Archive for December, 2010

Happy Picture

This is a map of the 2010 House Races

We are looking at this map for two reasons: 1. Obama is much more popular today than he was just a few weeks ago, when this map was made, and I wanted to post something uplifting and 2. Posting will be light for the rest of the week, so I wanted something cheery, something to share with friends. Treasure this for both the short term and the long term.

- Aggie

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Is This The Best Thing You’ve Seen All Year?

Jonathan conducts Beethoven 5, last movement

- Aggie

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People Who Feel Guilty About Eating Are Hilarious


Seriously. Wow.

A New Jersey woman who hopes to become the fattest woman in the world got 30,000 calories closer to her 1,000lb goal with a festive feast that could have fed dozens of revellers.

46-stone Donna Simpson, sitting in a reinforced metal chair, chowed down on the world’s biggest Christmas dinner as she ate for two straight hours on Saturday.

The single mother-of-two tucked into two 25lb turkeys, two maple-glazed hams, 15lbs of potatoes (10lbs roast, 5lbs mashed), five loaves of bread, five pounds of herb stuffing, four pints of gravy, four pints of cranberry dressing and an astonishing 20lbs of vegetables.
Donna’s at 30,000 calories in her two-hour Christmas feast — as much as many people eat over the course of two WEEKS. Here she is earlier this year snacking on McDonalds

Donna’s at 30,000 calories in her two-hour Christmas feast — as much as many people eat over the course of two WEEKS. Here she is earlier this year snacking on McDonalds

After polishing off her enormous main course, she still had room for dessert and ate a ‘salad’ made of marshmallow, cream cheese, whipped cream and cookies.

Donna’s two children, Devin, 14, and Jacqueline, three, enjoyed a more modest feast.

The 5’2 Donna defended her £150 meal, saying: ‘I eat as much as I want, whenever I want but at this time of year I really go all out.

‘Christmas should give you carte blanche to do whatever you want.’

Donna, who insists she is healthy, told the Sunday Mirror: ‘People who feel guilty about eating are hilarious.’


So if you put on a few extra pounds over the holidays, give yourself a break, ok?

- Aggie


Disneyland Dream

I would embed this but am concerned about bandwith. This is a documentary film, made in 1956, by a family that won a vacation to Disneyland because they had a winning entry in the 3M competition, something about the uses of Scotch Tape. In keeping with our theme of pleasant enjoyment on a day when some of us are snowed in, I highly recommend this film. It is a beautiful record of a lost era.

PS: From the comments section at the link:

As a neighbor of the Barstows, the annual summer screening of this movie (and others) was always a lot of fun. Dr. Barstow would tack a sheet onto the back of his house and when it got dark, project.

Mrs. Barstow made popcorn and cookies, and served punch. As a youngster of single digit age, trying to figure out how they jumped backwards onto the diving board, or how that roll of tape created ‘The End’…was fun. Nice to have the narration by Dr. Barstow in this version.

We also learn the Dr. Barstow, the dad, passed away on November 7th, and that Steve Martin makes a brief appearance at about the 20 minute mark, because he was working in Disneyland as a kid.

And here is a 1936 home movie from the creator of Disneyland Dream, a movie about Tarzan, starring himself and three friends:

- Aggie


Puppies for Christmas

So pleasant.

- Aggie

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

Yours truly is contemplating the mess with a lovely cup of coffee, but soon must face the snow shovels.

A Christmas weekend nor’easter barreled into New England yesterday, paralyzing airports, roadways, and even train service as it buried southern New England under wind-driven snow and as flood waters lashed the coast.

Overnight, winds that reached 60 miles per hour knocked out electricity to nearly 60,000 customers in Southeastern Massachusetts, while police responded to countless spinouts, stall-outs, and other highway mishaps across the state.

All of Massachusetts remains under a state of emergency this morning and a blizzard warning for most of the state will remain in effect until 6 p.m. Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas M. Menino ordered all nonemergency state and city workers to stay home today. They requested that private employers follow their example.

“I can’t overstate enough how important it is for your safety, and also for our response efforts, for people to keep off the roads and indoors as much as possible,’’ said Patrick. “If you stay alert and follow common sense, we will get through this storm, as we have many, many winters before.’’

The governor is correct. I will get through this storm and will even manage to enjoy the storm. We have heat, lots of food, water, wine, coffee – we’re all set.


Pity the poor fools who prefer a beach holiday!!!


- Aggie

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American Murder Mystery: Who Killed Abraham Lincoln

When we’re bored with wondering who killed JFK, we can revisit the Lincoln assassination.

DNA can reveal the truth. Maybe.

Inside a grave in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is DNA that could finally put to rest debate about whether Abraham Lincoln’s killer escaped capture and lived for years before committing suicide.

What’s that you say? Wasn’t this all solved 145 years ago? That depends on who you ask.

The way it’s written in history books, John Wilkes Booth was cornered 12 days after shooting President Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre and killed in a tobacco barn before being laid to rest in a family plot. But there have been several historians over the years not entirely satisfied with this version.

“If the man who killed our greatest president got away and a giant hoax was perpetrated on the American people, then we should know about it,” historian Nate Orlowek told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Descendants of Booth’s have heard various stories about whether he was actually able to live another 38 years, traveling around the country and changing his name several times before killing himself, according to The Inquirer.

The theory has been debated before in published books, documentaries, TV shows and even Thursday night on the History Channel on Brad Meltzer’s “Decoded,” which is examining compelling mysteries from the past.

Which brings us back to the present – and that grave in Cambridge. It contains the body of John Wilkes Booth’s brother, Edwin Booth, who was a Shakespearean actor buried in 1893.

Descendants of the men have now agreed to exhume the body of Edwin Booth in an effort to put the family drama to rest.

“I just feel we have a right to know who’s buried there,’’ said Lois Trebisacci, 60, who told The Boston Globe she is Edwin Booth’s great-great-great granddaughter.

In 1995, the family tried to exhume the body inside the family plot that contains the man shot in the barn, but a judge denied the request.

“The family was as much interested in disproving [the escape] theory as they were in proving it,’’ Mark Zaid, an attorney for Trebisacci, told the Globe.

So now, the family is going to try the route with Edwin Booth’s body, family members told the media. Though an exhumation request has not been made yet, if and when it is, DNA from Edwin Booth’s body could be tested against vertebrae of the man shot in the barn, which is currently in the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C., and the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.

But not everyone is keen on doing that.

A spokesman told The Inquirer that the National Museum of Health and Medicine was concerned about damage to the precious piece of history, just for the sake of trying to debunk a myth. But Jan Herman, chief historian for the Navy Medical Department and special assistant to the Navy surgeon general in Washington, said since only a small drill would be used, the sample wouldn’t be damaged.

It’s very much a case of weighing what’s worth it.

“If it compares favorably, that’s the end of the controversy,” Herman told the Inquirer. “That was Booth in the barn, end of case.

“If it doesn’t match, you change American history.”

Well, that’s a bit unsatisfying, isn’t it? How did Booth get away and who was the poor sucker in the barn?

- Aggie

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Palestinians Planning To Ethnically Cleanse Themselves?

Will the human rights organizations comment about this?

Hamas claims PA plans to deport its W. Bank leaders
12/26/2010 19:07

Threat to exile 50 members of Islamist group tied to Schalit prisoner swap, senior official tells ‘Post’.

The Palestinian Authority is threatening to deport 50 Hamas leaders from the West Bank, the Islamist movement claimed on Sunday.

The unprecedented threat is seen as yet another sign of mounting tensions between the Fatah-dominated PA in the West Bank and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

It’s not clear to where the Hamas leaders would be deported. [Cambridge, MA The PA security forces would not be able to carry out such a step without coordinating with Israel.

A senior PA security official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that he was unaware of any decision to deport Hamas members. The official accused the Hamas leadership of “lies and fabrications.”

Since Saturday, scores of Hamas officials and activists have been summoned to the headquarters of the PA’s General Intelligence Service in Ramallah, where they were reportedly informed that they may be deported.

Among those who were threatened with deportation are Sheikh Hussein Abu Kwaik, Aziz Kayed, Osama al- Hamad, Muhammad Hamdan, Khaled Ghaithan, Khalil Brafili, Ahmed Zeid, Yusef Kifaya, Khaldoun Barghouti and Ismail al-Wawi.

Can’t we all just get along????

- Aggie


In Pakistan, Even Lowly Girls Can Grow Up To Be Suicide Terrorists

Just imagine, one woman killed 45 people and injured over 100, all in praise of her faith

A female suicide bomber detonated her explosives-laden vest killing at least 45 people at an aid distribution center in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, while army helicopter gunships and artillery killed a similar number of Islamic militants in neighboring tribal regions near the Afghan border, officials said.

The bombing appeared to be the first suicide attack staged by a woman in Pakistan, and it underscored the resilience of militant groups in the country’s tribal belt despite ongoing military operations against them.

Her parents, teachers and imam must be so darn proud.

- Aggie

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Death Panel Official Rollout: January 1, 2011

Isn’t it fascinating that the NY Times chose to report this on Christmas?

Sarah Palin, where are you when we need you?

So far, this is just an advisory technique, a little discussion between the doctor, the patient, and the government, about what quality of life is worth living. But of course, that’s ridiculous. These are painful discussions that occur daily between patients, physicians and family members. What possible purpose could the government achieve by inserting itself into this conversation?

When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

Under the rule, doctors can provide information to patients on how to prepare an “advance directive,” stating how aggressively they wish to be treated if they are so sick that they cannot make health care decisions for themselves.

While the new law does not mention advance care planning, the Obama administration has been able to achieve its policy goal through the regulation-writing process, a strategy that could become more prevalent in the next two years as the president deals with a strengthened Republican opposition in Congress.

In this case, the administration said research had shown the value of end-of-life planning.

“Advance care planning improves end-of-life care and patient and family satisfaction and reduces stress, anxiety and depression in surviving relatives,” the administration said in the preamble to the Medicare regulation, quoting research published this year in the British Medical Journal.

The administration also cited research by Dr. Stacy M. Fischer, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who found that “end-of-life discussions between doctor and patient help ensure that one gets the care one wants.” In this sense, Dr. Fischer said, such consultations “protect patient autonomy.”

Opponents said the Obama administration was bringing back a procedure that could be used to justify the premature withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from people with severe illnesses and disabilities.

Etc. You can read the rest at the link. I just really, really question the decision to publish this today.

And apparently, the bill already includes language that will deny patients, families and physicians the Right To Choose:

Elizabeth D. Wickham, executive director of LifeTree, which describes itself as “a pro-life Christian educational ministry,” said she was concerned that end-of-life counseling would encourage patients to forgo or curtail care, thus hastening death.

“The infamous Section 1233 is still alive and kicking,” Ms. Wickham said. “Patients will lose the ability to control treatments at the end of life.”

Why are liberals so interested in making it possible for people to choose death – abortions, assisted suicide, death panels – and so opposed to allowing people to choose life?

- Aggie

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See You Next Year

The Bloodthirsty Clan will be winging its way to destinations undisclosed early tomorrow, so this might be it from me until New Year’s Day. Aggie will post when she can, but also has plans.

Regular bitching and moaning will resume in the New Year.

Now which to choose at the airport, the porno-scan or the hernia check?

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Dutch Arrest 12 Somalis On Terrorism Charges

Is there something symbolic going on with the number 12 – 12 days of Christmas or something? Two recent incidences of 12 suspected terrorists being arrested.

Dutch authorities have arrested 12 men of Somali origin they believe were about to carry out a terrorist attack, authorities said Saturday.

The country’s intelligence service provided information that led to the arrests in Rotterdam, Public Prosecution Service spokesman Wim de Bruin told CNN.

No weapons or explosives were found, he said. The suspects are in police custody.

“The attack was said to be imminent so the national police started an investigation which led to the arrest of 12 Somalis later on Friday in Rotterdam,” de Bruin said. “We are not sure about what the target was, how they were going to carry out the attack or when.”

A Dutch counterterrorism office spokeswoman said the immediate threat to the country has been removed and the terror alert level will remain “limited,” or relatively low.

“We are now following the information that comes out of the interrogations with these 12 individuals to see if there still remains a threat from this plot,” said Judith Sluiter of the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism.

It seems that worldwide counter-terrorism measures have been effective for the past couple of years – knock on wood.

- Aggie


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