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

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Daily Drift


Johann Carl Loth, Diogenes, 17th century
 Johann Carl Loth, Diogenes, 17th century
Looking for an honest man ... look no further

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Today in History

1135 Henry I of England dies and the crown is passed to his nephew Stephen of Bloise.
1581   Edmund Champion and other Jesuit martyrs are hanged at Tyburn, England, for sedition, after being tortured.
1861   The U.S. gunboat Penguin seizes the Confederate blockade runner Albion carrying supplies worth almost $100,000.
1862   President Abraham Lincoln gives the State of the Union address to the 37th Congress.
1863   Belle Boyd, a Confederate spy, is released from prison in Washington.
1881   Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan Earp are exonerated in court for their action in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Ariz.
1900   Kaiser Wilhelm II refuses to meet with Boer leader Paul Kruger in Berlin.
1905   Twenty officers and 230 guards are arrested in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the revolt at the Winter Palace.
1908   The Italian Parliament debates the future of the Triple Alliance and asks for compensation for Austria's action in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1909   President William Howard Taft severs official relations with Nicaragua's Zelaya government and declares support for the revolutionaries.
1916   King Constantine of Greece refuses to surrender to the Allies.
1918   An American army of occupation enters Germany.
1925   After a seven-year occupation, 7,000 British troops evacuate Cologne, Germany.
1933   Nazi storm troops become an official organ of the Reich.
1934   Josef Stalin's aide, Sergei Kirov, is assassinated in Leningrad.
1941   Japan's Tojo rejects U.S. proposals for a Pacific settlement as fantastic and unrealistic.
1941   Great Britain declares a state of emergency in Malaya following reports of Japanese attacks.
1941   The first Civil Air Patrol is organized in the United States.
1942   National gasoline rationing goes into effect in the United States.
1955   Rosa Parks refuses to sit in the back of a Montgomery, Alabama, bus, defying the South's segregationist laws.
1969   America's first draft lottery since 1942 is held.
1986   Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North pleads the 5th Amendment before a Senate panel investigating the Iran-Contra arms sale.

Non Sequitur


Holi-Daze Depression

Romney would have won if all you stinking homeless people didn’t vote for Obama

Romney’s campaign manager explains why Mittens lost. Basically, life in America is too easy for black people.

Romney Won the Election, If You Don’t Count the 51% Who Voted For Obama

Mitt Romney’s chief strategist for the presidential campaign, Stuart Stevens, penned a little piece for the Washington Post yesterday that was overlooked, and quite extraoardinary.
In it you find all the loathing for middle class Americans that oozed from Romney during, and after, the campaign.  It’s a hell of a read.  Each sentence drips with the bitter.  Clearly this is a campaign utterly full of itself.  A campaign grounded in the divine right of kings.  Just check out the first sentence:
Over the years, one of the more troubling characteristics of the Democratic Party and the left in general has been a shortage of loyalty and an abundance of self-loathing.
Loyalty to whom?  And self-loathing of what?  In the repugican cabal, however, all you find is loathing… for gays, blacks, Latinos, immigrants, women, science, and the entire American system of government.
I appreciate that Mitt Romney was never a favorite of D.C.’s green-room crowd or, frankly, of many politicians.
Mitt Romney

Uh, Romney was never a favorite of anyone.  Romney’s loss wasn’t just about the supposed “Village” attitude inside the beltway. His own party didn’t like him.  And newsflash, neither did the American people or he’d have won.
That’s why, a year ago, so few of those people thought that he would win the repugican nomination.

Yeah, Beating Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and the Pizza Guy Was Quite an Accomplishment

Okay, I’m sorry, but it’s not that big of an accomplishment to best Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, that pizza guy, and Rick Perry.  Oh yeah, who can forget Ron Paul?  The only normal candidate, Jon Hunstman, dropped out.
But that was indicative not of any failing of Romney’s but of how out of touch so many were in Washington and in the professional political class.
No, of course not.
Nobody liked Romney except voters.
Clearly not enough of them.
This line is also quite telling:
He bested the competition in debates, and though he was behind almost every candidate in the repugican primary at one time or the other, he won the nomination and came very close to winning the presidency.
So, basically, your beloved-by-the-people candidate was the least favorite of all and only won after each front-runner before him imploded.
He trounced Barack Obama in debate.
Yes, notice he used the singular rather than the plural of “debate.”

Obama Only Won Because Poor People Like Him

But here’s my favorite part of the tale:
On Nov. 6, Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters.
In other words, Obama only won because the stinkin’ poor voted for him.  This, of course, is a lie.  Obama won a lot of groups that are hardly the poverty-class.  Gays, 75%.  Youth, 60%.  Women 55% (and mind you, Obama won women by a larger margin (11 points) than he lost men (7)). Blacks (93%), Latinos (71%), Asians.  And it’s also interesting to note that those with a post-grad degree voted for Obama, not Romney (you usually don’t think of lawyers, doctors, and PhDs are the welfare class).
But back to that $50,000 a year line for a moment.
First off, $50,000 a year definitely counts as middle class in parts of this country, depending on how many kids you have, whether you’re married, and where you live.
Second, “less than $50k/year” voters only make up 41% of the electorate.  Obama won nearly 50.9%.  That’s a good ten points more than simply the “let them eat cake” class.

Obama Won the Wrong 51%

And finally, so what?  What’s Stevens’ point?  That Obama won over the “wrong” 51% of the country?  That the majority that voted for Obama is somehow less legitimate, less American, than the 47.4% that voted for Romney?
Are you getting a better feel for why Romney lost, and for where that horrid 47% diatribe came from?
While John McCain lost white voters younger than 30 by 10 points, Romney won those voters by seven points
Mighty white of him.  But what exactly is Stevens’ point?  That Romney was more deserving because “whites” liked him?
In the debates and in sweeping rallies across the country, Romney captured the imagination of millions of Americans.
No, he really didn’t.  Even repugicans didn’t like Romney.
And here comes the real whopper:
There was a time not so long ago when the problems of the Democratic Party revolved around being too liberal and too dependent on minorities. Obama turned those problems into advantages and rode that strategy to victory.
This is Romney’s 47% diatribe again. If Romney had only been a minority, the election would have been so much easier.  And yes, Obama turned the fact that minorities now make up a sizable percentage of America to his advantage, and the fact that repugicans tend to hate minorities to their disadvantage.  Why does Stevens think that this is an indictment of Obama, rather than an indictment of Romney?

Life in America is Simply Too Easy For Black People

Oh, and Obama was black, and the media doesn’t like criticizing black people.
 But he was a charismatic African American president with a billion dollars, no primary and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. How easy is that to replicate?
Yes.  America is simply too kind to black people.  Oh, and while Obama raised $1.06 billion, Romney raised $954 million, – in other words, Romney raised a billion as well – so that “African American president with a billion dollars line” is BS.
Yes, the repugican cabal has problems, but as we go forward, let’s remember that any party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing something right.
Why?  Even if this is true, and it’s not clear it is, is the middle some Holy Grail of America, or the only “real” America, as Sarah Palin likes to say?  If Mitt Romney can’t even win 50% of the vote then no, he’s not “doing something right.”  And if he can’t win it in this economy, with more money than God, against a President who has his flaws, then no, Mr. Romney wasn’t doing something right at all.  A candidate doing something right would have won.
When Mitt Romney stood on stage with President Obama… it was about fundamental repugican fantasies vs. fundamental Democratic ideas. It was about lower taxes or higher taxes, less government or more government, more freedom or less freedom.
Yes, and Mitt Romney, at one time or another, has held each and every one of those positions.  And that, among other reasons, is why he lost.

And I Quote

Good Question

The hated party of no, says no again, to no one’s surprise

Surprise, surprise!The repugican cabal – better known as the Party of No – is saying “no” yet again.
Despite failing to win the White House or the Senate, plus receiving fewer votes than Democrats across the country for the House, the Party of No is doing what they always do. Saying no.
You might think that after losing so badly, they might start to realize that Americans really don’t like them – one could say the American people said “no.”
Joe Klein of Time is calling them “drama queens” and he’s right. Saying “no” is all they have to offer (it’s all they ever had to offer).

How pathetic.
House Speaker John Boehner (r-OH) said negotiations between the White House and repugicans are at a “stalemate” after a proposal by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and White House Director of Legislative Affairs Rob Nabors was soundly rejected by repugicans yesterday.
“There’s a stalemate, let’s not kid ourselves,” Boehner said Friday at a news conference following President Obama’s event in Pennsylvania.
Boehner contended that the White House’s proposal was “not a serious proposal,” and that he’s disappointed that three weeks after he gave a speech saying repugicans would be willing to budge on revenues – but not tax rates as the president has called for — that this is what was offered to them.
“When I come out the day after the election and make it clear that repugicans will put revenue on the table, I took a great risk,” Boehner claimed, adding of the White House plan, “It’s not a serious proposal and so right now we’re almost nowhere.”
We are nowhere, because Boehner and the repugican cabal can’t come up with a single reasonable idea for America. They are as useless as they come.

The truth be told

For the repugican cabal, fracking is more important than your health and safety

Frack You!

Some things never change. Just because the repugican cabal lost in the elections last month doesn’t mean they’re going to suddenly support science and side with the dirty unwashed masses who voted for Obama and Democrats.
No, the repugican cabal is sticking to what they know best, which is whatever Big Energy (or anyone with money) tells them to say or support.
So forget about the earthquakes, pollution, and my personal favorite for those snowy winter nights, flammable water:

Your house’s foundation may be cracking, you may get sick and be stuck with huge doctor bills, but think about the
profitsjobs for Big Energy (and the jobs created for your doctor and the undertaker). Thank the repugican cabal for remembering (as they always do) what matters most in America: corporate “people.”
The Hill:
Actual tap water set aflame in fracking region.
Actual tap water set aflame in fracking region.
A group of repugican House energy leaders advised Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to exercise caution in a possible study on the health impacts of natural-gas drilling.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering examining a potential link between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and drinking water contamination.
The lawmakers sent a letter to Sebelius Friday stating that such a study could stymie job growth if not properly executed. They expressed concern in the letter that naturally occurring substances in groundwater could be improperly labeled as contaminants.
Yes, we wouldn’t the truth to about how harmful something is impact whether we move ahead with it.
This sounds an awful lot like that time the congressional repugicans forced the administration to bury a report on domestic terrorism that ended up being right.  The truth is never a good thing if it harms a powerful repugican constituency.

Did you know ...

That raising retail wages would boost the economy

These 7 reasons climate change is even worse than we thought it was

Can Money Change the Brain?

Money may not buy you love, but can winning lots of it change your brain? 
Can Money Change the Brain?

Protesting dairy farmers hose down EuroParl and cops with milk

Dairy farmers protesting in Brussels sprayed thousands of litres of milk on the European Parliament and its police cadre. Shown here, a small thumbnail of a remarkable photo by John Thys for AFP/Getty Images. Click through for the full image, on the Telegraph's site.
Dairy farmers spray milk at the European Parliament in Brussels

U.S. Birth Rate Hits New Low

A big drop in birth rate among immigrants has contributed to the overall decrease.  
  U.S. Birth Rate Hits New Low

Population Pyramid

A population pyramid, also called an age picture diagram, is a graphical illustration that shows the distribution of various age groups in a population, which forms the shape of a pyramid when the population is growing.

It is also used in Ecology to determine the overall age distribution of a population; an indication of the reproductive capabilities and likelihood of the continuation of a species.

Ten Times TIME's Person Of The Year Wasn't Really A Person

TIME's Man of the Year tradition started in 1927, allegedly because editors hastily concocted a reason to have Charles Lindbergh on the cover after omitting his trans-Atlantic flight from the magazine. Since Chuck's win, the title has been awarded 83 more times.

Here are 10 winners who were groups of people, generic people, or things.

The Original Batmobile Is for Sale

The original Batmobile from the 1966-68 television series began as a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car. It sat in the lot of George Barris, a car customizer, until television producers needed a Batmobile on very short notice:
Batman producer William Dozier called needing a Batmobile. He gave Barris 15 days and $15,000 to build it and so he did. The Futura’s two-seater design and unique 50s futurist winged look made it the perfect car to customize into Batman and Robin’s main ride. A few metal modifications, engine boosts, racing wheels exposed by opened wheel wells, Batgadget attachments and a gloss black paint job with glow-orange red trim later, history burst out of the Batcave.
If you have enough money, it can be yours. The Batmobile will be sold at auction at a car show in Scottsdale, Arizona in January.
Article and Auction Listing

The Inside Story of Pong

The arcade game Pong was released upon an unsuspecting world of pool and pinball players forty years ago this week. I recall vividly the day one of the games was set up at the local college student center. Dozens of young people gathered around to watch and wait their turn to play. Pong wasn't the first video arcade game, but it was the one that introduced a generation to interactive digital entertainment. Nolan Bushnell, Ted Dabney, and Al Alcorn left decent jobs at Ampex to form their own company, Arati, to develop video games. In September of that year, they delivered the beta version of a tennis-like game to Andy Capp’s Tavern in Sunnyvale, California.
Alcorn headed out to the local Walgreens, picked up a $75 black-and-white television set, hid the Hitachi logo inside a rudimentary orange casing, which housed the logic circuits and a coin box made from an upturned sawed-off plastic milk jug, and dragged it into the corner of Andy Capp's, next to the pinball machines, the jukebox, and the Computer Space machine. “There were seven or eight machines in the back of the bar,” Alcorn says. "Andy Capp’s was one of our favorite places because we knew the owner, and we trusted him. If something went wrong, we knew he’d call us.” It was September 1972.

The Atari designers and engineers decided to linger for a while. “It was really interesting,” Bushnell says. “You put it in place and stand back and watch people play it.” What they saw was encouraging, but not extraordinary. “We watched for a couple of hours, drank a couple of beers, then went home.” Bushnell was catching a flight to Chicago the next day, a portable version of Pong in an aluminum case under his arm.

Within a few days, Bill Gattis, who ran the bar, was on the phone to Atari. “The machine had stopped working; I was told to go fix it,” Alcorn explains. ”I stopped over on my way home from work, and much to my surprise, the coin box was overflowing, gushing with quarters.”  
The story of how Pong came about and revolutionized the video game industry is a fascinating read at Buzzfeed.

Nine Principles Of Japanese Art And Culture

There are 9 basic principles that underlie Japanese art and culture. They're called aesthetics - concepts that answer the question: what is art? There are 9 Japanese aesthetics. They are the basis for Japanese art, fashion, pop culture, music and movies. <

Random Celebrity Photo

US government releases once-secret Watergate files

Watergate Judge John J. Sirica aided the prosecution in pursuing the White House connection to the Democratic headquarters break-in by providing the special prosecutor information from a probation report in which one of the burglars said he was acting under orders from top Nixon administration officials, according to once-secret documents released Friday by the National Archives.
FILE - This Jan. 31, 1973 black-and-white file photo shows U.S. District Court Judge John Sirica in his office in Washington. The National Archives is publishing for the first time more than 850 pages of once-secret documents from the Watergate political scandal, including privileged legal conversations and prison evaluations of some Watergate burglars. A judge decided earlier this month to unseal the material.The files released Friday do not appear to provide any significant new revelations, but they provide context by revealing behind-the-scenes deliberations by the judge in charge of the case, U.S. District Court Judge John J. Sirica, along with prosecutors and defense lawyers. The files showed the judge at times discussing the case with special prosecutors and justifying his attempts to learn new facts in the case. (AP Photo)
One newly public transcript of an in-chambers meeting between Sirica, the U.S. District Court judge in charge of the case, and then-Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in July 1973 shows the judge revealed secret probation reports indicating that E. Howard Hunt had cited orders from officials high up in the Nixon administration. Several of Hunt's co-defendants had previously denied any White House involvement in court testimony, and Sirica told Cox and other prosecutors that he felt the new information "seemed to me significant."
The government released more than 850 pages from the Watergate political scandal, providing new insights on privileged legal conversations and prison evaluations of several of the burglars in the case. A federal judge had decided earlier this month to unseal some material, but other records still remain off limits.
The files do not appear to provide any significant new revelations in the 40-year-old case that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and criminal prosecutions of many of his top White House and political aides. But the files provide useful context for historians, revealing behind-the-scenes deliberations by Sirica, the U.S. District Court judge in charge of the case, along with prosecutors and defense lawyers.
The documents stem from the prosecution of five defendants arrested during the June 1972 Watergate break-in and two men, Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, who were charged as the burglary team's supervisors. All seven men were convicted.
In the conversations between Cox and Sirica, the special prosecutor agreed with the judge's concerns that the probation report should be sealed and thanked him for the information. Cox promised that his team would not divulge the new information unless they felt there was a prosecutorial need and returned for a hearing to make it public. "Unless we came back," Cox told Sirica, "we wouldn't reveal it."
Former Nixon White House lawyer John Dean, who cooperated with prosecutors and testified against Nixon during an explosive congressional hearing in June 1973, said Friday after reviewing some of the newly released files that he believed Sirica "was very aggressive for a judge, even more than the White House was aware of at the time. No one in the Nixon White House knew exactly where he was coming from." Dean added that while Sirica's investigative zeal was well-known, his dealings with Cox and other prosecutors were "eye-opening."
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the files unsealed earlier this month after a request from Luke Nichter, a professor at Texas A&M University-Central Texas. Nichter wrote Lamberth in 2009 asking for release of the materials. Lamberth held back other sealed materials but agreed to ask the Justice department to explain the reasoning for keeping those materials secret.
The documents released by the Archives also reinforce Sirica's reputation as a gruff, no-nonsense jurist. During pretrial hearings in December 1972, Hunt's defense attorney sought to delay the trial after the former CIA man's wife was killed in a plane crash.
Sirica refused to put the trial on hold unless there was proof Hunt was suffering from a serious medical condition, according to the transcripts. "If he is just emotionally upset, that, in my opinion, is not a valid excuse," Sirica said. "If he gets tired during the day, I will arrange for him to go down and take a rest for two or three hours if he wishes."
A doctor who examined Hunt said in a letter to Sirica in early January 1973 that he suffered from ulcers and other gastrointestinal ailments but "has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer." The doctor, Charles E. Law Sr., said he was worried that Hunt would weep in court, especially when questioned by prosecutors.
Reports from prison psychiatrists and probation officers also show that four of Hunt's co-defendants justified their role in the Watergate break-in on national security grounds, saying they were under orders to search for evidence that Cuban government funds supported Democratic party campaigns. Dean said Friday that Hunt once told him that excuse was a ruse used to persuade the others to participate in the burglary.

Code used by Rhode Island founding father is finally cracked

This image provided by Brown University shows the preface page of the "Mystery Book" from the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, R.I. Lucas Mason-Brown, a senior mathematics major at Brown University, helped crack a mysterious shorthand code developed and used by religious dissident Roger Williams in the 17th century. The handwritten code surrounds the printed text on the preface page. (AP Photo/John Carter Brown Library at Brown University)
For centuries the scribbles went undeciphered. But a team of Brown University students has finally cracked the code.
Historians call the now-readable writings the most significant addition to Williams scholarship in a generation or more. Williams is Rhode Island's founder and best known as the first figure to argue for the principle of the separation of church and state that would later be enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
His coded writings are in the form of notes in the margins of a book at the university's John Carter Brown Library. The nearly 250-page volume, "An Essay Towards the Reconciling of Differences Among Christians," was donated in the 1800s and included a handwritten note identifying Williams as the notes' author — though even that was uncertain at first.
A group including former library director Edward Widmer, Williams scholar and Rhode Island College history professor emeritus J. Stanley Lemons and others at Brown started trying to unravel the so-called "Mystery Book" a few years ago. But the most intense work began this year after the university opened up the challenge to undergraduates, several of whom launched an independent project.
"No one had ever looked at it systematically like this in generations," said Widmer. "I think people probably looked at it and shrugged."
Senior math major Lucas Mason-Brown, who has done the majority of the decoding, said his first instinct was to develop a statistical tool. The 21-year-old from Belmont, Mass., used frequency analysis, which looks at the frequency of letters or groups of letters in a text, but initially didn't get far.
He picked up critical clues after learning Williams had been trained in shorthand as a court stenographer in London, and built his own proprietary shorthand off an existing system. Lucas-Brown refined his analysis and came up with a rough key.
Williams' system consisted of 28 symbols that stand for a combination of English letters or sounds. How they're arranged is key to their meaning; arrange them one way and you get one word, arrange them another, you get something different. One major complication, according to Mason-Brown: Williams often improvised.
From there, Mason-Brown was able to translate scattered fragments, and the students determined there were three separate sections of notes. Two are Williams' writings on other books, a 17th century historical geography and a medical text. The third — and most intriguing — is 20 pages of Williams' original thoughts on one of the major theological issues of the day: infant baptism.
Williams also weighed in on the conversion of Native Americans, implying it was being achieved through treachery and coercion, said Linford Fisher, a history professor at Brown who has been working with Mason-Brown.
Fisher said the new material is important in part because it's among Williams' last work, believed to have been written after 1679 in the last four years of his life.
The new discovery is remarkable on several levels, Widmer said.
"Part of it was the excitement of a mystery being cracked, and part of it was Roger Williams is very famous in Rhode Island — no other state has a founder as tied up with the state's identity as Rhode Island," he said. "To have a major new source, a major new document, from Roger Williams is a big deal."

Mayans Cooked Food With Clay Balls

Rounded clay balls found in Mexico reveal an ancient Mayan cooking technique.
  clay balls

Random Photo

The Grand Canyon Is 65 Million Years Older Than Thought

The Grand Canyon's outstanding beauty has certainly stood the test of time - and now it has emerged that time is actually 65 million years older than previously thought. Researchers say it was carved some 70 million years ago - at a time when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth.

Most previous estimates have put its age at 5 million to 6 million years, based on the age of gravel washed downstream by the ancestral Colorado River. But now a team from the University of Colorado Boulder, who used radioactive decay and thermal dating to make their estimate, say the Grand Canyon is much, much older.

Awesome Pictures

Road thru the Monument Valley NP by Mysophie08 on Flickr.

Any Truth Behind Immortal Jellyfish Claim?

A tiny jellyfish does a seemingly death-defying trick -- but does it really hold the secret to immortality? Read more
  Any Truth Behind Immortal Jellyfish Claim?

Ten Animals That Are Smarter Than You Think

Sure, chimps and dolphins are smart. But did you know about the terrifyingly intelligent Komodo dragon, the paranoid squirrel, or the insect supervillain Portia labiata? According to new studies you can break down animal intelligence into a few categories: social learning, mirror self-recognition, numerical abilities, language comprehension, cooperation with others, and altruism.

There are a whole mess of highly intelligent animals you might not expect. If you really want a smart pet, don't get a dog or cat. Get a domesticated raven.

Russian children who found lion cub took it to school

Children on their way to school in Russia found a lion cub. The animal was found in the village Seyatel in the Salskovo region of Rostov Oblasts.  

The children who found the young wild cat took their find to school number 84, where he was put in the sports hall. The director of the educational institution Angelica Chemerisova called the police and the emergency services reporting that there was a lion cub at the school.

Law enforcement agencies are looking for the owner. It was possibly able to escape from the travelling zoo “Safari”, currently in Salsk. Another possibility is that the lion cub was left in the street by its owners, who realised that they could not look after a young predator.

YouTube link.

It has not been established how long the lion had been free. When the cub was found, she appeared scared and hungry. At school number 84, the animal drank thirstily. It has now been removed from the school and placed in a local zoo.

There's an additional news video here.

Animal Pictures


Brown bear in Alaska
by mtngirl911