Welcome to ...

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

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Daily Drift

 The day when all Americans are Mexicans

Carolina Naturally is read in 191 countries around the world daily.

Not only is it Cinco de Mayo!  ...

Today is Totally Chipolte Day 

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Some of our readers today have been in:
Cambridge, England
Zgreb, Croatia
Vancouver, Canada
Quito, Ecuador
Kokshetau, Kazakhstan
Doha, Qatar
Caracas, Venezuela
San Jose, Costa Rica
Kiev, Ukraine
Hanoi, Vietnam
Ankara, Turkey
Pasig, Philippines
Bechar, Algeria
Bogota, Colombia
Merignac, France
Addia Ababa, Ethiopia
Warsaw and Gdansk, Poland
Puchong and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Care Town and Johannesburg, South Africa
Makassar and Jagirisdosermo, Indonesia

And across the USA in cities such as:
Suwanee, Saginaw, Sarasota and Saratoga

Cinco de Mayo marks Mexico's freedom from France -- but it's celebrated more in the U.S. than in Mexico!

Today in History

1494 Christopher Columbus lands on the island of Jamaica, which he names Santa Gloria.
1814 British attack the American forces at Ft. Ontario, Oswego, New York.
1821 Napoleon Bonaparte dies in exile on the island of St. Helena.
1834 The first mainland railway line opens in Belgium.
1862 Union and Confederate forces clash at the Battle of Williamsburg, part of the Peninsula Campaign.Eyewitness to War
1862 Mexican forces loyal to Benito Juarez defeat troops sent by Napoleon III in the Battle of Puebla.
1865 The 13th Amendment is ratified, abolishing slavery.
1886 A bomb explodes on the fourth day of a workers' strike in Chicago.
1912 Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda begins publishing.
1916 U.S. Marines invade the Dominican Republic.
1917 Eugene Jacques Bullard becomes the first African-American aviator when he earns a flying certificate with the French Air Service.
1920 Anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Visetti are arrested for murder.
1935 American Jesse Owens sets the long jump record.
1942 General Joseph Stilwell learns that the Japanese have cut his railway out of China and is forced to lead his troops into India.
1945 Holland and Denmark are liberated from Nazi control.
1961 Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space.
1968 U.S. Air Force planes hit Nhi Ha, South Vietnam in support of attacking infantrymen.

Non Sequitur


The Coolest Earth Houses Around The World

An earth house (also known as an earth berm or an earth sheltered home) is an architectural style characterized by the use of natural terrain to help form the walls of a house. An earth house is usually set partially into the ground and covered with thin growth. Modern earth houses are built with concrete walls and insulation. Earth houses are some of the most energy efficient.

The truth be told

Prison and racial segregation

Or why a Jewish guy eats with the Aryan Brotherhood

From a 2009 Southern Poverty Law Center report, David Arenberg describes his life as a Jewish guy inside a heavily racially segregated state prison where he faces violence and even death if he doesn't eat with the Aryan Brotherhood. Arenberg uses the essay to jump into a harrowing view into the rise of serious, politicized neo-Nazi skinheads in prison -- guys who make the Aryan Brotherhood look like moderates.
Not that there's anywhere else I could eat. The prison yard is broken down into five distinct racial categories and segregation is strictly enforced. There are the "woods" (short for peckerwoods) that encompass the whites, the "kinfolk" (blacks), the "Raza" (American-born people of Mexican descent), the "paisas" (Mexico-born Mexicans), and the "chiefs" (American Indians). Under the strict rules that govern interracial relations, different races are allowed to play on the same sports teams but not play individual games (e.g., chess) together; they may be in each others' cubicles together if the situation warrants but not sit on each others' beds or watch each others' televisions. They may go to the same church services but not pray together. But if you accidentally break one of these rules, the consequences are usually pretty mild: you might get a talking to by one of the heads (who, of course, claims exemption from this rule himself), or at worst, a "chin check."
Eating with another race, however, is a different story. It is an inviolate rule that different races may not break bread together under any circumstances. Violating this rule leads to harsh consequences. If you eat at the same table as another race, you'll get beaten down. If you eat from the same tray as another race, you'll be put in the hospital. And if you eat from the same food item as another race, that is, after another race has already taken a bite of it, you can get killed. This is one area where even the heads don't have any play.
This makes it difficult for me, of course, to fit into the chow hall. Jews, as we all know, are not white but imposters who don white skin and hide inside it for the purpose of polluting and taking over the white race. The skinheads simply can't allow me to eat with them: that would make them traitors of the worst kind — race traitors! But my milky skin and pasty complexion, characteristic of the Eastern European Ashkenazi, make it impossible for me to eat with other races who don't understand the subtleties of my treachery and take me for just another wood. So the compromise is that I may sit at certain white tables after all the whites have finished eating. In exchange, I must do free legal work as directed by the heads (Jewish lawyers, even jailhouse lawyers, are hard to come by in prison) and remit to them a portion of the legal fees I collect from everyone else I do legal work for on the yard.

Did you know ...

That the Koch bros. wealth grew by $33 billion as schools report 1 million children go homeless

About the record unemployment in Spain and France

About why are CEO's afraid of a little sunlight on their political causes?

Oh, and sorry, game of thrones fans; you're mispronouncing "kahleesi"

Why "connecting the dots" is the wrong way to think about stopping terrorism

Bruce Schneier has a great op-ed on CNN on why it's stupid to talk about whether the FBI should have "connected the dots" on the Boston bomber. As Bruce points out, it's only in hindsight that there's a neat trail of dots to connect, a narrative we can make sense of. Before the fact, it's a hairy, swirling hotchpotch of mostly irrelevancies, and it's only the "narrative fallacy" that makes it seem like a neat story in retrospect. The risk here is that intelligence agencies and the press will push this fallacy as grounds for taking away more rights and more privacy in order to "connect the dots" next time.
Rather than thinking of intelligence as a simple connect-the-dots picture, think of it as a million unnumbered pictures superimposed on top of each other. Or a random-dot stereogram. Is it a sailboat, a puppy, two guys with pressure-cooker bombs or just an unintelligible mess of dots? You try to figure it out.
It's not a matter of not enough data, either.
Piling more data onto the mix makes it harder, not easier. The best way to think of it is a needle-in-a-haystack problem; the last thing you want to do is increase the amount of hay you have to search through.
The television show "Person of Interest" is fiction, not fact.
There's a name for this sort of logical fallacy: hindsight bias.

Cops Arrest Teen For ‘Terror Threat’ ...

... But Ted Nugent Threatens Obama and Goes Free?
When the Founding Fathers wrote the U.S. Constitution, they revealed their belief that among all the rights American citizens should enjoy, the freedom of self-expression through their speech was a primary human right. That freedom of speech has protected private citizens for over 230 years, including the past four years when blatant threats against the government and President Obama, including threats of revolution and violence, has been a favorite talking point for repugicans, neo-conservatives, and teabaggers who cannot comport an African American man as President. Throughout all the threats, concerned Americans have asked why there has been no charges filed against the gun fanatics and hate groups only to be told they are protected under the 1st amendment, but finally law enforcement has acted and arrested an American citizen who faces felony charges for making terrorist threats.
The suspect is a teenage high school student from Methuen Massachusetts who is being held on $1 million bond and faces 20 years in prison for posting an alleged threatening rap on his Facebook page. The wannabe rapper was arrested after another high school student alerted authorities regarding “disturbing verbiage,” but according to a press release the threats “were in general and not directed towards another person or the school.” The police chief in Methuen, Joe Solomon, said “He posted a threat in the form of rap where he mentioned the White House, the Boston Marathon bombing, and said ‘everybody you will see what I am going to do.” Besides arresting the teenager, Cameron D’Ambrosio, police searched his home, confiscated a computer and Xbox, and dug deeper into his Facebook page for more clues to the wannabe rapper’s activities, and cited a “disturbing satanic photo posted as well as a photo of himself on a Wanted Poster that reads “Wanted Dead or Alive” that must have tipped off authorities the kid was a terrorist.
Law enforcement claimed his Facebook page revealed the teen had an interest in gangs, violence, and a criminal lifestyle, and a post that read, “Fuck politics, Fuck Obama and Fuck the government!!” What law enforcement uncovered are typical statements of hundreds-of-thousands of suburban white teenagers across America attempting to identify with entertainers in the rap world, and it leads one to wonder why they took the extraordinary step of arresting a typical teen for expressing the sentiments of millions of young people when they look the other way when national figures like Ted Nugent, teabaggers, repugican politicians, and gun fanatics make violent threats targeting the government and President Obama, and openly call for armed insurrection. Maybe it was that “disturbing satanic poster” the teen found at the local mall, or the cowboy-themed “Wanted Dead or Alive” novelty poster every county fair sells after inserting the buyer’s photo to give it that personal touch.
It is likely that if the wannabe rapper had been a member of the National Rifle Association and specifically made threats against the President of the United States, he would have been given a pat on the back and a hearty “well done” by teabaggers and so-called patriots as law enforcement feigned adherence to the 1st amendment’s freedom of speech clause and looked the other way. Maybe if the teenager was a member of the 44% of Republicans who think armed revolution against the government to protect their liberties is a growing possibility, law enforcement officials would have shrugged it off as just another innocent political statement. If the teenager had been a gun dealer and posted a YouTube video calling on other gun zealots to wait for his call to arms to begin shooting people when President Obama called for gun safety legislation, thousands of faux patriots would have rallied to his defense as Faux News, Lush Dimbulb, and Glenn Brick cheered on a real American.
This alleged “terrorist threat” from a kid who looks to be all of 14 years old and posted a rash of videos of him and his African American pal playing Mario Brothers, performing one poorly-executed skateboard trick, Call of Duty, and a decidedly amateurish attempt at rapping is a blatant example of double standard. It is noteworthy that law enforcement concentrated on the teen’s rapping and that particularly “disturbing” fantasy “Satanic poster” as troubling signs of a terrorist threat at the same time they claimed the threats were “in general and not directed at another person” after arresting and charging him with posting a threatening rap on Facebook. Also noteworthy is the teen’s “Fuck politics, Fuck the government, and Fuck Obama” that typify teenagers’ sentiments about politics, but law enforcement is in desperate need of a token to give the public the illusion they are protecting Americans from terrorism. Why arrest and charge NRA board members and gun fanatics for making violent threats against the government and President when there is a teenager with a “disturbing Satanic poster” and poorly performed rap on Facebook living in suburban Massachusetts?
The kid, and he is a kid, was expressing a typical “fuck politics” sentiment millions of Americans, young and old, profess every day but go unmolested by law enforcement the same as militant gun fanatics stocking up on assault weapons and ammunition for the day “armed revolution” is necessary to protect their liberty to impose religion, ban contraception, and restrict millions of Americans from access to basic healthcare insurance. If that wannabe rapper had an NRA poster on his Facebook page, and expressed his discontent with politics in country and western song, he would be home playing Mario Cart and riding his skateboard instead of being where thousands of gun zealots and anti-government wingnuts belong; in jail on a million dollar bond and facing 20 years in prison for making terrorist threats and inciting revolution.

Federal Reserve says austerity is hurting US growth

The Federal Reserve said (admitted) this week that government austerity measures have hurt economic growth.Not that this is a surprise to anyone who doesn’t watch Fox News – or to the citizens of the UK, Spain, and Portugal – but it’s one more indication that the Republicans’ Holy Grail for curing all economic woes, austerity, is actually causing more problems than it’s solving.
Here’s a snippet of a Fed press release from this past Wednesday:
Labor market conditions have shown some improvement in recent months, on balance, but the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has strengthened further, but fiscal policy is restraining economic growth.
Fiscal policy is government spending.
As you know, ever since the stimulus Democrats have been playing a “can you out-austerity me?” game with the repugicans.  All the economists we trust have been saying from the beginning that you don’t cut government spending either in a recession or during anemic economic growth.  They’ve also been saying that, with interest rates at historic lows, and borrowing practically free, now is not the time to pay off debt – now is the time to take on more debt, and invest in things that will lead to more economic growth later on.
1000 Words / Shutterstock.com 
But repugicans are very good at what they do, lying, and Democrats have a genetic flinch.  So as soon as the stimulus passed, Democrats stopped talking about it, repugicans kept talking about it, until the conventional wisdom was not only that the stimulus was a waste of money (it wasn’t), but that the debt was the biggest problem we’re currently facing, and it’s not.  Lack of job growth is the biggest problem we’re currently facing.  An anemic economy where a lot of people’s salaries, mine included, actually went down again last year, after finally ticking up the year before, is the biggest problem we face.  And the fact that millions are still unemployed, with virtually no hope for finding a job any time soon – including a lot of unemployed recent college grads – is among the biggest problems we face.
But repugicans are a one-song show.  It doesn’t really matter what the problem is that we face, the answer is always tax cuts, gay bashing, and Benghazi.
As Mark Blyth notes in a new article in Foreign Affairs, austerity doesn’t work:
The results of the experiment are now in, and they are equally consistent: austerity doesn’t work. Most of the economies on the periphery of the eurozone have been in free fall since 2009, and in the fourth quarter of 2012, the eurozone as a whole contracted for the first time ever. Portugal’s economy shrank by 1.8 percent, Italy’s fell by 0.9 percent, and even the supposed powerhouse of the region, Germany, saw its economy contract by 0.6 percent. The United Kingdom, despite not being in the eurozone, only barely escaped having the developed world’s first-ever triple-dip recession.
The results of the experiment are now in, and they are consistent: austerity doesn’t work.
The only surprise is that any of this should come as a surprise.
After all, the International Monetary Fund warned in July 2012 that simultaneous cuts to state spending across interlinked economies during a recession when interest rates were already low would inevitably damage the prospects for growth. And that warning came on top of the already ample evidence that every country that had embraced austerity had significantly more debt than when it started. Portugal’s debt-to-GDP ratio increased from 62 percent in 2006 to 108 percent in 2012. Ireland’s more than quadrupled, from 24.8 percent in 2007 to 106.4 percent in 2012. Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio climbed from 106 percent in 2007 to 170 percent in 2012. And Latvia’s debt rose from 10.7 percent of GDP in 2007 to 42 percent in 2012. None of these statistics even begin to factor in the social costs of austerity, which include unemployment levels not seen since the 1930s in the countries that now make up the eurozone. So why do governments keep on treading this path?
We haves written at length about the damage austerity has done to the English economy (which first was facing a double-dip recession because of austerity, and now may be facing a triple-dip recession as a result), to the Spanish economy, and now the Portuguese economy.
Nowhere in the world has austerity restored a national economy.  Even a wingnut US think-tank has determined that austerity may be hurting the US economy.
Of course, that didn’t stop the repugicans from imposing austerity at home.  Even at the state law, ill-timed austerity is hurting people.  Just look at Scott Walker’s Wisconsin.  The problem, among many, is that austerity slows down the economy which hurts job growth, and which in turn hurts government revenues (fewer people employed means less money taken in from taxes).  And as noted above in the Blyth piece, deficits are now increasing.  The UK is a perfect example.  Austerity increased the deficit and cost the economy billions.
Austerity does not work.  And to the extent it might be a necessary remedy in extreme circumstances, you don’t implement it in a weak economy.   It’s almost as if the repugicans think America is some third-world country that needs desperate measures to save it from its desperate ways.  Perhaps it’s time the Democrats reminded the repugican cabal, publicly and loudly, that America is not the Third World.

Paul Ryan Gets His World Rocked When a ‘Taker’ Rebels At Town Hall

Paul Ryan got his world rocked at a recent town hall when one of the victims of the sequester, a.k.a. a taker burst his Ayn Rand bubble.
Robert Novak: I am on sequestration. I’m on furlough. I’ve already lost $6,000 in pay. I’ve got 47 more hours in furlough to lose. I work for the EPA in Chicago. I’ve got another 47 hours to lose. You’re taking away our pay. You’re screwing with the Social Security. You’re taking away the Veterans Administration. You’re decreasing the pay for retired and active duty military. When is it going to stop? You’re picking on your own people. Enough of it.
Rep. Paul Ryan (Think Progress): This was is something the president has done through the Budget Control Act. We didn’t like it so we passed two bills to replace it. Twice. I passed a bill twice. I passed a bill in December that said instead of doing the sequester, here’s how the government should cut to pay for it. They rejected it. Then this last March we passed a bill funding the government and giving the executive branch the authority and flexibility on top to implement the sequester.
The EPA chose to implement it this way to affect you as you described. The Department of Transportation, they chose — chose, I’m using this word intentionally — they chose to furlough air traffic controllers when they could have cut other [inaudible]. They slated the Kenosha/Janesville airport for closure when they had the authority by Congress, signed into law.
Almost everything that Rep. Ryan said to that audience was a lie. Paul Ryan has been pushing for the sequester since 2004. It was Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor who originally set the stage for the sequester by talking John Boehner out of accepting President Obama’s offer of a grand bargain in 2011.
Ryan didn’t tell Novak that the House’s sequester replacement bills occurred in the previous Congress, and thus were not valid pieces of legislation that could be used to deal with sequester. He also left out the part about House repugicans not allowing any votes on replacement bills before the sequester hit. Rep. Ryan didn’t bother to tell his constituents that his budget is even worse than the sequester, and that he wants even deeper cuts in the future.
When confronted with the reality that life isn’t an Ayn Rand novel, Paul Ryan wove a web of lies that ended with blaming the president for everything. (This excuse doesn’t make any sense when you consider that the House holds the power of the purse.)
Ryan’s actions are so indefensible that when confronted about why he is hurting the people of his own district, all he can say is, “I didn’t do it. He did it.”
Mr. Novak should consider himself lucky. Normally, Ryan handles these uppity “takers” by having them arrested.
It was most telling that when confronted by the consequences of his actions, all the boy in the Randian bubble could do is blame President Obama.
Paul Ryan is a numbers guy with no numbers, and an ideologue who can provide no justification for the pain that his ideology inflicts on others.

Here’s Why Lush Dimbulb Is The Crazy Uncle Who Keeps Giving repugicans Bad Advice

One of the reasons why repugicans keep losing is because they listen to ‘crazy uncle’ Lush Dimbulb’s bad advice. Dimbulb suggested that the way to fix the repugican cabal is with more white people.
Transcript via Lush Dimbulb:
DIMBULB: Obama got many fewer votes in 2012 than he got in 2008.
The difference-maker was, a lot of white voters stayed home.

Well, I’ll tell you.
A lot of repugicans think that white voters stayed home because conservative talk radio during the primary season demanded that Romney be a rigid, card-carrying wingnut. And because the wingnut lunatic talk radio hater demanded that Romney be something that he wasn’t, it turned off a bunch of moderate repugicans.
That’s not what happened. What happened was — well, who can know for certain. My best guess at what happened was, why the white vote stayed home, they didn’t think the repugican cabal was lunatic enough, but there was also a disgust, who are these people? They’re the bitter clingers. It’s one thing to hear Obama denouncing ‘em. It’s another thing to hear repugican cabal going after everybody but them.

They’re listening to both candidates’ campaign, making appeals here and appeals there, making a generic economic appeal. And I think there was just a general sense of disgust or resignation, just throw their hands up in resignation. None of this relates to me, but the point is the repugicans are now accepting what the Democrats and the media are telling them, that they lost because the Hispanics don’t like ‘em. The Hispanics think that you repugicans want them to go away. The Hispanics think that you repugicans want them to self-deport. And if you don’t self-deport, they think you want to kick ‘em out of the country. So you repugicans, you better get with it, and you better make the Hispanics understand that you like ‘em.
Dimbulb was arguing that repugicans need more wingnut white people based on numbers run by Byron York who found that even if Romney had won 70% of the Hispanic vote, he still would have lost the election.
However, the point of York’s article was that if repugicans really want to win, they need to make a compelling economic argument to the millions who are still struggling in this economy. His point was that there are no quick fixes. The repugicans need a better economic message to reach those people who voted for Obama or didn’t vote at all.
Somehow in the warped mind of Lush Dimbulb this became we need more white people, which is simply awful advice. Dimbulb is telling the repugican cabal to appeal to fewer people.
The repugican strategists are increasingly recognizing that one of the main problems with the party is that their rank and file are getting their information from people like Glenn Brick and Lush Dimbulb. The problem is that Brick and Dimbulb don’t care if the repugican cabal does well. They are only interested in making money for themselves.
Dimbulb is happy to play the role of the crazy uncle who tells repugicans whatever they want to hear, and there is nothing that the cabal leadership can do to shut crazy uncle Lush up.
Please, repugicans keep listening to Lush Dimbulb. Always follow his advice, and if you do what Lush recommends it will be decades before you win another presidential election.

The repugicans Shred the Constitution By Passing Unconstitutional Nullification Laws

Comprehension or understanding (intellection) is a psychological process whereby one is able to fully grasp the meaning, or importance, of an idea or concept, and make decisions based on the idea they understand. If a person does adequately understand a simple concept such as a law, and makes decisions contrary to their understanding they are either willfully stupid or consider the law invalid or that it does not apply to them. Most Americans have a fairly good comprehension that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and that the Supreme Court is the arbiter of a law’s constitutionality and thus Constitutional. Republicans claim to be the only political party in America that truly understands the Constitution and the Framers’ intent in writing it, but they have shown that, not only do they lack rudimentary understanding of the document, they are rejecting it on grounds it is invalid according to their ideology.
Shortly after the American people re-elected President Obama to serve a second term, a rash of states appealed to the White House to secede from the Union because they objected to the election’s outcome. When they were not granted permission to rip the United States apart, they immediately began taking steps to shred the Constitution they claim to love and declare they were laws unto themselves by way of nullification.
The same nullification frenzy that led to the American Civil War is spreading through repugican-controlled states where legislators in at least seven states passed laws nullifying federal laws involving firearms. Although repugicans are prone to claim anything President Obama supports is dictatorial overreach regardless he does not pass laws, nullification supporters have taken their outrage to a new level best expressed by Tennessee State Senator Mae Beavers who said, “You think that the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter of any of these laws. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe it was ever granted the authority under the Constitution; the Supreme Court is a dictatorship.” The Republican, who swore an oath to support the Constitution, ignores a 1958 Supreme Court decision involving southern state’s nullifying desegregation orders, and its ruling addressed Beavers’ contention and said, “No state legislator or executive or judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his solemn oath to support it,” but since repugicans do not acknowledge the Constitution as the law of the land, supporting it is moot and their oath is irrelevant.
Most of the nullification efforts in states are aimed at the Affordable Care Act that South Carolina legislators recently nullified and made a criminal offense to enforce because they determined the health care reform law is “null and void,” and according to South Carolina repugicans new Freedom of Health Care Protection Act,  the state “prohibits certain individuals from enforcing or attempting to enforce such unconstitutional laws.” As a reminder to repugicans, the ACA was legally passed by the U.S. Congress, signed into law by the legally elected President, and ruled Constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Apparently, repugicans fail to comprehend the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause that plainly says, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.” However, since repugicans have declared the Constitution “null and void” when it conflicts with their ideology, and holds that the Supreme Court is not the arbiter of the Constitution, the law of the land falls under repugican cabal purview making the Federal government itself null and void; at least in repugican-controlled states such as Kansas.
Last month Kansas repugicans passed a law, and governor Sam Brownback signed it, asserting that any gun made, assembled, or owned in Kansas is exempt from federal regulation and to prove they are serious, made it a crime for federal agents to enforce federal gun laws. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote to Brownback informing him the Kansas nullification law is “unconstitutional,” and that the U.S. is prepared to sue Kansas to prevent the state from “interfering with the activities of federal officials.” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach responded to Holder and informed him that “the Obama Administration has repeatedly violated the United States Constitution for the past four-and-a-half-years. That abuse cannot continue.” According to Kobach, the state of Kansas is not subject to any federal laws or regulations and it is a sentiment rampant among states under repugican control.
It is not that repugicans cannot comprehend the Constitution, or the Supremacy Clause; they cannot comprehend they are part of the United States and instead have deemed they are a law unto themselves regardless the Constitution, Supreme Court, or legitimacy of the U.S. Congress.  It is the same sentiment that drove the South to secede and wage war on the United States and is not a harbinger of peace and security for the American people. It also explains the willingness of repugicans to break their oath of office to support the Constitution they have all but declared null and void; except for the 2nd and 10th Amendments.
In at least three other states, bills similar to the Kansas law nullifying federal gun laws are advancing in Louisiana, Missouri, and Alabama, and an Alaska bill exempting any gun possessed from federal law was approved and is awaiting action from Governor Sean Parnell. In 37 additional states, bills attacking federal gun laws have been introduced so far this year and in Montana, Wyoming, and Tennessee, bills prohibiting federal agents from enforcing federal law give local sheriffs the right to arrest federal agents if they arrest gun law violators.
All of the repugicans’ nullification efforts do not bode well for America, or the Constitution, and the recurring theme that federal laws, including the Affordable Care Act, are unconstitutional inform that, at least at the state level, repugicans are repeating a dangerous precedent that led America into its bloodiest war. The persistent claim that President Obama has violated the Constitution is repugicans projecting their own agenda, and in fact, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach implied  President Obama began violating the Constitution months before he was sworn into office. The message state repugicans are sending is that the federal government, Constitution, and Supreme Court are violations of repugican ideology and in doing so they have effectively declared the United States is itself null and void.

Are Millennials Lazy?

Short answer: YES
Long answer: A bunch of words used just to say YES
A new study suggests that members of Gen Y are less likely to want to work hard. 

What's for Dinner?

In China, Fake Meat Contains Rats and Foxes
 Remember all the hoopla about horse meat in beef? "That's cute," said China. Fake meat there consists of rats and foxes:
In Wuxi, in east China's Jiangsu Province, suspects made fake mutton from fox, mink and rat by adding chemicals. The products were sold to markets and the suspects made more than 10 million yuan (1.62 million U.S. dollars) from the illegal activities. [...]
According to an initial investigation, the suspects had been using hydrogen peroxide solution to process chicken claws since July 2011. With an output of 300 kg per day, suspects made more than 4 million yuan in profits.

Twelve Surprising Uses for Vicks VapoRub

1. Decongest Your Chest
The most common use of Vicks is to decongest your chest and throat area. When applied to the upper chest, it provides excellent relief of cough and congestion symptoms.

2. On Your Tootsies
Applying Vicks to your feet provides nighttime cough relief. Generously rub VapoRub all over your feet and cover them with socks. Your cough will subside.

3. Achy Breaky Muscles
Vicks relieves sore, overworked muscles. It increases circulation and provides almost instant aid. Use a generous portion and apply it over the aching area.

4. Get Rid of Nasty Nail Fungus
Rub VapoRub on your toenails if you suspect you have a fungus. Within days, the nail will turn dark—this means the Vicks is killing the fungus. As your toenail grows out, the dark part will grow off and you will have fungus-free feet. Keep applying the ointment over a period of two weeks to fully cleanse nail beds of any remaining bacteria.

5. Stop Your Cat from Scratching
To prevent Miss Kitty from ruining your doors, walls, and windows, apply a small amount of VapoRub to these areas. Cats detest the smell and will steer clear. Vicks can also be applied to your arms and legs if your kitty is prone to scratching you.

6. Pet Pee-Pee Deterrent
If your dog or cat is not yet potty trained, put an open bottle of Vicks on the area he or she likes to mark as their territory. The smell will discourage them from lifting their legs and wetting your rug.

7. Headaches Be Gone
Rub a small amount of Vicks VapoRub on your temples and forehead to help relieve headaches. The mentholated scent will release pressure in your head and instantly relieve pain.

8. Humidify Your Sleep
Vicks VapoRub can be used in special types of humidifiers and vaporizers. Ensure your humidifier has an aromatherapy compartment before using. The humidifier will circulate Vicks throughout the air and keep you breathing easy all night long.

9. Paper Cuts and Splinters
To prevent infection and speed up healing time, dab a small amount of Vicks on any small cut or splinter.

10. Ticks and Bugs
If you get bitten by a tick, apply Vicks immediately. The strong odor might help get the critter to release itself and stop bugging you.

11. Reek-free Racehorses
Professional racers smother VapoRub under the nostrils of racehorses on race day. The strong stench deters the stallions from the alluring odor of the female pony and keeps them focused on the race.

12. Go Away Mosquitoes
Apply small dabs of Vicks VapoRub to your skin and clothes and mosquitoes will steer clear. If you do get bitten, apply Vicks to the area and cover it with a Band-Aid to relieve itching.

What happens when you mix global disease and authoritarian governments

When SARS emerged in China in 2002, the Chinese government tried to cover it up, waiting months to inform the World Health Organization. In fact, the WHO first heard about SARS from a Canadian monitoring service that picked up and translated Chinese reports of a "flu outbreak". Something similar happened this week. Only this time, the disease was a different coronavirus related to SARS and the transparency-deprived government was that of Saudi Arabia. Maryn McKenna writes about how the WHO (and everyone else) recently learned of seven new cases, and five deaths, via an Arabic language press release published at 10:30 at night ... likely weeks or even months after the deaths happened.

Ebola’s secret weapon revealed

Researchers have discovered the mechanism behind one of the Ebola virus’ most dangerous attributes: its ability to disarm the adaptive immune system. University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston scientists determined that Ebola short-circuits the [...]

Labs of the heroic age of science

On IO9, Vincze Miklós has rounded up a beautiful gallery of photos of vintage science labs, from the Renaissance to Pasteur and Edison and ENIAC. Labs like these are the source of the shared dream of what science looks like that dominates our contemporary consciousness, even though most labs today look very different (science, like many other tasks today, looks like: a person with headphones and bad posture typing at a laptop and periodically clutching at her wrists).
Incredible Pictures of Early Science Labs

The Largest Cashew Tree In The World

The Cajueiro de Pirangi in Pirangi do Norte in Brazil is the largest cashew tree in the world. It covers an area between 7,300 square meters and 8,400 square meters (around 78,000 to 90,000 square feet). Having the size of 70 normally sized cashew trees, it has a circumference of 500 meters (1,650 feet). It is now difficult to distinguish the initial trunk from the rest of the tree.

Here's a 360° panorama view of the tree.

Link between sea floor lavas and deep-carbon cycle

Scientists from the Smithsonian and the University of Rhode Island have found unsuspected linkages between the oxidation state of iron in volcanic rocks and variations in the chemistry of the deep Earth. Not only do [...]

What would the birth of a black hole look like?

A new kind of cosmic flash may reveal something never seen before: the birth of a black hole. When a massive star exhausts its fuel, it collapses under its own gravity and produces a black [...]

Astronomical News

NASA will provide a live video view of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower on Sunday.
Nothing says 'astronaut' quite like a spacesuit.
Could nuclear fusion power a spacecraft at speeds high enough to make a one month round trip to Mars?
A Russian scientist claims to have found three tiny meteorite samples from the 1908 Tunguska event. Did they really originate from the historic fireball?
Earth and its sibling worlds comprise what appears to be a relatively rare breed in a diverse cosmic zoo.
Two astronomers think they can better the odds of finding a habitable exoplanet by homing in on white dwarf star systems.
A new app turns you and your smartphone into a skyglow meter. It's easy to use and could be a boon to citizen science projects aimed at controlling light pollution.
As we say goodbye to the European Herschel space observatory, it's time to celebrate some of the mission's most striking views of the cool, far-infrared cosmos.

Aliens and Smells

Devious sci-fi aliens have hatched many plots to conquer humanity, but the natural world has outdone the best laid plans of Martians.
Fossil evidence shows just what was on the menu about 1900 million years ago, and what Earth's kitchen would have smelled like at the time.

Romans, 'Stonewall' Jackson and Conspiracies

The ancient cemetery includes both pagan and Christian burials.
Lunar phase calculations shed light on famous 'friendly fire' incident.
It may be inherent in human nature to invest in certain beliefs, even when evidence points to the contrary.

Mystery of the Atacama Humanoid Solved

Photo: Garry Nolan
Ten years ago, a six-inch skeleton was found in a pouch in a ghost town in the Atacama Desert of Chile. It ended up in private collection and the UFO community was abuzz that we've finally found physical evidence of alien life.
When immunologist Garry Nolan of Stanford University heard about the skeleton, since named the "Atacama humanoid" or "Ata" for short, he decided to lend his scientific expertise to find out what exactly is the mysterious being:
Among the apparent abnormalities, Ata sports 10 ribs instead of the usual 12 and a severely misshapen skull. "I asked our neonatal care unit how you would go about analyzing it. Had they seen this kind of syndrome before?" Nolan says. He was directed to pediatric radiologist Ralph Lachman, co-director of the International Skeletal Dysplasia Registry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. "He literally wrote the book on pediatric bone disorders," Nolan says. Lachman was blown away, Nolan recalls: "He said, 'Wow, this is like nothing I've ever seen before.' "
To study the specimen, Nolan sought clues in Ata's genome. He initially presumed the specimen was tens or hundreds of thousands of years old—the Atacama Desert may be the driest spot on the planet, so Ata could have been preserved for eons. He consulted experts who had extracted DNA from bones of the Denisovans, an Asian relative of European Stone Age Neandertals.
Find out what the researchers concluded about the mysterious Ata, over at this post by Richard Stone of Science: Here.

Mystery of 'prehistoric animal' found on beach in New Zealand solved

A large animal carcass that washed up on a Bay of Plenty beach left some locals wondering if they'd come across the remains of a prehistoric animal. The carcass was discovered by a group of quad bikers on a beach about 5km east of Pukehina Beach.

The animal's jaw and teeth and parts of its body were still intact. "People have been asking about it all weekend. It's caused a bit of 'What is it?' in the beach," says Luana Lovell-Dewes, one of the quad bikers who found the remains.

"We haven't seen teeth like that on an animal that's washed up." The photos were forwarded to marine mammal expert Anton van Helden, who said the carcass was that of an orca. He was able to identify it because orcas have a distinctive 'flipper'. "It's hard to say how it died," he says.

While Mrs Lovell-Dewes is glad to have the mystery solved, she is also a little disappointed. "That's boring isn't it? It's not the prehistoric animal I thought!" She says plenty of locals and visitors had been to see the remains, which have now been washed to sea.

Baby humans are premature, fetal apes

My dad calls the first few months of a baby's life "the necessary larval stage". I've heard other people refer to it as "the fourth trimester". Basically, newborn human babies are pretty useless, as far as baby animals go. This is especially true in comparison to baby apes, who come out of the womb at a much higher level of development. Scientific American has an excerpt from an upcoming book by Chip Walter that talks about this fact and its connection to two key moments in human evolution — the development of bigger brains (and thus, bigger heads) and walking upright (which has the side effect of creating a narrower birth canal). 

Animal News

Could the Loch Ness monster have some Irish competition?
Ecologists are tagging 'Judas' animals to follow them into their communities, learn their behaviors, and then take them down.
A recently videotaped caterpillar bears an uncanny resemblance to bigwig Donald Trump's hair.
Saber-tooth tigers and other meat eaters checked into a cave near Madrid, Spain, but they couldn't check out. 

Animal Pictures