Before You Die

What do you want to do before you die?

Creators, Nicole Kenney (Brooklyn, NY) and ks rives (Chicago, IL) keep their Polaroid cameras close at hand, taking portraits wherever they go to add to the collection. They snap the photo while the subject is saying what they want to do before they die, getting them in the act of stating their desire. Nicole and ks then request that the subject writes his or her statement on the Polaroid starting with the words “Before I die I want to….” As the subjects are signing the release form, the artists ask them to include their email.

So which country has the soundest banking system?

From Financial Week:

Canada has the world’s soundest banking system, closely followed by Sweden, Luxembourg and Australia, a survey by the World Economic Forum has found as financial crisis and bank failures shake world markets.

But Britain, which once ranked in the top five, has slipped to 44th place behind El Salvador and Peru, after a 50 billion pound ($86.5 billion) pledge this week by the government to bolster bank balance sheets.

The United States, where some of Wall Street’s biggest financial names have collapsed in recent weeks, rated only 40, just behind Germany at 39, and smaller states such as Barbados, Estonia and even Namibia, in southern Africa.

Time on the Troopergate Report

What the Troopergate Report Really Says:

The 263 pages of the report show a co-ordinated application of pressure on Monegan so transparent and ham-handed that it was almost certain to end in public embarrassment for the governor. The only surprise is that Troopergate is national news, not just a sorry piece of political gristle to be chewed on by Alaska politicos over steaks at Anchorage’s Club Paris.

A harsh verdict? Consider the report’s findings. Not only did people at almost every level of the Palin administration engage in repeated inappropriate contact with Walt Monegan and other high-ranking officials at the Department of Public Safety, but Monegan and his peers constantly warned these Palin disciples that the contact was inappropriate and probably unlawful. Still, the emails and calls continued — in at least one instance on recorded state trooper phone lines.

The state’s head of personnel, Annette Kreitzer, called Monegan and had to be warned that personnel issues were confidential. The state’s attorney general, Talis Colberg, called Monegan and had to be reminded that the call was putting both men in legal jeopardy, should Wooten decide to sue. The governor’s chief of staff met with Monegan and had to be reminded by Monegan that, “This conversation is discoverable … You don’t want Wooten to own your house, do you?”

Monegan consistently emerges as the adult in these conversations, while the Palin camp displays a childish impetuousness and sense of entitlement.

Barack Obama’s Strategy of Calm is Provoking his Rival Into Fatal Errors

From the Times Online:

His calm is almost unnatural. I’ve been following Barack Obama closely now for two years and I’ve never seen him or even heard of him losing his temper. The worst I’ve seen was a little irritation at a fund-raiser a year and a half ago where some volunteers backstage were making so much noise that he couldn’t think straight. There was a little edge in his voice as he asked them to quieten down.

During some of the tensest moments in the primary campaign, he would sometimes go into a hotel room alone for a few minutes, compose himself and then come back out. Hillary Clinton cried in public. Bill Clinton got red in the face and made some borderline racist remarks. John McCain picked Sarah Palin, called Obama Britney Spears, suspended his campaign in the middle of a financial panic, unveiled a completely loopy mortgage bailout scheme on live television last week and explodes on cue like a microwaved bag of popcorn.

Obama? He lollops along with a calm smile and a physical fluency that is hard to mock or copy. If he were a boxer, he’d be the kind who keeps moving but hangs back. He waits for his opponents to take a swing, ducks and comes back into the game. He sticks to a game plan and rarely deviates. And he waits for his opponent to make an error. Watching his autumn fight with McCain reminds me of the Wile E Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. Every elaborate attempt to blow Obama up leaves his opponents with sooty faces and a trail of smoke rising from the tops of their heads.