Dec 26, 2009

Twas the day after Christmas...

Found in time for Christmas - a Jesus-era house was found in Nazareth, Israel.

Photo shows the excavation site of the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that can be dated back to the time of Jesus.

Archaeologists and present-day residents of Nazareth imagined Jesus as a youngster, playing with other children in the isolated village.

The Church of the Annunciation can be seen in the background of the lower photo.

Archaeologist Stephen Pfann, president of the University of The Holy Land, noted: "It's the only witness that we have from that area that shows us what the walls and floors were like inside Nazareth in the first century."

Workers uncovered the first signs of the dwelling last summer, but it became clear only this month that it was a structure from the days of Jesus.


Is Christmas over yet?

Dec 25, 2009

Outsourcing Santa - revisited

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This Santa is really excited about Christmas!

Just be thankful you have a job

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An all too familiar sight at Christmas

Come on - mommy wants a happy picture with Santa! Please?

Dec 24, 2009

Santa lookout

South Korean climbers wear Santa Claus costumes while rock-climbing on Buckhan mountain near Seoul.

Many large e-commerce sites hobbled by cyber attack

A DDoS (Distributive Denial of Service) attack hobbled many large e-commerce sites.

An attack directed at the DNS provider for some of the Internet's larger e-commerce companies -- including Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Expedia -- took several Internet shopping sites offline Wednesday evening, two days before Christmas.

Neustar, the company that provides DNS services under the UltraDNS brand name, confirmed an attack took place Wednesday afternoon, taking out sites or rendering them extremely sluggish for about an hour.

More of the story here.

Take 2 geckos and call me in the morning

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A woman in Indonesia prepares dead geckos for drying. The reptiles are believed to provide medicinal benefits.

A tattoo message for Santa

Bus load of Santas

Santa Claus characters wait inside a bus in front of Macy's Department store.

The photo was taken several weeks ago.

They do this to mark the official start of the Christmas shopping season.

Geography lesson

Protesters hold a banner and chant slogans during a demonstration on December 20, 2009.

Protesting crowds filled the streets of Taiwan's cities, loudly and angrily voicing unease over closer China ties prior to a high-level meeting with the giant neighbor.

BlackBerry outage cripples networks twice in one week

BlackBerry smartphone users may be worried about losing messaging service for third time in two weeks.

BlackBerry message delivery was delayed or intermittent during the service interruption, though phone service on its popular devices was not affected.

RIM (Research In Motion) BlackBerry smartphone messaging service suffered widespread delays across North and South America, just a week after another outage struck the popular network.

The failure came less than a week after a short-lived outage on Dec. 17 — the same day the Canadian company reported quarterly results.

Still, analysts said that they doubt the outages will hurt near-term sales at the Canadian company, which shipped a record-breaking 10 million smartphones in its most-recent quarter.

Its chief competitor, Apple Inc's iPhone, is plagued by complaints of poor service on the U.S. network of AT&T.


Senate healthcare bill in perspective

Accordion playing Santas

Members of Korea's accordion orchestra wearing Santa Claus costumes perform their accordions during a concert to celebrate Christmas in Seoul, South Korea.

Christmas is one of the biggest holidays celebrated in South Korea with over half the population being Christians.

Senior Democrat says kill Senate health bill and start over

A senior Democrat atop a powerful committee said on Wednesday the healthcare bill is fatally flawed.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Rules Committee and co-chairwoman of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, said that the Senate's bill is so flawed that it's unlikely to be resolved in conference with the bill to have passed the House.

"The Senate health care bill is not worthy of the historic vote that the House took a month ago," Slaughter wrote in an opinion piece for CNN's website.

More of the story here.

Dec 23, 2009

London Santa Run

Runners dressed as Santa Claus take part in the London Santa Run in Battersea Park.

London Telegraph lists Top 10 Obama foreign policy follies

Nile Gardiner has an article in the London Daily Telegraph outlining Mr. Obama’s top ten foreign policy follies.

The top 10 list is shown here with more detail at the link below:

1. Surrendering to Russia over Missile Defense

2. Appeasing the Mullahs of Iran

3. Ending the War on Terror

4. Announcing a Surge while Declaring an Exit

5. Apologizing to France for America’s “Arrogance”

6. Giving DVDs to the British Prime Minister

7. Siding with Marxists in Honduras

8. Bowing to Emperors and Kings

9. Embracing Genocidal Killers in Sudan

10. Throwing Churchill out of The White House

While giving DVD’s to the British Prime Minister wasn’t real high on the list as American’s view it, the gift did show lack of judgement - even stupidity - on the part of Obama and was especially embarrassing because the DVD’s wouldn’t even work in the UK!

Also, not ranking as high on the list in the minds of American’s is removing the bust of Winston Churchill (pictured) from the White House.

Although Churchill was one of the greatest statesman and wartime leaders in human history, Barack Obama could not tolerate his bust in the White House.

It was during Churchill’s second term as Prime Minister that Britain suppressed Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion.

Among Kenyans allegedly harmed by the colonial regime included a man named Hussein Onyango Obama who happened to be Barack Hussein Obama’s grandfather.

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The very first comment at the end of the Telegraph article reads:

Certain world leaders realized from day one that an inexperienced, arrogant and narcissistic fool had been elected to represent the US on the world stage. While resisting the urge to snigger, they have systematically succeeded in playing him like a fiddle.

Iran has, today even, reached Chavez’s level of total public contempt. Russia and China have progressed from sniggering in private to publicly chastising and ridiculing while belly laughing in private.

Link to the Telegraph article here.

Santa in Holly Jolly Ho! Ho! holdup

A pistol packin’ man in a Santa suit robbed the Sun Trust Bank in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday.

According to Metropolitan Nashville Police, a man wearing a Santa Claus suit -- including hat, beard and mustache -- and dark sunglasses robbed a SunTrust Bank on Tuesday morning, demanding money from the teller at gunpoint.

It was getting close to Christmas and he may have needed money to pay his elves.


Balloon boy parents get jail sentences

This morning a judge sentenced both parents (pictured below) who carried out the balloon boy hoax to jail time.

The judge also banned them from making any money from the spectacle for the next four years.

Richard Heene will serve 90 days in jail, 30 of which will be actual jail time and the other 60 can be work release so he can work as a construction contractor while doing his time.

Mayumi Heene was sentenced to 20 days in jail.

Larimer County District Judge Stephen Schapanski also sentenced Richard and Mayumi Heene to four years of strict probation and ordered both to pay restitution for the rescue efforts involved in chasing the homemade helium balloon they claimed was carrying their 6-year-old son Falcon.

"This, in simple terms, was an elaborate hoax that was devised by Mr. and Mrs. Heene," the judge said.

More here.

Deer photographed in London snow

A deer stands in the snow in Richmond Park on December 16, 2009 in London, England.

Glitzy Christmas display

Christmas lights on a house in Melksham, England. The display requires more than 115,000 bulbs and an abundant supply of electricity.

Homeowner Alex Goodwind uses the attention he draws to raise money for a local hospice.

ObamaCare: boon to personal injury trial lawyers

A report at the link below says ObamaCare would deform state medical-liability systems.

There were a lot of special deals made to various Senators to buy their votes.

But few make out better under the congressional leadership’s health-care plans than personal-injury trial lawyers.

In reading the health-care bill approved by the House of Representatives and Harry Reid’s bill pending in the Senate, I find (so far) 26 new opportunities for plaintiff lawyers to sue doctors for malpractice.

At least 26 sections in the House bill and 21 sections in Senator Reid’s bill require that doctors adhere to certain standards of care in patient care, payment initiatives, payment determinations, and wellness-prevention programs that do not now exist in law.

Each of these provisions could be used by a plaintiff’s lawyer to assert that the doctor failed to comply with “best practices” guidelines and become the basis for a medical-malpractice lawsuit.

Among other things, ObamaCare has turned into a medical malpractice lawyers dream!


Giant Santa in Berlin

An illuminated giant Santa in Berlin.

Hiding the abortion language in healthcare bill

Rep. Bart Stupak (pictured), a pro-life Democrat Congressman from Michigan, said he was pressured to keep quiet on abortion language in health bill.

Rep. Bart Stupak said the White House and the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives have been pressuring him not to speak out on the "compromise" abortion language in the Senate version of the health care bill.

The Michigan Democrat succeeded last month in getting 64 House Democrats to join him in attaching his pro-life amendment to the House version of the health-care bill.

The “Stupak amendment,” as the provision is known, would prohibit the federal government from allocating taxpayer money to pay for any part of any health insurance plan that covers abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.

Rep. Stupak said, “We’re getting a lot of pressure not to say anything, to try to compromise this principle or belief.”

“We’re not going to do that. Members who voted for the Stupak language in the House – especially the Democrats, 64 Democrats that voted for it – feel very strongly about it. It’s been part of who we are, part of our make up. It’s the principle belief that we have. We are not just going to abandon it in the name of health care."

More of the story here.

Dec 22, 2009

What sleigh? These Santas use motorbikes

South Korean postmen wearing Santa Claus outfits ride motorbikes to deliver Christmas gifts to poor people for their charity campaign in Seoul on December 21, 2009.

Presidential poll numbers continue to fall

The media eagerly reported presidential approval ratings early in 2009 when the numbers were high.

Aides to Mr. Obama have alternately embraced and dismissed presidential polls. When the numbers were good they touted Obama’s approval.

In the last half of 2009, however, Obama backers have been dismissing falling poll numbers much like an apprehensive child whistles while walking past a cemetery at night.

The latest Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that only twenty-five 25% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President.

Forty-six percent (46%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21 That’s the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for Mr. Obama.

Click here for the latest Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.

Previous falling Obama poll reports, with links, can be found here.

ObamaCare will cover 40 million illegals

Click here for the total illegal alien count.

Santa display in a London store window

Santa has a map to find his way. Photo taken in December, 2008.

Report: 10 reasons to kill ObamaCare

A Don Surber report in the Charleston West Virginia Daily Mail gives 10 reasons to kill ObamaCare. Actually, the 10 reasons originally came form Jane Hamsher.

What makes this even more interesting, and surprising, is that Jane Hamsher is a leader of the increasingly combative left.

When people on the far left hate ObamaCare you know the bill is bad!

The 10 reasons to kill ObamaCare are:

1. Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations — whether you want to or not.

2. If you refuse to buy the insurance, you’ll have to pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to the IRS.

3. Many will be forced to buy poor-quality insurance they can’t afford to use, with $11,900 in annual out-of-pocket expenses over and above their annual premiums.

4. Massive restriction on a woman’s right to choose, designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

5. Paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance plan you have right now through your employer, causing them to cut back benefits and increase co-pays.

6. Many of the taxes to pay for the bill start now, but most Americans won’t see any benefits — like an end to discrimination against those with preexisting conditions — until 2014 when the program begins.

7. Allows insurance companies to charge people who are older 300% more than others.

8. Grants monopolies to drug companies that will keep generic versions of expensive biotech drugs from ever coming to market.

9. No re-importation of prescription drugs, which would save consumers $100 billion over 10 years.

10. The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and insurance premiums for a family of four will rise an average of $1,000 a year — meaning in 10 years, your family’s insurance premium will be $10,000 more annually than it is right now.


Eurostar runs tests after Chunnel train failures

Trains running in the Chunnel (Channel Tunnel) from England to mainland Europe have broken down stranding thousands of passengers.

A Eurostar train is shown above. The photo below shows passengers waiting for trains to start running again.

Eurostar is running tests to try to figure out what caused an unprecedented six trains to break down, forcing the company to cancel all services last weekend.

The company announced later that Monday service will be halted as well to allow for more test runs.


Czech President: Global Warming a religion not science

Czech President Vaclav Klaus (pictured) had a message for the world: do not dictate to humanity how to live based on an "irrational ideology," which he sees as the product of political correctness.

Klaus says that many interested parties get "a lot of money and influence" by backing the idea of global warming and organizing the Copenhagen conference, as well as its predecessor the Kyoto conference. "Some of them are really just rent seekers who hope to get some money either for their businesses or for their countries," says Klaus. "Some of them are really true believers."

Klaus says Global warming is a "new religion," not a science.


Dec 21, 2009

The Queen takes a commuter train on her way to Sandringham

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II boards a First Capital Connect train from Kings Cross Station in London.

The photo above shows the Queen boarding a train carrying flowers presented to her by a young admirer. A man in the background is taking photographs.

The photo below shows the Queen seated aboard the train seated by a Royal Protection Officer.

She traveled by ordinary passenger train to Kings Lynn in Norfolk, on December 17, 2009. She was on her way to Sandringham House (shown below) where she is spending Christmas with her family.


Skiing past the Jefferson Memorial

Never let a good blizzard go to waste!

Cross country skiing in deep snow past the Jefferson Memorial in Washington after the recent snow.

Unemployment to be fixed after healthcare and climate change

How many Santas does it take to make a phone call?

Need help finding a gift for the geek in your family?

Do you have a geek in your family and don’t have the faintest idea what to get him/her for Christmas? A report by Mike Elgan at the link below may just what you’re looking for.

Elgan says real gadget fans are impossible to buy gifts for. They have everything, know everything and are very picky about which devices they choose to use.

If a gadget was available last holiday season, it's not going to be a great gift this holiday season. Geeks don't want old-and-busted. They want new-and-hot.

As a general rule, great gadget gifts have more compute power than NASA used to land men on the moon. And the closer you get to Space Shuttle technology, the better.

Practical, useful gifts are no darned fun. The best gadget gifts are items nobody needs, and are maybe even utterly pointless.

Gadget geeks don't want to just wind something up and passively watch it do something. They want to tinker, modify, experiment. It's great if the gift works right out of the box. But make sure it can be used for arbitrary, unanticipated purposes.

Every gadget geek secretly wants to be Batman. We're just regular people, but through personal technology want to be given super powers. X-ray vision. Super strength. Invincibility. All make desirable gifts.

Novelty is huge for gadget geeks. If any friend, family or co-worker already has one, game over. It's got to be so unique that your tech-savvy gift receiver has never even seen one before.

Ben Nelson and his 30 pieces of silver

One wonders of Ben Nelson (pictured) has decided not to run for re-election as a U.S. Senator from Nebraska. After his sellout on ObamaCare his re-election chances are probably slim to none.

A report at the first link below is titled, Nelson's sellout on health won't play in Nebraska.

Another report at the second link is titled, Nelson accused of selling vote on Health Bill for Nebraska pay-off.

Link here and here.

Environmental activist dressed as elephant

An activist dressed as an elephant walks during an environmental rally in Calcutta, India

Nine months after stimulus 49 of 50 states have lost jobs

There is a table at the link below comparing the White House's February 2009 projection of the number of jobs that would be created by the 2009 stimulus law (through the end of 2010) with the actual change in state payroll employment through November 2009.

The table shows that 49 of the 50 states have lost jobs!


Thousands stranded in trains under English Channel

Four Eurostar passenger trains broke down in the Channel Tunnel, sometimes called the Chunnel, between France and Britain, stranding more than 2,000 passengers for hours Saturday, many without heating, light or water.

Eurostar executives suspended service, blaming the breakdowns in the trains from Paris on wintry weather conditions on the French side of the English Channel.


Dec 20, 2009

Empty box - Obama’s Christmas gift to America

This relevant cartoon was a winner in a recent cartoon caption contest by Gary Varvel, a cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star newspaper.

Can FedEx deliver in time for Christmas?

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Photo taken at the FedEx main distribution center in Memphis, Tennessee.

Obama Copenhagen speech flat - fueled frustration

Did anyone attending the climate summit go home with the feeling that it was a success?

The liberal media in Britain and America did say the conference was a success. Some in the American liberal media even went so far as to give Obama credit for “saving” the climate summit with his speech on Friday.

Moderate media in Britain and America wrote reports citing confusion, frustration and bickering and referring to Obama’s Friday speech as “disappointing” as reported in an article at the link below.

The photos above show the intolerance of Danish police toward demonstration of any kind. One wonders how many clubs were broken on the heads of demonstrators and how much tear gas was used.