LOL! Are these Russians for real?

Russia Faults Proof of Use of Chemicals in Syrian War - NYTimes.com:
"Russia has reacted furiously to the announcement [of intervention in Syria] by the United States, saying the allegations are not reliable and accusing American officials of creating a pretense for military intervention...
Like they really think the U.S. government would joke around about something that serious? Really?
...based on intelligence assessments similar to the later-disproven reports of unconventional weapons in Iraq that preceded the invasion there."

Past future wars

We've been reading H.G. Wells' The War in the Air, a book published (serialized)
in 1908 that foresees both WWI and the emergence of 20th-Century style industrial warfare and its potential consequences, sci-fi at its best. It is a book for, as Wells himself might have said, "a book for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books." But it does, alas, get a little tedious in the telling, and so we, always conscious of our readers' refined sensibilities, will refrain from adding it too the official book list. It is available, however, free, from Project Gutenberg.

Soon to appear on the book list, however, are a collection of short stories by Nelson Algren and Carl Hiaasen's newest novel. So keep the faith.

Or maybe it's just a comic book

Superman Man of Steel disguise: Prosopagnosia explains why no one recognizes Clark Kent. - Slate Magazine:
"With his power of super-neuropsychology, Superman has cleverly secluded himself within a rare epidemiological cluster of prosopagnosics. At the Daily Planet, where close observation is part of a reporter’s or photographer’s job description, the hero’s disguise gives nothing away. Nobody recognizes the Man of Steel’s face because they simply can’t perceive it. "

Who knew golf was this much fun?

Croquet putting: Golf’s unconscionable ban on putting between your legs. - Slate Magazine:
"There’s nothing more traditional in the grand old game, in fact, than banning goofy putting practices. Consider the case of the croquet-style stroke, which the sport’s protectors banned 45 years ago because, as the then executive director of the USGA put it, “the game of golf was becoming bizarre.” Heaven forfend!"


We always knew it had talent

So whole wheat then?

Yesterday I set out to make black bean soup but it just kept getting better and better and wound up as chili instead. Also it was chilly, yesterday, so that worked out fine. Today there's just a little bit left over and I don't want to go to the trouble of heating it up for lunch so I'm thinking just squish it between a couple of breads and make a chili sandwich. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Too late now, but maybe next year

24 hours: More fun stuff for Milwaukee's weekend to-do list:
"Milwaukee Indyfest really gets rolling Friday at the Milwaukee Mile at Wisconsin State Fair Park. Music, carnival rides, IndyCar runs and, yes, rickshaw racing. "

What's with "this"?

Killer Colo. wildfire standing still, for now - CBS News:
"Firefighters have at least temporarily battled to a "draw" with a fast-moving fire..."

Why we're glad we're not small fish

Prozac Made Fish More Aggressive, Some Killed Mates - ABC News:
"Fish swimming in water with a trace of the anti-depressant Prozac did not adopt a cheery disposition. Instead, they became edgy, aggressive and some even killed their mates."
(Or big ones, now that you mention it.)


It's going to rain forever or at least until Saturday

And then again more next week. I have cabin fever and it's the middle of June. I got so desperate this afternoon that I sloshed over to the local convenience store for comfort food; bought cheese, forgot crackers. What kind of person does that?

Lion for Hawks (good picture)

News from @AP: Lions among Blackhawks fans in Stanley Cup finals: http://apne.ws/11HOk6w

"But we have faith"

News from @AP: Coverage may be unaffordable for low-wage workers: http://apne.ws/150wzgt

Notes from a long, long time ago

Why Superman Sucks - The Problem with Superman - Esquire:
"In 1938, only a few months after the release of issue number one of Superman, a professor named Halford Luccock bemoaned the advent of "disguised fascism" in The New York Times: "When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled 'made in Germany'; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course 'Americanism.'""

Throw the rascals out

Lawmakers surprised to learn about government surveillance, but many declined to attend briefings - Nation - The Boston Globe:
"Numerous lawmakers chose not to attend briefings offered by the House and Senate intelligence committees, even as they were repeatedly approving the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Patriot Act, which granted the National Security Agency the authority to mine information from private citizens."

The last word


When men were men and bikers wore coats and collars

Edwardian stunt bikers – in pictures | Environment | guardian.co.uk:
"In 1901, Fancy Cycling, an extraordinary book by Isabel Marks, was published, showing straight-faced paragons of Edwardian society pulling off some pretty daring (and peculiar) stunts.... "


A pun? Never would have guessed

Saggy Pants Banned On Boardwalk By Wildwood, New Jersey:
""This is just adding a little bit of decency to our town," he said. "It's amazing – and this is a pun – how far decency has fallen through the cracks.""

We feel your pain

Watch "Hannity Then and Now on NSA Surveillance" on YouTube

The art of understatement writ large

Obama-knows-best goes bust - Glenn Thrush and Jennifer Epstein - POLITICO.com:
"“I’m not sure people are confident that the administration has this totally under control,” he told POLITICO."
["He" is Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska)]

And she couldn't be called, you know, Mary Smith or anything like that

Extreme weather porn : Columbia Journalism Review:
"While all of the networks have increased their coverage of weather stories in recent years, ABC alone has given a single reporter, Ginger Zee, a beat to cover “Extreme Weather,” promoting her background in storm chasing rather than fact-driven meteorology. "
Meanwhile the really bad weather news is that it's a beautiful sunny day right here. That's bad because the forecast last night was for dark and very windy, so I made a plan (and this is why I hate plans) to get a bunch of indoor stuff done. Did I mention I hate plans?

I think I'm going to just sit here and pout until the sun goes behind a big black cloud.

What? No beige?

Color me confused - CSMonitor.com:
"The consultant presented me with one of those little paint chip cards, showing, in addition to Coconut Milk, the following fantastic shades: Timber Dust, Dust Bunny, Brown Buzz, and the magnificently dubbed Coral Gable Biltmore Mediterranean Mocha."
Or what about mauve? Is mauve good?

Hold on - doesn't the Pope wear a dress?

Pope Francis confirms 'gay lobby' in confidential meeting - CSMonitor.com:
"Pope Francis lamented that a "gay lobby" was at work at the Vatican in private remarks to the leadership of a key Latin American church group — a stunning acknowledgment that appears to confirm earlier reports about corruption and dysfunction in the Holy See."

Don't worry! It's all under control!

NSA director to get a public grilling in the Senate - CBS News:
"Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., an advocate for more transparency, has specifically called out Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for telling Congress in March that the NSA does not collect data on Americans. The White House on Tuesday defended Clapper, even though Clapper himself has said he gave Congress "the most truthful, or least untruthful" response he could. "
Dude, really?

The very thing

Short Walks May Lower Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes In Older People:
"Taking short walks after meals may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in older people by helping to reduce the risky spikes in blood sugar that occur after filling the stomach with food, according to a small new study from the US."
Yeah, I'm talking about the "small new study" part. What a great line! How do I know? Well, a small new study, that's how.

Congress is shocked...shocked!

NSA surveillance: anger mounts in Congress at 'spying on Americans' | World news | guardian.co.uk:
"Anger was mounting in Congress on Tuesday night as politicians, briefed for the first time after revelations about the government's surveillance dragnet, vowed to rein in a system that one said amounted to "spying on Americans"."
...that the laws they passed in a pell-mell panic...many without even bothering to read the bills...have led to this...this!

Watching these guys scurry for a place to hide is really the most enjoyable part of this whole NSA surveillance dust-up.

Buckle up

Unusually massive line of storms may affect 1 in 5 Americans | Fox News:
"The risk of severe weather in Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, is roughly 45 times higher than on a normal June day, Bunting said. Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Louisville, Ky., have a risk level 15 times more than normal. All told, the area the weather service considers to be under heightened risk of dangerous weather includes 64 million people in 10 states."


Tracking the silversmith

Using Metadata to find Paul Revere - Kieran Healy:
"Rest assured that we only collected metadata on these people, and no actual conversations were recorded or meetings transcribed."

Fun and paranoia in bookworld

Book News: Sales Of Orwell's '1984' Spike After NSA Revelations : The Two-Way : NPR:
"And after the news of the NSA surveillance broke last week, Twitter rose to the occasion with a collection of NSA-themed children's book titles: The Princess and the Pea-Sized Listening Device She Found Under Her Mattress and Everyone Snoops were among the best."

Looking for a career change?

Journalism Is the Worst 4-Year College Investment—Be a Sailor Instead!:
"It takes journalists nearly 32 years to pay off their college loans."

OK then, moving right along

Gawker - Today's gossip is tomorrow's news:
""Currently 62% say it is more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy.""

And "stated" is the operative word

Debate on Secret Data Looks Unlikely, Partly Due to Secrecy - NYTimes.com:
"Despite a stated devotion to government transparency, [Obama] waited for years to speak publicly about drones and has yet to say a single word in public about the United States’ offensive use of cyberweapons. His administration, meanwhile, has set a record in prosecuting leakers."


A whole lot of stuff you may wish you didn't know

Top Secret America | washingtonpost.com:

Who's really running this show?

NSA leaks put focus on intelligence apparatus’s reliance on outside contractors - The Washington Post:
"Never before have so many U.S. intelligence workers been hired so quickly, or been given access to secret government information though networked computers. In recent years, about one in four intelligence workers has been a contractor, and 70 percent or more of the intelligence community’s secret budget has gone to private firms."

The new privateers

108,000 Private Contractors Are in Afghanistan and We Have No Idea What They're Doing:
"Although the U.S. presence in Afghanistan is ostensibly winding down towards an eventual handover to Afghan security forces, as Francis argues, "the increase in the contractors to troop ratio is yet another indication that although the vast majority of troops are leaving Afghanistan, a private army will remain in the country for years.""

Maximus Minimus—and more

The Ten Weirdest Food Trucks In The World:

Don't mess with Mother Nature

After Drought, Rains Plaguing Midwest Farms - NYTimes.com:
"NORBORNE, Mo. — About this time last year, farmers were looking to the heavens, pleading for rain. Now, they are praying for the rain to stop.… "

The bad thing…

…about these chilly, dark, wet mornings is that I go back to bed—no wait, that's the good thing—the bad thing is that by the time I finally get going it's nearly noon. And by then it's a little warmer and a little lighter but more rainy. And some mornings, like this morning, I have to go out anyway—or run out of socks. Especially since the socks I am already wearing are about to get soaked.


We're from the government; we're more confused than you are

David Ignatius: Attorney General Eric Holder is not up to the task - The Washington Post:
"Holder’s mistakes in management and judgment are clear in the current controversy about leak investigations. He was silent as zealous prosecutors overrode the Justice Department’s guidelines for subpoenaing reporters; he recused himself from the case but bizarrely doesn’t seem to have kept a written record of the recusal; and he failed utterly to anticipate the political flap that erupted when Justice informed the Associated Press that it had collected the call records for more than 20 phone lines."

"Not an undisclosed collection or data mining program"

U.S., company officials: Internet surveillance does not indiscriminately mine data - The Washington Post:
"In a statement issued Saturday, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. described PRISM as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision.”"
If that's the way they talk it's a wonder we know anything at all. Unless…wait…you don't think he was trying to not say anything, do you?

Free iTunes coupon? Where?

"As near as I can tell, most of the public is willing to sell their innermost secrets for a free iTunes coupon. Until we figure out a way to change that, none of this stuff is going to stop."

Mother Jones