Shipped mini-IED? Ho-hum

Posted in War On Terror at 10:36 am by George Smith


Toner-cartridge ersatz bombs to be shipped to Chicago, from Yemen, via UPS?

“Initial reports indicates no trace of explosives,” recites a CNN newsgirl right now. “Is this a dry run?”

Whether it is or not, DD’s take has been that evidence and history suggests al Qaeda is resorting to more and more haphazard, random and threadbare plots, probably because there are less and less competent drawn to the organization. And the pressure put on it worldwide by the US military and intelligence services.

Ineffective underwear bombs and theoretical explosives the size of toner cartridges don’t comprise any existential threat to the country.

In contrast to actual threats to an average American’s security — like mass unemployment and a ruined life — these are not big things to be solved.

On the other hand, it guarantees business at General Atomics and companies making more bomb sniffers will remain solid. But that won’t mean anything better for you.

Two weeks ago DD wrote about al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine here.

It is an example of a certain lack of inspiration in al Qaeda.

When the best you can come up with after years of plotting is to wish jihadis to buy a Ford F-150 with a snowplow blade so that they can go on a monster truck rampage, it appears you’ve been enfeebled.

What could be next?

Attempting to ship fireworks to the US under cover of the days running up to the 4th of July? Mass purchases of matches so as to accumulate red phosphorus? Raiding swimming pool supply stores for hydrochloric acid or breaking open of old car batteries in preparation for acid-throwing-in-a-crowd sprees? Posing as exterminators so that when going out on the day’s run they can spray much higher than recommended concentrations of pesticide? How ’bout a team of jihadis to crap in paper bags and set them on fire on random porches? Training camps on how to start fires in southern California in the dry and windy season? Learning kung-fu so that jihadis can beat up people on airplanes and in airports?

Just imagine what will happen when they start buying lots of charcoal, lighter fluid and paper for shredding!

The mind reels.

“Their foothold in Yemen has become much stronger … their numbers are about 400,” some blowhard on CNN is saying.

It’s always interesting to see how these types of whoopie cushion things overturn all news, derailing all other discussions in favor of the parade of national security profiteers experts. And how they inevitably drift to assumptions having to do with how clever this demonstrates al Qaeda to be.

Coincidentally, great stuff for the GOP since the news has silenced most political coverage. The guys with the lead on the field going into the last two minutes benefit from the running out of the clock on this matter.

It took less than a day for the talking heads to begin talking about ‘sophistication.’

From the Guardian:

Sophisticated bombs contained in packages sent from Yemen were designed to explode in the airand bring down the cargo planes carrying them, UK security officials have confirmed.

Intelligence experts believe the use of the devices, contained in printer cartridges despatched on two Chicago-bound cargo planes, represents a shift in terrorist tactics to commercial targets.

One of the devices was linked to a mobile phone, while the other was attached to a timer. The Observer understands that the East Midlands device was so sophisticated an initial examination by forensics experts initially suggested it did not contain explosives.

On the other hand, one again sees the caveats creep in:

The target of the device may have been an aircraft and, had it detonated, the aircraft could have been brought down,” May said. “But we do not believe that the perpetrators of the attack would have known the location of the device when they planned for it to explode.”

The Metropolitan police said in a statement that “early indications suggest it had the potential to bring down an aircraft in flight.

Not quite as successful as the Unabomber.

The al Qaeda men have been compelled to make ever smaller bombs, their size and complication designed to get them past security while at the same time making them problematical in terms of reliability.

In terms of result of plot, besides tipping over security and giving the usual characters on television and in government the vapors, they’ve succeeded in having all package shipping banned from their country.

Which is a pretty decent and fair solution. Who actually needs shit, besides oil, from the Arabian peninsula?

You could make a pretty good joke reply to UPS’s “logistics” commercial given the company’s role in enabling this matter:


Logistics makes the world work better!

When it’s planes in the sky for a chain of supply, that’s logistics
When the pots for the line come precisely on time, that’s logistics
A continuous link that is always in sync, that’s logistics
Carbon footprint reduced, bottom line gets a boost, that’s logistics
Always new ways to plan so the shit hits the fan, that’s logistics
When technology doesn’t know where everything goes, that’s logistics
When bombs that are wee don’t go poot-doot-doot-dee, that’s logistics
There will be lots of stress ’cause they called UPS, that’s lo-og-i-stics

Nugent probably off hook in SD

Posted in Extremism, Ted Nugent at 8:18 am by George Smith

Harmonization of hunting laws in various states means suspension of a license in one leads to automatic suspension in another. And earlier in the week this led game wardens in California and South Dakota to look into whether Ted Nugent had hunted pheasant prior to a Tea Party rally in South Dakota illegally.

Nugent’s license to hunt deer has been temporarily suspended in California over two misdemeanor convictions stemming from deer-baiting.

However, the suspension only covers deer hunting. And in California, that leaves Nugent free to hunt everything else but deer until the suspension is over. Which would seem to quite fairly get him off the hook in South Dakota.

The Rapid City Journal reported:

Department officials won’t confirm the investigation or discuss
details, but a California wildlife officer provided some information on the case Thursday, confirming that Nugent did lose some hunting privileges in California for deer-hunting violations.

But the suspension only covers deer hunting. The rocker and widely
known gun advocate can still hunt pheasants and other game in
California, said Patrick Foy, a warden and public information
officer for the law enforcement division of the California Fish and
Game Department.

“Ted Nugent is prohibited from hunting deer in California until after June 30 of 2012,” Foy said. “He can hunt pheasants. He can hunt pigs. He can hunt whatever else he wants to hunt. He is prohibited from hunting deer.”

The article goes on to state California wardens consider Nugent cooperative and remorseful over his offense.

However, they have probably not seen Nugent railing over his convictions on YouTube video — like readers at this blog have — calling game law “indecent” and anti-freedom.

One curious thing in the run-up to election day re Nugent.

While he is out stumping for various Tea Party candidates, he has yet to repeat a WaTimes column calling for varmint hunting with no bag limit on Tuesday. As he repeatedly did earlier in the year.

While there are a couple of days left for him to revert, Nugent has not gone back to euphemistically calling for violence — varmint hunting and crowbar swinging — on election day.

Paradoxically, what readers have seen — if they’re in America — is that through the summer and into the fall, the weakness of leadership in the President and Democratic Party and the very bad economy, have allowed for the complete mainstreaming of Ted Nugent-style extremism.

And that on certain occasions, actually beating up people, as long as they are Democrats, is OK.


The ‘Artisan’ Economy

Posted in Made in China, Stumble and Fail at 1:02 pm by George Smith

Whether it’s writing the next Harmonica-like app or making the $180 blues harp, one of the dogwhistles heard regularly is how every US worker will have be ‘value-added’ and very special to earn a living in the future.

It’s another way of saying that everyone unemployed now needs jettisoning. Forget about ’em. We need to get away from the slug dead weight.

For the plutonomy to succeed one has to focus on making stuff for the haves.

Here’s an example of the industry model, again on Harrison Harmonicas in Rockfield, Illinois.

From a September press release:

Harrison Harmonicas is hiring two to three entry level workers to help construct its B-Radical Harmonica featuring replaceable reeds.

The premium harmonica is the only harmonica made in the United States. They sell for $180 each.

Harrison Harmonica is accepting applications in person from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday at the EIGERlab, 605 Fulton Ave. during an on-site application process.

For more information and to download an application, log on to the Harrison Harmonica website at harrisonharmonicas.com/careers.

It is the second day of the on-site application process for the company.

EIGERlab Director Dan Cataldi estimated there were 60 applicants for the jobs on Monday morning.

“Located in Rockford, Illinois, Harrison Harmonicas is the United States’ only harmonica manufacturer and was named by Businessweek magazine as one of America’s Most Promising Startups,” reads yet another press release.

The perfect model of the ‘artisan’ economy, one in which you make goods for the superwealthy is Elon Musk’s Tesla.

It also helps, if like Musk, you can get the US government to prop you up.

Another California ‘artisan’, of sorts, is Solazyme, the company that makes ‘biofuel’ from algae.

Here’s a laugher story on Solazyme’s big client, the US military, a couple sentences picked to tell readers all they need to know.

The shining future now:

The [Navy’s experimental boat that runs on a 50-50 mix of algae-derived ‘biofuel’ and regular gas] is designed to be deployed in rivers and marshes and will eventually be used to guard oil installations in the Middle East, The Guardian reported. It’s part of the Navy’s first green strike force, a group of about 10 ships, submarines and planes that run on a mix of biofuels and nuclear power. They’re expected to be developed by 2012 and deployed to the field by 2016.

Last month, the U.S. Navy ordered more than 150,000 gallons of ship and jet fuel from Solazyme, a California company that produces biofuels from algae.

‘[Be] used to guard oil installations in the Middle East,” is all you need to read. Does … not … compute, Will Robinson.

Solazyme’s ‘biofuel’ costs the Navy $424 a gallon. Which makes it, by definition, anti-green in terms of energy and carbon footprint needed to get it to the Navy. Despite the Navy’s insistence that it is committed to fielding a ‘green strike force,’ whatever that may be.

The ‘artisan’ economy is warmed-over hash. It has been written of many times.

It goes like this: Creative and innovative Americans need only start their own businesses, come up with great ideas for stuff, and have it made overseas, like in China or India.

The most popular example being Tom Friedman famously airing the claim, in 2004, of an alleged American who had lost his job to outsourcing and recovered by selling a T-shirt on it.

This was subsequently exposed as a joke on the Register, where it was discovered by cartoonist Tom Tomorrow who called the columnist over it.

A Times ombudsman insisted it was coincidence. So Tomorrow went further, finding an American who had devised a similar ‘artisan’ shirt as a joke. That man had made $10 in profit.

Still another way of looking at it: The ‘artisan’ economy is a modern variation on the Pet Rock concept of business.

If you can come up with something like the old Pet Rock — or some similar gimmick like they used to sell in the old black-light junk gift shop stores in shopping malls, then that’s the ticket.

For those who can’t make something that cheap, through manufacturing in China, there’s stuff like Harrison Harmonica’s $180 blues harp.

Fender Musical Instruments is another example of ‘artisan’ business.

The book on its musical amplifiers entitled The Soul of Tone is an unintentional profile of a company that went from being a middle class employer in California, one making things for the middle class, to a company that sent all its manufacturing overseas, reserving its domestic manufacturing — greatly decreased — to stars and big deal corporate lawyers.

In the context of the book, it’s written of as straightforward smart business. When it was published, three years ago, it seemed that way.

Now it reads poorly. The first part of the book is filled with great amplifiers made in America by guys and gals in Hawaiian shirts.

The end of the book is quite different. It’s filled with oral history from its current designer/artisans explaining how they ship their everyman stuff manufacturing to whatever overseas place is the cheapest.

Coincidentally, all the guys pictured in the front of the book are dead.

This transformation is encapsulated in a quote about one premium domestically made guitar amplifier, the Vibro-King, a $2500 item used by Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend.

“If you’re a rock star or a lawyer who wants a Vibro-King, you’re gonna get one, but the Cyber-Champ (a low end Chinese-made Fender-branded amp) is an example of the relentless march to Asia for manufacturing,” states Shane Nicholas of Fender.

Coincidentally, all economic reports indicate that class hit hardest by the Great Recession has been the low wage earners, those customers targeted by Fender’s cheap goods made in China.

The other option is to get your ‘artisan’ business, like Tesla or Solazyme, gifted partially or entirely by the US government.

However, as a model for the future of employment in a country as big as the United States, the ‘artisan’ idea is utterly ludicrous.

Cult of EMP Crazy: To USA Today

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Imminent Catastrophe at 8:59 am by George Smith

Jason Sigger at Armchair Generalist notes a piece on electromagnetic pulse doom in the current issue of USA Today here.

J. notes it’s a more balanced piece than usual. That’s very true. But only in comparison with what has been the general procedure with such things.

It still starts with the cliche lede on the matter:

The sky erupts. Cities darken, food spoils and homes fall silent. Civilization collapses.

End-of-the-world novel? A video game? Or could such a scenario loom in America’s future?

There is talk of catastrophe ahead, depending on whom you believe, because of the threat of an electromagnetic pulse triggered by either a supersized solar storm or terrorist A-bomb.

Here’s the same idea from the same newspaper, from September 2009:

“It sounds like a science-fiction disaster: A nuclear weapon is detonated miles above the Earth’s atmosphere and knocks out power from New York City to Chicago for weeks, maybe months. Experts and lawmakers are increasingly warning that terrorists or enemy states could wage that exact type of attack, idling electricity grids and disrupting everything from communications networks to military defenses.”

The Cult of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy splits into two basic camps.

A tamer wee side concerned with solar ejections, one which has fueled apocalyptic angry sun and end-of-the-world stories this year. A couple of examples are cited here.

Contrary to the idea that there hasn’t been enough public warning about this, nope. There has been no shortage of news, if only because it also provides an opportunity to engage in end-of-the-world scenarios with clips from the movie, The Road.

The other part of the Cult of EMP Crazy is the rich cast of GOP characters pushing missile defense and many other bad ideas.

And USA Today mentions one of its chieftains in the top of the story — Newt Gingrich — without adding the disreputable nature of his work. It includes one of the man’s stock quotes on the issue.

Over the past couple of years, using anthrax-denier GOP crackpot Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, the Culf of EMP Crazy has turned electromagnetic pulse attack on the US into a cottage industry.

It’s for the selling of a book, regular congressional hearings featuring the same people over and over always saying the same thing, a yearly festival, the prediction of imminent catastrophe, regular astro-turfed pushes into the mainstream newsmedia and promotion of white male Tea Party survivalism fantasies.

They’ve even made movies and commercials no one cares to see.

This piece, from DD blog last year, summarizes its membership:

Next up, a survey of all the press the GOP electromagnetic pulse crazy lobby placed over the last ninety days, in excerpts. (Minus larger opinion pieces placed directly by the EMP Crazy lobby members, covered earlier on this blog. And since this blog has already covered all the major GOP politicians and celebrities involved with it — Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Curt Weldon, Trent Franks, Roscoe Bartlett, Pete Hoekstra, etc — their contributions can be more finely delved in the link at the very foot of the piece.)

Readers again notice it’s exclusively the property of the crank GOP right, now the great norm of the party …

The acute observers of Congressional nuisance nobodies will also note it encompasses the same people constantly pushing Islam-o-phobia. And a handful of people who think the president is a secret Muslim.

And DD noted this as recently as Monday, when citing The Tennessean newspaper’s story of ‘national security experts’ in the business of making money of the latter here.

Indeed, one sees the stink of this wafting into USA Today lede, one insinuating terrorists might bring on EMP doom with an A-bomb.

That’s the message of the Islam-o-phobes in the bunch.

In other words, the Cult of EMP Crazy is largely a vile-smelling potpourri of characters with bad intents and political agendas completely at odds with anything that would actually benefit the American middle class.

It cannot be emphasized enough. Reasonable people consider this exclusively GOP cult rotten to the core.

So it’s almost purely coincidence that Cult of EMP Crazy stories now rope in a small number of real scientists who speak of solar storms and ejecta in 2010.

To the old hardcore who make up the cult, this is a gay convenience, another handle for mouthpiecing the group’s standard toxic bullshit into the mainstream media.


The I-Fart-Sunshine Crowd

Posted in Phlogiston, Stumble and Fail at 11:04 am by George Smith

The bleeding heart of innovation is in making stuff for the haves. If it’s too damn hard figuring out how to watch college football on Saturdays, they’ve got it covered. If there aren’t enough apps like Harmonica for your TV set, there will be. (Then you can put your kisser to your TV, sort of like James Woods in Videodrome.)

The app economy train, driven by the toil and sweat of Tom Friedman’s value-added “artisans,” is leaving now for the bright new future. Toot-toot! All aboard!

From today’s Wall Street Journal, the Personal Journal section:

“When Chuck Hermes wants to watch a good movie at home, he often shuns [his] 40-inch HDTV … It’s too much trouble for Mr. Hermes, a Minneapolis web designer, to use the cable box and remote … Instead he usually picks up his iPad, which lets him watch a TV show or movie from Netflix with just a few finger swipes on it’s 9.7-inch display.”

Just a few finger swipes.

“Change can’t happen soon enough for Thomas Hawk, an investment adviser in San Francisco … Finding programs to watch or record on [some cable service] is a tedious process, Mr. Hawk says … Mr. Hawk says he has a much better experience accessing television shows and movies … through his Xbox 360 game console. Titles are arranged by genres and represented by colorful artwork which is easy to scan quickly. And … recommendations of movies and television shows, based on his past viewing habits, help him discover interesting new videos to watch.”

From the lede graf on D6, by Katherine Boehret:

“Have you ever watched someone editing photos and videos on a Mac and wondered why they seem much more talented and tech savvy than you are with your Windows PC?”

Yes. Sadly, DD is given the opposite feeling. I want to leave as quickly as possible without seeming too rude.

Meanwhile, in another section of the paper, a news report notes steel production is off worldwide due to the Great Recession. There will be layoffs and profit loss.

And here’s an “innovation camp.” (You won’t be able to watch the link for more than forty seconds, I guarantee it.)

But first, here’s the “innovation camp” showing good ol’ lumpy white nerd “innovation” with iPhones. Jump on this grenade, fellows.

The joke continues to be on us.


Potential Trouble for Ted in SD

Posted in Extremism, Ted Nugent at 8:23 am by George Smith

Today, Ted Nugent devotes his WaTimes column to deer hunting season.

You can’t do it in France, he adds.

It’s here.

In related news, Nugent is being investigated for another hunting violation. This time in South Dakota, it stems from his conviction on misdemeanor deer-baiting in California.

The Rapid City Journal reports:

State wildlife officials have begun an investigation to
determine whether musician Ted Nugent broke the law when he hunted
pheasants near Hot Springs prior to his Oct. 16 appearance in Rapid

Nugent was featured at a Second Amendment rally sponsored by
Citizens for Liberty, a Rapid City area tea party affiliate. Before
the rally, Nugent shot pheasants and partridge on a hunting
preserve east of Hot Springs, under a special preserve license and

Now there is a question about whether Nugent could legally hunt
in the state, because of his no-contest plea in August to two
counts of misdemeanor big-game violations in California.

The complete article is here.

National Bedbug Blitzkrieg

Posted in Stumble and Fail at 6:28 am by George Smith

The Environmental Protection Agency is planning its second national bed bug summit for this winter in Washington, D.C. as the blood-sucking pest continues its blitzkrieg on the United States and EPA bans of more effective pesticides are under increasing scrutiny.

From some news column here.

The long and short is that bedbugs can’t be controlled in 2010. The story blames most of it on pesticide resistance and the banning of some chemicals in 1996 and 2007. But that’s too simple.

Bedbugs travel with people and the Great Recession has caused a great dislocation. This churn in residences was very apparent during the 2010 Decennial Census. It was and is a golden opportunity for bedbugs to be fruitful and multiply.

Add to it an initial cutback in spraying regimes by property managers faced with diminishing revenues.

In this economy, lots of people, when faced with bedbugs in their apartments or homes, aren’t prepared to spend a few hundred dollars for a professional extermination. Depending on Terminix for social generosity or some local trying to make opportunistic bucks with his new bedbug sniffing dog just isn’t in the cards.

So there has been this:

One of the arguments cited by Rosile and other proponents of reviving the effective pesticides is that desperate bed bug victims – who feel helpless as zombie bed bugs destroy their lives – are resorting to far less safe alternatives to hit back, do it yourself style … Needless to say, heavy-duty agricultural pesticides were never intended to be sprayed at the base of one’s bed, and while certainly effective, they’re a rather perilous route to sleeping soundly.

Blow it out your ass, as some used to say in Pennsy.

From the DD tune, “Bedbugs”:

Spray some Raid around the bed
So to bedbugs you are not fed

Nothin’ like personal experience for the tempering of a strategy.

The “Bedbugs” song by DD. Give it a listen.

The lyrics are here.


Making Money as Expert Muslim Haters

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Extremism, War On Terror at 12:41 pm by George Smith

Today the Tennessean newspaper ran a big expose on the lucrative business of spreading hate and fear over Muslims taking over America, as peddled by a small group of extreme right “national security” experts.

“Anti-Muslim crusaders make millions spreading fear,” is the headline.

This isn’t news to the followers of blogs like this one. The field of US national security is thoroughly contaminated with people who’s only business is encouraging Americans to despise Islam by mouthpiece-ing the hate through the media.

However, it’s welcome to see a newspaper’s investigative team digging into it so thoroughly.

Steve Emerson, who has been radioactive poison for a good long time is the biggest figure profiled. His business is described as one that uses a non-profit to front a for-profit business selling his ‘expertise’ about reputed Muslim group ties in the US to terrorists overseas.

It’s a damning takedown.

Also up for scrutiny is Frank Gaffney.

Gaffney is a charter member of the Cult of EMP Crazy, where he and other members of the GOP regularly push stories into the media about how Iran will send US back to the horse-and-buggy age with an electromagnetic pulse attack.

Writes the Tennessean:

Frank Gaffney, head of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Center for Security Policy, earned a $288,300 salary from his charity in 2008. Gaffney was a key witness in recent hearings in the Rutherford County lawsuit filed by mosque opponents. He said he paid his own way.

On the stand, the Reagan-era deputy assistant defense secretary accused local mosque leaders of having ties to terrorism, using ties to Middle Eastern universities and politics as evidence. His main source of information was his own report on Shariah law as a threat to America, one he wrote with other self-proclaimed experts.

But, under oath, he admitted he is not an expert in Shariah law.

The list of people on the anti-Islam circuit goes on. IRS filings from 2008 show that Robert Spencer, who runs the Jihadwatch.org blog, earned $132,537 from the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative nonprofit.

Gaffney authored the recent “Team B” report alleging Shariah law and Muslim terror was taking over the heartland of America.

The report, pumped by Fox News, the Washington Times, and many others in the right wing noise machine, acted as a convenience for the usual gasbags to fan the flames of Islam-o-phobia.

Ted Nugent, for example, being just one.

The Tennessean asserts the message from these non-experts resonates strongly in middle Tennessee among the hardcore Christian white right of the Bible Belt.

And it has been a very lucrative business. The thrust of the article contains tax returns from the various “businesses,” revealing the additional fact that they employ non-profit fronts as tax dodges.

The Tennessean article is here. Everyone should read it as a graphic example of the malicious application of fear for the making of money. At the expense of all Muslims in the United States.

Another fact is worth restating. The people who carry this out are the sole property of the Republican Party. And they are disgraces.

Perhaps the Tennessean newspaper has contributed to driving a stake through some of them, at long last.

Monday Morning Fail

Posted in Stumble and Fail at 7:46 am by George Smith

Weekend full of good news lads!

The President will cave and give tax cuts to the rich after the Democrats are bombed on election day. And 60 Minutes had roomfuls of desperate tearful people out of work for two years with no help in sight.

Then there’s Paul Krugman today:

And if they take one or both houses of Congress, complete policy paralysis — which will mean, among other things, a cutoff of desperately needed aid to the unemployed and a freeze on further help for state and local governments — is a given. The only question is whether we’ll have political chaos as well, with Republicans’ shutting down the government at some point over the next two years. And the odds are that we will.

The Los Angeles Times sent op-ed page dude Doyle McManus to Pennsylvania to the get the usual-mixed-up-voter likely to choose really bad things story. Every major newspaper has again gone to Pennsy.

One voter proclaimed himself a “Teddy Roosevelt” kind of guy. This is sort of bad news since William Howard Taft, in the guise of the Tea Party, is in the ascendant.

Really now, though, can you think of anything more witless than asking a 79-year-old white guy about his politic leanings in the interior of Pennsylvania in 2010?

Then again, the same guy, under the mistaken impression that the Democrats had political hegemony and actually were able to do great things with it. Like my mom, who always said the same thing for thirty years until she lost her mind, every election — a time for tossing out the party alleged to be in power so that too much of it wasn’t focused in the hands of a single philosophy.

He said that the economy made him want to vote Republican but that his support for abortion rights made him want to vote Democratic.

“I’ll say this, though,” he added. “I do believe in the separation of powers. You give the whole thing to one party, it’s not good.”

Watches only Fox, he added.

To give you an example of what Pennsylvania is like, here’s an item.

One of DD’s old pals sent this information in on a revolution about to take place in alcohol sales.

To get this you have to understand Pennsylvania has what’s called a Liquor Control Board.

That means you can’t buy wine, liquor or beer in the supermarket. Like everyone normal in most of the country.

So in 2010, a stirring change is being made.

Now the Board will launch wine kiosks in supermarkets.

Implemented in a way harmonious with security procedures for the war on terror, it is such a splendid idea, guaranteed to warm the hearts of teetotalers everywhere.

My friend informs, from the Lehigh Valley:

1. [Wine] will be in a vending machine.
2. I have to breathe into a Breathalyzer.
3. I have to look into a camera monitored by state employees.
4. I have to show my driver’s license. (Well, this one’s OK.)

So, yes, it’s definitely Pennsylvania. We’ve been able to buy beer at some supermarkets, like Wegmans, for a while. I haven’t done it, but I’ve heard from others who say it’s a pain. The beer has to be purchased separately. You cannot add it to your cart with the rest of your order. If you have groceries, you apparently have to pay for those, take them to your car and come back to buy the beer.

And now you know why they are the way they are in Pennsylvania. Logic does not work there.

DD can’t think of a single better thing than putting your mouth around a supermarket wine kiosk Breathalyzer in Pennsy during the winter flu season. That’ll be way big.


The Douchebag

Posted in Made in China, Stumble and Fail at 9:07 am by George Smith

Tom Friedman, today, filling the job he does so well. Being a public enemy, telling everyone else to eat their peas, consulting with his fancy and fine pals on what the unlucky proles are going to have to morph into so as not to always be in the poor house.

You’ll have to be an “artisan.” In other words, the concept I’ve relentlessly dumped on over the last few months.

If you can’t write iGadget apps, you’ll can be a bedpan technician who gives value added, or be a maker of $180 dollar harmonicas for rich lawyers.

Or work in the Fender Musical Instruments custom shop, making $25,000 Eddie Van Halen relics.


Fifteen years ago, there were no industries around Google “search??? or “iPhone applications.??? Today, both are a source of good jobs. More will be invented next year. There is no fixed number of jobs. We just have to make sure there is no fixed number of Americans to fill them — aided by good U.S. infrastructure and smart government incentives to attract these new industries to our shores.

But not everyone can write iPhone apps. What about your nurse, barber or waiter? Here I think Lawrence Katz, the Harvard University labor economist, has it right. Everyone today, he says, needs to think of himself as an “artisan??? — the term used before mass manufacturing to apply to people who made things or provided services with a distinctive touch in which they took personal pride. Everyone today has to be an artisan and bring something extra to their jobs.

Yes, it’s pretty obvious not everyone can write Harmonica or be enough of a programmer to spend their spare time putting stubbornly antagonizing thirty second videos of their iPhones to their lips on YouTube.

You must bring something “extra” to your work of cleaning toilets, of delivering pizza, of greeting everyone as a potential shoplifter at the door of the big box stores, of being a whore.

Yes, even the days of doing a simple blow and go are over! That’s so average.

When you get a part-time job at the giant consumer electronics store selling everything made in China, you will have to have a deep knowledge of the crap you’re peddling to earn that barely about minimum wage.

Only the application or rocket scientist expertise and exquisite public relations with the customer in all things will get us where we need to be.

Friedman instructs, employing the wisdom of some Harvard vizier:

For instance, says Katz, the baby boomers are aging, which will spawn many health care jobs. Those jobs can be done in a low-skilled way by cheap foreign workers and less-educated Americans or they can be done by skilled labor that is trained to give the elderly a better physical and psychological quality of life. The first will earn McWages. The second will be in high demand. The same is true for the salesperson who combines passion with a deep knowledge of fashion trends, the photo-store clerk who can teach you new tricks with your digital camera while the machine prints your film, and the pharmacist who doesn’t just sell pills but learns to relate to customer health needs in more compassionate and informative ways. They will all do fine.

But just doing your job in an average way — in this integrated and automated global economy — will lead to below-average wages. Sadly, average is over. We’re in the age of “extra,??? and everyone has to figure out what extra they can add to their work to justify being paid more than a computer, a Chinese worker or a day laborer.

Think of all the people you pass on the sidewalk. Or those you jostle with in line at the supermarket.

Boy, that’s a crowd where everyone can easily figure out how to be “extra,” how to earn more than a computer or a Chinese factory worker.

All the young men in droopy shorts, the middle-aged guys with stomachs hanging over their belts, etc. Yeah, that’s doable.

In related news, a reader comment from Friday begs republishing:

DD, let’s help fund your fine blog and future tomes by releasing a China Toilet Blooz ringtone, made right here in the USA with homegrown talent for use on crap China phones.

That is a fine idea. I mean it, too!

The trick is getting it sold by iJobsland.

So lead me in the right direction.

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