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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, just calling you what you are ...!
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Today is  -  Bacon Day

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Today in History

1460   The Duke of York is defeated and killed by Lancastrians at the Battle of Wakefield.
1803   The United States takes possession of the Louisiana area from France at New Orleans with a simple ceremony, the simultaneous lowering and raising of the national flags.  
1861   Banks in the United States suspend the practice of redeeming paper money for metal currency, a practice that would continue until 1879.  
1862   The draft of the Emancipation Proclamation is finished and circulated among President Abraham Lincoln's cabinet for comment.  
1905   Governor Frank Steunenberg of Idaho is killed by an assassin's bomb.  
1922   Soviet Russia is renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  
1932   The Soviet Union bars food handouts for housewives under 36 years of age. They must now work to eat.
1947   Romania's King Michael is forced to abdicate by Soviet-backed Communists. Communists now control all of Eastern Europe.  
1965   Ferdinand E. Marcos is sworn in as the Philippine Republic's sixth president.  
1972   After two weeks of heavy bombing raids on North Vietnam, President Nixon halts the air offensive and agrees to resume peace negotiations with Hanoi representative Le Duc Tho.
1976   Governor Carey of New York pardons seven inmates, closing the book on the Attica uprising.
2006   Saddam Hussein, former Iraq dictator, is executed by hanging for crimes committed against his own people during his rule.

10 Good Reasons To Never Throw The Used Tea Bags Away Again

Most people know that drinking tea is extremely beneficial for our health. However, very few people know how to make it also benefit their pocket. The secret lies in the reuse that tea bags have! Keep reading and you'll be surprised by how many uses, used tea bags can have, even though most people treat them like waste.
The Top 10 Alternative Uses Of Tea Bags
1. Sooth puffy and tired eyes - the most common use of tea bags.
Staring at a computer, reading, watching, almost everything we do daily challenges our eyes. Tea helps relieve redness and swelling and refreshes tired eyes. Put the tea bags in ice-cold water or simply pour on water and leave in the refrigerator. We suggest you use them at bedtime, while resting your eyes. This is pretty much all you need, with absolutely no cost.
2. Tea bags help with sweaty feet.
Soak your feet in luke warm tea prepared with used tea bags before bedtime for 15 minutes and wipe with a clean towel.
3. Minimize the effect of bruising.
Tannic acid, contained mostly in black tea, has the ability to restrict swelling by constricting the blood vessels. Apply a fresh, cooled bag of black tea on your trauma and leave for 20 minutes. For better results repeat once more during the day.
4. Tea bags are a remedy for minor sunburn.
Wet tea bags ease the pain of sunburns. If bigger areas of your body are affected, try to take a cool bath adding several tea bags to the water.
5. Tea bags help with razor cuts.
Wet tea bags sooth pain from razor cuts. Use a cooled tea bag to stop the bleeding and reduce skin damage with the helpful antioxidants found in tea.
6. Tea bags help with acne.
Wipe your face with used green tea bag. Before you rub a tea bag on your skin, wash and rinse the skin with a hypoallergenic cleanser. Apply the cooled tea bag on the skin and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. Rooibos tea is one of the best options for acne treatment. Rooibos, also known as Red Bush, is a plant native to South Africa and has been used in the local traditional medicine for centuries.
7. Tea bags help with oral hygiene.
Speed up the healing process of painful sores in your mouth by slightly biting onto a tea bag soaked in water.
8. Tea bags can freshen your breath.
Bad breath usually is due to a number of reasons such as eating smoking, dry mouth or other medical conditions. Bad breath is caused primarily by the bacteria on the back of your tongue or between your teeth. Both green and black tea can stop the growth of the bacteria. Rinsing with strong brewed tea reduces the unpleasant smell from the mouth. Use 2 or more used tea bags to prepare a new cup of tea. Let it come to room temperature and the use to clean your mouth. For better result repeat daily after meals.
9. Tea bags effectively absorb unpleasant odors.
Tea can help reduce unpleasant smell of hands such as fish or garlic. In addition, tea bags can be used inside the fridge or you can stick them in the trash can. You can also use them in ashtrays to reduce smell. An other idea is to stick dry tea bags with lavender flavor or other herbal tea of your choice in the seat covers of your car to get a natural air freshener.
10. Tea bags could be used for washing dishes, especially if you are allergic to soaps or other detergents.
No matter how strange it sounds, tea does have cleaning properties. Using a bunch of re-brewed tea bags, you can easily remove dirt or grease from mirrors, windows, floors, kitchen counters or other wooden furniture. Remember that after cleaning, make sure to dry the surface, because tea is also a good natural dye! 

Culinary Delites

Foods hated by the international community but loved in their native lands ... British Edition
Chicken Parmo  
It may not look elegant, but it's sure to fill your stomach. Composed of breaded chicken fillet topped with Bechamel sauce and cheese, it's your ultimate carb-loading food.

Link Dump

Glaring repugican hypocrisy ...

And yet another example of glaringly obvious repugican hypocrisy

Wanted extremist leader surrenders in Somalia

Wanted Al-Shabab Terror Leader Surrenders: Somalia Samsung App Aims to Improve Autistic Children's Social Interactions
Wanted Al-Shabab Terror Leader Surrenders: SomaliaA leader with the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, who had a $3 million bounty on his head, surrendered in Somalia, a Somali intelligence official said Saturday.
Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi surrendered to Somali police in the Gedo region, said the intelligence officer, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.
Hersi may have surrendered because he fell out with those loyal to Ahmed Abdi Godane, al-Shabab's top leader who was killed in a U.S. airstrike earlier this year, the officer said.
Hersi was one of seven top al-Shabab officials whom the Obama administration offered a total $33 million in rewards for information leading to their capture in 2012. It is not clear if the reward will be paid out for Hersi because he surrendered.
Despite major setbacks in 2014, al-Shabab remains a threat in Somalia and the East African region. The group has carried out many terror attacks in Somalia and some in neighboring countries including Kenya, whose armies are part of the African Union troops bolstering Somalia's weak U.N.- backed government.
On Christmas day al-Shabab launched an attack at the African Union base in Mogadishu. Nine people died, including three African Union soldiers, in the attack on the complex, which also houses U.N. offices and western embassies. Al-Shabab said the attack was aimed at a Christmas party and was in retaliation for the killing of the group's leader Godane.
Al-Shabab also claimed that 14 soldiers were killed but the group often exaggerates the number of people it kills.
Al-Shabab is waging an Islamic insurgency against Somalia's government that is attempting to rebuild the country after decades of conflict.
Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu during the years 2007 to 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia's capital and other major cities by African Union forces. The United States and the U.N. warn that political infighting in Somalia is putting at risk the security gains. The federal government remains weak and wields little power outside the capital Mogadishu.

For the Love of Putin

The repugicans love themselves some Putin

NYPD Union President Patrick Lynch Is Completely Insane

by J.K. Trotter
Patrick Lynch is the 51-year-old president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the largest and most influential union of the New York City Police Department. You might recognize his name: Over the weekend, Lynch blamed Bill de Blasio for the Saturday deaths of two Brooklyn cops who were murdered by a lone gunman from Georgia. "That blood on the hands," he said at a press conference, "starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor."
To understand why he would say something so wrong and inflammatory, you need to delve into Lynch's long, checkered history of issuing similarly insane statements. His public declarations over the past 15 years are essentially pro-police agitprop: Cops can do no wrong, while victims of their state-sanctioned violence always had it coming. They are also a deep well of masculine anxiety, hurt feelings, and barely disguised racism.
Here are some of Lynch's greatest hits. Please consult them whenever he opens his mouth in the future.
June 2000: Lynch argued that Bruce Springsteen's song about four NYPD officers shooting and killing an unarmed 23-year-old named Amadou Diallo was interfering with those (acquitted) officers' "healing": Singer Bruce Springsteen has begun performing in concert a song called "American Skin"-the title seems to suggest that the shooting of Amadou Diallo was a case of racial profiling-which keeps repeating the phrase, "Forty-one-shots." I consider it an outrage that he would be trying to fatten his wallet by reopening the wounds of this tragic case at a time when police officers and community members are in a healing period, and I have let his representatives and the press know how I feel about this song.
February 2004: Lynch called for the resignation of then-commissioner Ray Kelly after Kelly said that there "appears to be no justification" for the shooting an unarmed teenager named Timothy Stansbury: Commissioner Kelly gave a message to the 23,000 New York City police officers that said basically this: Take all the risks of doing your job, go up on all those roofs, patrol all those subway platforms, walk the streets day and night, take the risks to yourself, take the risks to your family, but then when the worst happens, when there's a tragedy, that you will not have the backing of the New York police commissioner.
March 2008: Lynch claimed an art installation called "The Blue Wall of Violence" that addressed police brutality was "promoting hate": "You can fill the museum with people of all races and ethnicities who are alive today because of the work of New York City police officers," Lynch said in a statement. "Taxpayer dollars certainly should not fund any art that promotes hate, and that's certainly what this does." Lynch added that the 1st Amendment depends on the existence of police officers: Police guarantee the right of free expression to everyone, even to people who obviously do not appreciate the risk and sacrifice we make for them.
July 2010: Lynch defended a cop who was videotaped shoving a bicyclist off his bike by calling the victim an "anarchist": The anarchists were looking for a confrontation with police and found it in an rookie officer trying to do his job the best way he knew how. The conditional discharge doesn't mitigate the fact that New York City has one less police officer today who could have served the city well.
October 2011: Lynch defended the widespread but illegal practice of ticket-fixing as institutionally sanctioned within the N.Y.P.D. (and therefore above the law): When asked about ticket fixing, Lynch stated, "Ticket fixing was conduct accepted at all ranks for decades."
June 2012: Lynch pilloried the New York Civil Liberties Union for "insulting" NYPD officers by creating a smartphone app that lets users record stop-and-frisk encounters and notify other users of nearby police activity: Our main objection is that, as usual, the NYCLU's idea is born of the assumption that the good men and women who wear the uniform of the NYPD and risk their lives to keep New Yorkers safe are doing something wrong. Frankly, that's insulting to the very police officers who provide the freedom from fear and crime enjoyed by all New Yorkers, including members of the NYCLU.
February 2013: Lynch argued that the police department's "disciplinary practices" were "beating down morale" with "overly harsh penalties": One of the most serious concerns this union has is that the department's disciplinary practices have become way too harsh and it is beating down morale. Minor rules infractions or problems should be handled on the local level by an immediate supervisor not treated like a federal case and sent to the trial room. There are many ways a local boss can resolve problems without resorting to formal charges and overly harsh penalties.
September 2013: Lynch insisted that establishing a federal monitor to investigate the police department's "stop-and-frisk" policy could "directly impact our members' safety": "Police officers, detectives, lieutenants and captains are the boots on the ground in the fight against crime and terrorism," said Patrick Lynch, president of the patrolmen's union, the largest in the country. "The establishment of a federal monitor may directly impact our members' safety, day-to-day responsibilities, and collective bargaining and other rights. So we believe that we should have standing to participate in arguing the appeal in order to protect those rights."
November 2013: Lynch accused the police department's internal affairs unit of wearing "white socks" and fabricating evidence to indict fellow cops for fixing tickets: Patrolmen's Benevolent Association boss Pat Lynch showed up outside court with about 200 cops and union officials and slammed Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson and Internal Affairs. Johnson and prosecutors, he said, "were tripping on each other and didn't even know their own case…we do not believe this was a proper investigation." Internal Affairs, Lynch declared, is a "white socks entity" that "is constantly on a witch hunt." "They're unprofessional, they never prove a case. They don't go after real corruption, they go out where the police officers are, wearing white socks, and then they fabricate from there. They're not real professionals. When the truth comes out these wrongfully accused police officers will be vindicated."
December 2014: Lynch blamed Eric Garner for his own death at the hands of a N.Y.P.D. officer: "We feel badly that there was a loss of life," said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. "But unfortunately Mr. Garner made a choice that day to resist arrest." He also argued that critics were deliberately ignoring the moral character of the officer who placed Garner in a chokehold: "He is the model of what we want a police officer to be," P.B.A. president Pat Lynch said of Pantaleo. "What's also been lost is the character of police officer Daniel Pantaleo. What's not being told is what kind of man and what kind of person and what kind of professional he is. He is a resident of this great city. He lives on Staten Island. He lives in those neighborhoods. He's college educated, here in this city. He's a mature, mature police officer who's motivated by serving the community." "He literally, literally, is an Eagle Scout," said Lynch, adding that the maneuver Pantaleo used on Garner was a "textbook" takedown..

Wingnuts Can’t Find Their Way to the Future Because They Can’t Understand the Past

Context is everything, and in willfully misrepresenting the past, repugicans create a false premise upon which to build their plans for the future…
I find myself at year’s end reflecting on the months past. It is that time of year to take stock of where we are and where we must be. The repugicans are busy tallying up the year as well, of course, and their own analysis can be enlightening. I am struck by many things as I peruse wingnut sites, but the repugican capacity for self-deception is, as it is every year, a source of wonder. In reading the end-of-year commentary from Wing Nut Daily, I found many examples.
Joseph Farah took the opportunity to attack not Congress’ but Obama’s work ethic in “The Obama Lifestyle“; Curtis Ellis attacked The Sultanate of Brunei (and Obama and Boehner in the bargain) for embracing Shariah Law, hypocritically ignoring his own party’s desire for imposing (an albeit bastardized) Mosaic Law on our own country; Matt Barber, indulging in pink swastika fantasies, implored readers to “stand your ground against homofascism“; while Larry Klayman, who has tried repeatedly to bring down the Obama administration through displays of decidedly limp public protests, denounced Obama’s immigration action in “The emperor’s political Xmas present.”
But it was Star Parker, I think, who really epitomized the wingnut capacity of intellectual overreach in her “For 2015: More morality, less politics.” But perhaps one should not hope for much from a black repugican female who thinks blacks were better off as slaves. Here she introduces the subject matter as being “social justice,” a timely topic no one can deny. But she proceeds from the false premise that “Americans originally aimed to build an other-worldly ‘City on a Hill.'”
It is as though she doesn’t realize there were other colonies with other aims and other religious beliefs. The Jamestown Colony wasn’t after cities on hills and they got here before Winthrop and his city on a hill gang, way in 1607. And they were after gold and other riches, which is hardly a surprise given they were founded by a corporation, the London Company:
They got so busy looking for loot that they forgot about feeding themselves, with predictable results. And we could point to Lord Baltimore’s Maryland Colony, which also wasn’t after cities on hills. They had tobacco in mind. The list goes on.
We can probably nail that proud owner of a 'degree' in christian education, David Barton, as the source for that. But as repugicans will tell you, they are big believers in personal responsibility, so Star Parker must take her share of the blame for her ignorance.
So while some early colonists did aim for a ‘City on a Hill’ Parker willfully ignores all those who did not. Puritan John Winthrop did not speak for all colonists everywhere, then or later, when he told Massachusetts Bay colonists that their colony would be that “city on a hill.” And he didn’t get here until 1630, when the “let’s make money” set had already established itself on these shores.
She asks if Americans have “made good their audacious claims,” and I would answer that the corporate-minded have certainly had a long history of success on these shores (tobacco has had a long run) though shining cities on hills have been in decidedly short supply unless you’re talking about corporate office buildings.
And while admitting that the “stock market [is] surging to record highs, a sense prevails that something is very wrong in America.” She points to “today’s black sense of vulnerability” but doesn’t blame it on rampant and pervasive racism. No, she points to “police operating in a nation where legal reality is increasingly dictated by politicians and unions rather than moral and constitutional clarity.”
“Constitutional clarity.” Well, that’s a mouthful. But this is what catches my eye: Unions are to blame for police murdering young black men? How does teabagger racism get ignored? The KKK? Race-baiting Fox News? The increasingly ethnic nationalism of the repugican cabal itself?
She does admit that “specific issues of police behavior need to be examined” but claims that “local law enforcement arbitrariness must be seen as symptomatic of arbitrariness at higher levels.”
You see where she is headed, no doubt.
That’s right. She is pointing a finger at “our president [who] waved a magic wand and made 5 million individuals who arrived in our country illegally legal.”
She points to the IRS, “whose job it is to collect taxes, has been turned into a political tool by those in power to pursue those they wish to harass,” even though the IRS did not actually pick on conservative groups as repugicans claim. Even though the so-called IRS Scandal was just another hoax, like Benghazi.
Then she proclaims that “America was founded as a nation under dog” even though the Constitution actually founds our nation as an act of “We the People,” not “dog” and not the repugican cabal’s precious corporations, which she significantly fails to mention.
She claims,
When the job of government is no longer to protect you but tell you where you can send your child to school, what that child can learn, what kind of health insurance you can buy, what employers can pay you, who you can hire and fire, where you can live if you are poor and how to save for retirement – you have already lost control over your life.
Interestingly, it is her fellow repugicans who want to tell us where we can send our children to school, what our children can learn (the bible), what health insurance we can buy (corporations decide), what employers can pay you (as little as they want without minimum wage), where you can live if you’re poor (nowhere, as it happens and we’re not allowed to help you), and how to save for retirement (you don’t; Wall Street gets to steal it).
She says that “When you give power to the wrong people for the wrong reasons, we reap what we sow” and there at least I can agree with her. We gave power to repugicans and now we are paying for it. But if all her complaints seem contrived it is because none of her complaints are real, and if consumers are feeling a desire for real “in an increasingly staged contrived, mediated world,” how is this less true for voters?
Our solution must be based on actual, not imaginary problems, and it is, in fact, necessarily political, as the U.S. Constitution demands. Our solution lies not in handing control over to cults but in taking control ourselves, as the Constitution also demands; it lies in We the People asserting our control over the political process, kicking cult and corporations alike to the curb where they belong and get on with the Constitution’s avowed purpose, which is government of, by, and for the people.

NRA-repugicans Blocked Treaty Banning Arms Sales To Terrorists

One might wonder what kind of malcontent opposes a worldwide treaty that limits the transfer of conventional arms and battlefield components to evil dictators who promote and commit…
Cooperation (co-operation) is the process of groups working or acting together for their common or mutual benefit, as opposed to unilateral actions for purely selfish benefit. Whether it is a  family, small community, nation, or globally, there is social, cultural, and existential benefits associated with working together, especially in the 21st Century where globalization makes cooperation among nations imperative. The repugicans cannot fathom, or countenance global cooperation because as they clearly stated in their 2012 cabal platform; America is exceptional. The rnc wasted 8,000 words espousing America’s “unique place and role in human history,” and as such, has no interest is anything other than unilateralism and sovereignty over the world in dealing with global issues; even the proliferation of arms to evil dictators. It is why there are several global treaties languishing and will never be ratified by America no matter how beneficial they are to humanity.
One might wonder what kind of malcontent opposes a worldwide treaty  that limits the transfer of conventional arms and battlefield components to evil dictators who promote and commit genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and attack civilians or civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals. In America, it is repugicans indebted to, and serving, the National Rifle Association. On Xmas Eve, an international treaty went into effect limiting the sale of conventional (non-nuclear or biological) weapons to warlords, rogue nations, and repugicans like all other terrorist cabals oppose the treaty on the principle of American exceptionalism.
The purpose of “The Arms Trade Treaty” (ATT) is to limit the number of civilians slaughtered around the world by requiring countries that sell weapons of war to establish the same kind of export criteria that the United States and other semi-humanitarian and peace-loving nations have in place. The treaty garnered signatures from 130 countries, including the Obama Administration, and 60 nations ratified it easily exceeding the number necessary to put the conditions into effect. In fact, when the U.N. General Assembly put the treaty to a vote  just last year, only the formerly-designated Axis of Evil, North Korea, Syria, and Iran openly opposed the treaty. However, even though the Administration signed the treaty based on America’s weapon sales criteria, Senate repugicans joined the Axis of Evil and blocked ratification. Apparently, repugicans oppose any gun restrictions; even those applying to terrorists and war criminals because the NRA has made no secret they are vehemently opposed to the global treaty and when the NRA shrieks, repugicans duly obey.
By embracing the NRA, North Korea, Syria, and Iranian position that selling assault weapons, missiles, tanks, jet fighters, and artillery to rogue nations and terrorist groups, repugicans reveal they are aligned with the Axis of Evil. However, according to the NRA and repugicans, they claim to oppose the treaty because it gives the United Nations power over the U.S. Constitution and all legal authority to abolish the Second Amendment and seize Americans’ guns. Senate repugicans blocked any possible chance the treaty will ever be ratified because America is exceptional and not interested in humanitarian causes. The ATT is not the only treaty repugicans refuse to ratify out of loyalty to their various special interest donors.
For example, the United States has six tax treaties with over 60 countries to prevent and protect American individuals and companies from double-taxation, and to make corporate and wealthy Americans like Willard Romney’s tax evasion scams more difficult to pull off. The repugicans have blocked approval of the six tax treaties that are costing the country billions in lost revenue each year because as they are wont to say; if the government has adequate revenue, it will spend it on infrastructure, domestic programs, and national interests. That, and they want the government bankrupt so their Koch brother, Grover Norquist masters can drown it in a bathtub.
Another treaty repugicans blocked is one that was drafted over thirty years ago, The Law of the Sea Treaty that is designed to bring order to the world’s oceans and reduce the chances of armed conflict in places like the South China Sea. The treaty was Ratified by 162 countries and avidly supported by the oil and gas industry, the Pentagon, environmentalists, and past presidents from both parties; repugicans opposed it because according to their mindset,  “no international organization owns the seas;” they are solely America’s to police and administer.
Two years ago, 38 Senate repugicans blocked ratification of The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities that applied American legal standards for the disabled to other countries. The treaty has been ratified by 141 other countries and is supported by veterans’ groups, corporate interests, and any human being with an ounce of humanity. However, the treaty is opposed by home-school groups and religious fanatics in the anti-choice delusion who are convinced it is a machination of Satan to allow the world to interfere with their children’s religious education and “increase access to abortion.”
One can gauge the true inhumanity of repugicans, and the religio-wingnuts, by their opposition to what is touted as “one of the most popular and respected human rights treaties in world history. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was negotiated during the repugican cabal man-god Ronald Reagan and the shrub's daddy's juntas with major American input. However, as of now, the United States is the only country among the 193 member-nations of the U.N. that will not ratify it. According to the usual suspects, the 'family values' and religio-wingnut cult, the treaty is an attack on 'traditional' biblical families and a menacing scheme to destroy the rights of American parents to raise their children. Obviously, repugicans agree with the evangelical fanatics that a global treaty on the rights of children is an all-out assault on America’s evangelical parents and to show how exceptional America is, they will ensure this exceptional nation is the only U.N. member nation exceptional enough not to ratify the treaty.
The repugicans and wingnuts claim that any treaty is an assault on America’s world American sovereignty and not a key aspect of international cooperation. Any American with a brain understands that in any relationship, whether it is between two individuals or  two hundred of the world’s countries, there must be limitations on what one party or country can do. The fact that America is part of the global community makes cooperation all the more important, but according to repugican, NRA, and the religio-wingnut ideology America’s exceptionalism qualifies it to rule the world unilaterally. Globalization and cooperation be damned.
What the repugicans are doing is allowing their American arrogance, and the paranoia of gun fanatics and religious zealots prevent this nation from cooperating, or even participating, with the rest of the world to address the myriad challenges facing all nations. Especially the challenges of global terrorism, peace, abuses aimed at children and the disabled, and the theft of riches by the wealthy elite. However, few Americans should be surprised repugicans oppose addressing those issues globally because they are the pillars of wingnut ideology in governing America.

'Equal' Rights

An op-ed piece at Salon asks whether the American public would allow the open-carry gun laws to be applied to radical Muslims or Hispanics.  "In other words, the Bill of Rights only applies to those whose intentions are “good.”

The Truth Be Told

An altercation between two women with walking frames led to arrest

A collision between two women using walking frames earlier this month has resulted in a felony charge of intimidation and misdemeanor counts of assault and criminal mischief for Joyce Marie Renfroe, 62, of Hamilton, Montana. According to court records, Renfroe had words with her roommate, Jeanne Hatfield, at about 10pm on Dec. 8. Renfroe told an investigating officer later they had been fighting over finances.
At the time of the alleged incident, Hatfield was standing in the hallway with her walking frame when Renfroe exited her bedroom with her own walker. At that point, court records said that Renfroe told Hatfield to get out of the way or she was going to run her over. Renfroe then proceeded down the hallway with her walker and ran into Hatfield. Hatfield fell to the ground. Her walker and Life Alert necklace were both broken in the fall. She suffered some bruising as a result of the crash.
While on the ground, Hatfield told Renfroe she was going to call the police. Renfroe allegedly replied that if she did make that call, Renfroe would kill her. Hatfield told an officer the next day that she took the threat seriously. She said she was afraid of Renfroe and waited until her caretaker arrived at the home to call police. The responding officer saw the leg of Hatfield’s walker was broken and reported the bruising on the victim consistent with a fall to the ground.
Renfroe allegedly told the officer that the two had been fighting, but she said the collision was an accident that occurred as she was backing out of her bedroom with her walker. Renfroe did admit that she threatened to kill Hatfield if she called police, court records said. Acting Ravalli County Justice of the Peace Jennifer Ray allowed Renfroe to remain free on her own recognizance.

Criminal Masterminds

You’d think the last thing people would steal from each other would be Xmas lawn decorations, because the whole point is to show them off to your neighbors. But that seems to be the case in Colorado Springs as police arrested 42-year-old Carrie Carley and her 18-year-old husband  Jeremy Lewallen. One of their neighbors retrieved his 9-foot inflatable Grinch from the couple’s yard and then called police.
When police arrived to Carley and Lewallen's house, they said they found 20 to 30 holiday decorations on the lawn without any sort of coherent theme.

Police spotted various stolen decorations, including reindeer, Mickey Mouse, penguins, Dalmatians and "Frozen" characters.

A search warrant turned up 50 to 75 other stolen items in a "decoration graveyard," police said.
Carley blamed the thefts on her young husband, and told the local news outlet that he was also arrested for stealing Halloween decorations. The two were lodged in the El Paso County jail on $1,000 bond.

Philadelphia Literally Burns Cash for Electricity

What's keeping the juice flowing to your Xbox? If you live in Philadelphia, then it may be paper money burned at power plants--literally. When the Federal Reserve office in that city takes banknotes out of circulation, it burns whatever it can't recycle. The Wall Street Journal has an article on the subject that is behind a paywall. Matt Novak of Gizmodo summarizes it:
The Federal Reserve has made tremendous progress with their recycling program in recent years. In 2009 just 30 percent of discarded paper currency in the U.S. was recycled. Today roughly 94 percent is recycled. That's about 4,900 tons worth of money per year.
"Rather than just sitting in a landfill, it's producing electricity for residents in the Delaware Valley, here in our district," an official at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia proudly told the Wall Street Journal.
The United States isn't the only nation to engage in this practice. The Bank of England and the People's Bank of China also burn money for electricity and heat.

Remember Colored Toilet Paper?

When I saw this picture at Weird Vintage it occurred to me that my children have never seen colored toilet paper. When I was a kid, I noticed the different pastel colors in my friend’s homes that matched the different bathroom colors. My parents always bought plain white, as it was less expensive. But now toilet paper everywhere is white. What happened? The answer is at the ToiletPaperWorld Blog.

In other news, there is a ToiletPaperWorld Blog. Oh yes, you can still get colored TP if you really want it, but you have to have it shipped in.

The Rise and Fall of the American Kiddie Ride

We used to jokingly call them “quarter horses,” but the one at my local grocery store still only takes pennies. My kids rode it often, but only if they behaved themselves while we shopped. Kiddies rides, the mechanical horses, cartoon characters, and vehicles that jiggled kids for a coin, were once everywhere. And they were profitable for their manufacturers and the stores that displayed them. It all started in 1931.
Commonly known as the kiddie ride, these coin-operated children’s amusements are over 80 years old. According to The Southwest Missourian, in 1931, Missouri inventor James Otto Hahs decided to make his children a special Christmas present, building a mechanical horse covered in mohair and using a real cow’s tail from the slaughterhouse for the horse’s tail. Realizing he had a potential hit on his hands, he set out to build a commercial coin-operated version. Early wood-carved prototypes were too heavy and too expensive, so Hahs developed his own method of casting large aluminum-framed horses. By 1932, the Hahs Gaited Mechanical Horse was winning design and invention awards. He later teamed up with the Exhibit Supply Company to distribute his horse widely, getting 5 percent of all profits. (Hahs would retire not rich, but well-off enough to tinker in his backyard for the rest of his life on more children’s toys and rides.)
The kiddie ride craze declined when other amusements eclipsed them, as children switched to arcade games, video games, and iPads at younger and younger ages. The number of manufacturers that made the rides plummeted. One company is trying to bring back mechanical kiddie rides, but is selling most of its machines to private owners. You can read the entire history of kiddie rides at The Atlantic.

A Thousand Colors

"1000 colors" is a puzzle in which each piece is an different color.  Time-lapse video of one being assembled at the link

The Truth Hurts


The Hundred Years War and the Making of Modern Europe

by David Green
Hundred years war 1360
Introduction: The first thing anyone learns about the Hundred Years War is that it didn’t last one hundred years. Tradition dates it from 1337 to 1453, but it is more helpful to view this longest of European wars as one phase of a much longer struggle between England and France, spanning the Norman Conquest of 1066 to the 1904 Entente Cordiale. As Charles de Gaulle remarked in June 1962, ‘Our greatest hereditary enemy was not Germany, it was England. From the Hundred Years War to Fashoda, she hardly ceased to struggle against us… she is not naturally inclined to wish us well’.
The war centred on a struggle for control of the duchy of Gascony. Gascony had come under English rule in 1152 and it lay at the heart of the great Angevin Empire. However, the construction of this vast collection of territories created an impossible political situation. For a time, the king of England ruled more of France than his French counterpart—but he ruled his continental territories as the feudal vassal of the French king. As king of England he was supreme in his authority; but as duke of Gascony he was subservient to the Capetian monarchs of France. He owed them various feudal obligations as well as his political allegiance, and this deeply circumscribed his independence not only to govern his continental lordships but also his kingdom of England.
The end of the Capetian dynasty in 1328 made Anglo-French relations even more fragile and created a new, still more incendiary arena of conflict—the throne of France itself. Edward III of England claimed the title through his mother, Isabella, the late king’s sister, but a committee of French nobles ensured it passed instead to Philip, count of Valois. This disputed succession triggered the war.
The war’s early stages saw great English successes marked by victories at Crécy (1346) and Poitiers (1356). But the political and territorial gains accrued through those victories were wholly reversed in the 1370s and 1380s, after which a period of relative stasis set in as domestic turmoil during the reigns of Charles VI of France and Richard II of England prevented vigorous efforts abroad.

When Cultures Meet

A detailed report from the BBC documents how a group of Australian Aboriginal people meet modern civilization for the first time. "They had been unaware of the arrival of Europeans on the continent, let alone cars - or even clothes."

Center Pivot Irrigation

The Real Crop Circles
If you have been in a plane over a large agricultural hub you may have casually glanced out of your window. And then you may have performed a very, very quick double take. What on earth are those circular shapes below?
They are not the alien crop circles of infamy that's for sure - in fact whole fields seem to be circular in shape. There are way too many of them, too, to have been done as some sort of practical joke. So, what are they? Welcome to the world of center pivot irrigation.

15 Of The World's Most Colorful Landscapes

Mother Nature is not afraid to go technicolor for the right effect. These eye-catching landscapes are among the world's most vivid. Some are completely natural, while others have been helped along by humans. It's no easy feat to reach many of these spots, but they're all worth a closer look.

Water and Cow Shit

Officials in Wisconsin are studying techniques that will extract drinkable water from cow manure.  "The treatments can strain virtually all of the phosphorus and solids out of a large portion of the material, producing clear water and a concentrated fertilizer that could be sold."  The goal of course is not to procure more water, but to reconfigure the manure into separate water and solids to minimize environmental contamination.

Hippo mistaken for dinosaur after jumping from truck

A hippo that panicked while being transported by truck in Taiwan jumped from the vehicle, breaking a leg and causing confused residents to report spotting a dinosaur on the loose.
The enormous animal jumped through a truck window and landed on a parked car before falling on to the road on Friday. The sound of the collision startled people nearby who flocked to see the animal and contacted the police in central Miaoli county. One woman said that she ran out of her house after hearing the crash and thought she saw a dinosaur lying on the road.
The truck driver said that he saw the hippo "flying out" of the vehicle after getting spooked during the drive. The injured animal, named "A Ho" after the Chinese name for hippo Ho Ma, lay on the road for several hours before being put into a cargo container and taken back to its farm in central Taichung city, officials said.

A Ho is a star attraction at the farm and appeared in a popular television soap opera several years ago. Taiwanese authorities said that the animal's owner could face a fine of up to Tw$75,000 (£1,550, $2,400) for violating animal protection laws after the hippo suffered a broken leg and damage to its teeth.

Heartbroken dog sits by the gate of his home every day waiting for his brother to come home

Heartbroken Harry has been sitting at the gate outside his home every day for months following the disappearance of his brother. Much-loved beagle cross Hansum went missing seven months ago and devastated owner, Julie Evans, from Briton Ferry in Wales, is determined to find the missing two-year-old.
Ms Evans, who has set up the Find Hansum Facebook page, was hoping that Hansum would be back home in time for Christmas, but sadly it didn't happen. Instead, on Christmas Day, Ms Evans posted this message to her missing pet: “Happy Xmas my Hansum boy sadly my only xmas wish didn’t come true. I pray wherever you are they are treating you well...love you my baby. I’m sorry.”
Ms Evans said: “We were out walking in Briton Ferry near the mountain, Harry, Hansum and me, in May this year. I let the dogs off the lead. Harry came back but Hansum did not. I knew something was wrong because Harry and Hansum were brothers from the same litter, totally devoted to each other. I looked everywhere but there was no sign of Hansum.
"Harry now pines, for him, waiting by the gate to see if he’ll come back. But day after day he doesn’t. In my heart I believe he’s alive and I just hope he’s being treated well. It’s possible he’s been stolen or maybe taken in by someone who doesn’t know he’s being missed.” Ms Evans is offering a financial reward for information leading to the return of Hansum, a reward which has now been doubled.

Dog rescued after surviving 150-foot fall down cliff

An afternoon hike in Oregon took a harrowing turn for David Schelske when Sandy, his yellow labrador retriever, bolted away, lost her leash and disappeared near a 150-foot cliff. But it ended happily a little before midnight, following a descent and rescue of the dog from a narrow ledge by volunteers from the Oregon Humane Society. When he surveyed the cliffside where Sandy apparently disappeared, Schelske said, "I had no expectation of her being alive." But he said he had to keep looking, rather than tell his 8-year-old twin boys that Sandy was missing.
And if her body was lying at the base of the cliff, said Schelske, 46, of West Linn, he wanted to bury it. Schelske was hiking with his camera and backpack, using his brand-new retractable leash for the first time. He took off the pack and placed it under some exposed roots, tying the leash to it so he could take a picture of the trail. But something, Schelske isn't sure what, spooked 3½-year-old Sandy, causing her to bolt down the trail. Her leash yanked the backpack from the tree, causing Sandy to hesitate, then dash away again, trailed by the noisy clatter from the retractable leash housing. She disappeared around a corner. Schelske assumed she had run farther down the trail, but when he encountered hikers coming from the other direction, they said they hadn't seen the dog.
That's when Schelske realized she might have tumbled down a sheer cliff. As other hikers joined him in the hunt, Schelske hiked down to the base, but saw no sign of Sandy. Finally, a woman searching with him called out that she had spotted the dog. Schelske assumed she was referring to its body. But Sandy was standing on a ledge of loose rock, about 70 feet off the ground. She had apparently slipped down a steep slope, not off the cliff edge , and found herself far down what Schelske called a slot canyon. Apparently, she tried to climb out by traversing a series of tight ledges until she could go no farther. While Schelske and others were hunting for Sandy, a family called 911 for help.

The dispatchers notified volunteer rescuers with the Oregon Humane Society. By 7pm, they had assembled at the trail above Sandy. Humane Society volunteer John Thoeni rappelled 150 feet down to reach Sandy, who was "pretty done" by the effects of the cold and rain, Schelske said. She allowed Thoeni to place her in a harness, and volunteers above hoisted the two of them to the trail. Schelske hiked out and was reunited with his dog and met the rescuers who came out on Christmas night to pull her to safety. The pair were on their way home by 11:45pm. Schelske called the Oregon Humane Society an "amazing, dedicated group of people." On Friday, Sandy was on her way to the veterinarian's office, where she would have a cut and various bumps and scrapes checked. But, Schelske said, she was behaving as if nothing had happened. "It's pretty amazing," he said.

Top 10 Weirdest Animal Stories Of 2014

This was a banner year for the bizarre, with a snake virgin birth, an extremely rare black sea devil, and a real-life unicorn making headlines. Here are 10 of Mother Nature's oddest phenomena.

Animal Pictures