Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sec State Clinton Tops Obama in Popularity: She is at Least Trying to Lead

Well, she seems to actually care about things and is trying to to do something other then waste time.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's approval rating has reached 66 percent, her highest during Obama's term and second-highest of all time, according to Gallup. She handily beats other top members of the administration, including Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who clock in at 54 percent, 46 percent, and 52 percent, respectively.

I mean she seems actively engaged in America's current problems. While Obama is talking about energy, watching the Final Four and taking trips to Brazil she seems to actually be awake at 3AM like her campaign ad said. She seems poised and on top of things and is running the show. Now Saturday Night live needs to do a sketch that shows Obama easily distracted with Hillary juggling everything kind of like the Phil Hartman sketch of Ronald Reagan as the person working his ass off while pretending to be clueless.

Deadly Cobra found Hiding in Corner of Bronx Zoo Reptile House

Well at least it didn't escape and bite a bunch of people.

A poisonous Egyptian cobra that disappeared from a Bronx Zoo exhibit was found Thursday after nearly a week on the lam, zoo officials said.

The 24-inch snake was found coiled in a dark corner of the zoo's reptile house, said zoo director Jim Breheny.

"As you can imagine, we are delighted to report that the snake has been found alive and well," he said.

The reptile house had closed last Friday after the snake disappeared and zoo workers couldn't find her.

That is usually what happens when a ratty escapes from his cage. They hang around and hide behind the furniture and then eventually get bored and venture out so that you put them back in the cage. This cobra seems to have been doing the same thing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Know a Way to Get Ghadaffi to Resign: Play "Friday" by Rebecca Black Non-stop at his Headquarters

I was reading about this song called Friday by Rebecca Black and how it was the "most disliked" on YouTube.

Rebecca Black has admitted to having Bieber Fever, but now if the two pop singers ever do meet, they'll have something to commiserate about — being the most disliked stars on YouTube.

Both Black and Bieber have that irritating ability to create tween pop that gets stuck in your head for days. You know not just on Friday, but also on the next day, Saturday, and Sunday, which comes afterwards. (Oh and Thursday comes before Friday, in case you were wondering.)

I was thinking that this song can't be that bad. Oh baby it is that bad. It is worse then that bad it might be the worst song ever written. I mean this poor girl doesn't even know whether to sit in the back seat or the front seat of her friends car. Yes she sung about seating choice and no I wasn't able to stomach the entire song. Here is a link to this atrocity if you dare to look horror directly in the face.

So here is what I propose we do to get Ghadaffi out in Libya. Jam his airwaves and pipe this music into his palaces nonstop. It will drive his guards nuts and eventually they might capture him to make the Americans stop playing this hated song. However playing this song might be considered a war crime and Rebecca Black would have to go up to The Hague on charges. We might need to get the Justice Department to sign off on playing this song as a weapon first.

Send in the CIA: Obama Allows Covert Action in Libya

Well, I'm not sure why we have to advertise this information but it seems that we might get some CIA assets in place among the rebels after all.

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding", within the last two or three weeks, according to government sources familiar with the matter.

Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. This is a necessary legal step before such action can take place but does not mean that it will.

I guess this is how we are going to funnel some state-of-the-art weapons into the rebels. The more I look at Libya the more it looks like this is Obama's proxy war. I kind of Afghanistan but with rebels instead of Northern Alliance members. The sad thing is that the Libyan rebels are disorganized amateurs while the Northern Alliance were bad-assed tribesmen that fought the Soviets for decades. Well in any case waiting until the last minute like this will probably mean a partitioned Libya.

Odd Lead Codices Might be the Biblical Find of the Decade

Now this is really interesting as long as they don't turn out to be fakes.

British archaeologists are seeking to authenticate what could be a landmark discovery in the documentation of early Christianity: a trove of 70 lead codices that appear to date from the 1st century CE, which may include key clues to the last days of Jesus' life. As UK Daily Mail reporter Fiona Macrae writes, some researchers are suggesting this could be the most significant find in Christian archeology since the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947.

The codices turned up five years ago in a remote cave in eastern Jordan—a region where early Christian believers may have fled after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. The codices are made up of wirebound individual pages, each roughly the size of a credit card. They contain a number of images and textual allusions to the Messiah, as well as some possible references to the crucifixion and resurrection. Some of the codices were sealed, prompting yet more breathless speculation that they could include the sealed book, shown only to the Messiah, mentioned in the Book of Revelation. One of the few sentences translated thus far from the texts, according to the BBC, reads, "I shall walk uprightly"--a phrase that also appears in Revelation. "While it could be simply a sentiment common in Judaism," BBC writer Robert Pigott notes, "it could here be designed to refer to the resurrection."

They kind of look like little lead pocketbooks or notepads. I guess that is a menorah on the left side of the document. I have a copper ring from that time period and the wear pattern looks very similar to these ones as well.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Barefoot Contessa Spurns the Wish of Dying Child Not Once but Twice

Wow, now this is an example of human garbage.

According to TMZ, Make-A-Wish approached Garten with Enzo's request last year. She replied that she couldn't make time to visit him, mainly because of a scheduled book tour. The group then urged Enzo — who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia three years ago — to make another wish. But he insisted on waiting until Garten became available. When Make-A-Wish tried once more to schedule a meeting between the two, Garten again rebuffed the overture, still pleading hectic demands on her schedule.

"I felt terrible for him, he has been unwavering in his desire to meet her for 3 years and despite many attempts to get him to pick a 2nd wish or change his mind he would not," Enzo's mother wrote on her blog. "Even yesterday when I told him the unfortunate news, his reply was simply 'why doesn't she want to meet me'?"

Finally convinced he'd never get to meet Garten, Enzo gave up on his dream and allowed Make-A-Wish to coordinate an alternative for him: to swim with dolphins.

Yeah, I understand her book tour would conflict with the wishes of this dying child one time. But the second time is going beyond the pale. I mean she couldn't clear one day from her "hectic schedule" to hang out with this kid for a few hours? I mean the Borders in Poughkeepsie can wait a day so she can swing by this kids place.

Instead he has to come up with his second string wish to swim with Dolphins. I hope these happy mammals can do a better job than then this poor excuse for a mammal the "Heartless" Contessa.  Perhaps he just isn't royal enough her Her Highness.

This part is pretty funny I think:

"Ina became aware of Enzo's story this weekend and will be calling him today," a spokesperson for Garten told ABC News in a statement released yesterday. "She looks forward to inviting him to spend some time with her at the Food Network studios."

So she bowed to pressure? I guess one of her handlers figured that spurning this kid not once but twice is not good for her "book tour" or anything else she might do in the future. If I was this kid I would totally ignore this scumbag "Contessa" and just swim with the Dolphins twice. They won't back out of either play date I can assure you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Could the Radiation Leak in Japan be a Boon for Tyson and Smithfield Foods Stock?

Well some analysts certainly think so.

The situation could boost demand for pork processed by Smithfield Foods (SFD 23.97, +1.28, +5.64%)   and Tyson Foods (TSN 20.05, +0.44, +2.24%)  , which also sells beef. In 2010, the U.S. accounted for 40% of Japan’s total pork imports on a metric-ton basis and 18% of its beef imports, according to the USDA.

BB&T Capital on Wednesday upgraded Smithfield and Tyson shares to a buy, citing among other factors, the likelihood of increased Japanese imports of pork and beef as well as disruption in the country’s domestic livestock production resulting from the tragic earthquake and tsunami.

One thing I know about the Japanese is that they are really careful when it comes to food safety. So if domestic pork and beef has high levels of iodine in them they will be tossed aside in a heartbeat. So this could mean large amount of added demand from the Japanese market going forward.

I mean imported beef, chicken, and pork from the US might be viewed as much safer than the unknown domestic supply for the time being. There was already all sorts of problems with Japanese cattle having hoof-in-mouth disease last year so beef supply was already constrained.

From some quick research I can see that both stocks seem fairly cheap by most metrics. Both companies are making money and growing their earnings fairly well for the most part. In fact TSN grew their revenue by 14.8% and earnings 86% year over year. Paying a cheap multiple for that kind of growth sounds pretty good to me.

The only thing that jumped out at me on SFD was its pretty high amount of debt on their books. 2.83 billion which is a 91.5 debt/equity level. Tyson only has a 45.95 debt/equity ratio. But SFD has been reducing their long term debt load each quarter according to their balance sheet. Both companies might be a decent buy depending on how this Japanese radiation issue works itself out.

17% of Americans See Obama as Strong Military Leader

Wow, it must have been hard to find anyone that thought he was a military leader in the first place because based on his record Obama may be one of the worst military leaders of all time.

Only 17 percent of Americans see President Barack Obama as a strong and decisive military leader, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after the United States and its allies began bombing Libya.

Nearly half of those polled view Obama as a cautious and consultative commander-in-chief and more than a third see him as indecisive in military matters.

I mean Obama pretty much took months to deploy half the troops that the commanders needed in Afghanistan. Now it looks like that measure might not have been enough. Then he tried to take credit for pulling troops out of Iraq even though they were originally ordered out by Bush at the end of his second term.

Then he waits precious weeks to orders a no-fly zone in Libya from a soccer field in Rio right after finishing his NCAA brackets. I mean the rebels were nearly at "capitulate and get massacred" levels before we decided to do anything at all. What was worse is he didn't even talk to Congress to authorize the action for whatever reason.

Now we are handing off leadership to NATO and are probably trying to look for an early exit and some ass cover when Ghadaffi manages to hold onto power. Obama is such a military neophyte a kid playing Civilization could probably best him in decision making speed and efficiency.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Could Syria be the Next Stop on the Revolution Train?

It seems that Assad might be misplaying his cards and could let Syria go the way of Egypt and Tunisia according to this.

Considering the latest news coming out of Syria, here are few issues to consider: 

The Druze. Assad has arrested Ms. Mountaha Bacha al-Atrash, daughter to a Druze hero revered by his community. Now, the Druze of Syria have become his enemy and all those who embrace human rights inside Syria. 

The Tribes. Assad arrested today Sheikh Soufok Faisal al-Nojrous, a member of parliament and a member of a ferocious Syrian tribe. Now, the tribes of Syria have become his enemy.

The Women. Assad has detained several prominent women activists including Suhair Al-Atassi, Nereven Ossi, Ola Kayali, and many others. Up to 50% of the Syrian population may become his enemy. 

The Hawran Region. Using deadly force against civilians in Dara’a, the whole Hawran province has become his enemy, in addition to the neighboring provinces of Sweida and Quneitra whose young men joined in the demonstrations in Dara’a. 

The Children. Detaining children of 13 and 14 years old just for some graffiti on walls expressing freedom is unforgivable in any society. Even Assad’s supporters are murmuring. 

The Syrian Army. No important mutiny to speak of but it won’t be long now that the Syrian tribes have taken a clear position against the regime. Many of their children are army recruits. 

My money is on brutal crackdown myself. It is really up the the people that are being cracked-down upon to take the next step. A bloody civil war could easily break out but the Syrian Army would probably be the kingmaker and most likely the eventual winner. In any case if you thought Gaddafi was harsh wait until Assad gets his turn at bat. 

Now if I was Israel I would be pulling out all the stops to make this bloody civil war thing happen. In one fell swoop you will take out your enemy and the state sponsor of terrorism directed right at you. There will be no more Syrian proxies to fight in Southern Lebanon if their government falls or their nation is partitioned. The enemy of mine enemy is my friend and all that. 

Why Are Conservatives Wary about a Libyan War

Well, the short answer is that they are reflexively anti-Obama. But these are some legitimate questions.

Aims and Objectives: Fact: We are now and then bombing Libyan ground targets in order to enhance the chances of rebel success in removing or killing Qaddafi. Fiction: We are not offering ground support but only establishing a no-fly zone, and have no desire to force by military means Qaddafi to leave. Questions: Is our aim, then, a reformed Qaddafi? A permanently revolutionary landscape? A partitioned, bisected nation? What is the model? Afghanistan? Mogadishu? The 12-year no-fly-zone in Iraq? A Mubarak-like forced exile? Who are the rebels? Westernized reformers? Muslim Brotherhood types? A mix? Who knows? Who cares?

A think it is "make it up as we go along time" at the White House. I supported a No-Fly zone from the start and I still support it because I think America has a horse in the game when it comes to exporting freedom to foreign lands. I mean that is the Bush Doctrine in a nutshell. If you push one domino of freedom the other countries will fall. Egypt and the rest unrest in the Middle East is the Bush Doctrine brought to life.

The whole idea of saying "what's in it for us" when we see a rebel uprising (or one that could fail and genocide ensues) is un-American. We have supported rebel groups all throughout our history. I mean the war in Afghanistan was basically us supporting the Northern Alliance to defeat the Taliban who was harboring Al-Quida. Hell, a rebel group started this country.

Plus all this talk of the cost of things seemed pretty absent when we spent billions on our other wars. I know we don't have the money right now.  But sometimes an investment in a chance to create another stable democracy is worth a few billion dollars of China's money. And mark my words it is an investment.

Democracies almost never fight each other so the chances of us intervening there for 100 years may be in the offing. I will be willing to bet that this Democracies staying peaceful doctrine (so we can ratchet back our future intervention) will continue for some time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Former SEIU Leader Wants to "Bring Down the Stock Market!"

I'm not quite sure what this is supposed to accomplish but the former SEIU head Stephen Lerner sounds like a college kid trying to "take on the system" who obviously doesn't know how the world works.

We have to think much more creatively. The key thing… What does the other side fear the most – they fear disruption. They fear uncertainty. Every article about Europe says in they rioted in Greece the markets went down

The folks that control this country care about one thing how the stock market goes what the bond market does how the bonuses goes. We have a very simple strategy:

  • How do we bring down the stock market
  • How do we bring down their bonuses
  • How do we interfere with there ability to be rich…
So a bunch of us around the country think who would be a really good company to hate we decided that would be JP Morgan Chase and so we are going to roll out over the next couple of months what would hopefully be an exciting campaign about JP Morgan Chase that is really about challenge the power of Wall Street.

Um, civil disobedience at the JP Morgan Chase shareholders meeting will not "bring down the stock market" even in this guys most fevered imaginings. Maybe if they got a few hundred million shares together and had a proxy fight to oust their board or replace their CEO with some SEIU dullard it would actually make JP Morgans stock drop. I wonder if the SEIU has a few billion back at the clubhouse to pull off this "Pinky and the Brain" level scheme?

The funny thing is that Citigroup or Bank of America would easily pick up the slack while increasing their market share. If it isn't an American bank then I'm sure Deutsche Bank, UBS, or Credit Suisse would love to have that added business. Then speculators would make a mint off of shorting JP Morgans stock and buying their debt on the cheap. The idea that SEIU could drive JP Morgan out of business makes me laugh out loud.

Actually the most ironic thing about this SEIU comic book villain scheme of "bringing down the stock market" is that it would cripple private and public Union pension funds which are mostly invested in equities and bonds. I'm pretty sure CALPERS would not enjoy it if JP Morgan suddenly went out of business due to SEIUs firing their "super secret stock market killer death ray machine." This "bringing down the stock market" nonsense would cost Union members and retirees every penny that the worked for.

Plus if you're an American with a 401K or an IRA and are invested in equities, mutual funds, or bonds then the SEIU has just declared war on your retirement. "Bringing down the stock market" means many, many people will have their retirement funds at risk. Way to go SEIU. Whatever support you wanted to get from the ordinary American just left when you tried to destroy their retirement funds.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sprint Stock Gets Pummeled by AT&T and T-Mobile Tie Up: Could Google Buy Sprint?

Well it seems that Sprint may be the odd-man out if the AT&T and T-Mobile gets through the Justice Department.

A combination of AT&T and T-Mobile would put almost 80 percent of the nation’s wireless market in the hands of just two companies: AT&T (NYSE: T), which has 1,000 employees in the Raleigh-Durham region, and current market leader Verizon Wireless, which also has operations in the Triangle. AT&T is buying T-Mobile from its parent Deutsche Telekom.

This leaves Sprint with like 10% of the market which is pretty crappy. They would be able to compete by dropping their prices but I'm not sure how long that would last. A price war in the Telecom space would probably leave them on the ropes. One thing that I found interesting is that Sprint was announcing a closer partnership with Google a day after the mega-deal.

“As part of our partnership with Google, our customers will appreciate having the easiest set-up experience of any wireless carrier for Google Voice across all of our CDMA phones, using their existing Sprint phone number,” said Kevin McGinnis, vice president-Product and Technology Development, Sprint. “It’s now easier than ever to truly live a mobile lifestyle with the ability to manage multiple devices through intelligent call routing and online controls using just one phone number – your existing Sprint number.”

This announcement is just small potatoes between Google and Sprint but what if this partnership started to blossom? I mean Google could swallow up Sprint for the price of $13 billion which is less than half of the $39 billion AT&T/T-Mobile mega-deal. Google has $34 billion in cash on their books so they could conceivable do an all cash deal.

What would Google get other then the 3rd place wireless carrier and $20 billion in Sprint debt? Well first they would be able to have total control over the marketing of Android phones. A retail outlet for Google products whatever they may be. I'm not sure if this is a great thing but it is an outlet if they want to go head-to-head with Apple in that space. A place to buy all-Android phones and apps in the mall might be attractive to some.

The true plum that could be worth $13 billion is their access to Sprint's bandwidth.

Unbeknownst to most, all of the Kindle downloads on Amazon's white-hot e-reader go through Sprint's network, and given just how successful that little venture has been, the carrier is hoping to expand its revenues from wholesaling bandwidth (which currently sits at just 3 percent of its total) by inking similar deals with connected gadget makers.

In other words they will own a share of the 4G wireless pipes. And that would be huge. This means they will own the most trafficked site on the Interwebs and own the bandwidth and the connection that gets you there.

In other words they can create Google Wireless. This could tie directly into a Google TV that can go head to head with the cable companies if they chose that route. Or they can just use the bandwidth and the connection to roar directly into the wireless space.

If Kindle needs a connection to download some books then Google will be the one providing the service. If you want to go to Amazon and buy some crap on an Android phone then Google will be there with the bandwidth. You can even walk into the Google Store and buy the phone and setup the Google Wireless Internet plan all at once.

I'm sure Google would have even cooler things to do with that Sprint bandwidth but you get the idea. It sure would go a long way in their battle against Apple because Google would not have to be tied to a Wireless carrier. So the latest and greatest Android phones will go right to the Google Store and get their apps and access to their Search Engine and Google Docs right off of Google Wireless. Vertical Integration at its finest. Could that opportunity be worth $13 billion?

It's Sad but President Hillary Clinton Would be Much Better at this President Thing than "Tone Deaf" Obama

One thing that struck me as weird on the events of the past few weeks is that Hillary would have been 10 times better a President then Obama is. I'm positive she wouldn't be on ESPN outlining her NCAA picks instead of going down to the Japanese Embassy to pay her condolences to the Japanese people.

She might have even paid a visit to the USS Ronald Reagan to put a face on the American relief efforts. She would have showed that the most powerful person in the world is giving a crap about the Japanese people instead of watching the ballgame. Hell, she could have shown that she didn't fear the "nuclear fallout" so Americans shouldn't either.

I mean she didn't have to land in Japan and make things harder for them but a quick few hours on the USS Ronald Reagan is close enough for the sake of appearances. She would have moved her Rio trip back by a month for damn sure.

I also would be willing to bet she would have had this no-fly zone thing up when the rebels were pushing on Tripoli instead of now when they are nearly beaten. That was the critical time when one has to act instead of weighing all the options or filling out his brackets or whatever Obama was doing. Too bad the Iowa Dems made such a bad choice in 2008.

Looks Like we Are Handing off the Libyan Bombing in "Days." I Guess Obama Doesn't Want it to Affect his Sweet 16 Viewing

That troublesome bombing could very well screw up his Sweet Sixteen viewing party he probably has planned.

The missile strikes have already destroyed most of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's air defenses. Obama said U.S. action would be limited and its mission command would be brief.

"We anticipate this transition to take place in a matter of days and not in a matter of weeks," Obama told a news conference during a visit to Chile. He did not spell out which nation or organization would take charge of the operation.

I mean the last thing in the world Obama would want to do is miss the Kansas/Richmond game. I mean he has Kansas penciled in as the National Champion and he doesn't want to be pouring over some boring Pentagon briefing document with an upset brewing. So America gets out of the bombing business just in time for the tip-off. Sounds about right from "Bracketology over Pentagon Strategy" Obama.

Sammy Hagar Details Alien Abduction: Don't Redicule him Just Yet

Well it seems that the so-called "Red" Rocker claims to be abducted by aliens.

He and the reporter are talking about dreams he claims to have had about UFOs, and when asked whether he believed he had been abducted, Hagar answers: "I think I have."

The reporter seemed surprised. "What? Really? I was kidding. You seriously believe that?" he asks.

Hagar laughs and goes on to explain that a passage in the book described as a dream in which he is contacted by aliens from outer space in California was, in fact, reality.

The tale describes how the beings tapped into his mind through a wireless connection.

"It was real," Hagar told the reporter, according to the story on MTV's Hive website. "They were plugged into me. It was a download situation ... Or, they uploaded something from my brain, like an experiment."

Of course the AP goes on to talk about Hagar's history of drug abuse and basically discredits his story. It would be interesting to have him hypnotically regressed to see what that turns up. I am a big believer that, even if it might not be aliens abducting people, something is happening. It would be interesting to see someone at least try to figure out if it is mass hysteria or some new form of night terror of something.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

UN Approves No-Fly Zone: Um Too Little Too Late

Well, dictators of the world take note you have two weeks at least until the slow-assed UN does anything.

The vote in the 15-member council was 10-0 with five abstentions, including Russia and China.

The United States, France and Britain had pushed for speedy approval.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said if the resolution was approved, France would support military action against Gadhafi within hours. The U.S. said it was preparing for action. Several Arab nations were expected to provide backup.

This would have been great news 2 weeks ago when the rebels were moving on Tripoli. They could have ended the war indefinitely and Ghadaffi would be out on his ass. But of course all the foot dragging will now end up with a partitioned Libya. Way to go UN you have waited just long enough to create a permanent mess of that country.

Now that the NCAA Tournament Has Started Obama Gets Around to Visiting the Japanese Embassy

Well he got the real work out of the way by getting his Final Four picks in and taping ESPN so he can finally get to the boring part of the job. That is ensuring the safety of Americans and showing his support for the Japanese people.

In brief remarks at the White House, following a trip to the Japanese Embassy to express his condolences, Obama also sought to assure the nation that the disaster currently posed no threat to the United States.

"We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska or the U.S. territories in the Pacific," Obama said, repeating the remark for emphasis.

Wow, a trip to the Embassy nearly a week after the crisis first hit. This is perhaps our 3rd closest ally and only now does he actually show any kind of emotion on this thing. He is also going to ask Nuclear Regulatory Commission to analyze all the nuclear plants in the US for safety. Can't this wait until the Japanese gets this crisis under control? It just smacks as reactive to me for some reason.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Insane Squirrel Terrorizes Vermont Town: It's a Government Experiment I Tell Ya!

This squirrel sounds like bad news.

Kevin McDonald tells the Bennington Banner he was shoveling snow when the squirrel jumped onto him. He says he threw the animal off, but it twice jumped back onto him. A game warden says there have been other reports, too.

One woman is being treated for exposure to rabies, but Vermont Public Health Veterinarian Robert Johnson says there's never been a case of a squirrel passing rabies to a human.

Johnson says it's possible the squirrel was raised as a pet and lost its fear of humans. He says the squirrel might "go ballistic" when it encounters people it doesn't recognize.

So it went after a man 3 times probably going for the throat. Then it bites some woman and it is supposed to be a lost pet? My money is on Government experiment to weaponize rodents. Due to budget cuts a horde of mutant squirrels will now be dropped into Afghanistan to chew on Al-Quida to save money on Predator drones and Hellfire missiles. This recession just keeps paying off.

While Japan is in Ruins and Libya is in Flames Obama Readies his NCAA Backets: Tone Deaf Much?

And people wonder why "No Drama Obama" is thought of as such a poor leader.

And Obama may have given opponents another talking point by following through, despite the alarming news from overseas, on a promise to appear in a nine-minute ESPN segment to share his NCAA basketball tournament picks.

“Most people when it comes to Obama, you know what they’re anticipating? His NCAA brackets,” Rush Limbaugh fumed on his syndicated radio show Tuesday. “Every year at this time people wonder what the president’s brackets are going to be, who he’s gonna pick?

“We got the world on fire. We got Libya and the Middle East on fire and the guy’s out playing golf,” he added, referring to the round Obama played  Sunday.

Yes, Obama was playing golf instead of monitoring what is happening in Japan and getting on the horn with the Japanese Prime Minister. Maybe he could tour the damage of one of our closest Allies from an aircraft coming off the deck of the Ronald Reagan. Just go out there and say that America stands behind something other than yet another round of golf. 

What was even more galling is that he is poring over his Bracketology instead of trying to figure out a way to help the Libyan Rebels not be massacred by their dictator. Maybe the Ohio State State basketball team has some insight into a No Fly Zone or the damaged Japanese nuclear sites. I mean they would probably do a better job then this "Out of Touch" Obama.

Plus I would be willing to bet that President Hillary Clinton would be investing more time into Libya than Obama does in Houston which is the site of the NCAA Final Four.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Zune is Dead: Apple Wins Again

I think Microsoft needs totally give up on everything except for Windows, Office, and Xbox360. Everything else they touch turns to crap and is disposed of.

Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft has finally decided to put an official end to its Zune media player line. “A person familiar with the decision” has informed them that Microsoft will not be putting out any new hardware in the line, and will be henceforward focusing on integrating Zune functionality with the Windows Phone 7 platform.

Yeah Windows Phone 7 and whatever device that comes along that runs it will take the place of the Zune. I'm sure in a few years Windows Phone 7 will be retired as yet another dismal failure in a long line of dismal failures.

Apple will have the IPhone Millennium which will have "virtual hive" storage, a full 3D display,  and the ability to run over 2 billion "cloud apps." It will also be the size of a postage stamp and people will camp out to buy it.

While Microsoft will announce that 2 years from that time Windows Phone 8 will launch with full Office XXL integration and an Application Store with 30 "Start me up programs" that include Calculator and Mine Sweeper. They will pay the Rolling Stones $20 million for rights to "Start me Up" for their big launch event.

There will be 3 devices that use Windows Phone 8 which are all made by Nokia.  In a year they will all be shipped off to Bangladesh so that the parts can be stripped and go into something useful. 

The whole venture will waste $250 million in shareholder value and Ballmer will pay himself a a bonus and jump around saying Windows Phone 9 will be the best thing every invented. Windows Phone 9 will be killed 6 months after launch.

I wonder if people at Apple get tired of kicking Microsoft's ass every chance they get?

Why the World Shouldn't Worry About the Damaged Nuclear Reactors in Japan

This post was written by a nuclear scientist so he probably knows more than some talking head on CNN or Fox News.

Since the reactor’s cooling capability was limited, and the water inventory in the reactor was decreasing, engineers decided to inject sea water (mixed with boric acid – a neutron absorber) to ensure the rods remain covered with water.  Although the reactor had been shut down, boric acid is added as a conservative measure to ensure the reactor stays shut down.  Boric acid is also capable of trapping some of the remaining iodine in the water so that it cannot escape, however this trapping is not the primary function of the boric acid.

The water used in the cooling system is purified, demineralized water. The reason to use pure water is to limit the corrosion potential of the coolant water during normal operation. Injecting seawater will require more cleanup after the event, but provided cooling at the time.

This process decreased the temperature of the fuel rods to a non-damaging level. Because the reactor had been shut down a long time ago, the decay heat had decreased to a significantly lower level, so the pressure in the plant stabilized, and venting was no longer required.
From what I read sea water and boric acid mixed together will pretty much end the usefulness of the reactor.  It is the last resort to prevent the the reactor core from heating up and eventually melting down. Since there won't be a meltdown as long as they are pumping this mixture into the core the danger level has kind of passed.  Eventually the core will cool off enough so that they can pull out the Uranium fuel rods so that the reactor can be shut down permanently.

Also the hydrogen venting they talk about is what caused the explosions we saw in the last few days. They were the results of hydrogen buildup mixing with oxygen and reacting combustively.  While Chernobyl blew up due to a similar buildup of hydrogen that power plant had no hermetically sealed containment structure like these Japanese plants have.

So at Chernobyl when that hydrogen blew up it didn't just blow off parts of the extraneous outer buildings like it did in Japan it blew up everything including the core, the cooling material and the contents of the reactor. That just can't happen in Japan because the containment structure will keep the material inside of the plant and as long as the core is given enough time to cool.

Too bad more lay people don't know this stuff because I think this disaster might set nuclear power back yet another 20 years.

Orthodox Jews Freak out Pilots on Alaska Airlines Flight: Americans Look Like Cultural Doofs Again

Well it seems our pilots and flight attendants are faked out again by non-Muslim prayers.

The men, all Mexican nationals, began the ritual that involves tying leather straps and small wooden boxes to the body, and the crew of Flight 241 alerted the cockpit, airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said.

"Shortly after takeoff, a flight attendant saw what she believed was unusual behavior from three passengers on board," Egan said in a statement. "The three passengers were praying aloud in Hebrew and were wearing what appeared to be leather straps on their foreheads and arms."

Um, if that flight attendant had any kind of cultural training she would have known that those leather straps were Tefillin and the small wooden boxes are called Phylacteries containing passages from the Torah.

These Orthodox Jews would have had a better chance of complaining about the Kosher meal then they would have taking over the plane. "Oy Vey! This whitefish is a little too salty" instead of "Allah-Akbar, Die Infidels!"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Obama Administration Official Commits Own Goal: Says Rebels will Lose in Libya

Sigh what a joke these people are. Can't anyone at the White House get their message right?

Speaking to senators, Clapper said the Libyan government's military might was stronger than had been described. Clapper said there was no indication that Gadhafi will step down and offer a speedy resolution to the crisis.

"I just think from a standpoint of attrition, that over time, I mean — this is kind of a stalemate back and forth, but I think over the longer term that the (Gadhafi) regime will prevail," Clapper said.

That is certainly true if the Obama administration and Europe don't do anything to hasten Gadhafi's departure. In any case I can read the state run media in Libya now: "Rebels Have No Chance Says Top American Official!" These people are such amateurs compared to the foreign policy and intelligence people that were there before.

Liberal Academic Turns on the Liberal Bias in his Own Field

I always took the idea of diversity of thought was a big deal in Academia but from most of what I read about the current state of Academia that not the case. A Social Psychologist from the University of Virginia named Jonathan Haidt calls out liberal academia for their lack of diversity of thought.

But Haidt persisted.  After emailing 30 colleagues and friends in the social psychology field, and querying them if they knew of any conservatives in the field, one genuine conservative was found. That was Rick McCauley of Bryn Mawr College, a specialist on the psychology of terrorism.  Haidt had actually met McCauley years earlier during his student days at the University of Pennsylvania where McCauley was a friend of one of Haidt's academic advisors:  "When I first met Rick [as a student at Penn] I was wary of him," Haidt explained.  "I had heard that he was a conservative.  … I had never before met an actual conservative professor, and it took me a while to realize how valuable it was to hear from someone with a different perspective."  Haidt went on to explain that many of McCauley's later insights in the social psychology field were only made possible because "he stands outside of the liberal force field" of the contemporary psychology profession.  Without his dissenting political perspective, Haidt suggested, McCauley might not have come up with his particularly valuable angle on political terrorism.       

In other words in the entire field of Social Psychology there was one guy that was a conservative. Talk about an echo chamber. I bet this McCauley guy probably has to hang out with the Business Professors because the rest of the people in his field go out of their way to ignore him due to his heresy of thought. Also I wonder since he is an expert on the psychology of terrorism the Islamic studies people hate his guys?

Then he lays down the boom on his own field:

Haidt's indictment of the social psychology profession was devastating.  While cult-like or conformist tribal behavior may have its benefits for a religious group -- Haidt, had made just this point in his earlier writings -- it has no place in science, he declared.  "We social psychologists" said Haidt, think of ourselves as "super-tolerant free thinkers.  We celebrate diversity and non-conformity. We boldly follow our science wherever it takes us, and no matter whom it offends.  We care only about truth!"  In reality, however, Haidt went on to explain, "we are a tribal moral community. … We have sacred values other than truth; we have taboos that constrain our thinking; we have almost no moral/political diversity; and we have created a hostile climate for graduate students who don't share those sacred values." 

In other words he just said his own field resembles a tribal cult in many ways. What is sad is that social psychology is far from the only field that has this "tribal moral community." This sort of thought is in almost every field that isn't business or engineering at most universities. I bet you can count on one finger the total number of Conservative Women's Studies professors there are in the US. You would probably find even less in most Ethnic Studies and Anthropology departments as well.

Dr Haidt then tells his colleges to read National Review and books by prominent conservatives to familiarize themselves with that viewpoint. I bet to some of his peers that was like telling them to poke out their eyes with a sewing needle. Some people reacted by saying that 40% of Americans that are conservative are dumb and social scientists are just smarter than them. Others suggested that conservatives were just too close-minded to enter their field. 

While others actually supported him. Hopefully these supporters will pick up some National Review or maybe look at conservatives as something other than evil, brain-dead, Tea-Baggers. If academia actually decided to bring in non-liberal ideas or at least think about them critically without making fun of them then that would be a great start. I mean these fields preach diversity of thought all the time but I am not sure if they have ever actually practiced it.

What is interesting is that quite a few conservatives and moderates read liberal thought and try to make sense of it. In fact I read HuffPo and Firedoglake every now and then because it is nice to see how the other side is sees something. Hell, I even watch the Daily Show even though it is pretty left-leaning and I sometimes find myself yelling at Jon Stewart. Maybe liberals in Academia (and hopefully liberals in other places) will finally start doing the same with Instapundit or O'Reilly. It would certainly drain some of the partisan swamp if it did happen.

Uh oh; Saudi Unrest as Police Open Fire to Disperse a Crowd in Qatif

Well hopefully this won't turn into something worse and these people bring calmer change to Saudi Arabia.

Despite the ban and a warning that security forces will act against them, protesters demanding the release of political prisoners took to the streets for a second day in the eastern city of Qatif. Several hundred protesters, some wearing face masks to avoid being identified, marched after dark asking for "Freedom for prisoners."

Police, who were lined up opposite the protesters, fired percussion bombs, followed by gunfire, causing the crowd to scatter, a witness said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of government retaliation.

I think a Democratic movement can work in Saudi Arabia because their Royals seem much less megalomaniacal than Gaddafi. I just don't see King Abdullah being stupid enough to use F-15s to bomb groups of Saudi protesters. It would be interesting to see Saudi Arabia as a Constitutional Monarchy though.

However, I do see Iranian agents trying to foment rebellion to force his hand though. At least that is what I would be doing if you were playing Iran in the Great Game. I bet the Saudi Intelligence is working overtime to make sure Iranian agents aren't sneaking into the country.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wisconsin GOP Does an End-Around to Pass Anti-Collective Bargaining Bill

Now this is some fancy footwork to get this thing passed despite the Democrats running away from their duties as State Senators.

All 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois nearly three weeks ago, preventing the chamber from having enough members present to consider Gov. Scott Walker's so-called "budget repair bill" — a proposal introduced to plug a $137 million budget shortfall.
The Senate requires a quorum to take up any measures that spend money. 

But Republicans on Wednesday split from the legislation the proposal to curtail union rights, which spends no money, and a special conference committee of state lawmakers approved the bill a short time later.

The lone Democrat present on the conference committee, Rep. Peter Barca, shouted that the surprise meeting was a violation of the state's open meetings law but Republicans voted over his objections. The Senate convened within minutes and passed the measure without discussion or debate.

In other words they stripped the union rights part from the rest of the bill and voted on it separately.  I'm not sure how it is a violation of the open meetings law because the meeting was actually open but the Democrats were hiding in some other state instead of attending. What it does look like though is that the Wisconsin Senate will probably not get anything done for some time though:

"In 30 minutes, 18 state Senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten," said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller. "Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people. Tomorrow we will join the people of Wisconsin in taking back their government."

I sill don't understand how collective bargaining is counted as "civil rights" especially if it is just for a small fraction of people who are in public workers unions. I don't see collective bargaining in the Constitution. Also what does "taking back their government mean?" Sounds like incendiary fighting words that are supposed to be squelched after  the Giffords shooting. Hopefully, we won't see some Union nutcase start gunning for the GOP Senators.

NPR CEO Ousted; Falls on Sword Because of Stupid Comments from NPR Exec

Well it looks like NPR is quick to rush to judgment as anyone.

NPR's board had pushed for the resignation of Vivian Schiller, whom conservatives also criticized in October for firing analyst Juan Williams over comments he made about Muslims. She was not in the video, which was posted Tuesday by a conservative activist, but she told The Associated Press that staying on would only hurt NPR's fight for federal money.

Here is a link to the video. What is funny is that it is a look at the dark heart of NPR. They are obviously anti-Tea Party and they get to show their authentic self by calling them racist and and Islamophobes. He also attacks conservatives as being dumber than liberals too.Well, it doesn't matter because it looks like top execs say that NPR can get along without federal money. Well time to cut that funding off.

Good News Lupus Sufferers: Benlysta Approved to Combat your Illness

Well that took long enough. I mean it was only been 50 years since the last Lupus therapy was introduced.

he first new treatment for lupus in a half-century won U.S. approval on Wednesday, a milestone for patients with the disabling disease and a potential blockbuster for tiny biotech company Human Genome Sciences Inc (HGSI.O).

Health officials cleared Benlysta for certain patients with active lupus who are receiving standard therapy. The disease causes the immune system to attack joints and organs and has proved tough to study and treat.

I have been long Human Genome for about 6 months now and hopefully this news will be good for the stock. One bad thing though is that it doesn't work on black people for whatever reason:

In clinical trials, black patients "did not appear to respond to treatment," the FDA said. To address that concern, the company will run another study to further examine safety and effectiveness in black patients, the agency said.

This is pretty weird so I'm glad HGSI is going to run another study to see why it doesn't work. They should be easily able to afford this study because Benlysta is supposed to be hauling in $3 billion a year by 2015. The money doesn't matter though because Lupus is bad news and I'm glad that people are finally going to get to take something new to combat it. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

GOP State Legislatures Crack Down on Voter Fraud and on College Voters

Well I figured this was already in place but I guess the GOP needs to shore it up.

Boosted by major electoral gains in state legislatures nationwide in the 2010 campaign, Republican lawmakers in 32 states are pushing measures that would require citizens to show a state identification or proof of citizenship to vote.  Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, GOP lawmakers are proposing new limits on college students who vote in the state, potentially eliminating a key base of electoral support for Democrats in the state ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

What is wrong with showing a state identification in order to vote? They say it disenfranchises African Americans because they don't usually have State IDs. That is just another example of how liberals view blacks as some helpless underclass that can't get it together enough to walk into a Satellite City Hall to fill out a form. I mean if they want to pull the lever for Obama bad enough they will show up in huge groups no matter what.

This college voter thing seems common sense as well:

In New Hampshire, Republicans are pushing to end rules that allow same-day voter registration in the state, which has often provided key swing votes for candidates from all parties in the state. State GOP lawmakers are also proposing new limits on students, including a bill that would allow them to vote in college towns only if they or their parents had established permanent residency in the state.

I think same day voter registration is asinine. There shouldn't be a shortcut that lets you register and then immediately vote. That only rewards people who grab people off the street or only get engaged in politics once in a blue moon. Voting is one of the few duties that all Americans need to do as a citizen and it shouldn't be trivialized like this.

What they need to do is tie voter registration to paying taxes. Once your form goes into the IRS you are immediately registered to vote for the rest of your life. I mean you are paying for this country so you had better make sure the people running it are doing a good job.

Also the idea of getting students to establish residency in order to vote is a good one as well. I mean if I decide to live in Oregon for a few months out of the year I shouldn't be able to vote there if my residency is still listed as Hawaii. What changes in that equation if I am going to the University of Oregon?

Monday, March 07, 2011

Not Enough Tiger Blood for CBS: They Finally Can Charlie Sheen

Well I guess it was inevitable.

"After careful consideration, Warner Bros. Television has terminated Charlie Sheen's services on Two and a Half Men effective immediately," the studio said in its one-line statement on the matter. No word on whether the show will be canceled outright or recast with another lead actor.

However, the Sheen meltdown continues:

"This is very good news," he said in a statement. "They continue to be in breach, like so many whales. It is a big day of gladness at the Sober Valley Lodge because now I can take all of the bazillions, never have to look at whatshiscock again and I never have to put on those silly shirts for as long as this warlock exists in the terrestrial dimension."

Ah "whatshiscock" now that is a word that has just entered the Sheen lexicon along with #WINNING, tigers blood, and Warlock.  The Sheen Machine just keeps on rolling out the hits.

I Think We Could have Air Superiority in Libya in a Few Hours Judging from These Aircraft

Wow, the Libyan Air Force seems to be something out of the 80s according to this. The majority of jets they have are Mig-23s with most of their Mig-21s grounded due to poor maintenance. We could probably knock out just about everything on the ground as soon as we got the go-ahead.

If any get in the air I would think our F-18Fs off of the USS Enterprise (which is closest to the scene) and out F-16s out of Italy would shoot them down. They also have a number of Cold War era SAM batteries but they are nothing that a few cruise missiles cannot take care of.

Yeah I think it Might be Time for a No-Fly Zone over Libya

Air-superiority needs to be put in place ASAP or the rebels might lose this one. If the rebels lose it will be genocide on a massive scale as Gadhafi will probably wipe out all of his opponents and purge the military.

Libyan warplanes launched multiple airstrikes Monday on opposition fighters regrouping at the oil port of Ras Lanouf on the Mediterranean coast a day after they were driven back by a heavy government counteroffensive Sunday aimed at stopping the rebel drive toward Tripoli, Gadhafi's stronghold.

This is unacceptable and should be dealt with immediately.  The UN already has a genocide in their past and a no-fly zone will surely prevent another one.

Friday, March 04, 2011

I Agree with Marketwatch: Microsoft Stock is Dead Money

This article is so spot on people at Redmond need to tack it up in every cubicle.

The company has gone conservative to an extreme. It’s time for Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to replace upper and middle management and find some of those folks like the company had in the 1990s. 

Um, I would go with replace Steve Ballmer myself. How much value has he brought to the company anyway? The stock has stagnated in his entire tenure as CEO. I mean the only things he has produced that seem decent are Windows 7 and Xbox Live. Even after they did so well in consoles with Xbox360 they get to lose millions due to the Red Ring of Death problem. Plus Ballmers leadership brings these kind of screw-ups on:

The latest fiasco appears in the Faster Forward blog in the Washington Post and in the Mary Jo Foley posts linked within that about Microsoft. Apparently the company cannot produce any sort of competitive tablet until 2012. Read “Reports: Windows tablets in 2012, demo by June?” in the Washington Post.
This is bordering on the ridiculous, since every Tom, Dick and Harry has rolled out a tablet already — and by 2012 the market will be saturated with the things. Apple Inc.  is expected to roll out a third generation iPad by then. 

Yup, 2012 for the Windows Tablet. I will be willing to bet that it will be buggy and accidentally brick itself in a strong wind and other nonsense. It will have a few cool things like Xbox Live integration or the ability to link with your Zune or something equally worthless. Some people will buy it for a few months until they get fed up with the thing and just buy an IPad instead. Ultimately it will be a dismal failure and another example of how millions of dollars of shareholder wealth got set on fire by Ballmer and company.

The problem with Microsoft is that not only are they late to the party but they are late and crappy as well. The idea that a Windows 7 Smart Phone can accidentally brick itself on an update is so 90s and cannot be tolerated today.  They seem to be years behind Android and the IPhone so they can see the potential pit-falls in advance and they still screw things up.

In any case if you were a potential investor in Microsoft stock I would tell you to buy Treasury Bonds instead. At least with a 20 year bond you can get a 4.24% yield on your money. Microsoft only gives you a 2.4% dividend yield and when you eventually sell the stock you will probably get back the exact same amount you bought it at give or take a dollar or two.  I think the only way to unlock wealth in the company is if Ballmer steps down and they hire some top guy from Google or Apple. Any other scenario will leave the stock at $23-27 territory in perpetuity.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Gen Y Refusing Debt? I Agree That Credit Cards are a Suckers Game

This give me new hope that Gen Y may be doing a great job once they eventually get out of their parents homes.

The authors' research suggests that GenY is so frugal that they might take their fear of debt too far, and avoid even good investments such as college, home purchases, and small business start-up costs. "Many young people, especially those from lesser means, see the price tag [of college tuition] and think, 'Oh my god, I can't possibly take that on.' They could be shortchanging themselves,' says Ray, since college is an investment that pays off.

"They've heard Suze Orman loud and clear. That's part of the reason they move home--to save money," says Ray. She's started her post-recession interviews for a follow-up book, and found that her interview subjects meticulously avoid credit card debt.

The problem this author doesn't understand is that most colleges charge too much for a degree and keep raising their tuition through the roof. I mean some private colleges have the audacity to charge $30K+ a year a some degree in a major leads to a job that barely pays that much per year.

I feel that getting a loan to a private college is only worth it if you are studying the hard sciences, engineering, or business. With those majors you would be able to earn enough money to pay off that loan in a reasonable period of time. Anything else and you are behind and would take years to pay back the money.  Maybe a rule of thumb should be the tuition should be less than half (or maybe a quarter) of the median salary of the job the major is supposed to lead to.

That second part about meticulously avoiding credit card debt is 100% awesome if it is true. I hate credit card debt because generally all they do is pull purchases forward from a later date. For that privilege the bank will charge you 16-20%+ interest if you carry a balance. If you are paying the balance off every month then you should just be using a debit card and cutting out the middle man.  About the only thing that is worth it about credit cards is fraud monitoring and that still isn't worth a 20%+ haircut on the borrowed money.

The only real value I see with a credit card would be good for is an emergency where you would just max the thing out in order to get out of some jam. Let's say you get into a car accident and you have to pay a huge chunk of copay. $10,000 worth of instant purchasing power would go a long way toward keeping you afloat until you can pay that debt down. Other then that Gen Y knows that credit cards are a suckers game.

Another Reason Why AP is so Stupid: Libyan Revolution Edition.

It is so funny to read the main stream press sometimes.

At the Pentagon, officials didn't immediately have details on when their air operation would start, how many planes would be used or precisely where they would come from.

I'm pretty sure pro-Ghadhafi forces would absolutely love to have that information as well. Maybe the AP can get the exact location via GPS in order to make it easier on the poor pro-Ghadhafi anti-aircraft gunners. It must suck for the AP to have to be on Americas side in what could be a potential skirmish with the Libyan Air Force.

A Freedom Fighter Mans an Organ Gun looking Missile Launcher

This one is for you Moammar Gadhafi. What is pretty nuts about this picture is the hat on this Freedom Fighter (I'll start using that term until Obama gets the message) is from an Illinois company called Hommer Tool & Mfg., Inc. How it got to Libya is anyone's guess. Click on the picture to get a closer look at his hat.

Obama Finally Takes a Strong Stand Against Gadhafi: Better Late Than Never

Well, at least his words are loud and clear for once.

Obama did not rule out establishing a "no-fly" zone over Libya, a move that his Pentagon chief said a day earlier would amount to an act of war because it would require bombing Libya's air defenses. Although Obama said he was considering a full range of options, he emphasized the U.S. role in helping refugees and heading off a humanitarian crisis.

"Let me just be very unambiguous about this. Col. Gadhafi needs to step down from power and leave," Obama said at a White House news conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

I figured a No-Fly zone would be a good threat to impose but I didn't know we had to knock out all of their air-defense capabilities first. We would probably have to destroy the Libyan air force on the ground as well. I guess that is to keep our pilots safe but that would be an act of war. It would be an interesting opportunity for the Air Force to get some Air Aces which is always pretty cool.

An interesting gambit that Obama should try is a Berlin Airlift style thing to resupply the rebels. Maybe drop food and medicine and whatever else. We could also deploy humanitarian forces in Egypt and Tunisia in order to deal with the refugee problem. In other words put an American face on helping these people displaced by Gadhafi's massacres.

Actually if Obama started calling them "freedom fighters" instead of rebels maybe that would have some traction. They are basically fighting for freedom against a murderous tyrant that massacres his own people. Even though some of them might be Islamist it gives no right to their government to gun them down in the street. This gesture of re-branding by Obama would go a long way toward excusing his slow and puzzling response on Egypt and his lack of response on the Green Revolution in Iran.

TSA Blows it: Cannot Catch Boxcutters from going onto JetBlue Flight

Well after all the "junk touching," million dollar scanners, long lines, forbidding liquids from getting onto planes and general unpleasantness of flying the TSA cannot stop the iconic weapon of choice in the 9/11 attacks from getting on an airplane.

The Transportation Security Administration is sending three screeners for remedial training after a passenger carried three box cutters onto a JetBlue plane at New York's Kennedy airport.

The box cutters fell out of the passenger's carry-on luggage as he was stowing it in an overhead compartment on Flight 837 to Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, on Saturday night, authorities said. Police evacuated the flight and questioned the passenger, who said he used the box cutters for his work and had forgotten to take them out of his bag.

That is exactly why the wide-net approach is not working. I'm pretty sure this man could have gotten felt up, went through three body scanners, and the rubber glove treatment and these box cutters would still have been on the airplane. It was a mistake in the baggage screening that caused this screw-up to happen.  I mean if the box didn't fall out of his carry-on he could have went all the way to his destination without any trouble.

All the remedial training in the world won't prevent this from happening short of forbidding carry-on bags. And if that happened there would be a strait-up mutiny against the airlines. The sad part is that the lone Islamic nutjob attack would be far more common and easier to pull off then another attack involving the taking over airlines to use them as flying missiles.

Nature Sucks: Weird Fungus Turns Ants into Zombies!

Now this is some freaky sci-fi stuff.

Once it infects an ant, the fungus uses as-yet-unidentified chemicals to control the ant's behavior, Hughes told LiveScience. It directs the ant to leave its colony (a very un-ant-like thing to do) and bite down on the underside of a leaf — the ant's soon-to-be resting place. Once it is killed by the fungus, the ant remains anchored in place, thanks to its death grip on the leaf.

Ultimately, the fungus produces a long stalk that protrudes from the ant's head, shooting spores out in the hopes of infecting other ants. Two of the four newly discovered species also sprouted smaller stalks elsewhere, including from the victim's feet and lower leg joints – the equivalent of knees.

The spores of the four species also had distinct features and germination processes.

So we might have a chance of a Zombie Holocaust after all. Imagine if this "Zombie Fungus" used these as-yet-unidentified chemicals to control humans instead of ants. Then the humans go to a certain place and the fungus feeds on them.

There is a D&D monster that come to mind that this "Zombie Fungus" reminds me of. The Yellow Musk Creeper which is a plant that creates zombies that protect the plant from predators. It uses special spores that attack a human and replaces their brain with some sort of symbiotic plant. I wonder if the brains of these ants are attacked in a similar way.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Westboro Baptist Scumbags Win Supreme Court Ruling

Well the First Amendment protects the very worst of us so it can protect everyone.

The church's strategy is to stage protests at high visibility funerals, drawing media attention and gaining a platform for their views. The family of slain Marine Matthew Snyder sued church members for intentionally inflicting emotional distress after they picketed at his funeral. As appalling as most Americans would find these protests, the Supreme Court in an 8-1 decision found that the picketers could not be successfully sued because the protests were protected by the First Amendment.

The problem though is that you cannot escape from their free speech when you are in a public place. I think someone needs to create a counter protest group that travels around with these scumbags and holds up huge signs that block their signs. This group can counter chant so that these servicemen can have funerals in peace. Maybe they can blast some "God Bless America" and other patriotic songs to drown them out.  I'm sure some veterans group would be more than happy to form a block against these scummy bastards.

The Jews are Off the Hook According to a New Book By the Pope

Too bad it wasn't Pope Benedict I circa 579 and not Benedict XVI circa 2011 that wrote this down. It may have saved the lives of quite a few Jews in the long run.

Benedict comes to the same conclusion, but he explains how with a thorough, Gospel-by-Gospel analysis that leaves little doubt that he deeply and personally believes it to be the case: That only a few Temple leaders and a small group of supporters were primarily responsible for Christ's crucifixion.

That Benedict is a theologian makes "this statement from the Holy See that much more significant for now and for future generations," said Anti-Defamation League national director, Abraham H. Foxman.

It is cool that the Pope can give you a Gospel-by-Gospel analysis on this stuff to support his points. I would love to see Sura-by-Sura analysis by Islamic scholars to refute suicide bombing or other higher level theological thought coming out of the Muslim world.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Dior Fashion Designer Galliano Canned for Anti-Semitism: Is the Hatred of Jews the New Black?

What is the deal with this anti-Semitic streak among prominent people nowadays? First we have Helen Thomas talking about how the Jews should go home and leave Israel. Then we had Mel Gibson rattling on about the Jews causing all the major wars and other nonsense. Then we had Julian Assange talking about "Jewish" conspiracies smearing his organization.

[Assange] went on to say that we were part of a conspiracy led by the Guardian which included journalist David Leigh, editor Alan Rusbridger and John Kampfner from Index on Censorship -- all of whom "are Jewish".

I pointed out that Rusbridger is not actually Jewish, but Assange insisted that he was "sort of Jewish" because he was related to David Leigh (they are brothers-in-law). When I doubted whether his Jewish conspiracty would stand up against the facts, Assange suddently conceded the point. "Forget the Jewish thing."

Now we have the head of the House of Dior going all Neo-Nazi on a couple of diners.

An apparent smoking gun emerged Monday when the British daily The Sun posted a video on its website showing Galliano, his speech slurred, appearing to taunt two women diners.

At one point, a woman's voice asks Galliano, "Are you blond, with blue eyes?"

Galliano replied: "No, but I love Hitler, and people like you would be dead today. Your mothers, your forefathers, would be ... gassed and ... dead."

I guess when these people drink they reveal the inner-anti Semite. It is strange to see all of this anti-Semitism coming to the fore after it seems like years since it surfaced. Maybe I don't keep up with it but I seem to remember that most of this stuff just came out of the crazies in the Arab World and Aryan Nation scumbags. Now it is million dollar actors and fashion designers who are worth millions to their companies getting in on the act.

So I wonder if there is this vein of anti-Semitism running though these celebrity types that most folks don't talk about? I mean someone like Galliano has such a different life and experience than Mel Gibson but they still harbor the same resentments. It would be interesting to get more of these celebrities drunk so they reveal their real self.

All UH Sports Moving to Oceanic Cable?

I guess the days of KFVE the Home Team are now numbered.

In Oceanic's contract with UH, 2011 is described as a "transitional term" in which the cable giant may elect to solely produce and show the state university's sports, which would end a nine-year partnership with KFVE.

Yesterday was listed as the final day of the negotiation window between Oceanic and KFVE, according to the contract. Oceanic's contract runs through 2014 and any decisions on the future of the partnership with KFVE are Oceanic's, a UH spokesman said.

I would be all for this move if it brings in more money for the UH sports program. Also this allows you to watch some of the games on demand instead of the one rebroadcast the next day. Hopefully, this will also free up more money to cover more games. 

Last weekend most people missed a thriller of a baseball game with Hawaii beating Texas in the 15th because the KFVE cameras were at the basketball game I assume. The baseball game was printed in the Star Advertiser as starting at 3PM but instead they had Everyone Hates Chris and other nonsense on. I thought the game was rained out or something at first. Turns out later the game was a great extra inning affair and I only learned that fact by watching the basketball game hours later. This seems to happen all the time on KFVE.

With Oceanic Cable running the show hopefully I will be at least able to watch that baseball game at a later time On Demand. It will even be nice to see the football game later in the week if you don't watch the Pay-Per-View and have to do something on Sunday Morning. I usually watch the NFL games on Sunday so I don't normally watch the UH football games because they are going on at the same time. Now I can watch those games on Tuesday or something. 

All-and-all it sucks for people with basic TV but I guess that is what they have Sports Bars for. I mean Big City Diner would love their patronage during UH sporting events.