We interrupt this party to pass along a note on current news.

I've avoided adding to the present hubbub swirling about the execution of Saddam Hussein and intend to continue doing so. Make of it what you will; there are plenty of people clamoring to assist.

But for a somewhat broader perspective on the events of this festive holiday season I recommend you read Glenn Greenwald's discussion, posted today.

An excerpt:
It is truly vile to listen to George Bush anoint himself the Arbiter of Due Process and Human Rights by praising the Iraqis for giving a "fair trial" to Saddam when we are currently holding 14,000 individuals (at least) around the world in our custody -- many of whom we have been holding for years and in the most inhumane conditions imaginable -- who have been desperately, and unsuccessfully, seeking some forum, any forum, in which to prove their innocence. This lawlessly imprisoned group includes journalists, political activists, and entirely innocent people.

All of it is here.

God said that? Really? Are they kidding?

Web site called "Chickenhead" parodies NY Daily News by publishing a (sorta) "facsimile" of the Daily News front page.

Gets "Cease & Desist."


Hey! No! I never said that!

DARTMOOR, United Kingdom--After years of being dismissed as effete, the magical creatures known as pixies have begun a campaign to transform their image.

"Pixies aren't pansies," said pixie spokesperson Jack Thistle, the bells on the ends of his shoes tinkling in anger.

I mean really, these guys sound serious.
Instead of souring churnfuls of milk or luring travelers astray with dancing lights, the so-called 'New Pixie' threatens to remove fizz from beer and disrupt football broadcasts....

Hopefully, it won't come to that. The tiny creatures have already made some progress with their new image, often finding employment as bouncers at nightclubs.

Wee little pansy nightclubs, I guess.


Iraq's golden era past, writes CNN.com reader.

The reign of Saddam is over and his "golden" era is already history.


Pretty tough to argue with that one, Bunky.

Well at least it beats "sleeping over at a girlfriend's."

Father sues after daughter spends four days stuck in lift

And those geezers trying to park their SUVs.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Spilt animal parts and a Tomahawk missile that tumbled out of a lorry caused some of the worst traffic nightmares of 2006, according to a report on roadway incidents.

Nice headline! Woohoo!

Woman charged with malicious castration

As opposed to...?

A footnote from the Chicago Tribune.

Castro, that bastard, gave cigars to Saddam Hussein.
He was passionate about cigars, and Fidel Castro kept him stocked with Cuba's finest tobacco.

Oh the treachery.

More stuff you didn't hear much of last year.

Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007
(Project Censored)

F.O.B. driveway.

LOVELAND, Colo. - As if Colorado residents don't have enough snow to dig out from, one resident is offering more for a price on eBay. Starting bids were holding steady Friday at 99 cents for snow from "Blizzard I and Blizzard II" being offered by Mary Walker. She and husband, Jim, got the idea for selling snow after shoveling mounds from two storms a week apart that together dumped more than 4 feet along the Front Range.

I seem to recall a tale about some guy up around Duluth back in the 40s or 50s who got his beach cleared of rocks by offering tourists the opportunity to "pick their own." For a modest fee, of course. So this just might work.

Bring a truck.

In Wisconsin, brain freeze.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Wisconsin's revenue agency said Friday that it sent as many as 170,000 forms to taxpayers with mailing labels mistakenly printed with their Social Security numbers.

The state Department of Revenue was scrambling to alert taxpayers to be on the lookout for the mailings.

"We want to prevent any chance identity theft might occur," department spokeswoman Meredith Helgerson said.

Baghdad Burning:

End of Another Year...


Do you really think you could stand upright?

Roper: "So now you'd give the Devil the benefit of law!"

[Sir Thomas] More: "Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get to the Devil?"

Roper: "I'd cut down every law in England to do that!"

More: "Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you -- where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat. This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast -- man's laws, not God's -- and if you cut them down -- and you're just the man to do it -- do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of the law, for my own safety's sake."

-A Man For All Seasons, play by Robert Bolt

Mushy! Oh yeah!

As some of you may have gathered I have a mild and hopefully short-lived dental situation in progress, nothing serious, but I need to be careful about chewing for another day or two. As in, I really shouldn't be chewing much of anything at all. This was an unforeseen situation so I wasn't really prepared for it, and I got through yesterday on a few cans of some "nutrition drink" stuff, which turns out to be surprisingly disgusting - no one should have to drink that stuff - and a couple cups of something claiming to be "pudding," and Jello.

So when this morning it became apparent this might go on yet for another day or two I repaired to the grocery store. Woohoo! It's amazing how much mushy stuff you can find when you're desperate for something that doesn't taste like a chemical waste dump.

Baked beans! Canned peas! A bunch of those canned "Italian" concoctions! Yogurt! Even a can of corned beef hash (getting daring there). And I didn't even hit the freezer case or the deli counter, and I forgot the cottage cheese. And I have some bananas and some oatmeal and a couple of potatoes I can boil, and even a can of sardines I can probably squash. Like a feast!

I'd kill for a pretzel.

Who said this: "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job."?

No wait. Wait.

Who said this?
"I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday, ticket counters and airplanes will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport."

And this?
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

Yeah, that one's a dead giveway, isn't it. OK, you can say it now. Go for it.


Awwww. It sounds kind of arty to me.

Also freakin' hilarious.
La Scala opera house has canceled a production of Bernstein's "Candide'' that includes a scene with actors dancing in underwear while wearing masks of world leaders including President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.



WASHINGTON — With President Bush leaning toward sending more soldiers to pacify Iraq, his defense secretary is privately opposing the buildup.

Oh no. He don't get no privately here. That's like well, we were against it but we voted for it anyway. That's like we don't really want to do this but here goes. That's like OK, but please don't let it be my ass.

Publicly is all these jerks get. No fingers crossed behind backs.

Yes or no. And we're taking names.


It's not a failure, it's a success that hasn't occured yet!

Holy Crap is right.

I'm not the first to say this, but ain't it nice.

Some stand-in spokesbimbo down there in the bunker's Crawford annex says...
But the President wants to make sure that he's taking the appropriate amount of time and giving the appropriate consideration of all the options before making an announcement.

How sweet. Sure would have been nice, though, if he'd done that four years ago. Given it appropriate consideration. Spent appropriate time. Plans may be nice, but this one's way overdue. And counting.

"Harvest of Shame."

There's been a lot of buzz recently about Keith Olbermann's work, evoking the spirit of Edward R. Murrow, all of which may be true. I only very rarely watch TV (don't own one myself) but I've seen enough of Olbermann to appreciate the resemblance. And it's a welcome resemblance - the spirit of Ed Murrow in TV journalism is a rare thing indeed today.

Last night I had an opportunity to watch Murrow's groundbreaking documentary, "Harvest of Shame," again. First aired on Thanksgiving Day, 1960, in prime time, just as Americans were recuperating from their holiday dinners, "Harvest" brilliantly and graphically exposed the brutal working conditions imposed on US migrant farm workers of the day. It's a monument to the investigative journalist's craft and a goad to the conscience of a nation, produced with equipment by today's standards primitive and featuring unblinking interviews and photography reminiscent of Dorothea Lange's depression-era work.

And if you have a chance to watch it yourself, ask yourself what's changed in the last 45 years. I don't know enough about the treatment of migrant workers today to authoritatively answer that question myself. Likely there's been some progress won by labor organizing in the fields - Chávez's lettuce and grape boycotts of the 1970s come to mind. But the exploitive model "Harvest" lays bare - the practices and the attitudes - has grown deep roots and spread, into the garment industry, the hospitality industry and even retailing, as Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed," and other investigations, reveal.

We could use a whole lot more Murrow in our world.

Trickshot Dick makes Mad...

...gets cover shot on magazine's "tribute to the year's biggest idiots."

(Thanks to Sideshow for finding and Blah3 for posting.)


Aha! Well maybe that's the reason for the dopey grin.

The Mona Lisa used to hang on the wall of Napoleon’s bedroom.

Or so reports the BBC on a list of "100 things we didn't know last year."

OK, so you did know that? Well here's one you didn't.
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobiacs is the term for people who fear the number 666.

Why not just You?

Better yet, why not get out of the "of the Year" business altogether? It doesn't seem to be going terribly well.
President Bush came out on top in this year's AP-AOL News poll, winning as "hero" and "villain" for 2006. But while Bush won "villain of the year" by a "landslide," in earning the "hero" honor, the president triumphed over the U.S. troops fighting the war in Iraq by a much smaller margin.

And notice, in passing, AP-AOL News [what?], in a report summarized by Raw Story here, apparently can't quite put its finger on the president of Iran's name.

Lack of oversight extends beyond Congress.

Way, way beyond, as Christy Hardin Smith, writing at Firedoglake, explains.

For the past six years, Congress has failed in its duty to provide much needed oversight, shining no sunshine into the fraudulant and wasteful cronyism and doled out greedy no-bid handovers.

And at every turn, IG offices in every governmental agency have been stonewalled and stymied in their investigations. Who could forget the refusal to give clearances to DoJ attorneys investigating improper practices within their own Department for the President's own illegal domestic spying program? Yeah, that one was a classic. And, unfortunately, not a unique example with the current bunch.

And it's worth way, way more than just a pullquote. Go read.

It takes a mighty thump to flatten religion and Marxism, both, with one blow, etc etc, blah blah blah.

As longtime Corner readers know, I'm far more sympathetic to intervening on a case by case basis than I am to the religious/holistic/Marxist cases for throwing a wet-blanket on global capitalism in the name of curbing greenhouse gas emissions. This is not to say reasonable anti-pollution regulations aren't a good idea, etc etc, blah blah blah.

But this guy Jonah Goldberg manages by simply not mentioning what the hell he's talking about, except that it involves wet blankets, etc etc, blah blah blah. Maybe this is just some variant on "in bed together but if it is, well, it sounds a little kinky to me. Etc, etc.

Goldberg is writing to suggest, lest one wonder, that if polar bears are indeed threatened by a lack of floating ice we should build them lifeboats because, hey, we can't do anything else about it anyway, so blah blah blah.

And I don't know exactly what "The Corner" is but if standing in it involves wearing a dunce cap it sounds to me like the perfect place for Jonah Goldberg.

Athletic, though.

Gerry Ford was the guy who pardoned Nixon, you may remember. And turned down a chance to play for the Packers.

"But Ford was one of the fittest and most athletic presidents," reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

''There was no doubt in my mind that I was the most athletic president to occupy the White House in years," Ford wrote in a memoir.

So at least we're all agreed on that.

And by the way, you can get your souvenir WIN ("Whip Inflation Now") button at eBay.

Backup meme spreads. Ethiopians seem to do it better.

“The government has taken over Mogadishu,” a transitional government leader, Jama Fuuruh, told Reuters by telephone from Mogadishu’s port.

Right. "Militias loyal to the transitional government" of Somalia, backed up by the Ethiopian army, have captured Mogadishu, reports the NYTimes, backed up by nobody, after "Islamists" scampered.
“No one is really in command,” said one adviser to Western diplomats who has close contacts with both the Islamists and the transitional government. “Chaos is in command.”

So then. Why is it when the Ethiopians back somebody up they capture a whole city, but when we back somebody up it's all they can do to capture a police station? Just wondering here. Maybe we should ask the Ethiopians for some backup.

And what the hell is "an advisor to Western diplomats"?

DOOFUS burnishing in a non-decisional way.

Yes. This according to the Associated Press, which also reports the DOOFUS being assisted in his burnishing (and, presumbably, non-deciding) by "top military and diplomatic advisers" as "critics," none of which, apparently, are among said "top military and diplomatic advisors," urge the "Democratic Congress," whatever that might be (is there a "Republican Congress" too?) to resist a military buildup in Iraq.

Bunker spokesbimbo Scott Stanzel helpfully informs us folks (specifically, the American people, or roughly five percent of the world's population) are "rightfully concerned" about developments in Iraq. (Thanks for the "rightful," Scotty. Gonna stop snooping on the phone calls now?) Whether the other 95% of the world is unconcerned or merely not rightful is unexplained.

Whatever. I do like the idea, and am planning an entirely non-decisional day for myself, some portion of which devoted to wondering how they taught the White House to speak.

George Will on "tranquilizing" Baghdad:

Baghdad is the problem and while we debate what to do in Baghdad, the Shiites are changing the facts on the ground in Baghdad through incremental—not at all stealthy—rather rapid ethnic cleansing. So we may get a monochrome Baghdad out of this which would be ahhh, sad, but perhaps tranquilizing.

Video of Will's "This Week" performance is at Crooks and Liars. And don't even get me started on "monochrome."

George Will is just, ahhh, sad.

(Why is this in parentheses?)

(Which reminds me: why aren't liberals demanding that Silvestre Reyes step down from his new chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee? Imagine how we'd all be howling if a Republican chairman couldn't say whether Al Qaeda was "predominately" Sunni or Shia.)

Well, to be fair, the Frank Dwyer article at HuffPo is about Gerald Ford (he was a bozo). But still. This is not a very parenthetical question.



No metaphor in the bunker.

Really. Just rats, says WIIIAI.
Really, there is absolutely no metaphor to see here, move along

Of course. If Ethiopia bombs Somalia that has nothing to do with Ethiopia. At all.

Tuesday, a day after an Ethiopian jet strafed the airport in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, the State Department issued internal guidance to staff members, instructing officials to play down the invasion in public statements.

"Should the press focus on the role of Ethiopia inside Somalia," read a copy of the guidelines given to The New York Times by a U.S. official here, "emphasize that this is a distraction from the issue of dialogue between the TFIs and Islamic courts."

TFI is an abbreviation for the weak transitional government in Somalia.

"The press must not be allowed to make this about Ethiopia, or Ethiopia violating the territorial integrity of Somalia," the guidance said.

Nothing. Whatsoever.
Ethiopia has long been a strong ally of Washington in the Horn of Africa. The American military has for years trained Ethiopian troops at bases in the eastern region. The training is part of a Pentagon effort to build the Ethiopian military into a bulwark against regional terrorist networks.

See? That's what I mean. OK, well, maybe just a little bit do do with us. But we're not Ethiopia, are we? No. Not at all.


We're having some kind of slush storm. OK not a bad one, and it's just puddling up on the ground like rain, and making the rooftops wet. But I say it's slush and I say to hell with it. I know, it's December. I know, it'll get cold. I know, there'll be snow. But not today.

Also, I can't figure out why Blogger doesn't upload pics the way it used to. I know, there's another way. But not today.

Today I need some groceries, though. For making some nice, easy to chew soup. So out into the slush go I.

See here's the problem with these new-fangled gadgets.

A pilot watched in horror as his plane took off without him.

The airman, 70, saw it soar into the sky and do a loop before crashing, reports the Mirror.

(via Ananova)

Used to be, geezers would just occasionally stomp on the accelerator instead of the brake and mash their Buicks into a garage or something. But now, everybody's running around with iPods and cell phones and airplanes, there's a whole lot more can go wrong. Like, loops. Whoever saw a Buick do a loop? Buicks pretty much just go straight.

Otherwise it's more or less the same story though, guy hit the throttle by mistake and then cranked the prop. And at least he wasn't actually in the plane when it crashed, which is an improvement, of sorts, I guess. Buicks, a guy's more likely to be in.

Planning ahead in Florida.

You know, just in case.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A bill that would automatically return voting rights to felons after they complete their sentences has been introduced by a Florida legislator who is still in office even though he is a convicted felon.,,,

Siplin, a two-term Democrat from Orlando, was convicted in August on felony grand theft charges for having employees work on his 2004 re-election campaign on state time. He was sentenced last month to three years' probation and 300 hours of community service, but that has been postponed pending his appeal.

Siplin was disqualified from voting in November but doesn't get put on the never-vote-again-in-your life list unless he loses his appeal. Or unless, of course, he can get the law changed before that happens.
Florida is one of just three states _ all in the South _ that don't automatically restore voting rights after completion of a sentence, said [FLA] Senate Minority Leader Steven Geller.

Are the "anti-gunners" out to get you? (Or just the NRA?)

Well I don't know. But they sure are a scary looking bunch of dudes, as you can see for yourself on this January, 2007, NRA magazine cover from pudge at Flickr.

Why don't they just outlaw everybody and get it over with?

Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) -- For growing numbers of international business travelers, visa and customs regulations are making trips to the U.S. a thing of the past.

Companies say U.S. rules have become so onerous in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that it's often simpler to meet customers, business partners and employees elsewhere. Exxon Mobil Corp. has resorted to customer meetings in a London branch office; Ingersoll-Rand Co. says it took one of its Indian engineers three 18-hour trips to get his U.S. visa.

Sure, I know, nobody's safe as long as there's an Ingersoll-Rand engineer lurking about. But life goes on. If these so-called "conservatives" insist on hiding under their beds, why don't we just toss them their teddy bears and forget about them, get on with things?

Bunky, you can't be afraid of everybody. It just won't work. And there will always be somebody walking on the grass.


A four-square day.

It wasn't post-Christmas stupor but an early-morning close encounter with the art of dentistry that's had me in a somewhat subdued mood today. Still, the project at hand seems to have been carried off successfully, with only a few minor adjustments scheduled for tomorrow, the whole thing requiring - so far, at least - only four squares of the emergency chocolate bar.

Meanwhile this seems as good a time as any to point out a feature in the sidebar column titled "Items from Elsewhere" which has a "read more" link at the bottom leading in turn to my Google Reader picks, for what they're worth. I'm finding Google Reader to be a very useful device for following a handful of favorite blogs and keeping track of posts ("starred items") that particularly interest me. If you haven't already settled on a favorite newsreader you might want to give Google Reader a try.

So how's it working out so far, BearingPoint (love the studly caps).

In July of 2003, BearingPoint was awarded a contract by USAID worth $79.5 million to facilitate Iraq's economic recovery with a two-year option worth a total of $240,162,688. Responsibilities in this contract include:
1. Creating Iraq's budget
2. Writing business law
3. Setting up tax collection
4. Laying out trade and customs rules
5. Privatize state-owned enterprises by auctioning them off or issuing Iraqis shares in the enterprises.
6. Reopen banks and jump-start the private sector by making small loans of $100 to $10,000.
7. Wean Iraqis from the U.N. oil-for-food program, the main source of food for 60% of the population.
8. Issue a new currency and set exchange rates.


Oh. Sorry. If you've never heard of BearingPoint, maybe this will help...
BearingPoint was formerly KMPG Consulting Inc., the consulting division of the huge accounting firm KPMG LLP that was brought down in the Enron/Arthur Anderson scandal of 2002. On February, 8, 2001, the consulting branch was officially seperated from its parent due to a public offering on the company. When the Enron scandal broke, they changed their name to BearingPoint and subsquently acquired the operations left behind by the deteriorating Arthur Anderson.


I suppose when you're a z-list blogger you can't expect to get this kind of stuff.

But thanks to Gawker (and in turn, The Slug) we can all enjoy...
a joyous little collection of holiday cards from flacks far and wide.

But those already fully absorbed may stay home and blog.

The idea of signing up residents who are seeking U.S. citizenship is gaining traction as a way to address a critical need for the Pentagon, while fully absorbing some of the roughly one million immigrants that enter the United States legally each year.

Signing up? For...? Ah. The military, of course. Ladies and Gentlemen, now introducing...The American Foreign Legion.

Foreign citizens' serving in the U.S. military is a highly charged issue, which could expose the Pentagon to criticism that it is essentially using mercenaries to defend the country," writes Bryan Bender in the Boston Globe (here published in the International Herald Tribune). Mercenaries? Ya think?
The proposal to induct more noncitizens, which is still largely on the drawing board, has to clear a number of hurdles. So far, the Pentagon has been quiet about specifics, like who would be eligible to join, where the recruiting stations would be, and what the minimum standards might involve, like English proficiency.

Well, Pentagon, allow us to help you out a bit. No Muslims, of course - hey, just one of them in Congress has got the wingnuts quivering in fear. Imagine what a whole platoon would do. And none of those Mexicans - we've got way too many of them already. They're trying to take over Arizona! I think the Germans and Italians already have an army of their own. And we certainly don't want no Fr**ch. Or gays.

Australians would be OK except, well, there's that English thing. I'm not sure exactly what "English proficiency" you're looking for, Pentagon. I thought being able to say "yes, Sir," and "clusterfuck" was pretty much enough. But then I was in the old black boot Army and maybe things have changed. Anyway, maybe one or two guys with a little Arabic proficiency would be a good idea. Or one of those other funky Mid-East languages. You know. Whatever.

Or maybe we could snatch ourselves some Canucks.
A recent change in U.S. law, however, gave the Pentagon authority to bring immigrants to the United States if it determines it is vital to national security. So far, the Pentagon has not taken advantage of it, but the calls are growing to use this new authority.

Indeed, some top military thinkers believe the United States should go as far as targeting foreigners in their native countries.

Begging the question what might be meant by "top military thinkers" - that really is a mind-bending concept, isn't it? - you've gotta admit, there's a good, tried-and-true idea there: press gangs. Why not? Beats a draft.

And by the way - what exactly are they talking about, "fully absorbing," anyway?


Looking for something seriously geeky, get you past all that turkey and all those Christmas cookies and back to the real world?

Well OK then. Here ya go. Franticindustries reviews 10 - count 'em, 10 - fledgling (and not so fledgling) WebOSes, right here.

Now all his base are belong to FDR?

THE White House is expected to announce a reconstruction package for Iraq as part of a plan for a “surge” of up to 30,000 troops into Baghdad when President George W Bush unveils America’s new strategy next month.

Bush is being urged to give up to $10 billion (£5.1 billion) to Iraq as part of a “New Deal” that would create work for unemployed Iraqis, following the model of President Franklin D Roosevelt during the 1930s depression.

How beautiful is that?

And how about an extra round of egg nog for those folks still stuck in Denver.

DENVER (AP) - Even with a few added flights, planes leaving Denver's beleaguered airport Christmas Eve teemed with passengers, many of whom had been stranded when a two-day blizzard shut down the runways last week.

The airport's two biggest airlines, United and Frontier, said they finally flew full schedules of a combined 1,200 flights Saturday, plus 12 extra by United. They expected a similar schedule Sunday as travelers around the country whose itineraries were wrecked by the storm's ripple effect raced to get home.

Christmas crimes.

NEW YORK (AP) - There's nobody nice on this Christmas list: snowman stabbers, Grinch snatchers, wreath-robbing weasels. 'Tis the season for strange crimes by even stranger people, with police blotters expanding faster than a 6-year-old's wish list of gifts.

Wait. There's a law against snowman stabbing now?
"Why me?" asked Frosty's owner, Matt Williquette. "And why Frosty?"

Oh. Inflatable snowman. Well then.

But really, running away with the Steppin' Out Dance Studio Christmas float - now, that's bad.

Warhol's back, it seems.

"Everybody wants to be cool and groovy, and there is this nagging feeling that nobody was more cool and groovy than Andy," Doonan offers. "He invented it. Every few years a new generation discovers him and then all the old geezers like me get reminded of how great he was … and funny." One of Doonan's favorite Warholisms? "Employees make the best dates: You don't have to pick them up and they are always tax deductible."

Of course you could wind up an unemployed geezer but hey, you'd be cool and groovy and that's the thing.

You may not know this...

...but way back a long, long time ago, at the beginning of everything, they had Christmas every day. Because, on the very first December 25th, Adam said, "It's Christmas, Eve."

So then the next day...

So go ahead, have your Christmas tree - and everybody else's too.

Here are EarthCam's Christmas Tree Cams.



In a University of Minnesota survey designed to determine who is naughty and who is nice, the naughty outnumbered the nice by a whopping 3-to-1 margin, the university revealed today....

Davis Logsdon, who supervised the survey, said that the rise of the naughty, along with the steady decline of the nice, can be attributed to two major factors. “The Internet has spread naughtiness at a rate that few of us could have anticipated,” Mr. Logdson said. “Also, some of the credit has to go to the Fox network.”

...to quote a card I received recently, "You say naughty like that's a bad thing."

Pretty hip, that Queen.

LONDON (AP) - The Queen's traditional Christmas speech will be available as a podcast for the first time this year, officials at Buckingham Palace announced Friday.

A download can be ordered free in advance on the British monarchy's website www.royal.gov.uk, officials said. Internet users can also view the speech online and a text version will be posted on the royal website.

Is YouTube next?

Sugary good all over my shirt.

Hmmm. I seem to have made some cookies. Those little round "Mexican wedding cake" ones and they came out pretty good, all things considered. And know what? They're not hard to make at all. They're pretty much just butter with some other stuff thrown in. And then you roll them in powdered sugar, and then you scrub the whole kitchen to get rid of the sugar that's left. But what the hell, mine needed scrubbing anyway.

And then you have a plate of cookies, and sugar on your shirt. Yum.

The war profiteers.

"It's the whole peace-on-earth and goodwill-toward-man thing. It lifts us up when people can say 'Merry Christmas' without worrying about whether it's politically correct," said Jennifer Giroux, a Cincinnati entrepreneur. She began marketing rubber bracelets urging "Just Say 'Merry Christmas' " last December; this season, she has sold more than 50,000, at $2 apiece.

I don't know. Somehow I thought "peace on earth" and "goodwill toward man" had more expansive meanings. But you take what you can get, I guess. Go for the bucks.

"It's never been about the money," says Giroux, who plans to donate her profits to charity. Like the American Family Association, perhaps. Who knows.
Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, said he was delighted with the revenue from "War on Christmas" merchandise, which supplemented the ministry's $13 million annual budget. All 500,000 buttons and 125,000 magnets were sold out by early December. "It was very successful for us," Wildmon said.

So there you go. Just like most merchandisers, the Christianists make most of their money on Christmas.
In fact, the fund-raising went so well that the religious right plans to branch out. Next up: The war on Easter.

Scouts for the American Family Association, which is based in Tupelo, Miss., will keep a keen eye out for stores that promote "spring baskets" or "spring bonnets" instead of celebrating Christ's resurrection. The group already has laid in a stash of Easter buttons, bearing three gold crosses and the words "He Lives."

Meanwhile, the way I see it, you can say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" or whatever else you want. No matter which you pick, someone will think you're a dork.

And here's wishing you all a Good Yule.

The missing Mitt.

Laying the foundation of a presidential candidacy, Governor Mitt Romney has spent all or part of 212 days outside Massachusetts so far in 2006, an average of more than four days on the road each week, a Globe review of his public schedules shows.

But still drawing full pay, so far as I know. Funny, huh? How these tax-cutting, budget-busting Rs are willing to short the schools and job training programs and home care for gimpy geezers but grab all they can get for themselves. Oh yeah. Presidential. He fits right in.

Very classy.

CNet News.com reported this week that Karim Yergaliyev, 19, one of the top 30 “diggers,” whose stories get the most diggs from fellow users, agreed to a barter transaction from a marketer, Nathan Schorr, the business development manager for JetNumbers. In exchange for free service, Mr. Yergaliyev acknowledged, he planted an article about JetNumbers, which provides “virtual” telephone numbers (news.com).

“I never do it,” Mr. Yergaliyev told News.com, “but the week JetNumbers asked me, I met this girl and I was really happy with life. I wanted to help anybody.”

When all else fails blame it on your girlfriend. Swift.

Just count your pennies and leave the metaphors to us.

Raccoon Dogs put Diddy in Kettle of Fish

(The Money Times)