Archive for November 19th, 2011
MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart got huffy and played the race card after Rick Perry pointed out that Barack Obama has a “privileged” background just like his fellow 1 percenters that he rips on regularly when he’s not stuffing their cash in his campaign coffers.
Maybe other people don’t want to say this out loud, but let’s be honest: Barack Obama probably wouldn’t have gotten into Columbia or Harvard if he were white. Obama’s not Cletus-the-pig-farmer dumb, but he doesn’t come across as exceptionally intelligent either. Intellectually, he’s pretty clearly a cut below most of the Ivy League graduates I know, which is probably why his grades in college are as much of a closely guarded secret as the launch codes for the nuclear football.
Moreover, you really can’t have it both ways on affirmative action. Liberals can’t essentially say that they believe black Americans are so hapless that they can’t compete with white Americans without the help of affirmative action and then complain when people start to question the qualifications of black Americans they think may have benefitted from affirmative action (continue reading…)
We all ultimately wish for peace. The trouble is that we are taught to believe that battles need to be fought and won to earn it. But what if our steps towards peace were instead steps of studying and dismantling those battles? To do this, it is best to start with the most intimate ones we know and the ones we least want to address, the burning and entangled battles within ourselves.
What are yours? Conversely, how are you stepping toward inner peace?
My most significant battle over the years has been with my body (continue reading…)
This morning I announced that I was “opening up my dance card” and stepping down as chairman of the Sierra Club, the role I assumed almost two years ago when Michael Brune assumed leadership of the Club. I’ll continue to consult and fund-raise with the Club — but I want to broaden my scope and take on some challenges that, although essential to saving the planet, are not what some might narrowly define as purely environmental. In response, a number of friends (and I imagine in private some antagonists) have asked, “Why? You’ve been happy with the Club for 38 years — why move on now?”
My simple answer is that the most important insight we environmentalists need if we really want to respond to the climate crisis, the collapse of biodiversity, and the impending arrival not just of “peak oil” but of “peak stuff,” is to recognize that we cannot solve these problems on our own. There are not enough environmentalists to save the environment (continue reading…)
This is the first article in a monthly series of 10 minute meditations to nourish your body, heart and soul. Each entry will address the physical, psychological and spiritual facets of a unique life challenge. While stressful circumstances can’t always change immediately, the ways we relate to them can. No matter what your situation, there is always room for meeting your experiences with a more tranquil mind and compassionate awareness.
While these meditations are intentionally brief, they are also intentionally deep, offering the potential for tapping immediately into experiences and perspectives that sustain a meaningful life (continue reading…)
In 2002 I was living in San Francisco, working at a laundromat, going to protests that involved throwing furniture in the freeway, internally dealing with my own gender bullshit and because of that, feeling like a complete fraud of a human being. Like many young people who feel that their sexuality and/or gender lives in a space outside of the norm, I ran to California’s queer mecca via Greyhound bus, searching for a place to fit in with no specific address in mind. San Francisco was as far west as I could go without drowning in the Pacific Ocean, and I knew it was The Place where my kind of queer could untangle itself, figure out where it fit, and truly live for the first time.
I had been in the Bay Area for a little over a year when the news of Gwen Araujo’s murder hit. The initial information was shocking to me; I took Gwen’s murder personally and felt betrayed by the world for not doing it’s job regarding tolerance (continue reading…)
The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s 40th Anniversary Gala & Auction, a star-studded celebration hosted by Leslie Jordan at the Westin Bonaventure on November 12, helped raise more than $680,000 for our many services to build the health, advocate for the rights and enrich the lives of LGBT people. Surrounded by more than 1,200 donors and supporters — and even one of the pioneers who helped found the center — I was awed by this incredible community and everything we have accomplished together.
Our theme for this year’s gala was “40 Years of Family.” There are a lot of ways to define family, but one of my favorites is this: people with common goals and values who share a lifelong commitment to one another. That certainly describes the center, just as it does this year’s honorees and those who presented the awards to them:
* Proud fathers of adorable twins Harper and Gideon, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka have put a new public face on families with same-sex parents (continue reading…)
“Welcome to the Waldorf Astoria,” said the jail guard as he showed me the room I would sleep in, my prison issue bedding (top sheet, bottom sheet, two pillowcases, no pillow) and the vacuum-packed kosher meals that had been prepared for me. This was the beginning of the three days of this High Holy Day season that I would spend on Rikers Island, New York City’s jail complex located in the East River. Here, where some 14,000 inmates await their trials, I prayed, ate and slept over during Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat as the rabbi of a community of 60 or so Jewish inmates.
The descent into one of the darker places in our society initially filled me with fear and anxiety. What kinds of religious messages would resonate inside jail? How could I provide spiritual care and inspiration to prisoners?
“Rabbi!” one of the inmates called out to me after services on the first day (continue reading…)
The claims are familiar: humanity could not control nature, did not understand conception or birth, and feared death, and so we invented a God that brought order to chaos, purpose to life and comfort in death. Next, we developed religion to placate the God we invented to assuage our fears of what we could not understand or control. Then, we wrote the Bible to sanction the religion that placated the God that we invented. Next came clergy, to interpret the Bible (continue reading…)
Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, explained why he urged fellow evangelicals to support Gov. Rick Perry over Mitt Romney, whom Jeffress termed “a non-Christian” due to his Mormon faith. Jeffress quoted John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court and co-author of the Federalist Papers, who famously wrote, “It is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Jeffress said this proved that a religious test for voters was both appropriate and consistent with American history since, “according to Jay, preferring a Christian candidate is neither bigoted nor unconstitutional.”
While selecting whom to vote for based on religion is not unconstitutional, the views of many of our nation’s founders were in fact dominated by religious bigotry. Just as Jeffress refuses to see Mormons as Christians, Catholics were deemed non-Christians by most early Americans, including John Jay (continue reading…)
Survey results recently reported by Christianity Today clarify once again the sober truth that evangelicals are not making much progress in accepting well-established mainstream scientific ideas about origins. Particularly disturbing is the finding that only 27 percent of evangelical pastors “strongly disagree” with the statement that the earth is 6,000 years old. A higher number “strongly agree” that the earth is just 6,000 years old, a conclusion supported by mountains of evidence. Seven in 10 evangelical pastors “strongly disagree” that “God used evolution to create people.”
Also out this fall is a survey by the Barna Group, a Christian polling organization, explaining why most evangelical Christians “disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15.” It turns out that science is a major factor (continue reading…)
AMES, Iowa — Backup running back Jeff Woody scored on a 4-yard run in the second overtime and Iowa State stunned second-ranked Oklahoma State 37-31 on Friday night, derailing the Cowboys’ national title hopes.The Cyclones (6-4, 3-4 Big 12) overcame a 17-point deficit to beat the Cowboys (10-1, 7-1 Big 12), who were just a win away from a showdown with rival Oklahoma for a likely spot in the BCS title game.
Ubben: OSU’s title hopes dashed
Oklahoma State’s title hopes? Gone. Brandon Weeden’s Heisman hopes? Dashed. Iowa State shook up the college football races Friday night, writes David Ubben. Blog
Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden’s first pass in the second overtime was intercepted by Leonard Johnson. Woody ran for 6 and 15 yards, then bullied his way into the end zone to give the Cyclones their first victory over a top-five opponent in school history.Weeden threw for 476 yards, but he had three interceptions as the Cowboys turned it over five times.Oklahoma State was a 27-point favorite against the upstart Cyclones, who lost their first four Big 12 games. But the Cowboys let Iowa State hang around just long enough to beat them — and throw the national title picture into chaos.Iowa State freshman quarterback Jared Barnett found James White for a 25-yard touchdown on the first play of extra time, but Weeden answered with a 6-yard TD pass to Josh Cooper.Johnson’s interception set up a thrilling finish for the Cyclones and coach Paul Rhoads, the defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh when it upset No. 2 West Virginia 13-9 in 2007.Barnett finished with 376 yards passing and three TDs for Iowa State.Oklahoma State stretched its lead to 24-7 less than 3 minutes into the second half and looked set to break it open as it usually does. Tracy Moore caught Weeden’s pass in traffic and stumbled 30 yards for the touchdown.
Oklahoma State was outgained on offense for the second time this season Friday night. Iowa State shut down Oklahoma State’s running game, a key factor in the upset win.
Oklahoma State This Season
1st 10 Games
*Outgained For 2nd Time On Offense This Season
— ESPN Stats & Information
That could have been it for Iowa State — but the Cyclones were far from finished.Iowa State answered with a 32-yard TD run from White and recovered an onside kick with ease. Barnett fumbled it back to Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys fumbled it right back and Zach Guyer’s 24-yard field goal made it 24-17 with 4:04 left in the third quarter.Oklahoma State came in averaging 51.7 points a game, but it couldn’t string together the drives that made Weeden a serious Heisman Trophy contender.Iowa State tied the game at 24-all with 5:30 left in regulation as Barnett found a sliding Albert Gary in the end zone for a 7-yard TD catch. Oklahoma State’s Alex Elkins intercepted Barnett’s pass with 3:17 left, but Sharp pushed a 37-yard field goal right with 1:17 to go to force overtime.It was just the third missed field goal in 20 tries for Sharp.Iowa State knew it would need a lot of breaks to pull off the upset.The Cyclones caught a few early, recovering Randle’s fumble and intercepting Weeden’s pass in the first quarter. But they didn’t turn either into points, and the Cowboys’ defense made them pay for it.Linebacker Shaun Lewis jumped Barnett’s pass and took it back 70 yards for a touchdown, giving Oklahoma State a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.Iowa State pulled to 10-7 on Barnett’s 16-yard TD pass to Darius Reynolds. But Blackmon stopped short and went high for Weeden’s pass over a pair of defenders on a 27-yard touchdown reception, giving Oklahoma State a 17-7 lead with 5:26 left before halftime.The Cowboys were playing a day after women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and three others were killed in a plane crash.Iowa State held a moment of silence before the game to honor Budke, assistant Miranda Serna and two others who were killed Thursday when their single-engine plane crashed during a recruiting trip in Arkansas.
Links:Full news story
Maybe Van Halen killed it. Axl Rose’s diva personality disorder certainly didn’t help. Or, to get 99 percent of the readers on my side, maybe it was Nickelback that threw in the towel. The culprit is hard to pinpoint but the damage is done (continue reading…)
As cocktail culture becomes more sophisticated and permeates further into the mainstream, more and more restaurants have decided to dispense with their dusty bottles of unrefrigerated vermouth and start taking their cocktails more seriously. A great wine list alone, restauranteurs are learning, does not make a great bar. Sophisticated drinks, created by mixological experts and made with first-rate ingredients, are no longer the exclusive property of hipster bars-that-also-serve-food, or a handful of forward-thinking proper restaurants. All over Manhattan, eateries are ramping up their cocktail menus for a mainstream clientele.
Take Toscano’s, a red-sauce Italian place on the Upper East Side that’s almost the textbook definition of a neighborhood restaurant (continue reading…)
There was a time when Sweden wasn’t exactly the most popular export in music excellence. For decades, the country was arguably defined by the glorious schmaltz and glamour of ABBA and to a lesser degree, the pop friendly 1990s group Ace of Base. But, things have changed over the past decade or so in Mother Svea. Whether it’s Lykke Li, Miike Snow, Peter Bjorn and John or the act I’m about to namedrop, Sweden is closely rivaling Brooklyn as the leading haven for budding musical talent.
The Sounds, who formed roughly ten years ago, represent all that’s good in pop, rock, dance and indie music these days (continue reading…)
We’re going to try something new here today. Well, before we get to that, we have to apologize for not warning readers last week that we were taking a break for Veterans’ Day. Which brings up a related subject: there will be no Friday Talking Points next week, either (the day after Thanksgiving), as we plan to be lounging on the couch in a tryptophan haze. Consider yourselves warned, this time.
Back to today’s column, though (continue reading…)
I recently became a dog person. My chiweenie — that’s a chihuahua/dachshund mix — came into my life a little over a month ago when my boyfriend adopted him from PAWS. Since then, we’ve learned that being doggie dads requires more work than gentle petting and a few scoops of kibble.
Unlike cats, which are unnervingly self-sufficient, dogs cannot be left alone for extended periods of time (continue reading…)
Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art will be on view at MoMA from November 13, 2011-May 14, 2012. The exhibition unites key works made for Rivera’s 1931 MoMA exhibition, which set new attendance records in its five-week run from December 22, 1931, to January 27, 1932. On view are three of the original five portable murals of frescoed plaster, slaked lime, and wood depicting the Mexican revolution, legend, and history of class inequity. The exhibition also includes full-scale drawings, smaller working drawings, archival materials related to the commission and production of these works, and designs for Rivera’s ill-fated Rockefeller Center mural (continue reading…)
Now that we have reached the milestone of the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement and it shows no signs of diminishing, I have taken it upon myself to offer some advice.
Maybe it’s time to reconsider your positions in relation to what is turning out to be an historic uprising of the citizens in your cities. Rather than, say, simply launch offensives against them, why not deploy city resources to ensure that the peaceful exercise of 1st Amendment rights can continue? After all, the paramilitary tactics used thus far have only succeeded in needlessly injuring peaceful protestors and making large messes in the streets. Plus there is all that police overtime to pay for (continue reading…)
I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried the Bible, the Power of Now and the Gypsy who sets up her card table down at the farmer’s market every Saturday morning. I’ve tried putting myself at the far end of the table, in the kitchen with the dishes, in the backyard with the dog but nothing’s worked. So, in order to protect the innocent, albeit a little late, I’ve taken drastic measures (continue reading…)
For the first 100 years of our relationship with cars, the important metric of automobile performance has been speed. The automobile dashboard has evolved over time to reflect this relationship. No matter what type of car you drive, the modern dashboard is familiar to all drivers. There is a prominent speedometer, a less prominent clock for time, a fuel level to gauge distance, a temperature and, depending on the make and model, a tachometer and turbo boost gauge (continue reading…)
Yesterday night I was invited to a cocktail party hosted by Food Revolution’s leader Jamie Oliver.
Jamie was in town and the cocktail party was an excuse to see what has been done in the war against child obesity in the states.
It was a lovely event with Bellinis and appetizers. I saw old friends and met new ones.
Laurie David was there, so was Lucy Lean, an old friend who, I learn yesterday, is now working with chef Ramsay.
We were having a great time but Jamie, after showing an inspirational video about the progress of the revolution, started to talk and the first thing he said was that the House of Representatives had just passed a bill that abandons proposals that threatened to end the reign of pizza and french fries on federally funded school lunch menus by declaring french fries and pizza (?) vegetables.
I was not aware of that and it came as a shock.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
While the big news among good food activists has been the unsettling possibility that a secret farm bill could be snuck into the super committee’s recommendations and passed with no public input, Republicans have furtively dealt a crippling blow to family farmers and consumers. This week, House Republicans included language in a budget bill that gutted the fair livestock rules that have languished for more than 80 years. Once again, Big Meat has derailed the commonsense protections that allow small livestock producers to compete and check the abusive practices of the poultry industry.
The 2008 Farm Bill included reforms to protect small and medium-sized farmers who raise cattle, hogs, and chickens from unfair treatment at the hands of meatpackers and poultry companies. In 2010, the U.S (continue reading…)
The recently concluded National Book Awards always stirs up serious book lovers: this author was undeserving, that author a charity case, another far too young for such a prize. But this year, from an unfortunate error in the announcement of the Youth Literature finalists, the National Book Foundation (NBF) has already taken its fair share of abuse. As a judge on this year’s youth lit panel, I thought it might be useful to pull aside the literary curtain. Explain how the whole process works — on the whole, I found, quite well.
Publishers (not authors) from the Big Six to very small houses sign in with the NBF by June 15, pay a $125 entry fee per title, then send the actual books directly to the judges by August 1 (continue reading…)