Meanwhile a report in ABC New's "Blotter" (in which we are treated to White House spokesbimbo Scotty Stanzel using the word "expeditiously") we learn there is something in the White House organization called the "Information Assurance Directorate." Now, that's sort of how a wartime footing looked back in the Big One, only that was on the other side.
But fear not, Bunky, there is still good left in the world. The San Francisco Chronicle picks up an AP story from Greenburgh, NY, in which a teen offers a knife-wielding robber all the money he has - a $10 bill - and is sent into a nearby pizza parlor to get change because the robber only wants four bucks. Alas, the robber is soon caught.
KRASNOARMEYSK, Russia: At 5:34 p.m. on Wednesday on a military compound northeast of Moscow, three men sat in a room before small metal boxes adorned with red plastic buttons. Each button was connected to a cable that snaked through a hole in the wall to the forest outside.7,000. Got that? That's how many nuclear warheads it's claimed have been destroyed under that US-Russian project there (all in Russia - not so much about any being destroyed here).
Upon a command from Sergei Shevchenko, a senior official at the missile technologies directorate of Russia's space agency, the men pushed the buttons. Outside, a short distance away, a roar filled the air. The ground began to shake.
The buttons had ignited the solid fuel in a rocket motor that had been removed from an SS-25 intercontinental ballistic missile.
In a little more than two minutes, the missile component burned itself out, the latest piece of Soviet-era nuclear hardware to be destroyed under an effort funded by American taxpayers and known as Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction.
(U.S. and Russia celebrate 15 years of dismantling Russia's nuclear arsenal - International Herald Tribune)
Know what that means, Bunky? All those warheads, around the end of the Cold War, were pointed right at your head. So why do a handful of Saudi terrorists scare you so much?
Get a grip.
A Henry County [Georgia] couple, Bill and Leandra Pitts, charged that Progressive [an insurance company from Wisconsin] hired private eyes to tail them as part of an investigation into injuries the couple said they sustained in a 2004 auto accident. The investigators, the Pitts' said, sneaked into their church in August 2005 posing as prospective members. Then they talked their way into a private confessional meeting at a church member's home in hopes that the Pittses might make an admission that would damage their case, which has since been settled.
(Insurance company apologizes for spying on clients - Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
There are days I'm convinced that the only thing worse than an eternity with Satan would be having cable in my house. Seriously.
(Defining Hell - Blue Gal (is she hot or what?))
I live in an RF black hole and can't get broadcast TV, so I turned off my set 13 years ago and haven't missed it yet. (Full disclosure: I go someplace else some Friday nights to watch Monk. But otherwise.)
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Two men sealed the state's first legal same-sex marriage with a kiss Friday morning, less than 24 hours after a judge threw out Iowa's ban on gay marriage and about two hours before he put the ruling on hold.
(Couple weds before same-sex marriages halted - CNN)
And you thought it was a real place, eh? Believe me. I've seen it. It's not there.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Anne King was 19 and earning $12 a week in a dime store when she was recruited in 1942 to learn how to make airplane parts. She worked at Republic Aviation on Long Island as a mechanic and riveter on P-47 Thunderbolt fighters and other aircraft.
King and five other women who performed wartime factory work were to gather Friday at what is now Republic Airport in Farmingdale and take rides in a B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24 Liberator "as a tribute to their war efforts," said Hope Kaplan, a spokeswoman for the American Airpower Museum on the grounds of the airport.
Exhibitions by vintage aircraft are holiday fixtures at the museum, but this is the first time any of the women, the "Rosie the Riveters" who helped build World War II aircraft, have had a chance to fly in them, Kaplan said....
"It was a great job, but I had trouble with the man who was my first partner [King recalls] -- he said he wasn't happy working with a dizzy broad."
(Real 'Rosie the Riveters' to fly on WWII planes - CNN)
Forget about "Thirsty Thursdays" kicking off three days of partying on some college campuses this school year. Some colleges are wresting Fridays back from the weekend's clutches.
Framingham State and other colleges are considering whether to schedule more Friday classes, warning students that skipping Friday classes will hurt their grades, and encouraging faculty members to schedule tests and have assignments due that day. The growing effort is trying to curb student drinking and free up classrooms by more evenly distributing courses.
(Friday goes back onto the calendar - Boston Globe)
Cnet News has a nifty photo essay on pre-fab housing - what it looked like then and what it looks like now (pretty cool) - right here.
(CNN) -- A U.S. military plane carrying three U.S. senators and one member of the House of Representatives came under rocket fire Thursday night and had to make evasive maneuvers as it left Baghdad for Amman, Jordan.
(U.S. lawmakers' plane fired upon while leaving Iraq - CNN)
The headline is all you need to know:
Teen cracks AU$84 million porn filter in 30 minutes
(Australian Porn Filter Cracked - Schneier on Security)
The bracelet was uncomfortable, inconvenient and cost Lisa Nowak $105 a week, her attorneys argued.
Those reasons alone weren't enough to order the monitor removed, Orange County Circuit Court Judge Marc Lubet said in his ruling. He said the monitoring device was not fulfilling its purpose.
(Ex-astronaut can take off ankle bracelet - CNN)
Nowak currently holds the Pampers Invitational Land Trek record: 963 Google Earth miles (Houston - Orlando).
Waxman requests missing e-mail information
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Some outraged motorists have scrawled warning messages and curse words on gas pumps after paying up to $4.50 for a gallon for gasoline at a station near Orlando International Airport.
(Motorists Furious Over $4.50 Gas Near Orlando International Airport - Local6.com)
I'm putting away the ketchup and claiming an almost-kinda-more-or-less right, in a way.
I'm not much for software-manipulated images. I'm not a Photoshopper, or even a Photoshop-alike-er. But I figure stuff that could be done in traditional photo printing is OK up to a point, and I'm just fooling around with my software to see where that point might be.
Sales of counterfeit T-shirts may have helped finance the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, according to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. “Profits from counterfeiting are one of the three main sources of income supporting international terrorism,” said Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland.
(Terror's Purse Strings - NYTimes)
So it's not just saggy pants then (see below). It's T-shirts too. In fact, it's - yikes! - just about everything.
At least 11 percent of the world’s clothing is fake, according to 2000 figures from the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group in Paris.
I don't know what the other two "main sources of income supporting international terrorism" are but I'm guessing illicit copies of Windows and pirated CDs.
"We used to wear long hair, but I don't think our trends were ever as bad as sagging," said [Delcambre, Louisiana] Mayor Carol Broussard.
Wear saggy pants in Delcambre, you're busted for up to $500 or up to six months in the slammer. And not just there. "[Saggy pants] are becoming a criminal offense in a growing number of communities," reports the International Herald Tribune.
In the West Ward of Trenton, Councilwoman Annette Lartigue is drafting an ordinance to fine or enforce community service in response to what she sees as the problem of exposing private parts in public.
"It's a fad like hot pants; however, I think it crosses the line when a person shows their backside," Lartigue said. "You can't legislate how people dress, but you can legislate when people begin to become indecent by exposing their body parts."
In the West Ward of Trenton, underwear is a private part. Wear hot pants under your jeans.
Not since the zoot suit has a style been greeted with such strong disapproval. The exaggerated boxy long coat and tight-cuffed pants, started in the 1930s, was the emblematic style of a subculture of young urban minorities. It was viewed as unpatriotic and flouted a fabric conservation order during World War II. The clothing was at the center of what were called Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles, racially motivated beatings of Hispanic youths by sailors. The youths were stripped of their garments, which were burned in the street.
(Are your jeans sagging? Go directly to jail - International Herald Tribune)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A California produce company recalled bagged fresh spinach Wednesday after it tested positive for salmonella....
The recalled spinach was distributed throughout the 48 states and Canada and sold in both retail and food service packages.
It covers 8,118 cases of spinach, although the company said more than 90 percent of that was on hold and would not be released.
(Salmonella finding prompts spinach recall - CNN)
California? Did you say California?
Which is how, after luckily guessing all the right numbers, first try, on their equally muddled menu test, I discovered they can change the settings on my phone from their end without my having to do anything at all. In fact, the nice lady helpfully explained, they can change even more settings if I am not using the phone at the time (which I then was). I was instructed to reboot.
It turned out in the end that my problem was due to an insufficient number of bars, three being required for reliable downloading of ringtones, it seems. As I was going downtown anyway - there are bars a-plenty there - I eventually got the thing loaded, only to discover the ringtone that now exists on my phone is not the same as the one they demo on the web site. It's an abbreviated version, and it's missing my favorite part: "Pick up the communications device. Do not be afraid."
Oh well. A person is allowed to do something stupid once every few years or so. I'm pretty well dumbed out for the rest of the decade, myself.
I didn't realize how cool until just now. I made the picture from an old WWII poster (a real one) when the phone was still a Cingular phone and the screen said Cingular across the guy's helmut. I just noticed today that the Cingular label has updated itself to AT&T. It's perfect now.
You can see I'm not doing too well in the bars department there. I live in an RF black hole, is the thing. Doesn't seem much can be done about that.
“You see powder connected by arrows and chalk, you never know,” [mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga] said. “It could be a terrorist, it could be something more serious."
(Running Club Attacks, New Haven Surrenders - Danger Room)
With arrows, probably more serious.
In Baghdad, meanwhile, US troops arrested (arrested?) a delegation of Iranian energy experts in town to help rebuild the city's electrical system. The Iranians were later sprung by the Iraqi government and Iran is preparing an official protest. "A regrettable incident," say US military officials. Moreover...
Dr Saadi Othman, adviser to Gen David Petraeus, told BBC News that the incident had "nothing to do" with US President George W Bush's speech on Tuesday, in which he strongly criticised Iran for its alleged interference in Iraq.
(US admits Iranian arrests mistake - BBC)
Dr Saadi Othman? Too bad we can't bring Peter Sellers back for that one.
FORT MEADE, Md. - A military court acquitted an Army officer Tuesday of failing to control U.S. soldiers who abused detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, but it found him guilty of disobeying an order not to discuss the abuse investigation....
Prosecutors recommended that Jordan be reprimanded and fined one month's pay, about $7,400. The defense asked the panel for no punishment.
(Split verdict for officer at Abu Ghraib - AP via Yahoo! News)
Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan was the only officer to go on trial for what happened at Abu Ghraib.
The Army takes care of its own.
Sure, for just checking email (you can do that with a tin can and a long string) and surfing the web and writing a little (I still can't type at .9 GHz) it's fine. But no way could I grind through all the photos and other stuff I do here. And even if I could, where would I put it? The 'book has a 40-gig drive.
How amazing is that? My first computer had no disk drives at all, and my first PC (of the kind called "clone" in those days) came off the shelf with two floppy drives. Eventually I installed a hard drive in it - 20 megabytes - and figured that was all the storage I'd ever need. Now 40 gigs seems cramped.
Guess I was wrong. Go figure.
BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S. troops raided a Baghdad hotel Tuesday night and detained about 10 people. A U.S.-funded radio station said the group included six members of an Iranian delegation here to negotiate contacts with the Iraqis.
The Iranian Embassy said seven Iranians including an embassy employee and six members of a delegation from Iran's Electricity Ministry were staying at the Sheraton Ishtar Hotel, which American forces entered late Tuesday.
(U.S. troops raid Baghdad's Sheraton hotel - USAToday)
ORLANDO, Fla. - Former astronaut Lisa Nowak is pursuing a temporary insanity defense on charges that she assaulted and tried to kidnap a romantic rival, according to a court document released Tuesday.
Nowak suffered from major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia and "brief psychotic disorder with marked stressors," defense attorney Donald Lykkebak wrote in his notice of intent to rely on the insanity defense.
(AP via Yahoo! News)
That's great! What wouldn't be so great is some kind of permanently crazy babe flying around in a space ship.
[OK, that's mean. Mea culpa. But I liked the graphic, is all, so deal with it. The image is one of millions - tens of millions - of pictures on Flickr available under Creative Commons licenses (as are many of my own). Drop by and browse from time to time. Creative Commons is cool.
[Considering the state of the commercial media these days I think it's time we learn to entertain and inform ourselves. Creative Commons helps make that possible.]
As Gonzales exits, battles looming for White House
Is this a fresh start...
"In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."
...according to this San Francisco Chronicle story from the Washington Post.
Think about that. He thought he could make the problem go away by pleading guilty.
If that's the kind of brains we've got running the country now it's probably too late.
*Or maybe Minneapolis. Some place around there. Hey, don't look at me like that. I'm not a senator.
A couple of graphs further down the column our intrepid reporters manage this:
Briggs has a rocky driving history -- at least in Tucson, Ariz., where he played for the University of Arizona. From 2000 to 2003, he was hit with four speeding tickets in the area and charged with driving with a suspended license, no insurance and failure to appear in court. He still owes $1,024 in fines in Tucson, a court official said.
Which may leave you asking, how could he afford a 400-grand Lamborghini and not be able to pay $1,024 in fines. Is that what you're asking, Bunky?
Well, it's a dumb question. Forget about it.
yes, you heard right. the attorney general—basically the head honcho of all lawyers—is a shitty-ass tipper
Just for the record, though, little Alberto's security guards "were exceedingly pleasant, funny guys, not stiff stuck-up jerkfaces or anything." So that's good.
Wonkosphere is different from other sites because we track hundreds of blogs and web sites per day, more than any human can read. Our patented technology text analysis technology identifies posts that matter, not just posts that are popular. If you're tracking individual candidates, our unique analysis will show you their share of buzz in conservative and liberal blogs, highlight the most representative posts, and tell you whether the tone of discussion about your candidate is trending up or down.
Or so they say.
The problem with all this, of course, is that it might actually save time, since if you read it you don't have to track hundreds of blogs and web sites yourself, or at least try to, but what the hell, we're putting it on our Work Avoidance list anyway.
Unlocking a mobile phone or an iPhone remains legally murky nearly a year after the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was altered granting phone users that right.
"The exemption says you can unlock it so that you can use it on another network," said Jennifer Granick, director of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.
"But that exemption," Granick added, "does not apply to software or software tool distributors. The legal question remains is whether a software tools distributor used for unlocking are illegal under the DMCA."
(Unlocking Your iPhone is Legal; Distributing the Hack, Maybe Not - Threat Level)
I'm not a big fan of the whole unlocking-cell-phone thing because I think locking them should not be allowed in the first place. Apparently the DCMA, while allowing unlocking, outlaws the tools you need to do it, which means only an übergeek can do it. Which means, Bunky, neither thee nor me. Pretty neat double-cross.
Whether you can legally unlock your phone is not the issue. Locking it in the first place is.
A lot of this is stuff you already know, or at least have heard of, but I've just never seen it all in one place like this before, and with explanations.
I think I'll go out now, throw some grass in the air and check for pine cones.
Public television stations can't wait to air Ken Burns' newest documentary, "The War," next month as the 14-hour World War II series promises to be a ratings bonanza for the ratings-challenged outlets.
But some member stations, including San Francisco's KQED, are also scared to air Burns' original version in prime time because it contains four words: two are f-; one is s-; and the fourth is -hole.
(PBS conflicted over adult language in Ken Burns' 'War' - the conflicted San Francisco Chronicle)
Not making myself clear? Then fuck you, FCC. How's that?
Stupid is as stupid does.
Vast army of 'Hillary haters' has claws out
"There's clearly a sliver of the right wing in the country that's unhinged over both of the Clintons. Their hatred is simply pathological," said Jim Jordan, who is advising Sen. Christopher Dodd's presidential bid. "I'm sure some of these kooks look back at the Clinton White House as the good ol' days -- they were energized and relevant then."
A demonstration has been held in south- east Afghanistan accusing US troops of insulting Islam after they distributed footballs bearing the name of Allah....
The US military said the idea had been to give something for Afghan children to enjoy and they did not realise it would cause offence.
The footballs were dropped from a helicopter in Khost province.
('Blasphemous' balls anger Afghans - BBC)
Translation: They're foreigners, they'll like soccer balls. Fly over and drop some on 'em.
Meanwhile, a semantic quibble has broken out on the home front over whether we have "won" or "lost" in Iraq. Bunky, there ain't no way we'll do either, and there ain't no way we'd know if we did.
There was a lot of cluck-clucking and hah-hahing over exit strategies early on. Let me tell you something, sweetie pie: "Exit strategy" is just a fancy, dumbed-down way to say how we're gonna know if we won. We never had one. We still don't. What we have - what we've had all along - is spin. And spin is what we're left with. Spin, and the desert wind.
Let's get over the win-or-lose thing quick, and get to do-or-don't.
"We have more nontraditional spouses this time than we've had in a while -- nontraditional in different ways, which is pretty interesting," said Kathleen A. Dolan, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. "Ann Romney is much more the traditional spouse in this election, and she's sort of alone in that regard."
(Ann Romney steps into spotlight - Boston Globe)
Romney is traditional, Globe staff writer Lisa Wangsness explains, because she keeps her mouth shut and holds up pictures of her kids. So there you go.
Americans spend hundreds of millions of dollars on brain-building digital toys like Baby Einstein for preschoolers, so it was only a matter of time before a parade of “Grandpa Einsteins” followed suit. In the past year, some half-dozen programs, with names like Brain Fitness Program 2.0, MindFit and Brain Age2, have aimed at aging consumers eager to keep their mental edge.
(Calisthenics for the Older Mind, on the Home Computer - NYTimes)
Of course nobody can prove these things really work but hey, no worries, those old guys won't figure that out. And if they do, they'll forget.
(Note the story is filed in the category, "Spending.")
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A trucker has sued the Drug Enforcement Administration, seeking to get back nearly $24,000 seized by DEA agents earlier this month at a weigh station on U.S. 54 in New Mexico north of El Paso, Texas.
(ACLU sues DEA on behalf of truck whose money was seized - Houston Chronicle)
Truck searched, no evidence of anything illegal found (other than, well, having money, which the driver admitted voluntarily to up front, made no attempt to hide). No arrest, no charges filed. But DEA keeps the money.
DEA agents told Prieto he would receive a notice of federal proceedings to permanently forfeit the money within 30 days and that to get it back, he'd have to prove it was his and did not come from illegal drug sales.
ACLU lawyers say getting it back might take a year.
SACRAMENTO -- Making good on a promise to trim the state budget, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger eliminated a $55-million program Friday that advocates say has helped thousands of mentally ill homeless people break the costly cycle of hospitalization, jails and street life.
(California homeless program is cut - LATimes)
Also cut from the state budget were $1.3 million to monitor hospital efforts to eliminate infections, $30 million for state parks, $6 million to obtain discount medicines for lower-income people, and $17.4 million to protect seniors.
But a $54 million tax break for yacht owners? Kept that one, you bet.