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Ma Bell Runs America?

Report: Post picks WSJ dude as exec editaur. Name's Marcus Brauchli or something to that effect. [Official announcement to come imminently.] [More at fishbowldc.] [Howie has the story.]

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What was that movie where, at the end, you learn that the entire country is secretly run by Ma Bell?

[...pause...muzak version of In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida...]

I won't publish the title because I'll be accused of publishing a spoiler. But let's just say that it starred the guy who also played Flint.

In any case, Ma Bell is no more, but the telecommunications industry still seems to have unusual powers of persuasion in Washington. Among them: The ability to get legal immunity for any and all possible criminal actions associated with the Bush administration's warrantless eavesdropping habits.

I ran into Rep. Jane Harman last week in Aspen (did I mention I was in Aspen? That it was glorious and serene and stuff like that? Remind me to blog on that sometime), and she assured me that the House FISA bill is a good one and was passed with strong bipartisan support. I have also been assured by various other folks that the bill is atrocious and is a blatant bail-out of the telecom industry and will suppress any ability to bring accountability to any administration violations of the 4th Amendment. As you may have heard, some folks are quite unhappy with Obama for saying he'll vote for the FISA bill.

I need to learn more about this, apparently. But fyi, last night a smart lawyer friend opined that, as a rule, nothing good comes from legislation designed to grant legal immunity to some private industry. Like the Warsaw Convention: It basically made it impossible to sue an airline. They can cram you into seats, hold you hostage on the tarmac for 9 hours, charge $7 for a soggy "wrap" sandwich -- and you will have no recourse. [I'm told that I don't have this exactly right: "The Warsaw Convention only applies to international air travel . . . so when you say "you can't sue an airline" . . . actually you mean to say you can't sue an airline for non-accidental injuries occurring during an international flight."]

My friend says:

Whenever a government provides immunity to a particular industry sector or segment of the population certain other individuals will be forced to bear the cost that should have been imposed on the industry sector or population segment granted immunity. Often these costs can be measured in dollars (international airlines causing Deep Vein Thrombosis injuries to passengers), but other times these costs are measured as a loss of rights (e.g., Telecom immunity).

Granting immunity is very much not the norm. I think Michigan granted drug manufacturers immunity from certain lawsuits in recent years. Diplomatic immunity often is cited as an example of immunity run amuk. The gun industry received immunity in 2005 from the Republican controlled Congress and President Bush from lawsuit seeking to hold gun manufacturers liable for gun-related violence. The international air carriers' liability scheme actually made sense when the treaty was first written in the 1920's - it makes no sense today as the treaty has been interpreted by the US Supreme Court.

To get immunity you got to donate $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to many, many legislative members.


A recent Post story summed up the immunity provision:

"Under the bill, the nation's largest telecom companies could have the more than 40 lawsuits they face dismissed by a U.S. district judge if they prove they received written assurance from the Bush administration that the spying was legal.

"Supporters and opponents of the legislation consider the court review a formality. Rockefeller's committee has released a report showing that the companies received such letters earlier this decade."

Question: Why not let the courts decide how to handle the lawsuits? Isn't that what the legal system is for?

Or do we feel, as a society, that we need to take broad government action to protect a particular industry in the private sector from lawsuits?

And if so, why the phone companies?

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More from Glenn Greenwald, The Fix, National Review. Here's a Post editorial.
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Lots more veterans leaving The Miami Herald (via Romenesko).

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Great item from Blogoland on bloggers pretending they do all the legwork. Excerpt:

"Just for the hell of it, I looked at the last part of Reynolds's snide post: 'Meanwhile, Winds of Change has a roundup on Iraq that's more useful than anything you're likely to find in a newspaper anyway.'

"Take that, Big Time media! In Winds of Change, they really go around the Evil Lords of the Press by providing 18 links, almost exclusively to those, well, same un-useful newspapers, detailing what's going on in Iraq. Such a thumb to the eye of the media elite! Here's the breakdown:

A New York Times story expanded upon by a blog
A straight ABC News report (twice)
A straight Reuters story
A straight Knight-Ridder story
The New Republic's Iraq'd blog
A link to USAid's website
A link to Iraq the Model commenting on some local newspaper accounts
an L.A. Times story examined by a blog
a Seattle Post-Intelligencer story examined by a blog
A straight AP report
a New Zealand newspaper story examined by a blog
A link to a round-up of Iraq blogs
A link to the WMD- Intelligence Commission report
A link to some sort of ID bracelet/donation site
A link on "ways to support the troops"
A link to an Iraq toy drive

Yeah, who needs the press at all when you have bloggers who rely almost exclusively on them for their content?"

--

More here:

"Despite all the grand claims made for the groovy blog revolution, the phenomenon is still basically parasitic. Few bloggers do primary reporting. Why should they? The doomed dinosaurs do it for them, and all the bloggers have to do is link to them, occasionally adding some variant of 'I call b.s.'"

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 7, 2008; 11:49 AM ET
 
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Next: Memo to New Boss

Comments

Ivan, speaking of hot uranium; a Canadian company just scored 550tons of 'cake from Saddam's personal stash. Better stockpile that stuff here than there, imho.

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/07/05/saddam-uranium.html

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 7, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Message for the eacesdropper monitoring this blog #%*&$$&*#**/ The Boodle

Posted by: Nonschmopskapop | July 7, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Ooooooooooooooooo, Joel quoted the BS word.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 7, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Funny. I've had this conversation about bloggers a few times in the past week. The big name bloggers get the readers, but they just borrow (often without asking) from lesser known bloggers.

I don't mind when some bloggers point me to good resources. I see them as filters and compilers of things I may find interesting. I do find it annoying when they claim to be reporting something previously unheard of, then link to where they heard it, which makes it not-previously-unheard-of.

Posted by: a bea c | July 7, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Joel, your friend is indeed a smart attorney. And I loved your question: "Why not let the courts decide how to handle the lawsuits?" Why not indeed. Usually there is a fear that a particular side might win, and even win consistently, and a particular other side might be out some money. We can't let the courts allow the system to work unchecked. Where corporate responsiblity is concerned, we are told, sometimes fetters are our friend. Or at any rate, somebody's friend.

I would like it clearly understood that the "ivan" running about the last Boodle, and referenced by shrieking denizen, has no relationship to any person or persons who might in any way be related to me.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 7, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

For the record, the Boy prefers chocolate cake to yellow.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 7, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Is and editaur (sic) related to a centaur or a regular congressman.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 7, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Joel, it's way worse than what you're saying. It's not just a special perk. It's a free pass for corruption that is worse than Watergate. If the Bush Administration had only wanted to spy on terrorists, why would they have committed serial felonies by failing to get warrants, when they easily could have done it legally? The obvious answer is that they weren't just spying on terrorists.

The current FISA bill could have specified that a highly-cleared judge could look at the logs of who was surveilled before certifying the whole thing was legal, but the legislation doesn't do that at all. It specifically says that no judge can look at anything except whether the attorney general said the surveillance was legal. No one will ever get to see the list of targets. Why not, if there is nothing to hide? Because the judge would see a load of Bush's political enemies on the list, that's why not.

It turns out that as a nation, we haven't learned a thing from Watergate, except the crooks have learned to cover their tracks.

Posted by: zenwick | July 7, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Yep, Front Page Alert...

*sweeping the remains of the 4th's BBQ extravaganza under the sofa*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 7, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your comments, zenwick. I hope that the outcome will be even worse than Watergate for the malefactors, when their misdeeds see the light of day. As the perps of Watergate learned, sometimes it's best to let the courts do the work, rather than be exposed to the light of the media. We shall see, shall we not?

Scotty, *I* spent a great deal of yesterday cleaning the bunker up. No need to try to sweep anything under the sofa. Even the gents room is presentable.

Posted by: slyness | July 7, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I hang out in the science-blogging world, where "original reporting" is not so rare a thing. When a new discovery crops up in the learned journals, a scientist trained in that field is perfectly qualified to write about it; after all, the reporter looking for quotes about the story is probably turning to just that sort of person. I'd have thought that everybody would long ago have gotten the message that "mainstream media" can do good things with the resources they possess -- stuff like, you know, sending people to the far corners of the Earth, and all that -- meaning that the REAL problem happens when said media FAIL to use those resources.

Fevered egos infatuated with their own illusory sense of power are not likely to hear that message, of course.

Incidentally, a couple weeks ago, Sharon Begley -- the science editor for Newsweek -- was saying that American science journalism is basically broken. A little while before that, a study came out with depressing news about medical reporting:

"In our evaluation of 500 US health news stories over 22 months, between 62%-77% of stories failed to adequately address costs, harms, benefits, the quality of the evidence, and the existence of other options when covering health care products and procedures. This high rate of inadequate reporting raises important questions about the quality of the information US consumers receive from the news media on these health news topics."

http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050095

If we all got our act together, we could probably do a better job than this.

Posted by: Blake Stacey | July 7, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

And the answer to the Kit Question is -- they sure as h e l l do!

I'm currently dabbling in a bit of telecom lawyering and it's amazing what the carriers think that should be able to get away with -- and often do, until they run into our inimitable buzz saw.

The arbitration agencies also cozy warmly up to them (and, indeed, to all corporations, as they certainly know which side of their bread is buttered, and by whom) -- but I digress.

As Ivansmom might duly appreciate, I must leave now, only to stick my waning intellect into the latest draft of a summary judgment motion against a telecom carrier. [salivating, while the teeth continue to grow]

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 7, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

slyness, what would we ever do without you?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 7, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Joel! Joel! JOEL!
Sorry to scream but, as shiloh pointed out erlier, it ain't good form to refer to your future big boss as the editaur.
The man is about your own age fur crying out loud, don't diss him right off the bat.
Just sayin'.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 7, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

An "exec.editaur" is apparently the chief of a "doomed dinosaur" news medium. The evolutionary succesor appears to be a blogosaur, which itself may be a threatened or endangered specie.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 7, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I should come up with a joke about a red centaur. Or lead paint.

I like the tone of the whole kit. Bloggers as parasites; ticks, leeches, mosquitos! I just have one tiny - miniscule, really - note:

Harold C. Simmons

Posted by: Jumper | July 7, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

hello?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 7, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The blogosaur, Jumper, is an evolving specie, initially parasitic, but mutating and may come into its own about the time of the 9th or 10th generation iPod.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 7, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Well, Mudge, somebody has to do it. Since I've retired, I certainly have the time. And I do like the place to look good when we have visitors. We don't want Joel to be embarrassed.

Posted by: slyness | July 7, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, IM. That would be me you referred to at approximately 4 p.m.. I used the Slavic handle temporarily as a substitute for the proper form of my given name. My most humble apologies. I'll use something different next time, like zippy the pinhead, carbuncle, tosspot, toe cheese...


Posted by: jack | July 7, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

What? Blogs and online news media feeding off of itself continiously in order to meet the demands of the 24-hour news cycle?

Whereinaheck could that idea have come from? And is there a word for it?

Oh yeah, I remember some knucklehead bringing that idea up some time back right here in the Boodle, referring to a Von Drehle piece in the WaPo on political blogging:

"I've heard the old saw that there are two types of people in the world: those who listen, and those who are just waiting to talk.

Von Drehle's piece is a pretty good one, and reminded me of the Ouroborosian (sorry) nature of the Blogosphere.

Is there room for Einstein, Schrodenger, Bohr, Heisenberg, Planck, etc. in the same universe? Perhaps in Copenhagen...

bc

Posted by: bc | July 18, 2005 1:42 PM"

"Ouroborosian."
Huh. How 2005.

bc

Posted by: bc | July 7, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

A couple weeks ago I caught Mr. F by phone but he had to leave in a hurry to go to annual training because as he put it, "some opinions to the contrary, it is still illegal for us (military) to spy on citizens either here or abroad." Sadly, in these days of FISA and retroactive immunity, I found that notion rather more quaint than reassuring.

Trudging off to the treadmill. This whole Army 10 Miler thing was a lot more exciting before it got muggy and buggy around here. The transcript of Joel's chat tells me he and Wilbrod were discussing the use of Deep Woods Off, in St. Paul. Feh. Though it will eat through metal, and stings like all get out when mixed with sweat, I'm going for the 100% DEET just to battle the mosquitoes in the garage. I dare not run outside.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 7, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't really think bloggers are by definition parasitical. I just loved it because when in the case of screaming at MSN, then linking to them, the paradox ought rightly to be pointed out to the newsbloggers. Besides, we all know that it's really the commentary that's important, right? And that's really what has been devalued at the MSN: the uniqueness of the platform for the commentariat. Or, to tweak a Colbertism, the commentariat can no longer pose as the snobberati.

Posted by: Jumper | July 7, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Next up on the Mad Inventor's Workshop: Designing a Mosquito-net running suit that will successfully prevent 99% of all mosquito bites.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 7, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Nothing much to say, I just wanted to post with that handle. And mention that I sure love this Achenblog place!

Posted by: Toady McLickspittle | July 7, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, we have come a looong way in three years, as evidenced by the following posts:

I usually check in on the blog and then go away when I see Joel hasn't posted. Then on Friday I looked down and thought,
"How in the name of the Lord are there 311 comments?" And then I started reading them and I was like, "Oh."

Well, since we are talking metadom, I am here to introduce myself as a blog archetype, as yet unnamed, the guy who shows up late and uninvited, misses the jokes and proceeds to tell you that you are all idiots. Idiots. I will use the phrase "methinks" with an ironic lack of irony. I will declare my grammar and spelling flawless. And did I mention you are all idiots?

Seriously, I probably won't post again. Takes too much time. And actually you guys are pretty funny, but, 311 (or whatever) comments?

A note for Joel, for whom I feel some pity regarding the ravenous, bloodthirsty appetite of the blog: MORE BLOG! MORE BLOG! MORE BLOG! MORE BLOG!

Posted by: non-kaboodler | August 22, 2005 5:42 PM

Non-Kaboodler

Thank you so much for your comments. Have a pleasant day.

Posted by: CowTown | August 22, 2005 5:46 PM

Posted by: slyness | July 7, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good evening, friends. I have a lot of catching up to do, but will do that later. As for this kit, I used to work for Ma Bell, my first real job or one that I worked at for awhile. I started with Ma Bell when they had long distance operators, and were still using the cord board. I was not a long distance operator, but the four one, one.

Ma Bell during my tenure was involved with Lockheed in some kind of mess. They took the Lockheed signs off the machines we worked on, and had the employees to write letters to our senator concerning the mess. I can't remember the details now. I thought it was really odd that they took the lettering off the machines. Ma Bell had everything covered, but then they broke the company up into small bells. Evidently they still have some bite left or maybe that's money talking. The only question I have, what's different?

Really warm and humid here. We got lots of rain yesterday, which is very good. The gas here is 4.03 a gallon in some places, 3.98 at others. One of my neighbors has parked her car. She can't afford the gas. I suspect others will join her. And that wouldn't be a bad thing if we had public transportation, but we don't.

I hope your Monday hasn't been too bad. Have a good evening, folks. Bye, bye.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 7, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

It is not so much bloggers as blogs that are parasitical. The number of links in this kit are a case in point. I see the future media as iPod type holographic talking head information directly available through Wiki type directories from C-span type sources, i.e., the horses' mouth, including socio-cultural-political (and scientific) "print" material. Those who still want to hold a printed morning newspaper in their hands at breakfast can simply print their own on topics of interest to them (all the news that's fit to filter). Discerning what is propaganda (or spam) is left to the viewer/reader, and not to the dinosaur media. Everyman, or at least the cognosenti, becomes an investigative reporter of information provided by the Ministry of Truth in this brave new world.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 7, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

speaking of parasites - went camping this weekend in Chincoteague - brought a TON of the deet stuff cuz as a kid camping there i would come home with barely a trickle of blood left - those darn skeeters! well, turns out that there was some marsh or wetland BURNING nearby that produced a lot of smoke - we were at the wildlife refuge and the sky was all hazy and grey and there was this weird burning smell. maybe that chased away the skeeters? the weekend was actually very nice and mild weather except for the rainstorm on the 4th that we got caught in - tent stayed dry tho. coming back on sunday i started ITCHING very bad and found a ton of red bumps all over my legs. i was thinking it was poison ivy (i know we just boodled about it so i figured - ya know, with my luck) and the dump of a campground we camped at was covered with poison ivy (i don't recommend the Inlet View campground - i'll tell ya about it later). my co-worker looked at the bumps and said that i got bit by chiggers! CHIGGERS! i used Deet but thinking back it may have been an older bottle... does deet expire? and how gross are chiggers! YUCK!
*desperately itching my legs*

Posted by: mo | July 7, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, did you hear the report on NPR about the government-run media in Morocco? They filter and leave out the stuff that makes them look bad. So kids get their cell phones, film, and upload to YouTube and DailyMotion. Their Ministry of Truth is having some credibility problems, I think.

Here is the link:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92126514

So, bloggers and "vloggers" aren't inherently bad, just cocky at times.

Posted by: a bea c | July 7, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Swear to god, the plot description on the Starz channel on DirectTV (520) at this exact moment for "The Good German" says: "An Army correspondent (George Clooney) helps a former lover (George Clooney) comb post-World War II Berlin for her missing husband, who is wanted by U.S. and Russian forces."

OK, write your own punchline here. I think mine might be: Clloney's next movie will be Ocean's One, in which Danny puts together a team of one crack con artist (himself) to help himself rob a casino owned by himself, so he can get back himself, who he used to be married to.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 7, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

No one took a bite on the mystery film reference? I think I remember the film, but I'm not sure of the title. It might have been "Brazil", but the memory fades after what, 25 years? Any other takers?

Posted by: ebtnut | July 7, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that laugh, Mudge. Quit clooneying now, okay?

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 7, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

mo, if you have any clear nail polish in the house, dab it on the chigger bites for temporary relief. Then go to the pharmacu and ask for some stuff for chigger bites. My wife got an attack of chiggers while showing a house a few years ago, and the pharmacist mixed up some special concoction that was over-the-counter but hand-made. They may have an actual pre-made gloop for chigger bites by now. But clear nail polish will work in a pinch, for a while.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 7, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Joel, it's way worse than what you're saying. It's not just a special perk. It's a free pass for corruption that is worse than Watergate. No one will ever get to see the list of targets. Why not, if there is nothing to hide? Because the judge would see a load of Bush's political enemies on the list, that's why not.

They are not spying to protect the frightened sheep from Osama bin Laden. Their abuses are far more sinister. Should we simply watch the watchers? The bad guys are watching the watchers. It's worse than you think.

It turns out that as a nation, we haven't learned a thing from Watergate, except the crooks have learned to cover their tracks.

Organized crime will always entrench itself in the echelons of power above the law. But when the head of state is a crook, or surrounds himself with crooks, or takes money from crooks, the country rots from the head.

WorldCantWait.com

Posted by: Singing Senator | July 7, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Exactly my point, a bea c, the Orwellian Ministry of Truth - state (or corporate) controlled media - has its feet held to the fire by actual independent video on You Tube type blogs. The observers draw their own conclusions and blog their opinions or simply pass along the video. Traditional media becomes a dinosaur (especially when state or corporation controlled) as a paradigm shift in news reporting evolves.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 7, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

mo;

Forgot to mention earlier, but why didn't you TELL us you have a starring role in "Wall-E?" I mean, your character is a key part of many of the trailers, fercryinoutloud!

;-)

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 7, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Going totally off-Kit here, but thinking of greenwithenvy and all of those fine folks in the hills and mountains to the northwest of DC...

On my drive home this evening I came upon a classic snapping turtle (go Terps?) in the road, and pulled over (and put the emergency flashers on) to get it off of the tarmac before it became a faux manhole cover. When I went to pick it up, it leapt around, snapping at me in classic snappin' terp style. This went on for about 5 minutes - I'd try to pick it up by its dark grey armor, and as soon as I touched it, it'd whip around in the air, going for my hands, the pink inside of its mouth flashing, slashing at me. I knew this wasn't going to get me anywhere, so I grabbed the old blue and white golf umbrella in my trunk (advertising for some long-gone dotcom, I think), opened it up, and scooped Gamera (who was thrashing pretty vigorously at this point) into my brolly with my left foot (I'm right-handed, as you can probably guess. And I hadn't changed into my evening Gladiator sandals yet). Then I sprinted to the curb and about 10 feet towards the creek that runs along the road and slid - OK, dumped - Gammy into the grass in the direction of the stream. It turned to face me, opened, its mouth and hissed, extending its neck as far as it could. I was reminded at this point that turtles are in fact reptiles, and not that much different from the dinosaurs that walked the earth 100 million years ago, editing the first palm frond newspapers.

Just thought I'd share that one.
No peaceful lagomorph stories for me, I am a man of action.

bc

Posted by: bc | July 7, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

snuke - haven't seen wall-e! did i do good? you think there's an oscar bid in there me? should i start shopping for my red carpet gown?

mudge - how long did she itch for? i'm DYING over here!

Posted by: mo | July 7, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

What a list! We have Watergate type stuff, war crimes, collusion with oil companies, weakening national defence by decapitating CIA, negligence (Kathrina), Subversion of the constitution.

My question is, who hates freedom, as our Haupt Dumkopf has stated?

Posted by: Brag | July 7, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Weeks. Get the nail polish NOW!!!!!!!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 7, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Get three or four bottles. You'll need 'em.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 7, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

but mudge - this is what all the sites say:

Myths About Chiggers
One of the biggest myths or misconceptions about chiggers is that they can burrow under your skin and drink your blood. This leads to the common treatment for chiggers of putting clear nail polish on chigger bites to suffocate the chiggers. Since chiggers don't actually burrow under your skin, this 'treatment' is unnecessary.
Treatments for Chigger Bites
While nail polish isn't a good treatment for chigger bites, anything that can help control the itching can be helpful, including:
take a bath or shower as soon as possible after any possible exposure to chiggers
apply your favorite OTC anti-itch medication, such as hydrocortisone, Calamine lotion, Sarna, oatmeal baths, etc.
oral Benadryl
a prescription strength steroid cream

Posted by: mo | July 7, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

The movie in question is, I believe, "The President's Analyst,"

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062153/

A brilliant satire.

BTW - those charger kiosk thingies that Joel mentioned are way cool. And I felt that by sitting at one I was, you know, like communing with the greats. Sort of like those places that claim to be where Washington slept.


Loved the chat, but was a bit concerned that so many of the questions came from oddly familiar places.

Early morning tomorrow and then off to the field. Got the sunglasses. Got the sunscreen. Got the cargo pants. And, most importantly, got the hat.

I am still waiting, though, for the water bottle with the logo.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 7, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Mo-if you've scratched, or showered, (and I'm sure you've done both) the chiggers are gone but their nasty saliva has created a stylostome (hardened tube) in your skin that itches like heck. Some silly doctors say the nail polish does nothing, but those who got their chigger knowledge in the wild know that it does work because it keeps the bite from being exposed to air and itching all over again as it heals. However, I like to soak in an oatmeal bath then use a scratchy old towel over the affected areas, use some rubbing alcohol then smother in noxzema. (Or grab a wig brush and scratch till I bleed. I am not the kind of mom who ever tells a kid "don't scratch that.")

Posted by: frostbitten | July 7, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

RD - DON'T FORGET THE DEET! trust me! you do NOT want chiggers!

did i mention i'm dyin over here?

mudge - did you stay awake for 60 min?

Posted by: mo | July 7, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Haven't yet read this Kit or Boodle, so pardon me if I BOoO.

Just saw a "Trailer' for the 'Mama Mia' movie. It looks like a lot of fun. But I think the best part will be the Soundtrack...YeAh

in other news it turns out there is a down side to brighter lights: A more reflective screen. I can see everything behind me now when I watch TV or a movie...

It's a trade off I'll live with though

BRIGHT

Posted by: omni | July 7, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Nail polish. I'm telling ya, nail polish. I don't care what the other sites say. And Frosty agrees.

Of course, knowing your Goth tendencies, if you wanna spot up with black nail polish, that's work too. If people ask, just tell them it's bubonic plague-- it'll go away in a few days.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 7, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

mo, I wrote a short review of wall*e in the Boodle last week. In short, I thought it was pretty good, and a *little* heavy on the messages, but still quite enjoyable if somewhat predictable. Make sure you get there early to catch the Pixar short, too.

Scottynuke, I *cannot* believe you're going to make mo see this movie just to see her namesake talking to itself and...

Have fun tomorrow, RD.

bc

Posted by: bc | July 7, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Yes, mo, I did. They episodes were all reruns, but I watched them again anyway. Depressing stuff. Did you watch?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 7, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Put a bootie or sock over the chigger bites so you won't be tempted to lick and bite the itch away.

Also try that funny squeaky baby powdered-scented cornstarch with aloe vera in addition to whatever goop you use for healing.

Squeaky toes help distract you from the itch or the owies, let me tell you.

I'm all healed now from a pawpad injury courtesy of the above-described gnomic torture device. Who'd have thought it'd work better than doggy healing techniques? Go figure.

As for mosquitoes, roll hard and roll often and smell them SQUISH as they emit those dying little whirring whines. Beautiful!

Posted by: Wilbrodog | July 7, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

watching now - i tivo'd... the second story about the book of war... *sigh* well, kinda made my blood boil...

i didn't say that!

well let me read you the book YOU wrote where you said exactly that!

i don't think anyone said that

well, let me show you umpteen clips of ppl saying exactly that!

*sigh*

Posted by: mo | July 7, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

i heard a clip from olbermann that talked about how the fisa bill granted civil immunity but not criminal. is that true? if so, what does it mean?

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 7, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Obama is right. FISA is woefully antiquated. I suggest that each of you armchair warriors bemoaning the government tracking terrorists recall that it is, ironically, 7/7. The Brits would tell you they have no trouble getting phone taps or records. And have the Official Secrets Act. So much for liberty, eh? I would ask only that if you oppose FISA reform to address today's technology, that you turn in your PC to get a 1978 model. Oh, that would be impossible, no, unless you want a TRS-80. Enjoy your game of Pong while Al Queda switches phones every 4 hours. Get Real. Let your lawyer sue Bin Laden to death.

Posted by: Real Worlder | July 7, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I have two printers, and I cannot get either one to work. One is a Lexmark X1185 and the HP Deskjet D2445. I've downloaded the stuff for the HP, but it still doesn't work. And I'm afraid to download the other because there's no verification as to who or what it is I'm downloading. I really want to throw both of these printers out the door, and then, just stomp them to bits.

I haven't had the HP that long, and bought it brand new. I'm so stupid when it comes to computers and the hardware that goes with them. Probably about other stuff too, but computers are the worse. To make a long story short,HELP!

Posted by: cassandra s | July 7, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Contractors Are After You Now.
Hehe, read this , guys:

http://www.scmagazineuk.com/US-Army-set-to-hire-internet-spies/article/112036/

Posted by: Brag | July 7, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

MO!!!
oh, no!

It is the acetone in the nail polish that kills the chiggers, according to my dad. Get nail polish remover and rub the bumps with soaking, dripping cotton balls. It works. I promise.

Once I went blueberry-picking outside of Baton Rouge and came home with a headache. I just plopped down on my bed and went to sleep. All the chiggers in my sweatpants went right into me. I had so many my legs were swollen. I couldn't bend my knees. I called my dad in the middle of the night and he laughed while he told me what to do.

He said rub with acetone for a few minutes, then shower. Then go over the remaining red spots (should be spots and not bumps by now) with hydrocortizone. Then take Benadryl and sleep. Then wake up like new.

Posted by: a bea c | July 7, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Check the ink and internal stuff in the HP first, Cassandra, often opening and shutting the cover should help it reset, you may get a test message and you can try that and see if it works.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 7, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Real Worlder- What, couldn't find any spelling or grammar problems?

Posted by: frostbitten | July 7, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod

I've disconnected that one, and hooked up the other one. I appreciate your help, but I'm tired of them. And I don't want to toss them, so I'm going to ease away, but thanks again. It's has been a long day, and tomorrow sounds good, the Lord willing. And Mo, I hope tomorrow is better for you, too. Yikes!!!

Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 7, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

You'll never guess what...

OK, that's I mighty teaser.

I'll tell you tomorrow when I feel like typing...

Meanwhile, isn't HP an abbreviation for Hell 'Puter

Cassandra, you need to think about a way to sell the piece of junk and get a Mac Mini. Just ask CP ... (sorry mo, but we need to take over the world one Boodler at a time

'defintely, maybe' beckons.

Yes, Monday night can be movie night too...

Posted by: omni | July 7, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Achenbach:

Your commentary on the proposed grant of immunity to telecom companies contains a major error. You state:

"Under the bill, the nation's largest telecom companies could have the more than 40 lawsuits they face dismissed by a U.S. district judge if they prove they received written assurance from the Bush administration that the spying was legal."

This is not true. Under the law AS IT CURRENTLY STANDS telecom companies can win the lawsuits against them if they can prove that they thought they were acting legally because the Bush Administration told them they were.

The whole point of opposition to the proposed FISA legislation is this: under the proposed legislation, the Attorney General (a direct agent of any Administration for which the telecom companies would violate the law) would merely have to show up (or even simply present a piece of paper) stating that the telecom companies acted lawfully.

Any judge who received that piece of paper would then have to instantly dismiss the suit, WHETHER THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THE TELECOM COMPANIES WERE TELLING THE TRUTH OR NOT.

Let me emphasize this once again: the moment the Attorney General shows up and claims the companies acted lawfully, that will be it. Period. It does not matter whether the telecom companies spied on, say, the entire Democratic Party leadership. It does not matter whether the plaintiff caught the telecom company executives on tape bragging about how they knew that what they did was illegal. It does not matter that eye witnesses recall the President of the United States telling the head of AT & T to his face that "sure it's illegal, I'll make sure you get away with it."

It DOES NOT MATTER. Under the proposed FISA Amendment, the moment the judge sees that piece of paper from the Attorney General, he is required to instantly ignore all the evidence and drop the suit ON THE SPOT.

If this sounds like a flat violation of the Search and Seizure clause of the US Constitution, guess what: it is! That is what makes it so much worse than simply repealing a good law (and FISA as it stands now is far from good.) Remember that FISA was created originally not to make warrantless wiretapping illegal, but to provide the one legal method by which wiretapping which would otherwise be flatly illegal under the Constitution- but which had been happening all the time due to lack of proper monitoring against government agencies- could be made legal.

This new amendment does not just remove the purpose of FISA's existence- it blocks lower courts from conducting the enforcement of the Constitution which they already had the power to perform. Since the US Supreme Court is no longer obliged to review Constitutional issues if it does not want to, it is entirely possible that, if this bill is passed, 4th Amendment violations by the government will never be prosecuted because no one will ever get their day in court.

That is why blocking this amendment is so important. Allow this to pass, and you not only give the government the power to spy on US to overseas calls without proper FISA warrants, but you also enable the government to spy on calls entirely inside the US. After all, without the proper enforcement of FISA via lawsuits in the normal courts, who is going to find out that anything happened?

Not the FISA court itself. In its 30+ years of existence and direction under Republican Supreme Court Chief Justices Rehnquist and Roberts, they have approved a total of roughly 18,761 FISA warrants, the subject of which remain national secrets. They have rejected... five.

[This was as of 2004, when the latest figures were available.]

Posted by: Michael English | July 7, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Lurking, not typing much. Ribbies better but the muscles attached are spasmodic! Blechhhhhh.

Sorry for Mo about chiggers but I agree with those above. I like Caladryl because it has calamine AND topical Benedryl aka diphenhydramine. So, not so soporific or stupifying as taking the tablets during the day.

I think the bc and gwe are URRS, as in UnGrateful Reptile Rescue Society peeps.

Thinking of Jack's family as his MIL spends her last weeks in this sweet world. Take care and be gentle with each other.

BaldPateTim needs to tell about TimFam's reaction.

I am missing something, so pretend I mentioned it.

Good night darling boodle....thick crescent moon this evening, so be sure to see that before bed.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 7, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra,

We just had some Windows fun at my house this weekend. Every so often, that horrid, horrid piece of overgrown software does stupid stuff, and for no apparent reason, decides you should uninstall and reinstall stuff. Here is a link you may be able to use.

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/setupCategory?lc=en&cc=us&dlc=en&product=3317539&lang=en&printable=no&encodeUrl=true&#

I agree heartily with any Boodler who says you should switch to Mac. I only use my school-issued Mac and touch the desktop PC when absolutely unavoidable.

Posted by: a bea c | July 7, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't know chiggers, but I do know poison Ivy. For me, what works is (at least where I gets worst..My hands) A wash with warm water and soap. then a rinse with really really cold water. Then Vaseline intensive care hand lotion.

Calamine does nothing but makes my hands pink (not that there's anything wrong with that)

Oh, and my wrists too...

I'm pretty much insensate to it on my legs, and haven't had to deal with it on my face in ages. I'm lucky that way I guess.

But I could tell a Nightmare story about the time I was seven or so. (Stoopid neighbor was burning the carp in his backyard...STOOPID)

Posted by: omni | July 7, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Pink paws? I guess life COULD be worse.

Not that I don't look good in pink, of course.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | July 7, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

It's good to see that Joel gets around to taking my advice:

For a hilarious take on the phone company spying on us, see "The President's Analyst" starring James Coburn. Pat Harrington (Schneider from "One Day At A Time") has a great part in it too.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 28, 2006 3:50 PM

Posted by: yellojkt | July 7, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Dear bc,

Thank you for saving the snapping turtle, gladiator man.

Blowing hissssses to you. {} {} {}

Random acts of kindness.

Posted by: eidrib | July 7, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

And a bit foolhardy had bc ever let that turtle get ahold of him. But all's well and a hey derry derry down and all.

One story to tell your grandkids, bc.


Posted by: Wilbrod | July 7, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Mo--hope the remedies work and you get relief soon. I am itching as I write this just reading your prickly posts.

Posted by: eidrib | July 7, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the advice for Albany. We ended up going to the Empire State Plaza and went up to the observation deck at the top of the Corning Building (named for a former mayor, not the large glass company, who knew?).

We saw RPI across the river, but didn't bother with a campus tour. That ship has sailed. Did Hyde Park a few years back. Very nice. I have to go back some other time when the CIA is in session.

We also took a whirlwind tour of the remarkably good State Museum. They have a very moving WTC exhibit which includes the pumper truck from Company 6.

We had sushi at a cafe on Pearl Street and then headed back to B-more the I-88-81-83 route rather than rassle with the NJ Turnpike yet again.

And Edgartown is stiff competition for anything. Pictures to come.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 7, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

CP--I do hope you finish mending quickly. Not fun.

Omni--I had to take a short dose of steroids once to clear up a bad case of poison ivy back in Maryland when I was furiously gardening in a unbeknownst sneaky patch of the awful stuff.

Wibrod, my dogs would bark like crazy (at the same place back in MD) when snapping turtles would be plodding through the yard towards the big, safe pond. Some were as large as a catcher's mitt.

Posted by: eidrib | July 8, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

I've seen snapping turtles on Wolftrap Creek and they were all MUCH larger than a catcher's mitt, with jaws that looked capable of snapping my hand off at the wrist. They really look prehistoric, as bc says, and mean. I guess bc found a smaller snapping turtle, but still, not something I'd try willingly without equipment.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 8, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm probably jinxing myself by saying this, but I've had pretty good luck with my home PC's (and the laptop I have from work too). When I can't get a device to be recognized, I reboot. I've had a few different printers, never had a problem getting them to work. Just saying this as a way to say, I don't know what could be going wrong. Cassandra, what is the problem you're having specifically? (And yes, I prefer Mac and Unix to Windows - and will be running XP till they pry it from my cold, dead hands.)

Used to get chiggers and the dreaded ticks when living in the country in VA and MD. Can't remember what I did for chiggers - probably calamine lotion.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 8, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

I did a lot of bicycle riding on the Cape and saw plenty of lagomorphs. I also saw one terrapin. Pretty standard yellow and green box turtle.

He was safely on the edge of the trail. Every time a bicycle came by, he hid back in his shell. Looked like it was going to be a very long day for him. But it looked like he had nothing better to do.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 8, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

IW9Pji gfshfdjhtyr gerjiojhteiojh iojdehiojreio jhoerh

Posted by: 1800flowers | July 8, 2008 1:36 AM | Report abuse

mo, let's just say you clean up in "Wall-E," shall we? :-)

*seeking-more-caffeine-as-usual Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 8, 2008 4:58 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. I see Scotty has hit the ground running this morning. And glad to see bc has survived his encounter with The Snapper.

Instead of this morning's WaPo op-eds I commend to your attention this interesting piece in the San Francisco Chronicle about that wing of the GOP who is disgusted with Bush, doesn't like McCain-- and seems to admire Obama. Here it is: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/06/MN3T11JI0P.DTL

Richard Cohen has a useful piece on why Ronald Reagan was an idiot, especially about energy policy, and why Jimmy Carter was right.

OK, got to go wake up my daughter, whom I suspect has overslept. Carry on.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 8, 2008 5:59 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. Mudge and Scotty, did you guys sleep last night? I've been up for awhile too, but just getting to the computer.

a bea c, that's the site where I hooked up the printer, and it still doesn't work. I'm going to try again today, perhaps I will do better after getting some rest. Or I might not.

Martooni, Slyness, and all, good morning to you.*waving*

This is the week that I'm off so there isn't anything on my dance card. Knowing me, I'll load it up with something just to stay in shape.

My dad came by yesterday with chicken wings. He wants me to cook them for his friend at the nursing home. I don't mind, but I was really surprised to see him, and he looked so nice. Maybe he had a date. I need coffee.

Have a great day, folks. I didn't bother to read the op-ed page this morning, just want to remain clue-less. With all the stuff I see around here, reading more from somewhere else can be really depressing. Here we've had a baby to die while strapped in a car, a teenager run over, and killed, the driver got away, and of course, the usual, stealing and breaking in.

There is outrage in these situations, but what do you do with that? Do you pretend it didn't happen or does one remove the self from these events, and if that is the case, how do you do that? Do you just skip on and put it out of your mind? I think the cramming in and suffocation(?) caused by trying to make sense of such situations is like a powder keg, ready to blow at a moment's notice.

I really need to find the coffee.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 8, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

bc

I went back and read your turtle story, and had one good laugh. I'm sure the turtle thanks you, although he or she, certainly did not show it in a kindly way. No one wants to be roadkill. And yes, you are a man of action.

RD, I always picture you in my mind's eye as someone with shades on, and, pardon my saying this, a scary dude. I think there are couple of folks here that have an "e" crush on you, by the way. I admire your writing, among others here.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 8, 2008 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Someone has snuck into my Dawn Patrol locker in the Bunker and replaced the biking shorts and leather flying helmet with a dress shirt and tie. I guess that means vacation is over.

This working for a living really sucks.

bc, I too loved the turtle story. I have never seen a real snapping turtle in the wild, but did ocassionally stumble across gopher turtles in Florida. They are large and slow and not prone to snapping. I suggest sticking to those in the future.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 8, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Goood morning, everybody!

I too was up early, to take Mr. T to work. He is traveling to the National Fire Academy today, so I will pick him up and lunchtime and take him to the airport.

bc, I'm glad you came through your rescue ordeal unscathed. Sometimes it's tough and dangerous to be a hero!

Cassandra, let me know if the printer continues to give problems, and I'll check in with the family geek for advice. She too is not a Windows fan, preferring Linux and Open Office. However, she did install Vista on the computer she built for me, and so far, so good.

Posted by: slyness | July 8, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle.

After reading the main news (Maliki is not gonna sign no stupid SOF with US. Indian Embassy bombed in Kabul)was puffing a ciggie in the warm and muggy outdoors . . .
Then Bingo!
"The Invisibles"
How does that sound as title for a thriller I'm working on?

Brag

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 8, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.
Thanks for the kind comments on my Saving the Snapper.

I don't know how big they get but this turtle had a shell about a foot across, and jaws that appeared to me to be at least a meter wide when open (no doubt matching my eyes at that point, and possibly dimensionally transcendental).

Note: No matter where (and when) in this big old 'verse you go you'll always need a towel, but don't underestimate the many potenial uses of an properly employed umbrella.

I see that GWB has signed on to a plan for the industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from current levels by 50% buy the year 2050.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/08/AR2008070800285.html

I know what you're all thinking: Should we start eating up all the beef and dairy products now, or start genetically engineering cows with only two stomachs *pronto*? I vote for both, and I'll take my cheeseburger and fillet medium rare, please.

bc

Posted by: bc | July 8, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

BC
Snapper saving solutions are commendable. Well done!

There is a wonderful clear water spring in Samburu Reserve in Kenya. While swimming one has to be careful not to get snapped by terrapins. But what makes swimming exciting there is the other inhabitant of the nearby swamp. The crock looks meaner than Joel's Blogdog.

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 8, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

How about "The Invisible Man," Brag. If it was good enough for Ralph Ellison and H.G.Wells, well...go with a winner.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 8, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm laughing, Cassandra. I have met Padouk, and yes, I think he was wearing shades at the time--not sure. But he took them off, and he is NOT, repeat NOT, the "scary-looking" dude you imagine him to be. Don't let the fake wig, fake eyebrows, fake mustache, fake beard, and fake hook where his left hand ought to be scare you. It's all just "cover."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 8, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Gopher TORTOISE is a protected specie in Florida.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 8, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Alexey, that title's OK, but it depends on the thriller.

Um, it's not about a White House that seems to be doing more harm than good when it actually acts, but really has hidden secret super powers, is it?

Mebbe you need to call Pixar for that one...

bc

Posted by: bc | July 8, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

There is an ancient common snapping turtle inhabiting a lake I go fishing to once in a while. This is a small lake located in provincial park. It's open for fishing only about a month a year, so it's a pretty quite place for the wildlife. The beast is about as big as they come, the shell is about 18" long and a foot wide. Add the massive head and the big tail and we are talking about a very big, mean-looking reptile. By mid-summer its back is covered with moss and algaes, it does add to its swamp thing cachet. A couple of years ago it surfaced right by the boat unannounced, causing Witch no. 2 to scream like a teen in an horror movie. It was just coming for its annual feed of perch and minnows. The big momma gulped 5 or six small perches, cutting some in two in her powerful beak, and went her way back in the swampy part of the lake. As I always say to the kids out there, keep your hands in the boat...

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 8, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

new kit!

Posted by: frostbitten | July 8, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Alexey, how about "No-See-'ems"?

Wil Haygood's first installment of "Blood on a Lonely Viginia Mountain," about killer Randall Smith, is pretty good: well-written and gripping.

I'm looking forward to the Fox Network show, "When Good Snapping Turtles Go Bad," about a freelance gladiator and reptile wrangler whose trademark is an umbrella (shades of John Steed), and who accepts assignments via telegrams addressed "Wire Terrapin, San Francisco."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 8, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

So I'm about to start my movie and my stomach growls. Out to get a slice. When I return there is a couple sitting in the 'lobby'. They stop me for a word. The guy says he has a bet with his lady friend. I recognize the guy and know him to be a bit of a jokester. He says he has a bet with is friend that I'll give him a twenty if he asks for it. His lady friend doesn't believe him. I ask her 'What's in for you if he wins the bet?' She says 'Ten bucks." He's all like "Wha...' So I reach into my pocket a pull out all the cash I have: A five and three ones...and hand it to her. I reach into my pocket again for the loose change and hand her six quarters three dimes and two pennies. Then say all you need now is thirteen cents and you've got your ten and he still lost the bet. She sits there with mouth open for about ten seconds. He sits there with his mouth open for ten. Boy did really turn his table around.

After talking a bit more she gives it all back. Then they invite me out to see a movie. I tell them about my bad hearing. Then they say next time they see me they are going to invite me over for dinner. Then just as they were getting up to go their little boy comes in from out on the front stoop. He says 'Hi.'

I say 'Hi.'

He says 'Do you remember me?' 'You gave me a ball.'

Then it all came back. A year and a half ago he was out on the stoop playing with a deflated miniature basketball. I went into my apartment and set my groceries aside and went back out with two super balls (again, this is a year and half ago). I gave him one and said watch this: I said I was going to bounce the ball off the sidewalk and into an open window across the street. I have no idea what happened as it seemed to disappear as soon as it bounced.

The kid couldn't have been more than four and a half when I gave him that super ball. Wow, what a memory. Barely more than a toddler (OK, I know I'm stretching the definition here) and he remembers all that from a year and a half ago.

Posted by: omni | July 8, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

This morning I heard about Guantanamo detainees having to wait another 6 months or so before they get a hearing. Considering they have been held for 6 years, why doesn't the government have all the information necessary to hold the hearings sooner?

When I think of some of those detainees and their families, I have to wonder what the difference is between them and Ingrid Betancourt. Sure, FARC is not the US, but are they being held for any real reason other than they have suspect name and "may have attended something that may have been terrorist training"?

Posted by: a bea c | July 8, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"And if so, why the phone companies?"

Gosh, did you miss the film? I suppose so, but it seems ass if it were new only a few days ago. Go rent "President's Analyst."
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/presidents_analyst/

It turns out that the great secret force running the world is "the phone company."

But if this law had gone the other way we would have the sight of several middle aged or older men in jail who had given information to the government as long ago as the Eisenhower years and guilty of "helping the government."

Do you want people to start asking "why is it a crime to help the government?"

I don't think so.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | July 14, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I did a lot of work as a location expert for old, real AT&T in the 1970's. If AT&T was the ultimate power they sure did a weak-kneed job for themselves. They and their operating companies were bound by a 1956 consent decree which forbade them from doing any thing commercial except the common carrier communications racket (what's a few H-bombs among friends? Sandia). I was also working with, on, and by the ARPANet. I tried to sell top execs of AT&T on entering the data-networking business (BBN later Verizon was learning a lot running the Net).) AT&T & Co. was a dinosaur regulated by dozens of state utility commissioons, each with its own preudices and biases. The long-lines division was a monopoly and everyone knew it. Any time the DOJ AT division wanted a scalp, they sued AT&T. We used to refer to it (among ourselves)as "the pitiful, helpless giant." It finally fell or was wrenched to pieces by Judge Green in 1983. The pieces have been joining themselves together (like Mickey's broom in Fantasia's 'Sorcerer's Apprentice") producing a new, truly vicious giant that would be much improvfed by a kick in the teeth. This is a veritable monster, and you can take it to the bank that it will do what the govt demands, and the govt will accept the conditions that the monster imposes.

Posted by: nihil | July 15, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: flow1800 | July 21, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

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