XIAM007

Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Monday, July 25, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul gets big endorsement ahead of crucial Iowa contest -

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul gets big endorsement ahead of crucial Iowa contest - 


Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has fresh bragging rights after picking up what is surely a coveted endorsement on Monday.
Cory Adams - the Republican chairman of Story County in Iowa – endorsed the Texas congressman's presidential bid at a campaign event in Ames, Iowa.

That's significant for a few reasons. Ames is the largest city in Story County, home to over 50,000 residents. And it is in this city that a widely-watched showdown between the GOP presidential candidates will play out on August 13. The Ames Straw Poll will test the candidates' popularity and could be a sign of their electability.
Having the endorsement of such an influential political figure in and around Ames will surely give Paul's campaign something to boast about as it aims for a strong showing in that contest.
Adams explained to CNN the rationale behind his endorsement of Paul.
"I try to go for the candidates that line up mostly with the values, the principles of the [nation's] founders," Adams said. "Out of all the candidates in this cycle, I found Ron Paul to be the one with the longest, most consistent voting record to back up those principles and concepts."
How might Adams' endorsement help Paul with voters?
Adams explained: "Back in 2008 there were a lot of people within the Republican Party that kind of disregarded Congressman Paul. And basically didn't just count him in and/or wouldn't even mention him. So when you can have a county chair who is part of the Republican Party, part of the establishment and support him, it gives him more credibility within the party and brings him back from the fringe."
Adams explained that some voters previously labeled Paul "a whack job, fringe candidate" – and that his and other endorsements from mainstream Iowa Republicans could help change that.
At the same event, Iowa State Rep. Jason Schultz also spoke about his support for Paul.
Though the endorsements are positive for Paul's campaign, it's unclear just how far they'll go. Despite a passionate and loyal group of supporters – often very visible and vocal at Paul campaign stops - the candidate has trailed fellow GOP contenders Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, and at times others, in some Iowa polls. In some other polls, Paul has fared better against Pawlenty.
During his speech, the candidate talked about his chances in the Ames contest.
Citing growing enthusiasm for his message, Paul said: "There's more enthusiasm with the people that are true believers. And like I said…Ames lends itself to that. I wish I could say that I am the frontrunner and nobody is ahead of me and it's a shoe-in. But the truth is, we can do it and will do very, very well and hopefully come in first."
"But I'll tell you what – I'll challenge any other candidate for the enthusiasm of our supporters."
Read more - 

Mystery "creation" particle evades scientists: CERN - now looking to 2012 to turn up traces of the Higgs Boson -

Mystery "creation" particle evades scientists: CERN - now looking to 2012 to turn up traces of the Higgs Boson - 


The mysterious "creation" particle believed to have turned flying debris into stars and planets at the dawn of the universe has evaded capture in a year of hot pursuit, physicists said Monday.
Rolf Heuer, director-general of the CERN research center near Geneva, said he was now looking to 2012 to turn up traces of the particle, the Higgs Boson, and signs of other concepts that were once the preserve of science fiction.
Confirming that intensive scrutiny of the results of more than 70 million particle collisions in CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) had not yet identified the Higgs, Heuer said: "I hope the big discoveries will come next year."
He was speaking at an international conference of physicists in the French city of Grenoble, at which presentations of the results of research in the LHC, deep under the border between Switzerland and France, were a key highlight.
Other CERN scientists at the gathering, parts of which were being streamed live over the Internet, reported that they had spotted strange "fluctuations" in the data gathered from the mega-velocity collisions staged in the oval-shaped LHC.
But they cautioned that these could simply be misreadings or passing phenomena that will be explained later. They said it was important to avoid "discovering" the Higgs before it was found, as one researcher had done earlier this year.
MATTER INTO MASS
The Higgs is named after British physicist Peter Higgs who said three decades back that it was the agent that turned the matter spewed out by the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago into the mass that became the material of the known cosmos.
Some scientists worry that it may not exist at all, or not in the form suggested by Higgs and two Belgian researchers who came up with the idea at the same time in the late 1970s.
"One way or another, it or something like it has to be there, otherwise we wouldn't be here," Heuer told reporters in 2008, just before LHC's first, aborted, $10 billion start-up. It resumed operations successfully in March 2010.
Discovery of the Higgs would complete the essential elements of the so-called Standard Model of physics that emerged from the work of Albert Einstein and his successors early in the 20th century, and cleared the way for "New Physics."
This domain would include super-symmetry, the underpinning of string theory and the idea of parallel universes, dark matter or the hidden stuff of the cosmos, and the dark energy that is believed to be driving galaxies apart.
Read more - 

Top 10 Biggest Comic-Con Jaw-Droppers -

Top 10 Biggest Comic-Con Jaw-Droppers - 


We went, we saw, we reported.
After four days of logging as many hours listening, chatting and tweeting at the San Diego Convention Center as it took to be able to bring you up-to-the-minute film-related scoop from the you've-got-to-see-it-to-believe-it whirlwind known as Comic-Con 2011, we emerged into the sunlight pretty darn excited about more than a dozen upcoming movies and the stars who have made them, as in the case of Snow White and the Huntsman, will be making them.
All sorts of neat, hilarious and shocking things happened, so we figured it was only fair to pluck out the meat and serve it to you on a silver platter. Check out the 10 biggest moments that occurred in Hall H and beyond right here:
MORE: Hilarious amazingness from the Cowboys & Aliens red carpet at Comic-Con
1. Thundering Typhoons!: Peter Jackson regretfully informed the Hobbit-following faithful that there'd be no Comic-Con for him this year, and yet, like Gandalf, he magically appeared! Joining Steven Spielberg at Paramount's The Adventure of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn panel to discuss their collective vision, Jackson kicked off what would prove to be a very long, action-packed day in 6,500-seat Hall H with a joyous bang (after Spielberg scored his own standing-O for being an icon, no big deal). The peas in a pod (Spielberg said theirs has been his favorite collaboration other than working with bestie George Lucas) screened beautiful 3-D footage of Tintin and just flat-out entertained the adoring crowd by being regular, good-natured Joes who just happen to be masters of the filmmaking universe. Bonus: Spielberg promised more Jurassic Park!

2. Hair, There and Everywhere: A number of Twi-hards started camping out for Thursday morning's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn panel on Monday night, days before the entire convention even opened, much less Hall H, to ensure themselves an in-the-flesh look at Kristen StewartRobert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and director Bill Condon. If they wanted to see Ashley GreeneNikki Reed and Julia Jones up close, too, then they were really in luck, because those sweethearts (along with Boo Boo Stewart) got up at the crack of dawn Thursday toas pass out breakfast treats to the fans already in line. But how about the panel itself? It rocked, in our opinion. The audience was treated to an exclusive first look at Bella and Edward's honeymoon suite and a sequencein which Jacob agrees to join forces with the Cullen clan and then most explain it to his wolf pack. Plus, Stewart was uncharacteristically—and charmingly—chatty; Pattinson, whose weed-wacker haircut was for Cosmopolis, was super witty; and Lautner...well, he just looked really cool in a Dolce & Gabbana leather jacket. Oh, and it sounds as if Renesmee's arrival is going to be a real blood bath, with Condon saying Breaking Dawn ultimately turns into a horror movie.
3. Swinging Good Time: Considering the sort of characters who pop up to ask questions of the stars in Hall H, you couldn't blame people for being annoyed when a persistent fan dressed in a Spider-Man costume approached the mic before The Amazing Spider-Man presentation began and said he had to ask a question. It's a good thing the dork turned out to be the adorable Andrew Garfield, who read a prepared thank you to the crowd for sharing "the coolest moment of my life...Peter Parker has been the one fictional character I related to most growing up, that and Holden Caulfield. I wore my first Spider-Man suit when I was 2 on Halloween." As every woman, and probably some gents too, fell madly in love with the Brit, he shed the get-up and took his seat onstage, where he was joined by Emma Stone (there's mad onscreen chemistry there!), director Marc Webb, and producersMatt Tolmach and Avi Arad. The entire panel wore Stand Up to Cancer T-shirts in honor of late Spider-Man producer Laura Ziskin.
4. Justin Time: Despite Conan O'Brien's tweet upon arrival that the air was "thick with the smell of Cheetos and celibacy" (BTW, #weloveconan), sexy parades regularly into Hall H. But sexy was back in a big way when Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried showed up during 20th Century Fox's panel to support their sci-fi flick In Time (the one where Olivia Wilde plays his mom). "It's a child of Gattaca," said director Andrew Niccol of his film, which features all cuties and hotties because it's about a world where no one ages past 25, after which they have a year to live unless they can win, earn or barter for more time. Also during Fox's panel, Ridley Scott talked (via message from Iceland) about his mysterious pseudo-Alien-prequel Prometheus. Yes, there are pods, people.

5. Method Acting: Charlize Theron got her Evil Queen on early at the incredibly entertaining Snow White and the Huntsman panel, where the Oscar winner was killing it with one-liners, like, "I'm ready for it, bitch," in reference to Stewart's promising acting skills and, "You basically just said I'm a bitch," when director Rupert Sanders called Theron an "imposing" presence. On equally promising notes, the costumes are kickass and producer Joe Roth is envisioning a Lord of the Rings-class epic. And while Thor's Chris Hemsworth and relative newcomer Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) make for an impressive pair of male leads, we doubt they'll be stealing too many scenes from a lineup of dwarfs that includes Ian McShaneBob HoskinsRay Winstone and Nick Frost.
6. Tangled Web: Not long before Rhys Ifans' Dr. Curt Connors, aka Lizard, was confirmed as Spider-man's main nemesis and brought onstage, the Welsh actor was actually cited for allegedly getting pushy and belligerent with a female security guard. We're just glad he didn't burst into a high school girls' bathroom, peg a teenager against the wall and flick his creepy CGI reptile tongue at her, like his villainous alter-ego did in the exclusive clip we got to watch in Hall H.

7. Wait, Is That...: Hugh Jackman stands out in any crowd and, sure enough, he was hard to miss the exhibition floor at the convention center, where he made a surprise appearance to promote his upcoming boxing drama Real Steel—and ended up revealing all sorts of stuff. He not only divulged that he'll be playing Jean Valjean in a musical adaptation of Les Misérables that will start shooting in February 2012, but also that his nemesis in The Wolverine, which starts shooting in Japan in October, will be the Silver Samurai. Hugh's not just a pretty face, folks, he's also a fount of information!
8. Bombs Away: Guillermo del Toro never met an F-word he didn't like. Between Don't Be Afraid of the Dark star Guy Pearce having to read the reminder off the back of their name cards that some members of the audience might be young and promising "the finest f--king monsters ever committed to film" in Pacific Rim, the Mexican filmmaker was dropping F-bombs like they were going out of style. "And secondly," he added, "I make the pledge to create the greatest f--king robots ever committed to film."
9. Underhanded: Colin Farrell, who plays a vampire in Fright Night 3D, had multiple opportunities to cheekily diss the Cullen clan, especially when asked if he had any reservations about delving into recently well-trod territory. Instead, it was the lovely Kate Beckinsale who cast the first stone during the Underworld: Awakening panel. Well, we know where the respective sagas can go in the future then: Bella vs. Selene: Bloody Beautiful.
10. Cowboy Up: We were all over the Cowboys & Aliens premiere, with Daniel Craig filling us in on what it's like wearing skin-tight chaps, Harrison Ford explaining the issues with making his badass cowpoke standing apart from a certain whip-wielding, fedora-sporting acheologist we all know and love, and Olivia Wilde talking about cheating death to make it to the red carpet. Yee-haw!


Read more: http://ca.eonline.com/uberblog/b254193_top_10_biggest_comic-con_jaw-droppers.html#ixzz1T89ZZ0R7

Dolly Parton Raps ... About Her Gigantic Breasts - during her concert in L.A. this weekend -

Dolly Parton Raps ... About Her Gigantic Breasts - during her concert in L.A. this weekend -




For some reason, Dolly Parton decided to bust a RAP during her concert in L.A. this weekend ... inspired by Queen Latifah ... and boobs.

Here's a sample of Dolly's rhymes:

[on the subject of Queen Latifah]
"She's the queen of her own hood ...
but I'm the queen of Dollywood!"

"I don't hip and I don't hop ...
I'd black both eyes with this big top."

"I know the Queen has got 'em too ...
... but she don't work 'em like I do!"

What a way to make a livin'.

Sheriff blasts 'Dog' bounty hunter's tactics - accused the flamboyant reality TV star of reckless showmanship -

Sheriff blasts 'Dog' bounty hunter's tactics - accused the flamboyant reality TV star of reckless showmanship - 


Celebrity bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman received a scathing public rebuke from a western Colorado sheriff, who accused the flamboyant reality TV star of reckless showmanship in bringing his latest bail-jumper to justice.
Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said Chapman engaged in "profit-driven peacockery" and disregarded public safety when he delivered the injured, pepper-sprayed 29-year-old fugitive to the county jail on Wednesday while TV cameras rolled.
"While Dog stayed outside, shirtless and sweaty, prancing back and forth waving his golden locks for the camera, his team brought this freshly pepper-sprayed fellow into the enclosed space of the Sheriff's Office lobby with other citizens present," Hilkey wrote in a blog posting.
"They also brought him in injured."
Hilkey said arrestees who have been chemically sprayed must be de-contaminated and medically cleared before they are booked into the jail, "especially (for) injuries that are inflicted by a non-governmental employee subject to no policy or use of policy restrictions."
Andrew Distel was wanted on failure-to-appear warrants on drug possession charges, sheriff's spokeswoman Heather Benjamin told Reuters. He was booked into the Mesa County jail after being treated by paramedics.
Chapman stars on the A&E cable network show "Dog the Bounty Hunter," which features the former convict, his wife and other members of his bounty-hunting team as they chase down and apprehend bail jumpers and other fugitives. His unorthodox methods and antics have stirred controversy in the past.
In 2003, Chapman was detained by Mexican authorities after they said he violated that country's laws in nabbing fugitive rapist Andrew Luster, an heir to the Max Factor cosmetic fortune. Charges against Chapman in that incident were ultimately dropped.
A&E suspended production of Chapman's show in 2007 after an audiotape surfaced of Chapman making racial slurs about his son's African-American girlfriend during a telephone call. The series resumed after Chapman made a tearful public apology to the black community.
Read more - 

Are Social Security Payment Increases the first Debt Deal Casualty? -

Are Social Security Payment Increases the first Debt Deal Casualty? - 




Baby Boomers -- that Social Security check you're looking forward to in your retirement years, may become the first casualty of the debt deal talks.


Congress, including the "Gang of Six" debt deal negotiators, is currently debating options that would recalculate or shift the consumer price index adjustment to a "chained CPI" -- a change that would save the U.S. Government $200 billion to $300 billion over the next 10 years, USAToday.com reported.


The chained CPI shifts goods every few years, to adjust for consumer preferences, and amount purchases, based on price. The thinking is that if the price of beef rises, consumers will start buying more chicken, and hence the changed CPI would then weight the chicken component of the index more, than beef.


Net result: Because a chained index more-accurately measures actual inflation, and would result in a smaller increase in the CPI, Social Security benefits would not rise as quick. Experts estimate that the chained CPI would rise by about 0.3 percentage points less per year than the current CPI.


The impact on total Social Security payments would be huge, of course, saving the U.S. Government hundreds of billions of dollars.


However, as one might sense, the nation's largest group representing retirees, the American Association of Retire Persons (AARP), does not like the proposed changed, which is being discussed by Gang of Six debt deal plan negotiators.


According to AARP, workers with average annual earnings of approximately $43,084 who retired at age 65 would get $256 less in annual Social Security benefits at age 70 under the chained CPI formula. At that age, the total amount of benefits collected would be $768 less. By the time the workers reached 85, they'd be getting $1,000 less in annual Social Security benefits and $10,592 less in accumulated benefits.


Read more - 
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/186306/20110725/social-security-seniors-inflation-cpi-gang-of-six-chained-cpi.htm

Should You Trust Calorie Counts on Menus? - 1 in 5 of the items tested contained at least 100 calories more than listed -

Should You Trust Calorie Counts on Menus? - 1 in 5 of the items tested contained at least 100 calories more than listed -  


The soups and salads that diet-conscious consumers may seek out are not always as healthy as the menu says, according to a study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. One in five of the items researchers tested contained at least 100 calories more than was listed on the restaurant's menu and Web site.
Of course, calorie counts have always had their critics, and another recent study, tallying the results of a 20-year survey, indicates that people should focus on eating healthier foods, not necessarily consuming fewer calories.
Given the confusing guidance on diet and the variation from the menu, how useful are calorie counts? Is there a better way to make people more aware of their eating habits — or should the government stop worrying about what people order at the drive-through?
Read more - 

Woman Says She's Forced From Home she owns because of a zoning technicality -

Woman Says She's Forced From Home she owns because of a zoning technicality - 

A Walnut Grove woman says she wants to be able to live in the home she owns and is paying for. City leaders say because of a zoning technicality, she can’t.
Mamie Singleton said her children grew up her home, but she can’t live there because of a zoning technicality. In the meantime, she has to rent an apartment and is struggling to make rent payments along with her mortgage.
“There are a lot of sentimental things in this place. It’s just home,” Singleton said.
The 70-year-old told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri she followed the advice of a Realtor about 6 years ago and zoned her residential home commercial, in order to boost its potential sale value.
"And I was living here at that time and I was here for several years before I moved out. But I didn’t abandon it,” Singleton said.
She decided not to sell, but when she tried to move back in, the city told her she couldn't.
Since then, she’s tried, unsuccessfully, to zone the house back to residential.
She takes care of her sick husband and said her cleaning job barely covers the mortgage, taxes and insurance on the home as well as rent for the apartment she lives in.
Her daughter, Elaine Greene, said city leaders made it clear at the last zoning appeal they don’t want Singleton in the home.
“She said they felt it was not in the best interest of the community that she move back here,” Greene said.
Walnut Grove Mayor Don Cannon said, “We take pride in, I think, seeing our ordinances enforced. We don’t try to beat up on anybody.”
Cannon told Napier Viteri that Singleton missed two hearings in her last rezoning attempt.
“It is zoned commercial and it is in a commercial area. According to our comprehensive plan it is in a commercial district within the city,” Cannon said.
Cannon said it is possible to change the zoning, but Singleton will have to wait until October to reapply.
“I have to struggle every day, wonder how I’m going to get it all together, you know? But I’m doing the best I can do,” Singleton said.
Cannon said there is now precedent for changing a property from commercial to residential.
Singleton told Napier Viteri she feels the house is in a residential district since it faces on to a neighborhood street.
Singleton said she plans to reapply to change the zoning in the fall.
Read more - 
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/28650642/detail.html?taf=atl

Beckhams Rent Spielberg Mansion for Whopping $150K a Month -

Beckhams Rent Spielberg Mansion for Whopping $150K a Month - 



David and Victoria Beckham are renting filmmaker Steven Spielberg's Malibu mansion for $150,000 a month for the summer. According to X17online.com, the craftsman-style home sits on a double-lot with a sprawling lawn, which opens right onto Malibu beach. The 7-bed, 10-bath, 7,237 sq ft spread also boasts a pool and screening room. 


Read more - 
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/slideshow/recession-proof-beckhams-spielberg-mansion-6378552

Mother whose son was killed in hit-and-run faces two years in jail for Jaywalking -

Mother whose son was killed in hit-and-run faces two years in jail for Jaywalking - 

Marietta mother Raquel Nelson--who lost her 4-year-old son when a car ran into him as she was headed home from the bus stop with her three children--may face up to two and half years in prison for jaywalking.
The Huffington Post's Radley Balko points out that Nelson may serve six times as many months in prison as the man who ran over her family and drove off.
That man, Jerry Guy, admitted he had been drinking and taking prescribed painkillers the night of the accident, and had been convicted in two earlier hit-and-runs. He served six months in jail for the crime.
A month after her son's death, and three days after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a story called "Jaywalkers Take Deadly Risks," the Georgia Solicitor General's officer charged Nelson with homicide by vehicle and reckless conduct. She was convicted by a jury and will face sentencing next week, the AP reported. In an earlier jaywalking case, another mother was charged with involuntary manslaughter while the driver who hit her daughter was not charged.
Nelson, who doesn't own a car, said she was out shopping for supplies for her birthday with her three children when they missed their bus home, making them an hour late. She described what happened to her that night to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal:
When the Cobb County Transit bus finally stopped directly across from Somerpoint Apartments, night had fallen. She and the children crossed two lanes and waited with other passengers on the raised median for a break in traffic. The nearest crosswalks were three-tenths of a mile in either direction, and Nelson wanted to get her children inside as soon as possible. A.J. carried a plastic bag holding a goldfish they'd purchased.
"One girl ran across the street," Nelson said. "For some odd reason, I guess he saw the girl and decided to run out behind her. I said, 'Stop, A.J.,' and he was in the middle of the street so I said keep going. That's when we all got hit."
Balko asks why city planners are placing bus stops nearly a mile away from the nearest crosswalk. He argues that making the streets safer for people on foot (the area is consistently listed as one of the most unsafe for pedestrians) is a more humane and sensical approach than putting away a mother who has already lost a son. "If their aim was to make an example of a devastated mother to prevent others from jaywalking, they're delusional," he says.
But the Journal-Constitution says the public has been "unsympathetic" with the woman's story, arguing that parents should walk to traffic lights no matter how far away they are.
Read more -