Tradition: A shifting target

From a piece on people having conversations with their phones (yes, we said with their phones) in public…

Virtual Assistants Raise New Issues of Phone Etiquette - NYTimes.com

But, he predicted, “there will be a small minority of traditionalists who yearn for the good old days when people just texted in public.”

(And an even smaller minority of "conservatives" who yearn for quill pens (just like Alexander Hamilton!).)

Apparently you need an Alabama driver's license (or one from Japan) to drive in Alabama

Alabama arrests another foreign car executive under new immigration law | The Raw Story

The Guardian reports that Honda manager Ichiro Yada was arrested earlier this week at a checkpoint in Leeds, Alabama, despite being able to show police his passport, US work permit, and international driver’s license. He was not taken into custody, however, but was ticketed and released on a signature bond.

Yada’s international license was apparently not sufficient to satisfy the letter of the law, which required him to carry either an Alabama license or one issued by Japan.

Or you have to be nuts. Take your pick.

New to our Work Avoidance list

iPhonography, a showing of photos made with a, you know, iPhone (or iPad) in which our Midwest bureau chief is, BTW, represented by the following submissions:

(If you are a Facebook user you can "like" these pictures, which increases the chances they will be picked for a print show in New York later this month. So why are you still just sitting there reading this?)


Wall Flower

iPhone photo: Philip R. Compton

But can it eat Cleveland?

Look at This Giant Bug! | Popular Science

This amazing/disturbing picture is of a giant weta, the world's biggest insect…

Throw the book at 'em


You won't see much mention of it in the traditional media, but Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is suing the big banks for foreclosure fraud. That's a really big deal.…

It still probably won't land these crooks behind bars, but it will certainly be leverage toward much, much stiffer penalties against the banks than the Obama Administration is hoping for with their papered-over settlement.

It's a case case

It develops I have so many cases–cases for gadgets long forgotten, cases for obsolete stuff, cases of every size and shape (but universally, it seems, black)–that I need a case to keep them in. Fortunately, I have one. Is that a lucky thing or what?


If it was good enough for Tiny Tim it's good enough for Newt

Gingrich Still Wants to Hire Children as Janitors - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

Newt Gingrich, who got some flack last month for suggesting we eliminate child labor laws and allow underpriveleged children to clean schools for pay, has sort of recanted on his position. And by recanted, we mean he acknowledged that janitorial work can be dangerous, so these children shouldn't be allowed to do much more than clean the bathrooms.

Tis the season, etc.

Naah, it'll never fly

December Named National Awareness Month | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

WASHINGTON—In an effort to combat what organizers are calling "our current epidemic of complete and utter obliviousness," the American Foundation for Paying Attention to Things has declared December "National Awareness Month."

Really, this would make a great sitcom

Fox treading carefully in Gingrich-Romney race - Salon.com

The Republican primary campaign has become a two-man race, with unloved ostensible front-runner Mitt Romney currently suffering the indignity of trailing in the polls to self-satisfied serial adulterer Newt Gingrich.

Oh wait. It is?

R is for…

Meet the new Social Darwinists - Republican Party - Salon.com

They’re not conservatives. They’re regressives.

When there's no bar at all

News from The Associated Press

Recent data suggest the economy is picking up. Retailers reported a strong start to holiday sales over the Thanksgiving weekend, consumer confidence surged in November to the highest level since July and Americans' pay rose in October by the most in seven months.

Many economists say that is driving stronger growth in the final three months of the year. They forecast a 3 percent annual rate for the October-December quarter. That would be an improvement from the 2 percent rate in the July-September quarter.

"A party base that seems to have been lobotomized overnight"

Booman Tribune ~ A Progressive Community

As seen by the German magazine Der Spiegel…

Somebody's not trying hard enough

Google Ngram Viewer

So I ask myself…

…where is the law that says I can't have a baloney sandwich for breakfast? And why don't I ask myself that more often?

Good question

Inside Obama's re-election math - CNN.com

So why, then, was [Obama] in Scranton this week pushing the payroll tax cut?

It is a complete mystery to me that at a time when everybody is running around blabbering the Social Security system is out of money and the program has to be pared down Obama is making a signature issue out of cutting the Social Security tax. Well, maybe not such a mystery after all. Fail to the Chief.


A very excellent book

Jack Lynch's The Lexicographer's Dilemma: The Evolution of "Proper" English, from Shakespeare to South Park rocks. It's one of the best books you'll read all year, or at least for the rest of it. If you hurry. You can find a link to the Barnes & Nobel instance of it on the reading list.

eBooks attack

When eBooks attack, mass paperbacks die - GeekWire

Ailing for months, [the demise of the mass paperback book market] is now all but assured by Amazon’s recent bold announcement. Not the over-analyzed, over-iPad-compared Kindle Fire announcement. Rather, by the far less interesting news – to the gadgetphiles – that the least expensive, wonderfully readable and portable Kindle is now $79...

Oh no!

Time Inc.'s Soon-to-Be CEO Doesn't Have Time to Tweet - Business - The Atlantic Wire

Horses OK, inspectors not so much

News from The Associated Press

Slaughter opponents pushed a measure cutting off funding for horse meat inspections through Congress in 2006 after other efforts to pass outright bans on horse slaughter failed in previous years. Congress lifted the ban in a spending bill President Obama signed into law Nov. 18 to keep the government afloat until mid-December.

It did not, however, allocate any new money to pay for horse meat inspections, which opponents claim could cost taxpayers $3 million to $5 million a year.

Achievement is where you find it

Herman Cain's team bumbles toward 2012 - Jonathan Martin - POLITICO.com

Herman Cain is in the midst of “reassessing” whether to continue his 2012 bid, but its legacy is already settled: His campaign will go down as one of the most hapless and bumbling operations in modern presidential politics, setting a new standard for how to turn damaging press coverage into something far worse.


Kucinich: Federal Reserve has captured control of our government | The Raw Story

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called for the U.S. Federal Reserve to be reformed after Bloomberg reported the central bank secretly loaned nearly $8 trillion to financial institutions from 2007 to 2009.

Tens of thousands of documents obtained by Bloomberg under the Freedom of Information Act showed that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion in profits thanks to the low-interest loans.…

“Remember the great debate we had here over the 700 billion in TARP funds?” he said on the House floor Tuesday. “There was no debate over the 7.7 trillion the Fed gave the banks.”


CNET: The end of fun

Microsoft reportedly readying Office for the iPad | Microsoft - CNET News

Is this a personal best for Perry?

Rick Perry Forgets Two Things in the Same Sentence - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

Previously, Rick Perry has shown that he is capable of remembering two out of three things at a time, but on Tuesday, at a campaign event in New Hampshire, he reportedly forgot both the United States voting age and the date of the general election. And he managed to make those mistakes in the same sentence, as The Washington Post recounts

Our Midwest bureau editor featured in digital art show. W00t!

Amazing FX Photo Studio for #iPhone #Photo • Jaguar by Philip R. Compton Effects used: Vintage...

(And click "previous" below picture for another; browse the entire show for several more. Also some other stuff.)

What? A Jane Austen finger puppet you say?

Jane Austen - Finger Puppet and Magnet - Boing Boing Shop

Also this:

Slide to Unlock Magnet - Boing Boing Shop

Just don't ask me mine

Obama's Favorite Word: 'Frustration' - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

Everywhere President Obama looks these days -- protesters, polls, liberals, conservatives, Congress, his own supporters -- he seems to see one thing: frustration. When President Obama wants to talk about his bad poll numbers without really talking about his bad poll numbers, he talks about "frustrations."

Everything's up to date in…wait…Oklahoma?

Dangers of Texting While Driving Facts & Laws | Vlingo

Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 30 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, novice drivers are banned from texting in 8 states (Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia) and school bus drivers are banned from text messaging in 2 states (Oklahoma, and Texas).

The map is a little out of date–about a year–but you can see that once you hit Ohio it's Katie bar the door. Also a few other places. Don't say you weren't warned.

The wrong meme

News from The Associated Press

American [Airlines] says labor-contract rules force it to spend at least $600 million more than other airlines. That's partly a result of AMR avoiding bankruptcy last decade, while airlines like United and Delta were able to scrap existing labor contracts after filing Chapter 11.

American blames high labor cost when it should be blaming the other air lines for paying sub-standard wages.

Right, like thats gonna happen


Imagine if, instead of a turkey, the President made a point each Thanksgiving of pardoning an actual human being.…


But every time's the right time in Ohio

Livewire | TPM

Cain Campaign Lists Ohio Events In The Wrong Time Zone

Arch Street

Posted by Picasa

Details, details

Note: Before Attaching Ankle Monitor, Make Sure Leg Is Real - Lowering the Bar

Because if the leg is detachable, that defeats the purpose of attaching a monitor to it. Unless your goal is to keep track of the leg, in which case no problem…

No Republican could do worse

Federal Cuts Give Maine a Chill as Winter Approaches - NYTimes.com

President Obama has proposed sharply cutting the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program…

Under Mr. Obama’s proposed budget, the overall heating aid program would get about $2.6 billion, down from $4.7 billion in 2010-11. The House and the Senate are considering smaller but still significant cuts, with the final amount yet to be determined.