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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Daily Drift

Editor's Note:You may have noticed we are a bit late in posting today. Life got in the way this morning as it came too soon after last night's party, well that and the tailgating for the hometown college football game this morning also. But we made it before the game started so all's well ...

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Today in History

1146 Zangi of the Near East is murdered. The Sultan Nur ad-Din, his son, pursues the conquest of Edessa.
1321 Dante Alighieri dies of malaria just hours after finishing writing Paradiso.
1544 Henry VIII's forces take Boulogne, France.
1773 Russian forces under Aleksandr Suvorov successfully storm a Turkish fort at Hirsov, Turkey.
1791 Louis XVI swears his allegiance to the French constitution.
1812 Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of Russia reaches its climax as his Grande Armee enters Moscow–only to find the enemy capital deserted and burning, set afire by the few Russians who remained.
1814 Francis Scott Key writes the words to the "Star Spangled Banner" as he waits aboard a British launch in the Chesapeake Bay for the outcome of the British assault on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
1847 U.S. forces under Gen. Winfield Scott capture Mexico City, virtually bringing the two-year Mexican War to a close.
1853 The Allies land at Eupatoria on the west coast of Crimea.
1862 At the battles of South Mountain and Crampton's Gap, Maryland Union troops smash into the Confederates as they close in on what will become the Antietam battleground.
1901 Vice President Theodore Roosevelt is sworn in as the 26th President of the United States upon the death of William McKinley, who was shot eight days earlier.
1911 Russian Premier Piotr Stolypin is mortally wounded in an assassination attempt at the Kiev opera house.
1943 German troops abandon the Salerno front in Italy..
1960 Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia form OPEC.
1966 Operation Attleboro, designed as a training exercise for American troops, becomes a month-long struggle against the Viet Cong.
1975 Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton becomes the first native-born American saint in the Roman Catholic Church.
1979 Nur Muhammad Taraki, president and former prime minister of Afghanistan, is assassinated in a coup in which prime minister Hafizullah Amin seizes power.
1982 Bachir Gemayel, president-elect of Lebanon, is killed along with 26 others in a bomb blast in Beirut.
1984 Joe Kittinger, a former USAF fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, becomes the first person to pilot a gas balloon solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
1994 Major League Baseball players strike over a salary cap and other proposed changes, forcing the cancellation of the entire postseason and the World Series.
2007 Northern Rock Bank suffers the UK's first bank run in 150 years.

Non Sequitur


Remember 9/11 and Never Forget What the shrub’s Incompetence Did to America

As the nation remembers the American lives lost at the hands of a terrorist gang, they should take stock of the damage that an incompetent shrub junta caused…
An anniversary is a day that commemorates or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same date of the year as the initial event, and for Americans September 11 holds very significant meanings. As the nation remembers the American lives lost at the hands of a terrorist gang, they should take stock of the damage an incompetent junta caused this country and consider their good fortune the current administration’s first reaction to events originating in the Middle East do not entail invasion, regime change, loss of life, and economic costs the nation can hardly afford to bear.
The events leading to the terror attacks on 9/11 were the first sign the shrub junta was steeped in incompetence as the shrub and company ignored sound intelligence reports in daily briefings that al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, intended to hijack commercial airliners and fly them into American buildings in the very near future. President Obama has been assailed by emoprogs for using weaponized drones to strike suspected terrorists based on sound intelligence briefings, and they should think about what if the shrub acted on intelligence and took precautions to prevent the terror attacks in New York, Philadelphia, and the Pentagon. Intelligence agencies attempted to warn high level authorities that young Arab men were taking flying lessons with no regard for learning how to take off and land aircraft, and yet there were no further investigations or heightened security at the nation’s international airports to apprehend the men who learned to fly, hijacked, and piloted airliners into American buildings.
After the carnage resulting from the junta’s incompetence, the shrub promised to find those responsible and bring them to justice, and immediately launched a war against Afghanistan and allowed the terrorists responsible for 911 to escape. Instead of pursuing the terrorists to bring them to justice, the shrub warmongers began drawing up plans to invade Iraq.  Doubtless, the shrub’s warmongering contributed to the Syrian government’s buildup of chemical weapons in anticipation of an American assault after invading two other Middle East Muslim nations that were not responsible for the 911 terror attacks.
The shrub’s warmongering and incompetence upset the balance of power in the region by elevating an Axis of Evil member, Iran, to a position of power when he took out the only force in the region (Sadam Hussein) who kept Iran in check. The same warmongers who supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan pressured President Obama to repeat the shrub’s folly in Iraq by giving military assistance to Syrian rebel forces in their attempt to overthrow the legal Assad regime. However, President Obama is not the shrub and he resisted calls for American intervention citing the unknown goals and power behind the rebel movement that is as culpable for the 100,000 Syrian deaths as the Syrian government forces. In fact, it was reported yesterday that Syrian rebel forces may launch a chemical attack on Israel from government-controlled territories as a “major provocation” to draw America into their illegal civil war.
It turns out that the President was wise not to follow the course of action the incompetent shrub junta took after the terror attacks on 911, and his push for a diplomatic solution instead of shoot first and ask questions later is bearing fruit. It was suggested two days ago that the President likely knew seeking congressional approval for limited military action against Syria was doomed because of repugicans’ automatic rejection of anything he supported, and that it would be left to the international community to find a solution to Syria’s chemical weapon arsenal. The President took a great deal of heat for meeting with Russian President Putin and other leaders at the G20 summit to find a solution to Syria’s chemical weapons, and it was little surprise that Russia, with China’s support, offered Syria a way to avoid a military strike from the United States if they handed over their arsenal to international control for destruction. More significantly, Syria offered to join 189 other world governments and sign the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty mandating destruction of chemical weapons and banning their use. Where a Bush administration would have launched an invasion into Syria a year ago, President Obama’s patience and diplomacy-first approach is providing a settlement that benefits the region and keeps America out of another war.
It appears the Obama Administration has sought a diplomatic solution to Syria’s alleged chemical weapons use long before the chemical attack on Damascus on August 21. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that Syria could avoid a limited strike if they turned their chemical weapons over to the international community, and according to the White House and the President’s history of seeking diplomatic solutions instead of war it is certainly true. The President delayed seeking congressional approval for a military option in Syria, but left it on the table as an incentive for Syria to follow through with their commitment to Russia to turn over their chemical arsenal to the international community that has been the President’s goal all along.
repugicans have made it their yearly slogan to never forget 911, and although they are pandering to the False patriotic bent among wingnuts, it is a valid sentiment today. Americans must not forget that an incompetent junta ignored clear warnings the country was going to be attacked, and then used their own failings to lead the nation into two unnecessary and costly wars. Not only did the shrub’s drugstore cowboy diplomacy cost the nation in lives and resources, it helped Iran rise to a regional power and elicited muslim hatred toward America and served as a recruiting tool for islamist extremists. President Obama would not have, and has not, made the same blunders as the shrub and the Syrian episode reveals that exercising restraint and seeking diplomatic solutions will pay dividends America and the Middle East will benefit from.
Americans should give pause and commemorate the lives and sacrifices of those who perished in the 911 attacks, and particularly the brave men and women of the Armed Services who dutifully followed an incompetent commander's unnecessary warmongering. Most Americans will remember and reflect on September 11 as a depressingly sad day due to the terror attacks on American soil, but for music-lovers it is the date in 1963 when four kids from Liverpool recorded their first record at EMI (Abbey Road) Studios. Like everything, how one commemorates September 11 is all a matter of perspective.

Did you know ...

About this white supremacist felon caught with 18 guns, 45,000 bullets, and a list of black and jewish leaders

Write this down: sex is not about fun

That a man kills neighbors, cites stand your ground and the shrub doctrine

Detroit Area Burger Joint to Boost Starting Wage to 15 Dollars an Hour

A Detroit area fast food restaurant, Moo Cluck Moo, is reportedly planning to raise worker pay to fifteen dollars an hour beginning October 1st.…
As the nation’s fast food chains resist efforts by industry workers to strike for better wages, the Detroit area fast food restaurant Moo Cluck Moo is now reportedly planning to raise worker pay to fifteen dollars an hour beginning October 1st.  In an interview with the Daily Beast’s Daniel Gross, company co-owner Brian Parker justified the 25 percent increase, stating “we always wanted to be at $15 an hour. It just feels human to do it”. He and co-owner, Harry Moorehouse, already pay their starting employees twelve dollars an hour, well above the industry standard and nearly five dollars an hour higher than minimum wage.
The fifteen dollars an hour is symbolic in that it is the amount that striking fast food workers in the “Fight for 15″ campaign are advocating for fast food restaurants and retail stores in the Chicago area. Similar protests are being waged nationwide with workers demanding fifteen dollars an hour in many cases. The restaurant, located in Dearborn Heights (at 8606 Telegraph Rd), just over half a mile from the western edge of Detroit, is offering a competitive wage for fast food workers despite the area’s struggling economy and high unemployment. They could probably get away with paying less and still find employees, but the owners understand that decent wages make more productive employees and reduce turnover rates.
While fast food giants like McDonald’s, Chick Filet and Burger King will undoubtedly make arguments that they cannot afford to pay their workers more than the paltry seven or eight dollars an hour they pay now, a burger and chicken joint in one of the nation’s most impoverished urban metropolitan areas is shredding that argument by paying almost double and thriving. Although Moo Cluck Moo is just a single restaurant and not a national chain, they are planning to begin expansion in the fall.
In the fight for paying workers enough to pay their rent and feed their families, the little restaurant named Moo Cluck Moo is putting an entire industry to shame by offering employees fifteen dollars an hour, while maintaining a profitable local fast food restaurant. The owners already pay their employees twelve dollars an hour and beginning in October that will increase to fifteen dollars an hour. In so doing, they are demonstrating just how absurdly low employees at the national chains are getting paid by comparison. What Moo Cluck Moo is doing in Detroit should be replicated across the nation. If a local burger joint near Detroit can survive while paying its workers a living wage, there is no excuse for fast food giants across the nation to stubbornly refuse to pay their employees a decent wage. Moo Cluck Moo is demonstrating that a restaurant can prosper without forcing its employees to work for mere crumbs. Other fast food restaurants and chains please take note



‘This country is never going forward unless we end wingnut rule in the House.’

Sen. Bernie Sanders issued a battle cry for America on The Ed Show by speaking the truth and telling the world that wingnut rule must end in the House of Representatives.
Sen. Sanders said:
This president has got to say, and be honest about it, our country today faces enormous crisis. We are moving in the wrong direction. We used to be number one in terms of college graduates. Today, we are number sixteen, etc. etc. And the reason that we are not moving forward is that we have right wing extremists who are now controlling the House of Representatives, and this country is never going to go forward unless we end wingnut rule in the House. He’s got to point a finger at them. He’s gotta work with us in coming forward with a progressive agenda. You’ve raised virtually all of the issues.
Not to mention that this is the fifth anniversary of the Wall Street disaster. We need to break up our large financial institutions. This issues are out there, but what this president has got to understand, he can not be sitting down with right wing extremists and trying to talk about how we are going to cut Social Security, cut Medicare, not raise revenue as a result of corporate tax reform. He’s gotta say like Franklin Deleno Roosevelt did, I stand with the working families of the United States, and if the millionaires hate me, so be it. He’s gotta draw the line in the sand, not on Syria, but on the class warfare that is going on in America.
If he does that, he will wake up people who have given up on the political process. The vast majority of the people, as you’ve just indicated, on issue after issue after issue are on our side. They know the rich are getting richer. Corporations are making record breaking profits. Wall Street is doing phenomenally well, while the middle class disappears. The president has got to draw that line, stand with working families, support a progressive agenda. In that case, I think we can do some phenomenal things.
What Sen. Sanders laid out happens to be the long reported agenda that President Obama will campaign on for Democrats in 2014. Sanders put the blame for the lack of progress in this country exactly where it belongs. The wingnut repugicans that are leading John Boehner around by the nose in the House are the problem, and there will no progress in this country as long as these people occupy seats in the House.
Bernie Sanders wants the president to launch an all out campaign against these extremists in order to take back the House. Due to the excessive gerrymandering of House districts this will be a challenge even with presidential support, but each extremist that is successfully defeated in 2014 will be another step in the right direction. If Democrats don’t defeat enough of them to take back the House, but they do take out 5 or 10 of them it will thin the ranks of the extremist element in the House majority.
President Obama and Sen. Sanders can’t win this battle alone. They need Democrats to be engaged in 2014. The country can’t afford another year like 2010 when dispirited Democrats stayed home. The message is that when Democrats show up to vote, Democratic candidates win elections.
The movement to reverse the repugican caused decline of our country begins and ends with all concerned Americans showing up on Election Day.

After Criticizing Michelle Obama repugican Hypocrites Propose Bill Telling People What To Eat

After criticizing First Lady Michelle Obama for ‘telling them what to eat,’ House repugicans are proposing a bill that will tell millions of Americans what they are allowed to eat.
The Hill reported:
Rep. Phil Roe (r-Tenn.) on Tuesday proposed legislation that would require people using federal food stamps to buy only healthy food…Efforts to curb these purchases have been opposed by anti-hunger groups. But Roe said some states are already exploring ways to curb junk food purchases through the SNAP program, and argued that the federal government needs to take steps as well.
“Already, states like Wisconsin and South Carolina have shown interest in improving the healthfulness of choices in their SNAP programs,” he said. “By giving SNAP recipients more nutritious choices, we can take a meaningful step towards ending hunger in America.”
There are a couple of of things about this bill that you need to know. First, anti-hunger organizations oppose all legislation that would limit food choices. Edward Cooney, Executive Director of the Congressional Hunger Center, used the repugicans’ own argument against them, “Our view is that people have the smarts to purchase their own food and we’re opposed to all limitations on food choice. There’s no study that I’m aware of that links SNAP participation to obesity.”
It has been widely speculated that the reason why anti-hunger groups are against any limits on what SNAP recipients can buy is because they accept tens of millions of dollars in food donations every year from the processed food industry.
The idea that First Lady Obama is trying to tell Americans what to eat is a part of repugican anti-Obama folklore. There was the infamous incident in 2011 when repugican  Jim Sensenbrenner told a woman at a cult auction that, “she lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.” Lush Dimbulb targets the First Lady with his sexist rants about the freedom to be as fat as he wants to be on a regular basis. It is possible to find some repugican somewhere claiming that Michelle Obama is telling them what to eat on almost every day of the year.
Michelle Obama has been advocating for Americans to eat healthier. What repugicans are trying to do is pass a law telling poor Americans what they can, and can’t eat. the repugicans are proposing the exact thing that they were criticizing First Lady Obama for.
The repugicans can’t criticize Michelle Obama for asking people to make better food choices, when they are passing legislation around the country that tells people what they can eat. Healthier eating is important for all Americans, but this repugican double standard deserves to be called out.
Michelle Obama is encouraging Americans to make their own choices. The repugicans are making the choices for people. The hypocrisy is mind boggling.

Bad News for the repugican cabal

51% Would Blame repugicans for a Government Shutdown, Up from 40%

What do you think?


Boehner Has a Hissy Fit and Refuses to Stop Sequester Until repugicans Get Their Way

A House repugican leadership aide warned that Speaker John Boehner won't replace the sequester until Democrats agree to a whole host of cuts and overhauls.…
john boehner
In case you are still wondering who’s behind the sequester, with repugicans publicly laying it at the President’s feet every chance they get, Speaker John Boehner (r-OH) just refreshed everyone’s memory if a House repugican leadership aide is to be believed. The answer is repugicans. House repugicans, to be specific.
A House repugican leadership aide told Roll Call Wednesday morning that Boehner made the “political reality” of Thursday’s scheduled meeting clear: “(T)he sequester won’t be replaced until Democrats agree to a whole host of cuts and overhauls.”
Congressional leaders (Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (r-KY)) are meeting Thursday morning to discuss the upcoming fiscal issues — or rather, how the House is going to dodge the angry tea partiers as they fail once again to defund ObamaCare after all of those promises.
In case you missed it, this isn’t the first time Boehner or an aide has taken ownership of the sequester cuts. In March of this year, he admitted that Obama didn’t want the sequester cuts.
Boehner further owns the sequester cuts because he refused to allow a vote on the replacement bill, knowing that he didn’t have his own party votes behind him.
Boehner and several House repugicans like Paul Ryan (r-WI) have crowed publicly about getting the sequester cuts they always dreamed of, Eric Cantor (r-VA) even claimed that he and Paul Ryan were the driving force behind the sequester. But when repugicans aren’t talking to the base, they suddenly get Romnesia and blame Obama for the sequester. That’s probably because their sequester is doing all kinds of nasty things, like leaving veterans homeless.
The reason Head Start isn’t funded and government workers are being furloughed is that House repugicans refuse to sit down for budget reconciliation process with the Senate. They prefer instead to pretend that they won the 2012 elections and are in charge of all three branches of government, even though the people voted against austerity as clearly laid out by repugican VP candidate Paul Ryan (see above where he championed sequestration since 2004). Since our government is supposed to force compromise between the chambers, repugicans have to keep finding new ways to hold us all hostage in order to get their way.
It’s about time they were at least held accountable for the sequester.

John Boehner is Under Federal Investigation for Campaign Finance Violations

The FEC has announced that they are investigating Speaker of the House John Boehner for accepting dozens of illegal donations from the coal, energy, and gambling industries.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
The Federal Election Commission is examining whether dozens of political action committees and individuals contributed more than the legally allowed amount to House Speaker John Boehner during last year’s election cycle.
Letters the Federal Election Committee sent Monday to Friends of John Boehner indicated that donors including coal, energy, and gambling interests, exceeded contribution limits to Boehner’s committee by more than $150,000.
Among the groups that were allegedly overgenerous to Boehner were Coalpac and Minepac, which represent the mining industry, as well as political committees representing the Exelon, Constellation and Luminant power companies, and the Ceasars and Penn National gambling enterprises.
“Although the commission may take further legal action concerning the acceptance of excessive contributions, your prompt action to refund the excessive amount will be taken into consideration,” the letters say.
Boehner’s ties with special interest groups, and his eagerness to brazenly take their money is well known, but the Speaker may have pushed things way too far in 2012. Speaker Boehner seems to have dodged an SEC investigation into his financial involvement with the companies that would benefit from the Keystone XL pipeline, but it appears that lure of Citizens United fueled conservative cash was too much for the Speaker to resist last year.
Rep. Boehner was the House’s top fundraiser last year. This was a matter of political survival. The unpopular within his own party speaker raised more than $22 million, which he used to solidify his position by buying loyalty through donations to House Republican reelection campaigns.
Similar allegations against Boehner surfaced in June, when an FEC complaint was filed against him for accepting $2.5 million in illegal donations from the Venezuelan government run Chevron. It turns out that Boehner’s illegal activities go way beyond Keystone XL and Chevron.
Speaker Boehner’s has been getting away with these kinds of illegal activities for decades, but the walls may finally be closing in on one of the worst Speakers in American political history.

ALEC and the Koch Brothers Show How Far They Are Willing to Go to Subvert Democracy

The repugican cabal is giving the nation an indication of how far they will go to subvert democracy to protect the real powers behind the wingnut movement; the NRA,…
It is a travesty that most Americans are unaware of the despicable machinations repugicans resort to in their drive to advance their special interests’ agendas in the states, and their ignorance and lack of interest is playing a major role in democracy’s demise. The repugican cabal is giving the nation an indication of how far they will go to subvert democracy to protect the real powers behind the wingnut movement; the National Rifle Association, the Koch brothers,  and the American Legislative Exchange Council. On Tuesday two democratic state legislators in Colorado were recalled in a confluence of lies, voter suppression, and fear-mongering because they supported background checks for gun purchases and renewable energy standards the NRA, Koch brothers, and ALEC would not let go unpunished.
The two Democrats, State Senate President John Morse and state Senator Angela Giron were recalled after voting for Colorado’s new gun law that imposed universal background checks on gun purchases and limited magazines to 15 rounds. They also voted for renewable energy measures that contributed to the effort to unseat them and elicited an influx of money from the Kochs and their Super PAC Americans for Prosperity. Although the lion’s share of publicity for the recall surrounded background checks, an underlying source of discontent was the Koch brothers’ opposition to Colorado’s stronger renewable energy standards. It is noteworthy that in northern Colorado repugicans are working toward seceding to form their own state, and one of the effort’s main proponents, a recipient of Koch donations, said “the whole purpose of doing this is to preserve and protect the energy sector that we feel is very much under assault.”
However, the face of the recall was NRA-supported opposition to background checks that incited them to spend heavily in the recalls they won, and evidenced by their quickly released statement celebrating its victory. The NRA statement read, “A historic grassroots effort by voters in Colorado’s has resulted in the recall of Colorado Senate President John Morse. The people of Colorado Springs sent a clear message to the Senate leader that his primary job was to defend their rights and freedoms and that he is ultimately accountable his constituents, and not to the dollars or social engineering agendas of anti-gun activists.” It is typical rhetoric from the NRA that conflates background checks for gun purchases with “social engineering,” and that voting for them robbed Coloradans’ rights and freedoms.
The president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Dan Gross, said the recall effort in Colorado was an anomaly, but that the real NRA goal was making gun safety activists nationwide aware of the risk they take in supporting commonsense laws such as background checks  for gun purchases. Another political consultant supporting gun safety measures said “The unfortunate reality of the Colorado experience is that the NRA bullying tactics can still work,” and that “gun-control proponents should be sensitive to the power of the NRA and its ability to target districts.” After two of the nation’s worst mass shootings, there is evidence there was deep public support for background checks, but according to DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz; voter’s voices were not heard and she strongly asserted that voter suppression tactics contributed heavily to the low voter turnout.
Wasserman-Schultz said that “The recall elections in Colorado were defined by the vast array of obstacles that special interests threw in the way of voters for the purpose of reversing the will of the legislature and the people. This was voter suppression, pure and simple. Colorado voters are used to casting their ballots by mail, but because of lawsuits filed by opponents of common sense gun reform, voters were not mailed their ballots in this election. Tuesday’s low turnout was a result of efforts by the NRA, the Koch brothers and other  wingnut groups who know that when more people vote, Democrats win.” Although, as potential repugican gubernatorial candidate and former Rep. Tom Tancredo said, the recall effort was really “a shot across the bow” to warn other legislators that opposing the NRA and Koch brothers has consequences that should alert Democrats their primary goal should be registering voters and engaging in aggressive information campaigns. Even though the NRA and Koch brothers won the recall effort, Democrats still control the Colorado legislature and Governor’s office, and the gun safety and renewable energy measures that passed by popular vote remain intact; at least until the 2014 midterm elections.
Regardless the Colorado recall effort did not tilt the balance of power to repugicans or repeal gun safety or renewable energy measures, it is a warning to Democrats that the NRA, Koch brothers, and ALEC still wield inordinate power over the electoral process in the states; even a Democratic-controlled state like Colorado. ALEC has been a fierce advocate for voter suppression tactics, and restricting mail-in votes is an important aspect of keeping voter turnout low. The Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz said typically about 90% of votes are cast by mail, but NRA, Koch brothers, and other wingnut groups’ lawsuits prevented voters from sending in their ballots.
The real danger to America’s democracy is that now that the NRA, Koch brothers, and ALEC have a recipe for success, they are certain to repeat them in next year’s midterm elections. Whether it is fear-mongering by the NRA that Democrats are coming for Americans’ guns, or the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity PAC disseminating lies and misinformation about the dangers of renewable energy, with ALEC voter suppression laws in place in repugican states the time for voter registration drives and aggressive information campaigns is now; not a month before the 2014 elections.
ALEC has been busy passing voter suppression laws in repugican-controlled states and the NRA has an active fear-mongering crusade in place since the Newtown school massacre, and with unlimited and hidden campaign cash in hand the Koch brothers will spare no expense to repeat the events in Colorado in every congressional district in America.  Unfortunately, with over a year to achieve their goal and Democrats snake bit about challenging the NRA, without a herculean effort to get out the vote, it will be more than just two state Democrats who will be recalled and defeated in 2014.

Key repugican Defections Mean Missouri Will Not Secede from Union

The repugican attempts to nullify federal laws in Missouri are on hold after attempts to override Gov. Nixon's veto failed in the senate…
Missouri Law Veto Override Vote 
Missouri repugicans appear to have failed for now in their attempt to secede from the Union. We wrote yesterday about HB 436, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of that bill, and the coming vote to overturn that veto.
That vote for the blatantly unconstitutional bill, despite support shown by a couple of hundred die-hard gun owners gathered on the Capitol lawn, failed.
Yes, House repugicans barely managed to get HB 436 past Nixon’s veto, by a vote of 109 to 49 (with three abstentions) but in the Senate, the vote, following an hour-long debate, was 22 to 12, with two repugicans voting against overriding the veto. There are 24 repugicans in the Senate and a two-thirds majority was needed. They failed by just one vote.
Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey (r-St. Charles) and Floor Leader Ron Richard (r-Joplin) were the two repugicans who voted against. Dempsey said something very unusual for a modern-day repugican: “My love of the Second Amendment doesn’t trump my love of the First Amendment.” That is not to say he won’t support another such bill that addresses his concerns. He added that, “We need to work harder on crafting the legislation.”
Gov. Nixon said at a press conference after the vote, “It’s a defining moment. Today was about protecting our economy, our communities and, especially, our schools from this costly and misguided bill.”
Yesterday brought an end – for now – to a contentious battle. The repugicans positioned themselves as defenders of the Second Amendment while seeming to place more trust in the Tenth, while Democrats pointed to the Supremacy Clause, which puts federal laws above state laws.
There were other issues too, and not so minor. As Rep. Jill Schlupp (D-Creve Coeur) pointed out yesterday before the House vote, “A pedophile with a gun will be protected from having his name published” and “A drug dealer will be invisible from the public, if he owns a gun.
The repugicans never seem to think about the consequences of their actions. Newspapers would not even have been able to publish photos of heroic hunters with their trophies without violating the law.
Governor Nixon and Attorney General Chris, Koster (a former repugican) had both spoken out strongly against HB 436, as had the Missouri Sheriff’s Association. And Nixon, up until this point, had been very pro-gun lobby. But the gun lobby isn’t interesting in being pro-Constitution and Nixon apparently recognized this, as the Constitution consists of more than just the Second and Tenth Amendments.
And then there is the little issue of a war we fought from 1861 to 1865 that settled the issue of where supremacy lies. Democrats, at least, remember who won that war.
Jefferson City’s News Tribune reported that Koster had sent a letter to lawmakers on September 3, pointing out that HB 436 would render cooperation between Missouri law enforcement and federal officials impossible, and Brian Nieves (r-Washington), like most repugicans when faced with uncongenial facts, responded with an ad-hominem attack, calling Koster’s letter a “smear campaign,” “a joke” and “a bunch of baloney,” and saying Koster “has lied and lied and lied.”
With reasoned counter-arguments like that at their disposal, it is difficult to see how repugicans lost the debate.
In any event, had the measure passed, the The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said yesterday that it was prepared to file suit in federal court to stop the law from taking effect.
From the Brady Center’s press release:
“In its rush to make a political statement, the Missouri legislature has trampled on the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Missouri Constitution,” said Stuart Plunkett of Morrison & Foerster LLP, co-counsel for the Brady Center.
“The Missouri law ignores the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, and violates fundamental rights to due process and free speech. It is clearly unconstitutional.”
The petulant Nieves, a big fan of repetition, promised, “The fight ain’t over. We’ll be back to visit it again and again.” He also promised revenge against Koster, who is expected to run for governor in 2016: “The people of Missouri will remember what you did when you ask them to be their next governor.”
The people, I suspect, will also remember who not only threatened to expose them to the ravages of machine gun-toting criminals, but who tried to secede from the Union.
Eventually perhaps, and it seems to be a hard, slow, painful process, sometimes consisting of repeated sharp blows to the head, Americans will discover who truly represents their interests, and it isn’t the repugican cabal.

Random Photos



Pink polka dot dress-wearing man arrested following bank robbery

A 50-year-old man wore a “pink with purple polka dot dress, a pink wig, and sunglasses” during a bank robbery that briefly netted him $1537, according to the FBI. Agents charge that Arnell Edwards walked into a US Bank branch in New Athens, Illinois on Friday morning and approached a teller. With a white rag over his mouth, Edwards allegedly handed the bank employee a Post-It note reading, “STICK UP ALL MONEY.”

The teller told FBI agents that the robber tried to disguise his true voice by speaking in a “high pitched squeaky voice.” Though it was difficult to decipher what the robber was saying through his white rag, the teller reported hearing “Give me all the money.” Noting that she was scared, the female teller removed bills from her cash drawer and placed them on the counter.
“The black male wearing the pink with purple polka dot dress picked up the United States currency with his right hand, turned and walked away,” reported FBI Agent Daniel Cook in a criminal complaint. Following a 45-minute standoff, Edwards was subsequently arrested at the nearby apartment of a female friend. Investigators recovered a pink wig and a pink dress in the vicinity of the bank branch.

Edwards, who lives in St. Louis, Missouri, denied robbing the bank, claiming he was asleep in his friend’s residence when the crime occurred. Agent Cook reported spotting abrasions on Edwards’s right hand and right wrist that matched injuries seen on the bank robber in surveillance photos. Additionally, a pad of red Post-It notes found inside the apartment of Edwards’s friend was consistent with the “STICK UP ALL MONEY” note handed over by the bank robber. Charged in U.S. District Court with bank robbery, Edwards faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted of the felony count.

A 150-pound watermelon stolen from garden

Authorities in Harford County, Maryland are trying to figure out who stole a prized 150-pound watermelon from a man in the town of Street, which is 15 miles north of Bel Air.
The Harford County Sheriff's Office said deputies were called to Dublin Road at around 4pm on Friday. That's where Bradley Northcote, who grows a specific large type of Carolina cross watermelon in his yard, said he noticed that one of his watermelons was missing.

Police said it appeared that someone cut the vine and removed the melon, which weighed about 150 pounds and valued at about $1,500. Northcote said he noticed the melon was missing at around 1:45pm on Friday and that the last time he saw it was at 7:30pm on Thursday.

He added it was the largest watermelon he had ever grown. Northcote said he harvests the watermelons for their seeds, which he sends to Kenya so they can be grown there. Anyone with information on the case is urged to call the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

Those Magnificent Ladies In Their Flying Machines

In the early days of human flight, a new word entered our lexicon: 'aviatrix,' the female version of aviator. These women were true pioneers, although if you asked them, they would probably tell you they were just adventurous and loved flying.

But for a woman to drive one of the newfangled flying machines in the early 20th century took a can-do attitude that wasn't normally encouraged in women.

Tribalism … and You

You’ve surely heard that the civil war in Syria, and the broader tensions in the Middle East and Africa, are about tribalism. Let’s learn about tribalism … and you.

(by Regis Phlyphytyphts Phlyphytyl III (it’s Welsh), aka the BPI Squirrel)

You may remember those educational film strips from the 1950s and 60s. My grandfather, Regis Phlyphytyphts Phlyphytyl, claims to have made a brief, uncredited appearance in the 1956 classic Aluminum on the March. (Scroll to 12:37 and look in the trees as the “sleek, modern bus” drives past. I’ve never been able to spot him but he swore he was there.) David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, best known for their disaster movie spoof Airplane!, had already turned their keen wit to those postwar science films in this skit from their first film, The Kentucky Fried Movie:
Given my family ties to the educational film business – I’m sure grandpa really was in one of those trees – I decided to try my hand paw at it. So here’s the first draft of my new script: Tribalism and You

TOMMY: Daddy, why are they fighting in Syria?
FATHER: (Shakes head, looks troubled) Well, that’s a compli–
NARRATOR: Good question, Tommy! Let’s learn about tribalism … and you.
[Montage of child-safe photos of people holding guns in third world countries.]
NARRATOR: Yes, Tommy, tribalism is why people are fighting in Syria. It’s why we will never see democracy in the Middle East or Africa. Tribes there have been fighting for hundreds of years. Those people just don’t like each other and they can’t get along.
TOMMY: Like Republicans and Democrats?
FATHER: (Looks shocked)
NARRATOR: (Chuckles) No, Tommy. Republicans and Democrats are different political parties, but they’re not different tribes.
TOMMY: What’s the difference?
NARRATOR: Well, for example, tribes don’t need real reasons to argue. They just hate each other.
TOMMY: Like Republicans hate President Obama, no matter what he does?
FATHER: Umm, Tommy–
NARRATOR: It’s okay, Dad. No, Tommy, Republicans always have reasons to be angry with President Obama and Democrats. For example, Republicans were angry because President Obama said he might strike Syria without asking Congress. Then they were angry because he asked Congress. Now they’re angry because he’s asked Congress to wait before voting. Those are reasons.
TOMMY: They sound like silly reasons.
FATHER: (Nods surreptitiously)
NARRATOR: No, Tommy. They were very important. If President Obama struck Syria without asking Congress, that would violate the Constitution. When he asked Congress to approve the strike, that was abdicating his responsibility as Commander in Chief. And while Syria is the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time and Obama is the wrong man, asking Congress to wait while he works on a diplomatic solution means President Obama is getting played. America needs strong, decisive leaders who always follow the Constitution, Tommy, not Operation Shuck & Jive.
FATHER: (Eyes widen)
TOMMY: What is that?
NARRATOR: “Shuck & Jive” is a black American English phrase for telling lies, Tommy. It means Putin’s Monkey probably gassed the Syrian people himself to distract us from scandals like Benghazi and the IRS.
FATHER: (Rolls eyes and shakes head)
TOMMY: Russian President Putin has a monkey?
NARRATOR: That means President Obama, our first monkey president.
TOMMY: Umm, President Obama is a human being. And that sounds kind of racist.
FATHER: (Nods)
NARRATOR: Now don’t go playing the race card, Tommy. I didn’t say anything at all about race.
FATHER: (Gives “Oh puh-leeze!” look)
TOMMY: But it was pretty clear what you meant, and a new academic study shows a strong correlation between slave ownership in counties before the Civil War and how many people in those counties now vote for Republicans. Is that what you meant about tribes fighting for hundreds of years?
FATHER: (Nods proudly)
NARRATOR: Don’t try to be clever, Tommy. And didn’t you see the photos at the start of my talk? All of those people were dark. Tribalism only happens with brown-skinned people, Tommy. White people – like you – always have other reasons. That’s why it’s so important to understand tribalism … and you.
TOMMY: (Crosses arms over chest) It still sounds like racism to me.
NARRATOR: Look, Tommy, white people are good at democracy. We invented democracy. We believe in democracy. We’re not tribal.
TOMMY: Then why are Republican counties trying to secede from Colorado and California and Maryland?
FATHER: (Gives look that says “Good question!”)
NARRATOR: That’s democracy in action, Tommy. Democracy means the majority rules, and if your people aren’t the majority then you redraw the lines until you are.
TOMMY: And that sounds like tribalism.
NARRATOR: Dad, what are you teaching that child?
FATHER: Respect. Empathy. Critical think–
[Screen goes black.]
NARRATOR: And that’s all the time we have kids. Ask your teacher to order our next film: Propaganda … and You.

Maya dismembered their enemies

Researchers of the Department of Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn have discovered a mass grave in an artificial cave in the historical Maya city of Uxul (Mexico). 
Maya dismembered their enemies
Scientists from the University of Bonn discovered a mass grave in the Classic Maya city Uxul (Mexico). Some of the skulls featured tooth incrustations with jade -- a popular body adornment in the Classic Maya society which due to the material's scarcity was reserved to persons of high social status. For these incrustations, stone tools were employed to drill small cavities in the tooth. These cavities were thereupon filled with fitting pieces of jade [Credit: (c) Nicolaus Seefeld/Uni Bonn]
Marks on the bones indicate that the individuals buried in the cave were decapitated and dismembered around 1,400 years ago. The scientists assume that the victims were either prisoners of war or nobles from Uxul itself.

For the last five years, archaeologists of the department of Anthropology of the Americas of the University of Bonn have been excavating in the historical Maya city of Uxul in Campeche (Mexico) with the aim of researching the origins and the collapse of regional states in the Maya lowlands. 

The project headed by Prof. Dr. Nikolai Grube and Dr. Kai Delvendahl from the University of Bonn, as well as Dr. Antonio Benavides from the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History, which is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) has now made a sensational find: they have uncovered the skeletons of 24 people in an approximately 32 square meter artificial cave that had formerly been used as a water reservoir.

"Aside from the large number of interred individuals, it already became apparent during the excavation that the skeletons were no longer in their original anatomical articulation," says the archaeologist Nicolaus Seefeld, who studied the sophisticated water supply system of Uxul for his doctoral thesis and discovered the mass grave. 

All of the skulls were lying scattered around the interior of the cave, in no relation to the rest of the bodies. Even the majority of the lower jaws were separated from the heads. In contrast, detailed examination determined that the limbs of the legs and hands were in some cases completely preserved. 

"This observation excluded the possibility that this mass grave was a so-called secondary burial, in which the bones of the deceased are placed at a new location," says Nicolaus Seefeld.

Indications of violent death and dismemberment

According to the conclusions reached by the scientists, the spatial pattern of the bones indicates that the corpses of the 24 people had been decapitated and dismembered. Signs of violent death could be proven for the majority. 

Maya dismembered their enemies
Scientists from the University of Bonn discover the remains of dismembered human bodies in an artificial cave in the Classic Maya city Uxul in Mexico. The image shows the artificial cave's interior during the excavations with several skulls, lower jaws and ribs [Credit: (c) Nicolaus Seefeld/Uni Bonn]
"The observed hatchet marks on the cervical vertebra are a clear indication of decapitation," Seefeld reports. 

The forehead of another skull shows an unhealed skull fracture, probably caused by a blow from a cudgel. In addition, numerous skulls show signs of cutting with sharp objects, which might originate from stone hatchets.

Due to their being covered by clay, the bones are so well-preserved that it was possible to distinguish the age and sex of 15 of the 24 individuals. These include 13 men and two women who were aged from 18 to 42 at the time of their death. 

Analyses of teeth and bones showed that several of the deceased suffered from malnutrition and had lost several teeth to tooth decay.

Some of the dead had tooth inserts of jade. The scientists interpret this as a sign of high social status. However, the archaeologists of the University of Bonn don't yet know whether they are prisoners of war from another Maya city that were sacrificed in Uxul or nobles from Uxul itself. 

Only with the help of isotope analysis will it be possible to clarify whether the dead were members of the local population or originate from another region of the lowlands. 

"However, the discovery of the mass grave proves that the dismemberment of prisoners of war and opponents often represented in Maya art was in fact practiced," says Prof. Dr. Nikolai Grube.

Believe it or not


Climate Change May Speed Up Forests’ Life Cycles

Many climate studies have predicted that tree species will respond to global warming by migrating via seed dispersal to cooler climates. But a new study of 65 different species in

How Planet Earth got its (invisible) stripes

This image shows magnetic anomalies in the South Pacific — underwater lines where the crust of the Earth either matches up with the planet's overall magnetic polarity (reds and purples) or is completely reversed (blues). Invisible to the naked eye, these stripes run along all of Earth's ocean basins. We first noticed them in the 1950s and, at first, they were a giant mystery. Why would there be these distinct lines of magnetism, and why would the lines fluctuate in their polarity? As Chris Rowan explains at the Highly Allochthonous blog, the answer ended up being a key part of proving that chunks of the Earth's crust were moving away from each other.
Fred Vine and Drummond Matthews thought through the consequences of the hypothesis put forward by Harry Hess, that new oceanic crust was being continuously produced by the eruption of basalt at mid-ocean ridges. When combined with the facts that newly cooled basalt has a strong remanent magnetisation aligned with the ambient magnetic field, and that the Earth’s magnetic field reverses its polarity every million years or so. Vine and Matthews* argued that if seafloor spreading was indeed occurring at mid-ocean ridges, then linear positive and negative magnetic anomalies, formed from crust produced in normal and reversed polarity chrons, would form a symmetric pattern around the mid-ocean ridges, which is exactly what we see.

How an amateur astronomer mapped the Moon 59 years before Apollo 11

In 1910, Walter Goodacre published a map of the Moon, created over the course of several decades using nothing more high-tech than a good quality backyard telescope. Goodacre was an amateur astronomer. He didn't have access to top-of-the-line observatory. But he did have a knack for detail and willingness to painstakingly record his observations of the Moon with pen and paper, eventually producing a map that's accurate to a few kilometers. (In contrast, the high-definition images that we get today from lunar orbiters show details at a scale of a few meters.)
University College London has an explorable version of Goodacre's map on their website, along with scans from his 1910 book that broke the map up into sections. (As art, the sections are almost more intriguing than the full, stitched-together image.) It's all part of a larger collection of historic space images, photos from the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus.

Can Anything Move Faster Than Light?

Yes, the universe itself will eventually outpace the speed of light. There is no limit to how fast the universe can expand. Einstein's theory that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum still holds true, because space itself is stretching, and space is nothing.

Galaxies aren't moving through space and away from each other but with space. Some galaxies are already so far away from us, and moving away so quickly, that their light will never reach Earth. It's like running a 5K race, but the track expands while you're running. If it expands faster than you can run, you'll never get where you're going.

Eyebrows raised after goat with unique features sells for £2.25m ($3.5m) in Saudi Arabia

A Saudi businessman has sold a goat for an unprecedented price of 13 million Saudi riyals (£2.25m, $3.5m).
Websites have published images of the multimillion-dollar goat and the cheque that sealed the deal. Experts interested in goat trading said the animal had unique features and is a rare breed.

Saudis and expatriates were wondering why the man purchased the goat paying such a huge price and considered it sheer extravagance. Commentators on social media were surprised over the astronomical price.
“This should not be encouraged ... especially when more than two million Syrian refugees languish in makeshift tents in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon,” said one commentator. “We should use the god-given money in a useful way and for the betterment of humanity,” said another.

Ilha de Queimada Grande

A.K.A. Snake Island
Over at Forests.org, there's an article that opens with a description of, "A deserted island where the forest floor writhes with the world's most venomous vipers. A fisherman found dead on his boat, its deck awash with his blood. A lighthouse keeper and his family massacred in a nocturnal snake invasion of their isolated cottage home.
And no, Forests.org is not a site for terrifying Indiana Jones / Anaconda slash-fiction. You see, Ilha de Queimada Grande is a delightfully exotic sounding island off the coast of Brazil that plays host to a certain breed of exotic sounding snake known as the Golden Lancehead. This snake has one of the worst venoms in the world, which literally causes your flesh to rot off your bones.
Now you may be asking, "But, there are poisonous snakes in lots of countries. What's so special about this one tiny island?" Well that's an interesting question, and we are only too pleased to haunt your dreams by filling it in for you.
Remember how we mentioned the snakes only live on this one island? Well it's quite a densely packed island. In fact, the Brazilian Navy has forbidden anyone to visit the place, and they aren't doing that to protect the snakes. Conservative estimates range from the spine tingling one snake per square meter to the "drop dead from pants shitting fear" five snakes per square meter. Can you picture it? Allow us to help you:

Not pictured: The dead people just out of shot.
Now imagine five of those. Now imagine those five in an area that's smaller than your bed. Now imagine that writhing nest repeated over every inch of this God-forsaken place.
Let's back up and talk about that fisherman:
"I heard the story of the fisherman who went ashore to pick bananas, got bitten and somehow managed to struggle back to his boat. There, he bled to death and was found sprawled on the blood-soaked deck of his boat."
And the lighthouse keeper's family?
"The family ran in panic one night after snakes crawled in through their windows, so the story goes, and were bitten as they fled through the forest by vipers dangling from tree branches. Their bodies were found spread across the island when a navy vessel stopped to make a routine supply drop."

A young snake, receiving its terror-enhancing steroids, as is the snake custom on this island.
Yeah. Imagine just sleeping peacefully when snakes start crawling through your bedroom window and you know the only option is to run outside into the jungle where there are even more snakes and they all govern themselves because this is an island of snake monsters and you are the intruder. And you struggle through the underbrush, alone, scared, knowing that you will never make it back to civilization to punch that fucking Realtor who sold you a house on goddamned Snake Island.

Wounded fox waited on sofa for ambulance to arrive

A poorly fox waited for her ambulance to arrive on the comfort of someone’s sofa. The young vixen was rescued by the Riverside Animal Center on Friday in Purley, south London, after suffering a bite wound most likely caused by a dog.
The fox had been in the care of the rescue team before and was well known to the lady who lived in the house. Centre manager, Ted Burden, said: “She feeds this fox every night and it will come in if she encourages it. She thought it best to contain it as it will run from strangers.
“You could smell the infected wound very strongly upon entering the room. The fox moved off as we approached but only hid behind another sofa from where we easily extracted him. We spent a good 30 minutes cleaning his wound and removing the maggots.

“It was probably caused by a dog bite judging by the size and shape of the punctures and lacerations. The wound will heal just fine and we will release the fox back – probably in a couple of weeks or so.”

Animal Pictures


“GO AWAY!” by Geoffrey Baker