Welcome to ...

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.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah, we're talking to you ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
You know you love the Kazoo ... !
Today is  -  National Kazoo Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Brazil - Canada - Colombia - Costa Rica - Mexico - Nicaragua - Puerto Rico -United States
Bulgaria - England - France - Germany - Greece - Iceland - Ireland - Italy - Latvia - Malta - Netherlands - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Russia - Serbia - Slovakia - Spain - Ukraine
Bangladesh - China - India - Indonesia - Iran - Malaysia -Saudi Arabia - Timor/Leste - United Arab Emirates - Vietnam
The Pacific
Australia - Guam - Philippines
Editorial Note: We are experimenting with a new way of listing the world wide reach this blog enjoys. Also, the wingnuts are still attempting to pervert this blog and are still failing as wingnuts always do with anything they try. It's comical and we can always use a good laugh.
Thanks for all the great comments you have been sending in we are working on sorting them and will publish some shortly - we have to remove the trash (read: wingnut shrieks) before we will publish them.

Today in History

28   The Roman Emperor Nerva names Trajan, an army general, as his successor.  
1547   Henry VIII of England dies and is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Edward VI.  
1757   Ahmed Shah, the first King of Afghanistan, occupies Delhi and annexes the Punjab.
1792   Rebellious slaves in Santo Domingo launch an attack on the city of Cap.  
1871   Surrounded by Prussian troops and suffering from famine, the French army in Paris surrenders. During the siege, balloons were used to keep contact with the outside world.
1915   The U.S. Coast Guard is founded to fight contraband trade and aid distressed vessels at sea.  
1915   The German navy attacks the U.S. freighter William P. Frye, loaded with wheat for Britain.  
1921   Albert Einstein startles Berlin by suggesting the possibility of measuring the universe.  
1932   The Japanese attack Shanghai, China, and declare martial law.  
1936   A fellow prison inmate slashes infamous kidnapper, Richard Loeb, to death.  
1941   French General Charles DeGaulle's Free French forces sack south Libya oasis.
1945   Chiang Kai-shek renames the Ledo-Burma Road the Stilwell Road, in honor of General Joseph Stilwell.  
1955   The U.S. Congress passes a bill allowing mobilization of troops if China should attack Taiwan.  
1964   The Soviets down a U.S. jet over East Germany killing three.  
1970   Israeli fighter jets attack the suburbs of Cairo.
1986   The space shuttle Challenger explodes just after liftoff.

How To Pronounce British Place Names

Siobhan Thompson teaches American Rusty Ward how to pronounce difficult British place names.
YouTube link

The Serenity Machine

Obama Hits The Koch Congress Where It Hurts By Proposing More Drilling Restrictions On ANWR

obama preserve anwr
President Obama stayed five steps ahead of the repugican misled Congress by announcing his administration’s plan to protect more of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge from drilling.
The president said:
Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge is an incredible place. Pristine, undisturbed, it supports caribou and polar bears, all matter of marine life, countless species of birds and fish, and for centuries it’s supported many Alaska native communities, but it’s very fragile. That’s why that my Department of Interior has put forth a comprehensive plan to make sure that we’re protecting the refuge and that we’re designating new areas, including coastal plains for preservation. And I’m going to be calling on Congress to make sure that they take it one step further. Designating it as a wilderness, so that we can make sure that this amazing wonder is preserved for future generations.
The Department of Interior is proposing a plan that would recommend that, “12.28 million acres – including the Coastal Plain – for designation as wilderness. The Service also recommends four rivers – the Atigun, Hulahula, Kongakut, and Marsh Fork Canning – for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Currently, over 7 million acres of the refuge are managed as wilderness, consistent with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980. However, more than 60 percent of the refuge – including the Coastal Plain – does not carry that designation. Designation as wilderness would protect and preserve the refuge, ensuring the land and water would remain unimpaired for use and enjoyment by future generations. Only Congress has the authority to designate Wilderness areas and Wild and Scenic Rivers.”
The repugican chairwimp of the Senate Energy Committee, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska vowed to fight the new plan, “What’s coming is a stunning attack on our sovereignty and our ability to develop a strong economy that allows us, our children and our grandchildren to thrive. It’s clear this administration does not care about us, and sees us as nothing but a territory. The promises made to us at statehood, and since then, mean absolutely nothing to them. I cannot understand why this administration is willing to negotiate with Iran, but not Alaska. But we will not be run over like this. We will fight back with every resource at our disposal.”
As the Koch repugican inept-run Congress is trying to pass Keystone XL, President Obama took another pro-environment step against the repugican cabal agenda. The repugicans have been trying to open up ANWR to more drilling since 1977. Before the latest flare-up of the issue, the shrub tried to get Congress to reverse the ban on offshore drilling.
While the president continues trying to move the country forward towards a sensible and self-sustaining energy policy, repugicans continue to do Big Oil’s bidding. The Alaska economy is dependent on drilling, so their opposition to the president’s conservation plan is understandable, but Obama was sending a message to the American people. The president is laying out an agenda for the Democratic Party that paints a clear contrast with what the repugicans are offering.
While repugicans are bogged down on Keystone XL, President Obama has already moved five steps ahead.

Boehner and McConnell Bomb On 60 Minutes When Asked For repugican Alternative to Obamacare

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell delivered a disastrous appearance on 60 Minutes, the lowlight of which was their complete inability to discuss the repugican alternative to Obamacare.
boehner mcconnell 60 minutes obamacare
Boehner went on a dodge and weave filibuster when asked what the repugican alternative to Obamacare was, “Providing more access we could have done without taking control of the entire healthcare system. When you look at Obamacare, it’s a perfect example of what Washington does. It’s a one size fits all approach for the whole country all driven by Washington bureaucrats. I’ll bet they’ve hired tens of thousands of people between the IRS and over at Health and Human Services just to run this. All of the decisions, all of the rules decided by Washington. We have a wide, diverse country, and I just think it’s time for us to look at this differently. For those who don’t have access to affordable health insurance. Helping those at the bottom I think we’re all for it, but we don’t need Washington to ruin the greatest health delivery system that the world has ever known.”
CBS’s Scott Pelley asked again, “So how do you do it? What’s the repugican plan?” Boehner answered with a weak, “We’re, We’re working on this. Having discussions amongst our members, got a lot of divergent views about how best to go back to a doctor/patient relationship that’s revered.”
Pelley kept hammering away and said that this is one of the biggest criticisms of the repugican cabal is that they know what they are against, but can’t tell people what they are for. McConnell said that Pelley was mischaracterizing the success of Obamacare and claimed that the ACA will fail. McConnell said that the chances, of getting rid of Obamacare with Obama in the White House, were slim, but that repugicans were going to make the effort.
Pelley replied, “You don’t have an alternative.”
At this point, Boehner jumped back in and pushed the same old repugican ideas of letting people buy insurance across state lines and medical malpractice insurance reform. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell went on the most watched television news program in the country and promptly fell on their faces. The truth is that repugicans have no replacement plan for the ACA.
Boehner and McConnell both talked about getting rid of the ACA, but what they didn’t mention is that a bill that they each voted for funded Obamacare for another year. The repugicans have created a new disaster for themselves on a weekly basis since they have taken over Congress. The new repugican majority was supposed to get things done, but instead has been consumed by ineptitude and infighting while being constantly outmaneuvered by President Obama.
The repugicans have had almost six years to come up with an ACA alternative. They have had even longer to come up with a plan to reform health care. The repugican plan is to return the country to a system where tens of millions of Americans lack access to health care, and those with insurance are one medical crisis away from bankruptcy.
The repugican cabal has no alternative. Even worse, they treat the American people like they don’t have a clue.

John McCain Humiliates Himself On CBS By Claiming Obama’s Lost Touch With Reality

While claiming that President Obama has lost touch with reality John McCain humiliated himself and revealed why he doesn't belong in the United States Senate. …
While claiming that President Obama is delusional John McCain humiliated himself and revealed why he doesn’t belong in the United States Senate.
JOHN MCCAIN (r), ARIZONA: I’m afraid that he and the president have lost touch with reality.
Iran is on the march throughout. In Yemen, it’s not AQAP that has taken over the government. It’s the Houthis, who, guess what, are backed and supported by the Iranians. The Iranians are now either dominant or extremely influential in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen.
They’re on the move in Bahrain. And they are winning. And there is no — I did not hear Mr. McDonough articulate a strategy, except that we will fight against these people, which is nice to know.
But when you look at the map, the Iranians are on the march. AQAP and the ISIS in both Iraq and Syria are doing quite well. There is no strategy to defeat them. For example, in Kobani, we have been bombing Kobani for months with the U.S. airpower and they are still there. ISIS continues to consolidate their position and attract thousands of young people from all over the world.
And, believe me, I agree with the director of British intelligence, MI5, who gave a speech last week saying that these young people mainly from other countries that are now in Iraq and Syria will — are a direct threat to the United States of America and Great Britain.
So there is no strategy. It is delusional for them to think that what they’re doing is succeeding. And we need more boots on the ground. I know that is a tough thing to say and a tough thing for Americans to swallow, but it doesn’t mean the 82nd Airborne. It means forward air controllers. It means special forces. It means intelligence and it means other capabilities.
In other words, McCain is arguing that the country has gone to hell in a handbasket since voters decided not to elect him president in 2008. McCain has become a national embarrassment. His solution is always to send in more American troops. McCain has no policy. He constantly repeats the same call for more boots on the ground, even though the American people are adamantly opposed to sending American troops anywhere.
President Obama’s strategy is working. The problem is that the Obama strategy doesn’t involve starting another war. Sen. McCain’s constant defiance of the will of the people that he is supposed to be serving represents a danger to every American. McCain is the one who is out of touch with reality. It isn’t 2002 anymore. Republicans can’t scream terrorist and expect the American people to mobilize behind their cries for war.
McCain’s (r-AZ) criticisms of the president are rooted in sour grapes. Obama won. McCain lost, and nearly seven years later the repugican is still trying to undermine the current administration. McCain’s act has grown stale and tired. It is time for the Sunday shows to stop giving this broken record airtime.

Senate repugicans Remove 'Civil Rights And Human Rights' From Subcommittee Name

GRASSLEYSenate repugicans revealed this week that they have eliminated the phrase “civil rights and human rights” from the title of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee charged with overseeing those issues.
Chuck Grassley (r-Iowa) became chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee this month and announced the members of the six subcommittees this week. With Grassley’s announcement, the subcommittee formerly known as the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights suddenly became the Subcommittee on the Constitution.
The new chairman of the newly named subcommittee is John Cornyn (r-Texas). His office confirmed that it made the switch.
“We changed the name because the Constitution covers our most basic rights, including civil and human rights,” said Cornyn spokeswoman Megan Mitchell. “We will focus on these rights, along with other issues that fall under the broader umbrella of the Constitution.”
In his press release, Cornyn never used the phrase “civil rights” or “human rights.” Instead, the release said he would be a "watchdog against unconstitutional overreach and will hold the Obama Administration accountable for its actions." Cornyn is an opponent of legislation that would restore federal oversight over some local and state election changes that were eliminated when the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.
While the subcommittee made no formal announcement of the title change, civil rights organizations noticed. Nancy Zirkin, who serves as executive vice president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, called the decision “discouraging.”
“Names matter. This, after all, is a subcommittee with jurisdiction over the implementation and enforcement of many of our most important civil rights laws,” she said in a statement on Friday. “Changing the name of this subcommittee is a poor start, but the proof of the panel’s seriousness about addressing these issues will become apparent in its actual work. We only hope that this troubling name change doesn’t foretell a heedless retreat on civil and human rights.”
Ben Marter, a spokesman for Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) -- who formerly served as chairman of the committee and now serves as its ranking member -- said that the name of a subcommittee “speaks to its priorities.”
“Senator Durbin will be fighting to ensure that civil rights and human rights aren’t deleted from Congress’s agenda under repugican control,” Marter said.
This wasn’t the only recent name change made by repugicans. Jeff Sessions (r-Ala.), an immigration hardliner who chairs a Senate subcommittee on immigration policy, dropped “refugees and border security” from his panel and replaced those words with “the national interest.”
Grassley spokeswoman Beth Levine noted that, "It’s up to the subcommittee chairmen to name their committees."

Guess who's raising taxes ...

by Egberto Willies
The repugican middle class tax hikes will hurt most
GOP Republican Governors Middle Class Tax hikes
There is a must read New York Time article that should raise the ire of every American citizens. The repugicans have always run on the mantra of tax cuts and low regulations. That has never been true for most middle class Americans. Any time taxes are cut it means the benefits a society brings will cost the least of society more.
The New York Times article titled “repugican Governors Buck cabal Line on Raising Taxes” is a prime example. Most states that have revenue shortfall can generally attribute it to mostly poor taxation. There is always waste that can be eliminated but the reality is even government waste in the hands of the poor and middle class is economically stimulative.
What is alarming is that state spending is not keeping up with investments in people necessary to keep the state productively viable.
The financial picture for states has stabilized, with five straight years of revenue and spending increases. But when those numbers are adjusted for inflation and population growth, they are still far below their pre-recession peak. The National Association of State Budget Officers recently warned that revenue growth was not strong enough to both maintain basic services and meet the growing demand to spend more on such things as higher education and prisons.
Many of the repugican governors have come to that realization as well. They have also decided to mitigate the shortfall with middle class tax hikes. They have proposed taxes that disproportionately cost the middle class and the poor more.
Why would they propose raising sales taxes, fuel taxes, and fees? Over the years it has been the perfect bait and switch. They lowered income taxes or other taxes paid by a few well to do citizens and increase those taxes that all citizens must pay.
These types of tax policies are drivers of income and wealth inequality. They suck potential progress or access to growth from most.

The Truth Hurts


Link Dump

One-year-old baby boarded bus alone in China

A public bus in Changsha City in central China's Hunan Province received a special passenger on Tuesday night, as an unaccompanied one-year old baby climbed onto the bus.
When the bus door opened, both the driver and passengers were surprised to see a baby climb the door steps. A female passenger behind the boy looked around but failed to find any adult taking care of the toddler. The bus driver pulled over the bus with the consent of the passengers, and called police for help.
Some passengers on the bus volunteered to take care of the baby while waiting for the arrival of police officers. After receiving the call, officers of a local police station checked with nearby neighborhood, and managed to find the baby boy's parents an hour later. "My baby boy was playing outside (my cellphone store) alone.

"In just two to three minutes, I couldn't find him any more. We looked for him everywhere around, but failed to find him," said Mrs. Zhang, the baby's mother. According to Zhang, she and her husband run a cellphone store near their home, and the baby was playing outside the store alone before wandering away.

Fake bank in China that operated for a year scammed customers out of £20 million

A fake bank in China that looked exactly like a real bank managed to scam people of almost 200 million yuan (£21m, $32m) worth of deposits in just a year.
The “bank”, in Nanjing’s Pukou district in Jiangsu province, promised customers 2 per cent interest a week for their deposits. Almost 200 people were conned.

One businessman from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, deposited 12 million dollars from his company, but stopped receiving interest for the money after just four weeks. He went to the police after traveling to Nanjing from Hangzhou and trying in vain to get his money back.

Police investigations revealed that the “bank”, although designed to look just like a real one, with LED screens and counters manned by people dressed like bank staff, did not have the permits required to operate as a financial institution. Rather, it branded itself as a “cooperative”. Police detained four people involved in the operation.

Couple returned money after receiving bag full of cash at Burger King drive-through

After going through the drive-through at Burger King in Rochester, New Hampshire, on Friday, a local woman discovered that instead of the sweet tea and junior spicy chicken sandwich that she ordered, she got a bag full of money. Rather than keeping the cash, totaling $2,631, she went back to the restaurant with her husband and returned it.
At round 4:30pm Janelle Jones, of Rochester, had ordered a drink and a sandwich at the drive-through of the North Main St. restaurant. She was driving home when she discovered that the sandwich bag was actually full of cash, and there was no food inside. Jones called her husband, Matthew Jones, who suggested she come home so they could return the money together. At home, the couple inspected the bag and found the cash, most of which was inside two bank deposit bags.
There was also a loose $100 bill. Matthew Jones admitted, “We are not perfect human beings,” and said the couple had considered the possibility of keeping the money, adding they could have certainly used the cash.  When they returned the money about an hour later, the employees of the store were extremely thankful, he said.

“It felt a lot better than keeping it,” said Matthew Jones. Store employees at Rochester's Burger King confirmed the incident but chose not to comment on the story. “One person said 'they were going to get fired' so it felt good knowing we helped them keep their jobs,” Janelle said. “A manager told me they would give me five free meals,” Janelle added. “The manager said he talked to the corporate office and they said to tell me 'thank you.'”

Teenage Girl Pulls Off $4.6 Million Diamond Heist

According to a report in the South China Morning Post, a group of four individuals, including a girl estimated to be twelve to fourteen years old, made off with a 100-carat diamond necklace worth $4.6 million, with the teen being the one who physically took the jewels. The abovementioned news organization wrote of the incident,
"The heist – which detectives have described as “very well planned” – unfolded when two women, a man and a girl thought to be between 12 and 14 years old walked into the Emperor Jewellery shop in the 1881 Heritage shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui shortly after 3pm yesterday.Well-dressed and speaking Putonghua, the trio of adults, managed to distract staff by asking to look at a series of items on display while the girl stole a key from a drawer, opened a display cabinet then slipped the necklace off a display bust and into her pocket."
It sounds as if the young woman is getting one hell of an education thanks to the adults in charge of her care. That certainly wasn't your average teenage girl's trip to the mall. Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but they might become her worst nightmare should she be apprehended.
Read more at the South China Morning Post.

Random Photos

Top 12 Tallest Towers In The World

This shouldn’t affect those with a fear of heights, but just in case, proceed with caution. The only way to imagine what it's like to be this high up is to remember the last time you were in an airplane, because these buildings rise thousands of feet and often have their heads in the clouds. Here are the 12 tallest towers in the world.

Why The World Seems Quieter When It Snows

When a fresh batch of snow falls to the ground, the world tends to quiet down. That could partially be attributed to human factors: it's likely winter, people aren't out as much and traffic comes to a halt. However, there are more scientific reasons for the quietude.
When a fresh blanket of snow settles down, it's doing a lot more than turning the world into a winter wonderland.

Beautiful Images Of Seashores Lit By The Glow Of Bioluminescence

In his 1870 masterpiece, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, French novelist Jules Verne wrote, 'About seven o'clock in the evening, the Nautilus, half-immersed, was sailing in a sea of milk... The whole sky, though lit by the sidereal rays, seemed black by contrast with the whiteness of the waters.'
However, rather than describing something supernatural, Verne was referring to marine bioluminescence - or the glowing, chemically induced underwater light produced by living organisms.

Greenland's New lakes

The discovery of two lakes hidden beneath the Greenland ice suggests that climate change cuts to the bottom of the ice sheet.

Climate Change and the Doomsday Clock

The Doomsday Clock is just three minutes from midnight due in part to climate change.

Stashing CO2

All that CO2 and where to put it...? How about underground? But would a catastrophe ensue? Would the planet explode? For answers, Julian looks at work being done by Archer Daniels Midland in the, er, groundbreaking area of underground CO2 storage.

Boston’s Got Gas

In Boston, methane emissions from aging pipes and other sources may be more than double official state estimates for the city, according to a Harvard University study.

World's Oldest Fire

An underground fire in Australia has been burning continuously since before the Bronze Age.

The CIA's Declassified UFO Files Are Now Available Online

Project Blue Book was a systematic study of unidentified flying objects conducted by the United States Air Force. It started in 1952. A termination order was given for the study in December 1969, and all activity under its auspices ceased in January 1970.
Project Blue Book is now fully declassified and available to read online. Read all of its 140,000 pages on UFO enthusiast John Greenewald's website The Black Vault.

The complicated tail of Comet Lovejoy

From APOD:
Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), which is currently at naked-eye brightness and near its brightest, has been showing an exquisitely detailed ion tail. As the name implies, the ion tail is made of ionized gas -- gas energized by ultraviolet light from the Sun and pushed outward by the solar wind. The solar wind is quite structured and sculpted by the Sun's complex and ever changing magnetic field. The effect of the variable solar wind combined with different gas jets venting from the comet's nucleus accounts for the tail's complex structure...
The blue color of the ion tail is dominated by recombining carbon monoxide molecules, while the green color of the coma surrounding the head of the comet is created mostly by a slight amount of recombining diatomic carbon molecules...
Comet Lovejoy made its closest pass to the Earth two weeks ago and will be at its closest to the Sun in about ten days. After that, the comet will fade as it heads back into the outer Solar System, to return only in about 8,000 years.

Chilean Farmer Finds 'Chupacabra'

A farmer in Chile has found two mummified animals and claims they may be the remains of the mythical chupacabra.

Why animals eat psychoactive plants

Johann Hari, author of 'Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs', learns about drunk elephants, the stoned water buffalo, and the grieving mongoose.
The United Nations says the drug war’s rationale is to build “a drug-free world — we can do it!” U.S. government officials agree, stressing that “there is no such thing as recreational drug use.” So this isn’t a war to stop addiction, like that in my family, or teenage drug use. It is a war to stop drug use among all humans, everywhere. All these prohibited chemicals need to be rounded up and removed from the earth. That is what we are fighting for. Boing Boing has more.

18 Of The Biggest Creatures That Lurk Beneath The Ocean's Surface

Earth's oceans contain 99% of the living space on the planet, yet less than 10% of that space has been explored by humans. If these are the colossal sea creatures we know about, imagine what is yet to be discovered.

Animal Pictures