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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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Daily Drift

If you remember this you're old as dirt like the rest of us ...

Today's readers have been in:
Velletta, Malta
Kuantan, Malaysia
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Jerudong, Brunei Darussalam
Cape Town, South Africa
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Kota Bharu, Malaysia
Klang, Malayisa
Ankara, Turkey
Vientiane, Laos
Ballitoville, South Africa
Dhaka, Bangladesh
London, England
Kabul, Afghanistan
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Panabo, Philippines
Tripoli, Lebanon
Hanoi, Vietnam
Tirana, Albania
Islamabad, Pakistan

Screw The Voting Rights Act

Florida: They're not letting Blacks vote in November

Florida, a key electoral battleground, will defy the Justice Department's warning to stop its effort to purge Black voters, a state spokesman said on Saturday.

The warning issued this week by the head of the Justice Department's voting section said the move to purge Black voters appeared to violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities. It demanded a response by Wednesday.

But a spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the state must ensure only White voters cast ballots, and intends to go forward with the campaign.

"We have a year-round obligation to ensure the integrity of Florida's White elections. We will be responding to the Justice Department's concerns next week," Chris Cate said.


Romney dealing with his own "birthers"

The man who has the nerve to bring up Rev. Wright a few months ago, gratuitously (as if there's any other way), and the man who refuses to repudiate Donald Trump's ongoing "birther" garbage about President obama, deserves a taste of his own medicine.
From McKay Coppins at Buzzfeed:
The Romney birthers' predominant theory is that because George Romney was born in Mexico, his candidate son is not a naturalized citizen, and therefore Constitutionally ineligible to occupy the Oval Office. (This theory has the unfortunate side-effect of disqualifying President Chester Arthur, the son of an immigrant from Ireland.)
Others believe the younger Romney was, himself, born in Mexico; others point to supposed evidence that his birth certificate is a fraud — and a few even contend that he was raised up by Mormon polygamists to be a presidential plant. But the bottom line for all of them is that Mitt just isn't American enough to be president.

This repugican asshole is calling for MORE intrusion by the TSA

Yes, because more TSA is exactly what everyone wants and needs. Shouldn't they have to prove some actual value before expanding their program to more trains and buses?
The Republican calling for a greater presence of the TSA holds a powerful position, so it's likely only a matter of time before the TSA is discovering new ways to spend money and attack personal privacy without ever showing any real threat or real benefit.

The Hill:
Lawmakers normally criticize the TSA for its airport security techniques, but Mike Rodgers (r-Ala.) said during a hearing Thursday that the controversial agency's surface transportation initiatives were inefficient.

"We know aviation continues to be a major focus for our enemies," Rodgers said. "Having said that, terrorists see surface transportation as a very attractive target. And since we can’t screen everyone and everything that gets on a train, truck or bus, intelligence sharing, deterrence, and detection measures are extremely important."

Rodgers is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Transportation Security. The panel held a hearing Thursday to investigate the TSA's management of its surface transportation inspection program, which is designed to provide spot security checks in lieu of the inspections of every passenger that typify air travel.

There’s a Bank Robber in One of 19 Cars in the Intersection

What Would You Do?

There's a bank robber in one of 19 cars at an intersection in Aurora, Colorado. Problem was, the police didn't know exactly which car. So they did something a bit unusual:
Police said they had received what they called a “reliable” tip that the culprit in an armed robbery at a Wells Fargo bank committed earlier was stopped at the red light.
“We didn’t have a description, didn’t know race or gender or anything, so a split-second decision was made to stop all the cars at that intersection, and search for the armed robber,” Aurora police Officer Frank Fania told ABC News.
Officers barricaded the area, halting 19 cars. [...] From there, the police went from car to car, removing the passengers and handcuffing the adults.
“Most of the adults were handcuffed, then were told what was going on and were asked for permission to search the car,” Fania said. “They all granted permission, and once nothing was found in their cars, they were un-handcuffed.”
Even though the police did catch the bank robber, people are now asking whether handcuffing everyone on the spot was a breach of civil rights.
What do you think? Did the police do the right thing? Was it a case of guilty until proven innocent? Or was it a lawful investigative detention?
Erin McLaughlin of ABC News has the report: here.

Wall Street CEO pay up 20% in 2011

Heck, when you own the government, you can write the rules. It doesn't matter whether it's a Democrat or repugican in office because they're all in the pocket of Wall Street. Obama cashed in on Wall Street money in 2008 and now Romney is doing the same this year.
It's a fixed game and political class has campaign money to raise so no questions will be asked. The most highly paid Wall Street CEO in 2011 was Henry Kravis who received $30 million, closely followed by his co-CEO George Roberts at $29.9 million.

 Heads they win, tails they win.
Kravis and Roberts, 68, lead a list of 50 financial CEOs whose compensation collectively rose by an average of 20.4 percent in 2011 -- a year when most big banks and brokerages saw their revenues, profits and stock prices plummet. The 2011 pay rise followed a 26 percent increase in 2010 for CEOs who held the same job in both years.

In a comparison of 2011 financial CEO incentive pay against stock returns over three years, Citigroup Inc. (C) CEO Vikram Pandit, who was awarded $15 million in 2011, ranks as the executive who provided the least shareholder value. That award is being reconsidered after shareholders rejected it.

JPMorgan dismissed risk control warnings

Once again, the risk geniuses at JPMorgan were more PR-spin geniuses than anything. JPMorgan, like their CEO Jamie Dimon, knew everything and were the experts. Heaven forbid anyone tell them anything because like the Enron team, they were always the smartest guys in the room.
JPMorgan is now planning to follow one of the risk-related recommendations but it only shows how wrong the bank was leading up to the now $3 billion loss. There are suggestions that the risk team at the bank was equipped with the power to control risk but obviously that was either not the case or the risk team director (who was known as a "natural trader") was a willing participant.

 NY Times:
Still, that will not address weaknesses that critics say undermined the power of the bank’s chief risk officer. According to two former traders at the chief investment office and outside specialists, the chief risk officer was not focused on the huge credit market bets the chief investment office made that eventually went bad.

What is more, in some cases, the chief risk officer did not review large trades by the chief investment office or properly set position limits, the former traders said.

“They got a bit too comfortable and seemed to ignore the chief investment office,” said one of the former bankers, who insisted on anonymity because the loss is under investigation by a host of regulators.
Cheaters are always going to cheat but the banking system needs much stronger regulation than exists today. Now that we're saddled with too many too-big-to-fail banks, much more needs to be done to minimize risk for taxpayers. If the banks want to risk their own money and not receive bailouts or free money loans from the Federal Reserve, they can do as they please, but that's not the case. These banks all keep their hands out for easy money and continue to take unreasonable risks. Their bonus payments rely on it.

Did you know ...

That Government spending has plummeted as the economy has remained stagnant.
Not exactly a recipe for success.

Daily Comic Relief

Full-time female employees make an average 77 cents for each dollar earned by male counterparts

Mikulski Promotes Paycheck Fairness Act 
In Maryland, men who work full time make an average of $140 more per week than women, according to data compiled by the congressional Joint Economic Committee. Nationally, the pay gap is even greater at $148.

Over the course of a year, that's nearly a $7,700 difference in wages.

Singapore tightens rules on window cleaning after nine maids fall to their death

Singapore has tightened rules on window cleaning after nine maids fell to their deaths this year from high-rise apartments.
The Manpower Ministry said in a statement that maids are no longer allowed to clean the outside of windows unless they are supervised. The ministry said seven of this year's nine maid deaths were due to dangerous window cleaning or hanging of laundry.

Local media yesterday featured dramatic front-page photos of a 29-year-old Indonesian maid as she fell from her employer's 12th floor apartment window on Sunday, but was grabbed and rescued by neighbors one floor below.

The nine maids who fell to their deaths were from Indonesia, which supplies about half of Singapore's 200,000 maids.

Greeks Think They’re the Hardest Working People in Europe

In the midst of the European economic crisis, the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project decided to conduct a little poll on the European Union countries and how they view each other on various topics.
Amongst the findings, this one stood out: Almost everybody think that Germans are the hardest working people, and the Greeks are the least hardworking ... except the Greeks!
Germany is the most admired nation in the EU and its leader the most respected. The Germans are judged to be Europe’s most hardworking people. And the Germans are the strongest supporters of both European economic integration and the European Union.
Greece is the polar opposite. None of its fellow EU members surveyed see it in a positive light. In turn, Greeks are among the most disparaging of European economic integration and the harshest critics of the European Union. And they see themselves as Europe’s most hardworking people.

Judge in Edwards case to reconsider trial motions

The judge overseeing the John Edwards case will reconsider a pair of defense motions on whether the government tried the case in the right venue and whether prosecutors gathered evidence improperly.

Anders Breivik murder trial judge caught on camera playing solitaire in court

One of the five judges in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, the mass killer on trial in Norway, has been caught on camera playing solitaire in court.

In a picture, one of the three lay judges, Ernst Henning Eielsen, can be seen playing the card game on his computer.

Breivik carried out two deadly attacks in Norway last summer, killing 77 people.

Mr Eielsen has not denied playing a game of cards, a court spokeswoman said.

Libyan militia seizes Tripoli airport

A group of disgruntled militiamen took over the country's main airport on Monday, storming it with heavy machine guns and armored vehicles and forcing airport authorities to divert flights, a security official said.

Man Carjacked Ride for Prom

Usually, people rent fancy vehicles to go to the prom, but this 20-year-old Chicagoan had a different idea:
Lorenzo Bracey spent last Friday night all dressed up with no place to go. Well, except jail. The 20-year-old Chicago man was fully tuxed when he made a pre-prom McDonald's stop.
Before he could say "to go, please," a man who recognized his own car in the parking lot identified Bracey as the guy who stole it from him at gunpoint earlier that day.
Bracey was arrested while wearing "a fancy white shirt and a grayish silver tuxedo" and spent prom night with the police. Instead of a date, Bracey picked up four felonies and three misdemeanors.


sun rise
by Santhya Faizal

Meet Sho Kayo

The Real Life Doogie Howser, M.D.
 Meet the real life Doogie Howser, M.D. His name is Sho Kayo, and he's getting his M.D. from the University of Chicago at 21 years of age:
Sho Yano has been a college student for 12 years, but it's only recently that he looks as if he belongs, blending in with undergrad students in a Hyde Park coffee shop.
This week, the 21-year-old will complete the journey he began as a 9-year-old college freshman, becoming the youngest student in the University of Chicago's history to receive an M.D.
Yano was reading at age 2, writing by 3 and composing music by his 5th birthday. He graduated from Loyola University in three years — summa cum laude, no less. When he entered U. of C.'s prestigious Pritzker School of Medicine at 12, it was into one of the school's most rigorous programs, where students get both their doctorate and medical degrees.

Is Salt REALLY Bad for Your Health?

For decades, doctors have admonished us to reduce our salt intake to lower blood pressure, but is salt really that bad?
Gary Taubes of The New York Times wrote about why salt may turn out not to be bad for your health after all. In fact, eating too little salt can be bad:
The idea that eating less salt can worsen health outcomes may sound bizarre, but it also has biological plausibility and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, too. A 1972 paper in The New England Journal of Medicine reported that the less salt people ate, the higher their levels of a substance secreted by the kidneys, called renin, which set off a physiological cascade of events that seemed to end with an increased risk of heart disease. In this scenario: eat less salt, secrete more renin, get heart disease, die prematurely.
With nearly everyone focused on the supposed benefits of salt restriction, little research was done to look at the potential dangers. But four years ago, Italian researchers began publishing the results from a series of clinical trials, all of which reported that, among patients with heart failure, reducing salt consumption increased the risk of death.

Science News

Facebook Photos May Reflect Unconscious Cultural Difference

For millions of Facebook users, choosing which photo to use for an online profile is an important decision. Should it ...
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High blood caffeine levels in older adults linked to avoidance of Alzheimer’s

High blood caffeine levels in older adults linked to avoidance of Alzheimer’sThose cups of coffee that you drink every day to keep alert appear to have an extra perk – especially ...
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Ancient Jugs Hold the Secret to Practical Mathematics in Biblical Times

Archaeologists in the eastern Mediterranean region have been unearthing spherical jugs, used by the ancients for storing and trading oil ...
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What Hit Earth 1,200 Years Ago?

Japanese scientists studying tree rings data found something strange: 1,200 years ago an extremely intense burst of high-energy radiation of unknown origin hit planet Earth.
The radiation burst, which seems to have hit between ad 774 and ad 775, was detected by looking at the amounts of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 in tree rings that formed during the ad 775 growing season in the Northern Hemisphere. The increase in 14C levels is so clear that the scientists, led by Fusa Miyake, a cosmic-ray physicist from Nagoya University in Japan, conclude that the atmospheric level of 14C must have jumped by 1.2% over the course of no longer than a year, about 20 times more than the normal rate of variation.
But what happened, exactly?
The only known events that can produce a 14C spike are floods of gamma-rays from supernova explosions or proton storms from giant solar flares. But neither seems likely, Miyake says, because each should have been large enough to have had other effects that would have been observed at the time.

What the transit of Venus looked like to Captain Cook

In 1769, Captain James Cook was part of a massive, coordinated effort to document the transit of Venus from multiple spots around the globe. It was all part of calculating the size of the solar system, and you can read about it in Andrea Wulf's new book, Chasing Venus.
More about Chasing Venus 

Physicists split atom using quantum mechanics precision

https://encrypted-tbn3.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRDnWdNnZFmA_HDwy4tjQJQno1NIuZNvKY0N5RPM1VJX5pG_alpVQResearchers from the University of Bonn have just shown how a single atom can be split into its two halves ...
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Awesome Pictures

Getting High on Scorpions

The Afghan Drug War NewImage
Here's the latest comic from Robert Arthur, author of a book that I read years ago and think about often, called You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos.
David Macdonald argues in his 2007 book, Drugs in Afghanistan, that Afghanistan’s increased drug usage is driven by an impoverished battle-scarred population trying desperately to relieve its suffering. Western-led efforts to universally criminalize drugs are futile because distressed people will always be able to find chemical relief.
As an example, Macdonald notes that in Afghanistan even the ubiquitous scorpions can be used for intoxication. Tartars in Bamiyan province prepare scorpions by smashing them between stones and letting them dry. The main part of the tail, with the sting, is then crushed into a powder and smoked with tobacco and/or hashish (marijuana).
Getting High on Scorpions: The Afghan Drug War

A Himalayan Gold Rush

Each spring thousands of Tibetan families head to the highest Himalaya in search of a strange hybrid creature, the Caterpillar fungus. Caterpillar fungi are the result of a parasitic relationship between the fungus and the larva of the ghost moth genus Thitarodes. The use of the fungus has a long history in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine.

In rural Tibet, the Caterpillar fungus has become the most important source of cash income. Prices have increased continuously, especially since the late 1990s. In 2008, one kilogram traded for $3,000 to over $18,000.

From the newswire

A wild leopard has gone on a day long rampage through an oil company compound, mauling 13 people before it was wrestled to the ground by security guards.

Human-like Chimp Dies at Texas refuge
Caretakers found Oliver dead Saturday in his hammock. Sanctuary officials said the former circus performer was mostly blind, had no teeth and suffered from arthritis.

Pet cougar escapes, kills neighbor's dog
"They call me Gator Ron," he says holding a small alligator in his hands. But it's not Gard's gators that now have his neighbors on guard; it's a cougar named Charlie.

How do they do it?

 Mosquitoes are so tiny that they become combined with raindrops as they fall and are left unharmed, footage reveals. BBC Nature

Animal Pictures