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Saturday, October 26, 2013

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Today in History

1774 The first Continental Congress, which protested British measures and called for civil disobedience, concludes in Philadelphia.
1795 When General Paul Barras resigns his commission as head of France's Army of the Interior to become head of the Directory, his second-in-command becomes the army's commander—Napoleon Bonaparte.
1825 The first boat on the Erie Canal leaves Buffalo, N.Y.
1881 Three Earp brothers and Doc Holliday have a shootout with the Clantons and McLaurys at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona Territory.
1905 Norway signs a treaty of separation with Sweden. Norway chooses Prince Charles of Denmark as the new king; he becomes King Haakon VII.
1918 Germany's supreme commander, General Erich Ludendorff, resigns, protesting the terms to which the German Government has agreed in negotiating the armistice. This sets the stage for his later support for Hitler and the Nazis, who claim that Germany did not lose the war on the battlefield but were "stabbed in the back" by politicians.
1942 Japanese attack Guadalcanal, sinking two U.S. carriers.
1942 U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Hornet is sunk in the Battle of Santa Cruz Island, in the South Pacific.
1950 A reconnaissance platoon for a South Korean division reaches the Yalu River. They are the only elements of the U.N. force to reach the river before the Chinese offensive pushes the whole army down into South Korea.
1955 The Village Voice is first published, backed in part by Norman Mailer.
1955 Ngo Dinh Diem declares himself Premier of South Vietnam.
1957 The Russian government announces that Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the nation's most prominent military hero, has been relieved of his duties as Minister of Defense. Khrushchev accused Zhukov as promoting his own "cult of personality" and saw him as a threat to his own popularity.
1958 The first New York – Paris transatlantic jet passenger service is inaugurated by Pan Am, while the first New York – London transatlantic jet passenger service is inaugurated by BOAC.
1967 Mohammad Reza Pahlavi crowns himself Emperor of Iran and his wife Farah as empress.
1970 Gary Trudeau's comic strip Doonesbury first appears.
1979 The President of South Korea, Park Chung-hee, asssinated by Kim Jae-kyu, head of the country's Central intelligence Agency; Choi Kyu-ha is named acting president.
1994 Israel and Jordan sign a peace treaty.
2001 The USA PATRIOT Act signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush, greatly expanding intelligence and legal agencies' ability to utilize wiretaps, records searches and surveillance.
2002 Russian Spetsnaz storm the Moscow Theatre, where Chechen terrorists had taken the audience and performers hostage three days earlier; 50 terrorists and 150 hostages die in the assault.

Non Sequitur

Double Shot

The math says Red Sox have a big edge in the World Series

Now that the World Series is about to begin, NJIT math professor Bruce Bukiet has announced the probability of each of the contenders winning the best 4 out of 7 game contest. “The Boston Red […]

Woman Holding Her Own Heart in Her Hands

Although it doesn’t have the same effect as holding up the heart of one your enemies, this is still pretty badass. But dealing with hardship with good spirits has always been Penny Smith’s strength. She had cancer when she was 3 years old and developed heart problems in 1994. Last year, she had a heart transplant.
Here she is holding up her old heart while her new one keeps her alive. This photo was taken a few months after her transplant:
"That was in the hospital in the pathology lab," Smith said. "I was saying goodbye to my heart, actually, because I felt like it got me through half of my life and I needed to say goodbye to it. So I was saying goodbye, and getting to know my new heart.
"My doctors made me wait because they didn't think I was ready. I wanted to be able to hold it, and they didn't want me to drop it.
"I was happy to see it again-well, see it for the first time, I guess.
"My husband even got to hold it. It felt really weird for both of us, but it was amazing to get to hold something that was once in someone."

Fantastic Bacon-Laden Treats For Your Thanksgiving Dinner

I know, I know, Halloween isn't over yet, so it's still a little early to start thinking about Thanksgiving, but if you plan on making all 50 of these great bacon-enhanced Thanksgiving recipes courtesy of Buzzfeed, you'll need to start shopping early in order to buy up all the bacon you can find in the grocery store.
Personally, I'm a big fan of bacon, but I have discovered that some Thanksgiving favorites are better without it -like green bean cassarole where the bacon just add saltyness and doesn't even enhance the crunch. I do recommend adding bacon and dried cranberries to your sweet potatoes for some some serious flavor enhancement though.



Did you know ...

Here's 5 reasons it's ridiculous America doesn't tax wall street

That a half million North Carolinians fell into a hole created by repugicans

Let's just say it shall we: repugicans are the problem

House Democrats Stand Up and Demand That Walmart Pay a Living Wage

George Miller (D-CA) has had enough of workers getting trampled by hugely profitable companies. "For too long those who denied workers rights have dominated the conversation... "…
If you’re wondering where the fighters for the middle class and working poor are, I found them at a Congressional Forum on Walmart Jobs held Wednesday morning.
Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FLA) joined Walmart workers who have been fighting for a living wage of $25,000 a year. Together they addressed Walmart CEO Bill Simon’s previously unreported and rather defensive comments regarding wages, which demonstrated that as many as 825,000 Walmart workers make less than $25,000 a year.
This is significant because Walmart has avoided addressing the issue of how many of its employees make $25,000 a year and is only doing so due to the sustained pressure of its employees and their supporters.
Rep. George Miller (D-CA) has had enough of workers getting trampled by hugely profitable companies. “For too long those who denied workers rights have dominated the conversation… Workers across the country are changing the debate.”
Scoffing at the way obscenely profitable corporations like Walmart have framed their argument for starving their workers around the “freedom” narrative, Miller continued, “The debate is indeed about freedom and fairness.” The Congressman pointed out, “There are either two places workers get their income, from their employer or from public assistance.”
He made the point that the argument is over whether the employer should pay a decent wage or the taxpayers should subsidize Walmart’s profit margin via public assistance . The Congressman is referring to the fact that just one Walmart could cost taxpayers $900,000 a year, according to a congressional report released in May of this year.
Imagine the outrage if Walmart were an African American single mother. But because Walmart is part of the predator model of the privatization and theft of all wealth from the middle and lower classes, its theft from our coffers is supposed to be an admirable trait of a “winner” and anyone who doesn’t like it is accused of hating capitalism.
Miller asked, “Why should we help an impoverished family like the Waltons?” He decried the absurdity of repugican/corporate policy, saying they advocate for “public assistance for Walmart”. He pointed out that is not what welfare reform was intended to be. Miller called for an end to federal subsidies, “End federal subsidies to wealthiest, the most profitable companies in the world are living off of public assistance and their workers are not being paid a living wage.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said, “The most important problem facing our economy is income inequality.” Ms. Schakowsky was not impressed that in this time of huge economic disparity, taxpayers are subsidizing Walmart, “The taxpayers are the ones who are subsidizing Walmart right now. We heard a lot about takers and makers…
“The welfare kings of this country are the Walmarts who only play those low wages because taxpayers subsidize them.”
Anthony Goytia from Our Walmart works at an East Los Angeles Walmart making $12,000 a year. He works overnight so he gets an extra dollar an hour. He asks for full time position but is not given one. He wants to provide for his family, but it’s hard on $12,000 a year. He said, “As a husband and father I want nothing more than to provide for my family and let me tell you that it’s very hard to do on 12,000 dollars a year. My family and I are forced to rely on public assistance – sometimes we’re approved and sometimes we’re not which means I have to dip into my rent money. I am going to keep fighting, I’m not afraid of you Walmart, no one who works at a company with $17 billion profits should have to live loan to loan.”
Explaining that he just had to get a tooth pulled because he couldn’t afford the root canal and it takes him 4 hours to ride his bike to and from work each day, Anthony continued, “Twenty-five thousand a year would mean an overall better life, it would mean not having to ride my bike for 4 hours a day – I live 13 miles from work, I have to ride my bike…. Twenty five thousand a year would mean I don’t want to have to rely on other people to put food on my table.”
Mr. Goytia wanted to make sure that the public knew he wasn’t living high on the hog, “I want members of Congress and the public to know what life is like when you make poverty wages. I don’t need cable TV, I don’t have cable TV. I shouldn’t have to rely on donating plasma to be able to put money in my pocket to put food on my table. Walmart can do more.”
Members of Congress were asked by a member of the press about federal policy changes to fight the growing income disparity. They pointed to raising the minimum wage as the first place to make change. But as long as Republicans are the majority in the House, there’s not a snowballs chance in Hell of getting the minimum wage raised. The solution to that problem is to do what they did today – raise the profile of the issue of a living wage. By doing so, they can apply pressure to repugicans and then they can run on the inherent justice of a living wage and ending taxpayer subsidies to hugely profitable companies like Walmart.
The campaign frame can be: If you believe workers should earn a living wage and you don’t think you should be funding welfare for Walmart, vote for X.
Just who is trying to fundamentally transform America and redistribute the wealth? It’s not the evil socialists you hear so much about. They don’t have the money to buy the pr to buttress beneficial policy. Nope. It’s the corporate parasites masquerading as “businessmen” — an ingenious disguise for massive redistribution of taxpayer money to the upper 1%.
The working poor and middle class are being squeezed out and there aren’t very many politicians who really give a crap and get it. Those who do are concentrated within the Democratic Party or are Independent Socialists like Bernie Sanders. In order to effectively change the dynamics for labor, we need lawmakers in the House and Senate who will support a living wage. Walmart workers have shown the beauty of democracy — by speaking out over a prolonged period of time, they’ve forced Walmart to respond. Citizens can do the same to their elected representatives.
If you believe in a living wage as a basic right, insist on it in the next election. Make noise about it. Let lawmakers know that it’s time for Walmart to pull itself up by its bootstraps and get off welfare. We can’t afford their sense of entitlement to our money.

Understanding NSA boss James Clapper's France-spying "denial"

NSA boss James Clapper has officially responded to the allegations that the agency intercepted 70,000,000 French phone calls with a narrowly worded, misleading denial. Tim Cushing at Techdirt does us the kremlinological service of finely parsing the NSA word-game and showing us what Clapper doesn't deny:
Clapper addresses none of these activities and simply focuses on the one sentence that gives him plausible (and convoluted) deniability.
In essence, the foreign collection (although, in the NSA's hivemind, a collection doesn't actually occur until an agent searches the, uh, collected data) is almost identical to the NSA's Section 215 collections. Vast amounts of metadata grabbed simply because there's no legal basis preventing it.
The rest of his statement is mostly true -- almost every country spies on other countries. This has been the status quo for years, and while the French government has made lots of noise about this recent leak, it seems to be largely using this as an opportunity to reroute outrage and criticism away from its own domestic spying.

Merkel says U.S. spying an unacceptable breach of trust

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and France's President Francois Hollande arrive at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Yves Herman 
by Luke Baker and Andreas Rinke
German Chancellor Angela Merkel accused the United States of an unacceptable breach of trust on Thursday after allegations that the U.S. bugged her personal mobile phone, and she suggested data-sharing agreements with Washington may need revising.
Arriving for a two-day summit in Brussels where the broad economic and social policy agenda has been overshadowed by allegations of eavesdropping by the U.S. National Security Agency against Italy, France and Germany, Merkel said she had told President Barack Obama in a telephone conversation late on Wednesday that the acts were unacceptable.
"It's not just about me but about every German citizen. We need to have trust in our allies and partners, and this trust must now be established once again," she told reporters.
"I repeat that spying among friends is not at all acceptable against anyone, and that goes for every citizen in Germany."
The stern words follow an announcement by the German government on Wednesday that it had seen evidence suggesting the chancellor's mobile was "monitored" by the NSA. Germany's foreign minister has summoned the U.S. ambassador to Berlin to discuss the issue, an event diplomats said had rarely happened in the past 60 years.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama had assured Merkel in their telephone call that the United States "is not monitoring and will not monitor" her communications, leaving open the possibility that it had happened in the past.
The affair dredges up memories of eavesdropping by the Stasi secret police in the former East Germany, where Merkel grew up, and is an emotive topic for many Germans.
Following the unceasing flow of leaks by former U.S. data analyst Edward Snowden, which revealed the reach of the NSA's data-collection programs, Washington finds itself at odds with a host of important allies, from Brazil to Saudi Arabia.
Germany's frustration follows outrage in France after Le Monde newspaper reported the NSA had collected tens of thousands of French phone records between December 2012 and January 2013, and an Italian news magazine reported on Thursday that the NSA had monitored sensitive Italian telecommunications.
The revelations could have an impact on major legislative and trade initiatives between the United States and the European Union, with some German lawmakers saying negotiations over an EU-U.S. free-trade agreement should be suspended.
Merkel, who has previously discussed a "no spying" agreement with the United States, hinted that data-sharing deals with Washington may need to be relooked at, a potentially damaging blow for U.S. efforts to collect counter-terrorism information.
"To this end, we need to ask what we need, which data security agreements we need, what transparency we need between the United States of America and Europe," Merkel said.
"We are allies facing challenges together. But such an alliance can only be built on the basis of trust."
Merkel and Hollande discussed the spying allegations one-to-one before the Brussels summit, with Hollande suggesting beforehand that he intended to put the issue formally on the agenda.
While Berlin and Paris are likely to find sympathy among the EU's 28 member states, domestic security issues are not a competence of the European Union. The best that may be hoped for is a public expression of support from leaders and calls for a full explanation from the United States.
On their way into the summit, several European leaders did express their shock and surprise at the spying allegations.
"This is serious," said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
"I will support (Merkel) completely in her complaint and say that this is not acceptable. I think we need all the facts on the table first."
The most immediate impact of the furor could be to encourage member states to back tougher data privacy rules currently being drafted by the European Union. The European Parliament this week approved proposed legislation that would overhaul EU data protection rules that date from 1995.
The new rules would restrict how data collected in Europe by firms such as Google and Facebook is shared with non-EU countries, introduce the right of EU citizens to request that their digital traces be erased, and impose fines of 100 million euros ($138 million) or more on rule breakers.
The United States is concerned that the regulations, if they enter into law, will raise the cost of doing business and handling data in Europe. Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and others have lobbied hard against the proposals.
Given the spying accusations, France and Germany - the two most influential countries in EU policy - may succeed in getting member states to push ahead on negotiations with the parliament to complete the data regulations and make them tougher.
That could mean an agreement is reached early next year, with the laws possibly coming into force in 2015. For the United States, this could substantially change how data privacy rules are implemented globally.
It may also complicate relations between the United States and the EU over an agreement to share a large amount of data collected via Swift, the international system used for transferring money electronically, which is based in Europe.
Among the revelations from Snowden's leaks is that the United States may have violated the Swift agreement, accessing more data than it was allowed to.
The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to suspend Swift, and the spying accusations may make EU member states support a firm line, complicating the United States' ability to collect data it says is critical in combating terrorism.
Despite the outrage in Paris and Berlin, the former head of France's secret services said the issue was being blown out of proportion and no one should be surprised by U.S. spying.
"I'm bewildered by such worrying naiveté. You'd think the politicians don't read the reports they're sent - there shouldn't be any surprise," Bernard Squarcini told Le Figaro.
"The agencies know perfectly well that every country, even when they cooperate on anti-terrorism, spies on its allies. The Americans spy on us on the commercial and industrial level like we spy on them, because it's in the national interest to defend our businesses. No one is fooled."

US ambassador to Germany summoned to explain NSA bugging chancellor Angela Merkel

John B Emerson, the US ambassador to Germany, has been summoned to a meeting with Guido Westerwelle, the country's foreign minister, over revelations that the NSA bugged chancellor Angela Merkel's phone. Germans are pissed about this. The country's defense minister told a television interview that the allegations were "really, really bad" and that there could be no more "business as usual" in US-German relations. Merkel herself is described as "livid."
Merkel's political opponents, such as the Pirate Party, had criticized her for failing to do enough to bring the US to account over leaks regarding bulk US surveillance of Germany; now they're making great political capital out of the fact that Merkel herself appears to have been directly targeted by US spooks.
Though, as a Guardian commenter observes: "If Merkel has done nothing wrong she has nothing to fear. If she objects to having her phone tapped doesn't that suggest she might be a terrorist?"
Merkel was said by informed sources in Germany to be "livid" over the reports the NSA had bugged her phone and convinced, on the basis of a German intelligence investigation, that the reports were utterly substantiated.
The German news weekly, Der Spiegel, reported an investigation by German intelligence, prompted by research from the magazine, that produced plausible information that Merkel's mobile was targeted by the US eavesdropping agency. The German chancellor found the evidence substantial enough to call the White House and demand clarification...
...Merkel told Obama that "she unmistakably disapproves of and views as completely unacceptable such practices, if the indications are authenticated," Seifert said. "This would be a serious breach of confidence. Such practices have to be halted immediately."
The sharpness of the German complaint direct to an American president strongly suggested that Berlin had no doubt about the grounds for protest. Seibert voiced irritation that the Germans had waited for months for proper answers from Washington to Berlin on the NSA operations

John Boehner Sees Obamacare Pink Elephants After House repugicans Kill 120,000 Jobs

The government shutdown caused by the House repugicans has killed 120,000 jobs, but John Boehner is seeing a pink elephant labeled Obamacare killing the economy.
Boehner said,
You know, we had another jobs report yesterday. Another, frankly, disappointing jobs report. This economy’s not creating the jobs that the American people are looking for. Their wages are stagnant, and part of the problem is that we’ve got the whole threat of ObamaCare continuing to hang over our economy like a wet blanket.
Employers scared to death in terms of what they have to do and what they don’t have to do, afraid to add new employees. And, you know, when you look at the problems with ObamaCare all the focus here lately has been on the website. Clearly there’s problems with the website, but I would argue that the problems go much further than that.
How about the report over the last couple of days of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are finding out that they’re going to lose their coverage because the plans they have today don’t qualify under ObamaCare. And when you begin to look at these hundreds of thousands of people I think what you’re going to see at the end of October are more Americans are going to lose their health insurance than are going to sign up at these exchanges. This is a very serious problem. It’s affecting our economy. And it’s affecting the ability of the American people to find the job that will help them take care of themselves and their families.
John Boehner has decided that the best way to dig himself out of the hole that he dug for himself with the government shutdown is to blame President Obama and the ACA for everything. Unfortunately for Speaker Boehner, what he was trying to pass off  was complete BS.
Nowhere in Boehner’s remarks does he cite any actual evidence that Obamacare is negatively impacting the economy. The reason why he can’t list any evidence, because there isn’t any.
John Boehner substituted feelings and opinions for facts. Speaker Boehner used phrases like “employers are scared,” and “I think” to make is case that the ACA is destroying the economy.
The fact that it is impossible for a law that won’t be fully implemented until January to destroy the economy months in advance appears to be lost on the Speaker of the House. Obamacare is the repugican version of the pink elephant. They see it everywhere, and blame it for everything that happens.
House repugicans killed 120,000 jobs with their government shutdown. There is no statistical evidence that the ACA has caused a single job to be lost.
The real job killer isn’t the ACA. It’s John Boehner and his Koched up caucus.

Thanks to Scott Walker, Wisconsin Will Pay Up To 99% Higher Insurance Costs

Thanks to Scott Walker, Wisconsin health insurance exchange premiums for single coverage will be on average 79% to 99% higher than premiums in Minnesota.…
scott walker open for business 
“Wisconsin health insurance exchange premiums for single coverage will be on average 79% to 99% higher than premiums in Minnesota, before tax credits are applied,” according to a new report.
If you’re wondering why there is such a disparity in healthcare insurance costs between similar states like Wisconsin and Minnesota, it’s because repugican Governor Scott Walker rejected enhanced federal Medicaid dollars and Wisconsin repugicans decided not to implement more robust rate reviews.
Translation: repugicans rejected money to expand Medicaid and repugicans choose not to oversee rate regulation (if this doesn’t ring a bell, when repugicans discuss it, they call their refusal to check corporation’s “freedom” and “free markets”).
These decisions may cost Wisconsinites $1,800 or more a year over what their Minnesota counterparts pay for health insurance. Wisconsinites will pay between 79% and 99% higher premiums before tax credits are applied, and the middle class will be hit the hardest. Some cities will pay as much as 136% higher premiums.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin released a new report documenting the vast differences between Minnesota and Wisconsin in the cost for health insurance on the individual insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.
• Wisconsin health insurance exchange premiums for single coverage will be on average 79% to 99% higher than premiums in Minnesota, before tax credits are applied. That is a difference of over $1,800 a year.
•The health insurance cost differential will be even worse for some major Wisconsin cities. Rates in La Crosse are 136% higher than the Minnesota average, rates in Eau Claire are 116% higher, and rates in Milwaukee are 112% higher.
• The cost gap with Minnesota has the biggest impact on middle class Wisconsinites because Affordable Care Act tax credits mitigate the impact on lower income people who buy insurance on the exchange.
Additionally, when Walker announced his repugican plan to reject Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare, he was warned that this would cost Wisconsin state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Walker, with his eye on 2016, was at war with President Obama and what better way to prove his wingnut bona fides than by rejecting as much of ObamaCare as he could.
It’s not as if Walker can run on his job creation numbers or making a great climate for business. Wisconsin is failing in both departments under Walker. He’s got to be able to run as the guy who fought Obama and won — a feat he has not actually managed to do, regardless of how many times he and his BFF Paul Ryan blame Mitt Romney for the 2012 election loss. Reality plays a small part in repugican politics these days that Walker won’t be hurt by inventing his own world so long as he is the comic book hero who said No to the Illegitimate President.
Comic book narratives aside, the Walker junta is still confused about how this fiscal stuff works (sure Walker didn’t graduate from college, but that is no excuse — plenty of Americans can add and subtract without going to college). Walker’s secretary of health services, Kitty Rhoades, claims to believe that they didn’t walk away from money - the state will have more money by petulantly keeping the working poor off of Medicaid expansions at the fed’s expense.
This belief earned her a Mostly False from PolitiFact. It turns out, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says Walker’s decision is going to cost state taxpayers $119 million and could exceed $459 million through 2021.
Scott Walker justifies this by claiming to believe the federal government won’t come through with the money because of the debt (along this failed logic, why wait for anything to be proven – if you feel it, it must be – leadership by hysterical emotion of the mentally impaired has worked out so well in the past). To be fair, perhaps Walker knew of his cabal’s plans to tank the economy with a shutdown and threat to refuse to pay our bills. If so, conspiracy charges are warranted, immediately following the mandatory repugican math class.
The Walker junta champions their plan to instead drive the money to health insurance companies and health care providers. More transferring of the wealth to corporations, or “job creation” in repugican speak.
Minnesota also took ObamaCare up on the money provided to review rates – aka, oversight, but Wisconsin hasn’t. They’re cool with whatever the insurance companies want to charge citizens. Regulation is the death of corporate freedom, after all, and when corporations aren’t free to rob citizens, they allegedly won’t create so many crappy jobs that don’t pay a living wage.
Appeasement of the corporate beast is a must in repugican circles and so Wisconsinites are getting it again. No doubt repugicans will blame Obama for this, too, since they are loath to take responsibility for their own behavior, ideology and policies.

The tea party Insists that Extremist Ken Cuccinelli Not Extreme Enough

The Richmond tea party says Cuccinelli hasn't taken a sufficient stand against "Obamacare, immigration, and moral decline." …
ken cuccinelli 
We all know that Ken Cuccinelli is sinking faster than the Lusitania, which lasted a whole 18 minutes after being torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1915. The difference between the two is that nobody torpedoed Ken Cuccinelli, or rather, he torpedoed himself. The deadly weapon is the repugican’s own extremism. The tea party response, of course, is to ignore polls that say only 5 percent of Virginia’s think Cuccinelli is too liberal and insist that he is not extreme enough. It is as though they think being more of what makes him unpopular will somehow make him more popular. It’s a strange way of thinking but not much about tea party extremism makes sense to the non-diseased human brain.
Bad enough the (anti)Family Research Council thought sending Rick Santorum to lead a special “strikeforce” to “save” Cuccinelli was a great idea. That alone is more than enough to doom the man given what Virginians already think about him.
But the Richmond tea party’s executive director Larry Nordvig told Breitbart last month that Cuccinelli isn’t wingnut enough because he hadn’t taken a sufficient stand against “Obamacare, immigration, and moral decline.”
Never mind that as Right Wing Watch reports, “Cuccinelli was the first state attorney general to file a lawsuit challenging Obamacare — even winning a case on the district court level against the individual mandate before the Supreme Court ultimately upheld the mandate as constitutional — and has called for civil disobedience against the law.”
And apparently, criminalizing oral sex between married couples isn’t a strong enough stance against moral decline.
Nordvig says Cuccinelli needs to “fight for their deepest-held beliefs.” Kissing up to the tea party to assuage their fragile egos, Nordvig said, also wouldn’t hurt.
As John Farmer wrote a few days ago at New Jersey Online, “odds are he [Cuccinelli] wishes now he’d never heard of them.”
I think we all feel his pain.
Look, here are the facts on the ground. Right Wing Watch lists a few of Cuccinelli’s extremist stances:
It’s difficult to see how Cuccinelli could get more extreme without instituting “a sort of Spanish Inquisition.” That might be effective because, as we all know, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. But seriously, what more does the man have to do to prove his hater bona fides? The tea party does, on some level, realize we have a Constitution, do they not? They do realize that in a civil society there are limits to the expression of their hate?
It is also interesting that repugicans always think in terms of “re-engaging” their base as though it takes no more than their base to win elections. Evidence to the contrary from past elections is ignored; they don’t seem to understand that expanding their base just might be a better idea.
But rather than appeal to a wider cross-section of voters, rather than trying to engage moderates and independents, they attack the problem by attacking voting rights.
In a sense tea partiers have no choice. Think about the facts even if they won’t: The tea party is inherently, as we have argued before – like the Nazi Party – a völkisch – that is, ethnic nationalist – organization. It is at its heart a modern pro-confederacy movement supported by “almost half of white Southerners (47.1%).”
The League of the South agrees, reports Warren Throckmorton, saying ethnic nationalism is better than democratic process. And if, as the League of the South also insists, the South is an “Anglo-Celtic” homeland, just who, other than angry, white, evangelical, and probably wistful Midwesterners, can the tea party reach out to outside of an angry, old, white evangelical Southerners?
Even if racism is not the driving force behind the tea party movement, there are enough other unsavory ingredients that have dictated their tent be very small. All they have is each other: angry white christians lashing out at everyone around them. Apartheid is such a hard sell to everyone else, after all, and there are a lot of someone else’s in America these days.
As Tom Davis, former repugican congressman for Virginia, put it, “We have nominated a ticket that Virginians don’t want to buy.” Virginians, and increasingly, Americans.

The Vile Koch Scheme to Make $100 Billion Destroying The Environment With KeystoneXL

If a person or an organization is inclined to conceal their intentions, or not to disclose information they feel may portray them in a negative light they are considered secretive. Americans are learning more every day that the billionaire Koch brothers go to great lengths to conceal their involvement in directing the repugicans’ in Congress and state legislatures through their political action committees and various belief tanks. One area the Kochs have been secretive about is their dark money connection to any and all attempts in the states and nationally to kill clean air requirements enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency that, according to the Kochs, is their mortal enemy.
It should come as no surprise to any American keeping tabs on the Kochs that they have spent a great deal of money to hasten the construction of the KeystoneXL pipeline, but it is not just because the dirty energy fascists will add to their fortune by refining tar sand prior to shipping it to Texas for export to China and Europe; it is because they stand to make tens-of-billions of dollars before the tar ever enters American territory.
Over the past couple of days, there have been two reports that should enrage Americans concerned about the quality of the air they breathe or the rapidly changing climate, and likely the Koch brothers want to keep their dirty involvement away from the public’s eye. Both stories directly tie the Kochs to the KeystoneXL pipeline that oil-whore repugicans and Speaker John Boehner are frantic to see constructed to profit the oil industry and Boehner’s personal stock portfolio. However, where John Boehner will profit from the pipeline’s construction because he owns stock in seven Canadian tar sand companies, building the Keystone XL pipeline would generate $100 billion in profits for Charles and David Koch, according to a report released a few days ago.
According to the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), the Koch brothers and their privately-owned company, Koch Industries, are holding close to 2 million acres of land in Alberta, Canada, where the Keystone pipeline will originate. In fact, there are many Koch Industry subsidiaries that will “benefit from the pipeline’s construction, including Koch Exploration Canada, which would profit from oil development on its land, and Koch Supply and Trading, which would benefit from oil derivatives trading.” Throughout the Republican drive to push President Obama to approve Keystone’s construction, officials from Koch Industries have asserted the “Keystone XL pipeline has nothing to do with any of our businesses.” The IFG report revealed the Koch’s dirty secret that Keystone XL has everything to do with their business and it is why they fund Republican efforts to pressure the President to approve the pipeline’s immediate construction.
What should be obvious to anyone familiar with repugican oil-whores is that IFG estimates the billionaire oil magnates have paid about $50 million to wingnut belief-tanks and members of Congress to support inaction on climate change as well as push for the pipeline’s construction. The repugicans advocating for the pipeline’s approval have never admitted to the people that not one drop of refined tar sand will be available for domestic consumers, or that as a foreign export pipeline the oil is already slated for Europe and China. Environmentalists are rightly worried about the devastating climate and environmental impacts the pipeline will have that includes intensely higher greenhouse gas emissions that an esteemed NASA climatologist warns means “game over for the environment.”  For Americans living in and around Chicago, it did not take a noted climatologist to tell them it is game over for their local environment due to the Koch brothers storing refuge from refining tar sands.
In and around south Chicago, the dirty by-product of refining Canadian tar sand, “petcoke,” is responsible for polluting the air and water with toxic vanadium contained in the black dust the Kochs are piling up waiting to export to countries without environmental protections. Petcoke, short for petroleum coke, is the waste from refining tar sand oil and as its production increases petcoke is piling up near refineries across the Midwest and jeopardizing air and water quality the Koch brothers have no regard for.
Petcoke is just one tar sand residue that is worse for the environment than burning dirty coal, and its danger is one item a Koch-associated energy firm omitted from a State Department analysis claiming developing Canada’s vast tar sand reserves and sending it through the Keystone XL pipeline will not raise greenhouse gas emissions. The giant piles of petcoke stored along the Calumet River near Chicago are part of the Koch brothers’ business empire because a Koch Industries subsidiary, KCBX, owns “large parcels of land along the Calumet river” where tar sand residue is shipped in, stored, and distributed close to middle class homes.
What Chicago residents should be enraged over is that not only is their air being poisoned by the existing piles of petcoke, a new refinery’s “coker” which will be the second largest in the world “is growing by leaps and bounds” according to an Environmental Task Force member who said “It’s coming at a breathtaking rate.” When Tom Shepherd says breathtaking, he means it literally and figuratively because the toxic dust hangs in the air on its way to coating the surrounding environment that according to the Koch brothers is their dog-given right as free-market capitalists.
The Koch brothers and their Americans for Prosperity activist arm have secretly sought to derail and roll back clean energy regulations and environmental protections in states across the nation. The news they own 2 million acres around Alberta Canada’s tar sand reserves coupled with their intent to pile up residue from their tar sand refining efforts explains just one reason they are on a crusade to eliminate clean air and water standards.
If Americans have learned anything about the Koch brothers fascist government interference, it is that their agendas all include harming Americans for profit and to satisfy the greed for power to “fundamentally transform America” to their vision of a nation sans environmental safeguards. The Koch brothers spend tens-of-millions of dollars to kill Americans whether it is stopping the Affordable Care Act, eliminating Social Security and Medicare, slashing food assistance for poor women and children, or poisoning Americans with toxic dust from their tar sand residue. Now that it is no longer a secret they own millions of acres where the Keystone pipeline will originate, and are piling up giant mounds of petcoke around neighborhoods in Chicago, it is incumbent on decent Americans to demand that the State Department and President Obama permanently deny construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Fraud Countrywide in America

Or rather in Bank of America.
A federal jury in Manhattan sided with prosecutors who alleged Countrywide Financial Corp. churned out risky home loans in a process called "the hustle" and then sold them to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Calabasas company, once considered the crown jewel of American mortgage lending, made big profits unloading loans that were later rendered worthless during the housing crisis in 2008.
The decision is the first civil fraud verdict against countrywide, and experts said the decision would probably invite more aggrieved investors to sue and could embolden other investigations aimed at countrywide or other banks. - LA Times
We are "outraged" at computer software glitches on a program that is meant to help people ... let's see if the public is "outraged" at this blatant corruption that brought our country's economy to the brink and inflicted pain on fellow Americans.

Oh, and that mofo, Angelo Mozilo, former head of Countrywide has a luxurious spread in Santa Barbara.
We think it's time to bring back public shaming. you see this criminal walking around the tony streets of Montecito, tell him how treasonous he is to sell out his country's economic future. And kick him. Hard.

‘Open government’ launch marred by spelling mistake

Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario in Canada was forced to spell-check her own press conference when a reporter pointed out a glaring but previously unnoticed spelling mistake.
The podium the Premier was standing at had the words “open goverment” written across the front.

“That is really not good,” she said when the mistake was pointed out.
She was given a pen by someone off-camera and tried to insert the missing ‘n.’

Daily Comic Relief


Things You Might Not Know About Calvin And Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes is a daily comic strip that was written and illustrated by American cartoonist Bill Watterson, and syndicated from November 18, 1985, to December 31, 1995. It follows the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his sardonic stuffed tiger.

Here are 7 things you might not know about Calvin and Hobbes.

Restaurant makes diners eat in silence

No talking at the dinner table. That is the new idea at a restaurant called Eat in Brooklyn, New York. Eat's creator Nicholas Nauman says the quiet time is essential to be able to fully enjoy the meal.
"It's like when you take a piece of lettuce and you put it against your lips, there are an incredible number of sensations going on that we are not paying any attention to.

"And to actually have an opportunity to engage that, to explore that, to just be with that is really rare," he says. With only the sound of utensils clanking against the plates, diners enjoyed or endured their meal in silence on Friday.

"I actually liked it. I thought it helped me slow down and think about every bite, instead of just devouring it and then realizing it was gone. So I really enjoyed it. And it brought out a lot of the flavour in the food and it was good," said silent diner Jessica.

Miraculous escape as baby born in train toilet survives unharmed after falling on to tracks

A newborn baby miraculously escaped unhurt after birth when she slipped down the outlet of the toilet of a moving train on to the tracks.

Afroza Bibi with her pregnant daughter Rehani Bibi, a resident of Jhumka village in Murshidabad, West Bengal, India, were traveling on the Lalgola passenger train.
The incident took place near Nadia district's Palashi railway station at around 6.30pm on Tuesday, railway officials said. Upon hearing the cries of her daughter, Afroza rushed to the toilet and asked for help from passengers, who then stopped the train and rescued the newborn.

Both the mother and child were immediately rushed to Mira Primary Health Centre at the railway station. "The baby and mother are fit and safe now. But it is very miraculous that there was no injury marks on the newborn baby's body," a doctor attending to them said.

Inside 9 Of The Planet's Creepiest Abandoned Cottages

The cottage: cozy, homely, comfortable. Unless it's been abandoned in a hurry, that is. Holiday cottages might be all pretty gardens and gorgeous furnishings, but cottages that have long since been left behind are altogether different.

For a growing number of urban explorers and photographers, venturing into unoccupied buildings is the perfect pastime. The results? Compelling images of decay and desertion, many with an edge of eerie beauty.

The Real Life Locations of 5 Horror Movie Locations

What do you think of when you watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre? I'm no psychic, but I'm willing to be it has nothing to do with food. But if you go to the iconic house where the Leatherface resided in the film, you won't find a bunch of rotting body parts, but a dinner called the Grand Central Cafe. They do have Texas Chainsaw Massacre memorabilia on the second floor, so you can look at pictures of a family of cannibals enjoying their dinner before you enjoy yours.
Believe it or not, that's not the only weird transformation of past horror movie locations either. Cracked has four more you won't want to miss as well.

Awesome Pictures

Astronomers Discover Universe’s Most Distant Galaxy

Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin may be former football rivals, but the Lone Star State’s two research giants have teamed up to detect the most distant spectroscopically confirmed galaxy ever […]

The World's Only Galloping Insect Runs Like A Race Horse

Most insects walk with an ambling, tripod gait, keeping at least three legs on the ground while the others move. But somewhere along the line, three species of dung beetle decided to break away from the alternating-leg pack, developing the only gallop in the insect world.

Instead of moving legs on each side separately, Pachysoma endroedyi, P. hippocrates and P. glentoni move each set of legs in synch, like a bounding rabbit or a speedy horse. Why exactly these beetles might have developed this gallop is unclear.

Wallaby spotted hopping around Highgate Cemetery in London

Visitors to Highgate West Cemetery in north London have spotted a wallaby hopping between the graves. Visitor and volunteer coordinator Melanie Wynyard said: “To spot a wallaby in London is quite strange.
“It’s quite extraordinary and so unexpected,” she said. “The West Cemetery is quite secure so it’s a mystery how he got in there but now he’s in, it’s quite a good place to be as he won’t be crossing the roads.”

Highgate zoologist Maurice Melzak, who gives ecology advice to Highgate Cemetery, was one of two visitors who filmed the wallaby. He thinks it is a Bennett’s wallaby, a species known to be living in the wild in small colonies across the UK.

Mr Melzak said: “Highgate Cemetery is a mysterious and wonderful place. It already has many non-native species, including all sorts of insects and arachnids, grey squirrels, ring-necked parakeets and the occasional muntjak deer. So maybe the odd wallaby isn’t such a bizarre notion?”

The Animals That Defy Belief

They are the creatures that seem like they should not really exist. In some cases they could even be mistaken for being mythical beasts. Here are some of the most extraordinary and unbelievable animals to have been found on Earth.

Dog found abandoned in the woods is making recovery

Animal welfare officials have issued an appeal for information after a dog with heavily matted fur and in desperate condition was found in Burford, southwestern Ontario, Canada. The dog, who is now being called Shrek because he looked liked a swamp creature when he was discovered last Wednesday, is healing and finally receiving the love that he needs.
But officials at the Brant County SPCA want to know where he came from and how it is that he came to be in a wooded area to fend for himself. “We're appealing to anyone who may know anything about this dog to give us a call,” Brandon James of the Brant County SPCA, said. “He was in terrible condition when he was found - his fur was badly matted and it's obvious that he had been outdoors for quite some time.”
Shrek is being cared for by Dr. Brenda Gough, of the Park Road Veterinary Clinic and the Southern Cross Equestrian Facility. It was through the clinic that Shrek has received the care he needs. “I think he is a puppy mill dog and I'll bet he has spent most, if not all of his life, in a cage,” Gough said. “He was anaemic, had very low protein and he could barely walk because his legs were hurting from all of that hair and mud caked on him for so long.”
She and others who saw Shrek's condition can't believe that anyone would let something like this happen to an animal. They're outraged by what has happened. Still, Shrek cleaned up really well and looks wonderful after all the matted fur was shaved off. “The biggest issue for him is behavioural,” Gough said. “He's afraid of his own shadow. He isn't mean or aggressive but it's obvious that he doesn't know what love is.”

There's a news video here and a photo gallery showing Shrek's transformation here.

Animal Pictures