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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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Today in History

1413 Henry IV of England is succeed by his son Henry V.
1739 In India, Nadir Shah of Persia occupies Delhi and takes possession of the Peacock throne.
1760 The Great Fire of Boston destroys 349 buildings.
1792 In Paris, the Legislative Assembly approves the use of the guillotine.
1815 Napoleon Bonaparte enters Paris and begins his 100-day rule.
1841 Edgar Allen Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue, considered the first detective story, is published.
1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin is published.
1906 Army officers in Russia mutiny at Sevastopol.
1915 The French call off the Champagne offensive on the Western Front.
1918 The Bolsheviks of the Soviet Union ask for American aid to rebuild their army.
1922 President Warren G. Harding orders U.S. troops back from the Rhineland.
1932 The German dirigible, Graf Zepplin, makes the first flight to South America on regular schedule.
1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt names William O. Douglas to the Supreme Court.
1940 The British Royal Air Force conducts an all-night air raid on the Nazi airbase at Sylt, Germany.
1943 The Allies attack Field Marshall Erwin Rommel's forces on the Mareth Line in North Africa.
1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson orders 4,000 troops to protect the Selma-Montgomery civil rights marchers.
1969 Senator Edward Kennedy calls on the United States to close all bases in Taiwan.
1976 Patty Hearst is convicted of armed robbery.
1982 U.S. scientists return from Antarctica with the first land mammal fossils found there.
1987 The United State approves AZT, a drug that is proven to slow the progress of AIDS.

Non Sequitur


Pacific Command contractor charged with spying

U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni speaks at a news conference in Honolulu on Monday, March 18, 2013 to announce authorities have charged a U.S. Pacific Command defense contractor with giving defense secrets to a Chinese woman he was romantically involved with. Benjamin Pierce Bishop, 59, allegedly sent the 27-year-old woman an email last May with information on existing war plans, nuclear weapons and U.S. relations with international partners, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)  
A civilian defense contractor who works in intelligence at the U.S. Pacific Command has been charged with giving national security secrets to a 27-year-old Chinese woman he was dating, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Monday.
Benjamin Pierce Bishop, 59, is accused of sending the woman an email last May with information on existing war plans, nuclear weapons and U.S. relations with international partners, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu.
The complaint alleged Bishop told the woman over the telephone in September about the deployment of U.S. strategic nuclear systems and about the ability of the U.S. to detect other nations' low- and medium-range ballistic missiles.
Bishop met the woman at a conference in Hawaii on international military defense issues, the complaint said. It did not specify when the conference was held, but it alleged the two began an intimate, romantic relationship in June 2011.
The complaint said the woman was living in the U.S. as a student on a J-1 visa, for people in work- and study-based exchange programs. It was not clear what institution she attended, or where she is now.
It's also not known which defense contractor employs Bishop.
U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni didn't answer any questions at a press briefing held to announce the charges.
Bishop allegedly hid his relationship with the woman from the government even though his position and security clearance requires him to report contact with foreign nationals.
Authorities conducting a covert search of Bishop's home in Kapolei, a suburb about 22 miles west of downtown Honolulu, in November found 12 individual documents marked "secret" even though he's not authorized to keep classified papers at home, the complaint said.
Last month, the woman asked Bishop what western countries knew about "the operation of a particular naval asset of People's Republic of China," the complaint said, though the topic fell outside Bishop's regular work assignments. Bishop researched the issued using open source records and was observed collecting and reviewing classified information on the topic, the complaint said.
Authorities arrested Bishop at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters at Camp H.M. Smith in Hawaii on Friday.
Bishop wore a white jail jumpsuit and was shackled by his wrists and ankles when he appeared Monday in federal court in Honolulu.
He read and signed documents with the help of a pair of black-rimmed reading glasses. He had white and gray hair and sported a few days of beard growth.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi conditionally appointed Bishop an attorney after hearing arguments that his finances weren't sufficient to cover the high costs of defending himself against an espionage charge.
Bishop faces one count of communicating national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it and one count of unlawfully retaining national defense documents and plans.
Bishop's court-appointed attorney, Birney Bervar, said Bishop is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.
"Col. Bishop has served this country for 29 years. He would never do anything to harm the United States," Bervar told reporters after Bishop was formally presented with the charges.
No one answered the door Monday at the brown, two-story home listed as Bishop's residence. The shades were drawn and no car was in the driveway. The home is in a hilly neighborhood overlooking Pearl Harbor and downtown Honolulu.
Bishop was scheduled to appear in court this week for a hearing on whether he will remain in detention during the case. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for April 1.

Supreme Court rules against publisher on copyright protections

Security guards walk the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, October 1, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing 
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said U.S. copyright holders cannot block the resale inside the country of products they make elsewhere, a major case affecting the annual importation of tens of billions of dollars of gray market goods.
By a 6-3 vote, the country's highest court said the "first sale doctrine" applies to copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad.
The decision will provide support for the $63 billion gray market, in which third parties import brand-name goods protected by trademark or copyright into the United States.
The case arose after Supap Kirtsaeng, a Thai national who studied math at Cornell University and the University of Southern California, helped pay for his education by reselling textbooks through eBay Inc's website that family and friends had bought in Thailand and shipped to him.
Eight textbooks came from an Asian unit of John Wiley & Sons Inc, which sued Kirtsaeng for copyright infringement and won a $600,000 damages award from a federal jury.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld the award in August 2011, saying foreign copies can never be resold in the United States without permission of copyright owners. The Supreme Court ruling overturns the 2nd Circuit.
But Kirtsaeng said the "first-sale" doctrine of copyright law protected him and other owners of "lawfully made" copies who sell them without the copyright owners' permission.
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion. The court was not split along ideological lines, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal, writing a dissenting opinion in which she was joined by Justice Elena Kagan, another liberal, and the conservative Justice Samuel Alito.
The case is Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 11-697.

Copyright shouldn't take away real property rights

iFixit's Kyle Wiens has a must-read op-ed in Wired on the insane way that copyright is being used to take away your property rights in tools as diverse as tractors and cars and cellphones and phone switches. The manufacturers use a variety of copyright claims (especially anti-circumvention claims under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act/DMCA) to make it illegal to understand how your stuff works, to improve on it, or to repair it. Wiens makes the good point that it's nuts to use metaphorical property (copyright) to end real property rights in things that you buy and pay for.
Meanwhile, progress is being made to legalize cellphone unlocking. With grassroots groups leading the charge, the Obama administration announced its support for overturning the ban last week. Since then, members of Congress have authored no fewer than four bills to legalize unlocking. This is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. Let’s make one thing clear: Fixing our cars, tractors, and cellphones should have nothing to do with copyright.
As long as Congress focuses on just unlocking cellphones, they’re missing the larger point. Senators could pass a hundred unlocking bills; five years from now large companies will find some other copyright claim to limit consumer choice. To really solve the problem, Congress must enact meaningful copyright reform. The potential economic benefits are significant, as free information creates jobs. Service information is freely available online for many smartphones from iFixit (my organization) and other websites. Not coincidentally, thousands of cellphone repair businesses have sprung up in recent years, using the repair knowledge to keep broken cellphones out of landfills.
As long as we’re limited in our ability to modify and repair things, copyright — for all objects — will discourage creativity. It will cost us money. It will cost us jobs. And it’s already costing us our freedom.

Did you know ...

Wisconsin's gov. Walker's anti-union bill gutted for now

Why the rich prosper while we get screwed

What Bob Woodward's book about John Belushi tells about how bad a reporter Woodward is

The shit ceo's say

 Here's 10 companies profiting most from war

Here's 10 companies with the worst reputations

That today is national repeal the sequester day - find an event near you!

Faux News Is Dying

The new Pew State of the Media report confirmed that Faux News could be facing future economic woes because for the second straight year they have failed to add any new viewers.
According to Pew, Faux News and MSNBC continued to grow and reach record profits, but their growth came at a slower rate. The difference between the two is that MSNBC was the only cable news network to experience ratings growth across the board. Over at Faux News, there are could be some ominious storm clouds growing, “And Faux News Channel, though still by far the ratings leader, saw viewership figures that, by at least one critical measure, were flat—even in an election year. That could curb its robust economic growth in the years to come.”
Pew also detailed the fact that Faux News’ viewership numbers have gone flat, “Faux News Channel, which still has higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC combined, experienced weaker ratings gains than MSNBC. That comparatively small growth was striking given that 2012 was an election year, playing to Fox’s near singular focus on political news. During daytime hours, Fox was up 4%. Across the total 24-hour day, Faux was up just 2%. And in prime time, Faux was basically flat (with a loss just under 1% compared to its 2011 median viewership). This follows two years of small but real prime-time declines for the top cable news channel and may suggest that the challenge of growing an audience on cable can extend beyond CNN and HLN.”
As we have been writing for the last couple of years, there are some real problems lurking beneath the surface at Faux News. In late January, it was revealed that Faux News’ ratings had hit a 12 year low. In February, viewer trust in Faux News fell to an all time low.
The problem for Faux News is that younger viewers are leaving the network in droves. In February, Faux News lost 29% of their age 25-54 primetime viewers. Those viewers aren’t being replaced. As the Baby Boomers age, they aren’t turning into Faux News viewers. This means that Faux News Channel (FNC) has been very successful at maintaining their core audience, but that aren’t having any success with their attempts to expand.
As their deals with television providers expire, both profits and availability are expected to grow for MSNBC. The same can’t be said for Faux News. FNC is already at their saturation point. They don’t have any new domestic television markets to expand into. What this means is that Faux News viewers have the loyalty of a cult, but the cult is not expanding. Faux News won’t go out of business today or tomorrow, but the problems that they facing are very real.
Faux News is no longer growing. The cable news liars have flat lined. Without new growth, revenue will start to drop, and their economic outlook will dim. What all of this means is that opponents may not have to try to get rid of Faux News. Their hyper-partisan programming and reliance on older viewers might end up doing it for them.

ALEC Education Bill Hides Privatization Behind a Reading Skills Disguise

United States of ALEC
Over the last few years, a piece of school reform legislation ostensibly designed to improve the educational experience of public school students, has been making the rounds of 14 state legislatures and the city of Washington DC. A South Carolina version has just been introduced and Mississippi is awaiting concurrence. Ohio Governor John Kasich signed HB 555 “The Ohio School Report Card Bill” late last year. A major component of virtually all the bills is something called the “Third Grade Reading Guarantee.” I couldn’t find a word in the Ohio bill about its application to private schools.
Many of the bills are chock-full of other education esoterica, most of which comes from model legislation written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) with the Jeb Bush Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) joined at the ALEC hip over wingnut efforts to establish impossible norms and imperatives for public schools thereby forcing these taxpayer-funded centers of learning to spend time and money unnecessarily. Money that red state legislatures have made sure is in precipitous decline.
The Senior Advisor of Policy and Research for FEE is Matthew Ladner. Every outside pre-FEE professional Ladner connection with assorted right-wing think tanks and foundations has been dedicated to school privatization and school choice. He’s been a Fellow at both the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a major school choice participant in ALEC task forces. Ladner’s additional anti-public school CV has included Director of State Projects for the Alliance for School Choice and a stint as a grand poobah of the fanatical free-market and school privatizing Goldwater Institute.
There’s your policy wonk for Jeb’s “Foundation for Excellence in Education.” More appropriate would be the “Foundation for Excellence in Stuffing the Wallets of Corporate Private School Moguls Who Will Return the Favor Come 2016.”
Let’s take a look at one of the highlighted sections of these school reform legislative gifts to the privatizing, voucher and school choice movements. Ohio, and other states, including my home turf of South Carolina, call it the “Third Grade Reading Guarantee.”
Here’s how Section 3313.608 of Ohio’s HB 555, applies to third graders; “for any student who attains a score in the range designated under the section in the Ohio Revised Code measuring English language arts (reading) expected at the end of the third grade, each school district shall do one of the following:”
The options include promotion to the fourth grade, promoting to the fourth grade to include intensive intervention services or holding the student back for a re-do of the third grade. The second option disappears for students entering the third grade in the 2013-2014 school year. You don’t read within a certain prescribed range by the end of the third grade, no matter your other grades, you keep sitting in the same classroom for another year, even if you’re a crackerjack in math and other subjects. It’s also interesting to note that Ohio 3rd grade texts are written at a 5th grade reading level. In fairness, the legislation does not apply to those children with Learning Disabilities (LD) or limited proficiency with the language. Still, some 10,000 students could be held back.
Is it worth it? PBS reported that some researchers found that retained students did, indeed, significantly improve their grade-level skills. Nonetheless less than half of retained students met promotion standards after repeating a grade or attending summer school. And the fact is there are already reading programs in place in most schools for those with reading challenges. Most teachers will recognize IRI, Intensive Remedial Instruction. What the bills call for is already done.
There’s also the matter of teacher credentialing for “assigned teacher” and intervention specialists.
If no specialist is available, the Ohio third grade teacher credentials for 2013 would require a reading endorsement (K-12) and a Masters with the word “reading” or “literacy” in the degree name or on the transcript as a major. From school years 2014-2015 and forevermore, teachers from grades K-3 must add a rating of “above value-added” for the last school years or alternatively, a credential from a program on the Ohio Department of Education approved list of scientifically research-based reading instruction, to be approved by the State Board of Education in the Fall of 2013. These requirements for teachers as reading specialists range up to 9-12 credit hours of college classroom instructions to meet the criteria in the bill. That could cost up to $17,000.
The law appears to weigh heaviest on minority students and those from low-income households giving rise to the prospect of subconsciously lowered expectations by teachers thereby impacting promotion standards. There is also the very real possibility of fellow students making life miserable for the kids who are held back.
South Carolina is just catching up with this latest ploy with SB 516, the “South Carolina Read to Succeed Act.” Again, there exists an initiative called the South Carolina Education Improvement Act. Six million bucks of EIA money is currently allocated for reading programs. Wouldn’t it make more sense to tweak and intensify the existing programs and create separate reading groups than further muddy up the education waters with an unproven, expensive and potentially useless new approach?
The answer is that special interests don’t want to see any tweaking. They want to see the state’s educational programs fail and privatized. A state Senator quotes a statement about dropping out of school from a special report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This is a right-wing outfit established in 1948 by Jim Casey, a co-founder of UPS, that purports to love poor and disadvantage kids. Their Board is made up of mostly UPS types, but one prominent member caught my eye. He’s arch-conservative former Michigan Republican Governor John Engler.
Where do I begin? Engler is President of the National Association of Manufacturers. NAM has an army of lobbyists trying to trash every tax, regulatory and environmental effort in Congress. Engler is also a big shot with The Business Roundtable, another wingnut fed hater. Engler doesn’t stop there. He’s a Federalist Society member; part of a bunch of radical jurists who work tirelessly to get wingnut judges appointed who will roll back women’s rights, civil rights and environmental safeguards. Going back a few years, Engler was a board member of the Committee for Justice, a shrub outfit dedicated to ginning up “grassroots” support for the kind of judges favored by the federalists.
So that’s the status of the “Third Grade Reading Guarantee.” Let me leave you with Two frightening words from section 3301.079 of the Ohio legislation.
Subsection (b): Not later than July 1, 2012 (odd date since bill was signed in December, 2012), the state board shall incorporate into the social studies standards for grades four to twelve academic content regarding the original texts of the Declaration of Independence, the Northwest Ordinance, the Constitution of the United States and its amendments, with emphasis on the Bill of Rights, and the Ohio Constitution, and their original context.
Original context! What a wonderful propaganda opening for wingnut teachers.

House repugicans Vote to Keep Millions in Poverty by Refusing to Raise the Minimum Wage

minimum wage poverty
Most Americans understand that a business is some kind of enterprise involved in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers for a profit, and that there is a difference between a small business and a giant organization. The repugicans though, conflate small businesses with giant corporate retailers and manufacturers because it plays into their narrative that government exists to either work to advance profits of giant corporations or terrorize small local businesses and drive them into bankruptcy. The repugicans conveniently use businesses in their never-ending deregulation frenzy and perpetual tax cut crusade, but they are never protecting small businesses that complain their businesses are not hurt by over-taxation or crushing government regulations, but because consumers are not buying their goods and services. It is just one reason the President’s stimulus was so  successful creating millions of jobs because it put people to work making good wages and when people earn more, they spend more, and businesses prosper.
In the furor and enthralling reporting on the CPAC2013 events, or the news that the Steubenville rapists were found guilty, there was little mention that on Friday, House repugicans unanimously voted against raising the federal minimum wage. The repugicans effectively guaranteed that the working poor will continue falling deeper into poverty, and giant retailers will continue posting record profits. The repugicans justified voting against the minimum wage hike with the same tired reason they use to cut corporate taxes and kill regulations; “it will drive up unemployment by making it harder for small businesses to hire.” When President Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage during his State of the Union address, Speaker John Boehner immediately dismissed the idea and said “when you raise the price of employment, it makes it harder for small employers to hire people.” However, the worn-out repugican argument is not borne out by the facts, or testimony from small business owners, and repugicans know it because their definition of “small businesses” is giant retailers such as Walmart.
Protecting corporations like Walmart from paying slightly more than poverty level wages may help the Walton family’s profit margin, but it hurts the economy, the workers, and costs the American people tax dollars. Walmart employees earn such low wages they are encouraged by the retail giant to sign up for food stamps and Medicare or Medicaid because they know their employees will qualify for assistance even though they are employed. Americans have been subsidizing Walmart’s payroll and bottom line because they pay less-than-living wages and keep most employees on part-time status, while they post record profits. But as  Walmart and other giant retailers profit from repugican protection, Americans are falling deeper into poverty that raising the minimum wage will hardly prevent.
As it is now, close to 30-million people earn the minimum wage at their jobs, and these hard-working Americans are locked in with same paycheck year after year, while the cost of living climbs steadily. A worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour earns $14,500 a year if they are fortunate enough to work full time. Not only are they at or below poverty, they are working harder and their productivity is at record levels and climbing. If the minimum wage kept pace with productivity since 1968, it should have reached $21.72 an hour in 2012 according to a new study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. President Obama called for the minimum to increase to $9.00 an hour, and repugicans immediately went into “protect small business” mode and said any raise will “make it harder for small businesses to  hire people.” However, that is not true; most small businesses and many large businesses like Costco and Starbucks pay substantially more than the minimum wage, provide benefits, make record profits, expand their businesses, and still hire people.
Businesses will benefit from raising the minimum to $9.00 an hour because people who are not wealthy spend every last penny they earn on basic survival. As Americans earn more, they will spend more and the business community will prosper, but a full-time worker at poverty level wage contributes to Medicare and food stamp spending that repugicans are frantic to slash. Minimum wage workers need food and healthcare assistance because at the current minimum, working 40-hours per week cannot afford rent for an apartment in any state in the nation. In some states, a worker would need to put in at least 63 hours a week just to afford rent, and up to 130 hours in several others. It means repugicans not only want Americans to barely afford a roof over their head, they are determined to keep them either starving and sick, or dependent on food stamps and Medicaid;  the repugican cabal’s favorite targets for Draconian cuts.
Admittedly, even a paltry increase to $9.00 an hour will help every minimum wage worker and put more money into the economy that in turn helps businesses hire new employees, but while corporate profits soar and the stock market breaks new records almost daily, the working poor continue to fall farther behind and slip deeper into poverty. All the while, repugicans beholden to big business and corporate profits deliberately keep tens-of-millions of Americans in poverty level jobs and look for new ways to take away the food and healthcare assistance that American taxpayers provide as payroll subsidies to corporate giants like Walmart. The repugicans are crushing real small businesses they claim to protect by keeping a major portion of the workforce too poor to buy goods and services, and that is the only reason a small business is unable to hire new workers and reduce unemployment. The repugicans could not care less about small businesses any more than they do minimum wage workers, but they do care about and  protect corporate giants like Walmart’s profit margin regardless it increases poverty. The depth of repugicans’ malice is they are deliberately increasing the number of people dependent on food stamps and Medicaid they claim are unsustainable entitlements that they appear to be increasing to bolster their argument they must be drastically cut making them evil personified.

NRA Ridicules Congresswoman Whose Husband Was Shot and Killed in Mass Shooting

The NRA has decided that it is great strategy to claim that Rep. Carolyn McCarthy whose husband and son were mass shooting victims doesn’t know what she is talking about on the gun violence issue.
NRA organizer Colton Kerrigan played a clip of Rep. McCarthy (D-NY) advocating for gun control, and then said, “These lawmakers who write these laws have no idea what they’re talking about. They’ve never shot a firearm before, they couldn’t tell you what a barrel shroud is. They couldn’t tell you what a mount is for a bayonet. They probably couldn’t tell you what a flash suppressor is. Yet these are the people who are writing the laws saying we need to ban these certain types of firearms. [...] The underlying theme of all of this is, at the end of the day, the lawmakers have no idea what they’re writing, never shot a gun before, and yet they’re going to tell you what you should and should not own to make everybody else safer, yet they couldn’t tell you the difference between the butt or the barrel of a gun.”
This all might sound like the typical NRA rhetoric until you understand that the House member they are attacking lost her husband, and had her son seriously wounded in the 1993 LIRR mass murder. McCarthy isn’t someone who is only blaming the gun. At the time of shooter Colin Ferguson’s sentencing, she said, “I do not believe you were crazy, Colin Ferguson, I believe you knew exactly what you were doing that night, and your justice is about to be served.”
The fact that the NRA would mock a person who has had their family victimized by gun violence demonstrates how out of touch with reality they are. Wayne LaPierre gave a speech at CPAC where he claimed that anybody who advocated for legislation that could lessen gun violence was insane, but this position goes a step beyond even that.
The NRA has turned into a fringe extremist group that because of their staunch opposition to both enforcing current gun laws and new gun laws is encouraging a climate of violence. Their mocking of victims of gun violence is exactly why they are out of touch with the bulk of the country, and their political power is grossly overrated.
Any politician that climbs in bed with the NRA is labeling themselves an extremist, and should be treated as such by the voters.

Two girls charged with threatening Ohio rape victim

A day after two high school football players were convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl, authorities arrested two Ohio girls suspected of making online threats against the accuser.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the girls arrested Monday posted threatening comments on Twitter on Sunday, the day the players were convicted in Steubenville. One of the messages was later reposted on Facebook.
The rape case brought international attention to the small city of 18,000 and led to allegations of a cover-up to protect the Steubenville High School football team.
Steubenville police Capt. Joel Walker said the Jefferson County girls, ages 15 and 16, were being held in juvenile detention.
The older girl was charged with aggravated menacing for a tweet that threatened homicide and said "you ripped my family apart," according to the attorney general's office. A Twitter message from the younger girl threatened the accuser with bodily harm, leading to a menacing charge, the office said.
"These arrests, I hope, will end the harassment of the victim," DeWine said. "We are simply not going to tolerate this. Enough is enough."
The guilty verdict was barely an hour old Sunday when DeWine said he was continuing his investigation and would consider charges against anyone who failed to speak up after the attack last August. That group could include other teens, parents, school officials and coaches for the high school's beloved football team, which has won nine state championships.
A grand jury will meet in mid-April to consider evidence gathered by investigators from dozens of interviews, including with the football program's 27 coaches, which include junior high, freshman and volunteer coaches.
Text messages introduced at trial suggested the head coach was aware of the rape allegation early on. Reno Saccoccia "took care of it," defendant Trent Mays said in one text introduced by prosecutors.
DeWine said coaches are among officials required by state law to report suspected child abuse. Saccoccia has not commented.
Steubenville city manager Cathy Davison said residents want to see justice done, and the city will be better off going forward because of the wider investigation.
Steubenville schools Superintendent Mike McVey released a statement Monday reiterating his position that the district was waiting until the trial ended to take action. He declined to address the grand jury investigation.
It's unclear what could happen to the school's sports programs if coaches were charged. Sanctions against teams or programs typically involve violations of rules related to playing, such as improper recruiting of student-athletes or playing ineligible athletes, said Tim Stried, spokesman for the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Mays and Ma'Lik Richmond were charged with penetrating the West Virginia girl with their fingers, first in the back seat of a moving car after a mostly underage drinking party on Aug. 11, and then in the basement of a house.
Mays, 17, and Richmond, 16, were sentenced to at least a year in juvenile prison for the rapes. Mays was ordered to serve an additional year for photographing the underage girl naked.
They can be held until they turn 21.
Special Judge Thomas Lipps recommended the boys be assigned to Lighthouse Youth Center-Paint Creek in Chillicothe which he said has a strong program for treating juvenile sex offenders.

A 16 Year Old Girl Was Brutally Raped, But Society and Media Mourn for the Rapists

Blame Rapists
It is fairly certain that when people around the world think of America, they imagine a highly civilized society in which every citizen, regardless of gender or race, is given the same rights and respect as equal members of society, and nothing like harsh Islamist culture under Taliban-like rule. Some Americans cited the horrendous treatment of women in some Arab and African nations dominated by strict Islamic and archaic notions of a woman’s role in society as why America is superior and justified in launching pre-emptive war in Afghanistan to save women. However, although Americans are not yet stoning women and young girls for being brutally raped, there is a segment of society that sympathizes with rapists and tarnishes the victim’s character for being the object of a vicious sexual assault.
When photos of the Steubenville rapists carrying an unconscious victim around and videos of them bragging about assaulting the young girl started making the rounds on the Internet, decent Americans were repulsed and rightly cried out for justice. As media attention grew, the rapist’s parents, football coaches, and local rape-advocates defended the young men and angrily decried the negative attention was ruining their lives and promising careers. However, there was little concern from the rape-gang’s advocates for the young girl who was brutalized and publicly shamed with photographs and video celebrations, or how her life was forever marred by criminals defended by their parents, coaches, and football boosters because in America’s highly developed society, victim-blaming is still accepted and encouraged; especially when rapists are athletes.
America holds a special place of honor for athletes, so much so that the Steubenville rape-advocates complained their “children’s” future dreams were being jeopardized. The football coaches went so far as to claim the outrage was a conspiracy to take down their successful football program, and not because the rapists carried out, and bragged about, sexual assault of the most heinous nature.  On CNN, after reporting the guilty decision on Sunday, they could barely contain their sympathy and remorse that the judge’s verdict shattered the promising football dreams of two brutal rapists.
CNN’s Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow were sensitized to the wrecked football careers of “two young men who had such promising young futures” and were “very good students,” but showed no sympathy for the victim. Prior to the trial’s beginning, Good Morning America emphasized the “shattered football futures” of the rapists by reporting “there was no jury” and that a lone judge would “decide the fates of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, who face incarceration in a detention center until their 21st birthdays and the almost-certain demise of their dreams of playing football.” Indeed, after the verdict was read, Richmond fell into his lawyer’s arms sobbing, “My life is over. No one is going to want me now,” and it informed that after being deified as a local football hero, his life was over and it is part of America’s reverence for sports figures regardless their criminal behaviors. However, the tragedy is not that two young men were “cheated” out of promising football careers because they committed rape, it is about the victim; and all women in America.
From the minute the savage photos and video recap of the assault began circulating, there was a steady chorus of rape-advocates blaming the victim because it was a young girl and it typifies America’s patriarchal society. Long before the Steubenville rape gang made the news, repugicans attempted to re-define sexual assault as legitimate rape, or pass legislation forcing women to undergo rape by medical instrument, or defame a Georgetown law student for advocating contraception coverage in health insurance plans. There is a patriarchal mindset in this country that automatically demeans women whether it is wage disparity, the right to vote, or ability to serve in the military alongside men. American society has been set up to keep women in their biblical roles as subservient and submissive; even to rape. When women do speak out against injustice, or report a criminal for brutalizing them, they become pariahs and targets for aspersion as a matter-of-course. After Faux News aired one of the rapist’s apologies and failed to redact the victim’s name, she began getting death threats for reporting the crime that led to her attacker’s convictions, and for ruining her assailants lives and promising football careers. It is the American version of stoning the rape victim, and it has been a decade’s long practice because in America, women are always guilty.
America’s culture, like Islamic culture, is still male-dominated based on religious dogmata dictating man’s superiority over women, and the vile treatment the young girl suffered at the hands of her abusers naturally warranted sympathy for the males  brought low because the victim reported the crime. At the CPAC conference last Friday, and young white Southern male questioned by a woman said, “I didn’t know the legacy of the repugican cabal included women correcting men in public,” and although pathetically disgusting, it highlights the second-class status women in America are given by this vile patriarchal society. Despite losing the 2012 election in part because they lost women’s vote, repugicans are still passing legislation in state after state giving supremacy over a woman’s body to politicians and religious fundamentalists steeped in the bible’s admonition to women to “be in subjection to a man;” even if they want to violate you with medical instruments, or “legitimately rape” you and force you to carry the bastard to term.
Although America has made infinitesimal progress in regards to women’s rights, women still earn less than a man for the same work, pay more for health insurance than a man, and needed a special law for funding parity for women’s athletics. Nothing comes easy, or naturally, to women in America because this society is steeped in archaic religious doctrine that women are second-class citizens, and little more than a man’s, any man’s, property to dominate, underpay, and rape. And if they dare complain, or report being assaulted, they are chastised, demeaned, and sent death threats, because in this country when a 16-year old girl is brutally raped by promising football players, society mourns their ruined careers and finds myriad reasons to blame the victim.

The truth be told

Cancer as a contagious disease

In 2011, Hugo Chavez alleged that he was the victim of an assassination plot ... that unnamed US agents had infected him with a transmissible cancer. Scientifically speaking, that's highly unlikely. But what's interesting is that the idea of contagious cancer isn't totally outside the realm of reality. Transmissible cancers do exist, just not in any primate species. At Scientific American, Marissa Fessenden interviews a geneticist about the contagious cancers that affect dogs and Tasmanian devils.

Researchers Create Sound Laser out of Phonons (Maybe Call it "Phaser"?)

Phasers ain't just a weapon in Star Trek! Researchers at the NTT Basic Research Laboratories in Japan have created a "sound laser" using a nanoscale drum:
Because laser is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,” these new contraptions – which exploit particles of sound called phonons – should properly be called phasers. Such devices could one day be used in ultrasound medical imaging, computer parts, high-precision measurements, and many other places.
A laser is created when a bunch of light particles, known as photons, are emitted at a specific and very narrow wavelength. The photons all travel in the same direction at the same time, allowing them to efficiently carry energy from one place to another. Since their invention more than 50 years ago, almost all lasers have used light waves. Early on, scientists speculated that sound waves be used instead, but this has proved tricky to actually achieve.
It wasn’t until 2010 that researchers built the very first sound lasers, coaxing a collection of phonons to travel together. But those first devices were hybrid models that used the light from a traditional laser to create a coherent sound emission.
Adam Mann of Wired has the story: Here.

Random Photo

Hawaiian man ejected from court due to nefarious antennae

Disorder in the court didn’t slow the wheels of justice when John Williams, aka “Castle John,” lord of the manor at a Kalapana Seaview Estates castle-themed bed-and-breakfast, appeared on Thursday afternoon on a petty misdemeanor theft charge. Williams, who said it was his 57th birthday, arrived in Hilo District court clad in a purple T-shirt and glitter-spangled khaki overalls and shoes, with purple angel wings, purple butterflies in his beard, multicolored gloves, and a colourful knit cap he described as a yarmulke with purple spikes and antennae. He was accompanied by a dachsund named Bruiser that Williams described as a service animal “to help with my anxiety issues.”

When a sheriff’s deputy asked Williams — who was sitting in the courtroom gallery — to remove his hat, he refused. He also balked when the deputy asked him to leave the courtroom, stating that he was a “sovereign individual” and they had no authority to remove him. Deputies moved to forcibly remove Williams, and he resisted. “Don’t touch me! Let go of me! What are you doing?” he yelled. When a deputy replied that he was trying to escort Williams out of the courtooom, Williams shot back, “I can’t trust you, you’re trying to hurt me right now.” Judge Harry Freitas ignored the commotion and court proceedings went on, uninterrupted.

Williams regained his calm after being pulled into the hallway by deputies. He said he was wearing the costume to celebrate his birthday and those of the late physicist Albert Einstein and waltz king Johann Strauss. He added that he was also “trying to educate people that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over this land.” “The Hawaiian government has always had jurisdiction over this land and the United States government is just a bunch of occupiers and war criminals,” he said. “They’re doing things in such a way that they’re impinging on people’s sovereignty and rights. So my job here today is to educate people that they’re in this court because they don’t know any better. They’re only here being flogged and victimized because they’re stupid.”

A deputy said afterward he would have allowed Williams to keep his hat on had he removed the antennae. “I was tackled because I had antenna on my head,” Williams said. “It was OK to have butterflies in my beard but not to have them on my head. I’m sure it’s in one of the statutes that I can have butterflies in my beard but not on my head, but I didn’t have time to look it up before the sheriff tackled me, put me in a thumb lock and dragged me out of the courtroom because I didn’t want to take the butterflies off my head. I asked who in the courtroom was offended by the butterflies and he couldn’t answer me, he just said that was the rule.”

Thailand scrapping squat toilets for sit downs due to increase in cases of arthritis

The Thai government is discarding the squat toilets prevalent in the country to mitigate the number of people suffering from squat-related arthritis.
The move comes after the government realized that people were suffering from arthritis due to squat toilets, which are present in 85 per cent of households and public facilities in the country. The Public Health Ministry revealed that around six million natives, including expats, were suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee due to the toilets.

The ministry plans to replace them these with sit-downs, which are far easier on the knees. An unnamed source said, "Prolonged periods of squatting have been found to cause arthritis. It is hoped the new toilets will save a few more knees and boost tourism."

The Deputy Minister of the concerned department, Cholanan Srikaew, suggested that the scrapping of the squat toilets will not merely help control arthritis cases in the country but will also generate more money via the tourism industry. The tourism industry accounts for seven percent of the country's gross domestic product.

A 22-ton Bridge Stolen

vHas anybody seen the bridge? Sometime since yesterday, an entire bridge was taken from a village in Turkey.
The 22-ton bridge, which was 25 meters long, was in a village in Kocaeli's Gölçük district and was regularly used by villagers to cross a creek to reach their orchards. The villagers were astonished to discover the disappearance of the bridge on Monday morning as they were making their way to the orchards and immediately alerted the police.

Police arrived at the scene and determined that the bridge had been cut apart and loaded onto a truck by the thieves. They believe the bridge was stolen for scrap metal. Its worth was an estimated TL 20,000.
Meanwhile, villagers must the creek by wading. More


We do believe he will regret falling asleep

A Brief History of Applause

vJust who decided that we should slap our hands together to indicate that we like something?
Scholars aren't quite sure about the origins of applause. What they do know is that clapping is very old, and very common, and very tenacious -- "a remarkably stable facet of human culture." Babies do it, seemingly instinctually. The Bible makes many mentions of applause - as acclamation, and as celebration. ("And they proclaimed him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, 'Long live the king!'")

But clapping was formalized -- in Western culture, at least -- in the theater. "Plaudits" (the word comes from the Latin "to strike," and also "to explode") were the common way of ending a play. At the close of the performance, the chief actor would yell, "Valete et plaudite!" ("Goodbye and applause!") -- thus signaling to the audience, in the subtle manner preferred by centuries of thespians, that it was time to give praise. And thus turning himself into, ostensibly, one of the world's first human applause signs.
But applause itself went through many changes, as it was used for different purposes. And today we are experimenting with digital methods of approval, so we can applaud even where no one can hear the sound of two hands clapping. Read the entire story at the Atlantic.

Giving Death a Makeover

vThe funeral industry wasn't always like it is today. Rituals and practices evolve over time, and made relatively sudden changes when society changes. Collector's Weekly spoke to undertaker Caitlin Doughty, the founder of  the Order of the Good Death, about how funeral practices have moved away from the personal to the industrial. 
Originally, the way we handled death in America was very simple, something I would ideally like to go back to. If somebody died, the family kept the body in the home. They washed them, wrapped them in a shroud, and then carried them to the graveyard and put them directly in the ground.

Collectors Weekly: All within a short time after a person’s death?

Doughty: Yeah, two days or so after the death. But this was in very small towns with communities that could rally to make this happen. There were huge numbers of fatalities during the early years of the American Colonies. Eventually capitalism took over, and death was pulled away from the family.

The first major change was embalming, a chemical treatment of the corpse to preserve it, which is a uniquely American practice. Embalming started during the Civil War, and soon after, anybody could be embalmed, and it was more about creating a standardized product, or what they now call a “memory picture.” Especially in the growing cities, it became clear that taking care of the body yourself was hard emotional work, and people realized they could pay somebody to do it. People who used to be cabinet makers now said, “I can make coffins,” and people who were just dressmakers were like, “I can make funeral mourning clothes,” and all these things now sold as part of the funeral industry.

The services quickly became centralized, with a funeral director or mortician or undertaker, somebody who could take the body away and handle everything. Now the family didn’t have to do any of the hard work around their loved one’s death. This transition happened in the late 19th century, and spilled over into the early 20th century as well.
Read more about the traditions of the past surrounding death, and how historic events shaped the way we deal with the loss of a loved one today. More

Fifty Insane Facts About Hair

Did you know that everybody sheds 40 to 150 strands of hair everyday? Unless you're bald, of course. And that human hair can be used to make an additive that is found in foods such as the dough for pizza crusts and bagels?

Instant gold

Under the right conditions, veins of gold can form in just a few tenths of a second, writes Richard Lovett at Nature News. The key is the massive changes in below-ground pressure that can accompany an earthquake. Under the right conditions, water vaporizes, leaving behind crystallized minerals.

Awesome Pictures

The 12 Longest Rivers In The World

There are some amazingly long rivers in the world but which are the longest? Here's a list of the top 12 longest rivers in the world featuring well known rivers such as the Nile, Amazon and Mississippi. While most scientists and researchers agree on the order, accurately measuring the length of such enormous rivers can be difficult and there is at times disagreement on where a river starts, where it finishes and its accurate length.

Catnappers shaved woman's pussy

A woman in Australia's Northern Territory is scratching her head over who shaved her pussy. Her five-year-old grey moggie, Chloe, tottered home after a big Friday night out in Palmerston but it wasn't until the next day that her owner Yvonne Birch noticed she had a strange pattern carved into her side.

"She's been shaved," she said. The 25-year-old airport worker from Gunn said Chloe was friendly, but "not the kind of cat to lay down and take it". "Whoever's done it will have scratches all over them and be missing chunks of skin," she said.

"She's the type of cat that freaks out when someone tries to restrain her." Ms Birch said long strips of fur had been sliced from her thigh to her belly, on her stomach and on her tail.

Even Chloe's yard mate, Connie the boxer-great dane cross, was surprised at her new look and sniffed her all over, Ms Birch said. She said Chloe was not feral and never strayed far from the house. "It must have been someone within a few streets," she said.

Animal Pictures


Baby Bear in Tree
by grubb1980