• Meanwhile...

    - One day, Glendon Scott Crawford came up with an idea straight from 1950s-era Sci-fi: build a "death ray" that would silently kill its targets with massive amounts of radiation. First, he tried to hock his wares to a local Jewish synagogue in hopes it would be used in defense of the Israelis. When the Ku Klux Klan came calling, Crawford thought he finally hit paydirt.

    What he hit was a FBI sting operation and a possible 15-year stint for himself and accomplice Eric J. Feight:

    The suspects had successfully tested the remote triggering system that could work from a little less than a half mile away from the weapon, the complaint states. On June 12, they planned to have a dinner where Crawford would be provided with the radiation system, which was not finished. When the men were meeting, the FBI was monitoring their activities, including using undercover informants who posed as members of a South Carolina Ku Klux Klan group interested in purchasing the device and financing the project.

    On Tuesday, the FBI seized a vehicle of Crawford's at Shorty's, an out-of-business auto body shop Schaghticoke, where Crawford had allegedly planned to conduct a test-run of the triggering system. A law enforcement official said the auto business had nothing to do with the plot.

    Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney John Duncan said Crawford was arrested at 3 p.m. Tuesday as he was "in the process of attempting to assemble various components of this device. Again, the entire operation was under very close control of the JTTF and, as a result he did not have the opportunity to do that. This device was never going to be capable the way it was set up of emitting any dangerous X-ray radiation."

    Any chance of these guys getting sent down to Gitmo as "enemy combatants"? Not a chance.

    - Paula Deen's been outed as a racist and an all-around terrible human being:

    Paula, 66, admitted to using the N-word and wanting black waiters to play the role of slaves at a wedding party she was putting together, a new bombshell report from the National Enquirer claims.

    “The personal disclosures uncovered have stunned Paula’s family and could mark the collapse of her entire empire,” a source told the tabloid.

    When asked by Lisa’s Atlanta-based attorney if she’d ever used the N-word, Paula responded, “Yes, of course,” and gave examples of times she used the offensive term.

    In terms of telling racist jokes, Paula said, “It’s just what they are — they’re jokes…most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks…I can’t determine what offends another person.”

    And when asked if she wanted black men to play the role of slaves at a wedding she explained she got the idea from a restaurant her husband and her had dined at saying, “The whole entire waiter staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie.

    “I mean, it was really impressive. That restaurant represented a certain era in America…after the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War…It was not only black men, it was black women…I would say they were slaves.”

    There's nothing new here. The idea of guilt-free indulgence in a romanticized variant of the antebellum experience has always been with us in one form or another. For example, Aunt Fanny's Cabin.

    - The Farm Bill died an ignoble death in the House, 195-234. And good thing it did, too - Republicans added provisions within the bill that would have stripped $20 billion from the food stamp program and added  work requirements for eligibility. Considering how it's low-income women, children and the elderly who benefit most the food stamp program, it's easy to see how well this would turn out.

    Thanks to the bill's defeat, John Boehner looks less like a leader and more like stir-fried shit in a suit. Fingers are pointing everywhere - the GOP's accusing the Dems of sandbagging the bill by withdrawing votes at the last second, while the Dems accuse the GOP of loading the bill with several petty bullshit amendments that wound up fracturing Republican support. Throwing in things like an amendment to ax a dairy supply management program just to fuck over legislators from dairy-producing states will do that to a bill.

    - To prove a point about the food stamp cuts in the recently-defeated Farm Bill, 26 House Democrats tried their hand at keeping themselves fed on $1.50/day, or $31.50/week:

    Rep. Johnson explained how little $31.50 actually bought. He detailed his diet for the week. Johnson said that he would only be eating two meals a day. His meat for the day will be bacon. He got lucky, and found a buy one get one free sale. He also will subsist on oatmeal, Ramen noodles, hot dogs, waffles, syrup, bananas, and he “splurged” on some tea.

    Rep. Johnson said that Republicans would never pass these cuts if they had to live on $31.50 a week, but, “The problem is that we have so many millionaires on the other side of the aisle that they will never have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, or trying to stretch dollars so that they can eat for the period of time that they have the finances to pay for.”

    Last up:

    It starts out with doors. Then doors with knobs. Next thing you know, they'll master crude hand tools and simple machinery.