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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Daily Drift

Seven Days To Go ....

Carolina Naturally is read in 194 countries around the world daily.
Who Dat ... !
Today is - (no special celebration today) Day

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Today in History

1118 Afonso the Battler, the Christian King of Aragon captures Saragossa, Spain, causing a major blow to Muslim Spain.
1812 Napoleon Bonaparte arrives in Paris after his disastrous campaign in Russia.
1862 Nathan Bedford Forrest engages and defeats a Federal cavalry force near Lexington in his continued effort to disrupt supply lines.
1862 Union General Ulysses S. Grant announces the organization of his army in the West. Sherman, Hurlbut, McPherson, and McClernand are to be corps commanders.
1865 Slavery is abolished in the United States. The 13th Amendment is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, ensuring that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
1915 In a single night, about 20,000 Australian and New Zealand troops withdraw from Gallipoli, Turkey, undetected by the Turks defending the peninsula.
1916 The Battle of Verdun ends with the French and Germans each having suffered more than 330,000 killed and wounded in 10 months. It was the longest engagement of World War I.
1925 Soviet leaders Lev Kamenev and Grigori Zinoviev break with Joseph Stalin.
1940 Adolf Hitler issues his secret plans for the invasion of the Soviet Union–Operation Barbarossa.
1941 Defended by 610 fighting men, the American-held island of Guam falls to more than 5,000 Japanese invaders in a three-hour battle.
1941 Japan invades Hong Kong.
1942 Adolf Hitler meets with Benito Mussolini and Pierre Laval.
1944 Japanese forces are repelled from northern Burma by British troops.
1951 North Koreans give the United Nations a list of 3,100 POWs.
1956 Japan is admitted to the United Nations.
1960 A rightist government is installed under Prince Boun Oum in Laos as the United States resumes arms shipments.
1965 U.S. Marines attack VC units in the Que Son Valley during Operation Harvest Moon.
1970 An atomic leak in Nevada forces hundreds of citizens to flee the test site.
1972 President Richard M. Nixon declares that the bombing of North Vietnam will continue until an accord can be reached (Operation Linebacker II).
1989 The European Economic Community and the Soviet Union sign an agreement on trade and economic communication.
2002 California Gov. Gray Davis announces the state faces a record budget deficit; the looming $35 billion shortfall is almost double the amount reported a month earlier during the state's gubernatorial campaign.
2005 Civil war begins in Chad with an rebel assault on in Adre; the rebels are believed to be backed by Chad's neighbor, The Sudan.
2008 United Arab Emirates holds it first-ever elections.
2010 In an opening act of Arab Spring, anti-government protests erupt in Tunisia.

Non Sequitur


Xmas Countdown Xmas Stories

by Clement Clarke Moore
'Twas the night before Xmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Xmas to all, and to all a good-night."

The Oak of the Two Blossoms

In Celtic tradition: The OAK OF THE TWO BLOSSOMS was one of the names of the Dagda’s living harp. On her was played the music of the four seasons, and so she was also known as the Hand of Four-Cornered Music.

Yuletide Love Story

A couple were Xmas shopping. The shopping center was packed.
As the wife walked through the mall she was surprised when she looked around to find her husband was nowhere to be seen.  She was quite upset because they had a lot to do.

She became so worried she called him on her cell phone to ask him where he was.
In a quiet voice he said, "Do you remember the jeweler's we went into about five years ago where you fell in love with that diamond necklace we couldn't afford, and I told you I would get it for you one day?"

The wife choked up and started to cry and said, "Yes, I do remember that shop."

He replied, "Well, I'm in the bar next door."

Rand Paul-Backed repugican Senate Candidate Held Rally with Secessionist Group

Of all the tea party Senate contenders of 2014, Greg Bannon, who's running in North Carolina, is one of the most extreme of the lunatic fringe.

Of all the tea partiers running for Senate in 2014, Greg Brannon, a GOP primary candidate hoping to topple vulnerable North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan, is one of the most extreme. He opposes public education, claiming it "does nothing but dehumanize" students. He doesn't believe that states have to follow Supreme Court decisions. He contends bipartisan compromises in Washington "enslave" Americans. He hails the the late Satan-incarnate Jesse Helms—who died in 2008 without ever renouncing his support for racial segregation—as a "modern hero." He claims that "all ten of [Karl] Marx's planks of Communism"—including the abolition of private property—"are law in our land today." In October, Brannon cosponsored and spoke at a rally supporting nullification—the notion that states can invalidate federal laws at will—that was cosponsored by the League of the South, a secessionist group seeking "a free and independent Southern republic." And Sen. Rand Paul (r-Ky.) has endorsed him.
Wingnuts are eager to snatch up Hagan's Senate seat, and they have pinned their hopes on Brannon, a tea party rabble-rouser and fiercely anti-abortion OB-GYN who has never run for elected office. In addition to Rand Paul, RedState editor Erick Erickson, who featured Brannon as a speaker at his annual RedState confab in November, and Ann Coulter have award Brannon their blessings. In a recent survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, Brannon was the only repugican who beat Hagan in a head-to-head matchup. When PPP polled repugican primary voters on the four repugican cabal candidates, North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis ran 9 points ahead of Brannon—but nearly half of those voters said they were undecided.
Brannon says he is eager to join Mike Lee and Ted Cruz in the "wacko bird caucus." And he has a role model in mind: Helms. He has promised, if elected, to emulate the black prince Helms, who represented the state in the Senate from 1973 to 2003.  In November, Brannon told the RedState crowd that he even asked his wife to move to North Carolina because "Senator No"—Helms's nickname—was his hero. Helms, by the way, earned that sobriquet for obstructing disability rights legislation, funding for HIV prevention, and a bill to establish a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., among many other things. He entered politics fighting interracial marriage, bullied black Senators, and considered gay people "morally sick wretches."
Brannon moved to North Carolina because Jesse Helms was his "modern hero."
Brannon is a fervent advocate of lunatic fringe positions. He has derided public education as Marxist and he decries all things bipartisan. In November, he dismissed the role of the Supreme Court in the American system: "Just because nine people in black robes, seven of them voted that abortion is in the Constitution, it does not make that law." The nullification rally he cosponsored and addressed was designed to make the case that nullification is "the path forward for those who love liberty"—and not only a tool that historically was used to support slavery and racial segregation.
But the issue closest to Brannon's heart is abortion. Brannon runs a pro-life OB-GYN practice—meaning he doesn't advise women on contraception or refer for abortions—and occasionally shows up for interviews or political events fresh off delivering a baby. In his stump speech, he alludes to the idea that the founding fathers supported fetal personhood.
In 2011, Brannon advised state Rep. Paul Stam on anti-abortion rights legislation Stam was pushing. The bill required women to wait 24 hours for an elective abortion after their initial visit to an abortion provider. Providers would have to perform a sonogram of the fetus—even if it is not medically necessary—display the image, and describe the extent of fetal development "in order for the woman to make an informed decision." Brannon testified before a North Carolina House committee in favor of a version of the bill that would force abortion providers to give women printed materials prominently displaying this statement: "The life of each human being begins at conception.'"
In his testimony, he said patients should be informed that abortion is linked to breast cancer. The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have all dismissed the notion that there is a link between breast cancer and abortion. Stam says in an email he asked Brannon to review the bill for accuracy.
"Just because nine people in black robes, seven of them voted that abortion is in the Constitution, it does not make that law."
The measure—without the provision compelling abortion providers to provide material asserting that human life begins at conception—became law in 2011.
Brannon serves as the medical director for Hand of Hope, a nonprofit that operates several North Carolina crisis pregnancy centers. At a recent Hand of Hope fundraiser, Brannon described the centers' clients as "little girls [who] don't understand what's going on to their bodies." He said he often presses these "little girls" to marry their boyfriends: "When I see little girls that come here, boyfriends that do show up are my favorites. Then I can whoop on them with love. How many people have we got married over the last 20 years just by riding that boy's rear end?"
Abortion rights advocates have criticized crisis pregnancy centers for showing women graphic simulations of abortions, providing medical misinformation, and suggesting on their websites that they provide abortions. The website for Your Choice Pregnancy Clinics, which are funded by Hand of Hope, does note that these clinics do not refer women for abortions.
But the site directs women to a website and telephone hotline run by Pregnancy Decision Line. The group's website falsely claims that morning-after pills can cause abortions and advises women not to "panic" and take a morning-after pill following unprotected sex unless she was sure ovulating. (Family planning experts advise women to take emergency contraception every time their primary birth control fails or they have unprotected sex.) The Pregnancy Decision Line suggests women visit a crisis pregnancy center before deciding whether to take a morning-after pill—without noting that many crisis pregnancy centers oppose the use of emergency contraception or mentioning that popular morning-after pills don't work 72 hours after unprotected sex.
"These little girls don't understand what's going on to their bodies."
Brannon is the first 2014 candidate Rand Paul endorsed who isn't an incumbent senator. In a radio interview, Brannon speculated Paul became interested in his campaign because they share an unnamed general consultant. (Brannon's campaign manager, Reilly O'Neal, is a former Ron Paul staffer. Brannon and Paul's offices did not respond to requests for comment for this article.) In his endorsement of Brannon, Paul said Brannon was "the clear choice for wingnutss in North Carolina."
Judging Brannon's odds in the repugican primary, set for May, is tricky. Public Policy Polling, which has been criticized for employing dubious polling methods, is the only firm taking the race's temperature. The most recent campaign finance filings show that Brannon has nabbed more than a quarter million dollars in contributions, mostly from individuals. That's less than a third of what Tillis has raised—not counting the $250,000 Tillis loaned himself.
But in a four-way race with backing from national wingnutss, Brannon certainly is in the hunt—and no one is more bullish on his chances than Brannon himself. "We're getting African Americans, Hispanics, women," Brannon bragged of his campaign in recent a radio interview. "We're building this coalition of many."

Definitions ...

Amazon's German workers strike as Xmas orders peak

by Emma Thomasson and Matthias Inverardi
Hundreds of Amazon.com Inc workers in Germany went on strike on Monday, just as pre-Xmas sales were set to peak, in a dispute over pay and conditions that has raged for months.
Germany is Amazon's second-biggest market behind the United States and sales there grew almost 21 percent in 2012 to $8.7 billion, a third of its overseas total. Amazon took its most daily orders in Germany last December 16, when almost 4 million articles were bought, with shipments peaking on December 17.
Amazon, which employs 9,000 warehouse staff in Germany plus 14,000 seasonal workers at nine distribution centers, said 1,115 staff had joined the strike at three sites, but there had been no delays to deliveries.
"Our customers can continue to rely on us for the prompt delivery of their Xmas presents," a spokeswoman said, adding that Amazon uses its whole European logistics network over the Xmas period to ensure delivery times.
The Verdi union said up to 700 workers joined the strike in Amazon's logistic center in Bad Hersfeld, plus 500 to 600 in Leipzig. For the first time, the union also called a strike in Graben, where Verdi said 600 workers took part.
"The Amazon system is characterized by low wages, permanent performance pressure and short-term contracts," Verdi board member Stefanie Nutzenberger said in a statement.
A delegation of German workers was due to rally at Amazon's headquarters in Seattle along with U.S. unions. In addition, workers in Amazon's center in the German town of Werne will protest on Tuesday, while strikes are expected to continue all week in Leipzig and until Wednesday in Bad Hersfeld.
"Amazon must realize it cannot export its anti-union labor model to European shores. We call on the company to come to the table and sign a global agreement that guarantees the rights of workers," said Philip Jennings of global trade union UNI.
Verdi has organized several short stoppages this year to try to force Amazon to accept collective bargaining agreements in the mail order and retail industry as benchmarks for workers' pay at Amazon's German distribution centers.
But Amazon's German country head Ralf Kleber said the company would not bow to pressure from striking workers and was more worried about bad weather hurting Xmas deliveries, he told Reuters in an interview last month.
Kleber said Amazon pays warehouse workers well according to the standards of the logistics industry, starting at 9.55 euros ($13.11) an hour, and does not think the more generous terms of the mail order and retail sector are justified.
Amazon has recently announced it would build three new logistics centers in Poland and two in the Czech Republic, prompting speculation that it could seek to shift work across the border from strike-hit centers in Germany.
But Kleber said Amazon expected to keep expanding in Germany, including eventually delivering fresh groceries too.
($1 = 0.7283 euros)

Did you know ...

These three ways the super-rich suck the wealth out of all of us

That a third of all bank tellers in the u.s. are on public assistance

About Google: happy happy joy joy

The Truth Hurts

The Truth Be Told

Tennessee Senator's chief of staff ordered freed

FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 file image taken from video and released by WJLA TV, U.S. Postal police walk with Ryan Loskarn, center, in Washington. Loskarn, the fired chief of staff for Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, is returning to court in Washington Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, after his arrest on charges of possession and attempted distribution of child pornography.. (AP Photo/WJLA TV, File) 
The fired chief of staff for Tennessee repugican Lamar Alexander will live with his parents in Maryland and be electronically monitored while he awaits trial on charges of possession and attempted distribution of child pornography.
A federal judge allowed Ryan Loskarn to be released from custody after a hearing Monday. Loskarn's lawyers argued that the 35-year-old had no prior convictions or arrests and that he should be freed. Prosecutors opposed the request.
Magistrate Judge John Facciola ordered Loskarn to be confined to his parents' home on the monitor. He also isn't allowed any access to the Internet.
Loskarn's parents appeared in court, and his father stood with his arm around his mother as she told the judge that they have no home computer and that cellphones and iPads are password protected. They promised to ensure their son would have no access to the Internet. They declined comment after the hearing.
Loskarn was arrested Wednesday. He faces up to 10 years on the possession charge and a minimum of five and maximum of 20 years on the distribution charge.
Loskarn had served as chief of staff for the repugican senator for two years.
Typical repugican!

Get a load of this ...

Hot pink stickers on manhole covers tell people what should and shouldn't be put down toilets

Oslo Council has become so desperate to stop people blocking up the drains, that it has turned manhole covers across the Norwegian capital bright pink.
Manhole covers have been adorned with hot-pink stickers, with the words "Bæsj, Tiss, Dopapir", or "Poo, Piss, Toilet paper". A small script underneath explains that nothing else should be put down the toilet.
"We chose pink because we thought it was the best way to get people's attention," Vivi Paulsen, a senior engineer at the city's Water and Sewerage Authority, said. "It's to teach people what they should not throw into the toilet."
She said that the cost of the adverts was a fraction of what the city had to spend every year on cleaning out fat, old cotton buds and tampons from its sewerage system and water treatment plants.

Fifteen Great Gifts of History

Not sure if your friend is talking about you behind your back? Well then perhaps he or she could use a great Seal of the United States with a bug in it, like, say the one the Soviet Union gave U.S. Ambassador Averell Harriman as a gift of friendship back in 1945:
Their definition of friendship was a little dysfunctional, though, because the gift contained a bug designed by famous Russian inventor Leon Theremin. The bug was hard to detect because it was extremely thin, gave off no signal and had no power supply.
There are plenty of other great gift ideas from history in this great article.

Stores have free rein to recoup shoplifting losses

This Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 photo shows a view of a Macy's flagship store in New York. Claims over racial profiling at department stores in New York have helped expose the practice in more than 40 states of retailers holding shoplifting suspects and assessing fines, even if a person hasn’t yet technically stolen anything. At Macy’s flagship store, suspects are held in cells, asked to sign an admission of guilt and pay hundreds in fines. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) 
Outside the view of paying customers, people accused of shoplifting at Macy's huge flagship store are escorted by security guards to cells in "Room 140," where they can be held for hours, asked to sign an admission of guilt and pay hundreds in fines, sometimes without any conclusive proof they stole anything.
As shoppers jam stores ahead of the December holidays, claims of racial profiling at department stores in New York have helped expose the wide latitude that laws in at least 27 states give retailers to hold and fine shoplifting suspects, even if a person hasn't yet technically stolen anything, is wrongly accused or criminal charges are dropped.
"You must remember, these people are not police officers; they are store employees," said Faruk Usar, the attorney for a 62-year-old Turkish woman who sued Macy's, which some customers say bullied them into paying fines on the spot or harassed them with letters demanding payment. "When they are detained, they are not yet even in a real jail."
Industrywide, more than $12 billion is lost to shoplifting each year. The laws, which vary on strictness and fine amounts, allow stores to try to recoup some losses. Under New York's longstanding law, retailers may collect a penalty of five times the cost of the stolen merchandise, up to $500 per item, plus as much as $1,500 if the merchandise isn't in a condition to be sold. A conviction is not necessary to bring a civil claim.
Some customers say stores have harassed them into signing admissions of guilt in order to turn a profit — not just recoup a loss.
Retailers don't divulge how much money they recoup but use it in part to offset security costs, said Barbara Staib, spokeswoman for the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention. The total is a fraction of what they lose, she said.
"We tend to forget that retailers are the victims of crime when it comes to shoplifting," she said.
But at least nine customers at the Macy's store immortalized in "Miracle on 34th Street" say in lawsuits that the retailer is abusing the law, wrongly targeting minorities and holding customers for hours, years after it settled similar claims brought by the state attorney general by paying a $600,000 fine and changing practices. That agreement expired in 2008.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is again investigating claims against retailers. Last week, New York state stores agreed to post a customer "bill of rights" on their websites explicitly prohibiting profiling and unreasonable searches.
Usar's client, Ayla Gursoy, was detained in 2010 after she carried two coats in her arms up several flights of stairs in the flagship store, according to her suit. Store security accused Gursoy, who speaks little English, of trying to steal. She was asked to sign a form admitting guilt and pay a fine. She refused, the police were called and she was arrested.
Gursoy and others say they were held for hours in Room 140, a bare room with two small, barred holding cells with wooden benches within the store.
Elina Kazan, a spokeswoman for Cincinnati-based Macy's, said the company's practices prohibit coercion when recovering fines.
"Our policy of exercising our right to pursue a civil recovery payment is consistent with common practice in the retail industry and within the parameters of the law," she said.
Many retailers detain suspected shoplifters, industry experts said, but few have dedicated jail cells and most don't ask for payments on the spot like Macy's.
Most of the accused receive letters in the mail demanding payment from a law firm like the one used by Macy's, Palmer, Reifler & Associates, of Orlando, Fla. That firm also represents Home Depot, Wal-Mart and many other stores and sends out about 115,000 letters per month.
"We are confident in our clients' training processes and procedures for evaluating and investigating theft matters," attorney Natt Reifler said.
Letters sent to Gursoy said that if she didn't pay, she would be sued. One said she owed $400; the next said she owed $675 — the increase unexplained.
"We believe the whole purpose of her detention was to get the signature, to get the payments," Usar said shortly before his client's suit was settled in court Dec. 4. The terms were not disclosed. Her criminal charge was dismissed after no witness could testify.
In San Leandro, Calif., Jimin Chen accused Home Depot in a federal lawsuit of abusing the laws by shaking down customers to make an extra profit.
He said he was stopped in September by a security guard there who falsely accused him of trying to steal work gloves worth $3.99 that he had taken off the shelves and worn to load lumber into his cart. He said he was detained until he signed an admission of guilt.
Later, he started receiving letters demanding money; $350, then $675. Home Depot disputes the claims and has asked for dismissal.
Lawyers say that retailers rarely actually sue for the money, and they often suggest letter recipients don't bother paying because refusing won't affect their credit.
Generally, industry experts say, the laws allowing retailers to hold and fine suspected shoplifters are applied correctly.
"Retailers do a really good job of identifying where actual theft cases have occurred, and intervening and conducting investigations," said Joseph LaRocca, who runs RetaiLPartners, an industry group aimed at building partnerships between retailers and law enforcement. "There are always expectations, but by and large, there are few mistakes here."
The racial profiling allegations started in New York this fall with a different retailer, Barneys New York, after two black customers said they were stopped while buying expensive merchandise. The retailer has said it does not profile, and neither customer was asked to sign a confession or pay a fine.
But the allegations grew to include Macy's. Among those complaining was Rob Brown of the HBO show "Treme," who said he was stopped after buying a $1,300 Movado watch for his mother this summer.
Brown, 29, said he too was taken to Room 140. There, he said in a federal suit filed by attorney Doug Wigdor, others being held were all "individuals of color." He was released, he said, when people realized he was a celebrity.
Kazan, of Macy's, said she couldn't comment on pending litigation.

Store sold meat recovered from shoplifter's pants

A Superstore grocery store in Charlottetown, Canada sold meat found in a shoplifter's pants.Jeffery Arthur Feehan, 29, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to shoplifting charges after he was caught putting packages of chicken breasts, bacon and steaks worth $71.32 in his pants in a store bathroom.
He was sentenced to 94 days in jail and has been banned from all Superstores in Charlottetown for one year. However, it's what store employees did after Feehan was caught, that has some incensed.
During his trial, the prosecutor learned that the evidence had been placed back on store shelves. Crown attorney Valerie Moore said: "That sounds strange. They must have been well-wrapped in plastic given that they were down his pants."

Woman allegedly attacked father-in-law with cane claiming he had stolen her dentures

Convinced her father-in-law had stolen her dentures, an enraged Pennsylvania woman allegedly took his cane and repeatedly struck him in the head. Jody A. Burns, 36, of Scranton arrived at Albert Zawicki's apartment at about 8:10am on Tuesday, looking for her dentures, police said.
Mr. Zawicki claimed he didn't know where they were, but told her to look around his home. Instead, Ms. Burns grabbed his cane and began striking his head. When Mr. Zawicki raised his arms to block the attack, Ms. Burns hit his forearm and legs, he told police.
After tossing the cane aside, Ms. Burns grabbed a ceramic mug and threw it at his face. Scrambling for help, Mr. Zawicki reached for his cordless phone and dialed 911. But Ms. Burns grabbed it, ripped out the battery pack and then threw the phone at him. Upon learning he called police, Ms Burns told him, "I will just tell them you raped me."
A dazed Mr. Zawicki told police he believes Ms Burns then left, but he wasn't sure. He refused medical treatment. At about 8:25am, officers spotted Ms. Burns. After a brief struggle officers handcuffed Ms Burns. She faces charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment and resisting arrest.


Tracing The History Of 'Zombie' From Haiti To The CDC

by Lakshmi Gandhi A still from the 1943 film I Walked With A Zombie.
A still from the 1943 film I Walked With A Zombie.

"Who doesn't like zombies?"
That was the subject line of an email blast that landed in my inbox recently from a major online retailer as it announced it was "bringing their Black Friday deals back to life."
With shows like The Walking Dead and movies like World War Z, plus a whole literary subgenre known simply as "," the supernatural beings have been having a pop culture moment for some time now.
While there's a long history and fascination with animated corpses in American literature and cinema, zombies aren't originally a product of the American imagination. The undead corpses actually trace their roots to Haiti and Haitian Creole traditions that have their roots in African religious customs.
According to Haitian folklore, the book recounts, zombies are the product of spells by a voudou sorcerer called a bokor. The word is believed to be of West African origin and was brought to Haiti by slaves from that region. The concept of zombies would evolve further with the creation of the voudou religion.
In , University of California, Irvine, professor Amy Wilentz called zombies a "very logical offspring of New World slavery." According to Wilentz, because slavery in colonial Haiti was so viciously brutal, death was the only real escape and seen as a way to return to Africa or lan Guinée (which translated means Guinea). As she writes:
"Suicide was the slave's only way to take control over his or her own body ... And yet, the fear of becoming a zombie might stop them from doing so ... This final rest — in green, leafy, heavenly Africa, with no sugarcane to cut and no master to appease or serve — is unavailable to the zombie. To become a zombie was the slave's worst nightmare: to be dead and still a slave, an eternal field hand."
The earliest references to zombies in the United States were closely associated with slavery and connected the word to African traditions. The word "zombi" — which for years was spelled without the "e" at the end — first appeared in print in an American newspaper in a reprinted short story called "The Unknown Painter" in 1838.
, which was first published in the Chambers's Edinburgh Journal and then in the U.S. in the Alton Telegraph newspaper, a young African slave owned by a Spanish painter named Bartolome Esteban Murillo claims that a "zombi" appears in the art studio at night to work on the paintings of Murillo's apprentices. However, no one believes the young slave's assertions and dismiss the existence of the zombi as an African myth. (Murillo's famous painting "Adoration of the Magi" features a black man as one of the three wise men. You can read more about people of color in medieval art .)
in American pop culture, Ann Kordas notes that the fictional story of Murillo's young slave seemed to have struck a chord with the American public and different versions of the story were published many times in local newspapers throughout the 1800s. Kordas notes that by the mid-1800s, a zombi had for many "come to be associated with a creature of African 'origin' that willingly performed services for whites."
By 1872, the linguistic scholar Maximilian Schele de Vere would as "a phantom or a ghost, not infrequently heard in the Southern States in nurseries and among the servants."
But the mainstreaming of the word would begin in 1929, when the travel writer William Seabrook released his book on Haiti and "voodoo," titled , in which Seabrook writes about seeing "voodoo" cults in Haiti and the concept of the zombi to many readers. Several film scholars believe the book was the basis of the classic 1932 horror film White Zombie.
The film was — as the title suggests — about white, rather than African, zombies. In the film, a young couple named Madeleine and Neil are talked into getting married on a Haitian plantation by the owner, who is secretly plotting to seduce the bride. To that end, he teams up with a local Creole mill owner (played by Bela Lugosi) who gives him a zombie potion to use on Madeline.
Other zombie films would follow, but they'd rarely take place in Haiti or incorporate the words origins the way White Zombie did. An example is the 1943 horror movie, I Walked With A Zombie, in which a Canadian nurse travels to the fictional Caribbean Island of St. Sebastian to care for the wife of a plantation owner. On arrival, she finds her charge in a zombie-like state and wonders if voudou would cure her.
1968's Night of the Living Dead is widely considered a landmark film in the genre. Marking the 45th anniversary of the release of the film, Code Switch's Matt Thompson , "set the expectation that [zombie movies] would be a vehicle for stinging social commentary." And that it did so because director George Romero cast a black actor, Duane Jones, as the protagonist. Audiences, at the time, were said to draw a connection between the action on the screen and the fight for civil rights.
Through the years, researchers and anthropologists have occasionally tried to research the Haitian voudou belief in zombies. In 1937, the author Zora Neale Hurston traveled to Haiti to research Haitian customs for her book Tell My Horse.
, Hurston was asked to define exactly what a zombie was. Her reply:
"A zombie is supposed to be the living dead: people who die and are resurrected, but without their souls. They can take orders, and they're supposed to never be tired, and to do what the master says."
One of the most famous studies of Haitian zombies was ethnobotanist The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist's Astonishing Journey into the Secret Societies of Haitian Voodoo, Zombies, and Magic. The highly controversial book sought to discover how zombies were created. Wade studied the case of a man believed to have been turned into an actual zombie through a combination of drugs (including puffer fish venom and toad venom) in order to mimic death and then given the hallucinogenic drug tetrodotoxin to keep him in a zombie-like state.
Davis' research created a huge stir upon publication, with other researchers claiming his methodology was unscientific and that they couldn't find evidence of the hallucinogens upon testing his samples.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is among the organizations that have sought to capitalize on the American appetite for all things zombie. In 2012, the CDC raised some eyebrows when it unveiled a page on its website devoted to "zombie preparedness."
On the page, the CDC's director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, , notes, "If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack."
The site was so popular when it was launched.



The Girls Of Atomic City

The Untold Story Of The Women Behind The Bomb

'The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II', a book by Denise Kiernan, tells the story of the Oak Ridge center of the Manhattan Project.

Oak Ridge was established in 1942 as a production site for the Manhattan Project, a town of 70,000 workers - primarily women - who lived in a camp-like environment of propaganda, barbed wire, checkpoints, code words, and spies, while working a thousand different jobs, all of which contributed to the events of August 6, 1945 and the dropping of the atomic bomb.

The Short-Lived Experiment With Rubber Tires On Railways

For all their design innovations, railways still retain one fundamental weakness - they put metal wheels onto metal tracks. Not just inefficient as there is limited grip between two such smooth surfaces, but noisy as well. So why don't they use something different? Well, railway companies have tried. And sadly failed.

It's mainly a Frenchman we have to thank for the best attempt to deal with the metal upon metal, and that was tire magnate Andre Michelin who upon returning from an unpleasant train trip instructed his engineers to develop something better.

Native American masks sold in Paris to be returned to tribes

A US foundation has revealed it was the mystery buyer of sacred Native American objects auctioned off Monday in Paris under a cloud of controversy, and will return them to the tribes that claim them.
Native American masks sold in Paris to be returned to tribes
These Hopi masks were auctioned on Monday [Credit: AFP]
The Annenberg Foundation announced it had bought 21 Hopi masks -- which are worn by dancers during religious ceremonies and considered as living beings -- and three San Carlos Apache objects for $530,000 (390,000 euros) "for the sole purpose of returning them to their rightful owner." Monday's auction had gone ahead despite several attempts to block the sale of the colorful masks and head-dresses, including by the US embassy.

Advocacy group Survival International had also challenged the auction in court on behalf of the Hopi tribe, but was dismissed on Friday by a judge who ruled the sale was legal in France.

"Our hope is that this act sets an example for others that items of significant cultural and religious value can only be properly cared for by those vested with the proper knowledge and responsibility. They simply cannot be put up for sale," Sam Tenakhongva, a Hopi cultural leader, said in the Tuesday statement announcing the purchase.

The auction also included other pieces of Native American art, but the controversy focused on the sale of 27 objects considered sacred by the tribes.
Native American masks sold in Paris to be returned to tribes
The Tumas Crow Mother was another Hopi mask put on sale [Credit: AFP]
Pierre Servan-Schreiber, the lawyer who represented the Hopi in the legal attempt to block the sale, bought one of the masks for 13,000 euros and will return it to the Hopi, but the fate of the two other items included in the sale remained unclear.

All in all, the 27 objects fetched 550,000 euros, including a leather helmet mask framed by two large crow wings that went for 125,000 euros. It was unclear whether it was part of what the foundation bought.

Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, director of the Los Angeles-based foundation that funds non-profit organizations around the world, said he took the decision to buy the artifacts after Survival International's legal challenge failed.

"As an artist, I was struck by the awesome power and beauty of these objects," he said.

"But these are not trophies to have on one's mantel, they are truly sacred works for the Native Americans. They do not belong in auction houses or private collections.
Native American masks sold in Paris to be returned to tribes
The masks were sold on Monday [Credit: AFP]
"It gives me immense satisfaction to know that they will be returned home to their rightful owners, the Native Americans." The controversy echoed a similar case in April when French firm Neret-Minet ignored international appeals to halt the sale of some 70 Hopi masks that eventually fetched around 930,000 euros.

That auction was decried as a sacrilege by activists including Hollywood legend Robert Redford.

The sale of sacred Indian artifacts has been outlawed in the United States since 1990 but the law does not extend to sales overseas.

The judge in charge of the legal challenge to Monday's auction acknowledged that the sale of the objects could "constitute an affront to the dignity" of the tribe.

But she said "this moral and philosophical consideration does not in itself give the judge the right to suspend the sale of these masks which is not forbidden in France".

Terracotta Warriors inspired by Ancient Greek Art

The Terracotta Warriors, along with other life-size sculptures built for the First Emperor of China, were inspired by Greek art, new research indicates.
Terracotta Warriors inspired by Ancient Greek Art
About 8,000 Terracotta Warriors were buried in three pits less than a mile to the northeast of the mausoleum of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi. They include infantryman, archers, cavalry, charioteers and generals. Now new research, including newly translated ancient records, indicates that the construction of these warriors was inspired by Greek art [Credit: Lukas Hlavac/Shutterstock]
About 8,000 Terracotta Warriors, which are life-size statues of infantryman, cavalry, archers, charioteers and generals, were buried in three pits less than a mile to the northeast of the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor.  He unified the country through conquest more than 2,200 years ago. Pits containing sculptures of acrobats, strongmen, dancers and civil servants have also been found near the mausoleum.

Now, new research points to ancient Greek sculpture as the inspiration for the emperor's afterlife army.

"It is perfectly possible and actually likely that the sculptures of the First Emperor are the result of early contact between Greece and China," writes Lukas Nickel, a reader with the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, in the most recent edition of the journal Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Nickel's evidence includes newly translated ancient records that tell a fantastic tale of giant statues that "appeared" in the far west, inspiring the first emperor of China to duplicate them in front of his palace. This story offers evidence of early contact between China and the West, contacts that Nickel says inspired the First Emperor (which is what Qin Shi Huangdi called himself) to not only duplicate the 12 giant statues but to build the massive Terracotta Army along with other life-size sculptures.

Before the First Emperor's time, life-size sculptures were not built in China, and Nickel argues the idea to build so many of them, so suddenly, came from kingdoms in Asia that had been created and influenced by Alexander the Great's campaigns.

'Giants' appearing in the west

Nickel translated ancient Chinese records that tell a tale of 12 giant statues, clad in "foreign robes" that "appeared" in Lintao in what was the westernmost part of China. (The word "Lintao" can also mean any place far to the west.)
Terracotta Warriors inspired by Ancient Greek Art
Shown here, one of nine Terracotta Warriors that was on display at the Terracotta Warrior exhibition at New York City's Discovery Times Square in 2012. China lets only 10 of the warriors leave the country at any given time [Credit: Clara Moskowitz/LiveScience]
The records do not say how this appearance happened, who brought them there, or who exactly the statues depicted; they do reveal the statues were larger than life, rising about 38 feet (11.55 meters) high, with feet that were 4.5 feet long (1.38 m). They so impressed the First Emperor that he decided to build 12 duplicates in front of his palace by melting down bronze weapons that had been used for war.

On each duplicate an inscription was created telling of the "giants" (the original statues) that appeared in Lintao. The inscriptions, recorded by Yan Shigu, who lived around 1,400 years ago and used an earlier written source, said that in the "26th Year of the Emperor, when he first brought together all-under-heaven, divided the principalities into provinces and districts, and unified the weights and measures, [these] giants appeared in Lintao …"

The First Emperor duplicated these statues despite a "heavenly taboo" that "he who recklessly follows foreign models will encounter disaster," wrote Ban Gu, a historian who lived almost 2,000 years ago. Ban worked for the dynasty that had overthrown the First Emperor's dynasty and, as such, tried to cast him in a negative light.

These giant duplicates no longer exist, having been destroyed in the centuries after the First Emperor's death. Because the duplicates were displayed publicly in front of the First Emperor's palace ancient writers left records of them behind, Nickel told LiveScience. Meanwhile, the Terracotta Warriors, though they survive to present day, were buried in pits out of sight and, as such, no record of them survives today.

Even so, the newly translated records suggest contact, of some form, occurred between ancient China and kingdoms in Central Asia that had been influenced by Greek culture and its sculpture-building tradition.

Acrobats and dancers

A few dozen statues of half-naked acrobats and dancers were also found in separate pits near the First Emperor's mausoleum.
Terracotta Warriors inspired by Ancient Greek Art
An example of the miniature figures of people, animals and objects
 created by the Han Dynasty.[Credit: Owen Jarus]
"Here the sculptors attempted to render a bone structure, muscles and sinews to depict a person in movement," Nickel writes in his paper. "This comes close to an understanding of the human body that was employed at the time only in Hellenistic (Greek influenced) Europe and Asia."

He argues that creating this sort of realistic sculpture is not something that a sculptor could learn without some practice, taking the ancient Greeks centuries to master it.

"The creation of a believable human body preoccupied generations of Greek sculptors. It was a complex artistic and intellectual process that did not happen overnight," Nickel writes.

All this research leaves another mystery in its wake. After the First Emperor's death the rulers that came to power, the Han Dynasty, stopped building life-size sculptures, opting instead for miniature representations of people, animals and objects, Nickel said.

Several reasons could explain why the people stopped building these human-like statues, Nickel said. For instance, the skills involved in building these sculptures were complicated and, by the time Han rulers started building large tombs again, the people who had these skills could simply have died.

But there is another idea, one hinted at by the "heavenly taboo" recorded by Ban Gu that "disaster" happens when foreign models are followed recklessly. To the ancient Chinese, the 12 giant statues clad in foreign robes, and the Terracotta Warriors buried in pits, would have represented something unusual and foreign, Nickel said.

"Over all of Chinese early history sculpture did play only a minor role," Nickel told LiveScience in the interview. "To the Chinese it must have looked quite alien," he added. The Han rulers, wishing to repudiate the First Emperor and his foreign tastes, may have simply decided not to create life-size or larger sculptures of their own, Nickel said.

Daily Comic Relief


Could the universe collapse TODAY?

Physicists claim that risk is ‘more likely than ever and may have already started’

Could the universe collapse TODAY? Physicists claim that risk is ‘more likely than ever and may have already started’
The universe could be about to collapse and everything in it – including us – will be compressed into a small, hard ball.
The process may already have started somewhere in our cosmos and is eating away at the rest of the universe, according to theoretical physicists.
The mind-bending concept has been around for a while, but now researchers in Denmark claim they have proven it is possible with mathematical equations.

Dog sacrificed herself to save lives of owners

Cora the dog saved her owners' lives on Thursday night. She ran out to the road seeking help after the car she was riding in crashed.
Sgt. Adolfo Coronado accidentally ran into Cora on Highway 26, headed east out of Othello, Adams County, Washington. It was pitch black, making it nearly impossible to spot Cora when she darted onto the road. She was apparently looking for help.  "I just figured, 'what is this stray doing out here in the middle of nowhere?'" said Sgt. Coronado. Just as Sgt. Coronado went to check on her, his spotlight shined on something in the nearby field.
My lights started glowing off an object in the middle of the field, and that's what led me to find the collision itself," said Sgt. Coronado. That led him to Joshua and Shelby Keller, siblings, who were traveling from WSU Pullman. "I all of a sudden see a man jumping up and down in the field, waving his hands. And that's when it started to hit me like 'oh my god. Something's going on here,'" said Sgt. Coronado.
Their vehicle had rolled down a hill and flipped almost 70 feet. "The vehicle was on its top," said Sgt. Coronado. Joshua managed to get out of the car. But Shelby was injured and still stuck inside. Half of her face was severely damaged. But, she made it out alive. "I honestly believe everything happened for a reason," added Sgt. Coronado. Shelby is recovering in a Spokane hospital from non-life threatening injuries. Joshua said about Cora: "It's hard to think she's gone but was truly an angel to us."

Family of bears took relaxing dip in Florida pool

A North Naples homeowner watched from behind her sliding glass door as a family of black bears took a leisurely dip in her swimming pool last weekend.
"Two bears in my balcony! They're trying to get in my house. I'm so scared!" North Naples resident TJ Ozbay told a Collier County 911 dispatcher. Ozbay called 911 when she stumbled upon the bears swimming in her pool. "They're coming inside. I closed all the curtains, everything," Ozbay said.

That's when she pulled out her phone and recorded it all. The bears had broken through the screen lanai. Ozbay said she thought it was the sound of a hose filling up her pool that attracted them, and was only a few feet away on the other side of a sliding glass door.

One bear ended up walking right up to that door within inches of her. "I'm so scared. They're trying to break my window," she told the dispatcher. Ozbay says the bears stayed around for almost an hour before running away.

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