Sunday, June 30, 2013


Prancercise is an exercise system developed by woman in Florida named Joanna Rohrback, who was inspired by movements of horses.  Even so, she's actually against horse-riding.  Because her YouTube video uses some music that sounds like an instrumental version of Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon, some YouTube imitators have used Zevon's original song in their send-ups.  These people call themselves the First Decents, and apparently wish to organize a Prancercise 5K.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SCOTUS Gay Marriage Decisions And Other Stories

Earlier today, the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, commonly referred to by its acronym DOMA, and dismissed an appear of a lower court ruling against California's Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment that had defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.  DOMA had first been enacted during the presidency of Bill Clinton.  Here are some related stories:

From the Washington Post, a report on the DOMA decision.

From CNN, how the court ruled on standing with respect to Proposition 8.

From The Examiner, President Obama promises not to force churches to perform gay weddings.

From CBS Local, the National Cathedral rings its bells to celebrate the court's decisions.  (via Weasel Zippers)

From Breitbart's The Conversation, how the rulings could further polarize our politics.

The Blaze reminds us that most of DOMA still stands, including a provision that could lead to another court battle.

In other news:

From Forbes, Democrat legislators in Massachusetts are trying to force Governor Deval Patrick to seek a waiver from Obamacare.  (Is this another case of "just words"?)

From Politico, a second IRS staffer pleads the Fifth when summoned before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  (via Red State)

From the Military Times, accused NSA leaker Edward Snowden, having flown from Hong Kong to Russia, may or may not be hanging out at Moscow's Sheremetchevo Airport.

From Biz Pac Review, Obama-Corps could be on its way to becoming reality.  (Will the participants be called "Obama-Corpsemen"?)

From The Times Of Israel, the US is considering sending training teams to Lebanon and Iraq, to help those countries deal with possible spillover from the civil war in Syria.

From Yahoo Sports, New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been arrested and charged with murdering his neighbor.  Metrodesk at Boston(dot)com has more.

From CNN Tech, three newly discovered planets, just 22 lightyears away, might be able to support life.

And from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, diplomas given out by Radford University in Virginia misspell "Virginia".

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Flip-Flops Galore

It appears that the policy reversal by Senator Rubio (R-FL) that I noted a few days ago is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the "gang of eight" immigration bill.  Red State has compiled a list of statements by the 15 Republicans and 7 red state Democrats who voted for cloture earlier this week.  Since I've already mentioned Rubio, here's an excerpt quoting Kelly Ayotte, Republican from New Hampshire:
“For the people who are here illegally, I don’t support amnesty; it’s wrong. It’s wrong to the people who are waiting in line here, who have waited for so long. And we need to stop that because I think that’s where the Administration is heading next.”
Senator Ayotte, I couldn't have said it any better.  Read the whole article at Red State and check out their links.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Red Panda Escapes National Zoo, Gets Recaptured

Earlier today or late yesterday, Rusty the Red Panda escaped from his enclosure at the National Zoo, but was found today in a Washington, DC neighborhood.  He's now back at the zoo and appears to be none the worst for his brief adventure.

Red pandas share the giant panda's ability to grip objects, because the digits on their paws can oppose an extension of their wrist.  However, while the giant panda is a member of the bear family, red pandas have their own family, the ailuridae.

Read more at the New York Post, the Christian Science Monitor, NBC News and DCist.

Well, what do you know.  As reported by ViralRead, Rusty seems to have gotten a Twitter account.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Twinkies To Return

Having sold off many of its brands, and now under new ownership, Hostess plans to bring Twinkies and other cakes back onto the market this coming July 15th.  Hostess Brands LLC has undergone a restructuring that included reducing their number of bakery plants from 11 to four, moving their headquarters from Texas to Kansas City, Mo., and limiting their deliveries to warehouses that supply retail stores, instead of to the stores themselves.  They have hired back some of their old workers, but they are not unionized.  Boxes of Twinkies will have the tag line "The Sweetest Comeback In The History Of Ever".

Read more at Yahoo News, CBS DFW, Bloomberg, the Daily Mail and NBC News.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Rubio 2010 vs. Rubio 2013

Flip-flopping politicians are nothing new.  I would think that it's pretty much impossible to keep track of all the times a president, a senator or a congressman said one thing during his campaign and then pursued the opposite policy after being elected.  Thus, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), by helping to put forth the "gang of eight" immigration bill, is continuing a tradition that probably started in way back in 1776.  CNS News shows how candidate Rubio, then backed by the Tea Party movement, used to call the "earned path to citizenship" that he now advocates a "code for amnesty".  Read the full story.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Music Break: Songs About Trains

For this month's program, a few numbers about what might be my favorite mode of transportation.

To open, this is the Doobie Brothers with Long Train Running, written and sung by guitarist Tom Johnston, who also plays the harmonica solo.  At this time, the Doobies also included guitarist Pat Simmons, bassist Tiran Porter and drummers John Hartman and Michael Hossack.

For New RPIs, Crime Will Pay

From Immigration Reform (dot) com via Fausta's Blog:

Under the immigration bill S744, known as the "gang of eight" bill, current illegal immigrants will be given a new status called Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI), and many types of crime that could be committed by RPIs will be eligible for a waiver.  For US citizens and legal immigrants, no such waivers exist.  Read more at the above links.  To paraphrase a certain former Speaker, we're finding out what's in this bill, and it ain't pretty.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yes, We Scan!

On President Obama's current visit to Germany, he has found the place to be somewhat less welcoming than on a previous visit during his 2008 candidacy.  As the New York Times reports, instead of the 200,000 people who attended his speech back then, only about 5,000 showed up for his appearance today, which was by invitation only.  At Checkpoint Charlie, a crossing in the Berlin Wall that has been the site for other speeches by American presidents, protesters showed up with signs parodying Obama's 2008 campaign slogan.

Read more at the Global Post, The Atlantic and Reuters.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Wedding Of "Epic Porkportions"

Vista, California residents Adrienne Dunvan and Eddie Quinones, who spent their first date eating a Puerto Rican pork shoulder dish called pernil, tied the knot this past Sunday at the Big Bacon Bite Fest at the San Diego County Fair.  The couple had won a contest to be wed at the Fest.  They had dated for six years before becoming engaged in 2011, and also have adopted four children, all of whom participated in the ceremony.  They will honeymoon this coming October around Baltimore ("the bacon capitol of the world") attending the 12th annual Pigtown Festival, which includes Squeakness, the Running of the Pigs.

Naturally, I hope they enjoy their visit to Maryland, and will pig out (pun intended) to their hearts' content.

Read the story at San Diego County Fair, Yahoo! Shine and ABC 10 News.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Illegal Immigration Opinion And News

In National Review Online, Victor Davis Hansen writes about how the "divide over immigration reform is not primarily a Left/Right or Democratic/Republican divide", but one that that cuts across class lines, pitting the elite against most everybody else.  This is something I had already realized about the debate over illegal immigration.  Many elites, it has seemed, both left and right, are at odds with other Americans over this issue.    Mr. Hansen, I think, does a good job of explaining the divide.  Read the full article.

In World Net Daily, Joe Farah tells us why amnesty is not compassion.

In The Hill, Jonathan Easley reports that Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Cal) warns that John Boehner's Speakership would be threatened if he allowed the "gang of eight" immigration reform bill (currently being debated in the Senate) to be voted on in the House.

In Heritage Action, Katharine Rosario shows us a speech by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), exposing the "gang of eight" bill's double standard.

In The Blaze, Madeleine Morgenstern writes about immigration activists marching on the house of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, protesting his deportations.  In other words, trespassers were marching on behalf of trespassers.  They left behind shoes they claimed were owned by people he deported, thus becoming litterbugs as well.

Fox News reports that fourteen 7-Eleven stores in New York and Virginia were raided, resulting in nine people being indicted for allegedly smuggling in workers from Pakistan.  (via Gateway Pundit)

Last month, Wired reported that hidden within the "gang of eight" bill is the creation of a new database to be administered by the DHS and "containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID."  (again, via Gateway Pundit)  This sounds like a database that will monitor citizens, not foreigners who enter the country, legally or not.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rowhani Wins Iranian Election

The Iranian Interior Ministry has declared Hasan Rowhani the winner of yesterday's presidential election, receiving 50.7% of the vote, topping the threshold of 50% needed to win on the first ballot.  He has been a political ally of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and is described as a "moderate" and a "reformist".  According to the Iranian news agency Press TV, Rowhani is born in the city of Sorkheh and received masters and doctorate degrees at Glasgow Caledonian University.  He has already been congratulated by the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini.

Read more at NBC News, CBS News, Voice Of America, The Telegraph, Salon, Haaretz and the Christian Science Monitor.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Iran Holds Presidential Election

The people of Iran went to the polls today to choose the successor to their outgoing president Mahmoud Achmedinajad.  Six candidates are on the ballot, while two others have recently withdrawn.  Reformist-backed candidate Hassan Rouhani, at one time a nuclear negotiator, is said be doing fairly well, but the results are not yet known.  Besides the voting in Iran, polling places were set up in the United States for expatriate Iranians living here.

Read more at The Guardian, CBS News, the Washington PostYahoo News, Time, Fox News and BBC News.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Six Problems With The Immigration Bill

In an interview with Ginni Thomas of The Daily Caller, former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey (D) points out what she considers to be six "big problems" with the "gang-of-eight" immigration bill, which she arrived at from reading the bill.  Ms. McCaughey is also the auther of Beating Obamacare.

Read the full story and watch the video over at The Daily Caller.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

George Wallace, Republican?

Last night, a show on MSNBC identified George Wallace, the one-time segregationist governor of Alabama and 4-time presidential candidate, as a Republican, despite his long-time affiliation with the Democrats.  He ran as an independent in the 1972 campaign, during which he was shot and wounded by a would-be assassin.  As a result, he was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, and would die in 1998.

Read more at Mediaite and Breitbart's The Conversation.

I've known about politicians who change parties during their lifetime, most of them, it seems, from Democrat to Republican.  But this is the first time I've heard of one making that switch 15 years after his death.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday News And Links

Some things going on out there:

From Life News, the IRS is caught on tape telling a pro-life organization, "Keep your faith to yourself." (via Weasel Zippers)

From CBS DC, according to recently uncovered documents, the State Department "may have covered up allegations of illegal behavior ranging from sexual assaults to an underground drug ring".

From the Washington Examiner, sales of George Orwell's book 1984 have gone up 69%.  Hmmm, it does kinda seem like Big Brother is watching us these days.

From the Guardian, an interview with Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker/whistleblower.

From Fox News, a flight from Los Angeles to Austin was diverted to Phoenix after a bomb threat.

Fox News asks, "Can the US arm the 'right' Syrians?"  I would first ask if there are any "right" Syrians.

From the American Spectator, a possible reason to refrain from arming the rebels in Syria.

From ENCA, 10 people in Kenya are wounded in two attacks, one coming against a church.

From ESPN, it appears that rumors of the end of Tim Tebow's career might just be a bit exaggerated.

From Campus Reform, the University of Chicago has removed pews from a chapel to accommodate Islamic prayers.

From the Florida Times-Union, a homeowner in Brunswick, Georgia uses a gun to defend himself from a knife-wielding masked man.  (via Guns Save Lives)

From KSAT(dot)com, a gunman is in custody after a shooting at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

From Popular Science, there may be an underground ocean on Dione, one of the moons of Saturn.

And from PJ Media, some congressmen are looking into claims that the EPA is favoring liberal groups in regard to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hammer Throw U.

It appears that my alma mater, with some help from my ancestral homeland of Slovakia, has built an impressive dynasty in NCAA track and field, in the hammer throw event, with no less than four individual national champions.

In March 2005, Spyridon Jullien, a junior from Athens, Greece won the hammer throw at the NCAA indoor championships, and won it again at the outdoor event the following June.  He repeated the outdoor title in 2006.

In 2009, Marcel Lomnicky, a freshman from Nitra, Slovakia won the NCAA hammer throw championship.

In 2011, Alexander Ziegler, from Dischingen, Germany won the event on his final attempt, as Lomnicky came in second.

In 2012, Lomnicky won the national championship in the weight throw, an indoor event, and later competed for Slovakia at the Summer Olympics in London.  Meanwhile, Ziegler repeated in the hammer throw.

And in 2013, the NCAA hammer throw championship went to Virginia Tech freshman Tomas Kruzliak, who like Lomnicky, comes from Nitra, Slovakia.  Must be something in the water in that town.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

This Date In History, And Today

June 6th is widely commemorated as the day in 1944 during World War II when the western Allies invaded Europe, landing on the beaches of the German-held French region of Normandy.  From their narrow foothold, they would eventually advance across France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany itself, joining the westward-advancing Soviet army to defeat the once-powerful German military forces.  Here are a few links to some historical facts and modern tributes:

The History Channel has a page on D-Day, with lots of places to explore.

The British version of the History Channel likewise has a D-Day page.

The U.S. Army has a webpage remembering D-Day.

More information on D-Day can be found at the National WWII MuseumWorld War II History Info and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Paying tribute to the events of D-Day are Nola(dot)com (New Orleans being the site of the above-mentioned National WWII Museum), the Patriot-News, CNN and Business Insider.
In more recent military history, June 6th was the second day of the Six-Day War, in which Israel defeated neighboring Arab countries, taking the Sinai and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.  This war is remembered by History Learning Site, the Jewish Virtual Library, Israeli Weapons and SixDayWar(dot)org.
June 6th, 1799 was the birth date of Alexander Pushkin, considered to be the founder of modern Russian literature.  You can read about him at the Literature Network, Russiapedia, Poetry Lovers Page and AlexanderPushkin(dot)com.
On June 6th, 1949, according to the History Channel, George Orwell's book 1984 was published.
Moving on to today's news:

From ABC News, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) has appointed Jeff Chiesa (R), currently the state's attorney general, to be interim Senator until the special election previously announced by the governor takes place later this year.  Chiesa has stated that he will not run in that election.

From the Washington Post, the FBI and the NSA have been data-mining from nine leading U.S. Internet companies.

From National Review, the House has voted to de-fund President Obama's DREAM policy, which he enacted by executive order.

And from The Hayride, Obama criticizes warrantless wiretaps.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Governor Christie Calls For Special Election

It appears that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had some more options than I realized while writing yesterday's post.  He could have appointed a Senator to serve out the rest of the recently deceased Senator Frank Lautenberg's term, but instead has called for a special election, which will include a primary on August 13th and a general phase on October 16th.  He will still appoint an interim Senator to hold the seat until the special election is held, but has not yet decided on whom.  Christie himself is up for re-election in the regular election in November.

Read more at the New York Daily News.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Frank Lautenberg 1924-2013

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) died earlier today in Manhattan of viral pneumonia.  He was the oldest member of the Senate and its only World War II veteran.  After a successful business career, he was elected to the Senate in 1982, after which he served three terms, declining to run in 2000.  In 2002, when Robert Toricelli (D) decided to step down from the other New Jersey seat, Lautenberg came out retirement and replaced him, later winning re-election in 2008.

Among his notable accomplishments was legislation to cut highway funding for states that did not raise their drinking age to 21, and later for not setting their definition of "legally drunk" at blood alcohol content level of 0.08%.  He also helped to establish a ban on smoking on all commercial airline flights and in federal office buildings.

Governor Chris Christie (R) will have the duty of naming a temporary Senator to fill Lautenberg's seat until the end of his term, which will be on 03 January 2015, after the 2014 election.  Lautenberg is survived by his second wife, his four children from his first marriage, two stepchildren, and 13 grandchildren.

Read more at the New York Times, CNN, USA Today, NorthJersey(dot)com and NPR.

Bradley Manning Trial Begins

The trial of Army PFC Bradley Manning began earlier today.  Bradley has allegedly leaked 700,000 U.S. government documents to Wikileaks, resulting in the following charges, as reported by ABC News.
The most serious of the 22 charges Manning faces is aiding the enemy for which Manning could face life in prison if convicted. The additional charges include wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy; theft of public property or records; transmitting defense information; fraud and related activity in connection with computers.
Read the story at the above link.  H/T to Yankeemom for Tweeting this to my attention.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Rat On Mars?

The Mars rover Curiosity may not have killed any cats, but it appears to have found something that resembles a rat.  It's really "a piece of dusty orange rock", but it does kinda, sorta resemble a small rodent.

Read the story at HNGN.  If you're on Twitter, you can follow the Mars Rat.

Interestingly enough, this is not the first time that a martian rock reminded people of an earthly creature.