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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, January 11, 2013

The Daily Drift

Autumn in the Tetons by PhotoScenics on Flickr.
Got to love the mountains

Some of our readers today have been in:
Newcastle, England
Dusit, Thailand
Athens, Greece
Warsaw, Poland
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Panama, Panama
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Maribor, Slovenia
Cape Town, South Africa
Kangar, Malaysia
Guayaquil, Ecudaor
Zagreb, Croatia
Medan, Indonesia
Lagos, Nigeria
Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Mykolayiv, Ukraine
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Baku, Azerbaijan
Liberty, Philippines
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Tunis, Tunisia
Sampaloc, Philippines
Bordeaux, France
Kiev, Ukraine
Bayan Lepas, Malaysia
Makati, Philippines
Bangkok, Thailand
Ankara, Turkey
Odessa, Ukraine
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Varna, Bulgaria
Somerset, England
Jawa, Indonesia
Istanbul, Turkey
Davao, Philippines
Lahore, Pakistan
Bekasi, Indonesia
Vilnius, Lithuania
Santiago, Chile
Manila, Philippines
Jakarta, Indonesia
Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

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Today in History

49 BC Julius Caesar leads his army across the Rubicon River, plunging Rome into civil war.
1843 Francis Scott Key, author of "The Star-Spangled Banner," dies in Baltimore.
1861 Alabama secedes from the Union.
1862 Lincoln accepts Simon Cameron's resignation as Secretary of War.
1887 At Fort Smith, Arkansas, hangman George Maledon dispatches four victims in a multiple hanging.
1904 British troops massacre 1,000 dervishes in Somaliland.
1916 Russian General Yudenich launches a WWI winter offensive and advances west.
1923 The French enter the town of Essen in the Ruhr valley, to extract Germany's resources as war payment.
1934 The German police raid the homes of dissident clergy in Berlin.
1941 Adolf Hitler orders forces to be prepared to enter North Africa to assist the Italian effort, marking the establishment of the Afrika Korps.
1940 Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., becomes the U.S. Army's first black general, his son would later become a general as well.
1942 Japan invades the Dutch East Indies at Borneo.
1943 The Soviet Red Army encircles Stalingrad.
1948 President Harry S. Truman proposes free, two-year community colleges for all who want an education.
1949 Negotiations in China between the Nationalists and Communists open as Tientsin is virtually lost to the Communists.
1964 A collection of previously unexhibited paintings by Pablo Picasso are displayed for the first time in Toronto.
1980 Honda announces it will build the first Japanese-owned passenger-car assembly plant in the United States–in Ohio.

Non Sequitur


Drudge compares Obama to Hitler, Stalin for considering new gun regulations

From the "Nazis trying to focus attention away from themselves be accusing others of being Nazis" Department:

If anyone wonders why people like this guy think President Obama is secretly planning to tear up the Constitution and declare martial law, and that’s why they don’t just need their guns, but they need to threaten to “start killing people” if the President does anything in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, all you have to do is read this guy, below.
And repugicans do.  A lot.
There’s a reason we’re a violent country that fetishizes guns.  Because the Republican elite like to manipulate their ignorant base as it’s a lot easier, and sadly far more effective, than telling them the truth.
drudge-hitler-obama-stalin gun

The truth be told

Did you know ...

That gun owners are 4.5 times more likely to be shot than non-gun owners

That amidst record drilling, gas prices hit record highs in 2012

The tea party is in its death throes

Which professions have the most psychopaths?
Why America needs a left

Why the super-rich feel victimized by Obama

Why means-testing is just plain mean

10 things you may not know about james bond
Here's a checkerboard strategy for regaining the progressive strategy

6 ways to juice up the labor movement

Internet crackpots believe Newtown massacre was staged, citing "absolute" Photoshop proof

"Yes, there really are Newtown truthers," writes Alex Seitz-Wald in Salon. And they can tell by the pixels.
One of them, OperationTerror, produced the video above explaining the latest prevailing conspiracy theory, which involves a Photoshop disaster.

Maybe you’ve already heard some of the others, like the one about fantasy ties between the gunman’s family and the LIBOR banking scandal and a related theory about the Aurora shooting and the “Dark Knight Rises.” Most of the theories are really pieces of a larger meta-theory: that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax, perhaps by the Obama administration, designed to stir demand for gun control. In the latest angle, theorists think they have found “absolute proof” of a conspiracy to defraud the American people. “You reported in December that this little girl had been killed,” a reader emailed Salon in response to a story. “She has been found, and photographed with President Obama.”
Duly Noted.

The Truth

Mali seeks French help against extremists

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2012 file photo, women wearing veils as mandated by Islamist group Ansar Dine, walk along a street in Timbuktu, Mali. The Mali army attacked Islamist rebels with heavy weapons in the center of the country which divides the insurgent-held north and the government-controlled south, government officials said Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/File)  
Mali's president asked France for help Thursday to counter an offensive by extremist and terrorist groups who control the northern half of the country and are heading south.
France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters after an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council that urgent action is needed against the groups who captured the city of Konna Thursday and are now threatening the city of Mopti, which has 100,000 inhabitants.
The Security Council expressed "grave concern" at the military action by the terrorist and extremist groups and called on U.N. member states "to provide assistance to the Malian Defense and Security Forces in order to reduce the threat posed by terrorist organizations and associated groups."
Araud said it was urgent to act against the threat and to work to restore the country's stability.
"This terrorist attack weakens even more the stability of Mali and thereby that of its neighbors," he said. "Sustainability of the Malian government and the protection of civilian populations are now at stake."
Araud said Mali's President Dioncounda Traore sent a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which he transmitted to the Security Council, and a similar letter to French President Francois Hollande seeking assistance from France, the country's former colonial power, against the offensive.
"It's up to the authorities of my country to decide and announce the nature of this assistance," he said. "It will be announced in Paris tomorrow."
Araud said council resolutions "call on all member states to provide assistance in resolving the Malian crisis in all its aspects, including military and political — and I emphasize — to provide support to the authorities of this country to put an end to the terrorist threat."
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, asked whether the president of Mali requested specific kinds of military support and troops, said: "It wasn't specific, but it basically said, 'Help! France.'"
Mali was plunged into turmoil after a coup in March 2012 created a security vacuum. That allowed the secular Tuaregs, who have long felt marginalized by Mali's government, to take half the north as a new homeland. But months later, the rebels were kicked out by Islamist groups allied with al-Qaida, which have imposed strict Shariah law throughout the north.
Late last year, the 15 nations in West Africa, including Mali, agreed on a proposal for the military to take back the north, and sought backing from the United Nations.
The Security Council in December authorized an African-led force to support Malian forces in recovering the north — an area the size of Texas — but set no timeline for military action. Instead, it set out benchmarks to be met before the start of offensive operations, beginning with progress on a political roadmap to restore constitutional order, political reconciliation, elections and training of the Malian and African troops and police.
The Security Council called for "the immediate issuance of an agreed political roadmap, which includes serious negotiations with non-extremist Malians in the north and presses for the full restoration of democratic governance."
The council also called for the rapid deployment of the African-led force.
The retreat by the Malian military in Thursday's fighting, however, raised questions in the closed Security Council consultations about its ability to help lead a regional intervention, council diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks were private.
According to the diplomats, the Malian army melted away in the face of the offensive.
Rice, the U.S. ambassador, said "there was clear-cut consensus about the gravity of the situation and the right of the Malian authorities to seek what assistance they can receive."
She said the Security Council has been encouraging the West African regional group, ECOWAS, to present "a viable plan" as soon as possible to retake the north "and even today the plan to our minds still requires refinement."
"But the point is not that," she said. "The point is that we've got extremists who have very worrying, if not nefarious, ambitions that need to be thwarted, and whether-the best would have been if the Malian army had the capacity and the will to do so back last spring and even still today."
One of the things the Security Council discussed, Rice said, "is the extent to which the Malians are ready and willing to defend their own country."

Founder of Kurdish PKK among three women slain in Paris

Play VideoThree Kurdish women activists ‘executed’ in Paris

A woman who helped found the Kurdish PKK rebel movement and two other women were found shot dead in Paris overnight after execution-style killings that cast a shadow over peace moves between Turkey and the guerrillas. The bodies of Sakine Cansiz, a founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the early 1980s, and her two fellow activists were found in the early hours of Thursday at an institute in the French capital that has close links to the PKK.
They appeared to have been shot in the head, a French police source said. Kurdish media said one woman was also shot in the abdomen. Workers had broken in to the room at the Information Centre of Kurdistan after seeing blood stains on a door.
Cansiz was a prominent PKK figure, initially as a fighter and later in charge of the group's civil affairs in Europe, according to a Kurdish lawyer who knew her. A 1995 photograph shows her standing next to militant leader Abdullah Ocalan, wearing olive battle fatigues and clutching an assault rifle.
Ocalan is now in a Turkish jail and the killings came shortly after Turkey announced it had resumed peace negotiations with him - something likely to anger hardliners within the PKK.
French investigators gave no immediate indication of who might be behind the murders; the PKK has seen intermittent internal feuding during an armed campaign in the mountainous Turkish southeast that has killed some 40,000 people since 1984.
Turkish nationalist militants have in the past also been accused of killing Kurdish activists, who want regional autonomy. But such incidents have been confined to Turkey.
"The choice of Cansiz as a target is because she was symbolic of the Kurdish movement," said Franck Cecen, a Kurdish lawyer in Paris who met Cansiz at least half a dozen times and described her as exceptionally well-spoken and well-educated.
"She had been one of its founding members, she had spent years in prison for her convictions, and she had become a historical figure," he told Reuters, adding that he found it hard to believe fellow Kurds would have taken her life.
"It is difficult to imagine that this was done by a Kurdish cell," he said. "Everyone is talking about a Turkish role."
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said it was too early to apportion blame: "This may be an internal reckoning," he said. "We are engaged in a struggle against terrorism. We want to make progress, but there are people who don't want this. This could be a provocative undertaking by these people."
The killings came shortly after Erdogan's government announced it had resumed talks with Ocalan, who has been confined on a prison island near Istanbul since 1999. Talks to end the conflict would almost certainly raise tensions within the Kurdish movement over demands and terms of any ceasefire.
Among a crowd that gathered behind police lines at the Paris Kurdish institute were onlookers chanting slogans and waving yellow flags bearing Ocalan's likeness. France is home tens of thousands of Kurdish immigrants, of who some are PKK activists.
"Rest assured that French authorities are determined to get to the bottom of these unbearable acts," French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said at the scene, adding the killings were "surely an execution". His predecessor, Claude Gueant, said Turkey's engagement in the peace process led him to conclude it was unlikely that Ankara's agents were behind the killings.
Any Turkish government contacts with the PKK, deemed a terrorist group by Ankara, Washington and the European Union, are highly controversial in the Turkish political establishment.
Last year, the months preceding the move to talks, saw some of the worst bloodshed of the three-decades-old conflict. Television footage of soldiers' coffins returning home draped in the red Turkish flag inflamed nationalist tensions.
Valls identified one of the victims as the head of the Information Centre and said homicide and anti-terrorism units had been assigned to investigate the murders. A police source confirmed that all held Turkish citizenship.
The two victims other than Cansiz were named as Fidan Dogan, 28, and Leyla Soylemez, 25.
"This is a political crime, there is no doubt about it," Remzi Kartal, a leader of the Kurdistan National Congress, an umbrella group of Kurdish organizations in Europe, told Reuters.
"Ocalan and the Turkish government have started a peace process, they want to engage in dialogue, but there are parties that are against resolving the Kurdish question and want to sabotage the peace process," he said.
The Kurdish question has taken on a particular urgency with the rise of Kurdish groups in Iraq, where they have self-rule in the north, and in Syria. Turkey fears Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could encourage Kurds to feed militancy in Turkey.
Many Turks fear such autonomy as the PKK is seeking could stoke demands for an independent Kurdish homeland, within Turkey and beyond its borders, that would undermine the Turkish state.
The Firat news agency, which is close to the PKK, said another of the three victims was the Paris representative of the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress. It said the murder weapon was believed to have been fitted with a silencer.
"A couple of colleagues saw blood stains at the door. When they broke the door open and entered they saw the three women had been executed," French Kurdish Associations Federation Chairman Mehmet Ulker was reported as saying by Firat.
Female militants have played a significant role in the PKK's insurgency, partly reflecting a principle of equality within the group's Marxist ideology. In some cases, desire to avenge the killing of other family members was the motivation for joining, for others it was a way out of family repression, analysts say.
The government and PKK have agreed a framework for a peace plan, according to Turkish media reports, in talks which would have been unthinkable in Turkey only a few years ago. Ocalan is widely reviled by Turks who hold him responsible for a conflict that burns at the heart of the nation.
Erdogan has introduced some reforms allowing Kurdish language broadcasting and some other concessions on language; but activists are demanding more freedom in education and administration.
Several members of the Kurdish community in Paris said that Cansiz, who was in her 50s, was an emblematic figure who had been imprisoned in Turkey before obtaining asylum in France.
"She was in charge of communicating information on events in Turkey, she would denounce arbitrary arrests, unsolved murders," said a member of the Arts and Culture Academy of Kurdistan who asked not to be identified.
Turkish political analyst Emre Uslu, who previously worked in Turkey's counter-terrorism police unit, said in a blog that the killing of Cansiz could point to a split within the PKK.
He said Cansiz was a leading member of a faction within the PKK that had in the past opposed Ocalan's moves towards peace.
"For Turkey to sit down with the PKK before its internal problems are solved is considerably problematic," Uslu said.
Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy (BDP) party, two of whose members were allowed to pay a rare visit last week to Ocalan, condemned the killings: "We call on our people to hold protest meetings wherever they are to condemn this massacre and stand up for the Kurdish people's martyrs," its leaders said.

Burglary suspect found thanks to trail of Cheetos

Police officers in Kershaw County, South Carolina, say Cheetos led them to a burglary suspect. Officers took 19-year-old Austin Lee Westfall Presler into custody, charging him with second-degree burglary.
On January 6th, officers say a man was delivering fuel to the Cassatt Country Store when he noticed the front glass of the store had been shattered. Responding officers determined that the suspect went into the store and stole beer, cigarettes, snacks, and energy drinks.

Surveillance video showed the suspect left in a white car. Deputies, though, say Presler made a mistake: he broke open a bag of Cheetos on the floor of the store. A foot search by officers led them to a nearby home.

When they arrived, they found fresh Cheetoes on the front porch of the home, and a white car in the front. According to officers, they then found Pressler in a room in the home with the stolen items. Presler has been released on a $10,000 bond.

Woman used cat to fend off police dog

Police in Orlando, Florida, say a woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend used a cat to fight off a police K-9 on Monday. Police said they were called to Danton Avenue at about 12:30 on Monday morning for a report of a man who said his girlfriend attacked him with two knives.
The victim told police that his girlfriend of six years, Lisa Frink, 46, was off her medication and behaving erratically. He told police they got into an argument over an EBT card and Frink grabbed two knives from the kitchen and swung the knives at him. He tried to fight her off with a chair, he said, but she was able to cut him in the neck and face.

After the attack, Frink ran out of the house and hid in a shed, according to police. Officers responded to the area but she refused to exit or show her hands, police said. When a police K-9 was ordered to apprehend Frink, police said she picked up a cat inside the shed and shoved it in the K-9's face, police said.

Police said Frink then pushed an officer into the wall and began swinging a concrete rake at officers. Police sprayed a chemical into her eyes and handcuffed her. Police charged her with attempted murder, aggravated battery, battery on a law enforcement officer, injuring a police animal, three counts of resisting an officer without violence and two counts of resisting an officer with violence.

Miss Congeniality guilty of participating in riot

A former beauty queen has pleaded guilty to taking part in riots in the Canadian city of Vancouver following the 2011 Stanley Cup ice hockey final.

Sophie Laboissonniere, who won the Miss Congeniality prize in a 2011 beauty pageant in Vancouver, has admitted a charge of participating in a riot. A breaking and entering charge is likely to be stayed, her lawyer said.

Cars were set on fire and buildings looted after the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in the NHL final. Laboissonniere, who was 20 at the time of the riots in June 2011, did not appear at the provincial court in Vancouver on Monday. However, her lawyer entered a plea on her behalf and said she would be present at a sentencing hearing scheduled for May.

"She has received a level of notoriety that goes way beyond the offense she committed. She's stuck with that for a long time," lawyer David Baker told reporters. Laboissonniere was a contestant in the 2011 Miss Coastal Vancouver pageant and and was awarded the title of Miss Congeniality.

Smurfs Arrested for Assault

Last week it was Oomps-Loompas; this week Smurfs. Four men painted blue and dressed as Smurfs entered a store in Pascoe Vale, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.
A 37-year-old Pascoe Vale man was buying cigarettes at a convenience store when he was approached by a man painted blue and dressed as a character from the 1980s cartoon show, police say.

The Smurf asked for a cigarette and was offered one, but he demanded the man light the cigarette before handing it over.

The man refused and was later assaulted.
Police appealed to the public and asked the four men to come forward. Three unidentified 19-year-men and one 18-year-old turned themselves in, and will be charged with "assault-related offenses." More

Man Beheading His Sister Caught on Video

A man from Kolkata, India, in an apparent honor killing dragged his sister out into the open and beheaded her in one bloody blow, according to reports.
Mehtab Alam Man Beheading His Sister Caught on Video picture
Sources say this gruesome happening occurred on December 7, just last year. The related turn of events had it that around 11 a.m., the duty officer at Nadial police station was understandably alarmed when he saw a 29-year-old man, Mehtab Alam, walk in with the macabre exhibit. Before he could find the words to alert his colleagues, the killer put the sword and the head on the table, pulled up a chair, and told him that he was ready to be arrested for murdering his sister, 22-year-old Nilofar Bibi. He was recorded to have exhorted the duty officer to “seize the head as evidence.”
The Times of India reported it was the first honor killing known to happen in Kolkata in decades. An investigating officer told The Times: “Somehow he has started believing that he sacrificed his sister for the bigger purpose of saving his family from dishonor. So he is the last man to believe that he has committed a medieval, barbaric act.”
Mehtab himself said he decapitated his sister, Nilofar, for “eloping with a lover and dishonoring the family,” stated sources. Nilofar, who had been married for eight years, had run away from her in-laws and was reportedly relishing a spicy relationship with a former lover. The siblings’ family expressed support for Alam, saying they were proud he upheld their honor.
The BBC states that there are no cut-and-dried statistics on the number of so-called “honor killings” across India, but according to a recent study, “hundreds of people are killed each year for falling in love or marrying against their families’ wishes.”
Al Jazeera juxtaposed its own thoughts on the matter, citing a UN study in 2000 that shows an estimated 5,000 such honor killings occur globally each year. The National Commission for Women in India reports that it investigates between 70 and 80 possible cases a month.
Last year, India’s Supreme Court ruled that those guilty of honor killings should face capital punishment, the BBC added.
The aftermath of this event that leaves behind an acrid aftertaste was actually captured on video. Viewer discretion is advised.

Four people in Georgia exposed to rabid pet llama

Officials say a veterinarian was called to a house in Morganton on Dec. 28 because a llama was showing signs of aggression -- biting at itself, at others and spitting at one of its caretakers.

Random Photo


An 1865 baseball card found in Maine to be auctioned

A rare 1865 baseball card of the Brooklyn Atlantics
An auction house expects six-figure bids when it sells a rare 148-year-old baseball card discovered at a yard sale in rural Maine. Saco River Auction Co. in Biddeford says a man found the card by chance in a photo album he bought in Baileyville, on the Canadian border.
It's not the same as a modern baseball card. Instead, it's a photograph of the Brooklyn Atlantics amateur baseball club mounted on a card. Saco River manager Troy Thibodeau says he's aware of only two such cards in existence, the other at the Library of Congress.
Saco River sold a rare 1888 card of Hall of Fame baseball player Michael "King" Kelly last summer for $72,000. Thibodeau expects the Brooklyn Atlantics card to fetch at least $100,000 at its Feb. 6 auction.

Fifteen Weird Contraptions from Dr. Kellogg's Sanitarium

John Harvey Kellogg--yes, one of the Kellogg brothers behind the cereal company--invented corn flakes, advocated vegetarianism and...well, let's just say that he had some weird views about sex. Not especially unusual views for the time, but Kellogg was exceptionally passionate about combating sexual passion.
But I digress. At his health spa in Battle Creek, Michigan, Kellogg inflicted his guests with many different bizarre implements of health improvement. This machine repeatedly slapped the user with what appear to be strips of canvas. At the link, you can view fourteen other gadgets designed by Dr. Kellogg.

Science Puts Wrinkled Fingers To The Test

Science may be getting closer to explaining those prune-like fingers and toes we all get when we sit in a hot bath too long. UK researchers from Newcastle University have confirmed wet objects are easier to handle with wrinkled fingers than with dry, smooth ones. They suggest our ancestors may have evolved the creases as they moved and foraged for food in wet conditions.

Awesome Pictures




Fallen Redwood Tree Remains Imposing

This photo illustrates just how much the massive coast redwood trees in Northern California dwarf a human in terms of size. This fallen tree is located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The 53,000-acre park features 17,000 acres of coast redwoods, including four of the tallest trees on record in the world.
Learn more at Twisted Sifter.

Images Of Decaying World War Two Bunkers The Netherlands, France And Belgium

Second World War bunkers are still crouching on the landscape as echoes of the biggest conflict in history. Photographer Jonathan Andrew scoured the wartime territory of The Netherlands, France, Belgium and even Scotland to take these eerie images. He has captured the stern beauty of structures once meant to withstand the fury of war.

Cyclone Narelle

This is Cyclone Narelle, off Western Australia, the red is dust and water. 
The sea is dead calm in front of Narelle.
Cyclone narelle

First ‘Bone’ of the Milky Way ID’d

Our Milky Way is a spiral galaxy – a pinwheel-shaped collection of stars, gas and dust. It has a central ...

Continue Reading 

Upping the 'Cute Factor'

This Fluffy Marsupial Is A Quokka

Car-Chewing Vultures Becoming More Prevalent in Everglades

Vultures are being accused of developing a taste for the cars of visitors traveling to the Florida Everglades.

Dog mistaken for baby lion prompts 911 call

A 911 caller reported that a baby lion was walking down a street in Norfolk, Virginia, possibly looking for food. So police called the Virginia Zoo to make sure the lions were all accounted for.

Mramba, the male lion, and Zola, the female, were in their habitats. As it turns out, it was Charles the Monarch that was out and about. Neighborhood regulars know Charles, who hangs out with his owner at Daniel Painter's business, Daniel's Lawn & Garden Center.

Charles is a cross of Labrador retriever and poodle shaved to look like the mascot of Old Dominion University. It wasn't the first time Charles had generated a police call.

YouTube link.

Painter said police have told him several times that his dog has been mistaken for a lion. He said he's taken his dog from his Riverview home to Lafayette Park near the zoo and seen people run to their cars in shock. "I tell people he's a Lab-a-lion, and half the people believe that."

Large pet reptile found guarding California pot stash

In this photo released by the Alameda County Sheriffs office, an alligator named "Mr. Teeth" is seen after it was discovered in a home in Castro Valley, Calif., on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Authorities say the alligator, apparently used to protect a stash of marijuana inside the home, has been taken to a zoo. When deputies entered Assif Mayar's home on Wednesday for a probation check, they found 34 pounds of marijuana and the five-foot alligator in a tank in the bedroom. (AP Photo/Alameda County Sheriffs) 
Authorities in Northern California made a snappy discovery during a routine probation check: An alligator-like reptile named "Mr. Teeth," who was apparently protecting a stash of marijuana.
When Alameda County Sheriff's deputies entered the Castro Valley home on Tuesday, they not only found 34 pounds of marijuana valued at an estimated $100,000, but also the 5-foot-long caiman inside a Plexiglas tank guarding it in a bedroom.
Caimans are usually found in the wetland regions of Central and South America. They're considered close relatives of alligators.
"We get guard dogs all the time when we search for grow houses and people stashing away all types of dope. But alligators? You just don't see that every day," Sgt. J.D. Nelson said Thursday.
The reptile's owner, Assif Mayar, was arrested Tuesday and later charged with one count of possessing marijuana for sale. Mayar, 32, did not enter a plea during his arraignment in Alameda County Superior Court. He is being held in jail on $20,000 bail and is due back in court on Jan. 15.
He could also face citations from the California Fish and Game Commission, including possession of an exotic animal without a permit.
Assif Mayar is seen in an undated booking photo provided by the Alameda County Sheriffs Office. Mayar was arrested after an alligator named "Mr. Teeth" was discovered in his home in Castro Valley, Calif., on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Authorities say the alligator, apparently used to protect a stash of marijuana inside the home, has been taken to the Oakland Zoo. When deputies entered Mayar's home on Wednesday afternoon for a probation check, they found 34 pounds of marijuana and the five-foot alligator in a tank in the bedroom. (AP Photo/Alameda County Sheriffs Office)Mayar told deputies he got the creature to commemorate rapper Tupac Shakur's 1996 death.
"We have come across alligators before, but nobody can remember one this big and situated in such close proximity to act sort of as a sentry to the marijuana," Nelson said.
Officials at the Oakland Zoo said Mr. Teeth died Wednesday, a day after it was seized by county animal control officers.
The caiman was very sick when it arrived at the zoo's veterinary hospital, zoo spokesman Nicky Mora said Thursday.
"The veterinarian said he came in with a poor prognosis and was unresponsive when he arrived here. He passed away overnight," Mora said.

Animal Pictures