Apr 2, 2010

Drunken priest hits mourner in the face at funeral

A French Catholic bishop has apologized after a 'punch-drunk' priest turned up inebriated to preside over a funeral and then hit a mourner in the face.
Father Bonaventure Ouedraogo was told by relatives that they did not want him to preside over the funeral held near the southwestern city of Toulouse.

They then prevented him from getting back into his car because he was too drunk to drive, according to Gerard Tillier, brother of the deceased woman.

At this point the priest fell to the ground, and when a man tried to help him to his feet, he punched him in the face.
Too much sacramental wine?


Last California auto plant closed its doors

The last car has rolled off the production lines at California's sole auto plant.

The plant made Toyota Tacoma trucks and Corolla sedans. The last Tacoma rolled off the assembly lines last week, and Corolla production ended Thursday.


Apr 1, 2010

Secret behind greatest student prank of all time

April Fools day is an appropriate time to report on what has been called the greatest student prank of all time.

A team of a dozen engineering students executed what was probably the most ingenious student prank ever.

The year was 1958. The place was Gonville & Caius College which is a part of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.

In June 1958, Cambridge awoke to see a car perched at the apex of an inaccessible rooftop, looking as if it were driving across the skyline.

It was an Austin Seven van that appeared out of nowhere on top of the Senate House roof.

The spectacle made headlines around the world and left police, firefighters and civil defense units battling for nearly a week to hoist the vehicle back down before giving in and taking it to pieces with blowtorches.

The shadowy group of engineering students who executed the stunt were never identified and the mystery of how they did it has baffled successive undergraduates and provided fodder for countless tourist guides.

Now, 50 years later, the group reunited to disclose their identities and reveal how they winched an Austin Seven to the top of the university's 70ft-high Senate House.

A diagram at the link below shows how the stunt was pulled off by the twelve students divided into three groups.


Rep. Hank Johnson: Guam may capsize!

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing last week that he fears sending additional Marines to Guam, the island will become so overpopulated that it will "capsize" and fall over into the ocean.

Was Congressman Johnson serious? If so he must be about as dumb as a rock.

Was Congressman Johnson was being facetious? If so, taking up half the length of the video to describe Guam as a small island means that he may only be half as dumb as a rock.

TV Weatherman terrified by a cockroach

FBI 10 Most Wanted fugitive list turns 60

The FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List debuted on March 14, 1950, and has become a fixture of American culture.

The prototype for what would become the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list began with a newspaper story by reporter James Donovan, who asked the bureau: "Who are the 10 toughest guys you are looking for?"

His article appeared on the front page of the Washington Daily News in 1949 and encouraged the FBI to make the list an official crime-fighting tool.

Since the list's inception in 1950, some 494 fugitives have been counted among the worst of the worst.


Obama still searching for a TSA chief

More than a year into Obama's Administration -- and three months after the Nigerian underwear bomber came close to blowing a U.S. airliner out of the sky over Detroit -- the nation still doesn't have a top cop at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Why is the Obama Administration having such a tough time filling this vital slot?

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding took himself out of the running last Friday.

This was another setback for Obama after his first choice withdrew in January because he faced a tough confirmation struggle in Congress.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (pictured) was selected early as Obama formed his administration.

Is the outspoken Napolitano the main reason for the difficulty in finding a TSA chief? She is the one who said “the system worked” after the Nigerian underwear bomber nearly blew up an airliner over Detroit.

Perhaps when candidates learn that their main job will have far more to do with unions like the SEIU than with national security, they tend to shy away from the job.

Senator Jim DeMint pointed out in January, the nomination of Erroll Southers as TSA chief was intended to usher in collective bargaining for screeners.

Link here and here.

Mar 31, 2010

Why did Tiger choose the Masters for his comeback?

A report on FOX sports says:

That Tiger Woods chose Augusta National to stage his return to golf is in itself an admission that, for the first time in his career, winning the Masters isn't his priority.

At least that's the conventional wisdom.

If he really wanted a fifth green jacket, the smart money says, he would've played a warm-up tournament.

Most of the savvy golf followers believe Woods chose the Masters because it's the safest place for him to begin what is sure to be a difficult comeback.

The media won't roll over at his Monday press conference but neither is he likely to be savaged with embarrassing questions about sexting porn queens.

The Masters is the only tournament where writers and photographers aren't allowed inside the ropes, giving Woods more breathing room than he would've gotten anywhere else.

He knows, too, these aren't the type of patrons who get thrown out of pubs. Augusta may be the South, but the fans at the Masters aren't rednecks: they're genteel folks who sip lemonade on porches, far too well-mannered to make a guest feel unwelcome.

On the other hand, how much patience will those in the gallery have if Tiger duffs his way through the tournament? They didn’t pay a couple of hundred or more to watch Woods shoot bogeys.

Just in case there happens to be few boisterous rednecks in the gallery intent on heckling, security will have them out on their ear before they can utter the second “boo.”

Besides that, his caddy (pictured above protecting Woods) has promised to silence hecklers when Tiger returns to tournament play.

This cartoon below is by Drew Litton, our favorite sports cartoonist. Drew and his “Littoons” live here.

The FOX Sports report is here. Click here for the “silence hecklers” story.

Chocolate may protect against high blood pressure and strokes

Chocoholics rejoice. If the report at the link below is true, the chocolate Easter bunny just may lower your chances of having a heart problem.

According to a new study, small doses of chocolate every day could decrease your risk of having a heart attack or stroke by nearly 40 percent.

German researchers followed nearly 20,000 people over eight years, sending them several questionnaires about their diet and exercise habits.

They found people who had an average of six grams of chocolate per day - or about one square of a chocolate bar - had a 39 percent lower risk of either a heart attack or stroke.

Now, where did I put that recipe for double fudge brownies?


List of cash requested to buy “yes” votes from the Stupak 11

The 11 House Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak (pictured) who dropped their opposition to health care reform mere hours before the final vote, have requested 3.4 billion dollars in earmarks!

Since the health care reform push hit its final stretch, numerous sweeteners for lawmakers' districts and states have been found inside the package. Earmark requests are made outside of the health care bill, making them a bit more difficult to link to any vote-trading. But it is precisely that kind of tricky-to-catch deal-making that Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said he and other GOP senators would be monitoring for months to come.

Below is a list of the cash payoff amounts to the Stupak 11.

Rep. Jerry Costello of Illinois.: $1,418.7 million ($256.4 million in 2010)

Rep. Solomon Ortiz of Texas: $618 million ($726.1 million in 2010)

Stupak of Michigan: $578.9 million

Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio: $294 million ($305.7 million in 2010)

Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania: $236.8 million ($54 million in 2010)

Rep. James Oberstar of Minnesota.: $207 million ($226 million in 2010)

Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana.: $115.4 million ($82.3 million in 2010)

Rep. Charles Wilson of Ohio: $84 million ($62.3 million in 2010)

Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania.: $67.1 million

Rep. Steve Driehaus of Ohio: $33.2 million

Rep. Joseph Donnelly of Indiana: $19.8 million ($11.65 million in 2010)


Brit Hume on a possible value added tax after the Nov elections

What is a Value added tax (VAT)?

A value-added tax is a fee that is assessed against businesses by a government at various stages in the production of goods or services -- usually any time a product is resold or value is added to it.

For tax purposes, value is added whenever the value of a product increases as a result of the application of a company's factors of production, such as labor and equipment.

The tax must be paid by every company that handles a product during its transition from raw materials to finished goods.

For example, tax is charged when a manufacturer sells to a wholesaler and again when a wholesaler sells to a retailer.

On the surface a value added tax may sound innocent enough but when implemented, it will change the price of goods and services significantly.

The worst part of a value added tax is that it is a regressive tax, meaning the poor pay more, as a percentage of their income, than the rich.

The fear that Obama will impose a value added tax is very real. He must find some way to pay for everything from the disastrous ‘cash for clunkers’ to the multitude of bailouts. It’s the pork laden ObamaCare and the costly bribes it took to get it passed that will bring down his financial house of cards without a value added tax.

Mar 30, 2010

Colorado woman wins - then loses a $42 million jackpot

Fortune Valley casino in Central City, Colorado has refused to honor a $42 million slot machine jackpot saying it was a machine malfunction.

When Louise Chavez looked at the jackpot total on the slot machine she was playing at the Fortune Valley casino in Central City, she couldn’t believe her eyes. The machine indicated that she'd won $42 million.

The elation didn’t last long. A few minutes later, casino officials told her the machine had malfunctioned and she didn't win anything.

"Everyone who sits in front of a slot machine is well aware of what the top prize is," said Don Burmania, communications director at the state Gaming Division.

"In this case the top prize was $215,000. So it wasn't in the realm of possibility for anyone to expect to win $42.9 million on that machine."

Her brother, who asked that we not use his name, told 7NEWS that investigators need to get to the bottom of the dispute.

“If it was a legitimate malfunction, the company should be able to prove it and not just claim it was a malfunction to avoid having to pay the jackpot amount,” he said.

The machine was sent to a private lab for analysis.

This isn’t the first time there’s been a malfunction with a slot machine in Colorado.

A woman who thought that she’d won a $164 million jackpot at the Canyon Casino in Black Hawk in August of 2008, was also told it was a machine malfunction.

In the Fortune Valley incident, the casino offered to give Ms. Chavez the $23 she spent on slots that day, a free night's lodging and a free buffet.


Plains states brace for grasshopper invasion

Parts of Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Idaho may be in store for costly grasshopper infestations this summer.

Grasshoppers are found across the United States, but outbreaks of pest species are most common in the Plains and Western states.

"They're grass eaters," said Tom Wright, a rancher near Newcastle in northeast Wyoming about 20 miles from the South Dakota border. "They'll eat the leaves and leave the stem. And they will eat the stems finally.

"When they're really thick, people say they'll eat T-shirts on a clothesline," he said as he recalled a time in the mid-1980s when the grasshoppers were so thick that you couldn't put your hand on the shady side of a fence post without squashing one.

More here.

There is a lot to quack about at Duckomenta

Things are just ducky now that Duckomenta has returned to “Duckburg”.

Yes, there is a lot of quacking as the ducks are back at Duckomenta II as a new entries mimic the works of the masters.

The ducks are back at Neuhardenberg, Germany, which is called “Duckburg” during this event.

Following the Neuhardenberg exhibition in 2003, they traveled the world, were celebrated wherever they went and have now returned to their place of departure to show and astound their many new colleagues at Neuhardenberg.

The displays opened in March of this year in Neuhardenberg, Brandenburg, Germany. Duckomenta viewing will continue through June 13, 2010.

Shown below are notable Duckomenta II entries:

Duckfretete - Egyptian Queen Nefertiti

Duckstein - Albert Einstein

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

Vincent Van Gogh self portrait


Keeping both eyes on the ball

Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak eyes the ball as she plays Croatia's Petra Martic during their second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Thursday, May 28, 2009.

Hurry up and wait: Apple delays iPad shipping

Apple Inc.'s iPad tablet computer hits U.S. shelves on Saturday, but fans who want the new touch-screen gadget shipped directly to them must wait a week.

The company declined to give a reason for the shipping delay, but said would-be customers can still pre-order the iPad for in-store pickup on April 3, or purchase the device in stores that day.

The iPads going on sale will connect to Wi-Fi networks only and cost $499, $599 or $699, depending on the data storage capacity.

Versions that also can connect to "3G" cellular networks are expected to go on sale in late April for $629, $729 or $829. International releases also are planned for later in April.


News lady: dead man climbs Mt. Everest!

CNN ratings keep sinking

From a New York Times report at the link below:

CNN continued what has become a precipitous decline in ratings for its prime-time programs in the first quarter of 2010, with its main hosts losing almost half their viewers in a year.

The trend in news ratings for the first three months of this year is all up for one network, the Fox News Channel, which enjoyed its best quarter ever in ratings, and down for both MSNBC and CNN.

CNN has long regarded Anderson Cooper as the strongest host at CNN. Yet the New York Times report says his show has suffered badly.

For the quarter, Cooper dropped 42 percent in viewers and 46 percent among the 25-to-54-year-old audience that the news channels use for their sales to advertisers.

We have long said that Anderson Cooper is newscastings answer to cold oatmeal. According to his drop in ratings, a host of others must feel the same way.

The Times report says that CNN’s programs are led by hosts “not aligned with any partisan point of view,” which is not true.

During most of the 1990’s, CNN was known by many as the Clinton News Network for the way they under reported anything negative about Bill Clinton - especially the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the subsequent impeachment proceedings.

The New York Times report is here. Recent cable news viewership numbers can be found here.

Mar 29, 2010

Facebook blocks Defriender iPhone app

A company called i-Doodz released an iPhone application recently that tracked your Facebook friend list and would alert you if someone "defriended" you.

It was a 99-cent app that scanned your Facebook friend list each time you ran the program and compared it with the last list. If it noticed a missing name, it alerted you to the wayward friend.

However, only days after Defriender's debut, Facebook blocked the application, and Apple pulled it from the App store.


Ironworker at One World Trade Center construction site

An ironworker unhooks a cable suspended from a crane at One World Trade Center construction site, Thursday, March 25, 2010 in New York.

One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, is under construction by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Report: white men walking away from Democrat Party

A report at the link below is titled, White men shun Democrats.

Millions of white men who voted for Barack Obama are walking away from the Democratic Party, and it appears increasingly likely that they'll take the midterms elections in November with them. Their departure could well lead to a GOP landslide on a scale not seen since 1994.

For more than three decades before the 2008 election, no Democrat president had won a majority of the electorate. In part, that was because of low support -- never more than 38 percent -- among white male voters.

That all changed with Obama. He not only won a majority of all people voting, but also pulled in 41 percent of white male voters.

More of this interesting story here.

CNN said dozens at Nevada Palin event - but photos show thousands

CNN must be angry because the latest Sarah Palin rally was held in Searchlight, Arizona - the hometown of Harry Reid.

For whatever reason, CNN downplayed the Palin event in Nevada by saying “at Least Dozens of People” attended.

(click on picture to enlarge)

Politico reports the crowd at more like 20,000 and the actual count was probably much higher.

(click on picture to enlarge)

The crowd photos were taken by the Border Patrol during the Palin rally in Searchlight, Arizona. The photos are dated March 27, 1010.


Beach monsters?

They may look like beach monsters but the photo shows people carrying chairs at the beach of St. Peter-Ording, in Germany,

Is DC going to pot?

A medical marijuana bill in Washington, DC will likely allow users to grow their own in their back yards or basements.

DC lawmakers are discussing adding a provision to a medical marijuana bill that would allow authorized users to grow the plants for their personal use.

A provision for "home cultivation" is being discussed.

Of the 14 states allowing medical marijuana, 13 states currently allow so-called "home cultivation." Most states allow people to cultivate five to six plants.


Mar 28, 2010

Palin campaigned for McCain in Arizona

To paraphrase lyrics from a Glen Campbell song, “By the time she gets to Phoenix, he'll be raring (to go.)”

The photo shows Sarah Palin and John McCain campaigning in 2008.

Sarah Palin was in Arizona to help Sen. John McCain who is facing a tough challenge in his re-election bid.

John McCain helped Sarah Palin launch her national political career two years ago. Now, she's trying to help McCain save his.

Friday was the first time the former Republican presidential candidate and his vice president pick will campaign together since the election in 2008.

More here.

Businesses react to higher cost of ObamaCare by cutting benefits

Remember the part in the ObamaCare pitch when they said if you like your current healthcare, it won't change?

Turns out it might.

Companies are already announcing that their healthcare premium costs are going through the roof.

Some are responding by firing people.

Some are cutting benefits.

What will your employer do?


Times online to charge readers $36 year beginning in June

Beginning in June of this year we will no longer link to reports in the London Times (in the UK it is simply called “The Times.”

Why? The Times will begin charging for the privilege of looking at their web editions.

We have no quarrel with the decision to charge for their online content. It’s just that we can’t afford to pay thirty some dollars each to the dozens and dozens of newspaper websites we link to each year.

Rupert Murdoch is chairman and CEO of News Corp. owner of The Times.

News Corp. is the world's second-largest media conglomerate. Included in the holdings of News Corp. are Fox News, Wall Street Journal, and New York Post.

Can charging for Wall Street Journal, New York Post and Fox News online content be far behind?


The Stupak 11 now want billions for their votes

The “Stupak 11” sold their votes. It wasn’t about their pro-life principals. It was all about money.

Congressman Bart Stupak (pictured) and ten other House members, known as the “Stupak 11,” compromised on their pro-life position to deliver the necessary yes-votes to pass ObamaCare.

One day later, the “Stupak 11” released their fiscal year 2011 earmark requests, which total more than $4.7 billion. That’s an average of $429 million worth of earmark requests for each of them!

Like Ben Nelson and others in the Senate, the Stupak 11 sold out for ‘thirty pieces of silver.’


Cable News viewership race for Tuesday March 23, 2010 shown by number of viewers:

Fox News - Bill O’Reilly - 3,185,000
Fox News - Hannity - 2,724,000
Fox News - Greta Van Susteren - 2,613,000
Fox News - Glenn Beck - 2,574,000
Fox News - Bret Baier - 2,445,000
Fox News - Shephard Smith - 1,831,000
MSNBC - Rachel Maddow - 1,457,000
MSNBC - Keith Olbernann - 1,270,000
CNN - Anderson Cooper - 884,000
MSNBC - Ed Schultz - 840,000
MSNBC - Chris Matthews - 839,000