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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, July 4, 2015

The Daily Drift

The Fourth of July ...!
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Today in History

12 slaves are executed for starting a uprising in New York that killed nine whites.
The amended Declaration of Independence, prepared by Thomas Jefferson, is approved and signed by John Hancock–President of the Continental Congress–and Charles Thomson, Congress secretary. The state of New York abstains from signing.
Construction begins on the Erie Canal, to connect Lake Erie and the Hudson River.
Two of America’s founding fathers–Thomas Jefferson and John Adams–die.
The fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, dies at the age of 73.
Henry David Thoreau begins his 26-month stay at Walden Pond.
Walt Whitman publishes the first edition of Leaves of Grass at his own expense.
Union and Confederate forces skirmish at Harpers Ferry.
Charles Dodgson first tells the story of Alice’s adventures down the rabbit hole during a picnic along the Thames.
The Confederate town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant.
Billy the Kid is shot dead in New Mexico.
After seizing power, Judge Stanford B. Dole declares Hawaii a republic.
The poem America the Beautiful is first published.
William H. Taft becomes the American governor of the Philippines.
Race riots break out all over the United States after African American Jack Johnson knocks out Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match.
Novelist James Joyce and Nora Barnacle are married in London after being together for 26 years.
Boxer Joe Louis wins his first professional fight.
The United States grants the Philippine Islands their independence.
The 50-star flag makes its debut in Philadelphia.
An Israeli raid at Entebbe airport in Uganda rescues 105 hostages.

World's Laziest Sign Spinner

Have you ever seen a skilled sign spinner on the side of the road performing near-acrobatic stunt with enthusiasm and zeal? Well, this guy is the opposite of that!
My wife and I ran into a sign guy sitting comfortably on a lawn chair reading a book while holding a giant sign to advertise a local business nearby. But he's probably just as effective as the guy who twirls his sign, while expending a fraction of the energy. After all, you can't beat a giant red arrow with the word "Tacos." Those things practically sell themselves!

Meet the Hijab Lolita

Lolita is a fashion style originating in Japan. It features frilly, brightly-colored outfits that look like they might belong on a little girl from the Victorian Era. There are several subsets of this fashion school, including Gothic, Punk, Wa, Pirate, and Witch.
Alyssa Salazar, who lives in southern California, is a fan of Lolita fashion and wears it frequently. She's also a Muslim who wears a hijab, so calls herself The Hijab Lolita. Vice magazine interviewed Salazar about how she blends these two traditions:
Do you ever get creepy comments from men when you're dressed in Lolita?
Actually, no, I haven't yet. I'm waiting for it, though, because I will pepper-spray them. Sometimes people will lift up my friends' skirts to see what's holding it up. My friends told me that this has happened to them. The creepiest thing a guy has said to me is, "Little Bo Peep, where's your sheep?" But it's mostly women, who might say, "That's cute," or try and snap pictures without my permission.
You must get more comments about your scarf then.
I get drive-by haters that say, "Take it off, it's not Iraq." But when I'm in Lolita, it's different. People think it's a costume.

Here are 9 ‘facts’ you know for sure about jesus that are wrong

by Valerie Tarico
Jesus casts the moneychangers out of the Temple (Shutterstock)
jesus has been described as the best known figure in history, and also the least known. If you mentioned the name “jesus” and someone asked jesus who?, you might blink. Or laugh. Even people who don’t think jesus was dog, mostly believe they know a fair bit about him. You might be surprised that some of your most basic assumptions about Jesus are wrong.
We have no record of anything that was written about jesus by eyewitnesses or other contemporaries during the time he would have lived or for decades thereafter, and as best scientists can tell, all physical relics of his life are later fakes. Nonetheless, based on archeological digs and artifacts, ancient texts and art, linguistic patterns, and even forensic science, we know a good deal about the time and culture in which the new testament is set. This evidence points to some basic conclusions about who jesus likely was—and wasn’t.
  1. Cropped hair, not long. jewish men at the time of christ did not typically wear their hair long. A Roman triumphal arch of the time period depicts jewish slaves with short hair. In the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he addresses male hair length. “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him?” (1 Corinthians 11:14 NRSV). During the 1960’s wingnut 'christians' quoted this verse to express their disgust against the hippy movement and to label it as anti-christian.
  2. Married, not single. In 2012, when an ancient papyrus scrap came to light referring to the wife of jesus (most likely a forgery), some catholics and evangelicals were scandalized at the very thought. But unlike the catholic cult, jews have no tradition of celibacy among religious leaders. Ancient writers documented exceptions like the apostle Paul or the Essene sect precisely because they violated the norm. In the gospels, jesus is called rabbi; and all great rabbis that we know of were married.  A rabbi being celibate would have been so unusual that some modern writers have argued that jesus must have been gay. But a number of ancient texts, including the canonical new testament, point to a special relationship between Mary Magdalene and jesus. For example, the non-canonical gospel of Phillip says, “[jesus] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her [word missing].”
  3. Hung on a pole, not necessarily a cross. For centuries scholars have known that the Greek new testament word “stauros,” which gets translated into English as cross, can refer to a device of several shapes, commonly a single upright pole, “torture stake” or even tree. The Romans did not have a standard way of crucifying prisoners, and Josephus tells us that during the siege of Jerusalem soldiers nailed or tied their victims in a variety of positions. Early christians may have centered in on the vertical pole with a crossbeam because it echoed the Egyptian Ankh, a symbol of life,  or simply because it was more artistically and symbolically distinctive than the alternatives. Imagine millions of people wearing a golden pole on a chain around their necks.
  4. Short, not tall. The typical jewish man at the time of the Roman Empire was just over five feet tall, which makes this a best guess for the height of jesus. That he is typically depicted taller likely derives from the mental challenge people have in distinguishing physical stature from other kinds of stature. Great men are called “big men” and “larger than life.” In ancient times they often were assigned divine parentage and miraculous births, and the idea that jesus was uniquely divine has created a strong pull over time to depict him as taller than is likely. A good illustration of this is the Shroud of Turin, which is just one of many such jesus-shrouds that circulated during medieval times and which bears the (now reproducedimage of a man closer to six feet in height.
  5. Born in a house, not the stable of an inn. The miraculous birth story of jesus is a late, maybe 2nd century addition to the gospels, and consequently it contains many fascinating mythic elements and peculiarities. But the idea that jesus was born in a stable got added to the Xmas story even later. In the original narrative, Joseph and Mary probably would have stayed with relatives, and the phrase “no room for them in the inn (gr: kataluma)” is better translated “no room for them in the upper room.” Later storytellers did not understand that people of the time might bring animals into their ground floor, as in Swiss housebarns, and they assumed that the presence of a manger implied a stable.
  6. Named Joshua, not jesus. The name Joshua (in Hebrew Y’hoshuʿa meaning “deliverance” or “salvation”), was common among jews in the Ancient Near East as it is today. Joshua and jesus are the same name, but are translated differently in our modern bible to distinguish jesus from the Joshua of the old testament, who leads the hebrew people to the promised land. In actuality, though, the relationship between the two figures is fascinating and important. Some scholars believe that the new testament gospels are mostly updated retellings of the more ancient Joshua story, remixed with episodes  from stories of Elisha and Elijah and Moses. A modern parallel can be found in the way that Hollywood writers have reworked Shakespearean tropes and plot elements into dozens of modern movies (though for a very different purpose).
  7. Number of apostles (12) from astrology, not history. Whether jesus had 12 disciples who ranked above his other devotees is an open question, as their names vary from list to list. Since the gospels echo the story of Joshua, the “12” apostles most immediately mirror the 12 tribes of israel. But the number 12 was considered auspicious by many ancient people, including the israelites, and the 189 repetitions of the number 12 in the bible ultimately may derive from the same pre-historical roots as the 12 signs of the zodiac and 12 months of the year. Astrotheology or star worship preceded the hebrew religion, and shaped both the bible and Western religions more broadly. One might point to the 12 Olympian gods or 12 sons of Odin, or the 12 days of Xmas or 12 “legitimate” successors to the prophet mohammed.
  8. Prophecies recalled, not foretold. Even people who aren’t too sure about the divinity of jesus sometimes think that the way he fulfilled prophecies was a bit spooky, like the writings of Nostradamus. In reality, Scooby Doo could solve this one in a single episode with four pieces of information: First, old testament prophecies were well known to 1st century jews, and a messianic figure who wanted to fulfill some of these prophecies could simply do so. For example, in the book of Matthew, jesus seeks a donkey to ride into Jerusalem “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet” (Matthew 21:4). Second, “gospels” are a genre of devotional literature rather than objective histories, which means that the authors had every reason to shape their stories around earlier predictions. Third, scholars now believe that some bible texts once thought to be prophecies (for example in the Book of Revelation) actually relate to events that were past or current at the time of writing. Finally, a psychological phenomenon known as the “Barnum Effect” ensures that those who want to believe in prophecies (or astrology, for that matter) will find amazing coincidences if they look hard enough.
  9. Some jesus quotes not from jesus, others uncertain. Lists of favorite jesus sayings abound online. Some of the most popular are the Beatitudes (Blessed are the meek, etc.) or the story of the woman caught in adultery (Let he who is without sin cast the first stone) or the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, which, we are told, sums up the Law and the Prophets.) Which words actually from jesus? This question has been debated fiercely by everyone from 3rd century catholic covens to the 20th Century jesus seminar. Even Thomas Jefferson weighed in, but much remains unclear. The new testament gospels were written long after jesus would have died, and no technology existed with which to record his teachings in real time, unless a he wrote them down himself, which he didn’t. We can be confident that at least some of the wise and timeless words and catchy proverbs attributed to jesus are actually from earlier or later thinkers. For example, the Golden Rule was articulated before the time of christ by the Rabbi Hillel the Elder, who similarly said it was the “whole torah.” By contrast, the much loved story of the woman caught in adultery doesn’t appear in manuscripts until the 4th century. Attributing words (or whole texts) to a famous person was common in the Ancient Near East, because it gave those words extra weight. Small wonder, then, that so many genuinely valuable insights ended up, in one way or another, paired with the name of jesus.
The person of jesus, if indeed there was a single historical rabbi at the root of the 'traditions', is shrouded in the fog of history leaving us only with a set of hunches and traditions that far too often get treated as knowledge. The facts I have listed here are largely trivial; it doesn’t really matter whether jesus was tall or short, or how he cut his hair. But it does matter, tremendously, that facts people claim to know about how Jesus saw himself, and dog and humanity are equally tenuous. In the words of Mark Twain: It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
The teachings attributed to jesus mix enduring spiritual and moral insights with irrelevancies and Judaica and bits of Iron Age culture, some of which are truly awful. That leaves each of us, from the privileged vantage of the 21st century, with both a right and a responsibility to consider the evidence and make our own best guesses about what is real and how we should then live. A good starting place might be a little more recognition that we don’t know nearly as much as we’d like to think, and a lot of what we know for sure is wrong.

California Lawmakers Crack Down On Anti-Vaxxers

Here’s How Bigots Are Responding To ‘Rainbowed’ Profile Pics On Facebook

Those “rainbowed” profile pics supporting gay marriage really bother the bigots. They’ve adopted their own “overlay” to show support for hate, and it makes no sense at all.
26 million and counting have turned their profiles rainbow - so much for the support for equality being a 'minority' thing as the wingnuts and bigots want you to believe.

Girl Scouts returns $100,000 to bigot

Girl Scouts eat ice cream (Youtube/Girl Scouts of Western WA)

Justice Department Report Says Police Exacerbated Violence In Ferguson

Shoplifting woman hid stolen TV under her skirt

A woman has been caught on camera stealing a TV from a department store in Zambia.
The woman can be seen inspecting the TV, before she casually bends down and slides it between her legs under her skirt.
While performing the theft, her friend acts as a lookout.

How she managed to keep the TV between her legs remains a mystery, but she slowly wandered out of the store with it nowhere to be seen.

Ghost hunters discovered body in old hospital

Police in Vicksburg, Mississippi, have recovered a body at the old Kuhn Memorial State Hospital. “We found a white female that appears to be in her late 60s with trauma to the head and the body has been sent to Jackson to be processed,” Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong said on Sunday night.
The body was discovered at around 7pm by a group of ghost hunters. “There was some people over at the hospital ghost hunting and they stumbled upon the body, and they took off and reported it to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office,” Armstrong said.
Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey confirmed the cause of death as homicide, but declined to release the woman’s name. Vicksburg police earlier on Sunday were searching for a 69-year-old Vicksburg woman missing from her house. The house showed signs of a disturbance and police began investigating.
The body was sent to the state crime lab in Jackson for processing and identification. “We’re in the process of trying to identify her,” Armstrong said. “We can not say that the body found at the hospital is her, but this body happens to be that of a white female that matches the description of the woman missing,” Armstrong added.

Detroit EMT worker fired after refusing to help dying 8-month-old girl

Ann Marie Thomas (left) and 8-month-old Aniyah Wright-Trussell [WDIV-TV]
Charged with attending to the aid of a 8-month-old girl who had stopped breathing, Detroit EMT Ann Marie Thomas seemingly did the unthinkable: she refused and stood idly by a block away while she waited for other EMTs to arrive.

Bad Cops

Cop Tases Man And Yells ‘Stop Resisting’ Even Though He’s Clearly Not Resisting (VIDEO)
Ryan Hutchinson was tased by police on a train in Illinois for allegedly using “foul language.” Video of the incident is going viral because...

Washington man given less than 2 gallons of water while jailed 13 days over bad check — and now he’s dead

Keaton Farris (KeatonH2O)
An autopsy showed that Keaton Farris died of dehydration and malnutrition after nearly two weeks in the Island County Jail.

Anthropological Humor


Dying Amazon Healers Take Potential Cures For Cancer, AIDS And Other Diseases With Them

Dying Amazon Healers Take Potential Cures For Cancer, AIDS And Other Diseases With Them

China Just Made Its Plans To Fight Climate Change Official

The world's three largest carbon polluters have now made commitments ahead of the Paris Summit at the end of 2015.

The Great Wall Is Disappearing

Because so much of the Great Wall is believed to be dilapidated, estimates of how long it stretches range from 13,000 to 5,600 miles.

Catfish on a rope used to damage vehicle

Police in Fremont, Nebraska, responded to a report of criminal mischief on Saturday.
Officers were called at 11am said Lt. Kurt Bottorff of the Fremont Police Department.
Upon arrival, a victim informed police that an unknown person threw a 2-foot-long catfish attached to a rope onto their vehicle's front windshield.
The fish caused an estimated $800 worth of damage.

Animal Pictures