Posts Tagged ‘Civil War

03
Jul
13

7.3.13 … Gettysburg: Burying the hatchet … WSJ Startup of the Year … The Most America-est Hot Dog … Paula Deen … 3-D printing: We’re not far off from ­people being able to print their own gloves or golf balls … American culture and our love of driving …

Battle of Gettysburg, burying the hatchet, reunions, anniversaries, Civil War:  What a nice gesture … would it not be wonderful if the nation really could bury the hatchet?

Mental Floss ‏@mental_floss 37mAt the 50th Gettysburg reunion in 1913, two men purchased a hatchet, walked to the site where their regiments had fought, and buried it.

via 38 Twitter.

Startups, WSJ Startup of the Year, Who’s Who of the #WSJSOTY Startups, The Accelerators – WSJ: Kudos!

The 24 businesses vying for the title of WSJ Startup of the Year are working to influence everything from taste buds to sight-seeing experiences.

Last week, WSJ Startup of the Year kicked off by showcasing the mentors, including Sir Richard Branson and Nina Zagat. This week, we’re takingtime to learn more about each startup through reviewing their self-generated video profiles.

Here’s a brief rundown on the 24 competitors …

via Who’s Who of the #WSJSOTY Startups! – The Accelerators – WSJ.

 

The Most America-est Hot Dog, Boar’s Head tubesteaks,  cornbread batter,  deep-fried, duck fat, peaches & cream slaw,  proprietary chili sauce, mustard, Thrillist Nation:  Once again … out there!

 

The Most American Hot Dog Ever-Say hello to maybe the greatest hot dog ever created

After a grueling day and a half of voting as 16 fierce and delicious competitors fought it out, the truth is mightily apparent: Atlanta’s bearded wonder and Top Chef alum Kevin Gillespie has created The Most America-est Hot Dog. It starts with Boar’s Head tubesteaks that get covered in cornbread batter and deep-fried, before getting slapped on a bun that’s been broiled in duck fat, then covered in peaches & cream slaw and his proprietary chili sauce and, to prove he’s really American, mustard.

via The Most America-est Hot Dog winner – Thrillist Nation.

Paula Deen, Motion to Dismiss, standing, Supreme Court, Tal Kopan – POLITICO.com:

The celebrity chef’s lawyers filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the case against her based on standing, citing the court’s ruling on the Proposition 8 case last week, according to news reports.

A woman is suing Deen and her brother for an alleged hostile work environment at one of her restaurants, which included racism and harassment. Deen’s lawyers said Monday in their filing that because the woman is white, she doesn’t have standing before the court to claim she was affected by racism.

The motion cites Hollingsworth v. Perry, in which the Supreme Court ruled last week that the proponents of Prop 8 bringing the appeal to the court weren’t legally able to, as they didn’t have standing.

via Paula Deen pins hopes on Supreme Court – Tal Kopan – POLITICO.com.

3-D printing, outdoor gear, Design and Tech | OutsideOnline.com:  this just interests me …

In many respects, 3-D printing works just like 2-D printing. Guided by a digital blueprint, a 3-D printer deposits layer upon layer of raw material on a flat surface, the same way your ink-jet deposits pigment on ­paper. The difference: the machines squirt out plastics or metals in powder or liquid form. ­Extremely thin layers are ­melted together with lasers or bond as they cool, and the result is a seamless, solid object.

Printers are still mostly ­limited to materials like plastic resin and stainless steel, which don’t offer the quality and performance of, say, carbon fiber. And they can’t come anywhere close to competing with mass-­ production systems that allow companies like Burton to churn out a snowboard binding every two hours. But boutique brands and some geeked-out consumers are already fabricating custom gear via third-party printers. A handful of independent designers have used this formula for accessories like smartphone mounts and ankle braces, and one amateur rider in Germany even printed his own bike-light clamp after a store-bought one didn’t mount properly on his bike.

“We’re not far off from ­people being able to print their own gloves or golf balls,” says Bruce Bradshaw, director of marketing for Stratasys, a 3-D-printing company in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Burton’s Barbieri takes an even more optimistic view: “If you can design it on a computer, you can have it in your hand.”

via Hot Off the Press: How 3-D Printing is Revolutionizing Outdoor Gear | Design and Tech | OutsideOnline.com.

American culture, car driving, statistics, love of driving, Energy Ticker – MarketWatch:

We may have reached a peak in miles driven per person in the U.S., but car ownership may have not yet peaked.

The conclusion is from commodity analyst Matt Smith’s, at Schneider Electric, who distilled two recent reports about driving habits in the U.S., one by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and another by the U.S. PIRG.

Some of the interesting tidbits he gleaned: in 2011, only 67% of young people — 16- to 34-year-olds — had a license, the lowest since 1963. And drivers in that age group drove 23% fewer miles in 2009 than in 2001.

During that same period, the number of passenger miles traveled on public transportation by 16-to-34-year-olds increased 40%.  As a whole, U.S. residents took nearly 10% more trips via public transportation in 2011 than in 2005.

The number of cars owned peaked in 2008 at 236 million, with the Great Recession likely to blame for the drop in subsequent years. A growing U.S. population, however, “means we will likely see a higher number of vehicles on the road in the future,” Smith writes.

via ‘Peak car’? Americans’ love of driving wanes – Energy Ticker – MarketWatch.

*for you dear brother … I will try the old format once again …

11
Feb
13

2.11.13 … What does a Pope do in retirement? …

Pope Benedict XVI , Bishop of Rome Emeritus, retirement, legal issues, papal enclave, twitter:  I don’t think anyone was expecting this … I woke up early today and was immediately hit with the news that the Pope was going to retire effective 2.28.13.  And i immediate wondered out loud on FB, “So the Pope is going to resign. What does a Pope do in retirement?”  Noting that, according to BR:

“The last pope to resign was Gregory XII, who left the papacy in 1415 to end what was known as the Western Schism among numerous competitors for the papacy.”

My pundit friends went into action …

BT: Invite him to bingo

MP: Retired Popes fly around in their cool hats with their flying nuns.

 And then the twitters started tow tweet …

Nate Silver
@fivethirtyeight
No pope has resigned since 1415, which is also the last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning record.

Conan O’Brien Presents: Team Coco

The Pope resigned earlier today & Dan Brown has already written two thrillers about it.

via The Pope resigned….

Team Coco ‏@TeamCoco

Strange but true: for over 2000 years, Cardinals have picked the new Pope via rock/paper/scissors.

But my favorite was the husband of a friend …

David McDaniel ‏@DMcDaniel

Poor Notre Dame. They lose the BCS championship, then the Manti Te’o thing. Now they face the 2013 season with a rookie pope.

And the political cartoons … field day …

.

via The Platzner Post

But there are lots of interesting issues given that the last pope to retire was Gregory XII, who left the papacy in 1415 …

Q: How does one refer to a retired pope?

Benedict XVI would technically retain the title, Bishop of Rome Emeritus. “I doubt he would use the papal titles, but that’s something to be decided on,” said Father Kaslyn.

via A Legal Guide To Papal Resignation – Law Blog – WSJ.

And the consensus is … all bets are off.

The papal conclave—the secretive meeting of Roman Catholic cardinals to elect a new pope—is expected to start shortly after the end of February, when Pope Benedict XVI, at 85 years old, said Monday he would step down.

The more than 120 voting cardinals will likely debate whether to select a low-key gradualist or someone who is going to govern with grand gestures, such as Pope Benedict’s predecessor John Paul II. In recent conclaves, cardinals have been split between those who take a more conservative approach to the church’s teaching and those open to changing some of the age-old tenets of Catholicism.

There is a saying among Vatican watchers that cardinals who are tipped as popes before the conclave begins rarely actually get the job. “The race is really wide open,” said Giuseppe Di Leo, a longtime Vatican journalist for Italian radio Radio Radicale.

The voting by cardinals to elect the next pope takes place behind the locked doors of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. Under highly detailed procedures, only cardinals under the age of 80 can vote in the conclave, and secret ballots can be cast once on the first day, then twice during each subsequent morning and evening session.

Cardinals must have a two-thirds majority to elect a new pope; a runoff may be held between the top two candidates if the voting goes as far as 34 rounds. Except for periodic pauses, the voting continues until a new pontiff is elected.

When a successor is elected, the ballots are burned dry to produce the white smoke that signals the church has a new pope.

via Contenders in Line to be Pope – WSJ.com.

And I also did a quick review of popes … List of popes – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

“Solvitur Ambulando”  – It is solved by walking, labyrinth walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church, Lenten practices: 

I took a nighttime walk on February 11. It is 62° in Charlotte and so warm that I am walking in shoes flats with no socks like it’s summertime. I am wearing only a sweater, too.
The walk was quite nice, my first nighttime walk on the Avondale labyrinth. It is not well lighted, so I am making my way partly from limited visibility and partly from memory. Their are branches from the recent storms on the labyrinth.
I can’t wait to start my Lenten practice of walking a labyrinth  “almost daily”. Forty two days of walking and solving, I am very very excited.

IMG_5524 IMG_5517 IMG_5521 IMG_5522 IMG_5516

Marthame Sanders, Sermon: Changing God,  i feast therefore i am, Transfiguration Sunday: As I mentioned yesterday, I loved my own pastor’s sermon yesterday, but since I follow Mathame, I really enjoyed his as well … and they are very different.

When it comes to the church, I think we can fear change because we think we are messing with something that is eternal and unchanging. In other words, rather than asking God to change us, we worry that are trying to change God (or, at least, repackage God) in order to please people. I also think that this fear comes from a good place. Is the change we implement a cop out? When we do things like broaden our styles of music, or project worship information on a screen or a wall, are we dumbing down faith, cheapening it? Or are we using current technology in the way that Martin Luther utilized the new-fangled printing press to spread the word of God? Or, perhaps, is there something else altogether at stake?

And that is the challenge of Transfiguration, of trusting in a God who changes us more than we could ever change God. You see, the temptation of that moment on the mountain top is to stay there. Peter wants to build shrines, to preserve the spectacle in a way that it would last. The truth is that these moments are often fleeting. We get glimpses of heaven here. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the celebratory feeling of a full Sanctuary on Christmas Eve; or the intimate power of footwashing on Maundy Thursday; or the intellectual and spiritual challenge of Bible study; or the blessed gift of serving in the Food Pantry or Habitat or Journey or the Bargain Shop. There are moments in our life as a church that we are tempted to think, “If only it could be like this all of the time!” If only we could enshrine these moments and live within them now and forever. If only…

But that’s the thing: the purpose of these moments is not the possibility of their permanence. Their very power is in the fact that they are fleeting. The question is whether we are open to allowing them to change us…now and forever.

What is that moment today? Where is your glimpse of the kingdom going to be? Will you recognize it when you see it? Will you make room for it to change you?

via Changing God « i feast therefore i am.

Jerry Sandusky, faith, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, CNN Belief Blog: Although I did not attend this session, my cohort in crime did … And I came away wondering what was Sandusky’s faith and how had his faith home responded to the Sandusky’s crimes.  Did St. Paul’s United Methodist Church exhibit “moral courage?”

Ethical Action and the Penn State Scandal: Lessons for Lawyers

Kimberly J. Strom-Gottfried, Smith P. Theimann Distinguished Professor for Ethics and Professional Practice, UNC School of Social Work

this session will explore ethical issues raised by the Penn State football scandal, most particularly, the ethical dilemmas raised by actions by Jerry Sandusky in connection with the campus football program and Sandusky’s Second Mile charity developed to help disadvantaged young people.

Ed Zeiders, the senior pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, did not shy away from addressing the conviction of his congregant and friend on child sex abuse charges, asking his congregation to “pray for all of those who are victims and for all of those who are predators.”

Zeiders began his sermon with a question.

“In light of the misery, sorrow and suffering we see, affecting every aspect of our life, within us, in the midst of us, and around us – what are we to do,” he asked. “The world needs an answer, our community deserves an answer, and we need to answer together what is the most efficacious way to move forward from here.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: the faith angles behind the big stories

Saying that the eyes of the nation are fixed on the State College community and, to some degree, on the community of St Paul’s, Zeiders said that “in the midst of the raging storms around us” the church had an opportunity.

“If ever a local congregation has been given a moment to…..reveal what it means to be Christian,” Zeiders said, “this is that congregation in this moment in history.”

Zeiders spoke to what he said was the transformative power and saving grace of God, making a connection between faith and ethical behavior. “If we are to claim Jesus as savior,” he said, “we must, without fail, come face-to-face with our own morality.”

via Sandusky’s pastor addresses conviction from pulpit – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs.

Rep. Rick Nolan (MN -D), Constitutional Amendment, Citizens United: This will be interesting to watch.

A Democratic Minnesota congressman is introducing a constitutional amendment designed to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case that lifted many restrictions on corporate spending in political elections.

Rep. Rick Nolan unveiled the proposal on Monday along with members of Move to Amend, a grassroots coalition that has been seeking support on the local level in communities for the amendment. They say political campaign spending should not be a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.

The 2010 Citizens United ruling paved the way for a flood of campaign cash from corporations, unions and wealthy interests.

Any effort to amend the U.S. Constitution faces daunting hurdles.

Supporters of the Citizens United decision say it upholds the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

via Rick Nolan, Minnesota Democrat, Unveils Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United.

Pioneers! O Space Pioneers!, Walt Whitman, NASA,  mashup, Brain Pickings:

“Conquering, holding, daring, venturing as we go the unknown ways, Pioneers! O pioneers!”

On the heels of yesterday’s animated adaptation of Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot and Ray Bradbury’s passionate case for space exploration earlier this week comes a dynamic mashup of Walt Whitman’s poem “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” and awe-inspiring footage of mankind’s cosmic triumphs. Conceived before Neil Armstrong’s passing but released this past Labor Day, the video pays homage to the beloved pioneer and casts a hopeful eye towards the future of space exploration.

via Pioneers! O Space Pioneers! A Walt Whitman + NASA Mashup | Brain Pickings.

Chicago, bars,  best bar in the world,  Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert’s Journal, The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer, The Host, The Geriatric Genius: I just like this Ebert post. 🙂

Bea’s gift inspired Bruce’s blog, The Geriatric Genius, in which Elliott shows himself in the direct line of descent from the Host in the 15th century The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer’s character is the central figure and narrator of the Tales, the one who knows all the others and is their common bond, yet rarely takes an active role during their pilgrimage. It is he who names them, convenes their nightly meetings, observes what they do, hears their secrets, and tells of their weaknesses.

And briefly, when the sun had gone to rest,

So had I spoken with them, every one,

That I was of their fellowship anon,

And made agreement that we’d early rise

To take the road, as you I will apprise.

But none the less, whilst I have time and space,

Before yet farther in this tale I pace,

It seems to me accordant with reason

To inform you of the state of every one

Of all of these, as it appeared to me,

And who they were, and what was their degree,

And even how arrayed there at the inn.

The Host relates the stories of such as the Wife of Bath, the Nun’s Priest, the Three Rioters and Old John the Carpenter, “who foolishly marries a lively young girl.” Bruce’s blog follows the nightly adventures of such regulars as Street Jimmy, Bruce Faggypants, Ruben Nine Toes, D Train, Porn Star, the Cougar, Buzzkill, Larry Asshole, Connie the Crack Whore, Craig the Drunk, Fatal Attraction, Sleepy John, Johnny Ale, and the Counselor, waging their battles against reality. Many people without code names also come in, including talent from Second City across the street and Zanie’s comedy club around the corner, and yuppies, cops, robbers and respectable yuppies–whose tales don’t interest Bruce. Yuppies visited the bar twice in the recent indie movie “Other Children,” which completely failed to capture its character.

via The best bar in the world that I know about – Roger Ebert’s Journal.

Commencement Speeches, lists, Conan O’Brien, failure, Brain Pickings:  I think my favorite is Conan’s …

For decades, in show business, the ultimate goal of every comedian was to host The Tonight Show. It was the Holy Grail, and like many people I thought that achieving that goal would define me as successful. But that is not true. No specific job or career goal defines me, and it should not define you. In 2000 — in 2000 — I told graduates to not be afraid to fail, and I still believe that. But today I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.

via 5½ Timeless Commencement Speeches to Teach You to Define Your Own Success | Brain Pickings.

St. Francis of Assisi, quotes, art, Rawforbeauty:

via Rawforbeauty.

Apple, Curved-Glass Smart Watch, Dick Tracy, Inspector Gadget , James Bond, NYTimes.com: Dick Tracy … Inspector Gadget  … James Bond … me 🙂

Dick Tracy and James Bond had watches that served as computers. Tim Cook of Apple wears a Nike FuelBand, which tracks his physical activity.

Dick Tracy had one. As did Inspector Gadget and James Bond. A watch that doubled as a computer, two-way radio, mapping device or television.

Though such a device has been lost to science fiction comics and spy movies of the era before smartphones, the smart watch might soon become a reality, in the form of a curved glass device made by Apple.

via Disruptions: Apple Is Said to Be Developing a Curved-Glass Smart Watch – NYTimes.com.

Les Miserables, Victor Hugo, civil war, Civil War, random, NYTimes.com: Random, but a very interesting tie-in …

Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” was published in 1862 and English translations of the five parts that constitute the novel began to appear in America by year’s end. Hugo had begun the sprawling novel in the 1840s, put it aside, and come back to complete it between 1860 and 1862. He was an opponent of slavery, and in 1859 defended John Brown. “Insurrection,” he said, was a “sacred duty.” In the novel, Hugo name-checked Brown in a list of celebrated revolutionaries that included Washington, Bolivar and Garibaldi. Hugo’s focus was the July Revolution of 1830, but it is possible he had the American conflict in mind when he wrote, “Civil war … What did the words mean? Was there any such thing as ‘foreign war?’ Was not all warfare between men warfare between brothers?”

via In Camp, Reading ‘Les Miserables’ – NYTimes.com

Jazzy Vegetarian, Public Television, Blog Talk Radio: I think I will have to record this … Jazzy Vegetarian, Season 2 on Public Television 02/06 by The Jazzy Vegetarian | Blog Talk Radio.

2013 snow storm,  NYC, Bloomberg:  6 more inches to NYC!

A fast-moving storm is expected to drop new snow from the mid-Atlantic area to southern New England, including New York City and Long Island, the day after tomorrow, according to Brian Edwards at AccuWeather Inc.

A “narrow band of nuisance snow” will spread from the Ohio River Valley into Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia during the day Feb. 13, and snow may start in New York, Long Island and southern New England after dark, said Edwards, based in State College, Pennsylvania.

via Fast-Moving Storm May Bring 6 More Inches of Snow to NYC – Bloomberg.

Downton Abbey, #DowntonPBS, Twitter:  A few of my favorites from last night:

VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair)

2/10/13, 9:30 PM

Edith, post-Edwardian Gail Collins, hums “Stronger” while marching out of the newspaper offices. #DowntonPBS

2/10/13, 9:35 PM

Enrollment in the Downton Malfeasance Society now open to new members. Bring your brooms. #DowntonPBS

Laurel Ann Nattress (@Austenprose)

2/10/13, 9:47 PM

Mrs. Hughes now the new philosophical wit at Downton. #DowntonPBS

Laurel Ann Nattress (@Austenprose)

2/10/13, 10:01 PM

RT @EmmaDVelez: RT @theLadyGrantham: Well, that is an easy caveat to accept, because I am never wrong. #DowntonPBS

21
Nov
11

11.21.2011 … Live Blog for Tonight’s Men’s Basketball Game vs. Presbyterian … OK not Duke … not ESPN National TV … But GO CATS! Davidson wins!

Davidson College, Davidson basketball: Live Blog for Friday’s Men’s Basketball Game at Duke … www.davidsonwildcats.com … OK, not Duke … not national tv … but thank you Jean for reminding me that PC beat 20th ranked Cincinnati on Friday!! And now we beat PC …

Thanksgiving, history, President Abraham Lincoln, Civil War: ” A national day of thanksgiving for military success and for the protection of the Union would wed religion, thanksgiving, and the Union war effort. ”

President Lincoln wanted Union supporters to give thanks for the recent successes. He was also aware of faltering enthusiasm for the devastating war and the wavering loyalty of Democrats who were eager to make peace with the Confederates. A national day of thanksgiving for military success and for the protection of the Union would wed religion, thanksgiving, and the Union war effort. So the President declared a national day of thanksgiving.

But the nation’s first national Thanksgiving was not in November. The date President Lincoln set was Thursday, August sixth.

On that day, ministers across the country pointed out that the celebration was most apt, as they listed the signal victories of the U.S. Army and Navy in the past year. It was now clear that it was only a matter of time until the Union won the war, they told their congregations. Their predictions reinforced the war effort, of course, just as Lincoln had almost certainly intended.

While the roots of the national holiday we celebrate lie in the war years, though, the holiday we celebrate does not center on giving thanks for American military victories.

In October 1863, President Lincoln declared the second national day of Thanksgiving. It is this one that we celebrate, and its purpose was much broader than that of the first.

In the past year, Lincoln declared, the nation had been blessed:

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of foreign States, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theatre of military conflict, while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. The needful diversion of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence have not arrested the plow, the shuttle or the ship. The ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect a continuance of years with large increase of freedom.*

The President invited Americans “in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands” to observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving.

It is this one, the celebration of peace, order, and prosperity, that became the defining national holiday.

via The Historical Society: The History of National Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving: Hmmm … Someone very funny … but who?

Characters at Your Dinner Table

Which fictional character would you like to invite to Thanksgiving (or your next formal dinner)?

via DailyLit Forums: Question of the Week / Characters at Your Dinner Table.

faith and spirituality:  just liked this …

Waiting patiently for God always includes joyful expectation.  Without expectation our waiting can get bogged down in the present.  When we wait in expectation our whole beings are open to be surprised by joy.

All through the Gospels Jesus  tells us to keep awake and stay alert.  And Paul says, “Brothers and sisters … the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up, because by now our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe.  The night is nearly over, daylight is on the way; so let us throw off everything that belongs to the darkness and equip ourselves for the light” (Romans 13:11-12).   It is this joyful expectation of God’s coming that offers vitality to our lives. The expectation of the fulfillment of God’s promises to us is what allows us to pay full attention to the road on which we are walking.

via Daily Meditation: Waiting in Expectation.

Creature, Andrew Zuckerman, books:  I agree … Exquisite!

In Creature, Zuckerman brings his exquisite signature style, crisp yet tender, to Earth’s beings. With equal parts detail and delight, he captures the spirt of these diverse creatures, from panthers to fruit bats to bald eagles, in a way makes them seem familiar and fresh at once, and altogether breathtaking.

via Animals like you’ve never seen them before, Salvador Dalí’s Alice in Wonderland illustrations circa 1969, and more.

Jon Meacham, Americans, 2012 Presidential Election:  Great essay!  Are we really exceptional? Essay gives brief history and current political implications of our belief.

In the beginning — before the beginning, really — Americans have thought of themselves as exceptional, as the new chosen people of God. Either before departing England or en route aboard the Arabella — it is unclear which; the ship arrived in 1630 — John Winthrop, a layman trained as a lawyer, wrote a sermon entitled “A Model of Christian Charity” in which he said “we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world …”

The “city upon a hill” phrase — Winthrop borrowed it from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount — echoes still. (It is interesting to note that only Ronald Reagan could improve on Jesus in terms of communication: it was Reagan who added the modifier “shining” to the image.) In a recent Pew poll, when asked if they agreed with the statement “Our people are not perfect but our culture is superior others,” 49% of Americans said yes, compared to 32% of Britons and 27% of French.

In rough political terms, the Republican presidential field argues that America is a place set apart, a nation with a divinely ordained mission to lead the world. A corollary to the case as it is being put in the 2012 cycle is that President Obama does not believe this. George H.W. Bush leveled the same charge against Michael Dukakis in 1988, claiming that Dukakis thought of the United States as just another country on the roll of the United Nations. The argument is well-suited to reassure voters who are pessimistic about the life of the nation and about the place of America in the world.

We are going to be hearing more about this notion of exceptionalism, possibly far beyond Iowa and New Hampshire and into the general election. So let’s be clear about the history — and the uses and abuses — of the vision of America as an instrument of God’s will on earth.

via Jon Meacham: Are Americans Really Exceptional? | TIME Ideas | TIME.com.

define: library:  Know one when you see one?  It is very strange that we have trouble defining a library … when until 20 years ago and for the past 2000+ years, that was not a problem.

This week, after tweeting a link to ALA’s President Molly Raphael’s statement regarding the destruction of the Occupy Wall Street Library in New York City, I became engaged in a conversation on Twitter about what constitutes a library. To me this seems obvious, but I had a hard time coming up with a hard fast definition. I discovered that, like Justice Stewart, I’m of the know-it-when-I-see-it mindset when it comes to identifying it, a library that is. I am not sure I can define it in terms that reconcile with the statement from ALA. If I say the dissolution or destruction of any library is wrong I need a concrete definition for library, because while it may be uncool (and probably illegal) for someone to come into my home and destroy my personal library, I’m not sure that warrants a statement from the ALA President. Let me be clear, I am in complete and total agreement with the statement from ALA. I will happily defend that statement and ALA’s choice to make it. The problem I ran into was defining a library in terms that fit with it. Not just the OWS library but any library of this type. Even after doing some digging (see below) I still didn’t feel like I could offer a succinct definition, not the 140 character kind Twitter requires and probably not even a 140 word one.

For example, the Merriam Webster definition could apply to my private library, well not the morgue part but the rest of it, so that doesn’t work. Ditto for Oxford. The Whole Library Handbook requires that it be “ organized by information professionals or other experts”. So again that would apply to my private library. But this definition also leads us into that whole merry circle of a conversation (or shouting match and snipping remarks) about what constitutes an information professional. I don’t think a collection needs to be organized by an MLS holding person to qualify as a library. You could throw publicly accessible into the definition to rule out my home library because I only begrudging lend books to friends so I’m not about to let the public en masse have access to it. But there are many great libraries not freely available to the public.

via What IS a Library? | Librarian by Day.

travel, business travel, serendipity:  He definitely made lemonade!

Since I like to gather information by talking to people rather than just reading, I’m not one of those fliers who hate talking to seatmates. People are always interested in our work in helping communities build playgrounds, and it’s always great to hear people being so supportive. Most of my seatmates have fond memories of running around outside to play, and they wish more children today had the same opportunity.

You never know where a conversation may lead.

On a flight from Los Angeles to Washington I was seated next to a guy who worked as vice president of operations for a national restaurant chain. We started talking, and I invited him to stop by our offices to see if he had any suggestions for us. He did. And a few months later he became our board chairman. Another time, I got a huge donation, about $20,000, from a fellow passenger I was talking to.

I’ve had a lot of missed flights and canceled flights, just like any other business traveler. I hate when I do it to myself, though.

Since I still have a tough time reading, I always recheck my boarding passes. But I still make mistakes. One time I actually wound up in Sioux Falls, S.D., when I was supposed to be in Sioux City, Iowa. I was dumbfounded. I just rebooked myself back home, and I actually made it, which was great.

Another time I was just so tired I fell asleep at the airport in Tampa, Fla. I guess it was a deep sleep, because when I finally opened my eyes, I discovered I had missed the last flight to Washington. All the nearby hotel rooms were booked. I wound up sleeping at the airport, feeling kind of foolish.

Occasionally, you can turn bad experiences into something positive.

I was headed back to Washington from a conference in Oxford, England, when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted. Air traffic was canceled. I rarely get to travel with my wife, but she was with me this time.

Instead of trying to get out of Britain, we decided to enjoy it. I got a last-minute reservation at a hotel in Bath and had an unexpected leisurely weekend.

The airline confirmed our seats for a Monday morning flight from London to Washington. But on that Sunday, as we were getting ready to return to London, we learned that was canceled. The next one wasn’t until Friday.

So my wife got on the Internet and found a flat for rent in St. Ives in Cornwall. It was open because the expected tenants were unable to get into the country. The landlord offered a day-by-day rental. The cottage was located right in the middle of an artist colony.

We began our mornings with coastal hikes, and we would buy some fish from a local fisherman on the way back to the flat. We managed to keep up with work for about six hours each day. And at night we just ate our fish, walked around town and were grateful that we could spend some time together.

I know the volcano really disrupted air travel for so many people. But I still look back at that time as one of the best business trips I ever had.

via One of the Best Business Trips, Courtesy of Iceland’s Volcano – NYTimes.com.

careers, hiring, elite firms, elite schools:  Just read the whole article … How Elite Firms Hire: The Inside Story, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.

Big results:

1. Most applications practically go straight in the trash.

Because professionals balanced recruitment responsibilities with full-time client work, they often screened resumes while commuting to and from the office and client sites; in trains, planes, and taxis; frequently late at night and over take out… [E]valuators tended to do so very rapidly, typically bypassing cover letters (only about fifteen percent reported even looking at them) and transcripts and reported spending between 10 s to 4 min per resume.

2. Evaluators have a lot of slack.

[M]ost firms did not have a standard resume scoring rubric that they used to make interview decisions, evaluators reported “going down the page” from top to bottom, focusing on the pieces of resume data they personally believed were the most important “signals” of candidate quality. (emphasis mine)

In fact, evaluators explicitly select candidates similar to themselves in school rank, grades, etc.  For example:

[R]oughly one-third of evaluators did not use educational prestige as a signal. One of the

primary differences between these two groups was their own educational history, with those who had attended “top” schools being more likely to use educational prestige as a screen than those who had attended other types of selective institutions.

3. Super-elite credentials matter much more than your academic record:

[E]valuators drew strong distinctions between top four universities, schools that I term the super-elite, and other types of selective colleges and universities. So-called “public Ivies” such as University of Michigan and Berkeley were not considered elite or even prestigious…

4. Super-elite schools matter because they’re strong signals, not because they’re better at building human capital:

Evaluators relied so intensely on “school” as a criterion of evaluation not because they believed that the content of elite curricula better prepared students for life in their firms – in fact, evaluators tended to believe that elite and, in particular, super-elite instruction was “too abstract,” “overly theoretical,” or even “useless” compared to the more “practical” and “relevant” training offered at “lesser” institutions…

[I]t was not the content of an elite education that employers valued but rather the perceived rigor of these institutions’ admissions processes. According to this logic,

the more prestigious a school, the higher its “bar” for admission, and thus the “smarter” its student body.

[…]

In addition to being an indicator of potential intellectual deficits, the decision to go to a lesser known school (because it was typically perceived by evaluators as a “choice”) was often perceived to be evidence of moral failings, such as faulty judgment or a lack of foresight on the part of a student.

5. At least in this elite sample, I’m totally wrong to think that extracurriculars don’t matter:

[E]valuators believed that the most attractive and enjoyable coworkers and candidates would be those who had strong extracurricular “passions.” They also believed that involvement in activities outside of the classroom was evidence of superior social

skill; they assumed a lack of involvement was a signal of social deficiencies… By contrast, those without significant extracurricular experiences or those who participated in activities that were primarily academically or pre-professionally oriented were perceived to be “boring,” “tools,” “bookworms,” or “nerds” who might turn out to be “corporate drones” if hired.

But they have to be the right kind of extracurriculars.  You have to signal that you’re not signaling!

Across the board, they privileged activities that were motivated by “personal” rather than “professional” interest, even when activities were directly related to work within their industry (e.g., investing, consulting, legal clinic clubs) because the latter were believed to serve the instrumental purpose of “looking good” to recruiters and were suspected of being “resume filler” or “padding” rather than evidence of genuine “passion,” “commitment,” and “well-roundedness.”

Don’t imagine, though, that you should merely follow your bliss:

[T]hey differentiated being a varsity college athlete, preferably one that was also a national or Olympic champion, versus playing intramurals; having traveled the globe with a world-renowned orchestra as opposed to playing with a school chamber group; and having reached the summit of Everest or Kilimanjaro versus recreational hiking. The former activities were evidence of “true accomplishment” and dedication, whereas the latter were described as things that “anyone could do.”

6. Grades do matter somewhat, but mostly as a cut-off.  They’re a signal of work ethic more than IQ:

[M]ost evaluators did not believe that grades were an indicator of intelligence. Rather, they provided a straightforward and “fair” way to rank candidates, particularly those within a given school… [G]rades were used to measure a candidate’s moral qualities. An attorney (Asian-American, male), believed that grades were an indication of a candidate’s coping skills, “It tells me how they can handle stress; if they’d had their feet to the flames before. If they’ve gotten good grades at a very competitive school, they’re probably pretty sharp and can take care of themselves.”

If labor economists want to understand how real-world labor markets actually work, these are the kinds of pieces they’ll be reading – and eventually writing.

via How Elite Firms Hire: The Inside Story, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.

 Gang of Six, Super Committee (joint congressional deficit reduction committee), budget, politics, Washington:  …

As the joint congressional deficit reduction committee consummated its super flop Monday, the Senate Gang of Six plan remained as a possible alternative.

Rick Santorum: Says the unemployment rate for college graduates is 4.4 percent and over 10 percent for noncollege-educated.

The bipartisan group, which includes Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss, produced a framework for $4 trillion in deficit reduction this summer that includes both increased tax revenues and cuts to entitlement plans – but never produced a formal bill.

Last week the members of the gang joined dozens of allies in Congress to ask the supercommittee to consider their plan and said they could provide an alternative bill if the supercommittee failed. Chambliss said last week a bill could be ready “in short order.” He was in Afghanistan on Monday and unavailable for comment.

As the co-chairs of the 12-member supercommittee issued a statement declaring they were unable to reach a consensus, several senators said Congress’ next step should be to stage a vote on the framework put forth by the Gang of Six and President Barack Obama’s debt commission. There was no official word from the six on their plans, though in a statement one of the group members, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said he would “continue to push for a bipartisan agreement.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., wrote a letter to the president and Congressional leaders formally requesting a vote on a $4 trillion package. Others announcing their support for the Gang of Six route Monday included Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The effort faces institutional hurdles, as leaders in the House and Senate never embraced the gang’s work.

“My understanding is they’re nowhere near having legislative language,” Adam Jentleson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wrote in an email Monday. “We don’t schedule votes for hypothetical plans.”

via Gang of Six plan could be alternative to failed supercommittee  | ajc.com.

15
Nov
11

11.15.2011 … Once again, my humerus is not humorous. :(

humerus break:  My break is once again giving me trouble. Surgery scheduled for 12/29 … bone graft (ICBG).  Once again, my humerus is not humorous. 😦

History, Civil War, Burning of Atlanta:

Atl History Center (@ATLHistCenter)

11/15/11 6:39 PM

Description of the burning of Atlanta. November 15, 1864.

Today the destruction fairly commenced … This P.M. the torch applied … Clouds of heavy smoke rise and hang like pall over doomed city. At night, the grandest and most awful scene… From our rear windows … horizon shows immense and raging fires, lighting up whole heavens… . First bursts of smoke, dense, black volumes, then tongues of flame, then huge waves of fire roll up into the sky: presently the skeletons of great warehouses stand out in relief against and amidst sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames, — then the angry waves roll less high, and are of deeper color, then sink and cease, and only the fierce glow from the bare and blackened walls … as one fire sinks another rises, further along the horizon, … it is a line of fire and smoke, lurid, angry, dreadful to look upon.

via Atlanta History Center, Today the destruction fairly commenced … This P.M…..

college graduates, failure to launch, adolescent men:  HELP!

Failure to Launch apparently isn’t just a terrible Sarah Jessica Parker movie but an actual phenomenon among young men. Thanks to the sluggish economy and high unemployment rates, more young men across the U.S. are living at home with their parents than in years past.

Of course, much has been made of the increasingly dismal state of today’s young men. But things don’t seem to be picking up, as the Associated Press reports that “[f]ederal statistics show that young men are, for instance, nearly twice as likely to live at home with their parents than young women their age. They’re also less likely to finish college, or to have a job.”

But now, according to the same AP story, there’s something that can be done about it. Instead of hiring a woman to pose as your son’s girlfriend — as the frazzled parents do in a certain rom-com — send them on a retreat. The Insight camp takes 18 to 23 year-old men and hosts them stay for three or four-month stretches. During that stay, the men are taught and encouraged to make and achieve a series of goals ranging from the (very) basic like getting out of bed to the advanced like finding a job.

But surely, you might be thinking, these boys’ parents must have taught them these sorts of lessons when they were growing up? Well apparently not, and now they’re literally paying for it. A stay at the camp costs $350 a day and most of these young men’s parents are footing the bill.

The whole thing, frankly, sounds more dubious than the plot of the movie which inspired the phenomenon’s name. While NewsFeed can grasp the bleakness of the current job-market and can even appreciate the challenges facing young college graduates, we fail to see how spending thousands of dollars on a retreat teaching you when to go to bed will help your situation. If this doesn’t embody first-world problems, then NewsFeed gives up now.

via Camp Aims to Get Young Men on Their Feet — and Out of Mom’s House | NewsFeed | TIME.com.

Prof. Julio Ramirez,  National Neuroscience Education Award, kudos, McConnell Neighbors:  Kudos to Julio … Honored as First-Ever Undergrad Teacher to Receive National Neuroscience Education Award!

Julio Ramirez, Dickson Professor of Psychology, has become the first-ever undergraduate educator to receive the annual “Award for Education” from the Society for Neuroscience (SfN). The award, first presented in 1991, recognizes one individual per year who has “made outstanding contributions to neuroscience education and training.” In earning this honor, Ramirez will be added to a list of prominent past recipients, such as Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel and neurologist Oliver Sachs.

Ramirez said, “I’m still incredulous. The award has always gone to a major figure in research and education, so I didn’t consider that I might get it. I was honored for having been nominated, and when I got the news that I actually won, I was shocked.”

Ramirez served on SfN’s Minority Education and Training Affairs Committee for six years, and is now a member of its Professional Development Committee. The award was presented this past weekend at the organization’s annual national conference held in Washington D.C

via Prof. Ramirez Honored as First-Ever Undergrad Teacher to Receive National Neuroscience Education Award

Facebook, about face: FB restoring “most recent” on news feed.

Facebook has big things planned for the next stage of its development, but is taking a small step back when it comes to its news feed. On Wednesday, Facebook engineering manager Mark Tonkelowitz wrote on a company blog that the social network will again let users sort their news feeds based on what was most recently posted.

via Facebook restoring “most recent” on news feed – The Washington Post.

Peter Schweizer, Throw Them All Out , books congressional corruption:

Throw Them All Out arrives at a moment when the populist anger and resentment of the Tea Party and Occupy movements have melded into a kind of generalized outrage toward a system that seems geared to protect the interests of the few. Schweizer offers some prescriptions, including laws forbidding members of Congress from trading stocks of companies overseen by their committees, but he doesn’t expect what he calls the “permanent political class” to reform itself.

What Schweizer says he does hope is that others will take up his mission—requiring only time, online access, and a willingness to wade through public databases—and eventually crowd-source reform. A Throw Them All Out campaign is an interesting prospect—a movement that both Sarah Palin and Michael Moore could embrace. Schweizer’s motivation and his message could well be a credo that transcends partisan conflict.

“I was troubled,” he says, “by the fact that the political elite gets to play by a different set of rules than the rest of us. In the process of researching this book, I came to the conclusion that political party and political philosophy matter a lot less than we think. Washington is a company town, and politics is a business. People wonder why we don’t get more change in Washington, and the reason is that the permanent political class is very comfortable. Business is good.”

via Peter Schweizer’s New Book Blasts Congressional Corruption – The Daily Beast.

women’s issues, NYC:  Loved this article from 1911!

NEW YORK’S REAL LURE FOR WOMEN—OPPORTUNITY; Not the Fascinating Shops, or the Theatres, or the Lobster Palaces, or Bohemia, but the Chance to Win Success Tempts the Majority of Them to the Great City.

via NEW YORK’S REAL LURE FOR WOMEN—OPPORTUNITY – Not the Fascinating Shops, or the Theatres, or the Lobster Palaces, or Bohemia, but the Chance to Win Success Tempts the Majority of Them to the Great City. – Article – NYTimes.com.

 Maria Popova, 1984, A Bave New World, infographics: As stated by Maria Popova (@brainpicker) in her 11/14 tweet … “It’s a sad day when 1984 vs. Brave New World is reduced to an infographic… “
Future fight! world-shaker:  Orwell vs. Huxley
short film, The Man with the Beautiful Eyes:

A gang of kids find a strange house with an overgrown garden where they play. Only once do they meet the man who lives there, a dead-beat alcoholic with a free and easy spirit who welcomes them. The children see him as a romantic character in stark contrast to their neurotically house proud parents.

A collaboration between Animator Jonathan Hodgson and Illustrator Jonny Hannah.

via The Man with the Beautiful Eyes on Vimeo.

breast cancer awareness, Evelyn Lauder, creator of pink ribbon, kudos:  Kudos to Mrs. Lauder and her pink ribbon.  She started a movement that continues today.

In her long career as an executive at cosmetics giant Estee Lauder Cos., the company founded by her mother-in-law, Lauder worked with many shades of red, peach, bronze and even blues, but pink was the one hue that changed her life.

In 1992, Lauder worked with her friend Alexandra Penney, the former editor-in-chief of Self magazine, to create the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness. It started small with Lauder and her husband, Leonard, largely financing the little bows given to women at department store makeup counters to remind them about breast exams.

That grew into fundraising products, congressional designation of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and $330 million in donations — $50 million from Estee Lauder and its partners — to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which Lauder also started.

That money helped establish the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, which opened in 2009.

Lauder died Saturday at her Manhattan home from complications of nongenetic ovarian cancer. She was 75.

Just last month, she reminisced about the early days of the breast cancer campaign. When it launched, it was so little known that some people thought it symbolized AIDS awareness.

via Evelyn Lauder, Creator of Breast Cancer’s Pink Ribbon, Dies at 75 – TIME Healthland.

Daniel Pink, email newsletters, recommendations, lists:

One reason I like writing email newsletters is that I also like reading them. Last month, a few folks asked me which e-newsletters I regularly read — not the ones I subscribe to, but those I actually read.

Here, in alphabetical order, are my top five:

1. ArtsJournal – A fascinating roundup of stories on media, publishing, visual art, music, and the world of ideas. Daily and weekly.

2. NBER Digest – Brief but comprehensive summaries of the most interesting and important new economics papers. Monthly.

3. SmartBrief on Workforce – For HR nerds only, this e-zine has lots of great links about talent, organizational behavior, and management. Daily.

4. Springwise – An amazing roundup of new business ideas and surprising business models from around the world. Daily and weekly.

5. Very Short List – A book, a film, a DVD, a TV show, an album that you probably haven’t heard of and probably should. Daily.

via 5 email newsletters worth reading | Daniel Pink.

Occupy Harvard, 1%:

Don’t occupy the Yard. Occupy the libraries. Occupy the classrooms. You have just four years to devote to actually getting a grip on some small portion of the vast array of human knowledge. Do not spend any of them in a tent, surrounded by other people who have no better ideas than you, “engaging in dialogue.” It smells peculiar there, and you could be in a red-brick building next to a bust of John Adams, learning something. If you actually want to come up with a way to remedy the injustice, it is the only thing to do.

via Why Occupy Harvard – ComPost – The Washington Post.

Spotify, writing, music, lists:

Many National Novel Writing Month writers depend on music to keep working during the literary marathon.

To help keep you motivated, we’ve rounded up five great NaNoWriMo playlists we discovered on Spotify. Just follow the links below to access hours and hours of free writing music.

1. Kimberly Golden Malmgren’s List

2. Kaella’s List

3. Kendall Laszakovits’ List

4. Amanda E Ringqvist’s List

5. Andréa Solin’s List

As an extra bonus, follow this Spotify link to listen to “The NaNoWriMo Song” by All Caps.

This is our fourteenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. As writers around the country join the writing marathon this month, we will share one piece of advice or writing tool to help you cope with this daunting project.

via Listen to Spotify: NaNoWriMo Tip #14 – GalleyCat.

Supreme Court, power, Health care law:

That’s a lesson for today. The current swing vote, of course, is Anthony Kennedy, and it is difficult to imagine health care being upheld without his support. Kennedy is an ethical and honorable man, but there’s no doubt that he, too, follows the news. All the Justices do. The case will be argued next February or March, when all of us will have a better idea of whether President Obama will be reëlected. If Obama looks like a lame duck at that point, it will be a lot easier for the Justices to dismantle his signal achievement; if Obama looks like a winner, some on the Court may think twice about picking this particular fight with him.

To a great extent, that’s what happened with George W. Bush in the Supreme Court, especially when it came to the central events of his Presidency, the war on terror and the Iraq war. The Court did make a series of measured rulings against Bush on the issue of the detainees at Guantánamo when he was facing reëlection in 2004, but the Justices, especially Kennedy, really turned on him when the war went south. The Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2007) and Boumediene (2008) cases clearly owe something of their contemptuous tone to the failed nature of the Bush Presidency. Like voters, the Justices smell weakness, and respect strength. No one likes a loser.

Recent auguries have looked promising for the fate of health care in the Supreme Court. As challenges to the law have worked their way through the lower courts, political form has mostly held; judges appointed by Democratic Presidents have tended to uphold the law, and judges named by Republicans have voted it down. But two recent exceptions to that rule have certainly drawn the attention of the Justices. Jeffrey Sutton, a former law clerk to Antonin Scalia, wrote the opinion upholding the law in the Sixth Circuit, and Laurence Silbermann, a widely respected conservative, wrote a powerful endorsement of its constitutionality in the D.C. Circuit.

It all goes to show that sometimes (often) you don’t need a law degree to know how the Supreme Court is going to vote—just know which way the wind is blowing.

via Comment: Power in the Court : The New Yorker.

cookbook: The Paris 1906 cookbook is out today: every dish, every recipe, 200+ photos. Only $4.99. @iBookstore exclusive:iTunes.com/NextRestaurant

14
Nov
11

11.14.2011 … Davison College Wildcats v. Richmond Spiders … DC up by 9 at the half … and in the end Wildcats stomp the Spiders. :)

2012 Presidential Election, religion, Mormonism:

A dark truth of American politics in what is still the era of Reagan and the Bushes is that so many do not vote their own economic interests. Rather than living in reality they yield to what oddly are termed “cultural” considerations: moral and spiritual, or so their leaders urge them to believe. Under the banners of flag, cross, fetus, exclusive marriage between men and women, they march onward to their own deepening impoverishment. Much of the Tea Party fervor merely repeats this gladsome frolic.

AS the author of “The American Religion,” I learned a considerable respect for such original spiritual revelations as 19th-century Mormonism and early 20th-century Southern Baptism, admirably re-founded by the subtle theologian Edgar Young Mullins in his “Axioms of Religion.”

A religion becomes a people, as it has for the Jews and the Mormons, partly out of human tenacity inspired by the promise of the blessing of more life, but also through charismatic leadership. What we now call Judaism was essentially created by Rabbi Akiva ben Joseph to meet the needs of a Jewish people mired under Roman occupation in Palestine and elsewhere in the empire. A great sage, Akiva was also a leader of extraordinary charisma, an old man when martyred by the Emperor Hadrian, presumably for inspiring the insurrection of Bar Kokhba that ended at the siege of Bethar.

via Will This Election Be the Mormon Breakthrough? – NYTimes.com.

photos:  Great photos!

November 8, 2011. A sedated black rhino is carried by military helicopter away from a poaching area in the hills of the Eastern Cape in South Africa to a new home 15 miles away. The World Wildlife Fund organized the move of 1,000 rhinos, which are under threat from poachers across Africa because of the market value of their horns.

via TIME Magazine’s Best Pictures of the Week, November 4-November 11 – LightBox.

British humor, American Humor, culture:

It’s often dangerous to generalize, but under threat, I would say that Americans are more “down the line.” They don’t hide their hopes and fears. They applaud ambition and openly reward success. Brits are more comfortable with life’s losers. We embrace the underdog until it’s no longer the underdog.We like to bring authority down a peg or two. Just for the hell of it. Americans say, “have a nice day” whether they mean it or not. Brits are terrified to say this. We tell ourselves it’s because we don’t want to sound insincere but I think it might be for the opposite reason. We don’t want to celebrate anything too soon. Failure and disappointment lurk around every corner. This is due to our upbringing. Americans are brought up to believe they can be the next president of the United States. Brits are told, “it won’t happen for you.”

There’s a received wisdom in the U.K. that Americans don’t get irony. This is of course not true. But what is true is that they don’t use it all the time. It shows up in the smarter comedies but Americans don’t use it as much socially as Brits. We use it as liberally as prepositions in every day speech. We tease our friends. We use sarcasm as a shield and a weapon. We avoid sincerity until it’s absolutely necessary. We mercilessly take the piss out of people we like or dislike basically. And ourselves. This is very important. Our brashness and swagger is laden with equal portions of self-deprecation. This is our license to hand it out.

via Ricky Gervais: Is There a Difference Between British and American Humor | TIME Ideas | TIME.com.

Dogwood Farms, Ann and Cot Campbell, kith/kin, kudos:  Cary’s mom and dad … kudos!

Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell (from left) and his wife Anne received a gold tray from Nick Nicholson, president of Keeneland Race Course, to commemorate Dogwood's eighth stakes victory at the Kentucky track.  SPECIAL

The celebration was originally set to honor Aikenite, Dogwood Stable’s 4-year-old colt, for winning a spring race to give the Aiken-based outfit a gold tray from Keeneland Race Course.

.Aikenite won Dogwood’s eighth graded stakes race at Keeneland by rallying in the stretch to win the Commonwealth Stakes in April. Jockey John Velazquez guided Aikenite to his first stakes win by 2 1/4 lengths over Cool Bullet.

Dogwood won its first Keeneland grades stakes race in 1971 with Mrs. Cornwallis in the Alcibiades. Other Dogwood horses to win a gold julep cup from Keeneland include Luge II (Forerunner), Summer Squall (Blue Grass and Fayette Handicap), British Banker (Phoenix Breeders’ Cup), Golden Gale (Beaumont) and Vicarage (Perryville).

The eighth one earned Dogwood the solid gold tray, which the stable proudly displayed at the museum Friday night.

via Cot Campbell honored at hall of fame event | The Augusta Chronicle.

For Campbell, in his tailored role as a racing manager, the 2012 season will dawn with Aikenite at the head of the runners in the existing partnerships. This year, Aikenite, a son of Is It True, won the Commonwealth at Keeneland and the Churchill Downs Handicap on Derby Day, and those are the races he will target early next year as well. Campbell knows enough, though, not to heap upon Aikenite disproportionate praise. He has yet to reach the heights of such Dogwood runners as Summer Squall, Southjet, Inlander, Storm Song, Nassipour, Trippi, and Wild Escapade.

“He’s a very satisfying horse,” Campbell said of Aikenite. “A horse with a lovely personality. He’s not going to volunteer anything, but when you do ask him the question he’ll give you the answer. He’s here now in Aiken for a couple months. I was just over giving him some peppermints.”

It was Friday morning, and that evening the Campbells were set to host an open house at the local Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum. It was fitting that Aikenite’s victory in the Commonwealth earlier this year was enough to earn Dogwood a special honor from Keeneland, commemorating the stable’s eight graded stakes wins there. A gold tray of some sort was involved, but mostly it was a good excuse for a party. Aiken, pop. 29,494, has a rich tradition as South Carolina’s off season mecca for the Thoroughbred industry, offering a wintertime home to many of the leading stables throughout the history of the sport. Aikenite was named as Campbell’s tribute to Dogwood’s home.

“This is a good town to live in if you’re going to be in any kind of horse business,“ Campbell said. “We’ve invited the entire citizenry of Aiken, and right now it looks like they’re all coming.”

Without much doubt, the evening was destined to end up a tribute to Campbell as well.

“I was going to hold up my announcement about my plans, but I figured hell why not just say what I’ve got to say,” he said.

“To put it kindly, I’m in the twilight of my existence, or maybe the late evening,” Campbell said. “Who knows how long it will go on? I’m fit, I feel great, and I’m having a good time.

via Dogwood leader Cot Campbell eases into semi-retirement at 84 | Daily Racing Form.

Sara Bates, Watson Scholars, Davidson College, D2s, kith/kin, kudos:  A fun blog to follow … daughter of classmates Thomas and Lisa.  Kudos to Sara!

Let me share my experience with you as I travel this next year as a Watson Fellow.

via sara bates … watson adventures | Let me share my experience with you as I travel this next year as a Watson Fellow..

Joe Paterno, tragedies:  I hate this story …

The best piece about Darío Castrillón Hoyos was written by the Catholic essayist John Zmirak, and his words apply to Joe Paterno as well. Sins committed in the name of a higher good, Zmirak wrote, can “smell and look like lilies. But they flank a coffin. Lying dead and stiff inside that box is natural Justice … what each of us owes the other in an unconditional debt.”

No higher cause can trump that obligation — not a church, and certainly not a football program. And not even a lifetime of heroism can make up for leaving a single child alone, abandoned to evil, weeping in the dark.

via The Devil and Joe Paterno – NYTimes.com.

First, let’s get the language straight. The very last thing that these brave boys and men need is a nation referring to them as victims. They are heroes and survivors. Words matter.

Second, I’m not sure that any of us really know what happened and how it happened. But based on my research, I do know this:

When the culture of an organization mandates that it is more important to protect the reputation of a system and those in power than it is to protect the basic human dignity of individuals, you can be certain that shame is systemic, money drives ethics, and accountability is dead. This is true in corporations, nonprofits, universities, governments, churches, schools, families, and sports programs. If you think back on any major scandal fueled by cover-ups, you’ll see this pattern.

In an organizational culture where respect and the dignity of individuals are held as the highest values, shame and blame don’t work as management styles. There is no leading by fear. Empathy is a valued asset, accountability is an expectation rather than an exception, and the primal human need for belonging is not used as leverage and social control.

We can’t control the behavior of individuals; however, we can cultivate organizational cultures where behaviors are not tolerated and people are held accountable for protecting what matters most: human beings.

via thoughts on penn state – my blog – Ordinary Courage.

Atlanta, Civil War, history, William Sherman, Burning of Atlanta:

I reached Atlanta during the afternoon of the 14th, and found that all preparations had been made-Colonel Beckwith, chief commissary, reporting one million two hundred thousand rations in possession of the troops, which was about twenty days’ supply, and he had on hand a good supply of beef-cattle to be driven along on the hoof. Of forage, the supply was limited, being of oats and corn enough for five days, but I knew that within that time we would reach a country well stocked with corn, which had been gathered and stored in cribs, seemingly for our use, by Governor Brown’s militia.

Colonel Poe, United States Engineers, of my staff, had been busy in his special task of destruction. He had a large force at work, had leveled the great depot, round house, and the machine-shops of the Georgia Railroad, and had applied fire to the wreck. One of these machine-shops had been used by the rebels as an arsenal, and in it were stored piles of shot and shell, some of which proved to be loaded, and that night was made hideous by the bursting of shells, whose fragments came uncomfortably, near Judge Lyon’s house, in which I was quartered. The fire also reached the block of stores near the depot, and the heart of the city was in flames all night, but the fire did not reach the parts of Atlanta where the court-house was, or the great mass of dwelling houses.

Atlanta History Center, I reached Atlanta during the afternoon of the….

‘Three Cups of Tea, tragedy:  I hate that Greg Mortenson’s story is not true.

The fight over whether mountaineer Greg Mortenson made up portions of “Three Cups of Tea,” his best-selling memoir about building schools in Pakistan, is getting nastier.

On Monday, Jon Krakauer, the climber and author, released online a 75-page story on Mr. Mortenson called “Three Cups of Deceit.” Mr. Krakauer also appeared in CBS’s “60 Minutes” program on Sunday, which cast doubt on Mr. Mortenson and the financial management of his charity, Central Asia Institute.

The allegations fall broadly in two categories: That Mr. Mortenson fabricated key elements of “Three Cups of Tea” and a later memoir “Stones into Schools” and that CAI has improperly helped Mr. Mortenson buy and promote his books.

via Were There ‘Three Cups of Deceit’? – India Real Time – WSJ.

DailyLit, The Intellectual Devotional:  Love getting an excerpt every day! DailyLit: The Intellectual Devotional, book by David S. Kidder and Noah Oppenheim.

‘Stairway To Heaven’, music, history:   Turns 40!!

“Stairway to Heaven.” Those three little words have come to mean so much. Led Zeppelin’s eight-minute classic turns 40 this week, and it still sets the bar for headbanging chutzpah, if not sophisticated songcraft.

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were woodshedding in Wales when they devised their faery-strewn folk-metal psychedelia masterwork. Bassist/arranger John Paul Jones added mood-setting recorders and drummer John Bonham brought his protean thwunk to the game. The song may or may not have borrowed key elements from an instrumental by the American band Spirit, with whom they once toured. But nobody but Zep could have molded those chord progressions into such a masterpiece of excess.

“Stairway to Heaven” set the template for the power ballad and made unwitting J.R.R. Tolkien experts out of listeners who merely intended to get their rocks off. Depending on your view, the song is the greatest achievement of one of history’s most important groups … or rock’s ultimate nightmare, incessantly resurrected by awful cover bands, shrieking karaoke singers and your very drunk uncle who grabbed the microphone at your sister’s wedding reception.

via ‘Stairway To Heaven’ Turns 40: Celebrate With 7 Covers : The Record : NPR.

meditations, faith and spirituality, Henri Nouwen:

The Fruit of Our Communal LifeOur society encourages individualism.  We are constantly made to believe that everything we think, say, or do, is our personal accomplishment, deserving individual attention.  But as people who belong to the communion of saints, we know that anything of spiritual value is not the result of individual accomplishment but the fruit of a communal life.Whatever we know about God and Gods love; whatever we know about Jesus – his life, death, and resurrection – whatever we know about the Church and its ministry, is not the invention of our minds asking for an award.  It is the knowledge that has come to us through the ages from the people of Israel and the prophets, from Jesus and the saints, and from all who have played roles in the formation of our hearts.  True spiritual knowledge belongs to the communion of saints.

via Daily Meditation: The Fruit of Our Communal Life.

college tuition, student loans, Great Recession:  Makes you think …

The college-bubble argument makes the solution to rising costs seem simple: if people just wake up, the bubble will pop, and reasonable prices will return. It’s much tougher to admit that there is no easy way out. Maybe we need to be willing to spend more and more of our incomes and taxpayer dollars on school, or maybe we need to be willing to pay educators and administrators significantly less, or maybe we need to find ways to make colleges more productive places, which would mean radically changing our idea of what going to college is all about. Until America figures out its priorities, college kids are going to have to keep running just to stand still. ♦

via College Tuition, Student Loans, and Unemployment : The New Yorker.

ADHD, science, brain-function link:

A brain area that helps orchestrate mental activity works overtime in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, reflecting the internal struggle to hold more than one thing in mind at a time, neuroscientists reported Sunday.

The scientists used a functional magnetic imaging scanner to track signs of neural activity among 19 affected children and 23 other children who were asked to remember a simple sequence of letters. The scientists discovered that a critical mental control area, called the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, worked much harder and, perhaps, less efficiently among children with attention problems.

This fundamental difference in brain function might be an underlying cause of the inattentiveness, impulsivity and focus problems that make it hard for ADHD children to concentrate in the classroom, the scientists said during an annual gathering of 31,000 brain researchers in Washington, D.C.

“Our findings suggest that the function as well as the structure of this brain area is different in children with ADHD,” said Wayne State University biologist Tudor Puiu, who reported the team’s findings Sunday at a conference held by the Society for Neuroscience. “It might explain the cognitive problems we see in the classroom.”

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, can be diagnosed in preschool-age children as young as 4, according to new treatment guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Jennifer Corbett Dooren has details on Lunch Break.

All told, about two million U.S. children have been diagnosed with attention problems. No one yet understands the basic neurobiology responsible for the mental ailment, which has grown more common since 2003, according to a survey by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

via ADHD: Scientists Probe Brain-Function Link – WSJ.com.

NBA, Steph Curry:  Yeah … Steph can finish the semester!

In a move that jeopardizes the NBA season, the NBA players union rejected the league’s latest offer and said it would begin the process to disband the union.

In a move that jeopardizes the NBA season, the NBA players union rejected the league’s latest offer and said it would begin the process to disband the union. Kevin Clark has details on The News Hub.

Labor talks “completely broke down,” said union Executive Director Billy Hunter. The union said it has begun legal proceedings to dissolve the union, a tactic that would take the dispute to the courts.

“The 2011-12 season is now in jeopardy,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern.

The decision came after a five-hour meeting among player representatives at a New York City hotel. Mr. Hunter said an anti-trust lawsuit should be filed in the next day or two. Union president Derek Fisher said the idea to dissolve was approved in “unanimous fashion.”

Jeffrey Kessler, a union lawyer, said the decision came after the players agreed that “bargaining completely failed” and said the players wanted to assert their antitrust rights.

via Players Reject NBA’s Offer, Begin to Disband Union – WSJ.com.

Jerry Sandusky Scandal/tragedy: 

Jerry Sandusky to Bob Costas in exclusive ‘Rock Center’ interview: ‘I shouldn’t have showered with those kids.’

via Rock Center with Brian Williams – Jerry Sandusky to Bob Costas in exclusive ‘Rock Center’ interview: ‘I shouldn’t have showered with those kids.’.

Davison College, Wildcats v. Spiders: Up by 9 at the half … Wildcats stomp the Spiders. 🙂

 

09
Nov
11

11.9.2011 … Boston … another great day …

Boston, travel, adventures, Flour,Freedom Trail,  Boston Public Garden,Boston Common, JFK Presidential Library, Tory Row, Harvard’s Glass Flowers, kith/kin, Boston Public Library, Civil War, history, Newberry Street shopping:

Once again I have the smell of expensive orange juice … Another Flour pop tart ?? Then  biking  the freedom trail, first stop Boston Public Garden  … Edward Everett Hale … What a hunk? — at Public Garden…

… then off the bike on the Freedom Trail at Boston Common.

First Q: If MA is a commonwealth why do they call it a state house?:) — at Massachusetts State House.

Next I was determined to go to DD but guess what no electrical outlets and no wifi so much for when in Rome … I went to Starbucks…. but my pumpkin scone and gingerbread latte was really good

Getting off the trail for  a bit and going to JFK Library  … oh and Ben … Now he is kinda cute … — at Boston City Hall Plaza.

After biking and strolling through a few graveyards off to JFK Library. Must go back!

Then lunch with Julia and John at Tory Row near Harvard … Walked the campus and rubbed john’s toe … Saw the famous glass flowers … Learned something new about Hemingway … Great day!

 

After Hours … off to the Boston Public Library … Then the real question … Another food truck meal or lobster Mac n cheese — at Mandarin Oriental Boston.  Two great exhibits at  Boston Public Library … Anybody know who Dorothea Dix was? — at Boston Public Library (official).

 

I am officially in love with a library. I am in the courtyard on. An unbelievably beautiful night —at Boston Public Library (official).

 

So I walked out of the Library and I hear Indian music … feel like I am in a Bollywood movie. Actually it is Hari Krishnas. — at Copley Square.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHOPPING…

Shopping in Boston is really fun… — at Newberry Street Boston MA.

Ok almost full moon and warm … People are eating outside at restaurants with no sweaters … Unbelievable weather in Boston … Good night.

06
Nov
11

11.6.2011… Please come to Boston …

Boston, travel, Mandarin Oriental, Max Brenner:   After a morning flight, we arrived at the  Mandarin Oriental Hotel Boston – A Back Bay Luxury 5 Star Hotel Accommodation. … very nice.  And after John went to the AFP, we blew off Bill and went to Max Brenner … very interesting food and story … and you could definitely smell the chocolate at the door!

Untitled Page.

 

Boston: 10 Things to Do — Introduction – TIME

 

There are a few prerequisites when considering a trip to Boston. First, don’t go in February. This may seem obvious, but it bears repeating, not only because the winters are indeed so miserable, but because the other seasons are so immensely enjoyable. Spring and Fall are gloriously verdant and the summers are breezy and temperate.

 

Second, plan to visit at least some of the same sites you would if you were chaperoning an 8th-grade civics class. You are, after all, in Boston, the City on the Hill, the Cradle of Liberty, and so on and so forth, thus there’s no point or pride in avoiding historic landmarks. Conveniently, many are nestled among the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods, areas with cobblestone streets and colonial-era architecture that you would want to wander even if you didn’t feel obligated to do so.

 

And third, don’t compare it to New York City, at least not unfavorably. Bostonians spend considerable energy trying to prove their city is not inferior to Manhattan, whether in national influence, cultural offerings or American League baseball franchises. The truth is, Boston is not at all like New York, and that’s a good thing. The largest city in New England is compact, clean and easily navigable. With a population of only 600,000, Boston is best appreciated as a small city with a hyper-educated populace, an astonishing number of Dunkin’ Donuts, and an artistic and historical importance far surpassing its relative size. Here are some ways to weave the past with the present.

 

via Introduction — Printout — TIME.

blissmobox, marketing:  Interesting idea …

discover what’s better

exceptional organic & eco-friendly products delivered right to your door, once-a-month

via blissmobox – Discover what’s better.

Biblical blunders, White House,  President Obama:  … God Wants Jobs Bill …

It was a blunder of biblical proportions.

White House spokesman Jay Carney invoked scripture Wednesday to back up President Barack Obama’s suggestion that God wants policymakers to get busy and create more jobs.

Carney said Obama was trying to make the point that “we have it within our capacity to do the things to help the American people.”

“I believe the phrase from the Bible is, `The Lord helps those who help themselves,'” Carney said.

Well, no, not really.

A White House transcript of Carney’s briefing issued later in the day included the disclaimer: “This common phrase does not appear in the Bible.”

Obama started the debate earlier in the day when he took note of House action reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the country’s motto.

“I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work,” the president said.

via Biblical Blunder At White House After Obama Said God Wants Jobs Bill.

kith/kin:  We had such a great time … love my wasabies.

 

FEMA Infographic,  U.S. natural disasters:  Sometimes seeing things in a graphic can really make an impression.

 

FEMA Infographic on U.S. Natural Disasters spending #sorrymothernature – DigitalSurgeons.com.

China, bicycles, bike share:

Last month, southern China’s Zhongshan city for the first time filled its streets with 4,000 public bicycles, which citizens can ride free of charge for up to an hour. To further fuel the sharing, the city also built an online platform that gives citizens real-time information on where the closest docking station is and how many bicycles are available.

This is one of numerous bike-sharing programs that are quickly growing in an attempt to unsnarl China’s traffic problems. Program promoters are also having to wrestle with financial barriers as well as a hostile environment that has developed for bikers in cities that used to have millions of them. The goal is to try to get back to days when the streets weren’t gridlocked and when the majority of vehicles didn’t create emissions.

Bike sharing started in Amsterdam as early as 1965. The concept then spread around the globe in cities including London and Washington. But Chinese cities, which joined this trend only a few years ago, are installing their networks at an unprecedented speed.

via Car-Clogged Chinese Cities Encourage a Return to Bicycles: Scientific American.

The Ancient Book of Myth and War, books:  Another interesting book …

Now, The Ancient Book of Myth and War has magically reappeared on Amazon, where we were able to snag a copy for under $75. Needless to say, the book is an absolute gem worth every penny — a collection of stunning experiments in shape and color exploring the strange and wonderful world of mythology and legend throughout the history of the world. (As Amazon reviewer J. Brodsky eloquently puts it, “The only point to be made here, is that you simply must do yourself a favor and buy this art gallery they call a book.”)

via The Ancient Book of Myth and War | Brain Pickings.

 The Influencing Machine, books, history, media:

One of the coolest and most charming book releases of this year, The Influencing Machine is a graphic novel about the media, its history, and its many maladies — think The Information meets The Medium is the Massage meets Everything Explained Through Flowcharts. Written by Brooke Gladstone, longtime host of NPR’s excellent On the Media, and illustrated by cartoonist Josh Neufeld, The Influencing Machine takes a refreshingly alternative approach to the age-old issue of why we disparage and distrust the news. And as the book quickly makes clear, it has always been thus.

Tracing the origins of modern journalism back about 2,000 years to the Mayans — “publicists” generating “some primordial P.R.” — Gladstone and Neufeld walk through our journalistic roots in the cultures of ancient Rome, Britain, and Revolutionary and early America. With this as background, the book then dives into our contemporary media condition, tracing how we got from Caesar’s Acta Diurna to CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

via The Influencing Machine: A Brief Visual History of the Media | Brain Pickings.

 SO & SO, journal:  So what is a “wandering interneteer?”

A short-form journal for the wandering interneteer Issue 1

via SO & SO Issue 1 – A short-form journal for the wandering interneteer.

Twitter Stories, website:  Worth checking out …

Twitter has launched an innovative new website called “Twitter Stories” that showcases stories of tweets that have powerfully affected someone or something.

Though Twitter has become knowing for playing an integral role in world-changing events including this year’s Egyptian uprising and the Japanese earthquake, the site typically focuses more on personal stories from individuals, both famous and not.

The new site is designed to showcase these stories.

“Read about a single Tweet that helped save a bookstore from going out of business; an athlete who took a hundred of his followers out to a crab dinner; and, Japanese fishermen who use Twitter to sell their catch before returning to shore,” Twitter wrote as an introduction to the blog. “Each story reminds us of the humanity behind Tweets that make the world smaller.”

via Twitter Stories: New Site Highlights Action-Inspiring Tweets – ABC News.

2012 Presidential Election, Condoleezza Rice, Herman Cain, “race card” :  Good advice, Condi!

Rice: Cain shouldn’t play the “race card”

November 1, 2011 12:47 PM

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tells CBS News that Herman Cain should not play the “race card,” during an interview with Chief White House Correspondent Norah O’Donnell on “The Early Show.”

via Rice: Cain shouldn’t play the “race card” – CBS News Video.

 Fort Monroe National Monument, Civil War, history:

One night 150 years ago, in May 1861, three Virginia slaves crept away from their master under cover of darkness, stole a boat and escaped across the James River to a Union-held fortress. By the laws of both the United States and the new Confederacy, these men were not people but property: without rights, without citizenship, without even legal names.

This afternoon at the White House, the fugitives and their exploit were honored in a setting they could never have dreamt of: The Oval Office. There, President Obama signed an executive order declaring Fort Monroe, Va., the site of their escape, a national monument, placing it alongside such icons as the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty. I was present for the signing, and as I stood behind the president watching him set his pen to paper, I couldn’t help thinking that the three men — Shepard Mallory, Frank Baker and James Townsend — had just completed a journey that carried them across a far greater distance than those few miles across a river.

But today, for the first time during his presidency, Mr. Obama used his executive power to create a new national park. Fort Monroe National Monument, as it is called, will commemorate both the end of slavery and its beginning — since, by an eerie coincidence, the first slave ship to arrive in the 13 colonies landed at that spot in 1619. A grassroots effort by local and state officials and citizen activists overcame the reluctance of some critics to add a new unit to the underfinanced National Park Service at a moment of economic austerity.

Fort Monroe, the president said as he prepared to sign the order, “was the site of the first slave ships to land in the New World. But then in the Civil War, almost 250 years later, Fort Monroe also became a refuge for slaves that were escaping from the South, and helped to create the environment in which Abraham Lincoln was able to sign that document up there.” Mr. Obama pointed to a framed, autographed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation hanging opposite his desk, not far from a portrait of Lincoln.

via In the Oval Office, a Passage to Freedom – NYTimes.com.

hunger, global problems, global solutions:

On Friday, I wrote about how people in Dhobley, Somalia, are getting emergency food despite a guerrilla war that is keeping out aid workers ― and food.  Instead of trucking in sacks of food, World Concern and its partner, the African Rescue Committee, distribute  vouchers that people in Dhobley use to buy what they need from local merchants.

The vast majority of food aid still comes in the form of sacks of grain ― a policy protected by entrenched interests.

Many countries that donate emergency food aid are moving away from shipping bags of food and toward using vouchers or other methods for local purchase.  (The World Concern program is financed by Canada Foodgrains Bank and the Canadian government.)   The United Nations World Food Program is also using cash, vouchers and electronic transfers ― often by cell phone ― when circumstances allow.   Vouchers solve many of the serious problems that have always plagued in-kind food aid:  food can get to the hungry quickly; there are no transport or storage costs; it works in dangerous situations; it allows recipients to buy the food they want and increases the welcome for refugees and contributes to the local economy.  Aid is multiplied as it helps not only recipients, but merchants.  For example, Catholic Relief Services responded to floods in Benin with a program that gives villagers vouchers they can use to buy grains, legumes and oil from local small vendors ― usually women who sell tiny quantities of goods in outdoor markets.  Without the voucher business, these women would be almost as poor as their new customers.

via How to Feed the Hungry, Faster – NYTimes.com.

Monty Python, philosophy:  I love really intellectual humor … but only if I get it.

From dead parrots to The Meaning of Life, Monty Python covered a lot of territory. Educated at Oxford and Cambridge, the Pythons made a habit of weaving arcane intellectual references into the silliest of sketches. A classic example is “Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion Visit Jean-Paul Sartre,” (above) from episode 27 of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

via Monty Python’s Flying Philosophy | Open Culture.

The Hobbit, art, J.R.R. Tolkien:  I love Tolkien’s art!  His illustrated Letters from Father Christmas are on of my favorites!

In October of 1936, J.R.R. Tolkien delivered to his publisher the manuscript of what would become one of the most celebrated fantasy books of all time. In September of the following year, The Hobbit made its debut, with 20 or so original drawings, two maps, and a cover painting by Tolkien himself. But it turns out the author created more than 100 illustrations, recently uncovered amidst Tolkien’s papers, digitized by Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and freshly released in Art of the Hobbit — a magnificent volume celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit with 110 beautiful, many never-before-seen illustrations by Tolkien, ranging from pencil sketches to ink line drawings to watercolors. It’s a fine addition to our favorite peeks inside the sketchbooks of great creators and digitization projects in the humanities, and a priceless piece of literary history.

via Art of the Hobbit: Never-Before-Seen Drawings by J.R.R. Tolkien | Brain Pickings.

macarons, food – desserts:  Now if John reads this, he would know to bring me macarons!

 

THE macaron is the anti-cupcake.

A cupcake comforts. A macaron teases. Dainty, nearly weightless, it leaves you hungrier than you were before. It is but a prelude to other pleasures. Your slacker boyfriend gives you a cupcake; your lover gives you macarons.

via Airy Macarons — NYC — Review – NYTimes.com.

 

 




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