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

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Daily Drift

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Carolina Naturally is read in 195 countries around the world daily.
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Today in History

962 Otto I invades Italy and is crowned Holy Roman Emperor.
1032 Conrad II claims the throne of France.
1494 Columbus begins the practice using Indians as slaves.
1571 All eight members of a Jesuit mission in Virginia are murdered by Indians who pretended to be their friends.
1626 Charles I is crowned King of England. Fierce internal struggles between the monarchy and Parliament characterized 17th century English politics.
1848 The Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo formally ends the Mexican War.
1865 Confederate raider William Quantrill and his bushwackers rob citizens, burn a railroad depot and steal horses from Midway, Kentucky.
1870 The press agencies Havas, Reuter and Wolff sign an agreement whereby between them they can cover the whole world.
1876 The National Baseball League is founded with eight teams.
1900 Six cities, Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Chicago and St. Louis agree to form baseball's American League.
1901 Mexican government troops are badly beaten by Yaqui Indians.
1916 U.S. Senate votes independence for Philippines, effective in 1921.
1921 Airmail service opens between New York and San Francisco. Airmail's First Day.
1934 Alfred Rosenberg is made philosophical chief of the Nazi Party.
1939 Hungary breaks relations with the Soviet Union.
1943 Last of the German strongholds at Stalingrad surrender to the Red army.
1944 The Germans stop an Allied attack at Anzio, Italy.
1945 Some 1,200 Royal Air Force planes blast Wiesbaden and Karlsruhe.
1948 The United States and Italy sign a pact of friendship, commerce and navigation.
1959 Arlington and Norfolk, Va., peacefully desegregate public schools.
1960 The U.S. Senate approves 23rd Amendment calling for a ban on the poll tax.
1972 The Winter Olympics begin in Sapporo, Japan.
1978 U.S. Jewish leaders bar a meeting with Egypt's Anwar Sadat.
1987 Largest steel strike in American history, in progress since August, ends.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

Hey, wait a minute...who's the moocher?

That it's about profits, not free speech

The 19 scientific reasons you should take more naps

Here's 10 ideas to root out inequality

About when the anti-choicers choose abortion

It's of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy

President Obama’s Message To House repugicans Talking Impeachment: Bring It On

During his CNN interview President Obama not only shrugged off repugican claims of an imperial presidency, but he appeared to challenge the repugicans who are talking lawsuits and impeachment to bring it on.
TAPPER: And let’s talk about House repugicans, because – and – and Senate repugicans. There has been a large contingency of repugicans critical of your new approach. Ted Cruz of Texas, who might run for president, calls this the imperial presidency. And in the House, there is this thing, as you know, called The Stop Act. They want to rein in what you’re trying to do.
How do you respond to that?
OBAMA: Well, I don’t think that’s very serious. I mean, the truth of the matter is, is that every president engages in executive actions. In fact, we’ve been very disciplined and sparing in terms of the executive actions that we have taken. We make sure that we’re doing it within the authority that we have under statute. But I am not going to make an apology for saying that if I can help middle class families and folks who are working hard to try to get in the middle class do a little bit better, then I’m going to do it.
And, you know, I think it’s – it’s a tough argument for the other side to make that not only are they willing to do an – not do anything, but they also want me not to do anything in which case I think the American people who’s, right now, estimation of Congress is already pretty low might might have an even lower opinion.
TAPPER: The Stop Act is not something you take seriously?
OBAMA: I – I am not particularly worried about it.
Paul Ryan appeared to be laying the groundwork for impeachment by claiming that President Obama routinely violates the Constitution by exercising powers that he doesn’t have.
The president’s point was that House repugicans can pass their little legislation. They can cry about imperial powers all they want, but he is not going to apologize or back off because he is trying to help people who are working hard and getting the short end of the economic stick.
President Obama is calling the repugican cabal’s bluff. He seems to be coming from a belief that that this is all just election year hot air from the repugican cabal, but if they want to sue him, pass legislation to stop him for helping the American people, or talk impeachment, he isn’t afraid. This president isn’t going to fall for the repugican bully routine and back down.
Obama is treating the repugicans like they are irrelevant, because that is what they have earned through their obstructionist behavior. The president knows that they aren’t going to pass anything, or lift a finger to help the American people, so he is doing what he can by himself.
If repugicans don’t like it, they should do something about it. If they are too scared to do something about it, then they need to shut up and get out of the way.

The ‘New’ repugican Healthcare Plan Sticks It To Everyone Except Insurance Companies

The repugicans "new" plan to replace the ACA brings back everything that was wrong with the old system and they found away to make things even worse.…
Repubican Patience CAre plan
The repugicans loved the Affordable Care Act, when it was proposed by the Heritage Foundation and when it was known as Romneycare.  That all changed when Barack Obama proposed it. Suddenly, the healthcare plan repugicans proposed as an alternate to Bill Clinton’s attempt at healthcare reform became “socialized medicine” and a host of other terms that repugicans clearly don’t understand.  For example, it isn’t “government run health care” when the insurers, hospitals, pharmacies and clinics are privately owned and healthcare providers are not government employees.  Naturally, calling it government run healthcare scares people.  That always matters more to repugicans than niceties like facts and integrity.
Back in 2012, failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney promised to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.  Since then, Congressional repugicans voted to repeal the ACA 40 times and tried to blackmail the President into repealing it by shutting down the government.  The repugican propaganda machine continues to manufacture hairy scary myths about the law, despite the fact that most of the people they keep claiming to represent want the bill fixed, but not repealed.
After 3+ years of obstruction, failed stunts and propaganda, repugicans finally came out with the “replace” part of Romney’s “replace and repeal.”  Actually, it’s amazing that it took them 3 years to propose something even worse than what we had before the ACA became law.
It goes without saying that the “new” repugican proposal will take health insurance away from the millions of Americans who have insurance for the first time under the ACA.  Naturally, the repugican plan doesn’t include any consumer protections such as free annual physicals or requiring coverage for mammograms and AIDS testing.
In the name of making healthcare cheaper for corporations, the Orwellian titled Patient CARE Act places a cap on the federal tax exclusion for employees’ healthcare.  This is a double whammy because it means a tax hike for 150 million Americans who have employer based health insurance, and as a consequence it means more people will be stuck with junk insurance because that’s all they will be able to afford with this huge tax hike.  Between that and the reduced subsidies, more Americans will pay higher premiums for inferior coverage.  Fewer Americans will be able to afford any insurance at all. It will be back to the emergency rooms, which will also increase healthcare costs under the repugicans “new” plan because people will not have preventative care, and will postpone getting medical intention until an ailment gets more serious (and costly.)
While discussing the repugicans “new” proposal with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Senator Orrin Hatch (r-UT), didn’t dispute the fact that the repugicans idea of making healthcare more affordable is to make it less affordable for seniors most likely to have age related health issues.
Partial Transcript via Think Progress:
CHUCK TODD: One of the assumed benefits in your new plan would allow for cheaper policies for young folks. At the same time, you would allow insurers to sell insurance at varying rates. So if you allow for a cheaper policy for younger, healthier people, right, this has been among the issues, the translation is you’re going to see — how do you prevent a spike for older Americans who, maybe just by default of genetics, are starting with a lot of health care problems, and because of that, end up getting charged more? How do you prevent that spike in rates for them?
ORRIN HATCH: Well, we have a formula in there that it can’t go beyond a certain position. But the fact of the matter is, somebody has to pay for these things. And the Obamacare bill doesn’t pay for things, they pushed them into — into Medicaid, which is non-functioning and not doing what it should do right now.
Aside from throwing grandma and grandpa under the bus, the repugicans “new” plan resurrects blackballing people with pre-existing conditions, because having a pre-existing condition, (like being a woman) is your fault and someone has to pay for “these things.”
They want to resurrect the gender penalty, by charging women higher premiums for maternity care because in repugican land everyone knows that women get pregnant all by themselves and “someone has to pay for these things.”  That’s in addition to other gender based penalties like having the IRS investigate  IF a rape victim was “legitimately” raped and in some states, requiring women to buy rape insurance.
I guess when repugicans said they are waging a war “for” women, this is some of what they were talking about.
All in all, the repugicans’ “new” plan is really more of the same social Darwinism they always chant.  Corporate sick care insurers benefit as they push more junk policies on Americans who will pay a lot more to get a lot less. Americans with employer based insurance will see a tax hike, because while the rich are too poor to pay their share of taxes, the poor are way too rich. They’re throwing Granny and Grampy under the bus with higher premiums.  If you have a pre-existing condition, you’ll be priced out of the market if you’re allowed to be insured at all.  Women will pay more for basic coverage, and rape insurance. Of course, the state will regulate our uteruses and make our reproductive healthcare decisions for us, also driving up costs, both human and financial.
Since fewer people will be insured and that insurance will cover next to nothing, it means people who are insured will see their premiums go up, just like they did before the ACA.  But the repugican plan is all about Patient CARE because the name of their bill says so.

Playing With Fire

How the House repugican cabal Plans to Address the Immigration Issue immigration-2-story-top 
Leave it to House repugicans to find a way to both enrage their base and alienate an entire voting bloc all in a single afternoon.
And you thought you had a bad day at work.
House repugicans announced that they had taken the first steps in dealing with our nation’s broken immigration system by bringing  forth a broad set of principles relating to immigration reform.  These principles will serve as a foundation going forward and they will be further discussed in June after the primary season for those repugican congressmen up for re-election.  Ultimately, these principles could serve as the foundation for a House-backed immigration reform bill that would be voted on down the road as an alternative to the immigration bill already passed in the Senate.
So how exactly does the repugican cabal intend to write up an immigration bill when a good portion of its members have an unfavorable view of immigrants?  Herein lies the problem, and it is a problem that should absolutely delight Democrats.
The principles listed pinpoint several key issues that are necessary to address in order to achieve some semblance of immigration reform.  These issues included enhanced border security, an entry-exit visa tracking system, employment verification and workplace enforcement, and a temporary worker program to keep bright minds in the United States, especially in highly-skilled fields.  However, the major, overarching issue is what is to be done with the 11 million undocumented citizens already living in this country.  With the principles outlined by the repugican cabal, those undocumented immigrants are split into two groups:  children and adults.  Those children that were brought here illegally, referred to as the DREAMers, would have the option to eventually become citizens.  For those adults that came here illegally, the document reads as follows:

“There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws — that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law.  Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits).”
How this passage will become a bill is a major issue going forward.  What does a person have to do to admit his culpability?  Pay a fine?  Serve time in jail?  What government agency does the background checks?  Where will the funding for all this come from?  What does English and American proficiency entail?  Is it simply a version of the American citizenship test?  Or is there some other way to prove proficiency?  Does the party of smaller government really want to create a system where the government is involved in a massive program to track down the backgrounds and determine the proficiency of 11 million people?
In addition to those questions, there must be compromise between these principles and the immigration bill that passed the Senate with 68 votes, despite the fact that some Senate repugicans actually felt that the bill was too long and therefore should not have been voted on.   The big issue is obviously concerns what to do with the adult population of undocumented immigrants.  The Senate immigration bill acknowledges a path for permanent residence for undocumented immigrations after falling into the end of the line behind legal immigrants applying for residence.  In essence, the Senate immigration bill gives them an opportunity for every repugican’s favorite a-word, wait for it, amnesty.  Yes, the bill does exactly what Ronald Reagan did:  It gives amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants already living in the country.
The problem for House repugicans is now they have opened a Pandora’s box of immigration.  Their views are out in the open for all of America to see.  They know they have to act on the immigration issue or else they risk losing even more of the latino vote, which as it stands, remains overwhelming Democratic.  They also know that there are those who will not even consider any kind of bill that allows anything at all that even remotely looks like amnesty for undocumented immigrants.  In the coming months we should expect to see open civil war among the pro and anti-immigration wings of the party.  If there is one issue (among many) where we see extreme views within the repugican cabal and its talking heads, it is that of immigration.  We will both see and hear some breathtaking soundbites from people like congressman Steve King, Ann Coulter, Lush Dimbulb, and others in the coming months.  There is no way to hide the cabal’s xenophobia when it comes time for a policy discussion about people who don’t look like the typical Faux News viewer.
Grab your popcorn, folks.  It’s about to get real entertaining.

Koch-Tied Groups Funded repugican cabal Effort to Mess With Electoral College Rules

by Mariah Blake  
Last election season, a shadowy nonprofit pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into a campaign to change how electoral votes are counted. The group didn't disclose who was funding its efforts—a fact that Mother Jones highlighted in a story titled "Who's Paying for the repugican cabal's Plan to Hijack the 2012 Election?" But now, thanks to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a nonpartisan government watchdog, it's clear that organizations with ties to billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch footed at least some of the bill.
Each state and the District of Columbia has a certain number of electoral votes, based on their population, and they get to decide for themselves how those votes should be allotted. Currently, every state except Maine and Nebraska gives all of their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the statewide popular vote. But in 2011, repugican lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin introduced bills that would divide electoral votes among candidates based on how many congressional districts they won. Because repugicans drew the boundaries of the districts in those states, this scheme would be almost certain to hand repugican presidential candidates the majority of their electoral votes—even if more voters cast ballots for Democrats. (Read more about how the plan would work here.) Presuming the race is close enough, this could decide the nationwide outcome.
In the case of Pennsylvania, a mysterious nonprofit called All Votes Matter spent large sums lobbying for these changes. Local officials wondered about its funding sources. "They raised an awful lot of money very quickly—$300,000 in just a few days," Democratic Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach told Mother Jones at the time. "We're all curious where that level of funding comes from." But All Votes Matter didn't disclose its donors, nor did it have to. The group is organized as a 501(c)4 "social welfare" nonprofit, which means that it can spend money on politics while keeping its donors secret. (Such groups are not supposed to spend more than half of their budget on political causes, but IRS enforcement is slack.) Thus the public knew little about the agendas behind this effort to upend the mechanics of presidential elections.
Now, years later, the money trail is coming to light. CREW recently scoured the tax returns of conservative nonprofits, some of which voluntarily disclose their gifts to other groups, and found that much of All Votes Matter's money flowed "from a network of wingnut nonprofit organizations linked to billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch." According to CREW's report:
These groups contributed at least $280,000 in 2011 and 2012, more than half the total amount All Votes Matter reported raising over the same two-year period.  None of the groups are based in Pennsylvania….
In 2011, All Votes Matter received:
  • $20,000 from Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership;
  • $40,000 from Washington, D.C.-based American Commitment;
  • $40,000 from Iowa-based American Future Fund;
  • $40,000 from Arizona-based Free Enterprise America;
  • $60,000 from the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR), an Arizona nonprofit and key player in the Koch-linked network that distributed millions of dollars to other political active nonprofits.
In 2012, CPPR reported giving All Votes Matter another $80,000 grant, the only contribution the group reported receiving that year.
Of course, we don't know exactly where these Koch-affiliated organizations get their money, either.

Keep 'em dumb, they'll be repugican

Texas is poised do away with its high-school Algebra II requirement, so that "school districts can better work with local employers to build curriculum that prepare high school graduates to move directly into high-paying jobs."

Yeah, and we are visited by little grey men for probing every new moon, too.

Utah School Officials Bully Children By Taking Their Lunches Away

School lunches were confiscated from dozens of grade school children at Uintah Elementary School last week.…
Many people are probably familiar with the stereotype of the school lunch room bully who shakes down little elementary school children for their lunch money. However, in the stereotype, the bully is usually an older child, not an adult who works for the school district as the child-nutrition manager. Yet, in the real world, an adult child-nutrition manger for the Salt Lake City school district, played the role of lunch room bully and confiscated school lunches from dozens of grade school children at Uintah Elementary School this week.
Children who had already been served their lunches, had the lunches taken away by cafeteria workers, who then discarded the lunches in front of other students. The action was apparently designed to shame the children into pressuring their parents to pay for money they owed the district for the lunch program. Grade school children had to watch as cafeteria workers seized their trays and dumped their lunches in front of other school children.
The action outraged many parents and upset some school employees as well. The district has issued an apology and the school’s principal has set up a special account to temporarily cover lunches for student’s whose payments are not up to date. Utah lawmakers from both parties have voiced disgust with the district’s actions. Democrat Jim Dabakis (Salt Lake City) was pretty direct, stating:
We just plain need more money to feed our school children. There should not be a hungry child in this state.
Todd Weiler (r- Woods Cross) also minced no words by arguing that:
To me, this rises to the level of bullying. These children were humiliated in their own school, in front of their classmates.
While, it is great that these particular lawmakers voiced disapproval of the action, American public policy seems to be trending in the direction of letting children go hungry for the sake of maintaining corporate subsidies and tax cuts for the wealthy. A bipartisan Farm Bill passed earlier this week approved cuts in the SNAP program that provides food for low income families.
Last month, Georgia repugican Jack Kingston (who is running this year to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss) declared that poor children should have to sweep floors if they want to eat lunch. Welcome to the mean spirited modern version of the repugican cabal, working in cahoots with allies in the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. These politicians believe children should suffer hunger and humiliation so billionaires do not have to undergo the indignity of paying higher taxes or giving up their agribusiness subsidies.
These mean spirited hunger games need to be stopped and replaced with sound public policy that affirms the right of every school child to eat lunch every day regardless of their financial situation at home.  Every school district in the country should follow the example of Boston and several other major cities that provide free lunch to all public school children with no paper work, no hassle, and no opportunity for children to be publicly humiliated and deprived of meals as they were in the Utah school. At the same time, members of Congress need to continue to approve funding of SNAP and other programs that prevent American children from going hungry. Bullying children by taking their lunch trays or by passing legislation that leaves them with empty stomachs is unconscionable and it needs to stop.

Man recovering after going through wood chipper

It was 10 seconds of hell for Frank Arce, who should've died after he went through a wood chipper. "Actually going through the machine itself wasn't the worst part about it," he said on Wednesday from his hospital bed at PeaceHealth SW Washington Medical Center. "What was the worst part (was) the not knowing what was going to happen." Arce was conscious the entire time.
Arce works at a company that shreds up bark into wood chips. When something got stuck inside the machine, he went in thinking everything was turned off – just like they practice – to get the object. But somebody didn't get the message, and Arce was inside the barrel – about the diameter of a basketball – that has spikes and claws when he heard the engine start up.
He is smiling and cracking jokes, but Arce has a broken pelvis, shattered ankle, bruised liver, broken leg and a cut that runs the length of his body on the back side that's so deep it crushed his knee. He's on a lot of pain medication right now. "There was a thought (that I was going to die) but it was more like something was telling me I wasn't going to die that day," he said.

"I felt I had a lot of angels out there with me that day – a lot of people looking out for me." Arce has another two and a half weeks or so in the hospital, but he said he received the right care quickly because of the training and help from his co-workers at the Swanson Bark and Wood Products Co. in Longview. The company's human resources representative said they are paying 100 percent of Arce's medical bills and the state Bureau of Labor and Industries is investigating the incident.

Neighbors baffled by invasion of golf balls

The appearance of dozens of golf balls in Beddington, south London has left neighbors mystified. The riddle initially centered on one couple, of Richmond Road, who have found nine balls in their back garden in the last month.
But now the enigmatic spherical intruders have begun spread to neighboring houses, leaving residents scratching their heads. Graham Trodd had lived in the road with his wife for 20 years without finding a single golf ball - until December. He said: "We started finding them about a month ago. They just keep appearing overnight.
"I'll just be walking around the garden and then, oh, there's another a golf ball. Then on Friday one of our neighbors said to us she had found one in her garden and another one found them in his flowerpots." He added: "It's mysterious. If it was an animal you would think would be just dropped on the lawn, but they are actually half-buried.
"All you see is a little white dome sticking out of the ground. There are no teeth marks on them and they're brand new, so we don't know where they are coming from. Why so many of them and where are they are coming from? I've tried to think about it but I haven't got a clue. It is a mystery. Personally I've got no idea." Mitcham Golf Course, the nearest to Richmond Road, is almost three miles away.

This Rock Star Parties Hard (With Hot Wheels And Wacky Packs)

Dave Schools is the co-founder of the band Widespread Panic. But he's also a Hot Wheels collector. 'I've been collecting Redlines since I was 4 years old and I have every Wacky Package ever made from when I was a kid,' he says.

Recently, Collectors Weekly spoke to Schools. Turns out his Hot Wheels collection numbers several thousands cars. He's got every card in the original Wacky Packages series, and his record collection is, well, don't even get him started.

The King Of American Condiments

If you think ketchup is king of American condiments, think again. The US now consumes some $2 billion worth of mayonnaise each year. The ketchup market is worth less than half that - around $800 million.

Ketchup is followed by soy sauce, the market for which reached $725 million last year, and barbecue sauce, which came in at $660 million. Hot sauce, for the record - while growing far faster than the others - is still well behind.

More Data

New research from Case Western Reserve University and University of […]



Gender Equality In The World

A map showing gender equality in the world based on stats culled from a report from the United Nations Development Program. The figure was calculated by analyzing factors such as the maternal mortality rate, number of seats women hold in government bodies and the labor force participation rate.

The research found that the Netherlands was the country with the highest rate of gender equality, while Yemen had the lowest.

You Are More Neanderthal Than You Thought

Their lives were nasty, brutish and short - and so were they, as it turns out. But our close evolutionary cousins the Neanderthals had plenty of admirable qualities, too. They were tidy and organized, for example. They ate their vegetables. They knew how to dress for any occasion.

And we're carrying around a lot more genes from our caveman cousin than we ever knew.

The Most Poisonous Tree In The World

The Manchineel tree is known as the most poisonous tree in the world. In places where it grows like Florida, the Caribbean and the Bahamas, the tree is often marked with warning signs, so the people who pass by won't go near it.

The tree is poisonous in so many levels, that if you ever come across one, prefer to stay at least a few meters away from it. The fruit resembles of a small apple, but its consumption will lead you on the way to the nearest hospital. Christopher Columbus and his sailors, referred to the Manchineel as the manzanita de la muerte which means little apple of death.

Giant boulder smashed through buildings in Italy

A 300-year-old Italian farm owned by the Servite Order of the catholic cult is in ruins after a giant boulder dislodged in a rockfall rolled through the property.
Approximately 4000 cubic meters of rock was dislodged from a cliff face and crashed through a barn and vineyards in Tramin in northern Italy on 21 January.
After bulldozing straight through the barn, one huge boulder came to a rest close to another giant rock that had been dislodged in a previous rock slide. Another boulder stopped just feet from the main house.

Although no one was hurt, the area has now been evacuated as geologists fear there may be a chance of further rock falls.

Lawsuit Alleges NASA Is Failing To Investigate Alien Life

You may recall, NASA recently announced that a strange rock had somehow 'appeared' in front of its Mars Opportunity rover. The explanations for the mystery rock were straight-forward: maybe some kind of nearby impact sent a rock toward the rover, or, more likely, the rover knocked the rock out of the ground and no one noticed until later.

Not so, says self-described scientist Rhawn Joseph. He says the rock was a living thing, and he's filed a lawsuit to compel NASA to examine the rock more closely.

Daily Comic Relief


One Dergree Of Seperation

Discovery may provide key to increasing agricultural economy in Michigan […]

Why do you care?

Young adults who care for an animal may have stronger […]

Over-officious park attendant threatened woman with arrest in row over mystery dog poo

A park attendant called for police “back-up” after threatening a woman for arrest over an elusive dog poo. Amber Langtry, 35, was walking her dog with a friend in Victoria Park, London on New Year's Day when a lone Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officer accused her of not clearing up after her pet. When she explained to the officer that he'd made a mistake and asked to see the offending evidence, he refused to show her, then pointed to a spot in the opposite direction to where Miss Langtry's dog had been.
He then proceeded to issue her with a ticket and called the police. Miss Langtry said: "Our dogs went to the toilet and we cleaned up the mess as we do every time. Forty five minutes later a man in high-vis shouted at us from across the park and tried to give me a ticket for prosecution, which could mean a court hearing and a £1,000 fine. I asked to see the mess and he said ‘no'. He tried to get my details and then started reading me my rights and telling me I'd be arrested, and then called for police back-up."
Miss Langtry and her friend repeatedly ask him where the dropping was, but he doesn't answer the question, instead asking Miss Langtry to give him her details again. He says the friend is "aggressive." Miss Langtry added: "I remember thinking, ‘This is ridiculous. Why does he need police back-up for a five-foot-four woman looking for a dog poo?' When the police got here they were as bemused as I was, and they didn't have a problem with me or my dog." Under Schedule 5 of the Police Reform Act 2002, Enforcement Officers have the right to ask for a person's name and address, but they have no power of arrest including the reading of rights.

In a five page letter to Miss Langtry Tower Hamlets council outlines that it will not be continuing with prosecution, but that "the officer has power to deal with an offense of failing to remove dog faces [sic]." It goes on to state that "the officer was on single patrol at the time and made a dynamic risk assessment for his own personal safety. "The dog barked at the officer and this is also admitted by the owner." A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: "Police were called to a request for police assistance in Victoria Park on 1st January. Police met with an Enforcement Officer and rendered assistance before leaving. No allegation of crime was made to police."

Dog ball thrower cited in deadly-weapon charge

A California man has been arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly hitting a woman on the head with a dog ball thrower.
David Cramer, 56, was booked into Placer County Jail on the assault charges after being arrested on Saturday. He was later given bail.
Auburn police said that they responded to a dog park on Auburn Ravine Road on Thursday to investigate a report that a man had struck woman after the two had a disagreement over how their dogs were interacting with each other.
Cramer was alleged to have struck the woman over the head with a plastic dog ball thrower, a device with an elongated handle used to fling a tennis ball long distances for games of fetch.

Town can't take down Xmas tree because a blackbird has laid eggs in it

A town council in Northumberland has been forced to keep the town's Christmas tree up, four weeks after the close of the festive period, because a bird's nest was discovered in among the branches.
The bird and her three eggs have left council officials at a loss after they were discovered just as staff were about the remove the tree from outside Concordia Leisure Center in Cramlington. After consulting the RSPB, the town council has been forced to tell irritated residents that there is nothing they can do about the tree.
Adam Harvey, administrative assistant at Cramlington Town Council, said: “We went to take it down and I got a call from the people due to take it down saying there was a bird’s nest with three eggs. They said due to the law they could not do anything about it.” The council has been receiving complaints from residents about the tree still being up, but now officials are having to say there is nothing they can do until the birds are hatched and have flown the nest.

“I can’t see them myself but I have been trying,” said Adam. “I called the RSPB and they said unfortunately we could not do anything until they had left the nest and that can take up to three weeks. We are not neglecting our duties so it will be a little longer than the festive period that we have our tree,” he said.

Norwegian airport launches first dog-sled taxis

One of Norway's most northerly airports has agreed to accept 'dog taxis'.
A dog sled picked up the first two passengers from Kirkenes Airport on Wednesday morning, taking them on a 45-minute trek through the snow to the nearby Kirkenes Snow Hotel.
To launch the service, the first of its kind in Norway, the hotel needed to secure the backing of Norway's defense services, the local municipality, and the authority that oversees reindeer in the region.
The taxi trip will not come cheap, however, costing some 2300 NOK (£225, $372) a time.

Puma paid unexpected visit to house in Chile

A family in Lo Curro, Chile were given a surprise on Wednesday morning when they discovered a puma in their kitchen.
Their first reaction was to lock the big cat in the room and call police.
Arriving police personnel noted the unusual visit and communicated with staff of the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG), who sedated the animal before putting it in a cage and removing it to a safe place.

The fact that the puma was relatively peaceful suggests that the animal is owned by a private individual. If so, the owner risks being charged with illegal possession of a protected species.

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