Moses doesn't want a minimum wage law in Colorado.

Video link

God agrees.


COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 12 (AP) — A man who could not find steady work came up with a plan to make it through the next few years until he could collect Social Security: He robbed a bank, handed the money to a guard and waited for the police.

On Wednesday, the man, Timothy J. Bowers, told a judge that a three-year prison sentence would suit him, and the judge obliged.
Those guys in Ohio haven't lost all their marbles after all!

Learned her lesson, I guess. Or not.

“I honestly don’t remember exactly what I was prosecuted for,” Martha Stewart is quoted as saying in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

Yeah, we can handle a flu epidemic all right.

BOISE – There's a record number of flu vaccine doses nationwide, but Central District Health in Boise has not received its shipment, and that means thousands will have to wait for their flu shot....

The pharmaceutical reps and manufacturers have been contacted, but so far no explanation has been offered. It's a situation that is also happening outside of Idaho.

"There are health districts and private providers all over the county that have only received 10-15 percent of the orders they have placed. It’s kind of hard to get straight answers out of anybody," said Fotsch.
And this is regular flu. In, as far as anyone know so far, a regular year.

Oh oh.

More from the Sun-Times:
Hastert bringing in big gun...

"It's sort of Denny Hastert's big deal,'' Snow said.
Now that's scary.

If at first you don't succeed...

Three weeks after a 5-year-old girl died from being sedated in his office, Hicham Riba wants his dental license restored -- and wants permission to again be able to sedate his patients.

Riba wants his license back, the Chicago Sun-Times goes on to say, because...
the suspension is based on a "fatally flawed dental opinion."
So, OK, that might be an unfortunate choice of words. And...
Riba adds that he will be "irreparably harmed" if the suspension continues, as he "will likely lose a substantial amount of business."
Ya think?

Well then, there you go!

By a combination of luck and design, Democrats seem to be fielding an uncommonly high number of uncommonly good-looking candidates.
Thanks, WaPo!

"Some on Capitol Hill muse," the Washington Post says (like, yeah, musing is something else that goes on there), "the beauty gap between parties" might determine the outcome of next month's election.

Beauty gap? Whoa. Missile gaps are about all I can handle. Beauty gaps are just tooooo much.

And then there's still the possibility Karl Rove may engineer an "October surprise." And what if it's...makeovers? Yeah. What then?


But critics fear that any steps toward federalism now could wreck Sunnis' faith in the political process and push them toward violence...
(International Herald Tribune)

Look, call me craZy here but it seems to me the last thing we want in Iraq is any more of this pushing toward violence thing. Helloooo. Is anyone pushing away from violence?

Well. If there are, they'd better try to round up some more guys. Because it looks like they have a lot of pushing yet to do.

OK, yeah, this is bad.

One time every year I buy a bag of those really evil little corn candies - you know, the kind that looks like corn kernels, but orange. Corn candy. Or, candy corn, Or whatever. So I was at CVS this afternoon and it turned out today was the day.

So then I went to the grocery store and the first thing I saw (well I start in the middle, which would be the cookie section) was a bag of Oreos with orange stuff in the middle. OK. A person can't just walk away from something like that. So now I have the cookies too. Corn candy, and Oreos with orange stuff in the middle.

And so what if it's bad, I don't care.

The trouble with iPods is...

...they're not waterproof enough to wear in the shower. Would that be awesome or what? Wearing one in the shower, I mean. And think of the aftermarket. Like, soap on a rope, with a USB port.

I bet it would improve the quality of the singing, too. And some of that New Age music would even make sense.

Redefining "democracy."

The United States has quietly started a campaign projected to cost up to $42 million to bolster Hamas's political opponents ahead of possible early Palestinian elections, say officials linked to the program. ...

"This project supports (the) objective to create democratic alternatives to authoritarian or radical Islamist political options," one official U.S. document obtained by Reuters said.

However you slice it, an election influenced by $42 mil in funding from a foreign power has nothing to do with democracy. In the old-fashioned, pre-9/11 sense of the word, I mean. You know, George Washington's sense. And those other guys.

Sorry, I don't understand this at all.

The cablenets last night were abuzz with the "news" that North Korea's nuke test, held earlier in the week, was, well, nuclear. Oh.

Was there a secret here? I seem to recall the North Koreans publicly proclaimed that fact. So what did we expect to find out? That they were kidding?

All the twitter was based, it turns out, on a document "obtained" from a "Congressional source." The White House, for its part, announced it has "no confirmation" that the NK nuke test was, you know, nuclear, and "officials" mumble something about "no conclusive evidence." Ah.

Doesn't sound all that twitterworthy to me: "The North Koreans made something go bang. They say it was a nuke. We have no freakin' clue."

On the other hand, it does seem, somehow, par for the course.

Meanwhile, for comic relief, the DOOFUS has declared the coming week, Oct. 15-22. "National Character Counts Week." Which seems like a sort of odd topic to be bringing up just now, doesn't it?

But then, they have no clue.


Whoa. Dude.

General Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defense staff, said on Thursday that Taliban fighters were using the forests as cover. In response, the crew of at least one armored car had camouflaged their vehicle with marijuana.


And you too, Bill. Don't forget you.

O'Reilly blathers about what the SPs (yes! the SPs!) want to get rid of - Christmas, for one, and the pledge of allegiance to God.

So now I'm confused. I've heard of Christmas, of course, but this is the first time I've heard we have a pledge of allegiance to God. True, I missed a couple of years back in the 70s, so maybe it happene then and I just didn't notice until now. Could be.

O'Reilly also claims we're fighting Iran in Iraq (it's that damn "q" again - it just keeps sneaking in there, doesn't it), and also that pre-war "intel" revealed Saddam was planning to give ricin to some guy who in turn was bringing it to the US. So maybe that's what happened to the famous WMDs - Saddam gave them to some guy and then the airline lost his baggage. It's probably in Dubuque by now.

Just one more from Vermont.

Awwww. Just had to spoil it, didn't you.

Style mavens will be interested to know that the Treo 680 will come in four colors: crimson, copper, arctic, and graphite, or to the less artsy, red, orange, white, and silver.
(C|net News)

Even Dubya gets it right now and then.

"We live in a global world."

Mondo bizarro.

The decidedly right-wing Accuracy in Media spins off into the wackospace with an editorial entitled Republican Gays are Closeted Dems...
So if the gay Republicans are not really Republicans, what are they? One veteran observer of this network told AIM that the Foley scandal should make it crystal clear that the gay Republicans are in reality "liberal activists" who want to use the party to advance the same homosexual agenda embraced by the Democrats.

...Only now are House Republican leaders like Dennis Hastert beginning to understand the trap they may have gotten themselves into. They thought they were being tolerant and diverse and constructing a "big tent" when they were giving gay Republicans important positions of power. It is now apparent that this power has been used to sabotage the party from within.
...and explodes in a brilliant display of shameless bozoblather with...
It's time to get beyond partisan politics and follow the evidence wherever it leads.
It is to marvel, it really is.


Somehow I like this better than what it's going to look like a month or two from now.

Look, I'm not saying South Carolinians are weird or anything.

But this does make you stop and think a little, doesn't it?

Back in the mid-60s a US bomber crashed near the Spanish fishing village of Palomares and lost four hydrogen bombs - four on land, one in the sea. As a result, 1,750 tons of contaminated material was evacuated. And where did they dump the stuff? In South Carolina.

Now, in Spain, where they took this gunk away from, they are finding radioactive snails.

So you see what I'm thinking here, right?

Welcome back, Ma.

(AP) The Justice Department gave its unconditional approval to AT&T Inc.'s buyout of BellSouth Corp. on Wednesday, a coast-to-coast behemoth that would be the largest U.S. provider of telephone, wireless and broadband Internet services.
You're still glowin', you're still crowin', you're still goin' strong.
"AT&T is focused on bringing more video choices and next-generation broadband services to as many consumers as possible, and our merger with BellSouth will help deliver these benefits to more consumers, more quickly," Ellis said.
"Ellis" is a lawyer. AT&T has been run by lawyers since the mid-50s.

Full disclosure here. I worked, not for AT&T but for a major subsidiary thereto, in the 60s and 70s. I thought then and still do that AT&T was a much better company than is popularly believed where providing universal telephone service is concerned. But this new merger is not about providing telephone service - it is, as "Ellis" points out, about video and the Internet. And it is, IMHO, YA really, really bad idea.

Garrison Keillor's meditation on Columbus Day.

The Vikings were not out to lord it over the Indians or bring democracy here or teach folks about Nordic gods. They were free spirits, sailors, explorers, so they left some carved stones here and there, relished the exhilaration of the voyage and the sight of new lands, and went home and composed sagas for the amusement of their friends and families. That arrogant fool Columbus, who demanded 10 percent of all the gold the Spanish stole in the New World, got the holiday, a town in Ohio and another in Georgia, a major river in the Northwest and a university in New York. But who cares?

Skeptical. I bet.

It is possible that Libya will become the first country in the world where all school-age children are connected to the internet through educational computers, he told the newspaper. "The US and Singapore are not even close," [Negroponte] said.
That's Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of MIT's Media Lab (not the spook), who now heads a non-profit called One Laptop Per Child. OLPC's aim is to provide cheap, rugged laptop computers to schoolchildren in "developing countries." The MIT-developed computers cost about $100 each, need about 10% of the power "normal laptops" do, and - here's the catch - rely on free software such as Linux rather than Microsoft Windows to keep costs down.

Microsoft and Intel, reports The Guardian, have been "skeptical" about the project.

Whatever. Just figure you aren't gonna see a laptop for every US kid anytime soon.

We don't know what it is so let's blow it up.

"With our intelligence on North Korea so uneven, the doctrine of preemption must return to the fore," wrote Dan Blumenthal, an Asia specialist at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) who worked for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during President Bush's first term, in the NRO on Tuesday.

Neocons. What scares them so?


And only one thing politicians think about.

"Here he was, in the flesh! Oh! My God! He was soooo CUTE! ... He immediately asked me out and I immediately accepted," Sullivan wrote. She quickly learned "there are two things football players think about all the time ... FOOTBALL AND SEX ... and seldom in that order."
Getting elected.

Oh. You thought I was thinking...? Heh.

Getting elected - in this case getting elected secretary of state in Wisconsin. It's Sandy Sullivan, an R, who's doing the running and who was, according to her recently published tell-all book, doing the, um, fraternizing with the Packers, back in the day. Right. Not just a Packer. Packers.

When these Rs get into sex they just can't stop, can they?

From the Summit at Hawk Gap Pointe...

...here's a handy guide to naming Denver-area housing developments.

Coincidence? Oh I think not.

This sure beats those little earbuds, doesn't it?

And hey, would it look great in your living room or what?
A classic Wurlitzer jukebox with an iPod dock. Awesome. It's not clear exactly how this would work in a burger joint or bar but in your living room (or, well, family room, if you insist) it would be so fine. Stands about 5 feet tall, holds 100 CDs and an iPod. No mention of a price, but I'm guessing buying another lotto ticket might be a good idea.


As long as he can make somebody else accountable.

Hastert Vows Accountability in Page Scandal

Girl takes picture of black-and-white tree in parking lot.

Well, hey, this was yesterday, the end of a long, hard, Columbus Day "leaf peeper" weekend. At a time like that any tree will do. And in fact the foliage is not so great this year (although, in fairness, it's not really black-and-white), a little better than last year but still nowhere near normal, if "normal" is still a word that applies to weather in 2006.

Nonetheless, the North-South road into the center of town was jammed with traffic for a mile or more, a monumental crowd for Gfld, MA. The street's not that busy when we have a parade on it.

You don't live in a democracy if you can't vote.

Blackboxvoting.org, the only folks who seem to care, publish new info on their web site of 2006 voting irregularities in Memphis...
- A remote access program called PC Anywhere was found resident in the system
- Evidence of insertion of an encrypted Lexar Jump Drive was present
- Evidence of attempts to alter or write HTML files (used to report results) was present
- Apparently without a firewall, the GEMS system was opened up to the County Network
- A prohibited program, Microsoft Access, which makes editing the election chimpanzee-easy, was installed on the system AND USED shortly after the election.
And other places, including Alaska, Georgia, and Ohio. Go. Read. Weep.

And while you're there leave a buck or two. Bev Harris and the crew she's assembled at blackboxvoting.org have been on this voting-machine story since 2000 and have assembled more clear evidence of irregularities, security breaches, and outright fraud than anybody else, anywhere.

And any day now they will come over here and drop a light water reactor on your sorry head.

SAVAGE: The fact of the matter is, in the year 2000, there was an article that I have in my hand -- "U.S. aid helps North Korea build nukes, Congress told." Did you know that the Clinton administration, in the mid-90s, financed two light water nuclear reactors in North Korea? Did you know any of that? That's number one.
(That's Michael Savage, as quoted by Media Matters.)

So the "It's All Clinton's Fault" chorus begins again (with Madeline Albright in a supporting role). I fully expect that 50 years from now the Rs will still be blaming Clinton for whatever they think is wrong. (And why not? They've been grumbling about FDR for half a century now.)

Don't normal kids outgrow this blame thing by eight or ten or so?

It's clear as Mudd to me.

Eight months after his talk, Mr. Mudd admits that some in the bureau do not accept his guiding premise: that arresting bad guys is sometimes less important than collecting intelligence to uncover the next terrorist plot.
Or...wait...don't arrest the bad guys? OK. There might be a little problem with that.

Seems that this guy Mudd, a honcho from the bureau's National "Security" Branch, wants to re-shape the FBI as a "spy organization," according to the NYTimes. Some think that can't be done; some think it can be done, and only too well.

Maybe it's more than just our act we ought to clean up.

Michael Wilson, a professor at UC Berkeley's Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, said the United States is becoming a "dumping ground" for consumer goods that are unwanted and illegal in much of the world. Wilson warned earlier this year in a report commissioned by the California Legislature that "the United States has fallen behind globally in the move toward cleaner technologies."
(LA Times)

Not to worry, it was "probablya dud." Ha ha.

A plutonium device should produce a yield in the range of the 20 kilotons, like the one we dropped on Nagasaki. No one has ever dudded their first test of a simple fission device. North Korean nuclear scientists are now officially the worst ever.
It was only a kiloton, these guys say. Maybe half - 500 tons of TNT. So that's not much, is it? Just a little pop. How much damage can 500 tons of TNT do? Probably no more than, say, four Foley IMs.


Yeah, but hardly anybody talks about Millard Fillmore any more.

Bush is less worried about his standing with history, telling aides that George Washington's legacy is still being debated two centuries later. But he understands that losing one chamber of Congress will cripple his lame duck-weakened final two years.
Call me craZy, but maybe when the DOOFUS compares himself to George Washington that's a wee bit of a stretch.

Oh come on, Jim, just say it straight out.

G.O.P.’s Baker Hints Iraq Plan Needs Change

On the river coming home.

Up along the river in VT.

Too much "whatever," that's our problem. We need more cops.

David Thomas, a father taking his family to the concert, said that he, too, was leaning toward voting Republican and that the scandal only reinforced his conservative Christian convictions. “That is the problem we have in society,” Mr. Thomas said. “Nobody polices anybody. Everybody has a ‘right’ to do whatever.”
Yup that's, it's those freakin' "rights" and all that "whatever," Davey boy. "Rights" are a bitch. If we just didn't have so much "whatever" and so many "rights"...well, "rights" and "liberals"...
But as far as culpability in the Foley case [yeah, you knew we were talking about the "Foley case" here, didn't you?], Mr. Dunn [a dean at Pat Robertson's Regent University] said, House Republicans may benefit from the evangelical conception of sin. Where liberals tend to think of collective responsibility, conservative Christians focus on personal morality.
Know what I'm really tired of? It's these so-called "conservatives" telling me what "liberals" think. And the so-called "press" reporting it like it actually means something, and I should care.

I don't. And having to read it day in and day out is even more tiresome than having to deal with all those "rights." Whatever.

Cheer up, Bunky, we still lead the world in talking points.

Billmon at Whiskey Bar sums up the North Korean nuketest story:
A certain dime-store cowboy has had his bluff called, and everybody around the table can see that all he's holding is a busted straight (not to mention a busted Army).
But nobody steals a march on Tony Snowjob - he's right on top of the situation:
The U.S. military might globally -- the United States has a robust and mobile -- robust and mobile military capabilities. But again, I want to steer you away. There are attempts to try to describe this almost in breathless World War III terms. This is not such a situation. This is a situation in which people are working with a regime in North Korea, trying to reason with a dictator, to step back from provocative activities. That is the most important thing.
Robust and mobile! I feel better now.

And yeah. Let's not waste any breathless World War III terms on North Korea. We need every one we can come up with for the Middle East.


A little autumn from Vermont.

The Connecticut River near Springfield, VT.

Oh oh. Better out a few more pages before this story starts going around.

Last month, 776 U.S. troops were wounded in action in Iraq, the highest number since the military assault to retake the insurgent-held city of Fallujah in November 2004, according to Defense Department data. It was the fourth-highest monthly total since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
It's all about checking the spiral of sectarian violence, says this WaPo story. I bet you don't know what a "spiral of sectarian violence is," do you? Well, neither do I. But there does seem to be a lot of spirals in Iraq these days - later: "The Baghdad security plan and the general spiral of operations is driving us to be more active than we have been in recent months," says some guy named Michael O'Hanlon. See? Spirals all over the place. It's starting to look like tornado season there.

Maybe it's just a politer way to say circle jerk.

Or say they are.

Study: 64% of Online Gamers are Women

Good news! Not necessarily!

The triggering of an alert wouldn't necessarily precipitate a retaliatory hail of Russian nuclear missiles, Postol said. Nevertheless, he said, "there can be no doubt that such an alert will greatly increase the chances of a nuclear accident involving strategic nuclear forces."
And what, you may ask, might trigger that alert? Well, those wacky guys at the Pentagon are playing with bombs again, trying (according to the story here) to modify submarine-launched missiles, change them from nukes into "conventional weapons" for use on "North Korea and Iran." Woohoo!

Only problem is, the Russians have no way of knowing whether a missile from one of those submarines is a "conventional weapon" for "North Korea" or "Iran," or a "nuke" for "them." So you see the problem here? Good! Maybe you should be in the Pentagon.

Of course it's not such a big problem for me, myself, since I learned how to hide under my desk in school. I don't know if I'd fit under one of those little desks any more but I'd sure be willing to try. You, you're on your own.

What is this, some sort of special phone for girls?

T-Mobile to launch mixed-signal phone

Oh. Wireless and Wi-Fi. That kind of mixed signal. I get it now.

Which would be a very good thing for me. Actually either kind would be a very good thing for me but this kind especially, because I live in a radio-frequency swamp. A signals black hole. A place where oscillations go to die. A terrible place to get a signal. Of any kind. Which is, as things turn out, not all bad - at least I don't need a tinfoil hat.

I just wear mine because I like the way it looks.

On the virtue of dirty, yucky water.

Years ago, captains would actually park in Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal...to kill off any marine growth on their ships, thanks to water so polluted it could change color daily, said John Waldman, a Queens College professor who has studied the environmental history of New York Harbor.
But now, thanks to those goody-goodies who passed the Clean Water Act of 1972, the harbor is once again becoming home to gribbles and shipworms - that's right, gribbles! and shipworms! - which are eating up the boats and piers. Or at least munching on them, which is bad enough. Because munching makes holes and if you happen to own a boat or pier, holes are bad.

(Story: My Way News.)

Got a few aches and pains there, Bunky?

Just delete 'em.
In a new report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said “key information security controls were missing” from a huge communication network used by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

As a result, they said, sensitive, personally identifiable information “could be improperly modified, disclosed or deleted.”
Right. Another one. No big data spills yet, they say, although - see, it's like this - if they have had one they wouldn't know. No way to tell. Right.

And - how many times do we have to talk about this, Bunky, how many times -
The potential for unauthorized users to gain access to the agency’s computers because of a lack of strict password controls. Passwords are often so simple that outsiders can guess them.

(Read more at NYTimes.)