Governors Share Ideas on Pot Revenue Uses, National Guard Cuts, Job Creation

Stateline: The Daily News Service of The Pew Charitable Trusts  (Stateline is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts that provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy.) By Stephen C. Fehr, Staff Writer They sat a foot apart. One a conservative governor from the Deep South and a harsh critic of President Barack Obama. The other a liberal governor from the Northeast and one of Obama’s chief defenders. Yet on this winter Sunday at a Washington hotel two blocks from the White House, Republican Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama and Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont were in harmony: Prescription drug and heroin abuse is an urgent national problem driving up state treatment and corrections costs. “There’s no question in my mind this is a challenge facing every state,” Shumlin said. A physician, Bentley said doctors who overprescribe opiates “should have their license...

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Lawsuit Demands Removal of Giant Cross

By MBD February 26, 2014     A major federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday, demanding removal of a giant 40-foot Christian cross. The cross is situated on government property in a Washington, DC, suburb. Specifically, it is situated on a roadway median in Bladensburg, Maryland. The suit was filed on behalf of three plaintiffs by the American Humanist Association. Acting on behalf of the group, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center said that the massive structure violates the separation of church and state principle of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In a letter the Legal Center sent to the commission in 2012, they explained that, “To any passerby, a huge cross such as this can only be understood as endorsing Christianity.” Appignani Humanist Legal Center Legal Director David Niose writes, “On public property, that violates the Establishment Clause. We can all support memorials to those who have fought for our country, but they cannot take the...

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Texas Republican Candidate Claims the ‘Right’ To Shoot ‘Wetbacks’ on Sight

  By MBD February 25, 2014 Texas Republican and Senate candidate Chris Mapp told the Dallas Morning News that he and all Americans should have the right to shoot Mexicans crossing into the United States. The incendiary comments were revealed as the Texan paper was explaining why they were endorsing Senator John Cornyn for reelection, rather than other candidates like Mapp. In particular, the paper explained, Chris Mapp told them “ranchers should be allowed to shoot on sight anyone illegally crossing the border on to their land, referred to such people as ‘wetbacks,’ and called the president a ‘socialist son of a bitch.’” Rather than retracting his comments, Mapp has actually defended his use of the racist slur “wetback”. He told the San Antonio Express-News that using this term is literally as “normal as breathing air in South Texas.”    Cornyn, on the other hand, has condemned the remark and referred to Mapp’s comments as “disgusting.”...

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U.S. Lags Behind World in Temp Worker Protections

‘Permatemping’ cases highlight lack of U.S. protections for temp workers. Other countries limit the length of temp jobs, guarantee equal pay and restrict dangerous work.  Limber Herrera, 30, stands for a portrait outside of NFI Crossdock, where he works as a temporary worker in Mira Loma, California, U.S.                            (Patrick T. Fallon for ProPublica)  Temp Land by Michael Grabell ProPublica, Feb. 24, 2014, 10:48 a.m.This is part of an ongoing investigation: For nearly six years, Limber Herrera has toiled as a temp worker doing the same work for the same company in Mira Loma, Calif. About 40 hours a week, he unloads shipping containers for NFI—one of the largest freight distribution firms in America—moving goods that will eventually stock the shelves of Walmart and Sam’s Club. Herrera, 30, has been a temp so long that he’s outlasted the agency...

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Study Finds Marijuana Stops Spread of HIV

By MBD February 23, 2014 Marijuana has been promoted as an effective treatment – even cure – for an array of maladies. Many of these claims remain unsubstantiated and anecdotal in nature. But now, a Louisiana State University study published last week in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses has brought some empirical evidence to the discussion. Specifically, the study found that THC – an active ingredient in cannabis – administered daily over 17 months, helped cure monkeys infected with an animal form of the HIV virus. Scientists found that damage to immune tissue in the primates significantly decreased over the period of time that the THC was administered. “These findings reveal novel mechanisms that may potentially contribute to cannabinoid-mediated disease modulation,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Patricia Molina, wrote.  Molina was at the head of similar research back in 2011stage AIDS patients. The results of Dr. Molina’s latest study, however,...

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Eagle Ford Shale and the Texas Fracking Built

A worker stands among the myriad of pipes needs to get over 500 unknown chemicals into the ground. “From the Desk of NickiLeaks” Much is being written now about the Eagle Ford Shale Formation, so it seemed like the time for a group of journalists to venture into Texas and find what is really going on. To do so, we found a bus load of reporters in the mold of Hunter S. Thompson, people with a tank of nitrous oxide and a tank of oxygen who aren’t ‘t afraid to use them at the drop of a hat. Or the drop of a bird into the open window of their press bus, a bird reeking of toulene and twitching uncontrollably. “Must be getting close,” our intrepid reporter noted. To make sure, they stopped and hailed someone coming out of their drive in a pickup trucked covered in an odd...

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U.S. General Says Jesus Is Coming Back With An AR-15 Assault Rifle

By MBD February 21, 2014 Former U.S. Lieutenant General, and top Pentagon adviser to the Bush administration, William G. “Jerry” Boykin recently said that Jesus is coming back soon, and we can expect him to be carrying an AR-15 assault rifle. During a speech he gave for the conservative Family Research Council at the WallBuilders’ Pro-Family Legislators Conference, he said that Jesus wants everyone to own assault weapons. “The Lord is a warrior,” he said, “and in Revelation 19 it says when he comes back, he’s coming back as what? A warrior.” Boykin continued, saying the following:  A mighty warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe … I believe that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies ’cause he’s coming back as a warrior carrying a sword.  And I believe now – I’ve checked this out – I believe that...

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The Sunday Funnies and Factoids

Happy Sunday, my friends.  It is the last day of the Olympics in Sochi and the gold medal hockey game is on my television in the background.  I hope everyone had a great week and a wonderful weekend, thus far.  Sorry about the brevity of todays funnies and factoids.  I am in the middle of the site rebuild and I am at a loss for enough hours in a day.  Be back full speed next Sunday.  Until then, please stay safe and enjoy your upcoming week ahead.   1) Mel Blanc insisted on chewing real carrots to provide the chomping sounds when he voiced Bugs Bunny. 2) In the who the hell knew department: Reggie Jackson’s nickname, “Mr. October,” was coined sarcastically by Thurman Munson after Reggie hit .125 in the 1977 ALCS. Reggie went on to win the World Series MVP that year and the name stuck. 3)...

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Is Harsher Corporal Punishment for Children Coming to Kansas?

  Stateline: The Daily News Service of The Pew Charitable Trusts  (Stateline is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts that provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy.)   By Adrienne Lu, Staff Writer Editor’s note: This update was posted Feb. 20 at 12:15 p.m.: Kansas state Rep. John Rubin, chairman of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice committee, said Thursday his committee will not consider a bill filed by Rep. Gail Finney that would have allowed parents and teachers to spank children hard enough to leave redness or bruising. “I don’t think it was carefully enough drafted,” said Rubin, a Republican. “I think it was overly broad.” Rubin said most of the prosecutors he has spoken with about the bill are not in favor of the legislation. He added that there has been “an outpouring of disenchantment” regarding the bill from the public and...

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Cop Shoots Boy Who Answered The Door With a Nintendo Wii Controller

By M. David February 21, 2014             Officer Beth Daniel-Gatny, aka Nancy B. Gatny, of Euharlee, Georgia shot and killed 17-yr-old Christopher Roupe when he answered his door with a Nintendo Wii remote in hand. The teenage boy was about to graduate high school and wanted to join the U.S. Marines.   The incident occurred around 7:30 pm, when Christopher grabbed his Nintendo Wii controller to put on a movie. That’s when his family heard a knock at the front door. Christopher asked: “Who is it?” but received no response from officer Gatny, who was on the other side of the door.  When he opened the door, officer Gatny already had her gun drawn and pointed at him, according to Roupe’s aunt.    The officer, who later claimed that the youth “had a handgun,” wasted no time, firing and killing Christopher as soon as the door opened.  ...

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A Look Back at Scottish Rock Band The Jesus and Mary Chain

In the mid-1980s there came a band out of East Kilbride, Scotland who sounded so fresh, so full of something new, that there has never been a sound anywhere near the same before or since in the world of rock music.  The Jesus and Mary Chain (TJAMC) arrived on the music scene when rock and roll was in trouble……electronic pop had taken over the direction that music seemed to be following and the rock guitar was essentially on life-support. In a time when Billboard No. 1s were made up of such forgettable songs such as “Like a Virgin,” “I Want to Know What Love Is,” “I Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Sussudio,” and “Everytime You Go Away,” it was beyond a breath of fresh air to hear a back-to-the-basics rock band with an emphasis on the written song and blistering guitars. The Jesus and Mary Chain was founded by songwriting...

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Tea Party Icon ‘Joe The Plumber’ Gets a UNION Job

By M. David February 19, 2014   Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher – widely known as “Joe the Plumber” – announced today on his Facebook and his Web site that he is now working a union job with Chrysler Group LLC. Wurzelbacher said, “I was just recently hired on at Chrysler.” While he’s a well-known conservative, “Joe” explained that he is not an enemy of private unions. Wurzelbacher, 40, became known throughout the United States during the campaign for the 2008 presidential elections. ”Joe” became famous in 2008 when he confronted the then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. He has since become a popular figure with Tea Party members on the right.  “In order to work for Chrysler, you are required to join the Union,” Wurzelbacher explained, “In this case UAW. There’s no choice – it’s a union shop – the employees voted to have it that way and in America that’s the...

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Parents Sue States Over Education Funding

By Adrienne Lu, Stateline Staff Writer “Stateline is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts that provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy.” Any week now, the Kansas Supreme Court  will rule on a lawsuit filed by parents and school districts alleging that school spending cuts violate the state’s constitution, which promises “suitable” funding for public education. In New York last week, an education advocacy group filed suit claiming the state is nearly $4 billion short of fulfilling its school spending obligation under a 2006 court ruling. And in Texas, lawyers earlier this month wrapped up closing arguments in a similar lawsuit. Across the country, litigation is pending against 11 states over inadequate or inequitable school funding. That is nothing new: Over the years, all but five states have been the subjects of such lawsuits. The change is that in many of the recent cases, higher...

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Re-Rand: When it comes to inaugural plagiarism, you can say that again

“From the Desk of NickiLeaks” “If you’ve said it a thousand times, I’ve said it once.” – Rand Paul.   Lots has been said recently about Rand Paul and plagiarism. Some of it’s been said twice in fact, so it seemed time for NickiLeaks to get to the bottom of it. And we have. Having gained access to a secret document provided by two animal issue-oriented aides to Rand Paul named Chip and Dale, it is now known that Rand Paul is not only contemplating running for the White House in 2016 but has been actively working on his inaugural speech, much to the dismay of his aides and to the joy of this columnist. Here’s how things have been going down . . . Imagine Rand Paul, tie loosened, vest undone, clutching a sheaf of papers, pacing the room and reading. “No one can contemplate current conditions without...

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Does the Black Community Have a Problem?

Posted on February 16, 2014 by moronwatch   Possibly because it’s Black History Month (US/Canada), I’m seeing a burst of Facebook discussions among my black friends on that old favourite: why do black communities underperform others? Various economic, education and health metrics still demonstrate large gaps between black and other populations, and inevitably people wonder why. The old white supremacist explanation – that black people are simply biologically inferior – has gradually faded from grace in recent decades, although this idea is often still hinted at. Discussion among black people tends to swing between blaming others (it’s caused by racism/colonialism/the aftermath of slavery/etc.) and blaming themselves (why don’t black people invest in each other like Indians and Jews seem to do?) Meanwhile, many white liberals tend to blame racism and colonialism while simultaneously showing an almost colonial lack of faith in black societies to sort out problems for themselves....

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The Sunday Funnies and Factoids

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of the Sunday funnies and factoids.  I hope everyone had a great week and a wonderful weekend thus far.  This, with any luck at all, will be the last time this piece will be published on the website as it exists now.  A rebuild of the site is proceeding along and hopefully will be up and running by the next time I pen The Sunday funnies and factoids.  It will be more user-friendly, have more content, new chat areas, and will be far more aesthetically pleasing.  I am anxious to get the new site up and running and seeing what you folks think of the new and improved All-len-All. 1) In the ‘you can’t legislate away stupid category’……In New Jersey and Oregon, pumping your own gas is illegal. These states banned self-service out of fear that untrained consumers might light themselves on fire....

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Malcolm X’s Family Is Furious With Nicki Minaj

By M. David February 15, 2014 The family of Malcolm X’s is reportedly furious with Nicki Minaj’s use of the famous photo from Jet Magazine, of the slain social justice leader. Minaj juxtaposed the picture of Malcolm X, standing by his window with an M1 carbine, with the “N-word”. Malcolm’s family called this disrespectful and offensive. Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, told the Associated Press Friday that Minaj’s use of the picture “in no way is endorsed by our family.” “Ms. Minaj’s artwork for her single does not depict the truth of Malcolm X’s legacy,” Shabazz’s said. Minaj, for her part, apologized Thursday. After pulling the cover, Minaj said the single cover was “never the official artwork.” Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide – the business representative for the Malcolm X estate – said that Minaj’s use of the photo  was “dehumanizing.” “This is a family photo that was...

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California Court Rules Concealed Carry Of Firearms MUST Be Allowed

By PBSpot Admin February 14, 2014 A California court has recently ruled that residents of the state must be allowed to carry concealed firearms in public, so long as they are not prohibited by law from owning a firearm. The ruling came down in a 2-1 decision, from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The court ruled that San Diego County violates the Constitution’s Second Amendment through their requirement that a citizen show, “good cause,” beyond self-defense, to obtain a concealed carry weapons (CCW) permit. California has long been a, “may issue,” state, which means that if local law enforcement wants to allow you, they, “may issue,” you a CCW permit. Anti-gun Senator Diane Feinstein was one such California resident issued a, “may issue,” CCW, after her family received death threats, decades ago. For your average resident of the Golden State, obtaining such a permit is unlikely...

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‘Killer cops aren’t welcome here!’ Officer Who Murdered Kelly Thomas, Driven Out Of Restaurant

WARNING! NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART                 (GRAPHIC IMAGE)   By PBSpot Admin February 12, 2014 One of the police officers who infamously murdered Kelly Thomas, was recently spotted at a Southern California Denny’s restaurant. Customers instantly recognized the killer cop as Manuel Ramos, who was recorded on surveillance video beating unarmed Kelly Thomas to death, as he screamed for help.  As Ramos tried to chug his drink before leaving the restaurant, customers yelled. “Killer cops aren’t welcome here.” Last month, Ramos and his partner Jay Cicinelli were found “not guilty” of murder, even though the homeless, mentally ill man offered no resistance to their brutal assault. Ramos showed no mercy to Kelly Thomas when he begged for his life. Now Ramos is hopefully starting to realize that he will be shown little mercy from the public.  Following the verdict in the murder case that Ramos and his partner faced, public protests...

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‘Duck Dynasty’ Ratings Down 50% After Accusations of Fakery, Racism and Homophobia

Ratings of A&E’s popular “Duck Dynasty” show are starting to tank. At first it seemed like a fluke, a coincidence. But now a downward trend has emerged and it is clear: viewers are tuning the show out.  There are several factors at play in causing the show’s ratings to tank. The infamous racist and homophobic comments of “Duck Commander” Phil Robertson were certainly one cause. But many regular viewers were not shocked by anything he had to say in the now notorious GQ interview. In the wake of that controversy, we brought you numerous photos demonstrating that the cast of the popular A&E “reality” show “Duck Dynasty” were faking it for the cameras. Specifically, we showed that few of the cast actually sported the unruly facial hair that became part of the Duck Dynasty brand before the show and it’s forerunner.  Far from the scandal that “Duck Commander” Phil’s racist...

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To the GOP – What a difference a gay makes

From the Desk of NickiLeaks   “Look, I happen to know, ladies and gentlemen, that this band of miscreants here, this very evening, interfered with a lynch mob in the performance of its duty. Well, it’s true. See, I belong to a certain secret society — I don’t believe I gotta mention its name — and these boys, here, they trampled all over our venerated observances and rituals.” — O Brother, Where Art Thou?   It seems that Hell hath no fury like an official sworn. Especially if that is a GOP official from Michigan. Which, apparently, is not just the home of carmakers and The Tigers, but is the home of Satan and gays as well. While there is no information available for Satan’s party affiliation, with his past track record, many speculate that he is an independent. While that is no surprise to many, it seems that...

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The Sunday Funnies & Factoids

Sorry for the brevity of my Sunday funnies and factoids this week.  I’m in the middle of the site rebuild and I have a cold, so I am only partially functional today.  Good news, I jumped on this ailment as soon as it surfaced and I think (touch wood) I may have headed it off at the pass.  That being said, please enjoy this weeks installment od TSF&Fs.    1) The Caesar Salad was not invented by the Italians, but by a restaurant owner in Tijuana, Mexico. 2) William Faulkner once refused a dinner invitation from President Kennedy’s White House. “Why that’s a hundred miles away,” Faulkner explained. “That’s a long way to go just to eat.” 3) Adolf Hitler was Time Magazine‘s Man of the Year for 1938. 4) Above the Supreme Court is a basketball court known as the “Highest Court in the Land.” Clarence Thomas tore...

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Native American Activists Vow ‘Direct Action’ to Stop The Keystone Pipeline By Any Means Necessary

By PBSpot Admin February 9, 2014 President Obama has declared that 2014 should be a “year of action,” but the recent pledge by Native American activists might not be the sort of action he was hoping for. Indigenous groups all over the United States and Canada have vowed to take part in a “direct action” campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline project if the President does not.  President Obama has said that he will continue to study the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline plan, which has come across as indecision, delay and even “studying the matter to death” according to some critics. The Oglala Sioux nation and its allies have pledged that they will stop the  construction of the Keystone XL pipeline by any means necessary if it encroaches on their territory. Now, members of the Sioux Nation have begun touring the United States and Canada to rally...

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Televangelist Pat Robertson Says Evolution Is Right, Creationism ‘Makes A Joke’ Of Christians

By PBSpot Admin February 7, 2014 Many of you might have watched the controversial debate between Ken Ham of the Creation Museum and Answers In Genesis, and Bill Nye “The Science Guy”. Seats were packed at the museum in Kentucky, and many hundreds of thousands more watched the debate live.  Now, equally controversial televangelist Pat Robertson has weighed in on Tuesday’s debate by asking the Answers in Genesis president and CEO to stop making a “making a joke” of Christians by promoting what even he is calling unscientific dogma. “Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves,” Robertson said on, “The 700 Club.”   According to Robertson, Ken Ham is leaning on bad data from Bishop Ussher, an Irish Christian, living in the 16th and 17th centuries. Ussher calculated a proposed date of creation, basing it on his knowledge of the Bible, the ancient Persian, Greek and Roman...

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LAPD Cops Who Shot Up Innocent Drivers Last Year Get Their Guns Back, Return To Jobs

Officers in Southern California say that last year was a very stressful time for the Los Angeles Police Department. The manhunt for the fugitive ex-LAPD cop Christopher Dorner had the police on edge and on a hair-trigger. Now, eight LAPD officers who were determined to have violated department policy when they sprayed innocent drivers with bullets, are back on the job. LAPD Chief of Police, Charlie Beck said in an interdepartmental message Wednesday that the officers in question are back on the jobs, armed and on the street.   Chief Beck did say in the message that he does not approve of the actions of the seven officers and one sergeant.  “While I understand supervisors and officers were required to make split-second decisions regarding the perceived threat presented before them I found it to be very concerning that officers fired before adequately identifying a threat; fired without adequately identifying a...

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Hillary Clinton Called the ‘Anti-Christ’ by Republican Candidate

By PBSpot Admin February 3, 2014 Ryan Zinke is a former Navy SEAL and state senator who is running for Congress in Montana. During a campaign stop last week he said that Hillary Clinton is the “real threat” to the nation.  “We need to focus on the real enemy,” Zinke said last Monday. According to the Bigfork Eagle, Zinke also said that Hillary is the “anti-Christ.” Zinke is running to fill the seat of Representative Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who himself is trying to fill the seat of Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.).   As a former Navy SEAL, while still serving in the Legislature, Zinke launched a super PAC called Special Operations for America which was created for the purposes of opposing President Barack Obama.  “Navy SEALs, Special Operations Personnel and Veterans across America have been outraged since Barack Obama conveniently took credit for killing Osama Bin Laden for political gain,” the group announced, after...

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Abortion – The revenge of the cookie monster!

 From the Desk of NickiLeaks      Across Texas, frantic mayors were calling their local police chiefs, shouting as the horror of the situation seemed insurmountable. They were surrounded by Girl Scouts waving cookies! The horror! It was their worst nightmare come true. Especially since some of the Girl Scouts were black! And had an option on their homepage to read things in Spanish! Funded reports that said things like “while there is promising news for girls in areas such as their educational attainment, many girls are being left behind, and not all girls are faring the same. In particular, black/African-American and Hispanic/Latina girls face significant challenges in making successful transitions to adulthood.” And then they tried to do something about it! The little girls tried to make the world better! “Uh huh,” said the police chiefs while reaching into their bottom drawers for the bottle, knowing there was...

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Why did the chicken cross the road? Some celebrated answers.

A friend of mine sent me an email with this attachment and I just had to share this with you.  Thanks, Ross, it made my day.  So tell me folks, why DID the chicken cross the road? SARAH PALIN: The chicken crossed the road because, gosh-darn it, he’s a maverick! BARACK OBAMA: Let me be clear, the chicken crossed the road because it was time for change! The chicken wanted change! Real change! Change he could believe in! HILLARY CLINTON: When I was Secretary of State, I travelled that road thousands of times and I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road each time. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure, right from Day One, that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn’t about me. GEORGE W. BUSH: We don’t really care why the chicken crossed...

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History won’t let you hide your Ryan eyes

From the Desk of NickiLeaks      “You don’t lead by hitting people over the head – that is assault, not leadership.”   Dwight D. Eisenhower    Well, the man who cleans clean dishes is back throwing mud. And for some reason, even though Paul Ryan is much better at dirtying things up than he is at cleaning up a real mess, it made the news. What really should make the news is if Paul Ryan learned some history. American history would be a very nice choice. That, or considering it’s Paul Ryan, the history of putting your foot in your mouth might work, too. And instead of reading Ayn Rand – which I, also, did – maybe Ryan should have read Mark Twain, a famous American who did know his history. Then Paul Ryan could have followed Twain’s advice instead. Because Mark Twain did know his history and unlike Ryan,...

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The Sunday Funnies and Factoids

Good morning, one and all.  Happy Super Bowl Sunday.  ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL??????  Broncos by 9 points,  and yes, you heard it here first.  Manning will put on a clinic and Seattle’s Legion of Boom will go out with a fizzle rather than a bang. 1) About 39,000 gallons of water are used to produce the average car.  2) In 1965, a Senate subcommittee predicted that by 2000, Americans would be working 20 hours a week and taking over seven weeks of vacation each year.  WOW!!!!!!  Washington got one wrong……amazing. 3) Skin contains pain and temperature receptors, which are only sensitive to extreme hot or cold. The brain experiences both these sensations in the same way. Therefore, very cold and hot temperatures cause the same kind of pain, and the brain has trouble distinguishing between the two.  4) A report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1995 indicated...

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School Confiscates and Throws Away Lunches From Kids Whose Families Owe Money

By PBSpot Admin January 31, 2014 A Salt Lake City, Utah Elementary school is in hot water after confiscating lunches from students whose families owed money. Around 40 students at the Uintah Elementary school watched as their lunches were taken by school officials and dumped in the trash right before their eyes.  Even worse was the public display that the school made of the confiscation, making it clear that the goal was first and foremost to humiliate the children in front of their classmates. “It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes. Her 11-year-old daughter was one of the nearly four dozen Uintah students who had her lunch taken.   To add insult to injury, Lukes insists that she was not behind on any lunch payments whatsoever.  “I think it’s despicable,” she continued. “These are young children that shouldn’t be punished or humiliated for something the parents obviously need...

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On This Day, Feb, 28, 1854, Republican Party Born Out of Gridlock

1827 – The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad became the first railroad incorporated for commercial transportation of people and freight.  1854 – The Republican Party was organized in Ripon, WI. About 50 slavery opponents began the new political group. “Resolved: That, with our Republican fathers, we hold it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal Government were to secure these rights to all persons under its exclusive jurisdiction; that, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our National Territory, ordained that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing Slavery in the...

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On This Day, Feb. 26 – Napoleaon gives France its deux

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from the Island of Elba. He then began his second conquest of France.  Off on the picturesque landmass home to just 12,000 people, Napoleon made himself busy in his role as a ghost of his former self: he organized and trained a small navy, instructed work crews on the manufacture of mines and created a small regiment of loyal troops. Still Emperor, if in name only, he treated Elba as his own kingdom with a watchful eye on events back in France. Some 600 miles to the northeast in Vienna, Coalition representatives were looking for a more remote island to send Napoleon to, hopefully further out in the Atlantic Ocean. Determined to avoid isolation and sensing an opportunity amidst the social unrest in France, the little general gathered approximately 1,000 men and slipped away from his palace on Elba during the night of February...

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On This Day, Feb. 25, 1570, Church Puts Hex on Elizabeth Rex

1570 – England’s Queen Elizabeth I was excommunicated by Pope Pius V. Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth of England on this day. He issued a Papal Bull called Regnans in Excelsis (‘ruling from on high’) that absolved all her subjects from any obligations of allegiance to her. In response she increased anti-Catholic persecution and set out to eliminate the presence of the Jesuits from her Realms. The position of the ‘New English’ Protestants in Ireland was made even more precarious as the Catholics here saw that the Pope himself was now openly opposed to their rule. The English Monarch did not have a high opinion of those Irish who looked to the Catholic King Philip II of Spain for support, as she expressed in a Letter to Sir Francis Walsingham in that month of February 1570: We have heard and knowne it to be true, that certain savage...

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On This Day, Feb. 24, Supreme Court rules in favor of itself

                                                          “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. . . . If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each. . . . This is of the very essence of judicial duty.”                                  — John Marshall (1755 – 1835)   1803 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled itself to be the final interpreter of all constitutional issues.    Marbury v. Madison, arguably the most important case in Supreme Court history, was the first U.S. Supreme Court case to apply the principle of “judicial review” — the power of federal courts to void acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution. Written in 1803 by Chief Justice John Marshall, the decision played a key role in making the Supreme Court a separate branch of government on par with Congress and the...

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On This Day, Feb. 22, 1942, President Roosevelt to MacArthur: Get Out of the Philippines

On this day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders Gen. Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines, as the American defense of the islands collapses. The Philippines had been part of the American commonwealth since it was ceded by Spain at the close of the Spanish-American War. When the Japanese invaded China in 1937 and signed the Tripartite Pact with fascist nations Germany and Italy in 1940, the United States responded by, among other things, strengthening the defense of the Philippines. General MacArthur was called out of retirement to command 10,000 American Army troops, 12,000 Filipino enlisted men who fought as part of the U.S. Army, and 100,000 Filipino army soldiers, who were poorly trained and ill prepared. MacArthur radically overestimated his troops’ strength and underestimated Japan’s determination. The Rainbow War Plan, a defensive strategy for U.S. interests in the Pacific that was drawn up in the late 1930s and later...

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On This Day, Feb. 21, 1972, Nixon Arrives in China For Talks

In an amazing turn of events, President Richard Nixon takes a dramatic first step toward normalizing relations with the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) by traveling to Beijing for a week of talks.  Nixon’s historic visit began the slow process of the re-establishing diplomatic relations between the United States and communist China. Still mired in the unpopular and frustrating Vietnam War in 1971, Nixon surprised the American people by announcing a planned trip to the PRC in 1972.  The United States had never stopped formally recognizing the PRC after Mao Zedong’s successful communist revolution of 1949. In fact, the two nations had been bitter enemies.  PRC and U.S. troops fought in Korea during the early-1950s, and Chinese aid and advisors supported North Vietnam in its war against the United States. Nixon seemed an unlikely candidate to thaw those chilly relations.  During the 1940s and 1950s, he had been...

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On This Day, Feb. 15, 1933, Capital Punishment Law Revisited

Giuseppe Zangara shoots Anton Cermak, the mayor of Chicago, in Miami, Florida on Feb. 15, 1933. Zangara’s shots missed President-elect Franklin Roosevelt, who was with Cermak at the time. Cermak was seriously wounded and died on March 6. Immediately after Mayor Cermak died from the gunshot wounds, Zangara was indicted and arraigned for murder. He pled guilty and died in the electric chair on March 20, only two weeks after Cermak died. Today such a swift outcome would be practically unheard of, particularly where the death penalty is concerned.               Changes began in the 1950s. In the most notable case, Caryl Chessman spent almost 12 years on California‘s death row before going to the gas chamber in 1960 for kidnapping. His appeals kept him alive while he wrote three published books and caught the attention of Hollywood and the international community, who lobbied publicly...

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On This Day, Feb. 13, 1998, The Hermann Maier Crash

Austrian ski racer Hermann Maier makes one of the most dramatic crashes in skiing history when he catapults 30 feet in the air, lands on his helmet and rams through two safety fences at an estimated 80 miles per hour on February 13, 1998. Amazingly, Maier suffered just minor injuries and walked away from the crash. Several days later, he won gold medals in the giant slalom and super-G events. Maier was born December 7, 1972, in Atlenmarkt, Austria. As a boy, he was trained by his father, a ski racer and ski school owner. As a teen, Maier was recruited to attend the Austrian national ski academy; however, he was sent home after a year and told he had no future as a professional skier because of his small size. Maier later became a bricklayer and taught skiing at his father’s school in Flachau, Austria. He competed in...

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On This Day, Feb. 12, 2008, G.M. Offers Workers Wholesale Buyout

On this day in 2008, in an attempt to cut costs, struggling auto giant General Motors (GM) offers buyouts to all 74,000 of its hourly employees in the U.S. represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. The move came after GM lost $38.7 billion in 2007, which at the time was the largest loss ever experienced by any car maker. (Two weeks later, on February 26, the loss was adjusted by $4.6 billion, to $43.3 billion.) GM offered its employees a range of buyout options, including a $140,000 lump payment to those who worked at the company for at least 10 years and agreed to give up their health benefits and pension. GM’s goal was to replace the employees who accepted buyouts with new workers brought in at a lower pay scale. At the time, a veteran GM worker (who belonged to the UAW) had an average base...

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On This Day, Feb. 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela Released From Prison

Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, is released from prison after 27 years on February 11, 1990. In 1944, Mandela, a lawyer, joined the African National Congress (ANC), the oldest black political organization in South Africa, where he became a leader of Johannesburg’s youth wing of the ANC. In 1952, he became deputy national president of the ANC, advocating nonviolent resistance to apartheid–South Africa’s institutionalized system of white supremacy and racial segregation. However, after the massacre of peaceful black demonstrators at Sharpeville in 1960, Nelson helped organize a paramilitary branch of the ANC to engage in guerrilla warfare against the white minority government. In 1961, he was arrested for treason, and although acquitted he was arrested again in 1962 for illegally leaving the country. Convicted and sentenced to five years at Robben Island Prison, he was put on trial again in 1964 on charges...

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On This Day, Feb. 9, 1950, The Big Red Scare Is Born

During a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator Joseph McCarthy (Republican-Wisconsin) claims that he has a list with the names of over 200 members of the Department of State that are “known communists.”  The speech vaulted McCarthy to national prominence and sparked a nationwide hysteria about subversives in the American government. Speaking before the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club in Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator McCarthy waved before his audience a piece of paper.  According to the only published newspaper account of the speech, McCarthy said that, “I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.”  In the next few weeks, the number fluctuated wildly, with McCarthy stating at various times that there were 57, or 81,...

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On This Day, Feb. 7, 1968, Forensic Evidence Solves Crime

Bernard Josephs returns to his house in Bromley, England, and finds his wife Claire lying under the bed, her throat slashed and severed to the spine. Defensive wounds to her hands appeared to be caused by a serrated knife. No weapon was found at the Josephs’ house, and police had no other clues to go on. However, the murder was solved, and the killer convicted within four months, through solid forensic investigation. Authorities first pinned down the time and circumstances of the crime. Ingredients of a meal that Claire had been preparing were still in a bowl in the kitchen. There was no sign of forced entry into the house and a half-empty cup of coffee was left out on the table. Investigators were fairly certain that a friend or acquaintance had dropped by while Claire was making dinner and so they began to concentrate on family and friends....

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On This Day, Feb. 6, 1985: The Reagan Doctrine

In his 1985 State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan defines some of the key concepts of his foreign policy, establishing what comes to be known as the “Reagan Doctrine.” The doctrine served as the foundation for the Reagan administration’s support of “freedom fighters” around the globe. Reagan began his foreign policy comments with the dramatic pronouncement that, “Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few; it is the universal right of all God’s children.” America’s “mission” was to “nourish and defend freedom and democracy.” More specifically, Reagan declared that, “We must stand by our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives—on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua—to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth.” He concluded, “Support for freedom fighters is self-defense.” With these words, the Reagan administration laid the foundation for...

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On This Day, Feb. 3, 2005: Gonzales Wins Senate Confirmation

On February 3, 2005, Alberto Gonzales won Senate confirmation as the nation’s first Hispanic attorney general despite protests over his record on torture. The Senate approved his nomination on a largely party-line vote of 60-36, reflecting a split between Republicans and Democrats over whether the administration’s counterterrorism policies had led to the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere. Shortly after the Senate vote, Vice President Dick Cheney swore in Gonzales as attorney general in a small ceremony in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. President Bush, who was traveling, called to congratulate him. Gonzales was born in 1955 in San Antonio, Texas, the son of migrant workers and grew up in a small, crowded home in Houston without hot water or a telephone. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1973 after graduating high school. Following a few years of service, Gonzales attended the U.S. Air Force...

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On This Day, Feb. 2, 1887: Punxsutawney Phil Makes His Debut

On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring. Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State. Groundhogs, also called woodchucks and whose scientific name is Marmota monax, typically weigh 12 to 15 pounds and...

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