Are buckeyes nuts or what?

Woohoo, OSU!

Nice with the national model there

David Olmos, Bloomberg - The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Barack Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little.


Lean, mean, and clean

And no, I don't mean surgically sterile or anything like that, I just mean somewhat less grungy than things are now. And just somewhat less...well, just somewhat less. So that leaves mean, and mean I can do all day. Which, the way I see it, gives me a 33.3 percent success rate right there on this year's New Year's resolutions, and maybe even better with a little luck and, say, half an hour of dusting. Better than most. Years, I mean.

At first, I was going to resolve not to make resolutions, and you can see how well that turned out.


Toast (Can I say that?)

DETROIT – The phrase "shovel ready," incessantly invoked by the Obama administration this year as a way to sell its $787 billion federal stimulus bill, died Thursday.

The official cause of death was overuse, according to Lake Superior State University, which announced the phrase's demise in its annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness, released Thursday....

"Stick a shovel in it. It's done," seethed Joe Grimm of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., in his nomination to the university's Word Banishment Committee.

link: Once-presidential phrase casualty of word war - Yahoo! News


More fun with numbers

If you count the Ft. Hoot shooting as a terrorist attack...16 people have died in the United States as result of terrorism in 2009. The other three deaths include the Little Rock military recruiting office shooting (1), the Holocaust Museum shooting (1), and Dr. George Tiller’s assassination (1), the last two coming at the hands of right-wing extremists.

On the other hand, 45,000 Americans died because they didn’t have health insurance and 600 died from salmonella poisoning.

link: Firedoglake » Terrorism Still Less Deadly in US Than Lack of Health Insurance, Salmonella

A warming trend

I woke up this morning and there was a minus in front of the number on the widget (no, it's not the first thing I do most days but today is trash pickup day and it seemed so cold when I was hauling the green bag out to the curb I decided to check, is all) so I went back to bed. Which worked. Now it's zero. Maybe I'll go back to bed again and see if that adds another two or three degrees. Maybe if I just stay in bed long enough it'll be like summer again.

Oh. Bears? They do?

Doing the math

...the odds of being on given [airline] departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade. By contrast, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 500,000.

link: FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: The Odds of Airborne Terror

-Noted by our Midwest Bureau


No I couldn't wait, quelle surprise

I've been fooling around with the software for Barnes & Nobel's and Amazon's digital books. Both have apps that run on iPhones as well as computer-based apps and, of course, both have hardware of their own - Amazon has its Kindle and B&N its nook.

For the B&N test I found a cheap and eminently forgettable novel called "Hostile Intent," about a gadget-crazed, personality-free government killer who battles evil terrorists far and wide; for the Amazon project I found the complete Sherlock Holmes, illustrated, for $2.39 and read the first novel. Amusingly, both books cite liberals and foreigners as the root of all evil, so I guess we haven't made much progress on that problem in the last century or so.

The Barnes & Nobel iPhone app crashes; Amazon's works fine. The Amazon computer runs only on Windows at present, and is somewhat less slick than B&N's, but on balance I like Amazon's solutions best. I have no interest in either company's hardware. The iPhone makes a perfectly acceptable reading platform, and I have a MacBook so I'm portable enough as it is.

So, when I found email this morning informing me that Jasper Fforde's "Shades of Grey" has shipped (yay!) I downloaded the free sample from Amazon and - I know this is difficult to believe but it's true - by the time I'd finished the sample I was on the hook for the whole book. So it is now tucked safely away on both my phone and my laptop (the Amazon software keeps the two copies in sync).

It's cold here today - 13 degrees and very windy - and I've already been out twice doing errands, so I'm planning to curl up with a book for the rest of the afternoon.


Nobel Peace Through War Prize winner goes for three

WASHINGTON — In the midst of two unfinished major wars, the United States has quietly opened a third, largely covert front against Al Qaeda in Yemen.

link: U.S. Widens Terror War to Yemen, a Qaeda Bastion - NYTimes.com


Secret rules

Reports the New York Times...

In the wake of the terrorism attempt Friday on a Northwest Airlines flight, federal officials on Saturday imposed new restrictions on travelers...

The government was vague about the steps it was taking, saying that it wanted the security experience to be “unpredictable” and that passengers would not find the same measures at every airport...

And by the way, do you know the speed limit where you live? Is it five miles faster than whatever the sign says? Eight? Ten, or maybe less, or maybe different on certain days of the week or at different hours? OK to go faster at 1 AM than at 1 PM?

Hey, who knows. I've never been a fan of rules, myself. Or the people who make them. The only problem is, these days the people who make them walk around with ski masks over their faces and if you don't pay attention to the rules, whatever they may be today, they can pull your fingernails out and throw you in jail forever. Just like that.

Do not step on the grass.

There's good news and bad news...

...in Dave Barry's year-end review, found here in the Miami Herald. For example:

BAD NEWS: The economy remained critically weak, with rising unemployment, a severely depressed real-estate market, the near-collapse of the domestic automobile industry and the steep decline of the dollar.

GOOD NEWS: Windows 7 sucked less than Vista.

And so forth...