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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

1624 Riots flare in Mexico when it is announced that all churches are to be closed.
1811 In a secret session, Congress plans to annex Spanish East Florida.
1865 Union troops capture Fort Fisher, North Carolina.
1913 The first telephone line between Berlin and New York is inaugurated.
1919 Peasants in Central Russia rise against the Bolsheviks.
1920 The Dry Law goes into effect in the United States. Selling liquor and beer becomes illegal.
1920 The United States approves a $150 million loan to Poland, Austria and Armenia to aid in their war with the Russian communists.
1927 The Dumbarton Bridge opens in San Francisco carrying the first auto traffic across the bay.
1929 The U.S. Senate ratifies the Kellogg-Briand anti-war pact.
1930 Amelia Earhart sets an aviation record for women at 171 mph in a Lockheed Vega.
1936 In London, Japan quits all naval disarmament talks after being denied equality.
1944 The U.S. Fifth Army successfully breaks the German Winter Line in Italy with the capture of Mount Trocchio.
1949 Chinese Communists occupy Tientsin after a 27-hour battle with Nationalist forces.
1965 Sir Winston Churchill suffers a severe stroke.
1967 Some 462 Yale faculty members call for an end to the bombing in North Vietnam.
1973 US President Richard Nixon announces the suspension of offensive action by US troops in Vietnam.
1973 Four of six remaining Watergate defendants plead guilty.
1975 The Alvor Agreement is signed, ending the Angolan War of independence and granting that country independence from Portugal.
1976 Sara Jane Moore sentenced to life in prison for her failed attempt to assassinate US President Gerald Ford.
1991 UN deadline for Iraq to withdraw its forces from occupied Kuwait passes, setting the stage for Operation Desert Storm.
1991 Britain's Queen Elizabeth II approves Australia instituting its own Victoria Cross honors system, the first county in the British Commonwealth permitted to do so.
1992 Slovenia and Croatia's independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is recognized by the international community.
2001 Wikipedia goes online.

Non Sequitur


This is what a true Martyr is

This is what a true Martyr is.
Tributes have been pouring in for a Pakistani teenager who was killed on Monday when he tackled a suicide bomber targeting his school in the Hangu area.
Aitzaz Hasan, 15, was with friends outside school when they spotted a man wearing a suicide vest.
Despite the pleas of his fellow students, he decided to confront and capture the bomber who then detonated his vest, his cousin told the BBC.
Aitzaz is being hailed as a hero in an outpouring of praise on social media.

Did you know ...

Why America needs stricter gun control

That it's time to stop blaming mental health for mass shootings

These stupid questions from christian education

That a man kills father's goat as sacrifice to god

Obama Calls Senate Democrats to the White House to Plan Their Next repugican Takedown

President Obama will be sitting down with Senate Democrats for a discussion about priorities, and odds are keeping the heat on repugicans in 2014.
Kasie Hunt, a political reporter for NBC News, tweeted that the White House has invited the Senate Democratic Caucus to meet with POTUS on Wednesday evening.
This comes as the Senate faces a vote on the Democrats plan to extend long term unemployment benefits, paid for by sequester cuts. Senate repugicans are opposing what they originally said they wanted, and a showdown is brewing. The AP also reported this story and speculated that the focus will be on, “The meeting comes as the White House is pressing members of the president’s party to hold off on a bill that would ratchet up sanctions on Iran…The president may also give lawmakers insight on his decisions for making changes involving the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.”
It is crack reporting like this that makes one wonder if the AP follows politics. Those issues will probably be discussed, but the focus of the meeting is likely to be on extending unemployment benefits, raising the minimum wage, and 2014 election strategy.
The 2014 priorities/strategy is likely to center around populist economic issues like job creation, extending unemployment benefits, and raising the minimum wage. The minimum wage bill is due to arrive on the Senate floor in late January/early February.
The president is also likely to discuss with Senate Democrats the priorities that he will outline in his State Of The Union address later this month. The White House will be looking to coordinate with the Democratic majority in the Senate to turn those priorities into legislative action.
Democrats have four powerful issues to use against repugicans in 2014. The Democratic focus should be on jobs, income inequality, raising the minium wage, and extending unemployment benefits for those who can’t find a job.
The White House may call this a meeting about priorities, but it is actually a 2014 strategy session. If the media can’t see this gathering for what it is, they are lazier and more clueless than could be imagined.

Explaining Socialism To A repugican

Nurse Pam
I was talking recently with a new friend who I’m just getting to know. She tends to be somewhat conservative, while I lean more toward the progressive side.
When our conversation drifted to politics, somehow the dreaded word “socialism” came up. My friend seemed totally shocked when I said “All socialism isn’t bad”.  She became very serious and replied “So you want to take money away from the rich and give to the poor?”  I smiled and said “No, not at all.  Why do you think socialism means taking money from the rich and giving to the poor?
“Well it is, isn’t it?” was her reply.
I explained to her that I rather liked something called Democratic Socialism, just as Senator Bernie Sanders, talk show host Thom Hartman, and many other people do. Democratic Socialism consists of a democratic form of government with a mix of socialism and capitalism. I proceeded to explain to her the actual meaning terms “democracy” and “socialism”.
Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens take part. It is government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Socialism is where we all put our resources together and work for the common good of us all and not just for our own benefit. In this sense, we are sharing the wealth within society.
Of course when people hear that term, “Share the wealth” they start screaming, “OMG you want to rob from the rich and give it all to the poor!”  But that is NOT what Democratic Socialism means.
To a Democratic Socialist, sharing the wealth means pooling tax money together to design social programs that benefit ALL citizens of that country, city, state, etc.
The fire and police departments are both excellent examples of Democratic Socialism in America.  Rather than leaving each individual responsible for protecting their own home from fire, everyone pools their money together, through taxes, to maintain a fire and police department. It’s operated under a non-profit status, and yes, your tax dollars pay for putting out other people’s fires. It would almost seem absurd to think of some corporation profiting from putting out fires.  But it’s more efficient and far less expensive to have government run fire departments funded by tax dollars.
Similarly, public education is another social program in the USA. It benefits all of us to have a taxpayer supported, publicly run education system. Unfortunately, in America, the public education system ends with high school.  Most of Europe now provides low cost or free college education for their citizens. This is because their citizens understand that an educated society is a safer, more productive and more prosperous society. Living in such a society, everyone benefits from public education.
When an American graduates from college, they usually hold burdensome debt in the form of student loans that may take 10 to even 30 years to pay off. Instead of being able to start a business or invest in their career, the college graduate has to send off monthly payments for years on end.
On the other hand, a new college graduate from a European country begins without the burdensome debt that an American is forced to take on. The young man or woman is freer to start up businesses, take an economic risk on a new venture, or invest more money in the economy, instead of spending their money paying off student loans to for-profit financial institutions.  Of course this does not benefit wealthy corporations, but it does greatly benefit everyone in that society.
EXAMPLE  American style capitalistic program for college: If you pay (average) $20,000 annually for four years of college, that will total $80,000 + interest for student loans. The interest you would owe could easily total or exceed the $80,000 you originally borrowed, which means your degree could cost in excess of $100,000.
EXAMPLE  European style social program for college: Your college classes are paid for through government taxes.  When you graduate from that college and begin your career, you also start paying an extra tax for fellow citizens to attend college.
Question - You might be thinking how is that fair? If you’re no longer attending college, why would you want to help everyone else pay for their college degree?
Answer - Every working citizen pays a tax that is equivalent to say, $20 monthly.  If you work for 40 years and then retire, you will have paid $9,600 into the Social college program.  So you could say that your degree ends up costing only $9,600. When everyone pools their money together and the program is non-profit, the price goes down tremendously. This allows you to keep more of your hard earned cash!
Health care is another example: If your employer does not provide health insurance, you must purchase a policy independently.  The cost will be thousands of dollars annually, in addition to deductible and co-pays.
In Holland, an individual will pay around $35 monthly, period.  Everyone pays into the system and this helps reduce the price for everyone, so they get to keep more of their hard earned cash.
In the United States we are told and frequently reminded that anything run by the government is bad and that everything should be operated by for-profit companies. Of course, with for-profit entities the cost to the consumer is much higher because they have corporate executives who expect compensation packages of tens of millions of dollars and shareholders who expect to be paid dividends, and so on.
This (and more) pushes up the price of everything, with much more money going to the already rich and powerful, which in turn, leaves the middle class with less spending money and creates greater class separation.
This economic framework makes it much more difficult for average Joes to ”lift themselves up by their bootstraps” and raise themselves to a higher economic standing.
So next time you hear the word “socialism” and “spreading the wealth” in the same breath, understand that this is a serious misconception.
Social programs require tax money and your taxes may be higher. But as you can see everyone benefits because other costs go down and, in the long run, you get to keep more of your hard earned cash!
Democratic Socialism does NOT mean taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  It works to benefit everyone so the rich can no longer take advantage of the poor and middle class.

Behind The Smoke and Mirrors, the repugicans Have No Plan To Extend Unemployment Benefits

The repugicans claim they will offer a wingnut policy to fight the war on poverty. They don't have one right now, except to say NO to anything …
The Senate is set to vote on the Democrats’ unemployment benefit extension, which means that repugicans will be finding new ways to avoid voting yes on something that used to be bipartisan (repugicans voted five times to extend unemployment under the shrub), while trying to stick within their talking points of not alienating the vulnerable out loud.
The repugicans claim they are going to offer a conservative policy to fight the war on poverty. They don’t have one right now, except to say NO to anything that the Democrats offer, including paid for extensions of unemployment benefits.
This is becoming rather predictable from repugicans. After all, for years they’ve been claiming they were going to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare, but then it turned out that they had no replace plan. They ran on “replace” but they had no replace.
This should have been big news, but apparently the media doesn’t find policy very interesting. It’s all a he said/she said scenario, and the loudest whinger wins. So don’t expect them to tell you what’s behind door number 2, the repugican cabal’s War on Poverty. The repugicans will think about actual policy tomorrow. All they know is they are against any actual solutions presented to them, and they must keep moving the goal post without admitting that they just can’t offer any help to the unemployed because it might help Obama.
Yes, like Scarlet O’Hara, repugicans will think about policy tomorrow. Only tomorrow never comes.
“Tomorrow” they will think about a policy to help the poor that their far right party will allow. This policy can’t include any kind of social safety net like food stamps or welfare or unemployment or affordable health insurance because all of these things are the work of the Socialist Devil himself, according to the repugican cabal base. And this is an election year. They mustn’t do anything to rouse the rabid beast.
The repugican cabal War on Poverty is also just like the repugican job plan. Their alleged jobs plan is Keystone XL, which is just another plan to provide welfare to oil companies, passed off as a jobs bill. Keystone might help a few people temporarily — it will not create more than 2,500 temporary jobs for two-years — but this doesn’t make it a failure since it was designed to help the oil companies, not the poor/jobless/vulnerable. Additional repugican “jobs plans” include overhauling the No Child Left Behind education law and repealing the Affordable Care Act, both of which will help corporations. It will trickle down, repugicans say.
Someday it will trickle down. Sure, millions have died waiting, but one fine day, it will finally trickle down. Have faith.
As we await the vote on unemployment today, the question the alert are asking is: If repugicans vote no on unemployment benefits, what is their plan?
The repugicans said they couldn’t support unemployment benefits because they weren’t paid for, and then Reid came up with a way to pay for them and now repugicans are busy moving the shell around, ducking and dodging from the fact that they have no plan. According to Sen. John McCain (r-AZ), The repugicans are opposing the Democratic proposal because the extension is too long, “We’re very much opposed to that length of extension. There’s room for compromise but a year is just too long.”
Once again, the party of no has no plan.
The repugican cabal can’t legislate. They are too dysfunctional to legislate, assuming that legislating was their goal. But even though they are being paid to legislate, passing actual working legislation is not the goal of repugicans.
The repugicans have admitted their goal, and it hasn’t changed. The goal is to obstruct everything Obama does and to hold the economy hostage until they get back into power, so they can hand unregulated goodies back to the top 2%.
So there is no repugican plan for the War on Poverty, except to keep finding less insulting ways to blame the poor, while offering lame excuses for their failure to act until they can get the reins back into the hands of the very people who caused this economic collapse.

Chris Christie Caught With His Hand In the Sandy Relief Fund Cookie Jar

Things just keeping getting worse and worse for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. As he is dealing with the firestorm over Bridgegate, and seeing his Presidential ambitions of 2016 slip away, another scandal is brewing to start this week off. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is investigating Christie’s use of Sandy relief funds to see if there was any improper use.
Out of the money that was sent to New Jersey in the wake of the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, $25 million was earmarked for marketing. That means that the state was able to utilize this money to help promote the state’s tourism and hopefully bring much needed revenue to seaside resort towns that suffered severe damage. The marketing campaign brought up some questions, leading Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) to send a letter to HUD requesting an investigation.
Pallone is concerned that Christie was utilizing the marketing campaign as a de facto reelection advertising blitz. The winning bidder on a series of commercials focused its ads on Christie and his family. This advertising company charged $4.7 million for its ads. Meanwhile, another company sent in a much lower bid ($2.5 million) but did not feature the governor in its ads. The ads ran over the spring and summer, providing Christie with an unfair advantage during his reelection campaign as he was given a large-scale marketing campaign at the expense of the taxpayers.
This goes beyond the display of egotism and the political shell game that Christie played. With people still struggling more than a year after the storm hit, every single dollar matters. Christie wasted over $2 million so he could get free advertising to boost his image during an election season. While Christie was making a big deal about House repugicans dragging their feet on Sandy relief aid, he was planning on using the funds to do whatever it took to improve the Christie brand.
HUD’s investigation will take several months, but they saw enough smoke to feel that there might be a fire somewhere. If it is revealed that Christie improperly used Sandy relief funds, it will potentially damage the governor more than Bridgegate. One of the reasons Christie’s popularity was so high in the state in 2013, leading to an easy reelection, was his response to Sandy. New Jersey residents had a sense that Christie cared about them deeply and wanted to go beyond politics to get relief for and rebuild the Jersey Shore.
This shows that Christie only saw opportunity in a devastating event and crassly used money sent to help the people of New Jersey to further his own political ambitions. Combine this with Bridgegate, and Christie is complete toast when it comes to 2016. These past weeks have shown us the true face of Chris Christie. He is nothing more than a vengeful, petty political animal who has no problem misusing public funds for his own personal ambitions while gladly seeking retribution against anyone who gets in his way.

Wingnut Group Claims Lying Is Free Speech, Supreme Court To Decide

Randa Morris
Right Wing Groups Ask Supreme Court For The Right To Make False Statements
Two wingnut groups are challenging a law in the state of Ohio, that is meant to keep people from giving false statements in political ads.
Two wingnut groups are challenging a law in the state of Ohio, that is meant to keep people from lying in political ads. The two groups, the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) and the tea party group, Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), claim that Ohio’s False Statement Law violates their First Amendment right to free speech. After the case was tossed out in the Ohio Courts, the groups filed suit in Federal Court. On January 11, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case, a decision which could bring an end to the Ohio False Statement Law.

Ohio’s False Statement Law protects the state’s voters.

Ohio’s False Statement Law protects the state’s voters from the kinds of dishonest tactics that the right wing uses all the time. The law currently makes it illegal to “post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard for whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.”

SBA List didn’t like it when their billboards got shut down.

During the 2010 elections, SBA List wanted to advertise a false statement about Democratic candidate Steven Driehaus. The statement, which the group wanted to place on billboards, claimed that Driehaus voted in favor of tax payer funded abortions, when he voted for the Affordable Care Act. This was an obvious lie, since the ACA does not use taxpayer money and federal law clearly prohibits the use of public funds for abortion.
Driehaus filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Committee (OEC). The OEC has limited powers. Under Ohio law they are allowed to investigate complaints and rule on False Statements. They may also refer cases for prosecution, if warranted. In this case, not only was there was no referral for prosecution, but the OEC never ruled on the statement, except to say that the complaint warranted further investigation.
SBA List did not run their false political ads in Ohio because the company that was going to rent billboard space to the group, backed out. This had nothing to do with the OEC or the False Statement Law, but happened because Driehaus contacted the company, personally.

COAST is afraid to lie, because the OEC might catch them.

The second group that joined the federal suit, COAST, has never had any dealings with the OEC. The group jumped on board the SBA List suit, claiming that the fear of having to prove their statements true before a government agency, kept them making similar untrue statements. So, this group is basically saying that they were afraid to lie, because another group got caught lying, and so that’s just not fair to them.

The Supreme Court could find Ohio’s False Statement Law unconstitutional.

Maybe not surprising, even though lower courts dismissed the case as baseless, the Supreme Court agreed to hear it. Given the courts track record on decisions of this nature, Ohio’s False statement Law will probably be found unconstitutional.
Reading through the documents filed with the Supreme Court, it’s hard to find any real justification for the federal lawsuit. It seems the case is being used by these right wing groups as an excuse to attack the OEC, which basically does little more than report to the voters on the truth about political statements. Of course, if they were forced to tell the truth, republicans would never win another election. Since lying is all they have left, it makes sense that they want to get rid of this law. The question is, will the Supreme Court help them do it?

The repugican Deregulation Culture to Blame For Water Poisoning West Virginia Chemical Spill

Freedom Industries knew the 70 to 80 year-old tanks were in desperate need of replacement and did not want to spend the money to repair them because regulations…

The West Virginia chemical spill is just one example of a much bigger problem

Over the weekend, we wrote here about a chemical spill in West Virginia that's dumped upwards of 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River just a mile upstream from the West Virginia American Water intake system, contaminating local water supplies. Since she posted, there have been some more updates on this story, including some interesting chemical sleuthing from a couple of great writers.
First off, what is 4-methylcyclohexane methanol? It's used in coal washing, a process that it would be reasonable to think of as "a good thing", because washing coal is what removes a lot of the sulfur that would otherwise contribute to acid rain. Basically, while we'd all prefer we didn't burn coal, if we're going to burn it, we want it to be washed. To do that, coal is crushed fine and dumped into a bath of frothy, foamy water. Relatively light coal floats and sticks to the foam. Relatively heavy sulfurous rock sinks. 4-methylcyclohexane methanol is one of the chemicals that can be used to make the froth.
This could explain why there hasn't yet been any news of major fish kills associated with the spill, writes hydrologist Anne Jefferson at the Highly Allochthonous blog. This stuff is chosen for the job it's meant to do because it's light and floats on water. Meanwhile, because it's winter, most of the fish are hanging out deeper in the water.
But that doesn't mean it's safe and everything is cool. In fact, the big problem with 4-methylcyclohexane methanol is that there doesn't seem to be a well-documented safety profile on it, one way or the other. Deborah Blum, a journalist and author who writes extensively about chemicals, poisons, and toxicology, tried to track down the safety data on 4-methylcyclohexane methanol and had a damn hard time doing so.
At this point, another source – yes, I was making a complete pest of myself — sent me a copy of a 2011 Material Safety Data Sheet. “Caution,” it said. “Product can cause skin and eye irritation. Vapors, especially upon heating, can cause irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract.” The safety data sheet was strong on not inhaling the compound – which could cause headaches, breathing difficulty and nausea – and on wearing protective gear in case of an accident.
But here was what caught my attention:
Exposure guidelines: None established for products or components
Decomposition: Unavailable
Ecological information: There is no data available for the product
The real problem here, Blum points out, is much bigger than this one spill. It's the fact that we continue to use many industrial solvents without knowing much (if anything) about what their risks really are and what levels of exposure are safe. Nobody has invested the time or money into learning what should be vital information. (This is where I'd also like to take a moment to suggest that you go read Dan Fagin's book Tom's River. It's about the social, psychological, and health effects of the sort of intentional chemical dumping that happened with abandon throughout much of the 20th century. It will give you a really good idea of why it's important to know more about these chemicals ahead of time. Establishing what the health risks are after the dumping has already occurred turns out to be nigh on impossible, especially if the risks are long-term things like cancer, rather than short-term things like, say, skin rashes.)
Meanwhile, it's becoming clear that the spill also has connections to major lapses in regulatory oversight. As Ana Marie Cox writes in The Guardian, this spill should be a much bigger political deal than Bridgegate.

Random Photo

Stolen Triumph

Russia Revisits Pivotal Role in World War I
by Christian Neef
 Stolen Triumph: Russia Revisits Pivotal Role in World War I
At the beginning of World War I, Russia was a member of the Triple Entente, which went on to win the conflict. By then, however, the Russian czarist empire had vanished and the war was swept under the historical rug. Putin is now bringing it back.  More

Cardboard doctors and nurses boosted sales of fruit

Lifesize cardboard cutouts of doctors and nurses in a supermarket caused a spike in sales of fruit, a study found. Customers bought more fresh, frozen and canned fruit during a five-week trial at a Morrisons’ store in Salford, Manchester, according to researchers.
In the first study of its kind in the UK, the lifesize images of real doctors and nurses who work in the area were positioned in the supermarket together with Let’s Shop Healthier messages inside and outside the shop.
The study by the National Obesity Forum found that over a 15-week period, volume sales of fresh fruit in the store were 20 per cent higher, while frozen fruit sales were up by 29 per cent and canned fruit purchases were up by 5 per cent.

Why was marijuana outlawed to begin with?

"This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others." — Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (an early predecessor of the DEA).

India is polio-free

It's been three years since India had a case of polio. There are now only three countries where polio is still endemic: Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.



Human News

By directing ultrasound to a specific brain area, researchers were able to improve people's ability to discriminate between sensory inputs.
Babies might come off as cute and innocent, but are they actually evil geniuses out to manipulate and control us? Laci and Anthony uncover some new findings about how babies might just know more than we thought they did.
Merriam-Webster declared 'science' the 2013 word of the year. But can reading something other than data and facts, say a work of fiction, help improve brain function? Anthony explains the possible benefits reading fiction can have.

Lost Remains of Slain Ancient Queen Unearthed

Georgian Queen Ketevan was executed for refusing to become a member of a powerful Persian ruler's harem.

Ancient Map Could Warn of Active Volcano

A volcanic eruption -- and new geological finds -- suggest a volcano depicted in ancient art may still be active.

Daily Comic Relief


Man rescued deer from frozen river

Jared Maitino and his brother-in-law recently visited their favorite fishing spot on the Chagrin River at Woodland Park in Eastlake, Ohio, a place littered with deer. “We noticed it was frozen over. We didn’t think it would be frozen over, because we had a few warm days, and we looked down and we’re like ‘we can’t fish’,” Maitino said.
“As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed that there was a deer that broke through the ice, and it was struggling to get out of the water,” Maitino said. Jared quickly sprang into action. He raced back to his truck, grabbed some ratchet straps and headed back toward the river. Jared was wearing a Go Pro Camera, something he wears all the time when fishing.

“I have a chest pack so whenever I hook a fish, I turn it on,” he said. “I thought if I’m going to go down there and save this thing, I might as well get it on film.” The video from Jared’s camera shows him making a lasso with the ratchet straps. “When I initially tossed it, it didn’t make it around both ears like I thought it would so I just kind of pulled it a little bit tighter. It cinched up and as it cinched up, I noticed that I could actually get a good pull on the deer and I just started pulling,” he said.

He pulled the deer out of the water and onto the shore. “I was just hoping that it wasn’t going to come right at us, that’s the only thing I wasn’t hoping for,” Maitino said. The deer ran off into the woods, and Jared is being called a hero by his friends. “I don’t consider myself a hero,” he said. “Everybody keeps saying you’re a hero, but if I would have saved a human then I thought maybe I’d be more of a hero, but it was still cool though.”

Pug puppy snatched in violent raid at terminally ill man's home

A three-week-old pug has been snatched in a violent burglary at a Nottingham home after it was advertised for sale. Alfie's owner Terry Hayes, who is terminally ill with emphysema, was knocked to the ground during the raid in Beechdale. Police believe the raid on Wednesday was a "one off" but urged people selling pedigree dogs to be cautious.
Mr Hayes' wife Gina said the puppy, which was still being weaned, could die soon if it is not found. The family had placed an online advertisement for a litter of puppies and Mrs Hayes received a text from a woman who wanted to view them. She answered her door in Fremount Drive to a woman and a man on Wednesday evening.

The man, wearing a balaclava, then "burst in" and tried to put Alfie's mother Pebbles in a black holdall. Mr Hayes, 57 tried to hit the burglar with his walking stick, Mrs Hayes said, but he was pushed to the floor and was later taken to hospital. While Mrs Hayes tried to help her husband, the burglar put Alfie in the bag and fled.
Son Tony said the family were "absolutely devastated". Mrs Hayes said: "Puppies depend on their mum until they're five or six weeks old. If these people don't know what they are doing, the puppy will die soon." Det Sgt Mike Ebbins, of Nottinghamshire Police, said that pedigree breeds, especially pugs, fetch 'quite a sum'.  "At the moment locally this seems to be a one-off," he said.

Dickhead pays shitloads to murder endangered African black rhino

Dickhead pays shitloads to murder endangered African black rhino
A permit to hunt an endangered African black rhino sold Saturday night for $350,000 at a Dallas auction held to raise money for conservation efforts but criticized by wildlife advocates.
Steve Wagner, a dickhead for the Dallas Safari Club, which sponsored the closed-door event, confirmed the sale of the permit for a hunt in the African nation of Namibia. He declined to name the buyer dickhead.
Ben Carter, executive dickhead of the Safari Club, has defended the auction. He said all money raised will go toward protecting the species. He also said the rhino that the winner will be allowed to hunt is old, male and nonbreeding — and that the animal was likely to be targeted for removal anyway because it was becoming aggressive and threatening other wildlife.

The Real Moby Dick

Do Whales Really Attack Humans?

The revenge of a whale or an accidental tragedy? Do whales really attack humans intentionally? Sperm whales are relatively placid mammals and very few incidents in modern times suggest otherwise. They mainly feed on squid and rarely attack, apparently only when mistaking other mammals for seals or prey.

In his 1839 book about the natural history of sperm whales, Thomas Beale, a surgeon aboard a whaleship, described them as 'a most timid and inoffensive animal readily endeavoring to escape from the slightest thing which bears an unusual appearance.' But Dr Richard Bevan, a zoologist and lecturer at Newcastle University, suggests that a sperm whale may remember if it was previously attacked.

Giant squid caught by net fisherman off Japan

Giant squid caught by net fisherman off Japan Rare capture of fabled sea creature, at a depth of about 300 feet, measures 12 feet and weighs 330 pounds; and this one is no hoax

giant squid
Images showing the giant squid being studied and captured are video screen grabs
A story published Thursday about a monstrous radioactive squid discovered on a Southern California beach was an obvious hoax.
But this past week off Japan, an actual giant squid was captured in a fisherman’s net and died after it was hauled to the surface.
The squid in the hoax story was said to be 160 feet long and its immense size was blamed on radiation being leaked into the Pacific in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
“Alarms sound over radioactive gigantism,” screamed a headline above a story that featured a photoshopped image and quoted experts who do not exist.
giant squid
giant squid image is a video screen grab
Though some believed the story, fabricated by the Lightly Braised Turnip website, it was easily debunked.
But the capture of an actual giant squid Wednesday off Sadogashima Island is more believable, even though squid captures are exceedingly rare.
According to the Japan Times, the male specimen measured about 12 feet and weighed about 330 pounds. The accompanying Japanese-language video shows the creature on display and being measured by scientists (footage of the squid being pulled to the boat begins at the 1-minute mark).
Giant squid are elusive creatures that occupy the dark ocean depths. They’re believed to have spawned sea monster myths among ancient mariners, and have been featured as predatory beasts in novels and films.
They can measure to about 40 feet and weigh nearly a ton.
According to the Smithsonian Ocean Portal, a giant squid was first recorded live in 2006 by Japanese scientists who used a baited hook to haul up a 24-foot squid.
In 2012, scientists from Japan’s National Science Museum and a Discovery Channel film crew filmed a giant squid in its natural habitat for the first time.
It was enticed to within view of a submersible camera by the use of glowing lowers designed to mimic sea jellies, which are said to signal squid that other food is nearby.
The capture on Wednesday was by a fisherman named Shigenori Goto, who told the Japan Times that it was found in a net used to catch buri yellowtail at a depth of 310 feet.
According to the video description, the collosal cephalopod is being studied at the Fisheries Ocean Research Institute in Niigata Prefecture.
Almost assuredly, some people will associate this rare catch with the Fukushima disaster.

Bird catching fish

African tigerfish bites at lureFierce fish catch swallows in flight

African tigerfish have been filmed catching swallows in flight by scientists. BBC Nature

Animal News

Great white sharks can live to be 70 years or more and might be the oldest sharks on earth.
The tongue-twisting woman who sold seashells by the seashore may have damaged the coastal ecosystem.
An animal that looked like both a fish and an animal represents the transition from fish to land dwellers.
The first naturally occurring marine mammal hybrid -- a sleek dolphin -- could mean that love prevails in the ocean, or that species are in jeopardy.

Animal Pictures