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

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Daily Drift


Carolina Naturally is read in 192 countries around the world daily.

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Today is Donald Duck Day 

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Today in History

1064   Coimbra, Portugal falls to Ferdinand, king of Castile.  
1534   Jacques Cartier sails into the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in Canada.  
1790   Civil war breaks out in Martinique.  
1861   Mary Ann "Mother" Bickerdyke begins working in Union hospitals.  
1863   At the Battle of Brandy Station in Virginia, Union and Confederate cavalries clash in the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War.  
1923   Bulgaria's government is overthrown by the military.  
1931   Robert H. Goddard patents a rocket-fueled aircraft design.  
1942   The Japanese high command announces that "The Midway Occupation operations have been temporarily postponed."  
1945   Japanese Premier Kantaro Suzuki declares that Japan will fight to the last rather than accept unconditional surrender.  
1951   After several unsuccessful attacks on French colonial troops, North Vietnam's General Vo Nguyen Giap orders Viet Minh to withdraw from the Red River Delta.  
1954   At the Army-McCarthy hearings, attorney Joseph Welch asks Senator Joseph McCarthy "Have you no sense of decency?"  
1959   The first ballistic missile-carrying submarine, the USS George Washington, is launched.  
1972   American advisor John Paul Vann is killed in a helicopter accident in Vietnam.  
1986   NASA publishes a report on the Challenger accident.

Non Sequitur


She & Him

Mid-century AM radio-inspired joy from Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward (aka She &Him) on The Tonight Show. The track, "I've Got Your Number, Son," is from their fabulous new LP titled Volume 3.

What Happens if You Drop a Hot Charcoal into Liquid Oxygen?

Now you don't have to wonder any more. University of Nottingham chemistry professor Martyn "The Hair" Poliakoff of The Periodic Table of Videos explains why, sadly, there's no explosion involved:
Hit Play or go to YouTube

Last Surviving WWII Dornier bomber To Be Raised From Its Watery Grave After 70 Years

A rare German bomber from the Second World War is set to be raised from the English Channel where it has lain for seven decades. The retrieval of the last surviving Dornier Do 17 from the Goodwin Sands off the coast of Kent will be the biggest recovery of its kind in British waters. The aircraft was first spotted by divers in 2008, lying 50ft below the surface on a chalk bed, surrounded by debris.

Two of its four-man crew were killed as it crashed into the sea, but the other two were captured and taken into custody as prisoners of war. The plane, which is said to be in 'remarkable condition', was one of the Luftwaffe's 'flying pencil' bombers, named for their narrow fuselage.

Did you know ...

Hey, don't blame the IRS for doing their job

Besides the IRS approved twice as many wingnut groups as liberal

That fewer people are social conservatives

That next year's Obamacare rates will be lower than expected

That Brooklyn prosecutors will stop using condom possession against sex workers

That the TSA has finally removed all its naked full body scanners

Is force feeding torture?

Did Secret Email Spying Really Help Foil NYC Terror Plot?

by Madeleine Morgenstern U.S. Says Email Spying Helped Foil New York City Subway Terror Plot?
The government’s broad programs to collect U.S. phone records and Internet traffic helped disrupt a 2009 plot to bomb the New York City subways, a senior U.S. intelligence official said.
But the assertion raises as many questions as it answers because court testimony indicated the subway plot investigation began with an email.
Over the past days, The Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post have revealed classified documents showing how the National Security Agency sweeps up phone records and Internet data in its hunt for terrorists. Those programs have come under criticism from civil libertarians and some in Congress who say they were too broad and collected too much about innocent Americans.
In one of those programs, the NSA’s collected daily records of millions of phone calls made and received by U.S. citizens not suspected of any wrongdoing.
On Thursday, Rep. Mike Rogers, r-Mich., who leads the House Intelligence Committee, credited that effort with thwarting a terrorism plot. But he did not elaborate.
The senior U.S. intelligence official who asserted Friday that the phone records program together with other technical intercepts thwarted the subway plot would not provide other details. The official was not authorized to discuss the plot publicly and requested anonymity.
Afghan-American Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty in the 2009 plot, saying he had been recruited by al-Qaida in Pakistan.
The break in that case came, according to court documents and testimony, when Zazi emailed a Yahoo address seeking help with his bomb recipe.
At that time, British intelligence officials knew the Yahoo address was associated with an al-Qaida leader in Pakistan. That’s because, according to British government documents released in 2010, officials had discovered it on the computer of a terror suspect there months earlier.
Because the NSA and British intelligence work so closely together and so little is known about how the NSA monitors email traffic, it’s possible that both agencies were monitoring the Yahoo address at the time Zazi sent the critical email in 2009.
What’s unclear, though, is how the phone program aided the investigation, which utilized court-authorized wiretaps of Zazi and his friends.
Based on what’s known about the phone-records program, the NSA might have had an archive of all the phone calls Zazi had made, which might have helped authorities look for possible co-conspirators.
Because the phone program remains classified, however, it’s impossible to say with certainty how the program benefited the investigation.

The truth hurts

National Disgrace Lush Dimbulb Compares the IRS Scandal to the Holocaust

The shame of our nation, Lush Dimbulb, hit a new low today by comparing the IRS scandal to the Holocaust.
Transcript via Lush Dimbulb:
DIMBULB: Folks, here’s the thing, I guess, that gets me. I mentioned Herbert Meyer. We interviewed him for the Limbaugh Letter a few short months ago. Herbert Meyer was in the national security apparatus during the Reagan administration. He was a good friend of Ronald Reagan, and was instrumental in establishing Reagan administration policies that brought down the Soviet Union. The big news to him that’s really noteworthy, we talked about it, is that he thinks that the world’s coming out of poverty. And it is a big story, The Economist in London had a big story on it recently. We mentioned it to you, and it’s a great testament to capitalism.
It’s not socialism, it’s not welfare, it’s not compassion and it’s not the redistribution of wealth. It’s not high taxes that are bringing people out of poverty. It’s capitalism, and none other than a leftist publication in London had to admit it. Well, Herb Meyer was the first to sound this notice some months ago. I also mentioned he wrote a piece that currently is in the American Thinker earlier this week, and it had the potential to be controversial because he used Adolf Hitler and Nazism in it, and it was his way of explaining, he made a point in the piece that nowhere, you know, people looking for a smoking gun to nail Obama on all these scandals, Herb says, “Ain’t gonna be one.”

He said whether you believe it or not, there is not one document linking Adolf Hitler to the holocaust. Adolf Hitler never put it on paper what he intended to do. There is no smoking gun. And yet what happened? We know that the Nazis engaged in the Holocaust. Herb Meyer’s point was that the people Hitler hired didn’t have to be told. They didn’t have to be given instructions. All they had to do was listen to what Hitler was saying. All they had to do was listen to what his objectives were. And he said the same thing’s happening here with this administration. He went to great pains to say: I’m not calling this administration a bunch of Nazis. I’m just using this as an illustration. I know people will get my point if I use something this notorious, the Nazi regime.
It’s a point that I’ve made here about the IRS. They say, “Well, you can’t link it in to Obama.” You don’t need to link Obama to it. He hired these people. Lois Lerner and everybody at the IRS who’s doing this is doing everything they can to please Obama. There’s not gonna be a smoking gun, but you don’t need a smoking gun to know where this administration’s doing what it’s doing.
Obama puts people in positions that mirror him. Eric Holder, you name it, they’re doing Obama’s bidding. Everybody. Susan Rice and Samantha Power, they are Obama, and there’s a context for what’s happening. Herbert Meyer, if I may quote him again, asserted that essentially what’s taking place in the United States right now is a coup, not a violent coup, and not a million artistic coup, but nevertheless a takeover of a government, and it’s being done by the Obama administration.

The idea that President Obama is staging a coup against the government is jaw dropping dumb, because Barack Obama is the democratically elected head of the government. If Obama is staging a coup against the government, that means he is staging a coup against his own administration. The idea that President Obama is staging a coup against himself was offensive to the intelligence of every American, but Limbaugh’s adoption of the comparison of the IRS scandal to the Holocaust was offensive on a completely different level.
Dimbulb was careful not to tread on Glenn Beck’s gimmick of calling the Obama administration Nazis, but the idea that making some wingnut groups provide more documentation before they got their tax exempt status could be equivalent to the mass murder of millions of Jews is nauseating. But if there is one thing wingnuts love more than anything else, it is the feeling of persecution.
It is ironic, and symptomatic of their myopic selfishness, that the privileged few like Lush Dimbulb feel so persecuted. The wealthy feel persecuted when it is suggested that they ought to pay their fair share of taxes. The super rich feel persecution when their groups get caught breaking the rules for non-profits by engaging in partisan political activities.
The conservatives who are crying persecution have no idea what real persecution is. Persecution isn’t having to fill out some extra IRS forms before you receive your tax exempt status. Persecution is losing your job, having your possessions confiscated, being moved to ghetto, and eventually a death camp because of your race, religion, disability, or any other factor that the ruling regime deems subhuman or undesirable.
Persecution is a sexual fetish for the wingnuts. They get turned on by something that most of them have only imagined, but never experienced.
No, the IRS scandal has nothing in common with the Holocaust. Anyone who thinks otherwise is insulting the memory of the millions who died at the hands of some of the most evil men that the Earth has ever seen.

Just so you know - repugicans, you have now officially overreached on the IRS scandal.

Reality is ...

Can we really be surprised at repugican hypocrisy any more than we already are?

From Occupy Democrats

Paul Ryan and 16 Other Hypocritical repugicans Caught Begging For Obamacare Funds

You won’t believe what The Nation magazine obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Inquiry: a list of 17 repugicans who secretly pursued Obamacare’s medicaid expansion dollars while hypocritically slamming the law in public, as well as all of their letters begging for the funds from the big, bad federal government.

Every single one of the repugican congresscritters listed below, including master hypocrite Paul Ryan, have voted over 30 times to repeal the law while privately begging for its funding from the federal government.

The Nation calls this behavior “shameless hypocrisy” as well as evidence “of the fact that the Affordable Care Act bestows tangible benefits that even congresses most extreme right wing ideologues are hard-pressed to deny to their constituents”.

While tea party repugicans literally believe “Obamacare” to be socialist Armageddon, some of their favorite representatives are making it clear that they are aware of the reality that the Affordable Care Act is a much-needed reform that will improve the life of millions of Americans, including their own constituents.

Why the corporate dominated mainstream media is likely to ignore this story, it is up to us to make some noise about the incredible hypocrisy of these repugican Congress people that publicly denounced a wonderful reform and then turn around and beg for money for its implementation.

Please do your part by sharing this and other related articles on social media forums.

Read all of their hypocritical letters here.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX)
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT, recently joined wingnut AEI)

Congress members:
Rep Mary Bono Mack (R-CA)
Rep Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Rep. David Valadao (R-CA)
Rep John Barrow (R-GA)
Rep Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Rep Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Rep Lee Terry (R-NE)
Rep Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Rep Bob Gibbs (R-OH)
Rep Kirsti Noem (R-SD)
Rep Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) – his letter here



Pennsylvania jail offers tourists a taste of prison food

In a city that has become renowned for its hip and innovative restaurant scene, a local tourist attraction is offering decidedly different fare: prison food. This weekend, Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia will serve visitors sample inmate meals from the 1830s, 1940s and today: broiled salted beef with "Indian mush"; hamburger with brown gravy and beets; and Nutraloaf -- an unappetizing concoction currently served as a punishment.
Event organizers say the not-so-haute cuisine is a way to stimulate both the taste buds and the mind. The meals reflect the changing nature of food service at penal institutions and, in some ways, attitudes toward inmates, said Sean Kelley, the prison's director of public programming.
"We hope to have a discussion all weekend long about what these policies mean to accomplish and whether they're effective," Kelley said.
The quirky tasting menu will be available Saturday and Sunday at Eastern State, a defunct prison that once housed gangster Al Capone. The centuries-old facility was abandoned in 1971 but later reopened to tourists looking for an eerie glimpse of life behind its 30-foot-tall walls.
Food samples will be prepared offsite by Freestyle BBQ, a catering company based in Langhorne that happens to be owned by Pennsylvania corrections officer John Freeman.
Freeman, who works at an undisclosed state institution, started his food business on the side last year. When he heard that Eastern State needed a temporary cook, Freeman couldn't believe the serendipity -- and neither could Kelley.
"Who knows prison food better than me?" Freeman said.
While on prison duty, he eats the cafeteria food, which he describes as flavorful but low-grade. But flavorful is not how he describes the bland recipes he'll be making for Eastern State.
"It's going to be hard ... to cater something and basically not jazz it up," Freeman said.
He described the broiled salted beef as being like corned beef, and the Indian mush as basically polenta -- cornmeal and water. Kelley, who tried making the recipe himself, noted the mush was actually "very good" because it's topped with a bit of molasses.
That meal would have been delivered to inmates on carts in an era of solitary confinement. Prison officials at the time were optimistic that well-nourished inmates would be "penitent," reflect on their offenses and become better people, Kelley said.
The hamburger-and-gravy meal comes from an actual Eastern State menu for the week of April 17, 1949, which will be on display. Inmates ate communal meals that were prepared on site by their fellow prisoners who used cookbooks, Kelley said.
Current prisoners also are trained to cook in the state prison system, said spokeswoman Susan Bensinger. A current sample menu from Graterford prison includes waffles, pork barbecue and poultry and gravy, with vegetarian options for each meal. But that's for well-behaved inmates.
Prisoners being punished get the food loaf often called Nutraloaf. The recipe varies by state, but in Pennsylvania it consists of rice, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, oatmeal, chick peas and margarine. It's nutritionally sound but prisoners across the U.S. have filed lawsuits over it, calling it cruel and unusual punishment. Many states continue to serve it.
Kelley, who also made a batch and brought in to share, said he was surprised at the number of co-workers who wouldn't taste it.
"I'm curious to see if visitors really will be experimental enough to try it," Kelley said.

Cincinnati Zoo's restaurant greenest in United States

The Cincinnati Zoo, which calls itself the Greenest Zoo in America, now also has the greenest restaurant in the country.
The zoo's Base Camp Cafe has just been certified by the Green Restaurant Association with four stars, its highest rating. Only 15 restaurants in the nation have achieved that distinction, and none with as many points as Base Camp received.
"It demonstrates that the world's not going to be saved by some magic wand waved by a large organization; it will be saved by hundreds of million better decisions made every day," zoo Director Thane Maynard said Thursday.
Michael Oshman, CEO and founder of the Green Restaurant Association, called the distinction a "phenomenal" achievement. "They have set a new benchmark that will serve as a model and create a nice incentive for other restaurants to hit."
Base Camp opened for the 2013 season after a remodel and retrofit. Like the rest of the zoo, it gets a quarter of its power from the zoo's solar electricity array. Kitchen equipment includes a variable-power ventilating hood that's 60 percent more efficient than most.
"Restaurants are huge energy hogs," said Mark Fisher, the zoo's director of sustainability. "It's also where you can get your money back."
He estimates the zoo spent $2.5 million to improve the restaurant, including $30,000 just to achieve green goals.
"Our projection is that it will save us about $10,000 yearly, so it will be paid back in three years," Fisher said.
Food is served in containers that can be composted along with food waste. There is a full recycling program, in the dining room and in the kitchen. The restaurant even changed its pest-control company to one with a green certification.
And in several creative ways, the cafe is increasing the amount of food that's locally grown. That includes leasing zoo-owned farmland in Mason to Green Bean Delivery, which then grows and supplies the zoo with organically grown produce. Green Bean Delivery also is a source for local foods from other area farms.A greenhouse just outside the restaurant's doors will provide year-round fresh vegetables â?? even fish, once an aquaponics project is up and running.
The Green Restaurant Association, founded in Boston in 1990, awards points for energy-saving elements from water use to composting and recycling. A 4-star rating requires 300 points. Base Camp accumulated 487.1.
The zoo has been improving its sustainability since about 2006, when it built its new, energy-efficient Education building. Since that time, the zoo also has cut water use by two-thirds and uses less electricity and gas despite substantial growth.
"It's not that we just want a plaque on the wall, though we'll have that," Fisher said. "It's the relentless pursuit of improvement. When you push for truly sustainable operations, you're doing everything: improving employee efficiency, saving money, making things simpler and living the mission."
The restaurant has to be part of the total zoo experience, Fisher said. "We didn't want our message to visitors to be, 'We're so green, just don't look at our restaurant.' "
In 2010, the zoo hired food concession operation Service Systems Associates, which runs zoo restaurants around the country.
"We're a pretty green company ourself," said SSA's Steve Wells, also general manager of Base Camp. "We're right there with them pushing to get even greener."
The Base Camp now offers a new grass-fed burger and made-to-order salads, including a strawberry salad with feta and almonds. The kids' menu features fruit, organic juice or milk and veggie and turkey burgers.
"Everybody's expectations of food are a little higher now," said Travis Kight, corporate executive chef.

Hiccuping diner hospitalized after being given oven cleaner as cure

A female diner is in intensive care in hospital after staff at a restaurant in Paradise Point on Australia's Gold Coast accidentally gave her oven cleaner to cure her hiccups. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had been finishing up a meal with a friend at The Point Restaurant last week when she began hiccupping uncontrollably.

A helpful staffer advised that vinegar was an instant cure and called for a small glass of the liquid from the kitchen. The woman downed the clear liquid that was given to her and began choking as horrified staff realised they had accidentally poured out oven cleaner instead of vinegar.

It is understood a small bottle of the corrosive cleaning fluid positioned beside a large bottle of vinegar may have been picked up in error. Paramedics arrived and took the woman to Pindara Hospital where she was held in intensive care. Police confirmed they were investigating the incident and had been interviewing staff and customers. Workplace Health and Safety officers said they were also making inquiries.

Speaking about the 'tragic mistake', The Point restaurant owner Paul Jeynes said: ''It's a hard situation, it is very unfortunate and we feel for the family and the woman. It was an accident but we accept full responsibility.'' Mr Jeynes said the situation had shocked staff. ''This is a terrible thing for the restaurant but it's not about us right now,'' he said. ''We will do everything and anything to assist her family.'' He said he was assisting authorities with their investigations.

Random Photo

War on Crime

How Armed Police Are Clearing Rio’s Favelas of Drug Gangs
The drug gangs who have run Rio’s favelas are notorious, and for a while they seemed invincible, but a new police presence is trying to change this state of affairs. More

Northeast Texas woman arrested in ricin letter investigation

Sources say that Shannon Richardson has been transported from the courthouse to St. Michaels Hospital in Texarkana. It is unknown at this time why she is at the hospital. Shannon Richardson was arrested Friday for allegedly sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg's gun control group in Washington D.C. Federal investigators began focusing on the area after learning that the letters were postmarked in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Shannon's husband, Nathan Richardson, was named as a person of interest after Shannon contacted authorities about a suspicious substance she found in their refrigerator. Nathan Richardson was questioned by the FBI last week and released. Colt Caywood, a Richardson family friend, says that FBI officials have been interviewing some of the family's friends.
Attorney John Delk says his client Nathan Richardson approached him about getting a divorce a year before the FBI searched the couple's house.
Richardson's wife reportedly alerted authorities to suspected ricin in the couple's New Boston home.
"We have very good reason to believe it was a setup," said Delk.
FBI haz-mat teams have been in and out of the home since Friday.
The couple has been married since October 2011 and are expecting a child. Shannon Richardson already had five children when they married. While the divorce papers have been filed, the divorce will not be final until Shannon gives birth.

Horrific acid attack on 17 y.o. coed is sadly typical of India’s routine mistreatment of women

A beautiful 17 year old Indian college student didn’t respond to the advances of three fellow students.  So one day the young men came up to Sonali Mukherjee and threw acid in her face.  Her face literally melted away, and she instantly lost the ability to see, hear, eat, walk and talk.The men who maimed her for life?  Two years in jail.  They’re out now.
Welcome to life as a woman in India.
It’s a gruesome story with horrific images.  But you really need to watch it.  At the very least, click through and look at the photo at the top of the page on CNN.  It’s horrible. Ghastly. Disturbing. And necessary for you to see, so that you can share this story with others.  It’s a story about the officially-sanctioned misogyny that is India, and it’s something that really needs to stop, now.
By now, many of you are probably familiar with the problem of rape in India, and more generally, the officially-sanctioned mistreatment of women by men in private families and in government.
Sonali Mukherjee, before and after the acid attack that took away her ability to see, hear, eat, walk and talk.

I’d written about one particularly nasty recent story, which led to nationwide protests, in which an Indian woman, traveling with a male friend on a public bus, was attacked by six men who beat and raped her, and even went so far as inserting an iron rod into her body.  She was left with a lung infection and brain damage, and died shortly thereafter.
The official Indian government react to the rape was, shall we say, somewhat lacking.  The President’s son described the women protesting the rape as “dented and painted,” comparing them to a damaged car.  And India’s Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde equated the protesters to Maoist rebels.
As for the authorities generally, India’s police have a long history of ignoring rapes.  They routinely belittle rape victims and refuse to file cases against their attackers.
In one famous incident, an Indian woman was gang-raped last November, and police of course refused to file charges and instead started harassing the girl who was raped.  The women committed suicide a month after reporting the rape to the police.
Enough already.
India is now more than 17% of the world’s population.  So in a very real way, the abuse of women in India is abuse faced by nearly 1 in 5 of the world’s women.
Fortunately, people are beginning to pay attention.  India’s growing reputation as a place for foreign women to be gang-raped has not exactly helped spur tourism.  And the solution needs to be far beyond passing news law. It’s about changing a culture of sexism and misogyny:
Analysts feel that India needs more than just a new rape law that came into force in March this year as rape incidents continue to make headline.
Women’s rights activist Madhu Mehra said: “Have we ever looked at the kind of Indian masculinity that is promoted in this country? What is considered normal for an Indian man is predatory and offensive to Indian women. I think that needs to change. We need to tackle the way we bring up our boys. We still live with very strict gender stereotype and if we are expecting men to be kind, benevolent and protective towards women, that’s not equality, that’s paternalism. We don’t want paternalism.”
And let’s not even get into India’s long-standing problem with female infanticide, where young baby girls are murdered because, of course, it’s better to have a boy than a girl:
One-month-old baby girl Khushi, which means “happiness” in Hindi, would not have been alive had her mother, Sumanjeet, given in to pressure from some relatives and neighbors.
“They would cry and yell, ‘What are you doing giving birth to a girl? Push her off the roof of the building, kill her! Why are you keeping her?’” the 25-year-old mother says.
Sumanjeet says people kept telling her to get an ultrasound check and abort all four of her daughters. They told her she wouldn’t have enough money for a suitable dowry. Although Sumanjeet wasn’t quite sure how she was going to raise them, she knew it was a crime to get rid of them.
At some point, India has to pay an international price for its inaction on this issue.  Foreign trade is reportedly 35% of India’s GDP.  Perhaps it’s time that India’s politicians were put on notice that they’re no longer going to be given a pass on mistreating 1/5 of the world’s women. Enough is enough.

Man stole grass from park as it ‘would look well in his back garden’

A green-fingered thief rolled up a length of grass from a community park area and walked off with it under his arm. Michael Archibald committed the crime because he thought the section of turf would look nice in his back garden, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard. His solicitor Barry Gray told justices that this was the first time in his 40–year career that he had ever represented anyone who had stolen a roll of grass, and questioned whether the court had ever had to deal with such an offense.

Mr Gray said: “It’s true to say that I’ve never represented anybody before on theft of turf, and I dare say the court has never had to deal with a case of theft of turf before. He simply believed that this turf would look well in his back garden and thought it wouldn’t be missed from the place where he took it. It was just a case of rolling it up and walking off with it. It was cheeky and dishonest of course, but it was without an awful lot of thought. He said it was like a rug and he just rolled it up and walked off with it under his arms.

“I have no idea whether it’s back in situ, but you would think that there’s no great skill required for relaying the turf. It’s an inconvenience and for that he apologizes. It was an inconsiderate and cheeky offense.” Prosecuting, Peter Milne outlined the offense, which happened in Thornton Street, Hartlepool, saying: “It was 6.45pm on May 17 when the police received a call from a resident in Thornton Street saying they were watching a man pulling up the turf and making off with it. “He was stopped at the bottom of the street by a police community support officer. Archibald was found in possession of the turf and he was arrested at the scene.

“In interview the defendant said about 10 minutes prior to his arrest he was in the park area of Thornton Street. He pulled it up, rolled it up and made off with it. He admits the offense and said he wanted to put the turf in his own back garden.” He added: “A supervisor at Hartlepool Borough Council has stated that although the turf has been recovered it will be re-used if possible and if it can’t be re-used then they will have to replace it. The turf measured roughly 6ft by 12ft.” Archibald pleaded guilty to theft of the grass. Chairman of the magistrates’ bench John Taylor sentenced Archibald, of Dent Street, Hartlepool, to a six-month conditional discharge, ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Former policewoman cleared of burglary after being judged too drunk to have intent to steal

A former policewoman has been cleared of burglary after a jury agreed she was too drunk to have the intent to steal. Ceri Ann Rees, 35, was filmed entering a staff area at Swansea's Aspers casino and rummaging through handbags. Ms Rees, from Panteg, Llanelli, returned to the casino's restaurant with an iPhone and charger.
But a jury at Swansea Crown Court found Ms Rees not guilty. She was sacked by her police force for misconduct two months after the incident. During her trial, the court heard Ms Rees had stuffed the "phone down her top before slumping on to her side". Her colleague, policewoman Samantha Dawson, retrieved the phone after they were challenged by casino staff.

Ms Rees was arrested and charged with burglary because she had entered an area of Aspers casino in Wind Street, Swansea, which was not open to the public. The ex-police officer told the jury she did not have an "off button" once she started drinking. She said she still could not remember even being in the casino, and woke up in a police cell.

"It was my worst nightmare," she said. "I rubbed my eyes hoping that when I opened them again I would be somewhere else," she said. She told the jury she had been sacked two months after the incident for misconduct. She said she did not dispute what casino staff said she had done, or what the CCTV cameras had recorded, but said she had never intended to permanently deprive the casino worker of her mobile and charger. The jury took just 40 minutes to find her unanimously not guilty.

Lady who stabbed husband after fight over TV remote control defecated on police officers

An Aiken, South Carolina, woman is facing an attempted murder charge after police say she stabbed the man she married about two months ago.

Awesome Pictures


Legends of the Fall by Paul Garett

Man swimming in lake says fish bit him, leaving a mark

A man in  Madera County, California, has quite a fishy tale to tell. He says a fish bit his leg - and it left a mark. Bass Lake is known as a popular spot for boating, fishing, and swimming, but now it's the scene of a bizarre attack. Jason De La Cruz says he suffered a flesh wound from a large-mouth bass. 

The father of four was swimming his usual route from Marina View to a tiny island near the Bass Lake dam on  Sunday when he felt something hit his leg. "And I turned around and at that point, I couldn't believe it, but there was about a 2-foot fish coming toward me," De La Cruz said. Jason says he tried pushing the fish away, but it circled around and came right back at him. "So the second time I had to actually punch it for it to move," he said. He finally made it to the island and had a chance to check out the injury.

A sheriff's deputy on boat patrol then guided him back to the shore, where Jason showed his children. "And I told him well believe it or not kids, I gotta show this, a fish bit me out there on the water, I couldn't believe it," he said. Tom Tuso, Bass Lake Boat Rentals Manager, said: "If that is a bite mark, it is much more likely to be a cat fish than a bass. It's certainly not the Loch Ness Monster, that much we're certain of, but that would be a pretty big bass to get its mouth open that large,"

Tuso has worked in this area for more than 30 years and says families have no reason to fear the water. "It's a very good user friendly lake, and I would welcome everyone to come up here, and let's see who can catch that guy," Tuso said. Jason agrees it's no reason to avoid this refreshing recreation spot. "I will swim here again, and my family will still swim here, so it's not dangerous here, but it is quite a story I'll have to tell my grandkids," he said.

The 100 Most Endangered Species in the World

A brilliantly interactive infographic that counts down the 100 most endangered species, filtering results according to species type and where on Earth they each remain. More

Government moves to wrap up gray wolf recovery

Maps show the current population and potential habitat for Gray wolves in North America
Maps show the current population and potential habitat for Gray wolves in North America

Federal officials are declaring victory in their four-decade campaign to rescue the gray wolf, a predator the government once considered a nuisance and tried to exterminate. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). This April 18, 2008 photo released by the U.S.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday proposed removing the animal's remaining protections as an endangered species across the Lower 48 states. The exception would be in the Southwest, where the recovery effort for the related Mexican gray wolf is lagging.
Despite criticism from some scientists and members of Congress who consider the move premature, agency director Dan Ashe said the wolf can thrive and even enlarge its territory without continued federal protection.
"Taking this step fulfills the commitment we've made to the American people - to set biologically sound recovery goals and return wolves to state management when those goals have been met and threats to the species' future have been addressed," Ashe said.
The proposal will be subject to a 90-day public comment period and a final decision made within a year.
Wolves once roamed across most of North America. But trapping, poisoning and aerial shooting encouraged by federal bounties left just one small remnant, in northern Minnesota, by the time they were placed on the protected list in 1974.
By then, attitudes had shifted. Wildlife managers acknowledged the role predators play in providing balanced ecosystems, and the then-new Endangered Species Act mandated protections.
More than 6,100 wolves have now spread across portions of 10 states, primarily in the Northern Rockies and the western Great Lakes regions. Most are in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Packs also have formed in portions of Washington and Oregon, and individual wolves have been spotted in Colorado, Utah, the Dakotas, California and the Northeast.
But they have yet to return to vast additional territory that researchers say has suitable habitat and abundant prey, including parts of the Pacific Northwest, the southern Rocky Mountains, upstate New York and New England.
Environmental groups say wolves could make their way to those places - but only if legal protections remain to prevent them from being shot. Removing them now would put wolves "at serious risk for ever achieving natural recovery," said Diane Bentivegna of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition.
Colorado alone has enough space to support up to 1,000 wolves, according to Carlos Carroll of California's Klamath Center for Conservation Research. He suggested wildlife officials were bowing to political pressure, exerted by elected officials across the West who pushed to limit the wolf's range.
"They've tried to devise their political position first, and then cherry-pick their science to support it," Carroll said of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Maggie Howell of the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, N.Y., said the Adirondack Mountains and other parts of the Northeast are "screaming for a predator like the wolf" to thin an out-of-control deer herd.
Ashe, however, said it's unrealistic to think wolves can return to all or even most of their former range, even if scientifically feasible.
"Science is an important part of this decision, but really the key is the policy question of when is a species recovered," he said. "Does the wolf have to occupy all the habitat that is available to it in order for it to be recovered? Our answer to that question is no."
(AP Photo/Yellowstone National Park, File). FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2006 photo provided by Yellowstone National Park, a gray wolf is seen on the run near Blacktail Pond in Yellowstone National Park in Park County, Wyo.The wolf's resurgence has been unpopular among ranchers and others unhappy about attacks on livestock and popular sport animals - even as hunters and trappers in the last several years killed some 1,600 wolves after protections were lifted in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Government wildlife agents responding to livestock attacks have killed thousands more in recent decades.
Removing legal protections could ease the hostility in the West, where many ranchers complained they're helpless to protect their herds from marauding attackers.
Hunting advocates also have complained as elk herds dwindle in some areas.
"We can't just say, let them go and let the predators manage the big game. That's not going to work in this day and age," said David Allen, president of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Yet the former director of the Fish and Wildlife Service under President Bill Clinton said the agency's proposal "is a far cry from what we envisioned for gray wolf recovery when we embarked on this almost 20 years ago."
"It's a low bar for endangered species recovery," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, who was with the agency when wolves were reintroduced in Idaho and Wyoming in the mid-1990s. She now heads the group Defenders of Wildlife.
David Mech, a leading wolf expert and senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in St. Paul, Minn., said wolves already occupy about 80 percent of the territory where people are likely to tolerate them.
The Center for Biological Diversity vowed to challenge the government in court if it takes the animals off the endangered list.
The Humane Society of the United States, which has filed a lawsuit challenging the removal of protections from Great Lakes wolves, is reviewing the government's latest proposal, spokesman Kaitlin Sanderson said.
Ashe said the plan had been reviewed by top administration officials, including new Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. But he dismissed any claims of interference and said the work that went into the plan was exclusively that of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
He said the agency wants to focus future recovery efforts on a small number of wolves belonging to a subspecies, the Mexican gray wolf. Those occur in Arizona and New Mexico, where a protracted and costly reintroduction plan has stumbled in part due to illegal killings.
The agency is calling for a tenfold increase in the territory where biologists are working to rebuild that population, which now numbers 73 animals. Law enforcement efforts to ward off poaching in the region would be bolstered.

Family caught brazen bear breaking into their car

Car thieves come in all shapes and sizes but a family in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada, got the surprise of their lives when they caught a bear brazenly breaking into their car. Rebecca Moore says she and her husband were awakened by a noise outside at about 5:30am on Tuesday.

The Tiniest of the Tiniest Deer

What's cuter than one of the world's smallest deer? A baby of one of the world's smallest deer. This adorable fellow here is a Southern Pudu recently born at Nordens Ark in Sweden. Even when he's full grown, he'll still only weigh around 25 pounds.

Animal Pictures