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Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

480 BC Themistocles and his Greek fleet win one of history's first decisive naval victories over Xerxes' Persian force off Salamis.
1378 The election of Robert of Geneva as anti-pope by discontented cardinals creates a great schism in the Catholic church.
1519 Ferdinand Magellan embarks from Spain on a voyage to circumnavigate the world.
1561 Queen Elizabeth of England signs a treaty at Hamptan Court with French Huguenot leader Louis de Bourbon, the Prince of Conde. The English will occupy Le Harve in return for aiding Bourbon against the Catholics of France.
1565 Pedro Menendez of Spain wipes out the French at Fort Caroline, in Florida.
1604 After a two-year siege, the Spanish retake Ostend, the Netherlands, from the Dutch.
1784 Packet and Daily, the first daily publication in America, appears on the streets.
1806 Explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark pass the French village of La Charette, the first white settlement they have seen in more than two years.
1830 The National Negro Convention convenes in Philadelphia with the purpose of abolishing slavery.
1850 The slave trade is abolished in the District of Columbia.
1853 The Allies defeat the Russians at the battle of Alma on the Crimean Peninsula.
1863 Union troops under George Thomas prevent the Union defeat at Chickamauga from becoming a rout, earning him the nickname "the Rock of Chickamauga."
1934 Bruno Hauptmann arrested for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby.
1952 Scientists confirm that DNA holds hereditary data.
1971 Hurricane Irene becomes the first hurricane known to cross from the Atlantic to Pacific, where it is renamed Hurricane Olivia.
1973 In a pro tennis bout dubbed "The Battle of the Sexes," Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in Texas.
1977 Socialist Republic of Vietnam admitted to the United Nations.
1984 Suicide car bomber attacks US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 22.
1985 Australia introduces a capital gains tax.
1990 South Ossetia declares its independence from George in the former Soviet Union.
2000 British MI6 Secret intelligence Service building in London attacked by unidentified group using RPG-22 anti-tank missile.
2001 US Pres. George W. Bush, addressing a joint session of Congress, declares a "war on terror.".
2008 A truck loaded with explosives detonates by Marriott hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing 45 and injuring 226.
2011 US military ends its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and allows gay men and women to serve openly.

Non Sequitur


Actual Religious Freedom Creates an Anti-First Amendment Firestorm in bible belt

The religio-wingnuts, which regularly mock and profanes the beliefs of others, thinks other religions should be banned from mocking and profaning theirs…
Eucharist The clash between satanic magic and christian magic is heating up in Oklahoma as a satanic group gets ready to mock the eucharist on September 21.
The "liberty' counsel, which pretends to be “dedicated to advancing religious freedom,” yet which regularly attacks the religious freedom of others, is now asserting that that groups whose religious practices “offend other faiths” should be prohibited. Bob Unruh at Wing Nut Daily tells us that “‘dog-loving Americans’ confront ‘filth peddling’ satanists” over the black mass in “the heart of the bible belt.”
Well hell, sign me up. With the satanists that is. Not because I agree with satanism, but because I believe satanists should have the right to practice their beliefs too. But apparently 170,000 Wing Nut Job opponents of the First Amendment signed a petition at TFP Student Action to find fault with my iron-clad reasoning.
They’re offended dammit. So the show must not go on. Even though they’re not actually going to the show unless they bought a ticket.
Just the mere fact of somebody else practicing their religious beliefs is hateful to fake christians to the extent that they insist those practices must be banned. And it isn’t just satanism. You remember Bryan Fischer’s horrified objection to the Obamas letting actual hindus into the White House to celebrate the festival of lights.
Now, that isn’t what the First Amendment says, of course. It isn’t even what the "liberty" counsel once said, as Right Wing Watch reminds us:
Ironically, the "liberty" Counsel itself once cited Justice William Brennan’s claim that “[i]f there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”
The "liberty" counsel is more than happy to champion its own spokesperson’s religious freedom when they are attacking islam in a public place. But dog and therefore the government forbid anyone else should have access to the same rights as a christian.
The petition by TFP Student Action says,
With my whole heart and soul, I express full, complete and vehement rejection of the satanic ‘black mass’ scheduled at the Oklahoma City Civic Center on September 21, 2014. I urge you to cancel this event which offends 1 billion catholics worldwide, 200,000 catholics in Oklahoma and countless more dog-loving Americans. Sacrilege is simply NOT free speech.
Sacrilege is free speech. Sacrilege is a religious, not a civil law, and America is a democracy, not a theocracy. If sacrilege isn’t free speech, the religio-wingnuts better stop telling people jesus loved the rich and hated the poor. That’s not only sacrilege, it’s the sin of lying.
Another petition at citizengo.org has apparently collected 96,952 signatures. That’s a quarter of a million people who oppose the First Amendment in the bible belt. Color me unsurprised.
According to WND Archbishop Paul Coakley said,
“I am calling on all catholics of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to counteract this challenge to faith and decency through prayer and penance,” and Bishop Edward Slattery said, “As a part of satanic worship, a black mass attempts to invert the action and meaning of the eucharist in order to mock christ’s sacrifice and worship satan through an orgiastic ritual of pain and perversion. It blasphemes everything which we hold as sacred and redemptive; and the spiritual dangers it poses ought not be dismissed. Since the Civic Center has not responded positively to the pleas of the archbishop of Oklahoma City not to host this event in a taxpayer supported public venue, I am asking the faithful Catholics in the diocese of Tulsa to fight this blasphemy through prayer and fasting.”
It is beyond befuddling that a religion which regularly attacks gays in a hateful manner and which also apparently finds no fault in the abuse of children, is so offended by a religious ritual.
Isn’t raping a child “pain and perversion” as well? And the catholic cult is offended that the ritual is taking place in a “taxpayer supported public venue”? What is this to the catholic cult, which pays no taxes? Don’t pretend now, only when it’s handy, that you care about taxes. You don’t even get a say where taxes are concerned.
Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, who thought nothing of banning Oklahoma cities from raising the minimum wage back in April, is offended by the black mass which harms no one, saying in a statement:
This ‘black mass’ is a disgusting mockery of the catholic faith, and it should be equally repellent to catholics and non-catholics alike,” said Fallin. “It may be protected by the First Amendment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t condemn it in the strongest terms possible for the moral outrage which it is. It is shocking and disgusting that a group of New York City ‘satanists’ would travel all the way to Oklahoma to peddle their filth here. I pray they realize how hurtful their actions are and cancel this event.
Fallin’s approval rating has been lagging. No doubt she hopes to get back some ideological street cred while leading her state to right wing ruin.
TFP Student Action says :
Every black mass is a direct, deliberate and sinful act of hatred against dog. Typically, a consecrated host is stolen from a catholic cult and then used to desecrate, mock and insult the catholic mass. The person of our lord jesus christ is attacked in a most vile and unspeakable manner. These insults against dog are not only offensive to christians, but also repulsive to everyone of good will.
When government buildings open their doors and allow a satanic ‘black mass’ that offends dog so deeply, it begs the question: Are we still one nation under dog?” the statement continued, “To invite satan into a community is NO joke. It’s a terrible sin that brings devils to the earth and provokes dog to withdraw His graces and blessings.
WND quotes Michael Caspino of the Busch & Caspino law firm as saying, “It’s one thing to allow different religions to come in and celebrate their religion. It’s a whole different thing to allow a group to come in that seeks to desecrate and insult another religion.”
In that case, the bible must be immediately banned as must all christian religious services. The old testament is one long anti-Pagan diatribe, filled with hate and violence against non-jews, while the new testament is filled with hatred of jews, blaming them for the death of jesus. And christian cult services are regularly filled with sermons denouncing Paganism. I’ve sat through a few.
This line particularly had me laughing: “These insults against dog are not only offensive to christians, but also repulsive to everyone of good will.”
Au contraire. This is no less than not only fake christians but actual real christians do to other faiths in cult each Sunday as they revile Paganism, and the so-called christians of the religio-wingnuts regularly attack islam and other religions “in a most vile and unspeakable manner,” as when Fischer called the goddess Lakshmi a demon. I don’t recall the "liberty" counsel getting upset by that. What, is christianity the only religion which cannot be mocked?
Archbishop Coakley told Faux News that, “Not all speech is protected if there is hate speech and it is intended to ridicule another religion,” he added. “I don’t believe it is a free speech matter.”
So in other words, you can ridicule gays and other religions, but other religions can’t ridicule your religion.
The issue here is religious freedom. The religio-wingnuts pretend to champion religious freedom but it opposes it, and it is clear that many rank and file find religious freedom repulsive and a thing to be condemned. What they want is not religious freedom, but religious privilege.
The fly in the buttermilk is that the First Amendment categorically states, “Thou shalt have no religious privilege.”

Texas Limiting New AP History Course's Influence

From the "Idiots" Department:
Amid uproar in wingnut circles about perceived anti-American bias in the new Advanced Placement U.S. History course and exam, Texas on Wednesday moved to require its high school students to learn only state-mandated curriculum -- not be taught to the national test.
The Board of Education approved a measure declaring that the history curriculum its members set trumps that covered by the AP history course created for classrooms nationwide. That class concludes with an exam that can earn college credit for students who score high enough.
The board must still take a final vote, but the measure's content isn't expected to change.
The controversy stems from the recent overhaul of the AP test, administered by the New Jersey-based College Board, that was meant to de-emphasize memorization. The new exam will be given for the first time in May and includes a lengthy framework to help teachers better-prepare students for the requirements.
Wingnut agitators, though, have decried the new course, the teachers' framework and even the exam itself as rife with liberal themes and focusing on the negative aspects of U.S. history. Some have even likened it to "mind control" engineered by the federal government.
Board Member Ken Mercer, a San Antonio repugican, called for Texas to delay implementation of the new AP test in Texas. But since the board has no jurisdiction over a national test, members compromised with Wednesday's measure.
In 2013, about 47,500 Texas high school students took the AP History exam, and about 18,600 earned college credit. AP History students this year will still take the new exam, but will prepare for it by studying Texas-sanctioned curriculum.
Debbie Pennington, senior education manager for the College Board, said the new course and exam were designed to be flexible enough to conform to curriculum standards in different states. She said she was confident that history courses in Texas can prepare students for the new AP test while also adhering to the state's curriculum standards.
"You've got to honor local control and the states and those individual teachers to support what their states are asking," Pennington said.
Mercer said the new exam and course framework ignore such American civil right icons as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Cesar Chavez, while sanitizing lessons on World War II.
"In World War II there's no Holocaust, no liberation of concentration camps," he said. "It's mentioned in Texas, but not in the (national) framework."
But other board members, including Patricia Hardy, a Weatherford repugican, defended the new exam as eliminating "a lot of minutia and nitpicking" details contained in the original, heavily multiple-choice exam.
Still, Hardy voted in favor of the measure because it reaffirms Texas' commitment to its own curriculum. Another member who supported it, San Antonio Democrat Marisa Perez, said it's "really not changing anything," only spelling out what's already occurring in classrooms.
"I think we need to teach history as it happened and not change it," Perez said.

House repugicans Screw The American People By Canceling Jobs Votes and Leaving Until November

After a nearly a year of having done nothing, House repugicans have rewarded themselves by canceling all of their remaining votes and leaving town until after November’s midterm election.
In a departure from their original schedule, the House plans to adjourn at the end of the day Thursday until after the midterm elections, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (r-Calif.) announced.
Lawmakers will now have extra time to hit the campaign trail, leaving Washington until the lame-duck session in November.
The House was originally set to be in session through Friday to vote on consolidated packages of so-called “jobs bills” and measures to boost domestic energy that it has already passed. Now, members will be able to head for the exits as soon as the House finishes work on the energy package.
DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel responded by putting repugicans on blast, “House repugicans are now abandoning any pretense of doing actual work for the American people, skipping town one day after doing the bare minimum required to keep the government functioning but blocking any progress for the middle class. House repugicans have proved yet again that they are only interested in doing their jobs long enough to stack the deck for special interests and launch political stunts. Democrats are committed to jumpstarting our middle class, not setting the government on autopilot and then heading for vacation.”
House repugicans aren’t even trying to fool the American people anymore. It doesn’t matter that the “jobs bills” that the House was supposed to vote on were not really jobs bills. In House repugican speak, anything that provides a tax cut to the wealthy or guts a regulation is a jobs bill. The reality is that House repugicans don’t do what most people would consider to be jobs bills.
John Boehner is fond of saying that jobs are his top priority, but the Speaker couldn’t even stick around town long enough to vote for his fake jobs bills. The best part about this whole deal for House repugicans is that they will still be getting paid for assigning themselves more vacation.
The American people need a Congress that will show up for work. If you decided on your own to not show up for work, you’d be fired on the spot. Voters need to give House repubgcans the same treatment.

The repugican Delusions Of Winning The Senate Take a Big Hit In Kansas

orman leads roberts kansas senate
The repugican delusions of winning the Senate were dealt a major setback when the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that former Democrat candidate Chad Taylor’s name must be removed from the ballot.
The repugican Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach ruled that Taylor’s name must stay on the ballot, even after he dropped out of the race. The Kansas State Supreme Court disagreed.
The court wrote in their opinion, “Our determination that the uncontroverted contents of Taylor’s September 3 letter timely satisfy the statutory requirements for withdrawal now leads us to Kobach’s clearly defined duty imposed by the law. Kobach’s attorney admitted at oral arguments that if the letter was held to comply with the statute, Kobach would have no discretion. This admission is consistent with the plain language of the last sentence of the statutory subsection: “No name withdrawn as provided in this section shall be printed on ballots for such office for the general election.” K.S.A. 25-306b(b). Accordingly, the issuance of a writ of mandamus is appropriate. See Slusher, 279 Kan. 789, Syl. ¶ 4 (“Mandamus is a proceeding designed for the purpose of compelling a public officer to perform a clearly defined duty, one imposed by law and not involving the exercise of discretion.”)”
A new Faux News poll shows why repugicans were arguing to keep the Democrat’s name on the ballot. With all three names on the ballot, Roberts led Independent Greg Orman and Taylor 40%-38%-11%. With only Roberts and Orman’s names on the ballot, the Independent led 48%-42%. A Senate seat that looked like a lock for repugicans is now in jeopardy of being lost to an Independent, who has already promised to caucus with the Senate’s other two Independents who caucus with the Democrats.
The rise of Greg Orman is a byproduct of the civil war carried out by Sam Brownback against the moderate members of his own cabal. Moderate repugicans have teamed up with Democrats and Independents to form a coalition that looks like it will power Orman to victory in November. Kansas isn’t going blue. It is still as red as ever, but Democrats may keep control of the Senate because of  Brownback’s desire to purge the state’s repugican cabal of anyone that was not far enough off the lunatic fringe for his tastes.
The smart move for the Democratic Party is to stay out of the way, and let this very public repugican fight play out on its own. The repugican plot of taking over the Senate have taken another hit. With days winding down until Election Day, Democrats will maintain their Senate majority

Even Faux News Polls Show That The Race For The Senate Is Moving Towards Democrats

A new batch of polls from Faux News show that the momentum is definitely moving towards Democrats keeping the Senate, as repugican incumbent Pat Roberts in Kansas is in danger of losing his seat.
The Faux News poll of North Carolina shows Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan leading Thom Tillis 41%-36% with 6% supporting Libertarian Sean Hough. In Iowa, Democrat Bruce Braley and repugican Jodi Ernst are tied at 41%. The bad news for Democrats comes in Louisiana where Sen. Mary Landrieu is trailing repugican Bill Cassidy 35%-31% in the four-way general election contest and 51%-38% in the potential runoff.
The bombshell race is in Kansas, when repugican incumbent Pat Roberts is in danger of losing his seat. Since Democrat Chad Taylor withdrew from the race, Independent Greg Orman has continued to surge. With Taylor’s name still on the ballot, Roberts leads Orman 40%-38% with Taylor getting 11%. If Taylor’s name is not on the ballot, Orman leads Roberts 48%-42%. The Kansas State Supreme Court heard the case relating to Taylor’s name appearing on the ballot on Tuesday, and a decision is expected shortly.
When even the Faux News polls are showing serious signs of Democratic momentum, repugicans have a big problem on their hands. Coming into 2014, Mitch McConnell thought that by late September he could start planning his agenda as Majority Leader, but things have not gone the repugican cabal’s way. If Orman beats Roberts, Democrats will likely keep control of the Senate. Democratic incumbents in Arkansas and North Carolina continue to hold small leads. The Iowa Senate polls are over the map, but the average of all polls shows the Democrat with a small edge.
Despite putting most of their resources into the Senate contests, repugicans have not been able to expand the map. The momentum has shifted back to Democrats, with only the usual repugican leaning polls showing a rosy scenario for the repugican cabal. While the mainstream media and pundits continue to insist that Democratic control of the Senate is doomed, the polling data is telling a different story.
The media and pundits claimed that Mitt Romney was in a position to win, when polling data was revealing the potential for Obama blowout in 2012. The media were wrong then, and they are going down the same path again. Democrats are a lock to keep the Senate, the needle is moving in their direction.

Militia Group Plans To Target African-American Democrats At Polling Places In Wisconsin

A militia group in Wisconsin is planning to target African-American Democrats at polling places in order to suppress the vote and keep repugican governor Scott Walker in office.
Here is a Twitter exchange where the group details their plan:
A visit to the group’s Facebook page features makes it clear exactly who they are targeting. All of the pictures on the page feature African-Americans. The group is trying to get African-Americans who may have outstanding warrants arrested in order to keep them from voting. The group wants people to report those they suspect of having warrants out on them to the police on election day, “Do the community a favor and keep an eye out for people wanted on warrants and report them to the police on election day.”
The “poll watchers” also plan on harassing and following people who they suspect of being wanted on warrants to their homes. The plan seems to be to use the police to intimidate African-Americans into not voting in November’s election.
The group admits that they are targeting Democrats. They aren’t exactly subtle in making it clear that they are targeting African-American voters. The scheme is an attempt to intimidate African-American voters while getting around the Voting Rights Act. The point of this campaign isn’t to get felons off the streets. The “poll watchers” are trying to keep African-Americans away from the polls.
The fact that they are targeting a specific group of individuals based on race and perceived political affiliation means that their operation is a violation of the Voting Rights Act. According to the Justice Department, “The administration of elections is chiefly a function of state government. However, federal authorities may become involved where there are possible violations of federal law. In cases where intimidation, coercion, or threats are made or attempts to intimidate, threaten or coerce are made to any person for voting or attempting to vote, the Department of Justice can consider whether there is federal jurisdiction to bring civil claims or criminal charges under federal law. Depending on the nature of the allegations, they may fall into the jurisdiction of different parts of the Department. If you have information about allegations of intimidation, please contact us.”
Wisconsin repugicans are desperate to keep Scott Walker in office, Currently, Walker is tied with Democrat Mary Burke in the polls. A voter intimidation effort that could prevent African-Americans from voting might be enough to get Walker reelected. The wingnut Wisconsin poll watching group is planning on engaging in illegal activity. The group is just getting started, which is why it is a perfect time to send the message that these tactics will not be tolerated.
You can contact the Justice Department here, and request that the election be monitored.
The right to vote must be protected, and those who attempt to intimidate voters need to be held accountable.

Obama Is Correct, Let Iraq Deal With ISIS As a Sovereign Nation

Iraq Abadi
A sovereign state is an  entity of the international legal system represented by one centralized government that possesses supreme independent authority over a geographic area. International law defines a sovereign state as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and is also normally understood to be neither dependent on nor subject to any other power or state.  This idea of a sovereign nation is a construct that most repugicans and all wingnut warmongers cannot, and will not, accept under any conditions.
Whether they understand American exceptionalism to mean that every nation on Earth is an extension of the United States, or that military might rules the world, repugicans cannot abide a foreign nation’s sovereignty; particularly Iraq and the surrounding region. After invading two  sovereign nations, decimating their respective infrastructures, massacring hundreds-of-thousands of innocent civilians, and destabilizing the entire region, repugicans likely believe Afghanistan and Iraq are now American colonies. However, after manipulating America to help purge the country of Iraqi Sunnis and elevating Shias closely-aligned with Iran, the Iraqi government promptly announced “mission accomplished” in 2008 and told America and its occupying force to get out and stay out. Now, after less than six years, a new Iraqi leader finds himself having to reiterate his predecessor’s demand and told America that his nation neither wants, nor needs, another invasion force made up of “foreign American” ground troops in its sovereign nation.
Iraq’s new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi told the Associated Press during an interview that American ground troops are “Not only not necessary, we don’t want them. We won’t allow them. Full stop.” This is precisely the same thing al-Abadi’s predecessor, former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, told the shrub in 2008 that forced  an agreement the shrub signed committing America to extract its combat forces from Iraq. Who can blame al-Abadi for being wary of another repugican-led demand for an invasion force to insert America in the middle of the Iraqi campaign against ISIS? Although President Obama continues stating there will be no American combat  troops on the ground in Iraq or Syria, ISIS is having a great deal of success using the repugicans’ favorite ploy of fear-mongering to entice America into another needless war that is a very successful recruitment tool for the Islamic State.
Despite the President’s assurance America will not send another invasion force into Iraq, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Martin Dempsey, told wingnut warmongers precisely what they, and ISIS, wanted to hear; conditions in Iraq could deteriorate to the point that he would recommend Obama send U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS. That is contrary to the President’s understanding of what a sovereign nation is; he said “We cannot do for the Iraqis what they must do for themselves. They can secure their own country’s future.” The President also said again that any U.S. assistance will be to “support Iraqi forces on the ground as they fight for their own country against these terrorists.”
Now, repugican warmongers are frantic to claim ISIS, ISIL, or IS (whatever they’re called) pose an existential threat to the security of the United States, but that is precisely what the IS’s leaders hope Americans believe. It is important to remember that it was shrub’s invasion of Iraq that not only aided the Islamic State’s rise in Syria and Iraq, but was a brilliant recruitment tool for terrorists and extremists to join a crusade against America. Further, the Islamic extremists have yearned to create a purely Islamic caliphate in the region for well over four centuries, long before America came into existence. An invasion, or threat of an IS invasion, on America is no more of a threat today as it was over four centuries ago.  In fact, the Islamic State (IS) is only relevant to Iraq today and exists because America gave Iran and Iraqi Shias a huge assist in chasing what are now ISIS adherents (Sunnis) into Syria to gather their strength and pursue their centuries-old goal.
It is curious why any American feels this country has a duty to wade into other nation’s internal affairs; particularly with military might. The President and repugicans claim their goal is destroying ISIS to protect innocent Iraqis, but there is about as much chance of destroying ISIS as there is destroying the Taliban in Afghanistan. Surely President Obama, if not warmongering repugicans, understands the idea of defeating, much less destroying, an insurgency or affecting a sovereign nation’s civil war is a futile fantasy. For dog’s sake America failed in Viet Nam, Russia failed after ten years in Afghanistan, America failed after 13 years in Afghanistan and counting, and yet after failing in Iraq, repugicans are clamoring to fail again. ISIS will never be destroyed any more than any other extremist group or insurgency is ever destroyed. They may be dispersed, change their name, and hide out for a time, but an insurgency, like extremists devoted to terrorism is a mindset that is never defeated.
Wingnuts were quick to cite the recent killings of American journalists as proof ISIS poses a threat to America’s national security, but those journalists were not in America; they were in a war-zone in a foreign sovereign nation. It is noteworthy there was absolutely no repugican outrage when American troops killed innocent foreign journalists in Iraq, or hundreds-of-thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians; likely because they regarded Iraq as part of America where targeting citizens is a standard repugican policy.
President Obama is right; Iraq can secure their own country’s future” and “fight for their own country” against ISIS. It is true this country set in motion the rise of ISIS when America gave Iraqi and Iranian Shia Muslims free rein to expatriate Sunnis to Syria to destabilize that sovereign nation, but it is time for them to take responsibility for their own actions and reap the rewards of attempting to purge one Muslim sect from their midst. It is also noteworthy, that despite the four-century goal of creating a purely Islamic caliphate in northern Iraq and Syria, there was no ISIS, insurgency, civil war, or Sunni-Shia unrest during Saddam’s administration. There was also no civil war in Syria where christians and several Muslim sects lived in peace before the shrub's wingnuts decided Iraq was an American colony that needed regime change.
If repugicans are so concerned about threats to America’s national security, why are they not addressing global climate change? Their precious generals in the Pentagon and Defense Department (DOD) have warned every year for the past five years that climate change is a clear and present danger and legitimate threat to the nation’s security. Their response was forbidding Defense from mentioning, much less addressing a real threat to America’s national security. The answer is simple, really; repugicans’ money machine in the oil and defense industry will not profit from addressing a real national security threat like climate change, and repugicans are well aware that most Americans are too stupid to comprehend they are already suffering from severe weather events, wildfires, and man-made disasters than any threat of “ISIS invading America  and killing all of us” according to Lindsey Graham.
After thirteen years, it is high time for Americans to comprehend that Iraq is a sovereign nation and not an extension of the United States. That being said, and established as fact, America must honor Iraq’s demand to keep troops out of Iraq and let Iraqis deal with ISIS themselves. The people of this country have invested trillions of dollars and countless thousands of lives in a sovereign nation that never posed a threat to America’s national security. It is important to remember that no American’s life was ever threatened, or in harm’s way, in Iraq or Syria until the shrub's repugicans decided that America’s exceptionalism and powerful military unilaterally eliminated Iraq’s national sovereignty that both the former and current prime ministers are desperately attempting to reassert; likely to no avail because part of America’s storied exceptionalism is being imperialistic.

How many times do we have to bomb Iraq to save ourselves from Hitler?

It's just businessIn 1991, we had to bomb the shit out of Iraq. Because Hitler.
In 2003, we had to bomb the shit out of Iraq. Because Hitler.
In 2014, we have to bomb the shit out of Iraq. Because Hitler.
Of course, not everyone invokes Hitler. Invoking Hitler is just an extreme version of what's become standard fearmongering. But more than two decades after we bombed and invaded Iraq to preserve and protect freedom (or something), and more than a decade after we were lied into bombing and invading Iraq to get rid of the bad guy we didn't get rid of the decade before, we're being told we need to bomb Iraq again, to get rid of the bad guys who are filling the vacuum created when we got rid of the last bad guys.
When did Iraq volunteer to be the permanent test range for American missiles?
When did Iraq volunteer to be the dumping ground for old stocks of American military hardware, so military contractors can keep devouring American tax revenues to build new military hardware?
And how many times do we have to bomb the shit out of Iraq to save ourselves from Hitler?

Booby trap covered traffic officer in manure as he was trying to catch people speeding

A traffic officer in Austria got more than he bargained for after a booby trap covered him from head-to-toe in manure as he was trying to catch people speeding, police said on Tuesday. A bucket containing the slurry exploded three meters from the officer after he triggered a trip wire at a site often used for speed traps, police in the southern state of Carinthia said. The 58-year-old was not hurt and police said the device was likely designed by an irate motorist to humiliate officers rather than cause injury.
But they were nonetheless not amused. "What could have happened if the officer had been nearer the explosives, or if a child had set it off? It doesn't bear thinking about," spokesman Rainer Dionisio said. Police said that a detonator in a bucket of manure was connected to a fishing line, which triggered the trap when the traffic police officer visited the location near the Mölltal state highway.
The site is commonly used by police for laser-based speed monitoring. A garden spade and garden gloves were leaning against the bucket containing the bovine excrement. The force of the explosion destroyed the garden tool's wooden handle. Fortunately, the officer was sufficiently far from the explosive that he was not injured, but his uniform was covered with manure.

Health concerns after thieves steal 1.3 tons of potentially deadly cheese

Investigators in Liechtenstein are probing the theft of 1.3 tonnes of cheese that was set to be destroyed because it contained dangerous bacteria.
The country’s food inspection office is concerned the bad cheese will be sold either directly or indirectly, posing a health risk to anyone who consumes it. The problem is the “Alp Sücka” cheese was found to be contaminated with listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that causes listeriosis, a potentially deadly infection.
Liechtenstein’s food office had banned the cheese but during a check discovered that 236 five-kilogram wheels of the dairy product had gone missing. They were probably stolen from open containers where they were stored temporarily before planned destruction.
The country’s prosecutor has launched an investigation into the cheese’s disappearance. Listeriosis is particularly dangerous for elderly people and pregnant women. The Liechtenstein food inspection office has issued a warning for people to avoid eating Alp Sücka cheeses sold after September 9th.

Losing Sight

Americans rate losing eyesight as having greatest impact on their lives

Attitudinal survey on eye health shows differences among groups Many […]

Baby Words

Babies Learn Words Differently as They Age

Study findings can help speech therapists, parents broaden toddlers’ vocabularies […]

11 Facts Yü Should Know About The Umlaut

In linguistics, umlaut (from German um- 'around' + laut 'sound') is a sound change whereby a vowel is pronounced more like a following vowel or semivowel and is also used to replace hyphens in Germanic languages.
Umlaut is a form of assimilation, the process by which one speech sound is altered to make it more like another adjacent sound. If a word has two vowels, one far back in the mouth and the other far forward, more effort is required to pronounce the word than if the vowels were closer, and therefore one possible linguistic development is for these two vowels to be drawn closer together.

Man Transforms Basement Room into Rustic Cabin Man Cave

Redditor kelhans, in an amazing display of resourcefulness, transformed a storage room in the basement of this home into what looks like a deep-woods cabin retreat. The price is right as well: he says he only spent $107 on the entire project, furnishing it with his belongings and using scrap wood.
This impressive DIY project had an amusing inspiration: the man is a father of seven children and desired a place that was all his own. I can only hope his wife recruits him to build her a woman cave next, so both parents have their happy places!
See photos that document the project from start to finish here.
 The storage room before the project began

This House Is Made Largely From Recycled Telegraph Poles

Malaysia's telegraph poles have been torn down in recent years, which provided WHBC Architects with a delightful option when their British clients requested their new Malaysian home be constructed with reclaimed wood.
Aside from offering the perfect strength and size for the home's support structures, they also provide a unique look as the aged wood has developed a thick patina after being exposed to the elements over the years.
The open plan home allows for ample natural ventilation, allowing the home to remain comfortably cool without any air conditioner use.
See more pictures of this tropical house at Homes and Hues: The Spellbinding Tropical House Made From Reclaimed Telegraph Poles

Incredible Facts About 30 Of The World's Most Notorious Slums Of All Time

When traveling, most people focus on tourist sites and beautiful scenery and ignore the more rundown areas. However, some of the world's most notorious slums have very rich, interesting histories. Here is a list of slums around the world with fascinating backgrounds.



A Third Group

Mainstream theory was that Europeans descended from two groups: early farmers who moved into Europe and local hunter-gatherers they interbred with.

Marjorie Bruce

Princess of Scotland and mother of the Stewart dynasty of Kings of Scots
by Susan Abernethy

Tomb of Marjorie Bruce. Photo by Otter/Wikipedia
Marjorie Bruce, Princess of Scotland, was the only child of the first marriage of King Robert I the Bruce with Isabella of Mar. Marjorie would suffer greatly through the Scottish Wars of Independence, surviving to marry and become the mother of the child who would go on to found the Stewart dynasty of Kings.
As the wars for Scottish independence from England raged, Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick, was one of the leaders of the fight. The Earl of Mar was one of the seven Guardians of Scotland and he believed Robert was the lawful King of Scots. Mar saw great advantage in aligning his family with Bruce and the possibility of his heirs inheriting the throne. He arranged to marry his eighteen year old daughter Isabella to Bruce. Legend says Isabella and Bruce were very much in love. The Earl signed over his family estates to Bruce and the marriage took place in 1295. Isabella quickly became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter named Marjorie, most likely in December of 1296. Isabella died shortly after the birth.
We don’t know what happened to Marjorie, where she lived or how she was educated. Six years after the death of his first wife, Bruce was at the court of King Edward I of England and most likely met the woman who would become his second wife. Her name was Elizabeth de Burgh and she was the daughter of Richard, 2nd Earl of Ulster and one of King Edward’s most prominent Anglo-Irish supporters. Either Edward chose Elizabeth as Bruce’s bride or Bruce transferred his allegiance to Edward, hoping to ally himself to the Earl of Ulster. Elizabeth and Bruce married in 1302.
After years of fighting and switching of allegiances, Robert the Bruce was inaugurated as King of Scots and Elizabeth was crowned Queen on March 25, 1306. The ceremony was celebrated at Scone by Bishop Lamberton of St. Andrews and a young Marjorie was in attendance. Although Bruce had gained the throne, the English were still fighting and within a few weeks of the coronation, Bruce was defeated by John of Lorne on the borders of Argyll and Perthshire.
At the end of June 1306, Bruce decided to send his family away for safety. Queen Elizabeth, Marjorie, and Bruce’s sisters Christian and Mary were given an escort of Bruce’s brother Niall and the Earl of Atholl and set off across the lands of Atholl, over the hills of Braemar until they reached the stronghold of Kildrummy Castle. They were only there a short time before the English sent troops to find them. Someone in the castle set fire to the castle’s store of grain and the castle surrendered but not before the ladies escaped in the chaos.
Marjorie's parents, as depicted in the 1562 Forman Armorial
They were probably headed for the security of the Orkney Islands and on the way they took sanctuary in the small chapel of St. Duthac’s at Tain in Ross-shire. The Earl of Ross was no friend of Bruce and he violated the sanctuary and seized the ladies. Ross sent them south to become prisoners of King Edward in England. Along the way, the Earl of Atholl had been captured and Niall was seized along with the ladies. Atholl was hung and Niall was hung, drawn and quartered at Berwick upon Tweed.
Of the four captured women, Queen Elizabeth was treated the least harshly by King Edward. She was the daughter of his friend after all. She spent time in the Tower of London as well as other places and was allowed servants. Bruce’s sister Christian spent her imprisonment in the Gilbertine Nunnery at Sixhills in Lincolnshire. His other sister Mary was confined in a solid latticed cage of timber and iron and hung over the walls of Roxburgh Castle.
Edward had severe and punitive plans for Marjorie. He ordered the construction of cage like the one Mary was confined in to be built. He wanted the cage hung from the Tower of London and was not going to allow anyone to speak to Marjorie. But this was particularly cruel and unusual punishment for a twelve year old girl. Some of Edward’s advisors counseled him against this treatment, so he rescinded the order and had Marjorie confined at the Gilbertine nunnery at Watton in East Yorkshire.
The Bruce women languished in England until the Battle of Bannockburn in June of 1314. The Scots annihilated the troops of the new King Edward II of England and took many English hostages. Edward II’s commander Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford was in the hands of the Scots and Bruce traded him for his wife, daughter and sisters along with the elderly Bishop of Glasgow, Robert Wishart. All the women returned to Scotland.
King Robert’s gallant 6th Lord High Steward, Robert had fought valiantly at Bannockburn and it was decided that Marjorie would marry him. They were married in 1315 and Marjorie took up residence at the Steward home in Renfrew. Marjorie’s dowry included the Barony of Bathgate in West Lothian and this was destined to be the family residence of the couple. But it wasn’t meant to be.
Marjorie was heavily pregnant in early 1316 when she decided to go out riding. She was thrown from her horse between Paisley and Renfrew at a place called Knock Hill. Her child, Robert, was delivered by Caesarean section and she died within a few hours at the age of nineteen on March 2. The child, grandson of King Robert I the Bruce, would become the first king of the Stewart dynasty as Robert II, the name coming from a variation on the title of Marjorie’s husband as High Steward.
Marjorie’s body was taken to be buried at Paisley Abbey and her tomb stood for several centuries until it was disturbed during some renovation. The remnants of the tomb lay in the abbey gardens until 1830 when a minister of the church saw them and decided to have the tomb restored. He gathered together pieces of similar tombs and rebuilt the sarcophagus that can be seen today in the abbey. There is also a large cairn on the right side of Renfrew Road on the way into Paisley that marks the spot where Marjorie was thrown from her horse.

Stonehenge: Children revealed to be the metal workers of prehistoric Britain

Research suggests children wrecked their eyesight embellishing weapons and jewellery with minute scraps of gold
by Maev Kennedy
Daggers at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devizes, discovered in 1808 in Bush Barrow, Salisbury Plain, the richest and most important bronze age grave ever excavated in Britain. Photograph: Sam Frost for the Guardian
Scientists believe that some 4,000 years ago children as young as 10 wrecked their eyesight embellishing weapons and jewellery with minute scraps of gold, creating dazzling pieces so fine that the detail can barely be picked out with the naked eye. They were some of the best prehistoric metal work ever found in Britain.
The children may have been working in Brittany, where the largest concentration of daggers decorated with the tiny gold pins have been found, but the finest of all was excavated more than 200 years ago from a burial mound half a mile from Stonehenge.
Only fragments of the original wooden dagger handle survive intact, but originally it was decorated with 140,000 tiny studs, each almost as fine as a human hair and set into the wood at more than 1000 to the square centimeter. The price of such extraordinary work would have been painfully high, leaving some of the young craft workers very short sighted by the age of 15 and partially blind by the age of 20.
Ronald Rabbetts, an expert on the optics of the human eye, believes that only children and young teenagers would have had sharp enough eyesight for the most detailed work more than a thousand years before the invention of any form of magnifying glass.
It would quickly have damaged their sight, however, he believes, leaving them unfit for general work, but perhaps maintained by the tribe for the rest of their lives as specialist craft workers.
"Only children and teenagers, and those adults who had become myopic naturally or due to the nature of their work as children, would have been able to create and manufacture such tiny objects," he said. "There would almost certainly have been a section of the bronze age artisan class who, often as a result of their childhood work, were myopic for their adult life. They would therefore have been unable to do any other work apart from the making of tiny artefacts and would have had to be supported by the community at large."
The gold from the Bush Barrow burial mound, now on display in a new gallery at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, was already regarded as extraordinary – made using simple tools but with a sophisticated understanding of geometry and design. But this is the first time scientists have considered the human cost of such work. The results will be shown in a BBC2 documentary, Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath on Thursday evening.
"Every time I've walked past the cases in our museum I've thought 'how the hell did they make them?' – and now we know," David Dawson, curator of the museum, said. "Our metal worker, Neil Burridge, who has made many replica pieces for us, has called them "the work of the gods" – but now we know they weren't gods but children."
In the program the micro-artist Willard Wigan, whose tiny sculptures mounted in the eye of a needle or the head of a pin are avidly collected across the world, attempted to recreate some of the tiny studs, working under a microscope. "I cannot see an adult doing that because your eyesight starts to deteriorate even at 21," he said. "The quality of the work is phenomenal."
The Bush Barrow burial mound was excavated in 1808, a period when there was a craze among amateur archaeologists for digging up the past. The skeleton, buried when the great stone circle was already 1,000 years old, was described by William Cunnington, a wool merchant who dug up scores of burial mounds with local land owner Sir Richard Colt Hoare, as the remains of "a stout and tall man". He was buried with one of the most spectacular collections of grave goods ever found in Britain, including an axe, a mace, a gold-belt plate, bronze and copper daggers, and an intricately decorated gold lozenge-shaped plaque on his chest.
The decayed wooden handle of one of the daggers had the most spectacular decoration, the tiny gold pins set so they overlapped like fish scales. Far more of it was intact when uncovered, but the ancient wood disintegrated: in a phrase to cause anguish to modern archaeologists, Cunnington described "a scatter of shining points of gold" as the excavator's trowel hit the handle.
Dawson said there was something heartbreaking as well as fascinating about the discovery. "It forces you to think of children working in conditions like child labor in carpet factories today ... the worst of it is they must have known it would ruin their eyesight, but still they persevered."

Growing Trees

Climate change seems to be altering forests, by making trees grow faster.

Hair Extentions

More than 3,300 years ago, in a newly built city in Egypt, a woman with an incredibly elaborate hairstyle of lengthy hair extensions was laid to rest.

Daily Comic Relief



Analysis of 41 billion cosmic rays striking the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle detector aboard the International Space Station shows an unknown phenomena that is 'consistent with a dark matter particle' known as a neutralino.

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Hubble Helps Find Smallest Known Galaxy Containing a Supermassive Black Hole

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Dogs can be pessimists too

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