Smallest news ever!

Chrysler says Alfa Romeo will eventually outsell Fiat in U.S

Icy Window

Icy Window by Ted Compton
Icy Window, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

But everybody loves it, so it's okay

If the Bush administration claimed the right to detain and torture anyone it wanted to at “black sites” in insalubrious parts of the world, the Obama administration has arguably gone even further, claiming the right to kill anyone anywhere whom it deems to be an enemy combatant, including United States citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son, with long-range drone strikes piloted from afar.

Snow Field

Snow Field by Ted Compton
Snow Field, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

On second thought, let's walk

Let's Walk by Ted Compton
Let's Walk, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Alas, a pretty good argument

If the Constitution is to have any relevance, and if America is to remain a free society, then there is really no alternative: there must be a bill of impeachment drawn up and submitted in the House, and there must at least be a hearing on that bill in the House Judiciary Committee. 
The disclosure, by NBC, of a so-called “white paper” by the White House offering the legal justification for the executing of American citizens solely on the authority of the executive branch and the president exposes a White House so blatantly in violation of the Constitution that it simply demands such a hearing. 
This can't be happening
(And Nixon just had an "enemies list.")

Get a grip, Atlantic

If You Live in the Northeast, It's Snowing And You Probably Don't Have Power 
Atlantic Wire

No and no.

(Otherwise, a pretty good summary.)

Look Back

Look Back by Ted Compton
Look Back, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Okay, snow too

US Postal Service has suspended mail delivery, will keep post offices closed in all six #NewEngland states ow.ly/hzkex #blizzard

20 inches here, according to the TV. Quite a bit of drifting. But it was over by daybreak, earlier than predicted. And luckily, it's Saturday.


Feeling ancient yet?

On Twitter, "Nemo" is being associated with the fish in a Pixar cartoon, not with the captain of Jules Verne's submarine.

Wait. What?

In Massachusetts, Governor Patrick said at a 12:30 news conference that the storm was going to be every bit as bad as predicted.
“Two or three feet of snow is a profoundly different kind of storm than we have dealt with,” the governor said from the state’s emergency bunker in Framingham.…
We have an emergency bunker?

Also, according to this New York Times story, automobiles are banned from all roads in the state as of now.

Trying to get in the mood

Ice Swan by Ted Compton
Ice Swan, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Forget fashion week – this one's for the guys

The [New York] Metropolitan Transportation Authority is prepared for the worst — it pulled out its superpowered snow throwers, special de-icing cars and other equipment to keep outdoor tracks clear.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/big-winter-storm-coming-article-1.1258026#ixzz2KLJDTB4b

Superpowered snow throwers? Awesome!

And let's put Tom Cruise in charge of it!

The United States should set up a secret court that would consider the use of lethal force against American terror suspects abroad, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said Thursday…
Mother Jones

Running the numbers

Here are indications of the lingering costs of 11 years of warfare. Nearly 130,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and vastly more have experienced brain injuries. Over 1,700 have undergone life-changing limb amputations. Over 50,000 have been wounded in action. As of Wednesday, 6,656 U.S. troops and Defense Department of civilians have died.

Guys careening about town…

…snowplows on their trucks, big grins on their mugs, ready to attack this snow flake by flake if they have to. It will be the first really plow-worthy snow we've had this winter since December. A long, payless winter in the plowing game.

Go for it, plow guys. That next month you see there is March. Yay spring.

The end of everything

Some years back I bought a big batch of forever stamps from the post office; I just used the last one.

Forever is no more.

But hey, rock star still counts for something, doesn't it?

President Obama has now charged seven people with violations of the Espionage Act. All previous presidents in American history combined only charged three people with violating the Espionage Act. And the Espionage Act is a WWI-era act that was meant to deter German saboteurs during that First World War. And now it is being used to silence critics of the government. 

Shut up and eat your vegetables

Research suggests ill food-service workers cause most foodborne illness, but before you blame the guy who mixed your salad, try to keep this down: the United States is one of a handful of countries without federally mandated paid sick days for food service workers, and only a few cities and states require them. Without such laws, sick employees risk losing a day’s pay or even their jobs if they stay home and keep the rest of us healthy. 

More (with map) from Slate.

2 feet! 3 feet!

…says CBS news – we're getting buried and it hasn't even started snowing yet. And wait:
Airlines cancelled 3,775 flights Thursday, Friday and Saturday in preparation for the blizzard…
Who knew there were 3,775 flights?

What's not get carried away here, AP

The Associated Press (@AP)
Transsexual lawmaker reflects a changing Poland despite losing shot at leadership post in parliament: apne.ws/11urh14 -BW

Download the official Twitter app here


Drone, drone on the range

Officially called "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles" (UAV's), some are very large, some tiny, some can fly sideways and backwards, some can operate from eight miles up, some can hang motionless in the sky ("hover and stare" is the industry's spooky term for this capability)--and all can silently surveill whatever is occurring beneath them for miles around.  
Hightower Lowdown

Comic Sans walks into a bar*

When I first went to New York, in 1960, to work in advertising (this would be year one of Mad Men, if you're keeping track), an uncle who worked for a printing industry magazine convinced me to take an evening class from the Advertising Typographers of America (a preemptive act of self-defense, no doubt), and I've been a junior type geek ever since. I still have the textbook around here somewhere.

Now here's another book, Just My Type, that does an excellent job conveying the magic and mystery of typography. It's added to the reading list. (Note this book is available electronically, but only for certain models of reader.)

*Bartender says "We don't serve your type".

(Font joke!)

Because intervening for a donor is simply not a scandal, Republicanwise

We now know that Senator Robert Menendez intervened in a Medicare dispute involving the close friend and donor he's tried to distance himself from recently. But the conservative media is still convinced that this scandal is about Dominican prostitutes. 
Atlantic Wire

Also, sex sells. Every time. 


Everybody wins!

The U.S. Postal Service's planned shift to five days of home delivery a week instead of six may even make Netflix Inc. slightly more profitable by lowering the costs for sending out its familiar red envelopes with DVDs. That's because subscribers may be able to watch fewer DVDs for the same monthly price.

Except, well, maybe you.

Thus ends Bach's Coffee Cantata

Old Schlendrian goes off
to see if he can find a husband forthwith
for his daughter Lieschen;
but Leischen secretly lets it be known:
no suitor is to come to my house
unless he promises me,
and it is also written into the marriage contract,
that I will be permitted
to make myself coffee whenever I want. 
With music.

Don't look now, but…

If your work feels routine, you are a candidate for obsolescence by automation.

Be still my heart

NEW YORK — Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will write a book…
Huffington Post

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night, but Saturdays

The U.S. Postal Service plans to drop Saturday delivery of first-class mail by August in its latest effort to cut costs after losing nearly $16 billion last fiscal year, the cash-strapped mail agency said on Wednesday.
Chicago Tribune

Not with a bang but a brief

"In the name of self-defense, the U.S. can act in a preemptive fashion without knowing about a particular target," argues Greenberg. "The problem is, who do you want to give these powers to? While the Obama administration trusts itself to be judicious in its temperament and its judgement, what about others who come along?" 
Take Away

Our nomination for most pointless question of the decade

Obama & Immigration: What Would Truman Do?

We may have to start calling them the Great Puddles

TRAVERSE CITY, MICHTwo of the Great Lakes have hit their lowest water levels ever recorded, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday, capping more than a decade of below-normal rain and snowfall and higher temperatures that boost evaporation.
Measurements taken last month show Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have reached their lowest ebb since record keeping began in 1918…
CBS News

Must make for some pretty awesome beaches though.


Oops, something we didn't have time to worry about

Earth won't be destroyed by huge asteroid next week, say scientists


WhoopWhoopWhoop…This is Not a Test

Geek alert:

A new largest prime number has been discovered, mersenne.org reported Tuesday. 257,885,161-1, which is also the 48th Mersenne prime, was discovered on the computer of Dr. Curtis Cooper, a professor at the University of Central Missouri.
A Mersenne prime is a prime number that can be written in the form Mp = 2n-1, and they’re extremely rare finds. Of all the numbers between 0 and 25,964,951 there are 1,622,441 that are prime, but only 42 are Mersenne primes.
Ars Technica


John Gay's 1728 play, "The Beggar's Opera," was the inspiration for "The Threepenny Opera" (Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill) and was therefore the first literary appearance of Mack the Knife (not to mention the excellently named Suki Tawdry, et. al.). Available here, free.

And a collection of newspaper articles by Carl Sandburg, with an introduction by Walter Lippmann, entitled "The Chicago Race Riots, July, 1919." Also free from Google.

And if that doesn't make you happy, duck

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday addressed American drone strikes used to target enemies…
"These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise," Carney said. The government takes "great care" when deciding where and whom to strike, he added.

Sutton made it an art…

The recent surge in cybercrime comes with a silver lining: Bank robberies are plummeting, as criminals seem to wise up to the fact that heists just don\'t pay like they used to.

Wall Street Journal

…but now all you need is a keyboard and a geek.


Please please make it stop

Tagg Romney, son of former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is considering a Senate run in Massachusetts’s upcoming special election, according to the Boston Herald.

Super dark

As sideline reporters Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcots failed to acquire any useful information about the outage, the network’s buffet of pundits offered continual, irrefutable proof of their own uselessness.…


Chocolate cookies with white stuff in between…and a tweet

"Power out? No problem," the tweet read, along with a hastily-put together image of an ad showing an Oreo and the brilliant tag line, "You can still dunk in the dark."


So much for global warming, then

The Nobel-winning discovery implies instead that the universe will get increasingly colder as matter spreads across ever-vaster distances in space, said Lars Bergstrom, secretary of the Nobel physics committee.
…billions of years from now, the universe will become "a very, very large, but very cold and lonely place," said Charles Blue, spokesman for the American Institute of Physics.
The Atlantic Wire


Doing it the old-fashioned way

Here's a glimpse of a very cool exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (no longer open, alas, but still available on the web) about photo manipulation in the age before Photoshop. It's called "Faking It."

Who knew there was a city in Iowa named Montezuma?

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,462 people, 632 households, and 399 families residing in the city.


Wits? Wits?

The real rise of the planet of the apes has begun in Saudi Arabia. A group of baboons are terrorizing a village with coordinated attacks on empty houses. The Arab News reports a "minor war" has broken out between the residents of the village Kiad in Saudi Arabia, and the baboons that inhabit the nearby mountains. The baboons are intelligent and "easily match wits" with village residents…
Atlantic Wire

Dude, we're in real trouble now. 

One single football game (tonight)…

…will have 23 commercials just for cars.