Oh oh oh no

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray signed the measure yesterday because Gov. Deval Patrick was in New York City on what his office would describe only as “personal business.”

[From Plow drivers set to pile up big payout - BostonHerald.com]

No, I'm not insinuating anything here - I'm not - but just about now saying the boss is away on "personal business" in New York is probably not a good thing. Or, for that matter, anywhere, just to be safe.

OK, I'm calling old guy here

Look, if you put a sign that says Easy Open on your damn packages - yes, this means you - you ought to have the common freakin' decency to explain just how this "easy open" thing works because - I'm just saying here - I generally spend a whole lot more time getting your "easy open" stuff, well, open, than I would if I just took a knife to it. Or a hatchet.

Come to think of it, that's a test, now that I think about it. If it's easier than a hatchet it's "easy open," and if it's not, shut up and stand back.

Dude, I'm kind of starting to like this guy from Montana

Friday, DHS Assistant Secretary Stewart Baker wrote to the attorney general of Montana, saying that even though the state was explicitly not seeking an extension, it would be granted one anyway. Baker reasoned the state's new license security measures already met many of the Real ID requirements anyway.

"I can only provide the relief you are seeking by treating your letter as a request for an extension," Baker wrote.

Schweitzer, Montana's Democratic governor, said his state had not backed down.

"We sent them a horse. If they choose to call it a zebra, that is their business," said Schweitzer.

[From The Raw Story | Chertoff: ID must comply to fly]

Yeah, yeah, we'll worry about this later

Too later. Again.

Just as e-voting firm Sequoia is resisting having its machines reviewed independently, the Brookings Institute has put a bunch of e-voting machines to the test, and found error rates around 3% on some of the machines. These weren't errors due to software problems, but usability problems, where the design of the system resulted in people voting for a candidate they did not want. 3% is a huge number, and could easily change the results of an election.

[From Techdirt: New Study Shows Massive Error Rates In E-Voting Machines]

And you thought hanky-panky in Albany is a big deal?

No wait - it's worse!

Albany is a hotbed of furtive boom-chicka-boom.


Is this a great country or what?

CHICAGO - Two sisters from Virginia sold their Illinois-shaped corn flake on eBay Friday night for $1,350.

[From Flakey sale nets Virginia sisters $1,350 - Yahoo! News]

No kidding. And...

Copycat items have popped up on eBay, including corn flakes shaped like Hawaii and Virginia. There's also been a potato chip shaped like Florida, and Illinois corn flake paraphernalia, including T-shirts and buttons.

So why wouldn't everybody want to be just like us?


Sort of sums it up

The embarrassing truth is that Obama bores me. I find him platitudinous, single toned, , sometime pompous and often guilty of that classic Washington sin described once as confusing somberness with seriousness. To be sure, I don't like listening to most politicians these days, but there is something so predictable and annoyingly didactic about Obama, as though he was trying to bring a bunch of freshman students up to speed, that I tend to turn him off and read the text instead.


Yeah, sounds like

Cheep thrills - chicks for rent

Farmers and families update an old Easter tradition.

[From Cheep thrills - chicks for rent | Philadelphia Inquirer | 03/21/2008]

Oh oh, this could be bad

U.S. trade body to probe Sony

[From U.S. trade body to probe Sony - Boston.com]

Or good, I guess. Depends on whose body it was.


What, do they suspect her of phone sex too?

A conservative group that won release of the [Hillary Clinton] calendars was pushing for release of 20,000 pages of the former first lady's phone logs.

[From The Raw Story | Group seeks Clinton phone logs]

You were expecting dogwoods and cherry blossoms?


This is New England, dude. Get over it.

The ducks are looking pretty pleased, though.

Yes, bunky, there really is a reality distortion field

Whether you are a Mac person or a PC person, even the briefest exposure to the Apple logo may make you behave more creatively, according to recent research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the University of Waterloo, Canada.

[From Logo Can Make You 'Think Different']

Run for cover! It's a veggie!

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A raw turnip was at the root of a bomb scare that last for hours at a law office. An employee at Haller & Colvin Attorneys at Law called 911 Thursday after opening a U.S. Postal Service box and finding a suspicious gift bag inside, police said.

[From The Associated Press: Turnip Causes Bomb Scare at Law Office]


Fire hose

Spare me the other four

OMAHA, Neb.—U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel writes in a new book that the United States needs independent leadership and possibly another political party, while suggesting the Iraq war might be remembered as one of the five biggest blunders in history.

[From Hagel: US may need new political party - Boston.com]

Maybe the book does, but the article doesn't say.

Five years and counting

They could not succeed in eliminating WMDs because they did not exist. Nor could they succeed in the declared aim to eliminate al-Qaida operators, because they were not in Iraq. They came later, attracted by the occupants. A third declared aim was to bring democracy to Iraq, hopefully becoming an example for the region. Let us hope for the future; but five years of occupation has clearly brought more anarchy than democracy.

[From Hans Blix: A war of utter folly | Comment is free | The Guardian]

Next to burst: an education bubble?

Like Mississippi, many states use an inflated graduation rate for federal reporting requirements under the No Child Left Behind law and a different one at home. As a result, researchers say, federal figures obscure a dropout epidemic so severe that only about 70 percent of the one million American students who start ninth grade each year graduate four years later.

California, for example, sends to Washington an official graduation rate of 83 percent but reports an estimated 67 percent on a state Web site. Delaware reported 84 percent to the federal government but publicized four lower rates at home.

[From States’ Data Obscure How Few Finish High School - New York Times]


Dude, at this pace I don't think 100 years will be enough

"This long-term struggle became urgent on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 . That day we clearly saw that dangers can gather far from our own shores and find us right there at home," said Cheney....

"So the United States made a decision: to hunt down the evil of terrorism and kill it where it grows....

[From Cheney again links Iraq invasion to 9/11 attacks]

Like a bunch of kids out behind the garage with Playboy

The National Archives releases more than 17,000 pages of Hillary Clinton's records and what does ABC's "investigative unit" want to know first?

Hillary Clinton spent the night in the White House on the day her husband had oral sex with Monica Lewinsky, and may have actually been in the White House when it happened, according to records of her schedule released today by the National Archives.

[From ABC News: Hillary Was in White House on 'Stained Blue Dress' Day ]

Nice investigating there, unit.

Is it something in the water there, ya think?

As disgraced U.S. Senator Larry Craig heads towards retirement, a man seeking his seat has taken an unusual step in his strategy:

He has changed his legal name to a political stance.

A 66-year-old Idaho strawberry farmer, formerly known after a previous name change as Marvin Pro-Life Richardson, is now, simply, "Pro-Life."

[From PageOneQ | Political candidate legally changes name to 'Pro-Life']




OK, let's put an end to this

One of the sticking points holding up a possible do-over election in Michigan is a rule that would ban anyone who voted in the Republican presidential primary from voting again.

That ban would apply even to Democrats or independents who asked for a GOP ballot because Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was the only major candidate left on the Jan. 15 Democratic ballot.

To cast a ballot, voters would have to sign a statement that they hadn't voted in the GOP primary.

The effect of blocking those voters could be greatest on Sen. Barack Obama, since his supporters were more likely than Clinton's to have crossed over to vote in the GOP primary.

[From The Raw Story | Some Democrats votes may be banned]

Why don't we just do the whole thing over again - how soon can Iowa be ready?

Flying high

You know something's wrong when the President's helicopter starts costing more than the President's jet. The Washington Post focuses on the rapidly increasing costs of replacing Marine One's aging helicopters. Cost estimates have jumped from $6 billion to more than $11 billion for the 28-ship fleet. That makes each helicopter more expensive than Air Force One.

[From President's Helo Now Costs More Than Air Force One | Danger Room from Wired.com]

Dispatches from the green side

Now comes mounting evidence that ethanol production consumes a lot of freshwater. The American Coalition for Ethanol, an industry group, acknowledges that ethanol facilities typically use some three gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol. And some of that water cannot be cleansed for re-use. Petroleum refineries, by contrast, use considerably less water to produce a gallon of gasoline.

[From How green is our corn? -- chicagotribune.com]

Believe, bunky, believe

The markets will take care of everything...

Part of the Fed's job is to prevent just such outbreaks of fear. It "saved" Bear because to do otherwise would have devastated confidence in the U.S. financial system and swamped the larger good -- the continued operation of orderly, stable markets.

[From A contagion of fear -- chicagotribune.com]

...except, of course, when they won't.

Can lap dancers get malpractice insurance?

NYC Businessman Sues Club, Claiming Stripper Injured Him With Shoe During Lap Dance

[From The Raw Story | NYC businessman claims lap dance injury]


Something about which I know nothing of

About. Not.

But dude, I really hope this isn't true.

It is now clear that no end is in sight to the turmoil, and the reason for that is that the Fed and the US treasury are no closer to solving the underlying problem than they were eight months ago. The crisis will only end when house prices stop falling and banks stop racking up huge losses on their loans. Doing that, however, will require the US government to intervene directly in the real estate market to end the wave of foreclosures. Ideologically, it is ill-equipped to take that step and, as a result, property prices will fall and the financial meltdown will go on and on.

Ultimately, though, action will be taken because there will be political pressure for it. Indeed, it is somewhat surprising that there is not already rioting in the streets, given the gigantic fraud perpetrated by the financial elite at the expense of ordinary Americans.

[From America was conned - who will pay? | Business | The Guardian]

Tree in winter

Tree in winter, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

It's true

The Supreme Court on Monday stepped into a legal fight over the use of curse words on the airwaves, the high court's first major case on broadcast indecency in 30 years.

[From The Raw Story | Court will examine profanity rules]

We'd a lot rather argue about stuff like this than, you know, torture or privacy or that creepy-sounding habeas corpus thing, what's with that?

Government invesigates Government; Government comes up clean

There are no scandalous examples of the White House using the Patriot Act powers for political purposes or of individual agents using them for personal gain. The Justice IG report released Thursday, for example, examined some 50,000 National Security Letters issued in 2006 to see whether the FBI misused that specialized kind of warrantless subpoena. The IG found some continuing abuse of the power, but blamed it for the most part on sloppiness and bad management, not nefarious intent.

[From Do Americans Care About Big Brother? - TIME]

See? Just a little sloppy, is all.

"Pity America's poor civil libertarians," says TIME, reporting the good news.

You don't think they'd consider defecting, do you?

McCain, Lieberman, Huckleberry Graham and Cheney in Baghdad. What the hell, is it the NeoCon New-Year or something?

[From Group News Blog: Lord Cheney in Baghdad]

Call me a cockeyed optimist.

With a whole lot of help

"It's no mystery," said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.). "You have a very unhappy electorate, which is no surprise, with oil at $108 a barrel, stocks down a few thousand points, a war in Iraq with no end in sight and a president who is still very, very unpopular. He's just killed the Republican brand."

[From Republicans See Storm Clouds Gathering]

Dude, it is tres amusing to watch these Rs try to squirm out of the mess they're in by kicking the Dubya under the bus.

Let's review the bidding here, shall we? Bush won Republican primaries and got enthusiastically nominated by Republican conventions and ran with an R after his name twice. And now these guys him? Oh no, Thomas M. Davis III, you and all your buddies (and buddiettes) ruined the Republican brand, such as it was.

Ain't that too bad.

OK now you're freaking me out

Suddenly there's some kind of discussion about whether Saturday Night Live is pro-Clinton or pro-Obama.

While the SNL writers are said to favor Obama, a review of the producers' political donations shows a decided Clinton bent.

[From The Raw Story | SNL insists it's not boosting Clinton]

Excuse me? Isn't Saturday Night Live a freakin' comedy show? On TV?


Palast on Spitzer and the Fed

While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an ‘escort’ $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush’s new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.

[From Eliot’s Mess Greg Palast]

But not what it takes, bunky...

The treasury chief sidestepped questions about what would have happened if the Fed had not ridden to the rescue, whether other firms are on shaky ground and the possibility of additional bailouts similar to Bear Stearns'.

At the same time, however, Paulson sought to send a calming message that the administration is on top of the turbulent situation. "The government is prepared to do what it takes to maintain the stability of our financial system," he said. "That's our priority."

[From Paulson: Govt will act to aid economy - Yahoo! News]

...to bail you out if your home is on the line. So you might as well just take your $megabazillion severance package and...

...oh. You don't have one of those either? Ain't that a shame.

Some pretty serious YouTube

When having a green river is, in Chicago at least, good

Japan native Maiko Mori declared herself an "Asian-Irishwoman" Saturday as she watched Chicago's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade with tens of thousands of people who turned Columbus Drive into a dizzying sea of green....

Before the parade kicked off, hundreds of spectators snaked around Wacker Drive to watch the Chicago River being dyed green.

[From 'Green' for a day -- chicagotribune.com]

Definition creep

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s passionate new security chief, who brought federal screening to Logan International Airport after 9/11, says the theft of precious artworks from the museum 18 years ago Tuesday is a form of “cultural terrorism” that must be resolved for posterity’s sake.

[From Putting the pieces together - BostonHerald.com]

"Terrorism." My dictionary defines it as "the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims" - a definition that clearly does not fit stealing a painting from a museum. But the word is rapidly coming to mean anything that anybody really, really does not like, which is really, really not a good thing. Not only does it rob the word of its specific usefulness, but it also means all the laws that have been made (or broken) in the name, specifically, of fighting terrorism will come to apply to every crime du jour. Does calling art theft "cultural terrorism" mean we can waterboard suspects (if this guy knows where the ticking portrait is...), toss 'em into the brig for years without charges, subject them to kangaroo trials and disappear them from the face of the earth?