Hopey Changey

From IWatchNews.org:

Telecom executive Donald H. Gips raised a big bundle of cash to help finance his friend Barack Obama’s run for the presidency.

Gips, a vice president of Colorado-based Level 3 Communications LLC, delivered more than $500,000 in contributions for the Obama war chest, while two fellow senior company executives collected at least $150,000 more.

After the election, Gips was put in charge of hiring in the Obama White House, helping to place loyalists and fundraisers in many key positions. Then in mid-2009, the new president named him ambassador to South Africa. Level 3 Communications, in which Gips retained stock, meanwhile received millions of dollars of government stimulus contracts for broadband projects in six states—though Gips said he was “completely unaware” of the stimulus money.

More than two years after President Obama took office vowing to banish “special interests” from his administration, nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events, an investigation by iWatch News has found.

(via NPR)

The Trombone Flamethrower

This is a working playing flamethrower trombone that has fire on demand. It is made up from plumbing, torch, and compressed air parts. It took about two weeks and a couple of weekends to complete. It has a 21 foot range with the fireball, and a concussion wave of 150 feet. It can be difficult to play since it has a recoil.

(via Make)

With executive pay, rich pull away from rest of America

From the Washington Post:

It was the 1970s, and the chief executive of a leading U.S. dairy company, Kenneth J. Douglas, lived the good life. He earned the equivalent of about $1 million today. He and his family moved from a three-bedroom home to a four-bedroom home, about a half-mile away, in River Forest, Ill., an upscale Chicago suburb. He joined a country club. The company gave him a Cadillac. The money was good enough, in fact, that he sometimes turned down raises. He said making too much was bad for morale.

Forty years later, the trappings at the top of Dean Foods, as at most U.S. big companies, are more lavish. The current chief executive, Gregg L. Engles, averages 10 times as much in compensation as Douglas did, or about $10 million in a typical year. He owns a $6 million home in an elite suburb of Dallas and 64 acres near Vail, Colo., an area he frequently visits. He belongs to as many as four golf clubs at a time — two in Texas and two in Colorado. While Douglas’s office sat on the second floor of a milk distribution center, Engles’s stylish new headquarters occupies the top nine floors of a 41-story Dallas office tower. When Engles leaves town, he takes the company’s $10 million Challenger 604 jet, which is largely dedicated to his needs, both business and personal.

Deep Fried Kool-Aid

From SignonSanDiego.com:

DEL MAR — The deep-fried Kool-Aid is selling like deep-fried hot cakes, according to their famed creator, “Chicken” Charlie Boghosian.

Chicken Charlie’s is a staple of fried rations at fairs across the country. It sold 400 to 600 orders of deep-fried Kool-Aid per day the first weekend of the San Diego County Fair. That’s about double the rate of previous debut items, Boghosian said.

“That’s because it tastes so darn good,” Boghosian said of the Kool-Aid.

The deep-fried novelty takes the shape of a doughnut-hole. There are five per order. That breaks down to as much as 9,000 balls of deep-fried Kool-Aid eaten over opening weekend.