Archive for July 8th, 2011
As debt talks between Congress and the president resume this Sunday, the situation hits a disturbing new level as the GOP reaches an all-time low. Instead of working towards a compromise as the president has been diligently pushing for, Republican Congressional leaders would rather leave the American people out to dry while they continue to protect the rich. It’s a tired tactic they have utilized for decades, and it’s beyond time we call them out for their hypocrisy, their aversion for the working-class and poor, their blatant support for the wealthy and their desire to risk anything in order to attack the president — including our nation’s future.
Faced with a looming deadline of Aug. 2nd to raise the current debt ceiling, President Obama has been pulled into an unfair game of theatrics as GOP representatives refuse to raise the limit without cuts in essential programs (continue reading…)
“For nearly a decade Democrats have sought a religious wedge issue that could separate big chunks of white evangelical voters from their Republican home. Now they’ve found it, and are thrusting at the Social Darwinist/Ayn Rand underbelly of American conservatism.”
This is how Marvin Olasky — icon of the religious right and editor-in-chief of the most influential conservative evangelical publication in the country — begins his article in this week’s WORLD magazine.
He goes on to bash Rand’s manifesto, Atlas Shrugged.
Olasky also quotes fellow conservative Whittaker Chambers, who quite effectively summarizes Rand’s depravity: “I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained… From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: ‘To a gas chamber — go!’” [emphasis added.]
Olasky then turns his critique to Rep (continue reading…)
Want to fix the economy?
Next time you buy coffee, purchase a cup for the person behind you. Or as you grind your way through the morning commute, pick up the tollbooth charge for the driver behind you, draped over his steering wheel and ranting at the long delay.
You’ve heard that famous Gandhian quote about being the change, well these are good measures to start with, packing more punch than you might imagine.
This approach to life starts with the following premise: What exactly did I (or you) do to deserve to be alive? If you can process that question and come out thinking it was a gift that you can’t ever pay back, then beginning a life of greater giving is the only logical and remotely reciprocal way to go. If the most valuable thing you have isn’t anything you earned, why be stingy with all the lesser stuff (continue reading…)
Watchdog said 10 percent of inventoried items at American history museum were missingBy Ben Wieder, iWatch NewsHistoric markers have been erected from Connecticut to Georgia proudly boasting that George Washington once slept there. But the bed Washington returned to his Mount Vernon estate hasn’t been treated with quite the same care. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History lost part of it, according to an inspector general’s report.The Smithsonian is often likened to America’s attic, and a watchdog’s semi-annual report indicates that several of the 19 museums in the Smithsonian system have some of the same housekeeping challenges shared by families with overstuffed closets. The report raised questions about missing items and inaccurate and incomplete inventories at the National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History and National Air and Space Museum (continue reading…)
The June non-farm payroll numbers are deeply below consensus forecast. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that non-farm payrolls expanded by 18,000 in June. The BLS narrow U-3 unemployment rate is now 9.2%; it was 9.1% after the May report. The BLS broad measure of unemployment, U-6 including involuntary part time workers and discouraged workers, rose to 16.2% in June from 15.8% in May (continue reading…)
When thinking about what makes America unique, it’s fun to take a moment and consider the foods that have come to define this glorious nation. And while we pledge allegiance to the flag, one nation indivisible — it seems that many states have taken the act of designating their official foods very seriously. Just recently the State Senate declared corn the official vegetable of New York (even though corn is actually a grain).
In Pictures: The Most Bizarre State Foods
Some states are represented by foods that seem questionable at best, such as Nebraska adopting Kool-Aid as their state soft drink. Others seem to have deeper historical roots, such as Hoosier pie (also known as sweet cream pie), which is the official pie of Indiana (continue reading…)
It’s no secret that Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker and Jack Daniel actually existed. (For the record, they were a Welsh pirate, a Scottish grocer and an American distiller, respectively.) But there are a number of other familiar spirits that are also named for real people, and many of them have fascinating stories of their own.
1 of 6
1 of 7
After playing football under legendary coach Bear Bryant at the University of Kentucky, Jim Beams grandson Frederick Booker Noe II joined the family business. In 1988, he introduced one of the worlds first premium bourbons and named it after himself.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
The June jobs report reveals a much more serious job creation problem in this country than most policy makers realized. Over the past two months, job creation has essentially ground to a halt, with 25,000 jobs added in May and 18,000 in June. The unemployment rate, now 9.2%, is climbing.
Washington needs to quickly and aggressively shift from its long-term debt obsession to the much more immediate jobs problem.
To do otherwise at this point would be deeply irresponsible.
Almost everything in today’s jobs report suggests recession-like conditions in the labor market (continue reading…)
On July 10, I will complete my five-year commitment to serve as president of the Brady Campaign and Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. My tenure with Brady will be ending, but I will remain engaged in the movement to reduce gun violence in America. For me, working for a safer America is more than just a job.
I’ve seen way too much gun violence in my life – at the start of high school when a friend got a bullet in his back because those whom he was with wanted to scare him with a gun they thought was unloaded; while mayor of Fort Wayne when the son of a local minister and activist was shot and critically wounded by random gunfire after taking a piano lesson at a community center; the wife of my Labor Relations director; a police officer who was killed accidentally when a marital dispute and a loaded gun on the head board led to tragedy; and so many other killings during my 12 years as mayor and five years at Brady (continue reading…)
There comes a point for every world traveler, however adventurous, when you wake up in your hut (or tent or yurt), and think, “Gosh, I would love to make waffles.” Then, you catalogue all the stuff you’d need to pull off waffles–the iron, the mix, the whisk, the plate, the grade B maple syrup–and then you look down at your pathetic kit of eye drops, lip balm and Bactroban, and say, “I want to go home.”
When my husband walked out on our fifteen-year marriage, only to return a month later, the truth of the matter is that he came home, not for me, but for waffles.
Given the bitter man who showed up at my door, life on the outside must not have been all that and a bag of chips. After the heady rush of abandoning his tired harpy wife subsided, the brutal reality of his middle-aged, non-007 life surely hit him like a sucker punch. Maybe the hot divorcee from the gym, who told him his hair was cute, when push came to shove, didn’t want to move into his overpriced bachelor pad after all? Or maybe the twenty-year-old twigs dragged back from the all-night raves seemed less edgy and bedazzling over coffee? Or maybe time with our kids whittled down to half cut too deeply? Or maybe, when he needed to blow his nose, there just wasn’t an appropriate place to put his snot?
Perhaps that sounds like bitchy-woman-scorned conjecture. Perhaps my husband looked into our children’s wet eyes, saw my DNA refracted back, and determined that our covetable family of four was something precious worth fighting for (continue reading…)
Yiddish has all but disappeared as a spoken language – represented, like Latin, by a few common expressions and terms that have made their way into common usage. But we get a reminder of what a rich and colorful milieu it was in the new documentary, Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness.
One of the few authors who wrote primarily in Yiddish – considered a peasant’s tongue in his native Russia – Aleichem became the most famous literary figure of that language. His fame as a writer – among readers who were not part of the Jewish community – grew only after his death, spurred in part by the popularity of the Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof, based on Aleichem’s writing.
But as Joseph Dorman’s documentary shows, Aleichem lived a life that can be seen as amusingly ironic in retrospect, even as it plunged him into, to use the Yiddish, tsuris during his life. In many ways, he was like a character from one of his stories (continue reading…)
Back in March I penned a piece titled “Unions present best path back to prosperity” (Financial Times, 3-01-11), and followed it later with a piece titled “Note to Boeing’s Jim McNerney: All we are saying is give the truth – and your union – a chance” (Huffington Post, 5-24-11).
Apparently, the folks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the CEOs at the Business Roundtable didn’t read them, because each pro-big business organization is today pulling out all the stops to defeat a proposed rule change by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that would do nothing more than:
1.Establish a fixed time — 7 days after the employer is served with notice, absent special circumstances — for the pre-election hearing process.
2.Require parties to identify areas of genuine dispute before presenting evidence on them at the hearing.
3.Hear appeals only after an election and limit the Board’s appellate review to circumstances where there are compelling grounds for review.
4.Require that corporations produce the telephone numbers and email addresses of its employees, as well as work locations, shifts and job classifications (continue reading…)
Horrible Bosses comes on the heels of Bad Teacher and, like that film, is not terrible but not great. They’re both cases of comedies that could have been funnier, smarter and just plain better.
With Horrible Bosses, the potential for improvement seems even greater than the underachieving Bad Teacher. Unlike that Cameron Diaz vehicle, Horrible Bosses has even more going for it — particularly among the aforementioned bosses. Which means just more wasted opportunities.
Directed by Seth Gordon, whose previous feature was the similarly overstuffed and underfunny Four Christmases, Horrible Bosses is about a trio of longtime pals, each of whom likes his job but hates his boss (continue reading…)
“The flavor of our burger is better than most burgers for several reasons: not just because of our blend of meat, or the fact that we cook them on a cast iron, but our fat content is pretty high too.”
In celebration of summertime food, come meet Chef Jeremy Spector of The Brindle Room in Manhattan’s East Village, a cozy, charming, neighborhood restaurant that sears up quite possibly, the best tasting burger in New York City.
Chef Jeremy walked me through the design of The Brindle Room burger, explaining in detail what makes them so sought after and so terribly addicting. What comes across instantly, is that Chef Jeremy is passionate about burgers. He believes that, nowadays, you can judge how good a chef is by how good his burger is; which is why he put a lot of thought into concepting his creation. Just watch:
In my opinion, it IS all about the meat (continue reading…)
It’s hard to believe 2011 is already half over. Back in January, many people made New Year’s resolutions to finally get in shape, eat better, make more money and be a better spouse, employee and parent. Now that the year is already half over, it’s time to see how far we’ve managed to come.
If you haven’t made any progress on your goals, don’t give up — you still have six months left this year to accomplish them (continue reading…)
It’s a remarkable and riveting story — a teenager spirals, inexplicably, into severe emotional distress that leads her to attack herself brutally by slashing and burning her body. Confined to a locked “safe room” at a psychiatric hospital, she uses the only weapon available to keep hurting herself, banging her head against the wall or even the floor.
“I was in hell,” she says many years later. “And I made a vow: when I get out, I’m going to come back and get others out of here.”
And she does.
That deeply-troubled teenager, Marsha Linehan, became Dr (continue reading…)
This is the summer of Harry Hole for me. Harry is the alcoholic Oslo police detective who solves the murder mysteries created by Jo Nesbo. The plots are intelligent, the characters are engaging and, importantly, Nesbo has written a fair number of these tales. So I’m feeling like my summer beach reading is taken care of.
Selecting a book to read by the water is no trivial matter for me (continue reading…)
Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
Anger has been getting a bad rap for centuries. Medieval Christianity decreed anger as one of the seven deadly sins. Buddha teaches that anger side-tracks enlightenment and is rooted in illusion. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna regards anger as a sign of ignorance that leads to perpetual bondage (continue reading…)
One evening in Greece, over mezedes (appetizers) and, of course, red wine, we got into a conversation with several friends about the meaning of forgiveness and its effect on our attitude toward life (the “A” in The OPA! Way), lifestyle and overall state of well-being. After much-spirited conversation, we concluded that:
Getting to forgiveness is one of the most difficult and challenging things that we can do to go beyond ourselves when we are so fixated on our problems, our needs and our demands.
Getting to forgiveness is much easier said than done.
When we hold onto our resentment, hurt and anger, we are inside ourselves with self pity (continue reading…)
Many people see the pre-teen and teen years as naturally being fraught with “angst’” and “growing pains.” All too often, behavioral and mood issues in children and young adults are brushed aside because “they’ll grow out of it.” But a study published recently in The Lancet, suggests young people are not dealing just with angst, and that the implication of disability at a young age from mental disorders is staggering.
According to the study, which took a comprehensive look at the World Health Organization’s 2004 Global Burden of Disease report, neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse and schizophrenia account for nearly half (45 percent) of disability in young people between ages 10 and 24. This is approximately four times as much as that caused by unintentional injuries and infectious and parasitic diseases.
The study added up the lost years of healthy living due to disability or death and found that young people were responsible for nearly 16 percent of total number of years lost for all age groups (continue reading…)
In March of 2009, I set out to begin my letter-collecting journey. Deeply touched by the sudden death of actress Natasha Richardson and the media coverage that ensued, I was plagued with overwhelming emotions about unexpectedly losing a loved one. I was particularly concerned with Natasha’s husband and two boys — I kept wondering what they might have wanted to say to her if they could have one last conversation, one last exchange of “I love you”s, one last time to say everything they appreciated and admired about her. While we can always hope that special person knows how we feel, life oftentimes gets in our way of telling or showing someone the degree to which they are needed and loved (continue reading…)
Is the president giving the bully his lunch money before he’s even asked for it? Or, by promising future concessions — long beyond his tenure — Obama could be playing a clever hand.
Luring Republicans to the negotiating table with a ten-year plan to cut trillions from the budget is either capitulation of his own party’s principles or a devious ploy to gain GOP endorsement of higher taxes for the wealthy.
Either way, the fact remains that when presidents talk of big picture, long-range blueprints it usually means they are postponing the tough choices for their successors to resolve. Such is the nature of the president’s push for dramatic entitlement reform.
My guess? Republicans will call his bluff and not agree to anything that doesn’t force cuts here and now.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
For more than three decades, as global press baron Rupert Murdoch amassed more and more power over both the journalism and the politics of the Western world — usually to the detriment of both — the question lingered in the air. What, if anything, could possibly bring down the empire of this turn-of-the-millennium Citizen-Kane-without-the-sled, a man who seemingly had the power to pick American presidents and collected British prime ministers as easily as Wingo cards on the way to fame and billions of dollars?
Now, not long after Murdoch celebrated his 80th birthday, we may finally know the answer.
It wasn’t the years of influence trading on a global scale, but his paper’s ruthless treatment of a murdered 13-year-old and her family.
That’s always the way, isn’t it? The stunning news today is that Murdoch is shutting down his reportedly most lucrative publication, the sleazy British News of the World tabloid, in the wake of a phone hacking scandal marked by intercepting messages left for the slain girl, Milly Dowler, in a way that impeded the police probe and gave her parents false hope she was still alive. The power of the scandal seemed a fitting a bookend to a week in which we debated what kind of news pushes our buttons — and why.
It was only Tuesday here in America that a nation staggering from a years of a high unemployment — with a crisis of governmental gridlock looming — stopped to absorb every detail of a lurid Florida murder case — and that shouldn’t surprise anyone: It’s as easy to get emotionally wrenched by the death of an adorable 2-year-old and the flaunting of bad motherhood as it’s hard to wrap yourself around the true meaning of $14 trillion, or understand why there are no new jobs in America anymore.
Viewers prefer human dramas involving total strangers over the ideological debates that affect our actual lives; likewise, journalists crave these simpler morality plays of good and evil — where the facts are smaller yet objectively provable or disprovable — over the ever-so-complicated big picture. In American politics, we saw a president impeached for lying about an extramarital affair of no national import, while no punishment even close to that was seriously discussed for his successor who invaded a sovereign nation under false pretenses, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
And so now it’s the simple memory of a slain Brtitish teenaged girl — with the added shock that family members of casualties in that Iraq War and in Afghanistan were also phone-hacked, and reports of police officers taking bribes from journalists — that brings the world’s largest media empire to the edge of the abyss.
Right now, there’s still a big disconnect between the uproar over the Murdoch empire in Great Britain — salacious, tabloid-style crimes committed by tabloid journalists — and closer scrutiny of the press baron’s operation in the United States, which in addition to the highly profitable Fox television network also includes the politically influential Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post among its outlets.
I would argue there’s no disconnect at all.
There are important differences but also key similarities between the way that Murdoch — an Australian by birth who amassed a lot of a fortune first in the UK and finally in America, where he is now a citizen — does business on either side of the Atlantic (continue reading…)
Ever wonder about that old high school sweetheart who broke your heart? You know, that best thing you never had? Beyonc knows, check it…
A Conversation with Gavin DeGraw
Mike Ragogna: Gavin, you’re releasing your album Sweeter soon, which is your fourth studio album, right?
Gavin DeGraw: Exactly. It’s my fourth album that I’ve made, and it’s my third major release.
MR: Plus you’ve had a couple of live albums in the mix too.
GD: Yeah, I’ve done a couple other types of recordings. One of the more creative things I got to do was a stripped down version of my first album, Chariot, that I called, Chariot (Stripped). I was able to have an awesome creative conversation with my record company, and they went for it and allowed me to basically re-cut every song on my album as an acoustic version, but with a band playing more acoustic performances (continue reading…)