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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, August 21, 2010

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Some of your colleagues and friends are kind of stumbling through the day, and maybe looking stunned -- as if they can't quite figure out what to do.
Try to be as sympathetic as possible.
From your perspective, things don't look so bad -- or so confusing.
By tomorrow, it should all be even better.
Help your people get through it all.
Give them some good advice and the benefit of your wisdom.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, August 21, the 233rd day of 2010.
There are 132 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
(World) Daffodil Day

It is also Poet's Day, Senior Citizen's Day and National Homeless Animals Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
August 21, 2010
As the political season heats up, Americans are already being inundated with the usual phone calls, mailings, and TV ads from campaigns all across the country.  But this summer, they’re also seeing a flood of attack ads run by shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names.  We don’t know who’s behind these ads and we don’t know who’s paying for them.

The reason this is happening is because of a decision by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case – a decision that now allows big corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections.  They can buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads – and worst of all, they don’t even have to reveal who is actually paying for them.  You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation.  You don’t know if it’s BP.  You don’t know if it’s a big insurance company or a Wall Street Bank.  A group can hide behind a phony name like “Citizens for a Better Future,” even if a more accurate name would be “Corporations for Weaker Oversight.”

We tried to fix this last month.  There was a proposal supported by Democrats and Republicans that would’ve required corporate political advertisers to reveal who’s funding their activities.  When special interests take to the airwaves, whoever is running and funding the ad would have to appear in the advertisement and take responsibility for it – like a company’s CEO or an organization’s biggest contributor.  And foreign-controlled corporations and entities would be restricted from spending money to influence American elections – just as they were in the past.

You would think that making these reforms would be a matter of common sense.  You’d think that reducing corporate and even foreign influence over our elections wouldn’t be a partisan issue.
But the Republican leaders in Congress said no.  In fact, they used their power to block the issue from even coming up for a vote.

This can only mean that the leaders of the other party want to keep the public in the dark.  They don’t want you to know which interests are paying for the ads.  The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.

Well, we cannot allow the corporate takeover of our democracy.  So we’re going to continue to fight for reform and transparency.  And I urge all of you to take up the same fight.  Let’s challenge every elected official who benefits from these ads to defend this practice or join us in stopping it.

At a time of such challenge for America, we can’t afford these political games.  Millions of Americans are struggling to get by, and their voices shouldn’t be drowned out by millions of dollars in secret, special interest advertising.  Their voices should be heard.

Let’s not forget that a century ago, it was a Republican President – Teddy Roosevelt – who first tried to tackle the issue of corporate influence on our elections.  He actually called it “one of the principal sources of corruption in our political affairs.”  And he proposed strict limits on corporate influence in elections.  “Every special interest is entitled to justice,” he said.  “but not one is entitled to a vote in Congress, to a voice on the bench, or to representation in any public office.”

We now face a similar challenge, and a similar opportunity to prevent special interests from gaining even more clout in Washington.  This shouldn’t be a Democratic issue or a Republican issue.  This is an issue that goes to whether or not we will have a democracy that works for ordinary Americans – a government of, by, and for the people.  Let’s show the cynics and the special interests that we still can.

Futurama Writer Created and Proved a Mathematical Theorem Just for One Episode

I haven’t seen it yet, but apparently last night’s episode of Futurama required a mathematical formula to explain a plot element. Producer David X. Cohen is noted for leaving real mathematical statements on screen during the show and had a staff mathematician compose an original theorem for that episode:
In an APS News exclusive, Cohen reveals for the first time that in the 10th episode of the upcoming season, tentatively entitled “The Prisoner of Benda,” a theorem based on group theory was specifically written (and proven!) by staffer/PhD mathematician Ken Keeler to explain a plot twist. Cohen can’t help but chuckle at the irony: his television-writing rule is that entertainment trumps science, but in this special case, a mathematical theorem was penned for the sake of entertainment.