Welcome to ...

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.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Non Sequitur


The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts - that means you ..!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

Proud Grandparents  ... !
Today is  - Grandparent's Day
Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Tamarac, Agua Fria, Yarmouth, Raymore, Minot and United States
Montevideo, Uruguay
Vega Baja and Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Montreal and Quebec, Canada
Mexico City, Mexico
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Nicosia, Cyprus
Rouen, France
Treviso, Naples, Milan, Meda, Ravenna, Terlizzi, Rome, Casavatore, Venice and Genova, Italy
Dortmund, Nuremberg and Rothe Erde, Germany
Voluntari and Bucharest, Romania
Oviedo, Madrid, Basauri and L'Olleria, Spain
Zutphen and Groningen, Netherlands
Dublin and Waterford, Ireland
Stockholm, Sweden
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Moscow and Ryazan, Russia
Slough, England
Athens, Greece
Vinnytsya and Sudak, Ukraine
Lisbon, Portugal
Ad Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Vacoas, Mauritius
Patna, Pune, Bangalore, Chetput, Markapur and Chennai, India
George Town, Malaysia
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Tehran, Iran
Bangkok, Thailand
Tel Aviv and Petah Tikva, Israel
Otsu, Japan
Mymensingh and Dhaka, Bangladesh
Jakarta, Indonesia
Rangoon, Burma
Singapore, Singapore
Beirut, Lebanon
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Tunis, Tunisia
The Pacific
Papeete, French Polynesia
Homebush, Australia
Quezon City, Philippines

Today in History

1571 At the Battle of Lepanto in the Mediterranean Sea, the Christian galley fleet destroys the Turkish galley fleet.
1630 The town of Trimontaine, in Massachusetts, is renamed Boston, and becomes the state capital.
1701 England, Austria, and the Netherlands form an Alliance against France.
1778 Shawnee Indians attack and lay siege to Boonesborough, Kentucky.
1812 On the road to Moscow, Napoleon wins a costly victory over the Russians at Borodino.
1813 The earliest known printed reference to the United States by the nickname "Uncle Sam" occurs in the Troy Post.
1864 Union General Phil Sheridan's troops skirmish with the Confederates under Jubal Early outside Winchester, Virginia.
1876 The James-Younger gang botches an attempt to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota.
1888 An incubator is used for the first time on a premature infant.
1892 The first heavyweight-title boxing match fought with gloves under Marquis of Queensbury rules ends when James J. Corbett knocks out John L. Sullivan in the 21st round.
1912 French aviator Roland Garros sets an altitude record of 13,200 feet.
1916 The U.S. Congress passes the Workman's Compensation Act.
1940 Germany's blitz against London begins during the Battle of Britain.
1942 The Red Army pushes back the German line northwest of Stalingrad.
1953 Nikita Krushchev elected first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
1954 Integration of public schools begins in Washington D.C. and Maryland.
1965 Pro Football Hall of Fame opens in Canton, Ohio.
1970 Jockey Blll Shoemaker earns 6,033rd win, breaking Johnny Longden's record for most lifetime wins; Shoemaker's record would stand for 29 years.
1977 Panama and US sign Torrios-Carter Treaties to transfer control of the Panama Canal from the US to Panama at the end of the 20th century.
1978 Secret police agent Francesco Giullino assassinates Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov in London by firing a ricin pellet from a specially designed umbrella.
1979 ESPN, the Entertainment and Sports Programig Network, debuts.
1986 Desmond Tutu becomes first black leader of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of South Africa).
1988 Pilot and cosmonaut Abdul Ahad Mohmand, the first Afghan to travel to outer space, returns to earth after 9 days aboard the Soviet space station Mir.
2004 Hurricane Ivan damages 90% of buildings on the island of Grenada; 39 die in the Category 5 storm.
2008 US Government assumes conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the country's two largest mortgage financing companies, during the subprime mortgage crisis.

The Lava Lamp Just Won't Quit

by Zachary Crockett
It’s rare that one invention so perfectly embodies an entire era -- evokes, with each kaleidoscopic orb of wax, the trippy mind-state of a generation. It’s rarer yet for that invention to be a lamp filled with viscous, indeterminable sludge.
But for some time in the 1960s, the lava lamp was just that: with its slow-rising, multicolored contents and space-esque profile, it seemed to effortlessly emulate the spirit of psychedelia. In the 1990s, after it had been written off as a bygone fad, the lava lamp rose again, stronger than ever -- this time as the reigning champion of an acid-fueled counterculture rebellion.
A glance into the strange lamp’s past reveals an even stranger history: its inventor, a World War II veteran turned ardent nudist, came up with the idea while drunkenly transfixed by a strange gadget at a pub.
The Enterprising Nudist
In the English county of Dorset, Edward Craven Walker was a curious character. 
Born in 1918, he served as a Royal Air Force pilot in World War II and flew multiple photographic reconnaissance missions over enemy territory in Germany. Post-war, Craven Walker lived in a small trailer behind a pub in London, built a successful travel agency, and sought to bring together people from the far reaches of the world. Throughout his early life, he “maintained the trim fighting figure and brisk demeanor of an R.A.F. officer.” 
Then, following a “life-changing” trip to the southern coast of France, the clean cut ex-squadron leader shed his uniform and embarked on a career as a nudist filmmaker. He became a pioneer in the genre. In 1960, under the pseudonym Michael Kaetering, Craven Walker produced “Traveling Light,” a short film featuring a naked woman performing underwater ballet. 
The film was a box-office success, running for six months in a major London theatre before being distributed around the world. It also secured Craven Walker a small fortune, which he subsequently invested in constructing one of the largest nudist camps in the United Kingdom. His new passion would stir much unrest in his life: he’d re-marry four times and become embroiled in controversy after banning obese people (who he called "fat fogies") from his resort.
But first, Craven Walker would invent one of the defining relics of 1960s psychedelia.
Less-Than-Eggciting Origins
Early lava lamp prototype, using a glass shaker (1960)
On a presumably rainy day in the mid-1950s, Craven Walker paid a visit to Queen’s Head, a small pub southwest of London. When he sat at the bar to order his first pint of Guinness, he noticed something strange perched beside liquor bottles on a shelf.
A glass cocktail shaker full of water and oil blobs sat on a hot plate; upon being heated, the oil would rise to the top of the shaker. When Craven Walker inquired what this strange device was, the barkeep told him it was an egg timer: in just the amount of time it took the oil to rise, an egg could be fully cooked. Years earlier, a regular at the pub, Alfred Dunnett, had built the contraption, Craven Walker was told -- but it was only a one-off, and Dunnett had since passed away. 
Determined to pursue the idea further, Craven Walker contacted Dunnett’s widow and purchased the man’s patent for a sum of less than £20 (about $30 USD). For the next decade, between his nudist philandering and cinematic pursuits, Craven Walker set out to craft this rudimentary egg timer into an interior decoration. 
Using an old empty bottle of Orange Squash (“a revolting drink [Craven Walker] had in England growing up”), he paired two “mutually insoluble liquids” -- water and wax -- with a few secret chemical ingredients (one of which was purportedly tetrachloride, an agent that added weight to the wax). To heat the lamp, Craven Walker enlisted a specialized, high-output bulb and encased it a protective base.
The physics behind Craven Walker’s invention relied on the Rayleigh-Taylor Instability, a physical law that explores the instability produced by a lighter fluid pushing a heavier fluid. When the bulb heated the lamp, the wax was liquified into a giant, resting blob; as the wax expanded, it became less dense and rose to the top, where it invariably cooled (as a result of being further from the heat source), and sunk back down. This process would continually repeat itself while the bulb was activated.
By 1963, Craven Walker had perfected his design. He donned his invention the “Astro Lamp,” erected a small factory in his backyard, and set out on a quixotic quest to promote it. "Edward was very focused, driven, full of ideas, and when he had an idea he would see it through to the end," Craven Walker’s wife, Christine Baehr, later told the BBC. “But we didn't have any online technology -- we literally had to go around in a van."
The High Times of the Astro Lamp 
Craven Walker and then-wife Christine Baehr beside the Astro Lamp van (1963)
At first, the couple had a little trouble selling the Astro Lamp to local stores -- particularly those which catered to higher-end customers. "Because it was so completely new we had to convince people it was worth going with, particularly when it came to selling," recalled Baehr. "Some people thought it was absolutely dreadful." Upon seeing the lamp, one buyer for Harrods (the Saks Fifth Avenue of England) called them “disgusting” and ordered they be taken away immediately.
To combat the hatred the lamp provoked, Craven Walker decided he’d re-brand his invention.  In the years following World War II, there had been a rebellion against the dull, boring nature of interior design. People wanted more color, more excitement -- and with the introduction of new printing and dyeing methods, flamboyant household items were coming into vogue. Craven Walker capitalized on this, and set out to cast the Astro Lamp as a high-end, wacky household fixture. 
He created his own company, Crestworth, to market the lamp, and took out full-page spreads in magazines featuring suavely-dressed men touting the Astro Lamp as an item of “sophisticated luxury.”
Original Astro Lamp advertisements, c.1963
Craven Walker offered the original Astro Lamp in 20 color combinations (five options for choice of "fluid color," and four for the color of the wax), and branded it using words like "elegant," "powerful," and "rich." With its new appeal, stores began opening up to the contraption and it soon became a hit -- but not in the way Craven Walker had intended.
By the mid-1960s, LSD and other psychedelic drugs had snaked their way into British culture. A rising hippie counterculture, fueled by bands like Pink Floyd and The Yardbirds, was increasingly on the prowl for mind-bending experiences. With its trippy, globular formations and low-light ambience, the Astro Lamp fit the bill. While the lamp’s “sophisticated” marketing got its foot in the door, it found its eventual customer base in the revolutionaries of psychedelia. Craven Walker responded to his new buyers with measured enthusiasm. “If you buy my lamp,” he stated in one ad, “you won’t need drugs.”
"Everything was getting a little bit psychedelic," Baehr recalled of Craven Walker’s new target audience. "There was Carnaby Street and The Beatles and things launching into space and he thought it was quite funky and might be something to launch into."
The lamps gained steam, and soon enterprising Americans sought to introduce Craven Walker’s product abroad, where psychedelic culture was igniting. At a German trade show in 1965, two businessmen, Adolph Wertheimer and William Rubinstein, bought the North American manufacturing rights for the Astro Lamp, established an office in Chicago, and renamed it “Lava Lite.” Backed by expert marketing and fueled by 1967’s Summer of Love, the lamp began making cameos in major television programs and films. A red model debuted in a 1968 episode of Dr. Who; this was followed by appearances in The Prisoner, The Avengers, and James Bond.
Lava lamps prominently featured in “The Wheel in Space,” a 1968 episode of Dr. Who
For Craven Walker and his wife, there was a defining moment where they knew they’d truly achieved success. “The day a store in Birkenhead phoned to say that Ringo Starr had just been in and bought a lava lamp," recalls Baehr. "Suddenly we thought, 'Wow, we have hit it.’” 
By the end of the 60s, Craven Walker was selling seven million Astro Lamps per year, and had made himself a multi-millionaire. 
Like most novelty items, lava lamps were a fad; as hippie culture faded in the late 1970s and blacklight posters reigned supreme, Craven Walker saw a sharp decline in sales. To no avail, Craven Walker tirelessly rolled out new products, none of which came remotely close to the sales numbers achieved by the Astro Lamp. Despite this, he clung to his company, believing that lava lamps would one day regain the graces of counterculture society.
The Second Coming of the Lava Lamp
For nearly two decades, the lava lamp faded into obscurity. By the late 1980s, Craven Walker’s sales had declined to only 1,000  lamps per year, and he sat on a stockpile of thousands of Astro Lamps. Then, miraculously, the groovy orb came back to life.
Cressida Granger, a 22-year-old who ran a small antiques booth in Camden Market (a hipster hangout in north London), noticed old, “vintage” lava lamps were selling and decided to take action. In early 1989, she contacted Craven Walker and expressed her interest in purchasing his company, Crestworth. At Craven Walker’s behest, the two met up at a nudist camp (at Granger’s behest, both were fully clothed); it was here, amid sun-tanned bottoms, that Craven agreed to let Granger enter a partnership with him.
Granger took over operations as managing director and sales soon increased. In 1988-89, Britain experienced what would later be called the Second Summer of Love. The rise of Ecstasy, acid house music, and MDMA-inspired rave parties ignited an “explosion in youth culture” reminiscent of the 1960s hippie movement. Hedonism, rampant drug use, and chemically-enhanced positive vibes were back in style -- and with them, lava lamps. 
In 1991, Craven Walker’s original patent (approved in 1971) expired, opening the playing field for competitors. Luckily, recalls Granger, "People didn't realize the patents had run out," and she, along with Craven Walker, enjoyed “a lovely period of monopoly in the 90s.”
Edward Craven Walker’s original patent for the lava lamp (1971). While there is a bit of controversy surrounding the original patent holder (read here), there is no doubt that he popularized the device.
As per the pair’s initial agreement, Granger slowly bought out Craven Walker’s interest in Crestworth. By 1992, she’d re-named the company Mathmos, moved into their manufacturing facility, and produced lamps using Craven Walker’s staff, machinery, and components. 
By 1998, Granger had gained sole ownership of the company and successfully navigated the resurrection of the lava lamp, bringing sales from 1,000 units per year to 800,000 per year. Sales surged in the late 1990s, largely thanks to the release of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), which regenerated interest in psychedelic culture. The decade was so wildly profitable for Mathmos that Granger claims more units were sold the second time around than in the 1960s -- a rare feat for a novelty item. Mathmos has also navigated through some unwanted publicity (in 2004, for instance, a man was killed when his attempt to self-heat a lava lamp on a stovetop resulted in an explosion and a glass shard through the heart).
Though his role in the company diminished, Craven Walker stayed on as a consultant for Mathmos until his death in 2000. Today, the lamps continue to be produced in the original facility in Dorset, using the exact same formula invented by Craven Walker over 60 years ago (it’s still a secret to this day).
In recent years, the company has encountered pressure to shift their operations to China -- a move that would make production much cheaper, but Granger hasn’t acquiesced. Bottles are still filled by hand (one employee is able to get through about 400 per day); as a result, Mathmos lamps start at $80 while cheaper, mass-produced lamps sell for as little as $15. But according to Granger, heritage is more important.
“I think it's special to make a thing in the place it's always been made,” Granger told HuffPost in 2013. “The bottles are made in Yorkshire, the bases are made in Devon, the bottles are filled in Poole and the lamps assembled to order in Poole."
Lasting Impact
Craven Walker’s original lava lamp was relatively plain: a 52-ounce tapered glass vase, a gold base, and red “lava” in yellow liquid. Today, thousands of variations exist, from sparkly Hello Kitty-themed lamps to 6-foot, $4,000 goliaths that take hours to heat up. A formidable collector market has emerged and, according to lava connoisseur Anthony Voz, it’s the old school ones that still generate the most interest -- “the ones that weren’t so commercially successful.” This demand can be attributed to vintage nostalgia, but moreover it’s a testament to Craven Walker’s passion, dedication, and ultimate vision.
As designer Murray Moss notes, Craven Walker never intended the lava lamp to really be a lamp: it doesn’t give off a lot of light, it’s not utilitarian, and it isn’t used for any other purpose than to create a mood. “It’s devoid of function but rich in emotional fulfillment,” he writes, “and it can momentarily free your mind like a warm bath.” Voz adds that “it's the motion within the lamp -- the way that it flows, a mixture of light and chaos blending together” that makes them special.
The lava lamp has proven itself as more than a fading historical relic, more than a cheap gimmick. Both of the lamp’s sales boosts can be attributed to the rise of counterculture movements and the introduction of new drugs. Each time, the wacky invention visualized experimentation. Some, like the lamp’s pioneer, even found symbolism in the rising wax.
''It's like the cycle of life,” Craven Walker told a reporter in 1997, a few years before his death. “It grows, breaks up, falls down and then starts all over again. And besides, the shapes are sexy.''

Obama Slays Another repugican Shrieking Point By Explaining His Strategy To Dismantle ISIS

During his press conference at the NATO summit today, President Obama put another Republican talking point out of its misery by explaining his strategy to dismantle ISIS.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You can’t contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people, killing that many innocents, enslaving that many women. The goal has to be to dismantle them.
And if you look at what happened with al Qaeda in the FATA, where their primary base was, you initially push them back. You systematically degrade their capabilities. You narrow their scope of action. You slowly shrink the space, the territory that they may control. You take out their leadership. And over time, they are not able to conduct the same kinds of terrorist attacks as they once could.
As I said I think in my last press conference, given the nature of these organizations, are there potentially remnants of an organization that are still running around and hiding and still potentially plotting? Absolutely. And we will continue to hunt them down the same way we’re doing with remnants of al Qaeda in the FATA or elements of al-Shabaab in Somalia, or terrorists who operate anywhere around the world.
But what we can accomplish is to dismantle this network, this force that has claimed to control this much territory, so that they can’t do us harm. And that’s going to be our objective. And as I said before, I’m pleased to see that there’s unanimity among our friends and allies that that is a worthy goal and they are prepared to work with us in accomplishing that goal.
So much for the repugican shreiking point that the president doesn’t have a strategy to deal with ISIS. Obama has proven track record of terrorist neutralization. His methods have worked in the past, and there is no reason that they won’t be effective in dealing with ISIS. The repugicans going back to the shrub have refused to understand that terrorism can’t be defeated with an invading army. The concept of terrorism can’t be defeated with ground troops.
President Obama is correct. The best way to defeat terrorism is to neutralize the threat. Notice that President Obama didn’t use the shrub's war on terror lingo. This president has more reality based understanding of what it takes to deal with a terrorist threat. ISIS wants to provoke the US into another ground war, but Obama isn’t going to fall for it.
The Obama strategy is better than the repugican 'strategy' of sending a bunch of troops to invade a country that had nothing to do with the terrorist attack on American soil. It’s clear that the president has clear goal, while the only 'strategy' that repugicans have is the one that let Osama Bin Laden roam free while American troops died in Iraq.

Democratic Presidents Bring It: Obama Shatters Clinton’s Record For Private Sector Job Growth

The private sector has added 10 million jobs over 54 straight months, an extension of the longest streak on record for private sector job growth ...
Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP
What do President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama have in common? They both presided over record setting streaks of private sector job growth.
The Department of Labor announced Friday that the economy added 142,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped (little change) to 6.1%. The private sector has added 10 million jobs over 54 straight months, with private businesses adding 134,000 jobs in this report. President Obama has shattered Bill Clinton’s previous record of 51 consecutive months of private sector job growth. This is an extension of the longest streak on record for private sector job growth and it happened under a Democratic President.
Upon release of the new jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, noted, “The private sector has added 10 million jobs over 54 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 142,000 in August, mainly reflecting a 134,000 increase in private employment. Private-sector job growth was revised up for July and down for June for little total revisions. Over the past twelve months, private employment has risen by a total of 2.4 million.”
Chart via Jason Furman:
This surge in private sector job growth is the opposite of what Republicans told the public would occur under a Democratic President. The repugicans claim to be the party of business and of the markets, yet time and time again, we see consistent growth under a Democrat.
Furman further noted that the other time we added 10 million private sector jobs was between November of 1996 to April of 2001. Former President Bill Clinton served as President from 1993 to 2001. It’s almost as if as soon as he left office, the private sector began weeping jobs.
An excellent record of job growth under a Democratic President is not an anomaly. President Clinton added a total of 23.1 million jobs, while the shrub only added 3 million over his entire 8 year term and his father, the shrub's daddy, only added 2.5 million but he did that over one term. Heck, Ronald Reagan only added 16 million jobs, and he is held up by repugicans as the business god.
All is not rosy, however, “Although the pace of job gains in August was below recent months, the broader trends are moving in the right direction.” Furthermore, “Long-term unemployment has fallen rapidly over the past year but remains well above its pre-recession average.” That recession started in 2007.
It is thanks to the Congressional repugicans that the unemployment numbers are not better. Not only have House repugicans refused to pass a real jobs bill, but they’ve also been engaged in a desperate defunding war on government and public sector employees. This specific poutfest is years old now.
Furman said in his statement that the report proves we need to do more to create jobs, “With today’s report, the economy has now added 10 million private-sector jobs over 54 straight months of job growth. This figure is a marker of the progress that has been made, but also a reminder that more must still be done to create jobs, especially for the long-term unemployed, and grow the middle class. Although the pace of job gains in August was below recent months, the broader trends are moving in the right direction. To continue to support the progress our economy has made, the President will act wherever he can to create good jobs, facilitate investments in American infrastructure and manufacturing, and make sure that hard work pays off with higher wages.”
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi concurred in her statement, “Today’s jobs report shows our economy continuing to move forward. It is clear, however, that repugicans’ special interest obstruction and dysfunction are stalling the middle class and costing our country jobs.”
Pelosi continued, “Across the country, Americans are raising a drumbeat for action, calling for a Congress committed to creating jobs, jumpstarting the middle class, and building an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy. They want us to spend September creating good paying jobs, raising the minimum wage, renewing emergency unemployment insurance, standing with students, and giving America’s women the respect of equal pay for equal work. Yet House repugicans continue to insist on putting the special interests ahead of everyone else, planning yet another month of special interest giveaways – including their 53rd vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”
The next time someone calls repugicans the party of business and private sector success, just point them to the Obama stock market and the private sector job growth under Clinton and Obama.
Then you can kindly point out that when repugicans talk about “business” it is really a euphemism for catering to a select few big businesses that donate heavily to the repugican cabal and whose profit margins grow when they are allowed to harm and even kill U.S. citizens through deregulation and underfunded government agencies. If your “business” is death and disease, then the repugican cabal is your party. If it’s jobs you’re looking for, private sector job creation has been best under a Obama and then Clinton.
Imagine what a Democratic Congress might accomplish.

Koch brothers' 'grand strategist' says raising the minimum wage is like Nazi Germany

The man described as the Koch brothers' "grand strategist" at the Koch brothers' own secret donor gathering has some strong feelings about the minimum wage. Strong as in he thinks raising the minimum wage would lead to fascism.Richard Fink, an executive vice president of Koch Industries, based his case that the minimum wage leads to fascism on the discredited claim that raising the minimum wage would cost 500,000 jobs. Economic consensus, based on dozens of studies of actual real-life cases comparing states, cities, or counties with higher minimum wage with their neighbors with lower minimum wage, is that raising the wage does not hurt job growth. And you don't have to look far to find recent examples of strong job growth in places that raised the minimum wage. So Fink's argument starts in a problematic place. But it gets a whole lot more problematic really fast:
He continued, "We're taking these 500,000 people that would've had a job, and putting them unemployed, making dependence part of government programs, and destroying their opportunity for earned success. And so we see this is a very big part of recruitment in Germany in the '20s."
"If you look at the Third -- the rise and fall of the Third Reich, you can see that," Fink said. "And what happens is a fascist comes in and offers them an opportunity, finds the victim -- jews or the West -- and offers them meaning for their life, OK?"
Fink cited the historical examples of Nazi Germany and communist Russia and China to segue to terrorism. "This is not just in Germany. It's in Russia, in Lenin, and Stalin Russia, and then Mao," said Fink. "This is the recruitment ground for fascism, and it's not just historical. It's what goes on today in the -- in the suicide bomber recruitment."
Not just Hitler, but also Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and suicide bombers. He couldn't come up with any other historical boogeymen? Maybe he could blame the American Civil War on efforts to raise the minimum wage for enslaved people!

What Billionaires Want for Their Political Cash

Piles of cash go to parties and pet causes on both sides of the political spectrum. Where do the big-donor philosophies differ, and is there any common ground?

Bad News Keeps Coming For Scott Walker As He Trails Democrat Mary Burke In Latest Poll

scott walkerA poll released by WeAskAmerica on Thursday reveals that Scott Walker, the incumbent repugican, trails Democratic challenger Mary Burke by four points. Walker was already sweating when polls last month showed the race in a dead heat. However, in the aftermath of the release of some devastating emails showing Walker coordinated with Koch-funded SuperPACs to raise campaign funds, support for the supposed ‘rising star’ of the repugican cabal has quickly started to erode.
Per the poll, Burke has 48% support compared to Walker’s 44%. The governor is struggling mightily with female voters at this point as the gender gap is at 15%, with 54% supporting Burke compared to only 39% for Walker. The gap is nearly fatal considering that Walker only enjoys a six-point advantage with men. With that knowledge, it makes sense that repugicans quickly pounced on comments from DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz when she said that the governor “has given women the back of his hand.” Walker’s supporters tried to use Schultz’s comments against Burke by claiming Schultz was making an inappropriate comparison to domestic violence.
However, try as he might, Walker isn’t going to make many inroads with women based solely on his policy positions and statements since he was first elected in 2010. His only hope is that he can at the very least shrink the gap just enough while simultaneously energizing conservatives to come out in droves this November. At the same time, he is also going to try to appeal to independent voters. Now, he and Burke are tied with independents at 44% a piece, with 9% undecided. Likely, Walker will try to win over more independents by tying Burke to President Obama. Currently, Obama only has a 35% approval rating with Wisconsin independents.
Beyond the emails indicating illegal campaign fund coordination, Walker also has to deal with his failed promise to create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin during his first term. With just two months until the election, he is well behind that goal as Wisconsin has only seen 103,000 new jobs added since Walker took office. Considering the governor’s efforts to destroy public unions and gut collective bargaining for workers, his failure to deliver on this promise is not going to sit well with average voters. If you are going to wage war on the middle-class, you better make sure you at least deliver on your other pledges.
Over the past year or so, Walker has seen his name bandied about as a potential Presidential candidate in 2016 and beyond. He probably needs to focus on what’s going on in the here and now. At this point, he is in real danger of getting kicked out of the Governor’s Mansion at the end of this year.

Jon Husted Freaks Out When Another Court Blocks His Latest Attempt at Vote Suppression

Jon Husted
On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus blocked the repugican cabal’s attempt to suppress the vote in Ohio.  Judge Economus ruled a law that cut early voting violates equal protection clause under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and it violates section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Aside from issuing an injunction to prevent enforcement of this law during this year’s election, the judge ordered Husted to open poll stations an additional Sunday.
Naturally, the repugican vote suppressor in chief for Ohio, Jon Husted, trotted out the repugican cabal/teabagger shrieking points on the value of treating voters uniformly in his statement reacting to the ruling.
My overarching principle for Ohio’s long-debated voting schedule is that all voters, no matter where they live, should have the same opportunity to vote. That’s why I have set uniform voting hours for all 88 counties and why I sent absentee ballot applications to voters statewide, so there would be no disparity in access.
In the same statement, Husted said he would appeal this ruling.
Of course, Jon Husted doesn’t like this ruling or any of the court rulings that blocked his numerous attempts to suppress the vote.  He tried the same tricks  in 2012. In his effort to deliver Ohio to Mitt Romney, Husted defied court orders and fired County Board of Election Officials who defied Husted’s unconstitutional edicts to restrict voting hours during periods used predominantly by African American voters in Ohio.  Eventually, Husted gave in, but as this election shows, he did not give up on his efforts to suppress the vote.
Attorney-General Eric Holder pointed to the significance of this ruling for court challenges to similar laws in Texas and North Carolina. During his remarks on the DOJ’s plan to investigate a pattern of civil rights violations by the Ferguson Police Department, Holder commented on the ruling.
Second, in Ohio, a district court has held that the plaintiffs challenging the State of Ohio’s changes to its in-person early voting rules likely will be able to prove that those changes are unconstitutional.  The Justice Department had filed a Statement of Interest in this case.  And today’s outcome represents a milestone in our effort to continue to protect voting rights even after the Supreme Court’s deeply misguided decision in Shelby County.
I am pleased to note that today’s decision, and the judge’s analysis, rests on some of the same legal reasoning that underlies the Department’s pending challenges to voting measures in Texas and North Carolina under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.  And as we move forward, my colleagues and I will continue to do everything in our power to aggressively defend access to the ballot box and ensure that every American can exercise his or her right to participate in the democratic process, unencumbered by unnecessary restrictions that discourage, discriminate, or disenfranchise.
The repugicans are trying to confuse matters by arguing that uniformity and equality have the same meaning.  However, they betray their own bigotry because repugicans made a special effort to make sure that voters don’t have uniformly functioning voting machines or uniformly convenient poll stations.
Even so, people don’t have uniform circumstances.  This means that uniformity is ultimately discriminatory against people who don’t fit the mold under Husted’s version of uniformity.  That could be because many Americans don’t have the mythical traditional family unit or the mythical “standard” work hours. In the real world, people who work for a living don’t have uniform work hours nor do they have the uniform privilege of taking time off from work so they can vote. In that same world, people can’t afford to take time off from a job that pays slave wages and in too many circumstances risk losing that job if they do take time off.

Social Mediators are the New Gatekeepers

News media losing role as gatekeepers to new ‘social mediators’ on Twitter

The U.S. government is doing a better job of communicating […]

How To Thrive Through Close Relationships

If streets are carfull, be careful.
How To Thrive Through Close Relationships

Close and caring relationships are undeniably linked to health and […]

Ridiculous Beliefs of the World's Most Acclaimed Thinkers

Sometimes we look back in history (especially the history of philosophy and such) and we give the people who helped form the movement a little too much credit. We forget that, in between all their critical and existential thinking that was spot-on, they had some setbacks, too.
On RealityCarnival today I found a piece about some ridiculous beliefs of the world's most acclaimed thinkers, and it really blew my mind (Reality Carnival is a great site to go to when you need your mind blown).
For example, did you know that Pythagoras thought beans were made from people and should NEVER be eaten? Yes, he actually thought that, among all his briliant musings. That, my friends, is just one glorious example. It only gets wackier from there.
So the next time you find yourself wondering if you can ccross breed a dog with a robot, and then you think to yourself that is a stupid thought, just remember: there were people far more intelligent than you or I thinking far stupider stuff.



For Sale: Seven-Foot-Wide House in London

A house in the north London neighborhood of Herringay that is a mere seven feet in width was recently listed for £235,000 ($382,959 USD). The slim digs feature two bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, a rooftop terrace and a "bonus" loft space with skylight.
Sandwiched between two average sized homes for that neighborhood, the space was built over a driveway that once existed between the two properties. If no buyers materialize by October 1st, the house will be sold at auction. See photos of the inside of this small-scale setup here.

School building caught fire during fire drill

A routine school fire drill in Cincinnati turned into the real thing on Tuesday evening.
The Fire Department said one of its ladder companies was finishing up the drill with students at god's bible school and college at around 7:30pm when one of the firefighters saw black smoke coming from the roof.
The firefighters went inside and found smoke on the the third floor and called for a full fire response. The fire was found and brought under control within 15 minutes of the discovery.
The cause of the fire was an electrical problem in a bathroom exhaust fan on the third floor. Damage was estimated at $5,000. No injuries were reported.

Burglar claimed he was trying to buy a ferret

A suspected intruder claimed he was trying to buy a ferret when he was arrested as he walked out through the broken door of a burgled house. John Acres said he went to the home of a fellow country sports enthusiast to get a ferret rather than to try to raid his gun cabinet, Exeter Crown Court was told. He was allegedly caught red-handed as he left the Exeter home of farm worker Kenneth Andrews after police were alerted to a raid in progress by an anonymous call.
Householder Mr Andrews told a jury he had not invited Acres to his home and had not kept ferrets for at least ten years. Acres, aged 43, of Exeter, Devon, denies burglary. He says he arrived at the house to find a panel in the door smashed and went inside to check on Mr Andrews’ welfare. Miss Bathsheba Cassel, prosecuting, said police were called to the house in February by an anonymous call and found a large hole in a panel of the double-glazed front door.
She said:”We say the defendant was caught red handed during the course of the burglary. He was stopped as he left found with bags which could have been used to carry loot and clothing which may be worn by a burglar including a balaclava and gloves. “When police spoke to him he said he had gone there to collect a ferret. The most concerning aspect of this case is that Mr Andrews was a licensed firearms keeper and we say the firearms were deliberately targeted by the burglar.
“We say he burgled the house and this is shown by the evidence along with his quite ridiculous story about the ferret.” PC Ian Freestone said he arrested Acres coming out of the house and was told: ”I only went there to buy a ferret. That’s the last time I try to help anyone.” Mr Andrews said he had gone ferreting with Acres 15 to 20 years ago but had not kept ferrets for at least ten years or had any contact with Acres for two years or more.

Horse-drawn carriage drivers robbed by boys riding bicycles

Teenage boys riding bicycles robbed two female drivers of horse-drawn carriages in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday night at two separate locations.
Five or six boys surrounded a carriage and nearly knocked a female driver off of it when they grabbed her purse from underneath her, says Jerry Kirk, the owner of the Brookdale Farms carriage company.
Kirk says the ordeal is very unusual. “We’ve been there seven nights a week for 35 years and never had an issue with anything,” he said.
“This is the first time that we’ve ever had an incident this way, and I’m not aware that there’s ever been an incident like this ever before.” Police arrested one suspect on Sunday, and another was arrested on Monday allegedly trying to sell a carriage driver’s stolen cell phone at a kiosk.

Monet Discovered

Reclusive son of a Nazi-era art dealer who amassed a giant secret collection snuck a Monet with him into the German hospital where he died in May.

Random Photos

Ozone Pollution

Ozone Pollution in India Kills Enough Crops to Feed 94 Million in Poverty

Damage to plants destroys significant portions of wheat and rice […]

Adolfo Farsari

The Man Who Shot Japan
In the 1880s, at a time when most Europeans were denied access to the Japanese interior, Italian photographer Adolfo Farsari (1841-1898) managed to capture many images of Old Japan. These were then beautifully and realistically hand painted and serve as a remarkable record of a world long since disappeared.

Archaeological News

No graves (including Alexander’s) have been discovered yet at the Kasta Hill site at Amphipolis in Macedonia, but new finds are increasing interest around the excavation.
The bracelets and necklaces, representing one of the finest collection of Roman jewelry, were buried in Colcester, U.K., by a terrified Roman woman.

Daily Comic Relief


Ferocious tortoise on the loose in London

A ferocious tortoise is on the loose in Catford, south east London. Six-year-old Rex, also known as Tyrannotortoise, has been missing for 10 days after escaping from his enclosure where he was resting. Jason Cross, 43, said he painted an orange spot on his shell to help find the runaway reptile who has escaped several times.
Mr Cross said: “He’s very very feisty and is always escaping. He’s really grumpy and will nip you and to be honest he’s more like a moany old man than a tortoise.”
He added: “We miss him and want him back as soon as possible as he is a big part of our family whether he’s chewing the furniture, running around the house or escaping from his enclosure so it would mean the world to have him back to us, particularly now it will start to get cold.”

T. Rex times seven

T. Rex times seven: New dinosaur species is discovered in Argentina

Drexel researchers uncover immense, remarkably complete dinosaur skeleton; research team […]

Invisible Extinction

Near-extinct African amphibians ‘invisible’ under climate change
An international team of researchers has found that the majority […]

Genet riding buffalo caught on camera

When Zoƫ Luhdo and the team at conservation group Wildlife ACT checked on camera traps in South Africa's Hluhluwe Game Reserve, they didn't expect to see a genet riding a buffalo.
"I can only speculate as to why this genet decided that hitch-hiking was a good idea, but can confidently say that this is fantastically bizarre.
"We are all wondering if this was a once-off occurrence or if this genet will be making a habit of dropping in and catching a lift with strangers in the dark," she says.
Wildlife ACT uses camera traps as a non-invasive form of wildlife monitoring on a few of the Zululand Game Reserves where we are stationed. The camera traps are placed strategically and usually in hard to navigate areas. They are triggered by movement and use a flash at night that doesn’t irritate the animals as is evident in this series of images.

Massive Shrimp

State officials trying to determine what species of mantis shrimp was caught on the line.
Editor's Note: The species has been identified as Lysiosquilla.

Animal Pictures