Saturday, April 24, 2010


SECs at Work

News item -- Instead of watching Wall Street, some staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission were watching porn.

An investigation by the SEC's Inspector General found 33 violators (among approximately 4,000 employees) over the past five years, including 17 senior SEC employees earning between $99000 and $222000 a year, were among those who viewed porn on their office computers or on laptops... Meanwhile Bernie Madoff made off with billions and Wall Street held up the entire U.S. Economy for trillions when you add up the bailout and the Fed's guarantees.

How to spot a porn watcher at work:

SEC Enforcement Action Threshold:

Possible Excuses:

Poco Loco

In Arizona, the political madness equates MEXICANS with CRIME.

A Few Words

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Straight to Video
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The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bonus Word - Defamation of Independents
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Happy Birthday Hubble

On April 24, 1990, NASA launched the first of its kind telescope into outer space. Kelly Beatty of Sky and Telescope Magazine says the impact the Hubble has had on astronomy includes pictures of the earliest galaxies, giant black holes and proof Einstein's version of the Big Bang theory was right.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/22/10, Host: Robin Young.
Photo: Hubble Space Telescope image of the chaotic Carina Nebula. (NASA/via AP)

The HubbleSite Picture Album provides an ever-changing slideshow of Hubble's finest and most popular photos.

Alcohol Flowchart

Graphic Truth from College Humor

Friday, April 23, 2010


Canada Has Issues

The answer to any "why is he" question is Donkey Kong obsession...
Even "why is he called the situation" from America's list.

Energy + Environment + End

Surprising Alternative Energy Innovations

Easy Answers

Old School Oil Rig

Ending Offshore Drilling

Come To Your Census

If you didn't send it back, they're coming for you!

But after those Bush-era warrantless wiretaps,
don't they already know everything about you?

Audio: Berger & Prescott publish podcasts on Facebook... Mike is a white non slaveholder. Jeff may have written "3rd at Santa Anita" when asked his race.


Harassing Latinos with racial profiling isn't an inevitable side effect of Arizona's anti-immigration law -- it's the entire point.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - No Problemo 4/21/10
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News
Bill Maher - Immigrants and Bestiality
Learn more about Bill MaherFuturama New EpisodesFunny Demon Zombie TV Show


African invaders brought their meatballs to Iberia. Spanish conquistadors brought them to the new world. Mexicans brought them to the United States, and to your table as albondigas soup.

I sometimes eat at a casino cafe where "meatball soup" recently was deleted from its rotating soups of the day menu... A change which also dropped "tortilla soup."

Both dishes had been "Americanized" (gotten blander, less authentic) since their introduction. And management had previously asked their multiethnic wait staff not to use Spanish words to describe the food to Anglos... A Hispanic waitress admitted it, last fall, when I asked if Wednesday's chicken soup came with tortillas, rice or noodles? Had I asked "¿Sopa de pollo con tortillas, arroz o fideos?" her answer would've been different. But she was serving soup to crackers.

Las Vegas is completely dependent on visitors from all over. But the hospitality is a veneer, because at heart its residents are not at all comfortable with embracing, or even eating, ethnic soup.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wall Street Reform

In one respect, Republican spin-meister Frank Luntz is onto something... If you call it "Wall Street Reform" you've found "words that work" so well even Republican Senators' opposition will collapse under a wave of populist support from all over the political spectrum.

But that doesn't stop the disinformation campaign.

Earth Day 2010

We've been handed something wonderful.

Take good care of it, then pass it on.

This week's entire episode of PRI's Living On Earth with Steve Curwood is devoted to Earth Day past & present.

Political Animals

"Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo.
I do believe it, I do believe it's true."

-- Paul Simon (1968)


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bernie Goldberg Fires Back - 4/20/10
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party



Intelligent Life?

SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence is now 50 years old... During that time it has been increasingly hard to find signs of intelligence here.
Audio: CBS Radio's Osgood File 4/16/10, CBS Sunday Morning Feature 4/18/10.

SETI's 50 year search for alien life has concentrated on using powerful telescopes and antennae to find radio signals with patterns that might be signs of intelligent life. Dick Carrigan, of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory suggests scientists look for something else people on Earth can relate to: pollution.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/20/10, Host: Robin Young.

Lose Your Lunch

The Oscar-nominated documentary, “Food, Inc.,” takes a look at where food comes from, how it’s processed and some consequences of U.S. agriculture policies. The film airs this week as part of the POV series on public television stations nationwide.

Crash Course

This Las Vegas cruiser totalled another car while responding to a robbery call without flashing lights or siren... The officers went to the hospital instead of the crime scene.
Law enforcement is a very dangerous job, but not the way you think... The reality is that more police officers are killed in traffic accidents, many caused by their own driving, than under fire.

The Las Vegas Metro P.D. cruiser above totalled another car while responding to a robbery call without flashing lights or siren... The two officers inside went to the hospital instead of the crime scene.

In Washington state, a legislator who was once a county sheriff has championed the purchase of high–tech simulators to practice high speed approach or pursuit scenarios without the real-life risks.
Puget Sound Public Radio 4/20/10, Reporter: Austin Jenkins.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Death + Doctor Death

Mitch Butler and Josh Landis for CBS News


Bonehead Move or Devious Genius?

Gizmodo's post analyzing Apple's 4th generation iPhone.

Going Postal

Two U.S. Males unload on the U.S. Mail

It may be mostly junk, but Jeff wants to get it quicker, Newman!
Audio: Berger & Prescott publish podcasts on Facebook... Because the postal service doesn't like them any more than other annoying four-legged beasts.

E-Mail to Gmail Conversion

Universities are trading in their server-clogging in-house e-mail systems for Gmail, which Google offers to schools free. Colleges that make the switch save time, money and precious disc space. But a few students are asking, "What's the catch?"
Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 4/12/10, Reporter: Libby Conn Franklin.

Secure Future

Another Tricky Day

From the 1981 album, Face Dances

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

These F@#king Guys

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
These F@#king Guys - Goldman Sachs - 4/19/1o
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Goldman Sachs Fraud Case - Andrew Ross Sorkin
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

Corporate Tax Evasion

GE: 7,000 tax returns, $0 U.S. tax bill

GE had plenty of earnings last year -- just not in the United States. For tax purposes, the company's U.S. operations lost $408 million, while its international businesses netted a $10.8 billion profit.

President Obama wants to change the tax rate for American multinationals, who he says don't pay their "fair share" for overseas profits... Corporations currently pay taxes to Uncle Sam only when profits are brought back to the United States... Something a thinking TEA Party member might support if not for their reflexive hatred and hidden Astroturf corporate backers.

Various pro & con arguments can be made by academics, but money is fungible... Easily manipulated to hide its origin. And if a company occupies several roles within a supply chain, pricing can be adjusted to move profits offshore... Along with the jobs.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World 4/13/10, Reporter: Jason Margolis.

Back In Black

Healthy Workplace

A sheriff's deputy in Collier County, Florida, was caught on tape zapping a female colleague with a Taser. Authorities reprimanded the deputy for the December incident. Officials say he told investigators it was "a spur of the moment thing."

Among law enforcement types who abuse their authority, many have a history... Want to bet the deputy was a bully in school?

Not all of it is sexual, but harassment in the workplace exploits differences in power and status... As if the pattern of school bullying which has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, is repeated after the bullies leave school and get jobs.

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, almost half of all American workers have either suffered workplace bullying themselves or been vicariously distressed by witnessing it. 17 states have tried to make it easier for employees to sue over workplace bullying, but there are still no federal laws in place.

Dr. Emelisa Aleandri had an experience as the target of a workplace bully — and fought back in a case that was settled for $1.4 million in 2005. And Justin Jones-Fosu, leadership trainer and radio, offers tips for others who are being bullied at work.

Audio: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway 4/13/10,
Hosts" John Hockenberry & Celeste Headlee.

Back to the Fenway

Red Sox Plan To Return Fenway To Original 1912 Conditions


Stephanie Strand won a $5,000 first prize for "Go Somewhere" in the 21+ bracket of the American Students’ Fund 2007 Speak New Words contest during her senior year at U.C. Riverside. They liked her enough to hire her to edit the promotional video for the following year's contest.

Now relocated to South Florida, Stephanie's "Gutters & Drains" was a featured music selection on YouTube as she turned 25 last Tuesday... Her video skills are far more sophisticated than her instrumental abilities, but she's an interesting singer/songwriter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Oklahoma City

I made a cross-country drive in July 1996; 15 months after the bombing which happened 15 years ago today. I made it a point to route myself through OKC, and in the fading sunlight at the end of the day I stood silent at the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building... Just an empty lot at the time, but haunted by what had happened there.

There is now a museum & memorial inviting us to remember those who were killed, or survived and were forever changed.

Suspicious Minds

In the immediate aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing 15 years ago, both media and law enforcement leaped to the conclusion that the attack must have come from Islamic terrorists. As a result, Oklahoma City’s Muslim population underwent a crisis. Why were they under suspicion? Had one of them done it? Reporter Scott Gurian looks at the ongoing impact of that misguided rush to judgment.
Audio: WNYC's On The Media 4/17/10.

Killing By Numbers

Since the "shot heard round the world" rang out on April 19th, 1775, the date of April 19th and/or April 20th have been imbued with significance. From Hitler’s birth to the killings at Waco, Columbine and Oklahoma City, each event echoes or evokes the anniversary of the last. Bob and Brooke weigh in on the numerology of terror.
Audio: WNYC's On The Media 4/17/10, Hosts: Brooke Gladstone & Bob Garfield.

"The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist" premieres tonight, Monday, April 19 at 9PM ET on MSNBC... Drawn from 45 hours of audiotapes recorded during McVeigh's prison stay, the film reveals the bomber's planning and execution of the attack and offers insight into how a decorated American soldier became an anti-government terrorist causing the deaths of 168 fellow citizens.


Defending NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers held on for a gritty 87-79 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday... There are some bitter ex-Sonics fans in Seattle who cheered OKC's loss.

A review by Bill Littlefield of NPR's Only A Game.
Sonicsgate is driven in part by the filmmakers’ conviction that they’ve got an important story to tell.

That conviction has driven director Jason Reid and the producers who worked with him to include enough material to push their film to almost two hours, which may feel long to some viewers.

But anybody patient enough to stay with Sonicsgate will be rewarded with the careful documentation of a series of sleazy, shameful assertions, misrepresentations, and lies by a slew of people involved in owning or trying to own the Seattle Super Sonics before the team was eventually moved to Oklahoma City. Beyond the obvious villains, eventual team owner Clay Bennett paramount among them, there are plenty of lesser miscreants: NBA Commissioner David Stern, for example, and politicians, team officials, and others anxious to cover their backsides as the team slides out of town.

I don’t know to what extent what happened in Seattle before the Sonics left is representative of what has happened in other cities that have lost teams. Certainly there would seem to be at least a few factors common to most relocations: greed, feeling of entitlement on the part of ownership regarding public financing of a new building, threats from the owners and Commissioner Stern, and the presence of a potential new home city full of enthusiastic and naïve fans. Whether the film is the story of all teams that relocate or only one, Sonicsgate certainly demonstrates that in this instance, anybody who thought of the basketball team as anything other than a moveable commodity was a sucker doomed to be disappointed.
Audio: WBUR & NPR's Only A Game 4/17/10, Host: Bill Littlefield.

Producers of Sonicsgate have placed the full movie online at YouTube.

I lived in Seattle between 1990 & 1994. It was the era in which plans to modernize the Seattle Coliseum into what became Key Arena were approved. Then Sonics owner Barry Ackerly was pushing for improvements at the building that began as a pavilion at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. But the mood of the public was against picking up the whole tab.

As the sole major league sports tenant, he had considerable weight in the plans, and pushed for a design which made it impossible to construct an NHL regulation size rink in the building... Edging out the Western Hockey League's Seattle Thunderbirds as a co-tenant and ensuring that no NHL team would ever come to the city.

The Sonics had recently become competitive by drafting power forward Shawn Kemp (1989), point guard Gary Peyton (1990), hiring coach George Karl (1992) with strong regular season showings in 1992-1993, and so it looked as if Ackerly, whose broadcast holdings were headquartered in Seattle, was committed to the city and team. His approximately $21 million share of construction cost, looked good to locals, but sealed the team's fate two owners later.

Ironically, trying to cut corners on the expense of repairs to the Kingdome's roof was what caused a portion of it to collapse in July 1994, with both the Mariners and Sea Hawks displaced and threatening to leave, before publicly funded plans for Safeco Field (baseball) and Qwest Field (football) were finally approved.

Tug of War

The Streets of San Francisco

What if the streets were flat, and everything else tilted?

Dan Ng's 2007 revisioning of San Francisco includes Filbert Street... Where the grade is 31.5%.

Eruption - Evolution

Iceland's volcano over only three weeks



Environmental Impact

Time for Three

Two Violins and a bass equals one interesting string trio, performing live and speaking about their music.

Time for Three, combine virtuosity on classical instruments and the intuitive interplay of jazz while tackling material from modern singer-songwriters on their latest CD, Three Fervent Travelers.
Audio: PRI's Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with an extensive archive of audio for download via subscription.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Forgive And Forget

The Beatles fell out of the Vatican's good graces in the 1960s when John Lennon announced the band was more popular than Jesus. The Church forgave the Fab Four last weekend. On the 40th, anniversary of the band's breakup, the Vatican's newspaper said the beauty of the Beatles' music is eternal.

40 years in purgatory for a non-believer mouthing off... Considerably less for pedophile rapists within the clergy club.

For years, the Catholic Church has quietly sent priests accused of sexual transgressions to psychiatric centers, many affiliated with the church. Dr. Leslie Lothstein, who has treated more than 300 priests, tells NPR he saw some sex offenders sent "right back to working in youth ministries."

Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 4/15/10, Host: Michelle Norris

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
You're Welcome - Church Scandal Prevention
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Surf and Sand

Photo: Clark Little.

Liar for Hire

Republicans have a problem in being against everything Obama favors: It's hard to oppose financial reform in a year of populist outrage against Wall Street.

To the rescue: Republican strategist Frank Luntz, the same man enlisted to call health care a government takeover. Talking point No. 1 for Luntz: The banking bill creates a permanent bailout fund for Wall Street, paid for by taxpayers... Essentially recycling some previously well tested and detested phrases; none of which are true.

To call him a master manipulator doesn't do him justice...
He has a doctorate.
Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 4/15/10 Reporter: David Welna.

Hear Luntz at length in an episode of Fresh Air from 2007.

Or as he presents himself:

Frank Luntz website: The Word Doctors.