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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.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Daily Drift

 True dat ..!
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Today in History

1521 Cortes captures the city of Tenochtitlan, Mexico, and sets it on fire.
1630 Emperor Ferdinand II dismisses Albert Eusebius van Wallenstein, his most capable general.
1680 War starts when the Spanish are expelled from Santa Fe, New Mexico, by Indians under Chief Pope.
1704 The Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Austria defeat the French Army at the Battle of Blenheim.
1787 The Ottoman Empire declares war on Russia.
1862 Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest defeats a Union army under Thomas Crittenden at Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
1881 The first African-American nursing school opens at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.
1889 The first coin-operated telephone is patented by William Gray.
1892 The first issue of the Afro American newspaper is published in Baltimore, Maryland.
1898 Manila, the capital of the Philippines, falls to the U.S. Army.
1910 British nurse Florence Nightingale, famous for her care of British soldiers during the Crimean War, dies.
1932 Adolf Hitler refuses to serve as Franz Von Papen's vice chancellor.
1948 During the Berlin Airlift, the weather over Berlin becomes so stormy that American planes have their most difficult day landing supplies. They deem it 'Black Friday.'
1961 Construction begins on Berlin Wall during the night.
1963 A 17 year-old Buddhist monk burns himself to death in Saigon, South Vietnam.
1978 Bomb attack in Beirut during Second Lebanese Civil War kills more than 150 people.
1989 The wreckage of a plane that carried U.S. congressman Mickey Leland and others on a humanitarian mission is found on a mountain side in Ethiopia; there are no survivors.
1993 US Court of Appeals rules Congress must save all emails.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

About the delusion to pray the regulation away
That study finds repugicans lie more than Democrats
That Ann Coulter wants to deal with our border issues like Netanyahu deals with Hamas
About these two theories of poverty
About climate extremes: expect more cold snaps and heat waves
About the charter school profiteers
Here's 5 decades of middle class wages
About a Taco Bell manager:  I was fired for hiring Hispanics
About how a hate group lost its influence on cable news
That in San Francisco real estate even a million can't buy much
That these three companies should start paying the bad boss tax
That reaganbook.com is the latest wingnut fail
About building a Progressive alternative to ALEC
That the NRA removes video calling for arming the blind
That we might be in the early days of the sixth mass extinction
That managers are twice as likely to get paid leave as service workers

Every repugican must answer: Has Barack Obama really been waging a 'war on whites'?

Just when you thought repugicans couldn't sink any lower.
Get 'em on record. Every last one of them. That's what we need to do. Every single repugican presidential hopeful, Congressional leader, hell, any repugican who is running for federal or statewide office this fall needs to answer the question of whether or not there is a "war on whites" being waged right now by President Barack Obama. From where could such a preposterous idea come, you might ask? Where else, but from a House repugican?
    "This is a part of the war on whites that's being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they're launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else...It's part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that's not true."
That's the truth according to Mo Brooks of Alabama, who uttered those words in an interview with wingnut hate talk radio hack Laura Ingraham on Monday. This is not a local, county official. This is not one of a half-dozen candidates for a congressional seat. This is a sitting U.S. congressman. Last year Brooks voted for John Boehner to be speaker of the House. Right now, we deserve to know whether Boehner thinks the president started a war on whites back in 2008. But we don't want to hear just from Boehner. We must hear from all of them.
The time has come for each and every repugican to decide where he or she stands. They must come out into the open and either embrace the race-baiters, or throw them under the campaign bus. But understand this, when an Alabama wingnut says that the black president and his party have been waging war against white people, he is channeling the spirit of George Wallace declaring "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." He is calling forth hatred. He is all but summoning violence.
Rational people know that there has been no actual legislation either proposed, supported, or passed by this president that has targeted white Americans as a racial group. Furthermore, as I've written elsewhere, Barack Obama has, through his words, sought to strengthen the bonds that bring all Americans together across racial lines in a way no previous president has done.

What the repugican cabal doesn't know can hurt you

Krugman asks: "Are we as societies even capable of taking good policy advice?"

In his Friday column for the New York Times, Paul Krugman warns that the ignorance of the people making our policy - like, say, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan - isn't just demoralizing, it's dangerous. Because "what policy makers don't know, or worse, what they think they know that isn't so, can definitely hurt you," he writes.
Krugman has been spending his summer perusing surveys from the Initiative on Global Markets and has found that, contrary to the shouting one might hear from Congress or talking heads on CNBC, "there is much less professional controversy" among leading economists about things like trade sanctions or the success of the stimulus than we're generally led to believe.
The most recent poll of these top economists asked if the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - the stimulus - reduced unemployment. The agreement was overwhelming. "All but one of those who responded said that it did, a vote of 36 to 1," Krugman points out. A second question about whether the stimulus was "worth it" produced a 25 to 2 consensus.
But policymakers don't listen to the experts, "placing their faith instead in doctrines most economists firmly reject." Politicians and talking heads tend to ignore the consensus that exists, and run with fringe theories that suit their agenda. It's a real recipe for disaster:
    Am I saying that the professional consensus is always right? No. But when politicians pick and choose which experts - or, in many cases, "experts" - to believe, the odds are that they will choose badly. Moreover, experience shows that there is no accountability in such matters. Bear in mind that the American right is still taking its economic advice mainly from people who have spent many years wrongly predicting runaway inflation and a collapsing dollar.
    All of which raises a troubling question: Are we as societies even capable of taking good policy advice? [...] And macroeconomics, of course, isn't the only challenge we face. In fact, it should be easy compared with many other issues that need to be addressed with specialized knowledge, above all climate change. So you really have to wonder whether and how we'll avoid disaster.

As Congress Leaves Workers Behind, Corporate Profits Hit a New High

Corporate profit margins are getting ever fatter and just officially hit a new high. They have done this on the backs of workers, from whom they have squeezed…
workers protesting for good jobs
Sam Ro at Business Insider put some data together and announced that corporate profit margins are getting ever fatter and just officially hit a new high. They have done this on the backs of workers, from whom they have squeezed more and more productivity in order to cut costs.
Profit margins continue to get fatter.
Ever since the financial crisis, corporations have managed to deliver robust profit growth by offsetting the drag of weak sales growth with widening profit margins. These fatter profit margins come from cutting costs, which usually means getting more productivity out of a fewer number of workers.
And that’s not all. Based on the analysts’ forecasts of S&P 500 companies, those profit margins will average 9.3% for the year and then jump t0 10.0% in 2015.
So, under a Democratic President, corporations are hitting new highs for profit margins.
As this is happening, repugicans in the House are trying to pass unpaid for tax subsidies and credits for business, to the tune of adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit. Yet these same repugicans refuse to raise the minimum wage and to extend long term unemployment, even as the businesses they are catering to are laying off workers and forcing other workers to do the job of the laid off workers.
These same repugicans are against Social Security as it exists and functions right now. They’d rather privatize it by tying it to the “market”, you know, the MARKET. The market that crashed several times under the shrub, costing investors their entire portfolio at times. The market is not the same as Social Security, which is there no matter how well or poorly the market performs or the economy is doing. This is, of course, the entire point of calling it “security”.
Over and over, repugicans stick it to the workers of this country while giving handouts to corporations. Corporations made it through the shrub recession by harming workers. Corporations are doing pretty well, but then, they’ve been subsidized by taxpayers in many cases, while the workers of America have not.
Ironically, the workers of America built that new high profit margin on their backs.
It was Mitt Romney’s father, yes the same fellow who was once on welfare, who as chief executive of the American Motors Corporation reduced his own and other executives’ salaries by up to 35%, while taking cost cutting measures.1 As a believer in “competitive cooperative consumerism”, Wikipedia notes he was against the “twin evils” of big business and big labor. The stock options soared from $7 to $90 a share. George Romney was a man who took leadership seriously and knew that it was not sustainable to be a greedy pig on either side of the trough.
Meanwhile, repugicans keep accusing this president of being a “Marxist” “Socialist” hell bent on killing capitalism. The evidence is in: President Barack Obama is really bad at being a Marxist and a Socialist. To be fair, the President has been pushing good jobs for his entire presidency, but the repugican House has refused to even pass his jobs bill. Thus, Obama has resorted to working with governors and states and businesses in order to compel them to raise the minimum wage and get Americans trained for better jobs. He can’t do it alone, though.
The workers of America deserve better than they are getting from this current Congress.

Fact Checkers Agree With Wendy Davis: Greg Abbott Chose a Corporation Over a Rape Victim

Greg Abbott tried to claim that Wendy Davis' ad accusing him of siding with a corporation over a rape victim was "gutter politics"
Things aren’t going as planned for repugican AG Greg Abbott, who is running for governor of Texas against national champion for women’s rights and State Senator Wendy Davis. PolitiFact has named Davis’ ad charging him of siding with a corporation over a rape victim as “Mostly True”. This is the ad that Abbott’s campaign tried to bluff their way out of by labeling it “gutter politics“. So, “gutter politics” are “mostly true” about Abbott.
Abbott has been claiming that he loves women, after all he married one and has a daughter, for as long as Davis has been using his record as a repugican AG to prove otherwise. But last Thursday she launched an ad against him charging that as a Supreme Court justice, he sided with a vacuum cleaner manufacturer against a woman raped by a salesman in her home.
Watch the ad here:
In his 1998 dissent, Abbott found that a company selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door “had no responsibility” in the hiring of a salesman who raped a customer. The ad got national attention.
Sounds like Abbott sided with a company over a rape victim, which is not exactly proving that he is not engaged in a war on women. The bad news is that PolitiFact found this charge “Mostly True”.
Our ruling:
Davis said that Abbott held that a company whose vacuum cleaners are sold door to door “had no responsibility” in the hiring of a salesman who raped a customer in her home.
Indeed, then-Justice Abbott said in 1998 the manufacturer had no legal responsibility over whom its contractors hired to give demonstrations in customers’ homes. But this claim fails to include the substantive detail that Abbott, unlike the court majority, considered most significant an existing agreement between the manufacturer and its distributors explicitly giving full responsibility for such hiring to the distributors.
We rate this claim Mostly True.
Even the caveat proves the point. Of course Abbott considered that the agreement between the manufacturer and its distributors got Kirby out of being responsible to vet their in home demonstrators. (The Court ruled that they had a duty to take reasonable care in hiring. Too much to ask?) Citing a “business contract” as a get out of jail card is absurd — an entity could write any kind of lawless contract to which a distributor would agree because it benefited both parties.
This is the modern day repugican thinking: The company is always right even when they are wrong, because the rights of a company to do business any way they choose are sacred. Whereas, the body and soul of a rape victim is not sacred, and is held beneath even a bad business contract. These are values choices, not imminent decisions.
A business contract is not an act of god. It is a contract agreed to by two entities for whom profit is the number one goal. It is the job of our legislators and courts to force these entities to bear some human responsibility for the consequences of their profit seeking, because just like people, corporations come in all kinds. Some care about their impact on people and the environment and some do not.
Contrast Abbott’s dissent against the majority on the court with Democrat Wendy Davis, whose office announced that she would use this morning to highlight her record “of cracking down on rapists and empowering rape survivors, including the law she wrote to ensure more DNA testing of rape kits, addressing the backlog of 18,500 untested kits.”
The repugicans seem to be in office only to give “business” a free ride with taxpayer subsidies while they gun for less regulations amounting to zero accountability.
Plenty of responsible business owners manage to make a profit while also being accountable – in fact, back in the old days, a business’s reputation was part of its assets, and being accountable to the community was part of that. Thus, a business would do a background check on men it was sending into the homes of women who were likely to be alone just because it was the right thing to do for their own sake.
A responsible “pro-business” politician understands that forcing companies to veer away from being predators is good for everyone, the business included. But these days repugicans are the Donald Trumps of the business world – forever predators, declaring bankruptcy on the taxpayers’ dime and coming back to the trough to grift again, with no responsibility and no accountability. They reliably choose companies over people too much of the time.

This wingnut Video Trying To Prove Border Insecurity Laughably Backfires

james o'keefeedited

On Monday, Project Veritas, the brainchild of perennial wolf-crier James O’Keefe, released a ‘bombshell’ of a video. In the video, O’Keefe is shown crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. In what is supposed to expose fully how easy it is to cross the border for dangerous terrorists, O’Keefe dons an Osama Bin Laden mask and then crosses the Rio Grande without being stopped by border patrol agents. Considering that O’Keefe was assisted in his ‘sting’ video by a local sheriff, to say this whole thing is an idiotic setup that should NOT be taken seriously is an understatement. However, as soon as it was released, wingnut 'news' sites and blogs started hyping the video as another great investigative achievement by O’Keefe and his organization.

Per Adam Weinstein at Gawker, O’Keefe relied on Sheriff Alvin West to give him information about how the border is not secured. Weinstein helpfully highlighted West’s history to reveal the type of person he is. He also pointed out how wrong West and O’Keefe were in the video when stating that there are miles and miles of unpatrolled stretches of the border.
Here are some fun facts you may not learn about West from O’Keefe’s fawning video treatment: The sheriff is famous for arresting celebrities, from Willie Nelson to Fiona Apple, whose pot-filled tour buses use the nearby stretch of Interstate 10; he’s been found guilty of illegally arresting an El Paso police officer and violating his civil rights; and he has a reputation for being a wingnut and anti-immigrant media hound who calls President Obama “full of shit.”
Since 2005, West has gotten so much money for border protection that he’s hired five new deputies and cut crime in half. But EVIL illegals and the DRUG CARTELS who run them are ready to DO MURDER any day now, West says. “[S]ome question whether his other salty tales are based firmly in reality or instead are constructed to drive millions in state and federal money to his department’s coffers,” the Texas Tribune has reported.
All in all, a perfect source for James O’Keefe.
Weinstein also points out that, unlike Jorge Ramos in a piece for Fusion TV last month, O’Keefe conveniently doesn’t show any footage of the perilous hazards, obstacles and patrolled roads that migrants need to cross in order to get to the shallow stretch of the Rio Grande he shows in the video.
Weirdly, in his “six mile” trip from the river border to I-10, O’Keefe’s video never shows him crossing the well-patrolled road that runs parallel to the river, the multiple irrigation canals, the well-maintained parcels of farmland, the two-lane Highway 192 (also called “Esperanza Road,”) or any of the other obstacles that stand between the border and I-10 in every place there isn’t already a permanent outpost. (You can see them for yourself on Google Maps.) Although, at one point, you can see miles and miles of truck-tire tracks in the dirt around O’Keefe and West on the U.S. side of the border, where they’re talking about how desolate and unprotected it is.
Nope, all O’Keefe does is show him speaking with West, claiming that there aren’t enough agents on the border and then does his little skit where he crosses the Rio Grande twice, once dressed as Bin Laden. He doesn’t show how he makes the six-mile trip to get to the river. He shows footage along the U.S. border and states that agents are nowhere to be seen. Of course, the AP has a photo of Border Patrol agents patrolling that exact same area where he and West were standing and lamenting the lack of security. All in all, it is just more of the same from O’Keefe — a heavily-edited video with no real context that is meant to show some kind of evil truth that liberals want to keep secret.
We’ve been down this road with O’Keefe many times. Thankfully, aside from conservative media, nobody really takes him seriously anymore. After legitimate media sources had been pulled into his ACORN scam, which actually led to the organization’s dismantling despite them eventually being vindicated of any wrongdoing, more scrutiny was placed on his little sting videos. After he had to settle with a former ACORN employee for invasion of privacy after misrepresenting his actions and statements on video, along with his pleading guilty to a reduced charge regarding his break-in at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, mainstream media basically said they were done with O’Keefe.
Apparently, due to this lack of faith in his ‘work,’ O’Keefe is now forced to beg for money to finance his videos. With the lack of mainstream interest in his special brand of investigative journalism, O’Keefe is asking for donations on the Project Veritas website to cover the expenses of this latest video. O’Keefe is claiming that he spent $74,242 and he is looking to recoup the funds. It looks like he doesn’t have big donors bankrolling his little endeavors anymore. I guess that’s what happens when you constantly burn bridges and make those who support you look like idiots down the road.



How Long To Nap For The Biggest Brain Benefits?

In our modern hurried world, making time for even a short nap might seem like an impossible luxury. Yet, for some, they may be necessary to make it through the day at peak mental and physical performance. Our bodies crave naps for a reason, some based on our evolution, others on our habits.
Taking a nap, we've seen time and again, is like rebooting your brain. But napping may be as much of an art as it is a science. Here are some recommendations for planning your perfect nap, including how long to nap and when.

9 Strange Coffee Brews Around The World

Coffee drinkers are everywhere, but not all do the same techniques in preparing it. Each country got their unique versions of coffee and we are also hooked with these mixes that they’ve been popular and common.
So why not try out some other coffee mixes? For those coffee lovers who travel and won't let a trip slip without them smelling and sipping a warm cup of coffee that is uniquely local, you can try out these 9 strange coffee brews around the world. Who knows? One of these might be your favorite.

Driver walked away with minor injuries after impaling car on guardrail

A man is facing charges after an accident on Interstate 81 in Smyth County, Virginia.
Virginia State Police say the accident happened just before 10:30am on Saturday near Atkins.
VSP said Jacob Henley hit a tractor trailer, crossed the median and hit the end of a guardrail. That impact forced the guardrail through the front of Henley's Dodge Caliber and out the top of the car.
Henley was able to walk away with minor injuries. Virginia State Police troopers said they charged Henley with reckless driving, driving on a revoked license, not wearing a seat belt, having expired tags, and not having proof of insurance.

Man spent day beating girlfriend and assaulted his dog after dreaming she was cheating on him

A Florida man was arrested after beating his girlfriend after he had a dream she cheated on him, according to police.
Carlos Gascon's girlfriend told Monroe County Sheriff's deputies that Gascon beat her all day on Friday. She was able to call for help at 6:45pm after Gascon passed out at his home in Ocean Drive.
Agency spokeswoman Becky Herrin says the woman reported that Gascon "was angry at her because he had a dream she was cheating on him." The woman accused Gascon of choking her, pouring hot coffee on her, cutting the back of her leg with a knife, and threatening to kill her while holding a knife to her throat.
Gascon, 27, also allegedly picked her up and slammed her down on a glass table, breaking it. Gascon's girlfriend also alleges that he picked up his dog, slammed it on the ground and put his foot on the dog's neck. Gascon faces charges of aggravated battery, aggravated assault, domestic battery by strangulation, battery, false imprisonment and animal cruelty. He is in the Keys jail under a $265,000 bond.

Daily Comic Relief


Plant-stealing woman with flashlight in mouth has struck at bakery for second time in two years

A woman with a flashlight in her mouth was caught on a surveillance camera on Wednesday night digging plants up from a business in Atwater Village, Los Angeles, placing them in a shopping cart and walking away. The Village Bakery and Cafe had just recently installed beautiful new plants, and the owner is shocked at the woman’s night-time thievery.

She digs through, she grabs what she wants, and she puts them in her shopping cart,” owner Barbara Monderine said. “It makes me really sad that somebody would do that. She is ruining what we’re trying to make look nice.” Monderine reportedly spent some $1,000 to have the plants and flowers planted in front of her business in late July.
While these plants lasted about two weeks, she says this is not the first time her floral decorations have fallen victim to the woman and her shopping cart. “She did it two years ago, and she totally cleaned us out that time,” Monderine said. “Both times we got her on our surveillance camera.” The business has begun posting flyers, believing the thief has roots in the neighborhood and hoping someone may be able to identify her.

Monderine also suspects the woman may be stealing from residents as well. “There’s a lady around her corner who said that her rose bushes were stolen,” Monderine said. While flowers can be replanted, Monderine says that the issue is about more than petty plant theft. “When you realize how hard it is to build a business, and then somebody comes along and takes stuff from you, it’s a little bit heartbreaking.”

Has The End Of The Banana Arrived?

Two weeks ago, at a conference in South Africa, scientists met to discuss how to contain a deadly banana disease outbreak in nearby Mozambique, Africa. At fault was a fungus that continues its march around the planet. In recent years, it has spread across Asia and Australia, devastating plants there that bear the signature yellow supermarket fruit.
The international delegation of researchers shared their own approaches to the malady, hoping to arrive at some strategy to insulate Mozambique and the rest of Africa: a continent where bananas are essential to the lives of millions. They left the Cape Town-based meeting with an air of optimism.

Why Does The Moon Look So Big On The Horizon?

Yesterday we had a 'Supermoon.' A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth.
However, the moon never really changes size, and it's simply your brain playing a trick? Find out what The Moon Illusion is, and why it happens!

Stray dogs to be trained and pressed into service as guards

Stray dogs roaming around Central Delhi, India, may soon find themselves attending grooming school with the New Delhi Municipal Council planning to adopt and train them as guard dogs.
The civic body will enlist the services of police dog trainers in an attempt to train the dogs and press them into service. Accompanied by in-house home guards, also a new initiative by the civic body, the dogs and the men will share the mandate of keeping the area safe and secure.
“If these dogs are going to roam the area, they might as well work,” NDMC chairman Jalaj Shrivastava said on Friday. “Our plan is to adopt these strays and train them as guard dogs.”
The civic body has, in the past, constituted committees and worked with the Animal Welfare Board to sterilize and keep the numbers of stray dogs under check after repeatedly receiving complains about incidents of dog bites. This initiative is meant to address two issues: take the strays off the streets, thereby tackling the dog menace, and make the city safer for residents, added Mr. Shrivastava.

Animal Pictures