Welcome to ...

The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Daily Drift

One and the same ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

 Hee haw ... !
Today is  - Mule Day 
Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Tijuana, Mexico City and Hermosillo, Mexico
Londrina, Rio De Janeiro and Guarulhos, Brazil
Winkler, Montreal, Quebec, Vancouver, North York, Saint John's and Ottawa, Canada
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
Puerres, Colombia
Anoka, Chico, Arvada, Fresno, Arcadia, Helena, Pima and Pharr, United States
Treviso, Milan, Naples and Este, Italy
Madrid, Spain
Duisburg, Essen and Nuremberg, Germany
Saint Petersburg, Moscow and Ryazan, Russia
Prague, Hluboka Nad Vltavou and Horni Pocernice, Czech Republic
Rouen and Lyon, France
London, Stivichall and Lancaster, England
Riga, Latvia
Cacem, Lisbon and Lagoa, Portugal
Stockholm and Kista, Sweden
Kharkiv, Mykolayiv and Luts'k, Ukraine
Baar, Switzerland
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Tallinn, Estonia
Biala Podlaska, Poland
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Kluang and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Bhubaneshwar, Hyderabad, Patna, Sri Karanpur, Cuttack, Kolkata and Pune, India
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, Vietnam
Singapore, Singapore
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Tanjungagung, Indonesia
Rangoon, Burma
Seongnam. Korea
Bangkok, Thailand
Cairo, Egypt
Khartoum, Sudan
The Pacific
Sydney and Homebush, Australia

Today in History

1774 The first Continental Congress, which protested British measures and called for civil disobedience, concludes in Philadelphia.
1795 When General Paul Barras resigns his commission as head of France's Army of the Interior to become head of the Directory, his second-in-command becomes the army's commander—Napoleon Bonaparte.
1825 The first boat on the Erie Canal leaves Buffalo, N.Y.
1881 Three Earp brothers and Doc Holliday have a shootout with the Clantons and McLaurys at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona Territory.
1905 Norway signs a treaty of separation with Sweden. Norway chooses Prince Charles of Denmark as the new king; he becomes King Haakon VII.
1918 Germany's supreme commander, General Erich Ludendorff, resigns, protesting the terms to which the German Government has agreed in negotiating the armistice. This sets the stage for his later support for Hitler and the Nazis, who claim that Germany did not lose the war on the battlefield but were "stabbed in the back" by politicians.
1942 Japanese attack Guadalcanal, sinking two U.S. carriers.
1942 U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Hornet is sunk in the Battle of Santa Cruz Island, in the South Pacific.
1950 A reconnaissance platoon for a South Korean division reaches the Yalu River. They are the only elements of the U.N. force to reach the river before the Chinese offensive pushes the whole army down into South Korea.
1955 The Village Voice is first published, backed in part by Norman Mailer.
1955 Ngo Dinh Diem declares himself Premier of South Vietnam.
1957 The Russian government announces that Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the nation's most prominent military hero, has been relieved of his duties as Minister of Defense. Khrushchev accused Zhukov as promoting his own "cult of personality" and saw him as a threat to his own popularity.
1958 The first New York – Paris transatlantic jet passenger service is inaugurated by Pan Am, while the first New York – London transatlantic jet passenger service is inaugurated by BOAC.
1967 Mohammad Reza Pahlavi crowns himself Emperor of Iran and his wife Farah as empress.
1970 Gary Trudeau's comic strip Doonesbury first appears.
1979 The President of South Korea, Park Chung-hee, asssinated by Kim Jae-kyu, head of the country's Central intelligence Agency; Choi Kyu-ha is named acting president.
1994 Israel and Jordan sign a peace treaty.
2001 The USA PATRIOT Act signed into law by the shrub, greatly expanding intelligence and legal agencies' ability to utilize wiretaps, records searches and surveillance.
2002 Russian Spetsnaz storm the Moscow Theatre, where Chechen terrorists had taken the audience and performers hostage three days earlier; 50 terrorists and 150 hostages die in the assault.

NYC subway musician arrested after cop reads him law that permits him to play

A New York City police officer was recorded arresting a man singing in the subway after reading aloud the exact law that permits performers to be there.
The incident was recorded by an onlooker, and uploaded to YouTube. In the video, the singer can be heard telling the officer to look up section 1050.6c after the officer tells him he's going to arrest him for performing in the subway without a permit.
"We got bigger problems in New York City than someone playing the guitar," said one onlooker off-camera.
The officer looks up the law and proceeds to read the statute aloud, which says that "artistic performances, including the acceptance of donations" are permitted as long as they do not "impede transit activities."
The onlookers applaud as the officer reads the law. He then proceeds to tell the singer that he is being ejected anyway. The singer refuses to leave and goes back to playing the guitar, receiving a round of applause from the onlookers.
The audience continues to grow, and they begin heckling the officer, asking him on what grounds he is attempting to force the man out of the station.
The officer's backup arrives, and he violently removes the guitar and forces the singer against the wall to arrest him. Loud boos can be heard, and soon calls of "f--- the police" come from the crowd as the officers remove the man and his guitar, case and donations from the scene.
According to NY1, the man was arrested for loitering. The incident happened early Friday morning at the Lorimer Street-Metropolitan Avenue station.

If only ...

Yes, if only ...

'I am not a scientist', say repugicans, so let's just ignore the people who are

The Rude Pundit notes that the repugican "I am not a scientist, so let's do nothing" talking point that gets used for climate change does not similarly extend to the panic of the moment.
Mitch McConnell on why we shouldn't do anything about climate change: "I'm not a scientist. I'm interested in protecting Kentucky's economy."
Mitch McConnell on why we should take strict measures to prevent the spread of Ebola: ""I'm not an expert on this, but it strikes me that it would be a good idea to discontinue flights into the United States from that part of the world."
I am not an expert, so we should probably just do whatever I say is a good wingnut shrieking point that doesn't get used often enough.
Bobby Jindal on why he doesn't want to say how much human activity contributes to climate change: "I'd leave it to the scientists to decide how much, what it means, and what the consequences are...Let the scientists debate and figure that out."
Bobby Jindal on why we should act preemptively to stop Ebola's spread: "It's pretty clear they refused to take common sense steps and call for the ban of these flights...That's been something I've been calling on for quite some time now. This is just common sense. Why in the world wouldn't we do this?"
You told us common sense dictated that we shouldn't be monitoring the nation's volcanoes, presumably because monitoring them ruined the element of surprise when one blew. Your common sense, to use the scientific term for it, sucks.
So the climate experts are telling us that climate change is real, and the medical experts are telling us that any safety we feel from banning direct flights to West Africa won't be real, and in both cases the answer is to ignore the experts and just do the thing that ideology demands because it feels good. Well, at least it's consistent. You can base a whole movement around it.

The real 47 percent

A repugican cabal candidate with a Ferrari pays no federal income taxes for third year
A wealthy repugican candidate who owns a vintage Ferrari and a fighter jet effectively paid no federal income tax for the third year in a row.
Investor Thomas C. Foley hopes to defeat Connecticut's Democratic governor, Dannel P. Malloy, in the upcoming Nov. 4 election. His campaign released summaries of the candidate's 2013 federal income tax returns to reporters on Friday, and both the New York Times and the Hartford Courant noted his total federal tax liability was just $673.
"The campaign released his 2010, 2011 and 2012 tax summaries last month; 2013 was the third year in a row that Mr. Foley effectively paid no federal income tax," the Times reported.
Foley spent $11 million of his own money seeking to become governor of Connecticut in 2010, and the Malloy campaign has been eager to point out Foley's lavish lifestyle.
"Tom Foley owns a multi-million dollar mansion, two British fighter jets, and a $5-million-dollar yacht, yet takes advantage of tax loopholes middle-class families can only dream about, allowing him to pay no income taxes for three years," Mark Bergman, senior advisor for Malloy's campaign, told Greenwich Time. "Tom Foley lives in a different world than most Connecticut working and middle-class families."
The repugicans have complained that many Americans do not pay federal income taxes, yet benefit from welfare programs.
In 2012, repugican presidential candidate Mitt Romney complained that 47 percent of Americans paid no federal income taxes and were "dependent on the government."
More recently, Colorado repugican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez said the 47 percent of Americans who paid no federal income taxes were "perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill, and most of that half is you all."

The failures of Brownback’s experiment grow more serious

by Steve Benen
Sam BrownbackJust two weeks ago, Kansas' Sam Brownback (r) insisted his “real-live experiment” in cutting taxes far beyond what his state could afford was “working.” There’s new evidence that says otherwise.
The failures of Brownback’s radical experiment have been evident for a while: the governor’s economic plan has fallen short on every possible metric. The state’s finances are in such shambles, Kansas’ bond rating was downgraded, and then downgraded again.
Josh Barro reported on the state missing its tax revenue targets once again, leaving Kansas’ fiscal health in even worse shape than previously believed.
You may recall that Kansas gained national attention back in June because it had cut income taxes and lost a lot more revenue than lawmakers had anticipated…. In June, state lawmakers debated whether the revenue shortfall was temporary. […]
Revenue numbers for July through September, the first three months of fiscal year 2015, suggest Kansas’ revenue gap is permanent, not temporary…. Kansas’ wide miss was probably a result of wading into uncharted territory with its tax reforms.
State officials are now suggesting revenue might increase next year, making the fiscal mess a little less drastic, but let’s not forget that part of the Brownback experiment includes another income tax rate cut scheduled to take effect in January.
And while these developments seem likely to affect Kansas’ very competitive gubernatorial race, let’s not forget that this isn’t just about Kansas.
As we’ve discussed before, repugican leaders have admitted publicly that they’d love to impose Brownback’s failed experiment on the entire country.
Other Midwestern repugican governors had attempted similar experiments, but they were hemmed in by reluctant legislatures and restive electorates. Brownback had repugican majorities in Topeka, which became more decidedly wingnut after the 2012 elections. This gave him near-complete freedom to create a wingnut utopia.
And repugicans cheered him on. “This is exactly the sort of thing we want to do here, in Washington, but can’t, at least for now,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Brownback.
This should arguably be one of the year’s most important quotes. Kansas slashed taxes, failed to produce the promised results, and left his state’s finances in shambles. According to Mitch McConnell, the repugican cabal leader in the Senate, repugicans aren’t just impressed – they’re waiting until they control Washington to approve Brownback’s vision on a national scale.

Why the repugican cabal hates U.S. history: Inconvenient truths that freak out American wingnuts

The wingnuts are losing their tiny insane minds over new testing standards that aren't "patriotic" enough. Time for a history lesson!
Why the GOP hates U.S. history: Inconvenient truths that freak out American conservativesWingnut hero Ben Carson is worried about American teenagers joining ISIS. But it’s not because of “radical Islam.” It’s because of new high school history standards.
American’s wingnuts, you see, are terrified of history because it is always sentimentalizing it. Many of its arguments rely on a feeling of nostalgia for “good old days,” that appeals almost exclusively to aging whites. That means that a more accurate history, one that considers groups that are traditionally marginalized — women, people of color, Native Americans, immigrants and the poor — don’t necessarily sit that well. Their stories, the stories of the downtrodden, crush the false narrative that many conservatives like to imagine — that of a idyllic past marred by the New Deal, women’s liberation and civil rights.
In Jefferson County, Colorado, a school board recently tried to limit the historical curriculum to only events that would, “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.” Needless to say, much of American history — the Great Depression, the Trail of Tears and the internment of Japanese-Americans — would, under those parameters, need to obfuscated. The repugican national coven, meanwhile, has issued a statement calling the new Advanced Placement U.S. History standards ”radically revisionist.” But wingnuts may want to take the plank out of their own eye before examining the speck in their neighbors. Here are the most important distortions of history the right has promoted recently. 
Before Welfare, Everything Was Awesome 
Example: Marvin Olasky’s “Tragedy of American Compassion,” which argues, “Americans in urban areas a century ago faced many of the problems we face today, and they came up with truly compassionate solutions.”
The Problem: As with most conservative revisionism, the idea is that before nasty programs like welfare, the poor did just fine, because private charity aided them. Many conservatives will argue that the War on Poverty has done nothing to reduce poverty and instead we should rely on private charity. But the War on Poverty has actually done much to eliminate poverty and private charity could never fill that chasm that would open up if federal poverty programs were eliminated. So how did we get rid of poverty before government? The answer is that there never was a mythical time without government.
As Mike Konczal writes,
“There has always been a mixed welfare state made up of private and public organizations throughout our country’s history. Outdoor relief, or cash assistance outside of institutions, was an early legal responsibility of American towns, counties, and parishes from colonial times through the early nineteenth century.”
Later, Congress established a pension system for civil war veterans that consumed about 25 percent of all government spending. Rather than “welfare queens” being a post New-Deal development, some 40 states had programs to support single mothers in 1920. In fact, far from being an invention of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and liberals, social insurance programs are staple in civil society. Frederik Pedersen finds that back in the 10th through 12th centuries, Iceland had an extensive social welfare program. Rome, too, had a system of public support designed to aid poor children.
Elizabeth Bruenig notes that the purely voluntary cult-based social insurance many 'christians' adore never existed. Wingnuts ignore the fact that the cult was often acting in accord with the state, “You couldn’t just not tithe; the cult would get it out of you somehow, and even had specific statutes related to methods of tithing which fit it into the schema of secular taxation.” Islamic public assistance was also a hybrid cult-state institution. The idea that there has ever been a successful purely voluntary public assistance program is a wingnut myth invented to justify dismantling anti-poverty programs in the name of a utopian fantasy.
Basically everything about slavery 
Example: Recently convicted felon and wingnut hack Dinesh D’Souza’s book, “The End of Racism,” provides some great examples of rewriting race. D’Souza says of slavery, “No free workers enjoyed a comparable social security system from birth until death.” Later, he writes, “Masters … encouraged the family unit which basically remained intact.” In a particularly appalling passage, he writes, “slavery appears such a relatively mild business that one begins to wonder why Frederick Douglass and so many other ever tried to escape.” And concludes, “In summary, the American slave was treated like property, which is to say, pretty well.”
The Problem: Wingnuts in the U.S. have a race problem, specifically that many of them believe that blacks are “primarily responsible for their own success or failure” and that government programs only get in the way. And wingnut politicians tend to racialize welfare programs to decrease support for them. To believe that black Americans would have been better off without government intervention, you have to pretend history doesn’t matter.
As Marx notes, people, “The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.” There simply is little mobility for black Americans today because the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and housing segregation still weighs heavily. A recent study finds that counties with higher concentrations of slave ownership in 1870 had higher levels of poverty and racial inequality in 2000. Further, white people in these counties harbor more racial resentment.
That’s because when slavery permeated society — the legal structure, culture, science — nothing was left untouched by racism and racial hierarchy. The conservative “I built this myself” mentality denies that most wealth is passed from generation to generation, and so is privilege. Erasing the memory of racial hierarchy allows conservatives and Americans to pretend that individual effort, rather than structural racism, is keeping black people down.
So what was slavery really like? Jennifer Hallam writes, “Economic benefit almost always outweighed considerations of family ties for planters, even those who were advocates of long-lasting relationships between slaves.” Rather than being “relatively mild,” slavery relied on brutality and violence, the horrors of which are described in Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s “Bury Me in a Free Land”:
I could not sleep if I saw the lash
Drinking her blood with each fearful gash,
And I saw her babes torn from her breast,
Like trembling doves from their parent nest.
I’d shudder and start if I heard the bay
Of bloodhounds seizing their human prey,
And I heard the captive plead in vain
As they bound afresh his galling chain.
If I saw young girls from their mother’s arms
Bartered and sold for their youthful charms,
My eye would flash with a mournful flame,
My death-paled cheek grow red with shame.
And, of course, racism and racial hierarchy didn’t end when slavery was formally abolished, but rather continued through local policies, terrorism and violence. This violence was often orchestrated at the highest levels of government. Consider, for example, the FBI’s attempts to discredit MLK or the assassination of Black Panther Fred Hampton.
In his response to Phil Robertson’s sentimentalism about the Jim Crow era last year, Ta-Nehisi Coates cites Freddie Moore:
“The corpse of 16-year-old Freddie Moore, his face showing signs of a severe beating, hands bound, remained hanging for at least 24 hours from a metal girder on the old, hand-cranked swing bridge spanning Bayou Lafourche. Hanged by the neck the night of Oct. 11, 1933, in a mob lynching, the black youth had been accused in the death of a neighbor, a white girl.”
And racial violence didn’t end in the ’30s, but continued until through the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s and, well, two months ago.
U.S. foreign policy
Example: Wingnut foreign policy is dictated by a small cabal of bloodthirsty conquistadors. These people are called “neo-wingnuts.” Some people claim neo-wingnuts have no uniting vision; in fact, the basis of neo-wingnuttery is a belief that imperial violence can spread democracy. To maintain this myth, the long history of imperialism must be re-written. Thus the official rnc statement on the AP controversy laments that “the [AP] Framework excludes discussion of the U.S. military (no battles, commanders or heroes) …” and “presents a biased and inaccurate view of many important events in American history, including American involvement in WWII, and the development of and victory in the Cold War.”
The Problem: Imperial violence cannot spread democracy. America’s foreign policy history is littered with failed attempts to impose our ideas on others — often with the ulterior motive of stealing resources. As Mark Twain writes, “There must be two Americas: one that sets the captive free, and one that takes a once-captive’s new freedom away from him, and picks a quarrel with him with nothing to found it on; then kills him to get his land.” Among the other examples of horrifying and cynical use of American power conservatives may wish to avoid:
  • Reagan supporting the Contras, a fascist junta: Much of Reagan’s presidency is now hagiography, rather than history. Because of this, it’s often hard to remember how awful the group that Reagan called “the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers” truly was. Truth is, the Nicaraguan Contras were known for their brutality. And where did Reagan get the money to support the brutes? Why, by selling weapons to Iran. Yes, the Iran that the shrub later called a member of the Axis of Evil. The International Court of Justice ruled against the U.S. for violating another country’s sovereignty and laying mines in Nicaragua’s harbors, but the U.S. ignored the decision.
  • Chemical weapons: Before the U.S. joined forces with Assad to fight ISIS, he was public enemy number one for allegedly using chemical weapons on civilian populations. But the U.S. has used chemical weapons on a range and scale that Assad could hardly even fathom. During the Vietnam war, the U.S. dumped between 12 and 18 tons of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese people. At least 1 million Vietnamese had defects or disabilities caused by U.S. chemical attacks. And those chemical weapons we judged Saddam Hussein so harshly for using? The U.S. not only knew the attacks were coming, we gave Hussein intelligence on strategic sites to attack.
  • Screwing up democracy: Sure, America supports democracy — unless that democracy will do something to hurt business interests. Among acts that qualify: nationalizing oil fieldsraising minimum wages and boosting literacy. In place, we installed brutal, murderous dictators — but only ones that would push through economic “reforms” and play ball when we needed.
  • Prolonging the Vietnam War: Richard Nixon intentionally sabotaged the Paris Peace Accords to undermine Lyndon Johnson’s chances of winning the Presidency. In the wake of the failure, the war continued for two long and bloody years, made more horrifying by Nixon’s secret carpet bombing of Cambodia.
Then there’s the support of genocidal maniacs like SuhartoMontt and Khan. And that’s just the last half century!
English philosopher Michael Oakeshott defines wingnuttery as “to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.”
There was a time when wingnuttery was a philosophy concerned primarily with wrestling with and understanding tradition and the limits of human reason and ability. However, these days conservatism is reactionary — it has been imbued with racism, conspiratorial thinking and a hyper-individualistic capitalism. Instead of questioning the limits of reason, it has jettisoned it. In its place remains free market dogmabad biblical interpretation and a sentimentalized past. In place of reason and argument, most conservatives rely on fantasy and reminiscence. Allowing conservatives to redefine the past will be incredibly harmful.
As George Orwell notes, “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

Hispanic man delivers absentee ballots in Arizona: wingnuts demand he be killed

This may be the stupidest wingnut panic to come over the transom all year. All. Year.
In the video — which was posted at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze under the headline, “Surveillance video apparently catches guy doing something at the ballot box that left repugican monitor stunned” — Ben Marine can be seen entering the lobby of the polling station in a Citizens for a Better Arizona (CBA) shirt and delivering absentee ballots he had collected. [...]
Which would be truly terrifying—if you were stupid. Because collecting sealed absentee ballots from voters and delivering them is, in Arizona, a perfectly legal GOTV effort. You can have them delivered by a dog or a parrot or Donald Trump's hair if you want, so long as they get to the polling place still sealed. Nevertheless, this video of a Hispanic volunteer delivering absentee ballots has sent wingnuts into one of their patented wingnut tizzies, because Oh the humanity:
But A.J. LaFaro, the chairman of the Maricopa County repugican coven, told the Arizona Daily Independent that Marine’s behavior was suspicious, and complained that Marine was “a vulgar, direspectful, violent thug that has no respect for our laws. I would have followed him to the parking lot to take down his tag number but I feared for my life.”
What's suspicious? Being brownish? Where was the violence? Did he crush a bug setting the box down? Is the vulgar and the thug part just because the chairman of the Maricopa County repugicans ran out of ways to say brown, or did he just not show proper deference to A.J. LaFaro when LaFaro demanded he explain his obviously suspicious brownness? My goodness, it's a wonder A.J. LaFaro didn't faint dead away in fright. Whatever the case, this dramatic video of an ordinary community volunteer delivering ordinary absentee ballots in an ordinary way has resulted in a great tidal wave of the violent and the stupid, as wingnuts demand this terrifying person be hunted down and killed for daring to deliver ballots to a polling location as part of an ordinary GOTV operation that would give every last one of them screaming public orgasms if David Koch were doing it.
Commenters on the video’s YouTube are calling for Marine’s death. “This is a high crime, it is treason to this country and a betrayal of democracy,” one writes. “This should be a crime punishable by death.” “I am going to find this illegal-loving scumbag and kill him,” writes another.
I repeat: This may be the stupidest conservative freakout all damn year. James O'Keefe spends his days trying to coax people into saying things he can later use as evidence of vast voter-fraud conspiracies, but he's a damn nitwit because all you really have to do is find a video of a Hispanic guy doing a perfectly legal and reasonable thing and you'll have the whole wingnut darknet six feet deep in their own urine by the end of the afternoon. dog help us—what if they figure out that black people can collect absentee ballots too? What if their grandma asks them, upstanding wingnuts all, to drop her ballot off at the office—will grandma be executed then and there, or will she get a trial first? Or can we instead PLEASE tone down the rampaging, city-destroying stupidity just one damn little notch, you cabbage-headed nitwits?
As a capper, the aforementioned repugican official who is so concerned about the vulgar (brown) disrespectful (brown) violent (brown) thug (brooooooown guy) delivering ballots? He knows perfectly well it's legal. He was part of a lunatic fringe movement to make it illegal, as part of HB 2305, but it was so widely condemned that the legislature (yes, even the crackpot Arizona legislature) caved in and repealed it. A.J. LaFaro is part of the Russell Pearce lunatic fringe xenophobe racist monster limb of the Arizona repugican cabal, which in Arizona has no other wings, and was trying to start a freakout over a legal thing because he's been part of the effort to make Arizona wingnuts soil their pants over the brown people for years. The wingnut darknets took him up on it because, and I repeat myself for emphasis, they are the stupidest damn jackasses to ever put themselves behind a keyboard.

The Truth Be Told


33 Police Officers Fire 600 Bullets into Car Knowing It Contained a Hostage

by Cassandra Rules
“You do not riddle a vehicle with 600 shots, by 33 people, knowing there is an innocent person inside.” 
An attorney for the family of Misty Holt Singh spoke out on Thursday, asserting that Stockton police used unreasonable force in the July 16th incident when they took the life of this 41 year old mother of two.

Holt-Singh was taken hostage by robbers at Bank of the West in Stockton, California, in front of her 12 year old daughter who was waiting for her in the car.
000“Misty was crying,” a witness said. “She was saying her daughter was alone in the car. She said, ‘I don’t want my daughter to see me coming out with you,’ and they said, ‘Don’t worry, nothing is going to happen,’ and they took her anyway.”
Unfortunately it was not only the robbers that Holt-Singh needed to worry about.
Holt-Singh was in the vehicle as the three suspects lead police on a high speed chase which lasted for nearly an hour. The suspects reportedly fired over 100 rounds at officers during the 55 mile incident.
Two other women were taken hostage as well, but were either thrown or jumped from the vehicle as it was speeding from police, both survived.
The beloved wife and mother was ultimately shot at least 10 times- not by the suspects, but by the police- 33 of them, who fired 600 rounds into the vehicle despite knowledge that it contained a hostage. Holt-Singh as well as two of the three suspects were killed in the barrage of bullets.
The family attorney Greg Bentley said in a statement on Thursday that protocol calls for discriminate gunfire and described the 600 bullets shot into the suspects’ vehicle as excessive and unreasonable force.
The department has defended its officers, saying they were worried the violence would escalate.
“According to Chief Jones, at least 10 bullets struck Misty, killing her, and all 10 of those bullets, were fired by police officers.” Bentley stated.
Even if there hadn’t been an innocent hostage, are police such awful marksmen that they require 600 rounds to take down three men?  On what planet could this be considered reasonable?
Jaime Ramos, 19, the sole surviving suspect, has been charged with her murder.
The family of Holt-Singh has not yet announced if they will file a lawsuit against the department.

Police used patrol units, dogs and helicopters to catch man who had snatched pack of cigarettes

An 18-year-old man was arrested in Florida on Tuesday morning on charges of stealing a $4 pack of cigarettes, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
The 43-year-old victim was in a parking lot in Bradenton at 9:11am when Shaquielle Olmeda ran by and snatched a pack of cigarettes out of the victim's hand.
Olmeda ran off and the victim called law enforcement. Deputies used patrol units, dogs and helicopters to set up a perimeter, and eventually found Olmeda in the east parking lot of Magic Mile Plaza.
The victim positively identified Olmeda and the pack of cigarettes was located on his person, deputies said. Olmeda was arrested without further incident.

Woman set roommate on fire during argument about thrown away spaghetti and meatballs

Police in Florida have arrested a woman they say doused her roommate with nail polish remover and set him on fire. At around 2:30am on Wednesday, 33-year-old Melissa Dawn Sellers got into an argument with 42-year-old Carlos Ortiz Jr. at a home in Clearwater.
The two had been drinking, and Sellers doused Ortiz's upper body with nail polish remover and ignited with him a lighter or cigarette, police said. According to Ortiz's friend and witness, Ines Causevic, Sellers was angry at Ortiz because he had thrown out her spaghetti and meatballs. "She was setting little objects on fire, then that turned into pouring nail polish remover all over him, and then all of a sudden, the lighter sparked and he lit on fire," said Causevic.
Causevic said she threw water on Ortiz and tore his shirt off, trying to put out the fire. "When he got up, his face was like melting off, it was pink and sore," said Causevic. "His lips were burning." Ortiz was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he is listed in critical condition with burns to his face, chest and shoulders. Sellers left the scene before police arrived, but returned later from her stepfather's home nearby and was arrested, police said.
She was charged with aggravated battery. Neighbors and friends of Ortiz said they are sickened by the incident. They said Ortiz was a good guy who helped people out and let Sellers move in because she had been evicted. "That's my friend and I can't imagine such a horrible thing, because he didn't deserve that," said Katherine Muds. "He would never hurt anybody." Sellers has prior arrests for battery and robbery.

Security guards monitor chocolate milk sales

Security guards have been employed in New Zealand to monitor supermarket fridges containing Lewis Road Creamery Fresh Chocolate Milk as customer demand continues to froth over. Since the chocolate milk went on sale three weeks ago, demand has been so great that customers are queuing up for fresh deliveries, purchase limits have been put in place at supermarkets, and security guards are being employed to watch over fridges containing the chocolate gold.
Auckland's New World Victoria Park owner, Jason Witehira, said the chocolate milk stock had run out every day since it was launched. Hoardes of devotees queued down the supermarket aisle every day in hope of getting their hands on it, and the weekends were particularly busy, he said. The supermarket received nearly 500 bottles of chocolate milk each morning, which sold out within 90 minutes, Witehira said.
"The interest in it has surprised me immensely. We've had some pretty good product launches in the past but this pretty much takes the cake." The store had put a limit on the number of bottles to two per customer, after one customer took nearly all the bottles on display, he said. "That's his right to do that, but we have to be fair to everybody." Lewis Road Creamery founder Peter Cullinane said he was also aware of security guards monitoring fridges. "It's not fabulous to have a situation where you have to have security guards in place," he said.
Lewis Road Creamery was producing 30,000 liters a week with partner Green Valley Dairies, he said. That could increase to about 50,000 liters per week, but to go beyond that would require either a second production facility or waiting until Green Valley Dairies had completed building its new production facility, about May next year. The company was not considering producing another milk flavor until it had its chocolate milk supply under control. A black market has also emerged, with numerous online auction sites selling two 75ml bottles of the chocolate milk from $30.

Liberian Rubber Plant Prevented Ebola Spread

The rate of Ebola cases in a part of Liberia where one rubber tree plantation operates is far lower than in other parts of the country. 

Medical Monster Mushrooms

The massive Agarikon mushroom shows promise for treating diseases such as tuberculosis, cowpox, bird and swine flu. 

California's Winter Drought

El Nino probably won't bring California drought-busting winter rains, but the news may not be all bad. 

4,000-Year-Old 'CD-ROM' Code

Scholar says he's figured out a portion of the code on the ancient 'Phaistos disk.'

Highest Stone Age Campsite Reveals Grit of First Americans

South America's early migrants reached a remote oasis more than 14,000 feet high.
Photo of the Vicuñas in the Pucuncho Basin. 
Vicuñas graze in the Pucuncho Basin, where they may have been hunted by Paleo-Indians as early as 12,800 years ago.
Paleo-Indian hunters ventured high into the Andes Mountains as early as 12,800 years ago, as much as two thousand years sooner than previously thought.
The finding, reported Thursday in the journal Science, suggests that South America's first inhabitants raced across the continent rather than spreading slowly to its remotest corners.
"It was a land rush, a free-for-all," said study author Kurt Rademaker, an archaeologist at the University of Tubingen in Germany. "People were much more capable and adaptable than we ever thought."
Rademaker discovered evidence of their pioneering abilities high in the arid Peruvian Andes, in a place known today as the Pucuncho Basin. With plenty of water, grass, and vicuñas (a relative of the llama), "it was an oasis in a desert region," he said.
South America Paleo-sites with arrows indicating probably coastal migration routes
cient campsite in a rock alcove, as well as two obsidian quarry sites. A type of volcanic glass, obsidian has long been prized for making sharp-edged tools. It's still used today for surgical scalpels.
Excavation of the sites yielded numerous stone tools, including two "fishtail" arrowheads distinctive to South America's first peoples. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal and animal bones indicated that Paleo-Indian hunters had been using the site as a base camp as early as 12,800 years ago.
Vicuñas and llamas, rather than obsidian, likely attracted hunters to the higher altitudes of the Andes, Rademaker said. Even today, people herd llamas across the 51 square mile (132 square kilometers) Pucuncho Basin.
Most likely the ancient hunters traveled seasonally to the base camp, staying there from March through November while they hunted llamas and deer.
High Living
Rademaker's research, supported in part by the National Geographic Society Waitt Grants Program, overturns conventional wisdom that prehistoric people needed long periods of time to genetically adapt to the challenges of living at high altitudes, especially the thin air. Oxygen pressure at the Pucuncho Basin is only 60 percent of its strength at sea level. (Climbers who venture there today spend time acclimatizing.)
"These are some of the highest known examples of human occupation," says anthropologist Tom Dillehay of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. "But it is not a great surprise, because we find people expanded widely wherever we look across South America."
Dillehay points to evidence of ancient human occupation everywhere from Monte Verde in southern Chile (dated to 14,500 to 14,250 years ago) to Quebrada Jaguay on the Peruvian coast.
These and other sites are changing our understanding of when and how quickly humans first populated South America, says archaeologist Javier Claudio Aráoz Patané of Argentina's Universidad Nacional de Córdoba.
"It can be argued strongly that these human groups arrived in the final Pleistocene times, moving and occupying different environments quickly," he noted in an email.
Geologists have shown that the basin was clear of Ice Age glaciers by 15,000 years ago. "Once the ice receded, the grass grew and the animals followed," Dillehay says. "Followed by the hunters, I'm sure."

Polar Flip

We've grown comfortable with our present-day magnetic north and south, but one day they're going to reverse. If that happens during our lifetime, what could we expect? Would it be the end of the world, or would we just have to redirect Santa's mail?

'Butte Nugget' up for grabs

A 6 pound gold nugget found in California carries a $350,000 to $450,000 price tag.

The world's biggest boulder, UFOs, and the weird American West

Cabinet Magazine's Sasha Archibald cracks open the cultural mystique of the Mojave Desert's Giant Rock, considered the largest boulder in the world until 2000 when a chunk fell off. From Cabinet:
For two eccentric Californians, Frank Critzer and George Van Tassel (who went on to build the Integratron rejuvenation machine nearby based on ET guidance), the immense girth of Giant Rock was not simple geological happenstance but a sign portending mystical significance. In the hands of these two men, Giant Rock became the locus of a strange episode in the twentieth-century history of the American West. Like all Western heroes, Critzer and Van Tassel felt themselves poised between worlds, and at the threshold of civilization. Both felt vitalized and validated by the rock, and both saw it as a natural hub, laboring for decades to make it a gathering place. Absolutely inert and yet fecund, Giant Rock was less a rock than a destiny.
There is little trace of this history at the rock itself, except for a dusty slab of concrete. The concrete conceals a cavern, built by Critzer as a home, and later used by Van Tassel for telecommunication sessions with aliens. No one knows how Critzer stumbled on Giant Rock in the 1930s, or why he decided to move there, but he was obviously clever and resourceful. Critzer saw that the rock’s immense shadow offered succor from the heat and, following the lead of desert tortoises that dig holes in the sand in which to cool themselves, he used dynamite to blast out an abode beneath its north face. Engineering a rainwater-collection system and a narrow tunnel for ventilation, the home he excavated was never warmer than eighty degrees Fahrenheit and never cooler than fifty-five. Perfectly suited to its site, Critzer’s abode refuted the paradigmatic inhospitality of the desert.

Random Photos


Tasha Tudor ♡ :)

Rhino Horn "Mafia" Leader Indicted

Authorities announced the indictment of the alleged kingpin of a South African rhino poaching and trafficking syndicate, Dawie Groenewald.
Groenewald was indicted on multiple charges, including conspiracy, money laundering, and wildlife crime.

Feasting on Sharks

With fangs and the first sawlike teeth on Earth, the biggest predator in the swamps of the early Permian Period ate anything it wanted.

Sticky Feet

Green anole handles arrival of an invasive competitor by making better toes in a mere 20 generations. 

Why a Swordfish’s Sword Doesn’t Break

A swordfish’s “sword” is its most prominent feature, but scientists have only now discovered the unusual properties that keep the sword strong and ready to slash.
A study published last Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that the fish have an unusual way to repair their bone, keeping it strong and stiff.
Photo of a broadbill swordfish.
Billfish like marlin and swordfish are known for their characteristic protruding upper jawbone (also called a rostral bone), which they use to help stun and catch their prey.For the bone to remain strong, it needs to not only withstand a large amount of force, but also be repaired when it is damaged. In mammals, this requires two different types of bone cells: one to break down and absorb damaged bone and another to add new, healthy cells. This process, known as remodeling, leaves telltale marks within the bone that biologists can detect.
Swordfish, however, don’t have either of these cell types in their bone. If the swordfish can’t repair its sword, wondered Ron Shahar, a biologist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, how does it remain strong enough to help the fish catch its dinner?
Stiff Upper Lip
To study billfish bone, Shahar needed samples—no easy task considering that many species of billfish are protected. Maria Laura Habegger, a Ph.D. student at the University of South Florida, in Tampa, routinely attended fishing competitions to obtain any castoffs for study. Shahar convinced her to collaborate, so she traveled from Florida to Spain and on to Israel, all while lugging a suitcase full of billfish bones through some of the world’s strictest airport security.
“No one said a thing, but it was probably a very long 12 hours of travel,” Shahar said.
As soon as Shahar placed his first sample of billfish rostral bone under the microscope, he saw something unusual. The bone showed distinct signs of remodeling. He looked at several other samples, and all showed the same thing. To be sure, Shahar used several different kinds of microscope to study the bone, and all revealed signs of remodeling, despite the billfish not having the usual types of bone-repairing cells.
“I was really surprised to see this. I didn’t think it was possible,” Shahar said.
The distinctive marks left by the bone remodeling process in billfish, however, were one-tenth the size of those typically seen in mammal bone. Shahar wanted to see whether these differences affected the bone’s strength. The rostral bone of billfish was very stiff (comparable in strength with horse bones) and required a significant amount of force to break.
The new study is “very original,” said Roger Bouillon, a retired professor of endocrinology at the University of Leuven in Belgium, who has studied bone remodeling. Although Shahar found circumstantial evidence of bone remodeling, Bouillon pointed out that the researchers weren’t able to document the process in action.
“It’s like looking at a snapshot of a horse galloping, and you infer that it’s moving,” he said.

Elusive Wolverine Caught on Camera

 It’s one of the most elusive superstars of the northern wilderness: the wolverine.
Photo by Peter Mather.Nicknamed “the devil bear” for its fierce disposition, the wolverine is known to hunt moose and even tangle with grizzlies. Yet despite its hunting abilities, this member of the weasel family, closely related to river otters and minks, is only about the size of a cocker spaniel.
Getting a photograph of a wolverine was a mixture of luck and perseverance for photographer Peter Mather, who spent a month trying to capture an image of one. While driving down a remote highway in the Arctic’s northern Yukon, Mather spotted ravens circling overhead. When he stopped to investigate, he discovered a dead caribou surrounded by wolf tracks. He set up a camera trap, but when he returned a week later, he was surprised to find wolverine tracks by the carcass instead. The animal had been feeding on the caribou, which lay exposed on a riverbank.
One week later, when Mather came back to check his camera, he found that the river had flooded and frozen over, trapping the caribou underneath. Still, the wolverine had managed to chew through a foot of ice to get to the frozen carcass.
Eating frozen carcasses, it turns out, is standard wolverine behavior. Even though a typical wolverine weighs less than 35 pounds and measures about three feet long, not counting its bushy tail, this tenacious predator can kill animals as large as deer and elk—especially when deep snow slows such hoofed mammals. Wolverines have been seen driving wolves and even grizzly bears away from carcasses.
Though they have never been common, trapping reduced their numbers substantially in the 19th century. Today in the United States, only about 300 wolverines live in the lower 48 states, spread between the Rocky Mountains in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming and the North Cascades in Washington. The wolverine population is larger in Canada, which is home to an estimated 15,000.
“As a wildlife photographer in the north, you’re always trying to see wolverines, but they’re extremely rare,” said Mather, who noted the inherent challenge of finding one in harsh, snowy habitat.
Those snowflakes may actually hold the key to the wolverine’s survival. Wolverines have adapted to life in the snow in unique ways. They can sniff out the bodies of animals killed by avalanches and buried under six feet of snow. With powerful jaws, wolverines chew and consume meat that’s frozen completely solid, devouring even the bones and teeth of scavenged carcasses. Wolverines spend their winters hunting as well as scavenging. When they’re chasing prey through deep snow, their oversize paws act like snowshoes and allow them to catch deer and elk.
Though wolverines still survive in the Arctic and elsewhere, conserving their habitat is vital. Human encroachment, including recreational winter activities, and impacts from climate change could threaten the survival of this predator.
To photographer Peter Mather, the wolverine remains a symbol of the wild north. “When I think of wilderness,” he says, “I often think of wolverines, because they’re so tough and resilient.”

Rare Snow Leopards Seen on Mount Everest

Snow Leopard 14To celebrate International Snow Leopard Day, today, October 23, National Geographic Cat Watch published two images from camera traps set up to document the elusive and seldom-seen big cat on Mount Everest.
The Everest Snow Leopard Conservation Center is a partnership initiative of Vanke Foundation and Qomolangma (Mt. Everest) National Nature Reserve. The 34,000-square-kilometer (13,000-square-mile) sanctuary protects the highly unique and diverse ecosystem found along the border of China and Nepal, centered around the world’s highest mountain.
“It is home to many endangered species including the snow leopard. But very little is known about the distribution and population status of snow leopards in this area,” according to a statement released with these photos by the Everest Snow Leopard Conservation Center.
The statement added that in the early 1990s, snow leopard expert Rodney Jackson did a brief field study on the species in this area. “He estimated that there may possibly be in excess of 100 snow leopards within the reserve. Since then, no research or conservation projects on snow leopards have been carried out in this area.”
In May 2014, Vanke Foundation, a Chinese private foundation founded by China Vanke Co., Ltd, joined the Qomolangma Nature Reserve to establish the Everest Snow Leopard Conservation Center. The Center aims to promote human-snow leopard coexistence through science, conservation action, public engagement and fostering future conservation leaders. The focus of the center’s work includes studying and monitoring snow leopard status, reducing threats to snow leopards through science-led, problem-oriented, community-based actions and securing greater financial and policy support for snow leopard conservation by increasing public awareness and participation.
An expedition in May and June this year by the Everest Snow Leopard Conservation Center  with scientists from the Wildlife Institute of Beijing Forestry University, South China Research Institute of Endangered Species, and Image for Biodiversity Expedition, found 293 snow leopard signs such as scrapes, pugmarks, and feces. They also installed 44 motion-sensor cameras at 4 sites in the Qomolangma area, photographing snow leopards 27 times. This is the first time that wild snow leopard was photographed in this region along the northern slopes of the Great Himalaya Range, the Center said.
“In the next step, we will conduct in-depth studies of snow leopards, their habitat and prey, as well as their interactions with local residents.” said GAO Yufang, executive director of the Everest Snow Leopard Conservation Center.

Animal Pictures