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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Daily Drift

Tonight is Mischief Night ...!
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Today in History

1270 The Seventh Crusade ends by the Treaty of Barbary.
1485 Henry VII of England crowned.
1697 The Treaty of Ryswick ends the war between France and the Grand Alliance.
1838 Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Lorian County, Ohio becomes the first college in the U.S. to admit female students.
1899 Two battalions of British troops are cut off, surrounded and forced to surrender to General Petrus Joubert's Boers at Nicholson's Nek.
1905 The czar of Russia issues the October Manisfesto, granting civil liberties and elections in an attempt to avert the burgeonng supprot for revolution.
1918 The Italians capture Vittorio Veneto and rout the Austro-Hungarian army.
1918 Turkey signs an armistice with the Allies, agreeing to end hostilities at noon, October 31.
1922 Mussolini sends his black shirts into Rome. The Fascist takeover is almost without bloodshed. The next day, Mussolini is made prime minister. Mussolini centralized all power in himself as leader of the Fascist party and attempted to create an Italian empire, ultimately in alliance with Hitler's Germany.
1925 Scotsman John L. Baird performs first TV broadcast of moving objects.
1938 H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds is broadcast over the radio by Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre. Many panic believing it is an actual newscast about a Martian invasion.
1941 The U.S. destroyer Reuben James, on convoy duty off Iceland, is sunk by a German U-boat with the loss of 96 Americans.
1950 The First Marine Division is ordered to replace the entire South Korean I Corps at the Chosin Reservoir area.
1953 US Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approves a top secret document to maintain and expand the country's nuclear arsenal.
1961 The USSR detonates "Tsar Bomba," a 50-megaton hydrogen bomb; it is still (2013) the largest explosive device of any kind over detonated.
1965 US Marines repeal multiple-wave attacks by Viet Cong within a few miles of Da Nang where the Marines were based; a sketch of Marine positions was found on the body of a 13-year-old boy who had been selling the Americans drinks the previous day.
1973 The Bosphorus Bridge is completed at Istanbul, Turkey, connecting Europe and Asia over the Bosphorus Strait.
1974 The "Rumble in the Jungle," a boxing match in Zaire that many regard as the greatest sporting event of the 20th century, saw challenger Muhammad Ali knock out previously undefeated World Heavyweight Champion George Foreman.
1975 Prince Juan Carlos becomes acting head of state in Spain, replacing the ailing dictator Gen. Francisco Franco.
1985 Space Shuttle Challenger lifts off for its final successful mission.
1991 BET Holdings Inc., becomes the first African-American company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
2005 The rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche (cult of Our Lady) that was destroyed during the firebombing of Dresden in WWII is rededicated.

Why Every Newborn Has the Same Blanket

If it seems all your friends are having babies at the same time, or you just like to look at babies on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you might have noticed they all appear to be wrapped in the same white blanket with blue and pink stripes. It’s called the Kuddle-Up blanket, and it’s made by hospital supplier Medline, a company founded by A.L. Mills in 1910.
In the early 1950s, receiving blankets were usually made from dull beige cloth. Mills, ever the innovator, wanted to do for blankets what he had done for scrubs. “He asked the women in the office what they would do differently to spice it up a little bit,” says Abrams. They went through a number of iterations and finally settled on the blue- and pink-striped version because, as you might have suspected, it’s good for both girls and boys. The pattern is strangely appealing—before I knew that 99% of newborns are wrapped in identical blankets, I thought it was handsome. It never appears dated or cutesy or Disney. It is truly a classic.
Clearly, many people agree. Sixty years later, Medline sells 1.5 million Kuddle-Up blankets in Candy Stripe every year (the other patterns, with elephants or ducks, are less pervasive). At the HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston, NY, for instance, the housekeeping staff buys 3,100 100% cotton blankets a year, and often uses four to five of them for each newborn.
But few people realized how ubiquitous the blanket was until social media gave parents a platform for showing off their newborns even before they leave the hospital. It’s very possible that three or four generations of families have been swaddled in a striped Kuddle-Up. Read the history of the blanket and see some adorable newborns in an article at Quartz.

World beard champion crowned

Trailblazers of facial hair have flocked to the annual World Beard and Moustache Championships with Portland, Oregon serving as the host city.
The best facial hair award was decided by having the winners of each category walk onto the stage, with an audience vote picking out a winner.
Portland-based Madison Rowley took the honours for best facial hair with a spectacular full beard, known as the Garibaldi.

This year's event enticed 300 contestants, from 10 countries with 18 categories represented.The celebration of facial hair showcased categories such as Imperial moustaches, Fu Manchu partial beards, and of course the Garibaldi full beard.

The Macabre Romance of a Man and a Mummy

Carl Tanzler was a German immigrant with a wife and two daughters in Zephyrhills, Florida. But when he took a job as an x-ray technician at the U.S. Marine Hospital in Key West in 1927, he called himself Count Carl von Cosel and lived as a single man. Tanzler met a tuberculosis patient less than half his age named Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos and fell deeply in love. Despite Tanzler’s best efforts, Maria Elena died, and was interred in a mausoleum the Count bought for her. At least for a while. Unbeknownst to Maria Elena’s family, Tanzler retrieved her body from the mausoleum and took it home with him.
Over the years, Tanzler kept Elena “alive” using wire hangers to preserve her frame, stuffing her abdominal cavity with rags, routinely reapplying wax to her face, replacing her decaying scalp with real hair, and constantly dousing her in disinfectants and oils to mask the rotting smell of her body. While attending to the physical demands of his moldering bride, Carl attended to her material needs as well, purchasing her clothing and perfume, and even installing a curtained cloth veil for privacy on the bed they shared (apparently feminine modesty was a prerogative for a man who routinely saw Elena’s innards). This domestic Ed Gein’s style bliss went on for seven years.
Everything was going great, until people inevitably started asking questions. The combination of Carl’s habit of routinely buying women’s clothing, his absence from the mausoleum, and a local boy’s sighting of him through a window dancing with what appeared to be a giant doll, aroused some serious suspicion. The rumors began to swirl that Tanzler was keeping Elena in his house.
Find out what happened to Tanzler, and to what was once Maria Elena, when the story became public at Atlas Obscura.

Millennials Will End the Influence of the religio-wingnuts

Although it has never been a christian nation America is becoming even less and less christian, and yes, even in the deep South.

The 2014 midterm elections are drawing near, and it appears that the Democrats will control the Senate, even though they’re fighting on unfriendly territory – a large number of seats in red states are up for grabs.
But if you look deeper than the national picture, there’s a more interesting story. In southern states like Georgia and Kentucky – which in the past would have been easy repugican holds - the races are unexpectedly tight. In fact, the only reason that the questions of which party will control the Senate in 2015 is unsettled at all is that an unusual number of races in dark red states are toss-ups, despite an overall political climate that generally favors wingnuts.
What we’re seeing may well be the first distant rumblings of a trend that’s been quietly gathering momentum for years: America is becoming less christian. In every region of the country, in every christian denomination, membership is either stagnant or declining. Meanwhile, the number of religiously unaffiliated people – atheists, agnostics, those who are indifferent to religion, or those who follow no conventional faith – is growing. In some surprising places, these “nones” (as in “none of the above”) now rank among the largest slices of the demographic pie.
Even in the deep South, the repugican base of white evangelical christians is shrinking – and in some traditional wingnut redoubts like Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky, it’s declined as a percentage of the population by double digits.Even Alabama is becoming less christian. Meanwhile, there’s been a corresponding increase in the religiously unaffiliated, who tend to vote more Democratic.
While the effect on evangelicals is new, the general pattern isn’t. The catholic cult, the largest single religious denomination in America, was the first to feel the pinch. The cult leaders and catholic apologists have been fretting for years over the problem of aging and shrinking congregations, declining attendance at Mass and fewer people signing up to become priests or nuns – although their proposals for how to solve the problem all consist of tinkering around the edges, or insisting that they need to try harder to convince people to believe as they do.
America’s next-largest denomination, the southern baptist coven, held out a bit longer but has now come down with the same affliction. Membership has been declining for the last several years – to the point where half of sbc cults will close their doors by 2030 if current trends persist. And as with the catholic cult, the sbc defenders with the biggest platforms have insisted that they don’t need to change anything if they just double down on their existing policies and pray harder for revival.
What’s driving the steady weakening of christianity? The answer, it would seem, is demographic turnover.
The so-called millennials (Americans born between 1982 and 2000) are far more diverse, educated and tolerant than their predecessors. They’re also the least religious generation in American history – they’re even getting less religious as they get older, which is unprecedented – and the majority of them identify christianity as synonymous with harsh political wingnuttery. As older, more religious generations fade away and younger generations replace them, the societal midpoint shifts. And this trend is going to accelerate in coming years, because the millennial generation is big. They’re even bigger than the baby boomers.
The influence of the millennials showed in the (by historical standards)remarkably rapid acceptance of same-sex marriage, which in just a few short years has become legal in more than half the country. Millennials view religious demands for the oppression of LGBT people to be a bizarre and offensive anachronism. And as the major denominations vocally assert that opposing equal rights for LGBT people is a nonnegotiable condition of membership in the cult of Not-Gay, young people are driven away in greater and greater numbers. This may well be a self-reinforcing cycle, as people turned off by constant homophobic rhetoric leave the churches, which results in diluted power for religious wingnuts, who then bear down even harder on the anti-gay message. The same arrogance and institutional blindness that got them into this spiral make it almost impossible for them to see the problem and pull out of it.
But even if this secularizing trend continues, it’s likely that there’s a hard core of believers who will persist no matter what: no one is forecasting the total extinction of the religio-wingnuts in politics.
Still, for progressives, the eroding power of the cults is a most welcome development: the religio-wingnuts can no longer claim to be the sole source of morality and virtue, nor can they expect to assert their will in political matters and be obeyed without question. Instead, they’ll have to muster evidence and make their case in the marketplace of ideas like everyone else.
In other words, the religio-winguts will finally have to fight fair, and I’m willing to bet that, in the long run, that’s a fight they’ll lose.

Scott Walker Is Already Making Excuses For His Inevitable Defeat In Wisconsin

The repugican Scott Walker is making excuses for his inevitable defeat in Wisconsin before the votes are even counted. Walker is falsely claiming that he is being outspent by Democrats.
Walker complained to Politico that the Chris Christie run repugican governors asshats isn’t spending enough on his reelection campaign,
scott walker emailsIt’s TV spending, Walker emphasized, where national repugicans can make the biggest difference. So far, he said, the out-of-state effort on his behalf “pales in comparison” to what his coalition of foes have spent on the other side.
“I’m hopeful that, just as they have in the past, at least some of the national governors associations have come in and helped,” Walker said. “We can’t coordinate [spending with outside groups] in this state, so we have to see it once it’s up on the air. But they did in 2010 and 2012 and I’m hopeful — I believe they will again this time.”
The Washington Post checked into Walker’s claim and found out the governor was not telling the truth, “The rga has, in fact, spent a boatload of money on Walker’s behalf, including $5.2 million during his 2010 run for office, $8.9 million during his 2012 recall, and $8 million so far this year. In the last few weeks, the rga has committed an additional $1.3 million to advertisements. And so far, repugicans are actually outspending, and out-advertising, Democrats on the air.”
Walker’s sycophants are suggesting that their candidate is setting a storyline of underdog governor wins reelection in a blue state for his presidential campaign, but there is another possibility.
Scott Walker might be looking for something to blame his inevitable loss on. When Walker loses to Mary Burke, but still wants to run for president in 2016, he will need to explain away his defeat. What better way for a wingnut to endear himself to the repugican’s voting masses than to play the martyr for the cause.
Walker can claim that all of the liberals that repugicans are so paranoid about teamed up and ran him out of office. Scott Walker is doing some serious spinning because he is a reelection contest that is a dead heat, and the Wisconsin governor wants to be president.
Candidates who are winning their elections don’t moan and groan about money. Candidates who are worried about losing begin to point fingers before election day. The blame game is also frequently utilized by candidates who are worried about turnout. The outcome of the Wisconsin governor’s election may hinge on small movements in turnout.
The fact that Scott Walker is making excuses is good news for Democrats.

The repugicans: Women Problem? What Women Problem?

Nothing wrong with an exclusive and hate-filled repugican message. Just with the people who aren't sufficiently white, male, and christian.…
Tweeted photo from Minnesota Republican Randy Gilbert, far right. Where are the women?
Oh how the repugicans like to lie. I’ve examined more than a few examples of this in the past few days. But it is not only you and I they like to lie to, but themselves. They exhibit a blind insistence on what “must” be true rather than what “is” true.
The photo above says it all.
But the repugican cabal’s “women problem” and its war on women is very thoroughly attested, and has been examined by many, as The Washington Post pointed out recently. There, Melody Crowder-Meyer and Benjamin Lauderdale asked, among other questions, “Why do women compose only 8 percent of the Republican House caucus, compared to 29 percent of the Democratic caucus (a gap that holds in other offices as well)?”
Politico reported in August of this year:
A detailed report commissioned by two major repugican covens — including one backed by Karl Rove — paints a dismal picture for repugicans, concluding female voters view the party as “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion” and “stuck in the past.”
Women are “barely receptive” to repugicans’ policies, and the cabal does “especially poorly” with women in the Northeast and Midwest, according to an internal Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report obtained by POLITICO…The report is blunt about the party’s problems. It says 49 percent of women view repugicans unfavorably, while 39 percent view Democrats unfavorably.
Really, given the rhetoric, why would ANY woman vote repugican these days? And how can the repugican cabal convince them they should? According to Politico,
The solutions offered include neutralizing Democratic attacks that the repugican cabal doesn’t support “fairness” for women; “deal honestly with any disagreement on abortion, then move to other issues”; and “pursue policy innovations that inspire women voters to give the repugican cabal a ‘fresh look.'”
Like Jindal’s claim that the repugican cabal must stop being the cabal of stupid, it’s clear that repugicans are not following the report’s advice, whether it’s lying about rather than dealing honestly with the abortion issue, or taking policy stances that are anything but new or fresh. If your policies are carved in stone – and repugican policies are as unyielding as the ten commandments – it is absurd to even talk about “fresh looks.”
Some repugicans clearly remain in denial; they like to insist women love them, despite the gender-based attacks launched on Democratic candidates like Wendy Davis and Allison Lundergan Grimes.
If repugicans want to believe they have no gender problem, they must ask themselves a few questions:
The repugicans think pretending to read women’s magazines proves they love themselves some women:
They come up with all sorts of interesting rationales to convince you – and themselves – that they can have diversity from a party that has few female candidates. Keep in mind (since the repugican cabal will not) that as Jane Timm at MSNBC pointed out in May, “No women are polling in the top 10 for potential repugican presidential candidates two years after the cabal identified outreach to women as a weakness.”
Of the most prominent female leads in recent repugican history, one is now engaging in drunken brawls and the other is facing charges that could put her in prison. Not that this latter is all that different from the potential fate of some prominent repugican men, but let’s face it, there are more men to go around, so the impact is less.
Doug Grow wrote in the Minnesota Post this summer about the Minnesota repugican cabal’s struggle with not only gender, but racial diversity:
Chris Fields, the party’s deputy director and an African-American, was more direct than Downey when asked if the lack of diversity on the repugican cabal ticket would be a problem for the cabal.
“It would be if your view of diversity was the color of somebody’s face,” Fields said. “But I look at our ticket and I see real diversity. We’ve got a businessman (McFadden), a county commissioner (Johnson), a fighter pilot (Severson), a lawyer (Newman) and an auditor (Gilbert). Just because you have half men, half women, if they’re all saying the same thing, what difference does it make?”
Obviously, diversity is more than skin color. It is also gender, something Field ignored. Diversity is also a party that includes more than members of a single religion. Not to mention a party that does not eject those who fail to attain a certain level of ideological purity.
As Grow quipped, “It’s an interesting point. But, on the other hand, it seems unlikely that members of the repugican cabal white male chorus will have diverse campaign themes.”
No indeed. And repugicans stubbornly resist seeing that their wingnut policies are alienating women voters. As New Jersey repugican Jeff Bell said earlier this month, “Single mothers particularly are automatically Democratic because of the benefits. They need benefits to survive, and so that kind of weds them to the Democratic Party.”
So young women are just in it for the free stuff. You know, like black people. And Mexicans. The problem, the repugican cabal is telling us, is the “liberal media elite,” or with women being “sluts” who want sex without consequence on the taxpayer’s dime. Nothing wrong with an exclusive and hate-filled repugican message. Just with the people who aren’t sufficiently white, male, and christian.
A Quinnipiac University Poll showed Booker leading by 20 points among women. Only a repugican could think it has nothing to do with his misogynist rhetoric.
What can you do with, or say to, a party where self-examination is something “commies” do, and where myopia has been institutionalized?

Chris Christie’s Fear Mongering Ebola Quarantine Of Nurse Blows Up In His Face

christie-state-of-the-stateOn Monday, a day after he told Faux News he had “no second thoughts” about his decision to forcibly quarantine a nurse who had just returned from West Africa, Chris Christie reversed course and announced that he was allowing Kaci Hickox to return to her home in Maine. Hickox had recently returned from a trip in Sierra Leone where she had been treating Ebola patients. She was forced to be contained in a tent outside a New Jersey hospital for the past three days after a forehead thermometer reading showed a temperature of 101.
Since then, Hickox has shown no symptoms of Ebola. A later temperature reading from a more reliable oral thermometer showed a reading of 98.6. She claimed that the forehead reading came after she was questioned from hours after a long plane ride, leading her to be frustrated and flushed. The tent she’s been forced to reside in has no shower, a small portable toilet and no television or heat. Hickox retained a lawyer to challenge the state’s treatment of her and the ACLU also stepped up and questioned whether or not Christie had the legal authority to impose such a restriction. The nurse also wrote a scathing op-ed about her confinement that appeared in a Dallas newspaper.
Christie appeared on Faux News Sunday and told host Chris Wallace that he felt mandatory 21-day quarantines were necessary for those who may have been exposed to Ebola, even if the people weren’t symptomatic. He also brushed off criticism from health experts.
WALLACE: Governor, you just heard and we want to talk — before politics to this whole controversy about Ebola and quarantine, you just heard Dr. Fauci, New York City’s health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, says reportedly she was furious that she was not informed before the quarantine was imposed. Do you no longer trust the CDC and, doctors and scientists?
CHRISTIE: Well, no, that’s pretty general statement, Chris. Of course we do. The fact of the matter is CDC protocols as Dr. Fauci admitted himself has been moving target and imagine that you’re the person in charge of public health of people of largely densely populated state, in fact, most densely populated state in the Union, and these protocols continue to move and change.
It was my conclusion we need to do this to protect the public health of people of New Jersey. Governor Cuomo agreed. And now, Mayor Emanuel agrees. And I think the CDC eventually will come around to our point of view on this.
WALLACE: And what about Dr. Fauci who says it’s not good science to quarantine people when they’re not symptomatic because they can’t spread the disease in those situations.
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I have great respect for Dr. Fauci. But what he’s counting on is voluntary system with folks who may or may not comply. We had the situation in New Jersey, Chris, as you know, with NBC News crew that said that they were going to self-quarantine and then two days later they were picking up takeout in Princeton and walking a around the streets of Princeton.
I mean, the fact of the matter is that we — I don’t believe when you’re dealing with something as serious as this that we can count on a voluntary system. This is government’s job. If anything else, the government job is to protect safety and health of our citizens. And so, we’ve taken this action and I absolutely have no second thoughts about it.
However, it appears that the specter of a lawsuit from Hickox, as well as the potential of another one from the ACLU, led to Christie flip-flopping and allowing Hickox to return to Maine. Hickox has agreed to serve out the rest of the 21-day period at her home and the state’s Health and Human Service will work with her on the procedure. Christie has said that he will still require mandatory quarantines for anyone else that arrives in the state who was exposed to Ebola and shows potential symptoms.
Christie isn’t the only governor who is pushing mandatory quarantines. Also, this isn’t just contained to repugican governors. Four other states (New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Florida) have imposed restrictions similar to what Christie has put in place. New York’s Andrew Cuomo, a potential Democratic candidate for President in 2016, also loosened some of the restrictions that he put in place late last week. He is now allowing in-home quarantines. Meanwhile, the governors in the other three states are all dealing with tight elections that will likely come down to the wire. Therefore, they are caving to outsized public fears rather than the advice of experts in an effort to prove they are doing something.
Salon’s Jim Newell pointed out that the current political environment rewards politicians like Christie for acting quickly and irrationally while ginning up additional fear over a crisis that actually doesn’t exist.
It’s doubtful that the mess will hurt Christie politically. It was more likely the threat of a lawsuit that caused him to liberate his prisoner than the political unpopularity of the captivity. That other governors followed suit and instituted mandatory quarantine policies shows the appeal of such draconian measures. What do you expect when the public has been told to expect mass death from a virus (that’s currently being carried by one confirmed person out of 300-something million)? We’re now in a political environment where one can be expect rewards for having the “strength” to go directly against the advice of the medical establishment, which for strange electoral reasons has been labeled “incompetent” despite doing an extraordinary job keeping the virus contained.
This election season needs to end, pronto. It was “fine” when it was just candidates spouting demagogic idiocy in debates, on the campaign trail, in television ads. But now we have our first evidence that taking prisoners, real-life tangible human beings, is an acceptable form of pandering to hysteria. Hopefully we can make it through another eight days without a public hanging.
Somehow, President Obama is getting needlessly chastised for the presence of a disease that has claimed exactly one life in the United States and is only currently being carried by one person in this country. Meanwhile, lawmakers and pundits are trying to make political hay by pushing panic and fear. Taking measured, thoughtful steps towards dealing with an issue don’t drive people to the polls, apparently.

Bad News for repugicans As Americans Have Confidence in Government To Deal with Ebola

obama speech on economy Northwestern
There is “overwhelming confidence in the federal government’s ability to prevent a nationwide epidemic,” according to a new CNN/ORC International Poll.
“More than 7 in 10 Americans say the federal government can stop an Ebola epidemic, and 54% believe the federal government is doing a “good job” in addressing the disease.”
Yes, the media hysteria has had an effect, as 8 in 10 believe that a new person will be diagnosed with Ebola in the coming weeks, however 53% think that healthcare workers and hospitals in their community are ready to treat an Ebola case.
But, and here’s the bad news for repugicans, only 26% believe that someone in their area will get Ebola in the next few weeks. The repugicans gave up running against Obamacare when it turned out that Americans liked their Obamacare, leaving them with essentially nothing to run on as they refuse to tell the public any details about their platform.
Joe Sonka reported days ago for Insider Louisville that Mitch McConnell (r-KY) told the Rotary Club, “I’m not announcing what the agenda would be in advance. We’re not in the majority yet. We’ll have more to say about that later.” Oh, so he’ll tell you where he stands and what the Republicans are going to do with our laws and stuff AFTER the election. He also mentioned his effort to “fix” Social Security Bush’s way (aka, privatizing Social Security) at the Rotary Club, and presumably privatizing Social Security is something the repugican Senate Minority Leader would rather not discuss in the spotlight until after the election. Wink wink.
This leaves repugicans with the only choice of going negative and fear based, so last week they were trying to run on ISIL (and still are, selling themselves as the party that will magically keep you safe, in stark contrast to the facts – see 9/11) and now, Ebola.
Embattled governors are grasping onto Ebola like a lifeline, trying to show leadership even if it means stealing liberty and freedom from Americans while ignoring science and medicine just so that they can appear to be strong. Chris Christie (r-NJ) has made a bit of a fool of himself over it, locking a nurse up in a tent with no shower and a porta potty type enclosure for a bathroom. Georgia repugican Nathan Deal announced that Georgia  “could quarantine ‘high-risk’ travelers from areas ravaged by Ebola even if they show no symptoms of the deadly virus.”
It’s not just repugicans grasping hold of Ebola as their Hail Mary in a tough election. A scattering of Democratic governors are at it as well. It’s just that repugicans have nothing else to talk about or run on, so it stands out in relief with them.
Inept repugican  Darrell Issa tried to use a weather app to show Obama how it’s done on Ebola, because he seems to be short on facts and long on entertainment. The apps that actually take our temperatures (unlike the weather app) are for “entertainment” purposes only, much as the Congressman himself.
CNN Polling Director Keating Holland drove the knife in, “Most Americans seem to recognize that they are not in personal jeopardy themselves. In fact, the vast majority of Americans probably don’t know anyone who has ever been to West Africa.”
Whatever will repugicans do?
The federal government might just steal this show in spite of being underfunded and obstructed by repugicans, by showing the purpose of the federal government. This could remind voters that while we might get frustrated with government’s inefficiencies, we don’t really want to shut that show down.
Nope. When Ebola comes calling, President Obama’s calm, rational, science based approach works. The country has faith in the federal government to prevent an epidemic, even after much hysteria and hang-wringing, pearl-clutching nay-saying by increasingly desperate repugicans.

A Week Before Midterms, repugican cabal Devastated By The Fact That The Affordable Care Act’s Working

Though the paper of record does its frustrating best to bury the implications in an innocuous headline, this week The New York Times published an assortment of answers to the question, “Is the Affordable Care Act Working?” Leveraging seven specific sub-queries, a variety of writers evaluate the data one year from the official rollout of Obamacare, assessing the legislation’s early efficacy.
If readers are able to get past the meaningless non-reporting of the piece’s opening summary, there is plenty of good news to be found:
“After a year fully in place, the Affordable Care Act has largely succeeded in delivering on President Obama’s main promises, an analysis by a team of reporters and data researchers shows. But it has also fallen short in some ways and given rise to a powerful conservative backlash.”
Let’s take a step back from the inexplicably conflicted tone of this summation and jump right into question one, asked and answered by writer Margot Sanger-Katz. The legislation’s first and most important goal was deceptively simple: lower the number of the hardworking uninsured, who live just one accident or illness away from financial ruin. So, “Has the percentage of uninsured people been reduced?”
The answer just 12 months later is a resounding yes. Per Sanger-Katz, “The number of Americans without health insurance has been reduced by about 25 percent this year — or eight million to 11 million people.” The detailed response offers a number of facts, figures and charts that elaborate on the myriad ways in which formerly shutout people are now able to avail themselves of at least basic coverage – the extension of benefits to young adults attached to parental policies, expansion of Medicaid (despite 23 red states rejecting the aid for purely shameful, partisan reasons), etc.
Honestly, were the analysis to stop there, it would be material enough for supportive Democratic candidates to tout in the last few days of midterm campaigning. At the same time, the unbendable numbers should leave obstinate repugicans who did everything possible to stop Obamacare’s implementation with a lot of ‘splaining to do. We know by now, of course, that neither of these scenarios will occur. I propose a new slogan for the Affordable Care Act: Obamacare -The Most Successful Legislation in Recorded History for Which No One Wants Credit.
In the interest of brevity, I am going to skip a few other answered questions in the Times piece that point to significant patient benefits – expanded coverage at mostly affordable costs, and an end to the pre-existing conditions nightmare. Right about now you may be asking yourself: This is the 21st Century and corporations are people! How have the lowly insurers fared in this great sea change? I give you the piece’s fifth question and answer:
“Has the health care industry been helped or hurt by the law? Wall Street Analysts See Financial Boon Across the Health Care Spectrum.”
How is this possible given the immense howling we heard from the right about the threats to private sector and business growth? Writer Reed Abelson observes, “From the beginning, opponents of the Affordable Care Act have warned that it represented a ‘government takeover’ of the health care system that would lead to crippling regulations on both for-profit companies and nonprofit players. But to the contrary, Wall Street analysts and health care experts say, the industry appears to be largely flourishing, in part because of the additional business the law created.”
In another words, exactly NONE of the oft-shouted objections to reforming America’s broken health care system came to fruition. Not a one. Everyone wins except for the low-income uninsured, who remain so thanks to the cruelty of their repugican governors. This should be a huge asset to struggling Democratic candidates and a kick in the teeth to overconfident reugicans. But it won’t be. And why? Because somewhere along the way, almost every single legislator as well as the mass media decided to buy into the repugican cabal’s narrative. Obamacare is a very bad thing.
Even the “liberal rag” New York Times offers no assistance in righting this ideological injustice. How to else to explain the throwaway last sentence of the article’s opening summary: “[Obamacare] has also fallen short in some ways and given rise to a powerful wingnut backlash.” Um, so what? Show me a piece of perfect legislation and I’ll show you a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Also, here’s a short list of other forces that have given rise to “powerful wingnut backlash:” a woman’s right to make family planning choices, the normal functioning of government and the living and breathing of one Barack Obama.
The numbers are out. Will they make a dent in the collective ACA dithering, hair-splitting and denial in time to make a difference at the polls?

The Truth Be Told

The American Nightmare

Police keen to speak to brains behind fridge-moving operation

A group of men in West Auckland, New Zealand, who used ingenuity over common sense to shift a fridge now have the police on their trail. They were spotted driving in Titirangi towards Glen Eden on Friday afternoon.
A large fridge was perched on the roof of a two-door Nissan and to keep it in place, one man stood on the boot holding it down as another drove. Police are now keen to speak to the "brains" behind the operation.

"The consequences of injury to this person and other road users as well as potential damage to other vehicles is obvious," said the Waitakere police area commander, Inspector Scott Webb. Road safety group Brake were also unimpressed.
"This behavior is dangerous and totally irresponsible," said director Caroline Perry. "They are not only putting themselves at risk, but also other road users, particularly more vulnerable users like pedestrians and cyclists. If something went wrong there could have been devastating consequences."

Motorist ran over his own head while attempting to extinguish cigarette

A motorist has been left with life-threatening injuries after an accident involving a cigarette ended with him running over his own head.
The man in Denver, Colorado, was smoking a cigarette inside his vehicle when he managed to set fire to his own jacket.
He dived out of the car in an attempt to smother the flames. Unfortunately, the car was in motion and the unlucky driver ended up falling under the front tire, sustaining serious head injuries.
Police released a statement urging drivers to "eliminate distractions whenever possible - eating, cell phones, reading, smoking, excessively loud music etc."

Man woke up to find strange intoxicated gentleman sleeping peacefully in bed beside him

A man in Clinton, Connecticut, awakened to an unpleasant surprise early on Saturday morning. He called police shortly after 1:30 when he found a man he did not know in the bed with him in the apartment.

The caller told police he heard the front door home open, and thought it was his wife who came up the stairs and got into the bed. When he rolled over he saw it was 26-year-old Tyler Sullivan of Higganum.
The caller told Sullivan to leave, but he refused. Sullivan, who was highly intoxicated has been charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

He told investigators he could not remember what happened and thought he was at his mother’s apartment, which is in the same complex. Sullivan was released on bond and is due in Middletown Superior Court November 4.

Hardwired to Kill

Two mutated genes help to explain why the majority of all violent crimes are committed by a small group of antisocial, repeat male offenders.

A 3-D Printed Garden

A Japanese scientist has invented a way to design, print and grow herb and flower gardens in nearly any shape. 

The Ancient Salt Ponds Of Maras, Peru

Before the rise of the Inca Empire, those with an eye to make money but no aversion to hard work, made their way to Maras. There, a subterranean stream surfaced and its waters were rich with salt.
Deep underground there is a vast deposit of salt, perhaps the remnant of some prehistoric ocean. Hundreds of miles from the sea, this led to a small but important local industry supplying indigenous communities with salt. The salt ponds which were created to evaporate the water, leaving the salt behind, still exist and are worked to this day in the same way.

Sea Ice Decline and Cold Winters

Arctic sea ice decline has doubled the chances of an extreme cold winter over Europe and Asia.

Where did the Deepwater Horizon oil go?

Deepwater_Horizon_offshore_drilling_unit_on_fire_2010_fWhere did the Deepwater Horizon oil go? To Davy Jones’ Locker at the bottom of the sea

Where’s the remaining oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster […]

Retro Photos

Deep Life

Telltale signs of life have been discovered in rocks that were once 12 miles (20 kilometers) below the surface — some of the deepest chemical evidence for life ever found. 

Scientists Introduce Bizarre Dinosaur

A half-century ago, researchers found two arms in the Mongolian desert that clearly belonged to a big dinosaur - they were eight feet long and ended in nasty claws. But that was it, and so they named the mysterious creature Deinocheirus mirificus, which roughly translates into 'unusual horrible hand.'
Fifty years later, researchers have pieced together the rest, thanks mostly to the discovery of two almost complete skeletons. Deinocheirus was indeed big, on par with T-Rex. But also factor in the neck of an ostrich, the bill of a duck, and something akin to the hump of a camel.

Possible complete mammoth skeleton found in Idaho

In this Oct. 16, 2014 photo provided by the Bureau of Reclamation, Idaho State University geology student Travis Helm brushes and cleans a mammoth skull discovered near American Falls Reservoir near American Falls, Idaho. A portion of a mammoth skull and tusk have been uncovered in southeastern Idaho near American Falls Reservoir. The bones have been taken to the Idaho Museum of Natural history at Idaho State University in Pocatello where they will eventually be put on display. (AP Photo/Bureau of Reclamation, Dave Walsh)
A portion of a Columbian mammoth skull and tusks have been uncovered in southeastern Idaho, and experts say a rare entire skeleton might be buried there.
Experts estimate the mammoth was about 16 years old and lived about 70,000 to 120,000 years ago in what was a savanna-like country populated with large plant-eaters and predators.
The skeleton was spotted earlier this month by a fossil hunter working as a volunteer for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation near American Falls Reservoir. It was partially excavated by students and instructors from Idaho State University.
But the team had to postpone their work Oct. 18 as the reservoir's water level rose, completing some of their tasks while standing in water. They plan to return next summer when the reservoir drops.
"It gives us a little more time to prepare if this is a complete mammoth, to get the funds together," said Mary Thompson, Idaho Museum of Natural History collections manager and a university instructor. "This is going to be substantial to go out and excavate a complete mammoth."
She said more bones and tusks remained in the bank that couldn't immediately be removed.
"There may be a whole mammoth there, so that is rare," she said.
Workers built a barrier to keep the fossil in place while underwater.
The area, Thompson said, has produced fossils of various extinct species over the decades, ranging from saber-toothed cats, short-nosed bears that were larger than grizzlies, and giant sloths. One of the most often found fossils are from bison latifrons, somewhat similar to modern bison but larger and with giant horns. Their image is part of the museum's logo.
"It's a very important North American Pleistocene site," Thompson said, naming a time period that runs from 1.8 million years ago to 10,000 years ago. "We have researchers from all over the world coming here to study the fossils from American Falls."
Besides fossils, there are also tracks of mammoths, large cats, canines and other animals where they crossed then muddy areas eons ago.
Thompson said she hopes to have the portions of the mammoth the team managed to get out put on display early next year.
"My crew is mainly students," she said. "These are things I can't teach in the classroom or in the lab. It's a very unusual opportunity."

A Jumping Spider's Explosive Brain

Famed for its excellent vision and pouncing skills, has long been an enigma to neurobiologists.

Virus a cure?

BYU undergrad looking for the right phage to seek and destroy deadly American Foulbrood bacteria. 

Paralyzing Puffer

Family dines on poisonous gift from a friend. 

Rare albino nurse shark caught off Florida

Chris Silvestri Jr. ‘feeling accomplished’ after reeling in an 8-foot, 250-pound all-white nurse shark; shark expert has never seen or heard of one before
by David Strege
Albino nurse shark
A rare albino nurse shark caught off Florida. 
A 16-year-old fisherman caught a fish earlier this week that he’ll be talking about for the rest of his life—a rare albino nurse shark.
Chris Silvestri Jr. was fishing with his family near Captiva Pass, Florida, when he hooked into a huge fish. Once he got it close to the boat, they got their first glimpse of the nurse shark and it appeared to be glowing. As it got closer, they realized it was an albino nurse shark. They were truly amazed by its color.
Silvestri’s sister Gina captured video, and Silvestri and his albino nurse shark made the news. Here’s the report from NBC2 News in Fort Myers, Florida:
“So after catching little fish all day, I got me a 250-pound, 8-foot, albino nurse shark—feeling accomplished,” Silvestri wrote on Facebook.
After a 20-minute battle, the albino nurse shark got loose and swam away, leaving the Cape Coral family with a memory of a lifetime and video to prove it.
albino nurse shark
Rare albino nurse shark. 
“It’s probably one in a million I would imagine,” Chris Silvestri Sr., who captained the boat, told NBC2 News. “I’ve never heard of anybody catching an albino shark, but I guess he got lucky.”
In fact, David Shiffman, a marine biologist studying shark-feeding ecology and conservation who’s become a presence online as a shark expert, made this comment on Facebook about the albino nurse shark:
“Nothing to see here, just an ALL-WHITE NURSE SHARK!
“I’ve seen about 1,000 of these animals, and they come in a ton of color patterns, but I’ve never seen (or heard of) an all white one.”
Until now.

Snoring horse rescued from swimming pool

A horse is in good health after falling in a backyard pool in the Arizona city of Mesa on Saturday afternoon.
A Mesa Fire Department crew along with medical department paramedics, technical rescue team members and a veterinarian responded to the scene to rescue the horse from its homeowner's pool.
Mesa firefighters said the horse was wandering outside of its pen before falling into the swimming pool. Fire Capt. Forrest Smith said the horse was tranquilized prior to being pulled by straps out of the water.

The horse could be heard snoring loudly as it was then laid safely on the grass. Smith said the animal was not injured and was left at the home with its owner.

Animal Pictures