Nov 13, 2009

9 11 mastermind to be tried in New York civilian court

The accused mastermind of the September 11 attacks and four co-conspirators will be sent to New York for trial in a court near the site of the World Trade Center.

The photo at right shows 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at the time of his capture in March 2003. The photo below shows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed taken recently at Guantánamo Bay detention camp.

Obama's decision opened him to risks -- should the prosecutions fail, or if it prompts further attacks, it could anger the victims' families and prompt a public backlash.

A report at the second link below says this may be worst decision ever by a US President.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder expressed confidence that the cases were strong and said the trials would not be impaired by the harsh interrogations of Mohammed and others.

Others are not so sure. They point to the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Police found blood on Simpson. They found bloody clothes in Simpson’s house as well as other damning evidence against Simpson.

With O.J.’s “dream team” of lawyers, his murder trial ended in an acquittal.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be provided with a “dream team” of defense lawyers with the full ability to use jury selection experts, etc.

Jury selection experts alone have been instrumental in acquittal rulings in many high profile cases involving the ‘rich and famous.’ Now it appears terrorists will receive the same luxury.

Link here and here.

Terrorists tried by a jury of their peers?

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Ferry going down off coast of Japan

Above a photographer documents the sinking of the commercial ferry Ariake off the coast of Kumano, Japan. Passengers and crew were rescued by the coast guard. Below shows the ferry from another angle.

Vehicles, containers and other items aboard the ferry were believed to have been toppled by rough waves hitting it from the side. With the weight shift to one side the ferry began listing to starboard at a 35-degree angle.

The ferry ran aground one kilometer off Mihamacho, and turned completely on its side.


Most Americans favor big screen TVs over energy conservation

California is expected to implement energy-conserving regulations any day now that manufacturers and retailers say will in effect ban the sale of big-screen TVs in the state.

Other states are likely to follow the Golden State’s “green” initiative in the months ahead.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 66% of Americans oppose a law that would effectively ban the sale of big-screen televisions to save energy. Sixteen percent (16%) favor the idea, and 18% are not sure.

California may ban big-screen TVs? When they do prices drop drastically and lots of them will be sold. Sold to people leaving California for less restrictive and less taxed states.

Greenies, who still think man has the ability to change the climate, will eventually see to it there is a federal ban on big-screen TV’s.

They got their foot in the door with twisted light bulbs and they won’t stop until we all drive cars with lawn mower engines.


Barack Obama and his Muslim ties

This may explain why Barack Hussein Obama didn’t want us to “rush to judgement” about the Muslim who massacred 13 innocent people plus the unborn child of one of the victims.

It may also explain why Mr. Obama ordered a review of all Fort Hood information sharing pertaining to the murder spree by Muslim Major Nidal Malik Hasan instead of allowing the case to proceed through normal channels.

The order by Mr. Obama about the Fort Hood massacre file sharing can be found here.

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Iron Chef to invade White House kitchen

A Time Magazine ‘Tuned In’ blog entry begins with:

Speaking of liberal indoctrination by edutainment programs, Michelle Obama's efforts to turn us all into communist vegans is not stopping at Sesame Street.

Food Network announced that Iron Chef America will be airing a special two-hour episode Jan. 3, taped at the White House, featuring the First Lady and her much-publicized kitchen garden.

Host Alton Brown will bring chefs Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to battle with White House Chef Cristeta Comerford (pictured). The four chefs, divided into teams, will have to devise a five-course "American meal," using ingredients plucked from the garden.

The Time report ends with:

And really, what American will not be moved by the ending of the episode, in which the President will ascend a podium in Kitchen Stadium, where a choir of a thousand schoolchildren will honor him by singing specially commissioned songs of praise and loyalty?

Although the last comment from the Time Magazine blog was intended to be in jest, it probably contains more ‘truth than poetry.’


The unindicted Fort Hood co conspirator

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There are different definitions of Political Correctness. One is in the next to last paragraph of the article found here.

Republicans edge Democrats in 2010 vote

Gallup poll results signal trouble for Democrats in the 2010 elections.

Registered voters prefer Republicans for the House, 48% to 44%.

In this same poll, Republicans trailed by six points in July and by two points last month.

If the trend continues, the Democrats will be in deeper trouble in 2010 than was at first feared.

Is the most recent swing because of:

1. The heavy-handed way Pelosi has pushed the healthcare bill in the House?

2. Locking out Republicans while drafting the bill eliminating even the pretense of a bi-partisan effort.

3. The huge amount of pork in the bill.

4. Not allowing the final bill to be read more than a few hours before final vote.

5. The crafty way of forcing a Saturday vote hoping that Congressmen would vote ‘yes’ in order to go home for the rest of the weekend.

6. All of the above.

Number 6 would probably be the most accurate.

The Gallup poll report is here.

Nov 12, 2009

Hasan charged with 13 counts of murder

The Army psychiatrist accused in the Fort Hood shootings was charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder in the military's legal system, making him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

Hasan (upper photo) may be charged with a 14th count of murder related to the death of the unborn child of a pregnant shooting victim.

John Galligan (lower photo), Hasan's civilian attorney, said his military co-counsel told him that charges were being read to Hasan in the hospital without his lawyers present.

"I don't like it. I feel like I'm being left out of the loop," Galligan said. "I guess it's 13 charges, but I don't like to have to guess in this situation."

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama ordered a review of all intelligence related to Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, and whether the information was properly shared and acted upon within government agencies.

Is Mr. Obama interceding on Maj. Hasan’s behalf? If not, why would the president of the United States become personally involved in a criminal case?

A hint of possible White House involvement in the case came the day of the shootings when Barack Obama cautioned Americans not to rush to judgement after the Fort Hood shootings. In fact, he gave the rush to judgement speech even before he offered words of sympathy to the families of the massacre victims.

The report at the link below gives a glimpse into Maj. Hasan’s world as a soldier and a military psychiatrist:

Hasan had complained privately to colleagues that he was harassed for his religion and that he wanted to get out of the Army. But there is no record of Hasan filing a complaint with his chain of command regarding any harassment he may have suffered for being Muslim or any record of him formally seeking release from the military, the officials told the AP.

Months before last week's shootings, doctors and staff overseeing Hasan's training reported viewing him at times as belligerent, defensive and argumentative in his frequent discussions of his Muslim faith.

Hasan was characterized in meetings as a mediocre student and lazy worker, a matter of concern among the doctors and staff at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

More here.

Balloon boy parents to plead guilty; mother faced deportation

The Fort Collins newspaper the Coloradoan reports:

The parents of Fort Collins Balloon Boy Falcon Heene will enter guilty pleas in court Friday as part of a deal to avoid deportation to Japan for Mayumi Heene (shown on right) .

In a statement released early this morning, Heene attorney David Lane said Mayumi will plead guilty to false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor, with a stipulated sentence to probation.

Attorney David Lane said authorities insisted that Richard Heene "fall on his sword" and take a felony plea.

The Heene family drew international attention Oct. 15 when Richard and Mayumi called 911 to report Falcon had floated away from their home in a UFO-shaped helium balloon.

Millions watched as the balloon's flight was televised live, but Falcon wasn't aboard when it landed near Denver International Airport.

Later in the day the boy appeared at the family home. Under questioning, Falcon Heene spilled the beans and admitted he had been hiding in a garage attic all the time.

In the photo above Falcon Heene shows how he climbed into the garage attic.

Police officer who shot Fort Hood killer is doing well

A description of Civilian police officer Sgt. Kimberly Munley’s involvement as reported at the link below:

"The entire incident was very confusing and chaotic," Munley said. "There was many people outside pointing to the direction that this individual was apparently located, and as soon as I got out of my vehicle and ran up the hill was when things got pretty bad."

Once inside, Munley, who has been trained in active-response tactics, began exchanging fire with the alleged gunman, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a military psychiatrist, authorities said. They said her shots disabled Hasan and halted the attacks.

The photo above shows Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visiting Sgt. Kimberly Munley in her room at Metroplex Adventist Hospital in Killeen, Texas.

Munley suffered three gunshot wounds, in both thighs and a knuckle, and remains in good condition at Metroplex Adventist Hospital.


Lou Dobbs to quit CNN effective immediately

CNN anchor Lou Dobbs (pictured) calls it quits.

Lou Dobbs, the longtime CNN anchor whose anti-immigration views have made him a TV lightning rod, said Wednesday that he is leaving the cable news channel effective immediately.

Sitting before an image of an American flag on his television set, he said “some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to the great understanding of the issues of our day.”

Last summer the President of CNN said the Obama citizenship issue was ‘dead,’ but Lou Dobbs revived it as reported in the second link below.

Will Dobbs’ exit leave anyone left at CNN with a conservative viewpoint?

Link here and here.

Nov 11, 2009

Who is the First Lady’s fashion coordinator?

Making good use of that bondage belt.

A time to honor our Veterans

A time to thank our veterans

Proudly remembering my own military service on this Veterans Day

Operating a telegraph key at Camp Moore, near Keio University, Hiyoshi, Japan as Chief Radio Operator, 40th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade.

Drunk United pilot removed from plane in UK

A Scotland Yard spokesman has said a United Airlines pilot was removed from a United Airlines plane on Monday.

The 51-year-old pilot, Erwin Vermont Washington of Lakewood, Colorado, was breath-tested and taken to London's Heathrow police station.

The plane's departure to Chicago was "imminent", with 124 passengers and 11 crew members on board, when the arrest took place, a Heathrow spokesman said.

Passengers were put on to other planes after the flight was cancelled.

A United Airlines spokeswoman said: "Safety is our highest priority and the pilot has been removed from service while we are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full investigation.

The pilot was reported to police by United Airlines staff who suspected him of being drunk.

Link here and here.

The Heene balloon boy story resurfaces

There will be no charges against the Larimer County sheriff for his 'balloon boy' disclosure.

The Boulder District Attorney has declined to file charges against Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden (shown on right) regarding his disclosure that county social service workers were investigating the family of 'balloon boy' Falcon Heene.

The Heenes (shown above) are under investigation for reporting that their 6-year-old son had drifted away on a homemade balloon that broke loose from its tethers Oct. 16 in Fort Collins. The flight of the balloon captivated people around the world concerned for the boy's welfare.

The boy was found safe at home hiding in an attic above the family garage.

Sheriff Alderden has accused the Heenes of lying and staging a publicity stunt. The Larimer County district attorney is considering whether to file charges.

Alderden said he wasn't surprised by the Boulder District Attorney’s decision, and said that the Heene’s complaint was typical of their attorney's tactics of "attack, distract and discredit."

The Heene family attorney David Lane said it's just a matter of time before the Heenes are charged.

More of the story here.

Clunker program was mostly pickup for pickup trades

Data shows the Cash for Clunkers program mostly replaced old gas guzzlers with new gas guzzlers.

In this Aug. 23, 2009 AP photo shown above, an old pickup truck is displayed outside a car dealership in Norwood, Mass.
The most common deals under the government's $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program, aimed at putting more fuel-efficient cars on the road, replaced old Ford or Chevrolet pickups with new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage, according to an analysis of new federal data by The Associated Press.

The single most common swap — which occurred more than 8,200 times — involved Ford F150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade their old trucks for new Ford F150s.

They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F150 than, say, a Toyota Prius.

The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, an improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers.New data, obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act, include details of 677,081 clunker trade-ins processed by the government through Oct. 16. More than 95,000 of the new vehicles purchased under the program — or about 1 in 7 — got less than 20 mpg, according to the data.

The report at the link below lists some deals that raised eyebrows:

• In at least 145 cases, mostly involving trucks, the government reported consumers traded old vehicles that got better than or the same mileage as the new vehicle they purchased. The government said it was continuing to investigate. "It's possible some quirky deal slipped through the cracks," Anwyl said.

• In at least 15 deals in nine states, owners of large pickups cashed in old trucks for between $3,500 and $4,500 toward new Hummer H3 SUVs that got only 16 mpg.

• In at least 32 deals, drivers traded older vehicles for new large trucks — including versions of Toyota Tundras, GMC Sierras, Chevrolet Silverados, Dodge Rams and Ford F150 pickups — that got only 14 mpg.

More of the surprising clunker aftermath story here.

Nov 10, 2009

Sculptor makes likeness of politician using cow manure

A sculpture (shown below) of New Zealand ACC and Environment Minister Nick Smith was made out of cow manure by artist Sam Mahon.

Mahon did the Nick Smith poo-a-like in protest of Smith's too-soft position on dairy farm pollution.

Mr. Mahon says the bust does not smell and will last forever. That was indeed good news for the new owner of the sculpture, which was sold on auction site for $3,000.


Jumping to set a Guinness World Record

A base jumper leaps backwards off the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower in Malaysia. He is part of a group attempting to set a Guinness World Record by having 24 people base jump every hour for 24 hours from the giant tower.

She passed driving test on 950th try

A 68-year-old woman in South Korea finally passed the written test for her driving license after 950 attempts.

Cha Sa-Soon (pictured) finally scored the 60 percent required after taking the exam nearly every day since April 2005.

It was reported that she spent more than five million won ($4,200) in the process.

But, that’s only half of her way to a driving license.

"I still have to pass the real driving test but I think it will be easier for me to pass than the paper test," she said, adding that she needed a driver's license for her vegetable-selling business.


Day of the Dead parade performer

Performers fill the streets during the Day of the Dead parade in San Francisco's Mission District.

Day of the Dead is a ritual celebrated by the indigenous people of Mexico for over 3,000 years, this celebration is held to honor and communicate with those who have passed into spirit world. It is believed that on the Day of the Dead it is easier for the souls of the departed to visit the living.

Fort Hood shooter communicated with radical cleric

A New York Times report says:

Intelligence agencies intercepted communications last year and this year between the military psychiatrist accused of shooting to death 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., and a radical cleric in Yemen known for his incendiary anti-American teachings.

Federal authorities dropped an inquiry into the matter after deciding that the messages from the psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, did not suggest any threat of violence and concluding that no further action was warranted.

Maj. Hasan was communicating with a radical cleric. Did federal authorities think they were exchanging falafel recipes?

Major Hasan’s 10 to 20 messages to Anwar al-Awlaki, once a spiritual leader at a mosque in suburban Virginia where Major Hasan worshiped, indicate that the troubled military psychiatrist came to the attention of the authorities long before last Thursday’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood, but that the authorities left him in his post.

Did political correctness prevent federal authorities from digging deeper or acting on information they found on Major Hasan?

We came across this definition of political correctness recently:

''Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by a complicit mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a pile of feces without soiling ones hands.''

That definition may well be correct because, in the case of Major Hasan, federal authorities were determined not to soil their hands and as a result 13 innocent soldiers died and dozens more were wounded.



The radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, in the report above, has praised Major Hasan for the shootings at Fort Hood.

Nov 9, 2009

Man shows up alive at his own funeral

A Brazilian bricklayer was reported to have been killed in a car crash in southern Brazil.

Relatives identified the victim of the crash as 59-year-old Ademir Jorge Goncalves.

As is customary in Brazil, the funeral was held the following day.

Goncalves learned of his funeral and shocked his grieving family by showing up.

Not everyone can comfort mourners at their own funeral.

To paraphrase a well-known Mark Twain quote: rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.


Former NFL player Lawrence Taylor busted in hit-and-run

Authorities in Florida said former Giants great Lawrence Taylor (mug shot shown below) was busted last night for taking off after he was involved in a car accident.

Taylor, 50, was booked into jail at 9:57 p.m. and released a short time later on $500 bond.

The crash happened about 6:30 p.m. in the northbound lanes of the Palmetto Expressway at Northwest 103rd Street, authorities said.

The crash tore off the front right tire on Taylor's 2009 Cadillac Escalade, and he drove about two miles on the axle before pulling off the road, authorities said.

“There was significant damage to his car,” said Lt. James Durden of the Florida Highway Patrol.

Does this mean Nutri-System will drop him from their TV commercials? We can always hope...

Nutri-System ads with Dan Marino and others were tolerable. But when they added Lawrence Taylor, it made us glad to have a TV remote clicker handy.


Will the world really end in 2012?

A report on Denver channel 9 online (see first link below) says:

With internet chatter, tons of websites and a new Hollywood film, interest in a time still two years away is at an all-time high.

The cause of the myth and confusion is the ancient Mayan calendar created two thousand years ago. It ends on December 21, 2012.

The Mayans apparently found December 21st of 2012 interesting because of a very rare astronomical alignment is culminating around the years 2012.

The December sun slowly gets in alignment with the band of the Milky Way. That event is what has caused the speculation.

Is that a good enough reason for the December 2012 end of the world prediction?

Dr. Doug Duncan, Professor at CU Boulder, isn’t so sure. He says that argument is invalid because the alignment is actually not that rare and has been taking place since last year.

The internet and a new Hollywood big budget film are fueling the speculation and media attention.

Colorado author, John Major Jenkins has written numerous books on the subject.

"I have visited sites (in Mexico) and there is a particular site that is really critical for understanding the 2012 question, because it's the place where the long count calendar was invented" he says.

Jenkins says the entire debate is ironic because there is no evidence at all that the Maya predicted an Apocalypse or catastrophic doomsday in 2012.

As popular as the 2012 myth is - that’s just what it is - a myth!

Link here and here for this and other end of world myths.

A benign swine flu shot side effect

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New Congressman breaks 4 campaign promises in first hour

Bill Owens, the newly elected Democrat Congressman from the state of New York arrived in Washington just in time to break 4 campaign promises in his first hour.

Owens indicated in a press release that he was now in favor of the bill in direct contrast to his earlier position during his campaign.

According to, Mr. Owens assured voters that he felt the public option had no place in the health care reform bill. Contrary to that position, Mr. Owens now indicates that he intends to vote in favor of the bill even though it now contains a public option.

Bill Owens also said during his campaign that he was opposed to cutting Medicare benefits, taxing health care benefits, and increased taxes on the middle class in any way.

The House Health reform bill contains sections that cut Medicare benefits, tax existing health care benefits, and increases taxes on the middle class, yet Mr. Owens stated that he will now vote in favor of those things contrary to what he had promised the voters of NY's 23rd Congressional District that he would vote against.

More on the broken promises by the newest Democrat in the House of Representatives here.

Nov 8, 2009

LA doctor fakes exams to give diseased immigrants visas

A 72-year-old Los Angeles doctor has been accused by state and federal authorities of faking medical exams for immigrants applying for U.S. visas.

According to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Levon Tebelekian allegedly charged immigrants $150 to give them medical clearance papers without giving them medical exams. Such exams are required by the federal government to make sure immigrants don't have any diseases.

Tebelekian was arrested by the agency, which handled the investigation in conjunction with the California Medical Board.


George and Laura Bush visit Fort Hood wounded

The Houston Chronicle reports:

Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, (pictured) visited wounded soldiers and their families near the site of the worst mass shooting on an Army post in the United States.

The Bushes made their private visit to Fort Hood's Darnall Army Medical Center on Friday night.

Bush spokesman David Sherzer said in an e-mail that the couple thanked Fort Hood's military leaders and hospital staff for the "amazing care they are providing."

As reported above, it was a private visit. No photo op. No fuss. Just a genuine concern for the wounded soldiers.

The White House has announced that Mr. Obama will attend a memorial service for the Fort Hood casualties.


Another report on Obama’s delayed empathy

A Boston Globe article, found at the link below, is titled, “Obama’s delayed empathy.”

In times of national tragedy, Americans expect their president to capture the mood and moment with the right blend of emotion, empathy, and urgency.

It’s a delicate act of timing and tone. And President Obama, despite his eloquence and dignity, has yet to master it, as illustrated by his awkward response to the deadly shootings at the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas.

The shooting by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan (pictured) happened at about 3:30 p.m. on Thursday (Washington time). Obama’s first comments didn’t come until after 5 p.m.

The stage was set for the president to quickly and somberly address the tragedy.

Instead, a serene-looking Obama offered light introductory comments, keyed to those attending a Tribal Nations Conference that was hosted by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. His introduction included a convivial “shout-out’’ to one of the conference attendees.

Several minutes in, Obama finally called the Fort Hood shootings “a horrific outburst of violence.’’ The words he spoke next were respectful and appropriate. But it took him too long to get to the point of delivering them.

When a gunman fired those shots at Fort Hood, the country immediately felt the pain. Obama missed the first moment to show he understood just how much it hurt.

Would Mr. Obama have reacted differently if the shooter was not a Muslim? Some say it was because the Fort Hood killer was a Muslim that Obama cautioned against a ‘rush to judgement.’