Geeks in Iowa.

A Secret Service spokesman and an official from the White House Communications Agency both declined comment.
Tsk, tsk.

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And tomorrow I'll get organized.

The Raw Story | Report: Israel will halt its war in Lebanon Monday morning:

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Who are these guys?

NEWSWEEK Poll: Bush's Terror Ratings Up - Newsweek Politics - MSNBC.com:
Still, the most murderous terror plot to be publicly exposed since 9/11 disrupted more than air travel. It roiled public opinion too. While the NEWSWEEK Poll suggests President George W. Bush and the GOP-led Congress have plenty to worry about just three months before the midterm congressional elections, it shows a slight uptick in the president's lagging approval rating and a significant boost in voters' opinions of his handling of the terror threat.
Brits bag bombers, DOOFUS gets credit. Go figure.

Meanwhile, 54 percent of respondents in poll say no way do they want to give up their carry-ons, bombs be damned; 52 percent say OK to a “major increase” in air fares to fund airport security.

So what I'm wondering is, what percentage of air travelers fly on expense accounts.

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There'll always be an England.

101 ways to massacre Shakespeare - Yahoo! News:
Pressed to pick his all-time favorite production he went for “A Midsummer Night's disco -- Shakespeare on roller skates.”

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Well that's a little sexist, isn't it?

A sea change in P-town - The Boston Globe:
“As gay civil rights advance, Provincetown's exclusivity as a gay destination probably loses on the other end,” said Patrick Patrick, president of the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce, who said his group ``has been asking them to do that for years, to push more broad-based marketing.“
Broad-based marketing, I mean. (Oh come on. Old guys can say stuff like that.) Although, well, maybe in P-town it's not easy to tell.

Provincetown, at the far end of Cape Cod, is, or was, a fine, colorful, festive place to visit and I hope they don't have to market it too much.

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Don't blink, Bunky! Don't blink!

Bush reads Camus's 'The Stranger' on ranch vacation - Yahoo! News:
White House spokesman Tony Snow said Friday that Bush, here on his Texas ranch enjoying a 10-day vacation from Washington, had made quick work of the Algerian-born writer's 1946 novel -- in English.
Take your eyes off the spin machine for one second and something like this will fly right past your head.

Camus? Shirley U. Geste!

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Terrorists step over the line. This means war

Insurers refuse to cover iPods and phones in airline luggage - Britain - Times Online:
The problem has arisen because under travel insurance cover there is usually an exclusion for valuables that have to be kept in the personal care of the policyholder. Items generally without cover include: jewellery, antiques, precious metal or stone items, watches, binoculars, telescopes, games consoles, mobile phones, audio, audiovisual and photographic equipment, video cameras, computers and televisions. Many travel insurance companies were adamant yesterday that it will be the responsibility of the airline to cover losses because they have accepted valuables into the hold.
Oh, wait. Forget the war part. We already have one of those and it's not going so well. But listen, terrorist dude, I mean it - do not mess with my iPod. I will become immensely annoyed.

And by the way, “jewellery” is how the Times spelled it. Maybe it's some Brit thing. Maybe if they would learn to speak English....

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Pretty darn chilly for the middle of August.

Well it's up to 70 now on my desk, which is a substantial improvement, and up to 75 outdoors per my widget, a virtual heat wave compared to this morning's 45. Still.

And don't go all wobbly on me about “global cooling.” Cooling at the northern latitudes is consistent with global warming. Has to do with changes to ocean currents. You can look it up.

But before you do, remind me where I put that old flannel shirt.

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It won't be cheap.

Across South, Push Is On to Make Dry Areas Wet - New York Times:
Attempts by Wal-Mart and others to allow alcohol sales in other places that remain dry — 415 counties in the South and in Kansas still prohibit such sales — are meeting fierce resistance from some church groups and religious leaders. They argue that returning to the days when liquor flowed will mean more family violence, under-age drinking, drunken driving and a general moral decay in the community.
I spent about five years traveling in the southeastern US back in the 60s and I doubt things have changed much since then, in terms of the wacky hodgepodge of liquor laws that change from county to county and sometimes, in cities like Atlanta, from block to block.

And they aren't supported just by “church groups and religious leaders,” these “dry” laws, but also by bootleggers and owners of out-of-the-way “nightclubs” and “private clubs” that stand to profit in a big way from booze's being officially hard to get. (In the “dry” city of Nashville, in Printers Alley, there was a row of “private” clubs whose conditions of membership were (1) being tall enough to reach the doorbell and (2) five bucks. And every hotel in Dallas had its own “private” club to which one automatically belonged if one rented a room. And so forth.)

Believe me, not everyone who loudly opposes selling the stuff is seriously opposed to drinking it, as long as that can be conveniently done out of sight. It's just the loudly opposing part that counts. A lot.

The people with the most to gain from all this are the politicians, who can look forward to a lot of...what are we calling it these days? oh yeah...transactional lobbying in the days to come.

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Whoa. I think I pretty much lost a whole day.

All of a sudden it's, well, not day any more. Just sort of drifted through this one. I even missed a phone call which is a real bummer because if I'd been here I could have heard my new ringtone. (Drums, if you want to know. I figure, a little old communication to go with the new.)

But hey, it's too late now. Tomorrow I'll get organized.

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A blast from the past.

I was fooling around on Google's new video service and ran across the documentary in the next post below, decided it would be fun to try posting it to the blog and just went with the stock text that came with the picture. It's a ten-minute video so if you want to watch the whole thing, make time.

When I was a kid in the 40s the Duncan yo-yo man used to show up on the school playground every spring - not the same guy but doing the same tricks - and yo-yos instantly became the school-wide toy of choice. Had to run out and get a new one or at least buy a package of new strings for the old one. Yo-yoers are as fussy about their strings as violinists - or cellists, as the case may be.

And when we all got old enough to go to a school with an auditorium, there'd be an assembly every spring featuring the Duncan yo-yo guy - or in good years, two or three of them.

I haven't played with a yo-yo in a whole lot of years but it's a lot like riding a bicycle, I bet, something you never entirely forget. Maybe I'll pick one up one of these days and see if I can still do “Around the World” (better stand back for that one) or “Walk the Dog.”

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Yoyo Man * Free

"Reach for the Moon," "Loop the Loop," and many more tricks in the familiar repertoir of yoyo virtosos were created by a group of professional demonstrators, mostly Filipino, hired by the Duncan Yoyo Company during the Depression. Nemo Concepcion was among the first such demonstrators, and the originator of many tricks. Filmmaker John Bishop describes his first encounter with a yoyo man:

"I fell under the yoyo's spell on the first really hot day of Spring in the endless year of fifth grade. A yoyo demonstrator appeared unheralded at the corner of the playground. 'Spinner,' he announced as the yoyo flew from his hand to sleep at his feet. 'Around the world,' it whizzed through a 360 degree arc. 'Walk the Dog,' and the yoyo bounced along the sidewalk as he minced behind it like a man walking a miniature poodle. This shopworn man of foreign mien brought magic to that hot and tired playground."
For Bishop the yoyo man "became a personal totem of an America just out of reach," of the experience of the Great Depression and World War Two. Twenty years later Bishop met Nemo Concepcion demonstrating the yoyo at the Smithsonian Institute Festival of American Folklife. This film was made when Nemo was 77, about his art, his tricks, his teaching, his reflections on his and the yoyo's Filipino origins, and his yoyo philosophy.

As long as we're being hysterical this weekend we might as well toss in a laptop too.

Theft of government laptop in Doral puts 133,000 Florida residents at risk: South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
At risk are about 43,000 Florida residents who hold pilot's licenses; about 81,000 people in the Miami-Dade County area with commercial driver's licenses; and about 9,000 people in the Tampa area.

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WaPo ledes dog cancer story “a peculiar exception.”

Study Finds That a Type of Cancer in Dogs Is Contagious:
Scientists in England have gathered definitive evidence that a kind of cancer in dogs is contagious -- a peculiar exception to the age-old medical wisdom that you can't “catch” cancer.
Turning in a substantially less hysterical - and substantially more informative - performance than Forbes.

(And yeah, I know. Generally, I consider it an affectation and try to avoid it. But it's true newspaper people call lead paragraphs ledes because “lead,” in the newspaper world, means something else. And we all know how fussy they are about avoiding ambiguities. Don't we.)

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But it sells papers...

Some Dogs Carry 'Contagious' Cancer - Forbes.com:
THURSDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers are describing what seems to be a real-life medical nightmare: A cancer that spreads from animal to animal like an infection.
...or in this case magazines. In a nifty example of the kind of journalistic hype Americans, at least, have become addicted to, Forbes runs a story the entirety of which disproves its own first paragraph.

And even its own headline. The cancer's not “contagious,” it's contagious. But it has existed in dogs for perhaps 1,000 years, shows no evidence whatsoever of being able to pass to humans (or any other species), and goes away in three to nine months of its own accord. And in fact, for the insight it may provide into how cancers behave, it's very possibly - far from being a “medical nightmare” - a medical dream come true.

Fie upon you, Forbes. Grow up.

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Spinning. Too. Fast. Can't. Keep. Up.

Media Matters - AP reports Lieberman's attack on Lamont over British terror plot, omits Lieberman's description of such attacks as “unacceptable and un-American”:
In an August 10 article about Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's attacks on Connecticut Democratic Senate nominee Ned Lamont, the Associated Press quoted Lieberman's use of the recently foiled terrorist plot in Britain to bash Lamont, but the article omitted Lieberman's statement, made at the same appearance, that using national security issues for political purposes is “just unacceptable and in my opinion un-American.”
Whaaat? Run that by again?

No! Wait! I take it back! Not that, please not that!

Media Matters - Cal Thomas: Lamont's victory “completes the capture of the Democratic Party by its Taliban wing”:
Taliban Democrats have effectively issued a political “fatwah” that warns all Democrats not to deviate from their narrow line, or else face the end of their careers through a political jihad. Perhaps the few remaining rational Democrats should put on their burkas now and submit to the will of the party mullahs.
Holy centripetal force, Batman! We're doomed!

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Whoa! Here's some breaking news!

Hezbollah fights Israeli push into Lebanon : Mail & Guardian Online
Let's stay on top of that one, shall we?

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I don't know, seems like a sort of unfortunate headline to me.

U.S. says terrorists planned dry run - Yahoo! News:
In Ohio, Republican chairman Bob Bennett accused the Democrats' senatorial challenger of voting against funds “for the very types of programs that helped the British thwart these vicious attacks.”
Think about it. Yeah, think about that too. Not that the Ds are far behind, in their typically wussy way.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said events reinforced the need to implement the recommendations of an independent 9/11 commission, a reminder of one of her party's main campaign promises.
And DOOFUS is raving about “war with Islamic fascists,” whatever that may mean. Sounds more like a bunch of high school chemistry geeks to me.

In any event, good on the Brits for catching this, whatever various types of programs they may have used.

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Yellow crescents, maybe.

Gallup: Many Americans Harbor Strong Bias Against U.S. Muslims
Almost four in ten, 39%, advocate that Muslims here should carry special I.D.

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Cheney, from the moronosphere, opines.

Think Progress » Cheney: Lieberman Loss ‘Disturbing’ Because al Qaeda Is ‘Betting They Can Break The Will of The American People’:
The thing that’s partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.
And if it partly disturbes Trickshot Dick it oughta scare the bejesus out of you, Bunky. Or so the thinking goes, I suppose.
But wait! It wasn't “al Qaeda types” who did this terrifying deed. Dick. It was a whole different kind of scary people, if you will, called voters. Yeah. Dick. Voters are just one of those things you have to put up with in democracies, if you will. Dick. Get used to it.

And another thing. If you freakin' will. Loserman has every right to run as an independent if he wants to. He's a dip for doing it and claiming he wants to help the party but that doesn't mean he can't. Anybody who meets the qualifications for being on the ballot can be on the ballot, and that means George Wallace, Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, and even you, Lieber, no matter what Trickshot Dick or the New York Times may say (yeah I haven't forgotten that, New York Times, I'm talking to you).

It's called a democracy. Get used to it.

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The real beauty part...

DeLay May Get a New Job - TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime:
For awhile, Republicans speculated that the indicted Tom DeLay might campaign for his old seat, given court decisions that require his name, as the primary winner, to remain on the ballot. DeLay dashed the hopes of his supporters -- yes, they inexplicably exist -- by reaffirming his intent not to campaign.
...of this whole story is that those shiny new electronic freakin' voting machines make casting a writ-in ballot very difficult, I understand.

Now, I happen to know something about running write-in campaigns. I once got myself elected as a Democratic precinct captain in DuPage County, Illinois, as a write-in candidate, collecting 66% of the party vote. That would be four. Votes. The other two guys didn't show. But there were no names actually printed on the ballot in that election, because nobody else wanted the job. (I just did it for the power, is all.)

Here, DeLay's name is on the ballot unless the Rs can figure out some way to get it off (which they're working on as fast as their little R heads can go). So winning a write-in campaign would be harder, and doubly so if there's no place to, well, write in.

Which is pretty damn funny if you think about it.

Of course, maybe you'd rather not.

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So if you're running short on “lotions” yourself...

Soda, hair gel targeted in new flight security | US News | Reuters.com:
Washington's Dulles International Airport was packed with people, many complaining they were not warned about the extra measures before they arrived. Officials were handing out flyers and people were dumping lotions, drinks and other liquids in the trash before check-in.
...I guess the smart thing to do would be hang around an airport trash container today. Of course it might be a bummer to get the kind that explodes but, hey, it's cheap.

Exploding liquids are, indeed, the cause for today's elevated turmoil in the air travel industry. And no, I don't even want to think about what possibilities that leads to.

Meanwhile, in other terror fighting news, comes this brilliant piece of analysis by some retired Army major general named Scales and cleverly hidden on the front page of the July 31 (print) issue of the Moonie Washington Times National Weekly Edition, to wit:
“In terms of enemy combatants, the most military competent enemy combatant is Hezbollah.”
So now you know.

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Relax, Bunky, we're in good hands now.

FOXNews.com - Kissinger: Disarming Hezbollah Key to Mideast Peace - The Mideast:
“The fundamental issue that all Americans need to keep in mind is either Hezbollah is disarmed or it is not,” said Kissinger, who served as secretary under Presidents Nixon and Ford.

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Primary's over. Now it's on to November.

London flight chaos on news of terror plot : Mail & Guardian Online
The US government has raised the security-threat level for aviation following Britain's announcement of the foiled plot. It said security checks will be intensified and no liquids will be allowed on airplanes, including beverages, hair gels and lotions.
Well I can understand the hair gels - some of those things are downright scary. I mean, I never use them myself. But, “lotions”? What's with the “lotions”? Exploding “lotions”? Exploding “contact-lens solutions.”

Why is this all beginning to sound like those ads in the back of 40s comic books, for magic tricks?

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Sort of like, whatever they bomb.

Army Ponders Amusement Venue, Hotel At Ft. Belvoir:
He added: “Whatever solution the Army picks, not everybody is going to be happy. There is going to be unhappiness in some quarters somewhere.”
It ain't easy being an army, you know. Somebody is always bitchin' about something.

The comment refers to a proposal by Universal City Property Management III of Orlando (no relation to NBC-Universal or Universal Studios, the story says, although then, I wonder, what's the III doing there, is that some guy's name or something?) for an Army theme park being considered as an adjunct to a new Army museum at Ft. Belvoir.

“You can command the latest M-1 tank, feel the rush of a paratrooper freefall, fly a Cobra Gunship or defend your B-17 as a waist gunner,” the proposal enthuses. Which sounds better than riding in some dorky flying elephant to me.

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Looks like another year of tough competition for the Darwin Award.

My Way News:
MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish police have arrested four Frenchmen for jumping in front of cars on a busy road so that they could film them and post the footage on the Internet, the newspaper El Pais said Tuesday.

Who says these guys can't think ahead?

War Crimes Act Changes Would Reduce Threat Of Prosecution:
The Bush administration has drafted amendments to a war crimes law that would eliminate the risk of prosecution for political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel for humiliating or degrading war prisoners, according to U.S. officials and a copy of the amendments....

Left off the list would be what the Geneva Conventions refer to as “outrages upon [the] personal dignity” of a prisoner and deliberately humiliating acts -- such as the forced nakedness, use of dog leashes and wearing of women's underwear seen at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq -- that fall short of torture.
At least, that is, in Alberto's wet dreams.
“People have gotten worried, thinking that it's quite likely they might be under a microscope,” said a U.S. official.
Oh I don't think we need a microscope, US official. We just need to open our eyes.

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Mustspinfaster. Mustspinfaster.

The Raw Story | White House tears into Dems over Lieberman loss:
White House press secretary Tony Snow today launched into a lengthy diatribe regarding the loss of Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) in yesterday's primary election--before stating the President has no official comment to make on the subject, RAW STORY has learned.

The Raw Story | Report: Rove offered Bush's assistance in Lieberman campaign:
George Stephanopoulos, writing for the World Newser blog at ABC, wrote that a Lieberman aide had shared with the news agency a message from the White House: “The boss wants to help. Whatever we can do, we will do.”

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Does this count as a “no” vote then?

Israel vows to hit harder for another month - World - smh.com.au
Or just a maybe.

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No, that wasn't the question. And that's not the answer either, dude.

The Editors on Joe Lieberman & Democrats on National Review Online:
But the question posed to Democrats was whether they could tolerate a man who, while toeing the liberal line on abortion and taxes, supported the Iraq War and was willing to work with a Republican president. The answer is no.
But thanks for playing.

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Loudly mentioning huge, horrible oaths.

Damn. I spent five hours today trying to set up a Win98 computer with Verizon DSL which, it turns out, only just barely supports Win98, using a Netgear ethernet card which, it turns out, things are always turning out, doesn't support Win98 at all, at all, at least according to the box. All of which involved rebooting Windows with every third click - what, do they get a commission on reboots or something? And wound up back on dialup which I had to re-install because, of course, the Verizon installer munged that.

And then I went to the grocery store and found myself, suddenly, wondering why I was furiously grabbing things off shelves and stuffing them into my little basket with no thought for tomorrow and then remembering I'd had only some kind of bar - a bar! - for breakfast, not even enough to keep a gnat alive, and forgotten lunch altogether. Time flies when you're having fun.

Also, apparently, when you're not.

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Pay attention, Alan. You too, boys and girls.

Suburban Guerrilla » Zogby vs. Dershowitz:
But the Lebanese government is making a terrible, terrible mistake. They’re picking the wrong side in the beginning of a major war between democracies and terrorism.
You can not have a war with terrorism. That would be like having a war with frontal attacks, or carpet bombing. It's as stupid (and as metaphorical) as having a war with poverty or a war with drugs. Or a holiday. Terrorism is not a place. It is not a people. It's a tactic.

Get it right or give it up.

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All your cars are belong to us.

Wired News: Giant Robot Imprisons Parked Cars:
The Hoboken garage is one of a handful of fully automated parking structures that make more efficient use of space by eliminating ramps and driving lanes, lifting and sliding automobiles into slots and shuffling them as needed. If the robot shuts down, there is no practical way to manually remove parked vehicles.

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Just a lingerie party, Hef says.

My Way News - Hefner Denies Stroke Claim, Says He's OK:
A newspaper gossip item said Monday the Playboy empire founder had a mini-stroke. But Playboy spokesman Rob Hilburger insisted the report was “completely untrue.” Then Hefner got on the phone with assurances he was OK.

“We had a lingerie party Saturday night and I went up a little early because (girlfriend) Holly (Madison) had a cold. I am in very good health,” Hefner said.
Makes sense to me.

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Move over, MySpace. Grandpa's here.

FOXNews.com - Social-Networking Site Aimed at Baby Boomers Debuts - Business And Money | Business News | Financial News:
NEW YORK — A social-networking Web site for Americans aged 50-plus went live on Monday — complete with an online obituary database that sends out alerts when someone you may know dies and that plans to set up a do-it-yourself funeral service.

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Whoa! Where do I sign up?

Men Are from Mars Hill - Christianity Today Magazine:
The major blind spot of megachurches is that they tend to be very effeminate with aesthetics, music, and preaching perfectly tailored for moms. Manly men are repelled by this....

Reformed theology offers certainty, with a masculine God who names our sin, crushes Jesus on the Cross for it, and sends us to hell if we fail to repent.
So says Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, a city where, he claims, “there are more dogs than evangelicals.”


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Thanks, but I'll wait for the Pixar version if you don't mind.

Maria Bello: “World Trade Center” No Tragedy - Yahoo! News:
Fashion Wire Daily - Los Angeles - Maria Bello wants the world to know that her latest film, “World Trade Center,” is not a downer, despite the fact that it’s about the tragedies of September 11.

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Ten minutes ago, says lickee.

Janet Jackson poses topless for Vibe - Yahoo! News:
“It's just over and done with. It's old. It's the past. It's history. I'm onto something new. Everybody got their licks in — those who wanted to — and it's done,” she says

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I don't know,dude. I think I've seen this story before somewhere.

The Raw Story | Blog: Iran tried to smuggle uranium from the Congo:
Douglas Douglas Farah, an investigative journalist and terrorism expert, blogged about a Sunday Times (UK) story showing that a shipment of uranium-238 had been intercepted in Tanzania en route to Iran in October 2005. The U-238 was reportedly concealed in a shipment of coltan, a material that is used in the manufacture of chips for cell phones. The Times story said the July UN report found “a huge shipment of smuggled uranium 238.” A Tanzanian customs official contacted by the Times further explained “When we opened the container it was full of drums of coltan. Each drum contains about 50kg of ore. When the first and second rows were removed,the ones after that were found to be drums of uranium.”

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And in other crime news...

Cops quickly find stolen doughnut truck - Yahoo! News:
A Benton County sheriff's deputy quickly spotted the truck. After a chase at 30 to 35 mph, Richland police got it to stop and arrested the driver, Steve Swoboda, 19, for investigation of auto theft and felony escape.

Still intact was the entire load of glazed, sugar and cream doughnuts, as well as apple fritters, bear claws

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Maybe it would be safer just to not put classified information on laptops in the first place.

Russia police looks for missing safes - Yahoo! News:
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian criminal police are trying to track down two huge safes containing classified documents that had been removed from its offices by mistake as scrap metal, Kommersant daily newspaper reported Monday.
Or then again, maybe not.

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So what I'm wondering is...

Law rubs massage therapist the wrong way - Yahoo! News:
Her husband, Kirk Fjellman, is a former client. He saw her professionally from October 2000 to May 2002, and the two say they started dating in July 2002. But when they consumated the relationship a few months later, they ran afoul of a Minnesota law that bans massage therapists from having sexual relations with former clients for two years.
...who turned these guys in?

And how soon can we get her to DC?

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OK, fine. So maybe I have to win the lottery twice. Big deal.

AppleInsider | Apple unveils quad-core 64-bit Mac Pro desktops:
At its World Wide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple Computer unveiled the new Mac Pro, a quad Xeon, 64-bit desktop workstation featuring two new Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors running up to 3.0 GHz and a new system architecture that delivers up to twice the performance of the Power Mac G5 Quad.

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Whoa! Almost missed this!

Saturday, September 9 is...

...wait for it...

World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD)!
Why garden naked? First of all, it's fun! Second only to swimming, gardening is at the top of the list of family-friendly activities people are most ready to consider doing nude.

I mean, look. I mean, don't look, but it's been hot the last week or so and I don't have air conditioning, and I live alone. So I am not above sitting around here in my, well, you know, sitting around in my...well, you know. Or not. In my...you know.

But gardening? With all that scratchy stuff? These guys are kidding, right? Please. Tell me they're kidding. Or I'm not going out on Saturday, I'm staying right here. JIC.

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Far be it from me to wonder what BP is doing running an oil field in Alaska.

BP: Pipeline closing may last for months - Yahoo! News:
BP discovered corrosion in the transit lines only after the Department of Transportation ordered their inspection following a 270,000 gallon spill in March at another section of the field.
But, a 270,000 gallon spill? And only then do they think maybe the ought to do some routine maintenance on their lines?

Right. No environmental problem there, Bunky. Settle down. Go watch the war on TV.

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Why can't those Iranians just get with the program, anyway?

Watching America:
The city of Hiroshima invited government representatives from 140 countries [to a memorial service marking the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima], of which 35 countries sent delegates. But of the seven declared nuclear powers - Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia and the United States - as well as North Korea and Iran, only Russia and Iran sent delegates.

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All right! Let's see that Hizbollah top this!

Gulfnews: 'Immaculately groomed' Rice wins Vanity Fair fashion prize:
Washington: Condoleezza Rice has chalked up a remarkable first for a US secretary of state with her inclusion on Vanity Fair's International Best-Dressed List.

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Hilton just one step away from a convent.

Paris Hilton to magazine: I'm celibate - Yahoo! News:
“I'm not having sex for a year. ... I'll kiss, but nothing else,” says Hilton, who told the magazine she has had sex with only two men during her lifetime.
Relates to Princess Diana, she tells Brit GQ.

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Oh put a lid on it, Observer.

The Observer | World | 'Dead zone' threat to US suburban dream:
Levitown is a bus ride beyond the aptly named Hicksville in the outer suburbs of New York.

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DOOFUS finds an out.

Iraq: Would U.S. Pull Out in Full Civil War? - Newsweek Periscope - MSNBC.com:
President Bush will move U.S. troops out of Iraq if the country descends into civil war, according to one senior Bush aide who declined to be named while talking about internal strategy. “If there's a full-blown civil war, the president isn't going to allow our forces to be caught in the crossfire,” the aide said.

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“Renewed escalation.”

14 Hezbollah fighters killed in heavy exchanges of fire with IDF ground troops - Haaretz - Israel News
The Israel Defense Forces plan to ramp up their offensive in Lebanon in response to Sunday's rocket attacks on northern Israel.

A senior General Staff officer told Haaretz that for the first time since the fighting began, Israel plans to attack strategic infrastructure targets and symbols of the Lebanese government.

Other than bombing the Beirut airport to prevent arms transfers to Hezbollah, Israel has hitherto not targeted Lebanon's infrastructure, insisting that it is only at war with Hezbollah, not with the Lebanese government or people.

However, the officer said, “we are now in a process of renewed escalation. We will continue hitting everything that moves in Hezbollah - but we will also hit strategic civilian infrastructure.”


Quick! Check under your bed!

Hizbullah Raises Funds Inside America - Newsweek Mideast Crisis - MSNBC.com:
Prosecutors suspect Hizbullah has fund-raising cells in the United States, but not terrorists—so far, that is.

Ooops, wrong war. Sorry. We don't have war bonds any more, we have tax cuts. But that doesn't mean we don't need to back up our battleskies. (What the hell is a battlesky, anyway? I have no idea.)

Homeland Security Needs You.

Play it safe. Check the closet too.

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Antidepressants prove addictive to some - Yahoo! News:
Patients report experiencing all sorts of symptoms, sometimes within hours of stopping their medication. They can suffer from flu-like nausea, muscle aches, uncontrollable crying, dizziness and diarrhea. Many patients suffer “brain zaps,” bizarre and briefly overwhelming electrical sensations that propagate from the back of the head.
Brain zaps. Whoa. That sounds...well, “not exactly painful,” the story says, but how not exactly painful would that be? Exactly.

Yeah. I don't know either. But hey, as long as we're here, if this story surprises you in any way, raise your hand.

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What's that, Bunky? Pining for some fresh, new disaster? Here's something to look forward to.

Hoping for Castro's exit, exiles plan transition - The Boston Globe:
BOGOTÁ -- After an ailing Fidel Castro ceded power last week to his younger brother, Raúl, reinvigorated foes of the legendary revolutionary returned to their situation rooms in Washington and Miami to strategize about how to bring about a democratic transition on the island 90 miles south of Florida.

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Just an experiment, really, to see if I can alter the dimensions of those YouTube videos to fit the format here a little better. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, chill anyway.

Because “bribery” is so, well, crass.

Deal Maker Details the Art of Greasing the Palm - New York Times:
That was the beginning of a career built on what Mr. Wilkes [a Washington lobbyist] calls “transactional lobbying”....

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Take that, Hizbollah.

FT.com / Middle-East Africa / Arab business briefing - Lebanon’s industrialists count the cost of Israeli air raids:
Proctor and Gamble’s warehouse in Beirut was bombed with damage to stores estimated at $20m.
See how you like wearing faded socks.

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I get it, I get it.

Bush Happy With Draft U.N. Resolution:
Bush did not to speak to other foreign leaders Saturday, Snow said, including Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

“I don't know if he needs to,” Snow said. “I haven't heard Olmert complaining”
Earlier in the same snowjob, as reported by WaPo, we find the DOOFUS, Condi Rice, and some guy named Stephen Hadley talking about “not only what's going on with this [UN] resolution but generally about the contours of the president's vision for the Middle East.”

Now, I don't doubt for a minute that Dubya's been having visions but the idea they have an actual shape is new to me. And if I'd thought about it at all I would have imagined them all jaggedy and prickly, not contoured, even in spite of their having been ground down a lot in recent months. Or years. Sorta depends on how you think.

But if old Ehud's happy, that's the thing.

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Pharmacology to the rescue once again.

“Reuters - Yahoo! News:
”With mice and fruit flies we were able to eliminate the
loss of short-term memory,“ Ropers, 62, is quoted saying in the German newspaper, which has dubbed it the ”world's first anti-stupidity pill.“
I've been reading in recent weeks about an anti-alcoholism vaccine, an anti-smoking vaccine, an anti-obesity vaccine, and now - wonder of wonders, glory of glories - anti-stupid pills. Yeah! That'll solve everything!

You can't say we don't need smarter fruit flies.

I just hope they get them on the shelf before my CVS discount coupon expires. (The anti-stupid pills, not the fruit flies. I have plenty of them already, thanks.)

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Things must be getting pretty hectic at the White House.

The DOOFUS is taking only 10 days off this month. Well, 10 days in a row. He'll probably work in a few long weekends too but that's just what everybody does this time of year. Isn't it?

With Eye on Political Reality, a Shorter Vacation for Bush - New York Times:
“It basically reflects busy times and a busy schedule,” said Dan Bartlett, counselor to Mr. Bush, explaining the abbreviated visit.
This guy Bartlett is, in fact, Dubya's top PR flack. I was in the PR game myself, once - this in an alternate universe - and nobody ever called me a counselor. What's up with that?

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