But just think how awesome a velvet pink flamingo would be.

(GUARDIAN) -- "Let's face it," Mr Thompson continued, "as iconic emblems of kitsch, there are two pillars of cheesy campiness in the American pantheon. One is the velvet Elvis. The other is the pink flamingo."

Real pink flamingos, the kind you put in your lawn (you do have one in your lawn, don't you?), never mind that Wal-Mart sells 250,000 a year, are an endangered species. The company that's been manufacturing them since 1957, Union Products of Leominster, Massachusetts, is going out of business. If no one can be found to buy the molds and continue the line they'll soon be extinct.

Imagine my surprise.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A public relations firm has revealed that it is behind two blogs that previously appeared to be created by independent supporters of Wal-Mart.

The blogs Working Families for Wal-mart and subsidiary site Paid Critics are written by three employees of PR firm Edelman, for whom Wal-Mart is a paid client, according to information posted on the sites Thursday.

America on the Tigris.

(CORPWATCH) - Not one of the five different US embassy sites he had worked on around the world compared to the mess he describes. Armenia, Bulgaria, Angola, Cameroon and Cambodia all had their share of dictators, violence and economic disruption, but the companies building the embassies were always fair and professional, he says. The Kuwait-based company building the $592-million Baghdad project is the exception. Brutal and inhumane, he says “I’ve never seen a project more fucked up. Every US labor law was broken.”


(TRUTHDIG) - I’m the one who has been writing for two years that the American people are fed up with the war in Iraq and with the Bush administration’s lies and incompetence. I’m the one that keeps beating the Washington press corps about the head over how out of touch it is. I’m the one who has been insisting there’s a Democratic tide out here, and that the people are so far ahead of the politicians and the media it’s painful to watch.

So how come I’m not thrilled? Because I watched this happen two years ago—same rejection of the Iraq war, same disgust with Bush and Co., same understanding that Republicans are for the rich, period, same polls showing D’s with the lead going right into Election Day. And the same geographic gerrymander and same wall of money in the last two weeks. I’m not close to calling this election, and I’m sure not into celebrating anything yet.


And as long as they can keep it that way they've got a real good thing going there.

MADRID (Reuters) - It's the world's most expensive cigar -- $440 each and it only comes in boxes of 40 -- but is it the best? Nobody knows because no one has smoked one.

The movie industry? Who would have guessed?

(SEATTLE PI) - Boy Scouts in the Los Angeles area will now be able to earn a merit patch for learning about the evils of downloading pirated movies and music.

The patch shows a film reel, a music CD and the international copyright symbol, a "C" enclosed in a circle.

The movie industry has developed the curriculum.

Maybe it beats camping out in a blizzard. Or maybe not.

A reminder...

...from your friendly National Archives.

There'll always be a...New Zealand?

(BBC) -A New Zealand clergyman has been dubbed the "knicker-vicar" for coming to the aid of women in his town who found themselves with a brief problem....

Rev Husband said the scheme was open to all, regardless of faith.


Big rain came, blew away the big red tree. Well, not the tree itself, but pretty near all the leaves. Now they're on my little green car.

Oh well. The big rain tree never got much beyond big yellow this year. It's been a really downletting autumn for color. Some of the trees outside my window are still green. But the big red tree, more recently the big yellow tree, is now the big scraggly.

Close, but no cigar.

I'm pulling away from where I worked this morning and glance down at the odometer and here's what it says:

Not that I need a life or anything. But, really, it would have been cool to see all 1s.

Fry the vote?

(BRAD FRIEDMAN - HUFFPO) - The story rightly refers to "a virtual meltdown" from last spring's primary in Chicago and Cook County, and goes on to add that vote totals can be completely fried...

Let me be clear here: Our elections are not a fucking Beta Tests for unpatriotic Voting Machine Companies. Our Elections are the core of our democracy and should be handled with the care and accuracy and security and transparency that the citizens of the United States deserve.

There are no excuses for the blatant FAILURES (not "glitches", not "snafus", "snags" or "hiccups") of these voting machines, Voting Machine Companies, and the Elections Officials who FAILED to make sure the systems they have purchased to do the job that WE hired them for, actually work and to the job they are supposed to do.

TGI freakin' F

MIAMI (AFP) - The top US general defended the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying it is inspired by God.

"He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country," said Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


If they didn't have this guy, bin Laden, they'd have to invent him.

(Raw Story) - An unsubtle new ad released today by the Republican National Committee features fleeting video of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and other terrorist imagery.

Just go read this one for yourself.

(HUFFINGTON POST) - Bush Spins the Rising Bloodshed: The Iraqis Are Killing Each Other Over There to Sway Your Vote Over Here

The corporate war.

(INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE) - Instead, attacks have actually jumped more than 20 percent over the first three weeks of the holy month of Ramadan, compared with the previous three weeks, said Major General William Caldwell, the military's chief spokesman in Iraq.

Is it just me or does this sound like something from a quarterly report?

It's all about "perception management," this one is. The guys who are running it still think they lost Vietnam because the hippies got better press.

Sure, why not, who needs news anyway?

NEW YORK - NBC Universal said Thursday it would cut 700 jobs and streamline its news operations as part of an overhaul that is aimed at exploiting new forms of electronic distribution. NBC, a unit of General Electric Co., said it expects the revamp to save $750 million in operating expenses by 2008. The job cuts would represent about 5 percent of its work force.

And wait - there's more.
NBC Universal will stop scheduling high-priced dramas and comedies during the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. slot, The Wall Street Journal reported in advance of the announcement Thursday.

Jeff Zucker, chief executive of NBC Universal's television group, said he'll focus on cheaper programming.

I don't have a TV so it really doesn't matter how cheap they get, as far as I'm concerned. But if I'd just dropped two or three grand on one of those beautiful monster-screen babies I saw last time I went to Circuit City I'm not sure "cheaper programming" is exactly what I'd want to hear. I mean, cheaper news is pretty much what we've already got. But cheaper programming, that's a different thing.

Isn't it?

Wait! Don't leave us there!

“Probably over 90 to 95 percent of our female costumes have a flirty edge to them,” Ms. Getz said, adding that sexy costumes are so popular the company had to break its “sexy” category into three subdivisions this year.

Three subdivisions? Yes? Yes...?

But that's all she wrote, "she" being Stephanie Rosenbloom of the New York Times.

Stephanie, that's just cruel.

Guy walks out of art show with 50-lb. bronze nude.

The Associated Press explains:
It was last seen at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, and may have been rolled on a trail of T-shirts and windbreakers workers came back to that lead out the door.

Ahhh. And I just thought he had a short date.

Yeah, but who reads money anyway?

ALMATY (Reuters) - The Kazakhstan central bank has misspelled the word "bank" on its new notes, officials said on Wednesday.

Or wait, no, how about "Clueless People Time"?

(CHARLESTON POST AND COURIER) - Engelman said she's offended that people put words in her mouth and that she never said "Colored People Time." Engelman said she intended for "CPT" to mean "Certain People Time," which she said referred to influential people who are continually late.

The anti-cowboys.

WASHINGTON(AFP) - President George W. Bush has approved a new national space policy aimed at denying "adversaries'" the use of space capabilities deemed hostile to US interests.

Tony Snowjob tries to wriggle away from it with "The notion that you would do defense from space is different than the weaponization of space."

Bull. You don't "do defense" without weapons, in the first place, and in the second, we all know by now that under the Dubya Doctrine "doing defense" means attacking anybody we damn well please.

If these guys really had seen all the John Wayne movies they claim to idolize they would know the gunslinger always gets shot down in the end.

So they're not even honest about what movies they go to. Unless they were just too busy gobbling popcorn to watch the screen.


Finally, some good news.

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. - Organizers of fourth annual Turkey Testicle Festival can keep their name, despite concerns about the propriety of the word and the island's virtue.

"The yawn across the country."


He did take it with him.

HOUSTON, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- A Houston judge Tuesday vacated the indictment and criminal conviction of former Enron Corp. Chairman Ken Lay, who died July 5 of a heart attack....

In vacating Lay's indictment and conviction, Lake cited a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that makes death, before the appeals process has been exhausted, grounds for tossing convictions and indictment. Justice Department lawyers had opposed the action.

That's, in case you missed it the first time, "a Houston judge."

It's sure not gonna win any prizes.

But it sorta looks like autumn. In a way.

Meanwhile the only sure way to tell what season it is is that the public works department is tearing up the streets. What makes them want to do that every year, right before winter sets in?

And it isn't just the local guys either. The state has been working on the overpass out by the highway since last winter and now they say they'll be finished by Thanksgiving. Oh, right. Way to rub it in. The last time I heard a contractor say that it took until Easter. So if you think I'm holding my breath, think again.

No kidding.

O'REILLY: Sixty percent of Americans are now against the Iraq War. Why?

BUSH: Because they want us to win.

So O'Reilly follows up with the slow pitch of all slow pitches:
O'REILLY: Is one of the reasons they've turned against the war in Iraq is that the anti-Bush press pounds day in and day out in newspapers, on the network news, in books like Bob Woodward's, that you don't know what you're doing there[?]

I don't have the video so I don't know if he had to read the answer off the back of his hand or not.

(And thanks to WIIIAI for finding this.)

Terrorist jocks!

OK, I'm sorry I said that. But still. It's true. And anyway, I'm trying to get into the fear thing here. Like a good American.
(BBC) - US treasury officials are investigating whether American basketball players who were paid to play for Iranian teams have violated US sanctions.

Fear the Internet!

(REUTERS) - "We now have a capability of someone to radicalize themselves over the Internet," Chertoff said on the sidelines of a meeting of International Association of the Chiefs of Police.

"They can train themselves over the Internet. They never have to necessarily go to the training camp or speak with anybody else and that diffusion of a combination of hatred and technical skills in things like bomb-making is a dangerous combination," Chertoff said. "Those are the kind of terrorists that we may not be able to detect with spies and satellites."

Also, you could get hit on by a sex-starved Congressman. How scary would that be? Whoa.

I'm staying under my bed.

(Oh yeah. The guy who said that was the really freaking scary Michael Chertoff. Are we paying attention here?)

You mean, like, fill the potholes?

(DOONSBURY) - Since 9/11, when 3,000 perished, nearly 200,000 Americans have died on the highway. But have you spent a trillion dollars to make driving safer?

DOOFUS picks up an endorsement.

(Magazine site)


Oh spare us the perky prose, Scott.

(BOSTON HERALD) - These are tough times for Hooters locally. In fact, for the operators of the racy restaurant chain’s New England outlets, it’s been a bit of a bust.

Where'd you get that "they," Kemosabe?

(THINK PROGRESS) - [Trickshot Dick] Cheney then pointed to various news items to paint a positive picture of conditions in Iraq and concluded, “If you look at the general overall situation, they’re doing remarkably well.”

Ummmm. OK, maybe "they" are his oil buddies. Or his Haliberton buddies. Or Martians - yeah, maybe he's talking about Martians. Or maybe he's talking about the little spookies that live under his bed. But it sure isn't any "they" I know anything about.

Do we have an extradition treaty with Paraguay?

(SPIIDERWEB) - At least two sources, including Upsidedownworld and Prensa Latina, report rumors of a Bush family purchase of land in northern Paraguay.

Water's edge.

Think we ought to find ourselves a few bighter bulbs?

(KHALEEJ TIMES) - BAGHDAD - Iraq and Iran have formed a working group to build closer security and intelligence ties, the Iraqi government announced Sunday, despite US concerns over Teheran’s role in the country.

(BBC NEWS) - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reportedly delivered a scathing attack on US President George W Bush, saying he is inspired by Satan.
Well, hey, Satan has "concerns," doesn't he? I suppose.

Add all those hundreds of billions of dollars to your "cheap oil" bill.

(ALTERNET) - Even as Iraq verges on splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as "the prize."

Iraq is sitting on a mother lode of some of the lightest, sweetest, most profitable crude oil on earth, and the rules that will determine who will control it and on what terms are about to be set.

he Iraqi government faces a December deadline, imposed by the world's wealthiest countries, to complete its final oil law....

Google goes all sunny soon.

(BOINGBOING) - Google's headquarters in Mountain View, CA will soon become America's largest solar electric installation on a single corporate site, and one of the largest such projects in the world, according to solar power systems integrators EI Solutions.

Google may be the latest incarnation of the Evil Empire but they really do make it all so cool.

(Insert overlords joke here.)



(CNN) -- Have you ever wished for a backup brain -- a device that could remember everything in your life from the smallest of details to your most memorable moments?

But thanks for playing.

OK, and what if it didn't?

If voting technology allowed, voting machines would be required to prevent a voter from voting more than the number of times permitted for any one office.

Didn't allow, I mean. I'm wondering.

There are three initiatives on the MA ballot this year. One would allow grocery stores to sell wine - that's sort of a no-brainer, huh? - one is this one, and the third I haven't read yet. This one allows more than one party to nominate the same candidate, and then all the votes for however many nominations to be added together. If you see what I mean. I am reliably informed by MoveOn that all the libsymps are in favor of this, because in their fevered imagination a D gets also nominated by, say, the Greens and the HuggieBuggies, gets listed on the ballot three times in consequence, collects up all those votes, and wins. And no R would ever get nominated by anybody else but the Rs. I guess. Something like that.

But I'm not sure. It all sounds a little iffy. I'll have to think.

I do like this part, though:
The proposed law states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.

Sort of like, if you drive a stake through its heart it just keeps on going anyway. That's kind of cool.

Does Homeland Security know about this stuff?

You can't even smell it coming, looks like.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Immigration policy will fence the border, providing economic stimulus to the Mexican ladder industry. The National Guard is stationed on the Rio Grande--U.S. troops standing be tween you and yard care. President Bush said that if illegal immigrants want citizenship they'd have to do three things: pay taxes, hold meaningful jobs, and learn English. Bush doesn't meet those qualifications.

(O'Rourke, The Weekly Standard)

Sounds great!

"It is a perfect opportunity to combine holidays and dental care," she said.

I mean, some people like to go skiing or sailing or swimming or golfing (well, some) but not me - no! - I like to get my teeth cleaned. She said.

OK, I just made that last part up. But still.

Not for nothing do they call it Newsweak.

That seems like something a few people in America might like to know, right?

Wrong! It would only confuse and anger Americans, who have enough problems already! That’s why the new U.S. edition is filled with important little tiny short articles such as “Parties: How to Have Fun,” “Rock Music: Secrets of ‘Shredding’” and a very special 400-word article about how 77% of Americans spend most of their time praying to their dead relatives’ ghosts, which are everywhere these days.


I don't know how true this is but just imagining it is awesomely beautiful.

Over the past decade, the State Department estimates that the number of Americans living in Mexico has soared from 200,000 to 1 million (or one-quarter of all U.S. expatriates). Remittances from the United States to Mexico have risen dramatically, from $9 billion to $14.5 billion in just two years. Although initially interpreted as representing a huge increase in illegal workers (who send parts of their salaries across the border to family), it turns out to be mainly money sent by Americans to themselves to finance Mexican homes and retirements.

(San Francisco Chronicle)

What the hell, says Reuters, we have nothing better to do.

News wire service Reuters has added its name to a growing number of top shelf real businesses that are setting up shop in the fast growing online fantasy world creation of Linden Lab called Second Life. Reuters is setting up a virtual news bureau, that will report on the events that happen in Second Life as well as the real world, events that sometimes intersect both sets of realities.


"Drug war" or no, 16% of Americans are smoking something funny, poll reveals.

A poll conducted last week by the New York Times and CBS news found that just 16% of Americans believe the Bush Administration is telling the truth about what they knew prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.


Pass the cake.

Today should have been a day for a celebratory feast. Exactly 10 years ago 176 world leaders at the World Food Summit pledged to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015.

Instead it is a day for commiseration and recrimination. More than 850 million are still hungry - some 18 million more than in 1996. And while issues such as debt forgiveness, a better trade deal for Africa and climate change have grabbed the headlines, food has been left off the menu.

(The Independent)

Because those evil terrorists might try to blow up Lake Michigan?

Carole Loftis, the owner of Snug Harbor, a popular restaurant with windows on the water, said that although she certainly carried concerns, like most Americans, about terrorism, drunken boating seemed a more frequent threat around here. “This seems a little like overkill,” Ms. Loftis said of the shooting plans.

Coast Guard wants to install machine guns, practice in 33 live fire "safety zones" on the lakes. Go figure.
The notion is so unusual that it prompted United States diplomats to negotiate with Canadian authorities in order to agree that it would not violate a 189-year-old treaty, signed after the War of 1812, limiting arms on the Great Lakes.

Don't trust 'em, eh.

Politics Chicago style.

In a city that celebrates its history of ballot-box chicanery, Abel Gomez thought it perfectly reasonable to trade his vote for a promise that the city would chop down the hated maple tree in front of his house.

"If you're going to vote for somebody, they should do something for you," said Gomez, a maintenance worker who lives in a two-story frame house on the city's Southwest Side....

So the machinery of politics arrived at Gomez's home in the form of a chain saw....

(Chicago Tribune)

No money, no sleep.

...starting today, [homeless will] only be able to sleep from 8 a.m. to noon, cutting their sleep time in half. The St. Boniface Neighborhood Center, an outgrowth of the church that runs the sleeping program and provides other services, has had a tough time fundraising lately -- and if the financial situation doesn't turn around, the sleeping program could end altogether.

(San Francisco Chronicle)

Even in Boston, a pander is pander, not a bear.

In a passionate pitch simulcast to millions of Christian conservatives across the nation, Gov. Mitt Romney blasted gay marriage in Massachusetts as a danger to kids and urged the passage of a national ban on same-sex marriage.

Boston Herald

Count the days!

Saddam Verdict Expected Within 3 Weeks

Imagine! Shave just, I don't know, a day or two off that schedule and we could have the glorious news - why, look at that! - right before the election. How lucky is that?

So this'll be the greatest non-event of the age (I would say "ever" but the way things are going...), won't it? The Saddam verdict! What will it be?

It's just too much suspense for a Monday morning, isn't it?


Sounds like a deal breaker to me.

Apple's Steve Jobs comments on the Microsoft ("iPod killer") Zune's reputed ability to share music wirelessly:
"It takes forever," Mr Jobs told Newsweek in an interview posted on the magazine's web site on Sunday. "By the time you've gone through all that, the girl's got up and left."
(Australian IT)

Inappropriate - uh huh. Grossly - you bet.

“Despite repeated assurances to bondholders, (MassHighway and Romney’s Executive Office of Transportation) . . . did not inspect the I-90 connector tunnel section where the July 10, 2006, collapse occurred,” Sullivan’s report states. “It is clear that casual disregard for the truth was grossly inappropriate.”
Boston Herald

Well, it's trying.

That's about all I can say for the big red tree this year.

Of course there may still be a day or two of big red later. If there is, you'll see.

When sorry isn't enough.

Ditto. Every word.

And BTW, Mike's blog is one you should be reading every day.

Just wait til O'Reilly hears about this.

Married couples, whose numbers have been declining for decades as a proportion of American households, have finally slipped into a minority, according to an analysis of new census figures by The New York Times.
Oh oh.

Of course the good news is, now that the world has ended, maybe we can finally quit yammering get on with things.

Or, no. That would really be too good to be true.

But in what way is this "news," AP?

The Associated Press unleashed this stunner yesterday:
When no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, Bush shifted his war justification to one of liberating Iraqis from a brutal ruler.

After Saddam's capture in December 2003, the rationale became helping to spread democracy through the Middle East. Then it was confronting terrorists in Iraq "so we do not have to face them here at home," and "making America safer," themes Bush pounds today.

"We're in the ideological struggle of the 21st century," he told a California audience this month. "It's a struggle between good and evil."

Vice President Dick Cheney takes it even further: "The hopes of the civilized world ride with us," Cheney tells audiences.
How's that for an astonishing scoop? And, not content with just one bit of brilliant reporting, they follow on with this:
[Some guy named Michael O'Hanlon, a "foreign policy scholar" at the Brookings Institution, reveals] " the war is not headed the way it should be."
Whoa. Nice scholaring there, Michael. And nice reporting, AP. Who would have guessed.

And yes I am feeling a little grumpy this morning. Deal with it.