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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.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Daily Drift

Father and son bonding time ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

For those interested: In World Cup play there was no matches the sixteenth day of the tourney.
In today's matches to begin the elimination round Brazil faces Chile and Colombia faces Uruguay.

Camping, Y'all ... !
Today is - The Great American Backyard Campout Day
Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

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The Americas
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Today in History

1635 The French colony of Guadeloupe is established in the Caribbean.
1675 Frederick William of Brandenburg crushes the Swedes.
1709 Russians defeat the Swedes and Cossacks at the Battle of Poltava.
1776 Colonists repulse a British sea attack on Charleston, South Carolina.
1778 Mary "Molly Pitcher" Hays McCauley, wife of an American artilleryman, carries water to the soldiers during the Battle of Monmouth.
1839 Cinque and other Africans are kidnapped and sold into slavery in Cuba.
1862 Fighting continues between Union and Confederate forces during the Seven Days' campaign.
1863 General Meade replaces General Hooker three days before the Battle of Gettysburg.
1874 The Freedmen's Bank, created to assist former slaves in the United States, closes. Customers of the bank lose $3 million.
1884 Congress declares Labor Day a legal holiday.
1902 Congress passes the Spooner bill, authorizing a canal to be built across the isthmus of Panama.
1911 Samuel J. Battle becomes the first African-American policeman in New York City.
1914 Austria's Archduke Francis Ferdinand is assassinated at Sarajevo, Serbia.
1919 Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles under protest.
1921 A coal strike in Britain is settled after three months.
1930 More than 1,000 communists are routed during an assault on the British consulate in London.
1938 Congress creates the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure construction loans.
1942 German troops launch an offensive to seize Soviet oil fields in the Caucasus and the city of Stalingrad.
1945 General Douglas MacArthur announces the end of Japanese resistance in the Philippines.
1949 The last U.S. combat troops are called home from Korea, leaving only 500 advisers.
1950 General Douglas MacArthur arrives in South Korea as Seoul falls to the North.
1954 French troops begin to pull out of Vietnam's Tonkin province.
1964 Malcolm X founds the Organization for Afro-American Unity to seek independence for blacks in the Western Hemisphere.
1967 14 people are shot during race riots in Buffalo, New York.
1970 Muhammed Ali [Cassius Clay] stands before the Supreme Court regarding his refusal of induction into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
1971 The Supreme Court overturns the draft evasion conviction of Muhammad Ali.
1972 Nixon announces that no new draftees will be sent to Vietnam.
1976 The first women enter the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Non Sequitur


Soccer's History From Cuju to FIFA

The earliest form of soccer is generally thought to be a Chinese game called cuju. 

Did you know ...

The NYPD is still jailing minorities for pot
That obesity is linked to long-term unemployment
About the record number of ice flows off the coast of Newfoundland
Here's 10 scientific ideas that scientists wish you would stop misusing
About the real wait times at the VA (hint: not what CNN says)
That judges with daughters tend to rule in favor of women's rights
About the repugican cabal's Twinkies subsidy
These "things I am afraid of thanks to Doctor Who"
About how chemistry can save you from the zombie apocalypse
About doing for the poor and to the poor
That Amazon's labor practices will be investigated
About the science of medicinal leeches
That it's not the motive, it's the gun
That the rich get richer as the poor slowly crawl out of poverty
About the bible verses atheists love

Executive Action: It’s Only a Problem When President Obama Does It

Barack-Obama-e1392231845858The repugicans are once again going to try to lay the groundwork for impeachment proceedings against a Democrat for acting on the power of the executive office. This is the end goal of Boehner’s “lawsuit”. They seem to have conveniently forgotten the pride they took in the shrub’s unilateral, 'decider' junta.
Refusing to discuss their suddenly-found, alleged concern for democracy, repugicans instead claim that President Obama taking executive action makes him a hypocrite for condemning the shrub for his use of signing statements.
However, Obama wasn’t criticizing merely the use of executive action, but the reasons for it and the abuse of it.
In 2006, Laurence H. Tribe writing about the shrub’s use of signing statements explained for Boston.com, “It’s not the statements that are the true source of constitutional difficulty. On the contrary, signing statements, which a president can issue to indicate the way he intends to direct his administration to construe ambiguous statutes, are informative and constitutionally unobjectionable.” Tribe went on to explain that the challenge should be to the President for ignoring the law (as the shrub did) or for harm that came to others as a result of it. He also pointed out that presidents should face the political music of a veto leading to an override rather than ignore a law.
An example of the kinds of things that the shrub did that got Constitutional scholars up in arms:
In one frequently used phrase, the shrub has routinely asserted that he will not act contrary to the constitutional provisions that direct the president to “supervise the unitary executive branch.” This formulation can be found first in a signing statement of Ronald Reagan, and it was repeated several times by the shrub's daddy. Basically, the shrub asserts that Congress cannot pass a law that undercuts the constitutionally granted authorities of the President.
Yeah. Well, that’s sort of like tweaking a law that benefits the people only not. See, one President used the powers to expand their own power and another is using the powers to do things like climate change.
The Boston Globe wrote that the shrub had assumed the right to disobey more than 750 laws since he took office, “…declaring that he (the shrub) has the power to set aside the laws when they conflict with his legal interpretation of the Constitution. The federal government is instructed to follow the statements when it enforces the laws.”
John W Dean, a lawyer who served as White House Counsel to Richard Nixon, has pointed out that there are two metrics for measuring the use of signing statements: Both the number of them issued and the number of provisions within a bill that the President issues a statement about. It isn’t just the number of signing statements, but the challenges to the provisions with each law.
The shrub challenged 1,100 provisions of the law in his signing statements, which is more than all of his previous presidents combined. 78% of the shrub’s signing statements raised constitutional objections compared to 18% for President Clinton, 47% for the shrub's daddy and 34% for Ronald Reagan.
The shrub took the theory of the unitary executive to the extreme, pushing the boundaries until it overrode the checks and balances of the other branches of government. John W. Dean called this type of “presidential autocracy” the natural result of authoritarian wingnuttery.
While busting the myth that Obama is behaving like a dictator, we broke down the difference between the types of executive action taken,, “(I)n June of 2007 the shrub signed an executive order that banned federal funding of stem cell research while also declaring embryos to be human beings. In contrast, President Obama signed an executive order in November 2013 ordering federal government agencies to prepare for the impact of climate change.”
One of these things doesn’t belong with the other.
What makes Boehner’s announcement of a lawsuit against Obama even more egregious is the fact that many of the executive actions taken by this president were taken to get around the repugicans’ relentless refusal to legislate. President Obama is doing their jobs for them and now they’re going to sue him for it. It would be humorous if it weren’t a way to kill the Obama agenda that just so happens to be the only way to get anything done for the people.
The repugicans will say that tweaking Obamacare and ordering a higher minimum wage for those workers under the purview of the executive branch are as partisan as the shrub’s stem cell research kill, but President Obama was re-elected for his policies. It was a mandate, in fact, since repugicans made the last presidential election all about Obamacare and contempt for working Americans. But more to the point, repugicans are deliberately moving the goal post in order to avoid discussing the power the shrub took for himself, and the many ways he limited the checks and balances inherent in our system of government.
The issue of expansion of powers of the executive office is a real one. With each presidency, the powers tend to expand more and not less. This isn’t good for democracy. However, it’s also not good for democracy when an entire cabal chooses to shut down the government and refuses to legislate out of pique for losing national elections. It’s particularly bad for democracy when those actions hurt the citizens of this country while protecting corporations.
It is for this reason that President Obama took to executive action — to go around the Do Nothings in order to accomplish pretty minor things for the people (as the power of his office is limited), and to tweak the implementation of Obamacare in terms of deadlines. Since it took Obama 6 years into his presidency to begin to utilize the power of the executive office and he only did so in order to get things moving that used to be bipartisan issues, I’d be willing to wager it weighed heavily upon him. He obviously had a goal of being one of the few presidents who didn’t expand the power of the office, though it’s fair to say he can still hold to that goal since it’s relative, given the shrub’s autocratic abuse of the power.
Politicians aren’t known for their honesty or integrity, but what we are witnessing from this repugican cabal is so unpatriotic and such a snub to our democratic process that it should be the scandal of the decade. Instead, our mainstream media will focus on the moss that might be growing on the trees in the forest that is bringing this country to her knees.

Koch-repugicans Vow to Shutdown Government Over President Obama's New EPA Rules

The EPA released a proposal on June 2 that would significantly rein in carbon pollution spewed by America's fossil-fuel burning power plants, but the proposal has been met with predictable uproar from congressional Republicans, who are now threatening another government shutdown using a "must-pass" government funding bill as leverage against further climate change legislation.
Here's the kicker: it all ties in to the second largest private corporation in America, Koch Industries.
The financial and political influence of the Koch Industries' lobby against climate change legislation cannot be overstated. Leading the fight against climate change legislation are Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato institute and the Manhattan Institute - organizations the Koch brothers either founded or bankroll - all of which exert influence in Washington. Through Americans for Prosperity alone, the Koch brothers influenced more than 400 members of Congress to sign a pledge to vote against any climate change legislation that does not include equivalent tax cuts.
Most of the pledge signers also received campaign contributions from Charles or David Koch or Koch Industries.

"Any subject the lunatic fringe deems worthy of a lie" becomes a campaign

The lunatic fringe lies constantly. They lie on air, they lie in print, they lie in tweets, they lie in Congress, they lie in repugican cabal legislatures, they lie in their sleep. The lunatic fringe lies about things that they claim are false but are provably true. Documented things. Factual things. *coughCLIMATECHANGEcough*But that doesn't stop them, because if you repeat a lie often enough, people will start to believe it. Especially uninformed, misinformed, ignorant people who can't or will not do any research of their own on any given topic.
Corporations are allowed to legally lie, too, by the way. Well, "corporate people," because, freedom of speech. Thank you, Supreme Court!
We can't stop them, legally at least. We can call them out, we can prove them wrong, we can try to be louder than the liars on the lunatic fringe, and we can try to dissuade the gullible, the ignorant, the willfully ignorant, our friends and neighbors, and anyone else within shouting/writing distance. But they will still lie.
And with that, here are some Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
    Re: "When it comes to politics, there's no need to outlaw lying," Editorial, June 17
    Police the liars? How did that work out for the millions of us advocating for equality as we tried to negate the lies coming from the pro-Proposition 8 campaign in 2008? There are people who, six years later, still hold to be true the falsehoods perpetuated by the television ads and mailers of the campaign's deep pockets.
    The damage is done, is nearly irreparable and causes harm to this day. Shame on the Supreme Court for clearing the way for the continuance of fabrication within political campaigns.
    Couple that decision with the Citizens United and McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission rulings, and we're all in for Proposition 8-style campaigns on any subject matter the extreme right deems worthy of a lie. Again and again, the damage will be done as many take as gospel untruthful propaganda.

    Sheila Alberg

"Lies, Lying Liars and the Lies they tell

What tea partiers Mean When They Say They Want to "Take Back America"

In this short but informative segment, Claire Conner, author of the best-selling book Wrapped in the Flag and daughter of founding members of the John Birch Society - co-founded by Koch Industries patriarch Fred Koch and wingnut businessman Robert Welch - reveals the sinister truth behind what tea partiers (bankrolled by the Koch brothers) really mean when they say they want to "take back America."
"The wingnuts want to rid us of the IRS, rid us of the Federal Reserve, rid us of the direct election of Senators, rid us of every piece of progressive legislation ever passed," Conner explained. "The lunatic fringe wants to take us back - back 114 years. They say 1900 in America as like the apex of when we were great as a nation," noting that this was before women were given the right to vote.

Mitch McConnell is ‘Irritated’ Because Everyone in Kentucky Hates His Bridge To Poverty Plan

Mitch McConnell, John CornynMitch McConnell is in big trouble when even reliable wingnuts reject his plan to repeal a federal prevailing wage law (the Davis-Bacon Act) to pay for the Brent Spence Bridge replacement. The idea is even less appealing when you consider it will take 10 years to get the funds to build the bridge. It’s based on the same old failed repugican ideology of cutting taxes for the rich while slashing the wages of people who earn their income through their labor.
Following McConnell’s announcement he became irritated with journalists because they were skeptical.
Amanda Van Benschoten points to an even more serious problem – the fact that almost nobody in the reliably conservative region of Northern Kentucky supports McConnell’s plans to build a bridge by screwing construction workers over.
McConnell’s political problems don’t end with the fact that he has nothing to offer but the same failed philosophy that killing jobs and reducing wages benefits everyone.  Alison Lundergan Grimes continues to make the case that Kentucky needs someone who recognizes that it certainly is their job to rebuild the Brent Spence Bridge, though certainly not with policies that kill jobs and create poverty. Specifically, she proposes closing tax loopholes for the rich and ending some corporate tax breaks to pay for the bridge that is the most important priority for the people of Kentucky. McConnell has lost credibility even among his formerly most ardent supporters, as is reflected by the fact that solidly wingnut North Kentucky rejected his plan.
McConnell needs votes from Northern Kentucky, a reliably wingnut region in federal races, come November. But almost nobody in the region embraced his plan, even those desperate for any solution that doesn’t involve tolls.
According to Van Benschoten, members of the business community had a similar reaction.
In short, McConnell has lost touch with the people of Kentucky and he lost their trust much the same way as Eric Cantor did. All the signs point to McConnell’s defeat, albeit by a stronger candidate with more credible and pragmatic ideas than the one who defeated Cantor.
Even if McConnell’s credibility and attitude were above reproach, the fact is this policy applies the same flawed ideological belief that wealth trickles down by giving the rich huge and unpaid for tax breaks while increasing the tax burden and lowering wages for everyone else. One doesn’t need a background in economics to understand that policies resulting in lost income for workers and eventually the government won’t benefit anyone.  It does take expertise in economics to determine how devastating McConnell’s proposal would be in real dollars.
In Kentucky’s case, the projected decline of construction worker’s income is dramatic. Peter Philips, a University of Utah economist projected that the absence of the Davis- Bacon Act would result in a decline of construction wages between 3.2 and 6.5% in 2013.  If there wasn’t a Davis-Bacon Act, Philips projects that Kentucky workers would have lost $75 million to $152 (in 2013) dollars.  These sharp declines in workers’ incomes would mean a loss of $10 million to $20 million in tax revenues per year for Kentucky’s government. (Peter Philips, accessed 6/23/14)  Obviously, these numbers contradict McConnell’s claim that everyone will benefit from his screw workers to build a bridge in 10 years plan.
The CBO’s analysis of McConnell’s bridge proposal confirmed what everyone in America knows – including Mitch McConnell even if he won’t admit it.
An argument against repealing the Davis-Bacon Act is that it prevents out-of-town firms from coming into a locality, competing with local contractors for federal work using lower-paid workers from other areas of the country, and then leaving the area upon completion of the work. Another argument against repealing the act is that doing so would lower the earnings of some construction workers. An additional argument against such a change is that it might jeopardize the quality of construction at federally funded or federally assisted projects. When possible, managers of some construction projects would reduce costs by paying a lower wage than what is permitted under the Davis-Bacon Act. As a result, they might attract workers who are less skilled and do lower-quality work.
Interestingly, McConnell used the CBO study to defend his screw the poor to build a bridge in 10 years proposal.
The people of Kentucky understand that McConnell sees his job as catering to corporate interests at the expense of the people he was hired to represent. Is it any wonder that Kentucky’s voters are turning to Alison Lundergan Grimes to help them build a bridge to a better future for everyone?

North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Declares War on the U.S. Constitution

From the "Sorry excuse for a human" Department:
North Carolina Lt. Governor Dan Forest
Lt. Governor Dan Forest of North Carolina told the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s (that is, Ralph Reed’s) 2014 Road to Majority conference this past weekend that “America is at a great crossroads where it must decide for or against god.”
This is the sort of sick stuff Ralph Reed loves:
The opening luncheon, Time Magazine reports, saw “remarks by Senator Ted Cruz, Ambassador John Bolton and Rubio, among others…”
Forest, as you will see, fit right in. Listen to his remarks courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
Actually, it doesn’t have to do any such thing.
America, spoken of as a plurality of voters, does not have to choose Forest’s god or any god. Nowhere in the Founding documents is this expectation expressed. Instead, we are told, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
As Thomas Jefferson wrote,
But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
Jefferson “got” America. Forest does not. He never will.
The expectation expressed by Jefferson is of a pluralistic and diverse America, where the only expectation is one of religious freedom, where people are free to believe what they wish. This was the Founding Fathers’ great hope.
America, spoken of as a government, is mandated to forbid what Forest wants. The federal government, according to the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, is not allowed to establish a state religion. Our government is, and must remain, secular.
Yet Forest says America has turned its back on god.
We have forgotten god and we call it freedom.
We kill our children for convenience, and we call it freedom.
We enslave our poor in welfare and call it freedom.
We take from the hard working and give to the sluggard in the name of income equality and call it freedom.
We allow our children to become addicted to pornography in the name of free speech and we call it freedom.
We rack up mountains of debt on the backs of our grandchildren and we call it freedom.
We reward the criminal at the expense of the victim and we call it freedom.
We take god out of our schoolhouse, out of our statehouse, out of our courthouse and we call it freedom.
We allow a few individuals in the courts to determine the moral standard for all and we call it freedom.
What Forest lists is an ideological straw man. What he is so tendentiously attacking are the freedoms granted us by our constitution. He does not want freedom. He does not defend freedom; he denounces freedom.
He wants to order people’s lives. He wants government interference in our daily lives so far unimagined. He is not talking about people being free to believe or want or to do the things he believes – he wants us forced to obedience.
The Founding Fathers already rejected that scheme. They gave us the freedom Forest now decries.
Forest laments,
The heart of the matter is we have forgotten god. We have kicked him out of our house, out of our schoolhouse, out of our courthouse, and out of our statehouse, and now, out of our nation. We call it everything but what it is, we call it everything but sin, the turning away from god.
This is straight out of the old testament. It is not, significantly, from the U.S. Constitution.
Forest cites the Declaration of Independence’s assertion that our inalienable rights derive from our creator but he ignores the fact that many of the Founders, like Thomas Jefferson, rejected Forest’s god for the idea of a sort of divine architect. For Jefferson, Jesus was a wise man, not god, and he rejected with his divinity all the miracles described by the New Testament.
He wrote to Peter Carr in 1787,
Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.
The very same blindfolded fear Forest is selling in 2014.
What Forest wants is not democracy. What Forest wants is theocracy. Our Founding Fathers had the chance, rare in history, to establish whatever form of government they wished. They could have chosen theocracy. They did not.
They chose democracy. They chose a government predicated on the proposition that political power derives from the will of the people. They slapped the concept of the divine right of kings square in the face for all the world to see.
Like other religio-wingnuts, Forest does not understand America. He does not understand what America is, and what it has always been: a modern liberal democracy. The first of its kind. The highest realization of the secular European Enlightenment. A rebellion against the god-centered Old World and an embrace of Enlightenment principles.
Jefferson wrote to Alexander von Humboldt in 1813, rejecting everything Forest now demands:
History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
Forest somehow concluded that,
We don’t just need, my friends, to rebuild the walls of America. We need to rebuild the biblical foundation upon which the walls sit. We need to trust god. Fear only comes when we don’t believe that God is who he says he is. If god is the creator of the universe, if he allows our hearts to beat and our lungs to breathe, why do we not trust him? If we trust god, my friends, there is nothing we can’t accomplish. With him we can do anything. Apart from him we can do nothing. Seek first his kingdom and all these things will be given.
We continue to declare ‘god Bless America’ without doing our part, without prayer, without fasting, and repentance as a nation, without recognizing the sins we commit and humbling ourselves before the sovereign ruler of nations, and asking for forgiveness.
It is time for America to recognize that freedom does not come from being a nation of wealth, power, influence, abundance, and ease – but rather it comes from being a humble nation on its knees. It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
America’s freedom comes not from being a nation on its knees, but from being a nation on its feet, proudly proclaiming liberty. Forest speaks of “offended power” but the only relevant power according to the Constitution is the power of the people. god does not enter into it, not even as a passing reference.
Freedom comes from the United States Constitution, the same constitution which not only forbids religious tests for holding public office but forbids the establishment of the state religion Forest now demands.
Forest’s speech is a declaration of war on America. The America established by the United States Constitution and ratified by every state. The Constitution Forest swore to uphold when he took his oath of office.
How will America, how will the people – the “offended power” – answer Dan Forest’s and the religio-wingnut’s declaration of war on its constitutionally guaranteed freedoms? We’ve won the war on marriage equality they began but the culture war, whatever you hear, is not over. Not by a long shot.

Bobby Jindal Hints At Overthrowing The Government

by Manny Schewitz

 Over the last few months, Bobby Jindal has been drifting further and further toward the far right. Recent actions are part of what can only be seen as preparation for a long shot run for the repugican cabal nomination in 2016, and last night, he made that quite obvious with the following remarks at the annual Faith and Freedom Conference:
    "I can sense right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States," Jindal said, "where people are ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C., to preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren."
Yeah, Bobby "Stop Being The Stupid cabal" Jindal used the "overthrow the government" line at a wingnut evangelical gathering - and that's not all. He also managed to take shots at President Obama and Hillary Clinton, because these are all things the people who still take Ralph Reed seriously want to hear.
    "Are we witnessing right now the most radically, extremely liberal, ideological president of our entire lifetime right here in the United States of America, or are we witnessing the most incompetent president of the United States of America in the history of our lifetimes? You know, it is a difficult question," he said. "I've thought long and hard about it. Here's the only answer I've come up with, and I'm going to quote Secretary Clinton: 'What difference does it make?'"

Jindal can't openly call for a violent overthrow of the government - he knows that. He also knows that in that scenario, he would be arrested for sedition and sent to federal prison. Yet, all Jindal and others who are seeking the primary votes of the far right have to do is hint at the possibility of angry mobs on the White House lawn and the votes and donations flow in.

Cave-Dwelling Hermit Tribe Discovered In Fort Bragg Impact Area

The military community of Fort Bragg was surprised to learn that for decades, a dozens-strong tribe of hermits has been living inside the artillery impact area on the installation, sources confirmed Thursday.
While conducting target insertion and maintenance on Wednesday, Range Control personnel accidentally fell into a hidden series of tunnels and underground rooms, furnished with old barracks furniture and calendars dating back to the Truman administration.
When military police searched the tunnels, they discovered the Hanson family of Pineview, N.C., previously thought to have all perished in a large flood in the spring of 1947. Custus Hanson, or as the rest of the family call him, “Old Grandpap,” refused to evacuate his family from the bombing area, although he did agree to an exclusive interview with Duffel Blog reporters in his throne room.
“We are the people of the deep,” said Hanson, the head of the patriarchal cult tribe, shaking a talisman made from human bones and pieces of frag. “We pray to the Thunder God for sustenance, and he gives it to us. We have provenance from the bounty of the land, we get water from the spring in the Wending Room, and he blesses us with many loud Thunderings. May Thunder God bang his blessings down upon you.”
“And bang you as well,” echoed the other Hanson family members, whose skin and eyes are almost white from a lifetime spent underground, emerging only at night to harvest berries and hunt game for food.
Shocked officials at Bragg have confirmed that four generations of Hansons are now living in the tunnels. To prevent inbreeding, male members of the family would raid the cantonment area for captives.
Military investigators now estimate that over the years, as many as 30 female dependents have been kidnapped and become Hanson wives. Previously those cases were dismissed as flighty Army wives leaving their husbands and disappearing, but now many will be reexamined. Most of the women, however, have claimed that they do not want to leave, preferring to continue their tribal tunnel existence.
“So I got kidnapped from my PTSD-riddled, alcoholic infantry asshole husband,” said one, the former Sylvia Montrose, taken in 2008, who now goes by Lightfeather Hanson. “I was brought here, where tons of muscled-up, women-worshipping mountain men cater to my every whim, bring me food and clothes, and all I have to do is sweep the cave every once in awhile.”
“Yeah, you’re right, oh help, please save me,” she added, rolling her eyes.
It was not yet clear what authorities at the base intend to do with the Hansons, who refuse to leave.

The Good Country Index

The idea of the Good Country Index is pretty simple: to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away. Using a wide range of data from the U.N. and other international organizations, each country is given a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it's a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between.

Not everyone wants cheering up

Not everyone wants cheering up, new study suggests

You may want to rethink cheering up your friends who […]

What Is Jihad?

While the term "Jihad" in contemporary culture is often used within the context of terrorism, the word, to non-militant Muslims, means something vastly different. Tara explains.



The 7 Deadliest Fashion Trends Of All Time

Keeping up with fashion trends can sometimes be uncomfortable and expensive. But trying a new style or two is typically not life-threatening - except in the case of these dangerous trends, that maimed (and sometimes killed) anyone brave enough to sport them.

World's Biggest Haggis Weighs as Much as a Car

The very Scottish gentleman you see pictured above is ready to cut into the largest haggis ever made. The Scottish meat company Hall's produced it for the Royal Highland Show, an agricultural fair held last week.
Sky News reports that the haggis contains 1,537 pounds of pork and pork offal, as well as 734 pounds of oatmeal, 51 pounds of onions, and 86 pounds of seasonings. When cooked, it measured about 8 feet long, 3 feet tall, and 3 feet wide. It was served to people who attended the show. By my calculations, that's enough haggis for over 20 people.

Discovery Of Oldest Human Poop Exposes The Original Paleo Diet

Discovery Of Oldest Human Poop Exposes The Original Paleo Diet
The recent discovery of 50,000-year-old human faecal remains in a Spanish cave shows that Neanderthals, in addition to consuming meat, ate lots of vegetables. It's the best proof yet that Neanderthals were omnivores — a diet that modern paleo-eaters will find very familiar.
Anthropologists have had great difficulty trying to figure out what Neanderthals ate. It's an important question because it may have had a direct bearing on their eventual extinction. One theory holds that Neanderthals may have died out owing to an exclusively carnivorous diet, while modern humans thrived by adopting a complex diet rich in animal protein and plants.
Previous archaeological finds reaffirmed the notion that Neanderthals did in fact eat meat (including shellfish), leading anthropologists to surmise that they were top-level carnivores. A 2010 analysis of Neanderthal teeth and scattered botanical evidence did however suggest a certain degree of plant-eating among the Neanderthals, but no "smoking gun" has ever been found to definitely prove an omnivorous diet.

According to paleoanthropologist Ainara Sistiaga and her team, that smoking gun has now been found — and it's a pile of 50,000-year-old crap.
Chemical Traces
The ancient excrement was found at the El Salt dig in Spain, a Middle Paleolithic site. It's considered the oldest positive identification of human faecal matter, significantly predating those found in Egyptian mummies and ancient Greek latrines.
The samples, which were found near an ancient campfire, were put through a gas chromatograph to separate the individual chemical elements. Along with mass spectrometry, the researchers were able to figure out which molecules were present and in what quantities. The identification of sterols and stanols was key — lipids known to be relatively stable through food chains and during early digestive processes. What's more, the discovery of plant-derived esters in the faecal remains suggested a significant intake of plants.
Good Paleo Eating
Based on the history of the region, it's likely that these particular Neanderthals had a diet consisting of meat, berries, nuts, and root vegetables — a list of foods very familiar to those who are currently on the paleo diet. Of course, this doesn't necessarily imply an optimized diet, but it's fair to say their digestive systems, after tens of thousands of years of evolution, were very well adapted to these particular foods. Make of that what you will.

The researchers conclude:
Taken together, these data suggest that the Neanderthals from El Salt consumed both meat and vegetables, in agreement with recent hypotheses based on indirect evidence. Future studies in Middle Palaeolithic sites using the faecal biomarker approach will help clarify the nature, role and proportion of the plant component in the Neanderthal diet, and allow us to assess whether our results reflect occasional consumption or can be representative of their staple diet. Also, this data represents the oldest positive identification of human faecal matter, in a molecular level, using organic geochemical methods.
Indeed, an important next step will be to figure out if Neanderthals from other European locations also consumed plants.

Ice Age Reboot

Ice Age Reboot: Ocean Current Shutdown Viewed as Culprit
The thermohaline circulation is a global ocean current that redistributes warm surface water and cold, …
A dramatic slowdown in deep ocean currents matches a major reset in Earth's ice ages about 1 million years ago, new evidence from the South Atlantic seafloor suggests.
The discovery doesn't mean the ocean current stall-out is the only culprit behind the change in Earth's incessant ice ages, the study authors said. However, the findings provide new evidence that Earth's oceans can significantly alter its climate.
"We cannot tell for sure what broke the cycle," said lead study author Leopoldo Pena of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York. "Our evidence shows the oceans played a major role."
For unknown reasons, about 950,000 years ago, Earth's ice age cycles suddenly lengthened, from 41,000 years to 100,000 years. The planet's thermostat was tweaked at the same time, with ice ages growing colder than before.
"This is the largest climatic change that has happened on our planet in the last 2 million years," Pena said. "For many decades, scientists have been trying to understand what happened."
The big switch took place without the usual suspects, such as a drop in energy from the sun due to orbital wobbles. So scientists turned to climate change for a possible cause. Pena and his co-authors have now discovered that a huge ocean "conveyor belt" stalled at the same time as the ice age switch. Their findings were published today (June 26) in the journal Science Express.
The conveyor belt is a global current system scientists call the thermohaline circulation (THC). The circulation pattern moves warm surface water from the Southern Hemisphere toward the northern latitudes, where it grows cold and salty and sinks. The denser water then flows back toward the south along the deep seafloor. The Gulf Stream is part of this giant conveyor belt. Paleoclimate records show the THC currents have operated for millions of years.
Tracing ancient currents
To track the strength of the ancient THC currents, Pena analyzed levels of neodymium in minerals crusted onto tiny shells of dead plankton. The minerals were encrusted after the plankton died, as the shells dropped to the seafloor. The neodymium indicates where the deep seawater came from, Pena said. For example, waters from the North Atlantic have a distinct neodymium "flavor" versus waters from the North Pacific.
By measuring the neodymium in shells in seafloor mud deposited during the past million years, Pena can estimate whether North Atlantic waters were flowing south, or if the current shut down.
When the ice age cycle was every 41,000 years, the THC currents were normal strength even during glacial periods, the researchers found. But 950,000 years ago, something shut down the conveyor belt during a glacial period. The crisis lasted 100,000 years, Pena said, and then the current recovered. However, after the transition, when Earth was in its 100,000-year ice age cycle, the ocean current grew weaker or stalled every time there was an ice age.
The researchers suspect the colder ice ages after the big flip meant large ice sheets in the North Atlantic shut down the ocean conveyor belt.
But for now, Pena says scientists aren't sure which came first — bigger ice sheets or a broken ocean conveyor belt. There was also a huge drop in carbon dioxide 950,000 years ago, which also played a role in cooling the planet. The sluggish conveyor belt could have contributed to this drop by hoarding the greenhouse gas in the deep ocean, Pena said.
"It's a chicken-and-egg question," Pena said.
Christopher Charles, a climate scientist who was not involved in the study, agrees that it's unlikely a single cause will emerge. The deep ocean could be one of many triggers for the ice age change.
"It's extremely likely that the switch in ice age cycling was at least strongly influenced by, if not controlled by, carbon cycling," said Charles, a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. "It would not be at all surprising to me if ocean mixing somehow played a role in governing the storage of carbon in the deep ocean."

Daily Comic Relief


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Pablo Escobar's Hippos

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Migaloo the White Humpback Whale Spotted off Sydney's Coast

A sighting of Migaloo, Australia's celebrated white humpback whale, was made June 23 off the coast of Sydney. Until September of 2011, Migaloo, which translates to "white fella" in the language of Australian Aboriginals, was the only known white humpback whale in the world. It was then that footage surfaced of a white baby humpback whale (calf). The calf is unofficially named M.J., for Migaloo Junior, according to Australia's White Whale Research Centre. Another all-white whale was documented in Norwegian waters, so Migaloo and M.J. may be rare, but they're not alone.
Although the video of the news report included here --as well as a report from CNN -- calls Migaloo an albino, that fact actually seems to be in dispute. The While Whale Research Centre and the Pacific Whale Foundation don't refer to Migaloo or MJ as albinos, so I've stayed consistent with their terminology.
To learn more about Migaloo and track future sightings, visit the website of the White Whale Research Centre.

Driver avoided ticket after horse caught on speed camera

A horse caught on a speed camera in central Germany has helped a speeding driver avoid a ticket.
The horse was snapped by the speed camera in Eppstein, Hesse, and looked puzzled at the flashing camera as it passed by.
An initial look at the image by the town clerk suggested the horse was traveling at 59 km/h when caught at the end of May.
But the camera was in fact flashing a car behind the animal. The car’s driver escaped without a fine as the horse was blocking their number plate.

Giant tortoise treated for sinusitis

A giant tortoise has been checked in to an on-site clinic at Bristol Zoo after developing the symptoms of sinusitis.
Helen, a 90kg (14 stone) tortoise, was given a health check after keepers noticed her unusual breathing. Staff vet Richard Saunders said: "The whistling, raspy breathing in her nose could be heard from several feet away, so we took samples under anesthetic." The 32-year-old tortoise, described as a "good patient" by Mr Saunders, is currently on a course of antibiotics.
Helen is an Aldabran giant tortoise - a species classified as "vulnerable" - and has been at Bristol Zoo for 11 years. But after developing a nasal infection, the tortoise had to take a trip to the vet for a nasal flush, tests under anesthetic and a course of antibiotics. "Tortoises don't cough, so they can't expel stuff from their lungs but this was an upper respiratory infection, more like sinusitis," said Mr Saunders.
"The procedure took about 45 minutes and her recovery was in a lovely warm underfloor-heated sandpit. She's a good patient and is taking her tablets lined up in a stick of celery, which hides the pills and the taste, so she's doing well." Giant tortoises can live up to 150 years old. The Aldabran giant tortoise is the only surviving giant tortoise species from the islands of Aldabra and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

Mystery of sausage dog that appeared in locked car solved

A woman in western Germany got a shock when she returned to her locked car and found a strange sausage dog staring back at her from the back seat. The mysterious incident was the result of a series of unlikely coincidences.
The baffled woman, who had been attending a religious service in Adenau near Koblenz in Rhineland, immediately drove the dachshund to a nearby police station, officers said in a statement.
But while officers were inspecting the animal, another distressed woman came in to report her beloved dog as missing. The mystery was eventually solved. It turned out the mix up had occurred when the women had mistaken each other's identical cars for their own - which they had coincidentally parked next to each other.
"Obviously, in this rare case, the keys also fit in both cars' locks," the police said. The dog owner had got into the wrong car and left without realising her mistake. Then the other woman had returned to find the dog on the back seat.

Animal Pictures