Aug 29, ’11 1:35 PM
Aug 28, ’11 11:45 AM
On the edge of the Nebraska sand hills is Lake McConaughy, a 22-mile-long reservoir that in summer becomes a magnet for Winnebagos, fishermen and kite sailors. But officials here in Keith County, population 8,370, imagined this scene: An Al Qaeda sleeper cell hitching explosives onto a water-skiing boat and plowing into the dam at the head of the lake.
The federal Department of Homeland Security ago gave the county $42,000 to buy state-of-the-art dive gear, including full-face masks, underwater lights and radios, and a Zodiac boat with side-scan sonar capable of mapping wide areas of the lake floor.
Up on the lonely prairie around Cherry County, population 6,148, got thousands of federal dollars for cattle nose leads, halters and electric prods – in case terrorists decided to mount biological warfare against cows.
Aug 25, ’11 7:41 AM
Rick Perry has never lost an election; I’ve never won one. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with the world. On the other hand, I’ve long been friends with Bill Clinton and George W., and Rick Perry and I, though at times bitter adversaries, have remained friends as well. It’s not always easy to maintain friendships with politicians. To paraphrase Charles Lamb, you have to work at it like some men toil after virtue.
I have been quoted as saying that when I die, I am to be cremated, and the ashes are to be thrown in Rick Perry’s hair. Yet, simply put, Rick Perry and I are incapable of resisting each other’s charm. He is not only a good sport, he is a good, kindhearted man, and he once sat in on drums with ZZ Top. A guy like that can’t be all bad. When I ran for governor of Texas as an independent in 2006, the Crips and the Bloods ganged up on me. When I lost, I drove off in a 1937 Snit, refusing to concede to Perry. Three days later Rick called to give me a gracious little pep talk, effectively talking me down from jumping off the bridge of my nose. Very few others were calling at that time, by the way. Such is the nature of winning and losing and politicians and life. You might call what Rick did an act of random kindness. Yet in my mind it made him more than a politician, more than a musician; it made him a mensch.
Aug 24, ’11 8:10 PM
One of the things the world will miss most about Steve Jobs, now that he’s officially retired for a second time as Apple’s CEO, is his mouth.
Jobs is a master of hype, hyperbole and the catchy phrase — and his cocky performances, while clad always in jeans and turtleneck, were as entertaining as the products he was shucking.
Here’s a selection of some of the most entertaining things the man has said, organized by topic: innovation and design, fixing Apple, his greatest sales pitches, life’s lessons, taking the fight to the enemy and Pixar.
On Android vs. iOS
“It is worthwhile to remember that open systems don’t always win. Open versus closed is a smokescreen. Google likes to characterize Android as open and iOS as closed. We think this is disingenuous.”
— In October 2010, talking to analysts about the challenge from Google’s Android, which Apple perceived as a stab in the back by Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt — a member of Apple’s board of directors. Hark Oct. 18, 2010.
“Don’t be evil is a load of crap.”
— In January 2010 townhall with Apple employees, Jobs tore into Google for getting into the smartphone business, saying Google got into smartphones, and Apple didn’t get into search. Wired Jan. 30, 2010.
Aug 22, ’11 12:39 PM
The Barnes Foundation, an extraordinary collection of art amassed by Albert C. Barnes, has been one of America’s strangest art museums from the day its doors opened in 1925. Barnes’s unique juxtapositions of paintings and objects were intended to help the viewer learn to look closely at art. The original building, in Merion, Pa., closed at the end of June — the collection will be relocated to a new one in Philadelphia next year — but The Times has created an interactive tour of some of the old museum’s highlights
Aug 22, ’11 8:43 AM
Aug 20, ’11 9:51 PM
der Spiegel:SPIEGEL: Mikhail Sergeyevich, you turned 80 this spring. How do you feel?
Gorbachev: Oh, what a question. Do you have to ask me that? I’ve gone through three operations in the last five years. That was pretty tough on me, because they were all major operations: First on my carotid artery, then on my prostate and this year on my spine.
SPIEGEL: In Munich.
Gorbachev: Yes. It was a risky procedure. I’m grateful to the Germans.
SPIEGEL: But you look good. We saw you before the operation.
Gorbachev: They say you need three or four months to get back to normal after an operation like that. Do you remember the book “The Fourth Vertebra,” by the Finnish author Martti Larni? It is a wonderful book. In my case it was the fifth (vertebra). I’ve started walking again, but every beginning is difficult.
SPIEGEL: And yet you are back in politics, and you’re even making headlines again. Why don’t you finally sit back and relax?
Gorbachev: Politics is my second love, next to my love for Raisa.
SPIEGEL: Your deceased wife.
Aug 20, ’11 8:54 PM
Cruising through Berlin in a 1959 VW 1200
The perceived contrast between the cream vintage Volkswagen Beetle and the New Beetle MkII is as extreme as the difference between candle and LED, typewriter and PC, DC3 and A380. The rear-engined original, built in various forms and generations between 1949 and 2003, was an early personal mobility assistant: more spacious and less susceptible to bad weather than a motorcycle, more independent than a tram, more flexible than a train, more grown up than the Lloyd, Gutbrod and Fiat microcars it competed against.
Over time, VW sold more than 21.5 million units of its air-cooled icon: European Beetle production ceased in 1979 when the Cabriolet was phased out at Karmann, but the Mexican-made Bug continued to thrive until 2003 when crash and emission regs finally squashed it. Contrary to common belief, the Ur-Beetle was not at all about cult, image, even driving pleasure. It was a totally pragmatic A-to-B connector, virtually indestructible, totally affordable, utterly practical. The people’s car made history because it became the official personal transportation appliance of the Wirtschaftswunder generation (the hippie movement) and, eventually, if only as 1303 Cabriolet, for the nouveau riche who were not quite rich enough to obtain an MG or a Porsche.
Aug 20, ’11 8:46 PM
President Obama has headlined 127 fundraising events for himself and others, significantly outpacing the fundraising activity of the previous five presidents during their first terms, new research obtained by USA TODAY shows.
By comparison, President George W. Bush had held 88 fundraisers and President Clinton, 76, at this point in their first terms, according to data compiled by Brendan Doherty, an assistant professor of politicial science at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Doherty, who also studies presidential activity with the non-partisan White House Transition Project, examined fundraising going back to President Carter.
The upswing reflects the soaring costs of campaigns and politicians’ abandonment of the presidential public-financing system that limits what candidates can raise from private sources in exchange for receiving taxpayer money, Doherty and other experts say.
“We have entered the era of the permanent campaign,” said Anthony Corrado, a campaign-finance expert at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. “This is a reflection … of the enormous sums that are anticipated for the election.”