Sunny morning

Found on the camera card

Well, actually, it was Google's doodle, but either way we're talking about some real productivity here

Last week, the world spent 10.7 million hours playing with Les Paul's doodle | Information, Gadgets, Mobile Phones News & Reviews | News.com.au

A GOOGLE homepage doodle posted last week honouring guitar legend Les Paul has cost the world $268 million, despite only setting the internet giant back a mere $15,000, Extreme Tech says.

Extreme Tech says the amount covers 10.7 million man-hours in lost productivity, assuming the average Google user earns $25 an hour.


Noted Communist Arlen Specter wants Congress to take over the NFL

How to End the N.F.L. Deadlock - NYTimes.com

IT will be bad for America if there is no N.F.L. football in the fall.


First there was transparency. Now this:

Leak Case Shows Resolve of U.S. Crackdown - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — Stephen J. Kim, an arms expert who immigrated from South Korea as a child, spent a decade briefing top government officials on the dangers posed by North Korea. Then last August he was charged with violating the Espionage Act...

Mr. Kim’s case is next in line in the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on leaks, after the crumbling last week of the case against a former National Security Agency official, Thomas A. Drake....

The Justice Department shows no sign of rethinking its campaign to punish unauthorized disclosures to the news media, with five criminal cases so far under President Obama, compared with three under all previous presidents combined....


The rolls of the unemployed grow by one this afternoon...

...to include me. I am now officially unemployed. w00t.

This development was neither unexpected (lot of budget cutting going around, you may have noticed) nor traumatic (my work schedule was down to only about 14 or 15 hours per month anyway, so while the extra income was handy it was hardly a defining sum). Still. Officially I am not unemployed until the end of the month, but since I have no work scheduled between now and then it's really now.

This may be a good thing, actually, because I'm about ready for a new career anyway. I'm thinking brain surgery or perhaps emptying bedpans, something in the medical line, since health care seems to be the only growth industry in these parts. Or maybe skydiving would be fun. Who knows.

First, I'm having burgers for supper and to hell with the broccoli, is what I say.

New fame

Hustler founder Larry Flynt offers job to Anthony Weiner | The Raw Story

LOS ANGELES — Porn mogul Larry Flynt offered disgraced US lawmaker Anthony Weiner a job Thursday, after the New York congressman resigned over a tawdry "sexting" scandal.

Hustler founder Flynt said he would pay Weiner, who posted pictures of his intimate anatomy to a number of women on Twitter, 20 percent more than what he earned in the House of Representatives.

Yes we have been trying to ignore this whole Weiner thing; we have failed.

More news from the poor, long-suffering top

Undernews: Big bankers' pay continues to soar

CNBC - Bank chiefs’ average pay in the US and Europe leapt 36 percent last year to $9.7 million, according to data compiled for the Financial Times, despite variable performance across the sector.

And God help you if you pick up the wrong fork


The ACORN and Weiner scandals, different as they are (although the common thread is the sexy, obviously) have a similar lesson in them for all Democrats inside and outside the beltway: it doesn't matter if you committed a crime or broke any rules or even were the victim of a hoax --- once you've embarrassed the Democratic political class, you will be cut loose.


All in a day's work

10 CEOs Who Earned a Year's Salary in an Hour - TheStreet

According to data compiled by the Institute for Policy Studies (made available on the AFL-CIO's Web site), the average American CEO earned 319 times the salary of the average U.S. worker in 2008. As hard as it is to believe, this pay ratio has dropped over the past decade -- in 2000, the average CEO earned 525 times the average worker's salary.

—Noted by our Midwest bureau; Click the link for the ten well-compensated names.


Undernews: Obama con of the day: His defense of the Libyan war

David Swanson - The arguments made to "legalize" war, torture, warrantless spying, and other crimes by John Yoo and Jay Bybee and their gang are looking rational, well-reasoned, and impeccably researched in comparison with Obama's latest "legalization" of the Libya War.

The R front-runner

Multimillionaire Investor Mitt Romney To Jobless Poor: ‘I’m Also Unemployed’

Mitt Romney is one of the richest people in the world, with a fortune worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He is a businessman and investor and was born into a great deal of wealth that he has transformed into even more wealth, because the poor stay poor and the rich get rich. But he’s also running for president, which requires occasional encounters with carefully selected, docile members of the American working/starving class. So when Mittens sat down with a few unemployed folk today for a photo op, he didn’t offer any of his hundreds of millions of dollars to them. Instead, bizarrely, he said, “I’m also unemployed.”

But that good U.S. health care system is worth dying for

Life expectancy: Map of U.S. shows county averages for men, women - chicagotribune.com

The U.S. simply isn't keeping up with the rest of the developed world in life expectancy, new research revealed this week...


Turns out my nook has a very nifty crossword puzzle app that allows the user to decide how difficult the puzzle will be (easy, medium, difficult, and unthemed) and has a cheat button. OK, hint. So what?

(This may well be a standard Android app available for all kinds of other devices as well. I believe there are several crossword apps for the iPhone although the one I tried was not so good, IMHO. Of course the bigger screen on the nook or, certainly, on a tablet makes working puzzles a lot more pleasant, right there.)


Photo abstract: Phil Compton

Questions, questions

Undernews: Obama's jobs council members busy killing jobs

Investors Business Daily - President Obama says he's 100% focused these days on creating jobs. So why is he taking advice from a bunch of CEOs whose companies have been shedding jobs for years?...

After all, Obama stuffed the group full of Fortune 500 CEOs — General Electric, American Express, DuPont, Time Warner, Eastman Kodak and Xerox, among them. While these may be good companies, they've hardly been roaring engines of job growth. In most cases, in fact, the opposite is true.


So it really doesn't matter who's firing those warning shots and who's not

U.S. Students Remain Poor at History, Tests Show - NYTimes.com

American students are less proficient in their nation’s history than in any other subject, according to results of a nationwide test released on Tuesday...

Nobody knows the difference anyway. Or cares. It doesn't matter all that much, which is a good thing for our man Mittens who had this to say at the debate last night (no link because my allowance ran out, eeek), as reported by the NYTimes:

"Our troops shouldn't go off and try and fight a war of independence for another nation...Only the Afghanis can win Afghanistan's independence from the Taliban."

Really. How that makes any sense at all is way beyond me. In the first place, Afghanistan is already an independent country (or were until we arrived), so saying it is fighting a war of independence really doesn't work too well, and in the second, even if Afghanistan is trying to win independence from the Taliban, that makes as much sense as saying the United States is trying to win independence from the Tea Party.

Oh, wait. 



Seriously, the Supremes

Supreme Court Upholds Nevada’s Law on Conflict of Interest - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously rejected a First Amendment challenge to a Nevada law that barred officials there from voting on matters in which they had a conflict of interest....

...Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, said the issue was straightforward. Voting, he wrote, is not speech protected by the First Amendment.

Remember, though, Bunky, that corporate contributions, even anonymous contributions in unlimited amount, is speech protected by the First Amendment. Contribute yes, vote no. You just can not make this stuff up.

Also in the Times this morning, here (surely you know how to read the Times by now and if you don't, well, you will just have to take our word), is a piece about how the Supremes are more and more basing their decisions on definitions they look up in a dictionary, which the consult to unravel difficult propositions that go beyond their legal training, such as (no, I am absolutely not making this up) what is the meaning of "of." And these, remember, are the selfsame guys who like to think they know exactly what our esteemed founders meant when he said stuff like "The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers." Sic. And I'm not kidding.

Party in Boston

Fans ride waves of joy toward Bruins’ win - The Boston Globe

Game takes fans on ride of ecstasy

I think they mean the other kind. Still, it was the Bruins, so who knows.

Our Gov loves him some RMV

MassLive : Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick lauds opening of new combined Greenfield Visitor Center, Registry of Motor Vehicles branch

“I don’t come to every RMV opening. They’re all important, I love them all,” said Patrick.

You may say D, we say R (Registry of Motor Vehicles). And then...

“I don’t come to every tourist center opening ... but I came today because this project, on its own merits, is important as a symbol of collaboration among agencies.

Tourist centers too. And especially combo RMVs–tourist centers like, apparently, we have here not. I did notice the RMV, which until a few days ago had been down on Main Street, had moved, but I had no idea things had become this wonderful. The mind reels.

When you just don't owe enough

Bank Of America Threatens To Foreclose On Homeowner If He Doesn't Pay $0.00 ASAP - The Consumerist

Oh, Bank of America... will you never cease to amuse/amaze/horrify us? Yet another computer glitch from this year's Worst Company in America runner-up had one Massachusetts homeowner scratching his head when he received a foreclosure notice from BofA warning him that his property would end up in foreclosure if he didn't immediately pay the amount of $0.00.


Proper procedures must be followed: Imagine that

KABOOM | NY Appellate Division | Bank of NY v Silverberg - MERS Does NOT Have The Right to Foreclose on a Mortgage in Default or Assign That Right to Anyone Else | zero hedge

The ubiquitous Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, nominal holder of millions of mortgages, does not have the right to foreclose on a mortgage in default or assign that right to anyone else if it does not hold the underlying promissory note, the Appellate Division, Second Department, ruled Friday...."the law must not yield to expediency and the convenience of lending institutions. Proper procedures must be followed..."

The next sound you hear will be chorus of squeals from Wall Street...


I think we should all run out in the street, shout "Al Gore!" and giggle


The south and east are burning up while Montana is in the 40's with snow.

It's 2:30 PM here and we're still not up to 60º, after hitting 90º about the middle of last week, when we, along with just about everybody else east of the Mississippi experienced an August-worthy heat wave. 

Go figure.

Cops zap cow, but no burgers

Pelham Police Use Taser On Runaway Cow - New Hampshire News Story - WMUR New Hampshire

"They Tasered the cow," Bordeleau [this would be Wendy Bordeleau, a happy New England farm person] said. "So I think, obviously, it was a Taser that was meant for humans and not livestock, so it didn't have too big of an effect on the cow."...

Pickles [this would be Sgt. Mike Pickles, an officer of the law] also said police weren't trying to harm the animal. They were just trying to bring it under control.

Strange indeed

Growing up as I did (a long, long time ago) in the telephone industry I saw first-hand the extraordinary efforts devoted to making the audio fidelity of a phone call as high as possible, in one memorable instance involving a debate about whether or not adding one more hole to the cover over the transmitter on a telephone handset would improve or degrade sound quality. But it turned out people were perfectly happy to use cell phones having audio quality that would have been considered disgraceful in the 1960s or 1970s.

Same for music: People walk around listening to MP3s on earbuds instead of vinyl fidelity pumped through thousand-dollar amplifiers into five-foot speakers like we did (or aspired to do) back in the day.

And now photos: There is an app on Apple's store that will make your cool digital HD video look like it was shot on ancient Super-8, and any number of apps that will make digital stills look like they were shot with toy cameras of the 1940s, and even, like the picture above, on expired film.

But do not hold your breath

Robert Reich (The Swamp of Washington and the Morass of the Economy)

Democrats — starting with the President — must have the courage and conviction to tell the nation the recovery is stalling, and what must be done. 

(Your health insurance might not cover that.)



When the war in Libya began, the U.S. government convinced a large number of war supporters that we were there to achieve the very limited goal of creating a no-fly zone in Benghazi to protect civilians from air attacks, while President Obama specifically vowed that "broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake." ...yet now...

Glenn Greenwald via UNDERNEWS