Awesome: Wingers in a snit over Marine holding umbrella

Obama puts Marines on umbrella duty, irking conservatives - The Washington Post:
 "Seeing a trained Marine holding the president’s umbrella just rubs some observers the wrong way. 
“Obama expects our troops to hold damn umbrellas rather than go inside: It’s disrespectful, inconsiderate, classless,” tweeted Lou Dobbs.  
 “Mr. President, when it rains it pours, but most Americans hold their own umbrellas,” former Alaska governor Sarah Palin added on Facebook."

Yeah, slow news day.

What kind of citrus crisis?

Incurable bacteria citrus greening destroying Florida's citrus industry - CBS News:
""This is an international citrus crisis," said Andrew Meadows, spokesman for Florida Citrus Mutual. "I would say take a look at your eight-ounce glass of orange juice in the morning and just imagine that not being there because that's how serious it is." "

Columnist finds unused headline in file labeled "2009," figures what the hell

Should President Obama Fire Eric Holder? | Mother Jones

Fiction wins (kind of)

We’re living in an Ayn Rand economy - Salon.com:
"Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” fantasizes a world in which anti-government citizens reject taxes and regulations, and “stop the motor” by withdrawing themselves from the system of production. In a perverse twist on the writer’s theme the prediction is coming true. But instead of productive people rejecting taxes, rejected taxes are shutting down productive people."
OK, maybe they can make that stuff up.

Who needs blockbuster movies when they get all this for free?

Heritage letter to Republicans on Capitol Hill: Don’t legislate, just scandalize Obama | theGrio:

"In light of the white hot media spotlight on the administration, and to deflect attention from the many policy areas where Republicans don’t quite get along, the letter urges: “it is incumbent upon the House of Representatives to conduct oversight hearings on those actions, but it would be imprudent to do anything that shifts the focus from the Obama administration to the ideological differences within the House Republican Conference.”"  
 [Noted by our Midwest bureau]

It's shaping up to be a long, long (and no doubt entertaining) summer.
Space Needle
iPhone abstract:  Phil Compton

Honest, Your Honor, it's art

News from @AP: Exhibition of secretly shot photos upsets NYers:


Why does this sound like something the Onion would publish?

Penitent Romanian hacker aims to protect world's ATMs

Wait a minute minute, didn't they secede?

Texas Judge Forbids Lesbian Woman From Living With Her Partner

Woohoo! Dude!

CBS News (@CBSNews) tweeted at 3:16 PM on Fri, May 17, 2013: Math skills may be improved with mild brain shock

We don't need your stinking drones

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the FBI turned increasingly to small aircraft to augment its surveillance capabilities. This is not a state secret. The press has reported that every FBI field office has the capability to launch civilian-style planes equipped with infrared devices and bugging equipment.

(This from a piece in today's Globe about surveillance related to the Boston Marathon bombing. We do not link to the Globe. See "pay wall.")

New to our book list

The book's title is "Bunker Hill," and it's by Nathaniel Philbrick, an author who's been there before with books about the Mayflower and Custer's last stand.

Can't think of anything better to do? Really?

White House trolls Republicans over Obamacare hashtag

Scientific American goes on and on about the way clock hands are set in show windows

Salon: FedEx’s hidden arrow, and other visual advertising tricks.

Ok please make it stop

TheWeek.com: Why is there so much poop in swimming pools? http://goo.gl/mag/uzh5gJH

All the pools in question were in Georgia, so maybe things are not quite that bad anywhere else. Just sayin.

Wait, how did I miss this?

Today (May 14) in celebration of National Dance Like A Chicken Day...

Nashua Telegraph

You are seriously not kidding there

Something is wrong when a country says it’s 40 million rolls short on toilet paper. http://goo.gl/mag/XJeA9lq

Worst explanation ever

Obama's explanation of the IRS scandal:

"I'm outraged by this in part because look, I'm a public figure, if a future administration is starting to use the tax laws to favor one party over another or one political view over another, obviously, we're all vulnerable."



Can you spell "out of freaking control"?

Head of Fort Campbell harassment program arrested:  
"FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — Army officials say the manager of the sexual assault response program at Fort Campbell has been arrested in a domestic dispute and relieved of his post. Lt. Col. Darin Haas (HAHZ') turned himself in to police late Wednesday on charges of violating an order of protection and stalking"
This story is datelined today so it is apparently the third such case in just the last few days.  

An important message from the management

The press of business required that we spend the afternoon cleaning up the incredible mess that is (or was) our Google Picasa account. As a result, certain images of no consequence (snapshots from the supermarket, photos of George W Bush, and so forth) have disappeared from relevant posts – and irrelevant posts – on this blog. All of the posts were very old and all of the photos were essentially worthless, so aside from merely altering the historical record, no damage was done.

Please refer to blog rules one and four.

We do not expect this sort of thing to happen again.

Obama explains: I didn't do it and he's fired

Meanwhile here's the Columbia Journalism Review, published by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, actually explaining:

  The other IRS scandal : Columbia Journalism Review:  
 "There is a scandal in all of this—several, actually, and some are more significant than the one that is getting all the attention. As the story unfolds, here are some important points to keep in mind…"

Maybe they didn't cover this at constitutional scholar school, at Harvard.

Maybe we ought to put the Columbia journalism students (or faculty) in the White House.

Maybe we'd get some serious answers then.

We are all confused, but some of us are confused about more important things

BlueTooth May Help Destigmatize Serious Mental Illness « The Reality-Based Community:  
"Where before people might have shunned a mentally ill person who seemed to be talking to himself, today they usually assume that he’s just chatting on a BlueTooth or similar device."

Speaking of the Boston Globe…

…were we speaking of the Boston Globe?…we're having a special election here in Massachusetts to fill the Senate spot John Kerry left for State. The Republican candidate in that set-to is some guy named Gomez, with whom the Globe seems somewhat less than empressed. Said paper ran a piece on Gomez this morning, entitled thusly:

Gomez explains abortion position, unclear on some aspects


Republicans have a hard time running with a straight face in the Bay State. We have some very entertaining elections here.

You may have to stand in line

TIME.com (@TIME) tweeted at 7:40 AM on Thu, May 16, 2013: Looking good on Facebook: Social media leads to spikes in plastic surgery requests | http://t.co/4F7x2stzxp (via @TIMEHealthland) 

Don't ask! Don't ask!

Undernews: Infrequently asked questions:  
"Why - as the president claims - does a constitutional right such as freedom of the press have to be "balanced" against bureaucratic procedures such as classifying something as secret, especially when such classifications are often done for political reasons or to avoid embarrassment? Where does the Constitution refer to this? And which Harvard law professor taught Obama he could get away with it?"

Meanwhile, according to the Globe this morning, Attorney General Eric Holder says this business about bugging the AP's phones is ‘‘an ongoing matter and an ongoing matter in which I know nothing’’ but, nonetheless the result of ‘‘a very serious leak, a very grave leak.’’ Scary stuff. Way too scary for you, Bunky. So just shut up.

Speaking of shutting up, as some may have noticed I've been reading the Boston Globe recently, one of those papers that hunkers behind a paywall. So I am no longer providing links to Globe stories because nothing is more annoying than a link to a story behind  paywall unless you count Attorney General Eric Holder, which I am not doing in this one special case.

Going to actually look up the relevant story in the Globe is work, which I am fairly confident you will not do. No way will I.


Vermont afternoon

Now if we can only figure out how to get the Fed to pay for it…

Wealthy Manhattan moms hire handicapped tour guides to bypass lines at Disney World - NYPOST.com:  
"“You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge,’’ she sniffed. “This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”"

'via Blog this'

Thanks, but we are not all that much reassured

Analysis: Once a beacon, Obama under fire over civil liberties | Reuters:

"Sabato, who referred to other scandals including Watergate during Richard Nixon's administration and the Iran-contra controversy during Ronald Reagan's years, said: "Compared to prior presidents, we're still in the minor-abuse league.""

'via Blog this'

Failure of leadership

"This is sickening. Twice now, in a matter of as many weeks, we've seen the very people charged with protecting victims of sexual assault being charged as perpetrators," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said. "It's an astonishing reminder that the Pentagon has both a major problem on its hands and a tremendous amount of work to do to assure victims — who already only report a small fraction of sexual assaults — that they are changing the culture around these heinous crimes.

Yahoo News

Stuff we're going to start worrying about RIGHT NOW

Mysterious Poop Foam Causes Explosions on Hog Farms
Mother Jones
Just one more reason to stay out of Iowa. Not to mention one of those Carolinas. Or the other one. Or both.

What is it with these spooks and their gmail?

The letter also gave out what’s purportedly one of the CIA’s e-mail addresses: unbacggdA@gmail.com. (Most likely no longer in service. But feel free to e-mail.) “Your security means a lot to us,” it read. “This is why we chose this way of contacting you. We will continue to make sure our correspondence remains safe and secret.”
[From a story in Wired about some guy the Russians claim is a U. S. spy.]


Not a crook?

Now, the man who successfully fought Nixon says President Obama has an even more troubling record. He has indicted six leakers to Nixon’s one, and just this week came word that federal investigators had seized two months of AP phone records without notice. Mr. Goodale believes that a grand jury has secretly indicted Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks and the publisher of the Afghan War Logs, one of the more substantial leaks since the Pentagon Papers. The father of reporter’s privilege is doing everything in his power to make sure the case does not go forward.
New York Observer

Two words we really don't want to see together

IRS ‘Mistakes’

How about Excel camp this summer?

FORTUNE -- Apparently some really smart people have trouble mastering Microsoft Office.…

Prominent financial blogger James Kwak calls Excel "one of the greatest, most powerful, most important software applications of all time." But perhaps we ask too much of the program, or perhaps of our ability to cut and paste. In the past few years, Excel has been implicated in some of the biggest blunders on Wall Street and in finance in general.

What happens when you cut the budget too many times

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, reeling from years of budget cuts, has fallen significantly behind in investigating consumer complaints about medical facilities and lacks sufficient staff to conduct safety inspections of every­thing from summer camps to food manufacturers to housing for migrant farm workers. 
There’s a wait of more than five months for investigating problems reported in Massachusetts hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis centers, and clinics. Meanwhile, medical and biological waste from roughly 600 biotechnology firms is not being routinely monitored to ensure proper disposal. 
Boston Globe

And don't even mention food plans. Forget about it.

Shut up and eat your bugs

Scientists who have studied the nutritional value of insects have found that red ants, small grasshoppers, and some water beetles pack enough protein to rank with lean ground beef, while having less fat per gram. Edible insects also provide fiber and contain useful minerals.
Boston Globe

(Of course, this may just be a subterfuge to sell broccoli.)


The center can not hold, nor the left

(Reuters) - The Associated Press said on Monday the U.S. government secretly seized telephone records of AP offices and reporters for a two-month period in 2012, describing the acts as a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into news-gathering operations.
So Benghazi and the IRS, and now this? Bad week. And it's only Monday.

The New Yorker proves it's still got what it takes (and that Gatsby again)

Reviewing The Great Gatsby, a movie recently set loose upon this breathless world, New Yorker critic David Denby calls the film's director, Baz Luhrmann, "less a filmmaker than a music-video director with endless resources and a stunning absence of taste." Ouch.

(To be fair, however, another reviewer in the same current edition seems to have rather liked the flick.)

From our hopelessly disorganized archives

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

It would terrify me, all right

A customer on an American Airlines flight would not stop singing "I will always love you," the classic Dolly Parton song also made famous by the late Whitney Houston in the movie "The Bodyguard."
The flight was diverted to Kansas City's airport on Thursday after the woman became disruptive, according to CNN affiliate KMBC in Kansas City. A passenger video appears to show the woman singing the song as she's taken off the airplane by police.

What happens when you get more information than you want

U.S. National Debt Clock : Real Time:

I guess this belongs on our work avoidance list too.

No patience, no kidding

Obama Has 'No Patience' for IRS' Targeting Conservatives - ABC News:
"President Obama said today he has "no patience" for reports that the Internal Revenue Service singled out conservative groups for additional scrutiny, promising accountability if allegations of political motivations at the agency turn out to be true."
Obama has no patience for a lot of stuff these days including, it's beginning to seem, the day-to-day running of the government (isn't that what the whole executive branch thing is all about?).

Whatever. This IRS thing is hugely disappointing. IMO but then I'm long past being surprised when the current administration disappoints. At least from the Bushies I didn't expect anything going in, which made it easier.

Who is this Gatsby and why can't he get a break?

The Great Gatsby never makes a great movie | Film | The Guardian:
"I think Gatsby is the Great American Novel, even though it slipped out of fashion and out of print for decades (like Moby Dick and lots of Faulkner), and even though its author, no matter his achievement, is somehow assuredly not the Great American Novelist. The Great American Novel never makes for the Great American Movie."
Oh, that one. Well. Fitzgerald's book may not make for a great movie but it has certainly been God's gift to film critics. From Wikipedia:
The Great Gatsby has been the basis for numerous films of the same name, spanning nearly 90 years; 1926194919742000, and 2013 adaptations.

Good news! We will never run out of bad news

Book News: Mich. School System Won't Ban Anne Frank's 'Pornographic' Diary : The Two-Way : NPR:
"Last week, the mother of a seventh-grader in Northville, Mich., filed a complaint seeking to keep an unexpurgated version of Anne Frank's Diary off of middle school shelves because she felt a passage describing the female genitalia was "pornographic.""

'via Blog this'


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

Somebody somewhere like Wisconsin or maybe Michigan…

…must have left a door open or something because we are covered with cold here, plus it's windy. No good. It's 50º here which, as WeatherBug assures me, feels like 50º.

Cut it out.

Except in the U.S, where some dork will figure out how to charge by the byte

Samsung Announces Breakthrough in Mobile Data Speed - NYTimes.com:
"“Samsung’s latest innovation is expected to invigorate research into 5G cellular communications across the world,” the company said.…
 Once commercialized, 5G mobile technology will allow users to transmit huge data files, like high-quality digital movies, “practically without limitation,” it said."

'via Blog this'


All the leftovers go in the pot

Cook it till it's hot.

Hobo stew.

(Add pepper if you're feeling gourmet.)

Won't have to cook again until Wednesday.


Opinion: Why are moms in America lagging? - CNN.com:

"In the United States, 11,300 babies a year die on the day they are born. That's more than in the rest of the industrialized world combined."

'via Blog this'

Rainy Morning

Rainy Morning by Ted Compton
Rainy Morning, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

iPnone photo: Phil Compton