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Hope and change, not so much

Obama's slogan: looking to replace Hope and Change - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Winning The Future. Greater Together. We Don't Quit.

They may not be official but those are all phrases that could in one form or another be candidates to become President Barack Obama's re-election slogan.…

Why not "stay the course"? Worked for that other guy.

Steampunk in the wires

The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-Line Pioneers by Tom Standage - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

An interesting book, not terribly enlightening from a technical point of view and not likely to win any recognizable literary awards any time soon, but nonetheless an engaging and fairly throrough review of the world's telegraph systems (which unaccountably fails to mention teletypewriter exchanges or radio telegraphy) and a provocative reminder of technology's impacts on the conduct of human affairs (we write, desperately trying to rescue a runaway sentence from colliding with chaos itself but in the end, finally, giving up).

The Internet analogy is a wee bit shaky.

The book is new on the list.

Listening to the R's on how to run an election

Maine GOP: Results went to spam - Tim Mak - POLITICO.com

For example, in Portland (Maine), the state party’s results originally showed that Paul won by 15 votes when in reality Romney won by 15, he said.

In addition, Webster said “about a half a dozen” towns never added to the tally on election night and that, in a couple of cases, e-mails from municipalities reporting caucus results actually “went to spam” in the state party’s email system.…

“You get people complaining about Waldo County [where some votes were not counted]. We’re talking 120 votes, and most of them went to Santorum. … It’s a handful of votes, and those are important, they all count, but it’s not like we were trying not to count them,” Webster asserted.

Of course none of this would have happened if only people had had picture ID's.


Museum Parking Lot

iPhone photo: Phil Compton

Once again, darn librul president wants gummint to meddle in business affairs

UPDATE 1-Obama, eyeing China, to boost export financing | Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 17 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will announce an effort to streamline financing for U.S. exporters competing with foreign firms that get "unfair advantages," the White House said on Friday…

Surely the Mittens will jump all over this one.


Fire that navigator

Pot-laden plane blows into Obama's air space - CBS News


WASHINGTON - Two Air Force F-16 fighters intercepted a privately owned Cessna airplane that entered the same Los Angeles airspace as Marine One on Thursday as the helicopter was ferrying President Barack Obama.

Police discovered about 40 pounds of marijuana inside the plane after it landed at Long Beach Airport, a law enforcement official said.…

If this doesn't scare you (even more), you're nuts

Nanosecond Trading Could Make Markets Go Haywire | Wired Science | Wired.com

The programs are designed to trade enormous volumes of stocks, bonds and other financial instruments at superfast speeds, taking advantage of second-to-second fractional price shifts and market trends. It’s now estimated that high-frequency computer trading accounts for 70 percent of all equity trades. While some activity does occur at speeds with which humans can interact, much of it falls beyond the limits of human response time.

(One new computer chip built specifically for high-frequency trading can prepare trades in .000000074 seconds; a proposed $300 million transatlantic cable is being built just to shave 0.006 seconds off transaction times between New York City and London.)…

“There’s a danger of Europeans doing some changes they haven’t thought through, and there’s danger of the United States not changing things they need to change,” Farmer said. “It’s hard to think these things through, because nobody understands them.”

(Emphasis mine.)

A most amusing question

Rev Your Engines | Talking Points Memo

As GM posts its highest annual profit in history, how quickly can Romney drive away from his image as an opponent of the auto bailout?

And speaking of the auto industry's fantabulous revival, we're thinking of instituting a miracle watch.

Go for it

Play the kerning game (now appearing on our world-renowned Work Avoidance List).

Tweaking Plan M

Greedy Caterpillar, Inc. calls the shots | Odd Man Out

With the election approaching, President Obama says he’s working hard to come up with incentives that will encourage American companies to bring home jobs that have been outsourced.…

Plan M is to change the Presidential term of office from four years to six, and limit each president to one term. This gives the president plenty of time to get things done (probably doesn't work more than six years anway in two four-year terms) and make it unnecessary for the president to be out campaigning all the time (and raising huge sums of money by selling off chunks of your government to the highest bidder [sez I]) Hereby, however, I propose a rider to Plan M, namely that Obama be limited to one-year terms so he is always campaigning, because campaigning seems to keep him wonderfully focussed (or whoever pulls his strings). Whether any of this focus results in anything more than smoke and mirrors remains (waaay remains, IMHO) to be seen. But at least it's something.


The city that works

UIC News Release

Chicago and Illinois Among Nation's Leaders in Public Corruption, Report Says

The Northern District of Illinois, which consists primarily of the Chicago metropolitan area, is the most corrupt federal district in the country, and Illinois is the third most corrupt state, according to a new report produced by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

Of course "most corrupt" is based on "most corruption convictions," so maybe it's just that Chicago has better prosecutors than anywhere else. Or more angry jurors. Or more honest judges.

Or, of course, maybe not.


Why, when I was a boy…

…men were men and candy bars were candy bars. But they've been shrinking them ever since. Dude, have you seen a Hershey bar recently? Hold it up to the light and you can see right through it. 

And now they've got this calorie dodge to fall back on. All is lost.

Goodbye To The King Size: Mars To Downsize Candy Bars In 2013 : The Salt : NPR

By the end of 2013, chocolate-maker Mars says all of its chocolate bars will be under — or right at — the 250-calorie mark.

Obama, Scott Walker schmooze

Walker Gives Obama A Brewers Baseball Jersey In Milwaukee Visit | TPM2012

Walker gave POTUS a white Milwaukee Brewers baseball jersey with OBAMA and the number 1 stitched on the back. They chatted for 30 seconds, amiably with smiles and a chuckle or two.…

Greenwald: Deja vu

Diane Sawyer and Brian Ross belong in a fear-mongering museum - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com

The text on the website of ABC News displaying the Sawyer/Ross story expressly says: “Federal officials told ABC News that there is so far no specific intelligence of any threat to Israeli interests in the U.S.” (that didn’t make it into the TV broadcast). Yet here we have multiple media outlets — including ABC – issuing incredibly inflammatory “warnings” that Iran may launch Terrorist attacks on Jewish houses of worships and other targets on U.S. soil, all based on pure speculation and fabrication.

(Emphasis in original.)

It's that big lake, I guess

Snow damages Colosseum, Medieval churches in Italy - CNN.com

London (CNN) -- Heavy snow in recent weeks has already wreaked havoc across Europe -- now it is damaging some of the continent's most recognized historic monuments.

The Colosseum in Rome has been forced to shut after small pieces of its walls crumbled away as a result of freezing temperatures.

Or sea, I guess they call it. The Med. That keeps Italy warm. In fact, there is just barely more than 0.5 degrees of latitude difference between Rome and Boston (Boston is only slightly farther north). But if "freezing temperatures" cause bits to fall off the Colosseum in Rome, it would have crumbled to dust in Boston a few centuries ago. No doubt. 

Ironically, though, this year it would very possibly be better off here. It's still February, I know, but so far so 40º.

Take that, Eastwood

Romney op-ed: U.S. autos bailout 'was crony capitalism on a grand scale' | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com

I am a son of Detroit. I was born in Harper Hospital and lived in the city until my family moved to Oakland County.

I grew up drinking Vernors and watching ballgames at Michigan & Trumbull. Cars got in my bones early. And not just any cars, American cars.

Yeah. Mittens.

A whole lot of potato chips

Diamond, P&G End Pringles Deal; Kellogg Steps In With $2.7 Billion Bid - WSJ.com

Diamond Foods Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co. mutually agreed to terminate Diamond's proposed acquisition of the Pringles canned-chips business, and Kellogg Co. stepped in with an offer worth $2.7 billion.

Yes, that Stanley Kubrick

Check this out…

Chicago, 1949, by Stanley Kubrick | Retronaut

…from the newest addition to our world-famous Work Avoidance list, Retronaut.

Time for a new career

I had a nightmare about Microsoft Word. Dude, it was terrifying.

Try stuffing a couple thousand of these into your phone

IBM hard drive, circa 1956, weighs (literally) a ton.

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The good rant

Maher: Conservatives Are the Ones Dividing the Country | AlterNet

When Newt Gingrich calls the subway "elitist," you have a problem.

Video at the link.

(H/T M)

Walker balances Wisconsin budget—again

Scott Walker to spend state’s mortgage settlement money to fix his budget shortfall | Blogging Blue

Milwaukee has been absolutely devastated by predatory lending practices, with more than 20,000 foreclosure actions started on Milwaukee property owners since 2008, and Scott Walker’s decision to spend tens of millions of dollars of this settlement fixing the hole in his state budget rather than assisting struggling homeowners shows how little Gov. Walker cares for folks who are struggling.

(H/T Charlie)


Newt Gingrich Wishes You A Very Disgusting Valentine’s Day

Wait, wait, we’ll tell you all about Newt Gingrich’s plans to get laid tonight in just a second — that is what you all want to read about, right? — but first…

Reason #5,714 I'm glad I'm not in high school any more

Verizon, AT&T and WQNI to Deploy Retail Pilot Program Offering RatedSafe(TM) Child Protection and Parental-Notification Mobile Phone Application - MarketWatch

RatedSafe(TM) automatically blocks any kind of pornographic ads on a child's mobile phone Internet browser, and triggers email alerts to parents when their child receives a suspicious, offensive threading, or sexually explicit text message, including sending the parent an email containing the entire dialog of the text messages in question.…

Picky, picky

Barack Obama's ‘Truth Team’ could dig into his super PAC flip-flop - Political Intelligence - A national political and campaign blog from The Boston Globe - Boston.com

President Obama's reelection campaign yesterday announced a “Truth Team” to keep his Republican critics honest.

It may want to start with its own candidate.

Mainframe, meet abacus

End of an era: NASA shuts down its last mainframe | Deep Tech - CNET News

There was a time when IBM's mainframes were cutting-edge machines for scientific and engineering calculations.


All in a day's take

Maine Becomes Third State to Divert Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Cash into General Fund | FDL News Desk

You can now add Maine to the roster of states planning to use at least some of the money distributed by the five leading banks as part of the foreclosure fraud settlement for the purposes of patching up its budget rather than helping homeowners.…

So sue me: I think this is fascinating

I'm reading a book that mentions the speed of light is "almost 200,000 miles per second." I understand the book is trying to present its subject in a non-technical way, but why is "almost 200,000 miles per second" any easier to understand or conceptualize than 186,000 miles per second? (Or, for that matter, 186,282?)

Lucky duckies: Bottom 20% see 18% increase

I thought salsa was some kind of hot, sexy music but no…

…turns out it's something you put on hot dogs. Crazy, no? 

It's always a little weird, what happens at the grocery store. My downfall is the used bakery basket. They always put these big boxes of really old, stale cookies in there, marked down to a ridiculously low price (because, of course, they are really old and stale) and I can't resist. I try, but I can't. Today was ginger cookies. And did I say big box?

OK, we get it, Politico

Emanuel Cleaver: Budget is ‘nervous breakdown’ - MJ Lee - POLITICO.com

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, warned Monday that the federal government should be weary of slashing spending too drastically as he called President Barack Obama’s expected budget proposal a “nervous breakdown on paper.”

“This budget is a nervous breakdown on paper,” Cleaver said on CNN.

Unemployment: Somewhere between 8.3 and 15.1 percent

FACT CHECK: Politicians choose their own definition for 'unemployment' | iWatch News by The Center for Public Integrity

The dummy who became a celebrity (sounds impossible, right?)

Cynthia the Mannequin, a 1930s Superstar - LIFE

The height of Cynthia's social ascent came in June 1937, when she was invited, as a friend of the bride, to the wedding of Wallis Simpson and the former King Edward VIII of England…


xkcd: Valentine Dilemma


A note from Mrs. Parker

Song of Perfect Propriety by Dorothy Parker

Oh, I should like to strut and curse
Among my blackguard crew....
But I am writing little verse,
As little ladies do.

[The link. Click the link.]

Headline of the week (and more)

Daily Kos: Republicans undiscover fire

The real danger isn't that someone might listen to the Republicans—anyone who lies long enough and loud enough can always find an audience, especially when that someone has three quarters of the television media and ninety+ percent of radio. The danger is that we might forget that they're lying. Too often Democrats, including this president, have felt that the best way to handle Republican fantasies is to compromise with them. You can't compromise reality, no no matter how loud the lies.


Robert Scheer: Elections Are for Suckers - Robert Scheer's Columns - Truthdig

The generally reserved New York Times editorial page responded to the Obama campaign’s decision to seek super PAC funding with a scathing editorial headlined “Another Campaign for Sale.” The Times reminded that Barack Obama, in his State of the Union speech two years ago, called out the Supreme Court justices sitting before him over their decision to free special interests from campaign spending limits. “I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests,” Obama said then. “They should be decided by the American people.” But sadly, as the Times editorial noted this week, “On Monday, the President abandoned that fundamental principle and gave in to the culture of the Citizens United decision that he once denounced as a ‘threat to our democracy.’ ”