Dec 15, 2006

Age gauge

Click here and then enter your birth date in the upper left of the screen to see how you fit in with other people and events.

UPDATE: Senator Johnson appropriately responsive

Family and colleagues were encouraged by his progress Thursday, yet doctors said it was too early to say whether further surgery would be required.

He has been appropriately responsive to both word and touch. No further surgical intervention has been required," said the physician, Adm. John Eisold.

Link to the update here.

Dec 14, 2006

Pelosi stumbles: appoints clueless Intel chief

There is an article here that asks, “Does intelligent life on the Intelligence Committee matter?”

This isn't an existential question. It arises because Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi, in an appointment fraught with intrigue, selected Representative Silvestre Reyes to be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

In an interview posted on Congressional Quarterly's Web site on Dec. 8, Reyes couldn't answer the most basic question about the antagonists in the biggest foreign policy disaster confronting the U.S.

As if that article wasn’t enough to project Reyes as an incorrigible bumbler, look at the Times Online article here titled, “Inept Democrats face failure with poor start in Congress.”

It’s a bad start, and the risk is that the Democrats are going to throw away their big chance.

Senator Tim Johnson remains in critical condition

Tim Johnson (upper picture) is still in critical but stable condition after emergency brain surgery Thursday night.

We wish the best for the Senator and his family.

However, with all the talk about the consequences of life in the Senate without Tim Johnson, this may be a good time to look at just how he became a Senator in the first place.

After serving in the House as a congressman representing South Dakota, Tim Johnson won a narrow victory in a Senate race over John Thune (center picture) in 2002.

Thune went on to defeat the then Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (lower picture) in 2004.

Tim Johnson was losing to Thune in 2002 until the Democrats allegedly flooded the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with operatives distributing cash to registered voters.

Shannon County gave Tim Johnson nearly 90% of the vote even though the registrations showed a much lower percent of registered Democrats. It was enough to give Johnson the victory in a very close (500 vote margin) race.

You won’t read about this in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader but handing out small amounts of cash to voters on Indian Reservations at election time is nothing new to South Dakota.

Tom Daschle allegedly did it as well as Bill Janklow a former Republican four-term Governor of South Dakota.

Animation or music machine made from farm equipment?

Click here for a fabulous YouTube music video that is nothing short of amazing.

The YouTube video is presented as music coming from a device made from farm equipment.

However, that is not the case. The video is an excerpt from a piece called "Pipe Dreams" made by a computer animation company called Animusic. Their web site is here.

Animusic focuses on the production of 3D computer graphics music animation. They have many more full length music animation presentations that are even more awesome.

Some of their virtual instruments are invented by building computer graphics models of objects that would appear to create the sound of the corresponding music synthesizer track.

Graphical instruments range from being reminiscent of existing instruments to arbitrarily abstract.

There was a recent PBS fundraiser program that presented and sold CD’s of this style of animated music.

…thanks to Twila Bauer for calling this to our attention.

Three short sample video clips of more computer music animations are here, here and here

A short video clip in color of “Pipe Dream” is here. Their Music Store is here.

Health of Tim Johnson worries Democrats

Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota underwent surgery yesterday after suffering from what doctors described as "symptoms of a stroke."

While there was no immediate word on the condition of the 59-year-old senator, the source, who is familiar with Johnson's situation, said surgeons sought to remedy an unspecified medical problem.

Just hours after Johnson was admitted to George Washington University Hospital, a spokeswoman for him said the senator had not suffered a stroke. She provided no other details.

The actions prompted concerns about his fellow Democrats' razor-thin majority in the incoming Senate.

As a result of last month's elections, Democrats would control the Senate 51-49 when the 110th Congress convenes on January 4.

The consequences of a permanent disability to Senator Johnson has the Democrats worried.

If the senator had to be replaced, South Dakota law says Republican Gov. Michael Rounds would name someone to finish the final two years of his six-year term. An election for a successor would be held in November 2008.

If Rounds named a Republican, that would put the Senate at 50-50, with Vice President Dick Cheney breaking any tie and putting Republicans in charge.


Dec 13, 2006

Ticket to dine with Governor Blanco sells for $1

A dinner with Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco drew a winning bid of $1 at a recent fundraising auction hosted by a group of business leaders.

Blanco is the Governor who insisted that Bush keep National Guard troops out of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit and then criticized the President for not sending help sooner.

The president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, in northeastern Louisiana, said she called Blanco's office Tuesday to apologize for a "poor joke gone awry."

Many would say the auction winner overbid. Many would also say the Governor herself was the “poor joke gone awry.”

One dollar is a lot of money to eat with the Louisiana Governor. On top of that, you’d probably be expected to stay awake through the entire meal.


Profound epitaph

This epitaph was found on a gravestone in a British cemetery:

"Remember man, as you walk by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, you soon will be.
Prepare yourself and follow me."

Dec 12, 2006

Clinton wiretapped Princes Di

The Clinton administration bugged Princess Diana in France at the time of her death.

Is it a story or a non-story by omission in the main stream media.

If this had happened during the Bush administration, the media would have been all over the story and it would have been front page news. It would have been another chance to criticize the president.

Other than to be reminded once again of the bias in the media, this scantily reported story is really quite humorous as shown in the Glenn McCoy cartoon below fond on Power Line here. Our previous posting about this story is here.

(click on the cartoon to enlarge)

Some are teachers - some are educators

A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick at a private school.

They would apply the lipstick in the restroom. After they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of lip prints. The custodian would remove lip marks from the mirror each night but the girls would put them back the next day.

Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the girls restroom and met them there with the custodian. The principal explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night.

To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the custodian to show the girls how much effort was required. He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and used it to clean the mirror.

Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

Best political humor of the year

The following was a photo caption contest winner

"After successfully holding his breath for five years, 10 months and 26 days, Al Gore decides to call off his protest of the 2000 U.S. election result in favor of prayer."

Winner: Hugh Scott (Getty Images photo)
Snifter-Clink to the National Post (Canada) Photo Caption Contest

…found on Luczanne last October

Dec 11, 2006

New intelligence chief botched easy intel quiz

Nancy Pelosi (pictured) appointed Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas to head the Intelligence Committee.

After nearly appointing Alcee Hastings to the position, one would think Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi would find a qualified appointee this time.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, who incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped to head the Intelligence Committee when the Democrats take over in January, failed a quiz of basic questions about al Qaeda and Hezbollah, two of the key terrorist organizations the intelligence community has focused on since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

When asked by CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein whether al Qaeda is one or the other of the two major branches of Islam -- Sunni or Shiite -- Reyes answered "they are probably both," then ventured "Predominantly -- probably Shiite."

That is wrong. Al Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organization and views Shiites as heretics.

Reyes could also not answer questions put by Stein about Hezbollah, a Shiite group on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations that is based in Southern Lebanon.

Nancy Pelosi has never been known for her intellect. Now it looks like she will be in good company with her new House intelligence chief.

We could be in for a long two years with a Democratic controlled House of Representatives.

The CNN story of the Rep. Reyes botched intel quiz here.

More about former intel candidate Alcee Hastings here and here.

Computer crossword puzzle

Investigation into media hyped global warming

Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who is chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, began a full committee hearing on "Climate Change and the Media."

The hearing will look at how the media has presented scientific evidence regarding predictions of human-caused catastrophic global warming, the senator's office said.

Senator Inhofe believes that poorly conceived policy decisions will result from the media's nonstop hyping of 'extreme scenarios' and dire climate predictions.


Dec 10, 2006

John what’s his name yearning to run again

John what’s his name wants to be president so bad he can taste it!

So what did he do? Invited a group of his supporters to the Heinz-Kerry Georgetown townhouse for pot roast and butternut squash. I guess it just wasn’t a steak and potatoes crowd.

Wouldn’t it have been hilarious if the butler had brought out Hunt’s catsup for the pot roast?

According to a source who knows one of the attendees, Kerry (pictured) started off by asking guests if he should run or not: "When no one answered, he launched into a speech about why he was the best candidate."

The key phrase was: “no one answered.”

Does he think he has a chance because he sees cars in Boston that still have Kerry-Edwards bumper stickers?

One thing you can count on -- he will decide to run before he decides against it.

He only came close in 2004 because the media gave him a non-stop free political commercial.

They won’t be so kind in 2008 after breaking their hearts in 2004.

You can stick a fork in the Kerry presidential dream - it’s done.


Culture shock on Capital Hill with 5 day work week

No slack hours for House members beginning in January.

Forget the minimum wage. Or outsourcing jobs overseas. The labor issue most on the minds of members of Congress was their own: They will have to work five days a week starting in January.

Members of the House of Representatives have had it easy.

Up until now, the legislative work week started late Tuesday and ended by Thursday afternoon -- and that was during the relatively few weeks the House wasn't in recess.

Next year, members of the House will be expected in the Capitol for votes each week by 6:30 p.m. Monday and will finish their business about 2 p.m. Friday.

Funny thing about the longer hours is that reporters will probably cry louder than the lawmakers.