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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.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Right now you feel like you're in limbo, but think of it as more of an astrological waiting room rather than a grey area.
You're actually preparing to do something rather daring or out-of-character.
Perhaps you're ending an old friendship or relationship that's too limiting, or ready to renew an alliance that has some life in it yet.
The stars encourage (and reward) bravery, so get ready, get set ... and go!

Some of our readers today have been in:
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Swindon, England, United Kingdom
Ingolstadt, Bayern, Germany
London, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Bristol, England, United Kingdom
Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Paris, Ile-De-France, France

as well as Malaysia, Peru, Denmark, Russia, South Africa, Lithuania, Sweden, Ukraine, Iran, Slovenia and in cities across the United States such as Nashville, Lehi, American Fork, Chattanooga and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, October 27, the 300th day of 2010.
There are 65 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Cranky Co-workers Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Happy Birthday, Teddy Roosevelt!

October 27 marks the 152 birthday of one of our nation’s most memorable presidents and one of my personal heroes, Theodore Roosevelt. The twenty sixth president of the United States isn’t just a favorite of historians and scholars, but he’s also popular among the masses, constantly rated as one of America’s greatest presidents (or, in the words of Cracked, “The Most Badass President”). To celebrate one of the country’s most beloved leaders, it’s only fitting to take a look back at his life and learn what exactly made him so popular.

A Difficult Childhood:

While most people know Roosevelt was an avid sportsman with an outgoing personality, he wasn’t always like that. As a child, he was asthmatic and constantly sick. Much of his childhood was spent propped up in bed or slumped over in a chair. He was also rather shy and spent much of his time reading rather than engaging with others his age. As a result, he ended up being incredibly brilliant and well-read and was known to read several books a day throughout his presidency. In fact, he and Thomas Jefferson are considered to be the two most well-read presidents ever. Roosevelt wrote 18 books as well as numerous articles throughout his lifetime.
Despite his sickliness, he developed a deep interest in zoology at only seven years old when he saw a dead seal at a local market. He immediately set about learning taxidermy and created a “Roosevelt Museum of Natural History” at home with two of his cousins. The supposed museum featured a number of animals he caught, killed and stuffed. By age nine, he used his observations to write a paper entitled “The Natural History of Insects.”
As his health started to improve a little, his father started encouraging Theodore to take up exercise to improve his overall well-being. As a result, Roosevelt started taking boxing lessons, which became a lifelong interest, although he had to give up the sport during his presidency when a blow detached his left retina and left him blind in that eye.

A True Romantic:

While many presidents are known for their playboy behaviors, Roosevelt seemed entirely dedicated to his two wives. His first wife, Alice, died two days after giving birth to their child. Theodore also lost his mother that same day and he wrote about the events in his diary by simply stating “the light has gone out of my life.” Throughout the rest of his life, Roosevelt refused to talk about Alice, leaving her out of his biography and ignoring his daughter’s inquiries to learn more about her mother.
While you’ve probably heard Roosevelt called “Teddy”, it was actually a name he loathed throughout most of his life because it was Alice’s nickname for him. Throughout his presidency, those close to him always called him by his military rank or his full name –although the press insisted on calling him Teddy throughout his lifetime.

His First Rise And Fall:

In 1880, Roosevelt graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard and began attending Columbia Law School, but he dropped out a year later when he had the chance to run for New York Assemblyman. He won and served as the youngest member of the Assembly. In 2008, the school awarded him a posthumous law degree.
During his years in the Assembly, Roosevelt was a dedicated activist, writing more bills than any other legislator in the state. Unfortunately, his first attempt at a political career turned sour when he became disenchanted with the results of the Republican National Convention in 1884. He soon announced his retirement from politics and then moved to the Badlands of the Dakota Territory.

The Cowboy of the Dakotas:

While living out west, Roosevelt served as deputy sheriff and wrote about his frontier life for magazines back east. He learned to raise cattle, ride horses and hunt down outlaws. While he loved his time in the Badlands, he gave up his cowboy life after the severe winter of 1886 wiped out his entire herd of cattle. He returned to his home in New York, where he lived throughout the rest of his life (with the exception of his time in office). Upon his return, he attempted to get back into politics, running for Mayor of New York City with the title of “The Cowboy of the Dakotas,” but he lost.

Cleaning Up The Streets (And The Offices):

Prior to the 1888 presidential election, Roosevelt traveled the Midwest and avidly campaigned for Benjamin Harrison. After Harrison’s inauguration, he appointed Roosevelt to the U.S. Civil Service Commission where Theodore served until 1895, fighting the corrupt spoils system that was in place at the time.
In 1895, he left his position in the Civil Service Commission to serve as the president of the New York City Police Commissioners board. Rather than just work on fighting crime in the streets, Roosevelt cleaned up the department itself and radically changed the way the department ran. When he entered the office, the NYC force was one of the most corrupt in the nation, but Roosevelt soon established new rules, standardized the use of pistols by officers, established meritorious service medals and introduced annual physical exams to the force. He also created a bicycle squad to help deal with traffic problems in the city.

Rough Riding Ahead:

Roosevelt left his commissioner position when he was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by William McKinley in 1897. Despite the fact that he had never served in the Navy, Roosevelt displayed unique qualifications due to his groundbreaking study of the U.S. and British roles in the War of 1812 that was published after he left Harvard. Unlike other studies of the war, his book was unbiased and looked at specific facts of the naval strategies involved. The book was so well-written that it is even considered applicable today and is still in publication.
Because the Secretary of the Navy was largely inactive, his assistant Roosevelt was able to take full control of the department, where he played a critical role in preparing the Navy for the Spanish-American War. As soon as war broke out though, he resigned and formed the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, although you probably know this group by the name used by the press, the “Rough Riders.”
Interestingly, Roosevelt was the only Rough Rider that actually had a horse, as the rest of the horses were left behind due to limited access to transport ships. Theodore was originally given command of the regiment and promoted to Colonel, where he would ride back and forth between two fronts of the force to pass along news and orders.
At one point during the war, Roosevelt and other officers sent a number of letters demanding they be returned home and these letters were leaked to the press.  Many, including Roosevelt himself, believe this is why he was denied a Medal of Honor. He was posthumously awarded the medal in 2001. In 1944, his son was also posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor for his actions in WWII, making them one of only two father and son duos to share the honor. Roosevelt is also the only American president to have won a Medal of Honor.

Governor and Vice President:

Roosevelt was elected governor of New York in 1898. True to form, he worked to eliminate corruption and nepotism during his term. He also helped end segregation in the state schools during his office. He made such a strong impression that he was forced upon McKinley as a vice presidential candidate in 1900. He was a strong asset for the president, who won by a landslide. While giving a speech at the Minnesota State Fair in 1901, he first used his soon-to-be-trademark saying, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Carrying On While Making Changes:

When McKinley was shot and killed by a crazed anarchist, Roosevelt became the youngest president in U.S. history at only 42.While he was known for being incredibly progressive, he did promise to continue McKinley’s policies and he also kept his cabinet in place. One of his first notable presidential acts was to deliver a 20,000 word speech to congress asking for control of monopolies and trusts. Roosevelt stayed dedicated to labor rights and curbing the power of big business throughout his presidency.
McKinley was known for effectively rallying the press and Roosevelt took advantage of this by providing regular interviews and photo opportunities to keep the White House in the news. He also helped establish the first presidential press briefing when he noticed the reporters huddled in the cold one day and opted to give them their own dedicated room inside the White House.
Roosevelt was an incredibly active and effective president, maintaining his exercise throughout his presidency while still reading multiple books every day and fighting for progressive legislation. In fact, he was said to be able to dictate letters to one secretary while giving memoranda to another, all while reading.
During a hunting trip in 1902, Roosevelt ordered the mercy killing of a wounded black bear and when a cartoonist illustrated the president with a bear, a toymaker asked him if he could use the name on a stuffed toy…thus the teddy bear was born.
Some of Roosevelt’s most important contributions to our society though were his passing of the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act, which helped curbed the sickening state of the meat packing industry detailed in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and prevented drugs and food from being falsely labeled or impure.
The president also helped negotiate an end to the Russo-Japanese War and was honored with a Nobel Peace Prize as a result. This made Roosevelt the only person in history to win a country’s highest military honor along with a Nobel Peace Prize.

Roosevelt is also largely remembered for his role in establishing the National Park System. During his presidency, he established 150 national forests, 5 national parks and 18 national monuments. All in all, he helped conserve 230 million acres of land.
While he was a wildly successful president, he opted to give his support to William Taft for the election in 1908, rather than running for a third time.

Safari Time:

After Taft was inaugurated, Roosevelt went on safari in Africa on an expedition in an attempt to collect specimens for the Smithsonian Institution and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He and his companions killed and trapped over 11,000 animals ranging from insects to elephants. The number of animals shipped back to Washington was so massive that after years of mounting, the Smithsonian opted to send a number of duplicate specimens to other museums.

Dividing The Party:

Upon returning home, he soon became disillusioned with Taft and his policies and in 1911, he announced his intention of running for president in the next election. Unfortunately, Taft had already been campaigning and had garnered the support of many of the party leaders. Because most states still used caucuses instead of primaries to select candidates, Taft was given the Republican nomination despite the fact that Roosevelt had more pull with the public. So Roosevelt and his followers had to start out with a new party, The Progressive Party, that was commonly referred to as the “Bull Moose” party.
Roosevelt’s platform was based on the politics of his presidency, namely fighting greedy corporations in the name of the little man. During one speech, he explained, “‘This country belongs to the people. Its resources, its business, its laws, its institutions, should be utilized, maintained, or altered in whatever manner will best promote the general interest.”
During a Milwaukee stop in his campaign, a saloon keeper shot Roosevelt in the chest, but his steel eyeglass case and 50 page speech slowed the bullet enough that it did not penetrate his lungs. Roosevelt still gave his speech, which took a full 90 minutes, before agreeing to go to the hospital. He even laughed off the assassination attempt by starting his speech saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” At the hospital, doctors decided that it would be more dangerous to remove the bullet than to leave it there, so Roosevelt carried it with him for the rest of his life.
Roosevelt’s split with the republican party is often cited as one of the critical reasons America remains dedicated to a two party system. Given that he won 27% of the popular vote and Taft won 23%, the Republicans would have undoubtedly beat Wilson, who received 42% of the vote, if they had just unified under one candidate.

The Beginning of The End:

After losing the election, Roosevelt embarked on a trip to South America with his son and a Brazilian explorer. The team decided to find the headwaters of the River of Doubt and then trace it to the Madeira and the Amazon. No one had ever taken on such an ambitious expedition and it ended up an exceptionally dangerous trip, particularly to Theodore, who contracted malaria and a major infection in a minor leg wound. At one point, he had to be attended to day and night by the team’s physician and he could no longer walk. He eventually told the rest of the party to leave him and complete the expedition so he would not exhaust their already low supplies. Only his son was able to convince him to continue.
Upon returning home, critics questioned the expedition’s ability to navigate the entire 625 miles of uncharted river that made up the River of Doubt. However Roosevelt was able to satisfactorily convince the National Geographic Society and others of his claims. Later on, the river was renamed after him, the Rio Roosevelt.
Roosevelt noted the trip cut his life short by ten years. And as it turns out, he may have been right. He was plagued by malaria flare-ups and later had to get surgery in his leg to treat the infection. To add to matters, his youngest son, Quentin was later shot down behind enemy lines in WWI a few years later. This devastated him and many claim he never recovered from the loss.

Goodbye Mr. President:

Roosevelt died from a heart attack during his sleep on January 6, 1919. At the time, Vice President Thomas R. Marshall proclaimed, “Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight.”

A Series of Notable Firsts:

If you can’t already figure out why Roosevelt was such an important figure in American history, then perhaps you should take these important firsts into account:
  • Roosevelt was the first president to invite an African American to dinner. On October 16, 1901, he and Booker T. Washington discussed politics and racism over dinner.
  • He was also the first president to appoint a Jewish person, Oscar, S. Strauss, to his cabinet.
  • In 1902, Roosevelt was the first president to be seen in an automobile in public. He rode in a Columbia Electric Victoria Phaeton surrounded by a squad of bicycle cops.
  • After his return from South America, Roosevelt was a major proponent of the Scouting movement and he was named the first (and only) Chief Scout Citizen by the Boy Scouts of America.

Hero cop promoted after foiling salon heist

Feris Jones recounts her face-off with a gunman who struck while she was getting her hair done.

Manhattan treehouse triggers legal drama

A mom's gesture to her kids sends neighbors reeling and puts NYC officials in an awkward spot.  

Human billboards

The Martins have come up with a unique idea to earn extra cash and get free clothes to boot.  

Replacing Buffett?

A 39-year-old unknown moves a step closer to being Berkshire Hathaway's chief investor.  

Rhode Island changing its name?

Rhode Island's official title evokes stinging reminders of a dark part of its past. 

Superman's new look

The iconic character gets a new, younger look more appropriate for the "Twilight" generation. 


Plumbing Disasters

Using too much drain cleaner can actually make clogs worse, not better. 

Darth Vader meets Beethoven

How can you improve the iconic Imperial March theme from Star Wars? Just add a little Beethoven! Here’s Richard Grayson playing (and improvising the way only Richard Grayson can) the Darth Vader theme in classical piano

How being imperfect can save your life

Perfectionism ups your risk for binge eating, depression, and other problems.  

Hone your memory

Products promising to combat dementia are flooding the market, but most are unproven.  

Best small towns to raise a family

These prosperous, kid-friendly places are great picks for couples looking to settle down.  

Where to retire with low taxes

These five states are alluring thanks to their low tax rates and big exemptions.

Buying Happiness

Experiences like family trips offer bigger payoffs than pricey impulse buys.  

How to avoid putting on holiday pounds

Get a plan in place by Halloween, and you won't have extra padding at New Year's.  

How to avoid overpaying

You might save $500 a year just by switching to these free or discounted everyday items.

Unfriendliest airlines in the U.S.

The Airline Quality Rating Report reveals who has the rudest flight attendants and worst food.  



Karate instructor who masterminded 'ninja group' killing of wealthy couple faces death penalty

A karate instructor is facing the death penalty for masterminding a 'ninja group' double killing of a wealthy couple in July 2009.

Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr, 36, is charged with organising the break-in and entry at Byrd and Melanie Billings' house near Pensacola, Florida, and their killing, which was done as the couple's nine young disabled children cowered or slept nearby.

The group, dressed in black ninja outfits, peppered the bedroom with bullets, shooting the couple in the face and head during a botched attempt to steal a cash-filled safe.

Investigators have said Mr Gonzalez required his alleged partners-in-crime to dress in the clothing for the attack.

Six co-defendants at the trial, which begins today, have been charged with first-degree murder.

Several could testify against Mr Gonzalez and name him as the man who fatally shot Mr Billings, who owned a company that financed used-car purchases.

Two of Mr Gonzalez's co-defendants are scheduled to testify against him, prosecutor Bill Eddins revealed.

But none of the young children, who were unharmed in the attack, are expected to testify about what they saw in their home that night, said Mr Eddins.

Police walk out

A 15-minute siege in a war-torn Mexican state is the final straw for fed-up officers.

Never Bring a Bottle of Salad Dressing to a Gun Fight

The would-be robber used a bottle of salad dressing as an improvised weapon. The storekeeper responded by pulling out a gun:
DeLand police said a teenager threatened to shoot a store owner Friday when he robbed a convenience store, but he didn’t show a gun.
More than a hour later, the 16-year-old went to another business — and that time there was a gun. But it was in the hand of the store owner, who pulled his weapon after the DeLand High School student grabbed a bottle of salad dressing off the shelf and threatened him with it.[...]
Police said the teen acted boldly when he approached the counter with the bottle of salad dressing over his head. But when the owner pointed his gun at him, the teen said: “OK, I’ll get out.” As he walked out the door, a responding police officer apprehended and arrested him.

The truth be told


More repugican man-handling, this time at Cantor event

Cops try to stop son from recording event

Note how the Virginia police try to block the camera, then tell the guy to "please shut the camera down."  I'd like to know what legal right they have to stop you from filming a public arrest.

Washington Post via Blue Virginia:
Cantor also has a tendency to surround himself with layers of defense, as was the case Monday when he appeared at a coffee shop in the small town of Louisa, supposedly to meet voters.

One man attending was John Taylor, a member of the Louisa County Democratic Committee and a backer of Rick Waugh, Cantor's Democratic opponent. Taylor and two others were asked to leave the coffee shop. County police then subdued Taylor, as can be seen in a video shot by his son with his cell phone.

Events like these raise questions about the decorum of the man who would be in such a powerful position on Capitol Hill. Violence at campaign stops, regardless of who may be at fault, is not something commonplace in Virginia politics.

If Cantor says he will meet and debate voters, he should have the nerve to do so. He should not hide behind his party's gatekeepers and a rural police department.

And I Quote

"When it comes to voting, when we only have two choices, you got to grow up and realize there's a big difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy. 
Of course the Democrats are disappointing. 
That's what makes them Democrats. 
If they were any more frustrating they'd be your relatives. 
But in this country they are all that stands between you and darkest night. 
You know why their symbol is the letter 'D'? 
Because it's a grade that means good enough, but just barely. 
You know why the Republican symbol is 'R'? 
Because it's the noise a pirate makes when he robs you and feeds you to a shark."
        ~  Bill Maher

America is waking up and remembering

The closer we get to election day the Democrats are pulling ahead of repugicans.

As people get closer to actually voting people are looking at the repugicans and realizing
the repugicans aren't going to solve Americas problems. 

Repugicans haven't learned a thing from the last two elections. 

In fact the repugicans have gotten worse. 

They not only want to go back to the failed shrub policies, they want to do things like eliminate Social Security and Medicare. 

And tea party repugicans are just plain insane and insane people don't tend to solve complex problems.

People are remembering is that we used to have a surplus under President Clinton and it's the Democrats who are the ones who are fiscally conservative. 

They remember it took Clinton 5 years to turn the economy around. 

Voters are coming to the conclusion that they are going to stay the course and give the Democrats more time to fix what the repugicans destroyed.

NPR receives bomb threat

Suspicious timing right after Juan Williams is fired ... don't you think.

The wingnut hate machine is out in force this week, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's linked.
After all, repugicans thrive on violent rhetoric - it's only a matter of time before their followers get the message.

Don't tread on me ... but let me tread on you

Skippy over at Skippy the Bush Kangaroo puts it like this ...

... a MoveOn.org member was beaten and stomped on @ the Kentucky senatorial debate Monday.

There has been much movement on the story since then:

Greg Sargent reports that the stomper has been identified as Rand Paul Bourbon county coordinator Tim Profitt.

Yesterday the lexington police have released this statement:
Today, October 26, 2010, detectives identified the suspect, involved in the assault, as Tim Profitt. Mr. Profitt is currently being served with a criminal summons ordering him to appear before a Fayette county district court judge.
The Washpost update reports that the Paul campaign has fired Profitt, even though Profitt has "apologized" for the incident.

Tim Profitt w/Rand Paul, in happier times

The MoveOn member, Lauren Valle, was hospitalized briefly, and released with diagnosis of a concussion and sprained arm.

Lauren also expressed the view that the attack was premeditated.

Here's more, different footage of the incident (including Rand Paul getting out of his car going to the debate)

Meanwhile, Barefoot and Progressive points out that a full-page ad supporting Rand Paul in the Herald Leader contains (among others) the endorsement of Tim Profitt, the man identified as the stomper.

Those darn teabaggers! w/Joe Miller's "security squad" unlawfully detaining a reporter (w/handcuffs!), and Christine O'Donnell's staff pushing a reporter down into a chair, it's becoming more clear just exactly what the baggers stand for (and what color their shirts are)!
Sieg Heil

Man who stomped on woman's head is Rand Paul volunteer and multi-thousand dollar donor


Ain't it the truth ...


Want to know where the money is ...

The massive reserves could be used to expand business and hire new workers.  

Non Sequitur


Mass Transit


'Time traveler' caught on film

A woman appears to be talking on a cell phone in this black and white footage from the 1920s.  

Historic photo makes waves

An extreme close-up of this Cincinnati riverfront scene yields an intriguing pair of figures. 

Got a Baby? Got a Window?

This “baby cage” was marketed for families living in tenements without easy access to outdoor spaces.
Suspended from the side of the building, the baby would have access to fresh air and sunlight through the cage’s wire frame, and still have sufficient room to play with toys, according to a patent filed in 1922 by an Emma Read of Spokane, WA. The patent also notes that the cage could double as a place to sleep, with removable curtains working to prevent a draft.
There is an additional photo and further explanation at the Atlantic link.

Texas battle painting found in West Virginia attic

An oil painting depicting a battle scene in the Texas revolution has been found in a Weston banker's home and will be sold at auction next month.

Walking on Water

Three monks decided to practise meditation together. they sat by the side of a lake and closed their eyes in concentration.

Then suddenly, the first one stood up and said, "I forgot my mat." He steeped miraculously onto the water in front of him and walked across the lake to their hut on the other side.

When he returned, the second monk stood up and said, "I forgot to put my other underwear to dry." He too walked calmly across the water and returned the same way. The third monk watched the first two carefully in what he decided must be the test of his own abilities. "Is your learning so superior to mine? I too can match any feat you two can perform," he declared loudly and rushed to the water's edge to walk across it. He promptly fell into the deep water.

Undeterred, the yogi climbed out of the water and tried again, only to sink into the water. Yet again he climbed out and yet again he tried, each time sinking into the water. This went on for some time as the other two monks watched.

After a while, the second monk turned to the first and said, "Do you think we should tell him where the stones are?"

Indonesia reeling from two disasters

After a tsunami destroys entire villages and a volcano spews lava, Indonesian rescuers search for the living.  

Monster storms create unsettling scenes

A system that spawned tornadoes and bizarre weather in several states leaves a path of destruction. 

Indonesia's explosive geology

The island nation lies between the two most active seismic regions on Earth.

Awesome Pictures


Amazon Rainforest Teeming With Undiscovered Life

new amazon lizard photo  
Photo: WWF
The Amazon rainforest, one of the largest and most diverse ecosystem on the planet, has been a virtual treasure-trove for ambitious biologists aiming to uncover new species. In the last ten years alone, scientists have identified 1,200 remarkable organisms which were previously unknown -- at the rate of three new discoveries being made every day. But for all the species recorded recently, and the untold diversity that has yet to be discovered, immediate action to preserve the Amazon is as important as ever.

Amazing Bird Photos You'll Swear Are Fake

hummingbird photo
Photographer Gerry Sibell has captured backyard birds in some stunning photos: With a multi-flash camera set-up and a trigger release that snaps a photo when it detects motion, Sibell has shown species we normally think are cute or pretty as downright gorgeous, fierce, and definitely fast. Check out some of the incredible images he's caught of birds just outside his back door.
Amazing Bird Photos You'll Swear Are Fake

Water Skeletons: Bones Made From Fluids

Welcome to the incredible world of water skeletons. Profoundly unique in shapes, sizes and extortionate forms of movement, it's hard to believe that these skeletons are purely made from internal fluids.

But how do they work? How do they move? Let's take a look at this remarkable skeleton evolution that represents some of the most unique aquatic species both beautiful and freaky in nature.