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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Daily Drift

Remember the nazis were the repugicans of early 20th century Germany

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Today in History

1399 Richard II is deposed.
1568 Eric XIV, king of Sweden, is deposed after showing signs of madness.
1630 John Billington, one of the original pilgrims who sailed to the New World on the Mayflower, becomes the first man executed in the English colonies. He is hanged for having shot another man during a quarrel
1703 The French, at Hochstadt in the War of the Spanish Succession, suffer only 1,000 casualties to the 11,000 of their opponents, the Austrians of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I.
1791 Mozart's opera The Magic Flute is performed for the first time in Vienna
1846 The first anesthetized tooth extraction is performed by Dr. William Morton in Charleston, Massachusetts.
1864 Confederate troops fail to retake Fort Harrison from the Union forces during the siege of Petersburg.
1911 Italy declares war on Turkey over control of Tripoli.
1918 Bulgaria pulls out of World War I.
1927 Babe Ruth hits his 60th homerun of the season off Tom Zachary in Yankee Stadium, New York City.
1935 George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess opens at the Colonial Theatre in Boston.
1938 Under German threats of war, Britain, France, Germany and Italy sign an accord permitting Germany to take control of Sudetenland–a region of Czechoslovakia inhabited by a German-speaking minority.
1939 The French Army is called back into France from its invasion of Germany. The attack, code named Operation Saar, only penetrated five miles.
1943 The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps becomes the Women's Army Corps, a regular contingent of the U.S. Army with the same status as other army service corps.
1949 The Berlin Airlift is officially halted after 277,264 flights.
1950 U.N. forces cross the 38th parallel separating North and South Korea as they pursue the retreating North Korean Army.
1954 The first atomic-powered submarine, the Nautilus, is commissioned in Groton, Connecticut.
1954 NATO nations agree to arm and admit West Germany.
1955 Actor and teen idol James Dean is killed in a car crash while driving his Porsche on his way to enter it into a race in Salinas, California.
1960 Fifteen African nations are admitted to the United Nations.
1962 U.S. Marshals escort James H. Meredith into the University of Mississippi; two die in the mob violence that follows.
1965 President Lyndon Johnson signs legislation that establishes the National Foundation for the Arts and the Humanities.

Non Sequitur


Crime at the US-Mexico border goes corporate

When a regional manager for the Mexican Gulf cartel moved his operation to a more lucrative territory on the border, he took along not only his armored trucks and personal army, but also his department heads and a team of accountants.

Small Watauga Co. wields huge political influence

0929 watauga cp 316

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/#storylink=cpy

Watauga may be a small county, but it wields huge influence in North Carolina

Watauga is ground zero in war for North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes

By Tim Funk
  • Five weeks before Election Day, the best place to get a snapshot of the presidential race in North Carolina might well be up here in the mountain towns of Watauga County.
Unlike the repugican-red counties surrounding it, Watauga has turned purple in its politics – just like North Carolina, still one of nine battleground states in the 2012 contest between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Home to 17,000 students at Appalachian State University, rich retirees in Blowing Rock and church-going conservatives in hamlets such as Deep Gap and Meat Camp, “we are a battleground county,” said Republican Nathan Miller, chairman of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners.
Miller is also part of a local bipartisan chorus pressing the case of Watauga – population: 51,333 – as a bellwether for a changing North Carolina and maybe for the whole country.
“The way Watauga goes,” Miller predicted, “is probably the way the United States will go. And that’s a big deal.”
In 2008, Watauga mirrored the state by going for Democrat Obama, with a big student turnout key in ending a string of victories in the county for repugican presidential candidates.
In 2010, Watauga went repugican, again reflecting the trend in North Carolina and nationally. With the help of the tea party, the local repugican cabal took control of the board of commissioners by winning three previously Democratic seats.
And this year?
Miller is as confident Romney will prevail in Watauga as Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson, a Democrat, is sure Obama will win the county again.
But the two offer the same caveat: The vote in this county, about 110 miles northwest of Charlotte, will be close.
That’s also what most current polls say about the race in North Carolina, which Obama won in 2008 by only 14,077 votes – his smallest state victory margin.
While Watauga’s highest-profile Democrat and repugican pointed to signs of stepped-up campaign activity for Obama and Romney, they also acknowledged challenges.
Clawson, a retired state worker in her third term as mayor, said the Obama-mania of 2008 has faded some after nearly four years of recession and high unemployment.
“(Obama) came into a very bad situation, and he’s had to work very hard. I do feel like we have had (economic) growth all the time he’s been in (office),” she said.
“But the problem is that we’re climbing out of a hole that’s deeper than any of us imagined.”
And Miller, a lawyer who won his first political office two years ago, said the repugican base in Watauga seems less excited about electing Romney – some are put off by his mormonism, others by his wealth – than in defeating Obama.
“I hate to say it, but it’s more ‘we don’t like Obama’ than ‘we love Mitt Romney,’ ” he said. “I’ve heard some about his mormon background . . . And that he’s a rich guy. It’s not like Barack Obama is poor, but he doesn’t have Romney money.”
‘We’re grass-roots’
Still, the battle goes on up here in the “High Country.”
Every day, College Democrats and college repugicans are registering new voters on the App State campus. The county board of elections has processed more than 4,000 registrations since Aug. 1, including 1,005 Democrats, 1,001 Republicans and 2,519 unaffiliated.
Every night, party volunteers are manning phone banks. And every week, the presidential campaigns are working to identify and energize voters – the Obama campaign by opening a field office in downtown Boone last month, the Romney campaign by bringing Tagg Romney, the candidate’s oldest son, to town last week.
And with early in-person voting set to begin Oct. 18 – absentee votes are already being cast in North Carolina – the focus soon will shift to getting people to the polls.
“The dynamic will definitely be turnout,” Miller said.
Clawson agreed: “It all boils down in this county to who gets out their vote. …We’re worker bees. We’re grass-roots.”
Newcomers diversify politics
In a few ways, Watauga is different from North Carolina as a whole.
In the state, African-Americans make up 22 percent of the population. In Watauga, they represent just 2 percent.
Hispanics? 3.5 percent.
Still, the county is changing – socially and ideologically if not demographically.
That points to another Watauga difference: In May, it was one of eight counties in 100-county North Carolina to vote down Amendment One. The amendment, which passed statewide with 60-plus percent of the vote, reinforced the state’s ban on gay marriage.
Watauga’s repugican-controlled board of commissioners passed a resolution endorsing the amendment, then spent two meetings listening to those who disagreed. The vote in the county was close: With more than 15,000 votes cast, the amendment lost by 244.
North Carolina’s change from a red state to a purple one can be explained partly by all the newcomers. Similarly, App State and the lure of the Blue Ridge Mountains have meant an influx into Watauga of North Carolina students as well as those looking for a place to enjoy nature or the ambience of a college town.
They’re turning Boone, the county seat, into a Democratic base. With 37 percent of the county’s voters living within town limits, what some are calling a “miniAsheville” is making Watauga more competitive.
“The Meat Camps and these other little towns surrounding Boone are not moving toward the Democratic Party,” said Phil Ardoin, a professor of political science. “Boone is increasing in size and is having a bigger influence on the county (vote).”
All this change doesn’t sit well with some old-timers.
“Used to be you could drive through Boone without seeing two girls holding hands,” cracked a truck driver from tiny Zionville who asked not to be identified.
‘This is my front yard’
Backpack-wearing students walking down Boone’s main street – West King – will see a collection of Obama signs in the windows at Appalachian Antiques.
“We Love Michelle,” reads one.
Inside, where customers can buy an old 45 record of The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” owner Jill Reeves wears an “Obama-Biden” button.
Four years ago, when she put up Obama signs, some people got huffy.
“It was: how come I didn’t also have a McCain sign?” recalled Reeves, who’s owned the store for eight years. “And I said: ‘Could I put an Obama sign in your front yard?’ They said, ‘No!’ And I said, ‘This is my front yard.’ ”
This year, the 66-year-old Reeves, a Missouri native who graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1968, said she’s received lots of compliments about her signs and her button.
Yes, she knows some voters are still down on Obama’s health care plan and blame him for the joblessness. But Reeves said the president has earned a second term, and she hopes repugicans in Congress will stop blocking his programs.
“I trust him, and he has the same philosophy I do about helping people,” she said of Obama. “Sometimes it’s tough to get things done, especially when the other party is voting down everything you do.”
Battleground campus
Battleground state, battleground county and, judging from a recent weekday at App State, battleground campus.
Obama and Romney messages were written in chalk on sidewalks. Volunteers and campaign staffers had set up dueling tables on the Sanford Mall. And students walking to class slowed down long enough to answer the question: “Are you registered to vote at your current address?”
David Milam, 23, a post-graduate student working in a campus ministry, approached the college repugicans’ table.
He registered unaffiliated – “I don’t want to pick a side” – but said repugican Romney will probably get his vote.
“I don’t think the guy in office is getting it done,” said Milam, from Forest City. “Jobs are scarce, and there’s a lot of national debt.”
Over by the library, Ian O’Keefe, a student and local Democratic Party staffer in charge of the youth campaign, didn’t wait for students to come to him.
“Awesome, awesome,” he said every time students told him they were already registered.
Whenever any said they weren’t, O’Keefe was ready with a clipboard, a form and a pen.
Kory Madden, 21, of Charlotte, stopped, re-juggled his books on Yeats and Cicero, then signed up as unaffiliated.
He had hoped to cast a ballot in November for U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, the Libertarian who lost the repugican nomination to Romney.
His second choice?
“I know it’s probably not Romney,” said Madden. “I can’t see him running the country.”
So Obama? “Yeah. He’s better than Romney.”
Young voters helped Obama carry North Carolina in 2008 – he was the choice of 72 percent of those 18-29 years old.
In the three voting sites on the App State campus, Obama beat Sen. John McCain 4,614 votes to 2,484.
The president may need to rack up those kinds of numbers again to re-win the county and the state.
Will it happen?
“I’m seeing a lot of interest and a lot of passion on campus – more by Democrats than by repugicans,” said App State’s Ardoin, who teaches classes in government and the presidency. “Is it at the level I saw it in 2008? No, it’s not. In 2008, it was amazing . . . The College Democrats had an Obama bus take students (to vote early). It was going back and forth – from 9 o’clock in the morning until 4 o’clock in the afternoon.”
Ardoin and others said it isn’t quite like 2008 in another way: college repugicans learned their lesson and are more active this year.
They had 150 people ar their first meeting in 2012. And during the repugican national cabal, they organized a party to watch U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate and a popular figure with young conservatives, give his acceptance speech.
Kelsey Lauren Crum, president of the repugican campus group, predicted that the vote totals will be closer this time.
“People are realizing that, when they graduate, their chances of getting a job are significantly less,” said Crum, 24, who grew up in Boone. “Romney offers new hope for a strong economy.”
College Democrats president Lia Poteet of Charlotte said her group is working with the county’s Obama campaign to promote early voting.
Her club also will reach out to key Obama voting groups with a month of on-campus forums on everything from Pell grants to LGBT issues to “Women’s Week.”
While 2008 was about something new that gave young people hope, said Poteet, 21, this year is about explaining things.
“These are the (Obama) policies that are in your best interest,” she said she tells students. “There have been lots of months of job growth. And things are getting better.”
Red Blowing Rock, ‘county’
The big Obama campaign event in Watauga next month will be a $1,000-per-person Obama fundraiser featuring James Taylor. He’ll sing at the Westglow Resort and Spa in Blowing Rock.
That cost-of-admission is a hint of how expensive things are in Blowing Rock, a resort town of high altitudes (5,386 feet) and even higher price tags for summer homes (“Just $750,000!!!” read an ad for one at Blowing Rock Realty).
But repugicans, not Democrats, appear to be the dominant group among the 1,100 or so voters in this town, which Blowing Rock Mayor J.B. Lawrence, a repugican, calls “center-right.”
The recession hit hardest here, in the second-home market that has long been Blowing Rock’s calling card – especially to Floridians looking to leave for some cooler climes in the summertime.
Many of these part-time residents are like William Pearson, who retreats to Blowing Rock in May from Fort Myers, Fla. Pausing during a stroll down Main Street, with its ice cream parlors and tiny boutiques, the retired Pearson said he’ll probably vote a straight repugican ticket.
He’s not wild about Romney – “if he would keep his mouth shut” – but said Obama has been a do-nothing president.
Two affluent women in their 60s also stopped to talk after some Main Street shopping.
“I’m most definitely for Romney,” said one of the women, who splits her time between Charlotte and Blowing Rock and declined to be named. “I like keeping my own money in my pocket.”
Also part of the repugican base in Watauga: voters who live in “the county,” as Miller called the rural areas and tiny towns east and west of Boone.
That includes Foscoe, where Chris Calloway, 49, grew up. He took a break from mowing the lawn at his church – Foscoe christian.
“I probably disagree with (Obama) on more things than Mr. Romney,” said Calloway.
The repugican candidate’s mormonism doesn’t bother him, and if creating jobs is the main issue this year, he figures Romney’s years as a CEO would be a plus.
“That’s his background,” said Calloway.
Asked how he thinks Watauga County will vote – Obama or Romney – Calloway echoed most everybody else in this bellwether county:
“I think it’s going to be close.”
    •  TV: County voters get the Charlotte TV stations, so they see all the campaign and super PAC ads.
    •  Visits: President Barack Obama made a brief stop in downtown Boone last October on his way to a White House event in neighboring Wilkes County. He bought candy at Mast General Store and posed for pictures. Last Thursday, Mitt Romney’s oldest son, Tagg, addressed college repugicans and others at Dan’l Boone Inn in Boone. Also this month, the Romney campaign sent its tour bus to Watauga – with neither of the candidates on board. Locals got to tour it.
    •  Ground Game: In August, the Obama campaign opened one of its 54 North Carolina field offices in downtown Boone. The Romney campaign does not have a field office in Watauga. 

    Population: 51,333 (up 20 percent since 2000).
    Demographics: 95.3 percent white; 3.5 percent Hispanic; 2 percent African American; 1 percent Asian; 0.3 percent Native American.
    Voter registration: Unaffiliated 16,476; Republican 14,918; Democrat 13,082; Libertarian 296.
    Median household income: $31,967.
    Unemployment rate: 8.3 percent (August 2012).
    Land area: 312.56 square miles.
    Major employers: Appalachian State University, Appalachian Regional Healthcare Systems, Samaritan’s Purse, farms.
    Origin of name: “Watauga” is the Cherokee Indian word for “whispering water.” 

And I Quote

Rural whites prefer Ahmadinejad to Obama?

 Iranian news site gets fooled
In the original article by The Onion , which dubs itself "America's Finest News Source," it was "reported" a Gallup Poll showed 77 percent of rural white Americans would prefer Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over President Barack Obama.

Future Quotes

Here are some 'quotes' from the wingnuts about who won next Wednesday's debate

"I thought Romney clearly won that debate. He looked confident,
  - his answers were sharp and he appeared more presidential than Obama."
        -- Bill Kristol, reviewing next Wednesday's debate

"It wasn't even close - not even close. Romney clearly won that debate.
  Obama was flailing for answers - the president didn't have a good night."
       --  O'Reilly, reviewing next Wednesday's debate

"Romney clearly won that first debate.  Obama embarrassed himself.
  Obama seemed tentative and meek, while Romney was calm and presidential."

Hannity, reviewing next Wednesday's debate

Romney by a mile - and our post-debate polls show exactly that."
  --  Lou Dobbs, reviewing next Wednesday's debate

" I half-expected Monica to come out and blow Obama."

--  the vulgar Pigboy, Lush Dimbulb, being the giant dick that he always is
Please note that the debate takes place on October 3rd and today is only September 30th. But due to the predictable script that the wingnut talking heads follow the above 'quotes' are spot on.

Ann Coulter explains to Whoopi Goldberg what black people think

Ann Coulter appeared on ABC’s The View and decided to tell Whoopi Goldberg what black people think.  It didn’t go over well.Whoopi:
“Hold on Miss Coulter, please stop, please stop. If you’re gonna talk about race, at least know what you’re talking about. Tell me how much you know about being black.”
I do enjoy Coulter’s endless use of the phrase “it’s a fact” to prove every absurd point she makes.
Here’s the entire video:



Romney’s secret weapon: Lyme disease!

How many times have you said, “if only we had a president who made Lyme Disease his number one priority?”Yeah, me neither.
But that’s not stopping Mitt Romney from doing a mailing in northern Virginia claiming that it’s time America got a president who will ensure “real action,” and “do more,” on Lyme Disease.  (The real action mostly involves tort reform, because doctors, Romney says, are afraid to treat Lyme Disease because of lawsuits.  Huh.)
Lyme Disease?
Yup. And a friend just sent me the mailer.  After you review the mailer, read on, because this issue gets interesting – Romney is yet again inserting himself into a controversy he knows nothing about, in order to find “an opportunity” in the suffering of others.

I googled the issue and it seems Tim Murphy at Mother Jones also stumbled upon the mailing. He offered two interesting points. The first, that Lyme Disease is actually getting worse because of climate change, something Romney is now denying. Oops. So President Ryan, and his climate change denialists, would actually be worse for Lyme Disease. Romney was right, there is something the President can do to fight the spread of Lyme Disease!
But there’s more. As Murphy reports, Romney is actually inserting himself into a dispute in the medical community, something about which he knows absolutely nothing.
As it turns out, Romney is actually injecting himself into an intense dispute within the medical community, pitting the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) against the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). IDSA believes there is “no convincing biological evidence” that Lyme is a chronic infection, while ILADS thinks there are flaws with the current testing system. Wolf and Smith have aligned themselves with ILADS, which is reflected in their bill and other public statements.
Why would Romney do this? The same reason he called Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu to talk Iran only hours after President Obama and Netanyahu spoke to talk Iran. And the same that Romney injected himself into the Libya/Egypt crisis before we even knew that our ambassador was the one who was murdered, along with three hours.
Mitt Romney thinks the suffering of others, such as the assassination of an American ambassador, as a political “opportunity,” and he’s been looking for such an “opportunity” for months now.
Romney doesn’t care whether he knows anything about the conflict. He doesn’t even really care whether the conflict is resolved, as he admitted in the now-infamous 47% video about the Middle East. But not caring about resolving the conflict in the Middle East didn’t stop Romney from phoning Netanyahu to inject himself into the conflict.
The contradiction makes sense once you realize that Romney’s goal isn’t to help the country solve problems. His goal is to become president, and to use the nation’s suffering to propel him there, the same way Reagan used the Iran hostage crisis in 1980 (and Romney admits it in the 47% video).
So who cares if the repugican presidential candidate undercuts the President in the middle of a national security crisis, or whether he undercuts the medical community in the middle of a health crisis. Mitt Romney isn’t about solving the national security problems, or the health problems, of the American people.  Mitt Romney is about solving the campaign problems of Mitt Romney.

Montana governor sees big savings with new state health clinic

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is seen at the Montana State Capitol in Helena, Montana June 2, 2008. REUTERS/Adam Tanner
Montana, looking to cut down on state healthcare costs, has opened the nation's first government-run clinic for state employees in a program the Rocky Mountain state's governor says could ultimately cover a much broader range of people.
Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer says the primary care clinic in the state capital Helena will keep the area's 11,000 state workers and their dependents healthier while saving the state $20 million over five years.
The move coincides with a national debate over the role of government in healthcare
and over President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, under which more than 30 million people would become eligible to buy subsidized private insurance or get coverage through Medicaid, the government program for the poor, in 2014.
The repugican opponents of that law better known to the public as "Obamacare," which also requires most Americans to have some form of health insurance, say it amounts to government intrusion in the private lives of individuals.
Under Montana's separate program, state employees were quickly booking slots for the privately operated clinic, which the state expects to generate savings by reducing duplicate testing for patients and by paying doctors by the hour rather than by the procedure.
"We're completely full," Schweitzer said on a recent tour of the facility ahead of its opening, the first of three scheduled to open this year.
Since starting up late last month, the clinic has seen more than 1,000 patients and was operating at 98-percent capacity, his office said.
Employees who use its services will see no change in coverage for visiting doctors outside of the clinic, although it is only at the new health clinic where they will be charged neither a co-pay nor a deductible.
"I can afford this," patient Sarah Yancy said with a laugh.
"There are a lot of times I didn't go to the doctor when I wanted to go to the doctor because I knew I'd have to pay for it," said Yancy, who works in administrative support with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
Schweitzer has been critical of Obama's healthcare overhaul, saying it did not do enough to control costs, while stopping short of outright opposition. He unveiled his own plan for opening state health clinics in February and then set an aggressive schedule to have the first one open by late summer.
The state hopes to start two other clinics in cities such as Billings, Missoula or Bozeman later this year.
The program is not designed to serve the state population as a whole. But if successful, the clinics could be opened to recipients of Medicare, the government health program for the elderly, as well as Medicaid, Schweitzer said.
"This is a game changer," said healthcare consultant Mike La Penna, who has been studying the on-site clinic industry for the last decade and recently published a book on the subject. "Other states will be watching this closely."
Counties and cities in other parts of the country have opened similar clinics serving municipal or county workers, but never before on the state level, La Penna said.
The state is contracting with the private Tennessee-based Care Here to operate the clinic. Physician assistant Cassie Springer says she wanted to work at the center because she liked the preventive care model.
"We're looking at bringing in patients regularly, staying on top of their healthcare," she said about the clinic, which focuses on primary care services and nutrition counseling.
The state, which already pays workers' healthcare costs directly to providers through state coffers, saves money if this prevents more expensive treatments or emergency room visits down the line. Staff are also paid salaries or by the hour, not by the procedure, which officials say should cut down on redundant or unnecessary procedures.
An analysis of the health clinic plan shows Montana saving $100 million over the next five years "based on full implementation for all clinics across the state," according to state Health Care and Benefits Division Administrator Russ Hill.
The funds for the clinic come from the same pot that Montana already uses to cover healthcare costs, and Schweitzer's administration says the Helena clinic should pay for itself in the first year.
Schweitzer has asked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for permission to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada for the clinic. Similar requests he has made on a statewide basis have not been approved.
Schweitzer, who will be leaving office at the end of this year due to term limits, has been getting criticism from opponents of Obama's Affordable Care Act, the president's signature healthcare reform that has been assailed during the campaign by repugican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
"The only thing this has to do with the Affordable Care Act
is we are challenging expenses here in Montana because they didn't challenge expenses in Washington, D.C.," Schweitzer said of his program, which is patterned after on-site clinics used by some private sector companies for their employees.
State repugican leaders, however, have expressed mixed feelings about the effort. The repugican gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill said he does not believe it will save the state money, and he is opposed to asking state employees to leave their doctor for a government-run clinic.
The repugican state senator Dave Lewis said his problem was not with the clinic itself.
"The issue is whether or not a governor unilaterally has the authority to make that kind of policy change," Lewis said.
He is working on a bill for the next legislative session that would prevent the governor's office from having that ability in the future.

Romney brags about individual health care mandate in Massachusetts

He’s flip-flopping again.
First Mitt Romney was proud of what he did with health care reform in Massachusetts. Then he was embarrassed by it (because core repugicans consider what Romney did “socialism”), so he stopped talking about it.
Then Romney started flip-flopping back and forth on the issue of “Obamacare,” which was inspired in part by what Romney did in Massachusetts.
First Romney ran from the Obama administration’s claim that he was the “grandfather” of Obamacare.
Then Romney flip-flopped on his position on Obamacare, four times in 24 hours.
Then he embraced it, and the appellation of being it’s “grandfather.”
Then he ran away from it again.

And today, Mitt Romney is back on the socialism-lovin’ bandwagon.
LA Times:
In an interview, Romney touted the healthcare plan he crafted as governor of Massachusetts, his biggest liability during the repugican primary and something he rarely talks about on the campaign trail.
Don’t forget — I got everybody in my state insured,” Romney told NBC News. “One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”
The only problem?  Mitt Romney got everyone insured by passing an individual mandate requiring everyone in the state to buy health insurance.  The exact same thing he’s criticism President Obama for doing in health care reform.  And that’s why Romney has been running from his signature achievement, his own health care reform legislation, because he doesn’t think he can win the election unless he out-neanderthals the far right that controls the repugican cabal.
Never mind that Romney actively lobbied for the individual mandate in his state.  Yahoo News points out both flip flops for us:
Mitt Romney has distanced himself from the health care reform bill he signed as governor of Massachusetts amid criticism that the law bears more than a passing resemblance to Obamacare, which he’s repeatedly pledged to repeal if elected in November.
But a series of emails obtained by the Wall Street Journal reveals Romney was actively engaged in negotiating the specifics of the 2006 Massachusetts bill and that he and his top aides championed a provision identical to one in President Barack Obama’s law requiring individuals to have or buy health insurance.
Romney’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the emails.
Yeah, I’ll bet.
And let’s revisit that recent quote from Romney once again.
“Don’t forget — I got everybody in my state insured,” Romney told NBC News. “One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”
Message: Romney cares. But there’s a problem in care-land. If Mitt Romney is going to say that the gold standard of “empathy” and “caring” is insuring kids, then he fails his own standard. Mitt Romney wants to repeal the President’s health care reform law. By doing that, Mitt Romney will take health insurance away from a minimum of six million kids who are currently on their parents’ plans as a result of Obamacare. (Romney would also jeopardize health care for 89m Americans.)
Not very caring or empathetic.
Speaking of empathy, wasn’t it only a few years ago that Republicans were criticizing President Obama for praising empathy?  As Ann Coulter said when lecturing Whoopi Goldberg about what black people really think, “its a fact.”

Five Tips to Save Money on Health Insurance

By Raechel Conover

For most people fall is open enrollment season for health insurance offered through their employer. This is the time to review coverage and options and to make changes that suit your needs. Your decisions can affect how much or how little you pay in health insurance and related costs for the entire year, so don't blow it off. The following tips can help you choose the plan that's right for you at a price that won't wear you down.
Take advantage of open enrollment and choose the best health insurance plan for you and your family. 

1. Review your health insurance plan. Many people just let their health insurance renew from one year to the next without looking it over. Big mistake. Health insurance plans change and even a slight tweak may mean higher costs in the form of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Also, your health situation may be changing. One year you may need more coverage and the next year you may need less. There's no reason to pay for coverage you won't use.

2. Review other health insurance plans. Make sure you're choosing the right health insurance plan by checking out all the plans your employer offers. Tally up your family's healthcare needs in a typical year, including prescriptions, estimated doctor visits, vision needs, dental needs, and other usual procedures. Compare how the available health insurance plans stack up for these services. If you're married or have a domestic partner, check out the health insurance plans offered at their workplace. These options may be better than yours and you may save on premiums and co-pays by switching.
Some employers offer the choice between a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO).
  • HMO: A type of health insurance plan with generally lower out-of-pocket costs but limits on the healthcare providers you're allowed to visit. A good choice if your doctors are on the approved list.
  • PPO: A type of health insurance plan with typically higher deductibles and premiums but more choice about which healthcare professional you see and where you are seen.
3. Consider a high deductible health insurance plan. Both the Wall Street Journal and Parents.com suggest opting for a high deductible plan if your family is relatively healthy and makes infrequent trips to the doctor or hospital. Although the deductible is higher with these health insurance plans, premiums are generally lower and you qualify for a health savings account (HSA). An HSA allows you or your employer to put away money pretax for health related expenses (i.e., draw on the account to help pay your premiums and deductibles). Any money left at the end of the year can be rolled over to the following year.
High deductible insurance plans have lower premiums.  

4. Take advantage of wellness programs and additional perks. Many companies are offering wellness programs to employees. Why? The healthier you are the lower the cost of health insurance (both the company's share and yours). Take advantage of these free and beneficial offerings because they help you in several ways. Aside from keeping you healthy and health insurance costs in check, wellness programs sometimes translate into money for your HSA. For example, some companies offer free physicals for employees and some provide online health screenings with personalized recommendations on how to improve your health; participants in these and similar programs are often rewarded with deposits into their HSA accounts. Additionally, some companies offer discounted gym memberships, pay in full for all well and preventative doctor appointments, and even stock the break room with healthy snacks. If you're a smoker, however, be prepared to pay up in the form of health insurance premium surcharges.

5. Strive to be healthy. It's a fact, healthy people pay less for healthcare. While you may have the same health insurance plan as someone with a condition like type 2 diabetes, you'll pay less overall because you'll visit the doctor less often and need less medication. So keep yourself healthy. Stop smoking now - as mentioned above, many companies charge smokers more for health insurance than non-smokers because smoking is associated with health complications. You can manage your weight by exercising regularly and following a healthy diet, which has the added benefit of staving off some chronic diseases. And finally, protect yourself from germs and a visit to the doctor for a sick appointment by washing your hands frequently.

Medicare fines over hospitals' readmitted patients

by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

If you or an elderly relative have been hospitalized recently and noticed extra attention when the time came to be discharged, there's more to it than good customer service.

As of Monday, Medicare will start fining hospitals that have too many patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge due to complications. The penalties are part of a broader push under President Barack Obama's health care law to improve quality while also trying to save taxpayers money.
About two-thirds of the hospitals serving Medicare patients, or some 2,200 facilities, will be hit with penalties averaging around $125,000 per facility this coming year, according to government estimates.
Data to assess the penalties have been collected and crunched, and Medicare has shared the results with individual hospitals. Medicare plans to post details online later in October, and people can look up how their community hospitals performed by using the agency's "Hospital Compare" website.
It adds up to a new way of doing business for hospitals, and they have scrambled to prepare for well over a year. They are working on ways to improve communication with rehabilitation centers and doctors who follow patients after they're released, as well as connecting individually with patients.
"There is a lot of activity at the hospital level to straighten out our internal processes," said Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and safety at the American Hospital Association. "We are also spreading our wings a little and reaching outside the hospital, to the extent that we can, to make sure patients are getting the ongoing treatment they need."
Still, industry officials say they have misgivings about being held liable for circumstances beyond their control. They also complain that facilities serving low-income people, including many major teaching hospitals, are much more likely to be fined, raising questions of fairness.
"Readmissions are partially within the control of the hospital and partially within the control of others," Foster said.
Consumer advocates say Medicare's nudge to hospitals is long overdue and not nearly stiff enough.
"It's modest, but it's a start," said Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. "Should we be surprised that industry is objecting? You would expect them to object to anything that changes the status quo."
For the first year, the penalty is capped at 1 percent of a hospital's Medicare payments. The overwhelming majority of penalized facilities will pay less. Also, for now, hospitals are only being measured on three medical conditions: heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia.
Under the health care law, the penalties gradually will rise until 3 percent of Medicare payments to hospitals are at risk. Medicare is considering holding hospitals accountable on four more measures: joint replacements, stenting, heart bypass and treatment of stroke.
If General Motors and Toyota issue warranties for their vehicles, hospitals should have some similar obligation when a patient gets a new knee or a stent to relieve a blocked artery, Santa contends. "People go to the hospital to get their problem solved, not to have to come back," he said.
Excessive rates of readmission are only part of the problem of high costs and uneven quality in the U.S. health care system. While some estimates put readmission rates as high as 20 percent, a congressional agency says the level of preventable readmissions is much lower. About 12 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who are hospitalized are later readmitted for a potentially preventable problem, said the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, known as MedPAC.
Foster, the hospital association official, said medication mix-ups account for a big share of problems. Many Medicare beneficiaries are coping with multiple chronic conditions, and it's not unusual for their medication lists to be changed in the hospital. But their doctors outside sometimes don't get the word; other times, the patients themselves don't understand there's been a change.
Another issue is making sure patients go to their required follow-up appointments.
Medicare deputy administrator Jonathan Blum said he thinks hospitals have gotten the message.
"Clearly it's captured their attention," said Blum. "It's galvanized the hospital industry on ways to reduce unnecessary readmissions. It's forced more parts of the health care system to work together to ensure that patients have much smoother transitions."
MedPAC, the congressional advisory group, has produced research findings that back up the industry's assertion that hospitals serving the poor, including major teaching facilities, are more likely to face penalties. But for now, Blum said Medicare is not inclined to grade on the curve.
"We have really tried to address and study this issue," said Blum. "If you look at the data, there are hospitals that serve a low-income patient mix and do very well on these measures. It seems to us that hospitals that serve low-income people can control readmissions very well."
Under Obama's health care overhaul, Medicare is pursuing efforts to try to improve quality and lower costs. They include rewarding hospitals for quality results, and encouraging hospitals, nursing homes and medical practice groups to join in "accountable care organizations." Dozens of pilot programs are under way. The jury is still out on the results.

How Working Longer Than 8 Hours May Be a Health Risk

by Sarah Jio
Maybe forward this one to your boss: According to a new study, working longer than eight hours could be bad for your health. Read on, for your excuse to leave right now.

Have you been at work longer than eight hours today? If so, it might be time to pry yourself away from your desk, if you can. Finnish researchers say that those who work longer than eight hours a day, consistently, have as much as an 80 percent increased risk for heart disease.

How does this happen? The experts say that long days create the unhealthy trifecta that can mess with your health: spikes in stress, increase in blood pressure, and unhealthy diets. And, this major study isn't one to ignore as it compiled data from workers all the way back to 1958!

Four Reasons Why Having a Dog is Good for Your Health

by April Daniels Hussar
Happy National Dog Week! Whether you've already got a furry BFF or are thinking about making the leap to pet owner, we've got some great reasons why bringing a pup into your life is a healthy move to make.

"There are so many reasons to bring a dog into your life, and the joy that comes along with that decision is a big part of it," Wayne Pacelle, President and Chief Executive Officer, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and author of The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them, tells HealthySELF. "Our connection with dogs and other animals is part of our emotional make-up as a species."

Here are four of those reasons...

1) They make you feel good.
"There's actually a biochemical basis for our connection with animals," explains Pacelle. "We have social bonding hormones, such as oxytocin, that are activated when we interact with dogs."

2) They make you healthier.
"Pet caretakers have lower rates of hypertension and high blood pressure," says Pacelle. "They sleep better, exercise more and interact socially more often."

3) Pets help your stress levels.
According to the HSUS, investigators at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that patients with hypertension who owned pets had lower blood pressure levels when put in stressful situations.

4) Plain-old L-O-V-E.
The CDC lists "loneliness" as one of the things having a pet can help cure, and it's no wonder. "Dogs become our companions and our protectors, and they are loyal and provide us with unconditional love," says Pacelle. "It doesn't hurt that they entertain us and make us laugh out loud, while occasionally exasperating us, too!"

The 5 Stupidest Ways People Try to Avoid Embarrassment

The 5 Stupidest Ways People Try to Avoid Embarrassment

Retiring in Booms Could Cause Financial Hardship

The recent economic downturn and volatile financial markets have drastically reduced the retirement accounts of many current and future retirees.
Continue Reading

Random Photo

An 1866 Abandoned Mill, Sorrento, Italy

Il Vallone dei Mulini - "The Deep valley of the Mills":
(image credit: Sean Munson)
"The gorge is right in the middle of town. You basically walk down a street and when you look over a wall you see that."

Seneca on "YOLO" in 55 A.D.

I am always surprised to see some people demanding the time of others and meeting a most obliging response. Both sides have in view the reason for which the time is asked and neither regards the time itself—as if nothing is being asked for and nothing given. They are trifling with life’s most precious commodity, being deceived because it is an intangible thing, not open to inspection and therefore reckoned very cheap—in fact, almost without any value...

No one will bring back the years; no one will restore you to yourself. Life will follow the path it began to take and will neither reverse nor check its course. It will cause no commotion to remind you of its swiftness, but glide on quietly. It will not lengthen itself for a king’s command or a people’s favor. As it started out on its first day, so it will run on, nowhere pausing or turning aside. What will be the outcome? You have been preoccupied while life hastens on. Meanwhile death will arrive, and you have no choice in making yourself available for that.
Can anything be more idiotic than certain people who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves officiously preoccupied in order to improve their lives; they spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately... And even if you do grasp it, it will still flee. So you must match time’s swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow.
You can read more of the essay in the current issue of Lapham's Quarterly.

Queen Victoria, Artist

Prince Albert
Among the Queen's talents was a gift for art. Victoria filled her notebooks with sketches and watercolors:
From her subtle yet rich watercolors to her seemingly austere but remarkably expressive black-and-white ink sketches (with a style reminiscent of Wendy MacNaughton’s), the drawings complement her observations of daily life and capture everything from members of the Royal Family to foreign military uniforms to the people and places the Queen encountered during her travels, and even her faithful dog.
Pictured above is Victoria's watercolor of her beloved Prince Albert.

Is there a second Mona Lisa?

National Post:

“Scientific tests don’t demonstrate the authenticity [and] the autography of a painting, but demonstrate it’s from a certain era, whether the techniques are similar or not,” Vezzosi told The Associated Press in French. “Here, there are many open questions,” before waving his hand over the painting, as a security guard with folded arms stood nearby.
Ever since the 16th century, several historical sources suggest that da Vinci painted two “Mona Lisa” versions. One was of Mona Lisa Gherardo around 1503 that was commissioned by her husband, Francesco del Giocondo, the foundation said. Another — the one in the Louvre — was completed in 1517 for Giuliano de Medici, da Vinci’s patron. That theory fits with da Vinci’s tendency at times to paint two versions of some of his works, like the Virgin of the Rocks, the group said.
Foundation members say it’s unrealistic to think that the woman sat twice for a portrait, but that the meticulous, mathematical approach suggested that Da Vinci may have projected in his mind what she would have looked like between the first alleged “Mona Lisa” and the “Mona Lisa” in the Louvre.
However, the foundation acknowledged that the “Isleworth Mona Lisa” remains unfinished, and that da Vinci didn’t paint all parts of the work. Still, the group pointed to newly discovered evidence in 2005 from Heidelberg, Germany, that suggested da Vinci was working on at least the head of such a painting in 1503.
I’ve seen the original, and while it was nice, I’ve never understood what makes it a masterpiece.
Okay that’s funny. I just read on NPR that it’s famous because it was stolen!  So it’s famous because it’s famous.
Before its theft, the “Mona Lisa” was not widely known outside the art world. Leonardo da Vinci painted it in 1507, but it wasn’t until the 1860s that critics began to hail it as a masterwork of Renaissance painting. And that judgment didn’t filter outside a thin slice of French intelligentsia.
“The ‘Mona Lisa’ wasn’t even the most famous painting in its gallery, let alone in the Louvre,” Zug says.
Dorothy and Tom Hoobler wrote about the painting’s heist in their book, The Crimes of Paris. It was 28 hours, they say, until anyone even noticed the four bare hooks….
All of a sudden, James Zug says, “the ‘Mona Lisa’ becomes this incredibly famous painting — literally overnight.”
Any art experts out there want to explain why the painting is worthy of fame, beyond the fact that it became famous from a heist?


The Idyll

Lynyrd Skynyrd's Las Vegas Restaurant Must Remain Closed After Eviction, Says Judge

Lynyrd Skynyrd s' BBQ & Beer restaurant at The Excalibur in Las Vegas was closed for non-payment of rent Wednesday, leading the restaurant to sue to reverse the eviction.



flying jo!
Jo Siffert in volo con la sua Lotus Ford 49B del Rob Walker Racing Team nel tratto “Kesselchen” del Norschleife, durante il Gran Premio di Germania 1969.
Flying Jo!
Jo Siffert in volo con la sua Lotus Ford 49B del Rob Walker Racing Team nel tratto “Kesselchen” del Norschleife, durante il Gran Premio di Germania 1969.

Greek Pastafarian arrested for "Cyber Crimes"

A reader writes, "On September 24, Greece's Cyber Crimes division arrested a 27 year old man on charges of blasphemy, for his website that mocks a well-known Greek monk Elder Paisios, using the name Elder Pastitsios (the even better-known Greek pasta dish). The link is to a Greek blog, which shows a religious procession through the streets of Athens last Friday led by local Pastafarians in protest of the arrest, during which pastitso was distributed to the crowds as a holy blessing. It's being widely reported that the arrest was instigated not by the Greek Orthodox church, but by the neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn, who currently hold seats in Parliament. The Twitter hashtag for the story is #FreeGeronPastitsios."
Αναλυτικό ρεπορτάζ από τη λιτανεία και περιφορά του παστιτσίου στα Εξάρχεια

Solving a dinosaur detour


N.C. scientists use rise and fall of prehistoric islands to explain duck-bill variations

By Sabine Vollmer
  • Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah: A skull of Acristavus gagslarsoni, a “non-crested grandfather” duck-bill dinosaur was found here -- and another of that species was found 1,000 miles away, in Montana.
When Terry Gates was a grad student in paleontology at the University of Utah, two dinosaur fossils were being excavated about 1,000 miles apart – one in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, the other in western Montana.
Gates took part in the dig in southern Utah, where a dinosaur skull had been found poking out of a large sandstone block that rested atop a 500-foot hill.
In 2011, more than a decade after the two discoveries, scientists determined that the fossils belonged to the same species, one of the oldest duck-billed dinosaurs found in North America. They named the species Acristavus gagslarsoni, or “non-crested grandfather,” because the skulls of both lacked ornamentation most of their successors sported a few million years later.
Both sets of fossils were about 79 million years old, and their age harbored a revelation about the Campanian, a geologic age that lasted from 83 million years to 72 million years ago and was part of the late Cretaceous epoch.
“Duck-billed dinosaurs were free to walk up and down (the mountainous belt, which ran north to south),” Gates said. “No one knew that. There was no data.”
Gates, now a postdoctoral researcher at Ohio University and a research associate at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, then took this revelation a step further. In a paper published recently in the scientific journal PLoS One, he and his co-authors used Acristavus’ ability to roam to solve a paleontological mystery.
Working with Gates were Lindsay Zanno, director of the paleontology and geology research laboratory at the Raleigh museum’s new Nature Research Center and a research assistant professor at N.C. State, and Albert Prieto-Marquez of the Bavarian Geological and Paleontological Collection in Munich, Germany.
Scientists had long wondered why the variety of North American duck-billed and horned dinosaur species increased rapidly in the late Campanian age and then decreased suddenly before non-avian dinosaurs went extinct worldwide about 65 million years ago.
Gates, Zanno and Prieto-Marquez suggested that in the late Campanian approximately two species of duck-billed and horned dinosaur species evolved every million years, because Achristavus’ successors were no longer able to roam as freely.
Mountains of the Laramide range had started to rise and about 75 million years ago were tall enough to create barriers between dinosaur habitats and cut populations off from each other. As a result, they evolved into different species.
But by the late Cretaceous, geologic and climate changes in North America again extended the dinosaurs’ habitats – and the rate at which new duck-billed and horned dinosaur species slowed to about one every 2 million years.
What a difference time makes
The theory squares with what scientists know about consequences of habitat fragmentation, which can occur through, for example, volcanic eruptions, fire or land clearing to farm and construct roads and human settlements.
As competition for food and other resources increases among organisms surviving in smaller and disconnected portions of their former habitat, species become threatened or endangered.
That’s what has happened with tigers, the largest big cats in Asia. In the past century, Asian tigers have been competing for space with expanding human populations. More than 90 percent of the tigers’ historic habitat has been destroyed, degraded or fragmented, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Today, the number of wild tigers has dwindled to about 3,200 in Asia, a 97 percent reduction, according to the WWF. Tiger species on the islands of Java and Bali have become extinct.
On Sumatra, their last stronghold in Indonesia, fewer than 400 remain in an area measuring one-third of the island, down from about 1,000 tigers in the late 1970s.
What tigers don’t have going for them that duck-billed and horned dinosaurs did is time. Lots of time.
Building mountains takes millions of years – enough time for new species of duck-billed and horned dinosaurs to come about while some relatives go extinct.
“When this happens on a natural cycle, it doesn’t outpace replacement,” said Zanno.
Life on Laramidia
During the Campanian most continents were in the same place as they are today, but satellite photos of North America would have shown a lot less land. The air was warmer, the poles were free of ice and snow and sea levels were much higher than today, Gates said. West Coast and East Coast states would have been under water, and a seaway hundreds of miles wide extended from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean and into Hudson Bay, dividing the continent into three large islands.
Laramidia is what scientists named the island that stretched more than 1,200 miles from modern Canada to Mexico. The narrow strip of land between the mountains and the seaway is where scientists believe non-avian dinosaurs roamed – at least that’s what the fossil record suggests.
Much of the strip was very green and lush, probably covered with low-lying plants, including ferns and flowering trees, Gates said. He compared the scenery to a dreamscape of a modern-day forest, similar but different. Where Utah is today, the strip of land was swampy, he said. In Texas it was fairly dry. Along with the dinosaurs, birds, fish, frogs, salamanders, lizards and mammals no bigger than a raccoon were likely to inhabit the strip.
Duck-billed and horned dinosaurs were plant eaters that probably lived in herds. Both were common, had few defenses and were the primary prey for large meat-eaters such as the Tyrannosaurus rex, just like water buffaloes and wildebeest are prey for lions in the African savannah today, Gates said.
After 79 million years ago, mountains of the Laramide range started to erupt east to west across the narrow strip, essentially creating fragmented dinosaur habitats.
The fossil record suggests duck-billed and horned dinosaurs developed crests and horns that differed from habitat to habitat. Each species used its ornamentation as a signal to recognize a mate, Zanno said, which would have prevented different species from mating with each other.
As the Laramide range rose and the climate turned cooler, the seaway along eastern Laramidia started to narrow. By 69 million years ago, it had receded so much that land bridges connected Laramidia to the two islands to the east, forming what resembled the North American landmass of today.
The variety of duck-billed and horned dinosaurs decreased once the land bridges allowed the animals to spread out over a much larger area, Gates, Prieto-Marquez and Zanno suggested: The nonrestricted habitat slowed genetic exchange and species variation.
The changes the duck-billed and horned dinosaurs went through as the Laramide mountains rose and the seaway receded serves as an example for what happens to organisms when the climate and habitats change, Gates said.
“We know species evolve,” he said, “but it is difficult for us to envision the process over millions of years given our 75-year life spans.”

Where Did Augmented Reality Come From?

Augmented reality is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Over the past few decades, this artificial view of the physical world matured from a scientist's plaything to a part of daily life. But where did augmented reality come from?

Which Science Fiction Franchises Depict Space Warfare the Most Accurately?

Galactica and Pegasus
It's all speculative, of course. Humans have never engaged in a space naval battle...that we know about. Star Trek and the like aren't real, but physics is. So Foreign Policy interviewed naval analyst Chris Weuve about the real science behind interplanetary combat in science fiction:
FPWhat about ships turning in space like airplanes?
CW: Babylon 5 was closer in that it understood that there is no air in space and you don't bank. But even on that show, the ships would be under thrust, and then they decide to go back the way they come, they would spin around and almost immediately start going in the opposite direction. That doesn't work. They ignored the fact that acceleration is cumulative. But I do like that they can rotate in flight and fire sideways. Babylon 5 and the new Battlestar Galactica are far and away the best in trying to portray vector physics. There are a lot of problems with the way they do it, but I'm willing to give them an A for effort.
FPWhich are the most realistic sci-fi movies in portraying space warfare?
CW: There isn't any show that does a really good job across the board. Some do better at different parts. For example, the new Battlestar Galactica is probably the best at depicting life on board a ship. That ship is very spacious compared to a U.S. Navy warship, but the inside of it looks correct. One of my all-time favorite TV shows is Star Trek, especially Star Trek: The Next Generation. But one thing that drives me crazy is that on Star Trek, you're either on watch or off duty, when a real naval officer has a whole other job, such as being a department or division head. So he's constantly doing paperwork. Most shows don't get that right at all.
And which science fiction franchise is the worst in terms of the physics of flight? Star Wars. Read why at the link.

Funny Pictures

Now, you know the answer.

Porkocalypse Is Upon Us

The bacon doomsday clock is now officially ticking as we count down to Porkocalypse, next year's worldwide bacon shortage predicted this week by the U.K.'s National Pig Association. You may have to start stocking your cellar with bacon products to carry you through the bleak bacon-free days ahead.

Here's a selection of the finest curation of bacon items to help you survive Porkocalypse.

Restaurant shut down after dead deer found in kitchen

A Chinese restaurant in Williamsburg, Kentucky, has been forced to shut its doors after getting caught with a dead deer in the kitchen. It happened on Thursday afternoon at the Red Flower Chinese Restaurant. "We were actually joking about the, you know, the whole Chinese restaurant. You know some rumors that you hear," said customer, Katie Hopkins. But, Hopkins and her friends never imaged what would happen after finishing their buffet lunches.

"Two of the workers came in wheeling a garbage can and they had a box sitting on top of it. And hanging out of the garbage can, they were trying to be real quick with it. So that nobody could see it. But there was like a tail, and a foot and leg. Sticking out of the garbage can and they wheeled it straight back into the kitchen," adds Hopkins. Hopkins immediately called the health department to describe what she saw.

"Many people eat there. A lot of locals eat there on lunch breaks and stuff. It was very disturbing. There was actually a blood trail that they were mopping up behind the garbage can," she said. Paul Lawson, the environmental health inspector in Whitley County says this is the craziest thing he's ever seen. After he arrived at the Chinese restaurant on south highway 25 West, he says the complaints proved to be true after finding roadkill in the restaurant's kitchen. Lawson said that the owner's son admitted to picking up a dead deer off the side of I-75 north in Williamsburg.

This prompted the health department to immediately shut down the business. "They said they didn't know that they weren't allowed to. So that makes me concerned. But maybe thy could have before. They didn't admit to doing it before," says Lawson.  Lawson says that the restaurant can reopen if they pass a secondary health inspection, proving that they have washed, rinsed, and sanitized the restaurant after having roadkill inside. The restaurant owner told the health department that he wasn't going to serve the road kill to customers, but instead to his family. The Red Flower Chinese Restaurant will not face any fines.

Fawn rescued after becoming trapped in manhole

When sheriff's deputies in Davis County, Utah, discovered a one-year-old fawn stuck in a manhole, they knew he had no way out on his own.
"It was very much alive and in distress," said Sgt. Todd Taylor. "We knew the deer wasn't going to last long in the hole, he had no food, no water." The fawn was stuck 10 feet down a narrow concrete pipe.

"When animals are under stress sometimes they're killed and we didn't want to do that to a healthy animal, so the only thing we could think of was to lasso him and try to lift him out without hurting him," said Sgt. Taylor. The deputies managed to lasso the fawn around the neck and pull him to safety.

Despite the deer's audible cries, his rescuers say he was not injured and that it was worth getting him to safety. As soon as he was lifted out of the manhole, the deer scampered off to some nearby woods.

There's a news video here.

Five Terrifying Animals That Could Save Your Life Someday

Wit of the World

Gorilla kisses her newborn at Jersey zoo

Mother Hlala Kahilli has given birth to a healthy baby westland lowland gorilla at the Durrell Wildlife Park park on Jersey.

Visitors were able to watch the gorilla holding her newborn to her chest and even appearing to kiss its forehead. The baby was born in the early hours of Thursday morning and so far the park not been able to ascertain its gender.

Mark Brayshaw Head of Animal Collection at Durrell said: “We are delighted with the great news and so far the mother is doing well, but as with all births we need to be extra cautious during the first few days. "

At the moment the group including the new parents are all very relaxed and our keepers are remaining as hands off as possible as the group appears quite settled.” Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered and are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.