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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Non Sequitur


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Today in History

1782 General George Washington authorizes the award of the Purple Heart for soldiers wounded in combat.
1864 Union troops capture part of Confederate General Jubal Early's army at Moorefield, West Virginia.
1888 Theophilus Van Kannel of Philadelphia receives a patent for the revolving door.
1906 In North Carolina, a mob defies a court order and lynches three African Americans which becomes known as "The Lyerly Murders."
1916 Persia forms an alliance with Britain and Russia.
1922 The Irish Republican Army cuts the cable link between the United States and Europe at Waterville landing station.
1934 In Washington, the U.S. Court of Appeals rules that the govenment can neither confiscate nor ban James Joyce's novel Ulysses.
1936 The United States declares non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War.
1942 The U.S. 1st Marine Division under General A. A. Vandegrift lands on the islands of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon islands. This is the first American amphibious landing of the war.
1944 German forces launch a major counter attack against U.S. forces near Mortain, France.
1964 Congress overwhelmingly passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, allowing the president to use unlimited military force to prevent attacks on U.S. forces.
1966 The United States loses seven planes over North Vietnam, the most in the war up to this point.
1971 Apollo 15 returns to Earth. The mission to the moon had marked the first use of the Lunar Roving Vehicle.
1973 A U.S. plane accidentally bombs a Cambodian village, killing 400 civilians.
1976 US Viking 2 spacecraft goes into orbit around Mars.
1981 The Washington (D.C.) Star ceases publication after 128 years.
1984 Japan defeats the United States to win the Olympic Gold in baseball.
1987 Presidents of five Central American nations sign a peace accord in Guatemala.
1990 Operation Desert Shield begins as US troops deploy to Saudi Arabia to discourage Iraq's Saddam Hussein from invading that country as he had Kuwait.
2007 Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants breaks Hank Aaron's record with his 756th home run. Bonds' accomplishments were clouded by allegations of illegal steroid use and lying to a grand jury.

5 countries that love America (and 5 that hate it)

A new survey from the Pew Research Center reveals anti-Americanism is highest in the Middle East
by Sarah Wolfe
5 countries that love America (and 5 that hate it)America has always been a polarizing presence on the global stage. But this new survey by Pew Research Center shows just how much.
Anti-Americanism is particularly strong in the Middle East, Pew says in the survey, with public favor much higher in many European countries and most Asian nations.
Here’s a look at the five countries that hate America the most, and the five that love it most.
First, the haters:
1. Egypt (85 percent unfavorable)
Relations between Cairo and Washington have been tumultuous for decades, and things have only worsened following the revolution in 2011. America had long financially supported the three-decade-long regime of Hosni Mubarak and failed to oppose the military overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government that succeeded him. Egypt’s foreign minister said relations were in “turmoil” after Washington suspended part of its military aid to the country late last year.
2. Jordan (85 percent unfavorable)
Notionally Washington’s ally, Jordan’s relations with the United States suffered following the invasion of Iraq, which it publicly opposed. Anti-US sentiment reached an all-time high in 2003, when 99 percent of Jordanians viewed America unfavorably. Things have improved since, but not by much.
3. Turkey (73 percent unfavorable)
The war in Iraq also hurt relations between the United States and Turkey, and mistrust between the two nations has only grown following a corruption inquiry of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle late last year. The Obama administration carefully avoided criticizing Erdogan directly amid deadly protests in Taksim Square in 2013 despite privately “wincing” at some of his statements. Instead Obama only urged Turkish authorities to exercise restraint. This fell far short for many in Turkey.
4. Russia (71 percent unfavorable)
Less than a quarter of Russians now have a positive view of America. Uncle Sam’s image has plummeted 28 points there in just the past year, a casualty of Washington’s opposition to Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine. Obama has imposed a series of sanctions in response, the latest of which have been slammed as “bullying” by a spokesman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry. President Vladimir Putin said sanctions are “driving into a corner” relations between the two nations.
5. Palestine (66 percent unfavorable)
US-Palestinian relations have always been rocky to nonexistent, but things had gotten slightly better with the election of Obama. In this year’s Pew survey, 30 percent of Palestinians said they viewed the US favorably — the highest rating since the survey was first taken in 2002. Obama visited the Palestinian Authority during his trip to the Middle East in 2013, but has largely remained a bystander amid current violence in Gaza.

And now, America’s biggest fans:
1. Philippines (92 percent favorable)
Filipinos are the biggest fans of the United States in Pew’s latest survey, and their view of Uncle Sam has only gotten rosier in recent years. That despite recent protests against the possible return of US troops to the Subic Bay military base for the first time in more than a decade.
2. Israel (84 percent favorable)
The United States was among the first to recognize the state of Israel in 1948 and has been the country’s principal ally for decades. Since World War II, the United States has sent $115 billion in foreign aid to Israel, nearly all of it in the form of military assistance to maintain its “qualitative military edge” over the country’s Arab neighbors. This alliance partly fuels dislike for the United States elsewhere in the Middle East.
3. South Korea (82 percent favorable)
These two nations have maintained strong ties since the US helped establish the modern state of South Korea and fought on its side during the Korean War. Relations only improved under the conservative, pro-US rule of former President Lee Myung-bak.
4. Kenya (80 percent favorable)
The United States and Kenya have long been close allies, but their ties only strengthened following the election of Obama, whose father was born in the western Kenyan village of Kegolo. The country even declared the day following his election in 2008 a national holiday. Some analysts, however, have suggested relations may be fraying over Kenya’s mistrust of US intentions regarding the administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
5. El Salvador (80 percent favorable)
US aid to El Salvador during the Carter and Reagan administrations was crucial in helping the country’s military-led government win a 13-year civil war against left-wing guerilla groups. More than 19,000 American citizens live and work full time in El Salvador, and the country sent 10 rotations of troops to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Bryan Fischer Again Claims First Amendment Applies Only to christians

From the "Idiot", "Moron", "Stupid", "Insane", "Delusional" ... aw, hell take your pick Department:
Bryan Fischer, ignoring all the evidence and relying instead of wishful thinking, asserts again that the First Amendment applies only to christians…
Bryan Fischer is sticking with his delusion that the First Amendment applies only to christians. He has said before that the First Amendment “was not written to protect the religion of islam,” that,
islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of islam. islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy…From a constitutional point of view, muslims have no First Amendment right to build mosques in America.
Writing on the un-American anti-Family Asshats website, he wishes to make clear that also excluded from First Amendment protections are every other religion outside of christianity. And yes, that includes judaism. jews, not being christians, are, in Bryan Fischer’s view, not protected by the First Amendment.
The trigger? Those wiley Satanists who have outsmarted not only the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby whose ultimate plan it is to mandate a 4-year bible curriculum in America’s schools, but the white patriarchs on the Supreme Court who agreed with Hobby Lobby that corporations can have deeply held religious beliefs. Their weapon? Religious freedom. Rut roh…
Fischer explains,
Just as the Court ruled that Hobby Lobby cannot be forced to violate its religious principles by being compelled to pay for abortifacients, so the Detroit chapter of The Satanic Temple is arguing that Satan’s disciples cannot be coerced into complying with informed consent laws when they seek abortion services.
Since their religion argues for absolute, unrestrained, no-holds barred freedom of human will, they contend that Satanists cannot be forced to read literature that explains fetal development and abortion risks.
Now if the word “religion” in the First Amendment was intended by the Founders to refer to any belief system in a supernatural power, then the Satanists are absolutely right. They have just as much a First Amendment claim as anybody else.
But if by the word “religion” the Founders meant christianity, then they don’t. And muslims don’t either.
Joseph Story, the longest serving associate justice of the Supreme Court and author of the first definitive history of the Constitution, wrote this about the First Amendment:
“The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance mahometanism, or judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment…”
It’s hard to get much clearer than that. The word “countenance” means “to accept, support, or approve of (something), to extend approval or toleration to.” So the purpose of the First Amendment was most decidedly NOT to “approve, support, (or) accept” any “religion” other than christianity, including islam and Satanism.
Keep in mind now, as we proceed, that in his corner Fischer claims Joseph Story, though he fails to relate the rest of what Story said. When you read it, you will see why Fischer would just as soon ignore the rest of Story’s words, since they not only stress a history Fischer would rather ignore, but caution against what the very goals of Fischer and the Religio-wingnuts today: namely to establish a theocracy:
Article VI, paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution declares, that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.’ This clause is not introduced merely for the purpose of satisfying the scruples of many persons, who feel an invincible repugnance to any religious test, or affirmation. It had a higher objective: to cut off for ever every pretence [sic] of any alliance between church and state in the national government.
The real object of the First Amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance mahometanism, or judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government. It thus cut off the means of religious persecution, (the vice and pest of former ages,) and of the subversion of the rights of conscience in matters of religion, which had been trampled upon almost from the days of the Apostles to the present age. The history of the parent country had afforded the most solemn warnings and melancholy instructions on this head; and even New England, the land of the persecuted puritans, as well as other colonies, where the Cult of England had maintained its superiority, would furnish out a chapter, as full of the darkest bigotry and intolerance, as any, which should be found to disgrace the pages of foreign annals. Apostacy, heresy, and nonconformity had been standard crimes for public appeals, to kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious triumphs over innocence and virtue.
Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state government, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions; and the catholic and the protestant, the calvinist and the arminian, the jew and the infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship.
For the record, the First Amendment says,
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
John Ragosta (Religious Freedom, 2013:113) asks “what does the short amendment mean?” and points to the days before the Supreme Court became a subsidiary of the repugican cabal, for an answer:
In 1879, Chief Justice Morrison Waite, writing on behalf of a unanimous court in Reynolds v. United States, turned to Jefferson’s language from the Statute’s preamble [the Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom] to define the religious freedom protected by the First Amendment: “to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude powers into the field of opinions and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill-tendency, is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty,” what Waite referred to as “the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State.” Wait went on to note that Jefferson’s 1802 letter to the Danbury baptists identifying a constitutional “wall of separation” between cult and state,” [c]oming…from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure [the First Amendment],” deserved to “be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration.” Since then, the majority of the Supreme Court has been clear that the “Virginia Experience,” including Jefferson’s Statute, Madison’s Memorial & Remonstrance, and the Letter to the Danbury Baptists, expresses the vision and wisdom at the heart of the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty. Historians have broadly agreed. Based upon the history enunciated in Reynolds and later in Everson v. Board of Education (1947), Jefferson’s Statute has taken center stage in our understanding of the religion clauses of the First Amendment.
It is Fischer’s claim that he has Thomas Jefferson on his side, writing that.
As Jefferson put it in his second inaugural address, he had left religious exercises “under the direction and discipline of State or Cult authorities,” right where the Constitution placed them.
Fischer likes to misunderstand his cherry-picked quotes. As we know, Jefferson said quite a bit about religious freedom and none of it agrees with Fischer. As well as Jefferson’s Virginia Statute, we have Madison’s Memorial & Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (1785) arguing against Fischer’s assertion (and as you can see and as historians will tell you, the two men were of like mind when it came to religious freedom).
It should also be noted to that Jefferson said in his autobiography about his own preamble:
Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “jesus christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of jesus christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the jew and the gentile, the christian and mohammedan, the hindoo and infidel of every denomination.
Of course, Thomas Jefferson also said,
But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
And then there is George Washington’s letter to the jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island in 1790:
The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens.
“All possess alike…” just like the Constitution says. Everybody. Not just protestants, but jews too – and Fischer’s hated muslims. There is no justification at all for Fischer’s claim that muslims are “parasites who must convert or die.”
Though they won’t bring it up themselves, for obvious reasons, wingnuts are also forced to like to downplay or argue away the significance of the Treaty of Tripoli (1797), which states in unequivocal terms that “the Government of he United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the christian religion, – as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of musselmen [muslims].”
The important point here is that this treaty was signed by the president, John Adams, and ratified by Congress without a single complaint being uttered.
It would seem, upon further examination, that Fischer has very little supporting his argument that the First Amendment was intended solely for christians.

Texas open carry advocates fume after 'skanky topless libtards' disrupt pro-gun rally

Come and Take It Texas, a group affiliated with the open carry derangement, is complaining that topless protestors are ruining their monthly stalks in support of gun rights.They are being "trolled by skanky topless libtards," one post on the group's Facebook page reads. Another post identifies the counter-protestors as members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (MDA), even though they made no claim to being affiliated with that organization.
The topless counter-protestors carried signs that read, "You realize that everyone thinks you're overcompensating for your teeny tiny 'gun' right?" and "Boobs for peace." The women confronted the open carry agitators and said that as long as they openly carried their weapons, the counter-protestors would bare their breasts.
One of the open carry agitators, Tom Jefferson, claimed that counter-protestors harassed them. "They followed us into a small coffee shop and called us the Aryan Brotherhood," he said. "They continually used terms like white pride and white power."

Credit Suisse Takes Steep Loss After US Tax Penalty

Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-biggest bank, posted a second-quarter net loss of 700 million Swiss francs ($779 million) Tuesday after paying the largest penalty ever imposed in a U.S. criminal tax case.The steep loss contrasted sharply with the profit of 1.045 billion francs ($1.16 billion) it posted in the April-June period a year ago. It resulted in what the bank called a final settlement of the U.S. government's case against the bank for helping wealthy Americans avoid paying taxes through secret offshore accounts.
The Zurich-based bank pleaded guilty in May to aiding U.S. tax evaders and agreed to pay about $2.6 billion to the U.S. government and regulators, allowing it to put the criminal investigation behind it.
"I want to reiterate that we deeply regret the past misconduct that led to this settlement and that we take full responsibility for it," Chief Executive Brady Dougan said in a statement. "The continued trust and support of our clients helped us mitigate the impact of the settlement on our business."

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Why You Should Doodle More

A doodle is an unfocused or unconscious drawing made while a person's attention is otherwise occupied. Doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be abstract shapes.
Doodling, long frowned upon as a symptom of boredom or inattention, may be a more productive use of your time than previously contended. Recent scientific research indicates that seemingly absent-minded tracings can help the brain process and retain information and solve problems.

Pump up the music

Pump up the music — especially the bass — to make you feel powerful

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Fascinating Female Occultists

Counterculture icon and essential figure in the early postwar Los Angeles art scene, Marjorie Cameron is the subject of an upcoming retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
The exhibition offers a rare look at the life and work of a female occult practitioner - too frequently depicted as mere muse or lunatic. Here are a few female occultists who deserve mention.

Did Lower Testosterone Levels Correlate With Rise of Technology?

After measuring more than 1,400 ancient and modern skulls, Robert Cieri of the University of Utah argues that human skulls changed in ways that indicate testosterone levels dropped some 50,000 years ago, at the same time that human culture blossomed. “The modern human behaviors of technological innovation, making art and rapid cultural exchange probably came at the same time that we developed a more cooperative temperament,” he told Science Daily. Heads became rounder without heavy brows, which can be traced to lower levels of testosterone, according to Steven Churchill, an anthropologist at Duke University who supervised Cieri’s undergraduate work. “If prehistoric people began living closer together and passing down new technologies, they’d have to be tolerant of each other. The key to our success is the ability to cooperate and get along and learn from one another,” Cieri explained.

Ancient Bog Girl's Face Reconstructed

Peat bog body picture: facial reconstruction of an Iron Age woman nicknamed Moora
Back to Life
"Moora" stares across millennia, thanks to a digital reconstruction based on the Iron Age girl's fragmented skull—one of several interpretations released January 20.
Along with the nearly complete corpse of the teenager, peat bog workers found her 2,600-year-old skull bones—mangled by peat-harvesting machinery—in Germany's Lower Saxony state (map) in 2000.
At first, "the police thought it was a criminal case"—perhaps the remains of Elke Kerll, a young woman who disappeared in 1969—said Andreas Bauerochse, a paleoecologist with the Lower Saxony State Office for Cultural Heritage.
But the DNA of the corpse and Kerll's living mother didn't match, and the identity of Moora—nicknamed after Uchter Moor, where the remains had been found—remained a mystery until 2005.
That year, peat workers found a hand at the same spot where the bog body had been found and scientists including Bauerochse were called in.
The hand was physically a good fit for the body, they found. What's more, by radiocarbon-dating the peat on the hand, the pair determined that Moora died about 650 B.C.

Digital Atlas Of The Roman Empire

The Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire is a map that uses a new geographical dataset constructed from the award-winning Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World.
You can search for sites by place name or zoom in and click sites to get more information about them. It includes tagged data from virtually every known location in the ancient world, and was implemented in 2012 by Johan Ă…hlfeldt.

Daily Comic Relief


You Are A Bear

You are a bear. You wake up in a dimly lit cave. Your eyes are adjusted to the low light, so you are able to see the textures of your surroundings. You are about to begin a new day as a bear. There will be many obstacles, mental and physical, for you to overcome. You might find something important. You might meet someone important. You might get hurt. You might eat something. It is up to you. As a bear.
Your fur is warm but dirty. The cave floor is soothing. Cool. What do you do next... 

How Do Termites Build Their Huge Structures?

A single termite can be barely bigger than the moon of a fingernail, its semi-transparent exoskeleton as vulnerable to sunlight as to being crushed by a child in flip-flops. But in groups of a million or two, termites are formidable architects, building mounds that can reach 17 feet (5 meters) and higher.

The 33 pounds (15 kilograms) or so of termites in a typical mound will, in an average year, move a fourth of a metric ton (about 550 pounds) of soil and several tons of water.

Whale of a catch!

Massive whale shark snared by Chinese fishermen

A fisherman transports a dead whale shark after it was caught in fishermen's net, in Yangzhi countyA Chinese fisherman caught a massive whale shark in the waters off Fujian province over the weekend. Photos of the estimated 14-and-a-half-foot, 2-ton fish being transported to market through the streets of Xiaozhi have caused a bit of a stir in China, where the whale shark is endangered — and illegal to catch and sell.
But according to local media reports, Capt. Cai Chengzhu claims his fresh catch was an accident — and that the giant shark became stuck in his net and died while the crew was trying to release it.
“It's believed that the giant creature broke the net and got inside to eat the fish we caught," Chengzhu told local media, according to the Shanghaiist.
Chengzhu said he was hoping to get between 10,000 and 20,000 yuan for his fishy freight before he was stopped by Fujian fishery officials, the Independent reports.
"It was really unfortunate and we did our best to free it," he said, according to the Daily Mail. "But having caught it and because it was already dead, it seemed a shame to waste it."
Some critics quickly cast doubt on Chengzhu's fish tale. Whale sharks are known as filter feeders and would not normally break into a fisherman’s net to eat fish.
The whale shark (or Rhincodon typus) was first discovered in South Africa in 1829. It is the largest known extant fish species and can get as long as 30 feet — twice as big as the one Chengzhu snared — and can live up to 100 years.

Animal Pictures