Japan news link

Kyodo News

(And, JIC you thought this earthquake thing wasn't serious:

Tokyo Disneyland to close for 10 days

Now in Wisconsin

Even Grandma is a thug.

Just how friendly can those friendly skies get?

UNDERNEWS: Homeland Insecurity declares itself exempt from Constitution

Electronic Privacy Information Center - The Department of Homeland Security told a federal court that the agency believes it has the legal authority to strip search every air traveler....

There's a reason for everything

Eye of The Newt - NYTimes.com

The presidential race is barely under way, but already we have had our first Big Thought. I am speaking, of course, of Newt Gingrich’s suggestion that he was driven into serial adultery by hard work and patriotism.


And by the way

Suburban Guerrilla » Blog Archive » And by the way

Did I mention the new Republican budget wants to slash spending on tsunami warning systems?


Wow! The check is already in the mail!

Report: Major DC Lobby Firm Throwing Fundraiser For Wisconsin GOP Leaders | TPMDC

On the heels of their 18-1, Democratic Senator-free vote to roll back collective bargaining rights for thousands of state workers, Republican leaders of the Wisconsin state Senate will head to a high-price fundraiser in their honor in DC.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel key players in the Wisconsin GOP will gather at the downtown DC headquarters of lobbying firm BGR Group March 16 for an event that donors "are asked to give at least $1,000 to the state Republican Party's federal account" to attend.


Can spring be far behind?

Not too.

"Only" 8.9 percent does not cut ice

Why the Government's Unemployment Rate is Dangerously Deceptive -- And the Dark Reality it Hides | Economy | AlterNet

The Wall Street Journal reports that as of February there are 4.4 million people who have been out of work for more than an entire year. We haven’t seen anything like this since the 1930s.

Speak for yourself

Coffee, the New Shaky Commodity - Room for Debate - NYTimes.com

While "peak coffee" may not be the same as peak oil...

And the next time you think about guys playing Wyatt Earp on the city streets (or on your local college campus)...

School of Glock - NYTimes.com

Concealed Carry on Campus is a national organization of students dedicated to opening up schools to more weaponry. Every spring it holds a national Empty Holster Protest “symbolizing that disarming all law-abiding citizens creates defense-free zones, which are attractive targets for criminals.”

And you thought the youth of America had lost its idealism. Hang your head.

...consider this:

“Police, on average, for every 10 rounds fired, I think, actually strike something once or twice, and they are highly trained,” said Bill Bratton, the former New York City police commissioner.


See, here's the problem with this WikiLeaks stuff

Jane Briggs-Bunting uses WikiLeaks to support her argument for intervening in Libya. 

Libya’s revolt has parallels to Hungary, 1956 | Scholars and Rogues

Rather than ponder, it’s time for action. Gaddafi has murdered his own citizens and is also, if his own officials are to be believed, responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103. Wiki-leaks reports say U.S. and other world diplomats view him as  ”mercurial and eccentric”  and “volatile.”

OK, here's a quick two-part quiz. Ready?

a) Name one composer, one poet, one actor, and one NBA star who were or are mercurial, eccentric, or volitile.

b) How many of those you named have we bombed?

Time's up.


Here's an idea: Maybe if we could get ourselves some cheaper teachers...

Education Secretary: 82% of US public schools may ‘fail’ this year | The Raw Story

In testimony to Congress Wednesday, US Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a startling claim: This year, up to 82 percent of public schools could "fail" the government's "No Child Left Behind" standards.


Did Wisconsin Senate choose nuclear option in collective-bargaining fight? - CSMonitor.com

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke...said recently that states could be on the hook for as much as $3 trillion in unfunded pension commitments and $600 billion in retiree health benefits.

So is it that they promised to pay these benefits but never really intended to, or that they sorta did intend to but now that it's time to do that they've changed their minds?

The fools are out in full force to pimp for more war

What are pros and cons of a no-fly zone over Libya? - CSMonitor.com

“Why did we bother building a stealth bomber” if not to use it to take out Libyan air defenses in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, asks Michael Knights, Lafer fellow in the Military and Security Studies Program at the The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Nice to have that finally explained. And here's one from Michael Singh, former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council under the Dubya administration:

“There are risks with a no-fly zone, and the chance that it could bring the conflict to an earlier close,” says Singh.

“This is why military decisions are hard," he adds. "If they came with a guarantee of military victory, there would be no question about what to do.”

If you know you're going to win you can beat up anybody you want to. That's how a bully thinks.

YA reason we need real health care reform

Preemie birth preventive spikes from $10 to $1,500 - Yahoo! News

A drug for high-risk pregnant women has cost about $10 to $20 per injection. Next week, the price shoots up to $1,500 a dose, meaning the total cost during a pregnancy could be as much as $30,000.


Wait, wasn't this a movie about 50 years ago?

Congressman Louie Gohmert revives ‘terror babies’ meme | The Raw Story

The Texas congressman who warned the nation about the danger of "terror babies" hasn't given up on his theory....

According to his theory, pregnant women would come to the U.S. to have babies that are born as American citizens. Then, as an adult, those "terror teenagers" would be able to return to the U.S. with American passports and stage attacks.



And by the way, you're out of shampoo

Home Intruder Calls 911 on Homeowner After Being Caught Showering - ABC News

A man called 911 to say there was a burglary in progress and he wanted police to come protect him. The caller, however, was the alleged intruder.

Timothy James Chapek, 24, had allegedly broken into a home in Portland, Ore., and was taking a shower in the house when the woman who lived there returned...

Or, for that matter, why not create a wackiness label for ideas?

Making Every Oil Calorie Count - NYTimes.com

The problem is that there is no easy way to quantify how much total energy we consume. Fortunately, there’s a great model already in widespread use: the nutritional information that appears on the back of every food product. Why not create the same sort of system for energy?

And we know how Republicans hate those long-term wars

Scott Brown urges caution on no-fly zone for Libya - The Boston Globe

WASHINGTON — Establishing a no-fly zone over Libya could ensnare US forces in another long-term engagement, Senator Scott Brown warned yesterday...

We are, however, in accord with Mr. Brown on this. We feel the same way about Libya as we felt about Iraq—getting involved would be very, very dumb. And yes, I know. But still. It would be dumb.

One step at a time

"...just as good as you remember"

iPhone photo: Phil Compton

The end of civilization...again

We noticed this little feature piece in this morning's Trib mostly because it involves a place we used to live: St. Joseph, MI. St. Joe does have it's charm, but picturing it as a vacation spot in the month of March requires an active imagination, something we were willing to make allowances for as we read until we came upon this passage...

St. Joseph, Mich., with kids - chicagotribune.com

We arrived just in time for the Magical Ice Carving Festival...

State Street, home to most of the sculptures, is closed to vehicle traffic during the fest, which made for a Dickensian scene of hot chocolate-sipping children, hand-holding couples and the occasional group of tweens chatting in the cool air and darting in and out of the street's delightful mix of shops.

Dickensian? Are you kidding me? Dickens with hot chocolate and "tweens?" 

Maybe I'll just go back to bed.

Our nomination for most disturbing headline of the day

Charlie Sheen tops social media - chicagotribune.com

Charlie Sheen outranks Obama and Lady Gaga in social media


April may be the cruelest month but March is surely the most annoying

AccuWeather.com - Greenfield, MA Weather Details: Local Greenfield Weather Forecast


Mar 10

Snow and ice, then rain

March will rain and sleet and snow on you, and then it will turn to ice and blow cold air down your back. And then it will turn sunny, but the sun is only a tease. It's not finished with you yet, you can bet. And it will not go away until it's good and ready, which will be a long, long time from now.

See? It's not always for the children...

UNDERNEWS: The real GOP platform

Florida Governor Rick Scott wants to balance the budget by slashing at least $2 billion from education, and has proposed $1.7 billion in tax cuts for property owners and corporation.  . . .

And you were wondering why health care costs keep going up

UNDERNEWS: The Supreme Chamber of Commerce strikes again

Reuters - The Supreme Court let stand a ruling that drug companies can pay rivals to delay production of generic drugs without violating federal antitrust laws.


In case you were wondering...

Chevron Wins Halt to $18 Billion Judgment in Ecuador Pollution Case | Common Dreams

NEW YORK - In a New York courtroom yesterday, oil giant Chevron Corp. won a halt to enforcement of an $18 billion judgment for oil pollution of the Ecuadorian Amazon imposed by a court in Ecuador.

Granting Chevron's request for a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled in Manhattan that Chevron faced "imminent" and "irreparable" harm to its reputation and business relationships.

...no, you will never get a deal like this for yourself. 


iPhone abstract: Phil Compton

Obama throws away the key

Obama creates indefinite detention system for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay

President Obama signed an executive order Monday that will create a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who continue to pose a significant threat to national security. The administration also said it will start new military commission trials for detainees there.

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, calls Massachusetts residents lab rats

Mitt Romney is now using the 'Doctor Moreau' defense of RomneyCare by calling it an 'experiment' | Crooks and Liars

Romney is facing a conundrum: What should he do about RomneyCare? Here's what he came up with.

It's the Doctor Moreau defense.

"Our experiment wasn't perfect – some things worked, some didn't, and some things I'd change," Romney acknowledged in speaking to conservative activists at the Carroll County Lincoln Day Dinner in Bartlett, N.H.


“Our approach was a state plan intended to address problems that were in many ways unique to Massachusetts,” he said. “What we did there as Republicans and Democrats was what the Constitution intended for states to do – we were one of the laboratories of democracy.”



Boehner overstates his case? We are shocked.

Bond Market Shows Why Boehner Saying We're Broke Is Only Figure of Speech - Bloomberg

House Speaker John Boehner routinely offers this diagnosis of the U.S.’s fiscal condition: “We’re broke; Broke going on bankrupt,” he said in a Feb. 28 speech in Nashville.

...It is a widely shared view with just one flaw: It’s wrong.

“The U.S. government is not broke,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York. “There’s no evidence that the market is treating the U.S. government like it’s broke.”



YA adventure that will not end well

America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels - Middle East, World - The Independent

Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi....


One more reason

Clarence Thomas' Criminal Behavior on Financial Disclosure - The Daily Beast

[Supreme Court Justice Clarence] Thomas is very unlikely to be prosecuted or otherwise sanctioned for the simple reason that, in the United States in 2011, we have a two-tiered system of laws. As Glenn Greenwald explains in his forthcoming book With Liberty and Justice for Some, despite living in a country with an unusually harsh criminal code that has created by far the biggest prison population in the world, our political and financial elites operate with something approaching complete impunity, safe in the knowledge that demands they be subjected to the same laws as everybody else will be ignored.

Finally somebody gets it!

An unattributed anecdote forwarded by a certain M:

During a recent password audit by Microsoft & Google, it was found that a blonde was using the following password:
When asked why she had such a long password, she said she was told that it had to be at least 8 characters long and include at least one capital.
And that, people, is a very good password!


If Warhol had an iPhone...

iPhone photo: Phil Compton

So she's the anti-Bristol then?

Natalie Portman aside, is Mike Huckabee right about single mothers? - CSMonitor.com

Mike Huckabee wants you to know that he wasn’t criticizing actress and single person Natalie Portman when he suggested in a media interview that her pregnancy was glamorizing the idea of having children outside of marriage.

But hey, who needs teachers, right?

The Eggcorn Database

My believe, today, is that this fool POTUS and his elk will crash and burn under their own wight. (lucianne.com forum comment, Dec 4, 2009)

Hilarious is an understatement here

They Hate Him All Over the Place - First Draft

This bus tour of Walker supporters driving around rallying people to cheer for screwing over their friends and neighbors is turning into the most hilarious thing I've ever seen.

First pro-union ralliers turned out in that notorious bastion of vegan dinners and group sex known as ... Sheboygan.

Thinking of Sheboygan in the same sentence as—or even the same century as—vegan dinners cracks me up. Group sex maybe, but vegan dinners in the bratwurst capital of the entire planet? I think not.

If there is anything at all to look forward to in the next two years...

... it is watching Mitt Romney try to squirm out of Romneycare.

Mitt Romney's prescription for 'Obamacare': Repeal it - James Hohmann - POLITICO.com

BARTLETT, N.H.—Mitt Romney repeatedly called for the repeal of “Obamacare” in a Saturday night speech to New Hampshire Republicans, even as the former Massachusetts governor admitted his own state’s health care program “wasn’t perfect.”

“Some things worked, some things didn’t, and some things I’d change,” he said of the Massachusetts plan he authored, without offering specifics.


Maybe this is just what happens when you get too much sun (and we are in no danger of it happening here today)

AZ Senate Wants More Slaughter, Approves Guns For All Everywhere

Arizona’s Republican/Tea Party Senate is a semi-functioning real-life parody of Bloodsoaked Idiot America. This is the legislative body that responded to the awful gun slaughter of state politicians and citizens in Tucson by creating an Official Handgun of the State of Arizona. And now the same group of hate-filled dingbats has passed a bill legalizing loaded guns at all public events. Now every day can be a Safeway slaughter like the one that killed six people and wounded another thirteen for simply taking going grocery shopping and stopping for a moment to say hello to their congressional representative.

Republicans fake out clueless Democrats: Wait, how is this news?

ThinkProgress » Eight GOP Senators Reignite Filibuster War With Blanket Threat To Block All Bills They Don’t Like

Just over one month ago, the Senate largely abandoned a plan to ambitiously reform the Senate rules after the GOP agreed to a “handshake deal” which would curb the unprecedented spike in filibusters since the GOP lost control of the Senate. Rather than uphold their side of the bargain, eight Republican senators have now promised to take their obstructionism to unprecedented heights.

So here we have it

Suburban Guerrilla » Blog Archive » ‘A back-door Wisconsin’

The Providence school board just eviscerated the union contract so they can fire the most experienced (and most expensive) teachers at the end of the school year — instead of laying them off....

On the one hand the D's (or at least the Obama) saying we need better education for the kiddies if we want to keep up with the rest of the world, and on the other hand the R's saying we need to fire all the teachers and get fewer, cheaper ones. Many of these R's, by the way, are the exact same R's who only a couple of years ago were insisting the only way to get good people on Wall Street was to pay them more money, not less, but never mind. We don't expect the R's to make sense any more.

We don't have very high standards for D's either, but that's another thing. The D's are at least mostly about building things. The R's are mostly about tearing things apart, which is easier.


Manhattan hotel with Central Park view goes hot-sheet

Hourly hotel rates: Hunting for hourly rates at upscale hotels - chicagotribune.com

With the economy tanking, upscale hotels are taking advantage of the daytime hours by offering tourists a place to rest, wait, prepare or snuggle.

Snuggle? What? They don't have cabs in Manhattan any more? Baby, if you've never snuggled in the back seat of a cab you've never snuggled at all. Also while you're snuggling you can get somewhere.

Who owns what, where?

MERS, the Mortgage Holder You Might Not Know - NYTimes.com

Judges, lawmakers, lawyers and housing experts are raising piercing questions about MERS, which stands for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, whose private mortgage registry has all but replaced the nation’s public land ownership records. Most questions boil down to this:

How can MERS claim title to those mortgages, and foreclose on homeowners, when it has not invested a dollar in a single loan?

And, more fundamentally: Given the evidence that many banks have cut corners and made colossal foreclosure mistakes, does anyone know who owns what or owes what to whom anymore?