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When the sound stages and backlots of Hollywood were not enough to tell their stories, movie producers found they could simulate most of the world somewhere in southern California:

Map of scenic substitute locations in California

This map, found on the site Strange Maps, is from 1927:


Unicorns and the Glue Factory

Non-libertarians want cheap government health care, but they don't want the government to deny them care or euthanize them when their health care threatens to become expensive.

Quoted from: Vox Day


Thank You, Soldier.

Who is largest holder of America’s debt? Soldiers. [cartoon]


Our Borrowers are Retiring

Theo Spark posts about the U.S. housing market:

There are 140 million personal residences in the United States today.

  • Zillow says 20 million owners 'plan' to sell their homes if there is any improvement in price.

  • Four million existing homes are currently on the market.

  • Lennar, Pulte, et al have one million new homes for sale.

  • There are one million bank-owned properties.

  • Eight million mortgages are late on their payments.

Not very good numbers.

Now consider that the 80 million baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day, many wanting or needing to downsize residences as they age.


Tomorrow Was Thirty Years Ago

Cobb sees the apocalypse on the horizon. And it’s wearing a cardigan:

These days I'm trying to think back to a time when America had little faith in itself. Back to the days of Billy Jack and the Feral Motorcycle Movie, when inflation was reality, when Iron Eyes Cody cried on the side of the road and when Richard Nixon ran his White House like Russian Roulette. I remember when we used to say that we were going to see the day when we'd have to buy clean air, back when rivers caught fire and women expected to get raped after dark in Times Square. I remember when suddenly we had to drive 55 and the President told us to keep the thermostat at 68. I remember gas lines and people who stole gasoline out of your tank and Pep Boys started selling locking gas caps.


Does Marriage Matter?

TJIC suggests that a rise in out-of-wedlock births correlates to a decline in civilization.

A commenter counters that marriage, which makes births “legitimate”, is a function of class and custom. Civilization has progressed even as legitimacy fluctuated, so the correlation does not mean what TJIC thinks it means.

I chimed in:

It’s not the state endorsement [of formal marriage] that matters. That endorsement, like the religious endorsement, strongly suggests that the parties have considered the depth of the obligation they are entering. The religious sanction still usually means the parties have deeply considered their choice. The underlying issue is personal integrity.

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The City Assessor is photographing every property in Minneapolis:

The purpose of this project is to help improve the overall quality and accuracy of property appraisals in Minneapolis and to allow the Assessor’s Office to fine tune its property data, by confirming property addresses and other information about the structure/s on a given property.

Additionally, these photographs will have a number of public safety purposes including:


Barry for Change

There’s a new Barry on the political stage, this one offering a change I can believe in:

My name is Barry Hickethier, and I am seeking to earn your support for Minnesota State Senate, District 59. I am running because, like so many people I have talked with, I have become frustrated with the current state of government. A government that is more beholden than ever to special interest, while becoming less responsive to the needs of the average citizen. A government which is inserting itself more and more into our personal lives, and which is eroding our personal freedom.


Imagineering for Central Avenue

The City of Minneapolis has an array of programs aimed at invigorating weak commercial districts. Central Avenue—mostly within the 55418—has been awarded its second subsidy under one of these initiatives, The Great Streets Program:

In 2007, the Minneapolis City Council approved the Great Streets Neighborhood Business District program, a coordinated effort to help businesses develop and succeed along commercial corridors and at commercial nodes throughout the city.

City resources are available for business loans, real estate development gap financing, and business district assistance such as façade improvement programs, market studies, and retail recruitment efforts.

Recovery Prayer

From a story about the person who led the search for human remains after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans:

With fire axes and shovels, the team would then fan out across a vast grid of destroyed homes and overturned cars, seeking the unburied. Cadaver dogs joined the search, ominously sniffing through the rubble for the storm’s departed.

“A good day is when we can ‘clear’ homes and actually let families (know) …  for sure that this person was here – or not here,” Glynn told Online NewsHour in March 2006. “I mean … that’s about the best that this mission gets.”


The Fog of History

Any great struggle, while it remains undecided and sometimes even afterward, unfolds not in certainties but in doubts.

Quoted from: Mark Helprin

Via: Newmark’s Door

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Chicken Little Blew it Again

A month after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Big Media is finally getting some pictures of oily birds and mucked-up shoreline. It’s the story they wanted to tell:

When it began April 20, Louisiana and the world feared a quick and dramatic result, a black tsunami washing over one of the world's most productive and valuable coastal ecosystems. Expecting a disaster with iconic images to rival the environmental mugging of Prince William Sound by the Exxon Valdez, the planet's media rushed to the scene. Within days fishing towns like Venice and Hopedale became datelines in newspapers from Paris to Hong Kong, which painted pictures of a culture bracing for ecosystem Armageddon.

It is certainly true that valuable and delicate things are being harmed. But this is unfolding not so much as a major disaster and more like an accidental tragedy:


Buy Your Own Damn Fries!

Fun clips from the current President reading from his own book, Dreams from My Father:

Ignorant like you: [swf file="OBAMA_IGNORANT.mp3"]

B.O. ain’t your bitch: [swf file="OBAMA_FRIES.mp3"]

Over his head: [swf file="OBAMA_COMPLICATED.mp3"]

He’s got your number: [swf file="OBAMA_NUMBER.mp3"]

Got nothin’ on Barry: [swf file="OBAMA_THAT_GUY.mp3"]

These are almost certainly the best parts, but if you really want to be sure, the paperback version of Dreams is going for 18¢ in the marketplace. Yes, that’s change…

Via: April Winchell


Barry Thinks Truckers are Morons

The Failed Obama Administration™ has issued another absurdity:

President Barack Obama is getting behind a national policy to boost fuel efficiency and cut greenhouse-gas pollution from medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Obama said Friday he's asking the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department to come up with what would be a first-ever policy for such trucks in model years 2014-2018.

Such a move, he said, will bring down the cost of transporting goods, reduce pollution and spur growth in the clean-energy sector. The government will also work with the public and private sectors to develop technology for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, Obama said.


No Ticket, No Laundry

A census worker knocking doors in NRR’s territory offered an insight into the minds of the people who are counting the people.

The doorknockers set their own schedules. Every day they work, they are expected to turn in a time sheet. Due to scheduling difficulties—for many, census work is a second job—some time sheets don’t get in every day.

If a time sheet is not in by the end of a pay period, pay for that day of work will be delayed until the next pay period. There’s no question that the pay is due, it’s just a timing issue. That’s standard practice in the non-government world.

Some census workers who can’t get their time sheets turned in when due have been upset when their paychecks are less than expected. But, instead of trying to get their sheets in on time, what are they doing? Calling their Congressperson about delayed pay.


The Discretion Factor

Americans will respect your beliefs if you just keep them private.

Quoted from: Bill O’Reilly

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261 Will Stay in the 55413

After a winter of rumours and uncertainty, an historic steam locomotive has been purchased by a metro-area railfan group:

Earlier this month the [Friends of the 261] Board of Directors approved the purchase of Milwaukee Road No. 261 from the National Railroad Museum of Green Bay, Wis.

The locomotive, which operated from 1993 to 2008, was owned by NRM and leased to the Friends for operation. For the past several years the two organizations have been negotiating for a new lease, but were unable to agree on terms. At one point NRM offered to sell the engine to the Friends for $800,000 or lease it for $70,000 per year. Things finally came to a head in November 2009 when negotiations ended and it was agreed that No. 261 would return to NRM for display - the engine had been on exhibit in Green Bay from 1958 to 1992.


Gulf Spill Birdy Count

It has been more than three weeks since the Deepwater Horizon exploded. We’ve endured twenty-four days of storytelling meant to tickle anxieties and promote panic.

Legislatively, this might become an enduring disaster. But the actual harm to nature has been minimal. Fishing areas are re-opening. And fears of oil-drenched sea birds appear to have been overblown:

An oiled brown pelican was found on the rocks along Bayou Rigaud at Grand Isle on Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said.

Wildlife and Fisheries biologists caught the bird and brought it to Fort Jackson, where veterinarians are rehabbing oiled birds.


Get a Helmet

Dr. Lastname, a psychiatrist blogger, wants you to know that life is hard:

I know, you’ve got lots of feelings about what you can’t change and you’d prefer to ask why rather than accept what you consider as defeat. But here’s the advice that I think can be most helpful: fuck that shit. You’re never defeated if what’s stopping you is reality.  Defeat is wasting your time complaining about what you can’t change or trying to control it when you know you can’t. Defeat is being an idiot about not giving up on your wishes. Victory is putting up with the pain and humiliation of reality and trying to make things better anyway.

The Scale of Evils

In the comment discussion on his post about trying to quantify the effects of racism, Cobb writes:

[T]he weight of the destruction done to the world by socialism and communism that have taken over from the demon of racism. And where modern American white supremacy's damage has been 5,000 lynchings, Stalin's victims are in the millions. And so that now terrorizes me. It set me up to be a patsy for liberty. I deal with racism of course, but I consider myself particularly robust in that regard and I don't have reasons to fear. I say of course we have a black president, I understand perfectly well where he comes from because I came from many of the same places. But does he understand Stalin out there? And the sad fact is that he didn't, and thought his blackness, his muslimness, all of that our generation knows would be sufficient. It's not.

Here’s my feeble attempt to summarize Cobb’s viewpoint. Racism used to be the biggest problem in society. It still has negative effects, but nobody can actually measure them. Without measurement, we cannot make a proper response. Nor can we assess our effectiveness.



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