Some terrific pics

VINTAGE PHOTOS: Take A Tour Of Manhattan In The 1940s

Amateur photographer Charles W. Cushman traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad capturing daily life from 1938 to 1969.

His works have been donated to and maintained by Cushman's alma mater Indiana University, which has kindly given us permission to publish his gallery of New York City photos taken in 1941, 1942 and 1960.


You may have noticed...

Court: 'don't ask, don't tell' to stay in place, per Obama administration request - chicagotribune.com

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal appeals court late Friday ordered the military to temporarily continue its "don't ask, don't tell" policy for openly gay service members, responding to a request from the Obama administration.

...Obama is taking credit for having ended DADT, but apparently not just yet.

Can you hear him now?

Report: Warren to be passed over as nominee to head Consumer Bureau | The Raw Story

Bloomberg News is reporting as of Friday evening that President Obama has chosen somebody other than Elizabeth Warren to be nominated as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

According to the report, which is based on an anonymous source, an unidentified individual who already works at the agency will be nominated instead.

[We will be gratified if this report is false. We expect it is not.]


It's just sort of sweet, isn't it...

Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton resigns - CBS News


NEW YORK - Les Hinton, the chief executive of Dow Jones & Co., has resigned, becoming the latest News Corp. executive casualty in the phone-hacking and bribery scandal in Britain.

Hinton served as executive chairman of the British unit that oversaw News Corp.'s U.K. tabloid newspapers at the heart of the scandal for 12 years....

Hinton said in a statement that he was "ignorant of what apparently happened" but felt it was proper to resign.

...how these titans of industry—or in this case, the press—never seem, when the heat is on, to know any itty bitty thing about what goes on in their companies.

You just wonder what they get paid for, don't you?

Voting is a waste of time, dude, you gotta get voted for

Congressional Portfolios, Outpacing the Market - Essay - NYTimes.com

The study, “Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives,” is a real eye-opener. Using the financial disclosures of politicians, the research team built model portfolios and charted their performance. They found that House members “earn statistically significant positive abnormal returns,” outperforming the market by 6 percentage points.

Senators do even better, the authors say, citing their own earlier research from 2004. Senate portfolios “show some of the highest excess returns ever recorded over a long period of time, significantly outperforming even hedge fund managers,” with gains that are “both economically large and statistically significant.”

They beat the market, my friends, by 10 percentage points a year.


Why doesn't somebody put these guys back in their box?

S&P threatens downgrade of U.S. finance companies | Reuters

While S&P had already made clear it could downgrade the United States's sovereign credit rating, the move Friday struck directly at the heart of the financial system, raising the prospect of knock-on effects should the country exhaust its ability to borrow to pay bills.

These are the guys who rated all those junk mortgage bonds AAA, aren't they? And somebody still pays attention to them?

Google makes you stupid! Or not!

Google Is Making Us Stupid and Smart at the Same Time? - Technology - The Atlantic Wire

A just-published study in Science offers the latest set of findings, and a quick read suggests that yes, Google is hampering our ability to recall information. Led by Betsy Sparrow at Columbia University, the study also found that Google improves certain kinds of memory, like methods for retrieving information. Sparrow's findings aren't the whole story, though. As scientists have stressed since the dawn of web, the effects of Internet usage on cognition are pretty complicated.

Blue Mooon

Blue Mooon BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Don't try no crime stuff around here

Georgia cops bust 10-year-old’s lemonade stand | Raw Replay

When three girls in Midway, Georgia set up their lemonade stand, they intended to raise enough money to go to the water park. But the ever-vigilant local police quickly identified the girls’ effort as criminal enterprise and shut them down....

A city permit that would have allowed the lemonade stand to stay open costs $50 a day. In contrast, a child’s water park ticket goes for about $27.


Wy don't those crazy R's worry about this for a while and leave me alone?

Undernews: Pentagon can't account for most of Iraq reconstruction spending

Reuters - The U.S. Department of Defense was unable to account properly for $8.7 billion of Iraqi oil and gas money meant for humanitarian needs and reconstruction after the 2003 invasion, according to an audit released on Tuesday.

The figure is nearly 96 percent of the $9.1 billion funneled to the Pentagon from the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), said the audit report from the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).

See? My point exactly

Death and Budgets - NYTimes.com

A large share of our health care spending is devoted to ill patients in the last phases of life. This sort of spending is growing fast. Americans spent $91 billion caring for Alzheimer’s patients in 2005. By 2015, according to Callahan and Nuland, the cost of Alzheimer’s will rise to $189 billion and by 2050 it is projected to rise to $1 trillion annually — double what Medicare costs right now.

If the government had really been interested in public cost it would have encouraged smoking, not discouraged it. It would not only have saved money in the long run—smokers die sooner and spend less time on Medicare—it would also have saved our friend David Brooks here—OK, surely he is somebody's friend—from making today's sermonette: Just shut up and die.

My only point today is that we think the budget mess is a squabble between partisans in Washington. But in large measure it’s about our inability to face death and our willingness as a nation to spend whatever it takes to push it just slightly over the horizon.


The funny hats are free

President Barack Obama to throw 50th birthday party in Chicago, a fundraiser for election 2012

If you want to say "Happy birthday, Mr. President," it'll cost you - big time.

President Obama is celebrating his 50th birthday Aug 3 with a party fund-raiser in his home city of Chicago. And VIP tickets will cost up to $35,800 per couple.


There is just no way things will get better than this

The Crisis in a Nutshell: News Desk : The New Yorker

“We are mainstream if you believe in the things that I believe in.” —Ron Paul, a Republican congressman for Texas

Before Twitter, there were dits and dahs

For a Night Each Year, the Airwaves Buzz With Morse Code - NYTimes.com

POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, Calif. — It has been a little more than a decade since the last of the nation’s commercial Morse code radio stations officially went off the air, as new technology sank a system that had been a lingua franca of maritime communication since before the Titanic.

I did a lot of dits and dahs once upon a time. It wasn't my primary job so I never got as good as the very best but I was good enough to handle ship-to-shore. And OMG, telegraph operators talked funny too. QSV.

I imagine they still do. 


What is wrong with this picture?

Pawlenty Faces Scrutiny Amid Minnesota Shutdown - NYTimes.com

“I love my state, it’s a beautiful state, but it’s a very liberal place,” [Pawlenty] said. “That’s the tradition I was trying to break."

Now he wants to break the rest of us.

But no red sauce

Man wins right to wear pasta strainer on head in driver’s license photo | The Raw Story

VIENNA — Pasta strainers are now considered suitable religious headgear in Austria ... at least as far as the transport authorities are concerned....

Three years after applying for a new driver's licence, an Austrian man has finally received the laminated card. And the picture shows him sporting an upturned pasta strainer on his head.

Nothing to worry about: the authorities ruled the kitchen utensil was a suitable religious accessory for a Pastafarian.



Farmer's Market

iPhone abstract: Phil Compton

Over the side they go

Bancroft Family Members Express Regrets at Selling Wall Street Journal to Murdoch - ProPublica

A number of key members of the family which controlled The Wall Street Journal say they would not have agreed to sell the prestigious daily to Rupert Murdoch if they had been aware of News International's conduct in the phone-hacking scandal at the time of the deal.

Splash, splash.

It's all in how you look at it

Greed, Excess and America's Gaping Class Divide | Rolling Stone Politics | Taibblog | Matt Taibbi on Politics and the Economy

To most people, the undeserving rich guy is the ex-police lieutenant down the street who's been collecting a six-figure pension for years after spending two decades writing traffic tickets before retiring at 43. Seeing that guy lounging in the dugout pool you paid for with your constantly rising property taxes is enough to piss anyone off, which is why it's not hard to understand where a lot of that Tea Party anger is coming from.

But if you want to see a real asshole, you have to somehow get invited to things like the $5 million birthday party of...private equity creep Steven Schwarzman....

If you think your local Andy Griffith is a greedy pig because he retired in his forties and built an addition to his garage with your tax money, try hanging out with a guy who eats $400 crabs, throws himself $5 million parties where he is serenaded by Rod Stewart and Patti Labelle (who sang "Happy Birthday"), and then compares the president to Hitler when word leaks out that he might have to pay taxes at the same rate as a firefighter or a kindergarten teacher.

And much more. Click the link.

Yeah, but that's way too easy

Dear Atlantic, I Have a Jobs Creation Idea : Mike the Mad Biologist

So, free of charge, I will provide you, dear reader, with the Mad Chartalist's Biologist's job creation plan:

Pay people to do stuff we need done.

Isn't it?

Won't take long now

Minnesota running out of booze, cigarettes due to government shutdown | Raw Replay


Let's go then

Robert Reich (Why Mitch McConnell Will Win the Day)

Get it? The compromise allows Republicans to vote against raising the debt limit without bearing the horrendous consequences of a government default.

No budget cuts. No tax increases. No clear plan for deficit reduction. Nada. The entire, huge, mind-boggling, wildly partisan, intensely ideological, grandly theatrical, game of chicken miraculously vanishes.

It all comes back for the election in 2012. But hey, the sequel is never as good.


Mad dogs, Englishmen, and me

The thing is, it doesn't get cooled off in here until 3 or 4 in the morning so it's a lot more tempting to sleep at 8 or 9 AM than it is to go out and walk, but if I do sleep I wind up going out for a walk at, well, noon. Or nearly that. The "heat index" (apparently that's kind of like the "wind chill," but backwards) is 85 but there's a nice little breeze and in the shade it's quite pleasant. We do need more shade.

See? I knew if I just waited long enough...

Dirty socks ‘could help fight malaria’ | The Raw Story



Yes, Bunky, this is the end

College offers full scholarship for best tweet | The Raw Story

USA Today reported that the University of Iowa is asking prospective students applying to their Tippie MBA program to submit their best tweet in place of a second essay. The winning tweet will receive more than $37,000 — a scholarship for a year's tuition at the school.

We need a hobby

Small business morale falls slightly in June

We are doomed

In Debt Talks, Obama Calls for ‘Biggest Deal Possible’ - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — President Obama made no apparent headway on Monday in his attempt to forge a crisis-averting budget deal, but he put on full display his effort to position himself as a pragmatic centrist willing to confront both parties and address intractable problems.

So all that hope and change and audacity has wound up as "pragmatic centrist," I guess. And this guy, even when he tries to sell you out he's not that good.

Oh crap

Weather Underground says it's due to break 90º here today. 

Looks like a very short heat wave, though. Back to around 80º tomorrow. Then all we'll need is one nice, chilly night and we'll be reset.

On the recently-released movie, "Zookeeper"

Peter Rainer, film critic for the Christian Science Monitor...

Zookeeper: movie review - CSMonitor.com

I think there should be a subdivision of the ASPCA -- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Audiences.

Raspberry pink

Arizona lawmaker points loaded gun at reporter’s chest | The Raw Story

A freshman Arizona state Senator may be in need of some gun safety lessons.

Richard Ruelas, a reporter for The Arizona Republic, found himself staring down the barrel of Republican state Sen. Lori Klein's raspberry-pink firearm during a recent interview at the Capitol.

"Oh, it's so cute," Klein said of the .380 Ruger that she carries in purse at all times.

Dude. Run.


An aggressive negotiator he is not

Obama increases pressure on Republicans on debt | Reuters

"It's not going to get easier; it's gonna to get harder.

So we might as well do it now, pull off the Band-Aid, eat our peas. ... I'm prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done.

I'm having a hard time getting an accurate read on this. Some reports from credible sources suggest this tidbit (it's not going to get easier...might as well do it now) was directly connected to a comment about Social Security and Medicare (which Obama acknowledges have nothing to do with the deficit negotiation but "as long as we're taking tough votes..."); some don't. Because it happened during the Q&A near the end of a very long (about 1.5 hours, I think) press conference there is no official transcript available yet. Maybe later.

In the meantime, if he thinks he's going to scare me with peas he can just think again. Broccoli, maybe, but not peas. Although it's true that when my son was much, much smaller than he is today he told me one morning he'd had a terrible nightmare during the night. About what, I asked. Twinkies stuffed with mashed green peas, he said. 

And that was scary.

Exactly that

Obama Doesn't Want a Progressive Deficit Deal | Rolling Stone Politics | Taibblog | Matt Taibbi on Politics and the Economy

That Republicans are holding up what should be a routine, if unpleasant, decision to raise the debt ceiling in order to portray themselves as the uncompromising defenders of the budget-balancing faith (a howling idiocy in itself, given what went on during the Bush years) is obvious to most rational observers. It's the obvious play for the lame-duck party entering an election year, and they're playing it, with the requisite hysteria.

But what is becoming equally obvious, to both sides, is that the Obama White House is using this same artificial calamity to pitch its own increasingly rightward tilt to voters in advance of the 2012 elections.


Time to start stocking up on SPAM

In Iowa, Bachmann is early favorite for vote | Reuters

(Reuters) - Only two weeks after announcing she was seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann is already looking like the candidate to beat in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses in February.


Undernews: The Al Qaeda myth: Never has American spent so much and lost so many to defeat so few

Al Qaeda was probably never more than a couple of hundred men. . .

So there it is, Bunky: You got leaked. And slowly.

New Firms are Generating and Holding onto Substantially Fewer Jobs in the U.S.; Kauffman Foundation Study Finds that U.S. Jobs Problem Pre-dates Great Recession

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.), July 11, 2011 - Public discussion of the jobs shortfall in the United States has tended to focus on the Great Recession of 2007-2009, but new research released today by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation suggests that the country faces a far more fundamental employment challenge that pre-dates the recession by many years: A long-term trend that the researchers call a slow jobs "leak."

(Not me, though.)

Negotiating the spin

Dead Mega Debt Deal Lowers Expectations - FoxNews.com

After a weekend that saw hopes dashed for a mega-deal to cut $4 trillion from the federal budget while raising the nation's debt ceiling, President Obama takes to the White House briefing room Monday ahead of yet another meeting with congressional leaders during which a smaller deficit deal is expected to be discussed.

Though the president proposed the larger deal and said he was ready to “make tough decisions,” House Speaker John Boehner claims Democrats were unwilling to do the larger deal without at least some tax increases and thus, there is no path to passage in the House.

And BTW, Bunky, whose hopes? Not mine.

On the dedication of a tourist attraction

The Moneysburg Address « naked capitalism

Eleven score and fifteen years ago our Incorporators brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in free markets, and dedicated to the proposition that all corporate persons are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great financial and legal crisis, testing whether those markets, or any markets so conceived and so dedicated, can long remain totally free....


So the next time somebody gets all in your face about "family values"...

Long Hours, No Rest: Overworked Americans Still Dreaming of Vacation | Common Dreams

U.S. law doesn't mandate any level of guaranteed vacation days. In fact, it doesn’t even guarantee you a half-hour lunch break, which is provided (or not) at the employer‘s whim.

"The U.S. is the only advanced nation that does not legislate a minimum number of days of vacation,“ writes Greenhouse. "The average in the country is 12 days of vacation per year, with 36 percent of Americans reporting that they do not use all the vacation days to which they are entitled."

In contrast, notes Greenhouse, most other advanced nations provide a “legal brake that limits overwork”: EU nations require four weeks vacation; Norway and Sweden go further, requiring 5 weeks; and France and Spain mandate 6 weeks.


On Web 1.0

The Decline of the Online Message Board - NYTimes.com

These are serious signs of the digital times. Message boards were key components of Web 1.0 — the Web before broadband, online video, social networking, advanced traffic analysis and the drive to monetize transformed it.

If urban history can be applied to virtual space and the evolution of the Web, the unruly and twisted message boards are Jane Jacobs. They were built for people, and without much regard to profit. How else do you get crowds of not especially lucrative demographics like flashlight buffs (candlepowerforums.com), feminists (bust.com) and jazz aficionados (forums.allaboutjazz.com)? By contrast, the Web 2.0 juggernauts like Facebook and YouTube are driven by metrics and supported by ads and data mining. They’re networks, and super-fast — but not communities, which are inefficient, emotive and comfortable. Facebook — with its clean lines and social expressways — is Robert Moses par excellence.

(Links added)

Actually web forums arose from the old bulletin boards that pre-dated the web as we know it today by quite some time. I was on Ward Christensen's original BBS in Chicago in 1978; The WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link), a venerable internet community based in the Bay Area of California and dating to 1985, still exists. Twitter it ain't.

Krugman: We won't

No, We Can’t? Or Won’t? - NYTimes.com

So let’s summarize: The economy isn’t fixing itself. Nor are there real obstacles to government action: both the bond vigilantes and structural unemployment exist only in the imaginations of pundits. And if stimulus seems to have failed, it’s because it was never actually tried.

Listening to what supposedly serious people say about the economy, you’d think the problem was “no, we can’t.” But the reality is “no, we won’t.” And every pundit who reinforces that destructive passivity is part of the problem.



Maybe there's something in the water there

Pawlenty attacks Bachmann’s ‘nonexistent’ congressional accomplishments | Raw Replay

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty broke Ronald Reagan’s “Eleventh Commandment” Sunday by attacking another Republican.

Pawlenty told NBC’s David Gregory that fellow Minnesotan and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has had a “nonexistent” record of accomplishments during her time in Congress.


Your very good read for this evening

Typewriter Man by Ian Frazier

The need for a new letter on an old manual machine leads the author to the shop of Martin Tytell, now in his seventh decade as repairman, historian, and high priest of typewriters

No end to the cool

I've spent most of the day fooling around with cool new online stuff, like Springpad—an awesome task manager (and I need a task manager like Heinz needs pickles) and note taker and general thing—and Google's calendar and whatever: Stuff. The whole point here is, now that I have an Android device in the mix—my nook—I want stuff that works across both platforms, Android and Apple. And while I'm at it I'm finally getting around to checking out some of the whole "social media" thing, most of which I don't get (I don't want to follow you and I certainly don't want you following me—it makes me feel paranoid) but some of which might just be useful, now and then. And also, of course, World Headquarters will have to be relocated sometime in the next year, and we are thinking of new acquisitions, more about that some other time, or not. I will have to consult my task scheduler

In the meantime, this is fun.

So it's pushing now? Really?

Iran weapons: Iran behind attacks on U.S. in Iraq, Panetta says - latimes.com

Weapons supplies from Iran have 'really hurt us' in Iraq, says Defense's Leon Panetta. The U.S. may be pushing Iraqi leader Nouri Maliki to request that some U.S. troops remain after the withdrawal deadline.

Smile and the world smiles with you, Bunky

Hurdles abound in global recovery | Reuters

(Reuters) - A dismal U.S. jobs report. A European debt crisis for which there is no quick fix. Slowing growth in China.

This whole thing is getting pretty, well, tabloid, isn't it?

Murdoch exits London home with arm around Brooks | Reuters

(Reuters) - News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch exited his London home on Sunday with his arm around embattled newspaper chief Rebekah Brooks, and told Reuters that she was his first priority.

Don't move

Govt Debt: Not A Big Deal — CBO: If Politicians Do Nothing, The Debt Problem Goes Away « Faustian urGe

In the baseline scenario [click the link for a chart], politicians literally do nothing about the debt: let the Bush tax cuts expire; keep indexing the Alternative Minimum Tax higher; don’t raise Medicare payments. All of this will take place automatically if politicians do nothing… absolutely nothing!

As a result the debt burden stabilizes, period.



Undernews: Word

Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment. - Robert Benchley



So, at the moment, one could see a [so-called deficit reduction] deal being spun as the White House "compromising" by giving up its Grand Bargain in exchange for only a couple trillion or so in cuts. And one can only presume this means the President believes he will be able to run in 2012 as the fellow who tried to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security but the Republicans wouldn't let him. If he's very clever he can also blame the jobs crisis on their unwillingness to slash spending enough to get this economy rolling.

So much for the whole skills thing

Undernews: Obama wants to slash vocational education spending by 20%

Boston Globe - Despite a competitive economy in which success increasingly depends on obtaining a college degree, one in four students in this country does not even finish high school in the usual four years.

Now, federal funding to provide vocational and technical education is at risk. President Obama has instead made it a priority to raise overall academic standards and college graduation rates, and aims to shrink the small amount of federal spending for vocational training in public high schools and community colleges. That aid comes primarily in the form of Perkins grants to states.