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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, September 8, 2013

The Daily Drift

You, got that one right ...!   
Carolina Naturally is read in 192 193 countries around the world daily.
 Somebody's Grandparents ... !
Today is  National Grandparents Day  
as well as National Hug Your Hound Day

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We would like to welcome our newest readers in:

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Today in History

1504 Michelangelo's 13-foot marble statue of David is unveiled in Florence, Italy.
1529 The Ottoman Sultan Suleiman re-enters Buda and establishes John Zapolyai as the puppet king of Hungary.
1565 Spanish explorers found St. Augustine, Florida, the first permanent European settlement in what is now the United States.
1628 John Endecott arrives with colonists at Salem, Massachusetts, where he will become the governor.
1644 The Dutch colony of New Amsterdam surrenders to the British fleet that sails into its harbor. Five years later, the British change the name to New York.
1755 British forces under William Johnson defeat the French and the Indians at the Battle of Lake George.
1760 The French surrender the city of Montreal to the British.
1845 A French column surrenders at Sidi Brahim in the Algerian War.
1863 Confederate Lieutenant Dick Dowling thwarts a Union naval landing at Sabine Pass, northeast of Galveston, Texas.
1903 Between 30,000 and 50,000 Bulgarian men, women and children are massacred in Monastir by Turkish troops seeking to check a threatened Macedonian uprising.
1906 Robert Turner invents the automatic typewriter return carriage.
1915 Germany begins a new offensive in Argonne on the Western Front.
1921 Margaret Gorman of Washington, D.C., is named the first Miss America.
1925 Germany is admitted into the League of Nations.
1935 Senator Huey Long of Louisiana is shot to death in the state capitol, allegedly by Dr. Carl Austin Weiss, Jr.
1944 Germany's V-2 offensive against England begins.
1945 Korea is partitioned by the Soviet Union and the United States.
1951 Japanese representatives sign a peace treaty in San Francisco.
1955 The United States, Australia, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Thailand sign the mutual defense treaty that established the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).
1960 Penguin Books in Britain is charged with obscenity for trying to publish the D.H. Lawrence novel Lady Chatterly's Lover.
1960 President Eisenhower dedicates NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
1971 The Kennedy Center opens in Washington, DC with a performance of Leonard Bernstein's Mass.
1974 President Gerald Ford pardons former President Richard M. Nixon for any crimes arising from the Watergate scandal he may have committed while in office.
1988 Wildfires in Yellowstone National Park in the US, the world's first national park, force evacuation of the historic Old Faithful Inn; visitors and employees evacuated but the inn is saved.
1991 Macedonian Independence Day; voters overwhelmingly approve referendum to form the Republic of Macedonia, independent of Yugoslavia.
1994 USAir Flight 427 crashes on approach to Pittsburgh International Airport, killing all 132 people aboard; subsequent investigation leads to changes in manufacturing practices and pilot training.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

About a repugican conversion to Obamacare

Your flying and don't want to take off your shoes? cough up $85

About the billions wasted on fruitless bid to create paperless vet healthcare records

That Carribean has lost 80% of its coral reefs due to climate change and pollution

Just why do repugicans hate Obamacare

Hooray! It's babes against biotech

And be sure to buy some Carlos Danger Weiners

Thanks to repugicans Kids Are Sharing Out of Date Textbooks in NC Public Schools

In North Carolina, AP reports that lack of funding has kids sharing out-of date textbook and teachers and parents buying school supplies…
The Deep South race to the bottom continues unabated. And for members of that august right-wing geographical club, the destination of absolute political zero is looming ever-closer. There are all manner of absolute zeros – physics, chemistry, PH, Fahrenheit, Celsius and other esoteric measurements. For our purposes political absolute zero is the lowest possible temperature at which there appears to be any warmth whatsoever in radical repugican brain cells.
The two most absolute of the zeros I’m writing about today are neighbors, North and South Carolina. Mostly I’ll cover the Tarheel (Tar Heel acceptable as well) state. What NC and SC most have in common are two putrid wingnut legislatures that turn out one repulsively radical bill (guns, voter ID, abortion) after another. They also have a mutual adoration society for destroying public schools.
The states feature Nikki Haley from South Carolina and North Carolina’s Pat McCrory, two ghastly lunatic fringe wingnut repugican governors bent on denying the vote to Democrats (and all others who are not political clones), eviscerating “Obamacare” marginalizing the gay population, repressing minorities and…well, you know the drill. As per the absurd Boa Constrictor North Carolina voter ID law, McCrory was quoted as saying, the new law moves North Carolina from the “fringe into the mainstream.” Of course the law does exactly the opposite.
I’m here to draw your attention to the latest North Carolina legislative and gubernatorial insult to intelligence and civility in a very revealing Associated Press story written by Michael Biesecker. The story is out of Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina and it chronicles the harm to public education resulting from the actions of the dominant aforementioned extremists.
Full disclosure: My wife is a Special Ed teacher in a southern middle school. I’ve written about her unrelenting dedication and workload before in this space. She works well over 8 hours a day (and often into the night) during the school year and slightly less during the summer “break” (highly resented by repugicans). And for what she does she receives an average paycheck. And she lives in a state where the General Assembly resents even that stipend and keeps firing her fellow teachers and cutting school funding; while some aging New York real estate mogul buys the votes of those legislators who would voucherize and privatize the states education system.
The AP story is a nice piece of objective journalism (a rarity these days) that refuses to give McCrory’s lies a pass. The reporter is Michael Biesecker and he reports that not only do North Carolina teachers have to ante up their own money for supplies that state funding shortages don’t cover in their school district, but that obligation has now been extended to the parents. Yes, mom and pop, in addition to shoring up public schools (and increasingly private ones) with their tax dollars are now being hit in the wallet again as they dig deep to pay for such mundane fare as notebooks, crayons and glue sticks and deeper for the more expensive stuff including copier paper and cleaning supplies.
A veteran female Elementary School teacher (only a quarter of her colleagues are male) is quoted as saying, “We don’t have the funds we need. It gets kind of frustrating when you hear about some of the things they’re spending money on down in Raleigh and we don’t have paper.” She has actually sent a list home with students identifying supplies needed in her classroom that aren’t covered by the state. If the parents come up short, the money comes out of her pocket. Most teachers, at least in red states, have already had to buy at least some materials for the new school year. My wife’s school has been out of copy paper for the last three days.
It’s gotten so bad that North Carolina’s new textbook budget that once stood in excess of $100 million in 2008 has dipped to $24 million this fiscal year. Money for classroom supplies has been cut nearly in half from $44 million to $24 million. Think about it. In an era when new technologies are exploding, North Carolina students already come up short by being taught from dated and often irrelevant textbooks starting in Elementary School.
All this while the clueless governor claims that the K-12 education budget for the upcoming school year is “the highest in state history.” Reporter Biesecker caught McCrory in a whopper after checking with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Appropriations in the 2008-09 school year were $283 million higher, not even adjusting for inflation. Here’s another cut that puts the whole educational crisis in perspective. A High School music teacher told AP that she was accustomed to getting around $3,000 each year for new sheet music for her classes and student concerts. This year she’ll make do with $200. Did I mention there are not enough music textbooks to go around? Everyone has to share. Current funding, even when increased, simply can’t keep up with rising enrollment numbers.
Don’t expect any semblance of reason from North Carolina any time soon. In the 50-member Senate the count favors the repugicans 33-17. On August 19th Jason Easley wrote of the resignation of veteran state senator Ellie Kinnaird, who left the senate after 17 years to devote her time to being an activist countering the ridiculous state voter ID law. In the House there are 77 repugicans and 43 Democrats out of the 120 member total. Things turned for the worse in 2011 when repugicans took over the General Assembly. Prior to 2011, the count was reversed for decades with mostly rural, liberal and low income voters held sway in both the House and Senate for every biennium from 1931 to 2011, but one, 1995. North Carolina was unique in that it didn’t bolt for the repugican cabal after the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The margins for the Democrats were generally huge; In 1975 the numbers were 49-1 and 111-9. Sadly, an opening appeared for redistricting and the results will continue to be devastating for the state.
Yes, the repugicans are in charge now. And it’s a turnaround rife with self-serving and extremists legislation as North Carolina is 1 of 15 states with both a trifecta plus, meaning the Supreme Court will reliably rule in the repugican’s favor every time and a supermajority. The latter renders a governors veto irrelevant since there are plenty of repugican votes to override it as well as plenty of votes to pass legislation that needs more than a majority count.
Teachers trend Democratic in their voting patterns. Add their extended families and pals, thoughtful whites and Democratic-loving minorities vs. rich and heartless white folks (natural-born repugicans) and if the Democrats show up, they win. Possibly even in highly manipulated districts.
You’ve seen the political plague that infects a once sensible and delightful state. We need to find a cure at the polls.

An Obama Failure On Syria Will Ultimately Doom The repugican cabal

An Obama failure with Syria is a strong possibility. However, this failure might end up being what ultimately dooms the repugican cabal.…

The repugican Panic Spreads as McAuliffe Opens 7 Point Lead Over Crazy Cuccinelli

Panic is spreading in the repugican cabal as Democrat Terry McAuliffe's lead is growing in the gubernatorial race, and Virginia looks to be trending more and more blue. terry mcauliffe
A Rasmussen poll released on September 6th shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a 7 point lead over repugican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia gubernatorial race. The repugicans are desperate to hold on to the executive office in Virginia as they view it as a swing state for them, and if Hillary runs they’ve surely already lost Ohio.
McAuliffe has 45% support whereas oral-sex banner Cuccinelli only has 38%. Seven percent want someone else and 10% remain unsure.
Real Clear Politics broke down the race giving McAuliffe a 7.7 advantage over Cuccinelli:
Rasmussen Reports
9/3 – 9/4 998 LV 45 38 McAuliffe +7
Emerson College*
8/23 – 8/28 653 RV 45 35 McAuliffe +10
8/14 – 8/19 1129 LV 48 42 McAuliffe +6
The repugicans have been banking on keeping the Virginia governorship since this campaign began. Because of McAuliffe’s close ties to the Clintons many national observers have been trying to use the race in Virginia as a bit of tea leaf reading for 2016. The odds are that gubernatorial election is being shaped more by the fact that the repugican cabal has once again shot itself in the foot by nominating a candidate that too radical to be elected.
McAuliffe appears to be in the process of building a solid lead, and if he does win, it will demonstrate that the Democratic carrying of the state in 2008 and 2012 wasn’t just an Obama effect. Virginia may be turning more blue, and this reason alone has given Republicans a great cause for panic in the Old Dominion.
More than anything, Cuccinelli has been dogged by his direct ties to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s scandal. The repugicans threw everything they could at McAuliffe, and the Democrat has come out of the summer with his biggest lead of the entire campaign. If even a far from perfect Democrat like Terry McAuliffe can elected governor in Virginia, the message will be that the state’s days as in the red column may be long gone.

Michele Bachmann Should Go From Congress to Prison as DOJ Launches Investigation

Marcus and Michele Bachmann should be heading to prison as the Department of Justice is investigating the couple for possibly breaking at least 11 election laws in 2012.

In the repugican world ...

TSA continues to improve experience of rich people

More evidence that American travel is headed for a two-tier security theater that is reasonable and light for rich people and business travellers, and increasingly awful and invasive for everyone else: as Pre-Check expands, people who fly often enough to make it worth spending $85 will be able to keep shoes, jackets and belts on and avoid pornoscanners (including the new more radioactive versions). Us dirty foreigners, as well as people who save carefully for one trip every couple of years to see their families, will get the ever-expanding Grand Guignol treatment, especially since everyone with any clout or pull will be over there in Pre-Check land, getting smiles and high-fives from the TSA. 

NSA works with security vendors to thwart encryption, according to 'Bullrun' docs leaked by Snowden

This undated photo released by the United States government shows the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md.
In the New York Times, a report based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden says the National Security Agency is "winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications."
The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show.
Many users assume — or have been assured by Internet companies — that their data is safe from prying eyes, including those of the government, and the N.S.A. wants to keep it that way. The agency treats its recent successes in deciphering protected information as among its most closely guarded secrets, restricted to those cleared for a highly classified program code-named Bullrun, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.
Read the rest: N.S.A. Foils Much Internet Encryption - NYTimes.com.
The Guardian has a related report out today. The leaked docs show that NSA and GCHQ (UK intel agency) have spent hundreds of millions to defeat Internet encryption. Pro Publica's take on the information is here.

Attempts by UK, US governments to suppress reporting on NSA not working out so great

The governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have pressured news organizations connected to the Edward Snowden stories to STFU. That doesn't seem to be accomplishing what the intelligence community and its overseers hoped.

French newswire retracts photo of French president

Wherein Agence France Presse learns that "mandatory kill" orders have their limits on the Internet.

Teacher under review for putting "cone of shame" on misbehaving students

Where else? (Oh, yeah, Texas - it's very surprising it didn't happen there first.)

Random Celebrity Photos


Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy

High on Drugs

Lake Michigan is on prescription drugs

Or at least....prescription drugs are in Lake Michigan. And that's a problem for those folks whose cities rely on the Great Lakes for their water source.
This ability of the drugs to travel and remain at relatively high concentrations means that fish and other aquatic life are exposed, so there could be “some serious near-shore impacts,” said Rebecca Klaper, an associate professor at the university of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition, Milwaukee draws its drinking water from Lake Michigan, although no pharmaceuticals have been detected in the city’s water. The researchers reported that 14 of the chemicals "were found to be of medium or high ecological risk," and that the concentrations “indicate a significant threat to the health of the Great Lakes." nevertheless, it is not clear what, if any, effects the drugs are having on fish and other creatures in Lake Michigan. - More

The Seven Sutherland Sisters and Their 37 Feet of Hair

Some stars of 19th-century freak shows were born, others were made. The Seven Sullivan Sisters: Sarah, Victoria, Isabella, Grace, Naomi, Dora, and Mary Sutherland, sang and played musical instruments on stage, but it was mainly something to do while everyone gawked at their hair -a combined 37 feet of hair between them!
Flaunting all that awesome hair onstage wasn’t quite enough to launch the Sutherlands from abject poverty to riches, so the sisters’ father, the Rev. Fletcher Sutherland, concocted a patent hair-growing tonic. Because Victorian women coveted the sister’s luscious locks, the cash came flooding in. The family grew rich beyond its wildest imaginations, as the sisters knocked serious political issues off the newspapers’ front page with their outrageous celebrity antics. By the mid-1880s, none of the sisters could walk down the street, their flowing tresses dragging behind them like dress trains, without being mobbed by starstruck fans.
But the sisters grew up poor on a turkey farm in upstate New York. And they each have an individual story. Read about how they became world famous, and what happened to them afterward, at Collectors Weekly .

The Origin Of The English Alphabet

Often considered one of the more difficult languages to master thanks to the incredible amount of inconsistencies in the language, it should come as no surprise that the development of the modern English alphabet involved several languages, hundreds of years and a variety of conquerors, missionaries and scholars.

Random Photos

Toxic Gas First Used in Syria 1,700 Years Ago

Persian soldiers choked to death advancing Romans using a mixture of bitumen and sulfur.

TB Migrated Out of Africa With Humans

The bacteria that cause tuberculosis emerged at least 70,000 years ago.

Mysterious 'Fairy Circles' in Africa: Explained

A new theory suggests that 'fairy circles' in Africa's Namib Desert are the result of subsurface competition for resources among plants.

Monster Earth Volcano One of Solar System's Biggest

It's not Mauna Loa, but a far larger expanse of lava on the seafloor 1,000 miles east of Japan. This monster is in the league of Olympus Mons on Mars.



Medieval Cookbook's Unicorn Recipe Begins with "Taketh One Unicorne...."

The British Library recently discovered a Fourteenth Century English cookbook written by Geoffrey Fule, a royal cook. Fule included a recipe for unicorn meat.
The recipe calls for the beast to be marinaded in cloves and garlic, and then roasted on a griddle. The cookbook's compiler, doubtless Geoffrey Fule himself, added pictures in its margins, depicting the unicorn being prepared and then served. Sarah J Biggs, a British Library expert on medieval decoration, commented that "the images are extraordinary, almost exactly as we'd expect them to be, if not better".
At the link, you can see additional illustrations of the unicorn preparation process.

Cute Lemur a Boon for Long-Duration Spaceflight?

Could one of the world's smallest primates hold the secret to sleep, hibernation and making long-duration space flight a little more bearable?

Masters of Deception

5 Two-Faced Species

Look at that cute face -looks kind of like Zoidberg, doesn't it? But that's not this insect's face. In fact, it doesn't even have a face quite yet, because this is the pupa form of the skipper butterfly. The eye spots are supposed to scare birds away while the butterfly forms. This is just one of five deceptively-detailed species you can see and read about at National Geographic News.

Cow Wash

It looks like cows wandered into a car wash, but this brush is actually made for them:
The industrial-sized device features a huge swinging cow brush similar to those used to clean vehicles.
It is fixed inside a milking parlour or a barn and herds of cows can pass through and receive a thorough clean one at a time.
Designers DeLaval claim the grooming device makes cattle more healthy and stops the spread of disease. 

Animal News

A prairie chicken walked 1,180 miles between April and August, covering parts of southern Iowa and northern Missouri and setting the record for its species.
By patrolling the wilderness and teaching non-violence, Tibetan monks are playing a critical role in protecting endangered snow leopards in the Himalayas.
Proud papa pandas, egrets on the mend, and fake aardvarks dot the landscape of this week's gallery.
Traveling the roadways is tricky enough when the roads are clear. Making things even worse, these animals can make for unlikely impediments to your commute.
A new deely bopper-sporting beetle has just been discovered in a bustling megacity.

Animal Pictures


Fox taking a drink

Photo by Andrés López