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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.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Daily Drift

And, they're off ...!
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Today in History

1770   Marie Antoinette marries future King Louis XVI of France.  
1863   At the Battle of Champion's Hill, Union General Ulysess S. Grant repulses the Confederates, driving them into Vicksburg.  
1868   President Andrew Johnson is acquitted during Senate impeachment, by one vote, cast by Edmund G. Ross.  
1879   The Treaty of Gandamak between Russia and England sets up the Afghan state.
1920   Joan of Arc is canonized in Rome.  
1928   The first Academy Awards are held in Hollywood.  
1943   A specially trained and equipped Royal Air Force squadron destroys two river dams in Germany.  
1951   Chinese Communist Forces launch second step, fifth-phase offensive and gain up to 20 miles of territory.  
1960   A Big Four summit in Paris collapses because of the American U-2 spy plane affair.  
1963   After 22 Earth orbits, Gordon Cooper returns to Earth, ending the last mission of Project Mercury.

5 Parents Reveal How They Had The Dreaded "Sex Talk" With Their Kids

by Aly Walansky
 Sex Talk With Their Kid
Oh, my. The awkward.
We all remember the mortifying "talk" with our own parents. We all also have stories of parents pretending sex doesn't exist and feigning ignorance about our virginity, well into adulthood. Eventually, every parent has to have "the talk" with their kids, and when they do the results tend to be rather awkward ... and super hilarious.
Check out some stories from both parents and their children about their first time having "the talk."
1. I used an opening joke. 
"I found that humor made it better. I started off with, 'I'm a parent, so I don't know anything about sex. If you want to know anything, just go ask the kids at school,' and that broke the barrier and made the rest of the conversation easier. We had this talk when they were in grade school (as girls were already give boys blow jobs.)
"We talked about touching, using your tongue and mouth (which grossed them out!) and actual penetration. I have girls and I told them about keeping their body as a temple; don't let anyone in unless they really want it in there. I told them I'd answer any questions."
2. I was straightforward ... and my son was horrified.
"He was 9 and an older kid told him about something called sex so he asked me what it was. I wasn't prepared, but didn't want to avoid his question, so I told him what it was. He was horrified and said that he would never do that. Then, I said if he really loved someone he would feel differently because he would want to be close to them. His response was a whew and then, 'I don't have to worry about that until I'm in fourth grade!'"
3. Sex-Ed courtesy of Miley Cyrus.
"I told my 10-year-old boy about sex when he was in fourth grade. I figured it was time. I bought an age appropriate sex book and we read it together. Then, we went on the internet and Googled 'conception' to watch millions of sperm swimming to one egg.
"He said this topic was 'very interesting because it was like science.' I haven't told him about homosexuality yet. His cousin has a partner whom my son calls 'Aaron's brother.' He also found the Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda' video on YouTube. This blew his mind. He couldn't believe that a girl would touch another girl's butt.
"He also found the Miley Cyrus 'Wrecking Ball' video. That was another chapter in his development. I got a note from his teacher that said he was telling the little girls in his class about both videos. It's hard to keep kids young. He's still pretty innocent. I have another book that's more sophisticated than the first one. I'm planning to read that one with him soon."
4. I made them pay for condoms ... while I stood there and watched.
"I've always been fairly open about sex with my kids. It's not a taboo subject in my house. I didn't want them growing up thinking that they should be ashamed of their bodies or that the sex of their partner mattered so long as those partners were good people, so I've brought it up regularly since they were young.
"We've had more of a running conversation through the years rather than a 'let's sit down and have The Big Uncomfortable OMG-I-Don't-Want-To-Be-Here conversation' that you see on sitcoms and hear about from your friends. The conversation started when my eldest got old enough to notice her brother had different parts than she did, so we talked about it ... age appropriately.
"We talked again when they started middle school, again when they had sex education classes in school (both years), yet again when puberty started, and when they started dating. We continue to discuss it now (they're 15 and 17) and I'm proud to say that both of my children come to me with their questions. They know I'll give them the straight answer. I also don't make a big deal out of these talks.
"There's no reason to feel shame or embarrassment on either side. I always kept age appropriateness in mind, used proper names (penis and vagina, not willy or thingy), and most importantly, I let them know that both their bodies and those of their partners (when they were old enough to start thinking about sex) were to be treated with respect, that no means no, and that sex is best when love and trust are involved.
"Then, when they started high school, I took them to the local drug store, gave them some money, and made them pay for condoms while I stood and watched. You see, I don't want to encourage them to have sex; I just want to ensure that when they do have sex, they do it safely."
5. I used the correct anatomy; she was mortified.
D = Daughter (11 years old)
M = Me
M: So, when 2 people are attracted to each other, they kiss. And they also do other things like touch each other to give the other person pleasure. That's why we also call it making love.
D: Gross! (She couldn't even look me in the eyes; she was so embarrassed.)
M: It won't be when you are ready to do it. Anyway, the touching of each other's private parts can also lead to sex. Sexual intercourse (when between a man and woman; I tried to be as PC as I could) is when the penis enters the vagina.
D: Oh, no! (She threw her hands over her face at this point, and couldn't look at me at all.)
M: Sweetie, I know it's hard to understand this now, but wouldn't you rather hear this from your mother first? During intercourse, the man and woman feel really good and close, and sometimes they both (or just one person) have an orgasm. When the man has an orgasm, he ejaculates semen. You will learn more about this in health class.
M: I don't want to overwhelm you with too many details. When women orgasm, they feel really, really good. I know I'm going to sound old-fashioned, but you only want to have sex when you are in love with someone. It's a special bond and not something you want throw around. You want to honor and respect your body. You don't want boys/men to use you or take advantage of you. It's special and private. OK?
D: Um, OK.
Overall, I believe she listened to everything I had to say, but she was definitely embarrassed and uncomfortable. That's pretty normal for an 11-year-old girl, I suppose.

America Becoming Less Christian, More Secular

America never was a christian nation in the first place and now the relio-wingnuts are losing more ground and we are all the better for it.
 Study: America Becoming Less Christian, More Secular
There are about five million fewer christians across the United States than there were in 2007.

How Arms Dealers Are Bribing Republicans To Launch New Wars In The Middle East

by: James DeVinnie
With the 2016 Presidential election already heating up, the drums of war can be heard echoing through Washington as militaristic Republican hawks attempt to outdo each other in their support of American interventionism and neocolonialism. Much of the political and monetary support for this war-mongering in the upcoming election will come from the lobby group founded by ex-chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers (R-MI) with the euphemistic goal of “electing a president who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy”. The group’s Orwellian name, Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security (APPS) was presumably chosen because the real name, Military-Industrial Contractors for War, Death, and Destruction, didn’t have the right ring to it. APPS has registered as a 501(c)(4) rather than a PAC and therefore is not required to release information about its donors. Even so, it is not hard to determine that the group is merely another front for the military-industrial complex, its board being chock full of men with intimate ties to the “defense” industry and riddled with conflicts of interest.
Chairman Mike Rogers himself, who demonstrated his ignorance of national intelligence by declaring that Edward Snowden was a Russian double agent, has already benefited from his cozy ties with the war machine. In Congress Rogers has repeatedly touted the need for “more surveillance” in the United States, supported the CISPA bill to allow the government unlimited internet surveillance, and has been one of the House’s staunchest NSA apologists. All of this while his wife, Kristi Rogers, was serving as President and CEO of Aegis LLC, a defense contractor with a $10 billion contract to provide security and intelligence-gathering services to the State Department. While he should have been indicted for such corruption, Rogers has instead strolled through the revolving door between Capitol Hill and K Street.
The APPS Board reads like a who’s who of the defense industry. Among its members are the CEO of VT systems, which provides communications technology to the Defense Department; an owner of the defense consulting firm RiceHadleyGates and board member of military contractor Raytheon; the CEO of EPE Corporation, one of the main DoD manufacturing suppliers; the president of the Business Roundtable, a lobbying consortium that represents military-industrial giants such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman; the founder of Insight Technologies, a military technology provider; the director of strategy for BAE Systems, one of the nation’s largest defense contractors; and the former CEO of both BAE and SAIC, another large contractor, who was partially paid in stock options. The list goes on and and on, a depressing and disgusting reminder of the influence on our political system wielded by men who kill for a living, and are rewarded handsomely for it.

Former Prison Counselor Recounts The Horrors The Mentally Ill Endure

One former prison mental health counselor started to develop his own mental health crisis after daily exposure to prison abuse.

Mother Of Autistic Child Plans To Sue United Airlines

Mother Of Autistic Child Plans To Sue United Airlines
The crew refused to allow Donna to buy something from the first class, despite her explaining that Juliette was a special needs child.

Wingnut spurns Obamacare and insurance ...

Luis Lang (GoFundMe)
The 49-year-old Lang, a self-employed handyman and Republican who works with banks and the federal government to maintain foreclosed properties, has never purchased insurance and always prided himself on paying his own medical bills.

Bus company pulls topless 'ride me all day for £3' posters following controversy

A bus company came under fire for promoting a new route with posters on the back of its vehicles showing an apparently topless woman holding a sign saying “ride me all day for £3”. The adverts, by Cardiff-based New Adventure Travel, prompted outrage in the city.
The company, which runs services in Cardiff and elsewhere in Wales, including school buses, was promoting the launch of a fleet of new buses for a cross-city service in Cardiff. At 11.30am on Monday, just a few hours after the campaign first appeared, the company said the adverts would be withdrawn.
While the posters feature both female and male models, the female versions came in for particular criticism. The company was apologetic. “Firstly we have stated that our objectives have been to make catching the bus attractive to the younger generation. We therefore developed an internal advertising campaign featuring males and females to hold boards to promote the cost of our daily tickets.
“The slogan of ‘ride me all day for £3’ whilst being a little tongue in cheek was in no way intended to cause offense to either men or women and, if the advert has done so then we apologize unreservedly. There has certainly been no intention to objectify either men or women. Given the volume of negativity received we have decided to remove the pictures from the back of the buses within the next 24 hours.”

Drunk man saved by emergency crews after falling 10ft over a wall snored throughout rescue

A drunk 20-stone (280lbs, 127kg) man fell 10ft over a wall and snored the whole time during his rescue by a fire crew and paramedics, oblivious to his ordeal.
Huddersfield Fire Station crew commander Shane Byrne said the drama began at midnight on Saturday in a wooded area near to the Dusty Miller pub in the Longwood area of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
He said: "It was amazing, he didn't open his eyes the whole time and just carried on snoring during the rescue which took around half an hour. A passer by raised the alarm and when we got there we had to cut down a number of trees and force a really old iron gate open.
"The man was in his mid to late 30s and around 6ft tall. Eventually we managed to extricate him and place him on a board so an ambulance could take him to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary for a check up. I don't think he had suffered any injury."

The Dire Consequences of Texas' Stupidity

The Family Planning Cuts That The Texas Legislature Forced Through Are Having Dire Consequences

How The FDA’s Revised Blood Ban Caters To Religio-Wingnut Anti-Gay Beliefs

Limiting the blood donation ban to just one year for gay and bi men shames gay sex just like religio-wingnuts do.

Flakka is more addictive than meth

There are drugs that you can understand the appeal of, and then there’s flakka.

Florida Woman Testifies Deputy Raped And Threatened Her

Florida Woman Testifies Deputy Raped And Threatened Her
A Florida woman testified on Tuesday that Lake County Deputy Sheriff Matthew Vernon Donnelly raped her, and then threatened to jail her boyfriend unless she kept it a secret.  

Washington woman says she was ‘well within her rights’ to shoot at husband for not doing chores

Young woman pointing a gun (Shutterstock)
Police spoke to Roth and she admitted that she “blew up” at her husband, and that her anger was “too far gone to resist” using the gun.

Mugger who left phone at scene of crime caught after asking police if it had been handed in

A mugger who dropped his mobile phone at the scene of a frightening street attack was caught when he rang the police to try and get it back. Paul Knight had grabbed his victim’s handbag strap as she walked in Farringdon, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, with her husband at night and dragged her to the ground, leaving her bruised and scared.
When the 25-year-old later realized he had dropped his phone during the struggle, he called the police to see if he could get it back. As a result of his call, Knight, of Sunderland, was arrested. At Newcastle Crown Court on Friday he was jailed for two years and four months after pleading guilty to robbery. During the hearing Knight was branded “stupid”, “incompetent” and “unsophisticated”.
Judge Edward Bindloss told him: “You dropped your mobile phone and in a rather unsophisticated act you telephoned the police and inquired if someone had handed it in. That is how you came to be arrested.” The judge said he was satisfied Knight, who had been trying to raise money to pay off a £500 cocaine debt, was sorry for what he did to his victim. Knight has previous convictions, but has never been to prison before.
His barrister, Tony Hawks, told the court: “The defendant attacked a woman who was with her husband, he didn’t disguise his identity, he had no weapon, he was incompetent enough to drop his mobile phone, and then sufficiently stupid to go and inquire with the police where his mobile phone might be. It does not suggest someone likely to make a successful career as a street robber.” The court heard the victim, who lost more than £530 in property and cash, has been left “wary” of even being at home after her ordeal, and lives in fear of being confronted again.

A giant man-made hole in Earth's atmosphere is finally closing up

by Jessica Orwig
earth ozone layer
Now that summer is here, you'll likely be slathering up with sunscreen.
Earth, it turns out, is doing the same, according to an encouraging study recently published by a team of scientists at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research at the Universities Space Research Association.
Earth has its own layer of sunscreen called the ozone layer, or ozone shield, which makes up part of the stratosphere and absorbs most of the sun's ultra-violet (UV) radiation. But it doesn't absorb all of the UV light, and what gets through can cause skin cancer and cataracts in humans as well as reproductive problems in fish, crabs, and frogs.
the hole should finally, permanently shrink below 8 million square miles by 2040 and could even be fully recovered by the end of the century
Since 1983, scientists have observed a scary phenomenon: Earth's ozone was extremely weak over parts of Antarctica, letting in bouts of harmful UV radiation. The reason, in part, was because a series of man-made chemicals — namely chlorine and bromine — were eating away the planet's protective, sunscreen-like layer.
They called this weaker region Antarctica's ozone hole. Although the hole's size varies each year, it has been consistently larger than 8 million square miles since 1990 — more than twice the size of the entire United States!
In recent years, scientific reports have noted that the hole is slowly healing — thanks to a decrease in ozone-depleting chemicals in the atmosphere — but scientists were not sure when the hole would be completely regenerated.
Now, according to a study published in journal Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, the hole should finally, permanently shrink below 8 million square miles by 2040s and could even be fully recovered by the end of the century.
The source of the problem
For the middle half of the 20th Century, companies used ozone-depleting chemicals, called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), in refrigerators and aerosol sprays that, through use, were getting released into the atmosphere. By the early '80s scientists were beginning to understand the damage that these chemicals were doing to the planet.
When CFCs float up to the troposphere, above the ozone, they interact with UV radiation from the sun releasing chlorine, which destroys ozone. As a result of this discovery, an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol was enacted in 1989 that began phasing out the production and subsequent emission of ozone-depleting chemicals.
By that point, however, the damage had been done.
These chemicals can hang out in the atmosphere for years after they've entered the atmosphere. Like a series of dominoes, the ozone hole continued to grow even after CFCs were banned. Here's a chart showing the size of the ozone hole, in blue, from 1979 through 2012:
Ozone depletion above the planet's north and south poles was exceptionally bad because Earth's wind currents were sweeping the chemicals toward either end of the planet.
Once these chemicals reached the poles, a large-scale cyclone, called the polar vortex, was trapping the chemicals where they accumulated over time to high concentrations, ravenously eating away the ozone (see the GIF below). This led to the Antarctic ozone hole as well as the Arctic ozone hole, which in 2011 reportedly had half the ozone it used to.
Using NASA'S Aura satellite — an instrument orbiting Earth that sniffs out certain chemicals, including chlorine — the team of scientists studied the amount of ozone-eating chemicals above Antarctica from 2004 to 2012. From that, they identified a clear relation between the level of chlorine in the atmosphere and the size of the ozone hole.
They then looked at ozone hole sizes from 1979 through 2013 and predicted what future hole sizes will be based on how quickly chlorine levels are decreasing in the atmosphere above the Antarctic.
"With this new information we can look into the future and say with confidence that ozone holes will be consistently smaller than 8 million square miles by 2040," said Susan Strahan, a senior research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, in a video about the study. "And that will really be a milestone that we're finally past the era of big ozone holes."
Check out the full video below:

Brazilian Ranchers Aren’t Cutting Down As Much Forest Anymore

  Breaking the cycle of deforestation in the Amazon is critical to fighting climate change.

Lobsters 'liberated' from Dublin restaurant fish tank before being released back into the sea

A group of animal rights activists say they "liberated" lobsters after taking them from a restaurant in Dublin, Ireland, on Friday.
It is understood members of the National Animal Rights Association took nine lobsters from a tank at the restaurant on Wicklow Street in the city center at around 8pm. The lobsters were later released into the sea in Clontarf.

Founder of NARA Laura Broxson said the lobsters were liberated because it was a "life or death situation" for them. She said the lobsters were going to be boiled alive and that the association stands by its actions, despite any possible legal consequences. She said that they have been informed by the gardaĆ­ that charges are being brought against those involved.

She said: "If it was cats and dogs in a tank in a restaurant people would have a problem with it." Ms Broxson added: "For us it was act of compassion and we are willing to face any legal consequences brought to us because now these lobsters have a chance of living instead of being boiled alive and eaten." Ms Broxson said it was the "first open rescue in Ireland", but that there are no plans to do it again.

Wild boar smashed through ceiling of Hong Kong clothing store

A wild boar strayed from its usual rural haunt and into a Chai Wan shopping mall on Sunday night, leading to a four-hour stand-off with police and animal control officers.

The incident began at about 6.30pm, when the 90cm beast was spotted wandering into the Paradise Mall in Heng Fa Chuen and entering a children's clothing store. Two staff members fled as the 25kg animal, said to be a juvenile female, climbed above the store's false ceiling, before punching through it.
Then the creature jumped to the floor and knocked down and bit a mannequin by the door before getting trapped in a changing room. "It just came in out of nowhere, and turned around at the show window," the shop manager said. "It also pushed open the fitting room door and got in ... Pigs are actually not stupid."

About 10 police officers approached and stood on alert. A vet eventually managed to inject the pig with a tranquillizer. It was taken to an animal management center for observation. Many wild boars roam Hong Kong's countryside. They can grow up to two meters in length and have been known to attack humans.

Baby kangaroo snatched from mother’s pouch at zoo

A baby kangaroo and four baby goats were stolen from a zoo in Greenville, Wisconsin, last week. Donna Wheeler, owner of the Special Memories Zoo, said the baby kangaroo, called a joey, and the goats had been at their winter home about six to eight miles away from the zoo, in a large, insulated shed.

The babies were bottle fed on Tuesday night, but when workers went to the shed around midday on Wednesday to start moving animals to the zoo in anticipation of Thursday's opening day, the five baby animals were gone, Wheeler said. She said the facility was not locked. "Whoever took [the joey] pulled it out of the mother's pouch," Wheeler said. Animal caretaker Gretchen Crowe said she realized the joey was gone when its mother's pouch was hanging out.
"I knew that somebody had to have taken them because there's no way that they can get out of the building," said Crowe. According to the Outagamie County Sheriff's Office, which responded to the stolen animals report, the joey was 5 months old, and baby kangaroos must stay with their mother for the first year of life. "I believe the baby kangaroo is dead," Wheeler said. "It cannot live without its mother, it cannot live without special formula, it cannot live without heat.

"You can't just feed it anything," she said. "I'm thinking by now ... if a person took it who knew what they were doing it probably has a chance of living. But if somebody didn't ... I know we've got high school kids around, if someone did it as a joke, I'm sure by now it's probably dead. I feel absolutely horrible. We do everything in our power to keep animals alive," Wheeler said. "Right now my stomach is just turning to think somebody would do that. Whoever has them, if you would just bring them back," Crowe said. "We just want them back."

Boat owner surprised to find baby sea lion snoring and sneezing on the bunk next to him

A San Diego boat owner got the surprise of a lifetime when he woke up early on Sunday to find a baby sea lion sleeping on the bunk next to him. “I woke up at 2:30 in the morning to the sounds of snoring and sneezing that were not my own, and I looked around the boat and I didn’t see anything, and it went away,” Michael Duffy said.

Animal Pictures