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

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Daily Drift

Well, you should have known better ...!
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Today in History

331BC Alexander the Great decisively shatters King Darius III's Persian army at Gaugamela (Arbela), in a tactical masterstroke that leaves him master of the Persian Empire.
1273 Rudolf of Hapsburg is elected emperor in Germany.
1588 The feeble Sultan Mohammed Shah of Persia, hands over power to his 17-year old son Abbas.
1791 In Paris, the National Legislative Assembly holds its first meeting.
1839 The British government decides to send a punitive naval expedition to China.
1847 Maria Mitchell, American astronomer, discovers a comet and is elected the same day to the American Academy of Arts—the first woman to be so honored. The King of Denmark awarded her a gold medal for her discovery.
1856 The first installment of Gustav Flaubert's novel Madame Bovary appears in the Revue de Paris after the publisher refuses to print a passage in which the character Emma has a tryst in the back seat of a carriage.
1864 The Condor, a British blockade-runner, is grounded near Fort Fisher, North Carolina.
1878 General Lew Wallace is sworn in as governor of New Mexico Territory. He went on to deal with the Lincoln County War, Billy the Kid and write Ben-Hur. His Civil War heroics earned him the moniker Savior of Cincinnati.
1890 Yosemite National Park is dedicated in California.
1908 The Ford Model T, the first car for millions of Americans, hits the market. Over 15 million Model Ts are eventually sold, all of them black.
1942 The German Army grinds to a complete halt within the city of Stalingrad.
1943 British troops in Italy enter Naples and occupy Foggia airfield.
1944 The U.S. First Army begins the siege Aachen, Germany.
1946 Eleven Nazi war criminals are sentenced to be hanged at Nuremberg trials—Hermann Goring, Alfred Jodl, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachin von Ribbentrop, Fritz Saukel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Julius Streicher, and Alfred Rosenberg.
1947 First flight of F-86 Sabre jet fighter, which would win fame in the Korean War.
1949 Mao Zedong establishes the People's Republic of China.
1957 "In God We Trust" appears on US paper currency as an act to distinguish the US from the officially atheist USSR; the motto had appeared on coins at various times since 1864.
1958 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) replaces the 43-year-old National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in the US.
1960 Nigeria becomes independent from the UK.
1961 The Federal Republic of Cameroon is formed by the merger of East and West Cameroon.
1962 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson debuts; Carson will remain The Tonight Show host until 1992.
1964 The first Free Speech Movement protest erupts spontaneously on the University of California, Berkeley campus; students demanded an end to the ban of on-campus political activities.
1964 Japanese "bullet trains" (Shinkansen) begin high-speed rail transit between Tokyo and Osaka.
1971 Walt Disney World opens near Orlando, Florida, the second of Disney's "Magic Kingdoms."
1971 First CT or CAT brain scan performed, at Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon, London.
1974 Five Nixon aides–Kenneth Parkinson, Robert Mardian, Nixon's Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell–go on trial for conspiring to hinder the Watergate investigation.
1975 Legendary boxing match: Muhammad Ali defeats Joe Frazier in the "Thrilla in Manila."
1979 US returns sovereignty of the Panama Canal to Panama.
1982 First compact disc player, released by Sony.
1989 Denmark introduces the world's first "civil union" law granting same-sex couples certain legal rights and responsibilities but stopping short of recognizing same-sex marriages.
1991 Siege of Dubrovnik begins in the Croatian War of Independence.
2009 The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom takes over judicial functions of the House of Lords.

The Truth Be Old


There’s One Fact repugicans Blaming Obama for Iraq Don’t Want Americans to Know About

by Allen Clifton
gwbush_obamaI’ve often said that in politics you rarely deal with absolute certainties.  Especially these last few years where repugicans have seemed to somehow turn proven facts into debatable issues.
But I guess that’s what happens when you let a bunch of crazy radicals who believe in conspiracy theories more than they do proven science take over your cabal.  Because that’s honestly what much of the tea party is.  It’s a voice given to those people who just a few years ago were laughed at as the “tinfoil hate weirdos” spending hours in online chat rooms spouting off nonsense.
Not anymore.
They’ve now taken over a good portion of one of the two largest political parties in this country and are doing everything they can to completely take over the repugican cabal.
Well, as most people have probably heard by now, Iraq is quickly unraveling into another giant mess.  Radical islamic militants are swiftly moving from city to city in Iraq, seizing control and heading toward Baghdad.
And as they do with everything else, repugicans are doing everything they can to blame this on President Obama.  Which is absolutely ridiculous.
I can’t count how many times I’ve seen repugicans make a statement that goes something like, “He pulled our troops out and left it into the hands of the terrorists!”
Okay, well it’s true that in December of 2011 we did pull all of our troops out of Iraq.  But we didn’t do it because of President Obama’s policies – we did it because of a Status of Forces Agreement (sometimes called SOFA) that was signed while the shrub was still pretending
This agreement, again signed by the shrub, set deadlines for the end of U.S. combat operations as June 30, 2009 and for all U.S. forces to be pulled out of Iraq by December 30, 2011.
So when they say “Obama pulled U.S. forces out of Iraq in 2011 leaving the country to fall into the hands of terrorists,” the reality is he was following an agreement that the shrub had already signed well before he became president.
Again, this is just another example of repugicans trying to blame something on President Obama that was caused by the shrub. 

ISIS is Just Another Problem Caused by the shrub that repugicans are Blaming on Obama

by Allen Clifton  
bush-laughingI’ve absolutely hit my limit with repugicans trying to pin all the violence in the Middle East on President Obama. Let me just go ahead and say what hardly anyone in the “mainstream media” will actually say: All this chaos in the Middle East began when the shrub invaded Iraq, triggering a massive destabilization of the entire region.
Though most of us know that already. Well, at least those of us who know how to think for ourselves.
But it wasn’t just the shrub invading Iraq that caused all of this. It was the complete incompetence shown by his junta following Saddam’s removal from power that was real catalyst.
He took us to war based on a lie, with no plan on what to do after Saddam was out of power, and absolutely no exit strategy. And after he signed the SOFA agreement requiring all of our troops to be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, it was only a matter of time before some radical islamic group tried to take over Iraq.
And let me go ahead and state another little “fun fact” since I’m on the subject: Had the shrub junta told the American people that going into Iraq would have required a decade (or realistically longer) commitment, almost nobody signs off on that. You don’t sell the Iraq War to the American people by saying, “This mission will require an indefinite American presence in Iraq.”
Which is pretty much what it’s going to take to keep Iraq stable and out of the hands of some radical islamic group. Because even if we defeat ISIS, driving them out of Iraq, it’s only a matter of time before another group takes their place. Unless, of course, thousands of American troops stay behind.
President Obama really only has two options:
  • Start another war. - or -
  • Let ISIS continue doing what they’re doing.
And let’s face it, the second option – really isn’t an option.
Don’t think for a moment that it was just a coincidence that the shrub signed the SOFA so that American combat operations would end right after he left office and the complete removal of all U.S. forces would happen a couple of years later. The shrub and his cronies knew that once American troops were gone, Iraq would slip back into chaos. And whoever the next president turned out to be would be the one blamed for it.
And that’s exactly what happened.
There’s one thing I can say with absolute certainty: If not for the absolute incompetence shown by the shrub junta with their handling of Iraq, the world would have never heard of ISIS.
But, like clockwork, repugicans have been right there this whole time blaming all of this chaos on President Obama. Just like they have with every other mess the shrub junta left him to clean up.

The Koch Brothers, ALEC and the repugican cabal Are Trying To Steal The Election By Destroying Democracy

Crucial to their success is repugicans' heavy dependence on one of the Koch brothers' legislative arms, the American Legislative Exchange Council, to create template legislation for repugicans to follow like lemmings …
No Voting
There is a saying that “all is fair in love and war,” and although at first blush it seems a reasonable proposition, it certainly is not true. For example, it is against the law for a man to kidnap a woman he loves and keep her imprisoned against her will, just as it is illegal to torture prisoners of war; unless it is America doing the torturing. But that is another story. The point is that in matters of the heart and war, like in politics, there are universally-accepted conventions that all participants are expected to follow regardless their intent to win at any cost. Obviously, repugicans embrace the “all’s fair” mindset in their drive to control the nation and since the election of an African American man as President, they have taken extreme measures to destroy democracy by disenfranchising voters who are not inclined to support the corporate-theocracy repugicans are fighting to impose on America.
Although America’s representative democracy is on the verge of becoming a laughing stock and collapsing, there are still some Americans able to enjoy unfettered access to participate in the electoral process. However, if repugicans and their money machine have their way, fewer Americans will be given access to the polls and they have abandoned any pretense of concealing their drive to limit voting privileges to white 'christians' dedicated to electing white repugicans to political office. Over the course of the lead up to the midterm elections, and since the wingnut Supreme Court eviscerated key aspects of the Voting Rights Act, repugicans in the states have unashamedly launched vote suppression efforts in state after state targeting people of color, young people, working-class Americans, and the elderly. Crucial to their success is repugicans’ heavy dependence on one of the Koch brothers’ legislative arms, the American Legislative Exchange Council, to create template legislation for repugicans to block access to voting in what can only be termed as a direct assault on America’s rapidly waning democracy.
It should surprise no American that ALEC is anti-democracy since last February its members refused to sign a pledge supporting democracy, likely at the behest of their funders the Koch brothers. Dissatisfied that repugican-misled states are doing enough to obstruct democracy, the Koch brothers tasked their other anti-democracy organization, Americans for Prosperity, to take what may be illegal actions to suppress the vote in North Carolina. Residents in the state have already witnessed a barrage of anti-democracy voter suppression tactics thanks to the Koch brothers’ ALEC legislation, but apparently it is not enough for the Kochs who charged AFP with the job of deliberately misinforming North Carolina voters to prevent them from participating in democracy.
North Carolina’s Americans for Prosperity sent out faulty voter registration forms and blatantly false information in what exceeds even the sleaziest dirty election tricks a few weeks before an election. In the mailings, Americans for Prosperity gave out the wrong deadline for registering to vote by cutting the authentic “registration window short by five days.” Included in the mailing was the wrong offices and zip codes for turning in voter registration forms as well as false information about how prospective voters would be notified about their precinct after they register to vote. That is providing they discovered the correct date and address to turn in the voter registration form on time to be able to vote.
The director of Americans for Prosperity, N.C., shrugged off the deliberate misinformation as “non-substantive” and just a “minor administrative error,” but it is not “minor” or “non-substantive” for hundreds-of-thousands of potential voters the Koch brothers’ thugs are attempting to disenfranchise. The AFP director revealed the Koch and repugican mindset is founded on their belief that N.C. voters unlikely to support repugicans are “non-substantive,” likely due to their racial makeup and economic station. That too is another story that is spreading across the former Confederacy where repugicans are actively thwarting the voting rights of working-Americans and people of color.
In Georgia once again, a second and third county are joining the repugican, ALEC, and Koch brother war on democracy by restricting voting of working-class people who have to work on Election Day. The reason? The repugicans think the idea of every American participating in democracy is wrong because “it would mean too many people are voting.” Just last week, another Georgia repugican, Fran Millar, said he was working with other state repugicans to put a halt to African Americans voting because he “would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.” The idea of all Americans voting, especially African Americans, is something repugicans cannot countenance and like all repugicans, Millar hopes “it can be stopped.” The idea of not supporting, and indeed destroying, democracy is by all appearance now a major policy position of the wingnut movement.
This anti-democracy crusade is not reserved to the Koch brothers’ legislative arms in the former Confederacy. A couple of weeks ago New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went on a rant condemning democracy as “shocking, underhanded, and a dirty tactic” and yet there was little response from Democrats at the national or state level. If, as Democrats claim, the fast-approaching midterm elections are critical to Americans, why are they not revealing the Koch-repugican dirty assault on democracy? For dog’s sake, repugicans have spent the past five years falsely accusing the President and Democrats of “destroying the Constitution” and attempting to rule as dictators.
These repugican, ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, and Koch brother attacks on America’s democracy are not solely targeting African Americans; they are targeting working-class Americans who are working longer hours to survive and have issues making it to the polls on Election Day. Regardless if it is eliminating early voting, sending out phony polling place and voter registration information, or threatening armed intimidation of voters, repugicans are attacking America’s fragile democracy.
It is, frankly, astonishing that repugicans are openly working to restrict all  Americans’ right to vote with little pushback from Democrats because the concept of democracy is allegedly the defining feature of “American exceptionalism.” Regardless of any Americans’ political leanings, it is difficult to imagine that only die-hard theocrats and corporatists would condone destroying democracy, but it is just as difficult to comprehend why Democrats are not making the repugicans’ effort a major campaign issue; particularly in former Confederate states where repugicans are actively touting their efforts to restrict democracy to white, 'christian', and repugican supporters.
Democrats need to come to their senses and put half the effort into informing Americans about the repugican attack on this nation’s democracy as they do promising to fight for middle-class Americans. Because at the rate repugicans are destroying democracy, Democrats are doomed to do nothing for the people because the Kochs, AFP, ALEC, and repugicans are easily eliminating Democrats’ chances of remaining in office by killing democracy with little to no opposition.

Misogynistic Wingnut Hack Tells Young Women That They Are Too Dumb To Vote

With his article, titled 'Five Reasons Why You're Too Dumb To Vote,' Kevin Williamson proved beyond a doubt what a truly bad hack he really is …
KEVIN-WILLIAMSON-facebookIn a column that appeared in National Review Online on Sunday, hack Kevin D. Williamson wrote a response to a blog actress Lena Dunham wrote where she gave five reasons people should vote. Williamson’s article, titled ‘Five Reasons Why You’re Too Dumb To Vote,’ claimed that the first reason someone would be too dumb to vote is if they got their voting advice from Dunham. He then proceeds to rip apart Dunham’s political leanings, specifically the fact that she is involved with Planned Parenthood and is pro-choice. Williamson also complains at length about Dunham’s HBO series, Girls.
The NRO correspondent exposes his real intentions with his column right away when he complains about Planned Parenthood and abortion. While he tries to argue throughout that his issue is about Dunham’s narcissism and the the childish nature with which she speaks about voting and political issues, his complaint is really due to Dunham being pro-choice and trying to convince young women that look up to her to vote their conscience.
If you would like to be filled with despair for the prospects of democracy, spend a few minutes attempting to decipher the psephological musings of Lena Dunham, the distinctly unappealing actress commissioned by Planned Parenthood to share with her presumably illiterate following “5 Reasons Why I Vote (and You Should, Too).” That’s 21st-century U.S. politics in miniature: a half-assed listicle penned by a half-bright celebrity and published by a gang of abortion profiteers.
It is an excellent fit, if you think about it: Our national commitment to permanent, asinine, incontinent juvenility, which results in, among other things, a million or so abortions a year, is not entirely unrelated to the cultural debasement that is the only possible explanation for the career of Lena Dunham. A people mature enough to manage the relationship between procreative input and procreative output without recourse to the surgical dismemberment of living human organisms probably would not find much of interest in the work of Miss Dunham. But we are a nation of adult children so horrified by the prospect of actual children that we put one in five of them to death for such excellent reasons as the desire to fit nicely into a prom dress.
Beyond Williamson’s rants on abortion, one thing you quickly notice is the pretentious nature of his writing. Later on in his piece, he complains about Dunham’s own narcissism and the self-centered nature of her show and celebrity culture today. Yet, he peppers his column with words like ‘psephological’ and ‘empathogenic.’ To see the true nature of his pomposity, just look at the following excerpt.
As a procedure for sorting out complex policy issues, voting is of distinctly limited value: If you wanted to know whether the compressive strength of a particular material were sufficient to support a bridge over Interstate 20, you would not go about solving that problem by bundling that question with 10,000 other equally precise and complex but largely unrelated questions, presenting the bundle of questions to the least-informed few million people you could identify, and then proceeding with whatever solution 50 percent +1 of them preferred. That would be a bad way to build a bridge — a homicidal way, in fact — and though it is a necessary instrument of accountability in a democratic republic, voting properly plays a very limited role. For instance, we have a Bill of Rights, which could with equal accuracy be called the List of Stuff You Idiots Can’t Be Trusted To Vote On. A majority of Americans don’t like free speech? Too bad, Harry Reid.
But for Miss Dunham et al., this isn’t a question of citizenship — it’s a therapeutic matter. Voting, she promises, will offer “a sense of accomplishment,” knowledge that one has done the right thing, even “joy.” But checking a box is the most trivial accomplishment imaginable; having done so is no guarantee that one has done the right thing, inasmuch as voters routinely make bad decisions for evil reasons; and one suspects that Miss Dunham means something different and less by “joy” than did, say, Beethoven or Walt Whitman. “I wore fishnets and a little black dress to vote,” she writes, “then walked around with a spring in my slinky step. It lasted for days. I can summon it when I’m blue. It’s more effective than exercise or ecstasy or cheesecake.” And that of course is the highest purpose of our ancient constitutional order: to provide adult children with pleasures exceeding those of cheesecake or empathogenic phenethylamines.
In the end, Williamson is just upset with Dunham because she is energizing young women to vote. He knows that, for the most part, these women are going to be pro-choice and vote for liberal or Democratic candidates and initiatives. Seeing that, he decides to personally criticize Dunham and her work. He then proceeds to say that anyone who follows her advice is too dumb to vote because they aren’t actually thinking about the issues at hand. Instead, they are just voting because it makes them feel good and important, therefore proving that they are just concerned with what they want, not anyone else.
Here’s the thing. Essentially, voting is about what someone personally wants and desires. One person, one ballot. You get to decide who and what you want to vote for based on your own self-interest. Should people do research and put a lot of thought behind their vote before stepping into the booth? Sure. However, it is still going to be what they personally want.

Scalia Law Backfires!

Pagan Prayer At Government Meeting Pisses Off teavangelicals
David Suhor Prayer On May 5th, 2014, SCOTUS ruled to allow the practice of sectarian prayer before government meetings to continue. The United States moved a step closer to full blown Scalia Law that day. Teavangelicals were tickled!
Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel of the Becket Fund for (selective)Religious Liberty, expressed his glee to a Washington Post reporter:
Today’s Supreme Court decision is a great victory for religious liberty.
Anti-Family non-Research Coven shrieking head Tony Perkins was similarly chipper is his statement to the Washington Post:
The court has rejected the idea that as citizens we must check our faith at the entrance to the public square.
Flash forward four months later. What do teavangelicals think now?
Last Thursday, Wilson Robertson walked out of a Escambia County Board of County Commissioners meeting in Florida. The 'christian' religio-wingnut told a reporter with ABC3-WEAR News:
I’m just not going to have a pagan or satanic minister pray for me.
According to a report from The Pensacola News Journal, Escambia County School Board Member Jeff Bergosh warned a local resident who does not share his delusion
You’re never going to get to do a satanic prayer… never.
The Friendly Atheist tracked down a statement from Jeff Bergosh’s personal website where Bergosh explains further:
I mean, should the majority of persons in attendance at one of our meetings really have to listen to a satanic verse? What if a ‘Witch Doctor’ comes to the podium with a full-on costume, chicken-feet, a voodoo doll and other associated over-the-top regalia? It could easily get out of hand…
Why the change of heart?
The SCOTUS ruling also stresses the importance of inclusion, stating that even atheists should be permitted to lead a prayer. Thursday night tevangelicans got to experience exactly that.
An Agnostic Pagan Pantheist by the name of David Suhor delivered an invocation for the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners. It was awesome!
Suhor is concerned about the SCOTUS decision. Prayers spoken before government meetings in his area are 100 percent 'christian'. He feels the practice alienates those who don’t share the majorities faith and violates the separation of cult and state.
Suhor offered the following statement to ABC3-WEAR News:
“I think they should not be offering a prayer or sponsoring a prayer of any particular religion,” He explained. “Instead I think they should have an more exclusive moment of silence which allows anyone to pray according to their own conscience.”
Suhor hopes his effort will trigger empathy within those who desire more religion in government:
“In a way I would like for other people to experience what it’s like when I go to a meeting and am asked to pray against my conscience”.
The Escambia County School Board continues to refuse Suhor’s request to deliver a similar invocation before one of their meetings. Suhor says he may sue.
Suhor’s invocation is a mind blowing. Here’s the video:

Boston Marathon bombing suspect's sister appears in court for bomb threat

With the Boston Marathon bombing trial looming, the Tsarnaev family is engulfed in legal problems and drama
Holly Bailey by Holly Bailey
FILE- In this Oct. 13, 2014 file photo, Ailina Tsarnaeva, sister of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, departs district court in Boston's South Boston neighborhood. Tsarnaeva has been arrested in New York City for allegedly threatening to bomb a Harlem woman. Police say that she is charged with aggravated harassment for threatening the woman over the phone on Monday, Aug. 25. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due back in court on Sept. 30. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
Ailina Tsarnaeva, sister of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,  has been arrested in New York City for allegedly threatening to bomb a Harlem woman. Police say that she is charged with aggravated harassment for threatening the woman over the phone on Monday, Aug. 25.
On Aug. 25, a New York City woman caught up in a messy child custody battle with her ex-boyfriend got into a fight on the phone with her former flame’s new girlfriend. According to the police, heated words were exchanged, and the girlfriend, who also has a child with the man, was subsequently arrested and charged with harassment after she allegedly threatened the other woman’s life.
It was an altercation that likely would have been buried in the reams of other ugly domestic disputes in New York. Except the accused was Ailina Tsarnaeva, the 24-year-old sister of alleged Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And, according to police, she allegedly threatened the other woman by telling her, “I have people. I know people that can put a bomb where you live.”
Tsarnaeva appeared in New York Criminal Court on Tuesday. She entered a not guilty plea to two charges of aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor, for allegedly threatening her boyfriend’s 23-year-old former girlfriend, who has not been named in the dispute. (Tsarnaeva's friends have said the man is her husband, but police have referred to him as her boyfriend.)
A resident of North Bergen, N.J., Tsarnaeva turned herself in on Aug. 27 and was released on a desk appearance ticket, which allows a defendant to bypass jail and appear in court at a later date. But she was led away in handcuffs after her court appearance Tuesday after prosecutors said she violated an order of protection by driving past the other woman's home earlier this month. Her bail was set at $5,000.
Tsarnaeva's brush with the law has renewed interest in an already troubled family caught up in the Boston attacks, which remain largely shrouded in mystery 17 months later.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, faces the death penalty for his alleged role in the April 2013 dual bombings that killed three people and injured several hundred near the marathon’s finish line. He’s also charged with shooting and killing an MIT police officer days after the attacks while he was on the run. His brother and alleged co-conspirator, Tamerlan, who was 26, was killed during a shootout with cops when, according to federal prosecutors, the younger Tsarnaev ran him over with a car while escaping from police.
Last week, a judge delayed Tsarnaev’s trial until January to give his attorneys additional time to prepare his defense, but he is expected to make his first court appearance in more than a year at an Oct. 20 status hearing. Tsarnaev has entered a not guilty plea to the charges.
But while Tsarnaev sits in a federal prison hospital outside Boston awaiting trial, members of his family have been dealing with legal skirmishes of their own as they navigate the infamy of being so closely associated with the horrific attacks. They have largely avoided the media, and associates say they’ve tried to lie low, but it hasn’t always worked out — especially for Tsarnaev’s two sisters, who have been drawn into the spotlight for run-ins with the law that occurred even before the bombings.
In addition to the latest incident in New York, Ailina Tsarnaeva is scheduled to go before a judge in November in Boston, where she’s facing jail time for allegedly lying to police investigating a counterfeit money ring back in 2010.
While she isn’t charged with passing fake bills, police say Tsarnaeva knows the identities of those behind the operation but misled investigators. A warrant was issued for her arrest last year when she skipped a court appearance, but in October 2013, she was released on $1,500 bail — though she was too broke to pay it. Her attorney, George Gormley, told the court she was “practically speaking, indigent,” and the court instead allowed her to check in weekly with a Massachusetts probation officer in lieu of posting bond.
In a brief interview, Gormley declined to comment on the case or his client, except to say that he is not representing her on the New York charge. According to court filings, Tsarnaeva is being represented by Legal Aid, an organization that works with clients who can’t afford to retain a lawyer. On Tuesday, her attorney, Susan Marcus, told the court her client did not have the means to post bail. She called the claims of harassment "uncorroborated."
"My client is an easy target," Marcus told reporters outside the courthouse.
Meanwhile, her older sister, Bella, 26, is still under legal scrutiny after she was arrested in December 2012 and charged with drug possession and distribution charges after police responding to a domestic violence incident at her Fairview, N.J., apartment found marijuana there. Bella Tsarnaeva and her live-in boyfriend, Ahmad Khalil, reached a plea deal with prosecutors last fall that allowed her to avoid a criminal record by participating in a pretrial intervention program, as long as she stayed out of trouble. She recently announced through a friend on Facebook that she’s pregnant with her second child, a girl due in February.
For their part, Tsarnaev’s parents, Anzor and Zubeidat, remain in Dagestan, Russia. They have said repeatedly that they want to come back to the United States to visit their son in jail, but so far they have not. Zubeidat Tsarnaev has told reporters she fears being detained on an outstanding arrest warrant for a 2012 shoplifting charge in Boston. The threat of arrest, she says, could keep her from attending her son’s trial.
Besides details that show up in court filings and small snippets of gossip and family photos that have been leaked out through friends and a network of online supporters of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in recent months, little is known about the daily lives of the Tsarnaev family in the aftermath of the bombings. Associates say Tsarnaev’s sisters have faced death threats, and their connection to the case has made it difficult for them to find work. It’s unclear how they pay the bills.
For more than a year, the Tsarnaev sisters shared an apartment in New Jersey, but at some point in recent months, Ailina and her two toddlers moved in with another familiar face caught up in the Boston drama: Katherine Russell, the 25-year-old widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev who also remains under scrutiny in the bombing investigation.
Russell and her 4-year-old daughter, Zahara, had retreated to her parents' home outside Providence, R.I., after the attacks, but she moved to New Jersey at some point this year and lived undetected until a Boston television station was tipped off to her whereabouts in late August — just days before Ailina Tsarnaeva’s arrest. Russell’s parents — who have separated, according to a family friend — sold their home in June. Friends of Russell were caught off guard by her move to New Jersey, speculating that it might have been spurred by tensions over Russell’s decision to remain a practicing muslim and the scrutiny she and her family have faced since the attacks.
Russell’s decision to move in with her sister-in-law also raises questions about her own theories about the Boston bombings, including Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s alleged involvement. Through her attorney, Russell has long denied any advanced knowledge of the bombing plot and has expressed shock at the allegations of her late husband and brother-in-law's involvement. In a joint statement released hours after Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death, the Russell family said they felt they “never really knew” him at all.
But the Tsarnaev family has refused to accept the government’s version of events in the marathon attacks. They have suggested that the brothers were wrongly accused — in spite of prosecutors’ assertions that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev readily admitted his involvement after his capture. Speaking to reporters camped outside her New Jersey apartment last month, Ailina Tsarnaeva told Boston’s WHDH-TV, “My brothers got framed. Everybody knows that.”
Yet it’s unclear what Russell thinks — or what her day-to-day life is like as her brother-in-law prepares to go on trial. Approached by a reporter outside the apartment she shares with Ailina Tsarnaeva last week, Russell ran away before a question could even be asked. She has yet to be formally cleared by federal investigators in the Boston Marathon bombing case, and her attorney, Amato DeLuca, did not respond to requests for comment.
Neighbors say that until recently they used to see Tsarnaeva, Russell and their children in the local park and taking walks in the quiet, mostly Hispanic neighborhood located just 20 minutes across the Hudson River from Manhattan. “They were just two young women who smiled but never said much,” one neighbor, who declined to be named, recalled.
But after the recent spate of publicity, the women have retreated inside, with their shades drawn — rarely seen except when they are walking to and from their car or taking out the trash. Occasionally, people have been seen knocking on their door, but nobody answers, a man who lives nearby said. And after word of Tsarnaeva’s alleged bomb threat spread, neighbors noticed unmarked police cars cruising the block more frequently. Whatever sense of ordinary life the two women enjoyed appears to be in limbo, amid a new round of scrutiny.
“When I see them now, they always look around like they are being watched,” one neighbor said. “I guess it’s because they are.”

Man fired shot into neighbor's home to unload gun

A 31-year-old Pennsylvania man accused of firing a bullet that broke a neighbors window allegedly claimed he fired the gun because it was the only way he knew how to unload it. No one was injured when the bullet hit the rear window on Adams Avenue in Middletown at around 12:30pm on Friday, but George Byrd IV, of Jefferson Avenue, is facing charges including persons not to possess firearms and discharging a firearm into an occupied structure. The Adams Avenue resident told police that around noon she heard what she thought were gunshots near her home. She later noticed a rear window on her porch had been shattered.
At around 1:00pm she was standing inside her home looking at the damage when she saw a man dressed in dark colored shorts and no shirt leave the house behind hers. As he stood in the doorway of the home, he fired a gun in what appeared to be the direction of her home and then ran back into the house he had previously exited, police said. Detective Patrick Nicastro inspected the Adams Avenue home and found what appeared to be two bullet holes in a fence that separated the Adams Avenue and Jefferson Avenue homes, police said. Nicastro also found a small hole in a window screen of the shattered window and recent damage to the siding on the porch.
After pulling the siding free, Nicastro found what appeared to be a fired, medium caliber handgun bullet behind the siding. Police officers visited the Jefferson Avenue home where they were met by a man wearing black shorts and no shirt later identified as Byrd. Byrd denied any knowledge of shots being fired and police detained him and checked the home to see if any armed subjects were inside, court documents said. During that sweep, police allegedly found several rounds of handgun ammunition on the basement floor. A search warrant was obtained and executed and police confiscated various handgun ammunition of varying calibers, a .357 revolver, 12-gauge double barrel shotgun an a M77 long rifle.
Police also found two bullet holes entering and exiting the back of a shed in the rear of the property. Similar bullet holes were seen entering and exiting a fence at the rear of a shed on the Jefferson Avenue property. A review of Byrd’s criminal record found he was adjudicated delinquent — the juvenile court equivalent of guilty in adult court — of felony burglary when he was 17, which would prohibit him from possessing a firearm. During his arraignment Byrd made a statement to District Judge Philip Daly admitting that he shot the gun into the ground to clear it because he was unfamiliar with guns and didn’t know how to unload ammunition, Nicatro said. Following his arraignment Byrd was sent to Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $20,000 bail.

The Internet's Greatest Supervillain

The supervillain known as The Troll is now locked up and unable to harm anyone. But there's always one more person succumbing to the allure of internet courage and anonymity, as illustrated by Farley Kitz in The New Yorker.
Web Commenter Man didn't start out bad. He was just an average person who, to his shock, found someone wrong on the internet. He responded. Then he kept arguing with this mysterious enemy. Thus belong a long, dark slide into textual depravity.

Hand 'Ruler'

240px-Human-Hands-Front-BackHand size appears to stay constant, providing natural ‘ruler’  

People tend to perceive their dominant hand as staying relatively […]

Male Anorexia

Who are the men and boys suffering from anorexia?

A new study by researchers from the University of Montreal […]

New Brain Cells

The discovery of a new shape of brain cell has neuroscientists scratching their heads over what the function of these neurons might be.

Ice Baby DNA

dna_pageDNA signature found in ice storm babies

Prenatal maternal stress exposure to natural disasters predicts epigenetic profile […]

18 Of The Most Beautiful Gardens In The World

A beautiful garden is a feast for the eyes.
Here are pictures of 18 of the most beautiful gardens in the world.

Surreal Places To Visit Before You Die

Here are 27 surreal and beautiful places you have to visit before you die.

Archaeologists discover 'Dracula's Dungeon' in Turkish castle

Wikimedia Commons Archaeologists have discovered what they believe is the dungeon that held Vlad the Impaler — the inspiration for Bram Stoker's character Dracula.
The team found dungeons, tunnels, and a military shelter in Turkey's Tokat Castle, where Vlad the Impaler was reportedly held in the beginning of the 15th century. The archaeologists discovered two dungeons during the castle's restoration work, which began in 2009. The restoration work led to the discovery of secrets tunnel between the castle, a military shelter, and the Pervane Baths.
The archaeologists believe Vlad the Impaler — a.k.a. Wallachian Prince Vlad III — was held in the dungeons by the Ottoman Turks in 1442. Tokat was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the 12th century, and it became a part of the Ottoman empire in 1392. Tokat Castle, a ruined citadel, is in the hills above the city.
"The castle is completely surrounded by secret tunnels. It is very mysterious," archaeologist Ibrahim Cetin said in a statement. "It is hard to estimate in which room Dracula was kept, but he was around here."

Random Photos

Thought Sandy Was Bad?

For all the talk of 2012's Hurricane Sandy being a superstorm, a new report warns that a future repeat of the hurricane that struck New York City in 1821 would be far more devastating.

Mysterious Colorado Rock Formation May Be Result of 'Natural Fracking'

Mysterious Colorado Rock Formation May Be Result of 'Natural Fracking'
An ancient, catastrophic flood or earthquake may explain how a bewildering rock formation in Colorado's Rocky Mountains formed, a new study finds.
For more than 120 years, geologists have wondered how giant chunks of Tava sandstone, a sedimentary rock, had become inserted into a section of the igneous rocks that shape the backbone of the Front Range, within the southern Rockies. Scientists call formations where one rock is inserted into another "intrusions."
The rocks within the formation are "reversed from what we would ordinarily expect," said the study's lead author, Christine Siddoway, a professor of geology at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. Typically, it is igneous rocks, such as granite, that intrude into sedimentary stone.
It's extremely unusual to find sandstone that has forced its way into granite, making the Colorado formation a rare find, Siddoway said.
Intrusions of sedimentary rock into granite-type rock "speak of a catastrophic event," she said, such as an earthquake or flood. An earthquake can cause sediment to liquefy, as it did during the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2011. It could have been another large earthquake that forced the sedimentary sandstone into the granite in Colorado, she said.
Or, it could have been rapid-moving floodwaters that lodged the Tava sandstone sediment into a fracture in the granite, explaining the intrusion, Siddoway added.
Whether it was an earthquake or a flood that set the formation into motion, the intrusion as we see it today can be explained by "natural fracking," she said. The fracking that we usually hear about is human fracking, in which machines are used to pump water underground to create enormous pressure to crack open rocks deep in the ground, so that fossil fuels can be extracted. But nature can cause fracking too — rocks crack open underground and then particles such as sand fill in the spaces.
"On a very grand scale, what allowed the Tava sandstone dikes to form is analogous to what happens on a small scale by human-induced pressure fracturing," Siddoway said.
Mysterious Colorado Rock Formation May Be Result of …
The Tava sandstone, shown here, is likely between 680 million and 800 million years old  
Rock of ages
The new study also hinted at how old the Tava sandstone may be, another riddle that has perplexed geologists.
The researchers analyzed samples from the sandstone that consisted mostly of quartz, with pieces of feldspars, micas, magnetite and zircon, which is both a mineral and a semiprecious gem.
"[Zircon] is the workhorse for isotopic dating of rocks to find out their age," Siddoway said. "The wonderful thing about zircon, that makes it a good gemstone, is that it's very hard and difficult to cut. It remains in the sedimentary record for a long time."
As soon as zircon forms, radioactive elements in its structure start to decay at a known rate, allowing scientists to date it. In this study, the geologists looked at tiny zircons in each sample, and then compared them to zircons in other sedimentary rock samples of a known age, Siddoway said.  
The Tava sandstone zircons, however, did not match those from 65 million years ago or 500 million years ago, as other researchers had suggested.
"I was utterly shocked to find that," Siddoway said.
Instead, the zircons in the Tava sandstone matched those from rocks from California's Death Valley and the Grand Canyon, the researchers found.
By comparing the Tava sandstone zircon to these other samples, the researchers determined its age is between 680 million years old and 800 million years old. That means that at the time the Tava formed, the continents were in a supercontinent called Rodinia, which had nothing but single-celled microbes. Colorado may have been near or south of the equator.
"Earth would have looked like an unvegetated, rocky planet, like some of our neighbors in the solar system," Siddoway noted.
She plans to continue to study the sandstone. "And as work continues, I'm very confident we'll be able to refine that to a more narrow range of age," Siddoway said.
The study was published online Aug. 27 in the journal Lithosphere.

Mysterious feature on Saturn's moon baffles NASA scientists

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered a "mysterious feature" on Saturn's moon Titan. Scientists are working to determine, what, exactly, this feature might be.NASA reports that the feature is roughly 100 square miles, and it lies in Ligeia Mare, one of Titan's hydrocarbon seas. Cassini's radar has observed the feature twice, but its appearance changed between the two sightings. Scientists suspect the feature's change in appearance could be the result of Titan's changing seasons, which Cassini's current extended mission will monitor.
The feature's first sighting was in July 2013, and the radar images depicted a bright spot, which stood out from the dark sea. Scientists were "perplexed" when the feature couldn't be located with follow-up radar experiments, but they found it again on August 21, 2014.
Though the scientists aren't sure what the feature is, NASA reports that they are "confident" the feature is not a "flaw in their data." Some of their current explanations for the feature include "surface waves, rising bubbles, floating solids, solids suspended just below the surface, or perhaps something more exotic."
Titan's hydrocarbon lakes have long been a source of curiosity for scientists who speculate that life may be able to survive on the moon's surface. "But if life exists on Titan, it would be very different than life on Earth, which is intimately tied to liquid water," Space.com notes.
"Science loves a mystery, and with this enigmatic feature, we have a thrilling example of ongoing change on Titan," Stephen Wall, the deputy team lead of Cassini's radar team, said in a statement. "We're hopeful that we'll be able to continue watching the changes unfold and gain insights about what's going on in that alien sea."

Autumn Stars

Autumn is under way in the Northern Hemisphere, and if you are an avid sky gazer you just might have noticed signs of the season's change.

Inside A Black Hole

Are you ready to get "spaghettified"? Julian has the gooey, stretchy, bizarro physics behind a human's leap into a supermassive black hole. 

White Orca

Only the second known sighting of pale killer whale in the wild.

Otter retrieved iPhone dropped into pool by visitor at animal sanctuary

An otter fished out an unusual catch for a woman who dropped her iPhone into his pool at an animal sanctuary.
The visitor feared the phone would be lost for good after it fell into the murky depths, until Starsky the Asian short-clawed otter dived into action. He swam down to the bottom of his tank before hauling the handset to the surface between his paws. Starksy calmly handed it back to speechless animal care assistant Jenny Lewis at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, in Gweek, near Helston, Cornwall.
Nine-year-old Starsky arrived at the sanctuary in January 2009, along with his brother Hutch. Starsky's usual tricks include juggling stones and climbing up the mesh sides of his enclosure - although he's too afraid to come down by himself.

Mysterious New Poison Dart Frog Found The Size Of A Fingernail

A new species of poison dart frog so teeny it can fit on a fingernail has been discovered in a rain forest in Panama. Scientists from the University of the Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, found the toxic, electric-orange amphibian in a single hilly area near the Caribbean coast.
Measuring just 12.7 millimeters (0.47 inches) in length, the newly described Andinobates geminisae remains something of a mystery, according to the study team. For one, the mini-amphibian 'looks nothing like' its closest genetic relatives in the region, mainly because of its orange color.

The Spiders That Decorate Their Own Webs

Spider webs - possibly the most beautiful and intricate animal structures of the natural world. However, some spiders are not content with a simple web. They go one step further. Take a look at some of these arachnid designs and come to your own conclusions.

Cowbells Make Cows Miserable

A field of cowbell-equipped-cows may create a soothing soundscape of wind and chimes, but the actual bovine after which the bells are named really hate the things. A study was performed for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich where scientist Julia Johns and a colleague measured the decibel levels of cowbells.
The cowbells can reach decibel levels of 113 - far above the legal limit of 85. Cows exposed to the sound chew their food for significantly less time than the cows without the bells, and some cows have even proven to have their hearing severely impaired.

Animal Pictures