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

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Daily Drift

Editorial Comment: As you know we changed our comment policy over the past few days due to wingnuts attempting to pervert and subvert this blog because we exposed the truth about them and they don't like it when you do that.
The immediate benefit from this was no more moronic 'anonymous' comments from wingnuts - which has spawned several emails congratulating and thanking us on putting them in their place.
The unintended but equally great benefit to prohibiting wingnuts has been the total cessation of SPAM clogging up the inbox ... it had gotten to the point that we had started deleting the inbox without wading through to find the legitimate comments floating in a sea of SPAM ... now that problem has been solved.
Something that is absolute anathema to wingnuts - they hate labor having the day off to celebrate their accomplishments, especially when they have to pay them  ..!
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Non Sequitur




Today in History

1676 Nathaniel Bacon leads an uprising against English Governor William Berkeley at Jamestown, Virginia, resulting in the settlement being burned to the ground. Bacon's Rebellion came in response to the governor's repeated refusal to defend the colonists against the Indians.
1773 Phillis Wheatley, a slave from Boston, publishes a collection of poetry, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, in London.
1807 Aaron Burr is arrested in Mississippi for complicity in a plot to establish a Southern empire in Louisiana and Mexico.
1821 William Becknell leads a group of traders from Independence, Mo., toward Santa Fe on what would become the Santa Fe Trail.
1836 Protestant missionary Dr. Marcus Whitman leads a party to Oregon. His wife, Narcissa, is one of the first white women to travel the Oregon Trail. The Oregon Trail emigrants who chose to follow Stephen Meek thought his shortcut would save weeks of hard travel. Instead, it brought them even greater misery.
1864 Confederate forces under General John Bell Hood evacuate Atlanta in anticipation of the arrival of Union General William T. Sherman's troops.
1870 The Prussian army crushes the French at Sedan, the last battle of the Franco-Prussian War.
1876 The Ottomans inflict a decisive defeat on the Serbs at Aleksinac.
1882 The first Labor Day is observed in New York City by the Carpenters and Joiners Union.
1894 By an act of Congress, Labor Day is declared a national holiday.
1902 The Austro-Hungarian army is called into the city of Agram to restore the peace as Serbs and Croats clash.
1904 Helen Keller graduates with honors from Radcliffe College.
1905 Alberta and Saskatchewan become Canadian provinces.
1916 Bulgaria declares war on Rumania as the First World War expands.
1923 An earthquake levels the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Yokohama, killing 300,000.
1939 Germany invades Poland, beginning World War II in Europe.
1942 A federal judge in Sacramento, Cal., upholds the government's detention of Japanese-Americans and Japanese nationals as a war measure.
1951 Australia, New Zealand and the United States sign the ANZUS Treaty, a mutual defense pact.
1969 Colonel Muammar Gadhafi seizes power in Libya following a coup.
1970 Dr. Hugh Scott of Washington, D.C. becomes the first African-American superintendent of schools in a major U.S. city.
1972 America's Bobby Fischer beats Russia's Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland, to become world chess champion.
1979 US spacecraft Pioneer 11 makes the first-ever flyby of Saturn.
1985 The wreck of the Titanic found by Dr. Robert Ballard and Jean Louis Michel in a joint U.S. and French expedition.
1998 On National Day, Vietnam releases 5,000 prisoners, including political dissidents.
2004 Armed terrorists take children and adults hostage in the Besian school hostage crisis in North Ossetia, Russia.

The repugicans Can’t Run Away From Their Allegiances and Policies Unless We Let Them

Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn
Mitch McConnell is a man on the run from a disastrous week for the repugican cabal. McConnell is running from voters, from his confession that the Koch Brothers own him and the repugican cabal and they are running away from policies that alienate women unless they are married and have less than a college education.
First, Gallup data shows the nexus between higher voter turnout and low approval ratings for congress.  True, repugicans tried to run away from voters with more gerrymandering and more draconian Vote Suppression laws.  The problem is the courts are waking up to the true agenda behind these tactics, especially vote suppression.  At this rate, no matter how fast repugicans try to run away from voters, the momentum is building for us to catch up with them.
After McConnell admitted the repugican cabal will drop the soap as often as the Koch Brothers want in exchange for all that campaign money, Mitch tweaked the Greg Abbot no show for press conferences solution by running away from the press.
No doubt, McConnell’s admission was the 2014 equivalent of Romney’s 47% video. There was nothing surprising about McConnell’s admission caught on audio.  Like Romney’s video, it amounts to a smoking gun admission of what we already know. That precludes McConnell and other repugicans from running away from their allegiance to the Koch Brothers. By running away from the press, Mitch is using the tactic of last resort.  He hopes that with time, people will forget his admission that the Koch brothers own him and the repugican cabal. He hopes the memory banks in our brains will be filled with trivia about the ice bucket challenge and there won’t be room left to remember the Koch brothers own the repugican cabal and its members.  However, audio and video are a permanent record that precludes repugicans from running away from their own words.
That brings me to the third event. The repugicans are still trying to figure out their “female problem.”  They hired consulted and bought studies to prove what we already knew.  After previous studies that pointed to the fact that Americans reject repugican ideology and policies the repugican cabal concluded the only thing that matters is finding the right giftwrap.  It doesn’t matter if you put it in prettier gift wrap, or you put more lipstick on the pig who is trying to sell these policies.  They remain and always will be policies from the stone-age.
As we already know, repugican policies alienate women.  
The repugican cabal remains convinced they just need the right message and the right puppets to mouth the shrieking points.  Most of the “right people” are rich white men, but for the sake of showing women how much they love us, occasionally the Koch brothers will throw a woman in the mix – assuming there will be bonus points if the woman can castrate a pig.
Moreover, for all their disdainful talk about a “culture of dependence”, the reality is repugican policies reek of creating a culture of dependence.  While damning the notion of dependence, on government, repugicans envision a culture of dependence on corporations and the rich white men who run them.  Think about it.
They argue that men “earn their money” while claiming that a women earning fair pay at her job is “dependence on government.” In reality, repugicans want us to believe that gender based pay discrimination is doing us a favor.  Here’s how that works.
Nothing turns off a “good man” (meaning men with good paying jobs) than a woman who can fend for herself.  So gender based discrimination makes us good marriage material and our financial problems will disappear.
Other repugican policies seek to make a culture of financial independence unattainable for women. Most notably is the repugican cabal’s opposition to the ACA’s birth control mandate. The birth control mandate received a lot of attention because of the court battles culminating in the Hobby Lobby ruling that empowers women’s employers to decide if they will allow employees to have access to birth control.  Also, the ACA eliminated the practice of identifying women as pre-existing conditions. In other words, Health insurance companies could charge women a higher price for the same healthcare plan they offer men at a lower premium.
Let’s not forget that while repugicans have waged war on women’s reproductive rights; they are defending men’s access to that little blue pill.
If you combine the facts that women earn less for doing the same work, and just the gender based discrimination in repugican healthcare policy, the economic reality is repugican policies create obstacles to independence for women.
This is where repugican views on reproduction are, in reality, additional means to promote a culture of women’s dependency on men.  It’s about taking women’s reproduction health and family planning decisions out of their hands and designating authority over women to their spouses, employers and if all else fails, the state.  Combine that with allowing employers to fire women for getting pregnant.  You come to the undeniable fact that the repugican cabal is opposed to a culture of independence for women.
It’s little wonder that the best advice repugican consultants have is to move on because it removes the risk of repugicans having more moments like the one Mitch McConnell is trying to run away from.
Whether its disapproving voters, public confessions or failed policies the repugican solution is to run away. They can only get away with that if we let them.

Things Get Worse For Mitch McConnell As His Campaign Manager Resigns Amid Bribery Scandal

Mitch McConnellMitch McConnell’s (r-KY) barely teetering reelection campaign has suffered another gut punch as campaign manager Jesse Benton resigned amid allegations of his involvement in a bribery scandal.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader,
Jesse Benton, the campaign manager for U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, will resign his post as a bribery scandal from the 2012 presidential campaign threatens to envelop Benton and become a major distraction for McConnell’s campaign.
Benton told the Herald-Leader that he met with McConnell on Friday afternoon and offered his resignation, which McConnell “reluctantly accepted.”
Benton said he offered his resignation, effective Saturday, with a “heavy heart.”
The scandal surrounds the 2012 Ron Paul presidential campaign paying $73,000 in bribes so that former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson would flip his support from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul. Emails show that Benton played a direct role in recruiting Sorenson for the Paul campaign. The same scandal has also ended Michele Bachmann House career, and made her the focus of several federal criminal investigations.
Benton put out a BS statement about how wonderful it was working for Mitch McConnell, which shows that Jesse Benton thinks we’re all idiots who forgot the leaked audio of Benton as campaign manager trashing McConnell and admitting that his role on the campaign is part of a secret deal to get Rand Paul the 2016 Republican nomination.
This is another headache for Mitch McConnell. The Grimes campaign immediately tried to connect McConnell to the scandal, but the bigger for endangered Republican is that Benton’s resignation feeds the perception that Mitch McConnell is a corrupt Washington, D.C. politician. McConnell was already sent reeling, and fleeing from reporters this week, after audio of his secret speech to the Koch brothers was leaked.
The resignation of his campaign manager creates the image of a sinking campaign that is taking more water by the day. The Kentucky Senate race is up for grabs, and as McConnell continues to get himself into more trouble, this election is presenting the perfect opportunity for Democrat Alison Grimes to knock off McConnell and help Democrats keep control of the U.S. Senate.

Federal Court Slams Texas TRAP Law Back To the Stone-Age

choice3In a much needed victory for women in Texas, a Federal Court struck down the Lone Star State’s version of a TRAP law. Finally, a court gets that laws designed to close all but a few abortion clinics in the entire state is a constitutional barrier to women’s ability to exercise their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.
U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel ruled based on the fact that HB2
burdens Texas women in a way incompatible with the principles of personal freedom and privacy protected by the United States Constitution for the 40 years since Roe v. Wade.
Judge Yeakel rejected the debunked repugican shrieking point that this law is about protecting women.
HB 2 is the most restrictive TRAP law in the country. Red states across the country have tried versions of this law to shut that whole women’s reproductive choices thing down.  In the Texas version, all abortion facilities would have to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.  The purpose of laws like this is to set up standards that are impossible or financially impossible for reproductive care facilities to meet.  That would force them to shut down without the legislature specifically ordering them shut down.
The reality is TRAP laws amount to sending us back to the coat hanger. Nothing about that suggests repugican lawmakers care about women’s health and safety. It comes as no surprise that Greg Abbott is expected to appeal this ruling.
This is the law that gave Wendy Davis, now the Democratic Candidate for Governor, national prominence as a strong fighter for women’s rights.  Davis filibustered this blatant attack on women’s right to reproductive healthcare the old-fashioned way.  She showed up, she spoke passionately in defense of women’s constitutionally protected right to have reproductive health care.  None of this repugican style phoning in a filibuster from a Koch brother retreat.  Despite Davis’ valiant efforts, the predominantly male repugican legislature passed this pathetic excuse for a law.
This is the second time Davis ultimately prevailed on a major legal matter over Greg Abbott.  The first time Davis kicked Abbott’s posterior in the courtroom was in his attempt to gerrymander her district, and those of other Democrats, away
This is also the second ruling in as many days that a court smacked Abbott down on an unconstitutional law.  Granted, yesterday’s ruling involved the repugicans’ education funding schem which violated the State constitution. This ruling smacks down Greg Abbott and his repugican buddies for violating the U.S. constitution.  This ruling is the latest reminder by the courts that Texans can choose a candidate who understands that people, including women, have rights under the constitution or they can elect someone who sees constitutional law as an obstacle to fulfilling the ideology the Koch Brothers pay him to impose on the people.
This is the latest of several rulings that pushes back against the repugicans who admit they want a nation-wide ban on abortion while trying to sell laws to that end as an effort to protect women’s health.
Similar laws in Mississippi and Alabama were shut down by the courts earlier this month on similar grounds.
Bear in mind that repugicans oppose abortion in all circumstances – including cases in which the women’s life and health are at risk, rape and incest.  While they claim this is based on their closely held “religious” beliefs, the argument falls apart. For one thing, if abortion is not mandatory.  Women who don’t want them be it based on religious, moral or other reasons don’t have to have them.  Those who insist that this about religion are, as they always do trying to impose their religious views on all women in America.  The repugicans also oppose birth control, which is the most effective practical way of reducing abortions because according to them women (but not men) must not be allowed to have “consequence free” sex.
Courts are sending a strong message to repugicans and their faux “pro-life” brigade that they cannot pass consequence free unconstitutional laws.

Court Humiliates Greg Abbott (Again) And Crushes his Unconstitutional Attack on Public Education

This time, an Austin judge dealt a devastating blow to Greg Abbott's campaign against public education…
Texas school funding unconstitutional
Greg Abbott had another bad day in court last Thursday.  He has a lot of those.  In June, a Federal Court knocked him down to size in a dispute about attorney fees and courts costs in Abbott’s failed attempt to salvage gerrymandering and vote suppression.
This time, an Austin judge dealt a devastating blow to Greg Abbott’s campaign against public education.  In District court Judge John Dietz’s 404 page ruling, he concludes that the Lone Star state’s school financing system is unconstitutional, unfair and insufficient. The Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition et al challenged a state policy that “improperly controls local property taxation”  Moreover, “the evidence clearly establishes that local districts do not have meaningful discretion in the levy, assessment and disbursement of property taxes; therefore the Texas school financing system imposes an unconstitutional state property tax.”
Oh my goodness! This ruling blew the lid off the repugican cabal’s general claim that it believes in local power. In reality, the ruling says that the state legislature’s method of financing education was the sort of top down scheme that repugicans say they oppose. It was unconstitutional because it was a state level property tax. The court also recognized the scheme is unfair and it doesn’t provide the funds needed to finance education.
This case started because the state legislature cut $5.4 billion from public education in 2011. The result was overcrowded classrooms, closed schools and unemployed teachers.
This unconstitutional system with all its warts is the one that Greg Abbott believes in.  He was willing to go to war with 600 school districts and spend millions of taxpayers’ dollars to defend it. He is expected to spend even more tax dollars to defend it on appeal.
The fact is Greg Abbot loves this system because he can use it to starve public education out of existence.
He tried to force Judge Dietz off the case, perhaps because Dietz understood that access to education is important to reducing crime and dependence on public assistance because it means the population has the skills needed to earn a decent living.
We realize that others provided for us when we were children. We realize that children are without means to secure their education. Just as others provided for us when we were in school, now is the time when we provide for others.
While delighted that the ruling recognizes the short changing of education dollars in districts, advocates for the private, religion based charter schools are disappointed the judge the rejected their argument in the quest for more public dollars. Judge Dietz suggested the best place for Charter Schools to seek more money is in the legislature.
The evidence was plain during trial: charter school students receive $1,000 less than district students on average each year. This disparity creates constitutional harm that Judge Dietz failed to recognize despite the use of the state’s own data to prove this point.
So says David Dunn, the executive director of the charter school organization. However, Dunn did praise the judge for finding that school districts were underfunded.
Greg Abbot loves this system because repugicans in the state legislature can get away with draconian cuts to education without paying the political consequences.  That honor goes to the local school boards who have to decide if they should close schools or fire teachers because of the way the unconstitutional law is structured.
The economic reality of Texas’ education system was summarized in Lone Star Project Director, Matt Angle’s reaction to the ruling:
The term “deadbeat” is used to describe adults who don’t fulfill their obligation to kids. Greg Abbott’s failure to fulfill his responsibility to help provide a good public education to Texas kids makes him the state’s biggest deadbeat.
It’s been clear for a long time that real insight into Greg Abbott’s views and principles is gained only at the courthouse. Today’s decision that the Texas school financing system is unconstitutional is a clear judgment on the false priorities and values of Greg Abbott and throws a harsh light on his contempt for our public schools.
This ruling gives Texans a chance to wake up from the slumber to support Wendy Davis who, like the judge in this case, recognizes the value and need for a public and accessible education system.

Keeping Their Voters Stupid Keeps repugicans Elected

Over the past six years after every election, a relatively common question is why do so many Americans dependably vote against their own self-interests. Despite poor white people in red states barely surviving on slave wages, welfare, food stamps, and no adequate healthcare, they routinely vote for repugicans openly campaigning on driving their constituents deeper into poverty. It is true that opposition to Democrats as surrogates for an African American President is driven by racial animus, but even that fails to explain poor white voters electing abusive repugicans promising to eliminate programs that keep them alive and block Democratic attempts to lift them out of poverty.
Founding Father Thomas Jefferson understood how abusive repugicans could succeed, if only they kept the population unenlightened, or in street vernacular blind, dumb, and stupid. Jefferson said, “I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of power.”
That was in 1820, but even before that Jefferson wrote that “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree. Therefore, it is imperative that the nation see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens.”
Jefferson was not the first man to identify the death knell of democracy, or “self-government,” was an uneducated populace. The repugicans understand they could hardly garner any electoral support if the population was educated and informed, so they have went to extraordinary and, often, unconstitutional lengths to keep the populace ignorant by cutting education funding. Whether it is transferring public school funding to private, religious, or under-performing charter schools, or just slashing education funding, repugicans will employ any measure to keep Americans stupid so they will vote against their own self-interests.
Last Thursday, another judge ruled that repugicans in Texas used an unconstitutional scam to starve public schools and produce another generation of ignorant Texans to vote for repugicans. The Texas ruling was a repudiation of gubernatorial candidate Gregg Abbot’s defense of slashing well over $5 billion from public schools using an unconstitutional property tax scam. However, the means of slashing public education funding is unimportant, but it is a growing trend among repugican-misled states whose goal is simply to maintain a base of support among uneducated voters.
Last week a judge in North Carolina ruled that a repugican privatization scheme was unconstitutional because it defunded public schools by shifting public education funds to private and charter religious schools. The judge correctly stated that the repugican scheme was to “siphon money from the public schools in favor of private schools, fund non-public schools that discriminate on account of religion, and to shift “public taxpayer money to private religious schools that have no legal obligation to teach them anything.” Besides a dirty privatization scam, N.C. repugicans want to keep the next generation of voters blind, dumb, and stupid so they will support policies that keep them in distress.
Last year in Kansas a judge ruled that Sam Brownback’s Draconian cuts to public education were unconstitutional; particularly because the lack of funding was due to using taxpayer dollars to fund unsustainable tax cuts for the rich. Brownback, like all repugicans, desperately needs an ignorant and uneducated citizenry who regularly fall for the insane notion that taking money from the people to enrich corporations and the wealthy is key to an economic Utopia. It is noteworthy that the storied “trickle down” theory has existed for about a generation, and the people that were denied a decent education then ignorantly support Brownback’s economic lunacy that has the state suffering three recent credit downgrades and flirting with bankruptcy in the very near future. It is even likely that people suffering the drastic social program cuts enacted by repugicans will vote for Brownback because they are too stupid to understand they are voting against their own survival.
Another repugican state, Louisiana, is fighting federal and state court lawsuits due to  Bobby Jindal’s unconstitutional scheme of stealing from public schools to fund private religious institutions. Jindal, like all repugicans, depends on uneducated voters to support policies against their own self-interests such as rejecting free Medicaid expansion funding, giving free rein to dirty energy industry to foul Louisiana’s air and water, and cut social programs ignorant and uneducated citizens require to survive.
The common theme in keeping their citizens ignorant and uninformed is pandering to voters’ irrational fears. It is why repugicans’ claim Democrats are subverting their religious freedom, taking god out of schools, coming for their guns, and imposing Marxism, Socialism, or communism on the people. If any American does not believe how ignorance borne of an uneducated populace drives opposition to policies that help Americans, take heed of the number of times repugican and teabagger voters bemoan President Obama’s Marxist or socialist policies revealing they have no idea what Marxist or socialist policies entail. If one wants to end a debate, or conversation with a wingnut parroting repugican shrieking points, ask them when the government came for their guns, what Marxism or socialism is, how their religious liberty, was subverted, or how President Obama is shredding the Constitution; a document they have never read, much less understand at even a rudimentary level.
It is beyond refute that if the citizens of this country were informed and educated, repugicans would be hard-pressed to get elected as dog-catchers, much less legislators. The assault on public education goes beyond repugican-controlled states as evidenced by congressional repugicans regularly cutting education funding. They, repugicans, know that if the public were educated, they could not demean science as the work of the devil, or claim contraception is abortion, or push the christian bible as true science. There is a reason so many morons in the wingnut coven are certain that god created America, wrote the Constitution, established America’s borders, and installed christianity as the state religion, and it is simply due to their inability to pick up a history book or the founding document to check repugican lies for veracity.
Americans are not unintelligent, but a fair proportion of them are dirt stupid; it is the only reason a repugican ever gets elected. What repugicans are doing in the states to education is to maintain an ignorant, superstitious, and uninformed voting bloc as well as prepare the next generation to regularly vote against their own best interests. They will continue using any means to destroy public education because they know, as Founding Father Thomas Jefferson said, the only “true corrective of abuses of power is to see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens.” It is a corrective that repugicans are waging a fierce battle against because their electoral survival depends on keeping their supporters uneducated, uninformed, and frankly, stupid from religion.

The Truth Be Told


Prosecution of Michael Brown's killer may be 'basically impossible'?

New Republic reporter Yishai Schwartz points out the central problem with prosecuting Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the Michael Brown shooting: Under Missouri law, you're pretty much allowed to shoot anyone.[W]e expect situations of justified violence and legal killing to be the rare exception, and most people would probably imagine that policemen and citizens raising claims of justifiable homicide must meet a substantive burden of proof. But in Missouri, these justifications barely require any evidence at all. [...]
Instead, as long as there is a modicum of evidence and reasonable plausibility in support of a self-defense claim, a court must accept the claim and acquit the accused. The prosecution must not only prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime, but also disprove a defendant's claim of self-defense to the same high standard. Under Missouri law, all a citizen claiming self-defense or a police officer claiming to have fired while pursuing a dangerous criminal need do is "inject the issue of justification." In other words, he only needs to produce some evidence (his own testimony counts) supporting the claim. Once he does so, "any reasonable doubt on the issue requires a finding for the defendant."

How did Faux News run a totally bogus Ferguson story?

Welcome to the truly slimy side of the wingnut hit machine.

The killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed young black man shot at least six times by police officer Darren Wilson, and the resulting protests in Ferguson, Missouri, left the wingnut media machine in something of a conundrum. Days ticked by and still there was no viable wingnut narrative.
Then, six days after the shooting, Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson bowed to pressure from the community and media and identified Wilson as the cop who shot Brown. At the same time, Jackson released two new bits of information. He said Wilson had been taken to a hospital after the shooting with swelling to his face. He also released a store surveillance video that showed Brown reaching over a counter and grabbing a handful of cigars, then pushing a store clerk on his way out.
This was a turning point in the story: Ferguson police seemingly wanted to transform Michael Brown from an innocent victim to a criminal. Still, it was hard to justify killing a young man with no previous record - especially shooting him six times, for allegedly stealing a handful of cheap cigars.
It wasn't long before Faux News was pushing a new narrative: Michael Brown wasn't just the latest in a depressingly long line of unarmed young black men to be gunned down by a white cop. He was a thug, they suggested, a criminal who deserved what he got, because he posed a deadly threat to Officer Wilson.
This was proven, Faux News reported with an unnamed source, because "the officer had sustained a fractured eye socket in the incident." Ann Coulter even suggested, incorrectly, that we'd seen X-rays of the fracture. Faux went on to claim "solid proof" of a battle between Wilson and Brown for the officer's handgun.
It was not long, of course, before CNN and others disproved such bogus claims. But how did such fiction make it all the way to an outlet as major, if intellectually challenged, as Faux News?

Louisiana school hits Rastafarian teen with 'unlimited suspension' over his dreadlocks

The ACLU of Louisiana has come to the defense of a Rastafarian boy who has been suspended from school and forbidden to return until he cuts his dreadlocks.The boy was sent home from South Plaquemines High School when classes resumed Aug. 8 because his dreadlocks extended beyond the collar of his shirt, in apparent violation of the school dress code.
After he returned to school the following week with his hair pinned up, school officials told the student his dreadlocks remained in violation.
Rastafarians believe Leviticus 21:5 forbids them to cut their hair, and dreadlocks are central to their religious beliefs.
"The wearing of dreadlocks for (the student) is akin to the wearing of a religious icon by another student," the ACLU said in a letter sent Monday to the Plaquemines Parish School Board.
The student's mother provided a letter to the school superintendent from the 1st Cult of Rastafar I that indicated the boy's family were members and explained the importance of dreadlocks to their faith.
This is just another example of someone belonging to the 'wrong' cult - according to the so called 'christians' because everyone not in their cult is in the wrong cult - and therefore has to be forced into submission to the 'correct' cult

Health News

Since mankind thoroughly eradicated polio, there hasn't been a single human-infecting disease that's been fully removed from the global population. Tara explains how this can be, when we've otherwise advanced so much with our medical treatments.
Thanks to new research, the appendix can finally show itself in public again. Tara explains why this formerly pointless organ may not be required equipment but still serves a useful function.
Scientists warn that a potentially deadly disease may spread from the tropics to temperate areas of Europe as the result of climate change.

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Brewery removes 'fart-smelling' beer from sale

A Norwegian brewery has removed all stock of one of its beers after drinkers complained of its foul-smelling aroma. Mack brewers, based in Tromsø, produced the “Isbjørn” (“Polar beer”), but a flaw in the manufacturing process created a drink with stomach-churning properties. It was found that contamination in the bottling system led to a bad odor in many of the beer cans.
A build-up of lactic acid in cans led to an unpleasant smell of sulphur and rotten eggs. The contamination was particularly rife when the weather was at its warmest this summer. In reaction to complaints, Mack, who have sold tens of thousands of cans of the "fart-smelling" drink, has over the last few weeks tried to withdraw all “Isbjørns” produced on July 21st and 22nd this year.
Roger Karlsen, Mack's director, said to Harstad Tidende: “These bacteria are not dangerous. They are normally used in acidic milk products, such as yoghurt, but can give an unpleasant smell and taste in beer. The smell can be like anything from lemon and vinegar to rotten fish. It is something caused by, among other things, decomposition of the proteins in the beer.”
Any customers who purchased 12-packs of the “Isbjørn” beer could have received cans of foul-smelling liquid. The brewery has attempted to retrieve all cans, but has not got them all back yet. The affected beer has an expiration date of October 22nd and 23rd. Customers who have bought the beer will get their money back from the brewery, Mack said.

How Can Foods Have Zero Calories?

Had something with zero calories in it lately? Unless it was water, you haven't. Tara explains why the math is so fuzzy between packaging claims and reality.

Genomics Study Offers Clues to Arctic Cultures

A large-scale study of mitochondrial DNA and the genomes of 169 ancient humans from different time periods in the New World Arctic region by Maanasa Raghavan of the University of Copenhagen and her colleagues suggests that the Saqqaq culture, whose people lived about 4,000 years ago, and members of the Dorset culture, who succeeded them 2,800 years ago, belonged to one Paleo-Eskimo people. According to Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, comparison with the genomes of present-day Inuits and Native Americans shows that reindeer-hunting Paleo-Eskimos were genetically distinct, and may have migrated to the New World on their own as a tiny founder population.  But the lineage disappeared at about the same time that the whale-hunting, Neo-Eskimo Thules expanded into the Arctic. Were the Dorsets pushed out of the Arctic by the Thules some 700 years ago, or were they annihilated by a disease? “It’s just mind-blowing to imagine an entire people who just completely vanished,” Willerslev told Science.

'Hobbits of the Arctic'

The petite Dorset people went extinct before the Vikings arrived and never mixed with Inuit or Eskimo peoples.

Archaeological News

The artifact had been well used by Roman soldiers and looks as though it was quite comfortable.
Forty wine jars were found within the remains of a mud-brick-walled room in Israel.
A Phoenician trading ship dating to 700 B.C. is discovered off the island of Malta. The wreck is one of the oldest ever found in the Mediterranean

Volcanic News

Mount Tavurvur erupted to 60,000 feet Friday, forcing planes to re-route from Australia and evacuations of local communities.
If the big volcano, which last erupted 640,000 years ago, were to blow up again, it would spew enough ash to send particles as far away as New York City. 
Cauldrons forming near Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano suggest an eruption under the ice has already taken place.

Daily Comic Relief


Cardboard cutout dogs used in attempt to scare off geese

Park officials in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, have recently planted cardboard cutouts of dogs in an attempt to fend off flocks of geese that are making a mess in popular regions of the park.
The geese congregate "in front of the band shell where we have concerts and get in the grass,” Tom Schrader, director of Parks and Recreation at Pfiffiner Park, said. “People want to put their blankets down on the ground but can’t.” There are anywhere from 25 to 120 geese in front of the band shell at once and they usually relieve themselves every 20 minutes, Schrader said.
In an attempt to move the geese into the lake, park officials placed three cardboard dog cutouts at $40 each around the band shell. “The geese generally stay about 30 to 40 yards away from the cutouts because they resemble coyotes,” he said. This is one of many efforts the park has used in the past two years to deflect the wild animals,

Other attempts have included mounting handcrafted owls in trees, purchasing plastic clappers and employing volunteers to shoo them into the nearby lake. “This year we didn’t have as many people so we tried different alternatives and Googled ways to scare geese,” he said. Two of the three cutouts have since been stolen. The park plans to make their own to replace them.

School closed due to feral cat inside building

Anne Arundel County schools in Maryland weren't taking any chances on Friday morning. Richard Henry Lee Elementary School in Glen Burnie closed due to what officials said was a "building safety" issue after a feral cat wandered in. The feline, whose size and breed have yet to be disclosed, was detected before students got into the building.
A teacher noticed the cat in her classroom at 7:30am, but it ran away. School officials then kept around 500 students outside of the building, which typically starts at 8:45am. A decision to close the school was made at 9:45am. School officials said they're working with police and Animal Control to capture the animal.
Robin Catlett, with the Anne Arundel County Animal Control, said the situation is still up in the air. The cat has not been identified by Animal Control yet, so they’re unsure of how they will proceed if they find the cat, Catlett said. "It would really depend on all the facts," she said.

Schools spokesman Bob Mosier said: "We have no idea the health status of the cat and certainly, we weren't going to put the nearly 500 students here in potential danger by having them in a building where a frightened cat might start running around, so we made a decision to close the school. Hopefully we'll trap it." Mosier added that it was too early to consider what happens if the cat is not found. "We’re hoping this ends far sooner rather than later," he said.

Chihuahua Puppy Enjoys Massage

This Chihuahua puppy discovers the delight of a mechanical massager. Like many humans, once he feels the sensation, he lingers, in no mood to hurry about his doggie day.

Memorial for Old Douglas

Earlier we told you about the Camels of Texas. The Confederate Army used quite a few of them during the Civil War. That inspired a reader to send us some of his neat pictures of the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg, Mississippi. That’s where the camel named Old Douglas, of Company A of the Forty-third Mississippi Infantry, is honored with a marker. From Wikipedia:
Though the men tried to treat Old Douglas like a horse, the camel was known to break free of any tether, and was eventually allowed to graze freely. Despite not being tied up, he never wandered far from the men. The Infantry’s horses feared Old Douglas, and he is recorded to have spooked one horse into starting a stampede, which reportedly injured many, and possibly killed one or two horses.[5]

Old Douglas’s first active service was with Gen. Price in the Iuka campaign. He also participated in the 1862 Battle of Corinth.[3] He remained with the regiment until the Siege of Vicksburg, where he was killed by Union sharpshooters.[6] Enraged at his murder, the men swore to avenge him. Col. Bevier enlisted six of his best snipers, and successfully shot the culprit. Of Douglas’s murderer, Bevier reportedly said, “I refused to hear his name, and was rejoiced to learn that he had been severely wounded.[7]” According to legend, after Douglas was shot, his remains were carved up and eaten, with some of his bones made into souvenirs by Federal soldiers.[2]
Learn more about the American camels from the Texas Camel Corps, a group “established to educate the public about the historic use of camels in America in the 19th century.”

Animal News

With its spiritual pose, the praying mantis is a wonder to behold. But behind its vaguely extraterrestrial features lies a ruthless predator.
A veritable barrel full of monkeys -- five new species -- has been found in the tropical forests of South America.
New Yorkers are being treated to some dramatic nature-produced shows these days as humpback whales travel to Big Apple waters to feed.
Spry pup holds speed records in two categories.
Five new shark species, along with two species of manta ray, gain new worldwide protection next month.
Unusual fish that walk and breathe air turn out quite differently when raised on land, rather than in water.
The specimen, approximately 560 million years old, contains fibrous bundles that appear to be muscle tissue, an important evolutionary adaptation.
A tenfold increase in protected coral species was announced Aug. 27, with 20 new corals added to the threatened species list.

Animal Pictures