Breaking: New world just as stupid as old

Volsky on May 25, 2013 at 11:34 am (Source: Yahoo)

"Facebook rejected an ad this week that disputed scientifically unsound claims that abortion can cause higher instances of breast cancer, arguing that the advertisement violated the company’s guidelines “by advertising adult products or services, including toys, videos, or sexual enhancement products.” "



From now on I'll just swim

Undernews: 67,000 bridges require significant maintenance or repairs:
"They are not necessarily unsafe, but are “characterized by deteriorated conditions of significant bridge elements and potentially reduced load carrying capacity,” according to the FHA. There are 66,749 of them in the country, and they require significant maintenance and repair to stay in service."

So if I could spend, say 20 bucks a month…

Kill Bill - NYTimes.com:
"According to statistics United Republic assembled, the prescription drug industry spent $116 million lobbying for legislation to prevent Medicare from bargaining down drug prices — legislation that enabled drug companies to make an additional $90 billion annually. That amounts to an extraordinary 77,500 percent return on investment."

Yoo who?

Pocket : John Yoo Objects to 'Ideological' Desire to Avoid Killing Innocents:
"Commenting on Thursday's big counterterrorism speech, John Yoo decides that President Obama isn't being hawkish enough in the War on Terror.…"


9-year old smacks down Rahm on Chicago school closings


So what else is new?

Obama Just Made Himself a Prisoner of His Own Gitmo Policy | Danger Room | Wired.com:

"Obama turned more than a few heads by declaring his “strong preference” for “the detention and prosecution of terrorists” over sending an armed robot to end their lives. It’s hard to know what to make of that. The simplest interpretation is that it’s a lie. Whatever Obama’s preferences are, he has killed exponentially more people than he has detained and prosecuted."

Rare sighting

Dude, here's something you don't see very often…

Salt abandons single-author collections amid poetry market slump | Books | guardian.co.uk

It's just sort of difficult to comprehend, isn't it? Of course there must be something called a poetry market—people do buy the stuff, after all—and it's an English newspaper too, but still. Poetry plummets in market collapse. Imagine that excitement. Or how about Poetry hits record high? Hedge your portfolio with poetry. I'm kind of getting in to this.

Making the word "refit" sound just a little bit uncomfortable

Pocket : California judge cites “Star Trek,” stuns copyright trolls:
"Though Plaintiffs boldly probe the outskirts of law, the only enterprise they resemble is RICO. The federal agency eleven decks up is familiar with their prime directive and will gladly refit them for their next voyage. The Court will refer this matter to the United States Attorney for the Central District of California."

I wonder how many guys could get out if prison with this argument

Obama defends US drone program, renews push to close Guantanamo | Fox News:
"…killed several Americans overseas, only one of whom was targeted…"

Nobody's ever happy, right?

Boston teachers receive high ratings, stirring concern about rigor of evaluations - Metro - The Boston Globe:
"The Boston public schools has rated 92 percent of all teachers as proficient or exemplary under a new evaluation system…raising questions about whether principals and other administrators are judging teachers too lightly."
OK, sorry, it's a link to the paywalled Globe. But it was just too good to pass up, and anyway if you can get only the lede of this story you pretty much have it all. So go for it, or just take my word.

Getting an early start on holiday fun, this festive piece on scandalous Washington

Worse Than Watergate? The Ultimate White House Scandal Matrix | Mother Jones:
"Worse than Watergate. That's the refrain coming from the Obama administration's critics as it scrambles to tamp down a growing pile of scandals. "The Obama administration's cover-up of the September 11, 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack surpasses Watergate," states Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). The IRS-tea party scandal "is far worse than Watergate," according to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). And Pinal County, Arizona, Sheriff Paul Babeu maintains that Fast and Furious "is a much larger scandal than Watergate." And of course there is a hashtag: #WorseThanWatergate."
Check out the story for some industrial-grade work avoidance. Seriously. This one link could blow off most of your day.


And Charles Dickens could write the book

Pennsylvania Judge Sentenced For 28 Years For Selling Kids to the Prison System:
"Mark Ciavarella Jr, a 61-year old former judge in Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison for literally selling young juveniles for cash. He was convicted of accepting money in exchange for incarcerating thousands of adults and children into a prison facility owned by a developer who was paying him under the table. The kickbacks amounted to more than $1 million."

Late afternoon shower

Late afternoon shower by Ted Compton
Late afternoon shower, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

The good thing about these late afternoon showers in the spring is they do good things to the light.

Well, to be fair…

News from The Associated Press:
"The baseball star, the Hollywood 10, Oliver North. And Lois Lerner of the IRS.… 
 A few well-known names who invoked Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination"
…the story does say well-known names, and nobody knows the names of Tony Accardo, Frank Costello, and Meyer Lansky any more. Which may be just as well, come to think of it. Still, when it comes to taking the Fifth those guys are still pretty hard to beat.

How could a paper like this be bad?

Banana bread bars with brown butter frosting

Right. It couldn't. No way.

Actually the Christian Science Monitor, religiousy name and all, has been on the short list of great American newspapers as long as I can remember (which is, by now, pretty long). Perhaps because of it's religiousy name it doesn't get much credit. But it is now, as far as I can tell, the only paper on said short list that's not barricaded behind a paywall. (Don't let this go to your head, CSM.) That's the reason—well, reasons—I am reading it more these days and the reason links will show up hereabouts more often, too. Just mentioning.

I don't always agree with the Monitor on editorial matters but the paper's news reporting is 100% first rate.

OK then! Good enough!

Iraqi government still using bomb detectors it knows are faulty - CSMonitor.com:
"This week, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has defended the devices, saying "some" of them work."

Why all those Republicans would be happier in France

Mais non! French in uproar over English in the classroom. - CSMonitor.com:
"But now the government is proposing a bill that would allow some classes to be taught in a foreign language, chiefly English, at public universities – reigniting the country's frequent, ongoing debate about the proper use of its constitutionally enshrined native tongue, as critics say the new measure would undermine the French language's place as a defining element of France's national identity and cultural stature."
Of course the native tongue in question is, you know, French. But you can't have everything.

Book note

Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr – review | Books | The Guardian:
"It's wonderful stuff, swearing. It stiffens the sinews and summons up the blood, and not just metaphorically. Obscenities actually do act on us physiologically. Swearing increases electrical conductance across the skin, pushes the heart rate higher and measurably increases resistance to pain."
Not on our list—yet. But does look tempting.

Irony much?

Scout ousted over plant action Page 1 of 2 | UTSanDiego.com:
"Expulsion from the Boy Scouts of America is a dishonor few Scouts endure. But that was the punishment imposed on Kim Kuska, a self-taught naturalist and former biology teacher who had been with the organization for more than 50 years.  
 His crime: an obsession with the rare, and unfortunately named, Dudley’s lousewort."
Protecting endangered species just too darn inconvenient for BSA. No merit badge for them.

Catherine: "The Dutch again"

After 10 years of refurbishing the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum reopens. They organized a special happening showing Rembrandt’s Night Watch live.

We give up

Trashing reporters comes easy in Obama-land. Behind the scenes, Obama-centric Democratic operatives brand any reporter who questions the administration as a closet conservative, because what other explanation could there be for a reporter critically reporting on the government?

Daily Beast


U.S.: Ooops

U.S. Acknowledges Killing 4 Americans in Drone Strikes - NYTimes.com:
"WASHINGTON — One day before President Obama is due to deliver a major speech on national security, his administration on Wednesday formally acknowledged that the United States had killed four American citizens in drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan."
But wait, here's the payoff: "They were not specifically targeted," Holder says.

So just another day at the office then.

More on channeling Reagan

Undernews: How not to tame the IRS controversy:

"For an IRS official to put herself in the same category as Oliver North - prominent government officials who took the Fifth - places this whole story in a new political environment. Especially, as some one noted, the average citizen doesn't get to take the Fifth when dealing with an IRS agent."

Court springs crook: His rates lower than licensed firms'

Undernews: Police blotter:
"Daily Mail, UK - A market trader who ran an illegal lending racket from his fruit and veg stall has avoided jail after a court heard his interest rates were over 100 times lower than licensed payday loan firms."

A horse designed by a committee…

Millions of Americans don’t have bank accounts. That could be a problem for Obamacare.:
"“The reason this is such an issue is that insurers are increasingly saying that they will not accept debit or credit cards as an acceptable form of payment” study author Brian Haile says."
…is, as we all know, a camel. Health care designed by a committee is Obamacare.

Not only are insurers, hospitals, Pharma and others leeching enormous profits out of the system, but also the cost of the paperwork will be staggering. And all this financed by the hidden tax of insurance payments. A truly representative government would do better.

Out of the frying pan…

Goat’s escape causes traffic jam in New Jersey | The Sideshow - Yahoo! News:
"A goat possibly headed to the slaughterhouse made a daring and dangerous escape into traffic on a busy highway in New Jersey. "


Objectivity and the decades-long shift from “just the facts” to “what does it mean?” » Nieman Journalism Lab:

"Interpretation: analysis, explanation, context, or “in-depth” reporting. Journalists are increasingly in the business of supplying meaning and narrative. It no longer makes sense to say that the press only publishes facts."

'via Blog this'

Great stuff from a bit about the bug

Cicada Panic, 1860 Style - The Daily Beast:
"For the periodical cicada, that giant-in-the-earth among aboriginal American insects, appears to be on the wane. like the dinosaur or the buffalo, it is too great for these small times. Every farm, every town, every clearing and pasture lot spells its doom, curtails its once far-flung empire. "

Out front

Out front by Ted Compton
Out front, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Just checking (see New Flickr).

News! (Dude, are you kidding me?)

Getting started with the new Flickr:
"NEW YORK — Flickr hasn't been awesome for some time."
But we're happy nonetheless. Flickr does indeed look better now—more or less the same as most other photo sites but still, that's an improvement. And just in time. We've been looking for a new way to manage photos and it's beginning to look like the old way is the new way after all.

And if this doesn't start a whole new conspiracy industry, Bunky, I give up

Man linked to Boston bomb suspect fatally shot by FBI:
"An FBI agent shot and killed an Orlando man early Wednesday who had been questioned for several hours about his alleged ties to Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the victim's friend told local media."

Even more stuff we haven't started worrying about yet (and don't intend to)

You Need Phosphorous to Live—and We're Running Out | Mother Jones:
"The United States does have some phosphate reserves, the most heavily mined of which are in Florida. But phosphate mining is an environmentally devastating project—it requires stripping large swaths of land and generates massive amounts of a waste product called phosphogypsum, which contains low levels of radiation as well as a range of toxic heavy metals. In Florida, no one knows what to do with the stuff, so it has been sitting in huge piles in mining regions. "

A whif here, a whif there; pretty soon you're talking about a real stink

'Upset' emissions: Flares in the air, worry on the ground | The Center for Public Integrity:
"Dr. Mark D’Andrea, at the University of Texas Cancer Center, began tracking 4,000 residents exposed to the poster child of all upsets — the “40-day Release” at the BP refinery, in Texas City, which belched 514,795 pounds of benzene and 20 other pollutants throughout the spring of 2010."
"Upset" is industry parlance for "unplanned emission," sort of like "unpleasantness" for "war." But that would be just splitting hairs.
Sixteen Fords
iPhone photo: Phil Compton


Whoa, cue the popcorn

From the NRA publication American Rifleman comes this list off the 10 coolest movies about guns:

NRA Mobile

A few of them look like they might involve kissing, but I guess you can't have everything. Just mentioning.

Mystery woman

I was walking into the grocery store this morning and she was walking out. She was an old woman—really, really old—almost as old as me, all white-haired and grandmotherly-looking, and she was wearing a T-shirt that said:

Life is Crap

By the time it registered in my brain and I did a double-take she was gone—so pretty spry too for an old woman, right?

I think I'm in love.

The last refuge: They did it too

Americans should remember: Politicizing the IRS is a bipartisan tradition - CSMonitor.com:
"Despite what you may have heard, no single party owns an historical monopoly on IRS-related sleaze."

You mean they weren't?

The Signature Is Dead: How Technology Ruined Signing Our Names | New Republic:

"In addition to signing things less frequently, we're also signing in vastly different ways than before. Annoying and frustrating ways. We've all used those dreaded signature pads when paying for something in a shop with a credit card or accepting a FedEx delivery. Those things are infuriating, seemingly designed by the devil himself."

If I don't get a prize I don't want it

Cracker Jack's New Flavors look Lousy | New Republic:
"Cracker Jack's parent company, Frito-Lay, has just come out with a new spin-off product line called Cracker Jack'D, which features flavors like Spicy Pizzeria, Cheddar BBQ, and Cocoa Java Power Bites (yes, really). Think of it this way: Cracker Jack'D is to the original Cracker Jack as, say, Metallica is to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." "


Oklahoma senator: Tornado aid “totally different” from Sandy aid - Salon.com:
"Sen. James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, argued that there is no comparison between Hurricane Sandy relief, which he voted against last fall, and aid for his state in the wake of the devastating tornado, because the two are “totally different.”"
I don't think that storm in Oklahoma even had a name. Totally different. Also, snobby liberal easterners.


"Trashing reporters comes easy in Obama-land. Behind the scenes, Obama-centric Democratic operatives brand any reporter who questions the administration as a closet conservative, because what other explanation could there be for a reporter critically reporting on the government?"

Daily Beast

Oh no! We thought they were all on the moon

How Hitler's U-Boats Are Still Attacking Us | Mother Jones:
"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has some fresh news from World War II: Thirteen Merchant Marine ships sunk by the German navy in the Battle of the Atlantic threaten to release oil from their watery graves."
But BP still does it better.


Reagan! That's it, he's channeling Reagan!

White House Says It Didn’t Loop Obama In on I.R.S. Inquiry - NYTimes.com:
"WASHINGTON — White House officials were first notified on April 16 about an investigation into Internal Revenue Service scrutiny of conservative groups and discussed its potential findings with the Treasury Department but never told President Obama, the White House said Monday."
It's the return of St. Ronnie. Not as good as that Iran-Contra thing yet, but give it time. It might still be.

The beauty of this whole IRS thing is Obama's press secretary is even if Obama had known what was going on there he could not have done anything about it. “'Obviously, that would be wholly inappropriate,' [the press secretary said] said."

Obviously. Wholly. What is this guy talking about?

It's all about the hurry, says this guy at Forbes

"The Keystone project has become the most studied and scrutinized project in infrastructure history. For 1,705 days, the Obama administration has delayed and sidestepped a decision that is really a no-brainer.… 
"World War II was won in Europe in less time. The Transcontinental Railroad, often quoted by President Obama, was built in less time. The Empire State Building could have been built several times over and Lincoln concluded the Civil War in less time."

I ask Google what time it is and it gets…

About 6,940,000,000 results (0.23 seconds)

Good thing I wasn't in a hurry.

Arrrgh! Come on, AP, don't stop there!

AP News: High court to weigh in on legislative prayers:
"From 1999 through 2007, and again from January 2009 through June 2010, every meeting was opened with a Christian-oriented invocation. In 2008, after residents Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens complained, four of 12 meetings were opened by non-Christians, including a Jewish layman, a Wiccan priestess and the chairman of the local Baha'i congregation."
So what was the fourth one ? Must have been something really weird. Like, you know, Presbyterian or something. We want to know.

(Also it's just an experiment, the yellow. Kind of cool though, huh? Maybe we will play with that a little. We are easily amused.)

Always something new to worry about

TheWeek.com: McDonald's increasingly enormous menu: By the numbers.

Ok, help me out here

According to this morning's Globe:

"The new acting IRS commissioner has ordered a month-long investigation of the targeting of conservative groups."

What is the magic in a month-long investigation? Why wouldn't a 3-week investigation work just as well? Or maybe a 26-day investigation. On the other hand, how does he know it won't take 37 days?

I just don't get it.


Unless, of course, we can get into a better war with somebody else

Undernews: Obama regime considers war on terror endless:

"It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war - justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism - that is the single greatest cause of that threat."


Undernews: A journalism professor explains why a shield law is dangerous:

"Tempting as it might be, a federal shield law is a bad idea for journalists. We do not need it, and we may ultimately regret it. The relevant part of the First Amendment to the Constitution says: Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press. That powerful simple phrase “no law” means just that – no law, period. It means Congress simply cannot legislate in this area."

'via Blog this'

Go ahead, tell us what's really on your mind

Hightower Lowdown | The money swamp created by Citizens United: Dark Money, corporate shell games, and SuperPAC plutocrats:

"Thanks to 2010's disastrous Citizens United ruling by a handful of raging corporatists on the Supreme Court, the moneyed elite can again buy as much political power as they want, without disclosing who's doing the buying."

Amy does the IRS (also some other guy)

Must-see morning clip: Amy Poehler returns to SNL - Salon.com:

Buckeyes are nuts

Ohio Republicans Push Law To Penalize Colleges For Helping Students Vote | TPMDC:
"Republicans in the Ohio Legislature are pushing a plan that could cost the state’s public universities millions of dollars if they provide students with documents to help them register to vote."

Flake wants to have cake, eat too

No kidding. Flake.

Talking Points Memo: Flake Continues To Twist Gun Vote In Response To Latest Bloomberg Attack.

You say that like it's a bad thing

"The [fluoridation] has divided [Portland's] powerful progressive community. Mainstream liberals see fluoridation's benefits as obvious, but they have hit an unexpected juggernaut of opposition from people who usually are their allies — among them rock musicians, Green Party activists and organic farmers, who have been carrying signs warning of an impending "Zombie Nation.""

LA Times