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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.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Daily Drift

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Today is The Slugs Return From Capistrano Day

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Today in History

585 BC   A solar eclipse interrupts a battle outside of Sardis in western Turkey between Medes and Lydians. The battle ends in a draw.
1805   Napoleon is crowned in Milan, Italy.  
1830   Congress authorizes Indian removal from all states to the western Prairie.   
1859   The French army launches a flanking attack on the Austrian army in Northern France.  
1863   The 54th Massachusetts, a regiment of African-American recruits, leaves Boston, headed for Hilton Head, South Carolina.   
1871   The Paris commune is suppressed by troops from Versailles.  
1900   Britain annexes the Orange Free State in South Africa.  
1940   Belgium surrenders to Germany.  
1953   Melody, the first animated 3-D cartoon in Technicolor, premiers.  
1961  Amnesty International, a human rights organization, is founded.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

The Omaha Police Department told not to interfere with citizens filming police action

About the NRA tactics: take no prisoners

That Facebook censors pictures of children marching against Monsanto

Democrat Levels Faux News By Explaining Why Karl Rove Should Be Investigated By IRS

Faux News had a gotcha moment go wrong, when Sen. Dick Durbin explained why Karl Rove deserves to be investigated by the IRS.
Transcript via Faux News Sunday:
WALLACE: Senator Durbin, I want to pick up on this culture. Starting in 2010, a number of Democratic senators — Democrat senators — sent letters to the IRS asking them to investigate various groups that they said were seeking tax-exempt status, but were improperly involved in politics. Now, in October 2010, you sent a letter to the IRS in which you talked about going after groups.
But you only mentioned one specifically by name and I want to put this up from the October 2010 letter that you wrote to the IRS, “One organization whose activities appear to be inconsistent with the tax status is Crossroads GPS.” That, of course, a group co-founded by Karl Rove.
Question, Senator — why single out Crossroads when you did not mention one single liberal group, and there were a bunch that were applying for that exempt-status exactly that point, with the name “progress” in their names?
DURBIN: I can just tell you flat out why I did it, because that Crossroads organization was boasting about the money they were raising as a 501(c)(4).
Let’s get back to the basics. Citizens United really unleashed hundreds, if not thousands, of organizations seeking tax-exempt statuses to play in political campaigns. The law we wrote as Congress said that they had to exclusively be engaged in social welfare and not politics and campaigning.
And so, here is the IRS trying to decide whether or not these organizations really comply with the law. Crossroads was exhibit A. They were boastful about how much the money they were going to raise and beat Democrats.
WALLACE: Senator Durbin, just briefly, why not, because we’re now in the mess that we are in because of political targeting, why not send a letter that says, go after any group of any political persuasion? Why not refrain from mentioning a wingnut group and never mentioned any liberal groups?
DURBIN: Well, I explained that once, Chris. But, you know, Karl Rove was making — he’s boasting, saying he’s going to raise so much money, millions of dollars. And I knew that if they went into investigate this group, every other group would be put on notice.
I’ve also said from the beginning, Chris, there’s no basis for targeting within the IRS, what we basically need to say is all groups need to have the law applied to them equally. And in this situation, Karl Rove was front and center and proud of it. And that’s why I mentioned his organization.
Sen. Durbin did a great job laying it out. Karl Rove deserved, and continues to deserve IRS scrutiny because his dark money Crossroads groups are violating the rules for tax exempt organizations. Rove has regularly boasted about how much money Crossroads is spending to defeat Democrats, when tax exempt nonprofits aren’t supposed to be engaging in partisan political activity.
Faux News was trying to play gotcha with Dick Durbin, and he turned the tables on them by explaining why their own paid contributor is violating the rules. Once Durbin got into Citizens United, host Chris Wallace tried to redirect the questioning back to Durbin’s letter, but instead got another reminder that Karl Rove was flaunting his lawbreaking ways.
There are two things that repugicans never want to talk about when it comes to the IRS scandal. They try to avoid Citizens United, and fact that these wingnut organizations were trying to abuse the system in order to get tax exempt status.
The repugicans are working furiously to make the IRS scandal about Obama, because they don’t want America to wake up to the real scandal. The influx of dark money thanks to Citizens United, and the right’s widespread abuse of 501(c)(4)s are the stories that repugicans are trying to hide.
Sen. Durbin didn’t play the Faux News game. Instead of being on the defensive, he laid out the dirty little secret that the right doesn’t want America to know.
Karl Rove and the other right wing groups deserved to be investigated by the IRS, because they are breaking the law.

The repugicans Push the Agenda of “Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens”

In the natural world, beings that are weak and unable to care for themselves are cleansed from existence either through starvation, sickness, or inability to protect themselves or escape predators, and it is best defined by the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Human beings are fortunate in that most of them possess an innate moral drive to assist those unable to care for themselves, and most governments have set in place programs to ensure no citizen will perish because they lack basic necessities of life. There was a government in Europe in the 20th century that instituted a policy of killing off what they considered “defective” human beings, and after the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler’s “Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens”  (destruction of life not worthy of life) may be one of the most inhumane practices of the 20th century. Eugenics, whose prime idea was that only genetically ‘suitable’ people should be allowed to live and procreate, has been adopted and tweaked by the repugican cabal and their “unsuitable” people are the 47% that Willard Romney complained are parasites he could never teach to take responsibility for their existence.
Within Romney and repugicans 47% of undesirables are senior citizens, poverty-stricken children, and the working poor who need assistance to survive the repugican cabal’s economic malfeasance, and lacking a government-sanctioned eugenics program, repugicans are attempting to exterminate the 47% by withholding food, housing, and healthcare.  Besides cutting food and housing assistance for the poor, repugicans have attempted to eliminate the Affordable Care Act because it provides healthcare coverage for the poor thus prolonging their lives, so they are depending on their cohort in repugican states to expedite the demise of millions of poor Americans. In about half the states, repugicans are rejecting Medicaid expansion, and according to their inhumane policies, it is the very poor who will never receive medical care, and although it is not outright extermination, it is a way to kill off the “parasites” and cleanse America of what repugicans label “unsuitable for life.”
The Supreme Court in supremely misguided decision gave repugican-controlled states the ability to restrict the poorest Americans from having access to healthcare when they allowed them to reject Medicaid expansion. The states refusing to expand Medicaid leave millions of poor people ineligible for government-subsidized health insurance while many others with slightly higher incomes receive federal subsidies to buy insurance. In states like Texas, Florida, Kansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia, which refuse to expand Medicaid, the opportunity to have healthcare insurance will be unavailable for the neediest people, and more than half of the population without health insurance reside in states that rejected Medicaid expansion. If the people in those states have income up to four times the poverty line ($11,490 to $45,960 a year for an individual) they receive federal tax credits to subsidize buying private health insurance, but millions of Americans below the poverty line will be unable to get tax credits, Medicaid, or any assistance to purchase healthcare insurance. It is a way for repugicans to slowly kill off the undesirable 47% in repugican cabal-controlled states, and the Urban Institute estimated that 5.7 million uninsured Americans with income below the poverty line could gain access to health coverage except they live in repugican states that are not expanding Medicaid.
In Texas, the executive director of an interfaith group, Texas Impact, said that “A lot of people will come in, file applications and find they are not eligible for help because they are too poor. We’ll have to tell them, you are so poor, you cannot get anything.” Another director of an outreach group, Georgians for a Healthy Future, said “Hundreds of thousands of people with incomes below the poverty level would be eligible for Medicaid if the state moved forward with the expansion of Medicaid. As things now stand, they will not be eligible for anything. What do we do for them? What do we tell them?” Why not tell them the truth that repugicans want them sick and dead, and without a government-sponsored eugenics-type program in place, the next best thing is withholding access to medical care to accompany withholding food assistance.
A Louisiana director of a primary care organization explained that in his state “If the breadwinner in a family of four works full time at a job that pays $14 an hour, he or she will be eligible for insurance subsidies. But if they make $10 an hour, they will not be eligible for anything.” It explains the repugicans’ refusal to consider raising the minimum wage, and why they want to eliminate overtime pay; because if they can prevent the working poor from qualifying for tax credits to buy health insurance, they can deny giving them any healthcare assistance because they don’t make enough money.  Bruce Lesley, president of a child advocacy group, First Focus, said “Trying to explain that will be a nightmare,” but he can tell poor children and their parents that it is repugicans’ form of eugenics and maybe convince them that slow death from lack of healthcare is better than being herded into gas chambers.
The repugicans hate any American that is not in the 1-2% of the richest income earners, but they cannot tolerate the 47% of Americans they consider a drag on the wealthy. It is true that killing off 5.7 million poverty-level Americans will not make a huge dent in the 47-percents’ numbers, but it is a nice start in eradicating what repugicans call parasites and takers, and they are likely disappointed it is a slow method of exterminating the poor, but it is a death sentence all the same. The repugicans cannot claim their refusal to expand Medicaid is a fiscal decision because it will not cost their states one penny until 2017 and then their share is only 10% of the cost of expansion. The people that do earn enough over the poverty level to qualify for assistance should not breathe easy because repugican-controlled states are cutting their wages, robbing pensions, and passing “right to work” for less laws that inform they are in jeopardy of falling into poverty and joining the 5.7 million Americans slated for slow death from lack of healthcare and it includes retired Americans, working poor families, and those who earn enough to receive tax credits to purchase healthcare insurance.
The repugicans in Congress have attempted to assist their state-level cohorts in their slow-death eugenics programs for the past two years with their persistent calls for giving states block grants for healthcare, food stamps, and housing assistance and allowing repugican governors and legislatures to use the federal funds as they see fit which is usually more tax cuts for the rich and corporations.  It is why high-value corporate donors are pouring money into campaign coffers to elect more repugican governors and state legislatures, because what they cannot accomplish at the federal level, they will achieve in the states as evidence by repugican-controlled states refusing to expand Medicaid as well as cutting every other type of assistance for the 47%.
The idea of killing off poverty level Americans is universally adopted by repugicans, and they have made little secret that denying assistance to the poorest Americans is their raison d’être whether it is wages, healthcare, food stamps, or eliminating Social Security. The 47% have always been a thorn in repugicans’ sides because in their warped minds, any assistance, whether federal or state, is better spent on the rich and their corporations and since they cannot just exterminate the poorest Americans outright, they will deny them food, housing, and basic health care. It may take a generation for repugicans to eliminate 5.7 million poverty level Americans, but at least they will have thinned their ranks and unlike in nature, it is not survival of the fittest, but the economically fittest exterminating the poor.

Massive NYT feature on US government's massive leaks inquiries

The New York Times' A1 feature: "Leak Inquiries Show How Wide a Net U.S. Cast." Sweeping investigations into leaks of secret information now involve hundreds of government employees, and have created a powerful chilling effect for press. A major blow to our right-to-know: government officials now fear being investigated for simply speaking with a reporter.
Some officials are now declining to take calls from certain reporters, concerned that any contact may lead to investigation. Some complain of being taken from their offices to endure uncomfortable questioning. And the government officials typically must pay for lawyers themselves, unlike reporters for large news organizations whose companies provide legal representation.

OK, if you say so ...


Estimated lost economic value of America's war dead: $44.6 Billion

In The New Yorker, Michael Gurriero crunches the numbers on the American military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most expensive in US history.
The price tag is estimated by Linda J. Bilmes of the Harvard Kennedy School to total somewhere between four and six trillion dollars. The decision to finance the wars almost entirely through borrowing has already added more than 1.3 trillion dollars to the national debt. And then there’s the direct human cost: more than six thousand soldiers have died, and up to another six thousand contractors.
And then there's the number which is the focus of this piece: $44.6 billion, the total estimated lost economic value of the American war dead.

US entertainment industry to Congress: make it legal for us to deploy rootkits, spyware, ransomware and trojans to attack pirates!

The hilariously named "Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property" has finally released its report, an 84-page tome that's pretty bonkers. But amidst all that crazy, there's a bit that stands out as particularly insane: a proposal to legalize the use of malware in order to punish people believed to be copying illegally. The report proposes that software would be loaded on computers that would somehow figure out if you were a pirate, and if you were, it would lock your computer up and take all your files hostage until you call the police and confess your crime. This is the mechanism that crooks use when they deploy ransomware.
It's just more evidence that copyright enforcers' network strategies are indistinguishable from those used by dictators and criminals. In 2011, the MPAA told Congress that they wanted SOPA and knew it would work because it was the same tactic used by governments in "China, Iran, the UAE, Armenia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Burma, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam." Now they've demanded that Congress legalize an extortion tool invented by organized criminals.
Additionally, software can be written that will allow only authorized users to open files containing valuable information. If an unauthorized person accesses the information, a range of actions might then occur. For example, the file could be rendered inaccessible and the unauthorized user’s computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account. Such measures do not violate existing laws on the use of the Internet, yet they serve to blunt attacks and stabilize a cyber incident to provide both time and evidence for law enforcement to become involved.
It gets better:
While not currently permitted under U.S. law, there are increasing calls for creating a more permissive environment for active network defense that allows companies not only to stabilize a situation but to take further steps, including actively retrieving stolen information, altering it within the intruder’s networks, or even destroying the information within an unauthorized network. Additional measures go further, including photographing the hacker using his own system’s camera, implanting malware in the hacker’s network, or even physically disabling or destroying the hacker’s own computer or network.

The Growing Interest of Organic Food in Nepal

Journalist Stephen Bailey reports from Nepal on why fertilizers and pesticides are blighting the Himalayan country – and why organic farming might offer a solution. More

Cheese Bank

You'd expect to find gold bullions inside the vast vault of The Credito Emiliano bank in Italy, but instead, you'd find something else just as valuable: Parmesan cheese.
Oddity Central explains:
Cash-for-cheese sounds more like a joke that a serious financial agreement, but in some regions of Italy it’s a reality. The famous Parmesan is so precious that some banks are willing to keep the cheese as collateral against loans to local producers.
The Credito Emiliano bank has hundreds of branches and thousands of employees around central and northern Italy. Its central offices look like those of any other banking institution, with cameras watching every angle, security doors to lock down the place and even a big vault in the back. Only you’re not going to find too many diamonds or hard cash stored in there. Instead, there are hundreds of thousands of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheels, neatly placed on giant shelves. The bank takes the Parmesan from local producers in exchange for a cheap loan, and charges a 3% interest as well as a fee for looking after the cheese and making sure it matures properly in the air-conditioned, humidified vault. It might seem strange, but Credito Emiliano treats Parmigiano-Reggiano like other banks do gold. And for good reason, as the mountains of cheese locked away in its secured vault are worth around $200 million.

Pot Infused Bacon

When life hands you too much cannabis you make pot infused bacon.
Top Shelf Organics, a medical marijuana grower in Washington State, found themselves with a bit of a dilemma. What should they do with all those leftover stems, roots, and over-sized cannabis leaves? In true cooperative fashion they donated the cannabis waste to Bucking Boar Farm for pig feed. The result was win, win for everyone, but the pig. The pot grower reduced their waste costs, the farmer got free feed, and the consumer got pot infused bacon.
The pot infused meat was sold through BB Ranch Meats in Pike Place Market.
The shop sold four pigs in various forms earlier this year, including with pot-infused bacon. The meat "tasted savory," von Schneidau said, adding that he has a small amount leftover that he's using to make into prosciutto.
Funny, I thought they would describe the meat as being more mellow.
Lindsay Cohen of KATU has more: Here.

Burger King robbers thwarted by employee hiding their getaway car

Two robbery suspects were foiled when a Burger King employee slipped out the back door and made off with their getaway car. Police in Stockton, California, say it’s like nothing they’ve seen before. They say two men ran into a fast food restaurant, pulled out their guns and demanded cash.

While the two men were inside robbing the cashier, another Burger King employee sneaked out the back. He noticed the suspects’ getaway car running, so he hopped in.

“I haven’t heard of any employee actually leaving a business, getting inside the suspect vehicle and trying to hide it,” said officer Joe Silva. The employee drove the car around the corner and hid it. Officers said Gabriel Gonzalez and Jeremy Lovitt ran out and quickly panicked.

Once they realized they had no transportation, they fled to a nearby field. “The quick action from this employee did allow our officers to get on scene and arrest the suspects,” Silva said. While it did end the right way, they always recommend that people being robbed simply comply for their own safety.

Protip: Don't Butt Dial the Cops While Breaking Into a Car

Rule one of stealing a car is: never let your cell phone butt-dial the cops. Here's what happened when a pair of hapless criminals's butt-dialing helped the cops crack the case:
The two would be crooks were about to break into a car in Fresno, California when one of the men called 911 from his phone in his pocket.
Nathan Teklemariam and Carson Rinehart were about to break into a car when they dialed 911. The dispatcher answered and heard a conversation. Here's some of what he heard:
"I just want to smoke weed so bad right now" and "give me the bolt and give me the hammer just in case," all before hearing glass breaking in the background. [..]
as the officer searched the car, he found property lifted from the vehicle. That's when the officer finally let them in on their mistake.
"We really called 911?" one of the suspects said. "Damn."

Woman assaulted man after beating up his couch with golf club

Officers in Seattle are on the lookout for a 20-year-old woman who allegedly beat up a man's couch before cutting the man and running off on Tuesday night.

According to the Seattle Police Department, the woman and the 52-year-old victim, who said he is friends with her, were in his home at around 11pm.

The two were talking about various things that were upsetting the woman when she became angry and started punching the man's couch before eventually taking a golf club to it, according to police.

When the victim opened the door and told the woman to leave, she reportedly sliced him with a knife, giving him a 3-inch cut on his arm. Witnesses told officers the woman was last seen running north. Despite using a K-9 unit and helicopter to track the woman, officers were unable to find her. The victim was taken to Harborview for treatment.

Woman accused of hitting man with garden gnome

A domestic dispute in Florida that involved yelling and thrown household items ended in violence last Sunday when, police say, a woman hit a man on the head with a New Orleans Saints garden gnome.

A report by Gulfport police Officer Jennifer Crowson says that at about 4:17pm  Lisa D. Buckley, 47, a server at a local restaurant, arrived at her home "and began yelling at the victim." Buckley then "threw items all around the residence and then picked up a New Orleans Saints garden gnome and struck (the victim) with it."

Crowson reported that the victim was bleeding from the ear and the left side of his head but refused medical attention. Meanwhile, she wrote, "Buckley fled the scene prior to my arrival."

The next day, though, Buckley called and sent text messages to the victim trying to persuade him to drop the case. Buckley was arrested on Tuesday on charges of domestic battery and harassing a victim and taken to the Pinellas County Jail, where records show she was released in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Random Celebrity Photo


Bette Davis
(..women and cars… yay!)
Bette Davis
(..women and cars… yay!)

Ten Famous Businesspeople Fired Before They Made It Big

The world of business isn't always welcoming and profitable straight away. In their younger lives, the following 10 iconic businessmen and women were fired for various reasons, including insubordination, simple clumsiness and insufficient business savvy.

Whatever these individuals were lacking at the outset, they kept on chipping away, going on to become inspirations for us all. Sometimes, it seems, getting fired can be just the motivation you need to succeed.

San Francisco Through the Periscope of a Submarine

Battle stations! U.S.S. Catfish submarine, on maneuver from its post-World War II base in San Diego in 1951, has spotted Alcatraz off the coast of San Francisco and captured the prison island on photo through its periscope.
Peter Hartlaub of The Big Event blog over at SF Gate has more photos of San Francisco, as taken by the submarine, probably right before it commenced a Crazy Ivan maneuver: More

Girl Frozen For 500 years

The Girl who was killed as an offering to the Inca gods sometime between 1450 and 1480, at approximately 11–15 years old.

This is the best-preserved mummy ever found, with internal organs intact, blood still present in the heart and lungs, and skin and facial features mostly unscathed. No special effort had been made to preserve her.

Black-And-White Photos Of Vintage NASA Facilities

Gorgeous black-and-white photographs of vintage NASA facilities. Taken between the 1920s and 1950s, when the golden age of space travel was still a beautiful dream, decades before the peak of the Space Race, and more than half a century before the future of space exploration had sunk to the bottom of the governmental priorities barrel.

Woman photographs purported UFO near historic Southern California farm

In Santee, California (not far from San Diego), a woman snapped a photo of what she claims is a UFO near the site of an historic barn. She did not want to show her face on camera, because "she was still spooked by what she captured," but she is wearing an awesome straw hat. 

Tornadoes producing a "dead man walking"

The image above is from a video on a television documentary about tornadoes.  Twin twisters rotating about one another produced a figure that could be viewed as humanoid in shape.

A discussion thread at the extensively-redacted AskHistorians subReddit examines whether or not there was a legend among pre-contact plains native Americans of some tornadoes being referred to as "dead man walking" and whether this image is representative of that.

We have often wondered why tornadoes are not depicted in ancient rock art petroglyphs in North America.


Diamagnetic Chemical Element
Bismuth is a chemical element, a pentavalent poor metal, chemically resembling arsenic and antimony. Until the 18th century it was often mistaken for tin or lead. Yet once refined in to its purest form it becomes a thing of great beauty.

About twice as abundant as gold, the chance are you have come unwittingly into contact with it if you have ever had a minor digestive upset. As a bismuth oxide core structure with salicylate ions attached to the surface you probably know it as Pepto-Bismol.

Random Photo

Underwater Photos Of Luminous Sea Creatures

Photographer Joshua Lambus has put together a beautiful series of photographs showing luminous creatures of the deep glowing with light against a pitch-black background.

The photographs were captured in the ocean during the Hawaii-based photographer's deep dives. He says: My photos are to show people things they haven't seen before... or maybe things they see all the time... in a way they've never cared to look.

Horse rescued after being swallowed by sinkhole

Members of the Wrenshall Fire and Rescue Squad in northern Minnesota could hardly believe their eyes when they responded to a call along the Willard Munger State Trail recently and found a horse swallowed by the ground. Melissa Aurand of Eagan, had been riding a horse named Stormy along an unpaved stretch of the trail. Her husband, Zach, was riding ahead of her.

“All of a sudden, Stormy started to sort of topple sideways,” Melissa said. Aurand said. “I thought maybe she had passed out or something. I was tossed off just as her back legs began to slip into the ground.” Alert to what was happening, Zach jumped off his horse and ran back to where Melissa was. “The horse was slowly sinking into the ground, like she was in quicksand,” Melissa said. Zach grabbed Stormy’s halter and tried to tow her out with his horse, but to no avail.

Stormy went from sliding slowly into the hole to disappearing completely beneath ground level. Zach jumped down into the gaping hole to check on the horse and keep her steady until help arrived. Melissa said her cell phone was in her saddle pack, so Zach had to dig it out and toss it up to her so she could call 911. When seven responders from Wrenshall Fire and Rescue pulled up, they walked to Melissa and said casually, “How’s it going?” It was then that Zach stuck his cowboy hat up through the hole and started waving it at them.

“The man was about 6 feet tall, and when we got there all we could see was the top of his cowboy hat,” said Peter Laveau, first assistant chief. “The hole must have been 9 or 10 feet deep.” Laveau said the sinkhole was big enough for the horse and Zach to stand up in. The rescuers used shovels to dig out a path for Stormy to climb out of the hole. Stormy remained pretty calm throughout the ordeal and emerged with only a small cut on a shoulder. “I could not have asked for a happier ending,” Melissa said.

Snake attacks kill at least 60 in southern Iraq

A sudden spate of snake attacks has citizens in Sayid Dkheel, a city in southern Iraq in a “dangerous” situation. Large numbers of deadly snakes have and continue to invade the city as a rise in temperature sees them looking for a cooler spot to live.

According to the local health department, at least 60 people have been reported dead due to snake bites. Many residents have reportedly fled the city after the rise in fatalities.

Citizens have complained about the lack of aid from the central government, which has yet to provide them with the necessary medication to treat snake bites. “This is a very dangerous area, we urge the government to intervene as soon as possible and provide the necessary antidote,” Jassem Mohammed, a local resident said.

The lack of medical equipment at the city’s local hospital has  made the situation worse and caused the deaths of many, locals said. The health department in the city refused to comment. Cobras were amongst some of the snakes sighted in the southern Iraqi city.

Animal Pictures