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  • Today's comic by Mark Fiore is Thanks, Turkey!
  • Coming this Sunday:
    "We are thankful for you," by Scout Finch

    "A war on coal is good and necessary. No need for it to be a war on coal miners," by Meteor Blades

    "To boost the economy and the retail industry, raise retail wages," by Laura Clawson

    "An ideological realignment driven by demography," by Armando

    "State-by-state performance, 2008 vs. 2012" by David Jarman

    "Thanksgiving in Red Hook," by Scott Wooledge

    "John McCain is not very bright," by Denise Oliver-Velez

    "A brief reminder: the hypocrisy of Republican opposition to Susan Rice," by Dante Atkins

  • Senators push early 2013 approval of Keystone XL pipeline and, yes, a bunch of Democrats are among the pushers, led by Montana's Max Baucus. In fact, nine Democrats and nine Republicans want a greenlight from President Obama, who early this year rejected builder TransCanada's application to build the northern leg of the pipeline because of environmental concerns in Nebraska. State authorities there are reviewing a new route proposed by TransCanada and are expected to be done by year's end. The Senators sent a letter to the president last Friday in support of the pipeline. Last year, more than 1,200 pipeline protesters were arrested at the White House, including Kossack Bill McKibben. He is currently on a Do the Math tour to 20 cities drumming up support for an effort to get universities and other public institutions to eliminate stock in fossil-fuel companies from their portfolios.
  • Postal Service offers premium same-day delivery for holiday season: Following the lead of ebay, Amazon.com and Wal-Mart, the U.S. Postal Service has added a same-day delivery service for a flat fee of $10. The USPS projects a possible $500 million in annual revenue for 10 major cities if the experiment succeeds. Helpful only to fill a tiny porton of the budget hole left by the current $15.9 billion annual USPS loss reported last week.
  • Seventy percent of forests at risk from increase in droughts: Climate change is expected to raise the number and intensity of droughts worldwide. That will have a lot of impact on crops, energy production and even drinking-water supplies. Forests will also be harmed.
    After looking at 226 tree species at 81 locations around the world, two dozen experts from around the world have determined that fully 70 percent of trees are likely to suffer if conditions get drier—and it doesn’t matter whether those trees live in wet or dry habitats. [...]

    Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much anyone can do to prevent forest die-offs in a warming, drought-prone world. “Basically, this tells us that we should keep climate change in check as much as possible,” [said Bettina Engelbrecht of the University of Bayreuth].

  • UK cryptographers seek help to decipher code strapped to skeletal pigeon remains: The pigeon took flight with its message sometime in World War II, probably from France around D-Day, and wound up in a residential chimney in Surrey. The homeowner who found the message last month sent it to Britain's government code-breakers. But they are baffled.
  • First pet Bo reacts to Christmas Tree delivery.
  • Chinese plan to put up world's tallest building in just 90 days: When completed in the southeastern Chinese city of Changsha, the building, nicknamed "Sky City," will be 10 meters taller than the current world's tallest, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. But that building took nearly six years to complete. Sky City will be put together in modules, like Lego blocks, at the rate of two stories a day. The building will include a hospital, a school, 17 helipads, and apartments to house 30,000. The chairman of the company building Sky City has ambitions for something more than twice as tall, two kilometers.
  • Scholar studies history of beetles via "wormholes" in book woodcuts: The insects started as eggs laid in trees and, as larvae, tunneled their way to freedom. By the time they did so, they had created holes in woodcuts carved to make illustrations in books printed between the 15th and 19th centuries. By studying the size and shape of the holes, a Pennsylvania scientist determined that two species of beetle were involved, but in different places, one in Mediterranean Europe and one further north. Today, however, those two species have spread into each other's territory across Europe.
  • Here's an animated version of 2013 moon phases, set to chamber music.
  • Transportation systems will suffer from climate change: The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which advices states on the design and maintenance of roads and bridges, recently changed the name of its Climate Change Steering Committee to the less controversial Sustainable Transportation, Energy Infrastructure and Climate Solutions Steering Committee. But that isn't going to make problems for transportation caused by climate change to go away. Storms like Sandy, heat waves that bend rails and buckle pavement, and flooding like that nearly sank the Omaha, Nebraska, airport are all factors in the change already under way that will get worse.
    "There is a whole series of standards that are going to have to be revisited in light of the change in climate that is coming at us," said John Horsley, the association's executive director. [...]

    States and cities are trying to come to terms with what the change means to them and how they can prepare for it. Transportation engineers build highways and bridges to last 50 or even 100 years. Now they are reconsidering how to do that, or even whether they can, with so much uncertainty.

  • Caught on video, this asshole was convicted of animal cruelty.
  • Black Friday is a bunch of meaningless hype:
    In fact, sales over Thanksgiving weekend tell us virtually nothing about retail sales for the full holiday season—let alone anything meaningful about the economy as a whole. Paul Dales of Capital Economics analyzed the relationship between retail sales during the week of Thanksgiving against the overall change in retail sales for November through January. [...]

    [S]trong sales results around Black Friday actually predict slightly weaker holiday sales overall. (Shhh. Don’t tell the people who lined up at Target last night that they aren’t actually bellweathers for the U.S. economy).

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Comment Preferences

  •  was the elephant okay? guy should get 2 years (0+ / 0-)

    for that. What a psycho.

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up !

    by Churchill on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:04:17 PM PST

    •  2 years a hit ! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Churchill, DeadHead, annieli

      He needs help that is for sure.

    •  The last time I went to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeadHead, annieli, Churchill

      Ringling Brothers Circus, I started crying when the animals came out, and couldn't stop; my spouse and I ended up leaving way before the show ended. Haven't been back since. It all of a sudden hit me how cruel it was to make those animals perform for human benefit, at least the non-domesticated animals like tigers and elephants; I have no problem with domesticated animals like horses and dogs being trained to perform, oddly enough.

      "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

      by Cali Scribe on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:32:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Though at least they're provided for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Churchill

        I feel the same way about animals in zoos.

        There's just something not right with seeing a lion or a bear pent-up like that.

        -
        Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
        ~ Jerry Garcia

        by DeadHead on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:41:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  These days many of the zoo animals (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Churchill, DeadHead

          are born in captivity, and thus would be unable to survive in the wild -- I can deal with that. And they provide a way to educate others, especially young people, of the need for conservation of the animals' natural habitats.

          "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

          by Cali Scribe on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:44:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That indeed makes a difference (0+ / 0-)

            I wouldn't want an animal born in captivity, who has "forgotten" its instincts for survival, to be released.

            It's more of a feeling on a "normally wild" species as a whole, I guess.

            -
            Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
            ~ Jerry Garcia

            by DeadHead on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 01:05:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Sea World causes that same reaction, especially (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lonely Liberal in PA, Churchill

        when trainers call mammalian "tricks", "behaviors". Perhaps sex workers should call their clients "behaviors"

        yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

        by annieli on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:46:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Gotta tell you an odd story about this (0+ / 0-)

        I'd always been fairly insensate to the situations of trained elephants in circuses.

        But then, one time I took my family to a middle-sized circus that was rolling through town. They had 3 or 4 elephants. As soon as the elephants walked out, I was dumbstruck.

        It was plain to see that these were happy elephants. Their contentment—and even energy and exuberance—were plain to see on their faces.

        And it hit me: Did this mean...? Could it be...? That all this time, elephants I'd seen in other circuses were ill-treated, and I just didn't see it?; that I'd been acculturated to assume that elephants just naturally bore these oppressed, dull looks on their faces?

        I've never forgotten those elephants. And it's a reminder that anything is possible, even healthy relationships between the trained and the trainer.

        Which reminds me: I think we've all known of psychologically questionable practices between human trainers and their human trainees. The issue may largely be one of intent and relationships, being more or less based on love and mutual respect.

        Isn't it a good feeling when you see the paper in the morning, it says 'Axe Slayer Kills 19' and you say, "They can't pin that one on me!" - Jean Shepherd

        by razajac on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 03:39:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  66.5 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill, Crashing Vor

    on the occasion of my half-birthday,  a reflection upon the natural world and more

    in this diary to which I invite your attention

    peace

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:06:27 PM PST

  •  Vladka Meed. Please take a few minutes to learn... (0+ / 0-)

    ...about this amazing Resistance fighter and teacher who passed away this week.

    She and her husband were close friends of my family. I can think of no two people who worked harder to make sure that all people, especially young ones, understand the Holocaust, not just as a memorial but as a lesson going forward.

    As we say in Yiddish: koved ir ondenk! (honor to her memory)

    "This is NOT what I thought i'd be when i grew up."

    by itzik shpitzik on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:09:58 PM PST

  •  Good news. Teabaggers, not content with costing (1+ / 0-)

    the GOP 5+ seats in the last two senatorial elections, have concluded they need to get purer.
    ===============
    Wall Street Journal: "The tea-party movement is trying to regroup after taking some licks in this month's elections. Several groups already are setting their sights on 2014 congressional races, in which they plan to promote their preferred candidates and hope to weed out Republicans they consider insufficiently conservative."

     "Many tea-party activists say they remain dumbfounded by the Nov. 6 defeat of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and favored GOP candidates for the Senate, and opinions are swirling over how the movement should push forward."
    =
    ==============

    Things may be looking up for democrats holding the senate in 2014. Could an ex-witch be their preferred candidate in Delaware?

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:12:00 PM PST

  •  This year's depressing Christmas song: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itzik shpitzik, Eric Nelson

    And, of course, the obligatory diary pimping same:

    New Video: "Black Friday"

    Pardon our dust. Sig line under renovation.

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:12:31 PM PST

  •  I'm not really a religious person (0+ / 0-)

    but I totally predict that if the Chinese go ahead with that 90 day construction plan for the world's tallest building, God will smite them down just like the Tower of Babel.

    Either that, or it will simply collapse of its own accord.

  •  Watching "Sordid Lives". Just seemed like (0+ / 0-)

    That kind of a day.

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:14:51 PM PST

  •  super tall buildings (0+ / 0-)

    It's hard to see any advantages to super tall buildings.  Elevator shafts take up an awful lot of interior space--street and entry congestion is guaranteed, and it is a target for crazies.  Size matters--sometimes more is a disadvantage.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:16:06 PM PST

  •  What I Did to LA on Thanksgiving (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eeff, Crashing Vor, DRo

    Here:

    http://freewayblogger.blogspot.com/...

    Everything still up on the drive back... I love Thanksgiving.

  •  happy 47% Friday Mitt - today's the day.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Lonely Liberal in PA

    yep he just hit 47.49

    at least according to this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    have a nice day everyone.

  •  Uncrackable codes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mike101

    Sometimes, codes were not general cyphers, i.e. some complex transform could be used on any arbitrary message to generate the cypher. Rather they were mapped against some known set of words, for example word positions on pages of some agreed upon book. These are not general cyphers and hence may not be possible to crack without knowing the original source of the key. I think these were widely used because of the lack of computing power in the 1940's allowing bitwise manipulation like we see on secure web pages.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:33:16 PM PST

    •  Looks like a single or double transposition cipher (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shmuelman

      My Dad was in OSS signals during WWII and taught me about these simple, yet quite effective ciphers.  You basically scramble your plaintext based on the order of letters in a keyword known by both sender and receiver.  A double transposition involves re-scrambling the coded text using another keyword.   The Wikipedia entry is actually pretty accurate, based on what I recall Dad saying.

      If this was a pigeon coming back from France during WWII, and OSS and SOE were both promoting this cipher for their field agents, it would increase the odds that this is what the cipher was.  

      However, with only one communication and without the keywords, I think it may be pretty hard to crack.

  •  The Climate Catastrophe is so damn awful (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mchestnutjr, coffejoe

    It's like watching a planetary train-wreck about to happen in slow motion and being powerless to pull the lever and divert the train.

    I've always loved nature more than manufactured "things" more than most, and it's just killing me inside.

    Maybe one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:35:19 PM PST

  •  Very amusing public service ad (h/t joyoftech.com) (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    Also, if Black Friday is annoying, a person can always observe it as International Buy Nothing Day instead.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:40:36 PM PST

  •  let's hope it's not like their highspeed trains (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, mike101
    Chinese plan to put up world's tallest building in just 90 days: When completed in the southeastern Chinese city of Changsha, the building, nicknamed "Sky City," will be 10 meters taller than the current world's tallest, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. But that building took nearly six years to complete. Sky City will be put together in modules, like Lego blocks, at the rate of two stories a day. The building will include a hospital, a school, 17 helipads, and apartments to house 30,000. The chairman of the company building Sky City has ambitions for something more than twice as tall, two kilometers.
    A bullet train crash which killed 40 people in China in July was caused by design flaws and sloppy management, the Chinese government says.

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:41:46 PM PST

  •  battling Bain for 12 years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mike101
    As an eToys executive, Haas had a legal and fiduciary responsibility to report his discoveries to eToys estate managers and lawyers, and instead of gratitude for doing his job well, he was asked to betray his client for the sake of his future in the liquidation business.

    When Haas refused the offer to look the other way and allow eToys to be gutted and sold to Bain Capital for free, a Bain Capital surrogate installed his business partner and co-conspirator in other bankruptcies to replace Haas, and colluded to annul a court-approved contract to pay him.

    As an officer of the court, and 18 USC § 4 – Misprision of felony, Mr. Haas, having knowledge of the commission of a felony had a duty, as soon as possible, to make known the same to some judge or other person in civil authority and if he failed to do so, he risked being fined or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. Haas fulfilled his legal duty and reported the malfeasance to the proper authorities.

    Shortly after reporting the crimes, in August 2001, George W. Bush appointed another Bain Capital lawyer as U.S. Attorney and he refused to investigate or prosecute the crimes throughout his tenure; despite the U.S. and former Bain attorney’s malfeasance, Haas continued fighting for eToys shareholders and to bring the criminals to justice.

    During his long battle, Haas discovered attorneys representing the creditors and debtors worked for the same giant (Bain Capital) in the eToys bankruptcy and committed perjury by deliberately failing the mandate to disclose conflict of interest.

    In what can conservatively be called racketeering, fraud on the court, and miscarriage of justice, the court failed to prosecute or report the crimes then, and continues protecting Bain Capital and its surrogates as recently as last week when the eToys judge postponed a hearing to remove the fraudulent eToys manager in another curious miscarriage of justice.

    http://www.politicususa.com/...

    Meet the Man Who Has Been Battling Romney and Bain’s Bankruptcy Fraud for 12 Years

    FDR called upon the world to embrace four fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech, of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. You cannot fully realize one without realizing them all. ~ Pres. Obama

    by anyname on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:47:31 PM PST

  •  If you believe in climate change (0+ / 0-)

    you probably shouldn't be building bridges and roads anyway.  Not something we're going to be using a lot in 30 years.

  •  These SS isues were all known and handled- (0+ / 0-)

    Back in 1983, we made a deal regarding the Social Security fund.

    The deal was this: for 30 years working people would overpay their taxes, building up the trust fund and helping lower the taxes of the rich. For the next 30 years, rich people would overpay their taxes, drawing down the trust fund and helping shoulder the burden of the baby boomer retirement.

    Well, the first 30 years are about up. And now the rich are complaining about the deal that Alan Greenspan cut back in 1983. They have our money and given a choice they would prefer to not pay it back out to us.

    -- We are just regular people informed on issues

    by mike101 on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 01:03:33 PM PST

  •  Climate change - Forests - Mountain pine beetle (0+ / 0-)
    The current outbreak of mountain pine beetles is ten times larger than previous outbreaks. Huge swaths of central British Columbia (BC) and parts of Alberta have been hit badly, with over 40 million acres (160,000 km2) of BC's forests affected....The outbreaks may be a consequence of global warming. Previously, cold spells had killed off bark beetles which are now attacking the forests. The longer breeding season is another factor encouraging beetle proliferation.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...
    B.C.'s pine beetle kill map through 2011 http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/...
  •  Postal deficit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard

    That $500 million might look small compared to the $15 billion deficit they reported, but it would make up a pretty good portion of the actual operating shortfall. The operating shortfall (revenue minus expenses) is $2.2 billion this year. The remainder of that deficit comes from congressional Republicans forcing the service to prefund its retirement system 75 years into the future, over the course of only a few years.  

    This requirement has nothing to do with providing a secure retirement, of course.  Republicans are all too happy to let companies raid retirement funds, underfund public pension plans, and try to privatize Social Security.  It has everything to do with making giant red numbers appear on the Postal Service balance sheet for a few years so that the Republicans (who no doubt expected amnesiac Americans to put them back in power this year) could end the service once and for all, turning all delivery over to private entities.

    And you fell for the propaganda.

    "And the President of the United States - would be seated right here. I would be here. And he would be here. I would turn - and there he’d be. I could pet ‘im." - Lewis Black

    by libdevil on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 02:27:37 PM PST

  •  Obama: "Targeted killings are dangerous tool" (0+ / 0-)

    http://current.com/...

    Mark Bowden, who gained access to the president and other top officials in order to write his new book The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden, talks to Viewpoint host Eliot Spitzer about Obama’s "target[ed] killings" program, in which the president regularly decides whether to kill or capture individual terrorist suspects with no judicial review.

    "He has in effect a sniper rifle and each day he is given a dossier of an individual who has come into the crosshairs of the CIA or the military, and on a regular basis has to decide whether to pull the trigger," Bowden says. "It's very direct, and it's also, as the president told me, a tool that is very dangerous because it's relatively easy and there's so little risk involved in targeting and killing someone anywhere in the world with this technology."

    What could possibly go wrong?

    In Soviet Russia, Fifty years after JFK, president assassinate YOU.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 03:45:53 PM PST

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