Archive for January 26th, 2012
This is going to sound like just another old guy rant, I’m afraid. But it’s not. Or at least that’s not all it is: I propose that people stop wearing headphones when they are out in public.
Now I realize that I’m already showing my age and lack of hipness by calling them headphones. The correct term of art is at least ear buds, if not some name I don’t even know (continue reading…)
“America is back,” President Barack Obama said in his 2012 State of the Union address. That sounds muscular, very Schwarzenegger-sque. But America’s new avatar is a little different from old Uncle Sam.
In 2009 in his first State of the Union, President Barack Obama said “We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before… It is time for America to lead again.”
What a difference one term in office makes.
This year in his State of the Union, Obama, still struggling with a far from recovered economy, laid out a rather different vision:
“But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs — and as long as I’m President, I intend to keep it that way.”
“An indispensable nation in world affairs” does not quite have the ring of a “leader.” It sounds more like a trusted executive assistant — Warren Buffett’s secretary instead of Warren Buffett (continue reading…)
It hasn’t been a good week for Mitt Romney. He fell on his face during last week’s debates in South Carolina and ended up losing that state’s primaries. He has become the focus of even his own party’s ire for his extraordinary wealth and privilege. He picked a particularly bad day yesterday to release his tax returns, which revealed a slightly lower tax rate than the already low rate he was assumed to be paying — on the day that the president was introducing tax fairness as a central issue in the 2012 presidential campaign.
And so far, anyway, the former governor has shown no capacity at all to adjust his framing of his position in life to the clear realities of the 2012 campaign.
The growth in economic inequality and wealth concentration in America has become an ever more incontrovertible fact (continue reading…)
(Paris) – French police are using overly broad powers to conduct unwarranted and abusive identity checks on black and Arab young men and boys, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 55-page report, “The Root of Humiliation: Abusive Identity Checks in France,” says that minority youth, including children as young as 13, are subjected to frequent stops involving lengthy questioning, invasive body pat-downs, and the search of personal belongings. These arbitrary stops can take place even in the absence of any indication of wrongdoing, Human Rights Watch found. Insulting language, including racial slurs, are not uncommon, and some stops involve excessive use of force by the police.
“It’s shocking that young black and Arab kids can be, and are, arbitrarily forced up against walls and manhandled by the police with no real evidence of wrongdoing,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “But if you are a young person in some neighborhoods in France, it’s a part of life.”
The report draws on dozens of interviews with French citizens belonging to minority groups, including 31 children, in Paris, Lyon, and Lille (continue reading…)
I always love the day before the official annual World Economic Forum meeting kicks off. This is the time when the 30 social entrepreneurs who have been invited to the Forum through the Schwab Foundation can get together themselves and discuss matters which are relevant to their sector.
I had a 6am flight out of London and then managed to plough through the thick and deep snow in Davos to arrive just in time for the start of the sessions. It is just really great to meet everyone. All the social entrepreneurs are passionate people and deeply concerned about the issues which they are involved in (continue reading…)
There’s a reason why we dedicate an entire chapter to dips in our book: they’re fun, they’re filling and they’re easy to make in Super Bowl-sized proportions. As the countdown begins to the big Sunday, we highly recommend factoring a few dips into your menu. While size does matter on game day, Mexican, Southwestern and even Middle Eastern flavors also seem to score extra points. So we’ve selected our cheesiest, heartiest dips for the football lovers at your table (continue reading…)
Hiram Mann, 90, had to fight to find the work he loved, overcoming tremendous odds. The struggle and the rewards of his 90 years were encapsulated in his first words in our interview: “I was one of the original legendary Tuskegee Airmen.”
America is waking up to one of the 20th century’s amazing stories: the Tuskegee Airmen, now receiving well-deserved attention in the film “Red Tails,” which opened January 20. People are riveted by how the Airmen risked their lives in World War II and helped desegregate the armed forces. I was privileged to be able to include one of these modern legends in my book based on interviews with hundreds of older Americans (continue reading…)
When our dog Tucker died, hit by a car in front of my eyes, I was struck in the days that followed by the way grief, relief and guilt could co-exist in such a cozy fashion. I cried my eyes out as I carried his broken body back to the house. But in the aftermath of shock, I felt an uneasy peace that the yippy, ankle biting, stranger-phobic dog that had added so much stress to my already full life was gone. I’d regretted the decision to get him more than once (continue reading…)
How much, if ever, should we use technology to spy on our teens? According to Anthony Wolf, clinical psychologist and author most recently of “I’d Listen To My Parents If They’d Just Shut Up,” that question “is one of the most discussed dilemmas in teenage parenting circles.” The italics are Wolf’s.
I’m relieved to know that me and my tribe of post 50 friends with teens are not alone in fretting over this question. Before my son went on Facebook I had one condition: that he friend me so I could keep tabs on him. I’d warned him about the perils of the online world, including the fact that what goes on the Internet has the half-life of plutonium.
What I didn’t tell him, primarily because it didn’t really dawn on me at the time, was that Facebook and all the spokes in the wheel that radiate from this cyber supernova of connectivity (iChat, Google chat, texting, Skype, etc.) would give me extraordinary access to his private world should I choose to avail myself of it (continue reading…)
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has swept aside your target of what a fair price for oil should be. And perhaps, the worst miscreant in that coven of reprobates is Your own benighted subject, Saudi Arabias Oil Minister, Ali al-Naimi. The man shows no respect.
Why, only not that long ago he brayed to all who would listen, that You in Your wisdom viewed a price of $75 a barrel as a fair price, a price he vested with the term as being noble (Please see OPECs Noble Cause 12.17.08). And just last week he let it be known, clearly in contravention to his Monarchs proclamation, that the current price of $100 for oil quoted on the New York Mercantile Exchange, is just fine, and $110 for Brent quoted in London is even better (please see Saudi Arabia Targets $100 Crude Price Financial Times 01.16.12) (continue reading…)
I’ll admit it: Listening to Barack Obama, I am ready to enlist in his campaign against the feed-the-rich Republicans … until I recall that I once responded in the same way to Bill Clinton’s faux populism. And then I get angry because betrayal by the “good guys” for whom I have ended up voting has become the norm.
Yes, betrayal, because if Obama meant what he said in Tuesday’s State of the Union address about holding the financial industry responsible for its scams, why did he appoint the old Clinton crowd that had legalized those scams to the top economic posts in his administration? Why did he hire Timothy Geithner, who has turned the Treasury Department into a concierge service for Wall Street tycoons?
Why hasn’t he pushed for a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, which Clinton’s deregulation reversed? Does the president really believe that the Dodd-Frank slap-on-the-wrist sellout represents “new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like this never happens again”? Can he name one single too-big-to-fail banking monstrosity that has been reduced in size on his watch instead of encouraged to grow ever larger by Treasury and Fed bailouts and interest-free money?
When Obama declared Tuesday evening “no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas,” wasn’t he aware that Jeffrey Immelt, the man he appointed to head his jobs council, is the most egregious offender? Immelt, the CEO of GE, heads a company with most of its workers employed in foreign countries, a corporation that makes 82 percent of its profit abroad and has paid no U.S (continue reading…)
LOS ANGELES — Moments after the final buzzer sounded on the Los Angeles Lakers’ latest extravaganza of hard fouls, trash-talk and outright wrestling matches with the Los Angeles Clippers, Pau Gasol might have topped it all when he patted Chris Paul on the head.Anybody who still believes the Staples Center’s co-tenants don’t have a rivalry should get his own head checked.The Lakers’ 96-91 victory Wednesday night is only going to heat up the simmering campaign for city supremacy.Kobe Bryant scored 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, and Gasol had 23 points and 10 rebounds as the Lakers rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit for their first win this season in the cross-hallway rivalry. The game featured plenty of sharp play, including several moments of brilliance from Bryant and Blake Griffin, but also six technical fouls, plenty of extracurricular talk, and the ejection of the Lakers’ Josh McRoberts for scrapping with Reggie Evans.That’s all before Gasol’s postgame gesture prompted a furious response from Paul, who had four points and 12 assists for the Clippers in his return from a five-game absence because of a strained left hamstring.”He touched the top of my head, and I didn’t like that,” said Paul, who nearly landed with the Lakers last month before the NBA squelched the deal. “You know what I mean. I don’t know if Pau’s got kids, but don’t touch my head like I’m one of your kids. I don’t know what his intentions were, like, `I’ll treat him like little Chris.’ I don’t know if he’s got kids, but I’m not one of them.”Gasol, who has no kids, insisted he was misunderstood.”I’m sorry he felt that way,” the Spanish 7-footer said. “I do that all the time with my teammates. Nothing mean about it.”When asked what Paul yelled at him after the game, Gasol called it “just trash.”Andrew Bynum scored 19 points as the Lakers snapped their three-game skid and finally answered the Clippers, who beat the Lakers twice in the preseason and again earlier this month, staking an early claim to L.A. superiority with their revamped lineup. The Lakers aren’t ready to cede the city just yet — in fact, they were willing to fight for it.”Everybody played with the right attitude, and guys did what they do best,” Bryant said. “They had the right temperament. Everybody did what we do best.”Bryant put the Lakers in front with six points during an 11-4 run capped by Metta World Peace’s 3-pointer with 3:30 to play. The Lakers nursed the lead into the final minute, when Bynum made a layup and blocked DeAndre Jordan’s shot in the paint on consecutive possessions, essentially sealing the Lakers’ ninth straight “home” victory in the rivalry.Griffin had 26 points and nine rebounds, and Caron Butler and Mo Williams added 16 points apiece for the Clippers, who led for all but the opening basket of the first 3 1/2 quarters.The testiness ratcheted up when Griffin and World Peace went down in a heap as they chased a loose ball at midcourt in the third quarter. Both teams surrounded the tangle of limbs and exchanged minor contact, but officials only ruled a jump ball.”It was chippy out there because we both want to win and we both need to win,” Griffin said. “I think they know what we’re going to bring every time and we know what they’re going to bring. So both teams are going to be ready, but we’re not sitting here trying to call it a rivalry or anything like that. It’s another game on our schedule.”The Lakers have won 10 of their last 11 home games since Christmas, and the Clippers still haven’t beaten the Lakers twice in a row since the 2006-07 season. The Lakers still failed to score 100 points for the 12th straight game, matching their longest low-scoring stretch since early 2004.Paul hadn’t played since the Clippers’ home victory over the Lakers 11 days ago, but his teammates stayed in first place in the Pacific Division during his absence.”It felt great. That’s the only good thing I can take from this game, that my leg felt progress,” Paul said. “It was so great to get back out on that court. I just wish I could have helped my team out more than I did.”Griffin landed his nightly jaw-dropping dunk when he drove past Gasol on the perimeter and floated past Bynum for a double-clutch jam. Later, Griffin made a nimble reverse hook shot and a flying rebound putback dunk within a minute of each other.The Lakers got unlikely offensive help from Andrew Goudelock, the rookie from College of Charleston who had scored just 10 points all season before matching that total midway through the second quarter against the Clippers. Goudelock hit two 3-pointers and didn’t miss a shot until the third quarter.Bryant committed six turnovers in the third quarter as the Clippers maintained their lead, and Mo Williams added the tension with a flagrant foul on Goudelock during a fast break early in the fourth. The officials attempted to keep peace with technical fouls — including two quick ones to McRoberts, who was ejected with 9:35 to play after two exchanges with Evans.Chauncey Billups committed a technical foul during the Lakers’ run to an 87-82 lead on World Peace’s sixth 3-pointer in 38 tries during his dismal offensive season.Game notes Before the game, the Lakers sent second-year forward Derrick Caracter to Bakersfield of the D-League as he continues his rehabilitation from a torn meniscus in his left knee. … Fans near courtside included David Beckham, Aziz Ansari, Jerry Bruckheimer, Mark McGrath and director McG.
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Send all your eco-inquiries to Jennifer Grayson at email@example.com. Questions may be edited for length and clarity.
I was shopping with my friend the other day, and she said she tries to buy American-made products whenever possible. From a green perspective, is this a good thing? I mean, what if it’s between organic sheets made in China and regular ones made in the US?
…We will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last, an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values (continue reading…)
It’s around 25F in Davos, Switzerland today. Thousands of world leaders have arrived for the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting. These powerful men and women will spend the next five days setting a course for 2012.
As an ambassador for the global health organization PSI and a member of the WEF Global Shapers, I am really following what’s going on there, primarily because it includes a significant number of young leaders who will add their ideas on strengthening the global economy.
I am really hoping that the leaders of the world’s most powerful companies walk away understanding the economic importance of global health (continue reading…)
It seemed as though the contestants were definitely feeling the altitude as “American Idol” hit the slopes of Aspen — some of them must’ve been light-headed to convince themselves that they were talented singers. Narrowly missing out on our top five was screechy, lemon-clad Tealana Hedgespeth, who hoped to escape from her twin sister’s shadow by … deafening the judges with a pitchy approximation of Melissa Etheridge, we’re guessing.
Alanna Snare had a memorable job — serving “Rocky Mountain oysters” (bull testes) to brave bar patrons — but her voice made an impression for all the wrong reasons after she subjected us to a tone-deaf version of “Jolene.” On the other end of the spectrum, a music teacher named Jenni Schick left her (lipstick) mark on Steven Tyler, and made it through to Hollywood with a belting rendition of Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker,” but she wasn’t quite spectacular enough for our list (continue reading…)
DALLAS — Kevin Love had 31 points and 10 rebounds after signing his new contract and the Minnesota Timberwolves handed defending NBA champion Dallas another ceremonious loss, 105-90 Wednesday night.The end of the Mavericks’ seven-game home winning streak, and their franchise-record streak of holding 15 consecutive opponents under 100 points, came after they finally received their championship rings during a pregame ceremony.That presentation came exactly a month after Dallas raised the championship banner before the season opener. They trailed by 21 points at halftime that day on the way to a 105-94 loss to Miami in an NBA finals rematch.Dallas led by 14 points before halftime against the Timberwolves. But Minnesota finished the first half with eight consecutive points in the final minute, then had a 13-4 run in the first 5 minutes of the third quarter for the lead.Love, the 23-year-old forward, signed a four-year maximum extension worth more than $60 million after the morning shootaround. That beat a Wednesday night deadline and keeps him from becoming a restricted free agent after this season.The Mavericks tied it again at 70 on two free throws by Shawn Marion with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. But a minute later, Love’s 3-pointer broke that tie and put the Timberwolves ahead to stay.That was one of four 3-pointers by Love, who also had one at the end of the first half to get the Timberwolves within 54-52.Wayne Ellington rebounded his own miss and made a layup to start that quick Minnesota surge before halftime. After Jason Kidd missed a 3-pointer, Ricky Rubio made a 3-pointer before Love’s half-ending trey set up by Jason Terry’s only turnover.Not long before that, the Mavs were up 55-44 when Jason Kidd scored on a pass from Terry, who wore gold shoes for the special night.Rubio had 17 points and 12 assists. Ellington had 16 points while Nikola Pekovic had 13 for the Timberwolves, who also beat Dallas 99-82 on New Year’s Day.Terry led Dallas with 17 points, while Marion had 15 points. Brendan Haywood had 10 rebounds.Before the game, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle presented the diamond-encrusted championship rings to NBA finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, Kidd and seven other current players who were on last year’s team. Also getting their rings during the ceremony were retired player Peja Stojakovic and J.J. Barea, who now plays for the Timberwolves and part of the reason the ceremony was held when it was.Barea, who missed his fourth consecutive game for Minnesota because of a sprained left ankle, received a huge ovation when he was the first player introduced by Carlisle. The rest of his Timberwolves teammates had retreated to the locker room before the ring ceremony.Nowitzki was dressed in a suit during the third of at least four games he’s sitting out to improve game conditioning and his sore right knee.Game notes In the second quarter, Terry gathered up a loose ball on the run, then scooped it with his right hand over a defender to Brandan Wright for an alley-oop dunk. The Mavs led 37-31 at the time. … Vince Carter missed his fifth consecutive game for Dallas with a sprained left foot. … Dallas hadn’t lost at home since starting the season 0-2. The Mavs followed the opening loss to Miami with another loss the next night against Denver.
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What happens in Arizona doesn’t stay in Arizona.
As Tea Party state education chief John Huppenthal retreats into his office after an embarrassing national media tour on Arizona’s extremist Ethnic Studies crackdown, and Tucson Unified School District administrators continue their slide into a public relations disaster over banishing Mexican American Studies curricula and books, a remarkably diverse array of librarians, educators, writers, civil rights activists and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is mounting a series of national actions to call attention to educational and civil rights violations and to support local Tucson efforts.
On January 24th, the American Library Association issued a condemnation of Arizona’s “suppression of open inquiry and free expression caused by closure of ethnic and cultural studies programs on the basis of partisan or doctrinal disapproval,” and the Tucson school district’s “restriction of access to educational materials associated with ethnic and cultural studies programs.” The national library association, with active chapters across the country, also called on the state to support a new bill to repeal the Ethnic Studies ban.
As a follow up to their extraordinary request to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the Department of Education this week for a federal investigation of civil rights violations by the state of Arizona, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is urging constituents to change their profile picture on Facebook and Twitter to a special logo — “You Can’t Ban Books, You Can’t Ban History” — on Thursday, January 26, 2012.
On February 1st, teachers and schools around the country have been encouraged by Rethinking Schools, whose nationally acclaimed textbook Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years was confiscated and banished from Tucson schools, to follow the suggestion of former Tucson Mexican American Studies literature teacher Curtis Acosta for a “national day of solidarity where teachers would teach our curriculum all over the nation.”
Along with special forums planned across the country, from California to New York, a network of educators in Georgia is sponsoring a “Teach-in” in Atlanta on Saturday, Feb (continue reading…)
We are familiar with the truism that multinational corporations are too large and powerful and cannot adequately be controlled by democratically elected politicians. MNCs constantly complain about rigid labor regulations; they want the right to fire workers at will, because otherwise they won’t survive in a ruthlessly competitive market. Moreover, the pace of technological change has increased exponentially the last few years, and the need for labor flexibility has become ever more pressing. If rigid labor regulations hold up the need for innovation, the MNC will pack up its bags and move to a country that is more “welcoming” to big business (continue reading…)
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — LeBron James scored 32 points, including the game’s last six from the free throw line, to lead the Miami Heat to a 101-98 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.The Heat trailed 98-95 after a 3-pointer by Detroit’s Jonas Jerebko, but James made two free throws to cut the deficit to one with 1:19 left. After Damien Wilkins fumbled the ball out of bounds for the Pistons, James drove straight at Austin Daye, drawing another foul and putting Miami up 99-98.He made two more free throws with 9.4 seconds remaining after Detroit’s Greg Monroe missed inside.Chris Bosh hit his first seven shots and finished with 27 points for Miami — which was without Dwyane Wade, who sat out because of a right ankle injury.Daye scored a career-high 28 points for the Pistons.Miami led 90-80 in the fourth quarter, but the Pistons rallied with a 12-0 run, taking the lead when rookie Brandon Knight made a midrange shot after James nearly intercepted a crosscourt pass to him.Bosh answered with five straight points for the Heat, but Monroe scored inside while being fouled and his free throw tied the game. After a miss by Shane Battier, Jerebko made an open 3-pointer from near the top of the key to give Detroit a 98-95 advantage.After a Miami timeout, Daye poked the ball away from James, and Knight came up with it and was fouled. But he missed both free throws, and Detroit wouldn’t score again.Wade missed his sixth consecutive game. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says he is still day to day.Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince missed the game because of a family matter, and guard Ben Gordon was out with a sore shoulder.James went 13 of 14 from the free throw line after entering the game shooting 73 percent. He had a 20-for-37 stretch from the line over three games earlier this month, but he looked plenty calm Wednesday with the game on the line.Bosh handled most of the scoring early, going 6 for 6 in the first quarter with a 3-pointer.At one point, Miami led 14-9 and Bosh had 13 points. He hurt the Pistons from the perimeter and inside, and the Heat led 24-17 after the first.Daye did his best to respond for Detroit, scoring 18 points in the second quarter. Detroit moved the ball well on offense, and Daye made four 3-pointers in the period.Miami led by as many as 11 in the second but had to settle for a 56-50 halftime lead after Daye’s 12-footer at the buzzer.At the end of the third quarter, it was James’ turn to make a last-second shot. His 3-pointer gave Miami an 80-74 lead.Game notes Daye’s previous career high was 22 points. … Michigan QB Denard Robinson was at the game and came onto the court to throw a football into various sections of the crowd during a break in the action in the first half. Then Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford did the same from his seat near the court.
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President Obama last night unveiled a new twist on an old idea in his State of the Union address to Congress — limit the loopholes and tax giveaways that very wealthy people use to reduce their taxes far below the rate honest workers pay. Obama called for a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on income over one million dollars. To some, this sounds like a radical idea, but it really isn’t. It is merely a refinement of a part of the tax code that has been with us for decades: the Alternative Minimum Tax.
The A.M.T (continue reading…)
What’s a girl to do?
She’s young, full of energy and dreams, and has her eyes on adventurous horizons. But even in the 2012 world where she is coming of age, her culture is laying out frilly dresses, shiny pumps and lip gloss that have the potential to turn her into little more than a support system for a future husband’s ambitions. A lot more doors are open to young women in the post-feminist era but the expectations of gender don’t simply disappear.
And Mary Pauline Lowry will have none of it.
Lowry is a thirty-something Austin writer whose new novel, The Earthquake Machine, explores the power of sexism and gender through a teenager’s decision to shed her history, her sex, her friends, and almost everything she is in order to find a different existence (continue reading…)
President Obama put American manufacturing literally at the front and center of his State of the Union speech. American manufacturing was at the front of the speech and at the center of a “blueprint” for bringing back jobs and strengthening our economy. By placing manufacturing front and center he has taken this conversation further than any president before him.
There is good reason to cheer, but also good reason to ask for even more (continue reading…)
What is most surprising about Newt Gingrich’s continuing success in the Republican primaries is that it is a surprise. No matter how hard Mitt Romney tries to fit a square peg into a round hole, his version of Republicanism no longer appears to represent the majority of the party. Globalization and its takeover of the American continental market has forced the traditional Republican Party, the guardians of the American marketplace, into a forced retreat. While the refugees from globalization, the people who have been frightened or hurt by the changes brought on by the internationalization of the American marketplace, swell the Republican ranks.
The party that was founded by uniting Lincoln’s railroad clients and Whig business-friendly philosophy with northern abolitionist has now more in common with William Jennings Bryan’s populist Cross of Gold Speech than with Eisenhower, Nixon or Rockefeller.
The modern day version of the Lincoln coalition, the alliance conceived by Lee Atwater and nurtured by Karl Rove, made up of business interests, the religious right and traditional conservatives has now fragmented (continue reading…)