Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Week


Federal regulators charged the Wall Street megabank Goldman Sachs with civil fraud Friday. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the charges in connection with subprime mortgage securities. Within minutes of the charges being announced, Goldman Sachs' shares fell more than 10 percent.

As financial powerhouse Goldman Sachs posted its then biggest quarterly profit ever in it 140-year history last summer, just a few months after receiving federal bailout money, lots of people wondered "how'd they do that? "

Matt Taibbi, wrote about Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone. He accused the firm of engineering every major market manipulation since the Great Depression, and warns they'll do it again.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now, 7/15/09, Host: Robin Young.
Illustration by Victor Juhasz
See more at Bill Moyers Journal for 4/16/10.

Bet Against The American Dream from Planet Money.


Those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder or dark-room disorder, take note. Brooklyn artist and inventor Adam Frank has come up with Reveal, an ambient lighting system that creates the impression of sunlight streaming through a window and onto an interior wall.

Reveal is comprised of a small projector with an ultra-white, color-adjusted 50-watt halogen bulb and slots to hold two steel slides--one showing an imaginary sunlit window, and one that creates the dreamlike effect of a light breeze blowing through trees (credit adjustable air currents passing through the projector).

The projector and two stock slides cost $380. For $50 extra, you can get slides projecting additional imagery--sun filtering through shutters, a mosaic, or images of palm, bamboo, ivy, or forest. Multi-plane analog pictures create depth of focus.

The Reveal projector can sit on a shelf or be mounted directly to a wall or ceiling, with the 70x76-inch image thrown straight to the wall or projected at an angle to more closely simulate sunlight entering a window. Sounds of chirping birds and babbling brooks not included.

Leslie Katz, senior editor of CNET's Crave gadget blog, Photos: Adam Frank.

Conan's Basement Talk Show

Forget Conan's new show on TBS. The Daily Beast has exclusive footage of the tireless host preparing for his comeback: tweeting naked and talking to Charlie Sheen about hot lesbian witches.

Conan's Basement Talk Show from The Daily Beast Video.

My Idea

A million ideas. And they used every single one of them.

Scott August - Radiant Sky

Where does the sound of a native flute take you?

On "Radiant Sky," Scott August's imagination ascends to the Milky Way, which Peruvian descedants of the Incas call "the river of stars."

Host John Diliberto offers a review with excerpts from an interview broadcast 4/12/10.

Audio: PRI's Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with an extensive archive of audio for download via subscription.

Friday, April 16, 2010


This year Charlie & Ellen both hit one of those "Big 0" birthdays, and planned a big vacation to celebrate... April in Paris. They left the southwest on Tuesday, planned an NYC stop-over for a night on Broadway, then a trans-Atlantic flight to England and a short cross-channel hop to France... Little did anyone know Iceland's erupting volcano would kick into overdrive, shutting down the airspace Charlie & Ellen would have to cross at exactly the wrong time.

If Charlie & Ellen made it all the way, I'll hear about via postcard in a few weeks... If they're still in New York, the village of Floral Park (in Nassau County, Long Island) really does live up to its name when in bloom. Long Island Railroad Hempstead Branch, change at Jamaica.

DC, High TEA

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Tea America
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Tax Daze

Form 2010

Where It All Goes

Most people are well aware of how much they’re paying in taxes; but how many people know exactly what they’re paying for? Bill Ahern of the Tax Foundation offers a breakdown of federal and state spending.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/15/10, Host: Jane Clayson.

Computer Bug

Printed Circuit Board Insect Sculpture by Steven Rodrig

If You Build It

You'll Never Be Allowed There Again

One of the ironies of the continued building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is that most of the construction workers are Palestinian. But now, the Palestinian Authority is considering a ban on Palestinian construction workers building Jewish settlements... As opposed to the Israeli Jewish settlers who need their labor, but will repel them with automatic weapons once their work is complete.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/15/10, Host: Jane Clayson, Reporter: Tim Franks.

Acquired Taste

A neighbor's truck shows bumper sticker devotion to Witchcraft & ICP... Not sure if I want to meet them, or know if I already have.

Totally NSFW without headphones.

Insane Clown Posse - Miracles from the album Bang Pow Boom.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Party of Palin A Ploy

Open Carry Challenge

Have you noticed more guns being carried out in the open? Gun control advocates say that could be because gun activists are trying to get more people to carry guns where you can see them. Many states already allow people to “open carry” guns without special permits or training, and gun activists say they want people to take advantage of those laws to “normalize” guns. Guests: John Pierce, co-founder of and Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/14/10, Host: Jane Clayson.

Cinematic Titantic

Gone Shopping, For 8 Years

Women spend eight years of their life shopping.

A study of 2,000 women found that each year typical women buying household essentials, food and clothes make 301 individual shopping trips - lasting a total of 399 hours and 46 minutes. That means the typical female shops for a staggering 25,184 hours and 53 mins over a period of 63 years... Or about eight years.

Vacate The Vatican

Conscience overrules obedience

East Longmeadow, Massachusetts (CNN) -- The phones are ringing off the hook at the parish of St. Michael's Church, where the Rev. James Scahill called in a sermon last weekend for the pope to resign over the church's sexual abuse scandal.

A modern day Martin Luther.

CD of the Month

A flowering tree from South Asia lends its name to new music rich in layers, atmospheric ambiance and multi-cultural influences.

"Ylang" by Robert Rich is the Echoes CD of the Month for April 2010.

Host John Diliberto of WXPN offers a review which actually invokes Jimi Hendrix and steel guitar in the same sentence.

Audio: PRI's Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with an extensive archive of audio for download via subscription.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Brave Nuke World

It's a big deal... And many smaller ones

Virtual War Wounds

Leaked video of a U.S. military attack in Iraq that killed 12 civilians, including two Reuters journalists, generated much debate in the media. But most agreed on one thing: the footage looked like a video game. Technology writer Clive Thompson provides context.

Audio: WNYC's On The Media 4/9/10, Host: Brooke Gladstone.

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WikiLeaks Military Video - 4/12/10

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Julian Assange - 4/12/10
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The U.S. military has decided not to review or reinvestigate the WikiLeaks attack. U.S. Central Command says there were already two Army investigations back in 2007 that exonerated the helicopter crews. The investigation found that some of the men were carrying weapons. But NPR has learned that there was debate within the military about a specific part of the attack — the targeting of a van that came to the aid of the wounded.

Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 4/8/10, Michele Norris with Tom Bowman.

How YOU Doin'?

TARP report: Mortgages Still Toxic

Revised Standards

These days it's hard to go more than a few hours without hearing some economic figure. Foreclosures, housing starts, retail sales — the list goes on. But it turns out that measuring subway passengers, Broadway ticket sales, or even the average price of an apartment on Craigslist can also reveal what's happening in the economy. Host Linda Wertheimer speaks to one economist using such nontraditional indicators: Ted Egan is chief economist in the San Francisco Controller's Office, and he's got a fresh approach to statistics.

Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 4/11/10, Host: Linda Wertheimer

No Justice, No Peace

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Old Man Retires - 4/12/10
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Whole Lotta Quakin'

CNN's Bonnie Schneider

The score after a big one: Mexicali 7.2 - CNN 0

Audio: Berger & Prescott publish podcasts on Facebook... Their martinis are shaken like James Bond's. It's the media that gets them stirred up.

G3 - 1996

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nuclear Family

One way that the disarmament of nuclear weapons is monitored is the use of satellite technology. Kevin Pomfret has worked for the US Government, helping to develop strategies to monitor arms control agreements and keep countries accountable to their agreements.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World 4/9/10, Host: Marco Werman.

If they knew, it would be enough to make Soviet stalwarts like Stalin roll over in their graves, but ex-Soviet warheads now power the U.S.

Agence France Press reports through a nuclear disarmament and uranium recycling program, USSR military might from the Cold War nuclear arsenal is now powering US civilian atomic energy, which generates 10 percent of all electricity used by their Cold War foe.

While President Obama makes his boldest effort yet to exercise global leadership, Iran refuses to be led.

On the eve of the international summit designed to avert the nightmare scenario of extremists with nuclear bombs, the BBC reports that the "rogue state" with atomic ambitions has announced what are claimed to be a new, more powerful, third generation of nuclear centrifuges designed to produce more fissionable material.

But controlling nuclear materials can be hard, even with cooperation.

Dangerous Foods

KFC's Double Down is a sandwich like no other, because the bun has been replaced with two pieces of deep fried chicken stuffed with cheese, bacon and sauce.

Last year they tested the sandwich in Rhode Island and Nebraska and say it was such a hit they decided to release it nationwide to the wide nation.

Don't try to eat it while you drive.

Newslite reports 10 percent of drivers admitted they have had a crash, or been close to one, while trying to unwrap food or open drink containers in their car. Their list of Top 10 Driving Danger Foods includes a variety of bad for you fast food, but also good for you fruit. A spokesman for i-kube, which commissioned the study of 3,000 drivers, said: "Despite the danger, millions of drivers are still happy to eat or drink when they are driving.

Coming (not too) Soon

In a recent interview with Larry King, Chelsea Handler said she found it hard to take redheaded men seriously... She might want to start.

Conan will be her head-to-head competitor before the year is out.

“In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable,” O’Brien said. “My plan is working perfectly.”

Conan will debut on TBS in November... The first ratings sweep month after his no-compete agreement with NBC expires.

Channeling Sarah

Party Out Of Bounds


Richard Melville Hall... Yes, he's related.

To mark 20 years of being on the air, Echoes is running a series paying tribute to icons of the ambient music the show chronicles.
Audio: PRI's Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with an extensive archive of audio for download via subscription.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Reason To Believe

I think we buried the lead.

Ultimately it was Phil Mickelson's return to victory that was the bigger story... His first major tourney win in 4 years, his third Masters and the presence of his wife Amy as he came off the green at 18.

Amy Mickelson - once the most visible spouse on the PGA Tour, a sweet, friendly and social woman - had made few public appearances since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2009.

In addition to the sponsor logos visible on his gear, there's a pink bow that stands out on Phil's hat. A symbol of hope, strength & belief.

With A Name Like Satan, You Have To Be Good

Miroslav Šatan (pronounced shuh-TAHN) is an NHL journeyman. The Slovak winger was a late-season acquisition by the Boston Bruins, but his goal made the difference in the final game of the season, and in NBC's Sunday Game of the Week.

The network's coverage began on New Year's Day with snow flurries at Fenway Park, and ended with cherry blossoms blooming by the tidal basin in DC... Both games were exciting OT wins for Boston. And Leonard would've hated both games.

Oh, he'll keep on watching whatever Versus and NBC offer, along with major doses of Kings & Ducks on regional sports stations until they pry the remote out of his cold dead hand, but he's likely to grumble until he dies. As a Winnipeg native born in the days of a six team league and the offside pass, he's old school and old rules all the way.

To Leonard, changing pro hockey is like attacking his religion.

Sins Of The Fathers

Their wagons are circled.

During Good Friday Mass this year, the Preacher to the Papal Household compared criticism of the Roman Catholic Church, over its handling of abuse allegations, to historical persecution of Jews.

Sorry, but weren't Catholics responsible for the Inquisition?

The Preacher later apologized, but that didn't stop the dean of cardinals at the Vatican from referring – on Easter Sunday – to media coverage of the scandals as "petty gossip."

National Catholic Reporter correspondent John Allen says all the defensiveness and finger-pointing is only hurting church’s image.

Audio: WNYC's On The Media 4/10/10, Host: Bob Garfield.

Hartford, Connecticut (CNN 4/11/10) -- A bill in Connecticut's legislature that would remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases has sparked a fervent response from the state's Roman Catholic bishops, who released a letter to parishioners Saturday imploring them to oppose the measure.

Relic Query

When the shroud first appeared there in 1355, both the archbishop of Turin and then the pope denounced it as a fake. There's still no scientific proof of authenticity, but through centuries of veneration it has been established as a genuine attraction... The current cardinal, Severino Poletto, tells visitors to view the shroud with their hearts rather than their minds. The current pope plans to visit May 6th... And getting to the truth doesn't matter anymore.

Michael Steele

Walk like an Egyptian
Talk like a patrician
Michael Steele: Bangle
Michael Steele: Bungle

The one time economist & speechwriter, sometime comic actor & game show host and long time Republican donor, says as long as Michael Steele leads the Republican National Committee, they've seen the last of Ben Stein's money.


Ingredients must be added in the right order.

Neil Young's interests had already turned away by the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, but David Crosby joined Buffalo Springfield onstage. Crosby was then kicked out of the Byrds and hired Stephen Stills to play on the debut album he produced for Joni Mitchell whose then current boyfriend, Graham Nash, added a perfect high harmony to "You Don't Have To Cry" after hearing it only once in Mama Cass Elliot's kitchen... That assembly order is why it's Crosby Stills & Nash.

Awwww, G

Graffenberg's Truth & Consequences

Spot On

On the Spot

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Do anything special this weekend?

Scrabble Skirmish

Elite (and elitist) gamers react to Mattel's allowing proper nouns with some choice words of their own.

Audio: CBS Radio's Osgood File 4/7/10.

Space Cadets

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sports of Sorts

Sometimes naming rights are for a venue... Sometimes they're for an annual sporting event. But in an incredible bit of marketing serendipity, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese bought the sponsorship of today's demolition of Texas Stadium; former home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Sure it was cheesy, but that was the idea... Introduce a new variation on classic mac & cheese with a contest that awarded the privilege of button pushing to an 11-year-old Terrell TX boy. He did his best and over a ton of dynamite did the rest... Bringing down the house to thunderous applause.

Plenty of dust at Texas Stadium at 8 a.m. EDT Sunday... But despite Kraft's sponsorship, not artificially-colored orange cheese dust.

Leader Board

4 strokes back after three rounds, despite a self-imposed five-month layoff, Tiger Woods is back on track this weekend at the Masters golf tournament. Happy to be within striking distance, Woods wants to finish big at the most-watched golf event ever.

Audio: All Things Considered 4/10/10, Tom Goldman with host Linda Wertheimer.

Affirmative Inaction

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American Burning Crossroads?

We Got The Beets

Fictional Beet Farm

This historic building stands out at Shrute Farms, THE agri-tourism destination in Scranton, PA. But don’t try to reserve a weekend at the 60-acre beet farm just yet, because it doesn’t exist. Christine Petersen, the marketing officer for tells about the the fictitious farm and the confusion that users reviews created.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/7/10, Host: Robin Young.

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Real Beat Farmers

Country Dick's cowpunk meets Anime... Disturbing on so many levels.

Short Stories

Rock 'n' Roll Life Changers

The Gift

You might be more familiar with the cover by Kiss from their post-makeup era, but guitarist & lead singer Russ Ballard was the songwriter in this performance of the 1973 UK hit single by Argent from the Old Grey Whistle Test a late night music show on BBC 2.

The Obsession

Author and Here & Now literary critic Steve Almond has had a long love affair with music – so deep that he calls himself a “drooling fanatic.” He talks about what music has meant to him throughout his life, and what listening to music does to the listener... Topics he explores in his book “Rock And Roll Will Save Your Life.”
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/9/10, Host: Robin Young.

The Experience

"A Night With Lou Reed," at The Bottom Line, New York City 1983

The Biopic

A new movie charts the rise and fall of the teenage all-girl band from the 1970s. Fueled by a rebellious spirit, Director Floria Sigismondi says The Runaways achieved fame with their one hit "Cherry Bomb," but not without the many pitfalls of a rock star lifestyle.
Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 4/10/10, Host: Linda Wertheimer