Jul 3, 2010

Hummingbird amid flowers

Determined to rewrite the Bible

From a report at the link below:

A Swedish theologian says that despite the crucifix's proliferation in art and literature, there is scant evidence in the Bible or other ancient sources to indicate that Christ was killed on a cross.

The theologian, Gunnar Samuelsson, did his research while working on his 400-page doctoral thesis "Crucifixion in Antiquity."

Samuelsson is not alone. The History Channel has also been hard at work rewriting the Bible.

In one example the History Channel proclaimed that Jesus was married and had children. They even tried to track his descendants. This was said to an ignoble pursuit by many Bible scholars.

The sans cross crucifixion of Christ story is here.

Gaither Homecoming “We’ll Talk it Over”

Bill’s brother Danny Gaither sang one verse of this song right after one of his throat cancer radiation treatments. It is one of Danny’s very last appearances.

The marvelous voice of a younger Danny Gaither can be found HERE in a 1977 video recording.

Jul 2, 2010

Dr. Seuss - updated for the oil spill

Finland makes broadband access a legal right

Finland is the first country in the world to make access to Internet broadband connections a legal right for every one of its citizens.

Under Finland's new law, telecommunications companies will be obliged to provide all citizens with broadband lines that can run at a minimum of 1 megabit per second (Mbps) broadband connection.

In Britain, the government has promised a minimum connection of at least 2 Mbps to all homes by 2012 but has stopped short of enshrining this as a right in law.


Lawsuit over iPhone 4 just one week after release

From a CNET report at the link below:

Barely a week since the public got its hands on the iPhone 5, the first lawsuit over it has been filed.

The suit accuses Apple and AT&T of knowingly distributing a phone with a malfunctioning antenna.

The iPhone maker and its exclusive carrier partner in the U.S. are accused of a laundry list of infractions, including: general negligence, defect in design, manufacture, and assembly, breach of warranty, deceptive trade practices, intentional and negligent misrepresentation, and fraud by concealment.

With that many charges, one wonders if the iPhone 4 was prematurely rushed to market.

In responding to the first iPhone 4 complaints, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said it was the users fault accusing them of holding the phone wrong.

The CNET story is here.

The Steve Jobs accusation is here.

Full-body airport scanners may pose cancer risk

Security officials rely on full-body scanners to screen passengers, but could those machines pose a cancer risk to airline customers?

Several foreign media outlets reported this week on a possible cancer risk from the controversial full-body scanners.

One report said, "experts say radiation from the scanners has been underestimated and could be particularly risky for children. They say that the low level beam does deliver a small dose of radiation to the body but because the beam concentrates on the skin -- one of the most radiation-sensitive organs of the human body -- that dose may be up to 20 times higher than first estimated."

"The dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high."


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Jul 1, 2010

NY Gov: So many vetoes - so little time

"Let's make a deal" is back on in the New York state capitol.

Gov. Paterson's veto threats are pushing state lawmakers back to the negotiating table to cut a deal on the budget.

They failed to get the needed 32 Democrat votes to pass a measure authorizing $1 billion in new taxes and revenues for the cash-strapped state.

The photo above shows the vision impaired Governor David Paterson (he is legally blind) as he leans over to see the bill he is signing before he adds his veto. He only has about 6,699 more signatures to go.

The photo below shows the stack of bills waiting for Paterson to sign before adding his veto.

He vowed to veto as many as 6,900 bills. How long would it take?

Anyone have a good remedy for writer's cramp?

Gov. Paterson spoke briefly to reporters Thursday about the fact that he's too busy wielding his veto pen to negotiate with the Legislature -- unless they would give him an acceptable proposal.


Obama whines about politics in amnesty push

Desperate to get an illegal immigrant amnesty through Congress, Mr. Obama blamed political posturing and special interest wrangling for standing in his way.

Wasn't it political posturing and special interest wrangling that helped him ram ObamaCare through Congress?

More of the story here.

US Airways flight aborted by maggots

For anyone jumping to conclusions -- no, the maggots didn't come from the aircraft galley.

It was maggots falling from a container in an overhead bin that forced a US Airways plane to return to the gate in Atlanta.

It was determined that the maggots came from spoiled meat.

US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher says a passenger brought the container onto the plane and passengers noticed the maggots on Monday on the flight bound for North Carolina.

The plane returned to the gate and passengers got off so crews could clean the overhead bin.

Lehmacher says the flight then continued on to Charlotte, where the plane was taken out of service and fumigated out of an "abundance of caution."


Anna Chapman: the lady in red was a Russian spy

It was 'spies and fries' as Obama was treating Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to hamburgers at Ray's Hell Burger (pictured) in Arlington, Virginia while eleven suspects were arrested on charges of spying for Russia.

The red-headed lady in the red dress shown here was among eleven people arrested by the FBI and accused of spying for Russia in an extraordinary Cold War-style espionage plot.

Anna Chapman (pictured), believed to be a 28-year-old divorcee with a masters' degree in economics and her own online real-estate business, is being held without bail after prosecutors called her a 'highly trained agent' and a 'practiced deceiver'.

The accused allegedly used invisible ink and stenography - right out of a cheap 1950's spy novel. They could have made good use of the spy kit I got as a kid for a few breakfast cereal box tops.

One reporter wondered if they could have been just as effective using Google search.

Their amateurish methods prompted another reporter to write, "it's funny -- except is isn't"

Eight of the suspects were married couples - at least one with a child. The plot 'has been in place since the 1990s.'


US finally accepts international help for Gulf spill

Barack Obama has steadfastly refused oil spill help from countries around the world.

Finally, after 70 days, Mr. Obama is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that's been accepted.

The identities of all 12 countries and international organizations were not immediately announced.

More than 30 countries and international organizations have offered to help with the spill.

Up until now the Obama administration has refused help from abroad while the spill kept getting worse.


Can Al Gore survive the scandal fueled by National Enquirer?

First the Al Gore scandal broke in Oregon's online newspaper The Oregonian. Within hours others picked up the story in the news media as well as a host of blogs.

Now the National Enquirer is having a field day with the story.

When John Edwards, John Kerry's vice-presidential running mate, was involved in a scandal, main stream media mostly remained silent until the story broke in the National Enquirer. The Edwards story was then all over the print media as well as the Internet.

Will Al Gore suffer the same fate? Will Molly Hagerty be Al Gore's Monica Lewinsky.

Link here and here.

Jun 30, 2010

You can buy nothing for only $6

For about $6 plus shipping from the UK you can buy a packet full to the brim with nothing.

The product page says:

What better present for the person who has everything than a poignant reminder that they want for nothing?

This lovingly crafted vial of emptiness is filled to the brim with unfettered nothingness. Free from the burden of possessions, the weight of responsibility.

Nothing is as idiotic as it is brilliant … or is it as brilliant as it is idiotic? Works either way.

We wonder if this will do as well as the Pet Rock did in the mid 1970’s?


Kagan's "vapid hollow charade" (her own words)

From a Roger Simon report at the link below:

Few events in government are as consciously theatrical as a Supreme Court confirmation. The senators are grandly arrayed in the front of the room, lacking only togas to convey their sense of austere dignity.

Two years ago Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan (pictured) called such hearings “a vapid and hollow charade.”

Thanks to her performance, she has shown her words to be prophetic as she is turning her own confirmation into "a vapid and hollow charade."

She also once said of the hearings a “repetition of platitudes has replaced discussion of viewpoints,” and “such hearings serve little educative function, except perhaps to reinforce lessons of cynicism that citizens often glean from government.”

More here.

The Kagan nomination in perspective

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Fireman acrobat on tall ladder

A member of the Edo Firemanship Preservation Association performs on the top of a bamboo ladder during the Fire Review by the Metropolitan Fire Department in Tokyo last January.

The annual event started in 1659 after a huge fire hit Edo, the ancient name of Tokyo, in 1657.

Cool Relativity watch - relatively speaking

Crazy-watch This Albert Einstein Relativity watch is relatively bizarre.

It’s a watch with numbers that are in constant motion rotating counter-clockwise.

The hands are in the correct position but the numbers seem to have minds of their own.
This certainly is a different way to look at time.

This strange watch is $30 in case you want one to amuse your friends.


Jun 29, 2010

Confirming a SC candidate with no résumé

The agony and the ecstasy

The grilling

The boredom

When Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor as a candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court many said her qualifications were thin and that she was merely an ‘affirmative action’ candidate.

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

Will she be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice? Yes.

Is she qualified? No.

The general feeling in Washington is that, unless there is something terribly wrong with a candidate, everyone should support the right of a president to choose whomever he wants for the Supreme Court because it is one of the perks of getting elected. Just another example of why elections have consequences.

The Vader project

The helmets above are part of the Vader Project, a collection of 100 re-imagined helmets that will be auctioned in Philadelphia on July 10.

Ten charged as Russian spies

The report at the link below says this caper was right out of a B-movie with the alleged spies using invisible ink and coded talk.

Reminds me of the spy kit I got in the mail for breakfast cereal box tops. I was in the fourth grade and fancied myself an international spy.

From the Russian spy report:

Eight of 10 were arrested Sunday for allegedly carrying out long-term, deep cover assignments in the United States on behalf of Russia.

Two others were arrested for allegedly participating in the same Russian intelligence program within the United States.

Each of the 10 was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison on conviction.

More of the Russian spy report here.

Scott Brown outpolls Obama and Kerry

A Boston Globe poll shows Senator Scott Brown (pictured) more popular than Barack Obama and John Kerry.

US Senator Scott Brown, who only months ago was a little-known figure even within the tiny band of Republicans in the state Senate, not only catapulted to national stature with his upset US Senate victory, but is today the most popular officeholder in Massachusetts, according to a Boston Globe poll.

Scott Brown is the Republican who surprised Democrats by winning the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy since 1962.

After less than five months in Washington, Brown outpolls such Democratic stalwarts as President Obama and US Senator John F. Kerry in popularity, the poll indicates. He gets high marks not only from Republicans, but even a plurality of Democrats views him favorably.


Jun 28, 2010

Gun rights extended by Supreme Court 5-4

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held Monday that the Constitution's Second Amendment restrains government's ability to significantly limit "the right to keep and bear arms.

Proponents of gun rights say Americans should have the ability to use firearms to hunt and for recreational purposes as well as to defend themselves.

Opponents of gun rights say only members of the military and law enforcement officers should be allowed to have guns. In reality that would mean that only members of the military, law enforcement officers and criminals would carry guns.


The 2,000 page Finance Bill

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

“It's going to help the big banks because there are measures in the bill that are going to allow the treasury to take it over [and] clean up their debts. If you're a small bank, you aren't going to have that and you're going to be at a disadvantage.” - Charles Krauthammer

“The finance bill will give the federal reserve sweeping new powers.” - Numerous critics of the 2,000 page few lawmakers have read.


Sen. Robert Byrd dies at 92

From a report at the link below:

Senator Robert Byrd (pictured) of West Virginia died early Monday at a Washington-area hospital following years of declining health.

The 92-year-old senator was hospitalized last week for exhaustion and dehydration, but his condition got worse.

Byrd was elected to the House in 1952 and became a senator in 1958. He is the only one ever elected to nine full terms in the Senate.

He was known as the "King of Pork" for his ability to steer federal funds to his home state.


Young Afghan girl gets a high five

An Afghan girl greets a Canadian soldier patroling Salavat, in the Panjwayi district, southwest of Kandahar.

Josef Stalin statue goes bonk in dead of night

A dismantled statue of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin lies face down in the Georgian town of Gori. The 20-ft tall statue will be relocated to the courtyard of a museum dedicated to Stalin.

Authorities removed the towering 20-ft tall statue of Josef Stalin from the central square of his hometown in the dead of the night on Friday, carting away the monument to Georgia's most famous native.

In an unannounced operation that began after midnight and was over before dawn, municipal workers and police took the statue down from its stone pedestal in the small city 50 miles west of the capital, Tbilisi.

"It was very unexpected," Lado Bichashvili, a journalist with local television company Trialeti, told Reuters. "I think many people will be very angry."

He said police tried to prevent journalists from filming the process, in some cases beating them.


Jun 27, 2010

Senator Byrd seriously ill in hospital

Senator Robert Byrd is seriously ill in a Washington hospital.

Byrd's spokesman Jesse Jacobs said the 92-year-old senator was initially admitted to a Washington-area hospital late last week for what doctors thought was a heat-related illness.

"However, upon further examination by his doctors, other conditions have developed which has resulted in his condition being described as 'serious,'" Jacobs said in a statement.

Byrd was a former member of the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group.

The long-term West Virginia Senator also has the dubious distinction as the pork-barrel king of the Senate as reported here.

The senator's health has been failing for years, often forcing him to use a wheelchair. He was hospitalized last September after falling.

Byrd's illness could hurt Democrats' chances of getting the needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to clear a Republican procedural roadblock against the new financial regulation bill crafted last week by House and Senate negotiators.

Last week Democrats voiced confidence that the Senate would pass the 2,000 page finance bill that almost none of them have read. Byrd's illness could change that.


Time Magazine quote of the day

This Time Magazine quote of the day was from Friday, June 25:

“She certainly is prepared to deal with whatever comes. She is a superb and highly qualified nominee.”

The quote was by David Axelrod, White House senior advisor speaking about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan - the woman chosen by Mr. Obama to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

Was Axelrod “whistling past the graveyard” trying to remain upbeat despite backing Mr. Obama’s second questionable choice for the Supreme Court?

Sonja Sotomayor and Elena Kagan will forever be known as the two weakest justices placed on the Supreme Court by the same president.

Strong odor leads to California drug bust

Authorities pulled over a tractor-trailer for a traffic violation. The strong smell of marijuana helped them discover $45 million worth of drugs in the back of the truck.

An "overwhelming odor" led investigators to about 20 tons of narcotics stashed in pallets in the back of the truck, including about 38,000 pounds of marijuana, 2,700 pounds of cocaine and 67 pounds of methamphetamine, the sheriff's office said in a statement.


Making General McChrystal’s point

Gore accuser interview tape released by police

The Portland Police Bureau has released an audio recording of the interview between a detective and the massage therapist who accused former Vice President Al Gore (pictured) of groping her in 2006.

Much like the John Edwards affair, main stream media is mostly staying mum on this Al Gore story - for now.

The tape at the link below is the previously prepared statement read by the Gore accuser.