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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.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

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Today in History

1099   Members of the First Crusade witness an eclipse of the moon and interpret it as a sign they will recapture Jerusalem.  
1568   Ferdinand, the Duke of Alba, crushes the Calvinist insurrection in Ghent.  
1595   Henry IV's army defeats the Spanish at the Battle of Fontaine-Francaise.  
1637   American settlers in New England massacre a Pequot Indian village.  
1783   Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier make the first public balloon flight.  
1794   The U.S. Congress prohibits citizens from serving in any foreign armed forces.
1827   Athens falls to Ottoman forces.
1851   Harriet Beecher Stow publishes the first installment of Uncle Tom's Cabin in The National Era. 1856   U.S. Army troops in the Four creeks region of California, head back to quarters, officially ending the Tule River War. Fighting, however, will continue for a few more years.  
1863   The Confederate raider CSS Alabama captures the Talisman in the Mid-Atlantic.
1872   The Republican National Convention, the first major political party convention to includes blacks, commences.  
1880   Wild woman of the west Myra Maybelle Shirley marries Sam Starr even though records show she was already married to Bruce Younger.  
1900   British troops under Lord Roberts seize Pretoria from the Boers.  
1940   The German army begins its offensive in Southern France.  
1944   The first B-29 bombing raid strikes the Japanese rail line in Bangkok, Thailand.  
1947   Secretary of State George C. Marshall outlines "The Marshall Plan," a program intended to assist European nations, including former enemies, to rebuild their economies.  
1956   Premier Nikita Khrushchev denounces Josef Stalin to the Soviet Communist Party Congress.  
1967   The Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan begins.  
1968   Sirhan Sirhan shoots Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy after Kennedy's victory in the pivotal California primary election.  
1973   Doris A. Davis becomes the first African-American woman to govern a city in a major metropolitan area when she is elected mayor of Compton, California.  
2004  Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan dies at age 93. Reagan was the 40th president of the United States. 

Non Sequitur


The German Language Drops Its Longest Word ...

"Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz" beef
Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz means "law for the delegation of monitoring beef labelling." This 63-letter word is no longer a part of the German language:
Professor Anatol Stefanowitsch, a linguistics expert at the Free University of Berlin, told the German news agency dpa that the beef labelling law was the longest "authentic" word in the German language.
The law was considered a legitimate word by linguists because it appears in official texts, but it never actually appeared in the dictionaries, because compilers of the standard German dictionary Duden judge words for inclusion based on their frequency of use.
At the link, you can listen to an audio recording of someone saying the word.

Pair of Melons Sells for $17,500 in Japan

A lovely pair of melons was auctioned off last Friday in Japan. They're Yubari melons, which are considered to be the finest available in that country:
In a country where a single apple can cost more than $5 and a presentation pack of 20 cherries sells for over $100, Japanese shoppers are used to paying high prices for their fruit.

But the eye-watering figures paid at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market in northern Hokkaido reflect buyers' desire for prestige.
Yubari melons are considered a status symbol in Japan like a fine wine, with many buyers presenting them as a gift to friends and colleagues.



Did you know ...

About these 5 private services that should never be privatized

About how religions change their mind

That #goodbyegop has been trending on twitter for days

Wayne LaPierre and NRA Directly Responsible for Ricin Letters to Gun Control Leaders

I am old enough to recall a number of frightening sensations swirling through the nation’s collective psyche immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Those who lived in major urban centers were prone to Pavlovian responses of dread at the mere sight of a low flying aircraft. The delivery of an unexpected package elicited fleeting concerns of surprise explosives, and those receiving mail in corporate settings and government offices had to wonder if anthrax could be part of an envelope’s special delivery. It was a rightfully paranoid time.
One source of comfort to be found in terrifying circumstances is knowledge. Knowing your attacker, your would-be assailant, permits power in the form of an action plan. When the culprits of the World Trade Center and Pentagon atrocities proved to be Al Qaeda-directed terrorists, the nation came together behind an all-out assault upon the foreign groups responsible for our united fear and suffering.
In 2013, the threat of chemical attack by mail has returned, this time in the form of ricin. According to a report from Good Morning America, “The toxin, which comes from castor beans, stops cells from synthesizing proteins so victims can suffer organ failure.” Ricin has experienced pop cultural ascendancy in recent years as a recurring plot point on popular AMC drama Breaking Bad. Anti-hero Walter White, a former mild-mannered chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine kingpin, uses ricin to intimidate and control potential drug cartel enemies.
However, to ascertain the root cause of the recent spate of ricin-laced letter attacks, directed at everyone from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to President Barack Obama, we need not look to the inspiration of fictional characters. Real-life villains exist within the ranks of overreaching lobby groups, inciting chaos under the guise of Second Amendment defense.
Consider the paraphrased text of one such letter delivered to gun-control advocate Bloomberg’s New York office last week. Per a report from Faux News, New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond “Kelly said the unsigned letter says, in so many words: ‘Anyone who comes for my guns will be shot in the face.’”
Now where would this deranged domestic terrorist get the idea that President Obama and Michael Bloomberg, advocates for a safer, more rational exercise of the right to bear arms, might instead demand complete surrender of personal weapons? Let us hearken back to a February 2013 Op-Ed piece in the Daily Caller from National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. Amongst a number of verbal gems, LaPierre included this thinly veiled reference to the Newtown school shootings: “A heinous act of mass murder—either by terrorists or by some psychotic who should have been locked up long ago—will be the pretext to unleash a tsunami of gun control.”
Ok but that’s just one quote taken out of context right? LaPierre didn’t really mean to suggest that failed Congressional efforts to institute common-sense universal background checks were a threat to law-abiding gun owners. No one is that crazy.
February 10, 2012, The Washington Times: “All that first term, lip service to gun owners is just part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment during his second term.”
May 4, 2013, Huffington Post: “‘political and media elites’ have tried to use Sandy Hook and other recent shootings ‘to blame us, to shame us, to compromise our freedom for their agenda….We will never surrender our guns, never,’ LaPierre told several thousand people during the organization’s annual member meeting.”
We are a people that loves justice. The reason that so many incarnations of Law & Order and CSI have experienced television ratings success is because of the appeal of the suspense boilerplate: a crime is committed, guys in uniform discover weapon and motive, emotional trial ensues, outlaw goes to the clink. It’s simple. It’s just. It’s satisfying.
I’m no prosecuting attorney but it seems to me that there’s a direct correlation between the prolific, fear-inciting rhetoric of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA, and the homicidal threats against the lives of pro-gun control elected leaders. Is a bystander who knowingly allows harm to occur guilty of something? If the answer is yes (and it is), then Wayne LaPierre is an accessory to each and every one of these ricin crimes. He may not have supplied the chemicals, but he and his group continue to dish out motive in dangerous, irresponsible bucketfuls.
Haul him to the precinct, turn on the hot lights and file some charges. I’m serious. If it’s illegal to yell “Fire!” in a public place and incite a riot, there should be no distinction between trumping up an imagined threat to the Second Amendment and standing smugly aside as violence ensues.

The repugicans ...

The repugican Hearings Backfire As IRS Testifies That More Groups Need To Be Investigated

The lesson repugicans should have taken from Monday’s IRS hearings is “be careful what you wish for.” One of the recommendations based on the audit is “to conduct a review to assess how the IRS monitors I.R.C. sections 501(c)(4)(6) organizations to ensure that political campaign intervention does not constitute their primary activity.” On top of that, the audit revealed that there were many groups whose political intervention in campaigns should have flagged them for a review.
The Honorable J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, testified Monday in a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government hearing on the IRS “scandal”. George based his testimony on an audit in which they found a few things that don’t bode well for conservatives’ “social welfare groups”, since they outspent liberals 34-1 via nonprofits on political issues. Namely, the IRS needs to investigate more of these groups that are “intervening” in political campaigns, not less.
The audit “determined that the majority of the 296 potential political cases we reviewed included indications of significant political campaign intervention.” This means that the majority reviewed were engaging in activities that warranted a review under the law.
George explained that of the 296 cases singled out for review, the majority had indications of significant political campaign intervention. 91 cases did not (31%). Of those 91, only 17 involved tea party, patriots, or 9/12 groups.
The rest were “targeted” but were not tea party/patriot/9/12 groups.
“In addition, while we determined that the majority of the 296 potential political cases we reviewed included indications of significant political campaign intervention, 91 cases (31 percent) did not. Of the 91 cases, 17 involved tea party, patriots, or 9/12 organizations. The IRS disagreed with this finding that the cases did not include indications of significant political campaign intervention.” The IRS did not document why they thought these 91 signaled political intervention, which is one thing the auditors recommend that they fix.
But also, they found that more groups should have been investigated for their political intervention, “We determined that the Determinations Unit specialists did not identify all applications with indications of significant political campaign intervention. As a result, these cases were not referred to the team of specialists for further review.”
They estimate that 175 were not sent for review but should have been, “We estimate that more than 175 organizations with indications of significant political campaign intervention were not referred to the team of specialists for further review.”
Furthermore, nearly three-quarters of the groups “targeted” for inspection were not identified as opponents of the White House, so that blows the idea of being targeted for being a political enemy out of the water.
It was also pointed out that 3,357 applications were made in 2012 compared with 1,735 in 2010, before Citizens United.
George mentioned that inappropriate criteria were used by agents in Ohio, due to a lack of oversight, which was attributable to human challenges (read: lack of funding, and thank a repugican).
The recommendations make the gist of the issue clear. This is not a political scandal, this is a government agency that is understaffed and underfunded, tasked with dealing with a huge influx of “social welfare” groups seeking tax exempt status post Citizens United. These groups were often intervening in political campaigns. The IRS workers were unclear as to how much political work these groups could be doing and still qualify as non profits. That’s the “scandal”. They were, perhaps, not trained properly or overseen enough as they dipped into unchartered waters post Citizens United.
One of the recommendations is that in the future, they are going to make sure that political activity does not constitute the primary activity of these organizations. This is most assuredly not what repubgcans had in mind when they started this witch hunt. George testified, “Furthermore, we plan to conduct a review to assess how the IRS monitors I.R.C. sections 501(c)(4)(6) organizations to ensure that political campaign intervention does not constitute their primary activity.” This means that they will want to review more, not less, of these organizations.

The truth hurts


Seven Ethically Challenged House repugicans Facing Investigations

In addition to Michele Bachmann who has abandoned her re-election campaign mid flight after it came out that the IRS is investigating her presidential campaign for numerous reasons (no, she’s not being “targeted” – these charges started in Iowa), there are seven more ethically challenged repugicans in the House. These seven are facing investigations or have paid a fine for their ethically challenged antics and are most likely to follow Bachmann’s flight from the House. Obama “scandal” monger Darrell Issa (r-CA) is not included in this list, though he operates under a permanent cloud of disgrace for his many arrests.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put together a list of the ethically challenged repugicans who are most likely to be seen running the other way when the words “culture of corruption” are uttered. They are:
Congressman Vern Buchanan (r-FL) – under investigation by the IRS for financial improprieties.
Congressman Michael Grimm (r-NY) – under investigation by the FBI for campaign fundraising improprieties.
Congressman Aaron Schock (r-IL)- under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Congressman Rodney Davis (r-IL) – refused to comply with Office of Congressional Ethics investigation.
Congressman Scott DesJarlais (r-TN) – fined after investigation by Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners.
Congressman Jim Renacci (r-OH) – after refusing to pay his taxes, is still refusing to pay the fine.
Congressman Mark Sanford (r-SC) – paid fee after admitting to trespassing at his ex-wife’s home.
Congressman Buchanan, a lead fundraiser for the House repugicans who CNN said might be “serving his next term behind bars”, is being investigated by IRS for alleged “financial improprieties.” The New York Times wrote in February of this year, “Federal inquiries surrounding Mr. Buchanan appear to be widening, as investigators examine allegations that his companies improperly reimbursed contributors to his campaigns and claimed improper tax deductions and that he failed to include all his varied financial interests in his Congressional disclosure reports [...] agents for the F.B.I. and the Internal Revenue Service recently contacted former employees alleging financial improprieties by Mr. Buchanan, who owns a number of auto dealerships throughout Florida and elsewhere and is one of the richest members of Congress. A federal grand jury in Tampa is hearing evidence in the case as well.”
The FBI is investigating former FBI agent Congressman Grimm’s (r-NY) campaign fundraising for allegations from congregants regarding “strong arming” tactics. There is a separate DOJ investigation. He had spent $321,209 on legal fees as of June 2012. According to the New York Daily News : “The FBI has questioned at least four people who worked on Congressman Michael Grimm’s 2010 campaign as part of its ongoing probe into allegations the tea party favorite took illegal election donations… The FBI opened an inquiry into the repugican’s fund-raising after members of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto’s New York congregation complained he was strong-arming them for donations, as the New York Times reported in January.”
As you are no doubt aware, House repugicans keep telling us that it’s their job to “investigate”. They should add that it’s their job to investigate Democrats, as the House Ethics Committee said it would not form a special investigative panel to probe allegations that Aaron Schock (R-IL) improperly solicited super PAC contributions from other repugican lawmakers, even after the Office of Congressional Ethics called for a full-scale investigation, finding “substantial reason to believe” that Schock violated federal law.
In February of 2013 these allegations came to light via Politico: “The allegations against Schock stemmed from a bitter repugican cabal primary battle in Illinois last year between Rep. Adam Kinzinger and former Rep. Don Mazullo. Schock backed Kinzinger in the primary, and he began asking other members like Cantor for campaign contributions in order to run TV ads supporting Kinzinger. The money, including a $25,000 donation from Cantor’s leadership fund, was funneled to a super PAC called the Campaign for Primary Accountability, which spent more than $200,000 on the race on Kinzinger’s behalf.”
A repugican staffer and several aides refused to cooperate with the OCE’s investigation into Shock, and the staffer is now the executive director of the National repugican Senatorial Committee. The repugicans apparently like to upgrade their ethics dodgers. CREW found that Shock had also improperly abused his power to benefit himself and his mother.
The OCE recommended that the House Ethics Committee subpoena Rodney Davis (r-IL) for his refusal to comply with the investigation into Shock, but they don’t have subpoena power.
The News Gazette reported in February of 2011 that the OCE report concluded that the “alleged violation occurred” because of Davis’ refusal to cooperate. “The OCE infers that the information Mr. Davis refused to provide, taken together with the factual findings in this referral, supports the conclusion that there is substantial reason to believe that the alleged violation occurred.”
The cabal is awfully proud of family values Congressman Scott DesJarlais (r-TN), who was fined for having sex with two female patients. The Times Free Press explained, “Tennessee’s top medical disciplinary panel fined licensed physician and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais $500 for sexual relationships he had with two female patients, inspiring critics to say the punishment didn’t fit the crime.” This might help inform the reader as to why repugicans allow all male committees to legislate women’s bodies.
Congressman Jim Renacci (r-OH), who had to pay $1.4 million in back taxes in 2008, was assessed $1.4 Million in taxes and penalties after he tried to shelter income. Before wingnuts get their paranoia in full gear, this dispute dated back to the year 2000 when they were accused of “misreporting” their income (hint: the shrub was in office). They appealed the entire $1,395,464 assessment to the Board of Tax Appeals in June 2006. The tax commissioner calculated $954,650 in tax; $146,938 in interest; and $293,876 in penalty. [Ninth Judicial District Court of Appeals, Case No. 07CA0061-M; Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/19/12] Note: Democrats have lost their nominations for much less, due to repugican outrage.
And last in line for the party of family values and “law and order” is Mark Sanford (r-SC) of the Appalachian Trail infamy, who trespassed at his ex-wife’s home and paid her legal fees for the incident. While you might only remember his bizarre jaunt around South Carolina asking women if they hated him, the Columbia Patch reported on his more serious issues: “According to WCBD-TV, Mark Sanford in court papers admitted to trespassing at Jenny Sanford’s beachfront Sullivan’s Island home when he visited his son on Feb. 3 to watch the Super Bowl. He has agreed to pay his ex-wife’s attorney’s fees.” Of course, he still got elected to represent South Carolina, even after his trouble while Governor resulting in allegations of multiple ethics violations, abandoning his post without telling anyone where he was in order to chase after his girlfriend, and some shady dealings with the plane.
These rogues are leading the witch hunts against President Obama instead of legislating for jobs, the economy, or anything of any value — though they are wasting your money putting on play votes to repeal Obamacare, while only working 126 days this session.

How repugicans Deregulated The FCC and Gave Corporations Control Of the Media

corp Big Six Media
The concept of a free press and its direct relationship to a free people has been a foundational underpinning of American democracy since the nation’s founding, and for 227 years that simple premise held true. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson famously saidThe only security of all is in a free press. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure,” and that “our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” The Constitution’s framers agreed with Jefferson and included the edict that “Congress shall make no law respecting abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” in the 1st Amendment that repugicans violated in 2003 when in their drive to destroy democracy and sell it to corporate America, they deregulated the Federal Communications Commission in what former FCC chairman described as a “right-wing power grab” that gave complete control of all media to a few un-American corporations. Adlai Stevenson once said that “The free press is the mother of all our liberties and of our progress under liberty,” but with one act of a Republican Congress the mother of Americans’ liberty was unceremoniously murdered and what remains is the rotting corpse of a free press and free people.
Over the past month there has been tepid interest in news the Koch brothers were attempting to buy some of the few remaining “free press” left in America to complete the corporate takeover of everything Americans read, listen to, or watch. Apparently, the fact that over 90% of all media is owned and controlled by 5 corporations was not bringing about liberty’s death knell fast enough to suit the fascist conservatives, and buying up Tribune Newspapers was all that remained to complete their coup d’état of main stream media, but Americans could at least find solace that outlets like Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and media watchdog Media Matters were cleared to report accurately without interference from corporate machinations to fabricate news, conceal corporate malfeasance, and restrict the free flow of information that Jefferson said was “the only security” Americans had to protect liberty. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Last year during the lead-up to the general election, this column researched and reported Willard Romney’s connection to Bain Capital’s practice of swooping in, seizing companies’ assets, and taking them into bankruptcy to reap the profits. In particular, there was irrefutable proof in public docket records that under Romney’s leadership, a bankruptcy gang inserted Bain surrogates on both sides of the eToys bankruptcy proceedings and committed perjury in order to tilt judgments in Bain’s favor. It was curious why the story, which was well-known to main stream media, was never reported to the masses and particularly why an organization like Media Matters was assailing Romney’s candidacy, but failed to report his or Bain’s connection in the eToys case that would have informed voters of underhanded business practices Romney would have brought to the presidency. Two weeks ago it was revealed why a top liberal SuperPac, American Bridge, and Media Matters took a hands-off approach to Romney’s business record while CEO of Bain Capital.
It turns out that American Bridge 21st Century PAC, a project of Media Matters’ founder David Brock, had previously undisclosed financial ties to Bain Capital and one of American Bridge’s major fundraisers, Mary Pat Bonner, demanded the group refrain from making any attacks on Romney’s company Bain Capital. Some people familiar with the group’s work said “Anything that was discussed doing publicly in regard to Bain, was either shot down immediately, or there was a question, ‘Could Mary Pat be OK with this?And the answer was always no.” The president of American Bridge, Rodell Mollineau, said “We spent a year producing more than 2,000 pages of original Bain research and worked with our progressive partners to determine the most strategic way to use it,” but Bain prevailed and American Bridge and Media Matters “struggled to attack Romney without smearing Bain.” So much for a free press and informing the public how close they came to having a corporate “vulture capitalist” as president, and it is all thanks to corporate money controlling the media, and it includes the Public Broadcasting Service.
Two weeks ago, another story emerged that cited David Koch’s influence on PBS, and how they killed airing a documentary, “Citizen Koch” to mollify the Koch brothers and conceal their influence during Scott Walker’s assault on organized labor. The documentary was scheduled to appear on PBS, but funding was pulled after Koch expressed outrage that they aired another critical documentary about the influence of corporate money in elections leading the filmmaker to say, “People like the Kochs have worked for decades to undermine public funding for institutions like PBS” so they could control content to the public through funding with corporate money. Koch has donated $23 million to public television, and apparently bought the right to censor content unfavorable to Koch’s influence on politics courtesy of their personal Supreme Court Justice’s votes on Citizens United, and he was furious a New York PBS affiliate aired “Park Avenue” that did not portray Koch in the favorable light. Koch has PBS so terrified of his influence and control of its content, that a New York PBS affiliate president offered Koch time for an “unprecedented PBS-aired rebuttal” to a documentary PBS was too mortified to air.
Americans can rest assured that anything they read, watch, or listen to is controlled by giant corporations, and it is why the majority of Americans will never know the biggest corporations avoid paying income taxes and hide trillions of dollars offshore. It is also why Americans only hear what the corporate world’s legislative arm, the repugican cabal, allows them to dispense and why the public is ignorant of how repugicans obstruct efforts to grow the economy, deliberately kill millions of jobs, abscond with Americans’ pensions, and hand all the nation’s assets to the rich and their corporations. They will also never know that  repugican deregulation efforts only benefit their corporate masters including giving them complete control over all media, save independent internet sites committed to exposing the truth regardless the consequences.
There is a reason why Americans vote against their own self-interests, are perpetually ignorant of repugican deceit, and rail against what they perceive as government overreach into their private affairs. When repugicans deregulated the FCC and gave corporate control over all media they knew it would just be a matter of years before the only information the public heard was conservative propaganda to transform America into a corporate fascist state that Americans find themselves living under. It has been said that “knowledge and information is power if one knows it about the right person or group” and that “hoarding knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny” and besides tyranny, The repugicans guaranteed that giving absolute control of the media to fascists and corporations robbed Americans of their liberty Jefferson said, “can only be guarded by freedom of the press.” The repugican deregulation eliminated freedom of the press, and in the process effectively eliminated democracy and liberty the Koch brothers, Romney’s Bain Capital, and 5 corporations bought and paid for and unfortunately, Americans will never read, watch, or hear why they are controlled by fascists disguised as corporations.

The truth be told


The Wealthy Grab the Money and Make the Poor Pay the Tab

In football terms, "piling on" means jumping on a player when he's down. In the economic new normal described by Bernie Sanders, it means taking most of the wealth and all of the income, moving profits and jobs overseas, and making impoverished people pay the bills.

1. Wealth Grab
According to an AP report, the stock market has regained all its losses since March, 2009 while adding an extra 18 percent. That's $11 trillion restored, plus almost $2 trillion gained. Using Economic Policy Institute figures (Tables 6 & 7), we can determine the beneficiaries of the new wealth:
  • The richest 1%, 1.15 million families with 38.3% of the stocks, each regained their losses and added an additional $666,000.
  • The next 2-5%, 4.6 million families with 30.9% of the stocks, each regained their losses and added an additional $134,000.
  • The rest of the top 20%, 17.25 million families with 22% of the stocks, each regained their losses and added an additional $25,500.
  • The 30% just above the middle, 34.5 million families with 8.9% of the stocks, each regained their losses and added an additional $5,160.
  • The bottom 50%, 57.5 million families with 0% of the stocks, gained nothing.
2. Taking ALL the Income
Charles Koch said, "I want my fair share - and that's all of it." He's been getting his wish lately. In the first two years of the recovery, the richest 1% seemingly impossibly captured 121% of the income gains, while incomes for 99% of Americans declined, with the median household income dropping by 7.3 percent.
More and more people are working in respectable but low-wage positions in food service and retail. Low-income jobs ($7.69 to $13.83 per hour) made up 1/5 of the jobs lost to the recession, but accounted for 3/5 of the jobs regained during the recovery.
3. Corporate Betrayal
According to their own SEC reports, CitigroupPfizer, and Bank of America made much of their 2011-12 revenue in the U.S. (42%, 40%, and 82%, respectively). Yet they declared a total of $69 billion in foreign profits and losses of $19 billion in the United States.
As the big companies have been declaring themselves multinationals with no allegiance to the country that made them successful, they've also eliminated tens of thousands of U.S. jobs. CitigroupPfizer, and Bank of Americaare among the leading job cutters. The shock of the recession has allowed them to turn their backs on their country, and Americans are too bewildered (and ill-represented) to properly fight back.
4. Let the Hungry Pay
The massive four-year redistribution of wealth and income toward the top leaves bills to be paid. So Congress wants to cut food assistance. Nearly 47 million people get an average of less than $5 a day to eat, at a total 2012 cost of about $80 billion, which is about the same amount made by just twenty Americans from one year of investment income.
In the spirit of American independence, Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee quoted the Bible: "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat." Fincher, along with all but one of his Congressional colleagues, failed to show up for a recent unemployment hearing. Hungry Americans remain at the bottom of the pile, getting crushed by arrogance and insensitivity.

Wal-Mart Relies On Taxpayers To Subsidize Low Wages

From Business Insider

From "The no-shit Sherlock" Department:

by Emily Coy

It isn't breaking news that many Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) employees are dissatisfied with their current wage levels, as it was only late last year that members of OUR Walmart, a union-backed worker group, chose Black Friday to walk off the job and campaign for their rights.

Similarly, earlier in May, that same group announced its plans to meet in Bentonville, Arkansas, on the day of Wal-Mart's annual shareholder meeting, and campaign for a greater number of full-time jobs with predictable schedules and wages that could help them provide for their families.

A new report, however, illuminates that Wal-Mart employees might not be the only ones paying the price for their low wages. Taxpayers, too, may have a reason to take a stand.

According to The Huffington Post, Congressional Democrats released a study Thursday that demonstrated how Wal-Mart's wages are so low that many of its workers must rely on food stamps and other government aid programs, costing taxpayers as much as $900,0000 at just one Wal-Mart Supercenter in Wisconsin.

The report, "The Low-Wage Drag on Our Economy," was produced by Democrats with the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

It explains that it chose Wisconsin as its state of study because of its data being the most recent, allowing the study to employ the state's Medicaid data to discern the annual cost taxpayers pay in order to provide the food stamp and publicly subsidized health care programs to those Supercenter workers who require it.

Wal-Mart has long been criticized for its pattern of offering wages that force its workers to take advantage of public-assistance programs. This recent study argues that the criticism is warranted. The company had more workers enrolled in the state's public health care program in last year's last quarter than any other employer.

The World's Dirtiest Jobs

Whether it's cleaning a smelly animal cage or a bloody crime scene, there are many dirty jobs in the world and somebody's got to do them. Check out this infographic that illustrates some of the world's dirtiest jobs.

A Brief History Of Mental Illness In Art

The Weirdest And Fiercest Helmets From The Age Of Armored Combat

If you're going to go into battle wearing a full suit of metal armor, you'd better do it in style. Here are some of the most amazing (and bizarre) helmets you've ever seen, from the age of knights and swords.

Random Celebrity Photo


Saturday, June 1, 2013, marks Marilyn Monroe’s 87th birthday.
 Here, in a quiet tribute to Marilyn Monroe, we present a series of color pictures by Alfred Eisenstaedt, made at the movie star’s Hollywood home almost exactly 60 years ago in the spring of 1953.
(Alfred Eisenstaedt—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

London Necropolis Railway

It's 1848. A cholera outbreak had recently swept through London, killing almost 15,000. Burial space was non-existent; as little as 300 acres had been allocated for the capital's needs and space was tight even without an epidemic. During the winter of 1848, the graveyards reached saturation point.

With nowhere to bury them, the dead began to pile up; corpses lay stacked beside churches, giving off an unholy stench. Recently-interred cadavers were dug up and discarded to make more room, while toxins seeped into the water supplies, increasing the chance of another outbreak. Simply, there was nowhere left to put the dead.

How People Die On Mount Everest

Last week, 80-year-old Yuichiro Miura became the oldest person to climb Mount Everest. Amazing, but other people weren't so lucky. As of 2012, an estimated 235 people have died on the mountain. This infographic, from designer Ed Hernandez, breaks down what happened to them.

Some of the causes of death are what you might expect - an avalanche or unexpected fall are the top two causes - but others are more surprising: altitude sickness accounted for nine deaths, while cerebral oedemas - fluid buildup in the brain that happens at high altitudes - killed five people.

UFO Imitates Star Trek Into Darkness

Of course aliens had to fly into the Popocateptl volcano in Mexico. How else were they supposed to ignite the cold fusion device [Star Trek Into Darkness spoiler] that saved the local population from the volcano eruption?
Watch (yet another) UFO clip as captured by Mexican media company Televisa, in this newscast by FOROtv: Link

The Legend of Popocatepetl & Iztaccíhuatl

by Chela Orozco  

 The view that adorns the world's largest city – Mexico City – is enhanced by the majesty of two of the highest volcanoes in the hemisphere: Popocatepetl and Iztaccíhuatl
The presence of these enormous millennial volcanoes has been of great significance for the different societies that have admired and revered them, being a source of inspiration for the many legends about their origin and creation. Among these, the best known are two that we will relate below.

Thousands of years ago, when the Aztec Empire was in its heyday and dominated the Valley of Mexico, it was common practice to subject neighboring towns, and to require a mandatory tax.  It was then that the chief of the Tlaxcaltecas, bitter enemies of the Aztecs, weary of this terrible oppression, decided to fight for his people’s freedom.

The chief had a daughter named Iztaccihuatl: the most beautiful of all the princesses, who had professed her love for young Popocatepetl, one of her father's people and the most handsome warrior.
Both professed a deep love for each other, so before leaving for war, Popocatepetl asked the chief for the hand of Princess Iztaccihuatl.
The father gladly agreed and promised to welcome him back with a big celebration to give him his daughter’s hand if he returned victorious from the battle.
The brave warrior accepted, prepared everything and departed keeping in his heart the promise that the princess would be waiting for him to consummate their love.
Soon afterward, a love rival of Popocatepetl, jealous of the love they professed to each other, told Princess Iztaccihuatl that her beloved had died in combat.

Crushed by such tragedy and overwhelmed by sadness the princess died, without even imagining it could be a lie. 
 Popocatepetl returned victorious to his people, hoping to find his beloved princess.   Upon arrival, he received the terrible news of the death of Iztaccihuatl
Devastated by the news, he wandered about the streets for several days and nights, until he decided he had to do something to honor her love and to assure that the princess would not ever be forgotten.
He ordered a great tomb built under the sun, piling up ten hills together to form a huge mountain.

He carried the dead Princess in his arms, took her to the summit and laid her on the great mountain. The young warrior lovingly kissed her cold lips, took a smoking torch and knelt in front of his beloved to watch over her eternal sleep.
From then on, they continue together, facing each other.  Eventually the snow covered their bodies, forming two majestic volcanoes that would remain joined till the end of time.

The legend goes on to say that when the warrior Popocatepetl remembers his beloved, his heart – that preserves the fire of eternal passion – shakes and his torch smokes.
That’s why, even today; the Popocatepetl volcano continues spewing fumaroles.
As for the coward, Tlaxcala, who lied to Iztaccihuatl, overcome with repentance for the tragedy that ensued, he went off to die very near his land.  He also became a mountain, Pico de Orizaba, another of the region’s volcanoes and now, from afar, watches the eternal dream of the two lovers, never again to be separated.

This legend has been passed on from generation to generation since the time of the Aztec Empire, in the XIV century, and the importance given to them is clear, for the names that they have today were given to them since that time.
Popocatepetl derives its name from the Nahuatl word  popoa , which means  smoke  and the noun  tepetl , meaning  hill ; so its name literally means,  hill that smokes , because from that time, its characteristic fumaroles already emanated from it.
Popularly, it’s known as  El Popo , although the populations living on its slopes know it by the affectionate nickname of  Don Goyo .
Iztaccihuatl, the other volcano, derives its name from the Nahuatl word  iztac  which means  white  and  ciahuatl  which is interpreted as  woman , so that its name translates as  White Woman
Today, it is best known as the Sleeping Woman because of its distinctive profile, resembling a woman lying with her face turned skyward.
Popocatepetl is an active volcano with an approximate age of 730,000 years.
It has a symmetrical cone-shape and a maximum height of 5,450 meters above sea level, which places it as the second highest peak in Mexico.
It is united in its northern part with Iztaccihuatl through a mountain pass known as Paso de Cortes, a name that refers to the route taken by Hernan Cortes through that place, before reaching the Great Tenochtitlan.
Iztaccihuatl is an extinct volcano located in central Mexico. It is the third highest mountain in the country, with an altitude of 5,220 meters above sea level and both are located within the territorial limits of the states of Mexico and Puebla.

Currently, both volcanoes are still a source of great artistic and literary creations, which will, no doubt, go down in posterity as will this great legend.

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