Yes, Bunky, it's come to this: Turkey soup

I'm thinking with lentils and a few carrots, maybe a little touch of curry powder. And a good bread. But that's just me.

Finally, somebody makes sense

Undernews: Meanwhile . .

Spencer Ackerman - Actual anonymous Jewish mother during inevitable Thanksgiving NSA conversation: "Well, I'm just glad SOMEONE reads my emails."

Our nomination for Astrophysicist of the Year

Comet ISON, Presumed Dead, Shows New Life - NYTimes.com

“It’s definitely maybe alive,” Dr. Battams [an astrophysicist at the Naval Research Laboratory] said. “There’s a strong definite chance it might be, may be alive.”


But clicks, more clicks

So we should hug more Egyptians then?

Why Iran wants The Bomb | The XX Committee

The Americans don’t even go to bat for longtime friends like Mubarak, do you really think their word is good when they already hate you?

Didn't Caesar try that?

Stuff you probably haven't started worrying about yet, but will now

Absurd Creature of the Week: Glow-in-the-Dark Shark Makes Cookies Out of Flesh - Wired Science

Who wants to spoil the surprise?

Sweden divided over requiring HIV-positive people to inform partners before sex | The Raw Story

Improvised is such a wimpy word

Improvised rocket launchers fired near U.S. base in Japan | The Raw Story

Improvised rocket launchers were fired close to a US airbase near Tokyo, police and the American military said Friday, with suspicions falling on one of Japan’s small ultra-leftist groups.

Calling them craft launchers would be trendier.

Is this the hope? Turnip shortage may end on moon

NASA plans to grow turnips on the Moon by 2015 | The Raw Story

The lunar “greenhouse” will likely arrive on the moon as payload on an unmanned Google Lunar X-Prize mission in 2015. In it will be five days’ worth of air, a small water reservoir, and 140 seeds of cress, basil, and turnips.

Astonishing! Some guy at New Republic discovers…mobs.

What 'Mob Mentality' Can Teach Us About Black Friday | New Republic

If Black Friday this year is anything like the past few years, otherwise sane people will temporarily lose it as they form frenzied—and even violent—mobs.

Who would have guessed? (Ah ah, be honest now.)

Obama's war on Thanksgiving, woohoo!

HealthCare.gov Team Working Through Holiday To Meet Deadline : All Tech Considered : NPR

Besides movie theaters and Wal-Mart, one place that will stay open this Thanksgiving is the new HealthCare.gov "exchange operations center."


Where "all" does not necessarily mean all

Daily chart: Gobble, gobble | The Economist

And if there is one thing that all Americas can agree on, it is cranberry sauce.

Still thankful?

Jeb Bush questions Obama on Vatican - Lucy McCalmont - POLITICO.com

Bush, widely seen as a top GOP contender for 2016…

OK, thankful now?

Hundreds of pounds of pot falls from the sky in San Diego | The Raw Story

Bundles of marijuana were dropped from a plane Monday morning over San Diego.

Just try to keep it civil

Team Obama: Thanksgiving dinner the perfect time to promote ObamaCare | Fox News
Worried about those awkward family moments around the Thanksgiving table? Why not break the ice with a conversation about ObamaCare?  
 That's the advice this holiday season from the folks at President Obama's campaign arm, which is circulating a script -- of sorts -- for people to use in order to advance the cause of Affordable Care Act enrollment. 

Save the gas!

Macy’s Thanskgiving Day Parade 2012: Helium is wasted in floating parade balloons.

At projected rates of consumption, all the currently available helium on Earth will be depleted in about 40 years.

Sure, you can always worry about one more thing. What will happen to the Sponge Bob balloon?

When Presidents were, well, hungry

The turkey pardon is America’s dumbest tradition

The National Turkey Federation has donated two turkeys to the White House every year since 1947. Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower did the sensible thing and simply ate the birds. No pardons there.

Thought for food

Calvin Trillin's Campaign to Make Spaghetti Carbonara the National Dish for Thanksgiving

It would also not require much digging to discover that Christopher Columbus, the man who may have brought linguine with clam sauce to this continent, was from Genoa, and obviously would have sooner acknowledged that the world was shaped like an isosceles triangle than to have eaten the sort of things that the English Puritans ate.  Righting an ancient wrong against Columbus, a great man who certainly did not come all this way only to have a city in Ohio named after him, would be a serious historical contribution.  Also, I happen to love spaghetti carbonara.

Imagine our dismay

Holidays May Face Toy Shortage - The Daily Beast

While the major chains like Target, WalMart and Toys R Us say they should be fine, other stores say they are already out of certain toys (like the Rainbow Loom and Hog Wild’s Atomic Power Poppers).

Wait, a what kind of popper?

Eat dessert first

Or if you're on a budget (or food stamps), just eat dessert.

Go Pack

Knock off those Lions! W00t!


Some people just won't stay invaded

A Return to Stoning Won’t Help the Effort to Rebrand Afghanistan - Defense One

Even as a group of diplomats and advocates tries to shift the storyline on Afghanistan to focus on the gains the country has logged this past decade, a blast from the country’s brutal past has resurfaced to further complicate already difficult US-Afghan relations: Stoning may once again become the law.

Making a splash

Today in military history: Scuttling of the French Fleet at Toulon, 27 Nov. 1942

Seventy-one years ago today, sailors of the French Navy defied the Germans and scuttled their fleet at the main Mediterranean base of Toulon in southern France.…

Seventy-seven ships were sunk or destroyed at Toulon that day, including 2 battle cruisers, 1 battleship, 7 cruisers, 15 destroyers and 12 submarines. The heart of the French fleet — a modern, balanced Navy that featured the powerful battle cruisers STRASBOURG and DUNKERQUE along with a number of fine, modern cruisers and destroyers — was destroyed. The Germans were outraged, while the French actions were viewed by most Frenchmen as heroic.

Eat those chickens before they kill us all

Your moment of old

How to Take a Group Portrait of 14 NFL Quarterbacks on Their Day Off | LIFE.com

In 1961, LIFE magazine managed to get every starting NFL quarterback, including six future Hall of Famers, in a studio for a group portrait.…The result is somehow ridiculous, charming and kind of cool, all at the same time.

Awesome, the dumb

Report: NSA Tracked Porn-Watching Activity To Discredit Muslim 'Radicalizers'

An NSA document dated Oct. 3, 2012, provided to the Huffington Post by former security contractor Edward Snowden, identified six targets as Muslims and described them as "exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be exploited through surveillance to harm the targets' reputations.

Wow! But if that's not scary enough, how about this?

The NSA did not accuse any of the six targets identified in the document of involvement in terror plots, according to the Huffington Post. One target was identified as a "U.S. person," who may either be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.

That's right, Bunky, a U.S. person. Maybe. And furthermore:

"Without discussing specific individuals, it should not be surprising that the US Government uses all of the lawful tools at our disposal to impede the efforts of valid terrorist targets who seek to harm the nation and radicalize others to violence," Director of Public Affairs Shawn Turner wrote in an email.

Never mind that, if this had been a right-wing evangelist bible-thumper caught with his pants down in a brothel, the Huffington Post would be the first to chortle.  But this is different. NSA! NSA! NSA!

Shhh: It'll be fine if you just don't use it

A Plea to Avoid Crush of Users at Health Site - NYTimes.com

Administration officials said Tuesday that they had decided not to inaugurate a big health care marketing campaign planned for December out of concern that it might drive too many people to the still-fragile HealthCare.gov.

Also, I'm not much for complaining about hard-earned dollars since I don't earn any and even when I did it wasn't all that hard—still, what is the government doing in the health-care marketing business? Today is trash day and I just came in from lugging a big box of junk mail from various health-care insurance companies out to the curb, and now they're planning to send me more from DC? Or spam (yeah, I don't have enough of that already)? From the government?

When we could be using the money to buy more bombs?


Used to be able to just eat dinner


NEW YORK (AP) -- Three different types of stuffing will be offered on Stacy Fox's table this Thanksgiving: traditional, gluten-free and vegan.

There will be steak for people who don't like turkey. No eggs will be used in the latkes, or Jewish potato pancakes. And the sweet potato pie will be topped with vegan marshmallows she buys at a health food store.

Ok, now we're really confused

Driving Home the Link Between Gender and Climate Change

Tuesday was Gender Day at the COP19 climate summit in Warsaw, and many of the events that took place in the National Stadium focused on the topic of gender and its relation with climate change…

Talking about Iran and nukes…

here's a book about the Manhattan Project and our own. (I have a copy but it's autographed and it stays right here.)

Graveyard of superpowers

10 More Years in Afghanistan | War Is A Crime .org

When Barack Obama became president, there were 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  He escalated to over 100,000 troops, plus contractors. Now there are 47,000 troops these five years later.  Measured in financial cost, or death and destruction, Afghanistan is more President Obama's war than President Bush's.  Now the White House is trying to keep troops in Afghanistan until "2024 and beyond." 

They're baaaack

TomDispatch: Laura Gottesdiener, Wall Street's Rental Empire | TomDispatch

Wall Street’s rental empire is entirely new. The single-family rental industry used to be the bailiwick of small-time mom-and-pop operations. But what makes this moment unprecedented is the financial alchemy that Blackstone added. In November, after many months of hype, Blackstone released history’s first rated bond backed by securitized rental payments. And once investors tripped over themselves in a rush to get it, Blackstone’s competitors announced that they, too, would develop similar securities as soon as possible.

Worse! OMG!

Bret Stephens: Worse Than Munich - WSJ.com

To adapt Churchill: Never in the field of global diplomacy has so much been given away by so many for so little.

Also: No, "adapt" is probably the right word here. "Paraphrase" somehow seems to miss the wonder of a Churchillian quote on a completely unrelated subject (the RAF in the Battle of Britain) being appled to (oops, adapted for) a negotiation with Iran (worse than Munich! Oh, so much worse!)

Here's a quote we are adapting from the world-famous Anonymous: 99% of political pundits are useless and the remaining 1% should just shut up.

Hey, here's an idea—let's try poking them with a stick

U.S. Flies B-52s Into China's New Air Defense Zone - WSJ.com

WASHINGTON—A pair of American B-52 bombers flew over a disputed island chain in the East China Sea without informing Beijing, U.S. officials said Tuesday, in a direct challenge to China and its establishment of an expanded air defense zone.

Decide who dies! Now you can be President for a day (or for a click at least)

2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey | The White House

Can we use a drone?


Spanish Square, Rome

iPhone photo: Phil Compton

When people just don't have enough to do

The Period, Our Simplest Punctuation Mark, Has Become a Sign of Anger | New Republic

The period was always the humblest of punctuation marks. Recently, however, it’s started getting angry.…

Massively awesome work avoidance tool…

Comet ISON Observing Campaign

…good for the next couple of weeks (maybe).

A lot of physics in this

Why tapping the top of a beer bottle produces a geyser of foam | Ars Technica

In a presentation at the meeting of the American Physical Society, they described how the initial tap sets off a compression wave that gets transmitted to the bottom of the bottle.…

Oh oh

Mayer Confirms Hire of News Star Couric as "Global Anchor" of Yahoo - Kara Swisher - Media - AllThingsD

As AllThingsD had reported it would today, Yahoo said it has hired well-known TV news star Katie Couric for a high-profile job to do interviews and more on its home page, with the decidedly lofty title of “global anchor.”

One more problem for the big guy

Hope springs eternal

This Computer System Gets Smarter Just by Surfing the Web - The Wire

NEIL, the Never Ending Image Learner, has been scanning through photos online to identify patterns and make connections since mid-July, building towards a logical understanding of the imagery. NEIL identifies itself as a “computer program that runs 24 hours per day and 7 days per week to automatically extract visual knowledge from Internet data. 

We all know how smart you can get from surfing the web. Let's move on.

And it's not just the wheels

Police Buying Extra Armoured Iraq Trucks - Meet Your Local Police's New Vehicles - Esquire

I, for one, feel much safer in West Springfield knowing that the cops have not one, but two grenade-launchers. Keeps the Basketball Hall Of Fame safe.


Obama Named One Of GQ's Least Influential People Of 2013

Obama ranked No. 17 on the magazine's third annual list of "people who've overstayed their turns in the spotlight and used their fame for not a good goddamn thing."

The problem with schools, in a nutshell

Today's Paper - The New York Times

Quotation of the Day
"You can’t have a city of just rich people. A city needs restaurant workers, a city needs schoolteachers, a city needs taxi drivers."

KEVIN STARR, an urban planning expert at the University of Southern California, on San Francisco, where highly paid tech workers are seen as driving out less-affluent people.


No way you are going to get me back in school

Dancing chicken sperm take the prize in 'Dance Your Ph.D.' contest - NBC News.com

Guys in Speedos portraying chicken sperm: That's a winning combination for the "Dance Your Ph.D." contest, which celebrates efforts to turn doctoral thesis topics into interpretive dance.

Seriously. I got kept after school in kindergarten, in Lincoln, Nebraska, for refusing to dance with a scarf. I'm not kidding. It's true. Dancing with a scarf is dumb. I knew it when I was five years old and I still know it nearly three freaking quarters of a century later. Also dancing with a chicken sperm. Just forget about it. 

I'm out and I'm staying out.

The good thing about having a sister who's a superstar grocery shopper…

…is that six bucks just bought me five sweet potatoes and half a turkey, my contribution to the Thanksgiving dinner. I always buy half the turkey because I want half the leftovers. And the best part is, she cooks it. I cook the sweet potatoes, and pies. But that's the easy part.

The best part is turkey sandwiches later. (Also the pie.)

Oh no! The Tooth Fairy too?

On Snowden and Coincidences | The XX Committee

Above all, the Official Narrative requires you to believe that although literally every single Western defector to the Soviet Union and Russia for a full century now was extensively interrogated by Kremlin spies and placed under their “protection” as long as they were in the country, it’s completely different with Edward Snowden. If you actually believe that, I hope you also put your fallen-out teeth under your pillow at night, in the expectation the Tooth Fairy will reimburse you.

But hey, darlin, on YOUR soil no sweat

WANTED: A Company Willing to Help Destroy Syria’s Chemical Weapons - Defense One

Destroying the arsenal, which includes deadly mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin, can't safely be done on Syrian soil…

(I think when they say "company" in that headline they mean "country," but the distinction tends toward zero in the end.)

The price of snowballs is about to go north

Pentagon Outlines Stronger Military Presence in the Arctic - Defense One

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Citing American interests in climate change, energy security and the integrity of northern sea lanes, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel introduced a new Pentagon plan for Arctic security on Friday that promises to significantly increase U.S. military resources and attention to the polar region.

Speaking of which, the wind chill was -7º this morning when I went out for my (brisk) walk. I don't belive in wind chill—come on, every doofus knows that when it's cold the wind feels even colder—but still. For journalistic purposes. It was a little nippy (something like 21º, really). And maybe half an inch of snow on the ground. But it's sunny enough, so we are not giving up quite yet.


Something like your Thanksgiving dinner, and at about the same time

News from The Associated Press

The sun-grazing Comet ISON, now thought to be less than a mile wide, will either fry and shatter, victim of the sun's incredible power, or endure and quite possibly put on one fabulous celestial show.

Imagine our relief

Health Insurance Marketplace Is Still About 40 Percent Incomplete, Official Says - NYTimes.com

Specifically, she said, the government has fixed “two-thirds of the high-priority bugs”…

Obama says "There’s probably no bigger gap between the private sector and the public sector than I.T.” Which means, I suppose, Google can snoop on you far better than the NSA can. Or maybe it means nothing (yeah, probably that).

Whoa, I guess I missed that memo

Don’t Dare Call the Health Law ‘Redistribution’ - NYTimes.com

In America, [David Axelrod] said, “we’ve created a sense that everyone can expect to win — nobody has to sacrifice.”

As diplomatic triumphs go…

Accord Reached With Iran to Halt Nuclear Program - NYTimes.com

The deal would also add at least several weeks, and perhaps more than a month, to the time Iran would need to produce weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear device, according to estimates by nuclear experts.