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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, February 16, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Once again, you'll be asked to take charge of a situation that's been left unmanaged.
Fortunately, you just love that sort of thing, and with recent successes under your belt, you'll be even more confident.
The best part is that you're also going to be in the mood to undertake a task like this.
The kind thing to do, however, would be to remind everyone who wants some of your recreational time that you won't have any, since duty calls.
They'll understand.
They know how you get.
Some of our readers today have been in:
London, England, United Kingdom
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Stratford Upon Avon, England United ingdom
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Venice, Veneto, Italy
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Quezon City, Manila, Philippines
Poznan, Wielkopolskie, Poland
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Stoke On Trent, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Lille, Nord-Pas-De-Calais, France
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Copenhagen, Kobenhavn, Denmark
Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Colchester, England, United Kingdom
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
Florence, Toscana, Italy
Reutlingen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Erlangen, Bayern, Germany
Orange, Provence-Alpes-Cote D'Azur, France
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Rome, Lazio, Italy

as well as Slovakia, 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, Maldives, 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 Fort Huachuca, Sparks, Angola, Little Neck and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, February 16, the 47th day of 2011.
There are 318 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are: 
There are none.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

The Sun unleashes huge solar flare

The Sun has unleashed its strongest flare in four years, observers say.

Non Sequitur


Kansas repugican can tell who is 'illegal' due to 'the olive complexion'

Welcome to the modern repugican party.

ThinkProgress with the ugly details.
REP. O’BRIEN: My son who’s a Kansas resident, born here, raised here, didn’t qualify for any financial aid. Yet this girl was going to get financial aid. My son was kinda upset about it because he works and pays for his own schooling and his books and everything and he didn’t think that was fair. We didn’t ask the girl what nationality she was, we didn’t think that was proper. But we could tell by looking at her that she was not originally from this country. [...]

REP. GATEWOOD: Can you expand on how you could tell that they were illegal?

REP. O’BRIEN: Well she wasn’t black, she wasn’t Asian, and she had the olive complexion.

Teacher's blog strikes a nerve

A high school teacher suspended for her colorful remarks on students becomes an overnight sensation.  

Biggest U.S. brain magnets

The idea that the nation's smartest are heading to the big coastal cities isn't exactly correct.  

More US Blacks Moving South

The nation's blacks are leaving big cities in the Northeast and Midwest at the highest levels in decades, returning to fast-growing states in the once-segregated South in search of better job opportunities and quality of life.

Ten islands you should visit

Bali, the "Island of the Gods," is an ideal place to explore your spiritual side.  

The 10 most annoying parenting tips

Family, friends, and even strangers seem to think they know when your child is hungry.  

What counts as exercise?

Switch up your dog-walk routine to burn calories even on short strolls.

Hollywood’s best skin tips

Skip the pricey treatments by tackling common problems yourself with these simple steps.  

Why Van Gogh's Yellows Turn Brown

Scientists have discovered a chemical reaction that has caused the artist's once-vivid yellows to turn brown.

Seven bizarre drink flavors

Jones Soda Co. is known for its odd specialty drinks, including Tofurky and Gravy.  

Wizard of Id


The Freedom Genie can't be put back in the bottle

Mubarak ordered Tiananmen-style massacre of demonstrators. 
The Army refused!

Buried in this Robert Fisk report for The Independent is a startling account of the Egyptian army refusing to move with tanks against the Tahrir Square protesters on January 30. If this is true, it must be the defining moment in the history of the movement that toppled Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign. My emphasis below:
Last night [Feb 10], a military officer guarding the tens of thousands celebrating in Cairo threw down his rifle and joined the demonstrators, yet another sign of the ordinary Egyptian soldier's growing sympathy for the democracy demonstrators. We had witnessed many similar sentiments from the army over the past two weeks. But the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters.

Many of the senior tank commanders could be seen tearing off their headsets – over which they had received the fatal orders – to use their mobile phones. They were, it now transpires, calling their own military families for advice. Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people.

Thus when General Hassan al-Rawani told the massive crowds yesterday evening that "everything you want will be realized – all your demands will be met", the people cried back: "The army and the people stand together – the army and the people are united. The army and the people belong to one hand."
Robert Fisk is a seasoned journalist and Middle East expert with a long history. Though this event has not been widely reported (and Fisk does not give his source), I did find some corroboration, for example here. And Fisk's claim is repeated here, with Fisk cited as the source. Given his history (Fisk is one of the few journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden three times), it's unlikely he's wrong.

Meanwhile ...

Iran calls for death penalty for opposition and Egypt-style protesters

Same old, same old.
Members of Iran's parliament have called for opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to be tried and executed.

Some 50 conservative MPs marched through parliament's main hall on Tuesday, chanting "Death to Mousavi, death to Karroubi", shown on state TV.

Thousands of opposition supporters had protested in Iran's capital on Monday.

King Tut Statues Stolen From Egypt Museum

Following the exit of Egypt's President Mubarak, the minister of antiquities reverses an earlier statement and reveals valuable objects were stolen during a recent break-in.  

Nine Latin America Countries Call on Japan to Stop "Scientific Whaling" in Sanctuary

This is the beginning of a new "scientific whaling" season in Antarctic waters.
The governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay made public a release stating "their strongest rejection to the announced 'scientific whaling' hunting of almost a thousand whales included some in the threatened species ...
And in a companion story:

Japan suspends its annual Antarctic whale hunt after activists from a US-based environmental group chase the mother ship.

Bad Cops


Fired Georgia police officers charged with lying to FBI

California police officer arrested on suspicion of engaging in sex acts with prostitutes

Massachusetts police officer long embroiled in controversy over allegations of police brutality and misconduct, resigns over yet another allegation of a domestic violence incident

Cops beat crap out of Rutgers students

27-year veteran Kentucky cop received vacation, holiday pay during suspension

Ex-NASA worker's suit alleges excessive force by Texas cops

In The News

A convicted killer on Australia's most wanted list spent most of his 15 years on the run working at a hospital, it has been revealed.

The Easton family of Danroy "D.J." Henry Jr. is dumbfounded, but vows to persevere after a New York grand jury brought no charges against a police officer who fatally shot the popular Pace University football player.

Odds and Sods

A North Carolina couple has claimed a $1 million lotto prize just a day before it expired.

'I'm sabotaging my retirement'

One man’s money bungles and poor assumptions may have devastating effects.  

Boehner on job losses due to budget cuts: 'so be it'

This from someone who talked a lot about job creation during the campaign but has yet to introduce any bill to promote job creation. Bizarre rape and abortion issues have been the priority for Boehner and the repugicans. If they cut more jobs, who will be paying the taxes to maintain what is already being spent?
His response: "Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it. We're broke. It's time for us to get serious on how we're spending the nation's money."

Democrats quickly seized on the remarks by Boehner, who during the 2010 midterm season constantly hurled this phrase at Obama and the Democrats: "Where are the jobs?"

When asked about Boehner's comments today, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) responded, "What I wonder is, so what if it's aircraft controllers that make the skies safe?...So what if it's USDA meat inspectors that make sure the food supply is safe?... I think there's a lot of concern about that and this blithe assumption that anyone who works for the federal government must be part of waste fraud and abuse, maybe that should extend to the Congress as well as the federal work force. I think that's a very flip attitude about a very serious problem."

Repugican Math


Supercar has huge price tag

Italian automaker Pagani's new Huayra model has a 700-hp engine and a huge price tag.

Madoff: Banks 'had to know'

From prison, Bernard Madoff talks of a “willful blindness” about his Ponzi scheme.  

Philadelphia homeowner forecloses on Wells Fargo

Patrick Rodgers, an independent music promoter in Philadelphia, has won a judgment against his mortgage lender, Wells Fargo, which Wells hasn't paid, and so he's foreclosed on them and arranged for a sheriff's sale of the contents of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, 1341 N. Delaware Ave to pay the legal bill. Rodgers made all his mortgage payments on time, but Wells decided out of the blue that he had to carry insurance for the full replacement value of his home -- $1 million -- and started to charge him an extra $500 a month in premiums. When Rodgers sent a formal letter to the lender questioning this, they did not answer in good time, so a court awarded him $1,000 in damages, which Wells wouldn't pay. So the court is allowing him to sell the contents of the lender's office to make good on the bill.

"It's a completely unreasonable demand," says Irv Ackelsberg, a mortgage expert at the Philadelphia law firm Langer, Grogan & Diver. "Their interest is in protecting their mortgage, not ensuring that the house is rebuilt." Rodgers' next step put him at some risk, he concedes now. He refused to renew the higher-cost policy. Instead, Wells Fargo bought him so-called forced-placement insurance - a policy that typically costs much more than ordinary coverage and only protects the mortgage-holder's interests.
But he fought back with his suit under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Last month, Wells Fargo sent him more than $1,000, and Menke says it intended to fully satisfy the judgment. "We had considered this matter closed," he says.
What about Rodgers' four-page letter demanding answers about how much Wells is trying to charge him - charges that have added $500 a month to his statement?
Menke says Wells Fargo sent a written response "within the last month." As of Monday, Rodgers hadn't seen it.

Borders files for bankruptcy

The nation's second-biggest bookstore chain plans to close nearly a third of its stores.  

Save on home insurance

There are many lesser-known credits available that can shave premiums by up to 25 percent.



Food Prices At 'Dangerous Levels'

Global food prices have hit "dangerous levels" that could contribute to political instability, push millions of people into poverty and raise the cost of groceries, according to a new report from the World Bank.

Ten Weird Exotic Fruits

There are lots of weird exotic fruits. Shown above is a citrus called 'Buddha's Hand.' It has tapering fingers or segments attached to a base - the appearance is not unlike a curled, arthritic hand, only there are usually many more than 5 fingers.

Can you eat it? Yes, and no. Its thick, lemony rind and pith is often candied into a delicious citrus delicacy, infused with spirits or made into liqueurs. However, the small amount of inside flesh is quite sour and rarely used in food.

Movie Theater Snacks from Around the World

Buttered popcorn and Raisinettes are standard fare in U.S. movie theaters. In cities you can get nachos and pizza slices. But what do people in other countries munch on while watching previews of coming attractions? Several countries enjoy fish-based snacks. In India, potato dishes are common at the movies.
For Bollywood fans, Indian fare like samosas (potato-stuffed pastries), chaat (fried dough with potato, bread or chickpeas and tangy spices with yogurt garnish) and vada (a spiced potato sandwich) are the movie snacks of choice. Psst: You can also get them at cinemas in the U.S., like Columbia Park Stadium 12 in North Bergen, New Jersey.



Alcohol Exposure Makes Fish Anti-Social

zebra fishSmall amounts of alcohol at an early age can have a long-lasting impact on fish and humans alike.  

Big surprise at dog show

A hound that loves to chase wild animals makes history and earns title of America's top dog.  

Baby gorilla takes his first steps

Keepers at London Zoo have captured the moment when a three month old baby gorilla took its first steps.

Nicknamed 'Tiny' the male Western Lowland gorilla left his mothers side last Thursday for the first time since birth as he took his first wobbly steps. Tiny was urged on by his 12-year-old mother 'Mjukuu' as he stumbled and crawled around the gorilla enclosure.

At one point the baby made his way back to his mum, only to be gently pushed away and encouraged to continue his new adventure.

Keepers are yet to decide on a permanent name for the youngster, who at just over one foot tall, is outgrowing his nickname. Tiny is the first gorilla to be born at London Zoo in more than 20 years.

Goose Adopts Retired Man to Take on Morning Walks

maria the goose photo  
Photo via YouTube
Birds of a feather may flock together, but when it comes finding company for a leisurely morning walk, sometimes even a human will do. Every morning at around 8 o'clock, Dominic Ehrler comes to Echo Park, in Los Angeles, to take a stroll around the grounds -- and for the last 9 months or so, he's been adopted as walking-companion by one of the park's most notable residents: a goose named Maria. And in that time, the unlikely pair has formed quite the bond. "I never thought I'd be 65 years old and in love with a goose," says Dominic.

Leaping Capra Ibex, Close-Up Frogs, and More

adult oggioni ibex waterfall wild wonders of europe photo
From a leaping capra ibex to a close-up of a frog swimming, shot from below, it's hard to believe that the photos in the Wild Wonders of Europe amateur photo competition are not shot by professionals.
Each month, the competition puts the spotlight on Europe's animals, from endangered Iberian lynxes -- of which fewer than 100 remain in the wild -- to common toads, and draws entries from all over the continent, giving adult and youth photographers the chance to contribute their own unique perspective of the flora and fauna with whom they share the land.
finalists in european amateur photo competition inquisitive owls and more slideshow
Article continues: Finalists in European Amateur Photo Competition: Leaping Capra Ibex, Close-Up Frogs, and More

Sweaty Socks

East African jumping spider Evarcha culicivora (Image: Fiona Cross)
Could it be they are related to the gym teacher from the original Porky's movie?

Animal Pictures