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

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

1066 William of Normandy defeats King Harold in the Battle of Hastings.
1651 Laws are passed in Massachusetts forbidding the poor to adopt excessive styles of dress.
1705 The English Navy captures Barcelona in Spain.
1773 Britain's East India Company tea ships' cargo is burned at Annapolis, Md.
1806 Napoleon Bonaparte crushes the Prussian army at Jena, Germany.
1832 Blackfeet Indians attack American Fur Company trappers near Montana's Jefferson River, killing one.
1884 Transparent paper-strip photographic film is patented by George Eastman.
1912 Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt is shot and wounded in assassination attempt in Milwaukee. He was saved by the papers in his breast pocket and, though wounded, insisted on finishing his speech.
1917 Mata Hari, a Paris dancer, is executed by the French after being convicted of passing military secrets to the Germans.
1930 Singer Ethel Merman stuns the audience when she holds a high C for sixteen bars while singing "I Got Rhythm" during her Broadway debut in Gershwin's Girl Crazy.
1933 The Geneva disarmament conference breaks up as Germany proclaims withdrawal from the disarmament initiative, as well as from the League of Nations, effective October 23. This begins German policy of independent action in foreign affairs.
1944 German Field Marshal Rommel, suspected of complicity in the July 20th plot against Hitler, is visited at home by two of Hitler's staff and given the choice of public trial or suicide by poison. He chooses suicide and it is announced that he died of wounds.
1947 Test pilot Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier aboard a Bell X-1 rocket plane.
1950 Chinese Communist Forces begin to infiltrate the North Korean Army.
1962 Cuban Missile Crisis begins; USAF U-2 reconnaissance pilot photographs Cubans installing Soviet-made missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
1964 Rev. Martin Luther King is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advocating a policy of non-violence.
1966 Montreal, Quebec, Canada, opens its underground Montreal Metro rapid-transit system.
1968 US Defense Department announces 24,000 soldiers and Marines will be sent back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours of duty.
1968 Jim Hines, USA, breaks the "ten-second barrier" in the 100-meter sprint at the Olympics in Mexico City; his time was 9.95.
1969 The British 50-pence coin enters the UK's currency, the first step toward covering to a decimal system, which was planned for 1971.
1983 Prime Minister of Grenada Maurice Bishop overthrown and later executed by a military coup.
1994 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres for establishing the Oslo Accords and preparing for Palestinian Self Government.
1998 Eric Robert Rudolph charged with the 1996 bombing during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia; It was one of several bombing incidents Rudolph carried out to protest legalized abortion in the US.
2012 Felix Baumgartner breaks the world record for highest manned balloon flight, highest parachute jump, and greatest free-fall velocity, parachuting from an altitude of approximately 24 miles (39km).

Which Apartment in Manhattan Is the Furthest Away from a Subway Station?

If you live in the heart of a major city, easy access to public transportation is essential. In New York City, that priority includes the subway system. If you live in Manhattan, how far away from you is the nearest subway station?
Ben Wellington, an instructor in city planning and statistics at the Pratt Institute, is the person to ask. He operates I Quant NY, a blog about geographical and statistical analyses of New York City. Recently, he searched for the apartment in Manhattan that is the furthest away from a subway station. That apartment is the penthouse suite of 10 Gracie Square. It's 0.8 miles away from a subway entrance.

Carrying Your Nobel Prize Through Airport Security

Astrophysicist Brian Schmidt of the Australian National University won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2011 for discovering dark energy. Speaking at an event in New York last month, he talked about how winning a Nobel changed his life. Some of the things that come with the medal are money, respect, worldwide recognition of your research, and at least for Schmidt, a bit more hassle with U.S. airport security.
“When I won this, my grandma, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota, wanted to see it. I was coming around so I decided I’d bring my Nobel Prize. You would think that carrying around a Nobel Prize would be uneventful, and it was uneventful, until I tried to leave Fargo with it, and went through the X-ray machine. I could see they were puzzled. It was in my laptop bag. It’s made of gold, so it absorbs all the X-rays—it’s completely black. And they had never seen anything completely black.
The exchange that followed was amusing, although you have to understand that if you’re a TSA officer in Fargo, this is probably the most excitement you’ve had on the job in years. Read the story at Scientific American.

Librarians on the vanguard of the anti-surveillance movement

The American Library Association's code of ethics demands that library professionals "protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality" and they've been taking that duty seriously since the first days of the Patriot Act.
The history of libraries in the post-9/11 fight is a proud and honorable one, with librarians putting their jobs and honor on the line to stand up for the right of people to conduct intellectual inquiry without government surveillance, and to stand against secret wiretaps that come with perpetual gag orders. And it's a tradition that continues today, with projects like Alison Macrina's series of cryptoparties and workshops for her patrons in Massachusetts.
Everywhere I go, I meet librarians who believe in these principles and take a stand for it. One Bay Area high school librarian told me how the FBI demanded that she turn over all her school's yearbooks, back to the 1950s, without a warrant. When she told them that they'd need to get one, they leaned on her, asking her why she didn't want to help out law enforcement efforts.
"My father was an SFPD detective," she replied. "And he taught me that cops need warrants."
They never came back.
In the case of government surveillance, they are not shushing. They've been among the loudest voices urging freedom of information and privacy protections.
Edward Snowden's campaign against the National Security Agency's data collection program has energized this group once again. And a new call to action from the ALA's president means their voices could be louder and more coordinated than ever.
Guarding patrons' library activities is considered a core value of the profession, written into the ALA's code of ethics: "We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted."

People From Around The World Gather In St. Louis For March Against Police Brutality

ferguson october saturday 11
Activists and protesters from all over the world gathered Saturday morning in downtown St. Louis to participate in a march, part of Ferguson October, and show that they stand united against police brutality and racial disparity. The rally started at 10 AM local time and the protesters began marching through the streets shortly after 11 AM. Crowd estimates range anywhere from 1,200 to over 3,000. Organizers of the march had estimated as many as 8,000 participants to be at the event. One thing is certain — people traveled from far and wide to be in St. Louis Saturday.
Prior to the rally, I spoke with Jasmine Falls, a nurse and labor representative from St. Louis, She informed me that roughly 200 nurses, some traveling from as far as California, were participating in the march. Beside the National Nurses Organizing Committee and the California Nurses Association, Jasmine also pointed out that representatives from the Chicago Teachers Union were taking part in the rally and march. Ms. Falls is currently the only labor rep for the 890 union nurses in the St. Louis area. At this moment, only two area hospitals have unionized nurses, but Jasmine is hoping that will change.
Organizations from New York, Oakland, Kansas City and other large metropolitan areas sent representatives to stand in solidarity with the Ferguson protesters. Nations that have suffered through oppression also had people show up for the march. A number of Palestinians attended the march and rally. The same was true of South Africa. Activists from both parts of the world were active and loud throughout the day. Legal observers were on the ground to ensure there were no issues between police and marchers. Amnesty International made sure to make their presence known.
One scene-stealer during the march was a large, paper-mache puppet of Michael Brown. The artist’s concept was to make a likeness that wasn’t seen as degrading or exploitative. Basically, the idea was to show Brown with his hands raised, but on a very large-scale. The concept worked, and the large puppet made a huge impact during the march and at the post-march rally.
During the post-march rally, which took place in St. Louis’ Kiener Plaza, I was able to sit down and talk to a couple of educators from Berea College. The had traveled with their students from Berea, Kentucky to be at the Weekend of Resistance. Monica Jones, the director of the school’s Black Culture Center, and Dr. Alicestyne Turley, an assistant professor and director, both expressed admiration for the young people in Ferguson. They stated that it was amazing how much tireless energy they’ve exhibited in the seeking justice for Brown since he was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. Both women were impressed with the determination many young activists have had in organizing and energizing others to get behind their cause.
A number of people got up to speak at the post-march rally. St. Louis music artist Tef Poe started things off with a rallying cry. A number of other activists from Ferguson, who have tirelessly protested these past two months, also took turns speaking. The family of VonDerrit Myers were also present. Myers was shot and killed by a St. Louis police officer earlier this week. St. Louis police claim that Myers, 18 at the time of his death, shot at the off-duty police officer after the officer tried to conduct a ‘pedestrian check.’ The officer shot at Myers 17 times, hitting him with at least six shots.

The Truth Be Told


Science, not prayer, will solve the Ebola problem

Ebola vaccine human trials begin
There's now a vaccine against Ebola being tested to see if it's safe.
The vaccine is produced by Glaxo Smith Kline and is being tested on healthy volunteers. Nurse Ruth Atkins got the first dose.
In addition to the 40 subjects in Mali, 20 are being tested at the National Institutes of Health here in the U.S. and 60 in the U.K. It's the first phase of a multi-step process before approval.
The vaccine has been effective in primates, but this is the first human trial.
"This is happening extraordinarily rapidly," said Adrian Hill, chief researcher in the U.K. "We've done over 100 clinical trials at this center, typically it would take us about six months to get a vaccine trial started, we've done this in just under four weeks. Everybody revealing the protocol, we've done this in record time."

Why Ebola triggers massive wingnut hysteria

"Their worldview makes it nearly impossible for them to react with compassion instead of fear..."
by Amanda Marcotte
Objectively, the disease is a nonpartisan issue. That hasn't stopped Faux News from blaming its spread on Obama
Of all the issues that you would think would be non-partisan, Ebola should be at the top of the list. The disease is just a mindless germ that doesn't check your race, gender, social class, sexual orientation or party identification before it strikes, suggesting both liberals and conservatives have a stake in treating people exposed to the disease with compassion and care. And yet, to flip on Faux News or turn on any wingnut media at all, you'd think that Ebola was some kind of plague designed by the Democratic party in order to wipe out repugicans.
Blowing the threat of Ebola out of proportion and trying to link it to Obama has been a constant theme of the wingnuts in recent days. Elisabeth Hasselbeck of Faux News literally demanded that we put the country on lock-down, banning all travel in and out. In a bit of race-baiting, Andrea Tantaros of Faux suggested that people who travel to the country and show symptoms of Ebola will "seek treatment from a witch doctor" instead of go to the hospital. Faux hack Steve Doocy suggested the CDC is lying about Ebola because they're "part of the administration". Faux also promoted a conspiracy theorist who is trying to claim the CDC is lying when they caution people not to panic.
Other wingnut media joined in. Tammy Bruce blamed Ebola on the "Obama legacy". Laura Ingraham said Obama was prevented from doing more to stop the disease because of his "core ties to the African continent". Lush Dimbulb even went as far as to accuse Obama of letting the disease spread because he supposes liberals believe "we kind of deserve a little bit of this".
Even politicians are getting in on the act. Former South Carolina repugican cabal executive director Todd Kincannon tweeted, "The protocol for a positive Ebola test should be immediate humane execution and sanitzation of the whole area." The repugican presidential hopefuls stopped short of wishing death on people who have the disease, but are nonetheless crawling all over each other to make a bigger deal out of ebola than it really is. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and Bobby Jindal have all suggested that we ban travel in and out of the country, at least some travel, in order to keep a lid on Ebola.
None of this is even in the realm of reasonable, of course. There's only been one case of Ebola in the entire country (now 2 - a nurse who treated the 1 has contracted the disease) and the CDC has a well-practiced strategy for tracking and containing the disease. PBS science correspondent Miles O'Brien denounced the coverage as "irresponsible" and asked people to "take a deep breath" before fear-mongering about ebola.
With the threat being so small, why are conservatives going crazy like this? Part of it is pure political opportunism, trying to hitch their anti-Obama obsession to whatever scary news story is making headlines. Part of it is cynical fear-mongering for its own sake, as conservative pundits know that when people are afraid, the are more open to reactionary ideas. But a large part of it might be that wingnuts are just far more prone than liberals are both to getting wound up over the fear of disease and being compelled by the idea that people who are not themselves are undeserving of care.

Bernie Sanders Took Over Sunday Morning And Shred John McCain’s ISIS War Mongering

bernie sanders cnn state of the union
Sen. Bernie Sanders knocked John McCain off of his usual Sunday morning warmongering turf by following a typical McCain appearance on CNN State Of The Union with a fact laced shredding of McCain’s pro-war propaganda.
Sen. Sanders was asked CNN’s Candy Crowley to respond to Sen. McCain’s call for an expanded war effort against ISI
The Vermont Independent replied,
It’s a problem for the international community, and you asked me a moment ago why aren’t other countries more deeply involved? I will tell you why. Because they believe that the American taxpayers are going to do it, and American soldiers are ultimately going to do it. And as long as that signal is out there, that’s what’s going to happen. I want the Saudi Arabian government to be actively involved. I want their troops to be on the ground. I don’t want them to believe that we’re going to do it for them. So yes, I think we have to play a very strong and supportive role with the UK, with France, with Canada, with other countries. It can not and should not be the United States alone.
It is very easy to criticize the president, but this is an enormously complicated issue. We are here today because of the disastrous blunder of the shrub/Cheney era that got us into the war in Iraq in the first place. Which then developed the can of worms that we are trying to deal with right now.
It was a rare first to see CNN or any other network have a guest on to rebut McCain’s constant Obama bashing and calls for military acceleration. Sanders kept the decorum of the Senate in place by not criticizing his fellow senator by name, but it was clear who he was talking about when he linked he calls for more military involvement with the decision to go to war in Iraq. Sen. McCain still supports the Iraq war, and would send American ground troops back there in a heartbeat if he could.
Sen. Sanders was correct. It is easy for McCain to sit on the sidelines and criticize the man who routed him in a presidential election. The American people do not want to send ground troops into the Middle East. Obama is dealing with a cowardly congress that refuses to take a stand. Within these constraints, he is trying to put a coalition together to defeat ISIS.
The issue is extremely complex both at home and abroad. CNN would normally have John McCain on to bash Obama, call for more war, and then call it a day. It was refreshing to see Sen. Sanders given the Sunday morning platform to express how a majority of Americans feel about this issue.
Bernie Sanders took over John McCain’s media turf, and the result was a healthy dose of reality getting injected into the Sunday morning Republican propaganda.
We the people could use more Bernie Sanders on Sundays, and 100% less John McCain.

The Truth Hurts

Hey, wingnuts, you know we're all laughing at you don't you!

The repugican cabal Civil War Gets Ugly John Boehner Begs Big Business To Neutralize teabagger Crazies

The repugican civil war is getting nasty as John Boehner is hoping that his friends in big business will help him neutralize the “nuts” in the tea party that have pushed the House to the extreme lunatic fringe.
boehner-face-2But the repugican boast was never really meant to nail the balloting results. Instead, it was a clever blend of hype and hope served up to major donors about what could follow the election: For repugican cabal benefactors in New York, Washington and beyond who’re past tired of self-destructive antics by repugicans reactionaries, the cabal tailored the push to conjure the dream of a reinvigorated John Boehner. Given the room, he could stiff-arm the tiny, troublesome wingnut flank that nearly pitched the country into a debt default three years ago and generally made major headaches out of otherwise simple chores. One repugican agitator spells out the subtext of the pitch to the corporate pragmatists the repugican cabal is hitting up for campaign cash: “We want to give Boehner a governable majority so the crazies you hate will be irrelevant.”
John Boehner wants big business to come to the rescue and neutralize the nutty members of the House that have held him hostage. The problem is that the crazies that he is trying to get rid of are also the repugican base. Some of the most popular figures with the repugican base aren’t leaders like Boehner and McConnell. The repugicans who light up wingnut mobs across the country are lunatics like Ted Cruz.
The base of the cabal doesn’t want a functioning government. They are upset with the cabal leadership because they think McConnell and Boehner should have obstructed Obama more than they have. Boehner seems to want a House that can do things, while the base thinks that the House should be doing less.
This disconnect is why repugicans continue to struggle to win elections that don’t involve gerrymandered districts. The repugican cabal is far from united. It looks like Boehner isn’t going to get the number of repugican House pickups that he needs to neuter the teabaggers, but his campaign against members of his own cabal has been close to all out warfare.
Boehner’s begging is a reminder that it isn’t Washington that is broken. It’s the repugican cabal that is a complete mess.

The repugicans Say Rainbow Flags Remind them of Nazi Flags – But Actual Nazi Flags Don’t

Mike Huckabee says he's tired of this. 
All I've got to say is that we're tired of it too, and that it's time for America to unfriend the repugican cabal …
Despite the admission by some repugicans that the culture war has been fought and lost, others refuse to admit defeat. Rather, they want to hate gays and lesbians even more than they already do. Speaking the other day about the Supreme Court decision to stay out of the marriage equality battle, Mike Huckabee said,
I am utterly exasperated with repugicans and the so-called leadership of the repugicans who have abdicated on this issue.” For Huckabee, not digging deeper for even more hate would “guarantee they’re going to lose every election in the future.
Not only that, but the repugican cabal will “lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still dog-fearing, bible-believing people.”
Sigh. We’ll struggle on without you somehow, Mike.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) responded by proclaiming Huckabee a hero for doing “exactly right and is speaking for millions of Americans who are sick of repugican elitists remaining silent and refusing to fight for the survival of marriage, the principal building block of society and the foundation of civilization.”
And Rob DeSantis (r-FL) assured Huckabee that repugicans got a whole lotta hate left in them:
Being in Congress and seeing the left wing of the Democratic Party and the elite media in action, they are hostile to wingnut cultural delusions across the board, they are hostile to religious liberty and a lot of our traditions and I think that the repugican cabal and wingnut drones are really the only force against that.
I understand where [Huckabee's] coming from but I think there’s a whole bunch of issues in which the left is hostile to where the governor is going to be coming from and really you’ve got to have a strong opposition party to be able to stand up for those values.
But this is nothing compared to anti-gay voices in North Carolina, where, reports TPM, “A pair of North Carolina repugicans reportedly likened flying a two-story rainbow flag over city hall in Asheville, North Carolina, to flying a Nazi flag over the building.”
Boy, they sure hate rainbows in North Carolina, huh?
TPM reports,
The two repugicans, Carl Mumpower and Chad Nesbitt, criticized the move saying the Asheville City Council’s decision to fly the flag (the council voted unanimously to display it) violated North Carolina open meeting laws.
“I am equating their methods with the Nazi movement,” Mumpower said according to the North Carolina newspaper. “They are indifferent to the rule of law and indifferent to the vote of the people. And that’s Adolph Hitler all over again in a different disguise.”
But it’s okay for repugicans to wave the actual Nazi flag around apparently, because we’ve seen that happen without any repugican complaining, like when these yokels joined other wingnut nut jobs in marching on Washington in 2009:
I don’t recall hearing any repugicans complaining about these guys, do you?
So apparently, the lesson is, you just can’t fly a flag that looks nothing like the Nazi flag, because that reminds them of the Nazi flag. But you can fly an actual Nazi flag because that’s easy to confuse with the American flag.
Because nothing says you love America like the flag of a country that tried to destroy America.
It’s funny how granting more rights has become the symbol of tyranny for the party that wants to restrict rights in the name of freedom. If this makes your brain hurt, it should. That isn’t how it works.
But Mike Huckabee and NOM want more of this nonsense, and politicians like DeSantis promise it. You can be sure with demagogues like Bryan Fischer and Tony Perkins backing him up, the chorus won’t fall silent any time soon.
And they will always have David Barton, inventing history as he goes. After all, he just used Grigsby v. Reib, 105 Tex. 597, 602, 153 S.W. 1124, 1126 (1913), which, as Right Wing Watch relates, “notes that marriage is a nothing more than a civil contract that requires ‘neither license nor solemnization of religious or official ceremony’ to be legally binding,” in order to “prove” that “government is not allowed to redefine something that dog himself has defined.”
If anything makes jesus cry, this is the shit that makes jesus cry. There is a commandment against lying through your teeth, and Barton’s hatred of gay people is so strong that he is willing to pimp his own immortal soul.
“I’m gone,” Huckabee warned.
Boy, I’m with you brother. Your cabal is full of loons. Oh wait, that’s right. You want them to be loonier.
Never mind then.
“I’ll become an independent. I’ll start finding people that have guts to stand. I’m tired of this,” Huckabee proclaimed.
Oh, like Swill O’Really is independent? Alright, we’ll run with that. It’s no more of a stretch than claiming membership with the human race at this point.
All I’ve got to say is that we’re tired of it too, and that it’s time for America to unfriend the repugican cabal.

The repugican cabal Privatization Would Substitute an Un-Electable Board of Directors for Democracy

Privatization is stripping powers from electable government, and handing it to the unelectable public - in other words, for profit - sector…
The repugican cabal makes much of the idea that people can be “dependent on government.” Whether their target is blacks (where we’re often told that, entitlement” handouts to blacks keep them “dependent” on the government), Latinos (where we’re often told immigrants are only coming to the United States for “free stuff”), or women (where we’re told they want free contraception to subsidize their slutty behavior), we are told that these people are motivated solely by the lure of “entitlements” and hand-outs.
Never mind the government hand-outs rich repugicans get in the form of tax breaks and subsidies.
As Deborah Foster explained in 2012,
[repugicans] have come up with the phrase, “entitlement society,” and have spent a lot of money trying to get “Real Americans” (White, 'christian') to worry that we have one, and that it is ruining the country. They have preached that entitlements are going to bankrupt the nation and doom its children and grandchildren to lower living standards, debt, even some form of slavery. In short, they promote what Jeffrey Sachs has called “entitlement hysteria,” the irrational fear that social programs will wreck the country, encourage dependence and sloth, and benefit unworthy groups who don’t deserve them, despite a considerable amount of available evidence to the contrary.
You remember the 47 percent argument; the idea that 47 percent of the people are economically dependent on the other 53 percent. You surely remember that rich white guy Mitt Romney said these 47 percent of Americans don’t matter. You should. It made #1 after all on Yale’s list of most notable quotations for 2012:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it — that that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
Funny that Mitt Romney has no problem representing the rich white people like himself, and corporations that pay little to nothing in the way of income taxes.
This obsession with liberals and free stuff runs deep and wild. Supposedly, the Democrats won in 2012, wrote Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post, by “feeding its base cotton candy.”
Better than the steady diet of hate and fear fed its base by the repugican cabal, I’d say.
And not to be too obvious or anything, but when Swill O’Really said on Election Night 2012 that…
It’s not a traditional America anymore, and there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama.
…He was talking about blacks, Latinos, and women.
But this argument is being pushed by the Red states, which are economically dependent on the Blue states. I’ve always liked cats, because cats have the misguided notion that they are the masters and that we somehow exist to serve them. But what I find charming in cats I find obscene coming from repugicans.
What the repugican cabal does not advertise is that repugicans are “dependent on corporations.”
What repugican politicians get for being dependent on corporations is money. We imagine that we are paying them to do their jobs, which from our perspective entails representing us in the halls of government. But their real pay is that they receive from corporations in exchange for their votes. Stop talking about your repugican congressman. He is not yours at all, but the wholly owned property of one or more corporations.
And all your average repugican receives from these corporations which own them, directly or indirectly, is, well, what everyone else receives from corporations: nothing. Generally, not even a living wage, and that’s if you work for them. To see the truth of this, you have only to look at the example of McDonald’s, or Walmart.
And trickle down? The more money Walmart makes, the fewer benefits it passes on to its employees. Walmart wants to destroy so-called “safety net” yet increasingly expects its employees to depend on this much-maligned “free stuff” in order to subsist.
The calculus here is as brazen as it is horrifying, and points to the worst abuses of the Gilded Age: work till you drop. You think you’re important to them? Look how they treat the soldiers they send to war after they’re no longer of use to them.
Abraham Lincoln wrote “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” but it is perishing. It is being devoured before our eyes by greedy corporations, which have bought politicians are courts and are now buying the government itself through what Republicans call “privatization” but which is really “corporatization.”
That is exactly what stripping powers from government, and handing it to the public – in other words, for profit – sector is, as the complete disaster of the repugican cabal-led charter school scam demonstrates. And it is easy to see why.
What matters to corporations is the bottom line: profits. What matters to government, say in the matter of public schools, is outcome. The education of the children sent to attend those schools. But the corporations which run these charter schools don’t exist to teach the children. They exist to enrich the entities running the schools because that’s why corporations exist.
Seen in that light, does privatization really seem like such a good idea?
Think about this for a minute: we can elected our governments. We can also un-elect them if they go to far, through recall campaigns. Ultimately, we have control over who serves in our government through the democratic process.
The democratic process does not exercise control over who runs a corporations. We have no control over a CEO or over a board of directors. We can’t recall what we can’t vote for in the first place. It is difficult to imagine a government every being as terrifying as a corporation.
Sure, you can point to the Founding Fathers and their distrust of big government, but you have to remember that they were writing only on the cusp of the Industrial Age, back in a day when manufacturing was still largely a cottage industry.
You also have to remember that when the interests of freedom-loving colonists collided with the big corporation of its day, the East India Company, the colonists were no more enamored of corporate power than they were of royal power. They were witness first-hand of the unbridled power of regulation-free corporatization. It is difficult to believe they would be big fans of it today.
The Founding Fathers bequeathed us democracy, the idea that political power derives from the will of the people. Increasingly, that power derives from the pocketbooks of the wealthy, and of corporations. It is increasingly evident that if we are to speak of democracy, that we are not speaking of the repugican cabal.

These religio-scum to face death for murdering woman who refused to join their cult

Religious scum to face death for murdering woman who refused to join their cult Two members of a radical religious cult who beat a woman to death in a McDonald’s restaurant after she refused to join them will be executed under a court order. Zhang Fan, 29, and her father Zhang Lidon, 55, were given the death sentence on Saturday, following trial at the Yantai Intermediate People’s Court in Shandong, eastern China, state media have reported.
Both are members of the banned “All-powerful Spirit” cult in China, also known as the cult of almighty dog, which believes jesus has been resurrected as a Chinese woman who is also the founder’s wife.
Together with three fellow cult members they were found guilty of murdering 37-year-old Wu Shuoyan who they claimed was an “evil spirit” after she allegedly refused to give them her telephone number.
This woman was brutally beaten to death in a crowded McDonald’s and no one tried to save her. Cowards.

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Woman used frying pan to steal car

A woman on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, used a frying pan to steal a car before showing her nicer side.
The woman approached another woman at Mooloolaba State School at about 6pm on Friday and threatened her with a frying pan, demanding she hand over her car keys. The victim complied, watching on as the thief erratically drove away at high speed.
The female car owner proceeded to call her mobile phone which had been left in the car, leading the offender to not only apologize for the incident but tell her where she would abandon the vehicle.
Police officers found the car just after midnight in at Alexandra Headland with no property missing. The keys were still in the ignition. Officers have not yet caught the offender, who is understood to be unknown to the victim.

Heroin dealer's attempt at disposing of evidence perhaps didn't go as well as he'd hoped

A drug dealer was found covered in heroin after a failed attempt to dispose of his stash during a car chase. Tabraiz Hussain was driving a Volkswagen Passat to an address in Middlesbrough, when he was followed by police on September 8 last year.
Teesside Crown Court heard how Hussain then led police on a pursuit round a “heavily populated estate” for several minutes before trying to throw a large amount of the class A drug out of the window. Prosecuting Alsha Wadoodi told the court: “The defendant refused to stop, exceeding the speed limit and driving on the wrong side of the road.
"He only stopped once he mounted the pavement after a close collision with parked cars.” Police used vacuum cleaners to retrieve the drugs scattered on the road and the defendant. They estimated a one kilo recovery - valued at almost £16,000. During interview the 34-year-old, of Holme House Prison, Stockton, admitted he was in possession of class A drugs.
Hussain, of Holme House Prison, Stockton, had initially denied conspiracy to supply class A drugs but changed his plea to guilty on the day of his trial. He also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply class A and dangerous driving. Hussain was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison.

Man who hid in his basement for 17 years from charges for beating man and killing his dog jailed

A man who hid from police in the basement of his house in Onoway, Alberta, Canada, for 17 years was sent to prison on Friday. Benjamin Louis Young was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant since 1995, when he abducted and beat a man he believed stole two pounds of marijuana from him. Young assaulted the man with a phone book, killed his dog and nearly chopped off two of his fingers. Several members of Young’s gang were tracked down and arrested over several weeks. Young decided to hide in his own house. “He quite literally lived in the basement of the home for 17 years,” defense lawyer Peter Royal said.
While Young’s wife went to work, he helped raise their two children and did household chores during his self-imposed exile. “I cannot imagine why, for 17 years, police didn’t visit his home, because they would’ve found him there,” Royal said. “It’s unbelievable.” The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team’s fugitive apprehension unit finally found Young at his home in October 2012. Young was 33 when he went into hiding. He is now 52. In the prisoner’s box, Young said he is no longer the man he once was. “My first lawyer told me that if I were you, I’d put as much time between these charges as you can and I did that to the best of my ability,” Young told court.
“I knew someday I’d have to give my pound of flesh.” Royal, who was not Young’s lawyer in 1995, said his client wants to live a normal life and run a landscaping business. On Friday, Young was sentenced to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm, extortion and killing an animal. “We had been looking for him for years,” said RCMP Cpl. Colette Zazulak after the 2012 bust. According to agreed facts, Young believed that Shane Letwin had stolen two pounds of marijuana from Young in August 1995. Young was a “mid-level marijuana dealer” and the leader of his accomplices, Royal said. Young, known as Benny, and his gang abducted Letwin from his Edmonton apartment and forced him to eat a butter tart laced with LSD as a type of truth serum.
The group took Letwin, then 29, to a Spruce Grove acreage where his bull terrier was boarded. Young shot the dog five times with a handgun. Letwin was then taken to an abandoned shed near Calahoo, handcuffed and beaten with a leather sap and a phone book. “This was several years ago, when we had phone books,” Crown prosecutor Christian Lim told court. The gang moved Letwin to Young’s home, beat him with a snowmobile belt and held him overnight. He was released the next morning near the Royal Alexandra Hospital and warned not to call police. Weeks later, Young slashed two of Letwin’s fingers to the bone and stole his stereo equipment as payment of the debt. Young warned him to keep quiet or “he’d shoot him like he did the dog,” Lim told court. In 1995, police warned the public that Young was considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached. He was on the RCMP’s most wanted list for years.

Thief rescued after being stuck in chimney for 12 hours

An alleged thief trying to rob a roadhouse in Australia's outback became stuck in a chimney for almost 12 hours and needed rescuing. Staff at the Mount Ebenezer roadhouse on the Lasseter Highway in the Northern Territory were opening for business early on Friday when they heard a voice calling out from somewhere inside the building.
Roadhouse all-rounder Kevin ‘Chevy’ Carter arrived at 7am to open the business, when he heard the voice yelling for help. “It scared the sh*t out of me,” Mr Carter said. He called emergency services in Yulara and offered the man a bite to eat. “You could see his hand so I passed him up a sausage roll and a bottle of water, and I asked him, ‘how you gonna pay for that, with cash or card?’ A couple of minutes later a wrapper and an empty bottle came down.”
Senior Sergeant Garry Smith said: "Once inside the chimney he has slid uncontrolled down to the bottom of the chimney where he has become wedged as the chimney narrows just above the fireplace itself. Looking from the fireplace up, there is a small gap of around 10cm to allow smoke to escape, above this the chimney proper begins and this is where he stuck, unable to move in an area barely big enough for his body to fit."
Police from Yulara and Imanpa stations attended but had to wait for a fire and rescue crew from Yulara, about 190 kilometers away, to arrive before the rescue could begin. A jackhammer was used for about 90 minutes to create a hole alongside the man. "He seemed remarkably well considering the ordeal he had just been through," Sen Sgt Smith said. "He was treated for scratches, ash and dust inhalation." He said the man was taken to Imanpa Health Clinic and will be interviewed when given the all-clear by doctors.

Would-be thief hid on shelf for hours in failed attempt to rob store

Police say it was an elaborate scheme that didn't pay off for two criminals at a north Houston Family Dollar store. The pair are seen on surveillance video posing as customers in store. The men don't appear to know each other on the video footage, but police believe that was part of their plan. At one point, one of the suspects began removing boxes containing garbage boxes from a shelf.

Vintage Photos

Hannah Stilley, born 1746, photographed in 1840. 
Probably the earliest born individual captured on film

Newspaper corrects error made in 1852

A New Jersey newspaper has issued a correction for a story it published in 1852 about a bear mauling a teenage boy to death.
But the story didn't list a location of the bear attack, making it appear it happened in New Jersey. The New Jersey Herald wrote in Thursday's correction it actually happened in Arkansas.

Dangerous Roads

With over a million people dying annually in road-related accidents, the world's roads are getting deadlier every day. From Europe to South America, the world is full of dangerous roads that industry experts claim will take up to 3.6 million lives a year by 2030.
View some of the most dangerous roads of the world using Google's Street View technology.


The central theme depicts a chariot in motion driven by Hermes, who is most likely escorting King Philip II to the Underworld.
A mosaic floor made from small white, black, gray, blue, red and yellow pebbles emerged during a dig.

See, Pluto

See, Pluto, science is fun.

Sprite Lightning

"Today the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena teaches us about yet another amazing form of lightning: Red Sprite Lightning. Slovenian photographer Marko KoroŇ°ec was chasing storms in Vivaro, Italy when he captured these spectacular images of red sprites flashing above a storm taking place over the central Adriatic sea."

Bacteria From Bees Confirmed as Possible Alternative to Antibiotics

Not just a possible alternative – but totally a preferable alternative to antibiotics whenever possible. People are already using this incredible healing substance without having needed a nod of approval from researchers. And no, we’re not talking about using the actual bees.
While consumers of raw honey can tell you that it works wonders, researchers wanted to know exactly why. What have they been missing? What are the exact compounds that make raw honey nature’s antibiotic? How has it protected bee colonies forever (until recent obstacles set in)?
Raw honey has been used against infections for millennia, before honey – as we now know it – was manufactured and sold in stores. So what is the key to its antimicrobial properties?
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have identified a unique group of 13 lactic acid bacteria found in fresh honey, from the honey stomach of bees. The bacteria produce a myriad of active antimicrobial compounds.
These lactic acid bacteria have now been tested on severe human wound pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), among others. When the lactic acid bacteria were applied to the pathogens in the laboratory, it counteracted all of them.
While the effect on human bacteria has only been tested in a lab environment thus far, the lactic acid bacteria has been applied directly to horses with persistent wounds. The LAB was mixed with honey and applied to ten horses; where the owners had tried several other methods to no avail. All of the horses’ wounds were healed by the mixture.
The researchers believe the secret to the strong results lie in the broad spectrum of active substances involved. This is the benefit to using a whole substance, as complex natural compounds have only begun to be studied as a complete package.
Tobias Olofsson explains:
Antibiotics are mostly one active substance, effective against only a narrow spectrum of bacteria. When used alive, these 13 lactic acid bacteria produce the right kind of antimicrobial compounds as needed, depending on the threat. It seems to have worked well for millions of years of protecting bees’ health and honey against other harmful microorganisms. However, since store-bought honey doesn’t contain the living lactic acid bacteria, many of its unique properties have been lost in recent times,
The next step is further studies to investigate wider clinical use against topical human infections as well as on animals. The findings have implications for developing countries, where fresh honey is easily available, but also for Western countries where antibiotic resistance is seriously increasing.
There is a shocking difference between raw honey and pasteurized, grocery store “teddy-bear” honey which for all intents and purposes, is mostly fake. Raw honey will look more like butter, but there also benefits to consuming darker honeys. Not only have people seen results from applying raw honey to wounds and mild burns, but also in use for acnesore throats and fluesallergies, better blood sugar regulation, cholesterol and more. Manuka honey, although expensive, provides extra immune and digestion support, plus other first aid benefits.
Of course research like this would appear now, when we’re at the height of honey bee decline (especially when taking into account increased food production needs) and the height of food system deception.
Those are just a few reasons why it’s more important than ever to love thy pollinator - and realize that this liquid gold is your most cherishable non-perishable.

Are All The Ants As Heavy As All The Humans?

It is often said that if we were to weigh all the ants in the world, they would weigh as much as all of the people. This claim was originally made by Harvard University professor Edward Wilson and the German biologist Bert Hoelldobler, in their 1994 book Journey To The Ants.
They based their estimate on an earlier one by British entomologist C. B. Williams, who once calculated that the number of insects alive on earth at a given moment was one million trillion. But is this statement true?

Animal Pictures