G20 punts

TORONTO (Reuters) – World leaders hoping to shore up a fragile economic recovery will leave it to individual countries to decide how best to repair battered budgets without stunting growth.

(Reuters story: G20 to take separate routes to secure recovery - Yahoo! News)

Other G's mostly just mill around:

The Group of Eight (G8, and formerly the G6 or Group of Six and also the G7 or Group of Seven)...

(Etc: Wikipedia)

Here it is!

The absolutely world champion geekiest thing ever: A periodic table of elements for the iPhone.



That one day lily is the only one remaining on the site of the summer Lake Cindy after my sister, who shall remain nameless, murdered all the others and planted those yellow things instead.


Low and lower

We have incredibly low standards here, you will have noticed, but not so low as to add Harlan Coben's novel, "Caught," to our official reading list. Just pointing out.

We do judge books by their covers, and this cover looks fine. Alas.

We will try to do better.

iPhone: You gotta love this

Looking to test out FaceTime on your new iPhone 4 but don't know anyone else with the latest handset? Apple has provided a toll-free number for users to call and video chat with a company representative.

link: AppleInsider | Apple offers toll-free number to try out FaceTime on iPhone 4

First they sell you a video chat feature and then they give you somebody to video chat with - because, of course, nobody else can do it yet although I expect that problem will be solved quite soon. Apple's new FaceTime is an open standard and developers will pick up on it no doubt. (Currently it only works over Wi-Fi, which may change too. Expensively.)

And more: The new iPhone software, iOS 4, does not add much to the old 3G phones (the 3G would be iPhone 2 in the current numbering scheme). What it does do is make everything run noticeably slower. So if you have a 3G and don't care about folders on the home screen, you might consider not installing iOS 4 and just sticking with what you've got. (iOS 4 will not install at all on the original iPhone.) (And yes, I know it's already to late to mention this.)

Something I've been noticing for quite some time - years, actually - is that when I pick my phone up from the table the signal strength, as indicated by the bars, drops. Now, in response to some complaints about iPhone 4, Apple says all cell phones have this problem - holding the phone can de-tune the antenna. How much depends on the position of the user's hands and, possibly, some other factors. The best solution, it appears, is to just put a case on your phone. (Another solution is to use a wireless headset, but that makes you look like a dork.)

The Ivies

"I want to go to Princeton," said Amory...

"I think of Princeton as being lazy and good-looking and aristocratic - you know, like a spring day. Harvard seems sort of indoors."

"And Yale is November, crisp and energetic," finished Monsignor.

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

Spotted by our ever alert Midwest Bureau

More from the Mad Hatter's party

Republican Senatorial candidate Rand Paul wants to build a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. It's a rather ho-hum proposition in the larger context of conservative ideas -- except that Paul wants that fence to be electric and he wants it built underground.

Among the variety of proposals to stem illegal immigration along the southern border, the construction of an underground electrical fence appears to stand alone on the extreme....

More: Rand Paul's Underground Electric Border Fence Baffles Cornyn, Libertarians

Waiting for a tow

Photo: Phil Compton


And for their next trick...

The future of BP’s offshore oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico has been thrown into doubt by the recent drilling disaster and court wrangling over a moratorium.

But about three miles off the coast of Alaska, BP is moving ahead with a controversial and potentially record-setting project to drill two miles under the sea and then six to eight miles horizontally to reach what is believed to be a 100-million-barrel reservoir of oil under federal waters.

Story: BP Is Pursuing Alaska Drilling Some Call Risky - NYTimes.com

Only on Wall Street indeed

Only on Wall Street, in the rarefied realm of buyout moguls, could you actually have too much money.

Private equity firms, where corporate takeovers are planned and plotted, today sit atop an estimated $500 billion. But the deal makers are desperate to find deals worth doing, and the clock is ticking.

Story: Private Equity Firms Have Billions and Nowhere to Spend It - NYTimes.com

Spreading it around

BP PLC's work to clean up the mess from the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history already has generated more than 1,300 tons of solid waste, and companies it hired to dispose of the material say debris is being handled professionally and carefully.

A spot check of several container sites by The Associated Press, however, found that's not always the case.

Read the story: AP check: Shoddy disposal work mars oil cleanup - Yahoo! News


Too happy, group says

McDonald's faces lawsuit over Happy Meals

The story: McDonald's faces lawsuit over Happy Meals - latimes.com


Canada Earthquake MAP: Where The Quake Was Felt

It seems there was an earthquake up in Canada sometime today (what is it with the Canadians this year, can't they just settle down?) and according to this map on HuffPo it was felt (yeah, in the middle of the day too) all across the Northeast and as far west as Chicago, as far south as Kentucky and West Virginia. So how come I didn't notice it? Is this one of those internet memes or something, or what?


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Underwater robot bumps into ventilating system, BP pulls cap, gusher gushes. Worse.

I guess you have to live in California to care

I'll be live-blogging all the action from the U.S.'s crucial match against Algeria today.

link: USA vs. Algeria: Live World Cup 2010 Coverage

Or maybe it's about eating spouts or something. I mean, come on. It's a bunch of guys in short pants trying, as Onion Sports put it the other day, to keep their hands off a polka-dot ball.

And in some places they have the nerve to call it football.


That's their story and they're sticking to it

Police: Naked woman leads officers on chase

Story: Police: Naked woman leads officers on chase - U.S. news- msnbc.com

Yeah, yeah, it's the annual day lily shot

So now I can cross that off my list.

Maybe I should twit after all:

Best thing so far today - the flashlight didn't hit my toe.


Krugman on zombie lies

It must have sounded like a good idea (although not to me): establish a bipartisan commission of Serious People to develop plans to bring the federal budget under control....

So what does it mean that the co-chair of the commission is resurrecting [a] zombie lie? It means that at even the most basic level of discussion, either (a) he isn’t willing to deal in good faith or (b) the zombies have eaten his brain. And in either case, there’s no point going on with this farce.

Read it all: Zombies Have Already Killed The Deficit Commission - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com


I like this new Google

It's all just too, too wonderful

The federal judge who overturned Barack Obama's offshore drilling moratorium appears to own stock in numerous companies involved in the offshore oil industry—including Transocean, which leased the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to BP prior to its April 20 explosion in the Gulf of Mexico—according to 2008 financial disclosure reports.

The story: Judge who overturned drilling moratorium has held stock in drilling companies - Yahoo! News

Door slammed shut, horse - ooops - gone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama warned insurance firms on Tuesday not to use his healthcare overhaul as an opportunity to enact big rate increases...

The warning came a day after a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that health insurers are raising prices by an average of 20 percent for working age adults who buy their own policies.

link: Obama warns health insurers not to hike rates - Yahoo! News

Now, UV addiction

When Dr. Richard F. Wagner Jr., a dermatologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, reported five years ago that as many as half of local beachgoers met the psychiatric definition of a substance abuse disorder...

link: Personal Health - When Tanning Turns Into an Addiction - NYTimes.com

And, Bunky, while we're on the subject here I'm just wondering, do you suffer withdrawal symptoms when you run out of things to worry about?

An awesome photo of our very own Lynn C Dot

(If I do say so myself)


We're holding our breath

WASHINGTON — The bipartisan commission named by President Obama in May to study the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the future of American offshore drilling will hold its first formal meeting in mid-July at the earliest, most likely delaying the delivery of its final report into next year, a co-chairman of the panel said Friday in an interview.

link: Panel Is Unlikely to Lift Drilling Ban This Year - NYTimes.com

Whoa, really informative stuff there

Exelon operates six active nuclear reactors in Obama's home state.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Emanuel actually helped create Exelon by advising on the merger of two companies that merged. Exelon also employed senior White House adviser David Axelrod as a consultant.

link: Exclusive: Proposal to water down climate bill would favor Obama aides’ former employer | Raw Story

The merger of the two companies that merged? What

Commonwealth Edison operated nuclear power plants in Illinois at least through the 1980's so I'm guessing - yes, Bunky, it is just a guess - that might be one of the two unnamed companies that merges. The identity of the other will just have to wait for another time, I guess.

New to the Work Avoidance List

Politifact, featuring the Obamameter, and Rotten Tomatoes, featuring the Tomatometer.


...you, too, feel obliged to apologize to BP, here's where you can do it.

Daylight information for June 21 in Springfield, Massachusetts

sunrise | 5:15 am EDT
sunset | 8:31 pm EDT
duration of daylight | 15 hours 15 minutes

More: Wolfram|Alpha

What's the rush?

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates rejected suggestions Sunday that US forces will move out of Afghanistan in large numbers in July of next year under a deadline set by President Barack Obama. "That absolutely has not been decided," Gates said in an interview with Fox News Sunday.

link: US officials back away from July 2011 Afghan withdrawal deadline | Raw Story

And, Iraq? We'll be getting out of there pretty soon too, kind of.

Three Noses

Photo: Phil Compton


Possibly the most depressing graph ever written

Spokeswoman Sheila Williams said [BP's Tony] Hayward took a break from overseeing BP efforts to stem the undersea gusher in Gulf of Mexico to watch his boat "Bob" participate in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

link: BP’s CEO quits Gulf oil response management, goes to a yacht race | Raw Story

This guy named a perfectly good boat after Microsoft Bob? Bizarre.


The U.S. government is snapping up Russian-made helicopters to form the core of Afghanistan's fledgling air force, a strategy that is drawing flak from members of Congress who want to force the Afghans to fly American choppers instead.

link: U.S. military criticized for purchase of Russian copters for Afghan air corps

Dude, emphasis mine. But really. What good is the damn war if we can't make money fighting it? And also, if you read "Charlie Wilson's War" you know it was these same friggin' helicopters we were trying to shoot down back in the good old days when bin Laden was our BFF. But wait! The best is still to come:

Some legislators say that the Pentagon never considered alternatives to the Mi-17, an aircraft it purchased for use in Iraq and Pakistan, and that a lack of competition has enabled Russian defense contractors to gouge on prices.

Ohhhhh nooooo! Defense contractors gouging on prices! Pass the smelling salts. Speaking of which, have you ever smelled smelling salts? Baby, I don't know if smelling smelling salts really cures anything but whatever it is you will never, ever, ever do it again. No way.