Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s animal photos of the week.  Whoa.

A hippo and a crocodile fight over a wildebeest

A hippo and a crocodile fight over a wildebeestPicture: CATERS

Photo of the day

I’ve never actually seen hot air balloons in person before, so I was super-excited that a hot air balloon festival came to Raleigh yesterday.  Here’s one of my favorites:


Steven Greene




Photo of the day

Oooohhh, a whole Telegraph gallery of great shots of waves.  Love this.

A cool and refreshing wave folds back into the water in New South Wales

Ray Collins captures breathtaking seascapes that capture the power of waves, as they rise up and crash back into the ocean

Picture: Ray Collins/Barcroft Media

Quick hits (part I)

This was supposed to be quick hits part II last Sunday, so this is just an indication of how behind I am.  I promise better blogging for you when I’m done my Maymester class.

1) In the interests of “promoting jobs” and ending those pesky regulations, NC is trying to do away with streamside buffers against water pollution.  I’m sure that nothing bad can come of that.

2) If you were not aware of how evil and antithetical to democracy (including here in NC) ALEC is, this news report (from a local Atlanta TV station of all places!) pretty well captures it.

3) Yes, Republicans are a lot of old white people, but that doesn’t mean the party will die off.  Here’s how Jamelle Bouie expects them to adapt.

4) Apparently being stabbed by a giant sword leads to a much slower death than is portrayed on Game of Thrones.

5) Honestly, I can never post enough on how evil civil asset forfeiture is.

6) Yglesias on Gallup poll showing Americans want to redistribute wealth by taxing the rich.

7) John Oliver on standardized testing.  Of course it’s great.  My youngest son had his first ever experience with them the past week.  Beforehand, they managed to worry a kid who was in absolutely no danger of failing that it was a real worry for him.  Also, no backpacks in school because somehow… ?

8) I’ve followed this guy’s Instagram feed for a while.  Enjoyed the story behind it.

9) Good story on the Obamacare hating man in SC who was disappointed to find out he couldn’t game the system when his eyesight depended upon it.

10) I was surprised at all the cynical takes on conclusion of Mad Men.  It was clear to me these people just did not understand Matt Weiner’s vision (and therefore should not have been writing as authorities on the show) and in this interview with Weiner, that’s pretty clear.  On the lighter side, here’s what Don Draper was thinking in his final moments.

11) A small piece of good news in the battle to protect individual liberties– the government cannot search the contents of your laptop or phone without a warrant.

12) We so totally know that 18-year olds are not really ready for the adult-world in many ways.  Yet, we typically just let foster kids (who are surely even less prepared) loose at age 18 with no more support.  That’s a horrible idea.  Kudos to Tennessee for figuring this out and creating a program that helps increase the adult success of these kids.

13) Vox’s health reporters on their 8 big take-aways from years as health reporters.

14) Great National Journal article on Amtrak and our problems with high-speed rail:

The Gulf situation is a miniature version of the chicken-and-egg question that bedevils Amtrak as a whole: Is it a waste of money because there isn’t sufficient demand for trains? Or is there insufficient demand for trains because we haven’t spent the money to create a great rail system? Outside of the Northeast Corridor, the tracks Amtrak uses are almost all owned by freight railroads. CSX, Union Pacific, and a handful of other behemoths naturally hog them, which contributes to Amtrak’s chronic tardiness, which in turn dissuades passengers from taking Amtrak. As a result, Congress cites Amtrak’s low-ridership numbers as a reason not to grant it larger subsidies, which of course are exactly what Amtrak would need in order to purchase its own train tracks. Commenting on the vicious cycle, John Robert Smith says: “You can’t disinvest in something and then beat it to death because it doesn’t perform.”

And a nice defense of Amtrak from Tim Wu.

15) I love reading about the Beanie Baby bubble and remembering fondly how my stepmother and little sisters were spending $80 on these things on Ebay and thinking it was a good investment.  There’s a new book on the matter.  And here’s an interview with the author.

16) Just a wee bit of hypocrisy in Republicans asking the Pope to say out of politics (somehow only seems to happen when he mentions poverty or climate change).

17) Oh, how I love School House Rock.  And, yes, I still show “I’m Just a Bill” every semester.  Here’s a nice bit from Mental Floss on 15 things you didn’t know about it.

18) Fox News personalities claim that they don’t actually say bad things about poor people.  Talk about a target-rich environment for Jon Stewart.  Oh my this is good.


Photo of the day

From National Geographic Found:

Boys dressed up in school uniforms pose with king penguins at the London Zoo, 1953. Photograph by B. Anthony Stewart and David S. Boyer, National Geographic Creative

Boys dressed up in school uniforms pose with king penguins at the London Zoo, 1953.PHOTOGRAPH BY B. ANTHONY STEWART AND DAVID S. BOYER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s Animal photos of the week.  Now that’s what I call a photobomb!

Malte Woestefeld, a 24-year-old business administration student, was on a day trip to Zoo Safaripark in Holte-Stukenbrock, Germany

How do my stripes look? A visitor to a wildlife park seemed to make a new friend when a zebra stuck its head through his car window – and posed for a ‘selfie’. Malte Woestefeld, a 24-year-old business administration student, took the snap while on a day trip to Zoo Safaripark in Holte-Stukenbrock, Germany.Picture: Malte Woestefeld/REX Shutterstock

Photo of the day

Sorry, I’ve been a slacker blogger.  I’m teaching a “Maymester” class which means squeezing a full semester into 3 weeks.  Throw in a little “political expert” consulting project on the side and blogging has fallen by the wayside.  Not to mention trying to teach Evan how to ride a bike.

Anyway, did you know that the Japanese tried to attack America with approximately 9000 balloon bombs during 1944?  They did.  Learned about it today on a great Radiolab.  And since that’s a listen, here’s a nice summary from NPR, where I found the photo.

The Japanese balloon bomb, in all its terrible splendor.

The Japanese balloon bomb, in all its terrible splendor.

US Army


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