Can't wait

‘Windows Will Be Everywhere,’ Ballmer Promises | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer delivered a somnolescent and nearly news-free keynote presentation on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show here, laying out his company’s strategy for home entertainment, mobile content, PCs and tablets.

“Whatever device you use, now or in the future, Windows will be there,” Ballmer said.


Three inches maybe, tops

Don't worry, we didn't believe it anyway

Obama to Let 13 Oil Companies Drill Offshore With No Environmental Review | Environment | AlterNet

If there was anything that Obama impressed upon the American public in the wake of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, it was that if offshore drilling was to continue, it must be safer and better scrutinized. A few months ago, the administration said that it would require every oil company seeking to drill to pass a strict environmental review before getting the go-ahead from the feds. But it appears that this isn't quite the case for every drilling project -- news just broke that 13 companies will be allowed to drill under the same environmental review standards that stood before the BP Gulf spill.


Just flush it, what the hell

With you, not so much

Obama's full-court press to make up with business community - CSMonitor.com

Obama has named economist Gene Sperling as head of the National Economic Council. The president has made other moves to patch up relations with the business community.

This making up is necessary because the business community feels all picked-on by being called fat cats once or twice and burdened - yes, burdened - by health care and financial regulatory reform, the Monitor reports.


Mark Twain: "Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself"

During reading of Constitution, House Republicans violate Constitution | Raw Story

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) have cast votes as members of the 112th Congress without being officially sworn-in, a violation of the United States Constitution...

Under the Constitution, which was read on the House floor by Rep. Fitzpatrick and other Republicans Thursday, members of Congress must be sworn-in before conducting official business.



How the US let al-Qaida get its hands on an Iraqi weapons factory | World news | The Guardian

In an exclusive extract from his new book, A History of the World since 9/11, Dominic Streatfeild explains how despite expert warnings, the US let al-Qaida buy an arsenal of deadly weapons – then tried to cover it up...

Tale of two worlds

Inside December Jobs Report, Labor Force Hits 'Stunning New Low'

The news gets worse: less than half of the drop in unemployment rate can be attributed to new job creation -- the other half came from 260,000 Americans who have dropped out of the labor force altogether. This brings the percentage of Americans who are either employed or actively looking for work down to 64.3 percent, what economist Heidi Shierholz calls "a stunning new low for the recession."

Big Companies Set For Best Fourth Quarter Profit Ever

Even as unemployment remains high and Americans' finances slowly mend, big companies may be set for their most profitable fourth quarter on record.

Profits at S&P 500 companies are expected to have increased 20 percent between October and December, Bloomberg News reports. It would make for the best fourth quarter since Bloomberg started keeping records in 1992.


A find: Street photography from the early 50's

New Street Photography, 60 Years Old: Discovering the Work of Vivian Maier - NYTimes.com

(Noted by our Midwest bureau.)


No more fun and games

Dear Old Golden Rule Days - NYTimes.com

[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid has invoked a special rule that allows him to keep the chamber at opening day until the end of the month. This is something that happens only in the United States Senate and early episodes of “Star Trek.” We are waiting to see if the senators continue to age while time stands still.


Maybe they really don't get enough sun in Seattle

Real-life ‘superhero’ squad fights crime in Seattle | Raw Story

A Seattle man who calls himself "Phoenix Jones" appears to have taken 2010's comic book film "Kick-Ass" to heart.

Like the main character in the independently produced hero fantasy, Jones has taken it upon himself to dress in a colorful outfit and roam the streets looking for crime.



Butt dialing mistake sends SWAT team to Winnetka middle school - chicagotribune.com

"You know how when you sit on your phone when it's in your back pocket and it calls the last number that was dialed? His wife was the last number he'd dialed," said Winnetka police Chief Joseph De Lopez. "The conversation led her to believe there was someone holding him hostage."

(Put your phone in your back pocket? And sit on it? People do that? Come on. Really?)

Big Bird!

Turkey Builds Sway in Iraq With Money and Culture - NYTimes.com

ZAKHO, Iraq — A Turkey as resurgent as at any time since its Ottoman glory is projecting influence through a turbulent Iraq, from the boomtowns of the north to the oil fields near southernmost Basra, in a show of power that illustrates its growing heft across an Arab world long suspicious of it.

(Noted by our Midwest bureau.)

Resurgent Turkey, BTW, would be an excellent name for a rock band.

Say it ain't so, Joe

January could be coldest since 1985: Accuweather - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – This month could be the coldest January for the nation as a whole since the 1980s, according to Accuweather.com.

The weather website's chief long-range forecaster, Joe Bastardi, said regional temperatures have been lower in past Januarys, but this month could see the coldest coast-to-coast temperatures since 1985.


Yes it's true, Bunky, we are doomed

Exclusive: President Michele Bachmann? - ABC News

A source close to the three-term congresswoman said Bachmann will travel to Iowa this month for multiple meetings to seek advice from political forces there and party elders close to the caucus process before coming to a final decision regarding a potential presidential run.

And you were thinking we are running out of space for landfills?

Constitution Free Zone - Map | American Civil Liberties Union

Click on your state in the map below to find out how many Americans are currently living without full constitutional protection.

An excellent map from the ACLU: Two-thirds of the U.S. population live in the orange band. This includes all of New England except for a tiny southwestern corner of Vermont, all the East Coast states down through Delaware, all of Florida, Michigan and Hawaii, 97.4% of New York's population and - here's a surprise - 99.73% of California's (all by the 2007 census). The orange band represents the 100-mile swath along every border that's the purview of the border patrol, ICE, Einwanderungspolizei, whatever - the guys who can demand your ID, search your car, computer and phone, and - who knows - exile you to one of those countries with health care if they don't like the way you look.


Coming attractions

Get Ready for a G.O.P. Rerun - NYTimes.com

It was ever thus. The fundamental mission of the G.O.P. is to shovel ever more money to those who are already rich. That’s why you got all that disgracefully phony rhetoric from Republicans about attacking budget deficits and embracing austerity while at the same time they were fighting like mad people to pile up the better part of a trillion dollars in new debt by extending the Bush tax cuts.



UNDERNEWS: Flotsam &; Jetsam: Who really won the Civil War?

Right into the present the South enjoys a disproportionate influence on our politics and values. When was the last time you saw a politician afraid of what New England might think?


Photo abstract: Phil Compton

The times they are not changing all that much

In Sinclair Lewis's remarkable novel, Main Street, published in 1920, Carol Kennicott, our heroine, interviews Mr. and Mrs. Champ Perry, one of the founding families of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota. "This was their philosophy complete," writes Lewis, "in the era of aeroplanes and syndicalism":

The Baptist Church (and, somewhat less, the Methodist, Congregational, and Presbyterian Churches) is the perfect, the divinely ordained standard in music, oratory, philanthropy, and ethics. "We don't need all this new-fangled science, or this terrible Higher Criticism that's ruining our young men in colleges. What we need is to get back to the true Word of God, and a good sound belief in hell, like we used to have it preached to us."

The Republican Party, the Grand Old Party of Blaine and McKinley, is the agent of the Lord and of the Baptist Church in temporal affairs.

All socialists ought to be hanged.

"Harold Bell Wright is a lovely writer, and he teaches such good morals in his novels, and folks say he's made prett' near a million dollars out of 'em."

People who make more than ten thousand a year or less than eight hundred are wicked.

Europeans are still wickeder.

It doesn't hurt any to drink a glass of beer on a warm day, but anybody who touches wine is headed straight for hell.

Virgins are not so virginal as they used to be.

Nobody needs drug-store ice cream; pie is good enough for anybody.

The farmers want too much for their wheat.

The owners of the elevator-company expect too much for the salaries they pay.

There would be no more trouble or discontent in the world if everybody worked as hard as Pa did when he cleared our first farm.


Gopher Prairie, we believe, is currently situated in Michele Bachmann's district.


Thanks to Michael, we're adding Google's N gram viewer to our official Work Avoidance list.

Here's a how-to (and why).

The why part is, of course, irrelevant, but the how-to helps.


Oh yeah, that

UNDERNEWS: Bought and paid for

Remember: the fact that political bribes are legal doesn't make them less of a bribe.