Aug 28, 2009

Time to head home for the weekend

Silence from Pope after Kennedy’s death

From a Time Magazine report:

There was a poignant footnote to President Obama's historic July 10 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

Behind closed doors in the papal library, Obama handed Benedict a letter that Senator Edward Kennedy had asked him to personally deliver to the Pontiff.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs later told reporters that nobody — not even the Obama — knew the contents of the sealed envelope.

Obama asked Benedict to pray for Kennedy and called the ailing Senator afterward to fill him in on his encounter with the 82-year-old Pope.

The Time article theorized that the letter was probably just a dying Catholic's request for a papal blessing.

In the eyes of the traditionalist wing of the Church, however, Kennedy should have been asking the Pope for forgiveness.

The Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano reported Kennedy's death, praising his work on civil rights and fighting poverty, but noted that his record was marred by his stance on abortion.

As of yet, unlike some other world leaders, Pope Benedict has not commented or issued an official communiqué in response to Kennedy's death.

One wonders how Senator Kennedy could remain a Catholic in good standing with his vocal embrace of abortion for the past several decades.


Sending the kids off to college

Burial crypt above Marilyn Monroe sold on Ebay

Elsie Poncher of Beverly Hills owns the crypt above Marilyn Monroe where her husband Richard Poncher was laid to rest. Mr. Poncher, who died 23 years ago at age 81, bought the crypt from Joe DiMaggio in 1954.

Mrs. Poncher put the crypt up for sale on Ebay. It sold for $4,602,400.00 to a bidder in Japan who wanted the chance to spend eternity on top of the legendary screen star Marilyn Monroe.

Elsie Poncher plans to use the proceeds of the sale of her husband's crypt to pay off the mortgage on her Beverly Hills home.

Only one problem - the winning bidder backed out because he says he doesn’t have the money.

The widow's rep has since emailed the 11 other bidders who bid at least $4.5 million, giving them 24 hours to submit new offers.

He told the Times that if the right offer isn't made, he and Poncher may try to find another way to sell the crypt.

EBay had been vetting the bidders and cancelled several offers that appeared fraudulent - leaving 21 final bids.


Obama needs a break from his 2nd vacation in a row

Obama vacationing at Martha's Vineyard.

Politico reports:

After a mid-August trip to America's national parks and a weeklong vacation on Martha's Vineyard, President Obama plans ...

... to take a little more time away from the office next week.

Obama will head to Camp David on Wednesday, Sept. 2, and stay through the weekend, White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters in a Thursday briefing.

Was Burton joking when he said Obama needs a break from his vacation?

Without actually saying it was Bush’s fault, Burton pointed to former President George W. Bush's vacation habits to defend criticism of Obama's August schedule.

Was he saying Bush took three time-outs in the same month?


Massachusetts has first open Senate seat in decades

The Herald News reports:

For the first time in nearly half a century, Massachusetts voters will be handed ballots for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Edward Kennedy without his name on them.

The long list of potential candidates to replace him in the seat once held by President John F. Kennedy includes congressmen, former prosecutors and, perhaps, one of Edward Kennedy’s nephews.

The scramble is about to begin leaving no time for the long list of potential candidates to mourn Kennedy’s death.

Before his death, Senator Kennedy wanted to amend the state laws to appoint his replacement.

Since that didn’t work out, his replacement may not be available to take his seat in the Senate for several months.

State law requires a special election no sooner than 145 days and no later than 160 days after a vacancy occurs. The law bans an interim appointee. In this case, the election must be held either the last two weeks of January or the first week of February.

Possible replacements are a few members of the Kennedy family including of Kennedy’s nephews, former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II (pictured). Joe Jr. heads Citizens Energy, a nonprofit that distributes discounted heating oil to the poor. He has been criticized in recent years for accepting oil from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The report here lists several other potential candidates.

Aug 27, 2009

Skinniest NYC house for sale at fat price

The skinniest house in New York City is for sale but it will cost you the fat price of $2.75 million.

It is a townhouse 9-1/2-feet-wide (the interior is only 8-1/2 feet wide) built in 1873 and squeezed in between 75 and 77 Bedford St. The address of this West Village skinny townhouse is 75-1/2 Bedford St.

It was put up for sale this week for an asking price of $2,750,000.00 which is $2,777.00 a square foot.

It has been home to a who's-who list of luminaries, including anthropologist Margaret Mead and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Author Ann McGovern lived there briefly and the red-brick house inspired her to co-write the novel "Mr. Skinner's Skinny House."

The Corcoran Real Estate Web site claims that actors Cary Grant and John Barrymore also once called the thin house home.


Author Dominick Dunne dies of cancer at 83

Dominick Dunne (pictured), known as a society crime writer, had an uncanny knack for getting celebrities to open up about their private lives.

He was a former Hollywood producer and best-selling author known for his Vanity Fair essays on the courtroom travails of the rich and famous.

Dunne hosted a crime TV series called Power, Privilege and Justice on Court TV (now called True TV) .

He flew to Germany earlier this month for another round of stem cell treatments at the same Bavarian clinic where the late Farrah Fawcett was treated. He was hospitalized upon his return to New York, then sent home.

As a correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine, Dunne was a fixture at some of the most famous trials of our times -- Claus von Bulow, William Kennedy Smith, the Menendez brothers, O.J. Simpson, Michael Skakel and Phil Spector.


The real reason Americans are angry

The New York Post nails it - the real reason Americans are angry:

It's been a hilarious August, watching media supporters of President Obama's health care package puzzle over the obscure motivations of the noncompliant Americans rallying against it.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said it was "Racial anxiety." That figures - since Mr. Obama first began his presidential election campaign - everything has been racial!

Joe Klein from Time said theorized it was "nihilism."

While the commentariat's condescension is almost comical, the whole evil-or-stupid explanation misses the elephant in Obama's room: Americans of all stripes, it turns out, aren't very keen about the government barging into their lives.

After 11 months of federal bailouts and freakouts, Americans have become bone tired of panicky power grabs from Washington. It's the big government, stupid.

FreedomWorks put the subject in a nutshell: "Stop spending so much money, stop borrowing so much money, and stop bailing out people who were irresponsible."

Bailouts of failed institutions, from AIG to American Axle, have been enormously unpopular.

More of the story here.

Back to school

The real unemployment is at 16%

The Philadelphia Bulletin published this:

A report released last week by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) suggests official government estimates may misstate the extent of joblessness in America – and not in a relieving way.

America’s unemployed rate, which was officially at 9.7 percent in June. The official jobless population was 15,095,000 at that point.

Waiting in line to file for unemployment insurance

However, when those who work part-time involuntarily and those who may hope for work but have not actively sought work are factored in, that month’s jobless rate rises to 16.8 percent. America therefore had an estimated underutilized labor force of 26,573,000 million people that month.

Remember when the New York Times bashed George Walker Bush for running off on vacation when the unemployment was 5%?

Funny how the same newspaper is silent when Barack Hussein Obama runs off to Martha’s Vineyard for a week while unemployment is much, much higher.


Proof of vacation at Martha’s Vineyard

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Interrogation fight could be problem for Obama

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The White House had hoped to avoid a polarizing dispute over the CIA's tactics in questioning terrorists. It's likely to be a prolonged distraction from healthcare and other domestic priorities.

Actually, it was the intent of the Obama administration to bring back to the interrogation dispute to call attention away from ObamaCare. It worked before so why not do it again?

The LA Times article is correct when they say it could be a problem for Obama.


(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Aug 26, 2009

Wikipedia declared Ted Kennedy death prematurely

The online pseudo encyclopedia Wikipedia has long been known for hosts of inaccuracies.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

In one of the most recent embarrassments, Democratic Sens. Robert Byrd and Edward Kennedy were prematurely declared dead by rogue editors.

The name comes from the wiki software used to allow anyone to add or edit entries.

To Wikipedia’s credit, they working on changes in an effort to balance a need for credibility and a desire for openness.

While anyone can still edit entries, the site is testing pages that won't register changes until they are approved by an experienced Wikipedia editor.

In the meanwhile, we may see more premature death’s in Wikipedia.


Proud peacock hairdo

Model Amaris Brown smiled in Manchester, New Hampshire, last spring, after winning the International Fantasy Hair Competition with a hair style called "Proud Peacock" designed by Kevin Carter of The Artistry of Hair from Farmington Hills, Michigan.

The Liberal Lion of the Senate is now silent

Ted Kennedy 1932 - 2009


Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment

Stimulus checks sent to 1700 inmates

The federal government mistakenly sent out stimulus checks to 1,700 prison inmates, the Social Security Administration said Tuesday -- a $425,000 error.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor said in a written statement:

It is unacceptable for convicts to be getting stimulus funds. It speaks to the lack of oversight and accountability to have such nonsense coming out of Washington. Where is the accountability?

This is another embarrassment on Obama’s watch that is not being fully reported by the main stream media.


Denver meth ring used comic books to launder cash

Investigators have broken up a massive methamphetamine ring in the Denver area that distributed pounds of the dangerous drug every week and laundered the profits using collectible comic books.

To launder the money you have to use something that is quick and convenient - in this case it was rare comic books.

While arresting the alleged ringleaders, brothers Aaron and Alfonzo Castro, law enforcement officers seized about 100 boxes of first-edition collectible comic books.

Alfonzo Castro (on left) and Aaron Castro

Investigators say one title alone is worth $3,500 and the total collection of comics is worth half a million dollars.

The seized comic books included some first-edition Superman and Batman titles. The fragile, vintage comics were stored in plastic bags for protection.


FOX far ahead in cable news race

Cable News viewership race
Monday August 24, 2009

As usual, Fox tops all cable news channels.

Fox News - Bill O’Reilly - 3,440,000
Fox News - Sean Hannity - 2,937,000
Fox News - Glenn Beck - 2,810,000
Fox News - Greta Van Susteren - 2,450,000
Fox News - Bret Baier - 2,066,000
Fox News - Shephard Smith - 1,860,000
MSNBC - Keith Olbernann - 1,114,000
CNN - Larry King - 1,063,000
MSNBC - Rachel Maddow - 885,000
CNN - Anderson Cooper - 827,000
MSNBC - Chris Matthews - 640,000

...from Matt Drudge

Bill O’Reilly has more viewers than Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Chirs Matthews combined!

New York Times tells seniors: be afraid - be very afraid

Even the ultra liberal New York Times has to admit that ObamaCare would push granny and gramps to an early grave.

A recent New York Times report is titled: A basis is seen for some health plan fears among the elderly.

The writer of the Times article tries to soften the news. However, if the Times is telling seniors to be worried, that's an unmistakable signal to seniors that ObamaCare is very bad news for them.

A report at the link below says:

Democrats in Congress are trying to build their political base on the backs of the nation's elderly, and the elderly won't forget that in 15 months.

After years of warning seniors that the GOP was gunning for them, the Obama-Pelosi coalition has emerged as the single greatest threat to the Greatest Generation (and even the front edge of the Boomers.)

The New York Times says that “Bills now in Congress would squeeze savings out of Medicare, a lifeline for the elderly, on the assumption that doctors and hospitals can be more efficient.

The only way the Obama administration can “squeeze savings” out of Medicare is to limit payments for the healthcare of the elderly.

Mr. Obama's falling approval ratings don't fully reflect the senior's increasing fear of his proposals.

When it sinks in to seniors how ObamaCare will really affect them Obama’s ratings will fall even faster.

The harder the administration tries to force ObamaCare on voters, the more congressional Democrats will pay in next fall's elections.


Aug 25, 2009

Paddling a kayak around the British coast

Eric Innes, a 47-year-old retired military serviceman is paddling his way around the coast of Britain to raise money for Help For Heroes, a worthy organization that helps provide better facilities for wounded British servicemen and women.

Mr. Innes may be eccentric but he is also determined as he averages around 20 miles a day in his kayak.

From the Daily Mail online:

There are only three vessels out here in the open sea right now. One is an oil tanker. One is the Rosslare ferry. And the other is a small kayak containing a middle-aged Yorkshireman who has almost completed a 1,700-mile, solo circumnavigation of Britain fuelled by sausage sandwiches, the occasional Guinness and an unshakeable sense of obligation towards our injured servicemen and women.

Every morning, this former soldier wakes up beneath an umbrella, drags his 17ft kayak into the water and then paddles until dusk, when he pulls the boat out of the water again and lies down under his umbrella somewhere else.

The Daily Mail further reports that Mr. Innes has no support boat and no welcoming committee in every port.

His chief navigation aids are a soggy road atlas and tips from passing skippers.

His method of navigation is simple: keep the coast of Britain on the right and the horizon on the left.


The real reason Americans are angry

The New York Post nails it - the real reason Americans are angry:

It's been a hilarious August, watching media supporters of President Obama's health care package puzzle over the obscure motivations of the noncompliant Americans rallying against it.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said it was "Racial anxiety."

Joe Klein from Time said theorized it was "nihilism."

While the commentariat's condescension is almost comical, the whole evil-or-stupid explanation misses the elephant in Obama's room: Americans of all stripes, it turns out, aren't very keen about the government barging into their lives.

After 11 months of federal bailouts and freakouts, Americans have become bone tired of panicky power grabs from Washington. It's the big government, stupid.

FreedomWorks put the subject in a nutshell: "Stop spending so much money, stop borrowing so much money, and stop bailing out people who were irresponsible."

Bailouts of failed institutions, from AIG to American Axle, have been enormously unpopular.

More of the story here.

Cash for Clunkers over but good deals aren’t

The controversial Cash for Clunkers program officially ended at 8pm Monday night.

If you are a car buyer the good deals may still be there if your have a clunker to trade.

All those clunkers were scrapped which has meant a shortage of used cars. That translates to good news if you're hoping to make a trade.

This Clunker display was in Abilene, Kansas

Contrary to its name, it's not always “Cash for Clunkers.” Sometimes it's cash for perfectly good cars.

The clunkers will be destroyed instead of going to a used car lot.

New car dealers traditionally rely on trade ins to populate their used car lots. With a shrinking used car inventory, this may be a great time to trade whether your car would have qualified as a clunker or not.

If you are looking for a used car, this may not be a good time to buy with inventories low and prices up.


Panetta has tantrum - threatens to quit CIA post

ABC News reports on the screaming match at the White House:

A "profanity-laced screaming match" at the White House involving CIA Director Leon Panetta (pictured), and the expected release of another damning internal investigation, has administration officials worrying about the direction of its newly-appoint intelligence team.

Amid reports that Panetta had threatened to quit just seven months after taking over at the spy agency, other insiders tell that senior White House staff members are already discussing a possible shake-up of top national security officials.

White House spokesman, Denis McDonough, said reports that Panetta had threatened to quit and that the White House was seeking a replacement were "inaccurate." However, as the ABC News report says:

According to intelligence officials, Panetta erupted in a tirade last month during a meeting with a senior White House staff member.

Panetta was reportedly upset over plans by Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation of allegations that CIA officers broke the law in carrying out certain interrogation techniques that President Obama has termed "torture."

The proposed criminal investigation of the CIA is intended to take attention away from the administration’s problems passing ObamaCare.

No wonder CIA director Panetta is steamed!


Over 60,000 quit AARP over ObamaCare support

CBS reports that more than 60,000 AARP members quit over health care reform.

The number is undoubtedly much higher by now.

Many are switching to the American Seniors Association, a group that calls itself the conservative alternative to AARP and their liberal political leanings.

Link to more of the story here.

Even kids understand the ObamaCare concept

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Aug 24, 2009

Millions face shrinking Social Security payments

Those receiving Social Security payments learned their COLA (cost of living allowance) has been taken away for the next two years.

This will be the first time without a cost-of-living increase since the annual adjustments began in 1975.

This, combined with the increased cost of prescription drugs, will cause seniors to see their social security payments actually shrink.

By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people on the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up.

The article at the link below says that cost of living adjustments are pegged to inflation, which has been negative this year, largely because energy prices are below 2008 levels.

Seniors who have seen their food and clothing costs increase in the past year will not be convinced that we have had negative inflation.

The Obama administration may pay for this at the polls in 2010 as seniors will be unhappy that their Social Security income stay the same and in some cases will go down while every member of congress will have received a very generous increase in their cost of living allowance.

More of the story here.

Polls show GOP challengers would beat Harry Reid

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that polls show potential Republican challengers would beat Harry Reid (pictured) in his 2010 Senate re-election bid.

It's the highest stakes ever for a Nevada election, and former boxer Sen. Harry Reid is on the ropes early. Either Republican Danny Tarkanian or Sue Lowden would knock out Reid in a general election, according to a recent poll of Nevada voters.

Nevadans favored Tarkanian over Reid 49 percent to 38 percent and Lowden over Reid 45 percent to 40 percent, according to the poll.

Looks like ACORN and SEIU (Service Employees International Union) activists/thugs will have their work cut out for them if they want to see Reid re-elected.


Cheer up - Monday’s aren’t really that bad

Polls sending Obama to HELLthcare in a handbasket

Cash strapped Colorado Police Department may sell seized firearms

The City Council in Colorado Springs, Colorado is considering a program to let the Police Department sell confiscated guns to licensed dealers. Sales could net $10,000 a year.

The Colorado Springs City Council is expected in coming weeks to approve the final details of a program that would allow the Police Department to sell confiscated firearms to federally licensed gun dealers. Police have already stopped melting down the hundreds of guns they collect from crime scenes, drug houses or civilians who don't need them anymore.


Aug 23, 2009

Report: Democrats could face uphill battle in 2010

A report at the link below says:

The divisive healthcare debate and sliding poll numbers for President Barack Obama are creating an even more difficult political environment for Democrats in 2010.

Democrats can’t ride Obama’s coattails as they did in 2008, when a strong turnout among young and minority voters helped them increase their House and Senate majorities.

In 2008, they said McCain would be a third term for George W. Bush. Running against Bush won’t work in 2010. Bush left office with a deficit of $1.3 trillion. Obama will have a deficit of at least $11 trillion!

The report also says the Democrats will be facing an older and whiter demographic in 2010, which would hurt Democrats in the best of circumstances.

Just as important is that Democrats are losing the messaging war with Republicans on healthcare, according to David Wasserman, who analyzes House races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

It predicted this week that Democrats could lose at least 20 seats in the House in 2010.

Especially vulnerable will be freshman Democrats in the House if they vote for ObamaCare which they will be pressured to do.

Much more of the story here.

Jobless rate skyrocketing under Obamanomics

The jobless rate in New York City is 9.6% - a 12-yr. high - story here.

Unemployment in California has climbed to 11.9 % - the highest since World War II - reported here.

Jobless rate in Las Vegas is a whopping 13.1 % - story here.

Three questions:

1. Wasn’t the mega-billion-dollar stimulus package intended to create jobs?

2. Didn’t Mr. Obama promise that unemployment would not go above 7.8%?

3. Now the third and most troubling question - is double-digit unemployment actually sought after by the administration in order to keep inflation under control?

Brazen burglar targets Police Station

North Bend, Oregon Police Chief Steve Scibelli said it was pretty embarrassing to have a thief hit his downtown station last week.

The brazen thief stole a radio, two stunguns and a Crown Victoria patrol car. The one saving grace is that police made a quick arrest.

Scibelli, who oversees a department of 16 officers — including himself — said the burglary occurred when all the officers left a section of the building to respond to an assault call.


Stick men

A gallery keeper walks through an Antony Gormley exhibit in the UK

Does popcorn really help fight cancer?

A report in The Scotsman claims popcorn helps fight off cancer. Does that mean we should go to the theater instead of the doctor’s office?

From the report:

The cinema snack contains "surprisingly large" amounts of healthy antioxidant plant chemicals called polyphenols, said scientists.

Tests showed the compounds account for 2.5 per cent of popcorn kernels by weight – higher levels than other a range of cereals.

Polyphenols – also found in fruits, vegetables, chocolate, wine, coffee and tea – protect the heart and cut cancer risk.

People eating theater popcorn would probably get coronary artery disease the way the concession stands slather on the butter.

Hmm...wonder if the study was conducted by one of Orville Redenbacher’s descendents?