See Thousands Of Old Photos Of Britain, From The Air, Early 20th Century

Hat tip to James.

Up and running this week.

An estimated one million people lined the banks to watch the liner depart – an occasion captured for Aerofilms, a pioneering air survey company that was set up by two First World War veterans in 1919.

The company built up a collection of more than 1,250,000 negatives and more than 2,000 photograph albums showing Britain from the air. Many landmarks are instantly recognisable but the public is being asked to help identify less well known views.

The Aerofilms Collection was acquired for the nation in 2007 when the company faced financial difficulties. Many of the photos, which range from 1919 to 1953, were so old and fragile that they were close to being lost forever.

With the help of English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Wales, thousands of photos were put through a painstaking process of conservation and cataloguing before being digitised for the public to enjoy.

They are now available on the Britain from Above website.

York Castle and Prison.

Paisley Abbey


Nickey Fynn, Madison’s Best Street Artist, Has World-Wide Fans

A couple of years ago I was able to talk for a few minutes with Nickey Fynn following one of his amazing performances on State Street.  It was a sunny Saturday morning during a Dane County Farmers’ Market, and Fynn had just dazzled and amused another crowd.  One would think that after having so many people in the palm of his hand for a performance he might be a little full of himself.

Instead I chatted with a most pleasant and intelligent man who verbally demonstrated the dedication he gives to his craft of magic and public performance.  He truly is unmatched by any other individual in the city.

If you have not seen one his performances—go!  Fynn appears on the first block of State St. (nearest the Capitol) Saturday morning.

Several weeks ago I received this update from Fynn.

I hope your having a lovely transition from spring to summer. I just
got back to Wisconsin from Thailand where it was more than 100 degrees
with 100% humidity. Customs is always a hoot, they get a kick out of
seeing all the strange props in my bag. The officer asked if there were
any explosives in my plastic banana…

Although it’s great to be home, I will only be in the Madison area for
two months. In August I have a show in Malaysia in an event titled
Superstars of Magic 2, then in September I’ve been invited to perform at
Happy Valley Theme park in Chengdu, China.

In any case, every Saturday I will be performing street magic shows at
the first block of State St. (nearest the Capitol), so come on by, bring
friends and family and have a morning of market magic!

Leakers In Scott Walker John Doe Probe Make Strange Claim

The claims from some of the lawyers for defendants in the Scott Walker John Doe Probe strikes me as rather amateurish.

Might I suggest that there would be less leaking, and surely less time involved with this probe into the political activities, and other possible crimes of Scott Walker while serving as Milwaukee County Executive, if there was a more forthright decision to just come clean with the facts.  If those who know what happened–and the includes Scott Walker–would just ante up honest information instead of hide behind layers of criminal defense attorneys, this probe could move along in a timely fashion.

Responding to claims they had leaked information on the John Doe investigation involving some of Gov. Scott Walker’s aides, Milwaukee County prosecutors say two of the leaks came from attorneys for one of the defendants.

Michael Maistelman, a lawyer for defendant Timothy Russell, sent an email to radio talk show host Charlie Sykes on Jan. 22, tipping off Sykes to the likelihood that two other former Walker aides would be charged that week. Those aides, Darlene Wink and Kelly Rindfleisch, were charged four days later on Jan. 26.

Russell held jobs as Walker’s deputy chief of staff and housing director while Walker was Milwaukee County executive. Wink was Walker’s constituent services aide and Rindfleisch was a policy adviser and later a deputy chief of staff.

Sykes and other backers of the Republican governor have accused prosecutors of illegally leaking information on the Doe investigation, which was launched more than two years ago.

Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf says in a filing in the Russell case that it was remarkable Russell’s lawyers had complained of a “not-so-secret” John Doe investigation when they disclosed information themselves.

Landgraf also points out that Russell’s lawyers released material in a May 30 filing that suggested that Walker’s staff had stalled the prosecutors’ investigation while Walker was Milwaukee County executive and a candidate for governor in 2010. That filing came the day before a debate in the gubernatorial recall election between Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and became a prime focus of that debate.

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Out Of Sight Fighting To Save Marriage

But not every artfully.

But I certainly give U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. thumbs up for trying.

First off…

A statement issued Monday was the first public disclosure that Jackson has been on medical leave since June 10. During that time, Jackson’s office has issued at least 10 news releases, including a statement two days after he took medical leave in which he was quoted commending officials in south suburban Crete for withdrawing support for an immigration detention center.

Asked why Jackson’s office waited two weeks to tell his constituents about his absence, spokesman Frank Watkins told the Tribune that the lack of disclosure was a “family request.”

And now…

Exhausted and, according to a friend, fighting to save his marriage, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. announced Monday he’s been on a previously-undisclosed medical leave of absence for the past two weeks.

“I know he has been under a lot of pressure,” said a Jackson friend in Washington, D.C. “He’s been fighting really hard to save his marriage. And he had a tough election. There’s been a lot of stuff.” 

The cause for his leave was said to be “exhaustion,” according to Jackson’s office, which has sent out at least 16 press releases — many quoting Jackson — in the two weeks since he dropped out of sight. 

The Jackson friend, who saw him in early June at the Capitol, said he looked withdrawn and distracted, not his usual self. 

Jackson, 47, cast his last vote in Congress on June 8. He has missed the votes since. No date has been set for his return.

Tongue in cheek moment…

If anyone really wanted Jackson to show up just have President Obama make a speech to a joint session of congress.  There in an aisle seat, waiting for both the camera to get his mug shot and a chance to get yet another autograph from Obama would be….yup!!…U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

North Korea’s Leader, Mr. Kim, Has Erratic Behavior

North Korea just intrigues me.

Since succeeding his father, Kim Jong-il, six months ago, Mr. Kim has quickly alienated the Obama administration and put North Korea on track to develop a nuclear warhead that could hit the United States within a few years, Chinese and Western analysts say.

Most surprising, though, is how Mr. Kim has thumbed his nose at China, whose economic largess keeps the government afloat. For example, shortly after Mr. Kim took over, a Chinese vice minister of foreign affairs, Fu Ying, visited Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, and sternly warned him not to proceed with a ballistic missile test. The new leader went ahead anyway.

Now, the Obama administration and the Chinese government, who warily consult each other on North Korea, are waiting to see if Mr. Kim will follow in his father’s footsteps and carry out a nuclear test, which would be North Korea’s third. The previous tests were in 2006 and 2009.

Mr. Kim’s erratic behavior unfolded early on. In late February, his government signed an agreement with the United States to freeze its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, giving hope that he would turn out to be more open to change than his father. But six weeks later, Mr. Kim ripped up the accord and, without informing China, ordered the missile test that Washington viewed as a test run for launching a nuclear weapon.