The War Against the Machines Unfolding in Iraqi Airspace


NEW YORK—We left you on Friday with some rather unsettling developments in the coming War Against the Machines, and we're afraid to report there's more bad news on that front today: the US military apparently left behind some drones during its "withdrawal" from Iraq last December—and the Iraqi people are not happy about this! (something something nobody could have predicted.) The State Department has contracted a "small fleet" of drones to serve as part of a security detail for the various American diplomats still remaining in Iraq. "The State Department drones," reports the Times, "carry no weapons and... are much smaller than armed drones, with wingspans as short as 18 inches, compared with 55 feet for the Predators." Catch that? "Much much smaller than armed drones"—as if this is supposed to comfort us! No, sorry, this is even more terrifying. Because, seriously, think about it: if those 55-foot Predators are basically like the Decepticons of the War Against the Machines, then these little foot-and-a-half long guys are like that one miniature Transformer jobber that turned himself into a boombox and hacked Air Force One. Well! Happy Monday, everyone: we all live in a Michael Bay movie now.

Oof, so here is another scary thing: after Public Citizen issued a call last week to see Bank of America broken up, the Times reports some ugly numbers today on the exposure of various banks to troubled European debt. And things don't look good for Bank of America! Here is a handy little chart featuring a series of taupe-colored concentric circles of differing areas showing just how little Bank of America has hedged its debt exposure with CDS purchases compared to its competitors (another chart is on the way, we're confident, showing just how many billions in insurer bailouts the American taxpayer will be on the hook for when these CDS calls come in).

So what could possibly be worse than the regular reminder of the truly staggering depths of our friends' and family members' ignorance that we're afforded every time we log onto Facebook and discover that one of them has decided to form something vaguely resembling a political opinion? Well, seeing that opinion turn up on a giant billboard, probably. And that's exactly what's happening: three years after the cancellation of "Total Request Live," democracy is making a triumphant return to Times Square, where Facebook users' positions on nine major issues will take over the Thomson Reuters and Nasdaq billboards from now until November.

Ooh, so this is good: Joe Scarborough hasn't been able to shut up all morning about a story in the Sunday Times in which Romney's advisers heap all sorts of credit on themselves for reviving the flagging Romney campaign, and we're hearing reports from the Twitter that Mitt's on "The Today Show" saying "you can expect advisers to think that the work of advisers is very, very important." Heh! So processy!

So a big victory today in one of the more important battlegrounds in the now decade-long war between America and Evil, as a Pennsylvania school district has levied a ban against the wearing of Ugg boots to class (more like Ughhhhh, right???). Turns out that the greatest fashion footwear disaster the world has ever seen since Crocs Vibram Five Fingers has been doubling as a convenient vessel for contraband (read: cellphones), and now the oppressed youngs of this small Pennsylvania town are learning a thing or two about political organization: the seventh- and eighth-graders of Pottstown Middle School are planning an Ugg-in.

Now, seeing as this is technically a "news round-up," we will make only passing mention to the "news" that Allen West is a crazy person.

Oh, and one other thing: here is a very good opinion piece from Neil Gabler in Politico that you should definitely read.



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