The (Occasional) Veterans Report
Paul Krugman: The Great Abdication (New York Times)
As in 1931, Western nations have the resources they need to avoid catastrophe, and indeed to restore prosperity - and we have the added advantage of knowing much more than our great-grandparents did about how depressions happen and how to end them. But knowledge and resources do no good if those who possess them refuse to use them.
Paul Krugman and Robin Wells: Getting Away with It (New York Review of Books)
When Obama was elected in 2008, many progressives looked forward to a replay of the New Deal. The economic situation was, after all, strikingly similar. As in the 1930s, a runaway financial system had led first to excessive private debt, then financial crisis; the slump that followed (and that persists to this day), while not as severe as the Great Depression, bears an obvious family resemblance. So why shouldn't policy and politics follow a similar script?
Meghan Daum: 2012's pop song for grads (LA Times)
In his address at Wellesley High in Massachusetts, David McCullough Jr., an English teacher there, informed the Class of 2012 that 'none of you is special.'
Lucy Mangan: "'Dallas' rides again. Yee-ha!" (Guardian)
Welcome back JR, Bobby, Sue Ellen and co. But the world's not what it was when 'Dallas' last graced our screens.
Mark Kemp: Just me and the boybands (Creative Loafing Charlotte)
Or... omygod, why One Direction is, like, totally awesome!
Alexis Petridis: "Dizzee Rascal: 'The music just got bigger and better'" (Guardian)
Who'd have predicted that Dizzee Rascal would go from grime pioneer to global pop star? He discusses the pros and cons of fame and his new life in Miami.
Andrew Liptak: "'Minority Report' really did predict the future" (io9)
A movie about precognitive powers, 'Minority Report' really was startlingly prescient. When it comes to movies that predict our actual future, 'Minority Report' has no equal.
Roger Ebert: Review of "Brave" (PG; 3 stars)
"Brave" is the latest animated film from Pixar, and therefore becomes the film the parents of the world will be dragged to by their kids. The good news is that the kids will probably love it, and the bad news is that parents will be disappointed if they're hoping for another Pixar groundbreaker.
David Bruce has 42 Kindle books on Amazon.com with 250 anecdotes in each book. Each book is $1, so for $42 you can buy 10,500 anecdotes. Search for "Funniest People," "Coolest People, "Most Interesting People," "Kindest People," "Religious Anecdotes," "Maximum Cool," and "Resist Psychic Death."
Michelle in AZ
Have a great day,
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
Hey Marty -
Here're some new links
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and near seasonal.
Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced, yet reliable, music notation software for a student?
The Gutting Continues
A federal court decision has created the possibility that some public television and radio stations that are perpetually challenged financially could see a windfall of cash from political advertising.
Stations that get that chance would have to weigh whether the money is worth the risk of alienating their audiences.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in April that federal law prohibiting public broadcasters from airing political or issue advertising is unconstitutional, even though the same court said a ban on commercials by for-profit products could stand. The U.S. Justice Department must decide by next week whether to ask the court to reconsider its divided decision, or bring an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Stations have held off changing their policies because of the uncertainty of an appeal, and because it so far affects only a limited area out West.
Oscar Could Fetch $3 Million
Michael Curtiz's best director Oscar for the movie classic "Casablanca" is going up for auction this week and is expected to fetch $2.5 million to $3 million, auctioneers Nate D. Sanders said on Monday.
The Academy Award won in 1943 by the Hungarian-born Curtiz, who died in 1961, will be sold on June 28 by the Los Angeles-based company. Online bidding, which opened last week, had already reached more than $369,000 on Monday, well past the reserve price that was not disclosed.
Curtiz's Oscar for directing the movie was previously sold by Christie's in 2003 for $231,500 to U.S. magician David Copperfield. The auction house declined to name the latest seller.
Oscar statuettes rarely come up for auction following a 1950 agreement between winners and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that banned them from selling their Oscars to anyone but the Academy for the nominal sum of $1.
But several pre-1950s Oscars have gone under the hammer in recent years. Last December, Nate D. Sanders sold Orson Welles' Oscar for his screenplay of "Citizen Kane" for $861,000, and in 1999 the best picture Oscar for "Gone With the Wind" was bought by singer Michael Jackson for a record $1.54 million.
Excellence In Literature
Andrew Carnegie Medals
Anne Enright's novel "The Forgotten Waltz" and Robert Massie's biography "Catherine the Great" have won the first-ever Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in literature.
The American Library Association announced the awards Monday at its annual conference in Anaheim, Calif. The Carnegie awards for fiction and nonfiction are the first adult prizes ever sponsored by the association, which also manages the top honors for children's literature, the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott medals.
Enright and Massie each will receive $5,000. In its announcement, the library association praised Enright's "supple prose" and Massie's "compulsively readable" style. The Carnegie selection committee was chaired by Nancy Pearl, a popular Seattle-based librarian and NPR commentator.
Andrew Carnegie Medals
Honorary Citizen Of Croatian Island
American superstars Beyonce and Jay-Z's daughter Blue Ivy has been named an honorary citizen of the Croatian town of Hvar, after reports the couple named her for a local tree, media said Monday.
"The story of the origin of your girl's name, Blue Ivy, has brought huge media attention and great tourism promotion to the town of Hvar," said Mayor Pjerino Bebic in a letter sent to the couple, according to local news portal Dalmacija News.
Known as the sunniest town in Croatia, Hvar sits on the island of the same name in the Adriatic Sea.
Blue Ivy, born in January, was reportedly named after a tree wrapped in blue ivy the couple had seen on the island during their visit in September 2011, shortly after the two singers announced Beyonce's pregnancy.
Reopened Police Investigation
A reopened police investigation has concluded that actor Dylan McDermott's mother was killed in 1967 by her now-dead gangster boyfriend.
Waterbury police reopened the investigation last year into Diane McDermott's death after Dylan McDermott contacted them with questions, the Republican-American newspaper reported Sunday and Monday as part of a two-part series.
He was 5 years old when his mother was shot in February 1967. Her death was originally ruled an accident.
Police told the newspaper that the evidence they found would be enough to file murder charges against John Sponza, who lived with McDermott at the time. He had told authorities that McDermott accidentally shot herself after picking up a gun he had been cleaning.
Sponza, who police say had ties to organized crime, was shot to death in 1972, his body found in the trunk of a car in a Waltham, Mass., grocery store parking lot.
Closed Nightclub Sues NYC
A New York nightclub that was the site of a celebrity-studded, bottle-tossing brawl is suing the city for shutting it down.
The company that runs Greenhouse says in a lawsuit made public Monday it's losing $264,000 a week.
City lawyers say the club also filed other papers last week seeking to reopen and the matter remains unresolved.
Police shuttered Greenhouse on June 16, citing code violations. Two days earlier, R&B singer Chris Brown and members of rapper Drake's entourage faced off in the club's basement lounge, called W.i.P. Brown and NBA star Tony Parker were among those injured.
Teaching Loch Ness Monster As Science
Eternity Christian Academy
It sounds like a hoax, but it's apparently true: The Loch Ness Monster is on the science class syllabus for kids at Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, Louisiana.
As reported by the Herald Scotland (which must track all Loch Ness-related news), a school that will receive tax-payer dollars, will teach kids that the mythological sea creature is real in order to debunk the theory of evolution. So pay attention: That will be on the test.
Eternity Christian Academy uses the fundamentalist A.C.E. Curriculum to teach students "to see life from God's point of view."
According to the Herald, one textbook, Biology 1099, reads, "Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the 'Loch Ness Monster' in Scotland? 'Nessie' for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur."
Starting in the fall, thousands of school children will receive publicly funded vouchers to attend private schools, some of which are religious. Religious schools in Louisiana will receive public funding as part of a push from Louisiana's governor, Bobby Jindal, to move millions of tax dollars to cover tuition for private schools, including small bible-based church schools. Money will fund schools that have "bible-based math books" and biology texts that refute evolution.
Eternity Christian Academy
NY Jury Awards Over $950 Million
A federal jury on Monday awarded $956 million to U.S. media group Liberty Media after concluding that the French entertainment group Vivendi deceived it in a decade-old deal involving the USA Networks.
The jury in U.S. District Court in Manhattan issued the award after hearing evidence related to a stock swap involving the network. Liberty Media had accused Vivendi of deceiving it with rosy statements about its finances when executives inside the company were aware of a liquidity crisis.
The verdict stemmed from a lawsuit Liberty Media brought in 2003, accusing Vivendi of waiting until its transaction with USA Networks and Liberty Media officially closed before reacting publicly to a downgrade of its debt rating and addressing surrounding concerns about liquidity.
During closing arguments, Liberty Media attorney Michael Calhoon urged jurors to "look at these internal memos, inside the company, talking about what was really going on inside the company when the company was saying to the public and to Liberty something totally different."
Supermodel and actress Christie Brinkley and her ex-husband Peter Cook have resolved their latest New York legal skirmish.
The New York Post reports Brinkley and Cook had been fighting over nasty email correspondence and expenses related to the care of their two children. They were due for a court fight on Long Island on Tuesday.
Brinkley posted a statement on her Facebook page on Monday confirming a deal had been reached. Cook tells the Post he feels great about the settlement.
The terms of the settlement include a provision that a parental coordinator be appointed to help mediate issues regarding the care of their children.
Big Brother's New Best Friend
Employees at many of America's top intelligence gathering and analysis agencies will have to convince a lie detector that they haven't spilled any of the nation's secrets to the media. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper announced the plan Monday to plug up leaks of sensitive information.
With a Department of Justice investigation under way into recent revelations about cyberwarfare against Iran and the publication of details of the U.S.'s drone program, Clapper ordered "that a question related to unauthorized disclosure of classified information be added to the counterintelligence polygraph used by all intelligence agencies that administer the examination."
In plain English, that means that employees at the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Energy, the FBI, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency will be quizzed about whether they have overshared with the press. And officials in key positions could find themselves subject to more frequent polygraph tests. Clapper also asked the Intelligence Community inspector general to lead leak investigations when the Department of Justice declines to prosecute the officials involved.
And Clapper opened a review of existing policies governing when employees of those agencies must report "non-incidental contact" with journalists, with an eye on overhauling those guidelines if they are found to be inconsistent-or even nonexistent, an aide told Yahoo News.
Subway Work Unearths Ancient Road
Archaeologists in Greece's second-largest city have uncovered a 70-meter (230-foot) section of an ancient road built by the Romans that was city's main travel artery nearly 2,000 years ago.
The marble-paved road was unearthed during excavations for Thessaloniki's new subway system, which is due to be completed in four years. The road in the northern port city will be raised to be put on permanent display when the metro opens in 2016.
The excavation site was shown to the public on Monday, when details of the permanent display project were also announced. Several of the large marble paving stones were etched with children's board games, while others were marked by horse-drawn cart wheels.
Also discovered at the site were remains of tools and lamps, as well as the bases of marble columns.
Lead Poisoning 'Epidemic' Plagues
The endangered California condor faces an "epidemic" of lead poisoning from scavenging carcasses contaminated by lead bulletsdespite years of costly conservation efforts, scientists said Monday.
The rare birds were reduced to a population of just 22 in 1982, and have since recovered to number about 400, with half of those still in captivity, said the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
About five million dollars are spent per year on programs to boost the birds' population through captive breeding and release programs. But if those efforts were to cease, the birds would likely die off again, said the study.
Lead poisoning remains a critical danger, and efforts to limit the use of lead bullets by hunters in California in the past few years have not cut down on the number of chronic poisoning cases, said researchers.
Condors' main meals come from eating carcasses of large mammals like deer, or gut piles that are left behind by hunters. Lead bullets fragment upon impact, spreading pieces throughout the animal.
It's The Freaking 21st Century
Kayt Sukel, an author who writes about neuroscience and sexuality, has given lectures around the country on the issue. And there's one word, she finds, that never fails to get her audiences squeamish.
"There's just something about the word 'vagina' that startles people - I don't know what it is," says Sukel. "I find it especially at universities. People sit back a little bit. Sometimes they start giggling. I end up using euphemisms just to make them more comfortable, and more receptive to what I am saying. And we don't seem to have the same problems with the word 'penis.'"
In a much different setting, Judy Gold has similar experiences. The popular standup comic and actress, who last year starred in her own successful off-Broadway show, focuses her routines on being gay, Jewish, a New Yorker and a mother. Her audiences presumably know what they're getting into. Yet she, too, hears gasps in the audience when she says the V-word.
And so neither woman was particularly surprised when they heard about the recent incident in Michigan, where a lawmaker was temporarily barred from speaking in the House after using the word "vagina" during debate over anti-abortion legislation.
"I mean, you can say 'penis,'" says Gold. "You can say 'erection,' 'erectile dysfunction,' even 'vaginal probe.' But 'vagina'? Suddenly it's a dirty word. And it's the correct anatomical term!"
Lonesome George has died, leaving the world one species poorer.
The only remaining Pinta Island tortoise and celebrated conservation icon passed away Sunday, the Galapagos National Park Service said in a statement.
Estimated to be more than 100 years old, the creature's cause of death remains unclear and a necropsy is planned.
Lonesome George's longtime caretaker, Fausto Llerena, found the tortoise's remains stretched out in the "direction of his watering hole" on Santa Cruz Island, the statement said.
Lonesome George was discovered on Pinta Island in 1972 at a time when tortoises of his type were already believed to be extinct. Since then, the animal had been part of the park service's tortoise program.
Repeated efforts to breed Lonesome George failed.
The Galapagos Islands, situated about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off Ecuador's coast, is considered a haven for tortoises.