The R's are all wigged out about this...
A group called the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco has launched a ballot initiative that would rename a city sewage treatment plant the "George W. Bush Sewage Plant."
A petition is being circulated that would put the measure up for a vote in November. If it passes, it will rename the city's Oceanside Treatment Plant for the 43rd president of the United States.[From FOXNews.com - San Franciscans Want to Put President Bush's Name in the Toilet - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum]
AT&T pulls references to free iPhone Wi-Fi
Just a day after posting details on its website, AT&T has withdrawn all references to free Wi-Fi access for iPhones on the phone's product website at the carrier.
No explanation is given for the withdrawal, which echoes a similar pattern this weekend in which the company first enabled and then disabled a web-based portal that provided unrestricted wireless to owners of the Apple phone with a valid AT&T phone number.
The project is generally believed to hinge on more Starbucks locations converting from T-Mobile to AT&T for their Wi-Fi access points.[From AppleInsider | iTunes France TV job; .Mac refresh rumor; NYC shortages return]
And it might actually work...
"I doubt it will work," said David Pimental, a professor at Cornell University...[From
Kick the oil habit and make your own ethanol
...unless, of course, some spoilsport professor from Cornell knows what he's talking about.
When Americans last year were asked to name the journalist they most admired, showing up at No. 4 on the list was a comedian. Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central and former master of ceremonies at Academy Award shows, tied in the rankings with anchormen Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and cable host Anderson Cooper.[From
Journalism, Satire or Just Laughs? "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Examined | Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ)]
"Are Americans confused?" ventures Project for Excellence in Journalism. Well, maybe. But not so much these Americans. PEJ's executive study notes:
The survey also suggests Daily Show viewers are highly informed, an indication that The Daily Show is not their lone source of news. Regular viewers of The Daily Show and the Colbert Report were most likely to score in the highest percentile on knowledge of current affairs.
AT&T on Wednesday made an update to its iPhoneCenter website noting that all of its iPhone call plans now include access to more than 17,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, including all U.S. company operated Starbucks locations equipped with a the [sic] WiFi technology.[From AppleInsider | Briefly: Mac OS X 10.5.3; AT&T iPhone hotspot access; Vista sales]
Many Americans assume that the popularity of American films is a natural outcome of global consumer preferences.[From Risky business for Hollywood - International Herald Tribune]
"Three things to always keep on hand in the fridge," billboards the NYTimes
[From Three Kitchen Tidbits - Bitten - Dining & Wine - New York Times Blog]
Whoa. I don't have any of those things. Or, wait, is that green stuff Parmesan? Well, maybe one. But I don't even know what a piquillo is.
And, come to think of it, I'm out of ketchup too.
Key war on terror architect Douglas Feith has now confirmed Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Wesley Clark in admitting that the so-called War on Terror is a hoax.
In fact, starting right after 9/11 -- at the latest -- the goal has always been to create "regime change" and instability in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Lebanon so as to protect Israel. And the goal was never really to destroy Al Qaeda.[From Spiiderweb™: Truth is out: Neocons admit that ''War On Terror'' is a hoax]
In a few decades Willy Loman has moved from being a tragic figure to being a role model.[From THE CORPORATE CURSE: How business culture dragged America down with it]
Here I am, only about 4 cylinders up and firing and I do have to get to work, sooner or whatever, and I run across an interesting piece by Sam Smith that's a little too involved to scan. Bah. I'll save a link. Or you can go off and read it for yourself.
Since Hillary Clinton announced her support last week for suspending the federal gas tax between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the press has marshaled economists and environmentalists from around the country to wholeheartedly denounce the idea.[From CJR: From Gas Tax to Safety Valve]
Reading this typically excellent and way too complicated for my late-afternoon brain piece in the Columbia Journalism Review about McCain's and Clinton's gas-tax holiday schemes and cap-and-trade "safety valves" - etc., etc. - got me thinking, though, about how little effort goes to teasing out the whole story before leaping to combative conclusions thereon. Like this one, maybe.
Every discussion of this gas-tax business I've seen, it seems, centers on oil companies and energy policy and the pressing need for highway maintenance, and all the jobs that depend on highway work. But there are a lot of other jobs - and other businesses - that depend on summer weather also. Whether you're up for a big vacation this year or not I'm just guessing (no, I don't have any data to back this up and I'm not an economist so I wouldn't understand it even if I did) summertime vacation travel is a big source of income for a whole lot of people. I'm talking people who work in hotels and resorts and restaurants, on beaches and at amusement parks and even in those roadside vegetable stalls you see on the back roads. And business - like, I'm thinking, restaurants on Cape Cod here in Massachusetts that probably make most of their money in the summer, on the tourist trade.
And hey, if you really want to get down to it, summertime driving no doubt sells more tires, too.
Of course none of this makes much difference anyway, since neither Clinton nor McCain stand much chance of actually getting such a plan in place by summer, and I'm figuring gasoline prices will moderate a little this summer without their help because it's an election year (you've noticed?) and the oil companies aren't dumb.
And anyway it's almost time for dinner.
NEW YORK: At Fordham University, students can take courses in "personal branding" and "sales management."
But what could a course called Resiliency Edge mean? A revolutionary razor blade, perhaps? Or practical ways to survive in the woods? Maybe the latest in computer-aided design?
No, not any of that.
It is how to deter an airline passenger from, to exaggerate somewhat, ripping out the throat of an airport worker.[From For airport workers, a course in turbulence - International Herald Tribune]
We are not as powerful as we used to be because over the past three decades, the Asian values of our parents’ generation — work hard, study, save, invest, live within your means — have given way to subprime values: “You can have the American dream — a house — with no money down and no payments for two years.”[From Who Will Tell the People? - New York Times]
Thanks, Thomas Friedman! Asian values - who knew?
A nifty new OS X trick (I love it when I find this stuff by accident).
If you're looking at a multi-page PDF you see a column of page thumbnails on the right of the window, and if you drag one of the thumbnails off the PDF and drop it into a Pages document you get a completely decent full-size and easily re-sizable image of the page it represents. In the Pages page. If you see what I mean.
You do, right?
I don't know, it probably works with some other apps as well but I haven't figured out, yet, which ones.
WASHINGTON — The office of the official responsible for protecting federal workers from political interference was raided by F.B.I. agents on Tuesday as part of an investigation into whether he himself mixed politics with official business.
The raid took place at the office of Scott J. Bloch, the head of the Office of Special Counsel. Computers and documents were seized by agents trying to determine whether Mr. Bloch obstructed justice by hiring an outside company to “scrub” his computer files, The Associated Press reported. Investigators also searched Mr. Bloch’s home in suburban Virginia after obtaining a subpoena.
“It is not clear to us what they are searching for,” James Mitchell, a spokesman for the office, told Reuters....[From F.B.I. Raids Office of Special Counsel - New York Times]
Wingnuttery, in a word, is what they're looking for.
The housing market may be a little soft but the market for rocks to hide under is going way, way up.
So I'm about to paste a stamp on when I remember the postage rate is due to go up and I wonder when, oh when, and am I too late, so I click on over to usps.com to see and the date is May 12, write that down, when stamps go up a penny, which will leave me with a sheet of 20 41￠ rat stamps, or exactly 50％ of my entire lifetime inventory of 41's, so I'm thinking I will need some 1's and then, right there on usps.com, I notice Forever Stamps. Still 41. Oh yeah.
So I decide to pop for the featured package - five sheets, 20 each, 41 Buckeroos. I'm hoping forever is a long time off. And then I add a sheet of 1's for the rats and proceed to check out, whereupon on the very last page, just as I am fixing to click the Final Button, I notice they have added on $1.10 for "handling." Dude. That makes the 41's 42's, doesn't it? And all the ones are two. Oh no.
So - I'm going to the grocery store anyway - I hop in the car and find out the Post Office is still open, and buy my stamps there and save maybe 40￠on the deal, counting gas. Although - let's not mention this part in public, OK? - if I figure the full mileage allowance - you know, that allows for oil and insurance and wear-and-tear and all that stuff, I lose.
But I don't care. It seems more right. And anyway, I now have stamps unto infinity, or at least for quite a while.
The first high school dedicated to preparing students for the front lines in the Nation's homeland security has gone from theory to planning in Wilmington....
Curriculum choices for students, who are to be called Cadets, range from SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) through prison guard, water rescue, paramedic, fireman, professional demolition and emergency response operator, according to a Board statement.[From Delaware Business Ledger: News]
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s mailing attacking Sen. Barack Obama’s record on guns appears to include a striking visual gaffe: The image of the gun pictured on the face of the mailing is reversed, making it a nonexistent left-handed model of the Mauser 66 rifle.[From Ben Smith's Blog - Politico.com]
That there "gaffe" sounds a little Fr**ch, doesn't it? Oh well...
And it was an expensive German rifle (it's a rifle, not a gun, Mr. Smith) as opposed to, I don't know, a cheap American one, I guess. Oh, that Hillary!
Why, if it weren't for her - yes, her - we'd be talking about stuff that really matters! Yes we would!
It wasn't Wright's overbearing volume, hilarious comedy, hand movements, or dance quality that made me think he was a dangerous peddler of conspiracy theories. It was his words that did that. I don't want someone like him with access to the president for twenty minutes, let alone twenty years.[From Glenn Beck: Obama's odd timing on Wright - CNN.com]
Oh, the horror!
I hardly know what to say about this WaPo editorial that bloodlessly suggests that it's nice that the administration is making "a gingerly move toward comity and accountability" by releasing some torture memos. "If a terrorist plot is averted through the use of harsh techniques, those who sanctioned or carried out the interrogation must nevertheless be held accountable and at the very least required to explain their decisions. The acts may be understandable and at times even forgivable, but they can never be understood from the outset to be legally sacrosanct." Torture may be "understandable and at times even forgivable"? Torture? I might say that about something like, oh, shoplifting - although, come to think of it, The Washington Post probably wouldn't. Taking profits from a business, that's really bad. But people who have murdered over a hundred people by torturing to them to death - well, we just want to see the memos![From The Sideshow May 2008 Archive]
Forget the rocket attacks, concrete blast walls and lack of a sewer system. Now try to imagine luxury hotels, a shopping center and even condos in the heart of Baghdad.
That's all part of a five-year development "dream list" — or what some dub an improbable fantasy — to transform the U.S.-protected Green Zone from a walled fortress into a centerpiece for Baghdad's future....
For Washington, the driving motivation is to create a "zone of influence" around the new $700 million U.S. Embassy to serve as a kind of high-end buffer for the compound, whose total price tag will reach about $1 billion after all the workers and offices are relocated over the next year.[From The Raw Story | US-backed plan sees shiny future for embattled Green Zone]
OK, so you schedule a luxury vacation in glamouricious downtown Baghdad and you wind up as part of a "high-end buffer zone"? Is that like, I don't know, "human shield"?
Oh I don't think so, bunky.
Some federal air marshals have been denied entry to flights they are assigned to protect when their names matched those on the terrorist no-fly list, and the agency says it's now taking steps to make sure their agents are allowed to board in the future.[From Air marshals' names tagged on 'no-fly' list - - Breaking News, Political News & National Security News - The Washington Times]
Even better than "taking steps" would be to find some better way to do security, better than this wacky no-fly list, which now reportedly includes more than 500,000 names.
When Off Meets Off Off, Creative Ferment Is On[From Cross-Theater Pollination of Off and Off Off Broadway - New York Times]
The $6 billion reading program at the center of President Bush's signature education law has failed to make a difference in how well children understand what they read, according to a study by the program's own champion — the U.S. Department of Education.[From ABC News: Study: Bush Reading Program Hasn't Helped]
Yes! Government blog!
Air travel, food and those gas prices we keep talking about—with everything getting more expensive...[From vacation_close_to_home_this]
Stuff is getting more expensive. Who said they weren't on top of things, there at GovGab? So there's a link (this is the good part) to the USA.gov ("Government Made Easy") site's recreation and tourism page which, it turns out, has a pretty nifty list of places to go and things to see, and includes a list of state tourism sites as well.
Meanwhile, speaking of gas prices, The Independent reports...
America's love affair with sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-up trucks is finally over.
The gas-guzzlers that ply the country's freeways and clog its city streets and parking lots are falling victim to ever-rising petrol prices, rather than concern about the country's oversized carbon footprint. The fall-off in sales is dramatic however.
...which is a good thing because, if you do take one of those day trips, you'll be able to back out of your parking space to get home again. Or more likely, at least.
Or, of course, you could just take a bus.