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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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Daily Drift

The truth hurts doesn't it wingnuts ...

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Today in History

1649 Charles I of England is beheaded at Whitehall by the executioner Richard Brandon.
1844 Richard Theodore Greener becomes the first African American to graduate from Harvard University.
1862 The USS Monitor is launched at Greenpoint, Long Island.
1901 Women Prohibitionists smash 12 saloons in Kansas.
1912 The British House of Lords opposes the House of Commons by rejecting home rule for Ireland.
1931 The United States awards civil government to the Virgin Islands.
1933 Adolf Hitler is named Chancellor by President Paul Hindenburg.
1936 Governor Harold Hoffman orders a new inquiry into the Lindbergh kidnapping.
1943 Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus surrenders himself and his staff to Red Army troops in Stalingrad.
1945 The Allies launch a drive on the Siegfried line in Germany.
1949 In India, 100,000 people pray at the site of Gandhi's assassination on the first anniversary of his death.
1953 President Dwight Eisenhower announces that he will pull the Seventh Fleet out of Formosa to permit the Nationalists to attack Communist China.
1964 The Ranger spacecraft, equipped with six TV cameras, is launched to the moon from Cape Canaveral.
1972 British troops shoot dead 14 Irish civilians in Derry, Ireland. The day is forever remembered in Ireland as 'Bloody Sunday.'
1976 The U.S. Supreme Court bans spending limits in campaigns, equating funds with freedom of speech.
1980 The first-ever Chinese Olympic team arrives in New York for the Winter Games at Lake Placid.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

The repugican cabal trickle-down assault is forcing Americans to work til they die

That America is becoming more liberal

That people are more likely to kill when they have a gun

About these zebra finches rocking out on guitars at a museum

About these 17 animals that became extinct in our lifetimes

That the divorce rate higher in counties with greater concentration of wingnut christians

That "the tea party is the petty bourgeoisie face of the corporate oliogarchs"

Why are there 24 hours in a day?

And rip the great folksinger Pete Seeger

Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz Openly Threaten The Country With Economic Catastrophe

The repugicans are once again threatening to hold the debt limit hostage in return for a ransom payment that is, beyond belief, the height of insanity.
By now, most people are familiar with Albert Einstein’s statement that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” and by his definition repugicans are truly insane. As the next debt ceiling crisis looms in less than a month, repugicans are once again threatening to hold the debt limit hostage in return for a ransom payment that is, beyond belief, the height of insanity. Or is it really a calculated move to put America on a course for an economic catastrophe unless the President pays the hostage demands that will be catastrophic? Thus far, repugicans have proposed letting the nation default on its debt and initiate an economic disaster in America and around the world unless President Obama does what they call the “responsible thing.” When they say responsible thing, they want the President to allow them to impose ruinous damage on the economy, kill millions of jobs, gut social safety nets, and hand the Koch brothers billions in dirty energy profits for a foreign corporation’s catastrophic project.

The republicans want to collect just enough taxes for stuff THEY want

Fresh from Washington, where he played a leading role in preventing the extension of emergency unemployment benefits for Americans mired in joblessness, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor appeared to be enjoying one of the perks of his own employment: a sumptuous breakfast in this ski resort in the Swiss Alps, where he was attending the World Economic Forum..
So I approached Cantor's table and asked him who was paying for his trip. He took in a breath, grinned sheepishly and said, "I paid for this," gesturing at a table bearing the remnants of a buffet breakfast whose offerings included smoked salmon, croissants, freshly squeezed orange juice, assorted Swiss cheeses and mineral water.
Maybe you're buying into he paid for this, but I bet by saying "I paid for this," he really meant his office which means you and me.

High finance - as only the crooks can understand it

The New York Times reported that Jamie Dimon, the silver-haired CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the nation's largest bank by assets, is getting a raise. Dimon is poised to add a few million to the $11.5 million compensation package he took home in 2013.
If you so much as glanced at the news last year, this bit of news may puzzle you. JPMorgan, in many ways, had a miserable 2013. JPMorgan paid $1 billion in fines in the wake of the "London Whale" scandal, in which the bank lost $6 billion on a market-rattling blunder by a trader named Bruno Iksil. The bank also paid $13 billion to settle charges that it'd peddled risky mortgage-backed securities. And it forked over another $2 billion to settle charges for failing to spot Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme, which Madoff perpetrated largely using JPMorgan accounts. All told, the bank paid out roughly $20 billion in penalties to federal regulators over a slew of screw-ups and failures.
2013 was a rough year for JPMorgan. So why is Dimon getting a raise? The answer, in part, will make your blood boil. Here's the money quote in the Times:
        Mr. Dimon's defenders point to his active role in negotiating a string of government settlements that helped JPMorgan move beyond some of its biggest legal problems. He has also solidified his support among board members, according to the people briefed on the matter, by acting as a chief negotiator as JPMorgan worked out a string of banner government settlements this year.

Man used first-class airline ticket to get free meals in airport’s VIP lounge for almost a year

A man bought a first-class ticket and used it to have free meals and drinks at an airport’s VIP lounge almost every day for nearly a year.
The itinerary for the ticket was found to have been changed more than 300 times within a year, and the owner of the ticket used it to enjoy the facilities at the airport’s VIP lounge in Xi’an in Shaanxi, China.
The case was discovered by a China Eastern Airlines staff member, who then decided to investigate.
When the ticket’s validity was almost up, the passenger cancelled it for a refund. An airline spokesman said there were no means to stop this act, even if it was done on purpose.

Anti-fracking protesters glued themselves to pumps at wrong gas station

Anti-fracking protesters who glued and chained themselves to gas pumps near Bolton, Lancashire were at the wrong garage. Four people were arrested after anti-fracking protesters used glue and bike locks to attach themselves to fuel pumps at the petrol station in Great Lever.
Bolton against Fracking had organized a protest at their local Total garage after it was reported that the oil company were due to invest at least £12.7 million in the UK fracking industry. They were protesting against test drilling at Barton Moss, in Salford. However, it emerged later that the petrol station was no longer owned by Total - but the new owners had not got around to taking the signs down yet.
Petrol station manager Reezwan Patel said: “We had to close for six hours, so with the loss of custom and the damage to the pumps, it could be a couple of thousand pounds we have lost. The thing is, Total don’t own the station any more. It is owned by Certas Energy, but the signs haven’t changed yet. The protesters were very polite and actually apologized for what happened.”
Specialist police officers removed the protesters from the pumps. Three men, and a woman, were placed in police custody after the protest. A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: "Two men were arrested for criminal damage, and a man and a woman were arrested for criminal damage and criminal trespass.”

Woman interviewed about fatal shootings at mall couldn't resist promoting her jewellery store first

When Judy Hoffman, manager of the Fire and Ice jewellery store at The Mall in Columbia, Maryland, scene of a deadly shooting incident on Saturday, was interviewed by CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield, she couldn't resist throwing in an enthusiastic plug for her shop.
“Judy Hoffman was a shopper in the mall,” Whitfield said. “She’s on the phone with us now. Where are you now?”
“Actually, I’m not a shopper,” Hoffman said. “Okay,” Whitfield interjected.

“I’m a manager at Fire and Ice at the Columbia Mall, near Nordstrom’s” Hoffman continued, adding “Fire and Ice is a very unique, fascinating store. We sell jewellery, fossils, a number of different unique things from all over the world…” “So what happened? What happened while you were in the store today?” Whitfield cut in. Hoffman then recounted the incident, which occurred “on the other side of the mall” from where she was.

Prisoner landed police officer in trouble after reporting him for driving at 140mph

A police officer has been disciplined for driving at speeds of up to 140 mph - after being reported by the criminal he was transporting. The police constable was driving the prisoner from Leeds back to Darlington when it is claimed he drove a marked police car at up to twice the legal limit.
It is understood the PC was reported by his passenger when the pair arrived at the custody suite at Darlington police station. According to a source, the officer and the criminal during the 70-mile journey the pair discussed  the powerful BMW's performance. The source said: “The conversation turned to the vehicle they were traveling in. Apparently the prisoner asked how fast it would go and the officer said something along the lines of ‘I’ll show you’ or ‘let’s see’.
“As soon as they got back to Darlington the prisoner proceeded to tell the officer at the custody desk just how fast they had been going.” Superintendent Darren Ellis, head of professional standards and legal services at Durham Constabulary, said the force had taken the allegation “very seriously”. He added: “We are aware of this complaint, which concerns an allegation of a marked police vehicle being driven at an excess, and inappropriate, speed whilst transporting a prisoner back from Leeds into our force area.
“The PC in question has been moved permanently from roads policing duties, has been handed a formal sanction under the police misconduct procedures and is subject to an action plan concerning risk management and decision making.” Supt Ellis said the officer’s license has been suspended, including removing his pursuit capabilities. The PC will also have to go through a driving school reassessment before returning to full operational duties. The law allows police, ambulance and fire service drivers to exceed the speed limit - but only in emergencies.

Six siblings jailed for attempted kidnap of sister's girlfriend

Six siblings from a "traditional Asian Muslim family" from Lancashire have been jailed for attempting to kidnap the girlfriend of one of their sisters, threatening to kill her because she had "messed with the wrong Muslims". Almost three years ago Nazma Ditta, 28, one of nine children from Blackburn, began a secret relationship with Sarah-Jane Harrison, 35, when both women worked at a clothes shop in Blackburn. Unhappy that Nazma was in a same-sex relationship with a white, non-Muslim woman, six of her siblings plotted to break up the relationship.
They wanted her to enter into an arranged marriage with a cousin or another man, and discussed putting her on a plane to Pakistan. Three of Nazma's sisters, one wearing a full-face veil, were caught on CCTV kicking and punching Harrison after she finished work at USC Clothing in Blackburn town center on 20 June last year. They were shown dragging her to the floor by her hair and snatching her handbag, before rifling through it to take out Nazma's passport and other things belonging to her. Previously, text messages exchanged between the siblings had talked about "battering that bitch". One, sent by Nayyar Mehmood, 38, the second eldest sibling, urged her siblings to attack Harrison and said: "A kaffir [non-believer] is taking over."
CCTV shows Nighat Morris, 39, the eldest child in the family, along with her sisters Tosif Ditta, 35, and Ghazala Ditta, 31, trying and failing to bundle Harrison into the back of a car before driving away. They were guarded throughout the attack by Tahmoor Ditta, 26, one of Nazma's brothers. He had a bradawl, a sharp carpentry tool, "clenched in his fist with the spike poking out between his fingers", which he used to try to scare off one of Harrison's colleagues who tried to intervene in the attack. Both Harrison and her colleague told police the family shouted: "Get her in, get her in, you've messed with the wrong Muslims, we're going to kill you."
Tamoor Ditta, 26, admitted several charges including conspiracy to commit actual bodily harm and attempted kidnap. He was sentenced to six years in prison. Ghazala Ditta, 31, Aftah Ditta, 32, and Nighat Morris, 39, were all sentenced to five years and four months in prison after admitting conspiracy to commit actual bodily harm, attempted kidnap and robbery. Tosif Ditta, 34, and Nayyar Mehmood, 38, were both sentenced to three years and six months in prison after admitting conspiracy to commit actual bodily harm. Miss Ditta and Miss Harrison are still in a relationship.

Former crime reporter arrested for armed robberies

A former crime reporter for the Nouvelle République newspaper in France has been arrested for doing what he used to write about: armed robbery.
Police in the central town of Blois arrested the 63-year old on Friday after he robbed a department store GEMO. It was the second time he targeted the store. Police said he threatened a salesperson with a large black revolver “like Clint Eastwood”.
Officers had been keeping watch after the retired journalist robbed five shops over the past four months. He would disguise his face with a fake mustache, a wig, and wear gloves. Police said he would wait until closing time to threaten staff and order them to empty the cash register.
Police said he stole around 9,000 euros in total and deposited the booty in his personal bank account shortly after each heist. The man reportedly told police he turned to armed robberies after coming out of a difficult divorce and struggling financially to support his son’s studies.

Man jailed for toilet seat lid attack on his disabled uncle

A 20-year-old Florida man has been jailed on a felony battery charge for allegedly hitting his disabled uncle on the head with a toilet seat lid.
Norris Troutman told a deputy that his 48-year-old uncle was "mocking" him so he hit him on the head with the toilet seat lid. Sammy Lee Johnson, the 48-year-old victim, told St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office deputies that he was sitting on the couch in his Fort Pierce home watching TV with his mother when Troutman ran up to him and “struck him in the back of his head with a toilet seat lid.”

Johnson said that he “was unsure why Mr. Troutman was upset with him,” adding that he “did nothing to provoke the attack.” The man’s mother concurred that he had done nothing to prompt the assault earlier this month. A sheriff’s deputy reported noticing “slight swelling” on Johnson, who refused medical attention. He told investigators that Troutman “retrieved the toilet seat lid from the window sill of the bathroom.”
In an interview with a sheriff’s deputy, the 6’ 6” Troutman “spontaneously admitted” to striking his uncle with the toilet seat. He claimed that the older man had been “mocking” him. Troutman was arrested for aggravated battery “due to the fact he used a deadly weapon/blunt object to strike Johnson in the back of the head” during the January 9 incident. Troutman is being held in the county jail in lieu of $20,000 bond.

Cult thief blessed himself with holy water before stealing car

A man accused of stealing a car at a cult in DeWitt, New York blessed himself with holy water before the theft.
"He must be a good catholic," said the Rev. J. Robert Yeazel from the Holy Cross cult.
Surveillance cameras revealed that after Tony M. Lynch, 56, of Syracuse took car keys from a coatroom on Jan. 7, he dipped his hands in holy water and made the sign of the cross, said Pastor Yeazel.
Lynch then used a fob on the key ring to find the car in the parking lot. He was caught this week by police at a cult in the town of Onondaga.

Man threw tin of mushy peas at woman before starting fire after being thrown out of pub

A man who hurled a tin of mushy peas at a woman’s head before trying to set fire to a pub that he had just been barred from has been spared jail. Ricky-Lee Benson from Nelson, Lancashire, threw the can at Katrina Smith, leaving her with a gashed head after she confronted him about downing her drink in the Station Hotel in Nelson. Benson, 29,  had been thrown out moments earlier by the landlady when he lit a 2ft high fire by a side door which had to be stamped out by police. He was so drunk he had no recollection of either offense but admitted the assault and attempted arson.
Burnley Crown Court heard how Benson had no money and was going around tables stealing drinks from customers on September 26th. He downed a drink at the bar which belonged to Ms Smith, who had been delivering a wedding cake for a friend at the hostelry. When Ms Smith returned and found her drink gone, she confronted the defendant and tried to walk him to the bar to buy her another. But an argument broke out and Benson became “abusive and aggressive”. Miss Emma Kehoe prosecuting, said landlady Angela Bibby stepped in and told the defendant to leave and barred him. But the defendant was heard to reply: “Watch me. I’ll be back”. As he left, he picked a tin of mushy peas from his bag and hurled it towards Ms Smith who was outside.
The can hit her on the head and left her with a gash and an injury to her hand. Paramedics were called and the victim was taken to hospital to have her head glued and a splint put on her hand. Ms Kehoe told the court the police were called out and said: “They immediately saw flames at the door of the emergency exit. There was a small fire but the officers were able to stamp on it to put the fire out.” The fire, lit using discarded material, only damaged the door. Mr Jeremy Coleman defending, said the defendant was “very lightly” convicted with two previous offenses. The court was also told he had been making progress over the past 12 months and had responded well to probation.
Sentencing, Recorder Phillip Curran said the offenses were serious and called his actions “reckless” for throwing the can. He said: “It was a deliberate act on your part and it was reckless. It hit her on her head and broke some glass and she suffered a cut to her hand. The injuries were nasty.” He continued: “When you were barred from the pub, you went round the back and lit a small fire. This is a worrying aspect of a case like this as it was a pub with people inside. The prosecution accepted you plea to simple arson that you were going to cause damage and no more. The danger was it could have got out of hand and caused more damage.” He was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years with a two-year supervision order.

Beards leave Shetland isle without fire cover

A blazing row over beards has left a Shetland island without its fire crew. The Isle of Bressay has lost its fire crew because two members refuse to shave off their beards ahead of the annual Viking fire festival Up Helly Aa.
The island with 360 residents has been without fire cover since November because the two men's beards prevent them from wearing breathing apparatus in an emergency. Fire crews from Lerwick will be ferried across the harbor should a fire break out on Bressay, while officers from the town have been handing out fire prevention advice to the island's residents.
The Vikings' stubbornness has been condemned by Shetland community safety board vice chairman Allison Duncan, who has been trying without success to persuade the pair to lose their facial hair. “To know that a couple of firefighters are putting the safety of Bressay people at risk is absolutely crazy, it's mind boggling,” he said.
“There's elderly, frail people, there could be a car accident, there was a fire at the back end of Bressay. I've done my utmost to get them to see sense and get the appliance back on the run in the interests of the Bressay people.” Duncan confirmed that disciplinary action against two unnamed firefighters has been initiated. Guizer Jarl Lyle Tulloch who will lead this year’s fire festival said he did not want to comment.



Automated And Strange Musical Instruments

Musical instrument makers have always been fascinated by pushing the boundaries of their craft, and several creative individuals have created automated musical instruments that play without the need of a human performer.

10 Crazy Weapons That Are Still Legal In The US

Throughout history, humans have invented a variety of deadly weapons. In the West, certain arms were developed from agricultural tools, while in the East various weapons can be traced back to different forms of martial arts.
Today, as debate continues about gun control in the United States, it seems incredible to think that ownership of a number of deadly weapons - some ancient, some more modern - remains permitted under federal law. Here are ten crazy weapons that are still legal in the U.S.

Icelanders Protest A Road That Would Disturb Fairies

In Iceland, fairies are a big deal. Such a big deal that in the past few months there have been protests to stop a road that might disturb them. The new route would slice through the Alftanes peninsula, near Reykjavik, and the protesters say that the elves live amongst the rocks that would be disturbed.

This might seem odd for a modern nation like Iceland. But most countries have some sort of supernatural superstitions. New Jersey has the chupacabra. The south of the USA has Bigfoot. Iceland has fairies.

Henna Tattoos

Exquisite, Impermanent Stains

Henna has been used since ancient times as a dye to color fabrics such as wool, leather and silk. Yet at some early point in its shared history with humanity it was discovered that it could be used to stain the skin temporarily.

Ancient wall paintings discovered during the excavation of Akrotiri (destroyed by volcanic eruption in 1627 BCE) show women adorned with patterns and designs wholly consistent with henna on their nails, palms and soles. It is a tradition still thriving and evolving today.

12 Fascinating Images Of Extreme Cold Weather Conditions

From Buffalo, New York's famous Blizzard of '77 to the polar vortex that recently swept over North America a few weeks ago, check out these 12 jaw-dropping images of a world frozen over.

Unlocking Secrets Of The Grand Canyon's Age

To the untrained eye, the Grand Canyon might just look like one big hole in the ground. But to some scientists, the American Southwest's iconic gorge is increasingly looking like several ancient canyons of different ages, stitched together by erosion that occurred about six million years ago, and subsequently sculpted into its modern form.

A new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, added to more than a century's worth of fieldwork, is helping researchers decipher a geological tale that began unfolding when dinosaurs roamed the landscape.

Daily Comic Relief


Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg

Located near the Connecticut border in Webster, Massachusetts
Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg covers a surface area of 1,442 acres (5.84 km2) and is a popular vacation spot in New England, mostly because of its strange name.

The lake received its name when the English colonizers arrived in the region. Before the name was just 'Chaubunagungamaugg,' meaning 'fishing place at the boundary.' But when the English started to use the lake for fishing and hanging out, it lengthened to 'Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg,' meaning 'English knifemen and Nipmuck Indians at the boundary or neutral fishing place.'

The Men At Sea Of Esbjerg, Denmark

Arriving from the North Sea, travelers to the seaport town of Esbjerg in Denmark will be greeted by colossal monuments in the form of four men sitting on a chair. Called 'Man Meets the Sea' or 'Men at Sea,' these monumental sculptures are the work of Svend Wiig Hansen, who created them in occasion of Esbjerg 100th anniversary celebration.

The concept behind the artwork is the encounter of pure, innocent Man with nature. Man before things started to go wrong, before he got 'dirt' on his hands. The sculptures embody this concept in their tall, column-like statures, rigid like the Pharaohs of Egyptian temples, possessing a sacred, universal aura.

Abandoned pig given food and shelter by locals

A lonely pig abandoned in a field has plucked at the heart-strings of residents of a small community who have given it food and shelter. Believed to be a German micro breed, he was left behind when his family moved.
He was left to graze on land off Horn Street in Shorncliffe, Folkestone, after the previous owners moved several weeks ago. But he has become something of a popular attraction and is regularly fed by passers-by, who have named him Porrick.
Landowner Trevor Boxell wanted to find him a new home, and even tried taking him to a rare breeds center, but they were unable to take him in. Mr Boxell said: “I feel sorry for him. People have been feeding him and built him a hut. They had about 40 of them before but he [the owner] appears to have left him there.

“It’s just a shame for him to sit there and he looks miserable. They’re a herd animal and he looks lonely – you can hear him squealing sometimes. It shows how popular he is that people have built a hut for him.” The land is good grazing land and has a stream running through the middle so he has access to water.

Baby seal returned to the sea after being found lost in the woods

Susanna Jensen was surprised to find a baby seal floundering amongst the trees while she was out walking her dog on a forest trail in Moss, south of Oslo, Norway, on Tuesday afternoon.
The seal had somehow been separated from its parents at a local marina. "It looked like it was happy to see me because it was coming towards me, but it also looked tired." the 25-year-old said.
"It had probably been on land for a lot of time: in the end it climbed under a table, so it was probably quite cold." After spending an hour trying to coax the seal back to the water, Jensen had to leave as her dog was becoming too cold.
But her father returned to the site a couple of hours later and carried the seal to the shore, where it dived under the water and disappeared. "The seal was okay once it got in the sea," Jensen said. "I’m hoping it’s fine now and back with its family."

Animal Pictures