Jun 5, 2010

Wintley Phipps - Amazing Grace

Wintley Phipps talks about the song Amazing Grace

Winking baby lion

A baby white lion appears to be winking at a safari park in Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock,

Jun 4, 2010

Joe Biden on being Vice President

“It's easy being Vice President — you don't have to do anything.”

- Joe Biden, just before the afternoon session of the health care summit last February 25, 2010.

Driver in spectacular toll booth crash claimed she was real-ended

The driver in the spectacular toll booth crash, shown in the video below, claimed she was rear-ended.

The spectacular crash was captured by a security camera. The video was originally posted on Unfair Park, a blog of the Dallas Observer – and then picked up by countless other websites – the video has drawn viewers worldwide.

The driver has become an Internet sensation for flying – literally – through the north toll plaza at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The driver, 22-year-old Yasmine Villasana, was lucky to survive with minor injuries when her car careened through the air and burst into flames.


Lego computer printer - delightful

Thanks to Ingrid for the link

Obama heads to gulf - cancels Asia trip

The Obama Asia trip has been canceled.

Obama had a sensitive political decision to make: Risk putting off two allies in a strategic part of the world once again or endure all the downsides, including an inevitable level of backlash, for being on the other side of the world during a huge crisis at home.

The domestic agenda proved dominant.

By canceling the trip leaders in Indonesia and Australia will just have to wait for their Obama bow.


Big jobs increase but 95% were government jobs

Jobs growth is disappointing because of weak private sector hiring.

Non-farm payrolls rose by 431,000 jobs on the surge in government hiring but private employment, a barometer of underlying labor market strength, climbed just 41,000, the Labor Department said on Friday.

The increase of 431,000 jobs is made up of 411,000 temporary census workers.

When the administration touts the May jobs gain as the biggest increase in payrolls since March 2000, just remember that only 5% of the increase was in the private sector.


Seafood from the gulf

Court says Ohio cops don’t need radar guns to ticket speeders

From an ABC News report at the link below :

Imagine a highway trooper pulling you over in the middle of your summer travel and declaring that you were speeding.

How's he know for sure? Because he says so; at least, in Ohio.

The state's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the trained eyeballs of police officers are enough to hand out speeding tickets. A radar gun is unnecessary.

Most states, cities and counties claim that traffic citations are all about safety. However, in truth, traffic citations are more about revenue than safety.

By allowing a patrolman to judge speed by eye, Ohio will have a chance to increase their revenue from speeding fines.

It will be interesting to know if lawsuits and public outcry will bring an end to catching speeders by eye in Ohio.


Jun 3, 2010

Maytag repairmen won’t be lonely with 1.7m dishwashers recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced that Maytag Corp. is recalling about 1.7 million dishwashers because of a fire hazard.

The recall includes Maytag, Amana, Jenn-Air, Admiral, Magic Chef, Performa by Maytag and Crosley brand dishwashers with plastic tubs.

The recalled dishwashers were made with black, bisque, white, silver and stainless steel front panels and sold at department and appliance stores nationwide from February 2006 through April 2010. They cost between $250 and $900.

CPSC advises consumers to immediately stop using the recalled dishwashers and disconnect the electric supply by shutting off the fuse or circuit breaker controlling it.

Consumers can schedule a free in-home repair or receive a rebate of $150 or $250 toward the purchase of select new Maytag dishwashers. The amount of the rebate depends on the type of model to be purchased.


Blagojevich trial to rattle biggest names in Washington

From a report at the first link below:

The corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (upper photo) is already shaping up to be a political circus, promising to lay bare the underbelly of Chicago politics.

Corruption in Illinois politics is nothing new. Four former Illinois governors, one Republican and three Democrats, served prison terms. Illinois is surly the only state in the union where former governors made license plates.

Obama has been involved in separate attempted Senate seat “fixes.” The first was with whoever the White House selected to negotiate with Blagojevich to take the Senate seat occupied by Obama - which is what this trial is all about. The second was the Andrew Romanoff case in Colorado (see third and fourth links below). The third was the recent Joe Sestak affair in Pennsylvania.

Now we know why Obama made that last trip to Chicago cutting short his gulf trip to less than three hours and skipping out on the traditional presidential duty at the Arlington Cemetery tomb of the unkowns.

He needed to get his “ducks in a row” before the Blagojevich corruption trial.

One wonders how much influence Obama will have over how Patrick Fitzgerald (lower photo) plans to handles the prosecution.

Obama will probably not testify. However among those who may take the stand are senior White House staffers Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

From one commenter:

Blagojevich probably has hidden paperwork in various safe locations and with people he trusts.

Maybe he has even given it all to a 'conservative' investigative journalist, as no Democrat could be trusted to write objectively about material damaging to the Democratic Party.

He has probably made it clear that he doesn't plan to be the next Vince Foster nor does he plan to be the fifth Illinois governor to end up in prison.

Everyone who could be adversely affected by the Blagojevich trial are high-profile Democrats. It will be interesting to see how left-leaning special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald goes after Blagojevich while trying to minimize the political damage to Democrats.

Will this go on as long as the Bill Clinton impeachment trial? How much of the Blagojevich trial will be made public?

If most of the proceedings are reported in the media it will be interesting to follow but at the same time it will be sad to witness another dark period in Democratic Party politics.

Link here, here, here and here.

Two if by sea …

Rained out

A spectator waits under his umbrella as the game between Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova was suspended due to rain at the recent Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome.

Osama Bin Laden gets boarding pass from British Airways

LHR News is a British Airways staff magazine covering London's Heathrow Airport.

The magazine did a cover story about a new service allowing passengers to download paperless boarding passes to their iPhones.

Only problem was, a close-up of the cover photo shows a white boarding pass bearing the name “Bin Laden/Osama.”

The boarding pass is thought to be the work of a disgruntled employee or former employee.

British Airways is currently in the middle of a prolonged labor dispute with some of its unions so the disgruntled employee theory is quite plausible.


Republicans jump to historic lead in Gallup generic polling

From a report at the first link below:

Gallup's generic polling shows the number of voters saying that they would vote for Republicans rising three points from last week, while the number saying they will vote for Democrats dropped four points.

The 49%-43% lead for the Republicans is the largest that the pollster has ever recorded for the party. Moreover, Democratic enthusiasm for voting this fall fell a point, while enthusiasm among Republicans stayed about fifteen points higher. This indicates an even wider lead for Republicans once Gallup imposes a likely voter screen this fall.

The Republican lead may increase as the gulf oil spill continues to be viewed as “Obama’s Katrina.”

Obama’s three hours spent in the gulf last week was only his second visit to the gulf coast since the disaster began last April. It takes him more than three hours each time he plays golf.

Link here and here.

A case made for Obama’s incompetence

A report at the link below is titled, “Obama doesn’t have a clue.”

From the report:

Conservatives are so enraged at Obama’s socialism and radicalism that they are increasingly surprised to learn that he is incompetent as well.

The writer compares Obama’s “blithering and blustering” during the most massive oil spill in history to Jimmy Carter’s incompetence in the face of the hostage crisis.

America is watching the president alternate between wringing his hands in helplessness and pointing his finger in blame when he should be solving the most pressing environmental problem America has faced in the past 50 years.

The environmentalists of America cannot take heart from a president so obviously ignorant about how to protect our shores and so obstinately arrogant that he refuses to inform himself and take any responsibility.

Obama has no more idea how to work his way out of the economic mess into which his policies have plunged us than he does about how to clean up the oil spill that is destroying our southern coastline.

More here.

Jun 2, 2010

Joran Van der Sloot is prime suspect in Peru murder

Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot remains the prime suspect in the 5-year-old murder of American student Natalee Holloway in Aruba.

Now, Van der Sloot (pictured) is the prime suspect in the murder of Stephany Flores Ramirez.

The 21-year-old girl was found dead in a Lima, Peru hotel room.

According to police reports, Ramirez was brutally stabbed and was found wrapped in a blanket in a pool of blood.

Chief of detectives Col. Miguel Canlla says that Ramirez was murdered on Sunday.

The victim's father, Ricardo Flores, says Van der Sloot appears with his daughter in a video taken at a Lima casino early Sunday.

Hotel employees also told police that they saw VaLinkn der Sloot with Stephany over the weekend. The hotel room where Ramirez's body was found was registered under van der Sloot's name, says the paper.

According to Peruvian immigration officials, Van der Sloot departed Peru on Monday. Canlla says Peru is asking Chilean authorities for help in the case.

The Dutch government said Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant for Van der Sloot.


Hope and Change working in the gulf

Editorial cartoonist Eric Allie shows how the Hope and Change is workin’ in the gulf.

Bulls and bears take back seat to bees

We usually think of Wall Street belonging to bulls or bears but for a short while last Sunday Wall Street belonged to the bees.

A swarm of bees unnerved New Yorkers before settling on the door of Cipriani's on 55 Wall Street -- but they were removed without incident and are on their way to a hive at some undisclosed location in Connecticut.

Nobody was hurt and no one panicked -- people just gathered to witness the rarity, Verner said. Police closed off a section of Wall Street to allow NYPD specialists to respond to the emergency, using a special device to suck up the bees.

The bees were taken to an undisclosed location in Connecticut.


Facebook 'Like' button draws privacy concerns

A CNN report at the link below says:

When Facebook recently announced a "Like" button that publishers could place on their Web pages, he predicted it would make the Web smarter and "more social."

What Facebook didn't point out is that widespread use of the Like button allows Facebook to track people as they switch from CNN.com to Yelp.com to ESPN.com, all of which are sites that have said they will implement the feature.

Even if someone is not a Facebook user or is not logged in, Facebook's social plugins collect the address of the Web page being visited and the Internet address of the visitor as soon as the page is loaded -- clicking on the Like button is not required.

As more sites participate, Facebook will be able to assemble a vast amount of data about Internet users' browsing habits.

"If you put a Like button on your site, you're potentially selling out your users' privacy even if they never press that button," says Nicole Ozer, an attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. "It's another example of why user control needs to be the default in Facebook."

More here.

It’s June - time to hit the road …

… just to remember to pack lightly and check the air pressure in the tires.

Airport security should trump privacy

US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Tuesday that concerns over privacy should not hamper cooperation on airport security.

"I want to stress, I am respectful and cognizant of the privacy concerns," referring to protests against a US drive to use full body X-ray scans at airports.

"Respect for privacy is a value we share. But all countries have unique legal traditions, cultural differences, and political realities.

"I believe that we should not allow these differences to keep us from working toward a common goal and a deep and stronger partnership with respect to security and privacy," she said.

Civil liberties groups and Muslim groups have protested the move, because the body scanners provide full-body imaging.

Napolitano went on to say that producers of the body scanners are already working on developing new machines that take privacy into consideration.


(click on cartoon to enlarge)

White House to take credit if oil cap works otherwise blame BP

Justice Department not ready for WMD attack

The Justice Department is not ready to provide a coordinated response to an attack by a weapon of mass destruction, the agency's inspector general said in a report out Tuesday.

In the event of an attack by nuclear, biological, chemical or other mass-casualty weapons, the Justice Department is assigned the responsibility for coordinating federal law enforcement activities and for ensuring public safety and security if the incident overwhelms state and local law enforcement, the report says.

The review found that "the department is not prepared to fulfill its role."

More here.

Jun 1, 2010

The government seems to be doing what it does best in the gulf

Convenient truth: Al and Tipper Gore separate after 40 years

There appears to be global cooling in the Gore household.

“Inconvenient Truth” creator Al Gore and Tipper, his wife of 40 years, are separating. The Gore’s are shown here in more romantic times.

Former Vice-President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, are telling friends they "grew apart" after 40 years of marriage, and there was no illicit affair involved.

According to two longtime close associates and family friends, the Gores say they are separating amicably. Their decision came after a "long process of careful consideration," said one of the associates.

The associates said the Gores, over time, had carved out separate lives, with the former vice-president on the road frequently. One of the associates said: "Their lives had gotten more and more separated."

Which one of them will move out of their mega-mansion? Will Al be able to keep his home office shown below?

(click on picture to enlarge)

The photo shows Al Gore in his office.

Looks a lot like how my “cave” would look if I had that much room for clutter.

I love the frog hanging on the wall.


He set the house on fire when dinner was late

What do you do when your wife is late getting dinner ready?

According to a man in West Virginia, you set fire to the house.

Guy Edward Jones, 60, of Derrick's Creek Road near Sissonville, allegedly came home after a night of drinking late Sunday and got mad because his wife, Beverly Jones, didn't have dinner on the table, said Lt. Sean Crosier of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.

Crosier said the couple got into a fight and Mrs. Jones ran to a neighbor's house. Crosier said she turned around to see flames coming out of the basement and her husband coming out of the basement door.

Mr. Jones was arrested and charged with first-degree arson. He was put in Jail the next morning in lieu of $50,000 bond.


Heart attack on a plate #3

Got beef? This Burger King sandwich sure does.

The "BK Quad Stacker" hamburger has four beef patties, topped with bacon, cheese, sauce, lettuce, pickles and onions.

It weighs in with 1010 calories, 70 grams of fat, 30 mg of saturated fat, 3 grams trans fats, 210 mg cholesterol, 34 carbs, 6 grams sugar, 64 grams protein and 1800 mg sodium -- not counting the French Fries!

WH trying to regroup as gulf leak criticism escalates

Climate change and energy policy adviser Carol M. Browner (pictured), said, “it’s important for people to understand that from the beginning, the government has been in charge.” She also said, “we are prepared for the worst, we have been prepared from the beginning.”

If indeed the government was prepared from the beginning, then it shows the incompetence of the government.

The truth is the government has been in charge of nothing but damage control as the White House is afraid to aggressively go after BP, the company that gave Obama huge donations during the presidential campaign.

Listening to the claim that the government was “on it” from day one makes one wonder if they will still be saying that on day 444 like Jimmy Carter was “on it” during his Iran hostage situation?


Guatemala sinkhole swallows three-story building

Tropical Storm Agatha swept across Central America yesterday, bringing torrential rain that killed more than 100 people and opened a 60m-deep sinkhole in Guatemala City which reportedly swallowed a three-story building.

The huge sinkhole has been blamed on a combination of Tropical Storm Agatha and poor drainage systems in the city.

Local reports said one man was killed when the building was swallowed.

In 2007, three people died when a similar sinkhole appeared in the same area.


May 31, 2010

Traditional presidential duty passed of to Biden

Laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns is the traditional duty of the President of the United States on Memorial Day.

Not this year.

Obama was too busy with his vacation in Chicago and sent Vice President Joe Biden instead.

Above shows Vice President Joe Biden laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, 2010, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Mr. Obama was to preside over a separate holiday observance near Chicago later Monday.

Obama will, however, be back in time to honor Paul McCartney at the White House.

Link here and here.

Raising the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima during World War II

Memorial Day - a time to remember our fallen heroes

Happy Memorial Day

Mexican pirates attack Texas fishermen on lake near border

A report at the link below says Mexican pirates have been preying on boaters on Falcon Lake. The border between the United States and Mexico zigzags through the lake.

Photo shows game wardens from Texas Parks and Wildlife patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border on Falcon Lake.

Texas Department of Public Safety warned two weeks ago that boaters should steer clear of the international boundary that zigzags through Falcon Lake because "pirates" had robbed fishermen at gunpoint.

On April 30 and again on May 6, heavily armed men robbed fishermen on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake.


May 30, 2010

Those Indy racers get smaller and sleeker every year

He should have suspected something when Matchbox took over his sponsorship.

The tingling must have stopped as Chris Matthews blasts Obama.

Chris Matthews - remember him? He is the Obama lapdog on MSNBC that said Barack Obama’s inauguration speech sent a tingle up his leg.

Perhaps Matthews didn’t want to be outdone in the rant department by the ragin’ Cajun, James Carville.

Just before Barack Obama’s press conference on Friday Matthews went on his own rant about how the Louisiana coastline is “part of our birthright, with the Grand Canyon, with Niagara Falls, with Yosemite.” And then he directed this zinger at Obama:

The Gulf of Mexico is more important than a Presidency, and the president has not acted that way, he has not acted like this is more important than a fundraiser in California, or an interview about basketball with Marv Albert.

After watching the video above, I could only hope the broadcast set and everyone in it were protected by spit covers.


FDA warns of liver damage on popular weight loss pills

Federal health officials are warning consumers that the weight loss pills Alli and Xenical may cause severe liver damage in rare cases.

The Food and Drug Administration said it has added a warning about the risk to the over-the-counter drug Alli, which is made by GlaxoSmithKline. The prescription version Xenical is made by Roche.

The FDA identified 13 instances of liver damage associated with Alli and Xenical, but a causal effect between the drugs and the problem has not been established.

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Alli has icky side effects that keep users ‘honest’

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An MSNBC report at the second link below reports that the threat of embarrassment forces Alli users to eat healthy -- or else. The product can cause some ghastly side effects if users cheat on their diets.

Alli has been very popular despite the scary warning: Stray too far from your low-fat diet and you just might soil your pants.

The drug’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline, has been up front about the pill’s side effects, suggesting that first timers wear dark pants or bring a change of clothes to work until they get used to the diet pill’s potentially yucky consequences.

Some have even suggested wearing depends until the user is comfortable with using Alli.

Link here and here.

Preparing for Memorial Day

A Boy Scout helps place U.S. flags near head stones in San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in preparation for Memorial Day. About 100,000 flags were placed.

American Airlines jet covered with ash from Pacaya Volcano

An American Airlines jet sits covered with ash from the eruption of the Pacaya Volcano on the runway at the International airport in Guatemala City.

This is the second day of Guatemala's Pacaya volcano spewing ash and small rocks over the Central American country.