Don't forget Poland

Obama highlights Poland as model for a changing Middle East - CSMonitor.com

On the last stop of his Europe tour, Obama recognized Poland's economic and democratic growth, saying it could be a template for pro-democracy movements in North Africa and the Middle East.

"Whatever you do, don't call it a pie chart?

Food Pyramid Being Replaced With Plate-Shaped Logo - NYTimes.com

The Obama administration is about to ditch the food pyramid, that symbol of healthy eating for the last two decades. In its place officials are dishing up a simple, plate-shaped symbol, sliced into wedges for the basic food groups and half-filled with fruits and vegetables.


Hackers penetrate U.S. defense contractors’ security networks | The Raw Story

Reuters is reporting that unknown hackers have broken into the networks of Lockheed Martin and other major defense contractors and may have gained access to sensitive information on present and future weapons systems....

"You have no idea how many people are freaked out right now," one security expert told Reuters...

Sure I do.



"Tabloid City"

Pete Hamill wrote it.

If you love newspapers, love New York, love stories, you should read it.

It's on the list.

And forget the whiplash, bunky, that's over now

Automakers’ Bailout and Bankruptcies Shortchanged Accident Victims - ProPublica

As part of their government-brokered bankruptcies, American auto giants Chrysler and General Motors were released of some legal liability for product defects, the Wall Street Journal reported today. As a result, the automakers do not have to pay out damages to car accident victims [1] who had lawsuits pending or had already won damages before the companies filed for bankruptcy.

On, Wisconsin: One judge at the bridge

Judge Voids Wisconsin Law Curbing Union Rights - NYTimes.com

“The right of the people to monitor the people’s business is one of the core principles of democracy.”


Yeah, right, but since when did any of it make sense?

Questions about Ratko Mladic - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com

I have no doubt that there are hordes of Americans happy about Mladic's arrest while simultaneously supportive of Obama's Look Forward decree for American war criminals, all without bothering to resolve -- or even recognize -- the glaring, self-serving inconsistency at the heart of that mentality.

Such weather wusses, these New Englanders

Finally, finally, we come to the end of a drab, cold, wet spring and instantly, on the very first day of fine late-spring weather we have, people start bitching about the heat. Really. Pay attention here, boys and girls: it's 70 degrees. Granted, it's forecast to hit (yikes!) 85º later in the day but still. And it gets down into the 50s at night. What's not to like here? What could be more just exactly right?

Another thing, like assault rifles, the founders probably did not foresee

Patriot Act: Obama approves Patriot Act provisions - latimes.com

Reporting from Washington—Acting with minutes to spare, President Obama approved a four-year extension of expiring provisions of the Patriot Act...

...attending an international summit in France, [he] awoke early Friday to review and approve the bill, directing that it be signed in Washington by automatic pen before the provisions expired at midnight Thursday Eastern time.

Why didn't he just let the butler do it?



Photo: Phil Compton

How about a special election?

After Terrible Tornadoes, Eric Cantor Won’t Allow Fed Disaster Relief

House majority leader Eric Cantor (R-Meanie) has blocked federal disaster-relief help for Joplin...

Do we really want to wait until the end of next year to throw these bums out?

But, you know, "real Americans"

UNDERNEWS: What happens when a Louisian student tries to get his school to obey the law

Oh, and by the way? They went ahead and had the graduation prayer anyway.

Just follow the link.

The Mystic psychic

Psychic Sought in N.Y. Is Arrested in Mystic, Conn. - NYTimes.com

...the location of the arrest was almost too good to be true: that quaint little Connecticut village getaway called Mystic.

Psychic Apparently Fails to Predict Officers’ Approach, headlines the Times.

Mystic is also, of course, the home of Mystic Pizza, although Julia Roberts no longer works there and the pie is just so-so. 

We are touched

Dick Cheney: ‘I worship the ground that Paul Ryan walks on’ | Raw Replay

Now if the two of them would just get a room...

Yeah yeah blah blah tell us more

Feds threaten to ground Texas airplanes if anti-groping bill becomes law | The Raw Story

State Sen. Dan Patrick (R) ultimately gave in and withdrew the bill, but only after insisting that he would not "cave" to "heavy handed threats by the federal government."



Notes on a very bad year

The Science Behind This Terrible Tornado Season - Yahoo! News

Some of the blame for the wild tornado streak lies with La Niña...


The Best Street Photographer You've Never Heard Of | Mother Jones

And see more of the photos here:

Vivian Maier Photographer | Official website of Vivian Maier | Vivian Maier Portfolios, Prints, Exhibitions, Book and documentary film



"Just sort of sitting there"

Privatization: The Road to Hell | Truthout

Un­for­tunate­ly, with today's polit­ical climate dominated by howl­ing winds from the far-right frin­ge, there's no long­er any room in American cul­ture for satire. Sure en­ough, some laissez-faire ex­trem­ists at such Koch-funded cor­porate fronts as Cato In­stitute and Heritage Foun­da­tion are pre­sent­ly howl­ing for the govern­ment to sell all of America's gold stored in Fort Knox. Not­ing that we have bi­ll­ions worth of bull­ion in the vaults, a fel­low from Heritage made this keen ob­ser­va­tion: "It's just sort of sitt­ing there."

"People are afraid of you"

Dem apologizes to Elizabeth Warren for GOP attacks: They’re afraid of you | Raw Replay

“The snarky comments about a Senate race, and the questioning of your veracity when there is documented evidence that you are being totally truthful indicates to me that this hearing is all about impugning you because people are afraid of you and your ability to communicate in very clear terms the threats to our consumers and the threats to our constituents and possibly very, very effective ways to combat them,” Yarmuth said. ” I congratulate you for instilling such fear in the committee, on the majority side, and in some aspects, or segments, of the business community because they understand how effective you are in getting the message out to the American people.”


Newt! Newt! Newt!

Tiffany’s spent big bucks lobbying Callista Gingrich’s committee | The Raw Story

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has dodged questions about his half-million dollar Tiffany & Co. tab all week. Now, it has been revealed that the House committee Gingrich's wife Callista worked for was heavily lobbied by the posh jewelry store.

And here's my very favorite part...

"It's a standard no-interest account," Gingrich explained...

Not standard where I come from, ya mope.

Oh dude, I wish you hadn't told me that

UNDERNEWS: Recycling diapers with mushrooms

...cultivating the right type of mushroom on soiled nappies can break down 90% of the material they are made of within two months. Within four, they are degraded completely. What is more, she says, despite their unsavory diet the fungi in question, Pleurotus ostreatus (better known as oyster mushrooms), are safe to eat.

Probably no kissing though

In HBO’s ‘Too Big to Fail,’ the Heroes Are Really Zeroes - ProPublica

"Too Big To Fail" The Movie isn't the story of how the Three Musketeers saved the global economy. It's a story of how the three didn't see the financial crisis coming; hadn't prepared for it; made mistake after mistake as it was cresting; and then, in their moment of triumph, made their most colossal blunder of all.

At least, not kissing of the conventional variety. Although it remains to be seen how tomatoworthy this movie is. Anyway, you've read the book, right? It was on our list some months ago. Maybe this will wind up on our movie list as well.

Nice Desktop...

(from the Duluth Harbor Cam)


Not unusual at all

Duluth Harbor Cam

Much of the traffic for the past few days has been hidden in fog and rain.  Not unusual for May in Duluth.

And I'll never forget my first night in Duluth. I was 10, maybe 11, and the whole family—parents, little sister, and self—were camped out in the Hotel Duluth, only a block (or maybe two) from the lighthouse (and foghorn) at the harbor entry. And yes, it was a foggy night. Every few minutes that horn would go off and literally rattle the furniture. And every time the horn stopped to take a breath a giant friggin' searchlight would shine right directly into the window. Not that anybody was sleeping, or anything like that. 

Not unusual for May in Duluth.


Halloween! W00t!

Harold Camping Predicts October Date for the Apocalypse - NYTimes.com

OAKLAND, Calif. — Here we go again. A California religious radio impresario who predicted — wrongly — that the end of the world would begin on May 21 revised his prophesy on Monday, saying now that the end is due in October.

But if you can hold it for a year or so, no problem

City to 9/11 Memorial Visitors: When You Gotta Go, Too Bad - WPIX

NEW YORK (WPIX)—Nowhere else in New York City is timing more crucial than at the completion of the National September 11th memorial. And, in a way, nothing else is more crucial - when it comes to timing – than finding a bathroom when you need to go. But when the almost-10-years-in-the-making 8-acre memorial site opens in time for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, there won't be any bathrooms....

When the seven-story museum opens in 2012, it will have bathrooms.


In the Garden of Beasts is another excellent book by Erik Larson, who also wrote "The Devil in the White City" and "Thunderstruck," both of which have appeared on our reading list in the past year or so. It's about the U.S. ambassador to Germany, one William E. Dodd, and his very friendly daughter, Martha (and others) living in Hitler's Berlin just prior to WWII, and makes for a rigorously documented very good yarn.

I still think "Devil" is the best of Larson's books, possibly because it was the first of his I read, possibly because it takes place in Chicago, possibly because there's one—"Isaac's Storm"—I haven't read, possibly a little of all three. But if you like the kind of history Larson writes, "Garden" definitely belongs on your list (as it is on ours).

(And lots of good stuff coming up this summer.)

Sign on tanning salon:

You bare it, we brown it.


And on and on

The BRAD BLOG : Tale of the Tapes: Wisconsin's 'Dog-and-Pony Show' Faith-Based Supreme Court Election 'Recount'

As ballots in Wisconsin were not counted on Election Night, at the polls, by human beings, in front of the public, all parties, and video cameras, with results posted directly at each ward before ballots were moved anywhere --- as per "Democracy's Gold Standard" --- and because the chain of custody has been irretrievably violated in the case of thousands of ballots, we are left with nothing but guesswork as to the authenticity of the ballots and the true results of the election.

The author of The Brad Blog is just about the only person anywhere who's been consistently covering this story of voting machines and election hanky-panky for a decade now. Nobody else seems to care and certainly nobody else is asking the obvious question: If we can't trust how the votes are counted, what's the point in having elections in the first place?

The full post (linked above) is a long one but it's worth reading every word.



iPhone Photo: Phil Compton

OK, so nothing's perfect

Despite Careful Calculations, the World Does Not End - NYTimes.com

With the clock running out on a much-hyped — and much-ridiculed — apocalyptic prediction, it appeared on Saturday that humankind had survived, with few if any signs of the end of the world. (Except, of course, another year without a Triple Crown winner in horse racing.)