Welcome to Cold War II

US prepped for massive cyber assault on Russia | New York Post

"'We’re sending a message,' Biden said during an interview with 'Meet the Press' that will air on Sunday. 'We have the capacity to do it. It will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact,'"

Oh, for those halcyon days in 2009 when Hillary Clinton merrily presented the Russians with a big red RESET button. Apparently, they’ve pushed it. Or maybe we have.

Ironies abound. It seems only yesterday Russia was that glittering place where a heroic Edward Snowden resided with his girlfriend, happily employed and making big bucks lecturing U.S. college students via satellite. 

Now, Russia is again the Evil Empire and Snowden’s pals at WikiLeaks are its stooges, pushing doctored and forged documents intended to crash the American electoral process in service of the World’s Loosest Canon, Donald Trump.

We can’t wait for the next act. Or, maybe we can.


Do you think this fellow gets paid for saying stuff like this?

How Russian hackers will impact the encryption debate on Capitol Hill

FedScoop Will public acknowledgement of Russia's aggression actually move the needle in Congress, where politicians are preparing for yet another contentious battle over encryption that may spur regulation?... 

"At a minimum, Russia's alleged hacking increases the importance that Congress convene a commission to dig deeply and quickly into the use of technology by terrorists and nation-states to determine how we can protect America from bad actors while preserving our civil liberties," said Matt Mayer, a visiting fellow.

More news from the poor-but-happy crowd

Researchers have debunked one of our most basic assumptions about how the world works - The Washington Post

"We know that people in rich countries live longer than people in poor countries.…
And yet, when the economy is doing well, when it's growing faster than average, we find that more people are dying."

Extreme caffeine

The Most Dangerous Cup of Coffee in the World
The Wall Street Journal

The quest for find the next great specialty brew has led aficionados to Congo despite its Kalashnikovs, death threats and corruption.…

"I thought this was so great. It was so fleshy," head judge Beth Ann Caspersen, who lives in Rhode Island, said about the highest-rated brew in one round of the competition, limited to coffee grown in this central African nation. It was easy to forget how Kalashnikov-wielding guards milled around outside while clapped-out sedans swerved around gaping potholes.

Read the full story

Bright spots

But wait! That's not all!

Something crazy happens to Jupiter's moon Io for 2 hours every day - The Washington Post

Jupiter's innermost moon Io is nothing to sneeze at.


Not spectacular but still November

Leaves on the ground, and those nuts with the little hats (acorns, are they?); chilly mornings.

The final tally

There've been a fair number of landslide presidential elections in U.S. history: Two of the biggest have happened in my voting lifetime and—fair disclosure—I campaigned for and voted for both of the losers.

In 1972, George McGovern carried only one state (Massachusetts) and still  wound up with 37.5% of the popular vote. He was defeated by Richard Nixon.

In 1984, running against Ronald Reagan, Walter Mondale won one state (Minnesota) plus the District of Columbia while amassing 40.9% of the popular vote.

Another candidate I supported, Michael Dukakis, in 1988 got 45.6% of the popular vote while carrying 10 states plus D.C.

Currently there are 11 deep red states on Nate Silver's forecast map, and eight or nine pink ones, suggesting (yeah, I know the math is fuzzy here but I'm going with it anyway) Trump is likely to wind up with at least 40% of the vote next month, probably the most frightening scary clown story of the season.

Whatever the outcome of this dismal election, I'm sticking a fork in it. I don't like either candidate and I'll no doubt vote for some third party or other, just for the exercise of walking to the high school and back. Everybody has a right to his or her own opinion; everybody has a right to vote; and everybody ought to.

And that's the end, hopefully, of that.

Yeah, I believe the envy of Wall Street part but…

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf quits, replaced by Tim Sloan | Reuters

The departure is a stunning reversal of fortune for Stumpf, who successfully navigated Wells through the financial crisis and built it into the world's most valuable bank with a focus on Main Street-style lending that was the envy of Wall Street.

…cheating your customers is Main Street-style? That's news to me.  


Touching up

Wait, now the UN is trying to influence it too?

US election: Trump presidency 'dangerous', says UN rights chief

BBC News Donald Trump's "deeply unsettling and disturbing" views make him a danger internationally, the UN's human rights chief has said.

Progress is progress


(Those little dashes are all the rage these days, although I'm afraid if we don't stop using so many of them pretty soon we'll have to start importing them from China.)

Top Clinton Adviser John Podesta Accuses the Trump Campaign of Connection to WikiLeaks

Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman confirmed the FBI was investigating the hack of his private email account, which he blamed on Russia…

"I think it's a reasonable assumption, or at least a reasonable conclusion, that Mr. Stone and the Trump campaign had advance warning about what Assange was going to do," Podesta told reporters aboard the Clinton campaign plane. Podesta acknowledged the evidence was "circumstantial."


This is confusing to me. I thought WikiLeaks – Assange! Snowden! – were heroes to the liberals - taking down the NSA! - but now they're just - Russians! - who are our allies except just in Syria if they would only start bombing the right people for a change. I think.

Please make it stop.

So if I call them a bunch of yo-yos…

But without ever putting their boots on the ground

Iraq battle for Mosul with ISIS looms as US Army trains and equips Iraqis at Qayyarah airbase - CBS News from CBS News's Tweet

Most American troops thought they'd left Iraq for good in 2011. But fast forward five years, and there are now around 6,000 U.S. service members back here again, and as CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reports, they're preparing for what could be a decisive battle against ISIS.


The writing on the wall

"Publicly accused" is the key phrase here

Russian hacking crisis tests Obama's nerve - POLITICO

"'This is a big, big deal,' said Michael Morell, a former acting director and deputy director of the CIA. 'I can’t remember another time in American history where we have publicly accused another country of trying to interfere in our elections.'"

Just pointing out.

Bush dressed too shamefully to properly shame

Billy Bush spotted in sweats, flip-flops amid Trump video drama - NY Daily News

"The 44-year-old TV host sported flip-flops, a "Beach" T-shirt and sweatpants during a daytime stroll in Encino, Calif., on Monday — his first public sighting since NBC executives suspended him indefinitely from the "Today" show."

Haven’t had a scandal this big since, well, yesterday.

Diplomatic immunity?

Canada geese are federally protected, says this goose poop article:



When I first came to Massachusetts in the early 1990s the three-day Columbus Day weekend was the traditional peak of the autumn color season. No more. Today there's hardly any color to be seen, anywhere.

It's true we've had a dry summer and will probably have a short season of color but the peak of it will still occur, and if recent history is any guide, occur in probably three weeks, maybe four. It's drifted, slowly but steadily, later by almost a month in the last 20 years.

If that's not a changing climate I don't know what it is.


Too late?

Amazon.com: Instant Mud Wrestling Mud Mix - Makes 60 Gal. Just Add Water.: Toys & Games

Alas. I just thought it would be fun to have some mud to throw at the TeeVee tonight during the Great Debate, join in the fun. And you can get it from Amazon (who’s surprised at that?) but it’s too late to get delivery before tonight. Planning has never been my strong suit.

I watched the first televised presidential debate in 1960—the storied contest between Tricky Dick Nixon and JFK—and tonight—who knows?—I may get to watch the last. And mindless.

Concentrate? Really? It's come to this?

(Well, at least it's organic.)