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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, October 22, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Have you ever heard the expression 'A watched pot never boils'? 
Well, it's true -- so right now, if you want things to happen, you just have to leave them be! 
This applies to any aspect of your life: romance, business, travel, even financial investments. 
The hands-off approach is the right one to take, so you'll have to try to be patient. 
Put things in the back of your mind and let nature take its course, and you'll be delighted with the results.

 Some of our readers today have been in:
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Versailles, Ile-De-France, France
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Sibu, Sarawak Malaysia
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Prague, Hlavni Mestso Praha, Czech Republic
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Doncaster, England, United Kingdom
Mysore, Karnataka, India
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Basarui, Pais Vaso, Spain
Tweed Heads, New South Wales, Australia
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden
Woking, England, United Kingdom

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 Honolulu, Mountain View, North Las Vegas, Pearl River and more!

Today is:
Today is Saturday, October 22, the 295th day of 2011.
There are 70 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
October 22, 2011
This week, we had two powerful reminders of how we’ve renewed American leadership in the world.  I was proud to announce that—as promised—the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of this year.  And in Libya, the death of Moammar Qadhafi showed that our role in protecting the Libyan people, and helping them break free from a tyrant, was the right thing to do.
In Iraq, we’ve succeeded in our strategy to end the war.  Last year, I announced the end of our combat mission in Iraq.  We’ve already removed more than 100,000 troops, and Iraqi forces have taken full responsibility for the security of their own country.  Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, the Iraqi people have the chance to forge their own future.  And now the rest of our troops will be home for the holidays.
In Libya, our brave pilots and crews helped prevent a massacre, save countless lives, and give the Libyan people the chance to prevail.  Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives.  Soon, our NATO mission will come to a successful end even as we continue to support the Libyan people, and people across the Arab world, who seek a democratic future.
These successes are part of a larger story.  After a decade of war, we’re turning the page and moving forward, with strength and confidence.  The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus on Afghanistan and achieve major victories against al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.  As we remove the last of our troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.
To put this in perspective, when I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in these wars.  By the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and an increasing number of our troops will continue to come home.
As we end these wars, we’re focusing on our greatest challenge as a nation—rebuilding our economy and renewing our strength at home.  Over the past decade, we spent a trillion dollars on war, borrowed heavily from overseas and invested too little in the greatest source of our national strength—our own people.  Now, the nation we need to build is our own.
We have to tackle this challenge with the same urgency and unity that our troops brought to their fight.  That’s why we have to do everything in our power to get our economy moving again.  That’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, so we can rebuild our country – our schools, our roads, our bridges – and put our veterans, construction workers, teachers, cops and firefighters back to work.   And that’s why I hope all of us can draw strength from the example of our men and women in uniform.
They’ve met their responsibilities to America.  Now it’s time to meet ours.  It’s time to come together and show the world why the United States of America remains the greatest source for freedom and opportunity that the world has ever known.

Super Saturday


Proverbial Wisdom

A single conversation across the table with a wise person is worth a month’s study of books.
~ Chinese Proverb

How to Keep Friends and Not Influence People

Though gossip is inevitable, it also gives us a false sense of power. While evolution has prepared us to dish about others, it has not provided us with the power to change them in any way whatsoever, no matter how brilliant our input may be.

Shakespearean Insult Kit

Crabby Road


What If The US Government Paid Off Its Entire Debt?

The idea might seem laughable now, but 11 years ago, when the US was running a budget surplus, the government did a secret study to find out what would happen if it paid off its entire debt.
The study's conclusion? Paying off the entire US debt could actually harm the global economy!
If the U.S. paid off its debt there would be no more U.S. Treasury bonds in the world. "It was a huge issue ... for not just the U.S. economy, but the global economy," says Diane Lim Rogers, an economist in the Clinton administration.
The U.S. borrows money by selling bonds. So the end of debt would mean the end of Treasury bonds.
But the U.S. has been issuing bonds for so long, and the bonds are seen as so safe, that much of the world has come to depend on them. The U.S. Treasury bond is a pillar of the global economy.
Banks buy hundreds of billions of dollars' worth, because they're a safe place to park money. Mortgage rates are tied to the interest rate on U.S. treasury bonds. The Federal Reserve — our central bank — buys and sells Treasury bonds all the time, in an effort to keep the economy on track.
If Treasury bonds disappeared, would the world unravel?
NPR's All Things Considered has the story: here.

Did you know ...

Sort of explains a lot doesn't it ...

Get this ...

39% of financial advisers support OWS 

It's important to note that financial advisers were not the prime recipients of the Wall Street bailout, so there has to be some bad blood already between the traders and the people selling the products to the public. Financial advisers have certainly heard an earful from their customers who were first walloped by the crash in 2008 and then tossed around by the unpredictable market ever since. We have been in a market that has benefited mostly the traders and not as much by the general investing public.

Business Insider:
According to the results of an exclusive InvestmentNews online survey of 350 advisers, 58.2% said they disagree with the views expressed by the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Meanwhile, 38.8% of advisers said they agree with the views of the protesters and 3% said they were unfamiliar with Occupy Wall Street.
And take one guess what the financial advisers think about tax increases for the wealthy?

Fast food giant lobbies for food stamps

Some nutritionists say people on food stamps can make many meals buying whole, raw foods.

The truth be told


Jobless rate fell in half the states

The Labor Department says unemployment rates dropped in 25 states, rose in 14 and stayed the same in 11. That's a modest improvement from August, when unemployment rose in 26 states.

Nationwide, employers added 103,000 net jobs in September, nearly double the number created in August.
The problem is that it's not enough jobs to lower the unemployment rate. This is pretty much what folks were predicting, that the economy would limp along wounded for a long time coming.  And with a divided Congress, and the repugicans consistently filibustering anything substantive that could help the economy, expect it to remain this way for a long time.  The repugicans see no benefit in helping the economy before the 2012 election.  And it's time Democrats publicly called them on this.

Farmers struggling to find workers

So there are actual consequences to the excessive immigration policies. Go figure.
Depending upon which government unemployment figure you follow, nearly one in five Americans is unemployed. Yet at harvest time farmers are finding that the only willing labor has to come from a nearby penitentiary.

In Idaho, farm labor is so scarce, convicts from the minimum-security St. Anthony Work Camp are picking, sorting and packing spuds for $7.50 an hour and happy to have work outside the prison walls. “The best part is you have the influence of the real world, which eventually we’re all going back to,” said Thomas Alworth, a 36-year-old convicted of grand theft by possession.

Convict labor in Arizona is up 30 percent this year, with Arizona’s tough immigration law a primary reason. “The crackdown on immigrants just makes it so hard” to find workers, said Richard Selapack, vice president for labor contracts at the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Robot put in charge of Texas office

At a Downtown Austin game development company in Texas, the boss man is stiff, clumsy, a little bit scary and a whole lot weird.



Saudi crown prince dies

Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud was the heir to the throne of the world's top oil exporter.

Should We Let Foreigners Buy Homes for Visas?

Image: Robert Burns/LA Times
The stimulus didn't work. The bank bailouts didn't work. Homeowner assistance and refinancing didn't work. So could the key to solving the US housing crisis be letting foreigners buy real estate for visas?
The bipartisan proposal, part of a package that also would make it easier for international tourists to visit the U.S., is similar to an existing program that puts foreigners on a fast track to a green card if they invest at least $500,000 in an American business that creates at least 10 jobs.
"Many people want to come and live in the United States," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who introduced the legislation Thursday along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). "They will be here spending money and paying taxes, and the most important thing is they'll sop up the extra supply of homes we have right now compared to demand, and that's what's dragging our economy down."
The legislation would create a new homeowner visa that would be renewable every three years, but the proposal would not put them on a path to citizenship. To be eligible, a person would have to buy a primary residence of at least $250,000 and spend a total of $500,000 on residential real estate. The other properties could be rented.
Jim Puzzanghera and Lauren Beale of The Los Angeles Times report: here.

Murdoch hacking scandal spreads

Labour MP Tom Watson attended the News Corp AGM today where he asked about fresh evidence that News Corp has been hacking computers as well as telephones. [BBC]
Murdoch's response was remarkably similar to the one he gave to the UK parliamentary committee. The same platitudes, the same promises to 'stop at nothing' to get to the bottom of the matter. Noticeably absent from the reports is a denial that Murdoch was aware of the criminal activities when they were being committed.

The hacking scandal has led to renewed concern about the peculiar News Corp share structure which gives Murdoch total control the company despite owning only 12% of the stock.

News Corp shareholders have seen remarkably little return in the years since Faux News was launched. $100 invested in News Corp in 1996 would have delivered a capital gain of $50 and a negligible sum in dividends. The same sum invested in the NASDAQ would have yielded over $100.

House raided after 'heroin for sale' fliers posted

A north Portland house was raided by police after a fed-up neighbor sent officers a flier that said "Heroin for sale" and gave the home's address. Portland police officers and the bureau's Special Emergency Reaction Team served a search warrant on the home in the 3900 block of North Massachusetts on Tuesday. Officers who raided the home found a small meth lab, 19 grams of marijuana, 10 grams of heroin, 190 pills and $4,143 in cash, police say. They also seized a shotgun.

Police began looking into the home more than a year ago because of numerous neighborhood complaints. At one point, an unidentified neighbor gave police the "Heroin for sale" flier, which also had the address and names of the suspected drug dealers. In addition, there were a number of public safety meetings where neighbors complained about the drug problem in their neighborhood, and they asked for something to be done, police say.

During the raid, there were seven adults and one 15-year-old in the home. Six of the adults were arrested on various charges: 59-year-old Joseph Baron, 58-year-old Shari Baron, 42-year-old Todd Christie, 36-year-old Suzanne Johnson, 34-year-old Barry Frost and 34-year-old Steven Davis. After police searched the house, neighbors came out to thank the officers.

Sgt. John Birkinbine, who leads the Neighborhood Response Team for the area, says many of the officers were surprised at what happened after the suspects were arrested. "They were running out to our commander in the street and giving him hugs," Birkinbine says. He says the neighbors deserve most of the credit for getting the suspected drug house busted.



Random Celebrity Photo

Do you recognize her?

The Beatles


Hockey Team Adopts Chewbacca as Mascot

If your team is going to have a mascot, it has to be one that connects with people. That’s why there was a movement by Ole Miss to adopt Admiral Ackbar. ‘Cause when you think of Mississippi, you naturally think of the Admiral. It’s a common association.
And that brings us to hockey. What creatures to you associate with hockey? Wookiees, of course! So the Port Huron hockey team The Fighting (Millennium) Falcons have adopted Chewbacca as its mascot for one night.

Awesome Pictures


Glow-In-The-Dark Surf Explained

Glow-In-The-Dark Surf Explained
Red tide at night is a sailor's delight - thanks to dinoflagellates' voltage-sensitive proton channels.  

Ten Unbelievably Amazing Nighttime Pictures

I don’t know about you guys, but I love nighttime photography. While I may not have the skills to do it myself, photographers who are interested in improving their night shots will probably love the video tips over at Shutter Salt. For the rest of us though, the incredible images are enough to enjoy.

Ten Loire Valley Castles You Will Want To Visit

There are many castles all over France but the ones from the Valley of Loire River are the ones perfectly illustrating the fairytales. Beautiful architecture and elegant lines are perfectly illustrated in each and every castle but the most impressive aspect is the way these castles were preserved.

It is truly an opportunity of a lifetime to step into the land of fairytales and visit the majestic looking fairytale lands, not to mention that you can rent the castles and live the fairytale yourself. One on top of the other, if you are looking for a wonderful trip, consider seeing the castles from Loire Valley during fall.

The Azure Window

The Azure Window is an unusual and striking coastal rock formation on the island of Gozo, which is part of the Republic of Malta. It’s in serious danger of collapsing, so visit while you can. Or just view amazing pictures of it here.



Buried Alive

Atlas Obscura continues with their 31 Days of Halloween, featuring a new and gruesome post every day about the world’s ghosts, goblins, legends, and death rituals. This post deals with the widespread fear of being buried alive, whether by mistake or by evil intent. That fear has a long history.
Being buried alive is a fear that has been with humanity for a long, long time. As early as the Greeks one can find stories of people being prematurely pronounced dead and accidentally burned alive on their funeral pyres. At various moments throughout history, this fear, this Taphephobia, has actively gripped the Western mind. The terror wasn’t without it’s basis in reality.
One circumstance in which live burials are thought to have often taken place were during outbreaks of disease such as the black plague. Due to the rapid spread of the disease victims were buried almost immediately after death, and sometimes beforehand. These circumstances would repeat themselves again with the cholera outbreaks throughout Europe.
Throughout the enlightenment, doctors were learning more about the human body and death. As they learned to revive people who were previously considered dead (such as drowning victims via the recently invented mouth to mouth resuscitation) doctors began to question if all the people they were burying had truly been dead. With increasing reports of premature burial, by the late 1700s the fear of being buried alive had fully taken hold of the Western mind.
And then folks dreamed up many ways to avoid this horrific fate, which you can read about here.

Couple Held Hands for 1,500 Years

The man and woman were buried holding hands and facing each other in Italy in the 5th century A.D.  

New Hampshire authorities help porcupine with arrow in back

A porcupine is getting around a bit easier after a New Hampshire Fish and Game conservation officer and local police chief helped pull an arrow out of its back.Danville Police Chief Wade Parsons tells the Eagle-Tribune the animal had to stop walking every four or five feet Thursday.

Part of wall collapses at Pompeii

Officials at Pompeii's archaeological site say part of a wall has collapsed due to heavy rains in recent days.

China's Great Wall is Crumbling Due to Mining

great wall china ancient structure photo
The Great Wall of China. 
China's rapid push to develop the country's resources is now threatening its most iconic landmark: According to recent reports, both legal and illegal mining near the Great Wall are causing parts of the ancient, 4,000-mile-long structure to crumble away.



More Humpback Whales in the North Pacific Than Previously Thought

humpback whale.jpg
Scientists have recently come to the conclusion based on one of the largest ever studies on humpback whale populations that the population in the North Pacific is actually higher than previously thought. Scientists believe that numbers are actually upwards of 21,000 rather than 20,000. While many other whale populations are sagging at alarming rates, this shows that populations can rebound after coming dangerously close to extinction, according to an article in Live Science.

Article continues: More Humpback Whales in the North Pacific Than Previously Thought

An 80-year-old woman takes horse for birthday joyride

Agrafena Vasilyevna was quizzed by police for rustling when she pinched her neighbor's stallion on her 80th birthday to tick off one her dreams on her bucket list.

Agrafena - from Tverskaya, Russia - told police she had always wanted to ride but had never had the chance.

So she crept into neighbor Igor Vasilev's stable, saddled up his horse Lyme and galloped away. When she returned an hour later she found her neighbor and a police car waiting for her.

"They told me off but it was worth it. I've fulfilled a dream I've had since childhood and I was running out of time. I've got a few more things on my list so people should stand by to be shocked," explained Agrafena.

Animal Pictures