Tuesday, December 26, 2006

President Gerald Ford dead.

President Gerald R. Ford, who picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon's scandal- shattered White House as the 38th and only unelected president in America's history, has died, his wife, Betty, said Tuesday. He was 93.

He was the longest living president, followed by Ronald Reagan, who also died at 93. Ford had been living at his desert home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., about 130 miles east of Los Angeles.

Ford was an accidental president, Nixon's hand-picked successor, a man of much political experience who had never run on a national ticket. He was as open and straight-forward as Nixon was tightly controlled and conspiratorial.

He took office minutes after Nixon resigned in disgrace over the Watergate scandal and flew off into exile and declared "our long national nightmare is over." But he revived the debate a month later by granting Nixon a pardon for all crimes he committed as president. That single act, it was widely believed, cost Ford election to a term of his own in 1976, but it won praise in later years as a courageous act that allowed the nation to move on.

Ford also earned a place in the history books as the first unelected vice president, chosen by Nixon to replace Spiro Agnew who also was forced from office by scandal.

He was in the White House only 895 days, but changed it more than it changed him.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Gov Schwarzenegger breaks leg.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger broke his leg while skiing with his family Saturday morning in Sun Valley, Idaho, a spokesman said.

Schwarzenegger, 59, was taken to a hospital for X-rays and was discharged with a fracture to his right femur, said Adam Mendelsohn, the governor's Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Looks like he needs to slow down a tad. Cant't have him out of action for too long. He is doing a great job.

He will have surgery to repair the bone when he returns to Los Angeles, Mendelsohn said. The governor remained at his Sun Valley home Saturday night and still planned to spend Christmas there.

No one else was involved in the accident, Mendelsohn said.

The fracture was the third medical problem the governor suffered in a year.

He spent several hours at a University of California, Davis, hospital last December with a rapid heartbeat after coming down with a stomach flu. In January, Schwarzenegger needed 15 stitches to repair his cut lip after colliding with a car while riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle in Los Angeles.

The Sun Valley Resort, a favorite skiing destination for celebrities, includes a short ski trail named "Arnold's Run" after Schwarzenegger. The trail is categorized as a black diamond, or most difficult, for its challenging terrain.

The name and level of difficulty of the trail the governor was skiing when his accident occurred were not released.

Get well soon Gov.

(D) Sen. Obama getting some serious attention.

Two weeks after speaking to a sell out Manchester crowd of more than 1,600, Illinois (D) Sen. Barack Obama is reaping the benefits of his visit. If the Democratic primary were held today, Obama would be in a statistical dead heat with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, according to a new Monitor poll. Last month, a Monitor poll showed Clinton trouncing her opponents, with Obama lagging 23 points behind. That is some serious advancement... It will be an uphill battle for him as Hillary has some great name recoqnition, but hey 2008 is going to be an interesting political year for sure.

"I'm not surprised, because Barack Obama got five days of constant media attention in New Hampshire," said Jim Demers, a lobbyist and former Democratic lawmaker who accompanied Obama throughout the senator's New Hampshire visit. "Obama has demonstrated to the people of New Hampshire that he's a top-tier candidate."

Although Clinton commands considerable support among likely Democratic primary voters, she struggles in general election match-ups, according to the poll. If the contest were held today, both Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani would prevail over Clinton. Obama, in contrast, would eke out a slight win over both Republican candidates. Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards is neck-and-neck with the Republicans. Very interesting indeed. Maybe it will be John Edwards and Hillary Clinton, of John Edwards and Sen. Obama as VP nominee?

"There are a lot of independents. These are the same people who loathe Bush, loathe the Iraq war," said Del Ali, president of Research 2000, the Maryland-based nonpartisan polling firm that conducted the poll for the Monitor last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. "But deep down, they don't like Hillary Clinton." That is a very realistic comment.

As the 2008 presidential primaries near, the Republican field has also become increasingly competitive. Giuliani closed the gap with McCain in recent weeks, turning an 8-point deficit into a slight lead, according to the poll. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House speaker Newt Gingrich trail behind, with 10 percent and 8 percent respectively. The poll shows Giuliani garnering 26 percent to McCain's 25 percent.

Ah American politics...Love it.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Auckland New Zealand. Have a great day. All the best for 2007.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cell phones on planes

According to CNN....In January, Emirates airline plans to launch mobile phone usage in its planes, making it the first airline to allow passengers to make cell phone calls on its flights.

It is one thing that is rather peaceful about flying on a plane, not having people text and yap on the phone in close proximity. Currently they have to spend a pretty penny to used the telephones provided. I am not looking forward to cell phone usage on planes.

Qantas plans to start evaluating technology that lets fliers use their cell phones and PDAs during flight early next year. Looks like the Kiwi traveler may well get this service before propel in the USA.

Fliers have long been able to keep in touch with those on the ground by using phones built into the backs of airplane seats. But the costs of those seatback phones can be upwards of $10 a minute, plus a connection fee.

In contrast, the cost of calls made in-flight on Emirates will be in line with international roaming rates, the airline said. Those rates vary by mobile carrier and by location but can be as low as $1 to $2 a minute.

But while some upscale, long-haul airlines are installing equipment onboard that will allow for cell phone use, it may be a while before the service makes its way to the U.S. Thank goodness for that.

U.S. carriers don't allow in-flight cell phone calls, although the FAA is reviewing the safety concerns associated with mobile calls made in the air.

A majority of business travelers (61 percent) oppose the idea of being able to use their phones in the sky, according to a global survey conducted by travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel early this year.

But if the technology is there, the service will eventually make its way to the skies, said Chris McGinnis, editor of Expedia Travel Trendwatch.

"Whether people like it or not, in-flight cell phone use is going to become a reality," he said.

Airlines are also exploring less intrusive ways to keep in-step with the increasingly connected lifestyle of their passengers.

According to the annual Airline IT Trends Survey conducted by industry group SITA and Airline Business magazine, 59 percent of airlines plan to offer in-flight Internet access by the end of 2008. Internet access would be acceptable as you could get some work done on a flight, but cell phones could be agitating on a long haul flight. What do you think about that?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Canadian biofuel announcement

OTTAWA Canada. A $345-million federal announcement requiring more gasoline to be made from corn and other crops is to come into effect.

The package will require so-called biofuel content of five per cent in gasoline by 2010 and two per cent in diesel fuel and heating oil by 2012, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose and Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl told a news conference Wednesday in Saskatoon. This is great news, although I would like to have seen the percentage rates at at least 15% for petrol and 10% for diesel.

The package includes $200 million to subsidize new factories to produce ethanol, biodiesel and other biofuels, and $145 million for research and development.

Biofuels are produced from organic materials such as wheat, corn, sugarcane, canola and soy.

"We know that cleaner fuel means less pollution," Ambrose said. "Requiring the use of renewable fuels fulfils a commitment by our government."

She said the package will cut greenhouse gas emissions by about four megatonnes each year, equivalent to taking a million vehicles off the road. Not bad for a start.

Ambrose said the biofuels program provides strong reason to support the federal Clean Air Act, which is currently facing an uncertain fate before a Commons committee.

But there is continuing debate about whether biofuels produced from food crops provide real environmental benefit, after the energy and chemicals used in their production are considered.

It is also stated that the real benefits lie in cellulosic biofuel, made from waste products like wood chips and straw rather than food crops. He said Ottawa's $145 million allocation for research and development could help bring cellulosic ethanol to market. This is also a good idea.

John Godfrey, Liberal environment critic, said a Liberal government would push biofuels even harder than the Conservatives, setting a 10 per cent target for renewable content. That is the only positive thing I have ever heard from anyone in the Liberal party of Canada.

All and all it is a good idea for any government to invest in a bio fuel strategy. It is a good start for Canada.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jordan Luck at the Empire

I had a great night last night. Went out for dinner in Parnell to Thai friends with some old buddies, and was invited to go to the Empire Tavern by musicman Dave to watch Jordan Luck play some spectacular Exponents songs. The band was in full effect and the sound was great " thanks Dave ".
Afterwards we went to Ponsonby to Whiskey and Lime Bar. Someone should ask Peter what he got up too??? Secret Squirrel.

A fun night in Auckland.

Meanwhile in London UK Mr Greg Johnson and Ted Brown played to a packed audience and fun was had by all..... Did they play Swagger? HMMM

Baby in baggage x-ray LAX

According to the world famous LA Times. A woman going through security at Los Angeles International Airport put her month-old grandson into a plastic bin intended for carry-on items and slid it into an X-ray machine. I can't imagine what the lady was thinking by doing that. Maybe she is slightly deranged??

The early Saturday accident — bizarre but not unprecedented — caught airport workers by surprise, even though the security line was not busy at the time, officials said.

A screener watching the machine's monitor immediately noticed the outline of a baby and pulled the bin backward on the conveyor belt.

The infant was taken to Centinela Hospital, where doctors determined that he had not received a dangerous dose of radiation. Thank goodnes for that, although you'd be more inclined to get a larger dose of radiation by just flying in the plane for a couple of hours.

Officials, who declined to release the 56-year-old woman's name, said she spoke Spanish and apparently did not understand English. I don't care if she speaks brogue, it must take an element of stupidness to put your grandchild onto a conveyor belt in a plastic box that disappears into a large machine. Speaking english is not the reason that this woman did this. Lack of common sense is.

She initially didn't want the baby transported to a hospital, but security officials called paramedics and insisted that the child be examined by a doctor. Maybe she was an illegal immigrant?

The grandmother and the child were subsequently allowed to board an Alaska Airlines flight to Mexico City.

The rare incident drew attention to whether officials are staffing often busy security checkpoints enough to prevent such an accident. And it raised questions about the danger of X-rays used to pick out suspicious metal shapes in passenger bags, given the medical community's warnings that even low amounts of radiation can build up over a lifetime.

There is always going to be one or two that slip through the cracks... Sometimes you just wonder how it happened.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sean Penn (Buffoon?)

In New York, Sean Penn, the actor and occasional foreign correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, hit the media and called for impeachment of the president in receiving the 2006 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award from The Creative Coalition Monday night... Sean Penn in my opinion is one of the biggest buffoons in Hollywood. He can't keep his mouth shut and doesn't have the balls to run for public office (as yet).

Presented since 1997, the First Amendment Award recognizes "individuals who are dedicated to the sanctity of the first amendment and its free speech provision." Other Creative Coalition honorees last night included Branford Marsalis, Harvey Keitel, Heather Graham and Marcia Gay Harden. Surprise surprise.

In his remarks, Penn listed more than a dozen serious issues facing the country, and commented, ”We depend largely for information on these issues from media industries, driven by the bottom line to such an extent that the public interest becomes uninteresting.”

Turning to his views of President Bush, Penn said, “Now, there's been a lot of talk lately on Capitol Hill about how impeachment should be ‘off the table.’ We're told that it's time to look ahead - not back...

“Can you imagine how far that argument would go for the defense at an arraignment on charges of grand larceny, or large-scale distribution of methamphetamines? How about the arranging of a contract killing on a pregnant mother? ‘Indictment should be off the table.’ Or ‘Let's look forward, not backward.’ Or ‘We can't afford another failed defendant.’

“Our country has a legal system, not of men and women, but of laws. Why then are we so willing to put inconvenient provisions of the U.S. constitution and federal law ‘off the table?’”

Penn said he admired New York Times columnist Frank Rich but disagreed with his position that pursuing impeachment now would be “decadent.”

In his prepared remarks, he also lamented how the U.S. public was allegedly tricked into backing the Iraq invasion and derided those media figures who did that, describing Rush Limbaugh as “high as a kite on OxyContin,” Bill O'Reilly as “factually impaired,” and Sean Hannity as “simply a whore to the cause of his pimps Murdoch and Ailes?” He then rapped former Rep. Mark Foley, Sen. Joe Lieberman and even singer Toby Keith. It is relatively clear to me that Sean Penn has a Democratic Party fetish.

I challenge Sean Penn to run for public office in the 2008 elections and if he gets voted in by the public then power to him, I will have some respect. If he doesn't then I will still regard him as Hollywood's biggest buffoon. Time to step up to the plate Mr Penn, put your name forward. Do it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ahh pies

One of my favorite things to do when I come to NZ, is to eat meat pies. MMMMMMM

John Edwards to join 08 Presidential race?

Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards intends to enter the 2008 race for the White House, two Democratic officials said Saturday. I could see him winning the Presidency in 2008 with someone like Hillary Clinton as VP. That would all depend on if John McCain or Rudy are the front row contenders for the GOP.

Edwards, who represented North Carolina in the Senate for six years, plans to make the campaign announcement late this month from the New Orleans neighborhood hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina last year and slow to recover from the storm.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to pre-empt Edwards' announcement.

Edwards plans to travel from New Orleans through the four early presidential nominating states Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina as part of an announcement tour between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Among Democrats, Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois are drawing the most attention almost two years before the actual vote.

Edwards, however, is in a strong position as the leading candidate in Iowa. He was a top fundraiser in the race for the nomination in 2004 before he became Democratic Sen. John Kerry's running mate.

Since the Democrats' loss to President Bush, Edwards has worked to build support for a repeat presidential bid. He has a retooled agenda that is more openly progressive and has spent time building relationships with labor leaders and traveling overseas to build his foreign policy credentials beyond his one term in the Senate.

Edwards' spokesman, David Ginsberg, would not confirm or deny that Edwards planned to announce he would run in 2008.

Ginsberg said Edwards would make an announcement about his future when he is ready.

He is well known from the 2004 campaign and his profile has risen this year as he and his wife, Elizabeth, went on nationwide tours to promote their books.

A poll of Iowa Democrats that was published Thursday in the Des Moines Register showed Edwards with 36 percent support, more than Clinton's 16 percent and Obama's 13 percent combined.

Edwards' campaign plans include an aggressive fundraising effort to prove that he belongs in the top tier of contenders. Because he currently does not hold federal office, Edwards does not have a war chest like some of his rivals. In fact, he has several hundred thousands of dollars of debt from his 2004 presidential campaign.

I like John Edwards as I liked Howard Dean...Doesn't mean I'd vote for them though. I am sure that John Edwards if he was to be elected would make a fine President... Thats if he can beat Sen. McCain.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Borat wins.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As the esteemed Kazakh television journalist Borat Sagdiyev might say: "High Five. Sexy Time. You Lose."

Two college fraternity buddies shown guzzling alcohol and making racist remarks in the "Borat" movie have lost their bid for a court order to cut the scene they claim has tarnished their reputations, court papers revealed on Monday. I am glad, as the DVD would not be complete without their ranting and raving.

The students sued the movie's distributor and producers last month, saying filmmakers had duped them into appearing in "Borat" by getting them drunk and falsely promising the film would never be shown in the United States. HE HE, suckers.

At the time the suit was filed, a judge denied the pair's request for a temporary restraining order that would remove footage of them from the film, but the plaintiffs were given a another chance to seek an injunction at a hearing last week.

The South Carolina college students lost again when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph Biderman ruled they had failed to show a reasonable probability of success on the merits of their case or that money damages alone would be insufficient to resolve their claims.

Arguments on the latest motion focused mainly on the future DVD release of the hit movie, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."

The faux documentary, distributed by 20th Century Fox, has already grossed more than $120 million at the North American box office after six weeks in theaters. Who would ahve thought?

The lawyer for the students, Olivier Taillieu, said last week that while the film's theatrical run is coming to a close, the perpetuity of the film on DVD posed ongoing problems for his clients, including harm to their ability to seek work.

Last month, Taillieu said the movie had cost one of the students a job at a major corporation and another a prestigious internship. The students were identified in court papers only as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2. A third student involved in the scene did not take part in the suit. Motto of the story.. Don't get filmed or agree to be filmed when you have had a few srinks with Borat.

The scene at issue in the lawsuit depicts Borat getting drunk with three frat boys in a motor home while they watch a sex tape and make racist remarks about slavery and minorities in the United States.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas trees removed from Sea-Tac airport.

*** UPDATE *** The Rabbi has withdrawn his threat to sue due to various forms of hate mail received by him. The trees are now back up at Sea-Tac....

SEATTLE-TACOMA Airport WA - All of the Christmas trees inside the terminal at Sea-Tac have been removed in response to a complaint by a rabbi.

A local rabbi wanted to install an 8-foot menorah and have a public lighting ceremony. He threatened to sue if the menorah wasn't put up, and gave a two-day deadline to remove the trees. What a putz... I mean really this Rabbi needs to get a grip. Threatening to sue because of Christmas trees. What is the world coming too?

Sea-Tac public affairs manager Terri-Ann Betancourt said the trees that adorn the Sea-Tac upper and lower levels may not properly represent all cultures. So, it is America and the vast majority of people celebrate Christmas. A Christmas tree isn't areligiouss symbol as such. The fact that they took the trees down tells me that USA is getting way too PC.

She said that since this is their busiest time of year and they don't have time to add a fair representation of all cultures, her department decided to take down all of the decorations, review their policies, and decide if they need to make a change for next year.

"You know, our focus is on customer service, getting our passengers through the airport, and we thought if we could take the trees down and avoid litigation because we don't want tolitigatee with this individual, we want to reach some kind of solution," Betancourt said. "But that is going to take some thoughtful discussion and we would like to have time to have that thoughtful discussion."

Until then, no Christmas decor at Sea-Tac.

The same decorations have been put up for at least 10 years, she added. What a complete and utter bah humbug attitude the Rabbi has.. I would have told him to back off and make a submission for next year for his menorah.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The most expensive building ever sold in USA

According to CNN, the U.S. housing market in some parts of the country may be cooling, but skyscrapers in New York City are still red hot.

The commercial real estate firm Tishman Speyer Properties sold the 41-story office building at 666 Fifth Avenue to the New Jersey firm Kushner Companies for $US1.8 billion, according to a spokesperson for the Kushner companies. Now that would be a very pleasant commission for the salesperson(s)involved don't you think?.....

The contract for the deal, which was signed Monday, is the highest price ever paid for a single office building in the United States, according to Real Capital Analytics, which researches the commercial real estate industry.

Tishman Speyer and TMW, a German investment firm, bought the 1.5 million-square-foot Fifth Avenue building in 2000 for $518 million, according to the New York Times, which reported the story earlier Thursday.

The previous record for an office building sale was last year's purchase by Tishman Speyer of the MetLife building for $1.7 billion, according to Real Capital Analytics.

The building at 666 Fifth Avenue, which opened in 1957, currently houses a number of law firms and bankers, the paper reported. I would guess that you'd be paying a good amount of rent to have a office in this building.... What a sale.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Smelly fart causes emergency plane landing.

Flatulence brought 99 passengers on an American Airlines flight to an unscheduled visit to Nashville early Monday morning. This is brilliant....

American Flight 1053, from Washington Reagan National Airport and bound for Dallas/Fort Worth, made an emergency landing here after passengers reported smelling struck matches, said Lynne Lowrance, a spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority.

The plane landed safely. The FBI, Transportation Safety Administration and airport authority responded to the emergency, Lowrance said.

The passengers and five crew members were brought off the plane, together with all the luggage, to go through security checks again. Bomb-sniffing dogs found spent matches.

The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal body odor (fart), Lowrance said. The woman lives near Dallas and has a medical condition. Maybe she ate too much fruit before takeoff.....LOL

The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane.

"American has banned her for a long time," Lowrance said. Maybe she completed her journey in a convertible.

She was not charged but could have been. While it is legal to bring as many as four books of paper safety matches onto an aircraft, it is illegal to strike a match in an airplane, Lowrance said.

That is a very embarassing thing to have to explain to 104 people, certainly one for the record books. Maybe the lady should chug some pepto bismol before flying again...

Got milk?

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hoping to stir up thirst for milk, officials have installed advertisements in several San Francisco bus shelters on Monday that give off the scent of freshly baked cookies. How nice would that be unless you are hungry and there is no cookie or milk store around?

The technology that creates the scent is very similar to that used in magazine ads. Scented adhesives are placed throughout the interior of the bus shelters, including under the benches.

"As long as they are not harmful chemicals, it's OK," one somewhat confused elderly woman said as she pondered the cookie smell in one of the shelters. "They are trying to sell milk? Is that it?"

The effort at five bus shelters is part of a campaign cooked up by the California Milk Processor Board, whose iconic "Got Milk?" campaign has adorned famous figures from around the world with milk mustaches for 13 years.

While olfactory marketing has long been a staple of perfume companies in magazines, Jeff Goodby, chairman of the San Francisco-based ad firm Goodby, Silverstein & Partners that created the campaign, said he knew of no other completely outdoor campaign. I wonder how long the cookie scent will last?

I think it is a tease as there is nothing like the smell of baking cookies, and there is nothing more annoying than smelling freshly baked cookies and not being able to have one, or two.......HMMM

Friday, December 01, 2006

My day at the LA auto show

I went to the LA auto show today and had the opportunity of seeing some exciting new cars and taking a few photo's.
I have posted the pictures and comments on the show here .... So if you like cars take a look.

Monday, November 27, 2006

John Key is the new leader of National

John Key the National MP for Helensville is now the new leader of the NZ National Party. The Deputy Leader is now Bill English who had a stint as Leader before Dr Brash, and understands that he will probably never be Leader again.
The National Party list shows Dr Brash as # 3 and it appears that he has taken over the caucus Responsibilities of Spokesman for the Security & Intelligence Service and Spokesman for Relationships with Non-Government Parties. He is also on a select committee in relation to Security & Intelligence.

I wish the National Party well and I expect that they along with strong coalition partners like ACT will be in the position to win the next election.....

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Don Brash resigns as Leader of National Party

Dr Don Brash has just resigned as leader of the New Zealand National Party.

He had called a press conference at 1pm after mounting revelations about his leadership in a book by researcher Nicky Hager.

Dr Brash made his announcement to a press conference called at short notice.

His resignation would take effect from a special caucus meeting on Monday, he said. This will probably be John Key's chance to take the leadership. Don Brash has done a great job for National and although there were alligations he certainly did a better job as leader if we compare him to Bill English.

Now is the time for National to take the reigns and build up to a landslide win at the next election...

Onwards and upwards.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Elderly drivers and their license.....

Santa Monica — According to Fox news, an 89-year-old man whose car hurtled through a farmers market at the end of the street from where my office is, killing 10 people, was let off on probation Monday by a judge who said he believed the defendant deserved to go prison but was too ill. It is a hard call as he was negligent in his driving abilities and it makes me wonder if there shold be a more regular auto license test for elderly drivers.

George Russell Weller was convicted Oct. 20 of 10 counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

Weller, confined to a sickbed, was not in court for his sentencing.

Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson said he agreed completely with the jury and called Weller's actions callous and showing "an enormous indifference to human life."

Weller was 86 when his 1992 Buick Le Sabre plowed at freeway speed into the crowded farmers market on July 16, 2003. In addition to the 10 killed, more than 70 people were injured.

Weller could have received up to 18 years in prison, but the judge said Weller's health problems, including severe heart disease, would make him a burden on prison authorities and taxpayers, and that imprisonment would most likely kill Weller.

Defense attorneys argued that Weller was a victim of "pedal error" in which he panicked and mistook the car's accelerator for the brake. Prosecutors said he was careless to the point of criminal negligence.

The judge noted that Weller had enough control of his vehicle to avoid cars and trucks within the farmers market.

"Mr. Weller chose to steer into the people, plowing into the crowd and literally launching bodies into the air as his car sped 2 1/2 blocks," the judge said. The judge also called Weller's apologies hollow.

The district attorney's office did not make a sentencing recommendation but cited a probation officer's recommendation that Weller spend at least a short time in prison.

"I believe the courts have to be practical as well as principled," the judge said. "I don't see any purpose of sending Mr. Weller to jail or prison. It wouldn't do anybody any good."

Weller, a month short of his 90th birthday, was placed on five years' felony probation. Penalties and fines against him totaled $34,000, and he was also ordered to pay restitution to survivors of those who were killed.

The crash sparked a national debate over whether elderly drivers should be given road and written tests when they renew their licenses.

Although Weller did not testify, a tape of his interview with police immediately after the accident was played in court. He told authorities he did everything he could think of to stop the vehicle, including attempting to throw its gearshift knob into park.

I personally think that when a person hits 70 years old that there should be a test from that age every 2 years until they turn 74 then a driving test every year from then until they hit 80 when it will be necessary for a driving test every 6 months.

It is not a bad thing to do, as peoples driving abilities can deteriorate rapidly upon getting to the 80 year old mark. How often have you seen a blue rinsed Granny riding the clutch in the Toyota as she is looking behind her sholder on a one way road?

That is possible with pople of all age but I truly think that driving testing of the elderly should be mandatory.

If you go swimming in Cape Town ZA

WATCH OUT!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Helen Clark invites George W Bush to NZ

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark confirmed last night she had invited US President George W Bush to New Zealand after the APEC summit in Australia next year. She had also suggested that Mr Bush meet Pacific leaders while in Auckland. Maybe there will be Kava served, that would make for an interesting meeting....

Helen Clark and Mr George W Bush (#43) were attending the Apec leaders summit in Hanoi, Vietnam when Helen invited 43 to NZ (nice pic above).

HELLen spoke informally to Mr Bush for about 15 minutes at the summit. Mr Bush remained highly appreciative of New Zealand's work in Afghanistan and in the Pacific, she said. He was also interested in meeting Pacific Island leaders. I am not sure what else he could say really without wanting to offend anyone, but lets hope 43 makes it to NZ, it will be a good test on NZ's security systems and will bring some good old publicity to NZ.

If George W Bush visited New Zealand he would be the first president to do so since Bill Clinton visited Christchurch and Auckland for the Apec leaders'summit in September 1999. Now that was an interesting time.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Greg Johnson in London UK Dec 20th.

Greg Johnson for the first time in London for many years. This will be a great show..... Tickets selling fast at 16 Quid. Don't miss out.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

John McCain is exploring...

(According to CNN) The 2008 race for the White House intensified Thursday as one of the big name Republican players, Sen. John McCain, threw himself into the fray. This is great news in my opinion. John McCain is more popular to most Democrats than Hillary Clinton, so it will be good to see John and Rudy duke it out then give Hillary a knock out punch.

The 70-year-old Arizona senator is the fourth Republican to say they will form an exploratory committee in the race for the GOP presidential nomination since the party took what President Bush called "a thumping" in the midterm elections.

Exploratory committees allow would-be candidates to raise campaign money without having to publicly disclose donations or expenditures.

McCain's name recognition can only be matched by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to form a committee last week. The moderate conservative's performance in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks earned him praise and fame across the nation.

Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, outgoing chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee, was the first to form a committee.

On Wednesday, Tommy Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor who headed the Department of Health and Human Services in Bush's Cabinet during his first term, said he is considering a White House bid. An aide said Thompson is expected to create his exploratory committee early next year.

McCain posted a statement on his Web site Wednesday saying the move will "continue my conversation with the American people over the direction of the Republican Party and the future of our country."

"During the next couple of months, I will be talking with my family, friends and supporters about whether to officially announce a run for president," McCain said. "Prior to that decision, the formation of this committee is the first legal step in that process."

McCain is expected to file committee registration paperwork with the FEC on Thursday.

He will also spend the day delivering speeches to the Federalist Society, a group of conservative attorneys, and GOPAC, an education and training center for Republican candidates and activists across the country.

Registered Republicans surveyed in an October CNN poll about their 2008 presidential preferences put Giuliani and McCain at the top of the heap, well ahead of other possible contenders.

Giuliani was the choice of 29 percent; McCain, 27 percent.

I am thinking that either John McCain or Rudy Giuliani would make a great President, although John McCain probably more suitable with his time in the senate. Maybe Giuliani would be a great VP?

Greg Johnson in Hollywood Dec 6th

Come along..... Will be a fun night. Listen to Greg and Ted play all the favorites including Save Yourself from "Here comes the Caviar", Swagger, Liberty and of course the new songs from the soon to be released album "Anyone can say goodbye".

Friday, November 10, 2006

Vladimir Palahnunik (Jack Palance) dies.

According to the NZ Herald. Oscar-winning actor Jack Palance, who starred as a heartless gunslinger in the classic western "Shane," died at his California home on Friday at age 87, his spokesman said.

Palance, who won an Academy Award for playing a tough cowboy in the 1991 comedy "City Slickers" and famously performed one-armed push-ups on stage at the ceremony, died of natural causes, spokesman Dick Guttman said.

He usually played menacing villains and was also nominated for Oscars for "Shane" and 1952's "Sudden Fear," in which he played opposite Joan Crawford as a man out to kill his wife.

Born Vladimir Palahnuik in Pennsylvania in 1919, he was a professional boxer and a decorated World War Two veteran before his long career in movies. I rememember him as the host of Ripleys Beleive it or not some years ago. He was good at that.

Guttman said Palance died at his home in Montecito, California, surrounded by members of his family.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Donald Rumsfeld has resigned

Donald Rumsfeld is to resign with immediate effect.......

He is to be repaced by Robert M Gates upon Senate approval. He served as Director of Central Intelligence from November 6, 1991 until January 20, 1993, capping a 26-year career in the CIA and the National Security Council. Immediately before being nominated to the post of Secretary of Defense, he was the President of Texas A&M University and the National President of the National Eagle Scout Association.

Rumsfeld to resign RUMOR?

It has just been rumored that Donald Rumsfeld is about to resign....

More news soon.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Borat #1 movie in USA.

Forget the predictions that people somewhere wouldn't "get 'Borat'", Sacha Baron Cohen's raucous comedy.

The movie literally swamped the box office on Friday night. According to figures from showbizdata.com, "Borat" took in a whopping $8.925 million on just 800 screens, with a per screen average of $10,663.

"Santa Clause 3," starring Tim Allen, took in only $5.4 million, yet it played on 3,458 screens.

This should put to rest all the predictions based on "tracking" that "Borat" would not be a superstar performer at the box office. The funny thing will be to see all the so-called experts who anticipated the comedy's failure suddenly taking credit for its success.

At this rate, "Borat" should take in around $30 million for the weekend. Next Friday, it expands to 2,200 screens, and then the box office will be limitless. The government of Kazakhstan will have just a few days to suddenly embrace the fun, as "Borat" could wind up grossing $200 million to become the biggest comedy of all time.

I like....

Friday, November 03, 2006

Borat the movie....

I went tonight to Manns theatre in Santa Monica to the premiere of the Borat movie.

It was sold out and I am hoping that the box office puts the movie in the # 1 position.

It was extremely funny, although some of the funnier skits were re hashed from the English version of Borat that I saw many years ago. We went with 10 people and most all of them felt it was one of the funniest movies they have seen. I can't believe that he managed to pull the movie off witout being shot or arrested more than once. I thoroughly recommend it and I for sure will be buying it on DVD for my collection.

Woo Hoo.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trump cited for having an oversized flagpole

Donald Trump's display of patriotism is apparently too flamboyant for this chic oceanside town of Palm Beach, Florida.

Palm Beach officials cited Trump for hoisting a large American flag atop an 80-foot pole at his lavish Mar-a-Lago estate and club.

Town officials said the real estate mogul has violated zoning codes with a flagpole taller than 42 feet and for erecting it without a building permit and permission from the landmarks board.

Trump has until November 27 to apply for approvals or face a December 21 code enforcement hearing that could result in $250-a-day fines. I am thinking that with The Donalds track record of fighting in court, this may last a while.

"You don't need a permit to put up the American flag," Trump said Tuesday. "The day you need a permit to put up the American flag, that will be a sad day for this country."

Lee Hanley, vice chairman of the town's landmarks commission, previously said the 15-by-25-foot flag makes the town look like "we have an Okeechobee car dealer," referring to a strip of auto dealerships along Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach.

Trump responded in a letter last week saying that "anyone who objects should not, in my opinion, hold a public office of any kind, at least not in this country."

The flag first appeared outside the estate October 3.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rumsfeld announces troop increase in Iraq

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has just announced that the USA is about to increase the troop numbers in Iraq. Currently there are less than 325,000 but it is going to be rapidly ramped up to a level which will allow the mission to finally be acomplished. While it is not a pleasant thought to send the military in harms way, it is going to allow the coalition to get things done.

It is my belief that the reason Colin Powell resigned was because his advice to get the deal done in Iraq was to have over 500,000 troops. Lets see if that finally happens.

Happy Halloween

Monday, October 30, 2006

KFC to slash trans fats.

According to CTV.ca. KFC announced Monday that it will switch to a cooking oil free of artery-clogging trans fatty acids in all of its Canadian and U.S. restaurants by early next year. That is a good thing health wise, but will it taste the same?

The fast-food giant said it will start using a healthier cooking oil that will ensure virtually all of the menu items will have zero grams of trans fat.

In Canada, the new canola cooking oil will be gradually phased in through the month of November in all KFC Canada restaurants in British Columbia and the Maritime provinces, followed by Quebec and Ontario.

By early 2007, all 786 KFC restaurants in Canada will have converted to the canola oil, the company said.

KFC Canada's preliminary nutritional analysis shows that the cooking oil has cut saturated fat levels in many products, on average, by 40 per cent.

"We've worked very hard to get virtually all of our products, including our original recipe chicken, to have zero grams of trans fat without compromising the great taste (customers) expect with KFC," said Jeff O'Neill, president and chief operating officer of the Priszm Canadian Income Fund, which operates KFC restaurants in Canada.

In the U.S., KFC will start using zero trans fat soybean oil for its Original Recipe and Extra Crispy fried chicken, Potato Wedges and other menu items.

KFC's American rollout is to be completed by April 2007, but the company said many of its approximately 5,500 restaurants already have switched to low linolenic soybean oil, replacing partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

The fast-food giant's decision won praise from a Washington, D.C.-based consumer health group that had filed a lawsuit against KFC in the U.S. over what it says can be "startlingly high" levels of trans fats.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is formally withdrawing from the lawsuit, it said in a written statement on Monday.

KFC joins the ranks of burger chain Wendy's International Inc., which has already switched to a zero trans-fat oil amid criticism that fast-food restaurants are contributing to obesity rates.

McDonald's announced in 2003 that it intended to do reduce trans fats in its products. But while the chain has introduced healthier foods, it has yet to follow through on its promise.

"What are McDonald's and Burger King waiting for now?" CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson asked in a statement.

"If KFC, which deep-fries almost everything, can get the artificial trans fat out of its frying oil, anyone can. Colonel Sanders deserves a bucket full of praise."

Meanwhile, the debate on trans fats is expected to heat up south of the border in New York.

Public hearings to discuss the fate of trans fats in restaurants across the city are set to begin on Monday.

If approved, the ban would not extend beyond the city's limits, nor would it affect grocery stores.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the ingredient is so common that the average American eats 4.7 pounds of trans fats a year.

Many New York eatery owners use ingredients prepared elsewhere, and aren't always aware whether the foods they sell contain trans fats, Neighborhood Retail Alliance Richard Lipsky told The Associated Press.

Experts say the city's food service industry, with its 24,600 establishments, is so large that any ban is likely to be felt across the nation.

"It's going to be the trendsetter for the entire country," Suzanne Vieira, director of the culinary nutrition program at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., told AP.

A Canadian federal task force has proposed new regulations that would see a two per cent limit of total fat content for vegetable oils and soft spreadable tub-type margarines; and a five per cent limit on all other foods containing industrially produced trans fats.

If followed, they would decrease the average trans fat intake of Canadians by at least 55 per cent.

Fats found in foods are made up of four different types of fatty acids, including polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated and trans.

Trans fats are found naturally in some animal-based foods such as dairy products and beef and lamb.

But they are also formed when manufacturers use a chemical process that turns liquid oil into a semi-solid form.

The main benefits of these artery-clogging fats are that they enhance taste, extend shelf life, and break down less easily, which makes them suited to frying.

Trans fats are used in foods made with shortening, margarine or partially hydrogenated oil such as crackers, cookies, donuts, and fried foods like french fries.

Health experts suggest minimizing the consumption of trans fat, as research shows it raises LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, while lowering HDL, the "good" cholesterol.

Studies show that consuming just five grams of trans fats a day over many years boosts the risk of heart disease by 25 per cent.

I am not sure if it is a good idea for the government to dictate what should or should not be in prepared foods? Is'nt it up to you the consumer to decide what you door do not eat? Having said that good on KFC for making the change. I wonder if it will make changes in countries like NZ and Australia too?

First Borat, then Bruno.

From the daily news. Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen is at the centre of a major bidding war to secure exclusive rights to a new film based on his latest character.

Hollywood film company Universal is offering £22 million for the worldwide rights to the film Bruno, based on a flamboyant gay Austrian fashion reporter.

A counter-bid is understood to have come in from Twentieth Century Fox, which was behind the Borat movie.

Further bids are assured as the low-budget Borat attracts rave reviews. Baron Cohen - as actor, writer and producer - is guaranteed at least a 15 per cent share of the deal for Bruno and, if box-office takings are good, his take could spiral into tens of millions. He's already set for a bumper pay day from Borat.

News of the bidding war came just a day after red-faced bosses at Fox admitted they had slashed the number of cinemas at which Borat opens this weekend in the US.

It had been scheduled to open in 2,000 cinemas, but will now open in only 700, which is a silly think for Fox to do. The hype for this movie is massive.

Fox executives pulled the plug on the wide opening after the film tested poorly, leading them to expect scathing reviews.

To their surprise, and now embarrassment, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. The film has also received massive coverage in the media.

Fox distribution official Bruce Snyder said studio bosses were now hoping to extend the film to as many cinemas as possible in the coming week.

The new film will feature the character Bruno, made popular from Da Ali G television show in 2000, as he travels around the US where he targets homophobic Americans by showing up at such events as gun shows, with the intention of provoking a reaction.

Like Borat, Bruno will entertain audiences with the same sartorial blunders and level of controversy.

A spokesman for gay rights campaign Stonewall predicts the film may spark off further debate and potential controversy.

"This character will definitely cause a debate especially among the gay community themselves about whether this character is helping to further their cause or make things worse.

"People do have different views, some may find it hilarious and some will take offence. This film is bound to impact the same way the gay character in Little Britain did.

"It seems to be that he is using gay and lesbians in the movie and that seems to be his style with his characters, like he did with Ali G and Borat".

The film Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan looks set to be a hit in both the UK and America despite controversy over his offensive portrayal of Kazakhstan.

Speaking at the Oxford University Union, Erlan Idrissov, UK Ambassador for Kazakhstan added to the debate about the film.

He said: "Sacha Baron Cohen has developed a grotesque character who mocks many people in this society and my own.

"What I saw of the film was not Kazakhstan. He used village people from a very remote part of Eastern Europe. I am also very sorry for the people who acted in Borat's film because he used them for his own self promotion.

"And also I felt sorry for the Americans he duped in his film,that was an utterly rude mocking of American society. I couldn't get rid of a small feeling of being insulted by the film."

Sacha Baron Cohen, a Bafta Award winner for Best Comedy Series in 2001, first hit the screens as Ali G in the channel four series of the Eleven O'clock Show.

Following the success in the UK, the show was then taken over by the US, where it aired on HBO.

Way to go Mr Cohen... Keep up the good work.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

AhMADinejad blowing smoke again

The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called Israel a "counterfeit and illegitimate regime that cannot survive", in a live broadcast on state television. He seems to have a lot of concern for Israel. Maybe he should be more concerned with his own land.

"The Zionist regime is counterfeit and illegitimate and cannot survive," he said in a speech to a crowd in the town of Islamshahr in southwestern Tehran. I wonder if Israel will take that as a threat and give him a surprise sometime soon.

"The big powers have created this fraud regime and allowed it to commit all kind of crimes to guarantee their interests," he added.

The Iranian President is a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

300 million people in USA

According to the AP. The nation's population officially hit 300 million at 7:46 a.m. EDT Tuesday, when the Census Bureau's population clock rolled over to the big number.

But there weren't any wild celebrations, fireworks or any other government-sponsored hoopla to mark the milestone. Why bother? Many experts think the population actually hit 300 million months ago.

"I don't think anybody believes it will be the precise moment when the population hits 300 million," Howard Hogan, the Census Bureau's associate director for demographic programs, said in an interview before the milestone was reached. But, he added, "We're confident that we're somewhat close."

It's not easy estimating the exact number of people in a country the size of the United States. It gets even more complicated when you take into account illegal immigration, another reason for the federal government to let the milestone pass quietly.

When the U.S. population officially hit 200 million in 1967, President Johnson held a news conference at the Commerce Department to hail America's past and to talk about the challenges ahead. Life magazine dispatched a cadre of photographers to find a baby born at the exact moment, anointing a boy born in Atlanta as the 200 millionth American.

This year, there's a good chance the 300 millionth American has already walked across the border from Mexico.

"It's a couple of weeks before an election when illegal immigration is a high-profile issue and they don't want to make a big deal out of it," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said the Bush administration isn't playing down the milestone, though he said he had no plans for Tuesday. Census Bureau employees planned to mark the moment Tuesday afternoon with cake and punch.

"I would hate to think that we are going to be low key about this," said Gutierrez, whose department oversees the Census Bureau. "I would hope that we make a big deal about it."

Gutierrez said America's growing population is good for the economy. He noted that Japan and some European countries expect to lose population in the next few decades, raising concerns that there won't be enough young people entering the work force to support aging populations.

"This is one more area where we seem to have an advantage," Gutierrez said. "We should all feel good about reaching this milestone."

The U.S. adds about 2.8 million people a year, for a growth rate of less than 1 percent. About 40 percent of the growth comes from immigration. The rest comes from births outnumbering deaths.

The Census Bureau counts the population every 10 years. In between, it uses administrative records and surveys to estimate monthly averages for births, deaths and net immigration. The bureau has a "population clock" that estimates a birth every seven seconds, a death every 13 seconds and a new immigrant every 31 seconds. Add it together and you get one new American every 11 seconds.

The 300 millionth American - born months ago or on Tuesday - is probably Hispanic because they are the fastest growing demographic group in the U.S., Frey said.

Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, said the Census Bureau has improved its population estimates in the past few years, but it still undercounts illegal immigrants.

There are an estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Experts differ on the specifics, but many estimate that more than 1 million of them don't show up in census figures.

"The census clearly misses people," said Passel, a former Census Bureau employee who used to help estimate the undercount. "Having said that, when they crossed 200 million, they were missing about 5 million people. We think the 2000 census missed a lot less than 5 million people."

Monday, October 09, 2006

Greg Johnson to play in London England

London England. Bloomsbury Theatre Dec 20th!
Greg Johnson and the band will be performing in London at the end of December before the release on Baria Records of "Here Comes The Caviar" in the UK... more shows and ticket details very soon...kiwis in London please start spreading the word!!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Squaw Valley USA

I am off to Squaw Valley, Tahoe tomorrow to do some business for www.distinctiveholidayhomes.com As I have said before if you haven't been there you should do it, and what an opportunity it would be for you if you were a member of Distinctive Holiday Homes. Squaw Valley has some of the best skiing in North America, and the snow is due very soon.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ban Ki-Moon for U.N Secretary General

South Korea's foreign minister kept his spot as the clear favorite in the race to succeed U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in an informal poll Thursday, the only one among the seven candidates to get the needed majority of votes. There appears to be no mention of HELLen Clark's name at this stage contrary to reports mentioned on this blog before.

Ban Ki-Moon received 13 votes in favor, one against and one of no opinion, China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said. He slipped slightly from the previous poll, held Sept. 14, when he received 14 votes in favor and one against.

Despite that dominating lead, the secrecy of the ballot meant it was not known whether he got the necessary approval of all five veto wielding members of the council, and the ballot is difficult to interpret. The results could either give Ban the momentum he needs to win or clear the field for more people to enter the race. Maybe HELLen is waiting for the South Korean to get booted before jumping in.

The 15 council nations checked one of three boxes for each candidate: "Encourage," "discourage," and "no opinion." Secretary-General Kofi Annan steps down on Dec. 31, when his second five-year term expires. Thank goodness for that. It is time for a change at the U.N.

Bangladesh's U.N. Ambassador Iftekhar Chowdhury said he attended a speech Ban gave on Wednesday and approved.

"He came out quite good mature, balanced, and with the right amount of experience, gravitas, the qualities that you seek in a secretary-general," Chowdhury said. "We think he'll make an excellent secretary-general, of course."

None of other six candidates to succeed Secretary-General Kofi Annan even got the necessary nine favorable votes to make their campaigns viable.

As with the previous two polls, Shashi Tharoor, the Indian U.N. undersecretary-general, was second, with eight in favor, three against and four undecided. Latvia's President Vaira Vike-Freiberga was third with seven in favor, six against and two undecided.

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, who was the first to announce his candidacy last year, received five favorable votes and seven against, worse than last time and likely the result of a coup back home.

The other three candidates former U.N. disarmament chief Jayantha Dhanapala, Jordan's U.N. Ambassador Prince Zeid al Hussein and former Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani received only three votes in favor.

In the next straw poll, set for Monday, the five veto-wielding members of the council will use different colored ballots than the other 10. A veto from one of the five Britain, China, France, Russia or the United States could doom their campaigns.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said he would have preferred the colored ballots Thursday.

"We should have had a differentiated ballot today," Bolton said in a statement. "I look forward to a real vote on Monday, when we'll have two different colored ballots.

Interesting indeed..... Wonder if there is any bribary going on behind the scenes?

White House gates shut on Borat

This is funny just imagining what the guards at the White House in Washington DC were thinking when Borat tried to invite President Bush to the screening of his new movie with O.J Simpson.

I am really looking forwards to seeing the new Borat movie... LOL

Funny stuff

Update: President Bush is due to meet with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev today. The Kazakh President is expected to lay a complaint to GWB about Borat...

Way to go Vodafone

A friend of mine had this idea about 7 years ago when he was in control of a large internet company. I always though that it was a very good idea and I am glad that Vodafone are releasing this service soon.

Check this out

Good idea.

Dow Jones record high.

The Dow Jones industrial average topped its record-high close this morning, reaching a milestone in Wall Street's recovery from nearly seven years of corporate upheaval, economic recession and the impact of terrorism. The previous high close was 11,722.98 set on Jan. 14, 2000.

Lifted by growing optimism about stable interest rates and a soft landing for the economy, the Dow rose to 11,724.86 in morning trading, before slipping back to 11,699.08. It faced one more milestone, its intraday high of 11,750.28, before it could move into uncharted territory.

Where do we go from here...?

Lieberman in the lead

Sen. Joe Lieberman has a 10-point advantage over Democrat Ned Lamont among likely Connecticut voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

Lieberman, a three-term Democrat running as an independent after losing the party nomination in a primary, is favored by 49 percent to 39 percent over Lamont in the three-way race. Republican Alan Schlesinger has a lot of work to do as he trails with 5 percent.

The race has tightened slightly since an Aug. 17 poll that showed Lieberman leading 53 percent to 41 percent.

"Ned Lamont has lost momentum," said poll director Douglas Schwartz said. "He's gained only two points in six weeks. He's going to have to do something different in the next six weeks or ... Lieberman stays in for another six years."

The race is seen as many as a referendum on President Bush's handling of the Iraq war. Lamont, a political newcomer and multimillionaire, ran on an anti-war platform to upset Lieberman in the Aug. 8 primary.

Lieberman, the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000, is a staunch supporter of the war.

The Quinnipiac poll showed that Lieberman has higher favorability ratings among likely voters, 51 percent to Lamont's 31 percent. While Lamont has slightly higher favorability numbers among Democrats (47 percent to 43 percent), Lieberman far outdistances his challenger among likely Republican and unaffiliated voters. Seventy percent of Republicans view Lieberman favorably compared to 12 percent for Lamont, and 48 percent of independent voters view Lieberman favorably compared to 30 percent for Lamont.

Unaffiliated voters outnumber Democrats and Republicans in the state.

"Lamont wins among those who say Iraq is the most important issue to their vote, but that is only 35 percent of the electorate," Schwartz said. "Lieberman wins on all the other issues voters say matter most to them, including terrorism and the economy."

The telephone poll was conducted between Sept. 21-25. Quinnipiac surveyed 1,181 likely voters and the poll has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

American politics are very interesting indeed.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

National Party up by 11 points?

National looks to have jumped to an 11-point lead over Labour in the latest One News opinion poll released on Sunday night NZ time.

It was the first poll to be taken since revelations about Don Brash's personal life, and was conducted in the middle of the current round of political mudslinging about the sexuality of the PM and her husband.

The One News Colmar Brunton poll puts National up 4 to 49 percent and Labour down 5 to 38.

The Greens are on six, up from 3 percent in the previous poll, with it being the only minor party above 5 percent. ACT is still below 1%, and the Maori Party is steady on 3%.

I guess it is possible for National to get into a majority position without the need to work with any of the other parties, but in the mean time ACT must keep working hard to get above the threshhold. It is possible, but something needs to be implemented very shortly to do so.

The poll of 1,200 people has a margin of error of two-point-eight percent

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Jackass #2

Last night I viewed Jackass #2 on the 3rd Street Promonade in Santa Monica.

There was some extremely funny parts of the movie and there was some extremely demented and sick parts to the movie.

Be afraid be very afraid.

They played the trailer for the Borat movie coming out in November.... I cant wait.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Guns and Roses ROCKS

I went to Las Vegas on Saturday to attend a Guns and Roses concert at The Joint in The Hard Rock Cafe. We arrived at the venue, got a mandatory JD and ginger-ale,and proceeded to the club. I was impressed by the smallness of the room, and I really don't think that there was any more than 2000 people there. I was 4 rows maybe 5 from the front and it was standing room only. I was in a great position.

Axl and the band was really on form, and played for close to 3 hours with what seemed like 3 encores. Close to the end of the show Axl sort of slipped in "No he is not here and he's not playing tonight". I was sort of hoping that he "Slash" was going to make an appearance, but I wasn't expecting it. The song of the night was My Michelle, although Rocket Queen, Paradise City, November Rain, Out to get me and everything else simply......


If you are a fan and get the opportunity to see G'N'F'N'R anywhere. Do it.

You will not be disappointed if it is as good as the show I went too. It was outstanding.

Rock on Guns and Roses.

Monday, September 11, 2006

AhMADinejad to visit New York

Iranian President Mahmoud AhMADinejad will visit Senegal on Wednesday, kicking off a major international trip that will also take him to Cuba, Venezuela and the United Nations.

AhMADinejad would then head to Havana for a summit of Non-Aligned Movement leaders which will take place on Friday and Saturday before jetting on to Venezuela for a one day visit with Chavez. It is not my idea of a party with AhMADinejad and Chavez in one room, although it could make for some Borat style humor.

AhMADinejad will then visit New York on September 18, 19, 20 to take part in the general assembly of the United Nations. He will give his speech on the first day of his stay at the United Nations," said Jahandideh.

AhMADinejad had already made clear his intention to travel to the United Nations in New York and even challenged US President George W. Bush to a debate there, a proposal rejected by the White House.

Wonder where he will stay in NY? Probably at the UN as I can't imagine him getting a visa to go site seeing in Manhattan.

September 11th 2006

It has been 5 years. It is eerily quiet today in LA. Let us not forget.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Peter Brock 05 RIP

It is sad to see that my favorite Australian motor racer Peter Brock has passed on after a vehicle accident. Brock was participating in a rally in Western Australia when he lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree.

I always enjoyed watching Brock kick ass in the 05 Holden's at Bathurst.

Peter Brock's adoption of the number 05 was to highlight the Victorian Governments 05 blood alcohol limit to the public. So from 1975, Brock maintained 05 as his car number even when as Australian Touring Car Champion, he was entitled to use the number one.

He raced Fords for a short period and also raced Volvo, but he will best be remembered as the King of Mount Panarama in the 05 Holden's.

One word.... Bugger.

The guy was a legend.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Helen Clark for UN Secretary General?

New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark has been named by Time magazine as a possible contender for the role of United Nations secretary general.

United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan steps down at the end of this year, couldn't be sooner in my opinion, and there has been speculation about who will replace him.

Speculation is that no candidate should come from one of the five nations with a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. This ruled out candidates from the United States, Britain, France, Russia or China, although Bill Clinton would probably be good for the job.

To win the post of Secretary General, a candidate must have the backing of all five permanent members. With NZ's interesting attitude towards USA under the leadership of Helen Clark, do you think that she'd get the nod from them?

Helen Clark said last month that she had had no approach about the UN secretary general job and she is enjoying being the PM of NZ. Although she may now need the money to pay back the public. Maybe she should apply.

NZ has had a good record of sending our ex PM's and public figures into the international spotlight in leadership roles. Mike Moore and Don McKinnon are two that come to mind.

The next Secretary General of the UN needs to have a firm handshake, big balls, and can't be a walk over. They can't be overly staunch and one sided, and need to have an ability to get out there and do the business. Helen Clark has not been the most diplomatic PM, but she does like travel, and I wouldn't call her a walkover. I think she has all of the attributes to be the next Secretary General of the UN.

This will also allow for new leadership in the Labor Party. It is time.

Crocodile Hunter is dead

The likeable crocodile hunter Steve Irvin has been killed by a stingray while making a documentary off the coast of Cairns in North Queensland. It seems that the stingray punctured his heart and he was pronounced dead as the ambulance arrived.

Many would have expected him to have been eaten by a crocodile or bitten by a snake, but up to this date his biggest complaint was that of a parrot bite.

He certainly was an interesting and entertaining character, I must say I enjoyed watching his shows.

RIP Croc Hunter.