Tom Danehy: Can welcoming bags of grain solve the U.S.-Mexico border dilemma? (tucsonweekly.com)
Mi suegra vive en Douglas ... so we go down to visit her whenever we can.
Matt Miller: Great Recession is just the beginning (washingtonpost.com)
Here's a cheery midsummer thought. You know those 15 million unemployed, and that sluggish growth, and the debt hangover and de-leveraging, and those soaring deficits? Well, these woes aren't our biggest economic problems.
Connie Schultz: Honoring the Fallen, One Facebook Post at a Time (creators.com)
For the past year and a half, I've been posting Department of Defense casualty alerts to remind me - and my 2,400 or so "friends" on Facebook - of the human beings behind the statistics of American losses in Iraq and Afghanistan. In recent weeks, a woman named Pat McDermott Nixon has added an update of her own after each of my posts about fallen Americans.
Susan Estrich: The Obama Paradox (creators.com)
You don't need to be a political pollster, much less a worried Democrat, to know that the president's approval ratings have plummeted. "Down to the immediate family," we used to say mockingly, when President Bush was at about the same point. Of course, it's a little bit better than that - down to the hardcore, the yellow dog Democrats (as in, I'd rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican), but there's no denying that the bloom is off the rose, and any other cliche you can think of.
Froma Harrop: Wild Kingdom in the City Backyard (creators.com)
It's a savage wilderness, here in my city yard. From a distance, it looks like a Victorian postcard - a pastoral scene of sweet flowers, sun-kissed vegetables and trilling birds. The reality is considerably rougher. Hang around, and one sees a Darwinian jungle of predators and prey. The Animal Planet's "Untamed & Uncut" program has nothing on my backyard.
OLSEN EBRIGHT: "Honesty Test: The Truth Is in the Tea" (nbclosangeles.com)
How honest are you when no one is watching?
Jake Wallis Simons: How to beat depression - without drugs (guardian.co.uk)
... social connectedness forms one-sixth of his "lifestyle based" cure for depression. The other five elements are meaningful activity (to prevent "ruminating" on negative thoughts); regular exercise; a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids; daily exposure to sunlight; and good quality, restorative sleep.
Johann Hari: The Enduring Truth-Telling of Noam Chomsky (huffingtonpost.com)
Chomsky is trying to rescue crimes from the memory-hole, so we can remember them. In his new book, for example, he explains that Ronald Reagan -- the great hero of the American right -- was a champion of jihadism.
Todd Marten: She & Him's M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel on their favorite California songs (Los Angeles Times)
She & Him's "Volume Two" was released only four months ago, but for a relatively new album, it feels steeped in nostalgia. The light orchestrations bring a genial, upbeat touch to even the most heartbreaking lyrics, and over the course of two albums, California natives M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel have gradually brought a sunny, decidedly West Coast feel to delicately symphonic retro-pop tunes.
Jon Bream: With once-mighty Lilith Fair hurting at the box office, founder/headliner accentuates the positive (Star Tribune)
It was that time of day. Sarah McLachlan had just made her daily transition from Mom to Lilith Fair cruise director. Her two young daughters were now off at lunch with their nanny, and McLachlan was making her daily media rounds to discuss the return of the unexpectedly beleaguered Lilith Fair.
Randy Lewis: PBS' 'American Masters' series takes a richly detailed look at the mercurial country music star (latimes.com)
Merle Haggard is one of the most intriguing and mercurial characters not just in country music but in all of popular music, and that's what PBS' "American Masters" series digs into in its latest entry, "Merle Haggard: Learning to Live With Myself."
Roger Ebert: 4-Star Review of "SALT" (PG-13)
"Salt" is a damn fine thriller. It does all the things I can't stand in bad movies, and does them in a good one. It's like a rebuke to all the lousy action movie directors who've been banging pots and pans together in our skulls. It winds your clock tight and the alarm doesn't go off for 100 minutes.
David Bruce: "The Funniest People in Art: 250 Anecdotes"
A Kindle Book: $1.
The Weekly Poll
The 'Mad Mel' Edition...
Mel Gibson has been called a religiously insane, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, racist by a great many people. His actions and words certainly point to that as being the case. However, he has made movies that have been very popular and, in some instances, awarded and/or critically acclaimed...
What is your view of Gibson as an actor and are there any of his movies that you have enjoyed?
Send your response to
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
As we seem to be into catapillars, moths, etc., I thought that you might be intersted in the picture we took today of a hummingbird moth in our garden.
Word Score Calculator
Long time, no contribute. Well, here's something for you. I just added a page to my Web site where you can calculate the Scrabble value of a word:
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Overcast, cool, and way too busy.
Leads In Gay Characters
MTV held a solid lead among 15 networks for its representation of gay characters last season, according to a report released Friday.
In its fourth annual Network Responsibility Index, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation found that of MTV's 207.5 hours of original prime-time programming, 42 percent included content reflecting the lives of gay, bisexual and transgender people. This earned MTV the first-ever "Excellent" rating from GLAAD.
Among broadcast networks, the CW was on top with 35 percent, while Fox ranked a close second with 30 percent. ABC, with 26 percent, got a "Good" rating, while NBC was "Adequate" with 13 percent. CBS' 7 percent earned that network a "Failing" grade from the report.
Scoring high on cable along with MTV were ABC Family (37 percent), TNT (34 percent), Showtime (32 percent), Lifetime (31 percent) and HBO (26 percent), which all received a "Good" rating. The report assigned a "Failing" grade to USA (4 percent), A&E (3 percent) and TBS (2 percent).
Guinness World Record
The "Saw" horror movie franchise is getting a place in the Guiness World Records as the "Most Successful Horror Movie Series," one of the film's producers, Mark Burg, said on Thursday.
"I'm still in shock," Burg told Reuters. "The fact that we beat out (such horror franchises as) 'Friday the 13th,' 'Nightmare on Elm Street,' 'Halloween' and 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre' is a testament to our cast, crew and our partners at Lionsgate."
The franchise consists of six movies, each one having come out consecutively every Halloween since 2004. The seventh, and final, installment is due out October 29th and will be featured in 3D.
Collectively, the "Saw" films have made over $73O million at the worldwide box-office and sold more than thirty million DVDs, according to distributors Lionsgate.
Leaving ABC's 'Nightline' For NBC
ABC News' Martin Bashir is leaving his post at "Nightline" to be an anchor for MSNBC and a contributor to "Dateline NBC," the network announced Thursday.
Beginning in September, Bashir will anchor a daily afternoon program on MSNBC in addition to reporting for "Dateline NBC."
Bashir joined ABC's newsmagazine "20/20" in 2004. Before that, he was a London-born journalist who won attention for documentaries including "Living With Michael Jackson," which aired on ABC in 2003, and an exclusive interview with Princess Diana in 1995.
Also on Thursday, ABC News announced that Bill Weir, who co-anchors the weekend edition of "Good Morning America," will join "Nightline" alongside current co-anchors Terry Moran and Cynthia McFadden. They, with Bashir, made up the original three-host team that replaced Ted Koppel in 2005.
Kerr - Bloom
Actor Orlando Bloom and model Miranda Kerr have married, her employer said Friday.
Upscale Australian department store David Jones, which employs the 27-year-old Australian model as a fashion ambassador, said she will not attend a Spring season launch on Aug. 3 because she was honeymooning with the 33-year-old British star of "Lord of the Rings" and "Pirates of the Caribbean."
The statement did not say where or when they had married. David Jones would not be commenting on personal aspects of the announcement, that statement said.
Kerr - Bloom
Court records show a lawsuit between two film companies over the rights to the film "Precious" has been dismissed.
Lionsgate Films and The Weinstein Co. sued each other in February 2009 over rights to the film, which went on to win two Academy awards.
Lionsgate attorney Matthew Gershman says the case was "amicably resolved" but that he couldn't provide further details.
Notice of the dismissal was filed Thursday in Los Angeles.
Sued For Harassment
"Bones" star David Boreanaz was sued Thursday for alleged sexual harassment by a woman who appeared as an extra on the show last year.
Kristina Hagan sued Boreanaz and 20th Century Fox Television for more than $25,000 on sexual harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims.
Her lawsuit alleges the actor repeatedly tried to kiss and fondle her after she appeared as an extra on the show in August. It claimed that incidents occurred in several locations, including the actor's car.
The suit claims she repeatedly met with the actor because he promised her a recurring role on the Fox TV series, but that role never developed.
Color Him Badd
Authorities say a singer with the 1990s R&B band Color Me Badd has been arrested in Hawaii following a fight with his wife.
Honolulu police say 40-year-old Bryan Abrams was arrested Tuesday after getting into an argument with his wife and throwing her across the room.
Abrams was arrested on suspicion of harassment, and released on his own recognizance.
Abrams was one of the founding members of the Oklahoma-based quartet. The band's hits include "All 4 Love" and "I Adore Mi Amore."
Bat Draws Just Seven Bids
The bat used by disgraced Major League Baseball player Pete Rose to get his final career hit has been auctioned for 158,000 dollars.
Rose used the bat for hit No. 4,256 on August 14, 1986. His final hit, which was a single, stands as the major league record.
The 34-inch, 32-ounce bat was auctioned online and drew just seven bids.
Rose broke Ty Cobb's record with his 4,192nd hit on September 11, 1985, when he was with the Cincinnati Reds but he was banned from baseball in 1989 for betting on games involving the Reds.
Still No. 1 Earning Athlete
Professional golfer Tiger Woods has been off his game since his extramarital affairs were exposed last year, but he is still the world's highest earning athlete, according to two lists released on Wednesday.
Woods claimed the top spot on a 2010 U.S. list of 50 athletes for the seventh consecutive year compiled by Sports Illustrated's SI.com, though his total earnings fell 10 percent to $90.5 million. His total is also down 40 percent from $127.9 million in 2008.
Woods also topped Forbes magazine's 2010 list of the top 50 earning athletes in the world at $105 million, down 4.5 percent from last year as the star golfer has lost such sponsors as Accenture Plc and AT&T Inc. It was the ninth consecutive year he topped the Forbes list.
Tennis star Roger Federer, at $61.8 million, bumped soccer player David Beckham from the top spot he had held the last two years on the international list, SI.com said.
Sister Monument Found
Scientists scouring the area around Stonehenge said Thursday they have uncovered a circular structure only a few hundred meters (yards) from the world famous monument.
There's some debate about what exactly has been found. The survey team which uncovered the structure said it could be the foundation for a circle of freestanding pieces of timber, a wooden version of Stonehenge.
Although antiquarians have been poking around the area since the 18th century, excavations are now tightly restricted. So archeologists have been scanning the surrounding fields and pastures with magnetic and radar sensors pulled across the grass by tractors or quad bikes.
The new structure was found when scans identified a cluster of deep pits surrounded by a ring of smaller holes about 900 meters (a little over half a mile) from Stonehenge and within sight of its famous standing stones.
Rankings for the top 15 programs on cable networks as compiled by the Nielsen Co. for the week of July 12-18. Day and start time (EDT) are in parentheses:
1. "Deadliest Catch" (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), Discovery, 5.77 million homes, 8.54 million viewers.
2. "The Closer" (Monday, 9 p.m.), TNT, 5.71 million homes, 7.66 million viewers.
3. "Rizzoli & Isles" (Monday, 10:01 p.m.), TNT, 5.64 million homes, 7.55 million viewers.
4. "Home Run Derby" (Monday, 8:15 p.m.), ESPN, 4.62 million homes, 6.41 million viewers.
5. "After the Catch" (Tuesday, 10:01 p.m.), Discovery, 4.58 million homes, 6.84 million viewers.
6. "Burn Notice" (Thursday, 9 p.m.), USA, 3.99 million homes, 5.64 million viewers.
7. "Sonny With a Chance" (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.), Disney, 3.97 million homes, 6.11 million viewers.
8. "Covert Affairs" (Tuesday, 10 p.m.), USA, 3.84 million homes, 4.87 million viewers.
9. "Pawn Stars" (Monday, 10:30 p.m.), History, 3.83 million homes, 5.17 million viewers.
10. "Royal Pains" (Thursday, 10 p.m.), USA, 3.69 million homes, 5.19 million viewers.
11. "Hannah Montana Forever" (Sunday, 8 p.m.), Disney, 3.53 million homes, 5.39 million viewers.
12. "WWE Raw" (Monday, 10 p.m.), USA, 3.48 million homes, 5.06 million viewers.
13. "Pawn Stars" (Monday, 10 p.m.), History, 3.47 million homes, 4.63 million viewers.
14. "White Collar" (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), USA, 3.17 million homes, 4.29 million viewers.
15. "Family Guy" (Wednesday, 11:30 p.m.), Adult Swim, 3.12 million homes, 4.07 million viewers.
Blues guitarist and singer Phillip Walker, who backed such stars as Etta James and Lowell Fulson, has died. He was 73.
Walker performed for more than 50 years, recording many solo albums and touring with zydeco legend Clifton Chenier for two years.
In 1959, Walker moved to California, where he earned a reputation as one of the region's top guitarists. He even joined Little Richard's band for a brief time.
Over the past decade, Walker continued to record albums and tour, including an October 2009 stint in South Africa. His most recent album, "Going Back Home," was released in 2007.