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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, January 15, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You know how to get things done.
You're good at putting projects to bed and singing your cousin's children to sleep so the grown ups can play cards downstairs in peace.
You aren't the kind of person who gives up -- but you might sometimes be tempted to expand a small project at the very last minute so that it becomes a massive and hard-to-accomplish task.
So don't try to teach the three year old how to play bridge.
Just rock him to sleep.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Szczecin, Zachodniopomorskie, Poland
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Constanta, Constanta, Romania

as well as Malta, Bulgaria, Israel, Finland, Austria, Norway, Georgia, Mexico, Peru, Kuwait, Serbia, Bangladesh, Latvia, Greece, Scotland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Wales, Iran, Singapore, Poland, Taiwan, Sweden, Afghanistan, Belgium, Tibet, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, Paraguay, Sudan, Vietnam, Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Brazil, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, China, Iraq, Ecuador, Nigeria, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Paupa New Guinea, Moldova, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Norway, Finland and in cities across the United States such as Boyd, Ashburn, Hamond, Waddell and more.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, January 15, the 15th day of 2011.
There are 350 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is: 
Bald Eagle Appreciation Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Meanwhile in Washington, DC it's business as usual

87% in Congress who received Comcast money will vote in favor of merger with NBC

But remember, corruption is only something that happens in other countries.
Comcast gave money to the vast majority of the 97 members of the US House of Representatives that signed a letter to the Federal Communications Commission urging approval of a merger between cable company Comcast and broadcaster NBC Universal, according to research.

The 5 January letter, linked here [pdf] and circulated by nonprofit group Public Knowledge urged the merger be approved quickly and without conditions that could harm investment. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 84 of the 97 received money from Comcast, Public Knowledge said. The amounts range from token contributions of about $1,000 up to $25,100.

Giffords's 'rock star' doctors

Rep. Giffords's two oddly matched specialists are making headlines of their own. 

    And I Quote

    This should be the new nra motto

    Words don't incite guns to kill people. Words incite people to kill people:

    "How many other demented people are out there? It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target. Their wish for second amendment activism has been fulfilled—senseless hatred leading to murder, lunatic fringe anarchism, subscribed to by John Boehner, mainstream rebels with vengeance for all, even nine-year-old girls." there was a little girl named Christina Green, nine years old, who is one of the deceased."

    ~ Eric Fuller, 63 yr old disabled vet, who was a victim of Jared Loughner's shooting rampage last Saturday

    Palin announces speaking engagement at gun-related gathering less than 1 week after assassination rampage in Tucson

    The woman is sick.

    In her twisted mind, this is yet another chance to do an "I gotcha!" on people upset about the assassination attempt against Congresswoman Giffords, and the assassination of a federal judge, a nine year old girl, and several others last Saturday in Tucson.

    The woman is sick. She knows that announcing a keynote at a gun-related event, in the middle of the firestorm over her incendiary "targeting" of the congresswoman who would end up with a bullet through her brain, will be perceived as totally inappropriate by everyone but the violence/eliminationist-fetishing wing of the repugicans she represents. So in Palin's world, it's a win-win, with absolutely no consideration whatsoever for the dead, the overall problem of violence in our culture, or the consequences.

    The woman is sick. And she's the most popular woman in the repugican party.



    Bad Cops

    Michigan cops steal $20,000, legally

    Maryland police steal $28,000, legally

    Forced to quit, North Dakota sheriff is accused of using department credit accounts to buy himself a computer and back massager

    Fired Nevada cop gets community service for obstructing a public officer

    Feds investigate Louisiana cops for mishandling federal funds

    Arizona cop gets unsupervised probation for $17K in fraudulent credit card purchases

    Fresno offers $75K settlement to man beaten by police

    Ohio cop gets suspended sentence for torching car

    Gibbs tangles with reporter

    A Russian journalist's dig at the dark side of American values draws an impassioned response.  

    Tunisia's president flees to Saudi Arabia following protests

    Tunisia didn't have the same level of extreme violence as it's neighbor Algeria and women were generally not subjected to the humiliation of the burka, but Tunisia still suffered from a dictator with little regard for anyone besides himself.

    He won't be missed.
    Ben Ali had taken refuge in Saudi Arabia, at the end of an extraordinary day which had seen the declaration of a state of emergency, the evacuation of tourists of British and other nationalities, and an earthquake for the authoritarian politics of the Middle East and north Africa.

    After hours of conflicting reports had him criss-crossing southern Europe by air, the Saudi state news agency confirmed he had arrived in the kingdom together with his family. Earlier, French media reported that Nicolas Sarkozy had refused Ben Ali refuge, although France denied that any request had been received.

    In Tunisia, prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced that he had taken over as interim president, vowing to respect the constitution and restore stability for Tunisia's 10.5 million citizens. "I call on the sons and daughters of Tunisia, of all political and intellectual persuasions, to unite to allow our beloved country to overcome this difficult period and to return to stability," he said in a broadcast.

    Chinese politician: China has $1.5 trillion of 'hidden' debt

    If a politician in China is saying this, you have to wonder how much worse it really is. Overcoming a financial hurdle like this won't be easy, even for China.

    Billions of dollars of debt racked up by local Chinese governments during their investment sprees are likely to sour as the projects they finance near completion, Yin Zhongqing, a prominent Chinese lawmaker, said this week.

    In an interview with Reuters Insider, Yin said local governments had incurred at least 10 trillion yuan ($1.5 trillion) of "hidden" debt, which they have concealed by creating thousands of investment vehicles that serve as borrowers.

    Yin said it is not yet clear which loans will sour because they do not have to be repaid until the projects are completed.

    Sun Rises Two Days Early in Greenland

    In the western Greenland coast town of Ilulissat, the sun is scheduled to rise on January 13th after six weeks of darkness. But this year, sunlight was seen coming over the horizon on Monday afternoon- two full days early!
    The mysterious sunrise has confused scientists, although it is believed the most likely explanation is that it is down to the lower height of melting icecaps allowing the sun’s light to penetrate through earlier.
    Thomas Posch, of the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Vienna, said that a local change of the horizon was ‘by far the most obvious explanation’.
    He said as the ice sinks, so to does the horizon, creating the illusion that the sun has risen early.
    So the anomaly apparently has nothing to do with the changing zodiac signs. That’s a relief!

    Small changes to lose weight

    Cut out lots of beverages, and you can save hundreds of calories a day.  

    Turn around a bad morning

    When you wake up, think of one nice thing you can do for yourself that day.

    Drugstore sleep aids tested

    If you're struggling with mild insomnia, some of these products could help you snooze. 

    The 10 best cars of 2011

    The winners include a stylish Sonata, a muscular Mustang, and a fun Fit.

    Caught you


    College player is a mayor

    Kent Koch will preside over City Council meetings and play second base for St. Cloud State this spring. 

    Hottest cities for college grads

    Pre-recession hot spots like Phoenix are slipping on the list of where graduates are heading.  



      Sixteenth-century book satchel

      Described as follows at Christie's:
      Probably North Italian, early 16th century.

      130 x 100 x 50 mm. Black leather, hardened and cut, the case and lid decorated with a design of oak-leaf wreaths containing a gothic Y, the foliage and initials in relief against a punch-dotted ground, the sides with four raised lion heads forming slots for carrying (the strap is modern)...

      Late-medieval cut-leather decoration on bindings and boxes without content or provenance is notoriously hard to localize and date. Many surviving examples are Germanic and Central European, while Italian or French work such as this satchel are rather rarer.
      They call it "late-medieval."  Others would probably say this is early Renaissance item.   In either case it just fascinates me to ponder who might have used it and what might have been carried in it.  This item sold for $10,800.

      Teacher finds rare treasure

      What Debra Court thought was just an old book turns out to be a rare "labor of love."  

        Picture Dump


        Utopian Society

        Two farmers were discussing politics and the first one says: "I believe in a share and share alike policy. One where we are all equal."

        "Well" replied the other farmer "I'm not sure about that. What you mean is that if you have two horses you'd give me one?"

        "Of course" says the first.

        The second farmer continued: "And if you had two cars, you'd give me one of them too?"


        "So" says the second farmer, "if you had two pigs then you'd give me one of them?"

        "Ah, now hang on a minute" says the first, "you know I've got two pigs!"

        Eco-city's extreme plans

        China's planned 350,000-person eco-city will recycle rainwater and have a plant-filled "Earthscape." 

          This 200 Year Old Bridge Canal Has Something to Say About Being Green

          From Treehugger:
          Being something of a history buff as well as TreeHugger writer, a recent visit to the Briare Bridge Canal in France's Loire River Valley caught my attention. The structure itself is remarkable: a 662 meter (2,172 ft), water-filled causeway, it allows boats to cross 11 meters over the Loire quickly and safely, no matter the state of the river below. Nothing markets the canal, built of steel and stone, as especially green, but it has a surprising amount to tell us about today's sustainability movement.
          Article continues: This 200 Year Old Bridge Canal Has Something to Say About Being Green



          Peruvian Women Have the Best Hair for Orthodox Jewish Wigmaking

          A sheitel is a specific type of wig worn by Orthodox Jewish women. Helen Rosen of Baltimore took up an apprenticeship with a master craftsman of sheitels. She eventually moved to Peru to set up her own shop. Peruvian women, she found, have the best hair for this type of wigmaking:
          Helene says that the ample selection of hair colors and textures in South America — the result of more than twenty-five generations of intermarriage between Europeans and indigenous people — make it the ideal source region. The hair of indigenous Peruvian women is thick, straight, and black-perfect for the lace-front wigs sought by black women, who have come to represent the majority of Helene’s business — and is worn in two braids that often stretch all the way down their backs and are plaited with tassels made from Alpaca wool.
          You can read her story at the link. The site design is unusual. It scrolls from left to right, and the scrolling buttons appear plus and minus signs on the sides of the page.

          Surfers ride 5-mile wave

          An unusual tidal phenomenon lets surfers cruise for much, much longer than usual.

            Burgers get bigger in Japan

            In a country known for slender citizens, the chain is piling on the calories.

              Bhutan police raid homes to stub out nasty smoking habit

              Now here's an idea!

              Bhutan police can raid homes of smokers in a search for contraband tobacco and are training a special tobacco sniffer dog in a crackdown to honor a promise to become the world's first smoke-free nation. Buddhist Bhutan, where smoking is considered bad for one's karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005, but with a thriving tobacco smuggling operation from neighboring India, the ban failed to make much of an impact. But legislation passed in the new year, granting police powers to enter homes, is set to stub out the habit, threatening five years in jail for shopkeepers selling tobacco and smokers who fail to provide customs receipts for imported cigarettes.

              Smoking in private is not illegal in the Himalayan kingdom, but as the sale of cigarettes is banned, smokers are restricted to 200 cigarettes or 150 grams of other tobacco products a month that can be legally imported. And they must provide a customs receipt when challenged by police. The Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency has started raids, with officials allowed to enter homes if someone is seen smoking or if officials have reason to believe there is illegal tobacco there. There has been widespread grumbling about the new rule.

              "When it comes to the penalties in the tobacco control act, it is, in every sense of the word, draconian," the country's largest selling newspaper, Kuensel, said in an editorial. The Tobacco Act was passed in a joint sitting of parliament, with opposition from only four of the 65 voting members. "It's a new year. And I have a new year's wish: that the first person to be caught and jailed under the Tobacco Control Act is a member of parliament," opposition leader Tshering Tobgay wrote on his popular blog.

              Illegal cigarette sales - previously a major source of income for small shops - have almost stopped as shopkeepers say it will be difficult to hide tobacco from the sniffer dog. "The sniffer dog is being trained at the moment. The dog will be able to sniff out tobacco products," said Major Phub Gyaltshen of the Royal Bhutan Police. Bhutan's prime minister said the law cannot be called draconian and it was passed in the "collective wisdom" of the members of parliament. "It is cancerous, both in the literal and the metaphoric sense, cancerous to society and to individual and in many ways it is no different from psychotropic drugs, for which the penalty in certain countries is death," Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley said.



              Do you think a dog can read?

              When given a choice between two words, Sonny appears to pick the right answers.  

              Animal Pictures


              Fox shoots hunter in Belarus

              A wounded fox pulled off a miraculous escape from a hunter - by shooting his would-be killer in the leg. The animal, which had already been shot, somehow managed to pull the trigger of the double-barrelled shotgun with its paw as the hunter battering it with the butt to finish the animal off .

              The unnamed hunter, 40, who had been hunting in the Grodno region of Belarus, remains in hospital with a rather embarrassing leg injury while the animal made its escape. The condition of the fox is not known, but at least it can choose its final resting place after fighting back and setting off the gun.

              An investigator said: 'The animal fiercely resisted and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw.' Fox hunting is popular in the farming region of northwestern Belarus, close to the border with Poland.

              The country itself is a popular destination for hunters wanting to shoot several animals, including elk, wild boar and even wolves. Foxes like the shooter are not protected in Belarus because they transmit rabies.