Nov 13, 2010

School backs down after ordering boy to take American flag off bike

A school in Denair, California has done a complete U-turn after it forced a student to remove an American flag attached to his bike.

Cody Alicea, a 13-year-old student at Denair Middle School, had been flying the American flag on the back of his bicycle for almost two months to show support for veterans like his grandfather who served their country.

School officials suddenly ordered Cody to remove the flag from his bike claiming the Stars and Stripes could spur racial tensions on campus.

It took public outcry before the school decided that the Cody could put the grand old flag back on his bike.


Haiti's second calamity - cholera

Ten months after the January 2010 earthquake, displaced Port-au-Prince residents make do on the grounds of an abandoned school.

As cholera cases are reported nearby, concerns grow for residents of camps without access to clean water.

Flooding from Hurricane Tomas could increase the cholera infection rate. from Time Magazine

Nov 12, 2010

Honda 3R-C electric powered concept vehicle

No, this isn't a vehicle built for the next James Bond movie nor is it a prop for a Jetsons movie remake.

It's the Honda 3R-C electric powered concept vehicle.

Report: Backlash over TSA naked strip searches;

From a report at the link below:

Two months ago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the federal stimulus legislation would pay for the purchase of hundreds of controversial full-body scanners.

Janet Napolitano, shown in the photo at right, seems to be reacting to the screening backlash.

"Through the Recovery Act, we are able to continue our accelerated deployment of enhanced technology as part of our layered approach to security at airports nationwide," Napolitano said at the time.

The number of scanners has doubled since that Napolitano announcement and are now found in 68 U.S. airports.

The Transportation Security Administration says the controversial devices have proven to be a success.

"We have received minimal complaints," a TSA spokeswoman told CNET yesterday. She said that the agency, part of DHS, keeps track of air traveler complaints and has not seen a significant rise.

Not an increase in air traveler complaints? Really?

A growing number of airline passengers, labor unions, and advocacy groups, however, say the new procedures--a choice of full-body scans or what the TSA delicately calls "enhanced patdowns"--go too far.

They were implemented without much fanfare in late October, amid lingering questions about whether travelers are always offered a choice of manual screening.

The "enhanced patdowns" mentioned above are called "groping" by some.


(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Rolls Royce Phantom with suicide doors

If you thought suicide doors went out in the 1930's, think again.

Shown are Rolls-Royce Phantom drophead convertibles with suicide doors.

Lawmakers pay wives from campaign funds

What was your last political campaign donation spent on? Was it used for TV ads, newspaper ads, travel, printing signs or was it given to the congressman's wife?

The campaign to re-elect Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (pictured) has given his wife Sandi Jackson’s company at least $315,000 for her work.

Bobby Rush's campaign has paid his wife, Carolyn Rush, more than $240,000 to serve as a consultant.

Two other Chicago-area congressmen, Danny Davis and Lois Gutierrez, have given their wives smaller amounts for doing campaign work. The four lawmakers, all Democrats, were re-elected last week.

Must be the Democrat way.

It's legal but how often is the practice abused?


Michelle Obama tried to relate to starving children in India

From a report at the first link below:

Accompanying her husband on a diplomatic visit to Asia, Michelle Obama dropped in on Mumbai University.

While Barack Obama was busy lauding the greatness of India’s history, progress and economy, over at Mumbai U Michelle amused kids who otherwise would be rag picking or sleeping in sewers.

Mrs. Obama kicked off those fabulous gold flats, banged a tambourine and danced solo, twirling before her delighted audience in joyful abandon.

Besides hopscotch and freestyle Koli dancing, youthful firewood collectors, animal tenders, beggars, and street vendors listened intently as Michelle recounted personal hardships and sad stories about a beleaguered Chicago childhood.

Personal hardships and a beleaguered childhood indeed!

The photo shows Michelle's childhood home in south Chicago. Hardly humble! She had a financially comfortable childhood.

From a report at the second link below:

Michelle's father was a volunteer organizer for the city's Democratic Party, a by-word for machine politics in America, and his loyalty was rewarded with a well-paid engineering job at Chicago's water plant. Even before overtime, he earned $42,686 - 25 per cent more than High School teachers at the time.

Yet she tells children who eat garbage and sleep in the street that she knows about poverty.

After presenting waifs with bags of stationery and “White House M&M sweets,” the First Lady put her very expensive Cynthia Vincent ballet flats back on and headed toward New Delhi on a one-woman mission to stimulate India’s economy.

Link here and here.

Nov 11, 2010

House Democrats view Pelosi as politically toxic

A growing number of defeated House Democrats say they won't support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (pictured) in a politically symbolic roll call when the new Congress meets in January.

"The reality is that she is politically toxic," said Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley, one of several Democrats who are trying to pressure Pelosi to step aside as her party's leader in the wake of historic election losses to Republicans last week.

Pelosi startled many Democrats with a quick postelection announcement that she would run for minority leader. She has yet to draw an opponent for the post. Party elections are scheduled for next week, although a postponement is possible.

In the interim, Pelosi's critics have become more vocal in their efforts to retire her from the party leadership.

More here.

Pelosi gets support from GOP Congressmen

Report: Barack Obama AWOL on Veterans Day

From a report in the New York Post:

Today is Veterans Day.

Do you know where your president is?

With his feeble flame of "hope" thoroughly doused here in the United States by last week's elections, has set out around the globe in search of throngs still enthralled by his flowery rhetoric.

He found them, of course, in Indonesia this week by telling them about how Americans must stop mistrusting Islam.

So that is why your president is halfway around the world instead of being here in the United States to celebrate the sacrifices American soldiers, sailors and airmen have made around the world to keep the real, still-burning flame of freedom alive.

Almost as an afterthought Mr. Obama honored our veterans from afar by laying a wreath during a ceremony at an Army base in South Korea last night.

That is a distance from here matched only by the chasm that has opened up between him and the voters who elected him two years ago.

This aloofness of his really is becoming a problem.

Not that Obama doesn't appreciate the sacrifices of veterans. He absolutely does. Just ask the Indonesians.

He was in Jakarta for their Heroes Day this week to honor their veterans "who have sacrificed on behalf of this great country."

"This great country," of course, being Indonesia.

More here.

Guinness record - smallest street legal car

Perry Watkins of the UK sits in his mini car on a street in Essen, Germany.

The car is listed in the Guinness book of records as the world's smallest car with a license to drive on public streets.

It is only 41 inches high, 51 inches long and only 26 inches wide. No problem finding a parking space.

It can drive 38 miles per hour and even has a seat belt.

We wonder how often Mr. Watkins visits his Chiropractor?

The wind-up key adds a humorous touch.

Proudly remembering my own military service on this Veterans Day

Operating a telegraph key as Chief Radio Operator at Camp Moore, near Keio University, Hiyoshi, Japan at the Headquarters of the 40th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade.

Crippled cruise ship to be towed into San Diego today

The Carnival Cruise Lines ship Splendor (pictured) became stranded Monday after an engine-room fire off the coast of Mexico is being towed back to San Diego.

The fire occurred about 6 a.m. Monday in the aft engine room of the Splendor, the cruise line said Tuesday in a statement posted on its website. The blaze was extinguished, and no passengers or crew were injured.

Engineers were not able to restore power to the ship, which was operating on auxiliary generators, a Carnival statement said. Key hotel systems, including air conditioning and hot food service were still not available Wednesday.

Passengers will not soon forget their three-day ordeal that left them without electricity and hot showers.

Their diet became Spam and Pop Tarts rather than steak and chocolate mousse.

The aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan brought water and other supplies to the stricken cruise ship.


In defense of human rights and freedom

From a report at the link below:

Most everyone is familiar with the German anti-Nazi activist Martin Niemoller's renowned "First They Came" poem. It is a sobering reminder of the need for eternal vigilance in defense of human rights and freedom.

I submit the 2010 American version:

They first came for the light bulbs, and I didn't speak up because I'm okay with fluorescents.

Then they came for the salt, and I didn't speak up because I have high cholesterol.

Then they came for the air conditioners, and I didn't speak up because I live up north.

Then they came for the Happy Meals, and I didn't speak up because I'm a Wendy's guy.

Then they came for the Oreos at school parties, and I didn't speak up because I'd already graduated.

Tyranny is timeless. Whether it is born of good intentions or not, seeking to deprive citizens of their autonomy and independence is not a recipe for human happiness, but rather misery.

The original "First They Came" is here.

The updated version is here.

Blaming Happy Meals

Nov 10, 2010

Mystery Missile said to be a plane - but is anyone buying it?

After nearly a day of keeping quiet and then some speculating, the Pentagon has finally said the "missile" off the California coast was a Plane! Are you kidding me?!

Look at the video below and then ask yourself if you think it looks like a plane.

Do planes shoot up out of the water 35 miles out in the ocean off the coast of California?

One skeptic asked: "do they think Americans just fell off the turnip wagon?"

Tom Chivers of the London Telegraph doesn't believe the Pentagon either.

He says:

I mean, come on. Are Californians so unused to seeing jet contrails that when one happens to be coming straight towards them, they think it’s vertical? Are they unfamiliar with the concept of perspective?

Apparently the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) issued a joint statement saying that the vapor trail was not the result of any foreign military launching a missile, but gave no further details.

You’ve got to think that back at NORAD and NORTHCOM HQs, a lot of military top brass were giggling to themselves at that.


Anger at TSA as flier patience wears thin

From a report in the Sarasota Herald Tribune:

As the Transportation Security Administration scrambles to address vulnerabilities in procedures for screening cargo, it is facing growing criticism from travel industry groups over the escalating security measures for passengers.

In recent weeks, representatives from the International Air Transport Association, the U.S. Travel Association, the Allied Pilots Association and British Airways have criticized the T.S.A., saying it adds intrusive and time-consuming layers of scrutiny at airport checkpoints, without effectively addressing legitimate security concerns.

The U.S. Travel Association is worried that the burdensome screening process will discourage air travel.

The executive vice president of the association says “The system is broken, it’s extremely flawed and it’s absurd that we all sit back and say we can’t do anything about it,”

More here.

The missile mystery off California coast deepens

From a report at the link below:

Pentagon can't explain apparent mystery rocket off California coast.

The video at the link below hints that it could be an optical illusion or an aircraft contrail.

Really? An airplane contrail or optical illusion may satisfy a few people.

The Pentagon is unable to explain images of what appears to be a high-altitude rocket or missile launched off the coast of southern California at sunset Monday, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, and California Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Jane Harman -- whose coastal districts are closest to the offshore contrails -- were at a loss to explain the images.


Report: Defeated Democrats ask Pelosi to step aside

From a report at the link below:

FOX has obtained a letter penned by defeated House Democrats that implores House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (pictured) to step aside.

The letter is now circulating Capitol Hill and has not yet been sent to the Speaker. FOX has obtained draft language of the letter.

In the draft of the letter, the members say that they were "victimized by a national wave of resentment toward Democrats, a wave that ensnared you along with us."

The letter goes on to say "Madam Speaker, fairly or unfairly, Republicans made you the face of the resentment and disagreement in our races.

While we commend your years of service to our party and your leadership through many tough times, we respectfully ask that you step aside as the top Democrat in the House."

Full text of the letter can be found here.

Picture worth a thousand words…

Determined to be cheerful

‎"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." - Martha Washington

Harley-Davidson to build bikes in India

From a CNN report at the link below:

Harley-Davidson, the iconic American motorcycle brand with a cult-like following, has announced it has chosen to build its second assembly plant ever outside the United States in India.

India is the second fastest growing two-wheeler market in the world behind China. More than 10 million two-wheelers were sold in India in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Beyond the obvious market potential there is another major reason Harley-Davidson is building an assembly plant in India -- to bring down India's import duties which right now are so high Indian consumers pay double for fully assembled imported vehicles. Exporting just the parts to India could lower the import duty tariffs by around 80 percent.


Report GOP watchdogs promise EPA and ObamaCare fight

From a Washington Examiner report by Byron York:

There's been a lot of talk about Republican plans to subject the Obama administration to strict oversight once the new GOP House majority takes office.

Most of the discussion has focused on Rep. Darrell Issa (upper photo), head of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is the main panel charged with keeping the administration in line. "I'm going to be doing a lot of investigating," says Issa.

The report says there are two key areas the Republicans plan to keep a close eye on:

1. The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' implementation of the new national health care law.

2. The Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson's work to unilaterally regulate carbon emissions.

Both of these fall under the oversight of the House Energy and Commerce Committee -- a panel so important that the famed Democratic Rottweiler Rep. Henry Waxman (lower photo) left the Oversight Committee to chair it -- and both will be the subject of extensive oversight next year.

Waxman, a Democrat will no longer chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee after the new House members are seated in January.


Nov 9, 2010

Nearly 4,500 people stranded on cruise ship off Mexico

According to a Coast Guard report a Carnival cruise ship is stranded offshore with about 4,500 passengers and crew must be towed slowly into a Mexican port.
The Carnival Splendor was 200 miles south of San Diego when an engine room fire cut its power early Monday, according to a statement from Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines.

The 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew members were not hurt and the fire was put out, but the 952-foot ship had no air conditioning, hot water or telephone service.

Auxiliary power allowed toilets and cold running water to be restored Monday night.

More here.

Mystery off California coast - military ICBM or UFO?

Officials are staying tight-lipped over the nature of the projectile caught by cameras Monday night off the southern California coast.

This image, captured by a KCBS News helicopter, shows an unidentified projectile launched from an unknown point in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Los Angeles, Nov. 8, 2010.

Was it a military missile launched from a submarine?

With no word from the Pentagon, UFO believers will say it was a USO (unidentified submersible object).


Mishap at Moto2 Aragon Motorcycle Grand Prix

Crash during the Moto2 Aragon Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Motorland racetrack in Alcaniz, Spain.

Just one of the many problems with ObamaCare

Did any of the lawmakers even read the bill?

The report linked to below details just one unintend consequence of the bill:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that it will take the food service industry 14 million additional hours each year to comply with a new regulation that mandates chain restaurants and vending machine operators label the products they sell with a calorie count in a place visible to the consumer.

Most of the burden of the regulation, which is buried in the 2,000+ page ObamaCare bill, will fall on the vending industry.

In the Nov. 5 edition of the Federal Register, the FDA estimates “a total of 14,068,808 recurring hours for third party disclosure” in conjunction with the regulation.

The liberal do-gooder's, who want to regulate everything, knew they couldn't outlaw certain foods so they buried this calorie count mandate somewhere within the 2000+ ObamaCare bill with little thought to the burden placed on the business community nor the non-effect it would have on consumers.

Does anyone actually think the calorie count mandate will make people healthier? How many people will read the fine-print?

Won't vending machines sell as many Twinkies as before and won't McDonald's sell as many Big Mac's as before?

This is just one small item in the monstrous bill that lawmakers didn't know was there.

As Nancy Pelosi said, "you will find out what's in it when it is passed."

It was votes for ObamaCare that nearly wiped out the Democrat caucus in the House and voters will not be satisfied until most of the monstrous ObamaCare bill, such as the provision outlined above, is revised or eliminated.

Lurking in the 2,000+ pages of the ObamaCare bill (shown below) are undoubtedly many problems few people know about.

More here.

A sure way to get out of jury duty

A Cleveland Judge was conducting a screening session with prospective jurors when he asked a question everyone in the jury pool must answer: "Has anyone you know ever been convicted of a crime?"

Cartoonist John Backderf, better known as Derf, was one of the members of the jury pool.

When it came Derf's turn he said "I had a close friend in high school who killed 17 people."

Lawyers dropped their pens.

The judge froze his stare.

Everyone in the jury box suddenly turned their heads on Derf.

"Who?" asked the judge.

"Jeffrey Dahmer," answered Derf, who wrote and illustrated a collection of short stories, soon to be published as a graphic novel, called "My Friend Dahmer."

Dahmer, a native of Bath, Ohio went on to become a notorious mass murderer. He died in Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin in 1994.

Derf was dismissed from the jury pool.


Personal drones that can stalk you

From a report on 'personal' drones found in the London Daily Mail:

They could put your mind at ease - or do very much the opposite.

A new arms race is on and it could change everything from the way we parent to how we get our celebrity gossip.

For the technology currently being used by the CIA to ferret out terrorist leaders in the hills of Pakistan is set to arrive in a neighborhood near you - and there's nowhere to hide.

The Daily Mail photo shows a police constable in Liverpool trying out the new remote-controlled UAV (unmanned areal vehicle). Liverpool police have already used such drones to make at least one arrest.


Rx containing microchips at a pharmacy near you?

Look out, your medicine may soon be watching you.

Novartis AG, a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company plans to seek regulatory approval for a new tablet containing an embedded microchip.

The initial program will use one of the Swiss firm's established drugs taken by transplant patients to avoid organ rejection. But Trevor Mundel, global head of development, believes the concept can be applied to many other pills.

The report at the link below says:

The chip is designed collect heart rate and temperature to body movement to check that drugs are working properly.

Because the tiny chips are added to existing drugs, Novartis does not expect to have to conduct full-scale clinical trials to prove the new products work. Instead, it aims to do so-called bioequivalence tests to show they are the same as the original.

A bigger issue may be what checks should be put in place to protect patients' personal medical data as it is transmitted from inside their bodies by wireless and Bluetooth.

More about these 'Big Brother' pills here.

Nov 8, 2010

Al Gore's Chicago Climate Exchange has failed

Global warming-inspired cap and trade has been one of the most hotly debated public policy controversies of the past 15 years. But it is dying a quiet death.

In a little reported move, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) announced on Oct. 21 that it will be ending carbon trading – the only purpose for which it was founded.

Although the trading in carbon emissions credits was voluntary, the CCX was intended to be the hub of the carbon trading that liberals are intent on making mandatory.

Too bad - now Al Gore (pictured) will need to wait a few years to become the first carbon billionaire at the expense of consumers who will pay more for goods and services after Democrats get cap and trade passed into law.


Government to study gas from belching cows

From a report in the New Hampshire Union Leader:

The University of New Hampshire has won a $700,000 to grant to study greenhouse gas emissions from organic dairies, which are cause by cow burps, among other things.

The report says that cows emit most of their methane through belching. Only a small fraction is from flatulence. That must be why the report says, Beano probably isn't an option.

So there ya have it -- the government is spending $700,000 to study cow burps.


Olbermann suspension to end Tuesday

The abrupt suspension of MSNBC's liberal firebrand Keith Olbermann for making donations to Democrat candidates has ignited a national debate over journalistic objectivity and media partisanship, with many critics, including a U.S. senator, questioning the motives of network parent GE as it prepares to hand the No. 2 cable-news outlet to new owners.

MSNBC will soon become part of cable giant Comcast, which is due to close its acquisition of the company before year's end.

Outspoken liberal Olbermann has the top rated political show on MSNBC.

Click here to put any of MSNBC's programs in perspective by comparing to Fox News.

The Olbermann reinstatement story is here.

Want to track bedbug outbreaks? There's an app for that

Bedbug outbreaks have been in the news recently.

If only there was a way you could snap your fingers and find out if they were at your hotel, your theater, or your office.

Well, you can't snap your fingers, but you can touch your finger to a screen.

As in an iPhone. Yup, you guessed it, there's now a bedbug app called the Bed Bug Alert.


Putin drives Formula One racecar

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin drives a Renault racing car at the race track outside St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010.

Speaker of the House Pelosi in denial

Report Obama would be responsible for shutdown

From a Reuters report:

A top Republican refused on Sunday to rule out the possibility of a government shutdown next year over growing federal deficits but said if there were one, President Barack Obama would bear responsibility.

House of Representatives Republican Whip Eric Cantor (pictured) said it's up to Obama to work with Republicans since they won the House from Obama's Democrats in last week's election, vowing to slash spending and shrink government.

More here.

Nov 7, 2010

Can Reid deliver on election promises?

A report at the link below is titled: Reid on the hook for election
promises in lame-duck session

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (pictured) won a tough re-election fight by making promises to his constituents and now he has the tough job of delivering in the lame-duck session.

The truth is, he doesn't need to deliver on his election promises.

Reid is back in the Senate for six years and won't need to worry about delivering on campaign promises he made to Hispanics and union members.


White House unprepared for legal onslaught

From a report at the link below:

Democratic strategists say President Barack Obama needs to act fast to make sure that one of the most tangible consequences of the Republican takeover of the House — an army of GOP committee chairman seeking confidential executive branch deliberations — doesn’t swamp the day-to-day work of the White House.

Veterans of the contentious battles of the Clinton administration warn that the Obama White House is entirely unprepared for the level of scrutiny it is about to experience.

Elections have consequences.

After the 2008 election, the administration had control of Washington with a wide majority in both the House and Senate.

Under the guise of transparency, ObamaCare was drawn up largely behind closed doors.

Now, with a large Republican majority, the administration will be held accountable.

Legislative gridlock may be the least of the White House’s worries over the next two years if its staff must respond to dozens of subpoenas seeking details on the implementation of the health care reform law, stimulus spending, etc.


Flying with Oprah: United Airlines honors the talk-show host

United Airlines honors Oprah Winfrey with a 757 newly painted from nose to tail with the logo for Oprah's farewell season.

The Oprah plane will fly United customers between cities in the airline's domestic network through May 2011. An onboard video featuring Oprah Winfrey will greet customers.

More here.

Obama to take first ever teleprompter to Indian parliament

Obama will make history for more than one reason during the Nov 6-9 visit. This will be the first time a teleprompter has used in the nearly 100-feet high dome-shaped hall that has portraits of eminent national leaders adorning its walls.

We thought Obama is a trained orator and skilled in the art of mass address with his continuous eye contact.


Pelosi won't relinquish power - will run for House minority leader

Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn't letting go of power easily.

For shell-shocked House Democrats who held on in tough districts Tuesday, a new nightmare is unfolding before their eyes: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who acted as a drag on campaigns across the country, isn't letting go of power.

Pelosi announced on Twitter on Friday afternoon that she is running for Democratic leader, a stunning move after many political insiders thought she would step aside after Tuesday’s electoral rout for Democrats.

Will anger from the remaining Democrats in the House keep Pelosi from getting the votes she needs to be the minority leader?

Most of the moderate Democrats were voted out. The remaining House Democrats will be much more liberal and more inclined to keep Pelosi in a leadership position.

Republicans, meanwhile, are virtually giddy over the fact that Democrats are now poised to keep both the House and Senate leadership team in the next Congress.

One Democrat lawmaker said, We cannot get back to the majority if Nancy Pelosi is our leader.