Out Back

Out Back, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Republicans: Eat dessert first

Obama Repeats Call for G.O.P. to Compromise on Debt Ceiling - NYTimes.com

Senator Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat and the majority leader, scheduled a vote early Sunday morning to break the blockade, but House Republicans said that they planned to hold a symbolic vote on Saturday afternoon to reject the Senate plan pre-emptively.

Maliki gets his priorities straight

Iraq's Maliki says will buy 36 F-16 fighters from U.S. | Reuters

Earlier this year, Iraq had delayed the purchase of F-16 jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp, after putting $900 million of allocated funds into its national food program to reduce the pressure from Iraqis staging demonstrations in protest against poor basic services.


Et tu, Onion

Emergency Team Of 8th-Grade Civics Teachers Dispatched To Washington | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

WASHINGTON—With lawmakers still at an impasse over increasing the debt ceiling, a special team of 40 eighth-grade civics teachers was air-dropped into Washington earlier today in a last-ditch effort to teach congressional leaders how the government’s legislative process works....


The Democrats' new rallying cry: It wasn't us!


The President did everything in his power to own this debacle but I think Boehner saved Obama from himself not so much by taking more of the blame for the breakdown in negotiations but by making it impossible for him to take a Greatest Deal in History Grand Bargain victory lap. Considering what's probably going to come of all this, the greater distance from the results the better.

Dude, this'll work for sure

Obama Now Targeting Republicans Via Twitter - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

A sample of what the Web 2.0 version of the bully pulpit looks like...

It's basically the whatever that's the real problem, we hear

Of Course Flickr Has a Porn Problem - Technology - The Atlantic Wire

Carlson goes on to explain that the dirty pics on Flickr are creating some problems for the photo site's parent company, Yahoo: advertisers are getting upset about their ads showing up next to pictures of naked girls or feet or whatever.

Yay! Only 14 more years!

Obama unveils sharp increase in auto fuel economy | Reuters

(Reuters) - Several major automakers on Friday embraced the Obama administration's proposal to push the industry further away from once-dominant gas guzzlers to more lean and efficient vehicles.

The proposal, which is the result of months of negotiations between the Obama administration and automakers, would require automakers to reach an average fuel efficiency across their fleets of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.


Maybe he should try "Stop that or I'll pull over right now"

Obama urges compromise, Republicans set to vote | Reuters

(Reuters) - With four days left before the United States hits its debt limit, Republicans pressed ahead with a deficit plan that cannot pass Congress and President Barack Obama told lawmakers to stop wasting time and find a way "out of this mess."

 Or how about "Cut that out or I'll send you both to your rooms." Or, "Don't make me come up there."

None of which would work, of course, but at least they would be more fun to yell than "Stop wasting time."

The lights wink out

From this rememberance of neon signs from the excellent Forgotten Chicago.


I'm repeating, already

Robert Reich

Repeat after me: The federal deficit is not the nation’s biggest problem. The anemic recovery, huge unemployment, falling wages, and declining home prices are bigger problems. We don’t have a budget crisis. We have a jobs and growth crisis.

Wait. What? Up?

Dow Edges Up After Positive Sign on Jobs - NYTimes.com

A strong report on jobs sent Wall Street slightly higher on Thursday even as the stalemate continued in Washington over the debt ceiling.

This so-called strong report was that there were only 400,000 new applications for unemployment insurance last month, which I would call a really, really generous definition of good under the circumstances. But apparently all this screeching about the end of the world! and Republicans! and yikes we're broke! hasn't got the wizards of Wall Street too concerned yet.

Why didn't I think of this?

GOP lawmaker advises poor to ‘drop out of the country club’ | Raw Replay

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) may have won the contest for the worst analogy of the entire debt ceiling debate....

"When someone is overextended and broke.... they don’t continue paying for country club dues, they drop out of the country club.”

Problem solved.

PS. Someone should explain to the Congressman the United States is not broke. Broke is when you don't have any money. Believe me. The United States has bazillions of money, and it can print more.

Antics of the Antoinette class

The new "Let them eat cake!" - David Sirota - Salon.com

In the midst of this prole-crushing economic emergency engineered by wealthy speculators and their political puppets, we now find ourselves watching those same modern-day Marie Antoinettes at once celebrating their station and begging for sympathy as if they were the real casualties of the decade-long economic slowdown they created.

[Be sure to check out the slide show.]

Too much tea

Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh sued for $100,000 in child support - Chicago Sun-Times

Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, a tax-bashing Tea Party champion who sharply lectures President Barack Obama and other Democrats on fiscal responsibility, owes more than $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife and three children, according to documents his ex-wife filed in their divorce case in December....

[But Walsh's lawyer says] “Joe Walsh hasn’t been a big-time wage-earner politician until recently....”

So that explains it then.



Actually, that's not in the Bible – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs

Biblical ignorance is so pervasive that it even reaches groups of people who should know better, says Steve Bouma-Prediger, a religion professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

“In my college religion classes, I sometimes quote 2 Hesitations 4:3 (‘There are no internal combustion engines in heaven’),” Bouma-Prediger says. “I wait to see if anyone realizes that there is no such book in the Bible and therefore no such verse.

“Only a few catch on.”


Even I know better than that. 

Oh, and that internal-combustion-engine thing sounds just a little suspicious too.


Poll: 52 percent approve of God’s job performance – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs

(CNN) – If you think voters are in cranky mood over politics, a new poll suggests that some of the dissatisfaction may run deeper....

Only 52 percent of Americans approve of God’s job performance, the survey found, though just 9 percent disapprove.



Ha ha veggies shrink your brain

Vegetable-Only Diet Ups Risk for Brain Shrinkage - Health News | Current Health News | Medical News - FOXNews.com

Being a vegetarian may actually be bad for your brain, according to a study published in the Sept. 9 issue of Neurology, The Sun reported.

Yeah. OK. That's not what the article says, at all. And even if the article did say that it wouldn't necessarily be true. It does come from Fox News, you will notice. So maybe veggies don't actually shrink your brain.

Except broccoli. 

Before there was Dirty Harry...

Mickey Spillane's first Mike Hammer novel, I the Jury, was very, very hot stuff in 1947, the year it was published, the kind of book elementary school boys (who shall remain nameless) snuck into the house and kept hid under their beds. Mike Hammer also inspired another two dozen or so additional novels, a couple of movies, and at least one TV series over the next 60 years (three of Spillane's Mike Hammer books have been published since 2000, all three finished by different authors from Spillane's manuscripts).

We might have more of Spillane in time, but for now it's I the Jury on the reading list.

Salary or no, perhaps we should encourage this behavior

Michele Bachmann Bravely Collects Salary For Not Doing Her Job

Bachmann has missed nearly 40% of House votes since she began her campaign!

How to cut Medicare the right way

Probe finds Prime has high rate of ER transfers

A California hospital chain has boosted its profits by transferring an unusually high number of patients from its emergency rooms to its hospital beds, gaining hundreds of millions of dollars by targeting people with Medicare, a California Watch investigation has found.

Make cheats like this pay it back. All of it. Every penny. With interest. Now.

And the winner (of this year's Bulwer-Lytton contest for really awful fiction) is...

Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.

–Sue Fondre, Oshkosh, WI

Noted at the laundromat

But do they do Republicans?

The only chart you need

The Chart That Should Accompany Every Discussion of Deficits - James Fallows - Politics - The Atlantic




Tom Friedman’s ‘Radical’ Wrongness : CJR

Over the weekend, The New York Times op-ed page published one of Tom Friedman’s periodic columns about the need for a uprising of the “radical center.” It was, unsurprisingly, terrible....

It's just those crazy markets again

Airlines raise fares to scoop up tax lapse | Reuters

(Reuters) - Many airlines raised fares in recent days to take advantage of a lapse in ticket tax collection after Congress failed last week to fully fund the Federal Aviation Administration budget, but passengers will likely not notice any price difference....

"Friday evening we adjusted prices so the bottom line price of a ticket remains the same as it was before prior to the expiration of federal excise taxes, etc.," American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith for AMR Corp's American Airlines said by email.


Somebody will be making tons of money here

Debt Deadlock: Stocks Drop, Gold Rises to Record - Business - The Atlantic Wire

The markets did pretty much as analysts expected as the debt ceiling debate still grinds away in Washington, D.C.: stock markets fell and gold hit a record high this morning. From The Wall Street Journal: "The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 72 points in recent action, or 0.6%, to 12609, though the measure was off the lows it hit in volatile early trading that sent the blue-chip index down by as much as 145 points."

Of course I would never imagine that somebody could possibly be a U.S. Congresscritter.

Well, OK, maybe.

Yes, darlin', you too can be monetized

How The New York Times Got Its Groove Back - Business - The Atlantic Wire

On Thursday, the [New York Times] company announced that after just four months, 224,000 users were paying for access to the paper’s website. Combined with the 57,000 Kindle and Nook readers who were paying for subscriptions and the roughly 100,000 users whose digital access was sponsored by Ford’s Lincoln division, that meant the paper had monetized close to 400,000 online users.

Or not. If you pay attention. But that's neither here nor there.

In the meantime, as much as I like the Times (and I've been reading it for half a century), there are other very good newspapers in the U.S., including the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, the Christian Science Monitor, and lots more, and that's just in the U.S. So if you don't want to be monitized by the Times one way to avoid that is just read something else.


Oh sure it is

Consumers vs. the Banks - NYTimes.com:

"Banks and their Congressional allies are pushing back hard, determined to weaken the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau]. It is not clear how much political capital President Obama is willing to spend to stop that from happening."


Reflecting on the Past

iPhone photo: Phil Compton

The whole world smiles with you

FoxNews.com ranks first, Huffington Post ranks last in consumer satisfaction | The Raw Story

FoxNews.com was scored highest in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) rankings of Internet news and information sites for a second straight year, earning 82 points on a 100 point scale.

Who is this guy and what is he smoking?

Pawlenty: Obama not showing courage in debt crisis - Yahoo! News

"If you're the leader of the free world, would you please come to microphone and quit hiding in the basement about your proposals, and come on up and address the American people? Is he chicken?"

From ridiculous to sublime

U.S. airlines fight prospect of higher security fees | Reuters

(Reuters) - U.S. airlines are fighting the prospect of sharply higher passenger security fees that could be part of any deficit-reduction plan.


If Obama were Lincoln...

We'd have something called the Gettysburg Compromise.

For debt crisis lessons, look back 225 years - CNN.com


Let 'em sip tea

Heat wave: federal program to help needy pay cooling bills is broke - CSMonitor.com

Budget cutting means that the federal fund for helping needy Americans pay higher electric bills in the winter and summer had already run out of cash before the current heat wave hit.


Why all killers are losers: Osama, McVeigh & Breivik try to show they're big men

The danger of calling murderers anything other than murderers is that it blinds us to the ultimate enemy.


Once upon a time on the south side of Chicago there was a beer distributorship owned by a guy named Jack (not his real name), a big guy with a big cigar (back in the day, boys and girls, America's bigshots were big, big guys who smoked cigars and drank whiskey and ate prime rib and baked potatoes, not like today when the bigshots are all skinny, jog, and eat lettuce—littleshots, really—but I digress) and on the back wall of the waiting room inside the main entrance to his warehouse Jack had this sign, a big banner sign:

Make Money for Jack!

I think of Jack whenever I hear politicians talk about making America competitive.