Thursday, December 29, 2011

Much Ado About Iowa

With only 5 days to go before the Iowa caucuses, Michael Barone at the Wall Street Journal has an assessment that I can basically agree with.

Having the first-in-the-nation vote has been good for the state's economy, with presidential candidates such as Mitt Romney and Ron Paul spending lavish amounts of money on TV ads. But since turnout for the Republican caucus is traditionally low, winning this state is not a good prognosticator of gaining the party's nomination or winning the general election.

For quite some time it appears that Gov. Romney was more interested in New Hampshire, but lately has enjoyed a surge in popular support, while Gingrich's has plummeted (according to some polls, but not others that show an increase in his strength). If anyone deserves an "A" for effort it would be former Sen. Santorum, who was the first to visit all 99 of Iowa's counties. Rep. Ron Paul remains a strong contender, more so than Gov. Rick Perry or Jon Huntsman. Michele Bachmann may be facing a decision point: if she can't make it in Iowa, she probably won't be able to make it anywhere else and may have to withdraw from the race and endorse another candidate.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sears/Kmart Closing 100-120 Stores Soon

USA Today is the bearer of bad news. Citing a miserable Christmas shopping season, Sears Holdings Corp. of Hoffman Estates, IL announced that it will close as many as 120 "marginally performing" stores. There is not enough information to calculate how many jobs will be lost.

Nancy Pelosi Checks Into $10,000-a-Day Suite in Hawaii; Occupy Protesters Keep Their Mouths Shut

The Hawaii Reporter reports the news that many in the Big Media would rather suppress:

"Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, who served as Speaker of the House and is now head of the House minority, is once again spending her Christmas at the exotic Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu in Kona on the island of Hawaii.

"Pelosi reportedly plans to spend her Christmas Eve at midnight mass in St. Michael's Catholic Church in Kailua-Kona.

"Pelosi spent the last two Christmas holidays in Kona at the same hotel in an elaborate suite that rents for $10,000 a night....

"Pelosi has been escorted by local police during her last two holiday visits to Hawaii Island at a cost of $34,000 to local taxpayers.

"Obama’s trip to the island of Oahu has proved much pricier to state and federal taxpayers.

"In a Hawaii Reporter story published last week, the total cost (based on what is known) for a 17-day round trip vacation to Hawaii for the President and his family and staff and security is an estimated $4,113,038.

"That includes $3,629,622 for separate travel for the president and his family, $151,200 for housing for security, $72,216 for staff to stay in one of Hawaii's most luxurious resorts, the Moana Surfrider in Waikiki, and local police protection and ambulance detail for $260,000."

Monday, December 26, 2011

Moonbats on Parade

At a time when everyone is compiling lists for the year 2011, we can count on Media Research Center to shine the spotlight on the most outrageous examples of reporting, self-indulgence, and propaganda by the Leftmedia. The following quote was listed as #1 under "Twenty-Fourth Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting":

Paul Krugman

“What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. [The] atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neo-cons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons....The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.”

— New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a September 11 posting to his blog

Pearl Harbor Survivor Rejoins Friends on USS Arizona

A Chicago Sun-Times story describes how Frank Cabiness, one of the Marines who survived the destruction of the USS Arizona, had his ashes interred in the ship with full military honors last Friday.

“He said it was because that’s where he belonged. Because he lost all of his friends there and he wanted to be with them,” Jerry Cabiness [son of Frank] said after the service.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Counterintuitive Finding on Gift-Giving

Just in time for Christmas, FOX News reports that "...when giving an expensive present, adding on a cheaper stocking stuffer as an extra gift actually diminishes the perceived value of the overall package in the recipient's eyes.

"Say you have the choice of giving your significant other a luxury cashmere sweater, or the sweater and a $10 gift card. Although it may seem that adding the smaller gift and therefore giving them more presents is the way to go, researchers found that giving only the sweater would be the better option.

"That's because the gift recipient is likely to perceive the gift of just the expensive item alone as more generous than the combination of the costly item and the cheaper item, according to the researchers, who conducted several experiments...."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Out for Himself

MSNBC and other news sources are running the story that billionaire Donald Trump has changed his party affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated to leave open the option of running for President as an independent candidate. It's no secret that he is not satisfied with the current selection of Republican candidates, and doesn't believe that any one of them is electable.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Looks Like Obama Gets to Go to Hawaii, After All

The illustration represents our reaction to Speaker of the House Boehner's decision to accept the Democratic-controlled Senate's payroll tax cut deal.

"In exchange, the Senate will appoint negotiators who will meet with House lawmakers to next hammer out an extension of the tax cut for the rest of 2012.

"The deal still has to clear both chambers, and rank-and-file Republicans already are expressing concern about the terms Boehner outlined. But the agreement was modeled after a solution Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell proposed earlier Thursday.

"McConnell's statement, as well as a very public campaign by the White House to lambaste House Republicans for holding up a deal, had put pressure on Boehner to find a way out of the impasse, and fast. Without a deal, the payroll tax rate is set to rise from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1, which would mean about $40 less a paycheck for a family making $50,000."

See FOX News for more details.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Who Would Think of Shipping Fireworks to China?

BBC News has an astonishing story about a China-bound ship that was intercepted in Finland carrying 69 Patriot missiles!

The MS Thor Liberty had docked in the Finnish port of Kotka after leaving Germany last week.

Dock workers became suspicious after finding explosives poorly stored on open pallets, and the missiles were then found in containers marked "fireworks".

The managing director of the ship's owner, Thorco Shipping, expressed surprise. Thomas Mikkelsen told AFP news agency from Denmark that he was unaware of the matter.

Another company official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the ship had been detained in Finland and said the missiles could have been loaded on to the vessel by mistake, AFP adds.

Police did not confirm Finnish media reports that the ship had also been scheduled to stop in South Korea, Reuters news agency reports....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Clear Case of Projection

Warner Todd Huston at Right Wing News reminds us once again of the Left's never-ending efforts to brand the Tea Party movement as agents of political violence. An unsuccessful candidate for city council in Carson, CA, Jules Manson, published a threat to President Obama and his family and attributed it to a "Tea Party darling." After the OWS debacle, we maintain that the leftists among us are the principal advocates of violence and coercion in our society.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Eric Holder Plays Race Card, Is Trumped By Rep. Allen West

An article in illustrates how desperate this Obama crony has become:

Attorney General Eric Holder told The New York Times this weekend that “the more extreme segment” of his Fast and Furious critics are motivated by — you guessed it — racism. But Florida Rep. Allen West will have none of it.

In remarks to The Daily Caller, West interpreted Holder’s shameless rhetorical tactic as a sign of desperation — and called him out for his non-race-related incompetence:

“I think this is absolutely the last card in the deck, and that shows how weak their ground is,” West said in a phone interview. “But, what that means is they want to make white individuals afraid of continuing to put the pressure on Eric Holder because they don’t want to be seen as racist, and that is something that we have got to move beyond....”

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kim Jong-il Dead at 69

Now that MSNBC/AP has reported on this item, it is now out of the rumor stage. His third son, Kim Jong-un, is next in line to take over North Korea.

Vaclav Havel, Leader of Czech Freedom Movement, Dies

We regret to announce that Vaclav Havel (1936-2011), who risked his life to defy the Soviet Empire, passed away at his weekend home in the northern Czech Republic.

Lech Walesa, former Polish president and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning founder of the country's anti-communist Solidarity movement, called Havel "a great fighter for the freedom of nations and for democracy."

Source of this information is AP/Yahoo News.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cell Phone Ban Challenged by Insurance Group

CNN Money has an article that seems to support our position that a law or regulation is meaningless unless it can be enforced:

Cell phone bans, such as those recently recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board, have so far proven useless when it comes to actually reducing car crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Insurance Institute is a private group financed by auto insurers. The National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that states adopt strict rules banning all non-driving-related use of hand-held devices such as cell phones - even hands-free - while driving.

Many states already have bans on hand-held cell phone use and on texting while driving. The Insurance Institute has studied crash rates before and after bans were enacted in various states and also compared them to crash rates in nearby states with no such bans.

While the bans have resulted in actual reductions in phone use, they have not resulted in any reduction in crash rates, according to the Institute.

The Institute found similar results from bans on text messaging while driving. In fact, in a strange twist, texting bans actually resulted in more crashes in several states, according to an IIHS study.

The lesson, Insurance Institute spokesman Russ Rader said, may be that cell phones aren't really the problem, drivers are....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Republicans Overcome Incandescent Light Bulb Ban

The Washington Times is the bearer of this good news:

Congressional negotiators struck a deal Thursday that overturns the new rules that were to have banned sales of traditional incandescent light bulbs beginning next year.

That agreement is tucked inside the massive 1,200-page spending bill that funds the government through the rest of this fiscal year, and which both houses of Congress will vote on Friday. Mr. Obama is expected to sign the bill, which heads off a looming government shutdown....

The spending bill doesn’t actually amend the 2007 law, but does prohibit the administration from spending any money to carry out the light bulb standards — which amounts to at least a temporary reprieve.... [In other words, no funding, no enforcement.]

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Feeling Lucky? Then Check Out the East Coast Grill

WBZ (CBS Boston) has a spicy tale about a restaurant in Cambridge that serves food so spicy that you have to sign a waiver to try their Pasta Plate from Hell.

"Those who think the waiver is some kind of a publicity stunt only need to look at an incident Tuesday night.

"The spicy food forced one man to get medical assistance. An ambulance showed up after witnesses say the man passed out....

"The secret ingredient of Hell Week is the Naga pepper, one of the hottest peppers on the planet.

"A scoreboard keeps a tally of the torture. Many have tried, but only a handful have eaten the whole bowl.

"And while there have been trips to the hospital, the good news, according to Schlesinger, there have been no fatalities so far."

Tebow Is Not Your Enemy!

Tim Tebow, the quarterback who helped put the Denver Broncos back on the map, is drawing fire from unbelievers for striking a pose that has entered the dictionary already as "Tebowing." It is more an attitude of prayer than a victory dance. But who would have guessed that a New York rabbi would join the chorus of critics? Hoosier Access has the story:

In the category of bigotry and hatred spares no religion, we find such hatred hiding behind religion in one “Rabbi” Joshua Hammerman of New York City. Hammerman has indulged his inner Father-Coughlin-in-reverse by proclaiming that if Tim Tebow wins the Super Bowl, why, Christians will go on a rampage that will result in the burning of mosques and the bashing of gays. Now, are you ready for some football?...

What is even more curious is the aftermath of this tirade:


Since my criticism of Hammerman’s Tebow anti-Christian screed, he’s gone into his post and edited out the paragraph I reported here. Hammerman did not note on the story that he edited the piece to remove offensive material. So, down the memory hole goes the truth once again.

I have a screen shot of the original, though. CLICK HERE to see it.

**UPDATE 2**

Hammerman’s edited piece has now been completely removed from The Jewish Week website. Hammerman has also removed the piece from his own blog and replaced by a message that reads: “The piece has been taken down and I apologize to all those whom it has offended. Some additional reflections will be forthcoming. Thank you.”

One hopes that the rabbi will reflect on his personal animus against both Tim Tebow and Christians and that a more acceptable apology is forthcoming.

**UPDATE 3**

Now “rabbi” Hammerman has deleted his entire blog. Talk about memory hole, now he’s trying to deep six everything he’s ever written! Driven out of the gates and into the wilderness!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

British Give Argentina Another Reason to Regret Losing the Falklands War

The Sun (U.K.) describes how the discovery of offshore gas and oil fields near the Falkland Islands is infuriating the government of Argentina. If they decide to invade this British colony again, the U.K. will have a much smaller military to work with compared to the 74-day war with Argentina in 1982.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let's See How Far This Takes Him

A highly classified American reconnaissance drone falls into Iranian hands. Do you:

1. Cause the aircraft to self-destruct?
2. Order a commando raid to blow it up?
3. Ask the Iranian government very politely to give it back?

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out Obama's reaction. Yahoo/Reuters has the story.

UPDATE: A former Pentagon official, who wished to remain unnamed, told USA Today that the reconnaissance drone that Iran proudly displays is a fake.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Newt Gingrich's Claim that Palestinians Are an "Invented" Nationality Supported by Arab Source has an article, "Newt Gingrich Tells the Truth About the Palestinian Non-Entity," that quotes this revealing statement by PLO Executive Committee member Zuheir Mohsen in 1977:

“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.”

So the reason for maintaining the fiction that "Palestinians" are a sovereign nation entitled to some territory is merely a political ploy with the long-range goal of grinding down the State of Israel.

UPDATE: Additional proof that former Speaker of the House Gingrich has struck a raw nerve can be found in a BBC article that mentions the Arab League lost no time condemning his statement about Palestinians being an "invented people" and "terrorists."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pyramids Around the World

Pyramid at Candi Sukuh, Indonesia (right)

This is an amazing article in Survive 2012 about cultures and civilizations outside Mexico, Central America, and Egypt that built pyramids. World Pyramids also has additional material and illustrations.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mitt Romney's Service in the LDS (Mormon) Church

Alana Semuels of the Los Angeles Times has written a thoughtful and revealing article about how presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney performed his duties as a bishop and later stake president (leader of several congregations) in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mixing Meth Is So Wrong, But Why Walmart?

KLTV in Tyler, TX describes how a woman in the Tulsa, OK area was arrested trying to make meth in a Walmart store.

"They reported the suspect, Elizabeth Alisha Greta Halfmoon, had been in the store for about six hours, taking chemicals from bottles and mixing them in order to make meth. One police officer received minor injuries when the chemicals in the bottle burned his hand.

"Nobody else was hurt. Tulsa Police Officer David Shelby said it was the first time he had seen anyone actually try to mix meth in a store.

"'There are elderly people, there are children, there are all kinds of people in that store right now,' he said."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Frank J. Identifies The Reason Why America Hasn't Thrived Under the Leadership of Obama

Frank J. Fleming at PJ Media zeroes in on the real reason, all right: we're not worthy to have a President like Obama!

President Obama has always been able to open up better when speaking in foreign nations, because they … get … him. I think we Americans have always been a little standoffish with him, as we just don’t relate to him very well, so you can understand his being more comfortable in an international setting. So while speaking to CEOs at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, he said that American businesses have “been a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades.” And this isn’t the first time he’s criticized American businesses, as last September he said that our country “had gotten a little soft” over the last couple of decades....

Look at what Obama did to try and get our economy going. He had this big, hundreds of billions of dollars stimulus that was designed by all the great economists who work in his administration — the top minds. It should have worked. The economy should be roaring right now and unemployment a thing of the past. America should be a utopia. So what was missing from the equation? That the people the stimulus was used on are a bunch of lazy dimwits. Obama did everything he possibly could, but apparently Americans just aren’t very good at running businesses and creating jobs. Obama has given us so many advantages that even chimpanzees should have been able to create jobs, but we just sit there like useless blobs while our companies crumble around us. We’re failing the country. We’re failing him....

We recommend that you read the whole article and reflect on the many ways he is too good for the USA.

Still in Denial: Fort Hood Massacre Labeled as "Workplace Violence"

FOX News describes how some members of Congress are objecting to the trivialization of the 2009 terrorist incident at Fort Hood, Texas.

Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation's Armed Forces at home.

During a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, the Maine Republican referenced a letter from the Defense Department depicting the Fort Hood shootings as workplace violence. She criticized the Obama administration for failing to identify the threat as radical Islam....

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, said the military has become a "direct target of violent Islamist extremism" within the United States.

"The stark reality is that the American service member is increasingly in the terrorists' scope and not just overseas in a traditional war setting," Lieberman told Fox News before the start of Wednesday's hearing....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Been 70 Years Already!

Destruction of the battleship USS Arizona (right)

Today is the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. FOX News has coverage of 120 survivors, who are joining the Secretary of the Navy and many others to observe a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., Hawaii time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Natives Are Getting Restless

Front Page Magazine online describes telltale signs of public dissatisfaction with Vladimir Putin's way of running things in Russia.

"Elections under Vladimir Putin’s 'managed democracy' have become grimly predictable affairs. Rampant fraud and bans on all but fringe or manufactured opposition parties have ensured that Putin’s United Russia Party routinely triumphs in a landslide, with Putin then trumpeting the results as a vindication of his authoritarian regime. This weekend’s parliamentary elections largely followed this script but with a surprise ending: United Russia failed to capture even 50 percent of the vote, a major setback considering its blatant manipulation of the election and one that highlights the extent of the Russian public’s discontent with the country’s corrupt one-man, one-party rule...."

If Putin were less tone-deaf to cries of public anguish than President Obama, he might be able to read the writing on the wall, but unfortunately he is, if that were possible, more inclined to block out any opinion that does not nourish his Siberia-sized ego.

GM Clarifies Position on Volt "Buyback"

The Ottawa Citizen reports that General Motors' announcement of a buyback offer was not absolute or ironclad. This is an update to our story of 2 December.

"The program we put in place (earlier this week) hasn't changed," said Faye Roberts, GM Canada spokeswoman. "We're going to reach out to our Volt customers and make them aware of the investigation and as part of that, we want them to get any questions they have answered and if they feel uncomfortable then they do have the option of getting a loaner vehicle...."

"On the question of the buyback, I think Mr. Akerson was taken a bit out of context," she said. "He was talking about customer satisfaction, which is really what the whole program is about and we're serious about keeping our customers happy.

"We would ultimately consider all options to meet our customers' expectations, but the program is designed to ensure customers are satisfied and the program doesn't include anything beyond what we talked about on Monday. But of course we're focused on the individual customers and what their concerns and needs are."

GM has sold only 6,000 Volts in the United States and 243 in Canada.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Newt Outsmarts ex-Queen Nancy has the juicy details:

Last Friday Nancy Pelosi told Talking Points Memo that she had all sorts of investigative dirt available on current GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich.  Specifically, “I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”

So… Newt Gingrich responded today by thanking Pelosi for the early Christmas present and noting “…if she’s suggesting she’s going to use material that she developed while she was on the ethics committee, that is a fundamental violation of the rules of the House and I would hope that members would immediately file charges against her the second she does it.”

Annnnnd now we’re being told (via Weasel Zippers) – it would be cruel* of me to use the word ‘frantically’ – that what the former Speaker of the House really meant by her comments to TPM was that there was plenty of public record information about Newt Gingrich available.  Not that there was any private dirt.  Nope.  Not at all....

Seven Surviving Candidates Await Iowa Caucuses

A recent poll shows that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is leading in Iowa, followed by Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, in that order. At this time the situation is extremely volatile; many Iowans are still undecided. This state could make or break Rep. Michele Bachmann, as she is the closest thing to a "favorite daughter" candidate, and if she can't even make it in Iowa, she's unlikely to succeed anywhere else. Holding up the rear are: Gov. Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, and Rick Santorum. Dr. Paul bears watching: he is one of the few candidates capable of running on a third-party ticket, and both he and Rep. Bachmann could be the recipients of protest votes from citizens dissatisfied with the competition.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cain Suspends Campaign

Embattled Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has suspended his campaign in the face of extreme pressure surrounding allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity, according to FOX News.

His wife Gloria standing by his side in a rare public appearance, Cain decried the sustained accusations as false and declared he is "at peace" with his wife and with himself. But he said the claims have "sidetracked and distracted" from his ability to present a new vision for the country, to the point that he must call off the campaign.... In addition, these accusations have caused his poll numbers to plummet.

The True Worth of a Chevy Volt

It is a sure sign of desperation that Government Motors has offered to buy back every Chevy Volt, after concerns about its safety, i.e., the possibility that the battery may cause the car to catch fire in a collision. The Associated Press has more details.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Releasing Unemployment Statistic on a Friday Is No Accident

Count on John Lott at FOX News to break the truth to us: the 8.6% unemployment rate being touted by the Obama regime is misleading in that it fails to take into account the 487,000 people who gave up looking for work.

Only conservative news sources have bothered to look into this announcement, as the news cycle reaches a stopping point on Fridays, a well-known fact to politicians. Rush Limbaugh had a few choice words to say about this fudged statistic earlier today, which frankly is still embarrassingly high.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

World's Largest Insect Found in New Zealand

Some readers may find this story a bit gross, but the Daily Mail (U.K.) ran it anyway.

Mark Moffett, a former park ranger from Colorado, traveled all the way to Little Barrier Island in New Zealand to find the largest living insect. Weighing 71 grams, it is heavier than a sparrow and about 3 times as heavy as a mouse. Mark found that this insect likes to eat carrots, but was careful not to feed it too much.

Giant wetas used to live on North and South Islands, but were wiped out by rats accidentally introduced by colonists.

Retired Sheriff Arrested, Detained in Jail Named After Him!

This has got to be one of the most ironic stories in recent memory. The Denver Post has this story:

Authorities began investigating former Araphoe County Sheriff Patrick Sullivan after a Centennial man called police in September and said "an old guy" was trying to get his roommates back into drugs and had been smoking methamphetamine with them, according to a police report. The article also mentions that during the incident that led to his arrest, he was attempting to trade meth for sex.

When the Centennial man asked Sullivan to leave and said he was going to call 911, Sullivan told the man "If you want the police I am the police," the man told officers.

Sullivan later told detectives he is on a meth drug task force and helps recovering addicts get clean, according to another report. He also said he worked for the state health department's drug treatment office.... [Terms of use for this newspaper require that we refer the reader to the original article for more details.]

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

McDonald's Outsmarts City of San Francisco

"The Snitch" at SF Weekly describes an unintended consequence of San Francisco's attempt to ban Happy Meals claiming that the enclosed toy provides an incentive for children to make an unhealthy food choice.

In order to include a toy with a meal, restaurants must now comply with city-generated nutritional standards. Those are standards that even the "healthier" Happy Meals McDonald's introduced earlier this year don't come close to meeting....

And yet it seems McDonald's has turned lemons into lemonade -- and is selling the sugary drink to San Francisco's children. Local McDonald's employees tell SF Weekly the company has devised a solution that appears to comply with San Francisco's "Healthy Meal Incentive Ordinance" that could actually make the company more money -- and necessitate toy-happy youngsters to buy more Happy Meals.

It turns out San Francisco has not entirely vanquished the Happy Meal as we know it. Come Dec. 1, you can still buy the Happy Meal. But it doesn't come with a toy. For that, you'll have to pay an extra 10 cents.

Huh. That hardly seems to have solved the problem (though adults and children purchasing unhealthy food can at least take solace that the 10 cents is going to Ronald McDonald House charities). But it actually gets worse from here. Thanks to Supervisor Eric Mar's much-ballyhooed new law, parents browbeaten into supplementing their preteens' Happy Meal toy collections are now mandated to buy the Happy Meals....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

American Airlines Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

FOX News reports that the parent company of American Airlines has filed for bankruptcy, citing high fuel costs and labor struggles.

The third largest U.S. airline also said its CEO Gerard Arpey will step down. He's being replaced by Thomas Horton, currently the company's president.

Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp., along with its regional affiliate AMR Eagle Holding Corp. said Tuesday that they filed voluntary petitions to reorganize.
American says it sought protection to reduce its costs and debt to remain competitive.

The airline says it will continue normal flight operations during the reorganization.

American was the only major U.S. airline that didn't file for bankruptcy protection after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The last major airline to file for bankruptcy protection was Delta in 2005.

American says labor-contract rules force it to spend at least $600 million more than other airlines.

Besides higher labor costs, American also struggled with rising jet fuel costs. Jet fuel cost an average of $3 per gallon so far this year -- a record according to government data that goes back to 1990. Jet fuel is more expensive now than the average of $2.96 per gallon in 2008, when oil rose above $147 per barrel for the first time. It's risen 56.4 percent in the past five years. The average price of jet fuel was $1.92 per gallon in 2006....

Singer George Michael Fighting Pneumonia on £100,000 Bed

George Michael, one-half of the popular duo Wham! that enjoyed its heyday during the 1980s, has not been making the news lately, but the Daily Mail (U.K.) says he is fighting for his life in a Vienna hospital [click on original article to see enlarged illustration].

He was rushed to the AKH hospital in Vienna a week ago after falling ill during his European tour.

On Saturday, Professor Dr Christoph Zielinski and Professor Dr Thomas Staudinger, who are looking after the singer around the clock, said: ‘George Michael has severe community acquired pneumonia and is being treated as an in-patient.

‘His condition has stabilised and he is responding to treatment.'

However, this morning The Sun claimed Mr Michael had developed acute respiratory distress - a dangerous new complication that stops oxygen getting into the blood and can often prove fatal.

The Wham! star is now being treated on a Triadyne Proventa bed, which is for people with pneumonia who are unable to move.

Dr Carol Cooper, told the paper: 'The bed has probably saved his life so far. But he is far from out of the woods yet.'

The futuristic bed, which measures 7ft 6in by 3ft 5in, mimics the body’s natural movements to improve blood and lymph flow. It is also equipped with sophisticated technology to reduce pressure on the patient's lungs.

The bed holds them securely in place using moulded foam, while special Gore medical fabric creates a barrier against bacteria....

Needless to say, this critical illness has forced the cancellation of all of the concerts in his current tour.

Three Face Prison Time for Toilet Paper Scam in South Florida

Glenn Beck's The Blaze reports that 3 con artists bilked seniors out of $1 million by talking them into buying a 70-year supply of toilet paper and other products.

...Federal prosecutors say the trio duped elderly customers into buying unnecessary septic products, in some cases more than 70 years worth of toilet paper, the Miami Herald reported.

Salespeople for FBK Products allegedly told more than a dozen victims they needed to buy the company’s special toilet paper to avoid ruining their septic tanks, claiming the federal government had changed regulations on toilet paper.

They said the company was affiliated with the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Herald reported, and even claimed one product — the $199 Septic Remedy treatment — would eliminate the need to have tanks pumped.

Victims were also told that they needed special soap, detergent and toilet paper or their septic tanks would not pass federal inspection, prosecutors say. The federal government does not regulate septic tank products.

The three pleaded guilty in federal court last week to conspiring to commit wire fraud and will be sentenced in February. Three other employees are awaiting trial.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Simple Movie Test

This is a test that's been making the rounds of the Internet, and it really works!

Scroll down and do the quiz as it instructs and find out what your favorite movie is! This amazing math quiz can predict which of the 18 films below you would enjoy the most.

- Pick a number from 1 - 9.
- Multiply by 3.
- Add 3.
- Multiply by 3 again.

Now add the two digits together to find your favorite predicted movie in the list of 18 below.

1. Gone with the Wind
2. E.T.
3. Beverly Hills Cop
4. Star Wars
5. Forrest Gump
6. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
7. Jaws
8. Grease
9. The Obama Abdication Speech of 2012
10. Casablanca
11. Jurassic Park
12. Shrek
13. Pirates of the Caribbean
14. Titanic
15. Raiders of the Lost Ark
16. Home Alone
17. Mrs. Doubtfire
18. Toy Story

"The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale and Performance Improve"

Count on the Daily Mail (U.K.) to illustrate how the Russia of today hasn't progressed very far from the Soviet regime or even the tsarist era when it comes to motivational techniques.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has raised the prospect of criminal prosecutions for space mishaps following a series of failed launches that have embarrassed his country.

Speaking on television Medvedev said: 'Recent failures are a strong blow to our competitiveness.

'It does not mean that something fatal has happened, it means that we need to carry out a detailed review and punish those guilty.'

'I am not suggesting putting them up against the wall like under Stalin, but seriously punish either financially or, if the fault is obvious, it could be a disciplinary or even criminal punishment,.'

Medvedev's comments come after a number of failures in recent space missions.

Newt Offers Obama Handicap in Future Debate

Real Clear Politics quoted former Speaker of the House and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich:

"I already said that if he wants to use a teleprompter, then it would be fine with me. It has to be fair. If you [were] to defend ObamaCare, wouldn't you want a teleprompter?" Gingrich asked.

"Now, just for a second I'm going to go in the detour and I'll try to explain why I've been and he'll say yes. There are two reasons. The first, is ego. Can you imagine him looking in the mirror? Graduate from Columbia, Harvard Law, editor of the Law Review journal. [Against] the greatest articulator in a Democratic book?"

"How is he going to say that he's afraid to be on the same podium as a West Georgia College student?"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

O How the Mighty Have Fallen!

The Hot Air blog comments on a NewsBusters article referencing GQ Magazine's latest list of "25 Least Influential People Alive."

"...Sad but true, the president is number 25 on the magazine’s '25 Least Influential People Alive.' He is down sharing the dregs with MSNBC host Ed Schultz, Newsweek editor Tina Brown, deposed Egyptian 'President' Hosni Mubarak, disgraced C&W singer Hank Williams, Jr., and (GOP take notice!) House Majority Leader John Boehner.

"If the fact of being included in a list of do-nothings and failures is not already a bitter enough pill for a man of Obama’s towering ego, the irony that he was GQ’s 'Man of the Year' in 2008 and 'Leader of the Year' in 2009 is surely not lost on him...."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Québec Rolls Out the Language Police

Despite their denials, we consider the attempt of a school board in Montréal to regulate what language children speak on the playground an infringement on their rights to privacy and free choice. The Ottawa Citizen describes how Québec, which made the rest of Canada accept French as a second official language, will not tolerate the speaking of any other language (especially English) in their own province.

"If they are automatically switching to another language, (the monitor) will gently tap them on the shoulder - not on the head - to tell them, 'Remember, we speak French. It's good for you.'

"It will be enough to deliver a clear message that French must be spoken, and when we speak it often, we become very good at it...."

Obama Signs Bill That We Approve Of has a brief report on the new veterans' job bill signed by President Obama that offers tax credits to businesses that hire veterans.

"Obama said the federal government has already hired 120,000 veterans and that companies across the country have pledged to hire 135,000 veterans and their spouses in an attempt to reduce the unemployment rate of Iraq and Afghanistan vets.

"'While we added more than 350,000 private sector jobs over the last three months, we've got 850,000 veterans who can't find work,' Obama said. Though unemployment came down slightly last month, unemployment among Iraq and Afghan vets continues to climb, he said."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Occupy Indianapolis Puts Homeless People to Work

You knew there would be a catch to this headline, didn't you? FOX News Insider has an amazing story about how Occupy Indianapolis has attempted to make up for their dwindling numbers by hiring homeless people to maintain their presence in the city while the original protesters are at home sleeping in their beds.

And Gateway Pundit reports that the Occupy protests around the United States has cost cities over $20 million, not $13 million, as previously reported by other news outlets.

The Intelligentsia's Love Affair with Alien Ideologies, Explained

Roger Kimball at PJ Media brings up this intriguing point:

How many people still remember The Opium of the Intellectuals, the French philosopher Raymond Aron’s masterpiece? First published in France in 1955, at the height of the Cold War, L’Opium des intellectuels was an immediate sensation. It caused something of a sensation in the United States, too, when an English translation was published in 1957. Writing in The New York Times, the historian Crane Brinton spoke for many when he said that the book was “a kind of running commentary on the Western world today....”

Aron’s subject is the bewitchment — the moral and intellectual disordering — that comes with adherence to certain ideologies. Why is it, he wondered, that certain intellectuals are “merciless toward the failings of the democracies but ready to tolerate the worst crimes as long as they are committed in the name of the proper doctrines”?...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The OWS Protests, Summed Up in One Sign

"Occupy Wall Street" is the gift that keeps on giving. For that we can be grateful this Thanksgiving day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jack Daniel's Puts Up $101,000 to Help Soldiers Get Home for Christmas

Every now and then we receive a heart-warming story of munificent benevolence, such as this story in the Army Times. The famous Tennessee distiller has started a fund to help financially-strapped Soldiers and their families travel back home to see their families and friends. It is also calling on the public to donate money to the Operation Ride Home campaign online at The neediest Soldiers may be eligible for plane ticket vouchers up to $300 for each family member and debit cards up to $100 for each family member for gas and lodging.

Yemeni President Throws in the Towel - in Saudi Arabia

Ali Abdullah Saleh is now officially the ex-President of Yemen, according to FOX News. In the Saudi capital Riyadh, Saleh signed an agreement ending his 33 years in power and transferring his authority within 30 days to his vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Opposite of Secession

A article raises the intriguing possibility of Chicago becoming a separate city-state from Illinois. Not surprisingly, Republicans are behind this proposal. Cook County would have to agree to separate, and may want to take several suburban counties along with it. This idea has been in the air for a long time, as most of Illinois is more conservative than Chicago, and resents the power that the largest city exercises over the entire state.

Trust and Generosity Enhance Survivability, According to Study

An article in The Economist could challenge the assumption that science only supports the law of the jungle.

THE extraordinary success of Homo sapiens is a result of four things: intelligence, language, an ability to manipulate objects dexterously in order to make tools, and co-operation. Over the decades the anthropological spotlight has shifted from one to another of these as the prime mover of the package, and thus the fundament of the human condition. At the moment co-operation is the most fashionable subject of investigation....

Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, two doyens of the field, who work at the University of California, Santa Barbara, do not agree. They see no need for extraordinary mechanisms and the latest study to come from their group (the actual work was done by Andrew Delton and Max Krasnow, who have just published the results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) suggests they are right. It also shows the value of applying common sense to psychological analyses—but then of backing that common sense with some solid mathematical modelling....

For most plausible sets of costs, benefits and chances of future encounters the simulation found that it pays to be trusting, even though you will sometimes be cheated. Which, if you think about it, makes perfect sense. Previous attempts to study the evolution of trust using games have been arranged to make it clear to the participants whether their encounter was a one-off, and drawn their conclusions accordingly. That, though, is hardly realistic. In the real world, although you might guess, based on the circumstances, whether or not you will meet someone again, you cannot know for sure. Moreover, in the ancient world of hunter-gatherers, limited movement meant a second encounter would be much more likely than it is in the populous, modern urban world....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oldest Soldier Still Determined to Fight in Afghanistan

FOX News has the story of Staff Sgt. Don Nicholas, age 59, a Vietnam veteran who joined the Army after 9-11 and wants to stay in. The Department of the Army is unwilling to keep him on active duty when he turns 60. As a podiatrist, he has a waiverable skill that appears to be his only hope for remaining in uniform.

The T-Shirt Sales Index for Presidential Candidates

An article in the Daily Caller reports that anti-Obama T-shirts outsell pro-Obama shirts at CafePress by nearly four-to-one.

While Cain is in the lead (at 39%), his trend has actually been slipping, with sales dropping by 62 percent since mid-October — when he has well above 50 percent — and 38 percent since last week. Indeed, national polls have reflected a similar decline, but keep him in the pack.

Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul’s merchandise sold the second-best, coming in at 35 percent. Obama gear was in third with nine percent of sales, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with seven percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at six percent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at three percent and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann at one percent.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum all netted zero percent of sales.

The Real Clear Politics average, in contrast, shows Gingrich currently leading in Republican primary polls at 22 percent, followed by Romney at 21.6 percent and Cain at 18.4 percent. Perry has 7.6 percent of the vote, while Paul has 7.6 percent, Bachmann 5.2 percent, Huntsman 2.2 percent and Santorum 1.8 percent....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Over a Dozen CIA Spies Caught in Lebanon, Iran

ABC's Good Morning America/Yahoo News report that two espionage rings targeting Iran and Hezbollah have been exposed, and that some of the paid informants may already have been executed.

"Espionage is a risky business," a U.S. official briefed on the developments told ABC News, confirming the loss of the unspecified number of spies over the last six months.

"Many risks lead to wins, but some result in occasional setbacks," the official said.

Should Barack Obama Step Aside for Hillary Clinton?

At least two pollsters who worked for Democratic Presidents think so. Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen at the Wall Street Journal wrote:

"When Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson accepted the reality that they could not effectively govern the nation if they sought re-election to the White House, both men took the moral high ground and decided against running for a new term as president. President Obama is facing a similar reality—and he must reach the same conclusion.

"He should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party, but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president's accomplishments. He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton...."

Super Committee Approaching Deadline with Nothing to Show for Their Efforts

FOX News says that automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion over 10 years will automatically kick in if the 12-member Super Committee fails to reach an agreement. Republican and Democratic members of Congress are scrambling to introduce bills to salvage their pet programs, while President Obama has the alibi that he is representing the United States on his latest Asian tour. One perceived stumbling block is that the Republicans absolutely refuse to increase any taxes. 60 Minutes points the finger squarely at Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, for getting nearly all the Republican politicians in Washington to sign an anti-tax pledge.

UPDATE: FOX News records this development: President Obama has threatened to veto any attempt to roll back any automatic cuts, and we believe this threat should be taken seriously. Expect all kinds of charges and counter-charges between the Republicans and Democrats between now and election day.

Ron Paul Tells Sean Hannity, "I Won't Rule Out Third Party Run"

While it is true that he qualified this statement by saying he had no plans to run as a third-party candidate, nevertheless this article will alarm Rep. Paul's many competitors. He is capable of raising enough money for his needs and has a nationwide network of fanatical supporters in place, enough to play the part of spoiler for the Republican nominee.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Most Americans Resisting Efforts to Push the Dollar Coin

A survey reported in the National Journal says that 83% of the public favors holding on to the dollar bill.

"Results from the Luntz Global poll indicate that the American people have lost faith in Washington’s ability to find real solutions to the nation’s debt problems, even as the congressional super committee races against a deadline to agree on a deficit-savings plan by Wednesday. A vast majority of respondents, 81 percent, agreed that Congress has a poor record when it comes to implementing efficiency. Seventy-three percent believed the coin proposal is a political ploy being misrepresented as a means of cutting government costs, and only 15 percent of those surveyed believed the proposal would save taxpayer dollars...."

Randy DeCleene, a spokesman for Americans for George, says that stopping the printing of dollar bills will cost the federal government money for the first several years, maybe break even after 10 years (or maybe not), and impose an extra burden on banks, retail businesses, and any entity accepting dollars as legal tender.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gingrich Challenges Romney for Lead Position

A Weekly Standard article describes how former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign, which was on the ropes just a few months ago, is now competing with Mitt Romney's.

"A new poll shows that, over the past month, Mitt Romney’s lead over Newt Gingrich in New Hampshire has shrunk from 35 points to 2. A month ago, a Magellan Strategies poll (a Republican poll) showed that Romney had the support of 41 percent of potential Republican primary voters in the Granite State, while Gingrich had 6 percent support. Now, the poll shows that 29 percent of respondents favor Romney, while 27 percent favor Gingrich...."

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal points out that Gingrich's lead may be eroded by the consulting work he performed for Freddie Mac, for which he was well compensated [$1.6 million over 7 years].

Friday, November 18, 2011

Balanced Budget Amendment Goes Down in Flames

The Weekly Standard reports that the Republican-controlled House did not have a two-thirds majority to pass a proposed bill to add a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Even House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan voted against it, saying that it doesn't protect the people from rising taxes, growing government, and less economic freedom.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

No Need to Wait for a B-1 or B-2 Bomber Strike - New Flying Bomb Reaches Targets in Less than an Hour

An AFP/Google News describes how a hypersonic flying bomb can reach targets anywhere in the world in an hour or less.

Launched by rocket from Hawaii at 1130 GMT, the "Advanced Hypersonic Weapon," or AHW, glided through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific "at hypersonic speed" before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands, a Pentagon statement said.

Kwajalein is about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) southwest of Hawaii. The Pentagon did not say what top speeds were reached by the vehicle, which unlike a ballistic missile is maneuverable....

Is This for Real?

PJ Media has the latest production by Frank J. Fleming, who also blogs at

Frank J. Fleming is one of the most brilliant writers in existence. Some call him the defining conservative voice of our generation. Others call him the defining conservative voice of all time. Still others get angry at him, as they’re easily confused by satire.... So there was probably no one more excited than I was when I learned he was going to have an ebook published by HarperCollins. But then I saw the title: Obama: The Greatest President in the History of Everything. Was Fleming really going to argue for President Obama? What kind of cruel joke was this? My world was shattered....

Many believe that Barack [middle name omitted because it's racist to draw attention to] Obama is just a regular person who puts his pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us, but this is fallacy. In fact, were you to witness the miraculous way in which Obama puts on his pants, your brain would hemorrhage trying to comprehend it, and you’d die....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Facebook Plagued by P0rn Attack

Just when you thought it wasn't possible for computer hackers to sink any lower, the Wall Street Journal says that a "coordinated spam attack" has sent violent and pornographic images to Facebook users.

"Over the past several days, Facebook users have complained of disturbing imagery appearing to come from trusted friends showing up on the site's news feed, which houses posts and images shared by a user's network....

"Facebook said in a statement that some of its users were tricked into pasting and executing 'malicious Javascript' in their browser URL bar, causing them to share offensive content without knowing it.

"Facebook said that it is working on addressing browser vulnerability exposed by the bad code and that it has built "enforcement mechanisms" to shut down malicious Facebook pages and accounts.

"'We've put in place back-end measures to reduce the rate of these attacks and will continue to iterate on our defenses to find new ways to protect people,' a Facebook spokesman said...."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What Is Obama Doing in Hawaii? Golfing, but Not Winning Friends or Influencing People

Neil Munro at the Daily Caller spells out some of the ugly details that you will not hear from the Dinosaur Media:

"President Barack Obama annoyed the Chinese government, embarrassed the Japanese government and called Americans 'lazy' at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Hawaii, held over the weekend.

"The diplomatic strike-out was accomplished by Obama during a trip that his aides hoped would portray him a global leader worthy of re-election in 2012.

"The trip’s absence of significant trade, investment or security deals, and Obama’s frequent claims that President George W. Bush reduced the nation’s standing in the world, created an opportunity for his domestic rivals to deride his trans-Pacific diplomacy...."

What to Bring for Thanksgiving? provides an answer to a burning question that faces anyone who will be invited to someone's house for Thanksgiving, which will take place next week. (Click on link to see full-sized flowchart.)

How to Make Money from Insider Trading Without Spending a Day in Jail

The answer, as an article in The Atlantic implies, is to get elected to Congress.

Megan McArdle - Megan McArdle is a senior editor for The Atlantic who writes about business and economics. She has worked at three start-ups, a consulting firm, an investment bank, a disaster recovery firm at Ground Zero, and The Economist.

Is Your Congressman Trading on Inside Information?
By Megan McArdle

Nov 14 2011, 10:27 AM ET 155

"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress" ~Mark Twain

CBS aired a report last night about congressional insider trading, based on a new book by Peter Schweizer of the Hoover Institution. The allegations are pretty lurid:

After seeing similar accusations floating around the web for years, I finally wrote a story about this phenomenon a few months ago. While I have not yet read Schweizer's book, the academic evidence on congressional insider trading is mixed: an older study found a huge effect (Senators outperform the market by 12%, while house members outperform by a still impressive 6%); but a newer study, as yet unpublished, showed that as a group, congressmen slightly under-perform index funds.

How to reconcile this with the eye-popping trades described in the 60 Minutes piece? Spencer Bachus betting that the economy would tank right after he was briefed on the financial crisis in 2008; John Boehner buying health insurance stocks shortly before the public option was finally killed; Nancy Pelosi getting preferential IPO shares in Visa right around the time a bill that would have hurt credit card processors was defeated....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Glenn Beck Answers Prayers of Colorado Women's Charity reports that popular talk show host, author, and philanthropist Glenn Back has made a $55,000 donation to Hope Home and Liza's Place, which chose to forego federal funding instead of dispensing with prayer and Bible studies, which the charity regards as being at the core of its program. I, who have seen how Liza's Place has helped to turn the lives of women around, applaud his generosity.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ohio Tea Partiers, Conservatives Push for Right-to-Work Law

The New American has an article about how the state of Ohio, which voted down a measure to restrict public-sector unions, may soon be voting on a law to end forced union membership.

"The constitutional amendment, known as the 'Workplace Freedom Amendment,' would make Ohio one of almost two dozen 'right-to-work' states in America. If approved by voters it would allow government and private-sector workers to freely choose whether or not to join a union and pay union dues.

"'No law, rule, agreement, or arrangement, shall require, directly or indirectly, any person or employer to become or remain a member of a labor organization,' reads the text of the proposed amendment. Federal employees in Ohio, however, would not be protected.

"Individuals would still be free to join or support a union — if they so choose. And the measure would not affect already-existing agreements. But “Big Labor” is gearing up to fight anyway...."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Lakeside Dacha Big Enough for Michael Moore

In Russia, a dacha is a second home in the country where one can escape from the heat, bustle, noise, and stress of the city. Doug Ross @ Journal reveals one owned by the master of the faux-documentary, Michael Moore.

"...No one begrudges Moore his wealth, but it is deceitful for him to claim poverty while encouraging class warfare among other Americans. It is also purely narcissistic and selfish for Moore to back radical and destructive socialist policies that would deny other Americans the opportunity to become as rich as he is."

Veterans' Families Win Out over Godless Bureaucrats

FOX News reports:

"Veterans have fifty new reasons to rejoice this Veterans Day. Following months of contentious litigation, on October 19, 2011, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs threw up its white flag. The federal agency charged with overseeing the 131 national cemeteries where America’s fallen heroes are laid to rest agreed to make sweeping changes to national and local policies to bring them in line with the First Amendment.

"By court order, the V.A. must to abide by fifty provisions contained in a consent decree. It requires the Houston National Cemetery veterans’ chapel to remain open, forbids the government from interfering with the religious speech of our veterans and volunteers, and, most importantly, allows veterans’ families to hold funeral services without restrictions on the content of speech, whether that speech is religious or secular...."

Michele Bachmann's "Bridge to Nowhere"

The Daily Caller has a startling article about Michele Bachmann, who is campaigning for a $690 million bridge over the St. Croix River - because it's in her congressional district. The illustration to the right is an artist's rendering of what the completed bridge would look like.

"Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann may be a crusader against government waste, but the GOP presidential candidate is standing firm against critics who say the construction of a new $690 million bridge that she supports over the St. Croix River in her Minnesota district is wasteful.

"Critics complain that the proposed bridge is too expensive and dries up money for other transportation projects. It has also been compared to the infamous proposed “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska, where federal dollars were sought to build a bridge to an island where only a few dozen people lived...."

Friday, November 11, 2011

70-Year-Old Spitfire, Preserved by Irish Bog, Sees the Light of Day

The BBC News Magazine has a positive news story:

" 1941, Roland "Bud" Wolfe, an American pilot flying a British RAF Spitfire, paid for by a wealthy Canadian industrialist, had experienced engine failure while flying over the neutral Republic of Ireland.

"After flying a sortie over the Atlantic, Wolfe was on his way back to his base in Northern Ireland when he was forced to bail out. He parachuted safely to the ground - his plane smashed into the boggy hillside.

"Fast-forwarding 70 years and local aviation expert Johnny McNee was able to identify the wreck site...."

Many parts were still in good condition, having been preserved by a layer of clay that kept the moisture out. By combining the best parts of its 6 Browning machine guns, they were able to assemble one that can still fire .303 rounds!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Occupy Denver Goes to the Dog

KOAA-TV's Colorado Dog Blog confirms reports from other sources that Occupy Denver has elected Shelby the dog to be their leader and spokesman. Their rationale: “Shelby is the first elected leader of any occupy movement. We elected her on November 5th because she is more of a person than a corporation is and less corrupt than most people. She is the youngest, first, and only dog leader of this revolution.”

UPDATE: Meanwhile, in Atlanta, the home base (a homeless shelter) for Occupy Atlanta has tested positive for a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis, providing the public with another compelling reason for avoiding the protesters.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You Can't Quit on Us - You're Fired!

This is more a matter of ethical choices and leadership rather than sports, so we link to this FOX News article about how the Pennsylvania State Board of Trustees unanimously voted to fire venerable head football coach Joe Paterno and school president Graham Spanier. The fallout over Paterno's failure to report ex-defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, who is accused of molesting at least eight boys between 1994 and 2009, was too intense for them to settle for his offer to retire at the end of the football season.

UPDATE: Hundreds of Penn State students showed up to protest the firing of Joe Paterno, which turned violent, leaving the school no choice but to call in riot police, says FOX News.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Italy's Playboy Premier on the Way Out

FOX News has this breaking story: Premier Silvio Berlusconi has publicly announced that he will step down as soon as the Italian parliament passes reforms mandated by the European Union. This comes just two days after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced his intention to resign.

They Didn't Know the Microphone Was On

Ynet News describes how French President Sarkozy told President Obama at the G20 conference that he couldn't stand Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and went so far as to call him a "liar." Obama replied: "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!" FOX News has a video on the same conversation.

Monday, November 7, 2011

To No One's Surprise, Obama Was Golfing That Day

The Daily Mail (U.K.) reminds us of the President's priorities: 20 minutes before the Navy SEALs started attacking the lair of Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan, he was at the golf course.

The article also lists two conflicting versions of what happened:
U.S. Government says: Team always intended to shoot Bin Laden
Navy SEALs say: Had he surrendered, we would have taken him alive
Government: Mission took several minutes
SEALs: Bin Laden killed in the first 90 seconds [he died trying to reach for an AK-47]
Government: Protracted gun battle
SEALs: 12 bullets fired
Government: SEALs were on a 'kill mission'
SEALs: The phrase 'kill mission' has been made up by politicians

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Media Double Standard on OWS Mobs Marches On

Rick Moran at American Thinker reminds us of things we already know:

You should read Allah's post on this at Hot Air in its entirety because he knocks it out of the park regarding the media double standard in reporting on the tea party and OWS. Women were discouraged from reporting sexual attacks because the OWS organizers feared it wouldn't look good. But now, with sexual assaults apparently endemic in the encampment, they have reluctantly placed a woman only tent up, patrolled by women....

In a related development, an OWS protester goes ballistic in McDonald's when they refuse to provide him with free food.

I know it's not nice to snicker over someone else's misfortune, but Gateway Pundit has a video about a head and body lice outbreak at the #Occupy Portland camp.

And here's a helpful chart from Doug Ross @ Journal to help you compare the orderliness of Tea Party rallies and the pure lawlessness of Occupy Wall Street and its many clones (click to enlarge):

Arizona Reports Substantial Drop in Illegal Immigrant Arrests

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that arrests of illegal immigrants by the Border Patrol fell by 43% in the Tucson Sector. Fewer illegal immigrants have been crossing the border partly because of the recession, and partly because of increased security measures. The article did not mention the strict immigration law passed by the state of Arizona, which likely had an influence on this trend.

Joe Frazier Faces the Fight of His Life

An ESPN/AP article describes how former heavyweight boxing champ Joe Frazier has been diagnosed with liver cancer at the age of 67. He has been admitted into a hospice. Doctors have not told him how long he has to live.

UPDATE: We regret to announce that Joe Frazier succumbed to cancer tonight [7 November 2011]. An AP/FOX News article has his obituary.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

This Flowchart Could Save Your Bacon!

Doug Ross @ Journal has this gem to help you navigate the murky waters of social networking (click to enlarge).

General Relieved of Command (Fired) for Blurting Out the Truth

Allahpundit at and also FOX News tell the story:

The two-star general [Peter Fuller] flashed irritation when he brought up Karzai’s recent remarks that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in a war against the U.S., blasting the president’s comments as “erratic,” and adding, “Why don’t you just poke me in the eye with a needle! You’ve got to be kidding me … I’m sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion and now you’re telling me, ‘I don’t really care’?”...

Mass Data Compromise

On September 14, 2011, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) reported a data breach involving personally identifiable and protected health information (PII/PHI) impacting an estimated 4.9 million military clinic and hospital patients. The information was contained on backup tapes from an electronic health care record used in the military health system (MHS) to capture patient data from 1992 through September 7, 2011, and may include Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, and some personal health data such as clinical notes, laboratory tests and prescriptions. There is no financial data, such as credit card or bank account information, on the backup tapes.

The risk of harm to patients is judged to be low despite the data elements involved since retrieving the data on the tapes would require knowledge of and access to specific hardware and software and knowledge of the system and data structure. Considering the totality of the circumstances, we determined that potentially impacted persons or households will be notified of this incident via letter. We regret that the information required to initiate notification is not available at this time, but we will ensure that it is done in an accurate and timely manner and in compliance with all applicable DoD guidelines. Due to the large volume of individuals potentially impacted by this incident, we anticipate that individual notification will take at least 4-6 weeks; therefore, this notice is being posted in the interim. The incident continues to be investigated and additional information will be published as soon as it is available. Meanwhile, both SAIC and TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) are reviewing current data protection security policies and procedures to prevent similar breaches in the future.

Anyone who suspects that they were impacted by this incident is urged to take steps to protect their personal information and should be guided by the Federal Trade Commission at:

Concerned patients may contact the SAIC Incident Response Call Center, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time at the following numbers:

United States, call toll free: (855) 366-0140
International, call collect: (952) 556-8312

Source: The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) Washington Office

OH WOW!!! x 3

The New York Times has published Mona Simpson's eulogy to her brother, Steve Jobs. She shows the side that many who squirmed under his iron rule didn't get to see: the doting father, the Renaissance man, the visionary who was an artist first and secondarily a techie.

Professional Curmudgeon Andy Rooney Dead at 92

CBS News reports that Andy Rooney did not get to enjoy his retirement from the "60 Minutes" TV show for long, dying of complications following minor surgery last night.

"It's a sad day at '60 Minutes' and for everybody here at CBS News," said Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and the executive producer of "60 Minutes." "It's hard to imagine not having Andy around. He loved his life and he lived it on his own terms. We will miss him very much."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pakistan's Nukes Turned into Moving Targets and report a chilling reaction to the Pakistani military's fear that the United States will seek to neutralize or steal their nukes. So instead of storing their nuclear weapons in carefully guarded bunkers, they have seen fit to hide them in nondescript vans that move around frequently.

"The irony is that the U.S. isn’t planning to steal Pakistan’s nukes — but Pakistan’s cavalier attitude toward nuclear security is making the U.S. think twice about whether it should revise some worst-case-scenario contingency planning...."

UPDATE: It was bound to happen sooner or later. According to AFP/Google, the Pakistani government angrily denied resorting to such an unsecure method of dispersing their nuclear weapons.

For Manly Men, Not Girlie-Men: 25 Deathless Quotes

John Hawkins at Right Wing News has come up with a good selection. Here are some examples:

"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever." — Lance Armstrong

"My center is giving way, my right is in retreat; situation excellent. I shall attack." — Marshal Foch, WW1

"You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor." — Miyamoto Musashi

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Spare City to Fall Back On, in Case Godzilla Destroys Tokyo

The Daily Mail (U.K.) has an intriguing article about the possibility that Japan may build a backup city in case Tokyo is devastated by an earthquake or other calamity.

"Snappily called the IRTBBC - or Integrated Resort Tourism, Business and Backup City - the spare city will be built on a 1,236-acre site 300 miles west of the capital Tokyo.

"It could be home to 50,000 residents and 200,000 workers and will also feature offices, resorts, casinos and parks - as well as essential government facilities in case of disaster...."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Where's the Toilet Paper?

The Law of the Harvest Strikes Again in Zucotti Park

Andrew Breitbart in exposes the epidemic of crime that has infested Zuccotti Park in New York City ever since the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators took it over.

"The chaos and crime at Occupy Wall Street reflects similar patterns of apparent violent disorder at Occupy protests across North America–from heroin dealing in Boston, to assaults at Occupy Oakland, to an alleged rape at Occupy Cleveland, to alleged sexual assault at Occupy Ottawa, and to an unexplained death at Occupy Oklahoma City. Activists have, at several sites, discouraged each other from reporting serious crimes–including rape–to the police.

"It is true that the Occupy Wall Street protest is taking place on private property. Yet Mayor Bloomberg’s responsibility does not end at the curbside. In fact, he may have a special responsibility to act, since it was his strange prediction of “riots” on September 16, 2011 that helped set the stage for the Occupy Wall Street protest that began the very next day...."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Nearly $700 Million Vanishes into Thin Air

Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine's MF Global is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to FOX News. So by any reasonable interpretation, this firm is facing a crisis that threatens its very existence, having lost $192 million in the past quarter and having seen a 60% drop in the value of its shares. Buying up all those European bonds could have made money if the slacker nations got their act together, but since there is no end in sight to the financial morass that is the European Union, these bonds have collectively become a giant millstone that could drag down MF Global with it. The New York Times' Dealbook adds another complication: federal investigators are looking into the probability that this company is unable to account for up to $700 million of its investors' money.

UPDATE: As though Gov. Corzine didn't have problems enough, now a article quotes Craig Donohue, the head of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, who said that MF Global violated rules designed to safeguard its clients' money.

This Is What Happens to Black Men Who Try to Escape from the Plantation

Politico has broken a news story about Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain that reminds one of the allegations leveled against Clarence Thomas when he was undergoing the confirmation process for a seat on the Supreme Court. Mr. Cain has wasted no time rushing to his own defense. Meanwhile, at PJ Media, Roger Simon has come to Cain's defense, referring to this scandal-of-the-week as a "high-tech lynching."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Worth of Zombies

Just in time for Halloween: an article from MSNBC.

"Zombies may be the walking undead, but their contribution to Main Street’s economy is very much alive. In modern times, the zombie genre has evolved from a cult following to a highly popular theme. 24/7 Wall St. estimates that the today’s zombie genre economy is worth billions of dollars.

"Think way beyond zombie movie ticket sales. Think about DVD sales, video games, comic books, novels, Halloween costumes, zombie walks, merchandise, conventions and even zombie art. Add to that all of the websites, homemade movies, Facebook sites, YouTube sites and other forms of 'digital' zombies, not to mention music. And if you think the financial tab has been high so far, by the end of 2012 the tab is going to be far larger...."

Monday, October 24, 2011


To my loyal readers: There may be a break from tomorrow (Tuesday, 25 October) to Sunday (30 October),as I will be traveling to Orlando, FL to attend the Alternatives Conference. If I have access to an Internet computer, and find juicy news stories to bring to your attention, then I will do so.

Gov. Jindal Wins Second Term in Landslide informs us that Republican Governor Bobby Jindal crushed the opposition in last Saturday's election. This will be his last gubernatorial election, as the office is term-limited. The Republicans also did well in the legislative races, although they still lack a two-thirds majority needed to enact truly sweeping measures.