Welcome to ...

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Daily Drift

Editor's Note: We will be posting sparingly this weekend. We had a tragedy in the family. Our great-great-nephew passed and we are helping with the funeral arrangements. He was only with us for 3 weeks when he passed in his sleep Thursday. His short life was brilliant. He is missed.
Horse Snobs ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

Wild and Free ... !
Today is  -  The celebration Of The Horse Day 
Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our reader today have been in:
The Americas
Macungie, Maud, Catasauqua, Mishawaka and Nixa, United States
Rio De Janeiro, Maua, Sao Paulo and Salvador, Brazil
Ottawa, L'ancienne-Lorette and Youngs Crossing, Canada
Tipitapa, Nicaragua
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Santiago, Chile
Bogota, Colombia
Montevideo, Uruguay
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Caracas, Venezuela
Widdern and Stuttgart, Germany
Reykjavik, Iceland
Cerny, Roubaix and Rouen, France
Ivrea, Milan, Rome and Ravenna, Italy
Sarajevo, Bosnia- Herzegovina
Steinsel, Luxembourg
Moscow, Ryazan and Dolgoprudnyy, Russia
Slough, Norwich and London, England
Zagreb, Croatia
Katowice and Szprotawa, Poland
Barcelona, Alicante, O'Lleria, Madrid and Cadiz, Spain
Stockholm, Sweden
Kiev and Uzhhorod, Ukraine
Meria, Georgia
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dublin, Ireland
Riga, Latvia
Bangkok and Bang Rak, Thailand
Singapore, Singapore
Bikaner, Kolkata and New Delhi, India
Kuala Lumpur and Cheras, Malaysia
Tehran, Iran
La Dagotiere, Mauritius
Tel Aviv, Israel
Guangzhou, China
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Cape Town, South Africa
Casablanca and Rabat, Morocco
Cairo, Egypt
Lagos, Nigeria

Today in History

1525 The catholic princes of Germany form the Dessau League to fight against the Reformation.
1545 King Henry VIII of England watches his flagship, Mary Rose, capsize as it leaves to battle the French.
1788 Prices plunge on the Paris stock market.
1799 The Rosetta Stone, a tablet with hieroglyphic translations into Greek, is found in Egypt.
1848 The first Women's Rights Convention convenes in Seneca Falls, N.Y, organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
1870 France declares war on Prussia.
1942 German U-boats are withdrawn from positions off the U.S. Atlantic coast due to American anti-submarine countermeasures.
1943 More than 150 B-17 and 112 B-24 bombers attack Rome for the first time.
1975 Apollo and Soyuz spacecrafts dock in orbit.

Non Sequitur


This repugican Mayor Is Marching 273 Miles To Demand Medicaid Expansion

From the "Hey, wait a minute, he's a repugican!?" Department"
by Tara Culp-Ressler
Mayor Adam O'Neal and Rev. William Barber on the beginning of the 273 mile walk to Washington
Mayor Adam O’Neal and Rev. William Barber on the beginning of the 273 mile walk to Washington
Adam O’Neal, the repugican mayor of a small North Carolina town named Belhaven, is currently on a nearly 300 mile journey to the nation’s capital to raise awareness for a cause that’s rather unpopular within his own cabal. This week, the mayor started walking to Washington, DC on foot, hoping to bring more attention to the human consequences of rejecting Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion.
Since North Carolina hasn’t yet agreed to expand Medicaid, the hospital serving O’Neal’s rural constituency was recently forced to close. Vidant Pungo Hospital, which used to care for a disproportionately large population of low-income and uninsured patients, can no longer afford to remain operating in Belhaven. If the state had expanded Medicaid, however, things may have turned out differently. Vidant Pungo would have received an influx of newly insured patients; like the hospitals located in states that accepted Obamacare’s expansion, Vidant’s profit margins probably would have improved.
Now, Belhaven’s residents have to travel nearly an hour to get to the closest hospital, something that has created what O’Neal calls “a medical desert.” So he’s marching 273 miles to Washington to find a solution.
“Our state’s refusal to accept expansion is taking two billion dollars a year out of our state’s healthcare system,” the mayor wrote in an op-ed to explain why he’s making the trek over the next two weeks. “Americans need to realize the rural healthcare struggles across our country. In the last year, more rural hospitals have closed than in the previous 15 years. Every hospital closure means deaths!!!”
In order to make that point, O’Neal is recounting the story of 48-year-old Portia Gibbs, who he says may not have died if she had been able to go to Vidant Pungo. Last week, Gibbs passed away after suffering a heart attack while emergency responders were waiting for a helicopter to transfer her to the closest hospital, which is now located 75 miles away. O’Neal points out it may have turned out differently if Vidant Pungo, which was 47 miles away, was still open.
Although some emergency responders say that a closer hospital wouldn’t have saved Gibbs, her family is still upset that she never had the option to receive emergency care in Belhaven. They joined O’Neal when he kicked off his two-week march on Monday, saying they want to prevent more potential deaths.
O’Neal and his supporters believe the decision to close Vidant Pungo Hospital violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it disproportionately impacted African Americans in the state who rely on that safety net hospital. Earlier this year, the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP filed an official complaint with the Department of Justice on those grounds. The DOJ initially negotiated a settlement that required Vidant Health, the regional health care system that ran the Pungo Hospital, to work out a plan to transfer control of the hospital’s operation. But that plan ended up falling apart, and the civil rights complaint has since been re-filed. The president of North Carolina’s NAACP, Rev. William Barber — who has been an instrumental player in the state’s ongoing Moral Monday movement — will join O’Neal on the first leg of his walk.
North Carolina isn’t the only state where this dynamic is unfolding. Rural hospitals are also being forced to close in states like Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee in the absence of Medicaid expansion. The Rural Policy Research Institute sees the fight over this particular Obamacare provision as one of the most important issues facing its constituency.
“Belhaven’s battle to hold onto emergency healthcare is shaping up to be a do-or-die challenge for rural America,” O’Neal explained at a recent county commissioner meeting, when he announced his intention to begin his march. “When it’s do-or-die, it’s no time to sit still. That’s why I’m walking.” The mayor is hoping to schedule a meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama once he eventually arrives in Washington.
Please excuse us for our shock at the fact this person is a repugican - compassion and sympathy - it goes against everything known about repugicans so it is a shock to the system.
We feel he is actually a Democrat who was confused and checked the wrong box on his voter registration form ... if not this 'stunt' as repugicans will see it will guarantee that he will be an independent by next election.

Game On

Obama Endorses Senate Bill to Protect Women from Hobby Lobby repugican cabal

Remember when we said that with the Hobby Lobby decision, repugicans had won a battle but lost a war?
The republicans have handed Senate Democrats a very powerful Get Out the Vote tool. Democrats drafted a bill to protect women from for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby interfering in their medical and health needs. President Obama has just indicated that his administration supports this bill.
Noting that preventative care like contraception has significant health benefits, the Obama administration also noted that since 2013, when the coverage requirement started, utilization of preventive care under Obamacare saved women $483 million.
Game on.
S. 2578 – Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act
(Senator Murray, D-Washington, and 43 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly supports legislation that would give women affected by the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the same coverage that everyone else is offered without interference by their employers.
Preventive health services, when accessible and affordable, have the potential to prevent disease, manage chronic illness, and save lives as well as dollars. That is why the Affordable Care Act ensures that Americans have coverage for preventive care like vaccines, cancer screenings, and contraception that medical experts have concluded are critical to the Nation’s health. According to a recent analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 76 million people have gained preventive services coverage since the law passed, and there are now an estimated 48.5 million women enrolled in private plans that are required to cover contraception without cost‑sharing. Contraception has significant health benefits, as documented by the independent Institute of Medicine, and coverage removes cost as a barrier to its use. One study found that in 2013, the year the coverage requirement started, utilization increased and women saved $483 million.
However, the Supreme Court’s rulings in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell, allow some employers to now withhold contraception coverage from their employees based on their own religious beliefs that their employees may not share. The Administration believes that women should make personal health care decisions for themselves, rather than their employers deciding for them.
This legislation would restore that right. It would prevent owners of for-profit companies from asserting their personal religious views to deny their employees Federally-required health benefits. At the same time, it would preserve the regulatory exemption for religious organizations like houses of worship and an accommodation for eligible nonprofit religious organizations, like some charities, that have religious objections to contraception coverage. This legislation is consistent with the congressional intent in enacting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 2578 and remains committed to working with the Congress to improve the affordability and accessibility of health care for all Americans.
With the Hobby Lobby decision, it became obvious that there is a repugican cabal War on Women. It became obvious that repugicans anti-Obama fever and faux 'pro-life' stance was forcing them into a corner where they were against contraception, which is, of course, the best way to reduce abortion rates. This is not a matter of opinion, but logic backed up by evidence. It should be noted that contrary to the accusations made by repugicans, the abortion rate has dropped under President Obama.
If a person is really “pro-life”, they are going to be for things that prevent unplanned for pregnancies. If a person is really “pro-life”, they are also going to be for health initiatives that protect women, since women are human beings. Yes, rumor has it that a fetus can turn into a woman, so it makes little sense to protect a fetus only to destroy a woman’s health.
While repugicans deny rape and pretend that contraception is all about sex, women and the people who love them know better. This issue impacts most women at some point in their lives, so it wasn’t a smart move for wingnuts before an election. While midterms favor repugican voters demographically, repugicans are doing their best to motivate the opposition. And the opposition, in this case, is an ever-expanding tent.
repugicans won a battle, but now that battle is being used against them in the war. Game on, repugican cabal.
The repugicans obstructed the legislation as we knew they would, but as they say "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

Senate repugicans Doom The repugican cabal By Blocking Bill To Reverse Hobby Lobby

The reaction to the Senate repugicans’ move to block a bill that would have reversed the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision demonstrates why the repugican cabal is doomed.
On a mostly party line vote of 56-43, repugicans blocked the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act from advancing. Three repugicans joined with the Democrats in voting to move the bill forward (Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Mark Kirk). Harry Reid changed his vote to no for procedural reasons.
The repugicans continued to wrap themselves in the false flag of religious freedom. Mitch McConnell (r-KY) said, “Well, repugicans continue to insist that we can and should be in the business of protecting everyone’s rights. We think that, instead of restricting Americans’ religious freedoms, Congress should instead work to preserve a woman’s ability to make contraceptive decisions for herself.”
Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen summed up the position of the bill’s supporters, “A woman’s health care decision should be made with her doctor, with her family, with her faith, not by her employer with her employer’s faith.”
The reaction to the vote suggests that the Senate repugicans have made another big mistake.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said, “It is shameful and wrong that Senate repugican leaders ... decided to side with corporate bosses who are exploiting loopholes and a narrow Supreme Court vote to shirk their responsibility to their workers instead of supporting the women who elected them to office and expect their rights upheld….Votes and political games like these are why we are seeing a huge gender gap in nearly every poll. Access to birth control is not a fringe issue; it is a mainstream issue that affects nearly all women in this country. We will continue to work between now and Election Day to remind women, and all voters, where their representative stands on this vital issue.”
Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet, said, “The repugican cabal has just shown America what its 2014 agenda is all about— opposing access to birth control. Despite its wild popularity, and medical necessity for many, wingnuts seem hell-bent on ending women’s access to contraception. Today’s Senate vote is appalling, and like the Supreme Court decision that came before it, proves to women across America that if we don’t fight conservatives will roll back our rights to the 50′s. This isn’t a vote women will forget in November.”
It is wrong to suggest that the contraception issue is just a women’s issue. This issue should matter to every man and woman in this country who cares about liberty. It’s not an issue of how women get access to birth control. The problem is that repugicans have given employers the power to tell women what they can do with their bodies.
In terms of rights, Hobby Lobby is a return to the 1950s, but even more, it is a return to the 19th Century idea that the an employer controlled the lives of their employees. The majority of people in this country are not going to stand by and allow women to be treated like property. The repugican cabal is catering a segment of their base by standing by the Hobby Lobby decision, but they have also mobilized millions of voters who they were trying to keep away from the polls.
After 2014, the electoral map will shift. It will be repugicans who will be defending the majority of Senate seats over the next few cycles. Women, and all supporters of access to contraception will be coming for these Senate repugicans in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020.
By not seeing the bigger picture, repugicans swapped short-term victory for long-term defeat. Senate repugicans didn’t win a battle today. They just took another step towards losing the war.

Renee Ellmers’ Advice to the repugican cabal: Stop Confusing Women Voters with Pie Charts

Steford ReneeWhile repugican controlled states continue to do all within their power to make voting more difficult for people who are likely to vote Democrat, repugican cabal contenders still need substantial support from women.  At least they understand that reality.  That is where the momentary lapse into reality ends.
Obviously, most women understand that voting for the repugican cabal is synonymous to handing their personhood to the very people who applauded the Supreme Court’s ideologically based Hobby Lobby ruling.  We understand that the repugican cabal opposes equal pay for equal work, opposes laws criminalizing violence against women and favors corporate control over women’s access to healthcare.
In short, a woman who votes repugican isn’t merely voting against her economic and political interests, she is voting against her very personhood.
The repugicans continue to believe the problem is messaging.  Renee Ellmers is the most recent to argue that if only women are talked down to at a low enough level, we’ll get it.  We will wrap our pretty little heads around the complex concept that corporations are people and women should be property.  Talking down to us means we will understand that the glory days entail women knowing their place is in the binder.
We can solve unemployment if only women would just get married – ideally before they find out about things like dignity, equal partnership in marriage and if the marriage doesn’t work out (or the husband is abusive) community property.  Politics would be so much more stable if nice women knew they really don’t want the vote and for that matter, realize that owning property is way too complex.  America would be a much better place if only women understood their purpose in life is home, children, satisfying their man and church.
If only repugicans would talk to us at a low enough level, so we will understand. You can listen to Ellmers explain it all here.
“Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level,” Ellmers said. “Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that.”
Hear that ladies?  The problem with the repugican is not their policies, it’s those complicated pie charts, graphs and big numbers.
“We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life — that’s the way to go,”
The best thing the repugican cabal can do for America and for the Democratic Party is to take Renee Ellmers’ advice.
They can do that by getting rid of those pie charts, graphs and big numbers. It would certainly help if they reduce the message to monosyllabic words, ideally with pictures. The messaging would be much more effective if they can wrap it in bling.  After all, the evidentiary support that woman are easily distracted by shiny objects is indisputable.
The best thing women can do for America, for their families and for themselves is to recognize that Ellmers is the latest to admit that the repugican cabal still does not understand that the problem is backward and oppressive policies – not messaging.  They don’t understand that even if you wrap the war on women in the shiniest object on the planet, it remains a war on women.   They still don’t understand that the repugican cabal ‘s problem is that they talk down to everyone who isn’t part of the 1%. That’s why they are on the path to self-destruction.
Their ignorance is our strength, provided we use our voices at election time.

In One Sentence, Michele Bachmann Proves How Ignorant repugicans are about the Constitution

by Allen Clifton
I often comment about how hypocritical repugicans are when it comes to our Constitution.  They’re usually the first to stand on a pedestal and speak about the importance of “Constitutional values,” yet they seem unable to even grasp the basic fundamentals of what that even means.
bachmann-the-intellectualAnd while most people with common sense already know this, Michele Bachmann perfectly showcased repugican ignorance about our Constitution in one sentence.
While speaking with wingnut shrieking head Lars Larson, Bachmann said that gay people have “so bullied the American people and they have so intimidated politicians that politicians fear them and they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere.  Well, not with the Constitution you don’t.”
Though almost perfect, her next sentence really showcased true repugican ignorance about the Constitution.
“If you want take away my religious liberties,” she continued, “you can advocate for that but you do it through the constitutional process and you don’t intimidate and no politician should give away my religious liberties or yours.”
And that’s the sentence that shows the true ignorance repugicans have about our Constitution.
Advocating for equal rights for homosexuals isn’t “bullying” or “taking away” anyone's religious liberties.  It’s simply saying that it’s unconstitutional to discriminate against homosexuals based on religion - because that’s what our First Amendment says! 
First Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..”
Notice the whole part about not establishing religion?  That means it’s unconstitutional (be it on a state or federal level) to pass laws that are derived from religious beliefs.
End of story.
So, there’s no need to “advocate” to take away her religious liberties on a Constitutional level because the First Amendment to the United States Constitution already does that for us. 
What these “activist judges” and “lawless President Obama” are doing is simply adhering to the Constitution which says laws cannot be based on religion.
It’s also ironic that these judges, who are making rulings based on the Constitution (which the Supreme Court sided with when they overturned DOMA), are actually using the “constitutional process” for which Bachmann seems to be advocating.
But the real problem is wingnuts like Bachmann just don’t like how reality is proving time and time again that their values don’t seem to be Constitutional.  They long for a version of our Constitution that exists in their minds, just not in reality.

Why Do wingnut 'christians' Think 'Religious Freedom' Means Forcing Their Delusion on You?

by Amanda Marcotte
Religious freedom has turned into wingnut code for imposing christianity.
Religious freedom is one of the most fundamental American values, written directly into the First Amendment of the Constitution. Of course, true religious freedom requires a secular society, where government stays out of the religion game and leaves it strictly to individual conscience, a standard that runs directly against the modern wingnut insistence that America is and should be a “christian nation”. So what are people who claim to be 'patriots' standing up for American values to do? Increasingly, the solution oo the religio-wingnuts is to redefine “religious freedom” so that it means, well, its exact opposite. “Religious freedom” has turned into wingnut code for imposing the christian delusion on the non-believers.
While it seems like a leap even for the most delusional wingnuts to believe that their religious freedom can only be protected by giving christians broad power to force their delusion on others, a new report from the People For the American Way shows how the narrative is constructed. The report shows that christian wingnut circles have become awash in legends of being persecuted for their delusion, stories that invariably turn out to be nonsense but that “serve to bolster a larger story, that of a majority religious group in American society becoming a persecuted minority, driven underground in its own country.” This sense of persecution, in turn, gives them justification to push their actual agenda of religious repression under the guise that they’re just protecting themselves.
The most obvious and persistent example of this is the issue of creationism in the classroom. Clearly, teaching creationism in a biology classroom is a straightforward violation of the First Amendment, a direct attempt to use taxpayer money to foist a very specific religious teaching on captive students. So what the wingnuts do is re-frame the issue, arguing that teaching evolutionary theory is a form of religious oppression, a direct attack on the beliefs of fundamentalists in the classroom. This is pure hooey, of course, since evolutionary theory is not a religion but a scientific reality, and teaching science as science is no more a violation of religious freedom than teaching kids to that “cat” rhymes with “hat” is an imposition of religion. But once they’ve convinced themselves that learning science in the science classroom is religious persecution, it becomes easier to convince yourself that it’s okay to “fight back” by forcing your actual religion on everyone else.
You can see this play out in the legends that PFAW details out. Do christian wingnuts want to force their religious hostility to gays onto the military? Tell a lie about how a sergeant was persecuted for simply holding that religious belief to paint yourself as the “real” victim. Want to justify forcing non-believing kids to pray to your god in school? Tell lies about how kids are being punished for having private prayers all to themselves. Want to force people in the VA hospital to sing your religious songs and worship your god? Spread a false tale claiming that people aren’t allowed private ownership of religious cards. Tell enough of these stories and wingnuts can convince themselves the only way they can protect their own right to worship is to force their religious practice on everyone else.
You can see how this kind of logic swept over the Becket Fund, a legal institution that was initially set up to protect the individual right to religious freedom. As chronicled by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux at The American Prospect, the Becket Fund started off doing easily defensible work protecting people who wanted to express their religious beliefs in personal ways that are not coercive to others, such as protecting prisoners who wanted to have religious tchotchkes or workers who wanted to maintain religious hairstyles at work.
But the Becket Fund’s latest high profile case is an outright attack on religious freedom, in a case that was erroneously decided by the Supreme Court. The Becket Fund defended the Green family that owns Hobby Lobby in their desire to impose their religious delusions about contraception on employees, by denying employees the right to use their own insurance benefits on contraception. The idea that it could ever be “religious freedom” to tell an employee that her private use of her own compensation package should be constrained by her boss's religious delusions should be laughable. But that’s the logic of the modern christian wingnut that holds that the only way to “protect” their own religious delusion is to start forcing it on others.
Of course, this kind of logic inevitably starts to crumble when people who don’t share the wingnut christian delusion start pushing back and arguing that their right to their own private beliefs should not be infringed by being made to pray to someone else’s god in school, being taught bible stories in biology class, or being forced to check with the boss first before you pick up your prescription medications after hours. The solution, increasingly, is to outright argue that non-believers or people of different faiths have beliefs that are simply less worthy of basic protections for religious freedom, much less the hyper-charged “religious freedom” of imposing your delusion on others, the kind of “religious freedom” wingnut christians mistakenly believe they’re entitled to.
Take, for instance, Jody Hice, a repugican candidate for a U.S. House seat from Georgia. Hice has a novel solution to the problem of the religious rights of muslims being infringed upon when they are subject to having religion imposed on them by christians: Simply deny that islam is a religion and therefore deny that its followers enjoy freedom of religion. “Although islam has a religious component, it is much more than a simple religious ideology,” he wrote in his 2012 book It’s Now Or Never. “It is a complete geo-political structure and, as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection.”
It’s a dumb statement on two levels. One, it’s plainly obvious that islam is a religion and therefore people who believe in it are absolutely guaranteed their actual freedom to worship how they please. (Though perhaps Hice is worried that muslims will decide to adopt the christian wingnut definition of “religious freedom” and start demanding that you can’t eat pork and you have to pray five times a day.) But even if someone doesn’t have a religion doesn’t mean that they lose their basic right to decide for themselves what to believe. Atheists do not have a religion, but it’s just as wrong to force atheists to pray to your god as it would be to do so to a muslim.
Sadly, this argument that the christian wingnuts try to make that  religious freedom includes the right to foist their delusion on others has made the leap to the Supreme Court, with Justice Scalia arguing incoherently that the “First Amendment explicitly favors religion” in order to justify the hijacking of a school event to force religion on the non-believers in attendance. As Scott Lemieux at Lawyers Guns and Money pointed out, it’s actually the exact opposite: “it disfavors religious endorsements by the state.” But in this new topsy-turvy bizarro wingnut world, up is down, left is right, and the only way to protect religious freedom is to use government and corporate force to make everyone follow the wingnut version of christianity, whether they believe it or not.

Scientists Are Beginning to Figure Out Why wingnuts Are ... Well, wingnuts

Ten years ago, it was wildly controversial to talk about psychological differences between liberals and wingnuts. Today, it's becoming hard not to.  
Scientists are using eye-tracking devices to detect automatic response differences between liberals and wingnuts. 
You could be forgiven for not having browsed yet through the latest issue of the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences. If you care about politics, though, you'll find a punchline therein that is pretty extraordinary.
Behavioral and Brain Sciences employs a rather unique practice called "Open Peer Commentary": An article of major significance is published, a large number of fellow scholars comment on it, and then the original author responds to all of them. The approach has many virtues, one of which being that it lets you see where a community of scholars and thinkers stand with respect to a controversial or provocative scientific idea. And in the latest issue of the journal, this process reveals the following conclusion: A large body of political scientists and political psychologists now concur that liberals and wingnuts disagree about politics in part because they are different people at the level of personality, psychology, and even traits like physiology and genetics.
That's a big deal. It challenges everything that we thought we knew about politics—upending the idea that we get our beliefs solely from our upbringing, from our friends and families, from our personal economic interests, and calling into question the notion that in politics, we can really change (most of us, anyway).
It is a "virtually inescapable conclusion" that the "cognitive-motivational styles of leftists and wingnuts are quite different."
The occasion of this revelation is a paper by John Hibbing of the University of Nebraska and his colleagues, arguing that political wingnuts have a "negativity bias," meaning that they are physiologically more attuned to negative (threatening, disgusting) stimuli in their environments. (The paper can be read for free here.) In the process, Hibbing et al. marshal a large body of evidence, including their own experiments using eye trackers and other devices to measure the involuntary responses of political partisans to different types of images. One finding? That wingnuts respond much more rapidly to threatening and aversive stimuli (for instance, images of "a very large spider on the face of a frightened person, a dazed individual with a bloody face, and an open wound with maggots in it," as one of their papers put it).
In other words, the wingnut ideology, and especially one of its major facets—centered on a strong military, tough law enforcement, resistance to immigration, widespread availability of guns—would seem well tailored for an underlying, threat-oriented biology.
The authors go on to speculate that this ultimately reflects an evolutionary imperative. "One possibility," they write, "is that a strong negativity bias was extremely useful in the Pleistocene," when it would have been super-helpful in preventing you from getting killed. (The Pleistocene epoch lasted from roughly 2.5 million years ago until 12,000 years ago.) We had John Hibbing on the Inquiring Minds podcast earlier this year, and he discussed these ideas in depth; you can listen here:
Hibbing and his colleagues make an intriguing argument in their latest paper, but what's truly fascinating is what happened next. Twenty-six different scholars or groups of scholars then got an opportunity to tee off on the paper, firing off a variety of responses. But as Hibbing and colleagues note in their final reply, out of those responses, "22 or 23 accept the general idea" of a wingnut negativity bias, and simply add commentary to aid in the process of "modifying it, expanding on it, specifying where it does and does not work," and so on. Only about three scholars or groups of scholars seem to reject the idea entirely.
That's pretty extraordinary, when you think about it. After all, one of the teams of commenters includes New York University social psychologist John Jost, who drew considerable political ire in 2003 when he and his colleagues published a synthesis of existing psychological studies on ideology, suggesting that conservatives are characterized by traits such as a need for certainty and an intolerance of ambiguity. Now, writing in Behavioral and Brain Sciences in response to Hibbing roughly a decade later, Jost and fellow scholars note that
There is by now evidence from a variety of laboratories around the world using a variety of methodological techniques leading to the virtually inescapable conclusion that the cognitive-motivational styles of leftists and rightists are quite different. This research consistently finds that conservatism is positively associated with heightened epistemic concerns for order, structure, closure, certainty, consistency, simplicity, and familiarity, as well as existential concerns such as perceptions of danger, sensitivity to threat, and death anxiety. [Italics added]
Back in 2003, Jost and his team were blasted by Ann Coulter, George Will, and National Review for saying this; congressional repugicans began probing into their research grants; and they got lots of hate mail. But what's clear is that today, they've more or less triumphed. They won a field of converts to their view and sparked a wave of new research, including the work of Hibbing and his team.
"One possibility," note the authors, "is that a strong negativity bias was extremely useful in the Pleistocene," when it would have been super-helpful in preventing you from getting killed.
Granted, there are still many issues yet to be worked out in the science of ideology. Most of the commentaries on the new Hibbing paper are focused on important but not-paradigm-shifting side issues, such as the question of how wingnuts can have a higher negativity bias, and yet not have neurotic personalities. (Actually, if anything, the research suggests that liberals may be the more neurotic bunch.) Indeed, wingnuts tend to have a high degree of happiness and life satisfaction. But Hibbing and colleagues find no contradiction here. Instead, they paraphrase two other scholarly commentators (Matt Motyl of the University of Virginia and Ravi Iyer of the University of Southern California), who note that "successfully monitoring and attending negative features of the environment, as wingnuts tend to do, may be just the sort of tractable task…that is more likely to lead to a fulfilling and happy life than is a constant search for new experience after new experience."
All of this matters, of course, because we still operate in politics and in media as if minds can be changed by the best honed arguments, the most compelling facts. And yet if our political opponents are simply perceiving the world differently, that idea starts to crumble. Out of the rubble just might arise a better way of acting in politics that leads to less dysfunction and less gridlock…thanks to science.

You know it's going to be a bad day when ...


Michio Hoshino, a photographer known for his pictures of bears and other wildlife, was mauled to death by a brown bear on the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia. He was in his mid-40′s and lived in Fairbanks, Alaska.
This was the last photo he took. / Fake

The alleged wildlife photographer’s last photograph of a bear is spreading through internet like wildfire. A lot of people believe the story and repast it in the discussion forums and send it by email. But fewer people know that the photo (above) is a fake and has no relevance to the tragic accident that happened on August 8, 1996. Let us find out what really happened…
That day, a photographer Michio Hoshino was killed by a brown bear while on assignment in Kurilskoye lake. Mr. Michio “was on the peninsula as part of a team making a documentary film about brown bears. (…) The documentary was for a Japanese television network. (…) Hoshino was attacked by the bear in his tent on the bank of a lake at about 4 a.m. (…)The other team members heard Hoshino’s screams and came running, but the bear dashed into the woods dragging Hoshino. (…) Searchers later found his body in the woods. source

Read the full article here!

... this is the first thing you see upon waking up

Big Banks Hit with Monster $250 Billion Lawsuit for Fraud in Housing Crisis

by Ellen Brown
Did the banksters just meet their match?
For years, homeowners have been battling Wall Street in an attempt to recover some portion of their massive losses from the housing Ponzi scheme. But progress has been slow, as they have been outgunned and out-spent by the banking titans.
In June, however, the banks may have met their match, as some equally powerful titans strode onto the stage.  Investors led by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, and PIMCO, the world’s largest bond-fund manager, have sued some of the world’s largest banks for breach of fiduciary duty as trustees of their investment funds. The investors are seeking damages for losses surpassing $250 billion. That is the equivalent of one million homeowners with $250,000 in damages suing at one time.
The defendants are the so-called trust banks that oversee payments and enforce terms on more than $2 trillion in residential mortgage securities. They include units of Deutsche Bank AG, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC Holdings PLC, and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Six nearly identical complaints charge the trust banks with breach of their duty to force lenders and sponsors of the mortgage-backed securities to repurchase defective loans.
Why the investors are only now suing is complicated, but it involves a recent court decision on the statute of limitations. Why the trust banks failed to sue the lenders evidently involves the cozy relationship between lenders and trustees. The trustees also securitized loans in pools where they were not trustees. If they had started filing suit demanding repurchases, they might wind up suedon other deals in retaliation. Better to ignore the repurchase provisions of the pooling and servicing agreements and let the investors take the losses—better, at least, until they sued.
Beyond the legal issues are the implications for the solvency of the banking system itself. Can even the largest banks withstand a $250 billion iceberg? The sum is more than 40 times the $6 billion “London Whale” that shook JPMorganChase to its foundations.
Who Will Pay - the Banks or the Depositors?
The world’s largest banks are considered “too big to fail” for a reason. The fractional reserve banking scheme is a form of shell game, which depends on “liquidity” borrowed at very low interest from other banks or the money market. When Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008, triggering a run on the money market, the whole interconnected shadow banking system nearly went down with it.
Congress then came to the rescue with a taxpayer bailout, and the Federal Reserve followed with its quantitative easing fire hose. But in 2010, the Dodd Frank Act said there would be no more government bailouts. Instead, the banks were to save themselves with “bail ins,” meaning they were to recapitalize themselves by confiscating a portion of the funds of their creditors – including not only their shareholders and bondholders but the largest class of creditor of any bank, their depositors.
Theoretically, deposits under $250,000 are protected by FDIC deposit insurance. But the FDIC fund contains only about $47 billion – a mere 20% of the Black Rock/PIMCO damage claims. Before 2010, the FDIC could borrow from the Treasury if it ran short of money. But since the Dodd Frank Act eliminates government bailouts, the availability of Treasury funds for that purpose is now in doubt.
When depositors open their online accounts and see that their balances have shrunk or disappeared, a run on the banks is likely. And since banks rely on each other for liquidity, the banking system as we know it could collapse. The result could be drastic deleveraging, erasing trillions of dollars in national wealth.
Phoenix Rising
Some pundits say the global economy would then come crashing down. But in a thought-provoking March 2014 article called “American Delusionalism, or Why History Matters,” John Michael Greer disagrees. He notes that historically, governments have responded by modifying their financial systems:
Massive credit collapses that erase very large sums of notional wealth and impact the global economy are hardly a new phenomenon . . . but one thing that has never happened as a result of any of them is the sort of self-feeding, irrevocable plunge into the abyss that current fast-crash theories require.
The reason for this is that credit is merely one way by which a society manages the distribution of goods and services. . . . A credit collapse . . . doesn’t make the energy, raw materials, and labor vanish into some fiscal equivalent of a black hole; they’re all still there, in whatever quantities they were before the credit collapse, and all that’s needed is some new way to allocate them to the production of goods and services.
This, in turn, governments promptly provide. In 1933, for example, faced with the most severe credit collapse in American history, Franklin Roosevelt temporarily nationalized the entire US banking system, seized nearly all the privately held gold in the country, unilaterally changed the national debt from “payable in gold” to “payable in Federal Reserve notes” (which amounted to a technical default), and launched a  series of other emergency measures.  The credit collapse came to a screeching halt, famously, in less than a hundred days. Other nations facing the same crisis took equally drastic measures, with similar results. . . .
Faced with a severe crisis, governments can slap on wage and price controls, freeze currency exchanges, impose rationing, raise trade barriers, default on their debts, nationalize whole industries, issue new currencies, allocate goods and services by fiat, and impose martial law to make sure the new economic rules are followed to the letter, if necessary, at gunpoint. Again, these aren’t theoretical possibilities; every one of them has actually been used by more than one government faced by a major economic crisis in the last century and a half.
That historical review is grounds for optimism, but confiscation of assets and enforcement at gunpoint are still not the most desirable outcomes. Better would be to have an alternative system in place and ready to implement before the boom drops.
The Better Mousetrap
North Dakota has established an effective alternative model that other states might do well to emulate. In 1919, the state legislature pulled its funds out of Wall Street banks and put them into the state’s own publicly-owned bank, establishing financial sovereignty for the state. The Bank of North Dakota has not only protected the state’s financial interests but has been a moneymaker for it ever since.
On a national level, when the Wall Street credit system fails, the government can turn to the innovative model devised by our colonial forebears and start issuing its own currency and credit—a power now usurped by private banks but written into the US Constitution as belonging to Congress.
The chief problem with the paper scrip of the colonial governments was the tendency to print and spend too much. The Pennsylvania colonists corrected that systemic flaw by establishing a publicly-owned bank, which lent money to farmers and tradespeople at interest. To get the funds into circulation to cover the interest, some extra scrip was printed and spent on government services. The money supply thus expanded and contracted naturally, not at the whim of government officials but in response to seasonal demands for credit. The interest returned to public coffers, to be spent on the common weal.
The result was a system of money and credit that was sustainable without taxes, price inflation or government debt – not to mention without credit default swaps, interest rate swaps, central bank manipulation, slicing and dicing of mortgages, rehypothecation in the repo market, and the assorted other fraudulent schemes underpinning our “systemically risky” banking system today.
Relief for Homeowners?
Will the BlackRock/PIMCO suit help homeowners?  Not directly.  But it will get some big guns on the scene, with the ability to do all sorts of discovery, and the staff to deal with the results.
Fraud is grounds for rescission, restitution and punitive damages.  The homeowners may not have been parties to the pooling and servicing agreements governing the investor trusts, but if the whole business model is proven to be fraudulent, they could still make a case for damages.
In the end, however, it may be the titans themselves who take each other down, clearing the way for a new phoenix to rise from the ashes.

Corporate Greed Exacerbates Drought

Nestle Believes Water Is Not a Basic Human Right 
According to the former CEO and now Chairman of the largest food product manufacturer in the world, Nestle, corporations own every drop of water on the planet …
There are few things as fundamentally crucial to the existence of human beings and, indeed, all life on Earth as water. It is difficult to believe any human being thinks water is privately-owned, a commodity, to use for profit at the expense of human life, but Americans know there are entities that will go to any lengths to feed their corporate greed. In several states in this country, climate change is wreaking havoc on the people in the form of severe, multi-year droughts. So, with extreme water shortages, what do two industries do with the vanishing precious resource? They either mix it with deadly carcinogens and pump it, under extremely high pressure, back into the ground, often directly over active earthquake faults, or draw it out of the ground, bottle it, and sell it for profit. It is a wealthy corporations’ ideal business model; free raw materials and a product no human being can survive without.
California, like many states primarily in the southwestern United States, is facing one of its most severe droughts on record. The conditions are so severe that in January Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency in preparation for water shortages that are especially dangerous during the summer months. The critically severe drought has entered its third year of a projected decade (at least) long drought, and throughout California water restrictions are having a profound impact on agriculture. In fact, the water shortage is so severe that farmers in some of the most agricultural-rich areas of the country are being forewarned there may be no water within two years at best; that is if the extreme conservation measures work.
However, while the rest of the state is attempting to conserve what little life-sustaining water California has left, the Nestle Company ignores the emergency measures the state adopted because its water bottling plant is conveniently located on a Native American reservation. Like all N.A. reservations, it is considered a sovereign nation by the US government. It is a water-theft enterprise any greedy corporation would lust after because unlike farmers, individual Californians, and every municipality in the state, Nestle is exempt from complying with any water-saving state or federal regulations. To make matters worse, Nestle is depleting what precious water reserves lie deep underground in the aquifer and pumping it directly to its bottling plant and selling it for profit. This is not a new endeavor for Nestle, and their blatant disregard for Californians’ need for basic survival was best expressed by Nestle’s CEO and Chairman.
According to the former CEO and now Chairman of the largest food product manufacturer in the world, Nestle, corporations own every drop of water on the planet, and because he believes water is not a basic human right; if human beings get thirsty, they have to pay or die. It is the ultimate privatization insult to mankind, and worse because Nestle is intent on privatizing water the world over; a natural resource that falls from the sky and seeps into the Earth for man to use for survival. In the case of California, and other regions around the world, what precious little water remains for basic survival is being stolen by a filthy corporation to sell to those who can afford to survive, and they are being assisted by Native Americans claiming to be good stewards of the Earth. Maybe this is Native American vengeance on the white man for invading their sovereign land, massacring them, and sending the survivors to permanent interment camps with high-sounding names like “sovereign nations.” But that is another story altogether; this is about Nestle draining California’s water.
The Nestle Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water bottling plant is located on the Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation and drains water from a Mojave Desert oasis at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains 85 miles from Los Angeles where just three inches of rain falls each year. Their little enterprise prevents water from seeping downhill to fill aquifers of nearby towns struggling for water during the drought, and prior to 2009, about when the drought began, Nestle submitted annual reports to local water districts detailing how much groundwater they were extracting for profit. Since the drought began, neither Nestle nor the Morongo tribe submitted any forms; likely because it would be bad for business to tell local residents how much of their precious water they are being forced to buy to increase Nestle’s profits.
Nestle already has a history of showing blatant disregard for the human race according to Corporate Watch. The company regularly barges into struggling rural areas and extracts groundwater to sell in bottles “completely destroying the water supply without any compensation,” and in fact “actually makes rural areas in the United States foot the bill.” However, Nestle is not focusing only on Americans’ water as reported by Corporate Watch that has documented Nestle and former CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe’s long history of disregarding public health and abusing the environment for profit to the tune of $35 billion annually from water bottle sales alone. Corporate Watch states that “Nestlé production of mineral water involves the abuse of vulnerable water resources. In the Serra da Mantiqueira region of Brazil, home to the “circuit of waters” park whose groundwater has a high mineral content and medicinal properties, over-pumping has resulted in depletion and long-term damage.”
One wonders if when the Morongo Band of Indians runs out of water themselves and is forced to buy water they allowed Nestle to deplete for profits, they will still consider themselves good stewards of the Earth or that Nestle is a “valued partner.” California is home to the largest Nestle water bottling operation near Mount Shasta that is suffering the drought as much as any other part of the state with nearby Shasta Lake unrecognizable as a lake. Still, the piece of human filth, Nestle CEO, condemned non-governmental organizations like the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations for perpetuating the “extremist idea that drinking water is a human right” that should not have a market price to enrich the Nestle corporation.
Although the extreme California drought is just one reason to take action against Nestle, the point is the giant corporation is pillaging a basic necessity for human life all over the world with little opposition and relative impunity. The company touts job creation as validation for draining the water supply dry and selling it back to thirsty Americans, but when they have exhausted the water supply, no amount of jobs or money will sustain life devoid of water. There is no end to the disregard for human life that corporations have made their overriding mission after profit taking, and at least in one California region, there is no possibility of holding a truly vile and inhumane corporation accountable for a crime against humanity; stealing their dwindling water supply and selling it back for profit because they set up shop in a sovereign nation inside drought-stricken California.

Ultra Pure Water

People are always filtering, purifying, and even distilling their water to make it as pure as possible. Of course, it's a good idea to get rid of germs and toxins, but what if we achieved perfectly pure water, with nothing but H2O? That might not be such a great idea. David Rees talked with a water scientist named Kim at ThermoFisher Scientific about the properties of pure water. Kim really needs a last name because she has the best line in the video.

As far as drinking ultra-pure water, it’s not something we need to worry about. The water made in this lab is not comparable to water available to the public. And drinking distilled water will only hurt you if that’s the only water you consume and you don’t make up the difference in minerals with the food you eat.

Why Do We Have Blood Types?

Why do 40% of Caucasians have type A blood, while only 27% of Asians do? Where do different blood types come from, and what do they do? More than a century after their discovery, we still don’t know what blood groups like O, A and B are for. Do they really matter?



Hundreds of bras missing after fence ransacked

The bra fence in the Cardrona Valley, New Zealand, has been ransacked and hundreds of bras were removed one night last week. The bras have been a feature of a farm fence just north of the Cardrona Alpine Resort entrance for about 15 years.
Operator of The Cardrona Horse Trekking and Quad Biking tours business behind the fence, Sean Colbourne, said he was disappointed a ''sneak thief'' was prowling around at night with a pair scissors taking the bras, many of them left by passing tourists. ''The next time someone tampers with it we will charge them with theft and trespass.
''We're not quite sure who's doing it or what their agenda is. I just find people sneaking around in the middle of the night with scissors is a little bit mischievous.'' Mr Colbourne said he had not complained to the police but was looking at ways to make the bra fence more secure. One possibility was to move it further away from the road on to the land where his business operates.
The original bra fence was started by Cardrona identity John Lee and revived by son Sam Lee last year, in memory of his late girlfriend, Danielle Cook, who had enjoyed the fun of contributing to the bra fence. Supporters have always maintained it is a bit of fun that puts the Cardrona on the map. Opponents have raised concerns about road safety. Senior Sergeant Allan Grindell, of Wanaka, said as no complaints had been laid with police they were not actively seeking a bra thief.

Chinese city has banned and destroyed 20,000 boxes of matches in bid to fight terror attacks

A city in China's far western region of Xinjiang has banned matches and destroyed more than 20,000 boxes of them as part of efforts to fight terror attacks.
Fukang, which sits near regional capital Urumqi, decided to remove all matches from circulation to ensure they are not used by "terrorist groups or individual extremists to carry out criminal activities."

Police destroyed 20,223 boxes of matches, which will ensure that the city maintains its current peaceful environment, a local government spokesperson said. The county police made the original announcement last week but it was only picked up by state media on Tuesday.
The announcement didn't say how the matches are used for criminal activity. China has been toughening its response after a spate of bloody incidents nationwide centred on Xinjiang, the traditional home of the muslim Uighurs. China has blamed attacks on Islamist separatists in the region, who, it says, want to establish an independent state there called East Turkestan.

Man arrested for allegedly stabbing and carving watermelon in a passive-aggressive manner

A Connecticut man has been charged with threatening after his wife told police he stabbed and carved a watermelon in a passive-aggressive manner.
Thomaston Police Chief Jim Campbell said Carmine Cervellino’s wife originally went to police on July 4 to report finding marijuana and drugs in a toolbox at the house.

The toolbox was not there when police responded and no charges were filed. When the woman later returned home, she found a watermelon on the counter with a butcher's knife in it, police said.
She told police that Cervellino, 49, came in soon after and carved the watermelon in a passive-aggressive manner, Campbell said. Cervellino was arrested on July 12 and charged with threatening and disorderly conduct. According to police the couple are in the process of going through a divorce.

Man faces charges after jumping into aquarium tank containing shark

A man is facing charges after jumping into a tank containing a shark at the New England Aquarium in Boston on Thursday evening.
Stephen Pellegrine, 51, of Quincy, Massachusetts, was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on Friday on charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct after jumping into the tank, according to Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
Aquarium staff demanded that he get out of the water, but he swam around for “several minutes” before exiting, Wark said. “Fortunately the shark had already been fed,” Wark added. The four-storey tank is 26 feet deep, 40 feet wide and holds 200,000 gallons of salt water.
In addition to the shark, it includes a coral reef and hundreds of Caribbean animals, including sea turtles, stingrays, eels and fish. Pellegrine was held on $1,500 cash bail and ordered to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and to stay away from the aquarium. He is due back in court on July 23.

Random Photos


Biker girl http://bikes-n-girls.tumblr.com/
Didn't know granny was a biker chick now did you

A Rift Runs Through It

Iceland's Divergence Of The Plates
Thingvellir, Iceland: the landscape is wild and desolate but hauntingly beautiful. Yet the serene magnificence of the surroundings belies an astonishing fact. It is here as a result of massive, geological trauma.
This is one of the few places above sea level where you can see with your own eyes what happens when two major tectonic plates drift away from each other. In fact, Iceland owes its very existence to the tectonic processes which have played out along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge for millions of years.

Clouds Flowing over the Rock of Gibraltar

)This is the Levanter Cloud, an unusual and beautiful cloud formation that appears on Gibraltar. That promontory rises high into the air before the Levanter, a wind that blows west out of the Mediterranean Sea. The frequent result is a heavy cloud cap resting over the mountain.

Daily Comic Relief


41 Facts About Dogs

There are plenty of things that dog lovers need to know, like how to care for them and make the most of your lives together. Beyond that, there are plenty of stories about dogs that are just plain interesting. In this week’s mental_floss video, John Green tells us stories about dog breeds, famous dogs in history, and even scientific research about dogs.


A new study reveals that these fish fluoresce more in deep water, a technique that allows them to convert blue-green light into red or yellow light.

Whale Shark Hot Spot

Whale sharks are congregating to a new shark hot spot that's not too toasty or too cold. 

Sea Monsters

One of the first predators of its day, the creature sported compound eyes, body armor and two spiky claws for grabbing prey.

Imperiled Endangered River Dolphins

The Indus River dolphin's range has declined as a result of dams and irrigation projects, a new study shows.

Animal Pictures