A place to sit

A place to sit, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Don't give up

Don't give up, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

No mile-high clicks allowed

Delta Air Lines plans to block inappropriate Web sites (read: pornographic sites) from its soon-to-be-offered in-flight Wi-Fi service, according to a recent story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The airline is working with a Wi-Fi provider to use Internet tools to block certain sites. American Airlines, which also is going to roll out in-flight Wi-Fi soon, reportedly is going to rely on its flight attendants to make sure the guy in 12B isn't looking at naughty stuff on the Web.

[From No peanuts -- or porn -- on Delta - Travel]

How times change

It used to be a sacred principle in advertising and campaigning: Never mention your competition by name. But as these amusing word clouds at SFGate show, the most frequently-used words by Senator McCain in the third debate were "Senator Obama"; and by Senator Obama, "Senator McCain."

[From Word Clouds: Third Presidential Debate, 10/15/2008]

No, please - I don't want to know any more

Wheaton man gives elaborate organ to theater

Associated Press

6:12 AM CDT, October 18, 2008

WHEATON, Ill. - Wheaton resident Paul Van Der Molen is an organ donor with a difference....

He says that although he and his wife have enjoyed the Wonder Organ for nearly three decades, they needed to find a new home for it to coincide with their own plans to downsize.

[From Wheaton man gives elaborate organ to theater -- chicagotribune.com]

I'm not sure, but...

...I've gotta think that if Robert Wexler sent Nancy Pelosi as many emails as he sends me raging about the malfeasance of the Bush administration the DOOFUS and all his buddies would have long since been impeached. Somebody ought to fix his mailing list.

So, JIC the Wall Steeters leave some crumbs...

WASHINGTON — In a newly disclosed legal memorandum, the Bush administration says it can bypass laws that forbid giving taxpayer money to religious groups that hire only staff members who share their faith.

The administration, which has sought to lower barriers between church and state through its religion-based initiative offices, made the claim in a 2007 Justice Department memorandum from the Office of Legal Counsel. It was quietly posted on the department’s Web site this week.

[From Bush Aides Say Religious Hiring Doesn’t Bar Aid - NYTimes.com]

All's fair in war and politics

PHILADELPHIA — Senator Barack Obama is days away from breaking the advertising spending record set by President Bush in the general election four years ago, having unleashed an advertising campaign of a scale and complexity unrivaled in the television era.

With advertisements running repeatedly day and night, on local stations and on the major broadcast networks, on niche cable networks and even on video games and his own dedicated satellite channels, Mr. Obama is now outadvertising Senator John McCain nationwide by a ratio of at least four to one, according to CMAG, a service that monitors political advertising. That difference is even larger in several closely contested states.

[From Obama’s Ad Effort Swamps McCain and Nears Record - NYTimes.com]

Politicians are a lot like generals, always fighting the last war. True, this election is a must-win-at-any-cost for Democrats (and for the American people), but Obama's legacy of nuclear-grade spending, like Bush's radioactive depleted-uranium dust in Iraq, will be around to haunt us for a long, long time. So will his refusal to accept public financing put an end to the halcyon hallucination of reformers who dreamt of campaigns uncorrupted by cash. The ante for the next one has been irrevocably upped.



Oak, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

So they're calling it "a cut," are they?

Great America spokeswoman Brooke Gabbert said Thursday that while the werewolf-clad employee was unhurt, park medics determined that the guest, who suffered a cut to her cheek, should be transported to an area hospital by a Gurnee Fire Department rescue squad.

[From Fright Fest 'werewolf' falls through window :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State]

That "Republican-leaning" newspaper in Chicago...

...endorses guess who for President.

[From CHICAGO TRIBUNE ENDORSEMENT: Chicago Tribune endorses Barack Obama for president -- chicagotribune.com]

It's because we care...

...about your mental health, yes we do, that we are not actually embedding this link forwarded by our intrepid Midwest bureau (and, OK, also because there is no obviously easy way to do it). You are, however, free to click on the link as soon as you have signed the proper waiver.

Some of my best friends are...

"I have close friends who are Democrats," said Thad Boggs, 21, a senior from Washington Court House, Ohio, who is majoring in political science.

[From A conservative campus senses a shift - The Boston Globe]

Plumbing the rhetoric

To Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, who studded their discussions at Wednesday night’s presidential debate with fawning references to “Joe the Plumber,” the once-derided tradesman was a classic hands-on hero, a celebrated common man, the sort of guy who puts the “I can” back into American.

But to plumbers around New York, the quick ascent seemed a good deal more complex. Granted, they said, the political machine had seized them as a symbol. But of what?

[From The New York Plumber Is No Average Joe - NYTimes.com]

Autumn amps up

-- Post From My iPhone

Merrill Lynch, apparently, has a mattress too

The deepening red ink underscores a crucial question about the government’s plan: Will lenders deploy their new-found capital quickly, as the Treasury hopes, and unlock the flow of credit through the economy? Or will they hoard the money to protect themselves?

John A. Thain, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch, said on Thursday that banks were unlikely to act swiftly. Executives at other banks privately expressed a similar view.

“We will have the opportunity to redeploy that,” Mr. Thain said of the new capital on a telephone call with analysts. “But at least for the next quarter, it’s just going to be a cushion."

[From Banks Are Likely to Hold Tight to Bailout Money - NYTimes.com]

I don't know, Bunky. This is starting to look like one huge giveaway to me, a big wet goodbye kiss from the Bushies to their Wall Street buddies. Paulson is dumping money into these banks to "free up credit" with no requirement that the banks actually use this money to make loans or, for that matter, do much of anything at all - the government gets no voting rights for its so-called investment in equity.

And by the end of January all those guys will have nice fat jobs at the very banks they're dumping loot on today.


Portrait of a dumpster cover

Portrait of a dumpster cover, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Honest, Honey, I'm only going to hear the debate

A Sin City strip club says it plans to host a lookalike contest in honor of the GOP vice presidential nominee, and is bringing in women from gentlemen's clubs all over the country to compete.

They'll be judged by club guests on how they resemble Palin while wearing a swimsuit and how well they debate, according to news release.

[From Palin lookalike strippers to strut in pageant - Yahoo! News]

Paddy calls it

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) — The race is over as far as Ireland's biggest bookmaker is concerned.

Paddy Power PLC says it is so sure Barack Obama will win the U.S. presidential election next month that it paid off Thursday on all bets it had taken backing the Democratic candidate. It said it shelled out more than euro1 million, about $1.35 million.

[From The Associated Press: Irish bookie calls US race over, pays off on Obama]

A bad day for Joe

"Joe the Plumber," the Toledo, Ohio, man whose complaints about Barack Obama's tax plan were featured in the final presidential debate, owes the state of Ohio almost $1,200 in back income taxes....

Also, Wurzelbacher told the Associated Press earlier today he doesn't have a plumber's license and doesn't need one.

Wurzelbacher said he works for a small plumbing company that does residential work. Because he works for someone else, he doesn't need a license, he said.

But the county Wurzelbacher and his employer live in, Lucas County, requires plumbers to have licenses. Neither Wurzelbacher nor his employer are licensed there, said Cheryl Schimming of Lucas County Building Regulations, which handles plumber licenses in parts of the county outside Toledo.

[From Debate's 'Joe the Plumber' owes income taxes in Ohio | Chronicle | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle]

WARNING: Listening to this song could melt your head

That, according to TimesOnline, is Hank Williams Jr. doing the warbling there.

Complaints may be submitted directly to our Midwest bureau. Or, just vote for Obama next month and help make it stop.

Go figure

I stopped for gas a while ago. Regular was selling for 2.99. That's down a good 25% from what it was just a couple of months ago. So how much of that was speculation? You tell me. I'm no oil expert, but I haven't heard anything about OPEC pumping more.

-- Post From My iPhone

On Main Street

On Main Street, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

As you may have noticed, I've been in a non-verbal mood of late. Probably just as well.


The Big Red

The Big Red, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

The beginning

The beginning, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Steel fence

Steel fence, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

In case you were wondering...

Sam Smith, Progressive Review - Of all the lies that John McCain tells, one that disturbs me personally is that he calls himself a maverick. I've been an undisputed maverick most of my life, I've worked on a cattle farm, I know what mavericks are and I know McCain ain't one.

The correct technical term for McCain is a mugwump, a 19th century phrase for a politician who sits on a fence with his mug on one side and his wump on the other.


Quelle surprise

A Tennessee man couldn't give much to the McCain/Palin campaign, so he gave his child's nomenclature.

"I took one for the cause," said Mark Ciptak of Elizabethton. "This is a little token to the McCain camp, and we are strong supporters of that ticket." Ciptak put "Sarah McCain Palin Ciptak" on his newborn daughter's birth certificate documents, ignoring the name he and his wife picked earlier....

Ciptak's in-laws...are "planning my funeral behind my back," he said. "There's some resentment from the family."

[From The Raw Story | Man names baby 'Sarah McCain Palin' behind wife's back]


Vista makes me grumpy(er)

OK, so I haven't used it for 10 days. Is that so bad? Well, yes. I boot the thing up, it has to download ten (10!) updates. And then reboot. And then scan. (And, oh yeah, I have to change my password.) It's been 50 minutes and I still can't use the thing. By now I've forgotten what I wanted to do.

-- Post From My iPhone

Ladder to the sky

Ladder to the sky, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

October sun

October sun, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


Gallery preview

So I'm opening up a gallery of black and white photos at Imagekind - hey, what's to lose? It's up and working but it hasn't gone "public" yet, probably won't for another week or so. Which means things might get tweaked a bit between now and then. But you can visit it and have an exclusive (well, sort of) look around at this link (URL http://tedcompton.imagekind.com/Found) if you want to.

And comments are welcome.

So we haven't solved that problem yet?

All bubbles occur because of human greed. But this time, the greed factor was not quite as obvious because it occurred behind the scenes -- in the trading rooms of the investment banks that created a huge, unseen network of banking contracts with institutions around the world.

Sure, many individuals were greedy to buy homes they couldn't afford, or to earn commissions selling mortgages that were not likely to be repaid. But at the root of it all was the ability to "structure" those mortgages into securities that were endorsed by the rating agencies (who were paid to do so) and then distributed around the world into the financial system greedy to get high yields on "safe" investments.

Turning those bad mortgages into highly rated securities represents the 21st century version of ALCHEMY -- the ancient hope that you could turn base metals into gold!

[From Can world fix Humpty Dumpty markets? :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Personal Finance]

Buck up, pal

I am stepping away from Bears football for a while after this. I have better things to do than flush 3 hours of my time watching this slow death over and over again.

[From a comment at Rosenblog| Chicago Tribune | Blog]

Chicago is the city of broken sports dreams, except of course for Michael Jordan's reign and a handful of Ditka years and, oh yeah, I think the Sox won something once, I'm not sure. But what I'm saying here, Bunky, is if you want to be a sports fan in Chicago learn to enjoy the slow death thing. That's pretty much just what there is.

Ibershof, prosecutor, on Ayers

As the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s (I was then chief of the criminal division in the Eastern District of Michigan and took over the Weathermen prosecution in 1972), I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child.

Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen.

[From Letter - Prosecuting Weathermen - NYTimes.com]

Apparently this letter to the NYTimes, published Oct. 9, has been much discussed on blogs of late, a fact I'd missed because I don't keep up with blogs so much these days, the blogs being all ramped up to full political screech as they are. But I am alerted by the Empire's Midwest bureau to this follow-up piece in this morning's Los Angeles Times which illuminates the story further, and is most certainly worth a look.

So I guess he knows a little bit about economics too

Paul Krugman, a professor at Princeton University and an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday.

Mr. Krugman received the award for his work on international trade and economic geography. In particular, the prize committee lauded his work on for “having shown the effects of economies of scale on trade patterns and on the location of economic activity.” He has developed models that explain observed patterns of trade between countries, as well as what goods are produced where and why. Traditional trade theory assumes that countries are different and will exchange different kinds of goods with each other; Mr. Krugman’s theories have explained why worldwide trade is dominated by a few countries that are similar to each other, and why some countries might import the same goods that it exports.

[From Paul Krugman Wins Economics Nobel - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com]


From CNN archives:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Thursday's CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll indicates that Vice President Al Gore may be opening a solid lead over Texas Gov. George W. Bush, after nearly two weeks of neck-and-neck competition. Today's figures -- 51 percent for Gore to 40 percent for Bush -- represents a significant margin for the vice president.

[From Tracking poll: Gore may be opening solid lead -- with a caveat - October 5, 2000]

The poll was taken Oct. 2-4, 2000.


Autumn eaves

Autumn eaves, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

To Do

Oh yeah, right. That. I just looked at mine - well, at one of them. Nothing on it is done yet.

Fine. I'll just put it away for a week or two and look at it again. Maybe something will be done by then. At least it looks like one or two things will be expired. That's fair, isn't it? I mean, as long as things just get off the list it doesn't seem like how should matter.

I've never been any good at To Do lists. Maybe that's because I always have more than one. Or two. I need a list to keep track of my lists. Hey, sounds like a database job!

Meanwhile, I take inspiration from the poet - I don't remember which one but maybe it was Robert Frost - who said, "I leave a great deal to unfinished business." That's me, all right. Unfinished business is definitely my thing.

Entertainment is where you find it, I guess

As part of the festivities, the Narragansett wastewater operators team, "Fecal Matters," also will compete in a national latrine-treating skills contest in Chicago against last year's champions, the Rocky Mountain "Commode Commandos."

[From What happens after you flush? RI offers new tour - Yahoo! News]

And it worked, too

SPEAKING as one who spent almost two years in Alaska, even though it was more than 50 years ago, even though I was only in the peacetime army, even though I merely rose to the rank of private first class (53rd Infantry Regiment, Fort Richardson, just outside Anchorage), even though as a member of headquarters company I was issued snowshoes, whereas most Arctic Frontiersman (as our regimental insignia identified us) were issued skis, and even though Alaska was not yet a state, I believe I speak with authority when I say that at least in those years, Gov. Sarah Palin’s much-mocked claim that Alaska’s proximity to Russia gives one a leg up on matters of national security was, in effect, official United States policy.

[From Op-Ed Contributor - Democracy, at 70 Degrees Below Zero - NYTimes.com]

The crisis that was

Two weeks after persuading Congress to let it spend $700 billion to buy distressed securities tied to mortgages, the Bush administration has put that idea aside in favor of a new approach that would have the government inject capital directly into the nation’s banks — in effect, partially nationalizing the industry.

As recently as Sept. 23, senior officials had publicly derided proposals by Democrats to have the government take ownership stakes in banks.

[From White House Overhauling Rescue Plan - NYTimes.com]

Big, big rush a couple of weeks ago; now, not so much. Congressional Dems irrelevant yet again.