Saturday, December 26, 2009

Murray’s mousing career is off to a slow start…

 …and all through the house the only thing stirring was a mouse …

on Murray the kitty!

Peace On earth!


The Top 10 Everything of 2009

1. Sweden Burns Bunnies for Fuel

Read more here:

The Top 10 Everything of 2009

Top 10 Oddball News Stories

Passengers help foil attack on Detroit-bound plane

This whole thing sounds like it would have made a great movie: 

“An attempted terrorist attack on a Christmas Day flight began with a pop and a puff of smoke — sending passengers scrambling to subdue a Nigerian man who claimed to be acting on orders from al-Qaida to blow up the airliner, officials and travelers said.”

Go here to read the rest.

AP – This picture provided by J.P. Karas shows Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on the runway after arriving.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas readers and bloggers!

I hope that all of you are enjoying your holiday. It’s hard to believe that another Christmas is here…and soon will pass.

Peace On Earth and Good Will To All!

Beverages: Spirits not so bright this holiday season

Liquor companies' sales fall as consumers go out less and opt for cheaper brands.

Derrick Hale replenishes stock at Emilio's Beverage Warehouse in Bellflower. Sales of distilled spirits fell in the first half of November from a year earlier. (Photo by Robert Lachman, LA Times /December 22, 2009)

The people running the nation's large liquor companies may need a few stiff drinks right about now. Go here to see why.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A poem: Christmas in America circa 2009

Christmas in America circa 2009

strands of colored lights stretching from coast to coast
people boasting about who has the most
it’s Christmas in America

credit cards deck check-out lines in every store
despite the economy or bills waiting in January, people buy more
because it’s Christmas in America

it’s a white Christmas for many states this year
travelers stuck in airports find it hard to be of good cheer
this Christmas in America

financial types tell us, as we wait in long lines at the dollar store
that we’re coming out of this recession and were really not poor
this Christmas in America

minimum wage Santas in Malls bounce children on their knees
in nearly every house there are brightly decorated trees
for Christmas in America

corrupt pols beneath mistletoes with lobbyists, and who knows?
Our fates lie with greedy Grinches in government and other
this Christmas in America

homeless veterans, cast-offs from three wars, litter the streets
with other victims of society as we enjoy holiday sweets
living here during Christmas in America

in recent times, Jesus climbed down from the Christmas tree
disgusted with the gift-giving capitalistic frenzy
that’s Christmas in America

-Dave Stancliff

Boy finally reunited with dad in Brazil after custody battle

David Goldman has fought for his son for five years. The family that held him made sure to make a big production out of returning him to his father with the press and thousands of spectators watching.

The classy thing to do would have been to take the lawyers advice, and make the switch in private somewhere so there wouldn’t be a dog and pony show like what happened.

It took a financial threat to the trade agreement between the USA and Brazil before Brazilian authorities finally stepped up to the letter of the law. The family that held Sean were abductors, yet they got away with what they did because the Dad was a well-connected lawyer.

The judges have been in his pocket since day one. Hopefully, Sean can now lead a normal life with his biological father.

Excerpt from USA TODAY:

“A New Jersey man and his 9-year-old son were reunited Thursday in Brazil after a 5-year international custody battle, and immediately headed home to spend Christmas in the United States.”

Go here to read the rest.

Bianchi family photo of Sean Goldman via Reuters

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Woman Allegedly Threatened Michelle Obama

This photo provided by the U.S. Secret Service shows Kristy Lee Roshia. Authorities say Roshia, accused of threatening to kill first lady Michelle Obama, is in federal custody in Honolulu as the Obama family plans to travel to Hawaii.

A woman accused of telling the Secret Service she would "blow away" Michelle Obama was in federal custody Tuesday as the Obama family planned to travel to Hawaii.
Kristy Lee Roshia, 35, was charged with threatening a family member of the president and assaulting a federal agent after being arrested Saturday less than two miles from the Kailua home where the Obama family planned to stay during a holiday visit later this week.”  Go here to read the rest at CBS

The photo above was provided by the U.S. Secret Service and it shows Kristy Lee Roshia.(AP Photo/US Secret Service)

Court: Inmates must endure sheriff's Christmas music

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio -


"toughest sheriff"

in America - likes Christmas music, especially "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and anything by Alvin and the Chipmunks, and apparently he thinks the 8,000 inmates inside his Phoenix jail should, too.” Go here to read the story.

Photo and related story via Department of the Offense –Taking It Back

BlackBerry e-mail service restored for some after 2nd North American outage in a week

Trouble in tech-land. Earlier this year there was another problem with Blackberries that left customers snarling.

But millions of people love their little Blackberries and temporary outages, or disruptions of service, are taken in stride.

The Chicago Tribune gives details on the latest malfunction.


Research In Motion Ltd. said Wednesday the root cause is still under review but its preliminary analysis has determined there was a flaw in two recently released versions of its BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging software.” Go here to read the rest.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Does Christmas Need to Be Saved?

The following article ran in the New York Times in 2004. I’m bringing it up again because the debate about taking religion out of Christmas still goes on today.

What do you say? Should Jesus Christ climb down from the Christmas Tree this year?

Or, should Christmas continue to mix the secular with the religious parts of the holiday?


“A pastor in Raleigh, N.C., took out a full-page newspaper ad in November exhorting Christians to shop only at stores that included "Merry Christmas" in their promotions.” Go here to read the rest.

Report: FBI probes theft of tens of millions after hackers attack Citigroup

The FBI is investigating a hacker attack on Citigroup Inc. that led to the theft of tens of millions of dollars, The Wall Street Journal reported Today

Citing anonymous government officials, the Journal reported that the hackers were connected to a Russian cyber gang. Two other computer systems, at least one of connected to a U.S. government agency, were also attacked.
Citigroup denied the report. "We had no breach of the system and there were no losses, no customer losses, no bank losses," said Joe Petro, managing director of Citigroup's Security and Investigative services. "Any allegation that the FBI is working a case at Citigroup involving tens of millions of losses is just not true."
The Journal reported that the attack on Citigroup's Citibank subsidiary was detected over the summer, although it may have occurred up to one year earlier. The FBI, the
National Security Agency, the Homeland Security Department and Citigroup worked together to investigate the attack.
Cyber crime is of increasing concern to businesses and the federal government, with
President Barack Obama calling it one of the "most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation."
Obama is expected to announce today the appointment of Howard A. Schmidt, a former
eBay and Microsoft executive, as the government's cyber security coordinator.

Via Associated Press release

Monday, December 21, 2009

Maine Wants to Add Warnings to Cellphone Packaging

 My June 7th, 2009 column in The Times-Standard on cell phone dangers, “Are young people facing a brain cancer epidemic caused by cell phones?” was one of the few “mainstream” articles on the subject ran by any major newspaper in the nation this year.

 The cell phone industry has managed to put off controversy about the health care effects of using cell phones thus far with massive lobbying efforts designed to hide the science behind the concerns.

Cracks are appearing in the cell phone lobby’s claims however, and the industry’s assertions that they are safe. They may lead to a major shake-up someday in how we use these handy devices.

I want to thank The Times-Standard for having the guts to allow me to run my warning about cell phones. It wasn’t the kind of article local cell phone advertisers wanted to see for sure. But it ran. Special thanks to Managing Editor Kimberly Wear for putting it in print. You can’t hide the truth forever…

Here’s the tip of the iceberg:

The state of Maine has declared its intentions to be the very first state in the country to add warnings to all cell phone packages. As you might have heard before, many scientific studies claim that cell phones’ electromagnetic radiation can cause brain cancer. The proposal will be discussed at a  January 2010 session that is “usually reserved for emergency and governors’ bills,” says Glenn Adams from The Huffington Post.

A similar effort is taking place in the city of San Francisco, California. Mayor Gavin Newsom wants San Francisco to become the first city in the nation to require warnings.” Go here to read more at Erictric via The Huffington Post via CrunchGear

WTO: China unfairly restricting American products

 A couple of weeks ago I did a column It’s as simple as ABC: ‘You get what you pay for’ in which I discussed America’s trade relationship with China.

Space restrictions kept me from exploring all the problems we have with the Chinese. When it comes to importing and exporting products, we’re getting royally shafted!

This story ran in USA Today and it examines just how lopsided our arrangement with China has been.

I was surprised to see, according to the related news article below, that China is our 2nd biggest trade partner. Can you guess who our number #1 trade partner is?


The World Trade Organization's top arbitrators upheld a ruling that China is illegally restricting imports of U.S. music, films and books, and Washington pushed forward with a new case accusing China of manipulating the prices for key ingredients in steel and aluminum production.

Monday's verdict by the WTO's appellate body knocked down China's objections to an August decision that came down decisively against Beijing's policy of forcing American media producers to route their business through state-owned companies.

If China fails over the next year to bring its practices in line with international trade law, the U.S. can ask the WTO to authorize commercial sanctions against Chinese goods.”

Go here to read the rest.

In a related news, prior to President Obama’s visit to China, the Wall Street Journal’s Online edition ran this story.

Can you spell irony?

Lobbyists perform lobotomies upon health care bill

During my morning coffee routine (where I pour the first cup over my head) I read the following story in the LA Times.

This story points out the reality behind the whole health care debate: lobbyists are making a mockery of the supposed reform on health care. They’ve been in charge since day one.

You have to go beyond the normal squabbling between the Dems and Pubs to understand what has been happening throughout this process.

Behind the scenes, where power is really wielded today, there is no concern for Americans without insurance. Proof? Just look at this latest abomination the Dems passed. People are going to be fined for NOT having insurance! That’s pure bullshit. And proof of the lobbyist influence.

Check this story out: 

Familiar faces among health industry lobbyists

Many of them used to work in the Capitol as aides or as lawmakers themselves.

“David Nexon had a big problem. An early version of national healthcare legislation contained a $40-billion tax aimed squarely at members of the medical device trade association he represents.
Nexon, a former advisor to the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), went to work. He marshaled 14 people like himself -- lobbyists who were once congressional aides, many of them from staffs of congressional leaders or committees that had a hand in crafting the healthcare overhaul.”

Go here to read the rest.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pass me the positive news stories, please

By Dave Stancliff

 For The Times-Standard

Posted: 12/20/2009 01:27:22 AM PST

 Good things happen in the world every day, but they are seldom reported in the major media news outlets. Not even for the holidays.

 Bad news dominates what we hear and read at every turn. Just look at the headlines on any given day; “Tiger Woods cheats on his wife -- repeatedly” or “Five car bombs in Bagdad kill hundreds.”

Really terrible news produces documentaries or is made into Hollywood movies to satisfy public bloodlust and morbid curiosity. Do you know why violence and bad news are so pervasive today?

The answer? We feed the frenzy. The media, the entertainment world, sports scandals and the seamy world of politicians are all daily items that bring us down, but we choose to follow them. Not all of us, of course, but the masses, like ravaging hyenas, call for the gloom and doom that sells books and movies like 2012, a “thriller” depicting the entire earth under siege from elements gone berserk!

Go here to read the rest.

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...