Jun 25, 2010

Electricians nightmare

An Iraqi electrician checks the wires leading to a row of apartments, which are all connected to a generator that runs when the national power grid is down in Baghdad.

About that unpublicized finance bill

While you slept last night, Democrats in Congress forged a far-reaching finance bill that may nearly equal the devastating ObamaCare bill in several catagories:

1. Number of pages that most in Congress didn’t read before they voted.

2. Stealth measures under which the bill was written.

3. The added government control provided for in the bill.

4. The added cost to taxpayers.

Remember what Pelosi said about the 2,000 page healthcare bill - we'll have to wait until it's in effect to see what it says and what it really means?

From the article below, Chris Dodd said the same thing about this 2,000 page bill.

“No one will know until this is actually in place how it works.”

The graphic above shows handwritten marks and scribbles on a major amendment of technical changes to the bill illustrating the rapid-fire changes the legislation went through during the all-night cram-it-through session Thursday night.

Isn’t it incredible what Congress can do to America while we sleep?

From a commenter:

The main points of the bill:

Small banks will struggle to meet compliance demands.

Credit will be more difficult to obtain and there will be less of it.

Nothing in the bill addresses the problems of 2008.

Costs of compliance will be passed on directly to customers (the American people).


Trouble with your new iPhone 4? Apple says it’s your fault

Some who bought their iPhone 4 yesterday reported reception troubles, a problem Apple has acknowledged and said it’s the users fault.

Hours after its iPhone 4 went on sale to excited crowds Thursday, Apple found itself responding to complaints that holding the phone by its metal edge causes mobile reception to suffer.

The company's response, in a nutshell? You're holding it wrong.

"Just avoid holding it in that way," Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote in an e-mail that was making the rounds on the Web on Friday morning.

Holding it wrong? Why did Apple make it so it could be “held wrong?”

Is Apple’s Steve Jobs holding the iPhone 4 correctly in the photo above?

More of the iPhone 4 "users fault" story here.

Did illegals bring their own recliners?

Did illegals bring their own recliners across the border?

Just asking…

Did General McChrystal tell the truth?

According to a report at the link below -- yes, General Stanley McChrystal (pictured) told the truth to a reporter for Rolling Stone Magazine.

The military is finally telling the unvarnished truth about President Obama's dysfunctional national security team.

Oddly, Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his inner circle chose to dish dirt to a reporter for Rolling Stone, a decidedly left-wing publication that portrays the U.S. military negatively and knows as much about counter-insurgency as a 4th grader.

Not included in the story is an ongoing dispute between the White House and its generals that shows why McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, had grown so frustrated.

The debate centers on when exactly troops will begin leaving Afghanistan. Every time a Pentagon figure, such as Gen. David Petraeus, the overall region commander, testified that Obama's July 2011 withdrawal date does not mean the U.S. is abandoning Afghanistan, there was a White House official saying nearly the opposite.

The actions of Obama's dysfunctional national security team has sent a distorted message to Afghan troops and villagers who think America is going to leave them to the mercies of the Taliban, which shows no mercy.

McChrystal's counter-insurgency strategy of winning over the population cannot possibly succeed as long as the White House undercuts it.

This is an administration that won’t use words such as war or victory or winning.

Link here for more of the story including a short insight into the shallowness and incompetence of Obama’s hand-picked vice president.

Ruling by judge mocks Obama drilling ban

Obama's drilling moratorium has been ‘moratoriumed’ by judge.

In fact, the federal judge in New Orleans who blocked Obama’s six-month moratorium on new deep-water offshore oil drilling mocked the decision to impose it as sloppy and illogical.

The ruling went into effect immediately.

The White House now must file an appeal in the fifth circuit court of appeals which happens to be located in Louisiana, a state not happy with the way Obama is handling the oil spill.

Trade groups estimate that the 33 deepwater rigs idled the moratorium employed 5,900 to 9,200 people amounting to a loss of millions dollars in salaries. In addition, those jobs support an additional 26,000 to 46,000 industry workers.

The reason for Obama’s moratorium was flimsy. Just because there was one faulty deepwater rig, that does not automatically assume that all are faulty.

Obviously Obama does not want domestic oil. His one and only Oval Office speech mostly amounted to: drilling for oil in the Gulf is risky - so let’s build windmills.

Link here and here.

Jun 24, 2010

California welfare cards can be used in many casino ATMs

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows a recipient to authorize transfer of their government benefits from a Federal or State account to a retailer account to pay for products received.

In California welfare recipients can get cash from state-issued EBT cards in more than half of the state's casinos and gaming rooms.

Californians can now gamble away their welfare benefits.



Vendor on white sand Cuban beach

This is what beaches along the Florida panhandle looked like before the oil spill.

Oregon masseuse claims Al Gore groped her in hotel room

From a report in The Oregonian:

A Portland massage therapist gave local police a detailed statement last year alleging that former Vice President Al Gore (pictured) groped her, kissed her and made unwanted sexual advances during a late-night massage session in October 2006 in a suite at the upscale Hotel Lucia.

The woman told investigators that she informed two friends and kept the clothes she wore that night, including her black pants with stains on them. But Portland police didn't contact any of the woman's friends, obtain the potential evidence or interview anyone at the hotel, records show.

Al Gore, who was registered under the name "Mr. Stone," asked the masseuse to call him “Al.”

Details of the encounter from The Oregonian can be found here. The marriage separation of Al and Tipper Gore was reported here.

Abandoned truck in Cuervo, New Mexico

This old 1950’s Mack truck is shown parked in Cuervo, a ghost town located between Albuquerque and Tucemcari, New Mexico.

The B-Series Mack had a narrow cab but was a reliable workhorse. It was known as the “one stack Mack with a window in the back.”

The stack on this Mack has been removed.

The more recent lower photo shows the doors, hood and fenders have been removed as well. Another year or so and there may not be anything left of that once proud Mack.

Report: Confidence waning in Obama and US outlook

From a report at the link below:

Americans are more pessimistic about the state of the country and less confident in President Barack Obama's leadership than at any point since Mr. Obama entered the White House, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

The survey also shows grave and growing concerns about the Gulf oil spill, with overwhelming majorities of adults favoring stronger regulation of the oil industry and believing that the spill will affect the nation's economy and environment.

More here.

Blagojevich corruption trial an unwanted headache for Obama

The corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich (pictured) is well under way and Democrats in Illinois as well as top administration aides are understandably worried.

From an AP report at the link below:

The corruption trial of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- for allegedly trying to sell President Barack Obama's own Senate seat -- is a distant but unwelcome headache for the White House.

While Obama hasn't been accused of wrongdoing, nor have his allies, top administration aides have now been subpoenaed to testify.

After court adjourned Wednesday, Blagojevich's attorneys filed a motion asking to see the FBI's summaries of interviews agents conducted with Obama.

Obama already has many other problems such as the economy, the Gulf oil spill and a tough congressional election year.

Obama's political opponents will certainly try to tie the president to Blagojevich's alleged shenanigans in appointing a Senate replacement from a state with notoriously corrupt politics.

They'll have plenty of opportunities.

"Anyone in Illinois politics, especially Illinois Democratic politics, should be nervous if, in fact, Rod Blagojevich goes on the stand because he is the human equivalent of an unguided political missile," said Paul Green, who teaches politics at Chicago's Roosevelt University.

Plenty of unwanted headaches for Obama indeed.

More here.

Jun 23, 2010

Goose stepping in Kyrgyzstan

An honor guard marches in Ala-Too Square after installing the national flag in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Prison inmates get homebuyer tax credits

How could this happen?

Nearly 1,300 prison inmates wrongly received more than $9 million in tax credits for homebuyers despite being locked up when they claimed they bought a home, a government investigator reported Wednesday.

The investigator said 241 of the inmates were serving life sentences.

In all, more than 14,100 taxpayers wrongly received at least $26.7 million in tax credits that were meant to boost the nation's slumping housing markets, said the report by J. Russell George, the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration.

The report blemishes an otherwise popular tax break that was sweetened once by President Barack Obama as part of his economic recovery package and again by Congress when it was extended into this spring

More of this troubling report here.

Kagan practices for Supreme Court confirmation hearing

Obama’s Supreme Court nominee is practicing for her conformation hearing next week.

For several grueling hours each day, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan (upper photo) sits at a witness table, facing a phalanx of questioners grilling her about constitutional law, her views of legal issues and what qualifies her to be a justice.

They are not polite.

It's all a rehearsal for Kagan's big performance next week during her confirmation hearings at the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Since she is said to be the least qualified Supreme Court candidate in modern times, she will need all the help she can get.

Can Elena Kagan, who has never been a judge at any level, be confirmed?

If Sonia Sotomayor (lower picture) can make it to the Supreme Court anybody can.

Sotomayor’s detractors pointed to her thin résumé and that many of her rulings were overturned. In fact, 60% of her challenged rulings were overturned by the Supreme Court.

Now Mr. Obama has selected a candidate with literally no résumé at all.

Not only has Elena Kagan never been a judge, she has left a miniscule trace of her presence as a lawyer and a legal analyst.


Ms. Kagan had a ready reply to the first question: “My position? I’m out in left field of course.”

Hold that pose

Students train at the Shenyang Qianjin Acrobatic School in Shenyang, China.

Only the very limber need apply.

The US is funding both sides of the Afghan war

An ABC News report says the United States military is helping fund both sides of the war in Afghanistan by knowingly financing a mafia-like collection of warlords and some of the very insurgents American troops are battling.

The military has turned to private trucking companies to transport the vast majority of materials it needs to fight the war -- everything from bullets to Gatorade, gas to sandbags -- and in turn, the companies are using American money to pay, among others, the Taliban to try to guarantee the trucks' safe passage, the reports charge.

The United States military knew it was helping fund the people it was fighting but did nothing about it, choosing to satisfy short-term delivery requirements and ignore fears that payments to the enemy help perpetuate Afghanistan's long-term security problems.


Husband and wife go for Georgia governor and lt governor

Husband-wife candidates raise interest and eyebrows in Georgia.

Pictured are Carol and DuBose Porter, the husband and wife team running as governor and lieutenant governor.

No one in Georgia political circles can recall a situation quite like this.

Thursday, Carol Porter of Dublin announced her candidacy for lieutenant governor, making her the first Democrat to enter the race against incumbent Casey Cagle, a Gainesville Republican.

Her husband, state House Minority Leader DuBose Porter, is seeking the Democratic nod for governor in the same election.

It could work out well for both because of the added free publicity their candidacies would generate.


Jun 22, 2010

Was swine flu really a pandemic?

There is evidence that the swine flu was not really a pandemic as many in the health community claimed.

Scientists who advised the World Health Organization on its influenza policies and recommendations -- including the decision to proclaim the so-called swine flu a "pandemic" had close ties to companies that manufacture vaccines and antiviral medicines like Tamiflu, a fact that WHO did not publicly disclose.

The links between the advisors and the companies that make money from vaccines and flu treatments were detailed in a report published online by the British medical journal BMJ, which investigated the advisors' role in WHO's policy.

The report acknowledged that flu experts do "need to work with industry to develop the best possible drugs for illnesses," but said that allowing industry experts to have a role in the formulation of public health policy was a slippery slope.

Worse was the failure of WHO officials to disclose the conflicts of interest or even identify the members of its advisory committee.


This guy knew swine flu wasn't a pandemic all along.

Ascot Early arrival

A racegoer sits alone before the start of a horse racing day at the Royal Ascot in southern England.

Reuters photo formTime Magazine

Poll: Obama does not have clear plan to deal with oil spill

Politics Daily reports that a majority of Americans say Obama does not have a clear plan for dealing with the Gulf oil spill.

That’s nearly six in 10 Americans who do not believe that Barack Obama has a clear plan for dealing with the Gulf oil spill.

Even Democrats give him tepid support on this question, with 46 percent saying he has a clear plan and 41 percent believing he does not, with 13 percent undecided. About three-quarters of Republicans say he doesn't have a clear plan, and 63 percent of independents agree.


Val Kilmer’s troubles increasing faster than his weight

The upper photo shows actor Val Kilmer as he appeared in the 1993 movie Tombstone. The lower photo shows Kilmer 17 years later and several pounds heavier.

The actor recently applied for permits to turn his 6,000-acre ranch outside Santa Fe into an upscale bed-and-breakfast.

Kilmer’s New Mexico neighbors objected.

They weren't worried about traffic or noise or the prospect of intruding tourists.

They were incensed about comments attributed to Kilmer in magazine articles dating to 2003 and 2005. And they didn't want him to get his way on the ranch unless he apologized.

Kilmer described his rugged corner of New Mexico as "the homicide capital of the Southwest.”

In a 2003 Rolling Stone magazine interview he said that "80 percent of the people in my county are drunk," requiring him to carry a gun for protection.

In Esquire two years later, Kilmer was quoted—again, misquoted, he says—opining that he understands Vietnam better than its veterans, because most of them were "borderline criminal or poor … wretched kids" who landed in the military because they "got beat up by their dads" or "couldn't finagle a scholarship."

At a hearing last month on Kilmer's application, a half-dozen locals and veterans demanded the star apologize before being allowed to welcome paying guests onto his Pecos River Ranch.

The county attorney, Jesus Lopez, backed them up. Kilmer's quotes were "incendiary" and, dated as they may be, created a "clear and present danger threatening public safety," he said.

If Kilmer doesn’t apologize, he may think he is facing Ike and Billy Clanton all over again (as he did in Tombstone).

However, the Cavalry is coming to Kilmer’s defense in the form of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU has stepped in to support Kilmer saying that whether or not he had actually talked trash about his county, he had every right to do so without fear that his permits would be held hostage.


Afghanistan fighting causing troop weariness

Within the U.S. military's rank and file, there are growing doubts about winning in Afghanistan, a mood that contradicts upbeat war reports delivered to Congress last week by the top commander and officials.

A senior military intelligence official who has served in Afghanistan and participates in daily briefings on the war told The Washington Times there is a "weariness" among officers as the war nears the nine-year mark in October.

The second link below may hold the reason why there is Afghan war weariness. It reports on the White House plan to pullout of Afghanistan still set for next summer.

Fighting a war when the enemy knows your strategy is a recipe for losing. No wonder there is “weariness."

Link here and here.

Foreign policy for Dummies…

…and a reference for fighting terrorists

Jun 21, 2010

Truth about the Mayan 2012 end of world prediction

Prince Charles and the genie

The following is a paraphrased account of Prince Charles and the proverbial genie in a bottle:

Prince Charles was driving around his mother’s estate when he accidentally ran over her favorite Corgi dog.

He got out of his Range Rover wondering what to do when he saw an old lamp on the ground.

He picked up the lamp and a genie appeared and said he would grant one wish.

"Well," said the Prince, "I have all the material things I need, but let me show you this dog."

They walked over to the lifeless remains of the dog. "Do you think you could bring this dog back to life for me?" the Prince asked.

The genie carefully looked at the remains and shook his head. "This body is too far gone for even me to bring it back to life. Is there something else you would like?"

The Prince thought for a minute, reached into his pocket and pulled out two photos. "I was married to this beautiful woman called Diana," said Prince Charles, showing the genie the first photo. "But now I love this woman called Camilla," and he showed the genie the second photo. "You see Camilla isn’t beautiful at all, so do you think you can make Camilla as beautiful as Diana?"

The genie studied the two photographs and after a few minutes said, "Let’s have another look at the dog".

We agree with Brutus Thornapple

Butting heads

Limousin bulls stand at a cattle auction in Gross Kreutz, Germany.

Health care vote could cost Democrats their majority

Denver political analyst Floyd Floyd Ciruli says “The vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on health care reform is being called by some the most politically risky in more than a decade.”

Ciruli says he believes the vote could cost the Democrats their majority in the house and make re-election more challenging for representatives in districts that are politically competitive.

A case in point is Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.), who serves in the traditionally Republican 4th District, will feel that challenge. Markey supported the health care bill.

Ciruli says Democrats are hoping that in November this issue is not as important as it is today. They're hoping in November other issues are out there and some of them are working for them as Democrats.

This worry by Democrats is by no means limited to Colorado.


Jun 20, 2010

Painter misspells town name on tower in Wisconsin

A painter working on a Wisconsin water tower left behind one big typo.

The mistake had Stoughton residents scratching their heads. The new paint job had the town's name without the second T.

A spokesman for the contractor says the painter had the correct information. He just forgot to block out the "T" before he started painting.

He spelled the name "S-T-O-U-G-H-O-N" instead of "S-T-O-U-G-H-T-O-N," but what’s a letter T among friends?

What will the painter do first on Monday morning - look for a spellchecker or log on to Monster.com looking for a new job?


Democrats in SC and Texas grapple with surprise candidates

Embarrassing candidates are turning Democrat politics on its ear in South Carolina and Texas.

South Carolina's unexpected Democrat nominee for the US Senate is unemployed mystery man Alvin Greene (upper photo) who says he wants to play golf with Barack Obama.

Democrats in Texas have their own surprise Democrat primary winner, congressional nominee Kesha Rogers (lower photo) who wants to impeach Barack Obama.

So while South Carolina party officials are still unsure of what to do about Greene's success at the ballot box, Texas Democrats have no such reservations — they wasted little time in casting Rogers into exile and offering no support or recognition of her campaign to win what once was Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay's old seat.

Democrats in South Carolina have a longer list of negatives to overcome with Alvin Greene.

Greene is unemployed, has no home or apartment of his own. He can only be reached on his father’s phone -- doesn’t even have a cell phone. He has been drawing unemployment since he left military service. He was involuntarily discharged from both the Army and the Air Force. He is facing an obscenity charge for allegedly showing a teenage girl online pornography in a college campus computer lab.

Democrats in Texas have a shorter list of negatives with their surprise candidate but her list is much more lethal.

Kesha is a "full time political activist" in the Lyndon LaRouche Youth Movement, a recruiting arm of the LaRouche political organization. The LYM espouses LaRouche opposition to free trade and "globalism" (the UN, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund) and it also calls for a return to a humanist classical education, emphasizing the works of Plato and Leibnitz.

Her website calls for the impeachment of President Obama and calls Obama a "London and Wall Street backed puppet" whose policies will destroy the Democratic Party.

During the campaign, she was photographed carrying an oversized portrait of the President with a Hitler-style moustache penciled on his lip.

Why can’t Democrats in South Carolina and Texas find candidates more worthy than Alvin Greene and Kesha Rogers?

Link here and here.

Father’s Day gift for a low-tech dad who lives in the past

Get him a Garmin for his 1935 Hudson Terraplane.

Unhappy 1st Birthday to the stimulus

The stimulus gets a one-year report card with a failing grade.

From a Time Magazine report at the link below:

The general public's opinion of the bill that authorized the government to spend $787 billion to create jobs and end the recession is that it has been a dud. According to a recent CNN poll, nearly three-quarters of Americans think that at least half the money spent has been wasted.

The Time report says the government can specifically point to 600,000 jobs. However, nearly 600,000 jobs (598,000 to be exact) were lost just last January meaning the 600,000 jobs created was only part of the story.

Also, part of the 600,000 jobs included in White House reports are 200,000 temporary census workers - jobs that will be lost shortly after the end of this month.

As was done during the Bush administration, the Obama administration releases just enough information to make them look good.

What makes the bill's success hard to judge is that it was oversold.

Before the stimulus was passed, a report from Obama's economic advisers predicted that the bill would ensure that the unemployment rate would remain at 8% or below. By that estimate, the bill looks like a failure. A few months ago, the unemployment rate hit 10%; currently it is 9.7%.

More here.

Bing search engine truck invading Googleplex?

This photo of a Microsoft truck, boldly painted with the Bing search engine logo, was taken at the Googleplex campus.

Judging from the cut-out panels on the sides, the truck looked to be taking pictures, presumably to power Microsoft online maps. But that didn't stop people from speculating about more sinister motives.

One commenter said, “hey, Bing if you guys are here to steal our secrets, you'll have to be a lot sneakier than that!”

The irony is Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus is just 100 yards away from Google HQ (Googleplex)