Dave Stancliff 2009-06-28 blogarama.com

Friday, July 3, 2009

Racism debate after Russian and Nigerian gas companies combine to form 'Nigaz'

By Mail Foreign Service

When a $2.5billion international venture is being planned you might expect there to be hours of debate over what to call it.

Yet branding is not the forte of some companies, it seems.

Russian Energy giant Gazprom has inadvertently walked into a racism row with the announcement of its joint venture in Nigeria - Nigaz.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Nigerian counterpart Umaru Yar'Adua last week agreed the deal to build refineries, pipelines and gas power stations in Africa's most populous nation.

The name is meant to be an amalgamation of 'Nigeria' and 'Gazprom', pronounced 'nye-gaz', but it can be read phonetically as an offensive term for those of black African origin.

'How more derogatory can it be. Let's join forces in making our government rename this,' said the creator of 'Nigerians No Nigaz', a group on Facebook.

Many comments on the blunder were from white bloggers.

But others mocked the mistake - one African-American suggested a playlist of songs from U.S. hip-hop artists for the Nigaz launch party.

One Nigerian in Lagos said: 'White people are making too much of this.

'As long as the Russians pay us, they can call it what they like.'

image via Daily Mail

Joke of the Day: Tight Skirt, Bus Stop

One day, at a bus stop there was a girl who was wearing a skintight miniskirt. When the bus arrived and it was her turn to get on, she realized that her skirt was so tight she couldn't get her foot high enough to reach to step.

Thinking it would give her enough slack to raise her leg, she reached back and unzipped her skirt a little. She still could not reach the step. Embarrassed, she reached back once again to unzip it a little more. Still, she couldn't reach the step.

So, with her skirt zipper halfway down, she reached back and unzipped her skirt all the way. Thinking that she could get on the step now, she lifted up her leg only to realize that she still couldn't reach the step.

So, seeing how embarrassed the girl was, the man standing behind her put his hands around her waist and lifted her up on to the first step of the bus. The girl turned around furiously and said, "How dare you touch my body that way, I don't even know you!"

Shocked, the man says, "Well, ma'am, after you reached around and unzipped my fly three times, I kinda figured that we were friends!"

 text from Joke Of The Day

Welcome to the world of professional Cheese Racing!

With all of the interesting competitive sports out there, cheese racing has somehow gone (practically) unnoticed. This blog wants to correct that mistake and introduce readers to a good time. All of your questions will be answered from this official cheese racing site! Enjoy! 

Finally! Cheese racing videos.

Want to see a group of American bikers cheese racing? Of course you do - check out all the action here. (Warning: strong language and lots of facial hair).

Due to popular demand, the Official Cheese Racing gear product range has now been expanded. Now there is something for everyone at the Cheese Racing shop. Kit that no self respecting cheese racer should be without!

Details of the CRASS event in France can be found here. Not that much cheese racing action but some interesting experiments with the local cheese.

Reader's photos - we have been quite literally inundated with photos of cheese racing action from all over the world (well mostly America), some of the best are now on the photos page. Keep them coming!

Get all the latest Cheese Racing news on the news page.

Introduction

Q: What do you think happens when you throw a slice of processed cheese (without removing the plastic wrapping) onto a lit barbeque?

The plastic melts giving off highly toxic fumes and you are left with a pretty grim cheese/plastic mess welded on to your BBQ, right?

WRONG!

Unbelievably what actually happens, as discovered by the pioneers and inventors of the sport way back in 1997 (read their account of that historic night on a campsite in Osmington here), is that the plastic pouch does not melt - even when the cheese inside eventually boils! Even more incredibly, as the cheese melts and the strange chemicals found in processed cheese turn to gas - the plastic pouch inflates until eventually all four corners lift off the BBQ and the pouch is fully inflated! Now under this pressure you might think that the pouch would eventually burst - but no - most of the time the seal remains intact!

Quite why processed cheese manufacturers choose to use such industrial strength, heat proof plastic to encase their products is something of a mystery - as is why NASA don't use this material instead of those expensive heat proof tiles on the space shuttle? Such important questions no doubt occurred to the first observers of this phenomenon on that night in Osmington, but that didn't stop them from coming up with a brilliantly simple sport based on it.

The Game

Each player throws a slice of cheese onto the BBQ.

The player whose cheese fully inflates first wins!

The full official CRASS (Cheese Racing Association) rules can be found here - but that is basically it!

In the rest of the site you will find everything you need to know about this fast growing and exciting sport - you may be sceptical now but believe me, once you have witnessed or taken part in your first cheese racing tournament - you will be hooked!


WARNING!! Cheese racing can be dangerous - the makers of this website CAN NOT be held responsible for any accidents or injuries that may occur. Practice safe cheese racing by following these simple guide lines.

  • Do NOT attempt 'indoor cheese racing'. This is strictly an outdoor sport. (This includes tents!)

  • Be sure to ingest large quantities of alcohol and/or other chemical relaxant before (and during) play. This will relax the body and nervous system, thus minimising the pain of any injury and enabling you to play on.

Having said that, the sport does have an impressive safety record with zero fatalities so far...

photo and text via Cheese Racing

Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Ruling: Medical pot users, growers can sue over raids

 This ruling is good news, but just another step towards the final goal of legal pot for patients and those that grow medicinal marijuana.

It sure is a step in the right direction. You know that the county involved in this case is going to take this ruling to the state Supreme Court with hopes of having it overturned. It should be interesting to see how this plays out.

Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Medical marijuana patients and growers can sue police for illegally raiding their property and destroying their plants, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 2-1 decision by the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento was the first in the state to allow a patient or grower to sue claiming that their rights to cultivate and use medical marijuana have been violated. Those rights are protected by state law but banned by federal law.

Officials in Butte County, where the case arose, argued that patients and suppliers can invoke the medical marijuana law only as a defense to criminal charges, not to sue for damages. The court's dissenting justice said no one is entitled to compensation for the destruction of a drug banned under federal law.

But the court's majority said a marijuana patient or member of a collective has the same right as anyone else to sue officers who violate the constitutional ban on illegal searches and seizures.

The plaintiff, David Williams, is relying on "the same constitutional guarantee of due process available to all individuals," Justice Vance Raye said. He said Williams is not required to go through "the expense and stress of criminal proceedings" to assert his rights.

Williams belonged to a seven-member collective near the town of Paradise. When a sheriff's deputy came to his door without a warrant in September 2005, Williams showed doctors' recommendations for all seven patients that allowed them to grow and use marijuana, he said.

He said the officer had questioned the legality of the collective and ordered him to destroy 29 of the 41 plants on his property or face arrest. He complied, then sued the officer and the county for damages. Wednesday's ruling upheld a Superior Court judge's refusal to dismiss the suit.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Fred Morrison said Congress should ease the federal ban on marijuana to accommodate California and 12 other states that allow medical use. But as long as the ban exists, he said, no one has the right to use the drug, and police are entitled to confiscate it.

Brad Stephens, a deputy county counsel, said the county would probably appeal to the state Supreme Court.

E-mail Bob Egelko at begelko@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page B - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle today

cartoon via NORML

Summer Vacation: 10 top places to go nude in the world

For travelers who really want to strip off in the sun, travel website TripAdvisor has come up with a list of the top 10 resorts where clothing is optional.

"For travelers, a great vacation is all about escaping. For most that means escaping the confines of their homes, for others, it is best achieved by escaping the confines of their clothes," said TripAdvisor spokeswoman Michele Perry.

Reuters had not endorsed this list which was compiled according to traveler popularity and TripAdvisor editors.

1. Au Naturel Club, Riviera Maya, Mexico

This Kantenah Bay Riviera Maya resort makes a clothing-optional vacation a truly luxurious experience. According to one TripAdvisor traveler: "Everyone is just there to relax and enjoy the sun and to unwind. I cannot think of a better place to do all of those things."Click here to read about the nine other locations.

photo via Andrew Peacock/ Lonely Planet

text by Reuters

Myth or Mystery? Did space traveler teach us the arts and sciences?

According to legend and ancient historical accounts Oannes was a figure who introduced the civilized arts to modern man.

These accounts credit Oannes with introducing following arts and sciences:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Written Language - Cuneiform
  3. Architecture
  4. Mathematics

Oannes as world traveler

The most likely scenario, if Oannes was indeed a historical figure, is that Oannes was a traveler from another part of the globe. If we were often visited by extraterrestrials and they were among us today, the theory that he and the arts and sciences he introduced were from another planet might be tenable. However, as we all know, that is not the case.

“A man, or rather a monster, Half man and half fish, coming from the sea, appeared near Babylon; he had two heads; one, which was the highest, resembled that of man, the other that of a fish. He had the feet of a man, and the tail of a fish; and his speech and voice resembled that of a man: a representation of him is still preserved. This monster dwelt by day with men, but took no food; he gave them knowledge of letters, arts, and sciences; he taught them to build towers and temples; and to establish laws; he instructed them in the principles of geometry; taught them to sow, and to gather the fruits of the earth; in short, whatever could contribute to polish and civilize their manners. At sun set he retired to the sea, in which he passed the night. There appeared likewise others of the same species.”

Berossus, from ancient fragments (Isaac Preston Cory)

Image and text thanks to Bruce Magnotti who is an anthropologist and historical researcher living in Seattle. He travels teaching and leading discussions on history and spiritual discovery.

To contact Bruce Magnotti, Email Link

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pennsylvania inmates to be paid even if guards aren't!

As state after state tries to balance their budgets, cuts are coming that will spell trouble in their futures.

What's happening in Pennsylvania - prisoners being paid, but guards getting stiffed - could happen in California and other states very easily.

This poses a great big fat question: what happens if the guards walk off the job when they aren't paid? Can't happen you say? Are you sure about that?

All I know is this could cause some real problems down the line. One of my sons is a correctional officer in California, and he's had to take furlough days off with no pay for several months now, and he's already experienced a state pay cut of 5% during California's fiscal crisis. More pay cuts are on the way unless California politicians gets their act together soon.

 What the hell is it going to take to get these idiots to pass a budget?

From The Chicago Tribune...

By John L. Micek | CALL HARRISBURG BUREAU

Tens of thousands of Pennsylvania prison inmates still will be paid for the jobs they do at state correctional institutions, even as the people who guard them and see to their welfare run the risk of going unpaid in the event of a budget impasse this summer.
Concerns about public safety helped drive the decision to continue paying the 31,175 inmates who do everything from serve meals to sweep cellblocks at the state's 27 correctional institutions, spokespeople for Gov. Ed Rendell and the state Corrections Department said.
The inmates are paid 19 cents to 42 cents an hour for their labors. Inmates use the money to buy, among other things, medication, toiletries and snacks at prison commissaries, said Bill DiMascio of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, a
Philadelphia group that advocates on behalf of prisoners.
With a capacity for 43,000 inmates, the state prison population now numbers 50,568 and ''we believe that depriving prisoners of cigarettes would merely increase tension in already overcrowded prisons,'' Rendell administration spokesman Chuck Ardo said.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said the inmates work in key maintenance roles, so ''having them continue their work and paying them is important to the operation of our state prison system.''
The issue has caught the attention of some state lawmakers and angered the head of the state's prison guards union, who says that if corrections officers and scores of other state employees have to go without paychecks this summer, then inmates should as well.
''In the event of a budget impasse, people need to know that inmates will be paid more than corrections officers,'' said Donald G. McNany, president of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association, which represents 10,600 guards statewide.

Click here to read the rest.

image via Google Images

Summer Travel Idea: how about hunting real pirates?

This is like the movies Westworld, Gamer or the game Manhunt, only this isn't fiction. It's real and real messed up. A Russian entrepreneur with a fleet of luxury yachts is offering a pirate safari - as in hunting pirates - as in hunting real people.

Piracy is bad, okay, but in the world of rich-guy asshole ideas, this is at the top.

His plan is to lure pirates to his ships and then allow the pay-to-play mercenaries the chance to "fight back" - guaranteeing at least one attack. The excursion takes patrons from Djibouti along the coast of Somali to Mombasa in Kenya where hunters spend $5,790 a day patrolling the waters, looking for action. Supposedly, the ships taunt the pirates by coming close to the coast at a speed of five nautical miles.

Ammo is $12 for 100 rounds and an AK-47 rental is $9 a day. A grenade launcher goes for $175 a day and a reeling machine gun is $475 a day. For those hunters who like to dish it but can't take it, there are ex-special forces there to protect them from potential harm.
One Russian yachtsman despises the pay to kill vacation. "They are worse than the pirates," said Russian yachtsman Vladimir Mironov. "At least the pirates have the decency to take hostages, these people are just paying to commit murder," he continued.

Text and photo via Digital City

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

'The London Hammer' - is probably not as old as claimed

An alert reader made a comment on this story and pointed out this find might not be that old. Click here to read why. Then you decide.

Original Post...

Every once in a while archaeologists (and sometimes regular Joes) make some remarkable discoveries. Stunned, they are often unable to explain what it is they’ve found, how it came into existence, or ascertain its value. Here is one item that archaeologists believe should have never existed given the discerned age/period of it's creation.

In June 1936 (or 1934 according to some accounts), Max Hahn and his wife Emma were on a walk when they noticed a rock with wood protruding from its core. They decided to take the oddity home and later cracked it open with a hammer and a chisel. Ironically, what they found within seemed to be an archaic hammer of sorts. A team of archaeologists checked it, and as it turns out, the rock encasing the hammer was dated back more than 400 million year; the hammer itself turned out to be more than 500 million years old. Additionally, a section of the handle has begun the transformation to coal. Creationists, of course, were all over this. The hammer’s head, made of more than 96% iron, is far more pure than anything nature could have achieved without an assist from modern technology.

photo and text via ZME Science

Do you wonder about the meanings of your dreams?

There are deep meanings of dreams that we can find in our nightly trip away from reality. Most people find their dreams to be unintelligible scrambles of mixed messages and cryptic symbols from things they encountered in their day. The subconscious mind is a much more remarkable machine than it is given credit for. Precognitive dreams are dreams that are designed by your subconscious mind to make you feel a certain way or even tell you something.

Disturbing dreams are often linked to tragic or traumatic incidents in your life. Situations involving trust can cause you to have bad dreams. However, a disturbing dream can also be tied to a significant risk you are taking. It is possible you are realizing just how bad a particular situation could become. Some dreams might just be reflecting your fundamental fears but others could be warning you that action is needed to prevent the worst from happening.

Because our minds often work differently from person to person, it can be difficult to gauge the meaning of a particular symbol appearing in the dreams of one person to the next. However, there are many inherently similar common dream symbols with distinctive and sometimes surprising meanings. In order to help you understand some of the hidden meanings in dreams, here are eight commons symbols which appear in dreams and their different meanings.

Click here to read about them.

text via Mind Cafe

photo via Google Images

I take exception at the term 'reverse discrimination' that has been used in this case

What does reverse discrimination mean?

I'll tell you what it implies: the term suggests that normally white people are racists, but in this case (reverse) it's saying the whites were discriminated against. What's wrong with just using the word discrimination? A racist can come in any color. Someone who discriminates against others can come in any color. Race is still, and will always be, a matter of controversy in this country. Anyone can be discriminated against.  It doesn't matter if you are white, brown, yellow, or black.

What matters is that we do away with any kind of discrimination in the work place or at home. One of the things that came out in this case, is the fact that Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor had her decision overturned. How that plays out remains to be seen. Another troubling thing that's come up is how some city governments err on the side of minorities (out of fear of lawsuits) when it comes to the workplace. There might have been a time when this kind of thing was acceptable, but that time has passed. Today it should be about true equality among ALL of the races in America.  

Photo by Jessica Hill / Associated Press

Here' some backround on the ruling from the Los Angeles Times...

Ruling for white firefighters may alter hiring

The Supreme Court says white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were the victims of illegal discrimination when the city tossed out their test results and denied them promotions.

Goering had one thing right: use fear to control people

image via dvmx.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

Naked ex-mayor, Mark Musselwhite, arrested at campsite

  Another Republican acting badly. I have friends who are Republican and they must be turned off with the latest rash of GOP badboys in the news. If it isn't an incumbent Republican Governor it's a Republican ex-mayor.

The thing that get's me is that all of these GOP poster boys have been church-goers - Musselwhite served as a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Gainesville.

  I'm really not picking on members of the GOP, but they are sure providing the scandals lately. I know that there are Democrat hypocrites out there too. Just like their GOP counterparts. It's just that lately the GOP has been - shall we say - newsworthy?

 From The Atlantic Journal-Constitution...    

   By Alexis Stevens

  A former mayor found sitting naked and holding a beer at a Rabun County campsite told police he wasn’t the same naked man seen walking around earlier.

Mark Musselwhite, 43, said he was hot and had been in the creek, according to a Georgia Department of Natural Resources incident report. He apparently didn’t think he was doing anything wrong.

Musselwhite, of Gainesville, was arrested last weekend after being confronted by state DNR authorities. He was charged with public indecency.

“He told me he was the ex-mayor of the city Gainesville and he was a very political person,” DNR Ranger Brandon Walls wrote in the report.

Walls and a deputy sheriff went to the campsite Saturday evening after a complaint of a man walking naked in Earls Ford Road, according to the report. Musselwhite appeared to be intoxicated, and several alcoholic beverages were at the campsite, Walls said.

Walls said he had spoken to Musselwhite earlier in the day regarding an ATV the former mayor was driving.

“He looked at us and said hello,” according to the report.

Musselwhite then asked why he was being visited.

“I said the complainant had specifically said his campsite, and the fact that he was still nude made me think it was him,” Walls wrote.

Musselwhite denied that he was the nude man identified in the complaint.

An unidentified female was also at the campsite.

Musselwhite, a Republican, was elected to the City Council in 2000. He served on the council for six years, including as mayor of the town. In 2006, he lost a bid for a state Senate seat.

Musselwhite previously served as deacon of First Baptist Church in Gainesville.

image via The Atlantic-Journal Constitution

Life is full of illusions...like this one for example

(Quote) "This illusion has been doing the rounds this week (see Bad Astronomy and Richard Wiseman for a couple of science blogs I like that picked it up), but it's so good I thought it needed to be posted here also.
Look carefully at the image below. Do you see a couple of spirals, one blue and one green? Well, take a closer look - in actual fact, the blue and green are actually the same color!

Don't believe me? Copy the image and open it up in PhotoShop or Paint and take a closer look....
You will notice that the orange curves move through the "green" spirals, but not the blue. And the purple curves don't move through the green.

(left)If we blow this picture up even more, we can see that the colors are becoming more and more similar.

(Above)The blue and green appear to be different colors because our brain works out colors by comparing them to other surrounding colors and it does a bit of mixing. When we look at the "blue" spiral, we also take in the purple curves moving through it. This makes it look more blue. When we look at the "green" spiral, we take in the orange curves, which makes it look more green.
I know that's not a great explanation, so I'd be happy to hear a better one!" (End Quote)

 All text and images via Mr Science Show

Sotomayor's decision reversed by Supreme Court today

By Dave Stancliff

Political pundits are salivating this morning with the news that one of Sotomayor's rulings was overturned.

In a ruling today, the Supreme Court said white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race.

This comes as a reversal for her at a time when she is the high court nominee. Sonia Sotomayors decision, while an appeals court judge, is coming back to haunt her at an inconvient time..

According to the Washington Post...

According to USA Today...

According to the Associated Press...

Thus far, nearly everyone has been in favor of Sotomayors appointment. Her confirmation process has been smooth, with just little bumps in the road.

Does that change now with this new ruling?

I suspect that it'll cause people to pause...but she'll get the job in the end.

image via Google Images

Last Unscathed Republican Politician To Be Placed Under Protected Custody

From the Smirking Chimp this morning...

This is Patrick Noony (Last Remaining Virtuous Republican)

Saying that they "weren't taking any chances," Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Steele requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation to place Patrick Noony, a Bakersfeild, CA supervisor, in the witness protection program at an undisclosed location until late 2012.

"The scandals are killing us," admitted Steele. "Sex, drugs, promiscuity or just plain foot in mouth disease. You'd think we're Democrats. We've got to do everything possible to make sure we have someone who can run without dropping they're drawers and sticking his foot in his mouth. Then again, if we could get a guy who could actually get his foot into his mouth he wouldn't be getting into real trouble."

Republicans and conservatives like Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, David Vitter, Bobby Jindel, George Allen have been faced with a string of embarrassing incidents leading to a scarcity of plausible nominees."

"Come the next presidential election Patrick just might be the only credible Republican candidate left," admitted Steele. "We're desperate to keep him pristine until READ THE REST OF THE RNC PLIGHT HERE...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

National warranty extension robocallers finally stopped by federal court

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 06/28/2009 01:27:17 AM PDT

Have you noticed those “warranty extension robocalls” have stopped?

Do you wonder why?

I got several calls each day for months and tried to stop them. I filed with the National Do Not Call Registry -- and was on the verge of writing a scathing column about the hapless Federal Trade Commission (FTC) because they couldn't seem to stop those calls.

I was about to gather the local villagers and hand out burning torches as soon as I found the location of the boiler room for those robocalls! It seemed that nothing less than an all-out assault on these fiends would do.

Click here to read the rest.

image via Google images