E. coli is organic all right, you've pretty much got to admit that.

Calif. Farm Firm Linked To Tainted Spinach - washingtonpost.com:
Federal health officials last night linked a deadly E. coli outbreak in bagged spinach products to a California farm company that sells organic produce in 74 percent of the country's grocery stores.

Nothing a couple of potato chips won't cure.

Damn. It all comes back so soon. I go back to work for a couple of weeks and here I am, rushing around all day, thinking I have this big list of stuff that has to be done by Monday, and then it hits me - I have the next two weeks off. So there's hardly any rush, is there. (And yeah, the first thing I always do when I start a new job is take a vacation. It's good for the soul.)

Or whatever. I'm going to just sit here and eat potato chips until supper time. Restore myself, as it were. Chill out.

(Oh yeah. It's my turn to make supper. OK, so I guess I do have to get that done before Monday. But that's really the only thing. So what's the rush?)

Oh THAT superhero woman.

Mayor's offer to film movie backfires - Yahoo! News:
According to the Thong Girl Web site, heroine Lana Layonme wears a red thong under a cape as she flies over Nashville repelling a villain who is trying to turn country music performers into rappers. The movie is the third in a series released only on DVD.

It's out of the closet for Xena and Gabrielle.

SkyTonight.com - Homepage News - All Hail Eris and Dysnomia:
Remember 2003 UB313, the body often called by its nickname, Xena?
Of course you do. Who could forget 2003 UB313? What a rock.

Well. 2003 UB313, formerly known as Xena, is now Eris, and its faithful moon, formerly named Gabrielle, is now Dysnomia, an obviously much cooler name. Although it does, you have to admit, sound like something that requires medication. Dysnomia, I mean.

And you thought astronomy was just sitting around and staring at stars all night. Oh no. It's much, much weirder than that.


Vote hack.

Though the concept of stolen votes via electronic voting systems has been widely regarded as theoretically possible by experts up until now, a top-secret four-month long hands-on study of an actual touch-screen voting system, by the scientists at Princeton, has confirmed the worst nightmares of elections officials and American voters…not to mention a voting machine company known as Diebold.
A video (Flash) explains the whole thing here. Or read the article linked above.

How cool is this?

The electric company owes me $2.49. Heh.

Right. It's because I paid my bill twice last month. Don't ask. Still, it's definitely a treat, seeing that come up on the statement. Maybe I'll wait until next month and pay it twice again.

And up yours too, not really a doctor Frist.

Bill Frist, M.D.:
When the camp first opened, most of the medical care involved treating wounds received on the battlefield — for example, the detainees have received 22 prosthetics. But those wounds have healed, so much of the medical care has now shifted to include preventive medicine, full immunizations, and screening for cancer. Sixteen colonoscopies have been performed at the facility. Many of the detainees are receiving dental care for the first time in their lives. The ratio of health personnel to detainees is a remarkably high 1:4. I think it's fair to say that the medical care they receive at Guantanamo is far better than any they received at home.
You've gotta love it when getting a colonoscopy is considered a benchmark of your good treatment, don't you?

Frist, who identifies himself on his Senate web site as Bill Frist, M.D. but is, in reality, Bill Frist, Pretend M.D. - also claims in his "reflections" detainees at Gitmo receive health care "better than many Americans," which means either he's lying or he - and all the rest of the congressbimbos he hangs out with - has failed in his job. Or both.

Sounds like bull to me.

Not so bully for bovine motif - The Boston Globe:
They've settled details for the human flag, decided on pony rides at a riverfront fair, and come to a fragile agreement on a name. But now planners of a bicentennial celebration in Allston-Brighton next year have hit another obstacle, this time over the image of a bull some want to include in the official logo.
Opposition comes from some who argue the word "bull" is "often followed by a vulgarity," as in "bullbleep." Others object because Brighton was once a major cattle-slaughering center and acquired a reputation for smelling like shit.

Among alternative symbols - alternative to the bull - discussed for the logo was a picture of the Allston-Brighton toll booth on I90.

Speaks for itself. Or not.


Aha. I've been trying to remember this quote all day.

So I finally broke down and looked it up. And made a nice poster to hang on the computer lab door at work. Works.

Well OK maybe it's not a really nice poster but it's sort of nice, and anyway I don't want to work on it all night. It's not that magic, after all.

Fun and games with democracy.

Black Box Voting : 9-12-06: Election problems in the Sept. 12 primaries:
MILWAUKEE: Black Box Voting has received reports that poll workers in at least one Milwaukee location were opening the ballot boxes while the election was in progress.

MARYLAND: 238 polling places in Montgomery County couldn't operate the machines when the polls were supposed to open. The wrong ballots showed up on the screen. Twenty technicians who were supposed to set up electronic poll books quit.

WISCONSIN: Both the touch-screen and the optical scan machine made by Diebold had problems in at least one location in Oshkosh.

ARIZONA: Hand-recount procedures not cleared for touch screens because the secretary of state didn't submit procedures for review until too late.
And more. RTFA.

On the other hand if we microwave a few hippy peaceniks, who'll care?

CNN.com - Air Force chief: Test weapons on testy U.S. mobs - Sep 12, 2006:
"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."
That's Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne, and what he's talking about are "nonlethal weapons" like microwave devices which can "weaken people," not to mention blow out their iPods.

You mean he's not trying to blow us all up after all?

U.S. Can’t Protect All Targets, Chertoff Says - New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 — Congress and the American public must accept that the government cannot protect every possible target against attack if it wants to avoid fulfilling Al Qaeda’s goal of bankrupting the nation, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a Senate committee Tuesday.
Hard to know which ass to cover sometimes, I guess.

Rove must have sent a memo around, everybody figure out how to blame your problems on bin Laden. I fully expect to hear now, any day, he's behind the drought in the Midwest too. And diabetes. Not to mention the minimum wage.

The beauty of having a bin Laden around.

Wired News: One Million Ways to Die:
In fact, your appendix is more likely to kill you than al-Qaida is.
Yeah, but "war on appendicitis" just doesn't sound all that soul-stirring, IMO. At least not from an election-day perspective. Even if you blame it all on Iran. So it'll never sell.

But as long as we can keep bin Laden safely tucked away in Pakistan somewhere we can more or less keep flogging him forever.


Cutting it pretty close here, aren't we?

Karen Hughes:
Those who speak of a clash of civilizations seem to forget that Islam is part of America, that an estimated six to seven million Muslims live and worship freely in America.
In truth, it is a struggle for civilization.
For, not with. Got that?

Oh well. Hughes has pretty much lost it anyway.

Where are the mothers organizing against terrorism as American mothers did against drunken driving? Where are the fathers promising to teach their sons to choose to live rather than choose to die?
And where are the bake sales? I like bake sales. Bake sales are good.

(Chose to live rather than chose to die? Could she be kidding there, I wonder?)

We interrupt this little songfest to...um...

White House defends speech - Nation/Politics - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper:
"This was not a speech that was designed to single out anybody for partisan reasons, but gave the president's honest reflections and reactions to what has happened since September 11, 2001," Mr. Snow said. "The president decided that yesterday wasn't a day for partisanship."
...put aside our differences.
Democrats, in a campaign to win control of Congress from the president's Republican Party, charged that Mr. Bush was using a national day of mourning for partisan gain. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said today that Mr. Bush was "more consumed by staying the course in Iraq and playing election-year politics."...

House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, shot back at Democrats: "I wonder if they're more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people," he said at a news conference. "They certainly don't want to take the terrorists on and defeat them."
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
On Monday, dozens of lawmakers from both parties put aside the campaigning and joined on the steps of the Capitol to remember the attacks. Together they sang "God Bless America" as they had five years ago.

Competing headlines.

Nation Marks Lives Lost and Hopeful Signs of Healing

Grim Outlook Seen in West Iraq Without More Troops and Aid

Wanna bomb Iran?

President's Address to the Nation:
If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.
Do it for the children. Not all the children of course. But, you know, the ones that count.

"No longer understand, much less believe."

Whiskey Bar: The Sixteen Acre Ditch:
When the public discourse on Edward R. Murrow's old network consists of Katie Couric introducing Rush Limbaugh's buffoonish views, you know the intellectual and ideological rot is well advanced -- maybe not quite as far as the Soviet Union in the '80s, but getting there. One of my favorite books about the Soviet collapse was titled "The Age of Delirium" which I think perfectly captured the progressive insanity of a system that could no longer even understand, much less believe, its own lies. I think of that book practically every time George W. Bush or Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld open their mouths in public.

I guess it was.

AP Wire | 09/01/2006 | Men who took food in trash get 6 months:
Thousands of people were in the Steamboat Springs area at the end of June and early July for the Rainbow Family gathering north of town. At times, the relationship between members of the nomadic group and authorities was tense....
So they grab these two guys and toss them in the slammer for taking veggies out of a grocery store dumpster. Six months. Pretty expensive lunch. Seems like for six months they should have got something better than cucumbers at least.


But what if you just have a regular old mutt?

VEST-A-DOG Home Page :
Stephanie needs the help of kennel clubs and concerned citizens in her quest to protect every deserving dog in the nation.

Cashing in on the popcorn factory (and more).

The Observer | World | How US merchants of fear sparked a $130bn bonanza:
The industry has the feel of a boom town where the outlandish and the mundane compete for attention. Four years ago there had not been a single business conference for homeland security firms. Now there have been 50. There is an industry newspaper, Government Security News, once a quarterly, now bi-weekly. Venture capital firms exist solely to invest in new and upcoming national security companies. Across America, universities offer courses in homeland security. 'All this money in the industry is just up for grabs. It's like a goldrush,' said Knott.
You probably remember (how could you forget?) the popcorn factory outside Berne, Indiana, designated a terrorist target by the state in an effort to increase its share of Homeland Security largesse. The popcorn company's float in the big annual Berne parade last month was decorated with a target on its side. Good for business, says the company's owner, Brian Lehman, who has also put up a nice, new sign to help terrorists customers find the place.

The Rodney Dangerfield of the universe.

The Beijing News: 'Planet' Pluto: America's 'Eternal Embarrassment'

But in fact Pluto bears none of the hallmarks of being a planet, we all know that. The formation of Pluto was completely different than the other eight planets. Pluto is also smaller than our own Moon - in fact, it's smaller than seven other planetary moons in our Solar System!...

After all, it is only America's love of Pluto that has made the study of our Solar System so complex and so absurd.

Sucks to be an icy little runt.


Turning Massachusetts into South Carolina.

Romney keeps tight rein on Health Dept. - The Boston Globe:
"Most of the issues handled by the Department of Public Health are nonpolitical and don't require the governor's involvement," Fehrnstrom said. ``But there are some matters where a political decision has to be made, and it's going to be the governor's political view that carries the day."
Yeah, it must suck having to run for president as an R from a state with a nasty pinko commie reputation like Massachusetts's. But it must suck even more if you're sick and need help, and have to contend with the freakin' governor's freakin' "political view."

And if they can't calm down, who can?

Moore slices up health care in new film - Yahoo! News:
Ken Johnson, senior vice president of the trade group Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, said industry officials were "freaking out and pulling their hair out" when they first got word of Moore's documentary.

They have since calmed down, Johnson said.
Michael Moore showed excerpts from his forthcoming new film, "Sicko," at the Toronto International Film Festival Friday. "Promises to be another hilarious documentary romp," says AP movie writer. So what were the Pharmas tearing their hair over?

Oh go ahead. Guess.

I suppose their definition of "circle jerk" is top secret too.

Iraq: A Secret Definition - Newsweek Periscope - MSNBC.com:
Sept. 18, 2006 issue - Is Iraq in a civil war? The CIA has developed its own secret guideline for answering that increasingly contentious question. CIA officials offered the definition of "civil war," which remains classified, at a closed-door Capitol Hill briefing to discuss the latest grim Pentagon assessment of the conflict, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the briefing's content who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the material.

Of course he will.

Bush to visit Ground Zero on eve of September 11 - Yahoo! News:
In a two-day tour of all three Sept 11. crash sites -- the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Flight 93 crashed -- Bush will strive to put aside partisan acrimony, if only temporarily.
What he should do is get in Air Force One and fly around over Nebraska all day. The way it was.

Tracking the US Senate election polls.

An American computer scientist living and teaching in Europe who goes by the name Votemaster aggregates and tracks polls concering US Senate races on a web site, here. I put a widget in the sidebar (about half way down) that will reflect the site's predicted outcome through election day.

A note on password security.

From Jib Jab

Is that a bomb in your jeans or...

US major `stable' after her abduction - The Boston Globe:
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- A US Air Force officer who went missing for three days says someone stuffed an object in her jeans pocket with a note saying it was a bomb and telling her to go to a site in Bishkek, where kidnappers grabbed her, Kyrgyz authorities said yesterday.
...oh, never mind. It's probably not a very funny joke. If you have a bomb in your jeans.

On the other hand....

Maybe calling them Keystone Kops is giving them too much credit after all.

A Ban on Carry-On Luggage - New York Times:
In a directive whose logic is not always apparent, the Transportation Security Administration has spelled out what airline passengers can carry on board with them, what must be placed in checked luggage, and what can’t go on the plane at all. Knives must be checked but knitting needles and corkscrews are allowed in the cabin. Up to four ounces of eye drops can be carried aboard, with fingers crossed that multiple terrorists won’t combine their allotments to exceed the limit. Laptops, digital cameras, mobile phones and other electronic devices are permitted, so never mind any warnings you’ve heard that they could be used to trigger a bomb. The bomb ingredients themselves, notably liquid explosives, will be kept out of the cabin by a ban on liquids, gels and lotions, except for small amounts of baby formula and medications.

Just for the record, in case you want to know.

These are the companies Disney owns.