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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Daily Drift

This is your Daddy's Oldsmoblie

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Today in History

1471   The Earl of Warwick, who fought on both sides in the War of the Roses, is killed at the Battle of Barnet with the defeat of the Lancastrians.
1543   Bartoleme Ferrelo returns to Spain after discovering a large bay in the New World (San Francisco).
1775   The first abolitionist society in United States is organized in Philadelphia.
1793   A royalist rebellion in Santo Domingo is crushed by French republican troops.
1828   The first edition of Noah Webster's dictionary is published.
1860   The first Pony Express rider arrives in San Francisco with mail originating in St. Joseph, Missouri.
1865   President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated in Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth.
1894   Thomas Edison's kinetoscope is shown to the public for the first time.
1900   The World Exposition opens in Paris.
1912   The passenger liner Titanic–deemed unsinkable–strikes an iceberg on her maiden voyage and begins to sink. The ship will go under the next day with a loss of 1,500 lives.
1931   King Alfonso XIII of Spain is overthrown.
1945   American B-29 bombers's damage the Imperial Palace during firebombing raid over Tokyo.
1953   The Viet Minh invade Laos with 40,00 troops in their war against French colonial forces.
1959   The Taft Memorial Bell Tower is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
1961   The first live broadcast is televised from the Soviet Union.
1969   The first major league baseball game is played in Montreal, Canada.
1981   America's first space shuttle, Columbia, returns to Earth.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

That billionaires rule America...and they are coming after the last shreds of our democracy

That Ohio courts are illegally jailing poor people for being poor

That Stevie Nicks thinks feminism id going backwards -- did she stop thinking about tomorrow?

Lush Dimbulb Has To Go

After referring to the parents of Newtown’s 20 murdered children as human shields, it’s time for Lush Dimbulb to go.
Audio via Media Matters:
Transcript via Lush Dimbulb:
DIMBulb: Now I got a guy who calls me, “Lush, are they registered lobbyists?”
“Where’s your heart, sir? What do you mean? They’re not lobbying! They’re trying to save other people’s children.” So that’s how it works. It was the president who asked for this mother of a six-year-old who died to do his speech. Senator Richard Blumenthal (Democrat-Connecticut) is using Sandy Hook to raise money in his e-mails. They’re trying to turn the Newtown parents into a dozen Sandy Sheehans in a way. It’s what the Democrats do, folks. They always try to hide their agendas behind women and children, and, most of all, victims. So the Newtown parents are human shields, in a sense.
The Newtown parents are out there to protect the Democrats from any criticism and to shut it down. Pure and simple.
Being controversial is Dimbulb’s gimmick. It is how he stays irrelevant, but referring to parents who lost their children in a horrific mass shooting as human shields goes too far. It is wrong when Dimbulb does his daily dredging through the pit of racism for ratings. It was wrong when he called Sandra Fluke a slut. Lush Dimbulb is wrong when he opens his mouth.
However, this is a new low even for him.
Since the repugican cabal is too weak kneed and gutless to do anything about him, the rest of America has to take a stand. It would be nice to believe that if we ignore Dimbulb he will go away, but the left has been trying this strategy for decades, and the wingnut hate talker’s influence has only grown within the repugican cabal.
The advertiser boycott that was ignited by Dimbulb’s slut comments has been hugely successful, but his comments about the Newtown parents should motivate those who believe in decency to redouble their efforts.
Lush Dimbulb had First Amendment rights, (but after this he should lose them) but We The People also have the right to refuse to give our business to anyone who advertises on Lush Dimbulb’s show. The advertiser boycott has cost Dimbulb millions, but since he has learned nothing, it looks like it is time for another lesson.

The repugicans are mentally ill

Genocide is coming!
The End Times wingnuts keep warning us about might actually be here,  because repugicans are engaging in hare-kiri at every turn. The latest episode of cray-cray comes from repugican Rep. Jeff Duncan (r-SC), who believes that the background check legislation with bipartisan support in the Senate will lead to a Rwanda-esque genocide.
The repugican Jeff Duncan wrote on his Facebook page:
The 2nd Amendment is (or should be) equal to the 1st Amendment and the 4th Amendment and all of the others. Ask yourselves why it is under attack? Ask yourselves about a National gun registry database and how that might be used and why it is so wanted by progressives.
Read about the Rwandan genocide, the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. Read that all Tutsi tribe members were required to register their address with the Hutu government and that this database was used to locate Tutsi for slaughter at the hands of the Hutu. (Since the government had the names and addresses of nearly all Tutsis living in Rwanda (remember, each Rwandan had an identity card that labeled them Tutsi, Hutu, or Twa) the killers could go door to door, slaughtering the Tutsis.
Not with firearms, mind you, but with machetes.
I use this example to warn that national databases can be used with evil consequences.
That’s not the end of the crazy, but it’s far enough.
Fact: There is no central database. Vice President Biden explained:
“So this idea that there is a national registry, there is no place in the federal government where you can go, not a single place, and find out everybody who owns a gun.”
Also, the government is not going to come after gun owners, just like Bachmann’s FEMA camps never materialized.
If the Rwanda genocide of the Tutsis (an ethnic minority) serves as any kind of reminder of the evils that can befall humanity, it is a reminder to be careful of our prejudice, of fear-mongering, of demagoguing, and to be cognizant of the dangers lurking in rhetorical targeting/dehumanizing of minorities. The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies wrote, “The Rwandan media, encouraged by the Akazu , played a major role in inciting genocide by convincing many Hutu that they themselves would soon become the victims of a genocide mounted by the Tutsi.”
What’s that again, Congressman? They’re coming for us? We should arm ourselves because they’re out to get us?
Where have we heard a group of people compared to animals? Whose rights are being restricted in this country right now? Who is being called ugly, offensive names? Who is being dehumanized consistently on TV and on daily radio shows?
It’s not responsible gun owners. No one is calling responsible gun owners pedophiles, or trying to take their voting rights away, or coming for control over their own bodies or trying to keep them from having the right to visit their loved one in the hospital.
No, in fact, among others in his cabal, it’s tea partier Jeff  Duncan who compared immigrants to “vagrants” and “animals” during a  Q&A event with Furman University students:
“It’s kind of like having a house — and you’re not homeowners, a lot of folks in this room, but your moms and dads are — taking the door off the hinges and allowing any kind of vagrant, or animal, or just somebody that’s hungry, or somebody that wants to do your dishes for you, to come in. And you can’t say, ‘No you can’t come in.’ And you can’t say, ‘No you can’t stay all night.’ Or ‘No you can’t have this benefit, using my deodorant.’”
Speaking of national databases… Can I see your papers, please?
To be fair to the Congressman, his South Carolina district is so steeped in wingnut paranoia that he has an entire section of his website devoted to debunking crazy email forwards, like “Will Handgun Owners Be Required to List Their Guns on the Next Federal Tax Return?” and “Did the Social Security Administration Purchase Large Amounts of Ammunition?” Oh, South Carolina.
The Congressman has obviously been getting a bit of heat about repugicans opposition to either or both Affordable Healthcare Reform and the state expansion of Medicaid, because he has a section devoted to whether or not congress members get free healthcare. He justifies his healthcare benefits as part of a “several private insurance companies competing to be federal employees’ insurance provider. Members of Congress pay part of the premium each month, which varies based on which plan is chosen.”  You can thank him for explaining so well how the basis of Affordable Healthcare Reform (which he opposes) works so well for him and is so fair and market-oriented.
What we have here are the burgeoning signs of a party-wide infestation of mental disturbance. Psychology Today made the argument, “Signs of psychopathology can also be seen among their political bedfellows, wingnut repugicans, especially when you consider a wide range of illness indicators. In his award-winning 2005 book Dr. James Whitney Hicks discusses 50 signs of mental illness including denial, delusion, hallucination, disordered thinking, anger, anti-social behavior, sexual preoccupation, grandiosity, general oddness, and paranoia. ”
Paranoia looms large in the repugican cabal. And while it might be amusing in its insanity, dangers abound. The constant refrain of death and accusation that the “other side” is Hilter, is going to kill you, is coming for you, you need to be armed or else they’re gonna get you, is not healthy, it’s not productive, and it’s also simply not true. If repugicans really believe this stuff, they need to seek help immediately.

Something's Amiss

The President Uses His Own Tax Return To Call For Raising Taxes on the Wealthy

President Obama’s is using his own tax return to demonstrate what is wrong with the system. The president is also calling for taxes to be raised on the wealthy.
The White House used the release of the President and First Lady’s tax returns to call for higher taxes on the wealthy,
Today, the President released his 2012 federal income tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $608,611. The Obamas paid $112,214 in total tax.
The President and First Lady also reported donating $150,034 – or about 24.6 percent of their adjusted gross income – to 33 different charities. The largest reported gift to charity was $103,871 to the Fisher House Foundation.
The President’s effective federal income tax rate is 18.4 percent. The President believes we must reform our tax system which is why he has proposed policies like the Buffett Rule that would ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share while protecting families making under $250,000 from seeing their taxes go up. Under the President’s own tax proposals, including limitations on the value of tax preferences for high-income households, he would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it.
The president’s own tax return demonstrates that the wealthy could and should be contributing more. The federal tax system is tilted so heavily towards the wealthy that President and First Lady Obama only paid a 7% higher rate than most middle class families. To his credit, the president isn’t another millionaire in the White House trying to pretend like he is a regular guy by posing for photo-ops of himself cutting brush.
President Obama has been a warrior for tax fairness. He is so committed to the cause that he is willing to hold himself up as an example of what is wrong with the system. The president’s honesty and commitment to a more equitable tax system should be beyond question.
The Obama White House has done something historic. They have taken the populism of the tax issue away from the repugican cabal. The president owns the tax issue now, and his ability to shift the national discussion on taxes remains an important part of his presidency.

You know you can make more money by begging than by working at Walmart

It is a tragedy that the U.S allows companies to pay such low wages to hard working individuals that we then have to support them with welfare (food stamps, housing allowances, etc.).

To tell the truth

New bird flu strain seen adapting to mammals, humans

A genetic analysis of the avian flu virus responsible for at least nine human deaths in China portrays a virus evolving to adapt to human cells, raising concern about its potential to spark a new [...]

Day care worker bites child to show that biting is wrong

From the "Tortured Logic" Department:

A biting incident got someone kicked out of a Cincinnati-area day care on Thursday. That someone was day care worker Robin Mullins, 56, who bit a young child "to teach him a lesson," according to court records. From Cincinnati.com:
According to court documents, the 5-year-old bit another child at Andrew’s Friends Pre-School & Daycare, 9870 Pippin Road, Colerain Township.
He was taken to the office, where Mullins allegedly bit him on the arm… She left a mark on the boy and caused an injury, police said.
Well, the kid did learn the intended message to be sure - 'biting is wrong' - although the method of the lesson shows the worker did not have a firm grasp on the concept either ... they do now.

Random Celebrity Photo


Yousuf Karsh: Brigitte Bardot, 1958

North Korea Targets Colorado Springs

vThe latest propaganda video released by North Korea threatens specific targets in the US: Washington, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Colorado Springs. Except they don't know where Colorado Springs is.
The only problem is that the video, released by the state-run media organization Uriminzokkiri, misidentifies Colorado Springs’ location by about 1,000 miles. As the voice-over excitedly discusses North Korea’s plan to launch a missile at the home of a number of important military installations, as well as the U.S. Air Force Academy, a dot on a map meant to indicate the city actually appears somewhere over the deep south.

You can hear the narrator mention Colorado Springs at about 1 minute, 20 seconds into the video, as a scary-looking line is shown shooting out from North Korea and landing somewhere in the vicinity of Shreveport, La., a 900-mile drive southeast from the intended target.
Like other recent North Korean videos, the intended effect is probably to solidify internal support. Any actual missile routes from North Korea to the US would be polar. Their KN-08 missiles mentioned in the video are so far untested. See the entire video at the Washington Post.

New Zealand Customs Minister fears 3D printers will soon be able to produce illegal drugs

New Zealand's Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says he is extremely worried about what 3D printers will do to border security. Mr Williamson says the printers are actually manufacturers of products and 3D computer files can be emailed or downloaded from the internet. He says household printers will soon be able to produce drugs and weapons, and the country's borders are extremely vulnerable.

"If people could print off ... sheets of Ecstasy tablets at the party they're at at that time, that just completely takes away our border protection role in its known sense." Mr Williamson says the printers will become as common as PCs and he has asked his officials to think hard about how to keep up with this kind of technology.

“In the near future we will need to protect a digital border instead of just locating physical objects as we do now,” he said. “If it’s made of atoms, you’ll be able to print it… [it] will change the very existence of mankind beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations". However, a 3D printing expert has dismissed Mr Williamson's claim.

Massey University lecturer Olaf Diegel, says while 3D designs may be shared over the internet, you still need the raw materials to create something. “Right now printers can’t reproduce down to the atomic level…3D printing won’t be an issue for customs because you still need the materials within each border to make drugs or guns,” he said.

Awesome Pictures

Foreign Students Studying In The USA

A lot of young people all over the world choose to continue their education in the United States. This infographic reveals interesting facts on who is studying in the USA, top destinations, academic level, top fields of study and which nations send the highest proportion of students to the States.

Ten African-American Nurses Who Changed The Course Of History

Nursing has come a long way over the years, and its evolution - at least politically - owes much to the exceptional service, advocacy and determination of African Americans in the profession. From the inspirational Harriet Tubman to the feisty Mary Eliza Mahoney, these 10 women stand as shining examples to any aspiring nurse.

Through their dedication, excellence and strength of spirit, these trailblazing African-American nurses broke down racial barriers in the nursing profession and truly changed the course of history.

More women face beheading in Papua New Guinea

Three women - a mother and her daughters - are being held captive and are likely to be decapitated as witches in Papua New Guinea, Amnesty International claims.
Their urgent appeal for action follows the latest revelations that six women and a man were tortured and the women burnt to death in the Southern Highlands and two elderly women have been beheaded on the island of Bougainville in the last week.
http://www.zgeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/wickedwitch-268x200.jpgAmnesty say that last week Helen Rumbali, a women's rights advocate and former school teacher, was beheaded in front of her community after three days of unspeakable torture.
"Police stood by and watched, reporting that they were unable to intervene to stop the angry mob."
Amnesty say she was accused of sorcery and that acts like the murders were common.
"The law and police inaction effectively condone such violence."
PNG's Sorcery Act offers a reduced sentence if a perpetrator of violent crime uses allegations of sorcery as an excuse.
"Right now another woman and her two daughters have been captured at Lopele, Bana District Southern Bougainville," Amnesty say.
"She has been accused of sorcery. We are deathly scared for the safety of these three women."
They say the mother has already sustained an severe cut to her neck and requires urgent medical care.
Amnesty have appealed to people to send urgent messages to the PNG Government demanding that authorities there act urgently to stop sorcery killings.
They want people to demand that the Bougainville Police Command need to use all available resources to save lives.

The Spirit of the Masks

Italian photographer Anthony Pappone attended FESTIMA (Festival International des Masques et des Arts) in D├ędougou, Burkina Faso. The week-long festival draws people from Burkina Faso and other West African countries to show off their elaborate traditional masks and costumes.
music and dances are performed throughout the day and the night, there are also clothes made ​​of leaves, fiber feather dresses, white dresses, suits and straw animal skins.
The masks belong to the tradition animist and come out at the end of the dry season to ask for rain.
See more gorgeous pictures of festival participants at Pappone's Behance post. Here.

Most Ancient Port, Hieroglyphic Papyri Found

An 4,500-year-old harbor is discovered, along with ancient diaries and artifacts, on the Red Sea Coast. 

Archaeological News

A giant stone structure discovered beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Israel has archaeologists puzzled.

Random Photo

The Secret Chamber of the Old Faithful

How does the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park work? Researchers analyzing seismic data found the answer: it has a secret chamber!
In the early 1990s, researchers lowered a camera into Old Faithful's throat and, 7 metres down, saw a "choke-point" less than 10 centimetres wide. Below that was a cavern about the size of a small car. But the camera couldn't go deeper than 14 metres because of the violent churn of boiling fluids.
Now Jean Vandemeulebrouck of the University of Savoie in Le Bourget du Lac, France, and colleagues have analysed seismic data collected in the 1990s. Using a modern acoustic technique more commonly used to locate whales or submarines, they analysed the noise of the popping bubbles inside the geyser – captured in the seismic record – to reveal a 60-cubic-metre cavern 15 metres down, and off to the geyser's side.
This side cavity acts as a compressible reservoir, making the water in the smaller main vent bob up and down like a spring. The oscillations affect the water pressure and help the geyser to boil in the early stages of eruption.

No, You Can't Name That Exoplanet

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) -- the official body that governs the designations of all celestial bodies -- in their capacity of purveyors of all things "official" has deemed attempts at crowdsourcing names for exoplanets illegitimate.

Astronomical News

NASA is developing a lunar rover to find and analyze water and other materials trapped in deep freezes at the moon’s poles and to demonstrate how water can be made on site.

The development of NASA's biggest, most powerful rocket yet is running ahead of schedule and on budget

A boy and his dog

It's time to eat insects

Not only are insects a more resource-efficient food source than meat (and more nutritious, to boot), you're also already eating them, writes Mary Hall at Mind the Science Gap. Insect parts are considered unavoidable, natural "defects" in foods and the FDA makes allowances for them, including up to 30 insect parts per average chocolate bar, up to 10 whole aphids for 2.5 cups of spinach, and up to 10 fly eggs (or, if you prefer, 5 eggs and one maggot) per serving of tomatoes. It all sounds gross, but when you consider all the benefits of bug eating (and the fact that many, many reviews proclaim them to taste delicious) it might be best to think of this news as a wakeup call. You're eating bugs already. Why not do it intentionally?

Animal Pictures