More Clouseau than Bond

CIA admits to spying on Senate intelligence committee - CSMonitor.com

"The CIA is generally forbidden from conducting operations on US soil. One reason no criminal charges have been filed, said a Senate aide who was not authorized to be quoted, is that the Senate computers were on a CIA network subject to agency monitoring. But the CIA violated its agreement not to scrutinize the Senate side of the network."

Why not a scarlet I?

Can Ankle Bracelets Help Solve the Immigration Crisis? | National Review Online

Smell like a fish

‘Sharknado 2’ star Tara Reid debuts shark-inspired perfume | New York Post

"The perfume, which costs $24.95, is also a ‘complex scent’ (as one would expect a ‘Sharknado’-inspired fragrance to be) with ‘three different levels of nodes [sic] that embrace our fresh, light, and fun feel.’"

No comment

Netanyahu warns U.S.: Don’t ‘ever second guess me again’ on Hamas  - NY Daily News

"Netanyahu added that he now 'expected' the U.S. and other countries to fully support Israel's offensive in Gaza, according to those familiar with the call. "

Toxic Toledo

Dangerous toxins found in Toledo water treatment plant; 400,000 Ohioans put on 'do not drink' order - NY Daily News

"The city explained that Lake Erie, one of the Toledo's water sources, likely developed a harmful algal bloom, causing the toxins to trickle into the treatment plant.

"That kind of outbreak occurs when nitrogen and phosphorus collects in a body of water — often the result of fertilizer-laced runoff or broken septic systems."

(A musical comment from Tom Lehrer.)

So that's it then…

Obama says that after 9/11, 'we tortured some folks' | Reuters

"'It's important for us not to feel too sanctimonious…'"

…not with a bang or a whimper, but just a shrug.

Kick 'em out faster (but not until September, because vacation)

U.S. House passes border-security funding bill to speed deportations | Reuters

"(Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Friday to crack down on Central American migrants, including unaccompanied children, who are flooding to the U.S. border with Mexico, as lawmakers passed a $694 million border security bill."

Follow the money

Congress approves more Iron Dome funding for Israel - CNN.com

"Washington (CNN) -- Divided on other issues, U.S. lawmakers united in support of Israel on Friday with the Senate approving another $225 million for the Iron Dome missile defense system. The House followed Friday night by voting 395-8 in favor of the measure. "


Central Park South
iPhone art: Phil Compton

Stuff that is

Yup, That Exists

About that much-applauded job growth

Old Workers Hit New Record High As Jobs For Key 25-54 Age Group Slide By 142K | Zero Hedge

"Another month, another case where the primary age group of the US work force, those aged 25-54, gets shafted."

…we thought we'd mention it anyway

Gluten-free diet may do more harm than good for those without wheat sensitivity: study - NY Daily News

"Shelnutt admits that a participant group of 97 is not large enough to be considered representative of the general public's opinion, but…"

Trump sells newspapers

Americans fear pandemic as Ebola patients evacuate to Atlanta; CDC reassures risk of U.S. outbreak 'very low' - NY Daily News

"'Ebola patient will be brought to the U.S. in a few days — now I know for sure that our leaders are incompetent. KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE!' he wrote on Twitter."

That Ralph, he's such a quipper

House Republicans Vow To Stay In Washington Until They Vote On Border Funding

"They'll stay in Washington, postponing the start of their August recess, until they pass something.…
"'We could be here until Christmas,' quipped Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas)."

Because it's not peddling fast enough?

Why America Lags Behind the World on Bikes

Breaking up is hard to do

Google says 'forgetting' isn't easy, as requests mount

"For example, a person requesting the removal of links to information about a crime committed as a teenager may omit that he or she was convicted of similar crimes as an adult, or that he or she is a politician running for office."

(Running for office? How likely is that?)

God hates coal

Is God Green? | National Review Online

"This week 28 religious leaders, representing not only a number of Christian denominations (Presbyterian, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Quaker, Baptist, and more) but other faiths (Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Bahāʾī), testified in support of proposed regulations on coal power-plant emissions."

But what does He think about the pipeline?

Private school and all that

Utah language school blogger writes about homophones, gets fired for 'associating the school with homosexuality'  - NY Daily News

“[Homophones] are words that sound same but are spelled differently and have different meanings, such as 'peace' and 'piece.'"

(Your spellchecker does not recognize homophones—you spell it right, you keep it.)


Yes, Bunky…

…the Internet is turning the whole world into high school.

Go ahead, tell us what you really think

Israeli Frustration With Obama Reaching Boiling Point - Israel Today | Israel News

"Obama is a fool, and Kerry is an idiot."

I'm no fan of Rahm's, but Chicago

'City of big hearts' can take in 1,000 immigrant kids, Rahm says | Early & Often

"‘My grandfather left Moldova in Eastern Europe. His parents put him on a boat to get away from the pogroms [and] leave the violence. Thirteen-years-old by himself. Not a word of English to come to a place called Chicago. He left the violence of Eastern Europe.’"

Who says Congress can't get things done (or at least try to)?

At the end of July, right before vacation, the House passes H.R. 4250, the “Sunscreen Innovation Act."

Feel the Burn | The Weekly Standard

End of an era not quite yet

Hollywood joins forces with Kodak to keep movie film alive | The Verge

"The Wall Street Journal reports that the agreement is likely to see studios commit to buying from Kodak in set quantities for upcoming years regardless of their plans to actually shoot movies in the format. Kodak is now the sole major provider of movie film following Fujifilm's exit from the market in 2013"

Film is what makes movies movies.

Imagine our joy

Now, for those few of us left on the planet who don’t do Facebook, there’s an alternative. Well, there are actually several alternatives (sorry, Google). But this one, this one, is special. It’s, no kidding, Reaganbook, and it’s, well, currently unavailable (in “offline mode”) while making "the necessary changes to keep the site free from obscenity, pornography, and those intent on the destruction of life, liberty, and the family.” Ain’t that grand?


How can you tell when they're on vacation?

Hightower: Our Do-Nothing Congress Takes a Vacation | Alternet

"Gosh, has it already been three weeks since Congress took a vacation?"

So many books, so little time

How Will Kindle Unlimited lmpact The Publishing Industry? A Thorough Investigation | ThinkProgress

From this thoroughly annoying Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited product, a subscription service for (some) books, emerge several other interesting sources for electronic books:

The free services Project Gutenberg (but you knew about that already, right) and Open Library (and there’s also an Internet Public Library on our Work Avoidance List)…

And the subscription services ScribD and Oyster (compatible with many, but not all, devices.

Certainly there will be (even are) more.


Ahh, those French

Walking Your Chicken Around Paris in Style: A Pictorial Guide | LIFE.com

Questions ending in "no"

Here's why cannibalism is bad for your health | Fox News

"Have you ever wondered if would be OK—healthwise, not morally speaking—to feast on a fellow human?"


It's an app to help you stop using apps

Photo App Makes You Wait an Hour for Your Snaps to ‘Develop’ | TIME

"The idea is that you shouldn’t get so caught up in reviewing, sharing or deleting photos right after you take them that you miss out on whatever’s actually happening around you. "

No kidding. Nothing is too dumb for the Internet. 

Revenge is…wait…really?

Man facing charges for urinating on Modell’s grave - Salon.com

"The man, who has been identified only as a Cleveland Browns fan, will be charged with disorderly conduct in a cemetery.…He posted a video of the incident to YouTube this month."



On International Tiger Day, let’s stop taking tiger selfies - Salon.com

People in Wisconsin with bicycles: It's all their fault!

Federal Highway Trust Fund Pays for Bike Paths in Wis. | RedState

"A looming shortfall in the federal highway trust fund threatens to dramatically cut the amount of money states get from the federal government for road and highway maintenance. But even as some policymakers examine the possibility of raising taxes to boost revenues, a review of federally-funded transportation projects in Wisconsin finds that federal money has been spent on things like bicycle paths, archeological research, and beautification projects, among other things."

Now let's stop them from talking about cholesterol too

Court Upholds Florida Law That Punishes Doctors For Talking About Guns | ThinkProgress

The Left's Glenn Beck

Revealed: The Glenn Greenwald and Pierre Omidyar Money-Making Scheme | The Daily Banter

"First Look Media will scare you into believing that the government is watching everything you do, then it’ll sell you software to protect yourself.…
"It’s exactly like Glenn Beck telling his audience that the nation is about to collapse then selling them survival gear and telling them to buy gold."

Let's see if we can get 'em to walk around in public like this

Here's How To Protect Yourself from the NSA by Looking Completely Ridiculous | The Daily Banter

"The narcissism here is just staggering and it’s worth mentioning that it must be fantastic to live a life so free from real threats that phantoms — phantoms that you believe are targeting you specifically — are all you have to worry about."

Good news! Now we can close down the NSA and just subcontract the whole thing to Russia

Putin Restores Cuban Beachhead; Mega-Base Built At Peak Of Cold War To Be Resurrected – To Spy On America | Fortuna's Corner

"Earlier this month, (July 16, 2014), the British newspaper The Independent, reported that Moscow and Havana have reportedly reached an agreement on reopening the SIGINT facility in Lourdes, Cuba – once Russia’s largest foreign base of this kind – which was shut down in 2001 due to financial problems, as well as U.S. pressure.…

"‘From the base’, according to The Independent, ‘Russia could intercept communications in most part of the US including — the classified exchanges between space facilities in Florida, and American spacecraft in orbit’."


Thunder in the distance (much closer now)

And he ain't talkin Canada either, Bud

Scott Brown Ad: 'Secure the Border' | The Weekly Standard

"The 30-second spot, among the first in the 2014 cycle to address the illegal immigration crisis on the border, features the former Massachusetts senator juxtaposing the security lines at airports and public events with the lack of security at the Mexican border.”

Mexico! Yeah! Although New Hampshire is about as far away from there as you can get. 

Stepping down

The New Gilded Age - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money

"The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution…"

Drill, Baby, Drill becomes Export, Baby, Export

As U.S. kicks off crude exports, Iran casts a shadow in Asia | Reuters

"Iran, whose economy has been throttled by Western sanctions that have halved its crude shipments, is now selling higher quality and cheaper oil to China that leaves little room for the U.S. crude to enter the world's top energy consumer."

But what are the odds

Obama could curb corporate 'inversions' on his own: ex-U.S. official | Reuters

"(Reuters) - President Barack Obama could act without congressional approval to limit a key incentive for U.S. corporations to move their tax domiciles abroad in so-called 'inversion' deals, a former senior U.S. Treasury Department official said on Monday."

There'll always be a New Yorker

The 10 Worst New Yorker #Longreads

"How do you have it all? How do you have a family, a job AND time to exercise? There are only 24 hours in a day! In this classic New Yorker-style 'it's-a-trend-not-really' piece, Susan Orlean reports on the nefarious trend of sitting down and why you should get a treadmill desk so you can walk all day, constantly burn calories and live FOREVER!!!!!!!!"

The prevailing Internet business model is the same as your neighborhood drug pusher's

Facebook Is Ending the Free Ride

"Companies on Facebook will have to pay or be pointless."

The Internet officially ends

Real Startup That Mails You Quarters for Laundry Isn't Seeking Funding

"Young male founders must all be drinking the same Soylent. Either that or they have a hard time multitasking because these bros can't seem to disrupt anything besides doing your laundry. The latest entrant is Washboard, a subscription service for quarters. The $20 (of quarters) monthly plan will cost you $26.99."

Not an endorsement (but we're passing it up)

Sarah Palin's Low-Budget TV Channel Is Pricier Than Netflix - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic

"The Sarah Palin Channel launched Sunday, asking prospective viewers for 9.95 per month–96 cents more than Netflix–or 99.95 a year. (No word on whether subscribers get money back if Palin decides to stick with the project for only half of that term.)"

But no caucus for Getting Things Done

Political Blotter: Congressional Soccer Caucus sets a goal - San Jose Mercury News

"Yes, there is a Congressional Soccer Caucus.…

"'The mission of the Congressional Soccer Caucus is to encourage legislation, activities and events that promote soccer and issues affecting the greater soccer community, toward encouraging healthy and active lifestyles among America's youth,' according to the U.S. Soccer Foundation's website."

Also, apparently, no caucus for helping the U.S. Soccer Foundation write an intelligible sentence.

Pop quiz: Which state has two governors?

Migrant children: All 50 states are housing them, but not to the same degree (+video) - CSMonitor.com

"Six Republican governors – from Alabama, Kansas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Utah – are leading the opposing charge."

(Or possibly there should be a comma between North and Carolina?)


The old and the new

This has been on the Work Avoidance List for quite some time and still breaks me up:

Pointer Pointer by @StudioMoniker

And this is new:

National Archives and Records Administration

Arab Sprung?

‘A Job Well Done, As Libya Implodes,’ “Smart Diplomacy” Becoming A Punch Line,” By Walter Russell Mead | Fortuna's Corner

"The United States is pulling embassy staff out of Tripoli, and has issued a travel advisory that nicely outlines what a nightmare Libya has become.…

"The reckless and thoughtless Libya intervention just keeps looking worse. But don’t read the critics to see how horrible things are: as the government announces that the U.S. has officially evacuated its embassy in Tripoli this morning, the latest State Department travel advisory for the country says it all…"

Sentences we never finished reading

A Special Urban Brand of Melancholy? Best #Cityreads of the Week - CityLab

"In Robert Burton’s mammoth 1621 The Anatomy of Melancholy, a meandering discourse…"

Canadians outraged (but nicely)

Kathleen Wynne warns against marketing stunts that scare people after Bell’s Lake Ontario ‘shark’ hoax | National Post

"Upon learning the video was a fake, Wolfe Island Mayor Denis Doyle said it was rather concerning that people ‘do those kinds of such dumb things.’"

"Late to the dance"

My party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats - Salon.com

"Some recent populist talk is owing to the election of two liberals, Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio. (Liberals taking Massachusetts or Manhattan didn’t used to be news.) It’s unclear how well they and other Democratic liberals can tap populist sentiment. In any case, Democrats are late to the populist dance. Mass protests of corrupt oligarchies have roiled global politics for a decade. In America the Tea Party has been crying crony capitalism since the Bush bailout and Obama stimulus. Income inequality’s so bad Mitt Romney wants to raise the minimum wage."

But still John Wayne, right?

10 Things Americans Have Suddenly Stopped Buying | Money.com

"America is just not the clean-shaven, gun-buying, soda-drinking, Chef Boyardee-eating place it used to be."

Really? That upset?

Airbnb slobs are causing a raucous in Montauk | Page Six

"Neighbor Theresa Eurell was so upset that she started a Facebook page…"