With the world boiling over in various directions, watch out for what terrorists/engineers are cooking up

I don’t know about you, but I have known an egghead engineer or two over the years and have found them to be brainy and boring and with all the personality of a fire hydrant.
Swashbuckling is not a phrase I would attach to them.
However, it seems a lot of terrorists are engineers, not just wide-eyed zealots who have radicalized their views by perpetually sticking their noses in their Islamic studies.
I guess it makes sense. If you want to open a huge can of hurt in the world and you can’t do enough damage simply by whacking a pipe across people’s knees, you need to build a bomb to thin the herd of perceived infidels.
The failed attack this Christmas? It was attempted by mechanical engineer Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. I guess he’s a lousy engineer. Probably passed on the curve like some NASCAR driver.
Other terrorists/engineers of note have been the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Mohamed Atta, and notable bad guy Khalid Sheikh Mohamed.
It must be all the dry engineering that makes all their heads crack like eggs.
Not that I endorse profiling or anything dastardly like that. But we should target prime suspects, not everybody and anybody. When they cracked down on the Mafia, they mainly looked at Italians. When they went after the Irish Republican Army, they fingered the Irish. Not too many Poles were in the Mafia and not too many Chinese were in the IRA. You can look up their membership rolls.
I say the CIA and the FBI should comb the ranks of Muslim engineers everywhere. They likely are more dangerous than somebody’s 94-year-old grandmother from Omaha who struggles to get her shoes off during airport security checks and who literally never hurt a fly in her life because she is apalled by flyswatters.

When in the not-so friendly skies, watch out for underwear — the latest model of mass destruction

For centuries warriors have used a vast array of weapons — clubs, swords, spears, rocks, stones, arrows, knives, handguns, rifles, brass knuckles, machine guns, battleships, sophisticated planes, rockets, missiles, bombs, nuclear weapons, mustard gas and other exotic weapons of mass destruction.

Now the evolution of weapons has come down to underwear.

Somewhere Genghis Khan is rolling over in his grave.

We used to have warriors. Now this. Alexander the Great wouldn’t have been caught dead taking the field of battle in his underwear.

Did anybody ever see a photo of Hitler in his shorts?

Granted, Robin Hood wore tights, but they weren’t boxers or briefs.

A singed pair of underwear with a packet of powder sewn into the crotch, seen in government photos obtained exclusively by ABC News, is all that remains of an attempt to down an American passenger plane over Detroit on Christmas Day.

The bomb consisted of a packet of powder sewn into the briefs of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian.

Al Qaeda took credit Monday for the attempted bombing, boasted of its ability to overcome U.S. intelligence and airport security, and promised new attacks.
For a bunch of terrorists, they seem to resort to wimpy weapons. Real men don’t fight with underwear.
As for all of us who fly, we should be totally committed to the mass destruction of al Qaeda. Flying already was a colossal pain in the posterior with all the silly security checks that plague innocent passengers. And now that the government has imposed pat downs on all passengers, it’s quicker to take a covered wagon than a plane cross-country.

Eagles wake up just in time to kick past the Broncos

The Eagles lost their mojo for much of the second half and looked as if they were heading for a divine comeuppance against the Bronocs Sunday at the Linc.

You could already hear the harshening of discourse on the sports radio stations with the Birds squandering a 27-10 lead as Denver seemingly was summoned out of oblivion to knot matters at 27 apiece.

The Eagles looked totally gassed in the late stages, sucking in so much air that one wondered what tiny creatures were flying down their throats.

Macho Harris was a liability of major proportions as a penalty on him flipped field position like a seesaw and then his detonating seismic fumble on a kickoff helped shave the lead to 27-24.

But good fortune kissed the Eagles wetly on the lips when with 59 seconds left the referee overruled one of his officials and decided that Jeremy Maclin, symbolic of the Birds’ uptick in athletic skill the last couple seasons, got both feet down on a play thisclose along the sidelines, a 27-yard catch to the Denver 13.

That enabled David Ackers to boot matters up a level by kicking the game-winning 28-yard field goal with just 4 seconds left for a 30-27 victory.

The Eagles (11-4) could have clinched their sixth NFC East title this decade if Dallas had lost at Washington in the Sunday night game.

But the comatose Redskins couldn’t beat Southwest Junior High these days as they rolled over and were kicked to the curb by the Cowboys 17-0.

The Eagles now play at Dallas for the division title next Sunday in a regular season finale that will be howlingly obvious for drama.

Senate health care bill passage: A jolly Christmas gift or a monstrosity? Santa and the rest of us will find out

And you thought only Santa worked on Christmas Eve, huh?

Well, the Senate worked today, too, and took its first Christmas Eve vote since 1895.
Of course, there are some folks who wished the Senate had stayed home today to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. They would be the Republicans and the insurance companies. They’re sipping their egg nog right now through Bah Humbug grimaces on their sour pusses. Meanwhile, the Democrats are gulping champagne through their aurora borealis smiles.
As you may have heard by now, Senate Democrats passed a landmark health care bill in a crucial Christmas Eve vote that may define Barack Obama’s presidential legacy and usher in near-universal medical coverage for the first time in the country’s history.
The 60-39 vote had 58 Democrats and two independents voting “yea” while Republicans unanimously voted “nay.”
The vote came after progressives and conservatives went hammer and tong over it for months … after awhile all the rhetoric began to sound like they all were debating Larry, Moe and Curly in Latin. The scrimmaging was considerably more intense than a touch football game between Red Roof Inn desk clerks and Denny’s fry cooks.

Granted, the Senate’s bill must still be merged with legislation passed by the House before Obama can sign a final bill in the new year. There are significant differences between the two measures but Democrats say they’ve come too far now to fail. You just know that while they’re still standing in a woodpile of details, they’ll keep hacking and chopping away like lumberjacks on speed.
Both bills would extend health insurance to more than 30 million more Americans. And since one tiny sniffle can turn into a wheeze and a person’s universe suddenly is left in ashes and ruin, health care is a bit more important than that ugly tie Aunt Edna gave you for Christmas.
Insurance companies think this bill was obviously wired together in hell by some subcommittee that was giggling cruelly as it went about its work.
The legislation would ban the insurance industry from denying benefits or charging higher premiums on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions. The Congressional Budget Office predicts the bill will reduce deficits by $130 billion over the next 10 years, an estimate that assumes lawmakers carry through on hundreds of billions of dollars in planned cuts to insurance companies and doctors, hospitals and others who treat Medicare patients.
For the first time, the government would require nearly every American to carry insurance, and subsidies would be provided to help low-income people to do so. Employers would be induced to cover their employees through a combination of tax credits and penalties. The legislation costs nearly $1 trillion over 10 years and is paid for by a combination of taxes, fees and cuts to Medicare.
Republicans are going bonkers because they fear that a government takeover of health care will increase premiums for families and small businesses, raise taxes during a recession, cut seniors’ Medicare benefits, add to our skyrocketing debt and put bureaucrats in charge of decisions that should be made by patients and doctors.
The pros and cons of this are enough to make you sick.
The bottom line is that staying healthy sometimes is more about staying wealthy.

Where Obama stood on the public option during the campaign depended on whether his feet were in public or private … which is why he's now assuming a stance of semantics

When you campaign for the presidency, you sometimes put your head in a lion’s mouth with the words you speak. Or don’t speak. Or speak behind closed doors.

Whatever, the whole thing may be enough to drive President Obama to the nearest speakeasy. Which means he ought to come to Reading. There apparently are more speakeasies in town these days than there are cops.
In the deafening maw of debate over health care, which is reaching boiling intensity, Obama seems to be splitting hairs over semantics.
Which is splitting liberals more than the Three Wisemen … also known as Bush, Cheney and Rush … once did.
Obama is claiming he didn’t campaign on the public option, although the public option was included in his health care campaign plan. Obama was covering more ground than Derek Jeter at shortstop during the campaign when he publicly downplayed the public option but evidently frequently mentioned it in private discussions.
I guess private doesn’t count when you’re talking public.
A clever option if there ever was one, especially when your health care plan is getting so polluted it would foul the water at Lourdes.

Priest to the poor: Thou shalt shoplift

Thank God the Christmas shopping season is drawing to a close quicker than you can spout the names of Santa’s reindeer or otherwise retail chains would have to hire store detectives in droves.

A British priest has advised folks in desperate situations to shoplift from chain stores.

At least the Anglican clergyman has a soft spot for mom-and-pop stores.

The last time I looked at the Ten Commandments, Thou shalt not steal was still listed.

Retain theft still is theft, is it not?

And whatever happened to the bit about Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the earth?

Granted, we all learned that’s a crock a long time ago.

I guess desperate times make for sticky fingers.

Disappointing or not, Obama evidently is The $2 Trillion Man

As the last remaining particles of sand drain from the 2009 hourglass, everybody seems to be putting President Obama’s rookie year under a nuclear microscope.
Considering that during his campaign Obama ushered magic into many souls by stoking the power of eloquently spoken prose, it’s now fashionable to assess that Obama has steered America down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
Even Doonesbury is down on Obama.
However, to simply state that Obama’s first year in the White House simply has been a rudderless whirligig of extravagant style and hollow substance could be a somewhat dry definition for something so wet with emotion.
Yours truly, as you may have noticed by the evolving tone of these posts, has cooled his jets on Obama. To me, his helter-skelter approach to each and every problem has spread him thinner than cheap margarine.
After all, synchronization is not something you just wing.
Nevertheless, while Obama’s achievements have been more tapioca than concrete, apparently he has been robustly successful in boosting America’s brand by just over $2 trillion in 11 months.
As noted economist Simon Anholt writes: “Yet in one sense, Obama achieved more in the first 11 months of his presidency than his predecessor managed to in eight years. My research clearly shows that he has begun to restore America’s good name, an intangible asset with highly tangible (read: lucrative) consequences. As head of state, Obama has boosted the value of Brand America by just over $2 trillion, up from $9.7 trillion in 2008 to $11.8 trillion this year. That means U.S. goods, services, people, and even the country’s landscape are about 20 percent more enticing to the global market than they were in 2008.”

Now there’s something to think about as you puff on your corn cob pipes.

Playoff-bound Eagles are finer than the Niners

Since relatively few of the folks commenting in the Zeke Blogosphere seem to give a hoot about the Eagles, I’ll keep this smaller than Andy Reid’s briefs.
Suffice it to say, even though the open road to the playoffs sprouted a few potholes at times, the Birds plowed their way to the playoffs today by snow-blowing past the Niners 27-13 at the Linc.
While a relative dusting of white feathered its way over Berks County Saturday, a whopping 23.2 inches of snow blanketed Philadelphia. Which means 4,723 volunteers spent hours removing snow from the Linc so the millionaire Eagles could play a mere game.
Once those schmucks’ fingers had been pried from their shovels, and between the usual plethora of television commercials and heated debates over Obama vs. Palin in the stands, the Eagles reached the postseason as DeSean Jackson, quicker than a turpentined cat, continued his aerial circus by plucking 140 yards worth of receiving yardage.
Donovan McNabb spent most of the game throwing like he had frostbite on his right hand, but he somehow offset two picks with 306 yards passing, including a 59-yarder to Jackson that eventually set up a TD by LeSean McCoy.
By the way, the Birds are 10-4 and have won five straight.
Since the Eagles clinched a playoff berth for the eighth time this decade, I guess Reid isn’t just a fat dunce.
Just fat.

Will climate control be put on permanent call waiting?

While here in good ol’ Berks it’s a bit brisk today as we await tomorrow’s expected white death from above, the fight against global warming ran into a big chill, if not exactly a deep freeze, at the U.N. summit in Copenhagen.

A new draft climate agreement being considered by world leaders dropped a previous 2010 deadline for achieving a legally binding treaty to throw the old one-two punch at global warming.

The latest (non-)development followed a diplomatic flurry during the final day of the conference, with President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao essentially spouting nothing but hot air. Obama gave a tepid speech that lasted a mere eight minutes (saving some hot air, I guess) and then tried to twist Wen’s arm to cut a deal on emissions caps. Supposedly Wen’s arm remained untwisted after nearly an hour with Obama.

For those who are fearful that global warming soon will have the oceans percolating like coffee, frustration must be gathering inside them, like severe weather building.

Apparently we may see a cold day in hell before we see true climate control on earth.