Saturday, April 19, 2014

Taking A Break

This weekend, I've been visiting family in Virginia for Easter.  Soon after I get back to Maryland, I'll be heading over to France for vacation.  I won't be doing any blogging while I'm over there, but if the place where I'll be staying has a computer available for guest use, I might do a little websurfing.

May everyone have a safe and blessed Easter, and I'll see you when I get back.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday Links

As Easter weekend approaches, here are a few things in the news:

From Reuters, Nokia suspends the sale of its Lumia 2520 tablet in several European countries because of problems with its charger.

From Fox News, unions in Detroit ask for $100 million in federal money.

From Hugh Hewitt, the Obama legacy.

From ESPN, Yasiel Puig's escape from Cuba.

From Life News, taxpayer-funded abortions in Canada.

From ABC News, Goldman-Sachs' income falls, but not as badly as expected.

From CBN News, after wildfires ravaged parts of Valparaiso, Chile, recovery efforts begin.

The New York Post asks "Has [graffiti artist] Banksy finally been caught on camera?"

From Military Times, there are now four prisons in Maryland in which veteran's service dogs are trained.

From Silicon Valley Business Journal, Apple and Shazam team up to bring song-identification technology to iPhones.

From Illinois Watchdog, Illinois looks at a new Chicago casino as a possible source of revenue.  (via Champion News)

From zap2it, ABC decides to renew The Great Christmas Light Fight for a second season.

And from, an explanation of why Asian students get good grades.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Former Small City Official Gets 12 Years

Robert Rizzo, the former City Manager of Bell, California, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for misappropriation of public funds and perjury.  He had paid himself and other city officials usually high salaries.  Bell has also been sentenced to 33 months for tax evasion, and will be allowed to serve the two sentences concurrently.

Read the story at USA Today, CBS Los Angeles, Southern California Public Radio and the Los Angeles Times.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Three People Shot In Two Incidents Near Kansas City

Two shootings occurred today at Jewish-related locations in the Kansas City, Kansas area.  One person was fatally shot in  the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park.  A second person was killed at an assisted living center named Village Shalom in Leawood.  A third person has been wounded.  One suspect is in custody.

Read the story at KCTV, KSHB, KMBC and JPUpdates.

UPDATE:  Reports now indicate that all three victims have been killed.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Charges Dropped Against 9-Month-Old Boy

A small bit of sanity has been restored in Pakistan.  A judge has thrown out the attempted murder charge against nine-month-old Musa Khan.  Four of his adult relatives, however, are still facing similar charges.

Read the story at Reuters.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Plan To Scuttle The A-10 Faces Opposition

The A-10 Thunderbolt, known by the knickname "Warthog" due to its ugly appearance, has been used for several decades in what is known as "close air support", including the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.  It can carry a variety of missiles and bombs, but is mainly noted for its 30-millimeter machine gun.  Among military planes, the A-10 is one of the slowest used in combat, flying at around 400 miles per hour.  Because it is slow (for an airplane), ugly and powerful, I like call it the "offensive lineman" of military aircraft.  The A-10 has recently been targeted for being discontinued, but some people in the military and Congress have expressed a desire to keep it in our arsenal.

Read the story at The Washington Post.

HHS Secretary Sebelius Announces Resignation

Kathleen Sebelius has announced that she will resign from her current position as Secretary of Health and Human Services.   President Obama is expected to name Sylvia Burwell, currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her.

Read the story at ABC News, CNBC, USA Today and The New York Times.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tim Burton Acquitted Of Harassment Charge

Tim Burton, who blogs at Freedom Loving Infidel, and who had been charged with "racially aggravated harassment" for Tweets found offensive by Fiyaz Mughal of Tell Mama UK, has been acquitted of this charge in a British Magistrates' Court.  Tim is known in the blogosphere as Catstrangler101.  Here is his brief video report:

UPDATE:  Writing in The Telegraph, Andrew Gilligan gives us some background on Fiyaz Mughal and Tell Mama.  (via The Religion Of Peace)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pakistani Boy, Nine Months Old, Charged With Attempted Murder

Brought to my attention by Red Fox Blogger:

Musa Khan is a 9-month-old Pakistani boy who has received a distinction that must surely be extremely rare for someone his age.  From the Toronto Sun:
Baby Musa Khan appeared in court in the city of Lahore last week, charged with attempted murder along with his father and grandfather after a mob protesting against gas cuts and price increases stoned police and gas company workers trying to collect overdue bills.
As a result, some of the boy's relatives have taken him into hiding.  What his alleged actions were during the alleged attempt to throw stones is, to say the least, unclear.

Mars In The News

Hmmmm, did a Martian forget to turn his light off?  A NASA camera on Mars has taken a picture showing what looks like a light source on the planet's surface, according to report carried by SFGate.  Could Marvin the Martian be testing his Q-36 Space Modulator?

Meanwhile, the entire planet is headed for its closest encounter with the earth.  Tonight, Mars will be in opposition, meaning that it is on the opposite side of the earth as the sun, as the two planets move toward their closest approach about a week later.  Read the story at USA Today.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hitler Might Have Married......A Jew?

How would this be for poetic justice?  According to a BBC Channel 4 documentary, Eva Braun, who was Adolf Hitler's mistress and very briefly his wife, may have had some Jewish ancestry.  From the National Post:
A study of hair samples found in Braun’s hairbrush at Hitler’s Alpine retreat is said to have identified a genetic sequence strongly associated with the Ashkenazi Jews, of which she is unlikely to have been aware.
Also according to the Post, many Ashkenazi Jews in Germany converted to Catholicism.  The descendants of such converts would thus no longer be Jews in the religious sense, but could have DNA associated with Jews in the ethnic sense.

Popcorn, Anyone?

Via The Blaze:

During a Pittsburgh Pirates game at PNC Park, one fan found his own way to catch a foul ball.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Links

Today on 4/4, a few things going on out there:

From California Political Review, electricity bills in California will soon include a "climate credit".

From Fox News, as the American military leaves Afghanistan, it will leave behind about $6 billion worth of equipment.

From Yahoo News, officials at Yellowstone assure us that the supervolcano is not expected to erupt any time soon.

From MLive, police in Ypsilanti, Michigan are hunting for someone who does his business on children's slides in a public park.

From No Tricks Zone, an op-ed against vegetarianism.

From the Daily Herald, a 100-year-old man heads to Wrigley Field to participate in the stadiums 100-year anniversary festivities.  (via Champion News)

From Newsmax, Secretary of State John Kerry signals that his patience with Israelis and Palestinians is running out.

From Capitol City Project, Kerry's predecessor struggles to list her accomplishments.

From Roll Call, representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) find their candidate to replace the retiring Mike Rogers (R-Mich).

From The Foundry, the filming of Captain America: The Winter Soldier took place in Washington, DC for only three days, because of regulations and taxes.

From The Washington Free Beacon, while Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev) accuses a Koch Industries subsidiary of circumventing sanctions on Iran, some of his own donors have done the same.  (via Koch Facts)

From Conservative Intelligence Briefing, while Senator Reid denounces the Koch brothers, his side of the aisle has been helped by another set of very rich brothers.

From AOL(dot)com, scientists have found liquid water inside Enceladus, a moon of Saturn.

And from Bizpac Review, some on the left have blamed the shooting at Fort Hood on (you guessed it) George Bush.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Driver Goes Almost 117 MPH On A Lawnmower

Yes, it is now possible to go from zero to 60 in 4 seconds, and cruise at well over 100 mph on a lawnmower, thanks to the U.K. division of Honda and their friends at Team Dynamics.  The world record speed (for a mower) of 116.57 mph was reached at the IDIADA Proving Ground in Tarragona, Spain.

Read the story at Wired and watch the video:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Another Shooting At Fort Hood

Today there has been a shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, which was the site of a mass shooting in 2009.  The shooting has been described as a "soldier on soldier" incident, but there are conflicting reports about whether there are one or two shooters, and how many people have been shot.  One of the shooters, if there are indeed more than one, has been reported as having been "neutralized", or possibly having killed himself.  Fort Hood has issued a "shelter in place" order for its personnel.   The campus of Central Texas College in nearby Killeen has been evacuated, and its classes cancelled.

Read the story at Fox News, USA Today, CNN, the New York Daily News, NBC News, Tuscaloosa News, and KTRK-TV.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Limits On Campaign Contributions

In a 5-4 decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, the Supreme Court has struck down limits on the total amount of money that an individual may contribute to political candidates, which had been set at $48,600 to political candidates and $74,600 to political parties and committees per two-year election cycle.  The decision does not affect the limit of $2,600 that one person may give to a single candidate during an election cycle.

Read the story at The Washington Post, The CT Mirror, USA Today and Huff Post Politics; and reactions by Club For Growth, People For The American Way and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Has The Holy Grail Been Found?

Two historians have published a book claiming that a goblet kept at the San Isidro Basilica in Leon, Spain includes the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, known as the Holy Grail.  According to these historians, the original Grail is a cup made of onyx, which was later incorporated into the chalice kept in Leon.  The onyx cup was taken from Jerusalem by Muslims, who gave it to Christians in Egypt.  Centuries later, in gratitude for aid given during a famine, it was given to king Fernando I of Castile.

The Holy Grail has been the subject of numerous legends including some involving the likewise-legendary British King Arthur, and over 200 drinking vessels in Europe alone have been asserted to be the Grail.  There is one theory, put forth in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and an earlier speculative nonfiction book Holy Blood Holy Grail, that the Holy Grail is not a drinking vessel, but a bloodline descended from Jesus, resulting from His purported marriage to Mary Magdalene and extending through the Merovingian kings of early France.  I believe that it is very possible that the cup used at the Last Supper may no longer be intact.  While the New Testament does not specify what material the cup was made of, over time metal can rust, pottery can break into shards, and wood can rot or catch fire.  On the other hand, stone such as onyx is more durable, but even stone can be crushed or broken.  If an onyx cup was taken by Muslims from Jerusalem, it may only be one that they thought was the Holy Grail, and the true cup of the Last Supper has been irretrievably lost.

Read the story at The Guardian, the New York Daily News, Fox News, Mail Online and Discovery News.