Archive for August 2011

Former San Francisco Giants employee charged with embezzlement ESPN

Former San Francisco Giants employee charged with embezzlement  ESPN


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Wandering And Photographing Americas Rust Belt

As a photographer and writer, documenting the Rust Belt is a bit akin to a sad dream. While it’s true that the material for such an obsession can seem endless, there’s a brutal truth that comes from spending so much time wading through the ruins of what, at one time, represented America’s prosperity, ingenuity, and Atomic Age hope.
The shuttered factories, boarded-up homes and the abandoned shops — some still supporting a once proud, but now dilapidated neon sign — that dot these cities and towns act as cemetery monuments to the middle-class prosperity these areas once enjoyed.
Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cleveland, and the like get much of the notice, but there were thousands of smaller towns in-between that produced goods and had prospering, even thriving, community structures. Many of those cities and towns now sit as sad reminders, simply waiting for the city council to earmark the funds needed to bulldoze the formerly ornate and, many times, classic structures.
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Violence Against Women and Girls in the Horn of Africa The Untold Story

Imagine you are a woman, forced to leave your home and community because there is no food or water to feed your family. You must walk hundreds of miles with your children to a refugee camp in another country. As you make your long trek, you watch other mothers carrying their own starving and malnourished children, on the brink of death — or already dead — and pray that your own children will survive, in the sun, in the heat, with only a few sips of water to keep them going. You encounter violent militias and armed bandits along the way who leer at and threaten you and your daughter Read more

Why Im Protesting the Tar Sands Pipeline at the White House on Saturday

The key political fact about the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is this: at the end of the day, the decision of whether to approve the permit for the pipeline or not will be a political decision wholly owned by President Obama.
The final determination on the permit will be based whether approval would be in the “national interest” of the United States. This is an inherently political determination. By denying the permit for the pipeline, President Obama can take a concrete action against climate chaos without securing one Republican vote, without spending one tax dollar, without getting approval from the Tea Party Read more

Perrys Iowa Remarks Reveal Republican Strategy on Social Security

The media have portrayed Governor Rick Perry’s description of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme” at a recent Iowa campaign event as the latest extreme statement of an unconventionally candid, conservative presidential candidate. But Perry’s full remarks reveal just as much about the Republican Party’s strategy for cutting Social Security as they do about Perry himself.
The question that prompted Perry to call Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” and the beginning of Perry’s response — which have not been flagged in the flurry of media attention over Perry’s statement — shed light on rank-and-file Republicans’ support for Social Security and the delicate strategy Republican politicians employ in talking about how to “reform” the program, as a result.
(For a point-by-point takedown of Perry’s biggest Social Security whoppers, click here.)
Here is the text of the question and the beginning of Perry’s response:
The Republican voter’s question perfectly encapsulates why Social Security remains deeply popular — even among conservative Republicans. To be sure, Social Security and Medicare enjoy Republican support in part because they are programs that Republican voters depend on Read more

Legal Issues in a Painting of a Business on Fire

A recent article in the LA Times newspaper described an artist who placed his
easel on the sidewalk in front of a bank branch office and produced a
painting of the building on fire. The police were called and
questioned the artist, taking notes of his name and address. The
artist stated that the painting was his commentary on banking
practices. Several legal issues are inherent in this situation.
Art and artistic expression is understood to have broad First
Amendment protection Read more

The Most Powerful Names in College Football Today

Although the first snap of the 2011 college football season has yet to crackle, pop, or flop, it’s not too earlier to declare the most powerful names in the sport.
But not so fast, my friends. I’m not talking about Mark Emmert, Nick Saban, Paul Finebaum, the Fighting Irish Leprechaun, the guy in the band who dots the “i” at the Ohio State games, or even you, Lee Corso. Instead, I mean the names that jump off the player rosters and onto the gridiron — in other words, the monikers that sound as much like college football as the echoing smack of pads or the sharp blasts of a ref’s whistle Read more

On Libya and Liberty

There are many wonderful things about summer travel, and they include adventures of the mind. And although some readers might criticize a human being who dares to say things at times off the map, it’s about the stretching of perception. It is odd but true that in lands far away, we can at times encounter people who open us up to new worlds of seeing. In addition, there is a huge relief in finding others who wish to explore the human condition and want to offer their home for a dinner and an opportunity for communal exploration Read more

Victory in Libya No Model for US Foreign Policy

It took the greatest military alliance in history five months to push the Libyan rebels across the finish line. Nevertheless, Western politicians are claiming victory.
Yet the ultimate consequences of allied intervention remain uncertain. While few mourn the demise of “the Colonel,” liberal democracy may not result in Libya Read more

Rick Perrys Secret Plan to Save Blue States from the Red States

Of all the nonsense Texas Governor Rick Perry spews about states’ rights and the tenth amendment, his dumbest is the notion that states should go it alone. “We’ve got a great Union,” he said at a Tea Party rally in Austin in April 2009. “There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”
The core of his message isn’t outright secession, though Read more

Is Conscientiousness Compatible With Creativity

When it comes to success, conscientiousness seems like a great thing. All else being equal, the person who has tenacity, persistence, stamina and grit is more likely to be more successful than the person who is lazy and unmotivated. Over 25 years of research supports this commonsense view: Conscientiousness is the most consistent and best predictor of both job and academic performance. Clearly, long-term planning and self-control is useful when one is directing his or her self toward a standardized form of achievement Read more

Lessons In Living On The Edge From Mahatma Gandhi

It is a simple yet profound metaphor that a childhood mentor of my mom’s shared with her decades ago: “When one foot walks, the other rests.” It’s the way all of nature works, a beautiful reminder that everything is in ebb and flow, engaged in cycles and rhythms.
Our own bodies follow natural patterns, recuperating every night and preparing for the next day’s activity. With music as well, the structure imposed by notes inherently depends on the unstructured space supporting it. The notes and the space between them come together to create music.
As a culture, though, we give more importance to creating notes and relatively little to the space between them Read more

New Mind for a New World

We all share a common psychological environment that many of us, most of the time, take for granted. We often underestimate, or even neglect, the power of destructive thought and “mental pollution” upon the sensitive and responsive human membrane that constitutes our “social biosphere.” How we are taught (or conditioned) to think will affect how our species manages cultural development and the culture’s subsequent intervention into Earth’s living systems.
It can be stated that, for the most part, humanity unknowingly participates within a cultural hypnosis. From early childhood, our experiences are established to conform to our specific cultural norm — any anomalies are usually corrected, and the corrections then reinforced through various socializing processes, such as family, school, friends and such Read more

10 Steps to Forgiving Yourself

Everyone messes up. Me, you, the neighbors, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, King David, the Buddha, everybody.
It’s important to acknowledge mistakes, feel appropriate remorse and learn from them so they don’t happen again. But most people keep beating themselves up way past the point of usefulness: They’re unfairly self-critical.
Inside the mind are many sub-personalities. For example, one part of me might set the alarm clock for 6 a.m Read more

How to Find True Success

As a devoted Spirit Junkie and student of A Course in Miracles I’ve come to understand that Success is an inside job. When you struggle to “get power” you block your true power.
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Vicks Vault Inside the Deal

Michael Vick is going to be an Eagle for a long time to come. Following a negotiation that began before the lockout and picked up steam this week, the Eagles have formalized their commitment to make Vick the face of the franchise for the foreseeable future.
Vick now becomes the first NFL player to sign two contracts potentially exceeding $100 million. The first one ended badly with the Falcons suing Vick for over $20 million in bonuses received. Hopefully this deal – and relationship with the team – continues to be positive Read more

Balanced Life How To Make Friends or At Least Think About It More Clearly

Every Wednesday is Tip Day, or Quiz Day, or List Day.
This Wednesday: Two lists about making new friends.
I’m a huge fan of Michael Thompson’s book, Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children, so when I noticed that he was a co-author, with Lawrence Cohen and Catherine O’Neill, of Mom, They’re Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems, I picked it up right away.
I saw the title of the introduction: “It All Started When She Hit Me Back…” Ah, I recognized that kind of claim! I needed no further persuasion to read the book (though my children, thankfully, have no particular social problems at the moment).
Given the title of the book, it’s no surprise that the authors discuss at some length the subject of friendship and how children learn to make and keep friends, and they include a list of “essential friendship skills.”
As I read this list, I was struck by how it could just as easily be applied to marriage or to work. These are the qualities a person wants to see in a spouse and in co-workers Read more

Prenups Dont Lawyer Up Mediate Part I The Problem

There have been many articles on The Huffington Post and elsewhere touting the benefits of prenuptial agreements, such as, “Why Engaged Couples Should Sign a Prenup.” These articles typically talk about how resolving and clarifying money issues prior to marriage is a good thing. However, they do not take into account the very important component of most good marriages: the sharing of money and resources. So prenups aren’t necessarily the best thing since sliced bread — they can pose many problems for the future spouses.
Why have a prenup?
There are circumstances where prenuptial agreements address bona fide issues that could derail a marriage. For instance, it may be a second marriage for one or both of the spouses, with children from a first marriage Read more

Deceit of Shakespearean Proportions

Behold this unctuous knave, a disgrace to his nation as few before him, yet boasting unvarnished virtue. The deceit of Dick Cheney is indeed of Shakespearean proportions, as evidenced in his new memoir. For the former vice president, lying comes so easily that one must assume he takes the pursuit of truth to be nothing more than a reckless indulgence.
Here is a man who, more than anyone else in the Bush administration, trafficked in the campaign of deceit that caused tens of thousands to die, wasted trillions of dollars in resources and indelibly sullied the legacy of this nation through the practice of torture. Still this villain claims that, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the horrid methods he endorsed were a necessary response to the threat of Osama bin Laden Read more

Why We Need a Deeper Dialogue on BlackandBrown Relations

Recently, African American comedian Katt Williams went on a xenophobic anti-Mexican rant during a comedy show on August 27th in Phoenix, Arizona, apparently in response to a heckler. In comedy it’s painfully hard dealing with audience barbs and catcalls (no pun intended), although everyone knows this is part of the life and any comedian worth their salt generally address such attacks with their most powerful weapon–humor.
Yet we get those instances when a comedian loses it. Here is some of what Katt Williams said during his tirade:
There was more, but I’m sure you get the idea. I apologize to anyone offended by seeing this, but I have to contribute my two centavos on this matter (and the way our economy is going, two centavos may soon be worth more than two cents) Read more

Meet The New American Sweatshop

The professional carwash industry is a $23 billion enterprise, one which more and more Americans make use of every year. If you visited a carwash lately – which judging by the latest industry report you probably have or will in the near future – you may have noticed the fast and arduous labor of carwash workers. You have seen that even in the most extreme heat or cold weather, carwash workers are hard at it – focusing on every nook and cranny of your vehicle.
What you probably missed – as is the case in many carwashes across the country – is that this work can be accompanied by obscene labor abuses, health hazardous conditions, employer exploitation and intimidation Read more

Marco Rubio Trojan Horse for the GOP

Senator Marco Rubio is no Senator Mel Martinez.
After all, Rubio is the Tea Party darling that has been beating the anti-immigrant drum for several months now. On the other hand, Mel Martinez was a champion for pro-immigration policies and Latino-related issues.
The Trojan Horse trick comes from a mythological story about Greeks tricking the Trojans in the City of Troy to end a conflict Read more

WikiLeaks Washington and Brasilia Monitoring Chvez in the Caribbean

As more and more WikiLeaks cables get released, the Brazilian-U.S. diplomatic relationship has become increasingly illuminated. Though somewhat wary of each other, Washington and Brasilia sometimes saw eye to eye on matters of geopolitical importance. Take, for example, both countries’ handling of Venezuela’s Hugo Chvez Read more

A Beautiful Dreamer A Conversation with Suzy Bogguss

A Conversation with Suzy Bogguss
Mike Ragogna: Welcome, Suzy.
Suzy Bogguss: Hey there, Michael. How’s it going?
MR: It’s going well. You?
SB: I’m very well. It’s been a busy summer–I’ve been traveling a lot.
MR: Touring?
SB: Yes, all sorts of places Read more