“Mr. Cheez Doodles” dies

The millions of snackers who can’t stop munching Cheez Doodles, those air-puffed tubes of cheddar-flavored corn meal, owe all that pleasure to Morrie Yohai — although he insisted on spreading the credit.

Mr. Yohai, who always said it was “we” who “developed” rather than invented the snack — sharing the acclaim with colleagues at the factory he owned in the Bronx — died on July 27 at his home in Kings Point, N.Y., at the age of 90, his son, Robbie, said…

Mr. Yohai (pronounced yo-high) was the president of Old London Foods, the company founded by his father in the early 1920s and then called King Kone, which first produced ice cream cones and later popcorn, cheese crackers and Melba Toast.

“They were looking for a new salty snack and became aware of a machine that processed corn meal under high pressure into a long tube shape,” Robbie Yohai said on Monday. “They also discovered that if they used a high-speed blade, similar to a propeller, they could cut three-inch-long tubes, which then could be flavored with orange cheddar cheese and seasonings.” Then baked, not fried…

Although Mr. Yohai insisted on the “we” credit for the recipe, he did say that he came up with the product name. First marketed in the late 1950s, Cheez Doodles soon became so popular that by 1965, Old London Foods was bought by Borden, and Mr. Yohai became vice president of Borden’s snack food division, which among other products made Drake’s Cakes and Cracker Jack.

One of his duties, he said, was sitting around a table with other executives and choosing which tiny toys would be stuffed into Cracker Jack boxes…

Design credit notwithstanding, Mr. Yohai took pride in the popularity of Cheez Doodles. At his home, he kept a photograph of Julia Child digging into a bag.

Yes, I like Cheez Doodles – except for the fact they turn my fingers orange.

New York Times starts Press Engine service for content distribution to iPads and iPhones – for other newspapers

New York Times Co., owner of the namesake newspaper, started Press Engine, a business designed to help other publishers deliver content to digital platforms such as Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices.

Times Co. will collect license fees and maintenance fees from publishers and media organizations that use the technology and design solutions for digital distribution. Individual publishers will continue to control and own their advertising and subscriptions, the New York-based company.

The Telegraph Media Group, publisher of the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, and A.H. Belo Corp., the Dallas-based owner of the Dallas Morning News, will be among Press Engine’s customers when the product is introduced in the fourth quarter, Times Co. said.

This is part of the multi-faceted move into new technology” at Times Co., said Ed Atorino, an analyst at Benchmark Co. in New York. “They’ve got the content, they’ve got the brainpower. We’ll see if people will pay for this stuff.”

Publishers are seeking ways to replace a drop in newspaper print advertising sales, which fell 11 percent in the U.S. in the first quarter, according to Newspaper Association of America data.

The New York Times newspaper is preparing to unveil in January a new online subscription model, which will make much of its Web content available only to visitors who pay fees for access. The company is also planning to sell an enhanced application for Apple’s iPad, which will be offered in addition to the free app currently available on the device.

The free app for the iPad rocks. Informative and useful. I admit I could be tempted to pop for a subscription – well, a little tempted.

They might be second in line after GigaOm Pro which I also haven’t subscribed to. Yet.

Right paperwork? U.S. authorities can tap BlackBerry messages

The BlackBerry — renown for the security of its messaging — doesn’t offer 100 percent protection from eavesdropping. At least not in the United States. Law enforcement officials said they can tap into emails and other conversations made using the device, made by Research in Motion, as long as they have proper court orders.

RIM’s willingness to grant authorities access to the messages of its clients is a hot-button issue. The United Arab Emirates claims it does not have the same kind of surveillance rights to BlackBerry messages as officials in the United States. It has threatened to clamp down on some services unless they get more access…

The ability to tap communications is a part of surveillance and intelligence and law enforcement all over the world,” said Mark Rasch, former head of the computer crimes unit at the U.S. Department of Justice.

RIM is in an unusual position of having to deal with government requests to monitor its clients because it is the only smartphone maker who manages the traffic of messages sent using its equipment. Other smartphone makers — including Apple Inc, Nokia, HTC and Motorola Corp — leave the work of managing data to the wireless carrier or the customer…

Rasch said that RIM may feel uncomfortable granting such access to officials in UAE. There may be concern authorities could abuse that access, he said.

“You reach a point where a company feels uncomfortable from the client perspective with what a government is asking them,” Rasch said. “It may be a function of what they are being asked to do, or it may be a function of which government is asking.”

U.S. rules that govern wire-tapping are designed to avoid abuse of power.

Har! I suppose Reuters had to include the paper description of U.S. avoidance of abuse of power.

In practice, abuse of power is perfectly OK [1] if no one finds out about it; [2] the government has enough tame judges who will overrule any objections; and [3] Congress will make the abuse legal if citizens complain about the abuse.

Republican economist says GOP caused the economic collapse

David Stockman, who was a young right-wing Congressman, back in the 1970’s and then served as Ronald Reagan’s OMB director, explains that the entire economic mess that the United States is in today is the fault of his party, the GOP.

Stockman…says he was more right than he ever could have imagined thirty years ago. The GOP — under Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and two Bushes — destroyed the economy. Maybe forever.

Stockman points to…the extraordinary growth of our public debt. In 1970 it was just 40 percent of gross domestic product, or about $425 billion. When it reaches $18 trillion, it will be 40 times greater than in 1970. This debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party’s embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don’t matter if they result from tax cuts.

In 1981, traditional Republicans supported tax cuts, matched by spending cuts, to offset the way inflation was pushing many taxpayers into higher brackets and to spur investment. The Reagan administration’s hastily prepared fiscal blueprint, however, was no match for the primordial forces — the welfare state and the warfare state — that drive the federal spending machine.

Soon, the neocons were pushing the military budget skyward. And the Republicans on Capitol Hill who were supposed to cut spending exempted from the knife most of the domestic budget — entitlements, farm subsidies, education, water projects. But in the end it was a new cadre of ideological tax-cutters who killed the Republicans’ fiscal religion.

President Obama inherited the mess left by the GOP and its bluedog Democratic buddies. But, I have to say, that he helped undermine his own Presidency,and ended any chance for a serious change in course, by not allowing Congressional liberals expose what the GOP did. I suppose the Democrats were afraid that names like Chuck Schumer – who did his own part to undo the economy through his slavish devotion to Wall Street – might come up so the Democrats decided to let bygones be bygones.

Republicans plus the truly gutless Blue Dog Democrats are building a legacy. Future generations will get to pick up the tab.

Obama brought us a lot of change on individual issues, workplace issues, equal opportunity issues – involving women – even if he’s a wimp on LGBT civil rights. He’s not had the integrity to challenge his own party to change the way they do business.

And the Democrats haven’t had the backbone to step away from business as usual in Congress and foreign policy. Israel, the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower decided to challenge before he left office – in 1961 – still rule. No one in the hallowed American middle-of-the-road paid any attention.

Result? Our nation is solidly on the way to becoming second-rate.

Philly Tea Party fail outdrawn by Philly Apple store opening?

I’m going to say yes. Based on the the photos and videos I’ve seen of the two events, more people showed up at the Apple store’s grand opening last Friday in Philadelphia than showed up for what was hyped as a national Tea Party rally in Philadelphia on Saturday, which featured speaker Andrew Breitbart.

For the record, the Philadelphia Inquirer put the Saturday Tea Party crowd at 300 (no, that is not a misprint), and reported that Friday’s Apple store opening drew “hundreds.’

Given that fact, it might be time for the country’s political press corps to start asking itself whether the Tea Party really is a national movement if it’s heavily hyped rallies are drawing smaller crowds than computer store openings.

The Tea Party, um, event was billed as a unity rally to show the world how people of color supported America’s leading rightwing nutballs.

Watching the video up top compared to the photos of the teabagger fiasco I Googled, I think Apple had more non-white employees working at the store – than brothers and sisters who checked out the Tea Party rally.


Earn money from home – ship illicit military gear to Russia

They said parcel post would accept it

A Wisconsin woman who thought she had landed a job shipping clothing to Russian orphans inadvertently found herself at the center of an international weapons smuggling ring, unwittingly sending stolen sniper scopes, night-vision goggles and military gear to Russia, according to police.

Police say the woman, who received the work-from-home job offer through a Website, was likely a patsy in a scheme to ship sensitive equipment purchased with stolen credit cards.

Police, now working with the FBI, would not identify the 44-year-old woman from Ripon, Wisc., and said they had not yet determined who was behind the smuggling ring or fraudulent job offer. A phone number associated with the woman’s address listed in the search warrant was disconnected.

“If ‘ABC Arms Dealer’ in California sends a package with a rifle scope directly to Russia that is going to raise a red flag and likely get stopped and searched,” Capt. Bill Wallner of the Ripon Police Department told ABC News.com. “But a package being sent from a private citizen in Wisconsin might not get searched. That’s why they were using her. They were paying her to change the packaging and address labels.”


I’m still sort of surprised she hasn’t been shipped off to Gitmo by Homeland Insecurity.

South Korea seawall is Guinness record-breaker

Google Earth

South Korea says its Saemangeum seawall has snagged a Guinness world record as the longest man-made sea barrier in the world.

The country’s Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Guinness officially confirmed the 21-mile-long seawall is an eighth of a mile longer than the dike at the Zuiderzee Works in the Netherlands…

The Saemangeum project, begun in 1991 and officially completed April 27, links the port of Gunsan, 170 miles southwest of Seoul on the country’s western coast, with Byeonsan Peninsula.

The seawall is significant because it was built in waters as deep as 175 feet, ministry officials said. Most dikes are built in shallow waters no deeper than 60 feet, they added.

The project cost $2.5 billion.

Phew! So, uh, what would it cost if it was built off California?