"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Captain of Titanic May Quit: Sights Iceberg

Bloomberg is reporting:
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has signaled to White House officials that he’s considering leaving the administration after President Barack Obama reaches an agreement with Congress to raise the national debt limit, according to three people familiar with the matter.


"Actual dicks aren't able to take offense . . . ."

So Time editor Mark Halperin calls the President of the United States "a dick" on national television, and talk-show host Joe Scarborough reacts with "Oh my God!"

Which excited utterance is more objectively offensive?  Professor Althouse suggests that it's the latter, and provides this pithy peroration:
But calling people a dick. It's rude, but actual dicks aren't able to take offense, and even if they were, they wouldn't determine your fate in the afterlife.

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It Must Be Opposite Day

The Washington Post reports:
A U.S. drone aircraft fired on two leaders of a militant Somali organization tied to al-Qaeda, apparently wounding them, a senior U.S. military official familiar with the operation said Wednesday.

The strike last week against senior members of al-Shabab comes amid growing concern within the U.S. government that some leaders of the Islamist group are collaborating more closely with al-Qaeda to strike targets beyond Somalia, the military official said.

The airstrike makes Somalia at least the sixth country where the United States is using drone aircraft to conduct lethal attacks, joining Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. And it comes as the CIA is expected to begin flying armed drones over Yemen in its hunt for al-Qaeda operatives.
The story doesn't say whether the Post sought comment from the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, or consulted semanticians as to whether the definition of "war" included blowing people up.


The Country's in the Very Best of Hands

DHS Secretary Napolitano demonstrates new security technology.

By now you've no doubt heard about TSA security personnel who required a 95-year-old woman to remove her adult diaper. It happened last weekend, and since then TSA has issued one of those non-denial denials we're used to from The Suits:
We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally, according to proper procedure and did not require this passenger to remove an adult diaper . . . .
So I guess since it wasn't "required," and TSA doesn't deny the diaper came off, this elderly passenger must have volunteered; makes sense to us.

What's notable is that on the very same weekend TSA was protecting America from diaper-bombs, they permitted Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi to fly cross-country with fake ID, an expired (day-old) boarding pass, and a pocket-full of other boarding passes. He was finally arrested when he tried a similarly document-deficient return trip -- but only after he'd already boarded the plane, and it was in the air:
A foreign national who flew from New York to Los Angeles last week with a stolen boarding pass and ID card has been arrested at Los Angeles International Airport, according to federal authorities.

Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, a Nigerian-born man who was found with the stolen ID and up to 10 old boarding passes containing various names, was arrested Wednesday after attempting to board a flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta; five days after passing through layers of airport security at New York's JFK airport to board a plane with a day-old boarding pass, officials said.

Noibi was charged with being a stowaway aboard an aircraft, according to FBI Special Agent Kevin R. Hogg. He is being held at a Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center and is expected to be in court Friday.

Noibi allegedly managed to get through every layer of security with a fake ID and numerous boarding passes, at least one of which came from another passenger's pocket, ABC News has learned.

The arrest came after Noibi allegedly boarded a plane Saturday under similar circumstances at JFK and travel to Los Angeles. Noibi boarded Virgin America flight 415 at JFK bound for L.A., according to an FBI affidavit.

He was found on the plane after it had taken off and was in flight, in a seat in the aircraft's "main cabin select" area. When asked for his boarding pass, Noibi produced a boarding pass and ticket for a Friday flight that was not in his name, authorities said.
In the interest of fairness, we're obliged to point out that even if TSA had rooted around in Mr. Noibi's underwear, they'd not have discovered his lack of documents.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"I am a Democrat because I believe the Government should take care of its citizens."

I think that really rather neatly sums it up. It's all you need to know about the Democrat "Progressive" mind-set. Moreover, "taking care of you" has the broadest possible meaning and, most important, they're going to "take care of you" whether you want them to or not -- for your own good.

Ace opines
I haven't seen this much pale Gothic skin and amateurish lighting since ScyFy ran a 44 hour Dark Shadows marathon hosted by Barnabas Collins' entertainment lawyer.

Gotta give them props, these look like my kind of people. I'd love to sit down with them in a bar whose throwback-ironic jukebox contains an eclectic mix of Sinatra and Zep and even the Butthole Surfers, plunk down my buck for Dollar a Draft PBR, and talk about the latest issue of Dwell with any of these fine, upstanding, privately-educated kids.

I'm pretty sure I see three Art History majors here, five Communications & Media majors, three Poli Sci majors, and a couple of other majors that strongly indicate "Look, I'm gonna work for my dad when I graduate, he doesn't give a shit if I know accounting or not."

I'm sure they mean well. I'm also sure they attended a party commemorating Frasier's last episode.


If Legos Were Fundamental Particles . . . .

. . . . and Lord of the Rings took place in that Lego Universe, then Sauron's stronghold, the Barad-Dûr, would look like this:

It's just under six feet tall and made of about 50,000 pieces. More HERE.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Checking the Calendar

Upon awakening this morning we checked the calendar and discovered that in a few days fully half of the year 2011 will be gone.  Now would be as good a time as any to check in on the War in Iraq.  The Congressional Budget Office reports:
In 2010, the number of U.S. troops (active-duty, reserves, and National Guard personnel) deployed for war-related activities averaged about 215,000, CBO estimates. In the alternative scenario presented here, the number of military personnel deployed for war-related purposes would decline over a five-year period to an average of 180,000 in 2011, 130,000 in 2012, 100,000 in 2013, 65,000 in 2014, and 45,000 in 2015 and thereafter.

Upon accepting his party's nomination for President of the United States, our current Commander-in-Chief proclaimed:
I am absolutely certain that generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that . . . this was the moment when we ended a war.
It would be unfair, of course, to have expected Mr. Obama to end the war on January 20, 2009, and indeed he had not promised any such thing. Instead, his deadline was the end of 2009.

In February of 2008, candidate Obama promised:
I opposed [the Iraq] war in 2002. I will bring this war to an end in 2009. It is time to bring our troops home.
And a month later he doubled-down in the face of criticism:
I was opposed to this war in 2002. . . . I have been against it in 2002, 2003, 2004, 5, 6, 7, 8 and I will bring this war to an end in 2009. So don’t be confused.
Just sayin'.


Saturday, June 25, 2011


When out for a drive with SilkyBoy, all nine lives would sometimes flash before Tom's eyes.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mommy's Home: If Huma Ain't Happy, Ain't NOBODY Happy

No, you CAN'T reverse the charges.
Huma Abedin, grown-up wife of disgraced frat-boy Anthony Weiner, returned home today from an official trip to Ethiopia with her boss, Secretary of State Clinton. In the week she's been gone, Congressman Weiner has continued to publicly air his dirty laundry, with more bizarre revelations only yesterday.

Weiner refused to resign when Nancy Pelosi said he should; and he refused to resign when the President of the United States said he should. But now mommy's home and, guess what? The Washington Post reports:
Rep. Anthony Weiner has decided to resign, following revelations that he exchanged sexually explicit messages and photographs of himself with women he met online, a senior Democratic aide confirmed Thursday morning.

Weiner (D-N.Y.) informed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, of his decision Wednesday night, the aide said.

His office said he would hold a news conference 2 p.m. at a senior citizens center in Brooklyn.

Weiner’s decision comes weeks after he posted a suggestive picture of himself — intended as a private message to a college student in Washington state — to his public Twitter account.

In the days that followed, Weiner tried several ways to defuse the growing scandal. He at first said the photo was posted by a “hacker” and then called it a “prank.” Then he gave an all-out confession, admitting he had taken and sent the photo in a rambling news conference in New York.

Then he disappeared and was said to be seeking help for an unspecified disorder at an unidentified treatment center. Washington gossip indicated that he was waiting for his wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to return from a trip to Africa.

As days passed, more photos emerged — and more women came forward to say they had corresponded with Weiner. Last weekend, many top Democrats began a concerted effort to push him to resign. President Obama said he would have bowed out if he were in the same situation as Weiner.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Weinergate Falsifies Long-Standing Hypothesis




Friday, June 10, 2011


The good people of Franklin County, Ohio, have a new courthouse, which opened for business this past Monday. One new tenant -- Court of Common Pleas Judge Julie Lynch -- is complaining about the central staircase in the lobby. The staircase, you see, has clear risers (you know, the vertical pieces between the steps that you stub your toe on). Now "floating" stairs with no risers at all are hardly some great grotesque innovation; they've been around for years.

But apparently the first thing that popped into the mind of Judge Julie when she first beheld the stairs was . . . wait for it . . . "guys can look up my dress." Well, sure. We guess that's so, although we can't say that it's the first thing that would pop into our heads. And we assume this also means that Judge Julie has never herself perched on a bar stool wearing her little black dress.

In the interest of full disclosure, we confess that we're neither a girl, nor have we ever even played one on TV. It could be that the average woman spends a good deal of her day carefully scanning her surroundings, seeking to detect occasions for guys looking up her skirt. But we doubt it.

It's clear that Judge Julie thinks differently, since her only explanation for this horror is that it had to have been designed by men, which reasoning carries with it the implicit assumption that any woman would immediately think "up skirt!" But that seems to us a bit inconsistent with the steps that have been taken pending a permanent fix: court security officers now warn all women before they take the offending steps.

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Love in the Time of Kittens

Do we ever really know another person? To push back the the dark shadows of loneliness we all seek the companionship that will provide support, validation, and comfort through the hard times. With the rise of online dating services, it's easier than ever to troll through the swamp find someone with similar interests, outlook and expectations.  Of course, online dating services also make it easier to create a misleading or entirely fake persona, by using those pictures from 10 years ago, when your BMI was briefly 21; by claiming to be passionate about skydiving; or by giving yourself Ivy League credentials.  [Come to think of it, you can do all of those things in a Dupont Circle bar, with beer-goggles taking care of the picture thing.  But I digress.]

But sometimes technology permits you to cut through the cloud of deception, and really see into another person's heart.

You see what we mean? The Villanova M.B.A. is a complete deal-breaker.


Thursday, June 09, 2011

But Will it Order Calamine Lotion from Amazon?

New smartphone app identifies plant species by recognizing leaf shape.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Honorable Anthony David Weiner, Member of Congress

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Could Liquid Nitrogen Help Build Tasty Burgers?


"One Ring to Rule Them All . . . .

. . . One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, in the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."

Click Image to Enlarge

While you've been surfing the web for fresh weiner pictures, the long-dormant Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano complex in southern Chile began erupting last Saturday afternoon.


You Do The Math

George Clooney was born in 1961 and, thus, will be 50 years old this year.

A 50-year-old Man

Bob Dylan was born in 1941 and, accordingly, will be 70 years old this year.

A 70-year-old Man

The average of 50 and 70 is 60. A man born in 1951 -- a 60 year old man -- is therefore an average of George Clooney and Bob Dylan.


What Would You Pay For a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate?

That seems like a simple question, and I even know that some of you smarty-pants types would argue (correctly) that the value of such a thing is a bit less than $10. After all, you can spend a ten-dollar bill anywhere, but you can only use the gift certificate in one place.

But no rational person would pay more than ten bucks for the thing, right?

Not so fast.

Matthew T. Jones is a Ph.D. candidate at The Ohio State University. He's studied eBay auctions of Amazon gift certificates and, being an academic, has written a paper titled "Bidding Fever in eBay Auctions of Amazon.com Gift Certificates." Here's the abstract of his paper:
In a data set of eBay auctions of Amazon.com gift certificates, 41.1% of the winning prices are found to exceed face value. Because certificates can be obtained directly from Amazon.com at face value, this value is an observable upper bound for rational bidding. Alternative interpretations to bidding fever are explored.
That is to say: while anyone can go to Amazon and buy a $10 gift certificate for . . . $10, not only do some people instead buy them via eBay auctions, but 41% are purchased there for more than $10.

Alas, the data is not broken out by political party affiliation.


Monday, June 06, 2011

June 6, 1944


Obama Checks Out, Business Goes on a Hiring Strike

Michael Barone:
On April 13 Obama delivered a ballyhooed speech at George Washington University. The man who conservatives as well as liberal pundits told us was a combination of Edmund Burke and Reinhold Niebuhr was widely expected to present a serious plan to address the budget deficits and entitlement spending.

Instead the man who can call on talented career professionals at the Office of Management and Budget to produce detailed blueprints gave us something in the nature of a few numbers scrawled on a paper napkin.
The man depicted as pragmatic and free of ideological cant indulged in cheap political rhetoric, accusing Republicans, including House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan who was in the audience, of pushing old ladies in wheelchairs down the hill and starving autistic children.

The signal was clear. Obama had already ignored his own deficit reduction commission in preparing his annual budget, which was later rejected 97-0 in the Senate. Now he was signaling that the time for governing was over and that he was entering campaign mode 19 months before the November 2012 election. People took notice, especially those people who decide whether to hire or not. Goldman Sachs's Current Activity Indicator stood at 4.2 percent in March. In April -- in the middle of which came Obama's GW speech -- it was 1.6 percent. For May it is 1 percent.


MacGyver to me Re-made

Following in the footsteps of Hawaii 50, independent producer "Tiny Soldier Productions" announced that the iconic late-80s television series MacGyver, starring Richard Dean Anderson, will be remade.  Anderson begged off reprising the title role.