Posts Tagged ‘Herman Cain

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.

 

 

31
Oct
11

10.31.2011 … Happy Reformation Day! (October 31, 1517) … Zombies! … Once again, I will be seriously disappointed. Candy for many, but few will come … :(

Halloween: Once again, I am seriously disappointed. Candy for many, but few came … 10 …  however I gave out PEZ dispensers and I was told I was the best house of the night … next year they will come again … bribery … 😦

Reformation Day (October 31, 1517), history:  So something else occurred on this day.

Also on This Day:  1517 Martin Luther Posts Theses

The Protestant Reformation began when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Germany.  The papers outlined Luther’s ideas on how the Roman Catholic Church had been corrupted and what changes should take place.

via Oct. 31: History of Halloween – ABC News.

zombies, costumes, Zombie Walk Paris 2011, Occupy Wall Street: Zombies are definitely in …

Ask me About my Zombie Disguise t shirt by Crazy Dog Tshirts.

Zombie Walk Paris 2011 – YouTube.

This weekend, thousands of Americans will cobble together Wall Street-themed costumes in preparation for Halloween. (Pre-emptive note: dressing in a suit and tie and labeling yourself “The One Percent” is not as clever as you think.)

DealBook is here to help. Here with: our seven best finance-themed costume ideas, with tips on how to pull them off at your parties this weekend.

Zombie MF Global: Dress in tattered rags, tape “FOR SALE” signs to all your appendages, and wear a necklace that says “Credit Lines.” Tap it repeatedly. Have two friends dressed as ratings agencies follow you around, telling everyone at the party how ugly you are.

via Trick or Treat, Wall Street Style – NYTimes.com.

Halloween, history: 

Halloween dates back to the Celtic farming festival Samhain.  As the crops died at the end of the harvest season, farmers believed there was a day when spirits could rise from their graves.  During Samhain, people would dress in disguise to fool and ward off the spirits,  and hope that their land would survive through the winter.

In the eighth century, Christians sought to transform the pagan holiday.  Pope Gregory III declared Nov. 1 to be the feast of All Saints’ Day.  The night before became known as All Hollow’s Eve.

Modern Halloween traditions and folklore first came to America in the 19th century with  the influx of Irish immigrants.  Carving turnips and turning them into lanterns was one of the Irish customs that honored the souls stuck in purgatory.  Since pumpkins were easier to carve than turnips, this ritual adapted into jack-o-lanterns as All Hollow’s Eve celebrations took shape in America.

via Oct. 31: History of Halloween – ABC News.

Halloween, culture: New Christmas??? I think not.

The holiday that once meant just quaint trick-or-treating, a costume contest or two and maybe a bob for an apple is now second only to Christmas when it comes to celebrating, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation.

Nearly 69 percent of Americans say they intend to celebrate the holiday this Monday, Oct. 31, the highest amount in the survey’s nine-year history.

Nearly half of those celebrating will decorate their homes and-or yard, and each will spend an average $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy, a figure second only to the amount spent by individuals on Christmas décor.

Need more proof that Santa Claus and Rudolph have ghosts and goblins close on their heels?

via Is Halloween the New Christmas? | ABC News Blogs – Yahoo!.

South Africa, travel: We loved Kruger and came very near the mountains … next time.

Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa takes some beating.

If you’ve seen the popular cities – Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban – and want to head away from the well-worn track then Lonely Planet Magazine has three suggestions:

Drakensberg mountains

Elephant Coast

Kruger National Park

via South Africa: away from Cape Town – travel tips and articles – Lonely Planet.

October Snow, Lucy Van Pelt, quotes:  🙂

If you grew up watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” you will easily recognize the title of this post is based on Lucy Van Pelt’s quote about eating December snowflakes. Lucy preferred January snowflakes.

I (Kevin Ambrose) bet Lucy never tasted an October snowflake. The October snowflakes that flew fast-and-furious across the Washington area late Saturday afternoon were plump, juicy, and partially melted by the time they reached the tongue. I found they were much better tasting than any crunchy, hard-frozen January snowflake.

via “I never eat October snowflakes. I always wait until January.” – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post.

Calvados, France, food/drink – spirits:  I did not love Calvados but I am intrigued by it. i may have to try it again sometime.

I love Calvados, though I confess I don’t drink it very often. Yet when I do, I’m reminded immediately why I love it. Apple aromas and flavors burst vividly from the glass, in jagged flashes that seem to penetrate deeply into the complex essence of an apple. Clarity, purity, tart citrus, cinnamon spice, earthiness, mintiness: these are just some of the sensations I experience in a glass of good Calvados.

My problem with Calvados is not the apple element. It’s the brandy part.

The usual way of serving brandy does it no favors. It’s generally consigned to an after-dinner or late-night role, served in those horrible oversize balloon snifters that do little beyond emphasizing the biting heat of the alcohol. Perhaps the big snifter is why, for many people, evaluation of brandy stops at whether it is smooth or hot. A smaller snifter, or a good white-wine glass, is superior for enjoying any brandy.

Calvados in particular can defy our expectations of brandy. Because it’s distilled from cider rather than from wine, it’s more rustic by nature than Cognac or Armagnac. Certainly it is by reputation. Serving Calvados in a white-wine glass might signal an intent to regard brandy from a different critical stance.

via Calvados – A Taste of Apples and Fall – The Pour – NYTimes.com.

Jules Breton, “The Song of the Lark”, kith/kin:  My daughter just wrote an essay on my favorite painting … which she saw for the first timein March.  Art taste must be genetic.

The Song of the Lark Print by Jules Breton at AllPosters.com.

Steve Jobs, eulogy, love:  Beautiful eulogy by Steve Job’s sister.

Steve was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods. He tracked and worried about the romantic lives of the people working with him.

Whenever he saw a man he thought a woman might find dashing, he called out, “Hey are you single? Do you wanna come to dinner with my sister?”

I remember when he phoned the day he met Laurene. “There’s this beautiful woman and she’s really smart and she has this dog and I’m going to marry her.”

When Reed was born, he began gushing and never stopped. He was a physical dad, with each of his children. He fretted over Lisa’s boyfriends and Erin’s travel and skirt lengths and Eve’s safety around the horses she adored.

None of us who attended Reed’s graduation party will ever forget the scene of Reed and Steve slow dancing.

His abiding love for Laurene sustained him. He believed that love happened all the time, everywhere. In that most important way, Steve was never ironic, never cynical, never pessimistic. I try to learn from that, still.

via A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs – NYTimes.com.

science, spending addiction:  So there is a reason …

To many, this might seem like a simple case of shortsightedness, a decision based on today’s wants (an exciting city, independence) versus tomorrow’s needs (money, shelter). Indeed, the choice to spend rather than save reflects a very human—and, some would say, American—quirk: a preference for immediate gratification over future gains. In other words, we get far more joy from buying a new pair of shoes today, or a Caribbean vacation, or an iPhone 4S, than from imagining a comfortable life tomorrow. Throw in an instant-access culture—in which we can get answers on the Internet within seconds, have a coffeepot delivered to our door overnight, and watch movies on demand—and we’re not exactly training the next generation to delay gratification.

“Pleasure now is worth more to us than pleasure later,” says economist William Dickens of Northeastern University. “We much prefer current consumption to future consumption. It may even be wired into us.”

As brain scientists plumb the neurology of an afternoon at the mall, they are discovering measurable differences between the brains of people who save and those who spend with abandon, particularly in areas of the brain that predict consequences, process the sense of reward, spur motivation, and control memory.

via The New Science Behind Your Spending Addiction – The Daily Beast.

2012 Presdential Election, GOP, Herman Cain, viral  Smoking Ad, Jon Huntsman, Huntsman Daughters, Parody:

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman’s daughters spoofed Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s web ad showing his campaign manager smoking in a web video released Friday.

In the original Cain ad, his campaign manager, Mark Block, says: “We’ve run a campaign like nobody’s ever seen. But then America’s never seen a candidate like Herman Cain.”

The daughters of the former Utah governor appear in their spoof against a brick wall wearing fake mustaches that resemble Block’s. “We are shamelessly promoting our dad like no other candidate’s family ever has. But then again, no one’s ever seen like a trio like the Jon 2012 girls,” says one of his daughters.

via Herman Cain Smoking Ad: Jon Huntsman’s Daughters Appear In Parody.

Jon2012girls Smokin’ Ad – YouTube.

27
Sep
11

9.27.2011 … started a new bible study at FPC … and I loved it … Genesis … In the beginning …

FPC Tuesday Bible Study, Jonathan Sacks, Covenant and Conversation, Genesisfaith and culture: Great first class … creation.

TUESDAY BIBLE STUDY:  This weekly study meets on Tuesdays from 11:45- 1:00 in the Pattie Cole Room (S203). Led by Reverend Roland Perdue the group will study Jonathan Sacks’ recent book, Covenant and Conversation, Genesis: the Book of Beginnings. Using the text, Scripture and supplemental readings, we will examine current issues and concerns in the biblical context and discuss them from the vantage point of a dialogue between faith and culture.

via First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

Steven Pinker, violence, history:  Great piece …

“How bad was the world in the past?”

Believe it or not, the world of the past was much worse. Violence has been in decline for thousands of years, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in the existence of our species.

The decline, to be sure, has not been smooth. It has not brought violence down to zero, and it is not guaranteed to continue. But it is a persistent historical development, visible on scales from millennia to years, from the waging of wars to the spanking of children.

This claim, I know, invites skepticism, incredulity, and sometimes anger. We tend to estimate the probability of an event from the ease with which we can recall examples, and scenes of carnage are more likely to be beamed into our homes and burned into our memories than footage of people dying of old age. There will always be enough violent deaths to fill the evening news, so people’s impressions of violence will be disconnected from its actual likelihood.

Evidence of our bloody history is not hard to find. Consider the genocides in the Old Testament and the crucifixions in the New, the gory mutilations in Shakespeare’s tragedies and Grimm’s fairy tales, the British monarchs who beheaded their relatives and the American founders who dueled with their rivals.

For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment that we can savor—and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible.

via Steven Pinker: Why Violence Is Vanishing – WSJ.com.

teenagers, brain development, culture:  … what’s wrong with these kids?!  …

Through the ages, most answers have cited dark forces that uniquely affect the teen. Aristotle concluded more than 2,300 years ago that “the young are heated by Nature as drunken men by wine.” A shepherd in William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale wishes “there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting.” His lament colors most modern scientific inquiries as well. G. Stanley Hall, who formalized adolescent studies with his 1904 Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education, believed this period of “storm and stress” replicated earlier, less civilized stages of human development. Freud saw adolescence as an expression of torturous psychosexual conflict; Erik Erikson, as the most tumultuous of life’s several identity crises. Adolescence: always a problem.

Such thinking carried into the late 20th century, when researchers developed brain-imaging technology that enabled them to see the teen brain in enough detail to track both its physical development and its patterns of activity. These imaging tools offered a new way to ask the same question—What’s wrong with these kids?—and revealed an answer that surprised almost everyone. Our brains, it turned out, take much longer to develop than we had thought. This revelation suggested both a simplistic, unflattering explanation for teens’ maddening behavior—and a more complex, affirmative explanation as well.

via Teenage Brains – Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine.

Herman Cain, 2012 Presidential Election, GOP, Florida Straw Poll:  This process is a nightmare … who cares about these straw polls …

Herman Cain, Ex-CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, pulls stunning upset over Rick Perry.

via GOP in Disarray After Shocking Florida Straw Poll | Video – ABC News.

Troy Davis, death penalty: Another voice against the death penalty …

Last Wednesday, as the state of Georgia prepared to execute Troy Davis despite concerns about his guilt, I wrote a letter with five former death-row wardens and directors urging Georgia prison officials to commute his sentence. I feared not only the risk of Georgia killing an innocent man, but also the psychological toll it would exact on the prison workers who performed his execution. “No one has the right to ask a public servant to take on a lifelong sentence of nagging doubt, and for some of us, shame and guilt,” we wrote in our letter.

via Ordering Death in Georgia Prisons – The Daily Beast.

war: This article reminds me of last week’s clip about Sebastian Junger’s talk at Davidson. “The adrenaline rush of finding a roadside bomb …”

It’s just life or death: the simplicity of it,” said Cpl. Robert Cole of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which ends a seven-month deployment in the southern region of Sangin in October. “It’s also kind of nice in some ways because you don’t have to worry about anything else in the world.”

The dominant narrative about war in a foreign land says its practitioners yearn for home, for the families, the comforts, and the luxury of no longer worrying about imminent death or injury. It applies to young American troops in Afghan combat zones, but it’s not the whole truth.

Combat can deliver a sense of urgency, meaning, order and belonging. There is the adrenaline-fueled elation of a firefight, and the horror of rescuing a comrade wounded by a bomb on patrol. It is magnified, instantaneous experience. An existence boiled down to the essentials mocks the mundane detritus, the quibbles and bill-paying and anonymity, of life back home.

Various books, films and television series address the theme of troops liking aspects of war, or missing it when they get home. Many focus on the sacrifice, the brotherhood, or the bloodshed, or some combination. Norman Mailer’s novel, “The Naked and the Dead,” and the 1998 movie “Saving Private Ryan” are among works that explore the psychological impact of intense combat on its protagonists.

Some who come from rural areas in the United States feel a curious affinity with Afghanistan and its web of sparsely populated villages and farmland. Capt. Brian Huysman of Delphos, Ohio — “Good luck finding Delphos on the map,” he said — sees parallels between the “small town mentality” and rivalries back home and the jostling for advantage among local leaders in southern Afghan settlements.

“It’s very eerie,” said Huysman, Weapons Company commander for the battalion.

When these men are retired veterans, many will look back on Afghanistan as a place of loss, but also a place that made them better than they were, whether the U.S. military succeeds in its long-term goals or not. The cult of sacrifice finds expression in a shrine to the missing in action of past wars in the dining hall at Camp Leatherneck, the main Marine base in southern Afghanistan.

via The adrenaline rush of finding a roadside bomb: US Marines enjoy some aspects of Afghan war – The Washington Post.

photography, photo gallery, LIFE:  I love these … The beauty of shadows is that they can be so many things— Seeing Shadows

50656806.jpg

To think of shadows,” Victor Hugo wrote in his great novel, Les Miserables, “is a serious thing.” Hugo, of course, was addressing vast concepts — justice, memory, vengeance — both in the book and in that particular quote. But the beauty of shadows is that they can be so many things: symbols, suggestions, riddles, jokes, threats. They can be anything, or they can simply be themselves — which is a central reason why they’re so cool. Pictured: A handmade Shaker basket sitting on the floor amid a grid of shadows in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.

via Seeing Shadows – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

mens rea, Federal Criminal Code, legal history: Originally 20 federal crimes … now over 4500.

For centuries, a bedrock principle of criminal law has held that people must know they are doing something wrong before they can be found guilty. The concept is known as mens rea, Latin for a “guilty mind.”

This legal protection is now being eroded as the U.S. federal criminal code dramatically swells. In recent decades, Congress has repeatedly crafted laws that weaken or disregard the notion of criminal intent. Today not only are there thousands more criminal laws than before, but it is easier to fall afoul of them.

Back in 1790, the first federal criminal law passed by Congress listed fewer than 20 federal crimes. Today there are an estimated 4,500 crimes in federal statutes, plus thousands more embedded in federal regulations, many of which have been added to the penal code since the 1970s.

One controversial new law can hold animal-rights activists criminally responsible for protests that cause the target of their attention to be fearful, regardless of the protesters’ intentions. Congress passed the law in 2006 with only about a half-dozen of the 535 members voting on it.

Under English common law principles, most U.S. criminal statutes traditionally required prosecutors not only to prove that defendants committed a bad act, but also that they also had bad intentions. In a theft, don’t merely show that the accused took someone’s property, but also show that he or she knew it belonged to someone else.

Over time, lawmakers have devised a sliding scale for different crimes. For instance, a “willful” violation is among the toughest to prove.

Requiring the government to prove a willful violation is “a big protection for all of us,” says Andrew Weissmann, a New York attorney who for a time ran the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of Enron Corp. Generally speaking in criminal law, he says, willful means “you have the specific intent to violate the law.”

A lower threshold, attorneys say, involves proving that someone “knowingly” violated the law. It can be easier to fall afoul of the law under these terms.

via ‘Mens Rea’ Legal Protection Erodes in U.S. as Federal Criminal Code Expands – WSJ.com.

Ford Motor Company, marketing, politics, White House, President Obama, automotive bailout: Marketing and politics don’t mix.

As part of a campaign featuring “real people” explaining their decision to buy the Blue Oval, a guy named “Chris” says he “wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government,” according the text of the ad, launched in early September.

“I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw. That’s what America is about is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta’ pick yourself up and go back to work.”

That’s what some of America is about, evidently. Because Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early ’09 and again when the ad flap arose. And more.

With President Barack Obama tuning his re-election campaign amid dismal economic conditions and simmering antipathy toward his stimulus spending and associated bailouts, the Ford ad carried the makings of a political liability when Team Obama can least afford yet another one. Can’t have that.

The ad, pulled in response to White House questions (and, presumably, carping from rival GM), threatened to rekindle the negative (if accurate) association just when the president wants credit for their positive results (GM and Chrysler are moving forward, making money and selling vehicles) and to distance himself from any public downside of his decision.

In other words, where presidential politics and automotive marketing collide — clean, green, politically correct vehicles not included — the president wins and the automaker loses because the benefit of the battle isn’t worth the cost of waging it.

via Columnists | Ford pulls its ad on bailouts | The Detroit News.

Amanda Knox, criminal cases, Jessica Rabbit: I don’t follow these big cases daily, but how could I not click when her lawyer says Knox “more like Jessica Rabbit.”

A defense lawyer has told a court to see Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of killing her roommate, not as the “femme fatale” her accusers describe but rather as a loving young woman.

Giulia Bongiorno even compared Knox to the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit, saying Tuesday she is faithful like the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” character.

Amanda Knox called “she-devil” in court

Anxiety grips Amanda Knox as appeal wraps up

Prosecutors compare Amanda Knox to Nazis

Knox was convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher, a British student in Perugia, and sentenced to 26 years in prison, while co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.

Bongiorno, Sollecito’s lawyer, paraphrased a famous line from the movie saying Knox “is not bad, she’s just drawn that way.”

“Jessica Rabbit looks like a man-eater, but she is a faithful and loving woman,” Bongiorno said.

via Amanda Knox lawyer: She’s no “femme fatale” – CBS News.

 Banned Books Week, Virtual Read-Out, Gossip Girl:  A reading from Cecily von Ziegesar’s GOSSIP GIRL – YouTube.

Professor Jim Miller, University of Wisconsin, criminal charges, free speech, constitutional law: Sigh …

A professor has been censored twice, reported to the “threat assessment team,” and threatened with criminal charges because of satirical postings on his office door. Campus police at the University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS) censored theater professor James Miller’s poster depicting a quotation from actor Nathan Fillion’s character in the television series Firefly, and the police chief threatened Miller with criminal charges for disorderly conduct. After UWS censored his second poster, which stated, “Warning: Fascism,” Miller came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.

via ‘Firefly’ and Anti-Fascism Posters Get Professor Threatened with Criminal Charges on University of Wisconsin Campus – FIRE.

digital photography, organization, tips:

That’s where a good photo organizer comes in. There are many available, but I’ll concentrate here on Google’s Picasa. It’s not my personal favorite (that would be Microsoft’s Windows Live Photo Gallery, which handles tags much better than Picasa), but it’s popular, free, and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

via How to Organize Your Digital Photos – Techland – TIME.com.

Troy Davis, RIP: I honestly never thought about his or any executed individual’s funeral … makes me feel less human.  Maybe that is my issue with the death penalty … it takes away my/our humanity.

The family of Troy Davis has scheduled his funeral for Saturday in his hometown of Savannah.

Davis’ younger sister, Kimberly Davis, said Tuesday the public is invited to attend the 11 a.m. funeral service at Jonesville Baptist Church.

Davis was executed in Georgia’s death chamber last week for the 1989 slaying of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. Davis insisted he was innocent, but courts ultimately upheld his conviction. Thousands of supporters worldwide protested Davis’ execution, saying the case raised too many doubts about his guilt.

Because some people recanted their testimony, the Davis case has added to the debate over eyewitness reliability.

via Troy Davis funeral set for Saturday in Savannah  | ajc.com.

recipes, chicken:  Just looking at the pictures makes me want chicken! Recipes for Chicken Dishes – Slide Show – NYTimes.com.

bookstores, end of an era, Oxford Books, Atlanta, kith/kin:  Friday nights in Atlanta my mom and dad always went to the local bookstore Oxford Books … sad when things change.

In a gloomy post, TechCrunch predicted that bookstores will be virtually extinct by 2018.  The Future Of Books: A Dystopian Timeline also imagined a “great culling of publishers” in 2019.

What do you think? Extrapolating from the rapid growth of eBooks and declines in print sales, the post took a dark view of print books. Here are a few excerpts:

“2015 – The death of the Mom and Pops. Smaller book stores will use the real estate to sell coffee and Wi-Fi. Collectable bookstores will still exist in the margins.”

“2018 – The last Barnes & Noble store converts to a cafe and digital access point.”

“2019 – B&N and Amazon’s publishing arms – including self-pub – will dwarf all other publishing.”

via TechCrunch Predicts Bookstores Will Disappear by 2018 – GalleyCat.

dating methods, media, Christianity, BBC:  BBC dropped the B.C./A.D. dating method and outraged Christians … I saw this happening in my children’s history books …  and I wondered who makes these decisions …

British Christians are incensed after the state-funded BBC decided to jettison the terms B.C. and A.D. in favor of B.C.E. and C.E. in historical date references.

The broadcaster has directed that the traditional B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, or Year of the Lord) be replaced by B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era) in its television and radio broadcasts.

The BBC said in an official statement that since it is “committed to impartiality, it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians.”

It described the terms B.C.E. and C.E. as “a religiously neutral alternative to B.C./A.D.,” although critics quickly pointed out that the new terms, like the old, were anchored around the birth of Jesus Christ.

via BBC Drops B.C./A.D. Dating Method: Christians Outraged (UPDATE).

BofA, shareholder lawsuits:  $50 billion shareholder lawsuit … this one will be interesting …

But if it is true that Mr. Price, with Mr. Lewis’s assent, kept this information from Mr. Mayopoulos in order to avoid disclosure, this is a prima facie case of securities fraud. Would Bank of America shareholders have voted to approve this transaction? If the answer is no, then it is hard to see this as anything other than material information.

Plaintiffs in this private case have the additional benefit that this claim is related to a shareholder vote. It is easier to prove securities fraud related to a shareholder vote than more typical securities fraud claims like accounting fraud. Shareholder vote claims do not require that the plaintiffs prove that the person committing securities fraud did so with awareness that the statement was wrong or otherwise recklessly made. You only need to show that the person should have acted with care.

This case is not only easier to establish, but the potential damages could also be enormous. Damages in a claim like this are calculated by looking at the amount lost as a result of the securities fraud. A court will most likely calculate this by referencing the amount that Bank of America stock dropped after the loss was announced; this is as much as $50 billion. It is a plaintiff’s lawyer’s dream.

via Bank of America Faces a $50 Billion Shareholder Lawsuit – NYTimes.com.

“Prohibition”,  tv documentaries, history, Ken Burns, history:  DVR is set …

It’s a subject that violently polarized the nation, pitting “wets” against “drys,” Catholics against Protestants, city folk against small-towners, and immigrants against native-born citizens.

Prohibition’s story, like Burns’ film, starts almost 100 years before the ban on alcohol took effect in 1920.

For much of the 19th century, a sizable percentage of the U.S. population made the cast of “Jersey Shore” look like lightweights. Male-only saloons and taverns were everywhere. Alcohol abuse was destroying families and, in some people’s eyes, the very fabric of society.

Women who’d never had a political voice began leading a crusade against the evils of booze — a crusade that was championed further by the Anti-Saloon League, a lobbying group that grew so powerful “it makes the NRA look like they’re still in short pants,” Burns said.

The fight culminated in 1919 with the passage of the 18th amendment, which made the sale and manufacturing of “intoxicating beverages” illegal.

“It was meant to eradicate an evil,” says “Prohibition” narrator Peter Coyote. “Instead, it turned millions of law-abiding Americans into lawbreakers.”

And it turned run-of-the-mill hoodlums into rich and ruthless bootleggers.

via Ken Burns’ ‘Prohibition’ tackles hot topic that polarized nation – Chicago Sun-Times.

food – slow food:   I am a prepared food, fast food junkie … all sorts of reasons this is bad …

This year, Slow Food USA, which defines “slow food” as good for its eaters, its producers and the environment — a definition anyone can get behind — set out to demonstrate that slow food can also be affordable, not only a better alternative to fast food but a less expensive one. The organization issued a $5 Challenge with the inspired rallying cry of “take back the ‘value meal’,” which in most fast food restaurants runs somewhere around five bucks.

Under the leadership of its president, Josh Viertel, Slow Food has moved from a group of rah-rah supporters of artisanal foods to become a determined booster of sustainability and of real food for everyone. Last month it called for people to cook pot luck and community dinners for no more than $5 per person. “We gave ourselves a month to launch the first big public day of action in what we hoped would become an ongoing challenge,” says Viertel. “In those four weeks we hoped to organize 500 people to host meals on Sept. 17. Our dream was to have 20,000 people participate.”

Slow Food believes that the very best way to build the kind of social movement needed to produce the systemic changes that they seek is to start small: to share knowledge and to share meals. What’s wrong with that?

via Slow Food: Shared Meals, Shared Knowledge – NYTimes.com.

criminals, hijackers: On the run for 41 years!  “Wright’s life story reads like an international crime novel.”

Now, after a manhunt spanning three continents that often appeared to run cold, the FBI has finally found George Wright.

At age 68, he was living quietly in the resort of Sintra near Lisbon in Portugal when he was arrested Monday.

The United States is seeking his extradition from Portugal to serve the remainder of a 15- to 30-year sentence for murder. Portuguese judicial authorities could not be reached Tuesday for details of the extradition process.

Wright is fighting extradition, a U.S. federal agent said, and his next court appearance in Portugal is in about two weeks.

Wright’s life story reads like an international crime novel.

via On the run for 41 years, hijacker traced to Portugal – CNN.com.

citizen journalism, politics, global issues:  Very good article about empowering people through citizen journalism.

Before the American Revolution, journalism, if you could call it that, was an elite practice heavily censored by the colonial government. So when Thomas Paine and John Peter Zenger published their defiant tracts, fellow American colonists yearning for freedom did not question their credentials to write. Instead, they enshrined their right to do so in the First Amendment.

“We are the first nation – arguably the only nation – in which top-down control of the flow of information never was seriously attempted,” AOL Huffington Post Media Group editorial director Howard Fineman writes in his 2008 book, The Thirteen American Arguments .

He notes that Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense anonymously, yet “It was the most influential pamphlet of our time, and perhaps even in world history.”

Meet Kimberley Sevcik, Media Relations Manager for Camfed, an international educational organization with offices in Cambridge (U.K.) and San Francisco, who just returned from three weeks in East Africa. There, as she did on two previous trips (to Zambia and Tanzania), she trained women in basic communications techniques, empowering them to talk and write about what most impacts their lives and what they would like to see done about it. In other countries such as Zambia and Ghana, Camfed (the Campaign for Female Education) previously hired professionals to teach filmmaking as a communication tool, resulting in deeply affecting documentaries about previously taboo topics such as AIDS and domestic violence. The latter was the topic of their latest film, “Hidden Truth,” which just won the Prize for Best Documentary at the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

If you think about it, “People are always speaking for African woman,” Sevcik observed. “Isn’t is better to ask them, ‘What are you experiencing?’ – and let them find their own voices?”

via Laura Paull: In The Beginning, There Were Citizen Journalists.

Rick Perry, 2012 Presidential Election:  I’d like to write him off.

If anyone is seriously willing to argue that a handful of Republican activists in Florida are predictive of the broader electorate, please unmask yourself in the comments and accept the teasing you deserve.

As I’ve said before, I think Mr Perry is beatable, by Mr Romney or Mr Obama (or perhaps by another Republican, should it come to that). He has two serious liabilities. The first is that he doesn’t particularly play well with others. He explicitly rejects moderation and bipartisan behaviour, even though his behaviour is occasionally quite temperate, as on the tuition issue. This truculence is slightly unusual in a national politician, at least a winning one. Mr Perry’s second major liability is that he has no record of leading people places they don’t want to go, on politics or on policy. He usually doesn’t even try. This isn’t a thoroughgoing drawback in an elected leader—it forestalls crusading—but it does challenge his ability to form coalitions, electoral or otherwise. These are the overarching reasons that I think Mr Perry can be beaten. However, many of his critics, being apparently unable to take a balanced view of the situation, tend to ignore such substantive complaints or obscure them with a barrage of flimsier complaints about how he has a Texas accent. At some point they’re going to realise that’s not going to work.

via Rick Perry’s problems: The need for new narratives | The Economist.

depression, “Supermoms”:  I bet  “Supermoms” who accept their limitations and drink lots of coffee are never depressed. 🙂

So I was intrigued to come across a new study reporting that women who recognize that something has to give when it comes to juggling a job and family tend to have fewer depressive symptoms than those who think they can truly have — and handle — it all.

“It’s really about accepting that combining employment and family requires that trade-offs be made, and then feeling okay about letting certain things go, either at home or at work,” says the study’s leader, Katrina Leupp, a graduate student at the University of Washington.

via Depression is less common among ‘Supermoms’ who accept their limitations – The Washington Post.

economics, cities, Great Recession, families: An interesting take …  “The Gated City”: Moving toward stagnation | The Economist.




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