Jul 31, 2010

Condoleezza Rice playing the piano with the Philadelphia Orchestra

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plays the piano during a performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Pennsylvania.

Gaither Homecoming group sing "Church in the Wildwood"

Sun dried bear on the rocks

A polar bear dries off in the sun after coming out of the water in his enclosure at a zoo in Berlin.

Jul 30, 2010

Record-braking 8th inning in the Rockies - Cubs baseball game

It was a wild 8th inning at Coors field in Denver as the Colorado Rockies routed the Chicago Cubs 17-2.

The photo above shows Cubs manager Lou Piniella on the left talking with Rockies manager Jim Tracy before the game.

Every Rockies batter got at least one hit in the eighth inning as they a scored record-breaking 12 runs on 11 straight hits - a major league record.

The Rockies batted around twice in the inning.

It took the Cubs 28 minutes to get the final out in the bottom of the 8th inning. The score was 5-2 when the inning began.

And this was only the second win for the Rockies since losing 8 straight games.

No wonder managers turn gray.


Stylized Michael Jackson bust shown in Tokyo

A disclaimer should read, "any resemblance to Michael Jackson is purely coincidental."

Cycle riding cockatoo

A cockatoo performs by pedaling a tricycle during a performance at Bird Island Zoo in Shenyang of Liaoning Province, China.

Elegant but high maintenance beard

An intricately bearded participant presents himself to the jury at the 25th Garmisch-Partenkirchen Beard Championships last March in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

An elegant but high maintenance beard.

Nailed: Rangel hit with 13 ethics charges

A Washington Post report at the link below is titled, Democrat Rangel charged with 13 ethics violations.

The House ethics committee charged Rep. Charles B. Rangel (pictured) with 13 separate violations of House rules Thursday, saying his various financial dealings broke the "public trust." The long-awaited release of the charges against Rangel at an afternoon hearing was the first formal step toward a possible ethics trial in mid-September.

When last minute settlement negotiations broke down, the committee announced that it had found "substantial reason to believe" that the Harlem Democrat had:

Violated House rules or federal laws by soliciting donations from people with business before his committee to fund a center named in his honor at City College of New York, not paying taxes on a Caribbean home, improperly using a rent-stabilized apartment in New York as a campaign office, and not properly disclosing more than $600,000 in income and assets.

Only a few of his fellow Democrats have called on Rangel to resign. More could join in asking for a Rangel resignation now that the allegations have been detailed.

This is an embarrassment Democrats can do without going into the fall elections.


Jul 29, 2010

On Angel wings

A woman playing the part of an angel takes part in a dress rehearsal on a rooftop in Berlin last year during the 20th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It's probably safe to assume she ditched her purse before the actual performance.

The Arizona immigration decision

On the surface the federal court's issuance of a temporary injunction against enforcement of the major provisions of the Arizona immigration law appears superficially plausible but lacking real merit.

Judge Susan Bolton bought the Justice Department's preemption argument — i.e., the claim that the federal government has broad and exclusive authority to regulate immigration, and therefore that any state measure that is inconsistent with federal law is invalid.

The Arizona law is completely consistent with federal law. The judge, however, twisted to concept of federal law into federal enforcement practices (or, as it happens, lack thereof).

In effect, the court is saying that if the feds refuse to enforce the law the states can't do it either because doing so would transgress the federal policy of non-enforcement ... which is nuts.

This appears to be a classic case of a liberal judge, appointed by President Bill Clinton, bowing to the wishes of an even more liberal administration in Washington.

Did Judge Bolton make the ruling strictly on her own or did she get instructions (orders) from Eric Holder or someone else in the administration?

More here.

The Hoar Cross Downhill Soap Box race

Competitors take part in the Hoar Cross Downhill Soap Box race, an event held every winter in the Staffordshire village of Hoar Cross, England. The event raises tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

The Empire strikes back - Darth Vader robs a bank

A man robbed a Chase bank branch on Long Island dressed as Darth Vader.

Detectives say the man walked into the bank wearing a full head mask and a blue cape. The only part of the uniform that was out of place were his camouflage pants.

This Darth Vader apparently traded his light saber for a handgun.

At least one person in the bank didn't think the robbery was legit - at first.

More here.

Report: Rangel in a sleaze squeeze

A New York Post article reports that one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's top lieutenants demanded that Rep. Charles Rangel (pictured) quickly settle the swirling ethics charges against him rather than face a trial that could embarrass Democratic candidates across the country.

"I think it's best that he settle," Rep. George Miller, an influential California Democrat who helped engineer Pelosi's rise to power.

Rangel, however, does not want to go quietly.

As Lucianne Goldberg said, "it's tough to drain the swamp, when the biggest alligator just won't go down."

More here.

Jul 28, 2010

No more debating in your underwear in Boulder

Maybe Boulder, Colorado is getting a little less boulder as the City Council has banned citizens from addressing the chamber wearing underwear.

The days when a citizen could address the Boulder City Council wearing only underwear may be over.

The council will vote on new decorum rules in September, seven months after a resident stepped up to a microphone in his boxers.

The rules were already under review, but that incident led to a proposed ban on undressing during meetings.


Comic-Con International

These photos were taken last weekend at the well attended Comic-Con International comic book convention in San Diego.

Russian prosecutors Investigate parasailing donkey stunt

Authorities in Russia are opening an animal cruelty probe into a weekend stunt on a beach in southern Russia in which a donkey parasailed high over the surf.

Amateur video footage showed men attaching a parasail harness to the trembling mule.

The English-language Kremlin news channel Russia Today reported that sunbathers were distressed at the sight of the flying donkey, which brayed in fear as it glided above the bay for half an hour.

Russia Today reported the donkey was shell-shocked but survived.

Reports said the donkey flight was a promotional stunt.

Employees of a leisure firm in the village of Golubitskaya on the Azov Sea could face two years in prison if they are charged and convicted of animal cruelty.

Link here and here.

GM electric Volt comes with sticker shock

From a report at the link below:

The long-anticipated Chevrolet Volt, General Motors' electric car, will cost $41,000, the company announced Tuesday, leaving consumers to decide whether its environmental appeal is worth a price far above that of similarly sized conventional autos.

The Nissan electric Leaf is expected to appear later this year and will cost $32,780.

GM and Nissan are relying on a $7,500 federal tax credit for buyers of electric vehicles to offset some of the added cost, and they're hoping that the allure of their novel power source will make up the rest.

More here.

Rep. Barney Frank caused scene over $1 on way to gay club

Congressman Barney Frank (pictured) caused a scene when he demanded a $1 senior discount on his ferry fare to Fire Island's popular gay haunt, The Pines, last Friday.

Frank, the Massachusetts ultra liberal Democrat was turned down by ticket clerks at the dock in Sayville because he didn't have the required Suffolk County Senior Citizens ID.

A witness reports, "Frank made such a drama over the senior rate that I contemplated offering him the dollar to cool down the situation."

Frank's partner, James Ready, asked the ticket office for a regular ticket for himself and a senior ticket for Frank, but was turned down because Frank didn't have a resident ID.


Jul 27, 2010

Ethics challenged Rangel lashes out

An article at the link below reports that Congressman Charles Rangel (pictured) didn't stay sorry very long after his Friday apology for new ethics charges.

He lashed out Monday over questions about the ethics storm swirling around him.

"Why don't you wait until you know what the facts are?" the Harlem Democrat snapped at one reporter, after calling his ongoing ethics probe "traumatic."
He was especially grouchy over suggestions Democratic allies like Gov. Paterson, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer are less than wholehearted in their support.
More here.

Italian man opens manhole cover museum

The International Manhole Cover Museum must surely rank as one of the world’s most bizarre collections.

It was set up by Stefano Bottoni, from Ferrara, in northern Italy.

Some of the covers were on temporary outdoor display.

The sheer weight of the cast iron means they can be left on outdoor display with minimal security.

The manhole covers are from all over the world including Amsterdam, Havana, Helsinki, Prague, Rome, Bucharest, Sarajevo and Vienna.

The museum lends dignity to objects that give access to storm drains, sewers, underground pipes, etc.


Woman robs McDonalds using underwear as mask

Authorities said a surveillance video shows a middle-aged woman, wearing black pants and a black shirt, gloves, and a blond wig walking up to a McDonald's drive-through window.

The woman has what appears to be a pair of men's underwear wrapped around her face and held in place with paper clips.

The "Fruit of the Loom" bandit struck a McDonald's in Midwest City, a suburb of Oklahoma City.


Doing nothing isn't easy

The hardest part of doing nothing is to know when you’re done.

Now it's Republicans saying "Yes We Can"

Germany considers a fat tax

A German member of parliament has said those who deliberately lead unhealthy lives should be held financially accountable for their actions and should be taxed to help pay for the cost of treating obesity-related illnesses which is about €17 billion, or $21.7 billion, a year.

The report says Germany, famed for its beer, pork and chocolates, is one of the fattest countries in Europe with twenty-one percent of German adults said to have been obese in 2007.

Health economist wants to tackle the problem of fattening snacks in order to raise money and reduce obesity.

"One should, as with tobacco, tax the purchase of unhealthy consumer goods at a higher rate and partly maintain the health system. That applies to alcohol, chocolate or risky sporting equipment such as hang-gliders."

Others want even more extreme measures such as weighing school kids each day.

The fat kids would then be reported to social services, who would have the authority to send them to health clinics.


Socialized Medicine in Britain hitting the rocks?

If we want to see what ObamaCare will be like when it is fully implemented we need look no further than socialized medicine in the United Kingdom.

The sight is not pretty as NHS is cutting basic health services.

NHS is the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. It is the single-payer publicly funded healthcare system commonly referred to as British socialized medicine.

NHS has been in trouble for some time but now it appears to be hitting the rocks.

A report at the link below is titled, Axe falls on NHS services and says NHS bosses have drawn up secret plans for sweeping cuts to services, with restrictions on the most basic treatments for the sick and injured.

ObamaCare will hit the rocks much faster than socialized medicine in the UK because of the huge administrative costs necessary for the many tiers of non-medical government employees that will be required to give professional health care givers permission to treat their patients with what is now seen as basic medical procedures.


Jul 26, 2010

Bear takes car for joyride in Colorado

A teen in Larkspur, Colorado left a peanut butter sandwich in his car. A bear, lured by the scent of the sandwich, got into his car and nudged the gearshift and sent it 125 feet backwards.

Ben Story, the car owner, said the car crashing into a thicket slamming the door shut. The trapped bear then shredded the interior of the car.

While Ben slept through the incident, neighbors were aroused when the bear started honking the cars horn.

Neighbors called 911. When deputies arrived they released the bear from a safe distance by pulling the door handle with a rope.

The inside of the Toyota was trashed.


Uniformed school girls at #10 Downing St

The yawning girl on the left seems a bit bored with the idea of touring the British Prime Minister's residence.

John Kerry dodges Massachusetts sales tax

An article at the link below reports on John Kerry's big tax dodge.

Senator Kerry (pictured) has repeatedly voted to raise taxes while in Congress. Now he has dodged a whopping six-figure state tax bill on his new multimillion-dollar yacht (shown below) by mooring her in Newport, Rhode Island.

Instead of berthing the vessel in Nantucket, in the state where Kerry resides, the yacht is moored in Rode Island.

Kerry saved approximately $437,500 in sales tax plus an annual excise tax of about $70,000.


When roads go back to the Stone Age

To save money many communities are reclaiming the original asphalt and processing it to resemble gravel.

When counties had plenty of money, they paved a lot of the roads and tried to make life easier for the people who lived there.

Now that those same counties and municipalities are cash-strapped, road repair means reclaiming the original asphalt and processing it to resemble gravel.

It is cheaper to maintain a gravel road than to keep repairing asphalt roads.

Paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling state and federal revenue.

State money for local roads was cut in many places amid budget shortfalls.

Many hard surfaced roads are now going back to the "S
tone Age."


Jul 25, 2010

Back after an unintended short break from blogging

Checked into the ER with chest pains on Friday.

The bad news - it was a heart attack. The good news - the attack was minor.

An angiogram showed the five previous stents were fine and no new ones required.

The problem arose from not taking Plavix for five days prior to a spinal steroid injection for sciatica.

Ironically, the sciatica stopped last week as suddenly as it began in early March so the injection was not needed after all. Needless to say, it was a very, very long four and one half months.

It's all over now, however, and we have much to be thankful for!

Ernie Haase & Signature Sound quartet sing - Since Jesus Passed By

Transportation using renewable energy

An Amish girl filmed as she roller blades home with groceries along a road in Middlefield, Ohio.

Trade your troublesome iPhone4 for a seashell