Exactly how screwed up is this

News from The Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The U.S. is abandoning plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq past a year-end withdrawal deadline...

So that means they are going to observe the deadline, right? Do they get points for that? Who's in charge here, anyway?

Yeah, the French Revolution was before my time too, so who cares about that

Wall Street protests go global; riots in Rome | Reuters

In Paris protests coincided with the G20 finance chiefs' meeting there. In the working class neighborhood of Belleville, drummers, trumpeters and a tuba revved up a crowd of a few hundred that began to march to the city hall....

Waitress Tiodhilde Fernagu, 26, took a day off work to attend. "For the first time in France there is a uniquely citizens' movement" outside party politics, she said.


Watch this feature from Movietone News for lots of good stuff (Hula hoops in Poland! Sputnik!) but mostly for the coverage of Castro's triumphant entry into Havana at the end of the Cuban revolution. I remember the year this film was made and I remember great enthusiasm and support for Castro in this country, to be followed by half a century of buyer's remorse, and counting (unless you still have a Che poster in your bedroom, in which case viva that).

I'm thinking it's time to buy yourself a pickup truck

Rick Perry jobs plan: Make rest of America more like Texas - CSMonitor.com

"Right here in Pennsylvania, and across the state line in West Virginia and Ohio, we will tap the full potential of the Marcellus Shale and create another 250,000 jobs," he said in unveiling a major piece of his overall economic plan.

So does this mean back to beads?

Report: All The Good Seashells Taken | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

CORAL GABLES, FL—According to a report released Monday by a group of environmental researchers, all the good seashells worth picking up and bringing home have already been taken...

"Frankly, the only seashells left are of the most inferior quality, in terms of both aesthetic appeal and structural integrity," said University of Miami researcher Paul Irizarry...

Our new, official Blog Buzzword (not just any blog, not just any buzzword, but Blog Buzzword) is "artisanal"

There were ten or twelve people on the main street corner downtown this morning waving atisanal 99% signs and trying to get some kind of chant going, although there didn't seem to be universal agreement on that. By admittedly unscientific observation, I would estimate the sentiment for "We are the 99%" at about eight for, four against, and for "Tax the Rich" at maybe 6-5. It is a sunny Saturday morning and people are out and about, so maybe some of those guys were just waiting to cross the street. In any case, I'd guess you could get a dozen people on that same street corner for Michele Bachman, and this is Massachusetts. One of the demonstrators had a dog.

I'm all for the #OccupyWhatever movement, but 1) occupying this little burg is hardly on the same scale as Cairo (where, you may have noticed, the governing military seems to be digging in...but I digress) and, 2) 98.5% of the 99% have more money than I do, so they might as well not expect much in the way of financial support from me. 

(Not that I'm complaining about the money part, you understand. It turns out that if you are a really, really, incredibly old geezer and, what's more, are as easily amused as I am you don't need much. Also, with a little luck, you get smart. But I – have I already mentioned this? – digress.)

It is still, as I mentioned, a perfectly fine autumn day to be out waving artisanal signs so, if you're of a mind to, go for it.

"Arab Spring" unsprung?

Egypt’s Military Expands Power, Raising Alarms - NYTimes.com

CAIRO — Egypt’s military rulers are moving to assert and extend their own power...


Ga Ga Goo Goo woohoo!

Gaga Defeats Goo Goo - Lowering the Bar

A court in London has issued an injunction against the Moshi Monsters website and its parent company, Mind Candy, which prevents defendants from releasing a single purporting to be performed by Lady Goo Goo, a cartoon character that some seem to believe is a parody of Lady Gaga.

For those of you who thought "Lady Gaga" was herself a cartoon character, she is in fact an actual human being....

The way we were

This, Bunky, is the web browser Mosaic, the web standard until Netscape (which itself is so old nobody but me and maybe 43 other guys can remember it), and what you're seeing is the Mosaic start page (sort of like the Apple start page would have looked before the invention of the wheel). Ahhh, the nostalgia.
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From Onion news...

More Americans Concerned Illegal Immigrants Will Take Their Spot On Couch | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

LOS ANGELES—According to a Los Angeles Times survey published Tuesday, an increasing number of Americans believe undocumented immigrants pose a threat to their favored spot on the couch...

Myself, I'm waiting for the PacMan plan

Undernews: Sim City had 999 plan before Cain

Techland - Presidential hopeful Herman Cain has jumped to the top of Republican polls thanks to a bold tax scheme called the "999 Plan." But it'd be even bolder if Sim City hadn't come up with the idea eight years ago.

You can't be serious

People Waiting in Line for an iPhone Are Weirder Than Ever - Technology - The Atlantic Wire


OK, I'm going to shout in three...two...one...WOW!

how far is it from greenfield, ma, to seattle? - Wolfram|Alpha

Sound travels from here to Seattle in 3 hours, 10 minutes, says Wolfram Alpha.

YA rainy morning

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Dude! Party!

Bill O'Reilly Says Wall Street Occupiers are Infested with Rats, Drugs and Outdoor Sex | Crooks and Liars

Bill O'Reilly had his wingnut mojo working Thursday night. He tries to paint Occupy Wall Street protesters as drug trafficking potheads who are also boffing each other outdoors in the squalid conditions of Zuccotti Park.


But "political thought" would be an oxymoron, right?

Robert Reich (The Triumph of Dogma, and a Sad Goodbye to David Frum)

The American public doesn’t want or need to hear “representatives” from the so-called right or left. It wants insight into what’s best for America. 

Yet over and over again — on the radio, on TV, in print, in the blogosphere, and all over Washington — political ideology is substituting for thought. 

Wait, a lawyer who makes you laugh? That can't be true, can it?

The Have-Lunch-Nearby Getaway Plan Is Still Not Working - Lowering the Bar

Readers who are also aspiring bank robbers please take note: although it may seem like a clever idea to stay near the bank afterward on the theory that it'll be the last thing they expect, the police have actually thought of this. And while I will award you bonus style points for sitting down and calmly having lunch in the meantime, said bonus points have little if any value in prison.

Pop quiz

Undernews: Slow and curious

Questions about how one goes about blowing up a Saudi Arabian ambassador in an overpriced Washington restaurant


Mountain biking

Hold on tight.

It's still not

Airline offers 9-9-9 vacation package - The Hill's Ballot Box

Seeking to capitalize on Herman Cain's now-famous 9-9-9 plan to reform the tax code, Spirit Airlines is offering its own 9-9-9 vacation plan....

"We don't comment on politics, but just to set the record straight, we were $9 before 9 was cool," a Spirit Airlines representative told The Hill.

Not so much

Fifteen or twenty years ago around here the autumn color season peaked on Columbus Day weekend. The roads and highways were jammed for miles with tour busses hauling leaf peepers from Boston. The only sensible thing to do was lay in a few extra cans of soup and stay home until the traffic cleared.

But for the past several years, it's looked more like this in early October. There's a little color around, but mostly things are still pretty green. Some years are better than others, and it looks like this will be a bad one all around. Who knows why. It's tempting to say this is about climate change, but I don't know if anybody knows for sure.

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This is cheery news: "Space Command" drone jockeys think they're playing Mafia Wars online

Military: Computer Virus Wasn't Directed at Drones - ABC News

The computer virus that hit the Pentagon's drone program last month was not directed at the military systems but was common malware used to steal log-ins and passwords used in online gaming, military officials said Wednesday....

...it was malware that is routinely used to steal log-in and password data from people who gamble or play games like Mafia Wars online.

Add: Hmmm, what was that thing that just flew past my window? Looked sort of like a model airpla

We meant to steal it, but not in such a clumsy way: Brown aide

Scott Brown lifted childhood memories from Elizabeth Dole | The Raw Story

Brown spokesman John Donnelly told the Boston Globe that the copied text was a staff mistake.

“Senator Dole’s website served as one of the models for Senator Brown’s website when he first took office. During construction of the site, the content on this particular page was inadvertently transferred without being rewritten,” Donnelly said. “It was a staff level oversight which we regret and is being corrected.”

Emphasis mine.

Hard to imagine, huh?

BlackBerry Outage Makes iPhone Owners Even More Smug - Technology - The Atlantic Wire

Meanwhile, Apple's servers have been barely more than smoldering heaps of silicon all day today as 50 gabillionzillion geeks try to download major OS X (Lion) and iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.) upgrades and tweeks to such several apps as iTunes and iPhoto and whatever else and set up accounts on the new iCloud service simultaneously in one, hilarious moment. I, of course, did it yesterday. And there were one or two more or less terrifying moments during the process which apparently caused a significant number of apparent noobs to panic, lighting up message boards everywhere. Mostly, though, it was just slow. I've never stood in line at an Apple store myself but I can only imagine this was something like that. Things seem to be trending back toward normal as we speak, but you yourself are planning to do the whole Apple upgrade thing I would suggest waiting a week or two and whatever you do, don't call me.

The sign behind the bar

From Nelson Algren's novel, "The Man with the Golden Arm".

The sign above the cash register of the Tug & Maul Bar indicated Antek the Owner's general attitude toward West Division Street:

I've Been Punched, Kicked, Screwed, Defrauded, Knocked Down, Held Up, Held Down, Lied about, Cheated, Deceived, Conned, laughed At, insulted, Hit On The Head And Married, So Go Ahead And Ask For Credit I Don't Mind Saying No.

@Salon, 10/13/11 11:56 AM

Salon.com (@Salon)
10/13/11 11:56 AM
All protest posters are not created equal! An expert ranks some of OWS's most powerful visual statements to date - bit.ly/mPvhgX

(YA test, but more fun)


BREAKING: Blackberry Outage Now Impacting Users On Almost Every Planet

From Earth to Venus to Neptune to 1RXS J160929.1-210524, the Blackberry outage has left our blue marble and is now "impacting users on almost every planet", according to CNN reporting live from Uranus....

We don't need no stinking votes: Obama

Undernews: Obama threatens media with jail time over medical marijuana

Sign On San Diego - Federal prosecutors are preparing to target newspapers, radio stations and other media outlets that advertise medical marijuana dispensaries in California, another escalation in the Obama administration's newly invigorated war against the state's pot industry....

This time, try paying a little better attention

Tea party goes after Occupy Wall Street - Robin Bravender and Kenneth P. Vogel - POLITICO.com

Brendan Steinhauser, campaigns director for FreedomWorks, evoked leaders of the civil rights movement in distinguishing the protests, saying the tea party’s tactics resemble those of Martin Luther King Jr., and he says Occupy Wall Street protesters are more like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael....


From Onion News

Nation Waiting For Protesters To Clearly Articulate Demands Before Ignoring Them | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

"The protesters need to unify around a shared agenda with precise policy goals so I can begin paying no attention to them whatsoever," said Tulsa, OK poll respondent Kaye Petrachonis, echoing the thoughts of millions across the country.

Ya think?

What Happens When Everyone Else Starts Using Drones? - Global - The Atlantic Wire

As the Obama administration has dramatically ramped up drone attacks, the country may face a new arms race. It may also eventually have to debate the underlying question that is now being avoided: does this type of warfare really work? At 10 civilians killed for every terrorist, as the Brookings Institution estimates, the attacks may be undermining any effort to win over the proverbial hearts and minds.

Emphasis mine.

From the Onion Newswire:

3,297 Websites Post The Definitive iPhone 4S Review | The Onion - America's Finest News Source



The whole twit thing

I've been looking for a decent mobile blogging solution and thought I'd found one the other day, but that turned out to be some kind of deal where either 1) you pay them a bunch of money or 2) they put a big ad on your site with every post. In other words, not so good.

So I've decided when I want to take note of something on the fly, I'll twit. You can click on the button over there if you want to follow me, but I think the whole idea of having "followers" is kind of creepy, myself, and I don't intend to be a high-volume twit anyway, so it's hardly an obligatory thing.

Twitter, it turns out, is kind of usefull as a sort of news ticker, sort of an abbreviated version of RSS. So I'm following such sites as Reuters, AP, CNN and Propublica; Gizmodo, CNet, and Ars Technica. And cutting down on some of the blogs.

Hot stuff – or maybe cold

European wars, famine, and plagues driven by changing climate

Economic chaos, famine, disease, and war may all be attributed to climate change, according to a recent study. Through advances in paleoclimatology, researchers used temperature data and climate-driven economic variables to simulate the climate that prevailed during golden and dark ages in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere from 1500-1800 AD. In doing so, they discovered a set of casual linkages between climate change and human crisis....

Stuff I never finished reading

Republicans Stretch Truth...


Or maybe a big Broadway musical

GOP debate is wicked - Roger Simon - POLITICO.com

The Republican race has turned into  “The Wizard of Oz.” Rick Perry wants a brain. Mitt Romney wants a heart. And any number of candidates are Dorothy, realizing there is no place like home and they should have stayed there.

Herman Cain is seeking courage. He needs the courage to face the fact he is never going to be the Republican nominee, no matter how well he does in the polls. He needs the courage to settle for something far better than the presidency: His own show on Fox.



I've been looking for a mobile blogging solution and maybe this is it!

Update: Or maybe not.

A lifetime waiting

Noted by our Midwest bureau:

"It is a pity that Wall Street, with it's ability to control all the wealth of the nation and to hire the best law brains in the country, has not produced some statesmen, some men who could see the dangers of bigness and of the concentration of wealth. Instead of working to meet the situation, they are still employing the best law brains to serve greed and self interest. People can only stand so much, and one of these days there will be a settlement..."

–Harry S. Truman, Speech in the U. S. Senate, Monday Dec. 20, 1937


Get hacked, don't tell: drone base didn't report virus

Officials at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada knew for two weeks about a virus infecting the drone “cockpits” there. But they kept the information about the infection to themselves—keeping the unit that’s supposed to serve as the Air Force’s cybersecurity specialists in the dark. The network defenders at the 24th Air Force learned of the virus by reading about it in Danger Room.

"The Riddle of the Sands"

Erskine Childers' "The Riddle of the Sands" is third on the list of best British spy novels that was floating around here not long ago (and free from Project Gutenberg, and now on our official reading list). Written in 1905, "Sands" is a techno-thriller in which the techno part has to do with sailing off the coast of Germany, and then some other stuff but that's a secret. Which is, more or less, why it's a spy novel in the first place.

Maybe this guy's a superhero, ya think?

Romney flip-flops on protests: ‘I worry about the 99 percent’ | The Raw Story

During an appearance in Florida last week, Romney was calling the “Occupy Wall Street” protests “dangerous” and “class warfare.”...

That may have been on Romney’s mind yesterday during an appearance in New Hampshire, where he told an audience, “I worry about the 99 percent in America.”


Seattle...wait...superhero movement? Really?

News from The Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) -- Seattle's self-style superhero Phoenix Jones wrote on his Facebook page that he was back on patrol Monday night.

He had to wear a backup costume after police seized his black and yellow outfit Sunday when they arrested him for investigation of assault. He is accused of using pepper spray on four people who were dancing after leaving a nightclub....

Jones says he's the leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement.

But it does sound cool

The giant, prehistoric squid that ate common sense

We have a serious problem with science journalism. A big one, in fact, and today that problem takes the form of a giant, prehistoric squid with tentacles so formidable that it has sucked the brains right out of staff writers’ heads.

A good day in the Big Casino

Who's Celebrating Record iPhone 4S Sales with Apple - Technology - The Atlantic Wire

For about a nano-moment it looked like Apple took a wrong turn. "Apple’s stock took a hit as a result of the negativity surrounding the iPhone 4S, with the company’s stock falling 5 percent immediately after the announcement," explains Bilton. But after yesterday's announcement the stock recovered, reports The Wall Street Journal's Iann Sherr and John Kell. "Shares in Apple rose 5.1%, or $19.01, to $388.81 on the Nasdaq Stock Market at 4 p.m. Monday. The stock is up 21% this year."

Cinnamon is good for you, right?

I thought so. So when I found a big box of cinnamon cookies in the used bakery basket this morning I snapped it up. Health cookies! What a great idea!

Ds done

Washington Post-Bloomberg News Poll (washingtonpost.com)
2. Thinking beyond the 2012 presidential election, do you think your own family’s financial situation would be better if (President Obama wins a second term) OR if (a Republican wins the election) or wouldn’t it make much difference either way?
            President Obama     Republican wins    Not make much    (Vol.)      No
          wins a second term      the election    much difference   Depends   opinion
All adults        24                  24                44            *          7 
(OK, you can't read it. My bad. What it says is, 24% say it would be better if Obama wins a second term, 24% say it would be better if a Republican wins the next election, and 44% say "who cares?"

So now if you have an iPad you can forget all about the "MSM"

The Onion Tablet for iPad on the iTunes App Store

This is the official iPad application of The Onion, America's Finest News Source.


Birds will warble, henceforth

Twitter secures trademark for 'tweet,' report says | Digital Media - CNET News

Twitter's long quest to secure the trademark to "tweet" appears to be at an end.

We have met the enemy and he is us

News from The Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Dozens of foreign insects and plant diseases slipped undetected into the United States in the years after 9/11, when authorities were so focused on preventing another attack that they overlooked a pest explosion that threatened the quality of the nation's food supply....

The consequences come home to consumers in the form of higher grocery prices, substandard produce and the risk of environmental damage from chemicals needed to combat the pests.

Onion News

Last Bastion Of U.S. Economy Succumbs To Pancreatic Cancer | The Onion - America's Finest News Source | Onion News Network

Making progress in the wrong direction

Undernews: Hospital closings leave millions at risk for trauma care

Rural Blog - Millions of Americans are farther away from trauma care than they were 20 years ago, with some having to travel more than 30 minutes to get treatment. Experts say getting help within the first hour is crucial....

The reason for the increased travel times is due to facilities closing. In 1990, there were 1,125 trauma centers in the country. By 2005, nearly 340 of them had closed, in most cases because of financial hardship; they were treating too high a percentage of people who do not have insurance, the Yonder reports.

President Obama's recent call to cut Medicare premiums to critical access hospitals, as well as close CAHs that are within 10 miles of each other, would further burden rural areas, said a panel of experts in Lexington, Ky., last week.

Summer: Gone

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Feeling better now, Bunky?

Obama's jobs advisors include job-cutting executives - latimes.com

In another public demonstration of concern about the struggling economy, President Obama will meet in Pittsburgh on Tuesday with the business and labor leaders he has chosen to counsel him on job creation.

But many of the chief executives have cut American jobs and adopted tactics that weaken organized labor — even as their businesses post record profits.

Plus, no committee with 26 members ever, in the entire history of the universe, got even the smallest, simplest thing done.

Krugman: Rigged

Panic of the Plutocrats - NYTimes.com

The way to understand all of this [condemnation of the Occupy Wall Street exercise] is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.


Good for Al, then

Undernews: Jerry Brown speaks truth to the test tyrants

A sign hung in Albert Einstein’s office read “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.”

(Also good for Jerry.)

Finally, some might say, the New York Times gets the point

Protesters Against Wall Street - NYTimes.com

It is not the job of the [Occupy Wall Street] protesters to draft legislation. That’s the job of the nation’s leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge.

On prohibition

Drug war: What prohibition costs us [Blowback] - latimes.com

As a student of history and a retired deputy chief of police with the Los Angeles Police Department, I can attest that the damage that came from the prohibition of alcohol pales in comparison to the harm wrought by drug prohibition....