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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.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Daily Drift

Welcome to Today's Edition of Carolina Naturally.
Our twenty-fourth Xmas Tree of the month ...!
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Today is - Xmas Eve

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Today in History

The Ottomans under Murad IV recapture Baghdad from Safavid Persia.
Joel Barlow, aged 58, American poet and lawyer, dies from exposure near Vilna, Poland, during Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. Barlow was on a diplomatic mission to the emperor for President Madison.
A treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain, ending the War of 1812, is signed at Ghent, Belgium. The news does not reach the United States until two weeks later (after the decisive American victory at New Orleans).
The USS Gem of the Sea destroys the British blockade runner Prince of Wales off the coast at Georgetown, S.C.
A Christmas present arrives a day early for the Federal troops at Columbus, Kentucky, in the way of artillery on board the USS New Era.
Over 577,000 Allied soldiers are to spend Christmas as prisoners in Germany.
The Kaiser warns Russia that he will use “iron fist” and “shining sword” if peace is spurned.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower is appointed the Allied Supreme Commander, even though almost everyone believed the position would go to American Chief of Staff George C. Marshall.
An estimated 20,000 communists, led by guerrilla General Markos Vafthiades proclaim the Free Greek Government in northern Greece. They issue a call to arms to establish the regime throughout the nation.
African Americans defy a city law in Tallahassee, Florida, and occupy front bus seats.
New York’s Idlewild Airport is renamed JFK Airport in honor of the murdered President Kennedy.
The U.S. headquarters in Saigon is hit by a bomb killing two officers.
A Soviet research vehicle soft-lands on the moon.
The Greek Junta frees ex-Premier Papandreou.
The first pictures of an Earth-rise over the moon are seen as the crew of Apollo 8 orbits the moon.
Nine GIs are killed and nine are wounded by friendly fire in Vietnam.
Hanoi bars all peace talks with the United States until U.S. air raids over North Vietnam stop.
An oil tanker’s spill pollutes 1,600 square miles of Japan’s Inland Sea.
Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, destroying more than 70 percent of the city’s buildings, including 80 percent of its houses.
Chad declares a state of war against Sudan in the wake of the Dec. 18 attack on the town of Adre, in which approximately 100 people were killed.

Does Mrs. Claus Have A Life Of Her Own?

Here's a question for the festive season: What is the first name of Santa Claus' wife? Trick question. Not only does Mrs. Claus have no definitive first name, her identity is so tied up in that of her husband that she is best known for elf-wrangling, cookie baking, and assisting with toy assembly.
Since she first emerged in the mid-19th century, Mrs. Claus has been a secondary character living in the shadow of her famous, workaholic husband. But along the way there have been glimmers of who she is as an independent person and even a few suggestions for what her name could be.

Physical Therapy Just as Effective as Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

10 Enduring Cold War Mysteries And Conspiracy Theories

The Cold War was the tense time when 'mysterious' became the default setting for international affairs. Two great superpowers stood toe-to-toe, each with the ability to obliterate the world as we know it. Spies slunk through iron curtains, bodies washed up in rivers and no-one was really sure what was going on.
Today, that frigid climate has thawed and released archives that have given us a reasonably accurate historical record of those years. Yet some Cold War mysteries still loom large in the public consciousness.



Student slaps Florida public schools with suit for refusing to teach evolution because it proves the bible wrong

A Boca Raton man and his young son are suing the boy’s Florida school district for neglecting to teach the theory of evolution because of religious delusions.

Robert Reich explains how to deal with your wingnut uncle Bob this Christmas

Robert Reich as 'Crazy Uncle Bob' -- (YouTube screenshot)
Robert Reich explains how to deal with your wingnut uncle Bob this Christmas

Islamophobes Closed A Virginia County’s Schools and Caused A Tenured Professor’s Suspension

Both the school district shuttering and University suspension center around the wingnut and evangelical deluion's current cause, Islamophobia…
islamophobia (1)
This week there were two separate incidents involving academia that demonstrate just how far America has devolved into a sick, twisted, and religiously hate-driven society. No-one in their right mind can refute that here is a certain segment of the population that not only cannot tolerate the truth, public education or reality, they refuse to countenance anything remotely different than their own pathetically dysfunctional worldview. Obviously, the incidents involving education in America also involve that bastardized form of christianity that is neo-American evangelicalism that cost one tenured University professor a six-month suspension and closed down an entire school district in Virginia.
What is not surprising is that both the school district shuttering and University suspension center around the wingnut and evangelical delusion’s current cause célèbre; Islamophobia. It is bad enough that Republicans have incited over 20 acts of domestic terrorism against Muslims and their places of worship with perfect impunity, now they can count shutting down a school district and getting a college professor suspended. It is the new America where the Founding Fathers’ intent to protect all faiths in the Constitution has been rendered null and void by Fox News, Republicans, and those hateful evangelical fundamentalists.
First, there was a wild controversy in Augusta County Virginia because a teacher following the state-approved curriculum for World Geography class asked students to “try to copy an example of Arabic calligraphy.” The purpose of the normally accepted exercise was “to give students an idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy;” the students “were not asked to translate the statement or to recite it.” Still, some students refused to do the exercise and many of their parents went batshit ballistic and demanded blood. It is noteworthy that the teacher had just covered the required curriculum that included christianity, judaism, and buddhism with no outrage from angry evangelical parents, no cries of apostasy, or mesmerizing the students away from jesus christ into the waiting arms of ISIL.
One woman, a certain evangelical 'christian' named Kimberly Herndon was outraged at the teacher’s apostasy to jesus and organized an angry protest because when the teacher did her job; “She gave up the lord’s time. She gave it up and gave it to Mohammed to indoctrinate” good little evangelicals into Islam.
Many parents demanded that the teacher, Cheryl LaPorte, be terminated immediately; but that was just the start. After Fox News entered the fracas and incited a religious war over a teacher doing her job, all Hell broke loose prompting law enforcement officials to call for every school in the county to be closed.
Apparently, law enforcement recommended the total closure of all Augusta County Public Schools aftervoluminous phone calls and electronic mail locally and from outside the area” frightened them senseless and into preventative action “due to the tone and content of the threats;” and who can blame them? This is America where Fox News inciting domestic terrorism is not only a daily occurrence, it is their stock and trade because they have never been prosecuted for “criminal solicitation.”
In what should be another source of abject shame in an alleged “free religious society,” a tenured political science professor at Wheaton college, a private evangelical university, was put on a six month, immediate suspension for uttering a well-known religious truth. The professor had begun wearing a headscarf, or hijab, to show “solidarity with and to support her Muslim neighbors.” The religious school did not have a fit over the head covering, but when she posted a message on her Facebook page saying, “I stand in religious solidarity with muslims because they, like me, a christian, are people of the book (bible). And as pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same dog.”
The silly christian professor should have known better than to utter the truth about anything, but especially about religion. Subsequently, instead of administering finals to her students, she is starting her six-month suspension for repeating a truth that pope Francis uttered a little over a week ago at an Islamic enclave in Africa. According to a Wheaton spokesperson, “The school doesn’t believe muslims and christians worship the same dog. The college had no choice.”
For an alleged institution of higher learning and an evangelical liberal arts college, Wheaton administrators are either dirt stupid or hate muslims. Not only did the holy father, pope Francis, indeed state the gospel truth that christians, muslims, and jews all worship the same god, the Pope joined muslims under siege from heavily-armed christian militias in a similar show of solidarity with muslims because as the Wheaton professor reiterated from the holy father; “We worship the same dog. christians and muslims are brothers and sisters.” As an aside, muslims not only worship the same dog as christians and jews, they also acknowledge and give due honor to all of the christian bible’s prophets from Adam to Noah to Moses to Abraham to jesus christ; all of whom they utter “peace be upon him” when the say their names.
A group of disgusted Wheaton students issued a letter of protest to the ignorant evangelicals running Wheaton that said, “We believe there is nothing in Dr. Hawkins’ public statements that goes against the belief in the power and nature of dog, christ, or the holy spirit that the Statement of Faith deems as a necessary requirement for affiliation with Wheaton College.” But of course there was nothing in Dr. Hawkins’ statement that goes against the truth, or belief in dog, christ or the holy spirit, but that is not the point.
Dr. Hawkins made the tragic mistake of speaking the truth about christianity and islam. She seriously should have known, as a tenured political science professor no less, that this is America and speaking the truth about anything, much less islam, is a very grievous sin. In fact, talking about islam positively is nearly as heinous a mortal sin as speaking the truth about evangelicals forcing their bastardized version of christianity on all Americans; what Republicans consider and attempt to legislate as religious freedom. Religious freedom in America is as phony as the pretend 'christians' intent on creating a theocracy founded on hate, greed, misogyny, guns, white racial purity and stupidity.
It seems that there is no end to America’s slide into absolute evangelical insanity. The sad fact is that the events in both Virginia and Wheaton are not unique or isolated instances of religious-borne hatred; it has touched this author personally as well as many friends and colleagues in public education. Teaching in the public schools is a difficult enough task due to underfunding, economically-challenged families, and bad parenting, but those difficulties are all just part of the job; being harassed and threatened by evangelical extremists should not be, but they are.
This tyranny of allowing evangelical fundamentalists to issue threats against teachers with impunity for following state-mandated curriculum, or suspending professors for speaking the truth is just the latest sign that America is, for all intents and purposes, on a downward spiral into becoming what Republicans and their evangelical base yearn to create; a white 'christian' theocracy to rival the extremists running ISIL.

One Palestinian And One White Teacher Showed The Same Movie - Here’s What Happened Next

US hate crimes against Muslims have tripled since the Paris attacks

US hate crimes against Muslims have tripled since the Paris attacks

The KKK Has Infiltrated U.S. Police Departments for Decades

Man in jail given more time for bigamy after his second and third wives visited him at same time

A 33-year-old man from Henrico, Virginia, will now be spending more time behind bars. It is unclear why he was initially imprisoned. Frank E. Blake Jr.’s latest round of legal problems started when his second and third wives showed up to visit him in Henrico County Jail at the same time. The problem was that he hadn’t divorced wife No. 2 before he married wife No. 3. When police investigated, they found out that he also had married wife No. 2 before his divorce from wife No. 1 was finalized. Blake pleaded no contest on Tuesday to a charge of bigamy, stemming from the overlap between the end of his first marriage and the start of his second, which began in September 2012. Henrico County Circuit Judge L.A. Harris Jr. sentenced Blake to 1½ years of incarceration. The judge gave Blake a total sentence of five years, with 3½ years suspended.
If the case had gone to trial, the evidence would have shown that Blake married his second wife before his divorce with his first wife was final, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney LaToya Croxton. The evidence would then have shown that Blake married a third wife without ever making an attempt to divorce his second wife, she said. But defense attorney Kevin D. Purnell pointed to the timing of the second marriage as evidence that Blake’s second wife might not have been an unwitting victim of bigamy.
Blake and his second wife went to the courthouse for a marriage license later on the same day that he received paperwork saying his first wife was filing for divorce, Purnell said. He quoted statements the second wife made to the police that suggested she knew the divorce wasn’t final. Purnell also said his client has mental health and substance abuse issues. Before being sentenced, Blake spoke briefly. “I want to apologize to all y’all in the courtroom,” he said. He said he didn’t realize he was committing a felony when he committed to marriage. “I didn’t know I was breaking the law at all,” he said. “You can put me on a lie detector.”

Random Celebrity Photos

Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett  in the early 1970s

Mistletoe Is A Parasitic, Explosive Plant That Maybe You Shouldn't Stand Underneath

The mistletoe plant is largely known for a manufactured characteristic: It's the green sprig with white berries that hangs in doorways during Xmas time, requiring those who meet beneath to kiss. But here's the thing about this festive accessory: It's a parasite.
Yes, the mistletoe attaches itself to other plants and sucks the life out. It's also one of the few plants that actually propel its seeds out of its own berries. Being a makeout-instigator may be the least interesting thing about mistletoe.

Do Walking Palm Trees Really Walk?

A recently published article on BBC's website mentions a certain palm tree that has allegedly developed a rather unique ability unbecoming of a plant - the ability to walk. The palm in question is Socratea exorrhiza.
The bizarre idea stems from the fact that scientists are unable to explain the tree's strange stilt-like roots. Found in tropical rain forests of Central and South America, the Socratea exorrhiza develops long and sturdy roots that grow outwards from the base of the tree. It wasn't long before people started to believe that these roots actually act like legs enabling the palm tree to literally walk in the forest.

Orcas are "cosmopolitan" animals

Not because they live in cities (a common misuse of "cosmopolitan"), but because this is their range:

"Cosmopolitan" refers to a citizen ("polites") of the "kosmos" (in Greek times "the world" - not the universe).
The term "cosmopolitan distribution" usually should not be taken literally, because it often is applied loosely in various contexts. Commonly the intention is not to include polar regions, extreme altitudes, oceans, deserts, or small, isolated islands. For example, the housefly is nearly as cosmopolitan as any animal species, but it is neither oceanic nor polar in its distribution. Again, the term "cosmopolitan weed" implies no more than that the plant in question occurs on all continents except Antarctica; it is not meant to suggest that it covers the continents entirely.

Dog Has Been Man's Best Friend For 33,000 Years

Man's best friend came about after generations of wolves scavenged alongside humans more than 33,000 years ago in south east Asia, according to new research from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.
Dogs slowly evolved from wolves who joined humans in the hunt, according to the first study of dog genomes. And it shows that the first domesticated dogs came about 33,000 years ago and migrated to Europe, rather than descending from domesticated European wolves 10,000 years ago as had previously been thought.

Comedy Wildlife

The 2015 winners have been announced for a competition dedicated to the humorous side of nature.

Animal Pictures