Jan 29, 2011
A baby grand piano was hauled away from a sandbar in Biscayne Bay Thursday, but it didn't take long before something else took its place.
On Friday morning, a table for two with tablecloth, a bottle of wine, roses and a man dressed as a chef standing next to it has replaced the piano on the sandbar in Biscayne Bay.
It's not known who is behind the latest prank on the bay. By noon, the new arrangement was gone, and it was unclear how it was removed or where it went.
It may sound like a bird-brained idea, but the mayor of this Mojave Desert city wants to brighten the streets by broadcasting recorded bird songs.
The Antelope Valley Press says Parris wants to play the bird chatter from loudspeakers on Lancaster Boulevard. The mayor says there's science to show that listening to birdsong makes people happier.
Parris is known for his flamboyant ideas. Check this out:
He got a law passed giving the Southern California city the right to castrate pit bulls, ordered city officials to learn the Mandarin language in a bid to woo Chinese business, and riled some people by saying he was growing Lancaster into a Christian community.
We do like the bird song idea. Cirp, chirp.
Jan 28, 2011
Archaeologists have unearthed the skeleton of what is believed to be Britain’s oldest guard dog, which was sacrificed to protect a hoard of buried treasure.
He has lain underground for 2,000 years, loyally doing his duty.
It is believed an ancient tribe, the Corieltauvi, who lived in Britain before the Roman conquest, killed then buried the dog between AD1 and AD50 so its spirit could protect the stockpile.
An official portrait shows the STS-51L crewmembers. Back row (L to R): Mission Specialist, Ellison S. Onizuka, Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Greg Jarvis and Mission Specialist, Judy Resnik. Front row (L to R): Pilot Mike Smith, Commander, Dick Scobee and Mission Specialist, Ron McNair.
The Miami Herald reported that 16-year-old Nicholas Harrington - son of 'Burn Notice' production designer J. Mark Harrington - had planned to make a promotional video using the piano.
The plan went awry on New Year's Eve when party-goers lowered it into a canal and set it on fire. The next day, the family placed it on a 6.71m fishing boat and dumped it on the sandbar.
The grand piano was said to be a 'movie prop' piano rather than a serious musical instrument.
The teen said he is super happy about the attention the piano has received in recent days
The piano is now gone after authorities ordered it removed from the sandbar.
Judicial Watch also previously uncovered internal Department of Defense (DOD) email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes.
For example, in response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one DOD official wrote, "Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi's team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?...[T]here's no need to block every weekend 'just in case'..."
The email also notes that Pelosi's office had, "a history of canceling many of their past requests."
Jan 27, 2011
Arizona may have the most advanced plan, but 10 of the United States – controlling 107 Electoral College votes – are now considering some type of legislation that would plug the hole in federal election procedures that in 2008 allowed Barack Obama to be nominated, elected and inaugurated without providing proof of his qualifications under the U.S. Constitution.
They aren't the simple legislation such as that adopted in New Hampshire a year ago that requires an affidavit from a candidate stating that the qualifications – age, residency and being a "natural born citizen" – have been met. It will take a bona fide birth certificate.
In Georgia, for example, HB37 by Rep. Bobby Franklin not only demands original birth-certificate documentation, it provides a procedure for and declares that citizens have "standing" to challenge the documentation.
Mike Evans told FoxNews.com on Wednesday he was remorseful and embarrassed that he appeared to have given the impression that he had discussed the search for Obama’s birth certificate with Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (pictured).
Translation: he recanted his story because of pressure by Governor Abercrombie as a result of pressure on Abercrombie from the Obama administration.
Evans, who says he has been a close friend of Abercrombie since the 1980s, appeared on Minnesota’s KQRS radio last week and said he’d been told by the governor himself that Obama’s birth certificate was nowhere to be found.
This is the sixth year the company has complied the list. TripAdvisor.com says New York City's repeat offender, the Hotel Carter, has made the dirty hotel list for five of the last six years.
TripAdvisor.com's 2011 Top 10 Dirtiest Hotels in the US:
1. Grand Resort Hotel & Convention Center - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
2. Jack London Inn - Oakland, California
3. Desert Inn Resort - Daytona Beach, Florida
4. Hotel Carter - New York City, New York
5. Polynesian Beach & Golf Resort - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
6. Atlantic Beach Hotel - Miami Beach, Florida
7. Rodeway Inn - Williamsville, New York
8. Super 8 - Estes Park, Colorado
9. Palm Grove Hotel and Suites - Virginia Beach, Virginia
10. Econo Lodge Newark International Airport - Elizabeth, New Jersey
The 22-year-old Loughner used his home computer to browse a website with information about the effects of lethal injection.
He appeared to want to know what death by injection felt like.
Lethal injection is the method of capital punishment imposed by the federal government.
Loughner also allegedly browsed the Internet for information about solitary confinement and, perhaps more disturbingly, an official said, he had been researching political assassins.
It all paints a dark picture of cold-blooded forethought, sources said, and an obsession with assassinating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was shot in the head but survived the attack.
Police previously released details about items confiscated from Loughner, including notes with the words, "I planned ahead," "Giffords," and "my assassination."
All evidence of cold-blooded premeditation.
They don't like the centrist talk from Barack Obama which started right after the drubbing taken by Congressional Democrats on November 2.
(From left above) Anthony Weiner, Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich hope the president won't pivot too far.
Obama only has two choices.
He can stay as he has always been - a traditional tax-and-spend liberal and be a one-term President.
Or he can move to the center just enough to convince enough Republicans and Independents that he deserves there votes in 1012.
Obama really has no other options.
Jan 26, 2011
When asked whether he could confirm or comment on the suit, a spokesman with Kucinich told ABC News "no comment, sorry" and abruptly ended the phone call.
A complaint filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia says Kucinich suffered "serious and permanent dental and oral injuries" in the incident and asserts that the tainted wrap was “unwholesome and unfit for human consumption, in that it was represented to contain pitted olives, yet unknown to plaintiff contained an unpitted olive.”
He said he is entitled to recover damages, "including but not limited to past and future dental and medical expenses, compensation for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment and other damage."
The suit is said to be in the amount of $150,000 and that he is entitled to recover damages, "including but not limited to past and future dental and medical expenses, compensation for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment and other damage."
A cheeky affair. Loss of enjoyment indeed.
The photo shows a Coast Guard vessel inspecting the piano.
CNN has some pun fun with the story:
Call it the latest piano bar, a large-scale mystery, or a whole new set of Florida Keys.
Anyway, in Miami's Biscayne Bay, a grand piano has appeared -- perched on the highest point of a sandbar.
"We don't know how the piano got out there, we don't know who's responsible for putting the piano out there and at this point it's clearly a mystery," said Jorge Pino of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
And for now, it's staying put. Authorities told CNN they have no plans to remove it.
"What will probably happen is that the piano will just disintegrate because of the salt water and the salt air," said Pino, adding that it will not harm the wildlife.
President Obama's announcement on Tuesday that “this is our generation’s Sputnik moment” came across as puzzling.
Had al Qaeda sent a suicide bomber into space?
But it turned out to be just a clumsy metaphor.
If you are younger than 57 years old you weren't even born when the first Sputnik was launched.
It is a now distant event that no longer arouses passion. It would be as if someone described the Watergate scandal as that generation’s Teapot Dome. Few would know what he was talking about.
Nothing has happened recently that could be roughly analogous to Sputnik. The launch drew its shock value from the context of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was America’s bitter adversary.
What the President really needs is a less "spaced out" speech writer.
Looks like Olbermann has burned too many bridges behind him. What he hasn't burned employers have.
SportsGrid reported Saturday that it’s unlikely that Olbermann will go back to ESPN and has also exhausted his options with Fox as an employment option, having ended his tenure at Fox Sports Net with News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch firing him and calling him “crazy.”
Other examples of the 'minefield' Olbermann left in his wake as he moved from job to job:
Olbermann, who anchored at ESPN from 1992 to 1997 and co-hosted a radio show in 2005, instigated trouble while employed there. In 1997, he was suspended for two weeks after making an unauthorized appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” During the appearance, Olbermann made negative comments about Bristol, Connecticut, ESPN’s headquarters. Olbermann said Bristol was a “godforsaken place.”
While delivering Cornell University’s 1998 commencement address, Olbermann told graduates that his ESPN position gave him “dry heaves” and would “make [him] ashamed, make [him] depressed, make [him] cry.”
After ESPN, Olbermann had a three-year stint with Fox Sports Net, but was fired by Murdoch, who called him crazy.
Olbermann's problems with women are also well known:
In 2002, Olbermann wrote in a Salon.com column that he was shocked and sorry to learn that he’d previously brought fellow anchor Suzy Kolber to tears while at ESPN.
“I now read with horror of my ESPN2 co-host, Ms. Kolber, sequestering herself in the women’s bathroom and weeping over how I treated her,” Olbermann wrote.
During a 2007 appearance on the “Late Show,” host David Letterman asked Olbermann, “What is it about you? You seem to burn bridges wherever you leave.”
Olbermann replied “I don’t burn bridges, I burn rivers. If you burn a bridge, you can possibly build a new bridge, but if there’s no river any more, that’s a lot of trouble. I just try to run the place.”
In that same interview, Olbermann added that he was banned from ESPN’s main campus in Bristol.
It looks like Olbermann is his own worst enemy. Burning rivers indeed.
East Second Street between First and Second Avenues is like a glacier as layers of thick cascading ice cover the block. Beneath the frozen tundra sits an Audi A3 completely encased in six inches of ice.
“I’ve never seen anything like that, it’s like an ice sculpture,” a woman said.
The owner of the car, is taking the situation in stride. “It could be worse like if that was me or a family member covered in ice that wouldn’t be good; so it’s all relative.”
Two examples from the report:
OBAMA: "I'm willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits."
THE FACTS: Republicans may be forgiven if this offer makes them feel like Charlie Brown running up to kick the football, only to have it pulled away, again.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
OBAMA: "To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations."
THE FACTS: With that comment, Obama missed another chance to embrace the tough medicine proposed by the commission for bringing down the deficit. For example, he ruled out slashing benefits or partially privatizing the program, and made no reference to raising the retirement age. That left listeners to guess how he plans to do anything to salvage the popular retirement program whose trust funds are expected to run out of money in 2037 without changes.
Much more here.
Jan 25, 2011
One source claims the JFK Ambulance sold by Barrett-Jackson is a "near perfect fake" and that the real JFK ambulance was crushed in 1986. But why would anyone destroy a bona fide JFK artifact?
The Barrett-Jackson Auction Company described the ambulance as having met Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base and taken JFK’s casket to Bethesda Naval Hospital for autopsy and later to the Capitol, some experts said the actual ambulance that carried Kennedy was destroyed in the mid-1980s.
A Barrett-Jackson attorney told The Associated Press Friday that the auction company can't say for sure if the ambulance actually carried Kennedy's coffin.
Link here here and here.
Ventura is asking a federal judge in Minnesota to issue an injunction ordering officials to stop subjecting his body to "warrantless and suspicionless" scans and searches.
Since receiving a hip replacement in 2008, Ventura, a frequent traveler, has been subjected to numerous body scans; however, when Ventura's titanium implant set off a metal detector in November and was subjected to a pat-down, the 59-year-old was about ready to lay the smack down.
Ventura claims he did not mind the hand-held wand that was used to scan his body as a secondary security measure prior to the November incident, but what he does mind is the "humiliation and degradation" he experienced as a result of the "unwanted touching, gripping, and rubbing of the intimate areas of his body."
One commenter wrote, "once again, Sergeant Schultz has gone into strudel withdrawal" alluding to the addlebrained Schultz (right photo) on the old Hogan's Heroes" TV series.
On Friday, he (Schultz) attacked Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for giving a competing response to the upcoming State of the Union address even though presidential candidate Barack Obama did the same thing in 2008.
Actually the facts really don't matter to a bloviator like Ed Schultz. As with others on MSNBC, his audience is mostly made up of rabid left-wingers eagerly cheering as he 'preaches to the choir.'
In recent years, auditors have confronted hundreds of super-wealthy New Yorkers over the residency rules - including star Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter.
Facing shrinking revenues, the state has ramped up its pursuit of suspected tax dodgers, hiring 189 new auditors and - for the first time - making filers swear under oath on tax forms as to how many days they "spend in New York City."
If it's more than 183 days and the filer has a residence in the city, the tax bill goes up.
They may still find ways to, as the Brits say, "fiddle the tax man."
Jan 24, 2011
Rivers claimed she meant the nickname as a term of endearment for Michelle.
She thought it was a funny complimentary joke.
Endearment and funny complimentary joke? Yeah, right.
With Obama's blessing Emanuel left the White House inner circle to run for Mayor of Chicago.
The photo shows Rahm Emanuel hamming it up during the January 20, 2009 Barack Obama Inauguration.
Now a Chicago appellate court ruled that Emanuel did not meet the residency requirement necessary to run for mayor.
Emanuel’s attorney Kevin Forde called the court’s decision a “surprise.”
The former Congressman was leading both in the polls and in fund raising ahead of next month’s election.
The case is now expected to go to the Illinois Supreme Court.
But will there be enough time for a SC hearing before the election?
He was always up front about his political leanings. He never tried to hide his loathing of conservatives.
Maybe it was his honesty that got him the highest ratings of any cable news show on either MSNMC or CNN. At the second link below there is a listing of the cable news shows by number of viewers. Olbermann is the next one after all of the Fox News shows.
MSNBC is going to have another angry leftist, Lawrence O'Donnell, take over Olbermann's 8:00 time slot. Ed Schultz will be moved to juggle the time slots.
So not much has changed really - just a shuffling of the chairs on the decks of the MSNBC Titanic, which gets beaten consistently and badly in the ratings wars by its arch-rival, Fox News.
Link here and here.
"There will come a day when a Big Mac costs 120 euros ($163) and a Bug Mac 12 euros, when more people will eat insects than other meat," head researcher Arnold van Huis told a disbelieving audience at Wageningen University in the central Netherlands.
The volunteer shown above appears to be having serious doubts about her attempt to eat something that once crawled.
Now it's Sheriff Dupnik who finds himself on the public-opinion hot seat. A group opposed to illegal immigration has begun an effort to recall the sheriff in a special election. Meanwhile, a Pima County tea party group is planning on holding a "Dump Dupnik" rally next week outside his office.
Sheriff Dupnik has refused to enforce the Arizona immigration law.
I haven't been a fan of Dupnik's for a long time, but this really was the straw that broke the camel's back," said Tom Rompel, co-owner of Black Weapons Armory in Tucson. "He's law enforcement. We expect 'the facts, ma'am,' not his opinion."
"He leans far left, always has, and frankly, people have had enough."
Air America was started with seed money from George Soros in the early months of 2004. It was a far-left radio network headed by talk show host Al Franken (pictured) who was intended to be the liberal answer to Bill O'reilly. Mr. Franken even called his Air American talk-show the "Franken Factor."
Air America was intended to help elect John Kerry and we all know how that turned out.
The report announcing the final shut-down of Air America along with a multitude of excuses why it failed can be found here.
Jan 23, 2011
The nation's labor unions saw another steep decline in membership last year, even as the economy showed signs of recovery and job losses slowed.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that unions lost 612,000 members in 2010, dropping the unionized share of the work force to 11.9 percent from 12.3 percent in 2009.
That follows a loss of 771,000 workers in 2008, continuing a steady decline from the 1950s when more than a third of workers belonged to unions.
Union membership in the private sector fell from 7.2 percent to 6.9 percent, a low point not seen since the infancy of the labor movement in the 1930s.
Why else would MSNBC fire the host of their most popular show? The chart below shows that Olbermann had the most viewers of any cable news program that wasn't on Fox - the King of Cable News.
By the way, the cheering you hear in the background is probably Olbermann's associates at MSNBC applauding his departure. Olbermann has been known as a difficult man to get along with and may not be missed by those at the MSNBC offices.
Cable News viewers on Thursday January 20, 2011 showing Keith Olbermann as the MSNBC leader just below the FOX News programs.
FOX News - Bill O’Reilly - 2,918,000
FOX News - Sean Hannity - 2,079,000
FOX News - Bret Baier - 1,940,000
FOX News - Shepard Smith - 1,786,000
FOX News - Glenn Beck - 1,780,000
FOX News - Greta Van Susteren - 1,460,000
MSNBC - Keith Olbermann - 1,106,000
CNN - Piers Morgan - 1,025,000
MSNBC - Rachel Maddow - 976,000
MSNBC - Lawrence O'Donnell - 855,000
MSNBC - Ed Shultz - 760,000
CNN - Anderson Cooper - 740,000
MSNBC - Chris Matthews - 700,000
Link here and here.
More often hyping a trend is done purposely to get recognition for the journalist.
But even if the journalist does it innocently, hyping a "trend" can lead to a complete misunderstanding of what is really going on.
How does it work? Whenever an event makes a big splash, local reporters and editors will add it to their informal lists of things to watch for.
Every instance of a similar event will get the journalist in print until it becomes common enough that interest wanes.
Here's an example:
A train derailed in Texas (doesn't matter where) and a tank car ruptured, leaking toxic chemicals. Fumes drifted across a busy highway, causing casualties.
The journalist instinctively asks what was aboard the tank car that ruptured.
If the contents sounded sufficiently alarming, the lead would say something like "A train carrying toxic sulfuric acid derailed just 10 miles from a school on Sunday."
By hyping every little story of train accidents for the next year or so it appeared that the nation had a dangerous train problem.
A good example of a recent hyped story was the report about the politically motivated Sheriff Dupnik (shown on left below) from Tucson who was paraded in front of news cameras and newspaper journalists for the next two days without letup.
The story was hyped until someone suddenly told the sheriff to shut up.
It's hard to forget watching and reading about Sheriff Dupnik using "vitriolic" political rhetoric while blaming "vitriolic" political rhetoric for the shootings in Tucson two weeks ago.
When asked if he had evidence suggesting the young shooter was motivated by conservative rhetoric, the sheriff replied, "not yet."
The sheriff assumed his story would not be challenged. He was right. CNN didn't challenge the story. MSNBC did not challenge. Did ABC, CBS or NBC challenge Dupnik? If they did we missed it. Fox News supplied the only challenge to the left-leaning opinionated sheriff.
As a result of this hyped story, the public defenders for Jared Loughner (shown on right above) will have an advantage when trying to get an insanity plea.
It would be fun to attend one of the Barrett-Jackson auctions. However, even if I could qualify as a bidder, I would be nervous in the bidding area.
I would worry that a quick forehead scratch would make me the new owner of a 1926 Hupmobile.
Last night I had my Barrett-Jackson 'fix' so now I will be fine for the next few months.