Welcome to ...

The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Some folks in your circle are mumbling stuff that basically amounts to fighting words.
You'd recognize the sound anywhere, but you're not really intimidated.
In fact, you may already be thinking about how to mop up once it's over.
You know you're going to win if you're dragged into the argument.
You probably even know how exactly how long it should take to completely outfox the competition.
Don't feel guilty -- it's not your fault you're better at this than they are!

Today is:
Today is Saturday, July 31, the 212th day of 2010.
There are 153 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
There is none.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Weekly Address
The White House
July 24, 2010
This week, I signed into law a Wall Street reform bill that will protect consumers and our entire economy from the recklessness and irresponsibility that led to the worst recession of our lifetime.  It’s reform that will help put a stop to the abusive practices of mortgage lenders and credit card companies.  It will end taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street firms.  And it will finally bring the shadowy deals that caused the financial crisis into the light of day.
Wall Street reform is a key pillar of an overall economic plan we’ve put in place to dig ourselves out of this recession and build an economy for the long run – an economy that makes America more competitive and our middle-class more secure.  It’s a plan based on the Main Street values of hard work and responsibility – and one that demands new accountability from Wall Street to Washington.
Instead of giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, we want to give tax breaks to small business owners who are creating jobs right here in America.  Already, we’ve given small businesses eight new tax cuts, and have expanded lending to more than 60,000 small business owners.
We’re also investing in a homegrown, clean energy industry – because I don’t want to see new solar panels and wind turbines and electric cars manufactured in some other country.  I want to see them made in America, by American workers.  So far, we’ve provided new tax credits, loan guarantees, and investments that will lead to more than 800,000 clean energy jobs by 2012.  And throughout America, communities are being rebuilt by people working in hundreds of thousands of new private sector jobs repairing our roads, bridges, and railways.
Our economic plan is also aimed at strengthening the middle-class.  That’s why we’ve cut taxes for 95% of working families.  That’s why we’ve offered tax credits that have made college more affordable for millions of students, and why we’re making a new commitment to our community colleges.  And that’s why we passed health insurance reform that will stop insurance companies from dropping or denying coverage based on an illness or pre-existing condition.
This is our economic plan – smart investments in America’s small businesses, America’s clean energy industry, and America’s middle-class.  Now, I can’t tell you that this plan will bring back all the jobs we lost and restore our economy to full strength overnight.  The truth is, it took nearly a decade of failed economic policies to create this mess, and it will take years to fully repair the damage.  But I am confident that we are finally headed in the right direction.  We are moving forward.  And what we can’t afford right now is to go back to the same ideas that created this mess in the first place.
Unfortunately, those are the ideas we keep hearing from our friends in the other party.  This week, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives offered his plan to create jobs.  It’s a plan that’s surprisingly short, and sadly familiar.
First, he would repeal health insurance reform, which would take away tax credits from millions of small business owners, and take us back to the days when insurance companies had free rein to drop coverage and jack up premiums.   Second, he would say no to new investments in clean energy, after his party already voted against the clean energy tax credits and loans that are creating thousands of new jobs and hundreds of new businesses.  And third, even though his party voted against tax cuts for middle-class families, he would permanently keep in place the tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans – the same tax cuts that have added hundreds of billions to our debt.
These are not new ideas.  They are the same policies that led us into this recession.  They will not create jobs, they will kill them.  They will not reduce our deficit, they will add $1 trillion to our deficit.  They will take us backward at a time when we need to keep America moving forward.
I know times are tough.  I know that the progress we’ve made isn’t good enough for the millions of Americans who are still out of work or struggling to pay the bills.  But I also know the character of this nation.  I know that in times of great challenge and difficulty, we don’t fear the future – we shape the future.  We harness the skills and ingenuity of the most dynamic country on Earth to reach a better day.  We do it with optimism, and we do it with confidence.  That’s the spirit we need right now, and that’s the future I know we can build together.  Thank you.

Lite Reading

Just a few lite reading posts today - We've had a birthday party for a friend today. 
It's not everyday a young girl turns 18 so we did it up right.

Ten English words with foreign origins

A few are interesting, others quite obvious (poltergeist is German, duh). 
But who knew that "berserk" came from the Vikings? (I did, I did)

Acupuncture patient locked inside clinic with needles in her back

An acupuncture patient was found locked in a Bellingham Clinic Tuesday night after she told police she had been left on the treatment table with needles still in her back. Bellingham police said the woman called 911 and was found by officers locked inside Discovering Health at 1513 E. Street.

Police say the clinic's employees had apparently forgot about her and gone home for the night. The 47 year old woman told officers she pulled the needles out of her own back and tried to leave but the door was locked from the outside.

She tripped the motion sensor security system inside the business. The woman was pulled from the business unharmed. "We are not investigating this. This was just a call for service for us", says Police spokesman Mark Young.

Police are not releasing the woman's name. Discovering Health would not comment on the incident. The Department of Health says it will investigate if a complaint is made.

Film a cop, face 16 years in jail

That's what a Maryland man is looking at — 16 years if convicted, for filming police at his own traffic stop and then posting the video on YouTube. All of this according to Ray Sanchez of ABC News.

The arrestee is charged with violating the state's anti-wiretapping laws. The ABC News story is here. The YouTube video is here. (Don't let the Maryland police catch you watching it.)

Sanchez says these arrests are more and more common, with an obvious purpose:
"The message is clearly, 'Don't criticize the police,'" said David Rocah, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland who is part of Graber's defense team. "With these charges, anyone who would even think to record the police is now justifiably in fear that they will also be criminally charged."
Click through to the news story; there are lots of other instances. Horton agrees this is a "growing trend." He concludes:
This is an extreme example of the arrogance of power, in which a Maryland cop exercised bad judgment, was embarrassed when he was publicly exposed, and got his colleagues and prosecutors to exercise still worse judgment.

As Aristotle teaches us, in a democracy the people are entitled to throw light on the dealings of public officials to keep them honest, whereas the private dealings of the people are to be sheltered from unreasonable intrusion. In a tyranny, the officials of the government are enshrouded in secrecy but constantly invade the privacy of the common citizens. Which model does this bring the people of Maryland closer to?

Jailed drug dealer with cocaine up his arse held on for thirteen days, while police waited

A drug dealer who tried to hide a stash of cocaine up his backside has been jailed after police had to wait thirteen days for the evidence to drop.

Officers had to obtain three extensions from Lancashire Magistrates as they waited patiently for Anthony Mason to 'reveal' the drugs they felt sure he was hiding. Mason was stopped by cops in Galgate, Lancaster on April 1, after police spotted him acting suspiciously.

The 32-year-old of Chalice Way, Liverpool, initially denied he was storing an illegal haul.

When the drugs finally did make an appearance a presumably red-faced but ultimately relieved Mason admitted possessing cocaine and heroin with intent to supply. He was jailed for five years at Preston Crown Court.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
If you're partnered romantically, you're about to feel a swelling of pride like nothing that's come before -- not because of your mate, but because you've been working so hard to make them proud of you.
You may have been putting too much energy into your work than into your love life, but that can change.
If you're single, don't expect that to last much longer -- and don't be too surprised if the one you like is somewhat offbeat.

Today is:
Today is Friday, July 30, the 211th day of 2010.
There are 154 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Cheesecake Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Upping the cute factor

Sleeping Jack Russell puppy enjoys a good tickle.

14 Famous Man Rooms

Famous men in history sometimes had a special place they went to think, create, or unwind in which they could block out the rest of the world. Almost every man would like to have a “man cave” like these, if he doesn’t already! The Art of Manliness shows us what the private or men-only rooms of Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, Winston Churchill, Charles Darwin, and quite a few others looked like. Shown here is Theodore Roosevelt’s trophy room.

1909 Honus Wagner card goes on display

A Chesapeake coin shop is displaying what experts say is one of the most famous baseball cards in American history, the Honus Wagner T206.

History Is Alive

History Is Alive
A showdown that has fascinated Americans for 130 years isn't quite over yet.  
Five Amazing Early Explorers
Back in school, you may have learned about the European Age of Discovery: the time during the 15th-18th Centuries when Europeans traveled all over the world to lands previously unknown to them. But there were other early explorers who made remarkable journeys. Let’s look at five of them.
Pytheas lived in the Greek city of Marseilles in what is now southern France. In the 4th Century BC, perhaps with the backing of merchants who wanted a cheaper source of tin than was available using the overland through Gaul, he went on a long ocean voyage. Slipping past the Carthaginians guarding the exit of the Mediterranean, Pytheas entered the Atlantic Ocean and headed north. In what is now Cornwall, Britain, he observed the operations of tin miners and smelters. Pytheas then allegedly circumnavigated the island and made a rough estimate of its size based upon his assessment of the speed of his ship. Thereafter he proceeded to a land that he called “Thule”, which he reported as laying six days north of Britain and a day south of ice floes. Pytheas asserted that the night only lasted two or three hours. The inhabitants had an abundance of beer, amber, honey, and millet, and seemed friendly.
Some fanciful authors have proposed that Thule was Iceland, but as that island remained uninhabited until the 8th Century AD, this is a preposterous claim. It is more likely that Pytheas visited Norway, southern Sweden, or the Shetland Islands. He recorded his findings in a book, which unfortunately only survives in quotations or indirect references in works by other Greco-Roman authors, not all of whom believed Pytheas. In the 1st Century AD, Strabo writes:
Now Polybius says that, in the first place, it is incredible that a private individual — and a poor man too — could have traveled such distances by sea and by land; and that, though Eratosthenes was wholly at a loss whether he should believe these stories, nevertheless he has believed Pytheas’ account of Britain, and the regions about Gades, and of Iberia; but he says it is far better to believe Euhemerus, the Messenian, than Pytheas. Euhemerus, at all events, asserts that he sailed only to one country, Panchaea, whereas Pytheas asserts that he explored in person the whole northern region of Europe as far as the ends of the world — an assertion which no man would believe, not even if Hermes made it. (Geography, 4.2.2)
Hippalus was a 1st Century BC Greek from Egypt who sailed down the Red Sea and explored India. He speculated that the subcontinent stretched far to the south, and so if he crossed the open Arabian Sea instead of taking a coastal route, he could bypass coastal port authorities, who levied taxes on passing ships. Hippalus was able to do this after discovering a favorable monsoon wind, as Pliny the Elder describes:
If the wind, called Hippalus happens to be blowing, it is possible to arrive in forty days at the nearest mart of India, [Mangalore] by name. (Natural History, 6.26)
This wind blew west to east for six months before reversing itself, thus making regular travel on this route feasible. By reducing the number of middlemen involved in the trade routes between India and the Greco-Roman Mediterranean, Hippalus’ discovery led to a blossoming of commerce. One anonymous nautical directory written a century later gave Hippalus all the credit:
From that time to the present day ships start, some direct from Cana, and some from the Cape of Spices; and those bound for Damirica throw the shlp’s head considerably off the wind; while those bound for Barygaza and Scythia keep along shore not more than three days and for the rest of the time hold the same course straight out to sea from that region, with a favorable wind, quite away from the land, and so sail outside past the aforesaid gulfs. (The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, 57)
The life of Saint Brendan of Clonfert (484-577) is recorded in the medieval text The Voyage of Saint Brendan. It describes the Irish religious leader taking monks on a journey across the sea to a promised land where the monks could live and pray in peace. Here is a passage describing Brendan’s arrival at this mythical place:
He then said to St Brendan: ‘This is the land you have sought after for so long a time; but you could not hitherto find it, because Christ our Lord wished, first to display to you His divers mysteries in this immense ocean. Return now to the land of your birth, bearing with you as much of those fruits and of those precious stones, as your boat can carry; for the days of your earthly pilgrimage must draw to a close, when you may rest in peace among your saintly brethren. After many years this land will be made manifest to those who come after you, when days of tribulation may come upon ‘the people of Christ. The great river you see here divides this land into two parts; and just as it appears now, teeming with ripe fruits, so does it ever remain, without any blight or shadow whatever, for light unfailing shines thereon.’ When St Brendan inquired whether this land ‘would. be revealed unto men, the young man replied: ‘When the Most High Creator will have brought all nations under subjection, then will this land be made known to all His elect.’ Soon after, St Brendan, having received the blessing of this man, prepared for his return to his own country (28).
This is an allegorical rather than historical text, but it does represent the extraordinary exploratory journeys of early Christian Ireland. By the 7th Century, Irish monks had discovered and settled the Faroe Islands, and by the 8th Century, Iceland. These explorations can be confirmed by archaeological findings as well as Latin and Old Norse documents. A journey that is more speculative and daring is Greenland — an incident that would establish the Irish as the first Europeans to arrive in North America. The sole extant evidence for this journey consists of iron bells and crosses of Irish design found in Greenland.
Ahmad ibn Fadlan was a 10th Century Arab nobleman who the Caliph in Baghdad designated his ambassador to the Volga Bulgars, a tribal nation living in what is now the area of Kazan, Russia. At the time, Swedish Vikings had regular commerce through the rivers of European Russia, dragging their ships from the Baltic Sea to the Volga and Dnieper Rivers and into the Caspian and Black Seas. So Fadlan arranged for passage on a Swedish ship to the Bulgars. But when they arrived, the Swedes refused to allow him to leave, so Fadlan continued on with them, ultimately touring the Baltic Sea before returning to Baghdad. His story was adapted into the Michael Chrichton novel Eaters of the Dead, which was in turn adapted into the Antonio Banderas film The 13th Warrior. Fadlan’s frank and detailed anthropological text about his journeys is a good read, and I highly recommend it — especially his long description of Viking sexual practices, which is absolutely hilarious. But as this is a family-friendly blog, I offer instead a passage from after Fadlan witnessed a funeral:
One of the [Swedes] stood beside me and I heard him speaking to my interpreter. I quizzed him about what he had said, and he replied “He said, “You Arabs are a foolish lot!’” So I said, “Why is that?” and he replied, “Because you purposely take those who are dearest to you and whom you hold in highest esteem and throw them under the earth, where they are eaten by the earth, by vermin and by worms, whereas we burn them in the fire there and then, so that they enter Paradise immediately.” Then he laughed loud and long.
Zheng He (1371-1435) was a Chinese naval explorer. Born into a Muslim family in southern China, he was castrated at the age of 11 by a Ming general and sent to the imperial court. He rose in the service of the Zhu Di, the Prince of Yan and distinguished himself at the Battle of Zhenglunba. When Zhu Di became emperor, he instructed Zheng He to lead a naval expedition to southeast Asia to address the growing problem of piracy. This 1405 mission, consisting of 27,000 men in 315 ships, crushed piracy in the Straits of Malacca and established Ming hegemony over the region for a century.
The Emperor sent Zheng He on six expensive expeditions across the waters, most likely to build a great sea empire by collecting tribute from distant lands. Now Zheng He went to India and Ceylon, where he opened up direct trade between those nations and China. Later missions went as far as Arabia and East Africa, where Zheng He collected tribute for the Emperor. Here’s a passage about a journey to Arabia, taken from a 1431 inscription:
In the fifteenth year of Yongle, commanding the fleet we visited the western regions. The country of Ormuz presented lions, leopards with gold spots and large western horses. The country of Aden presented a giraffe, as well as the oryx. The country of Mogadishu presented zebras as well as lions. The country of Brava presented camels which run one thousand li as well as ostriches. The countries of Java and Calcutta presented the animal miligao. They all vied in presenting the marvellous objects preserved in the mountains or hidden in the seas and the beautiful treasures buried in the sand or deposited on the shores. Some sent a maternal uncle of the king, others a paternal uncle or a younger brother of the king in order to present a letter of homage written on gold leaf as well as tribute.
Zheng He died on this last voyage and was buried at sea. After his death, the great Chinese voyages of discovery stopped. There is some speculation that he travelled to the western shores of the Americas, but little evidence to support this claim. Nevertheless, Zheng He’s known travels were extraordinary maritime feats, moving farther over distant seas than anyone had ever done previously.

See Ya In The Funny Papers

Wizard of Id
Wizard of Id

Play Video Go to Video Inside the world's largest tent

Forget sleeping bags in this monster structure that features gardens and even restaurants.

Make your own satellite

Hobbyists and schools use DIY kits to launch their own extraterrestrial experiments. 

Discoveries and Recoveries

A vessel abandoned in the Arctic ice after a grueling 1850s ordeal turns up in surprising condition.  

Planet Earth

Planet Earth
Awesome Ice Rock Structures
"Close Encounters of the Ice Kind"? This weird ice-covered cliffs are Manpupuner Rock Formations located in North Ural Mountains, Russia:

(image credit: Sergei Makurin)

You can see official images of these rocks here, or look at the gallery of Sergei Makurin for more atmospheric shots.

(images credit: Sergei Makurin)
Hell's Half Acre

'The scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable'

That's what NOAA says ... is anyone listening?

Against the backdrop of a Senate that can't seem to grasp the reality of climate change, NOAA has issued "The 2009 State of the Climate report." It's just a scientific study "based on comprehensive data from multiple sources," so there's no reason for anyone in the repugicans to take it seriously.
They eschew science anyway. But, it's really happening:
The 2009 State of the Climate report released today draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable. More than 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries contributed to the report, which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.

Based on comprehensive data from multiple sources, the report defines 10 measurable planet-wide features used to gauge global temperature changes. The relative movement of each of these indicators proves consistent with a warming world. Seven indicators are rising: air temperature over land, sea-surface temperature, air temperature over oceans, sea level, ocean heat, humidity and tropospheric temperature in the “active-weather” layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth’s surface. Three indicators are declining: Arctic sea ice, glaciers and spring snow cover in the Northern hemisphere.
Real problems demand real solutions. And, real problems demand leadership. We're lacking in both right now.

Puzzling space ray pattern detected

An experiment buried deep under the ice of Antarctica inadvertently uncovers a cosmic mystery.  

Researchers say area of Mars may have fossils because it looks like Australia

Researchers have identified rocks that they say could contain the fossilized remains of life on early Mars.

The team made their discovery in the ancient rocks of Nili Fossae.

Their work has revealed that this trench on the dark side of Mars is a "dead ringer" for a region in Australia where some of the earliest evidence of life on Earth has been buried and preserved in mineral form.

When 2 dinosaurs become 1

Prepare to have your mind blown.
Certain dinosaurs—physically disparate enough that we've always thought of them as different species—may actually be the same animal at different stages of its life cycle. Also: Those big, protective-looking bone formations surrounding some dinos' heads and necks probably weren't all that useful as a defense against predators.
Case in point, triceratops. Or, maybe we should be calling it torosaurus now, I'm not sure. See, according to research done by scientists at Montana's Museum of the Rockies, the familiar triceratops is really just the juvenile form of the more-elaborately be-frilled and be-horned torosaurus.
This extreme shape-shifting was possible because the bone tissue in the frill and horns stayed immature, spongy and riddled with blood vessels, never fully hardening into solid bone as happens in most animals during early adulthood. The only modern animal known to do anything similar is the cassowary, descended from the dinosaurs, which develops a large spongy crest when its skull is about 80 per cent fully grown.
Scannella and Horner examined 29 triceratops skulls and nine torosaurus skulls, mostly from the late-Cretaceous Hell Creek formation in Montana. The triceratops skulls were between 0.5 and 2 metres long. By counting growth lines in the bones, not unlike tree rings, they have shown clearly that the skulls come from animals of different ages, from juveniles to young adults. Torosaurus fossils are much rarer, 2 to 3 meters long and, crucially, only adult specimens have ever been found. The duo say there is a clear transition from triceratops into torosaurus as the animals grow older. For example, the oldest specimens of triceratops show a marked thinning of the bone where torosaurus has holes, suggesting they are in the process of becoming fenestrated.
There are other species this might apply to, as well. Some with even bigger shifts in appearance.
While this is a Big Hairy Deal for dinosaur science, it also elicits a little bit of a "duh" moment when you go back and look at the animals in question. What you should really be getting out of this story is an illustration of how difficult it is to study a creature that's been extinct for millions of years.
After all—as my husband pointed out—nobody would be shocked to learn that a baby chick, an adult chicken, and plate of parmigiana were all the same animal. But that's because we've experienced chickens. Were an alien to drop in on Earth for one afternoon, they might be just as amazed at the life cycle of poultry as we are now at the triceratops/torosaurus'. Paleontologists are tasked with reconstructing the lives of animals nobody has ever seen alive. And that creates a world where the obvious just isn't.

Elephants in Scotland

... and other odd animal trans-locations
 Blogs Intelligenttravel Translocation Elephant-Crossing[3]
The above photo of a magnificent elephant crossing a road between stone cottages in Scotland. Huh? This image is from Trans-location, a new book by photographer George Logan, depicting African animals shopped into Logan's home of Scotland: a cheetah running beside a Loch, water buffalo and Celtic cross tombstones, and the like. National Geographic has a gallery of the photos.

From NatGeo:
Logan, a gold medal winner at the Association of Photographers Awards, traveled to such locations as South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, and Botswana to photograph his subjects in their natural habitats before combining them with shots of his native Scotland, including the Isle of Skye. The idea for the book was inspired by Logan's own childhood fantasies of exotic animals being part of his familiar surroundings.

Trader Joe's co-owner's death, secretive life

Theo Albrecht became one of Europe's richest men while living largely under the radar.  

Unexplained Japanese oil tanker incident

A freak wave, a collision, or an attack — theories abound on what happened in the Persian Gulf.  

Sounds of Silence

Simon and Garfunkel

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints
An expert shares easy techniques to get the crispest collars and smoothest finish.

The 'new normal'

Even consumers who aren't struggling are changing their spending habits. 

Cities perfect for young adults

Reasonable cost of living, great culture, and fun nightlife make these places ideal for those under 35.  

America's Laziest State

... And the winner is - Louisiana

Attention slackers! If you’re sick and tired of your peers and bosses orderin’ you around, move to Louisiana. It’s just claimed the top spot as America’s laziest state.
In Louisiana, where the humidity is as thick as the gumbo, people prefer to take it slow. Hunting, fishing, and outdoor sporting activity may have earned Louisiana the nickname “Sportsman’s Paradise,” but new data indicate that the more popular pastimes are sleeping, goofing off, and watching television.
In a new ranking by Businessweek.com based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Louisiana claims the top spot as the country’s laziest state. To be clear, by “lazy” we do not mean lacking work ethic or engagement. Rather, it is a measure of leisure time spent doing sedentary activities compared with activities that require more physical effort, such as exercising and even working. Mississippi and Arkansas came in second and third, and while states in the south and southeast are represented heavily in the list, such East Coast states as Delaware and New York placed in the top 20.

On The Job

On The Job
Many workers stay under the radar for fear they might be next on the chopping block.  

Boy wins £6,000 in supermarket defamation case

A five-year-old Irish boy who was wrongly accused of stealing a bag of crisps has won 7,500 euros (£6,300) damages for defamation of character. The case concerned Tadhg Mooney from Balbriggan in County Dublin. The court heard he was in a local branch of Lidl with his mother in June 2009 when a shop assistant grabbed his arm and made the accusation.

His barrister told the court her client had suffered injury to his reputation. She added that, Tadhg, now aged six, had also been caused to suffer distress and inconvenience. The Circuit Civil Court also heard that the action of the shop assistant in grabbing the boy's arm amounted to false imprisonment and assault.

The barrister told the judge, Mr Justice Matthew Deery, that she was recommending acceptance by the court of a settlement offer of 7,500 euros and costs by Lidl Ireland Ltd. Mr Justice Deery approved the offer.

On Wednesday, the family's lawyer Dermot McNamara said that Tadhg's mother had shown a receipt for the bag of crisps to the store. However, he said the shop manager failed to take her concerns seriously, causing her to take legal proceedings against the firm for slander, for false imprisonment, assault and negligence. "We managed to settle it over negotiations lasting for a month or two," Mr McNamara said.

Town officials consider introducing violation for eye-rolling

From the "Of all the stupid things to be worried about" Department:

Elmhurst officials are considering creating a "disturbance and disorderly conduct" violation after a resident accused of rolling her eyes and sighing was ejected from a public meeting. City Attorney Don Storino has been directed by the city’s finance and council affairs committee to look at various sources including “Robert’s Rules of Order,” Illinois state statutes and policies adopted by other municipalities for a legal definition of disorderly conduct and disruptive behavior.

Ald. Stephen Hipskind said Darlene Heslop rolled her eyes and sighed while attending a June 14 committee meeting. Heslop, who was asked to leave the meeting, said she favors adding a definition of disorderly conduct to the municipal code. “I’d like for them (city officials) to have a better understanding of the open meetings act and its meaning and to understand what disorderly conduct is,” she said.

Under state law, disorderly conduct is “an act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another, or to provoke a breach of the peace.” Heslop, who was asked to leave the meeting during discussion of a proposal for the city to hire a state lobbyist, which she opposes, said she hopes adding the definition will help city officials better understand “what the public is entitled to” when attending a city meeting or conducting city business.

Storino said the issues of conduct or behaviour during a city meeting are not usually criminal matters. "It's not in any way a punishable offence by a fine," he said. "It's a matter of decorum."
It's not a matter of 'decorum' - it a matter of a busybody that doesn't like it when their stupidity is disapproved of by others with less (if any) stupidity than they have.

"Life Isn't Fair"

From the "Cry me a river" Department:
Photo via US Coast Guard
It was a surprise to absolutely nobody when news surfaced this week that BP's gaffe-prone CEO Tony Hayward would be resigning in coming months (that he'd be snagging a handsome $17 million pension for a job not-so-well-done was another story). But before Hayward could allow himself to fade from the public eye, he just had to go and demonstrate his general lack of tact and sensitivity to the destruction his company has brought about one last time ...
Article continues: BP CEO Tony Hayward's Parting Shot: "Life Isn't Fair"

Talk of vanishing oil angers Gulf residents

News reports claim that oil slicks are receding, but locals say nothing has changed.  

Disabled man eaten to death by maggots

A disabled Austrian man was eaten to death by maggots in his bed while his partner slept beside him.

The 61-year-old retiree died in an ambulance on his way to hospital in Vienna on Tuesday with the maggots having partly devoured his back.

Paramedics notified police after discovering the shocking state of hygiene in the man's home, and his 34-year-old partner was questioned over his condition. "The man had not wanted to be washed for a long time," a police spokesman said.

According to police, the couple had been together for around a decade, and the victim's partner had slept in the same bed right up until his death. The dead man had been paralyzed for several years following a stroke.

Paranoia Strikes Deep

Paranoia Strikes Deep 
Signe Wilkinson

Immigration Issues

Up to 18 states that hoped to copy Arizona's immigration crackdown get a rude awakening.  
This jack-n-ape is an asshole of the first degree!
The self-styled king of immigration enforcement launches a fresh dragnet.  

Americans fucked by the repugicans again

A move blocking aid to ill 9/11 workers drives Rep. Anthony Weiner into a fiery and colorful tirade. 

Tax hikes likely for most Americans

Thanks to the repugicans
While tax increases for the wealthy are almost certain, middle-class families may not be spared.

Repugicans hate America

And are working hard to destroy her ...

Democrats tie repugicans to Tea Party: 
'They are one and the same'
Heck of a change from last summer when Democrats were running scared from these morons disrupting health care reform rallies. 

From Hotline:
As  part of its initiative, the DNC is launching a website accusing  Republicans of supporting a legislative blueprint in line with the Tea  Party movement that includes repeal of the health care law and Wall  Street reform, extending tax breaks, privatization of Social Security  and the elimination of the Department of Education and the Department of  Energy.

"The Tea Party is now an institutionalized part of the  Republican party. They are one and the same," a DNC operative said,  previewing Kaine's speech. "The positions espoused by the Tea Party is  the governing platform of the Republican party. And as voters make their  choice this fall it's important to understand what the Republican-Tea  Party wants to do if elected."

Here's the DNC's web ad laying out the Republican Tea Party agenda:

The fight to save Social Security begins anew

From Howie Klein:
Yesterday Blue America and the Americans For America PAC launched the first in a series of ads meant to emphasize what's real at stake if the GOP takes over again after the midterm elections. If you missed it yesterday, take a look at the video today. As you see, John Boehner addressed the long held Republican Party (and conservative) dream of dismantling Social Security. This morning a coalition of 60 groups representing over 30 million Americans launched a campaign specifically meant to strengthen Social Security, not weaken it as Boehner, the GOP (and some conservative Democrats) hope to do.

Richard Trumka (AFL-CIO), Gerald McEntee (AFSCME), Justin Ruben (MoveOn.org), Dennis Van Roekel (NEA), Eliseo Medina (SEIU), Terry O'Neill (NOW), Donna Meltzer (Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities), Hilary Shelton (NAACP), and Ed Coyle (Alliance for Retired Americans) held a press conference this morning at the National Press Club to announce the new campaign. With some serious indications-- like Obama's reactionary nominees to the panel-- that the his fiscal commission is considering recommending that Congress cut Social Security benefits, these groups are launching a major new campaign to push back and demand that Congress not make any benefit cuts. New polling shows massive public support for members of Congress who support strengthening, not cutting, Social Security.

Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe
When dealing with wingnuts ... Remember the rule: 
If they accuse someone of something, then they're already guilty of it.
Yet again no comment is necessary - these morons keep insisting on proving how stupid they are ... as if we needed reminding.
Liars and Fools

♦  On Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's TV show, UberChristian author Tim LaHaye discusses how Obama is bringing about Armageddon.

♦  Former Congressman and inexplicably omnipresent Republican spokesman Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) says supporters of religious freedom are "hostile to our civilization".

♦  Syndicated right-wing radio talker Jim Quinn compares health care reform to "what Hitler did".

♦  On Michael Savage's nationally syndicated radio program, arch-right smear man Andrew Breitbart says the Obama administration has a "clear cut strategy to use race".

♦  Fox Nation erupts in threats of violence over Arizona immigration ruling.

♦  Radio mouth Rush Limbaugh says "liberalism" is the sole cause of the economic crisis.

♦  Syndicated radio ranter Michael Savage says Obama administration is "the most racially divisive administration in history".

♦  Ron Ramsey, Republican candidate for Governor of Tennessee, says he's not sure the constitutional freedom of religion includes Islam.

♦  Syndicated right-wing radio talker Jim Quinn says Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is "as much of an America-hater as anybody else on the left".

♦  Fox's Glenn Beck says Obama administration is motivated by ideas "in direct contradiction to what our founders wished".

♦  Talking heads on Fox News propose that low income Americans shouldn't be allowed to vote.

♦  Rush Limbaugh, America's most listened-to political pundit, says Obama and his supporters "have an active, ongoing, and increasing dislike of this country".

♦  Fox's Glenn Beck repeats antique, long-debunked claim that reformed 1960s radical Bill Ayers is in Obama administration's "policy circles".

♦  Iowa Republican Party officially endorses amendment to strip Obama’s citizenship because he won the Nobel Peace Prize.


Ill Gotten Gains

And you wonder why repugicans are all for wars? This is what their corporate handlers want!

Prudential profiting from deaths of US soldiers
Um, fix this. ASAP.
It's despicable:
[Cindy] Lohman, a public health nurse who helps special-needs children, says she had always believed that her son's life insurance funds were in a bank insured by the FDIC. That money -- like $28 billion in 1 million death-benefit accounts managed by insurers -- wasn't actually sitting in a bank.

It was being held in Prudential's general corporate account, earning investment income for the insurer. Prudential paid survivors like Lohman 1 percent interest in 2008 on their Alliance Accounts, while it earned a 4.8 percent return on its corporate funds, according to regulatory filings.

"I'm shocked," says Lohman, breaking into tears as she learns how the Alliance Account works. "It's a betrayal. It saddens me as an American that a company would stoop so low as to make a profit on the death of a soldier. Is there anything lower than that?"

Millions of bereaved Americans have unwittingly been placed in the same position by their insurance companies. The practice of issuing what they call "checkbooks" to survivors, instead of paying them lump sums, extends well beyond the military.
Prudential is literally making money off dead soldiers. That's sick. Seriously, have they no shame?

John Strangfeld is the Chairman and CEO of Prudential. The list of officers and directors is here. They're all benefiting financially from this practice. Bastards. Ms. Lohman is right: "Is there anything lower than that?"

Jess Bachman, infographic designer extraordinaire, shares this new work which shows how Glenn Beck "uses his influence to peddle dubious information and endorse fraudulent companies, and how how those companies go about scamming fear ridden consumers into buying terrible investments."
It's a pretty epic infographic, complex and big, like much of what Jess does. I've just shown the top, oh, 20% of it above to whet your appetite.

Religion will kill you

Woman who went to Lourdes to cure cerebral palsy returned with two broken legs
A cerebral palsy sufferer took a pilgrimage to Lourdes in the hope it would help her condition returned home with two broken legs after falling from a hoist.

The family of wheelchair-bound Patricia Mitchell are taking legal action against the organizers of the trip.

Ms Mitchell survived the 4ft fall, but her family claim, she never fully recovered and died earlier this year aged 63.

She was diagnosed with a left leg broken in three places and her right leg was broken once on her return to the UK.

Now sisters Pauline Scarr and Terry Featherstone are suing for tens of thousands of pounds.

Mrs Featherstone, 60, said: "You go to Lourdes to get cured and she came back with two broken legs. It's unbelievable." Mrs Scarr, 62, said: "We want justice now for Patricia. I want answers."

Nepalese "Buddha boy" admits to beating up locals for disturbing his meditation
A Nepalese man popularly known as "Buddha boy" is being investigated by police amid reports he beat a group of locals for disturbing his meditation. Ram Bahadur Bomjan has admitted to assaulting some of the local villagers in Bara district on Thursday. Mr Bomjan is famed for spending months in the forest without eating.

His devotees believe he is the reincarnation of the Buddha, and he says he has not eaten since 2005. When he started his fast, he pledged he would meditate for six years, until he gained enlightenment.

Manoj Neupane, superintendent of police for Bara district, said police were sent to investigate after 17 people lodged complaints. Those who had been injured were sent for medical checks, he said. The villagers claimed they had been looking for wild fruit and vegetables.

Mr Bomjan said he had slapped them "two or three times" after they came onto his platform and mimicked him, while the villagers allege they were assaulted more seriously. "They disturbed me while I was meditating... tried to manhandle me," Mr Bomjan said. "I was therefore forced to beat them."

Why housing hasn't rebounded

Some experts are even expecting a double dip in the market, with prices below April 2009's lows.