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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Non Sequitur




The Daily Drift

 True dat ..!
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Today in History

1457 The first book ever printed is published by a German astrologer named Faust. He is thrown in jail while trying to sell books in Paris. Authorities concluded that all the identical books meant Faust had dealt with the devil.
1559 Spanish explorer de Luna enters Pensacola Bay, Florida.
1605 The Popham expedition reaches the Sagadahoc River in present-day Maine and settles there.
1756 French commander Louis Montcalm takes Fort Oswego, New England, from the British.
1793 Republican troops in France lay siege to the city of Lyons.
1900 The European allies enter Beijing, relieving their besieged legations from the Chinese Boxers.
1917 The Chinese Parliament declares war on the Central Powers.
1942 Dwight D. Eisenhower is named the Anglo-American commander for Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa.
1945 Japan announces its unconditional surrender in World War II.
1947 Pakistan becomes an independent country.
1969 British troops arrived Northern Ireland in response to sectarian violence between Protestants and Roman Catholics.
1973 The United States ends the "secret" bombing of Cambodia.
1987 Mark McGwire hits his 49th home run of the season, setting the major league home run record for a rookie.
1995 Shannon Faulker becomes the first female cadet in the long history of South Carolina's state military college, The Citadel. Her presence was met with intense resistance, reportedly including death threats, and she left the school a week later.
2007 Four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks in Yazidi towns near Mosul, Iraq, kill more than 400 people.
2010 First-ever Summer Youth Olympic Games open, in Singapore. Athletes must be 14–18 years old.

The republicans Are Trying To Trick The American People Into Supporting Another Iraq War

The repugicans are back again lying, revising history, and attacking President Obama to trick the American people into supporting another war in Iraq …
There is an idiom, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” or as the shrub said, “fool me once…you fooled me, can’t get fooled again.” However one puts it, the proverbial definition is that after being tricked once, one should be very wary so a person cannot trick one again. The repugican warmongers certainly understand they fooled Americans in 2003 and lied through their teeth to take the country to war against a sovereign nation with no connection to al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, or the terror attacks on 911. Now, they are back again lying, revising history, and attacking President Obama to trick the American people into supporting another war in Iraq because besides giving money to corporations, there is nothing repugicans love more than war; particularly against muslims.
Over the past two days, and on the Sunday political programs, the dependable warmongers attacked the President and blamed him for everything from the shrub’s signing a Status of Forces agreement that removed American combat troops from Iraq, to not having a strategy to govern a democratically-elected sovereign Iraq, to failing to arm the very people wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq. Their goal, of course, is another war in Iraq and it reveals an important fallacy John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and other repugicans fail miserably to understand; Iraq is not an American state, or territory, and this nation has no right to unilaterally insert its military into any nation’s religious war regardless this country is responsible for the current situation in Iraq. It is important to reiterate that both Iraq and Syria were stable nations prior to repugican warmongers fooled Americans into supporting the invasion of Iraq.
What is, in one sense, stunning is that the warmongers are repeating the same lies they used to convince Americans this country’s peace and security is dependent on invading Iraq. Or, as the shrub put it, Americans have to kill muslims because “they hate us for our freedoms.” Perennial warmonger Lindsey Graham even went so far as to warn that without a robust military engagement in Iraq, “I think of an American city in flames because of the terrorist ability to operate in Syria and Iraq.” As reported here yesterday, to incite support for invading Iraq, Condoleezza Rice said in 2002 that “there will always be some uncertainty” about Iraq, but “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” The shrub warmongers fooled Americans once, and due to their overwhelming success at scaring Americans into supporting a war in Iraq, they are using the same tactics.
Then there is “I never saw a nation America should not invade,” John McCain, who railed on the President for not arming and assisting the Syrian rebels, many of whom are charter members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that he met with in Syria and are now terrorizing both Syria and Iraq. McCain also blatantly lied and accused the President of failing to leave a residual military force in Iraq in spite of the agreement the shrub signed in December 2008 (Status of Forces Agreement) with Iraq to withdraw all American combat forces by 2011. McCain cannot comprehend that Iraq is a sovereign nation, and after laying waste to the country and creating the conditions that led to the current situation, Iraq told America to get out; something McCain cannot and will not accept.
Even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined McCain and claimed that the President’s failure to build up Syrian rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad “left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.” One is reticent to contradict Mrs. Clinton, but even she knows a fair number of the Syrian rebels battling al-Assad are members of ISIS wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq. If Clinton were not so anxious to display her war bona fides, she may remember President Obama saying that without knowing who the rebels were, or who they were aligned with, it was not prudent to “build them up” with American arms. However, when one aspires to the White House, it is important to appear “manly,” beat war drums, and forget voting for the invasion of Iraq that created the conditions in Syria, and now Iraq.
America has been at war with muslims now for nearly thirteen years, and as President Obama said before the Iraq war, “Invading Iraq will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaida.” As the shrub said, “Mission Accomplished.” America’s invasion of Iraq did encourage “the worst impulses of the Arab world and did strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaida” that joined disenfranchised Iraqi Sunnis to create the conditions in Syria and Iraq. Conditions that repugican warmongers are rabid to perpetuate with a serious escalation of hostilities borne of America’s military and lies from repugicans.
Americans are weary of war, and oddly, the warmongers who cannot bring it upon themselves to spend one penny for this country, or Veterans, lust to spend billions on another costly war in Iraq; and they are using the same fear-mongering rhetoric they did to garner support for the last Iraq war. Including, by the way, John McCain claiming America cannot possibly wait for an Iraqi political solution that includes getting rid of Iraqi President Maliki. About the only thing McCain did not say was that America should invade Iraq for regime change.
The media has even repeated their failures leading up to the Iraq invasion by giving the warmongers a national forum to reiterate the same talking points that led to the war in Iraq. One would hope Americans have enough long-term memory capabilities to remember it was only eleven years ago that the same warmongers were using the same talking points and fear mongering to incite the nation to war in 2003, but Americans reveal time and again that they are likely to support failed policies over and over again in hopes of a different outcome. It is Albert Einstein’s notorious definition of insanity, and if any American truly believes another Iraq war will produce any different results than the last one, they are insane; or they just like the idea of American at war.
America at war is the real drive behind warmongers like McCain and Graham whose first response to any sovereign nation’s internal crises is involving America’s fighting men and women in wars. They will do anything to frighten Americans into sending their friends and families to kill muslims regardless the long term cost in lives and resources, and they are using the same rhetoric that led to the current situation. One wonders if their ultimate goal is creating a feedback loop of war in Iraq because that is their only solution to a problem without a solution; a war among rival religious factions that did not exist warmongers lied this country into invading Iraq.

Uncanny ...

... ain't it, though

New Report Is The Latest Confirmation That SCOTUS Was Wrong About The VRA

This study by the National Commission on Voting Rights proves that pre-clearance stopped voter discrimination laws, not a sudden enlightenment on the part of pre-clearance states ...
 voting rights since Shelby ruling
When the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, the law’s long-time foe and Chief Justice, said we moved on from those bad days in the Sixties. The usual suspects joined with the Chief Justice in providing judicial legitimacy to the factually debunked talking point – that strict voter ID laws will eliminate “rampant voter fraud.”
Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsberg wrote a scathing dissent that not only contradicted the Majority’s claim that we have moved on from the era in which the VRA was necessary but also recognized that as a consequence of new voting discrimination laws, including restrictive voter ID laws, eligible American voters will lose their franchise.
Two new studies on Voter ID laws confirm what critics of these laws have said all along.  The first study by Justin Levitt obliterated the right wing talking points used to justify restrictive voter ID laws.  Levitt concluded after tracking in person voter ID since 2000, the odds of in person voter fraud occurring on 31 in a billion.  The numbers are based on the frequency of incidents of alleged in person voter fraud in municipal, primary, regular and special elections and the total number of votes cast in primary and regular elections between 2000 and 2014.
The second study flips the coin to examine the consequences of a weakened Voting Rights Act in deterring laws that disenfranchise eligible voters.
This study by the National Commission on Voting Rights proves that pre-clearance stopped voter discrimination laws, not a sudden enlightenment on the part of  pre-clearance states, especially those in the South and Southwest.  The study examines the frequency by which pre-clearance prevented voter discrimination laws and the developments after the Supreme Court’s disastrous Shelby County ruling.
Not only does the study prove that pre-clearance stopped voter discrimination laws, but the very attitudes that made those laws possible remain a reality. This is highlighted in two over the study’s overall conclusions.
  • Voting discrimination is a frequent and ongoing problem in the United States. There were about 332 successful voting rights lawsuits and denials of Section 5 pre-clearance by the U.S. Department of Justice and another ten non-litigation settlements.
  • Formerly covered states in the South and Southwest stand out with some of worst records of voting discrimination-with Texas being at the top of the list. Texas stands out as having a remarkably high level of documented voting discrimination, including multiple state-level violations. And the States of Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina were not far behind.
Between 1965 and 2013, more than 3,000 voting changes were denied under Section 5 pre-clearance.  These denials came in the form of objection letters and court judgments.
The study also looked at the consequences of the Shelby ruling by reviewing what section 5 did and what occurred after the SCOTUS effectively killed Section 5. Pre-clearance proved to be a deterrent to passage of similar laws.  North Carolina waited until after the Shelby Ruling to amend its photo ID bill with several other restrictions, such as eliminating pre-registration, straight party ticket voting and same day registration.
The Supreme Court’s majority was wrong about something else in Shelby, namely the idea that Section 2 is an effective “remedy.”  First, we can see from Friday’s ruling in North Carolina that it is a weaker legal mechanism.  For one thing, there is a difference in the methods of interpreting a voting law.  Under Section 2, one has to prove a measure is adverse relative to other voters.  The difference is shown in the question of reduced voting days.  Under Section 5, the mere fact that NC reduced voting days from 10 to seven would be enough to prove it hurt minorities.  Under section 2, the argument can be (and was) made that there is still “plenty” of time for minorities to vote even with reduced early voting days.
The other problem is isolating racial discrimination, vs. partisanship as a motivating factor to passing a law like the one in North Carolina and similar versions in other former pre-clearance states.
Rick Hasen explained the problem more fully in a law review article. Simply put, because white people in the south predominantly support repugicans and racial minorities predominantly support the Democratic Party, defenders of vote discrimination laws argue they are motivated by establishing a partisan advantage, rather than an intent to discriminate against minorities.  If a court believes the party discrimination argument, as it did in North Carolina, it will uphold the law.  If the court sees through that argument of convenience, it will strike the law down.  Put another way, the partisan discrimination argument raises enough “reasonable doubt” for a court to reject evidence that lawmakers were motivated by racial animus.  The problem is restricting the vote based on a person’s political views is more consistent with totalitarian regimes like the former Soviet Union than it is consistent with American values.
In fact, Greg Abbott made the partisan discrimination argument in Perez v. Texas.
DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large repugican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the repugican cabal’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats. It is perfectly constitutional for a repugican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.
This means, as Hasen pointed out, it will be up to Federal Courts to recognize that “partisan discrimination” should no more acceptable under the 14th amendment than “racial discrimination.”
Instead, courts should read the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause to require the legislature to produce substantial evidence that it has a good reason for burdening voters and that its means are closely connected to achieving those ends. The achievement of partisan ends would not be considered a good reason (as it appears to be in the redistricting context).
Aside from shifting the burden from proving a law does not have an adverse effect on minorities to requiring minorities to prove that it does, the absence of pre-clearance means these laws have to be challenged on a case-by-case basis.  That is both expensive and time consuming.
Another consequence of the Shelby County ruling lies in the reversal of advancements made under pre-clearance.
When Georgia first tried to pass a law that moved the Election Day in Augusta-Richmond the DOJ rejected it under pre-clearance. Georgia passed that law after the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County. African-American residents sued claiming “that Shelby County only applied prospectively, and that Section 5 therefore continue to prevent the date change from being implemented.” The court rejected that ruling, which as the study states “removed any lingering doubt about the retroactive applicability of the Shelby Counter decision on post 2006 pre-clearance denials.”
Texas provides another example.  In 1985, a federal court orders the Beaumont Independent School District to change from a system of five districts and two at-large seats to a system of seven single-member districts.  In a 2011 citizens’ initiative, voters authorized the ISD to revert to the old system.  Under pre-clearance, the DOJ rejected that change saying the change would lead to “a retrogression in African-American electoral opportunity.”  Since the Shelby County ruling, the ISD is planning to go back to the old system.
As lawyers battle it out in the courts, the fact remains these laws disenfranchise eligible voters to a far greater extent than they “stop” statistically non-existent in person voter fraud.
Now defenders of these laws suggest that since we need photo ID for many aspects of modern life, the notion that they disenfranchise eligible voters is nonsensical.  Try telling that to 97-year-old Kansas resident, Beth Hiller. Like many other elderly voters, she doesn’t drive and because she lives in a nursing home, she has little practical need for a photo ID in her daily life.
The same holds true of younger, college-aged voters. They have government issued student ID, but that form of ID is excluded from the limited list of “acceptable” ID in states like Texas and North Carolina.
The bottom line is the combination of these studies confirm that “rampant” in person voter fraud is a myth and the Supreme Court was wrong when it suggested we have moved on from the days that pre-clearance was necessary. They were wrong when they claimed attitudes have changed  since 1965.

Police involved in hot pursuit of stolen ice-cream truck

Police in New South Wales, Australia, have charged a man after an ice-cream truck was allegedly stolen and pursued on the Central Coast on Monday morning.
At about 8.50am, an ice-cream truck was parked in Newcastle, when it was allegedly stolen. Police were alerted and at about 9.20am the truck was found driving south on Pacific Highway, and a pursuit was initiated.

Road spikes were deployed on the road in Catherine Hill Bay and again at Doyalson, shredding the front tires of the truck. The truck allegedly continued until it finally stopped in Blue Haven, and the driver ran from the truck.
The man, aged 45, was arrested a short distance away on and taken to Wyong Police Station. He was charged with unlicensed for class, destroy damage property, police pursuit (Skye’s law), take and drive conveyance without consent of owner.

Knife fell from sky into man's head

57-year-old Xiao Yunzhi was taking a stroll in his home town of Guangyuan, Sichuan province, China, on Thursday morning, when his head started feeling strangely heavy.
But it was only when the local tobacconist stared at him and pointed to the top of his skull that he realised that something was amiss. As Mr Xiao was passing underneath a high-rise apartment block, a five-inch kitchen knife had fallen from an eighth-floor balcony, embedding itself up its hilt in the left side of his head, but without piercing his skull.
As soon as the problem had been pointed out, pain washed over Mr Xiao and he sat down in the street, while someone called an ambulance. "It was terrifying to see," said his younger sister, who only identified herself as Miss Xiao. "The knife handle was sticking out of the top."
"He is stable but is not fully out of danger yet," his sister said. "He cannot use the phone yet in case it has an effect on his condition." The owner of the knife, a man named only as Mr Wu, said he had left the knife in a flowerpot on the balcony, never thinking that it might drop. Mr Xiao is still being treated in his local intensive care unit.

Random Photos


Lady who thought partner was off to see another woman scaled barbed-wire fence to stop plane

No charges are expected against a woman who scaled a barbed-wire fence surrounding Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Canada and ran onto the tarmac on Sunday morning in an attempt to prevent a plane from taking off, RCMP in Nova Scotia said.
The 37-year-old woman reportedly believed her partner was onboard an aircraft en route to see another woman, and was trying to stop its departure. RCMP arrested the woman at around 8:30am after she scaled the three-meter barbed-wire fence surrounding the airport and ran across the tarmac to stop a plane she believed was carrying her husband from taking off.
The Fall River-area woman, first went to an airline counter asking the company to stop one of its planes because she believed her partner was leaving to see another woman, an employee at the airport said. The employee did not want to be identified because it might compromise his position. The woman then drove toward the hangar and climbed the fence. “She ended up going onto the bigger runway and she was essentially wandering around there,” the employee said.
“She was literally going to try to stop the plane.” An airport authority worker got the woman into a truck. Another subdued her after she opened the door of the vehicle and began shouting, the employee said. The woman, who sustained several minor cuts, was taken to hospital for an assessment, said RCMP spokesman Sgt. Alain LeBlanc. “I’ve been there (for more than) eight … years and this is the first incident of its kind that I’m aware of,” he said. “We contacted her partner who indicated that he was not on the aircraft,” LeBlanc added.

Woman attacked other woman at company barbecue for wearing too-short shorts

A 25-year-old woman faces assault charges for allegedly attacking another woman because she disapproved of the short shorts the victim wore to a company barbecue. Alica Rae Hanson of Snohomish, Washington, was at a barbecue, put on by the owner of an area tree service company.
She reportedly was displeased with an outfit worn by an employee's girlfriend, deputy prosecutor Edirin Okoloko said in Snohomish County Superior Court papers. The defendant confronted the woman about the shorts she was wearing, “claiming that they were too short for the BBQ party and acting in an aggressive manner” toward her, the prosecutor wrote.
Several minutes later, Hanson allegedly ran up to the woman and attacked her. The victim was knocked to the ground by a sudden punch. She was jumped upon, repeatedly struck and her hair pulled out. Witnesses put a stop to the violence and summoned sheriff's deputies. When they arrived, they found the shaken victim, bloody with her left eye swollen shut.
They also spotted “a pile of blond hair extensions on a table,” which the woman said had been pulled from her head. Doctors determined that the woman had broken facial bones and bleeding in the left eye. It is a felony assault in Washington to “recklessly inflict substantial bodily harm.” Hanson was charged with second-degree assault on August 6.

The 10 Most Evil Women In History

Traditionally speaking, throughout history and nature, men have been stronger, more aggressive and more violent than women. Dating back thousands of years, it was the men who were the hunters, going out to kill for food, while the women stayed in their homes and villages.

Women are supposed to be naturally caring, compassionate people, so it shocks us when a woman breaks the mold and commits a heinous crime. Here are the 10 most evil women in history. Their actions are filled with such pure evil that it's impossible for us to understand.

King Marko's Monastery

Marko Mrnjavčević (1335-1395) was the Serbian king from 1371 to 1395 and the de facto ruler of territory in western Macedonia centered on the town of Prilep.
South of Skopje, in the outskirts of an unassuming village called Markova Sušica, is the Markov Monastir. Built in 1346 by Marko, King of Serbia, this medieval monastery has remained remarkably unaffected by the passage of time.

Daily Comic Relief


Zookeeper awarded masters degree for research into sea lion whiskers

A zookeeper in Blackpool has been awarded a masters degree for her research into sea lion whiskers.
Alyx Milne, 27, combined her work at Blackpool Zoo as an animal trainer/presenter, with her studies at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Her dissertation on the motor neuron abilities of sea lions' whiskers earned her a distinction from the university. Ms Milne said sea lions' whiskers were very sensitive and could help them to find fish.
She said their whiskers picked up vibrations in the water and air, leading them to food. Ms Milne said: "Working with the sea lions at Blackpool Zoo has been a major part of my research and I'm so pleased I have something so great to show for it." She is now aiming for a PhD relating to marine mammals.

A Snake Whose Venom Makes Humans Bleed From Every Orifice

On September 26th, 1957, herpetologist Karl Schmidt became the first human on record to die after being bitten by a boomslang snake. His colleagues in the scientific community were shocked, as prior to Schmidt's death, boomslang snakes were thought to be harmless. Wihin 24 hours of being bitten, Schmidt died in his home of respiratory arrest and severe brain hemorrhaging.
The venom of a boomslang snake is a hemotoxin, meaning it destroys red blood cells, loosens blood clotting and causes organ and tissue degeneration. Anyone unlucky enough to be bitten by this non-aggressive tree snake native to Africa will eventually suffer muscle and brain hemorrhage. Blood seeps from gums and nostrils and mixes with fecal matter, urine, saliva and vomit until the victim dies.
Learn more in this blog post at Scientific American.

Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails?

It's commonly believed that dogs wag their tails to convey that they are happy and friendly, but this isn't exactly true. Dogs do use their tails to communicate, though a wagging tail doesn't always mean, 'Come pet me!'
Dogs have a kind of language that's based on the position and motion of their tails. The position of a dog's tail reveals its emotional state.

The Death's-Head Hawkmoth Is Stranger Than Fiction

The death's-head hawkmoth is no invention of fiction. It is named for the striking skull-like pattern on its thorax. The moths have been spooking people for centuries with this ghoulish getup, but their behavior is stranger still.

Animal Pictures