Pickets, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

It's just a fence, OK? That's it.

I am offline for the evening - there's a book I'm into that needs listening to.


Dems take dive

So what else is new?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michael Mukasey drew closer to becoming attorney general Friday after two key Senate Democrats said they would vote for him despite his refusal to say whether waterboarding is torture.

The decision by Sens. Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein to back President Bush's nominee came shortly after the chairman of the committee, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced he would vote against Mukasey, a former federal judge.


This guy Mukasey has made it clear - crystal clear, as we say on Talk Like a Dork Day - he is not willing to stand up to Bush. So what's the point of having him as AG and, more to the point, what's the point of having Dems who will agree to that? The worst thing about this interminably long presidential campaign is that it's too short to allow for forming a viable third party. Or try, at least - the way the political deck is stacked it may be impossible to form a third party anyway. But if things play out the way the cards lie today we're going to wind up in '09 with Bush Lite. Again.

From the annals of cybercrime

"People under 25 tend to think about what is public versus private information differently from the rest of us, and that is great for law enforcement investigators," Cohen, 37, tells his audience in Arlington, at a conference of the National White Collar Crime Center. Later, he adds in an interview, "Your computer usage is in some ways a window into your soul."

(AP via Yahoo! News)

They've got their eye on your avatar, Dude. Not to mention...
To listen to Cohen is to walk through dark corners of the Internet. There are gang members boasting on MySpace, killers revealing their obsessions on LiveJournal, teenagers sharing drug-making tips on YouTube, prostitutes hawking themselves on Craigslist, child pornography flourishing on Internet Relay Chat, a specialists' slice of the Internet separate from the Web.
Yikes! Some soul!

YouTube, huh?

How to beat your wife

No! Wait! I'm just passing this along, is all. From one of those "experts." On "TV." In "Saudi Arabia."

"He must beat her where it will not leave marks. He should not beat her on the hand... He should beat her in some places where it will not cause any damage. He should not beat her like he would beat an animal or a child -- slapping them right and left.

(From "Fox News")

See? Not you would beat an animal at all. Or, you know, a child.

Welfare for the very rich

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 — A federal judge in Louisiana handed the oil industry a major legal victory this week, saying the government had no authority to suspend billions of dollars’ worth of drilling incentives when energy prices were high.

If upheld, the ruling could free companies from paying the government up to $60 billion in royalties for oil and gas produced in publicly owned waters of the Gulf of Mexico.



"Press": Why bother anymore?

Fourteen White House reporters were given a rare hour of access to President Bush on Monday, but the issues they discussed won't be making any headlines -- the session was all off-the-record.

The informal meeting, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, took place as part of a new White House plan to reach out to the press without having to rely on "full-blown news conferences."

(Raw Story)

Next: A slumber party in the Lincoln bedroom.

If you hack your own computer, Dude, then you really have no complaint

SAN FRANCISCO - In a backhanded compliment to Apple Inc., online criminals are apparently so impressed with its scorching sales the
y are sending Macintosh computers an attack typically aimed at machines running Microsoft Corp.'s dominant Windows operating system....

The attack does not target a vulnerability in the Macintosh operating system.

Instead, it requires a user to approve the download, then enter his computer's administrator's password to continue, operations that raise red flags among sophisticated computer users.

(AP via Yahoo! News)


Gasoline is cheaper

Than heating oil, that is.

One of every two homes in New England burns heating oil, compared with just one in 20 in the rest of the country, where most homes use natural gas, according to the Energy Department. Now, as heating oil follows crude to record prices - the state this week reported the average cost of heating oil was $2.91 a gallon, up 24 percent from a year ago - the impact will fall most heavily on New England, economists said.

(Boston Globe)

My price for this winter is locked in and a lot lower than $2.91 (whew), but at this rate it won't be long before I can start sweating next winter. Or freezing, as the case may be.

This is New England's Achilles heel. Oil heat. (And that 50 percent figure means half the houses in New England have tanks of toxic waste in their basements, as well.) We have it pretty good here in a lot of ways. The winters suck, but we have plenty of water and rarely see (I'm knocking on wood here) tornadoes or hurricanes or (still knocking) forest fires. But we have oil heat; just about nobody else does (50 percent here, five percent there - the national average is 7 percent). There's no political or PR downside: When the price of gasoline goes up everybody gets upset, when the price of heating oil goes up, who cares?

Except, you know, me.

A little too late for Halloween

("Dead Duck," Bits & Pieces)


But still.

(And thanks to Spiiderweb™, who tipped me off in time but my gmail is acting up...sigh...one more knot to untie.)

November First

November First, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Yeah! Fair is fair!

White House spokesman, Dana Perino, told reporters that Senators should confirm Bush's Attorney General nomination before asking him tough questions about torture.

(Raw Story)

And there's a video.

You just can't make this stuff up. Well you can if you...

Maybe we need a few more guys like Steve Jobs

Yeah go ahead and think it. I know. (And yeah, I know that too.)

But Jobs doesn't care just about winning. He's willing to lose. He has done it often enough. He's just not willing to be lame, and that may, increasingly, be the winning approach.
Which is how Lev Grossman puts it in Time (Oct.l 16) in a piece called "How Apple Does It" - and while you're at it, think Pixar too. And before that, Next. Sure, other people do good stuff, even fine stuff, but Jobs and the people he gathers around him have a knack for the insanely great. Think Apple II. Think Mac. Think iPod. And now the iPhone, named in another recent Time story "Invention of the Year." For all the reasons you know, and maybe a couple more.

Not lame.

Maybe someday he can have his face on a deck of cards

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France today fearing arrest over charges of "ordering and authorizing" torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the U.S. military's detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.

U.S. embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush's "war on terror" for six years.



Meters in afternoon

Meters in afternoon, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Weird Autumn

Weird Autumn, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

It's October 31 and in some views the neighborhood is still all green. A little thinned out, maybe: Leaves have been shed. But still green. Go figure. I'm thinking (but I'm in no hurry to find out) I might wind up with snow on green trees before it's over.


USA! USA! We're the middle!

We do have kickass bombs, but some of the other stuff has started looking pretty creaky: levees that break, bridges that fall, a healthcare system that's not very, well, healthy, fire-fighting planes that can't take off and...whoa, what's this?...the Internet. Oh oh. There's a broadband gap.

In South Korea an average apartment-dweller can get an internet connection 15 times faster than a typical US connection, reports the AP. (Fifteen times? That seems a little suspicious, but still.) In Paris, the story says, a package deal including TV, phone, and broadband service costs half what it costs in the US. (But remember that cafe where they let us sleep all night in the back booth? I bet they're still on dialup.)

Dave Burstein, editor of the DSL Prime newsletter and a "telcom gadfly" (that's callin' 'em like you see 'em, AP!) says the US is in "the middle of the pack" among developed countries where Internet service is concerned. But hey, the telcos say it's gonna get better. They just don't say when. Or for how much.

So you think maybe things are getting a little weird in Michigan?

Seriously. Some guy in Niles, MI took some pickles out of a friends fridge, whereupon the friend complained about pickle snitching and the snitcher left in a Huff (sort of like a Nash but with a sunroof), only to return in a barge (I'm just telling you what happened here) with two really enormous pickles and throw them at the, well, other guy, the snitch-accuser, whereupon the other guy tried to call 911 and the other guy - the one with the Huff, I mean - smacked him with it. The phone, I mean. The smacker got tossed in the slammer and the smackee, presumably, the guy who lost the pickles of the first part, got to keep the pickles of the second part. At least that's what the AP says, although they don't exactly say the part about the second part. So I'm just guessing about that.

Plus, Slate says, Rudy Giullani is polling number one these days in the Michigan primary.

You see why I ask.

Kondi's Keystone Kops

Turns out, the AP reports here, while investigating Blackwater's gunning down 17 Iraqi civilians last September ace investigators from State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security gave legal immunity to the Blackwater so-called bodyguards involved - the shooters - which now makes it difficult if not impossible to ever bring criminal charges against those guys, everybody gets off free. 



That thirty percent again

See, I'm not being judgmental here. I'm probably in the 30 percent myself on some things - like, for instance, Americans Who Like to Eat Snails. But I'm not in the 30 percent who have woken up from sleep sensing a strange presence in the room, or the 34 percent who believe in ghosts, or the only slightly deficient 23 percent who say they've been in the presence of a ghost. (The numbers are from an AP-IPSOS poll, here described at Boston.com.)

Thirty percent just seems to be the background level of mopery. Either that, or all of us are 30 percent nuts; could be. 

The fallen

The fallen, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


Or you could think of it as hypen conservation

Having been around since at least the birth of printing, the hyphen is apparently enjoying a difficult time at the moment.

The sixth edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary has knocked the hyphens out of 16,000 words, many of them two-word compound nouns. Fig-leaf is now fig leaf, pot-belly is now pot belly, pigeon-hole has finally achieved one word status as pigeonhole and leap-frog is feeling whole again as leapfrog.

(BBC News)

I wonder if a Save the Hyphen bumper sticker would work.

Oh yeah, Babe

It handles RAW files like it was born to. Transparently, I'm saying here. With all the bells and whistles intact. I'm talking about the Leopard here. Of course. And iPhoto, which rocks.

Too freakin' funny!

It's been a long time since I've run across anything by the excellent Mark Fiore (shame on me) but this morning I did and Bunky, you gotta see this:

More X

You gotta love web clips. Just click a button in the Safari toolbar and you can clip a section - the Top Stories section from the Yahoo! News page, for instance - and convert it into a dashboard widget. Whenever that section of the web page updates your widget updates.

I don't use Dashboard a whole lot but I do use it. A system monitoring widget (iStat) lives there, along with a couple of clocks (local and GMT) a local weather forecast, white and Yellow Pages lookup widgets, and a units converter (miles to kilometers, grams to ounces, that kind of thing). Now with web clips I might use it a whole lot more. 

And here's something cool: The Help menu in any app includes a search field. So if you know there's something on some menu somewhere but you can't remember which one, instead of poking around in all the menus looking for it you just click Help, type what you're looking for (say, "Merge") and you get a list of all the uses of that word in the menus. Hover your mouse over an item on the list and the appropriate menu drops down and an arrow points to the command. How cool is that? And this is even cooler - that same search works on the History lists in Safari. So if you want to go back to a page you saw a few days ago, instead of scrounging through the History lists just pop up Help Search, type the name of the page, and there you go.

Just the way water is, I guess

Fate of Great lakes' water looks fluid

It'd be really bad for swimming in, any other way. Of course if it were solid, say, you wouldn't need all those pesky plastic bottles - you could just stuff a few lumps of it in your pocket and chew on one whenever you got into a hydrational mood. Sure, you can do that now in the winter but who wants ice in their pants?

Anyway, turns out - sez the Times - some people in the Southeast and other parched places want to pipe in water from the Great Lakes to spray on their lawns or fill their pools. There's a lot of water there. They don't call the Great Lakes for nothing. But they might not be great for long if somebody starts pumping them into New Mexico. Next thing you know, Lake Michigan could be Gone.

Now, I'm a Great Lakes kinda guy, myself, and I say leave the Lakes alone. Hands off. But, speaking of hands, on the other one, I know they're pretty hard up for water down there. So here's the deal. I'd be happy to have them take some of our Massachusetts water as long as they take some of our nasty weather too and send us hot sun.