Mar 12, 2010

In case you missed the Kennedy meltdown on the House floor...

Patrick Kennedy loses it on the House floor, as he denounces the press for covering Congressman Eric Massa rather than the current vote that was taking place in the House.

But, wait a minute ... just what was that vote? It was a kooky antiwar resolution by Dennis Kucinich that was never intended (and had no chance) to pass, which is why the press had no interest in covering it.

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They really should do two things to the House microphones.

1. Attach breathalyzers to them.

2. Cover them with spittle protectors.

Cable News viewership

Cable News viewership race for Tuesday March 9, 2010 shown by number of viwers:

Fox News - Bill O’Reilly - 3,499,000
Fox News - Glenn Beck - 3,406,000
Fox News - Hannity - 2,901,000
Fox News - Bret Baier - 2,686,000
Fox News - Shephard Smith - 2,243,000
Fox News - Greta Van Susteren - 2,027,000
MSNBC - Keith Olbernann - 1,004,000
MSNBC - Rachel Maddow - 994,000
CNN Headline News - Joy Behar 785,000
CNN - Larry King - 699,000
CNN - Anderson Cooper - 582,000

Hall of Fame NFL player Merlin Olsen dies at age 69

Merlin Olsen died March 11, 2010 in Duarte, Calif., outside Los Angeles. He had mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer often related to exposure to asbestos.

Olsen was the anchor of the vaunted Los Angeles Rams defensive line known as the "Fearsome Foursome."

In his 15 seasons with the Rams from 1962 to 1976, Mr. Olsen never missed a game and was named to 14 consecutive Pro Bowl teams

After his playing career, he was a TV football analyst for 16 years, had leading roles in the wholesome frontier dramas "Little House on the Prairie" and "Father Murphy" and was the longtime spokesman for FTD florists.


Bernie Madoff: what’s he up to now?

One year ago disgraced financier Bernie Madoff (pictured) pleaded guilty to a $65 billion Ponzi scheme and was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

So where is the 71-year-old Madoff now and what is he doing?

Madoff is a medium security inmate at Butner Federal Correctional Complex, a prison located about 45 miles northwest of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Other medium security inmates at Butner include Carmine John Persico, Jr. boss of the Columbo crime family and Jonathan Pollard a civilian United States Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel.

Bernie Madoff sleeps on the lower bunk of a cell he shares with a drug offender. He spends about eight hours a day working in Butner's engraving section, making nameplates for desks and doors.

The prison's website lists his release date as November 14, 2139.


(click on picture to enlarge)

Poll: Americans global warming concerns continue dropping

Multiple indicators show less concern and more feelings that global warming is exaggerated.

Gallup's annual update on Americans' attitudes toward the environment shows a public that over the last two years has become less worried about the threat of global warming, less convinced that its effects are already happening, and more likely to believe that scientists themselves are uncertain about its occurrence.

In response to one key question, 48% of Americans now believe that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated, up from 41% in 2009 and 31% in 1997, when Gallup first asked the question.

More here and here.

Pro-Life Democrats say health bill DOA in House

The health care bill passed by the Senate in December appears to be dead on arrival in the House, as six anti-abortion Democrats intend to join the ranks of lawmakers who plan to vote against the legislation.

Six new no votes would be enough to kill the Senate bill, and several more fence-sitting lawmakers are under pressure from both sides of the aisle.

Foremost among the six nos is Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., whose anti-abortion amendment to the House version of the legislation got the bill passed in that chamber last year.

In addition to Stupak, Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois has gone on the record as changing his vote to no if asked to pass the Senate bill, which some argue doesn't do enough to forbid tax-funded abortions. "Protecting the sanctity of life is a matter of principle," Lipinski said.

Other Democrats in the House who have changed their votes from yes to no are Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania, Steve Driehaus of Ohio and Marion Berry of Arkansas.

Congressman Stupak said. “Unless the language changes, there's at least 12 Democrats who have said they could not vote for health care unless we keep the current law, which says no public funding for abortion.”


Mar 11, 2010

Toyota Prius cars with stuck gas pedals

Pentagon workers trained to hack Defense computers

A CNN report says the Pentagon is training people to hack into its own computer networks reasoning that “to beat a hacker, you need to think like one.”

A company called Electronic Commerce Consultants, or EC-Council, was chosen by the Pentagon to oversee training of Department of Defense employees who work in computer security-related jobs and certify them when the training is complete.

The program is called "Certified Ethical Hacker certification."

Almost 45,000 attacks on Defense Department computers were reported in the first half of 2009, according to a government report. The report estimated that for all of 2009, the number of attacks would be up 60 percent from the previous year.

Fending off the attacks costs the Pentagon about $100 million.

More here.

Elephant pedicure

A German veterinarian uses an electric grinder to give a pedicure to Boy, a 39 year-old Asian elephant, who was sedated before the cosmetic work at Kiev Zoo on May 23, 2009.

A delegation of German veterinarians arrived from Munich Zoo to help their Ukrainian colleagues perform the complex pedicure.

Wife of Congressman gets 3 years in prison

Monica Conyers (upper photo), wife of Congressman John Conyers (lower photo) has been given a prison sentence for fraud as a Detroit councilwoman.

A federal judge has denied former Detroit councilwoman Monica Conyers' request to withdraw her guilty plea in a corruption case and sentenced her to three years and one month in prison.

She pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy for accepting a bribe of at least $6,000 in exchange for her support of a $1.2 billion waste disposal contract for Synagro Technologies.

The ex-council member tried to withdraw her plea saying she was “badgered” into making the deal but U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn said her plea was made voluntarily.

Her husband, Democrat Congressman John Conyers, oversees the Justice Department in his role as Judiciary chairman. This irony will not escape critics who may wonder if Rep. Conyers will be his wife’s jailer.

Link here and here.

Report: So much for draining the swamp

A report in the Washington Examiner by Cal Thomas is titled, “So much for draining the swamp.”

Before Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., became speaker of the House, she promised during the Bush administration that if voters allowed Democrats to regain a congressional majority Democrats would establish "the most ethical Congress in history." Pelosi pledged to "drain the swamp" of corruption in Washington.

Not only has the swamp not been drained, Democrats have begun treating it as a hot tub. The party is a long way from achieving anything close to ethical purity. But then, so are Republicans.

Nancy Pelosi has famously talked on may occasions about the Republican “culture of corruption.”

The Cal Thomas report lists several instances of corruption attributed to both Washington politicians but on the state level as well - notably New York governor David Paterson.

Republicans have their own hall of shame, most recently those associated with Jack Abramoff.

The problem in Washington has at least two dimensions. One is the virus of corruption that does not discriminate between parties. The other is the character of the individuals voters send to Washington, too many of whom become corrupt because they stay too long.

Prime examples of politicians who became corrupt by staying too long are Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) and the late Congressman John Murtha (D-PA).

The Cal Thomas report is here. A Senator Byrd report is here. Click here for a John Murtha report.

Mar 10, 2010

Motorcycle negotiates flooded Jakarta street

A motorcyclist splashes through a flooded street in Jakarta after recent heavy rains.

Republican Study Committee hires the E*Trade babies

The Republican Study Committee produced this anti ObamaCare video, based on the E*Trade babies commercials

The E*Trade babies are even funnier and cuter than Baby Bob from the 2005 and 2006 Quizno’s TV commercials.

Wonderworks ǝpısdn uʍop museum

Wonderworks in Orlando, Florida literally turns classical architecture ǝpısdn uʍop.

The three-story, 82-foot tall building is flipped over with the peak of its roof squashed into the pavement framing the entrance.

One corner of the Wonderworks building appears to flatten a 20th century brick warehouse. Palm trees and lamp posts hang suspended.

The wacky design is a precursor to the topsy-turvy activities that take place inside.

The building includes a hurricane ride with 65-mph winds, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake ride, and a Titanic exhibit.

Is Gore intent on becoming first carbon billionaire?

An op-ed in the Boston Globe at the link below is titled, Gore still hot on his doomsday rhetoric.

The case for global-warming alarmism is melting faster than those mythical disappearing Himalayan glaciers, but Al Gore isn’t backing down.

In a long op-ed piece for The New York Times the other day, Al Gore (pictured) cranked up the doomsday rhetoric.

Human beings, he warned, “face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.”

His 1,900-word essay made no mention of his financial interest in promoting such measures - Gore has invested heavily in carbon-offset markets, electric vehicles, and other ventures that would profit handsomely from legislation curbing the use of fossil fuels, and is reportedly poised to become “the world’s first carbon billionaire.”

Others on the political left are also on the doomsday global warming bandwagon with a cap and trade bill just waiting to roll out as soon as ObamaCare gets passed.

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What is cap and trade?

Under a cap and trade system, a government authority first sets a cap, deciding how much pollution in total will be allowed. Next, companies are issued credits, essentially licenses to pollute, based on how large they are, what industries they work in, and so forth.

If a company comes in below its cap, it has extra credits, which it may trade with other companies.
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Under cap and trade, higher polluting companies must buy carbon offsets. The cost of carbon offsets (the same as buying a license to pollute) must be passed on to the consumer.

If the Obama administration gets their cap and trade passed it could cost families $1,761 a year according to a report here.

The Boston globe report is here.

Is this where the warming paranoia began?

(click on picture to enlarge)

The photo shows Al Gore in his office.

Looks a lot like my “cave” but I don’t have as much room for clutter.

I love the frog hanging on the wall.

Mar 9, 2010

Governor kills thousands of Colorado Internet business

From a report at the first link below:

Colorado's Democratic legislature and governor thought they were being clever.

By putting the screws to online retailers, they could reap millions of dollars in tax revenues from items sold over the Internet and fill the budget gaps created by their failure to control spending and plan for hard economic times.

According to numbers provided by the governors office, the stimulus package "created or saved" 9,300 Colorado jobs.

It’s almost as if Governor Bill Ritter (pictured) thought that was too many jobs, because with one swipe of his pen he killed more than half that many Colorado jobs.

Ritter and his Democrats in the legislature imposed new rules designed to force retailers into collecting Colorado sales tax on all Internet sales to Colorado residents.

It backfired immediately. cut ties Monday with Colorado online businesses that help it sell products because of a new state law aimed at getting out-of-state, online retailers to collect sales tax.

The move hurts Colorado businesses -- many of them small, home-based operations -- that earn money by using their Web sites and blogs to link customers to online retailers.

Colorado has at least 4,200 such businesses, known as affiliates or associates, accounting for about 5,000 jobs, and most of them rely on Amazon to some degree, according to their trade group, the Performance Marketing Association.

Governor Ritter has already said he will not run for re-election in November so he is not hurting himself. However, there will be many Democrats in the Colorado legislature who will lose re-election bids in November as a result of this legislative boondoggle.

Link here and here.

Who’ll come a Waltzing Matilda with me?

We have all heard the song, Waltzing Matilda, the most widely known folk song in Australia. It is regarded by many as the unofficial National Anthem of Australia, but how many know the originally intended meaning of the lyrics?

“Waltzing Matilda” has nothing to do with dancing or a girl named Matilda. The song also has nothing to do with romance.

In 1800’s rural Australia:

Waltzing meant to travel while working along the way.

Matilda was a swagman’s swag, consisting of a bedroll that bundled his belongings for easy carrying as he traveled.

A swagman is a man who traveled the country, usually on foot, looking for new work.

Waltzing matilda meant traveling with a swag.

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Andrew "Banjo" Paterson wrote the original lyrics to Waltzing Matilda.

In 1880’s Paterson’s poetry was published in Australia under the pseudonym of "The Banjo". Banjo was the name of a prize horse belonging to his father.

Andrew "Banjo" Paterson was a poet, writer, newspaper reporter, lawyer and farmer during his lifetime.

The music for Waltzing Matilda was adapted from an old Celtic folk song by Christina Macpherson.

Later versions of the song included the word “darling,” however the only romance connected with the original song may have been a special friendship between Paterson and Macpherson when the lyrics were written while Paterson was a guest in the Macpherson home.

More of the story can be found here.

(click on picture to see video)

This video shows the Australian pop band Bachelor Girl with Tania Doko signing Waltzing Matilda at the 2000 AFL Grand Final (Australian rules) football game.

Another runaway Toyota - video story

Click here to see a video about a runaway Toyota Prius.

The owner of this Toyota Prius wasn’t as lucky.

Trying a casket out for size

A visitor to the 2009 Asia Funeral Expo tries out a casket for size.

Doesn’t everyone do a casket tryout before purchase?

White House ObamaCare pitch: trust me

From an Associated Press report:

In private pitches to Democrats, Barack Obama says he will persuade Congress to pass his health care overhaul even if it kills him and even if he has to ask deeply distrustful lawmakers to trust him on a promise the White House doesn't have the power to keep.

That is what the president is telling Democratic House members as he begins an all-out push to coax Congress into passing his proposals despite voters' misgivings and Republicans' dire warnings.

The AP report goes on to say that some points of Obama’s healthcare proposal rely more on faith than fact.

Confronting party unrest on his left and right, Obama is calling for political courage, citing historic opportunities and essentially saying "trust me" in areas inherently murky, uncertain and out of his control.


Mar 8, 2010

Expressway runs through Gate Tower Building in Osaka, Japan

Gate Tower Building is a 16-story office structure in Fukushima-ku, Osaka , Japan .

What makes the building unique is the highway that passes through the 5th-7th floors of this building.

The highway is part of the Hanshin Expressway, a network of expressways surrounding Osaka , Kobe and Kyoto, Japan .

The expressway is the tenant of the floors it occupies. The elevator doesn't stop on floor 5 through 7 where the highway passes through.

The highway passes through the building as a bridge, held up by supports next to the building making no contact with the building itself.


Bribes threats and rewards to pass healthcare

ObamaCare must be passed by any means possible even though the majority of Americans are opposed to the bill. From a report at the link below:

All aspects of President Obama's Chicago-style tactics are on display as he cajoles, bullies and bribes the House to pass his health care proposals despite the overwhelming public rejection with which they have been met.

To some, he offers bribes as in the case of Congressman Jim Matheson, a Democrat from Utah. Obama got his brother Scott appointed to a federal judgeship.

Matheson, a moderate Democrat, voted against ObamaCare when it first passed the House. After his brother had a judgeship handed to him, Rep. Matheson now says he undecided.

Matheson faces a clear conflict between his district and his conscience on the one hand and the bribe to his brother on the other. The conscience will probably lose.

Even as Matheson basks in the glow of presidential bribery, Eric Massa, a renegade Democrat from the Southern Tier of New York state faces his wrath.

Massa's sin was to vote against ObamaCare. So Pelosi and the ethically challenged House Ethics Committee are investigating him for "verbally abusing" a male member of his staff.

Using "salty language" to express his displeasure with staff work would seem to pale in the light of the many indictable offenses committed by Congressmen down through the years. If it were, Lyndon Johnson would have been impeached.

Massa is being targeted as an example to other Democrats who may be entertaining the thought of voting against ObamaCare.

The attacks on Massa have gotten so bad that he has announced his retirement after only one term in office.

Then comes the case of Congressman Alan Mollohan

Mollohan has had a pesky FBI investigation hanging over his head for a few years. Now, presto, right before the health care vote, it went away. The Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, announced that the FBI was closing the inquiry.

With ObamaCare up for a vote in the next few days, the tactics outlined above send a message to the House, where Nancy Pelosi is having trouble lining up her votes.

Obama will do anything -- anything at all -- to pass this bill.


Body scanners at 11 major airports

A USA Today report says eleven major airports will begin using body scanners to screen passengers as the Transportation Security Administration launches a plan to buy 1,000 of the machines over the next two years.

These are “naked” body scanners that can look under passengers' clothing in order to detect weapons and explosives.

Boston Logan International Airport received one new scanner this week and will get two more next week. All will go into the same terminal. Among the other airports getting the scanners are Los Angeles International, Chicago O'Hare and Charlotte Douglas International.

More here.

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Less stimulus for minority businesses

An Associated Press ‘stimulus watch’ report says that minorities have received less stimulus proportionately than white-owned businesses.

Latinos and blacks have faced obstacles to winning government contracts long before the stimulus.

Latinos own 6.8 percent of all businesses and blacks own 5.2 percent of all businesses according to census figures.

Yet Latino-owned business have received only 1.7 percent of $46 billion in federal stimulus contracts recorded in U.S. government data, and black-owned businesses have received just 1.1 percent.

More here.

Mar 7, 2010

Watch Marlow and Frances Cowan play a delightful piano duet

Marlow and Frances Cowan (pictured above) are shown at the piano in the Mayo Clinic atrium. If this delightful video doesn’t cheer you up nothing will.

(click on picture of Cowan's at piano to see video)

Cell phone cancer warning back in the news

We have read cell phone cancer risk warnings in the past but this time a state legislature has proposed a bill that would require warnings.

The bill could make Maine the first state to carry warnings that mobile phones can cause brain cancer, especially among children.

The bill would require manufacturers to put labels on mobile phones and packaging.

Proponents of the bill claim that ignoring the health risks of heavy cell phone use invites a cancer epidemic.

Opponents dismissed research pointing to the risks and claim the bill is more about politics than science.


Senator Harry Reid - only 36,000 workers lost their jobs today

(click on picture above to see video)

Senator Harry Reid is happy - 36,000 workers lost their jobs today.