Sep 25, 2009

Harvest festival dancers in India

Dancers painted to look like tigers perform during festivities marking the end of the annual harvest festival of "Onam" in the southern Indian city of Thrissur.

The ten-day long festival is celebrated annually in India's southern coastal state of Kerala to symbolize the return of King Mahabali to meet his subjects.

This recession is different

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Violent protesters march in Pittsburgh

The G20 Summit in Pittsburgh was marred by leftist marchers who overturned dumpsters, smashed store windows and hurled anything they could find at police.

"We're here to put pressure on the G20 to ultimately abolish global capitalism," said a 24-year-old man from Delaware, who declined to give his name.

Protesters wore bandannas and goggles and held aloft a large black sign declaring "No hope in capitalism" and another saying "Kick Capitalism While It Is Down."

Police in riot gear used pepper gas and ear splittingly loud sirens to disperse them.

It is interesting to compare the Pittsburgh mob with the several hundred thousand who marched in Washington DC recently.

The DC demonstration was orderly. They were mostly Republicans, Conservatives and Independents. Many of them were Senior Citizens, yet Nancy Pelosi referred them as an unorganized mob.

Wonder what she will have to say about the real mob of about 2,000 leftists in Pittsburgh that wreaked havoc smashing store windows requiring the police to use pepper gas and loud sirens.

More about the violent Pittsburgh demonstration story here.

Nearly 90 percent of Americans think media helped elect Obama

From a report at the link below:

Almost 90 percent of Americans believe the news media helped Barack Obama get elected president last November

Beyond this, 70 percent feel the press are promoting his presidency, with 56 percent saying they're pushing ObamaCare "without objective criticism."

Is our media morphing into America’s version of Provda?


Anywhere he can plug ObamaCare ...

Sep 24, 2009

Clever Denver Water billboard ad

In an effort to promote water conservation, Denver Water set off a creative advertising campaign that included billboards with the message, "Use Only What You Need."

Czech president: UN climate meeting was propaganda

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, a global warming skeptic, said the climate meeting was “sad and frustrating.”

Vaclav Klaus (pictured) sharply criticized a U.N. meeting on climate change on Tuesday at which U.S. President Barack Obama was among the top speakers, describing it as propagandistic and undignified.

The summit opened with13-year-old Yugratna Srivastava of India who told the audience that governments were not doing enough to combat the threat of climate change.

Since the 13-year-old was obviously not a scientist her appearance was just a gimmick. If they thought science was on their side, why would they need to rely on gimmicks?

Klaus said there were increasing doubts in the scientific community about whether humans are causing changes in the climate or whether the changes are simply naturally occurring phenomena.

But politicians, he said, seem to be moving closer to a consensus on climate change.

"The train can't be stopped and I consider that a huge mistake," Klaus said.

President Klaus published a book in 2007 on the worldwide campaign to stop climate change entitled "Blue Planet in Green Chains: What Is Under Threat -- Climate or Freedom?"

In the book, Klaus said global warming has turned into a new religion, an ideology that threatens to undermine freedom and the world's economic and social order.


Gmail goes down - again

A CNN report just out says that Google’s popular web-based e-mail has crashed several times in recent months. Now it is down again.

That's led to a bit of anger, and sarcastic sighs of despair, on tech blogs and on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

Google posted a note Thursday morning saying it is aware that some people are experiencing an e-mail outage. The Mountain View, California, company did not offer an explanation in the post or immediately return a request for comment.

"We're aware of a problem with Google Mail affecting a small subset of users. The affected users are unable to access Google Mail, but we've provided a workaround below," the company wrote on its apps dashboard.

This latest Gmail crash is reported to only affect web-based mail.

CNN further says that people who had signed up for a service to run Gmail off of their computer hard drives, instead of the Web, should be able to use the service through the crash.

This outage affects millions of people around the world who use the free service.


Can Roger Penske save Saturn?

Saturn has been one of the biggest automotive disappointments in recent memory.

A 1990 Saturn is shown below with a “for sale” message scrawled on the window.

While the car has been well engineered the design of the early models was about as exciting as cold oatmeal.

Its early promise faded amid weak sales, years of bland cars and a marketing message that was lost in G.M.’s overstocked inventory of brands.

G.M. threw money at Saturn, but never made a profit even during its best times.

Analysts estimate that Saturn has lost as much as $20 billion over the last 24 years.

Members of G.M.’s sprawling corporate family like Saab, Hummer and Opel are slated to be sold to foreign buyers, and the venerable Pontiac division will shut down completely.

If Roger Penske had not made a bid for Saturn in June, Saturn would likely be as vulnerable as Saab, Hummer and Opel.

Finding a buyer for Saturn after 19 straight years without a profit would have been difficult. G.M. might be have been forced to shut down the division entirely if Roger Penske hadn’t stepped in.

Who is Roger Penske?

Roger Penske (pictured) was a race car driver and race team owner.

The Penske team began racing at Indianapolis in 1969 and won that event 15 times between 1972 and their last win this year.

Penske Automotive is one of the largest car dealers in the world, with 150 franchises in the United States and an additional 160 in international markets. Mr. Penske’s holdings also include several Toyota dealerships in California.

Can Mr. Penske save Saturn? If he can finalize the deal to his liking and if Obama’s “car czar” stays out of his way he probably can.


When Penske takes over Saturn

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The Moammar Gadhafi rant at the UN

A report at the link below says:

If Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (pictured) didn't wear out the welcome for his first trip to the United States before he even arrived, he likely did after he addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

In a 90-minute speech before the U.N., Gadhafi delivered a halting and often rambling address in which he seemed to speak off the cuff, continually referring to notes scribbled on pages torn from a notebook.

He suggested the swine flu virus was a military conspiracy. He called for a new investigation into the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Gadhafi demanded European countries repay African countries for their colonial plunders.

Amid his rant, Gadhafi praised President Obama, who spoke just before him. He began his speech by congratulating Obama on his election. Later he referred to him as "our son" and suggested he remain in power for life.

Gadhafi managed to contradict himself at some points in his speech. Early in his remarks, Gadhafi suggested the H1N1 flu was created in a military lab, though later he said it was the creation of major pharmaceutical companies.

Gadhafi's address to the General Assembly ran 90 minutes, but it falls well short of the record, held by former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who, the U.N. said, spoke there for 4 hours and 29 minutes in 1960.


Video: school children taught to praise Obama

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Sep 23, 2009

Boys ride in trunk of taxi in Sana’a, Yemen

Boys sit in the trunk of a taxi during an excursion in Sana’a, the capital city of Yemen.

UN climate summit gives NY big carbon footprint

It always happens when world leaders meet for a climate summit - they fog up the area with greenhouse gasses from their fuel slurping jet aircraft to their convoy of luxury limousines.

To hear world leaders and others addressing the United Nations Summit on Climate Change, the threat could not be more real and the need more urgent to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

But in stark contrast to the earnest statements is the carbon footprint associated with their gathering.

It happens every autumn: midtown Manhattan becomes the motorcade capital of the world. Each foreign leader in town has a convoy of vehicles. Some of them, like President Obama's motorcade, are 20-to-30 vehicles in length. It's so long - it seems that when the front of it reaches the U.N., the back end is still back at his hotel.

Police block intersections as well as entire streets causing a massive gridlock.

Countless vehicles are immobile waiting for the motorcades to pass while their idling engines continue to blow exhaust into midtown Manhattan air.

The big throbbing engines of the luxury SUV’s and limousines in the motorcades move slowly through the streets belching their own contribution to the local smog problem.

Does it undermine the goal of the climate change summit and cause the pledges of environmental concern to ring hollow?

Asked about it, White House climate change negotiator Todd Sterns had a suggestion.

"I think the U.N. should make a pledge to electric vehicle motorcades within five years," he said.

Right. As soon as all U.N. diplomats pay their parking tickets.

Five years? Yea, right. Maybe five years from some Monday.


Red outback dust invades Sydney Australia

A huge outback dust storm has swept across eastern Australia, blanketing Sydney in a red glow.

The photos above show the entrance to Luna Park and the the Sydney Opera House during and before the dust storm.

The storm has forced people indoors and stripped thousands of tonnes of valuable farmland topsoil away.

The dust blacked out the town of Broken Hill in the outback on Tuesday, forcing a zinc mine to shut down. It then swept 725 miles east, to shroud Sydney with red dust.

International flights were diverted from Sydney, ferries on Sydney Harbor were suspended and commuter motorists warned to take care on roads as visibility was dramatically reduced. The dust set off smoke alarms in some buildings in Sydney's central business district and brought construction to a halt.

More of the story here.

Field of yellow plastic meerkats

Two woman walk around an installation featuring 1000 yellow plastic meerkats in a field near the southern German town of Hausen ob Verena.

The installation named "Works Outing" (Betriebsausflug) by German artist Ottmar Hoerl is on show for the next few weeks.

In this country it’s more apt to be pink plastic flamingos.

Prince Charles: give up cars and walk

A report at the link below says that Prince Charles (pictured) is urging people to give up their cars in favor of walking and public transport to reduce carbon emissions.

Charles used phrases like, “elevate the pedestrian above the car.” He denounced “domination of the car over the pedestrian.” Well, pedestrian is a big word so why not use it over and over?

We wonder if this means the Prince will park his chauffeured Rolls and ride the tube? No, probably not. The trains may smell sweaty from too many commoners on board.

Thinking up condescending pronouncements gives the Prince something to do while he waits for the Queen to die so he can begin his life’s work.

Most Brits are hoping Queen Elizabeth will live at least as long as her mother who reached the age of 101 before her death in 2002.

The article at the link below does have one redeeming feature: a picture of Charles behind the wheel of an old classic Aston Martin convertible that the Queen gave him for his 21st birthday.

That gorgeous Aston Martin is an antique. Come to think of it, the driver, who is not so gorgeous, is also an antique.


Sep 22, 2009

Sri Lanka tuk tuk race

Tourists taking part in a Sri Lanka Tourism Board-sponsored tuk tuk race reach the finish line in Colombo.

Over 20 tuk tuks driven by foreign visitors took part in the three day race around Sri Lanka.

Obama gets award for his 5 Sunday TV appearances

Judge denies former Congressman Jefferson a new trial

Former Congressman William Jefferson (pictured) was convicted last month on 11 of 16 criminal counts filed against him — including charges that he accepted bribes and engaged in money laundering while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The case against Jefferson included the discovery of $90,000 cash in his home freezer.

Jefferson was a Democrat Congressman who represented constituents in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jefferson had requested a new trial based in part on the judge’s refusal to allow the jury to hear about a sexual relationship between a government informant — who wore a wire and recorded conversations with the defendant — and an FBI agent assigned to the corruption case.

Judge T.S. Ellis III determined the issue wasn’t relevant because the government relied only on recorded conversations between the informant, Lori Mody, and Jefferson and did not call her as a witness in the trial or enter any other statements from her into the record, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper.

Mr. Jefferson faces sentencing October 30.

Link here and here.

Climate protester in Australia

A protester in Melbourne dressed as a caricature of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd encourages the leader to wake up to the urgency of global warming prior to the climate change meeting in New York.

Protestors began with stop the fur industry. Then it was save the whales. Or was save the whales first? Anyway, now their passion is global warning.

This protestor gets an A+ for effort, originality and artistic talent for a very well done and cleverly designed display.

Using an iPod for first time

An Afghan man and a boy listen to music on earphones from an iPod given to them by German ISAF soldiers during a long term patrol in Yaftal e Sofla, in the mountainous region of Feyzabad, east of Kunduz, Afghanistan. New York Post photo.

Obama: legalize illegals so they can have healthcare

Barack Obama said last week that his health care plan won't cover illegal immigrants.

He also said that's all the more reason to legalize them so they can have health care coverage.

He also staked out a position that anyone in the country legally should be covered - a major break with the 1996 welfare reform bill, which limited most federal public assistance programs only to citizens and longtime immigrants.

Republicans said that amounts to an amnesty, calling it a backdoor effort to make sure current illegal immigrants get health care.


Jimmy Carter’s talents put to good use

Sep 21, 2009

Monkeying around

Baboons at Knowsley Safari Park have learned how to open roof boxes on top of visiting cars.

Park staff are shown demonstrating how chaos can ensue as the baboons run amok and steal their possessions in Merseyside, UK.

Endless 8-month Obama infomercial

A report at the link below says:

During his first eight months in office, President Obama has sat down for three times as many television interviews as his most recent two predecessors combined.

It’s all Obama all the time - ad nauseam

The media blitz has given Barack Obama unprecedented wall-to-wall coverage in the mainstream media no matter what he does.

"He's turning the presidency into an infomercial," warned former White House speechwriter Matt Latimer. "It's not just damaging to the White House. It will also ultimately hurt President Obama's image as a fresh, non-Washington leader."

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In the New York Times alone, according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, 405 stories on the Obama administration have appeared on the front page through mid-August of this year totaling 119,678 column inches. That's 9,973 column feet of Obama coverage on the Times front page alone.

It’s television, however, that has been the most powerful draw for Mr. Obama.

In his five - that’s right, five - major appearances Sunday, Obama talked against adding troops to Afghanistan, denied he was making a deal with Russia that would cut missile defenses in Europe, and continued to push his government-run health-insurance program.

As of mid-August, Obama submitted to a total of 66 television interviews, dramatically outstripping his two predecessors.

During the same period of their own presidencies, President George W. Bush gave 16 television interviews and President Bill Clinton gave just six.


Amateur built submarine

Amateur inventor Tao Xiangli tests his homemade submarine in a lake near Beijing. He made the craft, which has a periscope, depth control tanks, electric motors, manometer and two propellers, from old oil barrels and items bought at a scrap dealer

Obama says no but Gov Paterson says yes

David Paterson (upper photo) was elevated to governor from lieutenant governor in March 2008 after governor Eliot Spitzer resigned because of a prostitution scandal.

After Paterson moved into the New York governor’s mansion, he has alienated Washington Democrats by not choosing Carolyn Kennedy (center photo) to occupy the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton after her appointment to Secretary of State. Instead, Paterson chose Kirsten Gillibrand (lower photo), a moderate Democrat from the northern part of the state.

Paterson announced in October that he would seek a full term.

Now Mr. Obama has asked Mr. Paterson to step aside to allow a stronger candidate to run.

The general election is more than a year away, but Mr. Obama and his political team are moving now in part because of signals from Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, that he may run for governor, according to Democrats who have spoken with White House officials.

Mr. Paterson, however, appeared at a parade in Harlem on Sunday, and told a crowd of reporters that he would not abandon his campaign to seek a full term.

Paterson, who is black, as well as blind, said at the 40th annual African-American Day Parade, “I have said time and time again that I am running for governor next year.”

Obama critics are wondering why the White House is meddling in New York state politics. But then, if Obama can fire the CEO of General Motors, who’s to stop him from choosing who will run for governor of New York?


Sep 20, 2009

Giants spoil new Texas Stadium debut

The $1.5 billion Texas Stadium debut was spoiled by a last second New York Giant field goal for a 33 - 31 win.

Photos below show the swank new Texas Stadium.


Taxpayers fund lavish airport to nowhere - revisited

There is a state-of-the-art airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania (population 23,000) that has few travelers but gets a lot of federal funding.

Inside the terminal on a recent weekday, four passengers lined up to board a flight, outnumbered by seven security staff members and supervisors, all suited up in gloves and uniforms to screen six pieces of luggage.

For three hours that day, no commercial or private planes took off or landed. Three commercial flights leave the airport on weekdays, all bound for Dulles International Airport.

The photo above shows the security check-in area at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pa., where the security staff members sometimes outnumber the passengers.

What keeps this pristine, little used facility going is $200 million in federal funds in the past decade. And all thanks John Murtha (pictured) who is a powerful and corrupt Washington Congressman.

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) is credited with securing at least $150 million for the airport.

It was among the first in the country to win funding from this year's stimulus package: $800,000 to repave a backup runway.

Murtha, dubbed the King of Pork by critics, consistently directs more federal money to his district than any other congressman -- $192 million in the 2008 budget.

The lawmaker, who uses the airport frequently during his campaigns, has steadily steered millions of taxpayer dollars to it to build a new terminal with a restaurant; a long, concrete runway sturdy enough to handle large jets; and a high-tech radar system usually reserved for international airports.

A video of this little-used state-of-the-art airport can be found here. More of this story is here.

Amish farmer cutting hay

An Amish farmer uses horsepower and gasoline power as he cuts alfafa. He is using four horses to pull a gas-powered haybine in Middlebury, Indiana.

JFK used the motto of his high school in his inauguration speech

Thurston Clarke wrote a book called, “Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America.”

Mr. Clarke wrote later that "important and heretofore overlooked documentary evidence" proves that Kennedy was "the author of the most immortal and poetic passages of his inaugural address," including the famous line that gives the book its title, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

The photo above shows President John F. Kennedy delivering his inaugural address in 1961, whose memorable phrases are still the subject of conjecture.

John F. Kennedy graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall, a private high school in Wallingford, Connecticut.

From the second paragraph at the first link below:

John F. Kennedy was a 1935 graduate of the Choate school (who, incidentally, graduated 64th in a class of 112), was so inspired by Choate's motto, "Ask not what your school can do for you-- but what you can do for your school." that he paraphrased it in his eloquent inaugural address as: "Ask not what your country can do for you -- but what you can do for your country.”

Did Kennedy write the inauguration speech? Many think he had input into a speech that was prepared by Ted Sorensen.

The “Ask Not” part of the speech would have been added by Kennedy because Sorensen, who was from Lincoln Nebraska, likely would not have been aware of the Choate school motto.

Mr. Clarke insists that Kennedy was the main architect of the speech and the “ask not” words were his even though Ted Sorensen was not only Kennedy’s legal aid but was his chief speechwriter.

Does Mr. Clarke’s book have the definitive answer or, as reported above, are the memorable phrases still the subject of conjecture?

Link here and here.

Unusual First Lady fashion at healthcare speech

Photo shows Michelle Obama making her “women crushed by healthcare” speech wearing a nondescript something along with what Matt Drudge called a bondage belt.

One of her tank tops would have had more class.