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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.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You're moving into a quieter phase of life today -- and you will be spending time on the sidelines for a while.
This time out of the action will be a welcome relief, however.
You've got some visions for your future that require making some big changes, so use this quiet time to prepare.
There are new directions you can take things -- and all that's missing is a real plan.
So think about one today.
All this introspection will fade soon, so delve as deeply as you can now.

 Some of our readers today have been in:
Vantaa, Southern Finland, Finland
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Bangkok, Krung Thep, Thailand
Newbury, England, United Kingdom
Milton Keynes, England, United Kingdom
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Morini, Morini, Comoros
Helsinki, Southern Finland, Finland
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Serangoon, Singapore, Singapore
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
London, England, United Kingdom
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Woodlands, Singapore, Singapore
Leamington, England, United Kingdom
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Athens, Attiki, Greece
Bath, England, United Kingdom
Santiago, Region Metropolitana, Chile
Berne, Bern, Switzerland
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica
Delhi, Delhi, India
Kaunas, Kauno Apskritis, Lithuania
Rio De Janiero, Rio De Janiero, Brazil
Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Woking, England, United Kingdom
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

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 Batavia, Billerica, Placitas, Wausau and more!

Today is:
Today is Thursday, November 3, the 307th day of 2011.
There are 58 days left in the year.

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

Non Sequitur


Thorough Thursday


What stalls a job search

Career experts say applicants sabotage themselves by making these six mistakes.  

Back Roads

Loose yourself on one - it will be an experience of a lifetime.

Just how dumb can the repugicans get?

We know, we know!
It's a rhetorical question because every time you think they have reached the bottom of the dumbness scale they punch right on through and keep plunging downward. 
But, we ask again anyway - how dumb can the repugicans get?

The repugicans are bringing back Jim Crow to stop minorities and students from voting

As much as the President and the Democrats in Congress have depressed Democratic voters, it really is amazing how repugicans just always find a way to tick us off even more.

LA Times:
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law estimated that new laws across the nation "could make it significantly harder for more than 5 million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012." The new restrictions will "fall most heavily on young, minority and low-income voters," the group said.

Richard L. Hasen, an election law expert at UC Irvine, said that such estimates were probably exaggerated, but that in states like Florida the changes could make a big difference.

"These laws will have an effect on the margin on who votes. And in a state like Florida, a small difference matters. It could easily decide the outcome," he said. The national focus on such issues started in Florida with the shrub-Gore recount in 2000.
All they needed was to steal Florida to steal the presidency in 2000.  The repugican party really does all it can to tear apart this country.  It's sad. And some day when the history books look back on what went wrong, they'll find it was the most self-professed "patriots" among us who made this country no longer number 1.

Bank of America's Brian Moynihan thinks he's incensed

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan has a lot of nerve. Either that, or he is profoundly disconnected from his company's ordinary, everyday customers. My guess is both. Evidence of a major disconnect came in a recent Moynihan speech to BofA employees in which he declared himself "incensed" about all the bad things people are saying about his poor widdle bank. His company has screwed untold numbers of customers, but he's incensed — kind of like the school bully who gets mad when the teacher rebukes him for taking other kids' lunch money.
The criticisms are especially unfair, Moynihan told his employees, "when you think about how much good all of you do, whether it's volunteer hours, charitable giving we do, serving clients and customers well." There were no reports of riotous laughter after that "serving customers well" part, so we assume Moynihan was serious. In fact, we know he was serious. What other local banking bigwig (besides Moynihan's predecessor, Ken Lewis) has ever seemed so tone-deaf to the public mood?
That institutional cluelessness, unfortunately, is no surprise. From the time of the economic meltdown in 2008, BofA has hardly made any good moves — either in terms of making money, or of public relations.
Much of the criticisms sticking in Moynihan's craw started after the late-September notice of a $5-per-month charge for debit card users. The timing of the announcement — on the heels of brutal employment reports and growing anger over U.S. income inequality — was proof enough of BofA's tone-deafness. It evidently never entered the head of the bank's top execs that public anger over the debit-card news was less about the fee itself and more about it feeling like the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
At first, BofA honchos reacted condescendingly to the anger, thus further polishing their "clueless" image. The bank's defenders then claimed it was "forced into" the debit-card fee when Congress put new caps on retailers' debit fees — as if the bank is somehow guaranteed a certain profit, no matter what. That explanation may have worked in the pre-recession era, back in the days when big banks' reputations were still better than that of raccoons raiding a garbage can. But three years into the Great Recession? Sorry.
Moynihan nailed the Tone-Deafness prize, though, with his next explanation: Hey, if you keep a ton of money in our bank, you won't have to pay that monthly debit-card fee. To the 1-percenters, that no doubt sounded good. To nearly everyone else, however, it was just another slap in the face from Bank of America. The uproar over debit-card charges finally led other large banks to back off their own plans to charge similar fees, and now BofA supposedly plans to make it easier to avoid the debit-card fee. Like that will help its image now.
Moynihan must be really incensed now, since his bank took even more hell last week. First, Truthout, a leading progressive news blog, ran an extensive story Thursday titled "10 Reasons Bank of America Is the Most Hated Bank in America." It's not a pretty picture. On Friday, some Democratic lawmakers, including N.C.'s Rep. Brad Miller — but not banker-friendly Rep. Mel Watt of Charlotte — asked regulators why they allowed BofA to transfer derivatives from Merrill Lynch into the bank's deposit-taking operations. Since the deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the lawmakers say taxpayers could once again be stuck paying big investment losses, just three years after BofA received tens of billions in bailout money.
So it's not just the debit-card issue that has people moving their money into credit unions. Since Moynihan seems to have forgotten why his company's reputation is circling the drain, here's a short guide to help him out:
• Bank of America was part, although by no means the largest part, of the insane Wall Street gambling in derivatives that nearly brought down the global economy.
• BofA was involved, largely through its Countrywide Financial friends, in massive foreclosure fraud, including robo-signing foreclosure documents and using false documents to justify foreclosures. Those scandalous goings-on included Bank of America paying $22 million to settle charges of improperly foreclosing on active-duty troops. Nice, huh?
• The bank was bailed out by taxpayers and yes, they've paid it back, but continuing to act as if the rest of us saving the bank's butt was no big deal is not exactly a way to regain trust.
• BofA consistently ranks low in customer satisfaction, small business-owner satisfaction, and was voted the nation's second-worst company (behind BP) by Consumerist.com, a Consumer Reports-affiliated outfit. Finally ...
• Bank of America has laid off more than 30,000 employees — thirty thousand!
And Brian Moynihan thinks he's incensed?

Debt group told of 'disaster'

The supercommittee responsible for reaching a deficit-reduction deal is making little progress.  

Extreme 911 police plan

Officers in North Carolina may take extraordinary measures to fuel up their patrol cars.

Student with no ID imprisoned

Samantha Zucker's late-night park stroll resulted in a two-day stay in New York's jail system. 

What Is Occupy Wall Street About?

If you're having trouble understanding what's driving the "Occupy" protests, here are some numbers that help explain what's at stake and why the new movement against economic inequality is growing so rapidly.

Occupying the News

How #occupywallst confuses and ignores the pundit class. (OK, so they're mainly Faux News clowns so isn't all that difficult to confuse and ignore them.)

The state of Tennessee refuses to back the repugican governor's crackdown on #occupynashville.

Oh, and, yes there are black people @ #occupywallst.

Milkwaukee cops arrest photojournalist with local paper... to stop her from covering OWS arrests?

First we have the cops' completely non-credible story, from the Milkwaukee Journal Sentinel:
In a statement hours later, Milwaukee Police Spokeswoman Anne Schwartz said those arrested off-campus ignored repeated commands to clear the street and were arrested near the intersection of N. Oakland Ave. and E. Linnwood Ave.

"I can tell you that no one at MPD had any idea (Wentz-Graff) was a journalist until she arrived here at the police station," Schwartz said. "She never identified herself as a journalist to officers."
Yes, I'm sure a reporter with the big local paper wouldn't tell the cops that she's a reporter with the big local paper. Uh huh. In fact, she was also wearing her press credentials from the very well known local paper:
Journal Sentinel Editor Martin Kaiser disputed the police account as it pertained to photojournalist Wentz-Graff's arrest.

"At no time did Kristyna Wentz-Graff ignore any commands by any officer," Kaiser said. "She came upon the scene to do her job as a photojournalist. She was clearly not part of the protest. She was wearing her Journal Sentinel photo press credential. She was carrying photography equipment while taking photographs of police making arrests when she was grabbed by a police officer and handcuffed. Her arrest was completely uncalled for and violates the First Amendment. No reason for her arrest has been provided."
The Milwaukee police knew exactly who she was and they decided to shut down the First Amendment like a bunch of Russian or Chinese secret police. That's what happened.  There's a larger story here about how the American police, nationwide, have really tarnished their own image throughout these protests.

Video shows Milwaukee cops lied: Knew they were arresting reporter covering Occupy Milwaukee

New video shows that the Milwaukee police lied when they said they weren't informed, and had no idea, that they were arresting a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photojournalist yesterday while she was in the midst of covering the Occupy Milwaukee (#OccupyMKE) protests.

The video shows the photojournalist's employee ID tags dangling from her neck as the police arrest her, but far more damning is at 0:50 seconds into the video when the crowd yells "she's a journalist," and one of the arresting officers responds "it doesn't matter."

But look what Milwaukee police spokeswoman Anne Schwartz said last night:
In a statement hours later, Milwaukee Police Spokeswoman Anne Schwartz said those arrested off-campus ignored repeated commands to clear the street and were arrested near the intersection of N. Oakland Ave. and E. Linnwood Ave.

"I can tell you that no one at MPD had any idea (Wentz-Graff) was a journalist until she arrived here at the police station," Schwartz said. "She never identified herself as a journalist to officers."
And that's a lie.  They had an idea.  They didn't care.  And then they lied about it to the public and to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

So either Anne Schwartz is a liar, or the cops on the scene lied to Anne Schwartz.  Either way, the Milwaukee police department lied.

The bottom line is that the police knew this woman was a journalist with the local Milwaukee paper, they arrested her anyway for taking photos, and they intentionally lied to the public yesterday when they said they didn't realize she was a journalist.  They knew.  They admitted it on the scene.  And they chose to lie to the people of Wisconsin.

Now, That's Funny


Manage your life

The reality of movie fantasy jobsThe reality of movie fantasy jobs

Fighting credit report errors

A well-crafted dispute letter can help prevent a rejection the next time you apply for credit.

Daily Comic Relief


Woman stuck in airport 8 days

A $60 baggage fee spirals into a bizarre saga for a California woman setting out on a new life.

'Taliban Toyota' dig costs millions

The owner of a major Alabama dealership savors victory after his rival's ugly tactics backfire.

Marshals ordered to seize Righthaven assets

Las Vegas copyright infringement lawsuit filer Righthaven LLC’s financial problems grew Tuesday when the federal court in Las Vegas commanded the U.S. Marshals Service to seize more than $63,000 in Righthaven assets to satisfy a creditor’s judgment and costs.

Lance Wilson, clerk of the court, signed a writ of execution requested by attorneys for Wayne Hoehn, who was sued for copyright infringement by Righthaven — but then defeated Righthaven in court when his case was dismissed this summer.

Righthaven since March 2010 has filed 275 lawsuits against websites, bloggers and message board posters claiming they infringed on material from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post by posting their content online without authorization.

The company’s litigation campaign stalled this summer after three suits were thrown out on fair use grounds and five judges in Nevada and Colorado ruled Righthaven lacked standing to sue because it didn’t control the newspaper copyrights it claimed to own.

Hoehn, a Kentucky message board poster, had posted a Review-Journal column on a sports betting website.

Righthaven said the no-warning suits against Hoehn and the other defendants were needed to deter rampant infringement of news content, but Hoehn’s attorneys said the suit against him was aimed at chilling Hoehn’s free speech rights.

After U.S. District Judge Philip Pro in Las Vegas dismissed Righthaven’s suit against Hoehn this summer on both fair use and standing grounds, he also ordered Righthaven to pay his $34,045.50 in legal fees to Randazza Legal Group of Las Vegas.

Righthaven has refused to pay and has said it faces bankruptcy if a creditor like Hoehn tries to seize its assets. The company has said it’s low on cash because the problems with its litigation campaign have reduced lawsuit settlement revenue. But even as the company has refused to pay Hoehn, it has continued paying attorneys to litigate other cases in Nevada, Colorado and South Carolina.

It’s appealing to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals both the dismissal of its suit against Hoehn as well as the award for his attorney’s fees — one of several attorney’s fee awards Righthaven has been hit with or is likely to be hit with.

The writ of execution signed Tuesday covers not only the original $34,045 in fees, but nearly $30,000 more in fees racked up by Randazza Legal Group in trying to get Righthaven to pay the first $34,045.

The entire writ, which includes a small amount of interest, is for $63,720.80.

A message for comment was placed with Righthaven on the writ.

Based on its past practice, Righthaven is likely to fight execution of the writ with another court appeal — though it hasn’t taken the bankruptcy option off the table.

The writ was issued after Randazza Legal Group attorneys asked the court to issue it Saturday, one day after Righthaven missed a deadline to either pay the original $34,045 or post a bond guaranteeing payment while it appealed the fee award.

"Righthaven has exhausted any benefit of the doubt that it could be afforded, and it is time for it to pay the consequences for its actions — starting with Hoehn’s lawful judgment plus the accrued costs and fees expended in the (so far) futile attempts to compel Righthaven to take this court’s orders seriously,’’ Randazza attorneys wrote in Saturday’s request.

Man avoids jail by faking illegal immigrant status

A Utah man dodged prison with an unusual ploy -- he claimed to be an illegal immigrant and got himself deported to Mexico.

Tribal network threatens U.S.

Violence is up in the country, but experts say this time a crime network, not al-Qaida, is the culprit.

The Happiest Place in North Korea


Image: bryanh/Flickr
In the Mangyongdae funfair, riding that white knuckle ride can actually be your last. Kuriositas blog explains why in this North Korea amusement park, having fun can be a deadly business:
The rides at the park are so ramshackle that repairs are done on an as and when, ad hoc basis. To avoid the deaths of important North Koreans or overseas visitors (whose foreign currency is rather more important) local farmers are often recruited to test the rides for safety. This must be the only place in the world where a knock on the door and the words you’re going to the funfair are met with dread.

Five Logical Fallacies

Why do we ignore evidence, play the lottery, distrust people, argue endlessly, and think we have all the answers? Because we are human, and usually not all that logical. Cracked looks at five logical fallacies that make us think we are right when we’re not. For example, we often think we are seeking knowledge when what we really want is to bolster the viewpoints we already hold.
It’s called the argumentative theory of reasoning, and it says that humans didn’t learn to ask questions and offer answers in order to find universal truths. We did it as a way to gain authority over others. That’s right — they think that reason itself evolved to help us bully people into getting what we want. Here’s how a proponent puts it:
“‘Reasoning doesn’t have this function of helping us to get better beliefs and make better decisions,’ said Hugo Mercier, who is a co-author of the journal article, with Dan Sperber. ‘It was a purely social phenomenon. It evolved to help us convince others and to be careful when others try to convince us.’ Truth and accuracy were beside the point.”
And as evidence, the researchers point out that after thousands of years of humans sitting around campfires and arguing about issues, these glaring flaws in our logic still exist.
Apparently, being dominant is more adaptive for evolutionary purposes than being open-minded.

Confederate Veterans

This clip, recorded in the 1930s, features Confederate Army veterans demonstrating the “rebel yell.” It is part of the Library of Congress’ collection of rare footage of Civil War veterans committed to film before they passed on. Smithsonian describes some of the films that still exist, and how they give us a glimpse into not only the Civil War era, but also how it was remembered for decades afterward.

Awesome Pictures


Amazing photo of eruption

The eruption of Chile's Cordon del Caulle volcano creates a rarely seen electrical phenomenon.

Fracking linked to earthquakes in England

Many people suspected that fracking was linked to the earthquake in Virginia earlier this year, so this shouldn't come as a complete surprise. What is somewhat of a surprise is that the issue has been ignored by the political class who are drunk on fracking lobby donations.

Shale gas exploration triggered small earthquakes near Blackpool in northwest England earlier this year, UK firm Cuadrilla Resources said, adding to concerns about the safety of a technology that is transforming U.S. energy markets.

A spokesman said on Wednesday tremors were triggered by pumping vast quantities of water at high pressure 3 kilometers underground through drill holes in a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is designed to prop open shale rocks and release trapped gas.

"It is highly probable that the hydraulic fracturing of Cuadrilla's Preese Hall-1 well did trigger a number of minor seismic events," a report commissioned by the company said.

Mammoth glacier crack found

The stunning rift extends beyond the naked eye's view and will likely spawn a gigantic iceberg.

Archeaology News

Kents Cavern - Chris Collins (Natural History Museum, London) and Torquay MuseumRemains are 'earliest Europeans'

Two ancient teeth and a jaw fragment unearthed in Italy and the UK are found to be the earliest remains of modern humans in Europe.

Cronopio dentiacutus (Jorge Gonzalez)Tiny but toothy mammal unearthed

A small Argentine fossil animal, which sported some impressive teeth, sheds new light on the ancient history of mammals.

Legendary Viking Sunstone Navigation: Solved

Legendary Viking Sunstone Navigation: Solved
The optical properties of the legendary Viking sunstone are not just a myth, and can be mastered using a common stone found in Iceland.



Healthy Living



Superfoods and Appetizers

Move over, coconut water, there's a new health-food snack fresh from the ocean.
To keep your diet on track, pass on the hors d'oeuvres that are puffed, fried, or stuffed.

Culinary DeLites

Meat or No Meat

These eight vegetarian-friendly choices actually have more protein than a patty of beef.
The "Bloomfield" is loaded with sweet and hot sausage loaf and fried provolone cheese.

Eat Like A Viking

New Nordic diet: a weight-loss miracle?
New Nordic diet: a weight-loss miracle?
The latest trend in dieting isn't exactly new. Based on cold-weather fare that fueled Vikings, the meal plan took a lot of research, money and reindeer meat to develop. The results? It might just make you a weight-loss warrior.

The plan resembles the Mediterranean diet, but has its own "principles of good flavors."  

Street Food Vendors From Around The World

Street food is ready-to-eat food or drink sold in a street or other public place, such as a market or fair, by a hawker or vendor, often from a portable stall or a push cart. While some street foods are regional, many are not, having spread beyond their region of origin.

Tourists and locals alike often flock to these roadside vendors because it gives people a closer connection with the food, culture and tradition of a region. The street food culture is found all over the world but particularly prevalent in the continent of Asia.



Elusive 'unicorns of the sea'

A near-mythical beast that weighs up to 3,500 pounds lures scientists into icy waters. 

Whale nearly swallows surfer

Three people off the California coast have no idea of the scare they're about to receive. 

Warbling Wrens

Would you choose a mate based on how well he or she can carry a tune? Some South American birds do.

Animal Pictures