…but if you ever counted the days until your Captain Midnight Secret Decoder Ring arrived in the mail, or wrote a note with lemon juice, or read an Ian Fleming novel, this book’s a treat. And an eye-opener, no matter what. And fun. It’s Prisoners, Lovers, and Spies: The Story of Invisible Ink from Herodotus to al-Qaeda, by Kristie Macrakis. (And it’s complete with recipes you can make at home.)
Here, or on the list.
"Obama has issued 182 executive orders in his presidency, through the end of June. The tyrant.
"The sainted Ronald Reagan issued 381 executive orders. The benign Dwight Eisenhower rolled out 484 of them. And Calvin Coolidge — Silent Cal, hero of young fogies in bow ties, asleep at the presidential wheel — signed more than 1,200 executive orders. Sue ’em all, retroactively."
–Midwest and Elsewhere Bureau
I lost track of Mark Fiore a few years back but here he is on Truthdig with, as always, a funny toon. Click the link.
"The blogger's critique of a restaurant was so high in Google's search results that it damaged the restaurant's reputation, a French court ruled."*The Hollow Men
"The ban comes after a series of wild 'disruptive' edits that appeared following the creation of @congressedits, a bot that monitors anonymous edits from congressional IP addresses and announces them to the world via Twitter. The account was created just over two weeks ago and already has more than 23,000 followers."
And maybe when they’re a little more grown up we’ll let them write a postage stamp or two.
"A 2012 study comparing 16-to-65-year-olds in 20 countries found that Americans rank in the bottom five in numeracy. On a scale of 1 to 5, 29 percent of them scored at Level 1 or below, meaning they could do basic arithmetic but not computations requiring two or more steps. One study that examined medical prescriptions gone awry found that 17 percent of errors were caused by math mistakes on the part of doctors or pharmacists."
(OK, you don’t know what a slide rule is, there’s a link in our Work Avoidance List.)
"General Motors recalled another 718,000 of its vehicles yesterday to correct defects serious enough to require the action. This puts the number at 'nearly 30 million vehicles since the start of the year, by far a record for any automaker and more than half the vehicles recalled by the industry as a whole.'
"Many of those 30 million were built buy the ‘old GM,’ which the taxpayers bailed out …
"The vehicles recalled yesterday were built by ‘new GM’… "
"Yes, Normandy. The operation was deliberately named after Normandy Beach, circa June 6, 1944, when Allied Forces invaded Nazi-controlled Europe. What’s wrong with this picture? It was the U.S., U.K. and the Allies who invaded at Normandy on D-Day, and the Nazis were the defenders against the invasion. That means the Minuteman gang has inadvertently (I hope) cast themselves in the role of the Nazis, with refugee children as the Allies."
"One of the great ironies of modern American Christianity is how weaponized it is and how fiercely and diametrically opposed its adherents often are to the actual teachings of Jesus, as described in the Bible. There’s no place better to witness an example of this little phenomenon than at a Tea Party rally, especially one focusing on immigration."
“…really, capital punishment is kind of a religious ritual. It’s a purification right. It’s a modern sacrament.
"‘And as long as that’s true, I say, let’s liven it up a little!"
"A Michigan firm has brought us one step closer…"
"‘If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,’ says Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado."
"In a study of 13 mammals, African elephants were found to be superior sniffers, possessing the largest number of genes associated with smell five times as many as humans and more than twice that of dogs."
"American exceptionalism strikes again. This time it manifested itself as the US being the only country on the United Nations Human Rights Council to vote against investigating the killing of civilians in Operation Protective Edge."
And don’t tell me about carbon dioxide either. Or Congress.
"House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) on Thursday ripped the Veterans Affairs Department for requesting $17.6 billion in new funding, saying the money will only entrench the agency’s ‘perverse culture’ "
"Despite constant complaints from the press corps and promises from White House officials, access to the president continues to be limited. The constantly repeated line that they’re running the ‘most transparent administration in history’ tends to prompt snickers. Halfway through Obama’s West Coast swing, it’s tipping toward outrage."
…Democrats got all twisted out of shape because they couldn’t find out what energy industry moguls were meeting with Darth. Now, though, they’re beyond all that, more civilized.
"‘There is malevolent cheating and incompetent cheating…This is a case of the latter. This is college kid stuff.’"
"That's why C4L is giving away a brand new Colt LE6920MP-B AR-15 equipped with a red dot sight.
"The AR-15 will come with Magpul stock, pistol grip, handguard, and vertical grip and back-up sight."
Thanks, Ron Paul. And H/T PEA POD
"Kerry appeared for only a few seconds in the footage, which showed his senior aides walking through a stationary metal detector and being checked with a handheld wand.
"At least one was asked to empty his pockets. "
"The suggestions include deploying the National Guard to the border to help with humanitarian care of minors"
Sending the National Guard to the border to “defend” it (basically, to scare would-be immigrants away, which is about all they can do since they have no power to detain) is dumb, but using Guardsmen as babysitters is not a half bad idea. The Guard is full of young men and women, civilians, many of whom have young children of their own. They’d probably do a fine job.
"thanks to a tax law that applies only to forced sales or other ‘involuntary conversions,’ Sterling’s profits [from selling the L.A. Clippers] may all be tax-free."
…but not near us go away getoutofhere!
"Rep. Tom Marino’s (R-PA) press secretary was arrested on Friday for bringing a gun into the U.S. Capitol building. Ryan Shucard, press secretary for the congressman, allegedly brought a 9mm handgun and magazine into one of the House office buildings, reports Roll Call, but was promptly stopped by Capitol Police and detained. He is being charged with carrying a pistol without a license, a felony."
"Down the road, a woman sauntered near the entrance of a ranch, her military green T-shirt hugging her plump curves and blending into the background. "
"‘These are highly sensitive systems, we don’t trust Ukrainian military folks on this,’ this official said. (The Ukrainian military is believed to be thoroughly penetrated by Russian intelligence.)"
"A policy of punitive home demolition is fundamentally wrong, irrespective of effectiveness. It contravenes basic moral standards by punishing people for the misdeeds of others."
"‘The Congress of the United States is failing us, and failing us badly,’ declared former Republican Governor James Thompson, who served on the 9/11 Commission."
"The Minnesota congresswoman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate told RealClearPolitics on Tuesday that she is considering a second White House run."
"There are, of course, lots of ways to resist progress. People take up knitting or quilting or calligraphy. They bake their own bread or brew their own beer or sew their own clothes using felt they have fashioned out of wet wool and dish soap. But, both in the scale of its ambition and in the scope of its anachronism, paleo eating takes things to a whole new level."
"She had her left foot up on the dashboard in front of the A/C vent so the cool, dry air would blow across her toes, and she was painting her toenails as she drove during the afternoon commute. I'll confess to being a 'distracted driver' when I witnessed it. I drove alongside for a minute to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me. Sadly, they were not."
"'Unfortunately, it looks like we're on a track to do absolutely nothing,' Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said."
"Every day American Airlines Flight 7 travels from Dubai to Atlanta and soars over Iraq.…
United Flight 82 each day goes over Afghanistan as it travels from Newark, New Jersey, to Delhi, India."
Two, at least.
“[Sending National Guard to the border is] going to cost the Texas taxpayers 12 million dollars a month. That’s some mighty expensive babysitting. But Governor Perry says they needn’t be concerned.
"’Once we show this works I will insist we send a bill to the [Obama] administration.’"
When I was a kid (yes, really) the back pages of comic books and any other magazines read by boys were full of feuding ads from Converse and Keds each claiming their shoes (we called them gym shoes in those ancient days) would make you run faster, jump farther and higher and meet more girls…
"Athletic Propulsion Labs's biggest claim to fame is that its Concept 1 basketball shoes were banned by the NBA in 2010 for giving 'unfair competitive advantage' by increasing vertical leap."
Woohoo! And still help you meet more girls…
But out on the street, everyone told me how great they looked.
"Once again the ghost of Ronald Reagan looms large. Though his record in raising taxes and adding to the deficit, and his involvement in redrawing the map of the world, would make him ineligible to become the nominee were he still alive, the contestants are already comparing themselves with the only Republican president whose conservative credentials are made of the same material as earned him his nickname, the ‘Teflon president.’"
And what a cast:
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) now enjoys support from 11 percent of Republican voters, a point or two ahead of scandal-ridden New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former governors Jeb Bush of Florida, and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. Paul is three points ahead of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), former vice presidential candidate and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. This crowded field also includes Senator Marco Rubio of Florida with 6 points and Texas Governor Rick Perry with 3.
We can’t wait.
Amazon includes the Kindle edition of Sinclair Lewis’ Main Street and Babbitt in its subscription Kindle Unlimited selection, and several of Lewis’s lesser-known novels—all of which are also available free from Project Gutenberg, but not Arrowsmith, Elmer Gantry (I’ve been thinking about re-reading that one), or It Can’t Happen Here. There is nothing exotic about any of these books and you can probably find them all in your local library (or the one in that town over there) and read them that way if, as I’ve said, you can figure out where the power cord plugs in.
"The action at offshore wind farms seems to be happening above the waves, with those giant, spinning turbine blades. But there's something interesting going on below, too. Some seals flock from miles around to swim among the turbines' support structures, tracking from one to the other as if completing a grid."
…sharks are attracted to seals. Great White sharks, at least. Nature is weird. I try to stay as far away from it as I can.
"The belief that…'We are better than that' is as much a myth for the left as the belief on the right that we can return to some kind of utopian past that never existed."
"More than 52,000 children have been caught crossing the United States border alone since October. "
The capacity of the Ohio State football stadium is 104,994. (Michigan’s is bigger.)
Which is not to say 52,000 is not a big number, or that what’s going on with children at the southern border isn’t a vey big deal requiring a concerted, compassionate response. It is to say 52,000 people over seven or eight months is not an overwhelming number—more than twice as many people pass in and out of the stadium in Columbus every week during football season.
We should be able to responsibly handle this number of children, and we should get busy and do it.
"‘I mean, truthfully, we’ve probably grown about 500 percent in terms of the sale of our shark apparel,’ he said. The T-shirts, hoodies, hats, belts, dog collars and other accessories bear the iconic, torpedo-shaped image of great whites and sell for between $10 and $45."
"Vincent Harris, an Austin, Texas-based Republican operative who spearheaded Sen. Ted Cruz’s digital campaign in 2012 and noted during one of the Saturday panel discussions that his current clients would be ‘scared’ to hear some of the libertarians’ musings on social issues."
"Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA to build what it calls ‘a pattern of life’, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with them."
"This is serious stuff…"
Turns out Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited subscription service is not quite as unlimited as one might think—there are a bunch of books (and typically, the higher-priced ones) not included in the deal. Also, looking closely at the words of the thing—and the presentation on Amazon’s web site—it’s not entirely clear whether “unlimited” books remain in one’s library if (or when) one’s subscription is discontinued.
None of which, of course, is automatically a deal breaker. Amazon remains an excellent source for reasonably-priced current e-books—and its software is best in class—but getting the maximum benefit from Kindle Unlimited will require a little strategic thought. And in the meantime, public-library e-books (and audio books) and the offerings of good old Project Gutenberg need to remain in the mix.
Plus, of course, there are those paper things, if you can figure out where the power cord goes.
"Well, there should be white boxers available somewhere. I looked far and wide for good old white boxers…"
…and other comments.