Archive for March 2012

What It Takes to Change the World

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the closing plenary of your amazing forum. It’s not really the closing, of course. Eliot again, “In my end is my beginning.” Your forum ends today only in the sense that you leave Oxford and go back to work Read more

Steps the FBI Must Take to Remedy Misinformation Campaign about Arabs and Muslims

There are times when I see a really hideous looking building and I think “that monstrosity didn’t just happen. Someone designed it. Someone approved it. It went before a board that signed off on funding it Read more

Trapped in a Broken System

For the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV, the Affordable Care Act will be utterly life-changing. For some, it will be life-saving.
Just ask Will Wilson, 58, who was diagnosed with “full-blown AIDS” in 2002.
“It will basically mean freedom,” said Wilson, a Chicago resident and an advocate for the Illinois Alliance for Sound AIDS Policy Read more

How Is Christie Brinkleys Divorce Affecting Her Kids

The recent public display of acrimony between Christie Brinkley and her ex husband Peter Cook reminds us of what goes wrong with divorce.
How does it affect their two teenage children?
1. When you criticize your child’s parent, you criticize your child’s DNA. Our children rightfully feel that they are drawn from both of their parents. If a child hears something negative about her parent, she identifies herself in the same negative way Read more

What the Dalai Lama Should Do Now

After the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, the Arab world is ablaze with tension and hope. But the fire hasn’t yet spread east. Tibet remains frozen, deep in the shadows of Chinese occupation. It seems odd to even mention Lhasa in the same breath as Cairo or Tunis Read more

Religious But Not Observant

In my experience within the Jewish community, I have found that many tend to equate orthodoxy and religiosity. She’s religious,” a friend might say, “she’s shomer shabbat [i.e., she observes shabbat].” The implication of such a statement is, of course, that those who do not observe shabbat in a certain way are, by definition, not religious.
But just as religiosity and Christianity are not the same, neither are religiosity and orthodoxy. The idea that external indicators of faith — whether that is manifested as wearing a yarmulke or a cross — are stand-ins for actual religiosity — that is, the degree of one’s faith — is fraught with problems.
One Orthodox rabbi, Rabbi Dr Read more

Game Of Thrones PreSeason 2 Power Ranking Who Was Winning At The End Of Season 1

War is almost here, “Game of Thrones” fans.
HuffPost TV would like to welcome you to the first installment of the “Game of Thrones” Power Rankings. Each week, HuffPost TV will be answering the question on the minds of everyone in Westeros (and America): Who’s winning the game of thrones this week? That is, which character or characters are the most powerful at the end of each episode? And we’ll pepper the rankings with enough plot points that even those of you who shamefully missed the most recent episode will be able to follow what’s going on.
To start you off on solid ground — and prepare you for the April 1 Season 2 premiere — the first installment focuses on Westeros as it stood at the end of last season.
To refresh your memory: The second-to-last episode of Season 1, “Baelor,” closed with the execution of Ned Stark, that good guy from the North Read more

Second And Third Marriages Are Failing At An Alarming Rate

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana
Santayana’s warning could apply equally to personal history, like a divorce. Yet despite this, past statistics have shown that in the U.S., 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second, and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. What are the reasons for this progressive increase in divorce rates?
Theories abound. One common explanation is that a significant number of people enter a second or third marriage “on the rebound” of a first or second divorce Read more

What Does Trayvons Shooting Mean for Architects and Urbanists

When 19-year-old Timothy Stansbury was shot in 2004 in his own neighborhood, on the rooftop of a Brooklyn apartment building, the architecture community did not seem to notice. The police officer who shot the unarmed teenager said it was an accident, and a Brooklyn jury decided not to indict the officer for manslaughter. The public discussed and debated this tragedy in terms of police brutality, racism and gun violence. Then, even more tragically, nothing changed.
With the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, the worlds of architecture and urbanism cannot afford to hear no evil/see no evil this time Read more

Come Fly With Me

Renew. Refresh. Regroup. Rejuvenate Read more

Spartacus Vengeance Finale Review

Don’t read this unless you’ve seen the March 30 season finale of Starz’s “Spartacus: Vengeance.”
Holy shit, right?
A few days ago on Twitter, after I said that fans would be yelling “Holy shit” after the “Spartacus: Vengeance” season finale, a fan responded to me with a question: Could anything in the season’s final episode top the moment in which Ilythia killed Seppia and then had sex with Glaber?
I’m going to say the answer is yes.
Let’s review, shall we? “Spartacus” killed off Oenomaus (NO!); “Spartacus” killed off Glaber by shoving a sword down his throat (okay, so he had it coming, but damn, I loved that character this season); “Spartacus” killed off Ashur (OK, so I saw that one coming — nobody who predicts a golden future for themselves ever lives long on this show, but damn! Ashur!); “Spartacus” killed off Lucretia (Noooooo!); and not only that, the show killed off a newborn baby, gods help us — Spartacus’ own son, according to Ilythia, who herself was mortally wounded in the closing minutes of the episode. (And by the way, if you want to know if Ilythia’s really dead and how Lucy Lawless feels about the demise of Lucretia, read my interviews with Lawless and “Spartacus” creator Steven DeKnight here.)
It was completely insane, and yet it made complete sense. And you know what I mean, because you’re a “Spartacus” fan Read more

AppleFoxconn Promises Well See

The “independent” audit of working conditions at Apple’s Chinese manufacturing supply chain is out, and it is not good. Workers are being exploited in ways that violate human rights standards and laws, and letting them get away with this is costing us our own jobs. Apple’s suppliers promise to improve conditions, make workplaces safer, stop forcing such long hours and lift wages. Foxconn even says they’ll start obeying Chinese law — but not until next year! If this really does happen can China keep its competitive advantage?
“Free Trade”
By opening up so-called “free trade” we made democracy a competitive disadvantage Read more

Friday Talking Points 204 The Herd Mentality

This week, the punditocracy had no Republican primary contest to distract their attention (“The upcoming primary/caucus in some state I’ve never traveled through because it’s a flyover state could be the crucial turning point in the entire race… details at 11:00…”), and so the political pontificators and prognosticators had nothing else to talk about (one would think) except the serious business before the Supreme Court this week — Obamacare.
After watching this media performance all week, I am left wondering whether Obamacare includes any treatments for groupthink (also known as “Herd Mentality Syndrome”). The subset of media mavens known as the “court-watchers” received prominence this week, because the anchors and various assorted politicos aren’t required to understand legal issues (unlike the “good hair” requirement, for instance). These court-watchers decided to have some fun (that’s the most charitable read I can come up with), and sent the rest of the media on a rollercoaster ride of gargantuan proportions.
Heading into the week, a growing chorus had determined that Obamacare was so downright constitutional it’s a wonder the Founding Fathers didn’t just include it in the document in the first place Read more

Trayvon Martin and Race A Sober Assessment

No greater tragedy can befall parents than having to bury a child. This is especially true when the child is killed and a perpetrator gets away with it. In this sense no American can but feel the double pain of the parents of Trayvon Martin.
On the other side of the equation, however, is the interview given by the father and brother of George Zimmerman, the shooter, who have spoken of a son and sibling who shot an assailant in self-defense but who is now being so pilloried and demonized that he cannot leave his home for fear of violence.
Who is right?
Well, we don’t yet know all the facts and it would be wrong to prejudge the outcome.
What is clear, however, is that a young African-American teenager, wearing a hoodie against the rain, died, seemingly, for carrying a can of iced tea and a bag of skittles. If that isn’t a tragedy than the word has no meaning Read more

A Midwesterner Goes to China Part 1

In the days before my departure to China, I read about former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s travel to a federal prison in Colorado. As a young reporter, I had covered him and previous Governor George Ryan, who also went to prison. So, as a lifelong Midwesterner, I am no stranger to odd political circumstances. In China, a public political spectacle of another sort is unfolding ahead of the upcoming leadership change Read more

Stephon Marbury scores 41 leads Beijing Ducks to first Chinese league title ESPN

Stephon Marbury scores 41 leads Beijing Ducks to first Chinese league title  ESPN


Links:Full news story

How Social Science Could Help Build a Better Kony Campaign

Co-written with Adam Waytz of the Kellogg School of Management
You’ve almost certainly seen Kony 2012, the arresting, flawlessly produced video released by the organization Invisible Children earlier this month. It has become one of the fastest-spreading media events in history, the most viral in a sea of viral messages. Kony 2012 is designed raise awareness of the atrocities committed by Joseph Kony in Uganda and elsewhere, with the aim of bringing Kony to justice. On its surface, the impact of such a message is unassailably positive Read more

AppleFoxconn Promises Well See

The “independent” audit of working conditions at Apple’s Chinese manufacturing supply chain is out, and it is not good. Workers are being exploited in ways that violate human rights standards and laws, and letting them get away with this is costing us our own jobs. Apple’s suppliers promise to improve conditions, make workplaces safer, stop forcing such long hours and lift wages. Foxconn even says they’ll start obeying Chinese law — but not until next year! If this really does happen can China keep its competitive advantage?
“Free Trade”
By opening up so-called “free trade” we made democracy a competitive disadvantage Read more

Bank Closure in Dearborn A Sad Ending for Fidelitys Long Struggle

Dearborn, Mich. — The FDIC closed Fidelity Bank today following almost two years of being undercapitalized as the result of a collapsing market in mortgages and commercial real estate. It’s parent holding company Dearborn Bancorp, Inc. had been struggling with capital woes since March of 2010 Read more

Confessions of a Bad Mother

In the last two weeks I’ve been called self-satisfied, low-class, controlling, shallow, sexist, smug, priggish, crazed, repulsive, creepy, trashy, frivolous, provincial, disgusting, and just plain horrible. My crime? I pierced my six-month-old daughter’s ears at the request of my Nicaraguan husband, an experience I wrote about for the New York Times’ “Townies” column.
It was fun to write the essay. But more than that, it was a real eye-opener to read the 181 comments that have been posted since the piece went up on March 15. I learned so many things from the people who wrote in — for example, that keloid scars may be less likely to form on baby skin than on adult ears during piercing Read more

Crowdfunding The Future of Indie Film

Aspiring filmmakers have always struggled to find a way to get their projects made, from racking-up credit card bills to persuading investors that their film is the next Paranormal Activity. When that film is only 10 minutes long, it’s especially hard. Just ask NYC-based filmmaker Jim McMahon:
“I’m a filmmaker at heart, but there are days when I wish I’d been born with a passion for writing instead. All I’d need is my laptop and a table at Starbucks,” he said, perhaps only half-joking.
Jim didn’t initially set out to be a filmmaker Read more

In Their Own Words 5 Artists Talk About Their NaturalBorn Hooker

Gary Indiana, Lizzie Borden, John Burdett, Lee Houck, and Leilah Weinraub — none of these artists was on my mind when I embarked on raising funds to produce a play, Konrad Product’s Natural-Born Hooker. Nor did I have any idea that a Kickstarter campaign would becomes its own education, a course encompassing everything from marketing to video making. But despite the anxiety that a Kickstarter campaign entails (it’s an all-or-nothing proposition: we only are funded if we meet our target $25,000 by April 24, 2012), I soon realized I could use the process as a sort of independent studies course in sex work, much like how my foray into the world of underground safehouses unexpectedly led to writing my first novel, hidden. I’ve been able to use a fundraising campaign to talk with people — about everything from HIV education to the idea of “natural-born hooker” as character and cultural and economic player Read more

Political Hackery

I am an open, enthusiastic fan of something most Americans, including many of the professional practitioners of it, claim to hate, which is politics. I always have to laugh when politicians say they want to “take the politics out of” something, or when they accuse their opponents of being “political” — as if that was somehow appalling for a politician to be.
I love politics, and I believe that in a democracy, it is not only a positive good but absolutely essential to a functioning government and society. I further believe that, as my late friend Paul Tully used to say, you can’t take the politics out of politics. By this I mean that you can’t take the wheeling and dealing, the give and take, the posturing, the deal making, the speechifying, or the partisanship out of the world of politics, and it actually makes things worse to try: as long as humans are human, it will be there Read more

Sizzling Spring Temperatures Disrupt Plants Destroys Food

A couple weeks ago my high school history teacher emailed and asked if I’d been watching the searing temperatures along the Midwest, Northern Plains and into the Northeast. Not only had I been watching them, but also I made a rather eerie prediction about our trees and critters, which unfortunately in part seems to have been correct.
Plants in the Northern hemisphere require an accumulated amount of heat in their protective buds in order to commence growth in the springtime. In plant physiology parlance we call this a ‘heat sum’ and the exact heat sum is well-documented for every species and in particular our food crops like apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, pears, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.
Temperatures in mid-March (2012) across the Midwest up into the Northern Plains and across into the Northeast were record-breaking, eclipsing anything we have seen since the inception of continuous record keeping in the late 1880s.
Once plants receive their required heat sum, they break dormancy begin to flower and require (mostly) bees to assist them with pollination. In New Hampshire plants have commenced this process as much as five weeks ahead of time and in Indiana, four weeks earlier than normal Read more