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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Daily Drift

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

1220   After promising to go to the aid of the Fifth crusade within nine months, Frederick II is crowned emperor by pope Honorius III.  
1542   New laws are passed in Spain giving Indians in America protection against enslavement.
1757   The Austrian army defeats the Prussians at Breslau in the Seven Years War.  
1847   In New York, the Astor Place Opera House, the city's first operatic theater, is opened.  
1902   A fire causes considerable damage to the unfinished Williamsburg bridge in New York.  
1915   The Anglo-Indian army, led by British General Sir Charles Townshend, attacks a larger Turkish force under General Nur-ud-Din at Ctesiphon, Iraq, but is repulsed.  
1919   A Labor conference committee in the United States urges an eight-hour workday and a 48-hour week.  
1928   British King George is confined to bed with a congested lung; the queen is to take over duties.  
1935   Pan Am inaugurates the first transpacific airmail service from San Francisco to Manila.  
1936   1,200 soldiers are killed in a battle between the Japanese and Mongolians in China.  
1942   Soviet troops complete the encirclement of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad.  
1948   Ho Chi Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam requests admittance to the UN.  
1963   Lee Harvey Oswald assassinates President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Lyndon B. Johnson becomes president.  
1964   Almost 40,000 people pay tribute to John F. Kennedy at Arlington Cemetery on the first anniversary of his death.  
1973   Great Britain announces a plan for moderate Protestants and Catholics to share power in Northern Ireland.  
1980   Eighteen Communist Party secretaries in 49 provinces are ousted from Poland.  
1982   President Ronald Reagan calls for defense-pact deployment of the MX missile.  
1986   Justice Department finds memo in Lt. Col. Oliver North's office on the transfer of $12 million to Contras of Nicaragua from Iranian arms sale.  
1988   First prototype of B-2 Spirit strategic stealth bomber unveiled for public viewing.  
1989   Lebanese President Rene Moawad killed when a bomb explodes near his motorcade in West Beirut. 1990   Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher confirms the end of her premiership by withdrawing from the leadership election of the tory cabal.  
1995   The first feature-length film created entirely with computer generated imagery – Toy Story – premiers. 2004   The Orange Revolution, protesting a primary election believed to have been rigged, begins in the Ukraine. On Dec 26 Ukraine's Supreme Court orders a revote..  
2005   Angela Merkel becomes the first woman ever to be Chancellor of Germany; the former research scientist had previously been the first secretary-general of the christian Democratic Union.  
2008   Hamas and Israel begin a cease-fire following eight days of violence and 150 deaths.

If these seventeen people weren't nominated for a Darwin Award, they should have been

A Swiss woman went on "Sunlight Delight" diet wherein she attempted to get all her nutrients from the sun; died of starvation.
A snake-handling pastor died after being bitten by a snake he was handling.
A man died trying to take a selfie while holding a gun to his head and apparently pressed with the finger on his right hand instead of his left.
A naked Portland man doing pushups in the middle of the street at 4 AM was run over and killed.
An Argentinian woman died trying to give herself a breast enlargement by injecting Vaseline into her breasts. The Vaseline Company could not be reached for comment.
Two people in China died and 4 more were injured trying to pull a $320 phone out of a toilet.
A man got cut by a razor attached to his own fighting chicken, ran from police while bleeding, refused medical attention, and bled to death.
A woman in New Zealand died from drinking 10 liters of Coke everyday.
A woman had gastric bypass surgery to shrink her stomach to the size of a walnut. She ate bowling ball-sized meals anyway and died suffocating on food piling up in her esophagus.
A Boy died at a border crossing after drinking meth in an attempt to convince officials that it's apple juice.
A man went swimming in a river even though he knew it had one of the highest populations of crocodiles in the world. He was then eaten by a crocodile.
A drunk man in the Philippines accidentally shot his penis and died.
Aspiring rapper Ervin McKinness tweeted "YOLO" about drunk driving minutes before crashing his car and dying.
A man in Clovis shot himself in the head while trying to convince his girlfriend he knew how to beat Russian Roulette.
A woman died of a drug overdose while celebrating her new job as a drug counselor.

Liberal Democrats Form A Hell No Caucus To Block repugicans In The Senate

elizabeth warren bernie sanders hell no liberal caucus
Liberal Democrats flexed their muscles by coming together to block approval of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The vote was the first move by a group of Democrats that are set to give Senate repugicans major headaches over the next two years.
Politico reported,
The defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline in the Senate marked a major show of muscle for next year’s new hell-no caucus: liberals.
It was a remarkable move for a group that has stood behind Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over the years, as he sought to protect vulnerable moderates, like Landrieu and some of her now-ousted colleagues, from taking tough votes on divisive environmental, health care and social issues.
But red-state Democrats like Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska are on their way out, and liberals like Jeff Merkley, Bernie Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse — with Elizabeth Warren leading the way on messaging — may cause as many headaches for Senate repugicans as teabaggers caused Democrats in the past four years.
The good news that comes from being in the Senate minority is that the Democrats who are still there are much more liberal and will play a bigger role in the caucus. Bernie Sanders, who is an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Jeff Merkley are just four of the members of the Democratic caucus will play a larger role in shaping policy. The Democrats no longer have to protect and cater to red state Democrats.
For every Keystone XL that will pass with the support of oil and gas state Democrats, there are three repugican bills that won’t. The Hell No caucus isn’t going to obstruct everything, but they are going stand up for the principles and values of the left.
For example, Senate repugican attacks on regulations that protect the environment are going to be in trouble. Anything that tries to expand Citizens United will likely die, tax reform disguised as a gift to the wealthy will not go very far.
The rules of the Senate make it impossible for Mitch McConnell to do what John Boehner is doing in the House. In the Senate, the minority has power and rights. The repugicans abused this power to stop the Senate from functioning. The liberals are promising not to do the same, but life is about to get very difficult for Mitch McConnell and company.
The rise of the Senate liberals in combination with President Obama’s leftward shift may result in the repugican congressional majority being boxed in.
Senate liberals are leading the fight towards 2016, and yesterday’s rejection of Keystone XL was a warning shot designed to let Republicans know that there is a new day coming.
* Note: The Hell No caucus isn’t an official Senate group, but a collection of liberals who have a set of common ideas that will more often than not vote together.

The Meltdown Begins

boehner-faceThe repugican meltdown is off and running. John Boehner’s office responded to the news that President Obama will announce his executive actions on immigration by calling the president a lawless emperor.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel responded to the news that Obama will make his immigration announcement in Dallas on Thursday night by saying, “If ‘Emperor Obama’ ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his Constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for Congressional action on this issue — and many others.”
Who do repugicans think they are kidding? Boehner and McConnell were never planning on cooperating with the president on anything. Mitch McConnell ran for reelection on the promise that if repugicans stole a Senate majority, he would break Obama and force him to do the repugican cabal’s bidding.
The whole idea that repugicans were ready cooperate, but Obama ruined it was a myth. The repugicans thought that by winning the midterm election; they could force the president to sign off on their agenda. They have been shocked by the fact that the president has moved to the left. Instead of giving repugicans everything that they wanted, the president and Democrats have geared up for a fight.
President Obama’s speech on Thursday night will be a mushroom cloud that swallows up the repugican cabal. The repugicans have tried for years to avoid the immigration issues, but the cabal is deeply divided and being government by an incredibly unpopular position on the issue.
Obama’s executive action, which is well within his constitutional powers, is already triggering an epic meltdown. The repugican camps that are calling for a government shutdown or impeachment are reaching an uncontrollable boiling point.
John Boehner sat on the Senate passed immigration reform bill and refused to allow a vote. The gridlock and obstruction chickens are coming home to roost, and the repugican cabal is going to collectively lose its mind Thursday night, (and the did).
Obama is still playing chess while congressional repugicans can’t get out their checkerboards.

House repugicans passed a bill forbidding scientists from advising the EPA on their own research

The "reform" measure makes room for industry-funded experts on the EPA's advisory board
House Republicans just passed a bill forbidding scientists from advising the EPA <em>on their own research</em>Congressional climate wars were dominated Tuesday by the U.S. Senate, which spent the day debating, and ultimately failing to pass, a bill approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. While all that was happening, and largely unnoticed, the House was busy doing what it does best: attacking science.
H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.
The bill is being framed as a play for transparency: Michael Burgess, (r-Texas), argued that the board’s current structure is problematic because it  “excludes industry experts, but not officials for environmental advocacy groups.” The inclusion of industry experts, he said, would right this injustice.
But the White House, which threatened to veto the bill, said it would “negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB.”
In what might be the most ridiculous aspect of the whole thing, the bill forbids scientific experts from participating in “advisory activities” that either directly or indirectly involve their own work. In case that wasn’t clear: experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research — the bizarre assumption, apparently, being that having conducted peer-reviewed studies on a topic would constitute a conflict of interest. “In other words,” wrote Union of Concerned Scientists director Andrew A. Rosenberg in an editorial for RollCall, “academic scientists who know the most about a subject can’t weigh in, but experts paid by corporations who want to block regulations can.”
Speaking on the House floor Tuesday, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., summed up what was going on: “I get it, you don’t like science,” he told bill sponsor Chris Stewart, (r-Utah). “And you don’t like science that interferes with the interests of your corporate clients. But we need science to protect public health and the environment.”
The House, alas, is staying the course, voting this week on two other bills aimed at impeding the EPA, including one that prevents the agency from relying on what it calls “secret science” in crafting its regulations — but which in reality, opponents argue, would effectively block the EPA from adopting any new rules to protect public health. The trio, wrote Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, in an editorial for the Hill, represents “the culmination of one of the most anti-science and anti-health campaigns I’ve witnessed in my 22 years as a member of Congress.”
The White House has threatened to veto all three.

Wingnut Conspiracy Nuts Blame The Federal Government For Polar Vortex

White jets and their chemtrails have replaced black helicopters as harbingers of certain climate doom. It's the black guy in the White House and his government running dogs fault…
An old Ohio pal of mine has one of those Internet radio shows that feature wingnuttery to infinity and cuckoo guests spewing forth all manner of fed-hating paranoia.
The latest such email contained quotes from a site called BioEngineering Watch (I’ll call it BEW). The major domo behind BEW seems to be Dane Wigington, a 50-something former contractor who worked in a solar plant for a time. He’s not a scientist, but plays one on the Internet. The site has been around for a few years and is now the center point of a pyramid of paranoia that has emerged as a result. My friend, the site and more than a few extreme conservatives who will bow to any theory that riddles the feds, are convinced that “Global climate engineering is forcing the climate system far past the breaking point.” At least that’s the view expressed by GeoEngineering Watch.
Other featured views or stories are captioned, Engineered Drought Catastrophe! What are they spraying? What’s REALLY going on with the weather? Then there’s “Climate Engineering is Creating Increasingly Extreme Weather Fluctuations.” Those few examples don’t even begin to tell the story.
The purpose of this and other sites like it is to call into question the universally accepted scientific fact that man is causing the earth to warm at a far greater rate than nature could possibly achieve. As a result of global warming and climate change, weather extremes are routine on both the warm and cold side of the spectrum.
Interestingly enough, the BEW bunch readily concedes that the earth is warming; they even suggest that numbers are being manipulated to the lower side, so as not to terrorize the population as to how serious the crisis really is. But it’s not man-made pollution that’s exacerbating the extreme weather changes. No sir; it’s the feds reaction to this global warming phenomenon. You see, according to the Wigington cult, the government is trying to balance the extreme heating of the globe with extreme cooling by using various tools to bring about these freezing conditions. White jets and their chemtrails have replaced black helicopters as harbingers of certain climate doom. It’s the black guy in the White House and his government running dogs doing all the harm.
“I saw at least ten white jets heading “somewhere” was an observation left on the BEW comment section. Others told of chemtrails and remnants of mysterious ‘climate sprays’ filling the skies. I especially liked this little gem: “Meteorologist Eric Holthaus is a government stooge! What he calls strange conditions are engineered weather manipulation and he knows it.” And who can ignore the alleged excess quantities of aluminum and barium abounding from all that government weather mischief? There’s a bit of misleading hyperbole here, if this debunking site is to be believed.
Wigington charges that the feds are utilizing profound jet stream manipulation with the use of ionosphere heater installations that are also a major factor in the engineered “polar vortex” events and cool-downs. It’s true; there are dozens of such heaters in virtually every corner of the world. They are purely research tools and have zero capability to modify weather or any of the other wackier mind control, disease causation and other conspiracies attributed to the technology.
Jim Lee, creator of Climate Viewer 3D, writing in HAARP, Science, The Resonation, put it best for the layman. His definition of the purpose of these installations is that scientists are trying to understand our ionosphere by “poking it” and seeing how it reacts. HAARP is a cooperative effort by the Department of Defense, the Air Force, Navy and the University of Alaska. After temporarily shutting down operations mid-year, HAARP is reportedly scheduled for permanent closure late 2014. Not sure of the current status.
So, this ‘manipulation’ nonsense amounts to little or nothing. In politics and magic, it’s called misdirection. Focus the constituents (audience) attention away from the core issue and get your legislation passed, or trick successfully completed while the crowd is focused on something else that is meaningless.
This is too pat. Wigington has but a minimal knowledge of the subject matter. He’s wrong more than he’s right. In fact, it appears to be surprising when he’s right. Visit various debunking sites in addition to the ones included here and here, and you’ll find he’s the antithesis of the expert he claims to be. This is a professional propaganda job; the facts be damned.
That leaves us with two interpretations of Wigington’s end game. Either this guy has figured out a way to make a ton of money in donations, speeches, interviews, books and other peripheral enrichment’s or, he’s being guided and well compensated by corporate propaganda hands to message a subject designed to distract from one of most critical issues of this or any other era. Given the paucity of scientific education and training in Wiginton’s background, in my opinion, it’s even doubtful he wrote all his website’s self-attributed pieces.
When the wingnuts finally come out of the ether and realizes that this world is at natural risk, then that epiphany becomes very costly for the multi-national polluters as a mountain of corrective legislation and regulations will suddenly build up.
Finally, let me address the repeated charges of manipulation by Wigington and his followers. While there is a grain of truth to many of their concerns and conclusions, virtually all are overwrought and, yes, manipulated through misrepresentation and outright deception.
Manipulate: correct verb; wrong target.

The Truth Be Told


Ron Reagan: NRA Peddling 'Conspiracy Fantasy' To 'Insecure Males'

by Tiffany Willis
Ron Reagan - the son of the moron Ronald Reagan - appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews Wednesday night and plowed through NRA myths and lies.
Reagan called out the NRA for not even representing their own membership because 70 percent of NRA members want universal background checks. He points out the very painful (for gun nuts) fact that if a background check isn't universal, it's worthless.
"If you know you can just go across the street and avoid a background check, then it makes no sense to have a background check at the official gun store at all. You're not stopping anybody from getting a gun that you don't want to have a gun."
He noted what we already know - if you put gun measures on the ballot, Americans overwhelmingly support them.
He then slammed the NRA:
"The NRA is a paper tiger at this point. They've been floating along on a big cloud of political cravenness for years now and the people - even NRA members - don't agree with their leadership.
I can answer your question, by the way, about the ideology. You know why these people don't want universal background checks? They're peddling the paranoid delusion that universal background checks will create a registry of guns and that our fascist government is going to come and confiscate all those weapons. That is the paranoid conspiracy fantasy that they are peddling to insecure males throughout America who see guns as a vital part of their anatomy and they don't want it taken away."
It is amazing how a smart and articulate man Ron is coming from that dolt of a sorry excuse of an actor that is the wingnut patron saint ronny raygun.

Rand Paul freaks out on workplace equality enforcer: 'How do you show up to work?'

by David Ferguson
Rand Paul (r-KY) attended the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing regarding the nomination of P. David Lopez to serve as General Counsel and Charlotte Burrows to serve as a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC's job is enforce federal anti-discrimination laws in the workplace and to investigate claims of discrimination.
Paul's line of questioning suggested that he believes the very existence of such regulatory bodies creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, that anyone who looks hard enough for discrimination in the workplace will find it, eventually.
In some cases, the agency will investigate workplaces where there appears to be a fundamental inequality in the business, where women and minorities are given lower-paying, low-prestige positions, even if no one at the business has complained.
Paul appears to find this idea outrageous.
"Do you realize the downside of the unlimited nature of going after people with no complaint and what this is going to do to business? I mean, do you not understand what we've got to somehow balance that we want people to have jobs?" he asked Lopez.
"How can you show up to work with a straight face?" he demanded. "I don't understand why you wouldn't resign immediately and say, 'This is abhorrent.'"

Ted Cruz Goes There By Accusing Obama of Being An Angry and Defiant Black Man

ted cruz
In an attempt to game the ref prior to President Obama’s expected immigration reform announcement Thursday, Ted Cruz (r-TX) accused, “It is lawless. It is unconstitutional. He is defiant and angry at the American people.”
The repugican shutdown king from Texas, dubbed a “wacko bird” by repugican John McCain, took to the pages of Politico Magazine on Wednesday in an effort to demonize President Obama’s actions on immigration reform before he even announced them.
While Cruz is highly educated, he runs a good game playing obtuse. And thus we get passages like:
To be clear, the dispute over executive amnesty is not between President Obama and repugicans in Congress; it is a dispute between President Obama and the American People.
In reality, the 2014 midterms favored repugicans not only in midterm electorate turnout (which, contrary to Ted Cruz’s quackings, do not represent all Americans but actually mostly older white repugicans) but also in terms of which seats were being defended. Democrats were fighting to keep seats in red states lost by the President in 2012. It was a deck stacked against them, and still repugicans had to rely on millions of dark money in red states just to stave off the more popular policies of Democrats.
But repugicans try to pass this off as a huge victory for them and a referendum on Obama and his policies. Yet exit polls showed that the policies Obama was referring to when he said his policies were on the ballot were popular even with voters who voted for the repugican. So we got the misinformed voters who want a raise in the minimum wage and thus voted repugican. Let us not dwell too long in this dark cave for fear of madness.
Cruz continues, “President Obama was correct: His policies were on the ballot across the nation in 2014. The elections were a referendum on amnesty, and the voters soundly rejected it. There was no ambiguity.”
Nope. See above. But also, the President has not even presented his plan yet, so how Ted Cruz can be so sure of what it entails is a quandary best left to wacko bird hunters.
Here’s the reality: Whatever the President announces on executive action regarding immigration reform, he will no doubt present it as a temporary change in the implementation of policy regarding the enforcement of deportation rules, something that is under his authority as the executive (as discussed during the Obamacare implementation change, the President is allowed to make changes to the implementation of laws under the purview of the executive branch). It will not be a change to immigration law as Cruz as the repugicans keep deliberately pretending it is, because laws can only be made in Congress.
Even this wingnut Supreme Court agreed two years ago that the President has “broad discretion” over deportation policies. Immigration officials have broad discretion over the implementation of the policy. All of this deciding when to implement and whom to deport falls under the power of the executive branch.
Speaking of civics lessons, why hasn’t this law been made in Congress? The repugicans keep saying they need more time but Obama has been waiting now over 500 days for repugicans to act on immigration, as the Senate sent the House an immigration reform bill 511 days ago but Speaker John Boehner won’t even vote on it. Furthermore, if repugicans were really concerned about Obama having overreach, they could easily fix this problem by passing an actual law. The repugicans have the authority to stop Obama from taking action. They have been told this day was coming for 511 days and they chose to do nothing.
The repugicans will solve immigration reform problems by doing nothing but calling the President names and threatening to sue him, apparently. So that’s fun.
Cruz says Obama is undeterred by the will of the people as shown in the last election. He’s a monarch! And also, he’s “angry and defiant”. Blow that whistle. Nobody ever refers to white people as angry and defiant. Everybody knows where Cruz was going there.
Undeterred, President Obama appears to be going forward. It is lawless. It is unconstitutional. He is defiant and angry at the American people. If he acts by executive diktat, President Obama will not be acting as a president, he will be acting as a monarch.
The man who shutdown the government in a temper tantrum over the implementation of a law that was passed legally (Obamacare) is calling the President “defiant” and “angry” at the American people. Sure, Cruz doesn’t want you to have affordable healthcare, but that’s not the same as being defiant and angry at the people. Saving people from deportation is seen as anger at the people.
Also, no. It’s not lawless and it’s not unconstitutional, as former pretender Reagan well knew when he did it. So, Reagan was “angry and defiant” against the American people. That fizzles because the poisoning of the well re “angry and defiant” doesn’t work as well if the person isn’t black. And no one in their right mind would accuse this President of being angry. There is an ongoing joke involving an Obama anger translator precisely because this President does not get visibly “angry”. Nor has he ever behaved in a juvenile fashion (like shutting down the government right after you win election to it in an epic display of Me Firstitis) to warrant the label “defiant”.
Speaking of elections, Cruz might like to be reminded that President Obama won reelection in a landslide, and more of the American electorate turned out for that election than for the midterms. So, math and reality are not impressed with the defiant and angry one’s attempt to game the ref in advance of President Obama’s immigration reform announcement.
Someone needs to get Ted Cruz a mirror. Stat.

Post-Racial America: Fire Chief Uses N-Word To Describe Black Family While Refusing Them Help

After an auto accident, a Kentucky fire chief refused to help the family of four and told a deputy that was on the scene that he wasn't "taking no n***ers here"

julius hatfieldedited
A Kentucky news station obtained video footage from a September traffic accident that shows a local fire chief refusing to help a black family even though he provided assistance above and beyond what was called for to a white driver that was involved in the same accident. Not only did the fire chief refuse to help the family of four, he told a deputy that was on the scene that he wasn’t “taking no n***ers here” and then laughed. The same fire chief also dismissed an Asian reporter’s questions during an open meeting last week by asking the reporter if she understood English.
The video footage from the accident that was obtained by WDRB was from a body camera worn by a Bullitt County Sheriff’s deputy. The deputy’s camera showed the fire chief, Julius Hatfield, offering to assist the white driver, Loren Dicken. Hatfield tells Dicken that he’ll have some of his firefighters repair his truck’s tire while Dicken goes to the hospital to be examined. Per Hatfield’s conservation with Dicken, this would allow Dicken to avoid a towing bill. WDRB also discovered that firefighters picked up Dicken from the hospital and took him to his truck, which was waiting for him at the firehouse.
Meanwhile, the other driver, Chege Mwangi, was not provided anywhere near the same amount of assistance. Despite having his wife and two children in the car, he was essentially shunted off to the side. While Dicken was being doted on by the firefighters and his truck was being tended to, the deputy asked Hatfield what they should do with the family. That is when Hatfield said, “We ain’t taking no n***ers here.” After that conversation, the deputy asks Mwangi if he has AAA to help him with his car. Mwangi, for his part, says he found the deputy to be helpful but did notice he was not provided with the same treatment. He let it go at the time since he was uninjured.
WDRB also played footage of Hatfield at an open community meeting last week where he disparaged reporter Valerie Chinn. When Chinn asked him about potential mismanagement of finances due to a number of empty firehouses in the district, Hatfield repeatedly asked her if she understood English. Below is a recap from WDRB’s website:
“Why are there so many firehouses that are empty?” WDRB’s Valerie Chinn asked Hatfield at the meeting.
“Do you understand English darling?” Hatfield replied. “Do you understand English?”
Hatfield tried to have Chinn and her photographer removed from the public meeting.
“Turn that camera off,” Hatfield ordered. “I’ve asked you that in a nice way. Buddy, call the cops and get them here.”
“I asked you once tonight if you understand English,” he added. “I’m speaking English.”
Sadly, it is not all that uncommon to find unrepentant racists in positions of authority within communities. Earlier this year, a police commissioner in New Hampshire loudly called President Obama the N-word while at a restaurant. When confronted about it in May, he refused to apologize and stood by the remarks. He initially declined to step down from his position and the commission didn’t force him out. However, he eventually resigned in the end. This past July in Florida, a deputy police chief resigned and another police officer was fired after the FBI informed the police department that both men were members of the Ku Klux Klan.
These are just two examples that made national headlines. There are surely more instances of overt racism being displayed by local authorities that haven’t been caught on video or led to firings. However, to hear it from white conservatives, we live in a post-racial society because America elected a black president. Racism is a thing of the past and only used by liberals and race hustlers to create division among the races. Mmm-hmmm.

Criminy, Gary, You Can’t Say That!

The 'Caliphate's' Colonies

Islamic State's Gradual Expansion into North Africa
by Mirco Keilberth, Juliane von Mittelstaedt and Christoph Reuter
The 'Caliphate's' Colonies: Islamic State's Gradual Expansion into North Africa
Chaos, disillusionment and oppression provide the perfect conditions for Islamic State. Currently, the Islamist extremists are expanding from Syria and Iraq into North Africa. Several local groups have pledged their allegiance. More

The growing movement against Mafia extortion

Not long ago, 80 percent of shops in Palermo, Sicily were paying pizzo, or protection money, to the Mafia. But a growing movement is putting a serious dent in the pizzo racket. A group of activists is encouraging business to resist Mafia shakedowns, and it seems to be working. It's called Addiopizzo -- Italian for "Goodbye, protection money."
palermoThe turning point came when the owner of a rural pub decided not to pay pizzo and as a result started to lose fearful customers. Addiopizzo started organizing outings to his bar every Saturday night, both to show their support and to keep cash flowing his way. The villagers started returning to the pub, and the mob, faced with mass defiance, decided to leave the place alone.
This evolved into a formal strategy: a reverse boycott of businesses that publicly promised not to pay protection money. Addiopizzo assembled a list of 3,500 people who had agreed to patronize places that rejected pizzo. With that in hand, the group was able to convince several enterprises to take a no-pizzo pledge and to put up an orange sticker advertising their stance. (Addiopizzo then found itself developing an investigatory arm, to make sure the owners were keeping their promises.) With time, the lists of both the anti-pizzo companies and the anti-pizzo customers grew longer. When the mafia retaliated by burning down a warehouse belonging to a business that had taken the pledge, Addiopizzo organized public support for the victims: collecting funds for unemployed workers, holding demonstrations against the assault, and using Italy's anti-mafia compensation laws to secure a new warehouse from the government. By refusing to pay for protection, the company had acquired a different sort of protection.

The Top 10 Words Invented By Writers

Authorisms - neologisms coined by authors which have entered the wider language - have been enriching English for centuries. From Shakespeare to Joseph Heller, American freelance writer Paul Dickson selects the top 10 words invented by writers.

Blackpool's Broadway Hotel fines guests £100 for negative review

The hotel had no running water, miswired electrical outlets, and a contract with fine-print that said that they'd charge your credit card £100 if you posted a negative review on the Web.
Tony and Jan Jenkinson stayed for one night at the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool, England, paying £36; Ms Jenkinson wasn't wearing her glasses when she signed the hotel's boilerplate and missed the fine-print that promised to punish her if she complained publicly about her stay.
The hotel has 256 ratings on Tripadvisor; 147 of the reviewers rate the hotel as "terrible."
Mr Jenkinson said he intended to fight the charge, adding: "Annoyed isn't strong enough for how I feel about this, what happened to freedom of speech?
"Everybody we have spoken to says they (the hotel) are not allowed to do this."
John Greenbank, north trading standards area manager, said it was a "novel" way to prevent bad reviews.
He said: "I have worked for trading standards for many years and have never seen anything like this.

Top 10 Most Offensively Decadent Homes In The World

For some an extension to the rear of the house or some decking will suffice. For others a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room are the stuff dreams are made of. Then there are those select, wealthy few, who have insatiable desires for glamor and decadence.
We're talking gold gilded toilet seats, marble floors throughout, elevators and live-in staff.
Here are the top 10 most offensively decadent homes in the world.

Man armed with photograph of gun threatened to kill supermarket staff

A man brandishing a photograph of a gun threatened to kill staff at the Tesco Extra store in Bar Hill, Cambridge. Officers were called to the giant supermarket after staff told operators in the force control room that a man was threatening to kill them and showing them an image of a firearm. Police were called by staff at 1.30am on November 12.
Cambridgeshire police then dispatched officers to the store where they arrested a man on suspicion of making threats to kill. A force spokeswoman said: “A 34-year-old man from Cambridge was arrested on November 12 on suspicion of making threats to kill.
“He was released on police bail to return to Parkside police station in Cambridge on January 14, 2015.” A Tesco spokesman said: “This is now a matter for the police and we are helping them with their inquiries”.

111 stolen bicycles found hidden in pensioner's two-roomed apartment

A man in his seventies has been arrested after police found more than a hundred bicycles in his apartment in Vadstena in central Sweden.
Police in the area say they discovered a hundred and one cycles in the elderly man's two room apartment, with ten others located in a storage room.
Officers had been called to the flat to question the man in connection with another crime. They are now trying to trace the owners of the bikes. Local police chief Frida Braf said that this would "not be easy and will take time".
Three investigators are working on the case, noting, among other things, model, chassis number and other markings. The suspect is currently on bail after being questioned on Monday. "He said he found the bikes at various locations in the country and cycled home with them," said Braf.

Man poked girlfriend in eye after getting waffles instead of pancakes for his birthday breakfast

A man from Gainesville, Florida, was arrested on Sunday morning after police say he poked his girlfriend in the eye over not getting his birthday breakfast request.
James E. Irving Jr., 44, got into a fight with his live-in girlfriend over his birthday present and preferred celebratory breakfast, according to Gainesville Police Department.
Irving wanted pancakes and instead got waffles. To express his disdain, Irving poked his girlfriend in the eye, which prompted a call to the Police Department.
Irving was handcuffed and taken to the Alachua County jail on a misdemeanor battery charge.

Lying, Cheating and Disgust

A new study finds that cleanliness may just be next to godliness. And feeling disgusted? Eh, not so much. It turns out feeling disgust can switch on some crazy defense mechanisms that make us less ethical. We'd better let Trace explain.

Seeing In The Dark

blueberry-61510_640Can eating blueberries really help you see better in the dark?

Blueberries are super stars among health food advocates, who tout the fruit for not only promoting heart health, better memory and digestion, but also for improving night vision. Scientists have […]

Older Plasticity

senior citizen
Many older brains have plasticity, but in a different place

A widely presumed problem of aging is that the brain becomes less flexible — less plastic — and that learning may therefore become more difficult. A new study led by […]

The Viking Language of the Highlands and Islands

Reconstructing the Norn Language from Old Norse
by Michael B. Putnam
Viking carvingThe Orkney and Shetland islands of Scotland were at one time colonized by Vikings and belonged firmly within the field of Scandinavian cultural influence. During this time the people of these archipelagos spoke a unique language known as Norn which evolved from the Old Norse language. Norn went extinct under the influence of Scots English some time after Scottish annexation of the islands, and the majority of the language was lost, save for a handful of remembered words and one ballad comprising thirty-five stanzas. Using this ballad and its Old Norse translation, this paper attempts to map the sound changes that resulted in the emergence of the Norn language. Norn is a functionally extinct language that was spoken in the now-Scottish areas of Shetland and Orkney around the ninth century until the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century (for dating cf. Barns (2010), Knooihuizen (2008), and Millar (2010)). However, the term Norn is somewhat confusing in its implementation as Barnes points out:
To some the term denotes any piece of Scandinavian language material emanating from Scotland or, more narrowly, the Northern Isles – including medieval runic inscriptions and roman-alphabet documents. To others Norn means only the spoken Scandinavian of Orkney and Shetland and written records of such speech…For my part I would restrict ‘Norn to mean ‘the distinctive form of Scandinavian [Norse] speech that developed on the Scottish mainland, in the Hebrides, and in Orkney and Shetland’. (Barnes 2010, 27)
Accepting this definition, we find the linguistic “parent” of Norn is the language we today know as Old West Norse, a language once spoken throughout the North Sea Region from Norway to Iceland. Old Norse came to the Northern Isles via Viking raiders in the eighth century and its standing was made permanent with the annexation of Orkney and Shetland by King Harold Fairhair of Norway in 872 (Anderson 1873). By 1549, Norn had emerged as a unique language from its Nordic parent and could be identified as the norn leid or Norn speech (Barnes 2010, 28). This paper will investigate the linguistic morphological and grammatical changes which took place during the shift from Old Norse to Norn.

The Evolutionary Reason Why We Love Sitting By A Crackling Fire

Relaxing in front of a crackling fire is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a cold winter evening. And now scientists know why. Watching a fire lowers blood pressure, according to new University of Alabama research. Our enjoyment of gazing at fire may be rooted in evolution, as the act of gathering around a fire dates back to prehistoric times.
The researchers found an average of a 5% decrease in blood pressure among participants who watched the fire with sound. The longer they watched the fire, the more relaxed they became.

Bigger Than Manhattan

A volcanic eruption at Iceland's Holuhraun Lava Field is the largest since the 18th century.

Spooky Quasars

Spooky alignment of quasars across billions of light-yearsSpooky alignment of quasars across billions of light-years

Quasars are galaxies with very active supermassive black holes at their centers. These black holes are surrounded by spinning discs of extremely hot material that is often spewed out in […]

Police hunt woman who allowed her urinating dog to cause $2,000 worth of damage to clothing

A New Jersey woman took a dog into a clothing store and allowed it to urinate on 25 pieces of clothing causing $2,000 in damage, police said. The suspect then led police on a wild chase before eventually losing officers. The unusual incident happened at about 1pm on Monday at the Lane Bryant clothing store in Toms River.
According to investigators, store employees said that a female entered the store with a small dog and allegedly allowed it to urinate on 14 dresses and 11 pair of pants. The damage was approximately $2,000. The female was asked to leave the store, but police say she became belligerent and refused to do so.
Store employees then called 911 and when officers arrived, the suspect got into her car and sped away. The suspect ran several red lights before officers ended their pursuit due to a potential danger to the community. Investigators said the suspect was identified through her license plate and physical description as Theresa M. Tumbleson, 35, from Jackson, New Jersey.
Charges of Eluding a Police Officer and Obstruction of the Administration of Law have been filed and additional charges are expected. Tumbleson remains at large. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Toms River Police Department.

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