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...."