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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.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Daily Drift

Life is Good!
Some of our readers today have been in:
Medan, Indonesia
Riga, Latvia
Kluang, Malaysia
Port-Of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Cape Town, South Africa
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Lima, Peru
Athens, Greece
Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Kuching, Malaysia
Fermont, Canada
Panama City, Panama
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Vancouver, Canada
Manila, Philippines
Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Islamabad, Pakistan
Erbil, Iraq
Kuantan, Malaysia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Pereira, Colombia
Johannesburg, South Africa
Sampaloc, Philippines
Jakarta, Indonesia
Warsaw, Poland
Makati, Philippines 

And let's not forget our readers from across the USA in places such as:
Belcamp, Kennesaw, Kenosha, Lodi, Midvale, Mineola, Nashua, Paoli, Voorhees and Wichita

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1303 The War of Vespers in Sicily ends with an agreement between Charles of Valois, who invaded the country, and Frederick, the ruler of Sicily.
1521 Cortes captures the city of Tenochtitlan, Mexico, and sets it on fire.
1756 The British at Fort William Henry, New York, surrender to Louis Montcalm of France.
1802 Captain Merriwether Lewis leaves Pittsburgh to meet up with Captain William Clark and begin their trek to the Pacific Ocean.
1864 At the Democratic convention in Chicago, General George B. McClellan is nominated for president.
1919 The Communist Labor Party is founded in Chicago, with the motto, "Workers of the world unite!"
1928 Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera opens in Berlin.
1940 Joseph Avenol steps down as Secretary-General of the League of Nations.
1942 The British army under General Bernard Law Montgomery defeats Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps in the Battle of Alam Halfa in Egypt.
1944 The British Eighth Army penetrates the German Gothic Line in Italy.
1949 Six of the 16 surviving Union veterans of the Civil War attend the last-ever encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
1951 The 1st Marine Division begins its attack on Bloody Ridge in Korea. The four-day battle results in 2,700 Marine casualties.
1961 A concrete wall replaces the barbed wire fence that separates East and West Germany, it will be called the Berlin wall.
1994 The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announces a "complete cessation of military operations," opening the way to a political settlement in Ireland for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Non Sequitur


What Americans Do All Day

If you answered "work and sleep", you'd be mostly correct! Lam Thuy Vo of NPR's Planet Money has the graph:
View the post over at NPR to find out the detailed breakdown of "Leisure" and "Cooking, Cleaning, Etc." (I was surprised to find that "Being on the Computer/Internet" takes only 8 minutes, 24 seconds of the average American's day): More

Dust-obscured galaxies may be missing link

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer has identified about 1 000 extremely obscured objects over the sky.

Scientists have unveiled a new species in the cosmic zoo, a super-heated, dust-shrouded object called a “hot DOG,” which may represent a missing link in galaxy evolution.

'Vast reservoir' of methane locked beneath beneath Antarctic ice sheet

Scientists say as much as 4bn tons of the potent greenhouse gas could be released into the atmosphere if ice melts. 
Half the West Antarctic ice sheet and a quarter of the East Antarctic sheet lie on pre-glacial sedimentary basins containing around 21,000bn tons of carbon, said the scientists.

Drought causes shortage in Wisconsin cow chip throw

The drought has caused a shortage of flattened, dried cow manure - or cow chips - for the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival, which attracts about 300 throwers and 40,000 spectators to Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin.

Random Celebrity Photo

Victoria Justice

Awesome Works Of Art In Unexpected Places

Art is everywhere around you. You just have to look a bit closer. Check out some of these amazing and surprising pieces of art around the world.

Ten Loud Places That Are Actually Nice and Quiet

Yell, Scotland
Yell is also one of the Shetland Islands off the north coast of Scotland. The name could have come from the Proto-Norse word Jela, meaning “white island.” Or it could be from the Old Norse word Gjall, which means “barren.” The island was under Viking rule for a long period, although it was populated back in the Neolithic era.

See the other 9 here.

Couple's Sunken Floor Turned Out to be a Medieval Well

Colin Steer has been wondering for almost 30 years why his sofa dipped at one corner of his living room. After he retired, he decided to tackle the problem as a home improvement project. That is when he discovered something very unusual:
Intrigued by the sunken floor, the retired civil servant has uncovered a 33ft medieval well in the house where he and wife Vanessa have lived for almost 25 years.
After three days of work Mr Steer, from Plymouth, Devon, stopped digging at 17ft and is now trying to date the unexpected find. Plans show the well dates back to the 16th century.
So far, he's discovered a medieval sword. Donna Bowater of The Telegraph has the story: here.

Pictures Of The Construction Of The Titanic

At the time when the Titanic was put down on paper and of course when the ship itself was built, the world thought that such a vessel, weighing in at 52,310 tons, couldn't float. But as time went on, and the ship eventually became sea ready, the world was in awe at the wondrous feat. The architects of the ship assured everyone that the ship was unsinkable. We all know what happened.

Have a look at these 36 vintage photographs that show the Titanic being built from the ground up. It's a thing of mammoth proportions, and you don't have to look long and hard to understand the scale of this breathtaking vessel.

The US Government Still Pays 2 Civil War Pensions

veteranThe American Civil War ended in 1865, but as of last September, the Department of Veterans Affairs still pays out two pensions from that conflict. Privacy rules prevent the release of the names or reasons for the pensions, but it's likely that the recipients are the disabled elderly children of veterans:
Department of Veteran Affairs spokesman Phil Budahn says the VA last checked in on the benefits recipients in the fall. Both were alive, but in poor health.
Budahn says it's likely that the children of the Civil War veterans, who have wished to remain anonymous, both had illnesses that prevented them from ever becoming self-sufficient..
Trevor Plante, a reference chief at the National Archives says it's also possible that the beneficiaries were young when their fathers died and had no living mothers to care for them, which would also qualify them for their fathers' pensions.

Stone Age Figurines Found Near Jerusalem

The intricately carved figures date to a time when humans began transitioning from hunting and gathering to farming. Read more
Stone Age Figurines Found Near Jerusalem

Men rob victim but make sure he has bus fare

Police say robbers who held up an Ohio man at gunpoint gave him back enough money for bus fare before running away.

Brits increasingly see politicians as out of touch

Welcome to the party! It's more surprising that anyone even sees the political class as in touch with the reality of the middle class or poor. Since the days of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, even the mainstream left has sold out to the wishes of the rich. Unemployment support? Freeloaders, cut it! Tax cuts for the rich that throw more costs onto the middle class? Sounds like a plan! We all know the routine.
It's been a winning plan at the polls for the mainstream "left" (which is now the right) and from a personal perspective, it's been financially rewarding for the likes of Clinton and Blair. Sucking up to the rich while giving a gentle pat on the head to the left is the model and until there's a firm rejection of this from voters, it will only get worse.

More on politicians not getting it via The Independent:
The stark finding emerged as George Osborne, the Chancellor, dismissed a call by Nick Clegg for the Government to bring in a temporary "wealth tax" on the rich to ensure the burden of a new round of spending cuts does not fall on the poor.

The Resolution Foundation think tank found that 43 per cent of adults agree that "most politicians" do not understand the financial pressures facing people like them. The figure is highest (50 per cent) among those on low and middle incomes, the so-called "squeezed middle" earning between £12,000 and £48,000 a year – a key electoral group including millions of floating voters. The view is also shared by 49 per cent of people on lower incomes and 48 per cent of those on higher incomes. It is highest (53 per cent) amongst people between the ages of 45 and 54.

A survey of 1,900 adults by Ipsos Mori for the think tank also found that 36 per cent feel "financially squeezed"; 27 per cent expect their financial position to get worse in the next year; 25 per cent plan to cut back their spending in that period and less than half (42 per cent) feel secure in their job.

Leopard rescued after becoming impaled on metal railings

A leopard which was struck on iron railings outside a factory in India battled for survival for nearly three hours before being rescued on Monday. Its condition is stable despite a deep injury on its thigh region.

The female big cat, aged around 4 years, seems to have got struck while jumping over a 7-ft compound of the BEML factory, some 12 kms away from Mysore city in Tamil Nadu. The incident came to light after security personnel alerted forest officials at around 7.30 am. ACF Durgegowda said that they rushed a rescue team to the spot soon after they were tipped off and rescued the animal with an hour.

The injured big cat was treated at a government Veterinary hospital on Dhavanthri road and later shifted to Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bangalore. The officer suspects that the leopard may have got struck during pre-dawn hours. Durgegowda says leopards generally don't move around during the day time and suspecting it may have got struck before day break.

Animal husbandry and Veterinary service assistant director Dr S C Suresh, who treated the cat, said the female leopard had sustained an injury to its thigh and abdomen region. There was 3-inch deep wound in its right thigh region but luckily there was no serious internal injury and blood loss. Despite the injury, the cat was healthy and strong and they had to anesthetize it twice to operate. He said they sew up the wound using chromium catgut and hoped it would survive. Suresh said they have administered antibiotics, painkillers and tetanus.

Man sues after wearing braces for 11 years

He had worn braces for an incredible 11 years, having never seen his mouth without metal since the age of seven. When 18-year-old Devin Bost finally took them off you would think it would have been a time of celebration at the Portland, Oregon teenager's beautiful straight and white teeth. He had not seen his mouth without dental braces since aged seven. But Bost, now 22, is suing his orthodontist Brad Chvatal, accusing him of causing permanent injuries to his teeth, mouth and gums.

Bost wants $150,000 for pain and suffering plus $35,100 he has paid for corrective oral surgery and related expenses, his papers lodged in Multnomah County Circuit Court show. Dr John Buzzatto, president of the American Association of Orthodontists, said that children typically wear braces for one to three years. He described someone wearing braces for 11 years as "extremely unusual" and said "he could not think of an instance" where someone would need to do that.

He added that wearing braces for a long time posed problems for the wearer in keeping their teeth properly clean. He said people wearing braces for a prolonged period could risk decalcification of the teeth. Chvatal was unable to discuss the details of the case due to confidentiality rules but said that it was "very complicated." He said that he and Bost’s previous orthodontist had tried to give Bost "the best result we possibly could."

Bost’s lawyer, David Hollander, said his client simply did as his orthodontist instructed over the years. In 2008, Bost got an "urgent phone call" from Chvatal’s office saying that he needed to have his braces removed straight away, said the compliant. Chvatal’s website says: "Each time a patient's braces come off, we sing and have a party." Chvatal’s insurer, the American Association of Orthodontists Insurance Company, are carrying out an investigation.

Why Is West Nile Virus So Bad This Year?

At least 1,118 people in the US so far have gotten sick this year after getting bit by an infected mosquito. Read more

'Heartland' Virus Discovered in Sick Missouri Farmers

Two men in Missouri fall seriously ill to a disease wrought by a new species of virus.  

Miners to be charged with murder after police kill 34 miners

Two weeks ago, police in South Africa shot dead 34 striking miners at a protest. Now, some of those who remain will be charged with their colleagues' murder.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Frank Lesenyego said they would all face murder charges - including those who were unarmed or were at the back of the crowd.
"This is under common law, where people are charged with common purpose in a situation where there are suspects with guns or any weapons and they confront or attack the police and a shooting takes place and there are fatalities," he said.

Ann Romney lectures Latinos to "get past some of their biases"

From ABC:
“It really is a message that would resonate well if they could just get past some of their biases that have been there from the Democratic machines that have made us look like we don’t care about this community,” [Mrs.] Romney said. “And that is not true. We very much care about you and your families and the opportunities that are there for you and your families.”
I especially loved this little ending to the ABC article:
She was introduced by her youngest son, Craig. He’s fluent in Spanish and often campaigns for his father in this state and has even starred in Spanish language radio and television ads for the campaign.
Know why Craig speaks Spanish? Because he went on a mormon mission to Chile in an effort to convert those heathen catholics to the one true cult, mormonism. That's why he speaks Spanish. That's how much the Romneys respect Latinos.

The repugican platform: Privatize education with vouchers, push abstinence-only programs

The repugican cabal has revealed their new party platform and in addition to attacking women's rights, the repugican cabal plans to "reform" education.

Did you know ...

A repugican coven thinks minority births "not a good thing"

Todd Akin does not think breast milk cures homosexuality, like we reported yesterday. (That was a satirical send up, folks) But he believes a lot of other crazy crap

That 30% of repugicans want someone other than Romney

'It was a dark and stormy night': the winners of the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest

Romney, Ryan and the post-truth age

I used to rent an old boat for the day and explore the Mississippi just north of St. Louis.
Once the rental guy warned me the anchor on the boat wasn't quite right- but said just to call him if I had any trouble. I soon found out for myself when I became stuck near the banks of a forested island. The river was high and fast moving. I couldn't get a signal to call the marina, but finally a call went though. Expecting the owner to come out and help, he instead suggested I dive down and free the anchor - then the call was dropped. Nice.

A sense of calm determination fell over me when I realized I was on my own. I wasn't about to dive to the bottom of that deadly river but using my own strength eventually I freed the anchor.

A similar feeling has fallen over me as I've witnessed the repugican cabal come completely untethered from the truth.

Watching my countrymen gleefully repeat lies without shame, and when called out for the lies, in the case of the Romney campaign, defiantly proclaim: "We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers."

What we're seeing is disturbing and radical. Sure Karl Rove was a master of deception during the shrub years, but his game was manipulating the gullible base. Now the base, once thought of as sheltered church ladies, are as calloused and cynical as a lineup of old hookers. They need no manipulation - they're joyful co-conspirators.

The morally righteous party of "values" has officially and without shame said to hell with truth.

Seasoned journalists and political observers alike are watching this election cycle with jaws agape. Romney, Ryan, and Boehner all keep repeating the lie about Obama removing the work requirement from welfare recipients. Paul Ryan outrageously continues to blame Obama for the 2008 closure of a GM plant, when of course the shrub was still in office.

The hatred of [insert Democratic president here] has convinced repugicans to sell their souls en masse in order to win. It's an amazing and historic spectacle. The problem for them is that the Devil is not known for keeping promises. The problem for the rest of us is how to function in a post-truth environment when occasionally the crazy people are going to win the election.

I've never voted repugican and was unlikely to start, but it was comforting to think that, however extreme, they at least believed in something.  Not any more.

The past six months have revealed how cheap and empty their leaders and institutions are. Serial adulterer Newt "Open Marriage" Gingrich is their "family values" guy. The cults tell their flocks to not worry about the poor and instead focus on repugican politics. Their political discourse has been further monetized.  And, appropriately, the greasy fast food bag has become the celebrated symbol of their moral compass.

Deserved or not, there's often been the perception that the repugicans were the extreme-but-responsible grown-ups in the room. While we're out exploring, they could be counted on to hold down the marina.

This campaign has put that notion finally to rest.

When the anchor gets stuck, they're not going to help, even though they're the ones who got it stuck in the first place.

We're the only adults here. It's up to us, and us alone, to lead.

Bloomberg News all but calls Paul Ryan's speech a total lie

Devastating analysis from Bloomberg News of Paul Ryan's speech the other night.  None of the main points were true.  Not what he said about the stimulus, Medicare, the budget, nothing.

Every time Paul Ryan attacked Obama in his speech, he lied

Paul Ryan gave his keynote address at the repugican convention, and the fact-checkers are finding that some of the only times that Ryan told the truth were when he was NOT attacking President Obama.  When Ryan DID attack Obama, his biggest anti-Obama zingers were all lies.

Don't take my word for it.  The title of the Associated Press article on Ryan's speech is the following:
All caps, even.  Factcheck.org concurs.

Next, let's hear from Politifact - note how the truths are about things that aren't attacks, but the lies are from direct attacks against Democrats:

First the innocuous truths....

Now the lies:

ABC on the plant that shut down - it actually shut down in December of 2008, before Obama was sworn in as President.
THE FACTS: The plant halted production in December 2008, weeks before Obama took office
This one is particularly egregious since the Romney people have been using this example for days and already got fact checked on it - but they didn't care, they still included it as Paul Ryan's top zinger. A total lie.

AP has even more on the GM plant lie.  You see, Obama's eventual auto bailout, that Paul Ryan opposed, saved GM.  So Paul Ryan is criticizing President Obama for something Obama didn't do, and something that Paul Ryan would have done - i.e., let the plant die.
THE FACTS: The plant halted production in December 2008, weeks before Obama took office and well before he enacted a more robust auto industry bailout that rescued GM and Chrysler and allowed the majority of their plants - though not the Janesville facility - to stay in operation. Ryan himself voted for an auto bailout under the shrub that was designed to help GM, but he was a vocal critic of the one pushed through by Obama that has been widely credited with revitalizing both GM and Chrysler.
ABC on the Medicare lie:
Ryan's claim ignores the fact that Ryan himself incorporated the same cuts into budgets he steered through the House in the past two years as chairman of its Budget Committee, using the money for deficit reduction. And the cuts do not affect Medicare recipients directly, but rather reduce payments to hospitals, health insurance plans and other service providers.

In addition, Ryan's own plan to remake Medicare would squeeze the program's spending even more than the changes Obama made.
AP agrees:
THE FACTS: Ryan's claim ignores the fact that Ryan himself incorporated the same cuts into budgets he steered through the House in the past two years as chairman of its Budget Committee

ABC has more, this time on Ryan's lies about the stimulus:
RYAN: "The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal."

THE FACTS: Ryan himself asked for stimulus funds

AP agrees:
THE FACTS: Ryan himself asked for stimulus funds shortly after Congress approved the $800 billion plan

What's more - not only did Ryan try to carve out some of the stimulus for his own constituents, but the notion that the stimulus only went to the political cronies is interesting since one of those political cronies spoke right before Ryan at the convention - the repugican convention speaker received over $200,000 in stimulus monies.

And another from ABC:
RYAN: Obama "created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way and then did exactly nothing."

THE FACTS: It's true that Obama hasn't heeded his commission's recommendations, but Ryan's not the best one to complain. He was a member of the commission and voted against its final report.
Ryan has a long history of criticizing Obama for things he did. Such as Medicare - Ryan's budget includes the same savings from Medicare that he is attacking Obama for.

ThinkProgress catches two more lies in their live blog of the speech:
10:44: Obama hasn’t amassed more debt than all past presidents combined, as Ryan claimed. The New York Times beaks down the math: “The national debt stood at $10.626 trillion on the day that President Obama took office. It now stands slightly above $15 trillion.”

10:42: Ryan just brought up a “downgraded America.” It was his party that held the debt ceiling hostage, causing America’s creditors to lose faith and downgrade the country. In fact, the ratings agency repeatedly blamed repugicans for refusing to raise taxes.

Fact Checkers Didn't Get in the Way of Paul Ryan's Convention Speech

Paul Ryan pledged Wednesday that if he and his running mate Mitt Romney were elected president, they would usher in an ethic of responsibility.

The Wisconsin congressman and repugican vice presidential candidate repeatedly chided President Barack Obama for blaming the jobs and housing crises on his predecessor, saying that his habit of "forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago -– isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?"

Ryan then noted that Obama, while campaigning for president, promised that a GM plant in Wisconsin would not shut down. "That plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight," Ryan said.

Except Obama didn't promise that. And the plant closed in December 2008 -- while the shrub was pretending to be president.

It was just one of several striking and demonstrably misleading elements of Ryan's much-anticipated acceptance speech. And it comes just days after Romney pollster Neil Newhouse warned, defending the campaign's demonstrably false ads claiming Obama removed work requirements from welfare, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

Ryan, for his part, slammed the president for not supporting a deficit commission report without mentioning that he himself had voted against it, helping to kill it.

He also made a cornerstone of his argument the claim that Obama "funneled" $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. But he didn't mention that his own budget plan relies on those very same savings.

Ryan also put responsibility for Standard & Poor's downgrade of U.S. government debt at Obama's doorstep. But he didn't mention that S&P itself, in explaining its downgrade, referred to the debt ceiling standoff. That process of raising the debt ceiling was only politicized in the last Congress, driven by House repugicans, led in the charge by Paul Ryan.

The credit rater also said it worried that repugicans would never agree to tax increases. “We have changed our assumption on [revenue] because the majority of repugicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues,” S&P wrote.

Jodie Layton, a convention goer from Utah watching the Ryan speech, said she was blown away by the vice presidential candidate. But she said she was surprised to hear that after his speech about taking responsibility, he'd pinned a Bush-era plant closing on Obama.

"It closed in December 2008?" she asked, making sure she heard a HuffPost reporter's question right. After a long pause, she said, "It's happening a lot on both sides. It's to be expected."

Ryan has referenced the GM plant before, and his attack was debunked by the Detroit News, which called it inaccurate. "In fact, Obama made no such promise and the plant halted production in December 2008, when the shrub was squatting in the Oval office," Detroit News reporter David Sherpardson wrote earlier this month. "Obama did speak at the plant in February 2008, and suggested that a government partnership with automakers could keep the plant open, but made no promises as Ryan suggested."

After the speech, CNN's political commentators focused mostly on Ryan's misstatements, demonstrating the degree to which they were evident.

Top Obama adviser David Axelrod jumped on the GM factory claim. "Again, Ryan blames Obama for a GM plant that closed under the shrub. But then, they did say they wouldn't 'let fact checkers get in the way.'"

Ryan, however, appears to have made the calculation that the misleading won't hurt him with voters. He might be right. CNN's David Gergen, while acknowledging some "misstatements" in Ryan's address, suggested that pundits focus elsewhere. "But let's not forget that this was a speech about big ideas," he told his audience.

The repugican platform promotes national security pork for repugican Rep. Mica

Smooth one, repugicans.

Not only are they promoting pork for their own, but they're building it right into the repugican platform.

Even better, it's at the expense of our national security.

The repugican platform includes a plank promoting the pork of influential repugican Congressman John Mica, who's been trying to privatize the TSA for a while now on behalf of a corporate campaign contributor in his district.

Attacking federal workers is nothing new for the repugicans, but they have yet to explain how a privatized TSA workforce will do anything other than shovel money into the campaign coffers of Congressman Mica and his well-to-do corporate constituent.

A lot of Americans are frustrated or fed up with the TSA policies, but none of those policies change if the TSA is privatized. If anything, the problem gets worse because instead of being (somewhat) accountable to the public via our elected representatives, under the repugican plan the TSA will only be accountable to its shareholders and business owners.  And as bad as government can sometimes be, the private sector is usually worse (e.g., you can complain about Medicare problems to your congressman, who do you complain about Blue Cross to?)

Again, how does privatizing help address the problems that annoy Americans about the TSA?  It doesn't.  It simply helps repugican Congressman John Mica get pork for a constituent at the potential expense of our safety.
The platform calls for the privatization of airport security screening, a role now undertaken by the Transportation Security Administration.

The platform characterizes the TSA as a "massive bureaucracy" made up of employees "who seem to be accountable to no one for the way they treat travelers."

The agency, created in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has long drawn the ire of lawmakers, both for mismanagement of agency programs as well as the often inconvenient screening process.
A massive bureaucracy that would only answers to a Congressman Mica is not very comforting.  Cong. Mica apparently agrees with Mitt Romney that corporations are people too.  Too bad Mica and Romney don't have the same respect for actual people.

Treat the repugican party platform as one big pork opportunity is no way to treat something as serious as national security.  Then again, when were the repugicans ever serious about national security?  Only one President actual caught Osama bin Laden - actually tried - and that's the Democratic President Barack Obama.

Racist assault against black CNN camerawoman at repugican convention

Carroll, who agreed to be named for the first time, said she does not want her situation to be used for political advantage. "This situation could happen to me at the Democratic convention or standing on the street corner. Racism is a global issue," she said by telephone from Tampa.
Unlikely. The repugicans routinely bash the media, portray them as just as commie pinko as they portray the Democrats. She was assaulted the same reason media have been assaulted at other repugican election events - and the same reason that government officials are the target of violence in this country - because repugicans feed the hatred of the media and our government.
Carroll said no one took the names of the attendees who threw peanuts at her Tuesday on the convention floor and told her, "This is what we feed animals." She alerted fellow camera operators, producers and CNN security. The head of the delegation — she was not certain of the state — told her the perpetrators must have been alternates, not delegates.
Nice of the repugican cabal not to take the incident seriously.
But Carroll, 34, said that as an Alabama native, she was not surprised. "This is Florida, and I'm from the Deep South," she said. "You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don't think I should do."

Carroll noted of the repugican convention, "There are not that many black women there."

The mormons baptized Obama's deceased mother in June of 2008

From Jake Tapper:
The cult of jesus christ of latter-day saints confirmed Tuesday afternoon that someone improperly, posthumously baptized the late mother of President Obama into the mormon cult.

Last June 4 -- the day after then-Sen. Obama secured enough delegates to win the Democratic presidential nominee -- someone had the president's mother Stanley Ann Dunham, who died in 1995 of cancer, baptized.

On June 11, she received the sacrament.

The White House had no comment.

The baptism and sacrament, which appear on FamilySearch.org, the LDS Church's genealogical site, were first reported by John Aravosis at Americablog.
The mormons, however, did have a comment:
The mormon cult spokeswoman Kim Farah said that "the offering of baptism to our deceased ancestors is a sacred practice to us and it is counter to cult policy for a cult member to submit names for baptism for persons to whom they are not related. The cult is looking into the circumstances of how this happened and does not yet have all the facts. However, this is a serious matter and we are treating it as such."
Yeah, I'm sure no one at mormon headquarters noticed that the woman's husband was named Barack Hussein Obama. She just "happened" to be baptized 13 years after her death, five months before the presidential election. All a big unfortunate coincidence.

Yeah. Um, what to say? That they even have a practice that allows posthumous baptism is disturbing enough. Counter to chult policy? Really? Was it counter to church policy when the mormons kept baptizing Holocaust victims even though they were repeatedly -- for years -- asked to stop. Sounds like lying for the lord.

To be fair, last year, the mormons were way too busy trying to pass the anti-gay Prop. 8 in California to worry about anything as mundane as baptizing the dead mother of the Democratic nominee for president (or anyone else's dead relatives.)

And, any comment from the catholic cult leaders, who cozy up to the mormons to get money for anti-gay efforts, on how they feel about dead catholics being baptized?

This is really sick and very twisted.

The mormons baptize Anne Frank AGAIN, for the ninth time

Now that the Romney campaign is arguing that Mitt Romney's mormonism is a reason to vote for him, let's have an honest discussion about what the mormons believe and do.  And people can decide for themselves if this is a reason to vote for Mitt Romney.

From Andrea Stone at Huffington Post:
Anne Frank, the Jewish girl whose diary and death in a Nazi concentration camp made her a symbol of the Holocaust, was allegedly baptized posthumously Saturday by a member of the cult of jesus christ of latter-day saints, according to whistleblower Helen Radkey, a former member of the cult.

The ritual was conducted in a mormon temple in the Dominican Republic, according to Radkey, a Salt Lake City researcher who investigates such incidents, which violate a 2010 pact between the mormon cult and jewish leaders.

Radkey said she discovered that Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank, who died at Bergen Belsen death camp in 1945 at age 15, was baptized by proxy on Saturday. The mormons have submitted versions of her name at least a dozen times for proxy rites and carried out the ritual at least nine times from 1989 to 1999, according to Radkey.
How intolerant of Anne Frank to keep saying "no."

I wonder how many times Daniel Pearl will have to go through this.

A word from Brigham Young on Adam's "wives" and how sleeping with blacks will get you killed

Now that Mitt Romney has informed us that President Obama's pastoral influences are fair game this election, folks are taking a look at Mitt Romney's religious mentors as well.

And with no further ado, I give you Brigham Young.  (And I checked the quotes on Google, they're real.)

On polygamy:
"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). Also, "The only men who become gods, even the Sons of god, are those who enter into polygamy," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269).
Eve was "one" of Adam's "wives," plural:
"Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, jew and gentile, saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken -- He is our Father, and our god, and the only god with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing christians or non professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 50).
It's Adam and Eve and Eve and Eve and Eve and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

Oh, and this just in: god will kill you on the spot if you have sex with a black person:
"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind....Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 290). "In our first settlement in Missouri, it was said by our enemies that we intended to tamper with the slaves, not that we had any idea of the kind, for such a thing never entered our minds. We knew that the children of Ham were to be the "servant of servants," and no power under heaven could hinder it, so long as the Lord would permit them to welter under the curse and those were known to be our religious views concerning them." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 172). "Shall I tell you the law of god in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of god, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110).
I'd like to know what influence mormon racism, which was mainstream during Mitt Romney's life as a young adult, had on his worldview. What did Mitt Romney say when these racist views were being espoused by the Mormon leadership? Did he sit by silently? Is he claiming he didn't attend temple the days that racist views were promulgated?

Mitt Romney thinks that a man's religious influences, and the crazy things said by those influences, are fair game. So be it.

The mormons tipped scale in ban on gay marriage, gave 50% of total Prop 8 budget

The NYT confirms it. The mormons gave half of the total $40m donations that the bigots at Yes on 8 received.

First off, we learn that the mormon involvement in Prop 8 was unusually large, even for them:
“We’ve spoken out on other issues, we’ve spoken out on abortion, we’ve spoken out on those other kinds of things,” said Michael R. Otterson, the managing director of public affairs for the Cult of jesus christ of latter-day saints, as the mormons are formally called, in Salt Lake City. “But we don’t get involved to the degree we did on this.”

The California measure, Proposition 8, was to many Mormons a kind of firewall to be held at all costs.
Then we find out that mormons were 80% to 90% of early volunteers:
Shortly after receiving the invitation from the San Francisco archdiocese, the mormon leadership in Salt Lake City issued a four-paragraph decree to be read to congregations, saying “the formation of families is central to the creator’s plan,” and urging members to become involved with the cause.

“And they sure did,” Mr. Schubert said.

Jeff Flint, another strategist with Protect Marriage, estimated that mormons made up 80 percent to 90 percent of the early volunteers who walked door-to-door in election precincts.
One lead mormon gave $1m:
On Oct. 28, Mr. Ashton, the grandson of the former mormon president David O. McKay, donated $1 million. Mr. Ashton, who made his fortune as co-founder of the WordPerfect Corporation, said he was following his personal beliefs and the direction of the cult....

In the end, Protect Marriage estimates, as much as half of the nearly $40 million raised on behalf of the measure was contributed by Mormons.
And then to finally throw in a slur, the top mormon donor, and son of a former mormon leader, refers to homosexuals as "fruit":
[T]he extent of the protests has taken many mormons by surprise. On Friday, the cult’s leadership took the unusual step of issuing a statement calling for “respect” and “civility” in the aftermath of the vote.

“Attacks on cults and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues,” the statement said. “People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in the public square without fear of reprisal.”

Mr. Ashton described the protests by same-sex marriage advocates as off-putting. “I think that shows colors,” Mr. Ashton said. “By their fruit, ye shall know them.”

A catholic cult leader says child rape "understandable," blames children

So absolutely disgusting. And sadly typical. They should all be in jail.

Via Andrew Sullivan's blog we hear from Father Benedict Groeschel, the director of the Office for Spiritual Development for the catholic archdiocese of New York:
People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that's not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer ... It's not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn't have his own — and they won't be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.

It's an understandable thing ... there are the relatively rare cases where a priest is involved in a homosexual way with a minor. I think the statistic I read recently in a secular psychology review was about 2%. Would that be true of other clergy? Would it be true of doctors, lawyers, coaches?

Here's this poor guy — [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn't anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn't break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn't think of it in terms of legal things.
Most of us don't find child rape "interesting." But then again, most of us don't run the catholic cult.

And they're still making excuses for child rapists, while telling the rest of us how to live.  Newsflash: I don't take moral advice from men who rape, and aid and abet, the rape of small children.

Absolutely disgusting.

Even better: The national catholic register is now apologizing for publishing the accurate comments of the church leader.  They're suggesting he may have lost his mind.  Right, because no Catholic leader has ever tried to blame the victim or excuse the rape of children.

A Three-Headed Snake

Monkey See ...

... Monkey Do

Argentinian police to shoot whale-eating seagulls

Flesh-eating seagulls that attack southern right whales off the coast of Argentina are to be shot by police in patrol boats. The birds have developed a habit of attacking the endangered mammals in one of their prime breeding grounds.
Seagulls off the coast of the Patagonian city of Puerto Madryn have discovered that by pecking at the whales as they come up for air they can create open wounds. Each time the whales then surface gulls swoop down and cut away skin and blubber with their beaks and claws. Aside from the environmental issues, experts also fear it could hit tourist numbers with whale-watching changing from a magical experience to something from a horror movie.

Whales are also changing their behaviour in response to the attacks. Instead of breaching the water and dramatically displaying their tails, they rise just barely enough to breathe through their blow-holes before descending to safety. "It's not just that the gulls are attacking the whales, but that they're feeding from them, and this way of feeding is a habit that is growing and becoming more frequent," said Marcelo Bertellotti of the National Patagonia Centre.

"It really worries us because the damage they're doing to the whales is multiplying, especially to infant whales that are born in these waters." Environmentalists say the plan is misguided, claiming humans are to blame by creating so much rubbish that the gull population has exploded. They say the only way to effectively reduce the seagull population is to deny the birds food by closing open-air tips around the gulf and stopping fishermen and a nearby seafood packing plant from dumping scraps into the water.

Animal News

Firefighters in England rescued a cow after it got stuck in a tree. The cow was described as "reasonably happy" following its ordeal.Tennessee town considers 'no livestock' exemption for Oreo the pet goat
Not wanting to be the people who got Jeff Vlar's goat, city council members in a Tennessee city will consider an exemption for the animal.

A Michigan community that's fed up with geese fouling up a beach is hoping fake coyotes encourage the birds to land elsewhere.
A South Texas mayor has been found dead after apparently being attacked by a 500-pound donkey on his ranch.

Animal Pictures

First Light by Doug Dance Nature Photography on Flickr.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Daily Drift

Now that it's over we can see the secretive preparations for the repugican cabal.

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Today in History

30 BC Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt, commits suicide.
1617 Rosa de Lima of Peru becomes the first American saint to be canonized.
1721 The Peace of Nystad ends the Second Northern War between Sweden and Russia, giving Russia considerably more power in the Baltic region.
1781 The French fleet arrives in the Chesapeake Bay to aid the American Revolution.
1813 Creek Indians massacre over 500 whites at Fort Mims Alabama.
1860 The first British tramway is inaugurated at Birkenhead by an American, George Francis Train.
1861 Union General John Fremont declares martial law throughout Missouri and makes his own emancipation proclamation to free slaves in the state. President Lincoln overrules the general.
1892 The Moravia, a passenger ship arriving from Germany, brings cholera to the United States.
1932 Nazi leader Hermann Goering is elected president of the Reichstag.
1944 Ploesti, the center of the Rumanian oil industry, falls to Soviet troops.
1957 In an effort to stall the Civil Rights Act of 1957 from passing, Senator Strom Thurmond (D-S.C.) filibusters for over 24 hours. The bill passed, but Thurmond's filibuster becomes the longest in Senate history.
1961 President John F. Kennedy appoints General Lucius D. Clay as his personal representative in Berlin.
1983 Lieutenant Colonel Guion S. Bluford, Jr., becomes the first African-American astronaut to travel in space.

Non Sequitur


Retro Photo

We still do today

Poll: Americans think rich don't pay enough taxes

Uh oh. It looks like the teabagging repugicans are on the losing side of this debate.
The poll found that many Americans believe rich people to be intelligent and hard-working but also greedy and less honest than the average American. Nearly six in 10, or 58 percent, say the rich don't pay enough in taxes, while 26 percent believe the rich pay their fair share and 8 percent say they pay too much.

Even among those who describe themselves as "upper class" or "upper middle class," more than half — 52 percent — said upper-income Americans don't pay enough in taxes; only 10 percent said they paid too much. This upper tier was more likely to say they are more financially secure now than they were 10 years ago — 62 percent, compared to 44 percent for those who identified themselves as middle class and 29 percent for the lower class. They are less likely to report problems in paying rents or mortgages, losing a job, paying for medical care or other bills and cutting back on household expenses.
As this article mentions, it's not a problem that Romney is rich, but that he is strongly perceived as the candidate who will promote policies that mostly benefit the rich.

Did you know ...

Why republicans think leading from weakness will work

The west Nile virus - what is the actual risk?

Why Todd Akin thinks breastmilk cures homosexuality

Why do we yawn?

Romney wraps up nomination with low favorability ratings

Americans simply don't like the guy and a few speeches won't change that perception. Mitt Romney has no sense of compassion or appreciation for the struggles of others and he doesn't even try to understand. One can argue that Obama needs to stand up for the middle class in a more forceful way, but he at least invests energy into the process of helping someone other than the 1%.
Anyone who makes jokes about the "funny" times when his dad closed factories causing the loss of jobs doesn't have a clue. Throwing millions around still hasn't changed his perception of being an insensitive rich guy.
Mitt Romney accepts the Republican nomination for president this week with the lowest personal popularity of any major-party nominee in polls dating to Ronald Reagan's presidency, a difficulty for Romney that's persisted throughout this election cycle.

Forty percent of registered voters in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll see Romney favorably overall, while 51 percent rate him unfavorably - 11 points underwater in this basic measure, with a majority unfavorable score for just the second time in polls since last fall.

Barack Obama does better in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, but hardly well - 50-47 percent in favorable vs. unfavorable views among registered voters, essentially the same as his 2012 average in ABC/Post polls. On this, as on other measures, as hard as they've campaigned, views of the two hardly have budged.

American flag not good enough for Mitt Romney

Now who's the foreigner?

For a campaign and party that likes to race-bait President Obama as some kind of "foreign" entity (rnc chair Reinhold Reince Priebus got smacked down for doing it again earlier this week), Mitt Romney sure seems to have a problem with America.

First Mitt's family self-deported to Mexico in order to evade those pesky US anti-polygamy laws.

Then Mitt chose the Burmese dictatorship to make our 2002 Olympic uniforms, rather than good ole Americans.

And now, Romney is caught holding a campaign event, during the repugican cabal, on a ship flying a foreign flag, because apparently being proud of America costs Mitt too much in taxes, and when it's a choice between being proud of America and evading his taxes, Mitt always goes with the money.

Speaking of Mitt Romney's dearth of national pride, it's interesting to note that Romney also wasn't proud of the fact that America caught Osama bin Laden.  He even chastised President Obama for saying that he was proud that we caught OBL.  Why does Mitt Romney have such a problem with pride of (this) country?

And finally, just imagine what the repugicans would do if our candidate - Barack HUSSEIN Obama, as they like to note - were flying a foreign flag instead of the stars and stripes at a campaign event DURING the convention?  It would be THE central theme of the entire convention.

From ABC News, and they've got a photo of the ship not flying the American flag:
Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.

The exclusive event, hosted by a Florida developer on his yacht "Cracker Bay," was one of a dozen exclusive events meant to nurture those who have raised more than $1 million for Romney's bid.

"I think it's ironic they do this aboard a yacht that doesn't even pay its taxes," said a woman who lives aboard a much smaller boat moored at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina.
No more ironic than the repugicans nominating a candidate who doesn't even pay his taxes.

The truth hurts

A repugican cabal speaker says "I did build this" - he took stimulus money and $2m in government contracts

The jokes just write themselves at this point. "We did build it" - the guy says - uh no you didn't. He took $2m in government contracts and over $200,000 in stimulus money to "build" his company. So in fact, WE did build it - we the people, we the taxpayers, built this guy's firm. And he's on stage mocking President Obama, claiming he got no government help to build his business, and now we find out he did.
They really are pathetic.
Another small business owner featured at the repugican national cabal undercuts the Fox-fueled "We Built It" narrative surrounding the event.

Steven Cohen, president of Ohio-based manufacturing company Screen Machine Industries, is scheduled to speak tonight at the convention. According to a press release from his company announcing the speaking appearance, Cohen will speak on "political issues important to manufacturing." Much like Sher Valenzuela, the Delaware small business owner that was featured on "We Built It" day at the convention, Cohen's business has also received help from the government.

Screen Machine has received more than $2 million in government contracts, including nearly $220,000 in stimulus funds, and claims a "long and proud history of supplying heavy-duty American Made equipment to government agencies and the US Military."

The repugican cabal flooded by lies

The repugican party should have had a fighting chance of winning the 2012 Presidential election on the issues. Four years is more than enough time for voters to forget who created the current economic mess (hint: them).
Instead the 'We Built It!' convention is themed as a rebuttal to a statement that was never made. Here is what the President actually said:
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
It is one thing to win a media cycle or two with an out-of-context quotation, but using a malicious mis-quotation as the whole convention theme is completely unprecedented. Faux News thinks it is 'ironic' that the Conference is 'using the President's 'own words' against him, but what is genuinely ironic here is the fact that as Issac headed towards the repugican cabal, repugican governors across the South were calling for precisely the type of assistance that Obama was talking about in his speech.

The idea behind this lie is that it is meant to demonstrate the President's 'hostility to small businesses'. And so the repugicans have a parade of small business owners to tell the convention how they built their businesses on their own without any government help apart from grants, loans, tax breaks and government infrastructure. In other words no government help apart from all the types of help that governments provide, and the very help the President was talking about.

Which gets me to the fundamentally stupid part of this whole 'We built it' charade: If businesses have no need of any form of government help whatsoever, then a Romney administration can't be any better for business than an Obama administration.  And we can forget about all those pesky tax cuts too.

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GOP attendee ejected for throwing nuts at African American CNN camera woman + saying "This is how we feed animals."@TakeActionNews 

The truth be told

Report on Putin: Life as a Galley Slave

It's not nearly as easy as you might think to be a modern tsar in Russia. The mansions, the yachts, the helicopters, the $75,000 toilets. It's rough. What's especially difficult is pretending that you're a simple guy, with simple tastes while so many struggle to reach even the middle class.
According to the report (which includes photos of the alleged mansions, yachts and jets) by his former deputy prime minister, Putin has amassed wealth far beyond what most even imagine. His greatest fear of giving up his leadership position is losing access to his luxurious lifestyle. (Accessing the report is not easy though this article includes photos of some of his properties.)

As Russians do join the middle class, will they continue to support Putin? For years my Russian friends and colleagues (who eventually all left Russia) tolerated it because there was a general movement upward for many. Now there is more frustration and a general realization that things may be about as good as it gets in Russia. Will that be enough for Putin?
There are the columned facades of palaces outside Moscow, in the southern resort of Sochi, and dozens more around the country. On an island in the center of Lake Valdai, stands a 930 hectare estate serviced by a 1,000-strong staff that includes a "presidential church, swimming pool, two restaurants, movie theater, bowling alley and concrete helipad".

The authors compare Putin's nearly two dozen official residences to the number held by other state rulers – two for the leaders of the United States and Germany, and three for the president of Italy. Nine of the villas were built while Putin was at the helm of the country, they note.

The leader has long attempted to present an image of average Russian machismo, staging regular photo ops with factory workers and bikers. Images of his stark home life stand in contrast to the meetings he holds in the Kremlin's gilded halls. During a televised meeting of his participation in Russia's nationwide census in 2010, Putin appeared on a drab beige sofa in one of the two modest flats he is officially registered as owning.
Yes indeed. Just a simple galley slave, as Putin calls himself.