Archive for the ‘americana’ Category

Conch Republic Passports

Key West, Fla.A- Dark red and blue "Conch Republic" passports could pass for real travel documents - and that’s part of the appeal.

"Alright Matt, we’re gonna get your passport picture," said Sir Peter Anderson, the so-called Secretary General of the Conch Republic by way of "prime ministerial appointment," as he picked up his digital camera.

I’m about to become a citizen of another country. Except I haven’t left the United States. I’m in Key West, also known as the Conch Republic - since their mock secession in 1982.

The Conch Republic is notAa real country, of course, but trying telling that to Anderson who makes his living off this mythical Margaritaville.

"Absolutely without question" this is a real country, said Anderson from his home office. "When the U.S. didn’t object to our sovereignty after 12 years by the most stringent international standards they lost any right to do so."

Sir Peter calls the Conch Republic the world’s "first fifth world nation." And for him, this nation is big business. He’s trademarked all sorts of slogans and bumper stickers. But most of Anderson’s money comes from selling real looking passports.

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Posted: November 23rd, 2010
at 7:57am by Koookiecrumbles

Categories: myninjaplease,weaponry,"ninja",travel,ir,americana

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Plastic Is King: Consumer Debt in America>

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Posted: November 17th, 2010
at 8:37pm by Koookiecrumbles

Categories: business,mnp is for the children,americana

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Who Rules America : Wealth, Income, and Power

First, though, some definitions. Generally speaking,Awealth is the value of everything a person or family owns, minus any debts. However, for purposes of studying the wealth distribution, economists define wealth in terms ofAmarketable assets, such as real estate, stocks, and bonds, leaving aside consumer durables like cars and household items because they are not as readily converted into cash and are more valuable to their owners for use purposes than they are for resale (see Wolff, 2004, p. 4, for a full discussion of these issues). Once the value of all marketable assets is determined, then all debts, such as home mortgages and credit card debts, are subtracted, which yields a person’s net worth. In addition, economists use the concept ofAfinancial wealth — also referred to in this document as "non-home wealth" — which is defined as net worth minus net equity in owner-occupied housing. As Wolff (2004, p. 5) explains, "Financial wealth is a more ‘liquid’ concept than marketable wealth, since one’s home is difficult to convert into cash in the short term. It thus reflects the resources that may be immediately available for consumption or various forms of investments."

We also need to distinguish wealth fromAincome. Income is what people earn from work, but also from dividends, interest, and any rents or royalties that are paid to them on properties they own. In theory, those who own a great deal of wealth may or may not have high incomes, depending on the returns they receive from their wealth, but in reality those at the very top of the wealth distribution usually have the most income. (But it’s important to note that for the rich, most of that income does not come from "working": in 2008, only 19% of the income reported by the 13,480 individuals or families making over $10 million came from wages and salaries. See Norris, 2010, for more details.)

As you read through these numbers, please keep in mind that they are usually two or three years out of date because it takes time for one set of experts to collect the basic information and make sure it is accurate, and then still more time for another set of experts to analyze it and write their reports. It’s also the case that the infamous housing bubble of the first eight years of the 21st century inflated some of the wealth numbers.

So far there are only tentative projections — based on the price of housing and stock in July 2009 — on the effects of the Great Recession on the wealth distribution. They suggest that average Americans have been hit much harder than wealthy Americans. Edward Wolff, the economist we draw upon the most in this document, concludes that there has been an "astounding" 36.1% drop in the wealth (marketable assets) of the median household since the peak of the housing bubble in 2007. By contrast, the wealth of the top 1% of households dropped by far less: just 11.1%. So as of April 2010, it looks like the wealth distribution is even more unequal than it was in 2007.>

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Posted: November 14th, 2010
at 1:54pm by Koookiecrumbles

Categories: business,development,education,trade,americana

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Why Are There No 'Peaces'?

Veteran's Day is upon us, at a time when the number of war veterans has been increasing astronomically, with no end in sight.A Which brings up this troubling thought: Could it be that the reason the United Statesaeven under an avowedly antiwar Presidentahas done such a miserable job of "winning the peace" in both Afghanistan and Iraq, as opposed to its earlier and far more successful initiating of wars is that our leaders just aren't really very invested in peace?A More disturbing yet: Insofar as those in power find violence especially compelling, perhaps they aren't that different from the rest of us.

In short, is peace boring? Most people certainly find it less interesting than war.A Nearly all countries, for example, set aside their own Veterans' Days to honor military victories; by contrast, there are precious few "Peace Days."A War Colleges greatly outnumber Institutes of Peace.

It has been saidaalthough disputedathat the Inuit ("Eskimos") have about a dozen words for "snow" (distinguishing between blowing snow, drifted, wet, powder, icy, etc.) and that among the Bedouin, there are more than a hundred words for "camel" (ornery, pregnant, easy-to-ride, male or female, and so forth).A Similarly, in Englishaand most other languagesathere are numerous terms referring to specific wars. We distinguish between, for example,A the Vietnam War, Korean War, World Wars I and II, etc., but have only one word for "peace.">

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Posted: November 12th, 2010
at 3:49pm by Koookiecrumbles

Categories: politricks,education,americana

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It’s On Like Donkey Kong

We could be way off on this one, but the first time we ever heard anyone use the phrase, "It’s on like Donkey Kong" was back in 1992 when Ice Cube spit it as the opening line on Now I Gotta Wet ‘Cha, a track on his album, The Predator. Strange then that Nintendo today announced it’s seeking to trademark the phrase in honor of the upcoming launch of Donkey Kong Country Returns. AIn a brief, trademark-laden statement, Nintendo said it has filed a request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to take ownership of the "pop-culture phrase."

"For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘It’s on like Donkey Kong’ is an old, popular Nintendo phrase that has a number of possible interpretations depending on how it’s used," Nintendo stated. "In addition to Nintendo’s use, it has been used in popular music, television and film over the years, pointing to Donkey Kong’s status as an enduring pop-culture icon and video game superstar."

The ever-reliable Urban Dictionary credits Ice Cube in one entry and then a Robert Mori of San Francisco, California, some dude who evidently ran an arcade in the 1980s: "Rob would close down his Arcade for the night, he would grab a Colt 45 Tall Can, slam it and scream, ‘It’s on like Donkey Kong!’ He would then proceed to go out and get wasted and try to get laid." (Urban Dictionary everybody!)>

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Posted: November 10th, 2010
at 10:45pm by Koookiecrumbles

Categories: myninjaplease,games,trademark & copyright,americana

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America, Step Up Your Manufacturing!

18 iconic products that America doesn’t make anymore….c’mon America- you can do it!>

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Posted: November 7th, 2010
at 6:54pm by Koookiecrumbles

Categories: diy,americana

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Why Japanese Love Robots (And Americans Fear Them)

The affection of a certain island nation for all things robotic — fromAhundred foot tall warfighting mecha toAinfantile therapy robots — is well known. It contrasts sharply with the equally entrenched Western fear of automatons, beginning with the very invention of the term "robot," which was coined in aACzech play that debuted in 1921 in which, naturally, the robots eventually rise up and kill their human masters.

How could two cultures come to such fundamentally divergent conclusions about the status and future of the semi-autonomous helpmates whose increasing presence in our lives seems pre-ordained by nearly every sci-fi vision of the future?

Heather Knight,Afounder of the world’s first (non-industrial) robot census, has made the study of robot / human interaction her life’s work. She posits that the difference between Japanese and American attitudes toward robots is rooted in something much older than even the idea of robots: religion. "In Japan… they’re culturally open to robots, on account of animism. They don’t make a distinction between inanimate objects and humans.">

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Posted: October 24th, 2010
at 7:04am by Koookiecrumbles

Categories: robots,americana

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Modern Art was CIA ‘Weapon’

For decades in art circles it was either a rumour or a joke, but now it is confirmed as a fact. The Central Intelligence Agencyused American modern art - including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko - as a weapon in the Cold War. In the manner of a Renaissance prince - except that it acted secretly - the CIA fostered and promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world for more than 20 years.

The connection is improbable. This was a period, in the 1950s and 1960s, when the great majority of Americans disliked or even despised modern art - President Truman summed up the popular view when he said: "If that’s art, then I’m a Hottentot." As for the artists themselves, many were ex- com- munists barely acceptable in the America of the McCarthyite era, and certainly not the sort of people normally likely to receive US government backing.

Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete.>

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Posted: November 10th, 2009
at 7:50pm by Koookiecrumbles

Categories: myninjaplease,art,politricks,weaponry,"ninja",ir,security,americana

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