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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

876 Charles the Bald is defeated at the Battle of Andernach.
1690 Belgrade is retaken by the Turks.
1840 King William I of Holland abdicates.
1855 Arrow, a ship flying the British flag, is boarded by Chinese who arrest the crew, thus beginning the Second Chinese War.
1862 The Union is victorious at the Battle of Perryville, the largest Civil War combat to take place in Kentucky.
1871 The Great Chicago Fire begins in southwest Chicago, possibly in a barn owned by Patrick and Katherine O'Leary. Fanned by strong southwesterly winds, the flames raged for more than 24 hours, eventually leveling three and a half square miles and wiping out one-third of the city. Approximately 250 people were killed in the fire; 98,500 people were left homeless; 17,450 buildings were destroyed.
1897 Journalist Charles Henry Dow, founder of the Wall Street Journal, begins charting trends of stocks and bonds.
1900 Maximilian Harden is sentenced to six months in prison for publishing an article critical of the German Kaiser.
1906 Karl Ludwig Nessler first demonstrates a machine in London that puts permenant waves in hair. The client wears a dozen brass curlers, each wearing two pounds, for the six-hour process.
1912 First Balkan War begins as Montenegro declares war against the Ottoman Empire.
1918 US Army corporal Alvin C. York kills 28 German soldiers and captures 132 in the Argonne Forest; promoted to sergeant and awarded US Medal of Honor and French Croix de Guerre.
1919 The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives pass the Volstead Prohibition Enforcement Bill.
1921 First live radio broadcast of a football game; Harold W. Arlin was the announcer when KDKA of Pittsburgh broadcast live from Forbes Field as the University of Pittsburgh beat West Virginia University 21–13.
1922 Lilian Gatlin becomes the first woman pilot to fly across the United States.
1932 Indian Air Force established.
1939 Nazi Germany annexes Western Poland.
1956 Don Larsen of the New York Yankees pitches the first perfect game in World Series history against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
1967 Guerrilla Che Guevara captured in Bolivia.
1968 U.S. forces in Vietnam launch Operation SEALORDS (South East Asia Lake, Ocean, River and Delta Strategy), an attack on communist supply lines and base areas in and around the Mekong Delta.
1969 The "Days of Rage" begin in Chicago; the Weathermen faction of the Students for a Democratic Society initiate 3 days of violent antiwar protests.
1973 In the Yom Kippur War an Israeli armored brigade makes an unsuccessful attack on Egyptian positions on the Israeli side of the Suez Canal.
1978 Ken Warby of Australia sets the world water speed record, 317.60 mph, at Blowering Dam in Australia; no other human has yet (2013) exceeded 300 mph on water and survived.
1982 The musical Cats begins a run of nearly 18 years on Broadway.
1991 Croatia votes to sever its ties with Yugoslavia.
2001 The shrub establishes the Office of Homeland Security.

Lab Grown Penises Ready for Testing on Humans

The loss of the penis through physical trauma, such as a battlefield injury, or the malformation of it as the result of a birth defect, can be a brutally debilitating event in a man’s life. But a solution may be on the way.
The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina has developed a technique to grow human penises in laboratory environments. The process involves taking cells from a man’s own penis, then growing those cells on a collagen scaffold. The reformed penis then grows over the scaffold.
The Institute has already produced rabbit penises successfully using this method. Soon, it will attempt the process on human patients. It is uncertain whether these penises will be capable of erections.

Requiem For Mike Brown

requiem for mike brownedited
Protesters made a powerful statement Saturday night when they showed up at the St. Louis Symphony and sang what is being described as a ‘Requiem for Mike Brown’ at the end of an intermission. Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black male, was shot to death by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. Protests have continued in and around Ferguson in the aftermath of Brown’s death. Wilson remains a free man as charges have not been filed against him. A grand jury is still looking at evidence. However, there are now concerns that the jury has been compromised, and the process may need to be restarted completely.
Roughly 50 demonstrators were spread out through the auditorium. As the conductor stepped to the podium to begin the second part of the performance, a woman stood in the audience and began sang, “What side are you on friend, what side are you on?” This led to another woman standing up a few rows away and singing, “Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all.” Afterwards, many other audience members stood up and joined in the singing. In the balcony, several banners were unfurled. One banner showed a picture of Brown. Another one said ‘Racism lives here’ and pointed to a picture of the St. Louis Arch. Other banners had sayings like ‘Requiem for Mike Brown’ and ‘Rise up and join the movement.’
Below is a cell phone video of the performance, courtesy of Rebecca Rivas of the St. Louis American:
The singing lasted for roughly two minutes. After the song had been sung, the demonstrators chanted ‘Black lives matter!’ before marching out of the auditorium. As they left, they received a loud round of applause from those in the audience as well as from the musicians on stage. Those who run the symphony did not want to comment on the protest.
Rivas was able to speak to the woman who organized the demonstration, Sarah Griesbach, a 42-year-old white woman who lives in an upscale neighborhood of St. Louis. She explained that the point of the protest was to help open the eyes of the white community to the injustices going on in Ferguson and around the country.
“It is my duty and desire to try to reach out and raise that awareness peacefully but also to disrupt the blind state of white St. Louis, particularly among the people who are secure in their blindness.”
She also pointed out to Rivas that she and another woman had attempted to make a similar statement at a St. Louis Cardinals game a couple of weeks prior. However, they were met with sneers and chants of ‘Hands up, don’t loot!’ She decided to try the symphony because she felt that an intellectual type of culture would be more open and receptive to a statement like that. Speaking from experience, I have heard extremely crass and racist statements made at recent Cardinals games regarding the Ferguson protests. It is not shocking to hear that she was met with derision from many fans at the game.
The protests continue. While this group made their statement at the symphony, a small but spirited group of protesters braved the cold night and gathered in front of the Ferguson police department to demonstrate. This will continue as long as Wilson is free and justice remains unserved. Next weekend, a number of planned marches, demonstrations and panels will take place in and around Ferguson. The weekend event is known as Ferguson October and organizers are calling on people from around the country to gather. Thousands of protesters are expected to show up on October 10th and stay through the 13th.

North Carolina College repugican shuts down campus voter registration drive

Voter registration sign via ShutterstockThe head of the college repugicans at one North Carolina college is determined to stop voter registration drives on her campus, whether they’re being sponsored by conservative or liberal groups.
According to MSNBC, chairwoman Leigh Thomas of the High Point University college repugicans was caught on camera on Wednesday telling a conservative group that it could not register voters on campus because she wasn’t comfortable with it.
Wednesday, as MSNBC’s Zachary Roth noted, was also the day that state The repugicans vowed to keep pushing for more restrictions on North Carolina voters, even if that means taking the fight all the way to the Supreme Court.
In the video, published by the group Campus Reform, Thomas can be heard telling Bree Binder of the wingnut agitator cabal Turning Point, “I just do not want to have people being registered to vote, whatsoever.”
Turning Point was trying to gain access to the campus — which requires a student liaison for outside groups — to register voters for this fall’s elections.
Thomas went on to say, “I’m just not sure if this is something I would want to have on this High Point University campus, the registration of voting [sic].”
“I don’t approve of it whatsoever—on a campus like High Point University,” she said. ”I don’t want to have any voting registration happening on this campus, with students.”
“If it’s not done the way we did it back in 2012,” she said, “I’m not — I’m not good with it.”
University spokeswoman Pamela Haynes said that, in fact, High Point held eight different voter registration drives.
“In 2012 alone, leading up to the presidential election, eight voter registration drives were held on campus,” she told MSNBC in an email.
Haynes speculated that Thomas was probably trying to keep the activist group within campus guidelines.
“Because the safety and security of our students is our top priority, HPU asks that outside groups officially register to host activities or events through a recognized student group,” Haynes said. “We believe the student who was recorded on video without her consent was trying to reinforce this policy.”
In a number of states, repugicans have been attempting to limit voting by doing away with early voting and registration, tightening voter ID laws and, on the whole, making it as difficult as possible for black voters, working women, hourly workers, the elderly and students to vote. These are all constituencies that have traditionally voted Democratic.

Mitt Romney Commits Voter Fraud

Mitt Romney, two-time loser, but third-time hopeful, signed voter registration forms with the wrong address and wrong party. Romney is no longer a repugican ...
Mitt RomneyMitt Romney, who just days ago was near tears over his failure to get elected and thus save us all from the horrible fate of record stock market rallies and the addition of 10 million private sector jobs under President Obama, is in hot water for signing voter registration forms without reading them.
Mitt Romney, two-time loser, but third-time hopeful, signed voter registration forms with the wrong address and wrong party. Romney is no longer a repugican, apparently, according to his own careful perusal of the voter registration he signed. He also used an address he hasn’t used since 2009. Oopsie!
Psst: Don’t try this if you’re a Democrat or a minority.
The Salt Lake Tribune found Romney’s voter registration problem while digging through documents obtained in a records request. Thomas Burr reported:
A copy of the form shows Romney’s signature with his old address listed in two places beside warnings that providing false information on the registration document is a violation of Utah law.
It turns out Romney, who is moving to Utah as a full-time resident, strolled into a driver license office in late August to obtain his Utah license and filled out paperwork to register to vote at his under-construction home in Holladay, a suburb of Salt Lake City. But, apparently because of outdated information in the agency’s database, the pre-printed form listed Romney’s former Park City address on Rising Star Lane and with no party affiliation. Romney signed it.
The Romney folks explained it to the Trib, “As they explained it, some star-struck clerks and Romney’s inattentiveness may have combined to cause the problem.”
No Romney story would be complete if some low level worker wasn’t being thrown under the bus for Mitt’s mistakes. And so… Utah Elections Director Mark Thomas is blaming the clerk for Romney’s inattentiveness. Josh Romney chimed in that of course this was a clerical error.
Oh. Good thing presidents don’t need to read or be careful about the things they sign.
That’s the thing about privilege — if a minority did this, they’d be facing misdemeanor charges or being hunted down by wingnut vigilantes as in Wisconsin. But if Mitt Romney does it, ah shucks. It’s just the law. Mistakes happen. Good intentions are presumed when you have money and privilege.
It’s a good thing the Salt Lake Tribune caught this in a records request, or Romney would still be registered to vote at the wrong address and affiliated as an Independent instead of a repugican.
There is a particular sweet irony about this, given Romney’s cabal’s obsession with non-existent voter fraud. The few cases of voter fraud that we find often originate with high level repugicans, in yet another predictable exercise of wingnut self-loathing and projection.
This is hardly Mitt’s first go round with playing fast and loose with election law. In January of 2010, he claimed to be living in his son’s basement so that he could register and vote in the Massachusetts special election to replace Senator Ted Kennedy.
It’s unclear why Mitt Romney thinks he can or should be president, when he can’t even register to vote correctly and failed to discover the error until it was pointed out to him.

Wingnut Scalia is Crusading to Establish Religion by Constitutional Fiat

Koch and vatican surrogate Supreme Court wingnut Antonin Scalia delivered a sermon at Colorado christian university and informed 400 delusional christians that the separation of cult and state,“doesn’t mean the government cannot favor religion over non-religion.” …
Justices Breyer And Scalia Testify At House Hearing
The idea of a human being striving, as far as possible, to reduce or eliminate biases, prejudices, or subjective evaluations by relying on verifiable data is what it means to be objective. For a judge in America’s legal system, being objective means putting aside one’s personal beliefs and prejudices to make objective decisions based on established law or, where no legal precedent exists, the United States Constitution. Obviously, the current crop of catholic wingnuts on the nation’s highest court cannot refrain from basing a rash of recent decisions on anything other than their personal religious delusions that has led them to glaringly establish religion by Supreme Court fiat. One Justice on the catholic high court has taken “establishing religion” a step  farther and is actively campaigning to establish his religion in the public school system, judicial system, and the government.
On Wednesday last, Koch and vatican surrogate Supreme Court wingnut Antonin Scalia delivered a sermon at Colorado christian university and informed 400 delusional christians that the separation of cult and state “doesn’t mean the government cannot favor religion over non-religion.”(Actually it means just that, but I digress) Scalia said that secularists concern over the overreach of religion into the government and every aspect of the public sphere is “utterly absurd” and that the Constitution’s only obligation is to protect christian’s freedom of religion and was never intended to protect Americans from religious imposition. Scalia must be removed.
Scalia defended his strict adherence to a purely theocratic reading of the U.S. Constitution and assailed the concept of a secular government. He claimed that what christians must do is prevail in “the main fight to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of cult and state means that the government cannot favor one religion over others or non-religion.  We do Him [god] honor in all our public ceremonies, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I think we have to fight that tendency of the secularists to impose it on all of us through the Constitution.” Scalia is parroting the religio-wingnuts' projectionist claim that atheists are “shoving their disbelief down our throats.” Scalia must go.
Now, there are several problems with Scalia’s claim and none are more malicious than interpreting the 1st Amendment as Constitutional cover to not only favor one specific religion, but to impose it on every other American. Scalia was not even attempting to conceal his theocratic aspirations and complained that, “Our [the Supreme Court's] latest take on the subject, which is quite different from previous takes, is that the state must be neutral, not only between religions, but between religion and non-religion. That’s just a lie. Where do you get the notion that this is all unconstitutional? You can only believe that if you believe in a morphing Constitution.” Putting aside the “morphing” argument for a second, the originalists who wrote the founding document insisted favoring one religion over another, or over non-religion, was unconstitutional; that idea is not new or  has not morphed with the times. Antonin Scalia needs to be impeached.
Scalia could not be more wrong and it is stunning that as an alleged constitutional scholar and “originalist-turned theocrat,” he cannot countenance the Framers’ intent that the Constitution was specifically set up to “morph” from its original 1789 form.  The Framers inserted the Ninth Amendment in the Bill of Rights particularly  to “clarify that the specific individual rights stated in the Constitution, particularly in the Bill of Rights, does not constitute an explicit and exhaustive listing of all individual rights possessed by the people, and cannot be used by the federal government to increase its powers in areas not stated.” Areas such as Scalia demands in establishing religion according to the last three catholic-majority Court decisions imposing and establishing christianity on the nation.
If anything is “utterly absurd,” it is Scalia’s assertion that the Constitution was not created to “morph” to protect rights of all the people, and his contention that the First Amendment does not protect the people “from” religion is contrary to volumes written by the Framers and Founders. If he were a tenth the so-called Constitutional scholar and originalist as he claims, he would comprehend that very rudimentary premise. In fact, two of the Framers, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison realized a pressing need to address  “exceptions in the constitution in favor of particular rights” so they would not “be so construed as to diminish the just importance of other rights retained by the people; or to enlarge the powers delegated by the Constitution.” This includes Scalia’s intent to use the Constitution to enforce religion by government edict as interpreted by the catholic majority on the Supreme Court. It is in direct contradiction to everything the Constitution’s true “originalist” Framers and Founding Fathers believed adamantly, wrote extensively about, and demanded to protect the nation from a government-by-christian theocracy at the nation’s founding and into perpetuity.
Scalia has, unethically, been using the catholic court’s ruling that legislative sessions should be opened with sectarian (read christian) prayers to campaign  and push for mandated public prayers in the public schools, state and federal legislatures, and every courtroom in the country. In June, Scalia harshly criticized his faith-based court cabal for declining to hear a case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled a public school district decision to conduct graduation ceremonies in church violated the Establishment Clause. Scalia and his little Koch accomplice Clarence Thomas were furious at not getting an opportunity to further decimate the Establishment Clause because according to their dissent, “the First Amendment explicitly favors religion” over the Founders and Framers’ well-documented opposition to favoring or establishing religion.
There are many reasons Justice Scalia must be removed from the nation’s High Court besides his strict devotion and adherence to the whims and wishes of the Koch brothers. He travels around the nation actively promoting hardline wingnut policies, and over the past year has made appealing for cases to establish christianity by judicial edict a primary goal when he is not ruling according to vatican dogmata. The First Amendment could not possibly be clearer in prohibiting the establishment of religion, and yet an alleged constitutional scholar and originalist is crusading to establish religion openly and with increasing frequency.
Scalia, with his catholic cohort justices have made three consecutive rulings shredding the Establishment Clause to impose christianity as government policy in direct opposition to the original intent of the Constitution. Since Scalia, particularly, has blatantly opted to abandon judicial objectivity for catholic biases, prejudices, and subjective evaluations to hasten America’s rush toward theocracy, he must be removed and sent to the vatican where his special talent for pushing christianity is, although inherently unethical and unconstitutional, allowed. He has no rightful place on the Supreme Court or the secular nation the Founders intended America to be at its founding and in the 21st Century.

10 Indisputable Facts repugicans Really Won’t Like Seeing

by Allen Clifton
facepalm-perryThe last few weeks the news has been pretty much awful. There have been days where I just stare at my television or computer screen thinking to myself, “What the hell is wrong with people?”
Now I know news is typically negative (unfortunately fear and negativity sell better), but lately it just seems like the whole world has gone mad.
That being said, I thought I’d have a little fun. And for someone who enjoys politics, “trolling” repugicans can provide a good bit of entertainment every once in a while.
So I thought, in the spirit of trying to have a little fun (and to be informative), here are ten facts repugicans can’t dispute.
Here we go:
1) Right now there are millions of repugicans benefiting from the Affordable Care Act – who still want it repealed.
2) Wingnut icon and legend Ronald Reagan tripled our national debt during his eight years in the White House. 
3) The shrub was the first president to lose the overall popular vote in 112 years. 
4) The repugicans control the House of Representatives despite losing the overall popular vote by 1.5 million votes. 
5) History will always show that President Barack Obama was in the White House when we located, and killed, Osama bin Ladin. 
6) They oppose birth control, abortion, homosexuality and women’s rights, while believing that government should be based on religious principles… and by “they” I mean islamic radicals. Though I bet most people were thinking of an entirely different group of people with similar beliefs. 
7) In our Pledge of Allegiance, the phrase “under god” wasn’t added until 1954. 
8) Tens of millions of wingnuts rely on Social Security and Medicare to survive – and both programs are forms of socialism.
9) During a 2012 repugican cabal presidential primary debate, wingnuts in the audience booed a solider who was currently serving in Iraq… and not a single repugican candidate on stage defended him. 
10) There’s not a single mention of god, jesus christ or christianity anywhere in our Constitution.
Alright, that’ll wrap this up.  I hope everyone enjoyed this list of indisputable quick facts that I’m almost certain will drive any repugican who reads it absolutely nuts.

Hong Kong and America: two systems, one corruption

The massive, student led protests in Hong Kong were sparked by the fact that Beijing's political and economic elites get to choose the candidates in its elections ("I don't care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating" -Boss Tweed) -- but is this really any different from America's big money primaries, where corporate elites can spend unlimited sums fixing the race?Larry Lessig's essay We Should Be Protesting, Too makes the connection: "Democracy with Chinese characteristics" is starting to look an awful lot like "Democracy with American characteristics," where the rich and powerful get to rig elections to ensure a slate of pro-establishment candidates who are guaranteed to support policies that reward their paymasters.
Today there's no "white primary." Today, there's a "green primary." To run in any election, primary or general, candidates must raise extraordinary sums, privately. Yet they raise that money not from all of us. They raise it from a tiny, tiny few. In the last non-presidential election, only about .05 percent of America gave the maximum contribution to even one congressional candidate in either the primary or general election; .01 percent gave $10,000 or more; and in 2012, 132 Americans gave 60 percent of the superPAC money spent. This is the biased filter in the first stage of our American democracy.
This bias has consequences. Of course, we don't have a democracy "dominated by a pro-Beijing business and political elite." But as a massive empirical study by Princeton's Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page published just last month shows, remove the word "pro-Beijing," and the charge translates pretty well.
America's government is demonstrably responsive to the "economic elite and organized business interests," Gilens and Page found, while "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy." Boss Tweed would have been impressed.

The Truth Be Told


Sick-Pay Law Draws No Fines Since It Began

Sixty Complaints by Employees Have Been Resolved, 112 Are Being Investigated
Mayor Bill de Blasio ’s administration has received nearly 200 complaints about businesses failing to comply with a sick-pay law that took effect six months ago, but records show the city hasn’t issued a single fine.
Most of the 189 complaints since April 1 came from employees who say their bosses didn’t provide them with a legally required notice outlining their right to paid sick days, according to data provided by New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs, the agency responsible for enforcing the law.
Sixty of the complaints have been successfully resolved through mediation, while 112 are currently in the process of being mediated or being investigated by the city. Only one of the resolved cases resulted in an employee receiving a payment from an employer.
Nearly 10% of the complaints involve allegations of retaliation, including seven cases involving workers who say they were fired, records show. Those retaliation cases have yet to be resolved.
Mr. de Blasio has heralded the sick-pay law—the first bill he signed as mayor—as a cornerstone of his pledge to fight inequality in the city. The law was approved in 2013 over then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg ’s veto, but Mr. de Blasio pushed through the City Council a tougher version in February that expanded the benefit to hundreds of thousands of additional New Yorkers.
Under the law, employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year must provide paid sick leave. Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of leave each year. A six-month grace period for violations for businesses with fewer than 20 employees ended last week
Julie Menin, commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, said the administration is committed to resolving as many cases as possible through mediation, rather than fining businesses. The city begins mediating complaints immediately after determining an employee with a sick-pay grievance is covered by the law, contacting the employer and providing information on how to resolve the charge.
The absence of fines, Ms. Menin said, shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of aggressiveness.
“Our first course of action will always be mediation, and we are extremely proud of the fact that we have been able to successfully mediate—or are in the process of mediating—almost all of the complaints,” Ms. Menin said.
Chris Charles, a 40-year-old Brooklyn resident who works as a security guard in Manhattan, is the sole person to receive money after filing a complaint.
Mr. Charles, who earns $8.50 an hour, said his employer, ADM Security, denied him a sick day and then retaliated by changing his schedule to fewer hours. After Mr. Charles’s complaint was mediated by the city, the company agreed to pay him $59.50 in sick-leave pay and $136 in lost wages.
ADM Security officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.
If the city issues a violation, an employer can appear before a judge at an adjudication tribunal. Under the law, a judge has several options—from a $500 fine each time an employee is unlawfully denied sick pay to awarding employees up to three times their lost wages, or $250, whichever is greater.
Nora Nealis, executive director of the National Cleaners Association in Manhattan, who testified against the law, said she is hearing complaints from businesses about the law. While businesses aren’t shutting down specifically because of it, she said, “it becomes a death by 1,000 cuts.”
“They’re crying,” she said. “It hurts.”
Ms. Nealis said she knew of one business that stopped providing employees with paid holidays, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, because the sick-pay law made it too expensive.
City officials said their hope is to educate businesses about the law instead of penalizing them, and is rolling out a $2 million outreach campaign this year.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who led the campaign for paid sick leave when she was a city councilwoman, said that she wasn’t concerned about the lack of fines and that it was vital to focus on informing businesses.
“I really do believe you want education first—how long this education period lasts, you have to see,” Ms. Brewer said. “But if there is a bad actor, then I do hope they get the book shoved at them.”
Robert Bookman, counsel to the New York City Hospitality Alliance, an industry group that has criticized the law, said the city was doing a “great job” educating businesses about the law, saying enforcement wasn’t “gotcha fine oriented.”
“So, we are hopeful,” he said.
Ms. Menin said it is “good that we’re at zero” violations, but “if we find repeat violators, or if we find evidence of retaliation, we obviously are going to step in and assess fines.”
“If we can’t mediate,” she said, “then we will have to go to a violation.”

Hotel group sued by US for racial discrimination

Feds sue hotels for treatment of minority workers in New Mexico, Texas, South Carolina
A hotel chain broke the law by subjecting minority employees in New Mexico, Texas and South Carolina to a hostile work environment and firing those who complained, a federal agency said.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Friday that it had filed suit against four Whitten Inn hotels and is seeking back pay, lost benefits and damages for workers. According to federal officials, employees endured racial slurs and derogatory comments. The agency said several workers were let go as retaliation for complaining.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in New Mexico.
"Discriminatory policies and conduct have no place in a state as culturally rich as New Mexico or in any employment setting," said EEOC attorney Christina Vigil, who is litigating the lawsuit.
Businessman Larry Whitten created a firestorm in 2009 when workers at his Taos hotel in northern New Mexico say they were forbidden to speak Spanish and told to change their Spanish first names.
A receptionist at the Taos inn said Sunday that Whitten was no longer the owner.
Representatives at an Abilene, Texas, Whitten Inn declined to comment when reached by telephone.
The Virginian-born Whitten had been known for turning around more than 20 hotels in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and South Carolina before moving with his wife to Taos from Abilene. He purchased the Paragon Inn for $2 million and turned it into the Whitten Inn.
He told The Associated Press at the time that he asked staff to speak English only in his presence because he didn't understand Spanish. He also said it was routine practice at his hotels to change employees' first names if they are working the front desk phones or deal directly with guests and they have hard to pronounce names. Some employees were fired because they were hostile to him and insubordinate, Whitten said.
Spanish language and culture have a long history in Taos, a liberal enclave at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

Germany scraps tuition fees for all universities

Politicians say charging young people for education is ‘socially unjust’.
Hear that, Britain?
by Zing Tsjeng
Students will no longer need to pay to attend German universities
Less than a year after the British government realized that the hike in tuition fees accomplished absolutely nothing besides landing students in more debt, Germany has decided to abolish fees for all universities. What's the German word for "deep regret at choosing the wrong place of study, tinged with envy and bitterness"?
Lower Saxony is the final German state to scrap tuition fees, meaning that all German universities are free of charge for all students – and yes, that includes overseas students.
"Tuition fees are socially unjust," Dorothee Stapelfeldt, senator for science in Hamburg, told the Times. The state scrapped fees in 2012. "They particularly discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up studies. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany."
German universities were allowed by law to start charging fees in 2006, when a constitutional court decided that moderate fees combined with loans did not violate the country’s commitment to universal higher education. Most schools only charged relatively low amounts of around €1,000 a year (£845) – but that didn't stop state governments from changing their mind after eight years.
"There is a tradition here that education is free from beginning to end, and that is very difficult to change," Hamburg University vice-president Dr Holger Fischer explained.
According to Fischer, abolishing fees is a "catastrophe" as it allowed universities to "improve the teaching and infrastructure". But it's good news for university students who are about the start the new autumn term in Germany, free of charge.
Meanwhile, the price of attending British universities has soared by almost 8%, with students now facing bills of £54,000 for a three-year undergradate degree. Maybe it's time to move to Germany to pursue that degree? I hear Hamburg is great this time of the year.
This piece is from a British perspective. The same scenario as played out in the US is far worse - far, far worse, where that  £54,000 price tag quoted above for a three-year degree won't even pay a one semester's tuition let alone books, food and lodging at a lot of the universities in the US.

The great charter school rip-off: Finally, the truth catches up to education "reform" phonies

Fraud, financial mismanagement, lousy results: Reports highlight awful charter schools and people are catching on
Last week when former President Bill Clinton meandered onto the topic of charter schools, he mentioned something about an "original bargain" that charters were, according to the reporter for The Huffington Post, "supposed to do a better job of educating students."
A writer at Salon called the remark "stunning" because it brought to light the fact that the overwhelming majority of charter schools do no better than traditional public schools. Yet, as the Huffington reporter reminded us, charter schools are rarely shuttered for low academic performance.
But what's most remarkable about what Clinton said is how little his statement resembles the truth about how charters have become a reality in so many American communities.
In a real "bargaining process," those who bear the consequences of the deal have some say-so on the terms, the deal-makers have to represent themselves honestly (or the deal is off and the negotiating ends), and there are measures in place to ensure everyone involved is held accountable after the deal has been struck.
But that's not what's happening in the great charter industry rollout transpiring across the country. Rather than a negotiation over terms, charters are being imposed on communities - either by legislative fiat or well-engineered public policy campaigns. Many charter school operators keep their practices hidden or have been found to be blatantly corrupt. And no one seems to be doing anything to ensure real accountability for these rapidly expanding school operations.
Instead of the "bargain" political leaders may have thought they struck with seemingly well-intentioned charter entrepreneurs, what has transpired instead looks more like a raw deal for millions of students, their families, and their communities. And what political leaders ought to be doing - rather than spouting unfounded platitudes, as Clinton did, about "what works" - is putting the brakes on a deal gone bad, ensuring those most affected by charter school rollouts are brought to the bargaining table, and completely renegotiating the terms for governing these schools.

Sentences That Prove English is the Craziest Language Ever

I never said she stole my money.
This sentence may not seem bizarre at first, but it will blow your mind once you start saying it differently. The statement takes on seven completely different meanings depending on which word is emphasized.

US Coast Guard rescued man trying to run from Florida to Bermuda inside inflatable bubble

An Iranian exile has been rescued by the US Coast Guard after a failed attempt to float 1,033 miles from Florida to Bermuda in an inflatable bubble. Reza Baluchi was picked up about 70 nautical miles east of St Augustine suffering from fatigue and disorientation. Coastguards had warned Mr Baluchi on Wednesday of the dangers he faced making the proposed trip and suggested he give up.
He refused, but activated his locator beacon on Saturday when he became exhausted. Coast Guard spokeswoman Marilyn Fajardo said air crew were able to safely pick up Mr Baluchi and the bubble on Saturday morning. His inflatable hydro-pod bubble is made of 3mm-thick plastic which he propels forward by running inside like a hamster on a wheel.

Mr Baluchi planned to run in the bubble in the mornings, cool off in the sea while leashed to the floating sphere, and sleep in a hammock inside it at night. In addition to protein bars, he planned to catch and eat fish. Mr Baluchi's said he had planned to make the trip to raise money "for children in need" and "to inspire those that have lost hope for a better future".

Mr Baluchi was granted asylum in the US in 2003 after being arrested in Iran for so-called pro-Western and anti-Islamic activities, including eating during the holy month of Ramadan. He has made headlines before with previous efforts to break long-distance running and cycling records, including a six-month journey in which he ran around the perimeter of the US to raise money for a children's hospital. He also endured a seven-year bike trip that he said brought him across 55 countries on six continents. His self-professed mission is to promote world peace and unity.

Wife rushing to assist husband following nasty car crash accidentally ran over and killed him

A man in Northern France who survived a nasty crash when his car overturned was accidentally killed after being run over by his wife who’d driven to the scene to help him. The 54-year-old man and his daughter were driving near the town of Carville just after 11pm when the father lost control of the vehicle at a sharp curve in the road.
The vehicle flipped and rolled over several times before coming to rest in a roadside ditch. The father and his 16-year-old daughter crawled out of the wreckage unharmed. The man then called his wife and asked her to come and pick them up.
But as she approached the crash site the woman lost control of her vehicle at the same sharp curve in the road. As her car rolled it hit and killed her husband. His 44-year-old wife and 16-year-old daughter were taken to hospital.

Thieves threw chainsaws at police car to escape arrest during high-speed pursuit

A high-speed police chase between two thieves and a police officer had the sergeant dodging chainsaws in the middle of Duluth, Georgia.
Duluth Police are working to enhance the video to get a better look at the faces of the two men caught on camera throwing stolen chainsaws at a police car. They were seen leaving Howard Brother's hardware at around 1:30am on Monday. An officer heard the store's alarm and investigated.
He chased after the minivan. They tossed three chainsaws and a weed-eater. The chase ended after about three minutes. The two men stopped and abandoned the vehicle. They then ran off in to the woods. Police found nine weed-eaters and two more chainsaws in the back of the van.

Some of it had been taken from a Tucker hardware store in addition to Howard Brother's Hardware. The van had been reported stolen a few days earlier in DeKalb County. The total cost of the merchandise stolen is almost $19,000. One of those chainsaws whacked the patrol car causing about $3,000 in damage.

Man arrested for shooting drone

A man in New Jersey was arrested after using a shotgun to shoot down his neighbor's drone. The neighbor was using the drone to take photographs of a nearby home undergoing renovations. Police arrested the man and charged him with “possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and criminal mischief.” Lawyers are trying to determine how to proceed, because without direct precedent for people shooting down flying camera robots, the future of drone laws may hinge on one annoyed New Jersey man with a shotgun.

Bizarre Historical Images You Won't Believe Actually Happened

Deluge Of Booze
That’s not a flood — it’s illegal booze being poured out a Detroit window during Prohibition (1920-1933). Detroit was the main center for smuggling liquor from Canada into the United States. When Michigan state police raided a Detroit restaurant suspected of serving liquor, they wound up arresting the Mayor, a Congressman and a local sheriff.

Twins and Diabetes

Older female twinsStudy of identical twins reveals type 2 diabetes clues

By studying identical twins, researchers from Lund University in Sweden […]

Predicting Sleep Apnea

tongueTongue Fat and Size May Predict Sleep Apnea

Obesity is a risk factor for many health problems, but […]

The Secret History Of The Michelin Man

The aim of all advertising is first to create recognition for a brand, and then, ideally, affection and loyalty. This can be achieved in a multitude of ways, but one of the best examples can be found in a symbol that is now 116 years old: Bibendum, commonly referred to as the Michelin Man.

Men’s Roles in Scandinavian History Examined

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Lisbeth Skogstrand of the University of Oslo has surveyed the artifacts found in 805 men’s graves in Norway and Denmark dating from the Early Nordic Bronze Age to the late Roman period. She found that in the Early Bronze Age, grooming articles such as razors, tweezers, and possible implements for manicures were highly valued. “We have found traces of beard hair and possibly eyebrows on the razors, so they probably removed hair from various parts of the body,” she told Science Nordic. Weapons such as spears, shields, and other iron weapons were considered important enough to bury with dead in the early Roman period, until A.D. 200  At this time, perhaps men were required to protect their belongings from rival communities. After A.D. 200, men’s grave goods resemble those of women—tools and decorative items representing other roles in society. “There were more ways of being a man than we thought,” she quipped. To read about artifacts being discovered in Norway's retreating glaciers, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "The Big Melt."

Undersea Ancestors

Tracing our ancestors at the bottom of the sea

A specialist group of European researchers are studying the remains […]


The Volcanic Sulfur Mine Of Indonesia's East Java
The Indonesian province of East Java is the home to the Ijen Volcano. The volcano has an enormous, turquoise acid crater lake at the top of a two mile ascent.
Hundreds of people visit the site each day, but for most it is not to take in the bizarre spectacle of the dead lagoon: around the lake men and boys mine for sulfur which is then taken, carried on their backs, down the side of the volcano. For them, the Ijen volcano represents their livelihood: for visitors, however, it can seem like a vision from Dante or Bunyan.

18 Awe-Inspiring Aerial Images Of The World's Mega Mines

Mining has always been a polarizing topic. On one hand, it provides us with the essential materials we need to power our civilization forward; on the other hand, by-products from mining can lead to detrimental environmental effects.
Regardless on which side of the emotional spectrum your feeling lie, you can't help but feel awe when looking at the immense and profound changes that we as a species have made to our earth.

Hiker Stumbles Upon an Abyss in Portugal

Redditor RTWin80weeks was hiking along the beach outside of Lagos, Portugal when he came upon this amazing rock formation. It's a hole that goes deep into the earth--farther than he could see.
Other redditors claim to have been there. Ski6666 made this video showing the other side, which empties into the ocean. -SSS- thinks that this spot is at Foral Ponda Da Peidade, an area known for its exceptional natural beauty.

The Kangaroo That Went Back To The Trees

When you hear the word kangaroo, what you may well imagine is the large marsupial bounding with immense speed across the Australian landscape - and you would not be wrong.
However, at one point the ancestors of one particular family of kangaroos did something strange. They returned to the trees whence they had come. This is the tree-kangaroo and they are the marsupial equivalent of monkeys.

Sea Horses

With their distinctive, equine-like snouts and bright colors, you'd be hard pressed to find a more fascinating creature in the ocean than a sea horse.

Animal Pictures