Posts Tagged ‘states’ rights

14
Aug
11

‎8.14.2011 … getting organized … and caught up on my “service” …

Olmsted, environmentalist:  I have a friend driving the BRP for the first time.  I wonder if he knows that Olmsted played a role by preserving the Pisgah Nation Forest.

Best known for crafting urban spaces – New York’s Central Park, Boston’s Emerald Necklace – Olmsted was also deeply involved in saving wild places.

Helping preserve Yosemite is one of his greatest accomplishments. Beginning in 1864 – at a time when only a few hundred non-Native Americans had ever set foot in the valley – Olmsted made a series of visits. He was awestruck by the epic scenery, but also recognized how easily the place could be spoiled.

In 1865, Schuyler Colfax, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, embarked on a cross-country journey with a visit to Yosemite slated as the highlight. Speaker Colfax was accompanied by a number of journalists. As it happens, Olmsted saw a mention in a paper about Colfax’s planned Yosemite visit. He arranged to meet up with the party to act as a guide. Olmsted also drafted an 8,000-word treatise about Yosemite.

In 1906, Yosemite became a national park, thanks to the tireless efforts of naturalist John Muir. But Olmsted gets credit for being one of the first people to call for the valley’s preservation. Olmsted, the pioneering environmentalist, also helped preserve Niagara Falls and the vast Pisgah forest in North Carolina.

via Olmsted, The Environmentalist.

pop-ups, H&M, WaterAid:  Still haven’t visited a really creative pop-up!

H&M has already appeared on our virtual pages once before for its innovative partnership with fashion blogger Elin Kling, but recently we found cause to cover the Swedish clothing retailer again. The topic this time? A pop-up store H&M recently ran in the Netherlands to benefit global charity WaterAid.

H&M has been collaborating with WaterAid since 2002, including an initiative every summer whereby the retailer sells an exclusive bikini or — this year — a whole beachwear collection dedicated to the effort, with 10 percent of proceeds donated toward providing safe water and sanitation to developing countries. This year, however, H&M took its support a step further by opening a pop-up beach store for two days in The Hague’s popular Scheveningen seaside resort. A variety of essentials for men, women and kids from H&M’s “Beachwear in Shades of Blue” line were available at the shipping container-style shop on the beach, and a full 25 percent of the sales proceeds went directly to WaterAid, according to a report on the Superfuture blog.

There’s no shortage of seasonal opportunities for pop-up retail, and H&M’s charitable focus makes the deal even sweeter. Other retailers around the globe: how can you make the most of summer to demonstrate your own corporate generosity?

via Pop-up beach store benefits global water charity | Springwise.

Statue of Livberty, NYC, LIFE:  I am really enjoying the LIFE photo galleries. American Classic: Lady Liberty – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Constitution, States Rights: 

I know states’ rights advocates revere the 10th Amendment. But when the word “states” appears in the Constitution, it typically is part of a compound word, “United States,” or refers to how the states and their people will be represented in the national government. We learned it in elementary school: The Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation to create a stronger federal government, not a weak confederate government. Perry’s view was rejected in 1787 and again in 1865.

We praise our Founders annually for revolting against royal rule and for creating an exceptionally durable system of self-government. We can wreck that system if we forget our Founders’ purpose of creating a representative form of national authority robust enough to secure the public good. It is still perfectly capable of doing that. But if we pretend we are living in Boston in 1773, we will draw all the wrong conclusions and make some remarkably foolish choices.

via What our Declaration really said – The Washington Post.

Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril, Moulin Rouge, Paris, muses:  I really learned a great deal on my Paris Walks tour of Montmartre … and so enjoyed this article yesterday in the WSJ.

[lautrec]

After the Moulin Rouge hired Avril in 1889, Lautrec painted her constantly. Some of his angular and unconventional depictions were used on posters to promote her performances.The Avril posters “made Lautrec famous as well,” Ms. Ireson says. “They were advertising the performance, but they were also advertising the artist himself.”

Unlike many artist-muse relationships, theirs is not thought to have escalated into romance, though that might have been to Lautrec’s chagrin. He was known to be positively giddy whenever she was around. His late biographer, Thadée Natanson, who knew both Lautrec and Avril, once described the artist as something of an “amorous alcoholic” in her presence.

via Jane Avril and Toulouse-Lautrec at the Courtauld – WSJ.com.

politics, millennials:  Thanks, Joni, for this great article.  I am not sure I want to turn over power to the Harry potter Generation … but I do have great hope in our children.

 

She continues, “We respond not as traditional issue-driven constituencies, but look for the nuances that reflect our own complex life experiences. We accept as fact that since people are different, not everyone will or should make the same choice when faced with an important life decision. Strident political alternatives come across as unrealistic and out of touch.”

Another young professional in Washington says she and her friends also shy away from absolutist thinking. “Women shouldn’t wait until the third trimester to have an abortion,” she says emphatically, “but should we have a law banning it? No. Should every medical provider be obligated to perform abortions? Also, no.”

In 2007 William A. Galston, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, asked 20-somethings what they considered the top qualities necessary to be an adult. Four out of five rated becoming less self-oriented, and developing greater consideration for others, among the top four of 16 possible answers.

Will they be as generous in the future if the economy continues to decline? Will the level-headed among them become inspired to run for public office and, once there, offer fresh ideas on how to govern in a collaborative manner? We must hope so.

via End political gridlock: Put a Millennial in charge – CNN.com.

2012 Presidential Election, Michelle Bachmann, Francis Schaeffer, “How Should We Then Live?,” Westminster:  Wow … this story scares me.  One interesting note – at my high school, we were requred to watch the Schaeffer series referenced for a senior Christian ethics class.  I have re-read the book in recently years beause the 5 part series has haunted my take on ethics … I plan to re-read it again.

The transformation of Michele Bachmann from Tea Party insurgent and cable-news Pasionaria to serious Republican contender in the 2012 Presidential race was nearly complete by late June, when she boarded a Dassault Falcon 900, in Dulles, Virginia, and headed toward the caucus grounds of Iowa. The leased, fourteen-seat corporate jet was to serve as Bachmann’s campaign hub for the next few days, and, before the plane took off, her press secretary, Alice Stewart, announced to the six travelling chroniclers that there was one important rule. “I know everything is on the record these days,” Stewart said, “but please just don’t broadcast images of her in her casual clothes.”

Later that year, they experienced a second life-altering event: they watched a series of films by the evangelist and theologian Francis Schaeffer called “How Should We Then Live?”

Schaeffer, who ran a mission in the Swiss Alps known as L’Abri (“the shelter”), opposed liberal trends in theology. One of the most influential evangelical thinkers of the nineteen-seventies and early eighties, he has been credited with getting a generation of Christians involved in politics. Schaeffer’s film series consists of ten episodes tracing the influence of Christianity on Western art and culture, from ancient Rome to Roe v. Wade. In the films, Schaeffer—who has a white goatee and is dressed in a shearling coat and mountain climber’s knickers—condemns the influence of the Italian Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Darwin, secular humanism, and postmodernism. He repeatedly reminds viewers of the “inerrancy” of the Bible and the necessity of a Biblical world view. “There is only one real solution, and that’s right back where the early church was,” Schaeffer tells his audience. “The early church believed that only the Bible was the final authority. What these people really believed and what gave them their whole strength was in the truth of the Bible as the absolute infallible word of God.”

The first five installments of the series are something of an art-history and philosophy course. The iconic image from the early episodes is Schaeffer standing on a raised platform next to Michelangelo’s “David” and explaining why, for all its beauty, Renaissance art represented a dangerous turn away from a God-centered world and toward a blasphemous, human-centered world. But the film shifts in the second half. In the sixth episode, a mysterious man in a fake mustache drives around in a white van and furtively pours chemicals into a city’s water supply, while Schaeffer speculates about the possibility that the U.S. government is controlling its citizens by means of psychotropic drugs. The final two episodes of the series deal with abortion and the perils of genetic engineering.

Schaeffer died in 1984. I asked his son Frank, who directed the movies—and who has since left the evangelical movement and become a novelist—about the change in tone. He told me that it all had to do with Roe v. Wade, which was decided by the Supreme Court while the film was being made. “Those first episodes are what Francis Schaeffer is doing while he was sitting in Switzerland having nice discussions with people who came through to find Jesus and talk about culture and art,” he said. But then the Roe decision came, and “it wasn’t a theory anymore. Now ‘they’ are killing babies. Then everything started getting unhinged. It wasn’t just that we disagreed with the Supreme Court; it’s that they’re evil. It isn’t just that the federal government may be taking too much power; now they are abusing it. We had been warning that humanism followed to its logical conclusion without Biblical absolutes is going to go into terrible places, and, look, it’s happening right before our very eyes. Once that happens, everything becomes a kind of holy war, and if not an actual conspiracy then conspiracy-like.”

Francis Schaeffer instructed his followers and students at L’Abri that the Bible was not just a book but “the total truth.” He was a major contributor to the school of thought now known as Dominionism, which relies on Genesis 1:26, where man is urged to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Sara Diamond, who has written several books about evangelical movements in America, has succinctly defined the philosophy that resulted from Schaeffer’s interpretation: “Christians, and Christians alone, are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns.”

In 1981, three years before he died, Schaeffer published “A Christian Manifesto,” a guide for Christian activism, in which he argues for the violent overthrow of the government if Roe v. Wade isn’t reversed. In his movie, Schaeffer warned that America’s descent into tyranny would not look like Hitler’s or Stalin’s; it would probably be guided stealthily, by “a manipulative, authoritarian élite.”

Today, one of the leading proponents of Schaeffer’s version of Dominionism is Nancy Pearcey, a former student of his and a prominent creationist. Her 2004 book, “Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity,” teaches readers how to implement Schaeffer’s idea that a Biblical world view should suffuse every aspect of one’s life. She tells her readers to be extremely cautious with ideas from non-Christians. There may “be occasions when Christians are mistaken on some point while nonbelievers get it right,” she writes in “Total Truth.” “Nevertheless, the overall systems of thought constructed by nonbelievers will be false—for if the system is not built on Biblical truth, then it will be built on some other ultimate principle. Even individual truths will be seen through the distorting lens of a false world view.”

via The Transformation of Michele Bachmann : The New Yorker.

slutwalks, society, culture:  In theory, the “sluts” are right … but tell that to the woman or adolescent who is raped and it could have been avoided.

Jarvis, along with crowds of protesters, had taken to the streets to march in what was dubbed a SlutWalk. The march, organized by Jarvis and Sonya Barnett, was spurred by the comments of Toronto constable Michael Sanguinetti, who told a group of students in a safety class that women “should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” In response to the constable’s remark — and the implication that women’s actions, not the actions of rapists, lead to sexual assault — SlutWalk was born.

via Will SlutWalks Change the Meaning of the Word ‘Slut’? – TIME.

Sandra Day O’connor, iCivics:  SDO’C is one of myheroes.  I continue tpo be impressed with her commitment to our society.

Mario and Luigi save princesses. Lara Croft raids tombs. And then there’s Chuck Freepress, a computer-game constitutional lawyer—created by retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor—who scores courtroom victories and boasts a heroic knowledge of the First Amendment.

O’Connor’s unlikely venture into the videogame world may not have produced a Resident Evil–level blockbuster, but so far it has hooked kids in 12,000 classrooms across the U.S. on a selection of civics-themed games—now played more than 2 million times. The goal: revive the teaching of civics in American schools to help prepare the next generation of kids to participate as citizens in a democracy.

As O’Connor points out, America’s public schools were founded in part to prepare kids for citizenship, not just college and career. “That was the theory, and schools followed it until recently,” she told NEWSWEEK. “Now our schools aren’t supporting it anymore. And I think that’s dangerous.”

Indeed, fewer than half of Americans can list all three branches of government, yet three in four can name all of the Three Stooges. High-school seniors today know less about the country than their peers did five years ago, according to the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress’s civics report card. And only 29 states require high-school students to take a civics or government course.

via Sandra Day O’Connor on Her American Civics Videogame – Newsweek.

Less than half of the public can name a single Supreme Court justice. But more than 80 percent of Americans know Michael Jackson sang “Beat It” and “Billie Jean.”

Thankfully, the Internet can be leveraged to update civics education in the digital age. At its best, the web is much more than just a source of information—it can be a powerful platform for students to exchange and debate ideas about what’s going on in their communities. And it is a vital vehicle for organizing political activities and finding government assistance.

A number of organizations are leading the way to producing the next generation of civics instruction. iCivics, founded by Justice O’Connor, offers web-based education projects and an array of interactive games and activities that students can use in class or at home. Students can assume the role of a Supreme Court justice and help decide a school dress-code case. Or they might learn how a new immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen by guiding them through the naturalization process. iCivics also provides outlets for students to engage in real-world civics efforts and support community projects founded by their peers from across the country.

Students continue to need opportunities to learn and experience civics in their offline communities as well. When Education Secretary Arne Duncan was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, he worked closely with the Mikva Challenge, which seeks to move beyond your grandmother’s civics to what it calls “action civics.”

via iCivics: Sandra Day O’Connor and Arne Duncan on Civics Education Online – The Daily Beast.

Grove Park Inn, culture, pets:  I guess the Grove Park is going after the European jet set … or the European jet set wannabees. 🙂

The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa announced last week it’s opening its doors to four-legged guests, with a new section of pet-friendly rooms and even doggie room service with dishes like Meat Woof and Chicken Pup Pie.

Rooms open to pets have been set aside in the inn’s Vanderbilt Wing, and there’s a pet walking area nearby. Meanwhile, the resort says it has a variety of trails and walking routes for exercising.

via Grove Park Inn opens doors to 4-legged guests  | Pets.

wine, Rosé, food – drink:  i enjoyed Rosé in Paris and my guide Donna Morris (Best Friend in Paris France – great guide if you need one) explained to me that this is what the French drink in summer.  I felt great being in the know … and the WSJ agrees.

Rosé has long been the summer beverage of choice for fashionable diners in Cannes and Saint-Tropez, but Americans have yet to fully embrace it.

One of the reasons for the dubious reputation of rosé may be that many drinkers remember the sweet blush wines and so-called White Zinfandels which were so popular in the 1970s and ’80s. Remember Sutter Home White Zinfandel? Technically it was a rosé and it was kind of sickly sweet, unlike the pink wines of southern France.

Nearby on the North Fork of Long Island, Paula and Michael Croteaux operate Croteaux Vineyards, which may be the only vineyard in the U.S. devoted entirely to rosé, creating some six different cuvées from different clones of Merlot. The Manhattan refugees bought their 18th-century farm in Southold, N.Y., in the early 1990s. “We’d have people coming by our place and saying, ‘I feel like I’m in Provence,’ ” Mr. Croteaux says. “And when we thought about planting vines, rosé seemed like a great fit based on the lifestyle out here on the east end.”

Fortunately, you don’t have to travel to the Hamptons or Provence to experience the incomparable pleasure of a cold rosé on a hot summer day.

via Rosé Wines for Summer | Jay McInerney on Wine – WSJ.com.

12
May
11

5.12.2011 … Happy birthday not so prime husband 51 is NOT a prime number! … but you are definitely prime in every other way …

culture, psychology, fear of failure:  Interesting …

While failure may be an integral prerequisite for true innovation, the fact remains that most of us harbor a deathly fear of it — the same psychological mechanisms that drive our severe aversion to being wrong, only amplified. That fear is the theme of this year’s student work exhibition at Stockholm’s Berghs School of Communication and, to launch it, they asked some of today’s most beloved creators — artists, designers, writers — to share their experiences and thoughts on the subject. While intended as advice for design students, these simple yet important insights are relevant to just about anyone with a beating heart and a head full of ideas — a much-needed reminder of what we all rationally know but have such a hard time internalizing emotionally.

via Famous Creators on the Fear of Failure | Brain Pickings.

consumers, material things, Great Recession:  It’s good I always liked Target and Costco!

Bentleys and Hermès bags are selling again. Yet the wealthiest Americans are emerging from the financial downturn as different consumers than they were.

Lyndie Benson says she now mentally calculates the “price per wear” of designer clothing. As the wife of saxophonist Kenny G, Ms. Benson, a photographer, can afford what she wants. She used to make a lot of impulse purchases, she says. But when shopping in Malibu, Calif., recently, she stopped herself before buying a gray Morgane Le Fay suit she’d tried on. “I walked outside and thought, ‘Hmmm, I don’t really love it that much,’ ” she says with contentment.

A number of surveys released in the past six weeks suggest Ms. Benson’s new selectiveness is widespread among the wealthiest Americans. Though many of these people might seem unscathed by the financial crisis—they didn’t lose their homes, jobs or retirement savings—they were deeply affected by what took place around them. “If you’re conscious at all, it just seeps in,” Ms. Benson says.

via Post-Recession, the Rich Are Different – WSJ.com.

photography, organization: Overwhelming is right!

It’s easy to post your photos on Facebook. What’s not so easy is managing them—organizing all your digital files so that you can find individual pictures without scrolling through hundreds.

Bradly Treadaway, digital media coordinator and faculty member at the International Center of Photography in New York, knows how overwhelming the task can be. He recently digitized about 5,000 printed photos and slides from his family, some of which date back 180 years. Developing a system for managing your photos is “like learning a new language,” he says.

The key to staying organized is doing a lot of work up front to sort and label the photos when you first transfer them from camera to computer. Mr. Treadaway keeps his main collection on a hard drive, rather than in a Web-based archive, because he feels that photo-management programs for computers offer more choices for how to edit, share and retain the photos.

Mr. Treadaway uses Adobe Photoshop Lightroom; for nonprofessionals, he suggests programs like iPhoto or the desktop version of Google’s Picasa.

via Make Organizing Your Photos a Snap – WSJ.com.

food, favorites, recipes:  Pasta Primavera is one of those dishes that I still remember how good it tasted the first time I had it ….

Pasta primavera, which means “springtime pasta,” is an American invention — at least as American as, say, fettuccine Alfredo. It first appeared on the menu at Le Cirque in the 1970s, and Sirio Maccioni, that restaurant’s owner, not only takes credit for it but was also quoted in 1991 in The Times saying, “It seemed like a good idea and people still like it.”

But with all due respect to Mr. Maccioni, is pasta primavera still a good idea? Which is to say, pasta tossed with every vegetable under the sun, spring or not — broccoli, tomatoes, peas, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, green beans, you name it — and enough cream to smother any hint of freshness? I’m all in favor of pasta with vegetables, but I want to be able to taste them. And I want them to be prepared thoughtfully.

via Mark Bittman – The Pasta Primavera Remix – NYTimes.com.

food, Paris, blog posts:  Fun post from Gourmet Live – App Exclusive: French Women Heart Frites. And Nine More Parisian Lies — Gourmet Live.

high school, testing, SAT, Apps:  I may utilize this list …

Apps that help teenagers study for the SAT (or, for those not living on either coast, the ACT) are improving, as traditional test-prep businesses like Princeton Review and Kaplan refine their mobile software to compete with start-ups.

Several to consider on this front include Princeton Review’s SAT Score Quest for iPad (free) and SAT Vocab Challenge for iPhone ($5), Kaplan SAT Flashcubes (free) and SAT Connect ($10 for Apple). For math, Adapster ($10 on Apple) is designed nicely.

via New and Better Apps Help Students Study for SAT – NYTimes.com.

Osama bin Laden’s death, twitter:  Tweeting for a missing snake is one thing … this one disturbs me.  Let him rest in peace, wherever he is.

In the days after Osama bin Laden was killed, a number of anonymous parodists created fake bin Laden Twitter accounts, tweeting what they called excerpts from the terrorists’ journal, his thoughts as a ghost, and observations from his new residence in hell.

via Osama bin Laden tweets from the dead – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

tv, soap operas, end of an era:  I loved watching soaps when I visited my grandparents in the summer … and in law school.  I wonder if my children even know what a soap opera is?

In today’s Academic Minute, Quinnipiac University’s Paul Janensch discusses the radio roots of a rapidly disappearing entertainment genre, the soap opera. Janensch is emeritus professor of journalism at Quinnipiac.

via Demise of Soap Operas / Academic & Pulse / Audio – Inside Higher Ed.

iPhone Lite: Rumors, rumors, rumors …

These are all tweaks that would significantly reduce the production price without necessarily degrading the user experience (particularly relevant is the smaller memory, which means the phones would benefit from Apple’s overhaul of MobileMe, widely expected to be cloud-centric). A drop in price like this would let Apple sell an iPhone Lite at a knock-down price, much as it has done previously with earlier edition iPhones, without necessarily fragmenting its platform, and enabling it to scoop up more of the low-end market that it’s partially ceded to Android.

via More Evidence That An iPhone Lite Is En Route | Fast Company.

iPhone Apps, neighborhood watch, Brookwood Hills:  Beware kids … when we started a neighborhood watch in Brookwood Hills in the 70s, our block volunteer was the wonderful “old maid” across the street. Well, a college girl was home for the summer … she loved about ten houses down … her parents were out of town … and her boyfriend would come stay every night and leave his car in front of Ms. Mackie’s house … guess what she did … she called the police!

It’s not the only instance of becoming the virtual. Home Elephant bills itself as “the world’s first app for neighbors to connect.” It serves as a sort of virtual neighborhood watch.

via Mister Rogers’ App | Fast Company.

libraries, architecture, University of Chicago:  UofC’s new library does from the outside what a library is intended to do … opens up the world to the user.

The library’s reading room, which sits directly beneath the building’s curving dome of steel and glass, will be open to university students, faculty and staff. But books and other printed materials won’t be moved to the library’s underground storage area until next fall. The dedication of the library won’t happen until October.

via Cityscapes: Reading room of Jahn’s U. of C. Mansueto Library to open next week.

To Kill a Mockingbird, movies, bookshelf,  Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird, 
documentary:

Fifty years after it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, filmmaker Mary Murphy’s documentary explores the continued influence of “To Kill a Mockingbird” through interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Tom Brokaw, Wally Lamb, as well as author Harper Lee’s family and friends.

via The Real Story Behind ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ – Speakeasy – WSJ.

guerilla improv/spontaneous musicals, new term:  “Guerilla improv”  … don’t you just love the term.

Guerrilla improv troupe Improv Everywhere struck again last month at GEL Conference, the annual gathering of tech/social media/business voices in New York City.

With the help of GEL founder Mark Hurst, the covert entertainers pulled off one of their signature “Spontaneous Musicals” at the top of Twirlr founder John Reynolds’ presentation. Just as he tells the audience to politely turn off their mobile devices, a man suddenly rises and begins singing about the audacity of the request.

via ‘Gotta Share’ The Musical: Improv Everywhere Strikes Again At GEL Conference (VIDEO).

Coca-Cola, culture, quotes:  “Coke ‘started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. … A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.'”

The 125th anniversary of the first Coca-Cola sold — on May 8, 1886, for 5 cents — has inspired the release of “Coca-Cola,” a collection of images of the beverage, in realms real and imagined, from Assouline. Arguably the world’s most ubiquitous brand, the jolly red logo has been pasted on just about every susceptible surface on the planet, and this book serves to remind us youngsters of the breadth and endurance of its appeal, just in case it wasn’t already stitched into the fabric of our pop culture psyches. Indeed, at times, “Coca-Cola” seems less a birthday tribute to the stamina of a yummy, fizzy black taste with mysterious origins and more a tribute to several generations of successful advertising. And let’s not forget its importance as a symbol of what’s great about our republic. As Andy Warhol, no stranger to ubiquity or commercialism, contests on Page 8, Coke “started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. … A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.”

via Pop Culture – NYTimes.com.

Three Cups of Tea, bookshelf:  Lots of discussion … I am reading it now … it is a good book … sad that it is fabricated.

With the first cup of tea, you are a stranger. With the second cup of tea, you are an honored guest. With the third cup of tea, you become family. This Balti proverb lends Greg Mortenson’s book, Three Cups of Tea, its name. But with a class action lawsuit filed against him in early May following investigations by writer John Krakauer and 60 Minutes, what is needed now is three cups of compassion.

The story of Greg Mortenson’s journey in his first book, Three Cups of Tea, tells the story of a young man listening and learning from those in a distant valley in Pakistan and the good that came from it. Krakauer in his Three Cups of Deceit tells how this story of a heart in the right place has been prettied up for publication and followed with financial mismanagement, as well as building schools in places unprepared to begin educating students in the buildings. As we act on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25 that we are to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty, we must not lose sight of those in developing nations as fellow members of the Body of Christ with gifts to offer and wisdom born of a deeper understanding of the local geography, weather, and culture. We must learn from each other and work together, not merely applying a solution from elsewhere, even another valley in the same mountains, to a new setting unthinkingly.

via Episcopal News Service – COMMENTARY.

The one thing in this story that makes me eternally grateful

is that we still have a 60 Minutes and New York Times doing investigative reporting and practicing real journalism. In an era where opinion-spewing and celebrity-swooning routinely pass for news, it’s good to know a few people are out there doing the hard work of covering–and uncovering–things we need to know.

via Three cups of humility. | What Gives 365.

consumerism, material things:  OK, I like this iPad case … in case you want to get me a present. 🙂

Image of iPad case in red and white gingham wool

Thrillist.com.

alcoholism, recovery, AA:  Very interesting …

But I believe that when people are in positions of power related to addictions — treatment providers, policy makers, etc. — it’s imperative that they be transparent about their associations and connections. It’s fine to be anonymous about your own path to recovery when you are the only one being affected, but it’s not appropriate when you seek to influence public health or policy.

via Taking the ‘Anonymous’ Out of AA: Should Recovering Addicts Come Out of the Closet? – – TIME Healthland.

ObL Family: 

But at the end, his rosy portrayal of being married to jihad was sorely tested. His family must have driven him nuts. During his last days in Abbottabad, Pakistan, bin Laden had to contend with three wives and 17 noisy children under one roof. He had no escape from the din, save for furtive pacing around the garden late at night or vanishing into his so-called Command and Control Center, a dank, windowless room. Swathed against the Himalayan chill in a woolen shawl, he recorded rants that displayed an ever widening disconnect with the daily grind of terrorism: his last oddball offerings were on climate change and capitalism.

via Big Love: Bin Laden Tried to Keep Wives Separate but Equal – TIME.

2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney, healthcare, states’ rights:

Mitt Romney says last year’s Democratic-passed health care law is a federal government takeover of health delivery. But he says his somewhat similar Massachusetts law was right for his state.

The likely Republican presidential candidate on Thursday defended the law enacted in 2006 when he was Massachusetts governor. Both the state and federal laws require people to obtain health insurance.

Romney said his program was a state solution to a state problem. He said the Obama-backed law is a power-grab by the federal government to impose a one-size-fits-all plan on all 50 states.

via Mitt Romney Tackling Health Care Vulnerability.

09
Mar
11

3.9.2011 … as a lifelong Presbyterian I know little about the religious celebrations associated with Lent … but I enjoyed pancakes last night!

Lent, Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day:

What is Pancake Day?

Pancake Day ( also known as Shrove Tuesday) is the last day before the period which Christians call Lent. It is traditional on this day to eat pancakes. copyright of projectbritain.com

Why are Pancakes eaten on Shrove Tuesday?

Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren’t allowed in Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.

When is Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)?

Shrove Tuesday is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday and is therefore the final day before the commencement of Lent, a Christian festival leading up to Easter Sunday (Easter Day).

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between 3 February and 9 March. (See our Lent page for a visual explanation why Shrove Tuesday is 47 days and not 41 days before Easter)

Why do Christians call the day ‘Shrove Tuesday’?

The name Shrove comes from the old word “shrive” which means to confess. On Shrove Tuesday, in the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began. copyright of projectbritain.com

What is Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration as well as penitence, because it’s the last day before Lent. Throughout the United Kingdom, and in other countries too, people indulge themselves on foods that traditionally aren’t allowed during Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.

via Shrove Tuesday 2011 (Pancake Day).

Lent, me: Should I give up something for Lent??  Thanks for the suggestions … And never ask a question you don’t want to know the answer …

 

MP:  If I were you, I would give up tripping on stuff on the floor and breaking limbs. For myself, I am going to give up eating boiled okra
CHS:  found a site that had some great (and funny) ideas. I thought this one was clever: angelmeg said…
“I gave up worrying one Lent, best lent I ever had. Every time I started to worry I had to stop because I had given it up for Lent. By the end of lent I was cured of my need to worry about anything. “

“I gave up worrying one Lent, best lent I ever had. Every time I started to worry I had to stop because I had given it up for Lent. By the end of lent I was cured of my need to worry about anything. “She continues by stating that “This year I tried to give up being judgmental but after three days I had to ammend that to being aware of when I am judgmental and praying for forgivness and the grace to change at that moment ( I am praying constantly, which might turn out not to be a bad thing, but presently is making me a bit sad). This is going to be a long lent.”

here’s the link if you’re interested. http://www.ironiccatholic.com/2008/02/cool-things-to-give-up-during-lent.html

DHD:  I think C is on to something there! My husband made a suggestion for me: sudoku….

Fat Tuesday, International Women’s Day, twitter, LOL:

@lenadunham Lena Dunham

It’s fat tuesday AND international women’s day??? i am receiving mixed messages

via Twitter / Home.

Lent, fasting, social networking, Facebook:

It turns out I’m not the only one considering the social-networking fast. The Wall Street Journal unearthed the Facebook group “Giving up Facebook for Lent,” and a variety of similar groups filled with self-proclaimed addicts who want to test their religious mettle starting on Ash Wednesday. (That’s this Wednesday, folks–two days from now.)There’s just one problem: One Facebook addict’s self-improvement project is another Facebook fan’s snub. A sudden break from your social network–virtual or otherwise–creates a social minefield for anyone concerned with online manners. With more than 175 million active users on Facebook, at least one or two will want to “friend” you in the next 40 days. What to do?

via How to give up Facebook for Lent and keep your friends | Webware – CNET.

gLee, tv:  Family friendly?

A “parental discretion is advised” warning flashes before Glee turned up the heat in “Sexy,” led by the affably game and comically cool substitute teacher Holly Holliday. It’s Gwyneth Paltrow, but mucho, mucho mas sexy.Her second turn as the “I thought you’d never ask?” weirdo sub was infinitely better than her debut in the fall. Back then, she was a puzzle, a loony bin. Here, she’s sly and quick-witted, appropriately adult and seductively saucy in an episode that showcased more of her comedic timing, than her stiff dance skills. All the better for us.via ‘Glee’ Season 2, Episode 15 ‘Sexy’: TV Recap – Speakeasy – WSJ.

science, faith and spirituality: Someday the scientists will find the proof!

More than half of adult Americans report they have had a spiritual experience that changed their lives. Now, scientists from universities like Harvard, Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins are using new technologies to analyze the brains of people who claim they have touched the spiritual — from Christians who speak in tongues to Buddhist monks to people who claim to have had near-death experiences. Hear what they have discovered in this controversial field, as the science of spirituality continues to evolve.

via Is This Your Brain On God? : NPR.

politics, Girl Scouts:  don’t think you should mix the two

.

Your morning jolt: Girl Scouts ticked over cookie taxBe prepared, lawmakers.Over the weekend, an e-mail went out to Girl Scout leaders, warning them that HB 385, a bill to rewrite the state tax code, would subject their cookies to a sales tax – and would hit Boy Scout popcorn sales as well:Gov. Nathan Deal holds boxes of Girl Scout cookies as the young women kicked off their sales season last month. Johnny Crawford/Jcrawford@ajc.comThis significant financial impact would take money away from Girl Scout programs, camp support, financial aid and proceeds from the sale that support troop activities and community service projects……[P]lease contact your State House Representative and State Senator TODAY and express your concern in a courteous, Scout-like manner about our Scouts being taxed. Please reference House Bill 385. Sample letters have been provided on the left to make it easy to copy and paste into your own email. There are sample letters for girls as well as for parents and volunteers.The message appears over the name of Marilyn W. Midyette, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.

via Your morning jolt: Girl Scouts ticked over cookie tax | Political Insider.

education, CMS, The Great Recession: It is going to get worse before it gets

About 560 educators – including teachers, librarians and counselors – face layoffs next year under guidelines the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board approved Tuesday.Approval of layoff criteria is the first step toward a worst-case 2011 budget scenario that would cut jobs to trim $100 million from the CMS budget. The plan Superintendent Peter Gorman presented Tuesday calls for laying off 395 teachers and 164 education support positions.If the board votes to scale back on Bright Beginnings prekindergarten, those teachers would be added with a separate list of criteria.via CMS to layoff about 560 – CharlotteObserver.com.

politics, religion, Mormonism:  2012 will be interesting …

THE Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, is in a tizzy now that not one but two of its members, or “saints”, seem about to vie for the Republican nomination for president of the United States. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman (see article) both seem determined to try to test the limits of discrimination.For most of the 181 years since Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon, such prominent Mormon candidacies for the highest office would have been unthinkable. Mainstream Protestants, and especially evangelicals, have traditionally considered Mormons a devious cult, not quite Christian and just plain wacky….If both the more pious Mr Romney and the more secular Mr Huntsman, who have been personal rivals in the past, run in the primaries, their Mormonism will become an issue again. A few Mormons may even stoke it themselves. For instance, Glenn Beck, an excitable television host, likes to allude to something called The White Horse prophecy, according to which America’s constitution, deemed to be divinely inspired, will one day “hang like a thread” until Mormon leaders rescue it.But mainstream America may learn to get over its old and unpleasant distrust. The core of Mormon philosophy, says Michael Otterson, the church’s spokesman, is “the idea of self-improvement”. What, after all, could be more American? The church is now waging a large advertising campaign to show the diversity of Mormons in America. “We’re not prepared to be defined by others” any longer, insists Mr Otterson.

via Mormons in politics: When the saints come marching in | The Economist.

Apple, iPhone, changes:

The person who saw the prototype of the new iPhone said the device was significantly lighter than the iPhone 4 and had an edge-to-edge screen that could be manipulated by touch, as well as a virtual keyboard and voice-based navigation. The person said Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., also plans to upgrade the iPhone 4.

The new MobileMe file-storage and music service could be available as early as June, depending on the progress of licensing talks that are in their preliminary stages, the people familiar with the situation said. Apple had planned for the service to roll out a year earlier.

The new service would give users access to their iTunes libraries from, say, an iPhone or iPad, instead of requiring that the devices be synced by cable with a computer and use space to store the actual files, the people said. The new service likely would be compatible with the iPhone 4, one of the people said.

Some MobileMe features, such as a service that locates lost or stolen iPads and iPhones, already are free.

via Apple Works on Line of Less-Expensive iPhones – WSJ.com.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, The Supreme Court, culture, discrimination:

If walking into such unceasing dialogues has been her greatest challenge, the greatest surprise, even after many years as a judge, “has been how burdened I have felt in the decision-making process because I am part of the final court. I find that the weight of this is greater than I anticipated.” At lower levels, she always knew that one could make a mistake and perhaps the next court would correct it. No more.

via NationalJournal.com – Sonia Sotomayor on Dating, Deciding, and Being the Newest Supreme Court Justice – Tuesday, March 8, 2011.

google, technology, Nelson Mandela: Technology being used for good purposes.

Backed by global-search-giant Google Inc., the foundation of aging South African leader Nelson Mandela is putting thousands of documents on the Internet, from a 1977 letter smuggled out of prison to his membership cards in the Methodist Church.

Google said Tuesday that it was providing a $1.25 million grant to the Nelson Mandela Center of Memory, part of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, to help preserve a trove of photographs, letters, calendars and journals through digital technology.The $1.25 million grant is seen as a possible stepping stone to a broader relationship with Mr. Mandela’s foundation, which is now disseminating digital bursts of his memorabilia through its website (www.nelsonmandela.org). Google is already helping the website with indexing, but it would also like to provide the search technology that will allow people around the world to troll through the life of the anti-apartheid icon.

“Google wants to help bring the world’s historical heritage online, and the Internet offers new ways to preserve and share this information,” said Luke Mckend, Google’s South Africa country manager.

via Google to Help Mandela Put Memorabilia Online – WSJ.com.

South Africa, Post-Apartheid:  Similar struggles in the US ...

As a young engineer in South Africa’s apartheid era, Sandile Zungu was once asked by a white subordinate to use a separate toilet. As a businessman in the post-apartheid era of black empowerment, company doors of all kinds have opened to him.

In little over a decade, the 44-year old has amassed a fortune by building a broad portfolio of business investments, from financial services to pest control. African art adorns his office walls in Johannesburg’s swank Sandton business district, and he drives a black Mercedes sedan to meetings, even if it means traveling a dusty road to a gold mine.

But mounting criticism of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment policy that has made that possible is pulling Mr. Zungu and other black moguls into a national debate over how to right history’s wrongs without upending business in Africa’s largest economy.

BEE, as the policy is widely known, reaches across industries, compelling domestic and multinational companies operating here to meet such benchmarks as black ownership, skills training and development in poor communities. Ford Motor Co. last month said it plans to build a center to support black-owned, automobile-parts suppliers. Microsoft Corp. last year announced a $65 million program to cultivate young, black software developers. And Belgium’s Rezidor Hotel Group AB, which operates such brands as Radisson Blu Hotels and Resorts, expanded a partnership with black-owned South African enterprise Mvelaphanda Holdings (Pty) Ltd.

Critics, however, say BEE too often rewards people who are already successful. The Economic Development Ministry in November deemed BEE largely a failure, saying it focuses too much on deal making and not enough on supporting new entrepreneurs and creating jobs in a country where it estimates unemployment is 40% for people between 16 and 30 years old.

via Black Empowerment Roils South Africa – WSJ.com.

faith and spirituality, travel, theme parks, KY: Oh, my!

In Kentucky, there are plans for a religious theme park, which has the support of the governor despite critics who say the state shouldn’t give tax breaks for religious purposes.

The park’s centerpiece will be a replica of Noah’s Ark, a wooden boat longer than a football field. Other attractions include a first-century Middle Eastern Village, a Tower of Babel and a Walled City. When Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear announced Kentucky’s support last December for the “Ark Encounter,” he touted the economic impact.

“This is a $150 million investment that is projected to create nearly 900 jobs, including almost 550 full-time jobs,” Beshear says.

via Kentucky Governor Hopes Tourists Will Come Two-By-Two To Noah’s Ark Park : NPR.

water resource management, states’ rights, GA:

A panel of judges on Wednesday appeared disinclined to let stand a ruling in the tri-state water dispute that, should it come to pass, could have catastrophic consequences for the metro region.

People wait outside the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta for today’s water hearing. The state will ask the federal appeals court to overturn a ruling barring the metro area from drawing on Lake Lanier for most of its drinking water.

Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com People wait outside the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta for today’s water hearing. The state will ask the federal appeals court to overturn a ruling barring the metro area from drawing on Lake Lanier for most of its drinking water.

The judges for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals indicated they wanted to send the case back and order the Army Corps of Engineers, which operates Buford Dam, to make a final determination of how much water from Lake Lanier can be used to meet metro Atlanta’s needs.

At issue is a July 2009 ruling from Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson, who found it was illegal for the corps to draw water from Lake Lanier to meet the needs of 3 million metro residents. Magnuson set a July 2012 deadline for Georgia, Alabama and Florida to work out a resolution. Otherwise, the judge said, metro Atlanta would only be allowed to take the same amount of water it received in the mid-1970s, when the population was a fraction of its current size.

via Judges appear disinclined to let water ruling stand  | ajc.com.

college, marketing, random:

Big consumer-products companies are going back to school.

Businesses including Sprint Nextel Corp., Levi Strauss & Co. and Mattel Inc. are sponsoring college classes and graduate-level research to get help with their online marketing from the young and hyperconnected. Sprint, for example, supplies a class at Boston’s Emerson College with smartphones and unlimited service in exchange for students working gratis on the company’s local Internet push.

Universities, in some cases, receive funding or proprietary consumer data from companies for their research. Students get experience they can display on their résumés, and add lively classes to the usual mix of lectures and written exams.

“We are helping students to go out and get hired,” says Randy Hlavac, an instructor at Northwestern University’s Medill School. “They’ve done the work.”

The partnerships are emerging as businesses are scurrying to bolster their ability to engage with their customers on the Web by using Facebook, Twitter and the like.

via Big Brands Sponsor College Classes to get Social-Media Help – WSJ.com.

autos, green: New green offerings from Toyota …

Toyota Motor Corp. next month will broaden its range of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles with a wagon and minivan as it looks to meet a long-term goal of selling a million of the fuel-efficient cars a year.

Toyota, the world’s biggest car maker by volume, said it will launch a hybrid five-seat wagon and seven-seat minivan based on the power train of its Prius hybrid. The minivan will be the company’s first lithium battery-powered hybrid model.

via Toyota Plans Hybrid Wagon, Minivan – WSJ.com.




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