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Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah, we're talking about you ...!
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Today in History

1624   Riots flare in Mexico when it is announced that all cults are to be closed.  
1811   In a secret session, Congress plans to annex Spanish East Florida.  
1865   Union troops capture Fort Fisher, North Carolina.  
1913   The first telephone line between Berlin and New York is inaugurated.
1919   Peasants in Central Russia rise against the Bolsheviks.  
1920   The Dry Law goes into effect in the United States. Selling liquor and beer becomes illegal.  
1920   The United States approves a $150 million loan to Poland, Austria and Armenia to aid in their war with the Russian communists.  
1927   The Dumbarton Bridge opens in San Francisco carrying the first auto traffic across the bay.
1929   The U.S. Senate ratifies the Kellogg-Briand anti-war pact.  
1930   Amelia Earhart sets an aviation record for women at 171 mph in a Lockheed Vega.  
1936   In London, Japan quits all naval disarmament talks after being denied equality.  
1944   The U.S. Fifth Army successfully breaks the German Winter Line in Italy with the capture of Mount Trocchio.  
1949   Chinese Communists occupy Tientsin after a 27-hour battle with Nationalist forces.  
1965   Sir Winston Churchill suffers a severe stroke.  
1967   Some 462 Yale faculty members call for an end to the bombing in North Vietnam.  
1973   US President Richard Nixon announces the suspension of offensive action by US troops in Vietnam.  
1973   Four of six remaining Watergate defendants plead guilty.
1975   The Alvor Agreement is signed, ending the Angolan War of independence and granting that country independence from Portugal.
1976   Sara Jane Moore sentenced to life in prison for her failed attempt to assassinate US President Gerald Ford.  
1991   UN deadline for Iraq to withdraw its forces from occupied Kuwait passes, setting the stage for Operation Desert Storm.  
1991   Britain's Queen Elizabeth II approves Australia instituting its own Victoria Cross honors system, the first county in the British Commonwealth permitted to do so.  
1992   Slovenia and Croatia's independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is recognized by the international community.  
2001   Wikipedia goes online.

Celtic Lore: the tales that might have inspired Star Wars and Harry Potter

#2 of 5
Blodeuwedd: the false flower-woman of Welsh tales 
Blodeuwedd appears in the ‘Fourth Branch’ of the Welsh Mabinogion. She was not mortal, but was conjured from wild flowers (the oak, meadowsweet and broom) by two magicians, Math and Gwydion, for their kinsman Lleu Llaw Gyffes (the ‘Bright one of the Skilful Hand’).
Because he was illegitimate, Lleu’s mother Arianrhod cursed him at birth, denying him a name, weapons or a wife unless she herself gave them to him. The boy’s uncle Gwydion [although it is elswehere suggested that Gwydion is actually also Lleu Llaw Gyffes’ father] tricked his sister into endowing the child with both a name and weapons, but getting him a wife proved trickier, so he and Math got round the problem by creating Blodeuwedd.
But because she was not a mortal woman and was thus without morals (the Christian influence is perhaps showing here!), Lleu’s flower-wife betrayed him with another man, Gronw, and the lovers plotted his death. Lleu himself was clearly a hero or even a god, for he could only be killed in a peculiar, ‘impossible’ way; he had to be neither inside nor outside a house, naked or clothed or on water or land, and only a spear made during the hours that smithing was not permitted could kill him.
By huge cunning (together with a certain dimness on Lleu’s part), Blodeuwedd persuaded her husband to act out the only circumstances in which he was vulnerable: by making a bath for Lleu on a riverbank and erecting an arched roof above it, then thatching it so that it let in no water. She brought a billy goat and stood next to the bath, and then Lleu placed one foot on the back of the goat and the other on the edge of the bath. Whoever struck Lleu while he was in that position would be able to kill him.
Then, Gronw smote him with his spear. As he was struck, Lleu uttered a ghastly shriek, turned into an eagle and flew into an oak-tree. There Gwydion found him and restored him, but Blodeuwedd he cursed, turning her into an owl, and condemning her to hunt alone at night, shunned by all other birds, for eternity.

The Truth Hurts

Man, repugicans are STUPID

Get The Facts on President Obama’s Plan To Protect Your Privacy In The Digital Age

The following fact sheet has been provided by the White House Office of the Press Secretary.  It is a fact sheet on President Obama’s proposals to safeguard Americans’ privacy and information in the digital age.
These proposals are intended to protect consumers from identity theft and protect student privacy. They are part of federal legislation the President will call for at the State of the Union, which Obama is unveiling one by one in advance.

The President is expected to discuss these proposals Monday morning at 11:55 AM as he hosts an event at the Federal Trade Commission offices in Washington, DC.
This is yet another instance of the President taking action for the people while Congress is mired in dysfunctional drama.
obama-press-conference-featFACT SHEET: Safeguarding American Consumers & Families
President Obama Announces New Privacy Protections for the Digital Age
Today, President Obama will build on the steps he has taken to protect American companies, consumers, and infrastructure from cyber threats, while safeguarding privacy and civil liberties. These actions have included the President’s 2012 comprehensive blueprint for consumer privacy, the BuySecure initiative—launched last year— to safeguard Americans’ financial security, and steps the President took earlier this year by creating a working group of senior administration officials to examine issues related to big data and privacy in public services and the commercial sector.
In an increasingly interconnected world, American companies are also leaders in protecting privacy, taking unprecedented steps to invest in cybersecurity and provide customers with precise control over the privacy of their online content. But as cybersecurity threats and identity theft continue to rise, recent polls show that 9 in 10 Americans feel they have in some way lost control of their personal information — and that can lead to less interaction with technology, less innovation, and a less productive economy.
At the Federal Trade Commission offices today, President Obama will highlight measures he will discuss in the State of the Union and unveil the next steps in his comprehensive approach to enhancing consumers’ security, tackling identity theft, and improving privacy online and in the classroom. These steps include:
Improving Consumer Confidence by Tackling Identity Theft
· The Personal Data Notification & Protection Act: The President is putting forward a new legislative proposal to help bring peace of mind to the tens of millions of Americans whose personal and financial information has been compromised in a data breach. This proposal clarifies and strengthens the obligations companies have to notify customers when their personal information has been exposed, including establishing a 30-day notification requirement from the discovery of a breach, while providing companies with the certainty of a single, national standard. The proposal also criminalizes illicit overseas trade in identities.
· Identifying and Preventing Identity Theft: To give consumers access to one of the best early indicators of identity theft, as well as an opportunity to improve their credit health, JPMorganChase and Bank of America, in partnership with Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), will join the growing list of firms making credit scores available for free to their consumer card customers. USAA and State Employees’ Credit Union will also offer free credit scores to their members, and Ally Financial is further widening the community of companies taking this step by making credit scores available to their auto loan customers. Through this effort over half of all adult Americans with credit scores will now have access to this tool to help spot identity theft, through their banks, card issuers, or lenders.
Safeguarding Student Data in the Classroom and Beyond
· The Student Digital Privacy Act: The President is releasing a new legislative proposal designed to provide teachers and parents the confidence they need to enhance teaching and learning with the best technology — by ensuring that data collected in the educational context is used only for educational purposes. This bill, modeled on a landmark California statute, builds on the recommendations of the White House Big Data and Privacy review released earlier this year, would prevent companies from selling student data to third parties for purposes unrelated to the educational mission and from engaging in targeted advertising to students based on data collected in school – while still permitting important research initiatives to improve student learning outcomes, and efforts by companies to continuously improve the effectiveness of their learning technology products.
· New Commitments from the Private Sector to Help Enhance Privacy for Students: Today 75 companies have committed to the cause, signing a pledge to provide parents, teachers, and kids themselves with important protections against misuse of their data. This pledge was led by the Future of Privacy Forum and the Software & Information Industry Association, and today the President challenged other companies to follow their lead.
· New Tools from the Department of Education to Empower Educators Around the Country and Protect Students: The Department of Education and its Privacy Technical Assurance Center play a critical role in protecting American children from invasions of privacy. Today, we are announcing a forthcoming model terms of service, as well as teacher training assistance that will enhance our ability to help ensure educational data is used appropriately and in accordance with the educational mission.
Convening the Public and Private Sector to Tackle Emerging Privacy Issues
· Voluntary Code of Conduct for Smart Grid Customer Data Privacy: Today the Department of Energy and the Federal Smart Grid Task Force are releasing a new Voluntary Code of Conduct (VCC) for utilities and third parties aimed at protecting electricity customer data — including energy usage information. This Code reflects a year of expert and public consultation, including input from industry stakeholders, privacy experts, and the public. As companies begin to sign on, the VCC will help improve consumer awareness, choice and consent, and controls on access.
Promoting Innovation by Improving Consumers Confidence Online
· Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Legislation: Online interactions should be governed by clear principles — principles that look at the context in which data is collected and ensure that users’ expectations are not abused. Those were the key themes of the Administration’s 2012 Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, and today the Commerce Department announced it has completed its public consultation on revised draft legislation enshrining those principles into law. Within 45 days, the Administration will release this revised legislative proposal and today we call on Congress to begin active consideration of this important issue.
These actions build on steps the President has already taken to support consumer privacy and fight identity theft, including:
· Making Federal Payments More Secure to Help Drive the Market Forward: In October, as part of his BuySecure Initiative, the President issued an Executive Order laying out a new policy to secure payments to and from the Federal government by applying chip and PIN technology to newly issued and existing government credit cards, as well as debit cards like Direct Express, and upgrading retail payment card terminals at Federal agency facilities to accept chip and PIN-enabled cards. This accompanied an effort by major companies like Home Depot, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart to roll out secure chip and PIN-compatible card terminals in stores across the country.
· New Measures to Prevent Identity Theft: The President also announced new steps by the government to assist victims of identity theft, including supporting the Federal Trade Commission in their development of a new one-stop resource for victims at IdentityTheft.gov and expanding information sharing to ensure Federal investigators’ ability to regularly report evidence of stolen financial and other information to companies whose customers are directly affected.

Pelosi Drills repugicans For Jeopardizing America’s National Security With Reckless Bill

Nancy Pelosi Republicans jeopardize national security
“The repugicans are taking an extremely dangerous and cavalier approach to the safety of American families,” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) charged Tuesday morning in a statement, citing a new report on President Obama’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions.
The state-by-state report is referring to the crazy amendments House repugicans stuck onto their bill that is supposed to fund the Department of Homeland Security, which they deliberately left unfunded after February 27th in order to use it as a hostage in their war on Obama’s immigration actions. These amendments kill not just Obama’s latest executive action, but his earlier actions such as telling his administration to target felons for deportation instead of families. This makes repugicans pro-felon?
Pelosi’s office reports that the new report, based on data from the White House Council of Economic Advisors, shows that the President’s immigration actions will grow the economy by $90 to $210 billion over the next ten years and would not only not impact the likelihood of employment by U.S. born workers but would increase the averages wages for those workers by $170.00 a year. Naturally, repugicans are against these things.
“It is outrageous that repugicans would threaten our national security to advance radical anti-immigrant measures that will damage our economy,” Leader Pelosi said in a statement. “The repugicans are taking an extremely dangerous and cavalier approach to the safety of American families. The repugicans should reconsider this reckless agenda, and come together with Democrats to swiftly restore certainty to the funding of Homeland Security.”
This might sound like partisan bickering, but what it really is is a gross understatement of the jeopardy repugicans are once again throwing the nation into just so they can have a temper tantrum in public for their base. The DHS is tasked with, among other duties, protecting from and responding to terrorist attacks.
Just imagine if Democrats had left the DHS funded for only a few more weeks as several acts of terrorism played out on the national stage. Imagine if after 9/11, Democrats refused to fund the DHS because they didn’t like one of the shrub’s executive actions, unrelated to terrorism.
This is not something the opposition does, normally. It used to be deadly to troll national security, but the press let’s repugicans get away with this in ways Democrats simply can’t manage. Part of the problem is that Democrats are so hesitant to say things like accusing the President of being like Hitler or accusing the opposition of being sympathetic to the terrorists. The rhetorical standards are much higher for Democrats. So they are left citing data laden “reports” instead of accusing repugicans of hating America and wanting to see millions murdered just out of spite. The repugicans have accused Democrats of more over much less. Even questioning the shrub after 9/11 made one suspect.
It’s ironic, but we wouldn’t even have a DHS without the the shrub junta and now that we do, repugicans are trying to destroy it. And with it, our capacity to deal with terrorism and throwing the public into chaos and disarray once again, as the clock ticks down.
Representative Cedric Richmond (D-LA) reiterated the gravity of the situation given recent events, calling the House repugicans’ bill “outright reckless” in a statement. He continued, “Instead of presenting a bill that sufficiently addresses our national security, they have elected to jeopardize the safety of our nation for the sake of party politics.”
This is all true. And that’s probably why it doesn’t get much press. Remember the Obamacare glitch? That captivated the press for months. But national security, under a non-authoritarian Democrat who doesn’t accuse the press of being traitors and freeze out those who dare to ask questions? Meh.
It’s really not that hard. repugicans need to let go of their latest hostage and simply fund the government the way it’s usually done. If they can’t win their way through debate and having the majority in both chambers, which they do, then they need to acknowledge the checks and balances inherent in the constitutional system they claim to respect, part of which is that the executive branch actually does have some power. Too bad, so sad. Etc.
But let us not defund the department of homeland security just to cater to repugicans who hate Hispanics and Latinos, and especially not when doing so will only result in harm to not just undocumented immigrants but also U.S. born workers and the U.S. economy. Thanks but no thanks, repugicans.

Bernie Sanders Wrecks repugican Plans By Offering Climate Change Amendment To Keystone XL

bernie sanders budget committee
Senate Democrats and Independents are pushing back hard on Keystone XL. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders has kicked off the Democratic counter by filing a climate change amendment to the bill authorizing the construction of the pipeline.
It is the sense of Congress that Congress is in agreement with the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community that—
(1) climate change is real;
(2) climate change is caused by human activities;
(3) climate change has already caused devastating problems in the United States and around the world;
Senator Sanders said, “The American people need to know whether Congress is listening to the overwhelming majority of scientists when it comes to climate change. On this issue, the scientists have been virtually unanimous in saying that climate change is real, it is caused by human action, it is already causing devastating problems which will only get worse in the future and that we need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel. Do members of Congress believe the scientists or not?”
The repugicans will never admit that climate change is real and caused by human activities, but the Senate Democratic caucus is using the repugican obsession with Keystone XL to advance their agenda that is based on scientific facts. Democrats are going to be proposing a series of amendments to the Keystone XL bill that are designed to turn the repugican gift to the oil companies into a real jobs bill.

These amendments are also a test of Mitch McConnell’s promise to run a more open Senate that will allow votes on amendments. The repugicans are beholden to the special interests who are pushing climate changing denying propaganda, so it is doubtful that the Sanders climate change amendment will pass, but these amendments are important because they will force repugicans to debate and discuss issues that they don’t want to talk about.
Senator Sanders (I-VT) and the Democratic caucus are already upsetting the plans of the repugican Senate majority. The repugicans were under the impression that they were going to be able to pass legislation by rolling over Democrats. This has not happened. Congressional Democrats and the Independents who caucus with them have united with the president against the repugican plans.
The bill authorizing Keystone XL will eventually pass the Senate. It will be vetoed by President Obama, and Senate and House Democrats will make sure that his veto is sustained. Debates on climate change and presidential vetoes are examples of the new reality that is slapping repugicans in the face.

Tom Price Is Itching To Cut Social Security

The current repugican congress wants to cut social security benefits.
Social security has long been regarded as the third rail of American politics. The program is so sacrosanct that even repugicans are normally reluctant to call for cuts to social security. A vast majority of Americans want the social security program to be protected. Notably, older Americans are particularly strong defenders of social security. Even nearly three-quarters of repugicans, want to not only preserve social security, but they also want to expand the program.
However, make no mistake in understanding the position of the 114th congress on social security. The current repugican-dominated congress wants to cut social security benefits. The repugican-mislead House signaled their intent to do just that, the very first day they were in session, when they modified the chamber’s rules to jeopardize social security disability payments. The repugican plan would imperil disabled Americans, who could see close to twenty percent reductions in their already meager incomes.
Attacking disability payments is just the tip of the iceberg. Tom Price (r-GA) made that clear on Monday in a speech at the Heritage Action for America “Wingut Policy Summit”. At the summit, Price stated:
On the issue of Social Security, it has indeed been the third rail as Tim [Chapman, COO for Heritage Action] mentioned, and what I’m hopeful is what the Budget Committee will be able do is to is begin to normalize the discussion and debate about Social Security. This is a program that right now on its current course will not be able to provide 75 or 80 percent of the benefits that individuals have paid into in a relatively short period of time. That’s not a responsible position to say, ‘You don’t need to do anything to do it.’
So all the kinds of things you know about – whether it’s means testing, whether it’s increasing the age of eligibility. The kind of choices — whether it’s providing much greater choices for individuals to voluntarily select the kind of manner in which they believe they ought to be able to invest their working dollars as they go through their lifetime. All those things ought to be on the table and discussed.
In 2005, the shrub tried to push a plan to privatize social security, but it collapsed under the weight of public pressure, and the idea never reached a vote in the House. Today’s repugican cabal however is determined to tackle the issue again, and cuts to social security would stand a strong chance of passing both houses of Congress. President Obama should veto any such proposal. However, activists need to keep pressure on the White House to make sure the president stands firm on opposing any cuts to the social security program. In 2013, the President initially proposed a plan that included chained CPI for social security benefits. Facing criticism from his left flank, he later dropped that proposal.
Many wingnut voters chose to elect repugicans on the promise of tax cuts and spending cuts. Many of those voters also assumed that the repugicans wouldn’t dare touch social security. They thought, and hoped, those promised spending cuts would only go after programs that didn’t affect them personally. However, Tom Price has made abundantly clear, he has social security in his gun sights. For Americans who depend upon the program for disability or retirement income, the repugican plot promises greater hardship in the years to come. If the repugican plot is implemented, some of the suffering will be brought to bear on delusional wingnut voters who thought they would be spared any pain from the repugican cabal's budget ax. They are going after social security, and if you voted for them, your future suffering was self-inflicted.

A repugican national coven Member Causing Headaches For repugican cabal By Refusing To Resign After Racist Facebook Post

dave agema
Just ahead of the repugican national coven’s Winter Meeting, where the repugican cabal will address their need to appeal to non-white voters, a committeeman’s bigoted and racists statements on social media are giving headaches to rnc members. Michigan rnc conman Dave Agema made a Facebook post on New Year’s Eve where he reprinted an article from the American Renaissance and prefaced it by saying it was a “very interesting article” and “we are in a cultural battle.” The American Renaissance is a white nationalist publication and the article is an inflammatory piece decrying blacks as illiterate criminals.
Per the National Journal, Virginia repugican cabal chairwimp Pat Mullins is currently canvassing other rnc members asking that they expel Agema from the winter meetings in San Diego later this week. Mullins also wants Agema kicked out of the coven. Agema has verified that he will be in attendance and has refused to step down. On Tuesday, rnc chairwimp Reince Priebus reiterated previous requests that Agema resign, dating back to at least last year’s Winter Meeting. Prior to the New Year’s Eve Facebook post, Agema had used social media to make offensive comments about President Obama, homosexuals and muslims.
Even though Agema did delete the American Renaissance post, he has remained unapologetic. On Tuesday, he posted a rambling screed to his Facebook page defending the initial post and blaming Obama, Eric Holder and Al Sharpton for the problems he sees in the black community.
Dave Agema
Once again I find the same people making false statements concerning a repost of an article I got from Col West's ( former congressman) news letter as my words and opinion. I make no accusation that I agree with the statements supporting the author he posted. I do support Col West's commentary concerning the authors article and not the content of the article itself. I respect the former congressman and fellow military officer highly and regard his opinions since he grew up in...
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As you can see from his rant, Agema claims Allen West, the former one-term repugican and current plagiarizing shrieking head, is the person who turned him on to the racist article from a white nationalist website. Indeed, West did post the entire piece to his website on December 29th. Even though West titled the entry “Quite Possibly The Most Racist Article You Will Ever Read,” he praised it throughout his blog post, stating it was very deep and and eloquent and addressed issues the “progressive socialist left” wouldn’t, because “they hate the truth.”
It is a profound and deeply disturbing piece, which, as we end 2014, we all need to comprehend as we move towards the 50th anniversary of the Great Society initiatives of President Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Smith articulates that which ails the black community — the real discussion we should be having on race, not that of victimhood and the further expansion of the welfare nanny-state.
It will take you only 5 minutes to read this article — and I would bet you’ll read it again. Then ask yourself, is this something you hear Al Sharpton addressing? Or President Obama, Eric Holder, Jeh Johnson or Jesse Jackson?
I’m quite sure the progressive socialist left will criticize me for sharing this article – that’s just who they are – they hate the truth. But if there is a war to be fought, it is for the soul of the inner city and the black community. The facts and observations in this are not shocking to me. They are quite well known, but the manner in which the writer so eloquently presents them is quite commendable.
For the record, I would just like to share some excerpts from the article that both Agema and West praise for being enlightening and honest.
Most blacks are unable to speak English well. They cannot conjugate verbs. They have a poor grasp of verb tenses. They have a limited vocabulary. They cannot speak without swearing. They often become hostile on the stand. Many, when they testify, show a complete lack of empathy and are unable to conceal a morality based on the satisfaction of immediate, base needs. This is a disaster, especially in a jury trial. Most jurors are white, and are appalled by the demeanor of uneducated, criminal blacks.
Black women have great faith in dog, but they have a twisted understanding of his role. They do not pray for strength or courage. They pray for results: the satisfaction of immediate needs. One of my clients was a black woman who prayed in a circle with her accomplices for dog’s protection from the police before they would set out to commit a robbery.
Part of the problem is that underclass black women begin having babies at age 15. They continue to have babies, with different black men, until they have had five or six. These women do not go to school. They do not work. They are not ashamed to live on public money. They plan their entire lives around the expectation that they will always get free money and never have to work. I do not see this among whites, Hispanics, or any other people.
This isn’t a careful case study by a beleaguered public defender who bought into the liberal ideals of tolerance only to be disappointed by reality. No. This is racist drivel being passed on to white conservatives to justify and legitimize their own beliefs that blacks truly are an inferior race and need to be treated as such. When people of no influence, such as a former Congressman or a major cabal’s coven member, use their positions and notoriety to spread this kind of dangerous message, they need to be called out on it and held up to ridicule.

The repugican Racism Scandal Grows As Steve Scalise Tried To Kill Bill Apologizing For Slavery

The repugican racism scandal continues to grow as it was revealed that the third ranking repugican in the House tried to kill a bill that apologized for slavery.
According to The Hill:
Six years before he spoke to a white supremacist group, Scalise (r-La.) voted as a state lawmaker against a resolution apologizing for slavery, according to a 1996 article from the Times-Picayune.
Scalise later backed a watered-down version that expressed “regret” for slavery. But the article identifies him as one of two lawmakers on the Louisiana House Governmental Affairs Committee who tried to kill the original resolution, which apologized to African Americans for the state’s role “in the establishment and maintenance of the institution of slavery.”
According to the paper, Scalise argued that there was no reason to apologize for something that had been done more than a century ago, before he was born.
“Why are you asking me to apologize for something I didn’t do and had no part of?” Scalise is quoted as saying in the newspaper. “I am not going to apologize for what somebody else did.”
House repugicans, including Boehner, made a big show out of supporting Scalise when the new Congress came into session, but it is clear that there is even more to the scandal than Scalise speaking to David Duke’s white supremacist group, and twice voting against the MLK day holiday. At a time when House repugicans are poised to pass a bill that will not only undo President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, but could also trigger the deportation of immigrants, the last thing that the repugican cabal needed to remind the American people of is the fact that one of their leaders tried to kill a bill that apologized for slavery.
Scalise can’t defend his efforts to kill the entire bill on the basis that he didn’t think he should have to apologize. Killing the bill suggests that Scalise didn’t think that America had anything to apologize for. the repugicans can talk about what is in Steve Scalise’s heart and that they think that he is a good man, but as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. The third ranking repugican in the House is acting like a racist.
Boehner and company have turned what was a Steve Scalise scandal into a repugican cabal scandal. Scalise’s racism will continue to define and dog repugicans for as long as he is in the House. The repugicans’ Steve Scalise problem isn’t going away. If anything, Scalise is exposing the politics that the repugican cabal has embraced for the entire country to see.

White Supremacist Group Places Racist Billboard Along Highway In Alabama

For the second time in less than two years, a billboard has gone up near Birmingham, Alabama, carrying a pro-white, anti-diversity message delivered by a loose-knit group calling itself the White Genocide Project. The newest billboard, erected along I-95 near Springville, delivers the message, “Diversity means chasing down the last white person,” and is accompanied by the Twitter hashtag #WhiteGenocide. The White Genocide Project is comprised of a number of white supremacists and online agitators who follow The Mantra, a screed written by segregationist Roger Whitaker that promotes separation of the races.

The Truth Be Told


One million expected to lose food stamps in 2016

The ill effects of the 1996 welfare reform will reverberate 20 years later in 2016, when harsh rules limiting assistance are likely to resume as unemployment rates fall. The 1996 law imposed a three-month federal time limit on food assistance to unemployed adults who aren't disabled and don't have dependents. There is an exemption in the law for states experiencing high unemployment rates, but with those rates falling the states will no longer be able to extend that assistance. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities warns that a federal legislative fix is highly unlikely, and states need to prepare to help the one million people who will be dropped.The loss of this food assistance, which averages approximately $150 to $200 per person per month for this group, will likely cause serious hardship among many. Agriculture Department (USDA) data show that the individuals subject to the three-month limit have average monthly income of approximately 19 percent of the poverty line, and they typically qualify for no other income support.
The indigent individuals at risk are diverse. About 40 percent are women. Close to one-third are over age 40. Among those who report their race, about half are white, a third are African American, and a tenth are Hispanic. Half have only a high school diploma or GED. They live in all areas of the country, and among those for whom data on metropolitan status are available, about 40 percent live in urban areas, 40 percent in suburban areas, and 20 percent in rural areas. Many in this population, which generally has limited education and skills and limited job prospects, struggle to find employment even in normal economic times. And although the overall unemployment rate is slowly falling, other labor market data indicate that many people who want to work still cannot find jobs, while others who want to work full time can find only part-time employment. Cutting off food assistance to poor unemployed and underemployed workers doesn't enable them to find employment or secure more hours of work.

Government-run event gave homeless people household appliances as gifts

Homeless people who attended a government-run event in Malaysia were given household appliances as gifts. To make the event, organized by the Federal Territory Ministry, special for the less fortunate guests, the minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor, chose to give them presents.
But the kind gesture sent out the wrong signals when some of the homeless excitedly unwrapped their gifts only to find kitchen and electrical appliances. Pertiwi Soup Kitchen founder Munirah Abdul Hamid said although the initiative was much welcomed, she was surprised electrical appliances were handed out as gifts to the homeless.
“It was a nice gesture although we must understand these people don’t even have a place to stay, let alone a place to operate their coffee maker or cooking stove,” she said. “Some of them came up to me and asked if I would like to buy the appliances as money would have been more valuable to them.”
Munirah said she was contacted by a ministry officer prior to the event to discuss what gifts were appropriate for the homeless. “I suggested food for a few days or maybe even clothing.” she said. Tengku Adnan said: “We understand and appreciate the feedback, it was a trial-and-error experience for us,” he said. “Next year, we will improve and give something else to the homeless.” He said he was also aware of the shortage of food. “But I am happy with the outcome as everyone had fun.”

Man arrested for throwing peach pie at woman who wouldn't support his nicotine habit

Police arrested a near a restaurant in Clackamas, Oregon, man on Friday, accusing him of throwing a peach pie at a woman who refused to give him a cigarette. The woman was not injured, but had to clean peach pie filling off her car.
Sgt. Dan Kraus, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said a man approached the woman at around 8am and asked her for a cigarette. When she refused, the man became agitated. "He got really mad and started yelling," Kraus said. "Then he wound up and threw a pie at her."
After receiving a 911 call, deputies arrived quickly. "And while police were there, he tried to assault her again," Kraus said. "He charged at her – right in front of the deputies." A deputy intercepted the man, threw him to the ground using a hip roll, then handcuffed him.
Joel David Lemasters, 26, who gave no permanent address, was booked into the Clackamas County Jail on suspicion of harassment, criminal mischief and violating parole from a previous conviction. He is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Clackamas County Circuit Court.

Woman accidentally shot husband who tried to surprise her with breakfast

A soldier was shot in the chest on Friday morning after his wife thought he was a home intruder. The shooting happened around 10:15am in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Police say Zia Segule, 28, left for work.

336 cans of Campbell's Cream of Celery Soup delivered to woman's home remain a mystery

Jessi Braswell discovered something truly unexpected beside her front door in Nashville, Tennessee. Someone left 336 cans of Cream of Celery soup on the porch.
"I don't think anybody likes creme of celery soup by itself," said Braswell. At first Braswell thought this was some kind of delivery mistake but then she noticed there was no package slip anywhere on the stack of soup.
That leads her to think it was all some sort of elaborate prank. "I know a lot of people that would want to prank me," said Braswell. If it was a prank, someone went to a lot of trouble.

"The cans are packaged in heavy cases of two and they would have cost hundreds of dollars to buy. Braswell plans to give all the cans away at a benefit for the Second Harvest Food Bank. "If nobody claims it that could happen," she said.

The Daily Routines Of Famous Creative People

Turns out great minds don't think alike. Discover how some of the world's most original artists, writers and musicians structured their day. Filter the different categories by toggling on or off, and hover over the colored bars to learn more about the daily routines.

Why Are Manhole Covers Round?

If you're in the habit of looking down at your feet as you walk, you may have noticed that most manholes, and their covers, are round. Of all of the potential shapes for manholes, why was a circle chosen?

New Thoughts on the Impact of Climate Change in Neolithic China

It had been thought that the deserts in northern China are one million years old, but a new study of the Hunshandake Sandy Lands of Inner Mongolia suggests that its desert is only 4,000 years old. Xiaoping Yang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Louis Scuderi of the University of New Mexico, and their colleagues examined the patterns of dunes and depressions in the region and lake sediments, and they dated quartz from the region with a technique known as optically stimulated luminescence. They found that Hunshandake had deep lakes and rivers beginning some 12,000 years ago. “We’re amazed by how much water there was back then. There were very, very large lakes, and grasslands and forests. And based on all the artifacts we’ve found out there, there was clearly a very large population along the lake shores,” Scuderi told Live Science. Then some 4,200 years ago, the region rapidly dried out during a major, worldwide climatic shift that caused droughts throughout the northern hemisphere. These changes may have pushed the people of the Hongshan culture out of the remote north and into the rest of China. “An important possible line of research in the future is to figure out how important the Hongshan culture was to the development of later Chinese culture,” Scuderi explained. In fact, some of the earliest jade artifacts in the country are from Hongshan sites, yet the cradle of Chinese civilization has usually been placed in the Yellow River basin. To read about how climate change is impacting archaeological sites today, see "Climate Change: Sites in Peril."

The Town Without Wi-Fi

The residents of Green Bank, West Virginia, can't use cell phones, wi-fi, or other kinds of modern technology due to a high-tech government telescope. It's a premodern place by design, devoid of the gadgets and technologies that define life today.
Over the last few years, electrosensitives have flocked to the tech-free idyll in West Virginia, taking shelter beside cows and farms and fellow sufferers. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a descriptive term for symptoms purportedly caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields.

Giant Soviet-Era UFO Looms In The Sky Above Bulgaria

It looms atop the summit of Mount Buzludzha, poised 4,727 feet above sea level in Bulgaria's Central Balkan Mountains, and its saucer-shaped structure makes for a seemingly otherworldly presence at odds with the natural remoteness that surrounds it.
It is isolated, gray and weather-worn, crumbling and decaying both inside and out, yet it has captivated many visitors during the time that it has dominated this place. Most of these people are here to discover an intriguing monument to Bulgaria's communist past.

Volcanoes and Global Warming

Relatively small volcanic eruptions may be slowing the pace of global warming.

A Meteorite and an Antarctic Crater

Researchers in remote East Antarctica think a massive area of fractured ice discovered last month could be a new-found meteorite impact crater.

Non Sequitur


DNA on the Go

DNA has been observed moving from one cell to another for the first time in animals.

Opalized Dinosaur Tooth

Surely you've seen fossils in museums, but what about this: opalized dinosaur tooth. Opalized fossils occur when silica settled into cracks in the dinosaur bone and then hardened into opal. This one above is a particularly fantastic specimen: an opalized theropod dinosaur tooth from the Australian Museum.

Move over Nessie, Scotland gets a new prehistoric marine reptile

The newly identified prehistoric marine reptile Dearcmhara shawcrossi, a member of a group called ichthyosaurs …
by Will Dunham
The newly identified prehistoric marine reptile Dearcmhara shawcrossi, a member of a group called ichthyosaursScotland has its very own prehistoric marine reptile - and, no, we're not talking about Nessie, the mythic Loch Ness monster.
Scientists have announced the discovery of the fossil remains of a dolphin-like seagoing reptile on Scotland's Isle of Skye that lived about 170 million years ago and was about 14 feet (4.3 meters) long.
The creature, named Dearcmhara shawcrossi, is a member of a group called ichthyosaurs that were among the dominant marine reptiles when dinosaurs ruled the land. Ichthyosaurs, some of which reached monstrous proportions rivaling all but the largest of today's whales, thrived for more than 150 million years until disappearing about 95 million years ago.
Dearcmhara, a moderate-sized ichthyosaur, swam in warm, shallow seas during the Jurassic Period, eating fish and squid. Its remains are incomplete but the shape of a bone in its front flippers suggests it may have been an especially strong or fast swimmer, the researchers said.
"It is from Scotland, and is the first uniquely Scottish marine reptile ever discovered and studied," said University of Edinburgh paleontologist Steve Brusatte, one of the researchers in the study published on Monday in the Scottish Journal of Geology.
"Many other marine reptile fossils have been found in Scotland, but the vast majority of these have disappeared into private collections or been sold. This new specimen finally breaks the impasse: it was found by a private collector who did a great thing, donated it to a museum and worked with scientists," Brusatte added.
Amateur fossil hunter Brian Shawcross found the fossils on a beach in the northern part of the Isle of Skye in 1959 and donated them in the 1990s, researchers said. The genus name Dearcmhara (pronounced "jark vara") is Scottish Gaelic for "marine lizard." The species name honors Shawcross.
"It is important to emphasize how grateful we are that Brian donated the bones he found all those years ago," added paleontologist Neil Clark of the University of Glasgow's Hunterian Museum, which received the fossils.
The discovery sheds light on a span of the Jurassic regarded as nearly a black hole in the marine reptile fossil record, Brusatte said. Scotland is one of the few places with fossils from that time.
Other fossils indicate Dearcmhara lived alongside members of another branch of marine reptiles called plesiosaurs, known for long necks and paddle-like flippers. The elusive Nessie is commonly portrayed as looking like a plesiosaur.

Tortoise clamped itself onto drunk man's lip after he attempted to eat it alive

A drunk man who claimed he wanted to eat a tortoise alive had the tables turned when the tortoise bit him on the lip and wouldn't let go. Bao Yu was left shouting for help as the tortoise remained clamped onto his lip at the market in China’s capital Beijing. The stallholder in the local market, Zhang Lung, said she had called security when the drunk man picked up the tortoise that was on sale and said he wanted to eat it.
But as he put his mouth near the animal, it bit him on the lip. She said that she saw the man and smelt him wobbling towards her stall and was dubious that he was a genuine customer when telling her he wanted the tortoise. She said: "I thought he wanted to buy it and cook it at home, but he said he wanted to eat it now.
"He hadn't even paid for it but he shoved it towards his mouth and I thought he was going to bite its head off. But before he could put it in his mouth the tortoise bit him on the lip." She said the man had been left howling in pain and trying to pull the tortoise free for 10 minutes during which time the security guards had arrived and also tried to assist in getting the tortoise to let go.
A friend of the man told the security guards that when drunk, he often made the same joke when walking back home through the market but this was the first time that one of the tortoises had bit him on the lip. In the end they managed to get the man free by putting the animal still attached to his lip in the water of a tank reserved for terrapins. She said: "I told him to stick his head in the tank and then we managed to get the tortoise off."

Animal Pictures