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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, October 16, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Yes, PE stands for 'physical education.'
But it could also stand for 'patience and effort' (which, if you think about it, is what most physical education involves too).
You're getting physical, and it's going to take patience and effort.
But the payoff -- sounder sleep, a better relationship with your body and, by extension, with the world around you, a stronger sense of self -- is more than worth it.
So get going.
And have a good time!

Some of our readers today have been in:
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
London, England, United Kingdom
Almeria, Andalucia, Spain
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

as well as Germany, Brazil, Luxembourg, China, Russia, Poland, Denmark, Latvia, Argentina and in cities across the United States such as Edmond, Brookhaven, Richland, Huntsville and more.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, October 16, the 289th day of 2010.
There are 76 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Dictionary Day
Fall Astronomy Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As prepared for delivery
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Washington, DC
After a decade of hardship for middle class families, and a recession that wiped away millions of jobs, we are in the middle of a tough fight to rebuild this economy and put folks back to work.

Winning this fight will not depend on government alone.  It will depend on the innovation of American entrepreneurs; on the drive of American small business owners; on the skills and talents of American workers.  These are the people who will help us grow our economy and create jobs.

But government still has an important responsibility.  And that’s to create an environment in which someone can raise capital to start a new company; where a business can get a loan to expand; where ingenuity is prized and folks are rewarded for their hard work.

That’s why I fought so hard to pass a jobs bill to cut taxes and make more loans available for entrepreneurs.  It eliminated the capital gains taxes for key investments in small businesses.  It increased the deduction to defray the costs of starting a company.  And it’s freeing up credit for folks who need it.  In fact, in just the first two weeks since I signed the bill, thousands of business owners have been able to get new loans through the SBA.

But we need to do more.  So I’ve proposed additional steps to grow the economy and spur hiring by businesses across America.  Now, one of the keys to job creation is to encourage companies to invest more in the United States.  But for years, our tax code has actually given billions of dollars in tax breaks that encourage companies to create jobs and profits in other countries.

I want to close these tax loopholes.  Instead, I want to give every business in America a tax break so they can write off the cost of all new equipment they buy next year.  That’s going to make it easier for folks to expand and hire new people.  I want to make the research and experimentation tax credit permanent.  Because promoting new ideas and technologies is how we’ll create jobs and retain our edge as the world’s engine of discovery and innovation. And I want to provide a tax cut for clean energy manufacturing right here in America.  Because that’s how we’ll lead the world in this growing industry.

These are commonsense ideas.  When more things are made in America, more families make it in America; more jobs are created in America; more businesses thrive in America.  But Republicans in Washington have consistently fought to keep these corporate loopholes open.  Over the last four years alone, Republicans in the House voted 11 times to continue rewarding corporations that create jobs and profits overseas – a policy that costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year.

That doesn’t make a lot sense.  It doesn’t make sense for American workers, American businesses, or America’s economy.  A lot of companies that do business internationally make an important contribution to our economy here at home.  That’s a good thing.  But there is no reason why our tax code should actively reward them for creating jobs overseas.  Instead, we should be using our tax dollars to reward companies that create jobs and businesses within our borders.

We should give tax breaks to American small businesses and manufacturers.  We should reward the people who are helping us lead in the industries of the future, like clean energy.  That’s how we’ll ensure that American innovation and ingenuity are what drive the next century. That’s how we’ll put our people back to work and lead the global economy.  And that’s what I’ll be fighting for in the coming months.

Thank you.

And I Quote

Jerry Brown must stop apologizing for being in the same room when someone called Meg Whitman a whore. 
If you wanna see a woman really get mad, compare a whore to Meg Whitman.
~  Bill Maher in his New Rules segment 10-15-2010

Get away from it all

Trips to Canada's Auyuittuq National Park are never easy and sometimes impossible.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder the world over

Western culture is increasingly obsessed with physical appearance and beauty, but vanity is nothing new, nor is it limited to just one culture.
Moreover, differences in our perception of physical beauty have an enormous impact on the fashion …

Records are made to be broken

Arkansas and Auburn stage a touchdown fest as they break a longtime SEC mark.  

What is Azerbaijan?

There is more than just oil in Azerbaijan. 
This is a country with a rich and ancient history. 
It was the first democratic country in the Islamic world. 
Women's suffrage in Azerbaijan preceded the United Kingdom and the United States. 
Azerbaijani scientists contributed to the world development. 
Some of world's greatest literaturture was written in Azerbaijan. 
And the Azerbaijani dynasties founded some of the world's greatest empires. 
Even the name of 'Azerbaycan' is ancient, meaining 'Land of the Eternal Fire', because it is here where the prophet of Zoroaster founded a new religion that would later on influence the Persian Empire.

China letter demands peace prize winner's release

They'll likely be joining him instead

More than 100 Chinese activists have signed and released an open letter asking that Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo be released from prison.

China claims awarding Nobel Peace Prize to human rights activist encourages crime

A predictable response from one of the most corrupt governments on the planet.
Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned dissident Liu Xiabo encouraged crime in China, the government said Thursday, while telling his supporters to stop interfering in his case.

China has been issuing angry statements and rejecting calls for Liu's release since the Norwegian Nobel Committee honored him Oct. 8 for his more than two decades of advocacy of human rights and peaceful democratic change that started with the demonstrations at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The 54-year-old literary critic is serving an 11-year prison term after being convicted of inciting subversion for his role in writing an influential 2008 manifesto for political reform.

Big Brother is watching ...

A stray wire found during a student's routine oil change leads to accusations of Big Brother.  

Mother pays daughter $300 to stop using Facebook

Many parents feel their children spend too much time on Facebook. Melynda Rushing was no different.
What she did to solve the issue was different: she bribed her daughter, Alyssa, paying her $300 to stop using Facebook.

Random Celebrity Photo

Linda Blair

Linda Blair

Man showers to sober up in wrong house

An Australian woman at home alone was terrified when she heard someone having a shower in her house. Police later found a red-faced neighbor who was so drunk that he went into the house because he thought it was his own.

"He was very apologetic," Superintendent Daniel Shean said. The man got lost on the way to his house in Katherine on Wednesday night. He walked into the home and took a shower in an attempt to sober up.

The 34-year-old householder was asleep upstairs. She woke up, heard the water running and frantically rang the police. When officers arrived, they found the 42-year-old sitting on the woman's veranda - dressed again.

He said "sorry" to the police and woman many times after realizing his mistake. The man was taken into protective custody to sleep off his big night. "The woman was just happy for us to take him away," Supt Shean said. "She thought he was a burglar."

Woman stabs classmate in anger-management class

A 19-year-old Bellevue woman has been charged with second-degree assault after she allegedly stabbed a classmate Saturday during an anger-management class at Bellevue College. Bellevue police say Faribah Maradiaga "blew up out of control" and stabbed the classmate's arm and shoulder several times after the two women exchanged words.

Police said Maradiaga, who already had a pending assault charge, told them that the other woman had threatened her first, according to charging documents. Maradiaga walked into the North Campus classroom around 9 a.m. on Saturday while a video on anger management was being shown, according to the charges.

Maradiaga started complaining about the movie and disrupting the class when the victim told Maradiaga "the video was good and to give it a chance." Maradiaga, who was sitting two rows behind the victim, then stood up and started talking "trash" before pulling out a knife with a 3-inch blade and stabbing the other woman, police and prosecutors say.

The charges say Maradiaga then threatened to kill the victim's family. Maradiaga is being held on $50,000 bail in King County Jail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 25.

Guess this goes into the books as a wasted class, then.

Man in sniper gear caught breaking into museum toilet

Oregon police caught a man dressed in a 'moss suit' trying to break into a museum - through its bathroom. Gregory Liascos, 36, was arrested trying to get into the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. It was a plan that made it only as far as the toilet. "The museum has an exterior bathroom that is attached to the house, but has no entry to the house," said Sgt. Dave Thompson of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators believe Liascos spent several nights cutting a hole in the wall of the museum's exterior restroom, a hole that was hidden behind the toilet seat protectors. No one would have known it was there – except for the fact that this burglar wasn't the cleanest. The caretaker found debris on the floor every morning. "So he cleaned it up on Monday, and the next day he saw some similar dust on the floor. It piques his curiosity, but he can't figure out where it's coming from," Thompson said.

It didn't take long to discover the hole and deputies installed extra security devices. On Thursday morning, they went off. A police dog searching the woods nearby found a large piece of ground interesting. The dog bit - the ground screamed. Liascos was under arrest.

"It just seems unbelievable that someone thinks with all the security in the museum that they'd be able to do something like that," said museum director Linda Kepford. What Liascos was allegedly after was a quarter-million dollar gold collection – that was just returned after a successful heist in April. But the moss man never got in… and he wouldn't have. The hole he made led to an elevator shaft - which was blocked by the elevator inside.



Bad Cops

Florida police chief quits after suggesting that President Obama should be shot

California cop is accused of giving DMV info to Hells Angels

Pennsylvania prison guard charged after scuffle with police

New York City paid nearly $1B over a decade to settle claims against police

Mississippi police department's "strike team" is rife with corruption

Tennessee police mishandled sexual battery complaint against officer, detective says

North Carolina sheriff is sentenced to 14 months in prison for skimming drug investigation fund

Tides Foundation To Beck's Advertisers: Stop Or You'll Have Blood On Your Hands

By Nicole Belle (via Crooks & Liars):

It's time to stand up to violent rhetoric and demand change.  And that's  exactly what Drummond Pike, CEO of the Tides Foundation has decided to  do by going to the advertisers of Glenn Beck's program--the one that so  inspired and motivated domestic terrorist Byron Williams (and yes, I'm  going there)--and telling them their continued sponsorship makes them equally culpable:

Drummond Pike, who along with his organization was  recently targeted by an assassin inspired by Beck's program, penned a  letter on Friday to  the Chairmen of the Boards of JP Morgan Chase,  GEICO, Zurich Financial,  Chrysler, Direct Holdings Americas,  GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Lilly  Corporate Center, BP, and The  Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. 
In it, he detailed the alarm he felt over having a "person carrying   numerous guns and body armor" attempt to start a "revolution" by   murdering "my colleagues and me."  

To say we were "shocked" does not adequately describe our   reaction. Imagine, for a moment, that you were us and, had it not been   for a sharp eyed highway patrolman, a heavily armed man in full body   armor would have made it to your office with the intent to kill you and   your colleagues. His motive? Apparently, it was because the charitable,   nonpartisan programs we run are deemed part of a conspiracy to  undermine  America and the capitalist system, which is hogwash.[..]
I respectfully request that you bring this matter of your  company's  sponsorship of hate speech leading to violence to the  attention of your  fellow directors as soon as possible. I believe no  responsible company  should advertise on Fox News due to its recent and  on-going deplorable  conduct. 
While we may agree to disagree about the role our citizens and our   government should play in promoting social justice and the common good,   there should be no disagreement about what constitutes integrity and   professionalism and responsibility in discourse - even when allowing for   and encouraging contending diverse opinions intelligently argued. This   is not a partisan issue. It's an American issue. No one, left, right  or  center, wants to see another Oklahoma City. 
The next "assassin" may succeed, and if so, there will be blood on   many hands. The choice is yours. Please join my call to do the right   thing in this regard and put Fox News at arm's length from your company   by halting your advertising with them.

Now, because I can already hear the pearl clutching from the right  wing blogs: THIS IS NOT CENSORSHIP OF GLENN BECK.   Glenn Beck can  continue to say anything that floats through the transom of that brain  of his and no one--including the government (which is how the First  Amendment applies)--is stopping him from speaking.  But Glenn Beck (or  anyone, in point of fact) is not guaranteed a national platform with  corporate sponsors.  This, you right wing lurkers, is your vaunted free  market at work.  There's nothing wrong with pointing out that their  advertising dollars is sponsoring rhetoric that is inciting violence.   Those corporations simply have to decide if it's worth the possible  business lost if they continue to do so.

There are multiple campaigns that reach out to Beck's sponsors.  My personal favorite is StopBeck.com and they've been very successful.  The NY Times reported a total of 296 sponsors have dropped Beck.  In fact, they reported that due to combined efforts, Glenn Beck's program in the UK have not had a sponsor for almost EIGHT MONTHS.    That should also give you an idea of how this is not a profit-driven  move for Murdoch and Ailes, because there's no way they're making a  profit off Beck's program.  You can get a list of Beck's remaining sponsors here.

South Carolina Mosque defaced with bacon

Muslims are calling on the FBI to investigate after someone wrote the words "pig" and "chump" in bacon outside a mosque in Florence.

Mushtaq Hussain had just finished praying at the Islamic center when he walked out and found the messages on the walkway. At first, he thought it was a practical joke. But not anymore.

"Then later on, we thought seriously and we thought, 'You know, somebody doesn't like us,'" Hussain said. The incident is especially offensive because most Muslims do not eat pig products.

Because nothing was done to an actual person, police were investigating the incident as harassment, rather than a hate crime.

Rednecks and other assorted weirdos

Redneck Highrise

Link Dump

Montana bears know when it's trash day
Toilet paper assault charge to be filed
Wal-Mart removes lead-tainted toys from shelves, but only in California ...
When it came out in court that GMAC's foreclosure documents are effectively fraudulent, the company's first response was to try to have the testimony sealed forever ...

So, ya wanna buy a car?

Advice that would have gotten you a bargain a few years ago could mean big trouble now.  



How do your finances stack up

You may be surprised to see how your financial situation compares with other Americans.  

Our 401K plans will require cost disclosure details by 2012

This is long overdue.
Employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plans will have to disclose fees that savers pay on investments and transactions by 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

“Participants will be able to understand the dramatic effect fees play in the returns that they get,” Assistant Secretary of Labor Phyllis Borzi said in a conference call today.

The regulations, which will apply to the plans by Jan. 1, 2012, will require companies to provide investors information on administrative and investment fees charged to their accounts in their quarterly statements, the Labor Department said.

Mortgage problems could cost banks billions

It's anyone's guess how much but the consensus now is that it will not be cheap. (One industry analyst says it could be over $80 billion.) The longer it takes the banks to clean up their mess the more expensive it will be for the banks. The Obama administration is not interested in pursuing the banks or helping consumers beyond gentle requests but the state attorney generals are much more serious about this problem. Despite the "blame the buyers" approach by the banks, many see this as a serious legal issue for the banks. Time is money and there is a lot of time ahead before this is cleaned up.
Wall Street initially hoped the banks would do just that but as the political furor grew, a quick end to the crisis was looking less and less likely. On Wednesday, 50 state attorneys general announced they were investigating the practices of the mortgage servicing industry, while Florida’s attorney general subpoenaed the nation’s largest mortgage processor, L.P.S., as part of a broader investigation.

In some cases, officials at mortgage servicers signed hundreds of documents a day with barely a chance to review them — the so-called robo-signers — while doubts have arisen about the veracity of the original documents compiled as part of the foreclosure process.

“I don’t see how it can be cleared up in a short period of time,” said Richard X. Bove, an analyst with Rochdale Securities. “The moratorium won’t last that long but the problem will last at least four or five years, maybe a decade.” In the short term, he said, “it could easily cost $1.5 billion per quarter.”

Good Question


Culinary Delites

Background noise impacts taste
The level of background noise affects both the intensity of flavor and the perceived crunchiness of foods, researchers have found.

Blindfolded diners assessed the sweetness, saltiness, and crunchiness, as well as overall flavor, of foods as they were played white noise.

While louder noise reduced the reported sweetness or saltiness, it increased the measure of crunch.

How to cut back on coffee, sugar, and soda

To reduce caffeine, start by drinking one cup less each week and hydrating more.  

Right foods aid memory and protect against disease

For the first time researchers have found out what effect multiple, rather than just single, foods with anti-inflammatory effects have on healthy individuals.
The results of a diet study show that bad cholesterol was reduced by 33 per cent …

Home remedies that actually work

From arthritis to the common cold, there are drug-free options that researchers have validated. 

Sixteen Things You Didn't Know About Sleep

The purposes and mechanisms of sleep are only partially clear and are the subject of intense research. Sleep is often thought to help conserve energy, but actually decreases metabolism only about 5-10%.

Hibernating animals need to sleep despite the hypometabolism seen in hibernation, and in fact they must return from hypothermia to euthermy in order to sleep, making sleeping energetically expensive.

Fats galore in human plasma

Human blood is famously fraught with fats; now researchers have a specific idea of just how numerous and diverse these lipids actually are.

A cheap and easy test for prostate cancer?

This will be fantastic news assuming it works.
British scientists have moved a step closer to developing a simple urine test to identify men at risk of getting prostate cancer.

They have discovered that a protein found in urine is affected by a genetic change linked to the cancer.

More research was needed, but their work could lead to the development of a reliable test costing £5.50 ($8.82).
That would $8 in the UK.  Or $500 in the US.

The Tantrum

The peace is shattered in an airplane by a five-year-old boy who picks the moment after the plane has taken off to throw a wild temper tantrum. No matter what his frustrated, embarrassed mother does to try to calm him down, the boy continues to scream furiously and kick the seats around him.

Suddenly, from the rear of the plane, a man in a Marine uniform is seen slowly walking forward up the aisle.  Stopping the flustered mother with an upraised hand, the courtly, soft-spoken Marine leans down and, motioning toward his chest, whispers something into the boy's ear.

Instantly, the boy calms down, gently takes his mother's hand, and quietly fastens his seat belt.  All the other passengers burst into spontaneous applause.

As the Marine slowly makes his way back to his seat, one of the cabin attendants touches his sleeve.  "Excuse me, sir," she asks quietly, "but could I ask you what magic words you used on that little boy?"

The Marine smiles serenely and gently confides, "I showed him my pilot's wings, service stars, and battle ribbons, and explained that they entitle me to throw one passenger out the plane door on any flight I choose."

You can always trust a Marine to get the job done

Baby red squirrel rescued by gun-dog

An injured red squirrel that was rescued after being sniffed out by a trained gun dog that 'pointed' to it is being cared for by the Scottish SPCA. The seven-week-old animal was rescued by Scotland's animal welfare charity after a dog walker found him grounded on a forest floor near Auchtermuchty on Sunday October 10.

The springer spaniel located the squirrel and 'pointed' to it. which was struggling to move and his owner picked up the little creature and carried him home in his hat. After caring for him overnight he contacted the Scottish SPCA for help and local Inspector Nicola Liddell collected the young squirrel and transported him to the charity's Wildlife Rescue Center in Fife where staff have named him Hamish.

Center Manager Colin Seddon said: "It's likely that Hamish lost his balance while out exploring the trees and landed on the ground. He did have a sore leg when he first came in to us, probably due to the fall, but he seems to be doing much better now.

"Hamish has started to feed himself so we will keep handling to a minimum from now on. This means that when he's fully fit we can return him to his natural habitat as a truly wild animal with the best chance of survival."

Elderly dog survives 8 week ordeal

A 16-year-old Labrador in New Zealand survived eight weeks trapped in a tunnelhouse by using her own body fat to sustain her and getting water from a hole in a roof. Riverton man Lou Peterson said there were tears of joy when his old dog, Gail, walked up their driveway on Tuesday. The family pet, who had been given up for dead, was found by a neighbor in an unused tunnelhouse across the road where she had survived one of Southland's heaviest snowfalls and spent the past eight weeks with no food. "Its amazing ... I just cannot believe it." Gail went missing on the opening weekend of the whitebait season, while her owners were away.

She had pushed the tunnelhouse door open, walked in and then the door had shut behind her, Mr Peterson said. "What she went in for I don't know ... she never goes away as a rule." Searchers did not think she would be inside because the door was shut and therefore did not look, Mr Peterson said. "We hunted. We had the neighbors hunting and we were in touch with the ranger." Gail was deaf, had a bad hip and did not bark, which made it harder to find her, he said.

There had been stories told about that breed of dog going away to die and they thought that might have happened, he said. Expecting the worst, the family canceled her registration and sold her kennel. There was a hole in the tunnelhouse roof, so rain and snow would have provided some water, he said. Gail, who was a healthy size before she disappeared, was now eating small meals to "bring her back quietly", Mr Peterson said. Yesterday had been a big morning for the dog, with neighbors and family members coming to see her, he said.

VetSouth Ltd veterinarian Jeff Herkt said for a 16-year-old dog with potential health challenges to survive eight weeks without food was remarkable. Not having any food would have been a significant stress on her and she would have had to rely on her own body fat to survive, he said. Dehydration was more critical than malnutrition, and without any water she would have lasted only about four days, he said.



Brimham Rocks: weird natural formations in Yorkshire

What do you see in this picture?

In Victorian times, the local people called this The Dancing Bear.

In a more PC age where we don't humiliate animals for our entertainment (much) the name has been changed to The Dog.
Looks like he's begging at his master's dinner table.

This is one of many rock formations at Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire, England.

Using discards, scientists discover different dinosaurs’ stomping grounds

By examining the type of rock in which dinosaur fossils were embedded, an often unappreciated part of the remains, scientists have determined that different species of North American dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous period 65 million years ago occupied different environments separated by just a few miles.

Hadrosaurs or duck-billed dinosaurs, along with the small ornithopod Thescelosaurus, preferred to live along the edge of rivers, according to the research. Ceratopsians, on the other hand, which include the well-known Triceratops, preferred to be several miles inland.