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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.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

490 BC Athenian and Plataean Hoplites commanded by General Miltiades drive back a Persian invasion force under General Datis at Marathon.
1213 Simon de Montfort defeats Raymond of Toulouse and Peter II of Aragon at Muret, France.
1609 Henry Hudson sails into what is now New York Harbor aboard his sloop Half Moon.
1662 Governor Berkley of Virginia is denied his attempts to repeal the Navigation Acts.
1683 A combined Austrian and Polish army defeats the Turks at Kahlenberg and lifts the siege on Vienna, Austria.
1722 The Treaty of St. Petersburg puts an end to the Russo-Persian War.
1786 Despite his failed efforts to suppress the American Revolution, Lord Cornwallis is appointed governor general of India.
1836 Mexican authorities crush the revolt which broke out on August 25.
1918 British troops retake Havincourt, Moeuvres, and Trescault along the Western Front.
1919 Adolf Hitler joins German Worker's Party.
1939 In response to the invasion of Poland, the French Army advances into Germany. On this day they reach their furthest penetration-five miles.
1940 Italian forces begin an offensive into Egypt from Libya.
1940 The Lascaux Caves in France, with their prehistoric wall paintings, are discovered.
1944 American troops fight their way into Germany.
1945 French troops land in Indochina.
1969 President Richard Nixon orders a resumption in bombing North Vietnam.
1977 Steve Biko, a South African activist opposing apartheid, dies while in police custody.
1980 Military coup in Turkey.
1990 East and West Germany, along with the UK, US and USSR—the Allied nations that had occupied post-WWII Germany—sign the final settlement for reunification of Germany.
1992 Space Shuttle Endeavor takes off on NASA's 50th shuttle mission; its crew includes the first African-American woman in space, the first married couple, and the first Japanese citizen to fly in a US spacecraft.
2003 UN lifts sanctions against Libya in exchange for that country accepting responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 and paying recompense to victims' families.
2007 Joseph Estrada, former president of the Philippines, is convicted of plunder.
2011 In New York City, the 9/11 Memorial Museum opens to the public.

Non Sequitur


Protecting Gun Owners from Pediatricians: Free Speech Redefined

Maggie Kozel, M.D. Headshot by Maggie Kozel, M.D.
Why would a gun owner not want to talk to their child's doctor about gun safety?
One year ago I wrote an article about how Florida's state legislature had passed a law prohibiting doctors from discussing gun safety at pediatric visits. The law drew immediate and strong objection from all the major medical organizations, including my own, the American Academy of Pediatrics. Reason seemed to prevail, as the US District Court quickly handed down an injunction against the gag law. Reason however does not sell guns or bankroll politicians in wingnut states.
On July 25, 2014 the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld the original legislation, imposing harsh penalties on any physician who discusses gun safety with his or her patients (or in this case, of course, the minor's parents.) The Court's majority held that a state legislature can in fact prohibit a doctor from discussing with a patient any medical issue that it (the state) finds politically distasteful. The ruling asserts that there is no First Amendment protection for physicians who provide their best medical advice to patients. Appeals court Judge Gerald Tjoflat wrote that the law "simply acknowledges that the practice of good medicine does not require interrogation about irrelevant, private matters."
Why would a gun owner not want to talk to their child's doctor about gun safety? The answer is: that's the wrong question. They do want to talk about it.
I work in a rural area where gun ownership is common. I routinely ask families about guns at every well child visit and I have never had a parent -- gun owner or not -- raise an objection. I am pleased to say that most gun owning parents answer readily that yes, their guns are hidden and locked up. If they do not take these measures, I encourage them to do so. Even among parents who don't own guns, I am struck by the number of times an unexpected light bulb goes on, when a mother's forehead will furrow, and she'll turn to her child asking "Does Grandpa keep his guns locked up? We'll have to ask him the next time we're over there." Mission accomplished. Freedom still reigns.
Parents can even lie if they want to. Just the other day I asked the mother of a five year old if there were guns in the house. She said no, but the little guy chimed in "What about the one on the shelf?" The shelf? Really? I offered my safe storage advice to a very sour looking lady. As the AAP made clear in a recent statement, pediatricians are being urged to continue these conversations even as the legal battle rages on.
I apparently need to point out here that I don't -- excuse the expression -- hold a gun to anyone's head. I have no more clout in making parents take my advice about guns than in getting them to stop serving Pop Tarts for breakfast. They are completely free to reject my advice -- something parents do on a regular basis. But at least we had the conversation. Yet the NRA argued successfully that when doctors raise the issue of gun ownership, we are "forcing" patients to divulge private information that is medically irrelevant to their health care.
We routinely screen all the adolescents in my practice for depression. Irrelevant? Too private? One of the most crucial questions I need to ask in the context of any mood concern is "Is there a gun in the house?" I ask this because the association between guns in the house and increased fatal suicide risk has been well documented. The risk when the gun is kept loaded is even higher. What could be a very impulsive move following a breakup with his girlfriend will allow no second chances for a heartbroken boy. Parents need and want this information. They are often in my office because they are worried sick about their teen. They are looking for all the help they can get, and the stakes are too high to mince words. Considering what might be "politically distasteful" is the last thing on anyone's mind.
So the real question is: Who exactly is the Florida state legislature trying to protect? Not responsible parents and their children. The lawmakers are protecting the gun manufacturing industry that bankrolls their campaigns and they hope they are protecting the votes they crave from their most conservative base. These groups would have us believe that only gun owners should be allowed to speak about guns, and helpless, tongue-tied gun-owning parents need to be constitutionally protected from their subversive pediatricians. This mindset, perversely, has become not only the new definition of free speech, but the new legal standard of medical practice in Florida.

Did you know ...

That Rick Santorum wants to take movies out of the theater and show them in cult
Just why charter schools have a high teacher turn over
About how organizers are trying to stop militarization from slipping into their city
That America's first mall is now stuffed with micro homes
About the vanishing American newsroom
Whose presidential campaign will your pension finance?
That time is a construct of the brain
These 7 companies that keep more than $50 billion offshore
The "irreversible damage" to the planet from climate change, says leaked report
That wingnuts up on arms over video game where tea partiers are the bad guys
And, is burning man over?

Al Franken Drops a Truth Bomb On The Senate: Citizens United Is Money Laundering

al franken
As the Senate continues to debate final passage of a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) came to the Senate floor and called Citizens United money laundering that was made legal by the Supreme Court.
During his remarks on the Senate floor, Sen. Franken said,
This is real, M. President: spending by outside groups more than tripled from the 2008 presidential election to the 2012 presidential election, when it topped a billion dollars – that’s billion with a “b.” What happened in the interim? Well Citizens United was decided in 2010 – the floodgates were opened.
And, worse still, the middle-class isn’t just being flooded; it’s being blindfolded, too – because these wealthy special interest groups often can spend the money anonymously, so voters have no idea who’s behind the endless attack ads that fill the airwaves. Here’s how it works: if you have millions of dollars that you want to spend, you can funnel it through back channels so that it ends up in the hands of a group – typically one with a generic and benign-sounding name – that uses the money to buy ads, often without disclosing the source of its funds.
This whole thing looks to me a lot like money laundering – except that it’s now perfectly legal. And, again, this is real: a study just came out which showed that, in the current election cycle alone, there’s already been over 150,000 ads run by groups that don’t have to disclose the source of their funding.
And get this: things are only getting worse. Earlier this year, in a case called McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court was at it again, recklessly doing away with a law that prohibited people from giving more than $123,000, in the aggregate, directly to candidates in an election cycle. One-hundred-and-twenty-three-thousand-dollars. Who has that kind of money lying around to spend on elections? The super-rich, maybe. But the middle class sure doesn’t. The folks I meet with in Minnesota – who are trying to make ends meet, pay off their student loans, train for a new job, save some money to start a family – they sure don’t. And those are the folks who most need a voice here in Washington.
So the way I see it is this: there are two ways that we can go from here. On the one hand, we can continue to let Citizens United be the law of the land. We can perpetuate the fallacy that corporations have a constitutional right to flood our elections with undisclosed money; we can let deep-pocketed special interests buy influence and access – and then set the agenda for the rest of the country.
Or … Or, we can say, enough is enough. We can restore the law to what it was before Citizens United was decided – and, more to the point, we can restore a voice for millions upon millions of everyday Americans who want nothing more than to see their government represent them.

The majority of Senate repugicans, including Mitch McConnell, voted with Democrats yesterday to advance a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United. The vote was not a vote on final passage. It was a vote to move towards debate and vote on passage. By not filibustering the bill yesterday, Senate repugicans have given Democrats a platform this week to discuss the attempts by wingnut billionaires and special interests to buy the government.
Senate repugicans tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people yesterday by casting a vote to move legislation forward that they have no intention of voting to pass. The repugicans are hoping that you won’t notice when they vote against the constitutional amendment later. (WE NOTICED, By the way)
Sen. Franken was correct. Citizens United is money laundering hidden behind a Supreme Court provided excuse of speech. Billionaires have flooded the campaign system with dollars, not out of patriotism, but as an attempt to buy complete and total access to elective office holders.
The Koch name has become toxic, so repugicans are trying to cover their tracks. The Citizens United decision empowered wingnut billionaires to attempt a hostile takeover of the government. If you want your country back, you can begin by supporting the movement to overturn Citizens United.

9/11 Panel Rips repugicans In Congress For Politicizing ISIS Terror Threat

Members of the panel that investigated 9/11 are criticizing Congress, specifically, repugican members of Congress for turning the ISIS terror threat into a partisan political issue.
The Hill interviewed members of the 9/11 Commission, who didn’t shy away from criticizing Congress:
“Nobody can be very impressed by the congressional record here. You don’t go on a five-week vacation if you think the threat to the United States is imminent. Or, at least, I hope you don’t,” said former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), the vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission.
Tim Roemer, another member of the 9/11 Commission, said Congress should have identified ISIS as an emerging national security threat long before now. “It is very difficult for them to point the finger at the administration, when they have to do oversight hearings and part of their job on the Homeland Security Committee and the Intelligence Committee is to be working to identify what the emerging and evolving threats are. Did they identify this threat a year ago of ISIS? What do their hearings show?” Roemer said.
Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, the repugican vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, said lawmakers should not let partisanship get in the way of a response to ISIS. “We got to get back to that, if we’re going to respond particularly to something as deadly as ISIS. We’ve got to do it together. We can’t politicize it.”
It hasn’t been Democrats who have been politicizing the ISIS threat. The repugicans have been using ISIS to bash President Obama for weeks while they were dropping the ball and not doing their jobs. Since 9/11, politicizing terrorism has been in the repugican DNA. What repugicans learned after the attacks in 2001 is that the fear of terrorism can be manipulated for political gain. The repugican motivation with ISIS is to exploit the issue. Protecting the country from threats is obviously a secondary concern behind winning the election in November.
The repugican criticism of Obama can’t be taken seriously because they wouldn’t think of ending their vacation early to deal with the threat. If repugicans believe that ISIS is a threat to the American people, why did they stay on vacation for five weeks? Where are the reports from the dozens of House and Senate committees and subcommittees that are supposed to have oversight on this issue? Why hasn’t Congress stepped up to protect the American people?
The truth is that congressional repugicans are only interested in using the terror that ISIS was looking to spread by beheading two American journalists for political gain. The bitter campaign of obstruction that congressional repugicans are carrying has gone beyond impeding Congress. House and Senate repugicans are making America less safe for purposes of bashing the president and winning elections.

Democrats Are Squandering an Opportunity to Expose The repugican Agenda

In political campaigns it is more important to have an appealing message, regardless it is founded on lies and propaganda, as it is to have a plan to advance a specific agenda or set of policies. The repugicans are masterful at telling their base, and many independent voters, exactly what they want to hear despite the fact they have no intention of following through on their campaign promises once they are elected. One of the primary reasons the repugican cabal is so successful selling a bill-of-goods to voters is that Democrats, while campaigning on issues they fully intend on advancing if elected, are more often than not reluctant to either cite repugicans’ broken promises, or inform voters of the repugican cabal’s true motivation for seeking control of the government.
On Sunday, President Obama finally exposed the repugicans’ goal in their drive to take control of Congress and few, if any, people took note of a very important remark buried in a message that should have resonated with every American. Last week it was reported that “for a minute,” repugicans were concerned they did not have a viable campaign message to run on heading into the midterm elections other than opposing Barack Obama. It is not that the repugican cabal does not have a message or agenda to campaign on, it is just that their message will not appeal  to anyone except their anti-government base and it is curious why Democrats did not seize on the President’s revelation that repugicans’ sole intent on controlling Congress is “dismantling the federal government.”
While the President railed on repugicans for lacking common sense in making partisan issues out of things that were once common sense such as “building roads, bridges, improving our airports, improving our water systems, and reducing traffic,” he noted the reason why “they have become partisan issues is because you’ve got a ‘small’ portion of the repugican cabal that is fixated simply on dismantling government.” Now, although the President’s remark was prescient and fundamentally true, he sorely underestimated the number of repugicans who are fixated on dismantling the government. If Americans were not so dense and uninformed, the President would not have had to tell them what repugicans are more than hesitant to campaign on; eliminating the federal government.
Last week when it was revealed that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a speech at a Koch brothers’ billionaire confab that when repugicans take control of the Senate and keep control of the House, their entire agenda “will be pushing back against this bureaucracy so that no money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.” McConnell was not just pandering to the Koch brothers’ billionaire cabal, he clearly stated what the repugican cabal agenda is if they win a majority in the Senate. However, it is not what repugicans are overtly campaigning on even though it is evident in everything repugicans have proposed since they took control of the House after the 2010 midterms.
Even if one excuses Americans’ ignorance over the rash of phony “jobs” bills  House repugicans claim they have passed, including Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget, repealing banking reform, repealing Obamacare, defunding the Environmental Protection Agency, or eliminating overtime pay regulations, Ryan himself revealed on national television that eliminating extremely popular federal programs is part and parcel of the Republican agenda. Ten days ago Ryan bemoaned that on their own, House repugicans cannot possibly abolish Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act without a repugican Senate. He said, “you actually can’t stop (read eliminate) entitlements like Medicare and Social Security and Obamacare unilaterally in the House,” and yet Democrats failed make his remarks a focal point in their campaigns.
It is true Democrats hammered Ryan for his remarks about government shutdowns, but they missed a golden opportunity to shine a light on the repugican cabal’s agenda if they control Congress; abolish New Deal programs like Social Security and Medicare as well as Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, unemployment insurance, overtime pay, workplace safety regulations, food stamps, and education. Add to those their intent to abolish the EPA, IRS, Wall Street regulations, and campaign finance rules, their goal is clear as the President said; “dismantle the government.”
If those well-covered news items highlighting the repugican agenda to dismantle the federal government until it ceases to exist were not enough campaign ammunition for Democrats, news out of Georgia should have had them assailing repugicans mercilessly. The Georgia legislature passed a resolution “calling for an application to Congress for a Convention of States (Article V Convention of States) with the intent of proposing amendments to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.”
The “dismantle the federal government” Article V convention is the brainchild of retiring repugican senator from Oklahoma Tom Coburn. Coburn’s goal, like the entire repugican cabal, is to “reform” (repugican parlance for abolish) entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps, as well as eliminate federal regulations and bring the federal government he says is “too powerful, too big and too unwieldy” to its knees. Or as anti-federal government agitator Grover Norquist notoriously said, “drag the federal government into a bathtub and drown it.”
Democrats are squandering a prime opportunity to expose the repugican agenda if they win control of both houses of Congress; dismantle the federal government. Mitch McConnell has said it, Tom Coburn said it, Paul Ryan said it, House repugicans’ 40 jobs bills say it, and President Obama said it; albeit as more of a passing remark than a bold statement of fact. As an aside, if one takes even a cursory glance at House repugicans’ vaunted “jobs bills,” they will see they are integral to their not-so-secret dismantle the federal government agenda. Still, Democrats are unwilling to go much farther than suggesting the House repugicans’ ‘jobs bills’ do not create jobs; just more wealth for their wealthy supporters.
Obviously repugicans are not going to overtly call for eliminating the federal government on the campaign trail, but for three years they have revealed that their entire agenda is predicated on the Koch vision for America without a government. Regardless what any American thinks about the federal government, there are few, very few, Americans who want to live in a nation with no federal government to protect Americans from wealthy predators with no other goal than taking every and anything from the people; a goal repugicans share en masse and one Democrats are curiously unwilling to expose. If, as President Obama said, elections matter, then it is crucial that Democrats reveal what is in store for Americans if repugicans continue lying about creating jobs to win big in the midterm elections because their concept of job creation is dismantling the people’s government and they are as serious as a fatal heart attack.

The repugican Who Whines That Senate Is Harry Reid’s Plantation Doesn’t Want To Be Kicked ‘Like A Slave’

bill cassidyIn an article published Tuesday in the E&E Daily, a Beltway publication devoted to environmental and energy issues, Bill Cassidy (r-LA) stated that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “runs the Senate like a plantation.” Cassidy is running against incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in Louisiana’s US Senate race. The repugican hack is obviously trying to appeal to hard-core wingnuts by tying Landrieu to both Reid and President Obama and seems to think using language that hearkens back to the antebellum will mobilize the hatefully bigoted voters that make up a good percentage of the repugican cabal base in Louisiana.
Robin Bravender of E&E met up with Cassidy last week in Louisiana for the interview. Bravender was able to get a number of juicy quotes from the Senate candidate that will be welcome red meat for the ultra-wingnuts. However, at the same time, Cassidy’s comments can just as likely backfire and energize Democrats while also making moderates feel that Cassidy might be a bit too extreme for their tastes.
Below is an excerpt from Bravender’s piece:
When he talks about the campaign, he’s liberal in dishing out criticism of Landrieu, linking her whenever possible to Obama and Reid, the Nevada Democrat who holds the reins in the Senate as majority leader. “[Obama] wouldn’t get his agenda through if she wasn’t there supporting Harry Reid,” Cassidy said during a meeting with David Rabalais, executive director of the port.
Reid “runs the Senate like a plantation,” Cassidy said. “So instead of the world’s greatest deliberative body, it is his personal, sort of, ‘It goes if I say it does, if not it stops.’ Senator Landrieu’s first vote for him to be re-elected means that every other wish for a pro-oil and gas jobs bill is dead. Reid will never allow a pro-oil and gas jobs bill.”
After the E&E article was published, video surfaced from a speech Cassidy gave in April 2012 where he claimed he didn’t want to be kicked “around like a slave.”
CASSIDY: “Now, I will finish up by saying this and then hopefully getting a couple of questions. I’m a lair.. I am so privileged to be that. Will Rogers said that your elected representative is nothing but the hired help. And I actually think that is the appropriate attitude. In our democracy, I am to represent. I am to be the hired help. Now, you don’t kick me around like a slave but on the other hand I am here to say that the greatest among us shall be our servants — and I always tell my staff we want to be the greatest office there is.”
If Landrieu were smart, she’d jump on this and take full advantage of Cassidy’s moronic remarks. Currently, in head-to-head matchups, Landrieu and Cassidy are practically tied. Louisiana has an open primary system where all of the candidates face-off in the general election in November. The election is settled if the first-place vote getter breaks 50%. However, if nobody tops 50%, then the election goes to a runoff in December between the top two candidates. While Landrieu is far ahead of the polls because repugicans currently have three candidates, she isn’t over 50%. Therefore, even if she wins in November by double digits, she’ll have to go to the runoff and face a repugican (very likely Cassidy.)
It is in Landrieu’s best interests to marginalize Cassidy enough that she can either hit 50% in November or make him so unappealing that even if it goes to a runoff she will win handily. Highlighting Cassidy’s quasi-racist statements and framing him as an extremist is a good way to reach that goal.

This repugican Hates The Thought Of African-Americans Getting A Chance To Vote Early

fran millar
Georgia State Senator Fran Millar, a repugican representing Dunwoody in DeKalb County, is apparently angry over the recent decision by county CEO Lee May to offer Sunday voting to county precincts ahead of this November’s elections. Why is Millar angry? Well, it seems that Millar is none too happy with the thought of African-Americans utilizing the day off to gather and vote. Millar thinks it is patently unfair because one of the areas of the county that has been opened for Sunday voting is near a number of black cults and a shopping center where a large number of African-Americans shop.
On Tuesday, Millar’s response to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article regarding Sunday voting in the county was published in the AJC. Millar’s letter to the paper was full of race-baiting and thinly-veiled innuendo. First off, he starts by whining about First Lady Michelle Obama, who recently visited the area.
How ironic! Michele Obama comes to town and Chicago politics comes to DeKalb.
After whining about May and saying how unfair he is to repugicans, Millar then openly complains about Sunday voting because it will allow too many African-Americans a chance to vote.
Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election. Per Jim Galloway of the AJC, this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega cults such as new birth missionary baptist. Galloway also points out the Democratic Party thinks this is a wonderful idea – what a surprise. I’m sure Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are delighted with this blatantly partisan move in DeKalb.
The repugican disagrees with May’s determination that since this is an administrative matter that the county’s CEO can make a decision regarding available voting days on his own. In Millar’s view, early voting appears to be an awful idea (especially if black Democrats will be out voting) and he wants to gather support from other lawmakers (presumably repugican) to get this changed.
I have spoken with Representative Jacobs and we will try to eliminate this election law loophole in January. Galloway summed it up, “Democrats are showing their hand on how they might boost their numbers”. For this to be called a “non-partisan opportunity” by Interim CEO is an insult!
Of course, any statement made by a repugican politician, particularly a white one, isn’t complete without a little bit of victimology.
Another first for DeKalb! So much for being inclusive.
Because, as we all know, white men have always treated African-Americans fairly and have constantly made every effort to include them in the electoral process.



Insanely Drunk Woman Tries To Pick Up Child From School

Renata Congleton A Florida mom's blood-alcohol level was more than five times the legal limit when she drove to an elementary school to pick up a child, police say.
Renata Congleton, 27, registered a .413 BAC after she was arrested, but not before she allegedly attacked officers and smashed up her vehicle.
The mayhem began when she arrived at Trinity Elementary School in New Port Richey Friday afternoon. School officials wouldn't let the child -- who was not identified -- leave with Congleton because she appeared "extremely drunk," Fox Tampa reports. Instead, they called police, but Congleton fled before they arrived.
She allegedly careened into two other vehicles on her way home. Officers tracked her down a short time later. She's accused of kicking and scratching arresting officers before they took her to the ground.
She was slapped with charges of child neglect, battery on an officer, and resisting arrest. Bond was set at $15,000.

Mother accused of body-bumping daughter during chicken spat charged with child abuse

A Florida woman repeatedly body-bumped her 17-year-old daughter after the teenager refused to give her younger brother a piece of chicken, police said. Monique Dent, 35, was arrested and charged with child abuse without great harm on Saturday at her residence in South Daytona, according to a police report.
Dent’s daughter came home just before 1:30pm with a bag of chicken and passed out a piece to everyone in the house. The teen however, did not give a piece of chicken to her 7-year-old brother. Angered, Dent approached her daughter and began bumping her with her body.
The girl locked herself in her bedroom but Dent managed to open the door and put her body up against the teenager again. The teen pushed her mother away and went into the living room, grabbing a cross. Dent then began bumping up against her daughter again, until both mother and daughter fell to the floor and began wrestling, police said.
The teenager bit Dent’s hand when Dent covered the girl’s mouth. There were two other children - two girls ages 10 and 16 - in the house, as well, police said. Dent was arrested and taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail, but was released on her own recognizance at her first appearance hearing on Sunday.

Suspected burglar found snoozing on victim's bed next to haul of stolen jewellery

A burglary suspect in Florida is facing charges after police found him asleep in the bedroom of a home he was allegedly trying to rob.
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said they were responding to a burglary call on Monday at a residence in Nokomis,when they found Dion Davis, 29, asleep on a bed next to a bag of stolen jewellery.
A cleaning lady made the call to authorities after discovering the passed out suspect.
Davis didn't even wake up when deputies arrived and started taking pictures. He is facing charges of burglary to an unoccupied dwelling.

Man faces criminal charge after popping balloon

Popping a helium balloon outside a Williamsburg apartment complex last week earned a Georgia man a misdemeanor destruction of property charge. Justin R. Bridges, 21, of Cumming, was arrested on Sept. 2, nearly eight hours after the incident.
Maj. Greg Riley with Williamsburg police said officers were called to the apartment complex earlier that day for a report of damage to a balloon sculpture. The sculpture, which stands at the entrance to Quarterpath Place Apartments, was estimated to cost between $350 and $500, according to a criminal complaint against Bridges.
The property manager said the display was "ruined as a result of the popped balloon." Shortly after 2pm a witness said she saw a man, later identified as Bridges, pop one of the balloons in the display. She told police Bridges exclaimed, "I just popped that balloon! I just popped that (expletive)!"
The witness then confronted Bridges, who responded "Don't judge me." Bridges and the woman he was with walked off toward the nearby Clarion Hotel and the witness lost sight of them. Bridges was arrested at around 10pm after being found hiding in a bathroom at the hotel and transported to Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.

How to Insult People Like a Brit

Who among us isn't actively looking for new ways to insult people? The alternative would be absolutely unthinkable. Expand your insult repertoire with this handy video on words the British use to insult others.

How Long Does It Take To Read Popular Books?

There's nothing quite like unwinding from a long day at work or enjoying an afternoon in the sun with a good book. But we are also busy people, so it's good to know how long it will take us to read this novel.
Personal Creations took some of the most popular books of all time and estimated how long it would take the average reader to finish by multiplying word count by the average person's reading speed, 300 words per minute, which will give you an approximate gauge of how long it will take any of these great books.

What Is The Limit To How Fast A Human Can Run?

The current men's world record for the 100-meter dash is 9.58 seconds, set by Jamaica's Usain Bolt on August 16, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. Can that record ever be broken? Can someone go faster then 9.58 seconds. Yes, it's possible.

The Women With Super-Human Vision

As Concetta Antico took her pupils to the park for an art lesson, she would often question them about the many shades she saw flashing before her eyes. She would say: 'Look at the light on the water - can you see the pink shimmering across that rock? Can you see the red on the edge of that leaf there?' The students would all nod in agreement. It was only years later that she realised they were just too polite to tell the truth: the colours she saw so vividly were invisible to them.
Today, she knows that this is a symptom of a condition known as 'tetrachromacy.' Thanks to a variation in a gene that influences the development of their retinas, people like Antico can see colours invisible to most of us.

Daily Comic Relief


Unexpected Views Of Famous Historic Moments

We’ve all seen those famous photographs of historic events such as the Kennedy Assassination, Martin Luther King’s "I have a dream" speech, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and our perception of these events is shaped by these iconic images.
Have you ever found yourself wondering what the area around these amazing photo ops looked like?
Well wonder no more, because this unique collection of photographs reveals 48 Unexpected Views of Famous Historical Moments, like this compelling view of Martin Luther King Jr.s "I Have A Dream" speech from atop Lincoln’s shoulder:
Or this touching shot of an East German guard passing a flower through a hole in the Berlin Wall on the morning the Wall fell in November, 1989:
There are even some shots from the fun side of history, like this shot of Salvador Dali kissing Raquel Welch's hand after he finished painting a portrait of her:
And incredible shots taken before tragedy befell the subjects- a shot of Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole taken in 1910, before the entire group perished on their return journey:

More than 150 years later, shipwreck is found where the Inuit said it was

The discovery of a historic vessel in the Canadian Arctic confirms Inuit lore
by Arielle Duhaime-Ross
Unless it’s written down, the reliability of any story is easily questioned. Facts can get distorted and events become increasingly fictional. But thanks to a discovery announced today by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the reliability of one specific Inuit tale is now indisputable. Because, as it turns out, Inuit lore accurately predicted the location of a shipwreck belonging to British Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin.
"white men who were starving."
Franklin perished sometime between 1845 and 1850 along with the rest of his 128-person crew after his two ships got stuck in ice. He was trying to map the Northwest passage when the expedition went awry. And although the Inuit have been telling stories for over 150 years of "white men who were starving" in the late 1850s in the very area where the shipwreck was found, it wasn't until Saturday that the tale was confirmed.
"The beauty of where [the researchers] found it is it's proof positive of Inuit oral history," said CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge during a live broadcast today. Mansbridge, a reporter who has covered the Franklin search for a number of years, was clearly impressed by the the tale’s accuracy. "The Inuit have said for generations that one of their hunters saw a ship in that part of the passage, abandoned and ended up wrecking… It's exactly where this guy said it was."
The researchers say that they're certain that the ship belongs to Franklin, reports the CBC. Unfortunately, they were unable to confirm exactly which of his ships they found. It could be the HMS Erebus or the HMS Terror, so the scientists will soon begin exploring its contents for clues about the vessel's identify. Regardless, Harper said, the discovery is a "historic event" for Canada. "For more than a century, [Franklin’s journey] has been a great Canadian story," he said. This is "a really important day in mapping together the history of our country."
"It's proof positive of Inuit oral history."
A remotely-operated underwater vehicle is responsible for finding the shipwreck, which was located at the bottom of the Victoria Strait, near King William Island in Nunavut, a northern Canadian territory. But it's worth noting that the investigation itself was prompted by the discovery of iron and wooden objects at an abandoned Inuit campsite near the wreck.

Researchers uncover chemistry behind ancient indigenous art

UTS researchers are working with archaeologists, anthropologists and the Northern Territory's Jawoyn community to chemically analyze ancient rock art and uncover its secrets.
Alexandria Hunt and Dr Paul Thomas at a sacred site in Arnhem Land
UTS Associate Professor Barbara Stuart and PhD student Alexandria Hunt are applying sophisticated techniques to understand the materials used by the artists and how their work has changed over time.
"One of my areas of interest has been working with archaeologists and applying chemical and analytical techniques to the study of archaeological problems," said Associate Professor Stuart.
While chemistry and archaeology are not a usual pairing, Associate Professor Stuart said that chemistry plays an important role in understanding archaeological sites.
"We are applying chemistry in an area that is a little less traditional. The chemistry tells you where materials were coming from, what types of materials they used and different practices at different times."
Alexandria was working on her honors project in forensic science in 2012 when she was presented with the opportunity to join the team.
In June of that year Alexandria and her two supervisors, Associate Professor Stuart and Dr Paul Thomas, visited the rock art sites in Arnhem Land for a week, where they worked with other professionals including archaeologists, environmental scientists, geologists and rock art experts.
"We need to take samples but we try to take as small amount as we can so that we don't visually alter the paintings at all," Alexandria said.
"We were blessed before we could go to the sites… they are amazing and you can see how important they are."
During the trip, the team used a community campsite and worked in collaboration with an Indigenous elder, Aunty Margaret, who was pleased that people were interested in the Jawoyn culture.
"They have been very supportive of the whole process. It was a great privilege to go up and visit the site, which is very isolated," Associate Professor Stuart said.
"It's enjoyable from our point of view as scientists working in teams, but it was extra special going to such a historical and spiritual place and working on something that means so much to that community."
Alexandria said that the collaboration between specialists and the Indigenous community was important as it provided a fundamental cultural understanding that helped their research.
"We are lucky that there are still Aboriginal people who know about the sites. With chemistry you can link it to their studies and find out a lot more," she said.
Sample sizes taken from the sites were very small and will be returned after analysis, in accordance with tradition.
"I am running some tests to characterize the pigments," Alexandria said. "We are looking at what they were actually made from. Once I have that information I'll be able to work out the age of the paintings."
The study differs from previous Indigenous site analyses as it accounts for how pigments change over time due to biological processes.
"Traditionally such analyses have been more about elemental analysis, whereas we are looking at more sophisticated techniques to understand the whole of the paint and pigment structure and looking at chemical changes over time," said Associate Professor Stuart.
To gain complex data from the samples Alexandria used the infrared beam at the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne, which provides a powerful light source that enables small samples to be examined with precision. Associate Professor Stuart said that it is only because of such developments in technology that this type of study is possible.
"Our key strength is our quality analytical equipment and that is something that UTS specializes in. I think the field in general is advancing and we are playing a part in that," she said.
Associate Professor Stuart hopes the project will lead to future collaborations and ongoing work in the field.
"They only rediscovered these indigenous rock art sites about six or seven years ago, almost accidentally, and this is just the tip of the iceberg."

Stonehenge Researchers Discover Site Is Much Larger Than Previously Thought

Stonehenge stood at the heart of a sprawling landscape of chapels, burial mounds, massive pits and ritual shrines, according to an unprecedented survey of the ancient grounds.
Researchers uncovered 17 new chapels and hundreds of archaeological features around the neolithic standing stones on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, including forms of monuments that have never been seen before.

The meteorite that wasn't?

Some craters can be deceiving.

The Sun Unleashes Major Solar Flare at Earth

A big storm erupted on the sun Sept. 10th, and Earth was in the cross-hairs.

the source of a major X1.6 solar flareThe sun unleashed an X-class solar flare — the most powerful type — at 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT) today from an Earth-facing sunspot known as Active Region 2158, which also fired off another intense solar flare yesterday. Both space weather events were captured on camera by NASA's sun-watching Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft.
Today's solar flare qualifies as an X1.6 storm but poses no danger to anyone on Earth or the astronauts living aboard the International Space Station, NASA officials told Space.com. However, some people's lives could be affected by the solar tempest.
"Impacts to HF [high-frequency] radio communications on the daylight side of Earth are expected to last for more than an hour," researchers with the National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) wrote in an online update.
Further effects could be felt later in the week if the sunspot also fired off a cloud of superhot plasma known as a coronal mass ejection (CME). CMEs often accompany powerful flares and can trigger geomagnetic storms when they hit Earth, typically two to three days after erupting.
Geomagnetic storms can temporarily disrupt GPS signals, radio communications and power grids, as well as intensify the beautiful auroral displays known as the northern and southern lights.
It's probable that Wednesday's eruption did indeed produce a CME, SWPC researchers said.
"Initial information suggests that a CME is likely associated with this event, but further analysis is underway at this time," they wrote in today's update.
Scientists classify strong solar flares according to a three-tiered system, with C flares being the weakest, M flares medium-strength and X flares the most powerful.
Wednesday's X1.6 flare qualifies as intense, but is far from the strongest blasted out by the sun this year. For example, our star fired off a monster X4.9 flare in February. (X4 flares are four times as powerful as X1 flares.)
The sun is currently at or near the peak phase of its 11-year activity cycle, which is known as Solar Cycle 24. But our star has been relatively quiescent during Solar Cycle 24, whose max phase is the weakest in about 100 years, scientists say.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is one of several spacecraft regularly monitoring the sun to track space weather events and their potential risks to astronauts and satellites.

Giant centipede crawling up woman's leg caused mid-flight commotion

Passengers on a flight to New Zealand got a scare when a large centipede scuttled up the leg of a first class passenger. The woman noticed the large centipede crawling up her leg while on board a flight from Apia to Auckland.
The centipede then scuttled off, causing commotion amongst passengers in the cabin. The unidentified species of centipede, which was 10cm long, has since been destroyed.
Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman Craig Hughes said said biosecurity staff were waiting to meet the plane on arrival, and once passengers had disembarked, two quarantine inspectors checked the plane and found the centipede between a seat and the cabin wall. "By the size of its claws, it would have at least caused a nasty nip," he said. Mr Hughes said the it was most likely that a passenger accidentally carried the centipede onto the plane in their hand luggage.
The incident was very unusual, but showed how important it was for passengers to check their bags for biosecurity risk items, he said. "It's also essential that passengers secure their hand luggage as much as possible so that dangerous critters don't sneak in before boarding. "The last thing that anyone wants is a new population of poisonous centipedes, or worse, crawling around Auckland."

Ancient 'Toothy' Dolphin Fossils Found in Peru Desert

Ancient 'Toothy' Dolphin Fossils Found in Peru Desert
The skull and jawbone of the extinct Huaridelphis raimondii, a newly discovered squalodelphinid species …
The dusty Pisco-Ica desert stretches along the coast of southern Peru, but more than 16 million years ago it may have been covered with sparkling water and home to a now-extinct family of dolphins, known as squalodelphinids, according to new findings.
The desert is a haven for marine fossil hunters — paleontologists have found whales with fossilized baleen, a giant raptorial sperm whale and a dolphin that resembles a walrus, researchers say.
The new findings include the fossils of three dolphins, two of which have well-preserved skulls. A thorough skeletal analysis suggests the dolphins are not only a new species but also related to the endangered South Asian river dolphins living in the Indus and Ganges rivers in India today, the researchers found.
"The quality of the fossils places these specimens as some of the best-preserved members of this rare family," lead study author Olivier Lambert, of the Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique, said in a statement.
River dolphins are an unusual breed. Unlike other dolphins, they live in muddy freshwater rivers and estuaries, and they have a long, narrow, toothy beak and small eyes with poor vision, said Jonathan Geisler, an associate professor of anatomy at the New York Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the study.
The three fossils do not appear to be ancestors of other river dolphins, including those of the Amazon or the Yangtze rivers, the latter of which may be extinct, said John Gatesy, an associate professor of biology at University of California, Riverside, who was not involved in the study.
"They're three of a kind," Gatesy said. "Three independent lineages."
Researchers have long tried to determine how river dolphins fit into the family tree. "It's not normal for a whale or a dolphin to live in freshwater these days," Gatesy said. "What seems to have happened is they've independently adapted to living in freshwater conditions."
The new findings help answer that question, at least for the South Asian river dolphins, experts say.
"It's helping flesh out this pretty poorly known extinct family that helps tie this oddball living species into the evolutionary tree," Geisler said.
Researchers have uncovered other squalodelphinid specimens in Argentina, France, Italy and on the East Coast of the United States, but fossils of these medium-size dolphins are still rare. The modern families of tooth whales, porpoises and dolphins diverged in the early Miocene epoch, about 20 million to 24 million years ago, making any marine fossils from that time period valuable, Geisler said.
The new, extinct species was named Huaridelphis raimondii, after the ancient Huari culture of the south-central Andes and coastal area of Peru that existed from A.D. 500 to 1000, and "delphis," which is Latin for dolphin. The species name celebrates Italian scientist Antonio Raimondi (1826-1890), who found fossils of whales in Peru, the study reports.
Given the abundance of fossils in the Pisco-Ica desert, paleontologists may soon find and name other squalodelphinid remains, Giovanni Bianucci, of the Universit√° degli Studi di Pisa and an author on the study, said in a statement.
"Considering the richness of the fossil localities recently discovered, other new extinct dolphins from the same geological age will certainly soon be found and studied," Bianucci said.
The study was published today (Sept. 9) in the journal Vertebrate Paleontology.

Top Ten Odd Animal Couples

We have all seen how cute it can be when a cat cuddles with another cat, or when two bunnies snuggle up together. But how cool is it to hear those stories about animal odd couples. Two animals from different species who just seemed to find each other and find some kind of strange and intense connection in the process. It shows us the nonjudgmental purity of animals, and it shows us that we could all learn a thing or two about how we should all treat one another.
Animal Planet put together a really adorable list of ten animal odd couples, and if it doesn't make your heart feel a couple sizes bigger after watching, I suggest two viewings, back-to-back. I will admit, the tarantula and the frog are definitely an odd couple, but it will make you look at both species differently.
They don't judge each other, so why do we?

Animal Pictures