And ice cream too, while you're at it, please

Twyman - a community organizer, church choir director and public relations consultant from the Washington, D.C., suburbs - staged a pray-in at a San Francisco Chevron station on Friday, asking God for cheaper gas.

[From Pray-in at S.F. gas station asks God to lower prices]

No problem, we have plenty to spare

In Iraq...

“The new U.S. Embassy complex does not have enough fortified living quarters for hundreds of diplomats and other workers, who must remain temporarily in trailers...

[From Think Progress]

Trailers, that is, not diplomats and workers, and all nicely preserved in formaldehyde as well. Just ship 'em over there and - presto! - Bushville East.

There may be honor among thieves: among Bushies, not so much

Doug Feith, the No. 3 man at the Pentagon before, during and after the invasion of Iraq, has come in for his share of blame for the failures there -- in large part because he led the Pentagon policy shop that badly misstated the case for war and bungled the planning for the aftermath. Gen. Tommy Franks called him "the dumbest [bad word] guy on the planet." George Tenet of the CIA called his work on Iraq "total crap." And Jay Garner, once the American administrator in Iraq, deduced that Feith is "incredibly dangerous" and, "He's a smart guy whose electrons aren't connected."

Now Feith, whatever the state of his electrons, is showing just how dangerous he can be. He's written a book designed to settle the score with his many opponents in the administration, and in a book-launch event last night at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, he pointed his finger every which way but inward.

He argued that former secretary of state Colin Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, were the ones who failed to challenge the logic of going to war -- not him. He suggested that Powell, Armitage, Franks, former Iraq viceroy Jerry Bremer and even Feith's old boss, Donald Rumsfeld, should be blamed for the postwar chaos in Iraq -- not him. He blamed then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice for the way she operated ("fundamental differences were essentially papered over rather than resolved"). He accused the CIA of "improper" and unprofessional behavior. And he implicitly blamed President Bush for not cracking down on insubordinate behavior at the State Department.

[From Dana Milbank - Iraq War Is Everyone Else's Fault, Feith Explains - washingtonpost.com]


Because your vote is just that cheap

An anonymous reader points out a story in the Huffington Post about the status of funding for election voting systems. It contains an interesting section in which Chris Riggall, a spokesman for Premier (formerly Diebold) acknowledged that less money is spent making an electronic voting machine than on a typical ATM. The ironically named Riggall also notes that security could indeed be improved, but at a higher price than most election administrators would care to pay.

[From Slashdot | Diebold Admits ATMs Are More Robust Than Voting Machines]

Teh Flickr

Let’s face facts: the Web, after nearly 20 years, has failed to uncover new masters of noble art forms like poetry, sculpture and the airport thriller. But it has engendered — for good or ill — new forms of creative expression. Blogs and viral videos are only the most obvious. Fan fiction, wikis, Flash animation and Second Life avatars are a few more. People don’t upload to the Web words and images they had fashioned apart from the Web; they fashion their stuff specifically for online platforms and audiences.

Consider photography....

[From Virginia Heffernan - The Medium - Television - Internet Video - Media - Flickr - Photography - New York Times]

Not like Cartier-Bresson, observes Times writer Virginia Heffernan in this provocative piece.


“In the old system—board elevator, press button—you have an illusion of control; elevator manufacturers have sought to trick the passengers into thinking they’re driving the conveyance. In most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early nineties, the door-close button doesn’t work. It is there mainly to make you think it works. (It does work if, say, a fireman needs to take control. But you need a key, and a fire, to do that.) Once you know this, it can be illuminating to watch people compulsively press the door-close button. That the door eventually closes reinforces their belief in the button’s power. It’s a little like prayer. Elevator design is rooted in deception—to disguise not only the bare fact of the box hanging by ropes but also the tethering of tenants to a system over which they have no command.”

[From What elevators can teach us about superstition | Scientific Blogging]

Only one thing, bunky - that's not the old system you've got there, it's the new. In the old system what you did was board and tell an elevator operator what floor you wanted to go to and she (where i worked they were all nice Irish girls from Brooklyn with red hair and freckles and smart company uniforms with white gloves) or he (it was pretty much an equal-opportunity occupation, as I recall) would take you there, sometimes having to jiggle the car up or down a little to get even with the floor, and pull the door open so you could get out, and then call out "going up" or "going down" so people waiting for a car could get on.

Then they invented those push-button ones and it was all, well, down from there. But where I worked they kept the operators around for a little while to do the button-pushing, maybe so people wouldn't feel so alone and maybe just because they were nice Irish girls from Brooklyn. But then they went away, too, and ever since an elevator has been just a machine.

Greening up

Greening up, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Make your reservations early

Mr Werner, chairman of C3, a Los Angeles-based holding company for private equity firms, is pouring millions of dollars into developing the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience, a massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum. It is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland. “The people need this kind of positive influence. It’s going to have a huge psychological impact,” Mr Werner said.

[From 'Disneyland' comes to Baghdad with multi-million pound entertainment park - Times Online ]


I heart Helen Thomas

God bless Helen Thomas, the best thing about the White House Press Corps. More than a week after the revelation that President Bush knew and endorsed the Principals’ specific plans of torturing detainees, the media has been largely silent over it other than cursory mentions at best. But Helen Thomas isn’t about to go silently into that good night and becomes the first White House reporter to ask White House spokesliar Dana Perino about how the president could have lied multiple times that we do not torture only to turn around and admit that not only do we, but he approved of it.

[From Crooks and Liars » Helen Thomas Confronts Perino On Torture; Perino Denies and Lies]

"Torture has not occurred," Perino avers.

The White House "press" corps shrugs, and moves on.

Crooks and Liars has more, with video.

A harmony of anthocyanins...

...and not much else, it seems.

PomaGrand delivers a harmony of anthocyanins, which have antioxidant properties that help protect your body by neutralizing oxidizing molecules that form in the body. It's just what your thirst has been waiting for.

[From Odwalla Beverages]

I'm at the drugstore on the way home from work and I see this stuff in a special cooler and I'm thirsty so I buy a bottle before I read the back label, as follows.


OK, so there's something else if sodium and sugar count. Something else beyond the harmony of anthocyanins, I mean. And notice they're talking about half a bottle there - 4 ounces - so if you drink the whole thing you get twice as much sodium and sugar and harmony of anthocyanins, And water. And not much else.

I hope it's a helluva harmony, is all I'm saying here

Damn, screwed up again

Mailer, who died in November at age 84, sold his own archives to the University of Texas for $2.5 million.

[From Purported mistress sells Mailer lessons - The Boston Globe]

Archives? I don't have no archives. Do you have archives?

OK, mine wouldn't be worth 2.5 mil, necessarily, but maybe a buck or two, who knows? Remind me to get me some archives one of these days.


Americana, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

But don't worry, bunky, there's a more expensive make-believe fence on the way

The government is scrapping a $20 million prototype of its highly touted "virtual fence" on the Arizona-Mexico border because the system is failing to adequately alert border patrol agents to illegal crossings, officials said.

The move comes just two months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced his approval of the fence built by The Boeing Co. The fence consists of nine electronic surveillance towers along a 28-mile section of border southwest of Tucson.

[From The Raw Story | Government scraps prototype fence on Mexican border]

Woohoo! Support the troops! Ban Playboy, says R-Ga!


“Our troops should not see their honor sullied so that the moguls behind magazines like Playboy and Penthouse can profit,” said Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga....

[From Bill: Stop selling Playboy, Penthouse on base - Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times]

No kidding! Honor sullied, and much, much more! See, the way this R-Ga figures it, troops are on the government payroll and therefore it's taxpayers' money being used to buy porn! (But they're not banning art magazines, sez the R-Ga's spokesbimbo. Art magazines are big at the PX.)

Ohh, the horror. Ohh, the pain.


Put 'em all on an island somewhere

Dude, there's gotta be a better way to do primaries. Next time let's put 'em all on an island somewhere, I say, all the presidential wannabes, both parties, and vote one off every week, Survivor style. It'd be a whole lot more fun than this. And more responsible: It'd eliminate the need for all that campaign financing - this one would actually make money - and it would keep the eventual winner out of the country for the longest possible time.

Plus, as an extra added benefit, we could get to watch them all eat worms.

Sure, brighteyes, just wait til it rains

Seattle Bureau is on the job

James Bond fished out, fined

The man behind the wheel of James Bond's Aston Martin has been fined £400 for dangerous driving after he drove the car into a lake during filming.

[From Ananova - James Bond driver fined ]

OK, if you want to be picky, some guy being James Bond.

And never mind the £400 fine - it was a £134,000 car. (They fished it out too.)


Wait a minute. In Nebraska?



Zombie Strippers: dumb, silly, watchable, stacked. - Boing Boing


If you plan on falling into a lake, do it as soon as possible

The odds of survival seemed thin Friday for a 2-year-old boy who fell into the 42-degree waters of Lake Michigan and was submerged for at least 15 minutes before divers retrieved him and took him to a hospital.

Yet the child's young age and the frigidity of the water may have saved him from drowning, medical experts said.

[From Frigid water may have saved boy, experts say -- chicagotribune.com]

Ooops. Too late.

So then, just think of it as a doughnut tax

There are 69 wards in Philadelphia and estimates suggest it would cost Obama $400,000-$500,000 to pay the 14,000 people normally required to help get the vote out.

Carol Ann Campbell, an integral part of the city machine, said she expected Obama to win the city, but his failure to pay could cost him the crucial margin needed to force Clinton out of the race for the presidential nomination.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer last week, Campbell defended the practice of "street money", saying: "We are a machine town." She added that there was nothing dirty about it. "The committee people and the ward leaders have to buy lunch for hundreds of people, otherwise they won't have good workers. They have to buy coffee, orange juice and doughnuts. That's just the way it is."

[From Pay up or risk long battle, Obama told | World news | The Guardian]


"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

[From Clinton Ad Features Osama Bin Laden in Last Minute Vote Drive]

Brad: "Democracy of the Gods"

This Tuesday's crucial contest will be primarily run on 100% faith-based, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen or push-button) e-voting machines across the state. There will be no way to determine after the election whether the computers have accurately recorded, or not, the intent of those voters who voted on them. As VerifiedVoting.org summarizes the crucial contest, it "will be essentially unrecountable, unverifiable, and unauditable."

[From The BRAD BLOG : The Pennsylvania Primary: Democracy of the Gods]

Said the pot to the kettle...

"I know he's sitting in Iran. I guess it's all-out war for anybody but him. I guess that's the message; his followers can go to their deaths and he's in Iran."

-- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on Muqtada al-Sadr's threat to declare war unless U.S. and Iraqi forces stop the crackdown on his followers

[From Doonesbury@Slate-35th Anniversary--]

Oh it was a good, good weekend to be away from the news - and maybe in just a few more hours Pennsylvania can put the Democrats out of their interminable misery, too, and we can get back to an everyday level of chaos and wrangling. Wouldn't that be sweet.


You! Guys!

Thanks for an incredible weekend. Love ya all.

(And, oh yes, there will be pix)