31 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

Not.

I have spent the day in the La-Z-Boy hoping that my chills would turn into a fever, because fever’s break and chills don’t.

So, rather than look forward with the hope that 2010 will be better, I decided to look back, to awaken childhood New Year’s terrors from days gone by.

Click to go below the fold. If you dare.

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31 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: America's Concentration Camps

Torture is their pornography:

Now that Obama is in office, Republicans can revel fully in their embrace of torture – and the GOP has chosen the failed underwear bomber as its latest battlefield. The strategy has the short-term benefit of making the president look weak on national security, with the long term benefit of using public opinion to insulate former Bush administration officials from the potential legal consequences of breaking domestic and international laws against torture. There’s also the base emotional appeal of exacting revenge against the bad guys. The bureaucratic errors that led to Abdulmutallab being able to board a plane bound for the US would not have been solved by waterboarding.

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31 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Republican Hypocrisy

You sort of have to admire the chutzpah:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

But Wait! There’s More!

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30 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Too Stupid for Words

Apparently MoDo isn’t happy unless all about her are losing their heads, my son.

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Go here, watch the vid, and guess what those hands will be doing.

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There was a big fight, in the middle of the day in the middle of a neighborhood street and in front of at least two dozen witnesses. By the time police got there, though, nobody would tell them what had happened.

There was a time when that alone could have ended the police investigation. Not now.

Officers learned that a video of the incident had been posted on YouTube.

You can guess the rest of the story.

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29 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Too Stupid for Words

Theft bestows ownership rights as long as Yale wasn’t there when it happened.

When ancient Grecian antiquities looted hundreds of years ago are being returned to their country of origin, this really seems to translate into “I know I am, but what are you?”

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29 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

A glimpse of stocking could be something shocking.

Or not.

I wrote up my neatest Christmas gift in years at Geekazine:

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29 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

Click or double-click or right-click each picture for a larger image, depending on your browser.

Saltmarsh

Looking west towards the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. The near bridge to the right of the picture crosses the Intracoastal Waterway; the far bridge to the left of the picture, known as the “High-Level Bridge,” crosses the North Channel of the Chesapeake Bay.

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29 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

I am certain the student was driving. 15 mph all the way out of the neighborhood.

Driving School

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After all, the concept of human dignity and privacy has nothing to do with anything, does it?

The Transportation Security Administration said yesterday that Boston’s Logan International Airport is among the airports slated to receive a controversial scanning machine that can detect substances hidden under clothing, potentially thwarting terrorist attacks like the near-disaster on a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, back in reality.

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The U. S. Chamber of Commerce is beating the drum against unions again.

The last time I looked, no union was asking for multi-million dollar bonuses and country club memberships and crying that their rights were being violated if they didn’t get them. (Living wages and health care maybe, but not multi-million dollar bonuses.)

A snippet from the Bloomberg story (emphasis added):

Companies have added anti-union videos to training programs, required employees to sit through anti-union meetings and hired outside labor-relations consultants as a pre-emptive strike against a union organizing campaign.

“The whole culture that currently allows us to be a low-cost producer while paying top wages would probably be destroyed” by the legislation, Craig Milum, president of Milum Textile Services, a Phoenix-based linen supplier, said in an interview.

The internal contradiction: If they are treating their employees so damn good, what are they afraid of?

Full disclosure: I worked in a heavily unionized industry for many years. Unionized workers are no different from any others, except maybe for the living wage thingee and the health care.

A basic lesson of labor history is this:

    Management creates unions.
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Come to think of it, I don’t think Mr. Timmons actually told us that this was a no-no. But he did sort of imply that running into cop cars was not a good way to pass your driving test:

A 22-year-old Bear woman was charged with drunken driving early Monday after she rammed a police car in Wilmington.

Aside: You knew you were in with Mr. Timmons when he let you drive his Karman-Ghia instead of the school district’s 1956 Chevrolet with three on the tree–which was old even then–to rack up driving time for the course.

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28 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

Sure, it’s a little teeny study, and I am suspicious of making big conclusions from little teeny studies, but . . . .

In a study conducted by University of California researchers, 16 volunteers were given a strictly controlled diet including very high levels of fructose. Another group was given the same diet but with high levels of glucose (regular sugar) replacing the fructose. Over 10 weeks, the volunteers that were given fructose produced new fat cells around their heart, liver and other digestive organs. They also showed signs of food-processing abnormalities linked to diabetes and heart disease. The control group of volunteers on the same diet, but with glucose sugar replacing fructose, did not have these problems.

Via Seeing the Forest, who muses:

All you have to do is look around to see that something has changed in the American diet. Everyone is gaining a lot of weight. It isn’t “personal responsibility” if it is systemic. You can’t blame everyone who is getting fat if everyone is getting fat at the same time.

Everyone is getting fat. Just look around.

And corporate America has never been known to let safety stand in the way of a buck. Just ask Philip Morris.

The EPA, OSHA, and the CPSC were not created as power-grabs. They were created in self-defense.

Maybe the “con” in ConAgra does indeed stand for “con.”

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28 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

McClatchy:

. . . some public-safety officials say those efforts are now being thwarted by technology, with drivers now using text messaging, Twitter and other tools to keep each other informed about the location of sobriety checkpoints.

There’s eveb an iPhone application specifically designed to identify checkpoints, according to Sgt. Dave Gibeault, head of the Fresno Police Department’s traffic unit.

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28 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Reinstate Glass-Steagall The banksters are, of course, whining.

“The impact on Wall Street would be severe,” Wayne Abernathy, an executive vice president at the American Bankers Association, said in a telephone interview.

My heart bleeds.

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. . . on cellphone etiquette, in a newspaper column about cellphones on airplanes.

Flourtown resident Linda Phelps proposed: “I have decided I am going to listen to every phone conversation I hear and make a comment about it – not about the person speaking on the phone, but a comment in the context of the conversation. It might be in the form of a question or a suggestion – just something that allows the talker to know that I know his/her business. . . .”

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27 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

To read not one “year in review” article.

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26 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

John Cole said this so I didn’t have to.

I stumbled on some of the coverage of yesterday’s attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane (you could tell it was “Northwest” because of the word, “Delta,” on the tail) on CNN (“Coddling Nevous Nellies”). I was channel hopping. None of the major networks was doing wall-to-walleye coverage, but CNN was covering its heart and popping nitroglycerin pills like mad.

I listened to a snippet.

The anchor was interviewing by phone one of the passengers from the plane. I don’t have the conversation verbatim, but it went something like this:

Anchor: Were you scared when it was happening?

Passenger: Not really.

Anchor: How about now, now that you’ve had a chance to think about it?

Passenger: No, not really.

I cut the television off.

The anchor’s disappointment at not being able to foment fear was thick as asphalt on a hot summer day and twice as icky.

I remember a time when Americans weren’t expected to be afraid, be very afraid, all the time.

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26 December 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

I expect kids to do stupid stuff to show off–showing off is inherently stupid and so are kids.

But when I see 40-year-old men wearing shorts in under-40-Fahrenheit weather, I despair of the older generation.

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