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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.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Daily Drift

Editor's Note: We will be lecturing at a seminar on Tuesday June 2nd, so we will be taking what other's have termed a 'Blogcation' for that day with no posts for the day but will return to our regular posting on Wednesday June 3rd.
It isn't hard to do ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 203 countries around the world daily.   
Think Success  ... !
Today is - What You Think On Grows Day

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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Argentina - Brazil - Canada - Chile - Colombia - Ecuador - Honduras - Mexico - Nicaragua - Puerto Rico Trinidad/Tobago - United States - Venezuela
Belarus - Belgium - Bosnia/Herzegovina - Bulgaria - Czech Republic - Denmark - England - France  Germany - Greece - Hungary - Iceland - Ireland - Italy - Latvia - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Russia  Scotland - Slovakia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland - Ukraine - Wales
Burma - India - Indonesia - Israel - Japan - Malaysia - Pakistan - Singapore - Sri Lanka - Thailand 
United Arab Emirates - Vietnam
Egypt - Morocco - Somalia - South Africa - Zambia
The Pacific
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Today in History

1433   Sigismund is crowned emperor of Rome.  
1678   The Godiva procession, commemorating Lady Godiva's legendary ride while naked, becomes part of the Coventry Fair.
1862   At the Battle of Fair Oaks, Union General George B. McClellan defeats Confederates outside of Richmond.  
1879   New York's Madison Square Garden opens its doors for the first time.  
1889   Johnstown, Pennsylvania is destroyed by a massive flood.  
1900   U.S. troops arrive in Peking to help put down the Boxer Rebellion.  
1902   The Boer War ends with the Treaty of Vereeniging.  
1909   The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) holds its first conference.  
1913   The 17th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing for direct election of senators, is ratified.  
1915   A German zeppelin makes an air raid on London.  
1916   British and German fleets fight in the Battle of Jutland.  
1928   The first flight over the Pacific takes off from Oakland.  
1941   An armistice is arranged between the British and the Iraqis.  
1955   The Supreme Court orders that states must end racial segregation "with all deliberate speed."  
1962   Adolf Eichmann, the former SS commander, is hanged near Tel Aviv, Israel.  
1969   John Lennon and Yoko Ono record "Give Peace a Chance."
1974   Israel and Syria sign an agreement on the Golan Heights.  
1979   Zimbabwe proclaims its independence.  
1988   Ronald Reagan arrives in Moscow, the first American president to do so in 14 years.

Kelly Clarkson Wants Legal Weed And President Hillary Clinton

Kelly Clarkson Wants Legal Weed And President Hillary Clinton – Conservatives Go Nuts (TWEETS) Country music, once thought to be dominated by jingoistic religio-wingnut 'christian' Republicans, is beginning to show itself as diverse, open-minded and in some...


German Sex Ed

Germany has made sex education part of the school curriculum. Parents support the plan ...

Arresting Kids

Angry little girl (Shutterstock)
From throwing Tootsie Rolls to burping, small children have been arrested for totally normal misbehavior.

Robber Gets Caught With Her Pants Down … Literally

The saying, “Caught with their pants down,” is supposed to be metaphorical. But for this robber, it wasn’t just an idiom. It was literally an aspect of her “brilliant scheme.”

She also got caught with her mask up, which is probably more problematic.

Street Artist Makes Building into Set of Wind-up Teeth

The building used to be the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv, Israel, until it was the site of a suicide bombing in 2001. Israeli street artist Dede saw something promising in the shell of the structure- a giant set of of choppers, or wind-up teeth. He says,
30m wide x 10m high piece, The abandoned Dolphinarium, Tel-Aviv, 2015

Without any doubt the biggest art challenge I have ever had. This piece was hard to achieve.
Stormy nights, high rollers from the ground, the all deal. But it had to be done, I had this vision for almost a year now.

This landmark is found in the middle of continuing ownership arguments, another real estate bite in Tel-Aviv's view.
Note the wind-up key at the right. It’s not as big as it should be for the building, but that’s fixed with a little forced perspective

Retro Photos

The Dark Side

Burials recovered at the site of a Medieval convent reveal a nun's life wasn't so idyllic.

Eerie, Mysterious Island Tales

The beach at North Seymour Island in the Galapagos
There is a spellbinding story that is part of the history of the Galapagos Islands. The settlers who braved the mostly uninhabited islands during the 1930s were a colorful mix of flamboyant, private and eccentric personalities. Friedrich Ritter, a German dentist, was first. He fled to the islands after beginning an affair with a patient of his. Incredibly, prior to Ritter and his paramour departing for the islands, they removed most of their teeth and had them replaced with one stainless steel false set they shared!
Heinz Wittmer was another early Galapagos settler. Then there was the showy, bombastic Baroness Eloise Wehrborn de Wagner-Bosquet. Not one but two lovers accompanied the Baroness, Rudolf Lorenz and Robert Philippson. She and her boy toys declared their intent to build the first hotel in the Galapagos. The Baroness, with her habit of traversing the tropical terrain in silk lingerie, brought worldwide attention to the islands. The international newspaper coverage incensed Ritter, who enjoyed the admiration he received for his public profile as a rugged settler. Wittmer, always the quiet, private one, lived without incident with his wife and sons as Ritter and the Baroness publicly feuded. If their fighting wasn't bad enough, the lovers of the Baroness began to feud as well. The Ritters accused the Baroness of stealing their mail and spreading false rumors about them.
This tropical soap opera continued unabated until March 1934, at which time the Baroness and her lover Philippson disappeared. The Wittmers claimed that friends of the Baroness had arrived and taken her with them to visit Tahiti, yet no sightings of a ship near the islands had been made on the day of the couple's disappearance. The Baroness also left behind essential personal effects, which was unlike her. The lovers never reached Tahiti and were never seen again.
Ritter and his girlfriend maintained that the other lover of the Baroness, Lorenz, had killed her and Philippson. Lorenz left the islands after their disappearance; he asked a fisherman to ferry him to the mainland. Yet both he and the fisherman were found dead of hunger and thirst several months later on Marchena Island. A short time afterward, Ritter died of food poisoning; some believed that his lover poisoned him after their relationship grew argumentative. She returned to Germany, leaving the Wittmers as the sole settlers left.
If you think this sounds like the basis of a movie, you're not alone. A 2014 documentary film was made about the settlers, the trailer of which is below. It's currently avaiable to stream on Netflix. While I haven't yet seen it, it seems to be generally well reviewed and I look forward to watching it.
But this isn't the only story of intrigue taking place on islands. Read nine more such stories here.  

Ozone Treaty

A treaty to protect the ozone layer has prevented a surge in skin cancer in Australia and Europe, a study published on Tuesday said.

Sea Salt

The ocean is salty, but most lakes and rivers are not.
Why is this? 

Wisconsin’s pine barrens disappear

pinebarrens1Starved for fire, Wisconsin’s pine barrens disappear

A century spent treating wildfires as emergencies to be stamped out may have cost Central Wisconsin a natural setting that was common and thriving before the state was settled. Pine […]

Deciphering prehistoric climate changes

CIA Stops Sharing Climate Change Info

The intelligence agency quietly has shut down a program that provided climate researchers with data from spy satellites and other sources.

Life's Ingredients

NASA on Tuesday selected nine science instruments it believes will best address the burning question about whether Jupiter’s ocean-bearing moon Europa has indications of life.

New Species

See some of the most unusual and noteworthy discoveries.

Early Mammoths

Animal Pictures

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Daily Drift

Editor's Note: We will be lecturing at a seminar on Tuesday June 2nd, so we will be taking what other's have termed a 'Blogcation' for that day with no posts for the day but will return to our regular posting on Wednesday June 3rd.
Don't even think about it ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 203 countries around the world daily.   
Minty  ... !
Today is - Mint Julep Day

You want the unvarnished truth?
Don't forget to visit: The Truth Be Told

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Argentina - Brazil - Canada - Chile - Colombia - Ecuador - Nicaragua - Puerto Rico - United States
Belarus - Belgium - Bosnia/Herzegovina - Bulgaria - Czech Republic - France - Germany - Greece
Iceland - Italy - Latvia - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Russia - Scotland - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden  Switzerland - Turkey - Ukraine - Wales
Bahrain - China - India - Indonesia - Israel - Japan - Malaysia - Pakistan - Saudi Arabia - Sri Lanka  Thailand
Cameroon - Egypt - Morocco - South Africa - Zimbabwe
The Pacific
Don't forget to visit our sister blogs Here and Here.

Today in History

1416   Jerome of Prague is burned as a heretic by the Cult.  
1431   Joan of Arc is burned at the stake by the English.  
1527   The University of Marburg is founded in Germany.  
1539   Hernando de Soto lands in Florida with 600 soldiers in search of gold.  
1783   The first American daily newspaper, The Pennsylvania Evening Post, begins publishing in Philadelphia.  
1814   The First Treaty of Paris is declared, returning France to its 1792 borders.  
1848   William Young patents the ice cream freezer.  
1854   The Kansas-Nebraska Act repeals the Missouri Compromise.  
1859   The Piedmontese army crosses the Sesia River and defeats the Austrians at Palestro.  
1862   Union General Henry Halleck enters Corinth, Mississippi.  
1868   Memorial Day begins when two women place flowers on both Confederate and Union graves.  
1889   The brassiere is invented.  
1912   U.S. Marines are sent to Nicaragua to protect American interests.
1913   The First Balkan War ends.  
1921   The U.S. Navy transfers the Teapot Dome oil reserves to the Department of the Interior.  
1942   The Royal Air Force launches the first 1,000 plane raid over Germany.  
1971   NASA launches Mariner 9, the first satellite to orbit Mars

Tearful Scenes As Irish Woman Proposes To Girlfriend Moments After Landslide Vote For Marriage Equality

Tearful Scenes As Irish Woman Proposes To Girlfriend Moments After Landslide Vote For Marriage Equality (VIDEO)
This is why the compassion of liberalism will always win out against the cruelty of conservatism.

Artist to have second road named in his honor after the first was spelt wrong

A second road is to be named in honor of a celebrated Suffolk painter after a typing error meant the first one was misspelled. Paul Earee, who died in 1968, is considered by some to be the finest Sudbury artist since Thomas Gainsborough.
The town and district councils agreed to name a road after him, however, it was misspelled as Paul Airey Mews. After residents refused to change their addresses, a new location was agreed.
The original road sign was installed in Paul Airey Mews, a development close to where Earee lived, in July last year. "It took until February for anyone to notice the mistake," Jodie Budd, customer services manager at Sudbury Town Council, said.
"It was a simple typing error in an email we sent to Babergh District Council," she added. The district council is responsible for registering new roads in its area. Gary Starling from the district council confirmed a location has now been identified and agreed by both councils and Earee's family.

Armless man denied disabled parking permit because he can walk

A Swedish man has had his disabled parking permit revoked despite lacking both arms and thus unable to pay for a ticket either via phone or at a meter.
Thomas Johansson's request to renew his disabled parking permit was rejected by Örebro municipality in central Sweden due to the fact that he can walk. Mr Johansson, who lost his arms in an accident in 1989, drives a specially designed car which allows him mobility despite his handicap.
The car is important to his family and now he's considering resigning from his job as a motivator for people with addictions. "I'm so disappointed in society. I have tried to help despite my injury," he says. Mr Johansson appealed the municipality's decision but the decision was backed up by both the county administrative board and the Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen).
Mr Johansson has argued that despite his ability to walk he has trouble carrying heavy items for long distances. A disabled parking permit affords the user free use of designated parking places in Swedish cities which are typically located close to stores and public transport links.

Six cyclists arrested after attacking PedalPubs with water pistols

They arrived armed and on bicycles, planning a “Mad Max”-style attack. Their target were PedalPubs in downtown Minneapolis. Their weapons of choice were water pistols (squirt guns) and water balloons. What they didn’t know was that there were off-duty police officers among the passengers.
Two of the people-powered, 16-seat vehicles were hit on Saturday in the late afternoon, said Lisa Stanplin, manager of Twin Cities PedalPubs. In the first attack, the cyclists rode to the front of the PedalPub and squirted the driver in the face. In the second, cyclists approached on both sides, squirted passengers with water pistols and hit one woman in the back of the head with a water balloon.
A potential third attack was thwarted when PedalPub passengers spotted the cyclists’ approach, jumped off and turned the tables on the cyclists. A video showing the aftermath of the third incident shows abandoned bikes littering the street and what appear to be several cyclists being pinned down on the pavement. One cyclist can be heard yelling, “I don’t even have a water bottle!” A woman can be heard telling the cyclists that it was “a PedalPub full of cops.”

Indeed, Burnsville Police Chief Eric Gieseke confirmed on Sunday that six of his off-duty officers were on board. Minneapolis police arrested six people, who were booked into the Hennepin County jail and released on Saturday night after each posting $78 bail. The jail log lists fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct, misdemeanors, as probable-cause charges. All have their first court appearances set for June 4.

Man died while 'fooling around' with bulletproof vest and gun

A man has been arrested in connection to a deadly shooting on Friday night on the American River Bike Trail in Fair Oaks, California. According to the victim's brother, the shooting resulted from the victim and his friends playing around with a bulletproof vest and a gun.
Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies said 21-year-old Elijah Lambert faces a murder charge in the death of 19-year-old Miguel Henry Martinez, who was identified by family members. Martinez's older brother, Tom Cline, said Martinez died in the most senseless way. At around 9:45pm, "Miguel was fooling around with his buddies. They were in possession of a gun and a bulletproof vest," Cline said.
Cline said friends encouraged his brother to put on the vest. The three friends with Martinez assured him that he would not be hurt, Cline said. According to the sheriff's department, Lambert fired the gun. "The kid had shot my brother. The bullet penetrated the top of his vest," said Cline. "My brother was hit. My brother said he couldn't breathe." According to Cline, one person ran for help. Two men carried Martinez up the bike path to meet deputies, but Martinez died.
"My brother did not deserve this death," Cline said. "I want everybody to know Miguel Henry Martinez was a good boy." Cline said he believes his brother might have survived the shooting if someone called for help sooner. He said he doesn't know where the bulletproof vest or gun came from. The sheriff's department would not comment. Lambert is expected to go before a judge on Wednesday to answer to homicide charges.

Horrifying Apple Dump In Washington State Creates Human Health Hazard

Featured image credit: KING 5 NewsMillions and millions of rotting apples, dumped by the state’s agriculture industry, are now creating serious problems for Washington residents and business owners.

Donating Your Body

Earth 2.0

The stellar runts of the galaxy probably aren't so great for nurturing Earth-like worlds, say scientists running new simulations of the formation of planets around a variety of stars. 

Mars' Mysterious Methane Spike

A burp of methane on Mars would indicate that the planet might be more alive than previously thought. But where did it come from?

The Toll Of A Common Household Pest

Wayward seal coaxed back to estuary after relaxing on man's driveway

A seal on the loose in South Auckland, New Zealand, has been rescued by emergency services. The Papakura seal was herded down to the reserve near the estuary by police and firefighters before being monitored by Department of Conservation staff.
"Hopefully will just jump back in and swim home," an emergency services source said. When Danny Yong woke up on Monday morning and found his house surrounded by police and firefighters - he naturally panicked. "I thought I'd got myself into trouble somehow. Then my flatmates went outside and saw a seal in the driveway," he said.
Unbeknown to Mr Yong, the seal had settled into his driveway and was in no hurry to move. "It was very, very cool. We were trapped in the house for about three hours while police tried to move it," he said. "It was just relaxing, doing nothing in the driveway. It was lying down in front of my door."

Emergency services staff made a makeshift enclosure out of plywood to stop the seal getting away from them, and eventually managed to coax the mammal to the estuary opposite Mr Yong's home. "It's the first time I've had a seal in my driveway," he said. "It was pretty interesting." Nearby residents had been advised to stay indoors until the seal had been caught.
There are additional videos, filmed by Mr Yong, here, here and here.

Town hopes that fake whale will fix their sea lion problem

A community in Oregon is bringing in some unusual help to fix their sea lion problem. They're hoping a fake killer whale from Bellingham, Washington, will do the trick.
"I don't have any idea in the world if it'll work or even should work. It's just kind of a fun, crazy thing to do," said Terry Buzzard, who runs Island Marine Cruises in Bellingham. He owns a life-size mock orca which he's used to promote his business during parades and other events.
Buzzard recently heard about the problems at the Port of Astoria, where hundreds of sea lions have taken over the docks, preventing boat owners from using their slips. He offered up his giant mock orca, which will head south to act as a scarecrow of sorts.

"If it doesn't look like an orca whale and they call our bluff, then I guess they'll sit there and thumb their noses at us," said Buzzard. The Port of Astoria has tried using electrified mats to deter sea lions, but those didn't work all that well. They've considered putting up fences, but they're worried the animals will just knock them down.


A top dino expert says we're '50 percent there' to reverting a chicken to a dinosaur.

Tiger Temple Maul

The tigers at the 'Tiger Temple' roam freely around the monastery, where anyone can pay a fee to pet them. 

Eruptions and Pink Iguanas

A volcano in the Galapagos Islands erupted Monday, raising fears for the world's only colony of pink iguanas.

Mozambique's Elephants

Poaching elephants for their ivory, prized in Asia for trinkets, is rampant in Africa. 

How To Get a Cane Toad To Croak?

Australia's invasive cane toads are tough to kill, so researchers tried making toadsicles: it's humane and effective, they say. 

Animal Pictures

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Daily Drift

Nothing beats the Classics ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 203 countries around the world daily.   
Flying Rat  ... !
Today is - Bats Day

You want the unvarnished truth?
Don't forget to visit: The Truth Be Told

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Argentina - Brazil - Canada - Colombia - Ecuador - Mexico - Nicaragua - Puerto Rico 
Sint Eustatius/Saba - United States
Albania - Belgium - Bosnia/Herzegovina - Bulgaria - Czech Republic - England - France - Germany
Greece - Iceland - Ireland - Italy - Latvia - Moldova - Netherlands - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Russia Serbia - Scotland - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - Ukraine - Wales
Bahrain - China - India - Indonesia - Israel - Japan - Jordan - Malaysia - Pakistan - Saudi Arabia
Madagascar - South Africa - Tunisia
The Pacific
Australia - Philippines
Don't forget to visit our sister blogs Here and Here.

Today in History

1453   Constantinople falls to Muhammad II, ending the Byzantine Empire.  
1660   Charles II is restored to the English throne, succeeding the short-lived Commonwealth.
1721   South Carolina is formally incorporated as a royal colony of England.  
1790   Rhode Island becomes last of the original thirteen colonies to ratify the Constitution.  
1848   Wisconsin becomes the thirtieth state.  
1849   A patent for lifting vessels is granted to Abraham Lincoln.  
1862   Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard retreats to Tupelo, Mississippi.  
1911   The first running of the Indianapolis 500.  
1913   The premier of the ballet Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) in Paris causes rioting in the theater.
1916   U.S. forces invade the Dominican Republic.  
1922   Ecuador becomes independent.  
1922   The U.S. Supreme Court rules organized baseball is a sport not subject to antitrust laws.  
1942   The German Army completes its encirclement of the Kharkov region of the Soviet Union.  
1951   C. F. Blair becomes the first man to fly over the North Pole in single engine plane.  
1953   Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first men to reach the top of Mount Everest.  
1974   President Richard Nixon agrees to turn over 1,200 pages of edited Watergate transcripts.
1990   Boris Yeltsin is elected the president of Russia.

America's crumbling infrastructure

by Kaye Foley
America’s infrastructure could be reaching a breaking point. Literally. When it comes to our transportation infrastructure — that’s railroads, water pipelines, ports, dams, bridges, airports and roads — the United States has gotten way off track.
In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ most recent report card gave America’s infrastructure a D+. And according to the World Economic Forum, the U.S. ranks 16th in quality of overall infrastructure, behind countries like France, Spain and Japan.
Our roads, for example, require a lot of maintenance, especially after a long winter. All those potholes and rough roads cost drivers an estimated $324 a year spent on car repairs. Many roads are often jammed with traffic. Forty-two percent of America’s major urban highways are considered congested. And that costs the economy an estimated $101 billion in wasted time and fuel each year.
It’s not just the highways and roads. Around 70,000 bridges are structurally deficient, which means they’re not unsafe but are in poor condition due to deterioration.
So why is America’s infrastructure beginning to crumble? Maintaining and improving infrastructure is expensive — really expensive. According to the ASCE report, an estimated $1.7 trillion is needed by 2020 for our surface transportation to be improved.
State and local governments largely finance infrastructure in the U.S., but when they’re short on funds, infrastructure moves down the priority list.
The federal government provides crucial funding through something called the Highway Trust Fund, which gets its revenue mostly from a gas tax. It’s 18.4 cents per gallon, but it hasn’t been raised since 1993. The tax brings in around $34 billion each year, which isn’t enough for all the infrastructure projects across the nation.
Over the years, Congress has passed a series of fixes to keep the fund going, but it is expected to go broke on May 31 if lawmakers don’t act quickly. On May 19 the House passed a two-month extension, and it is expected to also pass in the Senate. Still, a more permanent fix is needed. Politicians on both sides of the aisle agree that this is a critical issue. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in January, “We’ve got to find a way to deal with America’s crumbling infrastructure.”
But so far for Congress, and even the White House, the road forward doesn’t include raising the gas tax. And they can’t see eye to eye on other spending to allocate for infrastructure either.

Your tax money at work

A railgun is an electrically powered electromagnetic projectile launcher based on similar principles to the homopolar motor...
Railguns are being researched as a weapon with a projectile that would use neither explosives nor propellant, but rather rely on electromagnetic forces to achieve a very high kinetic energy... railguns can potentially exceed Mach 10, and thus far exceed conventionally delivered munitions in range and destructive force, with the absence of explosives to store and handle as an additional advantage.
Railguns have long existed as experimental technology but the mass, size and cost of the required power supplies have prevented railguns from becoming practical military weapons. However, in recent years, significant efforts have been made towards their development as feasible military technology.

Do not call me girl

Women in the workforce
by Susan Grigsby
An African American woman working at her desk 
Years ago, when my career depended on my being so much better at what I did than were the men I worked with, and my willingness to work twice as hard for 60.2 percent of their salary, I was forced to walk a very fine line between my feminist principles and my need for that truncated paycheck. I loved the work though; I was thrilled to be paid to analyze the physical and financial aspects of a business and to make a decision. Someone was actually willing to pay me to think. And to deal with abstract concepts, like finance and contracts and tort law. Heady stuff for one who was raised in an era when few women worked outside the home.
Even in my early twenties, I knew that the words we used shaped the way we think. Back before it was called politically correct, when it was merely seen as respect, we stopped referring to adult African American males as boys. But even the most liberal men of that era still referred to women as girls.
One day, up on that tenuous tightrope upon which the first woman in a man's job had to balance, I had a discussion with my boss, a Berkeley graduate working in San Francisco, about the word girl. Politely, with humor and a winning smile, I suggested that referring to an adult in the terms of childhood diminished her standing in his eyes. That it was not possible to see the professional woman when he was thinking of her as a child, as "less than" an adult member of his team. I remember saying that of course, it was his right to use whatever language he felt was appropriate, but that I did wish he would at least think about the word and what it implied, when he was using it.
Today, I am no longer in need of a paycheck issued by a man, so I can say it flat out, "Do not call me 'girl.' " I am not a child, and it doesn't matter how many women use the term to describe each other or themselves. It is inappropriate to label an adult as a child in any professional setting. Or in any discussion of adults in a professional setting.
The reason this needs to be said now, is that we are likely to nominate the first woman as president of the United States within the next year. We have to be prepared for the backlash that is sure to come, just as our black sisters and brothers have had to deal with the backlash created by the election of the first black president of the United States.
Woman working on laptop at table.
Last week Laura Clawson reported that there were United States congressmen who would not allow a female staff member to accompany them to evening events, be alone in a car with them or in a closed door, one-on-one, meeting.
As a result, women are kept out of important meetings and kept from developing the kind of professional relationships that are so crucial to advancing on Capitol Hill. Not because they've done anything wrong, just because someone might think it looks bad. These policies are in a minority of congressional offices, but they're also not a one-off thing. Such policies are discriminatory and illegal—yet they're coming from members of Congress tasked with making the law. Talk about inspiring absolutely no confidence.
Someone suggested that this illegal, discriminatory behavior was to protect the man from a sexual harassment claim. That intrigued my curiosity. How many actual claims of sexual harassment are filed every year? Is this a concern that most men should be troubled with? And if so, what should we do to eliminate it as a threat? According to the Department of Labor:
Of the 123 million women age 16 years and over in the U.S., 72 million, or 58.6 percent, were labor force participants—working or looking for work.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Office in fiscal year 2014, there were a total of 26,027 claims filed alleging discrimination on the basis of sex. Those claims include sexual harassment as well as pregnancy and other sexually related claims. The total claims alleging sexual harassment were 6,862. Keep in mind that in order to file a federal lawsuit claiming sexual harassment, all administrative remedies, including an EEOC complaint, must be exhausted first. So in order to sue, a woman must first comply with all corporate procedures for filing a sexual harassment claim, submit to the corporation's attempts to mediate, and then if unsatisfied, she must file with the EEOC before a suit can be brought. There are a lot of hoops to jump through to file such a claim.
Although these numbers include a minority of male victims as well, I am using the feminine pronoun. But even if we were to assume that all claims were brought by women, that still results in a chance of .01 percent (6,862 divided by 72,000,000) that the woman sitting in your office will bring a claim against you if your office door is closed. And that assumes that some type of harassment actually occurs. The odds of a claim without reasonable basis (52.0 percent of filed claims), is .005 percent.
So for an infinitesimal chance that a false sexual harassment suit might be brought, women must be excluded from one-on-one meetings with men, staffing politicians at evening events and even serving as their drivers?
Sarah Mimms, for the National Journal, spoke with a representative from the congressional Office of Compliance about this issue.
"Policies, official or unofficial, that prohibit female staff from being alone with a Member can be discriminatory and create an unequal playing field in the workplace," OOC spokesman Scott Mulligan said in a statement to National Journal. "A practice like this means that women can never become trusted advisors or rise to high positions within an office based solely upon their gender. Employers should concentrate on ensuring that their staffs are trained in workplace rights laws and that the workplace is free from harassment and discrimination rather than trying to build unlawful fences around their female staff."
Women already, (still) face an unequal playing field in the competition for leadership rolls in the workplace.

How Millennials Living With Parents Are Affecting the Housing Market

by Jason Notte
It's getting better for millennials financially, but the housing market is getting impatient.
A Ned Davis Research report from a few months back indicated that joblessness, stagnant income and student loan debt had not only set millennials back, but kept enough of them away from buying homes to account for 3 million homes' worth of property demand. That's 1 million more homes than the 2 million existing homes, or 4.6-month supply, that the National Association of Realtors says are in the national inventory.
According to the Census Bureau, 30.3% of millennials ages 18 to 34 still live at home with their parents. That's more than 22 million out of 76 million millennials, including nearly 12 million between the ages of 25 and 34. Eric Mintz, portfolio co-manager at Eagle Asset Management, notes that millennials living at home are a huge headwind for the overall economy.
“The marriage rate has been down, but it has a lot to do with the financial well-being of the millennial generation,” he says. “But it does appear to be on the mend and, as we work our way through the recovery, household formation should start to climb higher.”
Millennials have a whole lot of other obstacles to clear before reaching that point, however. The effective unemployment rate for millennials, including those who've dropped out of the workforce, was 13.9% in March. Even those who are employed are having a hard time saving. They're coming out of college with average student loan debt of more than $33,000 apiece, with more graduates having $40,000 or more in student loan debt than at any other time in U.S. history.
They'd like to own homes — and 43.4% of college-educated millennials do want to, according to the Lending Tree — but 67.4% say they need a higher salary, 28.7% want to pay off student loans first and 25.7% say homeownership would be a possibility after they spent time and money on other things, such as traveling, investing and philanthropic missions. Besides, 44.8% have less than $5,000 in savings.
“As the economy is rebounding, this market segment is still feeling longer-term effects of the recession,” says LendingTree founder and CEO Doug Lebda. “Underemployment and low salaries combined with high student debt and uncertainty about the future are a reality that is affecting the housing market. The demand is there, but until this age group sees higher salaries, lower debt levels and feelings of settlement, millennial participation in the housing market will be slow.”
Meanwhile, millennials' parents have been their most trusted financial advisors and biggest supporters. According to a survey by the Principal, millennials' parents still chip in for their cellphone bills (12%), car insurance (8%), health insurance (7%) and rent (7%). Their investment is starting to pay off.
Joe O’Boyle, a financial advisor and retirement coach with Voya Financial Advisors in Beverly Hills, Calif., notes that millennials living at home aren't always doing so because they're jobless. In many cases, it's the most fiscally responsible way they can pay down debt — if their parents go along with it. O'Boyle shared the story of a financially savvy millennial client who is a doctor in Los Angeles and made the conscious decision to live at home with her parents after finishing medical school.
“She used the estimated $4,000 a month that would have been going towards rent and utilities and the cost of living on her own towards paying down her student loans, building up her emergency reserves and savings towards a wedding fund,” he says. “She has a great relationship with her parents, and lived at home for two years — $96,000 in savings — to put herself in a better financial position to start a life with her soon-to-be husband.”
One of O'Boyle's other clients, a sales director with a six-figure salary, opted to live at home to pay off student loan and credit card debt and build a $36,000 travel fund to give himself $3,000 a month for a year abroad.
“He said he had no concerns about finding a job upon his return,” O'Boyle says. “He would live with his parents for a few months when he returned from his trip. This way he could find a new job and build up his savings so he could live comfortably on his own. He said, 'The time for this adventure is now,' and he made it happen."
Overall, millennials have seen their fortunes improve during the economic recovery. According to the Principal, 32% of employed millennials have more job security than a year ago and just 4% have less job security. Another 30% of millennials say their savings are in better shape now than a year ago, while just 15% are less comfortable. Finally, 33% of millennials report their overall financial situation is better than 12 months ago compared with 16% who say it has deteriorated.
Eventually, even among millennials who live with their parents, that typically means a step into the housing market. O'Boyle notes that many millennials with good jobs who can afford to live on their own make the choice, with their parents, to live at home so they can save money toward buying their first home. In the costly Los Angeles housing market, one of his millennial client who is an attorney with student loans or credit card debt decided to live at home so she could save toward the down payment on a home. She lived at home for three years after she finished law school and saved up more than $200,000 to make a 20% down payment on a home in a nice neighborhood near her office.
“She said that there were some small sacrifices to her social life that came with living with her folks, but that it allowed her to buy her first home and it was definitely worth it,” O'Boyle says. “The trade-off for many millennials living at home is giving up some of their independence today for greater financial freedom tomorrow.”

Random Celebrity Photos

Marilyn Monroe in a 'Sack Dress' like many women wore during the rationing day of WW2.
Due to rationing and shortages and the depressed non-war supply part of the economy people began to make their own clothing (they had been for years but used fabrics bought at the store for just that ... now those cotton and denim fabrics where going to make military uniforms and the silks into parachutes) out of the only material in greater quantity - Feed and Flour Sacks.