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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Daily Drift

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

48 BC On landing in Egypt, Pompey is murdered on the orders of Ptolemy.
855 The Emperor Lothar dies in Gaul, and his kingdom is divided between his three sons.
1066 William, Duke of Normandy, soon to be known as William the Conqueror invades England.
1106 King Henry of England defeats his brother Robert at the Battle of Tinchebrai and reunites England and Normandy.
1238 James of Aragon retakes Valencia, Spain, from the Arabs.
1607 Samuel de Champlain and his colonists return to France from Port Royal Nova Scotia.
1794 The Anglo-Russian-Austrian Alliance of St. Petersburg, which is directed against France, is signed.
1864 Union General William Rosecrans blames his defeat at Chickamauga on two of his subordinate generals. They are later exonerated by a court of inquiry.
1874 Colonel Ronald Mackenzie raids a war camp of Comanche and Kiowa at the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, Texas, slaughtering 2,000 of their horses.
1904 A woman is placed under arrest for smoking a cigarette on New York's Fifth Avenue.
1912 W.C. Handy's "Memphis Blues" is published.
1913 Race riots in Harriston, Mississippi, kill 10 people.
1924 Three U.S. Army aircraft arrive in Seattle, Washington after completing a 22-day round-the-world flight.
1928 Sir Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin when he notices a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory; it remained for Howard Florey and Ernst Chain to isolate the active ingredient, allowing the "miracle drug" to be developed in the 1940s.
1939 Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agree on a division of Poland; Warsaw surrenders to German troops.
1958 France ratifies a new constitution.
1959 Explorer VI, the U.S. satellite, takes the first video pictures of earth.
1961 Military coup in Damacus ends the Egypt-Syria union known as the United Arab Republic that was formed Feb. 1, 1958.
1963 Roy Lichtenstein's pop art work Whaam!, depicting in comic-book style a US jet shooting down an enemy fighter, is exhibited for the first time; it will become one of the best known examples of pop art.
1995 Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat sign an interim agreement concerning settlement on the Gaza Strip.
1996 Afghanistan's former president (1986-92) Mohammad Najibullah tortured and murdered by the Taliban.
2008 SpaceX launches the first private spacecraft, Falcon 1.

Man used jackhammer to destroy two-billion-year-old rock formation in order to have sea view

A resident in a small town of Brittany, western France, was so intent on getting a sea view that he used a jackhammer to break off a huge chunk of an extremely rare two-billion-year-old rock formation outside his home.
The unnamed resident decided that enough was enough last Thursday after years of a sea-less view in his home in Locquirec in the Finistère department of Brittany. Seemingly without any regard for the town’s priceless heritage the man got hold of a jackhammer and began drilling into the priceless rocks. On Monday the man stopped his demolition after being ordered to do so by authorities.
It turns out this isn’t the first time the man has been caught trying to clear his view. The man had already made an attempt to budge one of the rocks in 2013, before being stopped by Dour ha Douar, an association specializing in the respect and protection of the environment.
Ironically, the association came across the resident in the midst of his renovation work during a guided tour of the town’s natural heritage. By Sunday a sign had appeared saying "Here the destruction of heritage". The rocks, which are formed from an extremely rare type of granite that no longer exists in Brittany, date back more than two billion years.

Waitress Gives Lush Dimbulb’s $2000 Tip To Abortion Charity

rush_limbaugh5 A waitress-turned-author has a confession that might make wingnut hate speech radio hack Lush Dimbilb a bit uncomfortable: The two thousand dollars he gave her as a tip? She immediately gave it to charities which fund abortions.
Lush Dimbulb has stolen millions off of his particular brand of knee-jerk anti-liberalism, over the years becoming one of the most despised  radio hacks on the air. With all of that hate-profit, Dimbulb was apparently feeling generous when he went out twice with his friend, sportscaster Al Michaels, to an upscale Dallas steakhouse where award-winning author, Merritt Tierce, was working as a waitress. After he got his bills, he reportedly left Tierce a total of $2,000 in the tip line.
Given the pretty awful treatment workers in the food and service industries often experience, most waiters and waitresses would be forgiven for taking the money and running, but not Tierce. Little did Dimbulb know, but his waitress also happened to be the executive director of the Texas Equal Abortion Fund. I wonder if he would still have felt so generous had he known?
Tierce said the thought didn’t even cross her mind to keep the money. She said it felt “like blood money to me.” Instead, she took the money and gave it to her charity — which provides financial assistance to poor women who need abortions but can’t afford the costs. “It felt like laundering the money in a good way,” she recalled. “He’s such an obvious target for any feminist or sane person. It was really bizarre to me that he gave me $2,000, and he’s evil incarnate in some ways.”
She may not have kept the money, but Tierce wound up just fine. After a few years, she decided to take some of her experiences as a waitress and turn it into a fictional re-imagining of that Dallas steakhouse in her debut novel Love Me Back.
Lush on the other hand? Poor, poor Lush. While he was publicly ranting about how college women who want birth control were “sluts” and “prostitutes,” the money he was making with all that anger was being dumped directly back into the very things he opposed. How’s that for karma?
If you’ve managed to avoid Limbulb’s bloviating and aren’t aware (in which case, bravo!), the hate speech hack is fiercely opposed to abortion. To make that opposition explicitly clear, in a broadcast a few years ago, he went so far as to call abortion and the pro-choice movement the “root of our cultural decay.”
Make that: cultural decay sponsored by Lush Dimbulb.

Tom Cotton and the era of post-truth politics

Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., attends the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Thursday, March 14, 2013.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)A couple of years ago, Mitt Romney developed a bad habit. As part of his national campaign, the repugican nominee would attack President Obama over some perceived failing. Then the attack would be fact-checked and be proven wrong. Romney, confronted with proof that he was lying, would repeat the claim anyway, convinced that it didn’t matter whether he told the truth or not. It happened over and over and over again.
It underscored a dangerous development: the era of post-truth politics.
Two years later, the phenomenon hasn’t gone away. In Arkansas last week,  Tom Cotton (r), his cabal’s nominee, was caught in one of the most brazen lies of the 2014 campaign season. The right-wing congressman claimed he voted against this year’s Farm Bill because President Obama “hijacked” it, “turned it into a food-stamp bill,” and added “billions more in spending.”
As a factual matter, literally none of this is even remotely true, and fact-checkers came down hard on such shameless dishonesty – all of which might matter if Cotton gave a darn. But as Peter Urban reported the other day, the repugican just doesn’t care about getting caught.
Rejecting criticism of its latest TV ad, repugican  Tom Cotton plans to keep running the “Farm Bill” message beyond its current ad buy.
“We’ve gotten such great feedback from farmers, taxpayers, and supporters that we’re actually going to increase the size of the ad buy,” said David Ray, a spokes-liar for the Cotton campaign.
In a local interview this week, Cotton said he’s “proud” of his demonstrably dishonest commercial, adding that the fact-checkers didn’t spend time “growing up on a farm,” so he knows “a little bill more about farming than they do.”
As defenses go, Cotton’s argument is gibberish. One need not grow up on a farm to recognize the basic tenets of reality. The congressman told a lie, he knew it was a lie, he got caught telling a lie, and instead of doing the honorable thing, Cotton has decided he likes this lie.
The public discourse isn’t supposed to work this way. Under traditional American norms, politicians could be expected to spin, dodge, and slice the truth awfully thin, but there was an expectation that a candidate who got caught telling a bald-faced lie to the public was likely to end up in real trouble.
Cotton seems to believe those norms no longer apply – he can get caught lying and pay no real price at all.
In other words, Tom Cotton sees American politics in a post-truth era. He can say what he pleases, without regard for honesty, because there won’t be any meaningful consequences for deceiving the public on purpose.
Is he right? This didn’t work out too well for Romney, but Cotton’s in a much better position to prevail in Arkansas.
Once the standard is set that lying will be rewarded, what incentive will politicians have to be honest?

After Doing Nothing for Six Years, repugicans Claim We Need More … Wait For It - repugicans

We are supposed to believe that "repugicans are working to create jobs for Americans. Democrats are working to save their own."…
The midterms are fast approaching and repugicans are scrambling to blame the Democrats for having done nothing at all to move the country forward since the day Barack Obama took office in 2009.
In a CNN op-ed, John Thune (r-SD) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (r-WA) claim – and you wonder if they didn’t giggle helpless over their keyboards as they wrote –
Our cabal has heard Americans’ concerns, and that’s why we’ve put forward hundreds of bills to help grow the economy, create jobs, expand opportunity and give American families hope for tomorrow.
The repugican cabal has, of course, done nothing of the sort. But according to Thune and Rodgers, “The House repugican majority has passed one jobs bill after another.”
John Boehner keeps claiming that repugicans have produced 40+ jobs bills, and Nancy Pelosi’s office finally had to put together a fact sheet to disprove the scurrilous allegations that the repugican cabal had tried to create even a single job for Americans:
Speaker Boehner’s list of 43 so-called “jobs” bills includes:
  • 33 partisan, special interest bills, which are message bills to nowhere and are not “jobs” bills; and
  • 10 mostly modest bills with bipartisan support still being considered in the Senate; not significant “jobs” bills.
That’s how much repugicans love Americans’ concerns. As just one example of these mythical jobs bills,
* The repugican cabal’s Budget to Give More Tax Breaks to Millionaires, As Well As To Destroy 3 Million Jobs (Path to Prosperity Budget, H.Con.Res. 96) – Instead of creating jobs, this House repugican cabal budget is estimated to destroy 3 million jobs and decrease economic growth by 2.5 percent in 2016. The repugican cabal budget guts investment in America’s highways, railways, transit systems, and ports and slashes education funding. In addition, the repugican cabal budget raises taxes on middle class families with children by an average of at least $2,000, while giving a $200,000 tax break to millionaires.
Yeah, sorry Thune and Rodgers. Those just don’t sound all that helpful to the bulk of us who are NOT rich. Which is most Americans. You know, the ones you pretend to care about.
Since none of “Mythical 40 actually create jobs, what do they do? As explained earlier , “The list of “jobs bills” reveals that the legislation falls into three categories.”
  • The largest category is tax breaks and gifts for the oil, coal, and natural gas industries.
  • he second category is regulatory repeal, which is also another gift for big business.
  • The last category is attacks on Obamacare. Boehner’s jobs bills for veterans increased fees for services to vets.
But we’re supposed to believe “While Democrats stand in the way of 21st-century solutions that will move our economy forward, repugicans continue to advance them… We want to make it better.”
For whom? Not for you and me, that is for certain. The Koch brothers might feel differently.
If that isn’t fantasy enough for one op-ed, Thune and Rodgers want you to believe that,
Unfortunately, once these bills go to the Democrat-led Senate, their progress comes to an abrupt halt. Scores of jobs bills and other important legislation are currently gathering dust on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s desk.
The same thing has happened to Senate repugicans.
“Americans need solutions. But as long as Reid continues to obstruct meaningful legislation in the Senate, they’re not going to get them.”
In a classic example of blaming the other guy for your own deeds, the dynamically dishonest duo write,
While Democrats stand in the way of 21st-century solutions that will move our economy forward, repugicans continue to advance them.
The contrast between the two parties couldn’t be more clear: repugicans are working to create jobs for Americans. Democrats are working to save their own.
Really? How about when, back in July, you repugicans voted against American jobs by blocking a bill to end tax breaks for companies outsourcing jobs? I might be missing something, but sending American jobs overseas is a peculiar way to benefit Americans.
And what about that unfortunate little fact from just last week? You know, when, House repugicans screwed the American people by canceling jobs votes and leaving until November?
After a nearly a year of having done nothing, House repugicans have rewarded themselves by canceling all of their remaining votes and leaving town until after November’s midterm election.
DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel said in response,
House repugicans are now abandoning any pretense of doing actual work for the American people, skipping town one day after doing the bare minimum required to keep the government functioning but blocking any progress for the middle class. House repugicans have proved yet again that they are only interested in doing their jobs long enough to stack the deck for special interests and launch political stunts. Democrats are committed to jumpstarting our middle class, not setting the government on autopilot and then heading for vacation.
republican obstructionIn fact, far from moving the country forward, repugicans have plotted to hold the country back. As Robert Draper’s 2012 book, ‘Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the US House of Representatives’ explained, 15 repugicans, “House members Eric Cantor, Jeb Hensarling, Pete Hoekstra, Dan Lungren, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Pete Sessions. From the Senate were Tom Coburn, Bob Corker, Jim DeMint, John Ensign and Jon Kyl…gathered at the Caucus Room in Washington” and came up with a strategy to make the Obama presidency a failure.
They planned to do this by obstructing the president. Not to move America forward. Not to create jobs. But to oppose everything Obama did so that he would not get re-elected in 2012.
That was it, their grand strategy for America in a time of crisis. A plan that – given we were in two wars the repugicans themselves had started and struggling with an economy they themselves had destroyed – was nothing short of treason.
David Axelrod tweeted at the time, and really, “appalling” just doesn’t seem a strong enough term,
“This is sad, appalling but not terribly surprising. A repugican cabal plan to obstruct from day one.”
It is not Democrats who have refused to work with repugicans, but repugicans who, on Day 1 back in 2009, decided that they would never ever agree with anything the president wanted, even if it meant exposing themselves as buffoons by opposing their own bills should Democrats ever agree with them.
As Earl Ofari Hutchinson wrote over at HuffPo in January, “the repugican cabal’s biggest foe in 2014 will remain the repugican cabal.”
Reading Thune’s and Rodgers’ op-ed, I can only think that Lewis Carroll could not have indulged in a more bizarre wonderland of the imagination.
You want to help Americans, Thune and Rodgers? If you want to help, don’t come back. Stay on vacation.

The repugicans Disrespect The Marines While Trying To Raise Money Off Obama’s Latte Salute

obama latte salute
The repugicans have turned their faux outrage over Obama’s “latte salute” into a crass fundraising ploy that is disrespectful to all Marines who have served, fought, and bled for their country.
Badly trailing in fundraising the national repugican senatorial coven is trying to raise money off of Obama’s latte salute:
The repugican fundraising pitch is that Obama has disrespected the troops, “Our Commander-in-Chief should take the time to properly salute our nation’s heroes in uniform. They do it for him. Unfortunately, his disregard is part of a larger pattern. If you want to send a message to this White House that you’ve had enough, fill out this form and get your free bumper sticker.”
The bumper sticker tells Obama to put the latte down and features the hashtag semperlatte. Semper Latte is an abuse of the Marine motto Semper fidelis, which means always faithful or always loyal. Hundreds of thousands of Marines have bled and died for our country with that motto in their hearts. It is the height of disrespect for repugicans to warp the motto into a crass political gimmick that they are trying to use to raise money for their struggling senate campaigns.
This behavior is nothing new for the repugican cabal. The repugican cabal wrapped themselves around the flag while raising money off of the troops that they sent to die during the Iraq war. Exploiting the troops for financial gain is normal behavior for repugicans, and the irony of repugicans claiming that President Obama disrespected the Marines while they disrespect the Marines to raise money should not be lost on anyone.
The fact is that Obama didn’t disrespect the Marines. There is no rule or protocol for saluting the troops. It is a bit of political theater that Ronald Reagan invented in 1981. The basis for the repugican faux outrage over the “latte salute” has been debunked. The wingnut tizzy over Obama’s salute is another distraction that is hiding the reality that the 2014 election isn’t going well for the repugican cabal.
The repugicans are facing another defeat in November, so they are inventing a new Obama scandal to distract the voters from figuring out what a terrible job their cabal is doing. What is disrespectful the troops has nothing to do with a latte, and everything to do with repugicans exploiting phony patriotism for political gain.

Sam Brownback Insults Kansas Voters By Treating Them Like They Are Gullible and Stupid

It is beyond dispute that repugicans take advantage of their supporters' stupidity, and Brownback must believe Kansas voters are the stupidest people in the nation …
Gullibility is a failure of rudimentary social intelligence in which a person is easily and often tricked and manipulated into taking ill-advised courses of action. Gullible people suffer from credulity which is a seemingly wanton desire to believe unlikely propositions that are unsupported by evidence and are generally in the same class of people including very young children, very old people, and the developmentally disabled. One can confidently say that repugican voters are gullible by choice regardless of their age, intelligence level, or academic background and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is counting on their credulity to win re-election in November.
It is beyond dispute that repugicans take advantage of their supporters’ stupidity, and Brownback must believe Kansas voters are the stupidest people in the nation according to his campaign website. Brownback has the temerity to boast that his nonexistent economic achievements have elevated Kansas’ economy to nation-leading heights and promised that his “junta has accomplished this and so much more in my first term as Governor.” He ended by appealing to voters to “Help me stand up for Kansas against an over-reaching federal government. Join Lt. Governor Colyer and I (sic) today.”
It is unlikely there are many Kansans who are unaware of the “fiscal catastrophe” the state is experiencing due to Brownback’s tax cuts. They are so severe the state’s school system is in a severe crisis, ratings agencies have issued several credit downgrades, and the healthcare system is in tatters due to privatization. Interestingly, Brownback actually told Kansas residents his brilliant “red state economic model” was founded on principles that were not “the kind detectable by ratiocination.” He said in a speech in 2013 that his economic acumen is not based on “mental principles, but things that connect through the heart.”
Even gullible repugican voters cannot deny, whether their hearts like it or not, that squandering a budget surplus on tax cuts for the rich and corporations coupled with a billion-plus dollars in more cuts has wreaked havoc on the people and put the Kansas’ financial status on the fast track to bankruptcy. Still, Brownback is confident that despite the state’s nation-leading economic disaster, he can simply tell voters that everything is wonderful if they will only disregard mental principles of a thirty-year failed repugican economic agenda and connect with Brownback through their hearts. That, and just trust that Brownback’s economic policies are a raging success at “growing the Kansas economy.”
That was one of the main headings on Brownback’s campaign website and obviously he assumes people suffering under his typically repugican economic agenda are unaware that Kansas’ economy is not leading the nation. Part and parcel of Brownback’s storied “red state model” economic agenda was following trickle-down champion Arthur Laffer’s instructions to repugican legislators that if they slashed taxes for the rich and reduced the state’s revenue, the state would be awash in new revenue. Now that the state has suffered several credit downgrades due to a lack of revenue, over a hundred current and former repugican leaders have endorsed Brownback’s Democratic opponent and warned Kansas residents that Brownback’s tax cuts will bankrupt the state within two years if not sooner. It is what Brownback’s campaign calls growing the Kansas economy.
Brownback must believe Kansans are the most gullible people in the nation because he claimed that because he “decreased taxes for all Kansans,  Kansans naturally have more money in their pockets in 2014.”  It is doubtful his assertion will ring true with voters who know full well Brownback’s claim is a filthy lie. They may be ignorant and likely very gullible, but Kansans who are not wealthy are very aware they do not have more money to spend and it is due to the disastrous tax cuts for the rich and corporations.
It is true Brownback cut taxes to the bone for the wealthy and corporations, but for the great majority of Kansans there is less money to spend because their tax liability increased. Why? Because while the rich and corporations enjoy tax cuts, most Kansans across the state are paying much higher local and property taxes to make up for the state’s revenue shortfalls starving schools, shutting down the courts, and forcing prisons to operate with woefully insufficient guards.
Brownback claims his tax cuts were solely to boost state revenue, help corporations, and demonstrate to the rest of America how the perfect “red state economic model” can be enacted successfully at the federal level. However, as Kansas residents have experienced firsthand, the goal was starving the government of revenue. One of Brownback’s wingnut cohorts in the state’s legislature admitted the only purpose of outrageous tax cuts was to enrich the wealthy and reduce revenue to chop the government down to size; likely to drown it in a bathtub. It is precisely why repugicans at the national level are desperate to control Congress and enact Brownback’s government-killing tax cuts at the federal level.
Astonishingly, national repugicans are not even concealing their intent to follow Brownback’s “red state model” anymore. It was blatantly evident in statements from Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan that stealing control of Congress means repugicans can “go after the federal government, all of it;” including as Ryan says putting a “stop to Social  Security, Medicare, Medicaid,” and anything remotely considered “an entitlement.” Even more astonishingly, there are millions of gullible Americans who will vote for repugicans despite having a clear vision of precisely what that Kansas red state model means for the American people and the economic future of the United States.
It is going to be interesting to see how the people of Kansas react to their governor’s assumption that they are so gullible, and in fact stupid, to believe that his fiscal catastrophe is really a brilliant economic achievement. Although reports reveal that Kansas voters are paying attention and are not happy with the governor, he does still have a secret campaign weapon in his arsenal; the fetus. Brownback made a name for himself as a champion of the 'christian' morality crowd and regardless of how bad a state’s economy or people suffer, they will rush to support even a walking economic disaster if he invokes the religion that depends on gullibility nearly as much as repugican politicians.

Moron repugican Denies Making Controversial Comments About Gays, Forgets The Entire Thing Is On Tape

Robert Pittenger (r-NC) is now claiming that he did not make comments supporting anti-LGBT employment discrimination, as reported by ThinkProgress earlier this month.
At a town hall event in Ballantyne, North Carolina, Pittenger was asked: “Do you think businesses should be able to fire someone because they are gay or lesbian?” He replied that businesses should have the “autonomy” to fire workers for being LGBT, and asked rhetorically: “Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?”
The Charlotte Observer picked up the story, and reported that when they called Pittenger to confirm the quotes, the congressman “stood by his comments.”
But after local and national human rights groups began organizing around the comments and protesting at Pittenger’s office in Charlotte, he stood by them no longer.
Local channel WSOC-TV reported: “The congressman’s office insists he never made the divisive statement…Pittinger told [ThinkProgress] he does not support the employment non-discrimination act and the blogger ran with it.”
The office repeated the denial to MSNBC: “His opposition to ENDA was ‘translated’ into ‘firing gays’ by that blogger,” the director, Jamie Bowers, wrote in an email to MSNBC on Friday.”
Below is the unedited recording of the remarks, which confirms the quotes originally ran by ThinkProgress.
Pittenger begins by saying, “I believe people are already protected.”
This is false. There are no national protections for LGBT workers, and Congress is unlikely to pass them any time soon. While some states have passed protections, North Carolina is not one of them.
He then says: “We don’t want to micromanage people’s lives and businesses. If you have a business, do you want the government to come in and tell you you need to hire somebody?”
Despite this characterization, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would not involve the government forcing businesses to hire LGBT workers. Rather, it would bar employers from using sexual orientation or gender identity as a reason to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote a worker.
In the remarks he now denies, Pittenger compares the right to discriminate in hiring to the right to smoke on private property: “It’s like smoking bans,” he said “Do you ban smoking or do people have the right to private property? I think people have the right to private property.”

Roca Labs Sues Customer For Posting A Negative Review To Better Business Bureau

Roca Labs makes the "Non Surgical Gastric Bypass" (which one expert says is mostly industrial food thickeners) with terms-of-sale that prohibit complaining if you get sick, or don't like the product, or feel like you were ripped off.
The customer they're suing lodged a complaint with the Better Business Bureau; Roca asserts "breach of contract" and "defamation per se," because under the terms of the company's fine-print, any customer complaint is automatically defamatory.
That's not how defamation law works. At all. Even if this woman's comments to the BBB are defamatory (and I'm not saying they are), you can't just have someone sign a contract saying that if they do something, they'll be guilty of defamation.
Either way, all of this should make you wonder just what sort of company Roca Labs is - in that it seems to not just sue its own customers for negative reviews, but to work so hard to stop negative reviews and to threaten and intimidate those who make complaints about their experience with the company.

Here's Where Criminals Go to Buy Guns Online

You don't need Tor. You don't need super-secret encryption. And you definitely don't need a background check. Getting firearms online, fast, without any legal fuss, is pretty easy. In fact, a new report concludes plenty of domestic abusers and violent felons are getting guns that way.Titled "Online and Off the Record," the report by Everytown.-.the Mike Bloomberg-affiliated pro-regulation gun group - suggests that hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of guns nationwide are now being sold online sans paperwork or background checks, and as many as 10 percent of them are going straight to convicted criminals who are legally barred from owning firearms.
The report focused on web-based gun sales in Washington state, where voters will decide in November whether to require background checks on all weapons purchases and where "more than forty thousand guns are posted for sale by unlicensed sellers on just five websites" each year, without a background check requirement, Everytown estimates.

How Unemployment Works


Man gambled away small fortune after bank accidentally transferred money into his account

A New Zealand man spent more than $100,000 (£49,000, $80,000) in a week after his bank accidentally transferred the money into his account, a court has heard. Mehdi Soheili, whose name suppression lapsed on Tuesday, appeared in the Auckland District Court after admitting a charge of theft. The 32-year-old's lawyer Shannon Withers called it "an unfortunate crime of opportunity" and told the court how his client gambled most of the cash away. On November 13, Soheili found that his bank, the name of which is suppressed, had transferred $141,991 (£69,000, $113,000) into his account in error.
Eight days later they froze his spending but not before he had spent a significant chunk of it. Soheili, a qualified chef, admitted stealing $106,217 (£52,000, $84,500). "It was his addiction to gambling and an unwise series of decisions," Mr Withers said. "This will impact upon his future for a considerable amount of time." The lawyer said his client intended to pay the money back but his job prospects would be diminished if his name was made public. Judge David Wilson, QC, declined name suppression and said that at $150 (£73, $119) a week, it would take the defendant about 13 years to pay off his debt.
In the interim, the bank added the debt to Soheili's account, meaning he now had a six-figure, maxed-out overdraft. The court heard how he had obtained a self-seclusion order from SkyCity to keep him away but the judge noted that had only been done in May, six months after the theft. Soheili was due to be sentenced on Tuesday but because he had refused to let probation assess his home, he could not be considered for a community-based sentence.
Rather than sentence him to imprisonment, Judge Wilson adjourned the hearing until November so he could rethink his position, which appeared to please the defendant. "Generally speaking a theft of this magnitude would lead to a jail sentence," the judge said. He called the offending "an act of some significant dishonesty" but said that among his seven previous convictions, which included unlawfully taking a vehicle, there was little to suggest the defendant was capable of repeating such serious acts. The case was not as bad as people defrauding others of their life savings, he said, but it was not a victimless crime. "I don't accept there's been no loss to the bank. Whether they get fully paid, that remains to be seen," the judge added.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse questioned by police after brawl with heckler in Spanish square

A street performer and his partner dressed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse were questioned by Spanish police after a brawl with a heckler in a square in the Spanish capital Madrid. The punch-up happened when entertainers Fazzio and Ticiana Yanez lost their temper at a persistent critic.
Yanez ripped off his Mickey Mouse head and then grappled with the heckler, getting him in a headlock. His partner then took off her Minnie head as she followed the tussle around the square shouting abuse and grabbing at the man's clothing. Passer-by Aristobulo Olivarez said: "It's certainly not something you see every day."
He added: "He'd been heckling their balloon bending magic act for some time and it seems they'd had enough." Police halted the brawl by separating the heckler - later identified as Vero Arreola - and Yanez, who by now had a bloody nose. Minnie performer Ticiana said: "We have a good children's show but he just wouldn't leave us alone."

Police spokesman Seneca Nino said: "Three people have been interviewed over a public disturbance." The incident could also have unfortunate consequences for the costumed pair after local Disney representatives said they were not licensed, and officials are compelled to take action to ban them from using the cartoon characters in future.

Customs officers in court accused of smuggling wore underpants on heads to avoid identification

Fifteen Malaysian customs officers being remanded at the Petaling Jaya Magistrate’s Court created a scene when some of them wore underpants on their heads in an attempt to hide their identities.
The officers had their remand extended on Wednesday by Magistrate Ahmad Solihin Abd Wahid for another five days to assist in the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigations into alleged smuggling of cigarettes and alcohol.
The 15 are being investigated under the MACC Act 2009 and the Anti-Money Laundering Act and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2010. They were arrested on Sept 18, and were further remanded until Sept 29.
The arrests were part of MACC’s crackdown on Customs officials over alleged corruption, involving hundreds of millions of ringgit worth of contraband items. To date, a Customs director Datuk Mohd Nasir Said and nine other officers have been charged in various Sessions courts, with dozens more still being investigated.

35,000 pounds of kidnapped formerly frozen chicken is now rotting at truck stop

Sheriff's officials in Wye, Montana, say a trucker from Nampa, Idaho, employed by Dixie River Freight, driving a tractor-trailer carrying 35,000 lbs of frozen chicken worth $80,000 had texted his company saying he’d return the chicken in exchange for ransom money. When the company declined, the suspect abandoned the trailer and left in the rig. The truck was reported stolen, but the trailer wasn’t entered into the national database, leaving deputies to discover it by chance this week.

Woman threw raw chicken, bananas and pickled onions on driveway of mooning millionaire

A woman in a wealthy Surrey suburb has admitted throwing raw chicken, bananas and pickled onions on the driveway of a man dubbed the ‘mooning millionaire’ after a bitter dispute with another neighbor.
Mari Hannah Swanson, 30, of Beaverbank, The Glade, Kingswood, appeared in court last Monday, charged with harassment. Her victim Neville Williams, of Red Roofs, Forest Drive, Kingswood, was targeted between between July 7 and 16. Swanson pleaded guilty to the bizarre behavior and was handed a restraining order banning her from contacting Mr Williams until next September.
She also received a 12 month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £85 in costs. Swanson also pleaded guilty to damaging Mr Williams’ brick wall after painting it white. Her sentence for this offense was discharged conditionally for 12 months.

No compensation was ordered as the amount was "not substantiated". She had also been charged with throwing paper rubbish across Mr Williams’ driveway and going to his home intending to throw bags of wet cat food - but both charges were withdrawn in court.

Missing ketchup led to shooting at McDonald's

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a BB gun shooting at a McDonald's restaurant in Anderson, California, at around 12:15am on Tuesday. Police said they were disgruntled because ketchup was not included in their order. Employees at the business reported a red car occupied by a white man and a white woman leaving the business unhappy about the lack of ketchup. Shortly afterwards, the business reported the drive-up window had been shot out.

The Truth Be Told

Think You Have Alzheimer’s?

Think You Have Alzheimer’s? You May Be Right

New research by scientists at the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown […]

11 Dangers Of Sleep Deprivation

Lack of sleep can make you grumpy, foggy, ruin your sex life, memory, health, looks, and even the ability to lose weight. Here are 11 serious., though not the only, effects of sleep loss.1. Sleepiness Causes Accidents
Sleep deprivation was a major factor in the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, and the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill, as well as the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, and others. Sleep deprivation is a public safety hazard every day on the road. Drowsiness slows reaction time as much as drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue and sleep loss is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S. and this problem is greatest among people under 25 years old.
Sleep loss and poor-quality sleep also lead to accidents and injuries in the work place. Workers who suffer daytime sleepiness have significantly more work accidents, particularly repeated work accidents.
2. Sleep Loss Dulls Cognitive Processes
Sleep plays a critical role in the thinking and learning processes. Deprivation of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. It seriously impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving, making it more difficult to learn efficiently.
More important, during the night, various sleep cycles play a role in sorting, filing, and consolidating memories in the mind. If you don’t get sufficient sleep, you won’t be able to recall what you learned and experienced during the day.
3. Sleep Deprivation May Lead To Very Serious Health Problems
Chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for:
Heart disease
Heart attack
Heart failure
Irregular heartbeat
High blood pressure
It is estimated that 90% of people with insomnia usually also have other serious health conditions.
4. Lack of Sleep Kills Sex Drive
Sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and thus less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension and depression caused by sleep loss may increase sexual dysfunctions. Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2002 suggests that many men with sleep apnea also have low testosterone levels. In the study, nearly half of the men who suffered from severe sleep apnea also secreted abnormally low levels of testosterone
5. Sleepiness Can Cause Severe Depression
The sleep disorder, insomnia, has the strong link to depression. In a 2007 study of 10,000 people, those with insomnia were five times more likely to develop depression as those without. Also, insomnia is frequently the first symptom of depression.
6. Lack of Sleep Ages You And Your Skin
Most people have experienced sallow skin and puffy eyes after just a few nights of missed sleep, but chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and more permanent dark circles under the eyes. Furthermore when you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol, which in excess amounts can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.
Serious sleep loss also causes the body to release too little human growth hormone, which promotes growth when we’re young. In adults as we age, it helps increase muscle mass, thicken skin, and strengthen bones. It is an important part of normal tissue repair rejuvenating the wear and tear of the day on our bodies.
7. Sleep Deprivation Makes You Forgetful
If you’re trying to keep your memory sharp, best try getting plenty of sleep. Brain events called “sharp wave ripples” are responsible for consolidating memory. These ripples also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where long-term memories are stored. These ripples occur mostly during the deepest levels of sleep.
8. Losing Sleep Can Make You Gain Weight
Chronic lack of sleep seems to be related to increased hunger and appetite, and can lead to obesity. According to a 2004 study, people who sleep less than six hours a day were up to 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven or more hours. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety to the brain suppressing appetite, and shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and an elevations in ghrelin.
Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite, it also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.
9. Lack of Sleep May Increase Risk of Death
British researchers looked at how sleep patterns affected the mortality of more than 10,000 British civil servants over two decades. The results showed that those who had cut their sleep from seven to five hours or less a night nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes, and in particular, lack of sleep doubled the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
10. Sleep Loss Impairs Judgment
Lack of sleep can affect our interpretation of events, reducing our ability to make sound judgments. We may not assess situations accurately and thus not act on them wisely. Sleep-deprived people seem to be especially poor in judgment when assessing what lack of sleep is doing to them. Sleep studies show if you think you’re doing fine on less sleep, you’re probably wrong. Over time, people who are getting six hours of sleep, instead of seven or eight, begin to feel that they’ve adapted to that sleep deprivation, but if you look at how they do on tests of mental alertness and performance, they rapidly go downhill. There’s a point in sleep deprivation when we lose contact with how impaired we are.
11. Sleep Deprivation Impairs Our Body’s Ability To Repair Itself
It is during sleep that our bodies rejuvenate and repair the damages of the day or sickness. Impaired sleep can cause prolonged healing time and even prevent complete recovery.
It is extremely important that the ailing body gets sufficient and sound sleep.


UpOne two-letter  word  in English has more meanings than any other two-letter  word, and that word is ‘UP.’  It is listed in  the  dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n]  or [v].
It’s easy  to  understand UP, meaning toward the sky  or at the top  of the list, but when we awaken in  the morning, why do we wake  UP?
At a meeting, why  does a topic come UP?  Why  do we speak  UP, and why are the  officers UP for  election and why is  it UP to  the secretary to write UP a  report?  We call UP our friends,  brighten  UP a room, polish  UP  the silver,  warm UP the leftovers and clean  UP the kitchen.   We  lock UP the house and fix  UP the old   car.
At other  times, this  little word has real special meaning.   People  stir UP trouble, line  UP for tickets, work   UP an appetite, and think  UP excuses.
To be dressed  is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.
And this UP is confusing:  A  drain must be opened UP because it is stopped  UP.
We open UP a store in the morning  but we close it UP at night.  We seem to be pretty mixed UP about  UP!
To be knowledgeable  about the proper uses of   UP, look UP the word UP in the  dictionary.   In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes   UP almost  1/4 of the page and can add UP to about  thirty  definitions.
If you are  UP to  it,  you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP  is  used.  It will take UP a lot  of your time, but  if you don’t give UP, you may wind   UP with a hundred or  more. 
When it threatens to  rain, we  say it is clouding UP.  When the sun  comes out, we say  it is clearing UP.  When it rains,  it soaks UP  the earth.  When it  does not rain for awhile, things dry   UP.  One could go on  and on, but I’ll wrap it UP,  for now . . . my time  is UP!
Oh . .. . one more  thing:   What is the first thing you do in  the morning and the last thing you  do at  night?
U P!
I’ll shut UP now.

24 Dangerous Toys from Past and Present

I have this weird fascination with deadly kid's toys. Meaning toys for children that generally were not well thought out or were not looked into ahead of time for safety precautions. In the 50's, you could pretty much hand cancer-causing mercury to kids and tell them to play with it. But thankfully, over time, things have changed.
The cool thing, we don't forget.
A great many of these deadly and dangerous toys may not exist anymore, but our minds wont let us erase them. There is a list of 24 Dangerous Toys from Past and Present over at URLesque, and I wont lie, a few of the items on the list shocked me. We are not just talking about small objects kids could choke on. We are talking about toys that could seriously kill your child. Like the above pictured "Atomic Energy Lab" which was just chock full of things no child should ever handle without a hazmat suit.
Now you just need to sit a kid down in front of the TV with a video game controller in their hand and they are fine for hours. But in the olden days, fun often went hand-in-hand with the risk of injury or death. I mean, all I need to end this on is two words to make my point:
Lawn darts.

Retro Photos

Rare vintage photograph of an onna-bugeisha, one of the female warriors of the upper social classes in feudal Japan

Much of Earth's Water Is Older Than the Sun

Much of the water on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system likely predates the birth of the sun, a new study reports.
Much of Earth's Water Is Older Than the SunThe finding suggests that water is commonly incorporated into newly forming planets throughout the Milky Way galaxy and beyond, researchers said — good news for anyone hoping that Earth isn't the only world to host life.
"The implications of our study are that interstellar water-ice remarkably survived the incredibly violent process of stellar birth to then be incorporated into planetary bodies," study lead author Ilse Cleeves, an astronomy Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan said in an email.
"If our sun's formation was typical, interstellar ices, including water, likely survive and are a common ingredient during the formation of all extrasolar systems," Cleeves added. "This is particularly exciting given the number of confirmed extrasolar planetary systems to date — that they, too, had access to abundant, life-fostering water during their formation."
Astronomers have discovered nearly 2,000 exoplanets so far, and many billions likely lurk undetected in the depths of space. On average, every Milky Way star is thought to host at least one planet.
Water, water everywhere
Our solar system abounds with water. Oceans of it slosh about not only on Earth's surface but also beneath the icy shells of Jupiter's moon Europa and the Saturn satellite Enceladus. And water ice is found on Earth's moon, on comets, at the Martian poles and even inside shadowed craters on Mercury, the planet closest to the sun.
Cleeves and her colleagues wanted to know where all this water came from.
Much of Earth's Water Is Older Than the Sun
"Why is this important? If water in the early solar system was primarily inherited as ice from interstellar space, then it is likely that similar ices, along with the prebiotic organic matter that they contain, are abundant in most or all protoplanetary disks around forming stars," study co-author Conel Alexander, of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., said in a statement.
"But if the early solar system's water was largely the result of local chemical processing during the sun's birth, then it is possible that the abundance of water varies considerably in forming planetary systems, which would obviously have implications for the potential for the emergence of life elsewhere," Alexander added.
Heavy and 'normal' water
Not all water is "standard" H2O. Some water molecules contain deuterium, a heavy isotope of hydrogen that contains one proton and one neutron in its nucleus. (Isotopes are different versions of an element whose atoms have the same number of protons, but different numbers of neutrons. The most common hydrogen isotope, known as protium, for example, has one proton but no neutrons.)
Because they have different masses, deuterium and protium behave differently during chemical reactions. Some environments are thus more conducive to the formation of "heavy" water — including super-cold places like interstellar space.
The researchers constructed models that simulated reactions within a protoplanetary disk, in an effort to determine if processes during the early days of the solar system could have generated the concentrations of heavy water observed today in Earth's oceans, cometary material and meteorite samples.
The team reset deuterium levels to zero at the beginning of the simulations, then watched to see if enough deuterium-enriched ice could be produced within 1 million years — a standard lifetime for planet-forming disks.

The answer was no. The results suggest that up to 30 to 50 percent of Earth's ocean water and perhaps 60 to 100 percent of the water on comets originally formed in interstellar space, before the sun was born. (These are the high-end estimates generated by the simulations; the low-end estimates suggest that at least 7 percent of ocean water and at least 14 percent of comet water predates the sun.)
While these findings, published online today (Sept. 25) in the journal Science, will doubtless be of interest to astrobiologists, they also resonated with Cleeves on a personal level, she said.
"A significant fraction of Earth's water is likely incredibly old, so old that it predates the Earth itself," Cleeves said. "For me, uncovering these kinds of direct links between our daily experience and the galaxy at large is fascinating and puts a wonderful perspective on our place in the universe."

Rising Seas

{C402FDE8-73F1-425E-8B74-261B4EA6E6D3}Dorte Haubjerg Søgaard studying sea ice in Greenland LOWSea levels rose up to 5m per century at the end of the last 5 ice ages

Land-ice decay at the end of the last five ice-ages […]

Firefighters rescued pet frog from burning home

Firefighters in Fort Worth, Texas, rescued a pet frog from a burning home and returned the amphibian to the daughter of the homeowners, who were out of town.
Battalion Chief Richard Harrison said that firefighters have saved dogs and cats before, but said it's the first time he recalls a frog rescued. Firefighters were dispatched on Tuesday night to the fire in Westworth Village.
Crews searched the house and found no humans while bringing fire blaze under control, but then Jamie Wilson arrived and asked fire crews to look for her family's frog.
A firefighter located the unscathed frog in its glass container. Authorities are trying to determine what sparked the fire that caused about $60,000 in damage.

Squeaking caterpillar

The larva of the Rhodinia fugax silkmoth have the capacity to squeak when disturbed.

YouTube link.

Goats Trump Chemicals

Herbivores, not herbicides, may be the most effective way to […]