Archive for June 7th, 2011
For most people, there is nothing more exciting than a press conference given by a politician who is confessing to his/her personal transgressions.
There they are, completely vulnerable and exposed to the world. They bare their private lives for all to see, asking their families and the public for forgiveness. Usually, they utter really memorable things like former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey’s “I am a gay American” line (continue reading…)
Labeling ambient music as “cinematic” is like saying a poem is “descriptive” — those facile observations may very well be true, but they hardly begin to explain why the music moves us, or why the words resonate. The truth is that words don’t have to be descriptive to be effective, and ambient music doesn’t have to be cinematic to be meaningful.
Making the sonic case for this perspective is the Brooklyn-based composer Kyle Bobby Dunn, whose latest recording — the aptly titled Ways of Meaning — was released this spring. Comprised of six instrumental tracks which further cement his reputation as an accomplished purveyor of drone music, Dunn presents the listener with sounds that seemingly, have no beginning, nor any end. There are not so much melodies, in the conventional sense — but rather an economical assemblage of tones, which linger in the air like the quivering brush strokes in an Impressionist still life.
Cover art for Ways of Meaning
“Statuit” breathes with a somber optimism, playing like an interlude to some long-lost, alternative liturgy (continue reading…)
Kelly Cutrone and Justine Bateman finally get another WUAGR video out there (first one of 2011!). Kelly and Justine both got “The Patdowns” at NY airports recently, with wildly different results. Kelly hates the TSA; Justine thinks they’re hilarious.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
The Madoff Ponzi scheme could set off a new set of unusual demands for some of his investors–”divorce do-overs.” Although this case is still in progress, it raises a number of issues for other couples who believe that their divorce settlements are final. In fact, as a result of the economic downturn, there are several instances where a divorced couple could find themselves revisiting their divorce settlement.
Steven Simpkin and his ex-wife Laura Blank were divorced in 2006 but are in court again. In the settlement, the couple divided their assets evenly, with a large proportion of Mr (continue reading…)
In reflecting on my blog’s theme of Judaism and the environment and my efforts to relate this theme to the Jewish calendar, the upcoming festival of Shavuot (beginning after sundown on June 7 through June 9) bears lots of fruit, literally and figuratively. It would be easy for me to comment on Shavuot as “Hag HaBikkurim,” the festival of the first fruits. As if this agricultural reference weren’t enough, we read the Book of Ruth with its rich agricultural imagery of the barley harvest and the loving kindness that Ruth shows Naomi by gleaning in the fields for her mother-in-law and the loving kindness of Boaz in inviting Ruth to glean in his fields. In modern Israel, Shavuot became one of the most popular holidays, particularly on secular kibbutzim, precisely because of its rich agricultural heritage that had been lost over a 2,000-year period (continue reading…)
Happy Tuesday everyone, here’s my Top 5 for June 7, 2011 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com
1. Quick Hits
The Boston Bruins bomb Vancouver 8-1 in game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals. (The record is nine goals in the finals.) Vancouver still leads two games to one.
Nathan Horton of the Bruins was hospitalized after a cheap shot early in the game. He was carried off on a stretcher.
Mark Jackson will be the new coach of the Golden State Warriors (continue reading…)
What comes to your mind when you hear the words “AIDS orphans”? Do you imagine a skinny, destitute African child with matchstick legs? Is he or she young — maybe 7- or 8-years-old? Are there flies in the child’s eyes? What do you think would be the best way to help this child? Should you send money to an orphanage that can provide food, shelter, clothing, and education? How about a mission trip to bring soccer balls and medicine? What about international adoption as an option?
Popular American conceptions about so-called “AIDS orphans” are based largely on well-intentioned but ultimately inaccurate portrayals about who children affected by HIV and AIDS really are. We are also misguided about how best to help them. A recent Grey’s Anatomy plotline saw the character Karev fly a bunch of thickly accented “Africans” (no country specified) to Seattle for advanced surgeries in a ploy that would help him become chief resident at Mercy West. (It didn’t work out for him.) Madonna notoriously chose her first adopted child out of a line-up at an “orphanage” in Malawi, only to learn later that his father was still alive (continue reading…)
Ten years ago today, the first Bush tax cuts were signed into law. The fiscal damage they have inflicted is still unparalleled. But while the tax cuts for the top 2 percent of American earners will stay off the table until December 2012, there are any number of other progressive tax increases that Washington could adopt, but won’t even consider. The public deserves to know what they are (continue reading…)
In the weeks before the death of Osama bin Laden thrust the debate over the efficacy and morality of torture back into the headlines, a disturbing report was released by the American Red Cross. After speaking with hundreds of American teenagers, it became clear that the generation that has grown up since 9/11 is woefully uneducated in the rules of war. Most of them have never heard of the Geneva Convention, and more than half believe that there are times when it is acceptable to torture an enemy prisoner. 56 percent believe that retaliatory killings of prisoners is acceptable (continue reading…)
Well, here we go again. About 15 months ago (January 29, 2010) I wrote a column on the dark side of the political personality. At the time, I focused on John Edwards but it could have been any of a number of self-destructive politicians. I wrote that politicians were particularly prone to this kind of behavior and I explained why (continue reading…)
When a federal appeals court in Atlanta hears arguments tomorrow in the constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act brought by 26 states, the only advocate for the states to stand before the judges will argue against the Act. But that doesn’t mean that the states are “united” against the Act in this lawsuit, as the challengers’ lawyer, former George W. Bush Solicitor General Paul Clement, has suggested. While they won’t be speaking in court tomorrow, 10 states and more than 150 state legislators — many of whom are from the 26 states that brought the lawsuit — have filed “friend of the court” briefs supporting the constitutionality of the Act and arguing that it is good for their states and constituents (continue reading…)
Each spring, Utah becomes the scene of one of the animal kingdom’s great annual migrations, as thousands of Colorado ski-town locals descend from their snowbound winter ranges in search of warm desert climes. If you’ve been to Moab on a busy weekend in recent years, you’ve do doubt seen this phenomenon, characterized by massive herds of sightseers, mountain bikers, dirt bikers and other off-road enthusiasts.
On our last trip to Moab, my family and I had to drive around for two hours looking for a vacant campsite until we finally found a barely suitable one miles up a dirt road outside of town. Then, when we went for a hike to a swimming hole I remembered fondly from years ago, we were forced to contend with hordes of drunken twenty-somethings carting cases of beer to the site. The whole experience felt more like a college frat party than a hike.
Although I didn’t say anything to my wife at the time, I pretty much made up my mind that I would never return to Moab, which is a bit of a shame, because the scenery is still spectacular, recreational opportunities still abound, and the town itself is fine (continue reading…)
Democratic leaders have called for an ethics inquiry into actions by a New York congressman who admitted sending flirtatious photos of himself to women.
Congressman Anthony Weiner on Monday admitted "inappropriate" communications but said he would not resign.
The married Democrat admitted sending a shot of his crotch to an admirer.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House ethics committee should examine whether he used "official resources" in the matter or broke other ethics rules.
"I am deeply disappointed and saddened about this situation; for Anthony's wife, Huma, his family, his staff and his constituents," Ms Pelosi said in a statement released on Monday night.
"I am calling for an Ethics Committee investigation to determine whether any official resources were used or any other violation of House rules occurred."
Congressman Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Mr Weiner had "engaged in a deep personal failure and inappropriate behaviour that embarrassed himself, his family, and the House".
"Ultimately, Anthony and his constituents will make a judgment about his future," he said.
Republicans and conservatives, meanwhile, noted that in February Republican Representative Christopher Lee of New York resigned after it emerged he had engaged in apparently similar behaviour – sending a shirtless photo of himself to a woman whom he met on the Craig's List classified advert website.
US politicians' indiscretions
- Bill Clinton, US president: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" – Aug 2006 (continue reading…)
Links:Full news story
Mississippi: A beautiful state to drive across, where tamales are popular/traditional, and where sticking your hand in a giant catfish’s mouth is a reasonable way to catch it. That’s what we did on our way through this gloriously named state. We showed up at another stranger’s house and were welcomed by a bounty of southern hospitality and catfish.
The actual act of noodlin (or hand grabbin, hand fishin..
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
The Republicans are very upset that their vote for Representative Ryan’s plan to end Medicare is being used against them. The loss of an upstate New York congressional seat that they held for 50 years was quite a shock. Furthermore, groups are already using this vote in attack ads around the country to threaten incumbents.
This could be really bad news for their election prospects in 2012 since Medicare is a hugely popular program. Polls consistently show that the program has enormous public support among all political and demographic groups (continue reading…)
Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the Liberal party did not lose the recent federal election; rather, it was missing in action.
What has been portrayed, unfairly, as a personal failure of Michael Ignatieff is really the culmination, and logical consequence, of the party’s abandonment, for over two decades now, of the basic vision that underpinned its success in governing Canada for more than a century.
This is the vision of energetic national government, to meet the needs and aspirations of the people, and unite the country.
Canadians have for years — under recent Liberal governments as much as Conservative ones — been treated as a mere sideshow in the sport of national politics, anesthetized by the masters of political messaging and spin. The national government is no longer an instrument of the people, governing for all Canadians.
The role of our national government has been reduced to managing relations with the provinces in all the critical areas of national life (continue reading…)
As I prepare to relocate my home and headquarters to China for more than a month, I have a lot on my mind. Not the least of which is dealing with the complexities of packing for five weeks. The last time I took a trip of this duration, I was also going to China. But as a 25-year-old with a backpack, all I needed then was T-shirts, shorts and sneakers! Just as China has grown so dramatically since my first visit in 1986, so too have my wardrobe requirements!
Speaking of growth, there is no question that China is the fastest growing hotel market in the world (continue reading…)
What if there were a basic literacy beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic that we missed, or that wasn’t necessary until this moment in our history?
What if that new literacy were the organizing principle between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and SEL (social, emotional learning)?
What if it could help the least among us leapfrog over the mainstream? What if it could help build collaborative, resilient, creative, & critical thinkers in an age of exponential change?
In this newly posted TEDtalk I begin to outline our thinking about this new literacy and share a few early experiments.
For more information check out LUMA Institute.
Post Script — On a personal note, luck versus literacy.
In compiling this TEDTalk on how to innovate education I wandered down pathways in my memory that I had erased from my map of childhood, or just didn’t want to revisit very often. I was trying to think about what helped me when I was young. I was thinking about how I could relate to the challenges the least among us face as they try to strive and learn in an education system that has stumbled badly.
I’ll preface this by saying the next few paragraphs are a bit graphic. They are however nothing like what some kids face today (continue reading…)
By Carolyn Malcoun, Contributing Editor to EatingWell Magazine
I don’t care what the trendsetters say about whether cupcakes are hot or not, they are—and forever will be—my go-to dessert when I’m entertaining. They don’t take as long to bake and cool as a cake does.
Plus decorating a cupcake is a lot less intimidating than decorating a cake—I just need to swipe on a dab of frosting rather than getting all artsy-fartsy with a layer cake. And, for whatever reason, if I’m seeking variety, preparing more than one kind of cupcake seems like a lot less work than baking and decorating two cakes (continue reading…)
Chances are you’ve never heard of Estelle Griswold. But she radically changed the lives of women in America. Forty-six years ago today, her courage secured a basic right that many of us take for granted today: the right to use birth control to plan and time our pregnancies and to keep our families healthy.
As the stiff-spined director of Planned Parenthood in Connecticut, Griswold had spent years challenging an archaic state law that barred anyone, including married couples, from using “drugs or instruments” to prevent pregnancy (continue reading…)
It’s always thrilling when a filmmaker emerges – to see the movie that truly marks his arrival as someone to watch and pay attention to because he not only has something to say but he knows how to say it.
So it is with J.J. Abrams’ Super 8, a great leap forward for someone who already has proven himself as a formidable TV auteur, capable of making the leap to movies by shaking up old franchises (Mission: Impossible, Star Trek) with a new vision.
But Super 8 is something else again: the arrival of a director who’s made a movie with the confidence and sensitivity to remind you of the first time you saw E.T. It’s a movie that will put you on the edge of your seat, even as it puts a lump in your throat.
Certainly, the nods to Steven Spielberg (this film’s executive producer) are there, beginning with Abrams’ use of a group of kids as the film’s central protagonists – and setting the film in 1979. The story is built around Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), a youngster first seen sitting silently on a swing set on the day of his mother’s funeral (continue reading…)
A U.S. Senator friend of mine suggested that the ongoing ‘Debt Ceiling’ versus ‘Jobs Creation’ battle underway in Congress — that began in spades within hours of the polls closing last November — can be best understood if you envision Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Paul Ryan sitting on a settee — think of the opening scene from the movie Animal House — and President Obama sitting in a chair opposite. McConnell/Boehner/Ryan are the nation’s “Budget Cutters” and the President is the “Jobs Creator.”
The ‘Rs’ invite the President to slide his chair forward in their direction, and in a spirit of reconciliation he does so — again and again and again…. Of course, throughout this ‘negotiation’ the Republicans haven’t moved an inch and only a de minimis number of jobs have been created.
This one-way negotiation has to cease — it should never have started — yet each side’s core objective is imperative and appropriate.
It’s indisputable on the one hand that as Gretchen Morgenson has written, the “U.S (continue reading…)
By guest blogger Emily Vaughn, biodiversity program manager of Slow Foods USA
Extinction isn’t just for dodos and dinosaurs: Since 1900, 97 percent of the plant species on the planet have ceased to exist. Factors like rainforest depletion, intensified land use, and now global warming, are generally credited with driving that trend. But members of Slow Food USA are taking action to address another side of the story: industrial agriculture.
Only a narrow range of plant and animal varieties can hold up to traveling hundreds of miles from farm to plate–if they’re not ground up into processed food first–causing more delicate and particular foods to fall out of cultivation. How dramatic is the trend towards homogenization? Today, a full 50 percent of all food eaten worldwide comes from four plant species and three animal species (continue reading…)