAIN), As Under Obama The Deficit Falls Below the 40 Year Average

The Treasury Department announced that the 2014 deficit as a percentage of GDP has reached its smallest point since 2007, which also happens to be below the average of the last 40 years…
obama-big-point
After years of screaming about Obama’s deficits, how will anyone break the news to repugicans that today, the Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget announced that the 2014 deficit as a percentage of GDP has reached its smallest point since 2007 at $483 billion, which also happens to be below the average deficit of the last 40 years.
Also, while we’re on it, wanna know how we got here? Bloomberg says revenue. Oh, holy repugican grail, is there no end to the perfidy? Read on:
The budget deficit in the U.S. shrank to the lowest level as a share of the economy since 2007 in fiscal 2014 as faster growth and falling unemployment boosted tax receipts, the Treasury Department said.
The shortfall was $483.4 billion in the 12 months to Sept. 30, compared with $680.2 billion a year earlier, the Treasury said today in Washington. That’s about a third of the record $1.4 trillion deficit reached in 2009. Revenue jumped 8.9 percent and spending gained 1.4 percent, the figures showed.
Bloomberg goes on to warn that this is only good news for the short term — big troubles await because an aging population will cause Social Security and healthcare costs to rise, and the Deficit Will Kill Us All Then.
It was Ronald Reagan who explained that Social Security had nothing to do with the deficit.
Reagan said, “Social Security, let’s lay it to rest once and for all… Social security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employer and employee. If you reduce the outgo of Social Security, that money would not go into the general fund or reduce the deficit. It would go into the Social Security Trust Fund. So Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or raising or lowering the deficit.”
No mention was made of the fact that we are subsidizing big oil and huge corporations are fleeing the country in order to avoid paying taxes here. Taxes being r.e.v.e.n.u.e.
Fear mongering about the future aside, no one can deny this is good news. And it kicks sand in the repugican meme about President Obama’s big spending liberal ways.
In September, Forbes announced that the deficit has disappeared:
The U.S. Treasury announced last Thursday that the federal deficit was $128.7 billion in August. That’s 13 percent lower than it was during the same month last year.
Washington typically records a budget surplus in September and $80 billion or so in black ink is in fact projected for next month. If that occurs as expected, the deficit for all of 2014 will be about $500 billion. That will be more than 26 percent below 2013 and the smallest federal deficit by far since 2008.
So, we came in under the prediction for September, but as Forbes discussed last month, no one is talking about this. The budget deficit scolds have gone silent. The teabaggers are silent. The repugican cabal is silent — other than to keep on using “deficit” as a weapon of mass talking points destruction in debates around the country, facts be damned.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was pleased, “Six years ago, our nation was confronted with the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression. In those dark days, Democrats stepped up and put our economy back on track. Since President Obama took office, our nation has made immense progress. Today, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted streak of job creation in our history, the unemployment rate is at a six-year low, and the deficit as a percentage of GDP has been cut to the lowest level since 2007.”
Pelosi addressed those rising healthcare fears, “Democrats have consistently worked to reduce the deficit in a responsible and balanced way. The Affordable Care Act continues to drive down the growth of health costs, securing a stronger future for our seniors, our families and our budget. The repugicans, however, have consistently chosen a radical and irresponsible path: advancing budgets that gut the investments in America that are essential to job creation and growth, betraying students, seniors and middle class families while refusing to close even one special-interest tax loophole. With many middle class families still struggling, repugicans even voted to raise taxes on the middle class while slashing them for millionaires.”
The repugicans always leave revenue out of the discussion even as they fear monger about how we just can’t afford to feed starving children or take care of our elders, because the deficit! But there is always money to give corporations a free ride on the taxpayers’ backs.
Pelosi charged, “Time and again, repugicans have blocked action to lift the draconian sequester cuts that are weakening our global competitiveness and harming communities across the country. The American people have had enough of repugicans trying to balance the budget on the backs of seniors and middle class families. They have had enough of the repugican recklessness that shut down the government for 16 days, costing our economy $24 billion and 120,000 jobs. It is time to jumpstart the middle class, invest in our future and build an economy that works for everyone – not just the privileged few.”
The repugican deficit argument is dead in the water. Of course, that won’t stop them from using it or their base from believing in it. But here in reality land, things are slowly getting better. Just imagine what a little help from Congress would do. Are you picturing that? Now picture a ballot box.

New Poll Shows repugicans Are Running Against The Top Issue for Working Women

For years repugicans have been telling women we don't care about equal pay, but a new poll proves they are wrong. Again.…
The repugicans like to tell women what women care about. So for years they’ve been telling us we don’t care about equal pay. Oh, yes, we have better things to worry about, like asking our bosses for their approval for our birth control methods.
But on this matter, as on all others, reality has proven repugicans wrong. They are, quite frankly, out of touch with real women. So says a Gallup poll released Monday, which shows that a plurality of Americans cite equal pay as the top issue facing working women.
Yes, 39% of all Americans think equal pay/fair pay is the most important issue working women face. Forty-one percent of women rank it as the most important issue, 37% of men agree, and 42% of working women agree. This places equal pay way above even jobs as the most important issue facing working women.
To wit:
Nearly four in 10 Americans say equal pay is the top issue facing working women in the United States today, a sentiment shared by roughly the same proportions of men, women, and working women. About twice as many Americans mention equal pay as cite the second-ranked issue — equal opportunity for advancement. No other issue is cited by more than 10% of Americans.
Sadly for the repugican cabal, they bet against equal pay, voting against it seven times.
In March, we called repugicans out for their 2014 strategy regarding how to win women voters, which was to inform women that they shouldn’t care about equal pay because… Obamacare roll out glitches.
The Washington Post reported that repugicans thought Obamacare glitches trumped equal pay, “The troubled roll out of the Affordable Care Act is an issue that repugican cabal candidates believe they can use to return fire on the criticism that the party is hostile to women.”
That’s some high cotton mansplaining, because not only are repugicans telling women what they should care about, but they were trying to bad mouth another program that just so happens to economically benefit women in order to do it. Sigh.
Ladies, you shouldn’t care about the preventative care that is now free to you under Obamacare, or the access to affordable health insurance for your family and children. There was a GLITCH! That is all you girls should be thinking about.
Texas repugicans championing repugican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, who is running against state Senator Democrat Wendy Davis, told women they were “too busy” to care about equal pay. When that didn’t shut women up, they said that repugicans can’t get behind legislation that would make it possible for women to sue if they found out they were being given the shaft regarding equal pay, because women are bad negotiators. Some call that victim blaming, I call it a very bad dodge of the obvious fact that women deserve to have their hard work honored the same as anyone else.
Naturally, after telling women there was no need for equal pay, Greg Abbott got busted paying women in his office less money for the same job. You can see why repugicans are really against equal pay: Cheap labor.
The repugicans have tried saying that the pay gap that they don’t want to ensure doesn’t exist does not exist. Now, if this were true, they wouldn’t care if it were against the law — no harm, no foul.
Instead, Faux News (r-Cable) has gone out of their way to smear the pay gap as a myth. President Obama has been forced to correct them, “Even worse, some hacks are out there saying the pay gap doesn’t even exist. They say it’s a myth, but it’s not a myth. It’s math. You can look at the paychecks, look at the stubs. I mean, Lilly Ledbetter didn’t just make this up. The court when it looked at the documents said, yep, yep, you’ve been getting paid less for doing the same job.”
Former President Jimmy Carter slammed repugicans for this, saying that not supporting equal pay is abuse.
Nothing says winning like denying the existence of the issue a plurality of all Americans agree is the top issue facing working women. It doesn’t exist, you ladies don’t care about working for less (‘cuz clearly you’re not working for money – just a hobby job for the wife), you’re too busy to care about equal pay (see above), and if you did care, well too bad, you suck as negotiators.

Sorry Koch Brothers, But Money Can’t Buy You Real People’s Votes

The bad news for repugicans is that money can't buy you love or votes. Money can buy you a lot of negative TV ads and many lies, some…
koch-kills
After Democrats set fundraising records again, repugicans are taking refuge in their dark money coffers. The bad news for repugicans is that money can’t buy you love or votes.
Money can buy you a lot of negative TV ads and many lies, some of them rather clever but most of them way too obvious to pass in the age of the internet. And it turns out that being supported by the Koch brothers is bad news for repugican Joni Ernst. The voters are not impressed. This also happened in the 2012 election, with dark money’s relentlessly negative and mostly inaccurate ads actually hurting Mitt Romney.
Thanks to Jane Mayer exposing the billionaires on a crusade against Obama, the Koch brothers have been outed as the nasty Oz behind the curtain who are trying to buy what they couldn’t get honestly. David Koch and is values got massively rejected by the people when he ran for the office of VP in 1980 as a Libertarian and ever since then, the Kochs been trying to puppeteer for profit.
Want to know why David Koch was so rejected? Here’s a few goodies from the Libertarian platform in 1980 compiled by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT):
“We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.”
“We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
“We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.”
“We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.”
“We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.”
“We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service.”
“We advocate the complete separation of education and State.”
Getting the idea? No civilization. Let’s be a society without a post office, so poor people can’t even communicate. This allows the rich to run things without interference. And of course we don’t need no stinking Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.
If you use any of the aforementioned ever, you should ask yourself why you are voting repugican because even though these ideas were once contained in the extremist lunatic fringe wing of the cabal, the Ron Pauls have taken over the cabal. The repugicans have actively worked to do all of the above either through defunding or shutting down or passing legislation to destroy.
Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Bircher = Koch= libertarian = teabagger = repugican. Even John Boehner wants to get rid of the tea nuts.

The Koch brothers want to get rid of schools. Education for all is nothing but indoctrination. Best to go back to the good old days when only the rich could get an education.
No Social Security, no Medicare, no Medicaid, no post office and no schools. Oh, and no taxes. Of course. Because we don’t need roads, bridges, a government… Let the rich run everything! They promise to be good.
After years of false equivalencies and lies, the public is starting to get it. The new boss of the repugican cabal is the same as the old boss. It’s always the same. They want to destroy Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, women’s choice, education, and more. Everything else is just noise to put a curtain around an ugly Oz you already rejected when you met straight on.
The only party that is even remotely connected to policies that actually help and serve the people are the Democrats and that is why they are out-raising and out ground-gaming the repugicans. A good ground game is still more important than millions of dollars spent on selling lies, because a ground game is real people talking to real voters, not dollars lying to a minority of fools. President Obama proved it could be done. Now it’s up to the voters to turn out.

How the ‘War on Women’ Is Deepening Racial Inequality

by Zoë Carpenter
Healthcare Reform Activits In 1983, when the Department of Health and Human Services assembled the first task force to examine women’s health issues, the appointed experts made it clear that the defining challenges weren’t only related to differences between men and women but also to inequality between some women and others. One fact the panel noted in its final report was that Hispanic women died in childbirth three times as often as white women; black women died four times more frequently. “If a woman is a member of an ethnic or a cultural minority,” the report stated bluntly, “her health is at risk.”
Thirty years later, that’s still the case. A new report from the Alliance for a Just Society found that women of color in the United States still face higher barriers to accessing care and leading healthy lives. In seven states, for example, infant mortality for black women is at least twice as high as it is for white women. In nineteen states, the diabetes rate is at least 50 percent higher among Latina women than white women. In the majority of the states, women of color are uninsured at higher rates than white women.
The state-by-state examination of women’s health disparities suggests that they aren’t just historical holdovers but are exacerbated by a recent political decision: the refusal to expand Medicaid. Most of the states receiving low grades for women’s health in the Alliance report were among the twenty-one that have refused to accept federal money through the Affordable Care Act to expand their Medicaid programs. That decision stranded many people in a coverage gap—too poor to qualify for subsidies on the insurance exchanges and too wealthy to meet their state’s Medicaid eligibility criteria. As The New York Times noted last year, black Americans are disproportionately affected.
Seven of the ten states that received a failing grade in the report—which considered insurance coverage, access to care and health outcomes—rejected the expansion: Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Idaho and Texas. In all, seventeen of the twenty-one states that have refused the federal money received a C grade, or worse.
“Expanding Medicaid is the single biggest thing we can do to improve women’s health across the country,” said LeeAnn Hall, the executive director of the Alliance for a Just Society. “Where they’re having clear investments for healthcare you see clearly that there are better outcomes…. Then you see these states that consistently are underperforming and not advancing the Medicaid expansion. The stark reality of that, and the implications for women, is dramatic.”
Still, Hall noted that insuring low-income women via Medicaid is “necessary but insufficient” to close the gap. That black and Latina women are more likely to be poor than white women in the first place and therefore have more to lose from opposition to the Medicaid expansion is its own injustice. Racial barriers to economic opportunity and a lack of healthcare providers in low-income communities are two other challenges Hall noted. Health inequities between Latina women and others may also be aggravated by a broken immigration system. “We know that women who are undocumented, or have members of their family who are, are more fearful of going in and getting the care that they need,” said Hall.
The “war on women” is often described in terms of right-wing affronts to sexual and reproductive healthcare, from attempts to ensure that employers can deny birth control coverage to their workers to efforts to make abortion services impossible to access, if not overtly illegal. It’s easy to chalk up these trends to ideological discomfort with women”s sexuality. But the debate is also about which types of women should be able to make their own choices—or, in the case of Medicaid, which ones deserve care. What’s increasingly clear is that the damages of this “war” are, like illness, borne by certain women more than others.

The rnc chairwimp Claims Democrats Are “Suppressing” repugican Voters

From the "Demented and Deranged Lunatic Fringe" Department:
RNC Head Claims Democrats Are “Suppressing” GOP VotersWhen it comes to claims of voter suppression, Democrats have largely cornered the market in the past several years. With repugican state legislators often making it harder to vote by imposing new identification standards, reducing the number of polling places as well as opportunities to vote early or by absentee ballot, when someone cries “voter suppression” it has been, until now, almost certainly a Democrat.
But repugican national cabal chairwimp Reince Priebus on Tuesday morning sent out a Tweet that turned the tables. “Tom Steyer’s dark money group can’t win on the issues, so they're suppressing the repugican vote instead,” it read, linking to an opinion piece under Priebus’s byline on FauxNews.com.
Steyer, the billionaire investor-turned environmental activist is the founder of NextGen Climate Action and the related Super PAC NextGen Climate Action Committee, both of which are nominally non-partisan, but spend the vast majority of their money to support Democrats.
Priebus begins the piece ominously. Steyer and his supporters can’t overcome voters’ anger at the Obama administration, he claims, “So they have a new plan: suppress the repugican vote.”
Now, to people familiar with this nation’s history, voter suppression conjures images of lynchings and riots, poll taxes, literacy tests, and the ugliest elements of the Jim Crow south. So what heavy-handed and maybe even illegal tactics is Steyer using?
Priebus points to a September 10 memo sent by Democratic political consultant Chris Lehane to NextGen state-level teams outlining the group’s nefarious scheme.
According to Priebus, “NextGen lays out a plan to “degrade repugican performance” by “dampening repugican enthusiasm levels.”
Wait. What? That’s it?
Yes indeed, the “voter suppression” scheme spearheaded by NextGen involves no intimidating poll watchers, no voter caging, and no misleading mailers with false information. Steyer and his minions will, instead, try to make some repugican voters rethink their support for repugican cabal candidates by…wait for it…telling them what the candidates stand for.
When it comes to voter suppression, it turns out, Steyer and his associates are rank amateurs. They couldn’t even come up with a scary sounding name for the program, settling instead on the “repugican Haircut Strategy.”
The “key takeaway” from the Lehane memo, on which Priebus bases his article, is as follows:
In virtually every state NextGen is electorally engaged, there is an issue where the repugican candidate's anti-climate, anti-basic science beliefs has manifested itself in policies with harmful consequences for all voters in the state, including repugican voters. Our repugican Haircut Strategy -- a precision focus on a specific harm in target repugican markets -- we will seek to degrade repugican performance.”
The grand goal of the Haircut strategy is “to have an impact at the margins” of the races in question.
Sheriff Jim Clark could have taught these guys a thing or two.

************

How To Fix The Supreme Court: Lessons From A Disenchanted Legal Scholar

Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding Dean of UC-Irvine School of Law and a renowned legal scholar, has some scathing words for the Supreme Court: It "has frequently failed, throughout American history, at its most important tasks, at its most important moments."
This critique is contained in the progressive legal luminary's new book, provocatively titled "The Case Against The Supreme Court."
Chemerinsky tells TPM he wrote the book after realizing he had been "making excuses" for the Court over three decades of teaching it, and decided to make the case that it has often failed its duty to protect individual and minority rights against the passions of the majority.
His disenchantment is shared: The Court's popularity with Americans is near an all-time low of 44 percent, down from 60 percent in the early 2000s. Forty-eight percent now disapprove of it, according to a Gallup poll last week.
Chemerinsky spoke to TPM about why the Supreme Court is broken and how to fix it. A lightly edited transcript follows.
Your book is called "The Case Against The Supreme Court." That could be read as meaning you want to abolish the Supreme Court, but that's not what you're saying. What should be done with it?
I don't believe we should eliminate the Supreme Court. I believe that the Supreme Court is essential to enforce the Constitution. But I do propose many reforms, ranging from a clear definition of the role of the Court, to merit selection of Supreme Court justices, to changing the confirmation process, to term limits for justices, to changing the way the Court communicates - like cameras in the Court, to applying the ethics rules that apply to lower court judges for Supreme Court justices, and also changing recusal policies in the Supreme Court.

NRA Board Member Ted Nugent Calls For The Assassination Of President Obama

Ted-NugentIn a post on his Facebook page Tuesday, never-was has-been  Ted Nugent wrote that if those who supported the NRA and the 2nd Amendment didn’t get their “freedom” then they’d demand the “evil carcasses” of President Obama and other notable Democrats. The wannabe right-wing pundit and member of the NRA’s board of directors made the post as a way to ask his followers to donate money to the Crime Prevention Research Center, a gun-nut cabal founded by John Lott. Nugent claimed that Lott poked holes in recent reports by the FBI and Everytown for Gun Safety regarding active shootings. Lott’s research over the years has been discredited by many reputable organizations and publications.
Nugent’s Facebook post was typical Nugent. He strung together a bunch of random words in an effort to make himself appear to be far more intelligent than he really is. When it comes to word salads, Nugent puts even Sarah Palin to shame.
GUNRIGHTS HERO PROFESSOR JOHN LOTT blew the freedom haters & gungrabbers outta the water with his stats/facts broadside MORE GUNS = LESS CRIME suckerpunch truth bludgeon. Read the book, share the truth with your elected officials & give away as many books to as many people as you can to de-sheeple the braindead masses with their peace&love disease. Make a donatoin [sic] to the CRIME PREVENTION RESEARCH CENTER to destroy the Obama/Holder/Clinton/Schumer/Pilosi [sic]/Boxer/Feinstein/Durbin/Bloomburgh [sic] propaganda jihad against our right to self-defense & TRTKABA. JOIN THE NRA! Be the best American you can be. Freedom or their evil carcasses for traction back to it.
Nugent also posted links to a number of CPRC ‘studies’ and gave out Lott’s contact information.
I don’t know about you, but using a public forum to call for the killing of a sitting president seems like it should receive some attention, and not exactly the kind that Nugent is seeking. I don’t care how he tries to spin it — Nugent stated that President Obama and other well-known people need to be killed. This is extremely dangerous rhetoric no matter which way you slice it. The Secret Service needs to make a visit to Nugent ASAP. He’s told the lunatic fringe wingnut gun nuts that read his ramblings that Obama needs to be shot. It isn’t hyperbolic to state that this is an overt threat to the president and others.
Of course, over-the-top rhetoric is Nugent’s bread and butter. Being his 'music' career has been relegated to the county fair and BBQ competition circuit for some time now, the Nuge has been able to gain attention via conservative media and making incendiary comments. In the run-up to the 2008 Presidential election, he told a concert audience that he wanted Hillary Clinton to ride his machine gun and Barack Obama to suck it. He’s made numerous racist remarks over the years. Earlier this year, he called Obama a “subhuman mongrel.” Despite making those comments weeks before, Texas repugican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott still had Nugent hit the campaign trail for him.
While this is more than likely another instance of Nugent seeking attention, it is high time that he finally face some repercussions for yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater.

Police advise unhappy school student's against putting laxatives into teacher’s drink

A 14-year-old high school student in Perth, Australia, has been given a juvenile caution after slipping a laxative substance into a teacher’s drink. The incident happened last month at Melville Senior High School and resulted in the student being suspended. The matter was also reported to police and the boy was interviewed after he put the laxative substance into a female teacher’s drink. Palmyra police station officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Craig Collins confirmed the student involved had been given a juvenile caution.
Sen-Sgt Collins said such acts had the potential to put the victim in danger. “The message we want to get out there is this kind of behavior is not tolerated and can be dangerous,” Sen-Sgt Collins said. Melville Senior High School principal Phillip White confirmed the incident happened at his school.
“While the student may have thought this was a harmless prank, it could have had a serious effect on his teacher’s health – something which he has now recognized in a written apology,” he said. “School staff dealt with this issue swiftly by suspending the student for the remainder of the term and referring the matter to police.”

Drunken zombie Santa woke up in strangers' home

An intoxicated stranger dressed as a zombie Santa Claus terrified two teenagers when he entered their home in Minneapolis–Saint Paul over the weekend. A 14-year-old boy fled from the Macalester-Groveland house to get help and his 16-year-old sister locked herself in a bathroom, said a neighbor, Margaret Marrinan, who is also a Ramsey County judge. "This guy ought to be examining his conscience ... for what he did to those kids," she said.
The children were scared but are fine now, Tom Sullivan, their father, said on Monday. "The police did a nice job of calming them down and explaining the individual meant no harm," he said. "Fortunately, it had a happy ending, and no one will ever think of Santa the same way. If you're going to have a break-in, this is the best kind - someone who means no harm and was looking for a place to sleep."
Police cited a man who is a University of St. Thomas senior for trespassing. The university is about six blocks from the home. A police report didn't say where the man was coming from. Officers were called to the home at 9:45pm on Saturday. They were told that a man had entered the residence wearing a Santa suit and looking like a zombie, said Sgt. Paul Paulos, a St. Paul police spokesman.
The man had vomited and didn't know where he was when police woke him up, Paulos said. Police cited Brock Quinn Johnson of Roseville for trespassing and took him to the detoxification center, Paulos said. Marrinan said she saw the man when he was brought to a squad car and the boy's description was right - he was dressed like Santa and looked like a zombie. He wasn't wearing a mask, and Marrinan suspected that makeup caused the zombie effect. Sullivan and Marrinan said their area is normally quiet.

Flower pot digging estate agent joined marathon while trying to run from police

A Chicago real estate agent being chased by police on Sunday dashed onto the Chicago Marathon route and ran a portion of the race before being tackled to the ground by police.
Bryan Duffy, 29, allegedly joined a pack of runners, and bumped into several of them, after police began chasing him on State Street, which is near the start of the marathon route.
Officers wanted to talk to Duffy, of Avondale, after he was spotted digging around flower pots along the route. When officers approached, Duffy ran away and joined the runners. Officers caught and tackled him to the ground. In court, during a brief hearing on Monday, Duffy's face revealed apparent road rash.
Officers found an Altoids box with 10 capsules of suspected MDMA (also known as ecstasy or Molly) and a wad of bills totalling $531. Duffy was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and reckless conduct for putting marathon runners in danger, according to the report. A Cook County judge set Duffy's bail at $10,000.
There's an audio report here.

Man arrested following aggressive mopping incident at hotel

A man in Southington, Connecticut, was arrested on Monday after a disturbance at a hotel, during which police say he grabbed a mop from an employee and mopped the floor aggressively.
Officers responded to the Double Tree Hotel at 6:27pm and learned that the man, identified as John Thornton, had grabbed a mop from an employee as she was mopping the floor.
Thornton allegedly "began to mop the floor but became more aggressive and mopped over the employee's shoes several times," police said. The employee, a 27-year-old woman, asked Thornton to stop, but he backed her into a corner. Thornton was arrested on a charge of second-degree breach of peace.
While he was being transported to the station, Thornton allegedly shouted insults and expletives at the officers and threatened them, police said. He was additionally charged with second-degree threatening. Thornton was released on bond and is scheduled to appear in court on October 27.

Police arrest one of 20 clowns terrorizing county in California

An arrested teenager in the San Joaquin Valley claims to have copied the Wasco clown --  a husband and wife who have taken photos were taken by a husband and wife team and posted photos of clowns onto Instagram as part of a year-long art project. Photo by Instagram user "Wasco Clown."
An arrested teenager in the San Joaquin Valley claims to have copied the Wasco clown — a husband and wife who have taken posted clown photos onto Instagram as part of a year-long art project. Photo by Instagram user “Wasco Clown.”
If the movies “It” and “Killer Clowns from Outer Space” gave you the heebie-jeebies, there’s another reason to be scared of clowns: An outbreak of clowns in the San Joaquin Valley is terrifying residents.
On Thursday, a 14-year-old boy dressed as a clown was arrested for scaring a neighborhood child on Thursday night. The teenager was charged with annoying a minor. The disturbance was one of 20 reports from Kern County in the last week of clowns terrifying children. Police have received reports of clowns wielding guns, machetes and baseball bats.
These pranks are no laughing matter to Bakersfield police. None of the clown reports have resulted in violence so far, but cops fear the trend could escalate.
“We will make arrests on this. We want this to stop,” Bakersfield Police Sgt. Joseph Grubbs told the L.A. Times.
The recent creepy clown trend started on social media on October 1. Photos of an eerie clown posed carrying balloons in poorly lit streets of Wasco, California appeared online. The “Wasco clown” photos were taken by a husband and wife team and posted to an Instagram account as part of a year-long art project.
What started as an art project has spawned the armed-clown copycats, including the arrested teenager who claimed to be copying the Wasco clown. The Wasco clown couple told KGET news that they do not support violence and have no connection to the other clowns.

Crime is forbidden in Sweden

Crime is forbidden in Sweden - Wow, who would have thought ...

Massachusetts leading the way again on healthcare reform

A new law in Massachusetts mandates transparency in healthcare services pricing, allowing anyone in the state with private health insurance to go to their insurer's website and find out how much a given procedure-office visit or MRI-is going to cost. That's actually pretty huge, as WBUR's Martha Bebinger reports in conjunction with Kaiser Health News.
It's a seismic event. Ten years ago, I filed Freedom of Information Act requests to get cost information in Massachusetts - nothing. Occasionally over the years, I'd receive manila envelopes with no return address, or secure .zip files with pricing spreadsheets from one hospital or another.
Then two years ago, Massachusetts passed a law that pushed health insurers and hospitals to start making this once-vigorously guarded information more public. Now as of Oct. 1, Massachusetts is the first state to require that insurers offer real-time prices by provider in consumer-friendly formats.
"This is a very big deal," said Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Barbara Anthony. "Let the light shine in on health care prices."
Amen. Healthcare pricing is notoriously varied and indiscriminate. A procedure that costs several hundred dollars at one hospital can cost in the thousands at a hospital in the next town, and essentially no insurer pays the same for a given procedure as another insurer. It's part of the multi-layered dysfunction in our system that has helped to drive costs so high. This is a great start toward some transparency, that can hopefully, eventually lead to some rationality in pricing. That's with a bunch of caveats, though, that Bebinger details.
First, looking at the price of a test or procedure at one site won't tell you necessarily what it should cost-this is where variance comes in. Bebinger checked out bone density scans: $16 in Tufts Health plan; $87 in Harvard-Pilgrim Health Care's system; $190 for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Some of the prices reflect all of the charges included in the test-for example anesthesia included with some invasive tests-but others aren't inclusive. The law doesn't have a definition of "price" and what all that should include, so what you see on the insurer's website might not be what you get. Additionally, Bebinger found that prices tend to change, and change frequently. Within five days, the price for the bone density scan she researched increased from $120 to $190 at Blue Cross.

The Truth Be Told

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Autism as "a disorder of prediction"

From MIT News:
The researchers suggest that autism may be rooted in an impaired ability to predict events and other people’s actions. From the perspective of the autistic child, the world appears to be a “magical” rather than an orderly place, because events seem to occur randomly and unpredictably. In this view, autism symptoms such as repetitive behavior, and an insistence on a highly structured environment, are coping strategies to help deal with this unpredictable world...

“At the moment, the treatments that have been developed are driven by the end symptoms. We’re suggesting that the deeper problem is a predictive impairment problem, so we should directly address that ability,” says Pawan Sinha, an MIT professor of brain and cognitive sciences and the lead author of a paper describing the hypothesis in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week...

This hypothesized deficit could produce several of the most common autism symptoms. For example, repetitive behaviors and insistence on rigid structure have been shown to soothe anxiety produced by unpredictability, even in individuals without autism. “These may be proactive attempts on the part of the person to try to impose some structure on an environment that otherwise seems chaotic,” Sinha says.

Impaired prediction skills would also help to explain why autistic children are often hypersensitive to sensory stimuli...

"Sociolect" distinguished from "dialect"

From this month's Atlantic:
...sociolect: a language variety that’s spoken within a social group, like Valley Girl–influenced ValTalk or African American Vernacular English. (The word dialect, by contrast, commonly refers to a variety spoken by a geographic group—think Appalachian or Lumbee.) Over the past 20 years, online sociolects have been springing up around the world, from Jejenese in the Philippines to Ali G Language, a British lingo inspired by the Sacha Baron Cohen character.




What You Didn’t Know About the Oreo

There are fewer treats out there more familiar than the Oreo. Since the National Biscuit Company (today Nabisco) created it in 1912, it’s become one of the top-selling cookies in the world. But there’s likely plenty you don’t know about it, and this Buzzfeed video is here to set you straight.
Particularly intriguing is the design stamped into every Oreo cookie: The current version, settled upon in 1952, features the word “OREO” in a circle topped with a two-bar cross. The design also contains exactly 12 flowers, 12 dots and 12 dashes. But what does it mean?
The Atlantic reasons that the circle and cross around the word “OREO” is a variation on the Nabisco logo, which is either “an early European symbol for quality” or a Cross of Lorraine, an emblem used by the Knights Templar during the Crusades. The dots and flowers might be a rendering of four-leaf clovers or a cross pattée, another symbol favored by the Knights Templar.
The design’s inventor may have been William A. Turnier, a one-time Nabisco mail boy who ascended the corporate ranks. Nabisco won’t confirm or deny Turnier’s role in giving the Oreo its good looks, telling the New York Times in 2011 only that a man by that name worked for the company as a “design engineer" at that time.
Whip these factoids out the next time you’re scarfing down Oreos with pals, and let us know if the knowledge makes ‘em taste better.







42 Weird And Hilarious Products That People Actually Used In The Past

In the decades before Amazon reviews, people used to buy some crazy things.

The Fleet

London's Underground River
If you listen carefully just above this unassuming grate you can hear the ripple and splash of flowing water. This is the sound of the River Fleet, London's largest subterranean river.
Forced underground by the city's burgeoning populace the river still flows from its source to its mouth where it joins London's main waterway, the Thames. Yet what lies beneath?

Dragons, Memory And Navigating The Globe Using Only Your Wits

Terra incognita. Unknown land. You may be familiar with this Latin phrase, which most notably appears on old maps, sometimes next to images of dragons, fantastical sea creatures, or other monsters.
Cartographers once vilified the unknown - to warn sailors and travelers of uncharted territories, and to signal that danger lay beyond the sanctuary of home. But imagine for a moment that you didn't have to rely on maps to navigate the unknown - that your memory, instincts, and knowledge of the environment sufficed. This is the art of Polynesian wayfinding.

Viking Hoard Unearthed in Scotland


Metal detector enthusiast Derek McLennan found a hoard of more than 100 Viking artifacts on land owned by the cult of Scotland. County archaeologist Andrew Nicholson excavated the first level of the hoard, which contained an enameled silver christian cross dating to the ninth or tenth century, dozens of silver arm rings, and ingots. “We were searching elsewhere when Derek initially thought he’d discovered a Viking gaming piece. A short time later he ran over to us waving a silver arm-ring and shouting ‘Viking’! It was tremendously exciting, especially when we noticed the silver cross lying face-downwards. It was poking out from under the pile of silver ingots and decorated arm rings, with a finely wound silver chain still attached to it. It was a heart-stopping moment when the local archaeologist turned it over to reveal rich decoration on the other side,” Rev. Dr. David Bartholomew recounted. A second cache of objects was found unearth the first. It included a silver Carolingian pot that was probably 100 years old when it was buried. “We still don’t know exactly what is in the pot, but I hope it could reveal who these artifacts belonged to, or at least where they came from,” McLennan said. To read about an infamous massacre carried out against Vikings in England, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "Vengeance on the Vikings." 

Bronze Warrior Chariot Discovery Is 'Find of a Lifetime'

Bronze Warrior Chariot Discovery Is 'Find of a Lifetime'
A linch pin (shown from three angles) from an Iron Age chariot that were discovered at the Burrough Hill Iron Age Hillfort in Leicestershire, England More than 2,000 years ago, pieces of an Iron Age chariot were burnt and buried, perhaps as a religious offering. Now, archaeologists have discovered the bronze remains of this sacrifice.
Digging near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, England, an archaeology team discovered a trove of bronze chariot fittings dating back to the second or third century B.C. The remains were discovered at the Burrough Hill Iron Age Hillfort, a fortified hilltop structure that was once surrounded by farms and settlements. Though humans lived in the area beginning around 4000 B.C., it was used most heavily between about 100 B.C. and A.D. 50, according to the University of Leicester.
"This is the most remarkable discovery of material we made at Burrough Hill in the five years we worked on the site," University of Leicester archaeologist Jeremy Taylor said in a statement. "This is a very rare discovery and a strong sign of the prestige of the site."
Burnt offering
Taylor co-directs the field project at Burrough Hill, which is used to train archaeology students. It was four of these archaeology students who first found a piece of bronze near an Iron Age house within the Burrough Hill fort. More bronze pieces were found nearby.
The pieces are the metal remains of a chariot that once belonged to a warrior or noble, according to university archaeologists. They include linchpins with decorated end caps, as well as rings and fittings that would have held harnesses. One linchpin is decorated with three wavy lines radiating from a single point, almost like the modern flag for the Isle of Man, a British dependency in the Irish Sea. The Isle of Man's flag is decorated with an odd symbol called a triskelion, or three half-bent legs converging at the thigh.  
"The atmosphere at the dig on the day was a mix of 'tremendously excited' and 'slightly shell-shocked,'" Taylor said. "I have been excavating for 25 years, and I have never found one of these pieces — let alone a whole set. It is a once-in-a-career discovery."
The pieces were found upon a layer of chaff, which may have provided fuel for the burning ritual. The chariot pieces were put into a box and then covered with cinder and slag after being set on fire. This may have been a ritual marking the dismantling or closing of a home at the fort, or it could have honored the change of seasons, University of Leicester archaeologists suspect.
Bronze and iron
Alongside the chariot pieces, the researchers found a set of iron tools, which were placed around the parts before they were burned.
"The function of the iron tools is a bit of a mystery, but given the equestrian nature of the hoard, it is possible that they were associated with horse grooming," Burrough Hill project co-director John Thomas said in a statement. "One piece, in particular, has characteristics of a modern curry comb, while two curved blades may have been used to maintain horses' hooves or manufacture harness parts."
The pieces will be on display temporarily at the Melton Carnegie Museum in Melton Mowbray from Oct. 18 to Dec. 13.
"Realizing that I was actually uncovering a hoard that was carefully placed there hundreds of years ago made it the find of a lifetime," University of Leicester student Nora Battermann, who was one of the four students to make the find, said in a statement. "Looking at the objects now that they have been cleaned makes me even more proud, and I can't wait for them to go on display."

Pre-Neanderthal remains discovered at Normandy site

Three long bones of the left arm of a pre-Neanderthal (humerus, ulna and radius) found on the site of Tourville-la-Rivière (Seine-Maritime), in 2010. The whole arm of this pre-Neanderthal had to be carted by the Seine before settling on the shores or on sandbanks, at the foot of the chalky cliffs of Tourville-la-Rivière.© Denis Gliksman, Inrap - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/deed.fr
Three long bones of the left arm of a pre-Neanderthal (humerus, ulna and radius) found on the site of Tourville-la-Rivière (Seine-Maritime), in 2010. The whole arm of this pre-Neanderthal had to be carted by the Seine before settling on the shores or on sandbanks, at the foot of the chalky cliffs of Tourville-la-Rivière.
On the prehistoric site of Tourville-la-Rivière (Seine-Maritime, Normandy), a team of archaeologists from the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) has discovered the remains of a pre-Neanderthal. This important discovery has recently been published in the international journal PLOS ONE by a group of researchers from the CNRS, Inrap, the Australian National University, the National Research Centre on Human Evolution of Burgos and the Department Anthropology of the Washington University in Saint Louis. Although many Prehistoric sites have been excavated since the 19th century, human fossils dating from the Middle Pleistocene (781 000 – 128 000 BCE) remain rare in Northwestern Europe. Apart from two fragmented skulls found at Biache-Saint-Vaast in the North of France, the rare human fossils from this period have been unearthed on 10 sites in Germany and Great-Britain. The Tourville-la-Rivière individual therefore constitutes a major discovery in Europe in terms of understanding Mid-Pleistocene human settlement.
Record of a stratigraphic section in Tourville-la-Rivière (Seine-Maritime), 2010. This succession of sedimentary deposits is particularly interesting because it is an extraordinary record of climatic and environmental changes that have occurred in the Valley of the Seine during the Middle Pleistocene. © Hervé Paitier, Inrap - - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/deed.fr
Record of a stratigraphic section in Tourville-la-Rivière (Seine-Maritime), 2010. This succession of sedimentary deposits is particularly interesting because it is an extraordinary record of climatic and environmental changes that have occurred in the Valley of the Seine during the Middle Pleistocene.
The pre-Neanderthal of Tourville-la-Rivière
The fossils comprise three bones from the left arm of one individual (humerus, ulna and radius). The palaeoanthropological study and the morphophological and metric analyses have confirmed that they belong to the Neanderthal lineage. These fossils and the human occupation at Tourville-la-Rivière are dated from 236 000 to 183 000 BCE. Five samples of human bone and eight samples of animal teeth were analyzed for Ur 238 radioactive isotopes and using Electro spin resonance (ESR). While it is impossible to determine the sex of this individual the diaphyses of the three bones indicate that they could belong to an older teenager or an adult.
In the absence of any human intervention or disturbance of the bones by carnivores, only one scenario appears most likely: the pre-Neanderthal arm was transported by the river Seine before being deposited, with or without its hand, on the sand banks of the river at the foot of the chalk cliffs of Tourville-la-Rivière
A Neanderthal with Enthesopathy
The Tourville specimen is the oldest human fossil with an unusual bone ridge where the posterior part of the deltoid muscle is attached to the humerus. This anomaly probably results from repetitive movement – perhaps the action of throwing – of the posterior deltoid muscle and it can be compared to similar bone ridges observed on modern athletes.
Even if this anomaly had no incidence on the individual’s survival, it raises questions about individual and collective behavior as well as the everyday life of hominids in the Middle Palaeolithic.
Tourville-La Rivière 200,000 years ago
A Prehistoric and Paleontological site, Tourville-la-Rivière is located in one of the many meanders of the Seine valley, 14 km south of Rouen. It has an important 30 m thick stratigraphic sequence, which lies on the lower terraces of the Seine valley. The stratigraphy includes successive alluvial layers that have been deposited between 350 000 and 130 000 BCE. The 2010 excavation of a 1 hectare area concentrated on the layers containing remains characteristic of the interglacial period dating to about 200 000 years ago.
Fauna from a temperate climate
The animal species found on the site are characteristic of the end of the interglacial period: deer, aurochs and two equine species (including the European ass) were found alongside boar, rhinoceros and several species of carnivore such as wolf, fox, bear and panther. As well as these larger mammals, smaller species such as wild cats or rodents (beaver, hare) were also discovered. This accumulation is mainly the result of natural phenomena as whole or partial carcasses of animals were transported by the river and deposited on the sandbanks at Tourville-la-Rivière.
Levallois type, Tourville-la-Rivière (Seine-Maritime), 2010. Manufactured by the Pre-Neanderthals, this type of tool was used to cut various types of animal material such as skin, flesh and bones. © Hervé Paitier, Inrap - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/deed.fr
Levallois type, Tourville-la-Rivière (Seine-Maritime), 2010. Manufactured by the Pre-Neanderthals, this type of tool was used to cut various types of animal material such as skin, flesh and bones.
Blades and flakes
Worked flint proved to be quite rare on the site in relation to the excavated area (500 objects per hectare). Blades and flakes were produced using a particularly complex process, called the Levallois method. Many of the pieces came from a small 3m² débitage area that included 300 objects. They provide important information concerning the objectives of the pre-Neanderthal flint knappers. Levallois flakes and blades are remarkably efficient from a functional perspective, fulfilling immediate needs for processing animal carcasses (meat, tendons and skin) found on the banks of the river Seine.

A Royal Doghouse Built for Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France from 1774-1792, was fond of her dogs and could afford to buy them luxurious homes far beyond what the average human could afford to live in. This is a doghouse made for her by the famous French furniture builder Jean-Baptiste-Claude Sené. It's currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It's made of beech and pine wood covered with gold and cushioned by silk and velvet.

Animal Pictures