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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.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Daily Drift

Good idea!

Carolina Naturally is read in 193 194 countries around the world daily.
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Today in History

1531 The Catholics defeat the Protestants at Kappel during Switzerland's second civil war.
1540 Charles V of Milan puts his son Philip in control.
1727 George II of England crowned.
1795 In graditude for putting down a rebellion in the streets of Paris, France's National Convention appoints Napoleon Bonaparte second in command of the Army of the Interior.
1862 The Confederate Congress in Richmond passes a draft law allowing anyone owning 20 or more slaves to be exempt from military service. This law confirms many southerners opinion that they are in a 'rich man's war and a poor man's fight.'
1877 Outlaw Wild Bill Longley, who killed at least a dozen men, is hanged, but it took two tries; on the first try, the rope slipped and his knees drug the ground.
1899 South African Boers, settler from the Netherlands, declare war on Great Britain.
1906 San Francisco school board orders the segregation of Oriental schoolchildren, inciting Japanese outrage.
1915 Despite international protests, Edith Cavell, an English nurse in Belgium, is executed by Germans for aiding the escape of Allied prisoners.
1942 In the Battle of Cape Esperance, near the Solomon Islands, U.S. cruisers and destroyers decisively defeat a Japanese task force in a night surface encounter.
1945 Negotiations between Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek and Communist leader Mao Tse-tung break down. Nationalist and Communist troops are soon engaged in a civil war.
1950 The Federal Communications Commission authorizes the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) to begin commercial color TV broadcasts.
1962 Pope John XXIII opens the 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) with a call for Christian unity. This is the largest gathering of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in history; among delegate-observers are representatives of major Protestant denominations, in itself a sign of sweeping change.
1968 Apollo 7, with three men aboard, is successfully launched from Cape Kennedy.
1972 A French mission in Vietnam is destroyed by a U.S. bombing raid.
1972 Race riot breaks out aboard carrier USS Kitty Hawk off Vietnam during Operation Linebacker.
1975 Saturday Night Live comedy-variety show premiers on NBC, with guest host comedian George Carlin and special guests Janis Ian, Andy Kaufman and Billy Preston; at this writing (2013) the show is still running.
1976 The so-called "Gang of Four," Chairman Mao Tse-tung's widow and three associates, are arrested in Peking, setting in motion an extended period of turmoil in the Chinese Communist Party.
1984 Astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan, part of the crew of Space Shuttle Challenger, becomes the first American woman to walk in space.
1987 Operation Pawan by Indian Peace Keeping Force begins in Sri Lanka; thousands of Tamil citizens, along with hundreds of Tamil Tigers militants and Indian Army soldiers will die in the operation.
1991 Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas begin.
2000 NASA launches its 100th Space Shuttle mission.
2001 The Polaroid Corporation, which had provided shutterbugs with photo prints in minutes with its "instant cameras" since 1947, files for bankruptcy.

Non Sequitur


President Obama Explains the Shutdown and Debt Ceiling for Dummies

Obama compared not raising the debt ceiling to not paying our mortgages, noting that the bank doesn't just stop charging us if we don't pay our mortgage. …
obama 10.8 
The President is finally becoming an expert at explaining things. His inability to do so in the past has been one of his biggest weaknesses.
In Tuesday’s presser, President Obama agilely wove a personal comparison for folks watching at home that they can relate to. They don’t get to not pay their mortgage and if they do, the bank doesn’t just stop charging them. Obama explained that it’s the same with not raising the debt ceiling.
Obama pointedly said about the repugicans, “That’s not how it works in our personal lives, I don’t know why people think that’s how it works in government.”
The President explained that the debt ceiling does not increase our debt, grow our deficits or allow for a single dime in increased spending.
President Obama clarified his terms for talking to repugicans, and no, he’s not backing down from his original stance that he will not “negotiate” with a gun to America’s head. He will not negotiate when repugicans are threatening to default. Extortion can’t be a routine part of our democracy.
“I will talk about anything. What will happen is we won’t agree on everything. I recognize that there’s some House members where I got clobbered in the last election and they don’t get politically rewarded for being seen negotiating with me. But I’m willing to work through those issues. The only thing our Democracy can’t work through is when one side says unless I get my way, I’ll threaten to shutdown the American government or refuse to pay our bills.”
The President explained, “If you don’t pay your mortgage for a month or two, you’re not saving money and you’re hurting your credit.”
Taking it further, Obama said, “You’re going to have trouble borrowing and now you’ll have to borrow at a higher rate.”
When asked to hypothesize down the line re picking winners and losers, Obama said, “I am going to continue to be hopeful that Congress does not put us in that situation.”
Obama broke down the vulnerable people, from seniors to disabled veterans to business, counting on the bills being paid on time. Again Obama made use of the personal analogy to our mortgages.
The President noted that it’s particularly funny to hear repugicans, who claim to be the party of business, say that not paying the debt is no biggie, when any business person will tell you that it is a very big deal.
Obama called it out, “If repugicans are serious about wanting to have a talk, there’s no reason to have that threat hanging over the conversation.”
I say, see if your ex thinks you’re being honest about negotiating if you empty the bank accounts first and put a gun to their head. No? See repugicans.
The President explained that Democrats are willing to fund the government at levels that they think are harmful in order to put country first. He is correct. The Center for American progress made a graph:
clean cr graph
One of the reasons repugicans get away with this kind of behavior is that the public believes repugican cabal's lies about the situation. President Obama defused the power of repugican lies among the non-partisans today, by breaking things down in simple language. Obama finally overcame his messaging problem today. It’s anyone’s guess if the media will pick up on it.
Speaker Boehner is afraid that Democrats are out to annihilate repugicans, as repugicans are annihilating America. The truth is that repugicans are annihilating themselves in one huge, epic, frightening temper tantrum.

The truth be told


Reality is ...

The War on Civil Rights Goes to The Supreme Court

While McCutcheon v the FEC is an important case because it would finish the wingnut dream of transforming our representative democracy to a corporatist dictatorship, the SCOTUS has a docket full of additional cases taking direct hits at established constitutional rights and social policy.
Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action brings affirmative action back to the Supreme Court.  Unlike direct challenges to affirmative action, this case claims that states have a right to use the ballot initiative to ban it. Depending on the ruling.  the teatalitarian party could see this case as a green light to circumvent the U.S. constitution. The question before the Supreme Court is whether an amendment banning affirmative action in a state constitution violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. constitution.
The state constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action resulted from a ballot initiative  in 2006. The proposal was rejected by the 6th District Court in 2011 becauseit places an unfair burden on those seeking to have race considered as one of many factors in university admissions.” Practically speaking, this means the constitutional amendment protects advocacy for white privilege while banning advocacy for greater diversity in the student body.  Rick Snyder’s Attorney-General, Bill Schuette appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States which will listen to arguments for this case on October 15th.
The plaintiffs in McCullen v. Coakley claim that Massachusetts’ abortion clinic buffer zone law violates the first and fourteenth amendment rights of pro-birth activists who just want to be really close when they offer women sidewalk “counselling” the women never asked for. Of course, the pro-birth movement’s definition of “counselling” includes things like shoving pictures of aborted fetuses in women’s faces.  Anyone can see you can’t do that 35 feet away.
They also like to tell the women that they will burn in hell, that abortions cause breast cancer and makes it harder to bear children later. But I digress.
The law, passed in 2000, establishes a buffer zone that keeps protestors 35 feet away from the clinics’ entrances and driveways. Originally, the law was passed following a 1994 mass shooting in which 2 abortion clinic employees were killed and several more people were wounded.
But, as the plaintiff’s lawyer explained  ”You can’t stand outside 35 feet and communicate with people … You have to have eye contact.”
The plaintiffs claim the buffer law is really about “view point discrimination” directed at the pro-birth movement and they have high hopes that the court will “revisit some of its own prior precedents that led lower courts to believe that, as a matter of law, pro-life speech is less deserving of protection.”
The fact of the matter is the law keeps all protestors, regardless of viewpoint, 35 feet away from the abortion clinic.  As such, the law doesn’t preclude the pro-birth movement from voicing their opinions to people who want to hear them. The fact that the pro-birth movement thinks that just because they do have a right to say whatever they want, it means they can literally force people to listen.  Moreover, the extreme elements of the pro-birth movement aren’t satisfied with merely telling their lies and shoving pictures in women’s faces.  As noted earlier, Massachusetts passed the abortion buffer zone law because a pro-birther shot several people outside an abortion clinic, killing two of them.
We also have the history of clinic bombings, pro-birthers harassing and killing doctors in the name of furthering their cause.  In other words, this law was passed as a means to provide physical safety to patients and people who work at the clinics.
Wingnuts aren’t happy with merely limiting women’s access to abortion under any circumstances, including those under which the mother’s life is at risk or the pregnancy is the result of rape.  Now, they’re arguing that employers have the right to impose their religious beliefs about contraception on women they employ.
This time wingnut agitators are hoping the court rules in favor of employers stepping between women and their doctors in one or both of two cases. The Court will hear Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius at the request of the Federal Government.  Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius is working its way through the legal system.
In Mount Holly v. Mount Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, which will be argued on December 4th, wingnuts hope the court will gut the protections against racial discrimination provided under the Fair Housing Act.
In 2000, the township of Mount Holly began to buy homes in the low income and predominatly African American/Hispanic neighborhood.  Most if not all of the homes were demolished and replaced with new, more expensive homes.  The community sued the township, alleging that the township violated the Fair Housing Act and other anti-discrimination laws. In practical terms, they were priced out of their neighborhood and for that matter, priced out of any housing in Mount Holly, including rentals.
According to the DOJ’s amicus brief,  the community presented a study during litigation, which concluded that the redevelopment plan the redevelopment plan would adversely affect 22.54% of the African-American households and 32.31% of the Hispanic households, but only 2.73% of the white households.  The study also concluded that the new housing would be affordable to 79% of the entire county’s white households, but only 21% of African American and Hispanic households.
It isn’t hard to see that the township’s idea of improving the neighborhood would result in a radical change in the neighborhood’s demographics.  It also isn’t hard to see why far right organizations like the CATO institute favor this form of neighborhood improvement and have joined with the Township in this case.
The Gardens’ residents can’t afford the new housing not because of their race but because of their poverty. While it’s a harsh truth that a disproportionate number of minorities live in poverty, claiming that making expensive products is racist and that these “racists” have an obligation to compensate the victims of poverty is absurd. The FHA was intended, in the words of Senator Walter Mondale, “to permit people who have the ability to do so to buy any house offered to the public if they can afford to buy it. It would not overcome the economic problem of those who could not afford to purchase the house of their choice.”
Of course, such thinking only makes sense to people who believe that laws protecting minorities from discrimination are an affront to the racial entitlement known as white privilege. Let’s face it, the same people who argue how unfortunate it is that a disproportionate number of minorities live in policy, have done everything to preserve it.  They have worked to make college less accessible, eliminate protections against racism in college admissions. By creating obstacles to post-secondary education, conservatives are also denying the people affected by those policies the opportunity to get better paying jobs.
When combined with other policies that will inevitably result in creating an underclass largely comprised of racial minorities, the end result is creating more racial segregation.  So while building more expensive houses is not, per se, racist, passing policies that inevitably result in racial segregation is.

American Taliban

Teachers say 'hump day' is disruptive in classrooms

Teachers at a Connecticut middle school say students screaming "HUMP DAY" is distracting in their classrooms and they want it to stop.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary P. Conway said some sixth-grade boys at Vernon Center Middle School started using the phrase so much, teachers said it was disruptive.

Students says some kids have been called into the office, but Conway said this isn't a district, or even schoolwide issue.

Conway said the teachers just wanted to nip it in the bud.



Firefighters failed to battle blaze in own building

A team of German volunteer fire fighters were forced to look on helplessly as their fire station burned to the ground over the weekend.
A volunteer fire station in the Scharrel district of Saterland, North Rhine-Westphalia burned to the ground early on Saturday morning, as firefighters arrived on the scene too late to save it.

A neighbor alerted the emergency services after spotting the flames just after 2.40am. But by the time the volunteer fire fighters arrived at their station, which was just five years old, the blaze had already consumed the building, making it impossible for them to enter.
Despite their best attempts to control the flames from outside, the 70 volunteers were forced to watch on helpless as the entire building was destroyed. Nobody was hurt in the incident, which is thought to have caused around five million euros in damage. Along with the building, the fire destroyed a boat and six fire engines.

Protesting firemen in Brussels spray police with foam

Belgian firemen were protesting against national budget cuts for the fire department in Brussels on Monday.
Firemen from all the country gathered in front of prime minister's office with fire trucks and blocked traffic in Brussels' ring road.
They burned tyres in the streets and sprayed foam towards police guarding the protest. At some point police officers stood knee-deep in foam on the street.

Talks are ongoing on the ministerial level on the new Belgian budget, and firemen are protesting against cuts in their insurance benefits and insufficient staffing.

Burglary victim threatened with arrest for polite notice to would-be thieves

Two break-ins in the space of 10 days were the final straw for a business owner repeatedly targeted by burglars. Graham Jagger, who runs his own plastering and electrical contracting business, has now put up a sign on his home in Earlsheaton, Dewsbury, West Yorks, with a few choice words for any would-be thieves.
But the warning sign, which read: “Polite Notice: There is nothing of value left on our premises… It’s already been taken… By Thieving Fucking Bastards,” landed him on the wrong side of the law after police received a complaint about the language it used. Mr Jagger said: “They were out in less than 10 minutes to [warn] me, but when I phone and a proper crime has been committed, it’s days. I think it’s disgusting, I really do.”
Police told 50-year-old Mr Jagger, who has suffered 10 burglaries or attempted burglaries since he moved to his home four years ago, that he would be arrested if he did not remove the sign. But Mr Jagger said the sign was there to stay until the perpetrators were found. “I said I would make it more appropriate by removing some letters, but it’s staying where it is,” he said.

A police spokeswoman said it was a public order offense to display language if it caused harassment, alarm or distress. She said: “The householder was given sufficient time to remove the offensive language and warned that if it was not removed they would be liable for a fixed penalty notice. No further complaint has been received.” There have so far been no arrests made over the burglaries.

Police ticket girls' pink Barbie Jeep for blocking driveway

Police in American Fork, Utah, issued a citation for a Barbie Jeep this week. An officer out patrolling a Cedar Hills neighborhood noticed a pink Jeep parked in the road-blocking a driveway.
The officer left a bright orange tag on the hood that said "Abandoned Vehicle." The officer was concerned the Jeep could be stolen or involved in an accident so he moved it into the driveway.

Two sisters aged 7 and 9 reportedly left the Jeep in the street after riding around in it. When their dad woke up the next morning, he noticed an "abandoned vehicle tag" on the Barbie Jeep. There was no fine or notice on the ticket, though.

"We would hope that people would appreciate the fact that we're there in their neighborhood and we're looking out for them and their property," police said. The girls say they've learned a lesson and will keep the Barbie Jeep in the garage from now on.

Man arrested for staging his own kidnapping so he could party with friends

A Texas man has been arrested for staging his own kidnapping so he could get away from his wife and party with friends.

Daily Comic Relief


New potential for nutrient-rich prairie fruits

Researchers working at the University of Saskatchewan have discovered new potential in prairie fruits, in particular, buffaloberry, chokecherry and sea buckthorn, according to a new study published today in the Canadian Journal of Plant Science. […]

Health News

Common cause for breast cancer and heart disease?

A major study conducted at the Sahlgrenska Academy has now disproved theories of a viral cause for breast cancer and the brain tumour, glioblastoma. The study, which was based on over seven billion DNA sequences […]

Random Photos


How To Build A 2,073-Foot Skyscraper

When it opens in 2014, the Shanghai Tower won't just be the world's second-tallest building. The 2,073-foot-high skyscraper, designed by the architecture firm Gensler, will be a showcase of 21st-century engineering, introducing the innovations that could become standard in the next generation of supertall towers.

Plastic Pollution Invading Mountain Lake

Potentially toxic plastic found in a seemingly pristine lake may be a sign of widespread contamination of freshwater.

Africa's True Size Will Astound You

Africa is the world's second-largest continent. At about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area.

This graphic shows the major countries of the world overlaid atop an outline of the positively giant African continent. Even if you have seen this size-comparison made before, you'll appreciate the handy list of countries, presented by total area in square kilometers, that accompanies it.

Archaeology news

A modern gourmet delicacy and toothy bling were all part of the butchering process around 12,000 years ago.
The fossil remains of birds found in a cave in Western Australia suggest it was a very different place hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Awesome Pictures

Earth News

“Rapid” and “instantaneous” are words geologists don’t use very often. But Rutgers geologists use these exact terms to describe a climate shift that occurred 55 million years ago. In a new paper in the Proceedings […]

Feeding a growing global population while also slowing or reversing global deforestation may only be possible if agricultural yields rise and/or per capita food consumption declines over the next century, according to historic global food […]

The first ever evidence of a comet entering Earth’s atmosphere and exploding, raining down a shock wave of fire which obliterated every life form in its path, has been discovered by a team of South […]

Astronomical News

In the quest for life beyond Earth, a planet with oxygen in its atmosphere is considered holy grail. But appearances can be deceiving.
There's an asteroid out there with our name on it, and we've got 866 years to figure out how to stop it.
A bright inner moon of Neptune that has been missing in action since 1989 has been spotted.
The moon is constantly changing through a cycle of phases; what can you see during each phase and why are they important?
When it came time for NASA’s LADEE spacecraft to put itself in orbit around the moon, the politics that put the U.S. government into a partial shutdown took a back seat to the physics of spaceflight.
The activity of meteor showers can be hit-and-miss at the best of times, but tonight's spectacle -- the Draconids -- is known to be highly unpredictable.
There were fears that if NASA's New Horizons mission reached Pluto too late, the dwarf planet's atmosphere would have frozen out. But fear not! It appears the little world's air is actually getting thicker.
Six astronauts have emerged from an Italian cave after nearly a week underground.

Chimpanzees of a feather sit together

Chimpanzee Tushi (Copyright: Jorg Massen)

Like humans, many animals have close and stable friendships. However, until now, it has been unclear what makes particular individuals bond. Cognitive Biologists of the University of Vienna, Austria, and the University of Zurich, Switzerland, […]

Animal News

The alpine swift glides and flaps throughout its entire migration across the Sahara Desert and sub-Saharan West Africa.
Take care when bending down to sniff flowers -- some could actually be an animal or insect.
Genetic fingerprints could finally help researchers keep tabs on he poorly understood whale.
BFF's among primates date back to 6 million years ago, with friends that picked each other, literally.
Plans to move a near-complete T. Rex skeleton to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History have been halted by the government impasse.
Crabs living on a methane-spewing mud volcano were recently spotted munching on a tangled, filmy web of bacteria.
If you think you know what a thriving coral reef community looks like, take a look at this trailer for the upcoming IMAX movie "Journey to the South Pacific."

A medal for runaway dog who completed half marathon

A black Labrador named Boogie met up with runners just as the YMCA Half Marathon was starting in Evansville, Indiana, on Saturday after absconding from his home.

Animal Pictures