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Punditry: Got 'would'? 'If' only.

If the schedule being mapped last week holds;
If Mr. Obama falls short on health care;
“If they jam through health care,”;
If Mr. Obama and the Democrats succeed;
“If and when this is passed;
“If they pass it,” he said;
“If they pass nothing, their base;

Source: Peter Baker, The New York Times, 14 Mar 2010 (which made Max Fisher's Best Sunday Columns List).

No doubt in someone's universe this example of virtual ping-pong, a game played amongst and between players with 'air intellect', has meaning. But out here in the reality-based world the piece is just another example of the 'blahs'. There *is* good news though: at some point in the future the Times will go behind a pay wall, and it seems likely the publisher will price and label each article. If they do, we can finally lose the ping-pong-punditry and keep the actual news.

'Pro-choice' will mean choosing pros.

FLASH! Whitman A 'Swinger'!

Image @ Swingers Fanatics (the movie)

Jack Chang/sacbee:
Whitman hits Brown, Poizner at California GOP convention

SANTA CLARA – Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman came out swinging . . .

There it was, in print, in the State's 'Capitol' newspaper, the reep geek candidate 'coming out' as a swinger. Who'd a thunk it?

(What!?!?!? Whaddya mean, read it closer? Oh. Well, ok, I see that now. Jeez, man, untwist your shorts. It's only politics.)

The Truly Blind Shooting the Deaf & Dumb In the Foot

Peter Nichols/LAT:

Some advocates of an immigration overhaul warn that Latino voters will stay home in the November mid-term elections if the issue is delayed again.

So Obama meets with Schumer and Graham on immigration; Graham threatens to stuff the bill if the Senate uses reconciliation on HCR; the La Raza people walk in next saying they will likewise take their ball and go home if the Prez' doesn't act on immigration; leaving the rest of us to wonder if there is any intelligent life left in D.C. See?


Experts of the Unexpected, III

Image: Aerial View and Portraits of Poultry Farmer Experts - Petaluma, CA @ AllPosters

[Earlier installments here and here.]

Today's installment comes via Javier C. Hernandez/NYT: In a Surprise, U.S. Retail Sales Rose in February: Analysts had expected February’s unusual weather to take a large toll on sales.

Finding the 'Hidden' In Plain Sight

Start with The Dish: Unemployment by State, follow the link to Calculated Risk, and you'll get to the BLS: Regional and State Employment and Unemployment -- January 2010. Subscriptions available here.

Every agency of the Federal Government has the same setup. Save yourself time and energy: click once.

Days of Future Passed: Sol

Tyler Hamilton/Tech Review: Gasifying Biomass with Sunlight:

The gasifier is mounted atop a tower surrounded by a field of solar concentrating mirrors that reflect sunlight back to the furnace. As the biomass is dropped through the intensely hot ceramic tubes, it is vaporized into syngas.

The article discusses the ever-present problem of 'scaling up', but the pilot is up and running. The 'scaling-up problem' of course ignores the reality of what's staring them - and entirely too many others - in the face:

Pity the Fools: This Time Send No One.


As much as half the food aid sent to Somalia is diverted from needy people to a web of corrupt contractors, radical Islamist militants and local United Nations staff, according to a new Security Council report.

[Jeffrey Gettleman+Neil MacFarquar/NYT:
Half of Food Aid to Somalia Is Diverted, Report Says (8 March 2010)


Looting, by heavily armed gangs, of supplies from delivery and distribution points, as well as attacks on incoming and docked ships and on airports and airstrips, prevented the assured delivery of humanitarian assistance by overland transport.

[Somalia - UNOSOM 1 Background (Jan '91 forward)

Quit diggin'.

Doin' the Hokey Pokey In An LA Middle School

Image © LATimes: Burbank middle school teacher arrested for allegedly having unlawful sex with a student:

We'll have to watch this one closely, given the importance of the story in the overall scheme of things. Never mind those few hundreds of dead, dying, or damaged children in the greater LA area. We got a horny teacher story!

Now *that's* a news organization with their priorities straight.

First Impressions

Kevin Bullis/Tech Review: Ultra-Efficient Gas Engine Passes Test:

Transonic Combustion, a startup based in Camarillo, CA, has developed a fuel-injection system it says can improve the efficiency of gasoline engines by more than 50 percent. A test vehicle equipped with the technology gets 64 miles per gallon in highway driving, which is far better than more costly gas-electric hybrids . . .

[Image © Transonic Combustion]

Excellent. Let the change-outs begin.

C.o.C. Suckers

Tom Hamburger/LAT: U.S. Chamber of Commerce grows into a political force:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is building a large-scale grass-roots political operation that has begun to rival those of the major political parties, funded by record-setting amounts of money raised from corporations and wealthy individuals.

Well, hey, the-people-who-would-own-America need, well, their people too. Looks like they've been doing what they do best, hiring a bunch of 'vote mercs' at around six bits a pop to stand out front of grocery stores and beg for signatures.

The Jetpack Arrives

Image © Martin Aircraft

Tannith Cattermole/gizmag: It's 2010 - finally my jet pack is here!:

And when will I be able drive it to work? Again it's a waiting game as currently air traffic control technology is not yet advanced enough to cope with jetpacks . . .

Yeah, yeah, they're 'getting there'. I've been fed that line of b.s. for over fifty years. Even though this one's positively real, and you can buy-'n-fly with an ultralight license, you'll probably be restricted to rural airspace.

On second thought, I think if I'd spent 86 grand for a toy like that, I'd be flying the thing wherever the hell I want.

Woman Attacks Jailer With Breast

AP: Woman charged in breast milk assault on jailer:

(03-07) 07:09 PST Owensboro, Ky. (AP)

A woman in jail for public intoxication was accused of assaulting a jailer by squirting breast milk at her. WYMT-TV reported that a 31-year-old woman was arrested Thursday on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication. But as she was changing into an inmate uniform, she squirted breast milk into the face of a female deputy who was with her.

The woman now faces a felony charge of third degree assault on a police officer. Her bond was set at 10,000.

That's the story in it's entirety. I'll leave the visuals to you.

Filming In Their Boots

Operation In Their Boots:

Operation In Their Boots (OITB) is a unique filmmaking fellowship in which Brave New Foundation commissions five veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to produce and direct their own documentary films.

Go read the article: Alexandra Zavis/LAT: Veterans put their own war stories on film. Timely, with today's election in Iraq. Nicely done.

Layers of Evil

And now I know you’re dissatisfied
With your position and your place
Don’t you understand
It’s not my problem

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you
Bob Dylan: Positively 4th Street
© Warner Bros. (1965)

Continental Divide: It's Only Money

Image @ HistoryMap.com

Sam Dillon/NYT: Federal Grant Competition Whittles to 16 Finalists:

WASHINGTON — New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. . .Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Proof positive from the Feds that the United States ends @ the Mississippi River. (Colorado, owing to it's lack of anything useful to the rest of the Country, was included out of pity - a "token West" State).