Feb 5, 2010

SpreadTweet for stealth Twitting at work

Now you can hide your office tweets with an Excel-ed Twitter. This is Twitter in spreadsheet form. It will appear you are hard at work using Excel.

Just remember, this won’t help if your employer follows you on twitter.


Photo: WWII bomb craters at Peenemunde

Craters surround a site at Peenemunde in Mecklenburg-Vorpommem, Germany in September 1944 following an Allied bombing raid on the site where Hitler’s V1 and V2 weapons were designed and tested.

Photo from SkyNews

Driver faces fine for using mannequin in HOV lane

A 61-year-old New Yorker faces a $135 traffic fine for using a mannequin as her passenger qualifying her to use the high-occupancy lane of the Long Island Expressway.

A sheriff's deputy became suspicious when he saw the passenger wearing sunglasses and using the visor. The only problem: The sky was overcast.

When he stopped the vehicle, he found the mannequin, fully dressed with a long dark wig, blazer, shirt, scarf and sunglasses.


Obama store closes - honeymoon is over

An article at the link below says:

Forget polls, here’s tangible proof the Obama honeymoon is over!

Along with most sidewalk vender’s hawking Obama memorabilia, the Obama store in Washington’s Union Station is now boarded up.

The store made possible one-stop shopping for all of your tacky Obama merchandise needs.

T-shirts! Hats! Calendars! Hand-warmers! Keychains! It was like something out of Spaceballs (“Obama: The Flame Thrower! The kids love this one.”). The store carried every imaginable product with the words “Obama” and “Commemorative,” except, notably, the Obama Chia Pet.

The store was ideally situated to make big profits. Not only was it in the District of Columbia, where Obama won 93 percent of the vote, but Union Station is swarmed by the most wallet-opening demographic of them all—tourists!

All polls show that support from Obama loyalists is receding.

However, as the report points out, polls pale in comparison to real anecdotal evidence.

Last week, Amber Lee Ettinger, better known as “Obama Girl,” announced that she has fallen out of love with the president—leading to the question: If Obama has lost Obama Girl, has he lost America?

Even the Pepsi campaign that borrowed heavily from Obama, including mimicking the Obama logo on Pepsi products (pictured) has fizzled.

Maybe Obama should have given some stimulus money to the store in Union Station that stopped making a profit selling Obama goods.


Bickering increases as frustration boils over in Senate

Now its Al Franken’s turn to tear into the Obama White House team.

Sen. Al Franken (upper photo) ripped into White House senior adviser David Axelrod (lower photo) this week during a tense, closed-door session with Senate Democrats.

Five sources who were in the room tell Politico that Franken criticized Axelrod for the administration’s failure to provide clarity or direction on health care and the other big bills it wants Congress to enact.

The sources said Franken was the most outspoken senator in the meeting, which followed President Barack Obama’s question-and-answer session with Senate Democrats at the Newseum on Wednesday. But they also said the Minnesotan [Franken] wasn’t the only angry Democrat in the room.

“There was a lot of frustration in there,” said a Democratic senator who declined to be identified.

“People were hot,” another Democrat senator said.

Democrats in the senate are frustrated that the administration hasn’t done more to win over the public on ObamaCare and other items on Obama’s ambitious agenda.

Most senate Democrats have every reason to be frustrated. Without the dysfunctional leadership of the White House staff and the Democrat leadership in the house and senate there could have been a healthcare bill on Obama’s desk long ago.

Now, after Scott Brown’s win in the Massachusetts Senate race, the frustration of Democrat senators is boiling over.


Feb 4, 2010

Twinkie thieves left telltale tracks in snow

It was a Zinger of a theft in northeastern Tennessee that also included cupcakes, Twinkies and other snack cakes from the Merita Bread Company.

The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office reported that 34-year-old James M. Denoon and 18-year-old Anthony Stout were found hiding under a truck at the bakery.

The deputies found about $300 worth of stolen snack cakes stacked on the ground nearby.

Finding the accused thieves was easy: The deputies only had to follow their footprints in the one inch of new snow on the ground.


Report: Administration may be bullying Toyota on recall

It is well known that the U.S. government has a major stake in Toyota rivals General Motors and Chrysler.

Is that why U.S. transportation chief Ray LaHood (pictured) has rebuked Toyota's handling of a massive safety recall publicly?

From a report at the link below:

"The optics are terrible because -- and this is what happens when a government owns a company - the two companies that are going to gain the most out of this are General Motors and Chrysler," said Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland's business school.

"But their behavior is consistent with the general policy of the US government, whether it's dealing with coffeemakers or cars."

Safety officials understand that product design mistakes are inevitable and will work to help companies correct the problem and alert consumers. But they will not tolerate a slow or weak response, Morici told AFP.

In this case, the Obama administration seems to be working against Toyota rather than trying to help the problem. Otherwise why did transportation chief LaHood tell Toyota owners to stop driving it. Take it to a Toyota dealer?

Was LaHood trying to protect GM (Government Motors) and the many thousands of UAW workers or did he just have a Biden moment?


How easy is it to stop a runaway Toyota?

The photo above shows a mechanic holding a Toyota accelerator pedal from a recent Toyota.

According to a CNN report on the Internet posted yesterday, it is easy to stop a Toyota with a stuck accelerator.

A recent report posted to the Internet by Time Magazine told a different story.

The three basic tasks are simply:

1. Shift the transmission to neutral

2. Turn off the ignition switch

3. Apply the brakes and pull over

These instructions would probably work fine for a calm, experienced driver familiar with the vehicle. Here are some things to consider:

What if the driver panicked when the vehicle suddenly began accelerating at full throttle?

A panicked driver would probably hit the brakes first. Brakes would barley slow a full-sized car accelerating at full power. The next reflex would be to pump the brakes, which would make things worse.

Shifting the transmission to neutral in a panic may not be that easy for many people. Pictured is the gear selector on a Toyota Venza. A panicked driver may not know how to shift into neutral immediately as the selector on many new vehicles can be a bid confusing especially if they haven’t driven that particular vehicle very often.

Turning off the ignition switch would be a good option if done before the vehicle reached high speed. However, with the engine off much more pressure would be needed to try to stop a rapidly accelerating car. Also, with the engine off, the car would be much harder to steer because power steering would be lost.

Canadian Premier comes to United States for surgery

The National Post reports that Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams (pictured) will undergo heart surgery later this week in the United States.

Mr. Williams' decision to leave Canada for the surgery has raised eyebrows over his apparent shunning of Canada's health-care system.

Deputy premier Kathy Dunderdale said it was never an option offered to him to have this procedure done in Newfoundland.

She refused to answer whether the procedure could be done elsewhere in Canada where socialized medicine began about four decades ago.

Danny Williams is an avid proponent of Canada’s socialized medicine so why couldn’t he find adequate treatment in some other Canadian province? Is it because he doesn’t trust Canada’s socialized medicine?


Democrats in tough races want to be seen challenging Obama on TV

The Massachusetts election shock is beginning to wear off on Democrats. However, Democrats in tight November races seem desperate to be seen challenging Mr. Obama for the benefit of voters back home.

President Obama held court on Wednesday with Senate Democrats at their policy committee issues conference, but when it came time for questions, senators locked in tough reelection campaigns dominated the session.

The session was hosted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (upper photo) who is trailing in his own campaign by more than 10 percentage points.

The first question was from Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter (lower photo). Spector is a double “turncoat.” Senator Spector was a Democrat until 1965 when he switched to the Republican Party to enhance his re-election chances. Last year Spector changed again and became a Democrat once more.

Specter trails his challenger, former Rep. Pat Toomey, by 9 points.

Next up was Colorado incumbent Michael Bennet, who trails former state Lt. Gov. Republican Jane Norton by 9 points in the latest Rasmussen poll. Then the president called on Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, a health care reform advocate who trails Republican Rep. John Boozman by a whopping 19 points.

The event highlighted just how important it is even to Democrats to be seen challenging the president by their constituents.

Democrat politicians in Washington are discovering the consequences of ignoring the wishes of their constituents who are against ObamaCare by a wide margin.


Vulnerable Democrat races in 2010

List of vulnerable Democrats in 2010:
1. Chris Dodd in Connecticut
2. The Obama seat in Illinois
3. Harry Reid in Nevada
4. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania
5. The Biden seat in Delaware
6. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas
7. The Salazar seat in Colorado
8. Byron Dorgan in North Dakota
9. Scores of House seats

This is a partial list compiled by Time Magazine before the effect of the Kennedy Senate seat loss in Massachusetts had a chance to set in.


Feb 3, 2010

Mud cakes become staple diet for starving Haitians

With little cash and import prices rocketing half the population faces starvation in Haiti.

Mud cakes become the staple diet as cost of food soars beyond a family's reach.

The photo shows a woman in Cité Soleil, one of Port-au-Prince's worst slums, making the clay-based food.

Brittle and gritty - and as revolting as they sound - these are "mud cakes". For years they have been consumed by impoverished pregnant women seeking calcium, a risky and medically unproven supplement, but now the cakes have become a staple for entire families.

The bit of salt and margarine added can’t disguise what is essentially dirt. It’s dirt with a lingering after taste but it can help ward off the pangs of hunger for starving Haitians.

"It stops the hunger," said Marie-Carmelle Baptiste, 35, a producer, eyeing up her stock laid out in rows. She did not embroider their appeal. "You eat them when you have to."

These days many people have to. The global food and fuel crisis has hit Haiti harder than perhaps any other country, pushing a population mired in extreme poverty towards starvation and revolt.


GM dealership in China

A GM dealership in China? Not really but it’s an interesting highly Photoshopped photo of a couple of cool Chevy SSR’s.

The frozen dead guy of Nederland Colorado

An obscure Norwegian grandfather is the star of a bizarre festival held in Nederland, Colorado.

Bredo Morstøl is probably the most famous resident of Nederland, Colorado, even though he has been dead for over ten years.

The photo above shows Trgyve Bauge holding up a picture of his grandfather Bredo Morstøl. Bauge is optimistic that cloning technology will rescue grandpa from the deep-freeze.

Trygve Bauge, a Norwegian citizen, brought the corpse of his recently deceased grandfather, Bredo Morstøl, to the United States in 1989.

The body was preserved on dry ice for the trip, and stored in liquid nitrogen at the Trans Time cryonics facility from 1990 to 1993.

In 1993, Bredo was returned to dry ice and transported to the town of Nederland, where Trygve and his mother Aud planned to create a cryonics facility of their own.

When Trygve was deported from the United States for overstaying his visa, his mother, Aud, continued keeping her father's body cryogenically frozen in a shack behind her unfinished house.

Aud was eventually evicted from her home for living in a house with no electricity or plumbing, in violation of local ordinances. At that time, she told a local reporter about her father's body, and the reporter went to the local city hall in order to let them know about Aud's fears that her eviction would cause her father's body to thaw out.

The story caused a sensation. In response, the town of Nederland added a broad new provision to Section 7-34 of its Municipal Code, "Keeping of bodies", outlawing the keeping of "the whole or any part of the person, body or carcass of a human being or animal or other biological species which is not alive upon any property". However, because of the publicity that had arisen, they made an exception for Bredo, a grandfather clause.

The local Tuff Shed supplier built a new shed to keep him in. In honor of the town's unique resident, Nederland holds an annual celebration.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

For the last seven years, the Frozen Dead Guy Days festival has been held the first weekend in March in Nederland, Colorado, home to a cryogenically frozen man, Grandpa Bredo -- the celebration's "man of honor."

The ladies above keep warm wearing stocking hats bearing the festival logo.

Nederland, population 1,337, is a quirky mountain town in northern Colorado, about 15 miles west of Boulder. Though born a mining town, it's now the haunt of young nature lovers, New Age followers and, of course, fans of the Frozen Dead Guy.

Hollywood Squares on steroids?

Rajasthani musicians from the Indian group The Manganiyar Seduction perform during the opening night of Australia's 34th Sydney Festival.

Big government is back with a vengeance

From a Washington Times report:

The era of big government has returned with a vengeance, in the form of the largest federal work force in modern history.

The Obama administration says the government will grow to 2.15 million employees this year, topping 2 million for the first time since President Clinton declared that "the era of big government is over" and joined forces with a Republican-led Congress in the 1990s to pare back the federal work force.

The report says most of the increases are on the civilian side, which will grow by 153,000 workers, to 1.43 million people, in fiscal 2010.

The expansion could provide more ammunition to those arguing that the government is trying to do too much under President Obama.


Report: there are 10 more Republican Scott Browns

Scott Brown's surprise victory in the Massachusetts Senate race has given Republicans new confidence in challenging Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections.

Time Magazine lists ten more Scott Browns. Three are shown below:

1. Richard Hanna (left), not a career politician, is seeking election from the New York 24th congressional district.

2. Mike Castle (center) former governor of Delaware.

3. Marco Rubio (right) a rising star in Republican politics in Florida.

Seven others can be found here.

Feb 2, 2010

Anti admin ‘backdoor tax’ news story pulled after a few hours

A Reuters news story titled: Advisory: Backdoor taxes to hit middle class has been pulled by Reuters with the following note:

The story about backdoor taxes to hit middle class has been withdrawn. A replacement story will run later in the week.

Was the article pulled after pressure from the Obama administration or did the pro-Obama management at Reuters kill the report on their own?

The gist of the article is shown below:

The Obama administration's plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade relies heavily on so-called backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families.

In the 2010 budget tabled by President Barack Obama on Monday, the White House wants to let billions of dollars in tax breaks expire by the end of the year -- effectively a tax hike by stealth.

While the administration is focusing its proposal on eliminating tax breaks for individuals who earn $250,000 a year or more, middle-class families will face a slew of these backdoor increases.

The targeted tax provisions were enacted under the Bush administration's Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. Among other things, the law lowered individual tax rates, slashed taxes on capital gains and dividends, and steadily scaled back the estate tax to zero in 2010.

If the provisions are allowed to expire on December 31, the top-tier personal income tax rate will rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent. But lower-income families will pay more as well: the 25 percent tax bracket will revert back to 28 percent; the 28 percent bracket will increase to 31 percent; and the 33 percent bracket will increase to 36 percent. The special 10 percent bracket is eliminated.

The full article can be found at the link below. If the link goes dead, you will know the Obama administration was successful in getting the story pulled from KETK.


The killed Reuters article notice is here.

PETA wants to change the 123-year Groundhog Day tradition

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PTEA) wants organizers of Pennsylvania's Groundhog Day festival to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robotic stand-in.

The Groundhog Day festival in west central Pennsylvania began in1887. Now PETA wants to change it all by replacing the star of the show with a mechanical groundhog.

William Deeley, president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, says the animal is "being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania."

The groundhog is kept in a climate-controlled environment and is inspected annually by the state Department of Agriculture.

Deeley says PETA isn't interested in Phil from Feb. 2 on, and is looking for publicity.

Maybe PETA should go back to harassing KFC in Louisville, Kentucky by parading old hearses with chickens painted on the sides or picketing the Hormel meat processing plant in Austin, Minnesota. Better still maybe they should just get real jobs, and contribute to society.

If we are a bit hard on PETA, maybe it’s because we’re cranky after Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction. He saw his shadow and according to the tradition we can expect six more weeks of winter.


No Liftoff: Obama budget grounds NASA

From a Time Magazine report:

NASA will always have fans, and they'll always be rabid -- folks who love the machines, swoon over the history and long to see Americans back on the moon and flying on toward Mars.

Space buffs will be happy that Obama will increase NASA's budget - but not enough to send astronauts very far.

There are too many ambitious projects for the administration to spend money on in the name of job creation.

Look on the bright side -- at least there won’t be a whole new generation of moon landing deniers pointing to phantom shadows and unnatural waving flags in photos.


Uncle Sam at a carnival in Germany

A carnival reveler wearing a fancy Uncle Sam costume poses at the start of the carnival in Cologne in 2009.

Submit to full body scan or you can’t fly from the UK

Air passengers who refuse to submit to controversial full body scans will be barred from boarding their flights in the UK.

The technology - which has been strongly condemned by civil liberties campaigners - began operating at Heathrow (London) and Manchester airports.

Birmingham will follow suit later this month before the anti-terror devices are rolled out nationally.

More here.

Punxsutawney Phil goes high tech

From a report at the link below:

It's been 120 years since Punxsutawney Phil has woken up from hibernation every Feb. 2 morning to check for his shadow, but 2010 will be the first time that Phil's prognostication will be broadcast to his followers by text message.

High tech or not, Phil will still poke out of his house at 7:26 a.m. ET on Feb. 2 to see if there are six more weeks of winter left this season.


Feb 1, 2010

What comes after iPod iPhone and iPad?

Haitians fleeing the chaos in their country

Haitians eager to leave the chaos in their country crowd a ship at a port in Port-au-Prince.

7 ft long Great Dane may be world's tallest dog

David and Christine Nasser of Tuscon, Arizona are applying to Guinness World Records in hopes their dog will become the official tallest dog in the world.

The previous holder of the record was Gibson, a Harlequin Great Dane. Gibson died of cancer in August, 2009.

George is nearly 43 inches tall and weighs a whopping 245 pounds. He eats 110 pounds of food every month and sleeps alone in his own queen size bed.

(click on picture to enlarge)

George, a Blue Great Dane (shown above) was born in 2002, looks more like a miniature horse than a dog. He measures almost the same, at 7 ft 3 inches from nose to tail and 42.625 inches at the shoulder.

The giant dog even has his own Facebook and Twitter accounts for his fans.


Report: Democratic anger after Obama's speech

From a Guardian report at the link below:

The Democrat-vs.-Democrat anger roiling the ranks of Congress is being wrapped in smiles and standing ovations Wednesday as President Barack Obama outlines the nation's top priorities in his first State of the Union speech.

But for most of the Democrats cramming the House chamber, there is no issue more pressing than getting re-elected in November.

Senate and House Democrats are angry at the recent debacles:

The stunner in Massachusetts that cost the Democrats a Senate seat. The slow-motion collapse of health care talks. A government bailout of Wall Street while unemployment sits in double-digits.

Democrats for days were questioning whether to stand with the president, congressional leaders or neither.

Congressional Democrats worry that pursuing Obama's priorities will not help them achieve theirs.

Some Congressional Democrats have privately blamed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the party's woes and the health care bill's poor prospects.

Reid is facing a tough re-election fight in Nevada next November. It's possible that Reid will lose even if he wins in November. If he returns to the Senate, he may be voted out of his position as Senate Majority Leader.


Climate change boss says do as I say not as I do

The London Daily Mail has a report titled:Controversial climate change boss uses car AND driver to travel one mile to office... (but he says YOU should use public transport).

He is the elitist scientist Dr Rajendra Pachauri (pictured) that we posted about here.

Pachauri is the climate change chief whose research body produced a report warning that the glaciers in the Himalayas might melt by 2035 and earned a Nobel Prize for his work – so you might expect Dr Rajendra Pachauri to be doing everything he can to reduce his own carbon footprint.

But as controversy continued to simmer last week over the bogus ‘Glaciergate’ claims in a report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – which he heads – Dr Pachauri showed no apparent inclination to cut global warming in his own back yard.

On Friday, for the one-mile journey from home to his office, Dr Pachauri could have walked, or cycled, or used the eco-friendly electric car provided for him.

Instead of using the electric car provided for him, he had his personal chauffeur pick him up from his £4.5million ($7.3million) home.

Hours later, the chauffeur picked up Dr Pachauri from the office of the environmental charity where he is director-general – The Energy and Resources Institute – blatantly ignoring the institute’s own literature, which gives visitors tips on how to reduce pollution by using buses.

The electric car provided for him sits in the carpark collecting dust.


Jan 31, 2010

Cycling in the fog in China

Residents riding bicycles in Hefei, Anhui province, China.

Are they riding in fog or is it smog? In China, you never know.

Did he really do that?

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

High School basketball doubleheader with no fans in the stands!

The bleachers were empty Friday at a high school basketball doubleheader between two rivals in northwestern South Carolina. School officials said fans were not allowed in because of safety concerns.

Attendance at the boys' and girls' varsity games in the town of Central was limited to players, coaches, officials, game personnel, school administrators, police and the media.

Seneca Police Chief John Covington supported the decision because disturbances and violence have recently been spilling into the parking lot and neighborhoods after games.

School officials say they met with police and the South Carolina High School League before making the decision.

At least the players on the court didn't have to listen to jeers.


Climate chief knew of glacier flaws before Copenhagen

While most experts believe that the Himalayan glaciers will take centuries to melt, the chairman of the leading climate change watchdog was informed that claims about melting Himalayan glaciers were false before the Copenhagen summit.

Rajendra Pachauri (pictured) was told that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 was wrong but he waited two months to correct it.

He failed to act despite learning that the claim had been refuted by several leading glaciologists.

It was Dr Pachauri who played a leading role at the summit.

He corrected his error last week after coming under media pressure.

He told The Times on January 22 that he had only known about the error for a few days. He said: “I became aware of this when it was reported in the media about ten days ago.

Before that, it was really not made known. Nobody brought it to my attention. There were statements, but we never looked at this 2035 number.”

Dr Pachauri denied that he deliberately kept silent about the error to avoid embarrassment at Copenhagen.

However, a prominent science journalist said that he had asked Dr Pachauri about the 2035 error last November.

Pallava Bagla, who writes for Science journal, said he had asked Dr Pachauri about the error. He said that Dr Pachauri had replied: “I don’t have anything to add on glaciers.”

The Himalayan glaciers are so thick and at such high altitude that most glaciologists believe they would take several hundred years to melt at the present rate. Some are growing and many show little sign of change.