Posts Tagged ‘war

05
Oct
11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Life is an intelligent thing’

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

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

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

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

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

Focus and simplicity’

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

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

The Phone Calls

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

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

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

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

The Product Unveilings

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

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

The Slides

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

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

Ice Water in Hell

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

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

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

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

Ice Water in Hell

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

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

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

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

The Optimist

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

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

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

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

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

He said he had, of course.

The Walk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No cash. All tolls are electronic.

Tolled: solo drivers and two-person car pools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Taken by Pirates – NYTimes.com.

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

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

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Democrats for Perry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

post-graduation, careers:

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

via ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The season’s first cancellation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via The Boys of War – NYTimes.com.

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

Chelsea Clinton as a corporate director? Really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘It was time for inclusion’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The future.

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

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

More undead fun from redbox:

Zombieland (available in select areas)

REC 2

Quarantine 2: Terminal

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

Husk

Forget Me Not

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

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

27
Sep
11

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

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

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

via First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

Steven Pinker, violence, history:  Great piece …

“How bad was the world in the past?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Ordering Death in Georgia Prisons – The Daily Beast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

50656806.jpg

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

via Seeing Shadows – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda Knox called “she-devil” in court

Anxiety grips Amanda Knox as appeal wraps up

Prosecutors compare Amanda Knox to Nazis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

digital photography, organization, tips:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via TechCrunch Predicts Bookstores Will Disappear by 2018 – GalleyCat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Join 618 other followers

May 2020
S M T W T F S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31