Friday, July 31, 2009

Happiness

Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.





Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong -- a premise he supports with intriguing research, and explains in his accessible and… Full bio and more links

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Crossed wires


Karl Popper said, "It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood."


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Misery

Karl Menninger said, "The central purpose of each life should be to dilute the misery in the world."



Google Voice

clipped from www.google.com
Google Voice Basics: About Google Voice


Google Voice gives you one number for all your phones -- a phone number that is tied to you, not to a device or a location. Use Google Voice to simplify the way you use phones, make using voicemail as easy as email, customize your callers' experience, and more.


Google Voice isn't a phone service, but it lets you manage all of your phones. Google Voice works with mobile phones, desk phones, work phones, and VoIP lines. There's nothing to download, upload, or install, and you don't have to make or take calls using a computer.


Google Voice will let you define which phones ring, based on who's calling, and even let you ListenInTM on voicemail before answering the call. We use smart technology to route your calls. So, if you're already on a Google Voice call, we'll recognize it and use call waiting to reach you on the phone you're on.


Note: At this time Google Voice is only available in the U.S.


Learn more about how Google Voice works.


Google Voice is currently available by invite only. Get an Invite






clipped from www.google.com

One number for all your calls and SMS

Call screening - Announce and screen callers

Voicemail as easy as email, with transcripts

Voicemail transcripts - Read what your voicemail says

More cool things you can do with Google Voice

Conference calling - Join people into a single call

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Six-word memoirs

There's a legend that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to create a six-word story, and he said, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Inspired by this, an online magazine invited readers to submit their own six-word memoirs, a collection of which was published by Harper Collins in 2008 as Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. Six-word memoirs include: "All I ever wanted was more" and "Moments of transcendence, intervals of yearning" and "They called. I answered. Wrong number."



Unicorn

Advice to Young Poets

by Martin Espada


Never pretend
to be a unicorn
by sticking a plunger on your head














"Advice to Young Poets" by Martín Espada, from The Republic of Poetry. © W.W. Norton & Company, 2008.

Monday, July 20, 2009

No-Cost/Low-Cost Home Safety Checklist

No-Cost/Low-Cost Home Safety Checklist

Whether you own or rent your home, there are many no-cost or low-cost improvements you can make to greatly increase its comfort and safety. Discover how simple updates can make it easier for you to stay comfortable, independent, and injury-free. Begin with this checklist of things you can do quickly and easily for little to no cost.

• Open blinds and curtains and raise shades during daylight hours to increase natural light inside the home.

• Place exposed electrical, telephone, and computer cords along a wall where people won’t trip over them.

• Remove all cords from under furniture or carpeting to lessen the risk of fire.

• Remove clutter from stairways and passageways to help prevent trips and falls.

• Set the hot-water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce energy costs and prevent scalding.

• Remove all scatter and throw rugs that can cause falls.

• Place the items you frequently use in an easily accessible place.

• Check the carpeting on your stairs to be sure it is firmly attached.

• Arrange furniture to allow for easy passage.

• Create an emergency exit plan in case of a fire.

• Remove debris from outdoor walkways.

• Trim shrubbery to provide a clear view from doors and windows.




Low-Cost Home Improvements (With Products Costing Under $35)
The products mentioned below can be purchased at your local hardware or home-improvement store.

• Increase light by using the highest-watt light bulbs or compact-fluorescent bulbs appropriate for your light fixtures or lamps.

• Put nightlights in the bathroom and in hallways leading from the bedroom to the bathroom.

• Use a rubber-suction bath mat or antislip floor strips or decals in the tub or shower.

• Place self-stick carpet mesh or double-sided carpet tape under large area rugs to prevent them from sliding.

• Replace knobs on cabinets and drawers with easy-to-grip D-shaped handles.

• Replace traditional light switches with easy-to-use, rocker-style light switches.

• Place or mount an A-B-C rated, all-purpose fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location near the stove and oven so that you’re prepared for any type of kitchen fire.

• Install smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors on all levels of the house, especially where the bedrooms are.

Home Improvements (With Products Costing Under $75)
Most of the products mentioned here can be purchased at your local hardware or home-improvement store.

• Install a handrail on both sides of any staircase so you can stay steady on your feet.*

• Install easy-to-grip lever door handles on all doors instead of doorknobs.

• Install a handheld adjustable showerhead for easier bathing.

• Install user-friendly lever handle faucets in your sinks and in tubs or showers. Some faucets even include built-in antiscald protection.

• Place a sturdy bathtub or shower seat in the tub and/or shower for comfort and safety.

• Mount grab bars next to the toilet and bathtub and in the shower for help getting up or down.*

• Install offset hinges on all doors to add two inches of width for wheelchair access, if needed.*

• Install a security peephole on exterior doors at a height that’s right for you, so you can identify the person wanting to enter.*

• Install photosensitive porch or entryway lighting that will come on at dusk and turn off at dawn. A light-switch timer can also be installed on interior switches for exterior porch or post lights.*

• Install outdoor floodlights that switch on by motion sensors, to light your way and to deter burglars.*

*These items may best be installed by a professional.

Learn More

The Home Fit Guide” is available online and includes information and tips to keep your home in top form for comfort and safety. Visit aarp.org/housing for this publication and more. AARP Create The GoodSM encourages everyone to make a difference in the lives of others. Share your experiences with “Home Safety Tips & Tools,” and find other ways to help in your community at CreateTheGood.org.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Rosetta Stone

It was on this day in 1799 that French soldiers discovered a slab of rock — about 4 feet high and 2 and half feet wide, 11 inches thick and weighing 1,700 pounds, and containing some writing in three different languages — at a port town on Egypt's Mediterranean Coast.


























What they found was the Rosetta Stone, and the three scripts were ancient Greek, demotic, and hieroglyphics. Scholars could read and understand the ancient Greek. The second script, demotic, was an Egyptian language that was spoken and written at the time that the Rosetta Stone was carved in 196 B.C. It shared similarities with Coptic Egyptian, which was spoken widely until the 17th century A.D. (not so long before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone), had a strong literary tradition, and used an adapted Greek alphabet for writing — all things that proved useful in understanding bits and pieces of the Demotic script.


But Egyptian hieroglyphics had been a "dead" language for nearly 2,000 years. All around Egypt there abounded pyramids and temples with thousands of hieroglyphic characters carved into the walls, but no one could figure out what the inscriptions meant.


The Rosetta Stone presented scholars with an opportunity to be able to decipher the hieroglyphic language. It took nearly a quarter century of steady scholarship to solve the puzzle. One of the breakthroughs came when linguists realized that the three texts, the ancient Greek, demotic, and hieroglyphics, were actually identical in meaning. A British scholar made good progress on figuring out the demotic text by 1814, and then the French scholar Jean-François Champollion worked out the hieroglyphics between 1822 to 1824.


The process was in some ways like that of solving the cryptogram puzzle in the comics section of modern newspapers: There's an unreadable string of letters, and a person has a few known variables to plug into corresponding letters within the puzzle (for example, X = C and Y = A) and must play around with patterns and context until, through a process of trial and error, more letters become known and the unreadable string of letters is deciphered and there emerges a coherent sentence, perhaps an aphorism or a famous quote.


The Rosetta Stone had been created in 196 B.C. at the behest of Ptolemy V, one of the Greek royal family emperors who ruled Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Greek was the official language of the empire while he reigned, but Egyptians continued to speak and write their native language. During Ptolemy's rule, native Egyptians rebelled in great numbers, but Egypt's priesthood class largely remained loyal to the emperor. As a display of gratitude, Ptolemy issued the decree that appears on the Rosetta Stone. It's not entirely unlike a State of the Union address: The leader praises his administration's good deeds and himself at length, and then he announces tax breaks for the nonrebellious Egyptian temple priest class. He also announces instructions for the building of temples.


The Greek text, when translated into English, is about 1,600 or 1,700 words long. The decree is recorded in the third person. It begins with a lofty address, where Ptolemy V acknowledges by name some ancestors and gods, and eventually he becomes specific about the tax repeal.


The Rosetta Stone is now on display in the British Museum, and it's been a battle for the British to get it there and keep it there. After all, it was a French soldier who found the stone, and it was in Egypt that the stone was found. But when the French were defeated by British forces and made to surrender, the British demanded that they give up the Rosetta Stone and a bunch of other artifacts. Long before the hieroglyphics were deciphered, everyone recognized that the Rosetta Stone was of enormous cultural and archaeological value, that it was key to understanding ancient Egyptian culture because it would allow hieroglyphics on temples and pyramids all across Egypt to be read and understood.


French archaeologists at first refused to give up the stone. The British commanding general threatened to keep the French under siege until they gave up the Rosetta Stone and other artifacts. French archaeologists proclaimed they'd rather burn all the things they'd discovered than to hand them over to the British. They hid the Rosetta Stone. Accounts differ as to the handover, but one British soldier insisted he wheeled it out from under the French on an artillery cart. Another account states that a French archaeologist handed it over to a British officer in the back alleys of Cairo. At any rate, the French gave it up, but first they made impressions and molds of the stone so that they could continue to work on deciphering the hieroglyphics.


In 2003, Egypt's secretary general of the Council of Antiquities demanded that Britain return the Rosetta Stone to Egypt, calling it the icon of Egyptian identity. In 2005, the British sent him a replica of the Rosetta Stone instead, and the Rosetta Stone still remains in London.


Why is my mother getting a tattoo?

clipped from www.npr.org
Mom's Tattoo Inspires Book Of Family Essays


Weekend Edition Sunday, July 19, 2009 · Longtime Rolling StoneGQ sex columnist and former MTV2 veejay Jancee Dunn was initially horrified when her 67-year-old mother announced after Thanksgiving dinner that she was getting a tattoo.


(To listen to story Click Here.)


"We were all finishing up dessert and then my mother made this crazy announcement," Dunn tells Liane Hansen. "She said, 'I'm getting a tattoo and nobody can talk me out of it. I've already decided.'"


The family uproar surrounding Dunn's mother's announcement is just one of the dramas Dunn details in her new book of essays, Why is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?


Dunn describes her family as "very close — almost too close." She and her two sisters and parents e-mail and call each other several times a day, and major decisions cannot be made without familial input.


In the case of her mother's tattoo, the whole family was up in arms: "This is a woman who wears pink cable-knit sweaters. She's a member of the garden club and the women's club in her community," Dunn says. "And I thought — a giant black raven right on your wrist? It clashes with the cable-knit. But she was determined."















Dunn says her mother was wildly out of place at the tattoo parlor: "We were led to this kind of lair. And it had a brain in formaldehyde; it was very dark. There were these posters everywhere of various rock bands, and I thought, I can't believe I'm here."


But her mother, who dressed in a light green coat for the occasion, had "a grand old time." And, Dunn adds, "it's a fairly delicate design of a raven."


Still, the family is still getting used to her mother's ink; Dunn says her father "jumps like a roach has crawled out of her sleeve," when her mother leans across the table to pass a plate during dinner.

The Puzzle: In Person (with Liane Hansen, Will Shortz, Stacy Keach, and Susan Stamberg)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe

by Lee Robinson


Friday I sniffed it
in the grocery store, turned it
in my hands, looking
for bruises
in the rough, webbed rind.
My mother's voice—the one
I carry always in my head—
pronounced it fine. Ripe,

but not too soft.

I bagged and bought it,
would have given it to you
for breakfast—this fruit
first grown in Cantalupo, not far
from Rome. I imagined you,
my sleepy emperor, coming
to the table in your towel toga,
digging into the luscious
orange flesh
with a golden spoon,



and afterwards,
reclining, your smile
satisfied,
imperial.

Now I open the trunk of my car
to find the cantaloupe
still there, flattened, sour,
having baked all weekend
in August's oven.

Grieving is useless,
my mother would say,
Just get another.

Bur why am I so certain
that no other fruit
will ever be as sweet
as that—

the one
I would have cut in half,
scooped the seeds from,
that one I would have given you
on Saturday morning?

"Cantaloupe" by Lee Robinson, from Hearsay. © Fordham University Press, 2004.


Friday, July 17, 2009

To bogart

bo·gart [ bṓ grt ] (past and past participle bo·gart·ed, present participle bo·gart·ing, 3rd person present singular bo·garts)

verb

Definition:

1. transitive verb monopolize: to take more than a fair share of something ( slang dated )

2. transitive and intransitive verb bully or get something by bullying: to behave in a hostile, belligerent, or intimidating way ( slang ) He's trying to bogart his way in.

[Mid-20th century. Probably after Humphrey Bogart]

Clipped from encarta.msn.com bogart

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Greening of Deutschland

clipped from www.npr.org
'Oldest Profession' Suffers During Recession

Morning Edition, July 14, 2009 · Prostitution is legal in Germany, but brothels are having a tough time because of the recession. One establishment in Berlin has come up with a marketing plan that seems to fit the spirit of the times. You can help the environment by doing business there — it offers a 5 percent discount to customers who arrive by bike or public transportation.


Wikipedia


The collaborative user-edited Web site gets its name from blending the words "wiki" and "encyclopedia." "Wiki" is a recent edition to the English lexicon, and made its way into the authoritative Oxford English Dictionary in 2007. "Wiki-wiki" is actually a Hawaiian word, meaning "quick" or "fast." A wiki is a Web site that uses a certain type of software (the software is also called "wiki" software) that enables users to quickly and easily edit the Web site, create content, and interlink various Web pages. A wiki is easy to edit because it uses a standard mark-up language, which is a series of notes and tags that describe the layout format of the Web site. Often the mark-up language is HTML, which stands for "hypertext markup language."


In the mid-1990s, a computer programmer was developing this type of software to make Internet Web site collaboration fast and easy. He went on a vacation to Hawaii, and at the Honolulu airport, he needed to get quickly from one terminal to another. He asked an airport employee about the best way, and she told him to take the "Wiki Wiki Shuttle" — it's the shuttle that links the airport terminals there, the quickest and easiest way to get between terminals. The computer programmer, Ward Cunningham, adopted the name of the Honolulu airport terminal bus to describe his software, which was meant to be quick, straightforward, easy to use, and to interlink things, because he liked the alliterative sound of "wiki" when used with the word "Web."


Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales launched Wikipedia, the collaborative user-edited encyclopedia, in January 2001; it's now the largest wiki on the Web. To publicize their new creation, they simply sent out an announcement to an e-mail listserve. The new collaborative encyclopedia was to have no process of formal peer-review, which made it very different from any other encyclopedia, including online encyclopedias. At first, Wikipedia was only in English, and there were almost no rules except that articles were to present information in a neutral, non-biased point of view.


By the end of its first year, Wikipedia had grown to about 20,000 articles in 18 languages. Today, less than a decade from its inception, there are more than 13 million articles in more than 260 languages on Wikipedia. It's the largest encyclopedia in the history of mankind; in 2007, it surpassed the encyclopedia that had held that distinction for 600 years, the Yongle Encyclopedia, commissioned by the emperor of China's Ming Dynasty and completed in the early 1400s.


Nearly 3 million of Wikipedia's articles are in English. There are about 75,000 people who actively contribute to Wikipedia, creating articles or making edits to existing articles. It's the most popular reference work on the Internet and one of the 10 most visited Web sites in the world.






The slogan of Wikipedia is "The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." Because there aren't any requirements for expertise, the reliability of Wikipedia's articles are often called into question. Wikipedia is constantly coming up with new rules for user-editors, to try to ensure the encyclopedia's reliability and credibility. These rules are often explained under such subheadings as: "Wikipedia is not a soapbox," "Wikipedia is not a crystal ball," and "Wikipedia is not a democracy" nor "a bureaucracy" nor "a battleground" nor "an anarchy" nor "your Web host."


But there's also an overriding rule, known as "Ignore All Rules," which is, "If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it." In addition to a committee of watchful editors, there are also a bunch of automated software programs to detect and delete problematic edits and correct misspellings and formatting errors. Articles that are prone to "vandalism" are sometimes locked, including the profiles of political candidates during elections.


National Geographic Best Wild Animal Photos of 2008


PHOTOS: Best Wild Animal Photos of 2008 Announced

Winner, "Animal Behavior: All Other Animals" Category


An aptly named winner of the 2008 Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest, "Deadlock" was captured in the dead of night in a Belizean rain forest.

U.K.-based David Maitland observed from midnight to 3 a.m. as a rare Morelet's tree frog doggedly refused to become supper for a cat-eyed snake--and still didn't see the conclusion.

"I would love to have seen them go their separate ways, but I was exhausted," the photographer said. "The frog was all the time trying to pull the snake off, but the snake just wouldn't let go.

"This frog is actually incredibly rare, which lends to the bizarre nature of the whole encounter," he said.

—Photograph by David Maitland/Wildlife Photographer of the Year


RELATED STORIES


Monday, July 13, 2009

Money

Money

by John Updike


Money is such a treat.
It takes up so little space.
It takes no more ink
for the bank to print $9,998
than to print $1,001.
It flows, electronically;
it does not gather dust.
Like water, it (dis)solves everything.
Oceanic, it is yet as lucid
as a mountain pool; the depositor
can see clear to the sandy bottom.
It is ubiquitous and under pressure, yet
pennies don't drip from faucets.

Money is so tidy, so neat.




It is freedom in action: when you
give a twenty-buck bill to the cabbie,
you don't tell him how to spend it.
He can blow it on coke,
for all you care. All you care
about is your change. No wonder
the ex-Communists are dizzy. In
the old Soviet Union
there was nothing to buy,
nothing to spend. It was freedom
of a kind, but not our kind. We need
money, the dull electric thrill
when the automatic teller spits out
the disposable receipt.


"Money" by John Updike, from Americana and Other Poems. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.


Holding up the World

(A very strong) son of a friend.
Click on image to enlarge.

Mt. Gray, Co


Death Valley

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Torreys, CO

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Black Islands

Black Islands

by Martin Espada


for Darío

At Isla Negra,
between Neruda's tomb
and the anchor in the garden,
a man with stonecutter's hands
lifted up his boy of five
so the boy's eyes could search mine.
The boy's eyes were black olives.
Son, the father said, this is a poet,
like Pablo Neruda
.
The boy's eyes were black glass.
My son is called Darío,
for the poet of Nicaragua
,
the father said.
The boy's eyes were black stones.
The boy said nothing,
searching my face for poetry,
searching my eyes for his own eyes.
The boy's eyes were black islands.



"Black Islands" by Martín Espada, from The Republic of Poetry. © W.W. Norton & Company, 2006.

Laurent Korcia: From Film Score To Fiddle

clipped from www.npr.org

Laurent Korcia: From Film Score To Fiddle


Weekend Edition Sunday,
July 12, 2009 -

To Listen to this story Click Here.

Laurent Korcia, playing his 1719 Stradivarius, is perhaps best known for his interpretations of Bartok or Chausson with the world's great symphony orchestras. But there is another side to the young and handsome French violinist. He may have studied at the fancy Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, but Korcia can make his fiddle swing in music by Django Reinhardt, Astor Piazzolla or Michel Legrand.


Violinist Laurent Korcia

Laurent Korcia's love for cinema has inspired him to compose a film score and record a new disc of classic movie melodies.



On Korcia's new CD, Cinema, he pays homage to classic movie music from the past 100 years — from Disney's Snow White to Breakfast at Tiffany's to Cinema Paradiso.


"I go to movie theaters often," Korcia says. "There have been so many great composers for cinema, from the classic Prokofiev and Shostakovich to people like Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, Bernard Herrmann and Korngold."


From the early days of cinema, Korcia's new disc includes the song "Smile," from Charlie Chaplin's 1936 classic, Modern Times. Chaplin himself wrote the melody.


To listen to "Smile" Click Here.


"I absolutely adore Charlie Chaplin for everything he did," Korcia admits. "His melody has so much charm, and it's very sentimental and naive music, but so touching."


Korcia crafted some of the arrangements on the new recording, but left "Smile" to speak for itself.


"My intention was not to make out of this theme something spectacular, or with any improvisation in it, because I felt it should keep this simple element. I tried to be as transparent as I could be."


Korcia also plays the melancholy theme from the 1988 Italian film Cinema Paradiso, by director Giuseppe Tornatore. For Korcia, the most important scene in the movie involves the lead character, who returns to an old movie house where a flood of memories overtakes him — with help from that haunting melody.


To listen to theme Click Here.


"That's why I wanted to record this collection of movie themes," Korcia explains, "because it has the power to make us come back to something that disappeared."




Tuesday, July 7, 2009


(At least not in our lifetime.)


Monday, July 6, 2009

Chamber Music NW Instant Encore

clipped from www.cmnw.org
Listen


Click Here to hear performances from our 2009 Summer Festival!

You can also check out performances from past seasons on our page at Instant Encore.



Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Warm Summer in San Francisco

A Warm Summer in San Francisco

by Carolyn Miller


Although I watched and waited for it every day,
somehow I missed it, the moment when everything reached
the peak of ripeness. It wasn't at the solstice; that was only
the time of the longest light. It was sometime after that, when
the plants had absorbed all that sun, had taken it into themselves
for food and swelled to the height of fullness. It was in July,
in a dizzy blaze of heat and fog, when on some nights
it was too hot to sleep, and the restaurants set half their tables
on the sidewalks; outside the city, down the coast,
the Milky Way floated overhead, and shooting stars
fell from the sky over the ocean. One day the garden
was almost overwhelmed with fruition:
My sweet peas struggled out of the raised bed onto the mulch
of laurel leaves and bark and pods, their brilliantly colored
sunbonnets of rose and stippled pink, magenta and deep purple
pouring out a perfume that was almost oriental. Black-eyed Susans
stared from the flower borders, the orange cherry tomatoes
were sweet as candy, the fruit fattened in its swaths of silk,
hummingbirds spiraled by in pairs, the bees gave up



and decided to live in the lavender. At the market,
surrounded by black plums and rosy plums and sugar prunes
and white-fleshed peaches and nectarines, perfumey melons
and mangos, purple figs in green plastic baskets,
clusters of tiny Champagne grapes and piles of red-black cherries
and apricots freckled and streaked with rose, I felt tears
come into my eyes, absurdly, because I knew
that summer had peaked and was already passing
away. I felt very close then to understanding
the mystery; it seemed to me that I almost knew
what it meant to be alive, as if my life had swelled
to some high moment of response, as if I could
reach out and touch the season, as if I were inside
its body, surrounded by sweet pulp and juice,
shimmering veins and ripened skin.


"A Warm Summer in San Francisco" by Carolyn Miller, from Light, Moving. © Sixteen Rivers Press, 2009.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

How to buy friends and alienate people

clipped from baselinescenario.com

The Baseline Scenario


How to buy friends and alienate people


The banking industry is exceeding all expectations. The biggest players are raking in profits and planning much higher compensation so far this year, on the back of increased market share (wouldn't you like two of your major competitors to go out of business?). And banks in general are managing to project widely a completely negative attitude towards all attempts to protect consumers.






















This is a dangerous combination for the industry, yet it is not being handled well. Just look at the current strategy of the American Bankers' Association.


Edward L. Yingling is justifiably proud of his organization's postion as one of the country's most powerful lobbies.


His testimony to Congress on the potential new Consumer Financial Protection Agency plainly shows where his group stands. The most revealing quote, highlighted in the ABA's own press release, reads:


"It is now widely understood that the current economic situation originated primarily in the largely unregulated non-bank sector," he said. "Banks watched as mortgage brokers and others made loans to consumers that a good banker just would not make and they now face the prospect of another burdensome layer of regulation aimed primarily at their less-regulated or unregulated competitors. It is simply unfair to inflict another burden on these banks that had nothing to do with the problems that were created."


The premise here is false. If major banks had really not been involved in the mortgage fiasco, we would not have had to roughly double our national debt-to-GDP in order to save the US and world economy.


Within the banking community, and presumably within the ABA's membership, there is serious tension. The small banks feel – overall with some justification – that the essence of the recent problem was not about them. But they can't bring themselves to suggest publicly that the economic and political power of the largest banks should be curtailed.


Small banks have always had clout in the American political system, particularly when they work through the Senate. But we have not always had our current kind of crisis. The executives of these banks lived comfortably in the 1950s and 1960s; their kind of banking was boring, stable, and nicely remunerated.


It is the changing nature and power of the largest financial institutions – banks of various kinds – that has damaged our system since the 1980s; the rise in financial services compensation is part symptom and part pathogen. Big banks present the major risk going forward – to both the economy in general and to smaller banks in particular.


Most banks are "small enough to fail" (seven closed yesterday). It is absolutely not in their interest to have some banks that are perceived to be "too big to fail" and to ever re-run any version of the last two years.


The ABA should be discussing and addressing this issue. Instead, it is making all banks unpopular by opposing sensible legislation aimed at protecting consumers – look at the public relations context provided, for example, by Citi's recent move on credit cards.


The ABA's leadership needs to quickly rethink its approach.


By Simon Johnson

July 4

Poetic newspaper



clipped from www.npr.org
At Newspaper, Poets Report For A Day


Weekend Edition Saturday, July 4, 2009 ·

Host Scott Simon interviews Dov Alfon, editor of the Israeli daily newspaper, Ha'aretz, about a recent reportorial experiment: he told all of his reporters to stay home for a day, and invited high-profile authors and poets to write the news.

Weather report: Summer is the pencil that is least sharp in the season's pencil case.

To listen to the story Click Here.