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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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Daily Drift

 So, true ..!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

Old School Aviation ... !
Today is  - Aviation Day
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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Fairfax, Owosso, Tonawanda, Orem and Lenexa, United States
Luquillo and Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Richmond Hill, Duncan, Prince Albert, Saint John's, L'ancienne-Lorette and Montreal, Canada
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Tipitapa and Managua, Nicaragua
Bogota, Colombia
Canaveral, Honduras
Eschborn, Konstanz, Erfurt and Nuremberg, Germany
Vladivostok, Moscow and Ryazan, Russia
Cerny and Rouen, France
Odessa, Khust, Kharkiv, Mykolayiv, Vinnytsya and Dnpropetrovsk, Ukraine
Zenica and Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Vilnius, Lithuania
Zagreb, Croatia
Dublin and Tallaght, Ireland
Istanbul, Turkey
Ravenna, Milan, Treviso, Rome and Bari, Italy
Pinar De Chamartin, Basauri and Ciutat Vella, Spain
More, London and Slough, England
Amersfoort and Amsterdam, Netherlands
Riga, Latvia
Lisbon, Portugal
Athens, Greece
Lulea, Sweden
Delhi, Bangalore, Jodhpur, New Delhi and Balotra, India
Phuket, Thailand
Tehran, Iran
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Jakarta and Depok, Indonesia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Port Louis, Mauritius
Doha, Qatar
Singapore, Singapore
Tokyo, Japan
Kuala Lumpur, Tanjung Malim and Puchong, Malaysia
Tel Aviv, Israel
Ain Kercha, Algeria
Casablanca, Morocco
Cape Town, South Africa
The Pacific
Gouldburn, Australia

Today in History

1493 Maximilian succeeds his father Frederick III as Holy Roman Emperor.
1587 Sigismund III is chosen to be the king of Poland.
1692 Five women are hanged in Salem, Massachusetts after being convicted of the crime of witchcraft. Fourteen more people are executed that year and 150 others are imprisoned.
1772 Gustavus III of Sweden eliminates the rule of parties and establishes an absolute monarchy.
1779 Americans under Major Henry Lee take the British garrison at Paulus Hook, New Jersey.
1812 The USS Constitution earns the nickname "Old Ironsides" during the battle off Nova Scotia that saw her defeat the HMS Guerriere.
1914 The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) lands in France.
1934 38 million Germans vote to make Adolf Hitler the official successor to President von Hindenburg.
1936 Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca is shot by Franco's troops after being forced to dig his own grave.
1942 A raid on Dieppe, France by British and Canadian commandos is repulsed by the German Army.
1944 In an effort to prevent a communist uprising in Paris, Charles DeGualle begins attacking German forces all around the city.
1950 Edith Sampson becomes the first African-American representative to the United Nations.
1957 The first balloon flight to exceed 100,000 feet takes off from Crosby, Minnesota.
1965 US forces destroy a Viet Cong stronghold near Van Tuong, in South Vietnam.
1974 US Ambassador to Cyrus Rodger P. Davies assassinated by a sniper of Greek Cypriot paramilitary group EOKA-B during a demonstration outside the embassy in Nicosia.
1976 Gerald R Ford, who had become President of the United States after Richard Nixon resigned, wins Republican Party's presidential nomination at Kansas City convention.
1987 Hungerford Massacre in the UK; armed with semi-automatic rifles and a handgun Michael Ryan kills 16 people before committing suicide. In response, Parliament passed the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 1988 banning ownership of certain classes of firearms.
1988 Cease fire begins in 8-year war between Iran and Iraq.
1991 Communist hard-liners place President Mikhail Gorbachev under house arrest in an attempted coup that failed two days later.
2002 A Russian Mi-26 helicopter carrying troops is hit by a Chechen missile outside of Grozny, killing 118 soldiers.
2003 Shmuel Hanavi bus bombing: suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem kills 23 Israelis, some of them children, and wounds 130. Islamist militant group Hamas claims responsibility for the attack.
2004 Google Inc. stock begins selling on the Nasdaq Stock Market, with an initial price of $85; the stock ended the day at $100.34 with more than 22 million shares traded.
2005 Toronto Supercell: A series of thunderstorms spawn several tornadoes and cause flash floods in Southern Ontario. Losses exceed $500 million Canadian dollars, the highest ever in the province.
2010 Operation Iraqi Freedom ends; the last US combat brigade, 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, leaves the country. Six brigades remain to train Iraqi troops.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

That study: white people support harsher prison terms if they think black people have been arrested
That climate change is devastating Europe's forests
Just why does the economy grow more under democrats?
About the rape crisis on campus
That a plane accidentally sprays high school band with pesticide
That the 1% are literally rich beyond measure
That the worst pain known to man comes from an ant
That Coco the cat finds free wifi
And wooden coaster fans say goodbye to the Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain in social media
That NYPD's "broken windows" theory targets minorities
That parents of better-educated children live longer
Just why do our elites act like sociopaths?
Guess which country is the world leader at smoking marijuana
Is New York City going under water in the next few decades?
That a 'pro-troop' charity pays off tea party cronies instead
About the 7 truthiest NYT columnists
Whoa, stop the presses:  the rich run everything
That LinkedIn will pay $6 million to employees who worked overtime with no pay
And it's time we treat police brutality as a national crisis
That the government is the largest creator of low-wage jobs
Is this the end of reefer madness?
Fact Checker has "lost track" of how many times they've debunked climate change deniers
Here's 23 harrowing confessions about sexual assault in the military
And "man-feels park" by jane austin

U.N. Committee Is Investigating Why Persistent Racism Continues To Plague The U.S.

The committee is focusing its investigation on why there is a huge gap between the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution on the one hand, and the "reality…
Racism is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, and the principle behind racism in America is to distinguish the white race as superior to all other races. Sadly, Despite Thomas Jefferson’s “immortal statement” that “all men are created equal,” America was founded on racism and it is beyond refute it is still a country steeped in white supremacy. It is true the nation has made progress from its beginnings when African Americans were considered 3/5ths of a human being, Native Americans were slaughtered, christianized, and herded on to reservations, and Hispanics were regarded as expendable cheap labor, but America is still racist.
What is stunning, really, is that despite the Civil Rights movement and laws providing people of color with the same rights as white people, the government has done precious little to monitor racial disparities in great part due to racists in the conservative movement. Fortunately for people of color in this country, where their own government has failed them, the United Nations is investigating America’s record on race.
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination had begun a review of the United State’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICEAFRD) even before the recent racially-motivated killing in Ferguson Missouri. ICEAFRD is the world’s leading anti-discrimination legal instrument America ratified 20 years ago, and events over the past two years have put America’s despicable racism record under the international organization’s spotlight once again. The U.N. Human Rights Commission has already condemned this country for its deliberate mistreatment of the poor, homeless, and infirm with the latest criticism targeting Michigan repugicans for cutting off water and sanitation to Detroit residents; a monumental human rights violation.
The committee is focusing its investigation on why there is a huge gap between the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution on the one hand, and the “reality of persistent racism that continues to plague American society on the other.” The recent events in Ferguson could not possibly have made the U.N. investigation more prescient, and it further elucidated to the international community that this country is steeped in racism targeting all people of color, but primarily African Americans.
Many Americans are appalled by the unwarranted murders of unarmed Black teens and young men, or the images of war machines confronting peaceful African American protestors, but the travesty has caught the world’s attention and the U.N. wants to know why this is happening. The Committee is reviewing several areas where people of color are being disenfranchised, particularly by local government edict, and it is yet another black mark on this nation that it is left, once again, to an outside international organization to do what this country’s government should have done of its own accord.
The committee will review how America has dealt with several issues such as deaths on the Southern border, serious abuses plaguing unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, violence against minorities, poor education access for minority communities, and why there is a gross lack of implementation of the treaty at federal, state, and local levels. The U.N. is also investigating racial profiling, racial disparity in sentencing, racial disparity in capital punishment, minorities’ right to vote, discriminatory treatment of guest and undocumented migrant workers, predatory lending practices targeting minorities, and the lack of due process in Native American child custody proceedings.
The final report and recommendations will be released at the end of August, but it is doubtful that this country will do anything to comply with its own Constitution or obligations under the U.N. Conventions to which it is a signatory. The committee’s goal is to push America to start addressing the perpetual racial discrimination plaguing people of color and hopefully prevent one more unnecessary death; something that is NOT going to happen because white supremacy reigns supreme.
When the Committee met in Geneva this week, it heard from racial discrimination experts from all over the world, leading human rights advocates, a fairly large delegation of high-level U.S. government representatives, and more importantly, advocates and victims of human rights abuses borne of racism. The committee, like many Americans, were deeply concerned at the murder of Michael Brown and other unarmed African American men at the hands of racially-motivated law enforcement officials. They also heard testimony from Trayvon Martin’s mother and Jordan Davis’s father who both lost sons to overt racially-motivated violence not unlike a Ferguson police officer gunning down unarmed Michael Brown; a case the Committee expressed the deepest concern over. The American delegate tried to alleviate the Committee’s concern by informing them the Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into Brown’s murder.
America was represented by a “high-level delegation” headed by Ambassador Keith Harper, the first Native American U.S. ambassador representing America at the U.N. Human Rights Council. Harper said, “The United States has made…visible progress that is reflected in the leadership of our society, but we recognize that we have much left to do. Issues covered by this Convention are of such fundamental and deep importance that we must continue to make progress. For this reason, we value the opportunity for dialogue with the Committee.” There is little doubt Harper is sincere, but it is suspicious that he said “we must continue to make progress” when the racism plaguing this country is being manifested and increasing at an alarming pace because of Republican machinations.
It is, after all, repugicans who are disenfranchising people of color’s right to vote, starving poor communities of education funding, demonizing immigrants, Hispanics, and African Americans, and their legislative arm the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is responsible for laws increasing racial disparity in sentencing and capital punishment of African Americans. It is true President Obama, the Department of Justice, Democrats in Congress and state houses are fighting to rein in the racists, but they have been unsuccessful in large part due to the wingnut Supreme Court and repugican obstructionism because their base of support is inherently older, whiter, and racially-motivated; likely why they yearn to “take America back” to the nation’s racist founding.
It is a sad, sad, commentary indeed that a nation founded on racism over 238 years ago, fought a bloody Civil War, suffered through a bloody Civil Rights movement, and elected an African American man as President is being investigated by an international watchdog for its predilection to racism and civil and human rights violations against people of color. Of course, the mainstream media will never report that America’s racism is under investigation, or that there is even overwhelming racial disparity in this country. However, the American people are well-aware that racism is rampant, and instead of admitting there is a problem primarily stemming from white supremacists in the conservative movement, they refuse to openly acknowledge the problem. And why should they? When they are white, it is easier to ignore the simple fact that being African American or Latino in America means being a second-class citizen at the mercy of white supremacists in the conservative movement and law enforcement seeking out the next unarmed African American to gun down in cold blood. Fortunately, the United Nations, and the entire world, is not ignoring racist America any longer and they are watching and speaking out.

The religio-wingnuts: Robin Williams Died When Demons Exacted Their Price for His Success

And now from the "Outer Limits of The Twilight Zone" Department:
"Williams recognized these powers had manifested a very evil influence on stage and that there could be a hefty price to pay for their assistance."…
It’s sad to see so many of our fellow citizens living in the thirteenth century, obsessing over demon-infested this and demon-infested that. With their embrace of the idea that illness is caused by demons, these people have willfully surrendered centuries of advancement by the human race in the field of medicine.
I’ve written before about the religio-wingnuts' demon-mania, their obsession with Satan, claiming that Obama is demonically possessed or even the Antichrist himself. What better way to delegitimize your enemies than to claim they stand opposed to god himself. So not only illness, but opposition to any claim they advance, is, they insist, caused by demons.
Even comedian Robin Williams, we are now being told, was the victim of demons. Heck, didn’t you know all Hollywood is controlled by demons? Did you know you can find out all about it for just $19.99?
Joe Schimmel at the cult Good Fight Ministries makes the claim that Williams died as the result of “insidious” demonic influences. Citing something Williams told James Kaplan of US Weekly over a decade ago,
“Yeah! Literally, it’s like possession all of a sudden you’re in, and because it’s in front of a live audience, you just get this energy that just starts going…But there’s also that thing it is possession. In the old days you’d be burned for it…But there is something empowering about it. I mean, it is a place where you are totally it is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, where you really can become this other force. Maybe that’s why I don’t need to play evil characters [in movies], ’cause sometimes onstage you can cross that line and come back. Clubs are a weird kind of petri dish environment. I mean, that’s where people can get as dark as they can in comedy in the name of comedy, be talking about outrageous stuff and somehow come out the other side. I mean, that’s one place where you really want to push it” (Robin Williams, “Robin Williams,” by James Kaplan, US Weekly, January, 1999, p. 53).
Schimmel goes on to “interpret” this energy as demonic. Of course it has to be demonic, because it’s not the gospel Williams is excited about:
Everybody is currently talking about Robin Williams and his tragic suicide. Many are puzzled as to how a man, who made so many people laugh, could be so depressed that he would violently end his life. What people are not learning is the deeper truth about the insidious forces that tormented Robin Williams and drove him to suicide.
Robin Williams acknowledged that he had opened himself up to transformative demonic powers that aided him on stage. Without the aid of such demonic powers, it is likely that you would have never have heard of Robin Williams and many other famous celebrities. Williams also recognized that these powers had manifested a very evil influence on stage and that there could be a hefty price to pay for their assistance.
I remember reading once about John Denver, an interview he gave in Playboy, where he talked about not-knowing where his music came from, that it just appeared fully-formed in his head and he wrote it down, that “The song comes when it wants to come and I’ve got practically nothing to do with it, the most I can do is get myself in a space to let it come.” Robert E. Howard, who created Conan the Barbarian, said that it was as though Conan were standing at his shoulder, telling his story, and that he was just the scribe. I’ve experienced the same when I am writing fiction, that I don’t consciously think about the things I am writing, I don’t work the details out in my head. Don’t plan them out. It just appears and I write it down as fast as I can. I have no idea where they come from.
In fact, Denver sounded a lot like Williams when he told Playboy,
I’m probably not that nice all the time. I do have periods of what to me is incredible depression. As high as I can get, I’m capable of being that low. There are times when I am very sad, times when I’m lonely; there are times when I’m unhappy and when I feel sorry for myself. What have I got to feel sorry for myself about? I have everything. But it has nothing to do with what you’ve got or where you are. It’s the human condition. To run the gamut of those emotions is a great part of the living experience; I have all of those things in me and I’m able to communicate them in songs better than I’m able to reflect them in person, perhaps. I think a lot of my songs reflect the sadness and show the pain that I feel.
There are a lot of things even scientists don’t understand about the mind, which has been called science’s “final frontier.” Dr. Fred Mendelsohn of the University of Melbourne, describes what we are dealing with:
The jelly-like tissue that is the brain is the most complicated object in the known universe. Its 100 billion nerve cells (nearly 20 times the number of people on earth), are each connected to thousands of other nerve cells in a bewilderingly complex network.
It does not connect to demons.
And now that the thirteenth century is behind us, we know mental illness, like physical illness, is not caused by demonic possession. Demons did not kill Robin Williams. Rather, because the brain is still such a mystery, it is more accurate to say modern science’s best efforts failed to save him.
We also know it isn’t demons influencing our decision to oppose fruit loops like Joe Schimmel, but rather an education and a modicum of common sense, which is why, from the right’s point of view, education must be done away with and replaced by faith, why common sense must be silenced: “Do not ask questions, just believe” has been the mantra of Christian conservatives for two thousand years.
It is hardly coincidental that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s wife Judy, complains that,
“People are sympathetic to different things and different causes, but when you bring up Christian, there is no sympathy whatsoever. They do not think you should be able to have that belief,”
If she agrees with Schimmel, if she espouses David Barton and Bryan Fischer and Tony Perkins, she might run into some people who are unimpressed by her witness. Then again, what she is espousing is not christianity, so her experiences are hardly evidence of the alleged persecution of christians.
Standing up to quackery is hardly the stuff of persecution. It is the stuff of people fed up with bullying by so-called christians who insist they have the right to infiltrate our bedrooms to make certain we don’t violate their bizarre and inexplicable beliefs.
Besides discounting science, morons like Schimmel discounts his own bible: he is happy to cite jesus in support of his claims about demons, while carefully avoiding any mention of jesus’ contention that rich people got their wealth the power only through commerce with the dark powers that ruled his age. In other words, Satan.
What Schimmel insists on is faith healing, not medicine:
Depression can have many sources, but has only one ultimate remedy. True joy can only come from a relationship with the lord jesus christ and the infilling of his holy spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is manifold and includes love and joy. Let us remember that there are a lot of hurting people out there like Robin Williams, who are filled with hopelessness and despair. May god make us sensitive to their needs and help us to show them His great love through our concern, willingness to help and sharing the gospel.
The Founding Fathers broke the centuries old stranglehold organized religion had on civil government, but now the tide seems to be turning, as first Reagan, and then the shrub, embraced and unleashed these lunatics on innocent Americans, and ultimately, the world.
In a very real sense, Schimmel and others like him are no better than the adherents of the Westboro baptist cult. What he says is ultimately just as hateful, and because words themselves can be violence, he doesn’t have to get up from his couch to hurt people. Thanks to the modern technology brought to us by the science Schimmel disdains, he doesn’t even have to get up from the couch to cash the checks for his DVD, Hollywood Unmasked 2, with volumes 1 and 2 available for the low-low price of just $19.99!
Before you laugh, remember: these guys control the U.S. House of Representatives, and after the midterms, they might control the Senate, too.

The repugicans Are Making Fake News Sites To Fool Voters Because Faux News isn’t Enough

Since it is election season and the repugican cabal's attempt at re-branding was a flop, they are focusing on what they do best - spreading lies and misinformation. …

We want the news to be news. We want to rely on trusted sources and ignore those who lie to us.  It’s part of why we may bristle at stories on the latest nonsense spouted by Lush Dimbulb and other passengers in the wingnut clown car.
There is room to argue that a journalist like Chuck Todd, says it isn’t his job to expose the repugican cabal’s lies, is de facto giving repugicans the license to spread their propaganda.
Recently, we discussed the dangers of conflating trustworthy media with media that tells us what we want to hear.  He says something important about the danger of falling into the same trap that people who rely on Faux or *SMH* Lush Dimbulb for their news and ideas.
There is a school of thought on the left that Dimbulb should be ignored. These are folks suffer from ostrich syndrome. They want to stick their heads in the sand and pretend like what they disagree with doesn’t exist. This desire is a manifestation of the fact that a segment of the left is becoming just like the right. There are people who only want their media to stay on the left side of the partisan fence.
Aside from understanding that propaganda comes from all areas of the political spectrum, it’s as important to understand the tactics involved. The more obvious tactics include editing comments and images to distort their original content and context. Another obvious trick, favored by the Koch brothers, is buying deceptive ads where actors are presented as “victims” of the Affordable Care Act.
Since it is election season and the repugican cabal’s attempt at re-branding was a flop, they are focusing on what they do best – spreading lies and misinformation. The nrcc has been busy creating over 20 fake news websites. They look like they could be new sites, but the content reads like something you’d see in a political ad or on Faux (which in many ways is one long political ad).  All the nrcc websites come from the same domain:  www.electionupdate2014.com. The sites are called (name of City) Update.  They contain “analysis” of a Democratic opponent’s record that reads like a partisan hatchet job.
One example is a site called “San Antonio Update”:
Fake News Website

The site has the appearance of authenticity at least until you go to the bottom of the page where in teeny tiny letters, the nrcc comes clean, acknowledging that it paid for the site:
Obviously, the nrcc is hoping people won’t read the full content, lest they see the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.
The repugicans may be thinking they have a first amendment right to lie to voters.  However, in his own advertising one Democrat points to the obvious shortcoming of fake news sites.
 Aside from being unethical, it’s a dirty trick that is also pretty insulting. The implication here is that our opponent and his friends think Texans are too dumb to know the difference between a real news website and their fake one
Another example is something called “Des Moines Update”. Like the previous example, this site is paid for by the nrcc.  This time the target is Staci Appel.
DesMoine Update
As the Des Moines Register‘s Editorial Board said in an editorial on the subject of fake news sites,
 But there is nothing humorous about dressing up political propaganda as legitimate news. It diminishes the credibility of legitimate news organizations as well as the repugican cabal. If repugicans want Iowans to know why they think Staci Appel should not be elected to Congress, they should clearly and honestly identify who is delivering that message rather than disguising it as an objective news report.
The fact is political ads are part of the landscape, but most of us recognize that advertising isn’t news. Advertising is intended to sell a product, a service or in the political context a candidate, a political party or a position on a political issue. That means in the best of circumstances, political ads will emphasize the positive in a chosen political candidate and the negative in an opponent.  While there are rules that preclude deception in most forms of advertising, the same is not true of political advertising.  As the Supreme Court ruled, political speech that includes outright lies is protected speech under the First Amendment.
News, at least as most of us understand it, is supposed to be factual and it is supposed to expose lies, misinformation and distortions. That’s what makes this use of fake news sites so insidious.

Tear gas banned in warfare

Outside our borders, anyway.
Pretty fucking astounding. The tear gas used against protestors in Ferguson (and in protests going back decades) has been banned in warfare by international treaty. A treaty the U.S. has signed.
Despite its ubiquity across the globe and in United States, tear gas is a chemical agent banned in warfare per the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, which set forth agreements signed by nearly every nation in the world-including the United States. The catch, however, is that while it's illegal in war, it's legal in domestic riot control. That means Turkey got to use it on its protesters last year. That meant Bahrain got to the do the same. And now, in Ferguson, cops are likewise blasting residents protesting the police for the killing of an unarmed teen named Michael Brown.
"I was just trying to get to my sister's house," one 23-year-old sobbed on his lawn, according to this harrowing report by The Washington Post's Wesley Lowery, who was arrested by police Wednesday. The man said police had pelted him with rubber bullets and sprayed his face with tear gas.
What happens to people when it's used as indiscriminately as it appears to be in Ferguson, like at people standing in their own backyards? That's not clear. "[W]e don't know much about the long-term effects, especially in civilian exposure with kids or elderly or people in the street who might have some kind of lung disease already. There's very few follow-up studies. These are very active chemicals that can cause quite significant injury."



'Suspicious man' who'd followed children turned out to be their dad

A case of two children being followed by “a suspicious person” in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, was resolved after a man matching the description of the person identified himself to the police - as the children's father. Brantford police issued a public advisory last week after a witness noticed an unfamiliar car approach two children on their bikes and reported the incident to police. The driver pulled up alongside the two children and asked for directions, according to the public advisory.
One of the children responded and pointed in a certain direction, and the car 'followed beside them slowly for a distance.' “This is concerning to our service as well because the citizen who observed this was close by and the citizen could have been asked for direction from this man, however the unknown man chose to ask the young children instead,” police said in the public advisory at the time.
The mystery was solved when a man contacted the child abuse and sexual assault unit on Thursday after reading media reports about the incident. In a new release issued on Friday, police said the man provided details of the incident and descriptions of the person and the car.
“The citizen admitted approaching the children on bicycles, have conversation with them and then follow behind. The citizen is the father of these children,” police said. Police thanked the witness for reporting a suspicious event to the police. They also thanked the father for coming forward. “We continuously ask that citizens act on the side of caution in the interest of the safety of our children than to hesitate,” police said.

Open-air courthouse 'human zoo' holding cage described as 'barbaric' and 'positively Victorian'

The open-air holding pen dubbed "a human zoo" outside the courthouse is just part and parcel of living in the King Country town of Te Kuiti on New Zealand's North Island. But the sight of it has shocked justice advocates around the country who have described the outside holding area as "barbaric" and "positively Victorian".
Retired defense lawyer Peter Williams QC called the practice 'humiliating' and 'absolutely barbaric'. "How the justice department can justify a holding pen is just unbelievable, it's beyond imagination ... just absolutely wrong," the lawyer of 60 years experience said. "Whoever is responsible for it should be dealt some type of discipline and the thing should be dismantled and the proper remand rooms or accommodation put up to civilized standards."
Wellington human rights lawyer and member of the NZ Council for Civil Liberties Michael Bott said the cage 'almost has an element of theater about it'. "In many ways the cage on a street sounds like it's barely a step removed from the stocks a couple of hundred years ago which were used to shame people ... it's positively Victorian." Bott said not all the people in the cage were convicted of a crime either which would appear to breach people's privacy. He said it was a clear breach of S23(5) of the Bill of Rights Act which states 'everyone deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the person'.
"Not everyone who is bailed is convicted ... it just seems bizarre." Roger Brooking, who has 15 years experience working in the justice arena, was gobsmacked. "It's totally weird. I have never seen anything like that before. I had no idea there was a human zoo for offenders in Te Kuiti. I think it's disgusting, quite frankly. This is something you would see in a third world country, or something out of the middle ages." Tony Fisher, general manager of district courts, said the Ministry of Justice had received no negative feedback about the "secure entrance way".

Would-be smuggler had swallowed more than 80 plastic packages containing over $100,000

A 40-year-old Venezuelan man was sentenced to three months behind bars in Jamaica on Wednesday for attempting to smuggle US$103,500 concealed in 80 cylindrical pellets he had swallowed.
According to a statement from the police, Eddy Alberio Mancipe Ortega’s behaviour raised the suspicion of the law enforcement officers who stopped him as he attempted to board a Caribbean Airlines flight from Sangster International Airport to Trinidad on Monday, January 20. Ortega reportedly complained about feeling ill and was taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital where he was admitted.
During a two day period, police say he excreted 80 cylindrical plastic packages which were found to contain approximately US$1200 each. A total of US$103,500 was recovered. The Financial Investigation Division (FID) was informed and a team despatched to investigate the matter. At the conclusion of the investigation Ortega was charged with four breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and placed before the courts.
On sentencing, Resident Magistrate, Carolin Tie ordered that the money be forfeited under the cash seizure provisions of the POCA 2007. A deportation order was granted with immediate effect, since Ortega had been in custody for eight months. “This is the first instance that we have found cash being smuggled from Jamaica in such a fashion, it is indicative of how far persons will go in an effort to evade detection by Law Enforcement tasked with combating money laundering”, Justin Felice the Chief Technical Director at FID said.

Man charged after pointing gun at other man's head in dispute over guinea pig

Officials have filed a felony charge against a 32-year-old Wisconsin Rapids man who authorities say pulled a gun during an argument about a guinea pig. Thomas G. Lacomb Jr. is charged with second-degree recklessly endangering safety.
If convicted of the charges, Lacomb faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. According to the criminal complaint, on Aug. 3, Lacomb was at a Saratoga residence when he became angry because two young children wanted to take a guinea pig to Lacomb’s home and he did not want the animal there.
Another man decided to intervene in the situation and Lacomb started yelling at the man. The man tried to calm down and reason with Lacomb, but Lacomb reached into his vehicle and took out a handgun.
Lacomb put a bullet in the handgun and pointed it at the other man’s head. The two young children were inside the vehicle. Lacomb told deputies he took out the handgun because Lacomb felt threatened by the other man. Lacomb currently is free on a $150 cash bond.

Magical Photography

The Golden Hour
In photography, the golden hour is a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer compared to when the Sun is higher in the sky. In the morning, as the sun rises, the light is softer than later in the day when the full and harsh rays of the sun shine down upon us.
Likewise at the end of the day in the hour before sunset, the sun is close to the horizon again. As in the morning, the light travels in an oblique manner and so, instead of hitting objects straight down, hits them at an angle.

How To Avoid Ice-Cream Headache

Ice-cream headache - or 'brain freeze' - brought on by eating ice-cream or drinking a smoothie too fast is worse if you use a straw. The headache caused by the sudden cold sensation on the roof of the mouth commonly leaves people clutching their foreheads after an icy treat.

Dr Ellison, Senior Lecturer at Durham University Psychology Department, says it is all down to the way we hold the straw. She argues the ice cream headache is one of the most commonly misunderstood types of head pain and can easily be avoided.

Top 10 Weird Things That Some People Believe

Everyone has their own beliefs. Did you know there are people who believe milk and eggs come from plants? Or that the moon landing was fake? That witches exist or that the Earth is flat? Here are ten weird things people genuinely thought or still think are true.

Daily Comic Relief


Man allowed to keep 5-foot-long pet alligator despite complaint from neighbor

Randy Thomas from Smith Township near Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, has looked after Jackie the pet alligator for 10 years. “(We) went to exotic pet show in Pittsburgh. We thought it was small black caiman,” said Thomas. “She likes being rubbed underneath her head,” he adds.
Thomas brings Jackie out of her cage a couple times a week and said the majority of the neighbors embrace the animal. “All the neighborhood kids come and feed the alligator,” said Thomas. One neighbor made an anonymous call to the Washington Area Humane Society and complained.

Thomas said police, humane officers and the game commission have been to the house and approved. “I told them, ‘I’m not breaking any laws or ordinances, but I’ll show you she is well taken care of,’” said Thomas. Thomas said Jackie could never escape her secure cage and aside from some tail whipping, it is no threat.
“If I was going to get bit, she would have bit me a long time ago,” he said. Thomas said he knows alligator owners who keep their pets’ mouths taped shut, but he said there is no need to do that with Jackie. Thomas said Jackie lives in his basement in the winter and if given a bigger baby pool than she has, she would grow much larger.

The Mystery Of The Orangutan Flange

Much is known about orangutan physiology and behavior. Yet there is one thing that is still unsolved - the exact reason why some male orangutans develop a flange while others do not.
These large cheek pads certainly have their advantages as we shall see - it's most certainly about dominance and mating with as many females as possible - so why do they only develop in some males and not others?

Animal Pictures