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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.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Daily Drift

Did you ever have one of those days ...!
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Today is  - Odd Day
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Today in History

1297 Scots under William Wallace defeat the English at Stirling Bridge.
1695 Imperial troops under Eugene of Savoy defeat the Turks at the Battle of Zenta.
1709 John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, wins the bloodiest battle of the 18th century at great cost, against the French at Malplaquet.
1740 The first mention of an African American doctor or dentist in the colonies is made in the Pennsylvania Gazette.
1777 General George Washington and his troops are defeated by the British under General Sir William Howe at the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania.
1786 The Convention of Annapolis opens with the aim of revising the articles of confederation.
1802 Piedmont, Italy, is annexed by France.
1814 U.S. forces led by Thomas Macdonough route the British fleet on Lake Champlain.
1847 Stephen Foster's "Oh! Susanna" is first performed in a saloon in Pittsburgh.
1850 Soprano opera singer Jenny Lind, the "Swedish Nightingale," makes her American debut at New York's Castle Garden Theater.
1864 A 10-day truce is declared between generals Sherman and Hood so civilians may leave Atlanta, Georgia.
1857 Indians incited by Mormon John D. Lee kill 120 California-bound settlers in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
1904 The battleship Connecticut, launched in New York, introduces a new era in naval construction.
1916 The "Star Spangled Banner" is sung at the beginning of a baseball game for the first time in Cooperstown, New York.
1944 American troops enter Luxembourg.
1962 Thurgood Marshall is appointed a judge of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
1965 The 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) arrives in South Vietnam and is stationed at An Khe.
1974 Haile Selassie I is deposed from the Ethiopian throne.
2001 In an unprecedented, highly coordinated attack, terrorists hijack four U.S. passenger airliners, flying two into the World Trade Center towers in New York and one into the Pentagon, killing thousands. The fourth airliner, headed toward Washington likely to strike the White House or Capitol, is crashed just over 100 miles away in Pennsylvania after passengers storm the cockpit and overtake the hijackers.
2005 Israel completes its unilateral disengagement of all Israeli civilians and military from the Gaza Strip.
2007 Russia detonates a nano-bomb; dubbed the "Father of All Bombs," it is the largest non-nuclear weapon developed to date.
2012 US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, attacked and burned down; 4 Americans were killed including the US ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens.

Non Sequitur


Unidentified Respiratory Virus Likely to Hit Kids Across Country

Colorado Kids In Intensive Care Due to Rare Respiratory …A respiratory illness that has already sickened more than a thousand children in 10 states is likely to become a nationwide problem, doctors say.
The disease hasn't been officially identified but officials suspect a rare respiratory virus called human enterovirus 68. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is related to the rhinovirus, which causes the common cold.
According to Mark Pallansch, director of the Division of Viral Diseases at the CDC, similar cases to the ones in Colorado have been cropping up across the U.S. At least 10 states -- Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Georgia -- have reported suspected outbreaks of human enterovirus 68 and requested CDC support.
"Viruses don't tend to respect borders," ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser said. "It is only 10 states now, but it's going to be across the country. So if your state doesn't have it now, watch for it, it's coming."
Doctors say they are not even sure yet how this particular virus spreads, though the back-to-school season is a normal time for illnesses to spread among children.
"This is a very common time for outbreaks. Kids come back to school, they like to share things, they bring them home to their little brothers and sisters, and enteroviruses tend to occur in the summer," Besser said. "But this one, this particular Enterovirus 68, is very rare and they have no idea why it showed up this year."
At Children's Hospital Colorado in Denver, officials say that between Aug. 18 and Sept. 4, doctors saw more than 900 pediatric patients with symptoms of the respiratory virus in the emergency room. Of those who came in, 86 were admitted into the hospital and a handful ended up in the intensive care unit.
"It can start just like a cold -- runny nose, sneezing, coughs -- but it's the wheezing you have to watch out for," Besser said.
Dr. Christine Nyquist, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital Colorado, said the virus usually ends up appearing similar to a severe cold but can be particularly dangerous for children with asthma because of how it affects the respiratory system.
"The kids are coming in with respiratory symptoms, their asthma is exacerbated," Nyquist said. "Kids with no wheezing are having wheezing."
At Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Dr. Raju Meyappan, a pediatric critical care physician, said he's seen at multiple children end up in the pediatric intensive care unit after being infected with the virus and that children under the age of 5 or those with asthma appear to be most at risk.
In one particularly severe case, Meyappan said a 13-year-old asthmatic patient ended up in the emergency room just one day after showing basic cold-like symptoms, including cough and runny nose.
His asthma became so severe on the second day the teenager turned blue and was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors gave him an emergency breathing tube.
The patient was one of multiple asthmatic pediatric patients who ended up sedated in the intensive care unit with a breathing tube, Meyappan said. Patients who needed breathing tubes spent between four to seven days sedated and intubated as they recovered, he said.
"As a pediatric ICU doctor, we try our best not to intubate kids with asthma at any point in time," said Meyappan, who added that only the most severe cases warranted intubation. "They all needed it. The onset [of the virus] is severe."
Meyappan said currently four patients were in the pediatric ICU recovering.
There are multiple reasons why the outbreak was hitting Denver now, instead of later in the fall or winter when cold and flu infections start to rise, Nyquist said.
In addition to school starting, Nyquist said, some children with asthma could have seasonal allergies that are exacerbated by the virus.
"Any kind of viral infection can kick off wheezing and asthmas," she said. "People with asthma know what triggers their asthma. A viral infection is one thing and this is the one that is circulating."
To stay healthy, the CDC recommends basic sanitary practices to avoid spreading the virus, including washing hands, avoiding those who are sick, and covering the nose and mouth during sneezes or coughs.
Meyappan said parents of asthmatic children should make sure that their children's inhalers are easily accessible and that there is a treatment plan in place if an asthma attack continues to get worse.
"Make sure [parents] talk to all their caregivers about what to do if [the child has] an asthma attack and where to go if they need help," Meyappan said. "I think having a game plan in place helps."

Enterovirus: What You Need to Know

Hundreds of children in the United States are being hospitalized for with a serious respiratory illness known as Enterovirus D68. 

Texas Is Mad Mexico Won't Share the Rio Grande's Water

Texas Department of Safety Troopers patrol on the Rio Grande along the U.S.-Mexico border According to The Washington Post, Mexico owes the U.S. 380,000 acre-feet of water, equivalent to the amount consumed by 1.5 million Texans over the course of a year. 
Since 1945, The United States and Mexico have abided by a water utilization treaty, which was put in place to settle disputes between the neighboring countries over the allocation of water supplies between the Colorado River and the Rio Grande. Together the two rivers make up two thirds of a 1,954 mile long U.S.-Mexico border. 
Recently, Mexico has been struggling to uphold its end of the 70-year-old deal, which is especially problematic considering Texas is in the middle of a drought.
What's worse, the race for water in the region doesn't show any signs of stopping. The American Meteorological Society predicts that the likelihood of a decade-long drought impacting the southwestern United States this century is at over 90 percent. 
Governor Rick Perry (r) wrote to President Barack Obama in 2013, asking him and Secretary of State John Kerry to use diplomatic pressure to force Mexico to provide the water. According to the Congressional Research Service, Obama subsequently raised the issue with President Enrique Peña Nieto during a trip to Mexico later that year. Nieto stressed his commitment to solving the water problem as soon as possible. 
During the shortage, Texas has brought lawsuits against other neighbors as well. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Oklahoma when a Texas District sued the state for trying to block the purchase of water reserves from the Red River. The Lone Star State is hoping for better luck in its current suit against New Mexico
Meanwhile, Ignacio Peña Treviño, a Mexican representative from the International Boundary and Water Commission told The Washington Post that Mexico was struggling to provide the water because of the country's own sustained drought.
"We have had a prolonged drought since 1994 until now. It has been difficult for Mexico to give this water,” he said  “There isn’t rain like there was in the past.”

The Truth Hurts


Senate Votes 79-18 To Advance a Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United

By a vote of 79-18, Senate voted to advance a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United.
The amendment read,
Section 1. To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.
Section 2. Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.
Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.’
Before the Senate vote, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said, “The major issue of our time is whether the United States of America retains its democratic foundation or whether we devolve into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires are able to control our political process by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who represent their interests.”
The vote was an election year ruse. Senate repugicans have no intention of letting this bill pass. The repugicans have no intention of ever letting a constitutional amendment be ratified. What this vote today proves is the power of the issue.
Senate repugicans don’t want to be publicly linked to the Koch brothers before an election. The Kochs are toxic, and repugicans are trying to trick voters into ignoring the right-wing billionaire dollars that are trying to buy the government.

None Of The 40 'Jobs Bills' That John Boehner Claims House repugicans Passed Create Jobs

boehner-lyingSpeaker of the House John Boehner is claiming that the House repugicans have passed 40 jobs bills that Harry Reid refuses to past in the Senate, but a look at the bills reveals that not a single one of them creates jobs.
Boehner (r-OH) wrote an op-ed on Time’s website that blamed Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the state of the economy.
In the last year and a half, the House has passed more than 40 bills aimed at creating jobs, supporting wage earners, and easing the financial pains that working families all over America are suffering with in President Obama’s economy. Where are these bills now? They are stuck in the Senate. Why they are stuck, is a question for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
These bills are not thousands of pages long, nor are they partisan attempts to slam massive, new, and unwanted federal government programs down the throats of the American people. We all remember the disaster that became Obamacare. Passing something before we know what’s in it may be the Pelosi Doctrine, but it’s certainly not a transparent way to govern.
Instead these common-sense jobs bills, many of them bipartisan, are aimed at strengthening small businesses, allowing working moms and dads to keep more of their wages, and helping our seniors and our veterans. But instead of working with Republicans on the American people’s priorities in September, Senator Reid will instead focus on his obsession with the Koch brothers. This obsession is costing our economy jobs and has turned the United States Senate into a legislative graveyard.
The list of “jobs bills” reveals that the legislation falls into three categories. The largest category is tax breaks and gifts for the oil, coal, and natural gas industries. The second category is regulatory repeal, which is also another gift for big business. The last category is attacks on Obamacare. Boehner’s jobs bills for veterans increased fees for services to vets.
Nowhere on the list of jobs bills that Boehner wrote about is there an actual real live jobs bill.

Boehner has given a list of 40 bills that fit the repugican ideology, but history tells us that cutting taxes for the wealthy, giving gifts to special interests, and rolling back regulations are three policy choices that do not create jobs. Speaker Boehner’s jobs bills would not put more people back to work. The House repugican definition of a jobs bill is different from what most people think of as job creation.
The only job that John Boehner is trying to protect with this bogus list is his own.

The Latest Martyr To The repugican Corporate Cause

If there was a wall of martyrdom, Maria Fernandes' name would surely be chiseled into it. Her avoidable tragedy goes back to August 25th when young Maria died…

As a direct consequence of repugican policies and corporate greed, yet another modern-day American Martyr has been added to the growing list of innocents who have given their lives to the right-wing cause of indifference to all but the wealthiest companies and individuals. Trayvon Martin is one such martyr.
Knowing what we know, Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, may be soon joining the ranks of martyrdom. The many tens of thousands of people, dead from lack of food, health care, gun obsession and pollution are, indeed, martyrs by any definition.
If there was a wall of martyrdom, Maria Fernandes’ name would surely be chiseled into it. Her avoidable tragedy goes back to August 25th when young Maria died in her parked car after apparently falling asleep and some time later being overcome by a combination of carbon monoxide and the fumes from a tipped over gas can in her 13-year-old car. The aging car had recently had exhaust problems. She had collapsed in sleep after working at one of her three minimum-wage part-time jobs with Dunkin’ Donuts outlets. Friends said she had worked as many as four such jobs and often slept in her car. Reuters identified her overnight shifts in Linden, afternoon shifts in Newark and/or weekends in Harrison.
She was a pleasant-faced, 32-year-old woman (you can see her here), described by those who knew her as a generous, sweet soul and a huge fan of the late Michael Jackson. Her death is an obscenity and as brutal in its own way as any I’ve ever heard about. Brutal, because the first reaction you’ll hear from the typical repugican, given her surname of Fernandes; “was she an illegal alien?” For the record, she wasn’t, having been born in the USA. She lived for a time in Portugal, then returned to America at age 18. Her passing was also Brutal, because repugicans have consistently demonstrated an indifference to the health and well being of anyone of a different race, creed or color and economic strata, not to mention sexual orientation.
Her death is Brutal, because she had to spend her time working for nothing because Englishman, Nigel Travis, the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc, the company that owns Dunkin’ Donuts and sister company, Baskin-Robbins, couldn’t afford to pay his employees more than minimum wage, even given his quote in referencing last year business successes, “Our fourth quarter was strong, capping off a great year in which we set records and achieved major milestones for both Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins,” Nigel personally raked in well over $4 million for his efforts and has stock options up the Wazoo. Four other top executives earned well over a million a year. Dunkin’s market cap is $4.82 billion. So, available cash doesn’t seem to be a bloody problem.
Dunkin’ Brands trades on the NASDAQ exchange (DNKN) in the neighborhood of $45-$50. The company’s own website reports 2013 sales for Dunkin’ Brands Group at a staggering $9.3 billion. I’m assuming that includes both Baskin-Robbins and international numbers. Of course, revenue doesn’t reflect the final profits, but whatever level is listed for that number, bookkeeping renders indecipherable. Suffice to say, this is one extremely wealthy company. CEO Travis, a veteran international business presence is apparently headquartered in Great Britain in Manchester, United Kingdom, Travis’ native country, though the company website claims Canton, Massachusetts as its headquarters.
Back in 2006, Private Equity investors, Bain Capital Partners of Mitt Romney renown, the infamous Carlyle Group, influence peddler extraordinaire in playing a heavy insider role in seeing who gets giant contracts to “rebuild” Iraq and Thomas H. Lee Partners, a leveraged buyout firm right at home with the likes of Bain and Carlyle, acquired the lion’s share of Dunkin’ Brands and today still hold about a 75% stake.
There are multiple billions floating around the halls of the Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. Their franchisees foot the bill for almost everything in acquiring the Dunkin’ Donuts’ name and hugely profitable coffee sales that account for the major share of profits.
DBG could pay their employees out of pocket change. They don’t. They hire poor, desperate men and women who are at the point of accepting any job out there, no matter the wages or conditions. Maria Fernandes was one such employee. Federal statistics claim only 5% of workers are part-time. That’s pure rubbish and a bald-faced lie. Take FedEx, a company that’s opening a facility in my county. Of well over 200 new “jobs,” 41 will be full-time. Another local company “employs” 350 people, virtually all part-time phone workers pressuring for past-due sub-prime car loans. Part-time hires through willing temp agency accomplices are the greatest corporate racket going.
Whenever you hear of one of those multi-nationals coming to town with all those jobs in tow, I can almost guarantee you that they’re parsing the job numbers and wages so as to make the maximum profits off the backs of the Marias of our country.
And yet, in Congress and the vast majority of the red states, every effort of populist Democratic Senators and Representatives to raise the niggling $7.25 minimum wage meets with vicious resistance from the professionals, doctors and wealthy businessmen who populate our legislatures. A South Carolina bill asked for a $1.00 raise in the minimum wage. The repugican legislators saw to it the bill went nowhere except oblivion as did another requesting a bit more.
Ms. Fernandez parents apparently still live in Portugal. She returned at age 18 after about five years in residence there. If there were any way on earth to at least initiate a class action lawsuit against the millionaire heads of billionaire companies, I’d hope that some group like those employees who are protesting fast food company wages could find a law firm with a conscience. A few days ago, thousands of workers and their supporters protested in 150 cities across the U.S. mostly in reaction to cheap McDonald’s franchises that are each making a fortune, as is the parent company.
You can believe the repugican propaganda hacks are having their PR people working overtime to besmirch the reputation of Maria. They’ll point out that she spoke four languages and could have easily found office work with her intelligence. Of course, if she had no college education, lacking the money, loans or qualifications to pay tuition, she could speak 40 languages and still not find a decent paying job. But not to fear wingnuts, your sleaze-balls will dig something up. That’s the way you slime operate.
RIP Martyr Maria.

The Truth Be Told


Oakland Raiderettes Settle Wage Theft Lawsuit for $1.25 Million

The Oakland Raiderettes will now be treated like normal human workers thanks to the wage theft lawsuit two former cheerleaders brought against the Raiders earlier this year. The Raiders are going to cough up $1.25 million in back pay per a settlement agreement reached yesterday, and from here on out, the Raiderettes will be paid above minimum wage.
The Los Angeles Times reports that "instead of earning only $125 per game in a single paycheck delivered at the end of the season, Raiderettes will earn $9 an hour from now on, plus overtime, for the estimated 350 hours each cheerleader puts in each year, including rehearsals, practices and mandatory community and charity appearances." The Raiderettes will also get a paycheck every two weeks now-like a real job!
About 90 current and former Raiderettes will get back pay, even though some of them protested the lawsuit. (Cheerleaders are loyal to their team, sometimes to a fault.) Per the Bay City News, Raiderettes will get $6,000 for each season they worked between 2010 and 2012. The back pay for last year's season will be $2,500, since the Raiders slightly increased wages in light of the suit.

Home Depot admits massive customer payment data breach

A closeup of an electronic payment station is shown at a Home Depot store in Daly City, California, in this February 21, 2012 file photo.  [REUTERS]Home Depot today said its payment security systems were breached. Analysts say the data theft might be as massive as the Target incident in 2013.
Home Depot said the data theft could impact its customers in stores across the United States and Canada, but there was no evidence that online customers were affected or debit personal identification numbers (PINs) were compromised.

Man used nylon zip ties to secure potted plants, angels and windmills he is accused of stealing

A Florida man's numerous yard decorations - potted plants, angel statues and windmills - were artfully arranged and secured by nylon cable ties to a fence to prevent thefts. However, Dennis Carlo, 66, is accused of stealing all of the items that he was trying to prevent from being taken. The Volusia County Sheriff's Office arrested Carlo on Saturday, concluding an investigation that started in mid-August with the first in a string of yard ornament thefts. The first theft happened on Aug. 18. The victim stated several of her potted palm plants had been stolen from her front yard that day and then more potted plants went missing a few days later.
Another victim in the same neighborhood reported on Aug. 21 that a large angel statue was stolen from his front yard. Over the next few days, more victims - seven in total - reported missing potted palm trees, potted banana plants, potted crotons and periwinkles and a windmill. But one of the victims had surveillance cameras that captured images of the thief and his car. Deputies located the Carlo's gold Toyota car on Sept. 6 parked in his driveway at a home in Deltona.
The car was surrounded by a yard full of neatly arranged potted plants, large angel statues and windmills. Contact was made with the Carlo, who was still wearing the same clothes he wore to steal the crotons and periwinkles, deputies said. Carlo eventually confessed to stealing some of the potted plants. The recovered plants were found to have been cared for and in good condition. All of the items were returned to their respective owners, and Carlo was arrested on seven counts of theft. He was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.



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Putting it all in perspective ...


The Inspiring Stories Behind 15 Classic Novels

Even the most talented fiction writers start with a kernel of truth. What? You thought novelists just made up stories? Well, yes, mostly, but even the most outlandish tales are born of elements the author knows. Sometimes they are true stories that hit close to home, like the inspiration for Anna Karenina.
In January 1872, the death of a 35-year-old woman was reported in the Russian press: smartly dressed and carrying a bag containing a change of clothes, the girl had thrown herself under a freight train at Yasenki Station outside Moscow. The woman was identified as Anna Pirogova, a distant relative of Leo Tolstoy's wife and the mistress of his good friend and neighbor, Alexander Bibikov. It soon transpired that Alexander had told Anna that he planned to leave her and marry his son's new governess, and, unable to cope, she had left him a brief note -- "You are my murderer; be happy, if an assassin can be happy" -- and fled. Tolstoy himself attended Anna's post-mortem the following day, and by all accounts the sight of the unrecognizable body of a woman he had known so well stayed with him long afterwards, so that when he came to begin a new novel more than a year later he already had its tragic conclusion in mind.
You have to wonder how Bibkov liked his friend's resulting novel. From Frankenstein to Catch 22, find 14 more stories of how classic novels were inspired at HuffPo.

A Golden Cup and a Grisly Tale

The bowl was uncovered just beyond the fingertips of a dead soldier and two of his comrades, who were crushed under bricks and burned building material.

Elite Warrior’s Bone Armor Unearthed in Siberia

A well-preserved suit of bone armor estimated to be between 3,900 and 3,500 years old has been unearthed near the Irtysh River in western Siberia, a region where members of the Krotov culture lived. The armor, however, resembles that of the Samus-Seyminskaya culture, which is located in the Altai Mountains. The armor may have been a gift, obtained through trade, or was perhaps the spoils of war. “It is unique first of all because such armor was highly valued. It was more precious than life, because it saved life. Secondly, it was found in a settlement, and this has never happened before,” contract archaeologist Boris Konikov told The Siberian Times. Scientists are carefully extracting the bones from a block of soil in the lab. “Such armor needs constant care. At the moment we can only fantasize—who dug it into the ground and for what purpose? Was it some ritual or sacrifice? We do not know yet,” added Yury Gerasimov of the Omsk branch of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography.

Daily Comic Relief


Warming means more cold snaps

Shrinking sea ice, which allows more energy to transfer from the ocean to the atmosphere, could cause more brutal winter weather events. 

A Swiss Tsunami

Switzerland's lakes produced devastating tsunamis in the past, raising worries that 13 million people may be at risk.

Dinosaur News

South America usually gets all the fanfare for discoveries of large dinosaurs, but Africa had some enormous dinos too, as evidenced by a new find this week.
Newly discovered dinosaur fossils, plus a new assessment of dino size, have led to a revised list of the top 10 largest dinosaurs that ever lived.

Swimming Lobsters and Whale's Hips

Scientists have uncovered how crustaceans co-ordinate their curious Mexican wave-style swimming movement.
Once thought to be pointless and on the evolutionary fast track to disappearance, new research has given the whale pelvis bone a new lease on life. 

Tiny Shrimp-like Organisms Try To Illuminate The Insides Of Fish That Eat Them

A tiny crustacean called an ostracod, a shrimp-like organism about 1mm in size that some fish accidentally eat while hunting for plankton, has a unique defense mechanism.
When eaten by a translucent cardinalfish, the ostracod immediately releases a bioluminescent chemical in an attempt to illuminate the fish from the inside, making it immediately identifiable to predators. Not wanting to be eaten, the cardinalfish immediately spits out the ostracod, resulting in little underwater fish fireworks.

Animal Pictures