Jan 16, 2010

Jan 15, 2010

Shock! Republican could win Kennedy’s seat

Republican Scott Brown is leading Democrat State Attorney-General Martha Coakley (pictured on left) in a battle for the Ted Kennedy Senate seat in Massachusetts.

Democrat leaders were aghast at the thought of a Republican taking the Kennedy Senate seat. Scott Brown’s reply was, “it isn’t the Kennedy seat, it is the peoples seat.”

From a Yahoo News report:

Voter disenchantment in liberal Massachusetts with President Barack Obama's policies has turned a Senate election into a nail-biter that could imperil U.S. healthcare reform.

Democrats envisioned a smooth passing of the baton in the January 19 special election to fill the seat of the late Edward Kennedy, a political giant who died of brain cancer in August after holding the seat for 46 years.

With Republican Scott Brown holding a solid lead in the polls, the Democrat 60-seat lead could disappear and with it the $2.5 trillion healthcare bill - Obama's top legislative priority.

Scott Brown has reportedly raised money at a rate of $1 million a day this past week in his bid for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts.

Link here and here.

Haiti aerial earthquake damage photos

Haiti's National Palace in Port-au-Prince. The upper photo was taken in 2004. Lower photo was taken after the earthquake struck.

Below are Google Earth satellite photos from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Lower portion shows the same area after the earthquake.

It was love at 1st flight - 2nd miracle on the Hudson

There was more than one ‘miracle on the Hudson’ that fateful day when US Airways Flight 1549 hit a flock of geese and lost both engines shortly after take-off from LaGuardia Airport one year ago today.

Laura Zych and Ben Bostic (pictured) were among the passengers who survived that plane crash in New York. They have added to 'The Miracle On The Hudson' story by falling in love.

Zych and Bostic were among survivors who gathered for a 'Celebrate Life' party in July and instantly hit it off. And the rest, as they say, is history.


World Cup texting championship opens in New York City

OMG...I mean... oh, my gosh, New York City is hosting the Olympics of text messaging this week. And it’s no LOL matter.

Competitors from more than a dozen countries are participating in the LG Mobile World Cup. The winning team, judged on speed and accuracy, will take home a $100,000 prize.

The photo shows 16-year-old Kate Moore of Des Moines, the 2009 U.S. National Texting Champion.


Mt. Rushmore fireworks cancelled

If you’re thinking of attending the spectacular Independence Day fireworks display at Mt. Rushmore next summer - forget it.

The annual event has been cancelled due to the growing fire danger in a forest decimated by pine beetles.

Pine beetles have killed most of the trees in the Black Elk Wilderness, which butts up against Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The memorial contains about 1,200 acres of forest.

Foresters say dead and dying trees pose a much greater risk of wildfire.

The condition of the forest is such that, unlike any other year before, there is a greater risk of a wildfire growing into a catastrophic fire, because there's more dead forest close to the park than any other previous year.


GOP is out tweeting Democrats in Congress

According to a recent study Republicans are using social media far more than Democrats.

The report shows that 89 Republicans are actively tweeting, compared to 43 Democrats.

The divide is especially apparent in the House, where 42 percent of the Republicans are tweeting, while only 12 percent of the Democratic Caucus has found a Twitter audience.


Biden meeting on transparency was closed

Unsubstantiated rumors that Vice President Joe Biden had suddenly gone a little loopy and ordered some of his official meetings opened to at least cursory public or media attention were just that -- unsubstantiated rumors.

His meeting on transparency was not tranparent.

After a recent public sighting, fears had mounted that the one-time, long-term senator might rebel against traditional White House strictures and start acting on all the administration's oft-promised promises of government transparency and official openness running back into 2008.
But the VP's public schedule today puts all those fears to rest.

With no advance warning whatsoever Biden's official White House schedule changed from listing frequent "private meetings" to listing frequent meetings that are "closed press."

The transparency meeting was non-transparent. It was closed to the press.


Jan 14, 2010

Photo: aid destined for Haiti

A worker at the Red Cross Center in Toluca, Mexico walks past humanitarian aid boxes that will be shipped to Haiti.

The Avatar after effect: depression and suicidal tendencies

"Avatar" is one of the most expensive movies ever made. This year's most eagerly awaited release cost $237 million to make and another $150 million to market.

One of its stars, Sigourney Weaver, described "Avatar" as "like 'Gone with the Wind' in space."

But what about the after effects? Some people are experiencing depression and nausea.

Moviegoers have reported blues, depression and even suicidal tendencies after watching the movie Avatar.

Fans are upset at not being able to visit Pandora, the make believe planet that is nirvana for the Na'vi, the blue native humanoids that habitat Pandora.

One anonymous critic claimed the ground-breaking 3D effects in "Avatar" are, I quote, "vomit inducing."

Theaters are not supplying barf bags that I know of. Still, this doesn’t sound like a movie to take your special date to if there is a chance you’ll be heaving in the isle.

Some moviegoers will not experience any bad side effects and will only worry about how long the crease on the bridge of their nose from the 3D glasses will last.

Link here and here.

Platt does Pants On The Ground on American Idol

(click on picture to see video)

General Larry Platt sings his original song, "Pants On The Ground" on American Idol.

It will bring a smile to your face even though Simon Cowell didn’t like it. But that’s Cowell’s problem.

Although the other Idol judges obviously enjoyed the performance and really got into it, Simon Cowell was not impressed and even gave negative gestures.

But that’s fine, he is leaving the show and going back the UK where he can once again hobnob with the stuffed shirt crowd. Few will miss him.

Origin of phrase “since Hector was a pup”

It is generally accepted that the phrase "since Hector was a pup" refers to the Hector of mythology.

One Internet report says:

One source says that the expression might have become popularized in the 1920s when a lot of boys studied Greek and had dogs named Hector, but it's more likely that the expression is older, and that both it and the dog-naming fad relate to the story told by Euripides: Hector's mother, Hecuba, got turned into a dog for killing the murderer of her older son, Polydorus, so Hector by extension was a dog's son--a pup.

Either way the phrase seems to have come from mythology.

Anyone need a Barack Obama bobblehead doll?

These Barack Obama Aloha bobblehead dolls are displayed for sale in the Waikiki Beach area of Honolulu, Hawaii.

They look cool, and his critics say they depict what Obama does best.

At 50 pounds overweight is the Surgeon General too fat?

Dr. Regina M. Benjamin (pictured) is the overweight African American selected by Barack Obama to be the surgeon general of the United States.

Critics and supporters have commented on photos of Dr. Benjamin's round cheeks, saying she sends the wrong message as the public face of America's health initiatives.

Benjamin is also under fire for being overweight in a nation where 34 percent of all Americans aged 20 and over are obese.

She is reportedly 40 pounds overweight making her obese. Has the United States ever had an obese surgeon general?

More about Dr. Benjamin here.

Disease will surely follow the Earthquake in Haiti

From a Time Magazine report on the tragic disaster in Haiti:

While emergency-response teams have already begun combing through the wreckage, searching for injured people who might still be saved and treating wounds to prevent infection, there are longer-term health risks that threaten the devastated island.

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With basic health care and sanitation all but destroyed, and millions of survivors likely left homeless, unchecked infectious disease and contamination will pose a threat to survivors.

The report also says that Haiti already has been a public-health disaster. It is one of the poorest countries on earth, with only 1 in every 50 Haitians holding a steady job.

No Haitian city has a public sewage system, and less than half the population has any access to drinking-water services.

Malnutrition is rampant, nearly 200,000 people live with HIV or AIDS, and just half the childhood population is vaccinated against basic diseases like diphtheria.

The quake will make it all unimaginably worse.

The Haitian people need our prayers and financial help.


Jan 13, 2010

The demise of GeoCities

According to PC World:

GeoCities was born as “Beverly Hill Internet” in the winter of 1995. Its parents, David Bohnett and John Rezner, wanted to create a virtual community that mimicked the real world, with pages hosted in "cyber cities" and other similarly nauseating concepts.

Both teenagers and first-generation Internet dorks flocked to the service, setting up personal pages in the "cyber cities" of their choice. Despite GeoCities' built-in watermarks and on-page advertisements, the site's popularity continued to climb.

We began using GeoCities in 1999 for a place to store photos for our eBay auctions. GeoCities was purchased by Yahoo that same year.

On October 2004 we began this blog. We used GeoCities to store photos and other graphics that appeared on these pages.

We didn’t use the GeoCities free service. We paid for a premium account that wasn’t supposed to die. However, it died along with all of the others. The photos are still available for viewing but the ability to add or alter photos is gone. FTP use has been denied.

With the announcement by Yahoo that GeoCities would go the way of the Dodo bird in October of this year, PC World published the following tongue-in-cheek obituary for GeoCities:

GeoCities, a web hosting service that achieved fame in the mid-1990’s, died last Thursday at the Yahoo headquarters in Silicone Valley. GeoCities was 15 years old.

GeoCities has suffered a long and drawn out battle with its health over the past decade. An antiquated service model and outdated technology are widely blamed for the struggle. An official cause of death, however, has not been determined.

The proliferation of low-cost hosting options, combined with the popularity of social-networking style services instead of personal home pages, only contributed to its demise.

We will stop paying for the crippled service in the next month or two. At that time, photos in our blog postings of the last eight months will disappear.

Pictures in our sidebar photo albums will not be affected, as they are not stored on GeoCities.

Dan Rather: three-time loser in court battles

A report from the Associated Press says:

New York's top court Tuesday rejected Dan Rather's bid to reinstate his $70 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS Corp.

Rather's motion was denied without comment Tuesday by the Court of Appeals.

Dan Rather (pictured) sued CBS in 2007, claiming he had been wrongfully removed from his "CBS Evening News" anchor post over a report that examined President George W. Bush's military service.

Rather cited new documents CBS had obtained, but the authenticity of the documents later came under attack.

It was Rather’s “fake, but accurate” story.

Rather was fired by CBS in June 2006 after 44 years with the network.


Florida grandmother forgotten in jail for 15 days

A 78-year-old Florida grandmother was arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked license and spent 15 days in jail -- including Thanksgiving -- before being released.

Gabrielle Shaink Trudeau, was initially pulled over in September for driving too slowly. She was then issued a ticket for driving on a suspended or revoked license.

After failing to show up for a court appearance, a judge issued an arrest warrant for the criminal charge that carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Public defenders failed to appear at her initial court appearance, and public defenders did not meet with Shaink Trudeau at the Broward County Jail.

On the morning of her initial appearance, the pretrial services division found that Shaink Trudeau was eligible for pretrial release on her own recognizance, but failed to alert the judge of that.

The charges against her were finally dropped 15 days after her arrest.


Cuban cyclist hauls garbage in Havana

A Cuban transports garbage on his bicycle as he rides by a Communist slogan on a wall in Havana.

There is a racist political party in Washington

History tells us that Democrats filibustered the 1957 Civil Rights Act but Republicans got it passed anyway.

Democrats filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Robert Byrd alone filibustered for over 12 straight hours trying to kill it. Without Republican votes it would not have passed.

That same Robert Byrd was a high-ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan: a man who Barbara Boxer called her inspiration!

The photo at right shows 92-year-old Senator Robert Byrd on the Senate floor.

Democrats are wanting College entrance and job hiring across the country to focus on race over intelligence and character. When Republicans oppose this and call for a color-blind society, like Martin Luther King advocated, they are called "Racist!"

Fast forward to the present:

Democrats are launching a counterattack to save Harry Reid's career after his disastrous comments about Barack Obama being “light-skinned” and having no “Negro dialect.”

Several high-profile Republicans say an apology is not enough, pointing to a "standard" Democrats set in 2002 when they pressured then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott to resign following comments he made praising Mississippi's support for Strom Thurmond’s 1948 segregationist run for the presidency.

Trent Lott was pressured to resign. Now, GOP leaders say Harry Reid should resign.

Reid’s comments were racist. If they were not, he wouldn’t be apologizing so aggressively.


Jan 12, 2010

Tom Binns, a radio DJ in Britain, has been fired from his job after he stopped the Queen’s Christmas message halfway through and told the listeners it was boring.

Birmingham-based BRMB presenter Tom Binns stopped the broadcast of the speech during his live show on Christmas Day, saying: “Two words: Bor-ing”.

When the stunt got him sacked from his job, he claimed it was intended it as a joke.

The photo shows Queen Elizabeth II just prior to her Christmas Day speech to the Commonwealth.


Tacoma bloodmobile trading beer for blood

A Tacoma-based blood center offers donors a trade: give a pint of blood and get a pint of beer in return.

Cascade Regional Blood Services says the promotion has worked so well at six Tacoma pubs and breweries, it's expanding its "Give blood, get beer" offer to its bloodmobile for pubs in Federal Way and Steilacoom.

The News Tribune of Tacoma reports donors who are at least 21 years old are given a coupon for a free pint of beer. The pub must wait at least four hours after the blood drive ends before donors can cash in on their free pint.


Piano concert in a rice paddy

Taiwanese pianist Chen Kuan-yu performs during a concert in the middle of a rice paddy a few months ago.

BMW screaming through its paces

(click on picture to see video)

Hmmm, wonder if this is why Lori and Ernest sold their Beamer last month?

Swiss court charges rich driver $290,000 for speeding

A Swiss court stunned people around the world by slapping a $290,000 (€ 203,181) speeding ticket on a millionaire Ferrari driver.

The punishment struck most people as extreme, but Swiss legal experts and campaigners defend basing fines on income as a fair and effective way to make the wealthy obey traffic laws.

Germany, France, Austria and the Nordic countries also issue punishments based on a person's wealth.


Jan 11, 2010

Middleburg Christmas parade in the snow

The Middleburg Hunt's riders and hounds lead the 2009 Christmas parade in Middleburg.

Middleburg is located in the heart of Virginia horse country.

Who says TSA is ineffectual?

Jan 10, 2010

Fake Tiger Woods Gatorade bottle labels found in Denver stores

Gatorade bottles with fake Tiger Woods labels showed up at major grocery stores around Denver.

The labels had the word “Unfaithful” and a picture of Tiger Woods and his wife Elin Nordegren.

Gatorade has confirmed that these labels are in fact fakes and were not printed by the company.


Two are out and 5 other Senate Democrats are vulnerable

Will the Democrat super-majority in the Senate disappear after the November elections?

From a Washington Times report:

While two Senate Democrats already have seen the handwriting on the wall and bailed out of re-election races, five others trail Republicans in states where President Obama and his trillion-dollar health-care-reform plan are increasingly unpopular.

From Nevada, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (pictured) trails badly, to Arkansas, where Sen. Blanche Lincoln is polling at just 40 percent in head-to-head matchups with four possible Republican challengers, opposition to the health-care bill is reverberating.

What about other Democrat Senators in conservative and moderate states who will face re-election later?

Senator Ben Nelson (pictured) of Nebraska is a good example. His bribed vote for ObamaCare killed his political future. When Nelson’s term expires in 2012, he can forget about politics. Stick a fork in him - he’s done!

How many other Ben Nelsons are there?


Report: exercise makes your brain brighter

An MSNBC report says:

Physical activity helps young people gain smarts, and older folks keep ’em.

Mounting research shows that exercise isn’t just good for the body, it’s also good for the brain — and not just the brains of older folks.

While much of the research on the effects of exercise on the mind has focused on countering dementia in seniors, recent studies show that kids and young to middle-aged adults can get a brain boost as well.

More of the story here.

Amtrak California Zephyr was one day late

The California Zephyr arrived in Chicago almost one day behind schedule.

The train pulled into Union Station with a load of passengers who described themselves as "tired, hungry and stinky."

One passenger called it “the train from hell.”

An Amtrak spokesman said "There is a pass in Nebraska between two hills where the snow drifts were more than two stories tall."

In Iowa the train struck a pickup truck causing one of the delays. However, the biggest culprit was weather.


First 100 hours after Christmas Day airline terror over Detroit

(click on picture to see video)

This short video shows the first 100 hours after the underwear bomber nearly blew up a Northwest Airlines plane over Detroit. It includes the “system worked” comment by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and press secretary Robert Gibbs.

Reid hits new low in Nevada Senate race

The Las Vegas Review-Journal shows the results of a recent poll showing Senator Harry Reid (pictured) hit a new low in his Senate race. It is the worst in any of the Review-Journal surveys for 2010 election.

• Sue Lowden, former Nevada Republican Party chairwoman, would get 50 percent of the vote to Reid's 40 percent with 10 percent undecided.

• Danny Tarkanian, a businessman and former UNLV basketball star, would gain 49 percent of the vote to Reid's 41 percent.

• And Sharron Angle, a former Reno assemblywoman, would get 45 percent of the vote to Reid's 40 percent, a strong showing given her low name recognition statewide -- 42 percent don't know her.