Amazon Deals

New at Amazon

Friday, January 11, 2013

25 Drunkest Cities in America

At Daily Beast, via Neatorama.  #1 is Boston, followed by Norfolk and Milwaukee.  Check out the whole list here.

A Modern Teenager Interprets Classic Art

See the rest of the set here.

Here's a nice smiley 2011 picture of David Gregory's wife and the DC District Attorney who decided not to prosecute

More at Legal Insurrection: Emily Miller of The Washington Times, who has written extensively about the overly aggressive enforcement of D.C. gun laws, including as to high capacity magazines, reacted as follows:

It is shameful that the politicians running the nation’s capital have sent the clear message that there are two systems of justice in the city: one for the rich and powerful and one for everyone else.

It further undermines public confidence in such decisions to find out that Nathan knew Gregory and his wife, high-powered attorney Beth Wilkinson.

Mark Steyn: Hagel vs. too-big-to-fail Defense Department

So, why Hagel? Why now?

If the signature accomplishment of the president's first term was Obamacare (I'm using "signature accomplishment" in the Washington sense of "ruinously expensive bureaucratic sinkhole"), what would he be looking to pull off in his second (aside from the repeal of the 22nd Amendment)? Hagel isn't being nominated to the Department of Zionist and Homosexual Regulatory Oversight but to the Defense Department. Which he calls "bloated."

"The Pentagon," he said a year ago, "needs to be pared down." Unlike current Secretary Leon Panetta, who's strongly opposed to the mandated "sequestration" cuts to the defense budget, Hagel thinks they're merely a good start.

That's why Obama's offered him the gig.

Because Obamacare at home leads inevitably to Obamacuts abroad.

And this: You can have Euro-sized entitlements or a global military, but not both. What's easier to do if you're a democratic government that's made promises it can't afford – cut back on nanny-state lollipops, or shrug off thankless military commitments for which the electorate has minimal appetite?"

David Gregory will not be prosecuted

Gregory goes free “despite the clarity of the violation of this important law”

Previously: Not David Gregory? D.C. prosecutes ordinary Americans for ‘high-capacity’ magazines

"Mr. Brinkley was publicly humiliated, thrown in jail and forced to spend money to defend himself for violating a law that millions of viewers watched the NBC anchor violate."

Recommended: Jim Manzi's post on lead and crime

Breaking down the numbers. Here's his conclusion, which makes sense to me:

Drum has made clear that his purpose in doing this article was to get further research and attention on the topic. He has succeeded, and I think it a worthy goal. Before reading his article, I had the intuition that lead exposure should have some effect on crime. Reading the article strengthened this belief. I think it should strengthen this belief in any rational person who has not previously seen this evidence. But that is way short of making a convincing case for spending $400 billion of taxpayer money.

Friday links

The Criminal Lives of 5 Classical Musicians.

Curious Things That Fall From The Sky.

Is Thomas Edison's last breath preserved in a test tube in the Henry Ford Museum?

Video: Soul Train Era James Brown Gives You Dancing Lessons.

The Gadgets of the Future From the Electrical Shows of Yesterday.

How to use Asian squat toilets

Working Out All The Kinks: 50 Shades inspired aerobics

Kristen James says her '50 Shapes of Grey' classes can help people act out scenes in EL James' erotic novels, reports the New York Daily News.

It features 13 'sexercises' including 'bend-over-better', 'sexy scissors' and 'seductive squat', all of which Ms James claims will translate to better, bolder sex.  More here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jack Lew's Budget Ineptitude Disqualifies Him From Top Treasury Post

Over the past three years, while he was OMB director and Obama's chief of staff, the U.S. has run deficits of over a trillion dollars a year, with no shrinkage in sight. Our national debt has exploded by a third, to just over $16.4 trillion.

That's not success: That's the road to national fiscal ruin. And it will only get worse. But incompetence is one thing, dishonesty quite another.

We find it troubling that Lew has repeatedly told outright falsehoods about U.S. budgets and debt — deceiving both the public and Republican opposition about our fiscal health.

As he told CNN in 2011: "Our budget will get us, over the next several years, to the point where we can look the American people in the eye and say we're not adding to the debt anymore; we're spending money that we have each year, and then we can work on bringing down our national debt."

Totally false. And he knew it.

James Watson Says Antioxidants May Actually Be Causing Cancer

Above my pay grade, but interesting:

In light of the recent data strongly hinting that much of late-stage cancer's untreatability may arise from its possession of too many antioxidants, the time has come to seriously ask whether antioxidant use much more likely causes than prevents cancer.

All in all, the by now vast number of nutritional intervention trials using the antioxidants β-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium have shown no obvious effectiveness in preventing gastrointestinal cancer nor in lengthening mortality. In fact, they seem to slightly shorten the lives of those who take them. Future data may, in fact, show that antioxidant use, particularly that of vitamin E, leads to a small number of cancers that would not have come into existence but for antioxidant supplementation. Blueberries best be eaten because they taste good, not because their consumption will lead to less cancer.

NFL Playoff picks for this weekend - in sonnet form

The rest are here.

At Denver -9.5 Baltimore

We all know that Ray Lewis can still dance.
But catch a sure interception? Fat chance.
He looks like RoboCop with that arm brace.
And half a season out has slowed his pace.
Can the Ravens win? It’s up to Flacco.
Picking them here might seem kinda wacko.
Mile High Stadium air is pretty thin
And old guys tend to get tired therein.
Peyton Manning leads a vicious attack.
He gets five touchdowns from flat on his back.
Knowshon Moreno can carry the ball
Will the Purple Guys stand up like dry wall?
Against the Ravens defense I won’t bet.
And with all these points I wouldn’t fret yet. PICK: RAVENS

Remember the Twitter spat last year between Krugman and the Estonian President? It's been made into an opera

Financial Opera:

Last year’s public spat between Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and economist Paul Krugman will be transformed into a short operatic work based on the disagreement on fiscal issues between the two men.

In a blog in June 2012, Mr. Krugman questioned the assertion Estonia was booming and described the country as “a poster child for austerity defenders,” which hadn’t fully recovered from the global financial crisis. The post got a fierce response from Mr. Ilves, who posted angrily on Twitter in defense of Estonia, which enjoyed a budget surplus.

Among others, he said: “Let’s write about something we know nothing about & be smug, overbearing & patronizing.” One tweet included a profanity to say people could get away with insulting “East Europeans,” whose “English is bad” and who “won’t respond and actually do what they’ve agreed to and reelect governments that are responsible.”

Composer Eugene Birman and journalist Scott Diel found inspiration in the quarrel. The operating work they’re creating will be titled “Nostra Culpa,” Latin for “Our fault”, which Mr. Ilves used in an ironic admission to being one of “dumb and silly East Europeans.”

“Scott took various parts of the president’s tweets and we tried to create almost a refrain for the respective public figures. For Krugman, for example, it’s simply ‘Stimulate!’, while for Ilves, it’s ‘Nostra culpa’,” Mr. Birman said.

The 15-minute “financial opera” has two movements and will be performed by Estonian mezzosoprano Iris Oja…

Not The Onion: Bill Clinton named “Father of the Year”

The group selected Clinton for his “profound generosity, leadership and tireless dedication to both his public office and many philanthropic organizations,” Dan Orwig, chairman of the National Father’s Day Committee, said in the announcement.

The same group picked John Edwards in 2007.  Gotta wonder about their criteria.

Thursday links

The Illustrated Evolution of Famous Musicians, Film Actors & Characters

Christ Child Looks Lovingly at a Yarn Winding Device

Map: How Fast You Could Travel Across the US in the 1800's

John Lennon’s Oddly Patronizing Letter to Eric Clapton

The Origin of "Port" and "Starboard"

What It’s Like to Experience New Technology After 25 Years in Jail.

Drive-Thru Invisible Driver Prank

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Map: How Fast You Could Travel Across the US in the 1800's

These maps from the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States (1932) show how long it took to travel across the United States in the 1800's, with a starting point in New York City.

In 1800: New York City to New Orleans took about four weeks.

Here's 1830 - train travel was available in part of the country:

By 1857, railroads had improved significantly:

And here's 1930:
 For more maps, check out Mother Nature Network.  via Laughing Squid.

Video: Soul Train Era James Brown Gives You Dancing Lessons

via OpenCulture.

How to Apply Blackface

From a 1926 make-up guide for actors.  See more images from the catalogue at UVA's online exhibit, Uncle Tom's Cabin & American Culture. via Weird Universe.

Nixon, Kennedy, Eisenhower and more: 12 Historical Speeches Nobody Ever Heard

Nixon vowing to stay and fight for his job:

“Whatever the mistakes that have been made—and there are many—and whatever the measure of my own responsibility for those mistakes, I firmly believe that I have not committed any act of commission or omission that justifies removing a duly elected official from office."

Kennedy explaining that we just attacked Cuba:

“I have ordered—and the United States Air Force has now carried out—military operations with conventional weapons to remove a major nuclear weapons build-up from the soil of Cuba.”

Eisenhower explaining the failure of the Normandy invasion:

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Food diverted to fuel through ethanol mandate creating state-sponsored hunger in poor countries

At what point does environmental zeal descend into inhumane policy? Try the ethanol mandate, which is now creating a wave of state-sponsored hunger in poor countries like Guatemala as food is diverted to fuel.

In a buried item in Saturday's New York Times, Elisabeth Rosenthal reported that growing demand for biofuels in the U.S. is having a catastrophic impact on the small poor nations south of our border, such as Guatemala.

The problem is not the usual suspect of the past — local socialist policies — but the socialism going on up north called the ethanol mandate, which has resulted in 44% of U.S. corn crops getting burned as fuel.

That may sound good to a U.S. environmentalist, given that ethanol has been marketed as a "green" energy, but to a tiny nation like Guatemala, it's a disaster.

Corn forms the staple of the meager Guatemalan diet, and also serves to sustain its livestock. Ever since 2005, Guatemala has become an importer of U.S. food.

There's nothing wrong with importing food, of course, so long as a nation moves on to more productive competitive advantages. But there was never any time for that to happen. The imposition of the Renewable Fuel Act of 2007 came right after the 2005 Central American Free Trade Agreement. Cheap, subsidized corn rolled in from the U.S., displacing local farmers, and then prices shot up with the ethanol mandate. That law requires one-tenth of all U.S. gasoline to contain corn-based ethanol, offering distorted incentives to U.S. farmers to sell their corn at subsidized prices, leaving less for food.

The mandate has diverted so much corn to fuel, it's cut into the amount of corn available for exports. Corn exports have fallen nearly 50% since 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.

As a result, corn prices have soared as much as 100% for Guatemalans, making corn not just expensive but out of reach for the impoverished population, which spends two-thirds of its money to buy food. The Times reported that half of Guatemalan children are malnourished.

"There are pros and cons to biofuel, but not here," Misael Gonzales of the C.U.C. farmer's union told Rosenthal. "These people don't have enough to eat."

Yet in light of this humanitarian crisis, incredibly, the Environmental Protection Agency sees no reason to use its legal authority to waive the mandate so that America's starving neighbors can survive.

"Such adjustments focus on domestic issues like cases in which biofuel 'requirements would severely harm the economy of a state, a region, or the United States,'" the Times reported the EPA as saying.

Nor is the even more tangible problem of drought — which has shriveled corn harvests in the Midwest — good enough for an economic damage waiver.

"The agency has not found evidence to support a finding of severe 'economic harm' that would warrant granting a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard," the EPA said in a statement in November. "We recognize that this year's drought has created hardship in some sectors of the economy, particularly for livestock producers. But our extensive analysis makes clear that Congressional requirements for a waiver have not been met and that waiving the RFS will have little, if any, impact."

This attitude, given the drought, famine and impoverishment, makes one wonder just what it would take for the EPA to issue its waiver.

In reality, it's a callous sign of a government agency so wedded to its green agenda it will rationalize any man-made famine or other unintended consequence of its policy for the sake of its environmental purity.

Stalin operated that way, and so did all the other global creators of hunger.

The astounding thing is that it's now the U.S. that's creating it, a byproduct of the Obama economy and its immoral green agenda.

LEGO Tells Boy to Listen to His Father

Great story - read the whole thing.

Seven-year-old Luka Apps used his Christmas money to buy the LEGO Ninjago Ultrasonic Raider set. Despite his father's warning, he put some of the minifigs in his pocket when they went out. And he lost one. So he emailed the LEGO company and asked for a replacement. Richard from LEGO replied, in part:

Luka, I told Sensei Wu that losing your Jay minifigure was purely an accident and that you would never ever ever let it happen ever again.

He told me to tell you, "Luka, your father seems like a very wise man. You must always protect your Ninjago minifigures like the dragons protect the Weapons of Spinjitzu!"

Sensei Wu also told me it was okay if I sent you a new Jay and told me it would be okay if I included something extra for you because anyone that saves their Christmas money to buy the Ultrasonic Raider must be a really big Ninjago fan.

Iranian Regime Supports Hagel Nomination

Iranian Fars News reported:
Iran on Tuesday expressed the hope that Washington’s foreign policy will witness practical changes after US officials announced that President Barack Obama will nominate Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary.
“We hope that practical changes will be created in the US foreign policy and the US officials’ approach will change to respect the nations’ rights,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday.

Retrying Socrates, in front of Judge Posner

Litigators in Chicago are preparing to retry a controversial 2,400-year-old free speech case that famously resulted in the death of Socrates, now considered the father of Greek philosophy, when he drank a cup of poisonous hemlock.

Dan Webb of Winston and Strawn and plaintiffs lawyer Robert A. Clifford, a former chair of the ABA Section of Litigation, will represent Socrates at the Jan. 31 proceeding, which is being held as a fundraiser by the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago. The case for the City of Athens will be made by former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, now a partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, and Patrick M. Collins of Perkins Coie.

Judge Richard A. Posner* of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will head a three-judge panel that also includes his federal appeals court colleague William J. Bauer and Cook County Circuit Judge Anna Demacopoulos.

via Marginal Revolution.

*Posner is the judge who screwed up the Conrad Black trial badly enough for SCOTUS to send it back to him for reconsideration on a 9-0 vote. (Writing for the Court, Justice Ginsburg was critical of Judge Posner’s decision, referring to its “anomalous” ruling and the “judicial invention” found therein.)

The League of Extraordinary Rodents

via The MarySue.

Holmes' booby trap included improvised napalm

An elaborate booby trap system allegedly set up to pull police away from the Colorado theater shooting included improvised napalm and thermite, which burns so hot that water can't put out the blaze.

He said three different ignition systems were found in Holmes' apartment. There was a thermos full of glycerin leaning over a skillet full of another chemical. Flames and sparks are created when they mix, and a trip wire linked the thermos to the door.

Which pill do you choose?

via BitsandPieces

1934 plan for expanding Manhattan by filling in the Hudson river

Plug up the Hudson river at both ends of Manhattan . . . divert that body of water into the Harlem river so that it might flow out into the East river and down to the Atlantic ocean . . . pump out the water from the area of the Hudson which has been dammed off … fill in that space . . . ultimately connecting the Island of Manhattan with the mainland of New Jersey . . . and you have the world’s eighth wonder- the reconstruction of Manhattan!

That is the essence of the plan proposed by Norman Sper, noted publicist and engineering scholar. It is calculated to solve New York City’s traffic and housing problems, which are threatening to devour the city’s civilization like a Frankenstein monster.

Obama wants to conclude treaty with Russia without that pesky Senate ratification

Read the whole thing at Belmont Club:

Obama administration has been looking for a way to conclude a treaty with Russia without having to submit it for ratification to the Senate as required by the Constitution.

President Obama has made eliminating all nuclear weapons his signature policy. In 2011, his New Start Treaty committed the United States to a ceiling of 700 strategic delivery vehicles and 1,550 strategic warheads. Now, as he promised in March, he seeks even deeper reductions through “a step we have never taken before—reducing not only our strategic nuclear warheads, but also tactical weapons and warheads in reserve.”

But the president faces the Constitution’s requirement that two-thirds of the Senate consent to any treaty.

Text Message Privacy? Depends on How You Send Them

The difference between Facebook messaging from your cellphone and texting through the phone's built-in service may seem minimal to most of us, but our odd and archaic laws view them rather differently. As it turns out, it's very likely that your Facebook and Twitter messages are better protected from government snoops than your phone texts, even when you send them from the same device.

The government can obtain a list of the numbers (and names) that you call with a subpoena, but finding out the names or email addresses of the people that you email requires a court order.

Meet Jack Lew, Obama's chief of staff, who's likely to be Tim Geithner's replacement

ZeroHedge has a lot of information on him: In other words, Jack will be the point person whom the people who truly run the Treasury, the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, chaired by JPM's Matt Zames (who just happens to also now run the notorious JPM Chief Investment Office which uses excess deposits to gamble - yes, you really can't make this up) and Goldman's Ashok Varadhan, global head of dollar-rate products and FX trading for North America (recently buying a $16 million pad at 15 CPW) will demand action from.

Tuesday links

How to get onto The Price Is Right.

Homemade milk carton igloo.

Seriously Weird Chocolate-Coated Foods

Uncropped version of Sgt. Pepper album cover, with the unused Hitler cutout.

How much bacon would it take to cover your house?

Please speak up so the Dark Lord of the Sith can hear you

via io9, in Darth Vader's E-3778Q-1 life support armor, it can be pretty difficult to hear much of anything.

Explanation of the trillion dollar coin idea from the former mint director who wrote the authorizing law

Jimmy P. at AEI has a letter from former mint director Philip N. Diehl explaining the concept and how it would/could work. He also has comments and links.

So far I've been assuming that this is a joke, since it certainly sounds like one.  It is, right?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Eurozone unemployment reaches new high of 11.8%

BBC: Spain, which is mired in deep recession, again recorded the highest unemployment rate, coming in at 26.6%.

More than 26 million people are now unemployed across the EU.

For the eurozone, the number of people without work reached 18.8 million said Eurostat, the official European statistics agency said.

Greece had the second-highest unemployment rate in November, at 20%.

The youth unemployment rate was 24.4% in the eurozone, and 23.7% in the wider European Union. Youth unemployment - among people under 25 - was highest in Greece (57.6%), followed by Spain (56.5%).

Overall unemployment was lowest in Austria (4.5%), Luxembourg (5.1%) and Germany (5.4%).

Monday, January 7, 2013

EPA regulations force Ga. power company to shut down coal-fired generators

Stricter environmental regulations have led to Georgia Power asking state regulators for permission to shut down 15 coal-fired and oil-fired generators, totaling more than 2,000 megawatts of electricity generating capacity.

A study conducted by National Economic Research Associates for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity found that over the next four years companies will be forced to shut down between 54,000 and 69,000 megawatts of coal-fueled electricity generation, mainly due to the EPA regulations.

The study estimated the compliance costs would force electricity generators to spend $15 billion to $16.7 billion annually over the next two decades.

Seeking disability payments, pregnant women drinking heavily to deliberately harm unborn babies

Mothers-to-be in one of South Africa's poorest areas are drinking large amounts of cheap, illegal alcohol to deliberately damage their unborn babies - just so they can claim disability benefit.

State benefits mean 250 South African rand (£20) per child per month for an impoverished family. But disability allowance is a far more lucrative 1200 rand a month (£85).

A rational response to perverse incentives. Last month: Moms Keeping Kids Illiterate to Get More Welfare Money

"There is no such thing as a gun show loophole"

It's really a frightening scheme if you think about it. Politicians who make hay by pointing fingers at gun shows argue that gun show attendees get around federal law by buying their guns without a background check. What they never tell you is that there is no federal law requiring a background check on secondary gun sales, and there never has been. 

In other words -- it's not illegal to buy a gun from your neighbor, your father, or your friend.

MRI Shows Robert Griffin III Has Partially Torn ACL, LCL

More details on RG3's knee injury here.

Member of Biden's Gun Control Task Force Has a Son Convicted of Planning School Mass Murder

Apparently with the father's gun.

Health insurance rates going up by double digits: NYT

Why should this surprise? The must-issue regulation built into ObamaCare increases costs for the insurers, who cannot draw all of the needed revenues from the high-risk pool, thanks to mandates on rates. That means those costs have to get spread out to everyone in the pool. This is nothing more than Risk Pool 101, a course that Congress flunked repeatedly in the ObamaCare debate.

Orlando to Fine Couple $500 a Day for Vegetable Garden

The full story, with comments and links, is at Reason.

In the UK, a new brothel just for disabled customers

“There’s nothing illegal about spending disability living allowance or benefit money on sexual services and the brothel will not be run to make money, it will be organised on a strictly not-for-profit basis."

Lightning blasts boobs off statue

Everything disintegrated but the breasts.

"I'll leave the statue the way it is to show the force of nature ... I might mount (the breasts) and hang them in my office."

H/T ‏@mwbowler

Redskins Pumping Artificial Crowd Noise Into The Stadium During Yesterday's Game?

Interesting.  Apparently this isn't unusual, especially during playoff games.

The Monty Python/Family Guy mashup

Apparently this was from last night FG:

Gun Control - another set of perspectives

A reporter did a human-interest piece on the Texas Rangers. The reporter recognized the Colt Model 1911 the Ranger was carrying and asked him "Why do you carry a 45?" The Ranger responded, "Because they don't make a 46."

The old sheriff was attending an awards dinner when a lady commented on his wearing his sidearm. "Sheriff, I see you have your pistol. Are you expecting trouble?" He promptly replied, "No Ma'am. If I were expecting trouble, I would have brought my shotgun."

I was once asked by a lady visiting if I had a gun in the house? I said I did. She said, "Well I certainly hope it isn't loaded!" To which I said, "Of course it is loaded; it can't work without bullets!" She then asked, "Are you that afraid of someone evil coming into your house?" My reply was, "No, not at all. I am not afraid of the house catching fire either, but I have fire extinguishers around, and they are all loaded too."

Video: Dog Trainer Saves Dog with CPR

Not NSFW but hard to watch in spite of the happy ending.

This is from 2011, but I hadn't seen it before.

Text from Youtube: Canyon Crest K9 Training Center owner, Ron Pace, saves the life of a boxer with CPR during a regular training session. During the session, the dog went into a seizure. As he stopped breathing and laid down Ron handed his assistant his iPhone with the video on and said to capture this so a veterinarian can see what happened. At that point he said to the handler move your hand so I can see if he is breathing and she said he is not. Ron immediately applied CPR. Sugar had stopped breathing for 2 minutes. He finally regained consciousness. Once the dog was resuscitated, the owner took him to the vet. 

Beyond Discouraged, 3.3 Million Workers Are Hopelessly Unemployed

“An often overlooked number calculated by the Labor Department shows millions of Americans want a job but haven’t searched for one in at least a year. They’ve simply given up hope. They’re not counted as part of the labor force, the official unemployment rate, or the category the Labor Department refers to as ‘discouraged workers’ — those who haven’t bothered to look for work in the last four weeks. These hopelessly unemployed workers have just been jobless so long, they’ve fallen off the main government measures altogether.” How convenient.

The Education of John Boehner: O's insistence that 'We don't have a spending problem.'

The president's insistence that Washington doesn't have a spending problem, Mr. Boehner says, is predicated on the belief that massive federal deficits stem from what Mr. Obama called "a health-care problem." Mr. Boehner says that after he recovered from his astonishment—"They blame all of the fiscal woes on our health-care system"—he replied: "Clearly we have a health-care problem, which is about to get worse with ObamaCare. But, Mr. President, we have a very serious spending problem." He repeated this message so often, he says, that toward the end of the negotiations, the president became irritated and said: "I'm getting tired of hearing you say that."

In hindsight, what does he think was his biggest strategic mistake? "What I should have done the day after the election was to come out and say: The House has done its work. The House passed a bill that replaced the sequester with real spending cuts. The House passed a plan extending all of the current tax rates. We passed a budget. We call upon the Senate to do their work."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Breaking into neighbor's condo with a knife, duct tape, and an 8 inch sexual device is "out of character for the fire chief"

At least according to his lawyer. Poor guy.  You'll be glad to hear that he's on indefinite administrative leave and so still collecting a check, so you can stop worrying about him being financially stressed.

Infographic du jour: Inflation

At Freedom Is Just Another Word via IMAO.

The Afghan Quarterback

The Afghan Quarterback

The coach had put together the perfect team for the Chicago Bears. The only thing that was missing was a good quarterback. He had scouted all the colleges and even the Canadian and European Leagues, but he couldn't find a ringer who could ensure a Super Bowl win.

Then one night while watching CNN he saw a war-zone scene in   Afghanistan. In one corner of the background, he spotted a young Afghan Muslim soldier with a truly incredible arm. He threw a hand-grenade straight into a 15th story window 100 yards away. KABOOM! He threw another hand-grenade 75 yards away, right into a chimney. KA-BLOOEY! Then he threw another at a passing car going 90 mph. BULLS-EYE! 

"I've got to get this guy!" Coach said to himself. "He has the perfect arm!"  

So, he brings him to the States and teaches him the great game of football. And the Bears go on to win the Super Bowl. 

The young Afghan is hailed as the great hero of football, and when the coach asks him what he wants, all the young man wants is to call his mother. 

"Mom," he says into the phone, "I just won the Super Bowl!" 

"I don't want to talk to you, the old Muslim woman says."You are not my son!" 

"I don't think you understand, Mother," the young man pleads. "I've won the greatest sporting event in the world. I'm here among thousands of my adoring fans." 

"No! Let me tell you!" his mother retorts. "At this very moment, there are gunshots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten within an inch of their lives last week, and I have to keep your sister in the house so she doesn't get raped!" 

The old lady pauses, and then tearfully says, "I will never forgive you for making us move to Chicago!

(Thanks, Laurie!)

Photo: 5 megabyte hard drive from 1956, being loaded via forklift onto plane

via @sbadsgood

Gorgeous set of WW1 posters

See more at BibliOdyssey, and There are over 1600 World War I Posters from the Elisabeth Ball Collection at Ball State University (Indiana) that can be viewed segmentally in very high resolution.

Must read: excellent, well-researched post on what went on at the White House during Benghazi

Benghazi – During Attack Denis McDonough and Tom Donilon Replace President Obama and VP Biden…

The conversation with Netanyahu lasted an hour and both Obama and Biden were on that call. It appears that political "fixers" McDonough and Donilon were the only national security staff on duty in the White House.

Interesting numbers on grandparent-provided child care

I hesitate to even blog this because I think it's so wrong-headed, but the numbers are interesting - the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that 27 per cent of parents use grandparents as their main source of child care.

The title of the article is “Gran-sploitation”: Are grandparents being used for free childcare? and the author really seems to be reacting to someone else's contention that grandparents are being taken advantage of and that they secretly resent it. She concludes, "I think the fact families have become so fragmented that it is seen as extraordinary by people such as Robin Barker for grandparents to do some of the heavy lifting is a real loss for the parents of my generation, and for our kids.

Despite what experts such as Robin Barker say, I reckon most grandparent child minders are not resentful, and that they understand the richness they are offering to the kids – and the preciousness of the experience they are having in return."

Discuss amongst yourselves.

In the "who cares?" department, NHL lockout is over

Five days short of a January 11 deadline that would have scuttled the entire season, the NHL and NHLPA have reached a deal that, pending approval from a player vote, will end the lockout and allow for a condensed 50 game season. Teams will likely only play other teams from within their own conference during the shortened regular season.