Nov 22, 2008

Nebraska finally puts age limit on safe-haven bill

The Nebraska safe-haven bill allowed parents to leave an unwanted infant child at a hospital with no questions asked.

It was intended to prevent newborns from being dumped in trash bins or worse.

However, shortsighted Nebraska lawmakers neglected to include an age limit when they passed the original bill.

The law has been used to abandon 35 children at hospitals in the state since July. Many of them were preteens or teenagers as old as 17.

Hospital officials have described children crying hysterically as they pleaded with their parents not to leave them.

Five of the children have been from other states, including from as far away as Florida and Michigan. The law was not revised to preclude infants from other states from being dropped off.

With no age limit, the original law made Nebraska a dumping ground for unruly and unwanted juveniles from other states.

None of the children dropped off in Nebraska were infants.

How could Nebraska lawmakers pass such a bill without a time limit? Was it because Nebraska does not have a Senate and a House of Representatives? The “one house” Unicameral form of government in Nebraska means a bill is only acted on once making legislative oversight much easier.

Nebraska is the only state with just one legislative chamber.


It's the weekend ...

… time to relax, find a special friend and go for a nice leisurely stroll.

Folding money

When I was a kid, I often had a bit of small change in my pocket but I got really excited when I had ‘folding money.’ It didn’t happen very often when I was in grammar school! I grew up when kids were lucky to get a dime from the tooth fairy.

To this origami artist, ‘folding money’ has a whole new meaning.

Nov 21, 2008

Uncle Sam in Germany

A carnival reveler wearing a fancy dress costume poses in front of the cathedral at the start of the carnival in Cologne.

Reuters photo

Hillary to take Secretary of State position

It looks like Hillary Rodham Clinton (pictured) will be the Secretary of State in Barack Hussein Obama’s administration.

It’s shaping up like a third Bill Clinton administration.

With all of the other Bill Clinton retreads it wouldn’t have been surprising if he would have sought out Madelyn Albright for another run at throwing rose pedals at the feet of the leaders of other countries. But then Hillary can toss rose pedals just as well as Albright.

But what about the skeleton’s in Bill’s closet such as the pardon of Marc Rich? Won’t Bill’s past sins stand in the way for Hillary’s confirmation hearings? Oh, I forgot, the Senate will have a solid Democrat majority so her confirmation will be smooth sailing.


PC Magazine print edition to end in January

Ziff Davis will end the print version of PC Magazine early next year.

The last print edition of PC Magazine will reportedly be dated Jan. 2009.

When I first began buying computer magazines in the early 1980’s, PC Magazine was my favorite. Byte was a more popular magazine at that time but it covered all types of computers. PC Magazine was dedicated to, well, PC’s and it was my favorite magazine.

I’ll miss it. Reading it online just won’t be the same.


Farewell to the Yugo automobile

The last Yugo, once the pride of communist Yugoslavia's automobile industry, will roll off its Serbian production line Thursday in the central town of Kragujevac.

In the US, Yugo has made several joke appearances in Hollywood blockbusters such as Die Hard 3.

Artists in America also found inspiration in the flimsy tin-can structure, turning it into something more useful — like a queen size bed or a kitchen stove.

A favorite Yugo joke is:

Why does a Yugo have a defroster on the rear window?

To keep your hands warm while you push it.

Incredibly, over 100,000 Yugo’s were sold in the U.S. before Yugo America, the company that imported it, went bankrupt.


Protesting the bailout

Getting the Pink Slip

A Capitol Police officer tells demonstrators from the group Code Pink to move from the steps in front of the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

The demonstrators were showing their opposition to the bailout.

DC Metro fare cards to commemorate Obama

How much will this cost taxpayers? Isn’t Metro facing a budget shortfall?

We saw this in China all through the regime of Chairman Mao. The Chinese leader had his picture on almost everything.

We still see it in third world countries. We called it government-funded propaganda. Didn’t think we would see it here in the United States.

Why not put Obama’s picture on food stamps instead?


Nov 20, 2008

Saved by Zero: worst TV ad of the year?

The Toyota Saved by Zero TV ad may be the worst of 2008. If it isn’t the worst it certainly has a chance to be the most insensitive considering the timing of the ad.

Time Magazine has this to say about the Toyota Saved by Zero TV ad:

In the middle of a deep recession, when consumers are hesitant to open their wallets, companies have to pull out all the stops to get their attention. But it isn't every day that an unforgettable (or unforgivable?) marketing campaign can drive so many people to distraction, causing them to loathe a usually admired brand.

The 30-second commercial touting the program, which is saturating televised sporting events and other prime-time TV, has left viewers vitriolic. In the ad, a giant red zero moves around the screen while a sedated-sounding man hauntingly drones the line Saved by zero — financing, get it? — over and over.

It's right at that border where it's catchy enough that it gets stuck in your head, but not good enough that you like it.

It's like water torture, and people just want it to stop.

This week Sports Illustrated football scribe Peter King, author of the religiously read Monday Morning Quarterback column on, wrote, “Someone please — I IMPLORE YOU — put that ‘Saved by Zero’ Toyota commercial out of its misery.”


How to steal a Senate seat in Minnesota - part 2

The bubble beside Norm Coleman’s name appeared to have both an X and a squiggle in it, but the Al Franken campaign wants the state Canvassing Board to rule on whether it should count, claiming it may not show a real intent to vote for Coleman. Unbelievable!

Franken operatives are apparently desperate to find a way to steal the election - one vote at a time - during the recount now in progress.


His driving was nothing to sneeze at

A Weymouth, Massachusetts man lost control of his pickup and plunged into Boston's Charles River.

The 42-year-old driver, Andrew Hanson, explained: a sneeze caused him to lose control of his vehicle.

Hanson was able to wade to shore after escaping from the truck, which was partially submerged in 4 feet of water. He was not seriously injured but was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Lawrence Callahan of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation said Hanson told him that after he sneezed, "the next thing he knew he was in the river."


She must have a hyper hairdresser

A model presents a creation for a colorful cosmetic design contest at China Fashion Week in Beijing.

Reuters photo

How Obama got elected…

(click on picture to see video)

The news media reported only positive news about Obama and mostly negative news about Obama’s rivals.

Members of the test group were completely uninformed about current politics, yet knew exactly what the media wanted them to know.

Nov 19, 2008

Times Square to get its first green billboard

This winter, New Year's Eve revelers will have a close-up view of Times Square's first environmentally friendly billboard powered entirely by wind and sun.

(click on picture to enlarge)

The eco-friendly billboard will be installed above the Chase sign at 7th Avenue and 42nd Street.

The billboard, seen in the rendering above, will have four 45-foot stacks of wind turbines to power it.

The billboard will not be quite as dazzling as some of its high-powered neighbors along the Great White Way, but it will be more eco-friendly.


Oops! Astronaut loses tool bag in space

Nothing seemed to go right for astronaut Heide Stefanyshyn Piper during her spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

First, a grease gun inside her tool bag leaked, coating everything inside with a film of lubricant.

While she was trying to clean it up in the absence of gravity, the whole bag floated away.

After completing a few preliminary tasks, Stefanyshyn-Piper was beginning the job of cleaning and lubricating the gears of the station's malfunctioning starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, or SARJ, when she discovered the grease gun leak and then lost the bag.

More of the story here.

Apple’s iPhone is the #1 phone in the world

The iPhone (pictured) has surpassed the Motorola RAZR as the leading handset purchased by adult consumers in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2008 as reported by NPD Group.

The Moto RAZR had been ranked number one by NPD for the past 12-months.

The current top three phones are:

1. Apple iPhone
2. Motorola RAZR
3. RIM Blackberry Curve


Nothing lean about this cuisine - big Nestlé chicken recall

USDA has confirmed one injury and several reports of blue plastic found in Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine brand frozen chicken dinners.

This has led Nestlé Prepared Foods Co. to recall 900,000 pounds worth of meals.

No details of the reported injury have been released by the USDA but there have been no reports of any injuries requiring medical attention.

So far, the blue plastic has been found in three specific Lean Cuisine dinners -- Cafe Classics Pesto Chicken with Bow Tie Pasta, Spa Cuisine Chicken Mediterranean and Dinnertime Selects Chicken Tuscan.


Bank robber caught red handed

Police in Massachusetts caught a bank robber red handed — literally.

Fifty-year-old John Tripp gave tellers a note saying he had a gun at a Sovereign Bank branch.

Bank employees managed to hide a dye pack in the cash the robber stole.

The suspect was arrested in about an hour because an officer noticed red dye covering the man's hands and some cash.


Nov 18, 2008

Blind woman threatened with property lien for one-cent bill

A blind 74-year-old South Attleboro, Massachusetts woman received a bill from the city stating that if she does not pay an outstanding utility balance of one penny by Dec. 10 she will face penalties of up to $48, along with a lien on her property.

City Collector Debora Marcoccio said the bill was sent out along with more than 2,000 others as the city tries to recoup outstanding balances before resorting to putting liens on property.

A computer automatically printed the letters for any account with a balance remaining, and they were not reviewed by staff before being sent out.

"It would be fiscally irresponsible for me to have staff weed through the bills and pull out any below a certain amount," Marcoccio said.

It would seem to us that it would be fiscally irresponsible to not have the computer billing program set to kick out amounts under a certain amount for review prior to mailing.

Better yet, have such small amounts simply added to the next month’s bill. The poor lady has lived at her address since 1959! Give her a break already!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

OK, everyone together now - lets give one big Bronx cheer (as shown below) to the South Attleboro, Massachusetts City Collector!



Double amputee at the DNC in Denver

Iraq war veteran and former congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth is pictured at the podium at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, on Aug. 27, 2008. Reuters photo.

Prince Charles: put a royal sock in it if you become King

There is a sudden rash web news articles unfavorable to Prince Charles coming from the UK.

The last one, found at the link below, is titled, With all due respect, Your Highness, if you become King - please put a royal sock in it!

It may be because his 60th birthday reminds Briton’s that Charles (upper photo) may soon become King. After all, his mother is 82 years of age.

The writer wonders if Prince Charles is grappling with issues beyond his intellectual capabilities.

One headline sounded alarm bells: ‘Charles will speak out as king.’

Beneath those words Jonathan Dimbleby, the Prince's friend and biographer, wrote: ‘There are discreet moves afoot to redefine the future role of the sovereign so that it would allow King Charles III to speak out on matters of national and international importance.’

Dimbleby went on to suggest that Charles seeks to fill a role not dissimilar to that of recent Irish or German presidents, politically non-partisan, but still activist.

Hereditary monarchy is a bizarre survival. Most nations disposed of their kings and queens, often amid bloody revolutions, during the great international upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Queen's huge success - and such her reign has surely been - is based upon the exercise of lifelong, steely self-discipline. Never once has she allowed herself to express an opinion about any aspect of her people's governance or affairs.

Prince Charles, by contrast, is a man of passionate convictions, many of which are well known.

He claims that genetically modified crops threaten the world with ‘the biggest environmental disaster of all time’

He is a keen advocate of alternative medicine, and has used his influence to enable some alternative remedies to become available to patients at public expense

He is proud to call himself old-fashioned. He dresses, thinks, talks and acts in a manner that would have caused his ancestors of a century or so ago to embrace him warmly, in his double-breasted suits, as one of their own.

When he does become King, he likely will not follow the example of the Queen and, for the most part, be “seen, but not heard.”

If he assumes Britain's throne and attempts to use it as a platform from which to propagate his ideas, whether wise or dotty, he will plunge himself and the monarchy into controversy.

The writer ends by saying:

Follow your mother's example, Sir, and you may enjoy a prosperous reign.

Break the mould, however, and only grief will lie ahead for you - and for the British people.

If the throne cannot somehow bypass Charles and go to his son Wills (Prince William - lower photo), many Brits will hope the Queen will live forever!


Russian Church stolen - last seen in July

Wanted: One missing Russian church. Last seen in July. Reward for its return.

Orthodox officials in a central Russian region say an abandoned church building that was to be put back into use has been stolen by local villagers.

Orthodox priest Vitaly of the Ivanovo-Voskresenskaya diocese said officials last saw the two-story Church of Resurrection intact in late July.

Sometime in early October, however, people from the nearby village of Komarovo, northeast of Moscow, dismantled the building, he said.

Villagers apparently sold it to a local businessman, one ruble (about 4 cents) per brick, Vitaly said. Orthodox priests use only one name.

The 200-year-old building, which no longer had its icons and other religious valuables, was a school for disabled children during the Soviet era before it was closed down in 1998 and turned over to the church.


Media boosting the cult of Obama

A Washington Post report at the link below is titled A Giddy Sense of Boosterism.

Writer Howard Kurtz lists just a few instances illustrating how the news and other media have been unashamedly “in the tank” for Barack Obama calling OBAMAISM a religion and even comparing Obama to Lincoln!

1. NBC News is coming out with a DVD titled “Yes We Can: The Barack Obama Story.”

2. ABC and USA Today are rushing out a book on the election.

3. HBO has snapped up a documentary on Obama's campaign.

4. Newsweek has a commemorative issue “Obama's American Dream” which is “filled with so many iconic images and such stirring prose that it could have been campaign literature.”

5. A Time cover (pictured) depicting Obama as FDR, complete with jaunty cigarette holder.

6. “The Obamas' New Life!” blares People's cover, with a shot of the family.

7. Us Weekly goes with a Barack quote: “I Think I'm a Pretty Cool Dad.”

8. The Chicago Tribune trumpets that Michelle “is poised to be the new Oprah and the next Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis -- combined!” for the fashion world.

9. The New York Times refers to the “Generation O.”

10. The New York Post has already christened it “BAM-A-LOT.”

11. “OBAMAISM -- It's a Kind of Religion,” says New York magazine.

12. Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham whose new issue compares Obama to Lincoln.


Nov 17, 2008

Alan Keyes (pictured) lost to Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate race in Illinois in 2004.

Now Keyes has now come back to haunt his former opponent over questions regarding Obama's citizenship.

Keyes and other members of the American Independent party have filed suit in California Superior Court in Sacramento to stop the state from giving its electoral votes to President-elect Barack Obama until documentary evidence is provided to prove Obama is indeed a citizen of the United States.

Some conservatives have questioned Obama's citizenship in recent months. Obama says he was born in Hawaii in 1961.


Beep beep

Members of Greenpeace protest the German government's resistance to introducing carbon dioxide limits for cars.

AFP photo

Diana Ross has bad hair day

Wish I’d kept it - 1947 Studebaker ragtop

This little 1947 Studebaker Champion convertible was under powered even by 1940’s standards but it was a nice driving, economical car.

Bought if from a high school buddy while I was home on furlough just before shipping out to Japan.

Put a new top on the car after mustering out of the military. The snappy looking ragtop was a dark green - almost turquoise with a white top.

It would be great fun to have it now. The grandkids would also love.

Thwarted bank robber threatened to complain to management

A man in Pennsylvania was intent on robbing a bank. Only problem was, the tellers were waiting for their cash drawers to be filled.

When the robber demanded money, one teller fainted and the next two tellers showed him their empty cash drawers.

The unhappy robber then threatened to file a complaint with bank management before leaving.

A customer at the drive-through called 911. A 48-year-old man was arrested about 10 blocks away.


Nov 16, 2008

The Washington Post cites 5 November election myths

Myth #1. The Republican Party suffered a death blow.

Even though the Republicans lost the White House, six Senate seats and 24 House seats, there are two good reasons to believe that Republicans will be back on their feet sooner than many people expect.

First, it will take new faces to rejuvenate the party and hitting rock bottom was the only way to allow new faces and ideas to emerge.

Second, historical electoral patterns suggest that Republicans could pick up a gob of Senate and House seats in 2010 -- the first midterm election under President Obama.

Myth #2. A wave of black voters and young people was the key to Obama's victory.

Exit polling suggests that there was no statistically significant increase in voting among either group.

Black voters made up 11 percent of the electorate in 2004 and 13 percent in 2008, while young voters comprised 17 percent of all voters in 2004 and 18 percent four years later.

Myth #3. Now that they control the White House and Congress, Democrats will usher in a new progressive era.

This is not likely to happen because there is a heavy influx of moderate to conservative members in the incoming freshman Democrats, particularly in the House.

As the Post article points out, the first rule of politics is survival. If these new arrivals to Washington want to stick around, they are likely to build centrist voting records between now and 2010 preventing a liberal dream agenda from moving through Congress.

Myth #4. A Republican candidate could have won the presidency this year.

Not likely. The claim by the Obama campaign that voting for McCain would be four more years of a Bush presidency resonated with many voters. With Bush approval ratings as low as the ratings of the Carter presidency, it wouldn’t have mattered which Republican was running against Obama.

Even though we knew very little about Barack Obama (and still don’t), the media made Obama into a “rock star.” There are no “rock stars” in the Republican Party.

Myth #5. McCain made a huge mistake in picking Sarah Palin.

Not so. Last summer McCain had won the Republican nomination, but the GOP base held little excitement for his campaign.

Then came Sarah Palin and suddenly the Republican base became energized. Sixty percent of voters who told exit pollsters that McCain's choice of Palin was a “factor” in their final decision, the Arizona senator won 56 percent to 43 percent.

The Post article says, It's hard to imagine conservatives rallying to McCain -- even to the relatively limited extent that they did -- without Palin on the ticket. Without Sarah Palin, McCain's loss could have been far worse.