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Jon Stewart discussing military takeover of Texas
Pssst....Texas.....you're losing it.
Last night's show started out with Jon and The Daily Show crew hilariously reminding everyone when it is and is not alright to shoot people over cartoon drawings. Afterward, he got into the conspiracy of the week—that the United States military is preparing to takeover martial law in Operation Jade Helm 15.

His takedown of Texas nut jobs, which apparently includes Governor Gregg Abbot, begins at the 5:13 mark of the clip. Transcription and video below:

Stewart: Now, uh, I hope that settles it. The question, of course, is the incident in Texas an isolated event or part of a troubling trend? We've been hearing about this this fictionally for a while now.

(Clip of news broadcasters talking about ISIS sneaking into Texas via the Mexican border, knocking on the door of Texas)

Stewart: Oh, that's easy—just don't answer. Just turn off the lights and lie there. But, never fear. Uncle Sam is not going to let ISIS ring and run you, Texas. In fact, not only is the U.S. military conducting training ops right now for missions against ISIS-like groups, guess where they are doing them?

(News clips about training exercises in Texas and 6 other states, dubbed operation "Jade Helm 15")

Stewart: Ah, Jade Helm 15! I have that issue. It's uh, she imprisons Captain America, I think. Rest easy, Texas. Good guys with guns are on the case.

(Clips about Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theories, military preparing take over Texas and declare martial law)

Stewart: You know who's calling it a Texas takeover? Lone star lunatics. Dallas dipshits, Houston assholes. Texas, there's no Texas takeover. The United States government already controls Texas. Since like the 1840s and then you left and came back and...just borrow a textbook from a neighboring state, it's all in there.

Here's how un-belligerent the U.S. military is towards Texas. They sent a Lt. Colonel to a local Texas town hall to waste his time.

(Clips of Lt. Colonel explaining to town hall that this is merely a training exercise to train troops for combat overseas. Town hall attendee: "It is preparation for martial law." Lt. Col: "It is not a preparation for martial law." Attendee: "That's what you say." Brief shot of woman with her face-palming.)

Stewart: See that right there? That's the face of someone realizing there not getting around to the public comments on the planned parking lot down by Kroger's. Not today, not in this meeting.

But, come on. Crazy people attending a local town meeting isn't a Texas-specific story. The constitution says you can't hold a town hall meeting without crazy people. I think it's in there. It's not like this is being taken seriously by anyone who holds actual power.

(News clips of Texas Governor Gregg Abbott ordering the Texas National Guard to monitor U.S. military operations in Texas)

Stewart: Oh, dear lord. Yet another waste of Texas funds that could have been spent on actual threats—like your infamous chainsaw massacres. I mean, Texas, it's not that I don't find it adorable that your governor thinks your state guard could take on the United States military. It's like a little dog growling at a big dog. Or, an 8-year-old picking a fight with the predator. Um, but enough of the fear-mongering. All these types of exercises have been going on in Texas for years, right?

(News clips of previous large military training operations in Texas)

Stewart: Yeah, in Texas, Operation Roving Sand. In fact, one Roving Sand operation was the largest military exercise of its' kind in history. But, did then pre-oops Governor Rick Perry start spreading fear about a Texas takeover? He did not. Texas was fine with the concept of widespread military operations in their state in the 2000s. I don't know what's changed since then (photo of President Barack Obama)...ohhh, right. America elected a brutal, socialist, Muslim, Kenyan, ineffective, Harvard-schooled constitutional professor, agitator, warlock. So, Texas, it appears you are on the verge of being taken over by ISIS...or the United States of America. So, you have a choice to make. and when you make it, you have to remind yourself–and I never thought I'd be saying this—what would Rick Perry do?

Watch the segment here:
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D.A.R.E. articles on the dangers of marijuana
Reefer madness!
The folks at D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) fell for a fake news story about a shocking number of deaths and pregnancies from the devil weed. They then republished it at their own website:
After I called to inquire about it, D.A.R.E. removed the story immediately without commenting. But it's been preserved at the Internet Archive, and I've screenshotted it in full below. "It is sad that in a country as developed as America, such third world drugs such as marijuana are allowed to exist," the story's anonymous author wrote. "Children are being addicted to marijuana. I knew this day would come, when a liberal president allowed a state to legally sell Marijuana Flintstone Vitamins to children."

"Marijuana. It is one of the most dangerous drugs on Earth," the author concludes ominously. "For every one joint of marijuana, four teenagers become burdened with pregnancy."

Seriously....who's the dope here? And for what it's worth, a 10-year study of D.A.R.E showed that it makes little to no difference:
According to the study, after the 10-year period no measurable effects were noted. The researchers compared levels of alcohol, cigarette, marijuana and the use of illegal substances before the DARE program (when the students were in sixth grade) with the post-DARE levels (when they were 20 years old).

Although there were some measured effects shortly after the program on the attitudes of the students toward drug use, these effects did not seem to carry on long-term.

The only thing D.A.R.E. seems effective at nowadays is tearing families apart.
Discuss
strawberry pickers working hunched over in the field. worker transporting a full crate accross the field.
Would you want to buy crops grown from oil wastewater?
From today's who in the hell really thinks this is a good idea file:
Oil giant Chevron recycles 21 million gallons of that water each day and sells it to farmers who use it on about 45,000 acres of crops, about 10% of Kern County's farmland.

State and local officials praise the 2-decade-old program as a national model for coping with the region's water shortages. As California's four-year drought lingers and authorities scramble to conserve every drop, agricultural officials have said that more companies are seeking permits to begin similar programs. The heightened interest in recycling oil field wastewater has raised concern over the adequacy of safety measures in place to prevent contamination from toxic oil production chemicals.

Safety measures? What kind of safety measures are in place now? In short, very little:
No one knows whether nuts, citrus or other crops grown with the recycled oil field water have been contaminated. Farmers may test crops for pests or disease, but they don't check for water-borne chemicals. Instead, they rely on oversight by state and local water authorities. But experts say that testing of both the water and the produce should be expanded.
Sounds a bit like "don't ask, don't tell." But, there has been at least one group testing the water:
One environmental group has tested the irrigation water for oil field chemicals. Over the last two years, Scott Smith, chief scientist for the advocacy group Water Defense, collected samples of the treated irrigation water that the Cawelo Water District buys from Chevron. Laboratory analysis of those samples found compounds that are toxic to humans, including acetone and methylene chloride — powerful industrial solvents — along with oil.
Regulatory agencies, oil producers like Chevron, environmentalists and farmers are all debating whether the process is safe, all while the state looks to expand the program and issue more permits. Isn't this something that should be verified before it could endanger our crops—and our lives?

Read more about the oil wastewater being used on crops in this excellent article at the Los Angeles Times.

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Tap water near a fracking disposal site
Yummy!
Mmmm, mmmm! Nothing like a nice, cold glass of chemicals to wet your whistle:
An analysis of drinking water sampled from three homes in Bradford County, Pa., revealed traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids, according to a study published on Monday.

The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses a longstanding question about potential risks to underground drinking water from the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The authors suggested a chain of events by which the drilling chemical ended up in a homeowner’s water supply.

How did it get there?
Toxic fluids used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing likely escaped an unlined borehole and migrated thousands of feet into a residential drinking-water supply in Pennsylvania, according to a study published Monday.
Why this study is a big deal:
"This is the first documented and published demonstration of toxic compounds escaping from uncased boreholes in shale gas wells and moving long distances" into drinking water, said Susan Brantley, one of the study's authors.
I mean, who could've ever guessed that injecting 280 billion barrels of toxic fracking wastewater into the U.S. each year might eventually threaten our water supply?

As you might expect, those in the business of fracking wastewater disposal say it is no biggie:

The industry has long maintained that because fracking occurs thousands of feet below drinking-water aquifers, the drilling chemicals that are injected to break up rocks and release the gas trapped there pose no risk. In this study, the researchers note that the contamination may have stemmed from a lack of integrity in the drill wells and not from the actual fracking process far below. The industry criticized the new study, saying that it provided no proof that the chemical came from a nearby well.
"No proof" sounds a lot like the defense deployed by cigarette companies for decades.

What how fracking and fracking wastewater disposal has changed one Pennsylvania community just 250 miles east of Bradford County (warning, disturbing images):

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Screenshot of
"Kill the Faggots" - it is apparently what Jesus would do.
Randall Hermann tried (unsuccessfully) to launch a line of Christian-themed skateboarding shoes before moving to another project—video game development. Truly offensive game development might be more accurate.

From Ars Technica:

The Steam downloadable games shop launched its "Greenlight" initiative in 2012 as a way to open its sales doors to smaller game developers. However, because the shop launched with a glut of inauthentic and joking submissions, the folks at Valve added a $100 fee to "cut down the noise."

Whether or not that fee has been backed by any active filtering or monitoring service, Greenlight still failed to stop a game from launching that clearly violated its terms of service. Kill The Faggot, a light-gun-styled game about shooting gay people made by a California developer, skateboarder, and Christian shoe promoter named Randall Herman, launched for public consumption early Monday morning before being pulled from the Greenlight service hours later.

The game is no longer available, but how does something like this end up being approved to begin with? Jim Sterling, a popular game critic with more than 200,000 followers on YouTube, noticed the game and uploaded his video review. While the content of the game is truly disgusting, Jim's commentary on the grotesque nature of the game is spot on, definitely worth a listen.

Watch and listen:

As for Hermann, he remains unapologetic.
"These people that think if you are even remotely homophobic, you are 'hateful' and a 'bigot,' and do everything they can to destroy you in every vicious way possible," Herman wrote. "So I decided to go down a path that most developers are afraid to go down: to piss these people off by making the most overly offensive game possible to these idiots to prove a point."
How very Christian of him.
Discuss
Before and after images from 2011 & 2014 of Lake Oroville, California from the State of California Dept. of Water Resources online.
Nothing to see here!
Two years ago, scientists at UCLA predicted there would be significantly less snowfall in California than in decades.

Snowpack runoff is critical to California's water supply and with a severe drought already in play, California is in a bad, bay way.

In fact, this year's snowfall was so far off the mark, scientists have abandoned their snowpack study:

State water officials had planned to make the trek back to the Sierra Nevada to conduct their snowpack measurement Friday.

But Thursday they announced they wouldn’t bother. For the second consecutive month, there won’t be any snow to measure.

“This is just another piece of information in a series of increasingly dismal findings,” said Department of Water Resources spokesman Doug Carlson. “It nails down that the drought is severe – maybe as severe as any in our history.”

How severe?
On April 1, statewide measurements showed that the snowpack’s water content was just 5% normal for that date, the lowest in records going back to 1950. Thursday’s readings indicate the snowpack’s water content is half an inch or about 3% of normal for this time period.
Gulp.

Meanwhile, Nestlé continues pumping away and selling bottled water from California's dwindling water supply and 56% of all permits related to water in California's national forests are expired and have been for an average of 12 years!

Discuss
Men and women piling rubble in Berlin.
German men and women cleaning up the remains of Berlin after World War II.
Watch the mesmerizing color footage of a bombed and burned out Berlin—taken in July 1945—roughly two months after German forces surrendered. The video comes from Chronos Media and shows Germans trying to clean-up the charred remains of the city.

A rare glimpse into life in Berlin in 1945.

From the Berlin Channel on Youtube:
That's how it looked like just after the Second World War in Berlin!

Fascinating moving pictures in color show the situation of the city in summer 1945, just after the Second World War and the capitulation of Germany. Daily life after years of war.

Pictures from the destroyed city, the Reichstag, Brandenburger Tor, Adlon, Führerbunker, Unter den Linden, rubble women working in the streets, the tram is running again.

Discuss
Jeep dealership
Have we got a deal for you!
Chrysler made a surprise announcement, one that could make 118,000 very happy employees:
On Monday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that all 118,000 U.S. dealership employees at its U.S. dealerships will get the opportunity for free college tuition.
Alright! That's the good news. Now for the not-so-great news:
The degrees will be offered as a benefit at no-cost to employees, including books and other expenses, at the 2,400 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat dealerships through Strayer University, a private for-profit institution whose entire bachelor degree program can be finished online.
Although the thought is a good one, Chrysler is only giving employees one option for their education. Unfortunately, a quick search shows that Stayer University, like a lot of online, for-profit schools, has hundreds of complaints from former students, like this one:
I attended Strayer from October 2011 - September 2014. I graduated in October 2014. I attended Strayer too after losing my job back in March of 2011 in hopes of furthering my career. I have an Associate in Medical Lab Technology, an Associate in Liberal Arts and now a BA in Health Service Administration. My last semester at Strayer, I received a scholarship for $5,000 that only covered tuition. I got student loans and did self-pay. On the last day to order cap and gown for graduation I called the school to make sure I did not owe any money for anything and was told all debts was completed. So I order my cap and gown, charged $385 for reserving a suite for my family and I for graduation.

Here it is now January 2015. I have not received my diploma nor do I have a job, and student loan repayments are due. I called the school to inquire about the diploma and if they offer assistance with job placement. They tell me that in order to get the diploma I must pay them $150. I was welcome to visit their campus site for help in resume writing or visit a website that offers government jobs call Pathways. What a joke! After paying all that money for tuition why do I have to pay for my diploma? I was truly hurt.

And:
Strayer University is a member of the academic community and promotes higher level of learning for all students, so they promote the concept while the students are in the classrooms that once upon graduation there will be the $50,000.00 yearly salaries plus for their students. Honestly, their degree is useless and pretty much not recognized. I have been out of work, consistently, since 2009. While even documenting 10 job applications per week for many years. Due to the loss of my apartment, I was thus homeless. Strayer University is one of the worst business and organizations. If you think the degree and the classes are worth your time, you will find out that Strayer University is not worth the paper it is printed upon.
So, while we celebrate the concept of Chrysler sending their employees to college, perhaps we should be asking why Strayer University is the only option available? Judging by the reviews online, employees would be better off going a more traditional route.
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Chloe Hugh was in the middle of her final shift at Boss Hawg's Barbecue in Topeka, Kansas when Governor Sam Brownback and his family sat down in her section. Upset by Brownback's repeated assault on Kansas school funding, she decided to use her last shift to make a point and when she handed Brownback the bill, she left a tip of her own:

Bill to Sam Brownback reading "Tip the Schools"
Chloe flipped the script and left a tip for Sam Brownback.
As you can see, she crossed out the tip line and simply wrote "tip the schools." She posted the image to her Facebook page and it took off. And what was Sam Brownback's reaction?
She handed the bill to Brownback, whom she said was pleasant to her all evening, and went to serve other tables. A co-worker saw him look at the receipt and then put it in his wallet, Hough said.
Now that the image has gone viral, she's hoping her old employer won't be feeling any heat:
“They didn’t do anything wrong,” said the college English major. “They had no control over this. I didn’t ask their permission, I just did it.”
A panel of judges has found Kansas' new school funding formula to be inadequate and unconstitutional and while the court battle continues, we applaud Chloe for her unusual protest.
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David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, attends an Economic Club of New York event in New York, December 10, 2012.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTR3BFKF
Democrats are trying to create a bit more transparency around campaign ads
Well, this is something:
Frustrated with the Koch Brothers and other conservative donors pouring money into attack ads, Democrats are asking a federal agency to enact tougher political disclosure rules.

But that agency isn't the Federal Election Commission, which typically handles campaign finance issues. Instead, top Democrats in the House and Senate are pressing the Federal Communications Commission to use its power over the nation's airwaves to make super PAC spending more transparent.

The Keeping Our Campaigns Honest Act (yes, that's the "KOCH Act") would direct the FCC to require that super PACs and other outside political groups disclose their major donors in TV and radio ads.

Sixteen Democrats are backing the bill, including Nancy Pelosi.

In reality, the bill isn't likely to make it through a Republican-controlled Congress, but they are hoping the FCC will act on its own to make changes and create greater transparency.

Discuss
Jon Stewart says goodbye to Samantha Bee as the most senior correspondent of The Daily Show
Good night and good luck, Samantha Bee!
Last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart bid a fond farewell to Samantha Bee, "the most senior correspondent of The Best F#@king News Team Ever." She's headed off to host a new show on TBS featuring her satirical take on news and current events.

Watch Jon's emotional goodbye to one of the very best comedians on television. Be sure to stick around for the second half of the video when they highlight some of her absolute best material and end with a teary-eyed farewell from the most senior correspondent herself:

Discuss
Glock Pistol Model 17 (Glock 17), third generation
Image of a Glock, like the one found by a young visitor to Capitol Hill
The Capitol Hill police might want to get their act together when it comes to securing guns:
When a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail left his Glock and magazine stuffed in the toilet seat cover holder of a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom stall, a CVC worker found the gun, according to a source familiar with the Jan. 29 incident and two other disturbing instances when Capitol Police left loaded firearms in problematic places.

A 7- or 8-year-old child visiting the Capitol with his parents found the next loaded Glock lost by a dignitary protection officer, according to the source. A member of the security detail for John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, allegedly left the firearm in the bathroom of the Speaker’s Suite on March 24.

A third Glock was found the night of April 16 by a janitor cleaning the Capitol Police headquarters building on D Street NE. The weapon was left in plain sight, sparking additional concern about the department charged with protecting one of the world’s most important and frequently visited complexes.

Wow! And as Roll Call notes, the young boy finding the Glock could've been disastrous:
Unlike a gun with a traditional safety, a Glock will fire if the trigger is pulled — making the young boy’s alleged discovery of a gun in Boehner’s office particularly concerning.
Sounds like it is time for the Capitol Hill Police and the Secret Service to revisit some basic safety protocols. Like, don't leave your loaded gun lying around.
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