I'm just saying, is all

An Israeli MP has blamed a spate of earthquakes in the Middle East on gays.

[From Ananova - MP blames quakes on gays ]

That scurrilous New York Times could be the best thing that ever happened to McCain

Conservative radio talk show hosts who had long reviled Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential candidate from Arizona, had rallied to his defense. Bloggers on the right said that this could be the start of a new relationship. Most telling, Mr. McCain's campaign announced Friday afternoon that it had just recorded its single-best 24 hours in online fund-raising, although it declined to provide numbers.

[From McCain Camp Claims Best Online Fund-Raising Day In Wake Of NYT Article - Politics on The Huffington Post]

It warms my heart to see the right-wing bloggers and bloviators find a new love. It really does. Too bad this couldn't have happened before Valentine's day. But hey, there's always next year.

What? Not forthcoming?

My unruly friend, the Station Agent, fears that the Bush government has not been honest and forthcoming about the exact nature and function of the satellite.

[From Les Enragés.org: Shoot that Satellite Wikiwiki!]

Surely you jest!

Oh the ingratitude, the ingratitude

WARSAW, Poland—Poland will only sign up to accept a U.S. missile defense base if Washington gives significant help to modernizing Poland's military, the Polish defense minister said in comments published Saturday.

[From Poland: no missile shield without aid - Boston.com]

Oh no, not the cultures, please not the cultures

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — A Microsoft executive on Friday sent workers an upbeat email outlining a vision of how the software giant expects to take over Yahoo and merge the companies' cultures and resources.

[From AFP: Microsoft email prepares workers for Yahoo takeover]

I'm not 100% sure I even am a culture on Yahoo, or even part of one, but just the thought, you know? My ISP sources (sources!) its email service and some other services through Yahoo and I use Flickr, which belongs to Yahoo - is Flickr a culture? - and who knows what else. And now Microsoft wants to manage that? I guess so.

Maybe Yet Another Media Empire should look into buying Microsoft, let somebody manage them for a change.

The terrorists are winning

WASHINGTON—Sen. Barack Obama's refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin along with a photo of him not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem led conservatives on Internet and in the media to question his patriotism.

[From Is Obama open to criticism? - Boston.com]

Now it's the Blue Reboot of Death?

The glitch is the second SP1-related issue for Microsoft in recent days. The company had to pull another update, this one a set of files necessary to move to SP1, because some users were sent into a repeated reboot cycle by the files.

[From Microsoft glitch offers up Vista SP1 early | Beyond Binary - A blog by Ina Fried - CNET News.com]

Why don't they just hire some women and get it over with?

Researchers at the Department of Artificial Intelligence (DIA) of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid’s School of Computing (FIUPM) have, in conjunction with Madrid’s Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, developed an algorithm that is capable of processing 30 images per second to recognize a person’s facial expressions in real time and categorize them as one of six prototype expressions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise.

[From Expression Recognition Software Gets A Facelift | Scientific Blogging]

Looks like we need even more retroactive immunity than we thought

MADISON, Wis.—A landlord snooped on tenants to find out information about their finances. A woman repeatedly accessed her ex-boyfriend's account after a difficult breakup. Another obtained her child's father's address so she could serve him court papers.

All worked for Wisconsin's largest utility, where employees routinely accessed confidential information about acquaintances, local celebrities and others from its massive customer database.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press in an employment case involving Milwaukee-based WE Energies shine a light on a common practice in the utilities, telecommunications and accounting industries, privacy experts say.

[From Worker snooping on customer data common - Boston.com]

No comment

After 60 years of Filene's Basement hosting the "Running of the Brides," the event moved to Hynes Convention Center this year.

[From Here come the brides! - Boston.com]


Day Job: Security officer

[From Geek ChicGallery: Costumes of WonderCon 2008 ]

Why don't we get some US-backed Turks to take care of that?

The U.S. military blamed what it calls Iranian-backed Shiite militias for a series of deadly rocket attacks in Baghdad earlier this week, including one against U.S. outposts in Baghdad that wounded three American soldiers.

[From Iraq: Rockets or Mortars Hit Green Zone - Politics on The Huffington Post]

It's not "mad cow," it's mad people

MONTEREY, CALIF. -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward T. Schafer said Friday that the nation's largest beef recall had set back negotiations to ship U.S. beef to Japan and South Korea....

Schafer also said Friday that he was not in favor of making any immediate changes to meat inspection regulations in the wake of the recall.

[From Massive beef recall fouling U.S. prospects for exports - Los Angeles Times]

Can't those Koreans understand it's about the money, not about the food?


Please make it stop

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush has rhythm, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice assured reporters on Friday after watching her boss join African dancers during his five-nation tour of the continent this week.

[From Bush has rhythm, says Rice after Africa trip - Yahoo! News]

Don't panic!

It's a joke. I think.

Not only will the liberal media stop at nothing to besmirch the character of morally upstanding conservatives like Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay, they'll even slime putative ones like John McCain. While Barack Hussein Obama gets a free pass on his homosexuality and cannibalism, Senator McCain gets waterboarded by the New York Times for being heterosexual:

[From Edicts of Nancy]

No, I don't think. I mean, I'm kidding. It's a joke. With links. Good links. Go read.

The bad news just keeps piling up

First terrorists under every bed, now this.

Truffle industry under threat

[From Truffle industry under threat - Boston.com]

A deft use of the word "implausible"

Speaking of words...

(CNN) -- A New York Times report that Sen. John McCain once had a close relationship with a female lobbyist was "highly implausible," a former McCain aide told CNN.

[From Ex-McCain aide: New York Times report 'highly implausible' - CNN.com]

And what's that his wife is wearing on her jacket? A good conduct medal? I can't zoom in that far.

Geographical legerdemain

Is that a cool word or what? Legerdemain. Look it up.

PHOENIX, Arizona (AP) -- A Spanish company is planning to take 3 square miles of desert southwest of Phoenix and turn them into one of the largest solar power plants in the world.

[From Arizona to become 'Persian Gulf' of solar energy - CNN.com]

So then, the Persian Gulf built in Arizona by Spaniards. I just hope they speak English, those Spaniards, or they might wind up getting exported to Mexico and then where would we be?

The Governor went home

Or something like that. At any rate, the State has closed down for the rest of the day due to snow. I am not a state employee but I work in a state office (never mind, this is Massachusetts, you wouldn't understand it anyway) so I can go to the beach. Or just hang around, whatever. Fortunately I went out and did errands earlier and picked up a nice can of SPAM, the kind with the capital letters, so at least I won't run out of good things to eat. Let it snow.

It's really not snowing that hard, maybe a half-inch an hour, if that, but it's been snowing all morning and it's supposed to snow all afternoon and much of the night. It's a light, dry, powdery snow and the streets are staying pretty well brushed off by traffic. But the nice thing (or maybe the bad thing) about living here in the hinterlands is that over in Boston, where the State is, after all, they tend to panic about getting home after work. Anyway it's Friday, so why not.

Oh - it's a town

Avon man sues for alleged wrongful drunken driving arrest

[From Avon man sues for alleged wrongful drunken driving arrest - Boston.com]

Avon, CT, I guess.

Sorry, it's a geezer joke. Anyway it would be Avon person now. Times change. Does anybody do door-to-door sales any more?

When it comes to trading, Kurds are better than baseball cards

Hey, let's trade a few off to the Turks.

ANKARA (Reuters) - Thousands of Turkish troops have crossed into northern Iraq with thousands more at the border ready to join them in their hunt for Kurdish PKK guerrillas, a senior military source said on Friday.

[From Turkey launches land offensive into Iraq - Yahoo! News]

I'm just wondering...

...do virtual fences make virtual good neighbors, or the other kind?

WASHINGTON—A 28-mile "virtual fence" that will use radars and surveillance cameras to try to catch people entering the country illegally has gotten final government approval.

[From Arizona 'virtual fence' to get final OK - Boston.com]

And I'm also wondering about how long we'll have to wait for the movie where Tom Cruise slips across the border by disguising himself as a cow.

The new, effectively boring Obama

Is this really what we've come to or is it only what the Globe thinks will turn readers on?

AUSTIN, Texas - Barack Obama last night was wonky and detailed enough to set heads nodding in Capitol committee rooms, but delivered probably the most effectively boring debate performance in recent presidential politics.

[From N.Y. senator's rhetoric fails to shift the balance - The Boston Globe]


We might call this the year of the CU

Highland15 - Version 2

Or maybe not. We might call this the post of the seeing-how-it-works-with-pictures. (Preliminary result: With Flickr, it works just fine.)

I need to find some events to shoot. But when the weather warms up enough to get outside more and the world is no longer uniformly white I need to get closer this year, maybe even see how well that macro setting works. We've had enough of postcards for a while.

OK, so what are they now?

Wolves to be removed from species list

[From Wolves to be removed from species list - Yahoo! News]

Now they tell me

WASHINGTON -- Next year's flu vaccine is getting a complete overhaul to provide protection against three new and different influenza strains -- hopefully better protection than this year's version.

[From Feds set recipe for next year's flu vaccine -- hopefully better than this year's - Boston.com
This year's vaccine is no good? I really didn't want to hear that. Bad enough it's supposed to snow tomorrow, so they say, possibly putting a six-inch layer of white stuff on top of the ice sheet that is the driveway now. And we were doing so well, too. For one glorious day last weekend it almost seemed like spring.


A black radical Muslim Communist, no less! That's like...what's the word I'm searching for here?...a trifecta. Yeah. Trifecta. Or maybe quadfecta, depending on how you count.

But, for a white woman to marry a black man in 1958, or 60, there was almost inevitably a connection to explicit Communist politics.

[From The Corner on National Review Online]

It's Obama, of course. These questions come naturally to the mind of Lisa Schiffren, says Lisa, who blogs at the National Review. I don't want to know what else comes naturally to her mind - and especially i don't want to know what a "red diaper baby" is, so if you know please keep it to yourself.

Anyway, Digby writes about this at Hullabaloo and no way am I going to try to add to that. Go read it for yourself, bunky, and have a good time.

Wait a minute

Voters living in 164 countries cast votes online, while expatriates voted in person in more than 30 countries, at hotels in Australia and Costa Rica, at a pub in Ireland and at a Starbucks in Thailand. The results took about a week to tabulate as local committees around the globe gathered ballots.

[From Obama wins global primary - Yahoo! News]

How does this work? If you live in Thailand you get to vote at Starbucks? Is this fair?

Finally, a sex scandal

Now we can get down to some real politics at last.

TOLEDO, Ohio -- John McCain denied a romantic relationship with a female telecommunications lobbyist on Thursday and said a report by The New York Times suggesting favoritism for her clients is ''not true.''

''I'm very disappointed in the article. It's not true,'' the likely Republican presidential nominee said as his wife, Cindy, stood alongside him during a news conference called to address the matter.

[From McCain denies NY Times report :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Elections]

Bring the mud.

And speaking of happy developments, it looks like the greatest-of-all Mac blogging software, ecto , is finally back. Or at least I've finally discovered it's back. Whatever version I was using before - 2, maybe - got munged when Blogger changed their API and I never figured out how to get it working again. What I'm using now is a beta version 3.

Not only does this make blogging a whole lot easier but it resolves a serious identity crisis as well. I've been running Vista (shhhh) in a VM, mostly to start learning the thing so I can relate to people in class who wind up with it, but also because it contains an app called "Windows Writer" that was doing a better job than anything I had available on the Mac (mostly Firefox). This was enormously frustrating not only from an esthetic point of view but also because it sucked up a considerable amount of resources for a relatively minor task. No, however, more. Woohoo!

So maybe it worked and it might even have done some good

They shot a missile into the air.

Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an expert on military space technologies...estimated there was an 80 percent to 90 percent chance that the missile struck the most important target on the satellite -- its fuel tank...

He cautioned, however, that more technical analysis was required to determine for certain what debris was created and where it might go.

(Chicago Tribune)

Powered by Qumana

A little something to look forward to

The brain function of Americans 70 and older appears to be improving, according to a study that found a smaller percentage of seniors with serious memory and language problems in 2002 than in 1993.

(Boston Globe)

I can't wait.

Well, sure, the government always gets a special rate

In February of 2007, [Brad Blog] reported on...Sequoia Advantage machines having been hacked in five minutes by a professor at Princeton University, who had purchased five of the machines on the Internet from an on-line government equipment clearinghouse for $86 apiece.

The same systems were recently purchased by the state of New Jersey for $8,000 each.

When you put it that way, a lot

I mean, really, what has this country come to, when people start suspecting our government of testing its Star Wars defense - which is designed to shoot satellites out of the sky - simply because the government is going to try to shoot a satellite out of the sky? I mean, like how paranoid can you get?

(tristero at Hullabaloo)


New: YAME election coverage

With 0 % (that's right, bunky, zero percent) of precincts reporting, CNN declares McCain winner in Wisconsin and has Obama leading Clinton by 56%-43% (don't blame me if the numbers don't add up) or 61%-39%, depending on which page you look at, take your pick.

This concludes our coverage of the Wisconsin primary. We're not even mentioning Hawaii until they come up with some civilized way to keep time.

Plagiarism! Eeek!

Look. I know plagiarism is a naughty, naughty thing to do. I used to do it all the time myself. But then I was a speech writer.

Maybe I just wrote speeches for the wrong people - quite a few wrong people, in fact - but where I come from speeches were "works for hire," meaning the rights to the speeches didn't wind up belonging to me, they belonged to the speaker. I know of at least one book about a former client of mine in which virtually every quote comes directly from a speech I wrote, because the subject of the book just turned over a stack of old speeches to the writer and told him to use whatever he wanted of them. So what? That was the deal, and the check cleared.

True, I never intentionally took stuff I'd written for one person and put it in another person's speech, but that was mostly because the other person usually came with his own stack of former speeches to crib from and that was all I needed, and which I did with abandon because in speech writing repeating certain phrases and revisiting certain ideas from speech to speech is a good thing, not bad. That's how slogans are born. And sound bites. Not to mention clichés. (And it's also true certain people - including speech writers, would be my guess - tend to be natural mimics and to repeat the things they hear.)

Anyway, I always thought of plagiarism as sort of an academic concept, for academics, who seem to be horrified by the idea. Which is probably a good thing. It's no fair to simply pass off somebody else's work as your own. I suppose what saved me from that was the general conviction that anything anybody else wrote was lame (a conviction I have more or less given up on at long last) and - I'm just grabbing at straws here - some smidgen of pride in my own work. In other words, not much.

So I am a good deal less than whelmed by all the jabbering about Obama's, and likely to remain so until I hear people being accused of plagiarism for saying "I have a dream" or "no more taxes" or...wait for it..."read my lips."

(And by the way, as long as I'm confessing here, that's also why I tend to use way too many commas when I write. I hear them as pauses in speech, not as grammatical artifacts, and I use them much too often and often in places they don't belong. It's also why I'm sometimes overly casual about spelling. Nobody knows how you spelled a word when all they do is hear it. In fact, in speech writing, sometimes spelling works against you. I once wrote for a guy who insisted on pronouncing "chic" as "chick." I gave up trying to correct it and wrote "sheek" on the teleprompter. Worked fine.)

JIC it's not dark enough tomorrow night...

...the moon will be turned off between 10:00 and 11:00 Eastern time. (More info, including a chart for your time zone, here.)


February 13, 2008 12:19 PM
PORTSMOUTH — Rochester doctor Terry Bennett has finally been paid by the Clinton campaign for rental of a Portsmouth building he owns. Now, he says he will donate the $500 check to Barack Obama’s campaign.

He said he’s doing it because he likes Obama, but also as a statement on the way he feels he was treated by the staff of the Clinton campaign.


Yeah, I got involved in a high-profile political campaign 20, 25 years ago in Illinois - even then, you couldn't get much done unless you paid up front. Political campaigns are notorious for not paying their bills. If the candidate loses he's broke and if he wins, well, you're gonna send a past due notice to the White House?

They want to know my favorite what?

Favorite grade school teacher? Dude, I'm so old I can't even remember if I went to grade school.

This fad everybody's into now for "secret questions" on web sites is making me nutso. How about some geezer-friendly questions, guys?

Like, have you figured out where you left the damn car keys yet?

A what?

Army Times considers a "pause" in the "drawdown."
In early January, Bush, recounting a Jan. 12 meeting with Petraeus in Kuwait, said he told the general: “If you want to slow her down, fine; it’s up to you.”

Nobody's gonna win a war talking like that, pardner.

You think I'm gonna vote for somebody as old as I am for President, you're nuts

Let's face it, anybody under 60 looks young to me so I'm not worried about Obama on that score.

Ooops, 61, I mean. Sorry. Anyone under 61 looks young to me.

Notions on the net

From Reuters via MSNBC: A study conducted at the University of New Hampshire finds online sexual predators do not, as a rule, masquerade as teenagers. It's all about the love, victims say.

In Inside Higher Ed, Barbara Fister examines the network notion of privacy:
Suspicion of the government does not extend to corporations running the Web 2.0 playground. Those guys just seem so ... nice.

Techdirt summarizes a high-tech insider trading case wherein the Law bites its own butt.

And e forwards a copy of the "Who Is Barack Obama?" email summarized here by Snopes. Curiously, the email itself refers to the Snopes page, which makes one wonder: Huh?


Time to upgrade the tinfoil hat

DALLAS — After more than 40 years under lock and key, a large collection of documents and items related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was released by the Dallas County district attorney on Monday.

(New York Times)

Foggy Day

Foggy Day, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Meanwhile, from yet another universe...

...comes news of International Olympic Committee rules for blogging athletes (no, blogging is not an official Olympic sport - yet - but apparently some athletes blog) which (the rules) include adhering to the Olympic spirit and no advertising.

Huh? The Olympic spirit has something to do with no advertising? That can't be true. Maybe Olympic spirits is what they meant.

Brooklyn, Queens, Out of Town, and Foreign

I don't know how things were in the backwoods, but where I grew up, it wouldn't have been possible for 20% of kids not to be able to find America on a world map, because we saw maps of both the US and the world (with the US in the middle, of course) every single day at the front of the classroom in elementary school. But if you reduce taxes and slash school budgets, you lose a lot of that stuff....

...writes Avedon today at The Sideshow.

True enough, about cutting back on schools. Education is one of those things people like to demand but don't like to pay for.

But I knew guys in Manhattan I'm not sure could find New Jersey on a map, guys who thought the East River was the boundary of the known world. When I moved there in the early 60s I picked up a copy of the company magazine - the company I worked for and the magazine written by people I worked with - to find a story about an employee and his family who had "moved west." I was expecting tales of wagon trains and sleeping under the prairie stars. Turned out they'd moved to Allentown, PA.

One of my favorite finds in Manhattan was the big brass mail drop in the lobby of the 14th Street Post Office with the sign over it that read, "Brooklyn, Queens, Out of Town, and Foreign."

I sat on a bus one day listening to two people behind me, about my age, discussing whether or not Chicago was on the West Coast. They decided it was.

And me? I still don't know if there's really a place called Dubuque. I think Dubuque is sort of like the Easter Bunny. Or Toledo.

Oh oh, was that the bullshit detector that just jiggled?

The United States said Friday it is reassuring nations worldwide about its bid to destroy a crippled spy satellite, adding it is unlike China's controversial anti-satellite test last year....

He said the Chinese mission in January last year "was designed specifically as a test against the satellite, the ability to kill the satellite," while the US mission is "an attempt to try to protect populations on the ground."


Ya think maybe the Russians were right when they said the other day this whole rogue satellite thing was just an elaborate ruse for a test? If you do, would the State Department be the first place you'd go to get a straight answer? Just asking here.

Immunity: The new thing to have

Everybody wants it. Wonder why?

HARRISBURG -- Health care professionals would be allowed to refuse to provide contraceptive or abortion services if they do so for religious reasons or acts of conscience under a Senate bill to be introduced today.

The Conscientious Objection Act by Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Altoona, says doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals would have immunity from lawsuits.


Oh the nostalgia

If you think online "communities" are new, all Web 2.0 and such, it might worth noting this year is the 30th anniversary of CBBS, generally agreed to have been the first online community ever. CBBS (Community Bulletin Board System) was run by Ward Christensen and Randy Seuss somewhere on the south side of Chicago and was full of messages like this:

110 baud is so slow you can easily read a text file as it downloads.

By the time I logged in to CBBS, about a year later, Chicago's suburbs were studded with other bulletin boards, mostly run by hobbyists from home. There was no network - each required a direct phone call and only a handful of people could be logged in at any one time. But they were the ultimate in geeky goodness, and you just had to be there.

A tone of ring

A little loop'll do ya