Posts Tagged ‘White House

06
Mar
14

3.6.14 … breakfast at the White House :) … Atlanta Surge … I clip, btw … 1939 ‘Gone With The Wind’ cast party … Let the wild rumpus start!

 White House, Atlanta:  I ventured out for my favorite diner for breakfast … the White House.  My brother eats here so frequently that they bring him his hot tea as he sits down. The waitress recognized my mom. As we left, she said, “goodbye, mamma.” She loved that!

MLB, Atlanta, Turner Field, urban development: Years ago I read an editorial that asserted that a city was only a real city if it had both an AL and a NL team (i.e., Chicago and New York).  Well, this is indeed interesting, but problematic.

If one man gets his way, Turner Field won’t get razed in 2017 after the Atlanta Braves move up to its new Cobb County stadium. Instead, a brand new baseball team – known as, wait for it … the Atlanta Surge – would replace the longtime professional baseball club at the Ted.

The idea for the Surge comes from veteran Atlanta ad exec Mike McDonald, a self-proclaimed lifelong baseball fan, who wants to bring a second Major League Baseball team to metro Atlanta. And he wants the Surge’s slogan to be the following: “Let’s Turner Lemon into Lemonade!”

The AJC’s Tim Tucker, who first reported on the proposal last night, writes from behind the AJC’s paywall:

He has presented the idea to some local politicos and business folks. He has talked to lawyers about how to challenge MLB. He even wrote a letter to the Tampa Bay Rays, asking if they’d be interested in relocating. The Rays haven’t responded and McDonald has decided he’d prefer the fresh start of an expansion team.

[…]

McDonald already has a name in mind for the AL team he seeks: the Atlanta Surge, drawn from the city motto Resurgens (Latin for rising again). He envisions the city and county receiving an equity stake in the team in return for use of the venue, and an investor group operating the team with him. He says MLB should waive an expansion fee as a way to settle the damages of the Braves leaving the city limits.

He expects people to “take shots” at his plan and says that is fine.

McDonald believes that Atlanta and Fulton County are “owed” a team for their longstanding financial and emotional investments into the Braves’ franchise. But it’s unlikely the region will land another ball club. There’s not enough demand, according to one expert. Plus, the Braves have exclusive rights from MLB for all home games played in most of the metro region – which could be problematic.

The Atlanta Braves declined to comment on the prospects of the Surge. But at least Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts said the proposal was “a magnificent idea.” That’s a start!

via Goodbye Atlanta Braves, Hello Atlanta Surge? | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta.

Is History Repeating Itself?, medium, media, clipping services, Time, Buzzfeed, humble beginnings:  People often ask me about my blog and I quip, “I clip.” I really use my site for a filing cabinet.  I call it a “clipping service” because i remember seeing a picture of the POTUS being given a file of newspaper clippings everyday.  I had no idea that this was the term used to describe the humble beginnings of such media giants as Time and Buzzfeed.

Time began as a clipping service in a small office. A group of writers subscribed to a dozen newspapers and summarized the most important stories, rewriting the news in a more digestible format.

BuzzFeed also started as a clipping service in a small office seven years ago. Instead of subscribing to newspapers, we surfed the web (and used technology) to find the most interesting stories and summarized them into a more digestible format. (You can ask Peggy or Scott how it worked in those early days!)

Of course, both Time magazine and BuzzFeed evolved from our respective early days to become much more ambitious. As Time and BuzzFeed emerged from our respective youths, we both expanded into original reporting, commissioned longform features, and built teams of foreign correspondents. In our case, it only took a few years to go from summarizing web trends in our little Chinatown office to reporting from Syria and the Ukraine with local security, body armor, helmets, and satellite phones. And both Time and BuzzFeed grew by creating irresistible lists such as Time’s “100 Most Influential People” and BuzzFeed’s “42 People You Won’t Believe Actually Exist.”

The big breakthrough for Time Inc., the company, came 13 years after the launch of Time, when printing press technology advanced to enable the launch of Life, the pioneering magazine filled with vivid pictures of people and events. It figured out how to cover cheap paper with a glossy coating, making a mass-produced photo magazine economical for the first time and creating a smash hit that enabled aggressive investment in print journalism at Time and photojournalism at Life.

The big breakthrough for BuzzFeed also came after our early clipping service days when smartphones became social and could display vivid pictures and video for the first time. Suddenly our lists, quizzes, and videos could be seen and shared by an audience of billions of connected readers right from their phones. Social and mobile converged, becoming the primary form of distribution for our content. The leverage provided by this massive reach is why we can make aggressive investments in journalism and entertainment. (We are still in the midst of this shift, with mobile, social, and global distribution accelerating faster than ever).

via Is History Repeating Itself? — Medium.

kith/kin, firsts, Atlanta history, 1939  ‘Gone With The Wind’ cast party, On The Market – Curbed Atlanta, Buckhead – Atlanta, irony, Peachtree Heights:  I attended my first cocktail party as an adult (i.e. as an invitee, not an appendage to my parents) at this beautiful and elegant home.   I was 17 and the host was a college freshman that I was friends with in high school.  I remember walking in and thinking that this was what it was like to be an adult.  There is a great deal of irony in that.  But it was great fun to look at the inside photos and relive a moment of my young adulthood.  And  I never knew that I was in the venue of the 1939 ‘Gone With The Wind’ cast party.  Beautiful and elegant home … great memories. And another thing … I don’t remember  knowing that this “neighborhood” was called Peachtree Heights.

Spending $3.25 million in Buckhead would afford you the opportunity to buy this Habersham Road manse, host a kegger and announce to guests, “This is where the 1939 ‘Gone With The Wind’ cast party happened, y’all!” That’s all well and good. But first you’d have to come to terms with the décor, which is fitting for a historic Cooper and Cooper property but is decidedly grandma chic. We haven’t seen this much floral furniture since The Couch-Swing House, another Peachtree Heights estate. Plusses include the mesmerizing spiral staircase and enchanting floral gardens. The home should appeal to well-to-do socialites with AARP Magazine subscriptions, and if history’s any indication, this pad is primed to party.

· 2878 Habersham Road [Estately]

via For $3.2M, Live Where ‘Gone With The Wind’ Stars Partied – On The Market – Curbed Atlanta.

Davidson Basketball, March Madness 2014, the kenpom.com blog:  Let the wild rumpus start!

The Wildcats provided another good example of how confidence derived from scheduling seems to largely be a myth. They went 4-10 in non-conference play, partly due to games against the likes of Duke, Virginia, and Wichita State, and entered the conference schedule on a five-game losing streak. They proceeded to win 15 of 16 conference games, leading the conference in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Just one of those wins was by single-digits and the loss was by two in overtime. In a normal season, this would have been the most dominant performance by a team relative to its league.

Davidson’s only conference loss was to Elon, who was voted the preseason pick to win the league by the SoCon’s head coaches. I think this was in the same way that Charles Barkley was voted MVP in 1993. People were tired of Davidson winning the conference even though they still figured to be the best team. Elon didn’t do poorly, mind you. But an 11-5 record looks disappointing in comparison to the 13-5 record they had two seasons ago.

via the kenpom.com blog.

Eureka! Plans For Olympia ‘To Match Historical Precedent’?!?, Historic Possibilities – Curbed Atlanta, art deco Walgreens, Coca Cola sign, Atlanta downtown:   I like it!

Surely it’s a mirage, but at first glance, renderings for a proposed revamp of the Olympia Building downtown appear to contain the phrase “To Match Historical Precedent.” Not just once, but with several aspects of the project. In Atlanta. Seriously. A company called CSH-23 Peachtree LLC scooped up the struggling Olympia for $2.2 million last fall, and renderings dated from January suggest the 1930s building could be slated for a Walgreens Pharmacy. The pharmacy’s name would be etched in art deco lettering on a “new black aluminum canopy marquee to match historical precedent,” the plans suggest. New second-floor windows and a tenant blade sign on the side of the building would also reflect the 1930s aesthetic. Could obeying the historical precedent help to set a new precedent for the future?

via Eureka! Plans For Olympia ‘To Match Historical Precedent’?!? – Historic Possibilities – Curbed Atlanta.

13
Jan
13

1.13.13 … ooo…oh…ooo…oh…

Nora Ephron, tributes, cultural icons:  OK, It took me a minute to get what was going on … and then I really laughed.

Conceptual artist Rachel Perry Welty recreates Meg Ryan’s soliloquy from Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally in a collage using letters cut from Ephron’s obituary in The New York Times, in one of several visual tributes to cultural icons we lost in 2012.

Conceptual artist Rachel Perry Welty recreates Meg Ryan’s soliloquy from Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally in a collage using letters cut from Ephron’s obituary in The New York Times, in one of several visual tributes to cultural icons we lost in 2012.

via Explore – Conceptual artist Rachel Perry Welty recreates Meg….

Twitter,  AstroMarshburn, Davidson ’82:  My favorite martian, umm,  astronaut, tweets from the ISS!  He also send back pictures.  You rock, Tom!

Embedded image permalink

@AstroMarshburn

Where desert and mountains meet – we’re over the edge of the Gobi.

via Twitter / AstroMarshburn: Where desert and mountains ….

body language, TED Talks: Good to know …

In her TEDTalk (above), social psychologist Amy Cuddy shares an easy way that anyone can change not only others’ perceptions of them, but the way they feel about themselves — spending two minutes “power posing” with their arms or elbows out, their chin lifted and their posture expansive. Cuddy’s research, done in collaboration with Dana Carney, has shown that adopting the body language associated with dominance for just 120 seconds is enough to create a 20 percent increase in testosterone and a 25 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. In other words, adopting these postures makes a person feel more powerful.

via Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.

word of the year,  The Economist: #hashtag … really???

Finally, the Word of the Year to beat all words of the year, the word that truly summed up 2012.  Are you ready?

#hashtag

via Word of the year: And the winner is… | The Economist.

Davidson,The Watson Fellowship, 2012-13 Watson Fellows:  I was looking over a friend’s daughters’ blog (sara bates | sara bates … watson adventures) when I wondered if any 2012 Davidson grads received Watsons … The answer is yes … and they are excerpted below.  But If you are interested all of the Watson Fellows are doing amazing things.

Audrey Gyurgyik, Davidson College

Body and Soul: A Holistic Approach to Actor Training

Tibet, Brazil, Serbia, Italy

I will explore the following questions: In what ways does the physical body serve as a vehicle to access emotion, free-flow of impulses, and the subtler soul? How do different cultures explore this notion? And how is this work then translated for or useful to actors- to those interested in effectively communicating the human condition to an audience? I will travel to Tibet, Brazil, Serbia and Italy to learn about different physical-spiritual practices and the ways in which certain theatre companies have incorporated them as an integral part of their creative processes.

via The Watson Fellowship: Our Fellows

Alexis Valauri-Orton, Davidson College

Thinking Outside the Lab: Discovering the Human Toll of Ocean Acidification

Norway, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Peru, Mauritius

Ocean acidification, a consequence of CO2 pollution, threatens reefs and fisheries worldwide. On my Watson, I will live with communities in five countries that are particularly vulnerable to acidification. I will learn how their livelihoods and cultures are dependent upon marine resources, discovering the human stake in this environmental crisis. Each narrative of acidification will be shaped by different dependencies, cultures, and crises, and together they will provide me with a global, human narrative that demands action.

via The Watson Fellowship: Our Fellows.

resolutions, living life in the moment:

Saturday January 5, 2013

Living the Moment to the Fullest

Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.

via Daily Meditation: Living the Moment to the Fullest.

iPad,  apps: Another best list … I already have most of these … but I thought Paper looked fun.

Below, we’ve got 13 of our absolute favorite apps for iPad and iPad Mini: The essentials, the best of the best. These aren’t the only apps you need for your new Apple tablet, but they are certainly a good start. Let’s get downloading.

Paper (FREE)

Apple’s iPad App of the Year is a content-creation machine, allowing you to draw, take notes, sketch and color in between (or outside of) the lines. Worth a try for any creative types out there, or anyone who wants to use a new iPad or iPad Mini to replace a laptop.

via iPad Mini Apps: The 13 Best Apps That Any New iPad Or iPad Mini Owner Should Download Immediately.

X-Rays, technology,  Davidson College. Davidson College Archives, trivia:

The first X-ray taken at Davidson College by Eben Hardin, Pender Porter, and Osmond L. Barringer. [1896]

The first X-ray taken at Davidson College by Eben Hardin, Pender Porter, and Osmond L. Barringer. [1896]

In January 1896, Dr. Henry Louis Smith, a physics professor at Davidson Colllege, read about Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen’s discovery of x-rays in an associated press bulletin. He realized that Davidson College possessed the right equipment to repeat Roentgen’s experiments. Dr. Smith told his physics class about Roentgen’s discovery of x-rays, and Smith’s planned experiments with them.

Shortly afterwards, three Davidson juniors, eager to test Smith’s theories, snuck into his lab on the evening of January 12, 1896. Eben Hardin, Pender Porter, and Osmond L. Barringer collected various objects to photograph with the x-ray machine: a cadaver finger (taken from the North Carolina Medical College) stuck with two pins and wearing a ring (borrowed from Barringer’s girlfriend); a rubber covered magnifying glass; a pill box containing two 22 cartridges, one pin, two rings, and six Strychnine pills (commonly used by students at that time to stay awake during finals); and an egg that been emptied and had a button placed inside.

via X-Rays | Davidson College Archives & Special Collections.

Audi, technology, robotic valet:  Robotic Valet Overlords!

Audi has built the robotic valet of the future, a car that parks itself. We got to play with it, and it’s freaking amazing.

via We Welcome Our Robotic Valet Overlords | Autopia | Wired.com.

Americans, death age, statistics: Ouch!

Americans live sicker and die younger than people in other wealthy countries — and the gap is getting worse over time, a new report shows.

Men in the USA have shorter lives than men in 16 developed nations. American women also fall near the bottom of the list, living 5.2 fewer years than Japanese women, who live the longest.

Americans “have a long-standing pattern of poorer health that is strikingly consistent and pervasive” over a person’s lifetime, says the report, from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, independent, non-profit groups that advise the federal government on health.

“The tragedy is not that the United States is losing a contest with other countries,” the report says, “but that Americans are dying and suffering from illness and injury at rates that are demonstrably unnecessary.”

via Americans die younger than others in rich nations.

We the People, White House,  Death Star:  I had no idea that the We the People  site existed … enjoyed the tongue in cheek response.

Enemies of the Pentagon will not witness the power of a fully operational battle station anytime soon.

Last month an online petition to the White House site We the People that called for the construction of the Death Star from the “Star Wars” movies surpassed the 25,000 signature threshold required to initiate an official response.

Citing national security and the number of jobs the initiative would create, the petition gained 34,000 signatures.

On Friday Paul Shawcross of the Office of Management and Budget, showed he was up for satire and responded in kind, issuing a tongue-in-cheek address to the demand for a space station capable of obliterating entire planets.

via White House Declines Death Star Undertaking, Cites Budget Constraints – ABC News.

Paris, blogs:  Just liked this one.

Guide to Paris: Insight to the Famed City of Lights

At Aeon Tours, we strive to create walking tours of the famed City of Lights that showcase the many faces of Paris. From her hidden side streets to her iconic international attractions, you can be sure that we have a tour that caters to you. To learn more about us, visit us at AeonTours.com

via Guide to Paris: Insight into the Famed City of Lights.

youtube, video blogs, LOL:  i . 🙂

http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/the-best-fcking-cruise-ship-tour-youll-ever-take?sub=1956541_793702

Greg from Mediocre Films 2 went on a cruise to Hawaii with his family. As a vlogger, he decided to document his voyage.

via The Best F*cking Cruise Ship Tour You’ll Ever Take.

Davidson Basketball:  Another great day ….

Mann hits 20 as Davidson men top Furman, 81-73

via Mann hits 20 as Davidson men top Furman, 81-73 | Sports.

Nordstrom Rack, Psycho Bunny, men’s clothing:  I saw a polo with this weird logo at Nordstrom Rack.   Psycho Bunny …

Interesting brand logo??

Psycho Bunny Regular Fit Piqué Polo | Nordstrom.

devotionals, urban legends:  I am not sure what this is but I found it uplifting.

Photo: One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.</p> <p>He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, th<br /> e donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.</p> <p>A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.</p> <p>As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!</p> <p>MORAL :<br />  Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.</p> <p>Remember the five simple rules to be happy:</p> <p>1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.</p> <p>2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happens.</p> <p>3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.</p> <p>4. Give more.</p> <p>5. Expect less from people but more from yourself.</p> <p>You have two choices... smile and close this page,<br /> or pass this along to someone else to share the lesson .

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, th

e donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

MORAL :

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries – Most never happens.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from yourself.

You have two choices… smile and close this page,

or pass this along to someone else to share the lesson .

via Dennard Lindsey Teague.

06
Nov
11

11.6.2011… Please come to Boston …

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

Untitled Page.

 

Boston: 10 Things to Do — Introduction – TIME

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

via Introduction — Printout — TIME.

blissmobox, marketing:  Interesting idea …

discover what’s better

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

via blissmobox – Discover what’s better.

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

It was a blunder of biblical proportions.

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

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

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

Well, no, not really.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

China, bicycles, bike share:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Influencing Machine, books, history, media:

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

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

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

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

A short-form journal for the wandering interneteer Issue 1

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

Twitter Stories, website:  Worth checking out …

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

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

The new site is designed to showcase these stories.

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

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

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

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

November 1, 2011 12:47 PM

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

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

 Fort Monroe National Monument, Civil War, history:

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

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

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

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

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

hunger, global problems, global solutions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Monty Python’s Flying Philosophy | Open Culture.

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

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

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

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

 

THE macaron is the anti-cupcake.

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

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

 

 

15
Oct
11

10.15.2011 … RIP, Dr. Partin, a most beloved Davidson professor … and missing my prematurely empty-nester friends Bob and Joni … not fair you get a fall week at the beach without us!

Dr. Malcolm Partin, RIP, Davidson College faculty:  So many friends consider Dr. Partin their favorite Davidson professor.  Rest in peace, Dr. Partin. I never had Dr.Partin but his  “Catherine the Great” lecture was well-known in Davidson lore  … and everyone would try to get in to hear it.  I listened in once.  🙂

During the funeral service, the Rev. Jody Seymour had reminded us all of Malcolm’s insistence that people made history, not social forces like the economy and political ideology. And the people in attendance to celebrate Malcolm today at Davidson United Methodist Church were a living history of Davidson.

It is tempting to think in a crowd like this of the Davidson of yore—”old Davidson” as someone else in the receiving line said. It is a comforting thought, in its way, attached as it is to more youthful days. Look, over there are Sam and Ava and John and Missy and Will and Sue and Hansford and Earl and Leland…. Of course, Leland. I’ve never laughed as much as I did when Malcolm and Leland would get on a roll. I hear Leland laughing even now in the receiving line, sharing happy memories of his friend with all who reach out to shake his own hand.

This is a solid group of good people, I think, and I’m honored to be in it. And when I back up a few steps (away from some very delicious homemade cookies), I see that there is no real distinction here of old or new. Just flow, here we all are right now. You never jump in the same river twice, and that. Someone is always arriving or leaving. It is Davidson in its terquasquicentennial glory, the Davidson of people who’ve gone before for nearly 175 years and who are here now and who are yet to come here, that matters….

via Daybook Davidson » Malcolm Overstreet Partin: May 24, 1936–October 12, 2011.

He engaged students with anecdotes and insights, inviting them to join him in discovery of two centuries of triumphs and tragedies that ultimately helped explain their own circumstance in history. He began one segment by saying, “Dig in your heels now, because we’re about to tackle the ‘Eastern Question’ in all its dreadful splendor…”

The benevolent dictatorship of his classroom was balanced by his behavior outside that personal domain. Students stopped by his office regularly in the afternoons for conversation and help, and he frequently dined with them. “He’s a friend an confidant who takes time to know you as a person, and not just as a student,” wrote one admirer.

via Davidson College News Archives.

empty nesters, kith/kin:  I hate experiencing the empty nest vicariously! Missing my prematurely empty-nester friends Bob and Joni … not fair you get a fall week at the beach without us!

Constitution, Second Amendment, Gene Weingarten: Enjoyed Weingarten rewrite of the Second Amendment … look forward to reading more of his rewrites!

The old version: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

What a mess! It’s got mangled syntax, extraneous punctuation, and, above all, mealy-mouthed caveats and qualifiers. If you are going to allow arms, allow arms.

My new Second Amendment:

“You have the right to bear arms, including but not limited to handguns, tommy guns, assault rifles, bazookas, zip guns, grease guns, blunderbusses, howitzers, flamethrowers, grapeshot cannons, shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles, medieval-style catapults that can launch a putrifying, disease-ridden horse carcass over a castle wall, and Al Pacino’s ‘lil’ fren’ from ‘Scarface.’ This amendment should not be construed to rule out ordinarily, non-lethal devices that might be weaponized, such as plowshares, pitchforks, and handheld, riled-up roosters.”

via Gene Weingarten: Get me rewrite – The Washington Post.

history, Great Depression, Great Recession:  Is history repeating itself?

Toward the end of his book, Allen sums up the mood of the country. By 1939, people were weary of hard economic times, but they were also weary of Roosevelt’s endless experiments. Many modern historians believe that Roosevelt’s biggest problem was not that he’d done too much, but that he’d done too little — that the Depression required a response bigger than even Roosevelt’s New Deal. Implicitly, Allen agrees with that.

Still, he writes, “Despite all the miseries of the Depression and the recurrent fears of new economic decline and of war, the bulk of the American people had not yet quite lost their basic asset of hopefulness.”

He concludes: “A nation tried in a long ordeal had not yet lost heart.” When our current long ordeal finally ends, will we be able to say the same?

via The 1930s Sure Sound Familiar – NYTimes.com.

The Phantom Tollbooth, children’s/YA literature:  Did you like The Phantom Tollboth?  It’s 50!

It’s a commonplace of scholarship to insist that children’s literature came of age when it began to break away from the authoritarian model of the moralizing allegory. Yet “The Phantom Tollbooth” is an old-fashioned moralizing allegory, with a symbolic point at every turn. Milo finds that the strange land on the other side of the tollbooth is sundered between words and numbers, between the land of Azaz the Unabridged, the King of Dictionopolis, and his brother the Mathemagician, the ruler of Digitopolis. The only way to reunite the kingdoms is for someone—why not Milo?—to scale the Mountains of Ignorance, defeat the demons, and release the banished princesses of Rhyme and Reason from their prison. (They were banished because they refused to choose between words and numbers, thereby infuriating the kings.) Along the way, each new experience makes funny and concrete some familiar idea or turn of speech: Milo jumps to Conclusions, a crowded island; grows drowsy in the Doldrums; and finds that you can swim in the Sea of Knowledge for hours and not get wet. The book is made magical by Juster’s and Feiffer’s gift for transforming abstract philosophical ideas into unforgettable images. The thinnest fat man in the world turns out to be the fattest thin man; we see them both. We meet the fractional boy, divided in the middle of his smile, who is the “.58 child” in the average American family of 2.58 children. The tone of the book is at once antic and professorial, as if a very smart middle-aged academic were working his way through an absurd and elaborate parable for his kids. The reality is that when Juster wrote “The Phantom Tollbooth” he was a young architect in Brooklyn, just out of the Navy, unmarried and childless, and with no particular background in writing or teaching, working out a series of jokes and joys for himself alone.

via Norton Juster’s “The Phantom Tollbooth” at 50 : The New Yorker.

Breast Cancer Awareness, “pinking of America”:  Too much media hype  … does it do any good?  Actually pinking seems far less pervasive this year here in Charlotte.

THE Dallas Cowboys just got “pinked.”

And not just the Cowboys. The entire Cowboys Stadium here. Pink is everywhere: around the goalposts, in the crowd, on the players’ cleats, towels and wristbands.

In case you haven’t noticed, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when the entire nation gets painted pink. This is also when “pink” becomes more than a color: It becomes, for better or worse, a verb.

In marketing circles, “to pink” means to link a brand or a product or even the entire National Football League to one of the most successful charity campaigns of all time. Like it or not — and some people don’t like it at all — the pinking of America has become a multibillion-dollar business, a marketing, merchandising and fund-raising opportunity that is almost unrivaled in scope. There are pink-ribbon car tires, pink-ribbon clogs, pink eyelash curlers — the list goes on.

via In the Breast Cancer Fight, the Pinking of America – NYTimes.com.

piracy:  Modern piracy is not glamorous … makes you rethink 18th century piracy.

SOMALI pirates can be persistent. They have attacked the Maersk Alabama, a container ship owned by an American subsidiary of Denmark’s Maersk Line, no fewer than five times, most recently in May. In the first attack, in 2009, the captain was held hostage until the US Navy rescued him. Then Maersk put private armed guards on the ship. Since then, it has successfully repelled all boarders.

Maersk says it is only arming a few ships plying the pirate-infested waters off East Africa. But the practice is spreading rapidly among shipping firms despite the cost, which can run to $100,000 per voyage for a four-man team. That is because the number of attacks, off Somalia and elsewhere, has kept growing despite the strengthening of naval patrols (see chart). The European Union’s NAVFOR task-force, NATO warships and other navies patrol the waters off Somalia, but this has only pushed the pirates out into the open ocean, extending their attack zone towards India’s coast and as far south as Mozambique’s. This has forced the shipping industry, its insurers, and the national and international authorities that oversee them to accept that private armed guards are a necessity.

viaPiracy: Prepare to repel boarders | The Economist.

politics, what ifs …:

Hillary Clinton is going to swap jobs with Joe Biden at some point between now and the 2012 election, okay? I can just tell.

Yes, I understand that I should rightly be embarrassed for making this claim. But no, it’s not because of the obvious fact that both Biden and Clinton have repeatedly claimed that they want no part of such a swap, or that there isn’t any indication that the White House would do such a thing, or that even if the White House and Biden and Clinton wanted to it would be treated by the media as a fundamental sign of desperation and by their opponents as a sign of weakness. It’s not because of the unambiguous absence of any compelling reason to make a change like this. And it has nothing to do with the fact that such a change-up would not result in a single needle being moved in the White House’s favor.

via Here Are Some Thoughts I Had For America!: This Week In Pundit Pontifications.

iPhone 4S, SIRI, LOL: OK I laughed … Shit That Siri Says STSS

violence, Christianity:  Interesting analysis … an issue that has come up several times recently.

There was a simple lesson we learned that day: skepticism is good; because life is far more interesting and complex than our assumptions would have us believe, especially those assumptions about other people.

But at a deeper level, what we learned was our faith is a resource, the deepest of deep wells. It is not only a tool for coping with difficulties, but it provides some sense of both meaning and direction.

That is where I’d like to address the question for this panel today. And as a way to talk about what Christianity says about peace, I’d like to do so from the side by answering this question: What is the Christian response to violence?

There are typically two answers to this question from the Christian tradition that many of us would be familiar with.

First, there is what is known as the “just war” theory, first developed in a Christian sense by St. Augustine in the 4th and 5th centuries. Without going into too much detail, it is the theological rationale that there is such a thing as permissible violence, but within a very clearly prescribed set of circumstances that limit behavior during war and also limit the reasons for going to war. In short, the good must outweigh the bad.

Second, there is pacifism, which roots itself in Christ’s teaching to “turn the other cheek”. It had its proponents in the early church, and has continued as a Christian way of thought. We know it best in the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who employed it as both a strategy and a way of life.

But in both cases, what is not an option is revenge. It is not a Christian value. There is no justification, from a Christian perspective, for getting even.

Listen carefully to Jesus’ response to the crowd: “Do you think these suffered in this way because they were worse sinners? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.”

In that, I hear Jesus issuing a warning: lives lived without repentance – without the humility and honesty of acknowledging wrongdoing – are destined for tragedy. And not in the sense that either Falwell or Robertson might believe.

Repentance is, after all, a turning to face God. It is a shining of light on that which is shrouded in darkness. It is painful, but it is restorative. Before anything else, there is the need to confront our brokenness, our imperfections, the evil we harbor within ourselves. And repentance is not confined to the individual. It is a collective responsibility. How are we complicit? How do we participate in systems which allow violence to flourish?

It is my conviction that it is the asking of these difficult questions that begins the Christian path to peace. It is the moral consequences of the answers that give us direction.

via What Is the Christian Response to Violence? Reflections for an Interfaith Panel « i feast therefore i am.

Louisville KY, river cities:  I love this description of Louisville!

I love cities on rivers. They always remind me of the great Raymond Carver poem, Where Water Comes Together With Other Water … and the lines “I love the places where water comes together with other water… They stand out in my mind like holy places. . .”

The mighty Ohio River from our hotel room

Louisville isn’t quite holy, but it is a quiet, likeable city of beautiful old brick facades, lots of fountains, and the KFC Yum! stadium, picturesquely situated on the banks on the mighty Ohio. Our hotel room overlooks the river, where we can watch coal barges floating by, loaded up with great mounds of black grit. When I drove in Monday night, I missed my turn and ended up driving across the river into what I thought was Ohio but was actually Indiana (and yes, I am directionally and geographically challenged).

via My new Kentucky home. | What Gives 365.

‘The Rosie Show”: I am not sure I will ever like Rosie again … she just got mean and ugly …

On the premiere of her show on Monday, Ms. O’Donnell performed a mock cabaret number with her own lyrics to “The Night Chicago Died.” (“Remember my problems on ‘The View’/I told Hasselbeck a thing or two.”)

She also discussed rehab with Mr. Brand, a former drug addict, and breast cancer with Ms. Sykes, who caught hers early and is in full recovery. But serious issues don’t get in the way of what Ms. O’Donnell does best: amiable, free-floating conversation that seems unscripted and unpretentious.

“The Rosie Show” is an OWN program that doesn’t ask viewers to look inside themselves; it just entices them to watch.

via ‘The Rosie Show’ and ‘Oprah’s Lifeclass’ on OWN – NYTimes.com.

White House, President Obama, BlackBerry messages,  Solyndra, Executive Privilege:  New area … blackberry communications … Solyndra is getting bigger …

President Barack Obama won’t be sharing his BlackBerry messages with House investigators seeking communications about Solyndra, the White House told Hill Republicans on Friday.

White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler told House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders that they should still be happy with the trove of Solyndra-related documents they’re getting from federal agencies including DOE, the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget.

But Ruemmler said the investigators’ request for all internal White House communications about Solyndra — dating back to the first day of the Obama administration — “implicates long-standing and significant institutional Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

Obama had to fight his lawyers just to be able to become the first president to use a BlackBerry, and so far no one has successfully gotten access to the messages.

via White House won’t turn over Obama’s BlackBerry messages on Solyndra – Darren Samuelsohn – POLITICO.com.

Google, Steve Yegge,  “Jerry Maguire moment”:

I’m not sure if Yegge interrupted his fervent writing spree to assume yoga positions, as Jerry Maguire did, but his memo about Google+ shook the tech community as much as Maguire’s memo shook the fictional sports agency world.

The only difference: Yegge does not seem in danger of being fired and forced to start up his own tech company with a spunky sidekick/secretary. (At least not yet). But his missive left me cheering for Yegge, imaging a Hollywood symphony swelling to a crescendo when I reached the final line: “But we’ve gotta start doing this right.”

To recap for the non-tech-obsessed: An engineer at Google, Yegge poured out his angst about the struggling Google+ on Google+. His diatribe was meant for Google employees only, but even Yegge can’t figure out how to use the platform and he mistakenly made it public. He took it down, but nothing dies on the Internet, so copies are still posted all over Google+. (He also has an archive of long posts around the Web, most amusingly “Stevey’s Drunken Blog Rants” about his time at Amazon.)

His Google+ post is a fascinating glimpse inside the world of one of the largest tech companies. It’s long, but worth reading — even if you don’t understand half the tech jargon (I write about the Internet, and there were parts I stumbled over). By the time you reach the end, you’ll be cheering for Yegge too.

While there’s plenty for the tech crowd to enjoy (especially the inside gossip on Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos, or “Dread Pirate Bezos,” in Yegge’s words), what stuck out to me were the simple rules he laid out for thinking about how a company should be run.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say, for all his complaints about the company, Yegge does a pretty great job making Google seem like an incredible place to work.

via Google engineer Steve Yegge has his Jerry Maguire moment – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

 ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Coming Out, Web: Way too public to me.

LIKE a lot of people who post videos of themselves on YouTube, Kristina Cecil wants the world to know a few personal facts:

She is an avid hiker.

She is a Minnesota Vikings fan.

She is a member of the United States Air Force, which is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to serve in the military.

And she is gay.

“It’s really nice to say that now, because the whole ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ has been repealed,” Ms. Cecil, a 22-year-old with short-cropped blond hair and a tattoo on her right arm, said excitedly to the camera. “I’m just really happy to say that I’m gay, and I’m an American airman.”

Ms. Cecil’s on-screen declaration, shot in her disheveled bedroom, is one among a wave of coming-out videos posted by gay soldiers on YouTube in recent weeks. With National Coming Out Day this past Tuesday, less than a month after the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed, the genre of military coming-out videos gained force this week.

via After ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Coming Out on the Web – NYTimes.com.

Philip Johnson, Glass House, architecture, design, icons, bucket list: Glass House is on my bucket list … but isn’t a glass house counterintuitive to the idea of a house?

The architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House is one of the most important icons of modern architecture. For nearly five decades, Johnson and the art collector David Whitney lived in the 47-acre grounds in New Canaan, CT, sculpting the landscape and adding new buildings.

In 2007, two years after both men had died, the site opened up to the public as a National Trust Historic Site.

via Is Philip Johnson’s Glass House The Most Beautifully Designed House In The World?

social media ads, politics:  clicks = votes ….

The other problem with television: Live viewers are diminishing rapidly. A recent poll by the advertising company SAY Media reported that one in three voters had not seen any live television during the previous week. And politicians want to go where the conversation is.

Romney, for example, records short video messages and pushes them out on social media sites, including Facebook and YouTube. “You need to have digital embassies on every one of those sites,” Moffatt said.

Whether this form of advertising will be effective, or whether it will fall prey to the same arguments Malcolm Gladwell made about the efficacy of social media influencing world events (he disowned Twitter’s role in the Arab Spring), remains to be seen. There have been no major studies proving the success of online political advertising.

And in social media, all users — not just politicians — wield influence. New tools are allowing voters to tout their favored politicians. Votizen launched an endorsement tool last month on Twitter and Facebook to help people publicly vouch for candidates — and solicit their friends to get behind them.

via Will clicks on social media ads translate into votes? – The Washington Post.

pictograms, graphic design, Jesus, LOL:  Famous lives in minimalist pictograms!  Even, Jesus!

From Milan-based creative agency H-57 comes this brilliant series of minimalist pictogram posters for the life-and-times of famous characters, both fictional and historical, from Darth Vader to Marie Antoinette to Jesus — part Isotype, part Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, part something entirely and ingeniously its own.

via From Darth Vader to Jesus: Famous Lives in Minimalist Pictograms | Brain Pickings.

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.

20
Sep
11

9.19.2011 … ChristCare then relaxing to disappointing new season of tv

ChristCare, FPC, Believing the Impossible Before Breakfast:  FPC runs a ChristCare  small group ministry.  I belong to a multigenerational women’s group, and we are starting a book written by a former FPC minister in 1977.  We are reading Lee Stoffel’s Believing the Impossible Before Breakfast.  So far it is excellent and it challenges you to ask how much has changed in 30+ years.

How I Met Your Mother, new season, tv:  I hate to say this … but I think i like to watch the whole season in a short period.  I think I like the instant gratification!

autism, culture, community:  Great article about integrating autistic adults communities.

As planned, he arrived that morning with a portfolio of his comic strips and charcoal sketches, some of which were sold through a Chelsea gallery. Kate Stanton-Paule, the teacher who had set up the meeting, accompanied him. But his first words upon entering the office were, like most things involving Justin, not in the script.

“Hello, everybody,” he announced, loud enough to be heard behind the company president’s door. “This is going to be my new job, and you are going to be my new friends.”

As the employees exchanged nervous glances that morning in January 2010, Ms. Stanton-Paule, the coordinator of a new kind of “transition to adulthood” program for special education students at Montclair High School, wondered if they were all in over their heads.

Justin, who barely spoke until he was 10, falls roughly in the middle of the spectrum of social impairments that characterize autism, which affects nearly one in 100 American children. He talks to himself in public, has had occasional angry outbursts, avoids eye contact and rarely deviates from his favorite subject, animation.  His unabashed expression of emotion and quirky sense of humor endear him to teachers, therapists and relatives. Yet at 20, he had never made a true friend.

People with autism, whose unusual behaviors are believed to stem from variations in early brain development, typically disappear from public view after they leave school. As few as one in 10 hold even part-time jobs. Some live in state-supported group homes; even those who attend college often end up unemployed and isolated, living with parents.

But Justin is among the first generation of autistic youths who have benefited throughout childhood from more effective therapies and hard-won educational opportunities. And Ms. Stanton-Paule’s program here is based on the somewhat radical premise that with intensive coaching in the workplace and community — and some stretching by others to include them — students like Justin can achieve a level of lifelong independence that has eluded their predecessors.

“There’s a prevailing philosophy that certain people can never function in the community,” Ms. Stanton-Paule told skeptics. “I just don’t think that’s true.”

With some 200,000 autistic teenagers set to come of age in the United States over the next five years alone, little is known about their ability to participate fully in public life, or what it would take to accommodate them. Across the country, neighbors, employers, colleagues and strangers are warily interacting with young adults whose neurological condition many associate only with children.

via Autistic and Seeking a Place in an Adult World – NYTimes.com.

Arab Spring, diplomacy, international relations: Long term relationships are up in the air.  I had not thought of the long-term consequences of this move toward democracy in the middle east.

While the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring created new opportunities for American diplomacy, the tumult has also presented the United States with challenges — and worst-case scenarios — that would have once been almost unimaginable.

What if the Palestinians’ quest for recognition of a state at the United Nations, despite American pleas otherwise, lands Israel in the International Criminal Court, fuels deeper resentment of the United States, or touches off a new convulsion of violence in the West Bank and Gaza?

Or if Egypt, emerging from decades of autocratic rule under President Hosni Mubarak, responds to anti-Israeli sentiments on the street and abrogates the Camp David peace treaty, a bulwark of Arab-Israeli stability for three decades?

“We’re facing an Arab awakening that nobody could have imagined and few predicted just a few years ago,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a recent interview with reporters and editors of The New York Times. “And it’s sweeping aside a lot of the old preconceptions.”

It may also sweep aside, or at least diminish, American influence in the region. The bold vow on Friday by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to seek full membership at the United Nations amounted to a public rebuff of weeks of feverish American diplomacy. His vow came on top of a rapid and worrisome deterioration of relations between Egypt and Israel and between Israel and Turkey, the three countries that have been the strongest American allies in the region.

Diplomacy has never been easy in the Middle East, but the recent events have so roiled the region that the United States fears being forced to take sides in diplomatic or, worse, military disputes among its friends. Hypothetical outcomes seem chillingly present. What would happen if Turkey, a NATO ally that the United States is bound by treaty to defend, sent warships to escort ships to Gaza in defiance of Israel’s blockade, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to do?

via Tumult of Arab Spring Prompts Worries in Washington – NYTimes.com.

adoption scandal, China, U.S. ramifications:  Chills … I know many families who have adopted from China, and this literally sent chills down my spine.

On Aug. 5, this newspaper published a front-page article from China that contained chilling news for many adoptive parents: government officials in Hunan Province, in southern China, had seized babies from their parents and sold them into what the article called “a lucrative black market in children.”

The news, the latest in a slow trickle of reports describing child abduction and trafficking in China, swept through the tight communities of families — many of them in the New York area — who have adopted children from China. For some, it raised a nightmarish question: What if my child had been taken forcibly from her parents?

And from that question, inevitably, tumble others: What can or should adoptive parents do? Try to find the birth parents? And if they could, what then?

Scott Mayer, who with his wife adopted a girl from southern China in 2007, said the article’s implications hit him head on. “I couldn’t really think straight,” Mr. Mayer said. His daughter, Keshi, is 5 years old — “I have to tell you, she’s brilliant,” he said proudly — and is a mainstay of his life as a husband and a father.

“What I felt,” he said, “was a wave of heat rush over me.”

Like many adoptive parents, Mr. Mayer can recount the emotionally exhausting process he and his wife went through to get their daughter, and can describe the warm home they have strived to provide. They had been assured that she, like thousands of other Chinese girls, was abandoned in secret by her birth parents, left in a public place with a note stating her date of birth.

But as he started to read about the Hunan cases, he said, doubts flooded in. How much did he — or any adoptive parent — really know about what happened on the other side of the world? Could Keshi have been taken by force, or bought by the orphanage in order to reap the thousands of dollars that American parents like him donate when they get their children?

In his home in Montclair, N.J., Mr. Mayer rushed upstairs to re-examine the adoption documents.

According to the news reports, the children were removed from their families when they were several months old, then taken to the orphanages. “The first thing I did was look in my files,” he said, speaking in deliberative, unsparing sentences. According to his paperwork, his daughter had been found on a specific date, as a newborn.

He paused to weigh the next thought.

“Now, could that have been faked?” he said. “Perhaps. I don’t know. But at least it didn’t say she was 3 months old when she was left at the orphanage.”

According to the State Department, 64,043 Chinese children were adopted in the United States between 1999 and 2010, far more than from any other country. Child abduction and trafficking have plagued other international adoption programs, notably in Vietnam and Romania, and some have shut down to stop the black market trade.

via China’s Adoption Scandal Sends Chills Through Families in U.S. – NYTimes.com.

fashion, copies: I always think it interesting how fast they copy … Who Wore it First? – Fall Fashion Trends 2011 – Fashion – InStyle

PostSecret, PostSecret App:  There was something really fun about checking PostSecret on Sunday … I think this will take away from that.  Although I do think more will post.

I started PostSecret six years ago in Washington, DC by passing out postcards to strangers and inviting them to illustrate a secret and mail it to me. Quickly, word of the project spread virally around the world. Today I have a pile of anonymous secrets taller than me – more than 600,000.

Now I’m excited about the new PostSecret App that allows users to discover secrets from their cities or schools, create and share anonymous secrets with their phone, and connect with like-minded people. In this special collection made for Huffington Post readers, I have included five provocative secrets mailed to me on postcards and five secrets shared with the new PostSecret App, and a trailer that explains how the app works.

via Frank Warren: EXCLUSIVE: New PostSecret Post Cards.

Former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer – Medal Of Honor Recipient, White House, White House home brew, President Obama: I thought it pretty gutsy that Mr. Meyer asked for the face time.  And I want some White House Honey Blonde!

Talk about an all-American beer.

Barack Obama and the White House chefs have been brewing beer for quite some time, and on Wednesday, the president shared some of the White House Honey Ale with a Medal of Honor recipient.

Former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer had requested to share a beer with the president before the ceremony, CBS reports.

The Honey Ale is the first beer brewed in the White House, but Obama is not the first president to take on the hobby, according to historians.

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were brewing aficionados, but Jefferson never made beer at the White House, and Washington, of course, never lived there, White House curator Bill Allman told NPR.

Early reports of the White House-brewed beer began circulating after Obama offered it to guests guests during the Super Bowl this year, CBS reports. The beer was also consumed on St. Patty’s Day.

Obama Foodorama, a blog focusing on the administration’s food and nutrition initiatives, reports that the Honey Ale isn’t the only beer that’s been brewed by the chefs. A White House Honey Blonde and a White House Honey Porter have also been created.

The Obamas paid for all of the brewing equipment out of pocket, according to CBS.

The casual meeting between Obama and Meyer didn’t end without controversy, though.

White House staffers Tweeted a photo of the two men talking over drinks Wednesday, which elicited both sincere praise and snarky remarks about the president, the Washington Post points out.

Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor on Thursday for his service in Afghanistan.

via White House Brews Its Own Beer; Obama Shares A Drink With Dakota Meyer, Medal Of Honor Recipient.

writing, tipsUncreative Writing – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

House Speaker John Boehner, politics, democrats v republicans, jobs creation/deficit reduction:  Irony here …

House Speaker John Boehner just gave a speech outlining the GOP’s ideas for jobs creation and its prescriptions for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. I thought I’d highlight two sentences from it. There was this:

If we want to create a better environment for job creation, politicians of all stripes can leave the “my way or the highway” philosophy behind.

And there was also this:

Tax increases, however, are not a viable option for the Joint Committee.

The juxtaposition of those two sentences perfectly encapsulate the last two and a half years of United States political history. And who knows — it may end up encapsulating what’s left of Obama’s term, too.

via Two sentences from John Boehner’s speech – The Plum Line – The Washington Post.

travel, guidebooks, NYC, LOL: Sounds like fun … I wonder how long it takes.

The Italian art house publishing group Log607 is testing conventional wisdom that guidebooks should be fact-based with a series of fictional-narrative guides that force tourists to go on treasure hunts. These “WhaiWhai” guides have been popular in Italy for a few years now, but had not been released for any city outside the boot until this week when New York: The Pegleg hit bookstores.

The book concerns the legend of a magical pegleg that once belonged to Peter Stuyvesant, and asks readers — who might better be described as participants — to go to different Manhattan landmarks in search for “secrets.” Each page of each guidebook is cut into thirds and participants are given codes that tell them how to put a page together whenever they correctly solve a puzzle by identifying a detail about New York (a la the number of women depicted on a Broadway Theater’s facade).

In an effort to determine whether treasure hunt-style guidebooks might become a fad, HuffPost Travel editors Paul Brady and Andrew Burmon took to the streets and tried to uncover the secrets of the pegleg. The experiment went swimmingly, providing our stand-in travelers with an excellent excuse to get out of the office and wander around downtown Manhattan. They made some interesting discoveries along the way, but also found this creative guidebook model a bit of an uneasy compromise.

The book is clearly intended to create opportunities for serendipity and exploration while also being very opinionated about where travelers should go next.

via New York: The Pegleg: A Guidebook That’s Actually A Treasure Hunt (VIDEO).

Tim Gruber, high school sports, high school cross-country, kudos:  Kudos, Tim Gruber!

Tim Gruber won the 13th annual Cannon Invitational Cross Country Invitational boys’ race on Saturday, Sept. 17, on his home 5K course at Cannon. Lake Norman Charter School won the team title with 73 points, edging North Raleigh Christian with 77.

via Gruber wins Cannon Invite, other local runners shine | Sports.

French macarons, cookbooks:  I want to master French macarons! Macarons – Anthropologie.com.

reform education, great schools revolution:

Why now? One answer is the sheer amount of data available on performance, not just within countries but between them. In 2000 the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) at the OECD, a rich-country club, began tracking academic attainment by the age of 15 in 32 countries. Many were shocked by where they came in the rankings. (PISA’s latest figures appear in table 1.) Other outfits, too, have been measuring how good or bad schools are. McKinsey, a consultancy, has monitored which education systems have improved most in recent years.

Technology has also made a difference. After a number of false starts, many people now believe that the internet can make a real difference to educating children. Hence the success of institutions like America’s Kahn Academy (see article). Experimentation is also infectious; the more governments try things, the more others examine, and copy, the results.

Above all, though, there has been a change in the quality of the debate. In particular, what might be called “the three great excuses” for bad schools have receded in importance. Teachers’ unions have long maintained that failures in Western education could be blamed on skimpy government spending, social class and cultures that did not value education. All these make a difference, but they do not determine outcomes by themselves.

The idea that good schooling is about spending money is the one that has been beaten back hardest. Many of the 20 leading economic performers in the OECD doubled or tripled their education spending in real terms between 1970 and 1994, yet outcomes in many countries stagnated—or went backwards. Educational performance varies widely even among countries that spend similar amounts per pupil. Such spending is highest in the United States—yet America lags behind other developed countries on overall outcomes in secondary education. Andreas Schleicher, head of analysis at PISA, thinks that only about 10% of the variation in pupil performance has anything to do with money.

Many still insist, though, that social class makes a difference. Martin Johnson, an education trade unionist, points to Britain’s “inequality between classes, which is among the largest in the wealthiest nations” as the main reason why its pupils underperform. A review of reforms over the past decade by researchers at Oxford University supports him. “Despite rising attainment levels,” it concludes, “there has been little narrowing of longstanding and sizeable attainment gaps. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds remain at higher risks of poor outcomes.” American studies confirm the point; Dan Goldhaber of the University of Washington claims that “non-school factors”, such as family income, account for as much as 60% of a child’s performance in school.

via Reforming education: The great schools revolution | The Economist.

Ted Williams, heroes, baseball:   “the greatest achievement in 20th-century hitting” and “a lesson to all who value the best in human possibility.”

In an essay within the 1994 book “Ted Williams: A Portrait in Words and Pictures,” the Harvard paleontologist and popular science writer Stephen Jay Gould called Williams’s 1941 season “the greatest achievement in 20th-century hitting” and “a lesson to all who value the best in human possibility.”

via Ted Williams’s .406 Average Is More Than a Number – NYTimes.com.

John Maynard Keynes, economics, graphics:  Very interesting article … love the graphic!  Winston Churchill of economics!

FOR someone who’s been dead for 65 years, John Maynard Keynes has amazing presence. Open a paper, click on a blog or TV, and, voilà, like Waldo, he’s everywhere. The British economic oracle — whose boyhood nickname Snout should tell you that a pretty face isn’t why he’s hot — gets more Google hits than Leonardo DiCaprio. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas apparently got so fed up with the old scene stealer that he interrupted a recent Republican debate to flash his rivals the news that Keynes was, well, deceased.

For some, Keynes is the hero who rescued the West from the Great Depression, for others the villain to blame for the current mess. To me, he’s neither, but rather the Winston Churchill of economics, radiating optimism when things looked bleakest, never so happily engaged as in a national or global emergency.

The new, cheerful social science that Marshall pioneered and Keynes and others innovated was a genuine revolution in human thinking that changed the lives of everyone on the globe. What would Keynes say if he were, say, to appear on CNBC tomorrow? That we’ve overcome a dozen challenges as bad or worse, that the tenfold rise in standards since Jane Austen’s lifetime shows that we’ve done more things right than wrong, and that the “apparatus of the mind” — which demands that we let facts change our minds, engage our critics and see common ground — is infinitely more helpful in a crisis than ideology or raw emotion.

And what would Keynes do now? Go shopping, I suspect. This was the “incorrigible optimist,” his biographer Robert Skidelsky relates, who made a big bet on the United States recovery in 1936 and hung on when it collapsed again in 1937. It may have looked like midnight but Keynes knew that morning would come again.

via John Maynard Keynes – His sunny optimism shaped economists’ approach to depression. – NYTimes.com.

Republican governors, politics, republican v. democrat:  Governors are a different breed from Members of Congress and their politics can vary much more … think Romney and Perry.

But the four Republicans’ uncompromising and unapologetic stance marks them out, says Carolyn Fiddler of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, an outfit dedicated to getting more Democrats elected to state legislatures. She notes that they have all attempted to cut taxes even as they slash spending. Mr Kasich’s budget compounded an $8 billion two-year shortfall by eliminating Ohio’s inheritance tax and pressing ahead with a promised income-tax cut that had been delayed for two years. Mr Walker piled $200m in tax cuts onto a $3.2 billion gap in Wisconsin. Mr Scott, who already needed to find cuts of $3.7 billion to make ends meet, proposed $2 billion in tax cuts, but was rebuffed by the legislature.

All this has made the four heroes in Republican circles. Mr Christie is constantly swatting away pleas that he run for president. Mr Walker is spoken of as vice-presidential material. Their pugnaciousness has energised donors and activists. But it has not endeared them to the general electorate. Polls over the summer put Mr Christie’s approval rating at 47%, Mr Walker’s at 45%, Mr Kasich’s at 36% and Mr Scott’s at 35%—especially dismal numbers for the three who have been in office for less than a year.

It is a standard tactic to get unpleasant tasks out of the way at the beginning of a four-year term, in the hope that anger will have faded by election time. It worked for Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, another swing state. But Messrs Kasich and Walker, in particular, seem to have stirred unusually fierce opposition.

via Republican governors: The right’s brave swingers | The Economist.

2012 Primaries, media primary coverage:  Interesting article – should national media cover all the candidates … is there a journalistic obligation?

JONATHAN BERNSTEIN makes an excellent point:

The other thing that’s important to remember is that there is no actual good reason for either parties or the press to be fair to candidates. They should be fair to voters, either individually or as they exist in organized groups and constituencies. But candidates? Nope.

There’s no reason at all why Herman Cain or Rick Santorum “deserves” to be covered. Ron Paul is different: he has no chance to win the Republican nomination, but he has a fervent following of supporters nationwide and is a national political figure in his own right amongst the small but ideologically influential libertarian constituency. But for the rest of this year’s vanity candidates, I’d actually go further than Mr Bernstein does: the press is doing the public a disservice by covering them. The mainstream media’s job ought to be filtering out the irrelevant noise for busy voters so that they can process the information they need to have in order to vote. To the extent major press organs fail to filter out irrelevant noise, they’re not doing their jobs.

via Primary coverage: The media should be fair to voters, not candidates | The Economist.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.),  2012 Election:  Everything may be worse under Obama, but the republicans are doing everything to lose the election in my opinion.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Sunday that “everything is worse” under President Barack Obama.

“This is our election to lose,” Graham told Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked for his assessment of the GOP candidates and the 2012 race.

“President Obama has done everything he knows how to do to beat himself. The reason people have little confidence in President Obama’s policies, they’re just not working. Everything is worse: 2 million people unemployed after he took office. Gas prices are 100 percent higher. Home values are down. Debt is up by 35 percent”

“There seems to be no relief on the horizon,” Graham said. “He keeps proposing the same old things.”

Graham’s remarks ran counter to the perspective offered earlier in the program by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) who was optimistic about Obama’s reelection prospects.

“As I listen to the Republican presidential nominee candidates come forward and spot their ideas and bow and genuflect to the Tea Party and their agenda, I remember the Tea Party is not very popular in America,” Durbin told Crowley.

“I don’t think people like that style of politics.”

via Lindsey Graham: 2012 Election Is GOP’s To Lose, ‘Everything Is Worse’ Under Obama.

Is Marriage for White People?, books, culture:  Interesting question.

The unmarried black woman is a figure of cultural fascination these days. Cable news specials, popular books by Steve Harvey and T. D. Jakes, the films of Tyler Perry, and newspaper articles about single black women and their children born out of wedlock send waves of dismay through the American public. The explanations offered for this phenomenon tend to be of two sorts: prurient accounts of black male promiscuity and irresponsibility, or caricatures of aggressive and unreasonable black women. It is rare for the popular media to include careful social or historical analyses. Rather, they are often purveyors of a moral panic presented without root or reason.

Upon reading the title “Is Marriage for White People?” I assumed the book, by the Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks, would follow in this trend. But I was wrong. Banks doesn’t offer a jeremiad about the decline of black family values in the way of so many others who do little more than regurgitate Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 report, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” which described black family structure as “a tangle of pathology.” Refreshingly, Banks offers a well-researched and probing discussion of why marriage rates are so low among black Americans.

In clean and efficient prose, Banks presents a lucid picture of romantic life in black America. Moreover, he disposes of the mythology that the failure to marry is primarily an underclass phenomenon, turning his attention especially to the lives of middle-class black women. He has set out to answer the question: Why are black women “half as likely as white women to be married, and more than three times as likely as white women never to marry”?

via Is Marriage for White People? — By Ralph Richard Banks — Book Review – NYTimes.com.

message bottle, random:  I always wanted to put a message in a bottle … nice story.

The clear glass bottle was found Thursday by Navy Petty Officer Jon Moore during a beach cleanup at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai island.

The bottle contained four origami cranes — symbols of peace in Japan — as well as a photo of Arikawa’s elementary school class and a note dated March 25, 2006, and signed by Arikawa saying she wanted it to be “a graduation memory.”

News of the bottle’s recovery reconnected more than a dozen of her old classmates, now studying at different high schools, and their elementary school homeroom teacher for a reunion Saturday. Arikawa says she now wants to further expand the circle of friendship.

via Japanese girl thanks US sailor in Hawaii for finding message bottle, calls it a ‘miracle’ – The Washington Post.

GOP, “Right to Death Party”, 2012 Presidential Debates:  I too was shocked by the crowd’s response … another example of the GOP going down the wrong rabbit hole.

I’ve watched the two Republican Party debates, and something weird is going on in the audience.

When moderator Brian Williams said to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, “Your state has executed 234 Death Row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times,” the audience APPLAUDED.

Applause at the number of people executed in Texas?

When Ron Paul was asked by Wolf Blitzer about health insurance, and how an uninsured man who had a medical emergency should be treated, the Texas Congressman said:

“That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risks.”

The audience cheered.

Paul continued: “This whole idea that you have to prepare to take care of everybody …”

“Are you saying that society should just let him die?” Blitzer asked.

There were cheers from the audience of “Yeah!”

How about these guys – applauding even before Ron Paul answered the question!

Now, I haven’t been to church in years, but I seem to remember the question of “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

And something about “Thou shall not kill.”

So how is it that NOT ONE single candidate – some of whom claim their spirituality has been a guiding force in their politics – how could they not challenge the applause, and maybe suggest that their invited audience take a step back from the bloodlust?

I totally take it for granted that one of the founding principles of the United States is freedom to express an opinion. But having said that, regardless of party affiliation, I can’t imagine APPLAUDING at the idea of death – either mandated by lethal injection, or from lack of medical insurance.

via GOP: The “Right to Death Party”? – CBS News.

CU- Boulder, kith/kin: disappointing … CU falls in national rankings but still holds high position | CU Independent.

Bob Turner (R-NY), Anthony Weiner, LOL: I just laughed … But Mrs. Weiner has a point.

Newly-elected Republican Bob Turner officially took over Anthony Weiner’s House seat on Thursday. But he won’t literally be taking over his chair.

That’s because Turner’s wife Peggy apparently wants Weiner’s office chair, the one the embattled former Congressman tweeted lewd pictures from, removed from the office.

Turner took over Weiner’s old office, suite 2104, in the Rayburn House Office Building last week. Upon moving in, they found some choice leftovers from the office’s prior inhabitants. “Weiner left his toothbrush behind! It literally says ‘Anthony’ on it,” an insider tells the New York Post.

This prompted Peggy Turner to ask for a thorough sanitization of the entire space. The insider notes Mrs. Turner was discussing replacing the office chair and carpeting, in addition to having the place professionally cleaned.

But the 70-year-old new congressman, a retired television executive from Queens, was decidedly mum about the decision. “That’s not the most important thing I have to deal with,” he said. Turner, a first-time politician, is just learning the ropes of Congress. He’s taking over Weiner’s seat just hours after winning Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 9th District.

via Turner Takes Over: Anthony Weiner’s Old Office Gets a Scrubdown – TIME NewsFeed.

America’s Favorite Cities, photography, LIFE:  I agree … Chicago has the most beautiful skyline!

America’s Favorite Cities With Travel + Leisure

From sea to shining sea, the United States of America has the best, brightest, and most exciting cities in the world. But with its bounty of metropolitan riches, it’s sometimes hard to decide between destinations when you’re up for a domestic trip. Thank the travel-ready gods, then, for Travel + Leisure magazine’s annual round-up of Americans’ favorite U.S. cities in various categories. T+L editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod recently sat down with LIFE to give readers an early scoop on this year’s winners, including the always-entertaining T+L look at America’s most and least attractive people.

via America’s Favorite Cities – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

15
Sep
11

9.15.2011 … still waiting for fall …

college life, expectations, privacy, Harvard:  I’m impressed … things that were once assumed are now expressed.  To some extent we have come full circle … with the added concept of freedom of expression  and privacy rights.  Still I think for many students having this “understood” as an expectation is appropriate.

When the members of the class of 2015 arrived at Harvard College this fall, they encountered a novel bit of moral education. Their dorm proctors — the grad students who live with freshmen to provide guidance and enforce discipline — invited each student to sign a pledge developed by the Freshman Dean’s Office. It reads, in full:

“At Commencement, the Dean of Harvard College announces to the President, Fellows, and Overseers that ‘each degree candidate stands ready to advance knowledge, to promote understanding, and to serve society.’ That message serves as a kind of moral compass for the education Harvard College imparts. In the classroom, in extracurricular endeavors, and in the Yard and Houses, students are expected to act with integrity, respect, and industry, and to sustain a community characterized by inclusiveness and civility.

“As we begin at Harvard, we commit to upholding the values of the College and to making the entryway and Yard a place where all can thrive and where the exercise of kindness holds a place on par with intellectual attainment.”

The original plan was to post the pledge in each dorm entryway, along with the names and signatures of the students living there. Although signing was supposed to be voluntary, any dissent would have been obvious.

The posting constituted “an act of public shaming,” Harry R. Lewis, a computer science professor and former dean of Harvard College, wrote in a blog post condemning the pledge. Some students signed because they felt they had to — a completely predictable, yet somehow unforeseen, result that Tom Dingman, the dean of freshmen, says is “against the spirit of the pledge.” The signatures will no longer be posted.

Yet what the Harvard Crimson dubs the “freshman kindness pledge” remains in place. The vast majority of freshmen, and the college itself, have formally declared that “the exercise of kindness” is “on par with intellectual attainment.” Both parts of that equation are odd, and they are odd in ways that suggest something has gone awry at Harvard.

via Harvard Pledge Values ‘Kindness’ Over Learning: Virginia Postrel – Bloomberg.

women in literature, “bitches”: “Margaret Mitchell did for bitchery what Edgar Allan Poe did for murder — she made it respectable.”

In Shakespeare’s comedy, a shrew is known by her “impatient humour,” a “chattering tongue,” “scolding” and “waspish,” bandying “word for word and frown for frown.” She is “froward, peevish, sullen, sour,” and “not obedient to [her husband’s] honest will.” In the end, of course, the shrew is tamed. She places her hand below her husband’s foot.

On the literary level it would be a long time before women, in Gershon Legman’s phrase, carried the war into the camp of the enemy. In his foul-mouthed study of censorship Love and Death, Legman frankly calls the shrew, the “spirited” woman, by a different name:

The bitch has been here before. She was never gone. But, for our generation, first in Gone With the Wind in 1936 was she made a heroine. Margaret Mitchell did for bitchery what Edgar Allan Poe did for murder — she made it respectable.

David Plante suggested a less inflammatory term. His 1983 memoir of Jean Rhys, Germaine Greer, and Sonia Brownell Orwell was called Difficult Women. Whether a woman or man is doing the calling makes a difference. But given her literary pedigree, the not-so-nice woman (whatever she ends up being called) ought to be fair game for male authors as well as female.

via Wicked (or, at Least, Difficult) Women in Literature « Commentary Magazine.

professions, pastoral care:  Ministers are professionals … goes back to the original definition of the word.

The truth is that I couldn’t tell her where I’d been doing Monday without possibly breaking a confidence.  I had been in court with someone about a very sensitive issue and it was too small a congregation and too small a town to say much about that.  Anybody could have easily guessed who was in court and why.  No, I couldn’t check my messages.  I was a character witness and needed to stay in the courtroom all day.  And no I didn’t go by the church building to check messages after court because I was exhausted and went straight home to bed.

These kinds of things – private pastoral things – happen all the time if you are a good pastor.  But the problem is that most people do not see us in courtrooms or offices or jail cells.  And if they don’t see us working, they may not believe we are working.

I once knew a church volunteer who expected me to be in the church building when she was in the church building.  Otherwise, I must not be working.  Many good pastors actually work the most hours out in the world – in hospitals and coffee shops and homes.  Nobody follows us around and watches what we do.  We only work with an audience on Sunday mornings or when we teach classes and lead meetings.

Sometimes we can’t even tell people what we did on a given day.  And – just like a new parent whose day flies by without much obvious accomplishment after a mountain of small tasks were achieved – there are some days in a clergyperson’s life when administrivia wins.  No sermon was written.  No visits were made.  But, by golly, 30 e-mails were answered and two monthly reports were written and the mail was sorted.

In my current job, I hear parishioners who share that their pastors “don’t do anything.“  That’s possible.  But it’s also possible that their pastor could be sitting with a mentally ill person in the hospital or driving a homeless family to the shelter in the next town.  Sometimes pastors do things that most parishioners can’t even know about.

And this is why it’s lovely to send your pastor a token of your appreciation when he or she retires or moves on.  (See yesterday’s post.)

via What Exactly Do You Do All Day? | achurchforstarvingartists.

Casey Anthony, criminal acts, consequences:  I never have understood exactly how this works.

Casey Anthony must pay almost $100,000 in law enforcement costs for investigating the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony, a Florida judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Belvin Perry’s ruling on Thursday was less than the $500,000 that prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in Orlando were seeking, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.

Perry said the costs should only cover the period when detectives were investigating a missing person and not the homicide investigation, which is a sum of $97, 676.

Anthony was acquitted in July of murdering Caylee, but she was convicted of four misdemeanor counts of lying to authorities. She told officers a baby sitter had kidnapped the toddler. Although, later authorities learned the baby sitter never existed.

Anthony, 25, must pay the Florida Department of Law Enforcement $61,505. 12; the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation $10,283.90; and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office $25,837.96. She also has to pay $50 to the state of Florida for the cost of prosecuting the misdemeanor convictions.

According to the order, Anthony may have to pay more money to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Perry asked to receive more detailed expense reports from the agency by 4 p.m. Monday.

Anthony is currently serving probation at an undisclosed location in Florida for unrelated check fraud charges. She is being hidden for her safety since she received death threats after her acquittal.

via Casey Anthony ordered to pay $97k to state of Florida – Crimesider – CBS News.

politics, democrats v. republicans, American Jobs Act, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R), uncivil acts, President Obama:  Jerk …

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert is no fan of President Obama’s “American Jobs Act,” but he does, apparently, think the name is pretty catchy.

The Texas lawmaker introduced his own jobs bill on Wednesday, and he gave it the exact same name as the president’s bill. Gohmert says his bill will create jobs simply by taking the corporate tax rate to zero.

“After waiting to see what the president would actually put into legislative language, and then waiting to see if anybody would actually introduce the president’s bill in the House, today I took the initiative and introduced the ‘American Jobs Act of 2011,'” Gohmert said in a statement. “It is a very simple bill, which will eliminate the corporate tax which serves as a tariff that our American companies pay on goods they produce here in America.”

Mr. Obama’s bill was introduced in the Senate by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a day earlier.

While Gohmert’s bill may steal a bit of the spotlight from Mr. Obama’s “American Jobs Act,” it can’t steal the actual name — there are no House rules prohibiting two different bills from sharing a name. Bills typically have a long, formal name and a short, informal name — two different pieces of legislation may share either. It would just be confusing.

Gohmert argues his version of the “American Jobs Act” is better, for one thing, because it’s simpler — it clocks in at two pages, versus 155 pages for Mr. Obama’s bill. On top of that, he says it will be more effective, instantly making America “a safe haven for businesses resulting in an explosion in revenue increases.”

via Two “American Jobs Act” bills — GOP lawmaker swipes Obama’s bill name – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

education, international living, extreme schooling, cultural barriers, language barriers, parenting:  I loved this article … the agony of the parents and the determination to finish what was started.  And success in the end!

My three children once were among the coddled offspring of Park Slope, Brooklyn. But when I became a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, my wife and I decided that we wanted to immerse them in life abroad. No international schools where the instruction is in English. Ours would go to a local one, with real Russians. When we told friends in Brooklyn of our plans, they tended to say things like, Wow, you’re so brave. But we knew what they were really thinking: What are you, crazy? It was bad enough that we were abandoning beloved Park Slope, with its brownstones and organic coffee bars, for a country still often seen in the American imagination as callous and forbidding. To throw our kids into a Russian school — that seemed like child abuse.

Most foreign correspondents, like expatriates in general, place their children in international schools. Yet it seemed to us like an inspiring idea. After all, children supposedly pick up language quickly. So what if mine did not speak a word of Russian and could not find Russia on a map. They were clever and resilient. They would adapt, become fluent and penetrate Russia — land of Dostoyevsky and Tchaikovsky, the Bolshoi Ballet and the Hermitage Museum — in ways all but impossible for foreigners.

But the fantasy of creating bilingual prodigies immediately collided with reality. My children — Danya (fifth grade), Arden (third grade) and Emmett (kindergarten) — were among the first foreigners to attend Novaya Gumanitarnaya Shkola, the New Humanitarian School. All instruction was in Russian. No translators, no hand-holding. And so on that morning, as on so many days that autumn of 2007, I feared that I was subjecting them to a cross-cultural experiment that would scar them forever.

And then, after five years in Russia, it was time to return to Brooklyn.

Danya, now nearly 14, was ambivalent about leaving, drawn toward being a teenager in New York City. But Arden and Emmett would have gladly stayed. “I feel like I’m tugged in two ways, and I have no idea what to do,” Arden told me last spring. “That’s the one problem with living abroad. You end up getting those weird feelings like, Oh, I can’t leave; I can’t stay.”

On the kids’ final day, Bogin called an assembly to wish them goodbye. He started praising them for all they had overcome but then stopped. This, too, would not be just a lecture.

“What would we not have had if these three had not been here?” he asked. “How did they enrich our school?”

“Theater!” someone shouted back.

“The school newspaper!”

“Great friendships!”

A chant began. “Spa-si-bo! Spa-si-bo!” (“Thank you!”)

Some teachers and children had tears in their eyes.

I went onstage to express my deep appreciation but was too choked up to speak. Suddenly, Arden strode forward and took the microphone. In confident and flawless Russian, she thanked the school for all of us.

via My Family’s Experiment in Extreme Schooling – NYTimes.com.

Goddard College, unconventional learning, alternate learning:  Another success story …

Someone like Rod Crossman, at his stage in life and with his professional success, doesn’t often seek a way to reinvent himself. Yet Mr. Crossman—a painter, an assistant professor, and an artist in residence at Indiana Wesleyan University—felt that he was merely churning out pretty work to hang on gallery walls, increasingly feeling a schism between where his career had taken him and where his passion was telling him to go.

“My art practice had become marooned in the place where it was not connected to the world,” he says. “There were issues that my students were facing, and I didn’t think I had the tools to help them navigate those problems. Some of the issues they were facing were just the challenges of the world that we live in.” He wanted an interdisciplinary M.F.A. to reinvigorate his work at Indiana Wesleyan, where he has taught for 30 years.

He found a tiny college in rural Vermont that has blown itself up and emerged anew time and again: Goddard College. The birthplace of some important academic innovations, it has long bucked traditional notions of higher education and, like many experimental colleges, flirted with financial ruin. Its latest transformation may be its most remarkable: Reaching a nadir in its financial health in the early 2000s, it did what many colleges would consider unthinkable. The college shut down its storied, core residential program and adopted its low-residency adult program as its sole campus offering. It has since re-emerged with 10-year accreditation, the highest number of students in decades, money to spend on refurbishing its campus, a new campus in Port Townsend, Wash., and plans to expand its programs to other cities across the country. One administrator put the college’s turnaround in perspective: Today, Goddard is getting a $2-million loan to build a biomass plant, but 10 years ago the college couldn’t have gotten a car loan.

Innovation is the buzzword of higher education these days. People talk about leveraging technology and scaling up, about treating faculty members like hired guns, and about adopting industrial models to bring down costs and ramp up “production.” All of it in a bid to offer more college degrees—more cheaply, more quickly, and some worry, of a lower quality.

None of that is happening here. Goddard faculty members, who do not have tenure but are unionized, seem fiercely devoted to the college. Students say their open-ended studies are among the most rigorous they have ever experienced. And Goddard’s president, Barbara Vacarr, is downright heretical when asked how higher education can scale up and give more Americans college degrees.

via Goddard College’s Unconventional Path to Survival – Administration – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Marine Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor, President Obama, White House, Beer with the President, media distortions, journalism:  “It would be nice to be able to post a photo of the president having a beer with a Marine without being beseiged with snark. #GrowUp,” … Media went too far on this one.  Kudos to Dakota Meyer.

 

When White House staff contacted him to arrange the ceremony, Meyer asked if he could have a beer with Obama, and the president invited him to the White House on Wednesday, Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Carney posted a picture on his Twitter account of Obama and Meyer, both in shirtsleeves and ties, sitting at a metal patio table, each with a clear glass mug of ale. Several members of the White House press corps then “re-tweeted” the picture, which was taken by official White House photographer Pete Souza. Among them were Jake Tapper of ABC News, who has more than 138,000 Twitter followers, and Ed Henry of Fox News, who has more than 35,000.

Many of the followers chimed in, with most offering praise for the photo and the president’s hospitality. But some others apparently offered more cynical comments about the event being a staged photo-op for Obama.

It didn’t take long for the usually combative White House reporters to stick up for the embattled president on this one.

“It would be nice to be able to post a photo of the president having a beer with a Marine without being beseiged with snark. #GrowUp,” Tapper later wrote on his account.

Henry wrote: “Come on folks, just because WH released a photo of President’s beer w/Dakota Meyer doesn’t mean its ‘just a photo-op’”

Then he added: “Surely you can disagree with President on issues, if that’s how you feel, but still appreciate him recognizing uncommon valor by a Marine”

via Obama has beer with Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, sparking debate between critics, reporters – 44 – The Washington Post.





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