-- Post From My iPhone


Republicans think Democrats are wrong, but Democrats think Republicans are stupid, and that’s why Democrats lose.

[From Don’t Count Him Out Yet - Campaign Stops Blog - NYTimes.com]

Chocolate cures everything

A recent Nielsen report listed tobacco, carbonated drinks and eggs as especially vulnerable to recession, and candy, beer and pasta sauce as recession-proof. On Thursday, Hershey’s announced third-quarter sales and income higher than last year’s.

[From Fluctuations - A Hemline Index, Updated - How Does Society Change in a Bad Economy? - NYTimes.com]



October, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


TOKYO — A 43-year-old player in a virtual game world became so angry about her sudden divorce from her online husband that she logged on with his password and killed his digital persona, police said Thursday.

The woman, who has been jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his ID and password to log onto the popular interactive game ‘‘Maple Story’’ to carry out the virtual murder in May, a police official in the northern city of Sapporo said.

[From Woman jailed after killing virtual hubby :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: World]

A fashion trendsetter once again

“We’ve been in a time of extreme consumerism, and at a certain point, you want to withdraw from the celebrity, flash and razzle,” said Mr. Persson...

[From Classic Clothes - It’s Their Moment Again - NYTimes.com]

Yeah, well, I sort of skipped over the flash and razzle part, true. But now that jeans, flannel shirts, and field boots are "classic clothes," I may have to clean up my closet and move on.

I'm not giving up my hoodies, though. No way.

After all, no mighty oak?

On Oct. 6, the community organizing group Acorn and an affiliated charity called Project Vote announced with jubilation that they had registered 1.3 million new voters. But it turns out the claim was a wild exaggeration, and the real number of newly registered voters nationwide is closer to 450,000, Project Vote’s executive director, Michael Slater, said in an interview.

The remainder are registered voters who were changing their address and roughly 400,000 that were rejected by election officials for a variety of reasons, including duplicate registrations, incomplete forms and fraudulent submissions from low-paid field workers trying to please their supervisors, Mr. Slater acknowledged.

[From Group’s Tally of New Voters Was Vastly Overstated - NYTimes.com]

All the hubbub about Acorn and voter fraud is part of a larger. long-standing effort by Republicans to cast doubt on the voting process (and no doubt also to direct attention away from their own shenanigans). Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse will not be showing up at the polls to vote for D's. Nonetheless this revelation about Acorn's registration efforts is discouraging because it means the great flood of newly-registered, presumably young, presumably pro-O voters may not really be there. And it also means, perhaps, more confusion, delay, and acrimony at the polls on election day as hundreds of thousands get turned away at the door. None of which is good news.

I've been convinced for quite some time that part of the Republican strategy here is to create widespread confusion leading to distrust of election results (in part by leveraging concerns on the left about the veracity of voting machines) and re-creating Florida, 2000, but on a much wider and more devastating scale.

I know, I know, that sounds paranoid as hell, and I hope that's all it is. But I, for one, am not going to trust this one until the fat lady sings to the last note.

Another one over the side

Perhaps inspired by the Redemption of Colin...

Former Bush White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for President of the United States.

[From The Raw Story | Scott McClellan endorses Obama]

Republicans are vanishing faster than my hair. Well, good riddance. I never liked getting haircuts anyway.

It's time to start thinking about forming a second party, though. IMO.

I guess this means we can stop begging them to pump more

VIENNA — The OPEC cartel said Friday that it would reduce its oil production by at least 1.5 million barrels a day to stem what it called “a dramatic collapse” in oil prices as the world economy slows down and oil demand shrinks.

The reduction, which is the deepest since 2003, was announced at an emergency meeting here and will come into effect on Nov. 1, according to Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister.

[From OPEC Orders Cut in Oil Production - NYTimes.com]


Ahhhh - no wonder then

The former Fed chair told angry lawmakers on Thursday that after 40 years of buying into free-market ideology he had “found a flaw.”

[From Truthdig - Ear to the Ground - Greenspan Admits Ideological Flaw]

The old bridge

The old bridge, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

"Constitution Free Zone," says ACLU

Normally under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the American people are not generally subject to random and arbitrary stops and searches.

The border, however, has always been an exception. There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply. For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a “routine search.”

But what is “the border”? According to the government, it is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the United States.

As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.....

What we found is that fully TWO-THIRDS of the United States’ population lives within this Constitution-free or Constitution-lite Zone. That’s 197.4 million people who live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders.

[From American Civil Liberties Union : Fact Sheet on U.S. "Constitution Free Zone"]

Lou Dobbs (yeah, I know you would never guess this) is outraged:

The American Civil Liberties Union has recently been publicizing the existence of a "Constitution-free zone," extending 100 miles from all US borders, within which the Department of Homeland Security claims the right to search and detain individuals without the "reasonable cause" required by the Fourth Amendment.

CNN's Lou Dobbs, known as an aggressive campaigner against illegal immigration, was predictably outraged by the ACLU campaign. Under a graphic reading "ACLU amnesty agenda," he sneered, "The American Civil Liberties Union claims the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to enforce immigration laws are 'unconstitutional.' In point of fact, it is the ACLU actively trying to block enforcement of this nation's laws. Is that constitutional?"

[From The Raw Story | Lou Dobbs: Why is there 'no legal recourse against the ACLU'?]

Stick a fork in it

Bunky, it is way, way past done. This election thing, I mean.

Some of the very people who only a few months ago were all worked up about "sexism" in coverage of Hillary's campaign are now deep into yipping about Sarah Palin's clothes. Over at HuffPo they even have a slide show with close-up pictures of Palin's shoes. (Note to all the many, many women who try to impress me with their shoes: Don't bother. I can't tell the difference. Also, I can't see Navy blue.)

Style guru (if the Boston Herald says so) Carson Kressley sniffs, "[Palin] looks very generic to me." Oh, the pain.

Of course the "scandal" is Republicans (the RNC) reportedly spent some $150,000 on Palin's makeover, including, says Huffpo, $4,716.49 on "hair and makeup." (For the detail-oriented, that equates to approximately 15.722 Bill Clinton haircuts.) But hey. If the Republicans want to spend that money putting lipstick on their pit bull instead of buying more attack ads, who am I to complain?

Just call it spreading the wealth around to Neiman Marcus and Saks. And Harriet the Hairdresser.


Playing around with the light

Playing around with the light, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


Shade, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

This I can actually believe

A Web site linked to international terror group al Qaeda has endorsed John McCain's presidential bid, believing the Republican candidate will keep US troops engaged in costly, intractable wars abroad and continue the policies of President Bush, according to news reports.

[From The Raw Story | Al Qaeda supporters endorse 'impetuous' McCain, seeking continuation of war]

Helping America vote, the Republican way

Since 2003, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, at least 2.7 million new voters have had their applications to register rejected. In addition, at least 1.6 million votes were never counted in the 2004 election — and the commission's own data suggests that the real number could be twice as high. To purge registration rolls and discard ballots, partisan election officials used a wide range of pretexts, from "unreadability" to changes in a voter's signature. And this year, thanks to new provisions of the Help America Vote Act, the number of discounted votes could surge even higher.

[From Block the Vote : Rolling Stone]



Heretic, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

"The Worst Hard Time"

A book by Timothy Egan (and just added to the blog reading list), "The Worst Hard Time" tells the stories of people who lived through the disastrous "dust bowl" years that occurred on the US high plains in the 1930's.

After reading Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" a couple of times and hearing countless stories and folk songs about the period I thought I knew what happened back then but, as it turns out, not so much. The stories Egan retells are staggering in detail and scope. By any measure this is a fascinating book, both for its illumination of nature's fury and its portrait of the people who lived on the land, and stories well told. If you've got a free spot on your reading list, this would be a good pick to fill it.

(Photo Credit: NOAA Photo Library, Historic NWS collection)


There'll always be an England

A pensioner has been ordered to stop mowing the grass outside his home because it makes the road look too tidy.

[From Ananova - Pensioner told to stop cutting grass ]

Not in this time zone

People are at their most creative late at night with 10.04pm the most likely time for a brainwave, according to a survey.

[From Ananova - 10.04pm - the moment of inspiration ]

20 what?

A draft of the U.S.-Iraq security deal, now making the rounds in Washington and Baghdad...seems to point the way to an eventual drawdown of U.S. combat forces -- perhaps as early as 2012.

[From Danger Room - Wired Blogs]

Oh. 12.

No use rushing things.

Beneath the ridge

Beneath the ridge, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


-- Post From My iPhone

On the wall

On the wall, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

No Scrooge on Wall Street

Readers of The Guardian were greeted with this leading story -- front-page, up top -- on Saturday morning:

Wall Street banks in $70bn staff payout

Pay and bonus deals equivalent to 10% of US government bail-out package

[From Cronytopia: What the World Knows -- and Americans Don't -- About the Bailout]

Well then, that works out just fine!

WASHINGTON – Colin Powell will have a role as a top presidential adviser in an Obama administration, the Democratic White House hopeful said Monday.

"He will have a role as one of my advisers," Barack Obama said on NBC's "Today" in an interview aired Monday, a day after Powell, a four-star general and President Bush's former secretary of state, endorsed him.

[From Obama: Powell will have a role in adminstration - Yahoo! News]

Golden light

Golden light, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

County officials blame voters for flipped votes

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Three Putnam County voters say electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democrats to Republicans when they cast early ballots last week.

This is the second West Virginia county where voters have reported this problem. Last week, three voters in Jackson County told The Charleston Gazette their electronic vote for "Barack Obama" kept flipping to "John McCain".

In both counties, Republicans are responsible for overseeing elections. Both county clerks said the problem is isolated.

They also blamed voters for not being more careful.

[From The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports - News - More W.Va. voters say machines are switching votes ]

Noticed that, huh?

Worries over a global recession have pushed the price of oil to its lowest in over a year. Don't expect the same for a bottle of beer, a tube of toothpaste, or a box of cereal.

You can blame "sticky" prices.

That's what analysts call it when companies slap higher prices on products and keep them there even though the rationale for the price hikes - such as soaring oil prices - is gone.

[From News from The Associated Press]


A cold sky

A cold sky, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Autumn grasses

Autumn grasses, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Sarah Palin: Call home

The careful management that helped make Alaskan pollock a billion-dollar industry could unravel as the planet warms. Pollock and other fish in the Bering Sea are moving to higher latitudes as winter ice retreats and water temperatures rise.

Alaskan pollock are becoming Russian pollock, swimming across an international boundary in search of food and setting off what could become a geopolitical dispute.

[From Migrating Alaskan pollock are creating the potential for a new dispute with Russia - Los Angeles Times]