Do. Not. Let. Me. Touch. Anything.

Whew. I have the most amazing case of drop-stuffitis today, just about everything's hit the floor (both hands on the phone, please). And the stupids. Rebuilt my hard drive not once but twice from backups all because of a (you're gonna live this, Dude) gimpy keyboard. A gimpy freakin' keyboard. That's beyond stupid, now that I think of it.

The good news is that Time Machine thing in OS X Leopard works just like a charm. So I wound up restoring my disk to its early-yesterday morning state, thereby making today Groundhog Day.


Have yourself a merry little Christmas*

The FBI is warning that al Qaeda may be preparing a series of holiday attacks on U.S. shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to an intelligence report distributed to law enforcement authorities across the country this morning.

(ABC News)

But wait.

The bulletin acknowledges that U.S. intelligence officers are uncertain as to whether the information is real, and intelligence officers say there is a concern that it could be "disinformation."

Thanks, ABC!

*Look it up.

Please, please, please

LAS VEGAS - The first day of O.J. Simpson's criminal evidentiary hearing was marked by dramatic audio recordings and a collectibles broker who testified he set up the meeting that ultimately led to armed robbery charges against the former football star.


Let's not have OJ again, OK? Next thing, well have Geraldo in full body armor living in a foxhole outside the courthouse, that Greta person, and helicopters.

I can't take it any more. I want out.

Eh? What's that?

One of Britain's strongest men failed in an attempt to set an unlikely record - pulling a Routemaster bus with his ears.


Senate smooches Bush's butt - again

A split senate confirmed Michael Mukasey as United States attorney general despite criticism that he refused to say whether waterboarding -- an interrogation method widely considered as torture -- was legal.

The vote was 53-40. Six Democrats and that Lieberman jerk voted to confirm. Clinton, Obama, Dodd, and McCain hid in the hallway until it was over. The torturers will walk.

Or a new Midway

From a post on Sott.net via Spiiderweb™ entitled "The neoconservative Agenda to Sacrifice the Fifth Fleet - The New Pearl Harbor":

The Bush administration has covered up and ignored dissenting Pentagon war games analysis that suggests an attack on Iran's nuclear or military facilities will lead directly to the annihilation of the Navy's Fifth Fleet now stationed in the Persian Gulf.

(And more. Read it there.)

According to historians of WWII the Japanese navy foresaw a great battle between their and the US fleets near the Pacific island of Midway and simulated that eventuality with a war game. The senior Japanese officers played the Japanese role in the game, the junior officers played the US side. Defying Japanese naval doctrine, the junior officers unleashed a massive air attack on the Japanese fleet, successfully defeating the Japanese carriers, and won the game. The senior officers pulled rank, returned their lost ships to the game, and in a re-do, prevailed.

The two fleets did in fact meet off Midway. US planes sunk four Japanese carriers and a heavy cruiser and permanently crippled the Imperial Navy.

Midway turned the tide of the naval war in the Pacific.

(For more, see Wikipedia.)


Some serious fooling around

Some serious fooling around, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Noise is the bane of digital photographers. In appearance it resembles the grain in film. This picture was taken with a digital camera set at ISO 800, in the corner of a room lit only by a window on the opposite wall (there's an image of the window at the bottom of the glass jar). A cupboard overhangs the frame - it's a dark corner. The picture is "grainy,"; sure - but not much worse than I'd expect from, say, Tri-X under similar circumstances (ev -0.7, for the photogeeks). So then, available-light photography indoors, in a reasonably lighted room, should be entirely possible.

Stay tooned.

I'm curious too

The Chicago Tribune notes a recall of Curious George dolls.

The recalled dolls have a plastic face and are sold in five different models, including "birthday," "fireman," "sweet dreams," "tool time" and "tool time with a soft face."

"Tool time with a soft face"? That's one I'd like to see.

Oh, fine

Motorists driving through Big Dig tunnels will, at long last, be able to chat on their cellphones uninterrupted.

A frustrating dead zone for Boston cellular users since they opened four years ago, the tunnels will be fitted with wireless antennas within months, following approval last week by federal highway officials. The Federal Highway Administration said it is satisfied that attaching cables to tunnel walls that are held in place with epoxy anchors will not pose any danger.

(Boston Globe)

Never mind the epoxy anchors - cellphones in the tunnels? Right, just what we need.

OK, I admit, I've been living in the outlands for so long now that when I see three cars in a row it looks like traffic. Far cry from the Chicago expressways. Or even Boston, which is not an easy city to drive in. So maybe it's not so bad as I imagine, guys whizzing through the tunnels, no way out, and talking on their phones. I get spooked when I see a phone-driver from two blocks away.

Still - cellphones in the tunnels. It sounds like a really dumb idea to me.

Welcome to Geezerworld

From a piece at CNN Money by Fortune editor-at-large Richard Siklos, describing a meeting between Rupert Murdoch and Arianna Huffington:

The media mogul asks her how the Huffington Post's web traffic is shaping up. "We are getting about three million visitors a month," Arianna replies in her familiar Zsa Zsa-like patois.

Oh come on. Please. Does anybody still young enough to have teeth remember Zsa Zsa? I doubt.

Maybe nobody still young enough to have teeth reads Fortune. That could be true.


According to the Atlanta Constitution:

With no rain in sight, Gov. Sonny Perdue is looking for a little spiritual help to get North Georgia out of its drought.

Perdue's office has begun sending out invitations to a prayer service for rain at the Capitol next week.

The service is scheduled for Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. on the Washington Street side of the statehouse.
Just a heads up here from your ever-helpful YAME.

PS: Yeah, there's supposed to be a picture there. I don't know why it's not and I don't have time right now to figure it out.

PPS: I have time now, but I don't care.


It ain't a musical any more! According to a recently-published book, Hillary Clinton hired a hitman to take out a cat.

Sen. Clinton's accuser is Kathleen Willey, the one-time White House aide who in 1993 claimed to have been groped by then-president Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. Willey raised the strange cat-killing allegation -- and a raft of others -- in her new book, Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

(Raw Story)

The cat's name was - oh, you're gonna love this, Dude - "Bullseye."

Can you spell boondoggle, Bunky?

The Homeland Security Department says it gets about 2,000 requests a month from people who want to have their names cleared. That number is so high that the department has been unable to meet its goal of resolving cases in 30 days, says Christopher White, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, which handles the appeals. He says the TSA takes about 44 days to process a complaint.
I thought you could. And while you're at it, answer me this. If it takes 44 days to get a name off, how did they get 755,00 on? Just dump them in carload lots?

Apparently so. Take, for example John Anderson. (And how many John Andersons do you think there are? I know a couple of them myself. 755,00 names does not 755,000 people make.) Like the John Anderson whose picture appears in the USAToday story cited here. The 6-year old John Anderson from Minneapolis (Bunky, there must be a few hundred John Andersons in Minneapolis alone). When John travels with his parents by air the family must check in at the airport counter so some official or other can verify who he is.

The family has tried to get the kid off the list but so far, no luck. And when you stop to think of it, how can they take a name like John Anderson off? How are they going to keep all the John Andersons sorted out? There ain't no way.

At least they haven't waterboarded him yet.


Finally, some good news

Bunky, I am reading about the spineless Dems (they should ditch the donkey and go with a jellyfish), little Alberto's torture fetishAhmadinejad's antics, and other assorted aggravations all morning and things are beginning to look pretty grim until I come across this dollop of delightful dopiness in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune - John Waters wants to make a movie about Larry Craig. "I hear that airport is becoming a big tourist attraction. I want to make a movie about it. 'The Last Stall on the Left.'" he told an audience in the Twin Cities the other day.

I can't wait for the musical. And the movie's going on my Netflix today.



Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, called the Bush administration's approach to Pakistan "fundamentally incoherent." Yet neither Mrs. Clinton nor any of her fellow candidates offered details about how they would chart a different course than the one that the White House has followed for the past six years.

Meanwhile, says this story in the NYTmes, Commander Guy is praising Pakistan's General Mushy as a "strong fighter against extremists and radicals." No slouch against that country's Supreme Court either.

And, in a last-graph bonus, the Times quotes a "senior Democratic congressional aide" talking about delivering ordnance, when bombing is what he means.

Wait a minute!

BANGALORE, India — Doctors began operating Tuesday on a 2-year-old girl born with four arms and four legs in an extensive surgery that they hope will leave the girl with a normal body, a hospital official said.

(Faux News)

Better be careful there, Dude.

And you thought irony was dead

During today's White House press briefing, spokeswoman Dana Perino condemned Gen. Pervez Musharraf's declaration of "emergency rule" in Pakistan. She said that the administration is "deeply disappointed" by the measure, which suspends the country's constitution, and believes it is never "reasonable" to "restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism":

Q: Is it ever reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism?

MS. PERINO: In our opinion, no.

Like this?

I saw it in a dream. Really. Well not exactly really. What I saw in the dream was "pepppers," but this is better.

A laugh a day

I buy a lot of stuff with a debit card, because it's easier than cash and I don't wind up with a pocket full of pennies at the end of the day. Also, because I'm hip. Also because it's always good for a laugh. Because at the end of all the finger tapping there's always the question:

Is the amount OK?

OK, maybe I'm just easily amused but that cracks me up.

Yet another guy who didn't get the memo

Bruce Schneier reports on a guy from Sweden who got upset with his daughter's husband and so, the son-in-law setting out on a business trip to the US, emailed the FBI that said son-in-law had links to al-Qaeda.

The man, who admitted sending the email, said he did not think the US authorities would stupid enough to believe him.

Fat chance. The son-in-law is greeted in Florida with handcuffs, interrogation, and 11 hours behind bars before being shipped back home.

The incident, no doubt, has since been forwarded to Commander Guy's speechwriters as yet another example of glorious success.

Achtung, Dude, you may be next.


So then, we could make it an Olympic event

Thanks to the inestimable Whatever It Is, I'm Against It, this tidbit from the Guardian:

The top legal adviser within the US state department, who counsels the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, on international law, has declined to rule out the use of the interrogation technique known as waterboarding even if it were applied by foreign intelligence services on US citizens.
When I was in the service we were lectured on the Geneva Conventions - name, rank, and serial number, and all that; now, I suppose, the troops are just told "hold your breath."

Meanwhile, WIIIAI reports, that Musasey guy says "if there were a law against waterboarding, Bush would have to abide by it." So there you go. Why no law?


4 freakin' 30

...and people are driving around with headlights on already. Dude, that's grim.

And the worst thing is, I never get the extra hour. In the autumn when the clock falls back I'm supposed to get one, right? But no. I just goof around an hour longer in the morning, and then I'm late again. It ain't fair.


American travelers' personal data would for the first time be exported to all European Union states by airline carriers flying to Europe under a proposal to be announced this week.
Thanks, Spiiderweb™

The fun just never ends.

Torture, JAGs say

From a letter signed by four former JAGs"

Waterboarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal.

Read the rest

Clear enough?

(I saw it on WTF first, so WTF gets the link)

"Extraconstitutional," she says, and she don't mean spare

The top U.S. diplomat said she had not spoken directly with Musharraf since he announced what she called "extraconstitutional" moves on Saturday. In addition to suspending the constitution, he ousted the country's top judge and deployed troops to fight what he called rising Islamic extremism.

(Chicago Tribune)
Or maybe she does. You don't suppose they have an extra one lying around in Washington somewhere, do you? Might come in handy: The old one's looking pretty threadbare.

Oh well. The US didn't put all its chips on Musharraf, Rice says. Haliburton got most of them. Just tossed Mushy a few spares. Extrachips, I guess. About $11 billon worth, that'd be. What else would we be spending it on anyway, sick kids?

So Rice is "disappointed," she says.

Yeah. Me too.


Abandoned, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Waterboardin' USA

From Harry Shearer at My Damn Channel.

I wouldn't know: I haven't been briefed

So I have to wonder, has Mukasey been briefed of the use of the rack? Thumbscrews? The iron maiden? Hot iron pokers up the ass? If not, then would it be inappropriate to ask him whether he thought such methods were torture?

(Lawyers, Guns and Money)

Highly and deeply, says State

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, traveling in the Middle East, called Mr. Musharraf’s move [in Pakistan] “highly regrettable,” while her spokesman, Sean D. McCormack, said the United States was “deeply disturbed.”


And over at the White House some guy named Gordon D. Johndroe is in charge. “This action is very disappointing,” he said.

Somebody named Teresita Shaeffer from someplace called the Center for Strategic and International Studies opines:

"They can’t just decide they’re going to blow off the whole country of Pakistan, because it sits right next to Afghanistan, where there are some 26,000 U.S. and NATO troops.”...
...all looking for some guys who are in, well, Pakistan. I mean, if you blow off Pakistan, Bunky, you're never gonna find 'em.

Inside the White House the hope is that the state of emergency will be short-lived and that General Musharraf will fulfill his promise to abandon his post as Army chief of staff ...
...and go back to being his old, lovable self.

Musharraf himself, meanwhile, is channeling Abraham Lincoln...

...citing the former president’s suspension of some rights during the American Civil War as justification for his own state of emergency.
And in Karachi, reports The International News, most people "looked stupefied."

Welcome to the club.

(Three newspaper stories were killed in writing this post.)