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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Daily Drift

It is one of THOSE days ...!
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Today in History

1540 The Society of jesus, a religious order under Ignatius Loyola, is approved by the pope.
1669 The island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea falls to the Ottoman Turks after a 21-year siege.
1791 Jews in France are granted French citizenship.
1864 Confederate guerrilla Bloody Bill Anderson and his henchmen, including a teenage Jesse James, massacre 20 unarmed Union soldiers at Centralia, Missouri. The event becomes known as the Centralia Massacre.
1869 Wild Bill Hickok, sheriff of Hays City, Kan., shoots down Samuel Strawhim, a drunken teamster causing trouble.
1916 Constance of Greece declares war on Bulgaria.
1918 President Woodrow Wilson opens his fourth Liberty Loan campaign to support men and machines for World War I.
1920 Eight Chicago White Sox players are charged with fixing the 1919 World Series.
1939 Germany occupies Warsaw as Poland falls to Germany and the Soviet Union.
1942 Australian forces defeat the Japanese on New Guinea in the South Pacific.
1944 Thousands of British troops are killed as German forces rebuff their massive effort to capture the Arnhem Bridge across the Rhine River in Holland.
1950 U.S. Army and Marine troops liberate Seoul, South Korea.
1956 The U.S. Air Force Bell X-2, the world's fastest and highest-flying plane, crashes, killing the test pilot.
1964 The Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, issues its report, stating its conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunman.
1979 US Congress approves Department of Education as the 13th agency in the US Cabinet.
1983 Sukhumi massacre: Abkhaz separatist forces and their allies commit widespread atrocities against the civilian population in the USSR state of Georgia.
1996 The Taliban capture Afghanistan's capital city, Kabul.
2003 European Space Agency launches SMART-1 satellite to orbit the moon.
2007 NASA launches Dawn probe to explore and study the two larges objects of the asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
2008 Shai Shigang becomes the first Chinese to walk in space; he was part of the Shenzhou 7 crew.

Female UAE pilot 'leads strikes' on jihadists

Female UAE pilot joins fight against ISIS
Female UAE pilot joins fight against ISISA female pilot has led United Arab Emirates air strikes that targeted Islamic State jihadists in Syria as part of the US-led campaign against extremists.
Major Mariam al-Mansouri, 35, "led the squadron" of UAE fighter jets that participated in raids Tuesday against the extremists, an Emirati source familiar with the matter said.
The UAE did not confirm officially that a woman was among the pilots that conducted the raids.
Mansouri is reportedly the first female UAE pilot of a fighter jet. She graduated from Abu Dhabi's Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in 2007 and is veteran pilot of F-16 warplanes.
Washington has said the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, took part in the strikes on the Islamic State, which has seized swaths of Iraq and northern Syria.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday released photographs of eight airmen it said were involved in Tuesday's US-led operations.
Mariam Al Mansouri, the first Emirati female fighter …One of the pilots is a son of Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, according to Saudi newspapers.
Mansouri's participation in the raid stirred a debate on social media networks, with supporters posting her picture on Twitter and commending her service.
"She is taking part in crushing the dens of Daesh," wrote one woman on Twitter, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
Angry Islamist sympathisers, however, slammed Mansouri's "criminal" act.
The UAE is a largely conservative Gulf state, where women citizens wear the traditional Islamic head cover and black Abaya loose cloak.
But authorities in the oil-rich state have made efforts to put pioneering women forward and many women have assumed top government positions.

Hundreds of High Schoolers Walk Out to Protest wingnut Takeover of History Standards

by Zaid Jilani
The proposed curriculum changes downplay "social strife." 
As part of the long-running textbook wars over American school curricula, the Jefferson County Colorado Board of Education moved earlier this month to alter AP U.S. history standards to meet a more wingnut fantasy of the world, emphasizing “patriotism” and the “free enterprise system” and downplaying “social strife.” Its proposal reads as follows:
Review criteria shall include the following: instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively. Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage. Content pertaining to political and social movements in history should present balanced and factual treatment of the positions.
What Board Chairman Ken Witt probably didn't expect is what happened next. Hundreds of students from five high schools marched out of their classrooms and into the streets to reject the wingnut board's proposal. Carrying signs such as “people didn't die so we could erase them,” the students demanded that the proposal be withdrawn.
To get a sense of the size of the protests, the local CBS station reported that 500 students walked out at a single high school, Arvada West High. That is about a third of the students at the school.
In addition to the mass student protests, teachers have been leading actions as well. Last week, as many as 50 teachers at Standley Lake and Conifer high schools staged a sickout to protest the new standards, forcing classes to be canceled.
As both teachers and students continue to speak out, it appears that by attempting to suppress history curriculum that includes information about social strife and protest, Witt is ironically creating it, and teaching an entire nation of its value.

10 red states that mooch off the federal government

by Alex Henderson
The repugicans claim they've had it with American socialism. Maybe they should return the tax dollars subsidizing them .
One of the most hilarious talking points coming from lunatic fringe repugicans and the teabaggers is that when "red states" like Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana are asked to bail out California or Massachusetts, that's when they will finally become "fed up with socialism" and secede from the Union once and for all.
The problem with that meme is that it has no basis in reality: the more prosperous and Democrat-leaning areas of the United States are likely to be subsidizing dysfunctional "red states," many of which are suffering from insufficient tax revenue and an abundance of low-wage workers who don't have much to tax. The teabagger repugicans like to point out that poor cities like Detroit, Baltimore and Camden, New Jersey are run by Democrats, but they neglect to mention that some of the most affluent parts of the United States-from Manhattan to the Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area to Cambridge, MA to Seattle to Chicago's North Shore suburbs-are dominated by the Democratic Party. People in those heavily Democratic areas pay a lot of federal income taxes, and quite often, their tax dollars go to red states.
Earlier this year, the personal finance website WalletHub.com conducted an in-depth study of the amounts individual states are paying in federal taxes compared to the amounts they are receiving. WalletHub analyzed data from the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Commerce Department and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. WalletHub's research demonstrates that, as a rule, the states that are the most likely to rail against "big government" are the most likely to be benefiting from it.
A few of the states in WalletHub's study that were receiving the most tax revenue from the federal government are states that President Barack Obama won in 2012 (most notably, New Mexico and Hawaii), but most were hardcore "red states." And most of the states that, according to WalletHub, are taking less from the federal government than they are paying in are "blue states" that Obama won in both 2008 and 2012, including California, Massachusetts, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Minnesota. WalletHub's research bears out comparable figures released by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation in the past: analyzing IRS data, Tax Foundation has found, more than once, that red states are likely to be the biggest recipients of federal tax money.
Below are 10 red states that take full advantage of the federal government and would be much worse off without the "coastal liberal elites" they love to complain about.
1. Mississippi: Mississippi is one of the most repugican states in the U.S.: repugicans dominate the state government, and not since Jimmy Carter's victory in 1976 has a Democrat carried Mississippi in a presidential race. "Fiscal responsibility" is a recurring theme in Mississippi politics, where Democrats are often characterized as people who couldn't balance a budget if their lives depended on it. Yet the reality is that Mississippi is one of the most blatant examples of a state receiving more federal tax money than it gives: WalletHub finds that for every dollar in federal taxes Mississippi pays, it receives $3.07 from the federal government. A 2007 report from the Tax Foundation found that Mississippi was receiving $2.47 from the federal government for every dollar it was paying in.
The fact that Mississippi has a hard time making ends meet without help from Washington, DC stems from being a so-called "right to work" state, meaning it has a very low rate of unionization and plenty of low-wage jobs. Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the country, and repugican policies in that state-hostility to unions, opposition to raising the minimum wage at either the federal or state level, tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% of Americans-will likely keep Mississippi from being a substantial contributor to federal income taxes.
2. Alaska: Alaska didn't become part of the U.S. until 1959, and since then, it has gone repugican in every presidential race except 1964 (when Alaska favored Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson over repugican Barry Goldwater). A bastion of lunatic fringe politics, Alaska is the state where Sarah Palin was elected governor in 2006. But when it comes to "small government," Alaska repugicans don't practice what they preach: according to WalletHub, Alaska receives $1.42 from the federal government for every dollar it contributes. Tax Foundation's research showed Alaska receiving $1.93 from Uncle Sam for every dollar paid in. Alaska repugicans love to rail against the federal government, but the reality is that Alaska needs federal tax revenue badly in order to function.
Alaska is infamous for its harsh winters, which put considerable wear and tear on the state's infrastructure-and the money for that much upkeep and maintenance has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is Boston, Santa Monica, Brooklyn, Seattle and all the other places that are full of upscale Democrats Palin considers "un-American."
3. Alabama: Like Mississippi, Alabama is a state that hasn't given a Democratic presidential candidate its electoral votes since 1976. Alabama is one of the most repugican-dominated states in the U.S., and it is also a state that is very reliant on the federal government. According to Wallet Hub's study, Alabama receives 37% of its revenue from the federal government and receives $3.28 for every dollar it pays in federal taxes. Tax Foundation's data showed Alabama receiving $2.03 in federal tax money for every dollar it was paying in.
There are ways in which Alabama could become less reliant on Washington, DC: raising the minimum wage and having a more unionized workforce would generate more income tax revenue. So would raising income taxes on Alabama's 1%. But Alabama is a so-called "right to work" state, and a workforce that is generally underpaid and overworked isn't going to generate a lot of federal income tax revenue.
4. Louisiana: In repugican-dominated Louisiana politics, it is fashionable to bash "big government liberals" who live in San Francisco or New York City. But when Louisiana repugicans do that, they are biting the hands that feed them. According to Wallet Hub's research, Louisiana receives $3.35 from the federal government for every dollar it pays in; 44% of Louisiana's funding, WalletHub says, comes from Washington, DC.
Louisiana, under repugican Gov. Bobby Jindal, is another "right-to-work" state, and a state with so many underpaid workers is naturally going to have a lot less income to tax. So instead of hating the "limousine liberals" in Seattle or Boston for voting Democrat, Louisiana repugicans should thank them for all the federal income tax revenue they are getting from them.
5. Indiana: When Barack Obama won Indiana's electoral votes in 2008, it was an anomaly: Indiana, which went repugican in every presidential election from 1968-2004, is one of the most wingnut states in the Midwest and is much more repugican than Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois or Michigan. Pundits have often said that when it comes to politics, Indiana is "more southern than the South." But the disdain that Indiana repugicans often express for "big government" rings false because according to Wallet Hub, Indiana receives $2.01 from the federal government for every federal tax dollar it contributes and receives 33% of its funding from Uncle Sam. Indiana repugicans can hate coastal Democrats all they want, but without the federal tax revenue Democratic areas generate, Indiana would have a hard time functioning.
6. Montana: Montana has a long history of going repugican in presidential elections. Between 1952 and 2012, Montana went repugican in every presidential race except 1964 and 1992. But for a state that is so conservative-leaning, Montana receives a lot of help from the federal government: WalletHub's research shows that Montana receives $1.55 from the federal government for every dollar it contributes (the Tax Foundation's 2007 report found that Montana's intake from Uncle Sam was $1.92 for every dollar paid). Montana faces the same challenge as Alaska-long, harsh winters that can put considerable stress on its infrastructure-and the idea that Montana could function without tax revenue is pure fantasy.
7. South Carolina: The fact that South Carolina hasn't gone Democrat in a presidential election since 1976 is a badge of honor to the state's repugican cabal. And repugican Gov. Nikki Haley once boasted, "I love that we are one of the least unionized states in the country." But that is nothing to be proud of, especially in light of the fact that non-union workers tend to have lower wages and therefore, contribute less tax revenue. The Tax Foundation found that South Carolina was receiving $1.92 from the federal government for every federal tax dollar it was contributing.
Haley doesn't think much of liberals, but considering that Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota and New York State-all of which Obama won in both 2008 and 2012-are giving more tax dollars to the federal government than they are receiving, she might want to reconsider and start thanking them for their help.
8. West Virginia: Although West Virginia presently has a Democratic governor (Earl Ray Tomblin) and has a Democratic majority in its state senate (most of them center-right Blue Dogs), it is still a wingnut-leaning state with a strong repugican influence. The repugicans have carried West Virginia in the last four presidential elections (Mitt Romney won 62% of West Virginia's vote in 2012), but that doesn't mean that the state doesn't receive a lot of help from the federal government: WalletHub described West Virginia as a state that receives $2.22 in federal tax revenue for every dollar it pays, and the Tax Foundation's figure in its 2007 study was $2.57 received per dollar paid.
Poverty has a lot to do with that: West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country, with 17.6% of its population living in poverty from 2008-2012 compared to 14.9% nationwide (according to the U.S. Census Bureau). And with so many West Virginians living in poverty, they simply aren't going to be a major source of income tax revenue.
9. Tennessee: One of the ludicrous talking points from repugicans is that the poor aren't paying enough taxes. Actually, the poor do pay a lot of taxes, from sales taxes to taxes on utilities. But according to repugicans, the poor are freeloaders because they aren't paying enough federal income taxes-and one way to balance state budgets, they cluelessly argue, is to cut state services and raise state taxes on the poor. The repugicans flunk math, however, because someone making $7.25 an hour is going to have a lot less to tax than someone making $30 or $40 an hour. And therein lies the budgetary problem for a so-called "right-to-work" state like Tennessee: too many of its residents are working low-paying, non-union service jobs that generate a lot less sales and other state tax revenue than the unionized jobs repugicans are so bitterly opposed to. Tennessee, according to WalletHub, receives $1.64 from the federal government for every federal tax dollar it contributes-and WalletHub notes that 41% of Tennessee's funding comes from Uncle Sam.
10. Kentucky: Kentucky, despite having a two-term Democratic governor (Steve Beshear), leans repugican: although Bill Clinton won Kentucky's electoral votes in 1992 and 1996, that state has gone repugican in every other presidential race since 1980. Mitt Romney carried Kentucky by 22% in 2012, and many of the Democrats who hold office in the Bluegrass State are center-right Blue Dogs. But as widespread as talk of "small government" and "fiscal responsibility" are in Kentucky, WalletHub's research shows that Kentucky receives $2.39 from the federal government for every dollar it pays. According to WalletHub, 35% of Kentucky's revenue comes from Washington, DC. And the Tax Foundation found that Kentucky was receiving $1.75 from the federal government for every dollar paid.

Proof That repugicans Are Creating Poverty

America Is Number One In Low Wage Jobs
According to new research on America's world-leading economic inequality, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported that in 2014…
Low wagesIf Americans have been paying attention over the past few years, and there is no reason to think for a minute that they have, they may have noticed that their “exceptional” nation has not been the right kind of exceptional when compared to other developed and some still developing nations. Of course, whether one believes America is exceptional and a world leader depends on perspective. Wingnuts are convinced that just being America makes this country exceptional regardless of the areas that the richest nation on Earth lags the rest of the developed nations on the planet. However, for Americans with a brain, and a conscience, the idea that a country awash in money cannot guarantee that all its citizens have adequate food, shelter, education, healthcare, and sanitation is frankly exceptionally pathetic. Sadly, repugicans regard those areas as just one of the primary reasons America’s “free enterprise” system makes the nation exceptional and a world leader.
In what is another damning report for the country, repugicans can rejoice that due to their adherence to unrestricted free enterprise policies benefiting the rich and corporations, America is rated number one in a category near and dear to their corporate hearts and bottom line. According to new research on America’s world-leading economic inequality, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported that in 2014, the exceptionally rich United States has the distinction of the highest proportion of low-paying jobs among every developed nation in the world. The report is just in time for repugicans on the campaign trail to boast to their supporters that America is number one in having over a quarter of its workforce laboring for poverty wages.
The OECD report defines low-paying jobs as those whose annual earnings are below two-thirds of a nation’s median income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics program, the median annual income in the richest nation on Earth was $35,080 in 2013. Under the OECD definition, over a quarter of Americans laboring at low-paying jobs earn less than about $23,390 annually. The federal poverty line for a family of four is $23,850 that means 26% of hardworking Americans live below the poverty line and cannot afford to adequately feed, house, or provide healthcare for their families.
It is important to note that these slave-wage earning Americans are not like repugican congressional representatives who need to be “brought into the mainstream of American society” and forced to abandon their thinking “that I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this; I’d just rather sit around.” No, these are Americans that wake up every day, find their way to low-wage jobs, and put in a full day’s work and still live in poverty. They are also most likely Americans living in the “third world” former Confederacy where repugicans gleefully boast their preponderance of right to work for less jobs that dependable repugican voters boast make their states exceptional. They are also the voters who dutifully vote for repugicans who refuse to consider raising the pathetically low minimum wage while seeking new and better ways to slash food stamps and healthcare spending as a means of inculcating into their constituents minds the “culture and value of hard work.”
Perhaps this new “number one” designation will take some stress off repugicans who were disappointed that America is only number two in the world for the most children living in dire poverty behind Romania by a couple of tenths of one percent. However, it is unlikely that repugicans who are too lazy to work will tell voters on the campaign trail that the richest country on Earth has the highest percentage of low wage workers, or is second with the most children without enough food to eat. They will, however, tell voters that if they can gain control of the Senate and retain a majority in the House they will keep the minimum wage low, or eliminate it all together along with overtime pay as the best means of combating poverty. Sadly, most repugican voters will cheer wildly at the prospect of more Americans in poverty because as long as America still has the most powerful military, most guns in the population, most citizens in prison, most religious extremists, and a high incidence of homicides, many at the hands of law enforcement, then America is still exceptional.
Of course repugicans are not going to tell voters how their anti-worker policies are driving more hard-working Americans into poverty. However, there is no reason Democrats should keep quiet about yet another report that this country’s citizens work longer, harder, and are the most productive in the world and yet cannot escape poverty. While they are at it, Democrats should be informing voters why this exceptionally wealthy nation is behind every developed country on Earth; solely because repugicans cannot spend a penny to repair and rebuild the nation’s failing (number 25) infrastructure. Or why repugicans never claim America is broke when there is a war to fight, or when the oil industry needs billions in subsidies, churches need tax welfare, or corporations demand tax breaks for shipping Americans’ jobs overseas; not for lower wages because they have that here already. They refuse to pay taxes.
It is obvious that there is a deluded segment of the population that will support repugicans regardless what Democratic candidates tell them about why they toil for low wages that keep them mired in poverty,  but they are a lost cause anyway. As long as repugicans frighten them with tales of ISIS or President Obama coming for their bibles, freedoms, and guns, or that it is un-American for a Black man to sit in the Oval Office, stupid wingnuts will support them no matter how poor or hungry they are and will show up at the polls en masse. However, there are Americans that are unaware that the reason they cannot get ahead, or are falling deeper into poverty, is because repugicans are deliberately keeping them working for slave wages. Democrats have nothing to lose and maybe learning why they are poor will inspire some people to actually vote for their own best interests.
The lamestream wingnut media will not report that America is number one with the highest percentage of low-wage workers, so it is left to Democrats on the campaign trail to tell the people why, and who is responsible for, over a quarter of the working population earning slave wages.  It will prevent repugicans from gaining control of both chambers of Congress and accomplishing one of their long sought-after goals of eliminating the minimum wage to enrich corporations and cement America’s number one designation for a generation.

Here’s Why repugicans Are Worried

Democrats Register 60,000 New Voters in 48 Districts …
The repugicans are getting worried about their 2014 chances because Democrats have taken their fundraising advantage and spent it on registering hundreds of thousands of new voters including 60,000 new voters in 48 competitive House districts.
House Democrats, flush with campaign cash, have crafted an unprecedented field operation this year that has registered tens of thousands of voters — including several thousand in critical states – for the first time.
Election forecasters and public opinion polls agree that Democrats have no hope of taking back control of the House of Representatives this year, but that hasn’t stopped the party from raising records sums of money to help hold on to at-risk seats.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has out-raised the National repugican Congressional Committee by roughly $33 million this cycle, thanks in part to fundraisers headlined by President Obama and small-dollar donations from the party faithful.
The cash flow is helping Democrats pay for a field operation that includes more than 500 paid staffers across the country. Those staffers have helped DCCC register more than 60,000 new voters in 48 districts — a first for the committee, according to statistics shared with The Washington Post.
For House Democrats, this strategy is about laying the groundwork to win back the lower chamber in 2016 or 2018, but their efforts will pay dividends this year in close gubernatorial and Senate races in states like Florida and Georgia. In the Peach State, repugicans are already freaking out and trying to stop a massive non-DCCC voter registration effort with a voter fraud investigation.

Democrats at all levels are using their substantial fundraising advantage to build an organization that will register new voters, and get out the vote.
In a recent article, Charlie Cook pointed to the Democratic ground game as reason for repugican concern, “Another reason things might not turn out for repugicans is if the highly touted Democratic Senate ground game comes together. Clearly the Obama campaign and Democratic allies had a superior voter-identification and get-out-the-vote operation two years ago. Earlier this year, Senate Democrats announced the Bannock Street Project, a $60 million program with the goal of putting in place 4,000 paid workers to use techniques perfected and put to work in 2010 by DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet in his race, and again two years ago by the Obama campaign. While some repugicans have scoffed at the likelihood of Democrats being able to mount such an effort, they concede that the Democratic ground game was superior two years ago. In midterm elections, if Democrats can crank up the turnout among young, female, and minority voters, then their chances of success this year increase.”
The repugicans are still years behind Democrats in registering and turning out voters. Those who take the time to register tend to be more likely to show up to vote in that election. This is the reason repugicans have made killing Democratic voter registration efforts one of their primary goals. Democrats are developing a more centralized voter registration system so that they can keep in contact with newly registered voters and make sure that they vote.
The main reason the models and pollsters could end up being wrong is that the electorate might not look the same as it did in 2010. Nearly every model and poll is assuming that the electorate will be whiter and more wingnut, but if Democrats nudge turnout in critical races up by a point or two it could change everything and turn a pundit assumed repugican victory into a massive defeat.

Illinois repugicans Stand Behind Candidate Who Confessed to Committing Voter Fraud in 2008 and 2012

Myalls WalkerIllinois repugicans are stooping particularly low with their support for a candidate who admitted she was registered to vote in two states and voted in both states during the 2008 and 2012 election cycles.
We already know that repugicans will do anything to rig the vote.  They passed vote suppression laws and gerrymandered districts to legitimize voter fraud, repugican cabal style. Wisconsin’s version of a voter ID law will be in place for this year’s election, with the potential to disenfranchise 300,000 voters.
The repugicans in Wisconsin also made voting hard and they are stepping up the voter intimidation tactics.
Wisconsin also allows thugs like the Koch Brothers funded “unTrue the Vote” to stand 3 to 8 feet from voters and election officials.
A vote suppression coven is on record saying it will intimidate  African-American voters and concentrate its “efforts” in Democratic strong holds. Of course, the coven made it abundantly clear that repugican vote fraudsters will continue to get a free pass, just like Kathy Myalls did when she voted in Wisconsin and Illinois in 2008 and 2012.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Myalls cast a vote in the Illinois primary.  Three months later, she also voted for Scott Walker, in Wisconsin, during his recall election.  Myalls voted in the presidential election in Wisconsin in 2012, before returning to Illinois where she voted again.
Myalls admitted to the Sun Times she is registered to vote in Illinois and at her second home in Fontana, Wisconsin. Records confirm she was registered to vote at her primary address in Illinois since 2005 and in Wisconsin since 1996.  The records also show she voted in both states during the 2008 and 2012 elections.
After admitting she was registered to vote in both states, and records proved she voted in both states, Myalls emailed the Sun-Times admitting she was a serial voting fraudster.  But that is all changed now that the Sun Times has exposed her.
I was registered to vote in WI from 1996-2013,” Myalls wrote in a follow-up email to the Sun-Times. “My voting registration in WI was based on a house we own and have lived in during that time period. I am now only registered to vote in IL and I no longer vote in WI.
It gets better. Myalls is running as a repugican cabal candidate for the Illinois General Assembly.
Even though they know that Myalls is a serious duplicate voter, the State’s repugican cabal continues to support her candidacy.
She’s legally qualified to run for office based on residency things we looked at. If she’s afforded the opportunity to become elected, at that time that will be two years,” said Joe Woodward, political director with the house repugican cabal. Woodward indicated hrc’s legal team had been consulted on her issues. “All I will say is this is political. The opposition had time to look at this and that time has passed and they were asleep at the switch. She passes our legal requirements.
Under Illinois law, any person who is a U.S. Citizen, at least 21 years old and lived in the district they intend to represent for at least two years meets the legal requirements to serve in the State General Assembly. So technically, nothing about Myalls’ history of voter fraud precludes her from running.
It appears that Illinois law is “murky” when it comes to knowingly registering in two states and voting in both states. Under Illinois law, it is too late to challenge Myalls’ candidacy.
However, voting twice in elections is a crime in Wisconsin.  Another individual who committed voter fraud during the 2012 election in Wisconsin was sentenced to a harsh sentence of 9 months in jail. At best, Myalls faces the possibility that her serial voter fraud will hurt her election chances.  Poor baby.

Something’s Rotten In Georgia As repugican cabal Cries Voter Fraud To Keep Minorities From Voting

There is something ugly happening in Georgia as repugicans are trying to stop Democrats from registering hundreds of thousands of new voters by launching a voter fraud investigation.
georgia voter fraud investigationOn the eve of the midterm elections—with high profile Senate and gubernatorial races on the line—a group undertaking a historic effort to register tens of thousands of minority voters is all of a sudden under investigation by Georgia’s repugican secretary of state’s office. And the crime doesn’t quite match the punishment.
In a state where party politics often break down along racial lines, the fact that a group that aims to register minority voters is being targeted by repugicans two months before a big election raises red flags. Just two weeks ago, a repugican Georgia state senator lambasted a local official on Facebook for deciding to hold Sunday voting in an Atlanta suburb with a large black population. Fran Millar, defended his comments saying, “This is politics. It’s not about race.” Racist or not, it is in repugicans’ political interest to make it harder for black citizens to vote.
Democrats started the New Georgia Project, which has registered 85,000 new voters for the midterm election. Other partner groups have registered an additional 20,000 new voters. The majority of these new voters are African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and young people. In other words, all of the people that repugicans don’t want to see at the polls on Election Day in November.
The purpose of the voter fraud investigation is to prevent voters who are more likely to support Democrats from registering to vote. It is telling that repugicans never investigate voter fraud when wingnut covens try to register new voters. Voter fraud is the new Jim Crow and the suppression technique of choice for the modern repugican cabal.
A new SurveyUSA poll of the state shows that both the U.S. Senate race and the governor’s race are a statistical tie. It is a dead heat in both contests, which means that every vote will count. The polling explains why repugicans are so desperate to keep minority voters away from the polls. Even a slight uptick in Democratic turnout over 2010 could take another big step towards turning Georgia blue.
The repugicans can’t win on the issues. They can’t win based on popular support. The only way that Georgia repugicans will win this year is if they make the electorate smaller, whiter, older, and more wingnut. There is no voter fraud in Georgia. The repugicans are engaging in a desperate last minute tactic because they see the Senate and governor seats slipping away.
When Democrats vote, Democrats win, but first the right to vote must be protected from repugicans who are hiding their racial disenfranchisement schemes behind empty cries of voter fraud.

Ted Cruz Embarrassingly Whines About Fact-Checking Site That Constantly Exposes His Lies

by Allen Clifton
ted_cruz_4If you follow politics fairly regularly, you’ve probably heard of the fact-checking website Politifact. While not always perfect, I would say they’re pretty fair in their findings. Though I will say that sometimes they’re too literal in their conclusions. By that I mean I’ve seen them rate statements as “True” or “False,” simply based on technicalities of the comment that they were researching.
But that’s not really a big deal. For the most part they do great work.
Well, it seems Texas Senator Ted Cruz isn’t a fan. Shocking, I know.
While Cruz was discussing the broken promise made by President Obama when he told Americans that they would be able to keep their old health insurance plan (which was “only” true for 95% of Americans), he said:
“There’s a reason PolitiFact — an institution of which I am not a fan — but there is a reason PolitiFact rated that statement the Lie of the Year.”
First, let me point out the irony of Cruz using a site of which he says he’s not a fan – to try to make a point.
But there’s a good reason why Cruz might not be Politifact’s biggest fan - because he lies constantly. Typically I wouldn’t expect serial liars to be the biggest fans of fact-checking organizations.
In fact, Ted Cruz has an absolutely abysmal record on Politifact for telling the truth. Out of the 36 comments they’ve fact-checked on Cruz, an astonishing 67 percent of them have been rated as “Mostly False” all the way down to “Pants on Fire.” And out of all 36 of those comments, only one has been rated as “True.” That lone statement was one he made where he was trying to fear-monger about government regulations being so bad that they regulate toilet seats. I guess he feels that businesses shouldn’t be required to offer restroom facilities that are equipped to accommodate people with disabilities.
Yes, the only 100% true statement Ted Cruz has made out of the 36 that have been fact-checked by Politifact was about toilet seats.
Even if you go to his five “Mostly True” statements, three of them go all the way back to his campaign against fellow Republican David Dewhurst when he was attempting to secure the GOP nomination in 2011.
So if you take those out, Politifact has found that he’s only made three “True” or “Mostly True” statements since he’s become a United States senator, out of all of those that they’ve fact-checked.
The rest have been rated as “Half True” or worse.
So it shouldn’t be at all shocking that Ted Cruz isn’t a fan of Politifact. Because I don’t think anyone would expect a serial liar to be a fan of a fact-checking website that’s constantly exposing their lies.

The Wheel of Justice is Catching Up To Bundy Anti-Government Supporters

The Bureau of Land Management finally took action against another group of anti-government agitators who blatantly trespassed on federal land …
Justice Denied
The idea of justice, as it relates to someone getting what they deserve whether it is reward or punishment, seems to be a rare commodity in America lately. There is a saying that “the wheel of justice grinds exceedingly slow, but it grinds exceedingly fine,” that loosely means “justice delayed is not justice denied, it is just delayed; there will be justice.” Many Americans would take issue with the idea that there will ever be justice in this nation for a large segment of the population due to their racial makeup or economic situation regardless what side of the law they find themselves.
There certainly has been no justice for victims as of late when law enforcement is allowed to gun down unarmed African Americans with impunity while racists praise them and wingnut media defends them. There has been little justice as well for the overwhelming number of repugican governors under investigation for a plethora of violations, or bankers that helped create the Great Recession, or the shrub-Cheney junta’s confessed war crimes and they likely never will get what they deserve. Many Americans wondered loudly why seditionist rancher Cliven Bundy never faced immediate, or any, justice for violating several federal court orders and marshaling revolution-minded armed covens to confront federal agents doing their job.  Even though months after the infamous standoff Bundy is still free, there have been announcements and reports that Nevada and federal officials are actively investigating the incident and promise Bundy will face justice for breaking the law, but they missed their opportunity to stave off more anti-government mischief.
Last week, the Bureau of Land Management finally took action against another group of anti-government agitators who blatantly trespassed on federal land because like Bundy, they do not believe the federal government has a right to own land or that federal law applies to them. The issue was a so-called “protest” over the Bureau of Land Management’s policies for public land that resulted in five people being charged for trespassing and riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) into and over a protected Utah canyon last May. In 2007 the BLM closed off Recapture Canyon to motorized vehicles to keep archaeological sites protected from careless idiots driving over ancient burial sites. After seven years and the Bundy standoff precedent, about 50 riders decided they too could violate the federal government restriction with impunity as a means of condemning what they regard as “gross overreach of federal authority.” It is the same claim made by Cliven Bundy, repugicans, wingnut media, and armed covens who believe the federal government has no right to manage its own land or protect archaeological heritage sites.
It is noteworthy that the Utah ATV ride was about one month after the federal government stepped away from armed seditionists who warned state and federal law enforcement officials if they did not call off the roundup of Bundy’s cattle illegally grazing on federal land, there would be violence. Bundy and his armed covenss refuse to acknowledge the federal government has jurisdiction over federal land. The resulting standoff was the beginning of a series of actions by extremist anti-government thugs who are not going to tolerate any restrictions on federal land in the West; the Utah ATV ride was just one anti-government repugican action intended to bring an end to federal land ownership and regulatory policies.
Instead of charging all 50 trespassers, including one of Cliven Bundy’s sons, the government charged the organizers, including a San Juan County commissioner who was the primary instigator, and four others with conspiring to operate ATVs on closed and protected federal lands. They were also charged with actually carrying out the conspiracy by leading the other riders on those protected public lands and over the federally-protected archaeological sites. If they are convicted, and one desperately hopes they are, each defendant faces up to a year in jail and $100,000 in fines. The U.S. Attorney handling the case, Carlie Christensen, said in a prepared statement that “We respect the fact that the citizens of this State have differing and deeply held views regarding the management and use of Recapture Canyon, and recognize that they have the right to express those opinions freely. Nevertheless, those rights must be exercised in a lawful manner and when individuals choose to violate the law, rather than engage in lawful protest, we will seek to hold those individuals accountable under the law.”
That the federal government is holding the anti-government malcontents accountable to the law is encouraging news for Americans who believe no-one is above the law, but likely bad news for the federal government that faces a growing and angry anti-government repugican movement on a crusade to seize federally-owned land for their fossil fuel industry campaign donors. In several western states such as Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada to name a few, repugicans are actively campaigning for office with a promise to develop a strategy to seize federal land, including national parks, waterways, and historic sites in their states to give to the oil, mining, and logging industry as recompense for funding their campaigns. The dirty energy and logging industry want the land in their private hands to avoid environmental regulations.
There is also the issue of the government waiting too long to hold lawbreakers accountable for their actions; specifically seditionist Cliven Bundy and his armed covens. The restriction against motorized vehicles being driven in Recapture Canyon and over protected archaeological sites had been in effect for seven years (since 2007), but Utah repugicans did not decide to break the law until after the federal government allowed the Bundy seditionists to stay on federal land. It is exactly why allowing the “wheel of justice to grind exceedingly slow” is not always the wisest course of action. If Bundy and his vigilantes had been arrested immediately, it would have sent a powerful message that the federal government is exercising its constitutional authority in managing and owning federal land. A constitutional provision that repugicans now believe is in question and dependent on how many armed seditionists show up to confront the federal government that none of them recognize or fear because they have not been held accountable for violating the law.
What is curious is why the U.S. Attorney is just now charging 5 Utah anti-government activists for a violation that occurred in May, and why on Earth have they not charged Cliven Bundy and his band of armed thugs for their obvious crimes that incited the Utah violators to action? It is not as if there is a lack of evidence that Bundy’s gang leveled loaded assault weapons at federal agents, or that Bundy was in contempt of two federal court orders and owed the government over a million dollars in fines, grazing fees, and penalties. The federal government and the state of Nevada have no excuse for allowing Bundy to marshal repugicans, wingnut media, and armed anti-government covenss into his war against the government owning land. Now because the government failed to act in a timely manner, it is not just one anti-government rancher and armed vigilantes against the federal government owning land, it is the entirety of western state repugicans and their fossil fuel industry money machine.

Gun Nut Agitator Wearing Bulletproof Vest Paces Near Tennessee High School Armed with Assault Rifle

by Allen Clifton
Image via wsmv.com
A Tennessee gun nut agitator who’s been arrested numerous times for parading around town carrying guns, scaring the hell out of residents, took things to another level when he picked his latest place to “advocate for guns” – a local high school.
Yes local Nashville resident Leonard Embody decided to strap on a bulletproof vest and march around near a local high school with an assault rifle strapped to his back.
Oh, but it was perfectly legal because he never stepped on school grounds.
A move that apparently had 911 filled with concerned residents calling in about some armed “weirdo” marching around a school openly flashing a gun.
“He had a rifle across his back, and a Go Pro attached to his chest. I just thought that was kind of peculiar,” one caller said.
“That man may not be worried about the epidemic of school shootings in our country, but moms and dads are, and we won’t tolerate this behavior,” local mother Telisha Cobb said.
And if some armed open carry fanatic marching around a school wearing a bulletproof vest wasn’t idiotic enough, his reason for doing it is even more absurd.
“A school is a prime place to be able to hand out my leaflets and educate children that guns aren’t dangerous as people think they are. Certainly a man carrying a gun doesn’t mean they’re going to get shot,” Embody said.
So, this jackass thinks it’s his responsibility to hang out near a school filled with minor children to hand out “information on guns”? To put it bluntly, that’s none of his damn business.
Oh, but his idiocy gets even better.
“I don’t think I look terrifying. Other people may think I look terrifying, but that’s in their own minds and that’s something they should deal with – with maybe a psychologist,” he continued.
The funny thing about insane people is that usually they never think they’re insane. He thinks his behavior is okay because he doesn’t think he looks terrifying. He’s out of his damn mind.
And if this was “all about guns,” then why the hell was he wearing a bulletproof vest? 
If he doesn’t understand why he might look terrifying marching around a school, wearing a bulletproof vest with an assault rifle strapped to his back, then he’s too damn mentally unstable to own guns.
And I would absolutely love for this fool to explain to me how people can tell the difference between an “gun nut agitator” like himself and someone who’s plotting to shoot up a school as soon as class lets out. Oh, I mean, before they decide to open fire on students.
Please, enlighten me. 
Because I’ve yet to have a single one of these gun lunatics explain to me how to tell the difference between an gun nut agitator and a “bad guy with a gun” - before the “bad guy” starts shooting at innocent people. Because up until that point, they look the same to me.

The Truth Hurts

White Cop Charged With Assault For Unprovoked Shooting Of Black Driver During Traffic Stop

A white highway patrolman was charged with aggravated assault and battery after an unprovoked shooting of a black driver. The shooting was captured on the trooper's dash cam.…

On Wednesday, Sean Groubert was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and battery over a shooting incident that took place September 4th near Columbia, South Carolina. Groubert, who was a lance corporal with the state’s Highway Patrol before being fired due to the shooting, shot at Lavar Jones (who is black) multiple times after the driver went into his car to retrieve his driver’s license after Groubert (who is white) instructed him to do so. Jones was shot in the hip and has since been released from the hospital. Groubert is facing 20 years in prison if convicted.
What makes this story extremely important is that Groubert’s patrol vehicle was equipped with a dash cam, which caught the entire incident on video. It helps to underscore how necessary it is for our law enforcement to have cameras either in their vehicles or on their persons.
Obviously, per the video, Groubert acted in an extremely irrational and, quite frankly, idiotic manner. He tells the driver to get his license. When Jones casually goes into his vehicle to get said license, Groubert unloads on him from an extremely close range without warning. He just shoots, with no sense of hesitation. After Groubert is done shooting at the driver, Jones seems rightfully confused and dumbfounded over what just happened. He is telling Groubert that he was just getting his license as he was told. Groubert tries to justify it by telling Jones to never reach into your car in front of a cop.
It is apparent from watching the video that Groubert is completely at fault and Jones did nothing to warrant being shot at multiple times. The trooper’s incompetence at his job is mindboggling, and one wonders how he managed to attain the rank of lance corporal with the Highway Patrol. It seems for all the world that Groubert saw a black man moving his hands and body and automatically thought “SHOOT!” The fact that a highway patrolman is going into a routine traffic stop with the mindset that he needs to be ready to shoot right away is downright disturbing.
The real takeaway is this: What would have happened to Groubert if his car did not have a dash cam? Would we see any charges filed against him? Would Jones somehow have been charged with something to help cover up Groubert’s overly aggressive actions? While one would like to think justice will always prevail, the cynic states that a black man in the South shot at by a white cop with only the two men’s words to go by would likely have not ended well for the black man. Thankfully, in this instance, there was a camera that caught the whole incident.
In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, as well as countless other shooting deaths at the hands of police officers over the years, it is high time that all law enforcement personnel in this nation are equipped with dash and/or body cameras.

Police search for the Binky Bandit

Police in Oklahoma City are looking for a man they say is responsible for a carjacking on Friday evening. Police have dubbed the man the “Binky Bandit” because he had a pacifier in his mouth at the time of the carjacking.

He also stole the victim’s wallet while pointing a handgun at him. Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said, “It’s something that we don’t see very often, a man who is our suspect in such a violent crime to have a pacifier but we can't forget the fact that it is a very serious crime.”
Police believe the Binky Bandit may have been using the teething tool to protect his teeth from the side effects of drugs. “There are certain drugs that people use that have certain effects.

“One of them is them grinding their teeth,” said Wardlow. Police said the man is approximately 18 years old with a thin build and is between 5 feet 9 inches and 5 feet 11 inches tall.

Chinese restaurant sold 'opium-laced noodles' so addicted patrons would come back for more

A noodle shop owner in northern Shaanxi province was detained after he was discovered to have been adding parts of a poppy plant, from which opium is made, to food so that customers would keep coming back. The noodle shop’s owner was held for questioning and confessed that he purchased 2kg of poppy shells (the bud of the plant in which poppy seeds are found) for 600 yuan(£60, $100) in August.
He secretly added it to the food to lure in more customers. The owner was detained for 10 days. Poppy shells used to be an ingredient in a popular hot pot sauce until the product was banned. The restaurant's activities came to light after one customer, Liu Juyou, 26, tested positive during a routine urine test under an anti-drink-driving program. He said he never touched illegal substances, so was shocked by the test result.
Liu was detained for 15 days from September 3, unable to convince police that the drug, he suspected, might have come from the food from a noodle shop he frequented. Liu asked his family to help him test the theory, eating noodles at the restaurant and going home to take urine tests. When the relatives also tested positive for drugs, they alerted the police, who launched an investigation.
An anti-narcotics police agent said that chemicals from poppy, even poppy seed pods, could build up in the body – enough to get a positive for opiates on a drug test. If the food is ingested over a long period of time, it would have an addictive effect, he said. However, despite finding the restaurant culpable, Liu’s appeal against his detention was dismissed by police, who said their priority was to detect drugs and punish drug users. The mainland’s anti-drug law bans opium, heroin, morphine, marijuana and any other anaesthetic and psychotropic drugs which can be addictive.

Arrested woman accused of chewing up and spitting out back seat of police car

A North Idaho woman arrested on several felony charges chewed through the seat of a sheriff's patrol vehicle while en route to the Bonner County Jail.
According to court records, Spence was arrested on Thursday morning at her home after she pepper sprayed a couple as they slept in their van. When deputies arrived at Spence's home, she was immediately combative. Court records show she kicked at the two deputies, striking one of them in the groin.
Deputies finally got Spence under control and in handcuffs and put her on her stomach in the back of of the deputy's 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe. According to court records, "while en route to the Bonner County Jail, Spence, using her mouth and teeth, tore through the back seat cover and into the seat foam, removing large chunks of seat foam and spitting them onto the floor to the car."
Sheriff's deputies estimate the damage at $2,137. Spence was booked into the jail on charges of malicious injury to property, assaulting an officer and resisting arrest.

Man fatally shot after being mistaken for squirrel

A 71-year-old man was killed on Tuesday night by a friend's son while squirrel hunting in Rush in Monroe County, New York, sheriff's deputies have said.
Vienchaleun Kettavong was hunting with a friend and the friend's son in a heavily wooded area in Rush at about 5:30pm, when the son shot his rifle at what he believed to be a squirrel and instead struck his father's friend, said Cpl. John Helfer.
The location of the incident made it difficult for emergency responders to access, Helfer said. Kettavong was hunting in the woods with his friend KT Kounnavong, 58, and son P. Kounnavong, 32. Kettavong was pronounced dead at the scene.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Police and firefighters from Rush and Henrietta also assisted at the scene. Deputies continue to investigate the incident. No charges have been filed in connection with death.

Mailman Declines to Deliver Mail to House with a Bear

Meanwhile, in British Columbia, Twitter user @IamFane was waiting for the Canada Post to deliver a package to him. When he returned home after an excursion, he found this notice at his mailbox. The mail delivery person let him know that he had decided not to take the package to the front door. He had a good excuse:
* No the photo of the bear above is not the bear in question ... it is for illustrative purposes only.

The 22 most Ridiculous Laws Still in Effect Today

Did you know in Georgia that chickens are not legally allowed to cross the road? It must have something to do with that awful joke. That is one of MANY laws from various states that are inexplicably still on the books, even though they make no sense. Got another one for you.
It is illegal to sell your eyeballs in Texas. I gotta tell you, I am glad I found this out now as me and a bunch of friends were planning a trip there in October to sell our eyeballs. Man, that would have been a wasted journey, huh?
The beautiful thing is, that is just two from the list of 22 Most Ridiculous Laws Still in Effect Today from JustSomething.
It is cool because they break the list down to different states, so it is sweet to scan the list and see what kind of weird law your own state may have. For example, in Rhode Island you cannot be sold a toothbrush and toothpaste on a Sunday.

The Reclusive, Doll-Collecting Copper Queen Of Fifth Avenue

Huguette Clark (the girl on the right in the photo) was the daughter of Montana Senator William Andrews Clark, a man Mark Twain called 'as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag.' The Senator left behind a copper fortune, as well as the Berkeley Pit in Butte, one of the largest Superfund sites in the United States.
Huguette left behind hundreds of porcelain dolls, which she collected obsessively. A recluse as an adult, Huguette barely set foot outside her Fifth Avenue apartment for almost two decades. Then, when she was diagnosed with and treated for skin cancer, she remained in her hospital room for the next 20 years, using it as a base of operations for her doll-collecting enterprises.

Amazon Warriors' Names Revealed Amid "Gibberish" on Ancient Greek Vases

Translations reveal Amazons' names such as Don't Fail and Hot Flanks hidden in ancient "nonsense" inscriptions.
A photo of an ancient fragmented attic red-figure cup from Greece.This Greek cup, dating from around 510 B.C., depicts an Amazon warrior on a horse. Scholars suggest wording on the vase names the woman Worthy of Armor in ancient Circassian.
Ancient Greek vases have revealed the hidden names of Amazons, mythology's warrior women, in a report deciphering ancient languages unspoken for millennia.
In the forthcoming study of pottery dating from 550 B.C. to 450 B.C., study lead author Adrienne Mayor and J. Paul Getty Museum assistant curator David Saunders translated Greek inscriptions into their phonetic sounds for 12 ancient vases from Athens. The inscriptions appear next to scenes of Amazons fighting, hunting, or shooting arrows.
They next submitted just the phonetic transcriptions without explanation to linguist John Colarusso of Canada's McMaster University in Hamilton, who is an expert on rare languages of the Caucasus. He translated the inscriptions into names—such as Princess, Don't Fail, and Hot Flanks—without knowing the details of the pictures of Amazons.
The report in the journal Hesperia gives linguists unparalleled insight into languages last spoken more than 2,500 years ago around the Black Sea. This area was the realm of Scythian nomads, who fought and traded with the Greeks.
Essentially, the ancient Greeks seem to have been trying to re-create the sounds of Scythian names and words on the Amazon vases by writing them out phonetically, the study authors suggest. In doing so, the Greeks may have preserved the roots of ancient languages, showing scholars how these people sounded on the steppes long ago.
"I am impressed, and I find the conclusions quite plausible," says archaeologist Ann Steiner, an expert on ancient Greek vases at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, by email. The results give weight to the suggestion that well-traveled Athenians first learned of Amazon legends and names from foreigners in their midst, she says.
Amazons Memorialized
Amazons were thought to be solely mythological until archaeologists unearthed Scythian burials of real women warriors, says Mayor, a visiting scholar at Stanford University and author of the just-released The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World.
"Amazons were clearly exotic and exciting to the Greeks. Clearly there is respect and admiration mixed with ambivalence," says Mayor. "Women lived much more separate and unequal lives in the Greek world, so the notion of women who dressed like men and fought like them was pretty exciting to them."
On the Amazon vases, Colarusso found an archer named Battle-Cry, a horsewoman named Worthy of Armor, and others with names such as Hot Flanks that probably had erotic connotations. On one vase, a scene of two Amazons hunting with a dog appears with a Greek transliteration for the Abkhazian word meaning "set the dog loose."
The other figures shown, such as Hercules and Achilles, were also named on the vases, leading the researchers to think the Amazon labels were meant as names, not descriptions.
The names were probably nicknames or heroic appellations given to Amazons, rather than real family names. Even today, Colarusso says, speakers of modern-day languages in the Caucasus region often use public, descriptive nicknames rather than reveal their real names.
Vases from Athens were a hot commodity in the fifth and sixth centuries B.C., traded across the Mediterranean. Often they held wine or were used as decanters during symposia, celebratory drinking parties for men. The vases were often painted with legendary scenes intended to provoke debate at the event, and a minority were inscribed with words.
A photo of an ancient fragmentary attic black-figure olpe from Greece.
Ancient vases carrying images of Amazons reflect a long-running Greek fascination with the female warriors.
More than 1,500 vases preserved from the era contain "nonsense" inscriptions that mostly use combinations of Greek letters but don't form words in ancient Greek (an analogy in English would be "dosud" or "hisme," which use the Latin alphabet but don't form meaningful words). Some of these also include depictions of women warriors.
Athenians had a long-running fascination with Amazons and began depicting them in art before 550 B.C., says the Getty's Saunders, a study author. After a Scythian incursion into Thrace, the region north of Greece, Amazons were more often shown wearing Scythian tunics, trousers, and hats, sitting on horses and carrying bows and axes.
Mayor realized the images on the vases matched clothes found in Scythian burials. "It all started from a hunch," she says. "What if these illiterate gibberish scribbles on ancient Greek vases depicting Amazons and Scythians meant something?"
Game of the Goose
To find out, Mayor first asked Colarusso, an expert on rare languages such as Circassian, Abkhazian, Ossetian, and Ubykh, to translate nonsense inscriptions on a vase that didn't have images of Amazons.
"I had goosebumps when I realized we were really deciphering sounds perhaps 3,000 years old," Colarusso says now.
The goosebumps came, in fact, from the New York Goose Play Vase, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The vase, dating to 400 B.C., depicts a scene involving a policeman and a dead goose in a basket.
On the vase, some characters speak decipherable Greek phrases, but the policeman says something that sounds like "noraretteblo," meaningless in Greek. Colarusso, blind to the scene on the vase, translated the phrase into "This sneak thief steals from the man over there" in ancient Circassian.
Remarkably, Athens is thought to have employed Scythian constables in the era of the lost play depicted on the vase, suggesting the Greeks depicted foreigners they were familiar with.
"Deciphering that very exact phrase told me we had something," Colarusso says. The languages of the Caucasus region still contain words with repeated hard, friction-filled sounds, such as "kh," he says, making them diagnosable as archaic Scythian sounds rendered phonetically in Greek phrases on the vases.
Making Sense of Nonsense
To test the translations, Mayor also sent Colarusso true Greek-inflected gibberish, which he couldn't translate.
In other instances, Colarusso translated words that are nonsense in Greek into phrases from other, archaic dialects. For example, without seeing the image on a vase depicting a Scythian archer next to a dog, he translated the inscribed words into "the dog is sitting by him."
"They've taken a great deal of trouble to make it a really convincing case," says classicist Anthony Snodgrass of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who was not on the study team.
The only limitation of the study, Snodgrass says, is the small number of vases used in the research, a dozen of the 1,500 known.
"It all raises a lot of questions: Why would the Athenians want these phrases on their vases?" Saunders says. Many of the vases were exported to northern Italy, where Scythians must have been quite rare, and were found in Etruscan burials there.
All in all, the translations point to the wide interconnection of the ancient world, he says, where Bronze Age trade routes were used to carry goods from Iberia to Siberia.
"It certainly has made me a lot more careful about what I call nonsense," Saunders adds.