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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Daily Drift

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

1760   Cherokee Indians held hostage at Fort St. George are killed in revenge for Indian attacks on frontier settlements.  
1804   US Navy lieutenant Steven Decatur leads a small group of sailors into Tripoli harbor and burns the USS Philadelphia, captured earlier by Barbary pirates.  
1862   Fort Donelson, Tennessee, falls to Grant's Federal forces, but not before Nathan Bedford Forrest escapes.  
1865   Columbia, South Carolina, surrenders to Federal troops.  
1923   Bessie Smith makes her first recording "Down Hearted Blues."  
1934   Thousands of Socialists battle Communists at a rally in New York's Madison Square Garden.  
1937   Dupont patents a new thread, nylon, which will replace silk in a number of products and reduce costs.  
1940   The British destroyer HMS Cossack rescues British seamen from a German prison ship, the Altmark, in a Norwegian fjord.  
1942   Tojo outlines Japan's war aims to the Diet, referring to "new order of coexistence" in East Asia.  
1945   American paratroopers land on Corregidor, in a campaign to liberate the Philippines.
1951   Stalin contends the U.N. is becoming the weapon of aggressive war.  
1952   The FBI arrests 10 members of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina.  
1957   A U.S. flag flies over an outpost in Wilkes Land, Antarctica.  
1959   Fidel Castro takes the oath as Cuban premier in Havana.  
1965   Four persons are held in a plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell and the Washington Monument.  
1966   The World Council of Churches being held in Geneva, urges immediate peace in Vietnam.
1978   China and Japan sign a $20 billion trade pact, which is the most important move since the 1972 resumption of diplomatic ties.

Obama Warns repugicans That He Is Going To Run Through Their Opposition

President Obama is putting repugicans on notice that he plans to run through their cynical politics and opposition during his final two years in office.
While speaking at a DNC fundraiser in San Francisco, the president said:
And one of the things I am absolutely determined to do over the next two years is not just consolidate the gains that we’ve made, not just move forward on new initiatives like free community colleges for young people around the country who need to be trained for the 21st-century economy, but part of my goal is also to restore a sense of possibility in our politics and our government. And in some cases, that means challenging folks who are practicing the worst kind of cynical politics, and a politics based on fear rather than hope. In some cases, it’s going to be finding areas of cooperating with repugicans. In either case, we’re going to need people like you to support these ongoing efforts.
I’ve only got two years left, but two years is a long time. And two years is also the time in which we’re going to be setting the stage for the next presidential election and the next 10 years of American policy. And so I intend to run through the tape and work really hard, and squeeze every last little bit of change and improvement in the lives of ordinary Americans and middle-class families that I can. But I can’t do it alone. And that’s why your support for the DNC is so greatly appreciated. And for those of you who have been there every step of the way, I just want to say thank you.
One can toss out the part of the president’s remarks where he mentioned cooperating with repugicans because Boehner and McConnell don’t want to cooperate with him. The worst kind of cynical politics is exactly what repugicans have been practicing since the President took office.
The country is into the fourth year of a repugican misled House, and Boehner’s bunch continues to try to govern by demands and hostage taking. The repugicans haven’t learned anything from their numerous failures, so the odds are zero that they will decide to cooperate with the president over the final two years of his term.
Obama message to congressional repugicans was that he planned to stay on offense through the end of his term. This means that things aren’t going to get any easier for the repugican cabal. This President isn’t going to sit around and run out the clock on his presidency. Given the President’s comments, his executive actions might be best viewed as a way of setting the agenda for the 2016 election.
The President is already making the case for Democrats to keep the White House while reminding repugicans that he isn’t going anywhere for two more years.

Using the veto ...

 “...back in the day presidents were very cautious about using the veto power, but under Barack Obama it’s nothing but reckless tyranny.  Assuming that Obama vetoes the Keystone Pipeline, consider this remarkable record of indiscriminate vetoes in historical context:
   Obama: 3 (5, pro-rated to a full two terms)

   the shrub: 12

   ronny raygnn: 78

   clumsy ford: 66 (in less than 3 full years!)

   tricky dick: 43 (less than 2 full terms)

   Dwight Eisenhower: 181

   Calvin Coolidge: 50 (less than 2 full terms)

   Teddy Roosevelt: 82

   Grover Cleveland: 584

As you can see, the data is clear.  Obama’s lawlessness and obstructionism are unparallelled.   The veto used to be a very rare event, but now it’s ubiquitous.”

—      Scott Lemieux, Lawyers, Guns and Money, using “facts” and “evidence” to note that Barack Obama is not be abusing the veto power against a repugican congress …

Mocking Democrats’ Deficit Concerns, the house repugican cabal Passes Permanently Unfunded Tax Cuts

Some people may conclude that repugicans, as typical wingnuts, are so set in their ways they are naturally unwilling to change, …
Any American paying attention to the repugican cabal over the past decade would agree that there are myriad, largely unprintable, negative adjectives to describe the un-American religious fascism they are pushing on America. Some people may conclude in error that repugicans, as typical wingnuts, are so set in their ways they are naturally unwilling to change, but although that is a very accurate conclusion, it is not the case when it comes to the nation’s deficit.
If nothing else, repugicans are capricious when it comes to adding long-term debt depending on which of their benefactors stand to benefit. Now that their primary benefactors, the Koch brothers, have bought repugicans control of Congress, their heroic deficit hawk once again changed his tune and mocked Democratic concerns that passing more shrub-era unfunded tax cuts for the rich and corporations will unnecessarily add to the deficit; something phony deficit hawk Paul Ryan supports with religious fervor.
On Friday, house repugicans, led by Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Ryan, passed the first in a long line of permanent and unfunded tax cuts for the rich he admits will blow up the deficit. This is the same deficit Ryan has spent the past six years screaming is the reason the nation is so desperately broke and in debt, that slashing absolutely all domestic spending was an existential necessity to the country’s short and long-term economic survival. In fact, repugicans enacted austerity rules that included not one penny for natural disaster relief unless they could cut an equal, or larger, amount from domestic programs that benefit other Americans. It is why there has been absolutely no spending on anything except the perpetual war machine, still unfunded and in-place shrub tax cuts, and hundreds of billions of dollars in church and oil subsidies.
Yesterday represented a standard repubgican turnaround and rapid return to shrub-era economic malfeasance; except that repugican tax cuts are not only unfunded, they are permanent and only benefit the largest corporations and the richest one-percent of Americans. Ryan even took the opportunity prior to passing deficit-increasing tax cuts to chastise and mock Democrats for expressing their concern that the permanently-unfunded tax cuts will permanently increase the deficit repugicans claim is destroying America.
Ryan had the temerity to call the Democrats’ concern about permanently unfunded tax cuts for the rich blowing up the deficit “baloney” after spending six long years calling spending on infrastructure, Veterans, schools, and Medicaid absurd because they added to the deficit; even when they were revenue neutral (funded). Ryan also mocked Democrats for objecting to tax incentives they once backed on a temporary basis to stimulate the economy after shrub-repugicans created the Great Recession. Nearly a third of the new tax cuts are taxpayer gifts to the uber-rich with no impact on the economy whatsoever except they reduce revenue the government needs to operate.
The repugican deficit hawk champion berated Democrats for reiterating, on unfunded tax cuts, precisely what repugicans have said for six years about spending on disaster relief, healthcare and food assistance, Veterans’ jobs bills, and infrastructure repair. He mocked Democrats saying, “If you dare try to make these things in the tax code permanent, it’s ‘You’re not paying for it; it’s a budget buster; you’re being irresponsible; you’re jeopardizing tax reform.’ Process, process, process. Here’s the problem. What we’re trying to do here, we’re trying to grow the economy. We’re trying to get people back to work.”
Anyone with a pulse and semi-operational brain knew it was coming and there it was; the failed thirty-plus year trickle down argument. The same one Republicans spent the entirety of the shrub’s junta destroying the economy with to enrich the wealthy elite and blow up the long-term debt. Debt, by the way, that is still accruing including the shrub-era tax cuts still in place after the 2012 budget deal negotiated in a “bipartisan mega-deal.”
Ryan’s hypocrisy was on display as well when he accused Democrats of saying about unfunded taxation what repugicans say about disaster relief; “if you try to make them (tax cuts for the rich) permanent you better make somebody else to pay for them.” He said that was an “inconsistent position in his mind.” He also denied that Democratic claims that reduced revenue will make tax reform more difficult is a lie and reiterated the repugican position that Americans and both sides ultimately wanted the unfunded tax cuts for the rich to be permanent.
He defended the repugican position with more typical repugican bovine excrement saying that the only thing repugicans are trying to do in giving permanently unfunded deficit raising tax cuts  “is produce certainty. We need to give businesses certainty. We need to help them plan for the future. We need to stop this crazy game of extending a tax benefit that was temporary.” Yes, temporary to give unwarranted relief to struggling businesses a chance to survive the Great Recession. Over a third of the unfunded tax cuts are to allow the super-rich to write-off donations no American in the bottom 90% of income earners will never see in a hundred lifetimes and are unrelated to businesses whatsoever. Even the permanent corporate tax cuts are for the largest businesses and industries to write off capital expenditures that most likely include investing in robotics and mechanization to replace the human workforce.
It is true that during the past six years while repugicans were slashing any and all domestic spending due to “deficit worries,” they ignored the deficit to perpetuate the shrub’s tax cuts for the rich, billions in unfunded oil and cult subsidies, or wars to enrich the private defense industry; that is in part because Democrats failed to call out the rank hypocrisy because many are heavily invested themselves. Now that some Democrats are beginning to turn the tables and parrot the repugicans’ regard for reducing the deficit, repugicans cry foul and mock them because deficits just don’t matter. Deficits have never mattered to repugicans if they increase to benefit the rich and corporations, or pay for wars to enrich the oil and defense industry; that is just how America operates.
No Democrat should be shocked when repugicans begin more spending cuts in the very near future due to make up revenue from the permanently unfunded tax cuts they claim will create jobs and grow the economy. It is too bad Democrats are too timid to cite the deficit increase unfunded tax cuts wreaked on the nation during the shrub era. Or the current economic damage repugican states like Kansas, Texas, and Louisiana to name a few, are suffering from tax cuts Ryan still says will “grow the economy and get people back to work.”
What is pathetic is that many Americans, including about 30 wealthy blue dogs who voted for the unfunded tax cuts, continue falling for the thirty-year lie that raising the deficit to enrich the one-percent will do anything other than add to the richest Americans’ fortunes. The lack of outrage among the population proves that as a whole, Americans are inherently stupid, not gullible, uniformed or foolish; just plain stupid.  It is likely that behind closed doors Paul Ryan is mocking the American people’s idiocy the way he mocks Democrats for being concerned about blowing up the deficit.

The Truth Hurts


Another repugican Shows Us Some Love by Declaring Women “A Lesser Cut of Meat”

How do we handle all the love that repugicans show women?
Corbin-dunce-IIMaybe it was in the spirit of Valentines Day that repugicans and pundits were so eager to show us the love during this past week by declaring war on yoga pants and now declaring women a “lesser cut of meat.”
Wingnut love for women is legendary.  Their presidential candidates find us in binders.  The repugicans are so determined to protect us from the hardship of making our own reproductive decisions that they have designated family planning a decision to be made by the state.  They show us the love with opposing equal pay for women who do the same job as a man and by blaming us for ruining a rapist’s life by reporting this violent crime.
According to FITS News  (a libertarian news site) repugican Thomas Corbin directed his Fred Flintstone level wisdom on women to Katrina Shealy during a legislative dinner at which repugicans were having a discussion about criminal domestic violence.  Of course, this is a topic that creates so many headaches for repugicans because it shines yet another light on their attitude toward women.  It’s such a hassle when a repugican’s son kicks, punches and drags his pregnant fiance by the hair and people think that should be a crime.
The son of the State’s Comptroller General  was charged but he escaped legal accountability.  The fact that he was even charged was enough for Corbin to direct various bizarre but indisputably sexist comments at the only woman in the State’s Senate.
After all, one woman is one too many for such enlightened repugicans like Thomas Corbin and he has made. Shealy was elected in 2012 as a petition candidate and aside from Corbin’s “lesser meat” comment he is reported  to have told Shealy. ”I see it only took me two years to get you wearing shoes.”
Real witty, and so not sexist, right?
Full quote for context of the “lesser cut of meat” comment, per Jezabel.  When Shealy called Corbin out for his sexist attitude, he responded with the following.
Well, you know dog created man first,” a smirking Corbin replied. “Then he took the rib out of man to make woman.  And you know, a rib is a lesser cut of meat.
Of course, other SC repugicans tried ever so hard to say they don’t share Corbin’s views.  He’s just a guy who believes women don’t belong in South Carolina’s legislature.  They should be “at home baking cookies” or “barefoot and pregnant” (unless Corbin can get them to wear shoes.)
But hey, he says stuff like that to and about everyone.  Like when he made a speech about Common Core in 2013, somehow he thought it relevant to talk about “gay man juice.”
The thing is Corbin is the latest example of the repugican cabal’s problem with women.  It really doesn’t matter if they take a course on “how to talk” to women.  The repugican cabal, in reality, shares Corbin sentiment that the majority of America’s population is a “lesser cut” of meat. We see it in their rhetoric and in their policies.

Yet Another Mindless Walking Dead repugican Demeans Women

tom corbin
Sexists are like the Walking Dead. Oft-times, you don’t know they’re there until you hear their guttural snarl. They love to gorge on your innards and transform their victim into one of them. The latest iteration of a mindless Walking Dead legislator just happened right in my backyard.
Thomas D. “Tom” Corbin is one of South Carolina’s political “Walking Dead.” He just ‘gorged on the innards’ of every woman in America. While dining with colleague Katrina Shealy of lexington, SC,, he referred to women as “A lesser cut of meat than men.” Some sites are throwing in “barefoot and pregnant” references in the same sit-down. I guess that qualifies as social gorging. Shealy was not amused. She has sat beside Corbin for the last two years in the Senate Chamber and said that this was not the first such comment. He considers his virtual hate speech to be an “ongoing joke” between them. She had previously requested that he stop.
Now, she’s gone public. While a deluded repugican herself, Senator Shealy seems to “get it” in her public support of women. Her CV includes board membership of a Girl Scout Council, the Presidency of West Metro repugican Women, membership of the Advisory Board of the Women of Hope of the Lexington County Medical Foundation, The South Carolina Federation of repugican Women’s 2013 Women of the Year, The Lexington County repugican’s Outstanding Female Statesman of the same year, the South Carolina State Directorship of Women in Government and last, but far from least, the South Carolina State Director for the National Foundation for Women Legislators. Could Corbin have picked a worse foil for his baboonish comments? No offense to baboons.
Corbin is not to be confused with recently retired Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who has battled three different cancers in recent years. No, Tom Corbin is battling a different kind of cancer; the repugican sexist cancer of being an enemy of women. A cancer that has been allowed to metastasize to an unfathomable degree.
The state senator represents District 5, covering Greenville County and part of Spartanburg County. He’s a 50-year-old social wingnut and not remarkably  a Deacon and Sunday school teacher at Clearview baptist cult in his hometown of Travelers Rest. There are three women on the staff of the cult. I wonder if Corbin shares his “jokes” with them?
On the Clearview site, under the heading of Core Beliefs, we can perhaps find the genesis of Corbin’s cluelessness about women. Here’s a partial quote expounding on the man and women’s biblical role in marriage (quotation marks mine): “He has the dog-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to “lead” his family. A wife is to “submit herself graciously” to the “servant leadership” of her husband. Wow! So maybe teaching Sunday school is where a guy like Corbin belongs after all.
As proof that repression of women is not the only indication that Corbin is as wingnut as they come, consider two pieces of legislation that he primarily sponsored.
In a blatant and potentially dangerous attempt to skirt federal law, Corbin is one of four senators to push S. 247. It’s a nullification law that forbids the federal government from interfering in something called the “Unorganized Militia.” The whole issue is best explained on the John Birch Society’s online daily website, The New American.
Then there was his anti-immigration Senate Resolution that made claims like this one: “Over fifty percent of illegal aliens currently in the United States arrived here with visas and overstayed them upon expiration. These include radical islamic jihad students who come here under the pretext of study only to instigate acts of terror.” So, in his mind, Corbin apparently believes most muslim students in the U.S. are terrorists. Here’s another revealing ‘whereas': “Whereas, the burden placed upon our nation’s governmental services, taxpayers, environment, and infrastructure is on a disastrously unsustainable path due to massive population growth directly attributable to immigration…”
Corbin is a paranoid hater of the first order. Women appear to lead the pack, while muslims and immigrants are not far behind. And he wants to make sure that every able-bodied South Carolinian is armed to the teeth when his imagined new testament showdown with the feds rises up in the final political Armageddon.
The moron is the archetypal extremist wingnut. Everything is black and white with him. There is no nuance in his thought processes. He’s tiresomely predictable; Project Vote Smart shows a 100% position rating from the Greenville teabaggers. The Spartanburg teabaggers hosted a ‘meet and greet’ for Corbin. He scores a meager 25% rating from Conservation Voters of South Carolina. It’s certainly off-putting given his membership of the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee. As a South Carolina House member, he voted to prevent implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Here’s a message to those cave dwellers who didn’t get the “women are equal to men” memo. It’s time to be a real man. Because the position of superiority adopted by an unacceptable percentage of right-wing males, many citing the bible as their unalterable source, is simply wrong, selfish, unfair and enormously counter-productive. There is nothing remotely masculine about adopting the role of servant leadership. Right-wing preachers and theologians fall all over themselves trying to twist the passages into acceptance. “Why that simply means man is a leader in general, not a leader of his wife,” is a popular response. The husband is still told to “love his wife and not be a dictator” is another pretzeling.
Here’s what a husband, or any man should be in relation to women. He should shout from the highest rooftops for equality in the workplace and equal pay. He should concede that reproductive decisions are hers to make. He should start by voting for women in Representative legislatures, state offices and local councils. He should see that the glass corporate ceiling is shattered once and for all. He should never lay a violent hand on a woman. Men who do are the biggest cowards and sissies among us.
Be a man! If you’re a christian man, recognize interpretations of scripture are exactly that – fluid interpretations that change with the times and circumstances, not to mention the interpreter. As for women; vote your own mind; not how you think your man wants you to vote. The repugican women, in particular, have cast votes that make no sense for the betterment of their sisters. Professional women, especially teachers; vote!!!
Give Corbin credit. There exists no better proof that the male-dominated wingnut legislatures are paving the way to destruction of women’s rights.
For those cave dwellers who didn’t get the memo.

Another Day, Another repugican Caused Disaster

The DHS funding fight that repugicans provoked with President Obama is a hole that Boehner keeps digging himself deeper and deeper into.
Listen to Sarah and Jason discuss the repugican cabal’s six weeks of disaster:
boehner-thumbs-up-485x311Boehner and the repugicans provoked a confrontation with the president over his immigration executive actions, but now they find themselves painted into a corner. Senate repugicans will try once again to move the House-passed bill that would fund Homeland Security while overturning President Obama’s executive actions on immigration on February 23.
The bill is widely expected to be blocked by Senate Democrats. To date, repugicans have yet to pick any additional votes of support from the Senate Democrats on this bill. The repugican reign as the congressional majority has resulted in one passed bill becoming law in six weeks.
The Homeland Security funding crisis is another in a long line of repugican manufactured crisis over the last few years. The repugicans can’t govern. They won’t govern, and creating a crisis is their way of distracting from their failures.
One of the major consistencies in American politics right now is that the repugican cabal can be counted on cause drama and crisis.

The repugican cabal Misled Utah House Votes To Bring Back Executions By Firing Squad

A controversial bill to bring back executions by firing squad, passed the repugican-misled Utah House on Friday, by a 39-34 vote. Utah requires a minimum of 38 votes to pass legislation through the House, so the measure had just one vote to spare. The proposal would allow the state to execute inmates by firing squad if the drug cocktail needed to perform a lethal injection were unavailable at the time of a scheduled execution.
The bill’s sponsor, Bill Ray (r-Clearfield), tried to steer the debate away from discussion of whether the death penalty itself should be called into question. Ray argued that because the state has the death penalty, the legislature needs to be responsible for choosing how the death penalty is carried out. He maintained that death by firing squad was more humane than other alternatives like electrocution, gassing, and hanging.
Many House Democrats strongly argued against the measure. African-American lawmaker Sandra Hollins (D-Salt Lake City), voiced her objection, questioning not only the method of killing, but also the rationale for the death penalty itself. She stated:
The death penalty disproportionately affects my community. The death penalty also is not fairly given across socioeconomic status, racial or gender lines. …I refuse to vote yes on a bill that gives a tool to carry out the death penalty.
House Minority Leader Brian King (D-Salt Lake City), was equally critical. Calling death by firing squad, “cold-blooded execution”, he argued:
This is not just a conversation about different ways of the state putting people to death. It’s a question about moral and fiscal responsibility and whether the state of Utah chooses, or not, to be a moral and fiscal leader on such a controversial topic.
Several repugican lawmakers had misgivings about reinstating firing squads as well. Stephen Handy (r-Layton) expressed concern that bringing back deaths by firing squad would harm the state’s image with tourists. He opined:
If we do this, if you think that we have problems with air quality and other things with the image of the state of Utah, to bring back the firing squad would be going down that path.
Utah ended the practice of allowing inmates to be slated for death by firing squad in 2004. The last execution by firing squad in Utah took place six years after that decision. Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed on June 18, 2010, by a team of five marksmen armed with .30 caliber Winchester rifles. Prior to Gardner’s execution, the last Utah execution carried out by a firing squad was in 1996.
Executions by firing squads seem to be growing in popularity with repugicans in the West. On Thursday, Wyoming’s House approved death by firing squad. Wyoming, which borders Utah, is similarly misled by repugicans. However, unlike Utah, Wyoming currently has no prisoners on death row. Both states will need the measures to pass through the State Senate and be signed by their respective Governors in order to become law. However, because repugicans control each legislative chamber and the State House in both Utah and Wyoming, the laws stand a reasonable chance of passing.
To most of the developed world, the Death Penalty seems inhumane and antiquated. The United States, however, has never abandoned the practice, although it is outlawed in several states. However, in the American West, repugicans seem eager not to move forward to a nation interested in restorative justice. Instead, they seem much more inclined to return to 19th-century style methods of execution. The Utah House has taken a step backward. The only question now is whether the Utah Senate and Governor will follow suit.

The Truth Be Told


The Ku Klux Klan Joins Alabama’s Religious War on Equality and the Constitution

Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, has made headlines lately by elevating the bible over the Constitution in what seems to be a widely held…
Roy Moore
Without making a sweeping indictment of the entire population, it is not a stretch, or exaggeration, to state that Americans are not the smartest people on the planet. It is not that most Americans are inherently stupid, but there is a fairly large segment of the population that is ignorant; about nearly everything. In particular, Americans are ill-informed about of the U.S. Constitution and a growing number are deluded in thinking that the nation’s founding document is the christian bible; not the Constitution. One would hope that the nation’s judges understand that the Constitution, and not the christian bible, is the law of the land, but apparently that is not the case in Alabama.
Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, has made headlines lately by elevating the bible over the Constitution in what seems to be a widely held opinion in Alabama. Because the bible says gays are an abomination to dog, it drove Moore to order other state judges to ignore federal court rulings allowing courts to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In Moore’s deluded mind, as the christian Chief Justice, and superior to the Constitution and federal courts, “he does not allow same sex marriage and he will never change his bible-based opinion.” Many pundits claim Moore is setting up a major challenge to the Constitution, but none of them mention that Moore’s challenge to the Constitution’s legitimacy is that it conflicts with the a cristian bible edict. According to Roy Moore, the Constitution and the Supremacy Clause is null and void because his religion says it is so.
Earlier in the week Moore was asked specifically to “explain what the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution means to you.” After reciting the Clause, he claimed that the state judiciary and federal judiciary are equal, which is not what the Constitution says, and then claimed that the Supreme Court has no “Constitutional authority “to reinvent the definition of marriage” because that is the bible’s authority. The federal courts are not reinventing the definition of marriage, they are upholding the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights.
The federal courts do have Constitutional authority to rule that discrimination is unconstitutional. However, Moore does not see Alabama’s prohibition against same-sex marriage issue as about discrimination; it is about disobeying the bible edict against homosexuality. He said, “We don’t discriminate in Alabama. This is about marriage, and we don’t discriminate there either. All persons have the right to marry a person of the opposite sex” and according to him the Supreme Court cannot rule against that Alabama scriptural law.
What Moore is saying is that even though according to the Constitution state courts are bound by the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court constitutionally cannot extend equal rights to same-sex couples. His deluded mindset makes any federal court, including the Supreme Court, ruling in favor of equal rights for same-sex couples patently unconstitutional. When Moore was asked pointedly what he will do if the High Court rules same-sex couples have Constitutional rights to marry whom they choose, he said “I do not allow gay marriage anywhere” and as Chief Justice he will not allow gay marriage in Alabama. In fact, to prevent issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, many ‘biblical’ judges stopped issuing any marriage licenses.
If any American believes this issue is just about equal rights, they have not been paying attention. It is noteworthy that in 2003, Chief Justice Moore was removed from the bench for refusing to remove “a two-ton monument of the ten commandments he had installed in the state judicial building” because as a biblical fanatic, the Constitution is subservient to the bible. Moore is not alone and recently garnered ardent support from a christian hate group in his contention that the bible supersedes the Constitution.
On Tuesday the United Dixie White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan issued a statement supporting Moore’s biblical war against the Constitution and same-sex marriage. The Klan statement said, “The Mississippi Klan salutes Alabama’s chief justice Roy Moore, for refusing to bow to the yoke of Federal tyranny. The Feds have no authority over individual States, and the fudgepackers from Hollywood and all major news networks are in shock that the good people from the heart of Dixie are resisting their Imperialist, Communist Homosexual agenda!”
The Klan’s christian statement used the biblical (Leviticus 20:13) term and called same-sex marriage an “abomination” and called  “upon all Klansman and White Southern Nationalist to join christians against tyrannical Federal judges.” The raging fanatics ended by marshaling christian support to oppose “the Federal Government, by way of its foreign masters, that is set to push this abomination on the God fearing people of Alabama and send Jack Booted thugs to enforce marriage equality.” The Klan statement should disabuse any foolish idea that Moore’s or the Klan’s challenge is solely about the legitimacy of the Constitution, and more about imposing the evangelical fanaticism on Americans and nullifying Constitution as the law of the land.
In Alabama, and many biblical states, opposition to equal rights for same-sex couples is rampant. Despite what the Klan says, the only thing decent Americans are in shock over is that the evangelical bigots are resisting the United States Constitution and its guarantee of equal rights for all Americans. The Moore-Klan types are also opposed to the Constitution’s protections against America becoming a christian theocracy to rival Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and it is glaringly evident in the ease at which they disavow the Constitution.
Wingnut christians are obsessed with gays and same-sex marriage, something jesus never mentioned, and yet no politician, lawyer, or judge at any level has the courage to cite the source of such bigotry, and opposition to the U.S. Constitution, is based on the bible. Maybe if the conversation was shifted slightly from “social wingnuts” attempting to enforce discriminatory policies to “fanatical evangelicals” enforcing the christian bible as the reason for vile religious laws, the public would wake up. For dog’s sake, even Roy Moore is smart enough to couch his opposition to gays in state’s rights, misreading of the Supremacy Clause or a moronic interpretation of the Constitution because those arguments work on stupid and ignorant Faux News devotees.
Even ignorant Americans would give pause if they knew the real issue in play is evangelical fanatics forcing old testament edicts on all Americans. Although Americans are not the smartest folks on Earth, they have seen the results of a government run by religious fanatics like the Taliban which is precisely where evangelicals want to take America but no-one is willing to admit it.

Venezuelan Crisis

In the throes of economic chaos, Venezuela seems in dire straits. What has brought the country to its current state?

Jordan vs ISIL

Jordan's King Abdullah II has promised a relentless and punishing campaign against ISIL militants attempting to destabilize his country and the Middle East. Can Jordan win the fight against ISIL?

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Rita Hayworth in Technicolor!
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Rita Hayworth in Technicolor!

Alabama cop body slams elderly man to ground, paralyzes him

eric-parkerSureshbhai Patel was taking his morning walk on the the street outside his son's home in Alabama when a concerned resident spotted him and called police to report a "skinny black guy" wearing a "toboggan" in his neighborhood. Police arrived on the scene, and when one officer became frustrated that Patel wasn't complying with his orders to stop "jerking away," he slammed Patel to the ground so hard that it paralyzed him. Patel had been in the US for a week and didn't understand English.
The audio offers a clips of the interaction, mainly just what the officers say.
"What's going on sir?"
"You what?"
"Where you heading?"
"I can't understand you, sir."
"Where's your address?"
"Do you have any ID?"
"Do you live here."
"Sir, sir, come here."
"Do not jerk away from me again, or I will put you on the ground. Do you understand?"
Eventually, the two officers turn Patel around and have his hands behind his back. At one point, as another patrol car pulls up, Parker yanks his arm and slams him into the ground. Patel can not put out his hands to break his fall. He would require cervical fusion and remains in Huntsville Hospital with limited mobility in his limbs. His son as of Tuesday said his father could not move one leg at all.
The video continues, with officers trying to get the man to stand. One officer begins picking dirt and debris off of him. The concern slowly becomes evident in their voices.
"He don't speak a lick of English."
The police filed a report blaming Patel for the assault against him, claiming he'd been snooping around people's garages. After Patel's family hired an attorney, police backed off from the accusations. The officer who is seen in the video slamming Patel to the ground, Eric Parker, turned himself in and was charged with third degree assault. He was released on a $1,000 bond.

The NHL's Secret Weapon?

Women's Figure Skaters
The National Hockey League has a secret weapon they rely on more than anyone realizes: woman figure skaters. A surprising number of former champion figure skaters go on to coach not only other figure skaters, but professional hockey players. It may shock an NHL player to be sent for lessons from a figure skater, but read what happened when ’80s pairs champion
Barbara Underhill was asked to help 6’ 7” then-New York Rangers forward Brian Boyle.

Coming off a disappointing season in New York, Boyle had been sent to Underhill to improve his skating. Skeptical at first, the towering Boyle could barely walk by the time they were done.
"I knew by the end of one session that I got him. He felt something different. He felt like, 'This feels easier,'" Underhill said of Boyle. "I think that was the kicker. He realized, 'Maybe she can teach me something.'"
Shortly after their final session, Boyle called her from Rangers training camp in panic. He was speeding by opponents with far less effort. It felt strange and unnatural.
"That means you're doing it right," Underhill reminded him.
It makes sense, since hockey players normally learn to ice skate as children specifically so they can play hockey, while figure skaters learn technique from professionals. Hockey players grow up concentrating on the game. Coaches know that better skating skills will allow more of their cognitive effort to go to the game. Even the toughest hockey players change their opinions of figure skaters when they see the results, as you can read about at ESPN.

Cups of Tea from around the World

Handcrafted Hard Candy

La Confiserie CandyLabs in Montreal is known for handcrafted hard candy with shapes inside. Watching how they do it is mesmerizing. After they cook and flavor the candy, it gets manipulated -a lot. All that manipulation to make the designs goes on in a hurry to keep the candy at the right temperature, consistency, and shape. I was impressed with how clean the process is, despite how much handling the candy goes through. The entire process takes about three hours. If you’re in Montreal, you can see them do this live!

Random Photos

Mother's car repossessed with 9-month-old baby still inside

A vehicle with a child inside was repossessed in Florida on Tuesday. The Orlando Police Department helped the mother track down the vehicle and find the 9-month-old baby girl. "I thought somebody kidnapped her because my oldest daughter said, 'It was two white males [who] got in the car and they just left,'" Antoinette Jordan said.
Jordan went inside an Orlando day care to pick up her other two children, and when she went back outside, the car was gone. "I was just very, very scared," Jordan said. "I would never think nobody would take my baby. I didn't care about the car. They could have got their possession, I just want my baby back."
Orlando police tracked the baby and the car to Xpress Finance and General Auto on John Young Parkway, about four miles from the day care. Jordan said she owes the company $199, which was due on February 7. Typically vehicles are not repossessed three days after a missed payment. "Check the car before you take it, that's really it. Just don't take nobody's baby," Jordan said.

"I didn't care about the car. I make my payment and get my car back but don't take my baby and have me worried. She's just 9 months old." Wanda Barkley, the day care director, said the situation was terrifying. Barkley kept the other children while the mother worked with police to find the car. "We went on lockdown," Barkley said. The day care quickly came off of lockdown when officials realized the car had not been stolen. It is unclear if any charges will be filed.

Kids React to Spam

In this episode of Kids React, the unfortunate little tykes are being subjected to Spam. Obviously some people like the stuff or it wouldn't be on the market, but I've never met a Spam proponent in person, nor have I tried it. After hearing the sound of the gelatinous substance sliding out of the can courtesy of this video, I have no regrets about not being adventurous in that regard. Any Spam fans reading this? Sing its praises, as well as what your preferred method of preparation is, in the comments.

British Police Warn “Nighthawks” to Stay Away From Hadrian’s Wall

by Sarah Pruitt
Hadrian’s Wall, the 1,900-year-old fortification built by Roman imperial troops in the second century A.D., stretches for nearly 80 miles across northern Britain, winding its way through some of the country’s most beautiful countryside. Unfortunately, this striking monument has apparently been attracting more than hikers and history buffs. According to a recent warning issued by British heritage experts and police, unauthorized metal detectorists—known as “nighthawks”—have being digging illegally at several sites along Hadrian’s Wall, presumably in search of Roman-era jewelry, coins and other long-buried items.
hadrians wall
By the time Emperor Hadrian—an experienced military commander and protégé of the previous emperor, Trajan—began his reign in A.D. 117, the Roman Empire had achieved its largest expanse, encompassing some 5 million square kilometers and 70 million people, or about 20 percent of the world’s population. Hadrian would spend more than half his reign traveling throughout the empire, building temples, libraries and other monuments wherever he went. A lover of architecture, Hadrian also commissioned two of the most important surviving buildings in Rome: the Castel Sant’Angelo, overlooking the Tiber River and originally built as his mausoleum, and the Pantheon, which at 142 feet in diameter remains the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever constructed.
In A.D. 122, Hadrian traveled to Roman Britain, where he is believed to have stayed for several months. According to a biography written two centuries after his death, while he was in Britain Hadrian ordered the construction of a massive wall separating the Romans and their subjects from barbarian invaders from the north. Measuring 15 feet high and 10 feet thick, Hadrian’s Wall stretched from coast to coast across northern Britain, a distance of around 73 miles. Initial construction took six years, and the wall was further expanded and improved in later years.
Upon Hadrian’s death in A.D. 138, his successor Antoninus Pius decided to extend Roman rule northward by building a new wall in Scotland, but within two decades the so-called Antonine Wall would be abandoned in favor of Hadrian’s fortification. In the second and third centuries, during the Roman heyday, some 15,000 troops and engineers lined the wall. Combined with another 15,000 to 18,000 elsewhere in Britain, this made up one of the largest imperial forces outside of Rome. Hadrian’s Wall continued in use until nearly the end of Roman rule in Britain, circa A.D. 410. UNESCO designated Hadrian’s Wall as a World Heritage Site in 1987, honoring it along with the ancient Roman border in Germany as a site called the Frontiers of the Roman Empire.
One of many illegal excavations along Hadrian's Wall (Credit: English Heritage)
One of many illegal excavations along Hadrian's Wall
According to English Heritage and the National Trust, two organizations charged with protecting Britain’s historic sites, that all-important heritage is now under attack. The organizations joined the Northumberland National Park Authority and Northumberland police this week in issuing a warning against “nighthawking,” or the unregulated use of metal detectors, which they say has recently occurred at several sites along Hadrian’s Wall. Experts investigating the illegal digs found that grass had been pulled up and soil raked through, presumably in search of objects that might have been buried there in Roman times.
The authorities believe the spike in so-called “heritage crime” in Britain coincides with an increased number of amateur metal detectorists that occurred in the wake of such publicized finds as the Staffordshire Hoard, a cache of more than 3,500 pieces of Anglo-Saxon gold found scattered over a field near Hammerwich, England, in 2009. As the sites near Hadrian’s Wall are legally protected, it is a criminal offense to use metal detecting equipment without obtaining authorization from English Heritage. As Mark Harrison, the organization’s national crime advisor, told the Telegraph: “The practice of nighthawking, particularly from such important sites as Hadrian’s Wall, is an issue that we take very seriously….The objects they are stealing belong to the landowner, in this case the National Trust, and the history they are stealing belongs to all of us.”
English Heritage and the National Trust are currently working with the Northumberland National Park Authority and the police to identify the perpetrators, who may face stiff penalties for their actions. In 2013, two men were given one-year prison sentences (suspended for two years) and forced to do community service and pay damages after they used illegal metal detectors to remove Iron Age and medieval-era artifacts from a site in Northamptonshire.

Pits, pots and pitchstone ...

... a palimpsest of prehistory in one corner of Scotland
Post-excavation analysis of the results of an excavation carried out by GUARD Archaeology in 2011 in advance of a housing development in Monkton, Ayrshire (south-west Scotland), has revealed evidence of intermittent human occupation of this landscape from the Mesolithic through the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age, right up into the medieval and post-medieval periods. ‘The earliest identifiable activity on the site,’ said Christine Rennie, who led the excavation and subsequent analyses, ‘was an accumulation of charcoal-rich material that overlay a circular pit, dated to the seventh millennium BC. However, despite the number of pits and post-holes found across the site, no particular pattern or structures could be identified. Botanical analysis by Susan Ramsay suggests that some Mesolithic occupation took place here, although the quantity of carbonized material indicates that the location was re-visited on more than one occasion.‘
Neolithic activity
Artefactual and botanical evidence for Neolithic activity is more apparent, with several excavated pits containing material dating from this period. Five were found to have been fire pits, indicating settlement of some form, however transitory. A range of pottery vessels, backed up by radiocarbon dates indicate occupation across this site from the middle of the fourth millennium BC into the late third millennium BC.
‘For a small collection, the assemblage is unusual in containing sherds of various types of decorated pottery and more plain cooking pots from the same period,’ said Beverley Ballin Smith, who undertook the analysis of the pottery. ‘The range of vessels was dominated by Impressed Wares that are relatively rare for this region of Scotland, and uncommon when compared to other types of Neolithic pottery. The Monkton assemblage fills a gap in the South Ayrshire area and provides information on a range of different pots and decorative motifs.’
Prehistoric ceramic fragments from Monkton © GUARD Archaeology Ltd
Prehistoric ceramic fragments from Monkton
The Monkton Impressed Ware is significant because of the range of rim/collar and body sherds buried and recovered together from pits. The presence of well-formed and highly decorated rim/collars contrasts strikingly with the more sparsely decorated, and less well made body sherds from pots that were in all likelihood cooking vessels. That three pits had this combination of vessels is probably not coincidental, and the sherds could point the way to an understanding of the rituals and meaning associated with the activities in this area. There is a dichotomy between the presence of sherds that are extraordinary and those that are ordinary, those that are unusual and those that are mundane, possibly reflecting broad ritual and domestic activities.
Although the lithic assemblage recovered from Monkton is also numerically small, it adds to the general understanding of the region’s later Neolithic settlement. Apart from two stray microlith-related pieces, a pitchstone microblade, and a small group of mainly quartz artifacts from the roundhouse (Iron Age) and its surroundings, most finds date to the middle/late Neolithic period. The latter were all recovered from pits, or pit surroundings.
‘These lithic finds,’ said Torben Ballin, who carried out the analysis of the flint, quartz and pitchstone artifacts, ‘inform on later Neolithic lithic artefact forms and technology; the exchange of Yorkshire flint, which until now has been somewhat less common in south-west Scotland in comparison with the importation of flint from Antrim; and site activities. A scale-flaked/serrated piece relates to the processing of vegetable matter; a scraper may have been engaged in the processing of hides, although it cannot be ruled out that it was used to process harder materials, like wood, antler or bone; and two arrowheads relate to either hunting or warfare.’
Iron Age roundhouse
The only structure that could be identified was an Iron Age ring-groove roundhouse, one of several such known but unexcavated around Monkton. Botanical remains from a associated Iron Age pit included barley and oats, in contrast to the traces of barley and wheat from the earlier Neolithic pits. Botanical remains from the roundhouse itself indicate that upright timbers and wattle-work woven between these supporting timbers formed the exterior wall of the roundhouse. Very little charcoal was found in the interior post-holes, making it unlikely that the structure was destroyed by fire, while the rotted remains of a wooden post found in one of the post-holes suggests that the site fell into disuse through abandonment. The roundhouse was later truncated by medieval and post-medieval cultivation furrows.
Plan of Iron Age roundhouse at Monkton © GUARD Archaeology Ltd
Plan of Iron Age roundhouse at Monkton
Multi-phase sites
‘The site at Monkton is one of a small but increasing number of excavated sites situated on the raised beaches of the Ayrshire coast,’ said Christine Rennie. ‘Recent GUARD Archaeology excavations at the Curragh near Girvan also revealed a multi-phase site, with activity during the Neolithic, Bronze Age and early Iron Age. Further research into these multi-phase sites of Ayrshire, particularly the raised beach coastal sites, is required in order to better understand the patterns of prehistoric settlement in this relatively neglected area of Scotland.’

Historical Photos

Janis Joplin

NASA Wants to Send a Submarine to Titan

Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, has liquid seas made of methane and ethane. Since it is the only planetary body other than the Earth within our solar system known to have liquid seas, it fascinates scientists. Some want to learn more about those seas in ways that space probes flying by can't. They have a radical proposal to do so: build a submarine and send it to Titan.
Their plan is to build an autonomous submersible probe than can spend 3 months on Titan examining the largest sea there. The proposal offers serious engineering challenges due to the powerful currents and extreme cold on Titan. Discovery News reports:
Envisaged as a possible mission to Titan’s largest sea, Kracken Mare, the autonomous submersible would be designed to make a 90 day, 2,000 kilometer (1,250 mile) voyage exploring the depths of this vast and very alien marine environment. As it would spend long periods under the methane sea’s surface, it would have to be powered by a radioisotope generator; a source that converts the heat produced by radioactive pellets into electricity, much like missions that are currently exploring space, like Cassini and Mars rover Curiosity.
Communicating with Earth would not be possible when the vehicle is submerged, so it would need to make regular ascents to the surface to transmit science data.
But Kracken Mare is not a tranquil lake fit for gentle sailing — it is known to have choppy waves and there is evidence of tides, all contributing to the challenge. Many of the engineering challenges have already been encountered when designing terrestrial submarines — robotic and crewed — but as these seas will be extremely cold (estimated to be close to the freezing point of methane, 90 Kelvin or -298 degrees Fahrenheit), a special piston-driven propulsion system will need to be developed and a nitrogen will be needed as ballast, for example.

A New Look

A new image processing technique could transform radar imagery of the Saturn moon's enigmatic surface.

A View Of Home

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket made its first foray into deep space this week, depositing a U.S. space weather satellite into an orbit that eventually will reach more than four times farther away than the moon.

Everything Is Spinning

Most of us kind of get that the Earth is spinning and lots of other stuff out there is doing the same. Fair enough, but ... WHY?

Animal Pictures