Imagine the outrage

Big isn't bad, banks tell Fed - Business - Stocks & economy - msnbc.com

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The largest U.S. banks are accusing the Federal Reserve of attempting to misuse its new regulatory powers to shrink financial giants under the misguided belief that "big is bad."


One of the best lines since "Out, damn spot"

Undernews: Missionaries like Mitt

As Charlie said of Willy Loman: “For a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine.”

First they will take all your money, then they will take your Facebook

84% of All Stock Trades Are By High-Frequency Computers


Yeah, well, the Internet, blah blah something something

Lindsay Lohan on track for Correspondents’ dinner - The Reliable Source - The Washington Post

The Internet was terribly concerned Friday over TMZ’s report that Lindsay Lohan had missed her afternoon flight from Los Angeles to Washington…


Skyfeathers by Ted Compton
Skyfeathers, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Unsinkable once more

Al Qaeda now incapable of 9/11-scale attack: U.S. officials - Yahoo! News


OK, that's it, I'm out

Romney would not have killed bin Laden, implies new Obama campaign ad | The Ticket - Yahoo! News

Would Mitt Romney have ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden? President Barack Obama's re-election campaign released a new video on Friday that strongly implies that he would not have, using the presumptive Republican nominee's own words against him.

And it's only April. 

Good news

Tomorrow is forecast to be warmer than today, says Weather Underground. (Really. They say it in red.)

Today was 52, tomorrow is expected to be…wait for it…55.

Me, I can't wait.

I'm for it, nonetheless

Free 10 Million Loans For All and Other Wall Street Notes | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone

I hope everyone saw ex-Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chief Sheila Bair’s editorial in the Washington Post, entitled, "Fix Income Inequality with $10 million Loans for Everyone!" The piece might have set a world record for public bitter sarcasm by a former top regulatory official.

Lizzie Warren took an ax…

Iran War Politics: Elizabeth Warren Contradicts Defense Secretary In Hawkish Talk, Bob Kerrey Calls Attack 'Disaster'

Warren's campaign website features a policy statement declaring that "Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons" and "Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable because a nuclear Iran would be a threat to the United States, our allies, the region, and the world."…

Warren's claim that "Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons" is especially notable because it contradicts public statements by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as well as reported intelligence findings of the U.S. and Israeli governments.

Go ahead, tell us what you really think

Fuck the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

This little rant is not meant to offer any hope. It is not meant to project any sense of superiority. (We don't get invited to these things.) This is only meant to make an annual declaration—which is not earth-shattering or surprising or particularly insightful, but is, nevertheless, necessary, in the sense of simply reading something into the public record—that you, the tie-adjusting, ballgown-donning, picture-posing members of the media at the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner, are not cute.

Pi: It's green

Well, sorta green, anyway. See for yourself:


In 2011, pi was computed out to 10,000,000,000,000 decimal places. Here are 4,000,000 of them, translated into colored pixels corresponding to digits 0-9 (this is only part of it, explore the full image here).


Ted's Most Best

Sent from Athens, GA, by our Seattle bureau (geography has never been one of our passions), this image of an Athens restaurant named Ted's. Which is, as you can see from the sign on the left, most best.
Reflecting Pond
iPhone abstract: Phil Compton

But you're going to give us some anyway, right?

Can Mitt Romney make boring sexy? - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

Mitt Romney isn't cool. You probably don't need much evidence to back up that point…

Now, on top of everything else, bitchy doctors: Awwwww

Healthy Perspective - USATODAY.com

Increasing numbers of U.S. doctors regret their career choices…


First. Official. Check.

Obama To Begin Campaigning In Earnest : NPR

President Obama will hold his first official re-election campaign rallies next week with back-to-back visits to the swing states of Ohio and Virginia.

Boring and Dull go wild

Boring, USA forges links with Dull, Scotland - Yahoo! News

There's nothing boring about Boring, Oregon, especially when it comes to building bridges with the good folks of little Dull, Scotland.…

"Neither of us is a city, so officially we cannot be sister cities," Bates said, explaining why the pairing is being defined instead as a friendly match of sister "communities."



American Austerity - NYTimes.com

With all the focus on Europe’s sudden discovery that austerity doesn’t work, we shouldn’t lose sight of just how much de facto austerity we’ve done on this side of the Atlantic.

Dark war

The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret | Politics News | Rolling Stone

During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the military conducted only a handful of drone missions. Today, the Pentagon deploys a fleet of 19,000 drones, relying on them for classified missions that once belonged exclusively to Special Forces units or covert operatives on the ground. American drones have been sent to spy on or kill targets in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and Libya. Drones routinely patrol the Mexican border, and they provided aerial surveillance over Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In his first three years, Obama has unleashed 268 covert drone strikes, five times the total George W. Bush ordered during his eight years in office. All told, drones have been used to kill more than 3,000 people designated as terrorists, including at least four U.S. citizens. In the process, according to human rights groups, they have also claimed the lives of more than 800 civilians. Obama's drone program, in fact, amounts to the largest unmanned aerial offensive ever conducted in military history; never have so few killed so many by remote control.

Blue sky

Blue sky, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

This means cheaper meat, right?

S. Korea curbs U.S. beef sales after confirmation of mad cow disease - CNN.com

(CNN) -- The first U.S. case of mad cow disease in six years sparked fears of illness that prompted at least one major South Korean retailer to suspend the sale of American beef.

No more Mr. Penguin Food: Newt

Gingrich plans to suspend campaign on May 1 - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

(CBS News) CRAMERTON, N.C.--Newt Gingrich on Wednesday unofficially conceded the Republican presidential race to Mitt Romney, calling on conservatives to unite behind the presumptive nominee. Campaign aides said he would formally suspend his bid next week.

Read it and weep

Obama, Losing His Coalition - Yahoo! News

Take a look at Washington Capitals vice-chairman Raul Fernandez, who donated $30,000 to the president’s campaign in 2008, for a sign of how things have changed. The former Obama backer told The Washington Post that he would be voting for “anybody but Obama” and suggested the president’s fairness rhetoric smacked of anti-Americanism.


Suck it up: We had our chance and we blew it, and now we're screwed.


President Obama emphasizes new aspects of life story - latimes.com

Gone, at least for now, are the frequent references to Obama's mother once relying on food stamps to get by. As the president and Romney battle for women's votes, a story about Obama's grandmother hitting the glass ceiling in her work is prominent, particularly in First Lady Michelle Obama's remarks. The story about his mother's fight with insurance companies is little mentioned.

And while Obama has been making much of late of his struggles with student loans — "For the first eight years of our marriage, we were paying more in student loans than what we were paying for our mortgage," he said Tuesday — he rarely mentions the Ivy League institution that all the borrowing paid for.

Look. I understand a university education today is much, much more expensive than it was in mine (I don't understand why, but that's another matter altogether). And I understand a whole lot of people take out student loans to gain an education and that's a good thing. It's an investment in the future, and a good investment. An excellent investment. And I also undestand these loans can be sizeable and paying them off can be a real burden for many. 

That said, however, I'm not sure a guy who "struggled" with student loans into his mid-40s was exactly the right guy to manage the national economy and deal with the Lesser Depression. 

Just saying.

The way things are

Congress and Long-Term Unemployment : The New Yorker

A more aggressive monetary or fiscal policy, or both, would help put lots of Americans back to work. We could also follow Germany’s example and subsidize job-sharing programs, which have helped Germany bring down its long-term unemployment rate despite the recession. Sadly, there’s little sign that policymakers have much interest in using these tools.…Five years ago, an unemployment rate of seven and a half per cent would have seemed outrageous, but it’s possible that five years from now it will seem not so bad. A long-term crisis, after a certain point, no longer seems like a crisis. It seems like the way things are.

I got up in the wee hours…

…and just couldn't get back to sleep so I kicked on the computer and found 870,000 old photographs of New York City. 

Never-before-seen photos from 100 years ago tell vivid story of gritty New York City | Mail Online

Culled from the Municipal Archives collection of more than 2.2 million images going back to the mid-1800s, the 870,000 photographs feature all manner of city oversight -- from stately ports and bridges to grisly gangland killings.

The link above includes a handful of the pictures. The entire gallery is available here (see "Enter the Online Gallery" at the bottom of the page) but currently difficult to get to because of high traffic; we will absolutely post it to the Work Avoidance List as soon as we can actually verify the link.


US to defend Afghanistan for decade after drawdown - Yahoo! News

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Washington has pledged in a newly agreed strategic pact to help defend Afghanistan militarily for at least a decade after the country formally takes control of its own security, an Afghan official said Monday.


There'll always be an England

Smartly Dressed Demonstrators Peacefully Protest Abercrombie & Fitch Takeover of Savile Row

Yesterday morning, at the behest of pro-dandy British publication The Chap, "swathes of immaculately dressed chaps and chapettes" descended on No. 3 Savile Row, former home to the legendary Apple Studio, where they engaged in a peaceful protest of Abercrombie & Fitch's imminent soiling of the celebrated shopping street with a new children's clothing store.

White corner

White corner, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

Who is Lady Booby? (Hint: Google carefully)

Joseph Andrews - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The novel begins with the affable, intrusive narrator outlining the nature of our hero.…At the age of ten years he found himself tending to animals as an apprentice to Sir Thomas Booby. It was in proving his worth as a horseman that he first caught the eye of Sir Thomas’s wife, Lady Booby, who employed him (now seventeen) as her footman.

Seriously. A character in Henry Fielding's 1742 novel, Joseph Andrews.

I was digging around in an ancient file folder yesterday looking for something I did not find but what I did find was a copy of some kind of monster final English exam I took in college, six hours of mostly essay questions, most of which I do not understand—the questions, I mean, I don't understand the questions, so the answers, well, just imagine. 

OK, maybe I could fake an answer to one or two of them. Questions. And I can sort of understand a couple more. Like, for example, this:

Discuss a few of the following characters as deliniations of evil: the Pardoner, Iago, Lady Booby, Jason Compson, Robert Cohn.

Sure, everybody knows Iago, right? The Pardoner is a character from Chaucer (Canterbury Tales), Jason Compson is Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury?), and Cohn is from Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. But the Booby woman, I had to look up. And according to my notes I actually wrote about the evil Ms. Booby on the test. (According to my notes I wrote about all of them except Compson, I have no idea why not him, although possibly it has something to do with the question mark, above.)

Screw it. I'm going to throw this test away.

Diddling the vote in Florida—but I repeat myself

The BRAD BLOG : Palm Beach, FL Elections Settled by Hand-Count After Op-Scan Computer Misreported Results

A public hand-count of paper ballots in Palm Beach County, FL over the weekend has decisively determined the winners and losers of several disputed elections after paper ballot optical-scan computer tallying systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems (now owned by Dominion Voting) declared the incorrect "winners" of several races in a March 13th election.

Instructional video of the week, or possibly decade

An Engineer's Guide to Cats - YouTube

Two professional engineers illustrate the proper care and practical benefits of cats. None of the cats, humans, or engineers were mistreated in the making of this film. They were however, slightly annoyed.…

Just let it all out, it feels so good

TSA: Terrorizing Seniors in America - Lowering the Bar

"Can you imagine an 85-year-old lady and a 95-year-old retired Air Force major in wheelchairs being treated like terrorists?" said Omer Petti. I sure can. I can easily imagine that, because this is the United States in 2012 and the TSA is a bunch of useless goddamn thugs who do stuff like this all the time.…

Who even knew he was still in it?

Gingrich hints he may quit race | The Ticket - Yahoo! News

Gingrich has won only two states so far — South Carolina and his home state of Georgia — and his campaign is $4.3 million in debt, according to FEC filings.

And he has garnered more attention lately for being bitten by a penguin in St. Louis and bouncing a check in Utah than for his prospects of capturing the nomination.

(Funny about the penguin, though. How many penguins would want to take a bite of Willard?)


Not gonna re-hope then?

Obama's pot promise a pipe dream? - Byron Tau - POLITICO.com

The dejected medical marijuana supporters are hardly alone. For many in 2008, candidate Obama was like a political Rorschach test: They projected strong progressive positions about everything from legalizing gay marriage to ending all military involvement onto a candidate who never said he agreed with them — but also never explicitly said he didn’t.

Now they’re looking at four years into the Obama administration and wondering where they went wrong.

“I believed in him,” Montana-based activist and medical cannabis user Sarah Combs said about the president. “I don’t believe a word he says now.”

Cheney's rested, rebooted, ready to go again

Dick Cheney to Mitt Romney: Ignore 'talking heads' on VP choice - POLITICO.com

Dick Cheney offered Mitt Romney a dose of blunt advice Monday afternoon: resist the temptation to tap a vice-presidential for purely political purposes.

Duck? Did somebody say duck?

Duck!, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

Also I'm thinking, who needs algebra, right?

University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department, Increases Athletic Budgets. Hmm. - Forbes

The University of Florida announced this past week that it was dropping its computer science department, which will allow it to save about $1.7 million.  The school is eliminating all funding for teaching assistants in computer science, cutting the graduate and research programs entirely, and moving the tattered remnants into other departments.…

Meanwhile, the athletic budget for the current year is $99 million, an increase of more than $2 million from last year.


H.P. Lovecraft Answers Your Relationship Questions « The Bygone Bureau

Dear Howie,


A change has overcome my husband. He likes to pore over forbidden manuscripts, and often returns home late, giving the excuse that he has been attending debauches in a neighboring swamp. So why am I never invited?


H/T to the invaluable Sideshow

Does this mean outlawing drones?

US eyes sanctions on tech used vs. rebels - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday will announce a plan to impose sanctions against foreign entities and individuals who help authoritarian regimes use technology to crack down on dissidents, an administration official said.

Can you spell "fat chance"?

Lubricated dolphins and other amenities

Two Years After BP Oil Spill, Marine Life in the Gulf of Mexico Still Reels - Yahoo! News

Last Christmas, BP launched a new national ad campaign to tout its progress in cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico 20 months after its deepwater well exploded on April 20, 2010, causing the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.…

Just three months later, in March, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a report that made clear just how far away we are from declaring the end of the Gulf cleanup.

Some pictures are worth a whole lot more than a thousand words



Winter punches back with snow, heavy rain in Northeast U.S. - Yahoo! News

"In the Northeast, the year without a winter began with a freak snowstorm in late October and it seems it will end with one during the second half of April," AccuWeather forecaster Alex Sosnowski said.

The forecast here is rain. For a week. But this snow they're talking about is planned for south of here. 

What I say is, as long as it doesn't topple over any more trees, let it come.


Blue, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

And you know who you are

The High Cost of Looking Low Class

Yesterday I posted a link to $525 paint-splattered shoes — you, too, can look like a manual laborer. But this was also a call for submissions: what is the most expensive apparel you can buy to make yourself look poor? Here are some of the most egregious items you sent in.

They're coming

Huge, Mysteriously Silent Satellite Spotted by Another Spacecraft - Yahoo! News:

"A massive European satellite the size of a school bus that has mysteriously stopped communicating with Earth has been spotted by another satellite in orbit.
The giant Envisat satellite, which is the world's largest imaging satellite for civilian use, was photographed in stunning detail by a French spacecraft that is also designed to snap high-resolution images of Earth, officials with the European Space Agency (ESA) said Friday (April 20)."

'via Blog this'

Don't all raise your hands at once

Undernews: Obama asks donors for record $75,000

US News - For $75,800, donors can attend the Obama-backed 18th Annual National Women's Issues Conference in Washington. The price tag earns a donor the title of "chairman," special seating, a photo op and special recognition at the conference.…

Yes, your government is being sold to the highest bidder

Big-money donors find their way to Obama’s reelection campaign - The Washington Post: "President Obama’s reelection campaign has been rapidly increasing the number of big money “bundlers” collecting checks for his reelection, doubling the number of financiers who have brought in at least $500,000."

OK, right, mine too. And personally, I think it sucks.

(Also we are trying out a new—actually old, because we've used it before but for the last couple of years have been using Scribefire—blogging gadget, this one from Google itself. Just because we can, mostly. For now. See below. This is mostly because we are playing around with Google's Chrome browser, which is pretty cool and running faster than Safari, which we like. The running faster part. Although we also like Safari, we're just liking Chrome more. For now.

(I did say trying out, right.)

'via Blog this'

Can it be?


A sidenote: I heard some people yesterday talking about this scandal who pointed out that the Secret Service had become a much less professional organization since it was removed from the Treasury Department and moved into the behemoth Department of Homeland Security. Shocking, I know.

Because that's were you are

President Obama Pensively Peering Out of Windows -- Daily Intel

Yesterday, the White House released a photo of President Obama peering through the windows of the famous Rosa Parks bus in Detroit's Henry Ford Museum, seemingly deep in thought. This is actually a fairly common pastime for Obama. In fact, according to White House records acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request, Obama has spent 14 percent of his presidency pensively gazing through windows.…

This is a joke, right?

Nor'easter to bring heavy rain and snow to U.S. East - Yahoo! News

(Reuters) - Heavy rains and snow will soon pound the eastern United States, possibly leading to downed trees, power outages and flight delays as a low pressure system from the Gulf of Mexico moves through the region, meteorologists said on Saturday.

Or maybe not. Fortunately they're saying eastern, not northeastern; most of it goes south of us. Still, we are forecast for a couple of chilly (55-ish) days before things get back to making sense again around Tuesday or Wednesday.