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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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Daily Drift

Got to get new strings ...!
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Today in History

1527 German troops begin sacking Rome. Libraries are destroyed, the Pope is captured and thousands are killed.
1529 Babur defeats the Afgan Chiefs in the Battle of Ghagra, India.
1682 King Louis XIV moves his court to Versailles, France.
1856 U.S. Army troops from Fort Tejon and Fort Miller prepare to ride out to protect Keyesville, California, from Yokut Indian attack.
1861 Arkansas becomes the ninth state to secede from the Union.
1862 Henry David Thoreau dies of tuberculosis at age 44.
1864 In the second day of the Battle of Wilderness between Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Confederate Gen. James Longstreet is wounded by his own men.
1877 Chief Crazy Horse surrenders to U.S. troops in Nebraska.Crazy Horse brought General Custer to his end.
1937 The dirigible Hindenburg explodes in flames at Lakehurst, New Jersey.
1941 Bob Hope gives his first USO show at California's March Field.
1942 General Jonathan Wainwright surrenders Corregidor to the Japanese.
1944 The Red Army besieges and captures Sevastopol in the Crimea.
1945 Axis Sally makes her final propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.
1954 British runner Roger Banister breaks the four minute mile.
1960 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960.
1962 The first nuclear warhead is fired from a Polaris submarine.
1994 The Channel Tunnel linking England to France is officially opened.

Kids don't care if you swap ...

Kids don't care if you swap french fries for fruit

Making sense of smell

With just a sniff, our noses can detect smells that trigger specific memories, tell us food has gone bad, or even connect us to a potential mate. What if a […]

Non Sequitur


The truth about trailer parks ...

Mobile home park sign in California  - Shutterstock
Sex offenders have been good for park owner Lee financially, with park occupancy running at “1,000%”. She rents trailer pad spots for about $325 a month. The trailers are either owned by the tenant or rented from a third party. Many trailers are divided into three bedrooms, for which tenants are charged $500 a month per room.

Wingnuts Remarkably Quiet About Freddie Gray’s 2nd Amendment Rights Being Violated

Conservatives Remarkably Quiet About Freddie Gray’s 2nd Amendment Rights Being Violated
You’d think “right to bear arms” wingnuts would be outraged over the arrest of Freddie Gray… but they’re not. — Why?

Here’s How The Nation’s Two Largest States Plan To Crack Down On Predatory Lending

Predatory lenders thrive in Texas, where regulations are scarce on stores that offer payday advance loans and allow borrowers to put their cars up as collateral for high-cost, short-term credit. But a trio of bills being considered in the legislature would update state law to make it harder for desperate borrowers to wind up trapped in endless loan-renewal cycles when they turn to payday and auto title loans.
The bills would put a length limit on what lenders can offer, prohibiting unpaid loans from being rolled over more than three times. The industry’s profits depend upon borrowers who get stuck in much longer chains of loan renewals that drive the overall interest rate on the borrowing up over 400 percent APR, according to federal data.
Along with the duration cap on re-lending, companies would have to ensure that a customer pays down the principal amount by at least 25 percent each time they refinance a loan. The two provisions together would help tie loan terms to a borrower’s real income and timely ability to repay.
Such rules are unenforceable without having comprehensive data on who is borrowing what from whom. One of the Texas bills would create a state database to track lending. Payday lenders have fought hard against databases in other states like Alabama, lobbying lawmakers and filing suit to enlist judges in their efforts.
The bills have the backing of the local chapter of the AARP. A fifth of all customers at Texas payday and auto title lending shops are over the age of 50, according to the group, which has also published polls showing that three-quarters of Texans older than 45 say they strongly support tighter rules for the loans.
If the Texas laws pass, the two largest states in the country would likely be building payday loan databases at the same time. California regulators are introducing a new slate of rules for policing high-cost lending, including a database provision that would help the state to better enforce the rules that are already on the books.
“California limits you to one payday loan at a time, but there’s no way to enforce that because there isn’t a database,” Pew Charitable Trusts small-dollar lending expert Alex Horowitz told ThinkProgress, stressing that even a loan that complies with California law is still more expensive than should be allowed. “Databases have acted as a backstop in some states. But they’re not sufficient as regulation. Even with a database and with this proposal, most borrowers cannot afford to repay $300 in two weeks. For an average payday borrower, that’s a quarter of their gross income.”
While Texas’ proposed database is part of a crackdown on brick-and-mortar loan shops, the new California consumer protections are tailored to the digital age. The state wants to prohibit payday lenders from gaining access to borrowers’ bank accounts – a move that could drive internet-only lenders out of business, and decrease the price that low-income borrowers pay for desperation loans – and force them to rely on traditional paper checks as collateral. The regulators are also partnering with Google and Microsoft to make it harder for unscrupulous internet lenders to promote their products to California web users.
Pushing online lenders out of business should make for a less-abusive overall market for resource-starved families who need quick cash. “Interest rates online are generally higher than they are at storefront lenders,” Horowitz said.
Compared to the dozen-plus states that have made payday lending impossible in their borders, California’s current approach is moderate. Storefront lenders that register with the state have “loan sizes capped at $255, and fees capped at $45,” Horowitz said. Interest rates on such loans are still quite high, but far lower than the roughly 400 percent annual interest that lenders charge on average in less-regulated states.
Reform proposals for storefront lending in Texas and online lending in California illustrate the diversity of regulatory approaches that states pursue in the absence of national rules for lending that targets the poor. As the industry siphons billions of dollars per year out of low-income communities, federal neglect has turned efforts to protect consumers into a game of whack-a-mole in which lenders successfully lobby against most regulations. But all that will soon change, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is preparing the first-ever national regulations to link lenders’ offerings to borrowers’ actual ability to repay the loans.
With its new regulations, the agency seeks to balance genuine consumer demand for emergency loans with the public interest in preventing the most predatory and abusive features of the traditional business model. While states like Connecticut and New York have sought to prohibit payday lenders from operating in any form, most Americans live in states like California and Texas that allow the businesses to exist while trying to legislate against their most abusive habits.
The forthcoming federal rules will attempt to replicate the most successful elements of those hybrid regulatory approaches, and impose new underwriting standards on lenders to prevent them from knowingly signing someone up for a loan they can’t afford to repay on time. The final rules are years away, but they will likely be modeled on the approach that states like Colorado take: limit the cost of these loans, prohibit the most egregious fine-print tricks lenders use, but make sure this lending remains economically viable so that desperate low-income people have somewhere to turn.

Council tells man that the gaps between the slats on his fence are too narrow

Rowan Macdonald has been served an abatement notice by the Nelson City Council in New Zealand, saying that the gaps between the slats of his new fence are too small. The gap must be 25mm, the council says. Macdonald's counter is that spacing of that width would not only invade his privacy but also create a biting hazard for children who might put their fingers through the gaps to pet his three big dogs. He says the natural shrinkage of the slats as the timber dries will widen the spacing to 10mm and that you can already see through the gaps. But he's still faced with an abatement notice - and says he'll fight the council in the Environment Court rather than give in to a ruling he maintains is simply wrong. At Thursday night's Rules Reduction Taskforce meeting in Nelson he got support from the housing minister, Nelson MP Nick Smith, who already knew all about it.
"When Rowan told me the story I was a bit gobsmacked and went down and had a look," Smith said. "It is a perfectly respectable fence and if he'd like to build the same fence on my property I'd be pleased to have it." Macdonald, one of a series of speakers who told the government taskforce members of problems encountered through the Resource Management Act and Building Act as applied by councils, said he'd been told by council representatives that his fence breached the RMA, which aimed to promote safer communities by ensuring that people could see out of their sections into the street, and vice versa. He said the council had provided him with three different "official" requirements for the gap: a thumb's width, 20mm and 25mm, finding the latter, he believed, having "sat around a room and measured their thumbs and come up with an average measurement".
A gap that wide would invade his privacy, he said. "I'm disgusted by that. My house is on three levels, the living area is on the second level and I have a bedroom on the third level. They look over the frickin' fence anyway." A council officer had told him he could apply for an exemption at a cost of $1000, he said, but had also indicated the council would look forward to seeing its ruling tested in court. He would be filing papers with the Environment Court on Monday. "The Act says that fences have to be visually permeable. You can see through my fence. If it was a straight iron fence or a straight concrete fence you couldn't see through it. I'm dismayed at this rule and having to defend myself in court for a measurement that doesn't even exist." Taskforce member, Far North mayor and former MP John Carter said Macdonald's case involved a local rule resulting from the Act.
"That's when it becomes complicated. That's the stuff that Nick's trying to fix so that we can get on to some of this dopey stuff and get it changed." Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese, also a taskforce member, said the fence was a very good example of what the taskforce was looking for as it prepared to write a report on how to weed out pedantic and frustrating rules around property and housing. "The trouble is, once the rule's been made, it's very difficult and slow to get rid of it." Council strategy and environment group manager Clare Barton said the new fence rules had been in place since July 2012 and aimed to create more streetscape openness and a better sense of safety. Fences constructed before then could be replaced like with like. Barton said council officers assessed each case on its own merits to determine if anyone walking down the street could see through the fence into the property. Macdonald had been advised that his fence was in breach. He could apply for a resource consent for the fence as it stands, or alter it. He'd elected to do neither, she said.

Man pays €500 to court for squirting tomato ketchup and mustard at fish and chip shop staff

Gardaí were called to a fish and chip in Sneem, Co Kerry, Ireland, after a customer squirted sauce to such an extent it put staff in fear, Kenmare District Court was told. Mindaugas Knyz, 37, who works as a chef, went to the Hungry Knight fast food restaurant, North Square, Sneem, at about 2am on September 20th, 2014, Supt Flor Murphy told the court.
“He was causing problems. He was throwing chips and red sauce around,” Supt Murphy said. The episode went on for 15 minutes, the court was told. Knyza, of Sneem, pleaded guilty to engaging in offensive conduct by squirting tomato ketchup and mustard sauce over the counter in a fast food outlet, putting employees in fear, contrary to the Public Order Act, 2008.
“I ordered chips, I don’t know what happened,” Knyza, who works as a chef at the Sneem Hotel, told the court . He appeared to be “blasé” about the charge, Judge James O’Connor noted. Judge O’Connor warned Knyza he should consider making a contribution to the court poor box to avoid a conviction.
“Nobody wants to hire a chef with a conviction - especially for squirting tomato and mustard sauce all over the place,” the judge warned. The judge adjourned the matter briefly and Knyza decided to consult with solicitor Padraig O’Connell. He then offered €500 (£370, $560) to the court poor box and this was accepted. The judge gave him until next October to pay.

Police helicopter scrambled after reports of woman wearing pajamas on street

The police helicopter was called after reports of a woman in pajamas in the street in Wigan, Greater Manchester..
NPAS Barton were called to assist officers in the area in the early hours of Friday morning.
However when the helicopter arrived the woman could not be found and the search was called off.
It is not known what initially sparked the police search.

Ungrateful mugger stole jewellery then returned to victim complaining that it was fake

A man accused of snatching jewellery from a tourist in Miami Beach, Florida, then becoming angry over the quality of the merchandise has been arrested.

Authorities removed man stuck in basketball hoop

Police and fire crews used a ladder to rescue a shirtless man hanging upside down by his foot from a basketball hoop at around 6:30pm on Friday in Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill in Seattle.
The hammer-wielding man somehow climbed up the hoop and became stuck. As nearly a dozen police officers looked on, the man then began thrashing around.
At times he was dangling just by his stuck foot, other times with his head stuck inside the rim, all in an apparent attempt to free his foot. Twice as the man dangled by just his foot upside down, police officers attempted to get him free, to no avail.

It took a ladder from a Seattle Fire truck and two firefighters to climb up and cut down the net and free the man. Seattle Police say they're still deciding whether to cite the unidentified man for any wrongdoing.

Random Pictures


Madam Moll, Gangster from The Late 20’s with her M1928 Thompson in front of a bank safe she just robbed…

I would think that the first rule of bank robbery would be don’t stop for selfies but what do I know?

you dont know shit
Madam Moll, Gangster from The Late 20’s with her M1928 Thompson in front of a bank safe she just robbed…
One would think that the first rule of bank robbery would be don’t stop for selfies but what do we know.

Space Radiation and Astronauts' Brains

Extended radiation in space can permanently harm the brain, studies on lab animals showed.

'Witch Girl'

A Medieval teenage girl found buried face-down in northern Italy suffered from scurvy and was rejected by her community.

Two New Lizards Discovered in Chile

Jaime Troncoso-Palacios
Liolaemus scorialis
Researchers in Chile have discovered two new species of iguanid lizards. Experts believe that the two new species have long been confused with similar lizards; a morphological analysis just recently distinguished the them from their relatives.
The two new species, Liolaemus scorialis and Liolaemus zabalai, were discovered in Chile's Laja Lagoon. Both lizards are native to Chile and join the more than 240 previously-identified members of the Liolaemus genus.
Liolaemus zabalai
Liolaemus zabalai
L. scorialis was named after the scoria volcanic rock that is abundant throughout its natural habitat. L. zabalai pays homage to Patricio Zabala, a collection manager who has provided valuable support to herpetological research expeditions in Chile.
"Our work adds two new species to the species rich elongatus-kriegi complex of lizards from the vicinity of the Laja Lagoon. Nonetheless, there is certainly still much to discover about the diversity of this group of Patagonian lizards," remarked study lead author Dr. Jaime Troncoso-Palacios.
Click here for more information

Dog crashed couple’s truck into swimming pool

Caroline, a black Labrador, is in the doghouse after she crashed a 1988 Dodge Ram into a swimming pool. Michael and Ruth Smith took Caroline along for a ride on Friday as they stopped to pick up some groceries from a store in Erwin, North Carolina. Michael Smith said that’s when the dog got spooked by something.

Fisherman caught cow after it jumped into harbor

A fisherman from Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory caught more than he was probably expecting after assisting with the rescue of a brahman cow that had jumped from a nearby wharf. Jonathan Brandenburg and his wife helped two stockmen catch the animal, which had jumped into Darwin Harbour while being readied for loading onto a live export ship last Saturday.
"My wife and I started flicking for some queenies [queenfish] and this guy starting yelling at us from the wharf and he asked us if we would help him out," he said. "So two of them jump in the tinny and one gets his rope out, wrangles it around the animal's neck and pulls it against the boat. The boat's going all over the place and me and my wife were freaking out, but it was all good. We just cruised two kilometers back to the East Arm boat ramp. It took about an hour to an hour and a half."
Tony Eggington, interim executive officer of the Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association, thanked Mr Brandenburg and his wife for their efforts. "We owe them a vote of thanks because they came to our assistance quickly and readily to help the animal," he said. Mr Eggington said cattle rarely escaped. "The live exporters have around 450,000 cattle exported from the Port of Darwin each year and we do get two or three animals escape from those loadings and shipments," he said.

He said there were always animal welfare officers present to monitor loading. "Livestock exporters have an escaped animal management plan at East Arm Wharf approved by Department of Agriculture and the Darwin Port Authority," Mr Eggington said. "We were able to tie this animal down, restrain its head and take its weight around its girth and then swim it to shore, where it was hoisted up into a truck and taken back to the yards. The animal was a bit stressed from having an evening swim, but has been looked after and has undergone a full recovery."

Animal Pictures