Sep 18, 2010

Montana gets September snow

A snow in north central Montana had some people checking their calendar to see if it is still, in fact, summer.

While snow in September is not unusual at higher elevations and in Glacier National Park, many lower elevations also received a dusting, with some areas reporting several inches of snow by mid-day on Friday.

The photo, however was taken in Babb, Montana - elevation 4,560.

At that elevation, snow this early in September is indeed a surprise.


Doro and her baby sea lion at Berlin Zoo

California sea lion Doro nuzzles her two-month-old baby Gina at the Berlin Zoo

The Cathedrals quartet sing "Wonderful Grace Of Jesus" (acapella)

Mild memory loss not part of normal aging

From a report at the link below:

"The very early mild cognitive changes once thought to be normal aging are really the first signs of progressive dementia, in particular Alzheimer's disease." said Robert S.Wilson, PhD, neuropsychologist at Rush University Medical Center. "The pathology in the brain related to Alzheimer's and other dementias has a much greater impact on memory function in old age than we previously recognized."

This means I'm in trouble because I've had mild memory loss for several years.

I have often told Valeta that I believe in the hereafter. I walk into the next room and then wonder what I am here after.

Link to the memory loss report here.

Sep 17, 2010

Signs promoting stimulus cost taxpayers $9 Million

At a minimum, taxpayers have spent $9.1 million as of July 2010 on signs advertising the Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus law.

But the cost is probably much higher since the six government agencies that spent stimulus dollars relied largely on sampling to get an estimate of how much money was spent on posting signs near Recovery Act projects.

Most of the signs read, “Putting America to Work,” and they include the ARRA emblem along with the Web address.

While the Obama administration contends the signs provide transparency, Republicans believe the signs amount to taxpayer-subsidized propaganda.

Either way it was $9,000,000.00 that could have been spent in a more meaningful way.

More here.

Drunk airline pilot arrested minutes before takeoff

An intoxicated pilot was arrested at Amsterdam's Schipol airport just minutes before his airliner carrying 196 passengers was due to take-off.

Aviation authorities boarded a plane after a tip-off from a crew member.

The pilot, identified only as a 52-year-old from Woodbury, New Jersey was taken into custody in the cockpit of his plane.


Instant fabric - spray on shirt in a can

A shirt made of this instant fabric fits so snugly it looks as if it has been sprayed on to the body. Actually, that's how the shirt is made.

Photos and a video at the link below show it's done.

A couple of questions come to mind:

1) If the model in the photo, found at the link below, had a lot of hair on his chest, would the shirt be as easy to remove the first time?

2) Would a skin-tight shirt stretch if the owner gained a few pounds?


Report: Democrat candidates run anti-ObamaCare ads

A report at the link below is titled, Democrats spend on anti-health-reform advertisements.

The report says Democrat candidates are spending three times more advertising against the health reform law than they are in support of it.

Since the beginning of Congress’s August recess, Democrat candidates have poured $930,000 into ads deriding the health overhaul but just $300,000 in pro-reform spots.

Go back to 2006, and even before that, and Democrats used health care as their No. 1 issue,” Tracey said. “They had a villain in the pharmaceutical industry. Now that they passed this law, it’s almost disarmed them rather than given them an opportunity.”

Moreover, Tracey’s data shows that health reform opponents – inside and outside of Congress – are increasingly outspending supporters.

Opponents now spend seven times as much on anti-reform spots as supporters spend on pro-reform spots, a marked change from early May, when their dollars only doubled those of reform advocates.


Why is Barack Obama writing children's books?

Sep 16, 2010

Is your McDonald's coffee tasting different lately?

The answer may have been yes if you live in Bath Township near Lansing, Michigan.

A McDonald's employee registered a complaint by sending an e-mail to the Lansing State Journal newspaper.

The e-mail said:

"Over the past couple of days something has developed that has me more than a little concerned.

Our specialty coffee machine (which makes the hot mochas, lattes and cappuccinos) has been working on and off for they past couple of weeks and started to smell of something I can only describe as ungodly."

It was determined that the coffee maker’s sporadic performance was due to the fact that maggots were growing in the mechanism of the coffee maker.

The machine was shut down right away and cleaned but maggots continued to grow inside the coffee machine.

More here.

Ready to welcome the returning herd

Children dressed in traditional Bavarian clothes prepare for the Allgaeuer Viehscheid cattle drive in southern Germany.

During the event, cow herds are brought down from their summer Alpine pastures to their stables in the valley.

Saddle seats will allow airlines to pack 'em in like sardines

The new SkyRider saddle seats will allow low cost airlines to offer a new passenger class -- saddle class.

Many are saying that passengers flying with low cost carriers such as Ryanair are already too cramped.

With the new SkyRider saddle seats, with just 23 inches of legroom, cut-rate airlines will be able to pack 'em in like sardines.

These saddle seats may prompt airline passengers to avoid low fare airlines. The old adage, you get what you pay for, comes to mind.

Cowboys sometimes ride for long hours in a saddle but you won't want to ride these saddle seats for very long. Maybe John Wayne could do it but how many airline passengers have a John Wayne tough rear end?

Will they add saddle horns to grab on to during rides though turbulent air?

Saddle seat passengers becoming airsick and using barf bags in such close quarters would be difficult to contemplate.


Putting things in perspective

Blood test for Alzheimer's within reach

Medical News Today reports:

Researchers have revealed a direct relationship between two specific antibodies and the severity of Alzheimer's disease symptoms, raising hopes that a diagnostic blood test for the devastating disorder is within reach.

More here.

Democrats don’t look now but your desperation is showing

A report at the link below is titled, Dems gamble by shifting fire from Bush to Boehner.

Barack Obama has often blamed the nation's economic crisis on George W. Bush.

Now all but ignoring Bush, Obama is criticizing a Republican most voters have never heard of: House Minority Leader John Boehner (pictured).

The change from bashing bush to demonizing Boehner is a gamble for Democrats. It is also an acknowledgment that bashing Bush has lost its credibility.

The risk for Obama and fellow Democrats is that millions of Americans will scratch their heads when they hear Boehner's name (pronounced BAY'-nur). Democratic strategists, however, say the White House has few choices.

Former Boehner spokesman Kevin Madden said Obama and his allies "are trying to create and poison a public profile in 50 days."

Madden predicts the effort will fail. Voters care much less about personalities than jobs, taxes and spending, he said, and many will see Obama's criticisms of Boehner as unseemly.

Ed Gillespie, who was a Bush White House adviser, agreed. "Obama is making himself smaller and Boehner bigger," he said.

The shift in focus from Bush to Boehner has been dramatic.

In a speech last week in Ohio, Obama cited Boehner eight times by name, and twice as "the Republican House leader." He did not directly mention Bush or Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate GOP leader.

Obama portrayed Boehner, 60, as the embodiment of unwise Republican ideas, past and future.

Trying to shift blame from Bush to Boehner certainly seems to be a desperate gamble.


Sep 15, 2010

The president is a man of his word

Cash for clunkers program was a clunker

From a report at the link below:

The program induced the purchase of an additional 360,000 cars in July and August of 2009. However, almost all of the additional purchases under the program were pulled forward from the very near future; the effect of the program on auto purchases is almost completely reversed by as early as March 2010 – only seven months after the program ended.

The effect of the program on auto purchases was significantly more short-lived than previously suggested. We also find no evidence of an effect on employment, house prices, or household default rates in cities with higher exposure to the program.


Make sure you use a safe computer

French Members of Parliament vote to ban Islamic full veil in public

France's lower house of parliament has approved a bill to ban wearing the Islamic full veil (pictured) in public.

The overwhelming vote was 335 to 1.

The bill would make it illegal to wear garments such as the niqab or burka, which incorporate a full-face veil, anywhere in public.

It envisages fines of 150 euros ($193) for women who break the law and 30,000 euros and a one-year jail term for men who force their wives to wear the burka.

Not mentioned in the arguments for and against the bill is the potential for criminals to cover their faces with the full-face niqab or burka allowing them to roam freely undetected.

More here.

Congress is back with big agenda and low expectations

From a report at the link below:

Congress returns this week with embattled Democrats torn between trying to show they have the economic answers and fearing the further wrath of voters over new government programs.

It appears the fears will win out.

As Democrat lawmakers disembark from their private jets, they are likely glad to be back in Washington, where they do not have to talk to real Americans back home who are concerned about their mega-spending.

More here.

Harry Reid arrives at clean energy summit - in fleet of giant SUVs

The National Clean Energy Summit was held September 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Summit, coordinated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the leftist advocacy group Center for American Progress, featured surprise appearances by SUVs, environmental protesters, praise for hydropower, and a dreary, steady rain as speaker after speaker sang the praises of solar power.

The irony was as thick as the moisture in the air as they preached to the choir about solar power in the dessert during a steady rain.

The article at the link below reports that approximately 50 environmental activists gathered in protest wearing t-shirts and carrying posters castigating coal and praising solar power. It's just that somebody forgot to tell the protesters that the Summit speakers actually agreed with them.

Somebody also forgot to tell Mother Nature not to send a steady, gloomy rain to interrupt a solar power cheerleading session in the Mojave Desert.

Reid and a few aides rode in a caravan of gas-guzzling SUVs. Even the 100 yards from Summit headquarter in the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Thomas & Mack Center to the site of a protest and then back the same 100 yards. Had to fog the air with the SUV caravan.

Speaker after speaker – including T. Boone Pickens, Center for American Progress CEO John Podesta, and Pacific Gas & Electric CEO Peter Darbee – spoke in broad terms and meaningless platitudes about the promise of renewable power.

Nobody presented economic cost comparisons, nobody mentioned the billions of taxpayer dollars already being handed over to the renewable power industry every year, and nobody pointed out that T. Boone Pickens, PG&E, and the Center for American Progress all are in bed with the renewable power industry and have glaring conflicts of interest regarding renewable power issues.


Sep 14, 2010

Big John to host ice skating in the sky

The John Hancock Center, known as "Big John" by the locals, is a dark, obelisk-like tower stitched up on all four sides with iconic x-bracing.

The Hancock Center is a multifunction building. Besides offices, shops and restaurant there are 48 floors of condominiums.

The 700 condominiums are located at the top of the tower. Some of them are so high that the inhabitants sometimes have to call the doorkeeper to ask what the weather's like down on the ground, as the condos are sometimes above the clouds.

The lower portion of Big John is shown above, More photos of can be found at the second link below.

At the first link below is the announcement of an ice rink on the 94th floor observatory deck early next year.

That's more than 1,000 feet in the air, making it the world's highest ice skating rink.

The 1,000 square foot rink will take 8-12 hours to install and will be made of synthetic ice. It will be open from January through March of next year.

The 94th floor ice skating rink story is here. More about "Big John" here.

20-state ObamaCare lawsuit likely to go to trial

From a report at the link below:

A federal judge says he likely will let go to trial portions of a lawsuit by Florida and 19 other states challenging the president's health care overhaul as unconstitutional.

But U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson said at a Tuesday hearing in Pensacola that he expects to dismiss other parts.

The states and the administration disagree over sections of the law that will require people to have health insurance or face tax penalties. They also disagree over whether states should pay additional Medicaid costs not covered by the federal government.

Facing tax penalties and even fines for not having health care insurance is probably causing the most concern. The average American can understand penalties and fines.

The worst of ObamaCare won't be known by most Americans until 2012 or later.

Link to the 20-state lawsuit here.

Notting Hill Carnival performer

A performer takes part in the Notting Hill Carnival, a London tradition.

Bumper stickers come out at election time

It's interesting to see all the new bumper stickers that appear during an election year.

Some are not related to political elections. Others are hopelessly out of date:

Save the Whales

Free Tibet


Send Dubya back to Crawford

Re-elect Al Gore

I was anti-Obama before it was cool

Vote for Monica Lewinsky's boyfreind's wife


Keep the Change

Personally, I don't do bumper stickers. However, if I could find one that says, "Help stamp our Bumper Stickers" I'd buy it on the spot.

Vulnerable candidates maintain low profile

This is a trying time for vulnerable Democrat candidates. The report at the link below titled, Vulnerable Democrats duck public events is no surprise.

The report says there are no public meet and greets listed on the freshman Ohio Congressman Steve Driehaus' campaign website.

Ditto for Virginia Congressman Glenn Nye.

Driehaus and Nye, both Democrats, are in two of the most hotly contested House races in the country.

This dynamic illustrates the clear enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats, with public polls and anecdotal evidence showing the GOP is fired up for the midterm election and Democratic voters are not.

More here.

Sep 13, 2010

This bossie looks more like a hussie

A decorated cow makes its way back to a farm in Au near Lofer, in the Austrian province of Salzburg.

The farmers live in huts up on alpine pastures as they spend the summer with their cattle.

When they return the animals are decorated if the farmer's family and the herd had good health during the summer.

Underwear Bomber wants to represent himself in court

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (pictured), the Nigerian charged with trying to blow up an international flight near Detroit last Christmas has told a federal judge he wants to represent himself in court.

He's in custody awaiting trial on charges that include attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Nearly 300 people were aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253. Authorities say he was trying to set off explosives hidden in his underwear.


Time to wake up and face another Monday

The Internet can change your life

Number of Americans in poverty at record high levels as elections loom

From a report in the Houston Chronicle:

The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama's watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.

It's unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when control of Congress is at stake. The anticipated poverty rate increase — from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent — would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power.

Republicans, on a drive to gain control of the House and possibly the Senate, will use this as one more argument to make against Democrats going into the November elections.

The GOP says voters should fire Democrats because Obama's economic fixes are hindering the sluggish economic recovery.

Right or wrong, Republicans could cite a higher poverty rate as evidence.

Continuing to blame Bush will probably not convince voters in November.


What's happening to the Obama electoral coalition?

From a report at the link below:

Nearly two years ago, the political world could only marvel at the breadth of voter support for Barack Obama.

He energized a coalition -- made up of blacks, women, Latinos, young voters and large numbers of suburbanites -- that some believed would keep Democrats in power for years to come.

A scant 20 months later, the Obama coalition is frayed and frazzled.

Surprisingly, support for the president among Latinos, young people and women has dropped as much as it has among groups that were considered less likely to stick with the president, such as white males, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Support among suburbanites has dropped dramatically too, surveys show, while African American voters remain Obama's most loyal constituency and his fiercest defenders.

The Pew Research Center survey experts routinely ask respondents to characterize the president in a single word.

In their most recent poll, conducted this summer, more respondents than ever answered with the word "disappointing."


Sep 12, 2010

Just try it…

A mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley, when he noticed a world-famous heart surgeon in the shop. The surgeon was waiting for the service manager to take a look at his motorcycle

The mechanic called the surgeon over and said, "Hey doc, look at this engine. I can open it up, take valves out, fix'em, put in new parts and when I finish it will work just like a new one. So how come I get a pittance and you get the really big money, when you and I are doing basically the same work?"

The surgeon smiled and said to the mechanic, "Try doing it while it's running."

…hat tip to Wes Peterson

White tiger cub

A white tiger cub is pictured during a medical examination at the Serengeti Safari Park in the northern German village of Hodenhagen, August 3, 2010.

Four tiger cubs were born on July 14, 2010 at the private safari park.