Dec 11, 2010
In July, 2011 Peru will celebrate the first centenary of the discovery of Machu Picchu with a huge exhibition after an agreement with Yale University to return thousands of artifacts taken from the archaeological site in the early 1900s.
Dec 10, 2010
Above are cardboard versions of the world's best known landmarks floating in the ocean at the Gaviota Azul beach in Cancún.
It was the first time since 1935 -- when the prize went to a winner imprisoned in one of Adolf Hitler's concentration camps -- that the Peace Prize winner or his representative did not appear personally to accept the award. Liu's absence was symbolized by an empty chair on stage.
So on this notable occasion, the White House released a statement from President Obama on the awarding of the prize to Liu in absentia. And this is how Obama's statement began:
"One year ago, I was humbled to receive the Nobel Peace Prize…
The frustration with President Barack Obama over his tax cut compromise was palpable and even profane at Thursday’s House Democratic Caucus meeting.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) was also overheard saying that “we can’t trust him” not to cave to Republicans and extend the tax cuts again in two years, according to a Democratic source.
The anger aimed at the bill was widespread. As Democrats moved to block the bill from coming up on the floor, chants of “Just say no!” could be heard by reporters outside the room.
Berkley is one of the few Democrats publicly supporting the package. While she said it wasn’t necessarily how she would have written it, the bill should go forward in her estimation because it is “chock full” of tax cuts that will help the working class in her state.
Imagine that - a Washington lawmaker thinking of the best interest of her constituents.
The real cause of the deep anger shown by Democrat lawmakers in the last few days is because they bought into the "40 More Years" book (cover is shown below) by the 'Ragin' Cajun' James Carville. But then the November elections left that dream in smoking ruins.
Link here to the Roll Call report.
But not the city of Berkeley. The leftist city on the left coast - the city that voted to ban a Marine recruitment office - plans a resolution that would declare the Army private suspected of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks a hero and call for his release.
A new study was released giving new meaning to the phrase "toxic assets."
"On The Money: BPA on Dollar Bills and Receipts" set out to investigate the extent to which thermal receipt paper containing bisphenol A (BPA) has permeated the market, and whether this hormone-disrupting chemical is escaping onto the money that lies close to these receipts in people's wallets.
There will certainly be a WikiLeaks movie - it's just a matter of when it will be made. If it is filmed before the story ends - no problem. The rest of the story will be made into a sequel.
Who will play the roll of the presently jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange?
The bigger question is how will Assange be portrayed. Will he be a hero, criminal, egotist, crusader, some combination of all those?
Mateo, who identifies himself as both black and Hispanic, made his comments this week after a cab driver was shot several times by a man police describe as Hispanic. The suspect was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, which Mateo has said is a red flag.
The private cab driver was fighting for his life after being shot at least four times by a robber who ended up getting less than $100.
Dec 9, 2010
The demonstrators broke a window and tossed paint on their Rolls Royce, however neither royal family member was injured in the attack.
Frightened out of their wits perhaps but no physical injuries.
By the looks of the sparse crowd, Gore wasn't the only no-show.
Link here for "Why Cancún can't."
The last time the canal closed was in 1989, after the United States invaded Panama to topple strongman Manuel Noriega. Landslides forced the canal to close for several months from late 1915 to mid-1916, just months after it opened.
The photo shows a man watching as a container ship is slowly towed through one of the canal locks.
The canal was built from 1904 to 1914 by the United States, which had sole control over the channel across the Panamanian isthmus until 1979 when Jimmy Carter gave one half of the control over to the Panamanian government.
Then, after 20 years of joint U.S.-Panama control, the Jimmy Carter give-away of the canal to Panama was completed on December 31, 1999.
Porteous was appointed by Bill Clinton.
The Senate also approved a motion barring him from holding future federal office to prevent another Alcee Hastings situation. Hastings (lower photo) was a judge in Florida appointed by Jimmy Carter.
Hastings was later elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where he still serves. Impeached judges should never be allowed to serve in Congress.
More of the Porteous impeachment here.
Congress on Wednesday signaled it won't close the prison at Guantánamo Bay or allow any of its suspected terrorist detainees to be transferred to the U.S., dealing what is likely the final blow to Obama's campaign pledge to shutter the facility in Cuba.
The move to block the prison's closure was written into a massive year-end spending bill that passed the House on Wednesday evening on a vote of 212-206, part of a last-minute legislative rush by Democrats to push through their priorities before ceding the House to Republican control in January.
News of the Guantánamo provision brought a quick and sharp rebuke from The Obama Administration which is strongly opposed to keeping the facility open.
The attacks stepped up Wednesday, a day after Mr. Assange was arrested and denied bail in London in connection with sexual-misconduct accusations in Sweden. A range of organizations, including MasterCard Inc., and the Swedish prosecutor's office, reported technical difficulties with their websites that appear to stem from so-called denial of service attacks, in which computers flood a server to prevent it from displaying a Web page.
The attacks have hit eBay Inc.'s PayPal and Swiss bank PostFinance.
PayPal refused to handle payments to WikiLeaks and PostFinance closed Mr. Assange's account.
Although these attacks caused some business disruption, they were mostly annoying rather than crippling.
The computers in the office of Claes Borgstrom, the lawyer representing the two women making the accusations against Mr. Assange, also crashed.
Facing broad frustration from his party's liberal base and many Democrats on the Hill, Obama emphasized the portions of the compromise he reached the previous day that benefit middle class families and the jobless, whose government insurance would have expired without the deal.
Senator Schumer led the unhappy Democrats who kept saying the compromise was a gift to the rich and that Obama is doing an about face (as illustrated below) when Democrats still have the majority in Congress.
Taxpayers in high income brackets are the job creators. Small and medium sized businesses bring their business income into their personal 1040 Income Tax Return because that's how it works for owners of S-Corporation businesses. The net profit from an S-Corp business passes through to the owner's personal tax return.
One of the reasons for high unemployment today is the reluctance of small and medium sized businesses to hire more employees because of the threat that Congress would end the Bush-era tax cuts.
Link to the Washington Post story here.
Dec 8, 2010
250 skiers and snowboarders signed up for the 11th annual Santa Sunday event in Newry, Maine.
For the event, skiers got a free lift ticket if they came dressed as Santa and donated $10 or more to the Bethel Rotary Club's annual drive to provide gifts for the area's children in need. They also got an additional lift ticket valid through Dec. 18.
UPS is now requiring photo identification from customers shipping packages at retail locations around the world, a month after explosives made it on to one of the company's planes.
The Atlanta-based package courier said Tuesday the move is part of an ongoing review to enhance security. The directive will apply at The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc. locations and other authorized shipping outlets.
There are places in America where one can vote without showing ID. In fact, in some places you can even vote as often as you want without showing ID.
Do the UPS decision makers think terrorists don't have ID's?
One commenter wrote:
"Thank you sir - is that spelled Osama or is it Usama? Your Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Official Jihad Instructor photo ID card is a little hard to read"......
Profiling won't work either. Islamic terrorists will hire Caucasians to take their packages to UPS stores.
There is no easy answer.
The UPS ID report is here.
The former Mr. Smith says he faced a Lane County judge who questioned his seriousness. The judge that granted the request made him swear he wasn't changing his name for fraudulent reasons.
Awesome says the judge also allowed him to sign his name as a right arrow, a smiley face and a left arrow.
He says his bank, however, has refused to accept the signature because it could be forged too easily.
A total list of waivers can be found at the US Department of Health and Human Services web sight (third link below).
From a report at the second link below:
Union bosses fought tooth and nail to nationalize America’s health care—even, in many cases, to the detriment of their own members. Now, instead of chewing on and swallowing what they bit off, unions are getting waivers to the very plan that they shoved down everyone else’s throat.
Below is a list of the known unions getting ObamaCare waivers:
1. Service Employees Benefit Fund
2. UFCW Allied Trade Health & WT
3. IBEW No.915
4. Asbestos Workers Local 53 WF
5. Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 123 WF
6. UFCW Local 227
7. UFCW Maximus Local 455
8. Local 25 SEIU
9. UFCW Local 1262
10. Local 802 Musicians Health Fund
11. Greater Metropolitan Hotel
12. Local 17 Hospitality Benefit Fund
14. Transport Workers
15. UFT Welfare Fund
*Several other entities appear to be joint union-employer benefit plans, but it is unclear if this assumption is correct, so only the known union plans are listed above.
Scams die hard, but eventually they die, and when they do, nobody wants to get close to the corpse. You can get all the hotel rooms you want this week in Cancún.
Last year everybody raced to Copenhagen for the global-warming summit. Not nearly as many journalists showed up this year.
The only story there is that there's no story there. The U.N. organizers glumly concede that Cancún won't amount to anything, even by U.N. standards.
Last year, he joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and dozens of other congressmen in taking staffers and spouses to the party in Copenhagen. The junket cost taxpayers $400,000. This year, they're all staying home.
The Senate's California ladies, cheerleaders for the global-warming scam only yesterday, can't get far enough away from Cancún this year.
Dianne Feinstien says she's not even thinking about the weather. "I haven't really thought about [Cancún], to be honest with you," she tells Politico, the Capitol Hill daily. She still loves the scam, but "no - no, no, no, it's just that I'm not on a committee related to it."
She's grateful for small blessings.
Barbara Boxer, who was proud to make global warming her "signature" issue only last year, obviously regards that signature now to be a forgery.
When the thrill is gone, the thrill is gone, as star-crossed lovers have learned through the ages, and when a scam collapses, it stays collapsed.
The thought is enough to warm hearts all across the globe.
Dec 7, 2010
One survivor of the devastating Pearl Harbor attack 69 years ago said, “Remember the people who gave their lives. They say we are heroes, but we are not. We are survivors. The heroes are still out there.”
The photo above was widely publicized in the United States during World War II and was used to help sell War Bonds. It shows the sinking of the battleship USS West Virginia.
Sailors in the motor launch in the foreground are looking for survivors in the water near the USS West Virginia.
This photo shows the battleship USS California sinking.
The Federal Election Commission is investigating a complaint that Rep. Charles Rangel improperly used his National Leadership PAC (Political Action Committee) to fund his legal defense on ethics charges for which he was censured last Thursday
The FEC is acting on a complaint by the National Legal and Policy Center filed after The Post reported last month that Rangel paid nearly $400,000 from his PAC.
Lawmakers are only allowed to use money in their individual campaign funds for legal fees, or they can set up legal defense funds for such costs.
A significant production problem with new high-tech $100 bills has caused government printers to shut down production of the new notes and to quarantine more than one billion of the bills in huge vaults in Fort Worth, Texas and Washington, DC.
The new bills were initially scheduled for release in April.
With great fanfare officials announced the new bills would incorporate sophisticated high-tech security features designed to foil counterfeiters.
They were to have a 3-D security strip and a color-shifting image of a bell.
But the production process is so complex, it has foiled the government printers before getting the chance to foil counterfeiters.
1.1 billion of the new bills have been printed, but they are unusable.
The total face value of the unusable bills, $110 billion, represents more than ten percent of the entire supply of US currency on the planet.
According to a person familiar with the matter, the bills are the most costly ever produced, with a per-note cost of about 12 cents—twice the cost of a conventional bill. That means the government spent about $120 million to produce bills it can’t use and will need to burn the 110 billion dollars!
Perhaps it is significant that this administration fiasco involves the very first bills to have Timothy Geithner's signature.
Unbelievable is the understandable reaction.
What will the administration try to censor next?
Dec 6, 2010
Photo shows Josh McDaniels (left) with owner Pat Bowlen in January, 2009. Today the smiles are gone.
Under McDaniels the Broncos lost 9 of their last 12 games this year and lost 17 of their last 22 games. A terrible record for a once proud team that had been on the verge of the playoffs in recent years and had back to back Super Bowl wins a decade ago.
An entry in the ESPN NFL blog asks:
Can you blame the Denver Broncos for firing Josh McDaniels?
Perhaps no NFL coach in recent memory has torn down a team as quickly as McDaniels, who was hired as a 32-year-old hot shot in January 2009 and fired less than 23 months later.
When McDaniels took over, the Broncos were on the doorstep of the playoffs and were a team that just needed some tinkering and refreshing after the 14-year Mike Shanahan era grew stale. McDaniels leaves Denver after 28 games with the franchise in terrible shape and without a true identity.
McDaniels gaffes include:
1. Parting ways with Mike Nolan, a very successful defensive coordinator.
2. Alienated Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler who demanded a trade and now is likely on his way to the playoffs with the Chicago Bears.
3. Sending successful running back Peyton Hillis off to Cleveland for third-string quarterback Brady Quinn.
4. Trading Denver’s No.1 draft pick in 2010 for cornerback Alphonso Smith in the second round in 2009. Smith didn't work out and is gone.
5. The videotape incident when Bronco video director filmed a San Francisco 49er walk-through and planned to film a 49er practice. It was determined that McDaniels was aware of the plan.
The ESPN report ends by saying, "The timing of his firing may have been a surprise, but in the end it was deserved."
WikiLeaks, beset by technical problems regarding its website and under fire from governments worldwide, has now lost a major revenue source.
Payment service provider PayPal cut WikiLeaks' online donation account Friday.
WikiLeaks violated its acceptable use policy, "which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity," PayPal said in a statement.
WikiLeaks posted on its Twitter page that the action was based on U.S. pressure and sends readers to a donation page, where supporters can pay by credit card, bank transfer or through the mail.
The Twitter page also solicits for a defense fund for founder Julian Assange.
The boat hauled in the balloon and its gondola with the bodies of the Americans still inside while fishing 11 miles (17 kilometers) north of Vieste, said Port Cmdr. Guido Limongelli in Vieste, a town on the spur of boot-shaped Italy jutting into the Adriatic sea.
Documents found in the gondola (pictured above) confirmed the identities of Richard Abruzzo, 47, of Albuquerque, and Carol Rymer Davis, 65, of Denver.
A large search operation was called off a week after authorities concluded that the pair had probably died on impact after their balloon plunged into the sea at an estimated 50mph.
The Italian fishermen made the discovery about 12 miles from shore and six miles from the balloon's last known location.
But feds won't be too terribly deprived in 2011 and 2012. It's a pay freeze that fed workers won't mind at all.
Despite the freeze, some 1.1 million employees will receive more than $2.5 billion in raises during that period.
Congress is expected to approve Obama's proposal, which cancels only cost-of-living adjustments for two years.
Regularly scheduled step increases for the 1.4 million General Schedule employees — who make up two-thirds of the civilian work force — will continue.
The size of those increases ranges from 2.6 percent to 3.3 percent and by law kick in every one, two or three years, depending on an employee's time in grade.
There will be no lack of hot air at the climate summit - a place where environmental activists go to blow off steam.
As unemployment in the U.S. nears the dreaded 10 per cent mark, it is a chart to chill the bones of any job hunter.
Comparing previous recoveries from all 10 American recessions since 1948 to the current financial crisis, the stark figures show almost no improvement in employment figures in the past year.
Billions of dollars in stimulus was intended to create jobs. It didn't.
Some commentators have described the comparison as 'the scariest jobs chart ever', pointing to the fact that only the 2001 recession took longer to bring employment back to pre-crisis levels.
Toyota will voluntarily repair 650,000 Prius models for a fault in the hybrid cooling system. According to Reuters, a glitch in the vehicle's coolant pump could cause the vehicle to overheat and lose power, though no accidents or injuries have been reported in association with the problem to date. It's worth noting that this isn't an official recall in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it's a service action.
What about Ford SYNC, Chrysler Uconnect and GM OnStar? Will LaHood take aim at these after he successfully disables our handheld phones?
Who will be the first fatality because a driver couldn't call 911 while trapped in his car after a collision?
We could get run over by a big Mac truck while crossing a street. Maybe LaHood should request legislation banning street crossings.
There are other driver distractions that are potentially dangerous such as applying make-up or nail polish while driving. I even saw one girl driving with a bare foot on the steering wheel applying polish to her toenails!
We have all seen drivers with their heads turned around so they could talk to back seat passengers face-to-face.
And what about reading while driving? We passed more than one person reading a book propped up on the steering wheel while driving on the Interstate.
The auto cell phone ban report is here.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing behind the scenes for lame-duck legislation that would allow poker games over the Internet.
Some of the biggest casino operators in Reid's home state of Nevada are eager to get a piece of the online gambling industry, which generates an estimated $5 billion a year for offshore operators.
Four years ago, Congress effectively banned online gambling, passing legislation that prohibits banks and credit card companies from making payments to gambling websites.
Now, however, Reid wants to allow online gambling.
Possibly Senator Reid is trying to repay his casino backers for their help in his re-election last month.
Dec 5, 2010
Clinton and Mottaki were seated only five seats apart at the dinner.
Clinton went out on a limb twice to try to make it happen, but the end result was only an unintelligible mutter from the Iranian leader in the general direction of the secretary.
Government officials in Iran are calling for its immediate removal.
The Star of David is circled in red on the second photo.
Local reports say the building was "built by Israeli engineers" who worked in the country before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
"It's interesting that even 32 years after the victory of the revolution, this Zionist star symbol has yet to be removed from the building," a local Iranian website wrote, according to Ynetnews.com.
The pro football players’ union has advised its members to save their last three game checks this year in case next season is canceled. In a letter to the players that was viewed by The Associated Press, NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) executive director DeMaurice Smith said the union’s “internal deadline” for agreeing to a new collective bargaining agreement has passed.
The NFL has not missed games due to labor strife since 1987, when the players went on strike and the owners continued the season with replacement players.
But the prospect of a lost season in 2011 intensified when owners opted out of the collective bargaining agreement in 2008, saying they could not make a profit if required to give almost 60 cents of every $1 in revenue to the players.
''Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a pile of feces without soiling ones hands.''
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (pictured) has once more reiterated that she will not run for president in 2012, going so far as to refer to her current role in government as "my last public position."
Clinton has repeatedly laughed off rumors that she may seek the highest office in the country, and she was notably out of the country during the midterm elections when Democrats lost control of the House.
She chose her words carefully when she said, "I think I will serve as secretary of state as my last public position."
Don't be surprised if she makes another White House run in 2012. She can't wait until 2016 when she would be age 70 before taking office if elected.
The Huskers lost to the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Championship game in Arlington Texas.
Photo shows Nebraska freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez.
The No. 13 Cornhuskers (10-3) self-destructed, squandering a 17-0 lead with four turnovers and getting shut out in the second half for the first time all season.
The final score was Oklahoma 23 Nebraska 20.