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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.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Daily Drift

Welcome to the first day of Autumn and the Feast of Mabon  ...!
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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Leeds, Vernal, Owosso, Okatie and Pinckney, United States
Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Quebec, Toronto, Etobicoke and Regina, Canada
Londrina, Satuba, Brasilia, Curitiba and Sao Paulo,  Brazil
Luquillo and San Juan, Puerto Rico
Valparaiso, Chile
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Managua, Nicaragua
Nassau, Bahamas
Bogota, Colombia
Mexico City, Mexico
San Jose, Costa Rica
Terlizzi, Naples, Milan, Cagliari, Rome and Ravenna, Italy
Waterford, Ireland
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Madrid, Cordoba, L'Olleria, Basauri and Barcelona, Spain
Slough, London and Oxford, England
Rouen, Magenta, Cerny, Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris and Lyon, France
Sofia, Bulgaria
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The Pacific
Homebush, Australia

Today in History

1656 The General Provincial Court in session at Patuxent, Maryland, impanels the first all-woman jury in the Colonies to hear evidence against Judith Catchpole, who is accused of murdering her child. The jury acquits her after hearing her defense of never having been pregnant.
1711 The Tuscarora Indian War begins with a massacre of settlers in North Carolina, following white encroachment that included the enslaving of Indian children.
1776 American Captain Nathan Hale is hanged as a spy by the British in New York City; his last words are reputed to have been, "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country."
1789 Russian forces under Aleksandr Suvorov drive the Turkish army under Yusuf Pasha from the Rymnik River, upsetting the Turkish invasion of Russia.
1862 President Lincoln issues a proclamation calling for all slaves within the rebel states to be freed on January 1, a political move that helps keep the British from intervening on the side of the South.
1864 Union General Philip Sheridan defeats Confederate General Jubal Early's troops at the Battle of Fisher's Hill in Virginia.
1869 The Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team, arrive in San Francisco after a rollicking, barnstorming tour of the West.
1893 Bicycle makers Charles and Frank Duryea show off the first American automobile produced for sale to the public by taking it on a maiden run through the streets of Springfield, Massachusetts.
1906 Race riots in Atlanta, Georgia leave 21 people dead.
1914 The German cruiser Emden shells Madras, India, destroying 346,000 gallons of fuel and killing only five civilians.
1915 Xavier University, the first African-American Catholic college, opens in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1918 General Allenby leads the British army against the Turks, taking Haifa and Nazareth, Palestine.
1919 President Woodrow Wilson abandons his national tour to support the League of Nations when he suffers a case of nervous exhaustion.
1929 Communist and Nazi factions clash in Berlin.
1945 President Truman accepts U.S. Secretary of War Stimson's recommendation to designate the war World War II.
1947 A Douglas C-54 Skymaster makes the first automatic pilot flight over the Atlantic.
1961 President John Kennedy signs a congressional act establishing the Peace Corps.
1969 Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants becomes the first baseball player since Babe Ruth to hit 600 home runs.
1970 President Richard M. Nixon signs a bill giving the District of Columbia representation in the U.S. Congress.
1975 Sara Jane Moore attempts to assassinate US President Gerald Ford, the second attempt on his life in less than three weeks.
1980 The Iran-Iraq War begins as Iraq invades Iran; lasting until August 1988, it was the longest conventional war of the 20th century.
1991 Huntington Library makes the Dead Sea Scrolls available to the public for the first time.

Non Sequitur


Boy put in detention for sharing his school lunch

A 13-year-old boy from Weaverville Elementary School in California was given a detention slip for sharing his school prepared lunch on Tuesday. Kyle Bradford shared his chicken burrito with a friend who didn’t like the cheese sandwich he was given by the cafeteria. Kyle didn’t see any problem with sharing his food.

Indian TV news anchor fired after calling Chinese president Xi Jinping 'Eleven'

An Indian TV news anchor has been sacked after she referred to the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, as Eleven Jinping, apparently confusing Xi's name with the Roman numerals XI, a senior official at the state television channel said on Friday.
Xi left India on Friday after a visit to boost trade and economic ties that have been marred by a longstanding border dispute. The blooper occurred on Doordarshan News on Wednesday.
"It is an unpardonable mistake," the official said. "We have debarred her from newsreading for a few months." The official said the anchor had been employed on a casual basis, after a shortage of newsreaders forced the channel to run some news bulletins with casuals.
The incident comes at a time when Doordarshan News is trying to reinvent itself to compete with private broadcasters. Its programmes are often a matter of public ridicule for their poor production quality.

CBC warns Canadians: US cops will pull you over and steal your money

62,000 US drivers have been pulled over and had their cash seized by small-town American cops in the past 13 years, under civil forfeiture laws that let them declare anyone to be a probable terrorist and/or drug dealer and take their money without charge or evidence; the only way to get it back is to hire a lawyer and return, over and over again, to the tiny town you were passing through when you were robbed at badgepoint.

Denying Couple Mortgage Because Woman Was On Maternity Leave Costs Bank $35,000

by Bryce Covert
Mother baby
FirstBank Mortgage Partners will pay a couple $35,000 to settle allegations that it denied them a mortgage because the woman was on maternity leave, even though she planned to go back to work.
The couple had their mortgage application approved and had scheduled the closing for their new home, where they planned to move with their newborn twins. But when FirstBank found out that the mother was on maternity leave, it reversed course, denying them the loan. The mother and twins ended up having to move in with her parents while the father and their three-year-old moved to an apartment.
This allegation would violate the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits unequal treatment based on gender or familial status. But it wouldn’t be the first of its kind. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has launched 15 investigations into this kind of discrimination against women on maternity leave this year — the department says there is a “steady flow of complaints” — and it has investigated 173 allegations since 2010. A number of banks, including Bank of America and PNC Mortgage, have already settled.
For example, HUD announced this summer that Greenlight Financial Services will pay $20,000 to Stefanie and Jonathan Alvanos, who were seeking to refinance their home ahead of having their first child and were told the bank couldn’t lend to them because of the upcoming maternity leave. It will also pay $7,000 each to four other couples.
Before that, HUD reached a settlement with Mountain America Credit Union, which it said refused to approve a couple’s application for a mortgage because the wife was on maternity leave, telling them they could reapply “only when the wife returned to work and received a paycheck.” The bank’s underwriting manual says that if an applicant “is not currently receiving income…their regular full-time pay may not be used to qualify — even if they plan on returning to work at some future specified time.”
“In many instances, we find lenders just stop dead at the word ‘pregnancy’ or ‘maternity leave,’” Bryan Greene, HUD’s general deputy assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, told the Washington Post. “And in many instances, women are planning to go back to work, but lenders don’t make those inquires. They go on the assumptions that women won’t return to work.” The banks have denied wrongdoing in the settlements but say they act out of concern that there will be a loss of income during maternity leave and women often don’t go back to work.
That’s a false assumption in most cases. Six months after a first birth, nearly 60 percent of women will be back at work. More than 70 percent of mothers with young children are in the workforce and nearly half work full time. The idea that mothers don’t work is founded on a time long past: In 1979, less than 30 percent of mothers worked full time. But since then, the typical mother increased her work hours by 150 percent.
The banks are correct, however, to worry that maternity leave can hurt a family’s income. Out of 185 countries around the world, the United States is one of just three — the other two are Oman and Papua New Guinea — that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave. Just 12 percent of workers have access to it through work. While Americans are guaranteed 12 weeks unpaid leave under the right qualifications, taking time off without pay can create serious financial hardship, leading a third to borrow money or dip into savings and 15 percent to enroll in public assistance.
Many will end up going back to work afterward and once again have the steady income the banks are looking for when they lend. But paid maternity leave would make things easier for both the lenders and the borrowers and make it even more likely that women would return to their jobs after the birth of their children.

Did you know ...

Did the repugicans deliberately crash the U.S. economy? Yes!
Here's proof that cops shoot black people more than whites
About the bad teacher conspiracy
That you really can get pulled over for driving while black, federal study says
About America's urban water crisis
That the end of fracking may be closer than you think
Here Latino activists debate boycotting the 2014 mid-terms
See what age segregation does to America
And are economists biased to be pro-management?
That outsourcing probation puts the costs on the poor
5 reasons prove jesus never existed
The ice caps melting faster than previously thought
That Senator Cory Booker wants to strip sports leagues of their tax-exempt staus
About the cats of world war I
That the U.S. has had the same arguments about teachers for about 100 years
And it's no surprise that the IRS is auditing Breitbart news
About wage theft lawsuits filed against the Hollywood technopus
Just how carbon may save the planet from global warming
That Microsoft's tax dodge alone could fund the entire state of Washington for two years
That music streaming is booming, and that's a problem for the music business
That your IQ changes over time

They are trying to stop the student vote

We won't let them!

"They," of course, refers to repugicans. "We" refers to every person who believes the right to vote is fundamental.
Voter suppression isn't something that only happens to black people, Latinos, women, immigrants, the transgendered, the elderly, and the disabled.
The repugicans in legislatures across the nation don't want young people to vote. They are specifically targeting students at universities and colleges across the nation.
Gee, wonder why that is?  I'm sure you can figure it out-instantly. 
As Catherine Rampell wrote:
First they came for blacks, and we said nothing. Then they came for Latinos, poor people and married women, and we again ignored the warning signs. Now, after our years of apathy, they're coming for us: the nation's millennials.
Across the country, repugican state policy makers have hoisted barriers to voting by passing voter-ID laws and curtailing electoral accommodations such as same-day registration and early voting. These policy changes are allegedly intended to eradicate the imagined scourge of voter fraud, but the real point seems to be voter suppression.
For a time, the targeted populations were primarily racial, ethnic and income groups that traditionally vote Democratic. Now they happen to include Gen-Y'ers, more specifically my college-age brethren. We millennials may be fickle in our loyalties, distrustful of government institutions and unaligned with any political party, but our generation's motley, liberal-to-libertarian-leaning ideological preferences still threaten red-state leadership. In response, repugicans have set out to erect creative, unconstitutional, Tough-Mudder-style obstacle courses along our path to the polls.
Contrary to the popular media depictions of youthful apathy, there are a host of groups across the county, in communities, and on campuses who are fighting back against restrictive bills and getting young folks registered.

Democrats Hammer repugicans For Using ISIS to Hide Their Do Nothing Failure

The repugicans are campaigning on fear-mongering about terrorism again, because they can't run on anything else.
GOP fear mongering campaign
Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, blasted repugicans for using Karl Rove scare tactics to distract from their epic, Do-Nothing fail.
“With their own anti-middle class agenda leading to record low approval ratings, House Republicans are resorting to Karl Rove’s scare tactics. It’s a shame that at a time when our nation is facing real threats abroad and economic challenges at home, the NRCC would stoop to these lows just to try to win seats,” Schwerin said, according to Igor Bobic in an article entitled “repugican Campaign Ads Fear-Mongering Over ISIS Threat” at Huffington Post.
Yes, repugicans are campaigning on fear-mongering about terrorism again (because they can’t run on anything else). It worked so well during the shrub junta.
The shrub was a great employer of Rovian fear-mongering, stooping so low in the lead up to the 2006 midterms as to accuse Democratic members of Congress of being pro-terrorists because they did not agree with his “strategy” in Iraq. “The Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses.”
So subtle! Vote Democratic and the terrorists win! (Never mind that later the Democrats actually got Bin Laden, reality was not invited to this party.) Don’t think, y’all. Just FEAR. FEAR your vote, because if there’s one thing Republicans know, it’s fear.
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge said that in the days before the 2004 election, he was pressured by shrub aides to raise the nation’s terror alert level.
“We certainly didn’t believe the tape alone warranted action, and we weren’t seeing any additional intelligence that justified it. In fact, we were incredulous,” Ridge said of the push. “… I wondered, ‘Is this about security or politics?'”
Ridge resigned shortly after that incident.
So here’s the deal. The party that lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and later said that finding Bin Laden was not high on the priority list greedily used that war and the horrific memory of 9/11 to fear the vote. This is the same party whose President ignored the intel about an impending attack. But somehow they managed to sell themselves as the cabal that would keep us all safe. Big Daddy was in the House and he might be sort of a fool but he was not afraid to kill first so we should all rest easy.
Only it turned out that bumbling around in foreign policy wasn’t the safest bet after all. It turned out that by invading Iraq, a power vacuum was created. It turned out that by demonizing terrorism as an idea instead of going after specific leaders of terrorism like Bin Laden, terrorism was elevated. It didn’t need any help in that department, either, but this is a relationship of mutual benefit.
That party left it to the Democratic President to actually get Bin Laden.
The repugicans were also busy using fear to sell their tax cuts for the rich at the same time, because nothing says winning and I understand the basics of accounting like two wars left off of the books and drastically lowering revenue. They left that mess to Barack Obama to clean up as well, so you can understand why they can’t afford to debate actual issues.
Fear is used to distract, to invoke immediate chaos via flight or fight instincts. Fear is used by the candidate who does not want or cannot afford to discuss the issues. Both sides of the aisle have used fear, but only the repugican cabal has mastered it, honing it into an election tool of destruction.
The great irony is that were people to stop fearing and start thinking, they would realize that Republicans did not keep us safe. We were attacked on our soil under the repugican pretender, and he never did get Bin Laden. His invasion of Iraq was a disaster with no end.
The repugicans using terrorism as a get out the vote tactic have no record to do so, and no shame. Why won’t they run on their record and debate their opponent? Why is the repugican campaign always jumping around from demonized issue/person/group to newly demonized issue/person/group, as issues wear out? What happened to their plan to run against affordable healthcare for everyone?
The cabal (repugicans) that could not get the votes together on their own to arm the Syrian rebels is now running as the only thing that will save us all from the threat of ISIS.
The repugicans said they had deep reservations about the plan, but offered no alternative save for boots on the ground. Of course, they would never discuss a draft so close to election time, because some fears are real and must be denied in order for the terrorism fear-mongering to work.
Vote repugican because they really hate terrorists. Never, ever ask yourself what that actually means, lest you be caught thinking. Karl Rove would not approve.

Bernie Sanders Blasts The Media For Ignoring The Koch Brothers Attempt To Buy The Government

Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling out the corporate owned media for turning a blind eye to the Koch brothers attempt steal your freedom by buying the government.
A new Media Matters study found that the networks devoted a minute of airtime each to covering the issue of money in politics over the last 19 months.
Sen. Sanders expressed his disappointment in a statement,
There is a reason why confidence in the American media is declining. More and more people say the media is not paying attention to the issues of real importance to the American people. This study confirms that.
To my mind, the single most important issue facing our country today is that, as a result of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, we are allowing billionaires to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who will represent the wealthy and powerful rather than the needs of ordinary Americans. This is an issue of enormous consequence. I am disappointed, but not surprised, by the study’s finding that the major networks barely covered the issue of money in politics.
The study found that only the non-corporate owned PBS gave substantial airtime to Citizens United and money in politics. The PBS Newshour spent 1:13:51 discussing the issue. ABC, CBS, and NBC spent a combined 47:41 over 19 months on the campaign finance issue. The lack of coverage of the Citizens United/money in politics/Koch brothers story is part of a larger pattern of corporate owned media censoring stories that are important to the American people.
The corporate media benefits from the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Koch brothers and other billionaires spend on campaign ads. Of course, they aren’t going to blow the whistle on a practice that they are financially benefitting from. They don’t care about the right-wing agenda and the impact that it will have on regular people. They don’t care about people losing their voices with their own government. The media isn’t concerned by elected politicians who only represent the interests of their largest donors.
Corporate media have deemed the fact that a handful of billionaires are attacking the nation’s electoral process and fundamental democratic rights as not newsworthy. The corporate media are more than happy to dumb down the people with stories about celebrities and reality television stars, while people like the Koch brothers plot to buy the government.
Big media used to be a watchdog, now it is an enabler and part of the problem. The study confirms what most people already knew. Big media are on board with the billionaires’ agenda, as generating a profit has been placed ahead of informing the public.

The Myth Of Liberal Media Bias Destroyed As Study Finds wingnuts Dominate Sunday Shows

A new study revealed what is obvious to anyone who watches the Sunday shows. Liberal media bias is a myth. According to data collected by American University, wingnuts dominate the Sunday shows.
Wingnut members of the current Congress have appeared more often on the network talk shows than their liberal counterparts. Senators and representatives from the lunatic fringe of the ideological spectrum have made 57 percent of the appearances, compared with 42 percent for liberals, according to an Upshot analysis of data collected by American University.
This lopsided distribution is primarily the result of three repugican senators’ frequent visits to the network shows: John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell. Because of the repugican cabal’s control of the House during the past three years, its leaders and committee chairmen are presented with more opportunities to discuss the latest political news.
Participants in the 2008 and 2012 presidential nominating contests also helped boost wingnut representation: Paul D. Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who was the repugican cabal’s 2012 vice-presidential nominee, made 46 appearances between early January 2009 and Aug. 3 this year.
The Times tried to explain away the distribution as slightly lopsided, but that was just excuse making for a pattern of systemic corporate media wingnut bias. Tim Russert is considered the gold standard among Sunday morning hosts, but during his time at Meet The Press, repugican guests outnumbered Democratic guests by a 2-1 margin.
The idea that repugicans are on the Sunday shows more because they control the House doesn’t wash. Democrats control the Senate, but John McCain has made 97 appearances on the Sunday shows since 2009. While McCain was racking up appearances, Democrats controlled the White House and the Senate.
Mainstream media doesn’t want to discuss the fact that there is an institutional bias in their reporting that has been caused by news being turned into a for profit venture, and the fact that conservative corporations advertise and sponsor the Sunday shows. The Koch brothers ran an ad two weeks ago on Meet The Press.
It makes sense that the corporate owned media would actively promote the interests of the corporate owned repugican cabal. The bias isn’t slight. The media towards wingnuttery is real and pronounced. The United States has been moving more to the left since the economic collapse of 2008, but the media has continued their wingnut drift.
According to Gallup, trust in the mass media has hit an all time low. The number of Americans who think the media is too wingnut has reached a new high. The myth of liberal media bias has been constantly reinforced by repugicans for more than forty years, but for two decades, the real bias has been against liberals. The mainstream press can try to gloss over it, but more and more Americans are catching on to the problem of the wngnut media bias.

Exposing the Ignorance Behind the Belief That the Second Amendment is About Overthrowing Our Government

by Allen Clifton
Let’s be real, many wingnuts don’t cherish our Second Amendment because they want guns for self defense, sport or because they collect guns as a hobby.
Oh, no.
Many wingnuts believe, all the way down to their bones, that our Second Amendment is there to give Americans the ability to “rise up” against the federal government in some kind of armed revolt.
Putting aside the laughable thought that a bunch of wingnuts think that they can defeat the greatest military in the history of all humankind with guns bought from Walmart, this notion that we have the right to overthrow our government makes absolutely no sense.
Let’s say, right now, wingnuts decided to throw President Obama out of office through an armed rebellion. Though let’s ignore the fact that our Constitution sets up a process by which we can oust a sitting president. But ignoring all the other glaring realities we have to in order to believe that this is possible, let’s just say they were successful in removing him from office through some sort of armed revolt. Then following his removal from office, let’s say we held presidential elections just as we normally would.
And we elected Hillary Clinton.
Then let’s say they don’t like what she’s doing, so they manage to successfully stage a second armed rebellion that overthrows another sitting president. And, again, we elect our next president through the normal process.
Only this time we elect Elizabeth Warren. Someone else with which these wingnuts will strongly disagree on pretty much everything.
What then? Do they just keep overthrowing these Constitutionally elected presidents until they get one that they like? Do they try to rig our election system until it elects a candidate they support?
And isn’t overthrowing a government that’s elected by the people extremely, you know, anti-American? Because what about those tens of millions of Americans who do support the government (or president) that was just overthrown? Do their votes suddenly not matter?
Then doesn’t that “second revolution” actually become kind of a fixed wingnut-controlled dictatorship based on electing politicians that they want elected? Because what’s the point of an armed revolution against the government, if the people who elected that government you just overthrew… end up electing the same types of people to the “new” government the next time around?
Meaning that the only way a “second revolution” makes any sense would be for those who staged the revolt to rig the system in such a way that only the kinds of politicians they want elected – can actually get elected.
Which would mean that tens of millions of Americans would instantly have their votes nullified. Something that would be extremely unconstitutional. Unlessof course, these “revolutionaries” planned to unilaterally change our Constitution to fix the “problem” of Americans voting in politicians they don’t want elected. Which would also be extremely unconstitutional.
See where I’m going with this?
In no way, in any logical manner, does it make any sense to believe that our Second Amendment is meant to overthrow a Constitutionally elected government. 
Because by doing so, not only would that mean that those Americans who did support the president (or government) would instantly have their Constitutional voting rights nullified, but it would also mean that those overthrowing our government would have to take unconstitutional measures to change our Constitution to better suit their ideology.
And none of that is even the least bit Constitutional.
So, in reality, it would take a massive violation of the Constitutional rights of tens of millions of Americans, and a huge violation of our Constitutional process for changing that very Constitution, for this “second revolution” to even have a point.
It’s actually ironic that these Americans who believe that they can rise up against the government to “protect the Constitution” – would essentially be pissing all over it if they actually got their way.

The Truth Hurts - Texas Division


The Right of Self Defense in Texas Completely Depends on Race

The Texas cases are telling in that there are two dead police officers as a result of not identifying themselves as law enforcement while breaking into private residences…
In the first stage of what is known as general adaptation syndrome, a recognized natural response among all vertebrates and many other organisms is hyperarousal or acute stress response. In its more recognizable name, the “fight or flight” response is a natural physiological reaction to a perceived harmful event, attack, or a threat to one’s survival. Without delving into the actual hormonal secretions involved, animals’ sympathetic nervous systems react to a chemical discharge that primes them to either run away or stand and face a threat. Human beings experience the fight or flight response to their safety, but when they are denied egress from danger, their only option is to stand and fight.
Regardless of what one thinks of the obscene NRA and ALEC “stand your ground laws,” most Americans would support its original iteration known as the “Castle Doctrine.” The principle that every American has the right to defend their family from armed intruders breaking into their home  should be universally applied to all Americans, but it appears to be reserved solely for white people, at least in Texas.
First, in Somerville Texas in mid-December, a white man, Henry Goedrich Magee, was awoken before 6 a.m. to intruders breaking into his mobile home. Fearing for his and his pregnant girlfriend’s safety, Magee grabbed a firearm and opened fire on the intruders killing a Burleson County law enforcement officer. Sgt. Adam Sowers was fatally wounded by Magee while leading an armed team during an early morning unannounced “no-knock” marijuana raid. A couple of months later a Texas grand jury rightfully refused to indict Mr. Magee citing his sincere belief that he feared for his and his pregnant girlfriend’s life. The grand jury cleared him of any wrongdoing “as a completely reasonable act of self-defense.”
It is tragic a law enforcement officer lost his life, and that Magee was so rightfully terrified he had no flight option available and with a team of armed men breaking into his home exercised the natural response of fighting for survival. That is a result of a growing law enforcement practice across America of heavily-armed SWAT teams breaking into private homes without identifying themselves are police. A reasonable person might think that law enforcement officials in Texas would rethink the “army-style” incursions into private citizens’ homes, especially with the preponderance of gun advocates in the state, but the concepts of “reasonable, Texas, and law enforcement” in the same sentence is alien.
Reasonable law enforcement practice is so alien, in fact, that armed teams breaking into Americans’ homes unannounced while residents are sleeping resulted in another law enforcement officer’s death less than six months after the Magee incident where the events were nearly identical. In fact, the events were exactly identical except for the prosecutor’s outrageous response.
In May, at about 5:30 a.m. in Killeen Texas, a SWAT team looking for marijuana broke into a home occupied by Marvin Louis Guy and his wife. The SWAT team was acting on a bogus, and unverified, tip off that drugs were on the premises and being dealt from the home. A subsequent search found no drugs or nothing indicating drug dealing. In fact, it is a real travesty that there was nothing whatsoever to indicate to a reasonable person that there was any reason a gang of armed men should have been breaking into one’s home that makes the circumstances of the officer’s death all the more tragic.
Subsequently, upon hearing the armed men breaking into his home at the crack of dawn, Mr. Guy feared for his and his wife’s life and sought to protect themselves and their property from what they thought were armed intruders. The SWAT team attempting to breach Mr. Guy’s home were implementing another “no-knock” raid, and a Detective Dinwiddie and three other SWAT members were shot while breaking into Mr. Guy’s home. Detective Dinwiddie died, one officer was wounded, and two others were saved by body armor. The police press release admitted Dinwiddie and the three other officers were shot while breaking into Mr. Guy’s home without identifying themselves as law enforcement; “The TRU was breaching the windows when the 49 year old male inside opened fire striking four officers.”
One might think that after the previous incident in December, a reasonable prosecutor would assume that since the shooting occurred during an early-morning break-in by armed men without identifying themselves as police officers, it would be a case of self-defense; but there is one major difference in the case. Mr. Guy is African American, he lives in Texas, and despite fearing for his and his wife’s life, he should have known that there are different standards according to race in America. As a Black man he had no right to defend himself according to the local prosecutor, and no grand jury cleared him of wrongdoing “as a completely reasonable act of self-defense.”
The prosecutor, while announcing in open court that Governor Rick Perry had just awarded the slain police officer’s family with the Star of Texas award, promptly charged Mr. Guy with capital murder and is seeking the death penalty in Dinwiddie’s death. He also charged Guy with three counts of attempted capital murder for firing at the other officers while they were breaking in his home. The Star of Texas prize is given out each year to police and first responders killed or injured in the line of duty; even when they break into a private citizens home without identifying themselves as law enforcement or find no evidence of contraband.
The idea of self-defense, particularly in one’s private residence, should not be up for discussion, controversial, or an issue involving law enforcement officers as victims of armed break-ins. There has been an explosion of military-style SWAT raids known as “no-knock” incursions that have resulted in death and injuries to people’s pets, children, entire communities, and law enforcement officers as well. Most are for non-violent, and often non-existent, misdemeanor drug offenses that are in most cases a result of the ridiculous and failed war on marijuana use; not drug cartels or major drug traffickers. The number of SWAT deployments, with military hardware and vehicles, across the nation has ballooned  from a few hundred annually in the 1970s, to a few thousand during the 1980s, to over 50,000 per year in 2010.  Subsequently, many of the “military raids” are botched besides the two recent officer deaths in Texas as well as an 18-month old baby in Georgia being injured by a SWAT grenade. Most of the botched raids and subsequent law enforcement mistakes resulting in death never actually make the news.
The Texas cases are telling in that there are two dead police officers as a result of not identifying themselves as law enforcement while breaking into private residences in the early morning hours. It is also revealing that a grand jury found that a white man who shot and killed what he thought was an armed intruder acted in self-defense, while a Black man in identical circumstances is charged by a prosecutor with capital murder and faces the death penalty. Self-defense is supposed to be a right for all Americans, regardless of race, and if lawmakers would comprehend that using marijuana should also be a right, regardless of race, at least two  Texas cops would be alive and a Black man would not be facing the death penalty for “a completely reasonable act of self-defense.”

DA prosecuting kid for raunchy jesus photo prank committed adultery, is a porn fan

The Pennsylvania attorney who is prosecuting a 14-year-old boy for simulating oral sex with a idol of jesus posted porn-related material online and has used his office to conduct an extramarital affair that resulted in criminal charges against him, the Friendly Atheist reported.Less than a month before pursuing charges against the teen, Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins posted a link to this interview between radio host Howard Stern and porn actor Nick Manning in which Manning discusses his frequent use of the phrase "droppin' loads" during his scenes. The video was also highlighted on Higgins' personal YouTube account:
    I liked a @YouTube video http://t.co/tQmzVYal9X Howard Stern - Dropping Loads with Nick Manning
    - Bill Higgins, Jr. (@BillHigg) August 16, 2014

A Fracking Disaster

Scientists Directly Link Fracking To Earthquakes and Health Hazards 
The team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists found a wealth of evidence "directly linking" an increase in Colorado and New Mexico earthquakes since 2001 to wastewater injection widely…
In America, there are a few universal truths regarding repugicans’ wingnut ideology that are beyond refute and un-challengeable. For instance, repugicans believe it is a mortal sin to utter a word against christianity, seditious to oppose America’s right to wage perpetual wars,  a crime against nature to tax the rich, and treason to question oil industry practices because they can do no wrong; ever. In fact, the oil industry is so revered among repugicans that is has been deemed un-American to question giving big oil companies billions of dollars in welfare regardless of their inordinately high profits. It was little surprise then that questioning the safety and health risks of a relatively new process for extracting petroleum from the ground was regarded as an unfair, and in some cases an illegal, practice.
Back in May, the oil industry cried foul because geologists dared to claim forcing chemical-laden water under extremely high pressure deep into rock formations could possibly cause an earthquake. This was particularly true after The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) issued an advisory of an increased likelihood of “damaging earthquakes” as a result of an alarming increase in the number of smaller moderate shocks in central and north-central Oklahoma; a region that is regularly racked by tornadoes, but not earthquakes.
The advisory was based on USGS and OGS reports there were a record 183 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 and greater in Oklahoma between October 2013 and April 2014. Using data revealing an unprecedented increase in earthquakes above 3.0 on the Richter Scale since October 2013, the USGS warned of a “damaging” quake of 5.0 magnitude or higher in central Oklahoma. The reason, of course, was the petroleum industry’s practice of using extremely high-pressure to inject chemical-laden water into tight rock formations deep underground to fracture the rock and extract oil and gas.
Naturally, the USGS advisory elicited a complaint from the petroleum industry that blaming the unheard of large number of earthquakes on anything related to the oil industry was just unfair; and wrong.  In fact, the vice president of regulatory affairs for the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association said “Granted, we’ve not seen this level of seismic activity in Oklahoma in the last 60 to 80 years and before that we don’t have a record. It causes us all concern, but the rush to correlate this activity with our industry is something we don’t believe is fair.” Well, fair or not, there is now a direct link between fracking and increased earthquake activity according to a team of scientists at the same time Republicans threatened to force construction of the leak-prone Keystone pipeline directly over newly-created earthquake zones.
The team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists found a wealth of evidence “directly linking” an increase in Colorado and New Mexico earthquakes since 2001 to wastewater injection widely used in hydraulic fracturing as well as conventional drilling. The study  shows “several lines of evidence that the earthquakes in the area are directly related to the disposal of wastewater” deep underground, according to a BSSA press release. The research is yet another in a long “string of studies” showing that wastewater migrates along dormant earthquake fault lines that changes “their state of stress and causes them to fail resulting in earthquakes.”
The USGS scientists monitored the 2,200 square mile Raton Basin which goes from southern Colorado into New Mexico and noted that the Basin had been “seismically silent” until 1999 when oil companies began “major fluid injection” deep into the ground. The earthquakes began within two years when Colorado wastewater injection rates were still under 600,000 barrels per month; since then there have been 16 earthquakes  considered large (including two over a 5.0 magnitude) compared with only one 4.0 magnitude quake in the 30 years prior. One might tend to believe the increase in quakes due to fracking and wastewater injection would lead a reduction in the practice, but the opposite is true.
Drilling for natural gas and fracking, like the increase in the frequency and intensity of earthquakes in the proposed Canadian-Koch pipeline route, has proliferated across the country. In fact, despite the warning last May, Oklahoma fracking is on the rise leading to as many as 5 to 20 earthquakes every day; inordinately more than America’s former earthquake capital California. According to the Oklahoma’s Geology Survey, and Cornell University, scientists linked more than 2,500 Oklahoma earthquakes to fracking that scientists warn will grow in number and strength directly correlating with the increase in fracking. As terrifying as an increase in the frequency and intensity of earthquakes may be, even in the path of the Keystone pipeline, it is not the only threat fracking poses to Americans’ well-being.
Because repugicans dutifully protect the oil industry, fracking is relatively free of regulatory oversight despite the strong correlation between proximity to fracking wells and various health risks posed by chemicals used in the process.   For example, a Colorado study revealed that as the number and proximity of wells to a pregnant woman’s home went up, so did the likelihood her newborn would develop a heart problem. Another Pennsylvania study found that “proximity to fracking increased the likelihood of low birth weight by more than half.” Naturally, pro-fracking advocates assailed the studies’ results and told mothers “to ignore the medical experts and don’t rely on scientific studies as an explanation of why their children have birth defects.”
In some states, citizens have placed bans or moratoria on fracking on the ballots, but the various cities are facing lawsuits by the oil industry claiming citizens have no right to keep dangerous carcinogens out of their communities. In North Carolina, Halliburton is suing the state because lawmakers reduced the penalty from a felony to a misdemeanor against emergency first responders who report to hospitals and the CDC the toxins victims breathe when there is a fracking chemical spill or release into the water supply. The oil industry demands extremely harsh penalties including fines and jail time against hospitals, medical professionals, the CDC, police, or fire fighters if they report, or attempt to learn, what chemical victims have ingested or were released into the environment. They claim the carcinogens and toxins used in fracking are industry secrets that medical professionals and emergency personnel will have to determine for themselves before treating exposure victims. And, if they do figure out what chemicals to treat victims for, they will go to prison if they alert public health officials.
It is really irrelevant what damage fracking wreaks on the public whether it is earthquake swarms, poisoned water supplies, increased incidents of cancer, or inordinate numbers of birth defects in newborns in and around fracking zones; repugicans will not deny the oil industry’s dog-given rights to operate unimpeded by regulations. What is revealing about many Americans opposed to fracking-caused earthquakes and very real health hazards is that at the same time they are attempting to protect their communities and families, they are voting for repugicans. The same repuicans that are Hell-bent and duty bound to protect the oil industry at any cost; including the health and safety of their incredibly stupid supporters.

Bryan Fischer Lies Through His Teeth About the Dangers of Rising Sea Levels

Fischer claims dog won't kill us by flooding, but the wording of the covenant says rising sea levels could kill millions as long as not ALL are killed…
Bryan Fischer set about getting the bible all wrong again (I know, this is hardly news any more), but because his attitude drives opposition to combating global warming, it is important that we deal with this latest stupidity.
The good news is that even the religio-wingnuts are becoming aware of rising sea levels. The bad news is, they continue to insist on interpreting this effect of rising global temperatures as either a sign of dog’s displeasure (rather than a sign of the earth’s displeasure) or as nothing to be concerned about.
Bryan Fischer, the unAmerican anti-Family Asshat’s Director of Issues Analysis who doesn’t understand the issues, fits into this latter category. We don’t have to worry about rising sea levels, he says, because “dog says ‘look, I am not going to destroy the earth with the waters of a flood ever again'” (Genesis 9).
“Every time you see a rainbow in the sky, that’s what it’s all about.”
Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that.
Let me present to you Genesis 9:8-17:
Then dog said to Noah and to his sons with them, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendents after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the dark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” dog said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations. I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of the flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” dog said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
From this rather long-winded passage we can establish several things:
  • The covenant is not with men only but with all the living things in the ark, wild and domestic animals included;
  • The covenant is also with the earth itself, not only with the living things living upon it;
  • The covenant does not differentiate between types of living things. Therefore, some of those living things could be killed as long as not ALL life is killed;
  • Humans are just some of those living things;
Oh dear. Where to begin?
Simply put, the rising sea levels ARE a concern: because of the wording of the covenant, rising sea levels could flood the coastal areas of the earth and kill millions, and the covenant won’t be broken. Millions more living creatures will continue to exist inland of the flooded areas. In fact, because dog says he won’t “destroy all flesh” he could even kill off every living human and still not break the covenant.
After all, why should all the animals die because humans are stupid?
Bryan Fischer needs to read his bible. Assuming he has read his bible, he needs to stop lying about what it says. Francis understands how important the “creation” is.
Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that dog has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.
Sadly, the Religio-wingnuts see the rainbow not as a mark of the covenant but rather as a “GO” sign in the sky: other members of this “covenant” are fair game for the human element, and the earth itself, another member of the covenant, something simply to be exploited through mining and fracking and pollution.
In theological terms, rising sea levels are God’s STOP sign.
To be blunt, in old testament terms, the ones Bryan Fischer himself likes, Fischer, and those like him, are dog’s enemies. They have put themselves against dog and spit in his eye, and continue to spit in his eye, again and again through deceit and hypocrisy, violating his commandment not to lie and spread false witness, as they spread their heretical doctrine over the earth. If anyone should be vomited forth – and that’s what dog does to the unfaithful – it is Bryan Fischer.
He is what we in Ásatrú circles would call a “nithing” – a “nothing” – the lowest form of insult available. A nithing is a scoundrel, a vile wretch. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (Shorter OED, 3rd ed, 1959) the meaning is “A vile coward; an abject wretch; a villain of the lowest type”. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) offers this definition “A coward; a dastard; — a term of utmost opprobrium.”
Bad enough Fischer doesn’t like non-christians. But it is clear he doesn’t even like what he claims are his own kind, because he cannot be bothered to be honest with them.
“Nnithinghood,” according to Wilhelm Grönbech, in his Culture of the Teutons, is “a total lack of human qualities.”
That about says it all.



Police car smashed into Dunkin’ Donuts

A South Jersey police car smashed into a doughnut shop on Friday morning.
The police SUV crashed into the Dunkin' Donuts shop in Berlin, New Jersey just before 11am. Winslow Township Police said the vehicle crashed into the building after colliding with another car.
The unidentified officer suffered minor injuries, according to investigators. The other driver refused treatment. No customers or employees inside the store reported any injuries.
Police said the crash caused structural damage to the building. Investigators said that the officer wasn't heading to a call at the time of the wreck. The cause of the wreck remains under investigation.

Surfer accidentally solved crime while reporting theft to police

A surfer from Melbourne, Australia, who tracked down the name of the man who sold his stolen surfboards was standing next to him at a police station when reporting the crime. Earlier this week, Ross Moresi discovered two of his prized surfboards, worth $1,000 each, had been stolen. He sent photos to local surf shops and second-hand dealers in the hope someone had seen them.
Mr Moresi said before too long he got a call from Zak Surfboards in Thornbury saying they had both the boards, along with video footage and the name of the man who had sold them. Armed with this evidence, Mr Moresi went straight to Prahran police, where he ran into Daniel Burne, the same man who sold the surfboards. "A random bloke walked in checking in for bail, as he gave them his name, I had it on a piece of paper, it triggered my memory," Mr Moresi said.
"I looked at him and just said 'it's your unlucky day mate" Mr Moresi said he then alerted the police. "The police couldn't believe what was going on," he said. "It was like a movie. One of the head of police from the site came down; he had tears in his eyes from laughing so hard, saying he could not believe it." Burne was arrested and charged on the spot with handling stolen goods, obtaining property by deception, committing an indictable offense while on bail.

Mr Moresi said Burne was in complete shock. "He couldn't believe his dumb luck," he said. On Thursday, Burne pleaded guilty to all the charges and received 120 hours of community service and was ordered to repay the surf shop. Mr Moresi said it was not the money that sent him on the search for the surfboards, but sentimental reasons. He bought one of the boards on a trip to Bali three years ago. "Surfboards can be quite expensive. It wasn't so much the money issue for me, it was more the sentimental value," he said.

Caring thief saved homeless man from ATM blast

A thief who was preparing to blow up an ATM has pulled a homeless man to safety after the vagrant wandered into the blast zone.
CCTV camera from the convenience store in Sao Paulo, Brazil, captured the moment a gang of thieves stormed into the shop and wired up the ATM.
Clad in hoodies and helmets, two of the bandits can be seen fiddling with the front of the ATM for several seconds while another thief empties the register. The group then burst out onto the street and begin to run off before one of the thieves' spots a homeless man wandering past the blast zone.

At first, after appearing to yell at the man the thief then runs towards him and grabs him by the scruff of the neck before pulling him in the opposite direction. Seconds later, the bomb explodes. Thankfully, both men manage to escape harm. It is unknown if the thieves have been captured.

Daily Comic Relief


The McDonald's Cocaine Spoon Fiasco

If you were around in the 1970s, you might remember the McDonalds coffee spoon, which was nicknamed the McSpoon. It was small, well-designed, perfect for stirring coffee, with a scoop about size of a nostril, and could hold exactly 100 milligrams of cocaine. Of course, most people used the disposable spoon to stir sugar in their coffee, but it was the Model Drug Paraphernalia Act that brought the minority use of the spoon to the general public. Under the act, which was only enacted at the state level, innocuous items such as baggies and straws could be labeled a “drug paraphernalia.”
Just prior to the creation of the Model Drug Paraphernalia Act, then-Senators Joe Biden and Charles Mathias held a hearing in Baltimore, where the Paraphernalia Trade Association (who represents headshop vendors) could voice their concerns. The PTA swiftly went about arguing that, under such a broad definition, anything could be deemed “paraphernalia.”

According to minutes from the hearing, one PTA representative attempted to make a mockery of the proposed law. “Look at this,” he facetiously told the panel, thrusting a McDonald’s coffee stirring spoon above his head. “This is the best cocaine spoon in town and it’s free with every cup of coffee at McDonalds.”
His intention was to highlight how vague and overreaching the act was, but it set into motion a storm of controversy for McDonalds and the demise of the McSpoon. Oh, you can still get one, but they’re collector’s items now, and will cost you. Read the story of the little spoon that was a casualty of the War on Drugs at Pricenomics.

Hey, Hey, We're The Monkees

The Monkees are an American pop/rock band that released music in their original incarnation between 1966 and 1970, with subsequent reunion albums and tours in the decades that followed.
Formed in Los Angeles in 1965 by Robert Rafelson and Bert Schneider for the American television series The Monkees, which aired from 1966–1968, the musical acting quartet was composed of Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Englishman Davy Jones.

Why Port and Starboard Indicate Left and Right

The language of sea travel may seem like a foreign language to you, as it does to me. In an examination of the use of “port” and “starboard” to mean the left and right sides of a ship, the nautical terms get even more confusing to us landlubbers. At one time, they were “starboard” and “larboard”! What could possibly go wrong? But like all language, those terms evolved over time. Get enlightened with this video from Today I Found Out.

Incredible Natural Phenomena You May Have Never Seen

Weather is a fairly compelling spectacle. Not just weather itself, but some of the weirder weather phenomena that occurs throughout the world. The stuff we hear about, but never see. Truthfully, in regards to some of the things mentioned on the following list, you may not even HEARD of them.
While everyone can say they have seen a particularly tumultuous rainstorm before, what about when it rains fish in Honduras? That is one we might not as familiar with.
Witnesses of this phenomenon state that it begins with a dark cloud in the sky followed by lightning, thunder, strong winds and heavy rain for 2 to 3 hours. Once the rain has stopped, hundreds of living fish are found on the ground. People take the fish home to cook and eat them.
I am not even sure what is weirder. The fact that the sky rains fish semi-regularly in Honduras, or the fact that the natives take the strange fish, cook it, and eat it. To them, it is a gift from the Gods. To us, it is science.
This list over at Oddee of strange natural phenomena is well worth checking out, as raining fish seems to be the tip if the iceberg. Don't worry. It is not all weather related. One of the entries is about goats who climb trees.
Yup. You just read that correctly.

The Mexican Burrowing Toad Is Cute-After A Fashion

Well, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view, as the wise Obi-Wan Kenobi put it. Far be it from me to engage in toad-shaming.
The entomologist and nature photographer Piotr Naskrecki found this Mexican burrowing toad (Rhinophrynus dorsalis) in Belize. He says that in the traditional Mayan religion, it was called Uo and was associated with the god of rain. It's about the size of a human fist and is a surprisingly quick mover.
The toad is known for burrowing with its hind legs. As it digs, it inflates its body to expand and stabilize the burrow. It feeds underground, where it hunts insects, such as ants and termites.