"Unexpected reliability problems."

Screening Tools Slow to Arrive in U.S. Airports - New York Times:
The rollout of the devices, trace-detection portals, nicknamed puffers because they blow air while searching for residue from explosives, had already been far behind schedule. Now the transportation agency is assessing whether to modify the puffers, upgrade them or wait until better devices are available....

Members of Congress and former domestic security officials blame poor management for stumbles in research, turf fights, staff turnover and underfinancing. Some initiatives have also faced opposition from the airlines or been slowed by bureaucratic snarls.
Bureaucratic snarls, indeed. Listen, Bunky, all this technology fetish is not about protecting you from terrorists, it's about selling stuff. You can bet your bottom chip there's a line of gadget peddlers a mile long forming right outside DHS's door. And you can bet your second mortgage most of them have "political ties."

(Image cribbed from The Museum of Unworkable Devices.)

Broads from Illinois.

Five Chicago-area women make Forbes list :
Surprised to learn that omnipresent multimedia icon Oprah is ranked as less powerful than Woertz, Barnes or Rosenfeld, whose names barely register on your radar?

Did you eat today?

The list takes into account visibility and economic impact. And while the O franchise is powerful media-wise, ADM, Sara Lee and Kraft feed the world, said Forbes Associate Editor Chana Schoenberger.
Six of them show up on the Forbes list of 100 "most powerful women."

(But come on, Sun-Times. Trying to sneak Hillary in is a cheat.)

Sunni-based insurgency and "sectarian clashes," says NYT.

Iraqi Casualties Are Up Sharply, Study Finds - New York Times:
Still, the study says the fighting in Iraq does not meet the “stringent international legal standards for civil war,” without further explanation. Even so, the sectarian fighting has been bloodier than ever.
Well. The last thing we'd want would be an illegal civil war.

"Stringent international legal standards"? What are these turkeys talking about, anyway? A Pentagon document, cleverly (and predictably) released just before a holiday weekend so as to minimize discussion documents what a Pentagon mouthpiece calls "particularly acute and disturbing" in Iraq. Sort of more like a gang war than a civil war, according to the brass, with "Sunni and Shia extremists seeking to control key areas in Baghdad, create or protect sectarian enclaves, divert economic resources, and impose their own respective political and religious agendas.”
In discussing daily casualty rates, the report did not distinguish between the number of dead and wounded. But it noted that execution-type killings, in particular, reached a new high in July. “The Baghdad Coroner’s Office reported 1,600 bodies arrived in June and more than 1,800 bodies in July, 90 percent of which were assessed to be the result of executions,” the report states.
Some clashes, all right.

Just like freakin' clockwork.

Labor Day.

The antioxygenated man goes to market.

I don't know what those economics guys have to say about it but the price of my own personal market basket has good up damn near 50% in the last six months, I'm willing to bet. Used to be I could get in and out of the grocery store for $20 and it was $30 today. And not for anything unusual, either - chicken parts, sweet potatoes, lima beans. And a bag of potato chips. I always buy a bag of potato chips, a carryover from the days when I did all my grocery shopping on foot and wanted something to munch on whilst trudging home (tricky when it rains).

And coffee. OK, I've changed my coffee buying routine and it's more expensive now, but that's not enough to account for the difference by itself. I decided about a year ago to buy fair trade coffee and it is more expensive, partly because it's fair trade and partly because it's just better coffee most of the time. Anyway, I don't have enough money to be donating much to charities and such but I figure the least I can do is to pay the coffee grower a fair price, so there it is.

Which is why I didn't buy this new premium priced brand they had on promo sale - I don't remember the name of it but it's all fancied up in one of those foil bags, looking expensive and plastered all over with labels that say "rich in antioxidants" and "more antioxidents than green tea" like it's some kind of new health food, which is a sure way to sell just about any kind of food these days (I'm waiting for "potato chips prevent cancer," myself). But it ain't fair trade, so there you go.

Sure, the green tea line is a good one. Man, I have plenty of green stuff in my refrigerator already, green tea is the last thing I need. But tea is strictly an emergency drink, as far as I'm concerned so I'm not in much danger there. Besides, I know all coffee is "rich in antioxidants" and, given my coffee drinking habits, I am already the most antioxygenated guy on earth.

Heres a novel argument.

Friends protest Pluto's demotion - Yahoo! News:
"Clyde Tombaugh was an American hero," said Herb Beebe, a longtime colleague. "For that reason alone, Pluto's status as a full-fledged planet should be kept."
Pluto should be a planet because an American discovered it.

OK, so maybe it's not so novel after all. Especially since one of the International Astronomical Union's criteria for planethood is that a real planet must be big enough to "clear the neighborhood around its orbit" - meaning, I guess, smush anything that gets in its way.


...took one picture of herself every year day for three years.

(For the AtomFilms version, click here.)

Citing emergency, US cracks down on Canadian pests; snarls may result.

globeandmail.com : U.S. plans tougher inspections at border:
"Our current dearth of inspection activity at that border could potentially leave the United States vulnerable to bioterrorism."
Hey, why not. We've already pissed everybody else off. What makes those Canucks so special?

As long as they don't embargo hockey players. Or movies.

Who's your voting machine been sleeping with?

A a couple of 54-year old women from Black Box Voting bought $12 worth of tools and in four minutes penetrated the memory card seals, removed, replaced the memory card, and sealed it all up again without leaving a trace. This experiment shows that the seals do nothing whatever to protect against access by insiders after testing, and the seals also are worthless in jurisdictions like Washington, Florida, California, and many other locations where voting machines are sent home with poll workers for days before the election.
These are the voting machines sent home with poll workers for "sleepovers" of days or weeks prior to elections by officials in San Diego (where the Busby-Bilbray primary result is now being contested, King County, Washington, and elsewhere. The "recipe" for tampering with the memory cards in these machines has been on the internet for over a year.


It's true.

HE’S FLAT, BUT HE’S HOME / Life-size replicas comfort families of Guard members
Welcome to the "Flat Daddy" and "Flat Mommy" phenomenon, in which
life-size cutouts of deployed service members are given by the Maine National
Guard to spouses, children and relatives back home.
They are weird in Maine.

The world seems a whole lot nicer when you don't read the news, have you ever noticed that?

The news, I mean. Whatever. Meanwhile I found a Robert Ludlum book I've never read before (or listened to - it's an audiobook) at the library today. It's already been listened to by two golfers and a hockey player, judging from the condition of the CDs, but maybe I can squeeze enough sound out of it for one more go. September's going to be a book-intensive month; gotta get stocked up. The library's collection tends toward classics (you can imagine how beat up those Shakespeare CDs are by now) and non-fiction (and although I do make the occasional exception I have a self-imposed fiction only rule for audio), so it's always a good day when I find a nice, escapist novel to listen to.

"I have to support the right of Rocky to be stupid," says Atty. Gen.

Salt Lake Tribune - Salt Lake sounds off in protest and support:
A crowd of thousands cheered Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson for calling President Bush a "dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights violating president" whose time in office would "rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure."
Stupid is as DOOFUS does.

Go Rocky.

See? Here's what happens if you have a foreign tiger.

Crackdown Is Urged on the Trading of Tiger Parts in China - Los Angeles Times:
Since 1993, the Chinese government has banned all domestic trade in tiger parts.
Can't get parts. So if you have a Chinese tiger, Bunky, better take good care of it because it might have to last a long, long time.

I had a Volvo back in the 70s and believe me, I can tell you all about missing parts. That sucker left a trail of tailpipes all over the Midwest. To this day I can identify the sound of a tailpipe falling off a blue Volvo with my eyes closed, from a block away. Not to mention all the other assorted bits and pieces. (Hear that? That was a right rear door handle.) They cost a small fortune to replace and they weren't even illegal. So I can imagine how bad this tiger thing must be. I'd stick with good old-fashioned Detroit tigers if I were you.

DOOFUS tries for another trifecta.

The Raw Story | President Bush to visit all three sites on 9/11 anniversary:
Although specific details haven't yet been released, the White House announced today that President Bush would be visiting "all three sites" on the fifth anniversary of 9/11.


It's all about the PR with these guys.

Positive Press on Iraq Is Aim of U.S. Contract:
The contract calls for assembling a database of selected news stories and assessing their tone as part of a program to provide "public relations products" that would improve coverage of the military command's performance, according to a statement of work attached to the proposal.
Yesterday in an interview with MSNBC's Brian Williams, when asked about "the perception of America overseas," Dubya lamented...
Now in terms of image, of course I worry about American image.
And the day before that, here's what the Rummy had to say:
FALLON NAVAL AIR STATION, Nev. -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday he is deeply troubled by the success of terrorist groups in "manipulating the media" to influence Westerners.

"That's the thing that keeps me up at night," he said during a question-and-answer session with about 200 naval aviators and other Navy personnel at this flight training base for Navy and Marine pilots.
So never mind, you know, those pesky facts. It's all about the spin.

Headline news.

They don't call them dog days for nothing.

Well, OK, to be honest it's a little late for dog days around here. This morning's temp widget said 46. But it isn't too late in the summer to be a dog day, if it were a dog day, that is. Which it isn't. It's just another day in the local rag.

Just because this page needs a little color.

Meanwhile, in more cow news...

Never hug a Swiss cow, hikers told - Animal Peculiarity - MSNBC.com:
Responding to numerous “reports of unpleasant meetings between hikers and cattle” along Switzerland’s picture-perfect Alpine trails this summer, the Swiss Hiking Federation has laid down a few ground rules.

“Leave the animals in peace and do not touch them. Never caress a calf,” according to the group’s guidance, posted on the Web site www.swisshiking.ch.

Gotta hand it to those Canucks - their cockpits are secure.

Pilot locked out of cockpit during flight - Vehicular Peculiarity - MSNBC.com:
OTTAWA - The pilot of a Canadian airliner who went to the washroom during a flight found himself locked out of the cockpit, forcing the crew to remove the door from its hinges to let him back in, the airline said Wednesday.

Or maybe it's just that we're carrying this airplane panic a bit too far.

It's hard work.

Taxpayers pay for Bush's campaign travel - Yahoo! News:
WASHINGTON - Bankrolled almost entirely by taxpayers, President Bush is roaming far and wide on Air Force One to help Republicans retain control of Congress and capture statehouse contests in high-stakes midterm elections.

In 15 months, including back-to-back fundraisers Wednesday in Little Rock, Ark., and Nashville, Tenn., Bush has collected $166 million for the campaign accounts of 27 Republican candidates, the national GOP and its state counterparts across the country, according to the Republican National Committee.


YA data spill, this time AT&T.

AP Wire | 08/30/2006 | AT&T: Hackers took credit card info:
SAN ANTONIO - Hackers illegally accessed a computer system and stole credit card information and other personal data from thousands of customers who purchased DSL equipment from an AT&T online store, the company said Tuesday.

These are, you might remember, some of the same guys - AT&T - who are spilling your data to NSA. And if you think that data's being protected any better than this data you are dreaming the wrong dream.

It'd at least be more efficient to just put it on eBay.

You didn't know this, I bet.

The young Confederate Lieutenant was Sam Clemens, who of course later became world famous as Mark Twain. Orion was his brother.

The clipping is from the introduction in a book of Clemens's letters, identified as belonging to Harvard Library and available from Google Books.

Blood in the water.

The Raw Story | Embattled Santorum blasts Bush over visa for Ex-Iranian President:
"I am outraged," Santorum said of the administration's approval of Mohammad Khatami's request for visa. "Mohammed Khatami is one of the chief propagandists of the Islamic Fascist regime... I believe that granting a visa to Khatami so that he can travel around the United States and mislead the American people is a mistake."
Rooster's outraged. That Khatami fellow suppresses free speech over there in Eye-ran. I'm not kidding. That's what he says.

Meanwhile the righties are getting all upset about the conversion of those Faux News guys who were Hamas hostages a while back. Seems they should have just sucked it up and got themselves beheaded like Real Men. A commenter elaborates on a blog called (I'm still not kidding) "Hotair."
They have a problem now. Those who are thinking that the two can simply go back to the way things were before do not understand Islam. A renounce will be considered a chance to issue the Fatwah on them dontcha know. But then again, as a confirmed Christian, I would likely have to end up beheaded in the same situation. Christ said, “Do not deny me.” Does anybody remember that Italian who told the islamofascists, “Let me show you how an Italian dies!”

The members of our modern Culture of Death are extremely afraid of death when it comes to their own hides. A deal with the devil is a deal with the devil. It appears that the secularists and humanists can only talk the talk, don’t expect them to walk the walk.
Got no time for wimps here - it's an election year.

Does this mean Kerry is finally catching on?

The Raw Story | Ohio officials prepare to destroy paper ballots from 2004 presidential election:
"[Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell] used the power of his state office to try to intimidate Ohioans and suppress the Democratic vote," wrote Kerry in the email.
Ya think? Kerry is only "alleging election improprieties" here, reports the AP - but in a speech last year he came right out and said it: "Voting machines were distributed in uneven ways."


Meanwhile, despite all Kerry's tough talk, Ohio is planning to start burning the ballots. And wiping off the prints. JIC.

Oh, fine. Thanks for pointing this out, ABC.

ABC News: Too Hot to Handle:
Aug. 29, 2006— What could cover the globe in ash, plunge Earth into an ice age and end life as we know it?

The answer is found in what lies beneath: supervolcanoes.

"30,000 years overdue" for one in Yellowstone, says caption. How exciting is that. I don't think 30,100 is too much to ask, myself. But just in case, I'm going to stop worrying about dust under the bed.

Does anybody remember where I put those snowshoes?

Can you solve this true crime mystery?

SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Metro -- Bumbling bandit pulls regrettable robbery:
SAN DIEGO – Nothing went right for the bumbling gunman wearing a Ronald Reagan mask and a cape who held up a Grantville bank Tuesday morning....

When he ran out, he found ... his getaway vehicle, a dark-colored Chevy Suburban SUV, was blocked in by delivery trucks making their drops, [San Diego Police Lt.] McKinney said.

Desperate to run, the robber peeled off the mask and rammed the vehicle against the delivery trucks to get away, ticking off one of the delivery truck drivers who started to argue with him, McKinney said.
And then the dye bomb exploded.

So here's the puzzler: Why the cape?

When you're a Senator you're too busy to obey all those wacky laws.

Frist medical license renewal questioned - Yahoo! News:
WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist acknowledged Tuesday that he may not have met all the requirements needed to keep his medical license active — even though he gave paperwork to Tennessee officials indicating that he had.
Hell, you're too busy to even remember what you had for breakfast, let alone what you wrote on some pesky license renewal. Busy making more wacky laws.

This guy is a heart surgeon - or claims to be. Can you imagine letting Bill Frist get his hands under your ribs? No?

I rest my case.

Who's stepping on the CDs?

If it's you, cut it out. I'm not kidding. I've been, let's say, inspecting three new audiobooks these days - new from the library, that is, but they're all three in brand new looking cases and some of the discs are bright and shiny and unscratched, but in all three sets a few of them look like somebody walked on them with freakin' golf shoes. Let's shape up here, people. Don't walk on them, don't throw them at your spouse, don't feed them to the dog, whatever it is you're doing out there.

At least until I have a chance to listen to them. After that, you're on your own.

Not that we pay that much attention to treaties, you understand.

Treaty with Tripoli (1796) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

I love this stuff!

Sunscreen Can Damage Skin if Applied Infrequently - Yahoo! News:
In the new study, scientists found that three widely used, FDA-approved UV filters (octylmethoxycinnamate, benzophenone-3 and octocrylene) actually generate ROS in skin when exposed to ultraviolet radiation. So the sun's damaging effect is multiplied when the sunscreen has been on too long.
I mean, hey, I just do. Don't ask me to explain it - love is love.

Also, how wonderful is a journal named "Free Radical Biology & Medicine"?


How did we get from "Ernesto" to "John"?

My Way News - Hurricane John Now a Category 4 Storm:
ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) - Hurricane John became a dangerous, Category 4 storm Wednesday, with forecasters predicting its center would approach land and then march parallel to the Mexican coast.
This one's in the Pacific - do they have a whole different set of names? Seems like quite a jump. But don't ask me, I have no idea. Figure it out for yourself.

Ever feel like kicking your cell?

AP: Don't keep secrets on cell phone - Yahoo! News:
"I'd run over the phone," Zatko said. "Maybe give it an acid bath."
Just kicking it is not enough. Turns out old, discarded phones contain a trove (if Karl Rove ever donates all his papers to a library would that be a Rove trove?) of info you might not want sold on eBay. Of course, like all electronic stuff, they probably all contain some nasty pollutants too, so let's not all run down and drop them in the river either (and if you use the acid bath technique, what you do then is anybody's guess). Maybe some sort of giant magnet would work, who knows? Or encase it in a block of concrete and use it for a doorstop.


I finally got around to figuring out what's going on at Blogger and it turns out they're migrating blogs to some new software and in the process some login stuff has changed. Which is why my blogging software is so munged. Nothing for it but to improvise for a while (like this). From what little I read there are some nifty new features in the new system, so maybe it'll be worth the hassle. Not that I'm planning to go anywhere anyway.

OK, a few left behind.

SAT Records Biggest Score Dip in 31 Years:
Average scores for public and private school students in Maryland, Virginia and the District also declined. Maryland had the largest drop, eight points in reading and six in math. As a possible factor, state officials cited a large jump in test participation among Baltimore students who had not completed a rigorous high school curriculum. Officials noted that SAT scores are nearly always higher in more affluent areas, and that participation rates can affect scores.
But maybe it's just a rigor problem. Nothing to worry about there.

If you were a kettle would you listen to this pot?

Rumsfeld: Fascism threatens U.S. - Nation/Politics - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper:
"I recount this history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism," he said.
So how many kinds of fascism are there now? Is anybody keeping count?


Whoa! Maybe this idea will catch on!

Jessica Simpson is ordered on vocal rest - Yahoo! News:
NEW YORK - Talk about bad timing. At the start of a media blitz to support her new album, “A Public Affair,” Jessica Simpson is on vocal rest.
But probably not.

Gotta love this CNN blooper.

CNN Live Mic SNAFU: The Video - Wonkette

Palast video.

The Raw Story | VIDEO: Greg Palast on killing the culture of New Orleans:
In this short video documentary, Palast, who also reports for the BBC, investigates why so many poor minorities had to die and so few minority communities are returning to New Orleans. The report was first aired on August 28, 2006 by DemocracyNow!
Video at the link.

JIC the nukes won't sell.

News from The Associated Press:
“Iran is like the elephant in the room if you will ... they are the central banker of terror. It is a country that has terrorism as a line-item in its budget,” said Stuart Levey, the department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

Why are all the good billboards in Toronto?

The George Bush Audiobook Store Billboards :: Accordion Guy

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And they call it a family newspaper.

There's a picture on the front page of the local rag this morning I refuse to look at, but you can see it here if you're feeling brave.

Meanwhile I had an excellent morning at the library, scoring three audiobooks that look good, by James Lee Burke, Robert B. Parker, and some broad name Sandra Brown I've never heard of but hey, the box looks interesting and it's called “Chill Factor.” All of which is good because September will be a big book month. Also I noticed they have an audio copy of “Murder on the Orient Express,” which might be a good book to go with my bus ticket - OK, it would be better with a train ticket but bus is as close as I can come - so maybe I'll pick that one up too later on.

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I guess.

recorder.com - Today's Headlines:
Both Canadian and U.S. authorities are interested in finding out how Mizelle managed to cross an international border with a truck full of weapons and other machinery without being detected.
He didn't have any hand lotion, though.

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A newspaper reader from Eureka, CA, calls out a chickenhawk.

The Eureka Reporter - Article:
Since he is such a fan of aggressive military solutions to solve the world’s problems, he should be eager to enlist. Mantova flatly refused to concede to serving the United States in the military.

The money quote from these conversations came when Mantova berated me for what he said was my “hillbilly, intellectually vacant and morally repugnant belief that ‘those who call for war must serve.’”

A 24-year-old, healthy man, Mantova — hypothetically at least — believes in “personal responsibility” and strongly defending America. He’s an outstanding candidate for military service. He simply lacks the heart to sign up.
You can count me as the hillbilly, intellectually vacant and morally repugnant type where this kid is concerned.

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And in other Katrina anniversary news...

Bush Cites Progress in Gulf Coast Visit - New York Times:
Mr. Bush delivered his remarks at an intersection in a working-class Biloxi neighborhood against a carefully orchestrated backdrop of neatly reconstructed homes. Just a few feet out of camera range stood gutted houses with wires dangling from interior ceilings. A tattered piece of crime scene tape hung from a tree in the field where Mr. Bush spoke. A toilet seat lay on its side in the grass.

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Maybe it's just that I should have stayed in bed.

Iraqi Troops Battle Shiite Militiamen In Southern City:
Roadside bombs, too, decreased by 50 percent last week to a total of eight, making for the lowest monthly average in nearly eight months, he said. However that figure dramatically changed with the spike in roadside bombs over the weekend, he added.
But oh, no, I'm sitting here bleary-eyed instead, trying to imagine any American city of any size in which eight “roadside bombs” in one day wouldn't be considered at least as newsworthy as, say, JonBenet Ramsey. And I'll be damned, I can't. But in Baghdad this is way under the average, and good news.

The eight roadside bombs are only part of the 23 “attacks” per day, also far less than the recent average and, according to one US Maj. Gen. William B, Caldwell (thanks to WIIIAI for noticing), just “ongoing operations” and nothing to get much excited about.
“It was always expected that there would be this extremist element that would get out and try to discredit the operations that are ongoing by striking at areas where civilians are readily available, where they can inflict some casualties,” Caldwell said.
Always expected. Ho hum.

Meanwhile in the southern Iraq city of Diwaniyah...
“The city is fully controlled by the militia of Jaish al-Mahdi now,” said Ahmed Fadhil, 45, a school teacher living in the center of Diwaniyah, using the Arabic term for Sadr's militia. “There are no police or Iraqi army in the streets of the city. I can see only the gunmen of Mahdi Army in the streets.”
There's a notion floating around on the internets that this recent JonBenet reprise, pulled out of the cable news hat like yesterday's rabbit, was just some sort of fortuitous diversion, but who could believe an idea like that?

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Life is good.

Well, if Blogger ever starts working again, I mean.

But my bus ticket arrived in the mail today so I'm good to go for a trip next month. And the calendar is breaking just right this month, and I'll even have a paycheck before I go. How cool is that. And I figured out how to get two novels on my shuffle (bit rate, duh). With room for a little music left over, JIC. And a book that wasn't working with my laptop CD drive is working with the desktop. Whoa.

Not only that, but I went to CVS this afternoon and got a discount coupon for a “Life Fitness plain patch pack.” I have no idea whatever what a plain patch pack might be, but I'm guessing it might be some kind of patch you can wear if you don't have any reason to wear a patch. But you want to anyway.

And best of all, I found my staple puller.

For the contest she has to wear a swimsuit

Warsaw mermaid has chest covered for Miss World - Yahoo! News:
The mermaid, central to Warsaw's founding legend, is
depicted in two statues in the capital and appears on the
city's crest as naked from the waist up.

I'm thinking "light" is the operative word here.

My Way News:
Founder Christine Lund describes the event as a good source of light exercise with an environmentally friendly twist. “There are a lot of mobile phones on the second-hand market, and we are recycling them (before they become toxic waste),” she said.

Sounds like a stupid test to me.

Switch off TV and switch on your memory - Yahoo! News:
CANBERRA (Reuters) - Turning off the television, picking up
a crossword and eating more fish could be the key to a better
memory, an Australian survey has found.
OK, so maybe your grandmother was right when she said fish was brain food, but these researchers say (according to the article) watching TV was the biggest contributor to poor memory, but “TV is not all that bad” and watching “some programs” might be good. So where does that leave you, Bunky?

Worse, the survey found no difference between men and women, when everybody knows there are some things women can remember way, way better than men.

I don't remember what they are, but they do.

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Woohoo! This might be it!

The Raw Story | Court told votes don't have to be counted, certified:
Republican Brian Bilbray was sworn into Congress just seven days after a special election against Democrat Francine Busby – before all ballots were counted and a full 16 days before the election was certified. On Friday, attorneys David King and Jim Chapin (representing Bilbray and San Diego Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas) argued that a lawsuit brought by two voters should be dismissed because only Congress has the power to seat or unseat its members.
YA way to steal an election.

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Is it too early to start thinking about '08?




Wait a minute. Did you say another one?

Another body tissue scandal rocks field - Yahoo! News:
“In this business what really rules is: Do you have the goods? Can you give the body parts that I need? If you have a sketchy background, that doesn't really make a difference. People just want to get the parts,” said Annie Cheney, author of the book “Body Brokers.”
Another? WTF. Body brokers? “Tissue bankers?” Recalling products? Yikes! How spooky is that?

Nawww. Let's just skip this story, OK?

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TheStar.com - Students told `Yale Shmale':
Lakehead University is poking fun at U.S. President George W. Bush and his Ivy League alma mater in an edgy new guerrilla marketing campaign intended to lure students to its Thunder Bay campus.
It's almost enough to get me thinking about going back to school.

Lakeside has a web site for its marketing campaign, here.

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“Peace” might be a bit of a stretch but “dividend” sounds right.

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 08/25/2006 | Military base turned over to Iraqi forces is looted the next day:
The looting that resulted, he said, “was more of an attempt to improve one's quality of life by making off with an air conditioner. The crux of the issue is economic, its not malice. Call it a peace dividend.”

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And if we really care about “homeland security” we should start fixing the potholes too.

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Experts warn U.S. is coming apart at the seams:
It noted that half the 257 locks operated by the Army Corps of Engineers on inland waterways are functionally obsolete, more than one-quarter of the nation's bridges are structurally deficient or obsolete, and $11 billion is needed annually to replace aging drinking-water facilities.

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Well this clears up one of the big airplane scares last week.

iPod prompts airport scare in Ottawa:
Police issued a statement Tuesday evening saying the suspicious package 'has been identified as an electronic device commonly known as an iPod.' “
Imagine what would have happened if they'd found one of those Zune things.

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Contaminated chicken? Is that sort of like exploding cigars?

U.S. and Venezuela at Odds, and Seized Cargo Is Just the Half of It - New York Times:
The cargo, delivered by a C-17 military transport plane, included ejector seats apparently intended for Venezuelan combat jets, explosive charges and about 180 pounds of chicken that did not pass through sanitary inspection, Interior Minister Jesse Chacón Escamillo said Friday night.
OK, if you don't get the cigars joke it just means you're not old enough to remember the CIA's clownish attempts to kill Castro, back in the day. Nonetheless. Calling the contents of a C-17 “diplomatic baggage” is pretty wacky on its face, and including ejector seats as baggage is just plain bizarre. State claims the shipment was of “household effects of a US diplomat and a shipment of commissary goods,” which means either some diplomat has pretty weird furniture (not to mention an adventurous taste in cuisine) or they've got themselves a helluva PX down there.

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“Emergency preparedness,” year one.

Katrina Aid Far From Flowing - Los Angeles Times:
The scale of the catastrophe continues to overwhelm the government's capacity to respond. Aid agencies are only now contending with the long-term needs of hundreds of thousands of evacuees and with the landscape of shattered houses and public infrastructure that will take years to restore.
Just hope it doesn't happen to you, seems to be the plan.

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DOOFUS bubble is a mile wide, prevents protesters from “intruding.”

What local police estimated were about 700 anti-war demonstrators marched Saturday to within half a mile of the Bush compound before being turned back at a security checkpoint. Called Walker's Point after the family of former President Bush's mother, the stone-and-shingle retreat covering a craggy promontory is owned by the current president's parents.

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I thought I'd mentioned this story before...

PageOneQ | Out lesbian Patricia Todd wins at Alabama state Democratic executive committee:
The removal of Patricia Todd from the Democratic slot on the ballot for the Alabama statehouse by a committee of the Alabama Democratic Party has been reversed by the party's executive committee, The Victory Fund has said in a statement issued today and obtained by PageOneQ.
...but I can't find it now so maybe it was on one of those (many) occasions recently when Blogger was bluggered and the thing didn't post. Whatever. If I did, this is a further (and, hopefully, final) development in the story. If I didn't, forget the whole thing.

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And speaking of sin...

Today, purveyors of internet porn earn a combined annual income exceeding the total of the major networks ABC, CBS, and NBC.
...this titillating fact buried in a paper (actually, a summary of an abstract of a paper) suggesting the substantial increase in porn availability and the substantial decrease in rape seen over the past 25 years in the US correlate causally.

While this is an interesting and somewhat appealing theory, it's difficult to say from reading just the summary whether it holds water or not. But the paper's observation that incidence of rape in the US has declined 85% in the past quarter century (based on National Crime Victimization Survey data) seems to belie the cable-news fomented notion that sex crimes are burgeoning everywhere.

Whatever the case, given the kind of money involved, you can bet internet porn is not going away any time soon.

So relax.

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Given the state of things it might be worth a try.

KRT Wire | 08/26/2006 | Katherine Harris attempts to defuse controversial comments:
“If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin.”
Florida's wiggy Rep. went on to explain the founding fathers did not intend a nation of “secular laws,” later defending her comments by saying what the hell, she was only talking to Christians when she made them. Presumably she would have told Buddhists, say, something else.

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