You can, it turns out...

...actually play the Pac Man game posted on Google's main page.

Now they tell me

Engineers will not use booms made out of hair to soak up the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

link: Engineers will not use hair to soak Gulf oil spill | NOLA.com

From the Duluth Webcam

Obama stamps his feet again

President Barack Obama announced on Saturday the establishment of an independent presidential commission to probe a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico....

link: Obama establishes commission to investigate Gulf oil gusher | Raw Story

Next thing you know we're going to have to have a Commissions Czar. Or maybe a Commissions Commission. Or, who knows, both.



Photo: Phil Compton

The new new math

The U.S. Interior Department said on Wednesday its embattled Minerals Management Service will be broken up into three separate divisions, as part of an effort to restructure the way the department handles offshore energy production.

link: Louisiana shore sees heavy oil as BP prepares plug - Yahoo! News

It seems like after 9-11 the big solution, bureaucratically speaking, was to combine a whole bunch of agencies into one big super agency called Homeland Security, whereas here, after BP's oil blowout in the gulf, the solution is to break one agency into three smaller parts.

Increasingly, this sounds to me like rearranging deck chairs.

In fact the procedure here...

Obama plans to create a commission to investigate the cause of the spill, evaluate industry practices and study government oversight.

...is to just hunker down until the thing blows over, the same technique that's working so well with the Wall Street meltdown, the auto industry bailouts, the so-called long war, and countless other scandalous (OMG!) events of the recent decade or two. Or three. Or maybe forever.


Entertainment note

"Da Bears Movie Dat Wasn't" will be a live reading — by George Wendt, Joe Mantegna, Robert Smigel, Bob Odenkirk, Richard Roeper (as a narrator) and Mike Ditka (as himself) — of a never-produced screenplay. Da plot? Da Bears are being sold, and beloved Soldier Field is being converted into luxury boxes for the rich.

link: Da Bears Movie Dat Wasn't brings Super Fans George Wendt, Joe Mantegna and Mike Ditka to Just For Laughs - chicagotribune.com

Adjust da calendar accordingly.


Can you spell scam?

Apparently, when you publish your Social Security number prominently on your website and billboards, people take it as an invitation to steal your identity.

LifeLock CEO Todd Davis, whose number is displayed in the company’s ubiquitous advertisements, has by now learned that lesson. He’s been a victim of identity theft at least 13 times, according to the Phoenix New Times.

link: LifeLock CEO’s Identity Stolen 13 Times | Threat Level | Wired.com


Dude, that plaque would bring a fortune on eBay

Each year, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Mineral Management Service (MMS) picks both District and National recipients of their "Safety Award for Excellence" (SAFE), and again this year, Transocean's strong performance in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico earned recognition at both levels.

link: GoM Rig Teams Win MMS District SAFE Award

Yes that's right, boys and girls, Transocean wins a "Safety Award for Excellence" from the U.S. Department of the Interior's Mineral Management Service for its Deepwater Horizon well (among others) just last summer (less than a year ago today).

We're talking one serious bit of trivia here.

Pays to have a friend at City Hall

CLEVELAND – A U.S. immigration court has granted asylum to President Barack Obama's African aunt, allowing her to stay in the country and setting her on the road to citizenship after years of legal wrangling, her attorneys announced Monday.

link: US court grants asylum to Obama's African aunt - Yahoo! News

(It's the Chicago way.)

I'm thinking this will not end well

About 3,000 [U.S. Air Force] communications officers are now cyberspace officers.

In all, 30,000 airmen have been shifted to the front lines of cyber warfare. The officers made the switch in April; the changeover for 27,000 enlisted airmen happened in November.

link: 3,000 officers switch to cyberspace specialty - Air Force News, news from Iraq - Air Force Times

(And BTW, who says cyberspace any more? Sounds like something from a previous century, doesn't it?)

And while we're at it...

You can safely assume BP's lawyers are already at work to ensure that the firm pays not a cent more than $75 million -- not to taxpayers bearing cleanup costs, not to consumers whose gas bills will rise, not to businesses along the coasts that will lose a fortune. And BP won't pay more unless or until there's a law requiring it to.

BP has been making public statements about its supposed corporate social responsibility for as many years as it's behaved irresponsibly. It's the poster child for PR masquerading as CSR.

link: Robert Reich: BP Stands for Bad Petroleum

...I really think we ought to quit calling what's going on in the gulf a "leak" or a "spill." A leak is - well, you know, that little water that drips out around the edge of the spigot where the harden hose is attached? That's a leak. And a spill is something you mop up with a paper towel.


Where have you gone, Miss Dickinson?

[Emily] Dickinson was a useful figure to two American eras with much in common. In the 1890s a rich nation unnerved by urbanism, immigration and racial violence was looking back with nostalgia for a simpler, whiter, rural version of itself. Dickinson, sold as a kind of village folk figure whose withdrawal was a rejection of the modern world, became a spokeswoman for that past.

She played a related role in the cold war years. As paranoia about Communism and nuclear destruction grew in lockstep with expanding American might, the country again dreamed up a yesterday, this one peopled by God-fearing pioneers. Dickinson, the nunlike individualist, again filled the bill.

link: My Hero, Emily Dickinson, Outlaw of Amherst - NYTimes.com