Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

94-Year-Old Mayor Calls It Quits - Olive Stephens will not seek 20th term as mayor of Shady Shores -

94-Year-Old Mayor Calls It Quits - Olive Stephens will not seek 20th term as mayor of Shady Shores -

After 48 years of public service, a North Texas mayor is calling it quits. 94-year-old Olive Stephens announced that she will not seek her 20th term as mayor of Shady Shores.
Stephens said her time as mayor may be wrapping up, but this is not the end of her walk in public service.
"Listen, if my legs don't go out on me, I'm planning on doing things until my last breath," Stephens said.
Come May, the town of Shady Shores must find another leader. Stephens said it's time to pass the torch after 38 years as mayor and 10 more years on the town council. She said her legs are weak, and at times it's hard to walk.

"I can't attend a lot of functions that I would like to attend," Stephens said.
Stephens will leave a mark on her community as she moves forward. From the paved roads to the new Town Hall, she's been a part of it all.
"My idea was to develop an area where people live where they would be free. They could live their lives and raise their children and be happy," Stephens said.
The mayor said she's most proud of what she will not be leaving behind.
"Well, I've left you without any debt and money in the bank, so let's see if we can keep it that way," she said.
Stephens says she's looking out for the future of the town she helped raise.

Government Shutdown 2011? - 5 Reasons Why It Wouldn’t Really Matter Either Way -

Government Shutdown 2011? - 5 Reasons Why It Wouldn’t Really Matter Either Way -

Is the U.S. government going to shutdown on March 4th, 2011?  Possibly.  The current temporary funding extension expires on that day.  Speaker of the House John Boehner has pledged that the Republicans in the House will not pass another temporary funding extension that does not include “deep” cuts.  Barack Obama has pledged that he will veto the 61 billion dollars of budget cuts that the House of Representatives has just passed.  So now Boehner and Obama are playing a really bizarre game of chicken, and if neither of them blinks the U.S. government will shut down on March 4th.  So what will that mean?  Well, in a “government shutdown”, the entire government does not actually shut down.  Rather, only “essential personnel” are kept on during a shutdown and only “essential services” are provided.  Barack Obama would keep showing up at the White House and the U.S. military would continue to do their thing.  But it would cause a temporary disruption to a lot of government activities that people normally rely on.
In the end, however, a shutdown of the U.S. government would not really make much of a difference at all unless it went on for a number of months.  The following are 5 reasons why….
#1 The “Deep” Cuts That The Republicans Are Proposing Are An Absolute Joke
So the Republicans and the Democrats are blowing all of this hot air over a measly 61 billion dollars?
What a joke.
Considering the fact that the federal budget deficit for this year is projected to be 1.65 trillion dollars, a mere 61 billion dollars is just a drop in the bucket.
Whether 61 billion dollars gets cut or not is not really going to make much of a difference in the long run.
Does anyone out there really believe that there is a significant difference between a $1.65 trillion budget deficit and a $1.59 trillion budget deficit?
At the end of the day, neither political party is willing to consider serious cuts to Social Security, Medicare or the U.S. military.
The fact that a mere 61 billion in budget cuts has us on the verge of a government shutdown proves that the U.S. government will never be able to have a balanced budget ever again.
#2 The Mail Will Still Be Delivered And Everyone Will Still Eventually Get Their Government Checks
During the last government shutdown the post office still delivered mail.  Social Security checks were still sent out.  Life did not end.
Sure there may be a delay in the delivery of government checks to some people and the processing of new Social Security claims may be put off for a little while, but fairly quickly after the end of a government shutdown life would get back to “normal”.
#3 Government Workers Will Still Eventually Get All Their Pay
During the 5 day U.S. government shutdown back in 1995, approximately 800,000 “non-essential” government employees were told not to come in to work.  But eventually they all got paid retroactively.  So not much harm was really done.
#4 The Government Will Not Really Save That Much Money By Shutting Down
Yes, the government will initially save a bit of money from shutting down, but then there will be additional costs to ramp back up after the shutdown is over.  In fact, many analysts actually believe that the last two government shutdowns actually cost the government a lot more money than they saved.
#5 Whatever “Deal” That Obama And The Republicans Would Agree To After A Government Shutdown Is Probably Very Similar To Whatever Deal They Would Agree To Now
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives just passed a budget measure that includes $61 billion in budget cuts.  Dozens of federal programs would be eliminated.  Federal funding for AmeriCorps and PBS would end.  Funding for Planned Parenthood is also on the Republican chopping block.
Obviously Barack Obama cannot agree to these things without his ultra-liberal base going hog wild.
But all of the Tea Party politicians that were just sent to Washington D.C. are bound and determined to show that they are serious about budget cuts.
So who is going to end up compromising?
In the end, a group of moderate Republicans could defect and strike a deal with Obama and the Democrats on a new spending bill, but that would make those moderate Republicans a huge target for the Tea Party during the next election.
In any event, it will be very interesting to see how it all plays out.  If we do see a government shutdown it probably will not be for more than a few days.
But wouldn’t it be interesting to see what would happen in the event that the government did shut down for 3 or 4 months?
Would the economy crash?
Would life as we know it change significantly?
Would the American people become extremely angry with one of the political parties?
Perhaps the greatest benefit of an extended government shutdown would be that it would get the government off our backs for at least a little while.
In the end, however, all of this is going to matter very little.
Even if the Republicans got all of the spending cuts that they want we are still going to have a record-breaking federal budget deficit this year.
Our politicians in Washington D.C. simply do not have the will to balance the budget.  Nor do the American people want them to deeply slash their government benefits.
So whether there is a government shutdown or not things are going to keep rolling along as they have been.
The U.S. government is going to continue to pile up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and politicians from both parties will continue to give wonderful speeches about how we need to “take responsibility” and “cut spending”, but very few of our politicians will ever actually even try to do anything substantial about it.
In the end, the rest of the world is going to get sick and tired of lending us gigantic amounts of money at super low interest rates.  The Federal Reserve will have to “monetize” more and more and more of our debt.  As this thing plays out, it is just going to become increasingly obvious that this whole game is just one huge Ponzi scheme.
Yes, we can continue running obscene budget deficits for right now, but a great day of reckoning is approaching.  When that day arrives there will be plenty of blame to go around.  Every president since World War 2, every Congress since World War 2, the Federal Reserve and most of the American people have all participated in this madness.
But we are all going to pay the price when the economy crashes.

Prime Minister Cameron takes arms dealers with him on Egypt visit to promote democracy -

Prime Minister Cameron takes arms dealers with him on Egypt visit to promote democracy -

David Cameron was last night accused of using his Middle East tour to promote Arab democracy as a cover for arms sales.
The Prime Minister was branded a ‘disgrace’ after it emerged that he has taken eight defence firms with him on a four-day visit to the region.
Mr Cameron yesterday became the first world leader to visit Egypt since the historic overthrow of President Mubarak and has since travelled to Kuwait to call for political reform.
He said he wanted to offer Britain’s help in creating the ‘building blocks of democracy’ in the country and the wider Arab world.
But critics expressed amazement that Mr Cameron was promoting a mission to sell arms to Arab dictators shortly after Colonel Gaddafi may have used British weapons to kill hundreds of his fellow countrymen in Libya.

Canadian Cities The Most Livable In The World- Vancouver best city in the world- Toronto and Calgary -round out the top 5 -

Canadian Cities The Most Livable In The World- Vancouver best city in the world- Toronto and Calgary -round out the top 5 -

Vancouver is still the best city in the world, according to the annual livable city list just released by the Economic Intelligence Unit. Second best is Melbourne and Vienna comes third. 

Two more Canadian cities -- Toronto and Calgary -- round out the top five. 

There were few surprises in this year's list, at the top or at the bottom. 

But while Vancouver has occupied the top slot since 2007, a slip in grades from Vienna, last year's runner up, allowed Melbourne to leapfrog into second place. 

The rest of the top 10 list continues to be dominated by other Canadian and Australian cities, with the exception of Finland's Helsinki, which ranked sixth, and New Zealand's Auckland, ranked at number 10.

The usual suspects from Africa and Asia occupy the bottom 10, with Zimbabwe's Harare once again languishing in last place due to flagging scores in stability and healthcare.

The exception is the Nepalese city of Kathmandu, which was ranked the bottom eight country in 2010, but has escaped the bottom 10 list this year.

Reuters reported that the most liveable Asian city title went to Japan's Osaka, which was ranked at number 12. Tokyo ranked at 18, Hong Kong several places behind at 31, and Beijing was 72nd.

Pittsburgh ranked as the top city in the United States at 29th place, ahead of Honolulu (30th), Los Angeles (44th) and New York (56th).

The cities were judged according to 30 factors across the categories of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. The full report can be downloaded here.
The world's top liveable cities:

1. Vancouver, Canada

2. Melbourne, Australia

3. Vienna, Austria

4. Toronto, Canada

5. Calgary, Canada

6. Helsinki, Finland

7. Sydney, Australia

8. Perth, Australia

9. Adelaide, Australia

10. Auckland, New Zealand
Cities in the bottom 10:

131. Colombo, Sri Lanka

132. Dakar, Senegal

133. Tehran, Iran

134. Douala, Cameroon

135. Karachi, Pakistan

136. Algiers , Algeria

137. Lagos, Nigeria

138. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

139. Dhaka , Bangladesh

140. Harare, Zimbabwe

Read more: Australia and Canada dominate 'most liveable cities' list | CNNGo.com http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/life/world-has-not-changed-much-least-according-worlds-most-liveable-city-list-755223#ixzz1EiLtDQEV

Alert pizza delivery driver saves customer's life -

Alert pizza delivery driver saves customer's life -

A pizza delivery driver was called a hero Monday after she likely saved an elderly woman's life.

Before Monday's incident, most neighbors knew little about Memphis resident Jean Wilson, except that she's eaten pizza daily for the past three years.

"We make her pizza every day before she even calls, because we know she's going to call," delivery driver Susan Guy said. 

Guy often delivers Wilson's regular order, one large pepperoni pizza, but recently workers at her restaurant noticed an unusual break in the pattern.

"She hadn't called in three days," Guy said. "My boss told me about it today."

Guy insisted to her boss that she be allowed to check on Wilson.

"He was like, 'Naw, you don't have to do that,' and I said, 'Yeah I do.  Clock me out if that's what you gotta do,'" Guy said.

Guy drove to Wilson's house and knocked on her door, but no one answered.  Then, she banged on Wilson's windows, but there was still no response. Running out of options, Wilson ran to neighbor Larry Comeaux's house for help.

"The pizza lady came over and knocked on the door wanting to know if I'd seen the lady across the street," Comeaux said.

"And he said, 'No, maybe she's not home,'" Guy said. "And I said, 'Well, not home?' I said, 'How many times have you see her leave?' And he goes, 'Never.'"

Guy quickly called 911.  When police arrived, they broke down the door to Wilson's home, and found her lying on a floor inside.

They soon learned that Wilson had fallen on Saturday, and couldn't get over to a telephone to call for help.  Investigators said it's possible that her pizza-only diet may have saved her life.

"She treats us really well," Guy said. "She appreciates us, and that's something we don't get in customers a lot."

Late Monday evening, Wilson was in non-critical condition at St. Francis Hospital.

Read more - http://www.wmctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=14071806

Airline easyJet apologized Tuesday to Jewish customers after only food choices served on a flight from Israel were ham -

Airline easyJet apologized Tuesday to Jewish customers after only food choices served on a flight from Israel were ham -

UK budget airline easyJet apologized Tuesday to Jewish customers after the only food choices served on a flight from Israel were ham melts and bacon baguettes.
Passengers who follow the faith's ban on eating pork were forced to go hungry for the four-and-a-half hour journey from Tel Aviv to London.
The airline introduced the route in November, proudly promising that in-flight menus would feature kosher food that met Jewish dietary laws.
So Victor Kaufman, 25, was stunned when cabin crew announced the meal choices on his flight last weekend.
"It was a little insensitive. I think they need a lesson or two on cultural awareness if they expand their routes into the Middle East. It is not just Jewish passengers who do not eat pork but Muslim ones, too. I couldn't eat anything," the trainee accountant said.
An easyJet spokeswoman said company policy bans even taking pork products aboard planes on the route.
She added, "It appears that a mistake was made on this flight and that incorrect food canisters were loaded. We would like to apologize to the passengers."