New! By popular demand!


Must be one of the greatest lines ever

NSA Prism program: more details revealed in new slide – live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk:
"President Obama drew an "important" line Friday between Chinese cyber attacks on US companies and the NSA's surveillance of online activity overseas. The president did not, however, address the revelation that he has asked for a list of potential overseas targets for prospective cyber attacks by the United States."

What we need is healthier rats

Asparagus Helps Lower Blood Pressure (At Least In Rats) : The Salt : NPR:
"Researchers at the Kagawa Nutrition University in Japan fed a diet consisting of 5 percent asparagus to rats with high blood pressure. As they report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, published online on May 30, after 10 weeks, the rats on the asparagus diet had lower blood pressure than the ones fed a standard rat diet without asparagus."

Hold on there, AP!

News from The Associated Press:
"Based on the difficulty of the problems involved and dates on some of the pages - 1824 and, on the recently authenticated pages, 1826, when Lincoln was 17 - Lincoln likely worked in the book intermittently over several calendar years while his family lived in Indiana, the married professors said."

And you fell for that old email gag?

News from The Associated Press:
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government's broad programs to collect U.S. phone records and Internet traffic helped disrupt a 2009 plot to bomb the New York City subways, a senior U.S. intelligence official said. 
But the assertion raises as many questions as it answers because court testimony indicated the subway plot investigation began with an email."

A little warped

A little warped by Ted Compton
A little warped, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Out of control, you say? Really?

Retired admiral and CIA director Stansfield Turner opines about FISA and the NSA, et. al., (as quoted in the Boston [no link] Globe this morning):
“I think there are enough checks and balances that if it got out of control someone would blow the whistle,” he said, “and there would be a congressional investigation.”
No freaking kidding. Someone would blow the whistle. And then get tossed into solitary for three or four years and fed through the nose. Sure, that's likely to happen.
“We’re damn lucky as a country to have the kinds of technological capabilities we have to learn things about people who are planning to attack us, that we wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Joseph Lieberman, no longer even a Senator but still a clueless and somewhat inarticulate jerk, also in said no-link Globe. 
We're damn lucky to have you too, Joe. We have more entertaining dreams with you around.

Meanwhile the President and "other government officials" explain, "in order to actually listen in on [your] calls or read [your] e-mails, the government would need to gain another court order," or, to be clear about the thing, the government would have to obtain a warrant you are not allowed to see from a court you are not allowed to know about to look at whatever stuff they want to, and they don't have to tell you what it is. Nothing to worry about there, right? Move along.

And don't forget to be afraid of the terrorists. Everything depends on that.


Irony, sweet irony

The US government wants to protect American phone users from Chinese hackers:

Retired Admiral To Oversee Phone Company's 'National Security Agreement'

Awesome pix

Pop icons in unfamiliar scenes « Flickr Blog


Five facts about National Donut Day – and where to get a free treat in Canada | CTV News:
"There are at least three other doughnut-themed holidays on record -- International Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day on June 8 or 9, National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day on September 14, and, Buy a Doughnut Day on October 30."

Nothing to worry about, spy chief says…

Obama Administration Declassifies Phone Records Seizures, Condemns Leaks | TIME.com:
"The judicial order that was disclosed in the press is used to support a sensitive intelligence collection operation, on which members of Congress have been fully and repeatedly briefed. The classified program has been authorized by all three branches of the Government."
…the whole government is corrupt. It's unanimous!

But they're just trying to keep you safe

Undernews: Perps till at large:

The case for letting the states decide everything

New York Considering Bowling-Shoe Warnings - Lowering the Bar:

If I were a terrorist organization…

…OK I'm not, NSA, this is just a hypothetical so cut me a little slack here…if I were a terrorist organization I would so call Lindsey Graham right now.

NSA busted!

What is the sound of one Clapper clapping?

'Profound Questions About Privacy' Follow Latest Revelations : The Two-Way : NPR:
 "In a statement, James Clapper [Obama's director of national intelligence, an oxymoronic title if ever there was one] added that "the intelligence community is committed to respecting the civil liberties and privacy of all American citizens." "
OK, sorry about that headline; really I am. Although you have to admit it makes about as much sense as Clapper's quote there: More or less none. If snooping on everybody is respecting their privacy, well then pigs are hummingbirds.

More to the point…
"NPR's Dina Temple-Raston said Friday that this is "an early glimpse of how intelligence is going to be collected in the future." What the spy agencies appear to be doing, she said, is gathering up such data and hanging on to it "in anticipation that it might be useful some day.""
Also, now, the cops, who have just been given permission by the Supremes to catalog your DNA.

Yes, Bunky, you do have a permanent record and everything is on it.

Strolling of the Heifers: It's what you get for hanging around with cows

"Belying their placid outward demeanor, our local heifers are jet-setters, explained the Dairy Godmother, who reported that they've just completed a world tour.

After piling into their "cattle-ac," the heifers first stopped in New Jersey. "We went to see if Jersey cows really do have big hair.""

Battleboro Reformer

How often does it change its socks?

The Associated Press (@AP) tweeted at 7:40 AM on Fri, Jun 07, 2013: 2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy is coming out of his coffin to undergo rare cleaning: http://t.co/u4qFLTNHRe (@ngowi) -CC (https://twitter.com/AP/status/342969193760686081)

[ Oops. Well that was a failed experiment. But it's still a pretty cool story.]

Relax, says Harry Reid...

...it's been going on for 7 years.

Oh then, that's okay.


More than one is sort of multiple, I guess

NSA snooping has foiled multiple terror plots: Feinstein - U.S. News:
"A secret National Security Agency program to collect vast amounts of phone records has foiled multiple attempted terrorist attacks inside the United States, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee told reporters on Thursday.   
"Sen. Dianne Feinstein did not specify how many attempted attacks had been prevented, or the nature of the threats, but the California Democrat said there had been more than one. "
A good investment then.

Okay then, at least we got that cleared up

"The laws of Sweden state that only the King is immune from traffic tickets."


It's in the book

Texas Says It's OK to Shoot an Escort If She Won't Have Sex With You:
"Texas law allows people "to use deadly force to recover property during a nighttime theft.""
So, acquitted this guy is.

Yesterday it was little astronauts and now its little demons

GOP Candidate: Yoga Opens You to Satanic Possession

"Yoga is demonic. If you just sign up for a little yoga class, you're signing up for a little demon class."

Only in Boston (eat your heart out, world)

Sandwich Monday: Dunkin' Donuts Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich : The Salt : NPR:
"My mom always told me breakfast was the most important meal of the day. I think this pretty much proves her wrong."

So then, just making the whole thing up?

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration called government review of complete phone records of U.S. customers a "critical tool" in protecting the public from terrorists. 
The information "allows counterterrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States," a senior Obama administration official said Thursday. The official stopped short of confirming the practice
Wall Street Journal
Oh yeah, this is gonna be a terrific summer series. One of the most amusing things about it is that some of the people (we're not naming names here) who are screaming loudest about invasion of privacy are the very same who, only a few days ago, were loudly wondering why the intelligence services weren't listening in to conversations between the Boston Marathon bombers and their mother, no less (we should be more like the Russians!)—and dude, this is just the first revolution of that particular wheel. Also we appreciate the technique, pioneered by the Bushies, of slipping stories to the American press by getting them published in English papers (if these guys worked for Apple they'd be tax accountants).

And there seems to be some confusion about what business, exactly, Verizon is in, hinting at many more fun episodes yet to come.

We're doubling our popcorn order now.

Naughty, naughty to be sure…

NSA Said to Collect Millions of Verizon Phone Records - Bloomberg:
"Privacy-rights advocates issued swift protests upon learning of the Guardian report, calling the data collection an intrusion on millions of innocent Americans. The American Civil Liberties Union called for the Obama administration to halt the program and disclose its scope and asked Congress to investigate."
…although it is perhaps worth noting that millions of people (very possibly including a number of privacy-rights advocates) voluntarily disclose much more personal information to Google every day. Not to mention Facebook. (Granted the key word here is "voluntarily." But the key question is "who really cares?")


Oh we can't wait to line up for that

American Throw Out 40 Percent Of Their Food, Which Is Terrible For The Climate | ThinkProgress:
"As part of the program, the USDA is also addressing food waste in schools, updating nation-wide food loss estimates from retailers, pilot-testing a meat-composting program, and working to make it easier for companies to donate misbranded meat and poultry and imported produce that doesn’t meet the country’s strict quality standards instead of throwing it away."

Brits are shocked

Revealed: NSA collecting phone records of millions of Americans daily | World news | The Guardian:
"The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing."
Not us, though.

Also "some guy" and "whatzisname"

EXCLUSIVE: CIA didn't always know who it was killing in drone strikes, classified documents show - Open Channel:
"Though the Obama administration has previously said it targets al Qaeda leaders and senior Taliban officials plotting attacks against the U.S. and U.S. troops, officials are sometimes unsure of the targets’ affiliations. About half of the targets in the documents are described as al Qaeda. But in 26 of the attacks, accounting for about a quarter of the fatalities, those killed are described only as “other militants.” In four others, the dead are described as “foreign fighters.” "
Nice job on the ID there, fellas.

Ha ha earthlings, we had you fooled

Scientists discover a little astronaut within all of us - CSMonitor.com

And there is mourning thru out the land

11 Foods You Can't Buy Anywhere Anymore:

Coming events (don't say we didn't give you plenty of notice)

Next year, 2014, will be the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. There will almost certainly be troves of books about that war published next year, but the best book likely ever to be published (IMO, of course) dates back to the 1960s. It's Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August. I don't know what'll happen to its price next year but right now you can get a copy for less than eight bucks on Amazon. So if it's an early start you're looking for (and a bargain), you're welcome.

Business as usual

"TransCanada and the provincial government of Alberta are paying former advisors to the Obama administration - as well as former staff of the Hillary Clinton and John Kerry presidential campaigns - to help them lobby for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to transport tar sands fuel to the U.S."



Nothing to see here…move along

FDL News Desk:

"The decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline is a political headache for President Obama. But to five of his former aides, it represents a business opportunity. Four of them — Bill Burton, Stephanie Cutter, Jim Papa and Paul Tewes — work as consultants for opponents of the project, which would carry heavy crude oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.

"Another, former White House communications director Anita Dunn, counts the project’s sponsor, TransCanada, among the clients of her communications firm."

Stop with the news, already…

…we do not want to think about Marilyn Monroe being 87 years old.

   Marilyn Monroe, Los Angeles, 1950 | Marilyn Monroe: Early Photos, 1950 | LIFE.com

(Born June 1, 1926)

"When Aunt Dinah’s daughter Hannah bangs on that piano"

Seriously, that's the name of this tune.

Once upon a time

Casey at the bat, Take 4 (1909-06-16) | National Jukebox LOC.gov

And when the mouse gets the bomb…?

Undernews: Monsanto hires mercenary firm to spy on opponents:
"…entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation."

June Day—who knew?

From today's Boston Globe:

"Members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company marched to Boston Common from Faneuil Hall Monday..."


Yes by cracky let's go all the way

At the U.N. on Monday, over 60 nations signed the first international treaty to regulate the global arms trade, after seven years of negotiations, and sponsors were taking a victory lap, explaining the impact of a treaty that they hope will stem the flow of weapons that fuel extremists in conflicts around the world.…

U.S. ratification continues to face stiff opposition, where it must garner a two-thirds vote in the Senate, where a March vote to oppose the treaty won Senate support.

Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas introduced the concurrent resolution, expressing the Senate's opposition to the treaty, saying that it failed to expressly recognize the individual right to bear arms.

CBS News

Except on airplanes.

Your morning moment of good cheer

Letting Companies Hack the Hackers: What Could Go Wrong? - Businessweek:
"“In a contest over who can go further in violating the law, despite the bluster of some in the high-tech community, private citizens are no match for the Russian mafia, the Russian Federal Security Service, or the People’s Liberation Army in China. This is not a contest American companies can win,” wrote James Andrew Lewis, a senior fellow for the Center of Strategic and International Studies."

When you think about it...

A pair of feet has 250,000 sweat glands and can produce "moisture," as the industry calls it, of up to 30 gallons a year.

Wall Street Journal

...wait. On second thought, let's not. Also, what is a professional hiker? People get paid for hiking? How can that be?

We are 80% shocked

IRS Investigation By House Panel Finds $50 Million Spent On Conferences:
"In addition, 15 outside speakers were paid a total of $135,000 in fees, with one paid $17,000 to talk about "leadership through art," the House committee said.… 
"The lecturer who spoke about leadership through art produced six paintings of subjects that included Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, the rock singer Bono and the Statue of Liberty, the aides said."
Apparently it was just too much trouble (or too shocking!) to name the other two paintings; anyway, how much outrage can we muster on a Monday morning? This from the Huffington Post is just one of the stories peppered across the networks today by the New York Times, NPR, CNN, the Washington Post (well, see for yourself) not one of which, as far as I can see, said anything at all about the offending lecture except that it was about (gasp) art. But then, that's enough, isn't it? We all know art is scary, subversive stuff, and we need to put a stop to it.

Times on U.S. health care (long read)

Colonoscopies Explain Why U.S. Leads the World in Health Expenditures - NYTimes.com:
"“It all comes down to market share, and very rarely is anyone looking out for the patient,” said Dr. Jeffrey Rice, the chief executive of Healthcare Blue Book, which tracks commercial insurance payments. “People think it’s like other purchases: that if you pay more you get a better car. But in medicine, it’s not like that.”"


Added to our list of Pretty Fine First Lines…

…this from H. G. Wells's The War in the Air:
"This here Progress," said Mr. Tom Smallways, "it keeps coming."

So you're saying no more dirt?

Undernews: Earth facing peak soil:
"Common Dreams - Soil is becoming endangered.This reality needs to be part of our collective awareness in order to feed nine billion people by 2050, say experts meeting here in Reykjavík."
Whew! Good thing I put off cleaning under my bed. That patch of dirt under there could be worth a fortune someday. I could be a dirt mogul.

Commando tourism

U.S. Tourists Become Israeli Commandos For A Day : Parallels : NPR:
"Gar asks the American visitors to "help fight terrorism" by speaking up against negative views of Israeli soldiers they might see or hear back home."

A Daley quote worthy of a Bush

Seeking a Fresh Start, Holder Finds a Fresh Set of Troubles - NYTimes.com:
"The White House views the attacks on Mr. Holder as a “political agenda” and “would not hasten the departure of someone who’s competent and runs the department and is a friend because there’s a drumbeat,” said William M. Daley, a former White House chief of staff under Mr. Obama. “Whoever Barack Obama puts in there, these people will try to drumbeat him out of there, no matter what.”"
Although, come to think of it, this Daley's old man was pretty, um, inventive with his speech as well.

Who says English is our official language?