Saturday, January 31, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Should President-Elect Obama get his nominee for Treasury Secretary through the Senate and should Charles Rangel hold on to his Chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee, our great nation's chief tax collector and chief writer of the tax laws will both be proven tax cheats.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Medical science and conventional wisdom tells us that the path to a long and healthy life is paved with lean protein, whole grains and leafy green vegetables. However, the life and habits of Gertrude Baines, currently the world's oldest person at age 114, is proof that sometimes a little bacon is better.
The Los Angeles resident credits her own longevity to her religious faith, her life-long efforts to do the right thing and an occasional piece of crispy bacon. Now there's a diet recommendation that I can get behind!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Charity homes built by Hollywood start to crumble
Residents of a model housing estate bankrolled by Hollywood celebrities and hand-built by Jimmy Carter, the former US president, are complaining that it is falling apart.
Fairway Oaks was built on northern Florida wasteland by 10,000 volunteers, including Carter, in a record 17-day “blitz” organised by the charity Habitat for Humanity.
Eight years later it is better known for cockroaches, mildew and mysterious skin rashes.
A forthcoming legal battle over Fairway Oaks threatens the reputation of a charity envied for the calibre of its celebrity supporters, who range from Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt to Colin Firth, Christian Bale and Helena Bonham Carter.
The case could challenge the bedrock philosophy behind Habitat for Humanity, claiming that using volunteers, rather than professional builders, is causing as many problems as it solves.
April Charney, a lawyer representing many of the 85 homeowners in Fairway Oaks, said she had no problems taking on Habitat for Humanity, despite its status as a “darling of liberal social activists”. She said the charity should have told people that part of the estate had been built on a rubbish dump.
One man pulled up his floorboards to find rubbish 5ft deep under his kitchen. Other complaints include cracking walls and rotting door frames that let in rats and ants. Many residents have complained of mildew and mysterious skin rashes.
One resident said her children were suffering from skin complaints. “The intentions are good, but when the politicians and big-shot stars have left we’re stuck with the consequences. This house looks pretty but inside it either stinks or sweats,” she said.
Judy Hall, the charity’s local development director, said recently that it had been dealing with about 30 complaints. She added that skilled work was carried out by professionals.
Some residents dismiss their neighbours’ worries. Diennal Fields, 51, said people did not know how to look after their homes: “It’s simple stuff: if there is mildew, don’t get a lawyer, get a bottle of bleach.”
In the heart of the Karakum desert of Turkmenistan the Darvaza Gas Crater or The Burning Gates give off a glow that can be seen from miles away during the dark night. The large crater is a result of a Soviet gas exploration accident in the 1950’s. It was created when a Soviet drilling rig was drilling for natural gas fell into an underground cavern resulting in a crater which today measures roughly 60 meters in diameter and 20 meters deep. The huge crater was set alight shortly after being discovered and has been burning ever sinse. The recognizable smell of burning natural gas can be detected from a distance and becomes quite strong as you near the hot edge of the crater.