Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Comes to an End

As 2008 fast comes to a close, one is forced to think that the Chinese proverb/curse has been in full affect; "may you live in interesting times". I understand the hidden meaning behind the word "interesting" but I still think it beats the alternative. Can you imagine living in "boaring times"? I think that would be a much worse fate.

As the year ends, take a final moment to reflect. Think about what you have done and what you might have or should have done differently. Do not do this to live in regret, but as a template for what to do in the new year. When 2008 is over, so is your chance to live the year to the fullest. If you are lucky, you will have 2009 to try again. My final advice for 2008 is to not repeat the mistakes of this year in the next. You never know how many more years you have left, and life is way to short to make the same mistakes over and over again.

Andrew Berman

Israel vs Hamas (Day Five)

So much for the potential cease fire. The exchange of fire continues between Hamas and Israel. More Israeli civilians died bringing the number to just under ten and the dead in Gaza is now around 400 reportedly still mostly militants (though accurate numbers are not really possible right now). It looks like the Middle East is bringing in the New Year with a bang.

People keep asking when Obama is going to comment, but I think he is doing the right thing by staying out of it. He is not yet the president, and it is unlikely that this level of fighting will persist long enough for him to be president during it. I just do not think Hamas has enough rockets to sustain this level of fire for three weeks with no significant resupply likely. Israel will scale back shortly after Hamas does regardless of if Hamas' scale back is forced or willing.

Andrew Berman

Do you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD)? Are you to embarrassed to tell your sexual partners? If so, this is for you. It allows you to email an anonymous post card to your partners to let them know they should get tested.

This website seems a sad commentary on our society. People are having frequent casual sexual relationships but are not even mature enough to confront the consequences. Still, lets call an unfortunate necessity. Better the person find out as early as possible to start treatment and stop spreading the disease.

The potential for mischief here is unmistakable. If you have a rather promiscuous friend, you now have the means to give him/her the scare of their life.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Israel vs Hamas (Day Four)

Day four brought with it at least two more Israeli civilian deaths as well as an unclear number in Gaza. Israel started a channel with some videos I have read are pretty incredible (can not see them on my mobil device, so can not comment personally). Already YouTube has removed a few of them, but others are working to keep them up elsewhere (check over at

Israel has hinted at a halt to bombing to see if Hamas stops firing rockets, but Hamas has stated terms that Israel would not accept before it even happened. No ground assault yet, but it could happen at any time. Hamas rockets have also now reached further into Israel then before the truce. I read that at least 1/10th of Israel's population is now within rocket range from Gaza.

If I was in charge in Israel I would be working hard on rocket defense counter measures. A few tactical laser devices seem to have a lot of promise. In the near term though, they have to do what they can to stop the rockets on the ground by preventing them from being launched. That means either cutting off the supply or convincing Hamas it is in their best interest not to shoot at Israel anymore. Israel is attempting both at the same time right now. Only time will tell how effective it is, but my fingers are crossed for Israel. Also, doing nothing did not work, and it is extremely unlikely this will make it worse after the fighting dies down.

Andrew Berman is a website with a few useful and/or interesting features. Perhaps the best are its collection of text art generators along with its text art collection. Their collection can be found at

What if you want to make your own, but you either are not text-based artistically inclined or simply do not have the time? Not a problem as long as you have a picture of what ever you want the text picture to look like. All you need to do is go to, upload your picture, and choose from the many customization options if you want. Then click "Render" and wait to see what you end up with.

If you want to use characters to generate a word or phrase, will make it for you automatically. Just type the phrase you want and set the with. You can then chose from a wide selection of variations.

One of my favorites is called "doh" slightly modified. The modification is to add and extra space between the letters. An example using Berman Post follows. Given screen size restrictions, "Berman" is broken up into two pieces. If the text picture does not look clear, disregard it and head over to the site to create your own example(s).

BB:::::B B:::::B
B::::B B:::::B eeeeeeeeeeee rrrrr rrrrrrrrr
B::::B B:::::B ee::::::::::::ee r::::rrr:::::::::r
B::::BBBBBB:::::B e::::::eeeee:::::ee r:::::::::::::::::r
B:::::::::::::BB e::::::e e:::::e rr::::::rrrrr::::::r
B::::BBBBBB:::::B e:::::::eeeee::::::e r:::::r r:::::r
B::::B B:::::B e:::::::::::::::::e r:::::r rrrrrrr
B::::B B:::::B e::::::eeeeeeeeeee r:::::r
B::::B B:::::B e:::::::e r:::::r
BB:::::BBBBBB::::::B e::::::::e r:::::r
B:::::::::::::::::B e::::::::eeeeeeee r:::::r
B::::::::::::::::B ee:::::::::::::e r:::::r
BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB eeeeeeeeeeeeee rrrrrrr

mmmmmmm mmmmmmm aaaaaaaaaaaaa nnnn nnnnnnnn
mm:::::::m m:::::::mm a::::::::::::a n:::nn::::::::nn
m::::::::::mm::::::::::m aaaaaaaaa:::::a n::::::::::::::nn
m::::::::::::::::::::::m a::::a nn:::::::::::::::n
m:::::mmm::::::mmm:::::m aaaaaaa:::::a n:::::nnnn:::::n
m::::m m::::m m::::m aa::::::::::::a n::::n n::::n
m::::m m::::m m::::m a::::aaaa::::::a n::::n n::::n
m::::m m::::m m::::m a::::a a:::::a n::::n n::::n
m::::m m::::m m::::m a::::a a:::::a n::::n n::::n
m::::m m::::m m::::m a:::::aaaa::::::a n::::n n::::n
m::::m m::::m m::::m a::::::::::aa:::a n::::n n::::n
mmmmmm mmmmmm mmmmmm aaaaaaaaaa aaaa nnnnnn nnnnnn

P::::::::::::::::P ttt:::t
P::::::PPPPPP:::::P t:::::t
PP:::::P P:::::P t:::::t
P::::P P:::::P ooooooooooo ssssssssss ttttttt:::::ttttttt
P::::P P:::::P oo:::::::::::oo ss::::::::::s t:::::::::::::::::t
P::::PPPPPP:::::P o:::::::::::::::o ss:::::::::::::s t:::::::::::::::::t
P:::::::::::::PP o:::::ooooo:::::o s::::::ssss:::::s tttttt:::::::tttttt
P::::PPPPPPPPP o::::o o::::o s:::::s ssssss t:::::t
P::::P o::::o o::::o s::::::s t:::::t
P::::P o::::o o::::o s::::::s t:::::t
P::::P o::::o o::::o ssssss s:::::s t:::::t tttttt
PP::::::PP o:::::ooooo:::::o s:::::ssss::::::s t::::::tttt:::::t
P::::::::P o:::::::::::::::o s::::::::::::::s tt::::::::::::::t
P::::::::P oo:::::::::::oo s:::::::::::ss tt:::::::::::tt
PPPPPPPPPP ooooooooooo sssssssssss ttttttttttt

Blagojevich Names Obama's Senate Successor - Roland Burris

Blagojevich named former state Attorney General Roland Burris to fill Obama's vacant Senate seat. Democrats in the Senate had vowed not to allow Blagojevich's pick to be seated, but that was before named anyone. Most people on both sides of the political spectrum are disappointed if not outraged by his action. Legally he was entitled to make a selection, but the cloud over Blagojevich's head surly taints his choice. Now we have to wait to see what the Senate will do, but if it is anything accept let his pick stand, it will almost certainly be something not seen in my life time and maybe even the history of our country.

Andrew Berman

Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel vs Hamas (Day Three)

Day three was more of the same as days one and two. Another Israeli civilian has died, and Israel looks to be preparing for a ground assault. Hamas has stepped up its rocket assaults from yesterday, but given the lack of likely current significant resupply, they have to be cutting into their stockpile. Israel may end up curtailing rocket attacks in the near term by forcing Hamas to use up their current supply of rockets. Not the most elegant way to do it, but to some extent it can not be helped. With no way to take out all the rockets at once, you take out what you can and have to accept the ones you miss may be fired at you. Still, better to bunker down for a few days being hit with a massive barrage then live with the daily stream of rockets attacks.

Andrew Berman

Projected Ads

A while back I was walking around to Union Square (New York City) and saw an ad against a wall. It was clearly being projected, so I looked around for a source. I found it in the van you see picture below at an angle that allows you to see the ad as well. Their was no sign indicated who they were their on behalf of, but it seems unlikely that they were working for the company that owned the building the ad was projected on.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Israel vs Hamas (Day Two)

As the bombs continue to fall and Israel expands its targets in keeping with their goal, the body count continues to rise. Such is the unfortunate consequence of Hamas intentionally hiding among civilians to use the as human shields. Still, if reports are accurate, Israel attacks have minimal civilian deaths as collateral as compared to what one might think given the circumstances.

Israel's actions also seem to be having a positive effect in curtailing the rockets. While they still continue to fall in Israel, less fell today then yesterday by a significant margin.

Unfortunately, a "day three" is almost certain, but with any luck when the violence ends rocket attacks against Israel will be something they do not need to worry about for a while.

Andrew Berman

Grammar Fail

Grammar Fail

Now I am not one to make fun of other peoples spelling or grammar, but when a manager puts something on display this blatant it is hard not to smirk a bit.

Wide angle.

Close up.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israel Bombs Hamas

It is hard to tell exactly what is going on with a slow mobile connection as my main source of info, but it appears that Israel has launch a massive strike against Hamas targets in Gaza. The last report I read said a few hundred dead in Gaza (mostly militants) and one dead in Isreal (a civilian). Israel is trying to stop the rocket bombardment of the south which have seen some 300+ fall since the cease fire ended a week ago. That makes it about 3000 rockets so far this year.

The reaction from the rest of the world is exactly what you would expect, but I do not think Israel had to many other options. While these strikes do not usually stop the rocket bombardment, no nation on earth would or could sit back as dozens of rockets rain down on their land daily.

Andrew Berman is your solution to a wallet full of discount or membership cards. For that reason, this one is primarily for the guys (or women that use wallets exclusively [as in with out a purse]) where carrying space is at a premium, though it can help woman clear the clutter as well.

The concept is simple enough, transfer the bar codes from the cards onto one card. The bar code tends to be the only important element of the card, but generally takes up less the 1/4 of the surface area of one side of the card. Doing some quick mental math, if you compiled the bar codes onto a single card you could replace eight regular cards with one new one. works simply enough. Select store that the card was issued by via a drop down menu, type in your bar code number, repeat as necessary, then print. If the store you need is not offered you can switch to the advanced view at Their you can select what type of bar code it is. The rest of the process is the same.

To help potentially confused staff who you will be giving the special card to, you can print out sleeve which makes only one of the bar codes visible at a time at

I have not used this site myself, but that is because of my general aversion to those discount and membership cards. If my aversion changes or I find myself forced to get these cards, it is likely that I will use the site to clear the clutter.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Graffiti Fail or Translation Fail

Graffiti Fail or Translation Fail

Thursday, December 25, 2008 is a website that lets you set up and set off dominos. It is a pretty simple, but at the same time easy to use. You only have dominos and balls to use in your set up. To change the angle of the domino you use the arrows. When you are ready you can name your design, save it, and you will get a URL to share it with others. Feel free to post your designs in the comments.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

NORAD Tracks Santa

NORAD is tracking Santa. To find out where he is, head over to Their you can even find some videos of Santa working his way around some famous sites.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"SUBJECT: Transition Staff Contacts with the Governor’s Office"

The Obama team has released their internal review regarding contacts with Blagoveich. As you would suspect, their is really not much of a surprise in the report. You can read it for yourself at What were the odds that the Obama team would find something inappropriate action committed by the Obama team? The answer, slim. What were the odds of that without first seeing someone resign or be fired; somewhere around zero.

Farewell Brit Hume, Sort of

Brit Hume has finished his last show as host of Special Report. He will still be around for commentary, but is done hosting. Bret Baier will be replacing him as host of Special Report.

Here are Hume's parting words from his last show along with a tribute from Fox News.

Video embedded below.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Speed Camera Prank

Has someone gotten on your bad side lately? Looking for that special prank to really get them back? Why not try printing a copy of their license plates, attaching it to a similar car, then purposely speeding past a camera speed trap. If all goes according to plan, the target will get a speeding ticket in the mail. Of course, this is likely highly illegal and if all does not go according to plan you may end up getting a special visit from some cops.

This simple prank may derail camera speed traps. It seems that it will at least make enforcement against people who fight the ticket much more difficult. I will definitely keep an eye on this to see how things progress.

"As a prank, students from local high schools have been taking advantage of the county's Speed Camera Program in order to exact revenge on people who they believe have wronged them in the past, including other students and even teachers.

Students from Richard Montgomery High School dubbed the prank the Speed Camera "Pimping" game, according to a parent of a student enrolled at one of the high schools.

Originating from Wootton High School, the parent said, students duplicate the license plates by printing plate numbers on glossy photo paper, using fonts from certain websites that "mimic" those on Maryland license plates. They tape the duplicate plate over the existing plate on the back of their car and purposefully speed through a speed camera, the parent said. The victim then receives a citation in the mail days later.

Students are even obtaining vehicles from their friends that are similar or identical to the make and model of the car owned by the targeted victim, according to the parent.

Obama is Osama!!!

Breaking News, Obama and Osama are the same person! That is right, Obama is Osama. Do not believe me; I have found incontrovertible proof in the video at the bottom of the post.

Seriously now, this has got to rank up their as one of the most ridiculous things I have seen in a while. As mentioned in the Berman Post: "Impeach Obama" Facebook Groups post, we can unfortunately expect more outrageous "stuff" directed at Obama. Though people will have to try awfully hard to top this one.

Video embedded below.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Peter Wallison on The Financial Crisis

Via (

Peter Wallison is a smart man. The video is almost 25 minutes, but you should watch it all the way through.

Video embedded below.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"The Mom Song" - by Northland Video

A video tribute to a day in the life of a mother.

Video embedded below.

The Mom Song from Northland Video on Vimeo.

"If …. Kipling Only Knew" - Poem by Claudia Rosett

As Blagoveich professed his innocents in his first news conference since his arrest (Berman Post: Blagoveich - "I am Not Guilty") he quoted Rudyard Kipling’s Poem "IF...". Claudia Rosett has written his own version of Kipling's famous poem to more appropriately fit the situation.

To hear Blagoveich quote Kipling, go to Berman Post: Blagoveich - "I am Not Guilty" and fast forward to 1:20 (one minute, twenty seconds).

To read Kipling's poem "IF...", go to

"If …. Kipling Only Knew

If you can keep your job while all about you
Are fielding bribes and blaming it on you,
If you can duck the Feds while all men doubt you,
And bleep-ing show the charges are untrue,
If you can fight and not be tired by fighting,
Or, being wiretapped, profess surprise,
Or argue that there will be no indicting
Because it’s all a bleep-ing pack of lies.

If you can scheme - but never scheme in writing,
If you can talk - but not from your home phone,
If you can face the press and keep reciting
That truth is on your side, though you’re alone;
If you can bear to hear the bleeps you’ve spoken
Quoted on Fox TV and “Meet the Press”
Or watch that Senate seat become a token
Of all the things they’d like you to confess

If you can just accuse them all of spinning
And quote a bit of Kipling on the way
And comb your hair and somehow keep on grinning
And tell them no one ever paid to play;
If you can force them to accept your own rights
To publicly refuse this bitter cup,
And fight them till you’ve drained yourself of sound bites,
Except the Will to say to them: “Shut up!”

If you once walked with Rezko and Obama
Or spoke with Jesse Junior and with Rahm
If you can overcome this legal drama,
If you can show that no one greased your palm
If you can take that Senate seat and fill it
With someone who will swear you’re not a knave
Yours is the Land of Lincoln, and yet still it
Will have Kipling rolling over in his grave.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blagoveich - "I am Not Guilty"

In his first press conference since his arrest, Blagoveich proclaimed that he is not guilty of these charges. He promised to fight on and said he would not resign. He did not mention anything regarding who would take over for Obama in the Senate, and he did not answer any questions.

Video embedded below.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dana Perino on The Shoe Throwing Incident

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino talks about the shoe throwing incident on the O'Reilly Factor. From what I can tell, she received the worst injury from the event. One of the agents hit a mic on their way to the president, and it swung around and hit her right below her eye. She was hit hard enough that she was crying from the pain. In the video you can see she has a black eye from being struck.

(Shoe throwing incident first reported at Berman Post: President Bush Dodges Two Shoes)

Video embedded below.

USA Natural Disaster "Death Map"

Fox News has a map at its website which shows in what areas of the country people are most likely to be killed by a natural disaster. People surrounding the Great Lakes are relatively safe, while people in the Mid West need to watch out.

To see the map and read the story, go to,2933,468325,00.html#

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Price Is Right Miracle"

Someone has to calculate the odds on this one. A contestant on the show The Price is Right, not only guessed the exact number to continue on in the show (netting him an extra $500 on the spot), but guessed the exact correct amount in his showcase. According to Drew, guessing the exact number in the show case has not happened in 35 years.

Click on the link below to watch the video.

Samir Sumaidaie on The "Shoe Thrower"

Iraqi Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie struck back against Code Pink when they crashed one of his press conferences. They were there in support of the man who threw both of his shoe's at President Bush (reported at Berman Post: President Bush Dodges Two Shoes). Exit points, the man is lucky that Saddam was not where Bush was standing, and it was a bigger insult to the host then to the American president.

Hat tip to for the video (
Video embedded below.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Australian Couple Served Via Facebook

Talk about a bad message. How could you like to sign on your chosen social network and have a message from a lawyer waiting for you? I am guessing you would not be to pleased, especial if that message is to inform you that you have lost your house. Letters and emails failed to reach the couple so the lawyer decided to try facebook. Judges have allowed email notification, but I have not heard of another case involving the use of a social network. An interesting legal precedent may be in the process of being set here; for Australia at least.

"An Australian couple who defaulted on their mortgage have been served legally binding court documents via social networking site Facebook.

In what may be a world first, lawyers from Canberra law firm Meyer Vandenberg persuaded a judge in the Australian Capital Territory's Supreme Court to allow them to serve the documents over the internet after repeatedly failing to serve the papers in person.

Lawyer Mark McCormack came up with the Facebook plan after it became clear that the couple did not want to be found.

Obama - Do Not Waste Your Question

At a press conversation today, Obama told a news reporter that he did not want him to waist his question. The journalist was talking about the Blagoveich scandal. I understand that he did not want to answer a part of the question for now, especially because he is doing it at the request of U.S. Attorney. I did not see a problem with Obama answering the question about if he supported special elections over the governor appointing his replacement. Regardless, we only have to wait a week before Obama is no longer "restrained" by the U.S. Attorney. Then, we will see what he has to say. That is, if the Senate seat has not already been filled.

Video embedded below.

Monday, December 15, 2008

40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes - Over Thinking It Video

Feeling the need for an inspirational boost? Over Thinking It took about 60 clips from some 40 movie speeches and cut them together to make one inspirational speech. Below the video is a transcript provided by the site ( modified slightly to include the opening lines. has a list of what movies the clips came from in order at

Video embedded below.

Will you fight? No, we will run and we will live.

Shame on you. This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you're going to let it be the worst. And I guarantee a week won't go by in your life you won't regret walking out, letting them get the best of you. Well, I'm not going home. We've come too far! And I'm going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause. A day may come when the courage of men fails... but it is not THIS day. The line must be drawn HERE. This far, no further! I'm not saying it's going to be easy. You're going to work harder than you ever worked before. But that's fine, we'll just get tougher with it! If a person grits his teeth and shows real determination, failure is not an option. That's how winning is done! Believe me when I say we can break this army here, and win just one for the Gipper. But I say to you what every warrior has known since the beginning of time: you've got to get mad. I mean plum mad dog mean. If you would be free men, then you must fight to fulfill that promise! Let us cut out their living guts one inch at a time, and they will know what we can do! Let no man forget how menacing we are. We are lions! You're like a big bear, man! This is YOUR time! Seize the day, never surrender, victory or death... that's the Chicago Way! Who's with me? Clap! Clap! Don't let Tink die! Clap! Alright! Let's fly! And gentlemen in England now abed shall know my name is the Lord when I tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our Independence Day!

Obama - There Were no Inappropriate Contacts (Between His Staff And Blagoveich)

After concluding his internal review, Obama said that there were no inappropriate contacts between his staff and Blagoveich. This confirms that their was some contact, but that was to be expected. Clearly, Obama has an interest in who would fill not just his Senate seat, but any. He would want someone who would be favorable to his policies. Their are still some unanswered questions, but Obama is not releasing the report for a week at the request of the US attorneys office.

Yesterday I postulated that Emanuel had contact with Blagoveich (see referenced post at Berman Post: "Questions Remain" - RNC Ad). In that conversation Blagoveich asked for a pay off of sorts and Emanuel rebuffed him but did not report the conversation to the feds. Again, this is based on conjecture but seems to make sense. Blagoveich was upset that Obama would not play ball with him. The only way he could have known that is if someone with the perceived ability to speak for Obama told him so. The most logical reason to protect the identity of that person and not be more forthcoming is that their is something they are ashamed of or have something to hide. If that "something" was illegal, the person would almost certainly have been booted from their position already. By process of logical elimination, we are left with a strong likelihood of a conversation between Blagoveich and a high level Obama staff person who learned of Blagoveich's illegal intent, rebuffed it, but failed to report it. Given everything else being reported, and based on who is talking and who is not, Emanuel is my vote for that person.

Blagojevich Scandal first reported on at Berman Post: Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich (Illinois) Tried to Sell Senate Seat.

Video embedded below.

"The Obama Transition Team has completed their internal investigation - promised last week by President-elect Barack Obama – detailing any contact their staff had with members of Illinois Gov Blagoveich

"That review affirmed the public statements of the President-elect that he had no contact with the governor or his staff, and that the President-elect's staff was not involved in inappropriate discussions with the governor or his staff over the selection of his successor as US Senator,” Obama Transition Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a paper statement.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Payoff" - Work Force Fairness Ad

Work Force Fairness, an organization apposed to the Employee Free Choice Act (also known as Card Check) has put out an ad using Blagojevich and his potential connection to the Service Employees International Union to gain support against Card Check.

Hat tip to Hot Air for the video (

Video embedded below.

"Questions Remain" - RNC Ad

The RNC is attacking Obama over the Blagojevich Scandal (first reported on at Berman Post: Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich (Illinois) Tried to Sell Senate Seat). I do not think that any of this will stick to Obama directly, but I would not say the same thing about Emanuel. My belief based on what has happened so far it that Emanuel called Blagojevich to tell him who Obama wanted or Blagojevich called him to have that conversation. Blagojevich then asked something along the lines of "whats in it for me" and then Emanuel told him to "go f*** yourself" (or something with similar meaning). Emanuel then hung up the phone, but did not call the feds to report the conversation. I think that is what they are hiding, but I also think they have that conversation on tape. Again, this is purely conjecture on my part, but it seems to make sense. In this way I do not think that Emanuel broke any laws, but he failed to act when most would say he should have. Such lack of action goes against the type of administration that Obama has been promising. If I am right, it seems likely that Emanuel will either fall on his sword or get thrown under the bus.

Video embedded below.

President Bush Dodges Two Shoes

Showing off some impressive reflexes, President Bush dodged two shoes hurled at him by an Iraqi journalist. The reporter, Muntazer al-Zaidi of Al-Baghdadia, yelled "This is the farewell kiss, you dog" [in Arabic] as he through his shoes. Bush was not hit by either, and seemed to laugh it off saying "All I can report is it is a size 10" after the fact. He also waved off his security who seemed to be about to whisk him out of the room. Props to Maliki who went for the block on the second shoe, but the shoe was to far off to the side for him to get a hand on it.

"The president successfully ducked both throws. Photos show him with his head down near the top of the podium...

"This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss, you dog," the journalist shouted (in Arabic), Steven Lee Myers of The New York Times reported in a pool report to the White House press corps.

Myers reported that the man threw the second shoe and added: "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."

Journalists at the scene said the hurler was Muntadar al-Zaidi, a reporter for Al-Baghdadia TV, an independent satellite channel based in Cairo.

Videos embedded below.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Keith Ellison is The First Member of Congress to Perform The Hajj

Keith Ellison became the first member of Congress to perform the Hajj. Devout Muslims are expected to perform the Hajj at least once in their lives. The Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca is an annual event. Keith Ellison was the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress.

"For some reason, no local or national media, print or broadcast, have reported on Ellison's pilgrimage to Mecca. But al Arabiya thought it was worthy of notice:

As Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of the U.S. Congress who performed Hajj this week, told CNN, you forget who you are -- black or white and American or African -- and where you come from when you are before God circling the Kaaba in a two-piece unstitched garment.

It's hard to know what to make of the reticence displayed by local, as well as national, media. One would think this would be a great human interest story: America's first Muslim Congressman journeys to Saudi Arabia to perform a set of rituals that is central to his faith. Yet not a word of it has leaked out.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Extra-Full Moon Tonight

If you looked at up at the moon tonight and thought the moon looked a bit larger then usual, you were correct. The moon passed closer to the earth today then it has in the last 15 years or will again till mid November 2016. The moon is about 221.6 thousand miles from earth, or about 17.4 thousand miles closer then average. It looks almost 15% bigger and 30% brighter then normal. Below are two pictures I took, but they will not compare to seeing it for yourself. Go outside and look up before it is to late.

"If the full moon tonight looks unusually large, it is not your imagination – it is the biggest and brightest full moon to be seen for 15 years.

Each month the Moon makes a full orbit around the Earth in a slightly oval-shaped path, and tonight it will swing by the Earth at its closest distance, or perigee. It will pass by 356,613km (221,595 miles) away, which is about 28,000km closer than average.

The unusual feature of tonight is that the perigee also coincides with a full moon, which will make it appear 14 per cent bigger and some 30 per cent brighter than most full moons this year – so long as the clouds hold off from blocking the view.

The next closest encounter with a full moon this large will not be until November 14, 2016.

Visualization of Immigration Data 1820-2007

Via Instapundit ( An interesting visualization of immigration data into the United States from around the world from 1820 to 2007.

Video embedded below.

Immigration to the US, 1820-2007 v2 from Ian S on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Send SMS Text Messages From Gmail Chat

It is now possible to send text messages to people's cell phones right from your Gmail chat once you enter the persons number. Google tried this a little while back, but had some technical issues. All the bugs seem to have been ironed out and it is operational again.

Your friends can reply to the text and the message will make its way back to your chat box. The messages will count as normal text messages, so you might want to check to make sure you are not costing your friends a small fortune. The recipient does have the option to block individual senders or everyone at the same time by replying with the words "Block" or "Stop" respectively.

"A few weeks back, we ran into a few snags when we first started rolling this out, but starting today you can turn on text messaging for chat. Just click on Settings, and go to the Labs tab. Scroll down until you see "Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat" and select Enable and Save Changes.
We'll save your friends' numbers in your Contacts, so next time you can just type their name in the chat box and select Send SMS.

On the receiving end, when you get a text message from Gmail on your phone, it will come from a number in the 406 area code. (The l33t folks in the crowd will note that this spells G0O.) You can reply to this text on your phone just like you'd reply to any other text. The reply gets routed back to our Gmail servers and shows up in your friend's Gmail chat window. Each of your friends' messages will come from a different 406 number so you can reply to any message and it will get back to the right person. Messages from the same person will always come from the same number, so you can even bookmark it in your phone.

If you get a message from somebody you don't want to chat with from your phone, just reply with the word BLOCK. If you don't want to get texts from anybody using Gmail, reply with the word STOP and we'll leave you alone. Keep in mind that all these text messages count as part of your regular mobile messaging plan and might incur fees. So unless you know your friends have unlimited text message plans, please be sensitive to their phone bills.

Hannity to go it Alone

A few weeks ago we reported that Alan Colmes, the co-host of Hannity & Colmes, would be leaving the show (Berman Post: Colmes to Leave "Hannity & Colmes"). Back then, it was not clear if someone would be replacing Colmes or if it would be just Hannity. It is now being reported that Colmes will not be replaced, but their will be a panel of three people who will be on the show with Hannity. The new show lineup will premiere on January 12th.

"TVNewser has learned Fox News will debut a new program at 9pmET, entitled "Hannity," featuring Sean Hannity as host. The program premieres January 12.

"Hannity" will include a "Great American Panel" of three nightly in studio guests — a liberal, a conservative and an "X factor." The show will mix commentary, interviews and special segment like a "Hate Hannity Hotline."

This is the first time in FNC's 12-year history it will alter programming at the 9pmET timeslot.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Illinois Legislature Moves on Blagojevich

Illinois legislators are moving to strip Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich (of Illinois) of his power to appoint someone to Obama's vacated Senate seat. They are going to try to change the law so that the governor no longer has the power to appoint someone to the seat and a special election will be held instead. A special election adds an interesting potential twist to Obama's replacement. Theoretically, a Republican could win. If memory serves, it was a scandal a while back that turned the state blue. Could a scandal now tint the state red? Not to long ago the Democrats were looking at the real possibility of a filibuster proof 60 seats in the Senate. Now the Republicans have a small chance of having a three seat cushion.

The main problem with the legislature's plan is that Blagojevich has a tremendous amount of warning; and all the while he still has the power to appoint someone to the seat. I doubt (or at least hope) that no one would accept that appointment, but you never know. If I was Blagojevich I would appoint myself. Chances are good that he is going away for a long time, so what does he have to lose? That self appointment would really cement his place in the history books.

"In separate statements, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones said they will call a special legislative session next week to repeal the state law that now gives the governor the power to fill Mr. Obama’s seat. Both said they will press instead for a special election to fill the remaining two years of Mr. Obama’s term.

“I am prepared to convene the House next Monday to change state law to provide for a special election for the U.S. Senate replacement,” Mr. Madigan said. “I would urge U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin to take note of this action.”

Mr. Durbin earlier on Tuesday had called for such action in the wake of Mr. Blagojevich’s arrest on federal corruption charges.

School Plans to Teaches Kids to "Strike Back"

A school in Georgetown is considering a plan that would teach the school kids to "strike back" of fight off an armed gunman. In a word; great. No sarcasm here. You can read the short story and see the video clip at;jsessionid=D7CE2F05AA1470936E27974F10A5B9E3?contentId=8028327&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1 (hat tip to Hot Air at for the story) before continuing if you want, but it is not necessary to understand the rest of the post.

When I was in high school, we had a plan to deal with a gunman in the school. The plan went something like this. Step one, gunman enters the school. Step two, that fact reaches the principal's office. Step three, the principal gets on the loud speaker and says a code word/phrase alerting students to the danger. Step four, students go to the nearest "safe zone" (designated rooms within the school) and once their the doors would be locked. Their we were to stay until help arrived.

Upon hearing of this plan I went to talk to the principal to voice my concern and to tell him outright that not only would I not follow this plan, but I would never advice anyone to do this. Their are a few main flaws in this plan. The first is an unspoken assumption that the attacker would be an outsider. Anyone who knew the plan would know exactly where to go to massacre people. Even someone that did not know where groups of students would be clumping would likely figure it out fast by watching where people were running off to. Potentially banging on doors and screaming "let me in". While some of the designated areas presented the potential to barricade from the inside, a definite plus for this plan, most could not. Effectively meaning that should one be discovered, the gunman could get quick and easy access to the room. Indeed, it may be easier for the gunman to get access to some of the areas then the students. For argument sake, lets say their is no problem for the students getting to these locations.

This brings us to the second main problem, clumped masses of cowering students. Now I have no experience shooting at people with real bullets, and to the day I die I hope that fact never changes, but I imagine it is harder to hit a lone student running away in a zig-zag pattern then a stationary clump. Cowering together in a group just makes the gunman's mission of killing people that much easier.

I told the principal that if at all possible, I would look to put as much distance between the gunman and myself as possible. If I could not be sure where the shooter was, I would stay put or if in a bad position, head to the nearest defensible spot. From there I would play it by ear. If I thought I could escape then that is what I would have done. If not, I would try to remain unnoticed while preparing to fight back. Hopefully, with other willing and able people trapped with me. I refused to just stay put and pray that the gunman would spare me or run out of ammo before it was my turn to die.

Ultimately, the principal said that he understood and even agreed with me, but the plan had been crafted and passed a few levels above him meaning he could not do anything about it. The point remains that you should fight back; what do you have to lose? I am not suggesting that waves of school children be sent at the gunman. The first goal is exactly the opposite. Children should be taught to allude and escape or hide. If trapped and discovered though, you should fight back. It is likely the only way you will make it out alive.

If you are physically able (preferably have some sort or training) and find yourself in a position to take down the gunman, you should do so without hesitation. Your actions will likely save a life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Treasury Bills Trade at Negative Rates For The First Time Ever

Treasury Bills trade at negative rates for the first time ever. These are the three-month Treasury Bills. This news comes on a day when the Dow dropped more than 240 points. 200+ point swings in the Dow have seemingly become common place over the last week or so. The Treasury Bill news is not a directly based on the Dow, but more general market fears causing investors turn to the bills for safety.

"Treasuries rose, pushing rates on the three-month bill negative for the first time, as investors gravitate toward the safety of U.S. government debt amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The Treasury sold $27 billion of three-month bills yesterday at a discount rate of 0.005 percent, the lowest since it starting auctioning the securities in 1929. The U.S. also sold $30 billion of four-week bills today at zero percent for the first time since it began selling the debt in 2001.

Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich (Illinois) Tried to Sell Senate Seat

Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois has been arrested for among other things trying to sell Obama's vacated Senate seat. The video below shows the attorney unload on Blagojevich. The video goes on for more then eight minutes, and is stuffed with allegations. Selling the Senate seat was just "the most appalling" of the "political corruption crime spree". Under Illinois law the governor has the right to fill a vacant Senate position. Technically speaking, Blagojevich is still governor and still has that right. Who would accept that position from him at this point; no one I hope.

Their is no allegation that Obama has anything to do with this scandal, but there is not some confusion as to if he had any contact with governor. Not that this really matters, all that would matter is if the contact Obama may have had with Blagojevich was of a nature which indicated he had some hand in the scandal. As mentioned previously, their is no allegation that Obama did anything unsavory here.

Video embedded below.

"Said an FBI agent of Illinois at the presser, “If it isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor.” Indeed: George Ryan, Blagojevich’s predecessor, is also in prison, and only three of the last seven governors have managed to escape indictment. They’re long overdue for a reform candidate, but who could they get? They’d need someone from the area, preferably with a national profile, whose reputation for putting law and order above partisan politics is impeccable. Anyone you know fit the bill?"

Here are a few more links for information on this story:,0,7997804.story

Monday, December 8, 2008

McCain ad - Forbidden Wright Attack ad

A forbidden attack ad against Wright has just come to light. It appears that McCain never even saw it, but his staff had the ad ready in the event that McCain changed his mind and Wright would no longer have been off limits. Would it have made a difference? By itself probobly not. As part of a larger theme on judgment, that is a harder call. It may have, but the economic turmoil would have likely overshadowed it. Not that it really matters at this point, but watch the ad and decide for yourself.

Video embedded below.

Woman Gives Birth at 70

An Indian woman has given birth at the age of 70. She is thought to be the oldest person to give birth. Rajo Devi and her husband used fertility treatment. Rajo Devi and her husband had not been able to have children previously. Bala Ram, Rajo Devi's husband, is 72.

"The couple said they were facing social stigma for being childless for the last 55 years.

"We used the usual intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) technique in her case. The ICSI method enables even poor quality sperms being used creating embryos," said Dr Bishnoi.

Prescription Handguns?!?

A little while ago I cam across the Palm Pistol. I did not do a post on it because it did not seem to be anything that special. The Pal Pistol is a single shot weapon that fire 9mm ammo. It appears ergonomically designed with seniors or other people with difficulty in mind. What makes this gun interesting is the classification it received. The FDA has classified the weapon as a Class I Medical Device. Why is this significant; because if their application to the CMS contractor Noridian for a DME is approved a doctor can proscribe the pistol allowing patients to be reimbursed from health insurance company.

"Constitution Arms contacted us with the following information:
Several weeks ago you were kind enough to blog about the Palm Pistol. We thought you might be interested to learn that the FDA has completed its “Device/Not a Device” determination and concluded the handgun will be listed as a Class I Medical Device, exempt from 510(k) Pre-Market Notification in accordance with 21 CFR 890.5050 “Daily Activity Assist Device.”

We have now submitted an application to the CMS contractor Noridian for a DME (Durable Medical Equipment) Coding Verification in order to be assigned an HCPCS code. Once assigned , physicians will be able to prescribe the Palm Pistol for qualified patients who may seek reimbursement through Medicare or private health insurance companies.

No word on any futile attempts at a CE Mark of approval for the Palm Pistol in the European Union.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Teddy Bears in Space

Teddy Bears can now be counted among the objects to have risen to the outer edges of our atmosphere and into space. Cambridge University sent an pair of prepared Teddy Bears to the edge of our atmosphere using a helium balloon. How do you prepare Teddy Bears for space, with a custom made foil space suit and a parachute to carry them safely back to terraferma. Their was some science and exploration going on up their, but with the Teddy Bear milestone seems to be taking up all the headlines.

"On Monday, a helium balloon buoyed a quartet of bears 100,000 feet up, to the edge of space, where they sampled the rarefied top of the atmosphere. Sensors monitored the extreme temperatures they experienced -- more than 60 degrees Fahrenheit below zero -- though the bears themselves kept snug in foil spacesuits custom-made for them by the preadolescent mission control team.

After the balloon burst, a parachute carried the small crew safely back to England's green and pleasant land.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Street Art in NYC

I came across that picture a few days ago while walking around in New York City. I have no idea who made it, no idea what it is supposed to represent (if anything), and no idea how long it had been their. Still, I liked the way it looked and decided to take a picture to share it with you. Sorry about the angle, but it was the best I could do without casting a shadow over the image.

In case you have trouble reading it, the picture appears to be signed with the word "Hani" with the number "9176734843". Since I did not see the person create the picture, I do not know if that was made as a signature or added after the fact. Regardless; enjoy the photo.

Friday, December 5, 2008

O.J. Simpson Sentenced to Prison For up to 33 Years

O.J. Simpson was sentenced today from his conviction in early October (Berman Post: O.J. Simpson - Guilty on All Charges). He will go to jail for up to 33 years, but could be eligible for parole in about nine years. The video of the judge handing down the sentence is below the quoted text.

"A broken O.J. Simpson was sentenced Friday to as much as 33 years in prison for a hotel armed robbery after a judge rejected his apology and said, "It was much more than stupidity." The 61-year-old football Hall of Famer stood shackled and stone-faced when Judge Jackie Glass quickly rattled off his punishment soon after he made a rambling, five-minute plea for leniency, choking back tears as he told her: "I didn't want to steal anything from anyone. ... I'm sorry, sorry."
Simpson could serve up to 33 years but could be eligible for parole after nine years, according to Elana Roberto, the judge's clerk.

Hat time to Hot Air [] for the video.

Video embedded below.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

AlQaeda And Nazi Lego Men

Recently, some controversy has broken out regarding Lego figures. Specifically, the AlQaeda and Nazi Lego men. They argue that the Lego figures glorify the Nazis and the Terrorists. I do not see it that way.

If you are going to have a mock conflict or battle with "action figures" (these Legos are not dolls) you need to have a bad guy. Can you think of anyone worse then the Nazis or terrorists? Creating a side to be defeated by the "good guys" does not glorify the vanquished.

If some people chose to buy the Legos to glorify the Nazis, that can hardly be blamed on the company. People that would do this likely glorify the Nazis in other ways. Even that does not really matter in this issue. The point is that you can dipict a side without glorifying it. Those who gleefully burn images of people in effigy were not trying to glorify the person while they were creating the image.

"A range of Lego-style figures including an al-Qaeda terrorist and Nazi officer have been slammed by religious leaders for 'glorifying terrorism.'

One of the children's toys - made from customised Lego men - resembles a masked follower of Osama bin Laden complete with a rocket launcher, assault rifle and grenades.

Another of the warped figures is a gun-wielding German major, whose uniform bears the SS insignia, which can be bought along with a replica Nazi stormtrooper.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One Billionth Computer Mouse Produced

Logitech has announced that their one-billionth mouse rolled of their production lines at the end of last month. That number is aggregating their total production of all of their different types of mice. Still, it is an impressive number and a milestone for the computing world.

"Logitech, maker of many mice, has hailed as a major landmark the production of their one billionth computer mouse, which rolled off production lines late last month.

The first mouse was created on December 9, 1968 when Douglas C. Engelbart and his group of researchers at Stanford University put the first mouse through its paces.

"Barack Obama Day" - New Holiday

Ala. county has set a new holiday, "Barack Obama Day". It will be observed on the second Monday of November. All of the county run offices will be closed and its workers will get a paid holiday. I thought it was customary for people to get holidays after they had passed on, but what do I know.

"A small central Alabama county whose mainly black residents gave Barack Obama more than 70 percent of the vote on Election Day has created an annual holiday in honor of the president-elect.

The Perry County Commission voted 4 to 1 to observe the second Monday in November as "The Barack Obama Day." County offices will close and its roughly 40 workers will get a paid holiday.

Empire State Building Stolen!?!

The Empire State Building was stolen, and it only took 90 minutes. Not to worry, Empire State Building is still their; the picture I took today verifies that.

All kidding aside, no one is going to be able to physically move a major building, but there are other ways to steal one. The culprit in this $2Billion caper was the Daily News. All they had to do was fake a few documents and have the deed transferred to them.

The point was to show a loophole in the current system and get it patched. If stealing one of the most well known buildings on the planet does not get their attention, nothing will. They have since returned the property to its rightful owner.

"In one of the biggest heists in American history, the Daily News "stole" the $2 billion Empire State Building.

And it wasn't that hard.

The News swiped the 102-story Art Deco skyscraper by drawing up a batch of bogus documents, making a fake notary stamp and filing paperwork with the city to transfer the deed to the property.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss Wins Runoff

It is official, Saxby Chambliss has won the Georgia runoff. The Republicans now have 41 seats in the Senate with one still up in the air. The Democrats remain unchained since the November elections at 56 with two independents that caucus with the Democrats.

Coleman leads Franken now, and it appears Coleman will win the recount. That being the case, Franken may still take this up in the courts or the Senate. Either way, the Democrats will not be able to get the 60 seat filibuster proof majority. They may still be able to break the filibuster using some liberal Republicans.

"Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss handed the GOP a firewall against Democrats eager to flex their newfound political muscle in Washington, winning a bruising runoff battle Tuesday night that had captured the national limelight.

Chambliss' victory thwarted Democrats' hopes of winning a 60 seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. It came after a bitter month long runoff against Democrat Jim Martin that drew political luminaries from both parties to the state and flooded the airwaves with fresh attack ads weeks after campaigns elsewhere had ended.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Domain Registrars

Domain Registrars are what you use to to register a domain name. You need a domain name in order to create a website. It serves as the virtual address of your site. Among the things to consider when choosing which domain registrar to use are:
1) Price (factoring any freebies that you plan on using that are included)
2) Other services offered (can you use them for your other website needs)
3) Customer support
4) Special perks (auto renewal, email updates, domain protections...)

Top Picks (My current registrar is Go Daddy)


Go Daddy


Network Solutions

Massive List




Domain Direct




Go Daddy





Network Solutions


For the complete list of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) accredited registrars go to

Dow Plunges 679.95 Points And Recession in USA is Officially Called

The markets had been ticking up slowly for a few trading days, but the plunge today abruptly ended that trend. The Dow lost 679.95 points, the fourth largest one day point drop in history. The S&P and Nasdaq lost more in percentage terms each shedding a hair less then then nine percent. The Dow ended down a little under eight percent.

It also was officially called by the The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) that the United States is in a recession. This was not a surprise. According to the NBER we have been in the recession since the end of last year (December 2007).

"The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost 680 points, its fourth-biggest single-session decline on a point basis ever. The decline was 7.7% in percentage terms - the 12th worst percentage one-day decline ever.

Year-to-date, the Dow is down 38.6% and has lost 42.5% from its record close of 14164.53 hit on Oct. 9, 2007.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index fell 8.9% and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) gave up 9%.
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) confirmed what many have long believed - that the nation is in a recession. According to the NBER, the official body that calls economic cycles, the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007.

Markets Last Change
Dow Jones 8,149.09 -679.95 / -7.70%
Nasdaq 1,398.07 -137.50 / -8.95%
S&P 500 816.21 -80.03 / -8.93%

Terror Strikes in Mumbai (India) - Video from Sky News

Sky News has a good video from the terrorist attacks. It starts with video of the apprehension of the only captured terrorist. Lets say his arrest was rather "rough". I am sure the victims and their friend,s and family are shedding a few tears for the "excessive roughness" used in the apprehension.

They then interview a photographer that managed to get some of the only photos of the terrorists while the fighting was raging. Perhaps almost as disturbing as the attack is his allegation that the police never fired a shot at the terrorists while he was watching.

It ends with a brief background of how the terrorist launched their attack and showed how easy it was to launch and how vulnerable they still might be.

Completely off topic, their are few arguments more compelling for the right to bear arms for self defense then the prospects of the police not engaging the threat after they arrive on scene. I can not recall a similar incident here in the USA, but still... . Perhaps a more compelling argument is the time it takes police to arrive, but I digress.

Video embedded below.

Terror Strikes in Mumbai (India) Aftermath - Burial News

Generally, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack burial news is ignored. That is because usually their is nothing special or interesting about it. Of course, there are almost always heart wrenching pictures of the victim's family and friends; but that is not the kind of news I am talking about here.

What is newsworthy here is that The Muslim Council on Sunday decided not to bury the bodies of the terrorists in their seminary. Effectively, a proper Muslim funeral in a Muslim cemetery will no longer be possible for these terrorists. Hopefully this will be seen by potential Muslim extremists as a message that a prominent Muslim group considers the acts of terrorism to be against Islam. Will it; we can all hope, but I am not holding my breath.

"The Muslim Council on Sunday decided not to allow burial of the bodies of the nine terrorists killed during the Mumbai siege in the
Marine Lines Bada Qabrastan (cemetery).

The council said it was trying to send a message to all cemeteries in India that none of the bodies should be buried on Indian soil.

In other burial news, the six Jews (four of which were Israeli citizens) that were tortured and murdered in the terror attacks were flown to Israel to be buried in Jerusalem. Their deaths were senseless (as were the deaths of the other victims), but there families can hopefully garner some comfort from the national honors and proper burial they will receive back home in Israel.

"The remains of six Jews including four Israeli nationals killed in the Mumbai attacks were flown back to Israel Monday night ahead of Jerusalem burials Tuesday.

The coffins carrying the bodies from India on an air force plane were draped in Israeli flags for an official landing ceremony, national radio reported.
Both sets of parents were seated on the plane after emotional scenes at a Mumbai synagogue earlier Monday as their two-year-old orphan, Moshe, cried out for his parents.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Like what you read; Subscribe/Fan/Follow