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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts this means you ...!
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Today in History

1477   William Claxton publishes the first dated book printed in England. It is a translation from the French of The Dictes and Sayings of the Philosopers by Earl Rivers.  
1626   St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome is officially dedicated.  
1861   The first provisional meeting of the Confederate Congress is held in Richmond, Virginia.  
1865   Mark Twain's first story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is published in the New York Saturday Press.
1901   The second Hay-Pauncefote Treaty is signed. The United States is given extensive rights by Britain for building and operating a canal through Central America.  
1905   The Norwegian Parliament elects Prince Charles of Denmark to be the next King of Norway. Prince Charles takes the name Haakon VII.  
1906   Anarchists bomb St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.  
1912   Cholera breaks out in Constantinople, in the Ottoman Empire.  
1921   New York City considers varying work hours to avoid long traffic jams.
1928   Mickey mouse makes his film debut in Steamboat Willie, the first animated talking picture.  
1936   The main span of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is joined.  
1939   The Irish Republican Army explodes three bombs in Piccadilly Circus.  
1943   RAF bombs Berlin, using 440 aircraft and losing nine of those and 53 air crew members; damage to the German capital is light, with 131 dead.  
1949   The U.S. Air Force grounds B-29s after two crashes and 23 deaths in three days.  
1950   The Bureau of Mines discloses its first production of oil from coal in practical amounts.  
1968   Soviets recover the Zond 6 spacecraft after a flight around the moon.  
1978   Peoples Temple cult leader Jim Jones leads his followers to a mass murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, hours after cult member killed Congressman Leo J. Ryan of California.
1983   Argentina announces its ability to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.  
1984   The Soviet Union helps deliver American wheat during the Ethiopian famine.  
1991   The Croatian city of Vukovar surrenders to Yugoslav People's Army and allied Serb paramilitary forces after an 87-day siege.  
1993   Twenty-one political parties approve a new constitution for South Africa that expands voter rights and ends the rule of the country's white minority.  
2002   UN weapons inspectors under Hans Blix arrive in Iraq.  
2003   Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules the state's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional; the legislature fails to act within the mandated 180 days, and on May 17, 2004, Massachusetts becomes the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Saartjie Baartman

The Original Booty Queen
With so much publicity for Kim Kardashian’s butt on the cover of Paper magazine and Nicki Minaj’s music video for “Anaconda,” Jezebel takes the opportunity for a look back at the original booty queen, a 19th-century woman billed as “The Hottentot Venus.” Saartjie Baartman grew up in what is now South Africa, a member of the Khoikhoi people, who the Dutch called Hottentots. Her remarkably generous backside gave her employer the idea of taking her to Europe and exhibiting her for the masses who’d never seen such a thing.
Like Kim, Saartjie (pronounced Sar-key) was voluptuous but tiny. She stood four feet, seven inches to Kim's purported five-three. Unlike Kim, she didn't just have her sizable assets in the way of talent. (Whether 'balancing a champagne glass on your ass' is a talent remains up for discussion.) She had learned and practiced multiple instruments in her native land (in what is now South Africa). On the stages of London and Paris, she regaled packed audiences with singing, dancing, and instrumental routines. When it comes to her contemporary booty-sisters, she is less Kim Kardashian, more Nicki Minaj.

"She had enormous skills," says Tamar Garb, professor of art history at University College London and a native of South Africa. "She spoke many languages—Dutch, English, some French, and her maternal tongue. She was very literate and sophisticated. The show she put on was very much a performance, even if the role she was required to play was that of a 'savage' femininity."
Baartman became the toast of Europe, both as a curiosity and as a performer. And unlike many people exhibited in the freak shows of the time, she was a willing participant in her show business career. Read Baartman’s life story, and the account of how she finally returned to South Africa, at Jezebel.

Did you know ...

That when freedom becomes just another word for selling products, it isn't freedom
That we will have equality in the workplace in about 2095
About these 5 of the craziest conspiracy theories the wingnuts will bring to the freshman congress
About why sand is disappearing
About camp Bucca: the US prison that became the birthplace of ISIL
About the man in Texas arrested for Bitcoin Ponzi scheme
About the new loan sharks
About this idiot pastor: Starbucks uses semen in their lattes
That Ebola survivors are immune to the virus for 3 months or longer
About where in the U.S. are the working poor most fucked?
That unused flu vaccines cost California millions
That K-mart employees have to come to work before dawn on Thanksgiving

Al Franken Slams Ted Cruz By Strongly Calling Out His Idiocy and False Information

al franken ted cruz net neutrality cnn
Sen. Al Franken was having none of Ted Cruz’s intentional idiocy and propaganda. On CNN’s State Of The Union, Franken took down Cruz by explaining that the Texas moron was completely wrong and didn’t know what he was talking about on net neutrality.
CNN’s Candy Crowley read a quote from Cruz on net neutrality, “In short, net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet. It would put the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities and higher prices.”
Sen. Franken (D-MN) responded to Cruz, “He has it completely wrong, and he just doesn’t understand what this issue is. We’ve had net neutrality the entire history of the Internet, so when he says this is the Obamacare, Obamacare is a government program that fixed something that changed things. This is about reclassifying something so it stays the same. This would keep things exactly the same for everybody, and the pricing happens by the value of something.”
Franken stuck to Senate decorum, but in senator terms this was as close to slam of a colleague as it gets. Ted Cruz is an idiot.Cruz is making a national political career out of spreading idiocy and false information. Cruz was trying to accomplish two goals with his misleading attack on net neutrality. Cruz wants to boost his likely 2016 presidential campaign by linking EVERYTHING to Obamacare, and he was carrying water for the Internet Service Providers who want to create a tiered Internet that will destroy the equality of availability of information.
Democrats aren’t going to sit back and allow a willful propagandist like Ted Cruz distort the issue. The repugican position on net neutrality is another in a consistent line of attacks against equality. If repugicans truly supported the free market, they would stop trying to interfere Internet access, which is one of the purest forms of free market principles. The repugicans are attacking equality and the free market by claiming to defend the very concepts that they are attempting to destroy.
Sen. Franken set the record straight and broke down the lies behind Ted Cruz’s pro-corporation propaganda.

The Truth Hurts


Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Meeting Spells Trouble For repugican cabal Energy Platform

I have a smart friend who could have her own career as a political writer, were she not pursuing a PhD in another field. Earlier this week, she observed:
“So… that joint press conference with the Presidents of the U.S. and China at the [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting] was sort of a big deal.
If I were in charge of an oil or natural gas company, and I had not yet read the writing on the wall and made the switch to investing less in oil and more in renewable…I’d be freaking out right now. I’d be up all night trying to figure out how to divest from carbon-based energy sources and move to renewables ASAP.”
Her assessment of the summit echoes that of a highly credible source, New York Times Nobel Prize-winning economist and Op-Ed contributor Paul Krugman. In a piece published this week, entitled “China, Coal, Climate,” the celebrated thought leader writes, “It’s easy to be cynical about summit meetings. Often they’re just photo op… At best — almost always — they’re just occasions to formally announce agreements already worked out by lower-level officials. Once in a while, however, something really important emerges. And this is one of those times.”
Pundits and lay people alike seem to agree that while we shouldn’t expect an overnight turnaround in global energy policy, the oil and coal syndicate which controls the repugican cabal, and to a great extent, the conversation about America’s non-approach to climate change, is on notice. Just one little public display requires a shift from the world’s oligarchs from offense to defense. For the first time since the Carter administration, us “tree hugging hippies” have reason to hope that humanity’s high-speed chase toward Earth’s destruction might be derailed.
Baby steps will be taken, but taken they will be. No matter how vague the language or undefined the qualitative steps forward, as Krugman notes, “we have it straight from the source: China has declared its intention to limit carbon emissions.”
Although there is clearly more at stake here than politics, a move like this can fast track the seismic cultural shift Americans are currently experiencing with other issues such as marriage equality or recreational marijuana legalization. As little as 10 days ago, when less than half of the electorate limped to the ballot box to vote red in the midterm elections, the specter of evolution (pun intended) seemed wildly impossible. Headlines such as this followed repugican cabal theft almost immediately: The repugicans Vow to Fight E.P.A. and Approve Keystone Pipeline. The cabal of scientific repudiation announced that infamous climate change denier James Inhofe of Oklahoma will lead the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The situation looked bleak. “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel…” impotent.
Of course we’ll have to be patient and assess China’s follow through against its stated intentions. After all, not much time has passed since Hong Kong rebelled against the mainland’s revocation of promised free, fair and independent elections. And it’s not as though the United States has a blemish-free track records for the alignment of words and actions (a slavery infected “Land of the Free” comes to mind). But perhaps in the perverse way situations like this sometimes play out, China and America will keep each other honest. Neither country is a fan of being publicly embarrassed by the other. If the protection of a nation’s sociopolitical reputation is a motivator in upending decades of cynical energy policy, I’ll suppress a wish for better human impulses and concur with Krugman. It’s another long-term setback for the repugican agenda and “a good week for the planet.”

The REAL Reason The repugican cabal Keeps 'Winning': Lies, Fraud, Vote-Rigging, And Treason

by Elisabeth Parker 
As the Democrats’ stunning midterm losses prompt much soul-searching and finger-pointing, we ignore the real reasons the repugican cabal keeps 'winning': Lies, fraud, vote-rigging, and treason.
How else do we explain why the majority of Americans support policies promoted by the Democratic party, but keep electing repugicans to our federal, state, and local governments?
Sure, Democrats need to step up their game: Barack Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012 prove we can win if we can get out the vote (and get folks their voter IDs!). But in order to win in 2016, we need to know what we’re up against:
LIES: The modern repugican cabal’s true agenda is so destructive, cruel, and repellent, their politicians are forced to either cloak their true beliefs in a gauzy haze of old-timey “family values,” evoke and exploit subliminal fears of “those people,” or flat-out LIE. For example, repugican cabal rising star Joni Ernst (r-IA) lied about supporting an anti-choice “personhood” amendment during a debate, while Mitch McConnell (r-KY) denied wanting to privatize Social Security.
FRAUD: Despite all those repugican cabal's squawking about voter fraud, a shocking report by Bill Bennett from Addicting Info reveals that repugicans are responsible for the voter fraud incidents! For starters, supporters of Texas' Rick Perry and that doughy, thrice-divorced, “family values” hypocrite, Newt Gingrich, alone turned in a combined 14,000 false petition signatures on their behalf. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. And who can forget Florida’s purveyors of “hanging chad” back in 2000, who screwed America by sticking us with the absolute WORST president in U.S. history.
VOTE RIGGING:  Back in 2013, Rachel Maddow walked us through the repugican cabal’s sneaky REdistricting MAjority Project (REDMAP) plan for  overriding our nation’s Democratic majority by gerrymandering safe seats for themselves at the local, state, and federal levels. Then wingnut Supreme Court judges gutted the Voting Rights Act, so repugican cabal lawmakers could pass bogus Voter ID laws to block low-income folks (mostly of color) from voting! Oh, and now repugicans are working on “reforming” the Electoral College so they can steal the White House in 2016.
TREASON: Oh, and let’s not forget about all the flat-out treason repugicans have committed. Radio host Thom Hartmann reminds us that not a single repugican since Dwight Eisenhower has won the White House through legitimate means! Seriously. In 1968, Richard Nixon narrowly edged out Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey by thwarting then-President Lyndon B. Johnson’s attempts to end the Vietnam War. Nixon actually sent envoys to South Vietnam and persuaded them to cancel an upcoming round of peace talks. Then VP Gerald Ford stepped in when Nixon resigned in disgrace. In 1980, Ronald Reagan engaged in similar treachery to unseat Jimmy Carter, by engineering the “October Surprise”  — an arms for hostages deal that scuttled Carter’s ongoing negotiations with Iran for the American hostages’ release. Then the shrub's daddy rode in on Reagan’s coat tails. And then, of course, there’s the “hanging chad” year in which the notoriously corrupt State of Florida — with help from the bought-and-paid-for, hard-right ideologues on the U.S. Supreme Court — handed our country over to the shrub.
Here’s the video in which Rachel Maddow explains how the repugican cabal would have lost EVERYTHING — including the House — in 2012 if it weren’t for their devious REDMAP program.

Here’s the video with Thom Hartmann explaining how Republicans haven’t been able to win the Presidency without lies, fraud, vote-rigging, and treason since Dwight D. Eisenhower left office in 1961:

Sure, we can blame a weak field of Democratic candidates and incumbents running sad “repugican Lite” campaigns which downplayed our greatest accomplishments, including Obamacare.  Or we can chalk the repugican’s hollow victory  theft to the abysmally low voter turnout. Yahoo! News reports a scant 36.3 percent of registered voters cast ballots — the worst turnout in 72 years!
But how does that explain why these stalwart midterm voters — whom the media claims skew wingnut — voted along Democratic Party lines on ballot measures, but elected repugican candidates who oppose the goals supported by their voters?!
Bill Haschke writes in the Statesman that those who turned up at polling places across the nation voted overwhelmingly in favor of Democratic goals, including: raising the minimum wage, paid sick leave, reclassifying non-violent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, background checks for gun owners, reversing repugican cabal pension “reforms,” legalizing pot, and protecting women’s right to choose.
Furthermore, Haschke quotes from surveys that reveal the majority of voters “are directly opposed” to core elements of the repugican cabal platform, like repealing Obamacaren and dismantling Social Security, Medicare, and other social safety net programs.
The 2012 KPC Poll Haschke cites declares:
“Over two thirds of Americans agree that the government has a role in providing a safety net for their personal financial security, including Social Security, Medicare, and protection from fraud.”
Campaign for America’s Future lists additional polls that show overwhelming support for Democratic policies, including: raising taxes on the wealthy; allowing workers to unionize, requiring corporations to pay their fair share in taxes; repealing the shrub tax cuts; getting rid of tax credits for the “dirty energy” oil, gas, and coal industries; cutting back on military spending; using federal funds to hire teachers and emergency responders; improving the economy; and creating jobs by spending on infrastructure repairs and improvements (roads, bridges, airports, etc.)

The Truth Be Told


The repugicans Announce That They Are Back At Work By Calling Obama Arrogant

Brad Wenstrup
Much excitement was to be had at the opening of Brad Wenstrup’s (r-OH) weekly repugican babble, as he opened it with promises of getting back to work for the American people. This from the Do-Nothingiest House on record was encouraging.
… Until Wenstrup made the mistake of getting specific. It turns out that the repugican “plans” for getting things done include blaming Obama for what they can’t or won’t do (pass immigration reform), passing off his Veterans Jobs Bill as their own and taking credit for it, calling the Keystone Pipeline a jobs bill against all evidence, taking a stand against a free and open Internet and the topper – pettily accusing the Obama administration of “arrogance”.
Grab a mint julep and sit a spell because it's going to be hilarious:
Good morning, I’m Dr. Brad Wenstrup, and I have the honor of not representing Ohio’s Second Congressional District.
In the days since the theft, repugicans have begun to make good on our threat to fuck you over  by paying lip service to jobs and the economy.
On Friday, the House voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which will help lower energy costs and get people back to work. We demand President Obama and Senate Democrats to finally give this project the green light that the Koch brothers have been waiting for.
We’ll also work to pass the (not to)Hire More Heroes Act, which will encourage businesses large and small to hire America’s veterans – the very Americans to which we owe our security and freedom.
We’ll take on ObamaCare… and we’ll demand that the insurance industry – not the the health department – has the final say on all new major regulations.
This is just a start on getting some things to be done to screw  in the months ahead.
Now, after the theft, the president  said “I hear you,” but we're doing just the opposite.
On Monday, he proposed a new set of rules to regulate – of all things – the Internet, To leave it alone and that will not do for our telecom cash donors. 

Then he agreed with the Chinese government on rules that continue his misguided crusade against affordable, reliable energy. In this economy, the Koch brothers relief from the EPA’s grip, so they can take away American jobs and squeeze middle-class families.
The president also continues to raise the possibility of taking unilateral action on executive amnesty. We’ve warned him that such action would make it that much harder to not pass immigration reform and delay it indefinitely .
Sadly, there’s even more.
We’ve now come to learn that one of ObamaCare’s architects said the law passed because Americans were in need of it and wanted it.
This is the same knowledge and understanding we’ve seen time and time again from this administration and its allies. 

This is insulting to our arrogance. 
We say one thing and do another. We spend money we don’t have on our rich donors– with nothing to show for it but more debt and broken promises. And we stay off course – even when hardworking people are stuck earning less and paying more for just about everything just as we planned it.
Rich Americans deserve far better.

With us you have a government that doesn’t just “hear you,” but actually ignores to you and puts the wealthy's priorities first – that focuses on securing more money and a better tax breaks for their children.
That’s what you can expect from the new repugican majority.
Usually when people are getting to work to solve problems, they don’t start off by calling the other side names and preemptively blaming the other side for their own seemingly predictable failures. This is not how hard working Americans behave at work. Can you imagine, the day after being hired, if you strolled into the boss’s office to announce that the company would be to blame for your failures if they tried to pressure you to get anything done, oh, and by the way, the other employees, whose work you claim as your own, are “arrogant”. Yeah, that totally says “Hey, I’m here to work!”
The repugicans call this “honoring the American people’s trust by focusing first on jobs and the economy.” The truth is, they are getting back to work for Big Oil and the Koch Brothers. Senator Bernie Sanders already laid to waste the false repugican cabal narrative that the Keystone Pipeline will lower gas prices. Nope. It’s actually going to cause the price of gas to increase in the United States. So that’s “honoring” your trust, repugican cabal style.
They are going to honor y’all by taking away your healthcare coverage, giving big oil more of your money in order to create a handful of jobs while still refusing to pass any actual jobs bills, jack up the price of gas and accuse the first black President of being “arrogant” repeatedly while blaming him for their own incompetence.
Good times.

The repugicans Can’t Stop Obamacare As Over 100,000 Uninsured Americans Sign Up In A Day

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that Obamacare is getting even stronger as 500,000 people accessed their accounts on the ACA website yesterday, and 100,000 uninsured Americans signed up.
Transcript from Meet The Press:
So with regard to that, yes I do. Yesterday, we had 100,000 folks submit applications.
Obama_On_ComputerNew applications?
Submit applications.
And there were over 500,000 people who logged in effectively yesterday as well. So I think the vast majority of people coming to the site were able to get on and do what they were intending to do.
Do you have an issue with people getting onto their old accounts? Is that an issue that you’ve identified or is this just user error?
So with regard to that, we think the vast majority were able to. That’s what we see in that 500,000. In some of those examples, we’re tracking them down. That’s part of what I said we were going to do and what we want to do. Some people forget their user names. Some people are renewing their passwords and other things, if there were any other technical problems. Our customer service folks are ready and able to help people. There were over 100,000 calls yesterday.
The cold hard reality for repugicans is that it doesn’t matter what they say about the ACA. It doesn’t matter how much they try to scare people into not signing up. The American people want affordable private health insurance. The repugicans can’t stop the ACA. Their worst nightmare is coming to life. The law is working well, and more people who lack health insurance are signing up.
The repugicans will be taking a very unpopular step if they mess with the ACA. Public polling has always shown a divide between support for “Obamacare” and support for the ACA. The repugican cabal did a good job of demonizing the term Obamacare. The American people are opposed to Obamacare, but they like what the ACA does. According to Gallup, people who already enrolled in the marketplace strongly approve of their health insurance.
The law is working, and people like it. If the ACA survives the Supreme Court challenge to the legality of the subsidies, there will be no stopping it. The American people love their Obamacare, and with each new person that signs up the odds decrease that repugicans will ever be able to repeal the law.

Black Friday


Alaskan Town Considers Becoming First Town In America To Tax Its cults

by Jameson Parker
Nome, Alaska, is known – when it’s known at all – for being the finish line for the famous Iditarod dogsled race, but apparently there isn’t a lot of money in that. Like many cities across the country, Nome finds itself hard-pressed to make ends meet. After struggling yet again to come up with the money to pay for the town’s humble services, Finance Director Julie Liew proposed an idea that has so far seemed almost impossible in the United States: Why not tax the cults?
Surprisingly, the city’s officials couldn’t come up with a good objection and the proposal moved forward.
According to KNOM:
“You get rid of the sales tax exemption, most of the time these other exemptions aren’t given—we’re a very nice city [to do] it,” Council member Matt Culley said. “When we sit down at budget time, [with] the numbers to look at, if we want to donate that [money back to nonprofits], the money can go all back in … but we have control over it now, as opposed to it going whatever direction that we have it going now.”
The “direction” they have it going now is that roughly $300,000 is left in the hands of cults and non-profits. It’s a lot of money being left behind for a city that is facing annual deficits and deep cuts to town services. The city is quick to point out that this new plan doesn’t mean that the money would be gone forever, if there is a surplus the money can go back to the organizations. Instead, it would be treated much like how the government treats income tax – collected up front and given back based on need and availability.
Should the ordinance pass, it would represent the first tax on cults of its kind in the United States. Traditionally, religious groups have gotten far-ranging leeway in regards to tax exemptions. So much in fact that a Washington Post investigation in 2013 found that taxpayers spend about $82.5 billion each year to make up for the free rides cults enjoy.
Cragun et al estimate the total subsidy at $71 billion. That’s almost certainly a low-ball, as they didn’t estimate the cost of a number of subsidies, like local income and property tax exemptions, the sales tax exemption, and — most importantly — the charitable deduction for religious given. Their estimate that religious groups own $600 billion in property is also probably low, since it leaves out property besides actual churches, mosques, etc.
The charitable deduction for all groups cost about $39 billion this year, according to the CBO, and given that 32 percent of those donations are to religious cabals, getting rid of it just for them would raise about $12.5 billion. Add that in and you get a religious subsidy of about $83.5 billion.
Conceptually, the idea that cults should be exempt from paying taxes is idiotic. They are a drain on society. The role of cults in society has ever been for-profit and politically-motivated.
First, with the advent of the megacult, the televangelist, and the “dog wants you to be rich”-style preaching of hucksters like Joel Osteen, the amount of money being earned tax-free by so-called religious cabals is dizzying. Osteen and his sycophants have enriched themselves and their cabals and turned “dog” into a brand as financially profitable as Apple or Nike. They earn millions of dollars a year, live in mansions and drive high-end Italian sports cars and they don’t pay taxes. This isn’t the era of a collection plate being passed around a modest congregation.
All of this: tax-free (image via KRNB)
All of this: tax-free 
Second, politics have crept onto the pulpit to the point where pastors are openly daring the U.S. government to stop them. Despite laws against it, cults tell their cultists who to vote for (and who not to vote for) and openly donate to political campaigns using money stolen by the cult. Tax free money.
 The government, typically through the IRS, is supposed to stop them, but hardly ever tries because attacking religious cabals – even when they are doing something illegal – is deeply unpopular. Cults exploit thisl to further their rule-breaking.
It’s important to note that even with the new taxes cults and other nonprofits would enjoy many perks that aren’t given to other organizations. The city wouldn’t tax their property or income, simply place an ordinance that removes sales tax exemption. It’s a modest upgrade from “no taxes,” but a major first step to bringing some common sense to tax reform.

Wisconsin woman dies, comes back to life, but faces bankruptcy after insurance won't pay 'wrong' hospital

by David Edwards

Were you aware ...

Australia's minimum wage is $16/hour and the Big Mac is actually 15 cents cheaper than in the US. 

Economy Adds 214k Jobs In October, Unemployment Falls To 5.8 Percent

Total non farm payroll employment rose by 214,000 jobs in October while unemployment fell to 5.8 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Rouble crashes as Russian economy teeters on brink of recession

by Howard Amos
Currency instability is reviving memories among Russians who suffered after the country's default in the 1990s .
Russia's economic difficulties intensified on Friday as the beleaguered rouble crashed during morning trading, stoking fears that the country was on the verge of a full-blown currency crisis reminiscent of the 1990s.
The Rouble has fallen steadily in recent months amid rising tensions with the west, but it took a dramatic downward lurch earlier this week, plunging more than 10% in 48 hours.
The instability of currency is reviving uncomfortable memories among Russian people, many of whom suffered after the country's default in 1998 when savings were wiped out and queues formed at exchange points as the rouble was dramatically devalued amid spiraling inflation.
Economic problems in Russia even threaten to undermine the power base of the president, Vladimir Putin, who has built his political reputation on a promise of stability, the restoration of Russia's great power status and rising living standards. He has made few public comments about the Rouble since declines began to accelerate last month.

Rightscorp is running out of money

Rightscorp is a business based on the extortion business-model, founded on the idea that your ISP would lock you out of the Web unless you paid Rightscorp the arbitrary sums they decided you owed to them (but who was too scared to defend their business in court) -- but it looks like sleaze isn't as lucrative as they hoped.
The company lost $2.2M last year, and has lost a total $6,540,194 since it was founded. It brings in about $1M/year. The share price is down at $0.13, an all-time low.
Rightscorp had big plans and went public last year on the NASDAQ exchange, aiming to help the biggest entertainment companies turn piracy into profit. Thus far, however, the results have been rather disappointing.
Despite teaming up with prominent names such as Warner Bros. and BMG, the company hasn’t been able to turn a profit.
In their latest SEC filing published earlier today the company reports a total loss of $2.2 million for the current year. This brings the total loss since its founding in 2011 to more than $6.5 million.

Man convicted of threatening to kill a grandfather 'spends his time mining for gold at Derry home'

A man from Derry in Northern Ireland, convicted of threatening to kill a grandfather spends his time mining for gold at his city center home, the High Court heard on Friday. Defense counsel argued that Patrick MacCarthy's daily excavation work amounted to mitigating circumstances in his bid to be released ahead of an appeal hearing.
Last week the 53-year-old defendant was jailed for eight months over the incident at a Derry cafe. MacCarthy, of Pump Street in the city, was said to have issued a threat to kill at the Bishop Street premises on March 19. According to prosecutor Conor Maguire the victim had previously sponsored MacCarthy's attempts to deal with alcohol issues.
"The injured party is a grandfather and police say he's frightened of the appellant and is unable to walk his dog in and around the town or take his grandchildren there," the barrister said. Expressing concern at the defendant seeking release to live in the center of Derry, Mr Maguire stressed that the victim was "wholly innocent" in the animosity between the two men. MacCarthy's appeal against both conviction and sentence is not due to be heard until January.
Nicola Rountree, defending, contended that he should be released on bail until then. Setting out potentially mitigating factors, she told Mr Justice Burgess that her client has some difficulties. Ms Rountree said MacCarthy has been mining for gold at his home, close to Derry Courthouse, on a day to day basis. No indication was given of whether his activities have yielded any success. The bail application was then adjourned for efforts to be made to find a potential alternative address outside the city center.

10 Words That Started Out As Errors

Language change is driven by mistakes. If every generation of children perfectly learned what they heard spoken around them, then languages would be exact duplicates of themselves, never changing over the centuries. Clearly, this isn't what happens. Words have very often been formed by mishearings, inversion of sounds, dropping and adding of sounds, and other all-too-human errors.
Here are 10 words that started out as errors.

How To Stay Safe On Public Wi-Fi Networks

Public Wi-Fi networks - like those in coffee shops or hotels - are not nearly as safe as you think. Even if they have a password, you're sharing a network with tons of other people, which means your data is at risk.

Lifehacker has an article on how to stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks.

Japanese maglev train goes 311 mph

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The Central Japan Railway Company has invited members of the public to take test rides on its new magnetically levitated train, which goes over 300 mph. Visit the link to watch a video of happy riders. If Halliburton and Goldman Sachs hadn't taken all our money, we could have neat toys like this, too.

1,000-room palace for Turkey's President Erdogan will cost twice initial $615M pricetag

The White Palace in Ankara has 1.6m square feet of floorspace, and features thousands of trees imported from Italy at a cost of up to $10,000 each; the taxpayer-footed electricity bill from the palace will run $313K/month.
Erdogan was the architect of the violent crackdown on the Occupy Gezi protests, which filled the streets with Turks who were fed up with official corruption. He also created the nation's system of extreme Internet censorship, just as secret recordings of he and his family and cronies engaging in bribery and gross corruption to the tune of ₺100 billion began to surface.
Nevertheless, he was re-elected in August.
Speaking to the BBC, the Ankara Architecture Chamber said the latest price hike was in part due to thousands of trees which have been imported from Italy to be planted in the palace grounds.
The price of the trees was not included in the original bill, and each tree costs between £2,400 ($3,750) and £6,400 ($10,000), the chamber said.
The BBC's correspondent in Turkey Mark Lowen said the new palace is now seen as an example of the extravagance and omnipotent style of Mr Erdogan, whose AK Party has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade.
The project has also been lambasted by the political opposition, which pointed out that the monthly electricity bill alone - likely to be footed by the taxpayer - will reach £200,000 ($313,000).
The president has called the palace a "show of the country's prestige".

CT Scans Reveal Contents of Viking Hoard Pot

The Carolingian pot discovered in Dumfries and Galloway last September was given a CT scan at Borders General Hospital. The resulting image shows that the ninth-century pot contains at least 20 objects, including five silver brooches, gold ingots, and an ornate ivory beads coated in gold. The items had been wrapped in an organic material that may be leather. “Nothing else has been on my mind for two-and-a-half months than seeing what was inside the pot, and then seeing it, there was a rush of emotion and was incredibly exciting,” Derek McLennan told the Daily Mail. McLennan was investigating property belonging to the Church of Scotland with the Reverend Dr. David Bartholomew when he discovered the Viking treasures. To read about the initial discovery, see "Viking Hoard Discovered in Scotland."

Intact Macedonian Tomb Discovered in Northern Greece

According to The Greek Reporter, an intact tomb dating to the fourth century B.C. has been discovered at the necropolis in Aigai in northern Greece. Archaeologist Angeliki Kottaridi, head of the excavation, found a gold-plated bronze vessel and a gold-plated bronze wreath among the tomb’s burial offerings. The krater, used for mixing wine and water, was found surrounded by pieces of wood that may have been a piece of furniture. The artifacts will become part of a new archaeology museum in Aigai. To read about Roman-era funeral rites in Macedonia, see "Burial Customs."

Actual stupid questions asked by stupid people

Loktak Lake

The Home Of The Floating Phumdis in India
Welcome to Loktak Lake, India's largest freshwater lake. There are numerous green circles floating on its waters, which makes it extra special. These circles that you see on the surface are called phumdis and they cover most of the lake area.

Teacher apologizes for killing and skinning rabbit in class to show children how meat is processed

A 10th grade biology teacher in Idaho has apologized after a lesson last week aimed at teaching students where their food comes from left some feeling a little queasy. "A teacher brought in a rabbit, and did a demonstration about how a rabbit would be prepared as food for a family," Nampa School District spokeswoman Allison Westfall said.

Emu farmers use dog to control their flock

Jeff Long and Bev Littlejohn of Longview Emu Farm's more than 1,200-strong flock of emus are kept under control by Chip the dog.
The nine-year-old kelpie can be found in the paddock of the northern Victorian emu farm - one of the biggest in Australia - ducking in and around emu chicks, herding them up each morning and night.

If not on the ground, he is usually on the back of Mr Long’s quad bike, guarding both farmer and vehicle from the pecks of adult birds. What he can do in ten minutes, Mr Long said would take he and partner Bev hours. “He’s a really top dog actually, a really smart dog, he’s a good mate,” said Mr Long.
“It would be nightmare to do it without him, we’d need two or three people without him.” He said the hardworking dog had a natural affinity with the birds - he’s gentle with the chicks, who can be herded until they reach four months, and firmer with the older birds who have been moved out into the paddock.

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