Welcome to ...

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.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your bolder, aggressive energies have served you well lately -- you've proven to everyone that you can step up and be counted on.
So today it is a good idea to pull back and relax a little bit.
Don't keep pushing on any further, because there's no point ... you are where you need to be and to deny that fact is only going to frustrate you and distract you from what's really important.
Wanting more for yourself is admirable, but you need to appreciate where you are right now.

Some of our readers today have been in:
 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
London, England, United Kingdom
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Florence, Toscana, Italy
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Iasi, Iasi, Romania
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Kiev, Kyivv, Ukraine
Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Stoke On Trent, England, United Kingdom
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Copenhagen, Kobenhavn, Denmark
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Malmo, Skane Lan, Sweden
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Pyrmont, New South wales, Australia
Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

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 Miami, Philadelphia, Kailua, Phoenix and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, July 29, the 210th day of 2011.
There are 155 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Lasagna Day
Lumberjack Day
Rain Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

A Blond gets into a Bentley ...

A $363,000 Bentley Azure manages to ding a Ferrari, a Mercedes, a Porsche, and an Aston Martin.  

Awesome free Web services

Retouch photos, safeguard your passwords, and find lost money — all without paying a penny.

Non Sequitur


Norway teen's texts to mom

As gunshots echo around her, Julie Bremnes exchanges words of hope with her mother.

How Breivik's STD-obsessed manifesto echoes Mein Kampf

When Adolf Hitler moved to Vienna as a teenager in 1905, he was not an anti-Semite. Or at least, so he reports in the opening chapters of Mein Kampf : "In the Jew, I still saw a man who was [merely] of a different religion, and, therefore, on grounds of human tolerance, I was against the idea that he should be attacked because he had a different ...

Mysterious group in spotlight

Anders Behring Breivik claimed allegiance to a new version of the Knights Templar.

Finnish police hold 'bomb' man

Police in southern Finland have arrested an 18-year-old man who ordered fertilizer from Poland to make explosives  

Finnish police say they have arrested an 18-year-old man who ordered 22lb of fertilizer from Poland to make explosives.

Mystery in death of rebel chief

The shooting of the Libyan military commander could point to rebel divisions or to Gadhafi operatives.

AWOL U.S. soldier arrested

Naser Abdo says he planned to attack the Fort Hood Army post, where 13 were killed in a 2009 rampage.

Online Rant to Kill the President is Protected Free Speech

From the "This so not a good decision" Department:

9th Circuit Court says so!

A Southern California man who posted an online racist rant that suggested Barack Obama should be shot during the 2008 presidential campaign was engaged in constitutionally protected free speech and should not have faced criminal charges, a divided federal appeals court ruled [last week].

The decision overturns the conviction of Walter Bagdasarian [pictured] of La Mesa, northeast of San Diego, who was found guilty two years ago by a federal judge in San Diego of violating a statute prohibiting threats to kill, kidnap or do bodily harm to a major presidential candidate.

The 2-1 ruling by a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that Bagdasarian's vitriolic epithets were "particularly repugnant" because they endorsed violence. But the panel concluded that a reasonable person wouldn't have taken seriously his diatribe in an online chat room at 1 a.m.

Bagdasarian, writing under the anonymous Internet identity of "Californiaradial," posted the comments on a Yahoo.com financial site on Oct. 22, 2008, when Obama's campaign for the White House was ascendant.

Another participant in the online exchange reported the provocative postings to law enforcement officials, leading to a Secret Service investigation and federal charges that could have sent the offender to prison for a decade.

Bagdasarian was sentenced to time served after a bench trial in 2009 and put on supervised release for two years, which included a prohibition against possessing firearms.

Among the comments he had posted was an observation that Obama "will have a 50 cal in the head soon" and that someone should "shoot the [racist slur]."

"There are many unstable individuals in this nation to whom assault weapons and other firearms are readily available, some of whom might believe that they were doing the nation a service were they to follow Bagdasarian's commandment," said the appeals panel opinion written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt. "There is nevertheless insufficient evidence that either statement constituted a threat or would be construed by a reasonable person as a genuine threat by Bagdasarian against Obama."

The ruling noted that Bagdasarian did have in his possession .50-caliber weapons and ammunition but said the reference to a bullet in Obama's head was "a prediction that conveyed no explicit or implicit threat on the part of Bagdasarian that he himself would kill or injure Obama."

Bagdasarian, now 49, said he was drunk at the time he posted the comments.

The majority opinion written by Reinhardt and joined by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski also said Bagdasarian's call to "shoot" Obama wasn't an offense under the statute used to convict him because the law doesn't criminalize "predictions or exhortations to others to injure or kill the president."

Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw dissented in part, arguing that there was enough evidence to find him guilty of threatening harm.

With the Internet now a popular forum for political discourse, courts are increasingly called upon to relocate the moving boundary between protected speech and credible threats to political figures.

The 9th Circuit recently heard testimony in another case involving an Arizona man's threats to shoot Super Bowl spectators in Phoenix eight years ago that were never carried out. The appeals court has yet to rule on whether the threat itself was a crime, even though it wasn't committed.
It has been bad enough before this with the wingnut hate spewing ... now the unhinged will be even more hate-filled. Can't you hear Lush Dimbulb already praising this decision and the dittoheads mumbling amen?!

We're (not) #1!


Did you know ...

71% of national debt happened during repugican presidencies; 28% under Democrat presidents
repugican presidents     Democrat Presidents
$9.5 trillion                   $3.8 trillion

Total debt is $14.3 trillion.
$1 trillion of debt comes from before Reagan (NYT doesn't make clear who created that debt).
$13.3 trillion accumulated from Reagan to Obama.

71% of the $13.3 trillion was under repugican presidents.
28% of the $13.3 trillion was under Democrat presidents.

(Source: NYT pieced together data from Treasury, OMB, Federal Reserve Bank of NY, and more)

Repugican debt vote delayed

Speaker John Boehner can't get enough support for his debt-limit plan from House repugicans.

City rocked by housing crash

Home prices have slid 53 percent, and two-thirds of mortgages are underwater.  


What do they call “Hee Haw” in Arkansas?
A documentary.
What do they call it in Kentucky?
“Life Styles of the Rich and Famous.”

America's dirtiest hotels

These 10 spots drew scathing reviews in a survey of TripAdvisor users. 

Health FICO score fears

Critics worry about a program to rate Americans on their prescription drug usage. 

Gym-free ways to burn calories

These eight activities will help keep you slim even when you don't have time or energy for the gym.  

Foods you can keep for years

Many of these grocery items will still be good two years after you buy them.  



Popular myths about resumés

You needn't include all your past jobs, and sometimes it's smart if you don't.

Fields that will be hiring

These six booming careers are expected to see job growth of 20 percent or more.

What not to put in a wallet

Carrying these around boosts your chances of becoming an ID theft victim. 

White Firefighters Get $2M in Damages in Racial Bias Case

A white group of firefighters who won a reverse discrimination case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 have been awarded about $2 million in damages from the city of New Haven, ending a 7-year-old legal battle that fueled national debate over racial justice, officials said Thursday.

Chairman of FriendFinder Networks Inc Awarded $8.1M in Improper Seizures Case

Three Merrill Lynch units must pay a total of $8.1 million to a real-estate investment trust executive who alleged the firm improperly seized nearly 1.3 million shares of stock from his accounts.

Daniel C. Staton [pictured], former chief operating officer and executive vice president of Duke Realty (DRE), filed the case against Bank of America Corp.'s (BAC) Merrill Lynch & Co., two Merrill banking units and a team of advisers in 2008, alleging they breached their fiduciary duty to him and made unauthorized trades in his account, among other things. Staton Family Investments Ltd. was also a claimant in the case.

The ruling, by a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel, was a partial victory for Staton, who originally sought $300 million in compensatory damages, plus another $900 million under a Florida civil theft law. Staton asked the panel, alternatively, to force Merrill to return nearly 1.3 million shares of Duke Realty stock to his account, along with dividends and other relief.

One of the three arbitrators who heard the case dissented from the ruling, which found the three units liable for breaching their fiduciary duty to Staton. The panel, as is customary, didn't explain the reasons for its decision, entered July 21.

Staton, now chairman of FriendFinder Networks Inc. (FFN), a social-networking technology company in Sunnyvale, Calif., has been involved in real-estate development and other entrepreneurial ventures for more than 30 years. He is also managing general partner of the Walnut Group, a Cincinnati-based private- equity firm.

The case stemmed from an advisory relationship between Staton and a Merrill Lynch team headed by Christopher Dale Jacobs in Indianapolis. The Finra panel dismissed Staton's claims against Jacobs and his team.

Staton, who acquired the stock during more than a decade of working at Duke Realty, never wanted to sell it off because of potentially high capital gains taxes and other reasons, said his lawyer, Martin Russo of Gusrae, Kaplan, Bruno & Nusbaum PLLC in New York. Merrill advised Staton to use the stock as collateral for a loan from a Merrill-affiliated bank, he said. Merrill Lynch Bank USA, one of the units liable in the ruling, ultimately became the lender.

Merrill didn't inform Staton of a "trigger price" at which the lender would consider the stock to have no value, and be able to demand immediate repayment of the loan, Russo said. The situation became dire as the stock price dropped below the trigger of $19 per share during the financial crisis in 2008. Merrill abruptly told Staton to deposit $23 million as collateral, Russo said, and he wasn't able to come up with the money fast enough. The Merrill unit advising Staton then seized the stock as a result and liquidated it, he said, in order to repay its banking unit for the loan.

Merrill said it disagreed with the arbitration decision. "We are very surprised that any award was made in light of the facts of this case," a Merrill spokesman said. He noted that the arbitrators awarded a fraction of the amount Staton originally sought.

"Merrill Lynch Bank USA acted completely within the parameters of its loan agreement to protect the collateral held during extreme market turbulence in October 2008," the spokesman said. Merrill is considering asking a court to overturn the ruling, he said.

Fortunes found in homes

Rummaging through his parents' attic, Steven Hoffer found toys worth up to $10,000.

Wizard of Id


Man caught after 32 years on lam

Frederick Barrett slipped away from a Florida prison during a nighttime power outage in 1979. 

LA police clash with film crowd

A Twitter invitation to a "block party" brings an unruly crowd to a Hollywood Boulevard screening.

Paying Red-Light Camera Fines Are For Suckers!

Did you get a red-light camera ticket? Did you pay the fine? If you did, then you're a sucker.
That's the message that motorists in Los Angeles got when it was revealed that red-light camera fines - some of which were as high as $476 - were actually "voluntary."
The Los Angeles Times has the story:
City officials this week spotlighted a surprising revelation involving red-light camera tickets: Authorities cannot force violators who simply don't respond to pay them. For a variety of reasons, including the way the law was written, Los Angeles officials say the fines for ticketed motorists are essentially "voluntary" and there are virtually no tangible consequences for those who refuse to pay. [...]
Unlike other moving citations, which are issued directly by a police officer to a driver who signs a promise to appear in court, red-light camera tickets are mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle allegedly involved in the violation.
That has limited the Los Angeles County Superior Court system's willingness to aggressively enforce camera ticket collections for the city and 32 other photo enforcement programs in Los Angeles County, officials said.
Under state law, court officials have discretion over how they pursue those who do not respond to camera-generated citations. Los Angeles County Superior Court officials, as a matter of fairness, said that for the last decade they have chosen a less forceful approach partly because the person receiving the ticket may not be the person who was driving the car.

Pour A Shot Of Tequila

In Your Gas Tank!

It fuels your party, your buzz and your hangover the next day, but believe it or not tequila may soon be fueling your car. That’s because the agave plant extract used to make liquor can also be used to make an ethanol like alcohol which can serve as vehicle fuel, won’t interfere with food crops, and can even be grown in the desert. Someday, our cars may hit the bottle more often than we do, but at least it won’t be hitting our wallets very hard.

Beautiful Blue Evaporation Pond in the Middle of the Moab Desert

Photo: Zane Jobe / offtheshelfedge
No, that's not photoshopped - that's a potash evaporation pond in the middle of the Moab desert, Utah.
Why the brilliant blue colors? Stephanie Pappas of LiveScience writes:
To get potash out of the ground, miners pump water from the nearby Colorado River through wells into an underground mine, according to mining company Intrepid. The water dissolves the potash salts buried 3,000 feet (914 meters) below the surface. The now-briny water is pumped back up into the shallow ponds seen here, where the sun evaporates off the water, leaving salt crystals behind.
The ponds get their bright blue color from a dye, much like food coloring, added to the water. The color helps the ponds absorb more light, speeding up the evaporation process.

Daily Comic Relief


The Milky Way over Abandoned Kilns

These abandoned kilns in Nevada were made in the 1870s to turn wood into charcoal. Tom McEwan snapped this amazing picture of the night sky over them:
Visible above the unusual kilns is a colorful star field, highlighted by the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy appearing along a diagonal toward the lower right. Many famous sites in our Galaxy are visible, including the Pipe Nebula and the Dark River to Antares, seen to the right of the Milky Way. The origin of the green mist on the lower left, however, is currently unexplained.
Click here to see a much larger version.

Asteroid tags along with Earth

Scientists discover a small space rock that dances in front of the Earth, just beyond its reach.

Largest Water Reservoir In Universe, 12 billion Years In Past

What kind of aliens would evolve out of a light years wide mass of water vapor? That question could be posed knowing that 12 billion years in the past more water then exists on all of earth was floating out there in space.
Using a pair of sub-millimeter wavelength telescopes, two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest reservoir of water ever found in the Universe. The water-containing cloud was found near quasar APM 08279+5255, some 12 billion light years from Earth; this means that the radiation seen today from this quasar was emitted when the universe was a scant 1.6 billion years old. Calculations have placed the mass of water vapor in the cloud at approximately 100,000 solar masses, or 140 trillion times the mass of all water on the planet Earth.

Random Celebrity Photo


Secret dolphin community

Denise Herzing allows a rare glimpse of a hidden family that she's known for almost 30 years.

Animal Pictures