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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.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Daily Drift

That's what makes this blog so revolutionary ...

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

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Today is - Napping Day

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Today in History

515 BC The building of the great Jewish temple in Jerusalem is completed.
241 BC The Roman fleet sinks 50 Carthaginian ships in the Battle of Aegusa.
49 BC Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon and invades Italy.
1656 In the colony of Virginia, suffrage is extended to all free men regardless of their religion.
1776 "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine is published.
1785 Thomas Jefferson is appointed minister to France.
1806 The Dutch in Cape Town, South Africa surrender to the British.
1814 Napoleon Bonaparte is defeated by an allied army at the Battle of Laon, France.
1848 The treaty of Guadeloupe-Hidalgo is signed which ends the United States' war with Mexico.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell makes the first telephone call to Thomas Watson saying "Watson, come here. I need you."
1893 New Mexico State University cancels its first graduation ceremony, because the only graduate was robbed and killed the night before.
1902 The Boers of South Africa score their last victory over the British, capturing British General Methuen and 200 men.
1910 Slavery is abolished in China.
1924 The U.S. Supreme Court upholds a New York state law forbidding late-night work for women.
1927 Prussia lifts its Nazi ban, Adolf Hitler is allowed to speak in public.
1933 Nevada becomes the first U.S. state to regulate drugs.
1941 Vichy France threatens to use its navy unless Britain allows food to reach France.
1943 Adolf Hitler calls Field Marshall Erwin Rommel back from Tunisia in North Africa.
1944 The Irish refuse to oust all Axis envoys and deny the accusation of spying on Allied troops.
1945 American B-29 bombers attack Tokyo, killing 100,000.
1947 The Big Four meet in Moscow to discuss the future of Germany.
1948 Author Zelda Fitzgerald (wife of F. Scott) dies in a fire at Highland Hospital.
1953 North Korean gunners at Wonsan fire on the USS Missouri, the ship responds by firing 998 rounds at the enemy position.
1954 President Dwight Eisenhower calls Senator Joseph McCarthy a peril to the Republican Party.
1966 The North Vietnamese capture a Green Beret camp at Ashau Valley.
1969 James Earl Ray pleads guilty to the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King and is sentenced to 99 years in jail.
1971 The Senate approves a Constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 18.
1975 The North Vietnamese Army attacks the South Vietnamese town of Ban Me Thout, the offensive will end with total victory in Vietnam.
1980 Iran's leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, lends his support to the militants holding the American hostages in Tehran.
1982 The United States bans Libyan oil imports, because of the continued support of terrorism.
1987 The Vatican condemns surrogate parenting as well as test-tube and artificial insemination.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

That this tea party candidate mocks gunshot victims on facebook

Is Lysistrata the answer to the repugican cabal?

That "post-racial America" is a dangerous lie

About this gun fail

The repugican Lie Dies as the Obama Economy Hits 48 Straight Months of Job Growth

For the shrub's entire 8 years, job growth was just 1.1 million. Yet under Obama, the private sector has had 48 straight months of job growth, with businesses adding 8.7 million …
obama sotu
We hear a lot about this fictional liberal land under President Obama, where job creation was killed by Obamacare and liberal ideas have destroyed the country. Reality, of course, is quite different. In fact, reality is almost the exact opposite. For the shrub’s entire 8 years, job growth was just 1.1 million. Yet under Obama, the private sector has had 48 straight months of job growth, with businesses adding 8.7 million jobs. Today’s job numbers are a good example of the disconnect. “Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 175,000 in February, and the unemployment rate, at 6.7 percent, changed little,” per Erica L. Groshen, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, put these numbers in perspective in a statement in which he explained that February was the 48th straight month of private sector job growth, “February 2014 was the 48th straight month of private-sector job growth, with businesses adding 8.7 million jobs over that time.”
This matters because we hear a lot from Republicans about how Obama is killing jobs. However, Rick Newman pointed out in January of 2013 for US News that in shrub’s first term, he created zero job growth, even before the shrub recession. “When the shrub began his first term in January 2001, total nonfarm employment was 132.47 million. When his second term began four years later, it was 132.45 million, or effectively zero job growth.”
So, even though we know math is not a repugican cabal forte, I am hoping we can all agree that zero is smaller than any number above zero. Newman continued the math, “From February 2001 to February 2005, the economy created 164,000 jobs, for a 0.1 percent gain during shrub’s first term. From February 2009 through December 2012, the economy created nearly 1.2 million jobs, a 0.9 percent improvement.”
The repugicans built that zero to .1 percent gain job growth. In shrub’s entire 8 year term, total job growth was just 1.1 million. Obama created more jobs in his first term than the shrub did in his entire 2 terms. Although we have to hand public sector job growth to the shrub. Yes, the Big Government repubgicans don’t like to talk about reality much. They killed public sector jobs under Obama, in an attempt to make his job numbers look bad and cripple government, but ironically, this is only making Obama the Private Sector Job Growth President.
While things are far from great, repugicans really shouldn’t be pointing fingers and tittering about job numbers that are much better than their cabal created.
Job numbers are typically impacted by bad weather but the job growth rate still picked up. Jason Furman explained, “Despite a major snowstorm that hit the East Coast during the reference week for the labor market surveys, the rate of job growth picked up from the December and January pace.”
But as always with this one-party attempt to recover from the Great Recession of 2008, things are not rosy. We have a long way to go. Furman continued, “Nevertheless, the unemployment rate remains elevated, and for too many Americans, wages have been slow to rise.”
What to do about this… We could do a) Nothing (the repugican Plan) except kill emergency unemployment benefit extension or b) Consider the President’s budget which includes job training and other job stimulating policies.
Furman elaborated, “This week, the President put out a budget that can make progress on these issues by investing in education, job training, and innovation, by expanding tax credits for working Americans, and by extending the emergency unemployment benefits that has expired for 2 million Americans. And while the President encourages Congress to act on his proposals, he will also continue to take action on his own wherever possible to support job growth and expand economic opportunity.”
The repugicans already said they would not consider the President’s budget, so Obama is already working with governors in a regional effort to raise the minimum wage. The repugicans in Congress not only don’t want to raise the minimum wage, but are now making noise about killing it all together. They just threw 2 million off of emergency unemployment benefits in addition to blocking a bill for veterans benefits as well.
When it comes to which party we can trust with the economy and with jobs, contrary to conventional wisdom, it is the Democratic Party that paid for programs as they went, balanced the budget, got a surplus, added more jobs, and stayed a steady course instead of the rickety repugican rise and crash style of totally unregulated industry. This is not to claim that things are great. We have a lot of work to do, especially for the middle and working classes. But Democrats will have to do that work alone, as repugicans have made it clear that they will do nothing but obstruct any efforts to make things better.

North Carolina Cites 5 Duke Energy Plants Lacking Permits

North Carolina regulators have cited five more Duke Energy power plants for lacking required storm water permits after a massive spill at one of the company's coal ash dumps coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge..The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced Monday that Charlotte-based Duke Energy had been issued formal notices of violation for not having the needed permits, which are required to legally discharge rainwater draining from its plants into public waterways.
Two other violations were issued Friday against the Dan River Steam Station in Eden, site of the Feb. 2 spill. The company could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for the violations.

Fake Arrests of Ohio Ministers Designed to Sell christian persecution Myth

Because there is no actual footage of christians being persecuted in this country – you know, because no christians are actually BEING persecuted in this country – a group of Ohio ministers had to stage some arrests, employing actual cops to help them.
Hint: Groups that actually get arrested don’t have to stage arrests – they can show actual footage. Guess which group that doesn’t include: christians.
Here is the far more gratuitous full version, complete with suggestive blood graphics, set to the song “Bad Boys” – you know, “Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”
In all, three ministers – the Rev. Melford Elliott, pastor at Greater Bethel baptist cult; the Rev. Robert Golson, pastor at Prince of Peace baptist cult; and the Rev. Vincent Peterson, pastor at Providence baptist cult – were “arrested” at their cults, in front of their covens (Pope Francis will no doubt be relieved that none of his flock participated in this foolishness).
All of this was, reports the Akron Beacon Journal, “to make people more aware of what it takes for pastors to defend the christian delusion beyond preaching on Sundays.” Yes, because American pastors are regularly subject to arrest by the government while preaching to their sheep. Occupational hazard, I’m afraid. Seriously, they are more likely to be shot by fellow wingnuts armed to the teeth by repugican lawmakers and fired up by Faux News.
A video of the “arrests” posted on the Internet made a big splash and forced Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry to explain that “the arrests were simulated as a prelude to an upcoming production at the Akron Civic Theatre.” The video, it turns out, was meant to be a marketing tool (it was a production of Larry James, who is general manager of Cleveland-based KAZ Radio Television Network).
Barry said, in defense of his actions (two of his deputies were actually on duty and being paid),
“I feel we have an obligation to the community as part of our community policing and community relations. It took nothing away from their assignments and it was a good way to continue building relationships.”
Yes, because paid public employees should participate in activities that present christianity as a persecuted religion. In fact, the Beacon Journal points out, “most parishioners were unaware that the arrests were fake.” Apologies? None from the sheriff. And Edra Frazier, marketing coordinator for production said only in defense of letting viewers think the pastors were actually being arrested, “We do, however, need to do a more adequate job of tagging the posts with production information.”
Right. That’s all they did wrong.
As the Friendly Atheist wrote at Patheos yesterday, “Putting on a stage play is one thing. But that cult officials are reduced to staging arrests by bad-guy cops (who clearly represent the long arm of government) is the best illustration yet of how absolutely deranged the christian persecution narrative has become.”
Deranged is a good word for it. Wingnut christianity has never been busier persecuting everything outside itself – women, the LGBT community, muslims, ethnic minorities, Atheists, Secularists, Pagans and other religious minorities. We have filled the virtual pages with post after post, tracking their activities across America. The scope of their hostility is truly staggering.
They want to outlaw everything they say their bible doesn’t approve of, they want to legalize their persecution of people they say their bible doesn’t approve of, they want to withdraw First Amendment protections from other religions, insisting they apply only to christianity (no matter what the First Amendment actually says).
At CPAC – the Conservative(Wingnut) Political Action Conference – this year, Media Matters reports that,
... (wingnut) columnist Ken Blackwell, who also holds leadership positions at the National Rifle Association (NRA) and (anti)Family Research Council (FRC), used health care reform to compare the Obama administration to a “totalitarian” or “authoritarian” regime and conspiratorially claimed that Obamacare was designed to “destroy the family” and “silence the cult.”
They claim your having health insurance is a persecution of their religion. They want to forcibly take it away from you in the name of their god. And yet, as they force your children to die for want of medication they won’t let you have, they claim themselves to be the true victims of persecution.
As the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) points out, Behind the ‘Religious Freedom’ Attacks on Gay Rights Lurks a Broad Attack on Civil Rights.
Yes, they are deranged. But no less dangerous for it. This video, and the activities of these pastors and these deputies, illustrate the depths to which they will sink in order to perpetrate their persecution myth on America.

Man suing Las Vegas casino for letting him gamble while really drunk

The Downtown Grand in Las Vegas has been open for just a few months, but it is already facing a lawsuit.
Mark Johnston says the resort cheated him out of $500,000, which he lost gambling during Super Bowl weekend. Johnston, who says he had too much to drink before wagering that money, says the resort should not have let him gamble.

Gaming regulations stipulate a casino can be disciplined for allowing a visibly drunk person to gamble. Johnston says while he doesn't expect any sympathy from others, he still feels wronged.

“I feel like they picked my pockets,” he said. “I feel like they took a drunk guy . . . like a drunk guy walking down the street, and you reach in his pockets and grab all his money.” The Downtown Grand does not comment on pending litigation. Johnston says the Gaming Control Board is investigating.

What the Internet really looks like

The information age is powered by thin fiber-optic cables buried in the sea bed, spreading between continents to connect the most remote corners of the planet.

These great arteries account for practically all of our international web traffic, and each one has been logged by Washington research firm Telegeography in its interactive Submarine Cable Map 2014.

How Language Shapes How We Think

In a fascinating article for NPR, Alan Yu writes:
Lera Boroditsky once did a simple experiment: She asked people to close their eyes and point southeast. A room of distinguished professors in the U.S. pointed in almost every possible direction, whereas 5-year-old Australian aboriginal girls always got it right.
They weren't the only ones. Linguist John McWorter explains how using cardinal directions seems to indicate greater intelligence in spatial manipulation:
As an example, he refers to modern speakers of a Mayan language, who also use directions that roughly correspond to compass points, rather than left or right. Researchers asked people, most of whom only knew this language, to do tasks like memorizing how a ball moved through a maze, which would have been easier had they thought about it in terms of left and right, rather than compass points. The participants were just as good at these tasks and sometimes better, leading the experimenters to conclude they were not constrained by their language.
Some linguists think that language can constrain or liberate our thinking, opening or closing mental possibilities. For example, the Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov wrote his first autobiography in English. When a publisher asked him to translate it into Russian, Nabokov started to do so. But he promptly found himself writing a different book. Yu quotes linguist Aneta Pavlenko:
"When Nabokov started translating it into Russian, he recalled a lot of things that he did not remember when he was writing it in English, and so in essence it became a somewhat different book," Pavlenko says. "It came out in Russian and he felt that in order to represent his childhood properly to his American readership, he had to produce a new version. So the version of Nabokov's autobiography we know now is actually a third attempt, where he had to recall more things in Russian and then re-translate them from Russian back into English."
This reminds me of studying Koine Greek, which has a grammatical concept called "aspect." Nothing really corresponds with it in English. The experience made me wonder what invisible mental barriers were in my mind simply because of language.

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Black Angel

The Lost Star Wars Movie

In 1979, George Lucas was looking for a good short film to show in theaters before The Empire Strikes Back, which was released in 1980. Roger Christian, the set decorator on the first Star Wars film, was commissioned to make a 25-minute film for Lucas. It was Christian’s first attempt at directing a film, and he only had a £25,000 ($50,000) grant to do it with. The result was Black Angel, a medieval fantasy about a knight who must rescue a mysterious woman. Christian and his tiny crew shot the film in Scotland.
But back in London, Christian's editor informed him that there wasn't enough footage to meet the 25-minute contract. To lengthen the film, they decided on a new option at the time, called step-printing, which produced a slow-motion effect during fight sequences by printing one frame repeatedly.

"It looked amazing," Christian says. Lucas was apparently so impressed with the fight sequences that the technique was then edited into The Empire Strikes Back during a scene with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in a cave. "He liked that look." Black Angel's stunning Arthurian appearance would also go on to influence fantasy movies in the 1980s like Excalibur and Legend.
Black Angel was shown before The Empire Strikes Back in Europe and Australia, but not in America. Then the film was completely lost for thirty years! A negative was recovered under mysterious circumstances in 2011, and the complete restored short film will be available for sale soon. Read the story of Black Angel, and see a clip, at Esquire.

Photographs Of Greenwich Village From The 20s And 30s

People are wary of cameras being pointed at them nowadays, and folks become extra paranoid when they’re up to no good and don’t want someone capturing photographic evidence of their misdeeds.
But the 1920s and 1930s were a simpler time, and photos were seen as a benign medium, considered flattering if people wanted to take your picture even if you were hanging around a speakeasy or dive bar.
The photographs taken by Jessie Tarbox Beals, the first published female photojournalist in America, give us a window into Greenwich Village's past, with the seedy standing alongside the historical, and 29 of her photos which have become part of Harvard's Schlesinger Library are now on Flickr for your viewing pleasure.

Have some money to invest?

Perhaps I can interest you in buying a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge!
In the early 1900s, a con man named George Parker used a line like that on unsuspecting tourists and immigrants. Using forged documents, Parker pretended he owned the bridge and told people that as co-owners, they could make money by controlling access to the bridge. Parker was so convincing that the police often found his victims setting up toll booths on the portions of the bridge they thought they owned. Parker was eventually caught and sent to Sing Sing prison for life.
Robert Hendy-Freegard met a similar fate. The British con man pretended he worked at the British intelligence agency MI-5. He'd convince people they were in danger, send them into hiding, and then steal from them. He was jailed for life in 2005, but the sentence was later reduced to 9 years on appeal.
Other con men – or con women – have gotten away cleanly.
Sara Al-Amoudi is the alias of a mysterious London scam artist posing as a wealthy Middle Easterner. She convinced 2 real estate developers to give her London flats worth around 14 million pounds, by promising to invest millions in their other real estate projects, which she never did. Last month, a British court ruled Al-Amoudi could keep the apartments.
Other scams are more anonymous.
Ever gotten an e-mail from a wealthy Nigerian who says he’s trying to escape his corrupt country? He offers millions in rewards…if you give him some money now. The scam actually goes back to the French Revolution, when con men sent letters pretending to be French nobles who needed help relocating their fortunes.
And if you fall for that scam now that you've been warned, then perhaps I can sell you a piece of the Empire State Building.

Nine Kings

Looking through a collection of historical images at reddit, this one jumped out from the list (which is heavy on World War II photos). These are the nine monarchs of Europe who attended the funeral of the United Kingdom’s King Edward VII on May 20, 1910. They are:
Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria, King Manuel II of Portugal, Kaiser Wilhelm II of the German Empire, King George I of Greece and King Albert I of Belgium. Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King-Emperor George V of the United Kingdom and King Frederick VIII of Denmark.
They were all related to Edward VII; George V was his son and the rest were in-laws or cousins. The funeral was also attended by scores of queens, princes, princesses, and other royalty. U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt was there representing the United States. See the photo full-size.

Random Photos

An Excursion Into The Depths

The Diving Bell And The Exoskeleton

Deep diving is one of the most preposterous activities in which humans engage. Put it this way: diving below a few hundred feet into the ocean pushes the human body farther outside its natural limits and tolerances than walking in space. An Excursion Into The Depths.

Finally A Fence With Camouflage

Granted, you probably won't want to install one where there are a lot of deer running around at full speed and you wouldn't want one in front of your house both because it's hardly durable and because keeping it spotless is a nightmarish task, but even so, it's a clever idea that is certain to catch they eye even as it blends in.
See more cool pictures of the fence at Homes and Hues: Forget White Picket Fences, This One Reflects Its Surroundings

Earth News

In the United States, Europe and China, global warming is leading to more frequent heavy rainfall.
Rushing rivers are helping melt Arctic sea ice, according to new research by NASA scientists.
The rapid pace of global warming and the slow pace of coral growth may mean the reef is unlikely to evolve quickly enough to survive.
A large living coral reef has just been found in the coastal waters of Iraq.

The 10 Most Striking Images of Earth From Space

Published by Abrams, Earth From Space features more than 150 magnificent satellite photographs provided by European aerospace technology company Astrium as well as NASA. These photographs are much more than beautiful pictures of our planet - the detailed images can inform us about the health of our world by making clear the impact of deforestation, farming, pollution and urban sprawl.

Here are 10 Most Striking Images of Earth From Space.
See more featured images over at Spotlight

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