So maybe not quite perfect weather yet

The end of everything

UNDERNEWS: Snooki paid more than Toni Morrison to appear at Rutgers


Really, if you're paying attention, an anti-kiss

Being There Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes

"Being There," the 1979 movie with Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine and based on Jerzy Kosinski's novel of the same name actually has a kiss in it but if you're paying attention it's really an anti-kiss and anyway to hell with it, it gets 95 on the Tomatometer and it's going on our Movies with No Kissing list, so sue me. 

BTW, the movie as viewed last night is better than I remembered it but book is still much better so there's a decision to be made here. Or not. You can always read the book and then watch the movie anyway, just to watch Peter Sellers work.

The running of the ducks

Well, it's not likely to snow today and it's possible—just possible—they won't freeze tonight so now is as good a time as any. And there is a kid next door—he's in kindergarten this year—who's been waiting for the ducks for a week or so, and now he gets to go splashing around in the puddle all he wants and there's nothing his mom can say about it. Go kid.

I haven't seen an open convertible yet this spring but I did see some people loading furniture into a pick-up truck this morning, so the running of the tenants seems to have begun, as well.

Now if we can only get the temp up to, say, 50º, everything will be good.

I don't really have to point this out, do I?

Fighting rages in Ivory Coast with 800 dead in west

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Soldiers backing Alassane Ouattara met stiff resistance from incumbent Laurent Gbagbo's fighters in Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan on Saturday as the two sides fought for control of the West African country....

In a sign of how bloody the conflict has become, the International Committee of the Red Cross said at least 800 people were killed....



Imaginary Reef #3

iPhone abstract: Phil Compton

If at first you don't succeed...

UNDERNEWS: CEO pay up 27% in 2010, workers pay up only 2%

USA Today - At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 as the executives’ compensation started working its way back to pre-recession levels...

Bush Lite Lite

Clinton To Congress: Obama Would Ignore Your War Resolutions | TPMDC

The White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a classified briefing to House members Wednesday afternoon....



You just have to love these Republicans. They can contradict themselves in the same sentence and then deny that they even opened their mouths...

Now Duffy Loses Joe Johns? | Talking Points Memo

Not since the first parricide asked the judge for mercy because of his orphanhood has anyone punched the chutzpah card as hard as freshman Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)...


Oh yes, Bunky, things are soooo much worse than you thought

Read this graph from this morning's Wall Street Journal and see if you can spot the italics I added myself:

Libya's Rebels Set Back; Exit Jolts Berkshire - WSJ.com

The rebels battling Libyan leader Gadhafi are suffering from significant military shortcomings, including too few trained fighters, a limited ability to control their own troops, and Western warplanes' difficulties in distinguishing between Libyan army forces and civilians.

Did you find it? Yes? 


Dulpickles! Booberkins! Yea!

The First English Dictionary of Slang, 1699 - NYTimes.com

Several months ago, Oxford University’s Bodleian Library republished ... “The First English Dictionary of Slang, 1699,” with an introduction by John Simpson, chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary....

Median, darlin', median


Median CEO pay is 9 million dollars a year.

"Relinquishing their determination": Awesome

Libyan rebels offer cease-fire. Does Qaddafi have the upper hand? - CSMonitor.com

Benefiting from a change in tactics, Colonel Qaddafi's forces have made significant gains against rebels with more nimble units that are harder for Western allies to target by air. Rebels, now lacking the curtain of airstrikes that paved their rapid westward advance last weekend, appear to be relinquishing their determination to battle Qaddafi's forces all the way to Tripoli.

How the Arab League got on board?

Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal | Common Dreams

You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a "yes" vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya - the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.

The story of another war in North Africa

An Army at Dawn (Rick Atkinson)

(This book is not on the official book list yet because I haven't read it, but JIC you can't wait.)

Down the hatch

Beer Tax Break Brews Bipartisanship - The Daily Beast

Budget deficit be damned, lawmakers of both parties are supporting a $67 million tax break for microbreweries.

More from the Washington Post: What passes for achievement in DC

Unemployment rate falls to 2-year low of 8.8 pct.; employers add 216K jobs in March - The Washington Post

The unemployment rate dipped from 8.9 percent in February. The rate has fallen a full percentage point over the past four months. That’s the sharpest drop since 1983.


The Washington Post

April Fools’ storm creates winter wonderland in New England, knocks out power for thousands

Dude, that's the Washington Post—the Post of Washington, DC, we're talking about here, the very Washington DC that is reputed to faint dead away at the very idea of snow, the prediction of snow, not to mention the white, fluffy stuff its ownself, suddenly going all Norman Rockwell about snow dropped on us, the amount of which, although just barely worth mentioning in this year of friggin' endless winter with piles of snow up to friggin' here, would by all accounts would be enough to send DC into meltdown mode. Not to mention, what's so friggin' wonderland about thousands of people being without power on a day when the high is going to be around 36º degrees or so, never mind how everything's going to freeze solid overnight.

Although, now that you mention it, this does quite possibly go a long way toward explaining why the cost of fuel oil's so high and why assistance for the folks who can't afford it has been cut.


Wait. What?

Florida Republicans upset Democrat said ‘uterus’ on state House floor | The Raw Story

He said Republicans told him they were concerned about young pages hearing the word.

Might as well be March

No kidding: Snow


And there's more

CIA Running Around Libya, Obama Authorizes Arming Libya Rebels

Remember when President Obama made that speech about how the war in Libya was such a small war you could barely see it, and it was pretty much over and done with anyway, so you can go back to watching (your one life on Earth fade away while you watch) Dancing with the Stars? That wasn’t exactly correct. But hey, what’s an American war without the president lying about it? Obama was just being patriotic and paying tribute to the great leaders who came before him! (Namely, right before him.) While the CIA is flooding Libya with agents trying to simultaneously figure out how to help the rebels and learn who these people even are, it turns out Obama already authorized heavy arms shipments to them....

Incentives corrupt

Campbell's law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Campbell's law is an adage developed by Donald T. Campbell:[1]

"The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor."

The decline and fall

The Fed Must Fix Its Priorities - NYTimes.com

The Federal Reserve recently gave the all-clear for several banks to increase dividends and expand share buybacks, among them JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. That’s good news, at least in the short run for bank investors, but it is a dubious development for everyone else.

Once upon a hopeful time

UNDERNEWS: Great former thoughts of Barack Obama

President Barack Obama, as an Illinois state senator in 2002, said that using military force to topple a murderous dictator amounted to a “dumb war” and should be opposed. The “dumb war” Obama was criticizing was the planned invasion of Iraq and the murderous dictator was its leader, Saddam Hussein. - CNS

The flim-flam

NATO takes over air operations as CIA works the ground in Libya - CNN.com

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- NATO took sole command of air operations in Libya on Thursday as CIA operatives worked the field to connect with rebel fighters who have seen their surge toward Tripoli impeded.

The NATO mission -- called Operation Unified Protector-- includes an arms embargo, a no-fly zone and "actions to protect civilians and civilian centers," the alliance said Thursday.

So now the not-war not-led by the U.S. but only by the U.S.-led NATO to not-remove Gadhafi (whose name may or may not be spelled that way) from power will also involve not-boots on the ground but only the CIA, which is, of course, officially not there.

We are not impressed.

Imaginary Reef #2

iPhone abstract: Phil Compton


Obama's splendid little war

No Business Like War Business: Who Stands to Profit from Intervention in Libya? | World | AlterNet

United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 has worked like a Trojan horse, allowing the Anglo-French-American consortium - and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) - to become the UN's air force in its support of an armed uprising. Apart from having nothing to do with protecting civilians, this arrangement is absolutely illegal in terms of international law. The inbuilt endgame, as even malnourished African kids know by now, but has never been acknowledged, is regime change.

Very nice indeed

MoMA app for your iPhone

Discussing Karen Russell's book, "Swamplandia!"...

...a podcast from Slate. "Swamplandia!" is currently on our Work Avoidance book list.

Words fail

NATO commander: It is 'premature' to talk of Libya exit strategy - CSMonitor.com

NATO's Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday...

"Events at this point are so fluid," said Stavridis, that any talk of exit strategy is "frankly premature."


And maybe some day in lower Manhattan we can have a Wall Street museum too

Las Vegas embraces mob roots with new attractions - Yahoo! News

LAS VEGAS – Speakeasies, bootleggers, gun-wielding crime bosses and tough-guy accents pay homage to Las Vegas' mob roots in a pair of new attractions showcasing Sin City's criminal history.

An interactive attraction featuring gangster memorabilia and commentary from film mobsters James Caan, Mickey Rourke and Frank Vincent opens Wednesday on the Las Vegas Strip. And Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, a former mob defense lawyer, plans to launch his Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement later this year.



Robert Scheer: Obama’s Fatal Addiction - Robert Scheer's Columns - Truthdig

Only one out of three GE workers is now based in the U.S., and almost two-thirds of the company’s profit is sheltered in its foreign operations. Thanks to changes in the tax law engineered when another avowedly pro-business Democrat, Bill Clinton, was president, U.S. multinational financial companies can avoid taxes on their international scams. And financial scams are what GE excelled in for decades, when GE Capital, its financial unit, which specialized in credit card, consumer loan and housing mortgage debt, accounted for most of GE’s profits.

That’s right, GE, along with General Motors with its toxic GMAC financial unit, came to look more like an investment bank than a traditional industrial manufacturing giant that once propelled this economy and ultimately it ran into the same sort of difficulties as the Wall Street hustlers.



Imaginary Reef #1

iPhone abstract: Phil Compton

Read it and weep

The Men's Bracket Tournament - The New York Times

You are ranked 0, better than

100.0 percent of all players

Gingrich worries about atheistic Muslims?

Newt Gingrich: America In Danger of Becoming Atheist, Islamic Country | TPMDC

"I have two grandchildren -- Maggie is 11, Robert is 9," Gingrich said at a church in Texas, according to Politico. "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."

U.S. will hand off to NATO in Libya: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

  • NATO is under U.S. command, receives most (by far) of its funds, weapons, and manpower from the U.S. Switching Libyan operations from U.S. to NATO control will in itself change nothing.
  • Dropping bombs on a country is an act of war. A speech defending a war that does not mention the word, "war," is a lie.
  • The U.S. is fighting on the side of the rebel forces in Libya. To suggest otherwise is nonsense. (CNN reports, "The United States will also send a liaison to the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi to open up a more direct line of communication with members of the opposition, a senior administration official told reporters Tuesday.")

Required reading:

From the AP: FACT CHECK: How Obama's Libya claims fit the facts

From the Chicago Tribune: Obama's case for war

Our considered opinion: Rats.


Pretty much sums it up

Obama To Declare Mission Accomplished In Libya War Tonight

Though Secretaries of War Adventure Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton are “leaving open” exactly how many years in Libya the United States will be fighting a war to remove a despot they say they don’t want to remove, President Obama is continuing on with a scheduled address to the nation tonight on our cute new little war in which he will “discuss how our efforts in Libya have advanced our interests and averted a catastrophe,” according to the White House. Which is interesting, because just yesterday Gates said Libya did not pose a threat to the U.S. and going to war there was “not a vital national interest.” And our military says the gains made by the side we’re supporting in this civil war could fast be reversed if we ever stop bombing the other side. So our Nobel peace laureate will simultaneously pretend he doesn’t care if Gaddafi stays as dictator, sell the lie that we won’t be in Libya for a long time, and convince America this war is in its interest while the guy in charge of its military says it isn’t. Good thing he’s so good at talking and such!

So the only remaining question is, will he wear a flight suit?

(And no, BTW, I will not be watching the speech. I've already had enough aggravation for today. For example, today was the first time since the Big Bang itself I've agreed—more or less pretty much—with a column by that Doughhat guy at the NYTimes. That's just how grim it's been.)


It turns out with the Google smart phone app (and the Bing smartphone app too) you can point the phone's camera at a bar code and Google will tell you what the bar code says. For example, you can point the camera at the bar code on a tin of Twining's English Breakfast tea and Google will tell you, "Twining's English Breakfast tea." 

Also, if you point the camera at the label on a Dole banana, Google will tell you "Dole banana." And as an extra added bonus, no extra charge, it will tell you that the word, "Dole," on the label says "Dole."


So in Libya now it's "no-fly plus"

NATO approves expanded role in Libya - CNN.com

NATO ambassadors unanimously approved a so-called "no-fly plus" plan that will put the alliance in charge of protecting civilians as well as enforcing a no-fly zone and an arms embargo.

So then, protecting civilians, right? Well...

"Our goal is to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack from the Gadhafi regime," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. 

Ah. But if they're under threat of attack by the rebels, not so much. 

And by the way. Raise your hand if you know who these rebels are.

But you don't wonder very much

ThinkProgress » Blog Archive » After Paying Zero Income Taxes, GE Plans To Ask Its Union Workers To Make Wage And Benefits Concessions

In an interview with ThinkProgress, Mark Haller, a machinist at General Electric locomotive factory in Erie, PA, said:

The company I work for paid no federal taxes last year, but we all get these mass emails from GE asking us to call our Congressman to fund the useless, alternative GE engine for the F-35. As taxpayers, we are subsidizing the profits of this company to a huge extent and now after making the company even more profitable, they are asking us to make concessions on pensions, benefits, and perhaps even wages. You wonder why there is a jobs crisis in this country with a guy like G.E. CEO Jeff Immelt heading the President’s Jobs Commission.


Looking Through Lucite

iPhone abstract: Phil Compton

Rummy (this guy is still around?): War in Libya is about prestige

Rumsfeld: Leaving Gaddafi in power will ‘embolden’ America’s enemies | The Raw Story

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Sunday that the reputation of the United States would be damaged if Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is allowed to remain in power.

"My personal view is that once you're involved, you have to recognize that the prestige of the United States is at stake," he told ABC's Jake Tapper.



Humans may have lived in North America 15,000 years, says Science Magazine...

BBC News - Stone tools 'demand new American story'

The long-held theory of how humans first populated the Americas may have been well and truly broken.

Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of stone tools that predate the technology widely assumed to have been carried by the first settlers.

...and still have not invented buttons that won't fall off.


I'll stay right here

It's 2:00 PM and it's 38 degrees out there and windy and no way am I going anywhere this afternoon. OK, it wouldn't be so bad if it were winter but it's not. It's spring and it's too cold. Also, when it's that windy outside it's windy inside too although, to be polite, we call it drafty.

So I'm putting on a hoodie and a pair of warm socks and staying right where I am. And I'll stay until July if I have to.

A headline that pretty much speaks for itself

Elizabeth Taylor, James Franco, Snooki: more Celebrity Twitter Photos - The Daily Beast

Best Celebrity Twit Pics

Yikes! Girls!

Study: Women’s Gains Make Men Anxious - The Daily Beast

A recent study revealed that reading about women’s success makes young men nervous...

NATO, apparently, has now become the rebel air force

Libya test for NATO starts at Ajdabiya - CSMonitor.com

Now, in Ajdabiya, the first real test is unfolding of whether Libya’s rebels can gain ground under a cloak of international air support.

The Sharia Republicans

Alaska governor’s pick for key post wants to criminalize adultery, premarital sex | The Raw Story

Republican Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell's nominee for the Alaska Judiciary Council would like to see Alaskans prosecuted for having sex outside marriage.