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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, November 2, 2012

The Daily Drift


Why Transportation Gets Better All The Time, advertisement for Union Carbide, 1947
The world of tomorrow as seen in 1947

Some of our readers today have been in:
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Waterloo, Canada
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Ampang, Malaysia
Odessa, Ukraine
San Jose, Costa Rica
Riga, Latvia
Vancouver, Canada
Roxas, Philippines
Medellin, Colombia
Sursee, Switzerland
Cape Town, South Africa
Manila, Philippines
Melbourne, Australia
Pristina Kosovo
Khulna, Bangladesh
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Mogadishu, Somalia
Klang, Malaysia
Ajman, United Arab Emirates
Johannesburg, South Africa

And we were real popular in Turkey today with readers in Ankara, Istanbul, Sisli, Burdur, Diyarbakir and Konya

We would also like to welcome our newest readers in the country of Somalia.

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Today in History

1570 A tidal wave in the North Sea destroys the sea walls from Holland to Jutland. More than 1,000 people are killed.
1772 The first Committees of Correspondence are formed in Massachusetts under Samuel Adams.
1789 The property of the church in France is taken away by the state.
1841 The second Afghan War begins.
1869 Sheriff Wild Bill Hickok loses his re-election bid in Ellis County, Kan.
1880 James A. Garfield is elected the 20th president of the United States.
1882 Newly elected John Poe replaces Pat Garrett as sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory.
1889 North Dakota is made the 39th state.
1889 South Dakota is made the 40th state.
1892 Lawmen surround outlaws Ned Christie and Arch Wolf near Tahlequah, Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). It will take dynamite and a cannon to dislodge the two from their cabin.
1903 London's Daily Mirror newspaper is first published.
1914 Russia declares war with Turkey.
1920 The first radio broadcast in the United States is made from Pittsburgh.
1920 Charlotte Woodward, who signed the 1848 Seneca Falls Declaration calling for female voting rights, casts her ballot in a presidential election.
1921 Margaret Sanger and Mary Ware Dennett form the American Birth Control League.
1923 U.S. Navy aviator H.J. Brown sets new world speed record of 259 mph in a Curtiss racer.
1926 Air Commerce Act is passed, providing federal aid for airlines and airports.
1936 The first high-definition public television transmissions begin from Alexandra Palace in north London by the BBC.
1942 Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrives in Gibraltar to set up an American command post for the invasion of North Africa.
1943 The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay in Bougainville ends in U.S. Navy victory over Japan.
1947 Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose flies for the first and last time.
1948 Harry S Truman is elected the 33rd president of the United States.
1959 Charles Van Doren confesses that the TV quiz show "21" is fixed and that he had been given the answers to the questions asked him.
1960 A British jury determines that Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence is not obscene.
1963 South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated.
1976 Jimmy (James Earl) Carter elected the 39th president of the United States.
1983 President Ronald Reagan signs a bill establishing Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

Non Sequitur


“Glitch” wipes out 1,000 early votes in black FL neighborhood

First they said “computer glitch,” now it’s “human error.” Uh huh. Always at the minority polling places.
Always Florida
There was a story over at NBC’s The Grio three days ago noting that at one Florida polling location, in a heavily black neighborhood, the number of people who voted early was suddenly “revised” from 2,945 to 1,942 – that’s a 34% decrease.
At first, polling officials blamed it on a “computer glitch.”  Uh huh.  And what glitch would that be?
The local supervisor of elections (SOE) didn’t inspire a lot of hope when speaking about another, smaller, change to the early voting numbers at another polling location:
African-American senior vote
Broward SOE spokesperson Mary Cooney acknowledged that the Sunday totals were revised, and said she would look into why.
“I can’t tell you definitively now,” Cooney said, “but I queried the person who posts those numbers and the most significant number he told me he changed was an instance where 1050 should have been 1150 — the numbers were transposed.”
He transposed the numbers by hand? And this is how Florida tallies votes?
The Grio followed up on the story the next day, Tuesday of this week, and got a different answer about the 1,000 vote discrepancy: now they’re saying “human error.”
The SOE chief says the changes, particularly at a polling place in a predominantly black neighborhood where National Action Network chief and MSNBC host Rev. Al Sharpton and a group of pastors held “souls to the polls” rallies over the weekend, were the result of human error.
In a telephone interview with theGrio late Monday, Snipes said the SOE’s office runs two tallies — one manually calculated at the precincts by adding up the total number of voters swiped through an electronic voter identification system called EVID, which was purchased from a Florida vendor, and a second, electronic tally conducted at the Supervisor of Elections office after the polls close each day. The electronic numbers go directly to a database.  Snipes said the woman who tallied the votes at the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, which had its vote tally revised downward by 1,003, simply added the numbers incorrectly.
“The woman made a mistake,” Snipes said. “That was absolutely an addition error. The actual numbers are 1942 not 2945, so she made an addition error.”
In the future, they’re only going to report the electronic result, which still begs the question of which result is really correct, and what else do they do that might result in human error?  Not to mention, why did they first say it was a computer glitch?
And why is it always Florida?  Why always in a heavily Democratic precinct, and why do the errors always help the other guy?  Remember that Florida is already dealing with a widespread repugican voter fraud scandal.  From my earlier post of a month ago:
We reported last night that a firm doing business with the national repugican cabal and the Romney campaign was being investigated for voter fraud. The firm has done $2.9 million in business with the repugican national cabal this year alone, and another firm run by the same did $80,000 in work for Romney.
And, as I said last night, harkening back to all the faux outrage from repugicans claiming that ACORN was trying to steal the election: “repugicans accuse us of doing what they are, and we’re not.” AP has more:
What first appeared to be an isolated problem in one Florida county has now spread statewide, with election officials in at least seven counties informing prosecutors or state election officials about questionable voter registration forms filled out on behalf of the repugican cabal of Florida.
Lux said there have been forms that listed dead people and were either incomplete or illegible. He met with local prosecutors on Friday, but added that his staff was still going through hundreds of forms dropped off by Strategic employees.
Lux, who is a repugican, said he warned local party officials earlier this month when he first learned the company was paying people to register voters.
“I told them ‘This is not going to end well,’” Lux said.
Always Florida.

Gingrich email: Obama’s gonna win

Ouch.Then again, Paul Ryan is also looking for another job.
Yesterday, an email was sent out to the Gingrich email list informing people that Obama was going to win and that it was time to start looking at 2016.  Buh bye, Mittens!
The email, titled “What’s really at stake this Tuesday …” came from Gingrich Marketplace and went out to people who’d given their contact information to the Gingrich campaign when the former speaker of the House was still in the presidential race. Bygone candidates, such as Gingrich and Herman Cain, regularly rent out their email address lists to advertisers.
“The truth is, the next election has already been decided. Obama is going to win. It’s nearly impossible to beat an incumbent president,” advertiser Porter Stansberry wrote in the email to Gingrich supporters. “What’s actually at stake right now is whether or not he will have a third-term.”
I think a lot of Republicans are writing their “why Mittens lost” emails today.  And a lot of Romney staffers are writing their resumes.  But rest assured the 1% Romney staffers will get another huge bonus after they lose.

New York Mayor Bloomberg endorses Obama

Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to the media at Seward Park High School on the lower east side, the site of one of many public shelters set up in preparation of the storm, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in New York. Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate coastal areas Sunday as big cities and small towns across the U.S. Northeast braced for the onslaught of a superstorm threatening some 60 million people along the most heavily populated corridor in the nation. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
 New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney on Thursday, saying the incumbent Democrat will bring critically needed leadership to fight climate change after the East Coast devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy. The endorsement from the politically independent and nationally recognizable mayor was a major boost for Obama, who is spending the campaign's final days trying to win over independent voters whose voices will be critical in determining the winner of Tuesday's election.
Both candidates had eagerly sought the nod from Bloomberg, who didn't endorse a presidential candidate in 2008 and has publicly grumbled about both Obama and Romney. But Bloomberg said the possibility that Sandy resulted from climate change had made the stakes of the election that much clearer.
"We need leadership from the White House, and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption," Bloomberg wrote in an online opinion piece.
A full-throated stamp of approval this was not. Even as he pledged to cast his vote for Obama's re-election, Bloomberg faulted the president for discounting centrists, trading in divisive, partisan attacks and failing to make progress on issues like gun control, immigration and the federal deficit.
The billionaire businessman and former Republican also praised Romney as a good man who would bring valuable business experience to the White House but said Romney had reversed course on issues like health care and abortion. "If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him," he said.
Vice President Joe Biden, campaigning in Fort Dodge, Iowa, said the essence of Bloomberg's endorsement was that "we've got to work together."
"We got to stop this blue, red — I mean we're a purple nation, man," Biden said.
Bloomberg's endorsement could have the effect of injecting climate change and the environment into the national conversation just five days before the end of a campaign where both topics have been virtually absent.
"Our climate is changing," Bloomberg said. "And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week's devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action."
To the dismay of environmental activists, climate change never came up during any of the three presidential debates and has been all but absent throughout the rest of the campaign. When Romney invoked the environment in his August speech accepting the Republican nomination, it was to mock his rival for making the issue a priority.
"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet," Romney said. "My promise is to help you and your family."
In his first term, Obama was unable to push limits on carbon emissions through a Democratic Congress and shelved plans to toughen smog standards. But he landed other historic achievements, including an increase in fuel-economy standards and the first regulations on heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming.
Romney, who has expressed doubts about the cause of climate change and charged Obama with punishing coal-fired power plants, wants clear air and water laws amended to balance environmental benefits with economic concerns.
Bloomberg, whose last presidential endorsement was for Republican President George W. Bush's re-election in 2004, has been a persistent advocate for policies intended to combat climate change and had previously faulted both Obama and Romney for failing to offer solutions for gun violence.
Romney advisers, asked about the endorsement, dismissed it as inconsequential and suggested it would have no bearing on the race outside of New York City.
Although Obama's campaign has long expected to win New York by a wide margin, independents like Bloomberg hold the key to his second term in battleground states across the country. Obama welcomed the endorsement, pledging in a statement to continue to stand with New York in its time of need.
"While we may not agree on every issue, Mayor Bloomberg and I agree on the most important issues of our time — that the key to a strong economy is investing in the skills and education of our people, that immigration reform is essential to an open and dynamic democracy and that climate change is a threat to our children's future, and we owe it to them to do something about it," Obama said.

Business Abandons Romney as Bloomberg and The Economist Endorse Obama

Days before the election, the business community is abandoning Republican “businessman” Mitt Romney in order to endorse the Democratic incumbent President Obama. These are not ringing endorsements, but rather concern over Romney’s failure to make the math work and his hard turn to the right. In other words, Mitt Romney has finally managed to lose the faith and confidence of the one constituency that he was supposed to have locked up.
The Mayor of New York and the founder/majority owner of Bloomberg News endorsed Obama today. Bloomberg said if the old Mitt Romney were running, he might have voted for him. But given Romney’s tack to the right, Bloomberg is endorsing the President for a second term. He concluded, “If he (Obama) listens to people on both sides of the aisle, and builds the trust of moderates, he can fulfill the hope he inspired four years ago and lead our country toward a better future for my children and yours. And that’s why I will be voting for him.”
Bloomberg wrote:
“When I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there. The two parties’ nominees for president offer different visions of where they want to lead America.
One believes a woman’s right to choose should be protected for future generations; one does not. That difference, given the likelihood of Supreme Court vacancies, weighs heavily on my decision.
One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with America’s march of freedom; one does not. I want our president to be on the right side of history.
One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.”
President Obama responded by saying, “I’m honored to have Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement. I deeply respect him for his leadership in business, philanthropy and government, and appreciate the extraordinary job he’s doing right now, leading New York City through these difficult days.
“While we may not agree on every issue, Mayor Bloomberg and I agree on the most important issues of our time – that the key to a strong economy is investing in the skills and education of our people, that immigration reform is essential to an open and dynamic democracy, and that climate change is a threat to our children’s future, and we owe it to them to do something about it. Just as importantly, we agree that whether we are Democrats, Republicans, or independents, there is only one way to solve these challenges and move forward as a nation – together. I look forward to thanking him in person – but for now, he has my continued commitment that this country will stand by New York in its time of need. And New Yorkers have my word that we will recover, we will rebuild, and we will come back stronger.”
The Economist endorsed Obama saying, “America could do better than Barack Obama; sadly, Mitt Romney does not fit the bill.” Yes, not exactly a ringing endorsement, but then that speaks volumes about Mitt Romney.
They say Obama’s foreign policy could be better, but “Mr Obama has been a safe pair of hands.” They cite his healthcare achievement in addition to their view that his foreign policy is an achievement after spending the entire paragraph citing what’s wrong with it, “Even to a newspaper with no love for big government, the fact that over 40m people had no health coverage in a country as rich as America was a scandal. ‘Obamacare’ will correct that, but Mr Obama did very little to deal with the system’s other flaw—its huge and unaffordable costs.”
They are very unhappy with Obama’s surrender to “left-wing Democrats” — a charge the left would take issue with. They then go on about their doubts, leaving the reader with the impression that they would endorse anyone but Obama. They seem resentful of Obama’s attitudes toward business and capitalism (leaving one with the idea that they watch too much Fox News). They feel Obama has spent his entire campaign attacking business. I say learn to read; Obama didn’t attack business, he attacked greed and failure to pay taxes. But hey. They really can’t stand Obama.
And yet, they can’t endorse Mitt Romney. They write, “Many a Mitt makes a muddle.” Romney’s foreign policy terrifies them (so they are awake). The Economist writes, “But Mr Romney seems too ready to bomb Iran, too uncritically supportive of Israel and cruelly wrong in his belief in “the Palestinians not wanting to see peace”. The bellicosity could start on the first day of his presidency, when he has vowed to list China as a currency manipulator—a pointless provocation to its new leadership that could easily degenerate into a trade war.”
Romney’s math is a problem for The Economist, “Yet far from being the voice of fiscal prudence, Mr Romney wants to start with huge tax cuts (which will disproportionately favour the wealthy), while dramatically increasing defence spending. Together those measures would add $7 trillion to the ten-year deficit.” Here they praise Obama for getting it and shame Romney for being in “the cloud-cuckoo-land of thinking you can do it entirely through spending cuts.” They say that backing business is important, but first you better get macroeconomics. Ouch.
The Economist counts Romney’s tack to the right as his biggest detriment, “(T)he extremism of his party is Mr Romney’s greatest handicap.” And ultimately they decide to go with the “devil we know.”
So, basically, they think Obama is the devil but he is a better devil than wildly right wing Romney who doesn’t even get macroeconomics and whose foreign policy is a threat that could lead immediately to a trade war.
Romney had to stink pretty badly for The Economist to come to this.
Mitt Romney has now managed to lose the one constituency he was supposed to have locked up, even as he fought for the evangelicals and Tea Party of his own base. Forget winning Independents, Romney is losing the business community. Meanwhile, the economic data is showing steady signs of modest improvement.

Romney’s horizontal fibbing on oil drilling

In his campaign speeches yesterday, Mitt Romney was promising that the new technology of “horizontal drilling” would open up new reserves of oil and gas, and allow the US to become energy independent.Like most Romney “facts,” it isn’t true in any meaningful sense of ‘truth’.
The fact is that drilling sideways rather than straight up and down has been going on since the 1920s, when it was the subject of lawsuits as drillers were accused of stealing oil from other people’s land. Horizontal drilling was also at the center of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Iraq was upset that the Kuwaiti wells were taking oil from their land.
Oil drilling
There have been recent developments that have improved this technology — notably, “fracking,” which has made gas reserves available (but not without environmental costs). But these are incremental improvements in technology rather than radical technologies that will solve US energy problems at a stroke. As with every extractive industry, the oil and gas industry are forced to innovate just to maintain current production. The resources that are easy to reach are extracted first, what’s left is anything but easy.
As Obama pointed out, the US has 2% of proven oil reserves but consumes 20% of global production. The idea that the US can become energy independent, without conservation and a major expansion in renewables, is a fantasy and a lie.

Romney offends another ally: Italy

Mitt Romney has offended yet another important US ally, this time Italy.We learn via AGI, one of the top Italian wire services, that Romney, while speaking yesterday in Roanoke, Virginia had a few choice words for Italy:
Speaking at an campaign rally in Roanoke, Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, took aim at President Obama by citing Greece, Italy and Spain as examples of countries that the U.S. will end up like:
“If you are a big company and are thinking of making a large investment, you have to ask yourself, ‘Is America going down the same road as Greece?’ Are we heading for a great economic crisis like the ones we are seeing in Europe, Italy and Spain, and in other parts of the world?’ If we continue to spend $1 trillion more than we take in, America will find itself on that same road.”
HuffPo reports that the Italians were ticked, and boy are they. I went around and looked at the top Italian papers, and almost all of them have given Romney’s attack on Italy front-page billing.  I speak Italian, almost all of them quote Romney saying “With Obama, we will become like Italy.”  A number of them also used a nasty photo of Romney I’d not seen before.
Now remember, this isn’t the first time Romney has insulted an important US ally.
Romney’s poor management skills weren’t a gaffe, they’re a feature.
Look at his foreign trip. His big chance to prove himself on the world stage. What did Romney do? He offended the British, insulted both the Israelis and the Palestinians, and then desecrated a Polish holy site for good measure. By the time his trip was finished, all three countries were ready for Romney to self-deport asap.
And now we welcome the Italians to the wreckage of foreign relationships that is Hurricane Romney.
Here are several of the front pages from a number of the top Italian papers :
Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera
Il Giornale
Il Giornale
Il Messaggero
Il Messaggero
La Repubblica
La Repubblica
La Stampa
La Stampa
Il Gazzettino
Il Gazzettino
Il Resto del Carlino
Il Resto del Carlino
Il Secolo XIX
Il Secolo XIX

Animal Pictures