Yup, Bunky, we're all embedded now

Getting White House spin from the likes of Crocker and Petraeus is merely a rarified level of embedding. 

So notes the blogger jurassicpork at Welcome to Pottersville - and he continues:

And the fact that Hillary Clinton is drawing so much fire from Republicans who ought to be grateful that she's momentarily the Democratic frontrunner (since her last name alone will drag Republican voters to the polls in wide-eyed terror) over this ad shows how deeply the Moveon.org's ad struck the national nerve. We never heard any Democrats in Congress predict, as did we and Moveon, that Petraeus and Crocker would be less than completely transparent and honest with them because our Democratic representative are stupid, politically cowardly and gullible.

No to put too fine a point on it.

I haven't decided...

...if it's funny or just, well, weird, but when I went out for groceries this morning I drove by the County Jail and discovered it was the finish line for this morning's "Jail Break 5k" race. Seems sort of, I don't know, optimistic to me. Seems like making the jail the starting line would have made more sense.

I knew it! French fries make you smart!

Starchy tubers gave our ancestors' brains a boost

OK, sure, I don't subscribe to New Scientist so I'm just sorta guessing from the headline here - but you have to admit it makes perfect sense.


At Gitmo: Crackdown on terrorist underpants

Guards at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp found two prisoners sporting unauthorized underwear, and the U.S. military is investigating to determine how they got the contraband.

Both prisoners were caught wearing Under Armour briefs and one also had on a Speedo bathing suit, items the military said were not issued by Guantanamo personnel or sent through the regular mail, according to a Defense Department letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press.


Detainees are issued cotton briefs similar to those issued to US troops in basic training, said Lt. Col Ed ("No Relation") Bush - which is, Bunky, underwear even we didn't wear, are you kidding? Do you think we were craZy?

It's all about the contraband, says the colonel. Which is to say, hey, if they're smuggling underpants what are they going to be up to next? Socks?

(Poster by permission: oldamericancentury.org)

Ah! Nutty! I get it now!

A week ago, the nuttier-than-squirrel-poop New York Sun ran an editorial beseeching him to seek the presidency (Save us, General Dave! You are our only hope!)

(Blue Girl, Red State)


Along the wire

Along the wire, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Speeches we never finished listening to

"Tough work lies ahead,'' Cheney said of the war in Iraq. "But the evidence from the theater of war 6,000 miles away is beyond question: The troop surged has achieved solid results, and in a relatively short period of time….

(The Swamp)

Serious dam trouble

Or: Why good old-fashioned US politicians are scarier than Osama ever dreamed of being.

In 2005, the last time the American Society of Civil Engineers rated America's infrastructure, bridges received a "C" grade; dams earned a "D."

Even that rating may be generous, a Monitor analysis of dam-inspection data shows. Since 1999, the number of "high-hazard" dams rated "deficient" has more than doubled, according to data from the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) in Lexington, Ky. High-hazard dams are those whose failures could cause fatalities. In 1999, the US had 546 such dams rated deficient. By last year, it had 1,333.

(PROBLEM DAMS ON THE RISE IN US - Christian Science Monitor)

We need some serious dam rehabilitation pretty damn quick, says Association of State Dam Safety Officials President Brad Larossi. And here we are, thee and me, credit cards maxed out on the Middle East. What I'm thinking is, we had better send out for some water wings because things ain't gonna get patched up so soon

Duck noir

Duck noir, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


Relish, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Cue the crooner: Where is Bing Crosby when we need him?

Bush said 5,700 U.S. forces would be home by Christmas


The damn thing is, these troops who are coming home aren't "coming home," they're just going back into the rotation - which, true enough, will make things marginally better for troops whose at-home "dwell time" between Iraq stints is now mercilessly short, but it won't keep them from winding up back in Iraq. This is not like in the movies, where the captain says to some hapless dogface, "Your war's over, Joe." This is "Seeya next time around."

"The more successful we are, the more American troops can return home," said Commander Guy, calling his little flim-flam scheme "return on success."

There is no freakin thing I can think of to call this guy Bush without being unfair to lunatics, morons, or assholes.


Two creepy-looking characters killed by a drone

From DefenseTech, quoting MNF-I (I don't know what MNF-I is and I'm not even gonna guess, but you can go read for yourself):

A Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle engaged and killed two suspected improvised explosive device emplacers overwatching a major thoroughfare for Coalition Forces during a historic flight near Qayyarah, Iraq, in Nineveh province Sept. 1.

A scout weapons team from 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, observed the two unknown enemy fighters in a tactical overwatch near the roadside. The SWT requested support from the Hunter UAV.

The pilots guided the Hunter operator to the scene where it set up for a strike mission and dropped its precision munition, killing both unknown enemies and marking a first in Army Aviation history.

(Emphasis mine)

So. Bombed two guys for looking suspicious is about all I get from this, not exactly wanting to break out in cheers and applause for history. And, although this was apparently a first for the Army it's already old hat for the Air Force and the CIA. How many times have you read about drones attacking cars or buildings "believed" to harbor "suspected" enemies? Quite a few, if you've been keeping up.

Oh no, I'm not suggesting in a battle situation every enemy deserves a fair trial before being engaged so you, over there, can put down your hand. But in a situation where we complain it's necessary to pick out the bad guys, as we love to call them, from regular civilians, bombing suspects does not seem a real good way to win hearts and minds. And it's especially ironic given the way Commander Guy likes to prattle about "justice," that oaf. Stand on the wrong corner, get bombed.

(I had a friend of Japanese descent who once held a party on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, sending out invitations reading "Come over and get bombed," but it was a different kind of bombed he had in mind.)

Onion Rin

Onion Rin, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

OK I give up - what am I missing here?

Majority Democrats in Congress are unable to muster enough votes to set deadlines for ending the war. So they are hoping to win Republican support with legislation to limit the mission of U.S. forces to training Iraq's military and police, protecting U.S. assets and fighting terrorists.

(Bush approves gradual troop cuts in Iraq - Associated Press)

Sorta looks to me like the so-called Democrats want to "limit" the troops in Iraq to doing what they're doing. Whoa, that's some kinda bold idea, huh? And, well, this is a kind of dopey question I guess, but if the Democrats really are a majority in Congress why do they need "Republican support" in the first place? See? I told you it was dopey. But why? 

Oh well.

About 168,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq now. Bush's order is intended to bring that number to around 132,000 — about where it was when Bush announced a major buildup last Jan. 10.

If you're a troop, Dude, I hope you're one of the lucky few.

Ever wonder what happens at the fairground after the gates shut for the night?

Woohoo - Gail Collins on a roll

Well, not a roll exactly - on Freddie:

Fred! Fred!

He's here. He's tanned. He's ready.

He looks like he needs a nap.

When it comes to overhyped underperformers, Fred Thompson's entry into the presidential race was right up there with Britney Spears at the MTV awards....

Thompson, by all accounts, was indeed an underachiever who rose to fame and fortune mainly through powerful friends and good luck. The perfect answer for a country reeling from two terms with an underachiever who rose to fame and fortune mainly through powerful friends and good genes. And so far at least, it's working in the polls. An affable guy who doesn't try hard — what could be more refreshing?

(Thanks to Welcome to Pottersville for the column - you can go there and read it all.)

Those Republicans like to vote for presidents they think they'd like to go drink beer with. Personally, I would have rather had a beer with Clinton than with Bush. I wouldn't invite either one to dinner. I wouldn't vote for Clinton (the Bill one) again (or, maybe, the Hil one either, unless she were the last and only choice, which may turn out to be the case). I wouldn't vote for Bush at all. And that Freddie, he should have kept his day job.

By no means: Got that right

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Acknowledging that "we are by no means perfect," Mattel Inc. CEO Robert Eckert said Wednesday the company could have done a better job overseeing subcontractors in China that produced more than 21 million recalled toys.

(Associated Press)

Could have done better. You betcha.

It seems fairly clear China is somewhat lax about product safety rules. Having, over the years, spent more than a few hours communing with hardass corporate purchasing agents, it seems doubtful to me this characteristic of Chinese manufacture is breaking news, exactly, to the companies who buy stuff made there. Yet, reports the AP:

Under federal rules, manufacturers with a few exceptions must report all claims of potentially hazardous product defects within 24 hours. Mattel reportedly took months to gather information and privately investigate problems after becoming aware of them.

That makes Eckert's tepid protestation, "We were let down, and so we let you down," pretty unconvincing. He'd be better off sticking with "It's all China's fault."



The [Rockland County, NY] health department does not consider a person's shoe or boot a proper instrument to use in food preparation, senior public health sanitarian John Stoughton said Tuesday.


Thanks for the tip. I was just about go go fix dinner.

Grand grasp of the obvious, this guy has

Reid said the recommendation by Gen. David Petraeus, expected to be embraced on Thursday by President Bush in a speech to the nation, "is neither a drawdown or a change in mission that we need. His plan is just more of the same."

What remains to be seen is whether Reid or any of the Ds can do anything about it. My guess is no. Bush, with a little help from his pet general, has run out the clock. "If conditions are favorable" (what conditions remain unspecified), by this time next year the so-called surge will have come to an end and we will be back in about the same place we were a year ago when the vaunted Iraq Study Group, behind whose skirts Bush had hidden for months, said it was time to start getting out and Bush, stamping his little feet, instead got in. The so-called surge will have accomplished essentially nothing in Iraq; Bush himself will have snuck out the back door. 

The whole game here is to blame whatever happens next on the Ds, whether the next president is a D (not by any means a sure thing, IMO, BTW) or an R. The Faux waryakkers will see to that. And the Ds don't have the game to do anything about it, as far as I can see.


Overcast, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Wait a minute...there's a town in Oregon called Boring?

Boring, Oregon, is a small community outside of Portland. I have a friend who puts on community theater at the lcal grange hall (yes, Boring actually has a grange hall). While seeing one of his plays I found this pamphlet and fell deeply in love.

(Swords Crossed)

Why, yes there is! And the lovable pamphlet, you ask? It's a pamphlet promoting the

Boring Coalition Against Drug Crime

Software wars

Or woes. Whatever. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Yesterday Word bit my butt in class by crashing six machines at once
- nice trick, that, especially when we were doing some routine thing
we always do and it always works just fine, except that Word had been
recently "updated" - so apparently this crash was a new feature, not
a bug. And the really annoying thing was that we did something very
similar just a few minutes earlier, using the same tool, and it had
worked just fine. And the really, really annoying thing is that
tomorrow's class calls for doing something similar again, so I have
to go in early tomorrow and try to sort things out.

But the good new is, I decided I don't need that blogging software I
was playing around with after all. The way I was doing it - with
Firefox - is fine, but there's an even cooler way - by email - that I
can automate somewhat using AppleScript and some other tricks that
looks like it might beat both. Which is good. I'm not a big fan of
collecting lots of special-purpose applications when it usually turns
out if I just pay attention to what I've already got I can do what I
want to do just fine. (In fact I just gave myself another idea. No,


I'm not impressed with moments of silence or candlelight vigils or noble rhetoric about this event. If you want to do something to remember that tragedy, the best thing to do is to simply stop living your life in fear.

From PZ Meyers at Pharyngula: In honor of 9/11...


Now children, cut that out

"MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military has successfully tested what it described as the world's most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered bomb, Russia's state television reported Tuesday.

It was the latest show of Russia's military muscle amid chilly relations with the United States.

Channel One television said the new weapon, nicknamed the 'dad of all bombs' is four times more powerful than the U.S. 'mother of all bombs.'"

(Via The Associated Press: Russia Tests Powerful 'Dad of All Bombs' .)

OK, maybe

This new blog posting software I found, something called MarsEdit, ain't bad. It sort of modifies my nice, compulsively neat (heh) format a little, back to more like it used to be, but that's not too surprising because it works sort of like my old software did (it doesn't work any more). So maybe I'll stick with it if it will post a decent picture from Flickr.


Yeah, there. Sort of like that. Only different. But that's just a matter of fooling around with some settings and maybe re-writing a template or a script.

What's not to like about free fries?


And so, so much more from Wonkette in:

A Children's Treasury of Terrible 9/11 Art

What a coincidence!

AP: Bush to announce troop cut - USATODAY.com: "WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush will tell the nation this week he plans to reduce the American troop presence in Iraq by about 30,000 by next summer, but will condition those and further cuts on continued progress, The Associated Press has learned."

Exact same number and everything! I mean Bunky, hey, what are the odds?

Commander Guy doesn't even let Potemkin Petraeus get out of town before he blows the guy's cover. What a buddy, huh?

Right on top of the news, these guys are

In an editorial for Thursday's paper, the New York Times has finally called for an all-out ban on touch-screen voting machines.

Writing that "electronic voting has been an abysmal failure," the newspaper of record --- which has been an abysmal failure, overall, in investigating and reporting on election-related issues over the past many years --- opines in favor of the flawed Rush Holt Election Reform Bill, though aptly declares that "The bill lacks one important thing: a ban on touch-screen voting machines."

(NYTimes calls for ban - Brad Blog)

This is a test (a test post, I mean) so let's not get all totally bent out of shape here, shall we?

How much snow does a snowjob make?

I caught part of that congressional hearing in the car driving home this morning and as near as I could make out they were talking about withdrawing 30,000 troops from Iraq by the end of next summer, so that would leave 130,000 still there. And isn't that about the number that was there before the so-called surge began? So we wind up right back where we were before the surge began, then, and how is this an accomplishment? I'd sort of like to know that before I get all wobbly-kneed with gratitude. Because right now I just don't get it, Bunky. I just don't.

Meanwhile, Potemkin Petraeus became a Faux News blabberjock last evening with a production, well...

The whole production was such transparent propaganda that one doubts that Pravda would have been shameless enough to present it. Even the title of the program was creepy. Fox did not even bother to call it an "interview," but rather hailed it as a "Briefing for America."

...is how Greenwald describes it, which sure leaves me thinking this general guy is selling a bill of goods. Why else do people get "interviewed" by Britt Hume, I'm asking?

It's starting to pile up.

Under cover

Under cover, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Rebuff? Say what?

The American commander was not only rebuffing the demand for a firm timeline for withdrawing the bulk of American forces, but also putting critics on notice that even when reductions come he has a different vision of the manner in which many of the remaining troops would be used.

(General Proposes Bigger Role in Protecting Iraqis - NYTimes)

Maybe that's just a little bit of verbal overindulgence by the Times. Rebuff indeed.

I haven't read Petraeus's testimony yet and I'm not motivated to do it any time real soon, but David Axe at Wired's Danger Room takes issue with a couple of his salient points:

General David Petraeus is in Washington, D.C., this week trumping the supposed successes of the "surge" plan, but one thing he's not touting is the steady increase in the average number of U.S. troops dying per week.

(U.S. Troop Deaths On the Rise)


True, deaths in Iraq are apparently down since December, based on very sketchy data. But the overall trend since the beginning of the occupation is still up, up, up.

(Petraeus Wrong About Iraq Dead)
"Liar, liar, pants on fire," comments Axe.

Which leads me to believe the general's performance so far (let's not forget we're only at intermission here) has not drawn universal applause.

Trial me this, Batman

A new way of making calls directly between phones, for free, is being trialled by a Swedish company....

The TerraNet technology works using handsets adapted to work as peers that can route data or calls for other phones in the network.

The handsets also serve as nodes between other handsets, extending the reach of the entire system. Each handset has an effective range of about one kilometre.

(Mobile system promises free calls - BBC News)

P2P phone calling. Cool idea. But you won't see it in Omaha any time soon. You won't see it, in fact, anywhere the FCC can be lobbied into supressing it. Can't have all that competition screwing with the telcos' "free markets" now, can we?


The headquarters site...

...is now officially open for business. The server seems to have been running a little bit slow all day - or maybe that's just my imagination, but whatever the case, either the server or my imagination should be back up to a more normal speed soon.

Oh that sucks

"Here's how Apple ringtones works: Pay 99 cents for the song and another 99 cents to convert up to 30 seconds of the song into a ringtone," Wired notes.

OK, I wasn't planning to buy an iPhone anyway. I mean, I wasn't from the start - but after this morning, when I almost dropped my Nano while standing in line at a convenience store and the thought occured to me, Dude, you could be almost dropping a 'Pod, a 'Phone, and a camera too - well, I really haven't been planning to buy one since then. Now this.

It ain't really an iPod if you can't play your music when you want to. Isn't that, after all, the whole idea? You should, if there were any justice in the world - given what an iPod can do - be able not only to assign incoming calls to call up music from your music list but call up a specific picture too (heh - wouldn't that be fun).

True, this might be a condition AT&T put on the deal - ringtone sales, I understand, are a significant source of income to the phonecos, income they would lose if the ithing worked the way it should. But still, it sucks.

Unless, of course, they want to cut another $200 off the price.

Pony show

Pony show, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Bush doesn't know where he is, Americans forget where they live

Last week, momentarily, at least, Commander Guy thought he was attending an OPEC meeting in Austria (he was at an APEC meeting in Australia). I don't know where Americans think they live, but it sure ain't here.

Kiddies, let's review. In the US, the military is under civilian control. That means military commanders do not start wars and they do not bring them to an end. They just fight them. The rest is up to the civilian leadership - those bumbleheaded fools you voted for - and they're doing a damn poor job of it, IMHO.

The general and that other guy - the diplomat, whatever - are only making a report to Congress today so Commander Guy, who should be making the report, doesn't have to. That's called hiding behind the general's skirts. It's not called bringing the war to an end.

Class dismissed.

He does look like Christmas, doesn't he?

That General Potemkin Petraeus, I mean.

Hey, I'm not bitching, I'm just saying here, that's just the way it is. Back when I used to ride the train from Ft. Bragg up to DC or NY, I thought so then too. Same train ran through whatever place it is they keep the Jarheads on the East Coast, and there were always some of them riding too. They looked shaped up, lean and mean; we looked green with red and yellow spots. That's the one thing I always thought they had, those guys: Better threads.

Oh, we do like our ribbons. But this guy Potemkin Petraeus looks positively gift-wrapped.

Of course, maybe that's the idea.

Painted tree

Painted tree, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

I don't know what makes this happen - a tree turns red on one side and stays green on the other. The red side is the south side. I suppose that would mean it gets more sun this time of year. But somehow it seems to me that should be the green side then, and the other red. Go figure.

While you, Bunky, are waiting with bated breath...

...waiting to see what General Potemkin Patraeus has to say, I, on the other hand, am remodeling YAME World Headquarters in keeping with my absolute policy of doing stuff first and figuring it out later (come to think of it...oh, well). There are some things about the current arrangement that bug me, among them that the photo albums, the way they're currently set up, one of which is they do not seem to work with older versions of OS X (and I don't know how well they work in Windoze); the new ones may not work any better but at least they will be different, and the only other choice.

If you have subscribed to one of the existing photo albums your RSS link will break, but you can drop by headquarters and re-subscribe to the new stuff. (Eventually there will also be an album like the soon-to-be-old ones for photo sharing - it will sync with iPhoto and, therefore, with the iPhone and the new iPod Touch). And yes, the Autumn blog will soon disappear as well. Don't worry, there will still be an Autumn and there will still be pictures of it, just in a different (and I hope better) way.

Further, on the technicalities of things, it seems to me the primary headquarters link, web.mac.com/tcompton/, works a whole lot better than the redirect link, ted.blogsite.org. I will maintain the redirect link for the convenience of those who want to use it (and will tweak it a bit if possible), but using the primary link is recommended.

Meanwhile work avoidance will continue apace.



Efforts to save a rare fish suffered a setback when scientists realised they'd been restocking rivers and lakes with the wrong species.

Researchers at the University of Colorado have been trying to restore the cutthroat trout, Colorado's official state fish, to its native habitat since the early 1970s.

They described the blow to the expensive, decades-long effort as a "setback", reports the Rocky Mountain News.

(Conservationists save wrong fish - Ananova)

Yeah, but the ones they used are pretty much the same, says some guy from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Close, but no alligator

Close, but no alligator, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

They've gone about as far as they can go

UNION CITY, Ga. (AP) — A McDonald's employee spent a night in jail and is facing criminal charges because a police officer's burger was too salty, so salty that he says it made him sick....

Police said samples of the burger were sent to the state crime lab for tests.

(Police jail McDonald's employee who over salted burger - USA Today)

Oh just go ahead, give him a big smooch and let's get on with it

And here's something I bet you never saw coming, Bunky. Gen.Potemkin Patraeus is gonna be on Fox "News" (hahaha) right after he gets "done" with his "report" to "Congress" (according to "Drudge"), can you dig it?


The stunt rider

The stunt rider, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

How much does Big Business hate those onerous government regulations?

Even if you haven't thought about it yet, U.S. toymakers are so worried about losing the confidence of wary parents this holiday season that the industry has asked the Federal Government to require mandatory safety testing at the toy companies' expense.

(This Christmas, A Lump of Lead? - Time)
Well...not so much. Especially if it promises to shift any hint of responsibility from themselves to, you know, "federal standards."