Welcome to ...

The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Daily Drift

We concur ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

For those interested: In World Cup play Costa Rica eliminated Greece in a shootout 5-3 after the match went full-time with and extra period ended in a 1-1 tie: the Netherlands eliminated Mexico 2-1 in play on the eighteenth day of the tourney.

It's a tragedy I tell you and real tragedy ... !
Today is no special celebration - Day
Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our reader today have been in:
The Americas
Millbrae, Phoenix, Taft, Cumming, Downey, Berwick and Raritan, United States
Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil
L'ancienne-Lorette and Ottawa, Canada
Mexico City, Mexico
Stockholm, Uppsala and Kista, Sweden
Skopje, Macedonia
Tarnow and Czerwionka-Leszczyny, Poland
Belgrade, Serbia
Vladivostok, Ryazan, Moscow and Rostov-Na-Donu, Russia
Helsinki and Vantaa, Finland
Treviso, Milan and Rome, Italy
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herazegovina
Milton Keynes, Colindale and Gateshead, England
Istanbul, Turkey
Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium
Le Mans and Velizy-Villacoublay, France
Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
Madrid, Cardedeu, L'Olleria and Murcia, Spain
Bucharest, Romania
Vienna, Austria
Edinburgh, Scotland
Tallaght, Ireland
Muenchen and Widdern, Germany
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Cochin, Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Delhi, Bharatpur and Pune, India
Puchong and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
La Dagotiere, Mauritius
Beijing, China
Islamabad, Pakistan
Jakarta and Medan, Indonesia
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
Doha, Qatar
Muscat, Oman
Ebute Ikorodu, Nigeria
The Pacific
Manila, Mandaluyong City and Tangke, Philippines
Sydney and Melbourne, Australia

Today in History

1520 Montezuma II is murdered as Spanish conquistadors flee the Aztec capital of Tenochtilan during the night.
1857 Charles Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol at St. Martin's Hall in London–his first public reading.
1859 Jean Francois Gravelet aka Emile Blondin, a French daredevil, becomes the first man to walk across Niagra Falls on a tightrope.
1908 A mysterious explosion, possibly the result of a meteorite, levels thousands of trees in the Tunguska region of Siberia with a force approaching twenty megatons.
1934 Adolf Hitler orders the purge of his own party in the "Night of the Long Knives."
1936 Margaret Mitchell's novel, Gone With the Wind, is published.
1948 John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley demonstrate their invention, the transistor, for the first time.
1960 Alfred Hitchcock's film, Psycho, opens.
1971 Three Soviet cosmonauts die when their spacecreaft depressurizes during reentry.

Non Sequitur


Obama Drills repugicans For Being Mad Because He Is Trying To Help People

Obama Gets Blunt: The Problem is repugicans and Their Failed Trickle Down Fantasies

Obama MN by  WH photog Pete Souza
Speaking this afternoon at Lake Harriet Band Shell in Minneapolis, Minnesota with Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar in the house, in addition to Governor Mark Dayton, Congressman Keith Ellison and Mayor Betsy Hodges, President Obama let go of the tight constrictions of diplomacy and got real about the problems in DC: It’s repugicans and their failed trickle down fantasies. They just don’t get what people are going through.
“(S)o far this year, repugicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every single serious idea to strengthen the middle class,” President Obama told the crowd. Lest you think he’s exaggerating, he went through the list and it’s not pretty.
Read on via a White House transcript:
And sometimes I’m supposed to be politic about how I say things — (laughter) — but I’m finding lately that I just want to say what’s on my mind. (Applause.) So let me just be clear — I want you think about this — so far this year, repugicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every single serious idea to strengthen the middle class. You may think I’m exaggerating, but let me go through the list. They’ve said no to raising the minimum wage. They’ve said no to fair pay. Some of them have denied that there’s even a problem, despite the fact that women are getting paid 77 cents for every dollar a man is getting paid.
They’ve said no to extending unemployment insurance for more than three million Americans who are out there looking every single day for a new job, despite the fact that we know it would be good not just for those families who are working hard to try to get back on their feet, but for the economy as a whole. Rather than invest in working families getting ahead, they actually voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.
THE PRESIDENT: Don’t boo, by the way. I want you to vote. (Laughter and applause.) I mean, over and over again, they show that they’ll do anything to keep in place systems that really help folks at the top but don’t help you. And they don’t seem to mind. And their obstruction is keeping a system that is rigged against families like Ben’s and Rebekah’s.
Now, I’m not saying these are all bad people; they’re not. When I’m sitting there just talking to them about family, we get along just fine. Many of them will acknowledge when I talk to them — yes, I know, I wish we could do something more, but I can’t — but they can’t be too friendly towards me because they’d be run out of town by the tea party. (Laughter.)
But sometimes I get a sense they just don’t know what most folks are going through. They keep on offering a theory of the economy that time and again failed for the middle class. They think we should give more tax breaks to those at the top. They think we should invest less in things like education. They think we should let big banks, and credit card companies, and polluters, and insurers do only whatever is best for their bottom line without any responsibility to anybody else. They want to drastically reduce or get rid of the safety net for people trying to work their way into the middle class.
And if we did all these things, they think the economy will thrive and jobs will prosper, and everything will trickle down.
And just because they believe it, it doesn’t mean the rest of us should be believing it — because we’ve tried what they’re peddling, and it doesn’t work. We know from our history that our economy does not grow from the top down, it grows from the middle out. We do better when the middle class does better. We do better when workers are getting a decent salary. We do better when they’ve got decent benefits. (Applause.) We do better when a young family knows that they can get ahead. And we do better when people who are working hard know that they can count on decent childcare at an affordable cost, and that if they get sick they’re not going to lose their homes.
Yesterday the bear was on the loose at an ice cream shop and today he’s getting real with the truth. The repugicans are out of touch with what real people are going through. Indeed, it’s fair to say that most politicians are out of touch with what real people are going through. They believe that talking about the poor and middle class is simply something they have to do to get elected. That’s why it’s imperative for voters to look at a politician’s record.
For example, currently the repugican Speaker of the House is aiming to sue President Obama for taking action to help the workers and citizens of this country after Congress failed to act.
The repugicans have rejected all jobs bills, instead clinging to the Keystone Pipeline as a “jobs bill” — when in fact it is just more corporate giveaways instead of an investment in this country. Look at their records to see if it matches with their rhetoric.
No matter the party, they should be for raising the minimum wage, be for extending unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed, for fair pay for women, not be cutting aid to children and the elderly in tough times, want to address climate change, not be advocating for more war when the VA is underfunded and they refuse to fund it, and in general should be putting people ahead of corporations. These used to be bipartisan ideas. If they are not anymore, repugicans need to admit that they are no longer for the working man and woman, against children and the elderly, against our veterans when they get home, and against reality regarding climate change.
President Obama is fired up and taking aim. Wise repugicans (?) would recall what happened to Obama’s past opponents before stepping in more mud. But we all know this repugican cabal is not wise at all.

Real Death Panels

Virginia repugicans and Their Monomaniacal Quest to Deny Medicaid
In ongoing efforts to deny affordable health care to their citizens, Virginia repugicans may have very well succeeded in creating real death panels ...

How far would you go to deny 300,000 citizens access for affordable health care?
For Virginia repugicans, the answer is simple: As far as you need to go.

The repugican cabal in Virginia is a microcosm of the cabal as a whole. Much like the congressional delegation of repugicans who have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 54 times, repugicans at the state level in Virginia have been doing everything possible to ensure that Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe is not allowed to expand Medicaid to nearly 300,000 of his state’s poorest residents. McAuliffe ran on a platform of Medicaid expansion and ever since he took over the governorship in January of 2014; he has made it no secret that it is one of his top priorities as governor.

However, Virginia repugicans have conscientiously chosen to go to great lengths to ensure that their fellow Virginians are not receiving the improved health care that was made available through the Affordable Care Act. The reasons for this are simple: If a Democratic president, a Democratic governor, and a Democratically-controlled state senate approve and enact the Medicaid expansion, the state of Virginia is no longer a toss-up state. Instead, it moves into the solid blue category for the foreseeable future. Instead of working with Virginia Democrats to find ways to improve the lives of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, Virginia repugicans have instead opted to lie, cheat, and steal to ensure that nobody in the state has access to the improved access to health care.
This is nothing new. Already, we have seen the Virginia repugican cabal bribe a state senator by offering him a cushy job for himself as well as giving his daughter a foot up in her efforts to attain a state judgeship. By doing this, repugicans shifted the balance of power in the state government and gave themselves the ability to block the Medicaid expansion, which the entire repugican cabal of Virginia has vowed to do. However, Governor McAuliffe has been unswayed by these repugican shenanigans and has even begun exploring executive options as a way to circumvent repugican obstruction. In an effort to prevent this apt and just use of power, repugicans, led by House Speaker William J. Howell, have included two amendments in the recently proposed state budget that would limit McAuliffe’s authority to expand Medicaid unilaterally. McAuliffe has publicly stated that he will veto any state budget that includes those amendments.

And yet, repugicans refuse to allow McAuliffe this political victory, even if it means playing by a whole new set of rules.

In an article that came out this week by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, it was revealed that Speaker Howell had enlisted the help of two members of the Capitol Police to drop off the proposed state budget to McAuliffe’s offices on Sunday, June 15th when the office was closed and locked. These two members entered the governor’s unoccupied, secure suite of offices  deposited the budget before leaving the suite. This was done as an attempt to give Governor McAuliffe less time to review the budget as according to Virginia law; the governor must act on a budget within seven days once it has been given to him or her by the clerk’s office. By presenting the budget on not only Sunday but Father’s Day as well, Howell and his repugican cohorts hoped to deny McAuliffe valuable time he could use to analyze the budget, especially the two proposed amendments he had already threatened to veto.

On June 18th, McAuliffe’s chief of staff Paul Reagan issued a seething letter to Col. Anthony Pike, chief of Capitol Police as well as other prominent state repugicans. The letter read:

“This letter is to inform you that under no circumstances are you or any of your officers authorized to allow employees of the General Assembly to enter the secure areas of the governor’s office without my express permission, or the express permission of Suzette Denslow, the governor’s deputy chief of staff.
What occurred here Sunday is unacceptable. Two employees of the speaker of the House of Delegates were given access to an area of the governor’s office where sensitive files and materials are kept.
For good reason, it is an area that is surrounded by three security perimeters. Even on a normal business day, very few people — including members of the governor’s Cabinet — can gain access to this suite of offices. We certainly do not expect to have agents and employees of the General Assembly roaming through these offices on weekends.”
No charges have been filed as of Friday evening and, of course, Howell insists he did nothing wrong in the matter and that the only reason the budget was dropped off when it was was because it just happened to be “completed earlier than expected.” However, nobody outside of Howell’s office believes this explanation. For Virginia repugicans, it is another pitiful example of the lengths they will go to to deny the Medicaid expansion. Governor McAuliffe has continued to fight for the health and well-being of his state’s citizens while state repugicans have shown their true colors by playing petty politics with people’s lives. It is a sad and disgusting display, but it comes as no surprise as to what the repugican cabal is in the year 2014. The cabal has become one so vindictive that they will go to any length to ensure that Democrats don’t win elections, even if those lengths include the pain, suffering, and ultimate death of fellow American citizens.
Sarah Palin was right. There are death panels associated with the Affordable Care Act. And these death panels are administered by state repugicans who would rather make a political statement than keep their state’s citizens alive and healthy.

Anti-Chioce Group Challenges Ohio Ban On Campaign Lies

A national anti-chioce group wants a federal court to block an Ohio law barring people from knowingly or recklessly making false statements about candidates seeking elective office.The Susan B. Anthony List filed a motion Friday in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, asking that the law not be enforced while the group continues to challenge its constitutionality. The motion says the statute violates free speech rights and "chills core political speech."
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that the group could challenge the law, raising doubts about whether Ohio's law and similar ones in other states can survive complaints that they violate free speech rights.
The anti-abortion group challenged Ohio's ban when it tried to post billboards attacking then-U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus in 2010. The planned ads accused him of supporting taxpayer-funded abortion with his vote for President Barack Obama's health care law. Driehaus filed a formal complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission, saying the ads misrepresented the facts and violated Ohio's false speech law. The billboard owner feared threatened legal action by Driehaus and declined to post the ads. Driehaus dropped the case after losing his re-election bid.

Defeated Mississippi tea party Candidate Declares He 'Won'

chris mcdaniel
State Senator Chris McDaniel, who was defeated by incumbent U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (r-Mississippi) last Tuesday in a heated primary runoff, is soldiering on. 
In an email sent to supporters Friday night, McDaniel emphasized he won the "repugican" primary — an apparent reference to Cochran openly soliciting many Democrats to vote in the runoff.
"Thank you for all your help. You've done some amazing things.  On June 3rd we won the popular vote. On June 24th we won the repugican primary election. As you might have heard, we're not quite done," McDaniel wrote.
McDaniel then asked his supporters to reach out to a law firm, which he said was in need of volunteers.
"We are in the process of trying to ensure a fair and accurate election took place on Tuesday. And we need your help," he continued. "Our team will ... direct you on what you can do to help us in this battle to ensure the integrity of our election process here in Mississippi."
However, McDaniel's efforts are widely viewed as a long-shot at best. Mississippi  Democrats who don't vote in their party's initial primary contest are allowed to participate in the repugican primary runoff.
"Saying that the McDaniel camp has a slim chance of overturning the election overstates his chances," Matt Steffey, professor of law at the Mississippi College School of Law, told the Washington Post.

Gun Nut Agitators Lose as Judge Upholds Two Colorado Gun Laws

After a two-week civil trial a U.S. District Chief Judge, Marcia Krieger, ruled the lawsuit lacked standing and dismissed it, and said the plaintiffs presented absolutely no evidence…
Sanity refers to a human mind that is sound, rational, and healthy, and the condition is woefully lacking in great numbers of Americans on a number of issues. One could not possibly expect any sane human being to actively support policies that give people the tools to cause mass destruction of human lives, and it is precisely why gun nuts agitating for more guns in the hands of more people are considered at least irrational and likely insane. On Thursday, a federal judge issued a ruling that probably drove irrational gun fanatics crazy because she upheld what any rational human being would consider sane gun safety laws.
Since suffering two very high-profile and deadly mass shootings in their state, and witnessing, with the entire nation, the mass execution of twenty innocent school children and six adults, Colorado Democrats had seen enough and passed two gun safety laws. The laws, one requiring background checks for all private gun sales and transfers, and one banning ammunition magazines holding more than 15 rounds were the subject of a lawsuit filed by gun nuts and Colorado County Sheriffs whose job is, among other things, protecting the public from gun violence.
After a two-week civil trial a U.S. District Chief Judge, Marcia Krieger, ruled the lawsuit lacked standing and dismissed it, and said the plaintiffs presented absolutely no evidence that limiting gun magazines to 15 rounds seriously diminished anyone’s ability to defend themselves.
She said, “Of the many law enforcement officials called to testify, none were able to identify a single instance in which they were involved where a single civilian fired more than 15 shots in self defense.” Addressing the county sheriffs complaint that expanded background checks were abusive and a violation of Colorado gun nuts 2nd Amendment rights, Krieger said there were over 600 firearm dealers in the state actively performing private background checks and that it took less than 15 minutes for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to run a simple background check. However, the county sheriffs did not file suit over the time it took to run a background check, they sued to strike down the law and allow any lunatic, or criminal, to easily acquire a firearm; especially one with a high-capacity magazine.
Joining the Colorado County Sheriffs in the lawsuit was the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Association (RMGOA) represented by Dudley W. Brown who was recently elevated to lead the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR). The county sheriffs could not bring the lawsuit of their own accord, but they could join the other gun-nutts and give credence to the gun nuts’ claims that background checks and 15-round magazines were an atrocity. Dudley W. Brown spoke for the gun zealots as a chief lobbyist for the gun owners’ groups.
Oddly, Brown claimed his group was responsible for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat. Brown claims NAGR attacked Cantor for “giving lip service” to a proposed Virginia gun sales check after the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007 despite Cantor’s “A” legislative rating from the National Rifle Association. It gives new meaning to lunacy when a staunch supporter of 2nd Amendment rights faced attack ads for a passing remark in the wake of a mass shooting seven years ago. However, groups like RMGOA and NAGR are going to oppose any sane gun safety laws, but the Colorado County Sheriffs should welcome the idea of fewer guns in the hands of lunatics. Unfortunately, it is groups like the county sheriffs and other law enforcement officials who are most likely to champion more guns in the hands of more lunatics and openly refuse to enforce existing gun laws.
Last Monday, an official with New York Oath Keepers called on all law enforcement officers to disobey orders to enforce constitutional laws they deemed unconstitutional and then denied his group held “wingnut, anti-government views.” The Oath Keeper, John Wallace, was incensed over an “alleged” New York State Intelligence Center counter-terrorism bulletin that linked the Oath Keeper’s organization and similar groups to the recent shootings of law enforcement officers by extremists. Likely, the bulletin referred to the Oath Keepers joining the Cliven Bundy armed standoff with federal agents and the murder of two Las Vegas police officers and a “good guy with a gun” at the hands of two lunatics who joined the Bundy standoff. Wallace bemoaned the bulletin was the product of “left wing” and “communist” organizations such as the New York Times, CNN, and Huffington Post.
Wallace’s call for law enforcement to disobey laws they deem unconstitutional mirrors other Oath Keepers, former sheriff Richard Mack, and assorted lunatics gathered at the Bundy standoff as an integral part of the “fight against socialist tyranny.” Wallace’s main complaint though, like the Colorado County Sheriff’s suing the state, is that New York’s Safe Act, which stiffens gun laws, was another unconstitutional law police should not enforce even though a state Supreme Court judge dismissed a challenge to the law in April. According to Wallace, “honorable men and women simply will not submit to a tyrannical lust for power by the political incompetence of the governor and the president,” and said law enforcement officers would interpret laws on their own to determine whether they were constitutional.
Even if one sets aside the asinine idea that law enforcement refuses to enforce legally passed laws due to their absurd contention they have authority to determine the constitutionality of a law, it is sheer lunacy to oppose gun restrictions meant to protect the lives of innocent civilians. What most Americans will take away from the federal judge dismissing Colorado sheriff’s lawsuit against sane gun laws is that there is no reasoning with gun nuts and gun safety laws are reasonable. One may have thought the brutal murder of two Las Vegas police officers by gun nuts standing with seditionists Cliven Bundy, Oath Keepers, former sheriff Richard Mack, and armed militias would stun some sense into gun-crazed law enforcement officers, but obviously that is not, and will never be, the case.
At least, and this is important, a federal judge recognized that Colorado’s two basic gun safety laws do not abridge any 2nd Amendment agitators’ rights, and it should embolden other sane state legislatures to follow Colorado’s lead and protect their citizens’ lives. Because one thing is certain, many county sheriffs and other law enforcement officials have no interest in, and no intention to, protect the public from more mass shootings; even when police officers are gunned down. The real tragedy is that despite overwhelming public support for sane gun safety laws, there are just enough 2nd Amendment lunatics who support county sheriffs, the NRA, Oath Keepers, open-carry bullies, and repugicans who love the idea of well-armed citizens with “wingnut, anti-government views” armed and ready to “fight against socialist tyranny” and destroy any semblance of sanity in America.

Anti-surveillance protesters fly internet freedom blimp over NSA facility in Utah

 Photo: Greenpeace.
Standagainstspying.org, a coalition that includes The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Greenpeace, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and other groups, flew a 135-foot thermal airship over the million-square-foot NSA facility in Bluffdale, Utah today.
The blimp stunt was staged Friday morning to protest the National Security Agency’s mass spying programs, and to draw attention to the Stand Against Spying website rating lawmakers' stance on NSA reform.
On the blimp, the Stand Against Spying URL and a message reading “NSA: Illegal Spying Below” with an arrow pointing down.
From the EFF's announcement today:
The site grades members of Congress on what they have done, or often not done, to rein in the NSA.
"Rights rise or fall together," Greenpeace Senior IT Campaigner Gary Cook said. "Greenpeace has learned firsthand that people cannot protect their right to clean air and water if our civil rights – including the right to free association and the right to be free of unreasonable searches – are stripped away."
"The public needs to be brought into the Congressional debate around surveillance reform happening right now," EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman said.
"We're flying an airship over the Utah data center, which has come to symbolize the NSA's collect-it-all approach to surveillance, and demanding an end to the mass spying. It's time for bold action in defense of our privacy."
Photo: Greenpeace

Possible Food Poisoning Sickens 100 at Safety Summit

More than 100 people have now reported they got sick with suspected food poisoning at a national Food Safety Summit held earlier this month in Baltimore.
Maryland state health officials say they still don’t know what caused the outbreak of gastroenteritis that left participants suffering symptoms that included diarrhea and nausea.
“We are working on evaluating possible exposures and doing testing at the Maryland state public health laboratory to attempt to identify an agent,” officials said in a letter to attendees.
The conference, held April 8 to 10 at the Baltimore Convention Center, attracted at least 1,300 of the top food safety officials in the nation, including staff from federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as businesses such as McDonald’s, Tyson and ConAgra Foods.
Health officials have heard back from about 400 of those who attended, so the actual toll of illness might be higher.
City health officials inspected the convention center and its food service provider, Centerplate. The company was issued a violation notice for condensation dripping from one of the two ice machines in the kitchen, a spokesman said. 
Ironic that people got food poisoning at a National Food Safety meeting.

8 Sensational Female Murderers From History

When someone tells you that female murderers are rare, keep in mind that means 'relatively' rare, as in less common than male murderers. It also means that women who are found to be killers can become quite famous for it, as the media sensationalizes their crimes.
A hundred years later, these cases may be mostly forgotten, but the stories are still there for those who want to learn about them. Be warned that these tales are disturbing.

U.S. rich get richer ... the rest not so much

British study: U.S. rich get richer on stock market while modest investors left behind

In a new study, researchers from Imperial College Business School, […]

Small Forces

Researchers Detect Smallest Force Ever Measured

What is believed to be the smallest force ever measured […]

Mind Over Bladder

Mind Over Bladder: Stress and Incontinence

Relaxing the mind may be powerful when it comes to […]

Stress Impacts

Early life stress can leave lasting impacts on the brain

For children, stress can go a long way. A little […]



Cleaner Air, Dirtier Beaches

Now that summer is here, a trip to the beach should bring familiar smells: seawater, sunscreen and, depending where you live, sewage. One in ten recreational beaches in the United States isn't fit for swimming, according to a new report.
New images from NASA's Aura satellite show that over the last decade, the amount of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide in the nation's air has decreased significantly.

Greenland Ice and Sea Leavel Rise

The Greenland ice sheet collapsed 400,000 years ago causing worldwide sea levels to rise between 13 and 20 feet.

Ocean Whirlpools and the Weather

Ocean whirlpools, some hundreds of miles across, contribute to extreme weather around the world.

Moon Myths

We have full moons, blue moons, Harvest moons, supermoons and any number of culturally relevant references to the moon. Maybe it's time to unearth a few moon myths and misconceptions. Here are five of the most common myths about the moon explained.

Astronomical News

When Martian layers of ice and dust become dislodged, they can create dramatic block falls that can be spotted from orbit.
NASA's next-generation spaceship has successfully completed its most challenging test to date: being dropped from a plane at 35,000 feet (6.6 miles) and parachuting to Earth safely. 
Scientists are attempting to map Pluto's icy depths using old telescope data before a NASA spacecraft reaches the distant dwarf planet in 2015.
Nine months after unveiling plans for high-altitude balloon rides -- high enough for passengers to see the curvature of Earth against the blackness of space -- World View has successfully tested a one-tenth size mockup.
For the first time, three supermassive black holes have been discovered in a tight orbital dance inside the center of a galaxy 4 billion light-years away.
Astronomers aren't being poetic when they say this star is a diamond.
It's funny when two seemingly distant theories conspire to destroy the Universe.
Jupiter's largest moons don't go completely dark when the giant planet blocks their sunlight, astronomers have found.

Daily Comic Relief


Ocean Microbes

We can't see them in the water, but tiny organisms -- many of which are invisible to the unaided human eye -- make up 98 percent of the oceans' biomass and cause most of the biological activity there.

New species of small mammal discovered

New species of small mammal discovered: An elephant shrew

Scientists from the California Academy of Sciences have discovered a […]

Chimpanzees develop a fashion trend

For the first time, a troop of chimpanzees have been observed participating in a fad, a meme, or actually a fashion statement. The trend is to wear a blade of grass sticking out of one ear. It’s become a tradition among chimps of one troop in Zambia. This behavior was written up by Edwin van Leeuwen of the Max Planck Institute in the Netherlands. It started when a chimp named Julie put grass in one ear. Seven of the 11 chimps in her troop were soon wearing grass in one ear, and continued even after Julie’s death. There is no known advantage to grass in the ear, especially in just one ear.
To figure out if this was really a tradition, and not just chimpanzees sticking grass in their ears at random, van Leeuwen and his colleagues spent a year observing four chimp groups in Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust, a sanctuary in Zambia. Only one troop performed the grass-in-ear behavior, although all of the chimps lived in the same grassy territory. There’s no genetic or ecological factors, the scientists believe, that would account for this behavior -- only culture.

Lydia Luncz, a primatologist at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, who was not involved with the research, agrees. This study shows how the chimpanzees who learned to put grass in their ears did so through the “natural transmission” of new behavior, she says.
This is how you do science, folks -a year of watching chimps to see if they stick grass in their ear. Let’s hope they were observing other behaviors as well. Van Leeuwen compares this grass-in-ear fad with human groups that wear earrings or a certain kind of hat.

Chimps like listening to music with a different beat

Chimps like listening to music with a different beat

While preferring silence to music from the West, chimpanzees apparently […]

Shocking Chimps

Chimps are very much like humans, from giggling to grieving.

Winning Streaks

Monkeys also believe in winning streaks

Humans have a well-documented tendency to see winning and losing […]

Animal Pictures

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Daily Drift

So, true ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

For those interested: In World Cup play Brazil eliminated Chile in a shootout 3-2 after the match went full-time with and extra period ended in a 1-1 tie: Colombia eliminated Uruguay 2-0 in play on the seventeenth day of the tourney.

Log Cabin ... !
Today is - Log Cabin Day
Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our reader today have been in:
The Americas
Chatham, Ottawa, L'ancienne-Lorette and Vancouver, Canada
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Mexico City, Mexico
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Bogota, Colombia
Lima, Peru
Caracas, Venezuela
Cerny, Rouen and Velizy-Villacoublay, France
Terlizzi, Milan, Bergamo, Cercola, Rome, Treviso and Ravenna, Italy
Arendal and Oslo, Norway
Izhevsk, Razvilka, Ryazan and Vladivostok, Russia
Sofia, Bulgaria
Berlin, Vierkotten and Hamburg, Germany
London, England
L'Olleria, Madrid and Barcelona, Spain
Luhans'k, Ukraine
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Zurich and Bern, Switzerland
Zagreb, Croatia
Dublin and Tallaght, Ireland
Crawley, England
Stockholm, Sweden
Naxos, Greece
Petah Tikva, Israel
Nebatiye Et Tahta, Lebanon
Delhi, Balotra, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Yanamalakuduru and Kolkata, India
Ad Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Colombo, Sri Lanka
La Dagotiere, Mauritius
Nakhon Pathom and Samut Prakan, Thailand
Tehran, Esfahan and Hamadan, Iran
Naha, Japan
Kupang, Tabing and Jagirsidosermo, Indonesia
Baghdad, Iraq
Algiers, Algeria
The Pacific
Makati, Luksuhin, Quiapo and Manila, Philippines
Sydney, Australia

Today in History

1236 Ferdinand III of Castile and Leon take Cordoba in Spain.
1652 Massachusetts declares itself an independent commonwealth.
1767 The British parliament passes the Townshend Revenue Act, levying taxes on America.
1862 Union forces, falling back from Richmond, fight at the Battle of Savage's Station.
1880 France annexes Tahiti.
1888 Professor Frederick Treves performs the first appendectomy in England.
1903 The British government officially protests Belgian atrocities in the Congo.
1905 Russian troops intervene as riots erupt in ports all over the country, leaving many ships looted.
1917 The Ukraine proclaims independence from Russia.
1925 An earthquake ravages Santa Barbara, California.
1926 Fascists in Rome add an hour to the work day in an economic efficiency measure.
1932 Siam's army seizes Bangkok and announces an end to the absolute monarchy.
1938 Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, and Olympic National Park, Washington, are founded.
1950 President Harry S. Truman authorizes a sea blockade of Korea.
1951 The United States invites the Soviet Union to the Korean peace talks on a ship in Wonson Harbor.
1955 The Soviet Union sends tanks to Pozan, Poland, to put down anti-Communist demonstrations.
1966 The U.S. Air Force bombs fuel storage facilities near Hanoi, North Vietnam.
1967 Israel removes barricades, re-unifying Jerusalem.
1970 U.S. troops pull out of Cambodia.
1982 Israel invades Lebanon.

Non Sequitur


Boehner’s Obama Lawsuit Backfires As Democrats Have Their Biggest Fundraising Day of 2014

boehner-faceJohn Boehner’s lawsuit against President Obama is already showing signs of becoming a repugican disaster, as thanks to Boehner, House Democrats had their biggest fundraising day of 2014.
According to Politico, “Speaker John Boehner’s announcement that House repugicans would sue President Barack Obama for misusing executive authority turned into a big payday for congressional Democrats. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee posted its best fundraising day of the year on Wednesday, bringing in $584,000, according to figures shared with POLITICO.”
It is obvious that part of the motivation for bringing up this lawsuit now was to fire up the repugican base ahead of the 2014 election. Since repugicans can’t run against Obamacare, and their latest Benghazi revival has flopped miserably, congressional repugicans needed something to run on. Boehner and his allies assumed that nothing would get the repugican base riled up more than dangling a whiff of Obama impeachment in front of them.
What Speaker Boehner didn’t count on was that his antics would also fire up Democratic voters. The day’s record DCCC fundraising was $100,000 more than the previous record that was set in February after Paul Ryan revealed his budget. The majority of the 27,000 online donations came from people who donated less than $200. A sign of just how badly repugicans misjudged the lawsuit’s impact of Democrats was that 7,885 of the DCCC’s received donations came from first time donors.
The lawsuit was already looking like it would politically backfire on repugicans, and now it is financially backfiring on them too. Democrats who may have been planning on sitting 2014 out are getting engaged. Potential Democratic voters need to understand that 2014 isn’t going to be a typical midterm election. repugicans are eying up the Senate, and potentially removing President Obama from office.
If Speaker Boehner thought that he was going to be able to threaten President Obama with legal action with no consequences from Democrats, he was mistaken. Democrats aren’t about to sit back and let repugicans steal the presidency again. Instead of motivating Republican voters, John Boehner may have awoken the same Democratic sleeping giant that crushed the repugican cabal in 2006, 2008, and 2012.

The Reality Is That There Is No Difference Between repugican and tea party Candidates

One would be hard-pressed to find any difference whatsoever between repugicans and their teabagger cohort except their willingness to openly state their goals.…
In order to understand their surroundings, human beings depend on their brain’s ability to organize, identify, and interpret a barrage of sensory information that allows them to perceive, among other things, a potential threat. There has been a gross misperception among a large number of people who observe American politics that the greatest threat to this country, and more specifically its democracy, is the rise of extremists in the conservative movement. As a rule, the first extremist group that comes to most people’s mind is the Koch brothers’ tea party movement that they errantly bifurcate from establishment repugicans and it is curious how in dog’s name they make any distinction between the two. Apparently, it is fashionable to delineate two identical threats to America and its people and it is an error that establishment repugicans use to their advantage.

The recent defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by a libertarian college professor due to wild support from teabaggers was supposedly a “sign” that the tea party was still relevant in American politics. Then on Tuesday, when an establishment repugican Senator defeated a teabagger challenger in Mississippi and another handily won in an Oklahoma congressional race over a Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz-endorsed teabagger, there was celebration that the lunatic fringe candidates lost. The insinuation is that there was a difference between the establishment candidates and teabagger challengers when the stark reality is that they are one-in-the-same in their vision for America and devotion to a brand of libertarianism with no use for the federal government; except possibly as a vehicle to issue biblical edicts as the law of the land.

One would be hard-pressed to find any difference whatsoever between repugicans and their teabagger cohort except their willingness to openly state their goals. It is true that establishment repugicans tend to keep their anti-government sentiments concealed, and temper their hatred for the poor, women, and gays with carefully censored remarks. But make no mistake, they hate those groups as much as they hate taxes, regulations, and President Obama that both groups openly express as racists and libertarians. About the only difference between lunatic fringe and establishment repugicans is the establishment fully understands it still needs the federal government machine to give taxpayer dollars to the rich, corporations, and Wall Street; otherwise, neither group has any use for the federal government.

Last October when House repugicans shutdown the government and refused to raise the debt limit, the majority of the blame was leveled at teabaggers even though so-called establishment repukicans gladly joined their lunatic fringe brethren and voted in concert (all but 9 repugicans voted for the shutdown) to shutdown the government. Further, when it came time to end the shutdown and raise the debt limit, 144 “repugicans” voted to keep the government closed and default on the nation’s debt. In both cases, there was no difference between lunatic fringe and establishment repugicans because their agenda was identical; neutering the federal government. The repugicans, especially establishment types, knew that the Senate would not acquiesce and defund the Affordable Care Act, and it was left for Speaker John Boehner to plead for assistance from Democrats to do the right thing by the American people; something neither establishment nor lunatic fringe repugicans have any interest in doing.

What both lunatic fringe and establishment repugicans have an inordinate interest in is cutting all funding for social programs, ending regulations, and eliminating taxation. A couple of weeks ago a teabagger was giddy at the prospect of repugicans gaining a majority in the Senate because then “food stamps, minimum wage, Planned Parenthood, taxes, Medicare, women’s and gay rights, and education funding are going to be abolished.” The idea of eliminating those programs are not exclusive to the lunatic fringe in the wingnut movement and it is a mistake to think otherwise. In fact, any program administered by the federal government has been targeted by mainstream repugicans for ultimate elimination and if anyone thinks otherwise they only have to peruse the budget proposals from the repugican wingnut coven and to a lesser extent Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget.

The truth is the repugican cabal has always been as much of the lunatic fringe as the tea party when it comes to taxation, federal regulations of any kind, as well as funding social programs; particularly since Americans elected an African American as President. One often reads that repugicans likely rued the day they embraced the Koch brothers’ teabagger movement, but that is clearly not the case.

There is no doubt whatsoever that in the leadup to the 2010 midterms, repugicans knew exactly what teabaggers intended to accomplish when they swept into control of the House. In fact, during the debt ceiling crisis of 2011, establishment repugicans were in league with teabaggers who opposed the so-called “grand bargain” John Boehner and President Obama reached to raise the debt limit and boasted they only achieved a minor victory in Draconian social program cuts they lusted after by threatening an American credit default that they would use again to finish the job they started.

It is high time for political pundits, and indeed all Americans, to stop segregating repugicans and teabaggers and call them what they really are; lunatic fringers intent on eliminating the federal government. It doesn’t matter if it is federal social programs, federal taxes, federal regulations, or the Constitution; repugicans of all stripes will go to any lengths to abolish the federal government’s authority to provide for the general welfare of the American people. In fact, in that sense, repugicans and their teabagger cohort are libertarians; except where civil rights and religion are involved. Both groups advocate for government interference in Americans’ lives according to the demands of the religi-wingnuts, and each lunatic fringe wing hates civil rights protections for any American that is not a white male or evangelical christian.

The danger in segregating establishment and lunatic fringe repugicans is that it gives so-called 'mainstream' repugicans cover for policies and agendas that are contrary to the will of the people and result in negative polling. It is important to remember that everything teabaggers support has been deeply imbedded in the repugican cabal and the racial opposition to President Obama enabled them to openly advocate for policies they have supported since FDR’s New Deal. 'Mainstream' repugicans did not suddenly have the idea to abolish worker rights, minimum wage, Social Security, banking and Wall Street regulations, or child labor laws; they just found willing partners in the tea party to openly oppose those federal protections and would eliminate them tomorrow if they were able.

There may be “moderate” repugicans in Congress and state legislatures, but they are few and far between and for the most part are not what reasonable Americans would consider “moderate” at all. The repugicans may appear moderate to garner electoral support during election years, but when it comes time to cast their votes, they are as lunatic fringe as the teabaggers and it is time to call the entire repugican cabal what it really is; an anti-American and anti-government lunatic fringe sect.