Friday, May 30, 2008

Energy and Commerce Committee Releases Climate Change White Paper
"The Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality are issuing a series of Climate Change Legislative Design White Papers as the next step toward enactment of an economy-wide climate change program. The fourth White Paper, released today, is entitled Getting the Most Greenhouse Gas Reductions for Our Money. The White Paper discusses ways to keep costs as low as possible while still achieving environmental goals." Related postings on climate change

Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States
News release: "The U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) today released Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.3 (SAP 4.3): The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States. The CCSP integrates the federal research efforts of 13 agencies on climate and global change. Today's report is one of the most extensive examinations of climate impacts on U.S. ecosystems. USDA is the lead agency for this report and coordinated its production as part of its commitment to CCSP."
At What Point Does Silence Become Malpractice? Suppose you’re working on a client matter and you mess something up — say, miss a filing date. How long can you wait before you must tell the client about it?
According to this story, from the Recorder, that’s the issue bubbling to the surface of a suit filed by Landmark Screens against its patent lawyer, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partner Thomas Kohler. Landmark Screens — whose picture-changing billboard can be seen on Highway 101 near San Carlos, Calif. — filed a malpractice suit against Kohler accusing Kohler of messing up a patent application. Here’s the complaint.
WSJ Law Blog May 29, 2008

FEC Launches Enhanced Presidential Campaign Finance Map
News release: "The Federal Election Commission (FEC/the Commission) has introduced a new and improved version of its Presidential Campaign Finance map...the map now includes detailed information on each candidate’s campaign expenditures. It also provides a number of enhanced viewing and searching options for information about campaign contributors. The upgraded map is an easy-to-use online tool for obtaining detailed information about the Presidential campaigns and how they spend their money, including the payee name, purpose, date and amount of each campaign expenditure. These improved features were included on similar maps for U.S. House and Senate campaigns that were added to the FEC web site late last year."
"Campaign finance information is now available via easy to use maps of the USA for both Presidential and House and Senate Elections through the most recent reporting period".

Nonprofit Group To Add Its Rankings To Crowded Field, By Anna Wilde Mathews: "The nonprofit Consumers Union is launching a new hospital-ratings service, adding to the growing competition to provide online consumer information about health care. The effort by the publisher of the popular Consumer Reports magazine is a gamble that the credibility of the magazine's name and its no-advertising stance, identified with widely used ratings for cars and other products, can translate into the tricky field of health care, where doctors and other providers have objected to some evaluations proposed by insurers."

To nature
It has ten eyes, it has an anti-infection compound in its copper-based blood, it preceded the dinosaurs by more than 100 million years, it has remained basically unchanged for 245 million years, it was unregulated until 1999, it is the state marine mammal of Delaware, it is the horseshoe crab. See pictures at

Find all state animals at

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., jurist (1841-1935)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Gardener
by Donna Dean
May 27, 2008

Five flats of flowers,
All stacked in a tower,
Waiting for her hands
To pluck them from their stands.

Now hard at work,
Down in the dirt,
She toils all day,
Digging in the clay.

Her back is sore,
But there is more
To be planted today
In that hard old clay.

Her legs they shake
From the spade and rake.
Her muscles hurt
And her skin is burnt.

But she plants and plants,
While her two dogs dance,
Till the work is done
In the red hot sun.

To be out all day
In that hard old clay,
Planting lots of flowers,
Working hours and hours.

Then the flowers are all in
And she smiles with a grin,
As she looks around
At the plants in the ground.

All the tools put away,
At the end of the day,
She just heard them say
A frost is coming our way!

To nature
The saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), a cactus, grows in the Sonoran desert of Arizona, California and Mexico, and can live up to 200 years. The stem is up to 90% water, and its ribs can expand to accommodate heavy rainfall. See pictures at:

Faithful reader responds to poem in his honor:
i did read that the other day
and i felt the urge to say
what an honor bestowed
where er i go-ed
pebble pebble, pebble pebble AWAY!

i would have replied sooner but had..... golf league last night

Charlotte, North Carolina was the only U.S. metropolitan area to record a first-quarter gain in housing prices among the 20 markets tracked by Standard & Poor's.

Lake Erie fishing and regulation—commercial vs. sports
April 6, 2008:
May 14, 2008:
May 26, 2008:

The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign InvestmentSource: Congressional Research Service (via OpenCRS)
The Exon-Florio provision grants the President the authority to block proposed or pending foreign acquisitions of “persons engaged in interstate commerce in the United States”that threaten to impair the national security. This provision came under intense scrutiny with the proposed acquisitions in 2006 of major operations in six major U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World and of Unocal by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). The debate that followed reignited longstanding differences among Members of Congress and between the Congress and the administration over the role foreign acquisitions play in U.S. national security.
Full Report (PDF; 158 KB) Permalink

Post-Derby Tragedy, 38% Support Banning Animal RacingSource: Gallup
Relatively few Americans advocate going so far as to accord animals the same legal rights as humans, although a large majority do favor affording animals some protection. A large majority also favor strict laws on treatment of farm animals. Substantial minorities of Americans go so far as to advocate an outright ban on horse and dog racing, and on the use of animals for medical testing and research. Permalink

Louisiana has six licensed vineyards and a law requiring small wineries to find their own distributors.
Pontchartrain Vineyards--north of New Orleans, across Lake Pontchartrain--is the only winery in the state producing table wines exclusively from traditional wine grapes. The others produce wine from Muscadine or other non-grape fruits. "I have a very simple goal: to turn out a really good local wine that people can enjoy with our really good local food," John Seago said.
"On no level of the state is there interest," he said. "It's very discouraging. I'm growing a few vines here, and in Texas they are growing an industry." Neighboring Texas has 158 commercial wineries and 3,700 acres of family owned vineyard land contributing to a $1 billion economic impact, according to the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association.
Texas is now the fifth-largest wine producing state, behind California, Washington, New York and Oregon. There are wineries in all 50 states now.
Pontchartrain Vineyards produces nine wines, three whites, a rose, and five reds. One of the reds, the Rouge Militaire, is from grapes grown at the vineyard. The others are made from grapes Seago imports.
Pontchartrain Vineyards averages about 2,000 cases of wine per year, 12 bottles to a case. It has produced up to 2,900 cases. Pontchartrain products are available in south Louisiana supermarkets and restaurants in the area. They also sell through their Web site.

Good use of white space means easy reading, and that helpful space between lines of text is called leading (pronouncing LEDD-ing).

Old Glory, by Jonathan Raban, is a travel classic without Himalayan ascents, exotic foods or dangerous encounters in distant lands. Instead, it's a meander through the middle of America, by a bookish man who loiters at shabby taverns in has-been towns. It brings alive an unsung world and reminds us that great travel doesn't require a passport, or even a plane ticket. The potential for weird and wonderful encounters is all around us.
Listen to entire piece at NPR.

May 28 is the birthday of the man who created James Bond, novelist Ian Fleming, (books by this author) born in London, England (1908). He wanted to be a diplomat, but he failed the Foreign Office examination and decided to go into journalism. He worked for the Reuters News Service in London, Moscow, and Berlin, and then during World War II, he served as the assistant to the British director of naval intelligence.
After the war, he bought a house in Jamaica, where he spent his time fishing and gambling and bird watching. He started to get bored, so he decided to try writing a novel about a secret agent. He named the agent James Bond after the author of a bird-watching book. The first Bond novel, Casino Royale (1953), sold about 7,000 copies, and Fleming followed it with four more that sold less and less well. He was disappointed that these books weren't making more money to help support the family, so for his next Bond story, he wrote the book specifically for the movies. He filled it with more psychopaths and beautiful women than usual. No one in the movie industry was interested at the time, but the novel From Russia, with Love (1957) became a huge international best seller.
The Writer’s Almanac
Incidentally, a “new” James Bond story Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks has been released.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

written by Martha Esbin for a faithful reader

Johnny went to Pebble Beach.
He took a chance without advance
reservations at the golf course.
Pebble pebble.

Johnny went to Pebble Beach.
He could have pranced! He could have danced!
A canceled reservation meant he could play golf at
Pebble pebble.

Johnny took his cell phone
and called his friends.
“Where do you think I am?
Playing golf at Pebble Beach.”

Many a month has come and gone.
Johnny’s tale spins on and on.
Pebble pebble.

Note: Johnny is a nickname for a graduate of St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo.

How loud is too loud?
A decibel comparison chart with volume levels of various sources and how they can affect hearing. Includes OSHA daily permissible noise level exposure.
100 decibels is considered a tolerable limit.
High frequency sounds are the most damaging.
One-third of the total power of a 75-piece orchestra comes from the bass drum.
Taking care of one’s hearing is an important health factor.
When you pull out all the stops, let it not be mind-numbing.
The American Organist June 2008

What is a decibel? Includes Occupational health and safety and the law.

Eponym: tartuffe (tahr-TOOF) noun
A hypocrite who feigns virtue, especially in religious matters.
[After the main character in Tartuffe, a play by Molière, pen name of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622-1673). As if to prove themselves, the religious authorities in Paris had the play banned soon after it was introduced.]

To your health
Brush oil on bread, pita or tortilla. Sprinkle spices, seeds or herbs on top of the oil.

Important dates
May 24: birthday of novelist Michael Chabon, (books by this author) born in Washington, D.C. (1963). He was just 23 when he wrote his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. He turned it in as his master's thesis in a creative writing program. He turned it in on a Friday. On Monday he heard that his professor had sent it to an agent. The book was published the following year, in 1988. It was a big success. He was compared to Fitzgerald and John Cheever. He was asked to model clothing for The Gap. People magazine wanted to include him in its list of "50 Most Beautiful People." He turned down both offers.
May 25: It was on this day in 1787, at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, that the Constitutional Convention got underway. Many people agreed that the Articles of Confederation under which the colonies organized after the revolution was not working. The colonies had remained relatively independent of each other, almost like separate countries, and the result was a sort of anarchy.
So the Congress agreed that a stronger central government was necessary to keep the country from falling apart. Thomas Jefferson was not there. He was in Paris. John Adams was in England. Patrick Henry refused to come. He was suspicious that a stronger form of central government would lead to tyranny. Fifty-five delegates were there of 74 who had been invited to come. Most of them were young; only six of them over 60, four of them still in their 20s. Rhode Island didn't send anybody. They didn't approve of the whole thing.
It took some persuading to get the Constitution adopted, but today ours is the oldest written national constitution in the world. It's also one of the shortest, at only 7,591 words.
The Writer’s Almanac

Friday, May 23, 2008

See Lawrence Lessig’s op-ed in the New York Times on the proposed Orphaned Works Act. Congress is considering a major reform of copyright law intended to solve the problem of “orphan works” — those works whose owner cannot be found. The problem of orphan works is real. It was caused by a fundamental shift in the architecture of copyright law. Before 1978, copyright was an opt-in system, granting protection only to those who registered and renewed their copyright, and only if they marked their creative work with the famous ©. But three decades ago, Congress created an opt-out system. Copyright protection is now automatic, and it extends for almost a century, whether the author wants or needs it or even knows that his work is regulated by federal law.
The current bill pending before Congress, which Lessig calls “unfair and unwise,” would excuse copyright infringers from significant damages if they can prove that they made a diligent effort to find the copyright owner. The problem, explains Lessig, is that it’s unclear precisely what must be done by either the infringer or the copyright owner seeking to avoid infringement.
WSJ Law Blog May 20, 2008 NYT May 20, 2008

New Report: Oil Companies' Record Profits Going to Execs and Stock Buybacks, Leaving Energy Alternatives Behind
As oil prices recently reached an all-time high of $130 a barrel for light sweet crude, a new report details decisions by the big five oil companies to use record-breaking corporate profits to boost executive compensation and prop up their stock price with rich stock buy-backs. The report, produced by the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, found that even as American consumers suffer declines in real income and purchasing power, executive pay and shareholder dividends in the oil industry have far outpaced investment in new oil discoveries or alternative energy. The committee looked at executive pay and stock purchases at ExxonMobil, British Petroleum, Shell, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron, which combined made $123 billion last year. Big Oil: Where Have All the Profits Gone? Staff Report. May 21, 2008

New on LLRX
The Government Domain: Plain Language in Government Communications: Peggy Garvin demonstrates the impact of the Plain Language in Government Communications Act of 2008 on the accessibility of content posted on e-government websites.
Published May 20, 2008

Sect children improperly seized
A Texas state court of appeals ruled that the state of Texas had no right to seize more than 400 children from its compound in April. Here are reports from the NYT, the Houston Chronicle, Reuters and the AP. Click here for a copy of the ruling. Click here and here for NYT and AP stories on the initial removal of the children.
WSJ Law Blog May 22, 2008

"This is an adventure you will never forget until the day you die."
A story from The Writers and Readers Festival in New Zealand.

Law is purple and library science is lemon in the world of academic regalia hood colors. Information on multiple degrees and unlisted degrees, along with a color chart is here:
American institutions have a standard code of academic dress, but European universities show great diversity in their academic apparel. In America, the bachelor’s hood is three feet long with a two-inch border—master’s is three and one-half feet long with a three-inch border, and doctor’s is four feet long with a five-inch border. Individuals in academic processions usually wear the gown appropriate to their highest degree. However, members of the board of trustees may wear doctoral gowns with hoods appropriate to the degree actually held.
Bucknell University 158th commencement program May 18, 2008

To your health
Pour small amount of lemon or lime juice combined with small amount of oil on rice, barley or pasta. Garnish with fresh herbs or chopped vegetables.

If you live in northern Ohio, or are passing through on your travels, stop in lovely Vermilion on Lake Erie. The Zagat Survey has judged Vermilion’s Chez Francois (440/967-0630) as the highest-rated restaurant for food and service in the greater Cleveland area, and its wine program has been given “The Best of Award of Excellence” by The Wine Spectator for the tenth consecutive year. Its Riverfront Café was voted second best waterfront dining in America by Power and Motor Yacht magazine in 2006.

Zagat (pronounced zuh-GAHT) Survey, the guide empire that started as a hobby for attorneys Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979 as a two-page typed list of New York restaurants compiled from reviews from friends, now reviews and ranks hotels, nightlife, golf courses, spas and more.
See interview with Tim Zagat at JD Bliss Blog:

More about attractions in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, situated 163 miles from New York City and 123 miles from Washington, DC
James Buchanan’s Wheatland (resides on a little over four acres of land, with gardens in which plants, vegetables and herbs are growing, the same things from President Buchanan's time in the 19th century)
Lancaster Quilt and Textile Museum (housed in bank that failed in the Great Depression and then was vacant for 50 years before restoration) and The Heritage Center Museum (collects, preserves, and interprets Lancaster County Pennsylvania's history and decorative arts)

May 23 birthdays
Margaret Wise Brown, (books by this author) born in Brooklyn (1910). She wrote Goodnight Moon.

Jane Kenyon, (books by this author) born in Ann Arbor (1947), who spent the last days of her life working on her last collection of poems, Otherwise.

It's the birthday of the man who gave us the system of classifying and naming all the living things on the planet, Carolus Linnaeus, born in Råshult, Sweden (1707).
When he published his taxonomy in 1758, he listed 4,400 species known to science at the time. Today there are more than one and a half million.
The Writer’s Almanac

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New on
Keeping Up with Class Actions: Reports, Legal Sites and Blogs of Note - "Staying current on the latest cases and news in the area of class actions can be challenging, but Russell Scott's guide to reliable subscription based publications, free legal sites and blogs that offer timely news, analysis and selected copies of court filings, is a valuable resource.” Published May 19, 2008

Preserving Legal Information: The Chesapeake Project's First-Year Evaluation
"The Chesapeake Project began as a two-year (2007-2008) pilot digital preservation program established to preserve and ensure permanent access to vital legal information currently available in digital formats on the World Wide Web. The purpose of The Chesapeake Project is to successfully develop and implement a program to stabilize, preserve, and ensure permanent access to critical born-digital legal materials. The goal is to establish the beginnings of a strong regional digital archive collection of U.S. legal materials as well as a sound set of standards, policies, and best practices that have the potential to serve as a model for the future realization of a nationwide digital preservation program. See Legal Information Archive: The Chesapeake Project, First Year Evaluation." [via Sarah J. Rhodes]

63 Million U.S. Adults Mostly or Only Use Wireless Phones
Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, July-December 2007.
"Preliminary results from the July-December 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that nearly one out of every six American homes (15.8%) had only wireless telephones during the second half of 2007. In addition, more than one out of every eight American homes (13.1%) received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite having a landline telephone in the home. This report presents the most up-to-date estimates available from the federal government concerning the size and characteristics of these populations."

Give a book 50 pages before deciding whether to continue reading. Read the advice of Nancy Pearl, model for the librarian action figure.

Wind Energy Could Produce 20 Percent of U.S. Electricity By 2030
News release: "The U.S Department of Energy (DOE) today released a first-of-its kind report that examines the technical feasibility of harnessing wind power to provide up to 20 percent of the nation’s total electricity needs by 2030. Entitled 20 Percent Wind Energy by 2030 (248 pages, PDF), the report identifies requirements to achieve this goal including reducing the cost of wind technologies, citing new transmission infrastructure, and enhancing domestic manufacturing capability. Most notably, the report identifies opportunities for 7.6 cumulative gigatons of CO2 to be avoided by 2030, saving 825 million metric tons in 2030 and every year thereafter if wind energy achieves 20 percent of the nation’s electricity mix."

A faithful reader has come back from Tennessee where she attended a 58th annual wildflower pilgrimage, an annual five-day event in Great Smoky Mountains National Park consisting of a variety of wildflower, fauna, and natural history walks, motorcades, photographic tours, art classes, and indoor seminars. Most programs are outdoors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while indoor offerings are held in various venues throughout Gatlinburg.

If you receive the muse at work, and prefer to read it in the comfort of home, please send me your home e-mail address and I’ll switch the addresses.

dundrearies (dun-DREER-eez) noun
Long flowing sideburns.
[After the bushy sideburns worn by actor Edward A. Sothern who played the part of Lord Dundreary in the play Our American Cousin (1858), written by Tom Taylor (1817-1880). This was the play being performed at Ford's Theatre in Washington DC during which Abraham Lincoln was shot.]

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You may remember that we bought a transponder from Illinois because they are not yet available in Ohio. We christened it last week, driving through toll booths without needing tickets on the way to Lancaster, Pennsylvania—visiting two museums in its quaint downtown. Lancaster County was created on May 10, 1729 and named for Lancashire, England. Some famous county residents include James Buchanan, 15th president of the U.S., and Robert Fulton, father of the steamboat. Lancaster City was the capital of the U.S. for one day when the Continental Congress met there on September 27, 1777 before moving to York. The city was the capital of Pennsylvania from 1799 until 1812. Frank W. Woolworth built his first "5 and 10" in Lancaster in 1879, and Milton Hershey started his chocolate business there. Around 1800, it was the largest inland town in America.

We then drove east to Blue Bell to visit family where, at our request, hoagies were waiting. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, try these Italian sandwiches. There are several stories of how the sandwich got its name, and the most widely accepted story centers on an area of Philadelphia known as Hog Island, which was home to a shipyard during World War I (1914-1918). The Italian immigrants working there would bring giant sandwiches made with cold cuts, spices, oil, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and peppers for their lunches. These workers were nicknamed “hoggies.” Over the years, the name was attached to the sandwiches, but under a different spelling.
Then, we headed west to Lewisburg for the Bucknell University graduation of our granddaughter. According to their Web site, Bucknell, founded in 1846, is the nation's largest private liberal arts university, and is one of the first universities to introduce computer science into its curriculum--in 1957.

Conrad Jacoby's E-Discovery Update: Attorneys, Experts, and E-Discovery Competence

"No industrialized economy is as reliant on oil, or as obsessed with gasoline prices, as the United States, the world’s biggest consumer of oil. But the oil market is largely immune to Washington’s machinations, and prices have more than quadrupled over the last six years for reasons that are increasingly disconnected from what happens in the United States. The reality is that oil is a globally traded commodity, and Americans must pay international prices to get their share. And those prices reflect the fact that global supplies are stretched and struggling to meet a booming demand that is being driven by growth in developing countries, notably China and India. This has left the world with a very slim cushion of extra production."

Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General Semiannual Report to Congress, March 2, 2008 (42 pages, PDF)
"This report summarizes the work we have completed and initiated during this semiannual period on a number of important departmental activities, for example, NOAA’s progress on the latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites and its efforts to protect marine resources under the National Marine Sanctuary Program; real property at NOAA and personal property management at USPTO; and the outcomes of the annual financial statements audits for the Department and USPTO. In addition, our investigative activities resulted in 14 convictions and more than $12 million in fines, restitutions, and recoveries."

Eight former executives AOL Time Warner execs have been sued by the SEC for fraud. The complaint, filed today in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges they took part in a scheme that caused the company to overstate its online advertising revenue by more than $1 billion.
WSJ Law Blog May 19, 2008

Key Figures on European business - 2008 Edition
News release: The publication consists of fourteen short chapters, focusing on particular aspects of the European business economy; from the size and structure of business sectors to the importance of foreign controlled enterprises.

What to do in Charlotte:
What to do in Columbus:
What to do in Tampa:
What to do in Toledo:
Restoration story in Vistula, Toledo’s first neighborhood:
You are invited to send restoration stories in your area to the muse for publication.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Churches and Campaign Activity: Analysis Under Tax and Campaign Finance Laws Source: Congressional Research Service (via OpenCRS)
Churches and other houses of worship qualify for tax-exempt status as Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) organizations. One qualification for 501(c)(3) status is that these organizations may not participate in political campaign activity. They are permitted under the tax laws to engage in other political activities (e.g., distribute voter guides and invite candidates to speak at church functions) so long as such activity does not support or oppose a candidate. Additionally, church leaders may engage in campaign activity in their capacity as private individuals without negative tax consequences to the church. The tax code’s political campaign prohibition is sometimes referred to as the “Johnson Amendment,” after then-Senator Lyndon Johnson, who introduced the provision as an amendment to the Revenue Act of 1954. While some have argued the prohibition violates churches’ free exercise and free speech rights under the First Amendment, the two federal courts of appeals to address the issue have reached the opposite conclusion. Separate from the prohibition in the tax code, the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) may also restrict the ability of churches to engage in electioneering activities. Legislation introduced in the 110th Congress, H.R. 2275, would repeal the political campaign prohibition in the tax code. If this bill were enacted into law, churches could engage in campaign activities without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status, but they would still be subject to applicable campaign finance laws. This report examines the restrictions imposed on campaign activity by churches under tax and campaign finance laws, discusses recent IRS inquiries into such activity, and analyzes H.R. 2275.
+ Full Report (PDF; 117 KB) Permalink

“Every vowel is a diphthong except e—and in Texas even e is a diphthong.”
Native Texan Gerre Hancock as he was leading a workshop in Toledo

diph·thong noun
Etymology: Middle English diptonge, from Middle French diptongue, from Late Latin dipthongus, from Greek diphthongos, from di- + phthongos voice, sound
Date: 15th century
a gliding monosyllabic speech sound (as the vowel combination at the end of toy) that starts at or near the articulatory position for one vowel and moves to or toward the position of another

Q. What is an oscine?
A. A songbird

Remember to use Google as a dictionary—here is the result for define passerine.

At the Museum of the North, on the grounds of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, the composer John Luther Adams has created a sound-and-light installation called “The Place Where You Go to Listen”—a kind of infinite musical work that is controlled by natural events occurring in real time. The mechanism of “The Place” translates raw data into music: information from seismological, meteorological, and geomagnetic stations in various parts of Alaska is fed into a computer and transformed into an intricate, vibrantly colored field of electronic sound.
“The Place” occupies a small white-walled room on the museum’s second floor. You sit on a bench before five glass panels, which change color according to the time of day and the season. What you notice first is a dense, organlike sonority, which Adams has named the Day Choir. In overcast weather, the harmonies are relatively narrow in range; when the sun comes out, they stretch across four octaves. After the sun goes down, a darker, moodier set of chords, the Night Choir, moves to the forefront. Pulsating patterns in the bass, which Adams calls Earth Drums, are activated by small earthquakes and other seismic events around Alaska. And shimmering sounds in the extreme registers—the Aurora Bells—are tied to the fluctuations in the magnetic field that cause the Northern Lights.

London Bridge is Curling Up

London Bridge is Rolling Up

May 13 is the birthday of novelist and travel writer Bruce Chatwin, (books by this author) born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England (1940). His father took him on trips when Chatwin was a boy, and he later became an archeologist, traveling to Africa and Afghanistan. He began writing a column for the London Times, and then decided to go off to Patagonia. There he collected the material for what would become his first book, In Patagonia (1977).
The Writer’s Almanac

Monday, May 12, 2008

First class postage rate increases to 42 cents effective Monday, May 12.

Dead Girls Are Easy, by Terri Garey, sister of Tampa paralegal Pam Talley, has been nominated for Best First Book and Best Paranormal Romance by Romance Writers of America.

New GAO Reports (PDFs) Source: Government Accountability Office 9 May 2008
1. Offshore Marine Aquaculture: Multiple Administrative and Environmental Issues Need to Be Addressed in Establishing a U.S. Regulatory Framework2. Federal Real Property: Corps of Engineers Needs to Improve the Reliability of Its Real Property Disposal Data Permalink

National Archives Creates Plan for Online Access to Founding Fathers Papers
News release: "On Tuesday, May 6, 2008, Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein submitted a report, entitled The Founders Online, to the Committees on Appropriations of the U.S. Congress. This report is the National Archives response to concerns raised by the Committees that the complete papers of America’s Founding Fathers are not available online.

Excess production of books
“We'd like to see them reduced, not only for the environmental impact but for the fact that pulling returns, boxing them and shipping is one of the most time-consuming things our employees do.'' Overproduction of books leads to many of them ending up in landfills, and an entirely new system is needed.

On May 9, 1933, under orders from Chancellor Adolf Hitler, university students (first in Berlin, then throughout Germany) collected books from the libraries and other collections—stole them, really—that were considered un-German. On May 10th (and on the days following throughout the fatherland) thousands of books were thrown onto bonfires. Heinrich Heine, the 18th century poet whose books were consigned to the fires that day, prophesied a century earlier: "Where books are burned, in the end people are also burned."
M-W Word for the Wise

pa·limp·sest noun
Etymology: Latin palimpsestus, from Greek palimpsēstos scraped again, from palin + psēn to rub, scrape; akin to Sanskrit psāti, babhasti he chews
Date: 1825
writing material (as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased

Strive for success by learning to
Set boundaries, and respect those of others.

Reminder: Do not pass on mass messages that warn against products, individuals, or groups. These are usually hoaxes or “urban legends” and may contain viruses. Much of what is on Internet is invalid, outdated or biased. Delete without opening “must read, must share” messages.

May 12 is the birthday of the man who has been called "the father of nonsense," Edward Lear, (books by this author) born in London, England (1812). He went to school only briefly, and then, as a teenager, began to support himself painting shop signs for local merchants and sketching diseased patients for medical textbooks.
At the time, there was a fad for books of illustrated birds, so Edward Lear got into that business and became one of the most successful bird illustrators in the industry. Among his clients was Charles Darwin, who had Lear illustrate the specimens he brought back from his trip on the H.M.S. Beagle.
In 1832, the Earl of Darby invited Lear to come to his estate and paint all the animals in his private zoo, the largest private zoo in the world at the time. Lear agreed, and when he arrived at the estate, he wound up spending most of his free time with the Earl's grandchildren. Lear had never spent any time with children before, and he found that they brought out a whole different side of his personality. He began acting like a clown for them, singing songs, drawing cartoons, and making up humorous poems. The children loved the poems so much that he wrote them down and they became his Book of Nonsense (1846).
The Writer’s Almanac

Friday, May 9, 2008

EPA OIG Semiannual Report to Congress, October 1, 2007 - March 31, 2008 (72 pages, PDF)

Employer Health Costs In a Global Economy - A Competitive Disadvantage For U.S. Firms, By Len Nichols, Sarah Axeen, New America Foundation, May 2008: "Although most Americans get health insurance through their employers, business leaders are increasingly united in their belief that rising health care costs threaten America’s competitiveness in the global economy. Business support for comprehensive health reform has been growing as a result."

“Happy Birthday to You" is the best-known and most frequently sung song in the world. Many--including Justice Breyer in his dissent in Eldred v. Ashcroft--have portrayed it as an unoriginal work that is hardly worthy of copyright protection, but nonetheless remains under copyright. Yet close historical scrutiny reveals both of those assumptions to be false. The song that became "Happy Birthday to You," originally written with different lyrics as "Good Morning to All," was the product of intense creative labor, undertaken with copyright protection in mind. However, it is almost certainly no longer under copyright, due to a lack of evidence about who wrote the words; defective copyright notice; and a failure to file a proper renewal application.
document and sound files

List of companies with phone numbers to reach customer service

gargantuan (gar-GAN-choo-uhn) adjective
[After Gargantua, a voracious giant, the father of Pantagruel, in a series of novels by François Rabelais (c. 1490-1553).]

Mesmerized by M words—nouns transformed

To Mom with Love
Donna Dean
April 30, 2008

So many memories she has given,
Made my life so worth living.
Handmade clothes for me to wear
And she always did my hair.

Home cooked meals and cookies too,
Kindness in her eyes of blue.
Made our house a real home.
Took the time to teach her own.

Soft and gentle, but firm was she.
Where could a better mother be?
There were four of us to rear,
But she always had good cheer.

Now we’re grown and looking back,
We can see what great impact.
Nothing ever could compare
To the love that she had shared.

All of us were truly blessed,
That’s our Mom, she gave her best!

May 9 is the birthday of poet Charles Simic, (books by this author) born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1938). He described the war years when he was a child in Yugoslavia as "pure hell." He said, "Germans and the Allies took turns dropping bombs on my head while I played with my collection of lead soldiers on the floor. I would go boom, boom, and then they would go boom, boom.” When he was 15, his family moved to Paris. "My travel agents were Hitler and Stalin," he said.
The next year, he and his mother reunited with his father by joining him in New York. "If you came to New York in 1954, it was incredible. Europe was still gray; there were still ruins. New York was just dazzling. The family moved to a suburb outside of Chicago, and Simic attended the same high school in Oak Park that Hemingway did. He was appointed U.S. Poet Laureate in 2007.
When asked by an interviewer what advice he'd give to people looking to be happy, he said, "For starters, learn how to cook."
The Writer’s Almanac

Thursday, May 8, 2008

States Create Data Warehouse for Student Info. From Kindergarten Onward
Huge Databases Offer a Research Gold Mine — and Privacy Worries As states create warehouses of information about students, scholars see opportunities to assess the effectiveness of education. The fusion-center debate has an echo in the world of education research. Now that Congress has rejected the idea of a national "unit-record tracking" system for student data, scholars and policy analysts are tantalized by the possibility that states will beef up their own education-data centers. The most celebrated example is Florida, which began in 2001 to assemble a "data warehouse" that allows officials to track a person's progress from kindergarten through graduate school and beyond, including postcollege wages and employment, military service, incarceration, and receipt of public assistance." [The Chronicle of Higher Education. Section: The Faculty, Volume 54, Issue 35, Page A10]

Federal Court Decides License Fees to Be Paid to ASCAP by AOL, RealNetworks and Yahoo!
ASCAP news release: "The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has made public a decision in the proceeding to determine reasonable license fees to be paid to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) by AOL (Time Warner Inc., RealNetworks Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. for their online performance of musical works.
The decision covers license fees for periods starting as far back as July 1, 2002, and continuing through December 31, 2009, for the performance of musical works in the ASCAP repertory by AOL, RealNetworks and Yahoo! Based on the formula established by the Court, the total payments to be made to ASCAP and its membership by these three services for that full period could reach $100 million. The Court's comprehensive 153 page decision was based on extensive evidence presented by both sides in the case regarding the online performance of musical works by AOL, RealNetworks and Yahoo!"

pantagruelian (pan-tuh-groo-EL-ee-uhn) adjective
1. Enormous
2. Displaying extravagant and coarse humor
[After Pantagruel, a giant king with an enormous appetite, depicted in a series of novels by François Rabelais (c. 1490-1553).]

Night by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow public domain
Into the darkness and the hush of night Slowly the landscape sinks, and fades away, And with it fade the phantoms of the day, The ghosts of men and things, that haunt the light.The crowd, the clamor, the pursuit, the flight, The unprofitable splendor and display, The agitations, and the cares that prey Upon our hearts, all vanish out of sight.The better life begins; the world no more Molests us; all its records we erase From the dull common-place book of our lives,That like a palimpsest is written o'er With trivial incidents of time and place, And lo! the ideal, hidden beneath, revives.

From a faithful reader
Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.
The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% --the percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%
The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour: 61,000
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
The San Francisco cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs - Alexander the Great
Diamonds - Julius Caesar

Mark Twain and the typewriter

Like most modern words, the word "golf" derives from older languages and dialects. In this case, the languages in question are medieval Dutch and old Scots. The medieval Dutch word "kolf" or "kolve" meant "club." It is believed that word passed to the Scots, whose old Scots dialect transformed the word into "golve," "gowl" or "gouf." By the 16th Century, the word "golf" had emerged.
Sources: British Golf Museum, USGA Library

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Unified Agenda, May 2008 Edition: "The Unified Agenda summarizes the rules and proposed rules that each Federal agency expects to issue during the next six months."
"Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735) and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 602) require that agencies publish semiannual regulatory agendas describing regulatory actions they are developing or have recently completed. Agencies of the United States Congress are not included. The agendas are published in the Federal Register, usually during April and October each year, as part of the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The Unified Agenda has appeared in the Federal Register twice each year since 1983 and is available electronically on GPO Access from 1994 forward."

Ohio AG Marc Dann on May 2 vowed at a news conference to stay in office and “repair the damage caused” by his affair with a staffer and an ensuing sexual-harassment investigation that ended with four people losing their jobs. Here are stories from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer and the AP. (HT: Above the Law) The Plain Dealer followed up with an editorial on Sunday calling for Dann’s resignation.
According to the Plain-Dealer, the affair with his 28-year-old former scheduler emerged out of a probe into harassment charges against one of his top managers. Dann partly blamed his inexperience and surprise at winning the 2006 election. “I was not as well prepared for office as I should have been, and I am heartbroken by that and I take responsibility for that,” he told the Plain-Dealer. That said, he’s apparently not sure whether he violated his own office policies by having the relationship, which he said came during a difficult time in his marriage.
“I don’t know what it [the policy] says,” an emotional Dann said at the news conference. “A consensual affair is not necessarily a violation of the sexual harassment policy in my office.”
WSJ Law Blog May 5, 2008

Ohio Democrats talk impeachment

Digital Directory for 800 Telephone Companies Sparks Concern
The Ultimate Little Black Book - One Firm Routes All Phone Calls in North America, by Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post.
"Sterling-based NeuStar is the carriers' digital directory for all phone calls in North America. More than 800 telephone companies have numbers in the database...NeuStar's databases are so powerful that the FBI a few years ago sought direct, unfettered access to one containing 310 million phone numbers in the United States and Canada. The telephone companies that pay NeuStar to run the database denied the FBI's request, but they did allow NeuStar to create a site where authorized law enforcement officials with court orders can obtain carrier information on telephone numbers. NeuStar is part of an evolving telecom industry that is creating caches of information attractive to the government without clear guidelines governing who may have access and under what circumstances. Its registries fall under international, U.S. government and trade association rules, including those set by the Federal Communications Commission."

Changes to the Old Bailey Website in April 2008
"The addition of the 100,000 trial accounts published between 1834 and 1913 represents the single biggest change to this website. We have, however, taken advantage of the opportunity to update many of the technical and historical features of the website and to introduce a new, improved overall design...The old website, last updated in November 2007, will remain available at a separate URL until December 2008, when it will be withdrawn."
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 - A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published

Charting An Average Consumer's Spending
New York Times chart and data - All of Inflation’s Little Parts: "Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics gathers 84,000 prices in about 200 categories — like gasoline, bananas, dresses and garbage collection — to form the Consumer Price Index, one measure of inflation. It’s among the statistics that the Federal Reserve considered when it cut interest rates on April 30. The categories are weighted according to an estimate of what the average American spends, as shown [in the chart]."

On May 6, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration to provide jobs for unemployed Americans during the Great Depression. More than 8.5 million people were paid an average monthly salary of $41.57 to build roads, paint murals, and record American folklore. Republicans called the WPA "We Pick Apples" or "We Piddle Around." When people asked why the government would give jobs to artists, Harry Hopkins, the man in charge of the program, said, "Hell! They've got to eat just like other people."
The Writer’s Almanac

A new column from the founder of Wordsmith: Sherbet With No R-tificial Ingredients

Q. What is the state bird of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia
A. The cardinal or redbird/red-bird/red bird or Virginia nightingale

Red Bird (lune)
function getDivNodeAja(id) { var divNode = document.getElementById(id);
for (i = 0;i
by Marianne M.
February 04, 2008

red bird against snow
scarlet flash
in winter's garden

LUNE: A thirteen syllable form arranged 5/3/5 in three lines, invented by Robert Kelly in the 1960s.

Tanka, renga, hokku and haiku
“In Japanese a haiku is traditionally 5-7-5 sound syllables. All languages cannot duplicate this method of counting syllables . . . “

Monday, May 5, 2008

We were in tiny, tidy Van Buren, Ohio this weekend and heard three choirs in the contest finals of the Ohio Music Educators Association. Being a few miles from Findlay, we again stopped at Stately Raven (rated “best bookstore in Ohio”) and Revolver Restaurant. I had meatloaf which I thought was always made with ground meat. To my surprise, it was made with shredded short ribs pressed together—very good. Also, it made a pretty picture with a few small carrot circles mixed in the loaf.

Sources of the Growth and Decline in Individual Income Tax Revenues Since 1994 (PDF; 167 KB) Source: Congressional Budget Office
Federal individual income tax revenues have risen and fallen by significant amounts since 1994. Revenues increased by $461 billion (85 percent) between fiscal years 1994 and 2000, fell by $211 billion (21 percent) between 2000 and 2003, and then increased by $370 billion (47 percent) between 2003 and 2007. Those changes in individual income tax revenues are partially responsible for a similar pattern in the overall budget balance. Permalink

Global Agricultural Supply and Demand: Factors Contributing to the Recent Increase in Food Commodity PricesSource: U.S Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
World market prices for major food commodities such as grains and vegetable oils have risen sharply to historic highs of more than 60 percent above levels just 2 years ago. Many factors have contributed to the runup in food commodity prices. Some factors reflect trends of slower growth in production and more rapid growth in demand, which have contributed to a tightening of world balances of grains and oilseeds over the last decade. Recent factors that have further tightened world markets include increased global demand for biofuels feedstocks and adverse weather conditions in 2006 and 2007 in some major grain and oilseed producing areas. Other factors that have added to global food commodity price inflation include the declining value of the U.S. dollar, rising energy prices, increasing agricultural costs of production, growing foreign exchange holdings by major food importing countries, and policies adopted recently by some exporting and importing countries to mitigate their own food price inflation.
+ Full Report (PDF; 784 KB) Permalink

Injunction against Washington emergency contraception law upheld On May 1, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed [opinion, PDF] an appeal of an injunction [PDF text; JURIST report] suspending a Washington state law that would require pharmacists to dispense Plan B emergency contraceptives [product backgrounder; JURIST news archive], the so-called "morning after" pill. US District Judge Ronald Leighton's injunction effectively creates a "refuse and refer" system, allowing disapproving pharmacists to refuse to sell the pill if they refer the customer to another nearby source. Critics say that the system could harmfully delay women's access to the contraceptive, which must be taken with 72 hours of intercourse to be effective. Reuters has more. A similar compromise was proposed in a settlement in Illinois [JURIST report] after pharmacists sued the state in 2005 after Governor Rod Blagojevich passed a rule [press release] requiring all pharmacists to dispense the pill despite any moral objections to it they might have.

Pakistan judges to be restored May 12: Sharif
Ousted Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] and all other judges removed by President Pervez Musharraf last November after his declaration of emergency rule [PDF text; JURIST report] will be reinstated on May 12, former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [JURIST news archive] said Friday. Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) [party websites] reached an agreement on reinstating the ousted judges on Thursday after extensive talks [JURIST reports] between the two parties in April and May. Sharif also said that Pakistan's national assembly would pass a resolution endorsing the reinstatements the same day. BBC News has more. The coalition government, sworn in in March after parliamentary elections earlier this year, has vowed to establish a fully independent judiciary [JURIST reports]. One of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's first actions upon taking office was seeking Chaudhry's and other ousted judges' immediate release from house arrest [JURIST report].

Take Me Out to the Ball Game 1908 and 1927 versions
If you are at work, and want to hear eight audio clips from mandolin to Mike Ditka, you can forward this to your home PC for entertainment.
Author: Jack Norworth
Composer: Albert Von Tilzer

If someone doesn’t ask for advice, don’t give them advice.
If you let someone mooch off you on a steady basis, you become the “moochee” and are doing the moocher a disfavor.

May 4 birthdays
It's the birthday of Horace Mann, born in Franklin, Massachusetts (1796), the first great American advocate of public education. He believed that in a democratic society education should be free and universal. He fiercely opposed slavery and toward the end of his life, he was the president of Antioch College, a new institution committed to coeducation and equal opportunity for all students, black and white.
It's the birthday of novelist and short-story writer David Guterson, (books by this author) born in Seattle, Washington (1956). He worked for many years as a high school teacher. The two books he always assigned were Romeo and Juliet and To Kill a Mockingbird. When he wrote his first novel, he combined the story of star-crossed lovers with a courtroom drama about race. The novel was Snow Falling on Cedars (1994), about the murder trial of a Japanese-American in the wake of World War II, and it won the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction.
The Writer’s Almanac

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a national holiday in Mexico that celebrates the Battle of Puebla, 1862, in which Mexican forces defeated French invaders against overwhelming odds. What began with a demand by the government of France for payment on bonds turned into a war of conquest. The French commander was sure of victory, but 2,000 troops under General Ignacio Zaragoza carried the day instead. The French ultimately won the war, installing Maximilian of Austria as ruler of Mexico, but the victory at Puebla gave the Mexicans the confidence to depose him and declare independence, five years later.
The Writer’s Almanac

Friday, May 2, 2008

EPA: Significant Changes Proposed for Lead Emissions, Monitoring
News release: "EPA proposed a significant reduction in the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for lead emissions May 1. The Agency proposes to move the standard from the 1.5 micrograms per cubic meter of air it has been since 1978 to a range of 0.10 to 0.30 micrograms per cubic meter. EPA also proposes to revise various elements of the standard to provide increased protection for children and other at-risk populations against an array of adverse health effects, most notably, effects on the developing nervous system."
Proposed Revisions to Lead National Air Quality Standards - May 1, 2008 - The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead. The proposed revisions would significantly strengthen the lead standards. EPA will accept comments for 60 days after the publication of the proposal in the Federal Register.
Proposed Rule (PDF, 451 pages)
Fact sheet (PDF, 7 pages)
Presentation - Text Slides (5/1/08) (PDF, 19 pages)

EPA OIG Reports: Financial Statements, Tracking Compliance with Superfund Cleanup Requirements
08-2-0142 Agreed-Upon Procedures on EPA's Fiscal Year 2008 First Quarter Financial Statements [Report PDF - 21pp] [At a Glance PDF] April 28, 2008
08-P-0141 EPA Needs to Track Compliance with Superfund Cleanup Requirements [Report PDF - 26pp] [At a Glance PDF] April 28, 2008: "According to EPA’s Superfund information system, there were 3,397 active Superfund enforcement instruments to ensure cleanups at National Priorities List sites as of September 30, 2007. Yet, EPA does not nationally compile or track data on substantial non-compliance (SNC) with the terms or requirements of these instruments."

Nearly Ten Percent Admit to Driving Drunk within the Past Month (PDF; 109 KB)Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
American motorists blame other motorists for unsafe driving, despite the fact many admit to doing the same dangerous practices themselves, according to a new report out today by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. For example, Americans rated drinking drivers as the most serious traffic safety issue, yet in the previous month alone, almost 10 percent of motorists admitted to driving when they thought their blood alcohol content was above the legal limit.Traffic crashes are the leading killer of people from the ages of 2 to 34, with the overall death toll on U.S. roadways consistently exceeding 40,000 every single year since the early 1960s with the sole exception of 1992. With this in mind, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety launched its first-annual survey of the driving public on a wide variety of issues. Following are some highlights from the report, 2008 Traffic Safety Culture Index:
82 percent of motorists rated distracted driving as a serious problem, yet over half of those same individuals admitted to talking on the cell phone while driving in the past month, and 14 percent even admitted to reading or sending text messages while driving.
Over seven out of ten motorists rated red light running as a serious problem, yet over half of those same individuals admitted to speeding up to get through yellow lights, and 5 percent even admitted to having run a red light on purpose in the past month.
Nearly three out of every four motorists rated speeding as a serious problem, yet 40 percent of those same individuals admitted to driving 15 mph or more over speed limit on the highway in the past month, and 14 percent even admitted to having driven 15 mph or more over the limit on a neighborhood street.
+ Full Report (PDF; 969 KB) + Fact Sheet (PDF; 155 KB) + Slide Show Permalink

American Lung Association Issues State of the Air ReportThe American Lung Association issued its annual report card on air pollution today, ranking cities most affected by three types of pollution: short-term particle pollution, year-round particle pollution and ozone pollution. Pittsburgh moved to the top of the list of cities most polluted by short-term levels of particle pollution, a deadly cocktail of ash, soot, diesel exhaust, chemicals, metals and aerosols that can spike dangerously for hours to weeks on end. The body’s natural defenses, coughing and sneezing, fail to keep these microscopic particles from burrowing deep within the lungs, triggering serious problems such as breathing, asthma and heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and even early death. Pittsburgh also ranks second on the list of cities with the most year-round particle pollution while Los Angeles again claims the first spot this year.
Los Angeles, despite being ranked atop two of the three most-polluted lists, saw continued improvements in air quality, dropping its year-round particle pollution levels by nearly one-third during the last decade, and saw solid improvement in levels of ozone or “smog,” a gas formed most often when sunlight reacts with vapors emitted when motor vehicles, factories, power plants and other sources burn fuel.
+ Full Report (Free registration required.)+ What’s the State of Your Air? (Individual state reports via interactive map or dropdown menu) Permalink

Both federal and state taxes are added to your gasoline purchase.
Find your state at link above—note that diesel taxes are usually higher than gas.

Presidential Transition Guide to Federal Human Resources Management MattersSource: U.S. Office of Personnel Management (Senior Executive Service)Covers: Standards of Ethical Conduct, Positions and Individuals Subject to Change in a Transition, Appointments and Compensation.

Sports Illustrated has opened up their entire back catalogue, or "vault," for free; more than 50 years of covers, articles, photos, and videos. The articles are available as searchable html or bundled up by the issue

May 2 birthdays
It's the birthday of Dr. Benjamin Spock, (books by this author) born in New Haven, Connecticut (1903). His Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946) was a best seller during the period after World War II, when parents across America were raising the Baby Boom generation. Spock opened his first pediatric practice in 1933. Dr. Spock encouraged parents to be affectionate, and he also encouraged them to follow their own instincts. The first sentence of his book was, "You know more than you think you do."

It's the birthday of songwriter Lorenz Hart, born in Harlem, New York (1895), who wrote the lyrics to "My Funny Valentine," which appeared in 1937 and “Blue Moon” which appeared in 1934.

It's the birthday of humorist Jerome K. Jerome, (books by this author) born in Walsall, England (1859), who said, "It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless of course you are an exceptionally good liar." And, "It is so pleasant to come across people more stupid than ourselves. We love them at once for being so."
The Writer’s Almanac

Thursday, May 1, 2008

FTC Testifies on Efforts to Protect Consumers in Subprime Mortgage Market
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Interstate Commerce, Trade, and Tourism [Improving Consumer Protections in Subprime Lending], about the Commission’s continuing efforts to protect subprime mortgage borrowers. The testimony described the agency’s priorities, including deceptive mortgage advertising, deceptive or unfair servicing practices, discrimination in lending, and foreclosure rescue scams..."

Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner have published Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, which hit stores April 28. The writing could apply to anyone engaged in the art of persuasion. For starters is the authors’ advice to acknowledge weakness in arguments right up front.
WSJ Law Blog April 29, 2008

Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is considering a new e-mail policy after thousands of e-mails released in a sexual harassment investigation led critics to label his office “Dannimal House.” Spokesman Jim Gravelle says top officials in Dann's office are discussing changes that would cover e-mail exchanges and establish guidelines for general office decorum, the Tribune Chronicle reports. The changes won’t be made until completion of an investigation into sexual harassment charges against Anthony Gutierrez, general service director.

A huge fight has erupted in the U.S. Congress over whether drug makers and other companies should be allowed to keep patents they obtained by misrepresentation or cheating.

A lawyer who ordered opposing counsel to "sit quietly in the corner" and "be like a potted plant" has been ordered to write an article on civility for that remark and other cutting comments.

When should American litigators care about a judgment of the French Cour de Cassation (Supreme Court) requiring a French lawyer to pay a 10,000 euro fine? When that decision may shake up the conventional wisdom about what discovery may be obtained from French (and perhaps other foreign) parties and nonparties.

Larry McMurtry will receive the Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award on April 30 because he is a “bibliophile par excellence.” That’s how City Librarian Fontayne Holmes describes the novelist, essayist and screenwriter. “He really is such a book person in every single meaning of the word, as a bookstore owner, as a book collector, as a writer and as an incredible reader of literature,” she said.
McMurtry, who has published 41 books, is known for depicting an un-idealized vision of the Old West and his native Texas. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1985 novel Lonesome Dove, which became a television mini-series starring Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones and Danny Glover in 1989.

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Quote: Learning liberates.