Ideology: Doesn't count if you're in trouble, say ideologues

“There are no atheists in foxholes and no ideologues in financial crises,” Mr. Bernanke told colleagues last week, according to one meeting participant.

[From A Professor and a Banker Bury Old Dogma on Markets - NYTimes.com]

So that explains it then.

Why can't I...

Sunflower 08, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

...resist taking sunflower pictures?

We are, like, totally not surprised

For a president who watched months of job losses this year lead to a recent high in the unemployment rate, while maintaining that "our economy has got the fundamentals in place'' for robust growth, Bush has taken a sudden turn in allowing that, without dramatic action, the nation's financial system could "grind to a halt.''

[From Fed economic action: 'Unprecedented': The Swamp]

What, Haliburton built that too?

GENEVA (AFP) - The world's largest particle collider will be down for at least two months following a helium leak into the tunnel, a spokesman for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said Saturday.

[From AFP.com | Agence France-Presse, a global news agency]

They just turned it on last week. And this, it turns out, is the second time they've had to shut it down - the other time was a cooling system fault.

What happens when you're up the creek

Glen Johnson of the Associated Press had a story Friday that said Sen. John McCain's campaign aides were paddling hard to reconcile for reporters the Republican presidential nominee's unwavering belief in private accounts with the new Wall Street worries.

[From McCain's bad timing on SS reform: The Swamp]


That's a little harsh, isn't it?

Apparently they're not so happy to see us in Pakistan either

LEADERS of an estimated 500,000 tribesmen who have so far remained largely neutral over the conflict in Afghanistan warned last night they were poised to support al-Qa'ida and the Taliban unless US forces retreated from their strategy of attacking targets inside Pakistan.

In a major jolt to Washington's new policy of allowing cross-border raids in defiance of the Government in Islamabad, key tribal elders were reported to have met and warned that they were also prepared to raise an army to fight coalition forces in Afghanistan.

[From Pakistan tribal chiefs warn US on raids | The Australian]

Go figure.

Some call them bugs, some call them features

A new study by Common Cause and the Century Foundation finds that 10 very vital swing states have significant voting problems that have not been addressed since the last election.

Those 10 states, according to Common Cause, are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

[From Report: Voting problems in several swing states - CNN.com]


On post-partisan politics

The Democrats seem slightly befuddled how to react to the current fiscal crisis. One reason is that they helped to cause it. Starting with the Clinton administration, there was a conscious effort by Democrats to cozy up to Wall Street and to this day Barack Obama is being advised by those with deep involvement in the policies and practices that led to the current disaster. You can't well complain about Bush's Treasury Secretary having been with Goldman Sachs, when Clinton's was as well and now the guy has Obama's ear. And during the period liberals have largely looked the other way as the economic principles of the New Deal, Fair Deal and Great Society were steadily unraveled.


Somebody ought to do a poll on whether the polls mean anything at all

This year marks the first time that new, statewide, centralized voter-registration databases will be used in a federal election in a number of states.

The databases were mandated in the 2002 Help America Vote Act, which required all election districts in a state or U.S. territory to consolidate their lists into a single database electronically accessible to every election office in the state or territory.

But the databases, some created by the same companies that make electronic voting machines, aren't federally tested or certified and some have been plagued by missed deadlines, rushed production schedules, cost overruns, security problems, and design and reliability issues.

[From Voter Database Glitches Could Disenfranchise Thousands ]

No, no...

I don't understand this. Not one word.

CNBC reported this afternoon that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is shopping an idea around Capitol Hill whereby the feds would create a virtual landfill for the toxic assets now owned by financial institutions.

Such a move would allow institutions to dump those assets of dubious value -- mortgage-backed securities and the like -- onto taxpayers. The institutions would clear their books which should allow them to start lending again and free up the credit markets.

[From Wall Street mega bailout ahead?: The Swamp]

All I know is, nobody in DC is wanting to bail me out.

Or, in other words...

Now, let us discuss the Élites. There are two kinds of folks: Élites and Regulars. Why people love Sarah Palin is, she is a Regular. That is also why they love me. She did not go to some Élite Ivy League college, which I also did not. Her and me, actually, did not go to the very same Ivy League school. Although she is younger than me, so therefore she didn’t go there slightly earlier than I didn’t go there. But, had I been younger, we possibly could have not graduated in the exact same class. That would have been fun. Sarah Palin is hot. Hot for a politician. Or someone you just see in a store. But, happily, I did not go to college at all, having not finished high school, due to I killed a man. But had I gone to college, trust me, it would not have been some Ivy League Élite-breeding factory but, rather, a community college in danger of losing its accreditation, built right on a fault zone, riddled with asbestos, and also, the crack-addicted professors are all dyslexic.

[From SHOUTS & MURMURS: My Gal: Humor: The New Yorker]


...we've got past that guy-I'd-like-to-have-a-beer-with mentality.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- People would rather watch a football game with Barack Obama than with John McCain

[From East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona News for Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale]

Wait a minute

Experts say people with shorter index fingers than ring fingers tend to be more athletic and motivated to exercise.

The study, done in mice, found those with small index-to-ring finger ratios had higher activity levels.

[From 14 WFIE, The Tri-State's News Leader: Hate the gym? Compare your fingers]

Mice have ring fingers? Who knew?



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Super Chicken strutted a step closer to the dinner table Thursday. The government said it will start considering proposals to sell genetically engineered animals as food, a move that could lead to faster-growing fish, cattle that can resist mad cow disease or perhaps heart-healthier eggs laid by a new breed of chickens.

[From East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona News for Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale]

Can't wait for that.

Don't panic!

This doesn't make it worse.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Eager to show that he feels people's pain, President Bush scuttled a political fundraising trip Thursday to tell the country his administration is working feverishly to calm turmoil in the financial markets.

[From East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona News for Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale]

Necessarily. I mean, you know, he can't be wrong every time, can he?


Bundling: It ain't just for hanky-panky anymore

McCain's list includes at least 69 individuals who, according to his campaign, have raised a total of at least $11.4 million for his campaign. That makes the struggling investment industry his top source of bundlers. (Bundlers are those wealthy individuals who hit up their coworkers, family and friends to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, in addition to any contributions from their own pockets.) In the second spot is the real estate industry, where at least 55 individuals have delivered a total of $9.5 million or more to McCain. Overall, the finance, insurance and real estate sector has hauled in $30 million for the Republican candidate -- far more than any other sector.

Obama's list gives the appearance that he has not leaned so heavily on Wall Street, although since his campaign has ignored repeated requests from the Center for Responsive Politics and other watchdog groups to disclose his bundlers' employers and occupations, these figures are probably undercounts. The securities and investment industry is Obama's second-largest source of bundlers, after lawyers, and at least 56 individuals have raised at least $8.9 million for his campaign. The larger finance, insurance and real estate sector has produced $13.4 million for Obama, making it his most generous sector.

[From McCain, Obama on economic meltdown; their Wall Street bundlers. - Lynn Sweet]


Carousel, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

That was the week that was


How'd you like to sit behind this one at a movie?

OK, I'll just stand way, way over here then

(From Greenupgrader)

Oh yeah!

Thanks to the Greenfield Public Library for finding this one:

See if you can beat Odysseus's time of 10 years to find your way home. The Iliad and The Odyssey have spent about 3000 years on the best seller list. Not bad for Homer considering they were his first poems and he didn't have a publisher to help with promotion. That's the kind of spirit we salute at MikesMaze. We promise to make the game easy this year. You won't need a Ph.D. in Classic Literature to be amused by our challenge. You will, however, need the nerves of Diana to match Odysseus's feat of launching an arrow through 12 aligned hoops with our 21st century high tech Potato Accelerators.

[From Mike's Corn Maze Welcome]

Go take a look.

Canadians up to their old tricks again

It's getting to be that time of year; pumpkins, monsters and all that kind of cool stuff. Speaking of cool stuff, looks like there is about to be a frost and freeze across a portion of the Northeast. Canada will unload some chilly air into the region Thursday and Thursday evening.

[From AccuWeather.com - Weather News Headlines - Weather News]

What is it with those guys up there? Why can't they just cool it eh?

Errr, warm it. Forget the cool, is what I mean. Who needs that?

Bug list

I'm thinking of starting one, for bugs not in our software but in our heads. And maybe my first entry will be this one:

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- With economic anxiety rising, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama scrambled Wednesday to adjust their messages to connect more directly with financially struggling voters.

Obama talks directly into the camera in a new, two-minute television ad on how he'll fix an economy in which "paychecks are flat and home values are falling." McCain and running mate Sarah Palin softened opposition to government bailouts, accepting the U.S. takeover of the nation's largest insurer as unfortunate but necessary to protect ordinary Americans.

"Ordinary Americans." WTF, dude, aren't we all Americans just as much? Nobody ever told me there were two kinds, ordinary and super-special-deluxe. Or maybe three kinds if you count Associated Press writers. Squash "ordinary Americans": That's definitely a bug.

And another thing, as long as I woke up bitchy.

"In the past few weeks, Wall Street's been rocked as banks closed and markets tumbled. But for many of you - the people I've met in town halls, backyards and diners across America - our troubled economy isn't news," Obama says in [his] ad, taped Tuesday in a living room-like setting.

[From East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona News for Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale]

What's with that? Is he saying you (I guess, "ordinary Americans"), hanging around in your diners and such, saw this coming but we (extraordinary Americans) didn't? Or maybe, we saw it but we didn't think you'd notice?


I think he means nothing at all. And yes I know, you don't have to tell me, Obama's not the only one. All those guys talk that trash. The other one too. The R.

Like they think you're just an ordinary American. Not like them.

Yeah, Bunky, that's a bug.


Reality check


From OpenSecrets.org


MIAMI - Move over, Al Gore. You may lay claim to the Internet, but John McCain helped create the BlackBerry.

At least that's the contention of a top McCain policy adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin. Waving his BlackBerry personal digital assistant and citing McCain's work as a senator, he told reporters yesterday, "You're looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create."


A McCain aide later dismissed the remark as "obviously a boneheaded joke by a staffer."

[From McCain cast as digital pioneer - The Boston Globe]

Up the wall

Up the wall, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

How to beat McCain

Sam Smith says it best.

As Harry Truman said, "Give the people a choice between a Republican and a Democrat who talks like a Republican and they'll choose the Republican every time." Ever since closet conservative Bill Clinton conned his party into thinking that his narrow 1992 win thanks to Ross Perot 19% of the vote was some sort of triumph, the Democrats have been under the illusion that the way to win is to play Republican. It hasn't worked. Since then the number of Democratic governors, senators, representatives and state legislators have declined markedly. The biggest Democratic margins - under FDR and LBJ - have occurred when there was not the slightest doubt what Democrats were and what they were going to do for you.


Worth reading the whole thing.


Look Ma, no hands

Well, no computer anyway. Which is about the same thing.

-- Post From My iPhone

Let's buy a dishwasher

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Police say a 20-year-old woman faces an aggravated assault charge after she bit her boyfriend, broke a picture frame across his face and swung at him with a sword during an argument about him not doing the dishes.

[From East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona News for Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale]

4,000 and counting on a California beach

(Photo: Phil Compton)

Women speak out against Palin

Noted by our Midwest bureau, this new blog:

Dear readers,

It's been one week since we sent out a letter to a few friends and family members asking them to respond to Sarah Palin's candidacy for Vice President. We had never done anything like this before. What motivated us? It's pretty simple: we were tired of feeling angry and helpless. We were thrilled to receive the first 100 letters in reply. Their eloquence and passion were inspiring, their rage and frustration palpable. Our disbelief began to mount as those 100 letters turned into 1,000 letters, which then turned into 10,000 letters. And as we sit here writing you now, we have reached nearly 100,000 letters.

[From Women Against Sarah Palin]


If you have too much humor in your life...

...you might want to check this out:

US Election polltracker

[From BBC NEWS | Special Reports | 629 | 629 | US Election polltracker]

The BBC tracks four major election polls: Gallup, Rasmussen, Washington Post, and AP-Ipsos.

Nothing funny there. Nothing. At. All.


Carnival, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

No more piano lessons, kids

When Joe Curry moved into his Mission Hill apartment, the piano was there already. It was an old upright model, the type that was common a century ago.

For a while, Curry, 21, thought it gave the place a sense of class. Then he thought it was just taking up space. Last week he finally posted an ad to craigslist.com: PIANO! TAKE IT OR IT'S TRASH.

[From Pianos, once churned out, now turned out - The Boston Globe]

Pianos are being dumped all over the place, reports the Globe.

Don't drink the water and don't breathe the air

One thing is clear: The massive amount of pharmaceuticals being flushed by the health services industry is aggravating an emerging problem documented by a series of AP investigative stories - the commonplace presence of minute concentrations of pharmaceuticals in the nation's drinking water supplies, affecting at least 46 million Americans.

[From East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona News for Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale]

(Apologies to Tom Lehrer)

Oh fine

The U.S. isn't in a shooting war with Pakistan, officially. But troops from the two countries are increasingly firing at one another.

[From Pak Forces Fire on U.S. Troops; Drone Strikes Kill 50 | Danger Room from Wired.com]

Panic at HuffPo?

It's time to dump Biden and replace him with Sen. Hillary Clinton. I don't care how it's done. Campaign chief David Axelrod can figure that out. And the sooner the better. Because I'm starting to think that if Team-Obama doesn't do something dramatic fast, it's gonna lose this election. There's a worrisome shift in momentum and in the polls. The Palin phenomenon, while truly unfathomable to Democrats, has energized McCain's campaign and allowed him like Houdini to snatch Obama's "change" theme right out from under him.

[From Andy Ostroy: Why Replacing Biden With Hillary Makes Perfect Sense for Obama]

Great moments in social research

Cynicism may now represent one of the greatest threats to democracy, according to a research project at the London School of Economics.

Findings indicate that people are more cynical about politics than anything else, and that cynicism is a more important factor than distrust when it comes to whether people vote. Those who think politicians are liars will probably continue to vote, whereas those who are contemptuous of them are less likely to do so.

[From Cynicism 'can damage democracy's health' | Education | The Observer ]



[From xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe]


The Electoral Map: Key States

[From The Electoral Map: Key States - Election Guide 2008 - The New York Times]

Boots on the pavement

A growing number of U.S. towns and cities are fighting escalating crime by imposing tough curfew ordinances. In Chicago, people under the age of 17 have to be off the streets by 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends. Mayor Richard Daley believes the ordinance will help prevent further gun crime, which has taken the lives of nearly 30 Chicago public school students this academic year alone. But while the curfews may be popular with voters, civil-rights advocates argue that they are violating constitutional rights.



It is fun to get all hot and bothered about an Executive violating the Constitution as a matter of course. The problem is we had and have a Congress that does not seem to care at all.

...when the Congress abdicates its responsibilities to uphold its Constitutional duties, the question is raised - who is worse - the Congress or the Executive Branch? I call it a tie.

[From "This is none of your business!" Addington exploded. - TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime]

Eat the Times

Many things have appeared on toast: Marmite, Vegemite, jam and even Cylons. Now a designer’s invented a toaster that can burn pretty much anything onto your morning slice, including the news.

The Scan Toaster connects to a PC over USB and downloads everything from local weather conditions and the current time to the morning’s news headlines.

[From Net-talking toaster to burn news onto bread | Register Hardware ]