Archive for March 24th, 2011
I don’t mean consider having surgery. I mean think about the concept of surgery for a moment. Whether it’s a heart transplant or a knee replacement, all surgeries have certain things in common.
First of all, they exist to correct a problem, and they require a surgeon who has extensive knowledge (and preferably a degree) in his or her field. No matter what the operation may be, the surgeon needs many tools to get the job done.
A scalpel is the obvious first tool that comes to mind (continue reading…)
“Tell me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like!” That is a chant that could just as easily come from the millions of Egyptians in Tahir Square in Cairo as it has from hundreds of thousands of citizens in Wisconsin.
I had the privilege to go to Madison, WI with 161 union members from LA. We were a planeload of people who looked like LA — not the Lindsay Lohan kind of LA, but the hard-working, punch-a-time-clock kind of LA that makes our city run from sunup to long after most people have gone to bed (continue reading…)
HuffPost Review Sucker Punch Genuinely Feminist Its a Deeper Darker Confection Than One Might Presume
by Scott Mendelson
Zach Snyder’s Sucker Punch is an experiment and a question: Is is possible to make a female-driven action fantasy without falling prey to certain misogynistic messaging? Just as its difficult to make an anti-war film because war plays out as exciting onscreen, there is a level of titillation that comes from the very idea of watching attractive women taking up arms against various foes. One could argue that the same applies to any number of male action pictures, as I don’t think too many heterosexual women or homosexual men minded watching Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, or Matt Damon kicking butt in their respective action franchises. But rather than duck the subject, Snyder dives right into the muck, offering an examination of the voyeuristic nature of our mainstream action fantasies, and how those films view women. It’s a severely flawed picture, and thanks to the MPAA (it took seven tries to get a PG-13), somewhat artistically compromised, but there is much more going on underneath the surface that the surface-level razzle-dazzle (continue reading…)
Parents have always struggled with how to talk with their kids about sex, but in a world where pornography is a mouse click away, the conversation is more complicated than ever. A rather alarming number of adolescents — girls as well as boys — seem to be looking at porn online and using it as inspiration for their own “sexting,” blithely sending explicit pictures of themselves to their crushes and posing suggestively on their Facebook profiles.
This state of affairs suggests that some teens may feel that they’re expected to have extensive carnal knowledge at an early age — because everyone else does. Here’s where you come in (continue reading…)
The biggest threat to America’s future is not foreign competition. It is the political paralysis that keeps us from rising to the challenge of foreign competition.
There are many sources of this paralysis. Judicial decisions ban limits on political spending. Gerrymandering disenfranchises the political center while empowering the political extremes (continue reading…)
There’s no excuse for dangerous temper tantrums, but after talking to anger-management experts, I’m convinced Chris has made progress and sincerely wants to be a better person.
When word spread like wildfire that Chris Brown had freaked out after his on-air interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, the chorus of voices condemning him — including some here in our Hollywoodlife.com office — couldn’t have been louder.
“He’ll never change,” ‘he’s a jerk,” “he’s a thug,” “he’s just a brute” were a few of the more damning comments I heard.
And while I believe that Chris’ assault on his then-girlfriend Rihanna was unforgivable, I’ve always felt that everyone — especially a young person — deserves a second chance. People make mistakes, especially teens — and Chris was just 19 at the time of the assault. He was a baby. It’s also a fact that when someone like Chris has grown up in a household witnessing domestic violence, they can learn terribly destructive behavior.
I’m as letdown as anyone that after a year of court-mandated, domestic-violence counseling and six months of community service, Chris exploded after he was questioned by Robin about the Rihanna assault (continue reading…)
If you asked someone, “Do things exist?” the response would probably be, “Of course things exist! The world is full of things. Everyone knows that there is physical stuff out there, that reality is tangible and real!”
But what allows any thing — a hand, a chair or any other object — to exist? One way to discover the answer is to imagine a specific thing — say, your hand — expanding and expanding until there is nothing in the universe except the hand. What would happen to it? Really, just take a moment and try this. You’ll be amazed at your experience (continue reading…)
We’ve seen this movie before. Spectacular photos of Tomahawk Cruise missiles being launched from American navy vessels. B-2 bombers piloted by amazing American crews making nonstop trips from Missouri to the Mediterranean… and Americans of all political stripes asking: What’s the plan?
Make no mistake (continue reading…)
Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is in mourning. He is very saddened by the sudden passing of Knut the polar bear in Germany. He tweeted:
“Sad news! Just learned knut the polar bear died suddenly at 4,” Gingrich tweeted over the weekend. “Callista and I visited him in Berlin when he was 5 months old-he was cute.”
Knut’s passing was very sad (continue reading…)
He will take questions four times a year, to coincide with the Fed's quarterly economic forecasts, with the first due on 27 April.
The 98-year-old US monetary authority has never opened up in this way before, and until 1994 did not even announce its interest rate decisions.
It comes after the Fed was criticised for its secretiveness about actions taken during the 2008 financial crisis.
Earlier this week the central bank lost a court case, forcing it to disclose the names of banks that received emergency loans during the financial meltdown (continue reading…)
Japan’s Fukushima disaster, stoking fears we’ve tried to bury since James Bridges’s 1971 epic “The China Syndrome,” is a sobering reminder of the fragility of our planet’s energy sources. As if on cue, 24-hour cable news studios were filled with experts who lamented our reliance on unsafe nuclear power and dirty fossil fuels. And we, the American people, wrung our hands, wondering why “they” aren’t doing anything to fix the problem.
The pattern repeats itself all too often: crisis, followed by a spike in consumer interest in renewable energy and a rapid return to normal, as we hop into our big cars and laze around our energy-guzzling homes (continue reading…)
Have you wandered through the farmers’ market at Union Square in New York City on a Saturday morning? One visit and you can feel the excitement surrounding the local food movement. The energy is palpable to watching hundreds of people bustling around stand after stand of upstate farmers’ healthy, fresh food. Even in the dead of winter, treasures are on display from local farms. And the community of local foodies and farmers is vibrant.
I don’t remember farmers’ markets all over the city when I was growing up (continue reading…)
As Japan’s nuclear disaster stretched into its second week, traces of radiation from the stricken power plants showed up in several U.S. states, and as far away as Iceland.
With the reactors and uranium fuel rods still proving difficult to bring under control, the disaster could be the “death knell” for nuclear power, some analysts said. Countries around the world — from China to Germany — are taking a closer look at their nuclear plants and plans, while the U.S. intends to complete an initial review of its reactors within three months (continue reading…)
I was talking to a tech guy this morning about my new iPad 2 and he asked the same questions everyone asks: “What d’ya think of it? What’s cool about it compared to the original iPad?” I have my stock answers, about it being slimmer, lighter and faster, the addition of the camera, but it got me thinking about something I’ve been chewing on for a while: with a device like the iPad, what’s next?
There are rumor sites that suggest that the now-mythical iPad 3 will have a faster processor, a “retina” display or other higher resolution screen and a higher resolution camera. Maybe a built-in SD Card reader or USB port. Maybe a second interface plug so that the device could be docked in landscape orientation, rather than just portrait.
Better, faster, stronger, lighter, thinner, but there are logical endpoints to these trends (continue reading…)
Spring is a time of new beginnings: flowers blooming and seeds blossoming into lush plants that we’ve nurtured and cultivated earlier. Spring can also be a time of renewal for our children, to open their hearts, to share their hopes, and to expand their dreams. We can guide our children toward their correct path by helping them connect with their own inner seeds, of peace, of joy, of love. We can teach them how to heal hurts of their personal dark winter, in the present and from the past (continue reading…)
In my sixty years of observing the restaurant scene in Los Angeles, I have never before seen a new restaurant open its doors right on the heels of a favorable full-page article in the New York Times about its owner (and, incidentally, without once mentioning its food!) The story, headlined “In L.A., a Restaurant Contender Elbows In,” details how Craig Susser, the long-time manager of a legendary Italian celebrity joint in West Hollywood, Dan Tana’s, recently left there after the 75-year-old owner sold it (supposedly for $6 million!) to someone else (a Croatian countryman of his). And, in opening his new place, Craig’s (8826 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, (310) 276-8900), on the south side of the avenue at N. La Peer between Doheny and Robertson), 45-year old Susser has gathered up many of the favorite and famous clientele of his old stomping grounds in the process. Hard feelings on ol’ Dan Tana’s part? I wouldn’t be surprised (continue reading…)
While President Obama capitulates to right-wing Republicans by extending tax cuts for the wealthy, some Democrats in Congress are pushing what is not only good policy — but smarter politics. Bernie Sanders in the Senate and Jan Schakowsky in the House have sponsored legislation to raise taxes on millionaires — rather than restoring the Clinton tax brackets for those making over $250,000. One Capitol Hill newspaper noted this deviates from where the White House currently stands, as it specifically targets the very rich. Moreover, it puts Republicans in a far more awkward position — as they are left defending tax cuts for millionaires (continue reading…)
Since he debuted on the political stage with the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention, Republicans have suspected that Barack Obama was a Marxist. It turns out they were right: He’s Groucho.
In the 1930 film Animal Crackers, Groucho Marx, a comedic genius and wit, played Captain Jeffrey Spaulding. He sang a lyric called “Hello, I Must Be Going.”
Hello, I must be going. I cannot stay, I came to say, I must be going (continue reading…)
The Hispanic population grew by 43% to 50.5m, or 16% of the total, while the non-Hispanic population grew 5%.
The non-Hispanic white population grew only 1%, shrinking as a portion of the total to 64%, down from 69% in 2000.
The 2010 shifts were down to Hispanic immigration and whites' declining birthrate, the census bureau said (continue reading…)
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Elizabeth Taylor to be buried outside Los Angeles
A private funeral was expected to be held at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.
Pop icon Michael Jackson, a friend of Taylor's, is one of a number of stars also buried at the cemetery.
Taylor, one of the 20th Century's biggest movie stars, died in Los Angeles on Wednesday of congestive heart failure. She was 79 (continue reading…)
When my daughter was a toddler, she would want me to read the same storybook to her over and over, endlessly. I couldn’t understand how she could enjoy something enough to do that. Now I get it. My epiphany arrived with the unlikely name of Alfie Boe (continue reading…)
In 2010, the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated that President Barack Obama’s new health reform would save the state budget $365 million over the next five years.
In 2011, newly-inaugurated Tea Party Governor Scott Walker, despite a gaping budget deficit, ordered the state Attorney General to add Wisconsin to list of states suing in federal court to overturn the new health insurance law.
And so it goes with our northern neighbor, whose governor is giving the term “crank” a good name by comparison.
In Illinois, however, on the one-year anniversary of the new federal health law, Governor Pat Quinn has been blazing forward to implement its provisions. In fact, since taking office, Quinn has been on tear to reform Illinois health care more broadly.
Since March 23, 2010, the federal government has awarded $89.4 million in health reform funding to Illinois, and the law has delivered to 151,922 Illinois Medicare beneficiaries a one-time, tax-free $250 rebate to help pay for prescriptions in the “donut hole” coverage gap. In 2011, they will receive a 50% discount for covered brand-name prescriptions in the hole.
By August 20, 2010 Quinn had opened enrollment for the Illinois Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan to provide transitional coverage until 2014 for 5,000 Illinois residents who are currently uninsured with pre-existing conditions (continue reading…)
Women stand at the center of every type of dramatic change occurring in the world today: whether it’s coordinating and offering relief to earthquake victims in Japan and Haiti, consolidating democracy in Egypt or running Facebook. In 2009, President Obama appointed the first-ever ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer. In this historic role, Ambassador Verveer is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s go-to person, coordinating foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women around the world.
Ambassador Verveer is a force of nature in her own right. When I met her between sessions at the recent Women in the World Summit in New York City, she was swapping stories with a young American writer and a doctor (and grandmother) from Somalia (continue reading…)
My first thought when I saw the solar-powered Whole Foods sign go up in my neighborhood was: My life just got a million times better. The convenience! The consistent quality! The $11 half-pint of curried chicken salad! My second thought? I am such a fucking hypocrite.
In case you haven’t heard: San Francisco’s fifth Whole Foods opened in February, on the corner of Haight and Stanyan. You know, next to the enter-at-your-own risk McDonald’s and across from the entrance to Golden Gate Park where cliques of homeless hang out (continue reading…)