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

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Daily Drift

Editor's Note: We had a roll on the floor holding your belly because it hurt so much from laughing moment earlier when a moronic idiot (read: wingnut) during the course of multiple incoherent diatribes said we had 'zero cedibillity'. We were reminded of this from another of prime example of wingnut intellect ...
Stupid is Stupid and you can't fix it. ...!
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Today in History

1197 Emperor Henry VI dies in Messina, Sicily.
1399 Richard II of England is deposed. His cousin, Henry of Lancaster, declares himself king under the name Henry IV.
1493 Christopher Columbus leaves Cadiz, Spain, on his second voyage to the new world.
1513 Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean.
1789 Congress votes to create a U.S. army.
1833 A civil war breaks out in Spain between Carlisists, who believe Don Carlos deserves the throne, and supporters of Queen Isabella.
1850 Mormon leader Brigham Young is named the first governor of the Utah Territory.
1864 Union troops capture the Confederate Fort Harrison, outside Petersburg, Virginia.
1879 Dissatisfied Ute Indians kill Agent Nathan Meeker and nine others in the "Meeker Massacre."
1932 A five-day work week is established for General Motors workers.
1939 Germany and the Soviet Union reach an agreement on the division of Poland.
1941 30,000 Jews are gunned down in Kiev when Henrich Himmler sends four strike squads to exterminate Soviet Jewish civilians and other "undesirables."
1943 Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf is published in the United States.
1950 Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev repeatedly disrupts a UN General Assembly meeting with his violent outbursts over intervention in the Belgian Congo, US U2 spy planes, and arms control.
1960 General Douglas MacArthur officially returns Seoul, South Korea, to President Syngman Rhee.
1962 Canada launches its first satellite, Alouette 1.
1962 The popular Argentinian comic strip Mafalda beings publication, in the weekly Primera Plana; focusing on a six-year-old girl (Mafalda) and her friends, it has been called the Argentinian Peanuts.
1966 Chevrolet introduces the Camaro, which will become an iconic car.
1971 Oman joins the Arab League.
1979 John Paul II becomes the first pope ever to visit Ireland.
1990 The YF-22, later named F-22 Raptor, flies for the first time.
1992 Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello impeached for corruptions; he was the youngest president in the nation's history, taking office at age 40 in 1990.
2008 Dow Jones Industrial Average plummets 777.68 points in the wake of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual bankruptcies, the largest single-day point loss in Wall Street history.

Why Monsters Were Huge on TV in the '60s

Remembering The Addams Family and The Munsters as they turn 50
by Greg Daugherty
Two anniversaries this year shouldn’t slip by unnoticed: Both The Addams Family and The Munsters are turning 50.
Introduced just six days apart in the fall of 1964, they represented something very different from the television we were accustomed to, as you may remember if you were around at the time. Unlike the picture-perfect families of most sitcoms, these were monsters — warts, fangs, neck bolts and all.
The Addams Family, which aired first, was already familiar to our parents’ generation, at least to those who read The New Yorker, where its characters had been appearing in cartoons since 1938. The patriarch, Gomez, wasn’t exactly a monster but sort of a sinister version of Groucho Marx. His wife, Morticia, was said to be a witch, though she could easily have passed for a vampire. Their butler, Lurch, was a Frankenstein’s monster type, but more polite, better dressed and pretty good on the harpsichord.
And there were others: goonish, lovable lightbulb-in-mouth Uncle Fester; Cousin Itt, a walking mop of hair; and a disembodied hand who went by the name of Thing. The Addamses were creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky, as per their theme music — a song that, if you’re like me, still plays in your head five decades later.
The Munsters, meanwhile, worked from a more classic line-up, with a Frankenstein dad, vampire mom and grandpa, and werewolf son. The black sheep of the family was niece Marilyn, a pretty young college student.
The Monster Craze
The jokey monsters of the mid-'60s were part of a TV craze that began at least a decade earlier. In every city of any size, local stations seemed to have a Chiller Theater or Creature Feature, pairing a campy host with old black-and-white horror films. New York had Zacherley. Los Angeles had Vampira. Chicago had Mad Marvin, then Svengoolie, and still later Son of Svengoolie. Pittsburgh, where I lived for a time, had the great Chilly Billy Cardille, who also hosted wrestling.
Their movies gave us vampires, zombies, mummies, mad scientists and all the rest, plus the occasional giant spider, humongous ant or 50-foot woman. And sometimes they gave us nightmares.
It may have been a prepubescent guy thing, but many of us not only watched these dreadful movies but also spent our allowances on monster trading cards, Aurora monster models and monster magazines. The best of the latter was Famous Monsters of Filmland, edited by a horror and sci-fi buff named Forrest J Ackerman, a man often credited with coining the term “sci-fi.” Incidentally, if you find any old copies of FM in your attic, check their prices on eBay before you pitch them — and be grateful your mom didn’t.
Taming Fear
All in all, it was a second Golden Age of monsters, rivaling only the 1930s, which produced classic horror films like Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933) and countless others.
So why monsters, and why then? Maybe the easiest explanation is that we lived in a scary time and found escape in scary things we knew couldn't really harm us.
At school, our duck-and-cover drills reminded us that the capital-b Bomb could fall from the sky at any moment. We lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, when atomic war with the Soviet Union seemed imminent. We saw President Kennedy and his accused assassin shot to death, Oswald on live television.
Perhaps not coincidentally, it was just 10 months later that The Addams Family and The Munsters came into our lives — for many of us on the same TV sets where we’d watched the very-real horrors of November 1963.
Monsters kept us amused until we were old enough for more grown-up escapes like sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll and careerism. As to the Addamses and Munsters, both of their shows were history by 1967, canceled after two seasons.
None of this is meant to exaggerate their cultural significance. Their goal, after all, was to give us a few laughs every week and sell as much cereal and toothpaste as possible. How well the old episodes have stood the test of time is a probably matter of taste. You can sample some of them online if you dare (and have a lot of time on your hands).
But the fact that they are half a century old? Now that’s scary.

Forced underage marriage church uses Hobby Lobby to defend itself in child labor case

The effects of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision are spreading, influencing a child labor investigation in Utah:
The Sept. 11 decision by U.S. District Court Judge David Sam says Vergel Steed, who belongs to the fundamentalist cult of jesus christ of latter-day saints (FLDS), doesn't have to comply with a federal subpoena because naming church leaders would violate his religious freedom. [...]

"It is not for the Court to 'inquir[e] into the theological merit of the belief in question'," Sam wrote, citing Hobby Lobby. "The Court's 'only task is to determine whether the claimant's belief is sincere, and if so, whether the government has applied substantial pressure on the claimant to violate that belief.'"
Vergel Steed believes it would violate his religion to name the fundamentalist cult of jesus christ of latter-day saints leaders who may or may not have sent children to harvest pecans, so investigators looking into that child labor issue will just have to find another way to find out which FLDS leaders might be involved. Because religious freedom! Bear in mind when we're talking about the sacred religious importance of keeping FLDS leadership a secret that:
FLDS, a radical offshoot sect from the mormon cult, has been under the scrutiny of authorities for years on issues including alleged child labor violations and forced marriages of grown men to underage girls. The cult's former president Warren Jeff's is serving a life sentence in prison for numerous sex crimes including incest and pedophilia.
I guess if you were the leader of a church breaking all manner of laws and you'd seen your predecessor go to prison, you would feel very strongly that it was a matter of faith that the government not know your name. And now, thanks to Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court, that secrecy is a matter of religious freedom. Thanks, guys.

Your Politics Stink

Body odor may hint at a person's politics, according to a new study that finds people prefer the odors of those whose ideology matches their own. 

The Enlightenment and Awakening of an ex-repugican

A former repugican tells about how his experiences in post-Katrina New Orleans and then Iraq destroyed his repugican worldview.

Look sharp, Texas kids, your new wingnut textbooks are almost ready

Sorry kids, you're screwed.
Tuesday saw a contentious public hearing on Texas's new proposed school textbooks, the ones that are required to adhere to 2010-established state standards set by a State Board of Education populated by lunatic fringe wingnuts and drafted with the help of such dimwits as wingnut "historian" David Barton. The resulting crop of rewritten textbooks are in, and while the experts and others had some mighty harsh words for those results, the Board will be picking from this crop of textbooks this November, probably with precious few edits in the meantime. Shall we take a look?
From Pearson, one of the most dominant textbook publishers, comes a social science textbook that sounds like a fine choice for Texas schoolchildren. Learn 'em up right, it will.
In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. taxes are 'what we pay for civilized society.' Society does not appear to be much more civilized today than it was when Justice Holmes made that observation in 1927. However, 'what we pay' has certainly gone up.
That was back in the era when we were being rocked by market crashes and depressions and old and poor people were dying in the streets and the meat you bought might still occasionally have a worker's thumb in it, when racism against pretty much everyone was rampant and in certain states you could lynch any black person you wanted if they looked at your womenfolk funny, but won't somebody think about the taxes? So many taxes.
In another chapter, the Pearson text takes aim at affirmative action with a cartoon showing two aliens in a space ship landing on earth. Pointing toward a man in a suit and tie, one of them exclaims: "This planet is great!-He says we qualify for affirmative action!" The only context is a caption asking readers to parse the cartoon's meaning.
The meaning is that you are growing up in a backwater state where your parents and lawmakers still bitterly resent you having to go to a desegregated school and are expressing that through passive-aggressive insertion of lackluster conservative humor in your social studies textbooks. Feel free to copy that one down, kids, I've just saved you three precious minutes of your lives.

Faux Bristles At Colorado Students Thinking For Themselves Beyond Pizza And the bible

Fox and friends Students protesting revisionist history
During the past week, hundreds of students in Colorado were protesting wingnut efforts to infuse their ideology and delusion in textbooks for an advanced high school history class.  Leave it to Faux to manufacture a vast conspiracy behind a protest that grew from word of mouth and social media.
After all, Faux would like to think these kids couldn’t have figured out for themselves, that when education is shaped to conform with ideology above facts, it’s no longer education.  The high school students recognized there is something wrong with textbooks that censor our history to conform with wingnut ideology.
They also recognized that sort of education would leave them ill equipped to compete in the modern world, ill-equipped to recognize and question injustices. For the great minds at Faux, it’s impossible for high school students to recognize how nonsensical it is to square the concepts of individual freedom with blind conformity to an authority that respects nothing about the very fabric of America. It was unthinkable that students would protest a concerted effort by the wingnuts' ignorance activists to render them defenseless in a war on the mind, the heart and the soul of their future.
Of course, the talking puppets at Faux and Friends blamed the teachers and especially those big bad teachers’ unions who, according to Faux, are “exploiting” the children to advance their own agenda. It isn’t like the repugican cabal has anything to gain by teaching students about wingnut losers like Phyllis Schafley and Joe McCarthy, while heroes like Ted Kennedy and Sonja Sotomayor disappear down revisionist history’s memory hole.
Their guest for the segment was Ken Witt, president of the Jefferson County Board of Education.  Mr. Witt started the hysterics rolling when he said:
That’s the unfortunate situation that’s going on. I believe that there is a significant amount of union conflict right now that we would like to not have. The issue is that it’s easy to get children out. It’s easy to use kids as pawns and it’s not right. We have a union contract that’s expiring in August of this year.
Of course, Elisabeth Hasselbeck dutifully responded:
“What concerns me is that what I’m hearing from you, and correct me if I am wrong, is that there is someone else behind this planting it and using these students for their own gain.”
Yes, Elisabeth is so concerned about people with agendas using students for their own gain because it isn’t like high school students are capable of thinking for themselves.  After all, poor Elisabeth has yet to develop that skill herself.
Witt went out of his way to dismiss concerns that the revised curriculum would white wash the history of slavery and civil rights. However, there is a sound basis for those concerns and many others, given recent debate in Texas over the content of its textbooks books. Since Texas provides most of America’s textbooks, the quality of their books affects students throughout the country.
A report by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund gives credence to the students’ concerns, no matter how much Witt wishes to deny it.
Among the TFNEF’s findings:
• A number of government and world history textbooks overly exaggerate judeo-christian influence on
the nation’s founding and Western political tradition.
• Two government textbooks include lies and misleading information that undermines the Constitutional
concept of the separation of cult and state.
• Several world history and world geography textbooks include biased statements that
inappropriately portray islam and muslims negatively.
• All of the world geography textbooks inaccurately downplay the role that conquest played in the spread of the delusion of christianity.
• Several world geography and history textbooks suffer from an incomplete – and often inaccurate – account of religions other than christianity.
• A few government and U.S. history textbooks suffer from an uncritical celebration of the free
enterprise system, both by ignoring legitimate problems that exist in capitalism and failing to
include coverage of government’s role in the U.S. economic system.
• One government textbook flirts with contemporary teabagger ideology, particularly regarding the inclusion of anti-taxation and anti-regulation arguments.
• One world history textbook includes outdated – and possibly offensive – anthropological
categories and racial terminology in describing African civilizations.
• A number of U.S. history textbooks evidence a general lack of attention to Native American
peoples and culture and occasionally include biased or misleading information.
• One government textbook (Pearson) includes a biased – verging on offensive – treatment of
affirmative action.
• Most U.S. history textbooks do a poor job of covering the history of LGBT citizens in discussions of efforts to achieve civil rights in this country.
• Elements of the Texas curriculum standards give undue legitimacy to neo-Confederate arguments about “states’ rights” and the legacy of slavery in the South. While most publishers avoid problems with these issues, passages in a few U.S. history and government textbooks give a nod to these misleading arguments.
On previous shows, Steve Doocy and Hasselbeck defended students’ rights to think for themselves, at least when it came to deciding on what to have for lunch or whether to read the bible in an accelerated reading program.
But, Faux doubts that students are capable of thinking about the consequences of learning from history books that preach teabagger ideology, distort the role of religion in our constitution and reflect wingnut biases on race, sexual orientation and religious freedom. That’s where students magically lose the ability to think for themselves and are mere pawns in a grand scheme by teachers and their unions.
The issue extends beyond the wingnuts' attempt to revise history in its ideological image. As reported by U.S. News, the Jefferson County school board wants to create a committee of citizens to decide on materials that promote “citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.” Moreover, the materials must not “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”
Under the Board’s proposed mandate, the committee would have the power to determine which materials fit this criteria in subjects beyond American history. It would be empowered to bring any materials in any course it considers objectionable to the School Board which is empowered to “take action.”
The students recognize it for the censorship that it is and that, is what they are protesting. When you think about it, by protesting, the students in Colorado proved they are way smarter than the average host on Faux and Friends.

Dixie D’Souza Says Her Husband Dinesh Lied to Everybody

Dixie D'Souza writes, "I know Dinesh better than anyone and can attest to his flawed character and lack of truthfulness."…
dinesh d'souzaSo because Dinesh D’Souza broke campaign finance law, we’re supposed to believe “the government tried to get me and failed,” that “Obama is a petty, vindictive guy,” and that, well…it’s all Obama’s fault. Now remember through all this childish name-calling that D’Souza actually pled guilty.
It sounds more like D’Souza’s problem is that, like the prison time he is also sadly not going to get, he needs medication and hospitalization for some very serious mental health problems. The problem for our perceptions of D’Souza is that while he is busy blaming everyone but himself for his problems, he is such a disagreeably slimy person himself.
And don’t take my word for it, but judge him by his deeds (and keep in mind, this is the guy who criticizes what he calls “The moral disgrace of the American left”.
Do you remember back in 2012 when Dinesh D’Souza demonstrated his outspoken dedication to Family Values by sleeping with another woman while both he and the other woman were married? He probably doesn’t, because in his own mind he is being inexplicably persecuted.
D’Souza told Faux News the other day that, “The main thing for me is not being silence.” But it seems it was alright for him to silence his wife. As she put it, “I have been questioned by the government, referred to, spoken about, and even been spoken for by others to the court, yet I have never been allowed to speak for myself.”
Now she has.
Talking Points Memo reported yesterday that his ex-wife, Dixie, “alleged in a letter sent this week to the federal court that heard his criminal case that D’Souza was abusive, that he lied in his defense against the criminal charges, and implied D’Souza had manipulated the couple’s daughter into making positive public statements about him.”
Love those family values!
In her September 22 letter (pdf), Dixie D’Souza writes,
I was married to Dinesh D’Souza for more than 20 years and together with him for over 26 years. I know Dinesh better than anyone and can attest to his flawed character and lack of truthfulness. Please accept this letter as my effort to correct the record Dinesh created by his false and misleading submissions to the Court regarding me, the extent and nature of his criminal conduct, and my relationship with our daughter, Danielle D’Souza.
In the letter, she attested to what she called D’Souza’s “abusive nature”:
It is my husband who has an abusive nature. In one instance, it was my husband who physically abused me in April 2012 when he, using purple belt karate skills, kicked me in the head and shoulder, knocking me to the ground and creating injuries that pain me to this day.
Again, love those family values. Corporal punishment is not just for children, but for wives. Yet, while Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings is vilified by a horrified America (excepting repugican abusers) for beating a child, domestic violence when directed at a wife attracts no opprobrium.
Certainly she is allowed the opportunity to speak, and her assertion (borne out by events) that, “Dinesh lied to me, he lied to the government, he encouraged others to lie for him, and now he has allowed our daughter to submit multiple false statements to a federal court in order to avoid punishment,” and that, “Dinesh D’Souza is not a truthful person,” ought to count for something.
We might note here that his flawed character and lack of truthfulness are already on public display, but it is good to have verification from his wife that the incidents we have seen are not isolated. If you need further proof, look what he told Faux News:
“I didn’t think that I what I chose to do to help was a felony, but it was careless,” he explained. “Being prosecuted was the furthest thing from my mind.”
Why worry about being prosecuted when you’re a habitual liar and figure you can just blame everybody else, then talk your way out of any problems that remain?
And D’Souza still doesn’t want his wife talking. After talking for her when her husband pled guilty (instead of actually allowing her to speak for herself), D’Souza’s attorney Benjamin Brafman told TPM,
“Only comment is that the allegations in her letter are according to my client and their (daughter), completely baseless.
You might remember in that earlier scandal (as opposed to the one where he broke campaign finance laws) D’Souza also said he hadn’t done anything wrong. I mean, all the 51-year-old D’Souza did, while still married, was to take his 29-year-old fiancé, Denise Odie Joseph II, who was also still married, to a hotel for a tryst, and spent the night together.
The delicious part is that at the time they were attending a conference on 'christian values' called Truth for a New Generation. Ironic when D’Souza cares so little about the truth, because on top of committing adultery at an event about 'christian values', D’Souza subsequently lied about the tryst.
D’Souza asked Rick Scarborough back in 2012, “Why is Obama on the social issues — and I’m thinking here of abortion, I’m thinking here of gay marriage — why is Obama so aggressive in attacking the traditional values agenda?” The question needed to be answered is, “Why is Dinesh D’Souza constantly lying not only about what President Obama thinks and does, but about what he does?”
Dinesh D’Souza is not about the truth, and has never been about the truth. Not only is D’Souza a hypocrite, accusing others of attacking the “traditional values agenda” while he is busy in bed with a woman who is not his wife, but he is a liar, a fact attested to not only by the details of these two episodes (adultery and breaking campaign finance laws) but by the testimony of his wife.
The man behind “2016: Obama’s America,” which he based on his book The Roots of Obama’s Rage (2010), and “America: Imagine the World Without Her,” says it is important that he not be imprisoned, because he can’t tell more lies about Obama while he is in prison, and those lies are so critical during an election year.
I feel relief, exhilaration – not because I didn’t get a significant sentence, but I was facing a much bigger sentence that would have seriously affected my work and ability to make another movie for election year.
Who knows how many lies and scandals an impassioned, hypocritical liar who has demonstrated absolutely no moral compass, can invent, not to mention how many mistresses he can bed, and women he can abuse, between now and election day?
Nothing disabuses the world of repugican notions of “traditional family values” like the story of Dinesh D’Souza, an exemplar of corruption, dishonesty, infidelity, and a complete denial of personal responsibility. And don’t forget the tinfoil hat.
D’Souza isn’t contrite. He doesn’t apologize; he doesn’t ask for forgiveness. He just goes on pretending he did nothing wrong. As he told Faux News, “why he was exposed and singled out remains a “fog of mystery.”

Workers helpfully scattered litter around so that politician could could have photo-op picking it up

Sanitation workers in India became litterbugs on Thursday when they threw plastic bottles and crumpled pieces of paper outside the Red Fort in Delhi so a Union Minister could get his photo-op while sweeping it up.

The staged littering and cleanliness drive was organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission. Even as Minister of State (independent charge) for Culture and Tourism Shripad Naik was speaking at the event, safai karamcharis started littering the premises by throwing used mineral water bottles and waste paper on the road, which had earlier been swept clean.
As Mr. Naik wrapped up his speech, the cleaning staff were ordered to add more garbage as it didn’t look dirty enough. All the while officials associated with the event oversaw the organised littering. After he had finished, Mr Naik was promptly handed a broom, which he wielded with aplomb to bring about a sweeping change in the area. A casual employee of the ASI said the staff usually cleans the busy tourist spot three times a day.
“Today, we cleaned the area at 1pm and were asked to keep the bottles and paper for the Minister’s visit at 4pm,” said the sanitation worker who couldn’t help but smile at the irony. The stage-managed littering seemed to work out with the Minister being mobbed by camera persons and ordinary visitors, who were curious to see what the man dressed in a sparkling white kurta was up to. Culture and Tourism Ministry and ASI officials were unavailable for comment.

Teacher gets 10 years prison in student rape

A Montana teacher was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison in a notorious student rape case that dragged on for years and led to the censure of a judge who partially blamed the victim.
Stacey Dean Rambold, 55, was resentenced by a new judge exactly a year after he completed an initial one-month prison term for the crime.
Rambold appeared to grimace as Friday's sentence was read by Judge Randal Spaulding. He was then handcuffed and led away by deputies, pausing briefly to exchange words with family as he exited the courtroom.
Rambold pleaded guilty last year to a single count of sexual intercourse without consent in the 2007 rape of 14-year-old Cherice Moralez, a freshman in his Billings Senior High School business class. She committed suicide in 2010.
Booking photo of Stacey RamboldRambold's attorney had argued for a two-year sentence, pointing out that the defendant had no prior criminal record, underwent sex offender treatment and was considered by the state as a low risk to re-offend.
Spaulding indicated that the nature of the crime outweighed those factors.
"I considered your abuse and exploitation of your position of trust as a teacher, and specifically Cherice's teacher," Spaulding told the defendant.
The state Supreme Court in April overturned Rambold's initial sentence, citing in part comments from Judge G. Todd Baugh, who suggested the victim shared responsibility.
Baugh was censured and suspended for 31 days. He's stepping down when his terms ends in January.
Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said he was pleased with the new sentence, which included five additional years of prison time that were suspended.
"The criminal justice system worked today," he said.
John Moralez, the father of the victim, said he had hoped for a longer sentence, but added that 10 years was better than the one-month Rambold previously served.
During the hearing, Twito asked Judge Spaulding to reject attempts by Rambold's attorney to make the victim's conduct with her teacher a factor in the sentencing.
That included references by the defendant's attorney to video-taped interviews of the victim recorded by law enforcement prior to her death. Those recordings, which have never been made public, had been cited by Baugh during his sentencing.
Under state law, children under 16 cannot consent to sexual intercourse.
"The last thing we want to do is sit here in the criminal justice system and say, 'What is the age?' It doesn't matter. Fourteen is way too young," Twito said. "There has to be punishment. ... Punishment means prison."
Rambold's attorney, Jay Lansing, responded that there was no statute preventing the court from considering Moralez's conduct. He pointed out that prosecutors had not objected to comments about the videotaped interview during Rambold's first sentencing hearing.
This undated photo courtesy of Auliea Hanlon shows …Lansing requested for his client a two-year sentence in the custody of the Department of Corrections, with another 13 years suspended. That would have allowed Rambold to serve his time in a community setting rather than prison.
Rambold broke down crying during a brief statement to the court. He said he was sorry for his actions and had worked hard to make himself a better person. In a recent letter to the court, he lamented the international publicity the case attracted.
"No one can really appreciate and understand what it feels like to have so many people actually hate you and be disgusted by you," Rambold wrote. "I do not mention this for the sake of sympathy, but it has been hard."
It was uncertain if the new sentence would be appealed, Lansing said.
After the death of Moralez, the prosecution's primary witness, Twito's office in 2010 struck a deal with Rambold that initially allowed him to avoid prison altogether.
Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh reads a statement …Rambold, however, violated that agreement by having unauthorized visits with relatives' children and entering into a relationship with an adult woman without telling his counselor. As a result, the case was revived and Rambold pleaded guilty.
Two additional counts sexual intercourse without consent were dropped under the deal with prosecutors.
During last year's sentencing, Baugh suggested Moralez had as much control over her rape as the defendant and said she "appeared older than her chronological age." He gave Rambold a 15-year term with all but one month suspended.
That triggered an appeal from the office of Attorney General Tim Fox, and ultimately resulted in the case being reassigned to Spaulding.

Jail for man who farted in face of police officer

A man who broke wind in the face of a police officer and branded him a terrorist has been jailed after ignoring his court sentence. Malcolm Gill, of Dalton, west Yorkshire, admitted the charge of racially-aggravated harassment plus other offenses in February. Kirklees magistrates gave him a community order as a direct alternative to custody. But that order failed to get off the ground and Gill was charged with breaching the order. He failed to show for his trial on this and a warrant was issued for his arrest. At his original hearing magistrates heard that Gill was on bail for three shop thefts when he was told to report to Huddersfield Police Station. He turned up a day late on January 16 and appeared agitated while at the front desk. He thrashed around and turned his backside towards one of the officers. The 46-year-old broke wind twice in the face of the officer and told him: “You black bastard, you terrorist.”
Magistrates sentenced him to a 12-month community order with 30 days of activities and a one-month curfew. Gill was found guilty after a trial on September 19 of failing to show up for two appointments. He appeared in court on Wednesday after being arrested when he missed his trial. Ian Whiteley, mitigating, said: “The order was made as a direct alternative to custody, he’s only attended one appointment.
“It’s now seven months later and there’s been no progress with the order. He has a longstanding drugs issue. He was in hospital for six weeks and part of that time covered the breach period. Mr Gill wants a rehab place as an in-patient but there’s no funding available.” Mr Whitely said that while his client did accept most of his behavior towards police at the station, he disputed some of the language he is said to have used. Magistrates jailed Gill for a total of 18 weeks.

Canadian man caught trying to smuggle 51 live turtles into US in his sweatpants

A Canadian man taped 51 live turtles to his legs and groin and tried to hide them under sweatpants in an attempt to smuggle the reptiles over the Detroit border crossing, according to federal prosecutors in Michigan. The man was captured as part of a surveillance operation conducted by US Fish and Wildlife Service agents. An official with the service said there has been an increase in turtle smuggling in the last year, which they attribute to demand in Asian food and collector markets.
“These turtles, by the time they get to the end-collector, they can be worth anywhere from $1,300 to $1,500 a turtle,” said Ed Grace, deputy chief law enforcement officer with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Prosecutors say Kai Xu and Lihua Lin attempted to smuggle several species of North American pond turtles out of the US and into Canada. On 5 August, two fish and wildlife agents say they watched Xu disappear behind two semi-trailers in a Detroit parking lot for about 10 minutes before reappearing with, “irregularly shaped bulges under Xu’s sweatpants on both legs”.
Xu was later stopped by Canadian border patrol after he drove through the Detroit to Windsor, Ontario crossing. Xu’s attorney, Timothy Debolski of Garden City, Michigan, said it’s too early to comment on Xu’s case. Agents said they were tipped off by a Detroit UPS employee identified only as “Dave”, who alerted agents to a seven pound box labeled “live fish keep cool”. In an indictment of Lin, agents said they surveilled Xu as he drove Lin to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Tuesday. Lin was bound for Shanghai. He checked two bags, in which fish and wildlife agents say they found more than 200 live turtles, including the protected spotted turtle.
Fish and wildlife service agents say turtles are far from the only North American animals targeted by poachers. A spokesman for the fish and wildlife office, Gavin Shire, said agents sometimes find hummingbirds smuggled in wigs, and that rattlesnakes and Gila Monsters are also popular prey for smugglers. “Not just with turtles, I see it with ginseng, I see it with how wildlife in the United States can be, you know, coveted by collectors or for food markets,” said Grace. Both men were indicted on illegal smuggling charges and violations of the endangered species act. The turtles were seized by fish and wildlife agents.

Suspected bomb was mix tape of love songs from man begging ex-wife to take him back

Concerns in downtown Florence, Alabama, were quickly abated on Thursday afternoon when police discovered a suspicious package contained a mix tape instead of a bomb.
Police said the call about a suspicious package turned out to be a case of mistaken intentions between a recently-divorced couple. Police said they were called out to the Wilson Park Medical Center at around 2:30pm when a woman called about a suspicious package on her vehicle.
Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler said the package was left on a woman's car by her ex-husband. Tyler said the two divorced a couple of months ago and had recently started talking again. The woman told police she received a call from her ex-husband saying he had left a package on her vehicle. The woman became nervous and called police.
Florence police bomb technicians scanned the package and detected electronics inside, Tyler said. When they opened the package, they discovered a cassette of love songs and a note from the man begging his ex-wife to take him back. Tyler said police aren't planning to file any charges.

Chainsaw-wielding man accused of setting fire to picnic table

An man from Epping, New Hampshire, was arrested in Chester on Wednesday after he set a picnic table on fire and threatened a homeowner with a chainsaw, police say. Chester police said they were called to a home at about 10:45am to a report of an intoxicated man.
Police said the man was accused of going after the homeowner with a running chainsaw. "He had lit a picnic table on fire," said Chief William Burke. "Prior to getting there, (the officer) was also advised that the subject had started a chainsaw and was chasing the resident homeowner around the yard with a chainsaw." Burke said the homeowner was trying to defend himself with pepper spray.
He said the man, identified as Kyle Kappotis, of Epping, knew people at the house. When police arrived, the homeowner said Kappotis had fled into the woods. Police chased the man and yelled at him to stop, but he refused, police said. The man eventually stopped running, and police found him trying to hide under a fallen tree.

They were able to take him into custody. Chief Burke says it was a strange and dangerous case that he won't soon forget. "Normally, Chester is busy on Halloween night and we see things like that on our main street here. But it's been quite a while since I've seen something as strange as this," he said. Kappotis was charged with criminal threatening, criminal mischief and resisting arrest. He was arraigned on Thursday, and bail was set at $200.

Did you know ...

It’s illegal for drug companies to advertise their prescription drugs to consumers almost everywhere in the world. The only exceptions are the US and New Zealand.

Got a 1943 copper penny?

Don't spend it.
World War II pennies were made mostly of steel. Dan Lewis on the rare and oft-faked coppers that made it out of the mint.
Drop a magnet into a pile of U.S. pennies and not a whole lot is going to happen. Pennies are made up of 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper, and neither of those two metals are magnetic. You should be able to remove the magnet without any of those pennies sticking to it. But if a cent or two happen to come along for the ride, you may have been the victim of fraud.
That’s the bad news. The good news? You may be a few dozen cents or so richer than you thought you were.
That’s because in World War II, the government needed copper for ammunition and military equipment, and putting copper into pennies seemed like a huge waste. Many alternatives were tested, and, ultimately, the U.S. Mint went with steel. On occasion, you’ll find a 1943 penny made up of 99% steel and the rest zinc. It’s a relatively rare coin because the Mint destroyed many of them before the decade was out, but there are enough floating around out there that if you really want one, you can typically find them for 50 cents apiece or so online. And as seen on that link, the 1943 steel pennies are a silvery-white color, unlike the color of a typical penny. Steel is magnetic, and therefore, so are 99% steel pennies.
Your bronze-ish penny sticking to that magnet? If it says 1943 on the front, that’s almost certainly what you have.
When the Mint produced the 1943 steel cents, it also made a handful of mistakes. Forty mistakes, give or take. Those mistakes are known as the 1943 copper penny, as pictured. They should have never been made.
In general, to create coins, the Mint puts round metal slugs called planchets through presses. The presses imprint the design onto the planchets. When the Mint ran off the 1943 line, they did so using steel planchets, as discussed above. But for some reason, all three Mints — Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco — are believed to have made the same tiny mistake at the start of the process. Each of the three neglected to clear the last few remaining copper planchets off the press. So there are a handful of 1943 pennies out there which, like pennies minted in other years, are made of copper. But because of the war, they were supposed to be made of steel.
The 1943 copper pennies looked like their predecessor coins, and because there were so few of them, the Mint didn’t notice the error or, perhaps, didn’t think to do anything about the handful of erroneous cents now in the monetary system. The mistake wasn’t discovered by collectors until 1947. The U.S. Mint notes that only about 40 of the coins were ever minted and there are only (already?) 12 confirmed to exist and have been located. There are perhaps as many as 200 million normal pennies currently in circulation, so your odds of finding one of the 30 or so potentially floating around out there are one in fifteen million. Due to its rarity, an actual 1943 copper penny is worth tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.
Which is why fraudsters try to trick the unsuspecting coin collector. There are lots of fake 1943 copper pennies out there. Some fraudsters find 1948 pennies and shave down the 8 to look like a 3, easily fooling amateurs. More common, though, are those who buy 1943 steel cents and plate them with copper, making them look like the super-valuable one. That’s easy enough to detect — those, unlike true copper pennies, are magnetic after all. So if your magnet picks up a penny, it may be because someone tried to pass off a phony 1943 copper cent. It’s still worth about 25 cents or so, so don’t be too upset.
Bonus Fact: There’s one penny which is probably less attainable than the 1943 copper pennies out there. It’s a 1909 penny — the first year Abraham Lincoln’s portrait graced the coin — and it’d take you the better part of a year and billions of dollars to go and get it. That’s because it’s on the Mars Curiosity Rover, as part of the camera calibration system.
From Abe to Zinc: The cost of making and distributing a penny? At least 50% more than a penny.

New York scientists unveil 'invisibility cloak' to rival Harry Potter's

Handout photo of cloaking device using four lenses developed by University of Rochester physics professor Howell and graduate student Choi is demonstrated in Rochester Watch out Harry Potter, you are not the only wizard with an invisibility cloak.
Scientists at the University of Rochester have discovered a way to hide large objects from sight using inexpensive and readily available lenses, a technology that seems to have sprung from the pages of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter fantasy series.
Cloaking is the process by which an object becomes hidden from view, while everything else around the cloaked object appears undisturbed.
"A lot of people have worked on a lot of different aspects of optical cloaking for years," John Howell, a professor of physics at the upstate New York school, said on Friday.
Handout photo of cloaking device using four lenses …The so-called Rochester Cloak is not really a tangible cloak at all. Rather the device looks like equipment used by an optometrist. When an object is placed behind the layered lenses it seems to disappear.
Previous cloaking methods have been complicated, expensive, and not able to hide objects in three dimensions when viewed at varying angles, they say.
"From what, we know this is the first cloaking device that provides three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking," said Joseph Choi, a graduate student who helped develop the method at Rochester, which is renowned for its optical research.
Handout photo of University of Rochester Ph.D. student …In their tests, the researchers have cloaked a hand, a face, and a ruler – making each object appear "invisible" while the image behind the hidden object remains in view. The implications for the discovery are endless, they say.
"I imagine this could be used to cloak a trailer on the back of a semi-truck so the driver can see directly behind him," Choi said. "It can be used for surgery, in the military, in interior design, art."
Howell said the Rochester Cloak, like the fictitious cloak described in the pages of the Harry Potter series, causes no distortion of the background object.
Building the device does not break the bank either. It cost Howell and Choi a little over $1,000 in materials to create it and they believe it can be done even cheaper.
Although a patent is pending, they have released simple instructions on how to create a Rochester Cloak at home for under $100:

Why Is Aluminum Foil Shiny on One Side But Not the Other?

If you examine a typical roll of aluminum foil, you'll notice that one side is shiny, but the other is not. Why is that? Melissa of Today I Found Out explains that the way that it's manufactured makes this necessary:
In what is called the Bayer Process, after pure molten aluminum is obtained from aluminum oxide, it is placed in furnaces with a small amount of other elements (typically the final product will be between 99.8% and 99.9% aluminum). This liquid is then poured into “chill casting devices where it cools into large slabs called ‘ingots.’” Next the ingot is treated with heat (annealed), and then rolled between heavy rollers.
This initial foil is sent through still more rollers, several times, until it reaches the desired thinness. For the type of foil that is bright on one side and matte on the other, it is so thin that during some of the last rollings, two sheets of the thin foil must be placed together lest they tear or crimp during the final rolling of the sheets.
One consequence of this is that while the sides that touch the highly polished rollers are burnished to a bright finish, the inner sides that touch the other aluminum foil remain matte.

Is It Safe to Chew Ice?

What does ice-chewing say about the people who chew it? And is all that harsh chomping harmful? Trace has the cold, hard facts.

Too Much Multitasking May Affect Your Gray Matter

Are you good at using multiple devices at once? Your gray matter may be thinning...

Did the Vikings Get a Bum Rap?

A Yale historian wants us to rethink the terrible tales about the Norse.
Norse marauders wreak mayhem at Clonmacnoise, Ireland.
This illustration shows the stereotype of Viking marauders wreaking mayhem, even on clergy. The scene depicts the monastery at Clonmacnoise, Ireland.
The Vikings gave no quarter when they stormed the city of Nantes, in what is now western France, in June 843—not even to the monks barricaded in the city's cathedral. "The heathens mowed down the entire multitude of priest, clerics, and laity," according to one witness account. Among the slain, allegedly killed while celebrating the Mass, was a bishop who later was granted sainthood.
To modern readers the attack seems monstrous, even by the standards of medieval warfare. But the witness account contains more than a touch of hyperbole, writes Anders Winroth, a Yale history professor and author of the book The Age of the Vikings, a sweeping new survey. What's more, he says, such exaggeration was often a feature of European writings about the Vikings.
When the account of the Nantes attack is scrutinized, "a more reasonable image emerges," he writes. After stating that the Vikings had killed the "entire multitude," for instance, the witness contradicts himself by noting that some of the clerics were taken into captivity. And there were enough people left—among the "many who survived the massacre"—to pay ransom to get prisoners back.
In short, aside from ignoring the taboo against treating monks and priests specially, the Vikings acted not much differently from other European warriors of the period, Winroth argues.
In 782, for instance, Charlemagne, now heralded as the original unifier of Europe, beheaded 4,500 Saxon captives on a single day. "The Vikings never got close to that level of efficiency," Winroth says, drily.
A replica of Erik the Red's wooden church he built for his wife.
Erik the Red, a famous Viking explorer and the discoverer of Greenland, built a wooden church (replica above) for his wife in Qassiarsuk, Greenland.
Viking History Told by Their Victims
Just how bad were the Vikings?
Winroth is among the scholars who believe the Vikings were no more bloodthirsty than other warriors of the period. But they suffered from bad public relations—in part because they attacked a society more literate than their own, and therefore most accounts of them come from their victims. Moreover, because the Vikings were pagan, they played into a Christian story line that cast them as a devilish, malign, outside force.
"There is this general idea of the Vikings as being exciting and other, as something that we can't understand from our point of view—which is simply continuing the story line of the victims in their own time," Winroth says. "One starts to think of them in storybook terms, which is deeply unfair."
In reality, he proposes, "the Vikings were sort of free-market entrepreneurs."
Archaeological evidence suggests that Vikings built a base camp for hunting and trading on the shore of Baffin Island.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Vikings built a base camp for hunting and trading on the shore of Canada's Baffin Island.
To be sure, scholars have for decades been stressing aspects of Viking life beyond the warlike, pointing to the craftsmanship of the Norse (to use the term that refers more generally to Scandinavians), their trade with the Arab world, their settlements in Greenland and Nova Scotia, the ingenuity of their ships, and the fact that the majority of them stayed behind during raids.
But Winroth wants to put the final nail in the coffin of the notion that the Vikings were the "Nazis of the North," as an article by British journalist Patrick Cockburn argued last April. Viking atrocities were "the equivalent of those carried out by SS divisions invading Poland 75 years ago," Cockburn wrote.
Few scholars today hold Cockburn's view. In fact, some believe the trend Winroth represents—de-emphasizing Vikings' violence and stressing their similarities with other Europeans—goes too far.
"Other Europeans were perfectly horrible as well," agrees Tom Shippey, an emeritus professor of English at Saint Louis University, who writes often about the Vikings. But why, Shippey asks, slightly exaggerating, did the Vikings always win?
Much of the explanation, he says, is an "ethos that is unlike anything else in Europe," one that included reverence for the warrior ideal and a gallows-humor, "who cares?" attitude toward death.
In addition, points out Martin Arnold, a reader in Old Norse studies at the University of Hull, the pope placed limits on Christian warfare and threatened excommunication for leaders who became unduly aggressive. The Vikings had no such inhibiting force.
An alternate explanation for the Viking win-loss record, which Winroth embraces, is that Viking ships were so speedy and stealthy that the Norse almost always surprised their enemies. "I don't buy it," says Shippey.
'OTTAR' is a reconstruction of a seagoing trading ship from the Viking Period, 1030.
Viking seafarers used ships like this modern replica to reach the New World.
Blood Eagles and Berserkers
It used to be routine for scholars to claim that Vikings killed some of their victims by means of the so-called blood eagle. The form of an eagle reportedly was carved onto a victim's back, his rib cage severed, and his lungs pulled out the back.
But Winroth holds strongly to the view, first advanced by his Yale colleague Roberta Frank, that the anecdote derives from a misreading of the allusive, grammatically ambiguous, and metaphorically rich Viking verse written by the so-called skalds.
Skaldic poetry is full of birds, including eagles, that feast on the bodies of one's enemies. Through dubious grammatical readings, the authors of the Scandinavian sagas, written centuries after the Viking raids, turned an eagle cutting into a man's back into an eagle being carved on the back. Further embellishments and creative license took flight from that first error.
Winroth also wants us to rethink the berserkers, the supposedly near-psychopathic warriors in the front line of Viking attacks said to be immune to pain and possibly high on psychotropic mushrooms. The more colorful accounts add that they chewed on their shields and ate burning coals. But Winroth argues that references to berserkers first appear in the poetry of 13th- and 14th-century Iceland, and they are plainly described as people who lived "once upon a time."
But that doesn't necessarily rule out the existence of half-crazed warriors, says Robert Ferguson, an independent scholar and author of The Vikings.
"I don't have any particular trouble in imagining that the Vikings in the forefront of their attacks were men of violence, the kind of people you have in the Hell's Angels now. They would drink. They were almost psychopathic. I think we have berserkers [in modern armies] now. They just aren't called that anymore. "
The geometrical Viking camp extends 130 yards in diameter in Fyrkat, Jutland Peninsula, Denmark.
This geometrical Viking camp on the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark extends some 130 yards in diameter.
The True Reason for Viking Raids
Rather than being primed for battle by an irrational love of mayhem, Vikings went raiding mainly for pragmatic reasons, Winroth contends—namely, to build personal fortunes and enhance the power of their chieftains. As evidence Winroth enumerates cases in which Viking leaders negotiated for payment, or tried to.
For example, before the Battle of Maldon in England, a Viking messenger landed and cried out to 3,000 or more assembled Saxon soldiers: "It is better for you that you pay off this spear-fight with tribute ... Nor have we any need to kill each other." The English chose to fight, and were defeated. Like anyone else, the Vikings would rather win by negotiation than risk a loss, Winroth says.
Nor was every place the Vikings attacked decimated, despite repeated claims by scribes that "everything was destroyed." Winroth notes that the trading post of Dorestad, in what is now the Netherlands, was sacked four times in four years, starting in 834, yet it continued to flourish. Viking raids were seen as an "overhead cost," Winroth writes, and a fair number of traders doing business in Dorestad would have been Norse.
Along those lines, Winroth stresses just how entwined the Norse were with other Europeans. In the 840s a Viking named Rurik, whose uncle had been king in Denmark, plundered the coastal regions of the kingdom of Emperor Lothair, in what's now Belgium and the Netherlands. Lothair then essentially hired Rurik to defend his land against other Viking raids, a common practice. Rurik became the equivalent of a European prince.
Matrix used in the manufacture of helmet plaques,The dancing figures, berserkers, wear a helmet whose horns terminate in birds heads & his companion wears the mask of a wolf or bear. Sweden ,Viking. 6th c Bjornhouda, Torslunda parish, Oland.
This sixth-century helmet plaque shows two berserkers, one wearing a horned helmet and one in a wolf or bear mask.
The Norse were prodigious traders, selling furs, walrus tusks, and slaves to Arabs in the East. Winroth goes so far as to argue that Vikings provided much needed monetary stimulus to western Europe at a crucial time. Norse trade led to an influx of Arabic dirhams, or coins, which helped smooth the transition to an economy of exchange instead of barter.
Yet even among scholars who attempt to see things from the Vikings' perspective, disagreements persist about the nature of Viking violence. Robert Ferguson, for example, doesn't downplay its ferocity, but he characterizes it as symbolic and defensive, a form of "asymmetric warfare."
In the year 810, for example, the slaughter of 68 monks on the Isle of Iona, off the coast of Scotland, sowed terror in Europe. Ferguson suggests that the move was designed to convince Charlemagne and others that it would be very costly to expand Christianity into Scandinavia by force. The Vikings "were fighting to defend their way of life," Ferguson says.
Stefan Nordgren, 45, from Lˆdˆse, the chief judge during the reenactment of Foteviken. Otherwise Stefan works as a test engineer in Gothenburg. The picture was taken in his trailer where he lives during the battle of Foteviken in Sweden.
Stefan Nordgren lives in a trailer during the annual reenactment of a Viking battle in Sweden.
Winroth took an indirect route to becoming a scholar of the Vikings. As an undergraduate in his native Sweden, he was frustrated by how little he learned about the Norse. And misunderstandings about Vikings "are just as prevalent in Scandinavia" as in the United States, he says. "Maybe more."
When his dissertation on medieval church law won a MacArthur Fellow prize, the so-called genius grant, he used the funds to retrain himself as a scholar of the Norse.
Asked whether he thinks there's a danger of going too far in domesticating the Vikings, Winroth replies: "To domesticate them means to see them in context."
For a historian, he says, putting people in the context of their times humanizes them. And that's an unadulterated good, even when we're talking about people best known for rapine, plunder, and slaughtering monks.