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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.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Daily Drift

Trouble is - they've already had that meeting ...!
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Today in History

1789 Robespierre, a deputy from Arras, France, decides to back the French Revolution.
1812 Great Britain signs the Treaty of Orebro, making peace with Russia and Sweden.
1830 Uruguay adopts a liberal constitution.
1861 Union and Confederate troops skirmish at Blackburn's Ford, Virginia, in a prelude to the Battle of Bull Run.
1877 Inventor Thomas Edison records the human voice for the first time.
1872 The Ballot Act is passed in Great Britain, providing for secret election ballots.
1935 Ethiopian King Haile Selassie urges his countrymen to fight to the last man against the invading Italian army.
1936 General Francisco Franco of Spain revolts against the Republican government, starting the Spanish Civil War.
1942 The German Me-262, the first jet-propelled aircraft to fly in combat, makes its first flight.
1971 New Zealand and Australia announce they will pull their troops out of Vietnam.
1994 In Buenos Aires, a massive car bomb kills 96 people.

Non Sequitur


Veteran's Wheelchair Falls Apart in Hardware Store, Employees Fix It Immediately

40 years ago, Michael Sulsona lost his legs to a landmine in Vietnam. For two years, he's been trying to get the Veterans' Administration to provide him with a replacement for the rickety old wheelchair that he's been using. The old chair finally collapsed while Sulsona and his wife were in a Lowe's hardware store on Staten Island, New York. Sulsona describes what happened next:
Three employees, David, Marcus and Souleyman jumped to my assistance immediately. They placed me in another chair while they went to work.
They took the wheelchair apart and replaced the broken parts and told me, "We're going to make this chair like new."
I left 45 minutes after closing hours in my wheelchair that was like new.
I kept thanking them and all they could say was, "It was our honor."

Virginia Man Claims Land To Make Daughter A Princess

We’ve posted before about Bir Tawil, a stretch of land between Egypt and Sudan that neither country wants. Maybe Jeremiah Heaton of Abingdon, Virginia, read about it then. Last winter, Heaton’s six-year-old daughter Emily asked him if she could be a princess. He said yes, and has worked since then to make it so. To that end, Heaton has claimed the 800-square-mile territory of Bir Tawil as his own, renaming it the Kingdom of North Sudan. He planted a homemade flag there on June 16, Emily’s seventh birthday. That makes him the king, and Emily a princess. Heaton has two other children, who would also be royalty.
Sheila Carapico, professor of political science and international studies at the University of Richmond, told the Bristol Herald Courier last week that Heaton would need legal recognition from neighboring countries, the United Nations or other groups to have actual political control of the land.

Heaton, who ran for Congress out of Virginia’s 9th district in 2012 and lost, plans to reach out to the African Union for assistance in formally establishing the Kingdom of North Sudan and said that he is confident they will welcome him. Representatives from the Egyptian and Sudanese embassies in Washington did not respond to requests for comment Saturday.
Bir Tawil, or The Kingdom of North Sudan, is all desert, but Heaton plans to turn it into an agricultural area, which should please both Egypt and Sudan.
Read about Heaton’s journey to his new kingdom at the Washington Post.

A Fed Up Obama Tells Congress, “Just do something.”

President Obama has had enough of repugican obstruction. He had a simple message for Congress during a speech in Virginia, “Just do something.”
The president said:
And the point is we could do so much more if we just rallied around a sense of economic patriotism that says, you know what, the parties compete, but every once in a while, we got to actually do some work, instead of worrying about elections, or trying to score points on cable TV. And we can start by investing in our country.
Because historically — it was Eisenhower who built the Interstate Highway System, working with Democrats and Republicans. This isn’t a partisan issue. And when we treat some basic investments as something that we do as Americans, when we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, things work and nobody can beat us. And that’s the spirit that all of you show here. That’s what I’m going to keep on fighting for every single day.
So I’m proud of you. I want you to keep on doing what you’re doing. We’re going to try to make sure Congress actually does as good of a job at what they’re supposed to be doing as you guys are doing on yours. If we do, then you’re going to have some parents who are getting home a little earlier. You’re going to have folks who aren’t going to have to go to the body shop quite as often. You’re going to be seeing millions of people across the country saving money at the pump. We’re going to see airline delays reduced, so when you plan that Thanksgiving trip, you’re not spending the whole time in the airport. All that can make a huge difference.
But the American people have to demand that folks in Washington do their job. Do something: That’s my big motto for Congress right now. Just do something. And if they don’t like the transportation plan that I put forward, at least come up with your own plan. And then we can compromise. But don’t just sit there and do nothing. We don’t have time. America is on the move.
It’s clear that the president wants to get the legislative process moving again. The problem is that repugicans have no incentive to do anything. The repugicans think they are going to take back the Senate, and there is little hope for Democrats to win back the House. In their view, doing nothing is the best political strategy. The only way they are going to move off of their do nothing position is if voters show that they are prepared to make repugicans pay a heavy price for their obstruction.
President Obama is fed up, and he correctly senses that the American people are fed up. A stagnant Congress is bad for the country. Things that need to be done are being ignored as House repugicans have made Benghazi investigations and lawsuits against the president their top priorities. In the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is so desperate to hang on to his seat that he won’t support any legislation.
The repugicans have paralyzed Congress, and it is up to voters to make our government function again by voting the obstructionists out of office.

The White House Smacks Down Darrell Issa By Refusing To Send Adviser To Testify

The White House is fighting back against Darrell Issa’s (r-CA) abuse of his subpoena power by refusing to send an administration adviser to testify at his hearing that is designed to drum up another Obama scandal.
Issa has been claiming for days that the White House is misusing taxpayer funds for partisan political purposes. As Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Issa unilaterally issued a subpoena for the testimony of David Simas, who is the director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach.
Issa claimed in a letter to White House counsel Neil Eggleston, “The Clinton White House, the shrub White House, and other administrations before them have all faced congressional oversight of political activity supported by taxpayer funds. Under this Administration, like previous Administrations, members of President Obama’s cabinet have committed violations of the Hatch Act, which draws a line between campaign and official business.”
Eggleston’s reply to Issa was very telling:
Democratic ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings detailed a briefing that was held  for the Oversight Committee, “The briefing was attended by nine repugican staff working for Chairman Darrell Issa, who issued a unilateral subpoena last Friday to compel testimony at tomorrow’s hearing from David Simas, a senior advisor to the President and director of this new Office, despite the absence of any evidence of inappropriate activity by Simas or this Office.”
A Democratic source told Roll Call that Issa didn’t bother to come to the briefing, “Guess who didn’t even bother to show-up? One guess. Correct, no Issa. I do think it’s fairly remarkable, that if Issa wants to be seen as genuinely caring about the issue (and not just cameras), that he didn’t even bother to attend. I would love to know what his staff says he was doing instead.”
Issa didn’t bother to show up for a briefing that the White House is holding for him, but he knows that the Obama administration is breaking the law. This is why Darrell Issa’s investigations are a partisan abuse of power. Issa has no evidence that any laws were broken. He only wanted the Obama adviser at his hearing tomorrow to gin up publicity for his new conspiracy.
The White House counsel said Simas has immunity, and can’t be compelled to testify. Issa has no evidence. His subpoena is based on his belief that the Obama administration is guilty. It is clear that the White House isn’t playing these games anymore. Democrats are engaging in a coordinated effort to knock down Issa and his conspiracies.
Issa has been on a subpoena rampage since John Boehner took his Benghazi toy away from him. The California repugican is trying to reclaim the spotlight with his increasingly desperate and abusive subpoenas. Darrell Issa is in full-blown tantrum mode and President Obama just sent him to bed without supper.

Bernie Sanders Sends Shudders Up Koch Spines By Explaining Why repugicans Attack The IRS

Sen Bernie Sanders exposed a dirty little secret that the Kochs and other wingnut billionaires don’t want you to know. The repugican attacks on the IRS are part of a deliberate strategy to help the Kochs buy our democracy.

Sen. Sanders said:
So when you see repugicans beating up on the IRS, when you see repugicans defunding or cutting back on funding for the IRS so there is less ability to monitor what these organizations are doing, this is not an accident. This is real goal, and let’s be very very clear. What the leadership of the repugican cabal wants, and you should talk to them about it. They won’t deny it. Is they want to end all campaign finance regulations. They don’t want to have to go around in this circle anymore.
What they want is the ability of the Koch brothers and others to be able to contribute as much money as they want directly into the candidates that they support, and that is the direction in which we are moving. So you weaken the IRS. You come up with the phony social welfare situation. You pass Citizens. You have a Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United on McCutcheon. It leads us directly into a situation will billionaires own and control the candidates that they support.
What Sen. Sanders explained in the video above is what the repugican cabal and the Koch brothers don’t want the American people to understand. The IRS scandal isn’t about the “targeting” of wingnut cabals. The scandal is a repugican attempt to scare the IRS off of looking into their dark money cabals and the billionaires who fund them. The repugicans are trying to protect their money machine.
The repugican cabal is extremely dependent on large donors for their funding. They don’t have the small donor base that fuels the Democratic Party. This is why repugicans are pushing for more unlimited contributions in politics. More unlimited contributions mean more direct spending by billionaires to buy their candidates, and when a billionaire owns a member of Congress, that member no longer works for the American people.
The repugican majority in the House is an example of a billionaire owned legislative body. House repugicans aren’t interested in passing legislation to extend unemployment benefits, help veterans, and create jobs. Their top priority is to take away programs that help the non-wealthy (Obamacare, Medicare, food stamps, school lunches, etc.) and replace them with tax breaks for the wealthy and deregulation.
Speaker John Boehner loves to refer to the House as the People’s House, but really it is a billionaire’s lounge. The Koch brothers and the other billionaires are trying to purchase our representative democracy. The last thing they want is for people to catch on to their newfound purchasing power.
The battle to preserve our democracy begins by making sure as many Americans as possible hear and understand the words of Sen. Sanders. Because the Koch brothers can buy candidates, but they can’t buy votes.

The repugicans Sneak Amendment Into Bill That Forces The Pentagon To Deny Climate Change

The new amendment prohibits both the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Army Corps of Engineers from acknowledging or spending even one penny "to design, implement, administer or…
Ever since repugicans, and teabaggers, took control of the House of Representatives in 2011, they have revealed their corporate loyalties, hypocrisy, devotion to the dirty energy industry, religious opposition to science, and abject hatred of the people they were elected to serve. Of course, the list of who repugicans serve over the American people is endless, but those specific items were encapsulated in one amendment snuck in at the eleventh hour in the House Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that passed with undying support of the repugican caucus.
The amendment in question was inserted by David McKinley (r-WV) who continued his anti-science, hypocritical, dirty energy devotion, disregard for national security, and hatred of his constituency that he began last May. The new amendment is similar to McKinley’s budget amendment in May that forbade the Pentagon from acknowledging climate change exists despite the Department of Defense’s annual warning that addressing climate change is vital to protecting national security. The new amendment prohibits both the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Army Corps of Engineers from acknowledging or spending even one penny “to design, implement, administer or carry out specified assessments regarding climate change.”
According to McKinley, “Congress should not be spending money pursuing an ideologically driven experiment. Spending precious resources to pursue a dubious climate change agenda compromises our clean-energy research and America’s infrastructure,” McKinley is a typical repugican liar because the same spending bill forbidding the Energy Department and Army Corp of Engineers from spending to design, implement, administer, or carry out anything to do with climate change also slashed $100 million from the DOE’s budget for renewable and clean energy programs while increasing federal funding for coal and other fossil fuels. McKinley, and House repugicans, cannot have it both ways and say spending on climate change compromises “our clean energy research and infrastructure” while cutting $100-million from clean-energy research and prohibiting the DOE and Army Corps from designing or implementing infrastructure improvements to address anything regarding climate change.
The bill that passed Thursday night is a veritable dirty energy industry wish list of anti-environmental measures to thwart efforts to save energy, maintain clean air, and preserve precious water resources. McKinley’s amendment that every repugican voted for is best summarized as a House mandate that the federal government ignore climate change and the preponderance of climate science as well as severe droughts, wildfires, superstorms, flooding, and heat waves plaguing Americans, threatening national security, and harming the economy. McKinley’s remark that spending on preventing the deadly effects of climate change is a “dubious ideologically driven experiment” is typical rhetoric from the religiou-wingnuts' anti-science crusade, and as blatant a display of repugican hypocrisy Americans will ever witness.
If McKinley and House repugicans reject “spending precious resources” on something as crucial as national security, energy independence, and the nation’s economic well-being, then why are they spending millions to sue the President, giving billions-of-dollars in welfare to the dirty energy industry, or $700-million to the dirty religious industry? It must be part of the repugicans’ storied “prioritizing” where they spend Americans’ tax dollars; particularly on national security. It is noteworthy that when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requested additional embassy security spending, repugicans not only rejected her request out of hand, they cut security spending by $300 million as a budget priority and then voted to “spend precious resources” for corporate tax breaks.
The repugican prohibition on acknowledging, or “spending precious resources” to address climate change is likely a continuation of the repugican cabal’s outrage against President Obama for directing the Environmental Protection Agency to cut carbon emissions in light of the National Climate Assessment reports that detailed the ongoing and extremely detrimental effects of climate change. It was less than a month ago that congressional repugicans threatened to shutdown the government if the EPA dared impose any of the President’s recommendations to curb carbon emissions driving climate change. At the end of 2103, repugicans attempted to insert an amendment in the budget banning the EPA from inspecting polluting industries or enforcing federal environmental regulations in the states to protect the dirty energy industry.
According to the Department of Energy, it is heavily involved with efforts to address climate change that Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said was “a top priority of the Energy Department.” He continued that “We develop new technologies and reduce the costs of renewables, environmental protection in natural gas production, carbon capture, and sequestration, really across the board. As global temperature rise, wildfires, droughts, and high electricity demand put stress on the nation’s energy infrastructure. And severe weather, the leading cause of power outages and fuel supply disruption in the United States is projected to worsen.” According to repugicans, the Energy Department addressing severe weather impacting America is nothing but “an ideologically-driven experiment” wasting “precious resources pursuing a dubious climate change agenda.”
Although repugicans are waging a ferocious war against any and all efforts to combat climate change, McKinley’s amendment will never get past the Senate or President Obama’s veto. One House Democrat, Mary Kaptur of Ohio said, “This amendment requires the Department of Energy to assume that carbon pollution isn’t harmful and that climate change won’t cost a thing, that’s nothing but a fantasy.” It may well be a fantasy, but it is more likely repugicans doing what comes naturally; protect the dirty energy industry. The repugicans cannot deny that climate change’s detrimental effects and devastation are already wreaking havoc on the people, national security, and the economy. Especially after warnings that states suffering critical record-breaking droughts like Arizona and California are likely to run out of water within two years due to climate change.
If nothing else, the amendment forbidding the DOE and Army Corps of Engineers from addressing the devastation of climate change epitomizes what any conscious American has learned is part and parcel of what it means to be a teabagger-repugican. It is inherent rank hypocrisy, blatant adoration and devotion to the dirty energy industry, opposition to spending on national security, religious rejection of science, disregard for the nation’s economic health, and blatant contempt for the American people; all fundamental requirements to be a congressional repugican.

Hobbled IRS can't stem 'dark money' flow

A federal judge has given the IRS a month to present written explanations on how the emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner disappeared.
When federal election lawyers decided the nonprofit Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies likely violated political spending limits, campaign finance watchdogs were certain the Internal Revenue Service would take action.
After all, lawyers for the Federal Election Commission argued that Crossroads GPS, co-founded by repugican agitators Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, spent more on politics than anything else leading up to the 2010 election.
Then the IRS tea party scandal exploded.
The repugicans in Congress began waylaying the IRS over what they said was the systematic and inexcusable targeting of tea party and wingnut cabals. And the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration declared that the agency had employed “inappropriate criteria” in heavily scrutinizing some groups' tax-exemption applications.
The scandal has persisted with the recent revelation over missing agency emails, which the IRS has blamed on a computer hard drive crash in 2011.
The IRS’ nonprofit division, grappling with a decimated staff and limited resources, effectively lost whatever nerve it had left. Notably, it came to a near standstill on deciding whether it should grant "social welfare" nonprofit status to Crossroads GPS and other wingnut cabals. It likewise balked at denying or revoking nonprofit status for a growing constellation of politically driven, big-spending liberal nonprofits such as Patriot Majority USA and Priorities USA.
The IRS knew that many of these groups were highly political. But “nobody wanted to say 'no, you’re not exempt,'” said an IRS exempt organizations division staffer who asked not to be identified for fear of losing his job.
“We stalled so we wouldn’t have to say no,” he added.
The paralysis allowed organizations waiting for IRS approval to continue to spend freely on elections while keeping the names of their donors secret.
The tea party scandal, combined with Congress systematically stripping the IRS of resources and clout over decades, has led to an exempt organizations division that has all but quit regulating politically active nonprofits in any consistent, demonstrable way, a six-month Center for Public Integrity investigation revealed.

Open Carry Texas Schedules New Date For Armed March Through Black Neighborhood

open carry texas
Open Carry Texas, a gun nuts agitator cabal, announced that they have scheduled their march through the Fifth Ward in Houston. The march, which was initially scheduled for Juneteenth but postponed at the last minute, will feature open-carry enthusiasts marching through the streets of the predominantly black Houston neighborhood carrying long assault rifles. The group has gained notoriety in recent months due to their publicity stunts which have featured members entering restaurants and stores with their assault rifles on full display. Apparently, the group has decided to up their game.
CJ Grisham, the founder of Open Carry Texas, decided to address the criticism his group has encountered regarding this planned march. When the march was first scheduled, Grisham and the group came under intense criticism for a variety of reasons. Even after OCT postponed the march, the group was under fire due to the appearance of racial insensitivity. OCT posted the following late Monday evening on the group’s website:
“We are not going to be marching through 5th Ward,” said OCT Founder CJ Grisham, “we’re going to hopefully be marching with 5th Ward.”
Open Carry Texas believes that Texas’ gun laws continue to be rooted in racism. In order to obtain a concealed handgun license in Texas, one needs to shell out over $250 in fees and requirements to do so. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate in Texas was 14.4% in 2010, the date of the last census. In the African-American community, the poverty rate was 27.1%, nearly twice the state poverty rate and almost three times higher than non-Hispanic whites. In other words, the extreme cost to obtain a license in Texas – over $250 – disproportionately prevents African-Americans from getting one.
Texas law prevents anyone convicted of a Class B misdemeanor or higher from qualifying for a concealed handgun license for at least five years. The convictions do not need to be related to violence or even involve a gun. Some examples of “crimes” that will cause you to lose your CHL or fail to qualify for one are littering, writing a hot check, or even certain traffic infractions not involving another person.
Much like the Jim Crow laws of the past, Texas gun laws seem geared towards preventing the minority community from exercising their rights. We aim to change that.

Open Carry Texas also announced that they’ll have a real-life black person marching with them, Maurice Muhammad. As Liberaland pointed out, Muhammad is a radical who promotes the killing of police officers on his Facebook page. He also is apparently the leader of a cabal that openly wishes for a race war. Liberaland also pointed out that OCT’s blog entry is more about Grisham’s own issues with the law than his concerns about the black community. While he talks a big game about unfair laws regarding gun ownership, and he positions himself as some kind of civil rights fighter, the reality is that he himself has a conviction on his record and cannot apply for a conceal-carry license. Which is likely the reason he started this cabal in the first place.
Anyway, these gun nuts plan on marching through the Fifth Ward on August 16th. Once again, like they claimed last time, this is only supposed to be a peaceful demonstration as well as a charitable action. They just want to educate the residents of the area. They positively, absolutely do not want anything unseemly or ugly to occur. Nuh-uh. No way. And this time, no one can claim it is all just a bunch of white guys marching through a black neighborhood carrying a bunch of guns. Because they got a black guy with them. It is totally cool now.

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Hail Caesar

Favorite Caesar Salads in the United StatesSalad is sort of like fashion: One minute a certain trend—kale, anyone?—is all the rage, with chefs from coast to coast proudly slapping it on to menus, and diners clamoring for it nightly. The next, it’s gone the way of the pashmina.
A decade or so ago, one would be hard-pressed to locate a menu without an arugula salad flecked with goat cheese. And who could forget the once-edgy Chinese Chopped Chicken salad Wolfgang Puck made famous in the ’80s? But through it all, one leafy stalwart has never gone out of style.
Hail, Caesar.
That perfect mix of crunchy Romaine, crisp croutons, and briny anchovies tossed with a garlic-lemon dressing has become an icon in the salad world. The problem is, it can be easy to order a bad one (super-salty dressing, chewy croutons, and soggy lettuce are just a few trouble spots) since many kitchens don’t always make proper preparation of the noble Caesar salad a top priority. But when it’s good, it’s really good. Like, won’t-soon-forget-it good, I-want-to-go-back-tomorrow-and-have-another-one good.

11 Psychological Tricks Restaurants Use To Make You Spend More Money

When you eat at a restaurant, you are usually well aware of what the costs will be and plan for them. You often have some idea of the food quality and what dishes you might like. But you might not be aware of all the tiny details restaurants employ that are the result of research into the optimum way to get the most profit from each customer. For example:
7. They use expensive items to draw you to the cheaper items. According to Rapp, restaurants use extremely expensive foods as decoys. "You probably won't buy it, but you'll find something a little cheaper and it'll look more reasonable," he says.

According to William Poundstone, author of "Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)," in a New York Magazine interview, "The main role of that $115 platter — the only three-digit thing on the menu — is to make everything else near it look like a relative bargain."

8. They offer foods in two portion sizes. This strategy is called bracketing. The customer has no idea how much smaller the small portion is, so they assume it's the best value price because it costs less. What they don't realize is that the restaurant wanted to sell the smaller portion at the lower price all along, and simply used the bigger portion with the higher price as comparison.
That one reminds me of a barbecue place that offers three sizes of standard meals: the “all-you-can-eat,” which is expensive and you can’t take the leftovers home; the dinner size, which is more than I can eat, but you can box it up if you want; and the least expensive luncheon size, which fills me up. I am always surprised by how many people think the all-you-can-eat is the best bargain, which goes against the above research, but it works for that restaurant.
Read the rest of the list of psychological tricks at Business Insider.    



Girl Left Contacts In For Six Months, Amoebas Ate Her Eyeball

Contact lens wearers know the risks that come with placing that little piece of plastic directly on to their eyeballs, and cleanliness is king when it comes to keeping your eyes healthy, which means taking your contacts out, and disinfecting them, on a daily basis.
Here's an example of why it's important to take them out daily- Taiwanese college student Lian Kao left a pair of contact lenses in for six months, which allowed a microorganism called acanthamoeba to move in beneath the lens.
Acanthamoeba feeds on bacteria, not human tissue, but her eyes were already home to tons of bacteria from leaving the lenses in for so long, so as the acanthamoeba fed on the bacteria it burrowed further into her eyeball to keep feeding on bacteria, which left her blind.
Her condition is called acanthamoebic keratitis, which can occur from not properly disinfecting your contact lenses, so take a lesson from Lian and disinfect your contacts daily!

Woman gets life for Northwest crime rampage

FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2011 file photo, Holly Grigsby, left, looks at her boyfriend, David "Joey" Pedersen, during an appearance in Yuba County Superior Court in Marysville, Calif. On Tuesday, July 15, 2014, a federal judge in Portland, Ore. sentenced Grigsby to life in prison for her role in a Pacific Northwest killing spree that authorities say was part of a white supremacist scheme. Pedersen is scheduled to be sentenced in August 2014. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
A woman who took part in a Pacific Northwest killing rampage fueled by white supremacist beliefs apologized for her actions, but not her views.
Holly Grigsby, 27, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with no chance for release.
She apologized in federal court to friends and relatives of the victims. Grigsby said she realized any explanation for her actions, such as her drug addiction, would come across as an excuse, "or make it feel like I'm rationalizing my own insane behavior."
But Grigsby expressed no regret for white supremacist beliefs, only the effect her crimes would have on their public perception.
"My actions have further damaged the reputation of a movement misunderstood," she said "I deeply regret this."
FILE - This combination of booking photos provided …Grigsby and her boyfriend — David "Joey" Pedersen — were arrested in 2011 following the deaths of four people: Pedersen's father and stepmother in Everett, Washington, an Oregon teenager and a California man.
Grigsby pleaded guilty in March to racketeering charges connected to the four killings, and the plea agreement called for a life sentence with no chance for release.
Joey Pedersen has pleaded guilty to two counts of carjacking resulting in death — one for the death of teenager Cody Myers on the Oregon coast and the other for the killing of Reginald Clark in Eureka, California. He will be sentenced to life in prison at an Aug. 4 hearing in federal court.

He previously pleaded guilty in Washington state court to murder in the slayings of David "Red" Pedersen and Leslie "Dee Dee" Pedersen and was sentenced to life in prison.
Dee Dee Pedersen's daughter, Lori Nemitz, told Grigsby in court that the murders were heinous and "beyond cruel," and made no sense since Grigsby had been welcomed into the home as family.
"I hugged you for God's sake," Nemitz said.
Pedersen is the founder of a white supremacist prison gang, and he told Grigsby about his desire to start a revolution with a killing rampage targeting Jewish leaders.
It started on Sept. 26, 2011, when Joey Pedersen shot his father in the back of the head while the elder Pedersen was driving, authorities said. Red Pedersen moved and moaned for at least 30 minutes before dying, prosecutors said.
Pedersen and Grigsby returned to the house. Dee Dee Pedersen was bound with duct tape, cut in the neck and left to bleed to death.
"Animals are treated more humanely going to slaughter than your victims were," said Holly Perez, the daughter of Red Pedersen and sister of Joey Pedersen.
The couple then drove Red Pedersen's vehicle south into Oregon, where they shot and killed 19-year-old Myers and stole his car, authorities said. They shot Myers, who was Christian, because his name sounded Jewish, according to court documents.
Pedersen and Grigsby then headed to Northern California, where Clark, a 53-year-old black man, was shot to death.
Grigsby and Pedersen were arrested Oct. 5, 2011, outside Yuba City, California, when a police officer spotted them in Myers' car. Grigsby told officers they were on their way to Sacramento to "kill more Jews,'" court documents said.
Prosecutors said Grigsby has been a white supremacist since her early teens, and did not fall under Pedersen's spell.

Comcast promises quick action against scapegoat

After this audio recording of an infuriatingly aggressive Comcast representative arguing with a customer went mega-viral, Comcast, which instructs its employees not to take no for an answer, is now throwing its representative under the bus because he refused to take no for an answer.
Here's Comcast's statement:
We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and Ms. Belmont and are contacting them to personally apologize. The way in which our representative communicated with them is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We are investigating this situation and will take quick action. While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect.
As one commenter on the Comcast site observed:
Anyone with a modicum of compassion feels for your rep as much as they do for the customer. Certainly any cancellation works against some performance metric which will aim to objectively quantify or analyze a human interaction (in the least human way possible) on some fiscal report, tacking the loss of this customer on the rep that couldn't retain said customer's business.
I agree with this commenter. There's a reason the customer service representative sounded so desperate on the recording, and it's not because he enjoys being an asshole. It's because Comcast has made it clear that his job is on the line if he can't retain subscribers.

Sunken Nazi Sub Is Visited Off The Texas Coast

A Sunken Nazi Sub Is Visited Off The Texas Coast [Updated]
In a shocking reminder of how close the Second World War came to America, a German U-boat has been visited by marine archaeologists working off the shores of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Ocean Exploration Trust did not discover the sub, they're just visiting it. The sub was actually found back in 2001.
That Nazi subs once prowled the Gulf of Mexico may come as a bit of surprise to Americans.
A Sunken Nazi Sub Is Visited Off The Texas Coast [Updated]
"And there's a very good reason," said shipwreck diver Richie Kohler in a WFAA video. "The United States government didn't want us to know. They didn't want us to know how Germany was taking us to task, how successful these U-boats were."
A Sunken Nazi Sub Is Visited Off The Texas Coast [Updated]
Indeed, in addition to marauding merchant shipping in the North Atlantic, Nazi naval commanders dispatched 22 U-boats to the Gulf of Mexico, including the Texas coastline. Historians claim that U-boats sank at least 50 American ships in the Gulf — including one in the very mouth of the Mississippi River. The U.S. Navy was only able to sink one U-boat in the Gulf — a sub that was is currently being visited by none other than marine archaeologist Robert Ballard and his Nautilus team. Ballard, as you'll surely remember, discovered the wreck of the Titanic back in 1985.
(Nazi subs found off Nantucket and as far away as Indonesia.)
A Sunken Nazi Sub Is Visited Off The Texas Coast [Updated]
"Hitler brought the war to our doorstep shortly after they declared war on us, so this was something that most American people do not realize: How close the war came, and how threatening it was," Ballard said. "They were extremely successful."
A Sunken Nazi Sub Is Visited Off The Texas Coast [Updated]

Thomas Jefferson's Favorite Plant Is Back in American Soil

After a 77-year break, hemp plants are growing in American soil again. Right now, in fact. If you hear farmers from South Carolina to Hawaii shouting "hallelujah," the reason isn't because Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper (he did). Nor is it because the canvas that put the "covered" in pioneer covered wagons was made of hemp, nor that the hemp webbing in his parachute saved the shrub's daddy's life in World War II.
Nope. It's because U.S. policy is finally acknowledging that hemp can help restore our agricultural economy, play a key role in dealing with climate change and, best of all, allow American family farmers to get in on a hemp market that, just north of us in Canada, is verging on $1 billion a year.
Hemp is a variety of cannabis -- and thus a cousin of marijuana -- that contains 0.3% or less of the psychoactive component THC. (Marijuana plants typically contain 5% to 20% THC.) You can't get high from hemp, but starting in 1937, U.S. drug laws made cultivating it off-limits.
Finally, the U.S. hemp industry is back. A provision in the 2014 farm bill signed by President Obama on Feb. 7 removed hemp grown for research purposes from the Controlled Substances Act, the main federal drug law.
Not a moment too soon. American farmers have been watching as Canadian farmers clear huge profits from hemp: $250 per acre in 2013. By comparison, South Dakota State University predicts that soy, a major crop, will net U.S. farmers $71 per acre in 2014.
Canada's windfall has been largely due to the American demand for omega-balanced hempseed oil. But hemp is also a go-to material for dozens of applications all over the world. In a Dutch factory recently, I held the stronger-than-steel hemp fiber that's used in Mercedes door panels, and Britain's Marks and Spencer department store chain used hemp fiber insulation in a new flagship outlet. "Hempcrete" outperforms fiberglass insulation.
Farmers I've interviewed from Oregon to Ohio have gotten the memo. In a Kansas-abutting corner of eastern Colorado, in the town of Springfield, 41-year-old Ryan Loflin wants to save his family farm with hemp. "It takes half the water that wheat does," Loflin told me, scooping up a handful of drought-scarred soil so parched it evoked the Sahara, "and provides four times the income. Hemp is going to revive farming families in the climate-change era."
From an agronomic perspective, American farmers need to start by importing dozens of hemp varieties (known as cultivars) from seed stock worldwide. This is vital because our own hemp seed stock, once the envy of the world, was lost to prohibition. This requires diversity and quantity because North Dakota's soil and climate are different from Kentucky's, which are different from California's. Also, the broad variety of hemp applications requires distinct cultivars.
Legally, farmers and researchers doing pilot programs in the 15 states that have their own hemp legislation (including California) now have the right to import those seeds. The point of the research authorization in the farm bill is explicitly to rebuild our seed stock. Such research is how the modern Canadian hemp industry was kick-started in 1998.
But one final hurdle has been placed in front of American hemp entrepreneurs. In Kentucky, U.S. Customs officials, at the behest of the Drug Enforcement Administration, in May seized a 286-pound shipment of Italian hemp seed bound for the state's agriculture department. After a weeklong standoff, a federal agency had to be reminded by the federal courts that the law had changed and Kentucky's seed imports were legal.
The problem is as much an entrenched bureaucratic mind-set as the ink drying on the new federal hemp policy. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart told a law enforcement group last month that the hoisting of a hemp flag above the U.S. Capitol last July 4 was "the low point in my career."
It should have been a high point. Hemp's economic potential is too big to ignore. When he was China's president, Hu Jintao visited that nation's hemp fiber processors in 2009 to demand that farmers cultivate 2 million acres to replace pesticide-heavy cotton. Canada funded its cultivar research for farmers, with today's huge payoff.
Even Roger Ford, a politically conservative Kentucky utility owner, told me his Patriot BioEnergy's biofuels division would be planting hemp on coal- and tobacco-damaged soil the moment it was legal. Why? To use the fiber harvest for clean biomass energy. "We have a proud history of hemp in the South," Ford told me.
Congress knows the farm bill hemp provision is just a baby step. The real solution is the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), which would allow nationwide commercial hemp cultivation. Colorado, already ahead of federal law on legalizing psychoactive cannabis, is also in front on hemp; it has a state law allowing commercial hemp cultivation. At least 1,600 acres were planted this season.
Wyden's bill should be fast-tracked. In the meantime, Rep. Thomas Massie (r-Ky.) believes hemp is so important for the Bluegrass State that he's not waiting for another brouhaha over seed imports. He added an amendment to a bill that controls the DEA's budget to specifically protect imported hemp seeds from seizure. It passed in the House 246 to 162 on May 30.
It's a necessary move: Just last week at the Canadian border, the DEA seized another shipment of hemp seeds, this time bound for Colorado farmers. This counterproductive nonsense must stop.
American farmers and investors need our support to catch up with Canada's and the rest of the world's hemp head start. Now. As Loflin put it when I toured his family's 1,200-acre Colorado spread, "I'm planting hemp to show my neighbors that small farmers have a real option as businesspeople in the digital age."
We're down to 1% of Americans farming; it was 30% when our world-leading hemp industry was stymied in 1937. The crop is more valuable today than it was then. We should be waving flags and holding parades for the farmers ready to plant the crop that Thomas Jefferson called "vastly desirable." I know I'm ready. To cheer, and to plant.

Daily Comic Relief


Martian Curiosity

On Curiosity's 640th day (or sol) on Mars, as it continued its long drive to the base of Aeolis Mons (a.k.a. Mount Sharp), the robot stumbled across a fairly hefty meteorite.


In northern Mexico, archaeologists have found the butchered remains of two elephant-like gomphotheres, a species that was thought to have gone extinct in North America before the arrival of humans.

Airplane Dinosaur

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's actually a new non-avian dinosaur that resembled a jet and could fly with ease too.

The Death of a Mammoth

The 1- and 2-month-old woolly mammoth calves, which were discovered in different portions of Siberia, choked on mud after falling into water.

Animal Pictures