Dec 4, 2010

Cardinal framed by tree branches

This photo was uploaded to a Weather Underground gallery.

Cherub moves hourglass on astronomical clock

Every hour a cherub moves the hourglass part of this astronomical clock in the Strasbourg cathedral in eastern France.

It's the week end - you can come outside and play now

Dec 3, 2010

New York Godfather movie house for sale for $2.9 Million

The New York mansion (pictured) used in the 1972 mobster epic, "The Godfather," is for sale.

The owners of the Staten Island home are asking $2.9 million. Maybe someone will make them an offer they can't refuse.

The movie starred Marlon Brando as the fictitious mobster Vito Corleone and turned actors Al Pacino and Robert Duall into household names.

The owner says his mother kept many artifacts from the movie, including Brando's cue cards.

The house features eight bedrooms, two fireplaces, a basement pub, a four-car garage and an in-ground pool.


Giant football player Antrel Rolle rips fans for booing

Antrel Rolle (pictured) admits he is a "bigmouth" and is unapologetic about it.

Thursday, however, the Giants' safety went over the top when he criticized fans by comparing the booing of football players to booing soldiers coming home from Iraq.

For Mr. Rolle's information, hard-working fans who pay 60 bucks and up to watch multi-millionaires hit each other on a football field, have every right to boo all they want.

We have two words for Antrel Rolle:



YouTube launches skippable ad feature

YouTube has launched its new TrueView ad format, allowing site visitors to avoid watching ads they're not interested in.

Users will now be able to look for a countdown button that will let them skip an ad after it plays for five seconds. In some cases, viewers will be able to select which ad to watch out of three pre-roll options.

TrueView by YouTube has a notice along the top of video clips telling you about the nifty ad-skipping feature.

More here.

Mary Poppins was right - a spoonful of sugar…

A spoonful of sugar can not only help the medicine go down, according to a report in the London Daily Mail:

High sugar levels can help control aggression and prevent loss of temper, researchers have found.

Their study compared the behavior of sugar-starved volunteers with those who had been given a sweet drink, and concluded the latter were less inclined to snap.

The simple sugar glucose is thought to stem aggressive behavior by providing more self-control.

More here.

Pelosi's climate panel died on election day November 2

Congressman James Sensenbrenner (pictured), top Republican on the climate panel, said Republicans will eliminate the House committee created by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to highlight the threat of climate change.

In one of her first acts as speaker in 2007, Pelosi, a California Democrat, created the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming to draw attention to climate-change science and showcase how a cap on carbon dioxide needn’t be a threat to economic growth.

Republicans, who took control of the House in the Nov. 2 election, have opposed legislative efforts to regulate carbon emissions as a thinly disguised tax on energy.


Dec 2, 2010

Rangel censured by overwhelming House vote

The photo shows Congressman Rangel making is way to the House floor on Thursday.

An Associated Press report at the link below describes the censure of Democrat Congressman Charlie Rangel.

Veteran Rep. Charles Rangel, the raspy-voiced, backslapping former chairman of one of Congress' most powerful committees, was censured by his House colleagues for financial misconduct Thursday in a solemn moment of humiliation in the sunset of his career.

After the 333-79 vote, the Democrat from New York's Harlem stood at the front of the House and faced Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she read him the formal resolution of censure.

It was only the 23rd time in the nation's history that a House member received the most severe punishment short of expulsion.

Rangel committed ethical and fundraising violations of House rules, including submitting misleading financial statements and failing to pay all his taxes, the chamber's ethics committee determined last month.


What does Rhode Island DOT have against Cranston?

The mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island is conducting a preliminary investigation into how nearly 700 stop signs, not approved by the city, were installed.

Most if not all of the 692 stop signs on city roads intersecting state roads were placed by the state Department of Transportation.

City officials revealed the questionable signs last week after a months-long investigation that had three city employees driving around the city armed with color-coded maps that indicated the location of the 1,903 stop signs approved by the city.

The employees logged 692 stop signs on city streets that were not approved by the city for posting.


Report: Reid and Pelosi are sitting ducks and GOP taking aim

From a report at the link below:

Congress might be in what's technically referred to as a lame-duck session, but it's looking more like a game of political chicken.

In this lame duck session, Reid and Pelosi (pictured) are sitting ducks and Republicans are taking aim.

In perhaps the brashest legislative strong-arming Republicans have mustered in months, all 42 current members of the GOP Senate conference signed a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid threatening to block his last-minute leftist agenda if it doesn't stick to issues that include tackling taxes and spending.

The letter to Reid calls for a filibuster of any legislation not directly related to time-sensitive votes that would prevent taxes from going up for all Americans.

This includes extending the Bush tax cuts and the passage of a budget, things that Democrats have long delayed doing.

By asking Democrats to focus not on their favorite social causes but the one issue Americans care about most — the one in their wallets — this letter serves as a dose of tough love for the left.


Which carrier should you trust to ship your Christmas packages?

At the link below Popular Mechanics tested USPS, UPS and FedEX to see which would be kindest to your packages.

PM mailed packages containing sensors to find out which shipping company is the most careful with packages.

Click here for the tests and results.

Report: Andy Griffith misleading ads cost taxpayers $3Million

From a CNS News report:

The federal government spent $3.1 million on TV ads featuring actor Andy Griffith (pictured) touting the new health care law that a non-partisan watchdog group says are misleading.

The first ad, entitled “1965,” featured Griffith saying, “This year, as always, we’ll have our guaranteed benefits. And with the new health care law, more good things are coming.”

But the non-partisan says some 10 million Medicare Advantage recipients will see their benefits cut by about $43 a month.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch said “Even Barney Fife would see that these ObamaCare ads are bogus,” referring to the bungling Mayberry deputy sheriff character in the Andy Griffith show.

The Obama administration spent a total of $3,184,000 on three ads, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.


50,000 inmates with no wages received tax refunds

Nearly 50,000 prison inmates claimed more than $130 million in tax refunds this year without providing any wage information to the IRS.

A report by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration stops short of saying the refunds were fraudulently claimed.
It does, however, say the Internal Revenue Service should investigate further.


Obama and his forced unionization agenda

Despite having its forced unionization agenda rejected just a few weeks ago, the Obama Administration refuses to take no for an answer.

It is continuing its push to unionize whatever industry it can, wherever it can, whenever it can get away with it. The most recent target is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Despite bipartisan warnings from elected officials and industry experts, the White House appears more interested in rewarding union bosses than advancing the security of hardworking, everyday Americans.

The effort to “payback” Big Labor at the expense of travelers doesn’t stop with the TSA.

Just last week, Big Labor continued its efforts to unionize Delta Airlines, something they’ve been salivating over since its merger with unionized Northwest Airlines.

The workers at Delta Airlines have voted against forming a union eight separate times yet Obama is determined to force them into unionizing.


Dec 1, 2010

State Department on damage control after WikiLeaks

Hillary trying to clean up after WikiLeaks embarrasses State Department.

Glowing trees may replace street lamps

A Discovery News report says that biologically based LEDs could be used to make trees illuminate sidewalks.

The golden glow of street lights could soon be replaced by the green fluorescence of tree leaves. Scientists from the Academia Sinica and the National Cheng Kung University in Taipei and Tainan have implanted glowing, sea urchin shaped gold nanoparticles, known as bio light emitting diodes, or bio LEDs, inside the leaves of a plant.

The new nanoparticles could replace the electricity powered street light with biologically powered light that removes CO2 from the atmosphere 24 hours a day.

As with many other green pipedreams, this one is, as the article says, "a long way away."


Bill Clinton dinner has few takers

Former President Bill Clinton is auctioning off a private dinner with the proceeds going to the Clinton Foundation.

The menu might be somewhat boring now that he is on a more healthful diet.

The opening bid is $25,000.00. The auction ends tomorrow Dec. 2.

Included in the price of the dinner is a tour of the Clinton Library.

The advertisement says you will also get a view of the Arkansas River and won't that be exciting!


Alcoholic whipped cream

Called Whipped Lightening, this is a booze-infused product whipping up serious interest from public-health experts.

With Four Loko making its way off shelves, regulators have a new favorite college binge drinking tool to look out for: alcoholic whipped cream.

A source told the Boston Herald that the Massachusetts Alcohol Beverages Commission will be closely monitoring the alcoholic treat, which has been on shelves since April and is becoming increasingly popular.

More here.

Democrat state lawmakers defecting to GOP after elections

From an Associated Press report at the link below:

Staggering Election Day losses are not the Democratic Party's final indignity this year.

At least 13 state lawmakers in five states have defected to Republican ranks since the Nov. 2 election, adding to already huge GOP gains in state legislatures. And that number could grow as next year's legislative sessions draw near.

The defections underscore dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party — particularly in the South — and will give Republicans a stronger hand in everything from pushing a conservative fiscal and social agenda to redrawing political maps.


VZ Navigator vs Sprint Navigation

We have used VZ Navigator (pictured) for a few years and have found it to be reliable.

One of the few complaints from users is the inability for VZ Navigator to interact with Google Maps. In fact, it won't allow the use of any third-party software.

We considered switching to Sprint several months ago for sentimental reasons because I was an auditor for Centel and Sprint purchased Centel in the early 1990's.

Sprint Navigation failed a live comparison test. We entered the same address using voice commands.

Both VZ Navigator and Sprint Navigation got us to our destination. However, Sprint Navigation took us off arterial streets and onto side streets for part of the route. VZ Navigator kept us on main streets.

Avalanche of 1099's from a hidden tax change in ObamaCare bill

A Time Magazine blog entry at the link below reports on ObamaCare and the resulting 1099 logjam.

A current rule exists requiring businesses to file 1099s for cumulative annual purchases over $600, but the rule only applied to services – not goods – and excluded purchases from corporate entities. The ObamaCare bill has eliminated these two exceptions.

Section 9006 of the health care bill - just a few lines buried in the 2,409-page document - mandates that beginning in 2012 all companies will have to issue 1099 tax forms not just to contract workers but to any individual or corporation from which they buy more than $600 in goods or services in a tax year.

The additional 1099's are intended to generate huge amounts of additional revenue to help pay for ObamaCare.

One can only imagine how much this will cost businesses.


Nov 30, 2010

Even Santa got hit by WikiLeaks

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

For a mere $2.2 Million you can have your very own space toy

This space toy won't quite fit into a Christmas stocking but is sure to please anyone with a lot of space, a lot of money and a hankering for a full size space toy.

It is a full size non-flying Space Shuttle Orbiter replica made to close exact dimensions of the original Space Shuttle Orbiters.

A full interior is available for an additional cost. Shipping and setup of the replica is extra.

Why not be the first on your block to have a 4.5-million-pound Space Shuttle Orbiter in your back yard.


Republicans take Obama's old Senate seat

Senate Republicans on Monday formally claimed President Obama’s former Senate seat with the swearing-in of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

This is not exactly what Mr. Obama and the Democrats wanted - for a Republican to take Obama's old Senate seat.

One commenter said it looks like Obama got hit in the chops twice in a week, referring to the fat lip he acquired during a basketball pickup game in the White House.


Over 8 million have stopped using credit cards

From an Associated Press article:

More than 8 million consumers stopped using credit cards over the past year. The decline stems from a combination of consumer choices and bank actions.

An analysis by credit reporting agency TransUnion found that use of general purpose credit cards bearing MasterCard or Visa logos, or issued by Discover or American Express, fell more than 11 percent in the third quarter, compared with the July to September period last year.

About 62 million people now have an active card, compared with 70 million a year ago.



Retiring paramilitary policemen salute during a ceremony at an army base in Taiyuan, China.

House pajama party as new Congressmen arrive

Of the 94 incoming members of the House of Representatives, 90% are Republicans, nearly 40% have law degrees and about 35% have never before held elective office.

With voters again shunning Washington and fiscal excess, a number of incoming House members plan to demonstrate their scorn for both by camping out near their new desks.

Earlier this month, freshman lawmakers drew lots and chose the three-room suites they and their aides will inhabit in one of three House office buildings.

For many of them, a key selling point was not proximity to the House chamber, where they'll vote, but to the House gym, where they'll shower.


Nov 29, 2010

WikiLeaks 'leaker' said it's beautiful and horrifying

Just who is the WikiLeaks 'leaker'?

The US military says the leaks originated with a 22-year-old soldier, Bradley Manning (pictured) who has been held in solitary confinement for the last few months and is facing a court martial in 2011.

The former intelligence analyst is charged with unauthorized downloads of classified material while serving on an army base outside Baghdad.

It was childishly easy, according to the published chatlog of a conversation Manning had with a fellow-hacker. "I would come in with music on a CD-RW labelled with something like 'Lady Gaga' … erase the music … then write a compressed split file.

No one suspected a thing ... [I] listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga's Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history." He said that he "had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months".

Manning told his correspondent Adrian Lamo, who subsequently denounced him to the authorities: "Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public ... Everywhere there's a US post, there's a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed. Worldwide anarchy in CSV format ... It's beautiful, and horrifying."


WikiLeaks has made public thousands of State Department documents

What is WikiLeaks?

WikiLeaks claims it is a nonprofit organization funded by human rights campaigners, journalists and the general public.

WikiLeaks promotes the leaking of information to fight government and corporate corruption

The WikiLeaks website was launched in 2006 by founder Julian Assange (pictured). Mr. Assange is an Australian who spends much of his time in Sweden because their media laws are among the worlds most protective for journalists.

In addition, Sweden's Pirate Party, which advocates reform of copyright law, has agreed to host WikiLeaks' servers, giving it additional legal protection.

Where did WikiLeaks get sensitive and secret documents?

Allegedly from a disenchanted, low-level Army intelligence analyst who exploited a security loophole.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

On Sunday November 28 the 'whistle-blower' site WikiLeaks began publishing more than 250,000 cables from U.S. embassies worldwide.

WikiLeaks has shared the entire archive of secret cables with at least four European publications, has promised country-specific documents to many other news outlets, and has said it plans to ultimately post its trove online.

The documents include some 250,000 individual cables, the daily traffic between the State Department and more than 270 American diplomatic outposts around the world.

More here.

Good Samaritan Santas

Volunteers from America's Sidewalk Santas kick off the holiday season walking through Midtown Manhattan during the 108th Annual Parade of Santas in New York.

Bullet-riddled street sign near Mexico border

A bullet-riddled street sign stands at the entrance to Ciudad Mier, Mexico, on the border with Texas, Friday Nov. 19, 2010.

The residents of Ciudad Mier have been under siege for months as powerful drug cartels battle for control of a prime drug smuggling corridor.

Prince William and Kate: lottery tickets for 100 wedding attendees

It has been reported that British royal Prince William and Kate Middleton (pictured) will invite members of the public to their wedding by holding a lucky draw for tickets to the ceremony.

About 100 lucky winners will get to rub shoulders with royals and heads of state at the historic service at Westminster Abbey in London.

They will also be invited to raise a toast to the future king and his queen at the lavish reception, expected to be held at Buckingham Palace.

The exact method of picking which lucky members of the public are to join the Royal shindig has still to be worked out. But it will be completely at random.

More here.

Report: Scottish scientists find diabetes drug can halt Alzheimer's

From a report at the link below:

A drug used to combat the effects of diabetes could hold the key to the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease, according to Scottish scientists.

Researchers at Dundee University and a team of international collaborators have discovered that metformin, a drug commonly used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, can help treat Alzheimer's disease (AD) and prevent it in healthy was a critical factor in the development of Alzheimer's, and that patients with diabetes had a higher risk of contracting the disease than those who were non-diabetic.

More of the story here.

Former ACORN workers busted: 18 charged with voter fraud

ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is said to have played a large roll in the election of Barack Obama before disbanding.

The scandal-plagued ACORN may no longer exist, but its tarnished legacy lives on in court, as the activist group and its former employees face criminal punishment.

So far this year, at least 18 former workers have admitted guilt or been convicted on varying charges of election fraud. The punishment has ranged from probation to several months of prison time.

ACORN is still facing charges in Nevada on conspiracy to commit the crime of compensation for registration of voters.

The report lists other charges against ACORN members in the states of Washington, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.


Nov 28, 2010

Willie Nelson busted for pot - again

Country singer Willie Nelson (pictured), a reported avid pot smoker, was busted again for marijuana possession in Texas.

Nelson's tour bus was stopped at the Sierra Blanca, Texas, checkpoint. An officer smelled pot when a door was opened and a search turned up marijuana.

The Hudspeth County sheriff was contacted and Nelson was among three people arrested.

The 77-year-old singer didn't try to avoid blame. He said the marijuana was his. Nelson was held briefly on a $2,500 bond before being released.


TSA worker with prior record accused of assault

Apparently harassment and stalking are not disqualifying offenses for TSA employment.

A TSA security worker, accused of abducting and sexually assaulting a woman, had previously been convicted of misdemeanor harassment and stalking.

TSA employee Randall King agreed to drive a woman home from the airport.

Instead, King took her to a MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) station parking lot and placed novelty handcuffs on her.

Investigators said he drove her 50 miles away to his home in Troup County and sexually assaulted her. The woman told police that King gave her a suicide note, his car and let her go, investigators said.


New Jersey motorists want to pump own gas - legally

From a report at the link below:

People in New Jersey pick their own strawberries. They chop down their own Christmas trees. They check themselves in at airports and check themselves out at supermarkets.

Lately, a few New Jerseyans have been wondering whether it isn't about time they were allowed to pump their own gas.

New Jersey banned self-service gas stations in 1949 fearing that unprofessional pumpers would blow themselves up. Really.

Pumping your own gas is also illegal in Oregon, and in the New York town of Huntington, on Long Island.

I miss the time when attendants filled the gas tank, cleaned the windshield, checked the oil and checked the tires. But that was when things went at a slower pace and I didn't mind the wait for an attendant and I didn't worry about anyone stealing my card number.

Now I like not waiting - just swipe the card and start pumping.


Richest Senator John Kerry wants donations for election 4 years away

A report in the Boston Herald is aptly titled John Kerry: Deck my halls.

John Kerry (pictured), the richest man in the Senate, wants cash-strapped party donors in Massachusetts to fill his campaign war chest — even though he’s not up for re-election for another four years!

Not only that, Mr. Kerry put up $85,000 to rent the 2,000-seat Boston Symphony where Boston Pops maestro Keith Lockhart, singer James Taylor and actor-director Ben Affleck are expected to appear.

John Kerry's gala at the Boston Symphony is to celebrate himself.

That's right, the event is meant to celebrate Kerry’s 25 years in the Senate and 45 years of public service.

By the way, the $85,000 to rent the 2,000-seat Boston Symphony came out of Kerry's campaign funds.

How much of the contributions Kerry is soliciting will be used to pay the taxes on the yacht he has docked in Rhode Island (to avoid Massachusetts taxes)?