Welcome to ...

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.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Daily Drift




My favorite right there.

1965 BUICK Riviera.
Open your eyes

Carolina Naturally is read in 190 countries around the world daily.

This should be the last edition of CN published this late in the day. With new changes in the editorial process we should be able to publish daily by 12 Noon (Eastern Time US). That is the plan. Life may have other plans some days but we will try to stay with that schedule (or earlier) as much as we can. Thanks for being one of our loyal readers.


@zoostudiophotos #instagram #cute #precious ::: www.APlaceToLoveDogs.com
Today is What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs? Day 

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

Congress establishes the U.S. Mint.
The first impeachment trial of a U.S. Judge, John Pickering, begins.
The first commercial steamboat route from Louisville to New Orleans is opened.
Florida becomes the 27th U.S. state.
Under pretexts, Britain and France declare war on China.
The serfs of Russia are emancipated by Alexander II as part of a program of westernization.
President Abraham Lincoln signs the conscription act compelling U.S. citizens to report for duty in the Civil War or pay $300.00.
Rutherford B. Hays, the republican governor of Ohio is elected president, his election confirmed by an electoral commission after disputed election the previous November.
Russia and the Ottomans sign the treaty of Stenafano, granting independence to Serbia.
The Russian Czar agrees to create an elected assembly.
The Soviets and Germany sign a peace treaty at Brest-Litovsk depriving the Soviets of White Russia.
Boeing flies the first U.S. international airmail from Vancouver, British Columbia to Seattle, Washington. 
The first issue of Time magazine is published. It's editor, Henry R. Luce, is just out of Yale.
President Herbert Hoover signs a bill that makes Francis Scott Key's "Star Spangled Banner," the national anthem.
In Bombay, Gandhi begins a fast to protest the state's autocratic rule.
A Nazi air raid kills 108 on a British liner in the English Channel.
Moscow denounces the Axis rule in Bulgaria.
The RAF raids the industrial suburbs of Paris.
Finland declares war on the Axis.
The U.S. Supreme Court upholds New York's Feinberg Law banning Communist teachers in the United States.
Sirhan Sirhan testifies in a court in Los Angeles that he killed Robert Kennedy.
Japan discloses its first defense plan since World War II.
Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky appears on national television to explain her affair with President Bill Clinton.

Non Sequitur


King Kong Turns 80

The movie King Kong premiered 80 years ago today at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Though ticket prices ranged from 35 to 75 cents, King Kong went on to gross a then-whopping $89,931 over the next four days in New York City alone. Not bad for a movie released at the rock-bottom of the Great Depression! Since then, the simian celebrity has (among other things) starred in two remakes, battled Godzilla, and even worked as a “spokes-primate” for Volkswagen.

But it’s the original picture that’s left the biggest influence on the motion picture industry, a movie that opened the door for every special-effects film from The Wizard of Oz to The Lord of the Rings.
Here's a list of ten fascinating facts about the 1933 film King Kong.

Did you know ...

These 5 reasons the Keystone XL pipeline is bad for the economy

That Louisiana may have the highest rising seas in the world

The top ten second-generation political screw-ups

Is this the world's first pornography?

Biden leads re-enactment of voting rights march

Thousands of residents await the arrival of Vice President Joe Biden for the annual Bridge Crossing Ceremony in Selma, Ala., Sunday, March 3, 2013. Biden is traveling to Selma on Sunday to participate in the Bridge Crossing Jubilee. The event commemorates the 1965 march, which prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act and add millions of African-Americans to Southern voter rolls. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)  
The vice president and black leaders commemorating a famous civil rights march on Sunday said efforts to diminish the impact of African-Americans' votes haven't stopped in the years since the 1965 Voting Rights Act added millions to Southern voter rolls.
More than 5,000 people followed Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma's annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee. The event commemorates the "Bloody Sunday" beating of voting rights marchers — including a young Lewis — by state troopers as they began a march to Montgomery in March 1965. The 50-mile march prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act that struck down impediments to voting by African-Americans and ended all-white rule in the South.
Biden, the first sitting vice president to participate in the annual re-enactment, said nothing shaped his consciousness more than watching TV footage of the beatings. "We saw in stark relief the rank hatred, discrimination and violence that still existed in large parts of the nation," he said.
Biden said marchers "broke the back of the forces of evil," but that challenges to voting rights continue today with restrictions on early voting and voter registration drives and enactment of voter ID laws where no voter fraud has been shown.
"We will never give up or give in," Lewis told marchers.
Jesse Jackson said Sunday's event had a sense of urgency because the U.S. Supreme Court heard a request Wednesday by a mostly white Alabama county to strike down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act.
"We've had the right to vote 48 years, but they've never stopping trying to diminish the impact of the votes," Jackson said.
Referring to the Voting Rights act, the Rev. Al Sharpton said: "We are not here for a commemoration. We are here for a continuation."
The Supreme Court is weighing Shelby County's challenge to a portion of the law that requires states with a history of racial discrimination, mostly in the Deep South, to get approval from the Justice Department before implementing any changes in election laws. That includes everything from new voting districts to voter ID laws.
Attorneys for Shelby County argued that the pre-clearance requirement is outdated in a state where one-fourth of the Legislature is black. But Jackson predicted the South will return to gerrymandering and more at-large elections if the Supreme Court voids part of the law.
Attorney General Eric Holder, the defendant in Shelby County's suit, told marchers that the South is far different than it was in 1965 but is not yet at the point where the most important part of the voting rights act can be dismissed as unnecessary.
Martin Luther King III, whose father led the march when it resumed after Bloody Sunday, said, "We come here not to just celebrate and observe but to recommit."
One of the NAACP attorneys who argued the case, Debo Adegbile, said when Congress renewed the Voting Rights Act in 2006, it understood that the act makes sure minority inclusion is considered up front.
"It reminds us to think consciously about how we can include all our citizens in democracy. That is as important today as it was in 1965," he said.
Adegbile said the continued need for the law was shown in 2011 when undercover recordings from a bribery investigation at the Alabama Legislature included one white legislator referring to blacks as "aborigines" and other white legislators laughing.
"This was 2011. This was not 1965," he said.

The truth hurts

John Boehner Admits He’s Completely Clueless About The repugican Sequester

John Boehner
Speaker John Boehner (r-OH) told David Gregory in an exclusive interview on Meet the Press today, “I don’t know whether it’s going to hurt the econonmy or not. I don’t think anyone quite understands how the sequester is really going to work.”
Watch here from NBC:
Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Boehner continued, “I don’t think anyone quite understands how it gets resolved.”
So, Republicans like Paul Ryan have been pushing for this thing they don’t understand. John Boehner announced that he got 98% of what he wanted when the Budget Control Act of 2011 was signed into law, which included sequester, as a direct result of repugicans threatening to fail to pay off the debt they’d already aquired by raising the debt ceiling.
Boehner scoffed at the idea that sequester would be bad (after warning us earlier that it would be very, very bad), suggesting that since air traffic controllers weren’t laid off yet, all was well. The full impact of the cuts won’t kick in for a month, and Boehner should understand at least this much about his party’s idea. That didn’t stop Boehner from insinuating that the President wasn’t being truthful about the impact of sequester.
Boehner should have a chat with his colleague Eric Cantor (r-VA) (who happily took responsibility for this mess before it was an actual mess) after the hits make themselves apparent in Virginia, where the economy is largely dependent upon the Department of Defense and military contractors. Experts predict Virginia sliding into a recession as a result of sequestration.
Boehner then tried to sell repugicans refusing to raise revenue by comparing it to average Americans making things work in a tough economy, “Every American, in these tough economic times, has to find a way to balance their budget. They’ve got to make choices. They expect Washington to live within its means and to make choices as well.”
Yes, indeed, Speaker, they do. But average Americans aren’t refusing to work for a living and expecting to pay for their living expenses via cuts to movies and dinners out alone. You see, most of us have to do this thing called work. We do that in order to make this thing called revenue. Revenue is used to pay the mortgage and buy food. Most of us can’t cut our way out of trouble without revenue and you’d be hard pressed to find an American who would turn down additional revenue (pay).
But that’s exactly what House repugicans are doing. They don’t want to ask corporations to pay a little or cut tax subsidies to oil companies and they refuse to entertain the idea of taking away tax breaks for corproate jets. Those things are off the table because they somehow lead to job creation in repugican fantasy.
Boehner claimed that repugicans are refusing to hit corporate taxes because they love the middle class. “American family’s wages aren’t growing. They’re being squeezed. And as a result, we’ve got to find a way through our tax code to promote more economic growth in our country.” Boehner then suggested repugicans are willing to close loopholes, but if this is so, then why don’t they do it, ” We can do this by closing loopholes, bringing the (tax) rates down for all Americans, making the tax code fairer. It will promote more economic growth.”
Tax rates are already very low for most Americans and lower tax rates does not equal more revenue. Increasing tax rates for all Americans is not on the table; rather, closing corporate loopholes and subsidies to oil companies is on the table (from the Democrats).
Without revenue we can’t pay down the debt. Allegedly, this entire debacle was started over repugican concern for the debt. It makes you wonder why they refuse to do the one thing that even Ronald Reagan knew had to happen in order to pay our bills.
Then we got this gem of soothing wisdom from the Speaker, “I don’t know whether it’s going to hurt the economy or not. I don’t think anyone quite understands how the sequester is really going to work.”
As I’ve been pointing out for weeks now, the notion of using the trigger of sequester in order to force compromise is a repugican idea. They’ve been holding it up as the holy grail of budget discipline for years. Paul Ryan has been touting it as great governance since 2004. That is, until it looked like it might actually happen. The repugicans cheered it on as the great solution. Sequester is supposed to be so awful it forces both sides to the table, yet the repugicans refuse to raise any revenue.
Now that they’ve finally got it, now that it has gone into effect because repugicans refused to compromise on any loopholes or revenue, Speaker John Boehner admitted that he doesn’t know how to resolve it. In fact, he doesn’t think anyone understands how sequester is going to really work. Well done, repugicans.

Behind the repugican cabal’s Debt and Deficit Talk Is a Scam To Make the Super Rich Even Richer

A fraudulent business scheme to swindle someone by means of a trick is a scam, and unscrupulous charlatans have cheated unsuspecting people for as long as human beings have existed. There are many approaches to separate a fool from their money as there are stars in the night sky, but they typically involve greed, fear, or loss that hardly ever fails to work. A group of Americans are being scammed by immoral operatives, and as is usually the case, the scammers are motivated by sheer greed for power and control of America and its wealth. The enactment of sequester cuts on Friday brought cheers from teabaggers as they realized their first victory in shrinking the government, but they will not be satisfied until it is small enough to drown in a bathtub. However, they are unaware they are victims of a scam, and pawns to enrich a small faction whose sole intent is separating America, and its people, from every last asset to give ultimate power and control of America to few wealthy industrialists.
Wingnuts became deficit conscious in January 2009 with the Inauguration of Barack Obama, but debt or  deficit was not their primary concern; fear of new regulations and tax increases drove their sudden deficit frenzy. Combined with propaganda of crushing taxation by a Black socialist, men like the Koch brothers used domestic spending, debt, deficit, and intrusive government to frighten ignorant teabaggers into becoming surrogates in their drive to eliminate government they argue infringes on their economic and personal liberty that continues unabated. The teabaggers cannot cite how shrinking government, or domestic spending, will help them prosper, but they just know eliminating intrusive government is the key to America’s problems.
It has long been a Libertarian goal to eliminate government rules, regulations, and taxation to give free rein to corporatists’ unrestrained “free capitalism,” and unbeknownst to so-called patriots in the tea party movement, the only thing standing between abject corporate plutocracy and their economic freedom is the government they long to destroy. However, the reason eliminating government is propagated by corporatists like the Kochs and anti-government advocate Grover Norquist is their religious belief they should be immune to taxation, or requirements to follow regulations in their drive to seize power and America’s wealth. In lieu of any real threat to freedom, economic or personal, wingnuts and their repugican cohort invented a spending, taxation, and deficit crisis to take advantage of racist opposition to President Obama, and despite the shrinking deficit, historically low spending, and low tax rates, The repugicans convinced teabaggers that to save America, government must go.
The deficit is shrinking, and regardless if it was growing, it doesn’t hamper business, or job creation, or affect day to day Americans’ lives or their economic freedom. However, in their drive to cut spending to shrink government teabaggers support killing jobs that does affect every American with loss of services as well as revenue that starves government which is men like the Koch brothers’ goal because less government means fewer regulations and more opportunities to step in and privatize government services like education for a profit. The billionaire Kochs are joined in their drive to starve and privatize the government by the repugican cabal, and billionaire corporate CEOs and their campaign to “Fix the Debt” with their message that America faces an existential debt crisis that must be solved immediately regardless their profits are unaffected by the nation’s debt or spending.
The truth is that if there was a budget surplus and no national debt, businesses, corporations, or Americans would not be any better, or worse, off than they are today any more than the debt and deficit impacts a corporation’s business or obscene profits. When corporate leaders, repugicans, and deficit hawks decry the debt or deficit, their goal is shrinking government; especially regulatory agencies and the government’s ability to operate making room for privatization and corporate takeover.
What repugican controlled states are doing to education foreshadows their intent for the entire government. By reducing education funding they affect school performance, then they offer parents better school choice and divert public funding to for-profit private schools. If allowed to spread across the nation, public education will eventually be eliminated and all public funds will go directly to corporate-run schools which typically perform below public schools, but with profit as the motivation, and no government oversight, performance standards will be the purview of the local church, or corporate philosophy.
The intent to eliminate the government did not start with the tea party, but they were willing pawns in a long-standing goal of libertarian corporatists, with assistance from repugicans, to privatized America. It was not a fluke that newly elected teabaggers in Congress openly campaigned for a credit default to bankrupt America and give wealthy industrialists like the Koch cabal the opportunity to swoop in and “save” America from its creditors, or to stifle economic growth  and reduce revenue with schemes like the sequester and claim government can no longer function. In less than three weeks, repugicans will again hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage when the debt limit expires on March 27, and there is little doubt they will hold the debt limit hostage for more damaging budget cuts or applaud a default.
That teabaggers cheered the economic damage the sequester is certain to wreak on the fragile economic recovery, and openly claim it was their “first” victory, portends a tenuous economy, and more poverty, over the remainder of the 113th Congress. Unfortunately for America, teabaggers align themselves with the Grover Norquist philosophy that until the government is small enough to “drown in a bathtub,” they will work tirelessly to achieve their goal and it means at best the government will come to a standstill, and worse, default and lurch into a major economic depression and it appears they will not stop until they reach their goal. All the while, the Koch brothers and their repugican allies will ratchet up the rhetoric that the economy is failing because of unrestrained taxation, regulations, and spending that prevents economic prosperity. The cycle will continue until America fails at which point plutocrats will take over and teabaggers will rue the day they gave up their freedom to the Koch brothers and helped eliminate the only protection they had against unrestrained oligarchy; the government.

When One Receives a Political Email Full of Pure Bull Shit, You Know It Came From a repugican

In the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), there exists a devastating hold called the “rear naked choke.” One of the combatants curls an arm under the chin and around the neck of the opponent. He then proceeds to slowly squeeze the neck hold tighter and tighter, cutting off the blood supply to the brain. The unlucky recipient of this submission hold then either taps out (2 taps), goes to sleep or if the hold is held too long, the loser could even die.
That’s what the House tea party, corporate and rich folks-dominated repugicans and Supreme Court are doing to our president and our government. They’ve got the legislative and court versions of a rear naked choke and they’re applying growing pressure with every issue. Unlike the highly trained and ethical MMA practitioners, the extremists in the House of Representatives and on the bench will ignore the taps and hope above all else to kill the opponent. And unlike MMA, there are no refs to stop the action when things get to the critical stage.
Voters are supposed to be the refs, but there are just enough damn fool gun nuts and religious zealots out there who never crack a book and will believe anything the multimillion dollar talk and TV whores tell them, to override any attempts at moderation.
Every week brings a new obscenity. So far in the youth of 2013, guns, sequester and voting rights have taken center stage. But remember, this is a steady squeeze. What’s to follow? The revival of defunding Obamacare, that’s what. The ebb and flow of the issue has been with us ever since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law by President Obama, March 23, 2010 and survived a June, 2012 Supreme Court test. There have been at least 34 repeal votes in the House. The extremists have been storming the gates of ACA since its inception with little to show for it.
I want to concentrate this effort on health care and the swirl of BS that’s being put out there to dismantle Obamacare.
Here’s the latest right-wing offensive on behalf of giant pharma and insurance interests. There’s a national email movement to demand the defunding of ACA. It’s spearheaded by Heritage Action for America (HAA), an offshoot of the Heritage Foundation; a wingnut septic tank initially funded by Richard Mellon Scaife whose inherited billion traces back to a great Uncle and who Forbes lists as making his money by “investments”.
Joseph Coors dropped a few bucks on Heritage as well. He’s the Coors Brewery guy. What are a million or so alcohol-related deaths among friends over time? Yeah, Joe Coors has added greatly to the quality of life in America. Ironically, booze contributes enormously to health care expenses. Again, how can we ever thank you, Joe?
But I digress. Recipients of the Heritage email were urged to “Call Your Representative: Defund Obamacare Now.” You’re told that stopping Obamacare is one of the most important battles during the remainder of the Obama Presidency. There’s more. “The damage has already begun; according to the Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare will force 7 million Americans out of their existing health insurance. If conservatives accept Obamacare, it will continue to ravage our health care system. The House must take the lead in this fight now.”
Wingnuts must use every legislative vehicle possible to defund, delay and ultimately repeal this law. Fortunately for us, there’s an opportunity to defund Obamacare this year. Congress will pass a bill to fund government operations in the next few weeks. “This continuing resolution is viewed as “must-pass” legislation, and is our bargaining chip to defund Obamacare.”
Wingnuts are then urged to call their Representative and push for defunding. The Representative’s name and DC phone number, plus a 4-point script is provided. The caller is then commanded to contact Heritage with a call report. “Ja mein fuhrer.”
This is nothing new; it’s been part of the organizational strategy since July of 2010. But Obamacare is still around and the more of ACA that gets implemented, the harder it’s going to be to poison the Obamacare well because it’s a hell of a plus for its citizen benefactors.
The 7 million number is pure bullshit having been debunked repeatedly by numerous sources. Mitt Romney’s campaign figure was 20 million. He claimed the number came from a March, 2012 study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Right after Romney came up with the 20 million figure, the folks at PolitiFact started digging.
Politifact got a copy of the study and started separating the politicized wheat from the chaff.
The limited CBO study was undertaken to estimate the impact of the health care law on the number of people obtaining health care coverage from their employer. No other sources of health care were covered in the study. CBO came up with a “baseline” estimate — its best guess. CBO settled on a range of 3 million to 5 million fewer non-elderly people obtaining coverage through their employer each year from 2019 through 2022 (the email neglected to include the yearly span) than would have been the case before the law was passed. Including those with individually purchased policies means a decline of an additional 1 million to 3 million Americans.
Wildly varying estimates from CBO and other sources have put the decline number at anywhere from 500,000 to Romney’s 20 million. In fact the RAND Corp. estimated that roughly 4 million MORE individuals would be covered. But it doesn’t make any difference because unlike the email statement that, “Obamacare will force 7 million Americans out of their existing health insurance” ACA is not responsible for any snatching of insurance from the hands of those already covered. It fact, through state exchanges, it broadens choices of those losing employee insurance either intentionally (overpriced or lacking enough coverage) or because their employers don’t provide health insurance any longer or prices have skyrocketed.
There’s also the factor of an additional 9 million people covered by employers because of ACA due to subsidies that the repugicans never talk about – ever! There are also subsidies for exchange purchases and even mandated purchases. Expanded current government health programs are also an option. It should be noted that nearly 30 million more Americans will gain insurance through Obamacare.
The HHS Medical Expenditure Panel Survey taken back in ’07 found that 14% of the population switched insurance anyway. So it’s a moot point grounded in deception. Oh, did I mention the baseline CBO figure represents less than 2% of all folks covered by insurance? Another salient fact conveniently overlooked by Heritage.
H’mmmm, smell the aroma of typical repugican dissembling.

The truth be told

Speedometer top speed often exceeds reality

More flash than dash: Speedometers often show far higher top speeds than cars can travel (Photo: Nathan | Flickr)
The speedometer on the Toyota Yaris says the tiny car can go 140 miles per hour. In reality, the bulbous subcompact's 106-horsepower engine and automatic transmission can't push it any faster than 109. So why do the Yaris — and most other cars sold in the U.S. — have speedometers that show top speeds they can't possibly reach?
The answer has deep roots in an American culture that loves the rush of driving fast. The automakers' marketing departments are happy to give people the illusion that their family car can travel at speeds rivaling a NASCAR racer. And companies often use one speedometer type in various models across the world, saving them money.
But critics say the ever-higher numbers are misleading. Some warn they create a safety concern, daring drivers to push past freeway speed limits that are 65 to 75 mph in most states.
"You reach a point where it becomes ridiculous," says Larry Dominique, a former Nissan product chief who now is executive vice president of the TrueCar.com auto pricing website. "Eighty percent plus of the cars on the road are not designed for and will not go over 110 mph."
Last year, speedometer top speeds for new versions of the mainstream Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu were increased from 120 or 140 mph to 160, which approaches speeds on some NASCAR tracks. The speedometer on the Honda Accord already topped out at 160. All are midsize family haulers, the most popular segment of the U.S. auto market, and like most new cars, have top speeds that seldom exceed 120 mph.
The Yaris got its 140 mph speedometer in a redesign for the 2012 model year, giving it the same top reading as the original 1953 Chevrolet Corvette sports car. Even the new Nissan Sentra compact has a 160 mph speedometer.
There are several explanations for the speedometers.
When people are comparison shopping, cars with higher speedometer readings appear to be sportier, and buyers favor them even though they have no intention of driving over 100. "People really want to see higher numbers," said Fawaz Baltaji, a business development manager for Yazaki North America, a large supplier of speedometers for auto companies. "It is indicative of a more powerful engine. There's a marketing pitch to it."
Although cars with high-horsepower engines can come close to the top speedometer speeds, most are limited by engine control computers. That's because the tires can overheat and fail at higher speeds. Tires now common on mainstream cars often can't go above 130 mph or they could fail. Many tires, especially on older models, have speed limits as low as 112. But that's still faster than most people will ever drive.
Automakers, in a push to cut costs, now sell the same cars worldwide and use the same speedometers in different cars all over the world. In China and Europe, governments require that the top number on speedometers be higher than a car's top speed. Cars sold in Europe, for instance, have faster top speeds than those sold elsewhere because they can be driven over 150 mph on sections of Germany's Autobahn. So to sell the same car or speedometer globally, the numbers have to be higher, said Kurt Tesnow, who's in charge of speedometer and instrument clusters for General Motors.
Also, some mainstream cars have some souped-up cousins that go faster and need higher speedometer numbers. A Chevy Malibu with a 2-liter turbocharged engine, for instance, can go 155 mph, far higher than the mainstream version. The little Toyota Yaris gets its speedometer from another Toyota model that's sold in other countries. "It's not that each speedometer is designed for that specific vehicle," said Greg Thome, a company spokesman.
In a similar vein, U.S. automakers can make engines that blow past 70 mph because they make cars for global drivers and speed limits vary around the world. And drivers like the security of knowing they could outrun a natural disaster, such as a tornado, if necessary.
The speedometer designs also reflect research that found most people like the needle to hit highway speeds at the top of the speedometer's circle, said Yazaki's Baltaji. So the common freeway cruising speed of 70 to 80 mph is right in the middle on a 160 mph speedometer, he said.
The rising speedometer numbers aren't surprising to Joan Claybrook, the top federal auto safety regulator under President Jimmy Carter. She's been fighting the escalation for years and says it encourages drivers — especially younger ones — to drive too fast. During her tenure, she briefly got speedometer numbers lowered.
"They think that speed sells," she said of automakers. "People buy these cars because they want to go fast."
Some drivers at dealerships Tuesday conceded that marketing the higher speeds could have worked on them — at least when they were younger.
Paul Lampinen, 36, of Ann Arbor, Mich., said he bought a Ram Pickup with a V-8 engine because he likes a powerful truck. The higher speedometer numbers could have influenced him when he was in his 20s, but they wouldn't work now, he said. "I don't want to pay any tickets," he said while getting his truck serviced at a Chrysler dealer in nearby Saline, Mich.
For years, most speedometers topped out at 120 — even though that was 50 mph over the limit in most states. Then, in 1980, Claybrook, who ran the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, limited speedometers to 85 mph, even though cars could go much faster.
The move, designed to end the temptation to push cars to their limits, drew outrage from gearheads nationwide. Some automakers got around the rule by ending the numbers at 85 but leaving lines beyond that to show higher speeds. The government also forced automakers to highlight 55 mph, which at the time was the fuel-saving national speed limit.
The limit was short-lived, overturned two years later by Ronald Reagan, who campaigned on a pledge to end onerous government regulations. Cars with 85 mph speedometers lingered for several years until they were redesigned and the maximum speeds for most returned to 120.
By the 2000s, however, the speedometer speeds crept higher. Even compact cars showed 130 or 140 mph. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette speedometer and some Jaguar models now peak at 200.
Claybrook concedes there's no data to show the 85 mph limit saved lives, but she believes it did. She calls the ever-higher speedometer numbers immoral.
At present, the government has no plans to reinstate speedometer limits or regulate top speeds, saying there's no evidence to show it would prevent crashes. "Ultimately, drivers are subject to speed limits mandated by the states regardless of the top speed listed on a vehicle speedometer," NHTSA spokeswoman Lynda Tran said.
But Claybrook isn't satisfied. "To have a car register any more than the maximum speed limit is really a statement by the company: Drive faster. It's OK," she said. "It's encouraging people to violate the law."

Woman sues FedEx for mistaken marijuana delivery

A Plymouth, Massachusetts woman is suing FedEx claiming the company put her safety at risk and violated her privacy. A package containing several pounds of marijuana mistakenly arrived at the doorstep of Maryangela Tobin, a package she thought was a birthday present for her daughter. “There were candles, pixie sticks and peppermint, and something we thought was potpourri,” she said.
But the vacuum packed bags beneath were narcotics and Plymouth police called the company to flag the package saying the recipient could be a risk. But an hour later, Tobin says a man was knocking at her front door looking for the package, with two other men sitting in a vehicle in her driveway. She says FedEx gave away her address, and led the suspected dealers to her house.

"I knew it was the person looking for the package, I was very nervous.” She walked to the front door and bolted it, slamming the front door in the process while she says the man repeatedly asked if FedEx had picked up the package. It was already in the hands of police, and now she believes the damage has been done, concerned whoever wanted the drugs knows where she lives.

“I feel like the safety of my daughters and myself was invaded and it makes things complicated. If you’ve ever been in a position of being so scared in your home and having something like that happen. I walk into my house first every time, my kids don’t,” she said. The suit claims FedEx disclosed the address “despite explicit Police advisory against such disclosures” and violated Massachusetts privacy laws.


Alcohol abuse ...

6K gallons of scotch accidentally flushed down drain

The night shift at a Chivas Brothers distillery screwed up this week and accidentally flushed about 6,000 gallons of Scotch whiskey down the drain, according to reports from Scotland.

Might be some one is out of a job right about now.

The Worst American Restaurants in Europe

vYou hear it all the time that international cuisine in America is not authentic, particularly when discussing Olive Garden and Taco Bell. Well, we know that, but the argument also comes up about the mom-and-pop ethnic restaurant on the corner. Turn that idea around, and you have to wonder whether other countries have "American" restaurants. Yes, they do -and they can say a lot about how the world views American food. CNN has reviews of the worst attempts at recreating the American dining experience in Europe. American Dream in Paris leads the list:
Rude service. A patronizing menu of “American” specialties. An interior that takes kitsch to a nauseating level, with an over-abundance of cheap tchotchkes throughout, and for some inexplicable reason, a basement dedicated to Japanese manga.


The fries taste stale and the shakes are sweet to the point of undrinkable. The menu full of overpriced blandness is served on dishes made to look like paper plates.

We get it. American food is often rightly mocked for being oversized, dripping in grease or just plain tasteless.

But to make an entire restaurant out of the joke isn't funny.
Have you ever been to any of the restaurants on this list? Or to any "American" restaurants in Europe? 

PS: They're not all bad. Here's a list of the best American restaurants in Europe. More

Iceland Tests Meat Pies for Horsemeat, Finds No Meat of Any Kind

When officials in Iceland began hearing about horsemeat being secreted into beef products around Europe, they decided to run tests to ensure the same thing wasn't happening in Iceland.
Icelandic meat inspector Kjartan Hreinsson says his team didn't find any horsemeat, but one brand of locally produced beef pie left it stumped: it contained no meat at all. [...]
Hreinsson said it appeared to be some kind of vegetable matter. He said the mystery pie was traced to a firm in western Iceland and the case had been handed to municipal authorities.

Mom Made Peruvian Government Hunt for Her Son After He Went Missing From Facebook

Most moms fret in worry when they don't hear from their children in a while, but 25-year-old Garrett Hand's mom really takes it to a whole 'nother level. She got the Peruvian government to start a manhunt for her "missing" son when he didn't update his Facebook page for a few weeks:
In November, 25-year-old Garrett Hand and his 25-year-old girlfriend Jamie Neal flew from their California home to South America for a four-month bike trip. Before the couple left, they informed their friends and family that, for some of their trip (as they traveled through jungles and rainforests), they would be out of cellphone and Internet range.
In January, they passed out of cellphone range. In February, Garrett's mom demanded the Peruvian government launch a full-scale search for the couple, whom she believed to be missing.
What they actually were, was "having a blast."
The couple's last communication with their families (and access to their bank accounts) occurred on January 25. In late February, Garrett's mom called Peru and demanded they put Garrett on the phone to talk to her right this instant, or else they'd be in big trouble, mister.
Caity Weaver of Gawker has the full story: Here.

Paleolithic screw waterskin stoppers

These are the most delightful tools I have ever seen. They are from the Perigordian IV, which is 30 000 BP to 28 000 BP.  They are called 'goat skin corks' which have a hand cut screw thread!

As an archaeologist this doesn't surprise me too much although one doesn't expect to find a screw thread in the Palaeolithic ..

They are from two different sites, but the same time period. My bet is that both were made at one site, and traded to another. No two people come up with an intellectual leap like that independently, at the same time. It had to have been made by the same artisan or group of artisans, for sure. What is interesting, however, is that this was invented, but never became popular except in one general area at one time, about 30 000 years ago...

The one on the left is from Roc de Combe-Capelle, and on the right from Fourneau du Diable. They are both in the Dordogne area, about 90 kilometres apart.

Notice that they are both right hand threads, showing that right handedness in humans has been around for a long time - though we knew that anyway because of the differences in arms on the right and the left of skeletons...

The material of both is ivory. Hard to work, but it would be very durable...

Did a Comet Really Chill and Kill Clovis Culture?

A comet proposed to have crashed into North America almost 13,000 years ago didn't do so, according to new research.

Random Photos

The 12 Deepest Lakes In The World

The deepest lakes in the world are not necessarily the largest lakes on the planet in terms of surface area but the lakes which hold the largest volumes of water. Some of these lakes are great tourist attractions and others are heavily used for commerce and most are used for both. Outdoor activities like hiking and fishing are popular in and around most of the these lakes and some of them have hotels, resorts and spas along their shores.

Volcano aerosols, not pollutants, tamped down recent Earth warming

A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain [...]

Astronaut Snaps Photo of Mount Etna Erupting

Astronaut Chris Hadfield snapped a spectacular photo of Italy's Mount Etna volcano streaming ash toward the sea early Thursday morning.

Big Meteorite Discovered in Antarctica

Meteorite hunters at the bottom of the world bagged a rare find this southern summer: a 40-pound (18 kilogram) chunk of extraterrestrial rock.

Past Antarctic Warming Linked to Greenhouse Gas

Rising carbon dioxide levels may have caused Antarctic warming in the past.

With you there, buddy

Old friends


Old friends

Were horses domesticated in prehistoric Arabia?

No-kill wolf ban spurs nonlethal options

FILE - In this August 2012 file photo provided by Wolves of the Rockies, the Lamar Canyon wolf pack moves on a hillside in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. As the progeny of wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996 spread across the West, an accidental experiment has developed. A temporary court order has made Oregon a wolf-safe zone, where wildlife agents are barred from killing wolves that attack livestock. Over the past year, the numbers of wolves has risen to 46 in Oregon, but livestock attacks have remained static. In neighboring Idaho, the number livestock attacks rose dramatically as the numbers of wolves killed by hunters and wildlife agents also increased. (AP Photo/Wolves of the Rockies, File)  
As long as wolves have been making their comeback, biologists and ranchers have had a decidedly Old West option for dealing with those that develop a taste for beef: Shoot to kill. But for the past year, Oregon has been a "wolf-safe" zone, with ranchers turning to more modern, nonlethal ways to protect livestock While the number of wolves roaming the state has gone up, livestock kills haven't — and now conservation groups are hoping Oregon can serve as a model for other Western states working to return the predator to the wild.
"Once the easy option of killing wolves is taken off the table, we've seen reluctant but responsible ranchers stepping up," said Rob Klavins of the advocacy group Oregon Wild. "Conflict is going down. And wolf recovery has got back on track."
The no-kill ban has been in place since September 2011. That's when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced it planned to kill two members of the Imnaha wolf pack in northeastern Wallowa County for taking livestock. Conservation groups sued, arguing that rules allowing wolves to be killed to reduce livestock attacks did not comply with the state Endangered Species Act. The Oregon Court of Appeals stepped in, prohibiting wolf kills while the two sides work to settle, although ranchers who catch wolves in the act of killing livestock may still shoot them.
At the end of 2012, wolf numbers in the state had risen to 46 from 29 in 2011, according to state fish and wildlife officials. Meantime, four cows and eight sheep were killed last year by two separate packs, while 13 cows were killed by one pack in 2011.
Wallowa County cattle rancher Karl Patton started giving nonlethal methods a try in 2010, after he fired off his pistol to chase off a pack of wolves in a pasture filled with cows and newborn calves. State wildlife officials provided him with an alarm that erupts with bright lights and the sound of gunshots when a wolf bearing a radio-tracking collar treads near. He also staked out fladry at calving time. The long strings of red plastic flags flutter in the wind to scare away wolves. The flags fly from an electrically charged wire that gives off a jolt to predators that dare touch it.
The rancher put 7,000 miles on his ATV spending more time with his herd, and cleaned up old carcasses that put the scent of meat on the wind. And state wildlife officials text him nightly, advising whether a wolf with a satellite GPS tracking collar is nearby.
"None of this stuff is a sure cure," said Patton, who worries the fladry will lose its effectiveness once wolves become accustomed to it. Such measures also can't be used in open range.
Seen as a scourge on the landscape, wolves were nearly wiped out across the Lower 48 by the 1930s. In 1995, the federal government sponsored the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. They eventually spread to Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington and California.
With wolf numbers approaching 1,800, the federal government dropped Endangered Species Act protection in 2011 in the Northern Rockies, eastern Oregon and eastern Washington, and turned over recovery management to the states.
While ranchers are not happy with the wolf comeback, the wider public is. A 2011 survey for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife found 74.5 percent of Washington residents believe it acceptable for wolves to recolonize their state.
Wolf advocates hope the Oregon experiment can spread elsewhere, especially Idaho, which had 746 wolves in 2011. In 2012, hunters and wildlife agents killed 422 wolves, compared with 296 for 2011. Sheep and cattle kills, meantime, went up from 192 in 2011 to 341 in 2012.
Idaho Fish and Game biologist Craig White said it "raised eyebrows" on both sides of the wolf debate when the livestock kills rose even as more wolves were killed. Previously the trend had been for livestock kills to go down as wolf kills went up. The state plans to continue killing wolves until elk herds — their primary prey and a popular game animal — start increasing, he said.
The Idaho numbers show "you can't manage wolves using conventional wisdom and assumption," said Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife in Idaho. "Using these old archaic methods of managing predators by just killing them is not working."
In "no-kill" Oregon, ranchers disagree. Wallowa rancher Dennis Sheehy puts bells on his cattle to help scare away wolves. He also spends more time with his herd, and cleans up old bone piles. Nevertheless, he believes a kill option should always be on the table for wolves that prey on livestock. The 2011 ban, he said, "really upset people around here."
Patton has never lost a cow while using the fladry and alarms. But two were killed on the open range and one in a large pasture where such protection measures are impractical. He has also found tracks showing wolves crossed the fladry and walked among his cows without, for some reason, attacking them.
He still believes the only way to deal with wolves that attack cattle is to kill the whole pack.
"It's frustrating, more than anything, because we have our hands tied," he said. "You can kill a man (who) comes into your house to rob you. Wolves are more protected than people."

Animal Pictures


My, what sharp claws you have! by Penny Hyde -  Siberian lynx commonly hunt prey three to four times their size. They can even kill reindeer when given the opportunity.