The poppies will save them — or not

U.S. Kicks Drug-War Habit, Makes Peace With Afghan Poppies | Danger Room | Wired.com:

"Leave the poppies alone, and most Afghans will happily go about their business farming and selling the colorful crop — or so Ford’s line of thinking goes. Granted, once processed into heroin and distributed in Russian and European cities, heroin can become a pretty serious danger to public health. But that, frankly, is not the U.S. Army’s problem, whereas Afghan security is. "

'via Blog this'

Forbes is, after all, Forbes, but still amusing in its way

The Republican Party's Death Spiral Continues: Here's How To Stop It - Forbes:

"The GOP high command today resembles nothing so much as our Generals who botched the Vietnam War, betraying our troops, humiliating America, and handing the Soviet Union a victory in the Cold War.  The GOP “forensic audit,” like those reports of the Army’s whitewashing its losses in Vietnam, declares “there’s light at the end of the tunnel.” "

'via Blog this'

Is it is or is it ain't

Back Bay businesses face tough task on insurance for bombing losses - Business - The Boston Globe:

"Back Bay businesses that collectively lost millions of dollars from the Marathon bombings are now counting on the Obama administration to declare that the single most devastating attack on Boston was not, legally speaking, an act of terrorism. Illogical as that may seem, such a declaration might be the only way these businesses — many of which did not have specific coverage for terrorism — can get reimbursed for their losses by their insurance companies."

'via Blog this'

Too soon, too soon

Rand Paul challenges Hillary Clinton in key Iowa speech - NBC Politics:

"Rand Paul challenges Hillary Clinton in key Iowa speech"

'via Blog this'

When I say Twitter do you think privacy?

White House picks Twitter lawyer as Internet privacy officer | Politics and Law - CNET News: "President Obama has picked Nicole Wong, Twitter's legal director, to be the White House's first chief privacy officer, CNET has learned."

'via Blog this'


Next they'll be pulling his statue down

“It’s a new Heritage and it’s one that’s not standing by the principles of Ronald Reagan,” he told Salon Thursday. “I’m puzzled why they came out with this study and I’m more puzzled why they seem to be against immigration.”

The foundation’s new report, which estimates that immigration reform will cost taxpayers $6 trillion, has touched off a civil war on the right.


Ronnie, Ronnie, where have we gone astray?

Didn't mean it! Really! Honest!

Lindsey Graham didn’t mean to suggest Mexico is a ‘hellhole’

Washington Post

It ain't easy being invisible

Today, there is one camouflage pattern just for Marines in the desert. There is another just for Navy personnel in the desert. The Army has its own “universal” camouflage pattern, which is designed to work anywhere. It also has another one just for Afghanistan, where the first one doesn’t work.
Washington Post

So he'll fit right in

Gabriel Gomez, the Republican nominee to fill John Kerry’s open Senate seat in Massachusetts, claimed a $281,500 deduction on his income taxes for promising not to alter the appearance of his historic home. While he identified this “easement” as a donation to acontroversial Washington, DC-based organization, he was reportedly already prevented from making any such changes under local historic preservation laws — a move the Internal Revenue Service has identified as a common “tax scam.”

The miracle worker

"I would just point out that there have been several instances during the course of my presidency where I said I was going to do something, and it ended up getting done," Obama [said].
Yahoo! News

Just try to forget you ever read this

Between the fierce blizzards of the high plains and Wyoming's boom-and-bust economy, life in Chugwater always has been a bit on the edge. The town is named for the "chug" sound that bison made when they landed in Chugwater Creek after being chased off a cliff by American Indians, a once-common hunting technique.
Yahoo! News
Is it working?


We've heard of Book of the Month…

…but Crime of the Week?

Everywhere you look you see a Fararri

You wouldn't think a car brand with base prices from about $200,000 to north of $400,000 (not counting the seven-figure LaFerarri hybrid collector car) would need help with its image for "exclusivity"image, but apparently Ferrari thinks it is not rarefied enough. 
USA Today

One (1) thing that's wrong with Obamacare

Suppose you have a knee replaced at Hospital X. Aetna’s discount there might mean it pays $11,000, while United Healthcare’s discount might mean it pays $22,000. Or the prices could be reversed. No patient has any way of knowing. But if you’re on the hook for 20% co-insurance for each policy, then you’ll pay $2,200 with an Aetna policy or $4,400 with a United policy. It looks like you have the same insurance — a 20% co-pay — but you don’t. Similarly, the same insurer might have dramatically different discounts for hospitals that are both listed in the insurance company’s network, meaning you’ll think your coverage should be the same. Suppose, for example, the knee surgery at Hospital X is $11,000 for an Aetna patient, but at Hospital Y it’s $22,000 for an Aetna patient. 
So a person is supposed to review a list of insurance policies on a website and make a rational decision about which is best?

Can you spell "fat chance"?

Just for the record…

House Republicans are pushing a bill that takes away extra pay for overtime, substituting "comp" time instead.

…comp time never happens. There are always you just can't be spared right now (but maybe next month). Write that down.

Yeah but this'll do wonders for the unemployment rate

“We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we don’t have enough bees in this country to meet pollination demands,” said entomologist Dennis vanEngelstorp of the University of Maryland… 

Ooops, I'm thinking that hole out back is not quite deep enough

WASHINGTON - The Air Force stripped an unprecedented 17 officers of their authority to control , and, if necessary, launch , nuclear missiles after a string of unpublicized failings… 
Philadelphia Inquirer

Unpublicized failings? Are you freaking kidding me? Failings? Do you know where your shovel is?

iPhone photo: Phil Ccompton


From our ever-expanding work avoidance list

Museum of Bad Art

And ewww

Will a Tattoo Ever Hang in the Louvre?

This must be National CYA day (Seventh de Mayo?)

Brennan passes over CIA woman tied to torture for top spy job

Hagel orders changes to confront military sexual abuse

As Midterms Loom, Democrats Worry About Health Law

Obama: We need proof of Syria chemical weapons use [Proof? What? Really?]

Or, in other words, you're toast

Undernews: Police come up with new way to invade your privacy: "Photographing a single license plate one time on a public city street may not seem problematic, but when that data is put into a database, combined with other scans of that same plate on other city streets, and stored forever, it can become very revealing. Information about your location over time can show not only where you live and work, but your political and religious beliefs, your social and sexual habits, your visits to the doctor, and your associations with others. And, according to recent research reported in Nature, it’s possible to identify 95% of individuals with as few as four randomly selected geospatial datapoints (location + time), making location data the ultimate biometric identifier."

'via Blog this'

Just keeping up with the numbers here

Undernews: Criminal convictions of immigrants up 700% under Obama: "Immigration is now the most-prosecuted federal crime, surpassing weapons, white-collar crimes and even drugs. "

'via Blog this'

Is there an impostor at Treasury? (Also, does it matter?)

Jack Lew’s alarming new signature: "From the looks of it, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s official signature, soon to grace paper currency, is simply not valid."

'via Blog this'


As personal technology becomes increasingly nimble and invisible, Glass is prompting questions of whether it will distract drivers, upend relationships and strip people of what little privacy they still have in public.
Hold it. Privacy in public? I thought the whole definition of public was, um, public. Where is the privacy there?

What's going on here, New York Times?

Oh come on, don't hold back

There is so much wrong with the current "red-line" mess with Syria that a little sorting out is in order. It has gotten to the point that you can't tell which fiasco you are talking about without a scorecard.…
Foreign Policy


Takes one to know one, I guess

The Chief of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch of the U.S. Air Force was arrested and charged with sexual battery in Arlington over the weekend.

The thing about gun laws

From ABC News:

Buford "Bucky" Rogers, 24, was arrested Friday after an army of federal, state and local officials raided his home and discovered a cache of weapons including a Romanian AK-M assault-style rifle, several Molotov cocktails and what investigators suspect to be pipe-bombs, court documents said.
And then:
Rogers was convicted of felony burglary in 2011 and was restricted from possessing a firearm, authorities said. Rogers also pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless use of a weapon in 2009, court documents show.
And a lot of good it did.

Just a little bit of work avoidance could have spared us this

According to the consultant's 2012 Sandwich Consumer Trend Report, sales in the sandwich category are up 4.8% since 2010. Yet sandwich consumption overall hasn't been gaining huge ground. 
Advertising Age

BREAKING: First grass mowing today

At noon (Mountain Time) right here.

Avoid work by watching somebody else do it! (What better way?)

But the planes run on time

Due to cuts mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act, better known as sequestration, programs that fight domestic violence and sexual assault would see a $20 million drop in funding over the next year.
Mother Jones

The agony of Boston (and New York, and Chicago, and Los Angeles…)

Since the Marathon attack on April 15, gunfire has not ceased in Boston’s urban community, where residents are at once sympathetic to the victims but conflicted about law enforcement’s sweeping response and the groundswell of support for the suffering.…
Boston Globe


The sun never sets on the NRA

BBC commentary on the NRA convention:
"For those who had the good fortune to follow the Republican presidential primaries and the Mitt Romney campaign, it was deja vu all over again. Obama liberals, media elites and Washington insiders were all in the firing line, while the faithful clapped and cheered. They were, the speakers told them, the real America. And if America is entirely white and very conservative, that is very true."
Noted by our Midwest bureau.

High kitty kitty

Is it ever a good idea to get your dog or cat stoned? California veterinarian Doug Kramer says the answer depends on whether your pet could be classified as a medical marijuana patient.… 
Mother Jones

Palast on Penny

You made fun of me when I suggested that President Barack Obama would nominate a confessed bank scammer, a loan-sharking mortgage predator, to his cabinet.  But thar she blows! 

Definitions, definitions

I don't know what's happening to me. I don't want to like old cars. Guys who like old cars wear cargo shorts and aloha shirts and say things like "The trouble with cars today...". Oh, I know what's happening to me. It's called "getting old".  Nice Studebaker, by the way.


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

Well, when you say it that way…

Showing the sort of creativity that we have come to expect from economists, Tyler Cowen used his NYT column today to call for giving more money to the pharmaceutical industry… 


Clears that right up

This week, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm better known for backing online advertising startups and ex-Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson’s DIY drone company just invested millions in a hair dye startup.… 
“It’s just doing something really, really, really well and relating incredibly well to your consumer,” says Joel Cutler, a managing director at General Catalyst Partners and a board member at Warby Parker. “It’s what separates an okay investment from a great investment.” 
OK then. 


It’s not quite the same as King Kong coming to Tokyo, but a new art installation in Hong Kong featuring a rubber duck bobbing in the harbor has become the city’s latest attraction.

Heroes and Hillary…

…no wait – hilarity. Sorry. Heroes and hilarity may save us from the summer's movies, says this morning's Globe. And good thing:
Ah, summer: time to lie back, pour yourself a tall lemonade, and watch the world go to hell in a handbasket. If there is a theme to the studio blockbusters coming out between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it is that Apocalypse is nigh, is here, or has already happened.
Or it turns out (says the reviewer) maybe Woody Allen will do the trick.

It would be helpful…

“If you look at our next generation of manufactured goods, you would be hard pressed to find more than a handful that are not material based,” said Cyrus Wadia, an assistant director with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “We believe materials are going to fuel the economy of the future…
Boston Globe

…to have an example of manufactured goods that are not based on material. Immaterial goods, I suppose they'd be called. I just can't think of any.

Or possibly this is just one more instance of buzzwords run amok. One would expect better from the White House Office of…oh wait, maybe not. Anyway, this guy is only an assistant director.