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

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Daily Drift

Destroy it in fact ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

For those interested: In World Cup play there was no matches on the twenty-first day of the tourney.
The Quarterfinals begin today with France meeting Germany and Brazil meeting Colombia.

Well, at least she's staying out of the sun ... !
Today is  - Stay Out Of The Sun Day
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Today in History

1775 George Washington takes command of the Continental Army.
1790 In Paris, the Marquis of Condorcet proposes granting civil rights to women.
1844 American ambassador Caleb Cushing successfully negotiates a commercial treaty with China.
1863 Confederate forces attack the center of the Union line at Gettysburg, but fail to break it.
1878 John Wise flies the first dirigible in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
1901 The Wild Bunch, led by Butch Cassidy, commits its last American robbery near Wagner, Montana, taking $65,000 from a Great Northern train.
1903 The first cable across the Pacific Ocean is spliced between Honolulu, Midway, Guam and Manila.
1944 The U.S. First Army opens a general offensive to break out of the hedgerow area of Normandy, France.
1945 U.S. troops land at Balikpapan and take Sepinggan airfield on Borneo in the Pacific.
1950 U.S. carrier-based planes attack airfields in the Pyongyang-Chinnampo area of North Korea in the first air-strike of the Korean War.
1954 Food rationing ends in Great Britain almost nine years after the end of World War II.
1962 Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
1967 North Vietnamese soldiers attack South Vietnam's only producing coal mine at Nong Son.

Non Sequitur


10 Things Every Good Griller Should Know

These are the secrets that will make you the cookout queen.
These are the secrets that will make you the cookout king.
Grilling can be a bit overwhelming -- especially when you're hosting a big crowd. There's nothing trickier than greeting guests and cooking at the same time. Before your fire up the grill next, keep these pro tips in mind:
1. Control the heat
Large items like chicken quarters and ribs aren't meant to cook over high heat. Manage heat on a gas grill by turning off the center burners and placing food on the middle of the grill. Adjust burners on the left and right sides to change the temperature. On charcoal, adjusting dampers to restrict airflow will lower the cooking temperature.
2. Stack your coals
Instead of spreading a thin layer of charcoal across the bottom of your grill, stack lit coals on one side. Place foods that need a quick sear (like thin veggies or steaks) on the coal side. Foods that need longer to cook can be placed on the opposite end with the lid on to contain the heat.
3. Sear at 10 and 2
Pretend your grilling surface is a clock. Point the tips of items like steaks or pork chops at 10 o'clock for a few minutes, followed by 2 o'clock for the same time. Repeat this on the second side and you'll get perfect, diamond shaped grill marks every time. Remember to only flip most foods once, about half way through cooking.
4. Add some smoke
Wood chips or chunks are a great way to add smoky flavor without smoking foods for hours on end. Soak wood chips for about 30 minutes and place them inside a metal smoker box (or wrap them in a piece of aluminum foil) on a gas grill. If you're cooking with charcoal, scatter the chips across the lit coals.
5. Hit the perfect temperature
A thermometer is your best friend at the grill. Not only will you avoid under-cooking foods, you'll make sure you don't overcook. A digital leave-in thermometer is perfect as it lets you check the temperature without lifting the grill lid.
6. Keep coals burning
Coals are ready for cooking when they're fully lit and have a thin layer of white ash formed. Expect standard coals to burn 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the weather and the number you use. Keep your fire going by continuously adding new coals before the previous ones go out.
7. Keep foods separated
Backyard grilling can be a food safety minefield. Use separate platters, tools, and utensils for raw and cooked foods and never let them mingle.
8. Use the right tools for the job
Life is always easier with the right tools. Oversized grill tools from Cuisinart are a great choice for cooking, and our VIP Award-winning Firewire grilling skewers let you sear kebabs anywhere you have the space. When you're all done and ready to clean, the Brushhawg Grill Brush from Char-Broil makes short work of grilled on food.
9. Wait to baste
Basting with sauce adds tremendous flavor, but barbecue sauces burn easily. Try basting in the last few minutes and once foods have been removed from the grill.
10. Practice ambitious dishes before a party
Desperate to slow-grill a lamb quarter or smoke a pork shoulder for the first time? Try out your techniques before you prepare tough dishes for a crowd.
No outdoor space? Here are a few tips to get great grilling results in your kitchen.
- Don't over grease
Just like when you grill outdoors, only use oil when necessary. Try painting a thin layer onto foods to promote browning and prevent sticking.
- Leave meat alone
Don't feel the need to compulsively flip. Listen for the kiss of the grill pan. One of the most common grilling mistakes is being impatient.
- Be adventurous
Don't limit fun to outdoor grills. Try grilling fruits like watermelon, pineapple, or mango indoors too. Brush them with warm honey first to get delicious results.

Ghost Peppers

In 2007, North India's Bhut Jolokia - or ghost pepper - became the first pepper to break the 1 million mark on the Scoville scale for spicy heat, earning the title of World's Hottest Pepper in the Guinness Book of World Records and launching it into salsa superstardom.
The Scoville scale is the measurement of the pungency of chili peppers or other spicy foods as reported in Scoville heat units, a function of capsaicin concentration.

Retro Photos


Fine Ice Cream, 1934 Cadillac parked in front

Obama Delivers a Middle Finger To Boehner and His Lawsuit By Acting Alone on Immigration

President Obama delivered a one-fingered salute to John Boehner and his lawsuit today by announcing that he is going to act without Congress to reform as much of the immigration system as his legal authority allows.
The president said:
Some in the House repugican caucus are using the situation with unaccompanied children as their newest excuse to do nothing. Now I want everybody to think about that. Their argument seems to be that because they system’s broken, we shouldn’t make an effort to fix it. It makes no sense. It’s not on the level. It’s just politics, plain and simple.
Now there are others in the repugican caucus in the House who are arguing that they can’t act because they’re mad at me about using my executive authority too broadly. This also makes no sense. I don’t prefer taking administrative action. I’d rather see permanent fixes to the issue we face. Certainly, that’s true on immigration. Multiple times I’ve said that I would love nothing more than bipartisan legislation to pass the House, the Senate, land on my desk so I can sign it. That’s true about immigration. It’s true about the minimum wage. It’s true about equal pay. There are a whole bunch of things where I would greatly prefer Congress actually do something.
I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing. And in this situation, the failure of House repugicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, is bad for our economy, and is bad for our future.
So while I will continue to push House repugicans to drop the excuses and act, and I hope their constituents will too, America can not wait forever for them to act. That’s why today I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.
If Congress won’t do their job, at least we can do ours.
I want to repeat what I said earlier. If House repugicans are really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, the best solution to that is passing bills. Pass a bill. Solve a problem. Don’t just say no on something that everybody agrees needs to be done. Because if we pass a bill, that will supplant whatever I’ve done administratively.
This was nothing less than a giant middle finger to John Boehner and his lawsuit. It is clear that repugicans think it is good politics to run against “Obama the dictator,” but what they don’t understand is that their lawsuit has opened the door for the president to highlight why he has to take so many executive actions. By pursuing a lawsuit, House repugicans have made themselves the issue in 2014 election.
The president announced that he is moving resources to the border to keep them secure, and he is looking to use his executive powers to fix as much of the immigration system as he can. He also stressed that his action doesn’t replace legislation, and he is willing to work with Congress on a bill.
Obama isn’t intimidated by the lawsuit. He is seizing the opportunity that it presents. What better way to get Hispanic voters engaged in the midterm than to make immigration a central issue? President Obama is baiting the House repugicans into pursuing this lawsuit. The president made it clear that he isn’t acting alone because he loves executive action. If House and Senate repugicans stopped obstructing everything, the president wouldn’t need to take administrative action.
The problem isn’t Obama taking too many executive actions. The real problem is that congressional repugicans refuse to do anything.
It turns out that John Boehner’s lawsuit isn’t even a good intimidation tactic. Instead of slowing down the president is doubling his efforts to do what is right for the country, with or without Congress.

Democrats Condemn the Supreme Court for Making It Better To Be a Corporation Than a Person

High profile Democrats are not impressed with the predictably horrible Supreme Court’s decision to give corporations “religious freedom” to avoid laws. The ranking members of the Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and the Workforce Committees today issued statements in response to the Supreme Court decision in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby:
Rep. Sander Levin notes that this is a dangerous precedent, “Today’s Supreme Court ruling undermines a woman’s right to make health decisions that are best for her and her family. This ruling not only limits a woman’s access to contraception, it also makes employees of private corporations vulnerable to discrimination when their employer says that the employee’s rights conflict with their religious beliefs. This is a dangerous precedent to set.”
Rep. Henry Waxman notes that a for profit corporation should not have the right to limit women’s access healthcare, “The Court has said that fictional corporations that exist only on paper have more rights than real people who have real health-care needs. It’s one more radical judicial step in making it better to be a corporation than a person. It is particularly offensive that the Court does this in a decision that is so personal for a woman: her decision to have or not have children. For-profit corporations, no matter the size and structure, should not have the right to limit their female employees access to safe, legal, and critically important health care services. We must continue to forcefully oppose efforts to roll back women’s rights to make their own health care decisions and work to make sure all Americans have access to the preventive health services they need.”
Rep. George Miller said SCOTUS just took us backward, “In passing the Affordable Care Act, we were very clear: when it comes to health care, women can no longer be discriminated against, charged more, or denied services simply because of their gender. As a result, the ACA is the most significant piece of legislation for women’s health that this country has seen in decades. The law has broadened access to health care and contraception so that women, not their bosses or insurance companies, can make their own choices about their health care. Today’s Supreme Court decision is another backwards-looking and unwarranted attack on women’s access to health care.”
Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, is also troubled by the SCOTUS ruling. He points out that it perpetuates the myth that corporations are people, “I am greatly troubled by today’s Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby contraceptive case. Today’s ruling jeopardizes women’s access to crucial health services and perpetuates the myth that corporations are people. This decision directly contradicts the values of a majority of Americans who believe that women – not corporations – should be in charge of their own health care. Today’s ruling could allow employers not only to impose their religious beliefs about contraception on their employees, but could also allow them in the future to take away other crucial benefits, like vaccinations or HIV screenings. The same Court that decided Citizens United has – with today’s ruling – moved further down the dangerous path of placing decisions that greatly affect Americans’ lives in the hands of corporations. I strongly disagree with today’s ruling and I will continue to fight for a woman’s right to make her own choices about her health.”
The repugicans are giving Democrats an easy platform full of bumper sticker slogans heretofore unseen by Democrats. Between Boehner’s threatened lawsuit to impeach the President and SCOTUS taking away women’s rights to healthcare, the wingnut 'movement' is handing Democrats easy ways to motivate their base and raise funds.
Boehner’s lawsuit has already raised a million dollars for Democrats. House Democrats raised a 2014 record $584,000 in 24 hours.
And now Democrats can run on the fact that if they controlled Congress, they could rewrite a law to fix this laughable SCOTUS decision.

A Democratic Congress Could Undo The Hobby Lobby Ruling and Protect Women

protect all womenThe Guttmacher Institute issued a press release that should frighten repugicans, as it clearly lays out the future going forward after Monday’s egregious SCOTUS ruling giving corporations the right to deny contraception healthcare insurance coverage to women. Guttmacher points out that the administration could take actions but also, Congress could act through new legislation.
“The Obama administration has not yet indicated what specific actions it might take in response to the Court’s ruling, but it has stated that it “will work with Congress to make sure that any women affected by this decision will still have the same coverage of vital health services as everyone else.” The administration could take the Court’s suggestion and expand the existing accommodation to closely held for-profit corporations that assert a religious objection to some or all contraceptive services and methods.”
They continue, “Congress, too, could act through new legislation to protect employees and their family members from their employers’ objections.”
Yes, all is not lost. As we pointed out, this is a huge platform to hand to Democrats in an election year. The repugicans are now going to be running against birth control, and as Guttmacher notes, “More than 99% of women aged 15-44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method.”
Discriminating against contraception because it might be used as an abortifacient is a fail. Furthermore, Hobby Lobby objected to at least one form of birth control that regulates a woman’s eggs even before they are fertilized. But taking this a step further, contraceptives are often prescribed for medical reasons. Take the IUD as an example. Before Obamacare, insurance could and did refuse to cover an IUD ordered by a doctor for medical reasons because it could be used as contraception. IUDs are often ordered for women suffering from hemorrhaging. The only other option is endometrial ablation surgery, which usually means she can never have children.
Let that sink in for the family values.
The Guttmacher Institute also made it clear that the government has a strong case for its contraceptive policy, “Indeed, in an impassioned dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—citing the Guttmacher Institute’s amicus brief —made it clear that the government’s case for the contraceptive coverage policy is very strong. Decades of scientific evidence and the life experiences of millions of women show that contraception enables women to prevent unintended pregnancies and to plan and space wanted pregnancies. That, in turn, has numerous health benefits for mothers and babies and promotes women’s educational, economic and social advancement.”
There are 100 entities that sued over the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, so the wingnut (and hypocritical) Hobby Lobby is not alone. Given Hobby Lobby’s history and other business dealings, it’s obvious that they don’t really object to birth control, but rather to this president and the ACA. However, this is the position repugicans find themselves in given President Obama’s relentlessly sound judgement and willingness to entertain ideas from the opposition.
As repugicans chase themselves off a wingnut cliff, not only their 2012 platform embraced the liberty killing personhood amendment, but when parsed out, it was looking like they wanted to abolish contraception all together. And here we have Hobby Lobby making that argument.
The thing is, a real Congress could change this. A Congress that was willing to put people first could change this. Democrats and Independents can run on something that almost everyone agrees upon, and that is that women’s healthcare should not be something an employer can opt out of, and birth control is part of a woman’s healthcare.
The worst hypocrisy of this whole debacle is the fact that birth control is the single best way to reduce abortions, and yet Hobby Lobby and the repugican cabal are against it for “religious” reasons, which they tie to being “anti-choice”. This is not even the usual repugican cabal position of being pro-fetus, but rather, this is being pro-abortion. They are actually causing more abortions on purpose, because they know that empirical evidence shows that access to birth control reduces the number of abortions.

Men Behaving Badly!

Wingnut Males Act Like Jerks After SCOTUS’ Hobby Lobby Decision 
Male wingnut members of the media, as well as repugican men in office, decided to act like a bunch of adolescent jerks after SCOTUS made the announcement …
On Monday, the Supreme Court gave their decision in the Hobby Lobby case. By a 5-4 majority along ideological lines, the court ruled in favor of two companies run by 'christian' owners. The owners of these two ‘closely held’ companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga, argued that they should not be required to offer contraceptives under their insurance plans due to religious objections. Obviously, this opens the door for other companies to claim ‘religious freedom’ in order to skirt the law, whether it is discriminating against gays and lesbians or attempting to deny their employees other mandated provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Male wingnut members of the media, as well as repugican men in office, decided to act like a bunch of adolescent jerks after SCOTUS made the announcement and released the decision. Instead of touting the decision in a respectful manner, many of the men resorted to female bashing, slut shaming and overall bad behavior. In doing so, they have once again proven that they’d rather alienate and offend large swaths of this country’s population rather than become a truly inclusive and compassionate political party.

What did Lush Dimbulb have to say about the decision?
Now, despite what many on the left are saying today, despite what you probably are gonna hear from a lot of people on the left, birth control is not what was banned by the Supreme Court. That’s not what was on the docket, so to speak. In the Hobby Lobby case, narrow though it may be, the Supreme Court, by 5-4 majority decision, defended liberty. And it should be noted that even after this decision, birth control remains widely available. It is dirt cheap no matter where you want to go get it. The fact is, if you wanted to be entirely — well, not entirely — if you wanted to be somewhat negative about this, you could say that the most appalling thing about today’s decision is that we had to even endure it, that we had to even go through this.
You see women. Birth control is “dirt cheap.” If you work at Hobby Lobby, you just need to hop on over to Target and pay a few bucks, and–VOILA!–you have the medication you need. Not to be outdone, Erick Erickson decided to do some slut shaming on Twitter.
Faux News’ resident weasel, Todd Starnes, also got in on the action. Essentially, he equated Plan B and other contraceptives to abortion and said that the decision was a victory for unborn babies and that Christians are no longer going to be forced to fund others’ abortions.

Now it wasn’t just about slut-shaming and rubbing the decision in women’s faces. Of course, when it comes to today’s wingnuts, all things must lead to Obama. Therefore, we had a number of repugicans and wingnut media members mock Obama over the decision.
In the end, I hope that the wingnut men had their fun on Monday. Because, by acting like childish buffoons, they once again show that the repugican cabal tent is shrinking and only appears to have room for a small subsection of this nation. Laugh it up while you can, repugicans.

The Supreme Court’s Shameless War on American Democracy

The Supreme Court ought to be protecting democracy.
By now, unless you live under a rock or in a cave, you have heard of the Supreme Court’s attack on Americans by ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, stating unequivocally that corporations can not only have religion, but religious freedom that is, apparently, superior to that possessed by actual, living, breathing, human beings – in particular, women.
As Americans United for Separation of cult and State has said of the SCOTUS ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, “This is a dark day for true religious freedom in America,” and the ACLU is certainly correct when it warns, “Today’s Supreme Court ruling gives some companies the ability to use religion as a license to discriminate.” In the words of People for the American Way: “The Supreme Court just ruled 5-4 that CORPORATIONS have a ‘religious’ right to discriminate against their employees.”
President Obama made clear where he stands: with American women in the 21st century, rather than with religious wingnuts in the 13th. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday that, “Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women that are employed by these companies. We believe that a company should not be able to assert their views to deny employees federally mandated coverage.”
The consequences are potentially devastating for Americans:
The repugicans have taken heart and are rallying once more to the cry that Obamacare itself is a failure:
Democrats are justifiably outraged. So, unsurprisingly, are those most affected by this decision: women. And women have a right to be outraged. The decision to give corporations more rights than women was made by five men who will not be affected by their own decision.
“A stifling decision for American women,” said Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “It’s a decision that blocks women from being able to make their own healthcare decisions. Not just reproductive healthcare decisions, but healthcare decisions in general.”
Unsurprisingly, public confidence in the Supreme Court is at an all time low, according to Gallup (not that any branch of government is faring well at the moment).
You think you’re shocked? Imagine how poor Rip Van Winkle would feel to wake up and find out that corporations are more fully realized human beings than he is himself.
The Founding Fathers, in 1787, gave us the secular United States Constitution, a carefully crafted document that established a system of government new to the world, the modern liberal democracy. In so doing, they rejected the Old World paradigm that power derives from the divine right of kings or from god directly, establishing instead the principal that political power derives from the consent of the governed – not to put too fine a point upon it – the people.
In their wisdom, they banned the establishment of state religion and religious tests for public office, thus ensuring (they hoped) that, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, writing in his autobiography of the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom, “to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the jew and the gentile, the christian and mohammedan, the hindoo and infidel of every denomination.”
That is what Religious Freedom meant to the Founding Fathers. Actual Freedom for all religions. Not freedom for one religion to persecute all others.
They never expected, you can be certain, that the very Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) that they established under Article III of the Constitution, would one day trample the document over which they had labored so hard through a hot Philadelphia summer:
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
What then can the American people do now?
The Founding Fathers were perfect neither in deeds nor foresight, with the result that the Constitution itself is imperfect. In the Federalist Papers No. 81, Alexander Hamilton answered the charge that “the errors and usurpations of the Supreme Court of the United States will be uncontrollable and remediless,” by arguing that “there will be no less reason to fear that the pestilential breath of faction may poison the fountains of justice. The habit of being continually marshalled on opposite sides will be too apt to stifle the voice both of law and equity.”
Then again, Hamilton also thought there was no need for a Bill of Rights (Federalist No. 84).
The White House pointed a finger Monday at Congress to “take action to solve [the] problem” created by the Supreme Court ruling. For the odds of that happening…well, suffice it to say it won’t. Republicans are no more eager to help American women than they are to do anything the president wants to do – about anything.
The result is that, currently, the people of the United States are getting the worst of both worlds, “errors and usurpations” by the Supreme Court and the “pestilential breath of faction” from Congress, with the result that there is, in effect, no remedy available. There is a reason American approval of this Congress is just north of the plague.
The Supreme Court ought to be protecting democracy. Like the other branches of the government, it answers to the people, after all. Instead, at the behest of those who find obtaining the consent of the governed inconvenient to their aims of self-aggrandizement, the Supreme Court is leading the charge against democracy, and against the very Constitution that established it.
Under these conditions, government of the people, by the people, for the people, is effectively dead in America and all those soldiers at Gettysburg who, in Lincoln’s words, gave the last full measure of devotion “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” gave it in vain.
The only recourse available to the American people is change, a popular expression of will by the governed, a rejection of the soul- and body-destroying agenda of the forces of wingnut reaction, and against the corporate coup that would usurp our lawful powers as guaranteed by the Constitution.
And let’s face it: getting Hilary Clinton elected would be a good start, and a delicious and endlessly satisfying slap in the face of those who would steal our rights, and the rights of women in particular.

Wingnuts On The Supreme Court Have Turned The Constitution Into A Weapon of Mass Destruction

Whether most Americans realize it or not, they have been spectators, victims, and often combatants in a sectarian religious war …
Throughout world history, there are myriad instances of wars consisting of coalitions aligning together against a common enemy. It is considered the course of wisdom for both sides in a war to marshal support to their cause of nation’s with the largest armies and devastating armament that more often than not give one side a clear advantage and an expedited victory. Whether most Americans realize it or not, they have been spectators, victims, and often combatants in a sectarian religious war that one side appealed to, and won, the support of a religious male cabal with the ultimate weapon of mass destruction; the U.S. Constitution. Of course, the religious cabal is the five male wingnuts on the Supreme Court who enjoined the religio-wingnut’s war on women. To ensure a victory for the aggressors, they brought the ultimate weapon of mass destruction to bear on over half the American people that will expand to include every man, woman, and child unwilling to capitulate their liberty and acquiesce to the christian wingnut’s will.
Over the past three-and-a-half years, since the teabagger-repugican takeover of the House in 2011, there has been a sustained attack on women’s rights that no politician, pro-choice group, or remotely interested party had the courage to call what it always has been; a sectarian religious war on women. It is true that the war is being waged by men steeped in misogyny and patriarchy, but the basis for the repugicans’ misogyny, patriarchy, and assault on women has always been founded on religion and a seriously distorted reading of the christian bible. Likely, the aggressors and victims alike adhere to the unwritten dictate that at no time, and under no circumstances, is the christian delusion or bible to be mentioned in a negative light, or pointed to as the basis for the repugican assault on women; the five wingnut 'christian' males on the Supreme Court had no compunction, or hesitance, identifying the basis of the repugican, teabagger, or religio-wingnuts’ war on women.
The Supreme Court’s five male wingnut 'ohristians', in ruling for Hobby Lobby, announced in grand fashion that, indeed, the war on women is based on the christian wingnut’s faulty interpretation of their rule book, the christian bible. In their ruling for corporate religious tyranny, the five males cited, specifically, that a corporation enjoys Constitutional religious liberty to ignore laws and enjoys the christian right to decide, based on the bible, that a corporation’s religion is the ultimate arbiter of women’s health. It is a continuation of last week’s ruling that the religio-wingnuts have Constitutional authority to take the religious war to women seeking medical care, so the decision escalating the religious war was not unexpected.
It has been a long time in coming, but American’s now understand that there is a sectarian religious war against over half the American population, and the Supreme Court just unleashed the full weight and power of the United States Constitution on women, their physicians, and health according to edicts of the religious right. Apparently the wingnut court cannot comprehend that the First Amendment’s religious freedom clause was intended by the Constitution’s framers to be a shield to protect the individual against religious tyranny. The court’s 'christian' males agreed with the religio-wingnuts that the Founding Fathers intended freedom of religion to be a Constitutional sword to force women to comply with a corporations’ religious beliefs. Now that freedom of religion has been deemed a weapon by Supreme Court by Constitutional fiat, it is impossible to conclude anything other than America’s democracy, and women’s rights, are now under siege by the christian wingnuts.
No American should delude themselves for a nano-second that Hobby Lobby’s owners, the christian dominionist Green family, the 'christian' wingnutss on the court, or religio-wingnuts have any other intent than to impose christianity on the entire nation. It was reported a couple of weeks ago that the Greens are spending about a billion dollars of their fortune to inculcate their bastardized version of christianity, with all its perverse anti-science and anti-democratic dogmata, on America; including a mandatory four-year bible-based curriculum in every public high school in America. The 'christian' wingnut males on the High Court just gave the Greens and religio-wingnuts the primary weapon they lusted after to achieve their goal; freedom of corporate religious tyranny.
It is relevant to reiterate that the contraception mandate Hobby Lobby objected to had nothing whatsoever to do with impinging on the for-profit corporation’s bottom line, or its phony conscience objection against contraceptives. The corporation’s 'christian' conscience had no problem including contraception coverage in health plans the employee pays for prior to 2011, and it reaps profits from investing in pharmaceutical companies that produce all manner of contraceptives including drugs used during abortions, or selling goods manufactured in China where abortion is mandated by law. Their lawsuit was a frontal assault on women’s rights according to their bastardized version of christianity as a frontline battle in the religio-wingnut’s war against democracy, secularism, and Americans unwilling to toe the evangelical line and nothing else.
The decision is sure to incite opposition among women and men who care about their wives, sisters, mothers, and daughters health to vote against repugican 'christians' who are certain to unleash a rash of legislation expanding on the Court’s ruling for Hobby Lobby and the religious war. Women, men, non-believers, and so-called “good christians” have to come to the realization that they have lost the first of many religious battles and if nothing else can take solace that they were defeated handily by five 'christian' males who wielded a religious weapon of mass destruction; the United States Constitution. At least as Americans, and particularly women, begin incrementally losing more of their freedoms, they will know it is because they were victims of a sectarian religious war that no-one except the Supreme Court had the temerity to cite was indeed a wingnut christian religious war on liberty.



What Town Matches My Politics?

What Town Matches my Politics?
Clarity + Campaign (Labs), a start-up founded in 2012 providing “fully integrated analytic solutions to Democratic campaigns, progressive non-profits, and socially responsible corporations” posted an interactive webpage where, after answering 7 questions and selecting a state, users can find the ideal town in the selected state in which to live.
Questions range from the obvious inquiry as to which political party users identify with, to a selection of questions on political issues – abortion, religion, climate change, gun control, and how to best address the budget deficit. Answers are multiple choice: Agree, Disagree, or Don’t Include.
On their page, The Lab, Clarity + Campaign confesses their team “likes to have some fun with both useful and not so useful political analytics projects.” The Town Finder is posted there. Also on the page: a partisan name calculator that assigns a percentage as to how Democratic or Republican your first name is. The calculator will also tell you how likely you are to have a gun in your house, attend weekly religious services, and have a college degree.

Corrupt Congress Secretly Kills Rule Requiring Them To Disclose Free Trips From Lobbyists

In a private meeting, the House Ethics Committee secretly killed a decades-old rule that required members of Congress to disclose to the public trips they take that are paid for by lobbyists.
The rule, which had been in place since the post-Watergate ethic reforms, required members of the House to disclose any trips publicly that had been paid for by lobbyists.
The National Journal uncovered the change:
It’s going to be a little more difficult to ferret out which members of Congress are lavished with all-expenses-paid trips around the world after the House has quietly stripped away the requirement that such privately sponsored travel be included on lawmakers’ annual financial-disclosure forms.
The move made behind closed doors and without public announcement by the House Ethics Committee, reverses more than three decades of precedent. Gifts of free travel to lawmakers have appeared on the yearly financial form dating back its creation in the late 1970s, after the Watergate scandal. National Journal uncovered the deleted disclosure requirement when analyzing the most recent batch of yearly filings.
The tabs for these international excursions can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. One trip to Australia earlier this year cost nearly $50,000. Lawmakers are often invited to bring along their husbands or wives, fly in business class, and stay in plush four-star hotels. In the wake of the Abramoff scandal, lobbyists were banned from organizing or paying for these travels. But some of the nonprofits underwriting them today have extremely close ties to lobbying groups, including sharing staff, money, and offices.
The House Ethics Committee is different from other committees because it contains an equal number of repugicans and Democrats. This is a change that at least one Democrat on the committee had to agree to, but no one on either side is talking. There is no good reason of the Ethics Committee to reduce transparency, but that is exactly what they have done. Even worse, they were secretive about the change. The Ethics Committee met in private, and issued no public statement.
The rise of dark money in our post-Citizens United political landscape has made transparency nearly impossible. The House Ethics Committee has made it even more difficult to figure out who is buying your member of Congress. Hiding lavish trips from the people that they have sworn to represent is not behavior that encourages public trust. The ethics committee displayed an alarming lack of ethics by trying to keep the public in the dark.
The “People’s House” is anything but, unless by people they are referring to corporations, lobbyists, and millionaires, because they seem to be all that matters to the majority those serving in the House of Representatives.

The tea party Anger Over Mississippi Loss Ripples Across States

Shushannah Walshe by Shushannah Walshe  
Thad Cochran may have won Mississippi’s repugican cabal Senate  run-off last week, but his tactics of courting normally Democratic voters, including high numbers of African Americans, has enraged tea party activists  in Mississippi and that anger  has rippled across the repugican landscape.
The outrage among tea party supporters has spread to other states where wingnuts are challenging establishment repugican candidates. The tea party agitators perceive Cochran’s wooing as promising Democrats favors, as well as willing to do anything—even break with party principals—to win.
“This wasn’t outreach. Outreach is promoting our values in other communities,” said FreedomWorks executive vice president Adam Brandon. He said he believes Cochran wasn’t asking Democrats to “take another look at us.” Instead he was “just spreading cash around,” referring to financial promises they believe have been made to Democratic constituencies.
“Mississippi was a turning point, absolutely a turning point, no doubt about it because it wasn’t a battle for the heart and soul of the libertarian wingnut repugican voter,” Brandon said. “We won that, we won it, our arguments carried the day with that voting bloc. It’s the desperation to turn to liberals to bail themselves out, bail their lobbyists out…That’s where they’ve been exposed.”
In Mississippi, the campaign of defeated tea party candidate Chris McDaniel is 'investigating' whether the Democratic votes in the repugican run-off  were legal. It is legal for Democrats to vote for Cochran if they hadn’t already voted in the Democratic primary on June 3. McDaniel’s team is checking those votes.
gty thad cochran chris mcdaniel jc 140630 16x9 608 Tea Party Anger Over Mississippi Loss Ripples Across States
Tennessee repugican Joe Carr, the tea partier challenging incumbent and former governor Sen. Lamar Alexander, says conservatives in Tennessee were “shocked that the establishment would go to such lengths to incorporate the message of liberal Democrats…soliciting their vote for the sole reason to stay in power.”
“After the disappointment wore off something remarkable has happened,” Carr said. While  stumping last week a voter told him, “We have gotten over the grief and we are mad as hell and our heads have exploded.”
“They are more interested in holding on to power than advancing the principals that embody the (repugican) platform. I think you are seeing a level of energy in Tennessee I have never seen before,” Carr said. “They have done this at their own peril.”
In Kansas, incumbent Pat Roberts is being challenged by Milton Wolf, a physician who is also a distant cousin of President Obama. Their primary is in August and Wolf told ABC News “wingnuts are infuriated by what the repugican cabal establishment did in Mississippi.”
“It’s an absolute betrayal of what our party stands for,” Wolf said.
“If the repugican establishment are using our resources and contributions to turn out Democratic voters, then what’s the point of being repugican anymore?” Wolf asked.
He said Kansans he meets on the campaign trail are “livid” and he’s seen both contributions and volunteer sign ups “skyrocket” since Cochran’s victory, but in state polls, he still trails Roberts by double digits.
repugican presidential candidates must consistently try to woo voters across the aisle and although Ronald Reagan is revered amongst this group,  they say what he did to bring in “Reagan Democrats” to the repugican cabal could not be more different.
“Reagan Democrats were wingnuts, they were simply members of the Democrat party,” Wolf said. “(Cochran) reached out to liberal Democrats to interfere with a repugican primary. It’s a very different thing. Ronald Reagan knew to stand boldly for wingnut principals of limited government and individual freedom, not what the current batch of repugicans stand for.”
Some tea partiers have said for years it is time for a permanent break from the repugican cabal, but Cochran’s victory has made those calls louder. Ken Cuccinelli is the head of the Senate wingnuts Fund, an outside group which boosts tea party challengers over some repugican incumbents. In an interview with ABC, Cuccinelli said he doesn’t agree that there should be a new party, but if the “tactics” used in Mississippi are repeated “the more people aren’t just going to talk about that, they’re going to start doing it. And that’s going to be destructive to their goal of clenching on to power.”
“They’re in danger of breaking this party in half,” Cuccinelli said. “It isn’t the conservatives that are going to do that. We’re right where the repugican cabal is supposed to be: smaller government, less power, more freedom, and they’re running from that. They’re the ones who are breaking this party apart. So if that happens…it’s on the establishment folks who are doing it. ”
Brian Donahue, a repugican cabal consultant who works with both establishment and tea party candidates, says the only way to not only make up, but win is by being the happy not angry warrior.
“Anger doesn’t win elections, anger doesn’t improve a party or bring success,” Donahue said. “What the right, what the tea party wingnuts, what other members of our party need to  figure out is a way is to grow the party in order to be successful.”

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Wants to Invade Mexico

Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants to send U.S. troops into Mexico to put an end to immigration from “South of the Border, Down Mexico Way,” at its source.
Sheriff Joe doesn’t say how, precisely, U.S. troops would accomplish their mission once we’ve got boots on the ground but as we know from Iraq, repugicans don’t actually worry about such things. He probably doesn’t know, any more than the shrub knew, what, precisely, is supposed to happen next.
In the simplistic realm in which most repugicans seem to operate, he probably assumes their mere presence would be enough. It scarce needs be said that this is the same sort of thinking that turned the American interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq into such quagmires.
According to Newsmax, Arpaio appeared Sunday on the Aaron Klein Investigative Radio show” and “was asked how he would handle the problem if he were president.
“If we are worried about the danger, then I would send the military across the border, work with their military bilaterally and get the job done,” Arpaio answered.
Arpaio even thinks the Mexican president would give his approval to the intervention, demonstrating a level of naiveté that is almost criminal.
“I would just go in there and have a few drinks with him and get the job done,” Arpaio told Klein.
And the Iraqis will welcome us as liberators.
How often will we be forced to listen to this same song and dance?
Wingnuts suck it up because it presents them with the world they want to believe they live in. That it bears no resemblance to the world they do actually live in seems to bother them not at all.
America has invaded Mexico before. You would think Arpaio might be sensitive to this history. One would imagine the Mexicans would be. History has shown Mexicans that when American soldiers arrive, they don’t go home without some territory. The so-called “Mexican Cession” of 1848 created California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona and provided sizeable chunks of real estate to New Mexico and Colorado.
Nervous Mexico: This is what happens when armed Americans enter Mexico
Nervous Mexico: This is what happens when armed Americans enter Mexico
It could be that Arpaio buys into the whole “Aztlan” fantasy bigots at World Net Daily and elsewhere get worked up about, that is, the creation of a sort of modern Aztec state comprising the territories of the 1848 cession. They get all up in arms about a “radical anti-U.S. separatist group” but think it’s okay to have their own “radical anti-U.S. separatist groups” because their own groups, you see, are white guys.
A sane person can see an American intervention turning into a guerilla war our country is ill-equipped to fight after repugican misadventures in the Middle East but that’s not Joe’s problem. He’s not leading the troops. Your sons and daughters will be taking the bullets for his visions of self-aggrandizement. “Old Blood and Dollars” is probably the best sobriquet we can bestow on any repugican chickenhawk.
Arpaio is not the first repugican, of course, to fantasize about invading Mexico since the Mexican War: Rick Perry shared his fantasies of invading Mexico before he fantasized about moving to California. This was 2010. In 2011, Indiana Rep. Dan Burton (r) suggesting invading Mexico as a way of winning the war on drugs, reasoning we are already at war and that all we’re missing is the armies.
The repugicans love war. It doesn’t matter who it’s against or why. It’s the easiest solution to any problem they can think of. In this case their ignorance is almost amusing, as they seem to be saying of the Southwest “Hey, look, we stole this fair and square! You can’t have it back!”
Of course, it belonged to neither Americans or Mexicans to begin with but to Native American tribes. Maybe we ought to give it back.

Too Hot to Exercise?

Too Hot to Exercise? New Research Links Obesity to Temperature and Humidity

If you live in the South and have trouble exercising […]

10 Mysteries That Hint At Forgotten Advanced Civilizations

Our concept of ancient history was originally firmly determined by the bible. Written from an insular point of view, the histories of some ancient cultures were distorted, badly neglected or even omitted.

The existence of inexplicable monuments, certain man-made marvels and archaeological finds pertaining to our ancient history, are leading more and more archaeologists to believe long forgotten advanced civilizations existed.

Colosseum Condos

For hundreds of years, people lived in the Colosseum and used its vast center as a communal trading center.

Daily Comic Relief


Where is all the plastic?

Expecting to see huge volumes of plastic in the world's oceans, a team of researchers finds otherwise.

Ocean Damage in 3-D

A visualization by NOAA drives home the amount of damage that humans are doing to the world's oceans.

New theory on cause of ice age 2.6 million years ago

Researchers analyzed deposits of wind-blown dust in northern China to reconstruct monsoon and temperature patterns
New research in the journal Nature's Scientific Reports has provided a major new theory on the cause of the ice age that covered large parts of the Northern Hemisphere 2.6 million years ago.
The study, co-authored by Dr Thomas Stevens, from the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, found a previously unknown mechanism by which the joining of North and South America changed the salinity of the Pacific Ocean and caused major ice sheet growth across the Northern Hemisphere.
The change in salinity encouraged sea ice to form which in turn created a change in wind patterns, leading to intensified monsoons. These provided moisture that caused an increase in snowfall and the growth of major ice sheets, some of which reached 3km thick.
The team of researchers analyzed deposits of wind-blown dust called red clay that accumulated between six million and two and a half million years ago in north central China, adjacent to the Tibetan plateau, and used them to reconstruct changing monsoon precipitation and temperature.
"Until now, the cause of the Quaternary ice age had been a hotly debated topic," said Dr Stevens. "Our findings suggest a significant link between ice sheet growth, the monsoon and the closing of the Panama Seaway, as North and South America drifted closer together. This provides us with a major new theory on the origins of the ice age, and ultimately our current climate system."
Surprisingly, the researchers found there was a strengthening of the monsoon during global cooling, instead of the intense rainfall normally associated with warmer climates.
Dr Stevens added: "This led us to discover a previously unknown interaction between plate tectonic movements in the Americas and dramatic changes in global temperature. The intensified monsoons created a positive feedback cycle, promoting more global cooling, more sea ice and even stronger precipitation, culminating in the spread of huge glaciers across the Northern Hemisphere."

Solar Flare Eruptions

This is a composite image from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory that shows a series of significant solar eruptions occurring over a three-day period in January, 2013. The photo has light wavelengths that are colored in red, green and blue to better outline the eruption dynamics. It would make a beautiful painting.
Nathalia Alzate, a solar scientist, posted her version of the solar events on Facebook. Read that post here.

Earth Shots

The Earth can be a pretty startling place, if you view it from the right angles. Here are some of the most spectacular Earth images of the past month.

Elder Moon?

Conventional wisdom says that moons originate from their planets, so imagine everyone's surprise when data emerged suggesting that Saturn's moon Titan might be older than Saturn itself.

The Ant-Mimicking Treehopper

Treehoppers are a group of insects related to the cicadas and the leafhoppers.
The ant-mimicking treehopper (Cyphonia clavata) keeps itself safe from predators by pretending to be an ant. What looks like an ant here is actually extension growths on its body - which most other insect species are incapable of creating. 

Devil Ray's Feast

New research suggests Chilean devil rays warm themselves in the sun at the surface then dive down to extreme depths in search of food.

Animal Pictures