Damning with faint praise

Weighing In on the ‘Callista’ Gingrich - NYTimes.com

“I absolutely love, love Callista Gingrich’s hair,” wrote Stan Patten, a retired English professor from North Carolina. “It is the one immovable object in a rapidly changing world.”

Bishops smell blood

Bishops call Obama's contraception compromise 'unacceptable' - Jennifer Haberkorn - POLITICO.com

Hours after calling the Obama administration's contraceptives compromise a "first step," the Catholic bishops said Friday night they have "two serious objections" to the new policy and will fight its enactment.


Smoke, mirrors

There Is No Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Term Sheet | FDL News Desk

We are more than 24 hours removed from the foreclosure fraud settlement and the terms have, shockingly, not been released. In fact, American Banker reports that the terms will not be released before the filing of the settlement in federal court, because a document with actual terms does not yet exist.…

This is incredible. The Administration, the AGs, everyone involved in this made a big show of an agreement reached on foreclosure fraud. But there is no piece of paper with the agreement on it. There’s no term sheet. There are just agreements in principle.

Onion: American Voices

Congress Clears U.S. Airspace For More Drones | The Onion - America's Finest News Source | American Voices

With a vote of 75 to 20 in the Senate, Congress approved a bill that will allow more drones, military and private, in U.S. airspace. What do you think?

And also full of vitamin C

U.S. News - Burglar breaks in, folds clothes, cooks dinner

When a South Bend, Ind. mother returned home Monday night with her son, she discovered Keith Davis, 46, had neatly folded her clothes, swept the floor and cooked dinner. The problem? Davis was a burglar. 

"He drunk up my orange juice, but it's cool…" Murray told WNDU.

File under Stuff We Haven't Got Around to Worrying About Yet

The Book Bench: Olive Oil’s Dark Side : The New Yorker

In the August 13, 2007, issue of the magazine, Tom Mueller wrote about corruption in the olive-oil trade.…

Also, no one caved until now

slacktivist » Old men pretending to be newly upset at old news

President Barack Obama’s decision to require most employers to cover birth control and insurers to offer it at no cost has created a firestorm of controversy. But the central mandate — that most employers have to cover preventative care for women—has been law for over a decade. This point has been completely lost in the current controversy, as Republican presidential candidates and social conservatives claim that Obama has launched a war on religious liberty and the Catholic Church.

Despite the longstanding precedent, “no one screamed” until now…

What is it about the word, "insurance," that these guys don't understand?

Daily Kos: White House officials outline the 'accommodations' on birth control

The new compromise offered by the White House is that the insurer for the religious entities in question, rather than the employer, would be responsible for providing contraceptive coverage free of charge for employees.…

What happens when you're horny and R

CPAC Wants To Help You Get A Hot Conservative Date | TPM2012

Elise asked a slick-haired Republican to describe his perfect girl. His answer: 5”7, good hair, nice skin, and “works for FOX News.”

Caves in record time

Source: Obama to change birth control rule

President Obama will announce a plan as early as today to accommodate religious employers opposed to a rule that would require them to cover birth control for women free of charge, a senior administration official tells USA TODAY.


Also that word, "earth," sounds a little bit suspicious to me

Call It 'Gulf Of America,' Not Gulf Of Mexico, Mississippi Lawmaker Says : The Two-Way : NPR

A Democratic member of Mississippi's state House has introduced legislation that would "for all official purposes within the State of Mississippi," change the name of the Gulf of Mexico to Gulf of America.

I do not wish to ask a dorky question or anything but…

…where is this $26 billion coming from?

Later: Thin air, apparently. It's not a payout like the tobacco settlement (which was something like ten times bigger, I understand) but a markdown of existing mortgages. It's just an adjustment to the books, in other words. How this might help people who have already been foreclosed upon and therefore have no mortgages is unclear. To me. But may not remain so.

Later later: Ahhh. People who've already lost their homes get $2,000. 

I think at CVS they just move stuff around…

…so when you go in there to buy something you have to walk around and find it and that way maybe you buy more. I think they do it on purpose. But sometimes it doesn't work, and a person leaves without what he went there for.

I was there today and could not find the tinfoil hats.

Health fish

We'll have some.
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End of an era: Kodak discontinues camera business | The Digital Home - CNET News

Eastman Kodak stunned the world today, announcing that it has put an end to its camera business.

Santorum: Hang on to your head

Santorum: Obama Has Put America On 'The Path' Of Executing Religious People By Decapitation | ThinkProgress

SANTORUM: They are taking faith and crushing it. Why? Why? When you marginalize faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given rights, then what’s left is the French Revolution. What’s left is the government that gives you right, what’s left are no unalienable rights, what’s left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. What’s left in France became the guillotine. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re a long way from that, but if we do and follow the path of President Obama and his overt hostility to faith in America, then we are headed down that road.

(Emphasis in original)

Open Mic

iPhone photo: Phil Compton

The end is near

Colleges Are Selling Naming Rights to Campus Restrooms | Moneyland | TIME.com

Colleges and universities around the country, including the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Pennsylvania and even Harvard Law School have named restroom stalls and walls after alumni and benefactors in exchange for generous donations to the university.


It's not the votes that count, it's the checks

Democratic operatives seeking million-dollar checks for super PACs | iWatch News by The Center for Public Integrity

Five Democratic super PACs are reaching out to party mega-donors, in a fledgling effort seeking $1 million to $10 million contributions, now that President Barack Obama has blessed the outside spending group working to get him re-elected.


Boehner vows to stop Obama contraceptive rule | Reuters

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama's new rule on contraceptives amounts to an attack on religious freedom and Congress will act, if needed, to stop it, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Wednesday.

Obama wants to pick fights with Congress this year but how much will you bet he doesn't want to pick this fight?

But, not wanting to chance it, Obama will back down

Backlash Against Birth Control Mandate Might Aid President : Roll Call Lobbying & Influence

A new federal mandate on birth control and the growing outcry against it might actually help President Barack Obama in the upcoming election.

And it seems like only yesterday

'No negotiations' on Falklands, Britain vows - CNN.com

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands (CNN) -- Britain on Wednesday dismissed a complaint from Argentina about the "militarization of the South Atlantic" as tensions rise over the Falkland Islands, over which the two countries fought a war 30 years ago.…

Ricky is the new Newt

Santorum Upsets G.O.P. Race With Three Victories - NYTimes.com

His candidacy all but dismissed just days ago, Rick Santorum won the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses and a nonbinding primary in Missouri on Tuesday…

When these R's say party they really mean it. 

And what's with Mittens? Ten years of campaigning and he still can't make the sale. 

Maybe the R's are just going for the sympathy vote.


A stick-y new toy

Noted by our Seattle bureau and newly added to our world famous Work Avoidance List.

Give it a try.

Ooops, how did this get in with all the happynews?

The Downward Mobility of the Middle Class

Most of the new jobs being created are in the lower-wage sectors of the economy - hospital orderlies and nursing aides, secretaries and temporary workers, retail and restaurant. Meanwhile, millions of Americans remain working only because they've agreed to cuts in wages and benefits. Others are settling for jobs that pay less than the jobs they've lost. Entry-level manufacturing jobs are paying half what entry-level manufacturing jobs paid six years ago.

Other people are falling out of the middle class because they've lost their jobs, and many have also lost their homes. Almost one in three families with a mortgage is now underwater, holding their breath against imminent foreclosure.

The unkindest cut

Undernews: America's constitution loses its appeal around the world

“The U.S. Constitution appears to be losing its appeal as a model for constitutional drafters elsewhere,” according to a new study by David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia.… 
In an interview, Professor Law identified a central reason for the trend: the availability of newer, sexier and more powerful operating systems in the constitutional marketplace. “Nobody wants to copy Windows 3.1,” he said. 

Focus, focus

Again, an Effective Disguise Should Generally Cover the Face - Lowering the Bar

The report notes that this bank was robbed on two consecutive days in September 2005, both times by the same man. During the second robbery, he said to the teller, "I was here Thursday and wanted to do the same thing today." Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.


Axelrod defends super-PAC decision

Obama campaign senior strategist David Axelrod vociferously defended the president against charges of hypocrisy for his decision to embrace a super PAC that is pushing for his re-election.

Bottom line: Everybody's doing it.

Why should it take three spoons to eat a bowl of leftover chili?

I use a teaspoon to test if I can eat it cold or if I need to heat it up. Cold is fine. But a teaspoon is not the spoon I want to actually eat it with. I like soup spoon for that. But the soup spoon is not the one I want to dish the chili into the bowl I have. It would take forever. I might as well just eat it out of the…hmmmmm.

Or I could just put it on a slice of bread and call it a sandwich. That would work.

And what's more, this is the coldest it's been since Monday

Romney ties Obama to Carter - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Mitt Romney on Monday sought to link President Obama to former President Jimmy Carter, calling Obama's administration "the most anti-jobs, anti-investment, anti-growth administration that I've seen since Jimmy Carter."


Congress OKs Bill to Prod US Aviation Into New Era - ABC News

After five years of legislative struggling, 23 stopgap measures and a two-week shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, Congress finally has passed a bill aimed at prodding the nation's aviation system into a new high-tech era in which satellites are central to air traffic control and piloted planes share the skies with unmanned drones.

The bill, which passed the Senate 75-20 Monday, speeds the nation's switch from radar to an air traffic control system based on GPS technology. It also requires the FAA to open U.S. skies to drone flights within four years.

Emphasis mine.

Obama goes Colbert, decided to not coordinate with PAC after all

Obama Changes Tune, Urges Fundraisers To Back Super PAC | Fox News

President Barack Obama's campaign is asking top fundraisers to support a Democratic-leaning outside group that is backing the president's re-election bid, reversing Obama's opposition to "super" political action committees, which can spend unlimited amounts of cash to influence elections.

Obama's campaign urged wealthy fundraisers in a Monday night conference call to support Priorities USA, a super PAC led by two former Obama aides that has struggled to compete with the tens of millions of dollars collected by Republican-backed outside groups.


A call for justice

For reasons I am not going to disclose, absolutely not, no friggin' way, I wound up looking at this list of "the world's healthiest foods" and every single food there is is on said list except Twinkies. This is an outrage. What's wrong with Twinkies? 

As soon as I can figure out how to make one of those innumerable internet petitions I will let you know. Justice for the Twinkies, I say.


Undernews: Myth as a media job producer

Throughout the recession, I have kept in my pocket a list from Wiki of some of the approaches taken by the New Deal, just to remind myself that there is more to life than reducing an 8.5% unemployment rate to 8.3%:

“The CWA hired four million people, and during its five months of operation, the CWA built and repaired 200 swimming pools, 3,700 playgrounds, 40,000 schools, 250,000 miles of road, and 12 million feet of sewer pipe.The WPA, which followed the CWA, employed 8.5 million people in its seven-year history, working on 1.4 million projects, including the building or repair of 103 golf courses, 1,000 airports, 2,500 hospitals, 2,500 sports stadiums, 3,900 schools, 8,192 parks, 12,800 playgrounds, 124,031 bridges, 125,110 public buildings, and 651,087 miles of highways and roads.”

Remember that every time Obama brags about his stimulus package.

I love it: Troll the Hun

For Ron Paul, a Distinctive Worldview of Long Standing - NYTimes.com

“You’d go out for a beer, and he’d have a Coke,” said James Fuller, a classmate [of Ron Paul's].…

…Mr. Fuller said he pegged Mr. Paul as “to the right of Attila the Hun.” 

Profit of gloom

The Blindingly Obvious About Obama, 2013, Europe, Iran and so on | Ian Welsh

2013 will be ugly.  If Obama wins he will stop pandering to progressives and liberals.  Since he never has to be reelected again, he will be even worse than he was 2009-2011.  If you want anything from Obama, anything, get it before the election, do not believe promises, do not accept promises, accept cash only.…

(And so much more.) 

Those dirty guys! Wait. What?

Iran jamming Al Jazeera broadcasts: document | Reuters

(Reuters) - Iran is jamming broadcasts by Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera, according to a document from satellite operator Arabsat obtained by Reuters on Tuesday…

Al Jazeera are the bad guys, right? But Iran are the bad guys. Or wait, maybe Al Jazeera are the good guys. I am so confused.

Trinkets from the past

Earth Station: The Afterlife of Technology at the End of the World - Atlantic Mobile

The Jamesburg Earth Station is a massive satellite receiver in a remote valley in California. It played a central role in satellite communications for three decades, but had been forgotten until the current owner put it up for sale, promoting it as a great place to spend the apocalypse. It stands feet from a trailer park and down the road from a Buddhist retreat. This is the story of one of the old, weird ties between Earth and space.


Halftime show

Madonna at the Super Bowl: Pop music review - latimes.com

From the high-water mark Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake nip slip to the weird nonsequitur Rolling Stones gig to a children's choir singing "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," the Super Bowl has never been short on ridiculousness.


So it's over then?

Ohio newspaper endorses Romney – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs

(CNN) – One of Ohio's largest newspapers, The Columbus Dispatch, endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Sunday, about a month before the state's primary.

Quick! Back under the bed!

Muslim man: My workplace quip made me a terror suspect - Yahoo! News

MONTREAL - A casual text message to work colleagues encouraging them to ''blow away'' the competition at a trade show allegedly plunged a Muslim man into a terrorism probe.…

The Quebec man says he was arrested by provincial police while picking up his seven-year-old son at school. A team of police officers stormed into his home, telling his wife she was married to a terrorist. And his work colleagues were detained for hours at the U.S. border because of their connection to him.

But was it worth crossing the street for?

Turns out, we're having a Winter Carnival. This, apparently, is it. I'm not sure what it is, but I think it's an angel in a fedora. Whatever. It stands on the town commons but it looks like it would be more at home in a punch bowl. The temperature been above freezing probably since it was installed, and sunny during the day, so it might be more accurate to say last night's punch bowl. I don't know if this is the first year we've had a Winter Carnival or if it's just the first year I've noticed. In any event, this year there is not all that much winter to carn.
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Wherein "wonderful" becomes WTF?

Feet In Smoke: John Jeremiah Sullivan in @deadspin with a wonderful account of his brother's accidental electrocution http://t.co/fbjqQgAp
2/5/12 8:30 AM