On the run now

(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama's campaign confirmed Saturday that he has resigned from the church where controversial sermons by his former pastor and other ministers created repeated political headaches for the Democratic frontrunner.

[From Obama resigns from controversial church - CNN.com]

Looking for a new career?

Maybe you could be a grease guard.

The suspects in a growing number of grease infractions fall into a range of categories, people interviewed on the matter said, as grease theft is a crime of opportunity. They include do-it-yourself environmentalists worried about their carbon footprints, warring waste management firms trying to beat each other on the sly, and petty thieves who are profiting from the oil's rising value on the black market....

Thefts have been reported in at least 20 states, said Christopher Griffin, whose family owns Griffin Industries, one of the largest grease collection and rendering companies in the country. The problem has gotten so bad, Griffin has hired two detectives to investigate thefts around the country.

[From As oil prices soar, restaurant grease theft rises - International Herald Tribune]

Or better yet (it probably pays better), a grease gumshoe.


Click the link and watch to the end

It's cool.

[From TED | Talks | Arthur Benjamin: Lightning calculation and other "Mathemagic" (video)]

Yes, bunky, it's come to this

The Grey Lady, ever the purveyor of social lubrication, today provides us with some Booze You Can Use—in the form of a 475-word exploration of Hillary Clinton’s relationship with adult beverages. “One of the amusing sidelights of Mrs. Clinton’s uphill struggles of recent months,” the piece notes, justifying itself, “has been her evolving taste in liquid refreshment.”

Her evolving taste in liquid refreshment…ooh, intriguing! Tell us more!

[From CJR: Booze Judgment]

The Bush legacy

The girl, diagnosed with severe asthma, must inhale medicine from a breathing device.

Doctors cannot conclusively link her asthma to the trailer. But they fear she is among tens of thousands of youngsters who may face lifelong health problems because the temporary housing supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency contained formaldehyde fumes up to five times the safe level.

[From Children who lived in Katrina trailers may face lifelong ailments from formaldehyde fumes]

Is our children still breathing?

Don't tell FEMA

KYAUKTAN, Myanmar (Reuters) - Myanmar's junta started evicting destitute families from government-run cyclone relief centers on Friday, apparently out of concern the 'tented villages' might become permanent....

"We knew we had to go at some point but we had hoped for more support," 21-year-old trishaw driver Kyaw Moe Thu said as he trudged out of the camp with his five brothers and sisters, the youngest of whom was 2 years old.

They had been given 20 bamboo poles and some tarpaulins to help rebuild their lives in the Irrawaddy delta, where 134,000 people were left dead or missing by Cyclone Nargis on May 2.

[From Myanmar Starts Mass Evictions - NYTimes.com]

In Arkansas, you're out

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Arkansas' highest court ordered an inmate off of death row on Thursday, citing a 1940 court decision that gave an escape clause from an aggravated-robbery conviction to people trying to recover gambling losses.

[From Inmate off death row thanks to 1940 ruling - CNN.com]


We need to invent self-melting ice

Huh? That's already been done? And nobody told FEMA

We've found out FEMA is paying $3.5 million to let all the ice they bought, and then didn't use, melt away. That’s on top of the $24 million it paid to stockpile the ice.

A statement on FEMA's website says it will take 11 months to get rid of the all the ice, 85 million pounds of it.

[From .: Senator Tom Coburn's activity on the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and International Security :: Latest News :.]

The story is dated July 26, 2007, and comes to mind again because Harry Shearer mentioned it on a recent Le Show and also because, as 11 months aren't up yet, you might still be able to get a souvenir chunk.

Reason #874,092 you don't want to vote for a Republican

"This is ... one of the great tragedies of the Bush administration," Gingrich continued. "The more successful they've been at intercepting and stopping bad guys, the less proof there is that we're in danger. And therefore, the better they've done at making sure there isn't an attack, the easier it is to say, 'Well, there never was going to be an attack anyway.' And it's almost like they should every once in a while have allowed an attack to get through just to remind us."

[From The Raw Story | Gingrich quips Bush should have allowed some 'reminder' attacks]

(Emphasis added.)

I just hope those guys don't wear pants

BOSTON (AP) -- Dunkin' Donuts has pulled an online advertisement featuring Rachael Ray after complaints that a fringed black-and-white scarf that the celebrity chef wore in the ad offers symbolic support for Muslim extremism and terrorism....

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin complained that the scarf wrapped around her looked like a kaffiyeh, the traditional Arab headdress. ''The kaffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad,'' Malkin wrote in her syndicated column.

Amahl Bishara, an anthropology lecturer at the University of Chicago who specializes in media matters relating to the Middle East, said..."Kaffiyehs are worn every day on the street by Palestinians and other people in the Middle East - by people going to work, going to school, taking care of their families, and just trying to keep warm."

[From 'Paisley' or 'jihad?' Dunkin' Donuts yanks Rachael Ray ad - May. 29, 2008]

More Books

More Books, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

I just like this sign. Somebody with more patience than I (a whole lot more) would watch and wait until the light was right - my solution is to take a picture of it every time I walk by.

Updating the lexicon

Noted at The Lede by our Midwest bureau chief:

Is McClellan actually revealing any new facts? Except to the most recto-cranially inverted, the monumental maliciousness and greed of the Bush-brained has been obvious for years. And now they are going to eviscerate one of their own? Fantastic!

— Posted by AG

[From McClellans Book Bubble Bursts on the Blogs - The Lede - Breaking News - New York Times Blog]

(Emphasis added)

But, of course, they're not

If Obama is elected, by next January we will have had three presidents in a row who - if our laws had been equitably enforced - might easily have been convicted felons. Obama has admitted drug use including cocaine, and there is a high likelihood that both Bush and Clinton used cocaine as well as pot. Being a convicted felon is not a constitutional bar to the presidency but in many states the three could would not be allowed to vote or run for state or local office.


And you think you have to wait a long time for a plumber

NASA said Wednesday that the liquid waste handling function of the toilet at the International Space Station (ISS) had malfunctioned the day before and that the three astronauts aboard had to use the toilet at the Soyuz capsule moored at the station.

[From The Raw Story | Toilet breaks at International Space Station]

Surviving the Republicans: Back to Spam

Sales of Spam — that much maligned meat — are rising as consumers are turning more to lunch meats and other lower-cost foods to extend their already stretched food budgets.

[From The Raw Story | Sales of Spam rise as consumers trim food costs]

Of course there are some of us - not naming any names - who like it. Plus, it's fun opening the cans.


Everything gets more colorful - or less

I got this gadget - a colorimeter - that hooks on to my computer and adjusts the monitor to the room light - in principle, at least - to keep the colors true. The strange thing is, it seems to give the whole display a pretty strong magenta cast. This is maybe not a problem, because when I use the monitor the colors do seem excellent - grays neutral, whites crisp - or maybe is a problem because when I look away the whole rest of the world looks bilious green. Of course, the rest of the world could be bilious green, but I'm thinking it's more likely my room light is so far outside a decent, normal profile it's more than the gadget can handle. I might have to invest in a light bulb. Or two. Or even a lamp.

Later: Yeah, a lamp. Turns out the more light I get into the room the less magenta the screen becomes. The thing is telling me it's too dark in here.

Breaking news: Jacked-up teenagers do risky things

In March, The Journal of American College Health published a report on the link between energy drinks, athletics and risky behavior. The study's author, Kathleen Miller, an addiction researcher at the University of Buffalo, says it suggests that high consumption of energy drinks is associated with "toxic jock" behavior, a constellation of risky and aggressive behaviors including unprotected sex, substance abuse and violence.

[From Energy drinks linked to risky behavior among teenagers - International Herald Tribune]

On the river

On the river, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Me too

My prints have been on file with the feds since the first job I had right out of school (that would be shortly after the discovery of fire) so I have no float in this parade, but...

Buried in the text of the revised legislation, approved by the Senate Banking Committee by a 19-2 vote this week, is a plan to create a new national fingerprint registry. It covers just about everyone involved in the mortgage business, including lenders, "loan originators," and some real estate agents.

[From Spiiderweb™: Housing bailout bill creates national fingerprint registry]

...WTF could fingerprints have to do with the mortgage business? I don't get it.

But honest, says Scotty, you can believe me now

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The spokesman who defended President Bush's policies through Hurricane Katrina and the early years of the Iraq war is now blasting his former employers, saying the Bush administration became mired in propaganda and political spin and at times played loose with the truth.

[From Ex-Bush spokesman: President used 'propaganda' to push war - CNN.com]

Bush was "terribly ill-served" by top advisors, former presidential mouthpiece Scott McClellan writes, "especially those involved directly in national security." So just how reassuring is that, bunky?


Morning outside the wall

Morning outside the wall, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Yeah, well, OK

Here's a story from the International Herald Tribune that headlines "U.S. home prices plunge and consumer confidence slides" that never quite gets around to mentioning consumer confidence except right at the end and then only in Europe. What's with that?

[See U.S. home prices plunge and consumer confidence slides - International Herald Tribune]

Personally my consumer confidence is fine, about the same as always, namely OMG how am I gonna pay for oil next year - and what's more I'm engaging in a little foreplay with the IRS. See, I got this envelope from them the other day with Stimulus Payment printed all over it in boldface red, like that, and inside was a coy little note about how they were gonna stimulate me maybe in a few months, give or take...damn, IRS, that makes me sooooooo hot!

Or at least, you know, kinda warm. But not warm enough to do without the oil next year.

McCain secret strategy: Run a stealth campaign?

(CNN) -- President Bush Tuesday will travel to Arizona for a fundraiser for Sen. John McCain, the first time the unpopular president will appear with the man he hopes will succeed him in over two months....

The Phoenix fundraiser was originally to be held as a public event at the Phoenix Convention Center but was later moved to a private residence.

[From McCain does tricky dance with unpopular Bush - CNN.com]

Ooops. Sorry. Private campaign, I mean. Oh yeah. Because, sure, McCain loves to have his picture taken with the Dimwit-in-Chief.

See? Those guys who voted for Bush in '04?

They were sniffing something!

Oh. You knew that. Right. But you didn't know what they were sniffing, did you? Well...

Previous studies have shown that participants in "trust games" took greater risks with their money after inhaling the hormone via a nasal spray....

"The subjects who received oxytocin demonstrated no change in their trust behaviour, even though they were informed that their trust was not honoured in roughly 50% of cases."

[From Schneier on Security: Nasal Spray Increases Trust for Strangers]

...maybe that. Or not. But they were sniffing something. You can pretty much bet on that. I mean, come on. Give me one other reason that makes sense.

OK David, I'm just saying here

That book you wrote about John Adams is a bit of a struggle. I mean it's full of interesting stuff and all but it just sorta goes on and on. And on. I've spent my entire book month on it and I'm only about half way through. Maybe it's just that I haven't been focussing. Which is kind of what I mean - it's hard to focus on.

Meanwhile I have 52 - yeah, count 'em, 52 - unlistened-to podcasts stacked up here. Granted, I got a little bit greedy with the bluegrass. But still.

So I'm thinking, maybe if you could just pick up the pace a little, that would be cool.


Spring fever, bad...

Spring fever, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

...is what I've got here this weekend. Finally it got warm again - nearly 80 but not quite - pretty much back to where it was about a month ago. Don't worry, though. It's supposed to be chilly again by Wednesday.

Also I got some new glasses I'm not quite used to yet so if I walk around too much I bump into things. And, what's more, every time I read the news I get depressed.

The good news - well, I say good - is that I did get in some time with the camera, so I'll have some pictures to post during the week. I added a few improvements to my fooling-around-with software collection so I want to fool around with them a little first. But then.

Meanwhile I have to work, now, for three whole days in a row. Imagine the horror.

Memorial on Main Street

Memorial on Main Street, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

A crisis arrises

It's a holiday, the neighborhood grocery store is closed, and I'm running low on coffee. I may have to call 911.

Or, I suppose, I could take another bite out of the world's oil supply and drive out to the edge of town and buy whatever the stuff is they sell there. I could probably use some bread too.

This kind of thing would never happen, of course, if I'd plan ahead, but I don't. If I plan ahead one of two things happens - either I forget the plan, or I write it down and then forget it.

Anyway, there's often something more important to do. Like, for example, take a nap. I think I'll take a nap. And then call 911.

Supporting the troops: Memorial Day, 2008

The Administration has also expressed objections to the GI Bill based on concerns about retention -- basically, they believe that if a GI Bill benefit is too good, it'll reward veterans too richly for their service and draw them away from re-enlisting.

[From Despite Bush's Vow to Veto, GI Bill Passes in a Landslide | War on Iraq | AlterNet]

Main Street

Main Street, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


And just think how much you could make if they didn't go to school at all

"Once you start getting the mass number of kids out of school, it turns into some serious money," said Chuck Viane, president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

[From 'Indiana Jones' unearths $126M in box office gold - Yahoo! News]

We'd make a mass number of bucks!

Yes, we are easily amused

Colrain throwing a party for covered bridge

[From News » Colrain throwing a party for covered bridge from the The Greenfield Recorder]

Kayaks on a sunny day

Kayaks on a sunny day, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Does this freakin' Vista never end?

See I got this Windows thing because I figured it'd be good to know at least something about it and also because I wanted to run the Windows version of Office so I could have a reference to the software I use at work, and I installed it in a virtual machine on my Mac which, granted, makes the beast run a little slower than it would on its own hardware - but still, come on. It runs Office OK although the new version of Office looks nothing at all like the older version at work so that part didn't go so well. Still, when I need Word for something - as seldom as possible, thank you - the beast runs Word.

The problem is, I spend hours in Windows just maintaining it. Virus scanning. Downloading updates. Rebooting. Waaaaaaiting. It's forever. Which is why I like Macs so much. On a Mac, you do what you're doing. In Windows, you do what you're doing and you do Windows. It's a twofer.

I'd rather not.