Saturday, June 30, 2012

If awards were given for the best.............

merging of TV clips with sad, yet wonderful songs, my vote would go to:

John Steed & Emma Peel starring in A Fine Frenzy's Almost Lover

Quotes of the day............

"Last time the world economy melted down, the nations of the developed world tended to turn away from democracy. That did not turn out well. And that is why the institutions of Europe are being set up. The challenge is to preserve democracy through the crisis. Even if it means that things need to get much worse before the people can accept what needs to be done."
-Will Ross, excerpted from here

"Our Constitution remains a miracle of statesmanship even if our health care system is a mess."
Walter Russell Mead, excerpted from here

"I love mornings but some of my best work is done in the evening. The morning has promise but the evening brings silence. Lists are scrutinized and assembled. Letters are composed. Missing answers are found.  I reproach myself for incessant sloth, unwritten books, and undiscovered success. As bedtime approaches, I'll read a little in the Bible and any novel that won't keep me awake. There is so much to do, it could take several lifetimes.................I think I'll check out the sky."
-Michael Wade, from here.

Failed Amendments..............

There have been 27 amendments to the Constitution of the United States.  The Founders made it possible, but not easy.  A two-thirds majority of both the Senate and House of Representatives are required to send an Amendment to the States for ratification.  Three-fourths of the legislatures of the States (or a State Convention) must approve the amendment (by majority vote only) to accomplish ratification.  In most cases, if ratification by the States has not occurred in seven years, the amendment dies.

Just for fun and edification, here is the list of failed amendments:

Article 1 of the original Bill of Rights
This amendment, proposed in 1789, dealt with the number of persons represented by each member of the House, and the number of members of the House. It essentially said that once the House hit 100 members, it should not go below 100, and once it reached 200, it should not go below 200. Since there are over 400 members today, this amendment would be de facto moot today. It is, however, still outstanding. Congressional research shows that the amendment was ratified by ten states, the last being in 1791.
The text:
After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.
The Anti-Title Amendment
This amendment, submitted to the States in the 11th Congress (in 1810), said that any citizen who accepted or received any title of nobility from a foreign power, or who accepted without the consent of Congress any gift from a foreign power, by would no longer be a citizen There is some debate about whether this amendment was actually ratified or not, mostly by those who put forth the fanciful notion that if it had been, most (if not all) legislators who are lawyers, and who use the title "Esquire" would no longer be citizens, and hence, no longer be able to serve in Congress. This amendment is still outstanding. (Information refuting claims of ratification can be found here. A refutation of this refutation can be found here.) Congressional research shows that the amendment was ratified by twelve states, the last being in 1812.
The text:
If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.
The Slavery Amendment
In 1861, an amendment prohibiting the Congress from making any law interfering with the domestic institutions of any State (slavery being specifically mentioned) was proposed and sent to the states. This amendment is still outstanding. Congressional research shows that the amendment was ratified by two states, the last being in 1862. This amendment is also known as the Corwin Amendment, as it was proposed by Ohio Representative Thomas Corwin.
The text:
No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.
The Child Labor Amendment
In 1926, an amendment was proposed which granted Congress the power to regulate the labor of children under the age of 18. This amendment is still outstanding, having been ratified by 28 states. Ratification by 38 states is required to add an amendment. Congressional research shows that the amendment was ratified by 28 states, the last being in 1937.
The text:
Section 1. The Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age.
Section 2. The power of the several States is unimpaired by this article except that the operation of State laws shall be suspended to the extent necessary to give effect to legislation enacted by the Congress.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
The ERA's first section states "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." It was intended to place into law the equality of men and women. It was sent to the states in March, 1972. The original seven year deadline was extended to ten years. It expired unratified in 1982.
The text:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
The Washington DC Voting Rights Amendment
Granted the citizens of Washington DC the same full representation in Congress as any state, and repealed the 23rd Amendment granting the District votes in the Electoral College (since it would have been moot). Proposed in 1978, it expired unratified in 1985.
The text:
Section 1. For purposes of representation in the Congress, election of the President and Vice President, and article V of this Constitution, the District constituting the seat of government of the United States shall be treated as though it were a State.
Section 2. The exercise of the rights and powers conferred under this article shall be by the people of the District constituting the seat of government, and as shall be provided by the Congress.
Section 3. The twenty-third article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
Section 4. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

source for failed amendments is here 

Again with the optical illusions......

Good or Evil?

Maybe we should borrow more..................


"You can't base your life on other people's expectations."
-Stevie Wonder

Chief Justices playing the long game..........

What do John Marshall and John Roberts have in common?   Besides that...... youth and the prospect for a long-term Chief Justicehood may have caused them to focus on the really big picture rather than just the case at hand.  Interesting essay here.  Excerpt here:

"But Roberts is only a few years further into his chief justice-ship than Marshall was at the time of the Marbury decision. His tenure is likely to be equally as lengthy, if not more so. I think the forest for him is quite a bit different than the trees that people are focusing on."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Born this day in 1943............

Little Eva................................................The Loco-motion

Magical pixie dust...........

Yale Professor Robert Shiller proposes using eminent domain to to force mortgage holders to write down "underwater" mortgages to their "fair market value"?   Surely he jests.  Sounds like the appraisal industry's wet dream.  Let's see....There are estimates that more than 20% of homeowners with mortgages have negative equity, most of whom either refinanced during the easy money days, treating their home equity as an ATM machine; or invested in real estate with very little equity to begin with, following the dictum of the day that real estate values always go up.  There are, and always have been, risks associated with both lending and borrowing money.  Risks that got totally ignored six to ten years ago. Accepting the consequences of ignoring  risks teaches prudence and better decision making.  Wait, we can't have that - it might mean accepting individual responsibility.  Now, the good professor advocates that all the risks of borrowing money be transferred to the lender.  I wonder what potential future lenders will think about this process.  Think they might tighten lending standards?  Think they might require 30% down?  Think this might severely limit the people qualified to buy homes?  Just wondering.  People, there are no magic bullets to solve this self-inflicted problem; only time, patience, and the steady, deliberate paying down of debt.  Unfortunately, patience just isn't our strong suit.
Shiller's full essay is here.  Excerpt here:
"But eminent domain law needn’t be restricted to real estate. It could be applied to mortgages as well. Governments could seize underwater mortgages, paying investors fair market value for them. This is common sense too. The true fair market value for these mortgages is arguably far below their face value, given the likelihood of default, with its attendant costs.
Professor Hockett argues that a government, whether federal, state or local, can start doing just this right now, using large databases of information about mortgage pools and homeowner credit scores. After a market analysis, it seizes the mortgages. Then it can pay them off at fair value, or a little over that, with money from new investors, issuing new mortgages with smaller balances to the homeowners. Taxpayers are not involved, and no government deficit is incurred. Since homeowners are no longer underwater and have good credit, they are unlikely to default, so the new investors can expect to be repaid.
The original mortgage holders, the investors in the new mortgages, the homeowners and the nation as a whole will generally be better off. There will surely be some who may not agree, like the holdout farmer opposing the highway, but eminent domain ought to be able to push ahead anyway."
I don't mind telling you, I find this sort of logic scary.


     Man's Testament
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
    Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
    Courage in your own.
-Adam Lindsay Gordon

    Ye Wearie Wayfarer
Life is largely grief and labour
Two things help you through:
Jeering when they hit your neighbour,
Whining when it's you.
-Kingsley Amis

Pandemonium reigns...........

full screen picture with story here...........


"Lower your expectations of earth. This isn't heaven, so don't expect it to be."

-Max Lucado

Quote of the day.................

"......the most costly goods and services are often the ones that politicians decide should be 
'free,' like education, health care and housing."
-Mark Perry, channeling Russ Roberts, here  


                                        Amendment XXVII
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

The Twenty-Seventh Amendment was ratified on May 7, 1992.  Interestingly enough, this Amendment was first submitted by Congress along with the other ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights in 1789.  Only took 203 years to ratify it.

Don't you miss "do-overs"?.........

And we're just getting started...........

Thursday, June 28, 2012


& The Family Stone...............Hot Fun in the Summertime et. al.


Some questions from Ryan Holiday....

"We like to say with smug satisfaction “nobody lies on their deathbed and says, ‘I wish I’d worked more.’ Well, nobody really says “I’m SO glad I spent all that time skiing” either. Those things don’t matter either–they aren’t happiness or meaning. And in fact, they may be more dangerous because they feel like they do."
"..... What if the idea is to actually like yourself and the work you do enough that you don’t feel the subconscious desire to flitter around all the time. What if you don’t talk about yourself ....... because you’re thinking about important things? What if the idea is to feel better in simple dress, to have no problem with a coach seat even if you could afford otherwise?"
Full post is here


                                             Amendment XXVI
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Twenty-Sixth Amendment was ratified on July 1, 1971

The self-esteem trap...................

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It is definitely an Angelfire kind of morning.....

The Rippingtons........................................Angelfire
(As always, click through to YouTube.  Thank thee kindly)
and of course, volume up...........................

Pre-occupied with our own ecosystem?

Larry Smarr, an astrophysicist turned computer scientist, becomes the "measured man."   A very interesting, on many levels, article about "knowing thyself" - here.   Longish excerpt here:

".........The way a computer scientist tends to see it, a genome is a given individual’s basic program. Mapping one used to cost billions. Today it can be done for thousands, and soon the price will drop below $1,000. Once people know their genetic codes, and begin thoroughly monitoring their bodily systems, they will theoretically approach the point where computers can “know” a lot more about them than any doctor ever could. In such a world, people will spot disease long before they feel sick—as Larry did. They will regard the doctor as more consultant than oracle.
     Not everyone sees this potential revolution as a good one. Do people really want or need to know this much about themselves? Is such a preoccupation with health even healthy? What if swimming in oceans of bio-data causes more harm than good?
     “Frankly, I’d rather go river rafting,” says Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and the author of Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health. “Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. And knowledge is certainly not wisdom.” Welch believes that individuals who monitor themselves as closely as Larry does are pretty much guaranteed to find something “wrong.” Contradictory as it sounds, he says abnormality is normal.
     “It brings to mind the fad a few years ago with getting full-body CT scans,” Welch says. “Something like 80 percent of those who did it found something abnormal about themselves. The essence of life is variability. Constant monitoring is a recipe for all of us to be judged ‘sick.’ Judging ourselves sick, we seek intervention.” And intervention, usually with drugs or surgery, he warns, is never risk-free. Humbler medical practitioners, aware of the sordid history of some medical practices (see: bloodletting, lobotomy, trepanning), weigh the consequences of intervention carefully. Doing no harm often demands doing nothing. The human body is, after all, remarkably sturdy and self-healing. As Welch sees it, “Arming ourselves with more data is guaranteed to unleash a lot of intervention” on people who are basically healthy.

Opening paragraphs.......................

The Trottas were a young dynasty.  Their progenitor had been knighted after the Battle of Solferino.  He was a Slovene.  Sipolje - the German name for his native village - became his title of nobility.  Fate had elected him for a special deed.  But he then made sure that later times lost all memory of him.
-Joseph Roth, The Radetzky March

Quotes of the day................

" matter how far you go in life or how good things get, never forget what it was like to send off a dream and wait for a reply."
-Michael Wade, excerpted from here

"Nobody is angrier, nastier or more self-righteous than an intellectual whose livelihood is under threat."
-Walter Russell Mead, excerpted from here

"A good machine makes people more valuable. The world is full of bad machines."
-Gregory Sullivan, excerpted from here.

"We like our women bookish."
-The Mighty E., excerpted from many places, like here.


                                                Amendment XXV
Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

The Twenty-Fifth Amendment was ratified February 10, 1967

Instant Money............

From Nicholas Bate:

What is it about money?  It's a measure.  It's a calibration.  It's easy to compare.  That's what it's about.  The difficulty with other forms of wealth is that they are more difficult to calibrate, to check, to compare.  How happy are you?  How good are your relationships?  But how much money do you earn?  How much was your new car?  And so we get distracted by simple measurability:  a Newtonian, Cartesian world seduces and confuses us.....But why do we want to compare, anyway?   Because as human beings we must grow, it's just that this form of growth can only lead to frustration.

1.  Think wealth not money.  There's hard wealth: cars, stocks and shares and houses in Tuscany.  And there's soft wealth:  wellness, fun and conversation.  When 'push comes to shove' we know which one we really want.

2.  Somehow we get confused:  we think the former (hard wealth) is our only route to the latter (soft wealth).  Not.

3.  True Wealth?  The stuff money can't buy, of course.  The stuff we forget about until it's damaged, receding or gone.  Health, relationships.  An interesting job.  A view over the sea.  A garden to tend.  Kids to play ball with.

4.  The irony and the reality is that these things are often easy and accessible because so often they are remarkably simple.

5.  But if you need to talk money, calculate wealth not by salary nor car but by balance sheet.  Otherwise you might become 'big hat no cattle.'

6.  Your personal balance sheet = assets (house) - liabilities (debts).

7.  Simple strategies to sort one's finances.
         a.  Save, then spend.
         b.  Know what comes in and what goes out.
         c.  Create and stick to budgets for areas of spending
         d.  Minimise debt.
         e.  Use cash rather than credit cards more often as you will
              feel the appropriate value of money more easily.

8.  But what about the pension?  If you love your job and stay well a simple plan of continuing to earn a little into your later years is an easy route, a pleasant rout and negates the need for the huge and daunting and frankly often debilitating pension pot plan.

-Nicholas Bate, Instant Brilliant 2010


"I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine."
-Bruce Lee

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And I love her......................

Pat  Metheny...........................................And I Love Her

 Harry Connick, Jr.........................................And I Love Her

Bob Marley and the Wailers.............................And I Love Her

 The Beatles................................................And I Love Her

Growing up................

from the allswagga blog

A signpost of possibility.........

"Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom."
-Soren Kierkegaard

Jonathan Fields talks fear and action.  Full post is here.  Excerpt here:

I’m nervous, my daughter shared as we walked with my wife to the staging area for a 4-mile obstacle run in the mountains…
For years, my default response to comments like this was to try to explain why there was no reason to be nervous. To try to defuse the anxiety and show how everything would be just fine. To eliminate the possibility of things not going as planned and make the unknown known, make the new old, even if just in appearance.
But, I began to realize that response was doing a disservice.
Because anything worth doing, any creative endeavor, any new experience will come with a healthy dose of uncertainty. With an inability to know how it’ll all work work out. Trying to paint a picture that turns unknown into known is not only unrealistic, but also frames uncertainty as a bad thing. And action in the face of uncertainty as something to be avoided.

Spengler ruminates...........

"Democracies do not necessarily field the most efficient or enthusiastic armies. The French under Napoleon and the Germans under Hitler were the best soldiers of their day. Democracies have one important advantage, namely the capacity to correct errors. Democracies do not necessarily make better decisions than dictatorships in each case, but they are less like to perpetuate errors. It is easy to replace an elected leader who goes mad; not so a charismatic tyrant. This makes the ultimate victory of democracies more probable, but hardly inevitable. It may be likely that a charismatic tyrant will make decisive errors, but it is far from assured that such error will be made soon enough to make it possible to defeat the tyrant at the right moment. I like to think that providence was at work during the Second World War, but that sort of question is above my pay grade."

Full essay is here


                                        Amendment XXIV
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Twenty-Fourth Amendment was ratifies on January 23, 1964


"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them."
-Michael Jordan

This feels about right.................

thanks hugh

Monday, June 25, 2012

Follow the sun...................

Del Shannon....................................................Keep Searchin'


image courtesy of

On reaping and sowing........

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant."
-Robert Louis Stevenson

image courtesy of


After a brief recess, we press onward with the presentation of the amendments to the Constitution of the United States:

                                Amendment XXIII

Section 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:
A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Twenty-Third Amendment was ratified March 29, 1961

Apprehending confusion.......

“On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.” 
-Charles Babbage

Editor's note:  The reason for my fondness for this quote may become more evident if you've read about Babbage - like here.


"Winners, I am convinced, imagine their dreams first. They want it with all their heart and expect it to come true. There is, I believe, no other way to live."
-Joe Montana

Wall Street, occupied or otherwise, on trial....

Sunday, June 24, 2012


     "I never liked it when the preachers said we had to follow Jesus.  Sometimes they would make Him sound angry.  But I liked the story the folksinger told.  I liked the idea of Jesus becoming man, so that we would be able to trust Him, and I liked that He healed people and loved them and cared deeply about how people were feeling."
-Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz


"Man's walled mind has not access to a ladder upon which he can, of his own strength, rise to knowledge of God.  Yet his soul is endowed with translucent windows that open to the beyond."
-Abraham Heschel

Ten Rules.......................and some advice

Rule 7:  The only rule is work.  If you work it will lead
to something.  It is the people who do all the work all
the time who eventually catch onto things.  You can
fool the fans.................but not the players.

For a more legible version, visit Ka-Ching!
For information about the author, John Cage, go here.

On being human........

thanks mme scherzo

Checking in with the Ragamuffin..........

Nicole's blog is here

On having it all.................

Stuart Schneiderman tackles the work-life balance- here.  Excerpts here:

"In my view it's a rank distortion to say that life is or should be about getting what you want, when you want, with whom you want and from whom you want.

"We owe this misleading idea to the therapy culture.

"Life is a negotiation. It’s a negotiation between what you are good at and what the market will pay for. If you want to do what you are good at, fine. If what you are good at is not exactly what you want to do, adjust your expectations.

"Life is a negotiation between the biological imperative to reproduce and the available supply of potential mates.

"Life is a negotiation between your duties to your family and your duties to your job."

"As for the larger question: why can't women have it all? The answer is simple: because no one can."

A verse.........

15.  For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 

Romans 7:15
New American Standard Bible

The heart of the matter.......

     "For these human problems there are also rules, but we often do not enjoy obeying them.  Ultimately, no amount of logic, no discussion of ethical values in an agnostic public school, and no vague secular idealism is going to be much good if we have the easy opportunity to reach over the fence into our neighbor's garden, or if we dislike his spouse too much, or if we can misrepresent what we have done to him by not telling the truth.
     "It requires not merely laws, but a lawgiver, one who cannot be evaded or deceived, to direct us into the straight course.  For basic laws that can be counted on our fingers, the ones Moses gave us still seem to get to the heart of the matter, and they point to that Lawgiver, whom Moses himself obeyed."
-H. Boone Porter, excerpted from his essay Law and Life in A Song of Creation