Posts Tagged ‘2012 Democratic National Convention

18
Jan
12

1.18.2012 … Yesterday’s Bible Study at FPC was great … then lunch at Mert’s where my date John stood me up … Catfish was good! … New Mantra: “Adopt a policy of being joyful.”

FPC, TMBS, Genesis, Mert’s:  Yesterday’s Tuesday Morning Bible Study at FPC continues to be insightful as we study Genesis with Rabbi Sachs’ book … then lunch at Mert’s Heart and Soul Restaurant where my date John stood me up … Catfish was good!

Fried Catfish

Fried Catfish

Recipe created by James Bazzelle, chef/owner of Mert’s Heart and Soul, Charlotte, NC.

4 medium catfish

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups self-rising cornmeal (fish breading)

1/4 cup white vinegar

Vegetable oil

via Mert’s Restaurant.

culture, mantra, advice:

“Adopt a policy of being joyful.”

Elderly ‘Experts’ Share Life Advice in Cornell Project – NYTimes.com.

tweet of the day, pop ups, libraries:

Maria Popova @brainpicker Close

Ooh! An entire Flickr stream of miniature pop-up libraries around the world j.mp/yN86cv (HT @shawncalhoun)

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private equity,  privileges v. profits, 2012 Presidential Election: The Republicans and their in-fighting are just fueling the OWS …

Mitt Romney, the favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination, has brought the rights and wrongs of private equity to the front of U.S. politics. He once ran a private-equity firm, and he has been attacked for it even by fellow conservatives.

This is a new version of an old complaint, and the quality of the discussion is not improving with age. The question to ask about private equity — which involves taking over companies, restructuring them and selling them at a profit — is not whether it creates jobs. It is whether taxpayers should be subsidizing its practitioners’ paychecks.

Many politicians say private equity is rapacious. Not long ago, the same charge was laid against leveraged buyouts, and before that against hostile takeovers. The issue is essentially the same. When control of a company changes hands, are the new owners so intent on short-term profits that they act against the interests of other stakeholders — not just shareholders, but also employees, customers and the wider community?

The current debate has revolved around jobs. Defenders of private equity say the new owners tend to boost employment, and critics say the opposite.

The study concluded that “private equity buy-outs catalyze the creative destruction process.”

Exactly. In a market economy, some companies or industries are shrinking, while others are growing. You can’t have one without the other, and the spur for both kinds of adjustment is profit. Market forces raise living standards not by increasing wages and employment enterprise by enterprise, but by applying capital and labor to the best uses. Private equity, leveraged buyouts and hostile takeovers all serve this purpose. To keep managers on their toes, capitalism requires a functioning market for corporate control.

If private equity can succeed without preferences, that’s fine: The more competitive the market for corporate control, the better. Its current mode of operation, though, is largely a symptom of a flawed tax code. The industry’s borrowing is subsidized and so are the generous incomes it pays its staff. These privileges are a problem. The issues its critics choose to emphasize aren’t.

via The Trouble With Private Equity Is Special Privileges Not Profits: View – Bloomberg.

Winnie the Pooh, Americanisms,children’s/YA literature:  Oh, bother … I actually prefer the original … non Disney version …

REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

The publishers, Parragon, are based in Bath and responded to Weeks’ complaint about the new phrases with this explanation: “[W]e sell our books around the world and not just the UK and so we sometimes need to adapt the language accordingly to make it accessible for the widest possible audience.”

While it seems like a fair enough explanation when taken at face value, many critics, both British and American, have joined in the protest, saying that editing out the original language fundamentally changes the work.

More worrying, however, is the recent crop of errors and grammatical mistakes that have appeared in the books and similar children’s stories such as Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. According to Weeks, in the Alice story, the words “all ways” was written as “always” and in another story, whales slap their “tales” rather than their “tails.”

It would seem that this is all a case of some editors stuffing up royally. Oh, excuse us, we’ll rephrase — they messed up big time.

via Oh, Bother: Brits Say Modern Winnie the Pooh Riddled With Americanisms | NewsFeed | TIME.com.

PIPA, SOPA, Internet:  There is a lot more here than many realize …

The video above discusses the Senate version of the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). In the Senate the bill is called the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). SOPA has gotten more attention than PIPA because it was moving faster in the legislative process. But PIPA is just as dangerous, and now it is moving faster.

via PROTECT IP Act Breaks the Internet.

The biggest impact of Wednesday’s blackout may be in the shutdown of the English-language version of Wikipedia, which gets 2.7 billion U.S. visitors per month.

“It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web,” said a statement signed by three of the free encyclopedia’s administrators, with the handles “NuclearWarfare,” “Risker” and “Billinghurst.” They said the decision to shut down the English-language portion of the site, starting at midnight Eastern time, had been made after a virtual discussion that involved 1,800 users.

But already, the momentum of the two controversial bills has been largely halted. Just weeks ago, they seemed on their way to passage, having cleared a Senate committee and garnered bipartisan support in the House.

via SOPA protests shut down Web sites – The Washington Post.

2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, President Obama:  Glad to see someone saw the irony of the acceptance speech at BANK Of AMERICA Stadium!

In another break from tradition, Democrats announced Tuesday that they’re shortening their national convention and moving events to the Charlotte area’s two largest outdoor venues.

Party officials – and even the White House – said the moves are designed to allow President Barack Obama and his campaign to reach a wider audience while energizing supporters at the same time.

The president will deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium, replicating his 2008 address at Denver’s Invesco Field.

And in a twist, the party will forgo the convention’s traditional Monday opening and instead entertain tens of thousands that day at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He said the changes won’t reduce the convention’s regional economic impact, which is expected to be at least $150 million. About 5,000 delegates and alternates are still expected to arrive on Saturday or Sunday for the convention.

Though the role of modern conventions has changed dramatically from the days when they actually decided the nominees, the format has changed little. They traditionally span four days. So will the Republican convention in Tampa this August.

“Four days really is an anachronism,” said Washington political analyst Charlie Cook. “There’s arguably not more than one day’s business to do …

“I think the Obama folks like to do things differently for the sake of doing things differently.”

via DNC: Charlotte’s convention to try new twists | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Moving the president’s speech mirrors the playbook the Democrats used in 2008. Obama spoke at the Denver Broncos’ home field after becoming the Democratic nominee, a last-minute move party organizers say allowed more people a chance to attend. The rest of the Denver convention was held at that city’s NBA arena.

Agreements between the Democratic National Convention Committee and both the stadium and the speedway are being negotiated. Jerry Richardson, owner of the Panthers and the stadium, said the team will not charge the Democrats rent, but he declined to discuss details beyond that.

“This convention isn’t about political ritual and speeches on the floor, it’s about the American people coming together to commit ourselves and our country to a path that creates more opportunity for all Americans,” said Stephen Kerrigan, national convention chief executive. “And that is why we have decided to make a few changes to meet that goal. President Obama made it clear from Day One that he wanted this convention to be different than in any history and definitely any happening this year.”

via Obama speech moves to BofA Stadium – Charlotte Business Journal.

While Obama and Moynihan seemed to be on good terms a couple of years ago, more recently the president ripped the bank for its ill-fated attempt to hike debit-card fees.

Organizers and other Democrats said Tuesday they have no concerns about links between the president and a Bank of America-named venue.

“We don’t believe there’s any relevance to who the sponsor or the naming rights are handled by to any of the venues that we host convention events in,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic national party. “In particular, this president has a remarkable record not only of rescuing our economy from the precipice of disaster. Now he’s been able to make sure that folks on Main Street aren’t run over by folks on Wall Street.”Wasserman Schultz was referring to the president’s creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010, part of the Dodd-Frank Act.

via Odd couple: BofA, Obama – Charlotte Business Journal.

Bank of America,  CEO Brian Moynihan: Delicate …

Appointed in late 2009 as predecessor Ken Lewis retired, Moynihan, the article says, has had a “delicate” hold on his job. Sources quoted by the paper, apparently close to the board of directors, point to an assessment earlier in his career at BofA that said Moynihan tended to micromanage, struggled with communication and failed to surround himself with experienced advisers.

The article also says those are areas the CEO has targeted for improvement.

An unnamed director told the WSJ that Moynihan’s handling of BofA’s denied dividend increase request last year showed a “very inexperienced team.” And another portion of the report says Moynihan didn’t heed a suggestion by former consumer banking chief Joe Price to study a $5 debit card fee longer before announcing it publicly. That fee, announced in late September, became a public relations nightmare and was cancelled a month later.

A spokesman for BofA told The Wall Street Journal, “We are a less risky, smaller, better capitalized, and more streamlined company since Brian became CEO.”

Moynihan’s vision calls for BofA to continue shrinking both expenses and non-core operations. He has initiated asset sales, capital raises and efficiency initiatives. He has also re-tooled his management team this year, jettisoning Price and brokerage head Sallie Krawcheck, and elevating David Darnell and Tom Montag to co-chief operating officer roles.

Montag openly sought the CEO position before it was given to Moynihan. Darnell is a longtime BofA executive, dating back to Hugh McColl-led BofA and its predecessors in Charlotte.

BofA this week also sought to improve its public image, placing its ad account on review and soliciting new ideas for its marketing efforts.

via WSJ: BofA could retreat, Brian Moynihan’s hold on CEO job ‘delicate’ – Charlotte Business Journal.

bookshelf, books, list:  I found this one interesting. I have most in my house … haven’t read them all.

What makes a must-own classic book? After all, there are many kinds of book available. There are the coffee-table books, designed to be flicked through by guests, with their impressive art and embellished covers, and then there are bookshelf books – either novels we’ve read so many times the pages are inked up and torn, or those books we bought on a whim, and really keep meaning to get to whenever we’re not so busy.

Somewhere in between lie the Essential Bookshelf Conversation Starters, those spines that add a touch of class to a room, or might provoke a fascinating conversation. After all, UK newspaper The Daily Mail reported last year that a survey by Lindeman’s wine in the UK showed the average bookshelf was filled with 80 books that the owner hasn’t themselves read.

Don’t get us wrong – these recommendations are also fascinating reading in their own right. But if you’re going to buy hard covers with at least one eye on the opinions of visiting friends and relatives, these are our choices of the titles you really should have on display.

via 12 Books You NEED On Your Bookshelf.

faith and spirituality:

Be Yourself

Often we want to be somewhere other than where we are, or even to be someone other than who we are. We tend to compare ourselves constantly with others and wonder why we are not as rich, as intelligent, as simple, as generous, or as saintly as they are. Such comparisons make us feel guilty, ashamed, or jealous. It is very important to realize that our vocation is hidden in where we are and who we are. We are unique human beings, each with a call to realize in life what nobody else can, and to realize it in the concrete context of the here and now.

We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others. We are good enough to do what we are called to do. Be yourself!

via Daily Meditation: Be Yourself.

René Descartes, Cartesian Theory:  Watched a movie where they discussed Cartesian Theory … Mindwalk (1990) … and I hate to admit that I needed a refresher course.

René Descartes may just be the Thinking Man’s thinking man. More than any other modern philosopher, he is identified with the view that the soul is separate from the body and superior to it—in fact, we refer to this position as Cartesian dualism. The synonymy is so overwhelming, one can imagine him subjected to some hackneyed literary or television treatment wherein he is brought forcibly into the present, only to find success as an advertising executive with his slogan for the Winterman sneaker account that promises “mind over matter.” (For the women’s line: I pink therefore I am.)

Any dualistic theory encounters what is known in philosophy as the mind-body problem: how is it possible for two entirely discrete substances to act in concert and produce what we conceive of as unitary being? Curiously enough, Descartes’ lifelong passion for experimental physiology—which, for him, was just rationalistic epistemology by other means—influenced his answers. He was an avid practitioner of dissection on both human and animal bodies. (Because he believed animals were mindless machines and could not feel pain, he often dissected them while they remained alive.) In his search to discover the differences that distinguish humans and animals from one another as res intelligens and res extensa—that is, intelligent beings and “machines,” respectively—he hit upon the pineal gland, which he found present only in the human brain.

via The Devoted Intellect.

antidepressant v. placebo:

Irving Kirsch, professor of psychology at the University of Hull in England and author of a 2008 meta-analysis in PLoS Medicine that found little benefit of antidepressants for most patients, is less sanguine about the new study. He characterizes the results as “indeed important,” but says they suggest that “while many people may benefit from antidepressant treatment (although most of them to a degree that is not clinically significant), about 1 in 4 are made worse.”

“What makes this particularly problematic is the fact that we don’t know who these people are,” Kirsch says. “Although placebo may not be a viable treatment option, there are other treatments that on average work as well as antidepressants, [such as] physical exercise and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. As far as we know, these alternatives don’t make people worse.

“This suggests to me that antidepressants should be kept as a last resort, and if a person does not respond to the treatment within a few weeks, it should be discontinued,” says Kirsch.

Krystal agrees that if one-quarter of patients with depression are made worse by antidepressant treatment, “we need to find ways to identify who those people are and find other ways to reach that group of people.”

via New Research on the Antidepressant-Versus-Placebo Debate | Healthland | TIME.com.

technological change, end of an era, RIP, Kodak, Fuji, creative destruction:  I remember the first time I used Fuji film.  I felt like a traitor. And for the second time in two days I run across the term “creative destruction.” (See above in the excerpt on private equity.)

Kodak’s blunder was not like the time when Digital Equipment Corporation, an American computer-maker, failed to spot the significance of personal computers because its managers were dozing in their comfy chairs. It was more like “seeing a tsunami coming and there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Mr Christensen.

Dominant firms in other industries have been killed by smaller shocks, he points out. Of the 316 department-store chains of a few decades ago, only Dayton Hudson has adapted well to the modern world, and only because it started an entirely new business, Target. And that is what creative destruction can do to a business that has changed only gradually—the shops of today would not look alien to time-travellers from 50 years ago, even if their supply chains have changed beyond recognition.

Could Kodak have avoided its current misfortunes? Some say it could have become the equivalent of “Intel Inside” for the smartphone camera—a brand that consumers trust. But Canon and Sony were better placed to achieve that, given their superior intellectual property, and neither has succeeded in doing so.

Unlike people, companies can in theory live for ever. But most die young, because the corporate world, unlike society at large, is a fight to the death. Fujifilm has mastered new tactics and survived. Film went from 60% of its profits in 2000 to basically nothing, yet it found new sources of revenue. Kodak, along with many a great company before it, appears simply to have run its course. After 132 years it is poised, like an old photo, to fade away.

via Technological change: The last Kodak moment? | The Economist.

 Apple,   ‘Digitally Destroy’ textbooks:

While MacInnis reiterated his belief that this event should see a new Apple tool for creating iPad textbooks, he told Fortune they weren’t a “GarageBand for e-books” (that phrase was imagined or perhaps misunderstood by Ars) and that the whole thing is actually designed to complement the textbook biz, not breathe Godzilla-style atomic death on it.

Tune in here Thursday at 10 a.m. ET for Techland’s full coverage of the event.

via Apple Poised to ‘Digitally Destroy’ Textbooks? Don’t Bet On It | Techland | TIME.com.

apps, Day One (Journal/Diary):  I like this one …

Day One is a micro-journal / diary / text logging application that makes it easy to quickly enter your thoughts and memories and have them sync and available in the cloud.

via App Store – Day One (Journal/Diary).

17
Jan
12

1.17.2012 … Good morning … post MLK, really beginning of New Year … time to put the resolutions into a effect DAY …

2012 Presidential Election, GOP Primaries, debates, pinnochios: So which is your favorite?

And then there were five….which made for a feisty evening of misstatements. We focused on 11, and may come back for more later in the week. Let’s take them in the order in which they were made.

“As [House] speaker, I came back, working with President Bill Clinton. We passed a very Reagan-like program: less regulation, lower taxes. Unemployment dropped to 4.2 percent. We created 11 million jobs.”

— Newt Gingrich

Former president Clinton would be shocked at this description, since he always credited the 22 million jobs created during his presidency to the deficit-reduction package he narrowly passed early in his tenure without a single GOP vote.

via Fact Checking the Fox News-WSJ debate in South Carolina – The Washington Post.

2012 Democratic National Convention, President Obama, Bank of America Stadium, irony:  Irony here?

President Obama will close out the 2012 Democratic National Convention in September with an acceptance speech at Bank of America stadium in Charlotte, N.C., party sources told the Charlotte Observer.

via Obama Reportedly to Accept Nomination at BofA Stadium – ABC News.

Face-off With Iran, energy supply, 2012 Presidential Election, President Obama:  Why does this sound vaguely familiar? What do you think President Carter?

Mr. Obama retains two important levers: he can delay sanctions if he determines there is not enough oil in the market, and he can exempt any country that has “significantly reduced its volume of crude oil purchases from Iran.” Administration officials, seeking to preserve flexibility, said they would not quantify “significant.”

An early test of the administration’s approach will come at the end of February, when the law mandates that it cut off private financial institutions that conduct non-oil transactions with Iran’s central bank, except for the sale of food, medicine and medical devices.

Senator Kirk said carrying out the oil sanctions might be less complicated than it appeared, with Saudi Arabia pledging to step up production and with Libya and Iraq both bringing production back online. But the administration’s opposition to the original draft of his legislation, he said, belied the president’s threats to the Iranian government.

“It’s been a strange political journey for the president because he said he was tough on Iran,” Mr. Kirk said.

via Face-Off With Iran Complicates Obama’s Re-election Campaign – NYTimes.com.

bike-sharing programs, GPS data, innovation, NYC:  I love these bike sharing programs … really great that it can produce data which will make travel better.

Here’s one more reason to get excited about the launch of bike-share later this year: the reams of data generated by the GPS units located in every public bicycle. The Department of Transportation will use that data to inform their bike lane planning, commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan revealed last night.

“It’s going to be amazing to have GPS generated data for all these trips,” said Sadik-Khan. “For planning purposes, it’ll be huge.

via Sadik-Khan: Bike-Share GPS Data Will Help Plan NYC Bike Network | Streetsblog New York City.

academic research, open-source, taxpayer rights:  If taxpayers paid for it, they own it. I agree!  Of course there are exceptions … national security, etc.

THROUGH the National Institutes of Health, American taxpayers have long supported research directed at understanding and treating human disease. Since 2009, the results of that research have been available free of charge on the National Library of Medicine’s Web site, allowing the public (patients and physicians, students and teachers) to read about the discoveries their tax dollars paid for.

But a bill introduced in the House of Representatives last month threatens to cripple this site. The Research Works Act would forbid the N.I.H. to require, as it now does, that its grantees provide copies of the papers they publish in peer-reviewed journals to the library. If the bill passes, to read the results of federally funded research, most Americans would have to buy access to individual articles at a cost of $15 or $30 apiece. In other words, taxpayers who already paid for the research would have to pay again to read the results.

This is the latest salvo in a continuing battle between the publishers of biomedical research journals like Cell, Science and The New England Journal of Medicine, which are seeking to protect a valuable franchise, and researchers, librarians and patient advocacy groups seeking to provide open access to publicly funded research.

The bill is backed by the powerful Association of American Publishers and sponsored by Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, and Darrell Issa, a Republican from California. The publishers argue that they add value to the finished product, and that requiring them to provide free access to journal articles within a year of publication denies them their fair compensation. After all, they claim, while the research may be publicly funded, the journals are not.

Rather than rolling back public access, Congress should move to enshrine a simple principle in United States law: if taxpayers paid for it, they own it. This is already the case for scientific papers published by researchers at the N.I.H. campus in Bethesda, Md., whose work, as government employees, has been explicitly excluded from copyright protection since 1976. It would be easy to extend this coverage to all works funded by the federal government.

But it is not just Congress that should act. For too long scientists, libraries and research institutions have supported the publishing status quo out of a combination of tradition and convenience. But the latest effort to overturn the N.I.H.’s public access policy should dispel any remaining illusions that commercial publishers are serving the interests of the scientific community and public.

via Research Bought, Then Paid For – NYTimes.com.

05
Oct
11

10.5 … ‎Off to FPC for a little Jane Austen and her religious perspective as seen in Mansfield Park’s Fanny … RIP Steve Jobs … You’ve changed my world for the better. Price …

Steve Jobs, RIP:  As any readers know, I and my family are big Apple fans.  We “converted” in 2004 … the kids converted in school (I guess they were ambi – os) … but we all prefer Apple products for person computing, phoning (except the Molls who loves her bbm) and entertainment.  So rest in peace, Steve Jobs; you have changed my world for the better.  Thank you.

Others seem to agree … immediately upon the announcement of his death … these articles appeared online.  My favorite …  “Elvis has left the house.”

“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being,” Mr. Cook said in a letter to employees. “We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.”

During his more than three-decade career, Mr. Jobs transformed Silicon Valley as he helped turn the once-sleepy expanse of fruit orchards into the technology industry’s innovation center. In addition to laying the groundwork for the industry alongside others like Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, Mr. Jobs proved the appeal of well-designed products over the power of technology itself and transformed the way people interact with technology.

“The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come,” Mr. Gates said in a statement Wednesday.

The most productive chapter in Mr. Jobs’s career occurred near the end of his life, when a nearly unbroken string of successful products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad changed the PC, electronics and digital-media industries. The way he marketed and sold those products through savvy advertising campaigns and Apple’s retail stores helped turn the company into a pop-culture phenomenon.

At the beginning of that phase, Mr. Jobs described his philosophy as trying to make products that were at “the intersection of art and technology.” In doing so, he turned Apple into the world’s most valuable company with a market value of $350 billion.

via Steve Jobs, Apple Co-Founder, Is Dead – WSJ.com.

What’s less talked about is what drove Jobs, who died Wednesday at 56.

As with anyone, Jobs’ values were shaped by his upbringing and life experiences. He was born in 1955 in San Francisco and grew up amid the rise of hippie counterculture. Bob Dylan and the Beatles were his two favorite musical acts, and he shared their political leanings, antiestablishment views and, reportedly, youthful experimentation with psychedelic drug usage.

The name of Jobs’ company is said to be inspired by the Beatles’ Apple Corps, which repeatedly sued the electronics maker for trademark infringement until signing an exclusive digital distribution deal with iTunes. Like the Beatles, Jobs took a spiritual retreat to India and regularly walked around his neighborhood and the office barefoot.

Friends, colleagues remember Steve Jobs Wozniak: Jobs made ‘people happy’ 2009: Steve Jobs thanks donor Apple’s passionate pitchman

Traversing India sparked Jobs’ conversion to Buddhism. Kobun Chino, a monk, presided over his wedding to Laurene Powell, a Stanford University MBA.

‘Life is an intelligent thing’

Rebirth is a precept of Buddhism, and Apple experienced rebirth of sorts when Jobs returned, after he was fired, to remake a company that had fallen the verge of bankruptcy.

“I believe life is an intelligent thing, that things aren’t random,” Jobs said in a 1997 interview with Time, providing a glimpse into his complicated belief system that extends well beyond the Buddhist teachings.

Karma is another principle of the religion, but it didn’t appear to be a system Jobs lived by. If he feared karma coming back to bite him, the sentiment wasn’t evident in his public statements about competitors and former colleagues, calling them “bozos” lacking taste. Those who worked for Jobs described him as a tyrant they feared meeting in an elevator.

“You’d be surprised how hard people work around here,” Jobs said in a 2004 interview with Businessweek. “They work nights and weekends, sometimes not seeing their families for a while. Sometimes people work through Christmas to make sure the tooling is just right at some factory in some corner of the world so our product comes out the best it can be.”

Some engineers who worked tirelessly on the original Mac emerged from the project estranged from their spouses and children. Jobs’ relentless work ethic may have been shaped by some of his dysfunctional family affairs as well.

Focus and simplicity’

Jobs famously lured John Sculley, the PepsiCo president, to run Apple by saying: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” (They had a permanent falling out when Jobs was booted from Apple.)

via The spiritual side of Steve Jobs – CNN.com.

The Phone Calls

I never knew Steve when he was first at Apple. I wasn’t covering technology then. And I only met him once, briefly, between his stints at the company. But, within days of his return, in 1997, he began calling my house, on Sunday nights, for four or five straight weekends. As a veteran reporter, I understood that part of this was an attempt to flatter me, to get me on the side of a teetering company whose products I had once recommended, but had, more recently, advised readers to avoid.

Yet there was more to the calls than that. They turned into marathon, 90-minute, wide-ranging, off-the-record discussions that revealed to me the stunning breadth of the man. One minute he’d be talking about sweeping ideas for the digital revolution. The next about why Apple’s current products were awful, and how a color, or angle, or curve, or icon was embarrassing.

After the second such call, my wife became annoyed at the intrusion he was making in our weekend. I didn’t.

Later, he’d sometimes call to complain about some reviews, or parts of reviews — though, in truth, I felt very comfortable recommending most of his products for the average, non-techie consumers at whom I aim my columns. (That may have been because they were his target, too.) I knew he would be complaining because he’d start every call by saying “Hi, Walt. I’m not calling to complain about today’s column, but I have some comments, if that’s okay.” I usually disagreed with his comments, but that was okay, too.

The Product Unveilings

Sometimes, not always, he’d invite me in to see certain big products before he unveiled them to the world. He may have done the same with other journalists. We’d meet in a giant boardroom, with just a few of his aides present, and he’d insist — even in private — on covering the new gadgets with cloths and then uncovering them like the showman he was, a gleam in his eye and passion in his voice. We’d then often sit down for a long, long discussion of the present, the future, and general industry gossip.

I still remember the day he showed me the first iPod. I was amazed that a computer company would branch off into music players, but he explained, without giving any specifics away, that he saw Apple as a digital products company, not a computer company. It was the same with the iPhone, the iTunes music store, and later the iPad, which he asked me to his home to see, because he was too ill at the time to go to the office.

The Slides

To my knowledge, the only tech conference Steve Jobs regularly appeared at, the only event he didn’t somehow control, was our D: All Things Digital conference, where he appeared repeatedly for unrehearsed, onstage interviews. We had one rule that really bothered him: We never allowed slides, which were his main presentation tool.

One year, about an hour before his appearance, I was informed that he was backstage preparing dozens of slides, even though I had reminded him a week earlier of the no-slides policy. I asked two of his top aides to tell him he couldn’t use the slides, but they each said they couldn’t do it, that I had to. So, I went backstage and told him the slides were out. Famously prickly, he could have stormed out, refused to go on. And he did try to argue with me. But, when I insisted, he just said “Okay.” And he went on stage without them, and was, as usual, the audience’s favorite speaker.

Ice Water in Hell

For our fifth D conference, both Steve and his longtime rival, the brilliant Bill Gates, surprisingly agreed to a joint appearance, their first extended onstage joint interview ever. But it almost got derailed.

Earlier in the day, before Gates arrived, I did a solo onstage interview with Jobs, and asked him what it was like to be a major Windows developer, since Apple’s iTunes program was by then installed on hundreds of millions of Windows PCs.

He quipped: “It’s like giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell.” When Gates later arrived and heard about the comment, he was, naturally, enraged, because my partner Kara Swisher and I had assured both men that we hoped to keep the joint session on a high plane.

In a pre-interview meeting, Gates said to Jobs: “So I guess I’m the representative from Hell.” Jobs merely handed Gates a cold bottle of water he was carrying. The tension was broken, and the interview was a triumph, with both men acting like statesmen. When it was over, the audience rose in a standing ovation, some of them in tears.

Ice Water in Hell

For our fifth D conference, both Steve and his longtime rival, the brilliant Bill Gates, surprisingly agreed to a joint appearance, their first extended onstage joint interview ever. But it almost got derailed.

Earlier in the day, before Gates arrived, I did a solo onstage interview with Jobs, and asked him what it was like to be a major Windows developer, since Apple’s iTunes program was by then installed on hundreds of millions of Windows PCs.

He quipped: “It’s like giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell.” When Gates later arrived and heard about the comment, he was, naturally, enraged, because my partner Kara Swisher and I had assured both men that we hoped to keep the joint session on a high plane.

In a pre-interview meeting, Gates said to Jobs: “So I guess I’m the representative from Hell.” Jobs merely handed Gates a cold bottle of water he was carrying. The tension was broken, and the interview was a triumph, with both men acting like statesmen. When it was over, the audience rose in a standing ovation, some of them in tears.

The Optimist

I have no way of knowing how Steve talked to his team during Apple’s darkest days in 1997 and 1998, when the company was on the brink and he was forced to turn to archrival Microsoft for a rescue. He certainly had a nasty, mercurial side to him, and I expect that, then and later, it emerged inside the company and in dealings with partners and vendors, who tell believable stories about how hard he was to deal with.

But I can honestly say that, in my many conversations with him, the dominant tone he struck was optimism and certainty, both for Apple and for the digital revolution as a whole. Even when he was telling me about his struggles to get the music industry to let him sell digital songs, or griping about competitors, at least in my presence, his tone was always marked by patience and a long-term view. This may have been for my benefit, knowing that I was a journalist, but it was striking nonetheless.

At times in our conversations, when I would criticize the decisions of record labels or phone carriers, he’d surprise me by forcefully disagreeing, explaining how the world looked from their point of view, how hard their jobs were in a time of digital disruption, and how they would come around.

This quality was on display when Apple opened its first retail store. It happened to be in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, near my home. He conducted a press tour for journalists, as proud of the store as a father is of his first child. I commented that, surely, there’d only be a few stores, and asked what Apple knew about retailing.

He looked at me like I was crazy, said there’d be many, many stores, and that the company had spent a year tweaking the layout of the stores, using a mockup at a secret location. I teased him by asking if he, personally, despite his hard duties as CEO, had approved tiny details like the translucency of the glass and the color of the wood.

He said he had, of course.

The Walk

After his liver transplant, while he was recuperating at home in Palo Alto, California, Steve invited me over to catch up on industry events that had transpired during his illness. It turned into a three-hour visit, punctuated by a walk to a nearby park that he insisted we take, despite my nervousness about his frail condition.

He explained that he walked each day, and that each day he set a farther goal for himself, and that, today, the neighborhood park was his goal. As we were walking and talking, he suddenly stopped, not looking well. I begged him to return to the house, noting that I didn’t know CPR and could visualize the headline: “Helpless Reporter Lets Steve Jobs Die on the Sidewalk.”

But he laughed, and refused, and, after a pause, kept heading for the park. We sat on a bench there, talking about life, our families, and our respective illnesses (I had had a heart attack some years earlier). He lectured me about staying healthy. And then we walked back.

Steve Jobs didn’t die that day, to my everlasting relief. But now he really is gone, much too young, and it is the world’s loss.

via The Steve Jobs I Knew – Walt Mossberg – Mossblog – AllThingsD.

But stepping back from the immediate fray, theres something about the blogospheres insistence on the existence of a dramatic addition to the iPhone family that shows how hard its going to be for many of us to let Steve Jobs go.How Apple co-opted the InternetApple iPhone 4S personal assistant: SiriZDNet: iPhone 4S is swell, but pricing is the killer appApple iPhone 4S unveiled roundupIn our imagination, Jobs is still on stage, delighting the house as he extends his dazzling product presentation to include one more thing. But this time around it was Tim Cook as master of ceremonies, up on stage for more than 1.5 hours – which may have struck some as more reminiscent of a meandering Fidel Castro than the lapidary Steve Jobs. Youd think after all that time running through the laundry list of new products, Apple would have had a blockbuster finish, they harrumphed on the Twitter transom. Not this time around.

And then there’s the team at the helm. Cook and Phil Schiller, who delivered the iPhone news on stage, are solid executives with proven track records. It would be out of character and entirely clunky for this duo to pretend to be something that they’re not. So don’t expect them to send thrills up your leg. Ain’t gonna happen. The world is going to have to adjust to the new reality: Apple will continue to make good products but let’s get over it already. Elvis has left the stage.

via Apple hard new reality: Elvis has left the house – CBS News.

Jane Austen,  Mansfield Park,  Fanny Price, Christian Themes in Jane Austen:  Mind was once again expanded … Christ birth story is a Cinderella story (as is Fanny Price), Mary’s comment on the clergy as bores, etc, reflects social attitudes of the times,  …  Thank you Rev. Dr. Tom Currie for a great three-part series on Jane Austen.

Peach Pass, HOT Lanes, I-85 travel:  I noted these on Monday … they really are new. 🙂

Register. Every vehicle that sets a wheel in the toll lane must have a Peach Pass, whether paying the toll or not.

No cash. All tolls are electronic.

Tolled: solo drivers and two-person car pools

Free: car pools of three people or more, transit vehicles, motorcycles, cars with alternative fuel license plates, mass transit

Prohibited: trucks with more than six wheels and/or two axles

To switch from toll-paying to free, or vice versa: You must reset your Peach Pass account by phone or computer at least 15 minutes before you enter the lane. If your switching is regular, you can pre-set certain days or times as paying or nonpaying.

How much: The toll ranges from 10 cents a mile to 90 cents a mile, rising with congestion. The State Road and Tollway Authority can go over 90 cents a mile in special cases.

Don’t: cross the double solid lines. Enter or exit only at the dashed lines.

Fines: A violation can reap both a $25 SRTA fine, which happens electronically and is mailed to the driver, and a police fine of up to $150 from troopers who are patrolling the corridor.

via What to know as I-85 HOT lane opens  | ajc.com.

college life, sophomore return ceremony, traditions:  Freshman convocations are much more elaborate and meaningful now than 30+ years ago, including honor code signing ceremonies, etc. Now some schools are beginning a tradition for sophomores ” to combat “the sophomore slump,” a sort of let-down that may follow a first year filled with fanfare and new experiences.”

You may have heard of freshman convocation – the traditional formal ceremony that kicks off a college career – but what about sophomore convocation?

As the blog Inside Higher Ed reported last week, Duke University held its first-ever ceremony dedicated to welcoming back second-year students this fall.

Its intention was to combat “the sophomore slump,” a sort of let-down that may follow a first year filled with fanfare and new experiences.

As Duke’s dean of undergraduate studies told Inside Higher Ed:

“The sophomore year is a time of transition, where students sometimes do feel like they’re in a slump. They’re not yet necessarily deeply on their track toward whatever their path is, but they’re no longer in that special moment of being the first-year class whom everybody dotes on.”

As Inside Higher Ed pointed out, Duke’s new ceremony had the more privileged goal of reenergizing students, compared to the more practical aim of other schools’ second-year programs: to keep undergraduates from dropping out.

via A Ceremony to Kick off Sophomore Year? – NYTimes.com.

cloud computing, colleges and universities, technology:  It will be interesting if this costs institutions more or less over the long haul.

Internet2 was formed to help colleges wire superfast networks, but now it is shifting attention to the cloud. This morning the group announced that it has brokered discounts with Hewlett-Packard and two other tech companies for computing services, such as renting processor time on high-speed computers over the Internet, to help researchers.

The deals are the first of a new project called Internet2 Net+ Services. The idea is that the group, which counts 235 college members, can negotiate better prices and contract terms than any individual college could. Eleven colleges are running tests of the arrangement, which will be made available to other Internet2 members beginning early next year.

HP’s new CEO, Meg Whitman, addressed Internet2′s member meeting this morning via videoconference to announce her company’s participation in the program. Together with a company called SHI International, HP has agreed to offer a special discount and licensing terms to colleges to buy time on high-speed computers over the Internet. Technically the colleges will sign a contract with Internet2 for the services, which will take an administrative fee in the deal. Internet2 will also handle some of the technology and technical support for the services.

The other company that has signed up to offer cloud services through Internet2 is Box, which provides users with online folders to store and share files. Colleges that buy the service through Internet2 can give every user on their campuses the file folder, which users can access using their existing college logins and passwords. The service will cost colleges about $27,000 per year for small campuses (up to 10,000 accounts) and $350,000 per year for the largest (up to 200,000 accounts).

via Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Facebook, student life, substance abuse:  Using Facebook posts to predict substance abuse problems.  Clearly judgement problems … maybe the two go hand in hand.

College students who post pictures and references to drunkenness are more likely to have a “clinically significant” drinking problem than students who don’t post such references, according to the study, which was sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

For the study – published in the Oct. 3 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine – researchers examined public Facebook profiles of more than 300 undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Washington. The researchers contacted these students and asked them to complete a questionnaire that doctors use to measure a drinking problem.

The profiles were divided into three categories: those without alcohol references, those with references to alcohol but no mention of getting drunk, and those scattered with phrases like “being drunk” and “getting wasted.” Not surprisingly, the students in the last group scored higher on the questionaire. A score of 8 or higher indicates a person is at risk for problem drinking, and these student groups had average scores of 4.6, 6.7, and 9.5 respectively.

via Can Facebook predict problem drinking? What study says – HealthPop – CBS News.

piracy, Somalia, Rachel and Paul Chandler, pirates:  We are not talking Captain Hook … Did you ever think that piracy would be a major news item in our lifetime?  This is a very interesting piece.

Their strike zone is now more than two million square miles of water, which is virtually impossible to patrol. Jay Bahadur, author of a new book, “The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World,” likens the international naval efforts to “a losing game of Whac-a-Mole.”

After Somalia’s central government collapsed 20 years ago, the 1,900-mile coastline became an unpatrolled free-for-all, with foreign fishing trawlers descending to scoop up Somalia’s rich stocks of tuna, shark, whitefish, lobster and deep-water shrimp. With no authorities to fear, the fishing boats were especially unscrupulous and used heavy steel drag nets that wiped out the marine habitat for years. Somali piracy was born when disgruntled fishermen armed themselves and started attacking the foreign trawlers. They soon realized they could attack any ship and get a ransom for holding the crew hostage.

“In the beginning, the pirates had a lot of support,” explained Kayse Maxamed, a Somali who works in mental health in Bristol and who organized a “Save the Chandlers” rally in front of a mosque in early 2010. “Everybody liked them. They represented the Somali Navy.

via Taken by Pirates – NYTimes.com.

Spices and Tease, retail, NYC:  OK, so I like the name. 🙂

Bruno Benzacken and François Athea are cousins from a family that has been in the spice business in Europe since 1933. They came to New York eight years ago and began selling spices and teas at street fairs. Now they have graduated to a store on the Upper West Side, colorful in its array of several dozen spices, teas and blends and just as alluring for the aromas that waft from the displays. Tall canisters hold various sugars (right), and downstairs there are more spices and teas, along with assorted salts, peppers and pepper mixtures; Provençal products, including soaps; and various gadgets for grinding spices and preparing tea. They serve tea and pastries as well.

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Mr. Benzacken and Mr. Athea (above) expect to open this month in Grand Central Market in Grand Central Terminal, at the stand formerly occupied by Penzeys.

Spices and Tease, 2580 Broadway (97th Street); (347) 470-8327; spicesandtease.com.

via Spices, Sugars, Teas – A Blast for the Senses – NYTimes.com.

iPhone 4S:  Overshadowed somewhat by the death of Steve Jobs. Spec Spat: Apple iPhone 4S vs. iPhone 4 – Techland – TIME.com.

2012 Presidential Election, GOP Primaries, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry:  “It underlines the fear in the Republican camp that none of the candidates already in the field looks completely certain to beat even an economy-shackled Mr Obama.”

First, the man whose big advantage over the too-slick Mr Romney was supposed to be the authenticity of his conservatism has somehow managed to let his rivals paint him as a cringing liberal. He stands accused of allowing the children of illegal immigrants to pay the lower, subsidised in-state tuition fees at Texas’s public universities, and of ordering Texas to inflict what Michele Bachmann, the congresswoman from Minnesota who has appointed herself Joan of Arc in this campaign, calls “a government injection” on “innocent little 12-year-old girls”.

Mr Perry pleads mitigation. In the case of the university fees he says he was handicapped by the possession of a heart (why punish the children of illegal immigrants for their parents’ actions?). As for the injection, he hoped the HPV vaccine would save more women from cervical cancer. But no hint of leniency towards illegal immigrants goes unpunished by a certain sort of Republican activist, so the star of the Lone Star candidate is waning. The unexpected winner of the Florida straw poll, held soon after the Orlando debate, was Herman Cain, a fiery black Baptist preacher and former boss of Godfather’s Pizza.

In theory, Mr Perry has ample time to recover. Straw polls do not count for much; a mere six weeks ago Mrs Bachmann was basking in her own victory in the Ames straw poll in Iowa, only to be eclipsed as soon as Mr Perry made his late eruption into the race. And although the Texan has so far fumbled his attempt to hurt Mr Romney by identifying him, accurately, as the governor who introduced an early form of “Obamacare” into Massachusetts, he will have plenty more chances to do better: the candidates will next debate in New Hampshire in mid-October.

However, proving himself to be a more conservative conservative than Mr Romney is no longer Mr Perry’s most urgent task, because allowing himself to be outflanked from the right was only the smaller of his two recent setbacks. His bigger problem now is that he has lost his aura as an effective campaigner.

It underlines the fear in the Republican camp that none of the candidates already in the field looks completely certain to beat even an economy-shackled Mr Obama.

Democrats for Perry

Except, perhaps, for the patient Mr Romney. Interestingly, there are Democrats who say quietly that they are no less disappointed than conservatives by Mr Perry’s recent mistakes. That is because Mr Perry’s errors make it likelier that the Republicans will settle for Mr Romney; and Mr Romney, a centrist who everyone knows is only masquerading as a conservative until the primaries are over, might actually go on to beat Mr Obama in the general. The great flip-flopper does not convince the conservative base. He does not excite much of the wider electorate either. But nor does he scare them. And with the economy the way it is, that may be all it takes to win the White House in 2012.

via Lexington: Open goal, useless strikers | The Economist.

 How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie, Emily Post’s Etiquette, Emily Post:  Updates for the modern age?

Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which turns 75 this year, has sold more than 30 million copies and continues to be a best seller. The book, a paean to integrity, good humor and warmth in the name of amicable capitalism, is as wholesome as a Norman Rockwell painting. It exists alongside Dr. Spock’s child-rearing guide, Strunk and White’s volume on literary style and Fannie Farmer’s cookbook as a classic expression of the American impulse toward self-improvement and reinvention. Testimonials to its effectiveness abound. It’s said that the only diploma that hangs in Warren Buffett’s office is his certificate from Dale Carnegie Training.

The book’s essential admonitions — be a good listener, admit faults quickly and emphatically, and smile more often, among them — are timeless. They need updating about as much as Hank Williams’s songs do.

Yet now comes Dale Carnegie and Associates Inc., which offers leadership and public speaking classes, with the news that it has rewritten and reissued Carnegie’s book for the laptop generation under the title “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age,” written with Brent Cole. It’s not the only advice classic that’s been updated this fall for the era of Facebook and Google Plus. There’s a new edition of “Emily Post’s Etiquette” as well, which bears the forward-looking subtitle “Manners for a New World.”

Both books offer sensible new advice about being a polite e-mailer and navigating the pitfalls of Twitter. But while it’s hard to blame those charged with caring for the Dale Carnegie and Emily Post brands for wanting them to remain relevant, attempts to tweak favorites are fraught with peril. And “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age” in particular is such a radical — and radically hapless — retooling of Dale Carnegie’s text that it feels almost like an act of brand suicide.

via Dale Carnegie and Emily Post for the Twitter Age – NYTimes.com.

Occupy Wall Street, culture:  An interesting take on the 99 percent …

These are not rants against the system. They’re not anarchist manifestos. They’re not calls for a revolution. They’re small stories of people who played by the rules, did what they were told, and now have nothing to show for it. Or, worse, they have tens of thousands in debt to show for it.

“I am a 28 year old female with debt that had to give up her apartment + pet because I have no money and I owe over $30,000.”

College debt shows up a lot in these stories, actually. It’s more insistently present than housing debt, or even unemployment. That might speak to the fact that the protests tilt towards the young. But it also speaks, I think, to the fact that college debt represents a special sort of betrayal. We told you that the way to get ahead in America was to get educated. You did it. And now you find yourself in the same place, but buried under debt. You were lied to.

“Married mother of 3. Lost my job in 2009. My family lost our health insurance, our savings, our home, and our good credit. After 16 months, I found a job — with a 90 mile commute and a 25 percent pay cut. After gas, tolls, daycare, and the cost of health insurance, i was paying so my kids had access to health care.”

Let’s be clear. This isn’t really the 99 percent. If you’re in the 85th percentile, for instance, your household is making more than $100,000, and you’re probably doing okay. If you’re in the 95th percentile, your household is making more than $150,000. But then, these protests really aren’t about Wall Street, either. There’s not a lot of evidence that these people want a class war, or even particularly punitive measures on the rich. The only thing that’s clear from their missives is that they want the economy to start working for them, too.

But this is why I’m taking Occupy Wall Street — or, perhaps more specifically, the ‘We Are The 99 Percent’ movement — seriously. There are a lot of people who are getting an unusually raw deal right now. There is a small group of people who are getting an unusually good deal right now. That doesn’t sound to me like a stable equilibrium.

The organizers of Occupy Wall Street are fighting to upend the system. But what gives their movement the potential for power and potency is the masses who just want the system to work the way they were promised it would work. It’s not that 99 percent of Americans are really struggling. It’s not that 99 percent of Americans want a revolution. It’s that 99 percent of Americans sense that the fundamental bargain of our economy — work hard, play by the rules, get ahead — has been broken, and they want to see it restored.

via Who are the 99 percent? – The Washington Post.

post-graduation, careers:

How about you? Do you think higher education needs to change to accommodate the ongoing job decline by providing career help to graduate students?  Please leave your comments and suggestions below.

via ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

2012 Presidential Election, GOP Primaries, places, names, racism:  I am from the South and have roots in the Deep South.  I cannot think of any offensive place names …

The revelation that Rick Perry’s family leased a hunting camp commonly known in rural Texas by a little-known racial epithet raises these questions: How many such places exist and where are they?

The short answer is all across the country, not only in people’s memories, but also listed as such on maps, mostly in rural areas, according to a scholar who studies place names.

Controversy continues for Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry after his guests insisted they saw a rock bearing the name of a racial slur when Perry took them hunting at his family’s camp. (Oct. 3)

The small Texas town of Paint Creek has no post office, no grocery store, and no claim to fame – until now. Dean Reynolds takes a tour of Paint Creek, the town where Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry grew up. (Sept. 19)

Mark Monmonier, a geographer at Syracuse University, says that the three most offensive place names that can still be found on some maps are “nigger,” “jap” and “squaw.” This is mainly because during the first half of the 1900s, topographers were sent out to name and measure geographic locations and relied on local input.

Those names, some offensive, were then codified in federal maps and served as a snapshot of colloquial language and racial attitudes, Monmonier said.

In Perry’s case, the Post reported that the current Texas governor and 2012 presidential candidate hosted lawmakers and others at a West Texas hunting camp at the entrance of which, for some period of time, was a stone on which was painted the word “Niggerhead.” The Perry camp says the stone was painted over in 1983, but the Post accounts from seven different people tell a different story.

A search of the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) turned up at least 24 names from Alaska to New York of lakes, creeks, points and capes that once bore the name “Niggerhead,” but have since been changed, in some cases to names like “Negrohead.” Perry’s hunting ranch was apparently never mapped and is not part of the database.

via Offensive place names once dotted the U.S. landscape – The Washington Post.

President Obama, White House policy, debt collection, cell phones:  Political suicide?

To the dismay of consumer groups and the discomfort of Democrats, President Barack Obama wants Congress to make it easier for private debt collectors to call the cellphones of consumers delinquent on student loans and other billions owed the federal government.

The change “is expected to provide substantial increases in collections, particularly as an increasing share of households no longer have landlines and rely instead on cellphones,” the administration wrote recently. The little-noticed recommendation would apply only to cases in which money is owed the government, and is tucked into the mammoth $3 trillion deficit-reduction plan the president submitted to Congress.

Despite the claim, the administration has not yet developed an estimate of how much the government would collect, and critics reject the logic behind the recommendation.

“Enabling robo-calls (to cellphones) is just going to lead to more harassment and abuse, and it’s not going to help the government collect more money,” said Lauren Saunders of the Boston-based National Consumer Law Center. “People aren’t paying their student loans because they can’t find a job.”

via Obama Plan Includes Measure To Make It Easier For Debt Collectors To Call Cellphones.

The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, South Africa, China, international politics:  This seems like a silly statement to make by the South Africans … then I am not an international relations/politics expert.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, scrapped plans on Tuesday to attend the 80th birthday celebration of a fellow Nobel laureate, Desmond M. Tutu of South Africa, after the host government did not grant his visa request.

Critics viewed the South African government’s behavior as a capitulation to China, one of South Africa’s most important economic partners and a strong opponent of the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese authorities consider subversive.

A statement by the Dalai Lama’s office in New Delhi said he and his entourage had expected to visit South Africa from Thursday to Oct. 14, had submitted visa applications at the end of August and had submitted their passports two weeks ago. His agenda included the Oct. 6 birthday of Archbishop Tutu and a number of public talks.

However, his office said in a statement, “Since the South African government seems to find it inconvenient to issue a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness has decided to call off this visit to South Africa.”

The statement did not address the question of why South Africa did not grant the visa, and the South African Embassy in New Delhi did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But officials in South Africa said they followed normal procedures in reviewing the visa request.

via Dalai Lama’s Visa Request Is Denied by South Africa – NYTimes.com.

pirates, Blackbeard, archeology:  Dead historical pirates are more interesting/entertaining than those living. 🙂

Much of North Carolina’s coast is still recovering from Hurricane Irene, but the storm left the sunken remains of Blackbeard’s ship largely untouched.

The Daily News of Jacksonville reports ( http://bit.ly/oDoAPW) that a new expedition this week to the site of the Queen Anne’s Revenge has found the shipwreck weathered the storm fairly well.

Project director Mark Wilde-Ramsing says a sand berm near the site seems to help protect it from storms.

The four-week expedition this fall aims to recover one of the ship’s largest cannons, along with cannon balls and other artifacts.

The ship lies in shallow waters off the Atlantic coast where it sank in 1718, just five months before Blackbeard was killed in a battle at Ocracoke Inlet. The wreck was discovered in 1996.

via Expedition starts at NC site of Blackbeard’s ship – KansasCity.com.

“Playboy Club”, tv:  Cable vs. network tv?  Just seemed like a stupid idea to me.

Playboy Club founder Hugh Hefner weighed in on NBC’s decision to scrub “The Playboy Club” from its primetime schedule owing to lousy ratings.

“I’m sorry NBC’s ‘The Playboy Club’ didn’t find it’s audience,” he tweeted, adding, “ It should have been on cable, aimed at a more adult audience.”

ORIGINAL POST: Those of you wondering what NBC was thinking of when it put its new 60’s-set drama, “Playboy Club” into the intense Monday at 10 competition opposite both ABC’s “Castle” and CBS’s “Hawaii Five-O,” we have an answer!

The season’s first cancellation.

NBC is putting Brian Williams new newsmag — the oddly named “Rock Center with Brian Williams” into ther hour starting Oct. 31, according to an industry source.

via Hugh Hefner: ‘Playboy Club’ shoulda been on cable [Updated] – The TV 

“Glee”, tv:  “Asian F”  … much better episode …

Grading on a curve, this latest Glee episode would be graded an “Asian F,” too — that is an “A-minus.” Mike Chang, Sr. would not be too happy about that.

But we all should be glad that “Glee’s” sophomoric slumber last year has awakened to a new season featuring intricate storylines that make you root for the underdogs. This time, it’s for Brittany, Mike Chang and Mercedes.

All three took star turns, despite running into heavy opposition. Brittany ratchets up her candidacy for senior class president against Kurt with a stellar performance of Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” as an energetic flash mob pep rally. It was reminiscent of a Spice Girls music video. If only Posh could have shaken her moneymaker like that.

via ‘Glee’ Season 3, Episode 3, ‘Asian F’: TV Recap – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Supreme Court, Justice Scalia, death penalty debate:  There has got to be a better solution for the death penalty appeals process.  Or just get rid of the death penalty.

“There has to be some local counsel that does work,” Sotomayor said to Garre. In response to that comment as well as Scalia’s continued badgering, Garre noted that “the state itself must not have viewed Butler as a meaningful player, because when the default at issue in this case occurred, the state sent a letter … to Mr. Maples directly on death row” rather than to his local counsel.

That prompted Chief Justice John Roberts to wonder how much local counsel would “have to do to put him in a position where he was in fact representing Maples.”

“Your case, it seems to me,” Roberts said to Garre, “turns critically on Butler’s role.”

And it was over this matter that Scalia broke from the rest of the justices (except, of course, Justice Clarence Thomas, who is fast approaching his sixth year of silence at oral argument). For Scalia, the local attorney remained Maples’ lawyer no matter how hands-off he was in the case. Consequently, Scalia considered the lawyer’s failure to appeal to be fairly imputed to Maples.

The case was apparently not as simple for his colleagues. Justice Stephen Breyer, for example, telegraphed his sympathy for Maples. He said that the prosecutor in the case would have known that “one, [Maples is] represented by counsel in New York; two, they didn’t get the notice; three, the local attorney isn’t going to do anything; and conclusion, they likely knew that he didn’t get the notice,” yet the prosecutor pressed to keep Maples out of court anyway.

Scalia interjected, “Do we know that [the prosecutor] knew all of those facts?” And Garre replied, “No, Justice Scalia.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy then asked for statistics, for Alabama or the nation, on how many capital cases are not appealed. Given that such cases are virtually always appealed, the justice seemed to be implying that the local attorney would have done something had he actually considered himself Maples’ lawyer.

Scalia again jumped in, this time to note that Maples did appeal his conviction and that the case before the Court involved post-conviction hearings. But Kennedy brushed away Scalia’s nitpicking, refining the question to “how often an appeal is abandoned or not pursued in this kind of case.”

And when Garre suggested the justices send the case back to the lower court to flesh out what Kagan called a “skimpy” factual record, Scalia countered, “You should have gotten the facts in the first place. If the record doesn’t show the things that you need to show to get this case reversed, the case should not be reversed.”

For all his efforts to maintain control of the message during Garre’s presentation, Scalia, who celebrates the start of his 25th year on the Supreme Court this week, could not keep a grip through the Alabama solicitor general’s stumbling half-hour argument. But it was not for want of trying. Right from the start, Scalia sought to save John Neiman from himself in the face of aggressive questioning by Roberts, Kagan and Ginsburg.

Justice Samuel Alito then signaled his disappointment with Alabama. Alito asked Neiman why he was “pushing the Court to consider rules that would have far-reaching effect,” such as a new constitutional requirement that court clerks follow up on letters they send to losing lawyers who may or may not appeal adverse decisions. Why not, Alito wondered with considerable astonishment, “just consent” to allow Maples’ attorneys to file an out-of-time appeal?

via Death Row Debate: Justice Scalia Stands Alone As Supreme Court Hears Case Of Mailroom Mix-up.

2011 Nobel prize for physics: Supernovas expanding … makes my brain hurt.

THIS year’s Nobel prize for physics was awarded for what was, in a sense literally, the biggest discovery ever made in physics—that the universe is not only expanding (which had been known since the 1920s), but that the rate of expansion is increasing. Something, in other words, is actively pushing it apart.

This was worked out by two groups who, in the 1990s, were studying exploding stars called supernovae. One was the Supernova Cosmology Project, at the University of California, Berkeley, led by Saul Perlmutter. The other was the High-z Supernova Search Team, an international project led by Brian Schmidt and involving Adam Riess, both of Harvard University. It is these three gentlemen who have shared the prize.

Supernovae come in various types. One particular sort, though, known as type Ia supernovae, always explode with about the same energy and are therefore equally bright. That means they can be used to estimate quite precisely how far away they (and thus the galaxy they inhabit) are. In addition, the speed at which an object such as a star or galaxy is moving away from Earth, because of the expansion of the universe, can be worked out from its red-shift. This is a fall in the frequency of its light towards the red end of the spectrum. It is caused by the Doppler effect (something similar happens when a police car or fire engine with its siren blaring drives past you, and the pitch of the sound suddenly drops).

What both groups found was that the light from distant supernovae was fainter than predicted. In other words, the supernovae were further away than their red-shifts indicated they should be, based on the existing model of the universe. Something, then, was pushing space itself apart.

via The 2011 Nobel prize for physics: Expanding horizons | The Economist.

Civil War, history, war, boy soldiers: My great-grandfather, JJ Dennard, went to war at 16 and spent most of the war at imprisoned at Point Lookout MD.  I don’t think it was adventurous or  glorious experience.  But is war ever?

With hopes of adventure and glory, tens of thousands of boys under the age of 18 answered the call of the Civil War, many of them rushing to join Union and Confederate troops in the earliest days of battle. Both sides had recruitment rules that barred underage men from enlisting, but that didn’t stop those who wanted to be part of the action: some enlisted without their parents’ permission and lied about their ages or bargained with recruiters for a trial period, while others joined along with their older brothers and fathers whose partisan passions overwhelmed their parental senses. Most of the youngest boys became drummers, messengers and orderlies, but thousands of others fought alongside the men.

As each side scrambled to get troops into the field in the early days of the war, many of these boys went to battle with just a few weeks of training. It didn’t take long for them to understand what they’d gotten themselves into. Elisha Stockwell Jr., from Alma, Wis., was 15 when he enlisted. After the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, he wrote, “I want to say, as we lay there and the shells were flying over us, my thoughts went back to my home, and I thought what a foolish boy I was to run away and get into such a mess as I was in. I would have been glad to have seen my father coming after me.”

via The Boys of War – NYTimes.com.

Chelsea Clinton, IAC, board of directors, corporate governance:  With all that has happened in this Great Recession, a public company should get the best talent on its board … not a celebrity, albeit a bright one who has very good connections.

Chelsea Clinton as a corporate director? Really?

Ms. Clinton was appointed last week to the board of IAC/InterActiveCorp, the Internet media conglomerate controlled by Barry Diller.

For her efforts, Ms. Clinton will be paid about $300,000 a year in cash and incentive stock awards. Not bad for a 31-year-old in graduate school.

Is IAC also getting a good deal, or is this another eye-rolling celebrity appointment?

Ms. Clinton appears to be a smart, capable individual. She worked in her 20s at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and at a hedge fund run by a loyal Clinton donor. She is now working at New York University and pursuing a doctorate at Oxford. Ms. Clinton appears to be level-headed, despite growing up in the limelight. She is also popular — her wedding last year was one of the social events of the year.

But let’s be real. Ms. Clinton has this position only because she is the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the current secretary of state. This is clearly an appointment made because of who she is, not what she has done, one that defies American conceptions of meritocracy. Even most celebrity directors earn their way to such celebrity — sort of.

In fairness, while the reasons for the appointment are suspect, that does not mean Ms. Clinton cannot be a good, even great, board member. But questions raised by her selection speak to the larger issue of what types of directors should be on boards.

In the past, boards were too often passive instruments of the chief executive, and often included celebrities. Some examples: Sidney Poitier (the Walt Disney Company), Evander Holyfield (the Coca-Cola Bottling Company), Tommy Lasorda (Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon), Lance Armstrong (the Morgans Hotel Group) and O.J. Simpson (Infinity Broadcasting). Mr. Simpson actually served on Infinity’s audit committee, the body responsible for supervising a company’s auditors.

via Handicapping IAC’s Investment in Chelsea Clinton – NYTimes.com.

New South, Mayor Foxx, Charlotte NC, 2012 Democratic National Convention, Davidson Alumni:  Interesting article about mayor Foxx and the spotlight he will be under next year.

The 40-year-old Foxx, who has a 2011 re-election race to win on the way to acting as a convention host, noted parallel “life stories” that he and Obama share. “Even though he grew up in a vastly different part of the country and the world,” said Foxx of Obama, “he was essentially raised by a single mother just as I was and was heavily influenced by his grandparents, as I was.

“There was a ‘Greatest Generation’ element that greatly influenced both of us,” Foxx said. He thinks that’s important, “when the country and our city have been put through the wringer in a lot of ways” on issues from the economy to foreign policy. “There is a resilience built into me, having lived with people who had to struggle through the Great Depression and through the Second World War.”

What Foxx didn’t immediately mention is that both are African-American elected officials, a fact that’s both obvious and beside the point. At 50, Obama is the more experienced generational leader to Foxx and his occasional conversational partners such as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., both 42 years old.

As Foxx and his city prepare to host the Democratic convention, they represent a confluence of race, place and politics in the New South.

via The New South: Where Obama, Race and Politics Meet.

Rick Perry, 2012 Presidential Election, GOP Primaries, race issues:  Can’t we find a Southern politician for the national stage without a history of racism?

They recall, for instance, Perry’s first foray into statewide politics 21 years ago, when he defeated an incumbent agriculture commissioner in part by running a television ad that showed his opponent standing alongside Jesse Jackson.

Many black leaders thought the ad was an intentional appeal to racist white voters, and they held a news conference to protest it. The ad displayed headlines alleging that Perry’s opponent, Democrat Jim Hightower, mismanaged his agency. It also featured a seemingly discordant video of Hightower appearing with Jackson, then a leading figure in the Democratic Party whom Hightower had endorsed for president two years earlier.

“That was a very bad period here, as the Republicans were trying to drive Democratic swing voters to the Republican Party,” said James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “There was a lot of race-baiting in Texas in that period — race-baiting that would be a lot harder to get away with now.”

At the 1990 news conference, Ellis and others accused Perry (and his then campaign strategist, Karl Rove) of using the ad to turn white voters against High­tower.

“There’s a certain segment here that’s still going to respond to that,” said Hightower, who now writes a column and hosts a radio program in Austin. “It’s the same folks who don’t like Barack Obama. Besides legitimate reasons not to like him, there are some people who just don’t want a black president and do not consider that legitimate. So that was an easy play for Rove and Perry.”

Perry’s spokesman, Ray Sullivan, said, “The 1990 TV ad truthfully highlighted Mr. High­tower’s role in the ’88 presidential campaign and truthfully demonstrated his very liberal politics to Texas general election voters.”

‘It was time for inclusion’

Ellis and other leaders gave Perry credit for cultivating good working relationships with African American politicians, citing as an example his attendance at an annual fundraiser for minority scholarships.

Many also defended a governor who has a strong record appointing minorities to state boards and positions. Over 10 years in office, 9 percent of Perry’s 5,741 appointments have been African Americans, and 15 percent have been Hispanics, according to his campaign. That puts Perry slightly ahead of his predecessor, George W. Bush (with 9 percent African Americans and 13 percent Hispanics) and slightly behind the governor before that, Democrat Ann Richards (13 percent African Americans and 18 percent Hispanics).

via Perry built complicated record on matters of race – The Washington Post.

The South, culture, migration:  A conservative article with some interesting points.

Having disposed of the economic arguments, I knew that one big question lurked: “Okay, Lee, but what’s it like living with a bunch of slow-talking, gun-toting, Bible-thumping racists?”

My friends didn’t use those exact words, but I knew it’s what they were thinking. I knew because I thought the same thing about the South before I moved here. Most of what we Yankees know about the South comes from TV and movies. Think Hee-Haw meets Mississippi Burning meets The Help and you get the picture.

via Southern Like Me – Lee Habeeb – National Review Online.

What caused this migration of capital — the human, industrial, and political varieties? Ask transplanted business owners and they’ll tell you they like investing in states where union bosses and trial lawyers don’t run the show, and where tax burdens are low. They also want a work force that is affordable and well-trained. And that doesn’t see them as the enemy.

In short, policy matters. So, too, does culture.

It’s quite a story, actually. Americans, black and white alike, are moving in record numbers to a part of the country where taxes are low, unions are irrelevant, and people love their guns and their faith. And yet we have heard hardly a peep about this great migration from our nation’s public intellectuals.

Why? Because their ideological prejudices won’t permit them to admit the obvious. They’d prefer to focus their research on the pre-1970s South because they are more comfortable with — and more invested in — that old narrative, while this new one marches on right under their noses. And their keyboards.

And so it is with a sense of puzzlement that this Jersey boy turned Mississippian watches the decision making of President Obama. Millions of Americans may have voted for him in 2008, but millions have been voting with their feet, and he doesn’t seem the least bit interested in understanding why.

He should ask Americans like me who’ve moved South why we did it. And he should be especially interested in understanding why African Americans are fleeing his home city of Chicago for the South, too.

If he dared to ask, he’d learn that we are all fleeing liberalism and chasing economic freedom, just as our immigrant parents and grandparents did.

But he won’t bother asking. Our ideological academic-in-chief is content to expand the size and scope of the federal government and ignore the successes of our economic laboratories known as the states. He is pursuing 1960s-style policies that got us Detroit, while ignoring those that got us 21st-century Dallas.

In the downtown square of Oxford sits a bronze statue of our most famous storyteller, William Faulkner. “The past is never dead,” he once famously wrote. “In fact, it’s not even past.”

That line has great depth, but in an important sense it’s not quite right.

It turns out that white Yankee migrants like me, African American migrants from Chicago, and businessmen owners in Illinois and around the world, see something in the South that novelists, journalists, academics, and our current president cannot.

The future.

via Southern Like Me – Lee Habeeb – National Review Online.

Zombies, movies, Redbox:  Who knew … so many Zombie movies in the Redbox … We loved Zombieland!

More undead fun from redbox:

Zombieland (available in select areas)

REC 2

Quarantine 2: Terminal

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (sometimes zombies can be your friend!)

Husk

Forget Me Not

via Zombie 101: 5 Things You Need to Know About The Walking Dead | Redblog.

blogging:  this was my 500th post.  I hope you have enjoyed the ride as much as I have … It has proven to be a great resource for me. Thank you, “gentle readers”!

17
Feb
11

2.17.2011 … planning for life …

Great Recession, Great Recovery, colleges, Sewanee: Yea, Sewanee’s right!

In a move likely to reverberate among America’s top-tier private colleges, the University of the South said Wednesday it will slash tuition and fees for the coming school year by 10%, or about $4,600.

Commonly known as Sewanee, for the Tennessee town where it is based, University of the South said the cut represents an acknowledgment of “new economic realities.”

“Higher education is on the verge of pricing itself beyond the reach of more and more families,” John M. McCardell Jr., the university’s president, said in a press release.

If not the first, Sewanee is the largest private school to institute such price cuts in recent years, said Tony Pals, director of communications for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

via University of the South Slashes Tuition, Cites Economy – WSJ.com.

faith and spirituality, culture, family, Nouwen, followup: I loved yesterday’s Nouwen post (see here) about the value of the “intimacy” of the family meal.  I equally enjoyed this followup.

The Barometer of Our Lives

Although the table is a place for intimacy, we all know how easily it can become a place of distance, hostility, and even hatred. Precisely because the table is meant to be an intimate place, it easily becomes the place we experience the absence of intimacy. The table reveals the tensions among us. When husband and wife don’t talk to each other, when a child refuses to eat, when brothers and sisters bicker, when there are tense silences, then the table becomes hell, the place we least want to be.

The table is the barometer of family and community life. Let’s do everything possible to make the table the place to celebrate intimacy.

via February 17, 2011 – The Barometer of Our Lives.

USA, perspective, culture:  It takes an outsider to look at us critically.  What do you think?  Are we a “not exceptionally bright” “beacon of freedom unto the world”?

Americans take pride in standing as the beacon of freedom unto the world. And America is pretty free. However, as Mr Sorens observes, it’s beacon is not exceptionally bright. America comes in sixth in the Fraser Institute’s 2010 “Economic Freedom of the World” rankings, between Chile and Canada. Mr Sorens doesn’t mention it, but matters look worse if we look at the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal’s “2011 Index of Economic Freedom”, which ranks America ninth, just behind Denmark and well behind our frostbitten northern neighbours. It’s worse if we move on to non-economic liberties. Mr Sorens reports that America rates merely average on Amnesty International’s government repression index in the period from 2004-2008. One might come to the defence of the city on the hill by noting that America gets top marks in political rights and civil liberties from Freedom House, but then so do scores of other countries. The Freedom House ratings aren’t very fine-grained. If you think the extent of liberty is not unrelated to the rule of law, you may be interested in America’s place in Transparency International’s latest corruption perceptions index. It’s 22nd, which isn’t bad—better than France!—but not what you’d call exceptional.

via America the not-so-weird: How exceptional is America, really? | The Economist.

2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, media:  Seems they don’t think much of us …

“Seems no major city wants the Democratic convention. It’ll be in Charlotte, N.C. Great idea. The nearest hotel’s in South Carolina.”

“Charlotte is not world class. It is more suited to host the Southern Baptist Convention because it shares the mentality of that ilk of folk. It has no real night life, unless you find drinking with a bunch of hick twinks and talking about football or NASCAR enjoyable. … If your idea of a host city is one of religiosity, racism, racing and wrestling, ya’ll come!”

“Here in L.A. we have no automatic biases. But I have decamped to both towns for coverage and believe me, this is where you’ll find that third of Americans who think evolution’s a crock. What rubes.”

via Don’t sweat the image; some live for negatives – CharlotteObserver.com.

internet, Facebook, culture, psychology: I have seen different sides of people in e-mails and on Facebook … sides that I enjoy more than the person I got to know in person.  Rarely have I disliked someone  because of my internet interaction.  I can see how it might help a shy person.

At a party, bar or restaurant, “I just sit there, hoping someone will talk to me,” he said. “I wait.”

But on Facebook, the 32-year-old Woodbridge resident is Mr. Personality. He constantly refreshes his status, comments on others’ updates, posts pictures, makes jokes and registers his likes. More important, when he sees his digital connections in person, he said, his shyness often disappears.

“There is no doubt that Facebook has improved my life in building relationships with other people,” Chiles said.

Chiles is, in many ways, the face of a counterintuitive new stream of research examining whether social networks, particularly Facebook, are for shy people what water is for the thirsty. The studies, with such titles as “The Influence of Shyness on the Use of Facebook” and “Shyness and Online Social Networking Services,” grapple with an important question: Can the Age of Oversharing bring the shy and lonely out of their cocoons?

“Overall, I think Facebook is a mixed bag,” Cohen said. “The benefits are more obvious, apparent and immediate. But the downsides, at least at first, tend to be less obvious and deeper in the long run. We are really just beginning to understand all of this.”

via Can Facebook help overcome shyness?.

 

07
Feb
11

2.7.2011 … Game over … are the steelers asking “who moved my cheese?” … and gLee was quite enjoyable … a real thriller.

Super Bowl XLV, technology, Facebook, globalization:  I enjoyed my global real-time Facebook shared viewing of the Game.  Thanks Susra from Germany, E from Chapel Hill, C form around the corner … and all the others who posted.  I also learned that one friend’s husband is truly a lifelong Packers’ fan with pictures to prove it, and they would buy Packers tickets if they could even though they live nowhere near Green Bay, and that another friend is friend’s with the Packer’s coach’s sister.  But where was Tim?

me: Game on … Slightly favor packers… Sorry, Tim… are you awake and watching Susra in Germany!

Susra: Absolutely!! It is 03:57 and the Pack is ahead!!!

me: Dirty dancing tune…hmmm

me: So so halftime

me : Touchdown …

E likes this.

Susra: I like as long as you were referring to a GB score!

me: Glad to know you are awake! And yes I am pulling for the Packers.

me: ‎…3 point game …

me: Congrats, packers … And now gLee!

C likes this.

me: Post game … Post gLee … Sleep

Super Bowl XLV, favorite headline:  goes to the Chicago Tribune – “Super Bowl Served with Cheese on Top”  … Green Bay’s paper just said “WORLD CHAMPS.”

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates with linebacker Clay Matthews after their win in Super Bowl XLV. (Matthew Emmons/US Presswire)

Super Bowl served with cheese on top

via Chicago Tribune: Chicago news, sports, weather and traffic – chicagotribune.com.

Super Bowl XLV, advertising, twitter:  It was interesting to watch their tweets … often did not have the same opinion. Don’t you think it is interesting that the WSJ tweeted about the ads … that is business news.

The Wall Street Journal has assembled a panel of experts who will share their thoughts about the best and worst ads on a live blog during the game. Among them:

The Wall Street Journal’s Super Bowl Ad Live Blog kicks off Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET. Check back in here to follow the game that really matters.

via Super Bowl 2011: Your Coming Guide to the Best and Worst Ads – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Super Bowl XLV, advertising, followup, Detroit:  This was my favorite.  YouTube – Chrysler Eminem Super Bowl Commercial – Imported From Detroit. Interestingly it follows up on some clips that I have posted in recent weeks … see here and I referred to this blogpost on 1/24 … but I will admit that I really liked the VW/Darth Vader one, too.

Super XLV, advertising:  If you want to see them all …

The success of the Super Bowl ratings seems synonymous with the commercials themselves.If you want to see a compilation of all of the commercials, YouTube has compiled a great list http://www.youtube.com/adblitz.In the meantime, here are the top 5 to enjoy on your lazy Super Bowl Sunday.

via Lazy Sunday: Super Bowl 2011 Ads Go Viral – On The Scene With Shira – CBS News.

Super Bowl XLV, football, football history: I think I like just about any kind of history.

One of the oldest orthodoxies of football is the notion that the offense, the unit that tries to advance the ball, is the game’s active and creative body—its innovative engine. The defense, under this view, is the instinctive and reactive force, the brainless brute that likes to grind innovators into the sod.

For the Packers and Steelers, the reverse is true. On these teams it’s the defense that innovates. For a quarterback to have any hope of breaching these Maginot Lines, he has to check his creative instincts at the door and learn how to react to what the defense does.

As his career progressed, Mr. LeBeau took the once-gimmicky zone blitz and built an entire system around it—a system based on initiating chaos. It was a bold, risky move that was either going to ruin his career or turn him into a coaching legend. “We just kept sticking with it,” he says.

Nearly every defense in the history of the NFL has been figured out. What makes Mr. LeBeau’s system different, and what has kept it around for nearly 30 years, is that it has no identity. It constantly evolves from season-to-season and game to game. It incorporates elements of many other defenses, giving it the ability to be anything and nothing at the same time. And since he gives some players the freedom to improvise, Mr. LeBeau doesn’t always know what will happen. “We give them parameters and let them create and we’ve got some pretty good creators,” he says. In the end, no amount of studying or game planning can fully prepare an offense for the task. “If the offense can predict, your chances of success go way down,” says Mr. LeBeau.

In recent years, training improvements have allowed bigger football players to get faster. College players who would be considered too small for the NFL are being turned into linebackers. One example is the Steelers’ LaMarr Woodley, who was drafted in 2007. Mr. Woodley, who is 265 pounds, spent most of his college career bowling over offensive linemen en route to the quarterback. Now he’s covering the fastest receivers in the NFL. “It’s easier to find gifted 250-pounders than it is to find gifted 300-pounders,” says Mr. LeBeau.

It’s difficult to get Mr. LeBeau to talk about his masterpiece. When asked about it by reporters this week, he repeatedly dodged the question, giving credit to his players. But the fact that his creation will hog half the airtime at this year’s Super Bowl isn’t entirely lost on him. “I have to say, it’s pretty neat,” he says. “It definitely validates that the system will work.”

via For Steelers, Packers: Defenses Set Agenda – WSJ.com.

Super Bowl XLV, cheerleaders, history:  Didn’t miss them …

But on the professional side of sports the tradition is not as strong and male cheerleaders are non-existent. It’s the women who shimmy and shake in skimpy outfits for football and basketball teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, and are often better described as dance squad members than cheerleaders.

The modern version of the cheerleader began in 1971 when Dallas Cowboys owner Tex Schramm wanted stunning model-like women who could dance like Radio City Rockettes. Ta-da! The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders sizzled onto the football field.

Some fans will send kudos to the Packers and Steelers for saying good-bye to cheerleaders years ago. But for some, pom-pom waving girls on the sidelines are as American as football itself. There’s something to be said for tradition. Just ask the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

via No Cheerleaders at Super Bowl XLV — Sad Day for Tradition.

Super Bowl XLV, music, playlist, lists:  Super Bowl: XLV playlist 2011 | CU Independent.

2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, media: Here is a great summary of posts from around the country and the one I excerpted answered my first question.

… Democrats have not lost the convention host state since 1988, when Michael Dukakis was nominated in Atlanta.

via Democratic National Convention comments from across the U.S. | Charlotte Business Journal.

Christianity, faith and spirituality, statistics:  If these statistics are true then we are definitely being misled as to the relative importance of Christianity in the 2011 CE/AD.

These times we live in have been called a lot of things. But perhaps the most surprising description came Sunday from one of the country’s leading religion scholars.”The most exciting time in Christianity … since the 1st century.”Yes, even more thrilling than the Protestant Reformation, Philip Jenkins told about 75 people at Charlotte’s Westminster Presbyterian Church.The reason: The staggering growth in the number of Christians in Asia, Latin America and especially Africa – a phenomenon he called “a global religious revolution” and one that “reverses a trend that people had been used to for several hundred years.”To back up his claim, Jenkins – the author of a host of influential books, including “The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity” – offered a series of eye-popping statistics and projections.

On Sunday, he told his audience that, right now, the three most Christian regions in the world are Europe, Latin America and Africa – in that order.

But by 2025, as Europe continues down the road of secularism, “Africa and Latin America will be jostling each other for (that) title,” Jenkins said. “By 2050, no doubt, Africa wins.”

Though the United States will continue to be a religious – and predominantly Christian country – it will be immigrants and the children and grandchildren of immigrants who help it stay that way, Jenkins said.

via ‘A religious revolution’ – CharlotteObserver.com.

quotes, Martin Luther King, Charlotte, history:  Enjoyed this article on the development of his speech via sound bites over time and the relationship to Charlotte.

“If you look at every aspect of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, it’s a speech he compiles extemporaneously that he’s been trying out on audiences almost since he became a leader,” Carson said. “The essential message is prophetic … always pointing out the contradiction between what we were supposed to be doing and what we were really doing.

“King said America had great ideals and it wasn’t living up to them – especially in terms of race relations.”

via King’s speech has its roots in Charlotte – CharlotteObserver.com.

entertainment, Peter Pan, Atlanta:  My mom and sister just went and really enjoyed it.

This is a thrilling, funny, moving, unique entertainment quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen.  Both children and adults will love it (the kids in the audience were very attentive—a true tribute!).  There’s really not a bad seat in the house.  Oh—arrive early so you can view a free “100 Years of Peter Pan” exhibit before the show or during intermission.  Allow around 20 minutes.  2011 is turning into quite a year for theatre in Atlanta, and it’s only February!  “Peter Pan” will run through March 20.  Don’t miss.

via Theatre Review: ‘Peter Pan’ at Pemberton Place | Atlanta INtown Paper.

random, children, heart strings:  Doesn’t this cute story just tug at your heart-strings.

One of the three year old girls in Charlie’s class thinks that our little guy is the bee’s knees. Over the weekend she told her five-year old brother, “I want to know where Charlie is?. I haven’t seen him in a long time.” Her brother had a great solution – call 911.

via Putting out a love APB on Charlie – my blog – Ordinary Courage.

Davidson College, update:  No Snew Lake for now!

Davidson was planning on creating a new lake to satisfy this law, but the creation of the lake would have pushed back the progress for the new dorm(s). The college has received, however, permission from the county to create a temporary solution to the storm water problem. Davidson will now create detentions basins around campus, therefore opening the way for the construction of the new living spaces.

via Board of Trustees Discusses Building Plans, Tuition Increases and Promotes 7 Professors – The Davidsonian – News.

randomThe ultimate anti-theft device: Replace new tech with old tech no one wants – chicagotribune.com.

public art, Chicago, graffiti:  This graffiti is not acceptable … and they can’t spell.

Was it supposed to say “Sox Bites?”

via Harry Caray statue outside Wrigley defaced – chicagotribune.com.

Facebook, parenting:  I let my children be … assume they will friend when they are ready to be mature.

On its face, Darcy Harper’s year-old Facebook friendship with her son Tyler might look like a match made in cyber-heaven.

Indeed, the same could be true for Madelyn Spiegelman and 16-year-old Clyde Stewart-Mathews, and Andrea and Spencer Shelton.

But the truth is those friendships were forged with a stern caveat: friend me or no Facebook.

“That’s just the rule,” said Spiegelman of Dunwoody. “You either do it or you’re not going to be on Facebook.”

Turns out such parental guidelines aren’t all that unusual. According to a new study on social networking trends and practices, 16 percent of teens say friending their parents was a precondition for joining the social networking site.

via Parents to kids: Friend me or no Facebook  | ajc.com.

03
Feb
11

2.3.2011 … I forgot to say Happy Tutu Day, yesterday (2-2) … and Happy Chinese New Year today (the year of the hare) …

Chinese New Year, history, me: Chinese New Year is Here!  The Year of the Rabbit begins on February 3rd.

Chinese New Year – often called Chinese Lunar New Year although it actually is lunisolar – is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. Despite its winter occurrence, in China it is known as “Spring Festival,” the literal translation of the Chinese name 春节 (Pinyin: Chūn Jié), owing to the difference between Western and traditional Chinese methods for computing the seasons. The festival begins on the first day of the first month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: Zhēng Yuè) in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. Chinese New Year’s Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, is known as Chú Xī (除夕) or “Eve of the Passing Year.”

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese Lunisolar Calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most.

via Chinese New Year – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I always knew 1960 was the year of the rat .. and since this year begins on 2-3, I thought maybe I am the year before, the year of the pig … :(.  But it doesn’t matter, I just checked and in 1960, the Chinese New Year was on january 28 … I am still a rat, drats …

28 January 1960 – 14 February 1961: Metal Rat

via Rat (zodiac) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

yesterday, International Tutu Day:… And how could I forget … Yesterday(2-2) was  International Tutu Day!  Here is a picture of me and a Tutu … but not the type you wear. 🙂

… for some fun shots … look at Claudia’s website on 2-2 via Tutu.Com.

followup, Groundhog Day, Candlemas:  Thanks, Ann, for setting me straight.

It’s no accident that Groundhog Day and Candlemas are celebrated together, for both signify the triumph of light over darkness, spring over winter.

Candlemas was originally a Celtic festival marking the “cross-quarter day,” or midpoint of the season. The Sun is halfway on its advance from the winter solstice to the spring equinox. The Christian church expanded this festival of light to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary and her presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple. Candlelit processions accompanied the feast day.

. . .

A bear brought the forecast to the people of France and England, while those in Germany looked to a badger for a sign. In the 1800s, German immigrants to Pennsylvania brought their Candlemas legends with them. Finding no badgers but lots of groundhogs, or woodchucks, there, they adapted the New World species to fit the lore.

via The Lead.

followup, people, Willie B., Atlanta Zoo, Atlanta, public art, history:  Don’t you just love this life-size sculpture of Willie B. at the Zoo?

Willie B. was a silverback Gorilla who lived at Zoo Atlanta for 39 years, from 1961 until his death in February of 2000.[1]

He fathered five gorilla babies at Zoo Atlanta: Kudzoo, Olympia, Sukari, Kidogo, and Lulu. Kidogo, the only male offspring, took on the name Willie B., Jr. after his father died, taking his place as the heir.

He was kept in isolation for 27 years, until 1988, with only a television and a tire swing to keep him company. As a way to modernize the facilities, Willie B. was moved to an outside exhibit and allowed to socialize and raise a family.[2] He then embraced his role as silverback and leader of the family.[1]

More than 8,000 people attended the memorial ceremony held in his honor, and the zoo now has a life-size bronze statue of him on permanent display outside the Gorilla exhibit. His remains were cremated. 80% of his remains were kept in a bronze box in the bronze statue at Zoo Atlanta and the other 20% were flown back to the African jungle.[3] The Atlanta Silverbacks soccer team is named in his honor. He was named after the former mayor of Atlanta, William Berry Hartsfield.There is also a book written about the great sliver back.

via Willie B. – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Egypt Uprising, Davidson College, students, followup: » Davidson Students Evacuated Safely from Egypt.

archeology, Israel: New find …

The Byzantine church located southwest of Jerusalem, excavated over the last two months, will be visible only for another week before archaeologists cover it again with soil for its own protection.

The small basilica with an exquisitely decorated floor was active between the fifth and seventh centuries A.D., said the dig’s leader, Amir Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority. He said the floor was “one of the most beautiful mosaics to be uncovered in Israel in recent years.”

via 1,500-year-old church found in Israel  | ajc.com.

2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, followup:

“Charlotte,” she wrote, “is a city marked by its Southern charm, warm hospitality and an ‘up by the bootstraps’ mentality that has propelled the city forward as one of the fastest-growing in the South.”

The convention will bring President Obama to a county that helped him become the first Democratic presidential candidate in 32 years to carry North Carolina and drive a wedge into the traditionally solidly red South.

His 100,000-vote margin in Mecklenburg County helped him carry North Carolina by a scant 14,000 votes out of 4.3 million. It was his narrowest margin of victory in any state.

via Democratic National Convention puts Charlotte, South in spotlight – CharlotteObserver.com.

media, iPad:  First iPad only newspaper … ok, I’ll try it … I just wish it were being introduced by someone other than Murdoch.

Rupert Murdoch’s latest media venture, an iPad-only newspaper called the Daily, has gone live in the App Store.

It’s a digital news publication with original content created exclusively for iPad. It covers the world, USA Today style, with news, sports, pop culture, entertainment, games, tech, gossip, the works.

Pricing is $0.99 per week or $39.99 per year.

via Games N Gadgets: iPad only newspaper, The Daily, launches.

random, Gordon Strayhorn, people, Camp Illahee: Some people are crazy … and they often run camps … Camp Illahee Sliding Rock Challenge-January | Camp Illahee Summer Camp for Girls.

travel, NYC, lists:  I liked this one …

What to do

Imbibe. Before dinner, take the five-minute walk to new cocktail bar Weather Up Tribeca, which focuses on specialty drinks. Try the Weather Up Jr., a mix of cognac, champagne and amaretto.

Tap Your Toes. Catch a live jazz performance every Monday and Wednesday night at B Flat, a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The low lighting, leather benches, and delicious experimental cocktails set the tone for a romantic rendezvous.

Vintage Finds. Head north to shopping mecca Soho for a little retail therapy. What Goes Around Comes Around offers vintage Chanel pieces and a large selection of vintage Levi’s, as well as old rock & roll T-shirts and an in-house collection.

Stroll. Take a walk on the High Line, an abandoned elevated railroad track turned urban park.

Love in an Elevator. What’s more romantic than a trip to the Empire State Building’s 86th-floor observatory?

via Jetsetter.com – The Greenwich Hotel.

culture, diversity:  I think this acceptance by young people will be great for our country.

The crop of students moving through college right now includes the largest group of mixed-race people ever to come of age in the United States, and they are only the vanguard: the country is in the midst of a demographic shift driven by immigration and intermarriage.

via More Young Americans Identify as Mixed Race – NYTimes.com.

recipes, diner food, lists:  I think I will try this one first!

SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH SHRIMP I know of no dish that exploits the texture of shrimp better. (Jan. 17, 2007)

via The Minimalist Chooses 25 of His Favorites – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession, globalization:  I like to read both sides of an issue …

But then, American conservatives have long had their own private Europe of the imagination — a place of economic stagnation and terrible health care, a collapsing society groaning under the weight of Big Government. The fact that Europe isn’t actually like that — did you know that adults in their prime working years are more likely to be employed in Europe than they are in the United States? — hasn’t deterred them. So we shouldn’t be surprised by similar tall tales about European debt problems.

via Their Own Private Europe – NYTimes.com.

meditation, faith and spirituality, bucket list:  Can you imagine John and I going on a 10 day silent meditation retreat!!!  Actually I would love to go … John would rather run a marathon everyday for 10 days and lose all his toenails … no kidding!  Maybe I can get Allison to go with me!

Over the December holidays, my husband went on a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Not my idea of fun, but he came back rejuvenated and energetic.

via How Meditation May Change the Brain – NYTimes.com.

health, diet, globalization: Interesting … I will read his other article on these issues.

For decades, Americans believed that we had the world’s healthiest and safest diet. We worried little about this diet’s effect on the environment or on the lives of the animals (or even the workers) it relies upon. Nor did we worry about its ability to endure — that is, its sustainability.

That didn’t mean all was well. And we’ve come to recognize that our diet is unhealthful and unsafe. Many food production workers labor in difficult, even deplorable, conditions, and animals are produced as if they were widgets. It would be hard to devise a more wasteful, damaging, unsustainable system.

Encourage and subsidize home cooking. (Someday soon, I’ll write about my idea for a new Civilian Cooking Corps.) When people cook their own food, they make better choices. When families eat together, they’re more stable. We should provide food education for children (a new form of home ec, anyone?), cooking classes for anyone who wants them and even cooking assistance for those unable to cook for themselves.

I’ll expand on these issues (and more) in the future, but the essential message is this: food and everything surrounding it is a crucial matter of personal and public health, of national and global security. At stake is not only the health of humans but that of the earth.

via A Food Manifesto for the Future – NYTimes.com.

changes, 2011, mainstream, lists:  Well, I am already doing many of these thing … If you havent tried black rice, it is a Teague favorite … kinda “nutty” in texture.

5. Black Rice

CNN asks, is black rice the new brown? Like brown rice, it’s full of antioxidant-rich bran, but it also contains “anthocyanins” which have been linked to reducing blood levels of LDL cholesterol and helping to fight heart disease. Lotus Foods first introduced black rice to the U.S. market in 1995. They explain that the ancient grain was once eaten exclusively by the emperors of China. Today you can find it supermarkets like Whole Foods. We expect to see it on more grocery-store shelves and restaurant menus in the coming year

via 10 Things That Will Go Mainstream in 2011.

Egypt Uprising, media, prayers:  More prayers for all involved.

Anderson Cooper and his crew were attacked by supporters of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo early Wednesday, according to the Huffington Post. CNN Coverage Manager Steve Brusk tweeted that Cooper “was punched 10 times in the head as pro-Mubarak mob surrounded him and his crew trying to cover demonstration.”

Cooper was covering dueling demonstrations between pro-Mubarak supporters and those calling for the president to be removed from office when he and his crew came under attack. No major injuries were reported, and the anchor spoke to CNN’s ‘American Morning’ early Wednesday about the attack. “My team were set upon by the crowd,” Cooper said via satellite from a Cairo hotel. “There was no rhyme or reason to it — it was just people looking for a fight, looking to make a point and punching

via Anderson Cooper Attacked By Protesters in Egypt | PopEater.com.

02
Feb
11

2.2.2011 … Punxsutawney Phil: No shadow. Early spring! … Happy Groundhog Day (a strictly secular holiday :) )… and Candlemas, too.

Groundhog Day:

Punxsutawney Phil has been prognosticating about when spring will come since the 1880s, and he’s developed quite a legend in the meantime.

via Punxsutawney Phil tweets: five little-known facts about Groundhog Day 2011 – There is only one Punxsutawney Phil – CSMonitor.com.

Punxsutawney Phil: No shadow. Early spring!

via Facebook.

 

Candlemas Day, Groundhog Day, worship:  I’ll give it to the Episcopalians for making sure I know that Groundhog Day is a “strictly a secular holiday!”

FEAST OF THE PURIFICATION OF THE VIRGIN

CANDLEMAS DAY (FEB 2)

The events commemorated today are recorded in Luke 2:22-39.

Counting forward from December 25 as Day One, we find that Day Forty is February 2. A Jewish woman is in semi-seclusion for 40 days after giving birth to a son, and accordingly it is on February 2 that we celebrate the coming of Mary and Joseph with the infant Jesus to the Temple at Jerusalem (1) to offer sacrifice on behalf of Mary to mark the end of her seclusion (see Le 12:1-8), and (2) to ransom or redeem (buy back) Jesus as a first-born male (see Ex 13:11-13; 22:29; Nu 18:15-16; Dt 15:19). As they did so, they were greeted by the aged Simeon. In a Sunday-School pageant, I once saw, the narrator said, “And now Simeon bursts into a spontaneous song of praise, assisted by the Temple Choir.” His song, called the Nunc Dimittis, has always had a prominent role in Christian worship. It has often been rendered in verse. I append one example.

Because an old reading for this festival contains the line (Zephaniah 1:12), “I will search Jerusalem with candles,” the day is also known as Candlemas, and sometimes observed with a candle-lit procession. On the other hand, Groundhog Day (“If the groundhog (or woodchuck, a kind of marmot, which burrows and hibernates) sees his shadow on 2 February, there will be six more weeks of winter.”) is strictly a secular holiday, brought to the United States and Canada by German immigrants.

via Feast of the Presentation (Purification of the Virgin Mary; Candlemas Day).

RIP, Willie B, childhood,  Atlanta: Oh, I didn’t know … One of my favorite childhood memories was going to see Willie B.  I even took my kids to see him in his new habitat in the 90s.

On this day in 2000, Willie B., Zoo Atlanta’s famous resident gorilla, passed away.

By: Atlanta History Center

CU – Boulder, students, kith/kin:  So now I know what Boulder students do after graduation!

The University of Colorado at Boulder is ranked the No. 1 school recruiting undergraduate students to serve in the Peace Corps.  According to a CU news release, 117 students are serving around the world this year.

In the CU news release, Chancellor Philip DiStefano said he is glad CU is contributing to the global community.

“I am delighted that our emphasis on civic engagement as part of the learning experience at CU-Boulder has resulted in service-oriented graduates contributing to their global community,” DiStefano said in the news release. “Service learning and civically engaged graduates are a cornerstone of our Flagship 2030 strategic plan and it is gratifying for the university community to realize that our vision is becoming a reality.”

via CU ranked No. 1 for graduates serving in the Peace Corps | CU Independent.

Super Bowl, sex trafficking, culture:  Yesterday I posted a friend’s blogpost about the feasting aspect of the Super Bowl … I guess the fans feast in other ways, too.

While football fans are eagerly anticipating the Feb. 6 Super Bowl showdown in Dallas, some state officials are gearing up for the big game’s dark side: the surge in human trafficking that tends to accompany major sports and entertainment events. “What we’ve learned is that sexual trafficking, sexual exploitation of children in particular, is all about supply and demand,” says Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. With more than 100,000 fans descending on Dallas, that demand is going to be great. There is a “looming potential explosion of human trafficking around the Super Bowl,” says Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is expecting hundreds of girls and women to be brought to the area.
Past Super Bowls have borne this out. In the wake of 2009’s game in Tampa, Florida’s Department of Children and Families took in 24 children who’d been trafficked to the city for sex work. Given that Texas, according to Abbott, is second only to California when it comes to trafficking, the figures for Dallas could be even worse.

via The Super Bowl of Sex Trafficking – Newsweek.

2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, kudos: … “beautiful, energetic, innovative and diverse city we are building”  – we have some work to do … “few singular events in the U.S. rival the domestic and worldwide media exposure of a major political convention: a presidential inauguration, a royal wedding, the Super Bowl and the Olympics.” … I am not so sure about that one …. But kudos nonetheless to my home city!

“We’re honored that the Democratic National Committee chose Charlotte to host its 2012 convention,” said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. “Thanks to the hard work and support of so many throughout our community, we have an unmatched opportunity to show the world what a beautiful, energetic, innovative and diverse city we are building in Charlotte. As we tell the story of Charlotte, and what a great place our city, state and region are to live and do business, we also will tell the story of America to our fellow citizens and our neighbors around the world.”

Duke Energy Corp. CEO Jim Rogers, who co-chairs the Charlotte In 2012 organizing committee with Mayor Foxx, added, “Charlotte’s selection clearly elevates our city to a new level in national and world stature. Only a few singular events in the U.S. rival the domestic and worldwide media exposure of a major political convention: a presidential inauguration, a royal wedding, the Super Bowl and the Olympics. The economic and reputational significance of being chosen for this honor cannot be overstated.”

via Charlotte to Host 2012 Democratic National Convention | Charlotte in 2012.

Apple, apps, lists:  A new list for me to checkout! Full List – 50 Best iPhone Apps 2011 – TIME.

Great Recession, consumers, superlatives, Wilmington NC:  Thumbs down on this one Wilmington, NC:

Where are people most addicted to their plastic? Apparently it’s Wilmington, whose residents seem to love (or maybe just need) their credit cards more than anywhere else in the country.

That’s according to data from Equifax, one of the national companies that compiles credit reports on consumers. According to a just-released study from Equifax, people in Wilmington owe an average of 17.26 percent of their income to credit cards, more than any other U.S. city. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, or maybe it’s something in the water, but the seaside haven is also the hometown of two of the three N.C.-based banks that have failed during the financial crisis.

via Wilmington tops the list for U.S. credit card debt – CharlotteObserver.com.

blogposts, quotes, Winston Churchill, C.S. Lewis, graphics: Two of my favorite blogs have great quotes by great folks this week.

“To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real.”
Winston Churchill

The Happiness Project.

-and-

quote of the week – cs lewis – my blog – Ordinary Courage.  And don’t you like her graphics!

Great Recession, Financial Meltdown, BofA:  Well I think Moynihan came out ok given the Bank’s performance.

It was a tough year for Bank of America, what with the foreclosure mess and a sagging stock price. Its chief executive, Brian T. Moynihan, nonetheless received $10 million in his first year on the job.

Mr. Moynihan will get a bonus of $9.05 million in the form of restricted stock, along with a base salary of $950,000, bringing his total pay to $10 million for 2010. In 2009, before Mr. Moynihan took over as chief executive, he received a total of $6.1 million in compensation.

Mr. Moynihan’s base salary did not go up, however, and he received no cash bonus, a reflection of Bank of America’s slow recovery from the financial crisis, when it received two bailouts from Washington totaling $45 billion. What is more, Mr. Moynihan will have to fulfill performance goals to earn the full $9.05 million.

Other top officers of the company did receive a cash bonus of $900,000, but it will be paid in monthly installments and is tied to the stock price.

“All of the year-end compensation was deferred and tied to some measure of stockholder value,” said Bob Stickler, a spokesman for the company.

via Brian Moynihan Gets $10 Million as Bank of America Chief – NYTimes.com.

icons, places, Athens GA, REM:

Wilmot Greene sat among charred remains of his iconic Georgia Theatre recalling the fire that reduced it from an alternative rock icon to rusted steel girders and walls of black bricks.

A year after an unexplained fire gutted the century-old musical cradle of bands such as R.E.M., the B-52s, Indigo Girls and Widespread Panic, Greene still kicks himself for missing Rockinwood play the last show before the fire. He says he’d missed only about 20 shows since buying the place in ’04.

via Alt-rock icon struggles to make a comeback after fire – CNN.com.

green, Great Recovery, history, recycling:  Actually recycling a town …

And that’s just the start. Sempra has big designs on being a major player in the green energy game. But as the wind whips through my hair and I study the immense emptiness all around, I can’t help but ask, “Why is this such a good location for such a thing?”

“First, there is a lot of available, flat land,” Crider says. “Second, it is incredibly sunny. This region gets about 330 days of sunshine per year. And third, there’s existing transmission lines which provide access to major markets throughout the western United States.”

Which, as is so often the case, raises another question: Why are those lines way out here?

To find that answer, you have to drive 20 minutes to struggling Boulder City, population about 16,000. The town is uniquely poised to cash in on the new energy boom precisely because it was built on old energy technology; during another time when the economy and energy collided; when thousands of jobless men came here during the Great Depression to undertake an unprecedented power-generating project.

“This town is here because it was a federal reservation to build Hoover Dam.”

via Struggling Nevada town sees sunnier times ahead – CNN.com.

globalization, poverty, social responsibility, solutions:  “Some 1.6 billion people around the world lack reliable access to electricity.”

The first decades of the 21st century will be remembered as the ones in which the world finally began to grapple with global development. The likes of Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono — TIME’s Persons of the Year in 2005 — have channeled funds to fighting malaria, TB and HIV, while supporting agriculture, infrastructure and even governance. But there’s one obstacle to development that has too often been forgotten, a blind spot that does more than almost anything to keep the poor poor: they don’t have electric power.

Some 1.6 billion people around the world lack reliable access to electricity. That means they don’t have electric lights for students to study by at night. They can’t easily charge cell phones — assuming they even have them — which means they can’t easily create markets or sell goods. Without regular power, their hospitals are severely limited — after all, you can’t even keep vaccines cold without a refrigerator. Agriculture is essentially peasantry if farmers lack powered machinery. As long as those hundreds of millions remain in the dark, they will remain poor — yet solving energy poverty isn’t even one of the U.N.’s ambitious Millennium Development Goals.

via Clean Energy: How It Can Help Light Up the Developing World – TIME.

art, google street view, art galleries:  I still would rather travel there, but I think this is a great idea. YouTube – Art Project – Preview.

Now that Google has conquered a majority of the earth’s major streets with its Google Street View project, the company is starting to move inside. It’s  creating the Google Art Project, a virtual equivalent of 17 major art museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Britain and the National Gallery in London, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, among many others.

via Google Takes Street View Into Art Museums – NYTimes.com.

Egypt Uprising, titles: “The Last Pharoah” …

Hosni Mubarak: The Last Pharaoh – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Egypt Uprising, media, twitter:

With Egypt’s last remaining internet service provider taken offline, the country’s citizens have resorted to old school telephone technology to establish limited connections to the outside world.

Several internet service providers outside of Egypt have established dial-up phone numbers that can be used for pokey-yet-usable connections like the ones that have slowly died out in many developed countries as broadband internet becomes more prevalent and less expensive.

And Google and Twitter teamed up to build a speak-to-tweet service that allows people inside Egypt to call one of three international phone numbers and leave a voicemail that’ll be transcribed and sent out over Twitter. The messages themselves can be heard at the Speak To Tweet Twitter page.

via Egyptians Sidestep Internet Blackouts with Landline Phones – Techland – TIME.com.

Egypt Uprising – getting out, students:

Hilliard said that although classes at the American University have not begun, four students are currently in Cairo awaiting the start of their semester. Three students will be leaving Cairo, while one is still deciding.

“We expect three of those students will return home within the next 24-36 hours, and to be in a safe location in Europe within the next 12-24 hours,” Hilliard said. “The fourth student is thinking over the option of staying or going, and has not made the decision yet.”

via CU-Boulder’s Study Abroad Program in Cairo cancelled | CU Independent.

Egypt Uprising – victims:

Google’s head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa has been missing in Egypt since last week, according to multiple news outlets.

Wael Ghonim, who has headed the company’s marketing in the region since January 2010 , has not been seen for several days as protests continue to swell in Egypt, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Times reports that Ghonim was a guest speaker at an Al Jazeera forum in Januray and that the news agency had been contacted by Ghonim’s family and friends.

“His wife is appealing for any information on his whereabouts,” said an Al Jazeera blog post on its English website.

Google declined to confirm to the Times if Ghonim was in fact missing. A spokeswoman told the newspaper: “We care deeply about the safety of our employees, but to protect their privacy, we don’t comment on the individually.”

via Google Exec Reported Missing in Egypt – World Watch – CBS News.

csr, Egypt Uprising – getting out:

Coca-Cola Co. closed its Cairo office starting Sunday. The office “will not reopen until security in the city improves,’’ said Kenth Kaerhoeg, a spokesman for the big beverage business in Atlanta.  “The safety of our employees is our primary concern and we are taking all necessary measures to ensure everyone’s safety.”

Mr. Kaerhoeg declined to offer any details about possible evacuations or the exact number of Coke staffers in Egypt.  An Egyptian bottler operating as its local franchisee owns eight bottling plants there.

Egyptian operations of food giant Nestle SA “have been temporarily interrupted due to ongoing political unrest across the country,’’ said Nina Backes, a spokeswoman for the owner of brands such as KitKat, Gerber baby food and Nescafe coffee.  “The company is currently evacuating the families of around 20 expatriates,’’ she added.

Ms. Backes said its three Egyptian factories “have temporarily been shut down.’’  She declined to say how family members are being evacuated – nor whether Nestle might also evacuate expatriates.  “We continue to monitor the situation closely,’’ she added.

Nestle’s Egypt unit has three factories  and 3,000 employees.  It began factory operations there in 1988.  Nestle, based in Vevey, Switzerland,  is the world’s largest food company by sales.

Unrest in Egypt also is affecting U.S. companies without permanent offices there. An Occidental Petroleum Corp. spokesman said ten professionals on a temporary Egyptian assignment cut short their stay and left Cairo Sunday on chartered aircraft arranged by the company without difficulty. “They left sooner than anticipated,’’ he continued.

He declined to disclose why the Oxy Pete staffers went to Egypt several weeks ago.  “There was no definitive time frame” for their abbreviated business trip, the spokesman said.

via Coke, Nestle Report Egypt Shutdowns – Dispatch – WSJ.

Egypt Uprising – impact, Syria, Middle East:

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad may face mass protests this weekend from opposition groups.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Syrian opposition groups are organizing protests against the government
The calls are the latest call for demonstrations in the wake of Tunisian protests
Those protests helped topple the Tunisian government and spark widespread unrest in Egypt
(CNN) — What began as a popular uprising that toppled the Tunisian government before spreading into Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan and, of course, Egypt, may now be headed for Syria.
Opposition movements in Syria are calling for mass protests on Saturday against the rule of President Bashar Al-Assad.
The groups are organizing on Facebook, with several pages promoting protests in Damascus, Aleppo and other cities.
Protest organizers want better living standards, human rights improvements and a greater voice for youth, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-based organization that studies and translates news accounts and social-media postings.

It’s unclear how many people might join the protests. A few thousand people had expressed their support for the movement on the Facebook pages, some of them undoubtedly from outside the country, the research institute said.

via Unrest in North Africa and Middle East may spread to Syria – CNN.com.

Egypt Uprising  – “Youthquake”, new terms:

It’s 11:30 on Tuesday morning and the dusty office space around Adil is buzzing with the idealism of two-dozen young professionals, many of them juggling four cell phones at once. They’re lawyers, accountants and web designers. They wear jeans and flip flops, colorful headscarves, and the black and white checkered keffiyahs associated with the Palestinian intifadeh. Today they are among the country’s core activists who shoulder the responsibility for the largest Egyptian uprising in more than 50 years.

Welcome to the nerve center of the Arab world’s latest rebels. The 6th of April is one of several youth activist groups who have helped to bring the nearly three decade regime of President Hosni Mubarak to its knees. It was formed in the wake of a massive labor strike on the 6th of April 2008, becoming since then the group that made Egyptians under 30 a force to be reckoned with.

via Egypt’s Youthquake: At a Nerve Center of the Revolution – TIME.

art, Davidson, Davidson College, Herb Jackson, art galleries, NYC, kudos: Kudos to Herb Jackson!

Riding the Phoenix by Herb Jackson

Riding the Phoenix by Herb Jackson

In case you have your snow boots ready and are traveling to NYC, be sure to plan your trip for mid-February to catch Herb Jackson’s art exhibit at the Claire Oliver Gallery on 513 West 26th Street (just off 10th Avenue).  The opening will be Thursday, Feb. 17, from 6-8 p.m. at the gallery.  For a digital preview of Herb’s paintings, access http://www.claireoliver.com and select the heading “upcoming” before clicking on his exhibition.  Congratulations, Herb, on your continued artistic success.

via Rabbi and fiancee’s love story makes a Times Sq. billboard | DavidsonNews.net.

health, obesity, fad diets:  Another new fad diet?

For more than 25 years, De Vany has been an advocate of what he calls “evolutionary fitness”: a regimen of low-carb eating and interval- or cross-training workouts (with periodic fasting) aimed at controlling insulin. But he has also become the grandfather of the growing Paleo movement, a health philosophy built around the belief that modern life — dating from the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago — is simply alien to our genes. Believers say that only by returning to a diet of wild game and fresh produce, eliminating grains and dairy, and exercising in short, intense bursts, can we thrive in a world of escalators and cheese fries.

via Paleo Diet: ‘New Evolution Diet’ Author De Vany on Food and Exercise – TIME.

media, twitter:  I follow quite a few magazines and newspapers on twitter (where do you think I get my clips?), so I am very disappointed that the most followed is People magazine.

There are eight magazine brands with more than a million followers, and 14 with more than half a million, while the newspaper industry has just two: the New York Times (2,882,697) and Wall Street Journal (618,751). Inspired by a survey done by The Wrap last fall, we decided to take an updated look at the magazines with the most Twitter followers.

The following list of most followed magazines was culled at the end of January (follower counts were taken on Jan. 31). For about 50 titles, the follower counts were compared to a similar count conducted in October, to see how their counts grew over the last three months. Among the top 25, Rolling Stone (#25) and The New Yorker (#14) both grew about 30 percent in terms of followers, while the Economist (26 percent) was not too far behind.

via The Most-Followed Magazines on Twitter – emedia and Technology @ FolioMag.com.

health, obesity: You would think we could solve this one …

Obesity drugs are dead. Orexigen Therapeutics(OREX_) is done. Arena Pharmaceuticals(ARNA_) is a corpse. Vivus(VVUS_) is in an irreversible coma, waiting for someone to pull the plug.

The only silver lining from Tuesday’s outright and devastating rejection of Orexigen’s obesity drug Contrave is that investors need not waste time or money any longer speculating on which of these three companies will be the first to get their drug approved. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made it crystal clear that it has serious problems with the entire obesity drug field and that none of these drugs — Contrave, lorcaserin or Qnexa — have weight-loss benefits that justify the safety risks.

via Obesity Drugs: The Road to Perdition – TheStreet.




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