Joke of the Day

Cinderella was now 75 years old. After a fulfilling life with the now dead Prince, she happily sat upon her rocking chair, watching the world go by from her front porch, with a cat called Alan for companionship.

One sunny afternoon, out of nowhere, appeared the Fairy Godmother. Cinderella said “Fairy Godmother, what are you doing here after all these years?” The Fairy Godmother replied “Well Cinderella, since you have lived a good, wholesome life since we last met, I have decided to grant you 3 wishes. Is there anything for which your heart still yearns?”

Cinderella is taken aback, overjoyed and after some thoughtful consideration and almost under her breath she uttered her first wish “I wish I was wealthy beyond comprehension.”

Instantly, her rocking chair was turned into solid gold. Cinderella was stunned. Alan, her old faithful cat, jumped off her lap and scampered to the edge of the porch, quivering with fear. Cinderella said “Oh thank you, Fairy Godmother”. The Fairy Godmother replied “It is the least I can do. What does your heart wish for your second wish?”

Cinderella looked down at her frail body, and said “I wish I was young and full of the beauty of youth again”.

At once, her wish having been desired, became reality, and her beautiful youthful visage had returned. Cinderella felt stirrings inside her that had been dormant for years and long forgotten vigor and vitality began to course through her very soul.

Then the Fairy Godmother again spoke “You have one more wish, what shall you have?” Cinderella looked over to the frightened cat in the corner and said “I wish you to transform Alan my old cat into a beautiful and handsome young man”.

Magically, Alan suddenly underwent so fundamental a change in his biological make-up, that when complete he stood before her, a boy, so beautiful the like of which she nor the world had ever seen, so fair indeed that birds begun to fall from the sky at his feet. The Fairy Godmother again spoke “Congratulations, Cinderella. Enjoy your new life.” And, with a blazing shock of bright blue electricity,she was gone.

For a few eerie moments, Alan and Cinderella looked into each other’s eyes. Cinderella sat, breathless, gazing at the most stunningly perfect boy she had ever seen. Then Alan walked over to Cinderella, who sat transfixed in her rocking chair, and held her close in his young muscular arms.

He leaned in close to her ear, and into her ear breathed as much as whispered, blowing her golden hair with his warm breath, “I bet you regret having me neutered now, don’t you?”

Collecting “Green Jobs”

A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report counts 3.1 million green jobs in the U.S. economy, but the BLS defines these jobs so broadly that it includes even school bus drivers and trash collectors as “green” workers.

“Cheerleaders for the president’s program of green jobs mandates and spending point to the study as confirmation of green jobs’ economic importance,” said David W. Kreutzer, Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.

Kreutzer takes issue with the report as “an effort to count the number of green jobs as a way of justifying subsidies and mandates.”

“Just a little digging into the data shows that only a small fraction of the 3.1 million jobs could have been created by green subsidies and mandates.”

The BLS study defines green jobs as those “in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.”

Using this definition, the BLS counts 43,658 jobs in steel mills as green because the industry uses scrap steel and can be classified as an active recycler.

Similarly, 27 percent of all paper mill jobs, 30,473, are counted as green because mills use recycled paper.

Steel and paper mill jobs “do not fit in with the rhetoric of the new, clean economy that green jobs proponents use to justify expensive green policies — the sort of policies that brought the Solyndra debacle,” Kreutzer writes in the Heritage Foundation report.

The electric power generation industry is said to have 44,152 green jobs, but only 4,700 are in renewable power generation.

The nuclear power industry has 35,755 green jobs, according to the BLS, but since no new plants have been built-in the past 30 years, those jobs “are clearly not the result of any green energy or green jobs programs,” Kreutzer points out.

Other jobs considered to be green by the BLS include those in used merchandise stores (106,865 jobs), waste collection (116,293), school and employee bus transportation (160,896), leisure and hospitality (22,510), office furniture sales (14,888), septic tank cleaning and portable toilet servicing (13,313), radio and television broadcasting (9,297), fruit and tree nut farming (12,176), and social advocacy organizations (20,704).

Kreutzer concludes that the BLS’s “definition and collection mechanisms raise serious questions about how green those jobs are and whether their count can be a useful measure of the importance of green jobs in America’s economy and the effectiveness of green jobs policies.”

Attribution: Newsmax

Shipwreck Ale

A shipwreck off the coast of Finland may hold the key to beer fanatics enjoying a brew which was created over 170 years ago.

Finnish researchers say they may be able to recreate beer from the 1840s after finding living bacteria in beer from the sunken ship near Aaland Islands in the Baltic Sea.

The 2010 discovery of the ship, believed to have sunk in the 1840s, also included the world’s oldest champagne considered drinkable, which has since been auctioned off.
Researchers analyzed two bottles of beer, which they admitted ‘had not stood the test of time well’ but retained a pale golden color and could originally have had hints of rose, almond and cloves.

‘Based on the chemical analysis we made of the beer and with help from a master brewer it would be possible to try to make beer that would resemble it as much as possible,’ Annika Wilhelmson from VTT technical research center of Finland said.

The wreck lies off Aaland, an autonomous part of Finland.

The name of the sunken vessel is still unknown, as is its destination.

It has been speculated that the cargo was bound for the Russian Tsar’s court in St Petersburg.

When it was unearthed, officials stated they believed the beer was the oldest in the world.

‘We believe these are by far the world’s oldest bottles of beer,’ Rainer Juslin, a spokesman for the local government of Aaland, said in a statement in 2010.

The enviable haul was found intact on the seabed at a depth of 50 meters.

‘The constant temperature and light levels have provided optimal conditions for storage, and the pressure in the bottles has prevented any seawater from seeping in through the corks,’ the statement said.

The discovery also consisted of the world’s oldest champagne of the labels Veuve Clicquot, Juglar and Heidsieck.

A total of 145 bottles of champagne were salvaged.

A bottle of shipwrecked Veuve Clicquot sold for $43,630, surpassing the world auction record.

Law vs. Morality

 Liberty-loving Patriots Have a Duty to Disobey Unconstitutional Laws

By: Walter E. Williams
(One of my Heros & favorite Limbaugh fill-in host)

Let’s think about whether all acts of Congress deserve our respect and obedience. Suppose Congress enacted a law — and the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional — requiring American families to attend church services at least three times a month. Should we obey such a law? Suppose Congress, acting under the Constitution’s commerce clause, enacted a law requiring motorists to get eight hours of sleep before driving on interstate highways. Its justification might be that drowsy motorists risk highway accidents and accidents affect interstate commerce. Suppose you were a jury member during the 1850s and a free person were on trial for assisting a runaway slave, in clear violation of the Fugitive Slave Act. Would you vote to convict and punish?

A moral person would find each one of those laws either morally repugnant or to be a clear violation of our Constitution. You say, “Williams, you’re wrong this time. In 1859, in Ableman v. Booth, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 constitutional.” That court decision, as well as some others in our past, makes my case. Moral people can’t rely solely on the courts to establish what’s right or wrong. Slavery is immoral; therefore, any laws that support slavery are also immoral. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions (is) a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

Soon, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Obamacare, euphemistically titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. There is absolutely no constitutional authority for Congress to force any American to enter into a contract to buy any good or service. But if the court rules that Obamacare is constitutional, what should we do?

State governors and legislators ought to summon up the courage of our Founding Fathers in response to the 5th Congress’ Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. Led by Jefferson and James Madison, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 were drafted where legislatures took the position that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional. They said, “Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government … (and) whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.” The 10th Amendment to our Constitution supports that vision: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

In a word, if the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is constitutional, citizens should press their state governors and legislatures to nullify the law. You say, “Williams, the last time states got into this nullification business, it led to a war that cost 600,000 lives.” Two things are different this time. First, most Americans are against Obamacare, and secondly, I don’t believe that you could find a U.S. soldier who would follow a presidential order to descend on a state to round up or shoot down fellow Americans because they refuse to follow a congressional order to buy health insurance.

Congress has already gone far beyond the powers delegated to it by the Constitution. In Federalist No. 45, Madison explained: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” That vision has been turned on its head; it’s the federal government whose powers are numerous and indefinite, and those of the state are now few and defined.

Former slave Frederick Douglass advised: “Find out just what people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. … The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Flight before Wright

While Rebel and Union soldiers still fought it out with bayonets and cannons, a Confederate designer had the foresight to imagine flying machines attacking Northern armies. He couldn’t implement his vision during the war, and the plans disappeared into history, until resurfacing at a rare book dealer’s shop 150 years later.

Now those rediscovered designs have found their way to the auction block, providing a glimpse at how Victorian-era technolgy could have beaten the Wright Brothers to the punch.

The papers of Dr. R. Finley Hunt, a dentist with a passion for flight, describe scenarios where flying machines bombed Federal troops across Civil War battlefields. Hunt’s papers went up for sale at the Artifacts auction during the week of Sept. 15-22, 2011, and gave one lucky collector a piece of an alternate technological history that never came to pass.

“It’s incredible for someone who loves early aviation, because it poses the great question of ‘What if?'” said Bobby Livingston, vice president of sales and marketing with RR Auction. “What if planes had appeared above the wilderness when (Union Gen. Ulysses S.) Grant began his campaign in the Shenandoah Valley?”

The hardback collection includes pencil drawings of wings, propellers and a multicylinder steam engine. Hunt’s design drew inspiration from his love of studying any and all flying methods found in nature, despite his own lack of professional expertise.

But Hunt found it difficult to find an engineer willing to build the device, despite getting the help of Confederate President Jefferson Davis to have the proposal considered. Letters between Hunt and a Confederate review board show that other engineers had strong doubts about the “steam flying machine”.

First, the engineers said Hunt had dramatically overestimated the engine’s power and ability to keep the machine flying. They also described another error in Hunt’s reasoning as being “so obvious on reflection that no discussion is required.”

“When they turned him down, it was over the science of it,” Livingston told InnovationNewsDaily. “But they considered it, and considered it a lot.”

Hunt refused to take no for an answer. The papers include another letter to Davis, wherein Hunt tries to defend his flying theories and asks for assistance from a machinist. In the end, the Confederates decided against spending money to fund the project.

Still, the Confederates did deploy several other innovative war machines. Their ironclad steamship, the CSS Virginia, fought against the USS Monitor in the world’s first duel between ironclads. A Confederate submarine called the H.L. Hunley also made its mark in history as the first submarine to successfully sink an enemy ship.

Both the Union and Confederate sides also flew manned balloons to scout different battlefields.

As for Hunt, he went to Washington, D.C., and got patent a on his device after the Civil War ended in 1865. He also built several working models and was still attempting to get financing in 1872. Yet he never saw his vision take flight.

“It looks to me like he’s 40 years before the Wright brothers with a rotary engine driving propellers, but I don’t know how close he was,” Livingston said. “He never got the money to do it.”

Attribution: Air & Space, InnovationNewsDaily

Joke of the Day

A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Flight Number 293, non-stop from New York to Los Angeles. The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax – OH, MY G-D!”

Silence followed, and after a few minutes the captain came back on the intercom and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier, but while I was talking, the flight attendant brought me a cup of coffee and spilled the hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!”

A passenger in Coach said, “That’s nothing. He should see the back of mine!”

No Gold at the End of This Moonbeam

Predictably, California has gone from bad (Governor  Schwarzenegger, the Governator) to worse (Gerry Brown, Governor Moonbeam). Who could have predicted this?

How long will it be before California comes to Washington, hat in hand, for a bailout?

Even the NY Times can’t sugar coat this one.

LOS ANGELES — The state budget shortfall in California has increased dramatically in the last six months, forcing state officials to assemble a series of new spending cuts that are likely to mean further reductions to schools, health care and other social programs already battered by nearly five years of budget retrenchment, state officials announced on Saturday.

Gov. Gerry Brown, disclosing the development in a video posted on YouTube, said that California’s shortfall was now projected to be $16 billion, up from $9.2 billion in January. Mr. Brown said that he would propose a revised budget on Monday to deal with it.

“We are now facing a $16 billion hole, not the $9 billion we thought in January,” Mr. Brown said. “This means we will have to go much further and make cuts far greater than I asked for at the beginning of the year.”

Mr. Brown disclosed the news in a video that had all the trappings of a campaign announcement. In it, he aggressively accounted for the steps he said he had taken to try to scale back a $26 billion deficit he found upon taking office. And he urged viewers to back an initiative he is putting on the November ballot that would increase sales taxes by 0.25 percent and impose an income tax surcharge on wealthy Californians to try to stave off more cuts.

State officials said Mr. Brown’s proposal would include a package of immediate cuts, as well as others that would be triggered only if voters failed to approve his tax plan. The sales tax increase would expire after four years, while the income tax surcharge would last for seven years.

State officials said the shortfall was a result of disappointing revenue collections in April as California continued to struggle to pull out of the recession. “We are still recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s,” Mr. Brown said.

Still, the state controller reported that the state had exceeded spending by $2.1 billion as well, though Mr. Brown said court rulings and other actions that restricted California from making the cuts were at least partly to blame.

At the same time, the deficit projections — which have been increasing since Mr. Brown and the Democratic-controlled Legislature approved a budget last summer — suggest that the state may have been overly optimistic in estimating what kind of revenue it would take in. That has been a repeated problem in Sacramento as officials have struggled over the past five years with the state’s worst financial crisis since the Depression. Mr. Brown, in taking office last year, pledged to end what he said were the tricks lawmakers regularly used to paper over budget shortfalls.

Attgribution: NY Times