Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Few Stories Before The Weekend

I'll shortly be heading out of town to visit my family over the Easter weekend.  Meanwhile, here are some things in the news:

From the Military Times, a U.N. arms trade treaty gets some opposition - from Iran and North Korea.

From CNN, a former U.S. soldier has been charged with firing an RPG in Syria.

From Prophecy News Watch, there are only 57 churches left in Iraq.

Business Insider reveals what is the most hacked mobile device.

From the Christian Science Monitor, actress Ashley Judd has decided against running for the Senate against Mitch McConnell (R-KY), but the Democrats have found another potential challenger.

From the New York Post, some artifacts belonging to the author William Faulkner will be auctioned off, including an unpublished story.

From Heritage Action, 75 Senators have voted for what might be called the "shop China bill".

From the Associated Press, the American economy grew at a 0.4% annual rate during the last quarter of 2012, up from a previous estimate of 0.1%.  (via Gateway Pundit)

The Washington Times reports that Food Stamp use has increased 70% during the Obama presidency.

From Natural News, that old saying about "an apple a day" is starting to make a lot of sense.

From Fox 8 in Cleveland, I tawt I taw a putty tat.

And from Duh Progressive, some satire aimed at the Mayor of New York.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Like Father, Like Son

In a case of the apple falling not far from the tree, Hopper Penn, son of actor and Hugo Chavez admirer Sean Penn, had an altercation with a photographer.  While the incident was mostly verbal, some of the younger Penn's words were downright foul.  Read the story and watch the video at TMZ, but watch out for the NSFW language.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Obamacare Draft Application Includes Voter Registration

Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA), who leads the Ways and Means subcommittee on Oversight, while reviewing a draft application for Obamacare benefits, found something that in his view seemed to be a bit odd.  On page 59 of the 61-page draft, there was the question "Would you like to register to vote?"  Nowhere in the healthcare law is voting or registration mentioned.  Boustany apparently believes the question to be misleading in that it could cause some applicants to believe that they must register to vote in order to receive the healthcare benefits.  Currently under the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, states must offer voter registration through any office that provides public assistance.  This application, however, was drafted by the Department of Health and Human Services, part of the federal government.

Read more at the Washington Examiner and The Hill.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Links

A few stories in the news:

From CNN, the Chinese solar energy company Soltech Power's Wuxi subsidiary has gone into bankruptcy.

From the Washington Times, Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes has converted to Islam.

From The Blaze, while in Israel discussing Israeli-Palestinian relations, President Obama evokes the relationship between the United States and Canada.  That's funny, I don't recall any Canadians launching rockets at American towns full of civilians, or any Canadian suicide bombers.

From Time, the Palestinians aren't all that pleased with Obama.

From World Net Daily, in a speech to young Israelis, the president quotes Saul Alinsky.

From Fox News, in southern Idaho, nearly 40 dogs have mysteriously disappeared, with some of them eventually turning up dead.

From CBS Bay Area, CVS pharmacy is ordering its employees to reveal their health information.

From Liberty News, congressman Charles Rangel claims that "millions of kids" have been shot down by "assault weapons", a number that is actually way off the mark.

From MSN News, Chicago school officials announce plans to close 54 schools, due to a billion-dollar deficit.

From the Military Times, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has found no proof that the Navy's use of bombing ranges on the island of Vieques has caused its inhabitants to get sick.

From the New York Post, Saudi Arabia, despite being the homeland of most of the 9/11 hijackers, will become just the fifth nation to receive "trusted traveller" status.

And from Phillyburbs, the up-for-reelection Bucks County Sheriff has been petitioned to remove his nickname from the upcoming ballot.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Presidential Limo Hits SNAFU

On President Obama's current visit to Israel, his official limousine, known as "The Beast", appears to have run head-on into Murphy's Law.  According to reports, the diesel-powered car was mistakenly filled with gasoline, and is not currently able to be driven.  Obama was not in the limo when the malfunction occurred.

There has been no word yet as to whether this SNAFU has been blamed on the Sequester, or on problems inherited from President George W. Bush.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Does Satan Look Like Obama?

No, but the actor playing Satan in the miniseries The Bible seems to have some resemblance to the president.  Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the married couple who are the show's producers, flatly deny any any intention of making a political statement.  Let's keep in mind that the actor's on-screen appearance is likely to some extent to be the result of makeup.  Still, Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouzaani does appear to look somewhat like Barry, but if you ask me, a few years older.  Read the story at the New York Post, the Independent, MSNBC and the Daily Beast, and judge for yourself.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Music Break

Resuming last month's theme of songs that are less well known that they might deserve, this first one is Trinity by Fleetwood Mac.  Written and sung by Danny Kirwan, played in concert in 1971, and then recorded during the sessions for their 1972 album Bare Trees, it was for some reason left off the album.  It would eventually be included 25 Years: The Chain, a compilation released in 1992.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Don't Mess With A Human Statue

From the New York Post:

A jerk wearing a purple shirt first poked around the street performer's mustache, hat, ears and ribs.  He then gave him a wet willie, and rubbed his hand in the performer's face, after which he received his just desserts.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Argentine Cardinal Elected Pope

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has been chosen by his fellow Cardinals to become Pope, and has taken the name Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi.  He is the first Pope born in the Americas, the first Jesuit Pope, and the third consecutive Pope to be born outside of Italy.  Even so, he has strong connections to Italy, being the son of immigrants from the area around Turin.  He was chosen on the third ballot, one fewer than his immediate predecessor, the now-retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Earlier during the day, the Sistine Chapel's chimney, through which white or black smoke is emitted, white smoke indicating a decisive ballot, was visited by a seagull.  This resulted in the creation of several Twitter accounts.

Read more about Pope Francis at NBC News, CBS News, the Guardian, Reuters, Politico and Yahoo News.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday News & Links

Some items recently in the news:

From ABC News, in California, environmentalists have proposed a bill that would ban lead ammunition.  (via Gateway Pundit)

From the Daily Caller, gay couples in Colorado will soon be able to have civil unions.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Missouri State House has passed a "conscience rights" bill.  (via the Rational Review News Digest)

Also from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a golfer becomes the victim of a very unusual hole-in-one.

From Israel Defense Forces, soldiers with special needs serve in the IDF.

From BBC News, Venezuela will investigate whether their recently-dead president was poisoned.

From MSN News, a "mysterious website" has allegedly hacked and leaked personal information about a variety of well-known people, including the current First Lady.

From Fox News, a New York City cop has been convicted of plotting to kill and eat women.

From Judicial Watch, the president has named the first "African American education czar", and given him the task of reducing "resegregation".  (via Weasel Zippers)

From the Washington Examiner, a picture showing the relative size of the Obamacare law and the regulations being derived it.

From Quartz, a Chinese provincial government is investigating Coca Cola for illegal mapping.

And from Crashdaily, some sequesterial satire.  (What would be the adjective corresponding to the verb or noun "sequester"?  "Sequestrial"?  "Sequesteral"? "Sequestrian"?)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Court Strikes Down NYC Soda Ban

Via Patriot Update:

Today, New York state Supreme Court judge Milton Tingling has halted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on serving large size "sugary drinks", which would mainly include sodas, in restaurants and some other establishments.  Under the ban, which would have taken effect tomorrow, the largest available size would be 16 ounces.  In his opinion, Judge Tingling wrote that the "loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of the rule."

Having moved away from New York state a long time ago, I don't know much about its Constitution, and the power that it gives state courts to rule on laws passed by cities and towns.  But for the time being, score one against the nanny state.

Read the story at the Wall Street Journal.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chavez's Body To Be Put On Display

After it lies in state, the body of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez will be preserved and permanently displayed in a "glass tomb" not far from his presidential palace.  In doing so, it will join those of communist dictators Vladimir Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Kim Il Sung and Ho Chi Minh, on display in the respective countries over which they ruled.

Read the story at Yahoo News.  Read about the tombs of the embalmed communists at Comtourist.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rand Paul Launches Filibuster

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has spent much of today, when most of the federal government was closed in response to a winter storm, conducting a filibuster against the nomination of John Brennan, appointed by President Obama to lead the CIA.  This filibuster has been of the traditional variety, where one or more Senators continue speaking until 60 of them vote to end debate and move to a final vote.  Paul has been joined by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Read more (or watch live) at ABC News, the Washington Post, USA Today, The Hill and Fox News.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hugo Chavez Assumes Room Temperature

Hugo Chavez, the controversial socialist president of Venezuela, died earlier today at the age of 58, losing his long battle with cancer.  He had been in office for over 14 years.

Read more at NBC News, ABC News, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CNN, BBC News and Fox News.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Locusts Swarm Egypt

In what looks like a reenactment of one of the ten plagues in the Biblical Book of Exodus, an estimated 30 million locusts have descended upon Egypt, and have caused Israel to issue an alert.  Locust swarms are common in that region during this time of year, but this swarm is unusually large.

Read more at CBS News, Time, the Atlantic Wire, the Mail Online, ABC News and Haaretz, which reports that "several thousand" locusts have gone into the Negev, the southern desert region of Israel.  From the Atlantic Wire comes this video.  At around the 1:00 mark, you can hear the noise from the locusts.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Riddle Me This #2

Under the recently-started sequestration, why didn't we have the money to allow the DHS to continue detaining several thousand illegal aliens at their detention centers (setting aside the question of why they couldn't find other places to save money) forcing their release, yet we still can pledge $450M to Egypt?  And do we still intend to grant $307B for research, development and education to expand Internet use in Africa, including a private-public partnership headquartered in Kenya?

The respective sources for these stories are CNS News, BBC News and The Big Bad Bank.

Gun Makers Threaten To Leave

Gun manufacturers in Maryland and Colorado, in response to efforts in each state to pass strict gun control measures, have announced plans to relocate if those bills become law.  Both Virginia and West Virginia would welcome Beretta's possible relocation from their facility in Accokeek, MD.  Based in Italy, Beretta already has a place in Fredericksburg, VA.  Meanwhile in Erie, CO, locally-based Magpul has already told the state government that if the bill is passed, they will leave.  The company's founder and president, Richard Fitzpatrick, has stated, "It's not really a threat.  It's a promise."

Both stories come from Fox News.  Read about Maryland here and about Colorado here.

Note to lawmakers in both states:  The law of unintended consequences is a bitch.

Friday, March 1, 2013

"Jedi Mind Meld"?

It appears that President Obama will never be a genuine sci-fi geek.  At a press conference today, he said that he couldn't do a "Jedi mind meld" with the Republicans to make them understand his positions on taxes and spending, thus getting mixed up between the Star Wars Jedi mind trick and the Star Trek Vulcan mind meld.  Even so, it's probably a good thing.  Could you imagine how much damage politicians could do if they could link their minds together?  Oh well, live long and prosper and may the Force be with you.

Read more at ABC News, CBS News, Reuters and the Washington Post.