Oct 24, 2009

Loveland Colorado reflections

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These photos were taken October, 2006 using a Kodak Z series digital camera similar to the one pictured.

For such dramatic reflections it must be a dead calm day which is difficult to find in breezy Loveland, Colorado.

Oct 23, 2009

Balloon mom: admits hoax - told kids to lie

Denver Channel 9 News reports that balloon boy mom Mayumi Heene (pictured) told a Larimer County Sheriff's investigator she and her husband lied to authorities when they reported that their 6-year-old son was aboard a balloon released from the family's backyard.

Mayumi Heene told investigator Robert Heffernan that she and her husband, Richard, had lied to authorities on Oct. 15. She admitted the release of the flying saucer from their Fort Collins Home was an intentional hoax.

Mayumi Heene said she and her husband knew all along that 6-year-old Falcon was hiding in their home. The motive for the fabricated story was to make the Heene family more marketable for future media interest.

Mayumi Heene and Richard Heene devised the hoax two weeks before the launch. The experimental flying saucer was made specifically to carry out the hoax.

Mayumi Heene also said that she and her husband had told their three children to lie to authorities and the media.


Pink Toe tow truck

For years, Lincoln Towing Co.'s "Pink Toe Truck" was a landmark in Seattle. The original left foot truck was built nearly 30 years ago by the company's owner.

The truck does not have doors and with its big toe, reaches a height of 11.5 feet. The truck could tow a small vehicle, but it spent most of its time on display outside Lincoln's towing yard or in local parades.

Now the truck with the little piggies went to live in a museum.

In bed with the media

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White House attacks worry moderate Democrats

A report at the link below says the effort of the White House to undermine conservative critics is generating a backlash on Capitol Hill.

The backlash is not just from Republicans but also from moderate Democrats.

“It’s a mistake,” said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from western Pennsylvania. “I think it’s beneath the White House to get into a tit for tat with news organizations.”

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has defended the push, saying the administration made “a fundamental decision that we needed to be more aggressive in both protecting our position and in delineating our differences with those who were attacking us.”

The criticism from Fox News and others was just that -- criticism. The White House, accustomed to being pampered by most in the main stream media, construed the critical comments to be attacks.

Perhaps moderates on Capitol Hill are beginning to remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of Germans following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

Although Pastor Niemoller gave several versions of the following words in speeches through the years (see second link below) this is the version he prefers:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the Social Democrats, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Social Democrat.

Then they came for the free-speech media, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a media publisher.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Link here and here.

How to be really scary on Halloween

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Nine deaths linked to flammable robes

Full-length women's chenille robes sold by Blair LLC of Warren, Pennsylvania have been linked to nine deaths.

The robes have been found to be highly flammable.

The company is expanding a recall to include more products imported from the Pakistani manufacturer that supplied the robes.

The products were initially recalled in April by Blair after it learned of three robes catching on fire, including one report of second-degree burns. Some of the products failed to meet federal flammability standards and they present a risk of serious burns to consumers if the garments are exposed to an open flame.

More of the story here.

Key senators may rebuff Obama on health care

With Democrats in control of a hefty majority of the Senate as well as the House one would think Mr. Obama would be able to overhaul the nation's health care system this fall.

The numbers mask a more complicated reality: Obama and Democratic leaders have modest leverage over several pivotal Senate Democrats who are more concerned about their next election or feel they have little to lose by opposing their party's hierarchy.

Roland Burris of Illinois (upper photo) is still smarting from being forced to abandon next year's election. Another, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut (lower photo) had to leave the Democratic Party to stay in office. Others are from states that Obama lost badly last year.

When lawmakers face a tough vote, their uppermost thought is "survival," said Alan Simpson, a Wyoming Republican who spent three terms in the Senate.

One example is Sen. Blanche Lincoln a Democrat from Arkansas who faces a potentially tough re-election race next year. Obama lost to Republican John McCain by 20 percentage points in Arkansas.

Senator Lincoln says she will base her health care vote on what is best for Arkansas - translation - she will base her vote on what’s best for her re-election chances.

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, where Obama lost by a similar margin told reporters, "I'm not for a government-run, national, taxpayer-subsidized plan (public option), and never will be."

Another centrist Democrat whose vote is uncertain is Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, a political battleground state.

"I want to know what works for families and small businesses," said Bayh, adding that he might back public insurance options run by states, not the federal government.

More of the story here.

ObamaCare balloon

Oct 22, 2009

Interrupted tea party

People flee the deck of a hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico as large waves from Hurricane Rick overrun their patio tables.

Time Magazine photo

A bogus agenda-driven Public Option poll

A National Review report deals with a Washington Post poll asking respondents about the “public option” as it pertains to ObamaCare.

The Washington Post poll is the latest example of a "public poll" in the past 2–3 weeks that curiously shows a growing number of Americans supportive of the "public option." AP and Gallup were others. This is agenda-driven polling.

The fact is: Asking an ignorant public about the "public option" is incomplete polling. It calls for a response to feel-good phraseology rather than a probing of underlying ideology. "Public option" in health care is not so different from "campaign-finance reform," "Violence against Women's Act," "revenue enhancements," and such.

The “public option” is a health insurance plan offered by the federal government.

The main argument against government health insurance is the potential for Post Office type inefficiency in a federal plan. Also, it will be intentionally offered at a price just low enough so private insurance would not be able to compete.

Once the public option is in place it won’t be very long until all health care insurance is run by the government as in countries with complete socialized medicine.

Ask 20 people on the street what the public option is and you will be lucky to find more than one or two with a grasp of what you are asking. Consequently, it is easy for agenda-driven polling to come up with the results they want.

For now at least, the public option appears to be dead.

The report continues:

The bogusness of these polls is also proved by President Obama himself, who is lukewarm on the inclusion of the public option and has suggested they would move forward with or without it. He must realize that good polling shows no such clamor for a public option.

The great news there, of course, is the fire he faces from the Left (unions, Congressional Black Caucus) on this if public option is excluded or severely diluted.


The future of the Public Option

Chocolate can alleviate pain? Really?

A report at the link below says a study has shown that nibbling on chocolate can relieve aches and pains.

A team of researchers says the distraction of eating or drinking for pleasure acts as a natural painkiller.

Although the findings come from studies on animals, the scientists believe the same effect takes place in people.

This is the best excuse for eating chocolate we have seen in a long time.

More of the story here.

Balloon incident dad had felony conviction in California

Richard Heene, the father of the 6-year-old boy thought to be in a runaway helium balloon in Fort Collins last week, has a criminal felony record in California.

Richard Heene (shown here with 6-year-old Falcon Heene) was convicted of assault with a firearm on Feb. 21, 1984. A judge sentenced Heene to three years probation, according to the Superior Court of Riverside County.

Heene was 23 years old when he was arrested for the felony and had been working for various contractors as a construction worker and carpenter at a job site in Rancho Bernardo, according to court records.

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden has said a felony conviction against Heene would be important to the sheriff's ongoing criminal and child-welfare investigation.

"It would be pertinent to the welfare of the children and to our determination about if they are in a safe environment and our investigation into the hoax," Alderden said.

The sheriff says his office, along with Larimer County Department of Social Services, is trying to determine if the children are suitably placed in the home.

More here.

Hard to tell hoax from reality

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Resounding defeat for Reid on ‘Doc Fix’ in Senate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (pictured) was unable to muster even a simple majority for the “doc fix” bill.

The legislation was defeated, 47 to 53.

A clearly nervous Reid paced the chamber’s just prior to the vote and afterward looked to blame the defeat on GOP Senators, arguing it was a result of “activities and actions by the Republican-dominated Washington.”

Hmm, Republican-dominated Washington? Last we knew the Democrats had a majority. Wait until Reid has fewer Democrats in the Senate. Actually, Reid’s own re-election bid in Nevada is in serious doubt.

The ‘Doc Fix’ bill is a $250 billion extension to the Medicare physician payment program.

Reid’s defeat marked a potentially inauspicious start for Democratic leaders to the formal floor debate on the larger health care overhaul.


49 of 50 states have fewer jobs 7 months after stimulus

Americans now have 6 million jobs short of Obama’s projections.

Obama claimed the result of his stimulus bill would be the creation of 3.5 million jobs, the Nation has already lost a total of 2.7 million – a difference of 6.2 million jobs.


Oct 21, 2009

Swine flu shot side effects

This was a winner in a recent cartoon caption contest by Indianapolis Star cartoonist Gary Varvel.

What happened to the eye of Health Sec Sebelius?

Is the Health Sec sick?

On a Federal Eye (no pun intended) Washington Post blog entry at the link below, there is a photo of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with a bandage on her forehead and an obvious eye problem.

According to the Federal Eye report Sebelius had a basal cell carcinoma removed from her forehead on Tuesday during a successful standard outpatient procedure.

Nothing is wrong with her eye and it only appears puffy because of the effects of the procedure to remove the skin cells from her forehead.


Poll shows Obama ratings continue to sink

The latest Rasmussen presidential tracking poll shows that only 27% of the nation's voters strongly approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President.


Colorado law could block Heenes from profiting from hoax

A report at the link below says:

If the parents of the boy who did not float away on a balloon hope to profit from their newfound fame, a Colorado law could prevent it.

Richard and Mayumi Heene are accused of faking their 6-year-old son's disappearance Thursday, triggering a massive rescue effort.

Money they make must be set aside for possible restitution.

The photo above shows six-year-old Falcon Heene siting cross-legged on the roof of his family's van outside his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Heenes, who have appeared on ABC TV's "Wife Swap," wanted publicity so they could land a reality TV show, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said.

A court can order offenders to pay restitution to victims or the government, said Pete Maguire, a former prosecutor in neighboring Boulder County who is now in private practice. The courts can put liens on houses and garnish wages to collect unpaid restitution, he said.

More here.

Balloon publicity stunt

Historic Estes Park building destroyed by fire

The upper picture shows the Park Theatre Mall before the fire. There is a video of the fire at the link below.

From the Estes Park, Colorado Trail Gazette:

The historic Park Theatre Mall in the heart of downtown Estes Park, Colorado was destroyed by flames Monday morning.

Flames could be seen from across the Estes Valley and a thick acrid black and white smoke obscured a portion of downtown as fire crews from the Estes Park Volunteer Fire Department and several other agencies fought to contain the blaze.

The building dates back to 1914. It was originally a carriage house and livery and was reported to have been a storage garage for Stanley Steamer cars used to carry passenger form the Loveland train station to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

The building was converted into retail shops. No fire alarms or sprinkler systems had been installed in the building, which was home to seven businesses.


White House crosses the line in media war

From the report at the link below:

Every White House complains about its press coverage. A contentious relationship between the Executive Branch and a free and independent media is part of America's DNA. Always has been.

But this White House seems to feel they're different. It's not just that the current occupant of the Oval Office has a particularly thin skin when it comes to criticism - which is especially ironic given that he's been the recipient of more glowing press coverage than possibly any candidate or president in modern American history.

Not since Nixon conjured up an "enemies list" have we seen the full weight of the Office of the Presidency brought to bear in such a targeted and deliberate effort to delegitimize a media organization critical of the President.

The Obama administration had been pampered by 95% of the media. FOX News is not part of that group so they must be punished.

From a Lucianne commenter:

You'd think that they'd be satisfied with all the adoring channels who praise him, they would ignore Fox. However, Fox originates stories the other networks and newspapers pick up so Fox must be destroyed because, unlike most in the media, some of those stories are critical of Obama and his administration.

It is disturbing to see this attempt to muzzle freedom of speech.


Oct 20, 2009

Dilbert logic

The White House attack on Fox News

In the latest attacks on Fox News by the White House, communications director Anita Dunn (pictured) has been sent to do the dirty work.

If the White House war with Fox goes badly, the White House, communications director will take the fall and leave the other White House aides unscathed.

A report in the Washington Post (see link below) says “she alone can withstand the blowback.”

During her appearance on CNN Sunday she attacked Fox News as "a wing of the Republican Party."

The obvious counter-point is CNN, and MSNBC make up a wing of the Democratic Party. In fact, CNN was often referred to as the “Clinton News Network” during the 1990’s

The White House Vs. Fox News squabble will only serve to diminish the status of the White House and increase the viewership of Fox News.

A New York Daily News poll result is shown below:

The Washington Post story is here.

His license plate is a ticket magnet

Alabama resident Scottie Roberson bought a vanity plate with seven X's to pay homage to his racer nickname.

His new plate, however, causes a snafu when parking patrols put the plate into the system. Officials usually put seven X's in place of the number for cars without license plates.

His “XXXXXXX” vanity plate has managed to get him get as many as 10 tickets in a day which has helped him to accumulate about $19,000 in tickets in Birmingham, Ala.

Birmingham Traffic Engineer Gregory Dawkins says the city may change the system to keep Roberson from receiving more tickets. He says "maybe we just need to leave that part blank altogether."


The agony of defeat ...

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Snowe job: voting for the $829Billion ObamaCare bill

The Democrats convinced Republican Senator Olympia Snowe to vote for ObamaCare.

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Denver Broncos are 6-0 who’d a thunk it?

Eddie Royal became the second player in Broncos history to return a kickoff and punt for a touchdown in the same game, as Denver beat San Diego, 34-23, in Week 6 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

The Broncos go into their bye week with a perfect 6-0 record.

In the photo above, Eddie Royal of the Denver Broncos out runs San Diego Chargers' Kris Wilson while returning a kickoff 93-yards for a touchdown during the first quarter of the NFL football game Monday, Oct. 19, 2009.

Don’t ya just love the throwback Bronco uniforms with the striped socks? No? Me neither. For the rest of the season they will return to their regular uniforms.


Pelosi only gets 34 percent performance rating in California

Only 34 percent of Californians approve of Pelosi's performance.

A poll released over the weekend shows that only 34 percent of Californians approve of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) job performance, down 14 points from March.

This may come as a surprise to some since the left-wing Speaker of the House is from San Francisco - the leftist city on the left coast of one of the leftist states in the union.

One would expect Pelosi would have a higher performance rating in California.


Oct 19, 2009

CSU student may be part of the balloon hoax story

The photo shows 6-year-old Falcon Heene climbing up into his hiding place above the garage.

Denver Channel 7 reports:

A CSU student said Richard Heene was plotting a publicity stunt using a UFO-shaped balloon and "some controversy" to feed his obsession with reality TV stardom.

The the 25-year-old CSU student is Robert Thomas.

Thomas said he worked as a research assistant for Richard Heene who feverishly labored to launch a "Science Detectives" reality-TV show deal that would be along the lines of "MythBuster-meets-mad scientist."

The sheriff said investigators want to speak with the Robert Thomas the Colorado State University student who was paid by Gawker.com for the exclusive expose titled: "I Helped Richard Heene Plan a Balloon Hoax" -- which appeared on the Gawker Web site Saturday.

Gawker is a website that publishes National Enquirer type stories and we wonder if the Robert Thomas connection story is just another hoax.

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said his office has not been able to locate Robert Thomas.


White House goes after Fox News

The main stream media fawns over Mr. Obama and anyone connected to the White House.

Fox News does not.

Therefore, Fox news must be attacked.

The latest attack is led by White House communications director Anita Dunn.

Yes, that Anita Dunn. The Anita Dunn who admires Mao Tse-tung as her favorite philosopher.

Link here and here.

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Shoe barge aground near Manila

A man stands near a barge. The giant shoes symbolize the town as the country's shoe-making capital.

The barge was swept away along the Marikina river outside Manila last month.

Pumpkin crocodile sculpture

A man examines a crocodile sculpture made out of hundreds of pumpkins on a farm in Feldkirch-Hartheim, southern Germany.

Colorado balloon story full of hot air

CNN reports:

Three days after the world watched a giant balloon fly through the air as a tearful family expressed fears that their 6-year-old boy could be inside, authorities announced what millions already suspected: The whole thing was staged.

Photo above shows the balloon in flight over southwestern Weld County, Colorado.

The photo below shows a police officer and a National Transportation Safety Board investigator inspecting the scene where the balloon landed last Thursday in a field southeast of Hudson, Colorado.

The photo above shows Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden during a Sunday press conference.

From the CNN report:

On Sunday, Alderden called the incident a "hoax," adding that investigators believe the evidence indicates that "it was a publicity stunt" by the family in hopes of "better marketing themselves for a reality television show at some point in the future."

The parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, met in a Hollywood acting school and "put on a very good show for us," Alderden said. Authorities know there was "a conspiracy" between them, he added.

Denver Channel 9 reported that the Heene family hired high profile Denver attorney David Lane.

This is a "nightmare for the family," Lane says. He says the parents are willing to turn themselves in to face any charges.

Lane says he wants to avoid "the public spectacle and humiliation" of police arresting the couple in the presence of their children.

The CNN story is here. The Denver Channel 9 story is here.

Oct 18, 2009

NFL team with worst offseason is undefeated with a 5-0 record

When the football season began the Denver Broncos were the voted the NFL team with the worst offseason highlighted by firing 14-year head coach Mike Shanahan and giving up their franchise quarterback Jay Cutler.

Did Broncos owner Pat Bowlen really know these changes would work out well for the team or was he lucky?

The White House is for sale

The White House is for sale!! But not the presidential one.

It's the palm trees and the “God Loves You” sculpted with shrubs that reminds one it is not the home of the president.

This is the White House in Atlanta, Georgia, address: 3687 Briarcliff Road. It is a scaled-down replica, complete with an Oval Office and Lincoln bedroom.

Owner Fred Milani has lived in the house for 7 years, but hard times have forced him to put it on the market for $9.88 million.

Milani says, ''Really, I am not very political. The architect just asked, 'How about I build you the White House?' and I said yes. That is the whole story.''

Sheriff: balloon incident was a hoax

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden held a press conference (photo below) Sunday saying the Friday balloon incident was a hoax.

Child Protective Services and the ACLU are also said to be investigating.

Link here and here.