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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, June 11, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
The trust you've put in others has enabled your relationships to grow, and as a consequence, you've expanded your own inner growth.
That's a very good thing.
But today you need to play your cards a bit closer to your chest.
Circumstances beyond your control might create conditions that are conducive to loose lips -- and you don't want any private information getting into the wrong hands.
The secrets you want to spill should stay secrets right now.
Keep quiet if you expect others to as well.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Gengenbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
London, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei and Muara, Brunei Darussalam
Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden
London, Ontario, Canada
Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

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 Anaheim, Shreveport, Saratoga, Kailua and more.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, June 11, the 162nd day of 2011.
There are 203 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
The Wicket World of Croquet Day
Corn On The Cob Day.

Today also sees the running of the Belmont Stakes.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
June 11, 2011
Washington D.C.
        Hello, everyone. I want to spend a couple minutes talking with you about our economy. We’ve just come through the worst recession since the Great Depression, and while our economy as a whole has been growing and adding private sector jobs, too many folks are still struggling to get back on their feet. I wish I could tell you there was a quick fix to our economic problems. But the truth is, we didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight. It’s going to take time.
        The good news is, when it comes to job-creation and economic growth, there are certain things we know we can do. Now, government is not – and should not be – the main engine of job-creation in this country. That’s the role of the private sector. But one thing government can do is partner with the private sector to make sure that every worker has the necessary skills for the jobs they’re applying for.
        On Wednesday, I announced commitments by the private sector, colleges, and the National Association of Manufacturers that will make it possible for 500,000 community college students to get a manufacturing credential that has the industry’s stamp of approval. If you’re a company that’s hiring, you’ll know that anyone who has this degree has the skills you’re looking for. If you’re a student considering community college, you’ll know that your diploma will give you a leg up in the job market.
        On Monday, I’ll travel to North Carolina, where I’ll meet with my Jobs Council and talk about additional steps we can take to spur private sector hiring in the short-term and ensure our workers have the skills and training they need in this economy.
        There are also a few other things we know will help grow our economy, and give people good jobs that support a middle-class lifestyle. We know that a quality education is a prerequisite for success, so we’re challenging states and school districts to improve teaching and learning, and making it a national goal to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
        We know that more and more jobs are being created in the clean energy sector, so we’re investing in wind power, solar power, and biofuels that will make us less dependent on foreign oil and clean up our planet for our children. These are steps we know will make a difference in people’s lives – not just twenty years from now, or ten years from now, but now, and in the months to come.
        In the end, the folks I hear from in letters or meet when I travel across the country – they aren’t asking for much. They’re just looking for a job that covers their bills. They’re just looking for a little financial security. They want to know that if they work hard and live within their means, everything will be all right. They’ll be able to get ahead, and give their kids a better life. That’s the dream each of us has for ourselves and our families. And so long as I have the privilege of serving as President, I’ll keep fighting to put that dream within reach for all Americans. Have a great weekend, everybody.

Life of Illusion

Joe Walsh

Non Sequitur


More heat, strong storms expected in the area next 3 days

From the "Our joy knows no bounds" Department:
Heat and thunderstorms are expected again Saturday, and the storm probabilities will increase Sunday.

Freak overnight 'heat burst'

A rare phenomenon in the Midwest sends temperatures soaring almost 20 degrees in a matter of minutes.

    Odds and Sods

    Snow pile in Massachusetts hangs on despite extreme heat
    As temperatures in the Boston area soar into the 90s, a frigid reminder of the region's long winter clings to life in a Framingham parking lot.



    How to handle a bad boss

    Master these tactics for working more effectively with five types of problem managers.  

      "From Dirt to Shirt in Less Than 700 Miles"

       Cotton of the Carolinas Creates Green, Localized Economy

      When folks go on about how the market is so efficient, it's hard not to point to the folly of a system that has us growing cotton in the United States, shipping it to China or other far-flung regions, having it manufactured into clothing products abroad, and then shipped back for our consumption. That's not efficient -- it's borderline stupid. Cotton of the Carolinas, an impressive coalition of manufacturers, cotton growers, and conscientious businessfolk, recognizes this absurdity. It has set aboutcreating a gloriously localized business agenda: Cotton is grown, made into clothing, and sold, all within a radius of a few hundred miles. The net impact? It's this:
      Article continues: "From Dirt to Shirt in Less Than 700 Miles": Cotton of the Carolinas Creates Green, Localized Economy (Video)

      High unemployment claims, food prices slow economy

      Jobs are scarce and food prices are likely to stay high through next year, according to new data that reinforced evidence of a U.S. economy stuck in a weak patch.

      World's most expensive cities

      A movie ticket costs $24 and a quick lunch runs nearly $21 in the priciest place to live.  

        Online currency millionaires

        The world's fastest-gaining currency is one of the top-returning assets of any kind. 

        We must tax the rich

        From the "No Shit, Sherlock" Department:
        The Charleston Gazette recently had an editorial about the recent CBS "60 Minutes" segment that featured Cisco CEO John Chambers, Jr., who revealed what many should understand: U.S. companies that publicly proclaim loyalty to America are in fact loyal only to money.

        Did you know ...

        Jon Stewart's ratings now higher than most Faux News shows

        Obama has created more jobs in one year than the shrub did in 8

        And, is this really a surprise? Unions make middle class strong

        Lunatic Fringe

        Wingnuts shocked that Thatcher won’t see Palin


        Any sane person wouldn't either.

        Suffering from advanced dementia, the family still finds it would be belittling for her to be a prop in the Palin freak show. And who can blame them?
        Lush Dimbulb, the hate radio spewer, devoted the opening section of his radio show to denouncing the "preposterous" Guardian report, as Palin supporters accused Thatcher's circle of disgracing the former prime minister.

        The wingnust reacted furiously after the Guardian reported that Thatcher's aides had decided it would be inappropriate for her to meet Palin, who is planning to visit London next month en route to Sudan. Palin has been touring US historical sites (an excursion that saw her slip up this week on the subject of Paul Revere, the American patriot who made a famous "midnight ride" to warn of approaching British forces).

        One Thatcher ally told the Guardian: "Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts."

        Uproar over immigration law

        The controversial measure asks schools to check the legal status of their students.

          TSA Prevents Potential Disaster

          Protecting us all: Special Needs Son Harassed by TSA at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
          drew The Mandy family says they were on their way to the happiest place on earth (Disney), but had to go through hell to get there.
          "I realize they're trying to keep people safe, but come on, does he look like a terrorist?" said Dr. David Mandy.
          The family was going through security when two TSA agents singled Drew Mandy out for a special pat down. Drew is severely mentally disabled. He's 29, but his parents said he has the mental capacity of a two-year-old, which made the experience that followed at metro Detroit's McNamera Terminal that much harder to deal with.
          "You have got to be kidding me. I honestly felt that those two agents did not know what they were doing," Mandy told us.
          Of course they don't know what they are doing.
          Dr. Mandy claimed they asked Drew to place his feet on the yellow shoe line, something he didn't understand. They proceeded to pat his pants down, questioning the padding which was his adult diapers. When the agents asked Drew to take his hand and rub the front and back of his pants so they could swab it for explosives, his dad stepped in and tried to explain that Drew was mentally challenged.
          "They said, 'Please, sir, we know what we're doing,'" Mandy said.
          Oops, they do know what they are doing.
          The TSA agents saw Drew holding a six-inch plastic hammer. "My son carries his ball and his hammer for security. He goes everywhere with (them)," said Mandy. The TSA it seems saw the toy as a weapon. "He took the hammer and he tapped the wall. 'See, it's hard. It could be used as a weapon,'" Mandy explained. "So, Drew's also holding the ball, and I said, 'Well, how about the ball?' He (said), 'Oh, he can keep that."
          Will this airport absurdity never end?

          Court says New Times editors can sue over arrest by sheriff Joe Arpaio's office

          "Abuse of Public Office"

          A federal appeals court Thursday said a Maricopa County special prosecutor can be sued by two Phoenix New Times editors who said they were arrested after running stories criticizing Sheriff Joe Arpaio and other county officials.

          A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Dennis Wilenchik did not enjoy immunity for his actions, which the editors said violated their free-speech rights and protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

          The appeals court also restored Maricopa County as a party to the suit. But the judges upheld a lower-court ruling that Arpaio and then-County Attorney Andrew Thomas are immune from prosecution.

          “I find it incredible that Arpaio and Thomas can be removed from this, since they orchestrated it,” said New Times Editor Rick Barrs.

          “No one could be more deserving of this punishment.”

          In a sharply worded dissent, Judge Jay S. Bybee said the majority did not go far enough. He said Arpaio should have to answer the charges of a “sordid tale of abuse of public office” with “detailed allegations of reprehensible conduct.”

          Wilenchik’s attorney, Scott Zwillinger, noted that the ruling only allows the case to proceed. He said in an email that the case is based “entirely on the false allegation” that his client was responsible for the arrests and it will ultimately fail.

          Calls to Arpaio, county officials and other attorneys were not returned by press time Thursday.

          The case began in 2004, when the New Times printed Arpaio’s home address to show that it was readily available to the public. The story was a response to Arpaio’s claim that he had to take his name off public records to protect his personal safety.

          Almost a year later, Arpaio asked the then-newly elected Thomas to investigate Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin under a state law that prohibits Web dissemination of a law enforcement official’s personal information.

          Thomas’ staff decided the case was weak — about the same time that the New Times began to publish articles critical of Thomas himself. Recognizing a conflict of interest, the court said Thomas referred the case to Pinal County attorneys for investigation. They declined to pursue it and two years later handed the case back to Maricopa County.

          Thomas then tapped Wilenchik, his former law partner, as a special prosecutor in June 2007.

          A month later, Wilenchik issued two subpoenas in the case, but never presented the subpoenas to a grand jury, court documents say. When the New Times published an article criticizing the investigation, Wilenchik issued a third subpoena — also not presented to a grand jury, the court said.

          When the paper later published parts of the subpoenas, Wilenchik sought the arrest of Lacey and Larkin for publicizing grand jury proceedings, even though the court said no grand jury had been empaneled.

          That night, officers of the County’s Selective Enforcement Unit arrived at the men’s homes in unmarked, black vehicles and arrested the men.

          Both Wilenchik and Arpaio denied ordering the arrests. Zwillinger said a former chief deputy has swore in an affidavit that he ordered the arrests.

          Larkin and Lacey sued but a federal district court judge said Arpaio, Thomas and Wilenchik were immune from prosecution because they were acting in their official capacities.

          The appeals court agreed that Arpaio and Thomas are immune, but said Wilenchik’s actions “raise colorable claims of First and Fourth Amendment violations” and the case against him should proceed. The court also said Wilenchik should face the suit’s claims of malicious prosecution.

          The court also said the lower court was wrong to dismiss state law claims against Maricopa County. It remanded the case to the lower court with directions to reconsider the claims against the county.

          Wizard of Id


          Germany confirms German bean sprouts the cause of E. coli outbreak

          A little bit of science would have gone a long way earlier in this process. German government ministers were much too hasty when they blamed the problem on Spanish produce and it has severely damaged their business. Raw veggies have been piling up in the stores in France as well but hopefully this should help everyone.

          Next time Germany should wait and see the results before dishing out blame.
          Investigators have determined that German-grown vegetable sprouts are the cause of the E. coli outbreak that has killed 29 people and sickened nearly 3,000, the head of Germany's national disease control center said Friday.

          Reinhard Burger, president of the Robert Koch Institute, said even though no tests of the sprouts from an organic farm in Lower Saxony had come back positive for the E. coli strain behind the outbreak, an investigation into the pattern of the outbreak had produced enough evidence to draw the conclusion.

          "In this way, it was possible to narrow down epidemiologically the cause of the outbreak of the illness to the consumption of sprouts," Burger said at a press conference with the heads of Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and Federal Office for Consumer Protection. "It is the sprouts."

          Famed hot dog joint in peril

          The quarrel could force the landmark eatery, founded in 1932, to shut down.

            Culinary DeLites

            Many people use these terms to mean the same thing, but the results are very different.  

            Home kitchens of TV chefs

            These five dream setups will be the envy of anyone who loves to cook.  

              Rainbow Pancakes


              Your Rainbow Panorama

              'Your Rainbow Panorama' by Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson is a circular walkway with colored glass walls that sits atop the ARoS art museum in Aarhus, Denmark. The glass walls comprise all the colors of the rainbow as they encompass the walkway.

              Child artist's work charms

              Aelita Andre, 4, has her first New York gallery show with paintings that sell for thousands. 

              Random Celebrity Photo

              Super sexy Bardot…

              Bangladeshi 'latter-day Robin Hood' is arrested

              Bangladeshi police have arrested a burglar in the city of Chittagong who they say donated much of the proceeds of his crimes to good causes. Police in the city said that Badiul Haq Nasir, 45, gave thousands of dollars acquired from two decades of crime to orphanages and mosques. They say that none of the institutions that received cash from him was aware that it was from the proceeds of crime. Mr Nasir has been dubbed as a latter-day Robin Hood.

              Police say that to his friends, neighbors and business acquaintances Mr Nasir was an affluent businessman living in a large house on the outskirts of Chittagong. But officials say that in reality he was a residential and office burglar - as well as a jewel thief who had major connections in the criminal underworld. Police say his well-planned heists - conducted without violence - earned him thousands of dollars.

              His generosity in giving to worthy causes as a result of these crimes earned him legendary status in dozens of villages in the Chittagong area. "The villagers said he was a benevolent man willing to help anyone who needed it," local police chief Babul Akhter said. "They had no idea as to the real source of his wealth. Apart from being such a generous philanthropist, Nasir is probably the most efficient burglar in the country.

              "He can pick any lock, get into any vault or gold shop by using a screwdriver and wrench." Mr Nasir was arrested on Wednesday following a week-long manhunt. Police say that he was caught on a security camera breaking into a Chittagong shop. "When we arrested him he asked for leniency because he said he was a benevolent burglar," said Mr Akhter.

              Woman admits robbing bank dressed as clown

              It was no laughing matter on Wednesday as a Bethlehem Township woman admitted she held up a bank, stealing more than $7,000 after she told tellers she had a bomb, while clad as a clown. Carolyn A. Williams pleaded guilty in Northampton County Court to felony robbery.

              "I did it and I'm sorry I did it," Williams, a 44-year-old married mother of two said to Judge Stephen Baratta. "I'm just hoping that once you understand all the facts surrounding [it] that you'll understand why." Dressed in a clown suit, red nose, wig, leggings and a white scarf, Williams robbed the KNBT branch in Bethlehem Township last summer, claiming she was forced to because of a kidnapper who still had her children.

              On Aug. 6, Williams told tellers she had a bomb and ordered them to fill her backpack with large bills. She was arrested shortly after the heist as she smoked a cigarette about a mile away in her car at the township's park complex. She told officers there was a bomb in the vehicle and again offered a story of coercion, saying "at least three men" had kidnapped her earlier and that her kids were still in danger.

              It took police and officials with the FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms several hours to determine the bomb was a fake. Inside the car, police recovered the clown costume, two loaded handguns, a large amount of money and the phony explosive, which was fashioned from a can of soup and bagged rice. Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mulqueen said she will seek the maximum prison term of 20 years.

              Back in The Day

              The 'In Crowd'

              The Top 10 misused English words

              Less or fewerHere’s one example:
              Less is used when comparing quantities that can’t be counted; for example, “I’d like less milk.” If you’re comparing quantities (like bagels, for example) then “fewer” should be used. But you don’t win many competitions with a tie break if you point out that “25 words or less” should actually be “25 words or fewer.” The antonyms “more than” and “greater than” get similarly misused. Programmers will know the comparison operators are referred to as “greater than and less than”; it should really be “greater than and fewer than”.

              The Top 50 oxymorons

              50. Act naturally
              49. Found missing
              48. Resident alien
              47. Advanced BASIC
              46. Genuine imitation
              45. Airline food
              44. Good grief
              43. Same difference
              42. Almost exactly
              41. Government organization
              40. Sanitary landfill
              39. Alone together
              38. Legally drunk
              37. Silent scream
              36. British fashion
              35. Living dead
              34. Small crowd
              33. Business ethics
              32. Soft rock
              31. Butt head
              30. Military intelligence
              29. Software documentation
              28. New York culture
              27. Extinct life
              26. Sweet sorrow
              25. Childproof
              24. “Now, then.”
              23. Synthetic natural gas
              22. Christian scientists
              21. Passive aggression
              20. Taped live
              19. Clearly misunderstood
              18. Peace force
              17. New classic
              16. Temporary tax increase
              15. French bravery
              14. Plastic glasses
              13. Terribly pleased
              12. Computer security
              11. Political science
              10. Tight slacks
              9. Definite maybe
              8. Pretty ugly
              7. Twelve-ounce pound cake
              6. Diet ice cream
              5. Rap music
              4. Working vacation
              3. Exact estimate
              2. Religious tolerance

              And the NUMBER ONE top Oxymoron

              1. Microsoft Works

              Awesome Pictures


              Police find four rare crocodiles in bedroom of Croydon house

              Four rare crocodiles being kept as secret pets have been seized from the spare bedroom of a family home in the center of Croydon. The dangerous reptiles, capable of biting a man’s arm off, were found by chance in makeshift tanks by police officers at a semi-detached house in Waddon.

              The officers, who were there on an unrelated matter, called in Croydon Council licensing officers who had the West African dwarf crocodiles seized. Three of the females measured 3ft and were found living in cramped and dirty pond liners in an upstairs bedroom.

              The largest one, which measured more than 4ft, was in such a bad condition, it died soon after being transferred. The owner of the protected animals did not have a licence for them and is expected to be charged with four counts under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and faces a substantial fine if found guilty.

              It is understood he bought the four female crocodiles from a supplier in Endland, although it is not known how they were smuggled into Britain. The animals have since been transferred to Birdworld in Surrey, where they are being fed on white mice and are happily sharing a large pond with terrapin turtles.


              Kaw-u-tz (Cado) (1906)

              The Ancient Puzzle With No Solution

              When archaeologists unearthed a treasure trove of Bronze Age artefacts they must have thought they had hit the jackpot. However, on closer inspection, the find seemed more like an ancient jigsaw puzzle with no solution - thousands of broken figurines, none of which fit together. Now researchers believe the mysterious figurines, which were crafted and then deliberately broken, are evidence of a Bronze Age ritual.

              It is thought the mysterious rite took place about 4,500 years ago on the Aegean island of Keros, recently excavated by the Cambridge-Keros project. Led by Professor Colin Renfrew from the University of Cambridge, the team found a single piece of each smashed statuette had been taken to Keros and buried in shallow pits.



              Why horses don't get faster

              While more people are breaking the four-minute mile, horses still run at the same pace as years before.

                Australia Considers Kill-Camels-For-Cash Plan

                Australians could be paid cash for killing feral camels under an unusual government plan to cut greenhouse gases.
                Full Story

                Elephant Kills Man in India, Experts Say Humans to Blame

                elephant photo
                Image via YouTube video screengrab
                Four young male elephants when on a rampage in the Indian city of Mysore earlier this week, resulting in the death of one man. The tragedy has sparked discussion on the cause of the elephants entering the city at all, and human encroachment on their habitat is a significant reason.
                Article continues: Elephant Kills Man in India, Experts Say Humans to Blame (Video)

                Dog pack alarms residents

                A "bloodthirsty" pack of dogs has eluded capture by primarily moving at night.

                Heart-Warming Image Of Gorilla Making Friends With Duckling

                It was a scene that perhaps wouldn't have made the final cut of King Kong. A lowland gorilla shares a moment of quiet reflection with a tiny mallard duckling, who seems fairly nonplussed about being in the presence of one of nature's most powerful beasts. The heart-warming image is among Nature's Best Photography Magazine's wildlife photograph winners for 2010.

                Washington cops under attack

                ... by aggressive crows
                Officers at a Seattle-area police department have found themselves in a flap with some unusual suspects: an angry flock of birds.

                Animal Pictures