Archive for July 11th, 2011
On June 30, QE2 ended with a whimper. The Fed’s second round of “quantitative easing” involved $600 billion created with a computer keystroke for the purchase of long-term government bonds. But the government never actually got the money, which went straight into the reserve accounts of banks, where it still sits today. Worse, it went into the reserve accounts of foreign banks, on which the Federal Reserve is now paying 0.25-percent interest (continue reading…)
Backpack Block Party! is on a quest to find the backpack of your dreams. Let’s meet a contender!
Where did you find your backpack?
“About Glamour” on North 3rd and Berry [in Brooklyn, N.Y.].
Is this the backpack of your dreams?
Close! The backpack of my dreams would fit everything in neat compartments and feel like air.
What’s your favorite thing to keep in your backpack?
My ballpoint pen from MoMA.
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Whether or not you use the catchy phrase “tipping point,” behind it lies an idea whose time has come. This is the idea that there is a collective consciousness, a mind shared by an entire society. Polls give us a snapshot of the social mind as it applies to issues of the day. But that is more superficial than collective consciousness, which isn’t defined by opinions or even beliefs (continue reading…)
Today’s issue at hand is one I’ve been wanting to cover for a long, long while. Something that happens often in relationships, dating, hookups, and that is issues in mental health. Now I’m being pretty vague here, with good reason – I’m talking anything from
to something in between when you feel like a really sad rock and need some extracurricular help, whether it be via speaking to someone, getting proper medication, or finding other ways to relieve what you’re going through.
As if these issues aren’t hard enough to deal with on your own, when you are lying face down on your bed and feeling like the world is one big heinous minefield and there are no Intermixes, it’s important to understand how to get the help you need, but also how to communicate what you’re going through to your partner, NJB, special friend who sometimes sees your Hanky Pankys, etcetera. It’s tough, trust me (continue reading…)
Is it me, or are we being inundated with catastrophic floods? Cedar Rapids, Nashville, Australia, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana…the list goes on, and while it seems like an especially bad year, the trend has been growing. You can blame it on global warming, the rapture, or just plain bad luck. But I have a different theory. And it’s backed by science (continue reading…)
Every once in a while I have an arts experience that catches me by surprise and reminds me about the power and beauty of the arts. The first time I heard Leontyne Price sing in concert, saw Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and George Balanchine’s “Serenade” performed by the New York City Ballet are three such moments that come immediately to mind.
I had another magical moment this July Fourth. The Kennedy Center hosts an annual holiday event on our roof, a perfect place to see the fireworks on the national mall and to share relaxed moments with our extended Center family. It is my favorite event of the year.
Before the event this year I wandered around the building and, by chance, entered a rehearsal for our Millennium Stage, which offers a free, unticketed performance every day of the year (continue reading…)
Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency is required to protect states from sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution emitted from coal plants in other states. After dragging its feet for a while, the Bush administration introduced the Clean Air Interstate Rule in 2005. Due to its over-reliance on emissions trading, the Clean Air Interstate Rule was shot down (PDF) in December 2008 by the U.S. Court of appeals for the District of Columbia (continue reading…)
As the nation’s debt deadline approaches, and the political and media gamesmanship in our nation’s capital increases in intensity, I find myself thinking more and more about community. The value with which we hold each other, and our relationship to those with whom we share our living space. The political parties blame each other for the stubborn persistence of unemployment, now over 9% officially and over 16% when we count those who have given up on the job market or are underemployed. The Republicans blame the declining economy on over-taxation (continue reading…)
Once upon a time, there was a boy named Jack. Jack came from a hard-up family, but he considered himself a savvy, enterprising lad. To prove it, he went to the market, worked a deal and ran home to show his mother his newest acquisition. Beans.
What kind of beans? his mother asked.
Magic beans (continue reading…)
This is the first part in a three-part series that will run this week at HuffPost on why lost privacy online matters for economic equity in our economy.
Why has economic inequality increased so radically in the United States over the last generation?
General explanations range from globalization to the decline in trade unions to rising returns to education — and therefore the loss of income to the less educated. These all no doubt play a role, but in an age of information what is unquestionably true is that control of that information is extremely unequal — and that inequality drives broader economic inequality in our economy.
Information is power and as companies know more and more about us, while the products they sell become more opaque and complicated — think mortgage-based Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) — inequality in information begets a massive transfer of wealth from individuals to corporations and to their shareholders. Companies figure out not just what to sell you but the maximum price you and other people like you will pay for that product.
Privacy is About Economic Power and Inequality: The debate on privacy online is therefore not about whether you think it’s creepy that corporations are tracking your online activities (continue reading…)
Whenever I share the life and wisdom of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) with my radio show listeners, the people who read my books and magazine articles, or with those who attend my many classes and lectures, I always start out by introducing him as “my boyfriend.” That introduction accomplishes a couple things.
First and foremost, it makes an 18th century scientist/mystic more approachable to a 21st century audience. In our current paradigm, scientists can’t relate to mystics, and mystics don’t relate well to scientists. How could he be both?
Through a technique of controlled breathing, Swedenborg could enter a state of concentrated focus (continue reading…)
So – if the movie year had ended June 30 and we had to choose the best films of 2011 from the releases that hit American screens since Jan. 1, which ones would make the cut?
My list is below: the 10 best films of the first half of 2011.
But an even more intriguing question: Which of the films that make this list will still be under consideration at year’s end? I’ve got my favorites but, of course, it depends on what the post-Labor Day crop is like. Here goes:
1 (continue reading…)
With all of the complexity and seemingly overwhelming problems we face on the planet today — environmental crisis, economic breakdown, inflated materialism and narcissism, etc — it’s easy to become cynical about change. But there’s a deeper source of positivity — called “Spiritual Self Confidence” — that can give us an anchor within the inevitable storms of life and awaken in us a powerful sense of meaning and purpose.
This confidence can only be found through awakening to who you are and why you are here at the very deepest level of your being. In the following video, taken from a talk that I gave in Boston earlier this spring, I explain this deeply positive perspective (continue reading…)
You’ve mapped out the pros and cons and assigned values and weight to each factor, yet you still can’t decide. Neither choice feels like the right one. You know the decision may not be perfect, but you want it to feel right.
When we make a choice, especially a difficult one, there is a loss, no matter which decision we make. Grieving is painful, and some of us avoid it to our own detriment (continue reading…)
When it comes to going after what you love in life,
don’t take “NO” for an answer.
– Regina Brett
Much of our stress and dis-ease in life is caused by living a life that does not resonate with our own inner truth. We hide from ourselves and each other in big and little ways each day. We find ourselves blaming and judging other people, our situation or circumstances for our unhappiness, not realizing that its deeper source lies within us. In failing to recognize and honor our own truth, we sacrifice our own well-being (continue reading…)
Self actualization is one of the highest levels of humans’ growth. It is not superior since everyone can get there, it is just a stage of being. Here are some of the characteristics of self actualized people:
Real not ideal: Self actualized people have a healthy relationship with reality and are more comfortable with it and do not deny it. They accept the good and bad as parts of the same spectrum where one is in balance and the other out of balance.
Accountability: Self actualized people do not get into the blame game but look for their role in a situation to make improvements (continue reading…)
Are you more afraid of failure or success? Which one is holding you back? Perhaps the answer is neither! Could it be that you are more afraid of being found out? Three weeks ago, we looked into the fear of failure followed the next week by the fear of success.
While both fear of success and fear of failure are important to consider, I think there is actually an even deeper level of fear that could be preventing you, your team or your company from succeeding. I call this deeper fear, The Impostor Phenomenon.
Several readers responded to the fear of success article commenting in particular about the fear of being relied upon. The basic tenet — the more successful I become, the more people will rely on me; the more they rely on me, the more likely it is that I will let them down. I’d rather not succeed than risk letting someone down.
While I certainly understand that circular reasoning and the burden that can be associated with having others become dependent, my experience coaching hundreds of up and coming executives suggests that many people harbor an even more debilitating fear (continue reading…)
A Conversation with George Thorogood
Mike Ragogna: Hi, George.
George Thorogood: Mike, always a pleasure. Where are you located?
GT: Iowa, the home of Bob Feller.
GT: …and Johnny Carson, and Harmon Killebrew…
MR: …and don’t forget The Donna Reed Show.
GT: Oh yeah, although, it was really shot in Burbank, but that’s okay.
MR: So, your 17th studio album–2120 South Michigan Avenue–is an obvious tribute to Chess Records. What’s the story behind the project?
GT: Well, it’s just been kind of building up. It’s a lot of songs we’ve been doing for a long time–some of them we’ve done in shows, some of them sound checks, and some we had never played (continue reading…)
Last Friday’s jobs numbers showed a net growth of only 18,000 new jobs nationwide – while the economy must produce 150,000 jobs each month just to absorb population growth. Clearly the economic recovery has stalled and Republicans are pointing to the slowdown as evidence that American economic policy must once again turn sharply to the right.
Trouble is, rather than being a solution to our country’s economic woes, the growing economic inequality their policies have caused was the root cause of the 2008 economic collapse and the economic stagnation that America has experienced since. That burgeoning economic inequality must end if we are to restore the American middle class – and give our children an opportunity for a prosperous future.
The chief characteristic of private sector economic activity is that it is incredibly responsive to consumer demand (continue reading…)
Throughout my life, I’ve had the good fortune to have a group of very close and supportive female friends. They have been a real blessing. So when I saw an early screening of the new film, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, I was deeply moved by the passionate way it evokes the power of female friendship.
Based on the novel of the same name by Lisa See, and directed by Wayne Wang (who also did The Joy Luck Club), the film chronicles the friendship of two girls in 19th-century China, and the bond between two of their descendants in present day Shanghai (continue reading…)
For nearly 180 million Americans whose health insurance today is provided by their workplace, getting coverage is pretty straightforward. They can choose from a range of plans offered by their employer that fit their needs and family budget. And for the most part, these plans include strong patient protections.
But for Americans who work for smaller companies, or buy insurance on their own, or are uninsured, the insurance market is much more treacherous. Insurers usually charge a lot more — small employers pay an average of 18 percent more for coverage than their larger competitors — and plans come with more strings attached (continue reading…)
By Mark Green
Hard to know what headlines to believe this week. The media convict Casey Anthony, but then she walks after an acquittal. Dominick Strauss Kahn looks guilty as sin, and may walk too. Will Whitey Bolger be next? And how did it happen that gays will soon walk down the aisle in New York?
But first, who’s right and what’s left of the debt ceiling negotiations? (Listen to the whole show below.)
*Debating Debt and Deficits (continue reading…)
Does anyone care about the American middle class? The working middle class — especially its younger members — now faces a prolonged period of high unemployment, declining wages, and diminished public services.
Meanwhile, the cost of things that you need to enter the middle class, like college tuition and affordable health care, keep outstripping paychecks. The housing crisis is somehow stripping asset values from those who do own homes without offering many bargains to aspiring young homebuyers, because banks belatedly have tightened credit requirements.
As unemployment keeps rising and the economy faces a period of prolonged stagnation, political elites of both parties can only yammer about debts and deficits (continue reading…)