Jun 6, 2009

D-Day landings 65th anniversary

Wading ashore 65 years ago.

Wounded soldiers after the Normandy beach landings.

Bankruptcies will wipe out auto crash victims rights

Experts say car owners claiming faulty manufacturing would be left high and dry after GM and Chrysler go bankrupt.

Bankruptcies by General Motors and Chrysler will take the companies largely off the hook for billions in legal claims by car owners who say they were victims of GM's poor manufacturing, according to experts and company executives.

For years, Chrysler company has faced claims that some of its Jeeps went into reverse even after they were put into park.

Hundreds of other accident victims suing Chrysler for a variety of alleged defects learned this week they are out of luck.

A judge has ruled that post-bankruptcy Chrysler will not have any liability for past problems.

More of the story here.

Weird invention by founder of Weird Tools Society

Kenji Kawakami, inventor and founder of the International Chindogu Society demonstrates his funnel glasses, designed to guide eyedrops into the eye without missing.

The word "Chindogu" translates as "weird tools" and Kawakami has invented hundreds of strange items.

Blade runner

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius prepares to run the men's 400 meters during the 10th memorial Primo Nebiolo international track and field meeting, in Turin, Italy, Thursday.

Double-amputee sprinter Pistorius, running on ‘blades’ instead of feet, showed improvement by clocking 47.20 seconds in the 400 meters at the Primo Nebiolo meet.

Jun 5, 2009


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A designer sits in a heart-shaped chair she created at the 2009 Young Designers Exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan.

Tracking poll shows possible buyers remorse

The Rasmussen poll numbers have been more accurate than other polls in the last three national elections.

From the Rasmussen Reports website:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 34% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President.

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Thirty-four percent (34%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of 0.

That’s the highest level of strong disapproval and the lowest overall rating yet recorded.

Rasmussen Reports also shows that only 26% of Americans believe the GM bailout was a good idea.

One wonders what the rating for Obama would be without the media constantly publicizing and glorifying his every move culminating in the recent two-day love fest with Brian Williams (shown above bowing to Obama when it was over).


Kicking back in Times Square

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Michael Johnson and others took a break in the middle of New York’s Times Square Monday after the street was closed off to cars in an effort to reduce traffic and pollution and curb pedestrian accidents.

AP photo.

The new Obamacar on the GM drawing board

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Solar panels? Had me fooled, I thought they were teleprompters.

GM takeover could be GOP election weapon

A Washington Times report speculates that Republicans plan to use the government takeover of General Motors Corp. as ammunition in their bid to defeat congressional Democrats next year.

It will probably work as evidenced by the apparent dislike of government intrusion into the business world by a large number of Americans.

Republicans plan to use the government takeover of General Motors Corp. as ammunition in their bid to defeat congressional Democrats next year, saying its a glaring example of big government intrusion into the marketplace that will rankle average voters.

They said the bankruptcy arrangement, which President Obama announced at the White House on Monday, is doomed to entangle politicians in business decisions that are outside their expertise.

More importantly, voters understand that politicians are making business decisions that are beyond their authority.

Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for House Republicans' campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee said, "Having to defend such drastic government intervention paid for with reckless spending and bailouts is not an enviable position for many of these Democrats to be in next year."

Many Americans will say, ''There goes some of my tax money'' when they see a new GM vehicle driving down the road.

Others will say, “first I had to pay my neighbor's mortgage. Now I get to pay for his car as well.”


Jun 4, 2009

Will we see lèse majesté if journalists stop fawning over Obama?

What would happen if American journalists started being critical of Obama instead of bowing at his feet? Will lèse majesté come into play as it has in other countries?

Lèse majesté is an offence against the dignity of a monarch or other head of state. It differs from outright censorship in that it is often presented as libel, or as a personal offense against a head of State, rather than as a pure free speech issue.

It is often used to silence those who express an “inconvenient truth” against a head of state.

Regular citizens as well as reporters can be prosecuted for this crime.

To avoid the stigma of censorship, some governments have chosen to prosecute reporters under lèse majesté rather than under press reporting laws.

Could it happen here? Don’t bet against it!

Actor David Carradine found dead in Bangkok

American actor David Carradine (pictured) was found dead in his hotel in Bankok, Thailand.

A news report said he was found hanged in his hotel room and was believed to have committed suicide.

Carradine was the star of the 1970s TV series "Kung Fu" who also had a wide-ranging career in the movies. Carradine, along with his brother Keith Carradine, hosted the Wild West Tech series on The History Channel.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy confirmed the death of the 72-year-old actor. He said the embassy was informed by Thai authorities that Carradine died either late Wednesday or early Thursday, but he could not provide further details out of consideration for his family.

Mr. Carradine was in Bangkok to shoot a movie and had been staying at the luxury Swissotel Nai Lert Park hotel since Tuesday.


Protesting the Tianamen Square crackdown

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A man dressed as a Chinese soldier, stages a protest in Hong Kong to mark the 20th anniversary of the Tianamen Square crackdown in Beijing on June 4, 1989.

In prison, cell phones worth more than drugs

Cell phones seem to be the hottest black market commodity in prison.

Tiny, easy to hide and an unmonitored link for convicts to the outside world, cell phones are valuable contraband, fetching a greater asking price from convicts than some shipments of illegal drugs.

More than 1,200 wireless phones have been confiscated from inmates in Texas prisons and from inmates in transit to Texas prisons during 2008.

John Moriarty, inspector general for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said that one phone can fetch as much as $2,000.

"It takes one crooked prison worker to populate a whole prison unit with them," he said.

In January legislation was introduced in the state of Texas that would let prisons jam cell-phone signals within their walls.


The political partisanship of NBC News

It was hard to miss the advertisements for NBC Nightly News showing Brian Williams pointing his finger at George W. Bush in Katrina damaged New Orleans.

NBC showed that commercial for a year or more.

Contrast that with the same Brian Williams bowing to Barack Obama.

MSMBC is the most politically partisan network on television. NBC News is not far behind.

Jun 3, 2009

Beggar's sign: Will code HTML for food

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Maybe I should buy this guy a few meals and have him help me code some pages for this blog. I’d probably get him some clean clothes and insist he take a shower first.

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language, which is the major language of the Internet's World Wide Web and is widely used to make web pages. HTML code allows the use of text, pictures, sounds and links. It can also allow the use of scripting such as Java.

The following is how this page looks like in HTML code. There are extra spaces separating the tags (angle brackets) or the HTML code would be invisible when viewed in a browser (for simplicity, the code below is without the document type, heading or body tags):

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

< center>< a href=http://geocities.com/perry_peterson_1999//begsign3.jpg>< img src=http://geocities.com/perry_peterson_1999/begsign3-sm.jpg border=0>< /a>< /center>< center>(< strong>click on picture to enlarge< /strong>)< /center>< p>Maybe I should buy this guy a few meals and have him help me code some pages for this blog. I’d probably get him some clean clothes and insist he take a shower first.< p>HTML stands for < strong>< em>HyperText Markup Language< /em>< /strong>, which is the major language of the Internet's World Wide Web and is widely used to make web pages. HTML code allows the use of text, pictures, sounds and links. It can also allow the use of scripting such as Java.< p>The following is how this page looks like in HTML code. There are extra spaces separating the tags (angle brackets) or the HTML code would be invisible when viewed in a browser (for simplicity, the code below is without the document type, heading or body tags):

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

Purists would leave more space between components for ease of debugging. I don’t worry about being sloppy because the way I use HTML, it’s really not difficult even though it sometimes drives me nuts trying to find that unclosed tag (or whatever is wrong) in a multi-page document - this is just a couple of paragraphs.

Cell phone elbow: new ailment for wired age

First it was Nintendo thumb. The newest affliction of the wired age is cell phone elbow.

As computers became more prevalent in our daily lives, doctors saw more instances of carpal tunnel syndrome. Now they're seeing more cases of cubital tunnel syndrome, otherwise known as "cell phone elbow."

Cell phone elbow is caused by prolonged flexing of the elbow during long phone conversations. The ulnar nerve -- the same one responsible for that tingling feeling you get from hitting your funny bone -- is compressed, causing numbness down the forearm and hand.

This is a case for hands-free headsets (pictured).

If it was caused by using a cell phone in a car would it be called “carpool tunnel syndrome?...did I really say that?..sorry.


Thumbin’ a ride home

The Space Shuttle Atlantis hitches a ride on top of a specially modified 747 jet on its trip home to Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

White House controlling its own news coverage

Almost on a daily basis the media shows some announcement by his office or an interview or speech by Mr. Obama.

As one Lucianne commenter wrote:

One can hardly turn on the TV without Obama’a face coming at you & a breathless reporter giving you all the details.

The press makes little effort to maintain neutrality thereby losing what little credibility they once had. They are quickly becoming little more than shills for Barack Obama.

However, many of them may be out of work soon as the White House is beginning to do its own media coverage of Mr. Obama.

As reported at the link below, the Obama White House has begun covering its own stories complete with cuts, interviews and chyrons identifying who's speaking, etc.

This is just the evolution of a president making the leap from controlling or producing the message on the campaign trail to taking those methods to the White House, says Villanova University political scientist Lara Brown.

A president usually can’t hide or stage the news forever because the public starts to wonder why he isn’t answering difficult questions or is always posing as an action-hero, says Villanova’s Brown.

The Obama administration is fostering an illusion that (it is) accessible to the public and that his presidency is more transparent than any in history,” she warns.

So far, Obama has found a way to do both things – control the message and appear accessible – which, in effect, has helped to put the Washington media out of business.


Jun 2, 2009

Cat walk

Crossing guard Barbara Scalla helps her morning companion, Stormy, cross the street in front of Killybrooke Elementary School in Costa Mesa, Calif., on May 26.

Will the socialized GM bankruptcy be Obama’s tipping point?

Auto company nationalization is just one part of the Obama socialist movement. The banking industry is well on the way to nationalization with the health industry just waiting in the wings.

However, it may be the American auto industry nationalization that may be Obama’s tipping point.

Observers across the political spectrum have marveled at Barack Obama's ability to maintain a high job approval rating even as the public grows skeptical about some of his key policy initiatives.

There's a feeling, among Republicans at least, that sooner or later he’s going to reach a tipping point between his personal popularity and the unpopularity of his proposals, and that his job approval rating will suffer.

That moment will come when Obama has to actually stand behind specific proposals -- when he has to put his name on a health care plan that will lead to the rationing of medical treatment, or an energy plan that will lead to significantly higher electrical bills.

The report at the link below suggests that we might be catching a glimpse of Obama’s tipping point with his handling of General Motors' bankruptcy.

The government takeover of the automakers is by far the most unpopular thing Obama has done so far. And it's not just unpopular -- it is partisan, appealing to the base of his party and virtually no one else.

In a Washington Post poll in late April, just 41 percent of those surveyed approved of Obama's handling of the automaker problem.

This was a poll that hardly anyone saw because the partisan media chose not to broadly report the story.

The poll showed that people of all age groups disapproved.

People in every region of the country disapproved.

Men disapproved.

Women disapproved.

People with graduate degrees disapproved.

People with less than a high school degree disapproved.

People who go to church a lot disapproved.

People who don't go to church at all disapproved.

People who make more than $75,000 a year disapproved.

People who make less than $20,000 a year disapproved.

Among Republicans, 72 percent disapproved. Sixty-six percent of independents -- a group key to Obama's success -- disapproved. The only group to approve of continued bailouts to the automakers was Democrats, by 57 percent to 42 percent. On the auto issue, at least, Obama is playing to his party base and little else.

When the public learns just how much the GM bankruptcy favors the United Auto Workers Union at the expense of GM bondholders (the shareholders are already holding worthless stock) the tipping point will have been reached.

More of the story here.

Will we be buying cars from this man?

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Always open except when closed

Obama infatuation - the great unreported story!

A report at the link below says:

The Obama infatuation is a great unreported story of our time.

Has any recent president basked in so much favorable media coverage? Well, maybe John Kennedy for a moment; but no president since. On the whole, this is not healthy for America.

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Our political system works best when a president faces checks on his power. But the main checks on Obama are modest. They come from congressional Democrats, who largely share his goals if not always his means.

Even Stalin couldn't have wished for a more adoring press corps!

Obama has inspired a collective fawning. What started in the campaign (the chief victim was Hillary Clinton, not John McCain) has continued, as a study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism shows.

The study found that Barack Obama has enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush during their first months in the White House.

The study examined 1,261 stores by The Washington Post, The New York Times, ABC, CBS and NBC, Newsweek magazine and the "NewsHour" on PBS.

Favorable stories (42 percent) were double the unfavorable (20 percent) , while the rest were "neutral" or "mixed."

Obama's treatment contrasts sharply with coverage in the first two months of the presidencies of Bush (22 percent of stories favorable) and Clinton (27 percent).

More on the story of the media infatuation with Obama can be found here.

Jun 1, 2009

Would MLK approve?

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Air France jet vanishes over Atlantic Ocean

An Air France plane is feared to have crashed in the Atlantic with 228 people aboard reported electrical problems in stormy weather before it lost contact.

Officials said the Airbus A330-200 sent automated messages of electrical failure and pressure loss as it hit turbulence, vanishing from the radar early in its flight from Rio de Janeiro to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

Brazil and France have scrambled search and rescue aircraft on both sides of the Atlantic, but with a vast area to scour, there were dwindling hopes of finding survivors.

The loss of a relatively new model of one of the aviation sector's most reliable and state-of-the-art aircraft has stunned analysts who say it would take extremely violent weather to bring down such a large jet.

Former Airbus pilot John Wiley told CNN that speculation lightning had brought down the plane was likely to prove unfounded since most modern passenger aircraft were capable of withstanding direct strikes.


Auction of Marcel Marceau memorabilia

Mime Marcel Marceau left behind several debts when he died leading to a court decision to order the auction.

An auction of his belongings has fetched 490,000 euros (680,000 dollars).

Marceau was a Holocaust survivor who was born Marcel Mangel. He is widely credited for reviving the art of mime and bringing it to international attention through his performances.

The upper photo shows Marcel Marceau during a performance. The lower photo was taken in 2007.

Mr. Marceau died in 2007 at the age of 84 and was buried in the famed Paris cemetery Père Lachaise.

Marcel Marceau was a Holocaust survivor who was born Marcel Mangel. He is widely credited for reviving the art of mime and bringing it to international attention through his performances.

Link here and here.

Last known survivor of Titanic dies at age 97

Millvina Dean (pictured), the last survivor of the sinking of RMS Titanic, died Sunday in a nursing home in southern England.

Dean was just 9 weeks old when the Titanic hit an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912. The ship sank in less than three hours.


May 31, 2009

Britain fumes as France snubs the Queen

France and England have been involved in many notable battles.

They went through the 100 Years' War, the Seven Years' War. And then came the Napoleonic Wars from 1799 to 1815.

The current battle may be no more than a hissy fit but the Queen of England (upper photo) ain’t happy!

British media reporters are even less happy!

France did not invite Queen Elizabeth II to attend June 6 ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings -- and Britain's press is in a snit.

'Nicolas Sarkozy (lower photo) in D-Day Snub to Queen,' says a headline in The Sun. 'Palace in Fury as Sarkozy Refuses to Invite Royals to 65 Anniversary,' proclaims another, in the Daily Mail.

The D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, marked the start of the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, has invited U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to attend the anniversary ceremonies.

It may be the last time that large numbers of World War II veterans travel to France to mark the event.

Queen Elizabeth II was left out - no invitation.

The irony is that the Queen of England is the only Royal or head of state still living that was directly involved in World War II.

As a teenager, the then Princess Elizabeth, drove an army truck part-time pto assist the ‘home front’ and rode out the blitz at night in a bomb shelter under Buckingham Palace. It seems unconscionable that she has been left out of the ceremony.


Supreme Court pick puts White House in damage control

A race baiting statement by Barack Obama’s high court nominee has the administration in damage control.

In 2001 Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor (pictured) said that a female Hispanic judge would often reach a better decision than a white male judge.

The Obama administration is scrambling to make the best of what would have been a disastrous situation had the comment been made by a high court nominee of a Republican President.

Mr. Obama tried to put words in Ms. Sotomayor’s mouth on Friday:

"I'm sure she would have restated it," Obama flatly told NBC News, without indicating how he knew that.

The quote in question from Sotomayor has emerged as a rallying call for conservative critics who fear she will offer opinions from the bench based less on the rule of law and more on her life experience, ethnicity and gender. That issue is likely to play a central role in her Senate confirmation process.


South Korea kids on heightened alert

South Korean elementary school students wearing gas masks while they participate in a lesson on how to use a gas mask in the event of a nuclear attack in Seoul, South Korea.

Photo taken May 28 as South Korean and U.S. troops raised their alert to the highest level since 2006.


Chairman of the Czech Republic's Social Democrats (CSSD) Jiri Paroubek reacts after being pelted with eggs by onlookers during a rally for the European Parliament elections, in Prague,Wednesday, May 27.

The European parliament is facing elections across the bloc's 27 members in early June.

Do we have a post turtle president?

If you ever see a turtle sitting on top of a fence post you can sure of four things:

1. He didn’t get up there by himself.

2. He doesn’t belong up there.

3. He doesn’t know what to do while he is up there.

4. He will remain there until someone brings him down.

And you wonder just who on earth propped him up there in the first place.