Archive for April, 2011



23
Apr
11

‎4.23.2011 … random act of violence in my own neighborhood … booking flights to France … any recs for places, restaurants or hotels in France?

random acts of violence, murder, South Charlotte, Charlotte, RIP, prayers, reverse 911, me:  Prayers for the Barber family; rest in peace, Robert Barber, respected health care executive. I just this week added  the “random acts of violence” category, and now such an act, this time murder, occurred 1/2 mile from my house, along my daily walking path, in the neighborhood next to mine.  We received two “reverse 911” calls.  When they come in the caller ID says “Char Meck Emer Serv” .. and of course you think, OMG, who is hurt? But usually they are about a missing elderly person with Alzheimer’s.  This time it was announcing an “assault’ around the corner with a suspect armed and fleeing on foot.  Only later do you find out it is a murder … Senseless…why?

The shooting happened around 10:15 a.m. in the 4500 block of Mullens Ford Road, off Carmel Road, not far from Charlotte Country Day School.Police said Barber, 64, was gunned down as he walked from a nearby business to his home, which was about two miles away from where he was killed.Police searched for the gunman using a helicopter and canine units, but no one had been arrested late Friday. The crime shocked residents of the Foxcroft East neighborhood, where Barbers covered body lay near a curb as police investigated.The shooting scene – in an area of townhouses, two-story homes, neatly trimmed lawns and walking paths – is about a mile east of SouthPark mall.

According to reports, Barber and his wife stopped Friday morning not far from where he was killed – at Caribou Coffee on Fairview Road. His wife drove to work, and Barber decided to walk home.

Neighbors reported hearing gunshots, and some residents told Observer news partner WCNC-TV that the shooting happened during a robbery.

Police issued two “Reverse 911” calls to residents in the area, alerting them to the assault and the search under way. Investigators talked to neighbors, and police said some residents were taken to police headquarters for questioning.

via Health care executive slain in S. Charlotte neighborhood | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

France, Tailloires, Lyons, Chauvet, Mont St. Michel, Paris:  Tailloires, Lyons, Chauvet, Mont St. Michel … ideas we are considering … and, of course, Paris  … would love more ideas!!

Talloires is located south of Geneva, Switzerland, on Lake Annecy and 13 km (8.1 mi) from the local “prefecture” Annecy, near the border of Italy. The town is situated in the French Alps, along a bay on the east side of the lake.

via Talloires – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Lyon was founded on the Fourvière hill as a Roman colony in 43 BC by Munatius Plancus, a lieutenant of Caesar, on the site of a Gaulish hill-fort settlement called Lug[o]dunon, from the Celtic god Lugus (‘Light’, cognate with Old Irish Lugh, Modern Irish Lú) and dúnon (hill-fort). Lyon was first named Lugdunum meaning the “hill of lights” or “the hill of crows”. Lug was equated by the Romans to Mercury.

via Lyon – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The oldest known cave art is that of Chauvet in France, the paintings of which may be 32,000 years old according to radiocarbon dating, and date back to 30,000 BCE (Upper Paleolithic).[4] Some researchers believe the drawings are too advanced for this era and question this age.[5]

via Cave painting – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Honfleur is a commune in the Calvados department in northwestern France. It is located on the southern bank of the estuary of the Seine across from le Havre and very close to the exit of the Pont de Normandie. Its inhabitants are called Honfleurais.

It is especially known for its old, beautiful picturesque port, characterized by its houses with slate-covered frontages, painted many times by artists, including in particular Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, Claude Monet and Johan Jongkind, forming the école de Honfleur (Honfleur school) which contributed to the appearance of the Impressionist movement. The Sainte-Catherine church, which has a bell-tower separate from the principal building, is the largest church made out of wood in France.

via Honfleur – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Mont Saint-Michel was previously connected to the mainland via a thin natural land bridge, which before modernization was covered at high tide and revealed at low tide. This connection has been compromised by several developments. Over the centuries, the coastal flats have been polderised to create pasture. Thus the distance between the shore and the south coast of Mont-Saint-Michel has decreased. The Couesnon River has been canalised, reducing the flow of water and thereby encouraging a silting-up of the bay. In 1879, the land bridge was fortified into a true causeway. This prevented the tide from scouring the silt around the mount.

On 16 June 2006, the French prime minister and regional authorities announced a €164 million project (Projet Mont-Saint-Michel)[1] to build a hydraulic dam using the waters of the river Couesnon and of tides to help remove the accumulated silt deposited by the rising tides, and to make Mont-Saint-Michel an island again. It was projected to be completed by 2012.[2]

via Mont Saint-Michel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

photography, computer art, iPhone , iPhone art, NYC: Loved this use of the iPhone!

“Spring City” was photographed entirely by exploiting a neat quirk of the camera on my two-year-old iPhone. Shaking the phone vigorously while taking pictures in bright light will produce wonderfully rubbery, fun-house-mirror effects. Turning these still images into a movie required taking over 4,000 of them, wiggling the camera each time. The jiggling, jello-like movement is the sum of the differences between the the distortions. The resulting film becomes a big wiggly dance when set to Shay Lynch’s mambo.

While gathering the images for this film I spent a lot of time on various street corners, looking a little nuts, shaking my phone furiously at the city. Not a single person asked what I was doing. Of course, many people were busy looking at their own phones, but I think a lot of behavior that would have seemed eccentric not long ago now seems normal once you spot the phone in hand or ear. I’m all for the convergence of media in our pocket devices these days, but I’m still surprised when my camera rings while I’m shooting something and someone wants to talk on it.

via ‘Spring City’ – NYTimes.com.

South Africa, ethics, photography, photojournalism, documentary movies, Tribeca Film Festival: Unsettling use of the camera …

It is an indelible portrait of African despair: an emaciated little girl collapses to her knees from hunger. Her forehead and palms press against the ground in an apparent final act of prostration. In the background, a vulture awaits its carrion. In May 1994, 14 months after capturing the image of a famine stricken child crawling toward a U.N. food camp in Sudan, photographer Kevin Carter was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. Three months later, Carter drove to the Braamfontein Spruit river in Johannesburg, an area he used to play as a child, taped one end of a hose to his pickup truck’s exhaust pipe, ran the other end into the passenger-side window, and took his own life.

The cast of “The Bang Bang Club”.

The image became a symbol of African suffering, but it also emerged as one of the most controversial in the history of photojournalism, addressing issues of complicity. By Carter’s own admission, he waited 20 minutes, focusing and refocusing his lens on the scene, hoping the vulture would spread its wings. When it didn’t, Carter snapped the photograph and chased the bird away, but did not help the girl. The St. Petersburg Times went so far as to say, “the photographer adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.” Afterward, Carter retreated to the shade of a tree, lit a cigarette, spoke to God, and cried. “He was depressed afterward,” fellow photographer João Silva told Time. “He kept saying he wanted to hug his daughter.”

While Carter’s image is the most famous, currently taught in journalism school ethics classes across the country, it’s just one of many impactful photos taken by The Bang Bang Club, the name given to a group of four fearless photographers—Carter, Silva, Greg Marinovich, and Ken Oosterbroek—who captured the brutality of South African apartheid between 1990 and 1994. In 2000, Marinovich and Silva published the book, The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots From a Hidden War, that documented their apartheid experiences, and the tome has been adapted into a feature film by South African documentary filmmaker Steven Silver, starring Ryan Phillippe as Marinovich, Taylor Kitsch as Carter, and Neels Van Jaarsveld as Silva.

via The Bang Bang Club: Tribeca’s Harrowing Film About War Photographers – The Daily Beast.

Jane Austen, games, puzzles, random: Everything Jane!

For those addicted to brain teasers and Jane Austen, I have the prefect diversion for you. The Puzzle Society™ has assembled this tidy Pocket Posh® edition of crosswords, quizzes, word searches, codewords and more, all inspired by Jane Austen, her novels and her world.

Challenge your knowledge of “our” Jane in this compact pocket edition wrapped in a beautiful Renaissance rose pattern cover design, bound by elastic band closure with smooth rounded edges. Slip it in your purse, backpack or brief case Janeites with the assurance that you will expand your knowledge and appreciation of our favorite author while on the go.

via Laurel (Lake Stevens, WA)’s review of Pocket Posh Jane Austen: 100 Puzzles Quizzes.

Bible, KJV, history:  Another good article on the history of the KJV.

From the start, the King James Bible was intended to be not a literary creation but rather a political and theological compromise between the established church and the growing Puritan movement. What the king cared about was clarity, simplicity, doctrinal orthodoxy. The translators worked hard on that, going back to the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, and yet they also spent a lot of time tweaking the English text in the interest of euphony and musicality. Time and again the language seems to slip almost unconsciously into iambic pentameter — this was the age of Shakespeare, commentators are always reminding us — and right from the beginning the translators embraced the principles of repetition and the dramatic pause: “In the beginning God created the Heauen, and the Earth. And the earth was without forme, and voyd, and darkenesse was vpon the face of the deepe: and the Spirit of God mooued vpon the face of the waters.”

The influence of the King James Bible is so great that the list of idioms from it that have slipped into everyday speech, taking such deep root that we use them all the time without any awareness of their biblical origin, is practically endless: sour grapes; fatted calf; salt of the earth; drop in a bucket; skin of one’s teeth; apple of one’s eye; girded loins; feet of clay; whited sepulchers; filthy lucre; pearls before swine; fly in the ointment; fight the good fight; eat, drink and be merry.

Not everyone prefers a God who talks like a pal or a guidance counselor. Even some of us who are nonbelievers want a God who speaketh like — well, God. The great achievement of the King James translators is to have arrived at a language that is both ordinary and heightened, that rings in the ear and lingers in the mind. And that all 54 of them were able to agree on every phrase, every comma, without sounding as gassy and evasive as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, is little short of amazing, in itself proof of something like divine inspiration.

via Why the King James Bible Endures – NYTimes.com.

social networking, tracking, technology:

Through these and other cellphone research projects, scientists are able to pinpoint “influencers,” the people most likely to make others change their minds. The data can predict with uncanny accuracy where people are likely to be at any given time in the future. Cellphone companies are already using these techniques to predict—based on a customer’s social circle of friends—which people are most likely to defect to other carriers.

A wave of ambitious social-network experiments is underway in the U.S. and Europe to track our movements, probe our relationships and, ultimately, affect the individual choices we all make. WSJ’s Robert Lee Hotz reports.

The data can reveal subtle symptoms of mental illness, foretell movements in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and chart the spread of political ideas as they move through a community much like a contagious virus, research shows. In Belgium, researchers say, cellphone data exposed a cultural split that is driving a historic political crisis there.

And back at MIT, scientists who tracked student cellphones during the latest presidential election were able to deduce that two people were talking about politics, even though the researchers didn’t know the content of the conversation. By analyzing changes in movement and communication patterns, researchers could also detect flu symptoms before the students themselves realized they were getting sick.

via The Really Smart Phone – WSJ.com.

movies, Bible, film/lit, faith and spirituality: This is a good article about movies of the Jesus story …

DeMille concluded his account of Wallner’s visit by writing: “If I felt that this film was my work, it would be intolerably vain and presumptuous to quote such stories from the hundreds like them that I could quote. But all we did in ‘The King of Kings,’ all I have striven to do in any of my Biblical pictures, was to translate into another medium, the medium of sight and sound, the words of the Bible.”

Millions world-wide will celebrate Easter this weekend with the proclamation, “Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!” Knowing this has inspired men and women throughout the ages to claim the words of St. Paul, “that you may know what is the hope of His calling . . . the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.” A resurrection hope found not only in film, but in the lives of those that follow.

via John A. Murray: The Gospel According to Hollywood – WSJ.com.

Easter, bookshelf, lists: Recommendations for books on the Passion of Christ …

Jon Meacham

A little late, but maybe for next year. I think three of the best books on the Passion are N.T. Wright’s “The Resurrection of the Son of God”: Paula Fredriksen’s “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”; and Raymond E. Brown’s two-volume “Death of the Messiah.” They are all amazing, and take most of us well beyond what we think we know.

via Facebook.

22
Apr
11

4.22.2011 Happy Earth Day … And Good Friday …

Earth Day:  In 1990, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Earth Day … and because of my guilt I trudged through cloth diapers on 2 of my three children …

It was also wholly inconclusive. By the time the last auto engine had been symbolically buried and the last orator had spoken out against garbage, the essential question remained whether the whole uprising represented a giant step forward for contaminated Earthmen or just a springtime skipalong.

Earth Day: A Giant Step—Or a Springtime Skip? (PDF)
*Thank you to our amazing research department for help digging this up!

via Newsweek (This 1970 photo, taken from a 1970 NEWSWEEK story,…).

Easter:  fun recipes …

FOOD BUZZ In honor of Easter’s best candy (Cad Eggs), here’s a collection of divine Cadbury Creme Egg recipes.

via 13 Delicious Recipes Using Cadbury Creme Eggs: Pics, Videos, Links, News.

cities, urban development, Jane Jacobs:  I studied Jane Jacobs in college and was very influenced by her work.  maybe time to reread another Jane.

2011 is the 50th anniversary of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, the book that introduced Jane Jacobs’ ground-breaking ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail. To celebrate the occasion Jane’s Walk Toronto is holding a ‘reading relay’ in front of Toronto’s City Hall. Starting at 10 am on Saturday May 7, anybody can drop by the Jane’s Walk tent on Nathan Phillips Square and read aloud from her classic text. The book will be read from start to finish, continuously, over the Jane’s Walk weekend. Come on by and add your voice.

via Jane’s Walk.

gossip, Emma Watson:

Harry Potter star and model Emma Watson reportedly decided to leave her Ivy League school because she was bullied. From Robert Pattinson to Bill Clinton, see proof the victims can win in the end.

via Emma Watson Leaves Brown Because of Bullying & More Bullied Stars – The Daily Beast.

random, risk takers, mea culpa:

Three weeks ago Shaun Walters jumped from the 25th floor steel girders of a construction site at 117 W. Wacker—and parachuted into the waiting arms of a Chicago Police officer.

It was a bit of bad luck for the dreadlocked 44-year-old New Zealander—who was charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct.

The jump was videotaped by a friend of Walters’—who passed the footage along to the Sun-Times along with a request that the newspaper mention how sorry he is for causing any trouble for the Chicago Police Department.

via Downtown parachutist apologizes to Chicago police for stunt – Chicago Sun-Times.

urban renewal, places, Georgian Terrace, Atlanta, history:

One hundred years ago, the 150,000-square foot 10-story Georgian Terrace Hotel, first graced the corner of Peachtree Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown.

Now, a century later, the hotel at 659 Peachtree Street is a 19-story tower encompassing 500,000 square feet.

Joseph Gatins, whose family built the hotel and owned it for decades, told media at a luncheon Wednesday, the hotel’s 100 anniversary is quite the feat.

“Atlanta likes to tear things down,” Gatins said.

Carl Dees, general manager for the hotel since 2009, has been spearheading the historic property’s $23 million renovation. In 1911, the cost of constructing the initial 10-story structure was $500,000.

via Georgian Terrace Hotel celebrates 100 years with $23 million renovation | Atlanta Restaurant and Retail Openings & Closings | What Now Atlanta.

Davidson, technology:  Davidson College, Mobile Applications.

Milledgeville GA, Civil War, history:

Milledgeville, Georgia offers a plethora of great events. Whether its tours of the Old Governors Mansion or Live Music or our famed Historic Trolley Tours, you will find it here.  Consider this your source for all Milledgeville events.   2011 marks the Sesquicentennial or 150th year anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War.  Milledgeville, which was Georgias Antebellum Capital, prior to the current capital of Atlanta, played an important role in the Civil War.  Check out all of the great events surrounding the anniversary!

via Milledgeville Official Calendar of Events – Whats Happening in Milledgeville.

movies,  King’s Speech: It was quite good.

‎cars, green:  Green Phantom?

.gf7tah.jpg

Meet the electric Rolls Royce Phantom, a $3 million prototype with 1,452 pounds of batteries.

via yfrog Photo : http://yfrog.com/hsgf7tahj Shared by JeffElder

21
Apr
11

4.21.2011 Happy birthday to many … maundy thursday … college tour of Davidson …

education, elite colleges, our kids, parenting, college admissions: Wow.  This article really makes you think about the pressure we are putting our kids under.

RIGHT NOW, IN admissions offices in Cambridge and New Haven and Palo Alto, the teenage children of some of America’s most thoughtful and devoted mothers are coming in for exceptionally close scrutiny—as is, so these women feel, the parenting they have offered their youngsters for the past 18 years. This is the tail end of reading season, when our august universities must turn to what their relentless high-school visiting and U.S. News  World Report boosterism have wrought: a staggering number of requests for an absurdly small number of spots at their schools. Harvard recently announced that this year it is considering an astronomical 35,000 applications for only about 1,640 spaces in the freshman class. The great hope of today’s professional-class parents—whose offspring still make up the majority at elite colleges, no matter how much progress the institutions have made in widening the socioeconomic range of their student bodies—was that the ebbing of the so-called echo boom would save their children from the heartless winnowing. The late 1990s and the 2000s saw an uptick in the number of teenagers in America, and there was a belief, in many quarters, that the increasingly competitive nature of elite-college admissions was a by-product of that demographic fluke. But now, although the number of teens has receded, the percentage of those kids who nurture the dream of attending a selective college continues to skyrocket. And so, for this year’s most accomplished and talented high-school seniors, the reckoning is at hand.

via The Ivy Delusion – Magazine – The Atlantic.

4/20, followup, kith/kin:  Well, I guess I am glad it’s not Boulder!

Congratulations to Tallahassee, Florida, on being named America’s pot capital. (But a cautionary note: This list could be dubious.)

via LikeTheDew.com, 420 Celebrations: America’s Pot Smoking Capitals – The Daily Beast.

food, comfort food, history:  Nam, nam, nam …

Some sources say that people began making cheese sandwiches during the great depression because bread and cheese were easily acessible. Now you can find these fantastic bundles of joy in several high end restaurants as chefs have put their own gourmet twist on it!Not to stop there, grilled cheese has only gotten more popular this century. In 2004, one particular sandwich sold for $28,000 on eBay because the grilled part of the sandwich resembled the Virgin Mary. The weirder part is the sandwich never got moldy, even 10 years later. The good part is, the woman who made the sacred sandwich donated all the money to charity. See, grilled cheese not only tastes good, but does good!

via Nam, Nam, Nam: It’s National Grilled Cheese Month! Show Your Support | Tonic.

random, Royal Family, facts:  To an outsider, QEII just seems silly not to retire …

Today Prince Charles becomes the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, having spent 59 years, two months and 14 days as first in line to the throne. To mark Charles’ momentous day, NewsFeed takes a look at 10 other royals waiting for their day in the sun.

via Royals in Waiting: Prince Charles and the World’s Other Heir Apparents – TIME NewsFeed.

UNC, basketball, feel good story:  🙂

SP_UNC1

College basketball doesn’t get any more glamorous than it does at North Carolina, a school that boasts one of the sport’s most prestigious programs. On this campus, the basketball players are lords of the manor.

But this spring, Carolina’s men’s team has started a new tradition, one that stands in sharp contrast to the booming prominence of the sport.

Since they bowed out of the NCAA’s Elite Eight last month, members of North Carolina’s Tar Heels have been showing up a campus dormitory courts to play five-on-five pickup basketball games with students. We caught up with some of the players at a recent session.

Since they bowed out in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight last month, the players have been killing time before finals exams by showing up at outdoor courts at campus dormitories to play five-on-five pick-up games with students—just for fun. To make sure they draw a crowd, the players announce their plans beforehand on Twitter.

via North Carolina’s Students Get Educated – WSJ.com.

digital books, libraries:  Maybe the two can merge …

Amazon today announced Kindle Library Lending, a new feature launching later this year that will allow Kindle customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the United States. Kindle Library Lending will be available for all generations of Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps.

“We’re excited that millions of Kindle customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from their local libraries,” said Jay Marine, Director, Amazon Kindle. “Customers tell us they love Kindle for its Pearl e-ink display that is easy to read even in bright sunlight, up to a month of battery life, and Whispersync technology that synchronizes notes, highlights and last page read between their Kindle and free Kindle apps.”

Customers will be able to check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading on any Kindle device or free Kindle app for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone. If a Kindle book is checked out again or that book is purchased from Amazon, all of a customer’s annotations and bookmarks will be preserved.

“We’re doing a little something extra here,” Marine continued. “Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we’re extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced.”

With Kindle Library Lending, customers can take advantage of all of the unique features of Kindle and Kindle books, including:

Paper-like Pearl electronic-ink display

No glare even in bright sunlight

Lighter than a paperback – weighs just 8.5 ounces and holds up to 3,500 books

Up to one month of battery life with wireless off

Read everywhere with free Kindle apps for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry and Windows Phone

Whispersync technology wirelessly sync your books, notes, highlights, and last page read across Kindle and free Kindle reading apps

Real Page Numbers – easily reference passages with page numbers that correspond to actual print editions

Amazon is working with OverDrive, the leading provider of digital content solutions for over 11,000 public and educational libraries in the United States, to bring a seamless library borrowing experience to Kindle customers. “We are excited to be working with Amazon to offer Kindle Library Lending to the millions of customers who read on Kindle and Kindle apps,” said Steve Potash, CEO, OverDrive. “We hear librarians and patrons rave about Kindle, so we are thrilled that we can be part of bringing library books to the unparalleled experience of reading on Kindle.”

via Amazon Media Room: News Release.

news, violence, Atlanta:  Random acts of violence …why?

ATLANTA — A group of 20 to 25 youths boarded a commuter train bound for Atlanta’s airport, and viciously attacked the passengers, police said.

One of the teenagers bashed a rider in the face with a soda-pop can, pushed him down and stole his wallet, according to a police report. Another passenger was punched in the face, the report stated.

Both of the riders who were attacked work for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, police said. They have been staying at a hotel near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

via Police: 20-25 teens storm Ga. train, attack riders – Breaking News – Macon.com.

20
Apr
11

4.20.2011 … with two boys in Boulder 4/20 is not my favorite day …

4/20, Boulder, CU:

In Boulder, April flowers not only bring May showers, but also clouds of marijuana smoke over the Norlin Library Quad on 4/20 at 4:20 p.m. Though this event attracts a large group, reactions and views are mixed.

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Washington, D.C., released a letter on 4/20 in 2010, where he referred to these nationwide smoke-outs as “protestivals” happening across the country.

via 4/20 perspectives | CU Independent.

4/20, LOL:  A few more sites for those of you who are just learning about 4/20 (that would be me until Jack went to Boulder …)  Stoner Lingo Decoded: The Super High History of 420 – TIME NewsFeed. … Welcome to Potopia – Newsweek … and a joke ….

When Parents Text

Happy 4/20!

ME: How come harry potter fans dont get a name?! there are trekkies and twihards.

MOM: Pot heads.

via Facebook.

movies, film/lit, The Help:  I hope I respond better to the movie.  My objection to the book is that the author casts a very wide net of condemnation … and I don’t think things were quite so black and white.  But I will definitely go to the movie.  The Help Trailer Released – GalleyCat.

Ayn Rand, politics, Davidson:  I am getting tired of Ayn Rand.  I have some friends who became Randists in college  … it wasn’t pretty. Definitely don’t need a Randist element in the GOP, but obviously we already have it.

Welcome to the Ayn Rand Congress. As I write in a piece for the April 25 issue of the dead-tree magazine, “Rand has always been a lodestar for proponents of limited government.” But never so much as now. Conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck herald her work. Tea Partyers hoist signs that name-check her literary heroes. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chair and GOP man of the moment, has passed out Rand’s novels to staffers and called her the reason he got into politics. Rand’s theory of a two-tiered society — split between the “producers” who shoulder society’s burdens and the “looters” who mooch off their efforts — is one of the strains of thought that animate the Tea Party movement, along with free markets (check), individual liberty (check) and limited government (check). Strands of Rand’s objectivist philosophy are woven through most of Congress’s weighty debates about tax rates and regulations (Alan Greenspan was a Rand protégé), wage scales and social-welfare programs. The 112th Congress has been dominated by apocalyptic debates over fiscal policy; in the last line of Atlas Shrugged, John Galt traces a dollar sign “over the desolate earth.” You could argue that the essential confrontation of this Congress is not between Democrats and Republicans but between people who see income inequality as a major social problem and those who consider it a natural byproduct of an equal-opportunity society.

via Rand Paul Cites Tea Party Prophet Ayn Rand in Congress | Swampland.

news, Fidel Castro:  My generation grew up with classmates whose parents had fled Cuba; I don’t think I ever got what had happened … It is a strange part of our North American/US history … the Cold War and Communism at our back door.

News that Fidel Castro has resigned from the Central Committee of Cuba’s Communist Party isn’t very surprising — slowed by chronic health problems, the 84-year-old has effectively been out of political life since passing over the reins to his brother Raul in 2006. He now looks more familiar to us in a loose track suit than his once iconic military fatigues. (See a terrific photoessay of the Cuban rebels in the jungle over a half century ago.) TIME was there, though, when the bearded revolutionary ousted Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. After the jump: an excerpt from TIME’s gripping Jan. 26, 1959 cover story on Castro’s rise to power.

via Fidel Castro Steps Down from Cuba’s Communist Party Central Committee – Global Spin – TIME.com.

careers, listsFive Best Job Search Sites.

tv, food television shows, lists:  They say we are cooking less and watching food shows more !  Ten food television shows you should be watching – chicagotribune.com.

culture, Tax Day, statistics:  The only thing I get is that we are spending more than we are taking in …

There’s a movement afoot to mail every taxpayer a “taxpayer receipt,” a breakdown of how the government spends its money. The goal is to educate people about where their taxes go, since Americans are famously unaware about such matters.

But as long as we’re talking about educating Americans about fiscal policy, why not start with what they actually pay in taxes, and what they earn, relative to their fellow Americans?

I am constantly amazed by how little Americans know about where they stand in the income and taxing distribution. The latest example is evident in a recent Gallup study, which found that 6 percent of Americans in households earning over $250,000 a year think their taxes are “too low.” Of that same group, 26 percent said their taxes were “about right,” and a whopping 67 percent said their taxes were “too high.”

via Rich People Still Don’t Realize They’re Rich – NYTimes.com.

green, wind farms:  A while back I noted seeing the wind farm in the English Channel, it was an amazing sight.  It will be interesting to view one off our coast.

A federal agency approved a construction and operations plan for the Cape Wind project off the Massachusetts coast, clearing the way for work to begin on America’s first offshore wind farm as early as this fall, Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar announced Tuesday.

Approval by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement was required before construction of the proposed 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound could get under way.A

via Mass. offshore wind farm approved; Nation’s 1st – CBS News.

art, the law:  This is one combination I was not expecting … “rediscovering art through law.”

Legal Art Gallery » GALLERY.

cars:  I always loved seeing a mini or micro as a child.  Since the intro of the mini cooper they really are no big deal to the current generation …  the vintage ones are down right comical.

Mini- and Micro-Cars Coming To New York Auto Show – Speakeasy – WSJ.

romance, blog posts, Jane Austen: I have followed Cheryl for several years … love her fiance’s proposal.  Oh, to be young again!

And with such a prospect before me, dear reader, I said yes!

The two gentlemen in costume were friends of James’s, unknown to me; James wrote the scripts with all the Jane Austen references to please me, featuring characters with defects (greed and vanity) that would highlight his own suit in turn–“classic literary foils,” he says. He rented the costumes for them from a shop in Midtown.

via Brooklyn Arden.

blog sites, favorites:  Delancey Place is quickly becoming a favorite.

… very simply a brief daily email with an excerpt or quote we view as interesting or noteworthy, offered with commentary to provide context. There is no theme, except that most excerpts will come from a non-fiction work, primarily historical in focus, and will occasionally be controversial. Finally, we hope that the selections will resonate beyond the subject of the book from which they were excerpted.

via home | www.delanceyplace.com | eclectic excerpts delivered to your email every day from editor Richard Vague.

137th Kentucky Derby, Louisville places, events:  It almost time for Derby delirium!  Triple Crown Talk | Derby Delirium | BloodHorse.com Blog Stable.

Google, Google Places:  Trying to figure if this would be useful … Google Places.

health, medicines, lists:  Any surprises here? Chart of the Day: The Top 15 Prescription Drugs in America – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic.

DanielPink, acronoym:  I have to admit I never heard of  TANSTAFL, but it is true …

Daniel Pink

RT @markknoller: Obama quotes old saying acronym TANSTAFL (tahn’-stah-fil): “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

via (31) Twitter / Home.

19
Apr
11

4.19.2011 … lazy basset day …

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random, media,lists: I remember most of these …The Most Controversial Magazine Covers of All Time | Webdesigner Depot.

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility , literature, culture:  This is a very interesting perspective from a man!

Sense and Sensibility is of special importance to me because I think, one of the things Jane enables us to do in all her novels is hold a mirror up to ourselves. Her novels help us reflect on ourselves. Sense and Sensibility does this especially for me through the character of Willoughby. He reminds me of my dissolute youth, perhaps drinking too much , looking out for a good time always, and seeing attractive women merely as a good lay. I too was superficial. I empathise with his pain as maturity and knowledge of his true love dawns on him. Willoughby was unlucky because he made too many fatal mistakes and lost Marianne. I was far luckier. I met my wife, Marilyn, and she changed me. It felt, just right, deep down when I met her. We made a connection. It is still right 29 years and four children later. The superficiality of my early relationships, often as exciting as exploding fireworks, were no more than that, a bright sparkling explosion and then nothing.

via Jane Austen Today: Sense and Sensibility: Two hundred years this year.

Royal Wedding, Kate Middleton, faith and spirituality:  Nice perspective … but she Kate really had no choice.

Kate may have had some of the same conversations and wobbles of conscience that troubled me 16 years ago: that solemn vows have little weight unless you trouble yourself to consider the splendid solemnity of the forces that underpin them. It seems to me that one part of becoming an adult is to take responsibility for your faith, or, indeed, your lack of it. I can’t bear it when people say, “I’m a very spiritual person”, before telling you of their experimentation with Buddhism, Islam, yoga, joss sticks, crystals, Tantra, Wicca and the monster who lives under the bed. It is easy to leap from one fad to another, especially those that best justify your own manifold, selfish desires. I’d rather own my many transgressions and lapses of character and look to their roots, than pretend that I’ve never trespassed.

via Royal wedding: Kate Middleton’s statement of faith is bold, not dutiful – Telegraph.

health, sleep:  I think sleep is the key!

The Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:

Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.

Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.

Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.

Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.

Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.

Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

via Importance of Sleep : Six Reasons Not to Scrimp on Sleep – Harvard Health Publications.

Lent, Passion of Christ, faith and spirituality:  To be honest I never have understood the use of the word “passion” in this context.

Passion is a kind of waiting – waiting for what other people are going to do. Jesus went to Jerusalem to announce the good news to the people of that city. And Jesus knew that he was going to put a choice before them: Will you be my disciple, or will you be my executioner? There is no middle ground here. Jesus went to Jerusalem to put people in a situation where they had to say “Yes” or “No”. That is the great drama of Jesus’ passion: he had to wait for their response.

via Weekly Reflection – Palm Sunday.

culture, Great Recession, careers:  This article is very troubling to me as the spouse of a “suit” … I see it in his friends.  This recession is truly a game-changer.

The suits are “doing worse than they have at any time since the Great Depression,” says Heidi Shierholz, a labor economist at the Economic Policy Institute. And while economists don’t have fine-grain data on the number of these men who are jobless—many, being men, would rather not admit to it—by all indications this hitherto privileged demo isn’t just on its knees, it’s flat on its face. Maybe permanently. Once college-educated workers hit 45, notes a post on the professional-finance blog Calculated Risk, “if they lose their job, they are toast.”

via Dead Suit Walking – Print – Newsweek.

Tax Day, lists:  You’ll have to go to the article to get the links …

Some links in honor of Tax Day:

The American companies that have the most untaxed foreign income.

A calculator created by the White House gives you your federal taxpayer receipt.

“Farms” owned by the rich are often used as tax shelters.

Seven percent of taxpayers file for extensions.

Tax facts hardly anyone knows, from David Cay Johnston.

Employment in tax preparation services, over the months and the years.

Alan Greenspan is calling for an end to the Bush tax cuts.

via Happy Tax Day – NYTimes.com.

gLee, tv, Gwyneth Paltrow:  Gwyneth must really like the show … she keeps coming back for mere.  🙂

British belter Adele will enter the “Glee” canon in tomorrow night’s episode with the song “Turning Tables” off her album “21.” It will be sung by Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays a substitute teacher at McKinley (and love interest of Mr. Schuester) and who seems intent on solidifying her image as a singer in real life. Paltrow, who performed at the Oscars and gained an immediate following with her interpretation of Cee Lo’s “Forget You” on a previous episode of the show, needs to bust out serious vocal chops  if she wants to do the song justice. What do you think of the song? Does Paltrow pull it off?

via Gwyneth Paltrow Takes on Adele in ‘Glee’ – Speakeasy – WSJ.

KJV, Bible, history:  Love the history of the KJV of the Bible.

This year, the most influential book you may never have read is celebrating a major birthday. The King James Version of the Bible was published 400 years ago. It’s no longer the top-selling Bible, but in those four centuries, it has woven itself deeply into our speech and culture.

The King James is woven into our lives. It was read in churches and family devotionals for centuries, and today its language laces hundreds of everyday phrases. Consider: “How the mighty are fallen” (Samuel 1:19), and “Can a leopard change its spot?” (Jeremiah 13:23), and “The writing is on the wall” (Daniel 5: 5/6), and “The blind leading the blind” (Matthew 15:14).

“These phrases have become part and parcel then of the general usage in the English language,” says Jeffrey. “We do not recognize them any longer perhaps as biblical unless we have a pretty good memory for the language of the KJV.”

Campbell adds that this Bible is foundational to the English-speaking world. “It’s in the texture of our society rather than on the surface of it, I think. But if you trace back who we are, how we speak, how we think, many of those things have their origins in the King James Bible.”

He and others say that new translations will come and go, as our language changes with each generation. But as long we can understand the King James Bible, this four-century-old book will be seen as the voice of God — and the highest poetry of man.

via NPR.org » Hallelujah! At Age 400, King James Bible Still Reigns.

Ayn Rand, Atlassphere, online dating:  Online dating for Randists … who  thought that one up??

“They are selfish,” Siadat said. “To become the best, you have to do what’s right for you, not someone else.”

That doesn’t sound like the conventional makings of a solid relationship. Maybe these people really do need their own dating site.

There are about 12,700 dating profiles on the Atlasphere, which Joshua Zader, 37, founded in 2003 after attending a few Rand-related conferences. “I realized that all the single people were using the conferences to search for another Ayn Rand fan they could fall in love with,” says Zader, who modeled the site after Match.com’s pay-to-view profile system. But the Atlasphere also functions as a social network (with some 22,000 nondating profiles) in which members can contribute essays and articles.

I asked Zader how someone who espouses a me-first philosophy can also maintain a loving relationship. “Ayn Rand has a great quote in The Fountainhead,” he told me. “She writes that a person cannot say ‘I love you’ without first being able to say the I.”

via Ayn Rand’s Atlasphere: Online Dating for Her Biggest Fans – TIME.

18
Apr
11

4.18.2011 Tax Day … Full Moon …

follow-up, weather, Charlotte:  Well, i said Saturday (4/16) was a dark and stormy morning …

A day after a violent storm system swept across North Carolina, kicking up tornadoes and flattening much in its path, residents began the painful process of cleaning up and mourning those lost.

State officials said Sunday that the death toll from the storms is at least 21, making it the deadliest thunderstorm system to hit the state in more than two decades. Three of the victims – two young siblings and a cousin – died instantly when a tree landed on a Raleigh mobile home. They had been cowering in a closet.

At least 130 people were injured – some severely – and hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed.

via Storms leave trail of pain, ruin across N.C. | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Royal Wedding, YouTube, spoofs, LOL:  Here are a couple of fun Royal Wedding spoofs …

YouTube – St Andrews University choir’s Lady Ga Ga Royal wedding tribute song.

YouTube – HappyRoyalWedding (2).m4v.

Civil War, history, legacies, lists:  interesting …

Lasting Legacies

The Civil War ended nearly a century and a half ago, but its legacy is felt and seen in countless ways today. Some of those enduring effects are huge (slavery is still outlawed; the U.S. remains, at least nominally, a union), while others are less obvious. Here, a look at the ways the Civil War continues to shape the nation and, in some ways, the world.

via It Came From the Civil War – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Civil War, history, re-evaluation:  Is any war necessary in retrospect?

Was the Civil War Necessary?

Last week marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. There are thousands of books on the topic, but Charlottean and historian Dr. David Goldfield has written another – America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation. It delves into the war’s origins, including how evangelical Christianity played a role in the political process leading up to the war. We’ll talk about the Civil War, the role religion played in it and why Dr. Goldfield says the war could have been avoided altogether.

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

Passover, lists:  I don’t know much about Passover … so I enjoyed this list.

Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating the story of the ancient Israelites being freed from slavery in Egypt, begins April 19. And in the thousands of years since, Jews have celebrated the holiday in almost as many ways. TIME takes a look at some things you may not know about Passover

via Full List – Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Passover – TIME.

quotes:

Dance under the Full Moon. Laugh under the Full Moon. Give Thanks under the Full Moon. Sending Bestest Wishes, Hopes,  Dreams to all of you under the Full Moon.

via Women’s Quest on  Facebook.

college, education:  Makes you think …

“Why do we make B students sit through the same classes as their brainy peers? That’s like trying to train your cat to do your taxes—a waste of time and money. Wouldn’t it make sense to teach them something useful instead?

If you’re having a hard time imagining what an education in entrepreneurship should include, allow me to prime the pump with some lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Combine Skills. … Fail Forward. … Find the Action 

RV-AC332_JUMP_DV_20110407234752.jpg

Attract Luck. … Conquer Fear. … Write Simply.  … Learn Persuasion.

That’s my starter list for the sort of classes that would serve B students well. The list is not meant to be complete. Obviously an entrepreneur would benefit from classes in finance, management and more.

Remember, children are our future, and the majority of them are B students. If that doesn’t scare you, it probably should.

—Mr. Adams is the creator of “Dilbert”

via How to Get a Real Education at College – WSJ.com.

weather, Chicago:  There are a few days when I am glad to be back in the South.  🙂

Chicago sets a snow record -- in AprilFour weeks into spring and Chicago has set a record for snowfall.

The snow that whitened lily beds and turned the morning commute into a slog was the most to fall on the Chicago area on this date since 1910, according to the National Weather Service. A total of .4 inches was recorded back then. As of 8 a.m. today, .6 inches was recorded at O’Hare International Airport.

In some areas, mostly the north and western suburbs, anywhere from 1 to 2 inches fell. A total of 2.3 inches was recorded in Hebron in McHenry County, according to the weather service. No major accidents were reports, but there were some spin-outs on Lake Shore Drive.

via Month into spring, Chicago sets a snow record – chicagotribune.com.

17
Apr
11

‎4.17.2011 … Palm Sunday … Beautiful day …

Lent, Palm Sunday, faith and spirituality:  Saw Palm Sunday in a different light this year …

So we are a long way from our prettified Church images of children in pastel outfits singing the hymn: “Tell me the stories of Jesus… Into the city I’d follow, waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand.”  Interestingly, the mounting tension of Palm Sunday was captured pretty well in the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar’s catchy song, “Hosanna, Heysanna.”

via Palm Sunday – read Mark 11:1-11.

faith and spirituality: 

It was the worst news I could get as an atheist: my agnostic wife had decided to become a Christian. Two words shot through my mind. The first was an expletive; the second was “divorce.”

I thought she was going to turn into a self-righteous holy roller. But over the following months, I was intrigued by the positive changes in her character and values. Finally, I decided to take my journalism and legal training (I was legal editor of the Chicago Tribune) and systematically investigate whether there was any credibility to Christianity.

Maybe, I figured, I could extricate her from this cult.

I quickly determined that the alleged resurrection of Jesus was the key. Anyone can claim to be divine, but if Jesus backed up his claim by returning from the dead, then that was awfully good evidence he was telling the truth.

For nearly two years, I explored the minutia of the historical data on whether Easter was myth or reality. I didn’t merely accept the New Testament at face value; I was determined only to consider facts that were well-supported historically. As my investigation unfolded, my atheism began to buckle.

Was Jesus really executed? In my opinion, the evidence is so strong that even atheist historianGerd Lüdemann said his death by crucifixion was “indisputable.”

Was Jesus’ tomb empty? Scholar William Lane Craig points out that its location was known to Christians and non-Christians alike. So if it hadn’t been empty, it would have been impossible for a movement founded on the resurrection to have exploded into existence in the same city where Jesus had been publicly executed just a few weeks before.

Besides, even Jesus’ opponents implicitly admitted the tomb was vacant by saying that his body had been stolen. But nobody had a motive for taking the body, especially the disciples. They wouldn’t have been willing to die brutal martyrs’ deaths if they knew this was all a lie.

Did anyone see Jesus alive again? I have identified at least eight ancient sources, both inside and outside the New Testament, that in my view confirm the apostles’ conviction that they encountered the resurrected Christ. Repeatedly, these sources stood strong when I tried to discredit them.

Could these encounters have been hallucinations? No way, experts told me. Hallucinations occur in individual brains, like dreams, yet, according to the Bible, Jesus appeared to groups of people on three different occasions – including 500 at once!

Was this some other sort of vision, perhaps prompted by the apostles’ grief over their leader’s execution? This wouldn’t explain the dramatic conversion of Saul, an opponent of Christians, or James, the once-skeptical half-brother of Jesus.

Neither was primed for a vision, yet each saw the risen Jesus and later died proclaiming he had appeared to him. Besides, if these were visions, the body would still have been in the tomb.

Was the resurrection simply the recasting of ancient mythology, akin to the fanciful tales of Osiris or Mithras? If you want to see a historian laugh out loud, bring up that kind of pop-culture nonsense.

One by one, my objections evaporated. I read books by skeptics, but their counter-arguments crumbled under the weight of the historical data. No wonder atheists so often come up short in scholarly debates over the resurrection.

In the end, after I had thoroughly investigated the matter, I reached an unexpected conclusion: it would actually take more faith to maintain my atheism than to become a follower of Jesus.

And that’s why I’m now celebrating my 30th Easter as a Christian. Not because of wishful thinking, the fear of death, or the need for a psychological crutch, but because of the facts.

via How Easter Killed My Faith in Atheism – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Maira Kalman, exhibits, NYC:  Another reason to go to NYC!

For anyone planning a trip to New York City over the upcoming holidays–or already there: Make sure you visit Maira Kalman’s quirkily charming, provocative exhibit, Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World), at the beautiful Jewish Museum, up until July 31, 2011. The museum sells quite a bit of Mairana, as I call it, so while you’re there you can buy have a shower curtain imprinted with her famous New Yorker cover of the Stans of New York City, all her books, and a bag for your loot, printed with her painting of the famous 1939 poster produced by the British government at the outset of World War II: Keep Calm and Carry On.

Sometimes I think of Maira as having been a co-Mom, even though I didn’t meet her until my boys were past toddlerhood. Over the years–well into their years–I read them her Max stories over and over again; they couldn’t hear them often enough. Sayonara Mrs. Kackleman, Max Makes a Milion, Max in Hollywood, Ooh-La-La: Max in Love (in Paris of course)–they are among our cherished possessions.

As a grown up, I’ve returned many times to the pages of The Principles of Uncertainty. Many people got to know Maira through her blog, And the Pursuit of Happiness, for the New York Times. I heard Maira lecture recently at the museum; she said that she was smitten with Lincoln, though Franklin’s face is on the cover of her collection of those blog posts. She feels she would have made Lincoln a much better wife than that crazy Mary Todd.

via Slow Love Life: MAIRA KALMAN EXHIBIT IN NYC.

faith and spirituality, Christianity, Bible, translations:

Christianity, needless to say, is awash in translated variety, a trend begun in the middle of the 20th century as new translation upon new translation flowed from the publishing houses in search not only for a final replacement of the King James Version, but also of soaring profits. Meaning became unrelated to the sounds. Hebrew and Greek are even no longer ordination requirements for clergy in many Christian denominations. The Word is divorced from the words in the original languages. A preacher of the Word no longer needs to be able to read the words! This accounts, I believe, for much of the slide into emotive Gnosticism, today’s heresy of choice, which declares, “I am saved by what I know and I know only what I feel.” (This can be heard in the soppy, “I am so in love with Jesus.” Yuck.) Everyone, and anyone, can be an expert about feelings. Meaning, divorced from the sounds, finds its roots “wherever.”

All this is by way of an introduction of a consideration, to be offered in my next post, of the pending arrival in English-speaking Catholicism of a new translation of the Missal. Much is at stake, as I hope to show.

via Hopelens Blog.

Davidson, Dean Rusk, random:  Great story about Dean Rusk and Davidson.

The title comes from a chapter in Dean Rusk’s As I Saw It (Norton, 1990)–the chapter about his student years at Davidson College.  I had not read the chapter before and at the urging of an alumnus, finally pulled the book off the library shelf.

The Bank of Davidson a few years after Rusk graduated

Rusk writes with humor -and honesty about his experiences.  He claims the “poor man” title …

via Poor Man’s Princeton — Around the D.

Alexander Hamilton, history, tv:  Might have to watch this PBS show …

ALEXANDER HAMILTON was never president. Indeed, he probably could not have been, for he was the only founding father born outside of what became the United States. (I can’t imagine that the Caribbean hell hole called Nevis where Hamilton, an illegitimate child, was born even issued birth certificates. Birthers?)

By contrast, three of the men who cast Hamilton’s life into relief were presidents:

George Washington, who was Hamilton’s aegis for much of his career,

James Madison, who began as Hamilton’s intellectual ally in writing the Federalist Papers but later turned into Hamilton’s enemy, and

Thomas Jefferson, who, with Madison, became the ideological and personal antithesis to Hamilton in the early years of the nation.

Perhaps this is why many of us know less about Hamilton than about these others. For a strong case can be made that Hamilton was in many ways the most “soulful” of the founders and the one with the most nuanced and farsighted vision for America. Indeed, America today almost certainly—as futile as this thought experiment admittedly is—conforms to Hamilton’s vision much more than to Jefferson’s.

America is a cosmopolitan, commercial and industrial place (as Hamilton envisioned), not an agrarian land of yeoman farmers untouched by the corrupting influence of banks and brokers (as Jefferson wanted). It has long since banned slavery, as Hamilton always thought it should, but as Jefferson and Madison, among other southerners, dared not contemplate.

Indeed, a list of Hamilton’s legacies—first Treasury secretary, founder of  “Wall Street” and American central banking, founder of the Coast Guard, visionary of capitalism and governmental checks and balances—inevitably shortchanges his overall impact. In everything but title he really was America’s first and most important prime minister.

So I was thrilled to watch a new documentary about Hamilton that finally gives the man his due. To be aired on PBS on April 11th, “Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton” by Michael Pack and Richard Brookhiser (who also did “Rediscovering George Washington”) brings the man to life in some creatively contemporary ways.

via Alexander Hamilton: Hamiltonian America | The Economist.

graphics, advertising:  

In 2010 Old Spice dominated the airwaves and the Internet with its slick new brand of sexy, funny ads. That’s why Wieden+Kennedy, the ad agency behind these unforgettable spots, made our list of Most Innovative Companies.

Now we bring to you, in striking comics format, The Amazingly True Tale of the Old Spice Campaign.

via The Amazingly True Tale of the Old Spice Campaign | Slideshows.

innovation:  I would have one of these if I had not given up soda … forever …

WHEN NIKE executive Daniel Birnbaum became CEO of the sleepy 104-year-old SodaStream International in 2007, his kids were less than thrilled. “My 12-year-old was in tears. Nike was part of his identity,” says Birnbaum, a Queens, New York, native. “Here I was going to this company that people did not know existed, and it was not exactly the most proud place to work.” Birnbaum has since transformed the “aerating liquid apparatus” company into a sexy soda-maker brand taking over granite countertops across the globe. After a year in which the Israel-based company surpassed $150 million in revenue, gained distribution in 4,000 U.S. retail stores, and had a hot IPO, FAST COMPANY talked to Birnbaum about saving energy, why Coke and Pepsi should be nervous, and actress Tori Spelling’s (water) drinking problem.

via SodaStream’s DIY Pepsi Machine | Fast Company.

politics, Gang of Six:

Perhaps more troublesome for Mr. Chambliss have been critics at home like Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger, Atlanta radio talk-show host and CNN contributor. “Is Saxby Chambliss Becoming a Democrat?” Mr. Erickson asked in a recent blog post.

For many actual Democrats, Mr. Chambliss remains negatively defined by his 2002 defeat of Senator Max Cleland, a triple-amputee veteran of Vietnam, after a campaign that included an ad picturing Mr. Cleland with Osama bin Laden. Mr. Chambliss’s work on the Gang of Six has done as much as anything to soften attitudes.

via ‘Gang of Six’ in the Senate Seeking a Plan on Debt – NYTimes.com.

technology, art, 3D imaging:

Ron van der Ende must have the patience of a Torah scribe. His artwork, shown above, might vaguely resemble a photograph or at least a damn good paint by numbers, but it’s actually made entirely out of reclaimed wood veneers — each an astonishingly scant 3 millimeters thick.

All those colors? They’re the wood’s original paint job.

It gets crazier. All those colors? They’re the wood’s original paint job; Van der Ende, who hails from the Netherlands, doesn’t use a lick of extra pigment. Instead, he hoards wood the way a painter collects paint tubes, stalking the dumpsters of Rotterdam for doors, cupboards, planks — whatever he can find. That way, he’s always got plenty of colors on hand. (On the rare occasion he can’t find the right color, he visits a warehouse near Rotterdam that stores more than 7,000 old doors. “An afternoon in there with a good flashlight will usually get me exactly what I need,” he tells Co. in an email.)

via Dumpster Diving Artist Creates Trippy 3-D Drawings From Wood Scraps [Slideshow] | Co.Design.

productivity, creativity:

By framing the making of creativity as a game that takes place inside a playground of our own making, we widen the conversation about innovation and design dramatically.

via Nussbaum: 3 Reasons You Should Treat Creativity Like A Game | Co.Design.

innovation:  I need these tires … we always have flats!

Bicycle tire tubes need to stay firmly inflated against the inner surface of the tires themselves to ensure safe, rugged riding. But in the unlucky event of a puncture, that same pressure will only stretch the hole wider — even when it’s closed with sealant. Michelin’s new line of ProTek Max inner tubes employ a radical design to avoid this problem: The air pressure inside actually compresses a puncture closed, instead of blowing it further open.

via Michelin’s Self-Healing Bike Tires Ensure Flats Never Happen | Co.Design.

movies, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, Objectivism:  The movie is being universally canned …

The 1957 tome which champions Objectivism–Rand’s controversial philosophy–has managed to find its way to the big-screen despite numerous challenges along the way. But at last, thanks to John Aglialoro, who bought the rights to the book in 1992 and has been trying to get it on-screen ever since, Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 is here.

(More on TIME.com: Wanna marry an Objectivist? See the Ayn Rand fan dating site)

And so far, critics aren’t liking it. Here is just a sample of what critics are saying about the film adaptation:

via Sorry, Objectivists: ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Movie Gets Pummeled By Critics – TIME NewsFeed.

IT’S April 15th, tax day! (But not this year; this year, it’s Emancipation Day, which is worth observing if anything is.) And probably not coincidentally, the movie adaptation of Ayn Rand’s widely-loved and loathed novel “Atlas Shrugged” opens today at theatres nationwide. So what could be more appropriate and entertainingly polarising than a discussion of Ayn Rand’s views on taxation?

Ayn Rand’s position on government finance is unusual, to say the least. Rand was not an anarchist and believed in the possibility of a legitimate state, but did not believe in taxation. This left her in the odd and almost certainly untenable position of advocating a minimal state financed voluntarily. In her essay “Government Financing in a Free Society”, Rand wrote:

In a fully free society, taxation—or, to be exact, payment for governmental services—would be voluntary. Since the proper services of a government—the police, the armed forces, the law courts—are demonstrably needed by individual citizens and affect their interests directly, the citizens would (and should) be willing to pay for such services, as they pay for insurance.

This is faintly ridiculous. From one side, the libertarian anarchist will agree that people are willing to pay for these services, but that a government monopoly in their provision will lead only to inefficiency and abuse. From the other side, the liberal statist will defend the government provision of the public goods Rand mentions, but will quite rightly argue that Rand seems not to grasp perhaps the main reason government coercion is needed, especially if one believes, as Rand does, that individuals ought to act in their rational self-interest.

via Taxes and government: Ayn Rand on tax day | The Economist.

The film version being released to theatres today is updated to modern times, but the underlying theme is as timely as ever. It was produced on a tiny $20 million budget, and whether the other parts are completed most likely depends upon whether Part I can sell enough movie tickets and DVDs (and cable rights etc.) to keep the momentum going.

Leftist media outlets are using a mixture of ridicule and silence in order to minimise the impact of the film on the general public. Young minds (and superficial minds) in particular tend to be overly influenced by what is seen as “hot” or “the in thing.”

via Al Fin.




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