Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lewinsky "Sex Tape" Reappears

A "sex tape" recorded made by Monica Lewinsky in 1997, during the height of her affair with President Bill Clinton, has reportedly resurfaced.  The recording is a little less than 4 minutes long, and contains only Lewinsky's voice.  Miss Lewinsky recently turned 40.  (Time does fly, doesn't it?)

Read more at World Net Daily, the Daily Mail, Radar Online and Slate, who say, "No, this won't destroy Hillary."

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Manning Verdict And Other Stories

Pfc. Bradley Manning, who disclosed a large number of government documents to Wikileaks, has been acquitted of the charge of aiding the enemy but convicted of over 20 other charges, including espionage.  The judge, Col. Denise Lind, reached the verdicts after a trial that lasted about 8 weeks, which took place at Fort Meade.  Although acquitted of the most serious charge, Manning still faces a maximum possible sentence of 136 years.

Read more at the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, NBC News, Reason(dot)com and WJLA.

In other news:

The Chattanooga Times Free Press tells President Obama, quite literally, where to put his new jobs plan.  (via The Examiner)

From CBS News, unemployment is up in 90% of American cities.

From The Daily Beast, the U.S. cities that offer the best combination of economy and culture are "mostly southern and modest sized".

From US News, Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) has invoked the death of Trayvon Martin in sponsoring his End Racial Profiling Act.  (via Weazel Zippers)

From the Associated Press, an appeals court has ruled against New York City's prohibition on large sodas.

From The Daily Galaxy, for the first time, x-ray observations have detected an extrasolar planet passing in front of its parent star.  (Is The Daily Galaxy anything like the Daily Planet?)

Global Research answers the question, "How rich is Congress?"

From CNN, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) calls Governor Chris Christie the "king of bacon".

From USA Today, a girl in Arkansas, after swimming in a lake in Little Rock, has been infected with a brain-eating amoeba.

From NBC News, an outbreak of food poisoning in Iowa and Nebraska has been traced to a prepackaged salad mix.

And from CNS News, Saddam Hussein's "ceremonial sword" has been returned to Iraq.

Monday, July 29, 2013

More Green Paint Vandalism, Woman Arrested

Three days after the Lincoln Memorial was vandalized with green paint, two chapels in the National Cathedral and the base of a statue next to the Smithsonian Castle have likewise been vandalized.  In the Cathedral, green paint was found on an organ in the Bethlehem Chapel, and in the Children's Chapel.  D.C. police have arrested Tian Jiamel and charged her with one count of defacing property in connection with the vandalism at the Cathedral, but have not said anything about any connection between the incidents at the Memorial, the Cathedral and the statue.  The National Cathedral is still undergoing repairs from the earthquake that happened two years ago.

Read more at the Washington Post, USA Today, CBS News, WJLA and NBC Washington.

Irish Slaves

We all know the story.  People violently taken from their homeland, separated from their families, crammed into ships, forced to endure a voyage across the Atlantic under horrifying conditions, sold into involuntary servitude in an unfamiliar land, treated like beasts of burden, and cruelly punished for the slightest offense.  Yes, we have learned about the slave trade and slavery being inflicted upon countless people from Africa.  It is all well and good that we study this history.

But sometimes, the enslaved were not Africans.  As told by Don Jordan and Michael Walsh in their book White Cargo, about 300,000 slaves were taken by the British from Ireland.  To learn more, read the book review by John Martin at Global Research.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Turnabout Is Fair Play

Remember about two weeks ago, when station KTVU mis-identified Asiana Airlines personnel with some obviously fake names, such as "Sum Ting Wong", after an Asiana jet crash-landed?  Well, after the crash-landing of a Southwest Airlines plane at La Guardia Airport in New York, a Korean news outlet has shown us that such humor is a two-way street.  (Both links come from Slothed.)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

J. J. Cale 1938-2013

Singer-guitarist-songwriter J. J. Cale, whose songs have been covered by a variety of rock and country musicians, passed away yesterday at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California at the age of 74, after suffering a heart attack.  Born John Weldon Cale in Oklahoma City, he would combine rock, country, jazz and blues influences to pioneer a style known as the "Tulsa Sound".  He adopted the knickname "J. J." to avoid confusion with John Cale of the Velvet Underground.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times, CNN, UT San Diego, USA Today, Classic Rock and Where's Eric.

Speaking of Eric, one of Cale's songs famously covered by Eric Clapton is Cocaine.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lincoln Memorial Vandalized

The Lincoln Memorial was partially closed today because some time during the previous night someone splattered green paint on part of the statue of Abraham Lincoln and on the floor.  Police have started investigating the crime, including looking at video footage from cameras mounted near the statue.  Tourists can only walk up to the top of the stairs because the level area around the statue has been cordoned off.  No words or recognizable symbols have been found within the paint.

Read more at USA Today, the Washington Post, CBS News, CNN and NBC Washington.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thursday Links

A few stories and things going on:

From the Times Of Israel, an Arab member of the Knesset claims that Secretary of State John Kerry has promised that Israel will release all of its pre-Oslo prisoners so that peace talks resume.

From Natural News, the rover Curiosity is finding evidence that a "catastrophic event" stripped away the Martian atmosphere about 4 billion years ago.

From The College Fix, ten College Republicans were denied entry to President Obama's speech at Missouri Central University, even though they had bought tickets.  (via National Review Online)

From the Tampa Tribune, one of the jurors in the George Zimmerman trial says that he "got away with murder", but that there wasn't enough evidence under Florida law to convict him.

From the New York Post, there's a lake at the North Pole.

From the New York Daily News, former Congressman and current mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner (D-NY) has admitted to more online relationships.  This comes via Gateway Pundit, with some video of comedians giving Weiner some well-deserved ribbing.

From Fox News, Mrs. Weiner, a.k.a. Huma Abedin is facing questions about working part-time for the government while also working as a consultant for Teneo.

Also from Fox News, a majority of voters now doubts that immigration reform will ever happen.  This, of course, is good or bad, depending on how you define "immigration reform".

From Russia Today, Great Britain is putting up ads telling illegal immigrants to go home or be arrested.  Now there's a bit of immigration reform I could get behind.

From Creeping Sharia, Crayola(dot)com celebrates Ramadan.

From Business Insider, Halliburton will plead guilty to destroying evidence relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

And from The Guardian, the newest heir to the British throne has been named George Alexander Louis.  The announcement of his name was relatively quick compared to other royal babies, such as his father and grandfather after their respective births.  Britain has had six kings ruling under the name George, the most recent being Queen Elizabeth's father.  Louis was the name of Prince Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What Took Them So Long?

Police in Rochester, NY on July 20th arrested a man and called the Border Patrol for assistance after he gave them three different names.  They soon learned that he was in the United States illegally and had no less than 37 convictions, occurring from 1982 to 2007.  He is thus being given an "Administrative Removal" and will be deported to Mexico.

Read the story at CNS News.  Seeing that he has that many conviction over such a long time, we can only wonder how many times he has already been deported only to return, and if he will again show up in time to benefit from the possible GOP suicide amnesty bill now pending in the House.

Monday, July 22, 2013

George Zimmerman To The Rescue?

According to Sanford County police, a man rescued from an overturned SUV told firefighters that the person who pulled him out of the vehicle was George Zimmerman, recently acquitted of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  The accident occurred on July 17 at the intersection of Interstate 4 and state route 46, and involved no other vehicles.  There were four people in the SUV, two parents and their children.  Zimmerman had not seen the crash, but showed up soon afterwards.  He and another man were able to get the entire family out of the vehicle before a sheriff's deputy arrived.  No injuries were reported.

Read more at Fox News, ABC News, the Orlando Sentinel and the Washington Times.

For British Royals, It's A Boy

Today at 4:24 p.m. BST, the Duchess of Cambridge, a.k.a. Kate Middleton, gave birth to a baby boy weighing 8 pounds and 6 ounces.  The new prince is third in line for the British throne, following his father, Prince William, a.k.a. the Duke of Cambridge, and his grandfather Prince Charles, a.k.a. the Prince of Wales.  According to a recent change in the British primogenitor law, the baby's position in the line of succession would have been the same had it been a girl.  While he is the first child of William and Kate and the first grandchild of Charles, he is not the first great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth, who has others through her daughter Princess Anne.

The baby's name has not yet been made public, and might not be revealed for a week or more, which was the case for both William and Charles.  At some future date, if all goes well, when the man this baby becomes ascends the throne, he will be allowed to choose a name under which to reign, which may or may not be his first given name.  For example, Queen Elizabeth's father King George VI was born with the given name Albert Frederick Arthur George.  By contrast, when asked what name she would rule under, Elizabeth replied, "My own name, of course.  What else?"

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Two Takes On Zimmerman And Martin

The first comes via Young Conservatives.  Bill Whittle tell us the story of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman the mainstream media didn't.  Warning:  The video includes some graphic images.

The other may be found at Liberty Works.  No video, just go over there and read it.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Zimmerman To Get His Gun Back?

Or will he get a new gun?

As reported by the Daily Mail, Florida law requires that the evidence used in the trail of George Zimmerman should be returned to its owners.  This would include the gun which Zimmerman used to shoot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.  However, Department of Justice has asked the Sanford, Florida police department to hold on to the evidence, which could mean that their Civil Rights Division is conducting a witch hunt an investigation of Zimmerman's actions in Martin's death.

However, according to the Daily Caller, a gun shop in Volusia County, Florida has offered Zimmerman a free gun, either of the type used in the shooting and still held as evidence, or of "another weapon suitable for concealed carry".  Upon his acquittal, his concealed carry permit was restored.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday Links

Some stories from today's news:

From CBS News, a search for art stolen from the Netherlands appears to have turned up ashes in the oven of a woman in Romania.

Also from CBS News, a new "intelligent knife" can distinguish between healthy tissue and cancerous tissue.

From BBC News, the Greek parliament has approved budget cuts amid an atmosphere of protest.

From the Irish Times, a well-known defender of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has been gunned down in Lebanon.

From Boston(dot)com, Democrats pursuing an immigration bill are pinning their hopes on congressman and former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI).

From Breitbart's Big Government, congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) thinks that if Speaker John Boehner tries to salvage the "gang of eight" immigration bill, "it will blow up in his face".

From the Washington Post, the federal government's collection of phone records does not sit well with, believe it or not, the man who authored the Patriot Act.

From Yahoo News, state and local police have been using license plate scanners, thus tracking the movements of your vehicle.

From Time, the Rolling Stone's cover depicting accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev has not sat well with some retail stores.

From USA Today, the jury in the trial of George Zimmerman was correct, according to former president Jimmy Carter.

From Breitbart's Big Hollywood, Bill Maher tells some jokes about Zimmerman on the Late Show with David Letterman, and gets booed.

From CNS News, as the Pentagon furloughs civilian workers, the Army spends $81,000 on TVs for Gitmo.

From the Washington Free Beacon, Samantha Power, nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, promises to fight against anti-Israel sentiment if confirmed.

And from the New York Post, British researchers say that they have developed a cell phone that can be recharged by using a very convenient fuel.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Closing Arguments

In PJ Media, Mike McDaniel lays out some of the points of the prosecution's closing statement, the defense's closing statement, and the prosecution's rebuttal in the trial of George Zimmerman.  He also has some links to more detailed accounts of these statements.  Although McDaniel's article shows only what he calls some "highlights" and "lowlights", it's still four pages long.  Read it all, starting with page 1.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Top Ten Myths Surrounding The Zimmerman Trial

Brought to my attention by a12iggymom:

This list has been compiled by Web News Plus.  Here's the first:
1. Zimmerman was told by police not to get out of his car.

Fact: When Zimmerman called police he was already out of his car. Zimmerman never returned to his car even after calling police. While speaking with the 911 operator, the operator asked "Are you following him?" Zimmerman: "Yes." Operator: "We don’t need you to do that." At no time was Zimmerman ordered not to get out of his car. The 911 operator has since admitted that 911 operators have no authority to deny a citizen’s pursuit of another while reporting a suspected crime. Also, the 911 operator in this case was not a police officer.
Read the entire list.

Zimmerman Acquitted

Late yesterday evening, after I wrongly thought that the jury in the trial of George Zimmerman would adjourn for the day, they completed their deliberations and returned a verdict of "not guilty" of the charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin.  They had earlier asked for some clarification about the manslaughter charge, causing some speculation that this would become their verdict, but this would not turn out to be the case.

From what facts that I could learn, the verdict is not surprising.  Zimmerman appeared all along to have had a credible case of self-defense.  He had injuries consistent with his story of Martin pummeling his face with his fists and slamming his head into the sidewalk.  Obviously, Zimmerman is the only person alive who knows for sure what happened that day.  Anyone who wants to disagree with the verdict has every right under the 1st Amendment to do so.  But in my opinion, it is very likely that the jury got it right.

Read more at USA Today, Fox News, NBC News, Yahoo News, ABC News and the Washington Post.

My opinion continues below the fold.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Janet Napolitano To Step Down

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, known derisively by some of us vast rightwing conspirators as "Big Sis", has announced plans to leave her position and become the president of the University of California system, which includes ten campuses.  Her change of jobs is expected to happen in September.  Before serving as the head of DHS, Napolitano had been governor of Arizona.

Read more at CBS News, Fox News, USA Today, ABC News and the Washington Times.

UPDATE:  National Review gives us Big Sis's Greatest Hits.

Music Break - Happy 70th Birthday, Christine McVie

It's hard to believe, but Christine McVie turns 70 today.  It's even harder to believe that she left Fleetwood Mac 15 years ago.  But then, maybe there's something to be said for rockers who retire before they get old.

Before joining Fleetwood Mac, Christine Perfect played in the band Chicken Shack, recorded a solo album, appeared on some Fleetwood Mac albums as a guest musician, and then married their bassist John McVie.  Besides contributing some backing vocals and keyboards to their 1970 album Kiln House, she also drew the album's cover art.  As the group started rehearsing for the subsequent tour, they decided they needed a fuller sound and asked her to join.  This left her with a bit of a dilemma, since she had not yet recorded any of her own songs with Fleetwood Mac.  In order for her to take some turns as lead vocalist, they would have to play songs from her solo album or from her stint with Chicken Shack.  Get Like You Used To Be is from the latter variety, written with guitarist Stan Webb.  This rendition is from Christine's first tour with Fleetwood Mac, and includes Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan on guitar.  Songs from this tour were later assembled into a live album entitled Madison Blues.  The YouTube user has labeled the video with Kirwan's name, but this is a Christine McVie song.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Riddle Me This #3

According to his girlfriend's testimony, Trayvon Martin referred to George Zimmerman as a "creepy ass cracker".  Why, then, is Zimmerman the one being accused of racism?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Few Items

A few things I've run across in the last couple of days:

In a hospital in central New York, doctors intent on harvesting a patient's organs suddenly realized that rumors of her death had been greatly exaggerated.

The United States is no longer the world's fattest nation.  We've been overtaken by Mexico.  Sí, se puede....comer!

Two House Democrats have proposed a new National Historical Park - on the moon.  This would present a number of difficulties, starting with the fact that while the moon was explored by twelve Americans, is not United States territory.  And any Department of the Interior personnel assigned to such a park would face an exceptionally difficult commute.

A House Republican has inserted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would protect the religious freedom of military personnel.

If you're a legislator, please be careful how you write your laws.  A law in Florida that bans Internet cafes might also ban computers and smartphones.

This next item is two and a half years old, but still relevant in light of the recent Supreme Court rulings on "gay marriage".  This is a look inside the gay culture and the gay rights movement, from a former participant.

The Virginia Tech football team has lost a running back, due to his own fault.  This past April, Michael Holmes was charged with malicious wounding, a felony, for his actions in a fight that started between his then-girlfriend and an ex-girlfriend.  Holmes plea-bargained the charge down to assault and battery, a misdemeanor.  School policy allows a misdemeanor offender to be reinstated to his athletic team, but a student judicial panel decided to expel Holmes from both the team and the school.

Scuba divers off the coast of Alabama have discovered the remains of a 50,000-year-old forest.

It would appear that protesters outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo have some complaints about our president.  Like many teabaggers/hobbits/wacko-birds back here in the U.S., I say, "Join the club."  Thankfully, many Egyptians seem able to distinguish between Barry and America.

The recent train wreck in Quebec, Canada may have been the result of tampering.

To finish, a musical blast from the past.  Here's Nat King Cole and Billy Preston (age 11) performing Fats Domino's Blueberry Hill.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

7/7/2005

Today is the eighth anniversary of terrorist suicide bombings in London, which took place on July 7th, 2005.  These attacks are often remembered as "7/7", in the same manner as the Al Qaeda attacks in the United States on September 11th, 2001 are remembered as "9/11".  During the 7/7 attacks, four bombs were detonated, three on London Underground trains and a fourth on a double-decker bus, killing 52 civilians and the bombers themselves, and injuring over 700 others.  The bombers were not known to be members of any terrorist group, but were "home-grown" terrorists who had been "radicalized".  Three were the sons of immigrants from Pakistan, while the other was an immigrant from Jamaica who converted to Islam.

Read more at Wikipedia, BBC News, the Guardian, the History Channel and Terror On The Tube.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Foamhenge

Foamhenge is a model of the ancient British monument Stonehenge, but made of polymeric foam.  It is located in Virginia, just off U.S. route 11 between Natural Bridge and Lexington.  The parking lot is basically a short dirt road, part of which had turned to mud because of recent rains (as indicated in my earlier post today).  Even so, I was able to find a feasible place to park, as did a family in a vehicle that showed up less than a minute after I did.

Between the sign and parking lot (such as it is) is a sign indicating that Stonehenge was build over 1500 years by thousands of people using stones from the local area or other part of Britain, while Foamhenge was built by "4 or 5 Mexicans" and "one crazy white guy" who transported the foam pieces from Winchester, VA over several months.  The foam monument is a short walk uphill from the parking lot.  Here's a view, looking uphill, of part of the foam circle, including three lintels (horizontal stones, or in this case fake stones, that sit on top of two adjacent vertical fake stones).


An Eventful Few Days

It seemed that no sooner than I arrived at my parents' house this past Wednesday that the news arrived that President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt had been ousted by his country's military.  The Egyptian constitution has been suspended and the head of constitutional court, Adli Mansour, has been appointed interim president.  Morsi is now under house arrest.  President Obama has called for a review of U.S. aid to Egypt since American law forbids aid to countries in which a democratically elected leader is ousted in a coup.  Egypt's people are divided between supporters of Morsi and supporters of his ouster, stirring fears of civil war.  In reaction to Morsi's ouster, Egyptian stocks surged and oil prices had a slight decline.

I drove through light rain on the way down to Virginia on Wednesday.  The rain became heavier during the last 20 miles or so of my trip.  The heavy rain continued during the evening and most of the following might.  On Thursday, July 4th, I saw water spouting through a hole in a manhole cover down the street, and slightly downhill, from my parents' house.  Friday morning, it was still coming up.

Now that I'm back home in Maryland, I find out that an airplane come Seoul, Korea has crash-landed at the San Francisco Airport.  Some facts and video of the crash may be found here.  More on the story may be read here, here and here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tuesday Links

I'll be away for a few days visiting family for the 4th of July, so here are some stories to pass on before I go:

From Canada Free Press, millions of Egyptians are protesting against their president - and ours.

From Al Arabiya, the Egyptian army has drafted a plan to suspend the country's parliament and contsitution.

From CBS News, Egyptian President Morsi refuses to step down.

Also from CBS News, Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005, is on track for sainthood.  Are you ready for Święty Jan Pawel, a.k.a. Święty Karol Wojtyła?

From Investor's Business Daily, electric cars aren't all that clean.

From Fox News, the Obama administration has announced that the employer mandate provision of Obamacare will be delayed until 2015.

From Science Recorder, a 15-year-old student invents a flashlight that runs on body heat.

From AMOG, Aaron Hernandez and the ten most infamous athletes.

From Israel National News, Canadian police have arrested two British Columbia residents for an alleged terror plot.

From The Corner at National Review Online, abortion-rights activists and their signs.

From Bare Naked Islam, the British government, who recently decided to ban Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller from entering their country, had already stopped an American Jew from doing so.

From The Blaze, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has apologized to Congress for lying to them earlier this year.

From Time, alleged leaker Edward Snowden just can't find a country that will give him asylum.

From the Swampland section of Time, President Obama and his immediate predecessor meet in Tanzania.

And from The Guardian, beware of the Mongolian neo-nazi environmentalists.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Excused From Jury Duty

Several weeks ago, I received a summons for jury duty, requiring me to show up at the county court house tomorrow (July 2nd) if the "call-in" number on my summons fell within a range of such numbers that would be revealed today.  According to the court house's website, my number is outside the range, which results in my being excused for two years, without even having to show up.

My only previous experience with the jury system came during the late 1990's, when I was summoned and required to show up, the practice of revealing "call-in" numbers the previous evening not yet being established.  I remember that we jurors were initially told that eight trials had been scheduled for that week, but later on were informed that three of them had been cancelled because of one or two plea bargains and one or two out-of-court civil settlements.  (I don't remember which kind of deal there were two of, and which there was one of.)  Another trial was put on hold because the defendant did not show up.  As a result of all this, the courthouse had about twice as many prospective jurors as they needed, so before noontime had even rolled around, a large number of us including myself were excused.  I grabbed a quick lunch and soon afterwards showed up at work, and told my boss how things had gone.

Tomorrow, some of my co-workers might learn that there had been a possibility that I would not be at work,  but otherwise, everything will be normal.