Not with a bang, but a whimper

You know times are tough when the American president and the British prime minister start talking about the good ol' days of the Blitz....

Times are so bad, in fact, that Brown flew to America on a plane provided by the discount charter company Titan Airways. The stature of the two leaders had shrunk so much that there were empty seats in the Rose Garden yesterday, and only Fox News bothered to have its correspondent do a live report from the event. When aides preceded the two leaders to the Rose Garden, they left the door to the Oval Office ajar -- forcing the president himself to reach out and pull the door shut so he could make his grand entrance.

[From Dana Milbank - Isn't That Special? - washingtonpost.com]

Because the dumber you get, bunky, the happier you'll be

Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday called on Roman Catholic schools at all levels to display faith in the Christian gospel in "all aspects of an institution's life, both inside and outside the classroom," even if that means limiting academic freedom at Catholic universities as compared with secular universities.


Pope urges universities to adhere to faith, even if it means limiting academic freedom -

Breaking News from New Orleans - Times-Picayune - NOLA.com

With apologies to Papa

Chicago Fire Department Chief Joe Roccasalva said the tremors caused a "huge spike in calls" to the city's 911 center, but fire crews had not responded to any emergencies related to the incident. "It's mostly people calling to say things were moving on their shelves, that the earth was moving," he said.

[From Downstate earthquake rattles people awake across Chicago area -- chicagotribune.com]

But it wasn't any thing important, just an earthquake. In Illinois.

And don't forget the Mexicans

These guys sure do love building walls, don't they?

BAGHDAD — Trying to stem the infiltration of militia fighters, American forces have begun to build a massive concrete wall that will partition Sadr City, the densely populated Shiite neighborhood in the Iraqi capital.

[From U.S. Begins Erecting Wall in Sadr City - New York Times]

If you're thinking about filming a re-make of The Graduate, forget about plastics. Go with walls.

Ah, well, back to the drawing board

The result of this negligently bad coding has some rather serious consequences: the names, addresses, and social security numbers of tens of thousands of Oklahoma residents were made available to the general public for a period of at least three years. Up until yesterday, April 13 2008, anyone with a web browser and the knowledge from Chapter One of SQL For Dummies could have easily accessed – and possibly, changed – any data within the DOC’s databases. It took me all of a minute to figure out how to download 10,597 records – SSNs and all – from their website...


Oklahoma Leaks Tens of Thousands of Social Security Numbers, Other Sensitive Data - The Daily WTF

So you wonder why things get confusing now and then

egregious |iˈgrējəs|

adjective1 outstandingly bad; shocking : egregious abuses of copyright.2 archaic remarkably good.


Yep, that's our guy

So much for President Bush’s effort to repair his legacy on global warming — at least when it comes to one German official with a flair for sloganeering.

In a statement released today, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel described Mr. Bush’s speech on Wednesday as “disappointing.” But the statement’s harshest words were put in the title of Mr. Gabriel’s critique, according to Reuters:

Gabriel Criticizes Bush’s Neanderthal Speech. Losership, Not Leadership
[From A German Creatively Pans Bushs Climate Speech - The Lede - Breaking News - New York Times Blog]

Oh, the worst

You're in line behind some geezer counting out change and he turns to
the woman he's with and says...

"Have you got any pennies?"

Dude, you might as well send out for pizza 'cause you're gonna be
there for a while.

(iPhoned in)

Another tunnel, another light

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki told European lawmakers Wednesday that his administration is closer than ever to defeating al Qaida-allied Sunni Muslim extremists, a day after bombings attributed to the Iraqi version of the militant group killed about 60 people and wounded 120 north of the capital.

[From McClatchy Washington Bureau | 04/16/2008 | Despite bombing, Iraqi leader says al Qaida nearly beaten]


Comcast’s Concession to Net Neutrality

On Tuesday afternoon, Comcast put out a vague, jargon-filled press release about working to create a “Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” for users of peer-to-peer file-sharing software.

[From Comcast’s Concession to Net Neutrality - Bits - Technology - New York Times Blog]

Yeah, right. OK, maybe we do need some better systems for allocating traffic but who put Comcast in charge?

Oh. Them.

Hey George: Get lost

WASHINGTON — President Bush called Wednesday for the United States to stop the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and challenged other countries, including major polluters like China and India, to abandon trade barriers on energy-related technology and commit to goals of their own.

[From Bush Sets Greenhouse Gas Emissions Goal - New York Times]

And throw the canary another seed

The Arizona senator, promoting a recent proposal of his, also said that eliminating the gas tax could be a psychological boost for Americans. "Let's have some straight talk: it's not a huge amount of money, but it might be nice [for them] to be able to save a few bucks..."

[From The Raw Story | McCain on economy: 'It's hard and it's tough']

But liquor is quicker

What would it take to get you give up your office network password to a total stranger? In London, women were more likely than men to give over their password for a piece of chocolate, says researchers for Infosecurity Europe.

[From Women more likely to give up passwords than men | Defense in Depth - computer security, hacking, crime, viruses - CNET News.com]

(Although, as Techdirt points out, the number is down significantly from last year's and anyway, sweet talk works just about as well.)


Please, please, please make it stop

Tonight, they will face off.

On the day of the one televised debate between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in Pennsylvania....

[From The Swamp: Clinton, Obama: Dueling for voters]

Everybody wants to be a music critic


Whippersnapper! I think I'm in love!

Remember in June 2000, when gas was $1.70 a gallon and George Bush said it was so ridiculously high because Al Gore was an environmentalist?

Thank goodness that, after George Bush has led us to $4.00 a gallon gasoline this summer, we'll have John McCain, who will boldly take on the horrific burden of taxes and save us all a whopping TWENTY CENTS!

It's a good thing we elected the free-marketeers! Sure, gas is more than twice as expensive but hey! A tax break!

That's dang near a shiny quarter in your pocket, you whippersnapper!

Posted by anonymiss | April 15, 2008 1:12 PM


Matthew Yglesias

(April 15, 2008) - Straight Talk

(Domestic Policy)

YA great catch by our Midwest Bureau

Ward Churchill, woohoo!

Peterr, writing at Firedoglake, drops Churchill's name in a discussion of Christopher Edley's refusal to dismiss the despicable John Yoo, Edley being the dean of the law school that employs the mangy rat, citing academic freedom in a lawyerly mumbo-jumboistic way: Yoo can't be fired unless he's been convicted by a court of breaking a law, blah blah something something, sez the dean, on which Peterr quite convincingly calls bullshit, noting Churchill and thereby neatly solves the dean's problem.

Appoint Yoo to the Ward Churchill Chair on the next bus out of town.


Firedoglake » Yoo, Edley, and the Mortal Sins of Academia

The letter of the law

I don't know what it is - the letter of the law - but it's probably not an L. An L sounds sort of wimpy, doesn't it? If you heard the judge was going to throw the L at you you'd giggle.

Letters are like that. You could have an O of course, or a K - I don't know what a K might be but surely you could have one, or a Q - but I doubt you could give away a C. There is an interstate state fair held hereabouts every autumn called the Big E which sounds, well, a little poorly defined but still not bad, but the Big C sounds like a pill. A Z sounds, by default, restful, but a W sounds comatose. And everybody wants an A.

Go figure, huh?

It's not always bad to be a minnow

The tactic of aiming at the rich and powerful with an online scam is referred to by computer security experts as whaling. The term is a play on phishing, an approach that usually involves tricking e-mail users — in this case the big fish — into divulging personal information like credit card numbers. Phishing attacks that are directed at a particular person, rather than blasted out to millions, are also known as spear phishing.

[From Larger Prey Are Targets of Phishing - New York Times]


Oh go ahead, let 'em perceive

Said Obama (says some guy at Kos):

What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve.

[From Daily Kos: State of the Nation]

Some guy at Kos takes this to be a "clear signal" that Obama is "open to the possibility" of "investigating high crimes in the Bush White House." I take it as broccoli and I say to hell with it.

I don't want signals, I want promises. So what's it gonna be?

Years ending in 8

Years ending in 8 are housecleaning years around here - haul out the trash, dust in the corners that are easy to see, that kind of thing - and I had actually planned to get started this week, but it's turned out to be a busy week workwise and anyway, dude, there are way to many other things in life more interesting than mopping floors. But hey, it's only April and I can surely stall off the Health Department for a few more months. Maybe if I just knock a few of the cobwebs down for now that'll be OK.

I have a bad case of spring fever too, which ought to count.


Woohoo! Just heard that word used! Remind me to update my profile.

(iPhoned in)


Tastes so fine


Remember back in high school biology class, when you cultured bacteria on an agar medium in petri dishes? This is the same stuff. It's actually a gelatinous preparation of the cell walls of red algae, used to thicken the fruit filling. On ingredient labels, it's sometimes called red seaweed, likely because the idea of ingesting seaweed is somewhat palatable (think sushi). Eating red algae, on the other hand, sounds nasty.

[From What's Inside: Don't Let the Algae Sour You on Hostess's Lemon Pie ]

What kind of lemon pie is that?


They need lessons?

T to educate riders on harassment

[From T to educate riders on harassment - The Boston Globe]

"T" - that stands for the subway in Boston.

The new old thing

Now, Polaroid wants to conjure up those golden analog days of vast sales and instant gratification — this time with images captured by digital cameras and camera phones.

This fall, the company expects to market a hand-size printer that produces color snapshots in about 30 seconds.

[From Instant Digital Prints (and Polaroid Nostalgia) - New York Times]

Digital Polaroids

Signs of the times

Metro Detroit had a staggering 18.9-month supply of homes for sale at the end of 2007, and some cities were swamped with four years or more worth of housing inventory that people are desperately trying to sell.

That's almost double the national average of 9.6 months of existing home inventory at the current sales pace, itself a sign of trouble in the U.S. housing market where a three- to six-month inventory is considered normal.

[From Crisis yields 18.9-month supply of homes | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press]


The European Court of Justice is forcing the EU into publishing its top-s33kr1t list of things you're not allowed to take on airplanes. Oh noes!

[From EU forced to release list of objects you're not allowed to take on planes - Boing Boing ]

Oh no, NYTimes...

WASHINGTON — Alberto R. Gonzales, like many others recently unemployed, has discovered how difficult it can be to find a new job. Mr. Gonzales, the former attorney general, who was forced to resign last year, has been unable to interest law firms in adding his name to their roster, Washington lawyers and his associates said in recent interviews.

[From In Job Search, Gonzales Sees No Takers - New York Times]

I work with people recently unemployed and not one single everlasting one of them is anything whatsoever, even in your wildest imagination, like Alberto freakin' Gonzales.

Keep one foot on the brake

Six U.S. cities have been found guilty of shortening the amber cycles below what is allowed by law on intersections equipped with cameras meant to catch red-light runners. The local governments in question have ignored the safety benefit of increasing the yellow light time and decided to install red-light cameras, shorten the yellow light duration, and collect the profits instead.

[From Six US cities tamper with traffic cameras for profit ]

(And this is one of the cheeriest stories I've read so far this morning.)