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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

904 Arabs capture Thessalonica.
1703 English novelist Daniel Defoe is made to stand in the pillory as punishment for offending the government and church with his satire The Shortest Way With Dissenters.
1760 Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, drives the French army back to the Rhine River.
1790 The U.S. Patent Office opens.
1882 Belle and Sam Starr are charged with horse stealing in the Indian territory.
1875 Former president Andrew Johnson dies at the age of 66.
1891 Great Britain declares territories in Southern Africa up to the Congo to be within their sphere of influence.
1904 The Trans-Siberian railroad connecting the Ural mountains with Russia's Pacific coast, is completed.
1917 The third Battle of Ypres commences as the British attack the German lines.
1932 Adolf Hitler's Nationalist Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis) doubles its strength in legislative elections.
1944 The Soviet army takes Kovno, the capital of Lithuania.
1962 Federation of Malaysia formally proposed.
1971 Apollo 15 astronauts take a drive on the moon in their land rover.
1987 An F4 tornado in Edmonton, Alberta kills 27 and causes $330 million in damages; the day is remembered as "Black Friday."
1988 Bridge collapse at Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal in Butterworth, Malaysia, kills 32 and injures more than 1,600.
1990 Bosnia-Hercegovina declares independence from Yugoslavia.
1991 US and USSR sign a long-range nuclear weapons reduction pact.
1999 NASA purposely crashes its Discovery Program's Lunar Prospector into the moon, ending the agency's mission to detect frozen water on Earth's moon.
2006 Fidel Castro temporarily hands over power to his brother Raul Castro.
2007 The British Army's longest continual operation, Operation Banner (1969-2007), ends as British troops withdraw from Northern Ireland.

USA Today Publishes John Boehner Editorial Then Trashes His Lawsuit Against Obama

John Boehner cryingUSA Today published an editorial by House Speaker John Boehner defending his lawsuit against President Obama, while at the same time their own editorial board published an editorial blasting the lawsuit.
Boehner wrote, “Congress makes the laws; the president executes them. That is the system the Founders gave us. This is not about executive orders. Every president issues executive orders. Most of them, though, do so within the law. This is also not about me vs. President Obama. This is about future Congresses and future presidents. There is a conflict between the executive branch and the legislative branch of our government. It is the judiciary branch’s role to help resolve it. I believe this path is the right one to defend our institution and preserve the Constitution, while continuing to focus on the American people’s top priority — helping our private sector create more American jobs.”
The editorial board at USA Today put out a nearly simultaneous editorial that took Boehner to task for the lawsuit.
The editorial board wrote:
It’s possible to view this as a high-minded dispute over where the Constitution draws the lines of authority between Congress and the president. Republicans cite scores of examples of what they say is executive overreach, such as Obama’s decision not to deport children brought here illegally by their parents.
But the lawsuit focuses solely on a small part of Obamacare, one that repugicans themselves would love to see delayed forever. A fair-minded look at the suit’s merits suggests it’s really more of a political grudge match, one in which the repugican cabal is seeking an outcome it hasn’t been able to achieve at the polls or through the legislative process.
For one thing, Obama’s temporary delay to part of the health law doesn’t seem much different from the shrub’s action in 2006 to extend the deadline and waive penalties for certain seniors who hadn’t signed up in time for the new Medicare prescription drug program. Both presidents appeared to be making reasonable, short-term accommodations to reality, and courts have traditionally given the executive branch broad discretion in implementing complex new laws.
It’s not good when the editorial board of the newspaper that published Boehner’s defense of his lawsuit felt compelled to write their own editorial condemning his tactics. Outside of wingnut circles, Boehner is not finding a warm reception anywhere for his lawsuit. The lawsuit isn’t fooling anybody. It has always been a path towards drumming up support for impeaching the president. Boehner’s frivolous abuse of the court system is also intended to make Obamacare the front and center issue during the midterm elections.
The lawsuit does look like an attempt by a sore loser at petty political retribution. The repugicans lost at the ballot box. They’ve lost in court of public opinion, because people like what the ACA does. All that they have left is a desperate run to the courts in the hopes that partisan agitator judges will bail them out.
As a political strategy, the lawsuit has backfired. Democrats are fired up over Boehner’s clumsy tactics. As a fundraising gambit, the lawsuit has been a disaster. Democrats continue to raise millions of dollars off of a tactic that was supposed to help repugicans gain seats in the fall.
Boehner has shot the repugican cabal in both feet with his lawsuit, and it has gotten to the point where no credible publication wants to be tainted with the embarrassment surrounding his attempt to sue the president.

This repugican Governor Who Won’t Expand Medicaid Blames Obama For High Uninsured Rate In State

A study done by WalletHub finds that Mississippi is the only state that has seen its uninsured population increase since the implementation of Obamacare.because Phil Bryant decided not to expand Medicaid …

phil_bryantDue to the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of uninsured people in this country has decreased dramatically over the past few months. However, there is one state where there has actually been an increase in those who lack health insurance. A study done by WalletHub finds that Mississippi is the only state that has seen its uninsured population increase since the implementation of Obamacare. Prior to the first enrollment period on the health care exchanges, Mississippi’s uninsured rate was 18.11%. It has since climbed to 21.46%, which is the second highest uninsured rate in the nation, trailing only Texas.
When presented with this information by The Daily Journal, repugican Gov. Phil Bryant knew exactly where to point the finger of blame.
“If statistics show that the ill-conceived and so-called Affordable Care Act is resulting in higher rates of uninsured people in Mississippi, I’d say that’s yet another example of a broken promise from Barack Obama.”
Of course, what the Governor failed to point out is that he has refused to expand Medicaid in his state even though his state won’t have to pay for it for the first three years, and the federal government will pay 90% of the expansion in subsequent years. What is even more dumbfounding about Bryant’s decision to not provide expanded Medicaid coverage to the state’s residents is that Mississippi is the nation’s poorest state and has largest percentage of its population living below the poverty line. Mississippi also has the highest unemployment rate in the country.
In an effort to see Obamacare fail, Bryant and other repugicans in Mississippi are going out of their way to deliberately hurt the poorest people in their state. In a state that has proven time and time again that pushing an extreme wingnut ideology only makes things worse, Mississippi repugicans continue to insist that everything is the fault of liberals and Democrats. If they aren’t blaming Obama for their ills, they are claiming that not having insurance isn’t all that bad anyway. That it is really just about having a choice. Mississippi’s Speaker of the House Philip Gunn had the following to say when asked if it was good that more people in Mississippi are now uninsured.
 “I don’t know if it is good or not. That is their call to make.”
The fact is, due to the high number of poor people in Mississippi, if the state agreed to expand Medicaid, over 300,000 residents would become immediately eligible. That would almost certainly bring down the uninsured numbers in the state. While the majority of red Southern states have declined to participate in the expansion, the ones that have seen huge decreases in the uninsured rates in their states. Kentucky, which also create its own state exchange, has seen its rate drop to 8.95%. It was previously at 17.3%. Arkansas has gone from 20.87% to 13.77% while West Virginia has seen a huge difference with the rate down to 6.59% after being at 17.34%
However, in states like Mississippi and Texas, the governors and repugican-dominated legislatures would rather obstruct and prevent their residents from receiving health coverage. Why? Because they hate the man currently occupying the White House. Of course, it plays well to their ‘base,’ who will support the repugican cabal due to their own prejudices, even as they vote and act out against their own self-interests. I guess it is better to be poor, bitter and bigoted than accept anything from a Democratic black man.

Kansas Is Going Bankrupt And repugicans Are Lying About the Tax Cutting Reason Why

Despite repugican warnings the state will be bankrupt in two years, more than 100 Kansas repugicans swearing to help replace Brownback with a Democrat for governor, and a …

imageIn the field of psychiatry, pathological lying, compulsive lying, or pseudologia fantastica is a behavior of habitual lying that is defined as “falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime.” In some cases the individual may be be unaware that they are relating fantasies, but when they repeat the same lie as fact for thirty years despite empirical data disproving their assertion, it is safe to say they know they are lying.
The repugicans and wingnut 'economists' continue claiming cutting taxes for the rich is key to full employment, wealth for the masses, government flush with money, and a robust economy. In fact, Kansas repugican Sam Brownback and the repugican legislature were so confident that slashing safety nets, cutting education, and spending a budget surplus on tax cuts for the rich would produce an economic bonanza, they gave the wealthy well over a billion dollars in unfunded tax cuts that has the state’s economy starved of revenue. However, despite repugican warnings the state will be bankrupt in two years, more than 100 Kansas repugicans swearing to help replace Brownback with a Democrat for governor, and a credit agency downgrading Kansas credit, a noted wingnut 'economist' lied to support Brownback’s tax cuts as a job creating bonanza. Kansas is lagging behind the rest of the nation in creating jobs besides facing a revenue shortfall of massive proportions.
The Heritage Foundation’s senior 'economist', Stephen Moore, wrote a pro-Brownback op-ed attacking Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman because like every economist not in the employ of the Heritage Foundation and Faux News, Krugman does not support repugicans’ failed trickle-down scam. Moore was caught red-handed deliberately using incorrect statistics to convince readers that Brownback’s tax cuts create jobs. Moore lied and claimed states that do not give huge tax cuts to the rich are “getting clobbered by tax-cutting states” in the number of jobs created. The editorial board of The Kansas City Star caught Moore’s lies and published annotated corrections to his false assertions specifically stating that “the author misstated job growth rates for four states and the time covered.” In other words; Moore was lying to convince Kansas residents that Brownback’s “ruinous” and “dramatic tax-cutting failure” warrants giving him another four years to completely eviscerate the Kansas economy.
In another instance of wingnuts projecting their malfeasance on Democrats, Moore accused “liberals” like Krugman of “cherry-picking a few events” to argue that major tax cuts like Brownback’s are failing miserably. Not only did Moore deliberately “cherry pick bad data to support his claims,” he cherry-picked a time frame when the entire nation was suffering from the Great Recession due, in part, to shrub-repugicans’ major tax cuts for the rich. One might think Moore is unaware he was lying about the benefits of continuing to give tax cuts to the rich, but after thirty years of trickle-down’s abject failure, he knew he was lying like he has done for years.
For example, Moore has consistently criticized the idea of raising the minimum wage he claims will result in a “big increase in unemployment.” Obviously Moore, a “noted wingnut economist,” saw the recent statistics that the states he claimed lag “major tax-cutting repugican states” that raised their minimum wage, and taxes, are leading the nation in job creation as well a overall economic growth. One of the states Moore specifically cited, California, is experiencing the nation’s best job creation increase according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in spite of increasing the minimum wage and taxes on the rich. Moore also spent years claiming the Affordable Care Act would kill millions of American jobs, and yet the unemployment rate is falling and there has been 52 straight months of private sector job growth while millions of Americans have healthcare for the first time in their lives.
Stephen Moore, like the Heritage Foundation he represents, is not just a pathological liar, he is guilty of pseudologia fantastica. It is unlikely Kansas residents believe such fantastic lies about the raging success of Brownback’s tax cutting-spree because they see the devastation of the trickle down scam first hand. Certainly, a group of one-hundred-and-four current and former Kansas legislators understand that Brownback’s billion-plus dollar tax cuts for the rich are decimating Kansas.
The group, repugicans for Kansas Values, endorsed Brownback’s Democratic challenger and released a statement saying, “All of us standing here today know Kansas can do better. We can have better schools and a stronger economy. The values that unite us as Kansans are much bigger than the partisanship and experiment of Sam Brownback. Through hard work and cooperation, we can restore Kansas together.” The 104 repugicans cited Brownback’s failed trickle down tax plan, severe cuts to schools, and fiscally irresponsible budgeting as reasons for their historic decision and praised Paul Davis (D) for being a moderate with common sense leadership and “focus on proven solutions” such as “reinstating taxes and spending at their previous levels;” precisely what Stephen Moore lied and said is a recipe for disaster.
Obviously, there is no lie too fantastic, including citing false statistics, repugicans and their Heritage Foundation 'economists' are willing to parrot ad nausem to perpetuate their thirty year failed economic theory that giving more tax cuts to the rich is the key to economic wonderland. Moore has always been a condescending liar and for the second time he has been caught lying. In February, CNN’s Carol Costello destroyed Moore’s wingnut economic lies disparaging any consideration of raising the minimum wage, and correctly noted “that raising it would increase incomes and decrease poverty.”
One would think that of all the states Moore would choose to unleash a rash of lies about the benefits of giving major tax cuts to the rich, he would have picked anyplace except Kansas. But repugicans, and so-called “noted” wingnut 'economists', are such pathological liars that they likely actually believe Kansas residents are unaware their state is drowning in debt, suffered a credit downgrade, lags the entire nation in job creation, and cannot afford $100,000 to keep a children’s homeless shelter open; all due to what Stephen Moore says is the reason Kansas is “clobbering states” that are succeeding because they did not give tax cuts to the rich.

Detroit schools emergency manager raises class size to emergency levels

As Detroit struggles with bankruptcy, its public schools are struggling, too. They even have their very own emergency manager, and he has a new plan. Instead of a mere 38 students per class in grades 6 through 12, the new target will be 43 students per class in those grades. I'll repeat that: 43 students per class.Next up, we can expect a wave of publicity about Detroit's failing teachers, to which I again say "43 students per class. YOU teach under those circumstances." If you're saying "well, Detroit is bankrupt, it's to be expected," first off, you are morally bankrupt. Second, this:
    ... the proportion of general fund dollars reaching the classroom has declined under emergency management - and not just by a little bit! Spending on classroom instruction constituted 55 percent and 58 percent, respectively, of all general fund expenditures in 2008 and 2009 - the last two years that the elected board set spending targets. Since then, spending on instruction has trended downward, reaching a historic low with Jack Martin's 2015 budget at a level of just 46.8 percent.

Random Photos

Defeating useless rich people

Taming wealthy, unproductive "moochers" will require a populist campaign to stop them. Here's how we can do it
In two previous columns, I argued that left and right alike are confused by a failure to distinguish productive businesses that sell innovative goods and services from "rentier" interests - landlords, lenders, copyright holders and others - which use their natural or artificial monopoly power to extract excessive tolls, fees and other recurrent payments from the rest of society, including productive businesses. The fees or rents extracted by these interests constitute a kind of "private taxation" which - rather than public taxation - is the greatest threat facing America's productive economy.
Today America's powerful rentier interests, particularly those in the FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) sector, are mobilizing campaign contributions and paid propaganda to promote what I called the Rentier Agenda: low taxes on those whose income is derived from capital gains; the privatization of public infrastructure and the deregulation of regulated private utilities, to generate windfall profits for investors in privatized or deregulated agencies; and a macroeconomic policy that serves the interests of creditors, at the expense of slow growth and mass unemployment, rather than productive businesses and workers. Similar observations have been made by many on the left and some mavericks on the right.
To counter the domination of America's rentier oligarchs, we need an Anti-Rentier campaign that would unite unlikely groups: owners of productive businesses as well as workers, populist conservatives and liberal reformers. An Anti-Rentier movement would distinguish businesses that make profits by providing worthwhile goods or services in innovative ways from rentier interests that passively extract exorbitant tolls and fees from the economy without adding any value.

Daily Comic Relief


Border Patrol agents hold Iowa Boy Scouts at gunpoint for taking a picture of them

A Border Patrol agent allegedly held a member of an Iowa Boy Scout troop at gunpoint while another threatened another boy with arrest and a 10-year prison term for taking a picture of him, KCCI-TV reported.
The incident reportedly took place while members of Mid-Iowa Boy Scout Troop 111 and volunteers traveling with them were attempting to drive through the border between Canada into Alaska. Troop leader Jim Fox told KCCI that the group was detained and searched after the scout took the picture. The agent allegedly told Fox that the scout had committed a federal offense.
"The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and 10 years in prison," Fox was quoted as saying.
Fox and his troop complied with the agent's order, but as another scout was unloading luggage from one of the group's vans, "He hears a snap of a holster, turns around, and here's this agent, both hands on a loaded pistol, pointing at the young man's head."
The troop was released after being detained for four hours, and made it back to Iowa this past Sunday.



8-year-old Takes Disabled Brother on Triathlon

Noah and Lucas Aldrich are inseparable brothers. Lucas was born with the brain disorder lissencephaly, which affects his growth and development. Lucas does not walk or talk, but thanks to his parents and brother, he gets to do a lot of things able-bodied kids do. Eight-year-old Noah recently entered a youth triathlon, and he took Lucas along. He pulled him on a bicycle, towed him while swimming, and pushed him while running. Sing it with me now: “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.” See more pictures of Noah and Lucas at Buzzfeed.

Go Out And Play

Play: One of the most important factors in a child’s development

The previous two articles in this series by Michigan State […]

Clootie Wells

There are several places in Scotland, England, and Ireland where the trees are wrapped with rags. These are clootie wells, forests with mineral springs that are believed to have healing powers. A relic of ancient paganism, the idea is that if you have an ailment, you should wash the afflicted area in water from these springs. Then you tie the rag you used around a tree, and as the rag rots, your ailment will disappear. You can see the problem here: Cotton and wool rags may take years to rot, but polyester can take centuries, which means more and more rags survive longer and damage the forest. But it’s terrible luck to remove them. Read more about this ancient practice at Atlas Obscura.

Wari geoglyph found in southern Peru

Archaeologists undertaking investigations in the Peruvian region of Arequipa discovered a large geoglyph last December.
The large geoglyph is being described as similar to the famous Nasca lines
According to Peru21, the geoglyph is approximately 60 meters by 40 meters and is located in the province of Caylloma. Peru21 reports that the initial archaeological investigations were performed at the request of the Consorcio Angostura – Siguas, an agroindustrial company that is executing an irrigation project in the area. Consorcio Angostura – Siguas would have ordered the investigation in order to receive a certificate from the Ministry of Culture stating that there were no archaeological sites in the area, allowing them to continue with their irrigation project.
Experts say that the geoglyph was created by members of the Wari culture in 1200 or 1300 AD. The geoglyph has been dubbed “Gross Munsa,” and is the only known geoglyph in Arequipa.
Peru21 reports that excavators also found other objects that they hope will help to shed some light on Wari culture and practices

Food Supplies Threatened ...

Food supplies threatened by climate change, air pollution combo

Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change […]

Dinosaurs and the Perfect Storm

Dinosaurs fell victim to perfect storm of events, study shows

Dinosaurs might have survived the asteroid strike that wiped them […]

Why do dogs smell each other’s behinds?

Why do dogs smell each other’s behinds? Chemical communication explained

Here at Reactions, we ask the tough questions to get […]

Animal Pictures