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

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Daily Drift

Lost in translation ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

For those interested: In World Cup play there were no matches on the twenty-fifth day of the tourney.

Chocolate ... !
Today is  - Chocolate Day
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Today in History

1742 A Spanish force invading Georgia runs headlong into the colony's British defenders.The battle decides the fate of a colony.
1777 American troops give up Fort Ticonderoga, on Lake Champlain, to the British.
1791 Benjamin Rush, Richard Allen and Absalom Jones found the Non-denominational African Church.
1795 Thomas Paine defends the principal of universal suffrage at the Constitutional Convention in Paris.
1798 Napoleon Bonaparte's army begins its march towards Cairo from Alexandria.
1807 Czar Alexander meets with Napoleon Bonaparte.
1814 Sir Walter Scott's novel Waverly is published anonymously so as not to damage his reputation as a poet.
1815 After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, the victorious Allies march into Paris.
1853 Japan opens its ports to trade with the West after 250 years of isolation.
1863 Confederate General Robert E. Lee, in Hagerstown, Maryland, reports his defeat at Gettysburg to President Jefferson Davis.
1925 Afrikaans is recognized as one of the official languages of South Africa, along with English and Dutch.
1927 Christopher Stone becomes the first British 'disc jockey' when he plays records for the BBC.
1941 Although a neutral country, the United States sends troops to occupy Iceland to keep it out of Germany's hands.
1943 Adolf Hitler makes the V-2 missile program a top priority in armament planning.
1966 The U.S. Marine Corps launches Operation Hasting to drive the North Vietnamese Army back across the Demilitarized Zone in Vietnam.
1969 The first U.S. units to withdraw from South Vietnam leave Saigon.
1981 Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Non Sequitur


Serious Grill-Cleaning Tips

Summer is upon us and that means Americans are getting their grill on. We asked Kevin Kolman, Weber's grilling expert (and a man who has 30 grills in his backyard), how to get your grill in tip-top shape for the busy summer season.
Do I Really Need to Clean My Grill?
How important is cleaning that grill? Well, if you don't, "you'll have more schmutz, and that will mean you won't get the same performance," says Kolman. He explains that a cleaner grill makes for better airflow. When the grill is grimy, energy is absorbed into the debris.
What You Need:
Rubber gloves
Clean rags
Terry cloth
Mild glass cleaner
Stainless-steel cleaner
Stainless-steel grill brush
Paint scraper
Wear rubber gloves "because of grease and debris inside the grill," advises Kolman. He also says, "It's important to use the right tools so you don't damage your grill." Read on for the whats, whys, and hows of grill maintenance.
What to Do for a Gas Grill:
"Start with the exterior, with the lid and the bowl," Kolman counsels. "If they look neglected, clean them." Use warm soapy water and a sponge, and dry with a rag. If there are any grease and smoke stains on the exterior, use a non-lint terry cloth and glass cleaner to remove them.
Many gas grills have stainless-steel tables; Kolman recommends using a stainless-steel cleaner, "and be sure to use microfiber or terry towel -- do not use paper towel; some can scratch stainless. Always follow the grain of stainless to avoid scratches."
Then open the lid and take out the flavorizer bars and grates. Brush them with a stainless-steel grill brush and wipe clean with a rag. "Next, examine the burner tubes: If they have debris on them, use your stainless-steel brush. Brush up and down or side to side, depending on the direction of the burners -- if your burners go north-south, then brush side-to-side." Put the flavorizer bars and the grates back in.
If you didn't clean the bottom tray after you finished grilling last summer, remove the bottom tray and empty it into a trash can. Use a paint scraper to remove any remaining debris. Put the flavorizer bars and grill back. Close the lid and turn the grill on to high for 15 to 20 minutes. This will burn off any debris that can cause food to stick. Kolman advises doing this high-heat cleaning not just as spring cleaning but on a regular basis: "It helps reduce the amount of flare-ups," he says. "Think of it like turning your oven on to self clean."
What to Do for a Charcoal Grill:
"Start with the exterior: the lid and the bowl" Kolman counsels. "If they look neglected, clean them." Use warm, soapy water and a sponge, and dry with a rag. If there are any grease and smoke stains on the exterior, use a non-lint terry cloth and glass cleaner to remove them.
Next look at the inside of the lid: If you grill a lot, it's likely the inside will be peeling. "And that's not peeling paint, " Kolman warns. "It's carbonized grease." Tackle this buildup with a stainless-steel brush made for grill surfaces -- that way, you know it won't scratch. And follow up with a sponge and warm soapy water, then rinse.
Then, still using the stainless-steel brush with warm, soapy water, move on to cleaning the cooking grate. "The grate can be tough to clean if it has baked-on debris." Kolman says.
After that, remove the cooking grate and the charcoal grate to tackle the inside of the kettle grill. If your grill has a blade system to clean the bottom of the bowl, use that to remove debris. If it doesn't or it can't remove all of the debris, use a small paint scraper.
If you happen to have left your grill covered for the winter, good for you! If you left it covered with the damper open (Kolman admits he's done this), then the charcoal and ash in the grill will have mixed with water that got inside, and it has likely created a block of debris; use the paint scraper to tackle that. Follow up with a sponge and warm, soapy water, rinse, and dry.
Once you're done, Kolman says you're ready to "pop the grates back in and close the lid -- and you're set for another summer of grilling."

By 2045 'The Top Species Will No Longer Be Humans,' And That Could Be A Problem

by Dylan Love
terminator red eye rise of robots
"Today there's no legislation regarding how much intelligence a machine can have, how interconnected it can be. If that continues, look at the exponential trend. We will reach the singularity in the timeframe most experts predict. From that point on you're going to see that the top species will no longer be humans, but machines."
These are the words of Louis Del Monte, physicist, entrepreneur, and author of "The Artificial Intelligence Revolution." Del Monte spoke to us over the phone about his thoughts surrounding artificial intelligence and the singularity, an indeterminate point in the future when machine intelligence will outmatch not only your own intelligence, but the world's combined human intelligence too.
The average estimate for when this will happen is 2040, though Del Monte says it might be as late as 2045. Either way, it's a timeframe of within three decades.
louis del monte
Louis Del Monte
"It won't be the 'Terminator' scenario, not a war," said Del Monte. "In the early part of the post-singularity world, one scenario is that the machines will seek to turn humans into cyborgs. This is nearly happening now, replacing faulty limbs with artificial parts. We'll see the machines as a useful tool. Productivity in business based on automation will be increased dramatically in various countries. In China it doubled, just based on GDP per employee due to use of machines."
"By the end of this century," he continued, "most of the human race will have become cyborgs [part human, part tech or machine]. The allure will be immortality. Machines will make breakthroughs in medical technology, most of the human race will have more leisure time, and we'll think we've never had it better. The concern I'm raising is that the machines will view us as an unpredictable and dangerous species."
Del Monte believes machines will become self-conscious and have the capabilities to protect themselves. They "might view us the same way we view harmful insects." Humans are a species that "is unstable, creates wars, has weapons to wipe out the world twice over, and makes computer viruses." Hardly an appealing roommate.
He wrote the book as "a warning." Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more capable, and we're adopting it as quickly as it appears. A pacemaker operation is "quite routine," he said, but "it uses sensors and AI to regulate your heart."
A 2009 experiment showed that robots can develop the ability to lie to each other. Run at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems in the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne, Switzerland, the experiment had robots designed to cooperate in finding beneficial resources like energy and avoiding the hazardous ones. Shockingly, the robots learned to lie to each other in an attempt to hoard the beneficial resources for themselves.
"The implication is that they're also learning self-preservation," Del Monte told us. "Whether or not they're conscious is a moot point."

What's making US economy a world beater?

5 factors that are giving the US an edge over other major economies
by Paul Wiseman
What's making US economy a world beater? 5 factors
How does the U.S. economy do it?
Europe is floundering. China faces slower growth. Japan is struggling to sustain tentative gains.
Yet the U.S. job market is humming, and the pace of economic growth is steadily rising. Five full years after a devastating recession officially ended, the economy is finally showing the vigor that Americans have long awaited.
Last month, employers added 288,000 jobs and helped reduce the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent, the lowest since September 2008. June capped a five-month stretch of 200,000-plus job gains — the first in nearly 15 years.
After having shrunk at a 2.9 percent annual rate from January through March — largely because of a brutal winter — the U.S. economy is expected to grow at a healthy 3 percent pace the rest of the year.
Here are five reasons the United States is outpacing other major economies:
"The Federal Reserve acted sooner and more aggressively than other central banks in keeping rates low," says Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group.
In December 2008, the Fed slashed short-term interest rates to near zero and has kept them there. Ultra-low loan rates have made it easier for individuals and businesses to borrow and spend. The Fed also launched three bond-buying programs meant to reduce long-term rates.
By contrast, the European Central Bank has been slower to respond to signs of economic distress among the 18 nations that share the euro currency. The ECB actually raised rates in 2011 — the same year the eurozone sank back into recession.
It's worth keeping in mind that the Fed has two mandates: To keep prices stable and to maximize employment. The ECB has just one mandate: To guard against high inflation. The Fed was led during and after the Great Recession by Ben Bernanke, a student of the Great Depression who was determined to avoid a repeat of the 1930s' economic collapse.
Janet Yellen, who succeeded Bernanke as Fed chair this year, has continued his emphasis on nursing the U.S. economy back to health after the recession of 2007-2009 with the help of historically low rates.
The United States moved faster than Europe to restore its banks' health after the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The U.S. government bailed out the financial system and subjected big banks to stress tests in 2009 to reveal their financial strength. By showing the banks to be surprisingly healthy, the stress tests helped restore confidence in the U.S. financial system.
Banks gradually started lending again. European banks are only now undergoing stress tests, and the results won't be out until fall. In the meantime, Europe's banks lack confidence. They fear that other banks are holding too many bad loans and that Europe is vulnerable to another crisis. So they aren't lending much.
In the United States, overall bank lending is up nearly 4 percent in the past year. Lending to business has jumped 10 percent.
In the eurozone, lending has dropped 3.7 percent overall, according to figures from the Institute of International Finance. Lending to business is off 2.5 percent. (The U.S. figures are for the year ending in mid-June; the European figures are from May.)
Economists say Japan and Europe need to undertake reforms to make their economies more flexible — more, in other words, like America's.
Europe needs to lift wage restrictions that prevent employers from cutting pay (rather than eliminating jobs) when times are bad. It could also rethink welfare and retirement programs that discourage people from working and dismantle policies that protect favored businesses and block innovative newcomers, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has argued.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed reforms meant to make the Japanese economy more competitive. He wants to expand child care so more women can work, replace small inefficient farms with more large-scale commercial farms and allow more foreign migrant workers to fill labor shortages in areas such as nursing and construction.
Yet his proposals face fierce opposition.
"Europe and Japan remain less well-positioned for durable long-term growth, as they have only recently begun to tackle their deep-rooted structural problems, and a lot remains to be done," says Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University.
China is struggling to manage a transition from an economy based on exports and often wasteful investment in real estate and factories to a sturdier but likely slower-growing economy based on more consumer spending.
Weighed down by debt, many European countries took an ax to swelling budget deficits. They slashed pension benefits, raised taxes and cut civil servants' wages. The cuts devastated several European economies. They led to 27 percent unemployment in Greece, 14 percent in Portugal and 25 percent in Spain. The United States has done some budget cutting, too, and raised taxes. But U.S. austerity hasn't been anywhere near as harsh.
The Fed's easy-money policies ignited a world-beating U.S. stock market rally. Over the past five years, U.S. stocks have easily outpaced shares in Europe, Japan and Hong Kong. That was one of Bernanke's goals in lowering rates. He figured that miserly fixed-income rates would nudge investors into stocks in search of higher returns. Higher stock prices would then make Americans feel more confident and more willing to spend — the so-called wealth effect.
Most economists agree it's worked.

The truth be told


Wingnuts Are Purposely Making Their Cars Spew Black Smoke To Protest Obama And Environmentalists

coal roller
Pickup trucks customized to spew black smoke into the air are quickly becoming the newest weapon in the culture wars. 
"Coal Rollers" are diesel trucks modified with chimneys and equipment that can force extra fuel into the engine causing dark black smoke to pour out of the chimney stacks. These modifications are not new, but as Slate's Dave Weigel pointed out on Thursday, "rolling coal" has begun to take on a political dimension with pickup drivers increasingly viewing their smokestacks as a form of protest against environmentalists and Obama administration emissions regulations.
Last month, Vocativ noted many coal rollers focus their fumes on "nature nuffies," or people who drive hybrids, and "rice burners," or Japanese-made cars.
"The feeling around here is that everyone who drives a small car is a liberal," a roller named Ryan told Vocativ. "I rolled coal on a Prius once just because they were tailing me."
Weigel spoke to a seller of coal rolling customization equipment who described why some drivers see spewing smoke as a political protest.
"I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all," the salesperson said. "If he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that. To get a single stack on my truck—that’s my way of giving them the finger. You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you."
As coal rollers have become a form of wingnut protest, their popularity seems to be exploding. Vocativ found Facebook pages dedicated to the phenomenon have about 16,000 followers and over 100,000 rolling coal posts have appeared on Instagram and Tumblr. According to Google Trends, there were virtually no internet searches for "rolling coal" prior to February 2011. Since then, search volume for the term has increased over 700%.
With this explosion in online attention, the battles between coal rollers and their environmentalist enemies are playing out in social media pages, Youtube videos and internet comment sections. Many of the rolling coal Facebook pages feature memes that mock hybrid drivers and liberals. Coal rollers have also posted videos showing their trucks blasting more environmentally-efficient cars with smoke. 
Opponents of the practice have also taken to the internet. Weigel noted "a mid-June surge of comments" from progressives attacking coal rolling social media pages in the wake of the Vocativ article. In 2012, one outraged Youtuber posted a video entitled "Victim Of Coal Rolling" that showed a pickup shooting fumes at his car.

First day of 'guns everywhere' law in GA sparks convenience store showdown

by David Ferguson

On July 1, the state of Georgia enacted the Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act - also known as the "guns everywhere" law - which allows licensed gun-owners to bring their weapons to churches, bars, government buildings and other places where they were previously prohibited.
The Valdosta Daily Times reported Tuesday evening that the new law had already pitted two armed citizens against each other in a standoff at a local convenience store.
"Essentially, it involved one customer with a gun on his hip when a second customer entered with a gun on his hip," Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress told the Daily Times.
Around 3:00 p.m., a customer entered the Enmark store on Park Avenue with a gun holstered to his hip. Another customer, who was also carrying a holstered weapon, approached the first man and demanded to see his ID and gun permit.
As he demanded the first customer's ID, the second man pulled his own gun from its holster, but pointed it at the floor. The first customer protested that he isn't legally required to show any ID or permits.
Still holding his gun, the second customer demanded again to see the other man's permit and ID. The first customer, undeterred by the unholstered weapon, paid for his purchases and exited the store, then called police.
When police arrived, they arrested 62-year-old Ronald Williams for disorderly conduct related to pulling a loaded weapon inside a place of business. Police took Williams' gun and remanded him to the Lowndes County Jail.

Thirteen Facts About America wingnuts Would Like You to Forget

by Richard Riis
1. Wingnuts opposed the Founding Fathers, the American Revolution and a lot of other righteous stuff as well.
By definition a wingnut is one who wishes to preserve and/or restore traditional values and institutions, i.e. to “conserve” the established order. No surprise then that 18th century American wingnuts wanted no part of breaking away from the British Empire and the comforting bonds of monarchical government. Those anti-revolutionary wingnuts were called Tories, the name still used for the wingnut cabal in England. The Founding Fathers? As radically left-wing as they came in the 1770s. The Boston Tea Party? The "Occupy Wall Street" of its day.
Some of the other "traditional" values supported by wingnuts over the course of American history have included slavery, religious persecution, the subjugation of women and minorities, obstacles to immigration, voter suppression, prohibition and segregation.  Wingnuts started off on the wrong side of American history, and that's where they've been ever since.
2. The United States is not a christian nation, and the bible is not the cornerstone of our law.
Don’t take my word for it. Let these Founding Fathers speak for themselves:
John Adams: “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the christian religion.” (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797)
Thomas Jefferson: “christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.” (Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814)
James Madison: “The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the church from the State.” (Writings, 8:432, 1819)
George Washington: “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.” (Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789)
You can find a multitude of similar quotes from these men and most others who signed the Declaration of Independence and/or formulated the United States Constitution. These are hardly the words of men who believed that America should be a christian nation governed by the bible, as a disturbing fundamentalist trend today would have it be.
3. Long before the United States even existed, it was drawing "problem" immigrants.

After being pretty much run out of England as anti-government radicals, the religious dissidents we know today as the Pilgrims settled in Leiden, Holland, where they set about making themselves that nation's immigrant problem. Sticking to themselves and refusing to “blend in” with their new homeland, the Pilgrims grew alarmed by the unpalatable ideas to which their children were being exposed, such as religious tolerance (good for the Pilgrims, bad for everyone else) and national service (like all Dutch residents, the Pilgrims were eligible for the draft). When their children began picking up the Dutch language, the Pilgrims had had enough. By then the Dutch had, too. Next stop: Plymouth Rock.
4. Those Pilgrims were commies... and it saved their lives.
Governor William Bradford’s memoirs confirm that the first thing the settlers did upon arrival in the Plymouth Colony was to set up a textbook communist system of production and distribution. Every resident of the colony was expected to share, to the extent of his or her ability, the chores of hunting, farming, cooking, building, making clothing, etc., and, in exchange, everyone shared the products of that communal labor.
That commie-pinko economy sustained the Pilgrims through their first brutal year in the New World, after which it was decided that the colony was sufficiently stable to allow householders their own plot of land on which to grow crops they were free to keep for themselves. The fact that the colonists’ productivity increased exponentially with their own land begs the question: were the Pilgrims working harder now that they got to keep the product of their own labor or, conversely, were they prone to slacking off when the goods came whether they worked hard or not?
I guess you could say the Pilgrims were the kind of lazy, shiftless “takers” that wingnuts are always railing against.
5. One of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, hated Thanksgiving.
In fact, Thomas Jefferson once called a national day of Thanksgiving “the most ridiculous idea” he’d ever heard of.
Despite being first proclaimed by George Washington in 1789, Jefferson believed a national day of thanksgiving was not consistent with the principle of separation of cult and state and refused to recognize the holiday in any of the eight years in which he was president of the United States. “Every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason,” Jefferson once wrote, “and mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.”
For the record, Presidents Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor refused to issue Thanksgiving Day proclamations during their administrations, too. Can you imagine what Faux News Channel would have made of these administrations' “War on Thanksgiving”?
6. The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist.
The Pledge was written in 1892 for public school celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. Its author was Francis Bellamy, a baptist minister, christian socialist and cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy. christian socialism maintains, among other ideas, that capitalism is idolatrous and rooted in greed, and the underlying cause of much of the world’s social inequity. Kinda puts the red in the ol' red, white and blue, doesn't it?
7. Roe v. Wade was a bipartisan decision made by a predominantly repugican-appointed Supreme Court.
Technically, Roe v. Wade did not make abortion legal in the United States, the Supreme Court merely found that the state of Texas’ prohibition on abortion violated the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause and that states could exercise varying degrees of discretion in regulating abortion, depending upon the stage of pregnancy. The Court also held the law violated the right to privacy under substantive due process.
That being said, the landmark 1973 ruling that wingnuts love to hate, was decided on a 7-2 vote that broke down like this:
Majority (for Roe): Chief Justice Warren Burger (wingnut, appointed by Nixon), William O. Douglas (liberal, appointed by FDR), William J. Brennan (liberal, appointed by Eisenhower), Potter Stewart (moderate, appointed by Eisenhower), Thurgood Marshall (liberal, appointed by LBJ), Harry Blackmun (author of the majority opinion and a wingnut who eventually saw the light and turned liberal, appointed by Nixon), Lewis Powell (moderate, appointed by Nixon). Summary: 3 liberals, 2 wingnuts, 2 moderates.
Dissenting (for Wade): Byron White (generally liberal/sometimes wingnut, appointed by JFK), William Rehnquist (wingnut, appointed by Nixon). Summary: 1 liberal, 1 wingnut.
By ideological orientation, it was an across-the-board decision for Roe: wingnuts 2-1, liberals 3-1, moderates 2-0; by presidential appointment: repugicans 5-1, Democrats 2-1. No one can rightly say that this was a leftist court forcing its liberal beliefs on America.
8. Wingnut icon Ronald Reagan once signed a bill legalizing abortion.
The Ronald Reagan wingnuts worship today is more myth than reality. Reagan was a wingnut for sure, but also a practical politician who understood the necessities of compromise. In the spring of 1967, four months into his first term as governor of California, Ronald Reagan signed a bill that, among other provisions, legalized abortion for the vaguely-defined “well being” of the mother. Reagan may have been personally anti-choice, but in this instance he was willing to compromise in order to achieve other ends he considered more important. That he claimed later to regret signing the bill doesn’t change the fact that he did. As Casey Stengel liked to say, “You could look it up.”
9. Reagan also raised federal taxes eleven times.
Okay, Ronald Reagan cut tax rates more than any other president – with a big asterisk. Sure, the top rate was reduced from 70% in 1980 all the way down to 28% in 1988, but while repugicans typically point to Reagan’s tax-cutting as the right approach to improving the economy, Reagan himself realized the resulting national debt from his revenue slashing was untenable, so he quietly raised other taxes on income – primarily Social Security and payroll taxes - no less than eleven times. Most of Reagan’s highly publicized tax cuts went to the usual handout-takers in the top income brackets, while his stealth tax increases had their biggest impact on the middle class. These increases were well hidden inside such innocuous-sounding packages as the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987. Leave it to a seasoned actor to pull off such a masterful charade.
10. Barry Goldwater was pro-choice, supported gay rights, deeply despised the Religio-wingnuts, and - gasp! - liked Hillary Clinton.
It's a measure of just how much farther right contemporary conservatism has shifted in just a generation or two that Barry "Mr. Wingnut" Goldwater, the repugican standard-bearer in 1964, couldn't buy a ticket into a repugican cabal coven in 2014.
There's no debating Goldwater's deeply wingnut bona fides, but check these pronouncements from the man himself:
"I am a wingnut repugican, but I believe in democracy and the separation of cult and state.  The wingnut movement is founded on the simple tenet that people have the right to live life as they please as long as they don't hurt anyone else in the process." (Interview, Washington Post, July 28, 1994)
"A woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the religio-wingnuts." (Interview, Los Angeles Times, 1994)
“The big thing is to make this country… quit discriminating against people just because they're gay. You don't have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. ... They're American citizens.” (Interview, Washington Post, July 28, 1994)
"Politics and governing demand compromise. But these 'christians' believe they are acting in the name of god, so they can't and won't compromise. I know; I've tried to deal with them. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some god-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘wingnuttery.’" (Congressional Record, September 16, 1981)
"If [Bill Clinton] let his wife run business, I think he'd be better off. ... I just like the way she acts. I've never met her, but I sent her a bag of chili, and she invited me to come to the White House some night and said she'd cook chili for me." (Interview, Washington Post, July 28, 1994)
11. The first president to propose national health insurance was a repugican.
He was also a trust-busting, pro-labor, Nobel Peace Prize-winning environmentalist. Is there any wonder why Theodore Roosevelt, who first proposed a system of national health insurance during his unsuccessful Progressive Party campaign to retake the White House from William Howard Taft in 1912, gets scarce mention at repugican national covens these days?
12. Those "job-killing" environmental regulations? repugican things.
Sometimes being a wingnut can be a good thing, like when it applies to conserving America's clean air and water, endangered wildlife and awesome natural beauty. Many of Theodore Roosevelt's greatest accomplishments as president were in the area of conserving America's natural environment. In 1905, Roosevelt formed the United States Forestry Service. Under his presidential authority, vast expanses of American real estate were declared off limits for private development and reserved for public use. During Roosevelt's time as president, forest reserves in the United States went from approximately 43 million acres to about 194 million acres. Talk about big government land grabs!
The United States Environmental Protection Agency, arch-enemy of polluters in particular and government regulation haters in general, was created by that other well-known repugican tree hugger, Richard Nixon. In his 1970 State of the Union Address, Nixon proclaimed the new decade a period of environmental transformation. Shortly thereafter he presented Congress an unprecedented 37-point message on the environment, requesting billions for the improvement of water treatment facilities, asking for national air quality standards and stringent guidelines to lower motor vehicle emissions, and launching federally-funded research to reduce automobile pollution. Nixon also ordered a clean-up of air- and water-polluting federal facilities, sought legislation to end the dumping of wastes into the Great Lakes, proposed a tax on lead additives in gasoline, and approved a National Contingency Plan for the treatment of petroleum spills. In July 1970 Nixon declared his intention to establish the Environmental Protection Agency, and that December the EPA opened for business. Hard to believe, but had it not been for Watergate, we might remember Richard Nixon today as the “environmental president”.
Oh, yes – wingnuts would rather forget that Nixon was an advocate of national health insurance, too.
13. President Obama was not only born in the United States, his roots run deeper in American history than most wingnuts’ - and most other Americans' - do.
The argument that Barack Obama was born anywhere but at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, is not worth addressing; the evidence is indisputable by any rational human being. But not even irrational “birthers” can dispute Obama’s well-documented family tree on his mother’s side. By way of his Dunham lineage, President Obama has at least 11 direct ancestors who took up arms and fought for American independence in the Revolutionary War and two others cited as patriots by the Daughters of the American Revolution for furnishing supplies to the colonial army. This star-spangled heritage makes Obama eligible to join the Sons of the American Revolution, and his daughters the Daughters of the American Revolution. Not bad for someone some wingnuts on the lunatic fringe still insist is a foreigner bent on destroying the United States of America.

On Independence Day repugicans Crusaded To Eliminate the Rights of Half The Population

The repugicans at all levels of government, at the behest of the religio-wingnuts, have launched a vicious crusade to eliminate well over half the population's liberty …
us flag
As Americans celebrated the anniversary of their nation’s birth, it is not entirely clear if they really comprehend why the American colonists broke away from England. Fortunately, Americans can read the Declaration of Independence and see for themselves that the list of grievances are founded on Jefferson’s immortal statement that “all [men] are created equal” and have “unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
It is a sad fact of life that 238 years after issuing the Declaration, the concept that all Americans are equal and have “unalienable rights” is as false today as it was at the nation’s founding. It is true that over two centuries the nation did grant more Americans equality according to their unalienable rights, but the gains are rapidly being chipped away by other Americans under the guise of defending their rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The other Americans denying every citizen their unalienable rights are repglican and religious, and are worse than the tyrant the Colonists finally broke away from. Looking briefly at Jefferson’s immortal statement, and the meaning of the words he carefully chose, explains why the religious repugican wingnuts are tyrants; and blatantly un-American.
Unalienable is defined as “impossible to take away, deny, or give up,” and liberty means an individual has control over their own actions, speech, and the power to choose how they conduct their life. Life, of course, is the capacity for growth, functional activity, and change preceding death, and happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.
To repugicans and fundamentalist 'christians', Jefferson’s “immortal statement” does not apply to “all men” or “any woman;” it is reserved solely for the rich and the religious; specifically the religious christian wingnuts. If Americans have learned anything over the past five years, it is that repugicans and their teabagger cohort are on a tear to deny Jefferson’s unalienable rights to every American that is not a member of the wealthy elite or a religio-wungnut. Thus, not only do they openly oppose the sentiment behind the Declaration of Independence for all Americans, they have made taking away those so-called “impossible to give up and deny” rights from every American save the religious and the rich.
The repugicans at all levels of government, at the behest of the religio-wingnuts, have launched a vicious crusade to eliminate well over half the population’s liberty to control their own actions and the ability to choose how one conducts their life. It is beyond refute that the attacks on women’s sexuality and reproductive health, Americans unwilling to comply with religious edicts, or gays seeking equal rights, are solely to eliminate their ability to control how they live their lives. Whether it is repugicans and the religio-wingnuts actively impeding women from controlling when they give birth, or disallowing gays from choosing how to conduct their lives, it is the definition of tyranny that American colonists fought a war of independence to break free from. Today a majority of the population faces harsher tyranny than the Colonists because it is founded in religious domination; something the colonists were not subjected to and the Founding Fathers attempted to prevent.
Although it is true repugicans and the religious are not actively hunting down and eliminating Americans’ lives, they are actively putting large swathes of the population in harm’s way. Whether it is denying women the right to medical care, forcing millions into poverty with barbaric slave wages, or deliberately withholding healthcare from the poor, Americans are dying and it is down to repugicans serving the rich and the religious.
Happiness is relative and difficult to quantify, but there are tens-of-millions of Americans whose mental and emotional state is anything but contentment or positive feelings. When one group uses their “unalienable” right of liberty to dominate, control, and harm other Americans, it is obvious the dominated will never be happy. What is astonishing, really, is that what makes repugicans and the religious happy is denying most Americans all they need to be happy; freedom from religious tyranny, ability to control their own lives, a good job, adequate food and shelter, and basic medical care.
Despite Jefferson’s timeless declaration, it is time for the American people to rise up and declare their independence from repugican and religious tyrants once and for all. It is not that Jefferson’s unalienable rights need to be changed, but it is crucial to declare that liberty is not the authority to impose religious tyranny on the people, or force them into servitude to the wealthy elite. Any new declaration will also require defining life as more than barely surviving at the whims of the rich as promoted by repugicans, or being denied the basic human rights of clean air, water, food, shelter, and medical care; the things that ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
If what makes repugicans and the religio-wingnuts happy is using their lives and liberty to deprive the rest of the populations’ rights that the Declaration of Independence claims are impossible to give up or take away, they are tyrants. In fact, “taking away” Americans’ rights is the sole intent of the repugican and religio-wingnut tyrants regardless if it is other Americans life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness and everything those “rights’ entail. The repugicans and the religious have no right to celebrate the nation’s founding because they are actively, and with malice aforethought, in a crusade to destroy everything the Declaration of Independence stands for in their plot to rule by tyranny.
It is a travesty that too many Americans celebrated the nation’s Independence Day and never give a second thought to how their unalienable rights are being eroded at the hands of tyrants. But they will wave their flags, get drunk, attend parades, listen to repugicans and the religious tout the virtues of the Jefferson’s timeless declaration, and watch fireworks; all the while their unalienable rights are vanishing at an alarming pace because repugicans and the religious are actively pursing their liberty to tyrannize the American people.
Wave a flag, watch fireworks, enjoy family and friends, and then contemplate how to help all Americans enjoy their unalienable rights before repugicans and the religio-wingnuts eliminate them.

The wingnuts' Push to Deny Birth Control Is All About Controlling Women

The inspiration for Hobby Lobby, and 71 other "religious" corporations, to sue for a religious exemption of the contraception mandate is not about abortion, but about controlling women…
Religion, particularly the judeo-christian religions, is now, and has always been about controlling human beings under the guise of worshipping a deity. If it was not about controlling the masses, why in dog’s name do those religion’s deity and holy books include death sentences for failure to worship an unseen deity imposed on all humanity? Pain of death, either immediate or in the bizarre concept of afterlife, is a powerful motivator and although there is not yet a threat of mass extermination of non-believers like in the christian bible’s old testament, fundamentalist christians still insist on imposing negative consequences for failure to comply with their edicts.
The idea that certain actions fundamentalist christians oppose on religious grounds warrant immediate and life-long consequences is the driving force behind the religio-wingnuts' opposition to both abortion and contraceptive use. On the day the Supreme Court ruling in Hobby Lobby was announced, a christian lunatic, Erick Erickson, gleefully announced that now, “My religion trumps your (women) right to sex without consequences.” A similar concept drove the opposition to including contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act that House repugicans believed warranted an all-male panel of clergy to testify that yes, women having sexual relations without lifelong consequences was an abomination their puritanical sensibilities would not comport.
The inspiration for Hobby Lobby, and 71 other “religious” corporations, to sue for a religious exemption of the contraception mandate is not about abortion, but about controlling women and inflicting consequences for not adhering to their puritanical delusion that women in their employ, can not, and will not, have sexual relations without paying a heavy price. In fact, the idea of forcing women, on pain of harsh consequences, to adhere to strict religious and moral behavior defined by sententious and severe piety is why fundamentalist christianity is every bit as harsh as islamic sharia law’s control over women.
Controlling women’s morality was not always the christian wingnuts' cause célèbre, but as is always the case, they did seek to control a large segment of the population and enforce another form of biblical purity. Prior to imposing their puritanical immorality on women, the “moral(less) (non)majority’s primary mission” was fighting for Aryan racial purity according to, like the mormon cult, the biblical edict that “black skinned” people were accursed by god. The religio-wingnuts shifted their outrage and fight against racial segregation to abortion and contraception when the Supreme Court decision in Green v. Kennedy in 1970 stripped the tax-exempt status from private christian schools known as “segregation academies” that openly barred black students continued unabated despite the Brown v. Board of Education ruling.
It did not take long for the religio-wingnuts to shift from enforcing biblical racial purity to imposing puritanical immoral purity targeting American women. Before shifting to control women’s sexuality, the christian wingnuts followed their god of the old testament’s issuance that there is NO living being until it breathes air. In fact, the official position of the religio-wingnuts was that a woman’s choice to use contraception or abortion was a personal decision between a woman and her physician; the “pro-choice” position the religio-wingnuts now oppose vehemently.
The concept of controlling women and imposing lifelong consequences for having sex was apparently settled in 1965 when Planned Parenthood of Connecticut won a U.S. Supreme Court victory, Griswold v. Connecticut, that finally and completely rolled back state and local laws that had outlawed the use of contraception by married couples. Indeed, the same warped puritanical mindset that drives the religio-wingnuts' attempt to control women, and their sexuality, today erupted immediately after dependably effective birth control pills were made available. The argument that religion “trumps” a woman’s right to have sexual relations without consequence embraced by the wingnut 'christian' Supreme Court and religio-wingnuts today was rampant until Griswald, and then Green v. Kennedy, when the moral majority found abortion as a new means of political power. The election of an African American man as President, gave the racist immoral minority an assist in marshaling racial animus against Obama to their cause to control women and the Court’s ruling is having a profound effect.
The High Court’s ruling is already inciting 'christian' organizations to exert their newfound control over the population as reported here when catholic and christian “faith leaders” issued a letter to President Obama demanding religious exemption to discriminate against gays. The faith leaders insisted that Hobby Lobby informs the President that he must now give “deference to christian prerogatives” in any future Presidential action. On Thursday, yet another wingnut 'christian' High Court birth control order sided with a religiously “affiliated” non-profit group after it appealed, and won, an exemption to provide contraception coverage in health insurance prescription plans. The former acting solicitor general in the Clinton administration said of the Hobby Lobby and most recent attack on women that “After today, it is clear that women’s access to contraception is by no means guaranteed given the administrative complexities the court has now imposed.” The High Court’s newest emergency ruling ceding control over women, their sexuality, and reproductive health to 'christians' and is a portent of the pain the repugican religio-wingnuts are about to unleash in their indisputable and puritanical war on women.
The idea of anti-contraception being an integral part of the christian wingnuts agenda was implied in Justice Alito’s writing for the Hobby Lobby decision. And to no-one’s surprise, Justice Scalia’s wife is a “hardline anti-choice activist” that certainly influenced his vote to authorize 'christian' corporations to withhold contraceptive coverage from prescription drug plans. At the (no)Right to Life conference, a featured speaker, Joy Pinto, mercilessly attacked contraceptives as “the real war on women” she claimed was “coming from the pit of Hell” comparing birth control to “when Eve bit the apple.” A preeminent 'christian' anti-choice website, (anti)Life News, could barely contain its glee at the prospect of 'christians' legally depriving women of contraception and stated, “Fertility is a natural condition of a woman” and that “stifling ovulation with birth control” is an abomination to god. However, the 'christian' opposition to birth control is not about fertility, but about controlling women’s sexuality by imposing harsh consequences unless they intend to give birth.
It is important for all women, even hardcore wingnuts, catholics, and so-called “good” christians, to remember that the puritanical religio-wingnuts make no distinction in their war on women who use contraception. Their goal is simply to exert their control and force every woman in America to either become celibate or perpetual birth machines; the consequence of having sexual relations without contraceptives. American women should never delude themselves that imposing their puritanical immorality is reserved for single women, because there was no special dispensation in the Court’s ruling to protect married women’s access to contraceptives. The christian wingnutst, including the United States Coven of catholic Bishops (USCcB), makes no secret that their goal is ultimate control over all women, married and single alike.
Over the past five years, the preponderance of opinions among liberals was that religion cannot exert its will over the government or the people because “it is unconstitutional,” or they just did not care about religion, or that recent victories for gay rights proved the religio-wingnuts were in decline and impotent. Well, now it is constitutional, and the recent victories for gay rights are being challenged on the grounds of the High Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling. It has not been a week since the decision was announced and religious “affiliated” groups quickly sought, and won, the right to withhold contraceptives from women’s prescription plans and the White House has been warned to give deference to “christian prerogatives” in any Presidential action.
If anyone thinks this is not a monumental escalation in the religious war against Americans, particularly women, then why are men not being denied prescription coverage for penis pumps, erection-inducing pills, or over-the-counter condoms? This is a religious assault on women, and gays, that the religio-wingnuts will expand according to christian dominionism to seize control over all aspects of American society. At a time when many Americans are expressing patriotic fervor, they should temper that patriotism with the reality that there is a powerful and constitutionally backed group expressing what is arguably the most dangerous threat to America; religious fervor. History shows when religious zeal is expressed by fundamentalist christians, it is an existential threat that the Court just gave its blessing and constitutional authority to proceed with extreme prejudice. This is not going to end well for any American woman.

The South Is Essentially A Solid, Grim Block Of Poverty

The Great Recession and Not-So-Great Recovery have been bad news for most Americans, but some people have suffered more than others. We call those people "Southerners."
North Carolina and a handful of other Southern U.S. states saw the biggest increases in the number of people living in what are known as "poverty areas" between 2000 and 2010, according to a new Census Bureau report. Poverty areas are places where more than 20 percent of the people live below the federal poverty line, which varies by family size. For a family of four, the poverty line in most states is an annual income of $23,850.
Today, 25.7 percent of all Americans live in such areas, up from 18.1 percent in 2000, according to the report. Having a quarter of the nation living this way is a problem: Poverty areas are typically marked by "higher crime rates, poor housing conditions, and fewer job opportunities," the report points out.
Note that Southern states were five of the six biggest gainers. This should not be much of a shock, as Southern states consistently lag the rest of the country in good things like wages, economic mobility and access to health care, while leading it in bad things like poverty, obesity and general unhappiness. Another thing Southern states have in common is repugican political leaders that have spent the past decade shrinking the social safety net.
Bucking the trend, two Southern states, Louisiana and West Virginia, actually saw the number of people living in poverty areas shrink during the decade.
And the region that saw the biggest overall rise in the number of people living in poverty areas between 2000 and 2010 was the Midwest, not the South. That may be because the Midwest had relatively low numbers to start. Its numbers are still relatively low -- though it now has more people living in poverty areas than the Northeast, which fared pretty well during the recession and recovery. As you can see from this Census graph, the South started out with very high rates of people living in poverty areas and got even higher, with nearly a third of all Southerners living in poverty areas:
poverty regions
And this Census map highlights the difference between regions even more starkly. Look at that solid, grim block of poverty:
poverty regions 2

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Intoxicated man arrested after claiming his dog drove him to the store

A man was arrested in Oconee County, Georgia, on Wednesday after he claimed his dog drove him to the store.
Oconee County Sheriff Sgt. Partain says he responded to a call about a dog locked in a car at a Bell's Food Store.
The outside temperature registered at 99 degrees and the internal temperature of the car, which was measured with a handheld thermometer, was 123 degrees. Partain said a can of gasoline in the vehicle reeked and described the smell as "stifling."
The driver of the car, Wesley Mark Terrell, 60, told Partain that his dog drove him to Bell's to buy some corn. According to the sheriff, Terrell appeared to be highly intoxicated. Partain arrested Terrell and charged him with Animal Cruelty and DUI. Animal Control took custody of the dog.

Man attacked brother-in-law with toilet seat

A man is facing charges, accused of breaking into his brother-in-law's east Houston home and beating him with a toilet seat.
Luis Ortiz, 29, is charged with burglary of a habitation with intent to commit assault. According to the victim, Ortiz went to his home on June 24 at 8pm.
According to court documents, Ortiz banged on the door, but his brother-in-law told him to go away. Ortiz then reportedly broke through the front door and began to use a toilet seat to hit his brother-in-law.
Investigators say the victim fell to the floor and Ortiz continued to hit him. Ortiz is in custody. There's no bond in his case.

Man assaulted another with hummingbird feeder for refusing to party with him

Police say a man from southern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, assaulted another man on Wednesday because he refused to party with him.
State police were dispatched to a home for a report of a fight shortly before 12:30am, Trooper James Spencer said.

Richard Edgar Hill, 29, of Peach Bottom, tackled a 21-year-old Avondale man and then struck him in the head with a glass hummingbird feeder because he was “refusing to party with him.”
Before police arrived, Hill fled toward Maryland, Spencer said. Hill will be charged with simple assault.

Man arrested after being seen throwing his ball against a wall

An Oklahoma City man was arrested after he was seen walking around naked in public on Wednesday night. According to police, officers responded to the incident at about 8:30pm. A woman told police she was driving when she saw a man, later identified as 56-year-old Donald Edward Kelly Jr., throwing a ball against a business wall.
The woman said Kelly was completely naked. She recorded him on her cell phone. When Kelly saw her, he reportedly put on a pair of brown shorts.
Police said the woman's cell phone video shows Kelly walking around naked. He was arrested and booked into the Oklahoma County Jail on one count of public indecency.

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