And now, a lesson from Iceland

IMF Says Bailouts Iceland-Style Hold Lessons in Crisis Times - Businessweek

Iceland holds some key lessons for nations trying to survive bailouts after the island’s approach to its rescue led to a “surprisingly” strong recovery, the International Monetary Fund’s mission chief to the country said.

Iceland’s commitment to its program, a decision to push losses on to bondholders instead of taxpayers and the safeguarding of a welfare system that shielded the unemployed from penury helped propel the nation from collapse toward recovery, according to the Washington-based fund.

Highway jobs deferred

Obama Releases $470 Million for Highway Work - NYTimes.com

The Obama administration will make nearly half a billion dollars available to states to create thousands of construction jobs and fix the nation’s aging infrastructure.…

The money comes from Congressional earmarks from 2003 to 2006 that were provided in the Transportation Department’s budget.…

“These idle earmarks have sat on the shelf as our infrastructure continues to age and construction workers sit on the sidelines. That ends today,” [Transportation Secretary Ray] LaHood said.

So why wasn't this money spent in 2009? Or '10? Or even '11?

Oh, ya think?

Civilization ends

A Lamborghini SUV?: Urus makes its U.S. debut

The title of world's fastest soccer mom won't be up for grabs much longer.


The joy of walking

Here's your travel horror story for the day: Air France Flight 562 had to make an unexpected stop in Damascus, Syria, and as if unexpectedly landing in a war-torn country isn't alarming enough, the airline then checked if its passengers had enough cash to pay for fuel.

Atlantic Wire

What, he wanted more?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A White House spokesman says President Barack Obama is disappointed by the two-year prison sentence imposed on a punk band in Russia for protesting president Vladimir Putin (POO'-tihn).


Tsk, tsk.


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

The center can not hold

…until President Obama is pushed more strongly by the left, the coming presidential election represents a choice between a full-fledged attack on government services and a continuing slide into the gloomy and depressing world of austerity economics. That's a real choice, but it's not a happy one.

Bittman, NYTB

So now you fight with your SUV for food?

WASHINGTON — Three big intertwined but rival agribusinesses — corn farmers, meat and poultry producers, and biofuel refineries — are in a political fight to protect their interests as a drought ravages corn producers and industrial consumers alike.



Oh no!

A report surfaced this week that suggests Kentucky legislators may be experiencing a sort of cognitive dissonance that is likely to be a preview of things we can expect elsewhere. After dictating that schools in the state include tests based on national standards, the state lawmakers were shocked to find that evolution made a prominent appearance on the science tests.

Ars Technica

Watching paint peel

Watching paint peel by Ted Compton
Watching paint peel, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Fun and games with Google

This Map of the United States of America Shows Every State's Stereotype Using Google Autocomplete

When you punch into Google, why is California so... Google autocomplete will show you liberal, broke, anti-gun and expensive. For New York? Great, populated, expensive and big. Alabama? So racist, so good, so good at football and so obese. This is the United States of America, according to Google autocomplete.


We always knew there was a handbook…

101 Ways to Bug Your Parents

…although it probably should be called 101 top ways…

There is no 101 Ways to Bug Your Kids because, well, why should we tell you?

Sucks to be Uncle Sam (or Tom, Dick, Harry…)

In a just-released report, the Institute for Policy Studies details 26 megacorporations that paid one guy (their CEO) more than they spent on their entire federal tax bills last year. (See our interactive graph below—whoa! Halliburton!) These same companies averaged $1.4 billion in profits—which were announced, in some cases, around the same time they were announcing massive layoffs.

Mother Jones

Lots and lots

CHICAGO — Tens of thousands of young illegal immigrants waited excitedly in lines as long as a mile and thronged to information sessions across the country on Wednesday, the first day that a federal immigration agency began accepting applications for deportation deferrals that include permits to work legally.


Blackmail time

JERUSALEM — A former Israeli national security adviser said Wednesday that the prime minister and the defense minister told him this week they had not yet decided to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and could be dissuaded from a strike if President Obama approved stricter sanctions and publicly confirmed his willingness to use military force.


Just wondering

“There’s an inconsistency in trying to be purer than Caesar’s wife by not taking corporate money,” said Bob Farmer, a treasurer of Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. “It just makes it harder on his fund-raising team, and maybe they even have to cut some corners to make sure their coffers are filled.”


Has anybody ever actually seen a coffer?


Spencer begins

The Godwulf Manuscript is the first of Robert Parker's lengthy Spencer series, which series also became the inspiration for several movies and a long-running TV show. I was a fan of the TV show and read some of the books, by no means all. This one, Godwulf, is interesting not only because it represents the first appearance of the popular detective, but also because Parker captures the ambience of 70's so well (the book was published in 1973). On our reading list.

Obama is not your friend

That the Obama administration has waged an unprecedented war on whistleblowers is by now well-known and well-documented, as is its general fixation on not just maintaining butincreasing even the most extreme and absurd levels of secrecy. Unsurprisingly, this ethos — that the real criminals are those who expose government wrongdoing, not those who engage in that wrongdoing — now pervades lower levels of the Executive Branch as well.


Run aground

Submarine commander sunk after allegedly faking death to end affair | Fox News

A Navy submarine commander is in hot water after he allegedly faked his death to end an extramarital affair.

Navy Cmdr. Michael Ward II, 43, met the 23-year-old woman on a dating website last October, according to the Connecticut newspaper the New London Day. Ward, who is is married with children, told the woman he was separated and worked in special ops, the paper reported.…


Ward has since been reassigned to administrative duties because of the incident. 

Still. I don't care what this guy does with his email but the thought that he might be commanding a warship is a little more than just spooky. Kudus to the Navy for putting a stop to it, although it looks like they found out about it more by luck than anything else. 

So then, big fish fry?

Summer’s record heat, drought point to longer-term climate issues - The Washington Post

In all, about 58,000 dead fish were along a 42-mile stretch [of the Des Moines river in Iowa], according to state officials, and the cause of death appeared to be heat. Biologists measured the water at 97 degrees in multiple spots.



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

An excellent solution

In Israel, new modesty glasses for Orthodox Jewish men blur women out of their line of sight - NY Daily News

JERUSALEM — It’s the latest prescription for extreme ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who shun contact with the opposite sex: Glasses that blur their vision, so they don’t have to see women they consider to be immodestly dressed.

If you don't like how other people look, close your eyes.