Arkansas woman busted for shoplifting $144 worth of eye shadow

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An Arkansas woman whose mug shot shows her in heavy aqua and maroon eye shadow is accused of shoplifting $144 in makeup.

Police in Fayetteville, Arkansas, arrested 31-year-old Brandy Allen, accusing her of stuffing handfuls of eye shadow into her purse Monday.

Officers said that, after being confronted, Allen went on a profanity-laced tirade and tried to damage makeup as she pulled it out of her purse so the items would appear used.

The Washington County jail said Wednesday that Allen was released on $830 bond on charges of shoplifting and disorderly conduct.

My wife says wearing eye shadow like that should be a crime all its own!

Hawaii is the bluest state, Utah the reddest

Utah is the most Republican state in the U.S. this year, and Washington, D.C., and Hawaii rank as the most Democratic areas, according to a Gallup survey…

Among respondents to the poll, self-identified Democrats hold a 68-percentage-point advantage over Republicans in D.C. and a 24-point edge in Hawaii for the first half of 2011. Maryland, which ranked second after D.C. in a 2010 poll, now comes in just behind Hawaii with a 22-point Democratic advantage.

Gallup classifies states as more Democratic or more Republican based on the difference between the percentage of residents who tell pollsters they identify or lean Democrat and those who identify or lean Republican.

In Utah, Republicans hold a 32-point advantage over Democrats to make it the most Republican state in the country. Idaho ranks second with a 29-point gap. Wyoming, which held a 1-percentage-point edge over Utah in 2010, ranks third this year with a 27-point Republican advantage…

There’s little change elsewhere, according to Gallup’s polling. From 2010 to 2011, just one state fell from the Democrat top 10: California. Illinois, which was not in the top ten in 2010, now ranks as the ninth most Democratic in 2011.

On the GOP side, eight of the top 10 remain from 2010 to 2011. New Hampshire and South Dakota dropped down, and North Dakota and South Carolina rose to the top 10 Republican states…

On the national level, Democrats hold a slim lead over Republicans, with 44 percent of Americans surveyed saying they identify or lean Democratic compared with 40 percent who prefer the GOP. “The first half of 2011 looked a lot like 2010 politically in the United States, with Democrats enjoying a slight advantage in party affiliation nationally,” the report stated…

The Gallup results are based on a random sample of 177,600 adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia from Jan. 2-June 30, 2011. Margins of error for most states are plus or minus 3 percentage points or less.

Gallup is too candyass to work at defining the characteristics of independent voters. I presume there continues to be a growing portion of that quality who are Left or Right of the two old parties – who are too fed up with internal bureaucracy to want to deal with membership in either.

Cab driver’s cross banned from taxi – too phallic!

A taxi driver was banned from displaying a crucifix on his dashboard after a teenage customer complained that it looked “phallic”.

Clair Cook, who runs AnD taxis, was asked by her local council to ensure that the object was removed after being told that the 15-year-old boy had been offended by it. She described the complaint as “ridiculous” and said the driver of the car was a devout Roman Catholic…

The row follows a series of previous cases in which employees have been censured for displaying Christian symbols…

Miss Cook was told that the boy had complained about the taxi driver’s cross after being taken to school in York. He had also complained about the man’s driving, she said.

She pointed out that the driver had never been the subject of a complaint before and had an excellent safety record. “I am personally deeply offended and very sympathetic for the driver,” she said. “Not only is an ornament of this nature a religious one, but the complaint and its implication is a very serious one.

“The safety of the passengers is always my number one priority, and so is my drivers’ reputation and trust.”

The driver, who asked not to be named, said he had bought the blue cross on holiday in Greece six years ago. He described himself as “incredulous” when he heard about the complaint, adding: “I couldn’t believe that anyone would think it wasn’t a cross.

I have taken it off the dashboard as requested because I do not want to lose my licence but I do not think this has been handled properly.”

Given the ever-diminishing number of Brits describing themselves as Christians of any flavor, I’m now waiting for a cab driver displaying a phallus on the dashboard of his chariot – being sanctioned for it resembling a cross.

Mozzarella outsourced to Germany – turns blue!

A batch of about 70,000 mozzarella balls which turned blue upon opening has been confiscated by food authorities in Italy.

The health ministry said it had activated the European “rapid alert” system to warn of possible contamination, and announced emergency control measures on the cheese.

The cheese – made in Germany for an Italian company – has been removed from shelves and samples sent for testing…

The tainted mozzarella was spotted by a shopper in Turin, who noticed it take on a bluish tint when it was exposed to the air…

Initial tests at an institute in Turin found the colouring to be caused by a bacteria, rather than toxic contamination, AFP reported.

Analysts suggested the colouring could also indicate the presence of copper, nickel or lead in the milk used to make the cheese, or the solution used to preserve it.

The cheese was made for an Italian company, which distributed it to discount supermarkets in the north of the country. Neither the German producer nor the Italian company involved have been named.

Just one more cheapskate company trying to “optimize profits” at the expense of consumers.

Preservatives in mozzarella? Crap. About all a boiled milk cheese [like mozzarella] needs is a dip in chlorinated water or some other O₃ source to prevent mold forming.

If you’re one of those wimps afraid of moldy cheese?

Low-caste Indians rally to mark 25 years of their party


Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Hundreds of thousands of people have rallied in the Indian city of Lucknow to mark the 25th anniversary of a party which represents low-caste Hindus. Large parts of the city were turned blue, the colour of the Bahujan Samaj Party which has a huge following among Dalits (formerly “untouchables”).

Party leader Mayawati said she would champion Dalit rights until she died.

Ms Mayawati is India’s first Dalit woman chief minister

Lucknow, the capital of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, was draped in blue lights and every single hoarding leading to the rally ground was blue for Monday’s celebration.

The massive ground was packed to capacity with thousands of supporters spilling out into nearby areas. Some estimates say nearly 400,000 people turned up to hear Ms Mayawati speak…

Supporters cheered and clapped, and some even danced, throughout her 95-minute address.

She has governed Uttar Pradesh and its 180 million people since state elections in 2007…

The BBC’s Geeta Pandey in Delhi says Ms Mayawati’s critics accuse her of wasting precious government funds in one of India’s most backward states.

Her supporters…seem unconcerned by the criticism – analysts say the turnout at Monday’s rally proves they still have faith in her leadership.

“For us, she is a Goddess. She has empowered us. Given us a voice which now people are listening to,” one woman at the rally told the Associated Press news agency.

Yup. Political leaders who truly come from the poorest of the poor may not have absorbed all the niceties of polite, ethical society. Having stood shoulder to shoulder with the rank-and-file in comparable movements here and there around the globe, I must say that average folks – like me – recognize the question with a small measure of concern – and a smile.

If the established rulers of nations, from the poorest to the wealthiest, would get off peoples’ backs – perhaps they might not suffer a scrape or two when people stand up and shrug them off.

Blue Stonehenge discovered near the original

Archaeologists have discovered Stonehenge’s little sister, dubbed Bluestonehenge, just 2.8km away on the west bank of the River Avon.

The site, once made up of 25 blue Preseli stones – hence it’s nickname – was constructed about 5,000 years ago. According to archaeologists from the Stonehenge Riverside Project, Bluestonehenge linked the ‘domain of the dead’ to that of the living at Durrington Walls further upstream, with the River Avon being the vital link between the two.

Archaeologists believe the stones represented the end of the Avenue that marked the funerary processional route from the River Avon to Stonehenge: no pottery, animal bones, food residues or flint tools associated with domestic life have been found at Bluestonehenge…

Prof. Julian Thomas, co-director, added: “The implications of this discovery are immense. It is compelling evidence that this stretch of the River Avon was central to the religious lives of the people who built Stonehenge. Old theories about Stonehenge that do not explain the evident significance of the river will have to be re-thought.”

RTFA. Good photos. Inspiring work.

Common, safe blue food dye may reduce effects of spinal cord injury

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A common and safe blue food dye might provide the best treatment available so far for spinal cord injuries, U.S. researchers have reported.

Tests in rats showed the dye, called brilliant blue G, a close relative of the common food dye Blue no. 1, crossed into the spinal fluid and helped block inflammation, Maiken Nedergaard of the University of Rochester Medical Center and colleagues reported.

“We have no effective treatment now for patients who have an acute spinal cord injury,” Dr. Steven Goldman, who worked on the study, said in a statement.

Our hope is that this work will lead to a practical, safe agent that can be given to patients shortly after injury, for the purpose of decreasing the secondary damage that we have to otherwise expect.”

When nerve cells in the brain or spine are damaged, they often release a spurt of chemicals that causes nearby cells to die. No one is sure why, and stopping this process is key to preventing the damage that continues to build after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

One of the chemicals is ATP. Nedergaard’s team looked for something that would interfere with this and found the blue dye, which they called BBG, would do this…

Nedergaard cautioned that tests in humans are likely still years away. Treatment would have to be immediate, she added – because the damage to nerve cells is irreversible.

Think to before the accessibility of online databases – and how much more difficult research like this was.