For a mere $82 a computer scientist and electronic voting critic managed to purchase five $5,000 Sequoia electronic voting machines over the internet last month from a government auction site. And now he's taking them apart....

Sequoia and other voting machine companies have long resisted calls from voting activists to make their proprietary software transparent to the public, because they say it would allow hackers to study the software and devise ways to plant malicious code in it. But Appel says his purchase of the machines shows how easy it is for hackers to obtain and study the software anyway.
(Wired News)

So what's the big deal here? We have FEMA, don't we?

The 20-million-tonne object has a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting the Pacific Ocean in early April of 2036. If it did hit, it could trigger a tsunami that would do an untold amount of damage to the California coastline and many other places on Earth.

Oh yeah.

A year later, the PowerBook Duo was born. Extremely thin and lightweight for its time, the Duo was arguably one of the first true sub-notebooks for the masses. It packed a bare minimum of features, otherwise relying on a docking station for extra video memory, storage space, connectors, and connectivity to external displays.
(Apple Insider)
I had one of these. This was back in the days when desktop computers lay horizontally rather than standing vertically like they do today, and the "docking station" was at least as big as desktop box - a little bit larger, even. The laptop slid into the docking station pretty much the same way a floppy disk slides in. There was a small hard drive in the laptop and a much larger one in the dock. So in effect it was a laptop that acted like a desktop on your desk. A pretty nifty solution - no cables to unplug every time you wanted to take the laptop along, battery always charged, no problem syncing files.

It still sounds pretty good.

Somebody's not clapping their hands.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - All Peter Pan peanut butter bought since May 2006 should be discarded, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday in a statement broadening its warning about salmonella-contaminated peanut butter.
And come on, who's still got peanut butter that was bought last May?

Isolated band of hippies discovered hiding out in China

"Is war over yet?" they ask.

Who you gonna believe, Tony Snowjob wants to know...

"What went wrong?" the reporter reasonably asked.

Snow replied: "I'm not sure anything went wrong."
(Editor & Publisher)
...me or your lying eyes?

Feeling a little bit left out today? Is that your problem, Bunky?

Well, hey. The DOOFUS says get used to it:
The House of Representatives has passed a resolution expressing disapproval of President Bush's plan to send reinforcements to Iraq. This plan enjoys the support of the Iraqi government and U.S. military leadership, including Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, who recently was confirmed to his post by an 81-0 vote in the Senate.
See? The Iraqi government likes it. The U.S. military leadership including Gen. David Petraeus likes it. So you're just outta luck.

PS. DOOFUS also says: Hey Congress, in your face!

Hey, Hugo! I'll take 'em!

CARACAS (Reuters) - President Hugo Chavez said he will chop three zeros off new bolivar currency bills to bolster Venezuelans' perception of a strong currency in a bid to curb inflation, which is now highest in Latin America.
I mean, Dude - if you've got some zeros you want to get rid of. Put me down for a bunch.

Or just two or three would be nice.

MO Congressbimbo takes one for the Alamo

AKIN: Could you picture Davy Crockett at the Alamo looking at his Blackberry getting a message from Congress? “Davy Crockett, we support you. The only thing is we are not going to send any troops.” I’m sure that would really be impressive to Davy Crockett.
(Think Progress)
Click the link to watch the video, read the comments, and reflect on just how ludicrous this Iraq "debate" has become.

Little Kim settles for a boatload of crud

On Tuesday, North Korea finally agreed to shut down its main Yongbyon nuclear facility in exchange for energy aid—a shipment of 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil, with more to follow.,,,

Also known as No. 6 Fuel oil, Residual Oil, Bunker C, or simply HFO, heavy fuel oil is so thick—roughly the consistency of tar—that it must be heated to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit before it can flow through pipes or be fed into a combustion chamber. Since this process typically requires heavy pressurized steam equipment, the use of heavy fuel oil is practical only on a large scale; for example, in thermal power generators, heating plants, or the large boilers onboard ships.
So little Kim gets screwed, right?
The tentative deal on North Korea's nuclear weapons program made on Feb. 13 is worse than the one the Bush administration wrecked in 2005. It's considerably worse than the one the Clinton administration made, but did not abide by, in 1994.

This deal lets North Korea keep whatever nuclear weapons it has already built, plus whatever others it can build with fissile material it has already produced. But it's probably the best deal left.
(The Hamilton Spectator)


The Red Elvis

You know, Dean Reed. The most famous American in the world! The guy who made all the cowboy movies! Come on, he's like Michael Jackson!...

How did a kid from Denver, Colorado end up being a socialist star?


So does this mean they'd have to start teaching metrics?

PHOENIX (AP) -- A proposed state law would prohibit any instructor in a public school or college from advocating or opposing a political candidate or one side of a social, political or cultural issue that is part of a partisan debate.
(Raw Story)
Sounds like to me. So that would be good then, wouldn't it?

"Justice Department" flouts law? Oh, come on.

How is this news?
Quietly implemented in December, the special "Communications Management Unit" (CMU) at a federal penitentiary in Indiana targeting Muslim and Middle-Eastern inmates was not implemented through the process required by federal law, which stipulates the public be notified of any new changes to prison programs and be given the opportunity to voice objections. Instead, the program appears to have been ordered and implemented by a senior official at the Department of Justice.
(Raw Story)

Sounds like just more of the same, to me. If there were any justice, half of "Justice" would be in jail.

Illiniwek goes to that great end zone in the sky

URBANA, Ill. Feb 16, 2007 (AP)— The University of Illinois will retire its 81-year-old American Indian mascot, Chief Illiniwek, following the last men's home basketball game of the season on Wednesday.

The NCAA in 2005 deemed the buckskin-clad Illiniwek an offensive use of American Indian imagery and barred the university from hosting postseason events.

American Indian groups and others complained for years that the mascot, used since 1926, is demeaning. Supporters of the mascot say it honors the contributions of American Indians to Illinois.

Well, for what it's worth, I saw Chief Illiniwek perform at a few U of I football games some years ago and I would have to count myself a fan. But obviously some folks thought otherwise. So there ya go.


Best durn reason I've heard yet for having a war.

Nawww. Ya think?

International analysts said it seems Shiite militia and Sunni insurgent groups had decided to keep to the shadows and prepare their next move during the sweep, which was announced in detail two months ago.

"I would suggest that both armed groups ... will lie low for as long as the United States carries out this military action in Baghdad," said Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group.

Some people are just so cynical.

Is there a Mr. Rorschach in the house?

I'm sort of fascinated by the reaction to this picture of two people, "their arms still wrapped around each other in an enduring embrace" (says Reuters) released as a "Valentine's Day gift" to Italy by some archaeologists digging near Mantova. What I'm wondering is, how are we so sure these two weren't fighting? That would be a more logical assumption, seems to me, given that they both wound up dead. Of course, given they're 5,000 or so years old, they'd probably both be dead by now anyway.

How do we know this isn't just a pair of early Italian football fans?

Oh, fine. Now they tell me.

The Earth's hum comes from the bottom of the sea and not from turbulence in the atmosphere, says a US researcher, backing a novel theory put forward in 2004.

The hum is a low rumble continually present in the ground even when there are no earthquakes happening, but is detectable only by very sensitive seismometers. Its frequency is near 10 millihertz, below the range of human hearing.
(New Scientist)
Something on the bottom of the ocean is humming? And we're hung up on Anna Nicole Smith? Whoa, dude.

Of course if this "rumble" is "below the range of human hearing," that (alas) rules the US Congress out.


Not just beans anymore.

Sounds a whole lot like harboring terrorists to me

Spanish intelligence agents were said to have been allowed to question inmates of Guantanamo Bay about Setmarian in 2002. But access to suspects in US custody was blocked after Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq following the Madrid bombs.

Spain has made repeated requests to both Pakistan and the US to locate and speak to Setmarian about the train bombings but to no avail. The Spanish courts have discovered that they cannot issue an extradition request because the man they want to talk to has not been officially arrested.
(Times Online)

Well. We know how to deal with countries who harbor terrorists.

Oh. Wait.


There's really no way to describe how funny this is

A little clipping from a page at the Weather Channel site:
Today in Greenfield

Rush hour traffic conditions

"Rush hour" in Greenfield is three cars at once. OK, on very exceptionally busy days, four.

Oh, this is cruel.

A salmonella outbreak that has slowly grown to nearly 300 cases in 39 states since August has been linked to tainted peanut butter, federal health officials said Wednesday.
Once upon a time, back near the Beginning of Everything - before the Internet, even - peanut butter was the Official Food of Everybody Under Ten. I grew up on the stuff. Even today I am rarely without a jar of the stuff. (Hint: Get the real kind with real peanut oil, the kind you have to stir.) But no longer is it, like, vaguely perverted for a kid to show up for school without a peanut butter sandwich in a paper bag. Peanut butter has fallen upon bad times.

Some school systems, I'm told, go so far as to forbid it, so common have violent allergies to peanut butter become. Travelers worry about peanuts on the plane. Some have allergies so severe even getting kissed by someone who's been eating peanuts is a threat. Says the Mayo Clinic, "peanut allergies account for 80 percent of fatal or near-fatal allergic reactions each year."

Bummer. And now, salmonella too? That's really cruel.

But, I suppose, if you've got some peanut butter lying around you probably ought to check this out.

The new, more festive snow gauge

Some may recall that in previous years my snow gauge has exactly resembled a standard, backyard-variety picnic table. This year the old gauge has been replaced by a festive transparent plastic sheet having beneath it a large lump exactly resembling a standard, backyard-variety picnic table. I like to think of this innovative new design as a big improvement.

Looks to me like about a foot and a half.


Ollie! Way to go!

I was looking for that quote about the "faithful couriers" and "gloom of night" and "neither snow nor rain" - you know, the post office one, with the intention of saying something a little grumpy but not entirely unkind, given the circumstances, about the snow part, when I ran across this bit from Oliver Wendall Holmes.
"The United States may give up the Post Office when it sees fit, but while it carries it on, the use of the mails is almost as much a part of free speech as the right to use our tongues."

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., 1841-1935
U. S. Supreme Court Justice
Milwaukee Social Democratic Publishing Co. v. Burleson, 1921

Could we arrange for somebody to read this to the DOOFUS, please?

And by the way, the Post Office quote (both quotes courtesy of Eigen's Political and Historical Quotations)...
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these faithful couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

...ascribed to Herodotus, and inscribed on the New York Post Office Building on 8th Avenue, never was officially adopted by the US Post Office and, anyway, was meant (according to Eigen) to celebrate the post-riders of ancient Persia and not your basic American mail luggers - who are, come to that, pretty cool guys too, snow or no.

Sea Knight down. And more.

The most striking of these downings was a CH-46 "Sea Knight" double-rotor helicopter which went down last week. The military initially reported that it went down due to "mechanical failure," but then a video surfaced on the internet which clearly shows a missile of some type which strikes the helicopter from behind, causing an explosion. The video tracks the smoking helicopter all the way to the ground. Faced with this evidence, the military still stuck to their "malfunction" script, which could be summed up as: "Who are you going to believe: the Pentagon, or your lying eyes?" Finally, they admitted just yesterday that it indeed had probably been shot down.

Having just finished reading listening to Charlie Wilson's War (see sidebar), I've been thinking pretty much the same thing Chris Weigant's saying in this Huffington Post piece - including the part about the uptick in helicopter losses might be just a fluke.

Might be. Still, acquiring the means to shoot down helicopters was instrumental in the Afghans' success in defeating the Soviet Army in the 80s and a similar development in Iraq could be devastating to the US in Iraq. This development deserves a lot more attention than it's been paid by the press.

Fauxies want to sit in front row, stay up later on school nights.

It's not fair!

I'm Spartacus.

Count me in. And thanks to Blue Gal - and Shakespeare's Sister, of course.

Nawww. We own the British now, don't we?

Boehner went on: “We are engaged in a global war now for our very way of life. And every drop of blood that’s been spilled in defense of liberty and freedom from the American Revolution to this very moment is for nothing if we’re unwilling to stand up and fight this threat.” So if we withdraw from Iraq, we’re going to have to fight the British for our independence again. It’s that simple.

Well whatever. I don't know. But what I do know is you should be reading the excellent Whatever It Is, I'm Against It.

Once upon a time in America...

...it was believed - at least we claimed to believe - that a person released from prison had paid his (or her) "debt to society" and should be given another class. The caveat is there because, yeah, I do suppose the sentiment was not always scrupulously carred out in fact. Now, though, it seems the sentiment itself has pretty much vanished, as witness the some states who deny convicted felons the right to vote, not to mention the scarlet-letter laws, proliferating. Which is to say that TChris, at TalkLeft, strikes the right note, IMHO, on the story that the US military is raising the number of "moral waivers" it makes for recruits, allowing people with past criminal convictions to join.
Desperation breeds forgiveness. Enlistees with conviction records made up almost 12 percent of the Army's recruits in 2006. It's unfortunate that the only opportunity to obtain employment available to many of these ex-offenders is in such a dangerous occupation.

Speaking of which, or not, the Feb. 12 New Yorker magazine includes a review of a new book entitled "The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare As We Know It" (Houghton Mifflin), by David A Bell, which advances the premise that the concept of total warfare grew from the Enlightenment notion of total peace. If you're at all interested in military history, this sounds to me like one you might put on your list.

Few things are more refreshing...

...than standing in a snow drift when the bottom of your boots fall off. Yeah. They were those yellow shitkicker boots I bought in Michigan about 15 years ago and they had that sort of gummy sole they put on the kangaroo shoes, whatever they're called. You know what I mean. And I didn't wear them often, mostly for stuff just like today: shoveling snow. I guess the gummy stuff just rotted away or something. I don't know. But they sure did fall off.

Those forecast guys were pretty much right on. About a foot of snow has fallen and been duly shoveled out of the driveway and I'm thinking I'll make a break for the grocery store before it all snows back. Which it will do - only maybe not so much - because it still is. Snowing, I mean. Or sort of semi-snowing. It's not quite wet enough yet to be called sleet, but it's close. The radar seems to show most of the really wet stuff is staying south of us.

And here's an idea! When this melts off, I will blog about the grass growing.

News in re-runs.

That must be it. I've been wondering for the last few days why everything seems so stale, and then it came to me. The news is in re-runs. With all these panels and invesigations - not to mention, Iraqn - the headlines are finally about stuff we knew three or four years ago. Maybe that's good, but it sure is dull.

Meanwhile, I am going out to battle the raging storm. Well, not too raging at the moment - but (and go figure this out, willya) so far it's come off more or less exactly as predicted. I mean, where I live, if you bet against the weatherman more often then not you'll collect - but this time, no.

I admit, it doesn't look as terrible on the ground as it did in my imagination yesterday. But it's still coming down, and if we wait until it quits coming down there'll be a whole lot m0re to get back up. So, out to up some now.

I will post a picture of the snow gauge - which was running on empty before this started - later.


For the moment let's file this under...

We're Gonna Hear About This Again:
According to senior military officials al Sadr left Baghdad two to three weeks ago, and fled to Tehran, Iran.

A wee tiny bit of hope creeps in.

In my never-ending search for better predictions I've managed to get the probability of significant snowfall here over the next 24 hours down from 100 percent to 90. But no way am I going to mention that here because I don't want to jinx the whole thing. I mean, anyway. It's still a whole lot of chance on a pretty good lot of snow. Or ice. Or both. Or some other evil thing. If I were going to mention that. Which I'm not.

Meanwhile, everybody's been acting sort of weir today. Like, lining up at the donut shop to lay in extra supplies. That kind of thing.

Because most of "nature" is still on dial-up, Dude.


TREE HUGGER - One would think that with growing environmental awareness and the rise of the green movement, tree huggers everywhere would be flocking to national parks. In fact, over the last ten years attendance at Yosemite has dropped 17%, Death Valley at 28%, and camping and back-country trips are down 24% overall. The Economist says " The importance of this decline can hardly be over-estimated for big environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club: they have depended on what one expert calls "a transcendent experience in nature", usually in childhood, to gain new members and thus remain powerful lobbyists for environmental causes."

In Iraq, BAD is not good.

Shiite forces in recent months have stepped up their targeting of U.S. soldiers in Baghdad with sophisticated EFPs, described by one official as like "a spear that rips right through the [Hummer] vehicle."

The penetrator, a heavy, metal projectile, is propelled by an explosive and strikes with enough speed and power to shatter the relatively brittle, "high hard" steel of up-armored Humvees, creating what experts call "behind armor debris (BAD)" -- essentially, turning pieces of the vehicle into shrapnel.

Also definitely BAD is that thousands of Hummers lack appropriate armor. Still. Today. Right now. And 2,000 more vehicles will be required to accommodate the DOOFUS' Surge™. More BAD.

Not good.

Ethics is a bitch.

Or are, maybe. Are, ya think? Well, whatever. Now I know how those Congressbozos must feel.

I got this big envelope today from some credit card company in Omaha and right on the front it said, in great big type: This is the second chance you've been waiting for! Only the thing is, I'm pretty sure this very same credit card company from Omaha gave me a second chance about three months ago. So now I'm not sure if this is a third chance and they just got mixed up and called it a second, or if it's a second second chance. Which I wouldn't want to take advantage of if everybody else hasn't had their first second chance yet. That wouldn't be fair. And anyway I wasn't waiting.

So. If you're a credit card company in Omaha, let me know.

McCain supports teaching Koran in public schools.

McCain: I think that there has to be all points of view presented. But they've got to be thoroughly presented. So to say that you can only teach one line of thinking I don't think is...I think there's nothing wrong with teaching different schools of thought.

Oh, wait. "Intelligent design" is what he's talking about there. Not anything weird like, you know, the Koran. Or...whatever.


"The Two Faces of Carnival"

On the one hand, there's the steady drumbeat, in the local as well as national media, about the violent crime that, early this year, burst out of the "normal" realm of black-on-black killings. On the other, there was the scene Sunday afternoon in the French Quarter. I know, normally the words "French Quarter" conjure up scenes cobbled from "Girls Gone Wild" videos and Budweiser commercials. But here were families with children and dogs, or just with dogs, streaming through the narrow Quarter streets down to a quintessentially goofy New Orleans tradition--now in its 15th year--called the Barkus parade.
(Harry Shearer at HuffPo)

Yeah, right.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

No accent? More like all sorts of accents, all mushed up. Because I've lived in several parts of the country and seem to be a sort of natural mimic in the bargain. When I moved to New York my co-workers thought I had a Midwest accent. When I moved to Atlanta folks said I talked like a Yankee. In Chicago, I had a "Southern accent" and now, in New England, that seems to be fading, evident only when I say certain words. Like, for example, Shicago. More like Hopeless than Midland, would be my call.

And no, I don't take Internet quizzes. This was an accident. It was.

Later: See what I mean? Even the little chart came out looking wrong. And yes I am too lazy to fix it.

So what's the big deal here?

A German hunter hit a washing machine, electric drier and the wall before finally killing a wild pig that was on the rampage in a house.

The pig had run into the communal wash room of a house in Ketzerbachtal in Saxony, and started shredding sheets and clothing.

I mean, have you ever tried to shoot a wild pig in your house? Right. That's what I thought.

So let's cut this guy a little slack, OK?

Oh oh. And you thought the DOOFUS was a little addled.

Turns out...
After investigating further, Dr. Kempf found Lincoln's own account of having been kicked in the forehead by a horse at age 10 years and "thought dead for awhile."

Meanwhile, an outstandingly nifty daguerreotype portrait of the young Abe comes to light, passed on by Hullabaloo via Pandagon.

There is a legend in my family that one of my mother's ancestors became owner of the Kentucky farm on which Lincoln was born and tore down the old log cabin - yes, the log cabin - for firewood (a replica was later built). I'm not 100 percent sure that's true, but there are some old newspaper clippings in the family scrapbook dating from a time in the early 20th Century when the story briefly surfaced. One of these days I'll have to dig them out and see if I can find out more. Or maybe not.

Oh no. Please. Pleeeease.

I do not - repeat, do not - want to hear about the DOOFUS' Valentine's Day rituals.
"There's a White House florist so they always send up flowers and he signs the card," the first lady said.

Damn. Nobody listens around here, do they.

OK, go ahead if you have to. Click here. (And thanks for nothing, CNN.)

Pimping the post. And the Post.

Barack Obama is running, officially. You know that already, of course, but here at the Huffington Post, the word 'Obama' spikes traffic the same way 'Paris Hilton threesome' does elsewhere in the blogosphere. So we're mentioning it.


Prognostication shopping: Watching for warnings, etc.

A winter storm "watch" - not a "warning," which is much, much worse - is what we have here for Wednesday. Everyone seems agreed on that, which really takes all the fun out of winter (whatever fun there was to begin with), doesn't it? I mean, think about a storm for two days and by the time it actually gets there you're already sick and tired of the whole thing.

So anyway, what I am shopping for is the weather service with the lowest snowfall forecast, which I intend to, then, devoutly believe. So far the lowest I've found is a foot, but I will search on.

We have hardly any snow here now - great patches of bare ground on display for your admiration, and even that the most snow we've had all winter. But now, a foot? (And worse - part, the seers say, will be what we delicately call a "wintry mix," meaning some unknowable but unspeakably vile concoction of snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain, newts and lizards.)

Alas. Perhaps the Puritans are right after all. We will be punished for all we have enjoyed.

Unless, somewhere - anywhere - I manage to discover a better forecast. And soon.

OK, all you knitting people, listen up.

Forget the socks and mufflers for the troops. What we need are some intelligence warmers.
BLITZER: Do you have any idea where he is?

EIKENBERRY: The intelligence has gone cold on Osama bin Laden.

Of course, the Eikenberry guy hastens to explain, the "war on international terror" isn't about "one individual," referring to the O-man. No, we just keep him around to give the people a good scare now and then...you know, sort of like how folks go to horror movies...and anyway, all the intelligence warmers have been thrown into the war on one of those I-countries, I keep forgetting which.

The really interesting thing here is how they always talk about "international terror...because, hey, domestic terror is just nothin' but good ol' boys.

And the money? It just keeps piling up.

One of the newest forms of slave labor is the U.S. Army’s “Civilian Inmate Labor Program” to “benefit both the Army and corrections systems” by providing “a convenient source of labor at no direct cost to Army installations,” additional space to alleviate prison overcrowding, and cost-effective use of land and facilities otherwise not being utilized....

This Civilian Inmate Labor Program document includes in its countless specifications such caveats as “Inmates must not be referred to as employees.” A prisoner would not qualify if he/she is a “person in whom there is a significant public interest,” who has been a “significant management problem,” “a principal organized crime figure,” any “inmate convicted of a violent crime,” a sex offense, involvement with drugs within the last three years, an escape risk, “a threat to the general public.” Makes one wonder why such a prisoner isn’t just released or paroled.

At both federal and state levels prisons are bulging...occupancy at 97%, writes Jeralyn at TalkLeft...Corrections Corp. of America (and doesn't that just make you want to wipe a tear from your eye) profits double in last fiscal year, stand at $105.2 mil. Rejoicing is heard throughout the land.
The two largest private prison corporations in the US, Wackenhut and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), are transnationals, managing prisons and detention centers in at least 13 states, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. A top performer on the New York Stock Exchange, CCA called California its “new frontier,” and boasts of investors such as Wal-Mart, Exxon, General Motors, Ford, Chevrolet, Texaco, Hewlett-Packard, Verizon, and UPS.

(Think Outside the Cage)


Dude, I totally hope he didn't really say this.

"I cannot deny that there are issues with child labor but it is totally wrong to call it slavery," said Robert Zehnder, secretary general of the European Cocoa Association (ECA).

Let's just blame it on the translator, shall we?


Eight to ten feet of snow in upstate New York and look at this picture from the Duluth webcam!

It's all about the price.

“I am not going to hide from the fact that we have to raise money,” said Representative Devin Nunes, a California Republican who has invited donors to his political action committee on a wine-tasting tour in June, modeled after the movie “Sideways.” “Only a moron would sell a vote for a $2,000 contribution,” Mr. Nunes said.

Iraq, the musical.

New Republic, Feb. 19
A piece suggests that a surge in the Iraqi provinces might work more effectively than a surge in Baghdad. On the ground in Ramadi, Lawrence F. Kaplan finds U.S. troops cooperating with local sheikhs to track down insurgents—a method commanders in Baghdad never suggested. "There hasn't been any coherent guidance," says one retired Army officer. "So, instead of a symphony, what you have is a collection of jazz bands."

(Via Slate)

Nutjob of the week, every week.

This morning on Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol attacked Obama’s Iraq policy, saying he wants to appease terrorists like pro-slavery politician Stephen Douglas tried to appease slave-owners. Kristol said, “Obama’s speech is a ‘can’t we get along’ speech — sort of the opposite of Lincoln. He would have been with Stephen Douglas in 1858.”
(Think Progress)

Megasmooch in Manilla

MANILA, Philippines - More than 6,000 couples kissed simultaneously at midnight Saturday in the Philippines with organizers of the event claiming to have set a new world record.
(Here's to you, Ali.)

It did? Really?

TRENTON, Ohio - Two teenage girls posted a fake announcement on their school district's Web site that said school was closed for the day due to winter weather, police said.

The notice, posted Monday, confused many parents — snow was not in the forecast — and persuaded some students to stay home.

That's got to be the funniest thing I've read all day.

No, wait!
Edgewood City Schools Superintendent Tom York said he discovered the posting when he logged on to write his own announcement that school would be delayed for an hour because of an extreme cold snap.
(AP via Yahoo News)
And it's only noon.

Looks like Orwell. After all.

Pretty much from the start of this whole BushCo. nightmare I've been thinking it's not Orwell's vision but Kafka's we really need to be afraid of but now, as noted via a reference on Slashdot, comes Microsoft. And it looks like Orwell. After all.

The item is a patent application, filed in Microsoft's name, to make sure you look at the freakin' ads - or, in the somewhat more refined words of a bunch of Chicago shysters, a system to "attest consumption of advertising by a human, preferably a member of the target population." And that, Bunky, is you.

Because after all, say Marshall, Gerstein & Borun...
The value to an advertiser is not...in delivering the advertisement.... The value is realized when a human viewer consumes the advertisement and the particular message of the advertisement is conveyed to a user.
And isn't that so true.

Now in the spirit of fair play I hereby acknowledge I've flirted around with putting ads on 76003.1414, mostly just because it's a bloggy thing to do but also because I have no real objection to advertising in general and in its place, and besides, they add a little color to the joint. In fact there are several ads in the sidebar, cleverly designed as book recommendations (which are, in fact, book recommendations, as I've read or listened to the books myself in recent months and liked them, but - and this is an official policy of YAME, boys and girls - you are under no obligation whatsoever to look at them.

You are, however, of course, obliged to read the blog, no matter what Marshall, Gerstein & Borun say.