Friday, July 31, 2009

A man of few words

That would probably well describe my large and gentle Irish friend who retired from policing not long ago. The following picture and comment were in an email from him. I agree.

Wow, look who's helping the invalid communist and who couldn't care less. This guys a better cop then I ever was.

Rudy Giuliani finally agrees with Obama


Rudy Giuliani, offered, in response to the president's hope that the Gates arrest would be a "teachable moment," "He's actually right. It is teachable. Here's the lesson: Shut up."

From Politico.com

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beer Summit

I was reading the coverage about the meeting between the President, VP, Professor Gates and Sgt. Crowley. The story said Biden enjoyed a non alcoholic beer named Bucklers. Do you think the people at Bucklers are worried that normal consumers might assume anyone drinking their product will become stupid? Will the FDA compel them to provide a label stating "consumption of this product might cause spontaneous utterances that defy logic and Administration policy"? Just asking.

It figures

The one part of the albatross called the stimulus package that actually stimulated a big part of the economy has been suspended. Good thing they waited until the cash strapped auto industry spent untold millions in advertising this incentive to help this large part of the economy bounce back.

WASHINGTON -- The government plans to suspend its popular "cash for clunkers" program amid concerns it could quickly use up the $1 billion in rebates for new car purchases, congressional officials said Thursday.

The Transportation Department called lawmakers' offices to alert them to the decision to suspend the program at midnight Thursday. The program offers owners of old cars and trucks $3,500 or $4,500 toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle.

If they are short on funding why don't they take some of the cash earmarked for nonsense like toilets and wild horse programs. Then again, that might make some sense.

The rest here.

Pork, the only white meat

How can you not like pork. I mean, such a culinary travesty would be at the very least, unAmerican. I came across a nice pork primer on FoxNews today. It says in part.....

...the ‘Holy Trinity’ of prosciutto, pancetta and guanciale.

Once you get at taste of soft, delicate prosciutto wrapped around fresh melon or figs, firm bits of pancetta nestled in a rich Pasta Carbonara of eggs, parmigiano cheese and parsley, or guanciale diced into a traditional Bucatini all’Amatriciana with plum tomatoes, onions, red pepper flakes and pecorino romano, it’s hard not to become a convert to this Italian pork trifecta.

If you are a cured meat aficionado, a novice gourmet or even just a closet fat guy the rest of this story is worth a few minutes of your time. Go ahead, live a little.

The Medicaid Taxi

Professional EMS providers have been using this name for many years to describe the ambulance to which they are assigned. This story will enlighten you as to how the name is more often than not accurate.

By the way, if you were wondering how the Government is going to handle their Trillion plus dollar Health Care system, this is a good preview.

Quantcast

If it's a medical emergency, Erie County 911 will respond, but there is one address many of its dispatchers know by heart.

They find Scott Graham usually waiting at that Buffalo address for his ambulance several times a week.

"Sometimes two times a day," Graham told 2 On Your Side. He suffers from Sickle Cell Anemia, a blood disorder. If left untreated, it can block blood flow to limbs and organs.

"It feels like somebody shooting me with battery acid, and I'm stepping on razor blades, and I'm having a heart attack at once," he said talking about the pain the disorder causes.

Graham doesn't have a job, insurance or car. So, when he feels bad, he doesn't call a cab. He calls 911 to have an ambulance drive him to the hospital.

A 2 On Your Side investigation found that from January 2006 to May of this year, Rural Metro Ambulance picked him up 603 times.

Medicaid picked up the tab for each ride, costing taxpayers at least $118,158.

Graham estimates he's requested even more rides. "I'd say about a thousand times."

Rural Metro and Erie County chose not to respond on camera about Graham's case. The county follows the same rules most emergency systems follow across the country. If you call, they must haul you to the hospital, no matter what your call is about.

Graham says he requests an ambulance because he can't see his doctor as much as he needs. He also says he gets help quicker by arriving in an ambulance rather than by cab.

2 On Your Side contacted Medicaid to have them look into the number of times Graham used an ambulance. Medicaid appeared more interested in how we got the information, rather than how much it cost taxpayers to pick him up.

Medicaid fraud and abuse costs $60 billion each year nationwide.

The rest of this story is here. While it is sad the man has a horrible disease, this is out and out system abuse.

If I had a nickel for every time....

We have to move someone from their Jazzy to the stretcher.

Four-hundred-, 600- and even 800-pound patients are presenting ambulance crews with some big challenges.

As obesity rates rise, paramedics in Nebraska and Iowa are faced with carrying more obese patients. In turn, paramedics find creative ways to move them, and some fire departments are looking to borrow or buy specialized equipment.

Lincoln Fire & Rescue, for example, is considering putting a construction crane and a forklift on call for patients who are too big to get out a door or down steps. Firefighters had to use a tarp to haul an 800-pound patient a few years ago.

It's another example of how obesity can strain the health care system, whether that's hospitals or ambulance crews. The Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha in recent years has purchased heavy-duty beds and wheelchairs for obese patients.

Rest at the link.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Credit where credit is due

With New Jersey again being slammed as the perfect place for corrupt politicians to thrive its nice to know that not everyone is involved in shameless thievery. While I do not always agree with him I would like to take up a bit of space extolling the virtues of my local Assemblyman. The following is from our local paper The Home News Tribune.

MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) had a chance to do business with a man posing as a developer — if only he would mix his private law practice with public business.The temptation allegedly came in a telephone call from Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith (D-Hudson) on behalf of Solomon Dwek, who was posing as a developer, when in fact he was working undercover with federal officials.

When Smith was arrested last week, the criminal complaint filed against him referred to his effort to lure an unnamed "DOT Official" into the scheme.Wisniewski acknowledged that he is the "DOT Official."

Nice to know someone can say no. But I am still not voting for Jon Corzine. The rest at the link.

Never mind Emily Post, what would Wilbur Post say?

COLUMBIA, South Carolina — A South Carolina man was charged with having sex with a horse after the animal's owner caught the act on videotape, then staked out the stable and caught him at shotgun point, authorities said Wednesday.

But this wasn't the first time Rodell Vereen has been charged. He pleaded guilty last year to having sex with the same horse after owner Barbara Kenley found him in the same stable. Then he was sentenced to probation and placed on the state's sex offender list.

I mean really, what the hell was he thinking? I think this will put a damper on my "Honey, the Carolinas might be a nice place to retire" program. You can see the rest here.

Wo bist meine licht?

From Der Spiegel

The staggered phase out of energy-wasting light bulbs begins on Sept. 1 in Germany. The unpopularity of the energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs that will replace them is leading consumers and retailers to start hoarding the traditional bulbs.

As the Sept. 1 deadline for the implementation of the first phase of the EU's ban on incandescent light bulbs approaches, shoppers, retailers and even museums are hoarding the precious wares -- and helping the manufacturers make a bundle.

Maybe this is what they were singing about.

You vill not take mein lightenbulben! Wo bist deine bastard Gore?



This has trouble written all over it

While like most cops in New Jersey I tend to look less than favorably at decisions that restrict police procedures I find that usually after my initial anger I can see the sense behind the decision. Case in point, vehicular pursuits. I can't rationalize putting innocent civilians in the way of potentially great harm to chase a stolen car. I found myself in the position of doing so more than a few times in the early part of my career and looking back the risk (to innocent life) versus the benefit (a property crime) just did not achieve the balance it should. That is largely the reason that I really like the initiative police on the west coast show when they execute a PIT maneuver. That way the risk to the populace and the cop is minimized and lets face it, who really cares about the offender.

While I know the cops in Chicago have their hands full I just don't get this one.

CHICAGO (CBS) ―The Chicago Police Department has instituted a major change in policy regarding the use of deadly force.

Effective next Monday, police officers will be able to fire their guns under circumstances where they previously could not.

The new policy, from police Supt. Jody Weis and confirmed by WBBM Newsradio 780 Wednesday morning, allows police officers to shoot at fleeing vehicles if the driver or passengers are suspected of committing a felony.

The rest is here.

Everyone gets a day off once in a while


LES COMBES, Italy (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday that his "guardian angel" let him down when he fell and broke his wrist earlier this month, but that the angel was clearly acting "on superior orders."

The pope thanked law enforcement officials for being "like angels," as he prepared to depart Les Combes, the Alpine resort where he tripped and injured his wrist 10 days ago while on vacation.

"Unfortunately, my own guardian angel did not prevent my injury, certainly following superior orders," Benedict said.

"Perhaps the Lord wanted to teach me more patience and humility, give me more time for prayer and meditation," the pope added.

The rest at the link.

Welcome to the Big Apple....now go home

How can you not love New York? Check this one out.

NEW YORK — New York City is buying one-way plane tickets for homeless families to leave the city.

It's part of a program by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration to keep the homeless out of the expensive shelter system, which costs $36,000 a year per family.

More than 550 families have left the city since 2007. All it takes is for a relative to agree to take them in.


Silence Critics and Bleeding Hearts! Nobody is forced to go and they have to have made arrangements to live with family or friends in their new locale. Kudos to the Bloomberg Administration. Any other takers?

The story is here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

With thanks

Received some very good news today about the health of a loved one. Deo Gratias.

Crappy day at work department

A Swedish company has been fined 25,000 kronor ($3,000) after a malfunctioning robot attacked and almost killed one of its workers at a factory north of Stockholm.

The incident took place in June 2007 at a factory in Bålsta, north of Stockholm, when the industrial worker was trying to carry out maintenance on a defective machine generally used to lift heavy rocks. Thinking he had cut off the power supply, the man approached the robot with no sense of trepidation.

But the robot suddenly came to life and grabbed a tight hold of the victim's head. The man succeeded in defending himself but not before suffering serious injuries.

"The man was very lucky. He broke four ribs and came close to losing his life," said Leif Johansson.





The rest at this link.

Oh yeah, this will work

Maybe they should have just worked out that whole selling of indulgences thing.

Rowan Williams the Archbishop of Canterbury, said profound differences among the world’s 77 million Anglicans over gay clergy and same-sex unions could divide their church into a “two-track model” yielding “two styles of being Anglican.”

The formula could avert a formal breach between liberals and conservatives but bring new strains in the relationship between the global Anglican Communion American Episcopalians who resolved this month to open the door to ordaining openly gay Bishops and to start the process for developing rites for same sex marriages.

An interesting story you can find at the NY Times.

I can't keep up

Much as I would like to be the most clever or insightful person with a blog my efforts pale in comparison to the likes of my west coast colleague the Diginatrix. She has a great post today that really made me chuckle. So if you do not regularly hit her blog via the link provided on my page do yourself a favor and click here for a really great post.

Humorless Toilet Humor

I knew most of the money in the Government stimulus package was going down the toilet but this is ridiculous.

WASHINGTON -- The feds are spending tens of millions of stimulus dollars to repair and build toilets across the nation, in an outflow of taxpayer funds that critics have branded "potty pork."

From humble sylvan outhouses to "historic" restrooms, cash from the $787 billion stimulus is going to spruce up or completely replace aging toilets, government releases show.

In New Mexico alone, the feds are spending $2.8 million for toilets in national forests.

The bathroom bonanza runs across myriad federal agencies, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Veterans Affairs Administration and the Army.


From the NY Post.

Waiting in the wings

Here is one for the next season of American Idol.

Cutting out the middle man

Sometimes the machinery that is US Immigration law moves a bit too slowly. Tired of paying the bill this hospital thought outside the box.

STUART, Fla. — A South Florida hospital that quietly chartered a plane and sent a seriously brain injured illegal immigrant back to Guatemala over the objections of his family and legal guardian did not act unreasonably, a jury ruled Monday.

Health care and immigration experts across the country have closely watched the court case in the sleepy coastal town of Stuart. They say it underscores the dilemma facing hospitals with patients who require long-term care, are unable to pay and don't qualify for federal or state aid because of their immigration status.


Maybe if we did a bit more of this Illegal Immigration might not be such a big problem.

The rest here.

As I get ready for another year of Parochial School Tuition

As Port Chester High School gets ready for the new school year, officials have signed off on a new service that will offer free testing for sexually transmitted diseases and even pregnancy testing to any student who asks.

"Like any other high school we have teen pregnancy so when a young lady comes down we can offer a test and guide her and refer them from that point," Superintendent Donald K. Carlisle said.

Carlisle said it's simply an extension of the comprehensive health services already provided to students. Students requesting the tests will be able to receive them without needing parental permission. Parents would also not be advised of test results.

The rest at the link.

From the special place in Hell department


Police say an employee of a scrap yard in Hackensack became suspicious when a man pulled up in a taxi with the 200-pound statue broken into pieces.

Iran Salmon of Newark and Maria Impalli of Hackensack are charged with theft of removable property.

The statue was taken from St. Joseph's Cemetery.

From The Home News Tribune.

Irritated

Last week New Jersey was placed back on the top of the "places that are FUBAR" pile after the arrest of 44 or so people, including some high ranking elected officials in the latest corruption scandal to hit the Garden State. Among the accused are the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs and the mayors of Seacacus, Hoboken and a a deputy mayor of Jersey City.

While scanning the local rag today there was a story detailing the fact that with the exception of the Commissioner, none of the mayors have resigned or at least temporarily stepped down until the charges against them are resolved.

One of the beauties of our Constitution is that we are all presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, when you are in a position of public trust you are generally held to a higher standard. Teachers, Firemen, and Police when indicted are immediately suspended without pay and have to wait out the judicial process. If found not guilty, they are reinstated. It is all about preserving the public trust. Taken at face value you would think New Jersey values the trust citizens put in their public officials. Recently a local volunteer firefighter was convicted of Misconduct in Office and received a four year term for stealing diesel fuel. While it wasn't hundreds of gallons it was a theft consummated through his public yet unpaid position. And so, he is paying the piper in terms of his liberty for the next four years.

Sadly, this premium on the public trust is not extended to paid political types who refuse to surrender (temporarily if their protestations of innocence are genuine) their office even in the face of what seems to be overwhelming evidence. Lets face it that its a fairly safe bet that the US Attorney didn't obtain indictments in a willy nilly fashion just to grab a cheap headline or two.

Therefore the remedy seems not to be in the criminal code but rather in a well informed electorate who I hope are finally fed up enough to cause real change in November rather than be lured like lemmings over the precipice into the sea of business as usual in Trenton.

For those of you wondering......

And I know a great many of you are. There are many people who surmise that police in America are a racially insensitive bunch of louts who if not for the intervention of a politician would be emptying garbage cans along the Jersey Shore. In almost twenty five years of service I have personally been subject to accusations of racially motivated actions for simply doing my job. It does not seem to matter one bit that I have never once witnessed anyone being arrested because of the color of their skin or the manner in which they worship. Without exception anyone I have ever had the occasion to deprive of their liberty has been the direct result of their stupidity.

While I would rather drive nails into my forehead than watch CNN by way of the Drudge Report I came across this video regarding recent events at Harvard. Black, white, yellow or brown ceases to matter when you put that hideous blue polyester uniform for the first time. What you learn rapidly in this line of work is that outside of a physical description, color is meaningless. It is not in any way a common denominator. Stupidity and bad judgement however are and that type of behavior transcends all issues of race and socio economic status.

This video is an important educational tool to help those who think they are in the know truly understand what transpired on that porch at Harvard University. And further it is a sterling example of another blunder by the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Monday, July 27, 2009

More cracks in the dam

More evidence the voter is beginning to wake up. And many middle of the road types who crossed the aisle may be regretting their decision.

A FOX News poll released Monday shows that 30 percent of voters say they approve of the job Congress is doing, while twice as many -- 60 percent -- disapprove. In May, 41 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved.

The drop in Congress' approval rating comes almost entirely from Democrats and independents. Some 42 percent of Democrats say they disapprove of Congress, up significantly from 25 percent two months ago (12-13 May 2009). Similarly, 66 percent of independents disapprove, while 53 percent said so in May. Disapproval among Republicans is essentially unchanged at 76 percent.

The rest here.

How hard is it?

The question begs to be answered. When a cop asks you for your ID, how hard is it to comply? These questions leaped to mind when I read the story of the interlude shared by Sgt. Crowley of the Cambridge PD and Professor Henry Gates of Harvard University. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, Cambridge PD sent a few units to Professor Gates home on report of someone trying to get in the residence by forcing the front door. On arrival it was determined that the man in question was Gates who had forgotten his keys and was returning from some international travel. Despite the fact that Gates was identified as the homeowner he was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct after an argument with police, specifically Sgt. Crowley.

To distill this to its simplest points if you have occasion to be stopped by the police and they ask you for some ID please just show it to them. If you are doing nothing wrong that will be the end of it. It is really quite simple. We have been conducting field interviews based on citizen complaints for years and to my memory none of these interactions have required the intervention of the President of the United States. Even if you are a learned Professor and have just returned from travel it is in your best interest to become a partner with the local police who have no agenda other than keeping your community safe. So even if you are cranky from carrying a chip on your shoulder for fifty years or so, put down your baggage, take a deep breath, show your ID and go about you business happy the local constabulary is on the job keeping your family and property safe from the bad guys.

Late to the party

Its already been emailed over the entire planet but for those of you who haven't caught the coverage here is a video of some good friends having a good time. A very imaginative and fun filled wedding procession. While I would kill either of my kids if they floated this idea to me as an option for their nuptials it was still kind of neat.

Something Fishy


VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A cruise ship arrived at the Port of Vancouver with a dead whale lodged in its bow.

The Princess Cruise Lines' Sapphire Princess was docked at the Canada Place terminal Saturday with the whale stuck to its front. It wasn't immediately known when it arrived or when the collision occurred.

The rest is at Fox News.


They did not learn their lesson with New Coke

Cows may not think it is the real thing, but Coca-Cola is preparing to launch fizzy milk on the world.

The drink contains skim milk mixed with sparkling water, flavored with fruit and sweetened with cane sugar.

Here is the link.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You can't make chicken soup out of chicken feathers

Emboldened perhaps by the leftward storm blowing out of the District of Columbia vegan know it alls have apparently decided to hit me where it hurts. From the LA Times:

"Warning: Consuming hot dogs and other processed meats increases the risk of cancer."That's the label that a vegan advocacy group wants a New Jersey court to order Oscar Mayer, Hebrew National and other food companies to slap on hot dog packages.

The nonprofit Cancer Project filed a lawsuit today on behalf of three New Jersey plaintiffs asking the Essex County superior court to compel the companies to place cancer-risk warning labels on hot dog packages sold in New Jersey.


I have an idea. If they are going to take away these tasty treats how about we replace them with something healthy, like vegans. I think the guy in the clip might have the recipe.

Line of Duty Death

For those of us that make up the thin blue line it is a heart wrenching thing when one of our number is killed or maimed by some animal. It is especially hard when the incident occurs close to home.

On July 16th Detective Mark DiNardo of the Jersey City Police Department was shot while attempting with his ESU team to apprehend two armed piles of excrement that had earlier wounded other Jersey City Officers. Sadly, Detective DiNardo has died from his wounds.

The subject that fired the fatal shot had just been released from prison after serving time on a weapons charge that Detective DiNardo had charged him with.

This man even served his community in death. Detective DiNardo's organs were transplanted to five people in dire need of this life saving procedure.

In your charity please remember this brave man, his wife and three young children in your prayers.


More nervous than a cat on a frozen pond




A telling episode recounted by Senate Finance ranking member Charles Grassley reveals the Obama administration might be more worried than they are letting on that a Republican senator's comparison of the healthcare overhaul to Waterloo might be dangerously close to the truth.
Grassley said he spoke with a Democratic House member last week who shared Obama's bleak reaction during a private meeting to reports that some factions of House Democrats were lining up to stall or even take down the overhaul unless leaders made major changes.
"Let's just lay everything on the table," Grassley said. "A Democrat congressman last week told me after a conversation with the president that the president had trouble in the House of Representatives, and it wasn't going to pass if there weren't some changes made ... and the president says, 'You're going to destroy my presidency.' "


Maybe he needs Rahm to feed him the same fantasy they are trying to sell to the American Public. While the defeat of the Health Care plan might destroy his presidency it will certainly save the future of the people in this country. Well, at least the ones that foot the bills.


The rest at the link.

In the what are they smoking department....

From a story on Breitbart.com today:

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told The New York Times Obama intends to use the news conference as a "six-month report card," to talk about "how we rescued the economy from the worst recession" and the legislative agenda moving forward, including health care and energy legislation.

Think about this statement. How we rescued the economy. Clearly this is a statement crying out for a reality check. Everyone, and I mean everyone I know from every possible strata of the economy is cutting back on expenses. There is not one extra dime to be had and yet this tool has the audacity to take credit for an economic recovery that apparently exists only in his vivid imagination. I cannot think of one working family that I know that has not been affected by the current recession. For that matter I cannot think of one charitable or civic organization that has not felt the crunch either. Yet this space cadet seems to think everything is just fine. Someone needs to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality for the Obama White House and it does not appear to me that this Rhodes Scholar is the guy for the job.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bet they don't like what they are hearing

Support, even among the Democrats is beginning to thin in the face of increased public scrutiny of the scheme. Opponents are either completely against the plan due to the cost which even the Administration can't quantify or like the man in the following excerpt bridling under the yoke of more government intrusion into basic freedoms.

LARGO, Md. (WUSA) -- Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat who favors health care reform, faced an audience of more than 500 people (at its peak) Monday evening for what he called a town hall meeting on the topic that is the number one item on President Obama's domestic agenda.

Audience members could offer questions on cards that were passed out as they entered the Prince George's County Community College Student Center, or they could line up at microphones to offer them in person.

Perhaps the most controversial, came from Robert Broadus of Clinton, Maryland, an audience member who had lost his job and replaced it with one that paid him far less money.

"I decided not to get the health insurance. That's working out for me because I'm able to save that extra money and give it to my family members and use it on myself. Senator Cardin, I want to know are you going to tell me an individual...that I have to buy health care or else you're going to fine me $2,500 every year I don't get it? Our founding fathers assured us we have a Bill of Rights and I want to see you uphold that," Broadus said in an increasingly emotional voice and to scattered applause.

The rest is at the link.

Obama Poll Numbers

Just yesterday I mentioned that it would be nice if someone would take the initiative to compare President Obama's poll numbers to those of Jimmy Carter. USA Today did just that. It makes for an interesting read and can be found here.

Here we go again

From Fox News Today:

President Obama's "science czar," Paul Holdren, once floated the idea of forced abortions, "compulsory sterilization," and the creation of a "Planetary Regime" that would oversee human population levels and control all natural resources as a means of protecting the planet -- controversial ideas his critics say should have been brought up in his Senate confirmation hearings.

Holdren, who has degrees from MIT and Stanford and headed a science policy program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government for the past 13 years, won the unanimous approval of the Senate as the president's chief science adviser.

Does this sound at all familiar to anyone out there? Has anyone read a history book? Even one of the highly edited books available in the Public Schools? Sounds a bit like this guy to me.





The rest can be found here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Surprise!

From Fox News:

The total price tag for federal support stemming from the financial crisis could reach $23.7 trillion in the long run, the government's top bailout watchdog says in a new report to Congress.

Neil Barofsky, the inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, plans to deliver his report Tuesday to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The $23.7 trillion figure is admittedly a high-ball number and reflects the total potential gross exposure, but Barofsky in his prepared testimony notes that the TARP -- which started as a $700 billion bailout -- has expanded well beyond that.

Taking off the rose colored glasses

Fr. Erik over at Orthometer has a refreshingly honest take on the contributions of Walter Cronkite. It is an honest and unvarnished assesment that is worth the read. It is here at the link.

Small wonder


Like most guys I really enjoy a good gadget. Limitations of budget notwithstanding I manage to grab one or two things over the course of a year that I don't really need but must have. Recently I have been pondering a new purchase but have been putting it off until I get a chance to really check it out. Luckily my daughter received a Flip Camera for her birthday and I have been gleefully helping her get familiar with its operation.

This is a really amazing toy....I mean tool. Where else can you get a digital camera a bit larger than a Palm that will give you two hours of recording capability that can be almost instantly downloaded to your PC via a USB connection. A connection might I add that is built right in to the camera.

Now for the video purists among you yes there are some limitations. The zoom will not reveal the latest zit on an unsuspecting subjects face nor will it allow you to read the local paper from across the room. But the ability to have an inexpensive digital video camera in your pocket ready to be deployed on a few seconds notice far outweighs the nightmare of hauling out the "big camera" and doing all kinds of prep work. It is a device designed to capture those fleeting and sometimes hilarious moments in life that might otherwise be lost to posterity.

I think my friend Nescro will still mightily defend the virtues of his iPhone for use in every aspect of digital life but I must respectfully disagree. This is a cool widget and I think I might be due to grab one for myself in the very near future.

How about a little Catholic Bashing?

You have all undoubtedly seen them. Young well groomed men wearing white shirts and ties navigating their bicycles through your town. Maybe you have seen them on your doorstep extolling the virtues of their Church. What I never knew, or in my naivete never suspected was that among some of them there is a need to Catholic bash.

On a recent visit to The Digital Hairshirt my left coast blogging colleague found a Facebook post that you might find interesting. I will not steal her thunder but will warn you that if you do not have the stomach for a picture of the Pope with a Hitler mustache or are unprepared for a glimpse at the dark underside of what would appear to be otherwise wholesome appearing proselytizing, beware. Make sure you check out the post at The Digital Hairshirt. While I do not wish to indict the entire LDS Church you should be aware of how Roman Catholics are sometimes portrayed.

Must be one hell of a door!

During today's news cruise I found a number of links on the Drudge Report detailing how, through government bidding, a portion of the stimulus money is being spent. By clicking on this link you will see a bid award for repairing a door at an Air Force base to the tune of around 1.5 million dollars. There is a nice sampling of government excess over at Drudge so be sure to check it out. And despite my fervent hopes I would not be surprised if the door to be repaired was actually of this variety.

Running Scared

And so it begins.

If the 2012 presidential election were held today, President Obama and possible Republican nominee Mitt Romney would be all tied up at 45% each, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Now I know that it is early and as usual the world of politics is very fluid. But I think it is telling that this early in the game the numbers for Mr. Obama are beginning to slip....well OK, plummet. I am encouraged that this may signal a Carteresque scenario. I just hope that there is someway to minimize the damage that Congress can cause in the interim.

And of course there is the blame game. Now that things are not so rosy you will find increasing references to George Bush and how the economic mess is all his fault. With the stranglehold that remains in the main stream media you will be hard pressed to find the few honest journalists that will point the finger directly at the Clinton Administration for our woes. But that is to be expected. Given that Mr. Bush should have done more to intercede and turn back the mistakes of Mr. Clinton clearly the fault is not his to shoulder. But without some significant digging you would never know the truth. I wonder if some up and coming journalist will do the necessary digging to see if there are any parallels between his poll numbers and those of my least favorite peanut farmer at this point in his administration. In that I find a reason to hope.

Much more at the link.

They are scared, you should be too

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is being forced to acknowledge the wide gap between its once-upbeat predictions about the economy and today's bleak landscape.

The administration's annual midsummer budget update is sure to show higher deficits and unemployment and slower growth than projected in President Barack Obama's budget in February and update in May, and that could complicate his efforts to get his signature health care and global-warming proposals through Congress.

The release of the update - usually scheduled for mid-July - has been put off until the middle of next month, giving rise to speculation the White House is delaying the bad news at least until Congress leaves town on its August 7 summer recess.

The Democratic-controlled Congress is reeling from last week's testimony by the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, that the main health care proposals Congress is considering would not reduce costs - as Obama has insisted - but "significantly expand" the federal financial responsibility for health care.

The rest is at the link.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

It was forty years ago today.....

No, not Sergeant Pepper. Forty years ago today Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on to the lunar surface. Stepping from the lunar module Eagle Armstrong and his partners Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin lit up the imagination of all Americans as they took that "giant leap for mankind".


I remember that only being seven years old at the time my Dad struggled to keep me awake for the late night event knowing what a great memory it would be. And there I sat perched on the couch in the living room watching the amazing but poor images being broadcast from a place that up until that time had been largely a mystery. Now that was a time of hope.....and wonder.




Starting to figure it out

BILOXI, Miss. — The nation’s governors, Democrats as well as Republicans, voiced deep concern Sunday about the shape of the health care bill emerging from Congress, fearing that the federal government is about to hand them expensive new Medicaid obligations without providing the money to pay for them.

But the sentiment among those who were could not have been more consistent, regardless of political party. The governors said in interviews and public sessions that the bills being drafted in Congress would not do enough to curb the growth in health spending. And they said they were convinced that a major expansion of Medicaid will leave them with heavy costs.

You don't have to be a genius to figure out that the Universal Healthcare that the Obama Administration is trying to force upon us is a bad idea. As if the excerpt from the NY Times article is not enough there is much more in the news that is relevant to the debate. All you have to do is read the news and understand only half of it. Funny thing is this scheme has already been tried in other places on a smaller scale. In fact just yesterday Fox News had this article that said in part....

As lawmakers on Capitol Hill battle to create a nationwide health care system to cover all, Massachusetts is struggling to keep the state's groundbreaking universal coverage program up and running.

Facing a massive budget shortfall, lawmakers are cutting roughly 30 thousand legal, taxpaying immigrants out of the state subsidized Commonwealth Care program.

You can only stretch a dollar do far. And if you remember that the Federal Government has no money of its own and spends your dollars its not to hard to discern who will be footing the bill. Many people are being comfortable in being duped. Now the party line is that "the rich" will be paying more taxes to cover the cost of this program. A program that by any stretch of the imagination is financially unsustainable. With the cost of this proposal already in the trillions its not going to be too long before the middle class will be paying more and getting less.

Individual budget assesments that are now seeing the light of day characterize this program as a disaster. Yet it seems that those in Washington believe as long as they say it often enough and with the appearance of deep conviction all will be well. Now you don't believe that, do you?



Look out Mark Martin!

PORTLAND, Ore. — 81-year-old Hershel McGriff has become the oldest driver to take part in a national NASCAR series race after qualifying for a Camping World West Series event at Portland International Raceway.

In a career that has spanned six decades, he won four NASCAR Cup races, and 37 races on the West series. He is a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame.

The rest of the story here.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Suagar and Spice and everything nice

Just wanted to take a moment after all of the mania here today to wish my sweet little girl a happy 9th birthday. Lots of kids, lots of sun and lots of fun. May God grant her many more happy and fulfilling years. Daddy loves you Hannah.

Drink the Kool Aid



Found at Domine, da mihi hanc aquam.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Potential



Found over at the Deacon's Bench.

Just when you thought.....

Joe Biden might be taking a break from saying very stupid things here is a little gem from CNSnews.com.

(CNSNews.com) – Vice President Joe Biden told people attending an AARP town hall meeting that unless the Democrat-supported health care plan becomes law the nation will go bankrupt and that the only way to avoid that fate is for the government to spend more money.

Not stupid enough for you? OK here is a bit more.

“Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’” Biden said. “The answer is yes, that's what I’m telling you.”

By the way, please make sure all of your elderly parents are on Aricept. Apparently the learned folk over at the AARP are supporting the Obama Administration in this endeavor.

This is not funny

So have any of you been wondering how the government in tough economic times is exercising prudent thrift? I think I culled the answer from today's Drudge Report. Apparently the Bureau of the Public Debt is trying to find contractors to provide humor in the workplace. You read it right. The US Government wants to hire comedians.

Not satisfied with having a full time comedian on the staff of the US Senate (Al Franken for those of you who forgot) or a clown as Vice President it is apparently necessary to put comedians on the payroll. Trillions of dollars in new debt. Now there is something to chuckle about. The job posting from the Government website is here.

Split personalities

Yesterday two street thugs shot up a total of four Jersey City cops before being removed from the social equation by the interjection of some long arms. I am grateful that the cops who were hurt, two of them critically, are reported to be OK and are going to make a full recovery. I am equally grateful for the continued good work of companies like Smith and Wesson and Colt Firearms who continue to contribute to the safety of our country. That aside, I feel the need to complain a bit.

Regular readers of this blog know that I am blessed in two roles in the world of public safety as both a Dirty Copper and as a Paramedic. Police work comes pre equipped with a long tradition of service and honors and tradition that are as old as our country. Emergency Medical Service workers however are the bastard children of the triumvirate of the Big Three (Fire, Police and EMS). People often forget how critical of a job it really is. Case in point a story from the Jersey Journal in which the EMS responders that saved the lives of the injured cops are interviewed. My good friend and sometimes night shift partner The Fisherman is interviewed about his role in the event and the reporter does not even take time to acknowledge his proper job title. He is identified as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) when in fact he is a Registered Nurse.

Now, not to lessen the importance of the role of EMT. I would not do that. As the first rung in the food chain of EMS the EMT is the guy or gal that is going to get to your door and if nothing else make sure you get to a hospital. Many of the full timers I know for many years are fantastic at what they do and have short changed themselves by not aspiring to greater career heights. But the fact remains that the Paramedics and Registered Nurses are the only ones on the street that possess the advanced medical skills and equipment that replaced the lightning fast ride to the hospital in the hopes the patient would survive the trip of yesteryear to today's more measured response designed to bring life saving care to the patient on scene. I find it more than a bit annoying that EMS folks aren't given their due. Keep in mind that in all likelihood you will not have a fire at your home (thank God) and more than likely if you have an interaction with the local police it will be an unsatisfying interlude (because you were probably driving too fast). Statistically speaking though it is highly likely that you will have the need to avail yourself of the services of an EMS professional at least once in your life. And these are the folks that are going to do their level best to insure that you will be around to wave at the firemen in the annual Memorial Day Parade or curse the local cop who writes you a ticket for talking on your cell phone while driving.

Unlike days past when all you had to rely on was speedy cab ride or a group of well intentioned volunteers in a used hearse to get you to a local hospital, today's EMS professionals (Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics and Registered Nurses) are what make a large difference in your health and safety. Reporters and public alike take note of their importance and get to know their very important roles.

The story is here.

Photo is from the Jersey Journal. The Fisherman is the old bald guy. OK, the old bald guy second from left

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More good planning

Fox News: A Spanish woman believed to have become the world's oldest new mother when she gave birth at age 66 has died, leaving behind twin toddlers, newspapers reported Tuesday.
Maria del Carmen Bousada, who reportedly died Saturday at age 69, gave birth in December 2006 as a single mother after getting in vitro fertilization.


She told an interviewer she lied to a California Fertility Clinic about her age, and maintained that because her mother had lived to be 101, she had a good chance of living long enough to raise a child.

Selfishness defined.

New Sin Tax to pay for Obama Healthcare Scheme?

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A New Hampshire man says he swiped his debit card at a gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes and was charged over 23 quadrillion dollars.

Josh Muszynski checked his account online a few hours after the purchase and saw the 17-digit number — a stunning $23,148,855,308,184,500 (twenty-three quadrillion, one hundred forty-eight trillion, eight hundred fifty-five billion, three hundred eight million, one hundred eighty-four thousand, five hundred dollars).


The original story is here.

Oh No! Not the "R" Word!



Who knew?

A billboard proclaiming that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican has stirred a religious and political hornets' nest in Houston, where a church leader is trying to draw black voters into the Republican Party.

The jumbo-sized roadside ad made its contentious claim for about a week -- until a local black activist charged that the sign unjustly politicized King's legacy and was hurting his community by telling a "blatant lie."

"Martin Luther King may have very well believed in some of the Christian principles of the Republican Party, but Dr. Martin Luther King was not a Republican or a Democrat," said Quanell X, who heads the New Black Panther Party in Houston.


Who would have the nerve to call the Civil Rights Icon such a "dirty" name? The next thing you know they will accuse him of wanting people of all colors to be self reliant, thrifty and to eschew the government dole. What is this topsy turvy era of Socialist mania coming to?

Both the photo and article are from Fox News.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Liberty and Tyranny


What is nice about vacation (even if you really don't go anywhere) and not having a promotional test looming over your head is the ability to read for leisure. My Father used to be fond of quoting one of his elementary school teachers favorite sayings. Sister Angela used to say there were only three things you must do to be successful in life. "Read, read and read." With Dad reminding me of that quote and while watching my Mom ( a consummate book lover) devour on average of one book per day it was natural that the reading bug would be transmitted to my generation. But demands of everyday life sometimes put a dent in time that would otherwise be spent curled up with a good book.

Of course, no time to read does not necessarily translate in to no time to buy or shop for books so over the last nine or so months I have accumulated quite a pile that I am finally starting to go through. On the top of the pile was Liberty and Tyranny by Mark R. Levin. This "Conservative manifesto" was on top of the pile for several reasons. First, I had often listened to many hours of Mr. Levin courtesy of WABC radio while whiling away many lonely hours alone on patrol and found him to be forthright and a Great American. Second, a few of my friends had read it and gave it a rousing endorsement.

I know I am coming late to the party but I must tell you that if you have a Conservative bone in your body this book is essential. While a true Conservative understands on a visceral level why the right is right and the left is just, well to put it charitably uniformed, sometimes you need someone to distill what you are feeling into a manageable and informed publication.

In a short two hundred and five pages Mr. Levin will provide you with a) an undergraduate degree in conservatism, b) data validation that will help you and your more uniformed colleagues understand that conservatism is an important value, and c) educate you in a manner that will prepare you for debate and defense of Conservative ideals.

You will walk away from the experience knowing that most of the governmental failures that haunt us and succeeding generations have spawned from liberalism and those who would subvert the original intent of the Founding Fathers in an effort to impose their twisted concept of Socialist Utopia on us while having us foot the bill. If you possess Conservative values or are one of the many fence sitters that wasted their vote on "Change" in the last Presidential election you will find ideological redemption in this book.

Mr. Levin is a fine American and possesses a sharp intellect. If you are looking for a serious read this summer that will cause you to engage in some intellectual calisthenics I assure you that you will satisfy your needs within the pages of this book.

Tribute to the Mainstream Media

Thanks to Kool Aid for this one.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Marching to your own drum

While enjoying this sunny afternoon my lovely wife asked if I would like to go check out a Flea Market in Farmingale. While a good many people I know would turn their nose up at such a suggestion I eagerly said yes. It is a perfect place to look for antique this and that and to people watch.

There are two ways to engage in this little diversion, passive or active. Normally passive is fine but if you need to quench your thirst for knowledge, active it is.

I spotted "Wolf" catching a quick snack after picking up some Harley Davidson odds and ends. After the initial "which of those hurt the worst" inquiry we had a nice chat. Turns out we hail from the same hometown. He was a nice guy and while I will continue to keep my tatoos in more traditional spots I admire his carefree inividuality.

By the way, you're looking at over 90 hours under the needle.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Michael Jackson wrap up

Photo courtesy of © Stephanie Richer

Having endured two weeks of UPN style mourning the more conventionally minded among us might think that the garish display surrounding the death of Michael Jackson is over. Fresh from a (dare I say it?) over the top memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles many of his followers still pine for a "fitting" final resting place that will put Graceland to shame. Yet like an MX missle his corpse is still being shuttled around to undisclosed locations until such time as the clamor dies off and he is paraded out again for pecuinary gain. Should it come to pass that his final resting place is in fact the immortal Neverland Ranch I wonder if in years to come a new generation of blue hairs will board tour buses with smelly bathrooms to make the long trek to pay homage. Only time will tell.

Part of an ongoing argument I have with many of my friends who have jobs of the nine to five variety is that the guests on Jerry Springer and shows of that variety are real people. Some of them continue to disagree. Thus the photo at the top of this post. Knowing that a bona fide Officer of the Court and fellow traveller the Diginatrix was taking a day to go on photo safari at the memorial service I waited with glee for her to post the pictures she captured. I was not disappointed. It is quite a collection.

While there were a suitable number of people there from the fringes of society there were a good number of normal looking folk there as well. Please take the time to stop over at The Digital Hairshirt and check out her work as well as some commentary not filtered through the main stream media suits. Tell her the Dirty Copper sent you.

Her pics can be accessed directly on her Flickr page or by clicking the pictures


Photo courtesy of © Stephanie Richer

Peace OUT!

Punishing Excellence

Ok, the title is a bit disingenuous. Bear in mind that tongue is firmly planted in my cheek for this story from Fox News.

Hide-And-Seek Banned for Toddler Hidden From Parents for Hour


GREENVILLE, Pa. — A Pennsylvania toddler did such a remarkable job of hiding during a game of hide-and-seek that the family had to call police and firefighters to help find her.

Two-year-old Natalie Jasmer was playing the game with her siblings Tuesday in their Pymatuning Township home. When the family couldn't find her, parents Dennis and Michelle Jasmer called authorities.

Emergency crews and friends frantically searched the neighborhood about 70 miles northwest of Pittsburgh for about an hour.

The family's dog, Copper, finally sniffed her out. She had fallen asleep in a drawer underneath the family's washing machine.

The little girl told her family she was sorry. Hide-and-seek is now banned in the Jasmer household.

In fairness, shouldn't the other kids be punished for not finding her?

Not a Polish joke

Spin of the nightstick for my friend the Big Headed Irishman for tipping me to this story.

A Polish woman has filed a lawsuit against an Egyptian hotel after claiming her teenage daughter got pregnant from using the pool.

Magdalena Kwiatkowska claims her 13-year-old daughter conceived from a stray sperm floating in the hotel’s mixed-sex pool after she took a dip, the Sun reports. The hotel was not named.

The teen returned to Poland from holiday expecting a baby. Kwiatkowska said her daughter did not meet any boys while she was in Egypt.

Tourist authorities in Warsaw confirmed the complaint. The mother is seeking compensation from the hotel.

I wish I was making this up.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pro Choice

A job well done

Sometimes you get a gentle reminder that the lessons you learned as a kid remain relevant throughout your life. I can still hear my parents saying "a job worth doing is a job worth doing right". In witness to this idea I present for your consideration The Recycling Guy. I happened to be on a street in town early this morning as this man navigated his mamouth vehicle through the narrow streets. Due to some construction in the area he had to park some distance from his pick ups and walk them down the street to his truck. During one such trip he had placed the empty cans on the curb and returned to his truck in preparation to leave. All of a sudden he sprinted from the cab and bolted up the street. For a brief second I thought there might be a problem. There was. He had inadvertantly droppped a solitary aluminum can on the ground. Not a big deal I will grant you. Just some
small service excellence that would ordinarily pass without notice. While this fellow is not engaged in life saving research he obviously takes pride in providing good service to the customers on his route. His employer and customers are lucky to have him.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Post Mortem Bling

Like watching a bad car crash I could not avert my eyes from the media coverage of the Michael Jackson funeral. I am ashamed. Anyway, I was checking out the casket and decided that should I decide to make a garish statement on the way to meet my Maker I would see what it would cost for a suitable container in which my mortal coil could decompose. $30,995. Pricey but what is a bit of money to go out in...........style?

Theoretical concept

Thanks to my friend The Cambodian for forwarding this one to me.

Hakuna Matata


From this morning's news browse:

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey starts a run at Staples Center on Wednesday, a booking long planned in advance. In the pre-dawn hours before Jackson's memorial, the elephants started walking from the train station to the arena. They were set to arrive some five hours before the memorial.

The Circle of Life. One clown leaves and another comes in. There is a certain symmetry to that.

Rest of the story at the link.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Another dent in the First Amendment

During the afternoon news browse I found this lead story on Fox News.

A California mom says her public school administrators violated her daughter's First Amendment rights when they ordered the seventh-grader to take off her pro-life T-shirt.

Anna Amador has gone to court on behalf of her daughter, who she says was ordered by her principal to change her shirt on "National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day." The shirt the girl was wearing displays two graphic pictures of a fetus growing in the womb.

The incident occurred in April 2008 at McSwain Elementary School, a K-8 school in Merced, Calif. Amador alleges in her legal complaint that school Principal Terrie Rohrer, Assistant Principal C.W. Smith and office clerk Martha Hernandez mistreated her daughter and denied the girl her First Amendment rights when they ordered her to leave the cafeteria and change her shirt.

"Before Plaintiff could eat [breakfast] she was ordered by a school staff member to throw her food out and report immediately to Defendant Smith's office, located in the main office of McSwain Elementary School," the complaint reads.

"Upon arriving at the main office, Defendant Hernandez, intentionally and without Plaintiff's consent, grabbed Plaintiff's arm and forcibly escorted her toward Smith's office, at all times maintaining a vice-like grip on Plaintiff's arm. Hernandez only released Plaintiff's arm after physically locating her in front of Smith and Defendant Rohrer...

You will note ladies and gents that while you are required to pay most of your local taxes to the school board that does not necessarily mean that the values that you attempt to instill at home are passed on during the school day. Now, had this child worn a shirt with say a large pot leaf emblazoned on it or a Che Guevara likeness that activity would not have only been accepted but I am sure the school administrator would have walked through hellfire to preserve the right to display the shirt. But not in the case of an "offensive" shirt. That expression apparently does not fall under the First Amendment. See the offending speech for yourself:

(Apologies for the quality of the image. The text says "growing, growing gone".)What will the next target of institutional education be? The Flag or the Constitution itself. Take solace in the fact that its Summer Break and at least your kids won't be taken out of class to watch televised coverage of Michael Jackson's Memorial Service.

Tempus Fugit

A brief break from back yard vacationing for a momentary realization.

Working, whether its a 24, 40 or 80 hour week for most of the year you tend to lose track of time. Or more accurately you find that during the week you have precious little of it to spend time doing either chores neglected or just general things you would rather be doing. Having just completed, with the capable assistance of my soon to be nine year old daughter a little project that is going to make my long suffering wife quite happy I grabbed my cell phone to send her a picture of the completed project. As I pressed the few buttons I needed to send the picture I noticed that the battery had only about a third of a charge on it and needed to be plugged in tonight. Not a big deal I suppose but what gave me pause was that at minimum I usually have to charge the dreaded electronic leash at least once a day. Its now been four days since it has required a charge. What a refreshing change.

A vacation at home brings its own work, but at your own pace in your own place. And while you need to do the daily grind for the bulk of the year its nice to just kick back and get some little things that will brighten someone else's day.

Thank you Congressman King

Like many of you I am beyond tired of the Michael Jackson news. It has degenerated to the point where it reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live bit where Chevy Chase would start Weekend Update with the reminder that Generalissimo Francisco Franco was still dead. We have gone from the nominal celebrity worship to beyond absurd in record time. We are going on eleven days now and they have not even trotted out his emaciated corpse for what will I am sure be a prolonged period of adulation. Enough already! A beloved President gets about seven days, a Holy Pope nine. Will we be subjected to a solid month of this sordid mess?

Apparently Congressman Peter King agrees.



I don't think that the Congressman has any particular axe to grind. But he does a nice job about putting the contributions one can make in life in to their proper perspective. Michael Jackson was a very talented entertainer with an amazingly bizarre lifestyle. Public adulation should be saved for everyday heroes who make America the great country that it is.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Stupid money

I have often wondered if it was enormous amounts of money and the guilt at not really having earned it that caused Hollywood celebutards to become "crazy liberal". Based on a story I read today I now believe more than ever that there is credence to this theory. Case in point the following story from Fox News.

Bernie Ecclestone, the man who controls Formula One auto racing, said Friday that he preferred totalitarian regimes to democracies and praised Adolf Hitler for his ability to "get things done."

In an outspoken interview with The Times of London, the 78-year-old British billionaire chastised contemporary politicians for their weaknesses and extolled the virtues of strong leadership.

Ecclestone said: "In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done.

Let us hope that Janeane Garafalo does not strike oil in her back yard or we will all wind up in camps.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I'll take imponderable religious situations for $100, Alex



ISTANBUL (Reuters) - What happens when you put a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists?

Turkish television station Kanal T hopes the answer is a ratings success as it prepares to launch a gameshow where spiritual guides from the four faiths will seek to convert a group of non-believers.

The prize for converts will be a pilgrimage to a holy site of their chosen religion -- Mecca for Muslims, the Vatican for Christians, Jerusalem for Jews and Tibet for Buddhists.

The rest of this bizzare story is here.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Birthday America!

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

With grateful thanks to all of our forefathers for their vision and to our veterans young and old who lay down their lives to preserve the freedoms we enjoy, and too often take for granted.