Saturday, May 22, 2010

The end of an era: Spaceships get day in the sun

Silhouettes of the shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station pass over
the sun's disk in a May 16 picture captured by astrophotographer Thierry Legault. 
Go to Legault's website, to get a better view.

Go here to read the whole story.

To get an idea of what will happen to Atlantis after it lands, check out this must-see video on the Air & Space website.

The space shuttle Atlantis' final mission is hitting new heights for fantastic pictures - in part because every flight brings improvements in NASA's capability to capture imagery, and in part because photographers are taking extra care to document the end of the shuttle era. For us earthbound spectators, it's the next best thing to being there.

DMV says woman’s from ‘Eat Ass’ Florida – where’s that?


Apparently someone at the DMV office has a warped sense of humor, and changed Ashlee Lineberger’s city of residence from Englewood to Eat Ass!

When she and her husband took the license back to be corrected, they were greeted with laughter and told they’d have to pay another $48 to get it fixed!


See what happened next here.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Big business bets on GOP with campaign cash

The swing in money from corporate PACs is unusual

“The change comes as top Republicans lawmakers appeal more directly to business leaders, putting them on notice that the GOP is keeping track of the corporate donations ledger and will remember who stood by the party. As part of an effort dubbed "Sell the Fight," House Republican leaders have met privately with corporate executives and lobbyists to argue that their giving has tilted too far toward Democrats and that they need to steer more money to industry-friendly GOP candidates in key races in 2010.”                                                                       Image source

Salmonella triggers nationwide sprout recall

Alfalfa sprouts were sold in at least 18 states; 23 sickened so far

Salmonella poisoning has triggered a nationwide recall of alfalfa sprouts, the Oregon TV station KMTR has reported.

The sprouts were sold in at least 18 states and 23 people, including a baby, in 10 states has been sickened, according to KMTR.

The sprouts were produced by the California company Caldwell Fresh Foods and were sold under various names at stores including Walmart, Trader Joe's and other locations.

News source and Photo source

With an ugly mug like mine I could be arrested!

Like many Americans, I’m not photogenic and my facial features are not fine enough to be considered handsome.

I’ve read numerous studies about “pretty people” having all kinds of advantages in life.

Now, it turns out having an ugly mug makes you more 22 percent more likely to be convicted of a crime, according to a Cornell University study.

And to make it even worse, convicted blockaways (you know, the ones who look better a block away) are more likely to get hit with a longer, harsher sentence than the average-looking defendants of the world.

Jersey! Since when did New Jersey get it’s own flag?

Jersey The image on the right (forgive the poor quality) was taken from my stat counter this morning.

 A reader with no address, and the word  Jersey, stopped by a half hour ago. The viewer’s only form of ID was this flag and the word – Jersey. Jersey what? New Jersey?

Is there a country called Jersey? Maybe an island?

This is driving me crazy! I’ve had two cups of coffee so far this morning and I feel alert, but am I missing something? Do you recognize this flag? If so, please share with me where it’s from. I‘d sure appreciate it.

Rand Paul: Obama BP criticism 'un-American'

Even clinging to his Dad’s (Congressman Ron Paul’s) coat-tails won’t save Rand Paul when he makes stupid remarks like “accidents happen” regarding the Mexican Gulf oil spill. Or, when he spouts off that criticizing BP is “un-American”

His feelings about Big Oil is apparent. He’s defending a private company (and not even an American one) so the oil drilling crowd will coronate him as it’s next public defender. That should get a lot of votes from the “Drill, baby, drill” contingent, but it’ll be bad news for our environment. 

I admit that I like the idea that he’s not a career politician, but clueless is clueless. The more you hear him talk about civil rights and other controversial subjects like immigration, the more you realize this guy is riding in the Tea Party bus to a fantasyland where only radicals live.

Instead of actually having good, constructive ideas for our country, this guy is riding the wave of hatred towards the government and incumbent office holders. He’s no visionary. He’s a reactionary with no plans but to “take back the country” (a catch phrase extreme Conservatives love to use).

Where does he stand on hot-button issues? Paul, 47 is an eye surgeon with a political vision about as clear as mud when it comes to what he’ll actually do in office if elected. You can pretty much assume he’s following Daddy’s footsteps, with a brief detour through Tea Partyland for political expediency.   

GOP Senate candidate is under fire for comments about civil rights law

“Paul, already facing a backlash over remarks earlier this week about civil rights legislation, criticized the Obama administration for declaring it will put its "boot heel on the throat of BP." White House spokesman Robert Gibbs used similar language shortly after the spill.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stocks take biggest plunge in more than a year

Image: Trading Specialist Geoffery Friedman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange


Growing fear that Europe’s debt crisis could spread around the world

Analysts said there was no big event to set off Thursday's selling. More investors seemed to be grasping the possibility that the U.S. recovery could be in jeopardy.


Why would anyone need to lie about having been in Vietnam?

A visitor touches a name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


“Of course, Blumenthal didn't get in trouble for confessing he had ducked Vietnam but for lying that he hadn't, for saying that he'd served there.

What demon haunts him and others like him? What inconsolable regret provoked these desperate lies?”


Warning: Stop drinking your lotion, people!



Here's a warning you probably thought you'd never need: The federal Food and Drug Administration is urging consumers not to swallow Benadryl Extra-Strength Itch-Stopping Gel after receiving reports of people chugging the lotion that’s meant to be used only on the skin. Duh…

photo source


Notorious dinner crashers stopped near White House


How about those wacky wealthy party crashers the Salahis?

They have nothing better to do than crash other people’s parties. Even though they caused a stir by sneaking into the first state dinner, they were apparently ready to crash the second one. They had camera men and were filming some reality show that the two privileged party crashers were involved with.

The Salahis have been under investigation for attending Obama's first state dinner last November even though they were not on a guest list. If these were two homeless people who dressed up and got past security with no invitation, they’d still be in jail. Ahhhh…the privileges of wealth in America today! Read this: Their limo driver was ticketed for running a red light

Hold that celebration, Republicans…

Image: Rand Paul, Ron Paul, Kelley Paul, Carol Paul, William Paul

Analysis: Special election throws some cold water on GOP's high hopes

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Clowns Clash: Wall St. reform vote fails again in Senate

The Circus (our Senate) grinds to a halt as each party attempts to out-stupid the other. Democrats, GOP clowns continue to wrangle over amendments

photo source

Today’s Odd Byte: ‘Octomom’ paid $5K to tout pet birth control!

Image: PETA sign

Really? To what depths will this woman go? For a mere $5,000. this time, she a strange, weird, and odd connection between humans and pets getting spayed or neutered! Remember that old phrase “Truth is stranger than fiction?”

Above: this sign will be in the front yard of octuplet mom’s home and it says, ‘Always spay or neuter’
Read more here.This image provided by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals shows a copy of a sign designed to be placed in Nadya Suleman's yard for a fee.

Reason 101 on why I’m glad to live in Humboldt

See this clown on the right? He, and like-minded Muslim wackaloons think New York City is the home of the Great Satan. So they gather in dirty little camps in places like Pakistan, where they plan to annihilate NYC. Why NYC?

Why not? It was the place of their greatest success; the cowardly 9/11 attack. These guys are hoping to duplicate (or outdo) 9/11. It’s old news, and these nut cases want to show the world they can committee mass murder in the name of Allah too.

Well, here’s the thing. I think people living in NYC are crazy. They must know by now that their home is a recruitment poster for every Muslim terrorist in the world. You notice this bonehead, Faisal Shahzad, only considered locations around New York City?

I guess New Yorkers like living on the edge. Me? I’m damn glad to be living behind the Redwood Curtain in Northern California, the last place in America a terrorist would attack. Right? They don’t have problems with Redwood trees. Right? 

Official: Bomb suspect looked at other targets

Rockefeller Center, World Financial Center and Grand Central among sites

Lakers vs Suns tonight: Pau sports a black eye from Game 1

The Lakers clobbered the Suns (metaphorically) 128-107, but Pau Gasol of the Lakers was the one with a black eye. It was a rough game. Wait till tonight. The Suns know their season will set in the western playoff picture if they can’t win Game 2. I look for a competitive game. The Lakers have the edge in my opinion.

Texas plans on rewriting history books to promote extreme conservative bias

There’s no legitimate excuse to change history to suit a political agenda. All the Republican school board members in Texas are pushing for this agenda. They are hypocrites and racists.

When someone rewrites our history to suit an ideology, for any reason, we’re in trouble. Look at what the Nazi’s did. They rewrote they’re history to suit the new patriotic nationalism Hitler was preaching. I see no difference here.

What’s happening in the Texas school system can lead to a generation of children with warped world views. They’ll be able to spew all kinds of jingoistic lies without a second thought. Nationalism can be dangerous when it leads people down the path to blind hatred of others and any other ideology.

I’ll be following this situation closely, hoping sense will prevail in the end. If it doesn’t, then the next generation of children from Texas will be spoon fed propaganda until the day they graduate. I really don’t want to think about what a person schooled in lies by the state will do when they grow up. It’s scary. And history (WWII) shows the results. Photo source

Texas ready for textbook showdown

Board to vote on curriculum changes some call ‘backward’

“Among the recommendations facing a final vote: adding language saying the country's Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles and including positive references to the Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the GOP’s Contract with America.

Other amendments to the state's curriculum standards for kindergarten through 12th grade would minimize Thomas Jefferson's role in world and U.S. history because he advocated the separation of church and state; require that students learn about "the unintended consequences" of affirmative action; assert that "the right to keep and bear arms" is an important element of a democratic society; and rename the slave trade to the "Atlantic triangular trade.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Denial: A memoir of Terror’

denial-hc-cTo my readers;
I seldom do book reviews. This one is only my third in 18 months.

I’m not being paid to write it. My only reason is personal; the author Jessica Stern rang my bell. The subject of her new book - Denial: A Memoir of Terror -is one close to my heart.

I’m a Vietnam veteran who’s service-connected for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Stern is one of the world’s foremost experts on terrorists and PTSD. So this was a natural read for me:

                      By Dave Stancliff

Imagine writing down the most traumatic thing that ever happened to you in your life and sharing it with the world. Imagine that this thing that happened to you was so horrific that you somehow blotted it out of your mind. Then you locked it up in a secret room in your brain far from the light of conscious thought.
But your traumatic event throbs in it’s confinement, and you have to learn how to numb that throbbing. Then one day your traumatic event leaks out, unbidden, and your world tilts crazily.
What can you do? If, you’re brave enough, like Jessica Stern has been, then you can confront the issues regarding that event. You can wash them out and hang them up on a clothesline for the world to see. The result is a personal healing that translates to hope for others with PTSD.
Stern shares the most intimate of all traumas; rape at gunpoint. She was fifteen and her sister (who was also raped by the same man the same day) was only fourteen. What happened afterward, in the suburban town of Concord, Massachusetts, was almost as shocking as the rape.
The police thought she, and her sister, we’re lying about what happened. Her only answer to that terrible situation was to stuff it in. She moved on to overachieve in her life and has gathered many degrees and honors for her knowledge on subjects like terrorism and PTSD. It seemed Jessica had overcome her trauma.
That changed 30 years after the crime when a request from a police lieutenant re-opened the festering sore of the rape, and motivated her to investigate what happened. The result is stunning as she discovers who her rapist was, secrets about her own family, and how tricky the mind can be.
Be prepared to immerse yourself in a true life mystery that no fiction could surpass. You’ll learn about the human spirit, and the capacity for denial when terrible things happen in a person’s life. “Numbness and hyper vigilance can keep you alive,” Jessica tells us, “and it can “get in the way of normal life and of human relationships.”
I won’t giveaway who the rapist was, but I bet you’ll be surprised. There’s nothing predictable in this book, which makes it an absorbing read. The underlining message of Jessica’s story is how seductive denial can be.
I picked the book up one evening and read the entire thing. I didn’t mind staying up past my normal bedtime to. It was worth it.
I recommend this book as an easy and exciting read on a complex subject. Look for it in June 2010.   

I knew it was a tough market for realtors but this pushes the enevelope!

Political Scum Report: another ‘cheater’ slinks off into the shadows

Image: Souder


Rep. Souder says he'll resign over affair

The Indiana lawmaker won a bruising Republican primary on May 4


A case of distortion? Or stolen valor? You decide…

Report: Conn. Dem misstated military record

Early favorite in Senate race never served in Vietnam, newspaper says

Richard Blumenthal (photo right)the early favorite to win retiring fellow Democrat Christopher Dodd's Senate seat from Connecticut, never served in the military in Vietnam despite his public comments indicating he had done so, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Monday, May 17, 2010

People are happier, less stressed after age 50

Dave the 4th of July

Those in their 50s are more satisfied than those in 20s, large study says

Life looks a little rosier after 50, a new study finds. Older people in their mid- to late-50s are generally happier, and experience less stress and worry than young adults in their 20s, the researchers say.

Photo: here’s “As It Stand’s” Dave at 59, and clowning around at the Dollar Store. My sense of humor has improved in the last decade. What do you think about this study? Is it true?

Motivated Lakers out for playoff vengeance

Image: Kobe

It’s that time again when the Lakers meet someone in the Western Conference. This year, it’s the Suns.

Nothing would make Kobe happier than beating old foes Suns, Celtics

Today’s photo: ‘A bad day in suburbia’ – see more below

Image: A tow truck operator tries to figure out how to tow a Jeep Liberty after the driver drove through the back wall of his own garage

A tow truck operator looks to tow a Jeep Liberty after the driver, who claims the accelerator stuck, drove it through the back wall of his garage on Monday, May 17, in Lancaster, Pa. The driver was not hurt. (Dan Marschka/Lancaster Newspapers via AP

For more interesting photos go here

Pesticides in kids linked to ADHD

I always suspected that the crap we spray on fruits and vegetables was dangerous to more than just insects.

This research confirms one of my fears: young children with developing nerve systems are at risk, and the connection between the pesticides and ADHD now prove that.

There’s one answer. Eat organic and locally grown products. I know that real organic food is more expensive but the trade-off is a no-brainer. 

Researcher advises parents to buy organic, wash produce


“Exposure to pesticides used on common kid-friendly foods — including frozen blueberries, fresh strawberries and celery — appears to boost the chances that children will be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, new research shows.”

Video: Pesticides linked to ADHD in kids?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

As It Stands: How to get in trouble for telling the truth -- be a Whistleblower

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

They're average folk, but when they decide to step up and tell the truth about what's wrong in their work place, they become targets. Their lives are often ruined because they are honest.

They're Whistleblowers, who reveal wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority. In my opinion, they're heroes in an age when heroes are all too rare.

Remember Karen Silkwood? She was an American labor union activist and a chemical technician at the Kerr-McGee plant near Crescent, Okla., in 1974. A movie was based on her story.

Police suspicions about her mysterious death led to a federal investigation into nuclear plant security and safety. Silkwood exposed the hazards of nuclear energy and raised questions about corporate accountability and responsibility. She paid the ultimate price for revealing Kerr-McGee's dangerous practices.

More recently, Wendell Potter, a former vice president of Corporate Communications at CIGNA, one of the biggest health insurance organizations in the country, testified against the HMO industry in the U.S. Senate.

What motivated Potter to expose his employers? You might say he an epiphany when he saw a touring free clinic run by Remote Area Medical in rural Virginia. He was horrified by the hundreds of desperate people, most without medical insurance, who came from the hills for basic medical help.


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...