Winter Could Be Worse...

Photo: Phil Compton, YAME Midwest Bureau Winter Headquarters

I won't go

Out. No way. Not today.

We went from the highest temp of the winter so far, 53º, to 4º this morning just like that. Whoosh. The widget says it's warmed up to 12º but I'm not biting on that one, thanks all the same. Tomorrow we should get back up to a respectable 20º and maybe we'll hit 32º by the end of next week, the forecast says. Or maybe by June.

"The coup is over. We lost."

Corporations have 35,000 lobbyists in Washington and thousands more in state capitals that dole out corporate money to shape and write legislation....

link: Chris Hedges: Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction - Chris Hedges' Columns - Truthdig

War is Peace

See if you can read this sentence without bursting out laughing (or crying):

(click the link)

link: Left I on the News



Photo: Lynn C.

Old white guys know more about politics than wimpy Democrats, but still not so much

Republicans, on average, answered one more question correctly than Democrats (5.9 vs. 4.9 correct). These differences are partly a reflection of the demographics of the two groups; Republicans tend to be older, well educated and male, which are characteristics associated with political and economic knowledge.

link: Senate Legislative Process A Mystery To Many: Overview - Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Pew poll shows Americans a pretty clueless bunch, except young people nail question about Stephen Colbert.

Meanwhile, in other numeric news,things are getting a little blurry in Ohio.

Yeah, I bet

Pentagon ready to offer input on repealing military’s ban on gays

link: Boston Globe

No Gitmo for this one

As if James O'Keefe hasn't suffered enough indignity after botching an alleged phone tampering operation at a U.S. senator's office, getting arrested, and being photographed leaving jail, the judge in the case has now ordered that he reside with his parents until the next hearing.

link: Judge Orders 25-Year-Old O'Keefe To Live With His Parents | TPMMuckraker


Just mentioning

When it comes to Obama transparency, Electronic Frontier Foundation privacy attorney Kurt Opsahl points out that the chief executive told the American public one thing Wednesday night and a federal appeals court another just a few weeks ago.

The issue at hand surrounds lobbying. “It’s time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my administration or Congress,” the president said during his televised address.

But, before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month, the Justice Department argued that it should not have to disclose the names of telecommunication industry lobbyists.

link: Obama Speaks Transparency, Practices Subterfuge | Threat Level | Wired.com

What Winter Looks Like On Siesta Key

Photo: Phil Compton (at YAME Midwest Bureau Winter Headquarters)

That new iPad thing is wicked shiny, all right...

...but what it's done is get me thinking about a Kindle. I like the whole idea of the iPad - it's just that none of those ideas apply much to me. (This is the kind of statement I almost always change my mind about later, but there it is, nonetheless.)

I don't need a computer away from home all that often and when I do, I have a perfectly fine (and nearly new) MacBook that does everything I want a computer to do and is not to heavy to haul. For everything else, there's the iPhone. I never even go into the next room without mine. And when I am in the next room - or on the next block - the iPhone is perfectly fine for answering the occasional email, checking a list, or looking something up on Wikipedia. I can even read a book on it (a Kindle book, in fact) without much inconvenience.

The iPad is not a substitute for a phone (it doesn't phone), and while it could potentially replace a laptop - and might replace mine when it needs replacing, some day - it's not a good excuse to throw a laptop away.
Which leaves books. The larger Kindle costs $10 less than the comparably sized iPad and comes with free wireless to boot. The smaller Kindle costs about half as much. Of course, if you're going to read from something you have to carry around in a bag, not a pocket, you might as well just read from a book.

The iPad will be a successful product, I expect. It fits neatly into the netbook niche, which as been one of the fastest growing market segments in the last few years. And it'll really shine in the educational market.
But as far as I'm concerned, I think I'll wait and see.

Or start saving up for a Kindle.

I'm glad I didn't watch

Looking out at the motley crew seated before him for the big speech, the president seemed at times to be pretending that he had never seen these people before in his life. “Washington has been telling us to wait for decades,” he complained at one point, as if he was a visitor from the heartland with a petition that he wanted to deliver if only he could get an appointment with someone on the appropriations committee.

link: Op-Ed Columnist - United We Rant - NYTimes.com

It's only January...

...and already we have a re-defining year happening here in Massachusetts. First we elect that centerfold Republican to the Senate, now we find Boston cited as the city with the nation's most depressing local news. Heh.


I know, I know, blah, blah

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – An animal rights group wants organizers of Pennsylvania's Groundhog Day festival to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robotic stand-in....

But William Deeley, president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, says the animal is "being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania."

link: PETA proposes robotic groundhog for Pa. festival - Yahoo! News

Sometimes the best thing to do is just shut up.

Meanwhile Obama, according to this piece from AFP, is going back to "hope" in tonight's State of the Union address and will "explain why he thinks the American people are angry and frustrated," says White House spokesmodel Robert Gibbs. I'm willing to bet voting for him will not be mentioned.

And no, I am not going to predict what the new Apple iPad/iTablet/iSlate/iHavenoidea will look like, except that it will be very shiny. Also it will revolutionize something and make a whole lot of money for Apple. But other than that, I mean.

A bit of January thaw

Monday the temp got above 50º here but it rained all day so it wasn't that much fun to be out and about. Yesterday, though, was partly sunny and got into the mid-40's, and today and tomorrow we're looking at high 30's before the whole thing drops into the 20's again for Friday and the weekend, and beyond. Who knows? It is still January, after all. But a few nice warm days did help break the spell.

Two worlds

WASHINGTON – Now that the economy is on the mend...

-Associated Press

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- After posting a fourth-quarter loss, Verizon Communications, Inc. said Tuesday it plans to cut about 13,000 jobs this year.



Can you spell "buzz"

"We haven't heard this first hand, but we've heard it multiple times second and third hand from completely independent sources. Senior Apple execs and friends of Jobs are telling people that he's about as excited about the upcoming Apple Tablet as he's ever been."

link: Steve Jobs: Apple Tablet "Will Be The Most Important Thing I've Ever Done" (RUMOR)

That must be it

WASHINGTON -- Succumbing to the insecurities weighing on Democrats after losing Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts, another key Democratic senator says it's time to take a step back and embark on a less ambitious agenda.

"I think the President Is going to have to scale back his agenda after we pass health care reform," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in an interview with ABC News.

link: Another Dem backs down: ‘Scale back’ our agenda | Raw Story

Democrats, the argument goes, have not been wimpy enough.

The center does not hold

Massachusetts marked a sobering milestone last month: For the first time since World War II, the state ended a decade with fewer jobs than it had at the beginning....

Nationally, job growth was essentially zero from the end of 1999 to the end of last year.

link: A lost decade for Bay State jobs - The Boston Globe


Let's fire Congress and hire the salami guys

BURRILLVILLE, R.I. - A Rhode Island meat company recalled 1.24 million pounds of pepper-coated salami yesterday over concerns about salmonella contamination.

While meanwhile, in Washington...

President Obama phoned Senate allies yesterday as two key senators predicted that embattled Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be confirmed for a second term.

link: In the Nation | Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/24/2010

Spam (and not the kind you use for sandwiches)

There's been an increasing amount of spam on the blog for a month or so but until recently it was only happening on posts old enough to have scrolled off the front page so I just let it ride, but one or two spammy comments turned up among recent posts so I've turned on the word recognition thingie in comments in an attempt to keep that at bay. If that doesn't work I will turn on the registration requirement, just so you know. FYI. Etc.

How creepy is this?

LONDON (Reuters) – International hotel chain Holiday Inn is offering a trial human bed-warming service at three hotels in Britain this month.

If requested, a willing staff-member at two of the chain's London hotels and one in the northern English city of Manchester will dress in an all-in-one fleece sleeper suit before slipping between the sheets.

"The new Holiday Inn bed warmers service is a bit like having a giant hot water bottle in your bed," Holiday Inn spokeswoman Jane Bednall said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

link: Human "bed-warmers" at Holiday Inn - Yahoo! News

White House needs reboot, says Rich

It’s become so easy to pin financial elitism on Democrats that the morning after Brown’s victory the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee had the gall to accuse them of being the “one party who bailed out the automakers and insurance companies.” Never mind that the Bush White House gave us the bank (and A.I.G.) bailouts, or that the G.O.P. is even more in hock than Democrats to corporate patrons. The Obama administration is so overstocked with Goldman Sachs-Robert Rubin alumni and so tainted by its back-room health care deals with pharmaceutical and insurance companies that conservative politicians, Brown included, can masquerade shamelessly as the populist alternative.

link: Op-Ed Columnist - After the Massachusetts Massacre - NYTimes.com