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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, March 19, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You could be looking at a real turn around.
Whether you're an ice skater who finally gets the hang of that tricky high-speed spin with your leg pointing straight up in the air (how do you do that?) or you're the business world's equivalent of an ice skating champion making their debut on the smooth, slick ice rink of heavy-duty commerce, you experience a shift.
Things somehow get clearer.
You spin with grace.
Enjoy it.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
London, England, United kingdom
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Rio De Janeiro, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei and Muara, Brunei Darussalam
London, Ontario, Canada
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Prague, Hlvani Mesto Praha, Czech Republic
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Nienburg, Niedersachsen, Germany
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Edmonton, Alberta Canada

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 Hillsboro, Canal Winchester, Camp Pendleton, Castro Valley and more.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, March 19, the 79th day of 2011.
There are 287 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Corn Dog Day,
National Chocolate Carmel Day
National Quilting Day.

It also happens to be the day the Swallows Return to San Juan Capistrano
as well as the Perigee Moon and the Perigian Tides.

Today In History March 19

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address on Latin America
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Washington, DC
In recent days, we’ve seen turmoil and tragedy around the world, from change in the Middle East and North Africa to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  As I said on Friday, we will work with our partners in the region to protect innocent civilians in Libya and hold the Gaddafi regime accountable.  And we will continue to stand with the people of Japan in their greatest hour of need.

As we respond to these immediate crises abroad, we also will not let up in our efforts to tackle the pressing, ongoing challenges facing our country, including accelerating economic growth.  That’s why, over the weekend, I’ll be in Latin America.  One of the main reasons for my trip is to strengthen economic partnerships abroad so that we create good jobs at home.

Latin America is a part of the world where the economy is growing very quickly.  And as these markets grow, so does their demand for goods and services.  The question is, Where are those goods and services going to come from?  As President, I want to make sure these products are made in America.  I want to open more markets around the world so that American companies can do more business and hire more of our people.

Here’s a statistic to explain why this is important.  Every $1 billion of goods and services we export supports more than 5,000 jobs in the United States.  So, the more we sell overseas, the more jobs we create on our shores.  That’s why, last year, I set a goal for this country: to double our exports by 2014.  And it’s a goal we’re on track to meet.

Part of the reason why is the rapid growth of Latin America, and their openness to American business.  We now export more than three times as much to Latin America as we do to China, and our exports to the region will soon support more than two million jobs here in the United States.  Brazil, the first stop on our trip, is a great example.

In 2010, America’s exports to Brazil supported more than 250,000 American jobs.  These are jobs at places like Capstone Turbine in California, which recently sold $2 million worth of high-tech energy equipment to Brazil.  Another company is Rhino Assembly, a small business in Charlotte, North Carolina that sells and repairs tools for building cars and planes.  A deal with a distributor in Brazil has resulted in new sales and new employees at that firm.  And we can point to large companies like Sikorsky, whose helicopter sales to Brazil help sustain a large, skilled workforce in Connecticut, Alabama, and Pennsylvania.

Today, Brazil imports more goods from the United States than from any other nation.  And I’ll be meeting with business leaders from both countries to talk about how we can create even more jobs by deepening these economic ties.  After Brazil, I’ll also visit Chile, a country with a growing economy, and increasing demand for American goods.  In fact, since 2004, our exports there are up 300 percent, and now support about 70,000 jobs in the United States.  Finally, we’ll head to El Salvador, a nation with so much promise for growth with the potential to benefit both of our nations.

We’ve always had a special bond with our neighbors to the south.  It’s a bond born of shared history and values, and strengthened by the millions of Americans who proudly trace their roots to Latin America.  But what is clear is that in an increasingly global economy, our partnership with these nations is only going to become more vital.  For it’s a source of growth and prosperity – and not just for the people of Latin America, but for the American people as well.

Thank you.

Lest we forget ...

The 'other' Middle East conflict:
Hamas fires dozens of rockets at Israel, which responds with airstrikes

Palestinian militants in Gaza fired more than 50 rockets into Israel on Saturday, the heaviest barrage in two years, Israeli officials said.

Just when you thought some things were sorta calm.

Gadhafi ignores his own 'Cease-Fire'

Libyan forces strike at the heart of the rebellion, defying international demands for a cease-fire. 
French reconnaissance planes flew over Libya as Gadhafi’s forces tried to push into Benghazi. 

Dozens of protesters die in Yemen

The Yemen government had been quite friendly with the US in the last few years so the administration has to be following this closely.

The Guardian:
The scene was desperate and chaotic. It followed the worst day of violence in Yemen since protests against president Ali Abdullah Saleh began in earnest over a month ago. At least 45 people were killed and hundreds of others wounded as security forces and plainclothes government loyalists opened fire on protesters trying to march through the capital, Sana'a.

Parliamentary opposition spokesman Mohammed al-Sabri accused the regime of a massacre and said: "These killings will not help keep Ali Abdullah Saleh in power." Saleh responded by calling for a state of emergency, saying this meant that ordinary citizens would not be able to carry weapons.

But it was not immediately clear if Saleh has the military power to impose such an order, with the Arabian peninsula nation deeply divided and racked by weeks of civil disturbance that have left well over 70 people dead. "What happened today was very regrettable, the death of our children," the president said. Last week he had ordered his security forces to ensure the safety of protesters.

Egyptians vote on constitutional changes

Eager for their first taste of a free vote in decades, Egyptians formed long lines outside polling centers on Saturday to cast their ballots on a package of constitutional amendments sponsored by the ruling military.

Japan survivors on the edge

Resourcefulness and kindness help combat despair in Japan's ravaged areas.  



    Meanwhile in Wisconsin

    What's happening in Wisconsin that's stopped making the national news.

    The repugican in charge of the Senate, Scott Fitzgerald, decreed on Monday that the now-returned Democratic state Senators would not be allowed to vote, then backed down when he became a laughing stock.

    And speaking of laughing stocks, the local wingnut paper, The Wisconsin State Journal, which has been totally on board with the whole radical wingnut agenda, is now urging Democrats and repugicans to be polite to each other, as though both sides have been equally outrageous, and as though civility is an admirable goal as the repugicans kill people.

    And yes, people will die, of course, when poor, old folks are forced to pay more for their prescriptions. Some of them won't have the money, so they'll stop taking their drugs, and they'll die sooner. But for repugicans that's not a problem, it's a good thing.

    The debate that killed DC Comics blog comments

     Www.Comicsalliance.Com Media 2011 03 Source02
    DC Comics apparently shut down commenting on its blog The Source after things got ugly in a thread about an eternal question: Who runs faster, Superman or The Flash?

    It's official

    AP changes style guide from 'e-mail' to 'email'
    Copy editors need to be on alert, as the Associated Press (AP) has just changed the AP Stylebook, used by many media outlets as the Bible of copy style, to remove the hyphen from "e-mail." That's right, it's email now.

    Hell, nice of them to finally catch up with the rest of us! It's been email for 20 years now all ready.

    Frank and Ernest


    Who the IRS will be targeting

    The audit squad is likely to flag returns of five types of taxpayers this year.

    Non Sequitur


    Weird News

    A Carrollton man who had his debit card sucked up at an ATM is accused of beating and robbing another customer he believed was withdrawing money from his account. 

    Funny Cookies

    An 18-year-old medical marijuana patient accused of providing pot-laced butter to a Missoula eighth-grader -- who then allegedly made cookies with it and passed them out to several friends -- has been charged with a felony.

    His mommy is satan

    From the "Hey, Doc, got another one for the Loony Bin here for ya" Department:

    Authorities say a Pennsylvania driver rammed into another car three times, punched the other motorist and yelled "my mom is Satan." Police say the suspect also had his dog bite the victim and accused the man of being on heroin.

    Woman broke cast-iron frying pan over boyfriend’s head in front of police officer

    A Burlington woman pleaded guilty on Monday to breaking a frying pan over a man’s head during a fight last spring. Nigeria Shayan Hoover, 18, of Wilkins Street, Burlington, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury after a Burlington police officer watched her smash a cast-iron frying pan over her boyfriend’s head March 30. Police were responding to the 1910 Wilkins Street residence following a 911 hangup.

    When the officer arrived, he saw Hoover and Kendall Jackson through a window. Jackson was sitting in a chair and Hoover was over him, suspending an object that appeared to be a plate above the man’s head, said Alamance County Assistant D.A. Lori Wickline. The officer entered the residence, Hoover thanked him for coming and then hit Jackson over the head with the pan, breaking it into three pieces, Wickline said. Jackson was hospitalized after the officer noticed blood on his head and saw the man go glassy-eyed.

    His speech was also slurred during initial questioning, Wickline said. Hoover allegedly told officers she hoped Jackson had died from his injuries and that she “wished there was a way to take him out without getting into trouble.” She felt threatened by him, Hoover also allegedly told police. Defence Attorney Christopher Watkins said that before police arrived, Jackson allegedly hit his client after she told him to leave the property. He left briefly, then came back into the house.

    When she tried to dial 911, Jackson also smashed her phone against a wall, resulting in the 911-hangup police responded to, he said. “She regrets what happened. She is staying away from Kendall Jackson,” Watkins told Superior Court Judge Wayne Abernathy. Hoover is on disability and receives counselling, Watkins said. Abernathy issued a suspended 15- to 27-month sentence and placed Hoover on 12 months’ supervised probation. He ordered her to have no contact with Jackson and to pay court costs and $450 in attorney fees. Because she is on disability, he waived probation supervision fees.

    Awesome Pictures

    In Japan today, some of the flowering cherry trees are blooming early.

    Les Halles

    The Jardin des Halles, in Paris.
    In terms of urban design and sustainability, Paris has been a real role model in the last few years. With simultaneous projects to remake its river banks as green spaces, build subsidized housing developments throughout the city, and to redesign a number of neighborhoods, the city is on a roll. Add one more project to the list: the redesign of Les Halles, the combination park, cinema, shopping mall, and transit hub that lies in the heart of Paris.
    Article continues: Paris Takes on an Ambitious Bid to Remake Its Center, Les Halles

    Rooting for a bridge

    In the depths of northeastern India, in one of the wettest places on earth, bridges aren't built - they're grown.

    The living bridges of Cherrapunji, India are made from the roots of the Ficus elastica tree. This tree produces a series of secondary roots from higher up its trunk and can comfortably perch atop huge boulders along the riverbanks, or even in the middle of the rivers themselves.

    Model T Ford to scale Ben Nevis for second time

    Some people have gone to great lengths - and heights - to make an unusual ascent of Ben Nevis. Now car enthusiasts will recreate one of the most bizarre climbs, by taking a Model T Ford up Britain's highest mountain. Over the years a bed, a wheelbarrow and a piano have made it the 4,409ft to the summit. But in 1911 an Edinburgh motorist, Henry Alexander, drove a 20hp Model T Ford up the pony track to the top.

    The Alexanders, who ran cinemas and dance halls in the city, had added a Ford Agency to their enterprises and Henry wanted to demonstrate the car was up to the toughest tests in the country. To commemorate the centenary of the remarkable achievement, a Model T Ford will again find itself on the ben's summit on 18 May. This time, due to environmental considerations, they will not drive up but dismantle the car and reassemble it on the mountain top. It will be carried up the slopes with the help of about 100 volunteers with hillwalking experience.

    The original ascent took six weeks to prepare and check a drive-able route with a team of men working tirelessly to lay down a timber path right to the summit, placing bridging planks over impassible gullies and streams. Mr Alexander set off from a farmhouse on the Spean Bridge Road on 9 May and completed the climb five and a half days later. He followed the pony track, also known as the Mountain Track, which begins at Achintee on the east side of Glen Nevis just over a mile from Fort William town center.

    It zig-zags steeply to the saddle by Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, known as the halfway lochan, at 570 meters, then ascends the remaining 700 meters up the stony west flank of the mountain in a series of larger zig-zags. The car frequently sank axle-deep into the boggy ground and had to be hauled out by rope. A newspaper report from the time said one false turn of the wheel would have meant a fall that would have destroyed the car and killed the driver. It took Mr Alexander three days to drive the car to the halfway point and two more days to cover the rest of the distance to the summit.

    Extreme Supermoon


    Today, Saturday, March 19, we experience one of those evenings that sky gazers have been anticipating for a long time. A rare lunar phenomenon is about to happen. You may not even notice it yourself if you are simply a casual observer but tonight the moon will appear larger and brighter than normal.

    The moon has not been this close to the Earth for eighteen years. Some astrologists refer to this as a supermoon but there are even those who are calling tonight's moon an extreme supermoon because the moon will also be at the fullest part of its sequence. The real name for the term is rather different - astrological purists refer to it as a lunar perigee.

    A mix of illusion and reality this weekend will create the biggest full moon in 18 years.  



      Monkeys get their own car to play with

      Monkeys at Longleat Safari Park have been given their own car to play with. The Monkey Jungle drive-through at the Wiltshire attraction was closed to the public in 2008 after a macaque tested positive for a rare virus.

      But last month the monkey enclosure was reopened, and for the first time in two years, cars were allowed back in. "To get them back in training for the new season we decided to give them their very own car," said deputy head warden Ian Turner.

      "And it's clear to see from our test run, that monkey mischief is still very much front of mind and they plainly haven't forgotten their fondness for cars!" The old Mercedes equipped with roof rack and suitcases filled with clothes and toys was left by staff in the monkey enclosure last week.

      The troop of 100 Rhesus macaques "soon set about tearing it apart with gusto" and even "rifled through luggage" strapped to the top of the car and "tried on human clothes for size". Mr Turner said the monkey were "one of the key attractions" at the safari park.

      The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger

      There is no other bad ass animal in the kingdom of all animals as fearless as the Honey Badger.
      Nasty as hell, it eats practically whatever it wants.

      Australian zoo shows off orange baby monkey

      He's about six weeks old, bright orange and very inquisitive. Taronga Zoo in Sydney have just presented the latest addition to its Francois langur monkey family, a baby male called Keo-co (pronounced Key-co). Born to mother Saigon and father Hanoi, Keo-co made his public debut by exploring his outdoor enclosure and was brave enough to move about a meter away from his mum. "He's quite inquisitive," zoo primate keeper Roxanne Pellatt said. "When the keepers are around and he's in his den he'll stick his head out and have a look."

      Keo-co's bright orange fur is quite a sight but he won't retain that vibrant color forever. "His color will gradually start changing, starting with his extremities, his tail, his toes, the tip of his head until eventually - at about six months - he will be completely black with just a tiny bit of white on his face," Ms Pellatt said. Little Keo-co is lucky that his mother has taken to him. Just two years ago Saigon gave birth to a female langur and things didn't turn out quite so well.

      "Unfortunately Saigon didn't know what it was and she was scared of the baby. The keepers had to step in and raise it," Ms Pellatt said. "We called her Elka and she lives in another enclosure now with a male we imported from Beijing, Bobo." However, Saigon had some help this time from another female langur, his aunt Meili. "The two mothers take care of him - Saigon is the primary care giver but when she needs a break Meili takes over, they take it in turns," Ms Pellat said.

      "Consequently, we have named the infant 'Keo-co' which is a traditional game of tug-of-war played in the villages of Vietnam," she said. The monkeys are native to Vietnam and China. Sydney's Taronga Zoo is the only zoo in Australia that has the species. An endangered species, there are potentially fewer than 1000 Francois langur monkeys left in the wild. "They are still hunted for bush meat and they're also used in traditional medicine," Ms Pellatt said.

      Tiny wombat saved by round-the-clock care from wildlife carers

      "We can't save them all, but bloody hell, we try." It's a statement that sums up the attitude of Australian wildlife carers Stephanie Clark and Wayne White. Stephanie and Wayne are proud foster parents of an eight-month-old baby wombat called Tunna. He's one little fella who makes the couple's efforts all worthwhile. The orphan was found in its fatally injured mother's pouch.

      The pair named him Tunna after Tunnack, the area near where he was found. Tunna weighed just 100gms, he was smaller than a tennis ball, hairless, his eyes fused shut and his claws smaller than Stephanie's finger nails. Tunna now weighs 3.1 kg and is thriving on around-the-clock care. "We just tag team," Stephanie said. "He sleeps in a humidicrib which is temperature controlled and humidified."

      "That's what really saved him," Wayne said. Stephanie, 54, a retired Army nurse and Wayne, 62, a Vietnam veteran, moved from Queensland three years ago. They are longtime wildlife carers. "We love and respect our wildlife - they need all the help they can get," Stephanie said.

      The couple do not get financial assistance for their efforts, it is all out of their own pockets. "We both love animals and we respect our wildlife," Stephanie said. "Mankind is taking over their land, their habitat and we're killing them. Tunna is just starting to munch grass and travels with the couple wherever they go because of his feeding regime. He will later be released back into the wild.

      Baby at 60

      albatross 60 year old photo
      Photo: twittlebat
      We were saddened by the news that thousands of nesting albatross had been swept away by the tsunami. But there is some good news to come out of the albatross world this week. A momma albatross, judged by her ankle band to be born in 1951, has had her 35th baby. They say that kids keep you young but this is incredible.

      Animal Pictures