Upd8 8

And get it if you ain't.

OK, I'm sorry. The devil made me do it. But really - if you aren't using Acrobat Reader 8 (if you're using an earlier version) get it - and if you are, update it (Help menu, Check for updates). Security vulnerabilities, blah blah something something. Don't want that.

The incredible lightness of being the Boston Globe

Romney's campaign against McCain shows how Dems can attack him

(Yeah, I know it's an AP story but I figure somebody at the Globe wrote the hed)

Yeah, Globe, that's brilliant. Just what we need: A Dem who thinks he's Mitt. Or a she, either one. Because we're all about entertainment here, and I mean it, too.

Really. I think this whole interminably bonkers political season is the writers' fault. Don't get me wrong - I support the writers. Go writers. But really. If we weren't in the throes of a national sitcom shortage who'd care? Who'd be paying attention, even as much as the Globe?

Just asking

mccain_bush-hug-713122-1 Does this look like a maverick to you? No? Really not?

So then what I'm asking is, when are the "journalists" gonna quit calling him a maverick? No time soon, I guess. This was yesterday in USA (heh) Today:

McCain has won over independents and moderates by burnishing his image as a maverick and straight talker willing to buck his own party.

See what I mean? So I'm just asking here.

Why are these guys allowed out with no supervision?

More than six weeks after Julie Myers was confirmed as the country's top immigration official, the Department of Homeland Security finally released pictures of her smiling and posing with a DHS employee outfitted in what many perceived as a racially insensitive Halloween costume.

Myers ordered the photos to be deleted and apologized to DHS employees after she and others at an official Halloween party awarded "best original costume" to the employee, who was wearing prison stripes, dreadlocks and makeup to darken his skin.

(Raw Story)

Let me be the first to welcome you to the leisure class

American as well as all western white and blue collar workers will soon realize that they will either have to decrease their wage demands to conform with "global standards" or chose jobs in the service sector. These global standard wages are now being set by worker in India and China...But, if American workers are willing to accept these "global standard wages" (adjusted for product transportation costs), no more than $3.00 per hour, perhaps they can get work here in the U.S....

So the middle class worker unwilling or unable to accept this wage level has been disappearing into the limbo of the "having chosen leisure over work" class. The (establishment) economists have so labeled those 35 percent of the labor force (about 70 million people) who are of working age but not working. Forty (40) million of these 70 million "loafers" are between age 50 and 62(surprise!), still too young to be receiving social security.

(Emphasis mine, quote from The Daily Scare)

Could those numbers be true? I have no idea. But I could tell you some damn gawdawful first-hand horror stories from where I work helping recently laid-off people brush up on computer skills they need for finding a new job.So I'm inclined to believe that even if the numbers are wrong the sense is true. You could have a lot of leisure to look forward to, bunky. Buy a really, really long good book.

(Or, you know, get a blog.)

Oh ye of little faith

I don’t think a member could be corrupted by an $8 hamburger.

— Democratic lobbyist Jack Quinn of Quinn Gillespie & Associates on new fundraising rules that limit lobbyists’ ability to take legislators to lunch; Feb. 6.

(Scholars & Rogues)

I was just gonna say here...

...has life really become this boring...
WASHINGTON—Three days after the voting ended, the race for Democratic delegates in Super Tuesday's contests was still too close to call.

...when I got my answer. The Boston Globe has a feature on how to have a hot date. Their suggestions?
  1. Go out to eat.
  2. Go out to drink.
  3. Go shopping.
Whoa. I guess it has.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't read all the hot date list because I got bored. So they might have had something really hot near the end, like watch TV.

If those Brits would only learn how to speak English it'd be easier to read the BBC

Man guilty of barrel wife murder

OK, it's a radio station, so maybe reading doesn't count.


Dead center right (as in correct)

Just go read it: Res ipse loquitur

From Charles Pierce via The Sideshow

Oh come on, dude, tell us what you really think

Fuck them. Vote Democratic this fall and send those motherfucking greedy-assed cocksuckers back to whatever rock they crawled out from under.

(One Pissed Off Veteran)

Even if we have to import more rocks.

Hey, your Congresscritter has a right to make a living, doesn't he?

What possible public policy reason could there be for such a thing?


Or she, of course. Is that a public policy reason, or what?

Turns out the House has passed a bill urging (I'm going with the kindest interpretation here) universities to provide paid music subscription services to students as a way to protect the recording industry from piracy (arrrr). If Disney doesn't make a profit the terrorists have won.

And please please please, bunky, pay attention here: As a public service we are advising you not to hold your breath until a presidential candidate takes a stand on music downloads - or even if it's legal to loan a CD to a friend.

Bunky, we haven't even seen it yet

The bill for the Republicans' Iraq adventure. We haven't even seen it yet, let alone begun to pay.

According to 13 News in Hampton Roads, VA, "The Commission on the Guard and Reserve says soldiers use hardware their grandfathers used, and that so much gear is in Iraq, nine out of ten units do not have what they need to do their jobs, so they cannot defend against a major attack here at home."

Units are even less combat-ready now than they were a year ago, when the Commission reported that 88% of units were unprepared for combat.

Feeling safer yet?

Seeing "no reasonable alternative to the nation's continuing increased reliance on its reserve components," the Commission recommended that those components be upgraded to serve as a fully operational part of national defense. However, it warned that the price tag would be high.

(Raw Story)

Feeling wealthier?



Our Midwest Bureau caught lollygagging on the beach.

Listen up, Dems: Here's what I want to know

Are those guys in Bush so-called administration going to be held accountable or are they not? Are we ever going to even know what's been going on? I don't hear either one of you - yeah you, Clinton, and you, Obama - talking about that at all. Am I missing something here?

Look. Never mind about Iraq - as far as I'm concerned that's been a lie from the start and everybody that doesn't know it by now oughta have somebody look in their ears. What about the war profiteering and the buddy-boy no-bid contracts? (And yeah, in New Orleans too.) What about the Plame affair and the missing emails? What about the wiretapping and the infamous "no-fly" list? What about the secret torture camps? What about the freaking outrageous "signing statements" and the fire (oh yeah, fire) in Cheney's office? And hey, I'm just getting warmed up here.

You can talk all you want about "reaching across the aisle" and smooching the Rs, but what I want to know is, what's your plan for draining the swamp?

I'm a mess

Yes, it's true. Despite substantial long-term remedial training, I'm a mess. But I'm a very highly organized mess, everything in its messy place - so organized, in fact, that if I think of something just before I go to bed that I want to be sure I remember in the morning I can just move something on my desk or on my chest of drawers from where it's supposed to be to someplace else, and in the morning I will notice it's out of place and remember why. It's a trick that rarely - virtually never (I'm only hedging a little so I don't jinx it here) - fails.

So why did I forget my lunch today? Because I'm too neat, I guess. Gotta work on that.

Why not just call it the moron rule and get it over with?

Lieberman's endorsement of Republican John McCain disqualifies him as a super-delegate to the Democratic National Convention under what is informally known as the Zell Miller rule, according to Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.


Super delegate? They shouldn't even let him in the door.

Mitt quits

"Just … wow. A man who would stand up in front of a crowd and say something this stunningly stupid..."

Read the rest at Scholars & Rogues.

What am I missing here?

I just heard an NPR reporter call Eisenhower "the first general to
serve as president in the 20th Century."

There was another one? Did I miss a memo? Does everybody sleep through
history class now?

(iPhoned in)

Election day in the Windy City

In Chicago - city of broad shoulders, hog butcher to the world, believer in lost causes (go Cubs!) - election shenanigans, in the words of the Sun-Times' Annie Sweeney, are no secret - they're a matter of civic pride.
Twenty voters at a Far North Side precinct who found their ink pens not working were told by election judges not to worry.

It's invisible ink, officials said. The scanner will count it....

"Part of me was thinking it does sound stupid enough to be true,'' said Amy Carlton, who had serious doubts but went ahead and voted anyway.

Chicagoans tend to take stupid in stride - the alderman's brother might own an invisible ink company, after all, and as Da Mare once said, "who do you want me to do business with? Strangers?" But listen up, Bunky - sometimes things are just so dumb they're just plain, well, dumb. Even on the Far North Side.

Tsk, tsk.

(Thanks to Spiiderweb™)

Later: And if Chicago voting's not your style, try New Mexico.
The huge turnout in yesterday's Democratic Primary led to long lines, voters who found they were no longer on the registration rolls for some still-unexplained reason, 17,000 votes had to be cast on provisional ballots which remain uncounted today, and now it's being reported --- incredibly --- that at least three ballot boxes were kept overnight last night, uncounted, at the home of a Democratic County Party Chairwoman.

What makes it all worse, as if all that is not troubling enough, is that the current razor-thin margin between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the caucus stands at just 217 votes out of 136 thousand ballots cast.

(Brad Blog)


That's it! Green bags!

All afternoon I've been trying to remember what I was trying to remember. Finally, I did. Green bags. I'm out of green bags for the trash pick-up. Also coffee filters, almost. I need to start writing this stuff down.

What happened to my vote

Nothing, pretty much, if I'm understanding this email from Alexander Goldstein, communications director for the Democratic Party in Massachusetts:

In order for a candidate to receive any delegates based on the primary vote they would have needed to have received 15% of the vote, which John Edwards did not. As a result, he will not be receiving any delegates to the convention from Massachusetts.

I wasn't really expecting anything to happen, so I'm not crushed.

There've been some experiments with "none of the above" ballot choices, and I've been known to advocate voting for yourself - but what's really needed is a ballot option that says "present." What I really want to be able to tell these guys is: I'm here, I'm marking a ballot, but there's nobody on it I really want to vote for.

I get a chance to do that once every six years in Massachusetts - vote for somebody I like - when I vote for Teddy (whose mojo didn't seem to do the trick for Obama here, did it) but other than that I don't remember the last time.

Happy times are here again

Harry Balzer, vice president of consumer research firm NPD Group, said about one-third of the U.S. population and half of the country's children will feast on macaroni and cheese at some point during the next two weeks....

"It's almost always a main meal," he said.


So then, $0.91 per head

That's what the Ministry of Justice is willing to settle for in wrist-slapping a North Dakota manufacturer for allegedly skimping on the armor in helmets for US troops. Sioux Manufacturing paid out $2 million to settle for 2.2 million helmets made with deficient Kelvar - and got rewarded with a $74 million contract to make more, reports the NYTimes.

GoodSearch (etc.)

Here's a search engine, GoodSearch (there's also a GoodShop), powered by Yahoo, that donates half its revenue from your search to an organization you specify. Pretty nifty idea, and you can add your favorite school or charity to the database if you like.

As much as I love Google, maybe this one is worth thinking about.

Here are GoodSearch toolbars/widgets for your web browser. (Oh, you didn't think yet? Well take your time.)

I'll take a pass on the richness and complexity, thank you

The "richness and complexity of voting in America" is what the NYTimes says it's documenting in its Polling Place Photo Project, billed elsewise as a national experiment in citizen journalism involving lots of jolly photographs of polling places around the country. I wish I'd known about it; I might have taken a few jolly photographs myself.

Not so much is the project about actually counting the votes, as in these pix of unattended voting machines in Princeton, NJ, posted by the blog, Freedom to Tinker or the videos of primary vote counting in New Hampshire from Black Box Voting noted earlier here. All of which is pretty rich and complex too. Just mentioning.

I'd just as soon skip the richness and complexity and get a little accuracy, if you don't mind.


Check it out

It's 9:30 Eastern time. The Associated Press has Romney leading in the Minnesota caucus. CNN has Huckabee leading on one page and Ron Paul out front on another. MSNBC has Chris Matthews, babbling. (Did he just call McCain the "anthrax candidate"? That can't be right, can it? I must be hearing things.)

I think I'll read all this stuff tomorrow, when it might make sense.

Wake me when it's over.

Is our schools out of money?

Yes they are, here. $900,000 short for the year, according to this morning's local rag - $500,000 in "emergency cuts" needed now. Word is they have no more money for supplies and barely any left for heat. And this after teachers routinely dip into their own pockets - sometimes hundreds of dollars deep - to buy supplies their classes need.

And all around us are politicians campaigning on promises to cut taxes. Screw them all, every one.

What do you have to do to be a junior royal, I wonder

BBC royal correspondant Peter Hunt said it was unusual for a senior royal to so freely enter the diplomatic and political arena.


Well, whatever. The Duke of York (that would be Andrew) is a senior one and he says the US should have paid more attention to British advice re: Iraq. Experts at colonialism, the Brits are, Andrew says. Understanding other cultures and all that. Pip pip.

Just stick to the guns and bombs

The Israeli army said on Sunday that it had suspended several soldiers after they were filmed exposing their bare buttocks to Palestinians in the south of the occupied West Bank.

(Raw Story)

Not in accord with values taught to soldiers, army says.

Hub of what?

3 candidates feed Mass. primary fever

Three of the four top presidential primary candidates zipped through town on the eve of today's Super Tuesday vote, making Boston look a shade more like the Hub of the Universe than it has in any presidential primary in history.

(Boston Globe)

Fever? Dude, I've got to get out more. I've only noticed one lawn sign so far.

Meanwhile it's raining - pretty hard, by the sound of it. Supposed to rain today and tomorrow and snow on Thursday. Which one of these zippers is promising to fix that?

Another excellent map from the BBC

This one all set up for your Megasupermagilla Tuesday viewing pleasure. All the details, none of the fun. I can't figure out why, after all the pain of the last seven years, we shouldn't be due for just a little fun but dude, I'm not having any. Maybe you. I can't see anybody on either side I really want to vote for (hey, it's a primary, I can vote on either side, doesn't matter here) so it looks like YA of those hold-your-nose-and-make-an-x-in-the-box years. Phooey.

Maybe it's just that I'm too big a grump...no, that couldn't be it. I don't know.


There'll always be an England

A survey of British youths shows that the majority believe that Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood and King Arthur were real people, but more than 20% think Winston Churchill is a fictional character.

(via Whatever It Is, I'm Against It)


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Karl Rove, the strategist behind President George W. Bush's ascendancy to the White House, will join Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel as a contributor starting with Super Tuesday, the network said.


Didn't see that coming, huh?

When they say the surge worked, what exactly do they mean by "worked"?

Baghdad is drowning in sewage, thirsty for water and largely powerless, an Iraqi official said in a grim assessment of services in the capital five years after the US-led invasion.

One of three sewage treatment plants is out of commission, one is working at stuttering capacity while a pipe blockage in the third means sewage is forming a foul lake so large it can be seen "as a big black spot on Google Earth," said Tahseen Sheikhly, civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security plan....

A sharp deficit of 3,000 megawatts of electricity adds to the woes of residents, who are forced to rely on neighbourhood generators....


"Privacy commission" is a joke, right?

The Bush administration has failed to nominate any candidates to a newly empowered privacy and civil-liberties commission. This leaves the board without any members, even as Congress prepares to give the Bush administration extraordinary powers to wiretap without warrants inside the United States.


Yeah, pretty much.

Hey, it's just a question...

Turkey has been waging a bombing campaign against Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq since December, involving both planes and artillery, in an American-sanctioned effort to weaken the Kurdish guerrilla group that hides there.


...but shouldn't we hire somebody to try to sort this out?

My heart goes out

It’s not easy being a conservative movement in a modern liberal democracy.

That from William ("The Bloody") Kristol writing in the NYTimes. And...no, wait!...there's more...
One reason conservatives have been able to navigate the rapids of modern America is that they’ve often gone out of their way to make their case with good cheer.

Good cheer! That's, well, funny.

And I'm not even mentioning "navigate."

Eggscalting the fear

An 18-year-old Pennsylvania teenager was charged Saturday with harboring a "weapon of mass destruction" after igniting what looked to be a plastic Easter egg filled with plastic pellets inside a flea market.

According to a local report, police said the explosion hit at least five people and set off a building alarm.

(Raw Story)

Ummm, I'm not sure "tragicomic" is exactly the word we want to hear

Tragicomic Tale of the 9/11 Report

The official ineptitude uncovered by the commission is shocking. Dubbed “Kinda-Lies-a-Lot” by the Jersey Girls, Ms. Rice comes across as almost clueless about the terrorist threat. “Whatever her job title, Rice seemed uninterested in actually advising the president,” Mr. Shenon writes. “Instead, she wanted to be his closest confidante — specifically on foreign policy — and to simply translate his words into action.”...

The C.I.A. director George J. Tenet is depicted as evasive and exhausted, both from chasing Al Qaeda and trying too hard to please everyone he worked with. The F.B.I. bumbling verges on the tragicomic. Haunted by missed chances to stop the 9/11 hijackers, the F.B.I.’s acting director, Thomas J. Pickard, keeps a list of the bureau’s numerous mistakes. At least Mr. Pickard was bothered by his agency’s ineptitude.

Attorney General John Ashcroft appears more interested in protecting gun owners from government intrusion than in stopping terrorism, and dismissively tells Mr. Pickard that he doesn’t want to hear any more about threats of attacks.

I don't know. Somehow I think this a book that ought to be read. But that sounds like a really, really depressing thing to do.

Back to reality...

...after Yet Another Game (the NFL seems to have all the other names for it trademarked), the New York Post this morning reports on Sex and Football and, oh yeah...
Never in the history of sports has an 18-1 record felt so empty or more sickening than the one the Patriots will leave Arizona with today.

After two weeks of raging rhetoric about what seemed to be impending perfection for the Patriots, the Giants turned New England's path to immortality into utter ignominy.

...that too.


Imagine what the laws are like

That's what they say, you know: The two things you never want to watch being made are laws and sausages.
“Cervelas is the Swiss national sausage,” said Mr. Büttiker....

The name cervelas — Switzerland’s jumble of languages yields other spellings, including cervelat, zervelat and servelat — is derived from cerebellum, Latin for brain, since the sausage originally consisted of pork and pigs’ brain. Today, it is made of beef, bacon and pork rind, mixed with ice to cool it during mincing; it is lightly smoked and briefly boiled.

The use of zebu intestine as a casing is actually a child of mass retailing and the need of supermarkets for cervelas that were alike in color, size and flavor. But it was also a result of the rising cost of cattle intestines in Switzerland, where farmers were increasingly unwilling to clean the innards of their slaughtered cattle for the sausage industry.

They do taste good though so that's something, anyway.

Oh. That.

The only smudge on New England's otherwise perfect résumé is a September videotaping controversy in which Belichick and the Patriots were slapped with the largest penalties in league history after getting caught taping the signals of the Jets' assistant coaches.

(Shaughnessy, Boston Globe)

Just a, you know, smudge.

Patriots jump shark

The arrogant New England team has already applied for trademarks on "19-0" and "19-0 The Perfect Season." Three days before they beat the San Diego Chargers, and more than two weeks before Super Bowl XLII, the team egotistically filed paperwork with the US Patent and Trademark Office to cash in on sales of T-shirts, caps, posters and all kinds of Pats paraphernalia.

(New York Post)

The Post happily trademarks "18-1."