Monday, December 31, 2012

Links To End 2012

Twenty-Twelve was certainty an interesting year, especially if you understand "interesting" in the context of the old curse "May you live in interesting times."  We have seen the Supreme Court uphold "Obamacare" by calling its mandate a "tax", and strike down most of Arizona's SB 1070, while leaving intact its provision that allows state policemen to check the immigration status of people they legally stop.  We have seen a woman named Sandy demand that we subsidize her birth control and leftwingers accuse us of waging a "war on women" if we refuse, a hurricane named Sandy devastate the shores of New Jersey and New York City, and the mass murder of children by a mentally unstable gunman at an elementary school named Sandy Hook.   We have also seen two more end-of-the-world predictions, one based on a misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar, fail to take place.

Despite what appeared to be solid support for Republican nominee Mitt Romney, we re-elected President Obama, even though his economic and fiscal record is the worst of any president in my lifetime, and whose foreign policy record isn't all that great.  At least two promising GOP candidates for Senator derailed themselves by opening mouth and inserting foot.  The Democrats made modest gains in both houses of Congress, but for the most part, the next four years of federal governance appear to be "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

In the world of sports, the New York Giants won the Super Bowl, and then failed to make the playoffs the next season, the third time in franchise history that they have done so.  Payton Manning (Denver QB) and Adrian Petersen (Minnesota TB) have had amazing comeback seasons.  Meanwhile in the NCAA, my Virginia Tech Hokies had their worst football season in 20 years, but still won their bowl game.  Penn State coach Joe Paterno was fired after his former assistant Jerry Sandusky was accused of child molestation.  Sandusky has since been convicted and Paterno has passed away.

As we reminisce about all of the above and more, and get ready for 2013, let's see what's going on to close out 2012.

From The Corner at National Review Onlinethere appears to be an agreement to avoid the upcoming "fiscal cliff".

On the other hand, the Daily Caller reports that the "fiscal cliff" negotiators haven't worked out the sequester, which remains "a point of contention".

According to Breitbart's Big Government, there's no deal yet, and negotiations will resume next year.

Redstate recommends that Republicans kill the deal, because there are no spending cuts.

From CNN Politics, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's blood clot, for which she has recently been hospitalized, is reported to be located between her brain and her skull.  (Full disclosure:  A member of my family had this type of injury about 8 years ago, which required removal of the overlying section of skull.)

From Fox News, Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has asked the president to "rescind" an executive order that gives Congress and some other officials a pay increase.  (Is Senator Portman from Ohio or Oiho?)

Also from Fox News, the federal government is again running into the debt ceiling.

From Push Back Now, Senator and gun control advocate Diane Feinstein has had a concealed carry permit.

From the New York Post, a couple living in Greenwich Village have been busted for allegedly possessing weapons and bomb-making material.  One of them has been an Occupy Wall Street activist.

And from SFGate, a roundup of 2012 news for New England, featuring a bear that vacationed in Cape Cod.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill Says "Oink"

The Senate, not letting a crisis go to waste, has inserted a bunch pork projects into their $60 billion relief spending bill to aid the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Included are $150 million for Alaska fisheries and $58 million for planting trees on private property.  I know that Sandy was a big storm, pounding New Jersey and New York, and sending snow as far southward as northwestern North Carolina, but I don't think it also reached Alaska.  To be sure, larding up emergency spending bills with items unrelated to the actual emergency is nothing new, but once again we see politicians exploiting an emergency for their own projects.  Read more at Breitbart's Big Government and watch the video at Fox Business.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Norman Schwarzkopf 1934-2012

Retired General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who led coalition forces in the 1991 Gulf War, died earlier today in Tampa, Florida.  He graduated from West Point in 1956, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, served two tours in Vietnam, received three Silver Stars, and later served in the invasion of Grenada.  Somewhere during all of that, he was given the knickname "Stormin' Norman", which he reportedly didn't like all that much, preferring "The Bear", which was used by some of his troops.

Read more at CNN, the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, US News, the Wall Street Journal and Newsmax.  As reported in the Newsmax story, Schwarzkopf's father, also named Norman, was the founder and commander of the New Jersey State Police, after serving in the Army during World War I and achieving the rank of Colonel.  At the time the future General was born, the elder Schwarzkopf was leading the investigation of the Lindbergh kidnapping.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

For the next few days, I'll be taking a break and visiting family members, as we gather for the Christmas holidays.  To everyone out there, have a happy and safe Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Links For The New B'ak'tun

It's now the evening of December 21, 2012, and the world still hasn't come to an end.  That's because it's not supposed to.  Instead, it's merely the start of the 13th b'ak'tun, a Maya calendar period consisting of 144,000 days, as explained in this article.  So now that it looks like the world will keep on going for the foreseeable future, let's take a look at things that really are going on out there.

From Delaware105.9, ABC news veteran and former White House correspondent Sam Donaldson, recently arrested for DUI, has waived his arraignment hearing.  His trial has not been scheduled.

From Fox News, later tonight and early tomorrow morning, the Ursid meteor shower will peak.  These meteors are related to comet Tuttle 8P, and appear to radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, a.k.a. the Little Dipper.

From Human Events, the NRA addresses the Newtown massacre.

From the Daily Caller, reporters at an NRA presser are overheard mocking the NRA and praising the Code Pink protesters.

From White House Dossier, now that Susan Rice has withdrawn, President Obama will nominate Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) for Secretary of State.

From the Spiegel, a German archaeologist working in Yemen has found evidence of a tribal confederation centered on the city of Zafar.

From Yahoo Finance, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing has been producing a much higher than usual amount of $100 bills.

From ARRA News Service, Congressman-elect and Iraq combat veteran Tom Cotton (R-Ark) gives his opinion on the possible nomination of former Senator and Vietnam combat veteran Chuck Hegel (R-NH) for Secretary of Defense.

From Gateway Pundit, at the funeral of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), former Hawaii resident Barack Obama talks for ten minutes about himself.

From The Foundry, the twelve days of Obamacare surprises, including more cuts to Medicare.

From the IPT, the president of the Al Haya Party in Egypt claims that American diplomats and President Obama have given Egyptian secular democrats a "cold shoulder".

From MSNBC, the most exciting alien planets discovered in 2012.

And from SFGate, sirens in Denver are not a doomsday signal.  They are only a test.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Yes, Virginia, There Are Idiots

At around 11:40 today, a man entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Strasburg, Virginia with a four-foot-long two-by-four labeled "High-Powered Rifle".  He was detained and later arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.  The school has the same name as the one in Newtown, Connecticut, where Adam Lanza killed 26 people and then himself, after killing his mother at their home.

Read the story at the Mail Online.

Full disclosure:  Strasburg is near the junction of Interstates 66 and 81.  I drive through the area from time to time, mainly to visit family members who live farther south in Virginia.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Robert Bork 1927-2012

Former Solicitor General and appeals court judge Robert Bork, known for being unsuccessfully nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, passed away earlier today at age 85.  Democrat senators led by Ted Kennedy visciously opposed the nomination, which failed by a vote of 58-42.  During his time as Solicitor General, Bork carried out President Richard Nixon's order to fire special counsel Archibald Cox, after the attorney general and his deputy refused to do so, both resigning in protest.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times, CNN, Fox News, USA Today, the Washington Post and Reuters.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What happens on 12/21/12?

Contrary to some fanciful speculation, it will not be the end of the world.  It will only be the end of a Mayan Long Count, after which a new one starts.  On 12/22, most of us will wake up, and go back to our Christmas shopping.  On the other hand, some people will die on 12/21, but that will be merely the natural course of events, and have nothing to do with Mayan astronomy.

Due to precession, the wobble in the earth's spin, the apparent position of the sun (observed from earth, with respect to the stars) at the solstices and equinoxes is slowly moving along the ecliptic, which is the apparent path the sun takes through the sky (and through the constellations known as the Zodiac) every year.  Each of the solstice and equinox points takes 26,000 years to move one complete cycle around the ecliptic, this movement being in the opposite direction of the sun's yearly path.  Thus, while the sun moves from Aries to Taurus to Gemini, each point will slowly move from Gemini to Taurus to Aries at some time within the 26,000-year cycle.  As this article by John Major Jenkins explains, the winter solstice point is close to the galactic equator.  For more information, go to his website.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy And Sad News In The Senate

First the happy news:

To replace Senator Jim DeMint, who announced his intention to resign from the Senate and become the leader of the Heritage Foundation, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has appointed Tim Scott, currently one of their state's representatives in the House.  He will become the first black Republican senator in over 30 years, and first ever black senator from South Carolina.  Because there are four years left in DeMint's term, Scott will serve for two years before facing a special election in 2014, to determine who serves the last two years.  Read more at the Weekly Standard, National Review, Yahoo News, Newsmax, the Christian Science Monitor and Time.

Now the sad news:

Senator Daniel Inouye, who had represented the state of Hawaii in the Senate since 1963, becoming the second longest serving senator in U.S. history, died earlier today of a respiratory ailment, at age 88.  The son of immigrants from Japan and first Japanese American to serve in Congress when he was elected to the House in 1959, Inouye also won the Medal of Honor in World War II.  While fighting in Italy, Inouye destroyed two machine gun nests after being shot in the stomach while leading an assault against the Germans, after which he was again wounded, losing his right arm.  Inouye died at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  The last thing he reportedly said was "Aloha".  Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie will name a successor to serve the remaining two years of Inouye's term.  Read more at the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, CNN, Slate, the New York Daily News and the Hawaii Reporter.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Beethoven

December 16, 1770 is the accepted date for the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, who grew up to become one of the great composers of classical music.  (He was baptized on the 17th.  Since babies were normally baptized within 24 hours of their birth during that era, the 16th is thought to be his actual birth date.)  He was born in the German city of Bonn, and later moved to Vienna, where for a while he took lessons from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and also worked under Franz Joseph Haydn.  He died in 1827, leaving behind nine symphonies, more than 30 piano sonatas, one opera and many other works.

My own childhood piano lessons included quite a few of Beethoven's compositions, including his 8th sonata, known by the French title of Sonaté Pathetique.  This is a rendition of its second movement, played (as it were) by Schoeder in the movie A Boy Named Charlie Brown.



Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Bit More On The CT School Massacre

Some follow-up on yesterday's shootings in a Connecticut elementary school:

From Sky News, the shooter was an honors student at Newtown High School.

From the New York Post, a father's anguish after losing his son.

From ABC News, a timeline of yesterday's events.

From the Wall Street Journal, some details emerge about Adam Lanza's family.  The guns used in the shootings were registered to Nancy Lanza, Adam's mother.  There also seems to be some question about whether she was a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

From Natural News, is the real problem medications, not guns?

From NBC News, authorities have identified the victims as the people of Newtown seek answers.  Lanza was not "buzzed in", but forced his way into the school.

From the Washington Post, a live blog including the names of the victims.  Scroll down to the entry at 4:24 pm.

From Fox News, the shooter's father, Peter Lanza, speaks out.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Massacre In Newtown, Connecticut

This morning, a man named Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother at her home, and then went to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut where she was a teacher, and murdered 26 more victims, 20 of them children, before killing himself.  He was armed with two pistols and an assault rifle, and was carrying an ID that belonged to his brother.  The brother, Ryan Lanza, is not a suspect, but Adam Lanza's girlfriend and another friend are unaccounted for.

The New York Post has several articles about this horrible event:
At least 27 people, including 20 children, shot dead at elementary school.
The sounds of the Newtown school tragedy.
A history of mass shootings.
The rampage took only minutes.

Also reporting on the Newtown school shootings are the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC News, MassLive and CBS News.  The Blaze notes how some media outlets misreported some facts about the massacre, including naming Ryan Lanza as the shooter.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Strong In The Farce, They Are

Over 25,000 people have signed a petition asking the federal government to build a Death Star.  While such a project is clearly beyond the current capabilities of all earthbound governments, the White House will have to respond to the petition, due to the number of signatures.  I remember the Reagan administration advocating a space-borne missile defense system, dubbed "Star Wars" by its detractors, but a Death Star would cost even more than the Obama administration is willing to spend - or so I hope.

Read the story at Cosmic Log on NBC News.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Union Supporters Attack AFP Tent

During a protest against the new right-to-work legislation in Lansing, Michigan, some people protesting against the new law tore down a tent put up by Americans For Prosperity, a group in favor of it, while some people were in the tent.  Rightwing reporter Steven Crowder, trying to find out what the protesters had against the right-to-work law, found himself dealing with a knuckle sandwich.  These videos were put on Twitter by several people I follow:

For all you labor union supporters in Michigan, how's that new civility working out?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Apollo 17

Forty years ago this month, NASA launched Apollo 17, its last mission to the moon.  Mission commander Gene Cernan, lunar module pilot Dr. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt and command module pilot Ron Evans lifted off just after 12:30 a.m. on December 7th, 1972.  While Evans performed experiments in lunar orbit, Cernan and Schmitt explored the area of Taurus-Littrow, discovered orange soil, and composed the brief musical parody "I was strolling on the moon one day".  They splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on December 19th.  Previously planned subsequent Apollo missions were cancelled.

Dr. Schmitt remembers the mission vividly.  He remains the only trained geologist to collect rock samples on a world other than earth.  Cernan, who named a large rock after his daughter, remembers the camera he left on the moon.

Go here for a panorama of what the two astronauts saw.  For more on Apollo 17, go to Universe TodayNational Journal and Views Of The Solar System, and watch this video:


Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor Day - And Today

December 7th is the anniversary of Japan's attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into World War II.  Here are some facts about the attack on the "date which will live in infamy".

In today's news:

From WRAL, President Obama will attend a performance by South Korean rapper PSY, whose songs (I use the term loosely) include some anti-American lyrics.

From Yahoo News, a cache of gold dust bought for $700,000 last year has disappeared from the Chesterfield, MO laboratory or Pfizer, Inc.

From Citizen Link, the Supreme Court has decided to hear cases about the Defense of Marriage Act, and California's Proposition 8.

From Breitbart's Big Government, guns are being bought at record rates - in California.

From PJ Media, 73% of the jobs created in the last 5 months have been government jobs.

From the Washington Examiner, Michigan's new right-to-work legislation gets an angry reaction from one of the state's biggest residents.

From the Chicago Tribune, that large Michigan resident is not alone.

The Foundry asks why government should get "something for nothing".

And from NBC News, the LAPD has started to ask that age-old question, "What's up, Doc?"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Zimmerman's Lawyers Release Gruesome Picture

A photograph of George Zimmerman, taken by police after his confrontation with Trayvon Martin, has been released by his defense lawyers, showing a bloody face and what looks like an injured nose.  They say that they received the photo on October 29th, over six months after Zimmerman was charged with murder.

I won't post the photo here, but you can see it at Fox News.  A question for the president: If you had a son, would he rearrange someone's face the way Martin apparently rearranged Zimmerman's?

Music Break

For this month's music break, let's begin with something from the original lineup of Yes.  From their second album Time And A Word, this is No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed, written by Richie Havens.  Some of the instrumental sections, however, were taken from the opening theme from the movie The Big Country.  The original Yes included John Anderson (who later removed the "h" from first name) - lead vocals, Peter Banks - guitar & vocals, Tony Kaye - keyboards, Chris Squire - bass & vocals, and Bill Bruford - drums.  Soon after the album was recorded, Banks left and was replaced by Steve Howe, who appears in the video.  Anderson plays a guitar in the video, but most likely didn't play it on the record.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Obama Campaign Still Asking For Money

The election ended almost a month ago, didn't it?  President Obama called it his "last election", didn't he?  Why, then, is his campaign still asking for contributions?  The answer is that he's asking his supporters to fill out a form backing his plan to increase taxes for the "wealthiest Americans"?

Read the story at Politicker.

I Can't Believe We Made It

A look back on growing up in previous decades and how things were different back then:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday Evening Links

Some stories I've run across today:

From the Washington Post, the UN General Assembly has decided to recognize the "state" of Palestine.

Business Insider wonders why the US is building a $100M underground complex near Tel-Aviv.

In Breitbart's Big Government, John Nolte tells the Republicans to go ahead and take us over the fiscal cliff.

From the Weekly Standard, when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell about President Obama's proposal for avoiding the fiscal cliff, McConnell "burst into laughter".

From the USA Today, House Speaker John Boehner isn't too pleased with Obama's proposal, either.

From Newsbuster, columnist Charles Krauthammer goes as far as saying that Lee was offered better terms at Appomattox.

From KTVU, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced that he will shut down a historic oyster farm operating along Point Reyes National Seashore.

From the Examiner, Obama orders the CIA to close down its Center on Climate Change and National Security.  You know, maybe there's a start to some spending cuts.

From CNS News, Congressman Hank Johnson calls for a Constitutional Amendment to control the speech of corporations.  This is the same guy who was worried that if you put too many Marines on Guam, it might capsize.

From Yahoo News, former president and occasional sky-diver George H. W. Bush has been hospitalized with bronchitis.

From Life News, a medical board in New Mexico has been accused of illegally closing a hearing to discipline an abortionist who botched a 35-week abortion, leaving a woman with a ruptured uterus.

From NBC News, six middle school students in Richmond, VA have been charged with assaulting a bus driver.

And from SFGate, a graduate of East New Mexico University has sent his alma mater a box of toilet paper, to atone for stealing toilet paper while enrolled (if you'll forgive the pun) as a student.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The ACC To Add Louisville

With Maryland set to move from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten, the ACC has voted to add Louisville, which would keep the number of its teams at 14.  Like fellow newcomers Pittsburgh and Syracuse, Louisville will be leaving the Big East.  Ironically, Louisville was one of the teams the Big East added when Virginia Tech (2004), Miami (2004) and Boston College (2005) moved to the ACC. To conclude the 2005 football season, Virginia Tech (ACC) defeated Louisville (BE) in the Gator Bowl.

Read the story at Sports Illustrated.

When Louisville joins the ACC, it will be the first time to my knowledge that they and Virginia Tech are in the same football league.  However, in other varsity sports, the two schools were both in the now-defunct Metro Conference. The two schools had a pretty good basket rivalry back then.  Meanwhile, Virginia Tech's football team was independent.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More Blasphemy?

From Todd Starnes at Fox News & Commentary:

A painting on display at Bunker Hill Community College shows President Obama with outstretched arms, simulating the arm positions of Jesus as commonly depicted on a crucifix, and wearing a crown of thorns. The painting, by Michael D'Antuono, entitled "Truth", was supposed to debut almost four years ago in New York City, but the event was cancelled due to public outrage.  Although Obama is "posed as Jesus Christ crucified", according to Starnes, the painting does not show a cross, any nails or any wounds.
“I always regretted cancelling my exhibit in New York because I feel my First Amendment rights should override someone’s hurt feelings,” D'Antuono told Fox News. “We should celebrate the fact that we live in a country where we are given the freedom to express ourselves.”
I agree with Mr. D'Antuono, but would hope that the First Amendment is applied consistently.  For example, I wonder if he has any paintings of Mohammed, or of a modern public figure in a pose intended to remind people of Mohammed, that he'd like to show us.

Click on the fold, or go to the above link, to see the painting.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Obama Is Our What?!?

It's a good thing for comedian Jamie Foxx that there are no blasphemy laws here in America, because if there were, he might just be in a bit of trouble.  Via the Tipsheet at Townhall:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bill Whittle Speaks About The 2012 Election

The Romney presidential candidacy has received its share of post-mortems, most of which I haven't had any desire to post here.  But I like this recent speech by Bill Whittle, found in the Green Room at Hot Air.  According to Whittle, it would be helpful if the Republicans believed their own story.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I'll be visiting members of the extended family for a few days, and won't be posting anything here until I get back.  There's nothing like taking a break from the normal routine, seeing some people I don't get to see very often, and just kicking back and relaxing.  For us Virginia Tech alumni, we have the odd pleasure of eating our mascot.  But whether you're staying home or travelling, may all of you who read Bigfoot's Place have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Maryland Goes To The Big Ten

The University of Maryland, a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, has accepted an invitation of join the Big Ten in 2014.  Rutgers, a.k.a. the State University of New Jersey, is also expected to join, giving the Big Ten 14 teams.  Rutgers would be leaving the Big East.  Here's the story and some reaction:

From ESPNMaryland accepts the Big Ten invite.

From the NY Daily News, Maryland leaves the ACC, Rutgers expected to follow.

In Yahoo Sports, Pat Forde writes that the two schools will "cash in on their incompetence".

In the Washington Post, Johnny Holliday calls Maryland's move a "no brainer".

In Forbes, Patrick Riche says it's "Win-win-win" as they all "cash in".

In the Baltimore Sun, Kevin Cowherd thinks that Maryland has been blinded by dollar signs, and former ACC Commissioner Gene Corrigan is "flabbergasted" about Maryland and the Big Ten.

From the Baltimore Business Journal, University of Maryland president Wallace D. Loh says that the move will boost the school's academics and athletics.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Links

A few things going on out there:

From The Telegraph, the British are not amused by President Obama's gaffes made during his trip to Thailand and Myanmar.  (Or is it Burma again?)

From Mediaiate via Weasel Zippers, Secretary of State Clinton falls asleep during Obama's speech.

From Breitbart's Big Journalism, a BBC reporter spreads around a photo of a child reportedly injured in an Israeli attack on Gaza.  The only problem is that the photo was actually taken in Syria.

From the Daily Caller, Senator Marco Rubio passes on answering a question about the age of the earth.  Lefties in the media go nuts.  Funny, they had no problem with then-Senator Obama decided that a question about when life begins was above his pay grade.

From Hispanic Business, GE Healthcare will eliminate 2% of its jobs in Wisconsin.

From the Phoenix Business Journal, the Mexican company Grupo Bimbo, despite rumors to the contrary, will not be acquiring Hostess Brands.

From My Fox Chicago, meanwhile back in the US, a judge has ordered Hostess to mediate with their second largest union.

From France24, noted musician and vegetarian Paul McCartney says, "Skip the turkey."  Yours truly, a much less-noted musician and alumnus of a college whose mascot is a highly evolved turkey, says, "Sir Paul, mind your own [bleep]ing business!"

From Tribble Newsthe real story of the first Thanksgiving.

From the Indy Star, Marion County, Indiana authorities are investigating the explosion of a house in the Richmond Hills subdivision as a homicide.  On November 10, the house blew up, killing two people and damaging dozens of neighboring homes.

And from SFGate, shoppers at a Kohl's store in Iowa got to experience a line from the Rodger & Hammerstein song Do Re Mi.  Doe, a deer, a female deer.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Some Things Never Change

On the last day of 2008, Gary Varvel published this cartoon about Hamas and its practice of launching rockets at Israel from Gaza, and Israel's retaliation.  As the saying goes, "same [bleep], different day".


Friday, November 16, 2012

Goodbye, Twinkies

Hostess Brands, Inc., after filing for bankruptcy for the second time and having a dispute with its unionized workers, has asked for permission to go out of business.  This would mean that its products, such as Twinkies, Ho Hos and Wonder Bread, will no longer be manufactured.  Its remaining inventory of breads and cakes will be sold to consumers, but unless or until the brands are bought by other businesses, they will soon cease to be on the market.  Hostess plans to sell their brands to the highest bidders.

Oh well, we still have Little Debbie and Tastykakes, don't we?

Read more at the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg, CNN Money and the International Business Times.

Reacting to this development, Neil Steinberg, in the Chicago Sun-Times, asks "How can anyone go bankrupt selling junk food?"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Virginia Tech To Retire Two Logos

My alma mater, often the subject of some name confusion, has decided to retire two of their logos.  One is the letter T sitting on top of and partially within a V, known as the "TV" logo, and the other is the Fighting Gobbler symbol, inspired by Virginia Tech's long association with turkeys.  The most recent manifestation of this is the Hokiebird mascot, whose evolution is explained in this video.

During my time at VT, a.k.a. VPI&SU, the football team was called the "Fighting Gobblers", with the name appearing in Lane Stadium, while all the other varsity teams were called the "Hokies".  During the 1980's, the football changed its name to the latter.

From the student newspaper, the Collegiate Times:
Over the years, the names of both the university and its mascot have gone through various changes.  Although the school’s official name is currently Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and is referred to as Virginia Tech, it was once referred to simply as VPI.  The HokieBird was once known as the Gobbler, then the Fighting Gobbler.
Come to think of it, I remember hearing about a pre-season NCAA basketball poll, possibly in Sports Illustrated, that mentioned Virginia Tech and VPI, not realizing that these were two names for the same school.  In  response to such name confusion, we had a tongue-in-cheek contest to rename the school.  The winner was Eastern Institute of Enlightenment and Intellectual Outgrowth, abbreviated as EIEIO, as recalled in some letters to the editor of the Virginia Tech Magazine.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Should I Be Afraid Of Blimps?

Idaho State University anthropologist Jeffrey Meldrum believes that Bigfoot, the large primate whose name I've shamelessly pilfered, actually exists.  He has decided to go looking for a Bigfoot using a blimp, an idea he got  from Utah resident William Barnes, who claims to have encountered a Bigfoot in 1997.  He reportedly will need about $300,000 in order to build his lighter-than-air Bigfoot-spotting aircraft.

Read the story at the Time newsfeed.  Meldrum is the author of Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It Is The Soldier

In 1970, an American soldier named Charles M. Province wrote this poem, which is still worth remembering:
It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
I don't know if Province was still in the Army when he wrote this.  I would very much like to refer to him by his rank, thus giving him the respect that he is due, but I don't know the rank at which he was discharged.  There doesn't seem to be too much information about him out there, other than that he founded the George S. Patton Jr. Historical Society.  But in any event, his message is timeless.  More broadly, it is the soldier, the airman, the marine and the sailor who secure the rights with which we are endowed by our Creator.  To all who have served, thank you for defending my rights.  To all Americans, have a happy Veteran's Day.

Friday, November 9, 2012

CIA Director Petraeus Resigns

CIA Director David Petraeus, who as an Army General had helped to implement the "surge" strategy in Iraq, has resigned his position, citing an extramarital affair.  Acting Director Michael Morell will run the CIA, presumably until the next official Director is installed.  Petraeus had become the Director of the CIA in September 2011, after leading U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and later serving in the U.S. Central Command.

Read more at MSN News, the New York Times, NBC News, Wired, USA Today and Fox News.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

News And Some Opinion

A few stories in the news, and some opinion, too:

From the New York Times, with President Obama re-elected and his healthcare law all but assured of being implemented, the states now rush to meet deadlines.

In the Contra Costa Times, Thomas Sowell writes about the healthcare law's waivers.

From Freedom Works, here come the Obamacare layoffs.

In the Daily Caller, Jack Finn gives America a thank-you note.

From The Foundry, Russia is starting to ask for Obama's promised flexibility.

From Philly.com, coming in third in the Virginia Senate race behind winner Tim Kaine and George Allen is Hank the Cat.  (H/T Pat Dollard)

From SFGate, a write-in candidate for mayor in Paso Robles, California was arrested on election day.

From the Los Angeles Times, Jared Loughner, who killed six people and wounded 12 others, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has been sentenced to life in prison.

From CBS New York, residents of the Rockaway Peninsula have some stern warnings for any post-Sandy looters.

From The Indypendent, New Yorkers are getting angry at Mayor Bloomberg.

From Before It's News, the nor'easter hitting after Sandy has resulted in 200,000 more power outages, while FEMA centers remain closed.

And from The Cable, the State Department has released some documents concerning the 9/11/12 attack in Benghazi to the Senate, but only today and tomorrow, when most of the Senators are out of town.

Oh wait, one more.  How could I have missed this?  From the Washington Free Beacon, Iranian fighter jets fired on an American unmanned drone aircraft last Thursday (Nov. 1).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Once Again, It's Obama

By now, everyone not living under a rock knows that President Barack Obama has been re-elected.  He did so by narrowly winning in "battleground" states such as Florida, Virginia and Ohio, and by holding on to the moderately "blue" states that some thought could have been flipped to his challenger Mitt Romney.  He won despite having one of the worst economic records that I can remember, and having the worst fiscal record of any president in our history.  He won in spite of the unpopularity of "Obamacare".  Presidents Carter and Bush the Elder, to my recollection, were arguably unseated for less.

Like the right in general, I'm quite disappointed.  For a while, it appeared that Romney had a good chance to defeat Obama.  I had heard about crowds at Romney's appearances that were much larger than those at Obama's, and that in early voting, the turnout in GOP-leaning counties exceeded that of Democrat-leaning ones, or at least was doing better than in 2008.  None of that, however, accurately foreshadowed the way in which the voting actually turned out.  When Pennsylvania and later Ohio were called for Obama, I realized that Romney's chances were starting to fade.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's Almost Time

Tomorrow, tens of millions of Americans will go to the polls to decide whether to give Barack Obama a second term as President, or to turn the job over to Willard Mitt Romney, formerly the governor of Massachusetts, but also known for his work at Bain Capital and with the 2002 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee.  If Obama wins and then serves out his full second term, it will be the second time in our history that there have been three consecutive 8-year presidencies.  The first time this occurred was in the early 1800's with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe.  If Romney wins, he will become the first challenger to unseat an incumbent president since Bill Clinton defeated George H. W. Bush in 1992, and the first Republican to do so since Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in 1980.  It seems that Romney is doing well in the polls, but the only poll that counts is the one we have tomorrow.

Strictly speaking, we don't really choose the president.  In each state, we choose a set of Electors that will be sent to the Electoral College, where they will elect the president.  Each state gets a number of Electors equal to its total representation in Congress.  The smallest (by population) states have three, equal to its two Senators plus its single Representative in the House.  Due to a Constitutional Amendment, the District of Columbia is given the number of Electors it would have, if it were a state.  With two notable exceptions, a state's set of Electors is determined by the total popular vote in the state, with the winner taking all.  Maine and Nebraska each determine two Electors, corresponding to their Senators, according to the statewide popular vote, with their other Electors determined by the popular vote within each Congressional District.  I have even heard some prognosticators say that Obama will carry Maine, but one of its Districts and thus one Elector could go for Romney.

There are several states that could go either way, but Maryland is a virtually certain Obama carry.  Although we did elect a Republican governor (Bob Ehrlich) a few years back, the state is overall very "blue".  My presidential vote will presumably be overruled by my state's pro-Obama voters.  Even so, there are still many "down-ticket" races and referendum questions that deserve my attention, such as in-state tuition for illegal aliens (known under the politically correct euphemism "undocumented immigrants"), granting civil marriage licenses for gay couples, and an expansion of legalized gambling.  I thus have ample reason to get my big feet down to the polling place.  Like the right in general, I will be pulling for Romney to unseat Obama, even though my own vote may have little consequence.  But whether you're in a narrowly contested "swing" state, or one that is solidly in one camp or the other, voting is still one of the most important things a citizen of this republic is allowed to do.  So whether or not you agree with my choices, if you're eligible, get out there and cast your vote.  After all, in some parts of the world, voting as we know it doesn't exist.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Music Break - It's A Zoo

Here are a few songs that both man and beast may enjoy.  To start off, the Kinks sing about living like an Apeman, with the help of a piano player who looks like he belongs in one of the Planet Of The Apes movies.

A Few News Items

A few items in the news as the east coast starts recovering from Sandy, and the nation prepares for the upcoming election:

From the New York Post, residents of Staten Island say that they've been forgotten by the post-Sandy relief efforts.

In the Wall Street Journal, Michael Tanner opines that for disaster relief, bigger government isn't necessarily the answer.

From Fox News, the states hit hard by Sandy have vowed to be ready for the election.

From HLNTV, Sandy has caused gas shortages in New York and New Jersey, but prices have increased only by about a cent per gallon.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy And Its Aftermath

Hurricane Sandy, now continuing to move northward after losing its "tropical" designation, has left a "trail of devastation" along the east coast, especially in New Jersey, where the eye made landfall, and in New York City, which experienced an exceptionally high storm surge and its resulting floods.  Much of Atlantic City, NJ   has also been underwater.  Power outages continue in parts of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

In my part of Maryland, which is well to the west of the Atlantic coast and also to the west of the Chesapeake Bay, we got off easy.  We had strong winds and rain, but from what I can see, the damage was limited mainly to tree branches.  Power flickered a few times Monday evening, but never went off completely.  I'm grateful to be essentially unscathed, but this is tempered by the fact that many people to the north and east my location have been hit hard by this storm.

A few stories about Sandy and its aftermath:

From the Daily Caller, the president discusses some relief plans.

From USA Today, New York struggles with fires and floods.

From CNN, Sandy's trail of devastation, including 30 dead and millions without power.

The New Yorker reports on damage to the City's Upper West Side.

The Huffington Post has a running list of how to help the victims of Sandy.

From MSN News, the cleanup begins as millions remain without power.

The IEEE Spectrum reports on the shutdowns of nuclear power plants and oil refineries.

From Tulsa's Channel 8, photos of the damage in New York and New Jersey.

From the New York Post, many more photos of the damage, and a live blog with still more photos.

Some history from the New York Daily News, the east coast hurricane of 1938.

And finally, from Inga's Angle, a rainbow over New York.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Links For A Rainy Day

Here in Maryland, Sandy is giving us some wind and rain, along with a case of cabin fever due to lots of things being closed down.  But fortunately, my cyber-connection to the outside world so far remains unscathed, thus allowing me to pass on some stories.

From the New York Post, updates about Hurricane Sandy.

From Fox News, Sandy is expected to bring a "life-threatening" storm surge.

From Yahoo News, here's one part of the federal government that will not shut down today - the Marines guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns.

From Twitchy, Sandy has produced an outbreak of fake photos (possibly including the one in the above story about the Marines, which was taken during an earlier storm).  If you have a picture you'd like to put on Twitter, please make sure it's real.

From the Huffington Post, photos (real, I hope) of the damage from Hurricane Sandy in Atlantic City, NJ.

From the Duffel Blog and the "Did I read that correctly?" department, in response to Hurricane Sandy, the Veteran's Affairs Department will close down their facilities "west of the Mississippi River".

From the Washington Post, the HMS Bounty, which has appeared in two films, has sunk off the coast of North Carolina.

From the Wall Street Journal, President Obama hints at appointing a Secretary of Business if he wins a second term.

From Life Site News, this past Saturday over 200 students from Christendom College in Virginia protested in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic not far from the White House.

From the Miami Herald, the 12-year-old daughter of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is back home after being hospitalized with a head injury suffered in a golf cart accident.

From Breitart's Big Journalism, the Obama campaign gets testy with reporters.

From the Daily Caller, a congressional report puts the blame for Fast and Furious on several senior Justice Department officials.


To finish up, a bit of hurricane humor from StixBlog.

A Horse Is A Horse, Of Course?

As the rains from Hurricane Sandy start to come down on our nation's capitol, causing government agencies to take the day off, one local resident decided to do a little horsing around.  From the Daily Caller:


Since he is wearing a horse's head, I wonder if he is familiar with a certain town in western New York.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Was The Mohammed Movie Trailer Wrong?

Usama Dakdok, a Christian who immigrated from Egypt in 1992, explains why the Mohammed Movie Trailer, blamed by some for the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, is correct in its claims according to the Qur'an and the writings of Muslim scholars.  Mr. Dakdok is one of the hosts I listen to on BlogTalkRadio, and has his own Internet-based ministry at The Straight Way.


Indonesia Thwarts Planned Terrorist Attacks

Indonesian police have arrested 11 suspected terrorists who were allegedly planning several attacks, against targets that included the U.S. Embassy, a U.S. Consulate, a plaza near the Australian Embassy and police headquarters.  The suspects are members of a group calling itself Harakah Sunni for Indonesian Society, or HASMI.  Authorities have not yet determined if HASMI has ties to Jemaah Islamiya, the group responsible for the bombings in Bali in 2002.  Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim country, but is ruled by a secular government.

Read the story at Fox News.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dubya Weighs In

After all the times that Teh OneTM has blamed his predecessor for his troubles, former president Bush the Younger finally has an answer to Barry's accusations.  Dubya's not exactly defending himself, but I think reply is valid nonetheless.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Determinators Movie

Based on the book The Battle for America's Soul by C. L. Gray, MD, and posted on YouTube by Tea Party Patriots, The Determinators features health care experts who have read the law and try to explain how it will affect us.  Dr. Gray also gives some historical perspective on the matter, tracing two competing philosophies on the role of physicians from their origins in ancient Greece.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bigfoot Vandalizes A Winnebago?

Every once in a while, I run across a story about the large furry quasi-human beast, which might not even exist, whose name I have appropriated.  This one is written by Benjamin Radford in Fox News.  According to Radford, some people believe that Bigfoot has committed acts of vandalism, including throwing rocks at the Winnebago mobile home of John Reed, himself the founder of a Bigfoot hunting group.

Read the full article.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thugs Beat Up Son Of Wisconsin State Senator

During the early morning hours of this past Friday, Sean Kedzie, son of Wisconsin State Senator Neal Kedzie, caught someone removing a Romney campaign sign from in front of his residence in Whitewater, WS.  After he yelled at the thief, telling him to return the sign, the thief and an accomplice attacked Kedzie, putting him in a choke hold and beating him on the head.  After a neighbor scared off the attackers, Kedzie was rushed to a local hospital, treated and released.

Go to Breitbart's Big Government to read the full story, and see what these thugs did to Sean Kedzie.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

There's No Voter Fraud?

Something strange is going on in North Carolina.  Either their health care establishments have enabled several hundred of their citizens to reach the age of 112, or something is not right with their voter rolls.  According to the Examiner, during the absentee ballot phase of this year's election, 832 people who have already voted are 112 years old.  This is very odd, because in the Guinness Book of World Records, the world's oldest man is just a bit older.  Could one American state produce that many people so close to the record?

To the liberals out there, this is the sort of thing that makes us on the right support voter ID laws.  It's not because of some alleged desire to prevent non-white citizens from voting.

George McGovern 1922 - 2012

George McGovern, who served as an Army Air Corps pilot in World War II and later as a U.S. Representative and Senator from South Dakota, before running for president as the Democrat Party's nominee in 1972, died early this morning at a hospice in Sioux Falls.  During his political career, McGovern embraced the term "liberal", even as some of his fellow Democrats shied away from it and some Republicans used it as an insult.

In 1956, McGovern successfully ran for a seat in the House of Representatives, and was re-elected two years later.  In 1960, he ran for Senator and lost, but ran again and won in 1962, ousting incumbent Joe Bottums by only 597 votes.  He was also appointed by President John Kennedy to lead the Food for Peace program.  During his unsuccessful presidential campaign, his running mate was Kennedy brother-in-law R. Sargent Shriver.  In Arkansas, their campaign staff included some young volunteers such as Bill Clinton and his girlfriend Hillary Rodham.

Read more at ABC News, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, US News and the Washington Post.

Fall Foliage

Now that fall has arrived, the trees here in Maryland are undergoing their annual change of color.  These are a few that I've seen in the general vicinity.  This one has turned bright red-orange:


Saturday, October 20, 2012

He Said "Allahu Akbar"

Via the Tea Party Command Center:

Was the Fort Hood Massacre a terrorist attack, or merely workplace violence, as it has been classified?  Listen to the people who were there.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Links

A few stories out there in the news:

From NBC News, a New York man has allegedly been stranded in Europe since October 1st, because his name appears on a no-fly list.  This, of course, begs the following question.  Why was he allowed to fly over there in the first place?

From Life News, Bruce Springsteen campaigns for Obama and abortion.

From the LA Times, Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old education rights campaigner recently shot by the Taliban and taken to Britain for treatment, has recovered the abilities to stand and to write.

From CBC News, the Catholic Church will declare Kateri Tekakwitha a saint.  A member of the Mohawk tribe, she will become the first native North American woman to receive this honor.  (Full disclosure:  I have visited her shrine in Fonda, NY.)

From the NY Post, alleged would-be bomber Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis may have had an accomplice who was busted on kiddie porn charges.

From Yahoo News, a car-bomb explodes in Beirut, killing an anti-Syrian intelligence official.

From Reuters, the Curiosity rover eats Martian dirt.

From Breitbart's Big Journalism, the magazine Us headlines the cost Ann Romney's dress, even though it cost about half of what Michelle Obama was wearing, as the two ladies watched their husbands debate.

From Iconic Surrealism, watch Mitt Romney's speech at the Alfred E. Smith dinner.

Form Human Events, Romney gets the endorsement of lifelong Democrat Lee Iacocca.

And last but not east, from Pinterest, some of Obama's favorite golf courses.

ER Physician: Death Panels Are Here

From The Grouch at Right Truth via Monkey In The Middle:

The Grouch is a practicing emergency room doctor who is starting to deal with the onset of Obamacare as it starts to affect Medicare.  Under the new rules, if someone who has been discharged from a hospital is readmitted after less than 30 days, Medicare will not pay for the treatment after readmission.  At first, this only applied only if the readmission was for the same diagnosis, but was then extended to any reason for readmission.  As the Grouch puts it:

Today while working my shift in the emergency room, an old lady was brought in very sick and in fact near death. I did my usual workup and evaluation and attempted to administer life saving treatment. It was my plan to admit this woman to the hospital. I found out a little later that this same woman had been a patient here just slightly more than 2 weeks ago with a DIFFERENT DIAGNOSIS. I was told that if this woman was admitted, the hospital would not be paid.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Up To 140 Spitfires Buried In Myanmar

As many as 140 Spitfire fighter airplanes, left over from World War II, are believed to be buried in Myanmar, and are believed to be in "near-pristine condition", according to an article by Boston.com.  They were brought in crates from Britain to what was then the British colony of Burma, but too late during the war to be used against the Japanese.

Read the full story, and watch this video of a restored Spitfire in action:


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Punt Reverses Direction

This punter in a Texas high school football game found out how difficult it can be kicking into the wind.  I don't think he tried to fool Mother Nature, but she certainly changed the trajectory of his punt.  His teammates would recover the ball, in their own end zone.

Would-Be Terrorist Arrested In New York

A man who allegedly plotted to bomb the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been arrested by the FBI.  Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, of Bangla Desh, is said to have traveled to the United States for the purpose of forming a terror cell and carrying out a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.  In his attempt to find possible Al Qaeda contacts, Nafis had the misfortune, so to speak, of contacting an undercover agent.  After Nafis and the agent constructed what Nafis believed to be a bomb, loading it onto a van, driving the van into New York, and parking it next to the bank, Nafis soon found out that the bomb would not go off, and found himself in FBI custody.  According to the Bureau, Nafis has been charged with "attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to Al Qaeda."

Read more at Yahoo News, CNN Justice, ABC News, the New York Post and NBC New York.