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 17, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your people have learned over time that you don't express emotions the same way they do -- especially rage.
When it strikes, you usually just clam up -- more or less completely -- for days, or at least until you make your point.
That's may be happening right now.
Let the world know you're upset through your silence, which, as it happens, is just as daunting as an appointment with an oral surgeon.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, July 17, the 198th day of 2010.
There are 167 days left in the year.
Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Wrong Way Corrigan Day
Yellow Pig Day
Cow Appreciation Day
National Hot Dog Day
Toss Away The "Could Haves" and "Should Haves" Day
Woodie Wagon Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
July 17, 2010
This week, many of our largest corporations reported robust earnings – a positive sign of growth.
But too many of our small business owners and those who aspire to start their own small businesses continue to struggle, in part because they can’t get the credit they need to start up, grow, and hire.  And too many Americans whose livelihoods have fallen prey to the worst recession in our lifetimes – a recession that cost our economy eight million jobs – still wonder how they’ll make ends meet.
That’s why we need to take new, commonsense steps to help small businesses, grow our economy, and create jobs – and we need to take them now.
For months, that’s what we’ve been trying to do.  But too often, the Republican leadership in the United States Senate chooses to filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress.  And that has very real consequences.
Consider what that obstruction means for our small businesses – the growth engines that create two of every three new jobs in this country.  A lot of small businesses still have trouble getting the loans and capital they need to keep their doors open and hire new workers.  So we proposed steps to get them that help:  Eliminating capital gains taxes on investments.  Establishing a fund for small lenders to help small businesses.  Enhancing successful SBA programs that help them access the capital they need.
But again and again, a partisan minority in the Senate said “no,” and used procedural tactics to block a simple, up-or-down vote.
Think about what these stalling tactics mean for the millions of Americans who’ve lost their jobs since the recession began.  Over the past several weeks, more than two million of them have seen their unemployment insurance expire.  For many, it was the only way to make ends meet while searching for work – the only way to cover rent, utilities, even food.
Three times, the Senate has tried to temporarily extend that emergency assistance.  And three times, a minority of Senators – basically the same crowd who said “no” to small businesses – said “no” to folks looking for work, and blocked a straight up-or-down vote.
Some Republican leaders actually treat this unemployment insurance as if it’s a form of welfare. They say it discourages folks from looking for work.  Well, I’ve met a lot of folks looking for work these past few years, and I can tell you, I haven’t met any Americans who would rather have an unemployment check than a meaningful job that lets you provide for your family.  And we all have friends, neighbors, or family members who already knows how hard it is to land a job when five workers are competing for every opening.
Now in the past, Presidents and Congresses of both parties have treated unemployment insurance for what it is – an emergency expenditure.  That’s because an economic disaster can devastate families and communities just as surely as a flood or tornado.
Suddenly, Republican leaders want to change that.  They say we shouldn’t provide unemployment insurance because it costs money.  So after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, including a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, they’ve finally decided to make their stand on the backs of the unemployed.  They’ve got no problem spending money on tax breaks for folks at the top who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them; but they object to helping folks laid off in this recession who really do need help.  And every day this goes on, another 50,000 Americans lose that badly needed lifeline.
Well, I think these Senators are wrong.  We can’t afford to go back to the same misguided policies that led us into this mess.  We need to move forward with the policies that are leading us out of this mess.
The fact is, most economists agree that extending unemployment insurance is one of the single most cost-effective ways to help jumpstart the economy.  It puts money into the pockets of folks who not only need it most, but who also are most likely to spend it quickly.  That boosts local economies.  And that means jobs.
Increasing loans to small business.  Renewing unemployment insurance.  These steps aren’t just the right thing to do for those hardest hit by the recession – they’re the right thing to do for all of us.  And I’m calling on Congress once more to take these steps on behalf of America’s workers, and families, and small business owners – the people we were sent here to serve.
Because when storms strike Main Street, we don’t play politics with emergency aid.  We don’t desert our fellow Americans when they fall on hard times.  We come together.  We do what we can to help.  We rebuild stronger, and we move forward.  That’s what we’re doing today.  And I’m absolutely convinced that’s how we’re going to come through this storm to better days ahead.

Un-Fuck the Gulf

While we here at Carolina Naturally don't as a rule advertise particular companies or products there are exceptions (and we are never compensated when we do, BTW) - this is one of those exceptions.
Go to www.UnFuckTheGulf.com to buy your t-shirt and take a stand against big oil. $5 of every shirt goes to Gulf Relief and YOU get to vote on how the money is spent!

Let's man the Fuck up. Buy a t-shirt.

(Oh, and be warned the F-Bomb is dropped in the video above)

Lovecraft, Nabokov and Orwell

Apparently, I write like H.P. Lovecraft, Vladimir Nabokov and George Orwell depending on which piece of my work I submitted. Not too shabby.

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Vladimir Nabokov
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
George Orwell
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

A Poem

To bed - To lay awake pondering imponderables - To rise ere the sun sneaks unto the sky and dawn is but a dream

Death Camp Dance

While the use of a 'disco song' shows extremely poor taste and terrible judgment, the dance should be seen as a triumph of humanity over inhumanity!
A viral video of Adolek Kohn dancing to "I Will Survive" at Auschwitz stirs international controversy.



Let's compare ...

Prison Vs Work

IN PRISON..........you spend the majority of your time in a 10X10 cell.
AT WORK...........you spend the majority of your time in an 8X8 cubicle.

IN PRISON.........you get three meals a day.
AT WORK..........you get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it.

IN PRISON..........you get time off for good behavior.
AT WORK...........you get more work for good behavior.

IN PRISON..........the guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
AT WORK...........you must often carry a security card and open all the doors for yourself.

IN PRISON..........you can watch TV and play games.
AT WORK...........you could get fired for watching TV and playing games.

IN PRISON.........you get your own toilet.
AT WORK..........you have to share the toilet with some people who pee on the seat.

IN PRISON...........they allow your family and friends to visit.
AT WORK............you aren't even supposed to speak to your family.

IN PRISON.........all expenses are paid by the taxpayers with no work required.
AT WORK..........you get to pay all your expenses to go to work, and they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.

IN PRISON..........you spend most of your life inside bars wanting to get out.
AT WORK ..........you spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.

IN PRISON........ .you must deal with sadistic wardens.
AT WORK...........they are called managers.

Then and Now

SCHOOL -- 1957 vs. 2007

Scenario 1: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2007 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge> them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 2: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.

1957 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the Principal.
Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2007 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 3: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's Mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario 4: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957 - Mark shares aspirin with Principal out on the smoking dock.
2007 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 5: Pedro fails high school English.

1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.
2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 6: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.

1957 - Ants die.
2007 - BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 7: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1957 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2007 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

One Million Americans To Lose Their Homes. Where Will They Go And How Will They Live?

(Scene from Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story.)
A new report predicts more than 1 million American households will lose their homes due to foreclosure:
Nearly 528,000 homes were foreclosed in the first six months of 2010. As lenders work through a huge backlog of borrowers behind on their mortgages, even more home repossessions could occur before the end of the year.
According to RealtyTrac, Inc., a foreclosure listing service, the number of households facing foreclosure in the first half of the year climbed 8 percent when compared to the same time frame last year. In June, 1 in every 411 households received a foreclosure filing.
The fastest growing group of foreclosures involved homeowners with good credit who took out conventional fixed-rate loans. Many of these borrowers have fallen behind in their mortgages due to unemployment or reduced income.
It takes about 15 months for a home loan to go from being 30 days late to the property being seized and sold. Between January and June of this year, about 1.7 million homeowners received a foreclosure-related warning. At the time of this writing, more than 7.3 million home loans are in some stage of delinquency. The states experiencing the highest foreclosure rates are California, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Arizona and Nevada.
As Atrios points out, the HAMP program has been worse than a failure, because it prolonged the agony for homeowners and most of them lost their homes, anyway. "All carrot and no stick," as this blogger calls it. (Which seems to sum up the administration's attitude toward bankers in general.)
I was in the neighborhood pizza restaurant last night, and several of the diners were talking about unemployment extensions. Like most people, they're confused about the difference between next week's vote on unemployment extension, and Tier 5 benefits -- which Congress won't touch. They're hoping "someone will do something," because the alternative is too unthinkable.
The staff is worried, too. The pizza cook is an accountant with three kids who can't find anything above minimum wage. "When I've gotten an interview, I'm going up against people with ten years' experience and MBAs -- for jobs that pay $10 an hour," he told me. "I just don't know what I'm going to do."
And the delivery guy, a former IT programmer, is worried sick about his wife, who has COPD and internal bleeding they can't locate. They've been going to the local federally-funded public health center. "The doctors there are good, but they get a little antsy when you need a specialist," he said. "My unemployment runs out in September, and she's the only steady paycheck coming into the house."
He told me he has this idea for an invention, that when he was working, he invested $1000 in getting designs made. But now? "I need another ten thousand to move forward, and there's no way in hell I can ever afford that without a job," he said.
He paused. "Let alone a house. I just don't know what we're gonna do."
And in stark contrast to the burdens carried by these decent, hard-working people, Americans who got the education and prepared themselves to be self-sufficient, stand the just plain mean denizens of Beck Nation. A friend of mine was looking in a store yesterday and told the owner she wouldn't be buying anything just yet because she was unemployed. The woman snapped, started wagging a finger in her face and told her she "shouldn't be here, you should be out looking for a job!"
"Practically snarling at me," my friend told me. "Can you imagine?" Yes, I can.
How are we ever going to bridge this divide? You just can't leave this many people without help, but the politicians are mostly spineless. What is going to happen to us?

Need a job?

Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry is accepting applications from people willing to spend a month living at the facility for a $10,000 paycheck.

On The Job

On The Job
The top city for employment is generally associated with something other than its economy.

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
One promises 9,750 rain drops in each bottle, while another taps an ancient iceberg.  

Dog Defies Gravity

Dogs have been known to defy their owners, but rarely do they defy gravity.  

The Secrets of the Runes

No-one can now be sure of the origin of the Runic alphabet with which many of us will be at least vaguely familiar. The ‘stick like’ almost primitive looking symbols often appear in an article or a fantasy tale in magazines or novels, they seem to hold a fascination that lies deep within the consciousness of many of us.

So what about the history and meaning behind them?

Even the word ‘Rune’ provokes debate amongst scholars. In Old Norse, a ‘run’ was a secret, in Old German, it is connected with the ‘raunen’ to whisper, and in Welsh the word for a secret is ‘rhin’ or ‘rin’. By the Middle Ages to ‘roon’ a person meant to whisper in somebody’s ear. Little wonder the Runes have acquired a mystery all of their own.

We know the Norsemen used them, did they bring their carved stones with them on their frequent ‘visits to Britain? Or did the Celts have them first and was it the old inhabitants of Britain that gave them to the world? There is some evidence that the people of what is now Alpine Northern Italy read with the Runes and some antiquarians argue that the Etruscans or even the Ancient Greeks knew the meanings long before they were used in the Northernmost lands.

Certainly the Runes were used as an alphabet just as ours is today but the Shamen or wise men of the tribe or group knew they were central to the arts they practised. Anxious people would consult the old wisdoms and have the past and present explained and the future laid before them.

Runecasters will generally use 24 stones or possibly 25, the extra one being blank. I use the additional one and if it is selected I interpret this to mean that the querent has more opportunity than is normally the case to change, grow and take a new direction. The actual names for the stones vary depending on whether the Runecaster favours the Nordic, Germanic or Celtic variety but they are close enough in name and symbolic meaning for this to be a minor issue in the overall scheme of things.

Arranged in three groups or Aetts (clans or tribes), most of the Runic symbols are based on earthy, primeval concepts. The societies in which they were revered and central to the culture largely lived closer to nature than we can imagine. A crop failure was likely to mean starvation, life expectancy was far lower than in or westernised, sanitised world today.
The people who used the alphabet symbols were focused fiercely on a lifestyle that is beyond our real understanding. They had much more down to earth, basic attitudes towards life, death, sex, etc.

It is worth taking a detailed look at the Os rune, symbolising as it does the God Odin.

Odin was very far from the benevolent forgiving deity that we associate with the Christian religion. He is usually depicted as a somewhat scruffy looking old man, wearing a dark cloak and a soft felt cap, maybe dark blue in colour, pulled across his face to try to disguise the fact hat he has only one eye! Legend tells us he sacrificed the eye to the God Mimir to gain wisdom but he may also have hung in agony on the cosmic tree Ygddrasil to prove he was immortal. He had the power to change shape into any animal and roam the countryside in these guises. However, it is in his human form he more commonly appeared at crossroads to strike terror into the hearts of lonely travellers often accompanied by two ravens and a wolf. He could raise the dead, calm the winds and make his enemies go blind and deaf but it is his cunning and trickery which mark him out in history. He would offer ‘deals’ to mortals which usually meant the bargaining of their souls, indeed some believe the tales of mortals being tricked into selling their souls to the Devil may originate with Odin.



Early Humans Settled in Britain 800,000 Years Ago

Early Humans
The discovery shows for the first time that our hardy forebears, armed with a few stone tools or weapons, could survive in a challenging, frigid environment.    
Read more      

Scientific Minds Want To Know

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Plants Can Think And Remember

Plants are able to remember and react to information contained in light, according to researchers. Plants, scientists say, transmit information about light intensity and quality from leaf to leaf in a very similar way to our own nervous systems. These electro-chemical signals are carried by cells that act as nerves of the plants.

In their experiment, scientists from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland showed that light shone on to one leaf caused the whole plant to respond. And the response, which took the form of light-induced chemical reactions in the leaves, continued in the dark. This showed, they said, that the plant remembered the information encoded in light.

Superhuman: The Incredible Savant Brain

You have three pounds of brain in your head. 
Most of it is just water. 
But what you are capable of with the rest is staggering.

Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Are 100% Resistant to Malaria

Scientists at the University of Arizona have created mosquitoes that are completely safe from the parasite that causes malaria. It does so by reducing the lifespan of the engineered mosquitoes. Most mosquitoes live only two to three weeks, but the parasite needs twelve to sixteen days to develop inside a mosquito. Consequently, these mosquitoes don’t live long enough to become dangerous.
So with that problem solved, how can scientists use the new mosquitoes to destroy malaria?

At Popular Science, Laurie J. Schmidt explains:
According to Riehle, completely eradicating the malaria parasite carried by mosquitoes requires three things: the ability to engineer the mosquito, finding genes or molecules that can kill the malaria parasite, and giving the modified mosquitoes a competitive advantage so they can replace the wild population. The first two components have been accomplished, but Riehle says the third represents a bigger hurdle. “A lot of research is being done now to give the mosquitoes fitness advantages so that they can replace the wild populations,” he said. “But it’s probably at least a decade away, and if this is ever used for malaria control it will take several years for population replacement to actually occur.”

Non Sequitur

Non Sequitur

This is Bullshit

BP could get fat tax refunds after declaring oil catastrophe clean-up as a cost of doing business ...

This bitch is insane

From the "This bitch is insane" Department:
Sue Myrick warns that Hezbollah agents may be learning to speak Spanish and disguising themselves as illegal immigrants in order to get into the US ...

Faking it

Police in central Pennsylvania say a middle school teacher lied for years about having an inoperable brain tumor.

Idaho tree decorated with shoes since 1940s burns

U.S. Forest Service officials in northern Idaho say the rubber-soled decorations that made the "shoe tree" a beloved Priest River landmark also helped fuel its demise.Tourists and locals since the 1940s have dressed the tree with hundreds of pairs of shoes, nailing sneakers to its trunk and hanging work boots from its branches.

Maastricht ban on tourists in marijuana cafes upheld by EU court

Its name may be synonymous with European unity ‑ but increasingly its coffee shops are not. Moves by the Dutch border town of Maastricht to ban foreigners from its marijuana cafes have been upheld by the European court, in a rare contravention of EU laws governing free markets and free movement of people. In response to what it terms an influx of hordes of weed-seeking tourists, mainly from Belgium and France, Maastricht decided to limit admission to coffee shops to Dutch residents only.

Every day, some 4,000 tourists in search of the perfect smoke enter Maastricht, according to the major of the town. Some 70% of the town's coffee-shop customers come from across the border. Marc Josemans, owner and chairman of the Association of Official Maastricht Coffee Shops, brought a legal challenge before the Dutch council of state, arguing that a ban contravenes European legislation on free movement and free trade in goods and services within the EU. The council asked the European court of justice for its interpretation of EU law, which it will then employ in its ruling expected at the end of this year.

In his finding, the EU court's advocate general, Yve Bot, said that narcotics do not count as regular goods because they are against the law. "Narcotics, including cannabis, are not goods like others and their sale does not benefit from the freedoms of movement guaranteed by European Union law, inasmuch as their sale is unlawful," he said. He did add however that in cases of their medical or scientific use, marijuana does "come under internal market rules".

The court said that Maastricht was right to view drug tourism as "a genuine and sufficiently serious threat to public order", and thus the restriction of foreigners from coffee shops "constitutes a measure necessary to protect the residents of the municipality from trouble". The finding concluded by saying that backpackers descending upon the Netherlands for a weekend of exuberance and oblivion endangered the European Union's security. "Drug tourism, in so far as it conceals, in actual fact, international trade in narcotics and fuels organised criminal activities, threatens even the European Union's internal security," it said.