Posts Tagged ‘Jon Meacham

19
Feb
14

2.19.14 … “The physical details that carry the story and make it suspenseful and absorbing are also vessels of specific meaning, and together they add up to a fable about the soul of man under global capitalism. Our man is a privileged consumer (just look at all the stuff he has on that boat) whose fate is set in motion by a box full of goods (children’s sneakers, as it happens) accidentally knocked out of circulation” …

Redbox movies, All is Lost: “The film’s script is nearly dialogue-free and only 32 pages long.”  I watched til the end and it was a worthy of my time movie experience, but I can’ say it was entertaining.

Like other tales of survival at sea — a robust literary tradition that includes classic books by Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Joseph Conrad and Herman Melville — “All Is Lost” manifests a strong allegorical undercurrent. Nothing registers the fragility and contingency of the human presence in the universe quite as starkly as the sight of a small vessel adrift on an endless ocean, and few representations of heroism are as vivid as the spectacle of an individual fighting to master the caprices of wind and water.

But this is not — or not only — a parable of Man against Nature, ready-made for high school term paper analysis. The physical details that carry the story and make it suspenseful and absorbing are also vessels of specific meaning, and together they add up to a fable about the soul of man under global capitalism. Our man is a privileged consumer (just look at all the stuff he has on that boat) whose fate is set in motion by a box full of goods (children’s sneakers, as it happens) accidentally knocked out of circulation.

It is this catastrophe and the man’s desperate efforts to correct it that link “All Is Lost” with “Margin Call,” Mr. Chandor’s excellent first feature. That movie, about an office full of panicky investment bankers dealing with the unfolding financial crisis of 2008, is in many ways the opposite of “All Is Lost.” It takes place almost entirely indoors, and it’s pretty much all talk. But it is also very much concerned with how powerful men react when their sense of control is challenged, and with the vast, invisible system that sustains their illusions.

via ‘All Is Lost,’ With Robert Redford at Sea – NYTimes.com.

Banksy,  Brooklyn Art, Auction, WSJ.com: Follow-up on Banksy … fails to sell. 😦

Banksy, the elusive spray-painter, stenciled a red heart-shaped balloon covered in Band-Aids on a wall at the corner of King and Van Brunt streets in Red Hook in October as part of his monthlong New York “residency.”

The aerosol art was accompanied by an audio guide on Banksy’s website, which explained that it was “obviously an iconic representation of the battle to survive a broken heart.”

Property owners are usually incensed when graffiti vandals strike—often choosing to whitewash the markings. But it is different when the graffiti was painted by Banksy.

The Red Hook building’s owner sold the section of the wall to art dealer Stephan Keszler about a week after Banksy’s work appeared—and now it’ll be on the block at Fine Art Auctions Miami’s second annual street-art exhibition. Mr. Keszler declined to say how much he paid for the work.

Sebastien Laboureau, an expert on street art and principal at MoonStar Fine Arts Advisors, said he estimates the red balloon work will fetch between $400,000 and $600,000.

“Very few of Bansky’s walls have been sold at auction,” said Mr. Laboureau, who has supervised the entire exhibition.

FAAM President Frederic Thut said it was mostly new collectors who were interested in buying street art.

“With Banksy, there’s always a very strong political message; they’re very emblematic of the period,” he said, adding that the “vibe” of street art “is like the pop art generation at the end of the ’70s.”

Mr. Thut said about 2,000 people had come through the exhibition by Monday morning and he has received calls from collectors in France, Germany, Russia and China.

That Banksy’s work was almost immediately painted over by another graffiti artist, Omar NYC, means the piece is more important to the street-art scene because it demonstrates the dialogue between street artists, said Mr. Laboureau.

“Banksy has become so successful now that other artists become jealous,” he said.

“We believe Banksy came back and wrote ‘is a jealous little girl’ under Omar NYC’s tag,” he said, “which makes it even more interesting. The street is open to everybody.”

via Banksy Brooklyn Art Goes to Auction – WSJ.com.

Banksy’s “Red Hook Balloon” Fails to Sell at Art Miami | In the Air: Art News & Gossip | ARTINFO.com.

Another aspect that makes Banksy’s persona and his work particularly fascinating to Diehl is his complete rejection of embracing the “celebrity.”

“If he isn’t interested in the celebrity that comes with being who Banksy is, then it’s completely meaningless. Because he’s still a blank to us, unless he embraces the celebrity, it doesn’t mean anything,” Diehl said.

While staying in Los Angeles, Diehl finished up her work on Banksy and while the lecture Thursday will be the first since she’s completed her research, there’s a good chance this topic can take flight into something much more long term.

via Art critic to lecture on Banksy street art.

Most people ignored Banksy – who was disguised as an old man – and his stall. However, three lucky people did make purchases – one of whom was New Zealander Arnika*, who bought two.

“There was a definite feeling, a gut feeling and I like to follow my gut feeling,” she told Campbell Live.

She was thanked by the ‘old man’ by leaning over for a kiss.

“At the time, he just said ‘thank you’. That was the second kiss he’d given me. I [just] stood there for about an hour talking to the man.”

via Kiwi Banksy buyer loans pieces to Canterbury museum – Story – Campbell Live – TV Shows – 3 News.

Bouley Botanical, green,  urban farming, NYC, NYTimes.com: Urban farm to table 🙂

His downtown Eden may look more “After Hours” than “Green Acres,” but he calls it a farm. “A lot of people think urban farming is going to be on some rooftop,” Mr. Bouley said, “but what’s coming is controlled environments.” Carefully tended planters overflow with scores of varieties of herbs, flowers and vegetables: chamomile, fennel, nasturtium, lavender, mustard greens, watercress, creeping savory, pineapple sage. The intoxicating fragrances prompt the chef to imagine soups, sauces, juices and extracts. “Smell that,” he said on a snowy evening, reaching for a white jasmine flower. “What I can do with these things!”

via At Bouley Botanical, Planters Overflow – NYTimes.com.

Calling for an Apology Cease-Fire, NYTimes.com:  I am sorry to say, I agree.

If you’re getting the feeling that I find something profoundly troubling about all this “apology washing,” you’re right. “Sorry” is in a sorry state. My distaste operates on several levels. First, it’s offensive that those issuing cheap apologies actually believe that we believe them, treating them as a “get out of jail free card.” But the transparent “get me out of this mess” declarations we are witnessing are bereft of credibility. They are motivated by strategic plotting, not soul-searching.

I am also offended because there are some authentic, legitimate apologies that are sent forth into the world. But bad apologies drive out good, so that those who take their apologies seriously, and work tirelessly to live up to them, are dismissed along with the drivel.

Apologies can and should be hugely important actions and mechanisms, blessed with enormous power and lasting impact. But they must be two-way exchanges of trust and healing that are open and transparent.

It is because I mourn the loss of the genuine apology that I propose an apology cease-fire.

via Calling for an Apology Cease-Fire – NYTimes.com.

Jon Meacham, mea culpa , executive orders: That must have been a hard one …

On television this morning I was asked about the role of executive orders in American presidential history, and my reply was at best imprecise and at worst just plain wrong. I did not say what I meant to say: that great presidential leadership requires not only executive action but public persuasion and legislative action. It\’s like the old cold-war triad of land, sea, and air military capabilities. The presidents I’ve written about–Jefferson, Jackson, FDR–used executive power, often boldly and to the great consternation of their critics, to advance their agendas. Sometimes that’s the only way to move forward. But these presidents also understood that the longterm success or failure of democratic leadership often turns on shaping public opinion and passing laws, not only on issuing executive orders. Such orders can be good starters but lasting reform usually comes from sustained public and legislative work. (In Lincoln’s case, for example, the anti-slavery project of the Emancipation Proclamation was followed by the passage of the 13th Amendment. Or, in the case of Truman, he in a way began a war on Jim Crow by desegregating the armed services by executive order–a war that ultimately required the landmark laws of 1964 and 1965.) So executive orders are a critical element in statecraft; I was just trying to say that they’re not the only one. In any event, I should have spoken more clearly and with greater care, and I regret that I did neither. Totally my mistake.

via Jon Meacham.

President Obama says Stephen Curry is the best shooter he’s ‘ever seen’,  For The Win: I am still amazed that all the big schools wouldn’t give him a chance, but am so glad they wouldn’t.

TNT’s Charles Barkley had the opportunity to interview President Barack Obama before All-Star Weekend, and the president — an ardent basketball fan — gave his opinion on some of the best players in the game. Obama said that four-time MVP LeBron James has the chance to be “as good as anybody.”

“I’ve never seen somebody that size, that fast, who can jump that high, who’s that strong, who has that much basketball savvy, all in one package,” Obama said.

President Obama also heaped praise on Warriors sharpshooter Stephen Curry, whom Obama called the “best shooter [he’s] ever seen.”

This was Curry’s reaction Saturday night upon hearing the compliment.

via President Obama says Stephen Curry is the best shooter he’s ‘ever seen’ | For The Win.

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.

08
Sep
11

9.8.2011 … Last week … “let me in, it is too hot” … this week … “let me in, it is too cool” … and now … “let me out, it’s sunny and just right” – Goldibassets, Bart and Lisa, two 10-year-old bassets.

fall:  Bassets are loving it … they can ride in the car with me again … which usually means a “loving it” trip to McDonald’s as well.

Romare Bearden, Charlotte, A. Zachary Smith III:  I am so enjoying sharing in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth Charlotte’s native son Romare Bearden.  Thank you Zach Smith for introducing me to this wonderful artist 25 years ago.

Join us as we celebrate one of Mecklenburg County’s greatest artists in a film series dedicated to Romare Bearden; hosted by our award-winning film series guru, Sam Shapiro of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

What started as a Summer Film Series has become a year-long venture into bringing the world of film history to various audiences and last year won Creative Loafing’s Best of Charlotte Award for Best Film Series.

There will be Bearden celebrations and art exhibits around town throughout the fall and winter, including a major retrospective of his work opening at the Mint Museum in September. In partnership with the Mint, the Library will be screening a three part series focusing on Bearden, his art and his influence on music. Among them will be documentaries about the Harlem Renaissance, a 20th century movement.  All of these screenings also include a brief talk by Shapiro.

Funds raised for this series will be used to secure screening rights, produce and promote each series, and acquire much needed material on these topics for our collection.

Budget Breakdown:   Movie Rights: The rights to show these movies will cost $400. Promotional Materials: To ensure we have a great crowd we will need posters and a few advertisements that will cost $400. DVDs and Other Check Out Materials: We want the film series experience to be that our guests can take home and show their friends so we will spend $500 buying materials to support this effort. $156 will go to processing fees on the site

Total – $1,456

via Project Detail | power2give.

2012 Presidential Campaign, Jon Meacham, twitter: I forgot to watch … but JM sums it up …

@jmeacham

Jon Meacham

About that cheering last night: Obama seems bloodless, and the GOP is bloodthirsty.

via Jon Meacham (jmeacham) on Twitter.

medical marijuana, DC, LOL:  I am sorry … but having two boys in Boulder where medical marijuana is legal, I am used to it, make that not shocked by it,  in CO or CA, but I still  cannot imagine it on the east coast.

Gone is the sound technician who wanted to sell cannabis-infused cupcakes. And gone is the hydroponics supply store owner who once named a strain of pot after the Potomac River. They are among at least a dozen would-be medical marijuana entrepreneurs who took themselves out of the running because they found the city’s regulations too restrictive or the start-up costs too high. And in the past week, at least five more dropped out because of a recent change in the regulations that they fear increases the likelihood of federal prosecution.

The contenders that remain range from medical-cannabis veterans to complete novices whose qualifications for cultivation consist of “a green thumb.”

Many have gone the A-Team route and gathered an assortment of people with different specialities: doctor, CPA, horticulturist.

One of the most polished entrants is the nonprofit Abatin Wellness Center, the brainchild of former television talk show host Montel Williams, who has multiple sclerosis and has long supported legalizing medical marijuana. Abatin opened a dispensary in Sacramento this year that one reviewer dubbed “the Neiman Marcus of Marijuana.”

Intent on expanding eastward, Abatin hired veteran lobbyist and longtime Marion Barry lawyer Frederick Cooke Jr. to represent it in the District. In July, Cooke escorted Williams around the Wilson Building to meet local pols.

Williams said he hopes an Abatin outpost in Washington will help change perceptions about medical marijuana on Capitol Hill. He agrees with critics who complain that in some parts of the country, loose regulation has turned medical marijuana into little more than state-sanctioned drug dealing.

via D.C. approves more than 50 to apply for medical marijuana licenses – The Washington Post.

diet, health mental health:  I should never be depressed … these are all my favorites.

In recent years, carbohydrates have become the enemy in certain types of diets. “People are cutting out carbs completely,” Villacorta says, who suggests that rather than avoiding all carbs, you should simply choose the right ones — whole-grain breads, fruits, and vegetables. These carbs are digested more slowly than refined carbs, which cause your blood sugar to quickly rise and drop, leading to fatigue. Including healthy carbohydrates in your diet is important because they help increase levels of serotonin — a neurotransmitter that helps relay messages from one area of the brain to another — which makes you feel more relaxed.

Nutrients to Improve Mood

Other healthy food-mood partners include:

Omega-3 fatty acids. These are found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel and in ground flaxseed, canola oil, and some nuts such as walnuts. Research is still ongoing, Villacorta says, but some studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help alleviate symptoms of depression. You can also take fish oil in capsules. “There are psychiatrists who prescribe fish oil as an adjunctive treatment for depression,” Wong says. “I’ve had a few people report to me that it helped improve their mood.”

Vitamin B12 and folate. Vitamin B12 is found in fish, such as salmon and trout, and in fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals. B12 is also available as a vitamin supplement. Good sources of folate (another B vitamin) are dark leafy vegetables, such as spinach, citrus fruits, beans, almonds, dairy products, and fortified breakfast cereals. Researchers believe that these two B vitamins help break down the amino acid homocysteine, which is being investigated for a possible link to depression when in high levels.

Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and increases endorphins, the feel-good hormones. “I recommend dark chocolate to all my clients,” Villacorta says. “If you can eat just one or two small pieces a day, it’s good for you.” But be sure to stop there — a serving of only 1.5 ounces has also been shown to be heart-healthy, but eating the whole bar may cause you to pack on extra pounds.

via The Right Foods for Managing Depression – Major Depression Resource Center – Everyday Health.

USA, international relations, politics, global spin, post-American world:  I don’t even like the term “Post-American World”

Most Europeans – 54% — want to see strong American leadership, according to a new Transatlantic Trends poll out Sept. 14. And a whopping 85% of Americans want their country to lead the world. Certainly, if you listen to the GOP field of U.S. presidential wannabes, American exceptionalism has been on the decline and should be a priority. To their mind, America should always be No. 1.

But, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’s 2011 Review of World Affairs, out Tuesday, America’s interest in leading the world is at the lowest point since before Sept. 11. “The U.S. approach to international crises in the medium term will be shaped by the country’s war fatigue,” John Chipman, the institute’s director, told reporters in London at the report’s unveiling. “‘Abroad’ has become a synonym for ‘quagmire’ in the American political consciousness. ‘Home’ is the priority for which most political capital must be spent.” Traditionally, second-term presidents have focused more on foreign policy. Given the economic climate, President Obama has been forced to focus much of his attentions inward, and it remains to be seen whether he’s been successful enough to win a second term. A decade of two protracted and expensive wars have worn thin on the world’s only superpower.

via Many in the West Don’t Want a Post-American World – Global Spin – TIME.com.

marriage, mental health problems, marrying young, twitter:  The twitter link said women who marry “young” suffer mental health problems.

@TIMENewsFeed

TIME NewsFeed

Getting married young is linked to psychological problems later, study finds | ti.me/pGRp6o

via TIME NewsFeed (TIMENewsFeed) on Twitter.

I thought I married young at 24 … uh-oh … they meant under 18, i.e., children who marry!  Glad I don’t qualify … I have enough risk factors as it is!

A new study has found that girls who marry before they’re 18 are more likely to suffer from mental health problems later on.

The research, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, found that women who were married as children — defined as 17 or younger by the study — were more likely to suffer from problems such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and alcohol and drug addiction. The researchers, led by Dr. Yann Le Strat, discovered the connection by looking at data from more than 18,000 women from across the United States and determining how old they had been when they were first married (if they married at all) and whether or not they suffered from long or short-term psychiatric problems.

via Study: Getting Married Before Age 18 Linked to Psychological Problems – TIME NewsFeed.

brainwave controllers, science, innovation, TED:  Humans are amazing!

THE idea of moving objects with the power of the mind has fascinated mankind for millennia. At first it was the province of gods, then sorcerers and witches. In the late 19th century psychokinesis, as the trick then came to be known, became a legitimate object of study, as part of the nascent field of parapsychology, before falling into disrepute in the arch-rationalist 20th century. Since the 1990s, however, it has seen something of a revival, under a more scientifically acceptable guise.

There is nothing particularly magical about moving things with thoughts. Human beings perform the feat every time they move a limb, or breathe, by sending electrical impulses to appropriate muscles. If these electrical signals could be detected and interpreted, the argument goes, there is in principle no reason why they could not be used to steer objects other than the thinker’s own body. Indeed, over the past two decades brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) which use electrodes implanted in the skull have enabled paralysed patients to control computer cursors, robotic arms and wheelchairs.

Now, though, non-invasive BCIs, where electrodes sit on the scalp instead of burrowing through it, are finally becoming a realistic alternative to the complicated surgical procedure that implants necessitate. Electroencephalography (EEG), which measures electrical activity along the scalp, has long been used clinically to diagnose epilepsy, comas and brain death, and as a research tool in neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Last year an Austrian company called Guger Technologies released a system that uses EEG to allow paralysed patients to type. The system highlights letters one by one on a grid. When the desired letter comes up an EEG headset picks up the brain activity associated with recognising it. At five to ten characters per minute the process is slow and laborious, but it offers patients a way to communicate with others. The device can also be used to attract a minder’s attention, to get a computer to read out a text or to send commands to external devices such as a TV.

As might be expected, not everyone shares the enthusiasm for supplanting mankind’s traditional, arm’s length relationship with technology with a deeper, BCI-mediated sort. Jens Clausen, a medical ethicist at Tübingen University, warns that excessive use of BCI for gaming could alter brain activity in ways that conventional gaming does not, and that as yet are poorly understood. And blurring the distinction between thinking about an act and actually performing it raises some tricky moral and philosophical questions.

Yet as it stands, the technology seems poised for a period of rapid development which both the needy and thrill-seekers are bound to greet with cheers. As Tan Le, co-founder of Emotiv, the headset-maker, told the TED conference last year, “We are only really scratching the surface of what is possible.” Those scratches are, however, getting deeper all the time.

via Brainwave controllers: Put your thinking cap on | The Economist.

Tan Le: A headset that reads your brainwaves | Video on TED.com.

Odessa Sloan Hunsucker, RIP, Davidson College:  Davidsonians loved the staff at the college.  This obituary  made me think of The Help and wondered if the staff knew how much we loved them.  They blessed our lives. Rest in peace, Odessa Sloan Hunsucker. You had a full life.

Mrs. Hunsucker was born July 1, 1911, in Davidson and attended schools in Davidson and Statesville. She married John Baxter Hunsucker (1905-1967) and together they moved to New Jersey and New England, where they lived and worked for many years.

After her husband’s death, Mrs. Hunsucker moved back to Davidson and built a home on Lakeside Avenue, where she lived until 2007. At the time of her death, she was living in a nursing home in Mooresville. In July, she celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends.

In Davidson, she was active in Reeves Temple AME Zion Church, where she was a former trustee board member, a class leader, deaconess, senior choir member and a member of the Missionary Society and Lay Council. She also was a member of the Progressives Club.

Odessa Sloan Hunsucker celebrated her 100th birthday with friends in July 2011.

She worked many years as a cook at Davidson College fraternities PKA and Emanon and later was employed by the Howie family.

She is survived by a niece, Angela Sloan, of Clinton, Md.; and two cousins, Mable Torrence of Davidson and Ruth Crosby of Charlotte.

She also leaves behind many friends, including Lela Johnson of Davidson, who assisted her for many years. “She was a sweet person, and she loved everybody,” Mrs. Johnson recalled. “She was a fun person to be with. She loved to crochet, and she loved to cook.”

via Odessa Sloan Hunsucker, 100 | Obituaries.

 The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America, bookshelf, corporate history, economics, kith/kin, Atlanta:  Very interesting how the great corporations rise (and fall) coincide with our economic history.  As a kid in Atlanta, we had the Peachtree Battle A&P (where I went with my dad on Saturdays to get all the OA gossip) and a few Colonials and then the hold out independents (the one I remember was near Brookwood Station) which all disappeared by the late 60s.   What do you remember?

Enter the A&P. The company, which originally focused on the tea market, opened its first small grocery store in 1912. Unlike traditional mom-and-pop stores, the A&P had no telephone, no credit lines and no delivery options. They also had lower prices.

“People figured out they could save money by shopping there,” says Levinson. “It stocked only items that were fast-sellers, so it wasn’t stuck with an inventory of products no one was buying. It had limited hours. It had a single employee. … They found a way to sell groceries cheaper. … Within eight years, this approach turned their company into the largest retailer in the world.”

By 1930, the Hartford family, which owned A&P, had opened up almost 16,000 more stores. The stores themselves also expanded in both size and selection.


In a new book, Levinson explains how local mom-and-pop stores — with their limited selections, high prices and nonstandard packaging — paved the way for national chains like the A&P to swoop in and dominate the grocery industry. His book The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America chronicles the rise (and fall) of the discount grocery chain that was once one of the largest businesses in America. Levinson tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies that it was no coincidence that a national chain replaced the corner store.

“People get misty-eyed at the thought of the independent store — maybe it had some unique product, maybe we had more choices than we have today — but the truth was exactly the opposite,” he says. “Most of these stores had a very limited selection. They had no unique products at all. … [Shoppers] would have to go to two or three different grocery stories in their neighborhood if they wanted different type of goods, plus the butcher, the baker, and the fruit and vegetable store. … The consumer’s choices were pretty constrained.”

State laws were passed to force manufacturers to sell to all stores at the same price and to tax merchants with multiple stores in a case. An antitrust suit was also filed against the A&P, claiming that it had become a food monopoly because it controlled all aspects of manufacturing, retailing and wholesaling. But the movement lost steam in the late 1930s, when the economy started to pick up.

“By late 1939, unemployment was starting to fall, prices were starting to rise,” he says. “And you had full employment in World War II. The fate of mom-and-pop merchants was not the political issue that it had been during the Depression. After the war, you had huge changes in American society — and people liked the idea of shopping at a larger store … and they didn’t like being told that they were supposed to do business with a little independent grocer who didn’t offer them many choices.”

via How The A&P Changed The Way We Shop : NPR.

blogging, what i think about most: This wordpress feature intrigues me because some surprise me …

Apple Apps architecture art Atlanta bookshelf Charlotte Chicago college culture Davidson Davidson College education Facebook faith and spirituality followup food gLee Great Recession green health history icons Jane Austen kith/kin kudos lists LOL media movies music news NYC places politics quotes random religion restaurants RIP South Africa technology travel tv

via Dennard’s Clipping Service.

Newseum, Newseum Student Advisory Team, DC, Carol Harman:  If I were an “opinionated, engaging and informed middle and high school students,” I would love this.  Unfortunately I do not qualify. 🙂  But if you are in the DC area and have kids in this age group … what a great opportunity.  The Newseum is one of my favorites.  Thank you Carol Harman for suggesting I visit!

Join the 2011-2012 Newseum Student Advisory Team

We are looking for opinionated, engaging and informed middle and high school students to participate in the Newseum Student Advisory Team. The advisory team’s role is to (a) serve as the Newseum’s student ambassadors and (b) provide feedback on the development of interactive exhibits, videos and programs in the Newseum.

Students who participate will be given a package of tickets to the Newseum. Verification of volunteer hours will be provided. Team members must be able to attend required meetings once a month at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Interested students should submit a completed application, including a 250-word essay, describing why you would like to be a part of the team, and one letter of reference from a faculty or community member by Sept. 16, 2011.

Completed applications can be submitted by mail, fax or electronically to:

Newseum Education Department

555 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20001

Phone: 202/292-6650; Fax: 202/292-6665

E-mail: educationprograms@newseum.org

Download the new member application

Key Dates:

Finalists will be notified via email by Sept. 24, 2011. Finalists are required to interview with members of the Newseum Education Department and current Student Advisory Team members before joining the team.

The first meeting will be Thursday, Oct.13, 2011, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Parents are required to attend this introductory meeting with their students.

via Newseum | Resources for Students.

27
Apr
11

4.27.2011 … waiting for the midwestern storms to move east …

British Monarchy, Prince Charles, Prince William, journalism, media, tabloid news:  I enjoy the history and heraldry of the Royal Family, but it just seems “so yesterday” … tabloid news not real news.  Is their story really worthy of our major news outlets …

Prince William and Kate Middleton will exchange vows Friday in a ceremony expected to be watched by almost a third of the planet. But if the story that day will be of a prince and his bride, another will also be playing out behind the scenes: a tale of two kings.

William’s popularity is helping reinvent the monarchy here, with his marriage to a glamorous bride cementing the easy-mannered 28-year-old’s image as the perfect 21st-century king. Yet even as he becomes the single greatest key to ensuring the future of the House of Windsor, many here say William is in danger of overshadowing his far less popular father, Prince Charles, the next in line to the throne.

Streets in London were sealed off so that hundreds of troops from the city’s Wellington and Hyde Park Barracks could hold a dress rehearsal for the royal wedding on the procession route. (April 27)

How did William and Kate meet? Which princess married — and then divorced — an Olympic medalist? Whose wedding gown was adorned with 20,00 pearls? Test your knowledge!

At stake, royal watchers say, is the public standing of the British monarchy, which during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II has enjoyed virtually unwavering support. Yet despite a relatively successful campaign to improve Charles’s image, an Ipsos Mori poll last week showed a greater percentage calling for William to leapfrog Charles to the throne than at any point since the 1997 death of Charles’s ex-wife and William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Forty-six percent of respondents now say Charles should step aside.

via In Britain, Prince William threatens to eclipse his father, Prince Charles – The Washington Post.

Royal Wedding, Kate Middleton, fashion, icons:  She looks pretty good … but if you look back prior to the engagement, she looks like a beautiful commoner.  She’s going to have a little help now with the transformation into a fashion icon.

She’s not even a princess yet, but Kate Middleton, the future bride of Prince William, is already being held up around the world as a fashion plate. Designers are scampering to imitate the dresses she wears, and fashionistas debate the meaning of her latest hat. When it turned out that the ruffled silk blouse Middleton wore in her engagement photos was no longer being sold, the Whistles store obligingly brought the style back.

via Kate Middleton: The Fashions – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Twitter, parenting:  Favorite of the day … I hope i am not a lawnmower parent … helicopter parent at least sounds more glamorous.

Word Spy

lawnmower parent n. A parent who smooths his or her children’s paths through life by solving their problems for them. http://wspy.ws/lawnm

via (39) Twitter / Home.

law, ethics, politics, King & Spalding, Atlanta:  Sometimes politics and lawyering don’t mix.

This week, the law firm hired by House Republicans to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, withdrew from the case in the wake of criticism from gay-rights groups. Paul Clement, a former solicitor general and a highly regarded litigator, who was to be the lead counsel on the case, resigned from the firm, King & Spalding, in protest. King & Spalding issued a bland statement saying it was dropping the case because it hadn’t adequately vetted the contract. It looks more like a cave-in to pressure from the Human Rights Campaign and other groups that warned King & Spalding that it could have trouble recruiting and retaining lawyers if it persisted in defending DOMA, a job the firm took on after the Obama Administration announced that it would no longer be doing so itself.

Now, the activists can certainly demand whatever they want, and it’s easy to understand their chagrin. DOMA is a discriminatory piece of legislation, made even more problematic by its disrespect for laws enacted by the states: it prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages that are legal in the states in which they occurred.

But giving in to pressure to rid yourself of a controversial client is never a good idea in our system. It sets a bad precedent and carries an unfortunate whiff of McCarthyite groupthink. The Los Angeles Times had it right when it editorialized that it understood the outrage,

But the suggestion that it’s shameful for Clement or his firm to do so misunderstands the adversarial process. For one thing, with sharp-witted counsel on both sides making the strongest possible arguments, it is more likely that justice will be done. For another, a lawyer who defends an individual or a law, no matter how unpopular or distasteful, helps ensure that the outcome is viewed as fair. If DOMA is struck down, the fact that it was defended effectively will make the victory for its opponents more credible.

Clement will take up the defense of DOMA at his new firm, Bancroft P.L.L.C., which presumably is prepared for the disapproval that might come its way, and won’t back out. Maybe gay-rights groups can now return to making the strongest possible affirmative case for marriage equality, instead of trying to put its opponents out of commission.

via News Desk: Why DOMA Deserves A Lawyer : The New Yorker.

First Presbyterian Church, Rev. Roland Purdue:  Easter joke …. Rev Purdue does like to hear his congregation laugh!

So our interim minister today related a story that he often sees people he kind of knows but isn’t sure, since he travels a lot between churches. After service one day , he sees a woman he thinks he knows, so he he approaches her and says ” You look like Helen Brown,” to which she replied ” And you don’t look so good in black either!”

culture, gender issues, economics, traditions, marriage:  Name changing seems to be an expensive tradition.

FORGET ABOUT cash-stuffed wedding envelopes. A Dutch study suggests a way for brides to pick up an extra half million dollars by doing nothing–specifically, by not changing their names. Women who kept their maiden names were judged to be more professional than married-name doppelgangers and proved more likely to win a job, according to the research. They also attracted higher pay.

If the study results have real-world implications—and more on some limitations of the research in a moment—then as this season’s brides ponder a name-change, they might consider not only their shifting sentiments but economic realities.

via Are Maiden Names Really Worth $500,000? – SmartMoney.com.

Harper Lee, good stories, Jon Meacham, quotes:

Jon Meacham author of Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship (2004) said in an interview about Harper Lee for the book Scout, Atticus & Boo:

“I was with Harper Lee once in Sewanee, Tennessee, a couple of years ago at an occasion where Winston Churchill’s daughter and Miss Lee were receiving honorary degrees from the University of the South. At one of the events, the recipient stands up and says how they got to be where they are, and when Harper Lee stood up, she simply looked at Churchill’s daughter, Mary Soames, and said, “I would like to thank Lady Soames for everything, because if her father had not done what he did, I wouldn’t have been able to write anything at all.” And then she sat down. It was one of the most remarkably gracious things I have ever seen.”

via The Character of an Author – Nelle Harper Lee | Authors Say the Darndest Things.

Harper Lee, birthdays, 4/26, favorite posts, Jon Meacham:

It’s Harper Lee’s 85th birthday. Everyone who has ever wondered What Would Atticus Do? should raise a glass and drink to Miss Lee tonight.

via Jon Meacham./Facebook

Google Doodle birthdays, 4/26, John James Audubon:  I like this one …

Happy Bird-day, John James Audubon!

Google Doodle

via Google Doodle: Happy Bird-day, John James Audubon! – TIME NewsFeed.

Donald Trump, politics, balders:

A threat to the fledgling presidential campaign of Donald Trump emerged today, as a group of activists charged that Mr. Trump is not eligible to hold the nation’s highest office because his hair does not originate from the U.S.

The group, who call themselves “Balders,” claim that the hair-like substance that crowns Mr. Trump’s head is from a foreign country, which would mean that the candidate is less than one hundred percent American.

“Time and time again, Donald Trump has refused to produce a certificate of authenticity for his hair,” said Leeann Selwyn, a leading Balder.  “This is tantamount to a comb-over of the truth.”

via Trump Dogged By Rumors His Hair is Not From U.S. « Borowitz Report.




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 630 other followers

May 2018
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031