Oct 17, 2009

Authorities are skeptical of balloon boy spectacle

The publicity seeking Heene family (pictured) of Fort Collins, Colorado may be in trouble.

Authorities in Colorado say criminal charges are expected to be filed against Richard Heene, a storm-chasing father whose giant Mylar balloon ascended into the sky, sparking fears that his 6-year-old was aboard.

"We do anticipate at some point in the future, there will be some criminal charges filed with regards to this incident," Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said.

Although not mentioned in the CNN report at the link below, Denver Channel 4 announced on the late news that a search of the Heene home was under way Saturday night.


Oct 16, 2009

What’s up with Facebook anyway?

After receiving e-mail invitations to join Facebook from seven or eight relatives plus a few friends, I finally caved in.

Funny thing - once I began using Facebook I discovered that more than half of them only rarely post anything on Facebook. They mostly just lurk. Occasionally they may click on the “like” link but that’s about all.

Some Facebook postings are dull and boring such as “I ate corn flakes” or “I’m going to take a nap.” I see lots of very interesting postings, however, that more than make up for the bland stuff. Actually, I enjoy it all.

Putting photo albums on Facebook is easy and it’s fun to browse albums posted by family and friends. These albums are made up of photos of family members, scenic travel log type photos, etc.

One photo album even included some classic 1930’s airplanes: Lambert Monocoupe, Beech Staggerwing, Stinson Reliant and a WWII B-25 Mitchell bomber and a bubble canopy P-47 fighter plane.

If you don’t like to see postings from FarmVille, MafiaWars, VampireWars, YoVille etc., they can easily be removed by using the “hide” feature.

MySpace didn’t suit me and I don’t Tweet (I didn’t like the look and feel of Twitter) so I have settled on Facebook as my social networking site.

Not poking fun on Facebook

Facebook says that a poke on their popular social networking site is the digital equivalent of waving at someone from across a crowded room.

And yet a Tennessee woman was arrested last month for "poking" another user on Facebook.

According to an affidavit filed with the Sumner County General Sessions Court on Sept. 25, Shannon D. Jackson of Hendersonville, Tenn., allegedly violated a legal order of protection that had been previously filed against her when she sent a virtual "poke" to another woman on Facebook.

More here.

Code Blues for Tennessee Titan fans

Tennessee Titans fans wear sacks over their heads in the third quarter of a 31-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn.

The loss gave the Titans an uncharacteristic 0-5 record.

Fake veteran charged with stolen valor

A man said he survived the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon.

He said he survived again when a roadside bomb went off in Iraq, killing four fellow Marines.

He'd point to his head and tell people he had a metal plate, collateral damage from the explosion.

None of it was true.

Last week, the FBI arrested him on the rare charge of "stolen valor."

Richard Strandlof, 32, was held "for false claims about receipt of military decorations or medals," an FBI news release said.

Charges had been filed in Denver, Colorado, the week before, the bureau said.

The penalty for his crime is up to one year incarceration and a $100,000 fine.


Runaway balloon in Colorado may have been publicity stunt

A 6-year-old boy who was believed to be inside an experimental aircraft as it soared over northern Colorado on Thursday.

The boy, 6-year-old Falcon Heene (shown in upper photo with Richard Heene), was found safe in the attic over the family garage.

Heene was asked about the possibility it was a hoax because of what his 6-year-old son, Falcon, had said earlier during a CNN interview.

The Heene family

In the interview, when Falcon was asked why he didn't come out when he heard his parents calling for him, he said it was because it was "for the show."

The Heene’s are said to be publicity hounds by some for the following reasons:

1. The family appeared on the reality TV show two different times.

2. The Heene’s are avid storm chasers making films of their adventures.

3. The Heene boys have made YouTube music videos.

Denver 9 News report is here.

The Wife Swap report is here.

A report on the Heene family storm chase activity is here.

Protecting US troops the Democratic way

A report at the first link below is titled, Troop funds diverted to pet projects

. Senators diverted $2.6 billion in funds in a defense spending bill to pet projects largely at the expense of accounts that pay for fuel, ammunition and training for U.S. troops, including those fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an analysis.

There were 778 slices of pork (earmarks) in the troop funding bill.

Among the 778 such projects, known as earmarks, packed into the bill: $25 million for a new World War II museum at the University of New Orleans and $20 million to launch an educational institute named after the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.

Ted Kennedy voted against funding our troops while he was alive. After he is gone $20 million taken from troop funding goes to a memorial for the Kennedy "Admiral of Chappaquiddick."

While earmarks are hardly new in Washington, "in 30 years on Capitol Hill, I never saw Congress mangle the defense budget as badly as this year," said Winslow Wheeler, a former Senate staffer who worked on defense funding and oversight for both Republicans and Democrats.

Senate appropriators insisted that the cuts do not shortchange the troops.

Yea, right! Tell that to the troops in Afghanistan where they are using weapons that ‘fail them’ as reported at the second link below.

Link here and here.

Oct 15, 2009

Mobile basket case

Cambodian vendors ride bikes loaded with baskets on a road in Phnom Penh.

Most on Nobel jury objected to Obama prize

Two of the five members on the Nobel Committee gained the upper hand and selected Barack Obama (pictured) as the 2009 Peace Prize winner.

Three of the five members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee had objections to the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to US President Barack Obama, the Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang (VG) reported Thursday.

In a surprise move last Friday, the Nobel committee attributed the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama less than nine months after he had taken office.

In the end the decision was said to be unanimous.


Did we really need to bomb the moon?

Did NASA break laws and treaties on explosions in space by bombing the moon?

Did the effort give us invaluable scientific information or was it nothing more than a stunt spending hundreds of millions on outer-space vandalism?

A report here discusses the matter.

New Leonardo da Vinci painting found

Art experts believe a new portrait by Leonardo da Vinci may have been discovered thanks to a 500-year-old fingerprint.

The small picture of a young woman in profile was previously believed to be a German work from the early 19th century and has changed hands in recent years for around £12,000 ($19,000).

But a growing number of leading Leonardo scholars agree the work is almost certainly by the Renaissance figurehead because it appears to have his fingerprint on it. Carbon dating and infrared analysis of Leonardo's techniques back up the theory.

If it is truly found to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci, the piece of art could be worth tens of millions and would be the first major work by Leonardo da Vinci to be identified for 100 years.


Wall Street Journal tops USA Today as No 1

The Wall Street Journal has surpassed USA Today as the top-selling daily newspaper in the United States.

The Journal has made an aggressive bid to grow beyond its traditional audience on Wall Street.

Under Rupert Murdoch (pictured), whose News Corp. bought the newspaper in 2007 for more than $5 billion, the Journal has been adding more pages of general interest news and looking to compete with financially ailing regional newspapers.

Murdoch also owns Fox News, the cable news channel that out draws all of the other cable news channels combined as reported here.

Both Wall Street Journal and USA Today have been hit by the flight of readers to the Web.

USA Today is also being hit with a slump in travel, slowing traffic at the airports and hotels where it makes many of its single-copy sales.

It will be interesting to hear what political pundits will have to say because the left leaning USA Today has been overtaken by the right leaning Wall Street Journal.


Nobel judges defend Obama decision

Nobel judges made a controversial decision and now they seem to be back on their heels trying to defend their Peace Prize selection.

From a Press Association report:

Four judges have spoken out to defend the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to US president Barack Obama.

In a rare public defense of a process normally shrouded in secrecy, the judges said Mr. Obama's selection was deserved and unanimous.

Nobel committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said, “He got the prize for what he has done."

One judge noted with surprise that Mr. Obama "didn't look particularly happy" at being named the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Obama's unhappy look was probably because he knew he was not deserving of the prize. However, he knew the American media would alibi for the Nobel committee decision.


Oct 14, 2009

Maria Shriver busted for breaking husband’s cellphone law

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a state law against cellphone use while driving.

Now his wife, Maria Shriver, has been busted for using her mobile phone while driving.

The two TMZ photos above show Shriver using a cellphone while driving.


Report: swine flu less deadly than seasonal flu

A top disease surveillance expert says swine flu is killing fewer people than seasonal flu.

Denis Coulombier, who heads the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control's preparedness and response unit, warned that a second wave of swine flu infections could be expected within weeks.

In an interview with AFP, Coulombier said the response to the virus so far had been appropriate, and it was right to prepare for "the worst plausible scenario".

"We had a period of anxiety because the first phase developed very, very quickly and the situation was unclear in Mexico" where the A(H1N1) virus was first reported.

In the United States, the Obama administration has a vested interest in keeping the disease in the headlines even though swine flu has not turned into a pandemic.

Maybe the critics were right when they said the Obama administration is determined to never let a crisis slip by without using it to political advantage.

Without the scare of a swine flu pandemic, universal healthcare may have died on the vine months ago.

Back to the report:

At least 4,525 people have died from swine flu since April and there have been more than 378,223 laboratory-confirmed cases globally, according to the World Health Organization.

That puts the death rate at slightly over one percent which is very low!


Man arrested in 40-year-old airline hijacking

Federal officials said a man accused of playing a role in the 1968 hijacking of a Pan Am flight from New York to Puerto Rico has been arrested.

Luis Armando Pena Soltren, 66, surrendered to federal authorities at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after exiting a flight from Havana, Cuba, officials said. It's the same airport from which Pan Am Flight 281 took off more than 40 years ago.

Two of Soltren’s accomplices, Jose Rafael Rios Cruz, Miguel Castro were sentenced in the 1970s after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in New York. They received 15-year and 12-year sentences, respectively. Their current whereabouts were not immediately known.


List of cars that lose value fastest

10 Cars that lose value fastest per a report in Forbes Magazine online.

1. Chrysler Sebring Convertible
MSRP: $28,530

Value after 24 months: 27%
Value after 36 months: 22%
Value after 48 months: 18%
Value after 60 months: 15%

2. Kia Sedona
MSRP: $21,245

Value after 24 months: 33%
Value after 36 months: 24%
Value after 48 months: 19%
Value after 60 months: 15%

3. Kia Optima Sedan
MSRP: $17,495

Value after 24 months: 32%
Value after 36 months: 25%
Value after 48 months: 21%
Value after 60 months: 17%

4. Kia Spectra Sedan
MSRP: $13,550

Value after 24 months: 35%
Value after 36 months: 26%
Value after 48 months: 21%
Value after 60 months: 17%

5. Dodge Grand Caravan
MSRP: $23,545

Value after 24 months: 24%
Value after 36 months: 26%
Value after 48 months: 21%
Value after 60 months: 17%

6. Dodge Ram 3500
MSRP: $30,385

Value after 24 months: 34%
Value after 36 months: 26%
Value after 48 months: 21%
Value after 60 months: 17%

7. Saab 9-7X
MSRP: $42,615

Value after 24 months: 33%
Value after 36 months: 27%
Value after 48 months: 21%
Value after 60 months: 17%

8. Mitsubishi Raider
MSRP: $21,135

Value after 24 months: 30%
Value after 36 months: 25%
Value after 48 months: 21%
Value after 60 months: 18%

9. Lincoln Town Car
MSRP: $46,525

Value after 24 months: 32%
Value after 36 months: 26%
Value after 48 months: 22%
Value after 60 months: 18%

10. Dodge Durango
MSRP: $28,980

Value after 24 months: 33%
Value after 36 months: 26%
Value after 48 months: 22%
Value after 60 months: 18%

There is a definite pattern as 3 Dodge vehicles and 3 Kia vehicles show up on the list accounting for 60% of the total.


Poll two could beat Reid in Nevada Senate race

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports:

Nevadans say they're ready to replace longtime Democratic incumbent Sen. Harry Reid (upper photo) with an untested Republican.

Their top two picks -- former GOP party official Sue Lowden (lower photo) and real estate developer Danny Tarkanian -- either one would unseat Reid if the election were held today, according to a poll commissioned by the Review-Journal.

A poll commissioned by the Review-Journal shows that either former GOP party official Sue Lowden and real estate developer Danny Tarkanian would unseat Reid if the election were held now.

Looks like ACORN and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have their work cut out for them if they want to get Harry Reid re-elected.


Scientists show man does not cause climate change

CNSNews posted a report saying that scientists rebut claim that man causes climate change.

As the world focused on President Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a small group of determined scientists gathered in a Senate office building to present evidence backing their claim that climate change is caused not by man but by nature, and that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but the hope for a greener planet.

The scientists said they were on Capitol Hill to challenge the president’s claims and show that Mother Nature controls climate around the world and that CO2 in the atmosphere benefits people, plants and animals.


Oct 13, 2009

iPhone app unlocks and starts car without key

Who needs a key?

A California company Tuesday will announce an iPhone application and car receiver that will enable users to lock, unlock and remotely start their car with the phone rather than the car's key fob.

The Viper SmartStart is the latest example of automotive electronics functions migrating into Apple iPhone and other smartphones, including turn-by-turn directions or locating the closest gas station.

Such ideas are a challenge for automakers and aftermarket suppliers for whom advanced auto electronics have been highly profitable.

More here.

Trying to understand the Nobel surprise

Bernie Madoff: feisty Butner Prison inmate

A World Newser blog entry (second link below) titled The Scrapper in the Slammer reports a prison fight involving another inmate.

The New York Post reports (first link below):

Bernie "The Bruiser" Madoff got into a prison-yard tussle with a fellow inmate over -- of all things -- the stock market, eyewitnesses told The Post.

And, by inmates' accounts, the 71-year-old Ponzi schemer came out the winner.

Madoff (pictured), serving 150 years at the Butner, NC, federal prison, was heard last week getting into a heated debate over the state of the market with another senior-citizen jailbird.

The shouting match got so heated that the inmate pushed Madoff, who shoved back harder with both hands, causing his attacker to stumble.

As the attacker tried to stand up straight, Madoff hovered over him red-faced and glaring, eyewitnesses said.

This was the first known physical altercation at the slammer for Madoff who paid a consultant for a crash course in prison culture and survival tips before he was locked up.

The consultant told Madoff “It’s a matter of keeping your space and having respect for other people.”

“Bring some meaning to your life” he told Madoff. Become a teacher to other inmates. Just kinda sit around the prison campfire and sing Kumbaya.

Yelling and shoving another inmate isn’t exactly sitting around the prison campfire singing Kumbaya.

Link here and here.

The only sisters to fly Spitfires in WWII

The Daily Mail online has a report about the only sisters to fly Spitfires in WWII. No, they didn’t fly combat missions. They transported planes from factory to Royal Air Force airdromes.

From the report:

They were sleek, beautifully shaped, and earned something of a racy reputation.

And that was just the Spitfires they flew.

But even away from the cockpit, the plucky young gals of the World War Two Air Transport Auxiliary turned plenty of heads as well.

They flew 18 different RAF aircraft during the war as they delivered them to airbases throughout Britain.

But it was the Spitfire which rekindled their fondest memories.

More of the story with photos here.

Solar Tower in southern Spain

The most powerful commercial solar tower in the world, the new PS20, stands at the Solucar Platform in Sanlucar la Mayor, southern Spain.

Obama to gays: thanks for support but don’t expect help

From a Time Magazine article at the link below:

In a speech to the world's largest gay political group, the Human Rights Campaign, Obama essentially said two things: I'm with you. But I can't do much for you.

All talk, no action. Nothing new here.

Obama took their campaign donations and now tells them he can’t do much for them.


Oct 12, 2009

Elephant taxi driver waiting for customer

A man waits for customers for an elephant ride in Jaipur, India.

Nobel Peace Prize drops faster than Dollar under Obama

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Zebra impersonators

The Marah Land Zoo's only two zebras died of hunger earlier this year when they were neglected during the Israel-Hamas war.

The popular animals were considered too expensive to replace so the Gaza zookeepers decided to paint a pair of donkeys as zebras instead.


California budget ten weeks old and already in the red

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will know within a month whether a $1.1 billion drop in revenue collections is part of a growing budget shortfall or an isolated event.

There is more of this story here in case anyone happens to be interested.


(click on cartoon to enlarge)

A look at the morally bankrupt WH advisors

A report at the link below is titled: Ship of Fools: Obama's Intimates and Advisors.

The report shows thumbnail descriptions of only a very small sampling of what the report calls:

The locust horde of Leftist bureaucrats President Barack Hussein Obama has deliberately chosen to help him grasp the helm of America's ship of state, strip it from the American people, and steer it hard to port.

The report does not mince words and goes on to say:

The Obama Administration is plainly subverting democracy in America, wildly careening our previous 230-year history of democracy so dangerously Leftward that after a mere nine months we are in terrible danger of sinking.

Make no mistake. These people are about Socialism, and they are about power. Their power.

Below are the names of the sampling of what the article calls President Barack Hussein Obama's morally bankrupt White House "Brain Trust" (the thumbnail descriptions for each of the names are at the link below).

1. Valerie Jarrett
2. Patrick Gaspard
3. Eric Holder
4. Cecelia Muñoz
5. Samantha Power(s)
6. Charles Freeman
7. Scott Gration
8. Rahm Emmanuel
9. Ezekiel Emmanuel
10. Cass Sunstein
11. Van Jones
12. Carol Browner
13. John Holdren
14. Kevin Jennings
15. Chai Feldblum
16. William Ayers


Oct 11, 2009

Air Force 1 flying over Mt. Rushmore

U.S. Air Force publicity photo of the presidential plane flying over Mount Rushmore.

Nobel Prize Committee selects a winner

And the winner is:

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Feds block oil drilling in Utah

The Department of the Interior has frozen oil and gas development on 60 of 77 contested drilling sites in Utah, saying the process of leasing the land was rushed and badly flawed.

The 77 government-owned parcels, covering some 100,000 acres in eastern and southern Utah, were leased in the last weeks of the Bush administration.

George W. Bush rushed the leases at the end of his presidency knowing that a Democrat administration would choose buying foreign oil in favor of the environmentalists.

Now the Obama administration predictably blocked the drilling. Actions have consequences such as the return of $4 gas prices and the increasing dependence on foreign oil.

Jack N. Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, the chief trade group for the industry, criticized the action, saying it was one of a series by the Obama administration to thwart oil and gas development.

“This troubling trend means less revenue to federal, state and local governments at a time when our nation is running a record deficit,” Mr. Gerard said. “It also means fewer jobs at a time our nation is headed toward 10 percent unemployment, and it means less domestic energy available when our economy recovers and demand rebounds.”

For several years Democrat lawmakers have prevented new drilling in western states, Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico.


Are they old enough to drink?

A pair of deer at a drive-in liquor store window in Medicine Bow, Wyoming.

Read the ObamaCare bill - if you can

There is a report at the link below titled: Read the health bill! Not as easy as you think.

Read the bill! It was a rallying cry at angry health care town halls this summer and has evolved into something of a political movement. Many Americans are demanding that lawmakers actually read the comprehensive legislation they've written — or at least make it publicly available — before voting on it.

The argument for transparency has become a running side debate in Congress, with lawmakers. Not only Republicans but Democrats as well are pressing leaders to post measures online for 72 hours before a vote.

Photo shows Republican leader John Boehner displaying the lengthy bill with all of the changes marked.

House Minority Leader John Boehner said the American people could be left in the dark if the Democrats continue to hide the contents of the bill from the public.

Barack Obama has made transparency a watchword of his administration, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged upon taking office to "create the most open and honest government in history."

So, what’s the problem?

The problem lies in the apparent secrecy about the contents of the ObamaCare bill as changes are constantly being made to the lengthy document.

Much more of the story here.

Hiding contents of ObamaCare bill