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

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Daily Drift



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Today in History

753 BC   Traditional date of the foundation of Rome.
43 BC   Marcus Antonius is defeated by Octavian near Modena, Italy.
1526   Mongol Emperor Babur annihilates the Indian Army of Ibrahim Lodi.
1649   The Maryland Toleration Act is passed, allowing all people freedom of worship.
1689   William III and Mary II are crowned joint king and queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.
1836   General Sam Houston defeats Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Texas wins independence from Mexico.
1862   Congress establishes the U.S. Mint.
1865   Abraham Lincoln's funeral train leaves Washington.
1898   The Spanish-American War begins.
1910   Mark Twain dies at the age of 75.
1916   Bill Carlisle, the infamous 'last train robber,' robs a train in Hanna, Wyoming.
1914   U.S. Marines occupy Vera Cruz, Mexico. They will stay six months.
1918   German fighter ace Baron von Richthofen, "The Red Baron," is shot down and killed.
1943   President Roosevelt announces that several Doolittle pilots have been executed by Japanese.
1960   Brasilia becomes the capital of Brazil.
1961   The French army revolts in Algeria.
1966   Pfc. Milton Lee Olive is awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for bravery during the Vietnam War.
1975   The last South Vietnam president, Nguyen Van Thieu, resigns.
1995   Federal authorities arrest Timothy McVeigh in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

An infographic: how the senate blocked the backgeound checks bill, from mayors against guns

That a 57-yr-old Texas college student tried to establish a white student union on campus

That the US ranks at the bottom in child well-being

The repugicans Accuse Labor Nominee Of Fighting For Civil Rights

by Dave Johnson 

Where does the repugican cabal put its energy? On anything that furthers the interests of the wealthiest. Tax cuts and kicking government are right at the top of that list*. Also near the top comes blocking minimum wage increases, blocking workplace safety rules and keeping lots of people unemployed so they are desperate to take any nasty, dirty, low-paying job, etc. But next to tax cuts and keeping government from operating repugicans fight to keep unions from being able to organize because the power of working people acting together collectively begins to challenge the power of concentrated wealth that corporations represent. To this end repugicans hate and fight the Labor Department and now the new nominee for Secretary of Labor.
In The News
The repugican “oppo” researchers issued a 63-page report on Thomas Perez, who President Obama has nominated to fill the vacancy for Secretary of Labor. Perez currently serves as head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The report accuses Perez of being corrupt because he fought to keep civil rights law intact by trading a case involving St. Paul landlords who were renting substandard homes in low-income areas for a case accusing St. Paul of not doing enough to help minorities win contracts.
The story is circulating today, WaPo version, repugican cabal issues critical report of labor secretary nominee Perez,
The repugican lawmakers accuse Perez of misusing his power last year to persuade the city of St. Paul, Minn., to withdraw a housing discrimination case before it could be heard by the Supreme Court. In exchange, the Justice Department agreed not to intervene in two whistleblower cases against St. Paul that could have won up to $200 million for taxpayers.

… Top Democrats on the House Oversight Committee issued a report on the investigation Sunday, writing that Perez “acted professionally to advance the interests of civil rights and effectively combat the scourge of housing discrimination.” The Justice Department also defended Perez, saying litigation decisions made by the department “were in the best interests of the United States and were consistent with the department’s legal, ethical and professional responsibility obligations.”

The repugican report cites documents that suggest Perez’s decision frustrated and confused career lawyers at Justice who initially wanted to join the whistleblower cases against St. Paul. These lawyers described the department’s change of heart as “weirdness,” “ridiculous” and a case of “cover your head pingpong.”
Complicated… Perez’s deal kept the Justice Dept. out of one court case in exchange for keeping another from making it to the Supreme Court which would use it to overturn important civil rights laws 5-4.
What repugicans Say Perez Did That Was Bad
The main charge against Perez (other than being brown) is that as part of his duties in the Civil Rights Division he brokered a deal in a housing discrimination case in St. Paul, to keep the case from reaching the Supreme Court. The St. Paul case would have enabled the Supreme Court to strike down “disparate-impact theory” in civil rights a labor law, with a 5-4 vote.
The current Roberts movement-wingnut majority on the Supreme Court looks for cases that enable them to maneuver 5-4 votes to strike down laws that protect citizens from billionaires and corporations (who fund the wingnut movement) in various ways. Citizens United is the best example of this, it undid campaign finance laws, enabling billionaires and giant corporations to put multiple millions into getting their candidates elected at every level. The case involving Perez is one that this court could have used to further harm citizen interests with a 5-4 vote.
The Case
In the early 2000s a group of landlords were renting substandard (heat didn’t work, no locks, rotten floors, rat holes, bugs, broken pipes, etc.) housing to minorities in St. Paul. St Paul cracked down with code enforcement. The landlords sued St. Paul, claiming code enforcement would violate the Fair Housing Act because minority tenants would have less access to … nasty, substandard housing with rotted floors, rats etc.
That’s right, the slumlords sued the city arguing that if the city did code enforcement and it put them out of business minorities wouldn’t have access to nasty, substandard housing that was infested with code violations. They claimed that code enforcement violated civil right laws by potentially decreasing minority access to nasty, substandard housing.
This is exactly the kind of case repugicans love because it turns the tables against minorities, and makes the claim that the kind of businesses that scam on and prey on and take advantage of vulnerable and powerless citizens are really “performing a service.”
St. Paul’s lawyers had a duty to the city to do what they could to win for the city. They knew the Supreme Court had an interest in overturning the civil rights law that the slumlords were using to sue them, meaning they would win the case for the city. So St. Paul was taking the case to the Supreme Court even though the Court would use it to strike down civil rights laws nationally.
Perez struck a deal to avoid this outcome. This is what Republicans are accusing him of.
The Other Case
The other side of the deal Perez brokered involved a suit against St. Paul claiming the city had not been using federal funds to sufficiently help minorities get contracts and jobs with the city. The case would have collapsed if the Justice Dept. didn’t get involved, and could potentially cost the city millions if they did. So in exchange for St. Paul not taking the other case to the Supreme Court Perez got the Justice Department to agree not to get involved.
What This Tells Us
All of this tells us that Perez understands the strategic long game that the billionaires and their giant corporations are playing, by investing in getting their people placed on the courts and Supreme Court, and how they manipulate cases to use to undermine long-standing laws that help regular people. What Perez did shows that he is there to fight for regular people, not to make a fortune by “playing along” while in a government position and then later receiving a high-paying payoff job with the corporations behind this.
Good Sources
A good source for understanding the complicated story is Adam Serwer in Mother Jones, The repugican cabal Wants to Use This Bizarre Case to Scuttle Obama’s Most Progressive Cabinet Nominee,
The deal Perez helped cut likely prevented a landmark civil rights law from being struck down by the Roberts court. Perez’s civil rights division later used this law to secure record financial settlements against banks that discriminated against minority borrowers during the financial crisis. And repugicans were very angry about it.
Another source for a more wingnut take on this is a series of posts by Sean Higgens in the Washington Examiner (note – you will be swarmed by pop-up ads):
A glimpse into how Thomas Perez operates.
More on the deal Thomas Perez cut with St. Paul.
How Thomas Perez might use ‘disparate impact’ theory as labor secretary.
*More from the list of where the repugican cabal puts its energy: keeping people from voting, keeping objective information from reaching people, keeping entrenched “incumbent” interests like oil and coal and big pharmaceutical companies from facing serious competition, etc., etc.

Texas Is Anti-EPA and Their Citizens Have Paid With Their Lives

Texas state legislators hate the Environmental Protection Agency. They’ve made no secret of their distaste for EPA “regulations” in their state. They’ll take care of their own business, thank you and please EPA, butt out. You’re nosy agency is costing us jobs and money.
Well, an unknown number of citizens of the small town of West, Texas and the surrounding area, will never have to worry about their jobs again. They’re dead. West Fertilizer Company exploded like a mini-Hiroshima Wednesday night after an initial fire at 7:30 PM morphed into a giant blast. And who knows what the final casualty count may be as the number of injured will most likely exceed even those victimized in the Boston Marathon bombings. Accurate fatality numbers are hard to come by at this time because of the wide-spread nature of the blast and rubble still to be dug through. The numbers range from 8-10, to West Mayor, Tommy Muska’s original estimate of 35-36 to as many as 65-70 according to the West Director of Emergency Services, George Smith. Many of the West survivors will never have to worry about their jobs either as their injuries will render them incapable of ever working again.
But basically the secession-leaning, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry dumb-ass state of Texas will have triumphed over “The Man.” After being fined in 2006 for “failing to have a risk management assessment that met federal standards and after no Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections for the last five years, the West Fertilizer Company has been self-inspecting. They’ve assured officials that they conduct a safety inspection once a day. And even though the plant stores nearly 25 tons of one of the most dangerous chemicals on the planet, not to worry. The maximum leakage would be 10 minutes with zero injuries or deaths. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) was told that the tanks would not pose a danger. Did TCEQ ever follow up? Did they bother to challenge any of the company self-serving conclusions?
There are 3 Perry-appointed, full-time TCEQ Commissioners. You might remember that Perry lied when he said more and more scientists were questioning man’s contribution to global warming. Toby Baker is one of the Perry Commissioners. He was a former Natural Resources Policy adviser to Texas State Senator Craig Estes. Estes is an Oral Roberts grad who co-authored a draconian voter-ID bill, struck down by the courts and who serves on the board of the Texas Wingnut Coalition Research Institute. The Institute’s site features a lengthy anti-fed regulation Op-Ed.
How proud Paul Ryan and his agency-slashing groupies must be. Their last austerity numbers for OSHA featured a cut of over 20% of the budget; somewhere around $100 million. Like all of his utter fool right-wing colleagues, Ryan believes that leaving worker safety in the hands of private company inspections works just fine.
Well, it doesn’t. Company owners and top management lie like most extremists repugicans. The tragedy is that it takes a death and injury count approaching 200 (or maybe more) to prove it. Compounding the tragedy is that there are two schools, a nursing home, a hospital, residences and at least one apartment complex (now flattened) to expose the lies.
Having come from a rural background, I can assure you that Anhydrous Ammonia (NH3; 1 part nitrogen, 3 parts hydrogen) high concentration nitrogen fertilizer is nothing to mess with (a key component of Tim McVeigh’s bomb). A drop of the stuff on your arm and you’d better have gallons of water to throw on it or you’ll damn near freeze (or burn) your arm off. In the field, a smart farmer will wear a long-sleeve work shirt, chemical protective tight-fitting goggles, cuffed rubber gloves and a respirator. That’s how potentially dangerous the stuff is.
Here’s the problem. On paper, it would seem unlikely that stored anhydrous ammonia would represent much of an explosion threat because the gas only ignites at about 20% vapor concentrations. The company swears their tanks were only filled to 85% capacity. All is well and good until something comes along that turns a benign gas into a volatile deadly mixture. And that’s what happened in West, Texas Wednesday evening. Experts will be looking for the cause of the rising enabling temperatures. Not to scare the citizenry even more, but there’s a minimal chance the explosion could have been intentionally enabled. I doubt that’s the case, however.
Like the Boston Marathon obscenity, this is still an evolving story. I think you’re going to find that early hints of lies, incompetence and greed are going to be pretty much on the mark. So, due largely to the intransigence of repugicans toward regulation, more children and adults die or are severely injured in an explosion that could have been avoided by honest oversight. Greater numbers have been wounded or maimed and still the love of guns and hatred of gays is enough to protect the ballot box for most repugican candidates.
Don’t give up. I think repugican and independent women are starting to get it.

Wingnuts are always wrong

In the history of this world, wingnuts always prove to be wrong. Flat earth? Support the King in the American Revolution? Don't you think it's time that a few of them woke up?
From Raw Story

Sen. James Inhofe (r-OK) on Wednesday explained that Al Gore and the United Nations get most of the blame for what he called a global warming "hoax," but filmmaker Michael Moore and billionaire George Soros deserved some credit too.

At a Environment and Public Works Committee on President Barack Obama's nomination of Gina McCarthy to be the next head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said that he wanted the agency to listen to scientists instead of climate change deniers like Inhofe and Sen. John Barrasso (r-WY).

"What Sen. Inhofe has written and talked about is his belief that global warming is one of the major hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people, that it's a hoax pushed by people like Al Gore, the United Nations and the Hollywood elite," Sanders told the committee.

"I think that is a fair quote from Sen. Inhofe. Is that roughly right, Sen. Inhofe?" Sanders asked the Oklahoma repugican.

"Yes," Inhofe agreed. "I'd add to that list MoveOn.org, George Soros, Michael Moore and a few others."

"That's exactly the issue," Sanders said, turning back to the committee. "Do we agree with Sen. Inhofe that global warming is a hoax and that we do not want the federal government, the EPA, the Department of Energy to address that issue? Because it is a -- quote -- unquote -- hoax, according to Sen. Inhofe and others? Or do we believe and agree with the overwhelming majority of scientists who tell us that global warming is the most serious planetary crisis that we face, and that we must act boldly and aggressively to protect the future of this planet? That is what the issue is."

The NRA and the repugican cabal Made It Easier For The Boston Bombers to Get Weapons

America is a nation steeped in the rule of law that generally refers to the “authority and influence of law in society;” especially as a constraint on bad behavior, including behavior of government officials. Americans would expect that elected representatives responsible for creating laws would be well-versed in the ultimate law of the land, the United States Constitution, but as the past four years have revealed, repugicans are not only unaware of the Constitution’s provisions for law, they are likely to distort and ignore them when it suits their purpose. Advocates for the law and law enforcement officials however, are well-aware of the law as part of their professional standards, and they consistently adhere to legal statutes to ensure justice protects the people according to the Constitution.
On Friday, amidst the manhunt for one of the suspected Boston marathon bombers, Senator Lindsey Graham displayed total disregard for the Constitution and suggested the Obama Administration hold the alleged bomber as an “enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes” and implied that law enforcement should avoid reading the “Boston suspect Miranda Rights telling him to remain silent.” One expected, and witnessed, that type of comment from ignorant wingnuts who immediately decided the suspect was an Middle Eastern radical fresh off the boat from Afghanistan, but Graham is a United States Senator, a trained lawyer, a colonel in the Air Force reserve, and a member of the legal arm of the U.S. Air Force’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps; Graham also swore to support and uphold the U.S. Constitution.
Although the Constitution does not cite it explicitly, presumption of innocence is widely held to follow from the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments, and the Miranda warning requirement is an established Constitutional precedent. What Graham suggested before knowing any facts ignored that the alleged bomber is a United States citizen and was apprehended on United States soil, but Graham proffered the same advice in 2011 when he said, “an American citizen on our soil who collaborates with the enemy has committed an act of war and will be held under the law of war, not domestic criminal law.” At the time Graham suggested ignoring the Constitution, there was no proof the suspect collaborated with “the enemy” to support depriving him of his basic Constitutional rights as a U.S. citizen. However, there were intimations that the young suspect was a Muslim and for repugicans, that was enough to deprive him of his constitutional rights, and suggest scuttling debate on comprehensive immigration reform. It was more bad news from repugicans who blocked a gun safety measure that may prevent a repeat of the events in Boston this week.
On Wednesday, Senate repugicans and four blue dogs shot down a bill to expand background checks for prospective firearm purchases on orders from National Rifle Association leader Wayne La Pierre. The repugicans served the NRA dutifully for decades, and their unwillingness to protect Americans now, and in the past, certainly made it easier for the alleged bombers to engage in gunfights with law enforcement and detonate improvised explosive devices at the Boston marathon. With repugican support, the NRA successfully created an environment that made access to firearms easier for the alleged bombers, and tracing the gunpowder used in “pressure cooker” bombs and homemade hand grenades impossible.
With repugican assistance, the NRA lobbied, and defeated inclusion of a substance called a taggant in black and smokeless gunpowder used to identify the manufacturer and chain of custody that was not available to law enforcement after 3 people were killed and more than 170 were wounded. Identification taggants are microscopically color-coded particles that, if added to gun powders during their manufacture, would facilitate tracing those products after a bombing back to the manufacturer and through mandatory (but non-existent) distribution records through wholesaler and dealer to the original purchaser according to a 1999 NRA report. Not only did the NRA block inclusion of taggants, but recently they opposed a proposal of Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg requiring “sales of explosive powder be subject to a background check,” especially large amounts necessary to create pressure cooker bombs. The suspects used gunpowder in homemade grenades against law enforcement officers during the gun battle that took the life of one suspect and wounded a police officer that repugicans have assailed for the past two years with their persistent public sector cutbacks and assault on union labor.
If repugicans had their way, the government-funded and unionized law enforcement professionals, FBI, and ATF officers would have been shorthanded due to the repugican cabal’s two year anti-government budget cuts. The alleged bombing suspects were identified, tracked down, and eventually stopped because of the professionalism and dedication of government-funded police officers, FBI, and ATF agents and not because armed civilians stood their ground according to ALEC and NRA wisdom. In fact, if nothing else, the events of the past week demonstrated how dangerous repugicans are to the nation, and how desperately needed more government funding is to maintain the safety and well-being of the people. For example, the repugican assault on the U.S. Postal Service and unionized workforce, if successful, would prevent the careful screening that caught ricin-laced letters to President Obama, repugican Senator Roger Wicker, and another government official.
This has been a horrible week for America on several counts, but maybe it exposed the danger inherent in allowing repugicans to run the government.  Their vote to kill background checks assures the next disturbed American citizen who wants to bomb citizens and engage in running gun battles with law enforcement officers will have little problem securing firearms and untraceable gunpowder for improvised explosive devices, and their assumption that Muslims orchestrated the marathon bombing all but assures immigration reform is finished before it started. But what is most troubling is Graham’s willingness to abandon the Constitution’s legal protections within days of defending gun-zealots Constitutional rights that informs the Constitution is a document of convenience for repugicans who are the real existential threat to America, and with dangerous budget cuts thinning law enforcement and Justice department ranks, there is nothing to protect innocent Americans from the nation’s real enemies; the repugican cabal.

They'll say anything ...

Saturday, April 20

The Confederate Helicopter

During the American Civil War, the United States Navy blockaded Southern ports. Southern engineers set their minds to finding technological ways to break that blockade. For example, they built the first submarine that sank another vessel in combat.
William C. Powers, an engineer in Mobile, Alabama, took a different approach. Forty years before the Wright brothers flew, Powers tried to build a warplane:
Although balloons were being effectively used for observation, they lacked directional control and could not lift enough weight to make an effective bomber.  Powers drew upon the work of other famous engineers, such as Archimedes and da Vinci, and employed Archimedean screws for lift and thrust, all powered by a steam engine.  The engine was located in the middle of the craft, and used two smokestacks, which can be seen in the drawings.  Two Archimedean screws on the sides gave the helicopter forward thrust, similar to how a propeller works on a ship in water, and two mounted vertically in the helicopter gave it lift.  A rudder was added to the rear of the craft in order to provide steering. 
Powers's efforts were unsuccessful, but he did build a model, which is pictured above.

Did Richard III Receive Scoliosis Treatment?

For those who could afford it, difficult therapy was available for the condition.

Stonehenge 5,000 Years Older Than Thought

Carbon dating near the monument reveals a settlement occupied between 7,500 and 4,700 BC. -

Volcano's 'Infrasound' Roar Is a Weather Vane

The thunderous roar of Chile's Villarrica volcano carries for miles.


Saturday, April 20

World's Strangest Flowers

Sierra magazine selected "7 of the World's Strangest Flowers." Above is video of the Touch-Me-Not, native to Central and South America but now growing many other places:
You might easily overlook this herb, with its dainty pink flowers and delicate, fern-like leaves. The mimosa pudica doesn’t just look demure, though. Barely touching its leaves causes them to fold inward and droop downward—hence the flower’s species name, pudica, Latin for “shy, bashful, or shrinking,” as well as its nicknames, “touch-me-not” and “shy plant.” The leaves usually reopen in a few minutes. Other stimuli, including warming and shaking the plant, produce the same phenomenon. The leaves fold and wilt in the evening, too, but they stay that way until sunrise…

The Most Beautiful Fungi in the World

violet coral
This is the clavaria zollingeri, a species of fungi commonly known as the violet coral. It looks like coral, doesn't it? But this fungus lives in woodland environments, not under the sea. It's one of 15 stunningly beautiful fungi featured by Twisted Sifter. You can view the rest here.

Top Longest Beaches In The World

Beaches are the result of wave action by which waves or currents move sand or other loose sediments of which the beach is made as these particles are held in suspension. The shape of a beach depends on whether the waves are constructive or destructive, and whether the material is sand or shingle.

Several beaches are claimed to be the 'world's longest' and here are 12 of them.



Indian man raped 5-year-old girl

Child held in captive in man's house Pakistan, Afghanistan, India map 
Indian police have arrested a man who they say abducted a 5-year-old girl, kept her captive in his house and repeatedly raped her.
The girl was initially admitted to a hospital in her neighborhood, where doctors said they removed foreign objects from her genitals, including candle pieces and a small bottle.
The assault came barely months after a 23-year physiotherapy student was savagely gang-raped in a moving bus in an attack that triggered seething protests in the country. She later died at a Singapore hospital.
In the latest case, a neighbor abducted the girl, locked her in a house and brutally raped her repeatedly before she was found semiconscious three days later, according to police.
The suspect was arrested in Bihar state in eastern India and is being brought to New Delhi, city police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.
She girl was later transferred to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in New Delhi.
Her condition has stabilized, according to hospital spokesman Y.K. Gupta, who said she underwent surgery to help with her bowel movement.
The attack sparked protests in New Delhi on Friday. Many demonstrators are members of a political party of the leading anti-corruption activist, Arvind Kejriwal.
Criticized for what was seen as his late response to the December bus-rape attack, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was quick to issue a statement this time, calling the act "shameful".
And as the nation's media ran footage of a police officer slapping a female protester, Singh also ordered strict action against the officer and anyone who roughed up demonstrators. The girl went missing Sunday evening, her parents say, and police registered their report Monday.
She was found Wednesday in a house on the ground floor of her building.

How Rabies Spawned Vampires and Zombies

vAncient tales of vampires later split into two modern mythic characters: vampires and zombies. Movies characterize vampires and zombies as quite different, yet tales from history tell of vampires with characteristics of both: basically undead formerly-human monsters who want to eat humans. An article at the Verge compares the nonfiction book Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus and the novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War to show how the real disease rabies led to the vampire myth.     
Spanish physician Juan Gomez-Alonso explains four connections between rabies and vampire myths in a 1998 Neurology journal article, the most obvious being infection through the blood via bites. Rabies victims also often suffer from facial spasms, lending them an animalistic appearance. The third connection is the time frame: vampire lore had them living for forty days before being turned, the same amount of time it usually takes for the victim of a rabies attack to die after their initial bite. The final connection is probably the most surprising: sex drive. The insatiable sexual desire that’s a trademark of both traditionally gothic and sparkly modern vampires can also be traced to rabies. Male rabies victims often get involuntary erections and have spontaneous orgasms. Unsurprisingly, this was not often spoken of outright, but was alluded to in much of the early medical literature, with one eighteenth century Austrian physician noting “his seed and his life were lost at the same time.”
What's really scary is that 55,000 people still die of rabies every year. More

Daily Comic Relief


San Diego cop smashes phone & beats up suspect: "Phones can be converted to a weapon. Look it up online."

A San Diego cop beat up a man whom he was ticketing for illegal smoking, after the man refused to stop video-recording the experience. The cop told the man that he feared the phone might actually be a gun disguised as a phone, before smashing the phone and tackling the man and smashing his face into the boardwalk. He was taken away in an ambulance.
It all seemed pretty civil until the cop writing the citation told him to stop recording, which Pringle refused to do.
“Phones can be converted into weapons …. look it up online,” the cop told him.
Last month, a South Florida cop confiscated a man’s phone citing the same reason, so maybe this is a new trend.
When Pringle tried to talk sense into the cop, the cop slapped the phone out of his hand where it fell onto the boardwalk and broke apart.
The other cop then pounced on him, slamming him down on the boardwalk where he ended up with a laceration on his chin.
“Blood was everywhere,” Pringle said. “I was laying on my stomach and he had one knee on my back and the other knee on the side of my face.
“They kept telling me ‘to calm down,’ that ‘you’re making this worse for yourself,’ that ‘you have no right to record us.’”
He didn't get the cop's name, and the SDPD won't give it to him.


A 26-year-old man in Oregon found out the hard way that you're not supposed to text during jury duty:
When prosecutors were playing a video-taped interview with the defendant, Judge Dennis Graves suddenly halted the trial after noticing a light glow around juror Benjamin Kohler’s chest. The judge, who had previously instructed jurors to pay attention and not to use mobile phones, immediately halted the proceeding and ordered everybody to vacate the courtroom except Kohler, the Sheriff’s Department said.
The authorities said Kohler “had no explanation for his actions.”
The judge declared him in contempt, and ordered the juror jailed for two days at Marion County Jail. The judge said he wanted to teach Kohler a lesson.

Thieves chopped off woman's legs to steal ankle bracelets

A 35-year-old business woman was murdered and her legs chopped off by two unknown assailants who stole the silver anklets she was wearing at Kokapet, Hyderabad, India, on Tuesday.

The victim, identified as Shankaramma, was the wife of Balappa. The couple owned a scrap business and have a 12-year-old son. Balappa had gone to his friend's house at a nearby village and stayed there on the night the incident occurred.

At 2.30am on Tuesday, two men came to the shop and woke up Shankaramma claiming they had to urgently sell some scrap material. "As soon as Shankaramma opened the door, the duo throttled her and crushed her head with a boulder," Narsingi sub-inspector (SI) P Anjaiah said.

After murdering her, the duo chopped off her legs from below the knees using a sharp-edged stone. "After severing both the legs in this manner, the robbers escaped with her silver anklets," the SI said. The stolen property weighed about 50 tolas (500g).

Masked men stole rhino heads and horns from Irish museum

A gang of thieves have stolen rhino heads and horns worth up to half a million euros (£428,000) from an Irish museum. Three masked men entered the National Museum Archives building in Dublin at about 22:40 BST on Wednesday and tied up a security guard.

The gang loaded the four heads, with eight horns, into a large white van. The security guard, who was not injured, managed to free himself and raise the alarm shortly after midnight.

A police spokesman said the building on Balheary Road, Swords, has been sealed off for forensic examination. An incident room has also been set up at Swords Garda (police) station and officers have appealed for information about the theft.

Nigel Monaghan, keeper of the museum's natural history division, said staff had taken the decision to remove its rhino horn collection from public display in 2011, following a spate of "smash and grab" thefts from museums across Europe. The artifacts had been placed in the museum's storage facility in Swords for safe keeping when the thieves struck.

Random Photo

Tanzanians see official hand in elephant poaching

Kenya Tanzania Elephant Slaughter
Pratik Patel gazed glumly as the herder's scrawny brown dogs moved between piles of bones to eat the rotting elephant flesh. He pointed to the nearby road and wondered aloud: How could poachers kill an elephant just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Tanzania's main safari highway?
Conservationists have long warned of the existential danger that poachers pose to Africa's elephants. And it's in Tanzania, home of the Serengeti game reserve and one of the world's two largest elephant populations, that the scale of the killings and the involvement of government employees may be the most chilling.
The three elephant corpses seen by an Associated Press reporter eight weeks ago lay in a game park just a few miles from a busy junction outside Arusha, a city of 500,000 people.
"Twenty-four elephants were shot within 10 square miles over the last three months. Thirty miles from here there are another 26 carcasses," said Patel, a safari tour operator trying to raise the alarm about the country's dying elephants. "And this is just a teaser. If we go to southern Tanzania I can show you 70 carcasses in one day," he said, referring to the Selous, the world's largest game reserve.
The man tasked with saving Tanzania's elephants is Khamis Suedi Kagasheki, minister for natural resources and tourism. Patel believes Kagasheki, a former intelligence officer, is trying hard to beat the poachers, but is up against a government cabal unwilling to give up illegal profits.
Much of the demand for ivory is in Asia, especially China, luring poachers across Africa to slay the giants and cut out their tusks for rewards far beyond the daily wage. According to CITES, the international body that monitors endangered species, the illegal ivory trade has more than doubled since 2007.
Every week brings new reports of elephant deaths and the government workers alleged to have killed them - soldiers, game wardens, police, customs officials, all complicit in the killings of the top tourism treasure for this poor East African nation of 50 million people.
Botswana, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo and Kenya are also suffering from elephant poaching. But Iain Douglas-Hamilton, the founder of the London-based nonprofit Save The Elephants, says he is most worried about Tanzania's because of its huge population - somewhere between 40,000 and 70,000.
Poaching here "is far bigger than is happening anywhere else in Africa," he said.
Accurate death tolls are nearly impossible to come by. Thirty a day, the government reported at the end of 2012. That's 10,000 a year. Double as much, some government leaders have suggested. The truth, conservationists say, is that the government doesn't know, and that many in the government don't want to know, given the suspicion of official connivance in the illegal trade.
Tour operators in Tanzania and neighboring Kenya, fearing for their livelihood, are increasing the pressure on the government to act. Kagasheki acknowledged to the AP that the poaching problem "is not a pleasant story to tell."
"It's a big problem, it's a huge problem," he said of government officials' complicity in the killing. "But I'm not saying it's beyond resolution. We are trying our best and we are getting there."
Too late for Jonathan Howells' family, however.
In February 2011, his father-in-law, Andre de Kock, a hunting guide for 35 years, was accompanying two clients in search of buffalo on the Maswa Game Reserve, a part of the Serengeti ecosystem.
At 8 a.m. they stopped their car to investigate a blue plastic bag across a river.
"Then 11 guys with AK-47s opened up. No warning. No shouting. They opened up, killing Andre with three shots. One in the foot, one in the belly and one in the temple, while he was sitting in his car," Howells said.
The gunmen - 11 by police count - fled. Help arrived five hours later. In the blue bag were more than a half dozen tusks, each 1 meter (3 feet) long or less - all from young bulls. Scattered in the grass by the river's edge were hundreds of shells from armor-piercing bullets, military-grade ammunition available only to government security forces.
A manhunt began, but within two days all the local police - the first responders - had been reassigned, because, Howells said, they had been tipping off the poachers.
Four people were eventually arrested, he said. More than two years later they are still in prison awaiting trial.
Motioning toward his wife, Howells said her father had died "for less than 18 kilos (40 pounds) of ivory, which two years ago had a street value of less than $1,800."
Today, according to the Born Free Foundation, an international wildlife charity, black market ivory sells in Asia for around $1,300 a pound (nearly $2,900 a kilogram). Poachers in Tanzania's bush get $100 for a pound ($220 per kilogram), Patel says.
In the region around Lake Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park, where the three elephant carcasses lay, the elephant population is about 3,000 and falling.
Charles Bujiku runs a unit called Village Game Scouts, low-paid Maasai villagers trying to protect the animals on their communal land. Asked if government agents are involved in poaching, Bujiku flashes a big smile, and says: "I think I don't know."
But then he notes that the army, the Tanzania People's Defense Force, has a camp just up the hill, and he pulls out a recent poaching report.
On Jan. 20 an army sergeant was caught helping to transfer a tusk. The report shows a man in army fatigues sitting cuffed in the back of a truck. Beside him sits curved tusk.
"A lot of the junior game scouts in wildlife division and junior police officers are involved," said Patel, the safari operator.
"For elephants to be shot at the magnitude they are being shot at, being able to have the ivory transferred from game reserves to port, being shipped to the Far East - it's not the guy at the village level that has the capability. It goes all the way to customs, Tanzania Revenue Authority, Port Authority. It needs influence and influential people."
Anti-poaching units hired to patrol private reserves have found text messages between poachers' phones and government officials, Patel said. "Game scouts, poachers and security forces are all talking to each other. Orders were being placed. Orders were being fulfilled. Accomplices were brought in. The transport of the goods from the source to the city was being facilitated at a high level," Patel said.
At last month's gathering in Thailand of signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya were threatened with sanctions, along with Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and China. Those countries now must implement a detailed plan of action to stop ivory sales.
A CITES-led project that monitors about 40 percent of Africa's elephant population estimated that 17,000 elephants were illegally killed in 2011 and that the 2012 number was probably the same or more.
About 70 years ago, up to 5 million elephants are believed to have roamed sub-Saharan Africa. Today fewer than a million remain. Much of the harvested ivory ends up as small trinkets.
Kagasheki, the wildlife minister, said Tanzania is working to reverse the problem.
"I'm optimistic that we'll eventually get there," he said. But he worries "that we may get there when of course big damage has already happened to the wildlife, something we are desperately trying to avoid."          

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2013/04/20/2364324/tanzanians-see-official-hand-in.html#storylink=rss#storylink=cpy

Chimps Communicate Like Passionate Italians

Eavesdropping on chimpanzees in captivity shows they communicate through a mix of emphatic gestures and vocalizations.

Rejected lambs adopted by goat

Two lambs rejected by their mother have been adopted by a female goat. The birth mother of the twin Manx sheep would not feed them when they were born two and a half weeks ago.

But Geraldine the golden Guernsey goat treats the Manx sheep as her own offspring - even letting them drink her milk. The unusual family-of-three live at White Post Farm in Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire, where staff said they are a strange sight.

Anthony Moore, one of the farm managers, said: "It took a little while but it's amazing how well they have bonded. We were bottle feeding them but we were very keen for them to have a mum so thought we would give Geraldine a go at being a sheep. She's such a relaxed goat we thought we would give it a try."

The twins, which have not been named yet, are a girl and a boy and were introduced to Geraldine 12 days ago, for a few hours at a time to begin. Now the lambs even climb on top of Geraldine, as they would with a mother ewe. "It looks very strange seeing a little lamb on a golden Guernsey goat," said Mr Moore.

Animal Pictures


By Buck Shreck