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

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Daily Drift

Twelve Days To Go ....

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Today in History

1789 The National Guard is created in France.
1812 The last remnants of Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand Armeé reach the safety of Kovno, Poland, after the failed Russian campaign. Napoleon's costly retreat from Moscow
1814 General Andrew Jackson announces martial law in New Orleans, Louisiana, as British troops disembark at Lake Borne, 40 miles east of the city. The Battle of New Orleans
1862 The Battle of Fredericksburg ends with the bloody slaughter of onrushing Union troops at Marye's Heights. Maine's Colonel Chamberlain at Marye's Heights.
1902 The Committee of Imperial Defense holds its first meeting in London.
1908 The Dutch take two Venezuelan Coast Guard ships.
1937 The Japanese army occupies Nanking, China. Boeing's Trailblazing P-26 Peashooters.
1940 Adolf Hitler issues preparations for Operation Martita, the German invasion of Greece.
1941 British forces launch an offensive in Libya.
1945 France and Britain agree to quit Syria and Lebanon.
1951 After meeting with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, President Harry S Truman vows to purge all disloyal government workers.
1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mexico's President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz meet on a bridge at El Paso, Texas, to officiate at ceremonies returning the long-disputed El Chamizal area to the Mexican side of the border.
1972 Astronaut Gene Cernan climbs into his lunar lander on the moon and prepares to lift off. He is the last man to set foot on the moon.
1973 Great Britain cuts the work week to three days to save energy.
1981 Polish labor leader Lech Walesa is arrested and the government decrees martial law, restricting civil rights and suspending operation of the independent trade union Solidarity.
1985 France sues the United States over the discovery of an AIDS serum.
2001 Terrorists attach the Parliament of India Sansad; 15 people are killed, including the terrorists
2003 Deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein captured; he is found hiding in near his home town of Tikrit.

Non Sequitur


Xmas Countdown Xmas Stories

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Xmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Xmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.

Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. "Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger. "I see you're busy, I'll just go." "Not without something hot in your belly." George said.

He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty. Stew ... Made it myself. When you're done, there's coffee and it's fresh."

Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuse me, be right back," George said. There in the driveway was an old '53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked. "Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken." George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead. "You ain't going in this thing," George said as he turned away.

"But Mister, please help ..." The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. "Here, take my truck," he said. "She ain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good."

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. "Glad I gave 'em the truck, their tires were shot too. That 'ol truck has brand new ." George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. "Well, at least he got something in his belly," George thought.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Xmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. "Well, shoot, I can fix this," he said to himself. So he put a new one on.

"Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took the snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn't going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, "Please help me."

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. "Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. "Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin'," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease.

"Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. "You hang in there, I'm going to get you an ambulance."

The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car." He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.

He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area."

George sat down beside him, "I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain."

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he asked. "None for me," said the officer. "Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts." The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. "Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before.

"That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer.

"Son, why are you doing this?" asked George, "You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt."

The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!"

The cop was reaching for his gun. "Put that thing away," George said to the cop, "we got one too many in here now."

He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Xmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that pea shooter away."

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. "I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week."

George handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can."

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. "Sometimes we do stupid things." George handed the young man a cup of coffee. "Bein' stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out."

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer." "Shut up and drink your coffee " the cop said. George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. "Chuck! You OK?" one of the cops asked the wounded officer.

"Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?"

"GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran."

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other.

"That guy work here?" the wounded cop continued. "Yep," George said, "just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job."

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?"

Chuck just said, "Merry Xmas boy ... and you too, George, and thanks for everything."

"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems."

George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. "Here you go, something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day."

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. "I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something to you."

"And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got my memories. That's all I need."

George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. "Here's something for that little man of yours."

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier.

"And what are you supposed to buy Xmas dinner with? You keep that too," George said. "Now git home to your family."

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good."

"Nope. I'm closed Xmas day," George said. "See ya the day after."

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you left?"

"I have been here." said the stranger. "You say you don't celebrate Xmas. Why?"

"Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn't see what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was gettin' a little chubby."

The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor.

The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. "That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man."

Did you know ...

Here's a guide to 21st century spy speak

What happens to digital life after death

And are prisons bleeding us dry?

President Obama Provides a Peek Into His Soul During His Eulogy of Nelson Mandela

President Obama’s eulogy of Nelson Mandela was personal. moving, and provided a surprising look inside the president’s soul.
Video of President Obama’s eulogy of Nelson Mandela:
Obama got a huge ovation as he took the stage. The president told South Africa that the world thanks them for sharing the life of Nelson Mandela. He talked about eulogizing the essential truth of a man, and that this was even harder to do for a giant of history. Obama called Mandela, “The last great liberator of the 20th Century.” He compared Mandela to Ghandi and MLK. The president also compared Mandela’s political career to the Founding Fathers.
Obama said Mandela resisted the lifeless portrait of the smiling icon. The president praised Mandela for not being, “a bust made of marble.” Obama said that Mandela, “tells us what is possible not just in the pages of history books, but in our own lives as well.” The president talked about how Mandela disciplined his anger and used it to fight. President Obama said, “Mandela taught us the power of action, but he also taught us the power of ideas.”
The president talked about how Mandela was a leader of a movement, as well as a skilled politician. He described how Mandela stuck to his core principles, but also how he was concerned about South Africa being a democracy for all.
Obama said that Mandela changed laws, but he also changed hearts. The president said that he asks himself how well he applies the lessons of Mandela to his own life, as a man and as a president. The president made it clear that despite the progress that has been made our work is not done. The president talked about global poverty, and people who are imprisoned today for their political or religious beliefs. The president called out leaders who identify with Mandela’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.
President Obama could have been talking about himself when he said, “Nelson Mandela reminds us that it is impossible until it is done.”
The president said that Mandela makes him want to be a better man. President Obama closed by saying we will miss him deeply.
President Obama eulogy was moving, deeply personal, and it revealed a great deal about where Barack Obama draws his inspiration from. This was not just a great eulogy, but also a great speech. At many moments throughout the speech he was talking about Mandela, but he could have been talking about himself.
You can see the Mandela inspiration in the way that President Obama fights for his core values. It can be argued that the president is also the leader of a movement and a politician. There are many parallels between Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, and Obama who is America’s first black president. The president’s remarks were great. If you want to cut through the wingnut bullshit and understand what makes President Obama tick, this speech said it all.

Obama Smacks Down The repugican Hysteria Over the Castro Handshake

After repugicans like John McCain embarrassed themselves with outrage over the Castro handshake, the White House put out a statement that made them look like even bigger fools. …
South Africa Mandela Memorial Obama Castro
Sen. McCain was asked what he thought of the Obama/Raul Castro handshake at the Mandela memorial. He answered, “It gives Raul some propaganda to continue to prop up his dictatorial, brutal regime, that’s all,” He was asked if Obama should have shaken hands with Castro. He said, “Of course not.” “Why should you shake hands with somebody who’s keeping Americans in prison? I mean, what’s the point?” After a pause, McCain let his bitter jealousy out, “Neville Chamberlain shook hands with Hitler.”
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (r-FL) yelled at Secretary of State Kerry over the handshake, “Mr. Secretary sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant. Raul Castro uses that hand to sign the orders to repress and jail democracy advocates.”
Sen. Marco Rubio said, “If the President was going to shake his hand, he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba.”
The White House had a simple explanation for the handshake that has whipped the right into a frenzy, “Nothing was planned in terms of the president’s role other than his remarks,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling with Obama. “He really didn’t do more than exchange greetings with those leaders on his way to speak, it wasn’t a substantive discussion.”
The repugicans are outraged because President Obama was too polite to Raul Castro at a memorial service. I guess the appropriate response in the repugican mind would have been to ignore the lessons of Mandela, and treat Cuba like a lifetime enemy.
It is silly that the White House had to put out a statement about this, but the media and repugicans ran with it. The repugicans went ballistic, because to them this handshake was proof of Obama’s communism. (McCain’s motive was different. He is still bitter over 2008, so he goes out of his way to criticize the president’s foreign policy leadership.) The repugicans are petty children who will use anything in their endless attempts to delegitimize this president’s leadership.
Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but the repugican barbarians don’t understand manners, so be prepared for lots of talk of this being proof of Obama’s commie ways.

A Holiday Wish as the Least Productive Congress in History Wraps Up Its Year

This Congress is on pace to be the least productive in history. Let's set this overpaid, under-performing inertia against the productivity levels of the typical American worker…
As American workers, those fortunate enough to be employed anyway, rush to complete year-end projects, let us take a moment to marvel at the outgoing 113th Congress. This group is the least productive on record. As of this writing, the sorry bunch of elected officials has passed just 55 laws this calendar year, seven fewer than the 112th Congress of 2012. The 62 pieces of legislation that last year’s bodies managed to get off the floor was, at the time, the lowest bar ever set.
Let’s set this overpaid, under-performing inertia against the productivity levels of the typical American worker, the one that hasn’t been desperately seeking employment or experiencing imminent fear of losing it. In the great Mother Jones piece, All Work and No Pay: The Great Speedup, from the magazine’s July/August 2011 issue, writers Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery observe, “We’d hear from creative professionals in what seemed to be dream jobs who were crumbling under ever-expanding to-do lists; from bus drivers, hospital technicians, construction workers, doctors, and lawyers who shame-facedly whispered that no matter how hard they tried to keep up with the extra hours and extra tasks, they just couldn’t hold it together. (And don’t even ask about family time.)”
Such is not the affliction of Congressional derelicts, particularly in the repugican-led House, where officials will put in a mere four full days at the office in the month of December.
In the quest for solutions to bridge the ever-diverging fortunes, work ethics and priority lists between John Q. Americana and the “public servants” we elect, it must be noted that Washington’s isolation from reality is enabled by a lack of urgency. Simply put: they just aren’t subject to the mundane and therefore, have no need to get down and dirty, much less try to understand the challenges and balancing acts required of regular plebians.
So I have a pipe dream for 2014, one that would save the country some of the precious deficit dollars that the repugican cabal leaders love to screech about, while ratcheting up the production championed so often by captains of industry. Do we really need 435 bodies in the House, taking up air and all the best restaurant reservations in Washington D.C? Hell no! They don’t do anything anyway. Let’s cut that number to a brisk 100 – two representatives for every state. You want redistricting? How about NO districting and the remaining elected “workers” have to represent every interest across the spectrum? Don’t want to speak on behalf of those who favor gun control in urban areas from your farm in the sticks? Don’t care about the unemployed when the family millions are safely guarded tax-free by your investment banker? Too bad! American workers have to shill for things they’d rather not each and every working day. Join the pride swallowing fun!
If you’ll indulge me a moment longer, let’s move onto the Senate. Let’s let Jeff Flake and John McCain get in the ring and decide who gets to be the sole hardest working man from Arizona State. Frankly speaking I had to Google “other Arizona Senator” to even learn who Flake is. Sorry United States. These are hard times and you only get one Senator apiece. Take your pick! We must reduce headcount!
Let the 114th Congress get a real, measurable sense of metrics, the common man’s workload and multi-tasking. Best part is: the incidence of finger pointing must needs to go down. There won’t be anyone else to blame! The remaining strained parties will have to work together, sometimes even around the clock doing actual, functional compromising. It’s so old school! Oh the fun we’ll have watching C-SPAN. The money we’ll save, and less lawmakers to go around might even lead to less pundits. This “more with less” revitalization strategy could be the gift that keeps on giving.
Just imagine…

The Truth Be Told

New Poll Finds America Hates Congressional repugicans More Than Ever

According to a new Marist poll, Americans hate the job congressional repugicans are doing.
Merry Xmas, repugican Scrooges, America hates you. They hate you even more today than they did yesterday.
Only 22% of voters approve of the job the repugicans in Congress are doing. Seventy-four percent disapprove, and 4% have either never heard of them or are unsure how to rate them, according to a new Marist Poll out today.
In fact, the government shutdown and shock and awe obstructionism of the repugican cabal has brought all of DC down. The public hates Congress and doesn’t think as much of the President either. But they hate repugicans the most. Even more than yesterday.
According to Marist, “The Congressional repugicans previously experienced their highest level of voter dissatisfaction in April when 71% said their performance was subpar.” But there is nothing repugicans can’t do when they set their minds to it, and so they set out to prove that April subpar was nothing compared to a summer of subpar super.
So repugicans shutdown the government over the funding of a law vetted by the Supreme Court and the people — a law that benefited the people. A law that allowed the people access to affordable care. The repugicans had no alternative to offer. And their insurance is paid for by the people. But apparently they don’t think You People are worthy.
The repugicans refused to sit down for budget conference all summer. Instead, they led witch-hunt after witch hunt designed to do what this poll shows- take the President and Congressional Democrats down with them. Misery loves company.
Just 33% approve of how Congressional Democrats are doing their job while 64% disapprove, and 3% have either never heard of them or are unsure how to rate them. You can thank the media for at least half of those numbers, since they seem incapable of fact-checking repugicans and instead serve as stenographers for every desperate new pretend scandal the repugican cabal can manufacture. Fourth estate indeed.
For proof that the media isn’t doing much, while 48% blame Congressional repugicans for the gridlock on the budget, 37% point a finger at President Obama. Seriously. Maybe if the media asked repugicans why they were avoided budget conference yet again…
This is the repugican dream – to get voters to distrust government, so that they can sell their “less government” mantra that lets corporations off of the hook because it means no one will regulate or monitor them at all.
The repugicans have always achieved this goal of proving government doesn’t work by being obscenely incompetent at their jobs in government (see the shrub or Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin). They’ve done it again!
The thing repugicans weren’t banking on, however, is that the thing they’ve made the centerpiece of their Hate the Government Meme is going to end up being the short term demise of that argument.
As we have been saying here for months, while the mainstream media fed you troll concerns over a glitch in a website that granted, did suck, but wasn’t the END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, or even the END OF THIS PRESIDENT, or even the END OF OBAMACARES, everyone wants insurance that won’t drop them when they get sick.
This need for access to healthcare is pretty primal, and it eclipses political ideology. This wasn’t difficult to predict or sort out. Imagine a loved one is really sick and then ask yourself if you would want them to be uninsured and sick. Of course not.
And this is the part that the beltway missed, and repugicans are still missing. The repugicans don’t want to be without insurance either! But they simply never thought that you might feel the same.
It is natural that they are entitled to insurance, you see, but to think that you might also feel entitled to live has never crossed their minds.
In their minds, the rest of you don’t deserve to live because you must be a lazy taker if you don’t have insurance. That’s how out of it repugicans are – they don’t care that mom and pop businesses and independent contractors couldn’t afford insurance or that the insurance people did have would drop them when they got sick.
So once again, reality bites Scroogey repugicans and the media in the bum. It’s coal for the incompetent accusers with no plan of their own.

Bernie Sanders Obliterates the repugican Argument Against Raising the Minimum Wage

Sen. Bernie Sanders went on MSNBC and destroyed every major repubgican argument against raising the minimum wage, while calling the repugican cabal's position, 'just factually wrong.' …
Sen. Sanders destroyed the repugican claim that raising the minimum wage would be a job killer,
I say they’re just factually wrong. In my state of Vermont, our minimum wage is $8.60 compared to the national minimum wage of $7.25. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in America. You have states where there is virtually no minimum wage at all, and their unemployment rate is much higher. The facts just don’t bear it out. The reality is that if we raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour about 30 million Americans would get a pay raise, and 88% of them are adults. These are not kids. These are working families struggling to keep their heads above water. They need a pay raise. We’ve gotta pass it.
(Sanders was asked by Ed Schultz if McDonalds can afford to pay its employees $15 an hour.)
Ed, here is the real outrage. Not only can they afford to pay a decent minimum wage, but here is the point. Right now the taxpayers of this country are subsidizing the McDonalds people, Burger King and Walmart. In Walmart in particular, you have the wealthiest family in the world. They’re worth $100 billion, but the wages and the benefits they provide to their workers are so low that many of these workers go on Medicaid. They go on food stamps. They have to get government help for their housing, so the taxpayers of America end up subsidizing Walmarts, McDonalds, and Burger King. If we raise the minimum wage the workers would actually have enough living, enough income to get off of some of these programs.
Sen. Sanders completely destroyed the repugican arguments against raising the minimum wage. The repugicans don’t have any facts or data to back up their opposition to increasing the minimum wage, so they always try to turn the argument into an ideological one. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently debunked the repugican claim that raising the minimum wage would raise prices by pointing out that if McDonalds raised their minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, prices would increase by four cents.
Bernie Sanders is trying to rally the American people to get up and demand an increase in the minimum wage. Tens of millions of adult Americans would escape poverty if the minimum wage was increased. The gap between the corporate profits and worker salaries has never been more extreme. These employers could easily afford to raise their minimum wage, but it is a matter of greed at the top.
The repugican protection of the rich at all cost is sowing the seeds of a voter rebellion. Worker protests are increasing, and potential customers are starting to take their money elsewhere. The repugicans can offer no good reason for opposing an increase in the minimum wage, and the bill is coming do for their servitude to the wealthiest Americans.
When it comes to the minimum wage, repugicans don’t have a leg to stand on.

McDonald's And Starbucks' CEOs Make More Than $9,200 An Hour

A woman walks past a Starbucks logo painted on a railway coach at the main train station in Zurich November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann 
The chief executives of McDonald's and Starbucks earn more than $9,200 an hour, which is at least 1,000 times the hourly wages of their sales associates, according to a new report by the personal finance website NerdWallet. The report highlights fast food and retail companies with some of the biggest gaps between CEO pay and hourly wages paid to associates.
McDonald's, Starbucks and Dollar General top the list, followed by Gap, TJ Maxx, Target, Wal-Mart, CVS Caremark, Best Buy and AT&T Wireless.
NerdWallet study - CEO pay
Out of those 10 companies, median CEO pay on an hourly basis was calculated as $7,334, compared to $8.73 for sales associates. NerdWallet reviewed 100 companies for the report and selected the 10 that had the highest annual CEO pay to compare the disparities.
CEO pay was calculated by dividing each chief executive's total compensation (as reported in the company's annual proxy statement) by 60 hours a week times 50 weeks per year. Sales associates' wage information was obtained from Glassdoor.com.
The NerdWallet study comes as employees of fast food and retail chains have been staging a series of demonstrations and strikes demanding better pay.

Random Celebrity Photo


Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly

Sword-wielding man demanded free tacos

A San Antonio man has been arrested accused of threatened a restaurant worker with a sword as he demanded free tacos. The incident happened last week at an eatery in southeast Bexar County.

Woman glued to toilet seat says it wasn't funny

A woman who was glued to a store toilet seat in an apparent prank has been left with such painful injuries she is unable to sit down.
Illyanna De La Keur said she is still in huge amounts of pain almost two weeks after she sat on the seat at the Banks County Home Depot in north Georgia. I'm a grown woman who can't even sit up," Ms De La Keur said "I was stuck probably over an hour."
An embarrassed Ms De La Keur said she was still so sore, she is unable to leave her couch and wants answers as to how the incident happened and her subsequent rescue. Video footage of Ms De La Keur shows her screaming in pain as emergency workers try to free her.

They eventually did so with the help of WD40, but not before she suffered serious injuries to the skin on the back of her legs. "It wasn't funny," she said. "Whoever decided to do this it wasn't funny." Ms De La Keur also questioned why she wasn't taken to hospital with the seat attached where doctors could have separated it from her skin more safely.

The Near-Perfect Murder Weapon

Arsenic was, at one time, a very popular way to murder someone. It was the most common poison to factor in 19th century British murder trials, but it is also a particularly difficult cause of death to determine. In fact, most deaths by arsenic were attributed to natural causes, so for every murder trial involving arsenic, there were probably multiple cases in which the perpetrator got away with the crime.
Some poisons such as cyanide and strychnine work according to a strict timetable and dispatch their victims in a predictable manner. Arsenic, by contrast, is mysterious and shilly-shallying, behaving more like an infectious disease, so that the nature and length of the victim's suffering depends partly on their genetic make-up and general state of health. Death from acute arsenic poisoning can take anything from two hours to four days, although victims have been known to linger for a fortnight. For most, though, the misery lasts at least 24 hours.

To confuse matters further, human beings are capable of building up a certain tolerance to arsenic if they go about it carefully enough. In 1851, a community of peasants living on the Austria-Hungarian border were found to be taking arsenic in what would normally be lethal doses. They believed that the poison was good for their health and took it as a tonic, starting with a tiny sub-toxic dose and gradually increasing it.

Defense lawyers quickly seized on this to try to sow doubt in juries' minds. Was this case really murder? Perhaps the arsenic in the dead person's food or body had been self-administered for health reasons, only this time the victim had gone too far?
And there were other factors that made arsenic the go-to poison for those who wanted to hasten the death of someone they knew. Read about them in an excerpt from the book The Inheritor's Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science at HuffPo Books.



Money may corrupt ...

This Guy Traveled The Country In A Pink Tutu Just To Make His Wife Laugh During Chemo

After his wife Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer, Bob began taking beautiful but totally ridiculous photographs of himself in a pink tutu. 'When Linda would go in for treatment, she would take the images on her phone and the women would look at them and it would make them laugh and make the time pass,' Bob said.

Linda said the other women appreciated that Bob was standing out in order to stand by her. After so much postive feedback, Bob knew he had to continue making the photographs. The Tutu Project was born and quickly went viral.

Why We're Afraid Of The Dark

(And Why It's Good That We Are)

Most kids go through a stage in which they're afraid of the dark. Any creaking floorboard, rustling shutter, or random bump in the night fill them with terror. Good! Here's why, and why we should maybe never grow out of it.

Several 3,000-year-old structures found in Colombia

Some 170 archaeologists and workers have spent the last year excavating a 3,000-year-old site in a rural area near the Colombian capital.
3,000-year-old structures found in Colombia
Excavation of the 3,000-year-old site in Colombia
[Credit: Hispanically Speaking News]
Covering 7.8 hectares (19.25 acres), the dig is “unique in Colombia” in terms of offering the possibility of reconstructing ancient village life, archaeologist John Gonzalez told Efe.

“The site is the result of the New Hope electricity project. We came here basically due to the need for an environmental impact study,” explained Gonzalez, archaeological coordinator for EPM, one of the companies involved in the power project.

EPM and Codensa, a subsidiary of Spain’s Endesa, expect to start construction at the end of next year on two electrical substations in the Bogota suburb of Soacha.

In the meantime, the two firms are carrying out the archaeological excavation under the supervision of the official Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History.

“We have found an archaeological context that tells us about a probable form of village life, with some traces of family dwellings,” Gonzalez said. “We also find structures of a ceremonial type of nature and funerary structures.”

The site has yielded 30 intact ceramic objects as well as human bones and teeth.

The materials reveal that the inhabitants were members of the so-called Herrera culture, who lived in the highlands of central Colombia from around 900 B.C. to A.D. 900.

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Daily Comic Relief


Singing robin has taken up residence in festive tree in flower shop

A robin has taken up residence in a festive tree decoration in a village flower shop.
The bird first appeared at the front door of the Flower Box in Grantown on Spey in the Highland Council Area in Scotland, two weeks ago. Maria Norman, who owns the shop, said it started following her in each morning and would stay until she let it out in the afternoon.
However, the robin now stays in the shop all day and night rather than fly out the open door. Ms Norman said: "He had been flying about outside and then started following me inside each morning.

YouTube link. Alternative video link if the BBC News YouTube video doen't work outside the UK.
"He would start to get agitated around half past three and I would open the door for him and he'd fly away. But now he doesn't fly out and stays in the shop and sings to the customers." She added: "He has everything he needs in the shop - a tree, a bath and food."

Pet rabbit butchered in figure skating feud

A spat between rival figure-skating clubs in southern Sweden has left children receiving death threats, a pet rabbit slaughtered, and police and club members alike in a frenzied search for clues that has so far proven fruitless. The dispute took a decidedly sinister turn last Thursday morning when Christine Månsson (whose real name has been withheld at her request) woke up and walked out to the family's garden to feed their pet rabbit at their home in Landskrona in southern Sweden. The scene she stumbled across at the house's front gate left the mother of two in shock. The rabbit's decapitated head. It's feet and limbs cut off; its entrails strewn across the ground. “I see the remains of my rabbit’s body…it’s in my mind all the time,” Månsson said. “It’s cruel and it’s cowardly. But it’s too late.”
Police who examined the scene concluded that the rabbit was indeed killed by a human, most likely someone with knowledge about hunting, as the dismemberment was clean-cut and precise. “I cannot imagine who could do such a horrible thing,” Månsson said. “It’s disgusting.” The brutal butchery of the animal is the latest development in a dramatic dispute between local figure skating clubs that has shaken the coastal town of roughly 40,000 inhabitants. Skates have been stolen, club members have received anonymous threat letters. And now a pet has been killed in an unlikely feud between the town's two figure-skating organizations, GF Sport Figure-Skating, and the Landskrona Figure Skating and Sport Club (LKSK). For many years, GF was the only place in town for aspiring figure-skaters to learn the finer points of the sport. But in late August, LKSK began training young skaters, creating a second option for disgruntled GK members who began to question the way the town's original club was run.“I was involved in the other club last year, and I didn’t like its methods,” said Månsson, who thought GF placed too much emphasis on competition and achievement.

“I wanted to create a club that was open for everyone, where kids can just have fun without stressing. So we started LKSK. And that’s when things began to happen.” Shortly after the club’s opening, Månsson purchased skates for the school, realizing that many parents would want to let their kids first try the sport without investing too much. “It was an advantage for LKSK,” Månsson said. “No other club has skates and helmets available to loan. But then they just disappeared.” The skates vanished from Månsson’s car, while her Apple laptop was left untouched – leading her to conclude the theft wasn't the work of an ordinary burglar. And the mystery is not one-sided. Meanwhile at GF, treasurer Pauline Kronvall received a menacing message. "I found the first letter in my mailbox in September, right after we had opened the skating school for the year," Kronvall told said. It said I should leave the club's board, or my kids would be murdered." Police attempted to investigate the matter but the investigation was dropped when they could not find any clues. Since then, Kronvall has received two addition letters threatening her family. "I started looking over my shoulder when walking alone in the ice hall," Kronvall said. "I don't know if these are empty threats, or serious."
The death threats were reported to police and members GK and officials with the city were informed. However, the police investigation was later dropped due to a lack of evidence. Members from both clubs have been threatened, and it is in unclear if there is any connection between the burglaries, the letters, and the rabbit murder. But vendetta or coincidence, Månsson said there is definitely bad blood between the clubs. One 14-year-old skater with LKSK was reportedly threatened by a member of GF, although the exact nature of the threat has not been confirmed. But Månsson intends to carry on as always. “I don’t know who this is, but I believe the goal is to scare us. The only thing I can imagine is that they want us to quit the club,” Månsson speculated. “But I cannot live my life being afraid. You can’t watch your kids or your house all the time, and you can’t just lock the doors and stay inside all your life. I’ve taken what precautions I can. Now my main goal is just stay positive and focused.”

Tiger mauled trainer midway through performance in Spanish circus attack

A tamer was viciously attacked by the tiger he was performing with during a circus act in Madrid on Sunday.
Thirty-five-year-old Danny Gottani was rushed to hospital after sustaining serious cuts and bites to his throat, legs and back. Just moments before, hundreds of spectators had watched in disbelief as the big cat pounced on the animal trainer and wouldn't let go of him.
Although part of the audience assumed the attack was part of the pair’s stage act, they soon realized the mauling was all too true when another circus member rushed to the scene and began striking the animal with a stick. Gottani has been working with tigers since the age of 18 and never uses any whips or weapons to control the animals.

Madrid Health Services said that none of Gottani’s vital organs were damaged in the attack even though the cuts were “relatively deep”. Gottani's mother, a spectator in the audience, also needed medical attention after suffering an anxiety attack.

Some 80,000 bats driven out of Australian town with water cannons, helicopters and gunfire

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Charters Towers in north Queensland on Monday to see 80,000 bats driven from the town.
The sounds of horns, helicopters, gun blasts and fireworks filled the air to try and scare away a colony of bats that have infested a local park. The council says it was forced to take the drastic action after other measures did not work. Local residents were overjoyed to see the animals go.

"They're terrible and the smell pervades everything," one resident said. "The droppings - everywhere - you can't even park your car here for one day." Shop manager Ayla Pott says the smell of the animals drive away customers. "It stinks, it smells - some days it's that unbearable you can't open your doors," she said.

But conservationist Priska Sussli says the removal was inhumane, because some bats were too young to fly away. "How can people do this, why?" she said. "It's just very bad timing to do this dispersal." The council will use the drastic measures every morning and night for the next 10 days and monitor the park to see if the bats come back.

Sandcastle-building fish offer evolution clue

In Lake Malawi, East Africa, there are around 200 different species of cichlid fish that once or twice a year build large sand structures (known as bowers) on which the fish mate. Each different species constructs a bower which is subtly different to that of other species. The males then defend their ‘sandcastle’, hoping to attract the attention of the opposite sex.
Sandcastle-building fish offer evolution clue
Cichlid fish building sandcastles [Credit: University of Hull]
Now, researchers at the University of Hull and the University of Nottingham have found that the precise shape of the bowers affects how many fights the male fish have with their nearby rivals.

The findings may explain how there came to be so many different species of bower-building cichlid living along-side one another.

Dr Domino Joyce, Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Hull, explained how the team conducted the research:

“We spent a total of 26 and a half hours underwater, watching 99 cichlid fish of one particular species.

“In order to investigate the importance of bower shape, we carefully changed the sand structures of some of the fish. When we did this, we were fascinated to find that the owners of these bowers got into fewer fights with other males.

“This is exciting, because it suggests that if male fish evolve to build their castles a little bit different to the others of their species, then these males may have an advantage as they are less likely to get attacked.”

The team of scientists recorded both mating success and aggressive interactions before and after manipulation of the bowers. Importantly, whilst aggression was reduced, altering bower shape did not ‘put off’ females from mating with these males.

“This is vital, because if females are deterred from mating with males who build novel shaped bowers, then the fact that these males are subjected to less aggression from other males, would be no advantage at all,” said Dr Magalhaes, Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham and lead author of the research.

“Our research shows that different behaviors can co-exist within a population. Owners of novel bowers should be able to occupy central territories, experience less aggression from other males and successfully mate with females.

“Over time, if female preference also evolves to favor the new shape of bower, then this could lead to the emergence of a new species of cichlid, all of whom build this once novel style of sandcastle.”

Increasing understanding of how one species evolves into several other species, particularly within the same environment, can help tell us more about the diversity of life on Earth. This new research, published this week in the journal PeerJ, may help to explain how there came to be so many different species of bower-building cichlid fish living in Lake Malawi.

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Animal Pictures