Getting right to the point

“For some in the industry, [The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision] has been a definite boon,” said Dale Emmons, president of the American Association of Political Consultants. “This election appears to have set a new benchmark on the amount of money that could be spent, because there were no limits on what could be spent.”
Public Integrity

Heavy, man. 

In what universe?

Rand Paul vs. Hillary Clinton, clash of titans

Okay, maybe if Paul went to a high school that called its team the Titans… but even then it's a stretch.


True, this is a little bit overcooked…

Stephen King—who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer…
…but then so is his recent novel, 11/22/63, a story about time travel and the assassination of President Kennedy. I've never been a huge fan of King's because I'm not a huge fan of paranormal horror stories but this book leans more toward science fiction. And King is indisputably a master storyteller. And even though this book dies of its own weight at the end (a judgment with which you may disagree) it makes a heckuva good read along the way. So it goes, emphatically, on our reading list.

If you anticipate being sprawled on a beach for the next few weeks, or stuck in a snowdrift, this is one of the books you want to consider having with you.

Getting this sort of thing done before the plane takes off is just too much to ask, I guess

(Reuters) - U.S. safety regulators are nowhere near finishing an investigation into a battery fire on the Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner, a top official said on Thursday, raising the prospect of a prolonged grounding for the aircraft.

I say it's Canada's fault


What is it with vice presidents and shotguns?

Vice President Joe Biden, responding to a question about the need for assault weapons for protection -- say, in the wake of a natural disaster like an earthquake -- said there's a better weapon for that. 
"Guess what? A shotgun will keep you a lot safer…
How about Biden and Cheney duckhunting together? Would that be a cool outdoor reality show or what?

In Russia, snowed

Muscovites woke up and found their cars, driveways and houses buried under a thick layer of snow, with city workers unable to get to smaller streets.
Awesome photos

Bureautalk for "oops, screwed again"

It's not known how many defense contractors have secret indemnification agreements with the government. While most federal agencies are not allowed to enter open-ended indemnification agreements, the Pentagon is exempt under an executive order signed by President Richard Nixon in 1971.… 
"It is not possible to determine the actual or estimated cost to the Government as a result of the use of an indemnification clause since the liability of the Government, if any, will depend upon the occurrence of an incident related to the performance of the contract," White wrote. The agreement was necessary to "facilitate the national defense," he said.

Huffington Post


If you missed this on the TeeVee…

PBS' Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable.

…it's available for streaming from the PBS website.

OK, no

I am not going back out there again even though it's warmed all the way up to 7°, practically a heat wave. I am taking off my boots. This is what we have houses for, isn't it? So we have something to stay inside of on days like today.

Anyway, I have a good book.

Don't try to impress me with your antique shtick

David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) tweeted at 11:58am - 20 Jan 13:

Obama is using bible that Michelle Obama's father gave her mother in 1958 (https://twitter.com/DavidNakamura/status/293039739819421697)

Attention package designers

Boxes should open this way: The top comes off. Cut it out with the dotted lines and the fancy perforated flaps and those little pull strings that break off and leave you with a box that can't be opened with anything short of hatchet. You are making me craZy.

"Hysterically positive" sounds about right to me

Sam Smith - When I started out covering Washington, journalists used to report on what politicians actually did. These days they seem obsessed with what they say.… 
Thus, the hysterically positive reaction to Obama's inaugural speech wasn't all that surprising, which doesn't mean, however, that it wasn't also misleading.  

Fortunately the US economy can not see beyond the end of it's nose

(Reuters) - A measure to extend the U.S. debt limit for nearly four months moved closer on Tuesday to a vote and the White House said the president would sign the bill if it cleared Congress, easing uncertainty that could have threatened the U.S. economy.


True crime…

The Gangster Squad was formed in 1946 to keep East Coast Mafia out of L.A. Its 'anything goes' approach endured through the 1950s in an era when justice was found far from the courthouse.… 
"We did a lot of things that we'd get indicted for today," said Sgt. Jack O'Mara.
…from the Los Angeles Times

Nag, nag

The U.S. once regarded a standing army as a form of tyranny. Now it spends more on defense than all other nations combined.


What, you may ask, is an exabyte?

If you think of all the information encoded in the universe from your genome to the furthest star, from the information that's already there, codified or un-codified, to the information pregnant in every interaction, "big" has become the measure of data. And our capacity to produce and collect Big Data in the digital age is very big indeed. Every day, we produce 2.5 exabytes of information…
The Awl

And exabyte is one quintillion bytes.

Happy now?


At my grocery store there is always a big pile of empty boxes just outside the exit available for anyone who needs boxes to pick up and cart home. Today as I was leaving the store I noticed a box with the following information printed in bold letters on its top:

Dried fruits are semi-perishable

What the hell is semi-perishable? Only half the stuff parishes? It only perishes halfway? I have no idea.

Alas my camera was buried under multiple layers of clothing so I didn't take a picture, but if I ever see that box again I will be prepared.

No more Mr. Nice Weather

Well, winter. It has to happen every year, I guess.

Not so much snow on the ground (yet) but highs in the teens for a while. This week, certainly. And the next few, no doubt.

Spring is right around the corner.


And you thought you were having a good day

Seven Famous People Who Missed the Titanic


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

Remembering Summer

iPhone photo: Phil Compton

Now and then you just have to learn some totally inconsequential thing

In the best tradition of skulduggery, claim and counterclaim, foosball (or table football), that simple game of bouncing little wooden soccer players back and forth on springy metal bars across something that looks like a mini pool table, has the roots of its conception mired in confusion.
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/The-Murky-History-of-Foosball-185686041.html#ixzz2IXHURfO8
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

It just doesn't get any better than this

While Subway acknowledged that the undersized bread "is not baked to our standards," it goes on to claim that there really is no such thing as "undersized bread" because "footlong" is just a word.  
"With regards to the size of the bread and calling it a footlong, 'SUBWAY FOOTLONG' is a registered trademark as a descriptive name for the sub sold in Subway® Restaurants and not intended to be a measurement of length."
(Emphasis added.)