September 2008

interesting knife holder in a trendy shop

Sigmund Freud Park


Very cool city-run rent-a-bike stand

seen on the way to the MuseumPlatz

Karlsplatz subway stop and cafe

From the 925 Rally Coalition:

Join us to raise your voice of conscience against religious appeasers of tyrant Ahmadinejad!

On Thursday, Sept 25, at 6pm in New York City at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, The American Friends Service Committee, Mennonite Central Committee, Quaker UN Office, Religions for Peace, and the World Council of Churches-UN Liaison Office will be honoring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at an Iftar (dinner to break the day’s Ramadan fast). Other organizations, political leaders and media have also been invited. Read the Text of the Invitation.

These religious leaders are about to betray their brethren across all religions, parties, and countries by honoring the tyrannical regime of Ahmadinejad and the Iranian mullahs of this terrorist state.

At the same time, Women United, the Jewish Action Alliance, Stand With Us, Center for Security Policy, the Catholic League, the The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Alliance of Iranian Women and over 30 organizations of all faiths and political affiliations will hold an interfaith rally to counter this betrayal of principles, to protest Ahmadinejad’s presence at the United Nations, and to oppose Iran’s nuclear weapons program and outrageous threats against the USA and America’s ally, Israel. See the full list of participating organizations HERE , updated daily. UPDATE – RAIN OR SHINE, THE RALLY WILL GO ON! WEATHER REPORTS DAILY ON THIS PAGE




more photos here…

..and here’s a first attempt to download a video onto flickr and embed it on a web page.

A New York minute at Grand Central Station (warning – this is very loud)

Photos from Vienna’s Palmenhaus





My report from an August visit to Beirut is up at Pajamas Media: Two Visits to a Fast-Changing Lebanon

…Hezbollah’s effort to take over Lebanon is often portrayed as a religious quest, but at the [2006] rally, in the tent city and in the crowd, I saw few signs of religious devotion. I saw a lot of evidence that Hezbollah’s “civil disobedience” was politically opportunistic extortion. With their ability to gain allies, with their weapons and their support from Syria and Iran, Hezbollah and friends were demanding that the rest of Lebanon give in to their demands or risk civil war, basically saying, “Nice country you’ve got; wouldn’t want anything to happen to it.”

The first time I visited Beirut, it was as a blogger and a photographer, documenting a city in the midst of an attempted putsch. When I revisited the city this August, it was as a tourist, visiting friends.

Unfortunately, many of the Lebanese bloggers I knew had left Beirut. Most people were leaving for better economic opportunities in the Gulf, Europe, or America. For those who stayed in Lebanon, goodbye parties were frequent, almost weekly social gatherings…



– How many partisan bloggers does it take to screw in a lightbulb in the weeks before an election?

The proof that the SNL sketch was making fun of NYT reporters and not of Palin is that this is apparently the only political SNL sketch unavailable online…

Hmm..did NBC pull the video because of complaints from the right or because of legal action from the NYT?

Millions spend half of income on housing

Ray, 44, is looking for work and renting out a room in his two-bedroom condo in Davie, Fla., for $500, but his monthly income doesn’t match his expenses and he’s facing foreclosure.

“I barely have money to survive,” he said.

Ray is one of more than 7.5 million people — almost 15 percent of American homeowners with a mortgage — who are spending half of their income or more on housing costs, according to 2007 data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. That is up from nearly 7.1 million the year before.

Traditionally, the government and most lenders consider a homeowner spending 30 percent or more of their income on housing costs to be financially burdened. But that definition now covers almost 38 percent of American homeowners with a mortgage — 19 million of them.

Though home prices have fallen this year, in the most expensive markets where home prices tripled during the boom, many working families still cannot afford to buy a home.

“We had a bubble,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. “This is a case where we absolutely want the market to adjust.”

During the dot-com era, people were willing to invest millions of dollars on businesses that had no hope of ever showing a profit. Sure, you could ‘flip’ them, but everyone knew that businesses based on no profit plus ‘flipping’ would peak, then fall. A lot of people ignored that fact, and they lost a lot of money.

However, the government didn’t finance the dot-com bubble and the majority of the population wasn’t using dot coms to provide warmth and shelter. This housing crisis will move slower and it will be much larger. The dot com bust was like a tornado. The housing crisis will be more like Katrina.

Bankers were willing to lend money to just about anyone because house prices were going up. As long as house prices kept going up, the mortgage system thrived.

However, anyone who thought about this situation would have to realize that housing prices could not continue to rise indefinitely. There had to be a certain point when real estate prices would peak, then fall. This isn’t rocket science, it’s basic physics – economics – life.

But no one thought about it. Bankers, financial experts, stock brokers are educated people. But they didn’t think about where they were going or what they were doing. They didn’t think outside of their little box. Why should they, when the box had such a nice view and the $300-per-bottle vodka was so smooth?

We have to wonder why educated people don’t think. Why do they base their actions and their fortunes on a obviously bad idea?

And what will the next bad idea be?

Here’s the SNL video of the NY Times parody, thanks to Allah at Hot Air who says:

Think of it as a comic rendering of Saturday night’s quotes of the day. Pretty funny — you’ll laugh, more than once — but not as gratifying as it would have been if they’d zeroed in on the smearmongering.

UPDATE: Sorry, the skit has been removed. According to YouTube, it’s no longer available due to a copyright claim by NBC Universal

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