And getting more general every day

Skim milk beets broccoli meat

Of course just about anything would beet broccoli meat. The only thing I've ever agreed with a Bush on - any Bush, ever - is broccoli. Well, that and the old man's idea about not invading Baghdad. Too bad Dim Son didn't pay attention there.

Still, you've gotta admit, that's a pretty easy-to-remember grocery list: Skim milk beets broccoli meat.

The skim milk is for the tea. You didn't think I'd drink it, did you? What, skim milk and Spam sandwiches? You didn't.

In the end I bought spinach instead. I couldn't bring myself. Bush flip-flopped on the broccoli, but I have principles.

Could have had a V8

"The beneficiary under the policy didn't get the promised benefit," said Colleen Medill, an expert on ERISA at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "To say we're just going to return your premiums, that's a total farce. That's not what they paid the premiums for. They paid them for the benefits."

[From Employers use federal law to deny benefits - Yahoo! News]

On competing with machines for food

Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.

The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.

The figure emphatically contradicts the US government's claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises.

[From Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis | Environment | The Guardian]

The machines are winning.


So now I'm wondering what their old mission was

"My first day in office, I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war.

[From The Raw Story | Obama insists no change in Iraq plan]

I still like coffee better, myself

But at a public service we report our Seattle bureau, after exhaustive research, has discovered Tazo Tea, according to its package, is...

"In some places...more highly valued than magic pebbles."

Additionally, also as a public service, we advise you not to throw that tea out that window, Jack.

As my dear old Mom used to say...

...it didn't just get up and walk away by itself.

What? Yours too?

OK. So, ya know that cushion that used to be on the rocking chair? It's around here someplace. It has to be.


A little too faithful even for me

Although it's not the first release and ample supply is expected, a queue has reportedly begun outside of Apple's Fifth Avenue retail store to buy iPhone 3G a full week before its release.

[From AppleInsider | It's already begun: iPhone 3G line starting in New York City]

On the 4th in the park

Claremont, NH

Hobbes who?

Reason doesn't stand a chance against happy hour at Hooters. Hell, even I would choose Hooters over Hobbes.

[From Joe Bageant: Easier to choose Hooters over Hobbes]

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Think of that

Three Amigos: Bush, McCain, Obama Draw a Blood-Red Line on Iran

This Bush-McCain-Obama line was underscored this week by one of Obama's top foreign policy advisers, Anthony Lake, who said "the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is the biggest threat facing the world," the Financial Times reports.

Think of that: the biggest threat facing the world. Bigger than global climate change. Bigger than poverty and disease. Bigger than growing conflicts over shrinking resources. Bigger than terrorism (which was the last greatest biggest threat facing the world). Bigger than organized crime. Bigger than the Terror War operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and Somalia, which continue to spawn so much death, ruin, extremism and economic turmoil. Bigger than all of these -- and all other threats facing the world -- is the prospect that Iran might, in Lake's words, "get on the edge of developing a nuclear weapon."

[From Chris Floyd Online - Three Amigos: Bush, McCain, Obama Draw a Blood-Red Line on Iran]


That's right, progressive voters

Some political strategists, however, note Obama is making a calculated shift to win over voters in a country where neither major party claims a majority.

"His supporters should understand this," said Emory University political scientist Merle Black. "He needs to reach out."

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake doesn't think there's any political risk for Obama. "The progressive voters really dislike John McCain," she said. "That should keep them on board."

[From Obama faces online backlash for centrist views - USATODAY.com]

You've just got to understand. Get used to it. You've got to get stomped on for the good of the... party. Whatever. Anyway you have no where to go. There's no there there. Let the political scientists and the pollsters handle this, and shut up.

But hey, keep those cards and letters coming. And don't forget to pitch in some bucks.

Oh the guilt, the shame

I bought some bottled water today. I confess. Only three bottles, but that's more than I've bought in the last three years so it represents a massive spike in consumption. (Oh oh, I hope I didn't unsettle the market or anything.)

Anyway it's hot, hot, hot here and I'm going to be out, out, out in it tomorrow, driving into deepest New Hampsheer and who knows what they have up there, better be prepared.

Maybe we ought to lay off the ninja movies for a while

Public schools in Barnegat [NJ] were locked down briefly after someone reported seeing a ninja running through the woods behind an elementary school.

Turns out the ninja was actually a camp counselor dressed in black karate garb and carrying a plastic sword.

Police tell the Asbury Park Press the man was late to a costume-themed day at a nearby middle school.

[From School locked down after 'ninja' sighted in woods - Boston.com]


Remember when they called it "fast food"?

(iPhoned in)

By winning the primaries, that's how

Back in August, when he was seeking the Democratic nomination, Obama voted against the Protect America Act. Therefore, had Obama had his way, there never would have been any PAA in the first place, and therefore, there never would have been any PAA orders possible. Having voted against the PAA last August, how can Obama now claim that he considers it important that the PAA orders not expire? How can he be eager to avoid the expiration of surveillance orders which he opposed authorizing in the first place?

[From Suburban Guerrilla » Blog Archive » Spinning]

"Postpartisan" is just a newer, fancier, more liberal-appealing word for Clinton-era triangulation - same old politics with better marketing.

All summer it's looked like this

That little thunderstorm icon just keeps sliding along, a couple of days more, and the sunny one never arrives. Yesterday, today was supposed to be the last day of it. Now it looks like rain on the parade.

Watermelon growers hit on hot new sales plan

LUBBOCK, Texas - A slice of cool, fresh watermelon is a juicy way to top off a Fourth of July cookout and one that researchers say has effects similar to Viagra...

[From Scientists: Watermelon yields Viagra-like effects - Yahoo! News]



"In other countries they look to see whether you have marijuana in your cigarette, here they'll look to see if you've got cigarette in your marijuana."

[From No Capital: 06/29/2008 - 07/06/2008]

"Historical amnesia"

WASHINGTON: The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of "coercive management techniques" for possible use on prisoners, including "sleep deprivation," "prolonged constraint" and "exposure."

What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 air force study of Chinese techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners....

...some of whom had been filmed by their Chinese interrogators confessing to germ warfare and other atrocities.

[From U.S. interrogators were taught Chinese coercion techniques - International Herald Tribune]

We, of course, loudly called it "brainwashing" at the time and disavowed the confessions. So the question now is, since we've adopted these coercive techniques and extracted confessions of our own which we (right, I'm using "we" rather loosely here) claim are true confessions, are we retroactively admitting we did use germ warfare in Korea? And commit other atrocities?

Or does all this have something to do with - oh, I don't know - bullshit?

Whoa, there's a radical idea


McCain’s P.O.W. experience is essential to his campaign narrative. But the press is in the business of facts, not stories. Evaluating a candidate on his qualifications, rather than on his narrative, should not be a politically charged action. Rather, it should be pro forma—especially for the press.

[From CJR: The Swiftboat Reflex]

Facts not stories? Who woulda thunk?

Say what?

A recently passed law requires that Texas computer-repair technicians have a private-investigator license, according to a story posted by a Dallas-Fort Worth CW affiliate.

In order to obtain said license, technicians must receive a criminal justice degree or participate in a three-year apprenticeship.

[From Texas PC Repair Now Requires PI License - News and Analysis by PC Magazine]

But won't run Vista

On heroes

Heroism is considered in America a lifetime pass to patriotism even though, as Joseph Conrad noted, the hero and the coward are those who, for one brief moment, do something out of the ordinary. At least the ones we honor, that is. The career firefighter, the inner city grandmother raising six grandchildren whose father is in jail and mother has a lousy job, or the teacher year after year helping to save those who society has preemptively discarded are not treated as sacred, as heroes, or as worthy of special honor during political campaigns and or on the evening news. But killing some Iraqis of Vietnamese, or being killed by them, now that's the real thing.



So the commies were right after all

WASHINGTON — The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of “coercive management techniques” for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”

What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.

[From An Expert Reveals Chinese Origins of Interrogation Techniques at Guantánamo - NYTimes.com]

A cool, cool breeze

And rain this afternoon. Again. It's rained, some, almost every day this summer so far. Not as much as in the Midwest, but enough to keep things a little soggy. This afternoon, if it just rains some of the humidity out of the air before bedtime, that'll be fine.

By the way. If you use iTunes and haven't found iTunes U yet, go look. It's in the sidebar at the iTunes store. There's a bazillion fascinating stuff there, free for the taking. If you're looking for a place to start search for "The Folkways Collection" from the Smithsonian.

"Change," Obama style

CHICAGO (AP) -- Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans that would expand President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and - in a move sure to cause controversy - support their ability to hire and fire based on faith.

[From JS Online: Associated Press News]


The fatal collision Sunday between two medical helicopters in Arizona was the sixth crash involving the emergency helicopters since May, making the last two months one of the deadliest periods in the history of the fast-growing industry....

About 750 medical helicopters are operating in this country, about twice the number flying a decade ago. Medical helicopters were once operated mostly by hospitals, but in recent years private companies, including some that are publicly traded, have come to dominate the industry....

In a report in 2006, [the National Transporation Safety Board] found that operators had failed to develop comprehensive flight risk programs, and that pilots often did not have adequate information about bad weather they might have encountered or equipment to alert them to dangerous terrain....

And here it is:

“The latest spate of accidents has given the board concern that the F.A.A. may not be moving as quickly as necessary,” [NTSB Chairman Mark] Rosenker said in a telephone interview on Monday evening.

[From Medical Helicopter Crashes Stir Concern - NYTimes.com]
So then. The companies that operate the helicopters haven't been doing a very good job and it's all because the FAA didn't make them.

Oh, and there's a footnote.

“The vast majority of patients could have done well in a ground ambulance,” said Dr. Bryan Bledsoe, a former flight paramedic who is a professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.


Now that you mention it, no

From an Apple email:

Ever wished you could drag the contents of one PDF into another? You can — using Preview in Mac OS X Leopard. We show you how in the latest Quick Tip of the Week.

But now that you mention it, I will. I will!

Actually that's pretty cool.

How cool is this?

I lost my recycle bin. I mean it's still there in the whatchamacallit file browser thingie, but it's not on the desktop any more.

Is that, like, normal? I don't think so.

Joe Klein is just plain wrong...

when he says...

Clark is just plain wrong when he says that "getting shot down" doesn't qualify as foreign policy experience.

[From The Nation Faced - Swampland - TIME]

He didn't.

And it doesn't.

So there.

I am the last guy who will say that having had experience in the military is not a good thing in a president - or in anybody else who may have to make life-or-death, peace-or-war decisions. In fact, if there's any point on which McCain looks better than Obama to me, that's it.

In my lifetime Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, George I, and - if you really want to stretch the point - George II had military experience, but the only one whose military experience rose to the level of foreign policy experience was Eisenhower. Being "shot down" - or sunk - as Klein says and as, in fact Clark - and, before him, Schieffer - said is certainly an experience and, plainly, a foreign experience, but a foreign policy experience it is not.

ADD: Obama rushes to back down.

"As he's said many times before, Senator Obama honors and respects Senator McCain's service, and of course he rejects yesterday's statement by General Clark," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

Doesn't take much, does it?

Records are made to be broken

A New Low in Republican Hypocrisy Has Been Reached

[From Pensito Review » Notorious GOP Adulterers in Senate, Vitter and Craig, Reintroduce Federal Marriage Amendment]

You got me, Copper

“Suspicious activity” is broadly defined in TLO [that's "Terrorism Liaison Officers" - officers who conduct liaison with terrorists, I suppose] training as behavior that could lead to terrorism: taking photos of no apparent aesthetic value, making measurements or notes, espousing extremist beliefs or conversing in code, according to a draft Department of Justice/Major Cities Chiefs Association document.

[From Suburban Guerrilla » Blog Archive » Uh Huh]

Yeah, well. I've taken close to a bazillion photos of no apparent aesthetic value myself, so I guess they've got me dead to rights. [Just joking, NSA - just joking here.] But I never, ever take notes. About anything. So at least there's that.

And by the way, do you ever get nostalgic for those old radio crime dramas where, when the bad guy got caught, he said "You got me, Copper. I'll go quietly"? It all seemed so civilized: Bad guys behaving well.

Dude, this is so too much

Rising fuel prices are putting a pinch on the world’s oldest profession. Nevada brothels that cater to long-haul truckers are offering gas cards and other promotions after seeing business decline as much as 25 percent from a year ago, industry officials said.

[From The Raw Story » Prostitutes feeling the pinch at the pump]


Maybe I could be a brain surgeon after all.

It is difficult to pin down how many diploma mills exist, or how many bogus degrees are bought each year, said George Gollin, a board member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the federal government's recognized authority on accrediting agencies. But Gollin, who assisted investigators in the case, estimated that such companies sold 100,000 to 200,000 phony degrees a year.

[From U.S. diploma-buying case raises terrorism concerns - International Herald Tribune]

Don't laugh. And by the way, you may not know this but 50% of all new doctors graduate in the bottom half of their class.

JIC there's some random politician floating around who doesn't already know this

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline climbed to $4.086, up seven-tenths of a cent from $4.079 the previous day.

Gas prices have risen 2.9% in the last month and are almost 38% higher than where they were a year ago.

[From Gas prices hit record $4.086 a gallon - AAA - Jun. 30, 2008]

Wait. You're kidding. There is?

The hard work of being really, really, big time rich

For example, one person I know loves to do maintenance and repair work on outboard motorboats and wooden daysailers, so in the tiny boathouse he built for himself there is a specific area designated for sanding, epoxying, and painting the hulls of boats. But, in order to make any on progress on these particular kinds of repairs, full-time attention is required. The owner solves the problem of the demand for extra labor by having staff come in and do all necessary prep work on off hours, when they cannot be seen or heard. There are even strict written guidelines outlining the punishment staff members can expect if they appear at the boathouse when the owner is in residence.

[From Vanity Fair: vanityfair.com]


What makes Democrats look weak is their patent fear of standing by their own views.

[From The baseless, and failed, "Move to the Center" cliche - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com]

Go read that one.

(H/T Suburban Guerrilla)

Statistic. Must have statistic.

It was the largest loss of life involving helicopters in Arizona since two news helicopters collided last summer....

[From Helicopter collision in northern Arizona kills 6 - Yahoo! News]

That's a little bizarre, isn't it? The biggest disaster in Arizona involving helicopters in a year? They have so many helicopter crashes in Arizona that going a whole year without a big one is noteworthy? I don't know. Maybe they do. In which case you are not going to find me getting into a helicopter in Arizona any time soon. Of course that would be a pretty good bet anyway but I'm just saying here.


Ah, for the good old days

Not even Crisco is made of Crisco anymore. The company reformulated all of its products last year to have "zero grams of trans fat per serving."

[From NYC keeps the cannoli but drops the trans fats - Yahoo! News]

See how hard Obama is working to stop it

[Wednesday]'s vote by Congress effectively gives retroactive immunity to the telecom companies and endorses an all-powerful president. It’s a Congressional coup against the Constitution.

The Democratic leadership is touting the deal as a "compromise," but in fact they have endorsed the infamous Nuremberg defense: "Just following orders." The judge can only check their paperwork. This cynical deal is a Democratic exercise in deceit and cowardice.

[From AT&T Whistleblower: Spy Bill Creates 'Infrastructure for a Police State' | Threat Level from Wired.com]

"This is the judicial logic of a dictatorship," says whistleblower Mark Klein.


Although the Obama campaign will obviously not use this speech on the trail....


I guess it is

Vista is the equivalent, at a minimum, of Windows version 12 — preceded by 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, NT, 95, NT 4.0, 98, 2000, ME, XP. After six years of development, the longest interval between versions in the previous 22-year history of Windows, and long enough to permit Apple to bring out three new versions of Mac OS X, Vista was introduced to consumers in January 2007.

When IT professionals and consumers got a look at Vista, they all had this same question for Microsoft: That's it?

[From Windows could use a rush of fresh air - International Herald Tribune]

See? There's good news after all

War and hardship, though, have not destroyed all of Iraq’s dreams for international competition. The country, which has been in three wars in two decades, has a robust Paralympic team.

“As a country that participated in many wars since 1980, we have many disabled people,” said Ahmed Abid Hassan, a wheelchair fencing coach. “Our Paralympic team is better than our Olympic team.”

[From Athletes Disabled by Wars Lead Iraqi Team in World Games - NYTimes.com]

And if worrying about the Middle East isn't enough for you...

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Amy Winehouse's first full UK show in seven months has been overshadowed by an incident in which she appeared to throw a punch at a fan in the front row.

[From Winehouse 'punches fan' at festival - CNN.com]

And that's the good news

Half of Americans say U.S. schools are doing only a fair to poor job preparing kids for college and the work force. Even more feel that way about the skills kids need to survive as adults, an Associated Press poll released Friday finds.

[From The Raw Story | Poll: Schools not properly preparing kids]

Here, the school system is coming apart at the seams. There is a massive budget shortfall; teachers are leaving in droves (I don't know any of them personally but when any organization implodes it loses its best people first); there is not one single K-12 principal left; the just-hired superintendent faces next year on a "interim" contract. Students are opting into neighboring districts, allowed under a state law that also requires the home district - this one - to pay tuition to districts the kids move to.

Meanwhile, standardized testing requires teaching only certain subjects - art, shop, home ec, music, and all sorts of extra-curricular programs are shutting down. The middle school will have no library next year, as things stand now.

This isn't the only community in the state with a pressing schools problem, nor are schools the only services strangling - fire and police protection is substantially reduced, roads are crumbling, bridges closed, and more. And not much help, as far as I can see, in sight.


"No comment" says Congress, White House, CIA

Among groups inside Iran benefiting from U.S. support is the Jundallah, also known as the Iranian People's Resistance Movement, according to former CIA officer Robert Baer. Council on Foreign Relations analyst Vali Nasr described it to Hersh as a vicious organization suspected of links to al Qaeda.

[From U.S. Escalating Covert Operations Against Iran - Report - NYTimes.com]

Yeah I bet no comment. There's a rule against stuff like this, isn't there? Some kind of rule. I'm pretty sure.

Baghdad on the Potomac

WASHINGTON (Map, News) - D.C. police will seal off entire neighborhoods, set up checkpoints and kick out strangers under a new program that D.C. officials hope will help them rescue the city from its out-of-control violence.

[From Lanier plans to seal off rough ’hoods in latest effort to stop wave of violence - Examiner.com]