Saturday, August 31, 2013

Playing the Pajama Game with gdalemark

You wanna run that by me again

The Great Smoky Mountains Relocate to Wisconsin

Flock, a Group of Animals (As Birds or Sheep) Assembled or Herded Together

The original sense of "flock" as defined by Merriam-Webster.

Evangelist’s Flock Keeps the Faith After His Brush With the Law. (The New York Times, 8/30/2013)

Excerpt:     Facing prosecution on a charge of impersonating a law enforcement officer, Mr. Pitt, 30, might not in fact return soon to his ministry and its services, which are known for earsplitting playlists, strobe lights and smoke machines. Depending on who tells the story, 

Mr. Pitt’s fall is either that of a young preacher who rose too far too fast and thought he was above the law or, as his followers believe, a plot aimed at pulling down a man responsible for the development of their spiritual identities. Either way, it is a tale of central Alabama, a region dotted with churches and youth groups.

Then and Now: State Street, Madison Wisconsin

Related post:
Then and Now:  East Mifflin and North Pinckney.  (8/30/2013)

Climate Change, as a Matter of Fact

Lake Superior's Ongoing Transformation, Courtesy of Climate Change.  (Wisconsin Public Radio News, 8/29/2013)

Excerpt:    As refreshing as a brief swim in the big lake might be, scientists and advocates say there appear to be trouble signs for the waters. In some of the last few years Lake Superior's average daily temperatures in August have been around 70 degrees, well above 30-year averages. 

Last year, Marquette had its first ever beach closure tied to E. coli bacteria, which is often linked to warmer lake temperatures. Winter ice cover is also down.

As quoted in the above article.

Friday, August 30, 2013

This Just In: "A basking turtle in the sun is a happy and healthy turtle"

Just the first 16 seconds. (This guy hasn't forgotten.)

Photo credit:  Retiring Guy

OK, people, I can't help myself.

Here's What Can Happen to Library Hours in a City That Declares Bankruptcy

In Wisconsin, think not quite Madison Public Library or Brown County Public Library.

San Bernadino Wins Eligibility for Bankruptcy.  (The New York Times, 8/28/2013)

The 64,000-square-foot Norman F. Feldheym Central Library is open 37 hours per week.

What a waste of space!

Three branches are open 20 hours per week.   No Friday, Saturday, or Sunday hours.

If this library were a person, they'd call it......

Frank Pulli, 1935-2013

Frank Pulli, First Umpire to Use Replay, Dies at 78. (The New York Times, 8/29/2013)

Excerpt:     In Game 4 of the 1978 World Series, Pulli ruled that Reggie Jackson of the Yankees did not intentionally interfere with a throw when he was hit on the leg while running the bases, allowing Thurman Munson to score. The Yankees won the game, 4-3, and the Series, four games to two.

No mention here:    You're Outta There! Major League Baseball's Worst Umpires.

The Netherlands: A Visit to the Amsterdam Public Library with Piano Music Playing in the Background

Openbare bibliotheek Amsterdam

Madison Wisconsin, Then and Now: East Mifflin & North Pinckney

Postcard from Retiring Guy's collection

Photo credit:  Retiring Guy (8/30/2013)

Just do the math: How reassuring to the people sickened in 22 states

Taylor Farms, Big Food Supplier, Grapples With Frequent Recalls. (The New York Times, 8/29/2013)

Point:   Bruce Taylor, chief executive of Taylor Farms, attributed the number of recalls to the sheer size of his company — it sells as much salad as its next three largest competitors combined. “Just if you do the sheer math, our recalls relative to our size are fewer than anybody else,” Mr. Taylor said.

Counterpoint:    Bill Marler, a lawyer who specializes in food safety litigation, also said that even for a company of its size, the rate of recalls by Taylor seemed a bit high. “That’s quite a number of recalls over that time period,” Mr. Marler said.

With Work Hard to Come By, Jenny McCarthy Takes a Smoke Break

E-Cigarette Makers’ Ads Echo Tobacco’s Heyday. (The New York Times, 8/29/2013)

Excerpt:    The Blu eCigs brand — which recently added the actress Jenny McCarthy to its roster of star endorsers, joining the actor Stephen Dorff  [not much of note lately] — spent $12.4 million on ads in major media for the first quarter of this year compared with $992,000 in the same period a year ago, according to the Kantar Media unit of WPP.

Somebody else beat me to the snark here.

Drop in Property Values for 5 Years in a Row: It Hasn't Happened in Wisconsin Since Kitty Kallen Sang This #1 Hit

Value of Wisconsin property drops for fifth consecutive year. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/28/2013)

First the bad news. The report to be released Thursday by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance shows that the total value of the state's properties dropped to $467.5 billion from $471.1 billion last year, marking the first five-year period since World War II that property values have declined each year.

Now the good news.  The study draws on state figures from Jan. 1, so it doesn't reflect the recent uptick in housing sales and prices.

Fifth (and final?) year for property value decline. (Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, 8/22/2013)

Sign up here to have a pdf of the 2-page report emailed to you.

Related posts:
The Flint Public Library Continues to Experience the Double Whammy of Declining Property Values and Reduced Tax Revenues.  (8/4/2013)
Decatur Illinois & the double whammy of falling home values and reduced tax revenue.  (6/4/2013)
Reduced state aid and decreasing property values a double whammy for Shawano School District.  (10/19/2012)
Greater St. Croix Valley equalized property values show double-digit decline since 2008. (8/22/2012)
Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Statement of changes in equalized property values - preliminary 2012 report. (8/7/2012)
The Atlanta housing meltdown continues.  (2/2/2012)
Wisconsin Property Values Drop for 3rd Consecutive Year. (9/26/2011)
The Property Tax Domino Effect (Atlanta Metro Area)  (12/27/2010)
On the basis of this trend, urban libraries will certainly be tightening their belts again next year.  (12/26/2010)
National League of Cities Research Brief on America's Cities. (10/7/2010)

Jesus Has a Message for the Republican Warriors in the Fight Against Food Stamps

Source photo courtesy of Stewart Church Signs

Not to mention a dubious reading of the Constitution.

Related post:  

United Sportsmen of Wisconsin President Andy "One and Done" Pantzlaff Might Be Looking for Office Help in the Near Future

Looking for that pesky 501(c)(3) form.

DNR committee votes to award controversial $500K grant to politically connected group. (Wisconsin State Journal, 8/30/2013)

United Sportsmen of Wisconsin describes itself as a newly formed organization that aims to protect the rights of sportsmen and preserve this strong Wisconsin heritage for many more generations.  [Emphasis added.]

This is generally where groups make an effort to share their 501(c)(3) status.

Related posts:
When is a DNR grant not a grant?  (8/30/2013)
Rookie donors land $500,000 sportsmen's grant from Joint Finance.  (8/26/2013)

When is a DNR Grant not a Grant?

When it appears that the only applicant and subsequent awardee has scored a source of ongoing funding for its operations.

DNR committee votes to award controversial $500K grant to politically connected group. (Wisconsin State Journal, 8/30/2013)

Excerpt: The law requires the DNR to provide one grant of $500,000 every two years to a nonprofit organization to provide education and to recruit people to engage in hunting, fishing and trapping. United Sportsmen, which is affiliated with the National Rifle Association, was the only group that applied.  [Emphasis added]

RG comments:  Seems to me, Reps. Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford, recently resigned) and Dan LeMahieu (R-Casscade) paved the way for United Sportsmen of Wisconsin to refresh themselves every 2 years. 

Related post:
Rookie donors land $500,000 sportsmen's grant from Joint Finance.  (8/26/2013)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Minute's Worth of Exterior Views of the National Library of Belarus

National Library of Belarus

And the #1 Strange Building is...........

What's shown here is #2, Longaberger's in Newark, Ohio.


Community Bookshelf

The Republican War on an Increasing Number of Americans (a.k.a The Republican War on Food Stamps)

From page 23 of the report.
  • 16,000,000 children in the U.S. lived below the poverty level in 2012.  
  • 31% of these children lived with two married parents.
  • The percentage of these households receiving food stamps increased from 4% in 2002 to 11% in 2012.
  • More family groups of all types received food stamps in 2012 than in 2007. 

According to the U.S. Census report, households with two married parents have been vulnerable to economic district.

Fox News sez they're undeserving and greedy.

Julie Lassa Takes Scott Noble to School

I share this video as Scott is back in the news.

Noble announces plans to run for 69th Assembly seat. (Marshfield News Herald, 8/29/2013)

Looking for an electable neighborhood in which to live.   Noble was defeated in November in the 24th Senate District race by Julie Lassa. He tasted defeat again in the Marshfield School Board race in April. He said he recently moved from his home on the outskirts of Marshfield to an area of the city that would allow him to meet the residency requirements for serving as 69th District representative if he is elected.

These photos beg the questions.   How many people are required to "surround" a candidate?

Noble is a member of the Central Wisconsin Tea Party.

Related posts:
Rep. Scott Suder takes job with PSC but it's not "news" on his website.  (8/26/2013)
Who's running for state office in 2012:  69th Assembly district.  (10/11/2012)
Who's running for state office in 2012:  69th Assembly district.  (7/20/2012)

Miley Cyrus Twerks, and Oxford Dictionaries Take Note

Lip-synching, right?  The rest of the movements look live.

Oxford Dictionary Decides to 'Twerk'. (The New York Times, 8/28/2013)

Oxford Dictionaries

'Twerk' and 'Selfie' Added To Online Dictionary.  (Forbes, 8/28/2013)

Excerpt:    Languages change all the time. Outrage at the addition of new words to the online dictionary might be due to what academics call “prestige.” Basically, we assign forms of language hierarchical values they don’t actually have, so some – like academic writing or traditional high-brow dictionary entries – are considered overtly prestigious. Others, like Internet speak and slang terms associated with youth culture, aren’t assigned prestige, but are still valid language forms because they effectively communicate.

Merriam-Webster takes a pass, for the time being.  ("Selfie", too.)

In a nutshell.
Oxford dictionaries obviously take a descriptive approach, and a relatively fast-track one at that.

Coincidentally, I'm currently listening to this book.

Book review from the New York Times.  (Yes, it's definitely not vintage Hiaasen.)

Headline News: Walker and Vos, Apparently, Aren't on the Same Page

Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin

U.S. Census: Changing Families, Changing Households

"Hardworking families", in all their permutations, are working harder to survive.

New Census Numbers Show Recession’s Effect on Families.  (The New York Times, 8/27/2013)

Excerpt:  The number of households with an unemployed parent soared by 148 percent in Nevada and by more than 50 percent in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey and North Carolina in those years.

Excerpt:  “Over the last half-century, the trend in the U.S. has been toward smaller households, fewer family and married-couple households with children, and more people living alone,” said Jonathan Vespa, another co-author of the report. “Many of these trends reflect a rising age at first marriage and older adults who can live in their own home for longer.”

Excerpt:  The recession also saw more mothers enter the work force and an increasing dependence on food stamps.

Journal-Times Editorial Board Salivates Over Low-Paying Casino Jobs

Journal Times editorial: Kenosha casino would put people here to work. (Racine Journal-Times, 8/29/2013)

Excerpt:   The proposal is an $808 million project to convert the Dairyland Greyhound Park site, 15 miles from Downtown Racine, into a casino and entertainment center, including a 400-room luxury hotel. It calls for 3,300 casino jobs and 1,400 construction jobs.

Related links:

Not everyone is a cheerleader..

Gus, the Star of the Central Park Zoo, is Dead at 27

Farewell to Gus, Whose Issues Made Him a Star. (The New York Times, 8/28/2013)

Excerpt:   Long the popular face of the zoo, even as his lap swimming became less obsessive, Gus began exhibiting a loss of appetite in recent days. He was having trouble chewing. Zoo veterinarians hoped it might be just a bad toothache. But when they examined him on Tuesday afternoon, they found a large inoperable tumor in his thyroid region and decided to euthanize him.
Gus was 27.

Polar Cam at the San Diego Zoo

Polar Bears in Zoo.  (Polar Bears International, an organization  that uses research, education, and action programs to address issues that are endangering polar bears, )

Today, many zoos around the world house polar bears that live in well-designed exhibits far different from the concrete cages of the past. Modern exhibits include rushing waterfalls, chilled pools stocked with fish, enormous swimming pools, and gravel pits where the bears can dig. 

Many zoos also now offer enrichment activities designed to encourage the expression of natural behaviors and play. These activities are good for the bears—and help better engage guests to make changes to help polar bear habitat.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Dade County Administrators' Plan: Keep All Library Branches Open, Slash Hours of Operation

Miami-Dade library hours to be slashed. (Miami Herald, 8/27/2013)

Sounds like an increasingly implemented staffing plan for school libraries.To keep all 49 libraries open — with 169 fewer employees, who would be laid off — the county is considering drastically cutting hours at 16 branches. Those branches would open a mere 16 hours a week, compared to their current 40 hours. Most of the branches had previously been targeted for potential closure. 

As a result, some branches would share staffs with nearby branches. Librarians would work in one facility in the morning, close it and then open a nearby facility for the afternoon. 

Related posts:
The sustainable funding challenge.  (8/7/2013)
And throw in a few Little Free Libraries for good measure.  (7/20/2013)
Finally starting anew at the Aventura Northeast Branch Library.  (4/5/2012)
13 of 49 Miami-Dade County Public Library branches on chopping block.  (11/19/2011)

Among the Beams and Abandoned Card Catalogs of the New York Public Library

42nd Street Library Renovation.

Rep. Danou Has Already Done a Reality Check

Lawmaker calls for eight more DNR employees to monitor Wisconsin frac sand industry, (Capital Times, 8/28/2013)

Related posts:
Teleoperation: The answer to mining's efficiency, productivity, and profitability. (3/7/2013)
Mining robotics.  (3/7/2013)
Looking for a job in mining?  (3/2/2013)

All About IV Administration

The 10,000 Percent Solution.  Huge markups on IV bags show how secrecy helps keep health prices high.  (The New York Times, 8/26/2013)

Sorry, I can't provide a link today as I'm still unable to access the Times website.  (Syrian group cited as New York Times outage continues.  CNN, 8/28/2013)

Average manufacturer's price of IV bag:  In a range from 44 cents to $1.

In her research, reporter Nina Bernstein found markups on some patients' bills as high as 200%.

Not to mention separate charges for "IV Administration" and/or "IV Therapy".

Pew Research's Latest Look at Home Broadband Usage

Home Broadband 2013.  August 26, 2013.

70% of Americans 18 and older have access to high-speed broadband at home. 3% still use dial-up.

No change in those with the highest rates of use.
  • College graduates
  • Adults under 50 years of age
  • Adults living in households with $50,000+ annual income

Least likely use based on demographics:
  • 65 years and older
  • No high school diploma
  • Annual household income < $30,000
  • Rural

Related posts:
Point/Counterpoint on Broadband Internet Speeds.  (4/12/2013)
Bill Esbeck, the Town of Dunn in on line one.  (1/7/2012)
Town of Dunn keeps up the pressure for high-speed Internet access.  (12/23/2011)
Town of Dunn pressures providers to offer high-speed Internet access.  (10/27/2011)
Chattanooga's city-owned broadband.  (9/14/2011)
The building that housed the Princess Theater still stands but it doesn't have good access to the Internet.  (9/14/2011)
TDS to Town of Berry:  Drop dead!  (8/31/2011)

A Review Session in Legislative Outreach

Promises, promises.

As quoted in the Journal Sentinel article.

About that taking the best ideas no matter where they come from.

2013 Assembly Bill 333 Repeals Prohibition on Local Residency Requirements

With no Republicans co-sponsors, this bill is going nowhere.  The Republicans have a 12-4 majority on Joint Finance.

That's the way of the world, politically, in Wisconsin now.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

News-Gazette Editor and Columnist Uses Urbana Library as Example of Illinois as a Place "Where Good Government Goes to Die"


Urbana Free Library

Excerpt (bullet points added):  In the last few months, for example,
  • our governor ordered that state legislators not be paid because he didn't like what they hadn't done; 
  • the Urbana Free Library mistakenly removed more than 9,000 books from its shelves, packed them up and sent them away, only to request they be returned; 
  • a local mass transit district that never provided mass transit service finally went out of business after collecting taxes for seven years; 
  • and it was discovered that a member of a local housing authority board was never appointed to it although she has been serving for four years.

Related posts: 
In my experience, standing-room only at a board or council or association membership meeting means that a lot of people are pissed -- really, really pissed!  (7/22/2013)
Urbana resident offers succinct performance evaluation of departing library director.   (7/19/2013)
News-Gazette editorial board on the Urbana Free Library "brouhaha": "Food fight over library personalities"?  (7/15/2013)
More from the Urbana Free Library.  (7/13/2013)
A song to mom to accompany a letter about mom.  (7/10/2013)
Urbana Free Library Board to Library Director Deb Lissak: Go your own way   (7/10/2013)
Urbana Free Library board member speaks out on weeding controversy.  (7/8/2013) 
The Urbana Free Library and a "dissonant rate of discard versus retention"  (7/3/2013)
Urbana Free Library holds special board meeting on June 19th.  (6/24/2013)
University of Illinois GSLIS faculty member advocates for televised library board meetings. / (6/24/2013)
Wondering about the "weeding" "misstep" at the Urbana Free Library.  (6/18/2013)

Gilbert Taylor (1914-2013) "Star Wars" Cinematographer

Gilbert Taylor, 99, Celebrated Hollywood Cinematographer.  (The New York Times, 8/26/2013)

Photo credit:  Alfred Hitchcock Wiki

Another Open Wisconsin Assembly Seat: Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) Resigns

Rep. Honadel: Announces legislative resignation. (WisPolitics, 8/27/2013)

Public libraries in the 21st Assembly District
Franklin Public Library (service area)
Oak Creek Public Library
South Milwaukee Public Library

Honadel was first elected to the Assembly in a July 2003 special election.

He ran unopposed for re-election in 2004.

He ran unopposed for re-election in 2006.

He ran unopposed for re-election in 2008.

In 2010, he defeated his Democratic opponent with 63% of the vote.

In 2012, he defeated his Democratic opponent with 59% of the vote.

Related post:
Rep. Scott Suder Takes Job with PSC But It's Not "News" on his Website.  (8/26/2013)