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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.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah, we're talking to you ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
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Today in History

962   Otto I invades Italy and is crowned Holy Roman Emperor.
1032   Conrad II claims the throne of France.  
1494   Columbus begins the practice using Indians as slaves.  
1571   All eight members of a Jesuit mission in Virginia are murdered by Indians who pretended to be their friends.
1626   Charles I is crowned King of England. Fierce internal struggles between the monarchy and Parliament characterized 17th century English politics.  
1848   The Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo formally ends the Mexican War.  
 1865   Confederate raider William Quantrill and his bushwackers rob citizens, burn a railroad depot and steal horses from Midway, Kentucky.  
1870   The press agencies Havas, Reuter and Wolff sign an agreement whereby between them they can cover the whole world.  
1876   The National Baseball League is founded with eight teams.  
1900   Six cities, Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Chicago and St. Louis agree to form baseball's American League.  
1901   Mexican government troops are badly beaten by Yaqui Indians.  
1916   U.S. Senate votes independence for Philippines, effective in 1921.  
1921   Airmail service opens between New York and San Francisco. Airmail's First Day.  
1934   Alfred Rosenberg is made philosophical chief of the Nazi Party.  
1939   Hungary breaks relations with the Soviet Union.  
1943   Last of the German strongholds at Stalingrad surrender to the Red army.  
1944   The Germans stop an Allied attack at Anzio, Italy.  
1945   Some 1,200 Royal Air Force planes blast Wiesbaden and Karlsruhe.  
1948   The United States and Italy sign a pact of friendship, commerce and navigation.  
1959   Arlington and Norfolk, Va., peacefully desegregate public schools.  
1960   The U.S. Senate approves 23rd Amendment calling for a ban on the poll tax.  
1972   The Winter Olympics begin in Sapporo, Japan.  
1978   U.S. Jewish leaders bar a meeting with Egypt's Anwar Sadat.  
1987   Largest steel strike in American history, in progress since August, ends.

House Democrats’ new message on the economy: We told you so

Immigration Reform
Democrats’ new message on America’s economic recovery is: We told you so, and we’re going to keep telling you so.
The economy is rebounding on nearly every front, even if the middle class still needs help, and it’s time to tell that story loudly, top Democrats say. That’s the key to reversing their midterm election setbacks, according to a host of House Democrats, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, all of whom came to Philadelphia this week for pep talks and strategy sessions.
“Democrats have to stand up, you’ve got to explain what we did,” Biden said to loud applause Friday. “Be proud of it… We can’t let the repugican cabal rewrite history.”
Obama said much the same the night before. “The record shows we were right” the president said, referring to the 2009 stimulus, the bank and auto industry bailouts, and other strategies to pull out the great recession of 2008.
If the Democrats’ were so right, reporters asked, why did repugicans clobber them in the 2014 midterm elections? Poor messaging, top Democrats said, which must be remedied.
It might be wishful thinking, of course. Even Obama jokingly warned how hard it will be to overcome the repugicans’ 58-seat House majority in next year’s elections.
He said youthful, dark-haired Rep. Ben Lujan of New Mexico — newly named to head their 2016 House campaigns — will end up with “hair like Steve Israel.” Israel, a New York congressman who preceded Lujan, is fully gray.
Israel’s new role is to oversee messaging for House Democrats. He told reporters his colleagues will stick to their well-known priorities: a higher minimum wage, tax increases on the rich, advancing the president’s health care law and other measures largely associated with Obama.
This time, they’re counting on Obama’s rising popularity — and fading headlines on Ebola and terrorist beheadings — to help persuade voters they’d be better off with a Democratic-run Congress.
Israel acknowledged that Democrats talked a lot about the middle class in last fall’s elections. But world calamities distracted voters, he said, and Democrats failed to show that their economic policies would directly benefit working-class families.
Riffing on a campaign line from presidential candidate Bill Clinton in 1992, Israel said the Democrats’ new theme will be, “It’s MY economy, stupid.”
The repugicans scoff at Democrats’ talk of better messaging. “Updating the packaging doesn’t help if the product is still lousy,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for John Boehner, r-Ohio.
The repugicans say huge numbers of Americans dislike the president’s signature health care overhaul. Israel, by contrast, says only the “teabagger base” strongly opposes it.
In a sense, both are right, which is why skillful framing and messaging are crucial to campaigns. Polls show that many Americans like key details of the health law, such as guaranteed insurance for people with pre-existing medical problems. The law’s overall image is less popular, however, especially when it’s portrayed as a big-government mandate.
Democrats groused about Obama’s poor approval ratings last November, and most in tight elections kept him away. Now that jobs, the stock market and the president’s popularity are rising, however, they’re more content to acknowledge their ties to him.
“He’s our messenger in chief,” Israel said.
Some friction is inevitable, however, especially on trade. Obama wants authority to negotiate trade deals with minimal congressional interference, while many House Democrats oppose new trade pacts.

President Obama Challenges repugicans To Put Up Or Shut Up On The Middle Class

obama middle class
President Obama is putting repugicans on notice. The president told repugicans today that he wanted to see their ideas for helping the middle-class. In other words, it is time for repugicans to put up, or shut up.
The president said:

At a moment when our economy is growing, our businesses are creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s, and wages are starting to rise again, we have to make some choices about the kind of country we want to be.

Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we build an economy where everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead?

That was the focus of my State of the Union Address – middle-class economics. The idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.

This week, I will send a budget to Congress that’s built on those values.
We’ll help working families’ paychecks go farther by treating things like paid leave and child care like the economic priorities that they are. We’ll offer Americans of every age the chance to upgrade their skills so they can earn higher wages, with plans like making two years of community college free for every responsible student. And we’ll keep building the world’s most attractive economy for high-wage jobs, with new investments in research, infrastructure, manufacturing, and expanded access to faster internet and new markets.
We can afford to make these investments. Since I took office, we’ve cut our deficits by about two-thirds – the fastest sustained deficit reduction since just after the end of World War II. We just have to be smarter about how we pay for our priorities, and that’s what my budget does. It proposes getting rid of special interest loopholes in our tax code, and using those savings to cut taxes for middle-class families and reward businesses that invest in America. It refuses to play politics with our homeland security, and funds our national security priorities at home and abroad. And it undoes the arbitrary, across-the-board budget cuts known as “the sequester” for our domestic priorities, and matches those investments dollar-for-dollar in resources our troops need to get the job done.
Now, I know that there are repugicans in Congress who disagree with my approach. And like I said in my State of the Union Address, if they have ideas that will help middle-class families feel some economic security, I’m all in to work with them. But I will keep doing everything I can to help more working families make ends meet and get ahead. Not just because we want everyone to share in America’s success – but because we want everyone to contribute to America’s success.

That’s the way the middle class thrived in the last century – and that’s how it will thrive again.
The president short remarks contained a challenge to repugicans. Obama wants to know if repugicans have any ideas to help the middle-class. The president will be unveiling his ideas when he releases his budget proposal today. Obama wants to know what the repugicans are going to bring to the table besides their usual chorus of no. Boehner and McConnell have already shot down the president’s proposed middle-class tax cut.
The term middle-class has become the new “jobs” buzzword for repugicans. It wasn’t long ago that repugicans thought that they could boost their approval ratings by adding the word jobs into everything they said and did. A plan to cut taxes for the wealthy became a bill to aid job creators. The Keystone XL pipeline is a jobs bill. They are trying the same tactic with the term middle-class.
Obama isn’t going to sit back and let repugicans fill the air with empty talk. The president is challenging repugicans to back up their words with actions. In the days and weeks ahead, President Obama will likely sharpen his language and call out congressional repugicans. His weekly address was a warning shot that repugicans better be ready to put up or shut up when it comes to rebuilding the middle-class.

Bill Maher Drops A Reality Bomb On repugicans Who Pretend To Care About The Middle Class

bill maher middle class socialism
Bill Maher called out the repugican frauds who are pretending to care about the middle-class by hitting them on the head with the reality of where the middle-class came from.
After quoting Sarah Palin, Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney’s recent comments blaming Democrats for the plight of the middle-class, Maher said:
Yeah, those damn Democrats. Always fighting the repugican cabal’s efforts to stick up for the little guy. There is no shame in the repugican game. This is the party that used to like to say a rising tide lifts all boats, which is easy to say when you’re on the yacht. So what’s happening is the Democrats are proposing to nibble around the edges of our middle-class problem, and the repugicans are pretending to care while they go back to servicing eight rich dickheads who own coal mines, and no one is telling the truth, which is that the large thriving middle-class that America used to have didn’t just appear out of the blue.

It was created using an economic tool called socialism.

Oh, I know when never use that word here in buzzword nation, but that is exactly what our government did after World War II. It taxed the rich up to ninety percent and massively redistributed that money through the GI Bill so that more than half the population benefited from free college, free job training, cheap mortgages, and much much more. Yes, for a brief shining moment, we were Finland. Now we can debate whether that is a good thing or bad thing to go back to, but what is beyond debate is that is what happened. The Fifties and Sixties are the era of socialism in America.

Here’s the reality. A middle-class is actually not the byproduct of capitalism. Ask any historian, a middle-class is actually a fluke in history.
It is obvious that repugicans have been told by their focus groups that saying the words middle-class will make them more popular with voters, but here’s the problem, repugican policies are what killed the middle-class. The repugicans, more than ever before, are being driven by an ideology that is thirsting for pure capitalism. In a purely capitalistic system, there is no middle-class. There are buyers and sellers, haves and have nots. There is no room for a whole class of people in the middle.
Maher was correct. The middle-class was an intentional policy creation. Policy after WWII was designed to help those returning from war. It was a downward redistribution of wealth. In contrast, current repugican policies are designed to redistribute wealth upwards.
One of the byproducts of the Great Recession has been the decline in popularity of trickle-down economics. Wingnut economic philosophy brought about an economic collapse. The American people still have a bitter taste in their mouths after the last wingnut experiment. That lingering feeling looms over all political debate.
The current political climate in the United States is defined by the ideological struggle between liberalism and wingnuttery. The repugicans stole a heavily regionalized election in 2014, but it the left that has been gaining all the ground since 2012. The repugican mouthing of the term middle-class is nothing more than wingnuts trying to give their trickle down emperor some new clothes.
The reality is that there is only one party that is willing to put the policies in place that are needed to create a new middle-class, and it isn’t the repugicans.

The repugican Passed Keystone Pipeline Bill Violates The Constitution

The repugicans have made myriad claims throughout the entirety of President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House that he violates the Constitution, and based on lack of validity of their claims it is simply because he is an African American man. This is evident in the simple fact that they never, never ever once, claimed any repugican white president violated the founding document for doing the exact same thing they claim is unconstitutional when President Obama does it (executive actions). However, due to the repugicans’ propensity for projection, and their recent push to approve a foreign corporation’s pipeline project, one can assume it is repugicans who are violating the Constitution; and they are.
Every one of the Koch repugicans, and their oily blue dog cohorts, who voted to approve a State Department construction permit for TransCanada to build the KeystoneXL pipeline across America’s international border with Canada are guilty of violating the Constitution’s long-standing “Separation of Powers.” This is not the first time a repugican congress violated the Separation of Powers, but it is the first time they have attempted to subjugate the State Department and Executive Branch to the will of the Koch brothers’ Legislative Branch; something not remotely Constitutional. During the shrub's junta a repugican congress voted to subjugate the Judicial Branch’s authority; specifically to serve two Americans. Unlike President Obama who understands the Constitution, the shrub signed legislation giving repugicans purview over another branch of government’s authority.
Obviously, most Americans are completely ignorant of the constitutional Separation of Powers, but the Koch repugicans certainly should be cognizant of the concept because they did just take an oath of office and swore to their god they would “support and defend the Constitution of the United States…and bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” It is a solemn oath and obligation that they “take freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion,” and that they would “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me dog.” However, repugicans serve a higher power than the U.S. Constitution and if the Koch brothers demanded they violate the document they swore freely to support, then they “well and faithfully discharged the duties” of solely serving the interests of Charles and David Koch and a foreign corporation.
In case members of the Koch Congress are unaware of their duties as participants in the Legislative Branch of government, the Constitution is very succinct and clear: “Congress has authority over financial and budgetary matters, through the enumerated power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”
What the legislative branch absolutely does not have any authority over, regardless the issue, are any matters regarding the Executive Branch and its agency the Department of State. In the case of passing legislation approving a Canadian corporation’s construction permit crossing America’s sovereign international border, they are attempting to seize authority the Constitution says is the purview of the State Department; no matter what Charles and David Koch say or believe. It is likely why in the Koch’s vision of America, the Department of State would be abolished and replaced by a privately-held corporation; most likely Koch Industries.
A legal expert wrote a very prescient article explaining why the Koch Congress passing “special legislation written to specifically affect the fate of a particular individual, a small group of individuals, or a company, whose name (or names) is directly mentioned in the legal text itself” is inherently unconstitutional. University of Toledo College of Law professor Evan C. Zoldan rightly asserts the “Keystone Bill” is not unlike a 2005 repugican congress legislation “for the relief of the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo.” That was the legal dispute between Schiavo’s parents and her husband over whether she should be kept in a ‘persistent vegetative state’ with a feeding tube. That decision was the purview of, and should have been resolved by, the judiciary; not religiou-wingnut repugicans or the shrub. In fact, Professor Zoldan noted that the law specifically “wiped away all previous legal precedent of the judiciary;” particularly because it said “Nothing in this Act shall constitute a precedent with respect to future legislation.”
In the same manner that the “Schiavo” legislation did not apply to any other Americans other than Schiavo’s parents, the Koch’s Keystone bill “will not let any other pipelines crossing international borders bypass the State Department’s permitting process.” As Zoldan noted, in the Schiavo case repugicans superseded the authority and power of the judicial branch of government, and in the KeystoneXL case repugicans are attempting to supersede and take power out of the hands of the Executive Branch. In the Keystone case it is because an African American man is the President and because repugicans’ allegiance and service is to the Koch brothers; not the American people, not America, and certainly not the United States Constitution.
In either case there is the same constitutional violation; “the illegal encroachment by one branch of government into the function of one of the other branches.” Something Professor Zoldan said “represents a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers.” A violation, by the way, that no-one is screaming about or threatening to take legal action to sue, or remove from office, repugicans over for violating their oath of office and the Constitution.
The legal expert claimed that if repugicans were somehow able to override President Obama’s KeystoneXL veto, anyone could take Congress to court for overstepping its Constitutional authority and bring the project to a screeching halt. However, it is highly likely that if a case did get to the Supreme Court, the Kochs would simply issue an edict to their wingnut puppets to rule the Constitution’s Separation of Powers null and void in the same manner the U.S. cabl of catholic bishops and religio-wingnut ordered the vatican-5 to demolish the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses. This Court’s wingnuts have about as much use for, or fealty to, the Constitution as repugicans and the cretins have no problem violating it with impunity.
America’s government has worked relatively well over its history abiding by the Founding Fathers’  ‘checks and balances’ and Separation of Powers that prevents one branch of government from becoming all-powerful. The repugicans just cannot abide not having the ultimate authority the Koch brothers demand to control this nation and if it means violating the Constitution they swore to god to uphold, the Keystone legislation proves there are no bounds the un-American malcontents will not cross.

Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia

With the recent passing of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, new concerns have arisen for women's rights going forward. Abdullah was a devout conservative Muslim leader, but he was able to push for some reforms for women. Trace explains what lies ahead.

Barriers to exercise ...

calm_studyStudy to explore women’s emotional barriers to exercise

Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, but many people struggle to get enough exercise to make such a resolution stick. University of Alabama at Birmingham […]

Big Data Algorithms

DaveUnplugsHalBuilding trustworthy big data algorithms

New algorithm can separate unstructured text into topics with high accuracy and reproducibility Much of our reams of data sit in large databases of unstructured text. Finding insights among emails, […]

Knowledge while sleeping

baby brainInfants create new knowledge while sleeping

There is no rest for a baby’s brain – not even in sleep. While infants sleep they are reprocessing what they have learned. Working with researchers from the University of […]

DNA Clock

800px-A-DNA,_B-DNA_and_Z-DNADNA clock helps to get measure of people’s lifespans

Scientists have identified a biological clock that provides vital clues about how long a person is likely to live. Researchers studied chemical changes to DNA that take place over a […]

Altered Dopamine

Researchers discover 'idiosyncratic' brain patterns in autismAltered dopamine signaling a clue to autism

Newly discovered genetic variations linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) disrupt the function of the dopamine transporter, suggesting that altered dopamine signaling contributes to this common developmental condition, according to […]

Practicing Defensive Medicine

320px-Surgeons_at_Work‘Vast majority’ of neurosurgeons practice defensive medicine

Extra tests and procedures more likely in state with higher liability risk, reports study in Neurosurgery More than three-fourths US neurosurgeons practice some form of defensive medicine–performing additional tests and […]

Hot on the trail ...

Hot on the trail of the hepatitis-liver cancer connectionHot on the trail of the hepatitis-liver cancer connection

Using whole genomic sequencing, scientists from RIKEN in Japan have for the first time demonstrated the profound effect that chronic hepatitis infection and inflammation can have on the genetic mutations […]

Shared Symptoms

Shared symptoms of Chikungunya virus, rheumatoid arthritis may cloud diagnosisShared symptoms of Chikungunya virus, rheumatoid arthritis may cloud diagnosis

A mosquito-borne virus that has spread to the Caribbean and Central and South America and has caused isolated infections in Florida often causes joint pain and swelling similar to that […]

Random Photos


pollyhanrahanphotography: Saoirse at Seven Sisters, Moth Lingerie, Regarder les filles

Climbing Frozen Niagara Falls

For the first time ever, a person has scaled Niagara Falls while it's in a frozen state. Ice climber Will Gadd braved the treacherous, unstable climbing conditions to complete the stunt. He explained the challenges of his frozen feat:
"The ice is formed in layers. That means there's a layer of ice, then snow (with a lot of air), then another layer of ice. It's unstable, for sure."
Gadd used ice axes, crampons and a specially-designed ice hook to climb the falls. Read a more detailed account of Gadd's climb here.  

Mapping Earth's Dirt

NASA's next Earth-observing satellite is scheduled to launch Saturday (Jan. 31), and it could vastly improve the way scientists monitor droughts around the world.

Detecting Dark Matter

This dwarf spheroidal galaxy in the constellation Fornax is a satellite of our Milky Way and is one of 10 used in Fermi's dark matter search. The motions of the galaxy's stars indicate that it is embedded in a massive halo of matter that cannot be seen. (Credit: ESO/Digital Sky Survey 2)Could a new proposed particle help to detect dark matter?

Researchers at the University of Southampton have proposed a new fundamental particle which could explain why no one has managed to detect ‘Dark Matter’, the elusive missing 85 per cent […]

Stars Scattered Far from Home

This mesmerizing observation by the Hubble Space Telescope shows galaxy NGC 7714 in a state of turmoil.

Violent Red Dwarfs

New research suggests that the frozen cores of 'mini-Neptunes' could be transformed into habitable worlds with a little help from their red dwarf hosts.

Stunning Supernova

A new three dimensional model of the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant provides insights into how these massive explosions occur.

North Carolina Fossils

aetosaur_fossils_300Fossils from a new aetosaur species discovered in North Carolina

Some 230 million years ago, a distant relative of the crocodile called an aetosaur roamed prehistoric Earth. Aetosaurs were about three to 15 feet long and covered head to toe […]

Lion Reunion

Here we have a rare video from Kruger National Park in South Africa that doesn’t involve any blood, death, or mutterings of “that’s nature’s way.” A lioness had somehow gotten separated from her pride -for three days. She hid in the brush and sadly called out for them. Then on the third day, here they come down the road! She wants to make sure its her pride, but as soon as she recognizes them, the party is on.

Sea Slugs

Warming ocean temperatures off the coast of northern California have triggered a population explosion of bright pink, inch-long sea slugs. 

Saharan cheetah

cheetahA rare glimpse at the elusive Saharan cheetah

Research by scientists and conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Zoological Society of London, and other groups published today in PLOS ONE shows that critically endangered Saharan cheetahs exist […]

Rare Red Fox Reappears

The elusive and rare Sierra Nevada red fox has been spotted in Yosemite National Park for the first time in nearly a century.

50-Foot-Long 'Dragon'

A new dinosaur called Dragon of Qijiang had a body that was half neck.

Eye Never Before Seen

There's a new kind of eye in town, and it belongs to Paraphronima gracilis, a tiny, transparent, aquatic crustacean that sees kind of like a bee but whose eye structure, researchers say, is one of a kind.

Animal Pictures