Dec 6, 2008

Relax, Monday won’t be here for two days

Waiting for an Obamajob

The pot calling the kettle black

Automobile leaders testify during the U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing on the financial assistance package for the big Detroit automakers in Washington, December 4, 2008. From L-R are: Richard Wagoner, Chairman and CEO of General Motors, President of the United Auto Workers International Union Ron Gettelfinger, Alan Mulally, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company, and Robert Nardelli, Chairman and CEO of Chyrsler LLC.

Senators humiliated the leaders of the Detroit automakers by berating them for fiscal irresponsibility.

A classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Isn’t it about time Washington lawmakers were also humiliated and berated for their fiscal irresponsibility?

Getting feet wet while dining in flooded Venice

Venice sidewalk café patrons with feet submerged in flood water.

Farmers say fee on smelly livestock stinks

Belching and gaseous cows and hogs could start costing farmers money if a federal proposal to charge fees for air-polluting animals becomes law.

Farmers so far are turning their noses up at the notion, which is one of several put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases emitted by belching and flatulence amounts to air pollution.

It would require farms or ranches with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog.

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks said, "We'll let other countries put food on our tables like they are putting gas in our cars. Other countries don't have the health standards we have.”


Dec 5, 2008

O.J. Simpson sentenced to 15 years

Former football star O.J. Simpson (pictured) was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel armed robbery.

Simpson stood stone-faced Friday when Judge Jackie Glass quickly rattled off his punishment after he pleaded with her that he didn't mean to steal from anybody when he tried to retrieve memorabilia.

“I didn't want to steal anything from anyone ... I'm sorry, sorry,” he said.

The judge who rejected his apology and said, “It was much more than stupidity.”


Walking the line

A man dressed in executive office attire walks across a tightrope in London’s financial district.

Reuters photo

Buyers remorse 45 days before inauguration

On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Hussein Obama pledged to “end the war” in Iraq. This one promise alone kept much of his liberal base solidly behind him.

Now that he has safely been elected, he says: “I will remove our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, with the understanding that it will likely be necessary to maintain a force to provide potential training, logistical support, to protect our civilians in Iraq.”

The report at the first link below says, “his most fervent supporters already have reason to be disappointed in him. Campaign promises on ending the war in Iraq are now muted by reality.”

President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq.

Another report at the second link below says:

One of Barack Obama's emerging political qualities is how casually he has been dumping the ballast of his campaign promises.

The latest lousy policy to go over the side is a windfall profits tax on U.S. oil companies.

Mr. Obama never did offer a good or even particular reason for the oil majors to face this Carter-era inspiration -- apart from appeasing the populist furies.

And he couldn't, either, given that multiple other industries profit more both in absolute terms and in returns on equity or sales.

That’s what makes the cartoon here so appropriate.

Link here and here.

Bored at the airport in Houston? Try Karaoke

If you are bored at airport in Houston you can always exercise your vocal chords in a karaoke booth.

Houston's Bush International Airport is setting up karaoke booths for travelers, just in time for the holidays.

For the past two years, officials have invited choirs and bands from high schools and churches to perform at Bush and Hobby airports during December.

Karaoke seemed the next logical step, said Caroline Schneider, assistant airport manager for customer service.

Will one of the favorite tunes be the John Denver song, Leaving on a Jet Plane?


Anxiety among Democrats over Speaker Pelosi

The year 2009 is regarded as the biggest legislative opportunity for Democrats since 1993, the last time they controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress.

But not all Democrats are celebrating.

Liberals are worried about Pelosi’s vow to govern “from the middle” and centrists are concerned that the make-up of the House leadership team has shifted noticeably to the left.

“Everybody I talk to, everybody’s worried about something,” said a Democratic staffer.

Pelosi (pictured) has a simple method of keeping and extending her power so that few members clash publicly with Pelosi.

Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.), who were at odds with Pelosi over the last few years, were stripped of their top committee posts.

Most Democratic freshman members of the House were elected on their centrist political beliefs. They have no committee posts to protect and may have less anxiety about not backing the Speaker’s left-wing agenda for fear they would be vulnerable in the 2010 elections and lose out to the Republicans they replaced during the Obama tidal wave of 2008.


Dec 4, 2008

No mirage as camels wander in Texas border town

It was not a mirage in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico where two camels were seen wandering.

Police tried lassoing the animals, which lunged at the officers with snapping teeth as onlookers chuckled.

But in the end, officials say all it took was some juicy green leaves on a branch held by the caretaker to lure the camels back into captivity.

Police spokesman Jaime Torres says the camels named Yull and Tobi escaped early Wednesday from the warehouse of a businessman, who had bought the animals for a planned amusement park.

Mexico has seen a rash of escaped animals lately, including four tigers, a 500-pound lion and a five-ton elephant.


Lazy guide dog

Point guard

An unidentified official gestures prior to the meeting between President Bush and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev in Lima, Peru. The meeting was November 22.

Time Magazine photo

Empire State building stolen in just 90 minutes

The New York Daily News reports one of the biggest heists in American history.

The Daily News "stole" the $2 billion Empire State Building.

And it wasn't that hard.

The News swiped the 102-story Art Deco skyscraper by drawing up a batch of bogus documents, making a fake notary stamp and filing paperwork with the city to transfer the deed to the property.

Some of the information was laughable: Original "King Kong" star Fay Wray is listed as a witness and the notary shared a name with bank robber Willie Sutton.

The massive ripoff illustrates a gaping loophole in the city's system for recording deeds, mortgages and other transactions.

Less than 90 minutes after the bogus documents were submitted on Monday, the agency rubber-stamped the transfer from Empire State Land Associates to Nelots Properties LLC.

Nelots is "stolen" spelled backward. (The News returned the property Tuesday.)


High School teacher sells ads on tests

A cash-strapped teacher is selling ads on his tests.

In tests for teacher Tom Farber's high school class, students can demonstrate their mastery of calculus and find out where to get braces or even a haircut.

"It raises money for the teachers and it's amusing for the kids, so it seems like a win-win," said Luke Shaw, 18, a student at the suburban San Diego, California, school.

The teacher charges $10 for a quiz, $20 for a test or $30 for a final exam. For that price you could insert a personal inspirational quote or a business advertisement at the bottom of the first page.


Dec 3, 2008

Germany faces Santa shortage

Germany is looking for:

Cheerful, chubby men, preferably with fluffy white beards and no criminal record, ready to work hard for one month.

Germany is running out of qualified men to be temporary Santa’s and needs to recruit and train them fast.

Germans are trying to shut out the financial crisis by taking comfort in traditional festivities, and there is an acute shortage of Santas to entertain children at shopping centers, Christmas markets and private parties.

Applicants must be child-friendly, good organizers, reliable and have acting skills. They also need a clean police record.


Bill Clinton may be looking for an Obamajob

First we had the McJob - meaning a low paying, mindless entry-level job (much to the chagrin of McDonald’s).

Now we have the Obamajob. Not sure just what that means just yet but Bill Clinton seems to be in line to apply.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

When Hillary Rodham Clinton lost to Barack Hussein Obama many thought that would be the last of the Clinton’s.


Hillary will be in the new cabinet as will Bill Richardson.

Dozens of Clinton associates are on his transition team including John Podesta, Rahm Emanuel, Eric Holder and Larry Summers.

That eliminates Bill Clinton (pictured). Or does it? A report at the link below says Bill is looking for an Obamajob.

Bill’s qualifications? How about a disbarred lawyer, impeached president, convicted perjurer, pardon seller, illegal Chinese cash collector, alleged rapist, serial adulterer, violator of interns and White House artifact thief.

No matter what the Clinton’s do (or don’t do), it appears they may be around forever.

What he’d really like is for Big O to move down the hall and let him have the oval office.



(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Denver Broncos remain an NFL enigma

The Denver Broncos are leading the league in injuries. They are also leading the league in inexperience, yet they lead their division by 3 games.

The 7-5 Bronco’s are looking to the playoffs.

As they often show former head coach Jim Mora in those beer commercials:



Yes, playoffs.

The Associated Press report at the link below says:

If San Diego loses to Oakland on Thursday night and Denver beats Kansas City on Sunday, the banged-up Broncos, who have a dozen players on injured reserve and haven’t had defensive leaders Champ Bailey, D.J. Williams and Nate Webster for a month, are in the playoffs for the first time in three years.

This despite starting a different tailback in each of their past five games and a different free safety four of the past five weeks. And in spite of an injury epidemic that reached new depths Sunday at the Meadowlands.

When a Bronco running back goes down, coach Mike Shanahan just opens another “box of running backs” and they seem to fit right into the offense without hardly skipping a beat.

Jay Cutler and Peyton Hillis

The most recent Bronco rookie back was Peyton Hillis who had a pro game Sunday against the Jets gaining well over 100 yards.

Are the Broncos an enigma? Are they really thinking about the playoffs with a 7-5 record? Will Shanahan “plug in” another successful running back if Hillis goes down?

The likely answers are yes, yes and yes.


Chambliss win denies Democrat super majority

Senator Saxby Chambliss (pictured) was re-elected to a second term in a runoff election in Georgia.

Chambliss’s victory means Republicans now will have at least 41 votes in the upper chamber, enough to stop major legislative initiatives by the Democratic majority in the U.S. Congress.

Several ex-Republican presidential candidates made appearances for Chambliss, including GOP nominee John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Chambliss brought in Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain's vice presidential pick, as his closer. She headlined four rallies for Chambliss across the state Monday that drew thousands of party faithful.

Former President Bill Clinton came to campaign for Martin as did former Vice President Al Gore.

Obama tip-toed into the race, but never became fully involved. He recorded a radio ad for Martin and an automated “robo” call, but declined an invitation to come to Georgia and campaign for his fellow Democrat.


Dec 2, 2008

Crowd braved cold to hear Sarah Palin in Augusta

Sarah Palin (pictured) spoke to a crowd of several thousand in Augusta, Georgia yesterday to hear Alaska Governor Sarah Palin speak on behalf of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss who is facing Democrat Jim Martin in a Tuesday runoff election.

Republican Senator Chambliss had the highest number of votes on Election Day, but Georgia state law requires 50 percent plus one vote for a victory. Because a third party candidate was also running, Chambliss fell just short of the 50 percent forcing the runoff contest.

More than 2,000 had sent RSVPs for the morning's event, and a long line stretched from the doors of the James Brown Arena up Seventh Street and down Telfair as people waited for the civic center doors to open.

Augusta was just one of the appearances Monday by Mrs. Palin.


Christmas tree arrives at White House by horse-drawn wagon

First lady Laura Bush kicked off the holiday season Sunday by standing out in the rain to receive this year's White House Christmas tree.

The 2008 White House Christmas tree arrived at the White House by horse-drawn wagon.

The 20-foot Fraser fir will decorate the Blue Room.

The tree came from River Ridge Tree Farms in Crumpler, North Carolina. River Ridge also supplied about 25 smaller trees for the White House, including the ones for the offices of the president and vice president.


Bill mentioned for Hillary’s Senate seat

Hillary Clinton has been selected to be Secretary of State in the Obama administration.

Assuming her appointment will be confirmed, talk turns to a replacement for her seat in the U.S. Senate.

The task of choosing a successor falls to David Paterson, New York's Democratic governor.

Whomever he picks would serve for two years, before a special election in November 2010 to decide who fills the last two years of Clinton's term.

Paterson has a strong bench to choose from.

There are a number of contenders, including at least eight members of New York's delegation in the House of Representatives, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, Caroline Kennedy, and her cousin, Robert Kennedy Jr.

Bill Clinton (pictured) is also among those mentioned to replace Hillary Clinton.

If that happens Bill would be the third former president to go from the White House to Capitol Hill.

President John Quincy Adams lost his re-election bid in 1828. Two years later he returned to Washington after winning election as a congressman from his home state of Massachusetts. He served in the House of Representatives until his death in 1848.

President Andrew Johnson also served as a Senator from Tennessee in 1875, 7 years after the Senate acquitted him of impeachment charges. He died a few months after taking office.


WKRP is back on the air in Cincinnati

WKRP in Cincinnati was a 1970’s TV sitcom about a fictional radio station run by a somewhat dysfunctional crew.

(click on picture to enlarge)

The photo above shows the cast members of the TV program WKRP in Cincinnati.

Now WKRP is back on the air in Cincinnati. This time it’s a low-power TV station that has changed it’s trademark to WKRP Cincinnati.

Despite earlier erroneous reports, the station did not actually change its call letters, which remain WBQC-TV.


Pentagon wants 20,000 uniformed troops inside U.S. by 2011

According to a report at the second link below, the U.S. Military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

The photo above was taken May 2003 showing Army National Guard members standing watch near the Holland Tunnel on New York City's Canal Street.

There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military's role in domestic law enforcement.

Obama may have other ideas, however. In fact, he may completely rescind the Patriot Act to appease the Democrats in Washington who have been complaining about warrentless wiretaps and other homeland security measures the Bush administration has been using to successfully keep America safe since 9-11.

Click here for a long list of terror attacks averted since September 11, 2001.

More on the 20,000 homeland security force story here.

Dec 1, 2008

Warming proponents in denial as planet cools

The report at the link below says:

Europe is shivering through an extreme cold spell. One of the coldest winters in the US in more than 100 years is toppling meteorological records by the dozen, and the Arctic ice is expanding. Even Australia has been experiencing unseasonable snow.

But the stories about global warming have not stopped, not for a second.

We are seeing an increasing number of people with impeccable scientific backgrounds questioning part or the entire global warming story.

"With very few exceptions, press reporters commenting on global warming are either ignorant of the science matters involved, or willfully determined to propagate warming hysteria because that fits their personal world view, or are under editorial direction to focus the story around the alarmist headline grab -- and often all three," Professor Carter said.

More of the story here.

Ratings not so rosy for O’donnell variety show

Rosie O'Donnell (pictured) has a new variety show, "Rosie Live," on NBC, that is getting little respect from viewers. In fact, the show has already been dropped from the network's schedule.

Among those making appearances on the hourlong program -- conceived as a throwback to such series as "The Carol Burnett Show" -- were Alanis Morissette, Alec Baldwin, Clay Aiken, Ne-Yo and Liza Minnelli. It earned a 1.2 preliminary rating among adults 18-49.

During the weekend, O'Donnell, a former cohost of "The View," wrote on her blog that the low ratings and bad reviews meant that NBC would not pick up the series.


Salvation Army bells muted but not booted

A Maryland mall says Salvation Army bell ringers are making too much noise.

The noise complaints came from kiosk- and cart-based businesses in hallways near the bell ringers.

The three Salvation Army bell ringers inside the mall have replaced the insides of bells with paper clips to keep the clanging down.

The two bell-ringers located outside the mall are still at full volume.


Sarah Palin back on campaign trail

Large cheering crowds showed up for Sarah Palin’s vice presidential campaign appearances.

Palin (pictured) is now in Georgia campaigning for Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Chambliss is the freshman Republican senator from Georgia who is fighting to keep his seat. He's facing Jim Martin -- a former state lawmaker in Georgia -- in the runoff election.

Chambliss won a plurality of the vote on Election Day, but Georgia state law requires 50 percent plus one vote for a victory. Due to the inclusion of a third party candidate, Chambliss fell just shy of that threshold, forcing a runoff contest.


Bill to name donors in Hillary cabinet post deal

The president-elect has asked Bill Clinton to do what he himself has refused to do -- disclose publicly the names of donors.

Former President Bill Clinton has agreed to disclose publicly the names of more than 200,000 donors to his foundation as part of an accord with President-elect Barack Hussein Obama that clears the way for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to become secretary of state.

Mr. Clinton has kept his contributor list secret, as permitted under federal law, but he decided to publish it to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest with Mrs. Clinton’s duties as the nation’s top diplomat.

Is it possible for Hillary to receive Senate confirmation as Secretary of State after Bill has been travelling the world soliciting multimillion-dollar contributions for his foundation and collecting six-figure speaking fees for himself from foreign organizations and individuals?

The answer is yes -- with a solid majority in the Senate, they can do most anything they choose.

As for Bill’s list of contributors -- will Marc Rich be high on the list? Will Bill need help spelling all of those Chinese names? How about the long list of Arab donors?

He could do what ACORN did when they registered voters -- use names like Donald Duck, Daddy Warbucks and Dick Tracy.


Nov 30, 2008

Judge: Sarkozy voodoo doll can remain on sale

President of France Nicolas Sarkozy became the subject of a voodoo doll that became a bestselling cult classic.

Sarkozy sued to have the dolls removed from sale in France.

A judge ruled that Nicolas Sarkozy: The Voodoo Manual, which features a doll, a set of pins and a book explaining how to put the evil eye on the president, fell within the boundaries of “free expression” and the “right to humor.”

Socialist Ségolène Royal was the subject of a similar voodoo doll but didn't sue.

Royal lost to Sarkozy in the last French presidential election. She hailed the doll verdict as a victory for the freedom to “caricature the world's most powerful.”

The judges ordered that it must be sold with a bright-red banner on the packaging entitled “Judicial Injunction” and a warning that sticking needles into the doll is a blow to Sarkozy's dignity.


Fake engineer used fake references to get a lighter sentence

Timothy McCormack used fake engineering credentials to work on aircraft for Qantas Airways.

He duped Qantas for nine months by posing as a licensed aircraft engineer before he was discovered in July last year. He had performed 30 maintenance checks.

The plane that later gained notoriety for an emergency landing in Bangkok was among the aircraft he checked for maintenance.

Mr McCormack produced four excellent character references to persuade a judge to give him a lighter sentence for faking his engineering credentials to work on Qantas aircraft.

The fake engineer had also falsified each of his references.

They included a fictional school counselor, which had been misspelled “councilor”, and an allegedly fictional Senior Sergeant Woodward, who purported to be the president of a fictional Hornsby Junior Australian Rules Football Club.

There is no football club by that name. All the references were formatted in the same way and signed by the same hand.


Cash strapped NYC to raise $66M issuing traffic tickets

New York plans to add 200 more ticket-writing traffic agents to raise $66 Million for the cash-strapped city.

Staten Island will be spared - for now. Manhattan will get 100 of the new agents. The other 100 will be spread out across the other boroughs.

Better be on your best behavior behind the wheel in New York.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said the ticket-writing traffic agents the in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. They will not be deployed right now on Staten Island.

The city thinks it can raise an extra $66 million this way.


Political hack Matthews may seek Pennsylvania Senate seat

Chris Matthews (pictured), MSNBC political pundit and host of the leftwing TV program Hardball, is said to be considering running for the U.S. Senate in an attempt to unseat Republican Sen. Arlen Specter in 2010.

Yes, that Chris Matthews. The man who said it was his job as a journalist to help elect Barack Hussein Obama.

He is also the man who said he felt a tingle go up his leg when he heard Obama give a speech.

Will the former Jimmy Carter speech writer feel that same tingle go up his leg if he is elected to the Senate in 2010?