Nov 6, 2010

Remembering victims of the 2009 Fort Hood massacre

The 2009 tragedy at Fort Hood remembered.

Family members of the 13 people killed one year ago during a shooting rampage at Fort Hood kneeled, cried and ran their hands across their loved one's names etched in a 6-foot-tall granite memorial unveiled Friday at the Texas Army post.

The gunman was identified by witnesses and authorities as Maj. Nidal Hasan (pictured below), an Army psychiatrist and American-born Muslim who was to deploy to Afghanistan the following month.

Hasan, who was paralyzed from the chest down when he was shot that day, is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

His Article 32 hearing to determine if there's enough evidence to send him to trial will resume later this month.


Divine hands

Workers erect a giant statue of Christ on a hill in Swiebodzin, Poland.

Bird hiding in grass

Nov 5, 2010

One less reason to dislike MSNBC - Olbermann booted

From CNN Politics Political Ticker:

Keith Olbermann (pictured), MSNBC's primetime firebrand host, has been suspended indefinitely for violating the ethics policies of his employer earlier this year when he donated to three Democrats seeking federal office, MSNBC announced Friday.


Ceres statue silhouetted against full a moon

A statue of Ceres, Roman goddess of agriculture, is silhouetted against the rising moon as it stands on top of the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City

Report: Election nearly wipes out white Southern Democrats

From a recent Associated Press report:

The white Southern Democrat — endangered since the 1960s civil rights era — is sliding nearer to extinction.

Democrats didn’t just see most of their recent gains obliterated, they lost at least 19 Southern House members and a senator, Blanche Lincoln (upper photo) of Arkansas.

Even some of the most conservative Democrats such as four-term Congressman Jim Marshall of Georgia and 10-term Congressman Gene Taylor of Mississippi couldn’t withstand the wave.

It also toppled such veterans as John Spratt (center photo) of South Carolina, the 14-term chairman of the House Budget Committee, and 14-term Congressman Rick Boucher (lower photo) of Virginia.

When the new Congress convenes in January, there will be at most 16 white Southern Democratic House members out of 105 seats in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Two races in Virginia and Kentucky were still too close to call, so the total could be as low as 14.

How much of the 2010 Democrat bloodbath can be blamed on the unbridled arrogance of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi triumvirate will be debated for years.


Smokin' pot

A soldier walks through a cloud of smoke from burning marijuana on an illegal plantation at the Sierra de Juarez in Tecate, northern Mexico.

John Boehner: Obama seems in denial

Republican leader John Boehner (pictured) said on Thursday that President Barack Obama seems to be in denial about the full meaning of congressional elections in which Republicans made big gains.

Boehner is likely to become speaker of the House of Representatives after Republicans routed Democrats in Tuesday's elections and picked up at least 60 seats, the biggest shift in power in decades.

"There seems to be some denial on the part of the president and other Democratic leaders of the message that was sent by the American people," Boehner told ABC News.

"When you have the most historic election in over 60, 70 years, you would think the other party would understand that the American people have clearly repudiated the policies they've put forward in the last few years," he said.

While Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell wants to focus on insuring Barack Obama is a one-term president, Boehner wants to begin working to create jobs, etc.


New House judiciary chairman warns Obama: prepare for investigations

Veteran Congressman Lamar Smith who is in line to become chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee is promising 'a number of investigations and oversight committee actions' which he vows will 'hold the administration accountable.

Smith says it is his constitutional duty.

"Part of that checks and balances is in fact holding the administration accountable, is in fact insisting on more transparency, is insisting on more honesty, and getting the facts," Smith said.

"Right now, because of the one party monopoly, the Administration has been able to dodge any kind of supervision, any kind of oversight committee action, and they refuse to testify, and that is no longer acceptable."


Nov 4, 2010

San Francisco law bans Happy Meal toys

San Francisco passed a law that takes effect on December 1 that will require that restaurant kids' meals meet certain nutritional standards before they could be sold with toys.

So much for McDonald's Happy Meal toys in the California city by the bay.

Opponents of the law include the National Restaurant Association and McDonald's Corp, which used its now wildly popular Happy Meal to pioneer the use of free toys to market directly to children.

"We are extremely disappointed with today's decision. It's not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for," McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud said in a statement.

"Getting a toy with a kid's meal is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald's," Proud said.

The San Francisco law would allow toys to be given away with kids' meals that have less than 600 calories, contain fruits and vegetables, and include beverages without excessive fat or sugar.

This could be the end of McDonald's Happy Meal's in San Francisco.

Can you imagine a Happy Meal with broccoli instead of fries or an artichoke sandwich instead of a hamburger? They would be healthy but who would buy them?


About the California elections…

Camel walks past Brooks Brothers on Sixth Avenue

Amanda Brook walks a camel named Ted up Sixth Avenue past Brooks Brothers after a photo op in front Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Camels, sheep, and a donkey, who were part of the cast of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, were put on display for the media.

Grateful dead: deceased receiving government money

A report from Senator Tom Coburn says agriculture, Social Security, health care and other programs paid out more than $1 billion to the deceased in the past 10 years.

"Nothing represents the stupidity of wasteful Washington spending more than directing a billion taxpayer dollars to the deceased," Coburn said.

"Congress itself created this mess by allowing poorly designed programs to continue unchecked. As a result, $1 billion of taxpayer funds has gone to 250,000 deceased individuals since 2000. If Congress is ready to get serious about spending restraint, ending subsidies for deceased people is a sensible place to start."

More here.

Bill Clinton said there won't be a repeat of 1994

In September Bill Clinton said "Democrats have been hurt, but there won't be a repeat of 1994."

Former President Bill Clinton said Sunday that Republican attacks have hurt President Barack Obama and the congressional Democrats, but he doesn’t expect a repeat of the 1994 Republican takeover in next year’s midterm elections.
During an appearance on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Clinton said, "here’s no way they can make it that bad."

Did Clinton really believe that or was he whistling past the graveyard?


Brits say they found cure for common cold

From a recent UK report:

A cure for the common cold may finally be achieved as a result of a remarkable discovery in a Cambridge laboratory.

In a dramatic breakthrough that could affect millions of lives, scientists have been able to show for the first time that the body's immune defenses can destroy the common cold virus after it has actually invaded the inner sanctum of a human cell, a feat that was believed until now to be impossible.

More here.

Schumer's hopes for majority-leader post dashed by Reid win

From a New York Post report titled. "Reid it and weep for Schumer":

Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid hung on to win Nevada's grueling Senate race yesterday, dashing any hope that Sen. Charles Schumer may have had of taking over the powerful Senate post.

The senior New York senator -- who cruised to a third term and declared his own decisive victory shortly after the polls closed -- had been well positioned to become majority leader if Reid had lost and Democrats kept control of the Senate.

It is interesting to note that many view Reid as less popular as well as less powerful than Schumer, yet Reid is the Majority Leader.

One commenter had this to say:

A milquetoast Reid is better than a steaming pile of Schumer.


Nov 3, 2010

The fading Hope and change

After electoral drubbing, Democrats must now face ethics trials

House Democrats must face the ethics trials of two senior members. This comes after their ranks were decimated in the elections yesterday.

It's like adding insult to injury but they brought it on themselves.

Reps. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), two senior House veterans, have opted to fight the separate ethics charges in public ethics trials set to take place later this month and extend into the first week of December.

Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters are shown above.
Drawing criticism from Republicans, House ethics chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) last month announced the trials would occur after the elections. Rangel’s will commence Nov. 15 and the Waters trial will start Nov. 29.

To make matters worse for a party still reeling from their losses, Rangel, who is known for his colorful and rambling speeches, could decide to represent himself at the hearing.

The Rangel’s trial would undoubtedly attract a lot of attention from the cable news shows.

To make matters worse, Rangel and his legal team have parted ways.


Few Democrats survive ObamaCare vote

Most Democrats fell on their swords when they voted for ObamaCare.

From Healthwatch, The Hill's healthcare blog:

Few Democrats survive healthcare vote.

The evening started pretty well for Democrats who voted for healthcare reform, with Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky handily winning reelection with 54.5 percent of the vote.

Things quickly went downhill from there.

Within hours, a dozen members had lost reelection, including four freshmen elected in the 2008 Democratic wave: Reps. Tom Perriello and Glenn Nye of Virgina and Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Grayson of Florida.

They weren't alone: Democratic Reps. Baron Hill (Ind.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.) and Allen Boyd (Fla.) quickly joined them. So did Pennsylvania Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper, Chris Carney and Paul Kanjorski, all of whom were main targets of the anti-abortion-rights group the Susan B. Anthony List.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who voted for the bill when her vote was crucial but later voted no on reconciliation, was also defeated.

It even got worse as reported here.

Pelosi's tea shower

Report: Obama Agenda is Dead

Syndicated Columnist Charles Krauthammer:

Obama tried a 2-year experiment in hyper-liberalism and the Country has said no.

A word about Charles Krauthammer:

He is a syndicated newspaper columnist whose work earned him a Pulitzer prize for distinguished commentary in 1987.

Dr. Krauthammer directed planning in psychiatric research for the Jimmy Carter administration, and later served as a speechwriter to Vice President Walter Mondale.

Krauthammer is confined to a wheelchair as the result of a swimming pool accident during his first year as a Harvard medical student.

Biden predicted 'no debacle' for Democrats on November 2

Vice President Joe Biden said predictions are wrong about some "grand debacle" for Democrats in November.

Biden predicted a victory for the Democratic candidate in conservative Kentucky, state Attorney General Jack Conway, where the GOP nominee is Rand Paul, son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul.

“I think we can beat Rand Paul -- absolutely,” Biden said. “I think we’re going to do a great deal better than anyone gives us credit for. I do not see this grand debacle. Because by the time people walk into the booth, they’re going to have to choose between two people.”

Choose between two people? Really? Well, Biden was right about the re-election of Harry Reid anyway -- but not much else.


Republican elected to Obama's old Senate seat

Mark Kirk won a hard-fought victory in a bitter battle with Democrat Alexi Giannoulias for the U.S. Senate seat that was held by President Barack Obama.

Kirk told his supporters in his victory speech:

We saw dark days surrounding this Senate seat.

Blagojevich tried to sell it.

Democrats fought a special election to fill it.

Now this Senate seat has just returned to its rightful owners, the people of Illinois.


Nov 2, 2010

Will Nancy Pelosi retire?

Now that John Boehner will become Speaker of the House in January, will Nancy Pelosi retire rather than step down to assume the roll of minority leader?

It may depend on the remaining Democrats in the House. Will they even want her to keep a leadership roll.

Poll: Most want Obama fired in 2012

From an article in the U.S. News and World report:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, rapped by the White House for pledging to make Barack Obama a one-term president, seems to have the support of a majority of Americans.

A new poll provided to Whispers says that 56 percent of likely voters want the president fired.

According to pollster Doug Schoen, whose new poll shows vast support for the Tea Party movement among voters, the president is still liked by about half the nation. In fact, more like him personally than like his policies.

Some 48 percent think he's a nice guy, while just 42 percent approve of his job performance.


Report: House takeover gives GOP ways to attack ObamaCare

From a report at the link below:

If Rep. Joe Barton becomes the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee next year, the Texas Republican vows to make life miserable for Democratic defenders of the health care overhaul law.

He'll drag Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Medicare chief Donald Berwick to Capitol Hill for regular grilling. Democrats, he says, essentially have shielded the two key figures from answering tough questions about the new law.

The report goes on to say, that's just the beginning.

The rest of this story is here.

A sign of the future?

A Solar Charging Station sign is seen in a car port made from solar panels that produce electricity in the parking lot of a former auto parts plant that now houses Green Sun Rising in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Mid-term elections and angry voters

Gallup says Republicans poised to win big.

Will today's mid-term elections punctuate the divide between Barack Obama's big government and angry voters?

Pollsters at Gallup are predicting big wins for Republicans.

The Gallup report is here.

Report: Democrats outspend Republicans on House races

From a New York Times report, linked:

Despite a deluge of campaign spending over the last few months by Republican-leaning outside groups, Democratic candidates and their allies have outspent Republicans over all on television advertising in House races, according to data provided by Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising.

Something seems backwards here.

Maybe if Pelosi hadn't crammed ObamaCare through using bribes, etc…

Maybe if Obama hadn't pressured Pelosi to cram ObamaCare through using bribes, etc…


Extending a hand

Dancers from the China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe.

Biden draws huge crowd of 200 Democrats in Delaware

From a report at the link below:

Vice president Joe Biden is urging fellow Delaware Democrats to get voters to the polls for the midterm elections.

Biden headlined a Democratic rally in downtown Wilmington on Monday evening that drew about 200 people.

Mr. Biden is determined to see to it that the Senate seat he held for over 30 years remain in Democrat hands.

A crowd of only 200 doesn't seem to indicate an enthusiastic turnout.


Man on knees begging to Obama on a Chicago street

This Reuter photo shows a man on his knees next to an SUV carrying Barack Obama as the vehicle pulls away from Valois restaurant in Chicago on Sunday October 31, 2010.

Was he begging or was he was praying to Obama?

Nov 1, 2010

Democrats descend on Vegas to save Reid's Senate seat

Democrat Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is in trouble in Nevada.

Who would have guessed he would need to call in the "cavalry" to help him defeat a near unknown member of the Tea Party named Sharron Angle.

Photo shows Sharron Angle and Harry Reid.

From a report at the link below:

Hundreds of Democrat congressional aides, operatives and lobbyists have descended in Las Vegas seeking to help Sen. Harry Reid pull off an 11th-hour win in a race key to his party's efforts to retain control of the Senate.

Looks like it will take "all the king's horses and all the king's men" to pull off a win against the previously unknown Tea Party candidate.


Hour-by-hour election guide for Tue night

The Washington Examiner has an hour-by-hour election guide that will bring a smile to the face of any political junkie.

Go to the link below and follow it along on Tuesday night or print out the guide. If you run it off on a color printer, the blue or red color of each race reflects the incumbent party.

It is a guide to races of particular interest, in order of poll closing times. Most non-competitive races are not included to keep the length of the guide manageable.


Warning - this Washington Examiner web page may load slow on election night because of high traffic.

Career politicians Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown

Barbara Boxer is running for re-election to the U.S. Senate and Jerry Brown is running for Governor of California.

Brown is California Attorney General, former California Governor and former Mayor of Oakland.

If California rejects change they will still be smiling on election night.

Children can find a playground anywhere

Children play soccer in a vacant building in Kabul, Afghanistan.

JFK speechwriter and confidant Ted Sorensen dies at age 82

Theodore Sorensen (pictured), celebrated JFK speechwriter and confidant died Sunday at the age of 82.

From a Washington Post report found at the link below:

Of the courtiers to Camelot's king, Theodore C. Sorensen ranked just below Bobby Kennedy.

He was the adoring, tireless speechwriter and confidant to President John F. Kennedy, whose term was marked by Cold War struggles, growing civil rights strife and the beginnings of the U.S. intervention in Vietnam.

Sorensen had been in poor health in recent years and a stroke in 2001 left him with such poor eyesight that he was unable to write his memoir, "Counselor," published in 2008. Instead, he had to dictate it to an assistant.

Ted Sorensen was a native of Lincoln, Nebraska. I was a teenager living in Lincoln when the Sorensen - JFK bond began.

At that time both the Lincoln Journal and the Lincoln Star newspapers (later to merge as the Lincoln Star) constantly filled their columns with reports of Ted Sorensen ad nauseum, especially after JFK's presidential campaign and subsequent presidency.

From a report linked to below:

Soaring rhetoric helped make Kennedy's presidency a symbol of hope and liberal governance, and the crowning achievement for Sorensen was the inaugural address that was the greatest collaboration between the two and set the standard for modern oratory.

With its call for self-sacrifice and civic engagement - "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" - and its promise to spare no cost in defending the country's interests worldwide, the address is an uplifting but haunting reminder of national purpose and confidence.

Did the "ask not" part of Kennedy's famous speech come from Kennedy or from Sorensen's pen? Many think it was neither.

John F. Kennedy is shown above giving his famous "ask not" inaugural address. Jacqueline Kennedy and former president Dwight D. Eisenhower can be seen behind JFK.

From a report at the second link below:

The words hark back at least to Kennedy's years at Choate, the Connecticut prep school, where the headmaster regularly reminded his charges that what mattered most was "ask not what Choate does for you, but what you can do for Choate."

There was a concerted move in 2005 to refute the headmaster of Choate story in an understandable effort not to cloud one of the most famous presidential speeches ever given.

Regardless of the origin of the "ask not" words, Ted Sorensen was an exemplary speechwriter and loyal confidant to John F. Kennedy and later to Robert F. Kennedy.

Link here and here.

Over the top way to 'wear' flowers

Enthusiasm gone? Thin crowd for Obama in Ohio

A New York Times article at the link below reports on the "thin crowd" at the Obama Cleveland campaign rally.

Organizers explained it by saying Obama was competing on a Sunday afternoon with church, football and Halloween.

Football? That's not an excuse, the Cleveland Browns didn't play -- they were on a bye week.

As the report said, "the thin crowd was perhaps a foreboding sign in the waning days of the midterm races."


Oct 31, 2010

GM Pontiac officially declared dead today

A sad farewell to Pontiac.

The popular GM brand officially died on Halloween, 2010.

After 84 years, General Motors officially says goodbye forever today to Pontiac. No more Bonnevilles. No more Firebird Trans Ams. No more GTOs.

No more Azteks - well actually, saying goodbye to the Aztek is not so bad. About the only car uglier than the Aztek is the Aztek in camper mode as shown below.

The New York Times wrote an obituary for Pontiac - a portion follows:

It was 84 years old. The cause of death was in dispute. Fans said Pontiac's wounds were self-inflicted, while General Motors blamed a terminal illness contracted during last year's bankruptcy. Pontiac built its last car nearly a year ago, but the official end was set for Oct. 31, when G.M.'s agreements with Pontiac dealers expire.

Pontiac now goes the way of the dodo bird along with other recent auto brands Plymouth, Saturn and Oldsmobile.


Scary pumpkin carvings by Ray Villafane


Performer at first haunted house attraction in China

A costumed performer stands at the gate of the first haunted house attraction in China called Shanghai Nightmare.

Report: divisive Obama undercuts the presidency

Patrick H. Caddell and Douglas E. Schoen, both Democrats, authored a report in the Washington Post voicing their frustration with the Obama presidency.

Shown above is Caddell on left and Schoen on the right.

Pat Caddell is a former Jimmy Carter speech writer who loves America. He still holds out hope that Washington Democrats can also go back to loving America. Caddell may have a long wait because this is not your father's Democrat party.

From the Caddell - Schoen article:

President Obama's post-partisan America has disappeared, replaced by the politics of polarization, resentment and division.

As Election Day approaches, the president and others in the Democratic leadership have focused on campaign finance by moneyed interests - an ancillary issue serving neither party nor country.

They have intensified attacks on business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and individual political operatives such as Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie - insisting that organizations are fronting for foreign campaign money and large secret donations and campaign expenditures.

Even the New York Times has noted that "a closer examination shows that there is little evidence" that these organizations have engaged in activities that are "improper or even unusual."

Caddell and Schoen go on to say they are astounded to hear such charges from Obama after his presidential campaign in 2008 refused to disclose the names of all of its donors, and in past election cycles many liberal groups, such as the Sierra Club and the Center for American Progress, refused to disclose their contributors.

The president is the leader of our society. That office is supposed to be a unifying force. When a president opts for polarization, it is not only bad politics, but it also diminishes the prestige of his office and damages our social consensus.

Moreover, the divisive rhetoric that Obama has pursued can embolden his supporters and critics to take more extreme actions, worsening the spiral.

Look for many more articles by frustrated Democrats who will also be critical of Mr. Obama after the election on Tuesday.