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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 24, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
After dealing with others' secrets recently, you're well prepared to deal with your own, right?
Well, if not, the least you can do is to find someone you trust deeply whose advice you know from experience to be sage and reliable.
The hardest part is that you're usually that person for everyone else!
Someone had to show you how it's done, so reach out to them, if possible.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, July 25, the 205th day of 2010.
There are 160 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Tell An Old Joke Day
National Day of the Cowboy

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.

N.C. and S.C.: Know the differences

By John Grooms

Given the political shenanigans in South Carolina, the last thing North Carolinians need is to be confused with our southern neighbors. Palmetto State pols have spent over a year racking up nationwide bad publicity with their affairs, confessions, lies, backroom deals, shouting during the State of the Union, phantom candidates, ethnic insults, sexual accusations (both hetero and gay) and cutthroat tactics.

Sad to say, the national press -- and even newcomers to N.C. -- often get the two states mixed up. That has to change. So in the interest of clarifying things for national reporters and all the newcomers to the area, this S.C. native and 30-year N.C. resident offers a list of critical ways in which the two Carolinas are very, very different politically, culturally and other ways.

Read, learn and enjoy.

A woman conducts a campaign for governor and soon overtakes the frontrunners
In N.C.: We say, "Oh, that's cool," and elect her.
In S.C.: Political operatives try to destroy the woman by claiming they've had sex with her, insinuating that any female running for higher office must be some kind of slut.

A rather addled, unemployed alleged sex offender registers to run for the U.S. Senate, then sits on his butt till the election
In N.C.: Doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell.
In S.C.: Wins the primary.

A political candidate of Indian descent rises to prominence
In N.C.: Everyone at least pretends that the candidate's heritage is unimportant.
In S.C.: Candidate is publicly vilified by a member of her own party as "a raghead."

Environmental or health emergencies
In N.C.: Pig waste overflows from retaining ponds, stinking up the place.
In S.C.: The friggin' West Nile virus shows up and no one even seems to care.

Political scandals
In N.C.: Governor uses office to get his wife a job and line his friends' pockets.
In S.C.: Governor thinks being married to his wife is a job, so he runs off to his mistress in Argentina, while inventing a whole new catchphrase when he claims to have been "hiking the Appalachian Trail."

More political scandals
In N.C.: State re-elects a virulent racist homophobe to the U.S. Senate over and over until he's finally too old to run anymore.
In S.C.: A lecherous racist who pretends to have changed his ways is re-elected to the U.S. Senate over and over until he dies.

Political nutcases
In N.C.: Rep. Virginia Foxx, Rep. Sue Myrick, Rep. Bob "Who are you?" Etheridge, Rep. Patrick McHenry.
In S.C.: State Rep. Jake "Raghead" Knotts, Rep. Joe Wilson, U.S. Sen. Jim "Just For Men" DeMint, U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene, Gov. Mark Sanford, Lt. Gov. Andre "I'm not gay, dammit!" Bauer, and at least half of the legislature.

Public school systems
In N.C.: Drastic education budget cuts cause widespread angst, and school board meetings are swamped with concerned parents.
In S.C.: No worries. There are still plenty of Hardee's drive-thru menus to help the young 'uns learn how to read and cipher.

Fine restaurants
In N.C.: Quality cuisine is available and appreciated in most cities.
In S.C.: There is quality cuisine in Charleston; everyone else eats fried dough and fatback.

Collective memory of the Civil War
In N.C.: Civil what?
In S.C.: Numerous white men wake up every morning, grinding their teeth about Gettysburg.

Biological curiosities
In N.C.: Venus Fly Traps.
In S.C.: Savannah River Plant's nuclear waste has produced many colorful new life forms, including three-headed frogs and talking gnats.

Female killers
In N.C.: The notorious Frankie Silver kills her husband, chops him up, and burns him in their fireplace. Two centuries later, Velma Barfield poisons husbands and is executed (leading to one of the New York Post's greatest headlines, "Granny Gets the Death Needle").
In S.C.: Susan Smith drowns her two small children, blames it on an imaginary black guy who stole her car, and gets life in prison, where she has sex with one of her guards.

Nicknames each state has for the other
In N.C.: S.C. is sometimes referred to as "That Other Carolina."
In S.C.: The existence of North Carolina is rarely acknowledged.

Poll found in Kandahar Airfield toilet

"While I doubt Ipsos would approve of the collection process, the data was interesting. Out of 26 respondents, only 7 thought progress was being made. 18 people marked “No” and 1 person ticked “HELL NO!!!” That means 73 per cent of those polled think the mission is failing.
Anywhere else, this may mean very little. But this poll was done in a military bathroom, in the middle of a war zone, by soldiers."

Copperhead Road

Steve Earle

Why the middle class is radically shrinking

The U.S. is in serious danger of losing its once prosperous middle class.

Repugican Treason

George Orwell's Animal Farm Will Be a Musical

Elton John and Lee Hall are writing a musical based on Animal Farm, George Orwell’s 1945 allegory about the perils of communism:
Lee, who won Olivier and Tony awards for his book and lyrics for the stage Billy Elliot, and an Oscar nomination for the screen version, told me Orwell’s novella was perfectly suited for the stage and pointed out that there are phrases such as ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others’ that lend themselves to lyrics.
‘I’m deep into it, writing songs for pigs and other four-legged friends,’ the writer explained.

Professor returns from vacation, gets 'foiled'

A science professor at Gustavus Adolphus College left for a week's vacation this summer and returned to a shiny office.

Another goalie slips up

An English team scores a ridiculously easy goal, thanks to a back-up goalkeeper's blunder.

Teen phenom may spark soccer tug of war

Andy Najar might become the next big thing for U.S. soccer — if he chooses to play for the USA.  

At least 18 killed in festival stampede

A deadly panic sweeps through a tunnel as police in Germany close a festival due to overcrowding.  

Pilot's last-second air crash escape

Sparks came from an engine just as the Canadian air show jet banked into a trick maneuver.

Rare baby turtles to be released into Gulf

Keeping endangered hatchlings in captivity could be worse than the oil risk — but some experts disagree. 

How much a 10-gallon hat can really hold

The iconic headwear isn't that big, so what's its true capacity and how did the name originate?

How to keep food from sticking to the grill

One grill expert shares his easy tricks to prevent food from sticking to the grate.  

Best deals for every month of the year

From January (white sales, HDTVs) to December (toys, new cars), here's when you'll save big. 

Painless ways to save more

It's possible to spend a lot less money without making big lifestyle changes.

Reasons why you didn't get that job

You may be a great fit, but if you come with strings attached, it could doom your prospects.  



Insulting the French Flag Could Cost You

Insert your witty comment here:
Sacrebleu! France has just passed a rule stating that anyone insulting the French national flag could be fined €1,500:
France has introduced a rule to protect its national flag from insult after a photo of a man wiping his bottom with the tricolour caused outrage.
Under the rule, anyone caught trying to "destroy, damage or use the flag in a degrading manner" could face a fine of 1,500 euros (£1,250; $1,900).
The offending picture won a prize in a photo contest in the southern city of Nice in March. It was later published in a free national newspaper.
It's no wonder why the French are laughed at (even more so than Americans ... which is hard to do - it's the only thing they excel at it seems.)

You always knew lawyers were crooks ...

A lawyer was accused of burglarizing the home of a client who filed a complaint against him with the Florida Bar.

American Airlines Sued Over Baggage Fee

If an airline loses your luggage, shouldn't it refund your baggage fee? That seems reasonable enough, so when American Airlines refuses to refund $25 fee after losing Danielle Covarrubias' bag, she decided to sue:
The class action lawsuit, filed on behalf of Covarrubias of Pierce County, Wash., is the first since American Airlines started to charge a fee for handling and transporting luggage in June 2008, according to industry experts. The airline was the first major carrier to impose such fees.
"It just goes to show you how enraged people are by the lack of common-sense regulation in the airline industry," said George Hobica, an aviation expert and creator of airfarewatchdog.com. "It doesn't make any sense at all that somebody should charge for a service and then screw up and not give you your money back."



Woman's dog mistaken for coyote, set loose in wild

An American Kennel Club-registered dog has been turned loose in the wild after the Frankfort Humane Society mistook her for a coyote.

Farmer builds 36ft Meerkat sculpture from bales of straw

Proudly looking out over motorists in rural Nantwich, the statue is built on a 6ft base and has lights in its eyes.

Each year, staff at Snugburys Ice Cream Farm, Hurleston, celebrate the summer with a new design.

Director Chris Sadler and his wife Cheryl come up with the ideas and the creations are made by Mike Harper, who builds a steel skeleton which is then stuffed with hay.

Speaking about this year’s design, Mr Harper, 57, said: ‘Everyone loves meerkats, especially my wife, so we thought it would be a good idea.

‘We start planning it in January and then have a big push stuffing it at the end which takes about a month.

‘Mike is an amazing talent and was happy to have a go at building it. People absolutely adore it – it says that it cheers them up, and it doesn’t cost them anything.’

'Invisible' tree house opens in Sweden

The striking glass structure reflects everything around it, making it nearly impossible to detect.  

Seriously Silly Inventions

Now that you can buy a sandwich in a can, have you ever wondered what other off-the-wall products are out there?

From an odor-absorbing Better Marriage Blanket to the Solar-Powered Lighter, check out this list of 9 silly inventions that leave us wondering what the inventor was thinking.

New machine gets cows 'udderly' clean

One company says its automatic cow wash makes cows happier and even increases milk production.  

Broom Hilda

Broom Hilda

Guilt-ridden thief who wrote 'sorry' note to victim caught after including his name and phone number

A bogus caller has been jailed after returning money he stole from a pensioner – with £40 extra and a note containing his name and phone number. Simon Crewe posed as a window cleaner to steal from the woman's home last month. While the 85-year-old's back was turned, he made off with a purse containing £160. But he felt so bad about it he sent her a letter of apology and £200 to make amends. The 26-year-old, who has a string of previous convictions, immediately regretted the theft, Leicester Crown Court was told. He was later contacted by the police and handed himself in.

Yesterday, he was given a two-year-and-five-month jail sentence. He admitted the distraction burglary in Meadvale Road, Knighton, Leicester, on June 18. At the time, Crewe, of Herrick Road, off Welford Road, Leicester, was on license from a seven-year jail sentence, imposed in 2004 for four distraction house burglaries, with 47 similar offenses taken into consideration. The offenses involved him calling at elderly people's homes, posing as an official from an electricity or gas company. Alan Murphy, prosecuting, said Crewe was carrying a ladder when he called at the victim's home at 8.30am. She assumed he was her window cleaner and, as she left him outside to go upstairs on her stairlift, Crewe made off with her purse from a windowsill.

Mr Murphy said that eight days later he put a letter through the woman's door returning her money with an extra £40. He said: "Crewe said he was sorry and left a contact number." He later told the police he argued with his partner about money and went out looking for window cleaning work, but was tempted on seeing the purse. He said the victim was "a nice old lady". Mr Murphy said: "He immediately felt bad but was too scared to return it for several days, having burnt the complainant's purse and bus pass. In fact, the letter returning the money upset her even further and left her confused." Sally Bamford, for Crewer, said it was an exceptional case and Crewe would have escaped being caught, but for his letter of apology identifying who he was. She said he had changed his behavior since his last sentence, and become more sympathetic to victims of crime.

Ms Bamford said: "It was an impulsive act and he did what he could to put the matter right. "He handed himself in to the police and became emotional in interview, which had to be stopped because he was so overwrought. He takes full responsibility." Sentencing, Judge Sylvia De Bertodano said: "What makes this so bad is that someone elderly and vulnerable was targeted in their home." She said custody had to follow "no matter how much remorse you feel". She said: "You paid the money back under cover of a letter, effectively turning yourself in. I accept you were trying to make amends."

China's 'hairy man' to have surgery to play Monkey King

China's hairiest man is set to have cosmetic surgery in order to play The Monkey King in a TV remake of Journey To The West. 32-year-old Yu Zhenhuan has hair that covers 96 per cent of his body, due to a rare hormone imbalance.

Having previously starred in a number of movies and flirting with a singing career, Zhenhuan attempted to land the lead role of The Monkey King in a television adaptation of Journey to the West.

Unfortunately, the director decided that he wasn't attractive enough, prompting Zhenhuan's decision to undergo surgery. 'I thought I was the best candidate, as I look like a monkey and my nickname is monkey man,' he stated.

'I read through the book and found professional hair dressers to make me into a real monkey man. But I failed the audition because I am not good looking enough. I am going to have surgery to get rid of the hair and facial plastic surgery to make myself look more like a pretty monkey, and make the director regret his decision,' he said.

Angry jellyfish and a whale stir the Web

A jellyfish may have gone on a stinging spree, while a confused whale lands on a yacht.