Apr 4, 2009

Rail Pillow

A Chinese laborer sleeps between the lines at the Wuhan North railway marshalling yard construction site in Wuhan, Hubei province.

Reuters photo

What protocol?

A Newsweek article at the first link below is titled, No, really, you shouldn’t have.

From the article:

One of the most important tests of a globe-trotting president: picking out just the right gift for your foreign counterpart. Barack Obama is learning this the hard way.

Only a few weeks on the job, Obama created a minor diplo-mess when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown came to the U.S. for a visit.

Obama's historic Oval Office desk, a gift from Queen Victoria to Rutherford Hayes, is made from the timbers of the HMS Resolute. Brown proudly presented Obama with a pencil holder carved from its antislavery sister ship, the HMS Gannet. Classy!

So how did our president reciprocate? Obama gave Gordon Brown a DVD set of Hollywood movies, including "Psycho." When Brown got back home, he discovered they didn't work in his European player. Classless!

Mr. Obama didn’t do much better with the gift he presented Queen Elizabeth II on his UK visit last week. The gift was an iPod loaded with photos from Obama's Inauguration, audio of Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention followed by audio of Obama’s 2009 Inauguration Address.

I’m sure the Queen listens to Obama’s teleprompter speeches every night when she goes to bed.

Americans knew he had lots of ego and no class. Now the entire world knows it.

At a time when we needed a Winston Churchill we voted in a Charlie Chaplain instead.

Link here and here.

Have some quality time with family his weekend

Chasing the bride

No, the bride is not being chased. It’s a wedding photographer's assistant preparing the Bride for a photo shoot in Beijing.

Apr 3, 2009

Sobbing robber locked inside store

A 19-year-old who tried to rob a liquor store sat down and cried after the 76-year-old owner locked him in the store.

The man was accused of trying to rob Sykes Liquor Store in Trenton, New Jersey.

Police said the owner, who was behind the counter, triggered the lock after the man grabbed a bottle of Hennessy cognac and bolted for the door.

The man then allegedly pulled out a handgun and demanded to be released. But the owner said he saw that the gun was a fake, refused to unlock the door and called police.

Police said the suspect threw away the gun, slumped to the floor and was crying when officers arrived to arrest him.


More on the cheap gift Obama gave the Queen

ABC’s Jake Tapper weighs in on the iPod Obama gave the queen at the link below.

I’m sure the queen couldn’t wait to see photos from Obama's Inauguration or listen to Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Denver.

The iPod was loaded with:

Photos from the Queen's 2007 White House State Visit

Photos from the Queen's 2007 Jamestown, Va., Visit

Photos from the Queen's 2007 Richmond, Va., Visit

Video from the Queen's 1957 Jamestown Visit

Video from the Queen's 2007 Jamestown Visit

Video from the Queen's 2007 Richmond Visit

Photos from President Obama's Inauguration

Audio of then-state senator Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention

Audio of President Obama 2009 Inauguration Address

The first six items reflected a nice gesture on Obama’s part.

The last three items reflected Mr. Obama’s egocentric personality and lack of any knowledge of proper protocol when dealing with the Queen of our closest ally.


Bomb blows hole in rear of Lenin statue

BBC News reports that one of Russia's most famous statues of Vladimir Lenin has been bombed, leaving the Bolshevik revolutionary with a gaping hole in his rear.

The bronze statue, in the city of St Petersburg, was badly damaged before dawn on Wednesday.

The statue, outside the Finland Station, marks the Bolshevik leader's return from exile in April 1917.

Lenin gave a speech at that railway station after his return from exile.

Later that year he would lead the revolution that overthrew the government and would take the Communists to power for more than 70 years.

St Petersburg was the cradle of the Russian Revolution and was renamed Leningrad after Lenin's death in 1924.


Apr 2, 2009

Students view live Discovery Discovery downlink

Love that helmet!

Middle school students watch a live satellite downlink of Discovery aboard the space shuttle Discovery at the Twigg-Smith Pavilion at the Punahou Schools in Honolulu, Hawaii.

AP photo

Guiding Light to stop shining in September

CBS has announced that the final episode of Guiding Light will air in September. It is the world's longest-running TV soap opera.

Low ratings will end a 72-year run that began on radio.

The daytime show transferred from NBC radio to CBS television in 1952. It has won 69 Daytime Emmy Awards throughout its history.

Guinness World Records has dubbed it the world's longest-running TV drama. More than 15,700 episodes will have been broadcast by the time its final episode airs on September 18.

"Guiding Light has achieved a piece of television history that will never be matched; it has crossed mediums, adapted its stories to decades of social change and woven its way through generations of audiences like no other," said Nancy Tellem, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group president.


Democrat leader wonders where Obama got legal authority for Auto plan

Democrat House majority leader Steny Hoyer (pictured) said on Tuesday that he does not know where President Barack Obama gained legal authority to oversee a restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler.

A lot of people have been wondering the same thing.

However, when Congress tried to enact an auto industry bailout plan in December, the legislation was approved by the House but failed in the Senate where, under the rules, it needed 60 votes.

How can Congress just pass a bill that claims they have dictatorial rights over the management of any company in the US just because they want to run it?

Seize private companies and fire CEO’s. Dictate salaries and assess retroactive punitive taxes on company management. Well, I guess they backed off on the retroactive punitive taxes - for now.

When will the blatant power grab end?

Much more of this story here including Steny Hoyer’s offhand comment, But if authority is a question, then Congress will grant it to the administration.

Full naked body scanning coming to an airport near you

It’s the invasion of the naked full body scanners. A report at the first link below says that there are new fears that images of what's underneath the clothing of airline passengers could be circulated on the Internet.

TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird says the pictures online right now are of models demonstrating how the equipment works. He is quick to say the equipment cannot save, print or send images of passengers.

"Once we resolve the image, then the next passenger comes into the machine and the image that is on the screen is immediately deleted," Baird said.

He says the scanners are part of a pilot program right now at several airports around the nation.

TSA says that some people are bringing items through the checkpoint that are not allowed. When the prohibited items are not metallic, they would not be picked up with the walk-through metal detector.

The screeners are in a resolution room away from the checkpoint, so they don't see the face or identity of the person being screened. That way even celebrities coming through won't be identified and potentially exploited.

Link here and here.

Apr 1, 2009

April Fool's Day reveler

A clown marches in the center of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev to mark April Fool's Day.

(Getty Images Photo / April 1, 2009)

Obama gives the Queen an iPod: she already has one

Obama spared no expense on this trip as he took an entourage of 500 people not counting the White House catering staff as reported here. He even took a fleet of helicopters!

Mr. Obama used spare change to buy the Queen of England an iPod. A presidential gift fit for a Queen or an embarrassment?

At least it wasn’t a few DVD’s that work only in the US. He already pulled that one on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The first comment at the end of the article linked to below, says:

The US president is a dreadful cur, with no appreciation for history or former relationships in the world. Even the dumb American people with grow to detest the very mention of his name.


Alien look-alike at Australian Grand Prix

A fire steward in Melbourne, Australia, observing activities during the second timed practice session before the Australian Grand Prix.

The reflection of a racecar can be seen in the sunglasses.

AP photo

The Denver Broncos blew it: Jay Cutler is out

We reported earlier that:

Pro-Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler (upper picture) wants to break up.

Owner Pat Bowlen (center picture) wants to make up.

Rookie head coach Josh McDaniels (lower picture) wants to throw up.

The only change now is:

Pro-Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler still wants to break up.

Rookie head coach Josh McDaniels wants to make up.

Owner Pat Bowlen wants to throw up.

New coach Josh McDaniels tried to bring quarterback Matt Cassel to Denver. You don’t bring in a quarterback the caliber of Cassel just to be a backup.

It didn’t work out anyway - Cassel went to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cutler wanted out - for two reasons.

First: a complete lack of confidence by head coach McDaniels - wanting to bring in a “starting caliber” quarterback proved that.

Second: The Broncos failed to renegotiate Cutler’s contract to match his performance. He was still being paid based on a rookie player from Vanderbilt. Nothing against Vanderbilt University but
quarterbacks out of that football program don’t get top dollar contracts when the enter the NFL.

Should the fault for Cutler’s departure fall directly on the shoulders of rookie head coach Josh McDaniels or is owner Pat Bowlen to blame for hiring a young untried coach.

Pat Bowlen surly must have buyers remorse after the McDaniels hire.

The loss of one of the best young quarterbacks to come along in a long time may haunt Bowlen forever.

A recent Cutler story from Denver Channel 9 Sports is here.

How good is the Obama GM car warranty?

No, this is not an April Fools prank.

Mr. Obama is now Mr. Goodwrench.

He will stand behind your General Motors or Chrysler vehicle. Or will he?

But Uncle Sam won't stand by warranties held by current vehicle owners or safety recalls, which can occur years after the warranty expires.

That would leave uncovered about 10 million to 15 million GM and Chrysler vehicles bought in the past couple years, said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety.

The National Automobile Dealers Association said it also isn't impressed by Obama's plan saying:

"We are encouraged by President Obama's commitment to putting the domestic auto industry back on the road to recovery but continue to urge the administration to focus immediately on correcting the dysfunctional credit markets," the organization said in a statement, adding that bankruptcy should not be an option.

"It would further erode consumer confidence and, therefore, our ability to sell at the retail level. Moreover, it would further exacerbate the availability of credit."

The government backed warranties and huge government backed incentives planned for selling new GM and Chrysler vehicles, will leave Ford at a serious disadvantage and may soon need the same drastic bailout as GM and Chrysler.

Possibly that’s in the Obama master plan for the federal government to own all three of Detroit’s automakers.

Under government direction, how long before they will all be making Edsel’s?


Mar 31, 2009

Man on motorized bar stool arrested for DUI

A man in Ohio has been charged with drunken driving after crashing his motorized bar stool (shown below).

Police in Newark, Ohio say when they responded to a report of a crash with injuries on March 4, they found a man who had wrecked a bar stool powered by a deconstructed lawn mower.

Twenty-eight-year Kile Wygle was hospitalized for minor injuries. Police say he was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated after he told an officer at the hospital that he had consumed 15 beers.

Wygle told police his motorized bar stool can go up to 38 mph.


Barney Frank: control pay of ALL employees

Barack Obama has found a helping hand in his control grab. It’s none other than Congressman Barney Frank (pictured). Yes, that Barney Frank. The Barney Frank that, along with Senator Chris Dodd, got us into the the sub prime mortgage fiasco as reported here.

Two weeks ago the House of Representatives overreacted to the AIG bonuses by passing a bill that would have imposed a 90 percent retroactive tax on those bonuses.

Despite the overwhelming 328-93 vote, support for the measure began to collapse almost immediately. Within days, the Obama White House backed away from it, as did the Senate Democratic leadership. The bill stalled, and the populist storm that spawned it seemed to pass.

But now, in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill.

The new legislation, the "Pay for Performance Act of 2009," would impose government controls on the pay of all employees -- not just top executives -- of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government.

It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

This measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested.

This measure would not only apply from now on - it would retroactively apply to all existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.

In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is "unreasonable" or "excessive." And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate "the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates."

With this measure we will have the Secretary of the Treasury doing the work of the Boards of Directors as well as management of private industry!

The bill passed the Financial Services Committee last week, 38 to 22, on a nearly party-line vote. (All Democrats voted for it, and all Republicans, with the exception of Reps. Ed Royce of California and Walter Jones of North Carolina, voted against it.)

Where is the outrage to this unbelievable power grab? Ninety percent of the main stream media will probably not even report this story.


GM Cars will now have a new GPS

Obama to Europe with entourage of 500

The prospect of Barack Obama show causes UK to clear its decks.

With an entourage of 500 staff, an armor-plated limousine and a fleet of decoy helicopters, America's new president will arrive for his first visit to Britain amid huge razzmatazz on Tuesday for the G20 summit.

Obama will fly into London for his first visit to the UK as president of the United States on Tuesday to take part in the G20 summit in the capital's Docklands area. He will not be travelling light.

More than 500 officials and staff will accompany the president on his tour this week - along with a mass of high-tech security equipment, including the $300,000 presidential limousine, known as The Beast. Fitted with night-vision camera, reinforced steel plating, tear- gas cannon and oxygen tanks, the vehicle is the ultimate in heavy armored transport.

It’s a long way from community organizing in South Chicago!

Besides all of the above, a team from the White House kitchen will travel with the president to prepare his food.

When the president travels, the White House travels with him, right down to the car he drives, the water he drinks, the gasoline he uses, the food he eats. No word about the number of teleprompters he will take.

Don’t know if this is Hope and Change but it is what elitists do.

The media once criticized Bush for taking a second trip in the same week to Camp David on Marine One.


Mar 30, 2009

Cheesy book wins odd book title

The Diagram Prize is a humorous honorary literary award given to the book with the oddest title.

A cheesy book won the dubious award this year. The title was, The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais by Professor Philip M Parker.

Before you throw up, fromage frias means soft creamy fresh cheese. Yes, yes, I know, why didn’t I say that in the first place? Anyway, it also got the attention of the Diagram Prize judges and won first prize.

The book was said to be a worthy winner beating off competition from the books pictured above: Baboon Metaphysics, Curbside Consultation of the Colon and The Large Sieve and its Applications.


Sea of red chili

A laborer spreads red chilies to dry at a market in the outskirts of Hyderabad, India.

Photo from Time Magazine

College phone booth stunt is back after 50 years

Life magazine published a now-famous photograph of 22 St. Mary's students stuffed into a phone booth, a popular college stunt in the 1950s.

Now, fifty years later, twenty-two students at St. Mary's College of California once again cramed into a phone booth.


Photos continue to be a problem

Photos in our older postings continue to be a problem - especially with some browsers.

Photos in albums are not affected.

Photos in new postings should not be a problem because we are now using an alternate source for internet photo storage.

If older photos continue to be a problem, we will slowly begin to re-do postings containing photos starting with the “Family and Friends Photos” category.

No business is safe from seizure and control

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Mar 29, 2009

Obama gets rid of GM CEO Rick Wagoner

A White House official said the Obama administration has pushed Rick Wagoner (pictured), the chairman and CEO of General Motors, out of the company.

As in the Godfather movie, did Obama make Mr. Wagoner an offer he couldn’t refuse?

The White House confirmed Wagoner was leaving at the government's behest after The Associated Press reported his immediate departure, without giving a reason.

General Motors issued a vague statement Sunday night that did not officially confirm Wagoner's departure.

The surprise announcement about the classically iconic American corporation is perhaps the most vivid sign yet of the tectonic change in the relationship between business and government in this era of subsidies and bailouts.

Mr. Wagoner has been the General Motors CEO for 8 years. He began his career at GM more than 30 years ago.

Industry sources had said the White House planned very tough medicine in Monday's announcement, which turned out to be an understatement. And it went to the very top.

The measures to be imposed by the government will have a dramatic effect on workers, unions, suppliers, bondholders, shareholders, retirees and the communities where plants are located, the sources said.

The administration obviously didn’t like GM’s focus on trucks and SUV’s, which were always good sellers, instead of focusing on hybrids which have never been good sellers for GM.

However, Wagoner’s biggest sin may have been his open inclination to take GM into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection forcing the restructuring all existing contracts, mainly with the United Auto Workers union.

For anyone worried about Obama’s socialistic and communistic tendencies, removing the CEO of a major corporation is an ominous precedent. It would only be a short step beyond this to dictate how other companies run their businesses.

By imposing crippling rules and restrictions on any industry, Obama could soon have other corporations needing bailouts giving the administration an excuse to takeover.


Al Gore leaves the light on for ya

Yup, Mr. Gore (pictured) left the lights on for ya, even during Earth Hour.

A case of do what I say, not what I do.

The writer of the report at the link below said he pulled up to Al’s house, located in the posh Belle Meade section of Nashville, at 8:48pm – right in the middle of Earth Hour when all the good little “greenies” had everything off for one hour.

TV screens and computer monitors were hard at work. (In other words, his house looked the way most houses look about 1:45am when their inhabitants are distractedly watching “Cheaters” or “Chelsea Lately” reruns.)

The kicker, though, were the dozen or so floodlights grandly highlighting several trees and illuminating the driveway entrance of Gore’s mansion.

I kid you not, my friends, the savior of the environment couldn’t be bothered to turn off the gaudy lights that show off his goofy trees.


Fox outfoxes others in cable news viewership

Thursday March 26, 2009

Once again, Fox News outfoxes the other cable news channels while CNN slips to dead last based on number of viewers as shown below:

Fox News - Bill O’Reilly - 3,420,000
Fox News - Sean Hannity - 2,987,000
Fox News - Glenn Beck - 2,374,000
Fox News - Greta Van Susteren - 2,160,000
Fox News - Bret Baier - 1,940,000
Fox News - Shephard Smith - 1,888,000
MSNBC - Keith Olbernann - 1,322,000
CNNHN - Nancy Grace - 1,300,000
MSNBC - Rachel Maddow - 1,208,000
CNN - Larry King - 1,144,000
CNN - Anderson Cooper 1,118,000

...from Matt Drudge

Corrupt judges took money to lock up juveniles

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned hundreds of juvenile convictions issued by Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella from 2003 to 2008.


In one of the most egregious cases of judicial corruption ever seen, federal prosecutors charged Ciavarella (left photo) and another Luzerne County judge, Michael Conahan (shown on right), with taking $2.6 million in payoffs to put juvenile offenders in privately owned lockups.

The judges pleaded guilty to fraud last month and face sentences of more than seven years in prison.

Ciavarella, who presided over juvenile court, sent youths to the detention center and to a sister facility in western Pennsylvania while he was taking payments, prosecutors said.