Gotta love those Wisconsin bears

HAYWARD, Wis. – Shoppers in a Wisconsin grocery store got an unexpected surprise when a 125-pound black bear wandered inside and headed straight for the beer cooler.

link: Bear Run! Black bear chills in Wis. beer cooler - Yahoo! News

Oh, spit it out

Words gone wild

Harvard admits to $1.8b gaffe in cash holdings

link: Harvard loses $1.8b in cash placed in high-risk investments - The Boston Globe

Losing $1.8b is a gaffe? Woohoo!

Surely we can do better

Marge Simpson as the first animated babe on a Playboy cover? Jessica, for sure.

-Paul Knue

Be nice to bikes

People in cars love to yell at cyclists. I'm not sure why, but they do. Sometimes they roll down their windows and scream as they buzz you in their giant SUVs, just to see if they can startle you. Sometimes they yell a version of, "Get the hell off the road, faggot." (Sometimes they also throw things, like beer bottles. But that's another story.) Often, they want to yell at you because you rode through that stop sign.

I've been a serious cyclist for about 20 years, riding from coast to coast, in just about every state and in several foreign countries, usually in the neighborhood of 3,000-6,000 miles a year. I've been hit by a car once -- a half-mile from my house. I broke one bone in a crash (my hip, riding on a bike path) because of a stupid, rookie mistake. So I know a little bit about riding and about bike safety. Here's my theory: it is far safer for everyone -- cyclists and motorists -- if bicycle riders go through an intersection as soon as safely possible, even if that means running a stop sign or a red light.

Consider this: You are on a bicycle and you come to an intersection with a traffic signal. You have a red light, but there are no cars around. Is it better to stop and wait for the light to change, or to ride through the red light? If you run the light, you have cleared the intersection and you are safely on your way, away from the single most dangerous interaction with cars you will likely encounter on your ride. If you stop and wait for the light to change, you allow cars, trucks, buses, etc., to join you at the intersection. When the light turns green, the motorized folks are ready to roar, but you're a lot slower on the takeoff. So there you are, clogging things up and creating a hazard for everyone -- mostly you.

I've long had the belief that the quicker and safer you can clear an intersection, the better off everyone is. Obviously, not everyone agrees with me. But they are looking at it from the vantage point of a two-ton vehicle with lots of steel and airbags. I've got nothing but two feeble legs and a bit of Spandex.

BTW, bikers ride Harleys; cyclists provide their own power.

-Paul Knue

Yeah, he can ride

Noted by our Midwest Bureau:

Money, money everywhere

Titans like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are making fortunes in hot areas like trading stocks and bonds, rather than in the ho-hum business of lending people money. They also are profiting by taking risks that weaker rivals are unable or unwilling to shoulder — a benefit of less competition after the failure of some investment firms last year....

“All of this is facilitated by the Federal Reserve and the government, who really want financial institutions to get back to lending,” said Gary Richardson, a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. “But we have just shown them that they can have the most frightening things happen to them, and we will throw trillions of dollars to protect them. I have big concerns about that.”

link: Aid Fueled Latest Surge on Wall Street - NYTimes.com


Anything for the planet

A Berlin brothel is claiming the title of Germany's first "green" sex establishment after offering clients eco-discounts if they can prove they arrived by bicycle or public transport.

link: Sex discount for cyclists at Berlin brothel - Europe, World - The Independent

Just calibrating the weirdmeter here

It turns out Texas is just full of small, specialized police forces: the State Insurance Department has one, as do the Lottery and Racing commissions, the Pharmacy Board, and a handful of water districts.

Others have tried, but failed. The Texas board of foot doctors wanted its own police department....

[But] the podiatry board has withdrawn its request for its own cops, as state and federal authorities have beefed up investigations of health care, or foot care, fraud.

link: In Texas, A Police Officer For Everyone? : NPR

Foot care fraud is a big problem in Texas?


Go librarians!

Prior to the Administration expressions of frustration and outrage over the refusal by librarians to cooperate with unethical and foolish information fishing expeditions (and other attempts to stifle free speech) by various agencies, it's doubtful that anyone would have used the term "Radical Militant Librarian", but as soon as it was uttered, it became a badge of honor. Of course, there is no official Guild of Radical Militant Librarians. Of course not. And if there was, they wouldn't be forthcoming with any information in any event.

link: We know what you read, and we're not saying.

(Click the link and buy librarian stuff.)

Yeah but that doesn't mean...

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge challenged the backers of California's voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday to explain how allowing gay couples to wed threatens conventional unions, a demand that prompted their lawyer to acknowledge he did not know.

link: Judge challenges backers of gay marriage ban - Crime & courts- msnbc.com

...or wait, hold on, maybe it does.

Thermal Pool

Photo: Phil Compton

The Cheeseburger Show goes to Wisconsin

Episode 11: The Milwaukee Show from The Cheeseburger Show on Vimeo.

It's not all about the Dow

It’s literally amazing to me that our press corps hasn’t yet managed to draw a distinction between good news on Wall Street for companies like Goldman, and good news in reality.

I watched carefully the reporting of the Dow breaking 10,000 the other day and not anywhere did I see a major news organization include a paragraph of the “On the other hand, so fucking what?” sort, one that might point out that unemployment is still at a staggering high, foreclosures are racing along at a terrifying clip, and real people are struggling more than ever.

link: Matt Taibbi - Taibblog – Good News on Wall Street Means… What Exactly? - True/Slant


Why should those Wall Street guys hog all the loot?

If you thought the executives at Goldman Sachs were the kings of backroom finance, think again.

Goldman Sachs, meet Saudi King Abdullah.

A new gambit by the oil-dealing kingdom would have Western oil guzzlers paying for using less oil. Sounds like the opposite of reality, you say? The Saudis say it's the only way they'll be able to afford helping the fight against global warming.

link: Saudis want US to pay for reducing oil usage | Raw Story

Will a player piano shrink your chest?

In 1906, famous composer John Philip Sousa took to Appleton's Magazine to pen an essay decrying the latest piratical threat to his livelihood, to the entire body politic, and to "musical taste" itself. His concern? The player piano and the gramophone, which stripped the life from real, human, soulful live performances....

"Under such conditions," Sousa believed, "the tide of amateurism cannot but recede until there will be left only the mechanical device and the professional executant. Singing will no longer be a fine accomplishment; vocal exercises so important a factor in the curriculum of physical culture will be out of vogue. Then what of the national throat? Will it not weaken? What of the national chest? Will it not shrink?"

link: 100 years of Big Content fearing technology—in its own words - Ars Technica


Almost worth...

So you’ve met a nice gal who also likes to dress up in Victorian clothes and has a love of Steampunk gadgets. You want to take the plunge and get hitched. Maybe get married in a chapel that looks like a Jules Verne submarine. What do you do for the cake?

link: Steampunk Wedding Cake - SlipperyBrick.com

...well OK, forget that part about worth, but still. The link is to a photo of a steampunk wedding cake. Dude, that is cool.

The maraschino effect

The Nobel Peace Prize long ago ceased to be an award given to people who really spend their whole careers agitating for peace. Like most awards the Prize has evolved into a kind of maraschino cherry for hardcore careerists to place atop their resumes, a reward not for dissidence but on the contrary for gamely upholding the values of Western society as it perceives itself, for putting a good face on things (in Obama’s place, literally so).

link: Matt Taibbi - Taibblog – On the Nobel Prize for Occasional Peace - True/Slant


Clothesline wars, oh yeah!

Like the majority of the 60 million people who now live in the country’s roughly 300,000 private communities, Ms. Saylor was forbidden to dry her laundry outside because many people viewed it as an eyesore, not unlike storing junk cars in driveways, and a marker of poverty that lowers property values.

link: Debate Follows Bills to Remove Clotheslines Bans - NYTimes.com

Dude, does it ever seem like things are seriously out of control?

Birth panels!

As if there weren't enough problems with health insurance companies: a new report reveals that insurance companies now deny coverage to babies that are above the 95th percentile for height or weight after they are born, effectively considering their size a "pre-existing condition."

In a report published this weekend, The Denver Post revealed the story of Alex Lange, "a chubby, dimpled, healthy and happy 4-month-old."

Lange's parents say he was denied coverage because he's in the 99th percentile for infant weight. Rocky Mountain Health Plans turned him down, saying insurers don't take babies over the 95th percentile, no matter how healthy they are.

link: Insurer refuses to cover baby, says he’s ‘too fat’ | Raw Story


And I didn't know it was lost

Pakistan Retakes Army Headquarters

link: Pakistan Retakes Army Headquarters; Hostages Freed - NYTimes.com

But yeah, it was. For a little less than a day the freakin Pakistani army headquarters was occupied by Taliban and OMG these guys have nukes. "A major security lapse," says some unnamed U.S. official. Uh huh.