August Ramblin’

Daniel Schorr was possibly best known for his coverage of Watergate for CBS News.

In July, David Warren, inventor of the flight data recorder, or “Black Box,” passed away at 85. His prototype was not warmly received, and as an employee of the Australian government at the time, he made no money from what is now considered a critical invention. He did, however, receive a rather nice obituary in The New York Times.

That gave me a bit of perspective. Looking at multiple news sources does that for one, too.

The big news in this neck of the woods is that New York State got some federal education money. But this is the same story in the Los Angeles Times:
California loses bid for Race to the Top federal education grant
California has fallen short in its efforts to secure a federal Race to the Top school-reform grant. The winners of the controversial federal grant program, just confirmed by federal officials, are Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. If California had been chosen, it could have won as much as $700 million in one-time funds.

It’s been five years since Hurricane Katrina. Initially, before I got a sense of the true measure of the devastation, I understood it as how it was affecting our wallets. We were traveling from Albany to New Jersey and Pennsylvania and weren’t really watching TV. We could not help but notice, though, how the price of gas jumped from about $2.65 per gallon when we left just before the storm to about $3.25 when we returned less than a week later.

Only when I got home and got to watch the news did I recognize the full impact of the destruction, and our government’s inability to cope with it. Bless the victims of Katrina, many of whom are STILL dealing with the aftermath.
I understand why people tire of politics, I really do. From the open letter to Lincoln, to Who let the dogs out, it can be a pretty awful game. But I’m inspired by more positive stories:
Is FOX News Stupid or Evil?
The Australian Time Warp (you don’t have to be from Australia to appreciate)
Target boycott flash mob; great video.
Glenn Beck is NOT Martin Luther King Jr.. Not even close.
2009 National Environmental Scorecard “illustrates the extent to which the Obama administration and the 111th Congress began to move our nation towards a new energy future”

Besides, despite my protestations, I’m a political junkie at heart. Which reminds me, a couple journalists covering politicians died in the past 5 weeks.
Daniel Schorr (July 23), possibly best known for his coverage of Watergate for CBS News, and discovering, on air, that he was on Richard Nixon’s enemies list. One of my journalistic heroes who was most recently on National Public Radio.
Whereas James Kilpatrick (August 15) I thought was almost always wrong. From his defense of segregation to his appearances on TV shows such as 60 Minutes’ Point/Counterpoint segment to Agronsky & Company, which I watched religiously, I loved to disagree with him. He did seem to mellow in later years.
A couple of pols died:
The former powerful chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Dan Rostenkowski (August 11), like a predecessor in that office, Wilbur Mills, and a successor, Charles Rangel, all had Congressional legal troubles.
Ted Stevens (August 9), former US Senator famous for wanting a “bridge to nowhere” for his state of Alaska was lauded by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association as a great champion of the sports industry. He predicted his death by plane, which is how his first wife perished.

While I’m thinking of the recently deceased:
Jack Tatum (July 27) – a nasty football player.
Mitch Miller (July 31) – watched a LOT of Sing Along with Mitch, even as I thought he was rather “square”. No more so than in this cover of Give Peace a Chance.
Patricia Neal (August 8) – I cannot recommend enough A Face In The Crowd, also starring Andy Griffith. Here’s the trailer.
Abbey Lincoln (August 14) – underappreciated jazz singer-songwriter and civil rights activist.
Bobby Thomson (August 16) – The shot heard ’round the world when “the Giants win the pennant” in 1951 after the baseball team was so far behind the Dodgers in August.
The Fantastic Four As A Model For Gay Acceptance

An 83 song setlist coming to Rock Band 3. Not that I play, of course.
Things that struck me as funny and/or weird:

For a smile, you can send a Hug-Egram. Unfortunately, you can also read the URL as “huge gram”; make of that as you will.

My favorite spam comment of the month: “Next time you should condense your post, try to leave out the parts that people skip.” Not incidentally, 25 Ways to Stop Spam

OMG WWII on Facebook! A modern adaptation of World War II for the American teenager.

What Cigarette companies don’t want us to know… (hate that phrase): “Direct E-Cig is a revolutionary electronic smoking device designed as a better smoking alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.” Video interesting, as it shows mixed results for the product, which according to a story I read in the Wall Street Journal this week, has NOT been approved by the FDA.

When I was looking up things for my English language post this month, I found this NOT in the least bit SAFE FOR WORK video about the versatility of a popular English language word that begins with the letter F. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

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