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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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Daily Drift

Editor's Note: We have to apologize for the delay in posting today. For some reason known only to our ISP our service was interrupted just as we were about to publish at Midnight and did not return until sometime before 4:24AM - we were asleep so we do not know the precise time - and we were not going to get up at that time, so here we are.
Word ...!
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 A box of Chocolates ... !
Today is  - National Chocolates Day 
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Today in History

312 Constantine the Great defeats Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius at the Mulvian Bridge.
969 After a prolonged siege, the Byzantines end 300 years of Arab rule in Antioch.
1216 Henry III of England is crowned.
1628 After a fifteen-month siege, the Huguenot town of La Rochelle surrenders to royal forces.
1636 Harvard College, the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, is founded in Cambridge, Mass.
1768 Germans and Acadians join French Creoles in their armed revolt against the Spanish governor of New Orleans.
1793 Eli Whitney applies for a patent on the cotton gin, a machine which cleans the tight-clinging seeds from short-staple cotton easily and effectively–a job which was previously done by hand.
1863 In a rare night attack, Confederates under Gen. James Longstreet attack a Federal force near Chattanooga, Tennessee, hoping to cut their supply line, the "cracker line." They fail.
1886 The Statue of Liberty, originally named Liberty Enlightening the World, is dedicated at Liberty Island, N. Y., formerly Bedloe's Island, by President Grover Cleveland
1901 Race riots sparked by Booker T. Washington's visit to the White House kill 34.
1904 The St. Louis police try a new investigation method: fingerprints.
1914 The German cruiser Emden, disguised as a British ship, steams into Penang Harbor near Malaya and sinks the Russian light cruiser Zhemchug.
1914 George Eastman announces the invention of the color photographic process.
1919 Over President Wilson's veto, Congress passes the National Prohibition Act, or Volstead Act, named after its promoter, Congressman Andrew J. Volstead. It provides enforcement guidelines for the Prohibition Amendment.
1927 Pan American Airways launches the first scheduled international flight.
1940 Italy invades Greece, launching six divisions on four fronts from occupied Albania.
1944 The first B-29 Superfortress bomber mission flies from the airfields in the Mariana Islands in a strike against the Japanese base at Truk.
1960 In a note to the OAS (Organization of American States), the United States charges that Cuba has been receiving substantial quantities of arms and numbers of military technicians" from the Soviet bloc.
1962 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev orders Soviet missiles removed from Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.
1965 Construction completed on St. Louis Arch; at 630 feet (192m), it is the world's tallest arch.
1971 Britain launches the satellite Prospero into orbit, using a Black Arrow carrier rocket; this is the first and so far (2013) only British satellite launched by a British rocket.
1982 The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party wins election, giving Spain its first Socialist government since the death of right-wing President Francisco Franco.
2005 Libby "Scooter" Lewis, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, resigns after being indicted for "outing" CIA agent Valerie Plame.
2007 Argentina elects its first woman president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Music Reduces Depression

woman-earbuds-music-exercise-runningMusic therapy reduces depression in children and adolescents

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have discovered that music therapy […]

The Dalai Lama Will Not Return to Lead Tibet ...

(He Has Something Better in Mind)
Jason Louv reports on a surprising decision and what it means for Tibet's uncertain future
The Dalai Lama set off a firestorm last month by announcing that he will no longer reincarnate in a political role, effectively ending his centuries-old political lineage.
It’s the latest in a series of controversial statements about the future of his role—including a hint that his next incarnation may be born outside of Tibet, and may be a woman. And it’s another indicator of a sea change in how the Tibetan diaspora is adapting and revising its traditions for life outside of occupied Tibet. Though the Dalai Lama’s statement was hastily reported in the media as meaning that he will not reincarnate at all, what he’s saying is much more layered: he’s looking to reincarnate as a spiritual leader only, and transition the Tibetan government-in-exile from needing him as a central authority, and towards a democratically-elected committee.
"We had a Dalai Lama for almost five centuries,” the Dalai Lama told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag in September. “The 14th Dalai Lama now is very popular. Let us then finish with a popular Dalai Lama… If a weak Dalai Lama comes along, then it will just disgrace the Dalai Lama.”
“Tibetan Buddhism is not dependent on one individual,” he added. “We have a very good organizational structure with highly trained monks and scholars.”
While the Dalai Lama officially devolved his political role in 2011 (the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile is currently Harvard-educated legal scholar Dr. Lobsang Sangay), this statement further underlines his desire to democratize the Tibetan government—which he has been pushing for since the 1960s.
“He has been very happy since 2011, when he resigned from any political role,” Dr. Robert Thurman told me (Thurman is a Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, and is one of the Dalai Lama’s primary interfaces with Western media and academia). “He also changed the constitution and made the final implementation of a change that no lama will be head of state in any future government that Tibetans approve of.”
While that change may further endear the Dalai Lama and Tibetan diaspora to broadly supportive Western governments, China is not pleased—though the People’s Republic considers Tibetan Buddhism another “opium of the people,” it quite likes the idea of central authority—especially if it controls that authority’s next incarnation.
Bodhisattvas of Compassion
As it is in many religions, reincarnation is an article of faith in Tibetan Buddhism—a process that has been studied, mapped and analyzed in detail by meditating lamas as if it were a subject akin to astrophysics, and described in texts like the Bardo Thödol. It’s also considered to work differently for different individuals, depending on their level of Buddhist practice and attainment.
The Dalai Lama is considered to be a Bodhisattva—a practitioner who has reached the highest levels of attainment, but who has delayed their own final realization, swearing instead to continue reincarnating until all sentient beings are freed from delusion and attain to enlightenment. He’s also considered to be the human incarnation of the deity Avalokiteśvara, the embodiment of absolute and universal compassion. Both a sequentially incarnating human and the temporal manifestation of a divine being—not minor stuff.
His human journey began in 1391, when Gendun Drup—who would become the first Dalai Lama—was born in a cowshed in central Tibet. After becoming a monk, he studied under Tsongkhapa, the legendary founder of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism (which would become the most prominent and organized branch of Tibet’s many sects and sub-sects, somewhat akin to the Catholic Church in the West). Drup became one of the most celebrated lamas in the country, occupying a critical spiritual role in the growing Gelug sect. At Lhamo La-tso lake, he was granted a vision of the fearsome blue-skinned, red-haired, blood-drinking female guardian spirit Palden Lhamo, who promised to protect his reincarnation lineage. Since that time, Gelug lamas have meditated at Lhamo La-tso for guidance in finding each successive incarnation of the Dalai Lama.
The role of the Dalai Lama was officially codified in his second incarnation, but it wasn’t until several lifetimes later that he came into his own—as Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, the Fifth Dalai Lama, one of the most critical figures in Tibetan history. Not only did the Fifth firmly establish the Dalai Lama office as a political role, he also unified Tibet, ending centuries of civil war by brutally crushing the rebel factions (with Mongolian aid) and uniting the country under himself.
The office of Dalai Lama subsequently became an embattled political role, with several incarnations likely murdered by political rivals or Chinese infiltrators. It was Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama, who declared Tibet politically independent from China in the early 20th century, exiled Chinese citizens from the country, and began to modernize the still-feudal nation.
Which brings us to Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama, enthroned in 1950, in the middle of Communist China’s invasion of Tibet. Only one year later, he would be forced to accept Tibet’s formal re-incorporation into the PRC; in 1959, he would flee for his life to India, where he has ruled the Tibetan government-in-exile since.
While the 5th Dalai Lama faced the political burden of unifying Tibet, the 14th has been forced to preside over its destruction—witnessing the ongoing genocide of the Tibetan people and their cultural traditions within Tibet’s borders, all the while struggling to re-assemble and ensure the survival of those traditions in India and the West.
I saw the Dalai Lama speak in New York in 2007. Though cheerful, he was also flatly realist. He underlined that his singular goal is to ensure the survival of the Tibetan people, and chuckled at the tendency of Westerners to see him as a magically-powered, spiritual Santa Claus. When asked about the future of Tibet, and if it would survive the PRC’s mass murder, religious suppression, strip-mining and strip-malling, his answer was sobering and succinct:
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know.”
The Geopolitics of Reincarnation
Reincarnation isn’t just a matter of faith or history. It’s also a flashpoint in Tibetan-Chinese political relations. And only days after the Dalai Lama’s announcement that he was ending his political incarnations, China hit back.
“China follows a policy of freedom of religion and belief, and this naturally includes having to respect and protect the ways of passing on Tibetan Buddhism,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing. “The title of Dalai Lama is conferred by the central government, which has hundreds of years of history. The 14th Dalai Lama has ulterior motives, and is seeking to distort and negate history, which is damaging to the normal order of Tibetan Buddhism.”
Earlier, in 2011, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a public statement that only Beijing can appoint the next Dalai Lama, and that any attempt to do so by Tibetan-recognized reincarnation would violate Chinese law. In 2007, the PRC stated that reincarnations of lamas can only be recognized after an applications process to the State Council.
The Tibetan government-in-exile has rejected this; the Dalai Lama has ruled that “apart from the reincarnation recognized through legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People’s Republic of China.” By ending his political incarnations, the Dalai Lama may well be hedging against a future in which China attempts to appoint its own Dalai Lama, claiming they have found his next incarnation and using their puppet to manipulate Tibet.
It’s not like there isn’t precedent for such a move. In May 1995, the Dalai Lama recognized six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the new incarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second most powerful figure in the Gelugpa school after himself. Shortly thereafter, the Chinese government disappeared Nyima, and appointed their own Panchen Lama. Nyima has not been seen since.
“[China] passed a law in 2007 that they control all reincarnations, and it’s likely that they will go ahead and try to appoint their own Dalai Lama,” Dr. Robert Barnett, Director of the Modern Tibet Studies Program at Columbia, explained to me. “There is some indication that they’ve set up committees to handle this, and may be planning to do this, but we can’t be sure. Chinese leaders unquestionably have a vital need for a religious leader working on their behalf as an intermediary in Tibet, but they’ve obviously had problems finding a credible person to do that.”
Tibet’s Uncertain Future
Leading a diaspora both politically and spiritually while its home country is being destroyed is an unimaginable burden. Add to that the pressures of celebrity and the Western media, and dealing with the projected Orientalist fantasies of a West that has come to see the Dalai Lama as a kind of New Age Pope, without much actual understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, and it’s no wonder that the Dalai Lama—now 79—is urging democratized rule.
While the decision not to return as a political leader is final, the Dalai Lama has publicly stated that he will not make the ultimate decision on whether he will return as a spiritual leader until he is 90 (in 2025). According to Dr. Barnett, reincarnation is not determined by individual lamas, but is urged by religious adherents through petition and prayer, making it highly unlikely that the Dalai Lama will not declare that he will return in a spiritual capacity. Because of this, according to Dr. Barnett, the Dalai Lama’s comments to Welt am Sonntag are “not a categorical statement that there will not be a Dalai Lama in the future.”
The uncertainty about both the future of the Dalai Lama role and the remaining lifespan of the Dalai Lama himself may be contributing to anxiety in Tibet, where a wave of self-immolations has accelerated since 2009 in response to the brutality of the Chinese occupation.
“If people did feel that he was he was expecting to die or definitely not coming back, that would have an effect,” said Barnett. “People inside Tibet are becoming apprehensive of the potential loss of a leader and spokesman. There are signs that this has made people in Tibet tense about the future. Some people think that [the immolations were] related to insecurities as a result of his decision to retire, but we don’t know that for sure. There’s very little doubt that there’s huge support for him in Tibet and that people would be dramatically affected if they felt he was about to die.”
Dr. Thurman feels otherwise:
“[The Dalai Lama] doesn’t consider that his decision has caused turmoil,” he stated. “The immolation activity stems from the time of the Beijing Olympics, when the Tibetans had a plateau-wide nonviolent revolution, and the Chinese made an incredible crackdown, putting armored police and vehicles everywhere. Thousands of people were arrested and tortured, monks were not left to peacefully pursue their activities, and were forced to pledge allegiance to the PRC, just like in the Cultural Revolution. Monks and laypeople had no room to breathe, and probably felt like carrying out some sort of attack against the Chinese, but instead they immolated themselves to maintain non-violence. This was also found by a Chinese human rights commission, who reported that the immolations were caused by the hardline activities of the secret police and not the Dalai Lama; the report was then rejected by the top people in China, and the lawyers have been put away.”
Despite the grim outlook in Tibet, the next generation of Tibetan political leaders remains hopeful about the future of the Tibetan people and resistance movement:
“The fact that the Dalai Lama devolved his leadership shows the incredible trust that he has placed in our people in regards to leading our movement and struggle, especially today, when there is an ongoing crisis with self-immolations,” Tenzin Dolkar, executive director of Students for a Free Tibet told me. “His Holiness is our spiritual leader and will continue to be. We have faith and deep trust in His Holiness and his advisors to make the best decisions in regards to the next phase.”

The Truth Be Told


Did you know ...

That California's water is contaminated by fracking
That a 1/3 of food is lost or wasted
From miasma to Ebola: the history of moral racism over disease
If alcohol were discovered today, would it be legal?
These 4 chain stores confirm they will be closed on thanksgiving so their employees can be with their families
That doctors are more likely to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics in the afternoon
That it's tough working a non-tech job at a tech company
About the link between pesticide use and depression/suicide
That this is your teen's brain on sugar
That 1 in 4 insured adults doubt they could afford a medical emergency
About how 14 people made more money than the entire food stamp budget for 50,000,000 Americans
About Gamergate:  the misconceptions thus far
That the typical white family is 20 times wealthier than the typical black family
That young black men are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than white men

Women-Hating repugicans Are Making a Major Effort to Appear Pro-Choice

Don't believe repugicans. 
Ladies, if a repugican says he has your back, clench; it's not because he wants to give you a back rub.…
Scott Walker is not the only repugican pretending he isn’t waging a personal war on women. Walker, as is (hopefully) well known by now, has tried to glide through the upcoming election by positioning himself as vaguely “pro-life” without talking about his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
Walker realizes hating on women isn’t exactly a good way to get elected. But if he still makes noise, he hopes the religio-wingnuts won’t get down on him too much for temporizing. You know, because the bible says you should be all things to all people, and don’t hate on the fence sitters, and liars are blessed and all. Right?
And we’ve already seen George F. Will say of Colorado repugican Cory Gardner that “What does it matter since it won’t pass anyway?” I mean, how bad can the guy be wanting to attack women if he has no actual chance of ever doing it? Isn’t that some great logic?
But Cory Gardner is not the only Colorado repugican to pretend to be something he isn’t. Mother Jones reported on Friday that “In an interview aired Wednesday on Colorado Public Radio, [Bob] Beauprez, a former congressman, struck a decidedly pro-choice note when asked about abortion and birth control. He said he would not stand in the way of women having access to abortions, nor would he interfere with women choosing what kind of birth control to use.”
I respect people’s opinion, women’s right to that choice,” he said. He later added, “I don’t want to run somebody else’s family and make decisions for their family, their life; I want them to have the opportunity and the freedom to do that themselves.
That is Beauprez today, needing to be elected. But zoom back to Beauprez in 2005, when, as Rep. Beauprez, he cosponsored the Right to Life Act, to give “equal protection for the right to life of each born and pre-born human person.”
Boy, those pre-born get all the breaks don’t they? To be able to be born into a world where the repugicans will then dismiss them as so much chattel, unworthy of an education, worthless bums who refuse to work, don’t need to eat, and sure as shooting don’t need no medical care!
Mother Jones goes on:
As a gubernatorial candidate, Beauprez has not wavered from his decidedly anti-abortion position. He continues to say that he opposes all forms of abortion, even in cases of rape and incest unless the mother’s life is at risk. He bragged to an interviewer in March about his “100 percent pro-life voting record.” He also claims that an IUD is an abortifacient, not contraception. Beauprez has not said how he’d act on these beliefs, though he says he would eliminate all state funding for Planned Parenthood.
Yes, quite the supporter of women’s rights, isn’t he? In fact, he supports women’s rights like the Old Testament God supports freedom of religion.
We see Scott Brown of Massachusetts/New Hampshire trying the same thing. Now Scott can’t decide where he’s from. He might be running in Maine next, if the NH gig doesn’t work out for him. But for now he’s not only trying to pretend he is NOT the guy from MA, but he is trying to pretend he is women-friendly.
This, despite past support for legislation – Massachusetts Senate Bill 979, “An Act Relative to a Woman’s Right to Know” of 2003 – that would require women to be shown photos of developing fetuses and wait 24 hours before having an abortion procedure. If he didn’t exactly want to force women to view these photos, he certainly supported forcing doctors to show them the photos, which amounts to the same thing.
The Boston Globe reported on October 8 that Brown was,
Launching a new ad today affirming his “pro-choice” stance and defending himself against a sharp TV attack that began airing Tuesday from his US Senate rival, incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.
In measured tones, Brown notes Shaheen’s ad “calling into question my support for women’s health care” and tells viewers he wants them to know the facts.
“I’m pro-choice,” Brown says directly to camera, with soft music in the background. “I support continued funding for Planned Parenthood, and I believe women should have access to contraception.”
Brown also supported the Hobby Lobby decision, citing a threat to our “freedoms” and also the Blunt Amendment, which would allow employers to withhold contraception on religious or moral grounds.
Doesn’t sound all that women-friendly to me, Scotty Boy.
And here I thought these wannabe religio-wingnut types opposed moral relativism. When the truth is what you need it to be at the moment – because you know you need women’s votes and your opposition to abortion and contraception isn’t going to get you those votes – it sounds more like they excel at it instead.
Don’t trust repugican wolves in sheep’s clothing. If it’s too good to be true, the rule of thumb is that it’s too good to be true. Don’t believe them. Vote Democrat. Ladies, if a repugican says he has your back, clench.
It’s not because he wants to give you a back rub.

Louie Gohmert Indulges in Fantasies About Gay Massages Rather than History

Louie_Gohmert_GreeceWe wrote about Ted Cruz’s issues with reality disqualifying him from public office. Louie Gohmert, another Texas repugican, suffers from the same reality disorder. This condition is best explained in a series of “if/then” statements:
If - Something happened in Benghazi
Then - Quick make up some lies about Benghazi
If - Obama says something
Then - Quick make up some lies about Obama
That’s all there is to it! It’s the repugican way!
Gohmert gave a demonstration of this principle when he appeared on the radio by way of the less than picky “Point Of View.”
I’ve had people say, ‘Hey, you know, there’s nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks.’
Now apply the handy principle above:
If - The Greeks did something
Then - Quick make up some lies about the Greeks
Unlike repugicans, let’s leave inaccuracies out of our discussion and stick to what really happened. You know, facts. The things Gohmert has such a problem with:
Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle.
Oh dear. You haven’t ever actually opened up a history book, have you, Louie?
He is obviously not referring to actual gay Greek warriors like the Theban Sacred Band, which was not there to give massages, but rather to kick the crap out of anyone who attacked their city, Thebes. Yes, gays can be patriotic too. And they can kick the crap out of people who prefer opposite-sex relationships.
Here are some facts about the Theban Sacred Band: It was formed of approximately 150 pairs of male lovers circa 378 BCE. Plutarch tells us, in his Life of Pelopidas,
Gorgidas, according to some, first formed the Sacred Band of three hundred chosen men, to whom, as being a guard for the citadel, the State allowed provision, and all things necessary for exercise: and hence they were called the city band, as citadels of old were usually called cities. Others say that it was composed of young men attached to each other by personal affection, and a pleasant saying of Pammenes is current, that Homer’s Nestor was not well skilled in ordering an army, when he advised the Greeks to rank tribe and tribe, and family and family together, that-
“So tribe might tribe, and kinsmen kinsmen aid.”
but that he should have joined lovers and their beloved. For men of the same tribe or family little value one another when dangers press; but a band cemented by friendship grounded upon love is never to be broken, and invincible; since the lovers, ashamed to be base in sight of their beloved, and the beloved before their lovers, willingly rush into danger for the relief of one another. Nor can that be wondered at since they have more regard for their absent lovers than for others present; as in the instance of the man who, when his enemy was going to kill him, earnestly requested him to run him through the breast, that his lover might not blush to see him wounded in the back. It is a tradition likewise that Iolaus, who assisted Hercules in his labours and fought at his side, was beloved of him; and Aristotle observes that, even in his time, lovers plighted their faith at Iolaus’s tomb. It is likely, therefore, that this band was called sacred on this account; as Plato calls a lover a divine friend.
When Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, was busy conquering Greece in 338 BCE, the combined Theban-Athenian army found themselves facing the Macedonians at Chaeronea. Young Alexander, just 18, was in command of the troops facing the Theban Sacred Band. The Thebans fought to the last man in defense of their lovers, and of their city. Each and every one of them died.
Modern excavations under the The Lion of Chaeronea, the monument, say ancient historians Pausanias (Description of Greece, 9.40.10) and Strabo (Geography, 9.2.37), erected by the Thebans in honor of their dead, revealed 254 skeletons, buried in seven rows.
It must be remembered that Alexander, perhaps the greatest general the world has ever seen, who had just defeated them, may have had male lovers of his own, including his close friend Hephaestion.
Certainly, based on the example of the Theban Sacred Band alone, same-sex attractions do not render a man unfit for military duty.
In Plutarch, too, we find their epithet:
It is stated that it was never beaten till the battle at Chaeronea: and when Philip, after the fight, took a view of the slain, and came to the place where the three hundred that fought his phalanx lay dead together, he wondered, and understanding that it was the band of lovers, he shed tears and said, “Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything that was base.”
You won’t find this account of courage and sacrifice in Louie Gohmert’s hateful rhetoric. Instead, you get gay massage fantasies:
But you know what, it’s a different kind of fighting, it’s a different kind of war and if you’re sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into a big, planned battle, then you’re not going to last very long. It’s guerrilla fighting. You are going to be ultimately vulnerable to terrorism and if that’s what you start doing in the military like the Greeks did.
Plutarch, on the other hand, tells us that,
Gorgidas distributed this Sacred Band all through the front ranks of the infantry, and thus made their gallantry less conspicuous; not being united in one body, but mingled with so many others of inferior resolution, they had no fair opportunity of showing what they could do.
Clearly, Gorgidas did not distribute them among the ranks to give or receive massages.
But Gohmert, ever a lover of the Big Lie, says instead,
[A]s people have said, ‘Louie, you have got to understand, you don’t even know your history.’ Oh yes I do. I know exactly. It’s not a good idea.
Philip of Macdeon and his son, Alexander, would beg, no doubt, to differ.
Louie says he knows history. But Louie doesn’t know history. Louise is another David Barton. He doesn’t need history when he can just make up his own, as he does here.
The gay men of the Theban Sacred Band were better men than Louie Gohmert can ever hope to be.

To Pillage and Plunder

The repugican Leadership to Make 150,000 Homeless in Detroit
In the next year and a half, as many as 150,000 people are expected to lose their homes due to foreclosures, representing nearly 1/5 of the entire population…
detroit foreclosures

The repugicans absolutely love free, unregulated capitalism.
And why wouldn’t they? In the absence of regulation, millionaires and corporations are free to exploit the working class for their own personal benefit. With no set regulations in place, those at the top of the societal pyramid are free to do as they will with their accumulated wealth, including using their vast fortunes to provide themselves with even more money, even if others have to suffer for them to do so. In a country where the richest 1% of Americans have captured 95% of the post-financial crisis growth since 2009, there have been limitless opportunities for them to add to their newly added wealth at the expense of other, less financially stable citizens.
Nowhere has this model been more apparent than the city of Detroit.
In the next year and a half, as many as 150,000 people are expected to lose their homes due to foreclosures, representing nearly 1/5 of the entire population of the city. The first portion of these foreclosures was kicked off earlier this month where a plan was announced by Emergency Manager Kevin Orr in collaboration with city mayor Mike Duggan. Orr was personally appointed by repugican Rick Snyder and Duggan ran for mayor on a slogan of “Every neighborhood has a future.” However, the plan that Orr and Duggan approved would end up selling off more than 6,300 properties in a public auction in the neighborhoods of Hamtrack and Highland Park in what is being termed a “blight bundle” due to the fact that roughly 1,000 of the properties are deemed valuable while the others seem destined for demolition. By announcing this upcoming public auction, this unholy triumvirate of repugican leadership has proven to be willing to evict thousands of lifelong Detroit residents simply to give a billionaire or two an opportunity to swoop in and cash out on the city’s misfortune.
This announcement is coming on the heels of a manufactured water crisis where the mainstream media intentionally misled the public as to the true cause of the situation. It was not, as major media outlets would have you believe, simply due to Detroit residents not paying their water bills but rather gross negligence by the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) who claimed that they had incorrectly billed Detroit residents for six years due to a “systems change.” However, in an effort to reconcile what they believed to be missing income, the DWSD then sent bills out to reclaim its missing retroactive fees which ended up totaling $116 million dollars. Unfortunately, this was done in such a way that there was no accountability nor fairness involved in the process. For example, local cults were charged exorbitant fees despite having consistently paid their bills while some residents were charged for water usage despite not even having lived at that residence during the time period they were billed for. Eventually, water was restored to the areas in the city affected by the water crisis, but the entire situation left a bitter taste for everyone involved. As Monique Lin-Luse of the NAACP Legal Defense fund stated, “Hitting residents with six years’ worth of retroactive, cumulative sewage bills at a time when they are struggling to pay existing water bills is adding insult to injury.”
Things in Detroit got so bad during this time that the United Nations Human Rights Council issued a statement condemning the treatment of the city’s poor. Part of the statement read:
About 80 percent of the population of Detroit is African American. According to data from 2013, 40.7 percent of Detroit’s population lives below the poverty level, 99 percent of the poor are African American. Twenty percent of the population is living on 800 USD or less per month, while the average monthly water bill is currently 70.67 USD. This is simply unaffordable for thousands of residents, mostly African Americans.
We were deeply disturbed to observe the indignity people have faced and continue to live with in one of the wealthiest countries in the world and in a city that was a symbol of America’s prosperity.
We were also distressed to learn from the low-income African American residents of the impossible choices they are being compelled to make – to either pay their rent or their medical bill, or to pay their water bill.
In other words, low-income people of color were being taken advantage of by Detroit’s rich, white elite.
And yet, this is exactly what Rich Snyder, Kevin Orr, and Mike Duggan want. They don’t want every neighborhood to have a future. They want their neighborhoods to have a future. They want a Detroit where rich billionaires can come in and cleanse the city of not simply decaying buildings, but a population of people that they find unworthy of living in the city, despite having lived there for generations. They want a Detroit where they can build a half-billion dollar hockey stadium and spruce up the midtown area all while throwing out the poorest 20% of the population on the streets in the middle of the cold, Michigan winter. It doesn’t matter that these people are lifelong Detroit residents and that their blood, sweat, and tears has built the city up over generations, all that matters is they don’t fit the kind of people that the repugican leadership of Detroit wants in its fair city. What we are seeing in Detroit is an overt and obvious attempt by repugicans to rid the city of its poorest citizens by any means necessary.
Another shining example of compassionate wingnuttery at its finest.

Police investigate more than a mile long trail of human blood

A trail of blood more than a mile long is being investigated by police in Hull, East Yorkshire. The force is urging the injured person to make contact with them or seek medical attention as soon as possible. Tests have confirmed the blood is genuine.
The blood trail stretches from St Andrew's Dock, to parts of Hessle Road, and Cholmley Street. Detective Inspector Joanne Roe said: "We know the blood is that of a human.
"Due to the substantial amount of blood found, we believe the person could be severely injured and may need medical treatment immediately. We are urging that person to come forward now to get help."

Wife beat up man for asking for more chapatis

Asking for more chapatis from his wife for dinner proved to be a costly affair for a fireman in Sabarmati, Gujarat, India. He had to forgo his evening meal and sustained injuries in a scuffle with his wife, a complaint at Sabarmati police station states. Apparently, the infuriated woman had used a stone to hit her 40- year-old husband on his forehead, leaving him in a trail of blood. She even allegedly threatened to kill him and their two sons before locking them up. According to neighbors, the man was rescued by police. A Sabarmati police source said, "Mahendra Mali Marathi works as a fireman and stays at the staff quarters above the Sabarmati fire station.
"He returned home after duty at around 10pm on October 6. Tired and hungry, he sat down for dinner. But the two small chapatis in his plate made Marathi furious." When he demanded more, his wife Ujjwala asked him to cook for himself, the source said. When he persisted, she flared up. Picking up a stone lying in the flower pot, she allegedly hit her husband on his forehead. Eyewitnesses said that in a fit of rage, the 38-year-old woman broke window panes and a clock. She then walked out after locking Marathi and their 14-year-old and 10-year-old sons.
Onlookers who had gathered called police who broke open the door to rescue Marathi and his children. Women officers had to be called in to bring Ujjwala under control. The bleeding man was rushed to a private hospital nearby. He received five stitches on his forehead. Marathi said: "She had served two small chapatis, while I usually eat four big chapatis. When I asked for more, she hit me with a stone. I have filed a police complaint." Sabarmati Police Sub Inspector U J Joshi said, "Marathi and his wife had a scuffle over rotis, after which she hit him with a stone and even threatened to kill him and their sons. We have lodged a complaint."
Ujjwala thereafter moved to her brother's house. Backing her sister, Santosh Mali (28), said: "A false case has been foisted on my sister. Two months ago we had gone to file a complaint of domestic violence with Odhav police, but after Marathi promised not to beat up my sister again we arrived at a compromise." Regarding the October 6 incident, Mali said, "Ujjwala was asleep when my brother-in-law came from work and woke her up by pulling her hair. Whatever she did was in self-defense. She then ran out of the house after bolting the door from outside. When Marathi was in hospital with the children, my sister locked herself up in the house and called me up to take her away." Mali said they are planning to lodge a complaint soon.

Police to pay man compensation after his confiscated alcohol was replaced with water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor (£1,370, $2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen and many of the bottles they returned were filled with water.
Police suspected the man had contravened alcohol laws after he returned from a trip to Germany with large quantities of wine, beer and spirits. They raided his home in April 2007 and confiscated the alcohol. Four years later, the charges against him were dropped.
But when he was reunited with the consignment, the owner of the alcohol quickly realized that a lot of it was missing, while some of the wine, beer and cider had passed its best-before date.
He also discovered that an unidentified drinker had consumed five bottles of vodka and ten bottles of gin and replaced their contents with water. Police did not discover who in their ranks had targeted the confiscated alcohol but admitted neglect in the case. They said the sum they had agreed to pay covered the lion's share of the stolen alcohol and the watered-down bottles.

Man wearing zebra-print dress robbed bank

Police in Rochester, New Hampshire, are looking for the man they say robbed a Bank of New Hampshire on Thursday.
Police say the man entered the building at approximately 4:29pm and passed a note to the teller demanding money from the drawer.
The suspect did not mention or display a weapon. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5’5”-5’9” tall with a thin build.
He was wearing a light colored hat or bandana on his head, black rimmed glasses, a white shirt and wearing a zebra print dress with a black overcoat. He was also wearing tan nylons over his head.

You know, you're day ain't so bad ...

It's gonna be a bad day ...

The 5 Most Hilariously Insane Rulers of All Time

by Kyle Stevens

The boring thing about modern democracy is that we almost never elect truly crazy people. Oh, sure, we'll vote in somebody with mild eccentricities or sexual appetites, and we may refer to some extremist as "crazy," but back when rulers took the throne based only on their bloodline, a nation could wind up under the fist of someone who was literally "howl naked at the moon" insane.
Don't get us wrong -- we're sure it was a nightmare for everyone involved. But it does make for hilarious stories down the line.
#5. Justin II of Byzantine Heard Voices, Bit People on the Head
Justin II was a sixth century emperor of Byzantine, which was how they rebranded the Roman Empire after it wasn't cool to be the Roman Empire anymore. Also, apparently they let pretty much anyone be emperor in those days, because Justin II was nucking futs.
History remembers Justin mainly as a kind of shitty leader who wound up losing most of Italy to Persia, which, if you're the emperor of Rome, is dropping the ball pretty badly. But the ancient historian John of Ephesus recounts some interesting facts about Justin's personal life, like how he would hear voices in his head and scream and hide under his bed to escape them. Apparently, the only way his servants could help him out was to play organ music throughout the palace to drown out the voices.
That part of the story is key: the fact that nobody knew how to treat mental illness back then. So it wasn't much fun to be around the palace when Justin II went into full crazy mode -- it's said that when his servants were rushing around trying to restrain him, he would fight back by biting them, often on the head. Eventually, the servants had to go to greater lengths to entertain him, and came up with a solution that would appeal to any toddler -- building a makeshift throne on wheels and pushing Justin around the palace on it, to his great delight. As John of Ephesus puts it, "... having placed him on it, his chamberlains drew him about, and ran with him backwards and forwards for a long time, while he, in delight and admiration at their speed, desisted from many of his absurdities."
Are you imagining this? You have an apparently very mentally ill man who A) nobody knows how to treat, B) has the power to have you imprisoned or killed if you cross him, and C) cannot be removed from power. You have a palace full of underlings desperately trying to keep a lid on his madness. Let's put it another way: At some point, a legend even arose that Justin II actually ate two of his servants. And there wasn't a goddamned thing anybody could do about it.
#4. Charles VI of France Thought He Was a Wolf and/or Made of Glass
Charles "the Mad" VI was king of France from 1380 (when he was 12) to his death 1422, all during the Hundred Years' War with England, and when your country is fighting something called the "Hundred Years' War," it's really unfortunate if the man sitting on the throne is nicknamed "Charles the Mad." Unless it means he's really angry. (It doesn't.)
In 1392, during a trip through a forest to look for a fugitive who had attempted to murder an adviser of his, Charles VI randomly attacked his own knights, killing some of them, until they all managed to hold him down and carry him back to the castle. They concluded that he was probably just under a lot of stress, as it was the first time that Charles had shown signs of not really being totally right in the head.
In the following years, Charles would go through episodes of forgetting people's names, including his own, and the fact that he was king. Oh, and he would also run through his castle pretending to be a wolf, howling at people. And he freaked out when people touched him because he thought he was made of glass.
Eventually, Charles' batshittery reached such a fever pitch that the monarchy of France broke down into civil war, with his brother vying for power on one side and his first cousin leading the other. That's a war breaking out during another war. This infighting allowed rival countries like England to attack with impunity, and by the end of Charles VI's rule, much of France was occupied by foreign powers. He could have done something about it, but, you know, somebody might have touched him.
#3. Christian VII of Denmark's Chronic Masturbation Problem
Christian VII rose to the throne of Denmark in 1766, even though everyone was pretty sure he was crazy. That probably had something to do with the fact that he would often throw food at his dinner guests ... but then, rich people can be real jerks. His reign seemed otherwise pretty normal -- that is, until the masturbation started.
At some point, Christian developed a new found fascination with his penis, by which we mean he jerked it so often that it interfered with his duties. The court physicians actually worried that Christian's chronic habit was affecting his health -- they thought that it would render him infertile and that it was stunting his growth, which was the 18th century version of "Stop that or you'll go blind."
But at least Christian didn't usually do it in front of visiting dignitaries. What he did do was leapfrog over them when they bowed to him, and sometimes he'd slap people in the face in the middle of a conversation for absolutely no reason. OK, so that's actually the second thing he did that we would also do if we became king.
Eventually, Christian's mind was so far gone that his personal physician, Johann Streunsee, basically yanked the whole kingdom out from underneath him by talking the king into handing over control of his executive decisions, as well as boning the queen behind Christian's back. Presumably he was too busy jerking it to notice.

#2. The Zhengde Emperor of China Liked to Play Make-Believe
The Zhengde Emperor was emperor of China in the beginning of the 16th century, having taken the throne at the age of 14, and as far as anyone could tell, he remained 14 for the next decade and a half of his rule.
For instance, Zhengde liked to play games of make-believe instead of, you know, running a giant empire like he was supposed to be doing. In fact, he built a whole fake city block on the imperial grounds where he would pretend to be a shopkeeper, to the puzzlement of his subjects, who were forced to go along with it.
Occasionally, he pretended he was a general and went on raiding parties (almost getting captured) with an army dressed all in silk, for some reason. Weirder still, he invented for himself an alter ego he named Zhu Shou, whom he would "order" on pointless raiding parties, to the exasperation of his government, who had to pretend they weren't just talking to the emperor in a wig. There might be a powerful lesson here in the fact that the dude was king, but still preferred fantasy to reality. Then again, maybe he just found being king way more boring than he imagined.
Eventually Zhengde died in predictable fashion: after getting really drunk and falling off a boat during a fishing trip.
#1. Farouk of Egypt, the Pickpocket King
The last ruling king of Egypt, King Farouk, was as nutty as most of the world's leaders seemed to be during World War II, and was ultimately the reason Egypt decided to pack it all in with this whole monarchy thing. Known early in his reign for his excessive partying and gambling, Farouk was once described as a "stomach with a head" after he grew to over 300 pounds. According to his sister, he would drink 30 bottles of soda a day and eat caviar straight from the can. But gluttony is pretty much expected, if not mandatory, for a despot. That alone certainly would not qualify him for this list.
But more bizarre for someone with infinite money, Farouk was a complete kleptomaniac, once stealing a watch from Winston Churchill. He later claimed to have simply found it lying around, but neglected to mention that he'd "found" it in Churchill's pocket.
Another time, after having nightmares about lions attacking him, Farouk decided to take a trip to the Cairo Zoo to see the lions. And by see them, we mean shoot them while they were in their cages, because that's a perfectly reasonable reaction to night terrors if you are insane.
Finally, when Hitler's army was preparing to invade Egypt, it's safe to say that Farouk was the only world leader to send Hitler a telegram thanking him for coming to kick his country's ass. He didn't like the British forces occupying his country, and apparently he figured Nazis were somehow a step up.
As you might have guessed, Farouk wasn't too popular with the people, who supported the British and were pretty anti-Nazi. In 1952, he was overthrown, and upon raiding his treasures, an interesting discovery was made: Farouk had tons of coins, magic tricks, stamps ... and the world's largest porn collection.

Studies show early contact between Easter Island and the Americas

The first known painting of Easter Island in 1775 by William Hodges. Image: Public Domain
The first known painting of Easter Island in 1775 by William Hodges.
People may have been making their way from Easter Island to the Americas well before the Dutch commander Jakob Roggeveen arrived with his ships in 1722, according to new genomic evidence showing that the Rapanui people living on that most isolated of islands had significant contact with Native American populations hundreds of years earlier. The findings reported in the journal Current Biology lend the first genetic support for such an early trans-Pacific route between Polynesia and the Americas, an impressive trek of more than 4,000 kilometers (nearly 2,500 miles).
A need for re-evaluation
The findings are a reminder that “early human populations extensively explored the planet,” says Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas from the Natural History Museum of Denmark’s Center for GeoGenetics. “Textbook versions of human colonization events—the peopling of the Americas, for example—need to be re-evaluated utilizing genomic data.”
Archaeological evidence had suggested that 30 to 100 Polynesian men, women, and children first landed on Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, around AD 1200, arriving in two or more double-hulled canoes. After settling on the isolated island, the Rapanui famously built giant stone platforms and over 900 statues, some weighing as much as 82 tons.
While it may have taken weeks for Polynesians to reach even the closest nearby islands, there are hints of contact with the larger world. For example, there is evidence for the presence of crops native to the Americas in Polynesia, including the Andean sweet potato, long before the first reported European contact.
Contact 19-23 generations ago
Genome-wide analysis of 27 native Rapanui now confirms significant contact between the island people and Native Americans sometime between approximately AD 1300 and AD 1500, 19 to 23 generations ago. The Rapanui population began mixing with Europeans only much later, in about 1850. The ancestry of the Rapanui today is 76% Polynesian, 8% Native American, and 16% European.
The new evidence about the Rapanui suggests one of two scenarios: either Native Americans sailed to Rapa Nui or Polynesians sailed to the Americas and back. The researchers say that it seems more likely that the Rapanui successfully made the trip back and forth, given simulations presented in previous studies showing that “all sailing voyages heading intentionally east from Rapa Nui would always reach the Americas, with a trip lasting from two weeks to approximately two months.” On the other hand, the trip from the Americas to Rapa Nui is much more challenging, which would have made it likely to fail or miss the island completely. From the Americas, Rapa Nui is indeed a small target, which might also explain why it took Europeans so long to find it.

Genome-wide Ancestry Patterns in Rapanui Suggest Pre-European Admixture with Native AmericansCurrent Biology
A second article in Current Biology by Malaspinas along with Eske Willerslev and their colleagues examined two human skulls representing the indigenous “Botocudos” of Brazil to find that their genomic ancestry is Polynesian, with no detectable Native American component at all.

Naughty Rune Carvings

Archaeologists in the Scandinavian capital [Oslo, Norway] have recently come across an indecent side of Norwegian Medieval life. The hard discovery, made by the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) staff, was made in connection with the development of the Follo railway construction in Oslo.
A piece of wood with three double entendre characters carved on it was discovered. Fuþ are the first three in the Rune alphabet, but also the Old Norse word for the female genitalia.
“The fact we find this interesting has to do with that scripture means we can get closer to the ancients. It’s a snapshot of something a person from medieval times scored into a piece of wood. But as for this word, it's as simple as that dirty language sells,” archaeologist Egil Marstein Bauer at NIKU tells The Foreigner "Runes are fun. You feel that you get closer to the people. Here, someone sat and carved this. I thought that it was a rune ABC when I first saw it. Though others have reminded me that it may have a completely different meaning,” Mr Bauer comments to Aftenposten.
People were bold in the Late Middle Ages when they carved runes on bones and pieces of wood, much like today's graffiti on walls.
According to Karin Fjellhammer Seim, retired professor of Old Norse language and literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, rune carvers could be randy and vicious when women were portrayed as nymphomaniac ‘fudorgs’ (‘fud’ in Old Norse is a word for an opening in the body).
But it was not just women’s genitalia that were used as a swearword. Examples are found around the harbor area in western Norway’s Bergen in particular.
“There are many rune sticks that are just as vulgar and are about the man’s genitalia. They are so [rude] that it would probably not even be permitted to be published in a modern newspaper,” Ms Seim says.
About the latest discovery, NIKU’s Egil Marstein Bauer comments that “we know that the runes could be very obscene and deal with everything from adultery to sodomy. But I can’t say whether the clean or dirty interpretation [regarding the double entendre find] should be used here."
Moreover, archaeologists have also found bones that can tell researchers what people ate, what diseases they had, and whether they had specific parasites in their system. Finding mercury in the soil around the skeleton may indicate that the person was treated for syphilis. So, they did not just talk.

Read the full article: HERE

5 Tech Myths You Hear All The Time

Humans are great at creating myths. From Marduk and Zeus to unicorns and mermaids, there's no end to what we can imagine. That's true even with technology. There's old tech advice that no one questions, half-remembered instructions you just keep doing, misunderstood terms and more that you believe to be true.
Here are 5 Tech Myths You Hear All The Time.

Famous Internet Firsts And Where We Are Now

Relative to the wheel, the Internet is still a pretty new invention. Email, Twitter, and websites are all things we take for granted because they are part of our lives on a daily basis. There was a time, however, when they weren't. It wasn’t long ago that the first email was sent, the first domain was purchased, and all of the other Internet firsts were taking place.
This infographic provides a fascinating look at some of the most famous first occurrences on the Internet and where we are today.

Esoteric Door Knockers And Door Handles

Some of these architectural and historic artefacts can be truly elaborate works of art, some possess hidden (arcane, esoteric) meaning, which often has to do with spiritual passages, or opening of magical doorways in the otherwise un-yeilding and uncaring world.

The 18 Strangest Buildings in China

This building is a museum in Meitan County, Guizhou, China. Can you guess the theme of the museum? Yes, it's tea! This is the National Tea Museum. Appropriately, the building is shaped like a teapot. It's 242 feet tall. If it was an actual teapot, it could hold approximately 749,253 gallons of tea. This museum is the largest teapot-shaped building in the world.
It's one of 18 strange buildings in China rounded up by The Guardian. The others include buildings shaped like an egg, a wheel, a ring, a cell phone, and a liquor bottle.

A Ghost Town in Connecticut is up for Sale

Johnsonville is a village in East Haddam, Connecticut. It used to be a small milltown until the 1970s, when a fire gutted the local economy. The owner, Raymond Schmitt, was an eccentric businessman in the aerospace industry. After the fire, he announced his intention to turn it into a tourist attraction. Schmitt moved quaint, turn-of-the-century buildings from elsewhere in New England to Johnsonville. He envisioned it as a place where visitors could step back in time.

The tourist town was never a financial success and, in 1994, after a dispute with the local government, Schmitt closed it. He died 4 years later. Now the current owners are selling off Johnsonville.
Would you like to own a ghost town? It's 52 acres of land and a 15-acre pond. There are a dozen buildings and a private waterfall. The opening bid is $800,000.
If you watched MTV during the 90s, you may have already seen Johnsonville. Billy Joel filmed part of the music video for his song "River of Dreams" there.

Lake Prespa's Forgotten Hotel Evropa

Today, Lake Prespa in Macedonia is a place of almost perplexing tranquility. The lake sees nothing of the tourism that reaches the shores of nearby Lake Ohrid. But it hasn't always been so neglected. The abandoned Hotel Evropa, on the western shore, is proof that Prespa was once a major tourist destination.
Hotel Evropa has been completely abandoned. A modern ruin, its rooms have been pillaged, its windows shattered, its treasures robbed.