Archive for April 10th, 2012
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Sadly, some are exploiting the Trayvon Martin shooting to target self-defense laws that protect innocent lives. These laws safeguard law-abiding and peaceable citizens, and are not to blame in the tragic Florida incident. Stand your ground laws did not apply in that situation, and statements to the contrary are irresponsible and misinformed.
In some states the law imposes a duty to retreat from physical confrontations (continue reading…)
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the latest victim of an intricate web of half-truths and outright lies woven for political profit and as part of a broad, well funded, Islamophobia network. The Congresswoman was slated to be the keynote speaker at an April 21 event for the group EMERGE USA, but backed off after a scathing blog post by Joe Kaufman, who happens to be running for a Congressional seat for Florida’s District 20.
EMERGE USA is a non-profit committed to empowering minorities through increased civic engagement and education about the political process. The organization has strong roots in the community and has been publicly supported by one of Florida’s senior statesmen, former Governor and U.S (continue reading…)
“Chapter 32: cleanliness,” my 15-year-old self bellowed from the back seat of our family’s VW van. “Letting youngest children whine their way out of not regularly washing their hair is nothing if not a personal affront to my social status and a walking advertisement of your inability to control your dirty children,” I helpfully added, elaborating on why this chapter needed to be written, by moi, for my parents.
Chapters one through 31 also existed as a careful documentation of the failures on the part of my parents, in raising my two youngest sisters. I dutifully documented their flawed judgment calls, blew the fog horn on their many inconsistencies with discipline, ridiculed their moments of weakness when caving in on requests that they would have definitely squashed when I was younger, usually all from the back seat of our old Volkswagen van as we headed off on long drives (continue reading…)
We have all had the mortality talk. Alone or with others, it is a subject most everyone has put at least a little bit of thought into. When most people think about this subject, the first thing that comes to mind is the ‘how.’ The manner in which we will pass on is a source of fear for some and a morbid curiosity for others. Usually the next question pondered is the ‘when.’ Thanks to human nature, every one of us wants to know exactly when to expect the grim reaper to come knocking (continue reading…)
What do Kendrick Meek, Alvin Greene, Mike Thurmond, and C. Anthony Muse have in common? They are black, male, and all four had hoped to join one of the world’s most elite, select and politically powerful bodies in the world, the U.S. Senate. They didn’t make it (continue reading…)
Back in 1985, President Ronald Reagan said: “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share.”
Almost three decades later, we’re still hearing about ultra-high income earners like Warren Buffett paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.
According to the IRS, the wealthiest 400 Americans, who earned an average of roughly $270 million in 2008, paid an average tax rate of just 18.2 percent that year. That’s about the same rate paid by a single truck driver in Rhode Island. It’s not right, and we need to restore fairness to our tax code.
And next week, we have a key opportunity to do just that. The U.S (continue reading…)
Don Draper’s fever dream on Sunday night’s episode of Mad Men demonstrates just how deeply the show will go to reveal the psychological void of its damaged lead character.
The episode, called “Mystery Date,” got great mileage out of its title. Although it more obviously refers to a commercial product advertised on television that catches the eye of Don’s daughter Sally, it makes a much darker impact later in the episode. The mystery date turns out to be a female whom Don was once involved with, and who comes to him in a dream.
In the early part of the episode, that same woman bumps into Don in an elevator with current wife Megan by his side (continue reading…)
“I’m going to be your fairy godmother,” was the first thing that Mrs. Jacobs said to me when she sat next to me in 2005 at a jazz conference in California. As quickly as she appeared in my life, she disappeared.
Yesterday, New York’s reigning jazz queen and founder of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Mrs. Phoebe Jacobs, passed away at age 93 (continue reading…)
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Yesterday was the Monday after Easter. Theoretically, it was a day of truce and repose. The last two weeks before the presidential election.
But the “pause button” seems to have been engaged for some time now. Especially since the debates are no longer on television, a bureaucratic issue that it ceaselessly criticized for its stupidity and unfavorable effect on democracy.
The final stretch begins today (continue reading…)
We’ve heard a lot in the past couple of years, pro and con, about escalating CEO compensation, but it seems to me at least one argument in their defense has merit. It is important to pay enough to recruit and retain the best talent available in the highly competitive global marketplace.
What seems strange to me is that those who believe this is true, that you have to pay well to attract the best talent, usually don’t accept the same argument when it comes to government employees. One of the more dangerous consequences of the financial crisis is how governments at all levels are, in effect, cutting off their noses to spite their faces. In the rush to balance their budgets, some are indiscriminately firing, freezing and cutting pay, and cutting pensions–too often impacting the people who actually make government work.
We need to take a hard look at pensions, but it is important in a fair society that reforms take into account the fact that over the years many public employees helped meet government budgets by forgoing salary increases in return for ironclad promises about pension benefits.
Our education system turns out students who will have to compete in that same global marketplace (continue reading…)
Is it possible, just possible, that a German submarine, rather than an iceberg, sank the mighty Titanic?
When the sunken Titanic was discovered in 1985, its starboard (right) side was embedded in sand. This was the side that had struck the iceberg off of Newfoundland 100 years ago on April 14,1912. So-called “subprofiler” digital images revealed that six rivets has popped off, suggesting that shoddy workmanship led to the ship’s demise. But, this covered only a relatively small area of just 12 square feet, hardly enough to cause the huge luxury liner to sink with such rapidity.
Significantly, several survivors including both passengers and crew members, when questioned by a U.S (continue reading…)
In the men’s underwear industry, real style innovations are few and far between. That’s why when the jock brief first showed up in Baskit’s 2009 collection, it was literally snapped up immediately. People could tell that it was destined to join the exalted ranks of the standard cuts, alongside the jock strap, the trunk, and the boxer brief. Sure enough, brands small and large quickly added the design to their collections, and by now it’s a fairly common sight to see on the racks.
The reason for this rapid adoption is not a puzzler: the jock brief is a fairly intuitive marriage between two of the most popular silhouettes in men’s underwear: the jock strap and brief (continue reading…)
I read a recent USA Today article, the thesis of which was this: American cities, build your arks and get ready for a flood of aging boomers. If this “back third” of our lives is to be anywhere near as good as the first two, I submit it’s time to apply some proactive American “can do” to how the old can live rather than pursue more of the same old approaches.
You ever see the South Park “Grey Dawn” episode? That’s the one where a horde of old people get behind the wheels of their cars mowing down scores of South Parkers until the citizenry rises up and deprives the elderly of their licenses, only to be thwarted by the AARP. The addled death car drivers are finally defeated when the kids cut off their food supply (continue reading…)
If you ever have the pleasure of visiting Claudy Dalegrand at his home just south of Cap Haitien, Haiti, be sure to wear a good pair of shoes. To get to Claudy’s house, you have to duck off the main road and jump from rock to rock across a shallow stream. Then you walk down a very rocky path for several minutes, winding your way through a small neighborhood.
IMA World Health staff visited 12-year-old Claudy and his family at their home to get a sense of how an average school-age child goes about his day — walking to and from school, playing with friends, etc. A carpenter, Claudy’s father Alcant showed us the workshop just outside the family home where he builds cabinets and chairs to sell (continue reading…)
I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Wallace in 1998 at a dinner sponsored by the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), which was honoring him and his wife, Mary, for their mental health advocacy.
Mike Wallace was best known as the hard-hitting — “tough but fair” — investigative journalist on 60 Minutes since the show began in 1968 and until his official retirement in 2006 — although he continued to contribute occasional interviews as recently as 2008.
But there was another side to Mike Wallace. He helped untold numbers of people suffering from depression when he went public about his own battles with the disorder (continue reading…)
I speak about education from an unflattering point of view — maybe because it is destroying our fascinating, curious minds.
I don’t claim to be an expert in education. I am still a student and I speak for myself. I believe that students should have a voice in the education system today, because mainly they are the ones who are being educated. The control of education should be in the hands of students (continue reading…)
My heart sank recently when I heard that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay were going to bring back Ron Burgundy in an Anchorman 2 project.
It’s not just that it’s an unnecessary sequel (which it is). But it also threatens to tarnish what little reputation Ferrell still has.
Although that reputation apparently is a generational thing (continue reading…)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies held on for a big win to tighten the Western Conference race for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.Marc Gasol scored 18 points, Rudy Gay had 16 and the Grizzlies beat the Clippers 94-85 Monday night, moving one-half game behind Los Angeles for the fourth seed in the West”It’s the wild, wild West,” said Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo, who had 13 points. “You look in the (Eastern Conference). When you get down to the last five or six games, a lot of teams pretty much start resting. In the West, that’s not possible. Every game counts down the stretch. You can lose two or three, and have a tough opponent in the first round.
Mason: Don’t Feed The Bears
The Grizzlies are on a tear, having won eight of 10, with victories over the Lakers, Thunder, Heat, Mavs and now the Clippers, Beckley Mason writes. Dime
• Lob City Ledger | ESPNLosAngeles
“Everyone is really close, and we moved that much closer to the fourth spot. We’ve just got to keep playing well.”The game had the atmosphere of a playoff matchup. The Memphis crowd was intense, the play on the floor was physical and emotions were high with a lot of players barking about calls.The aggressive play was part of the Grizzlies’ strategy.”We didn’t want them to run free and get a bunch of lobs,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “Just be physical and aggressive with them, and I thought we accomplished that.”We held them to 85 points, and they can score.”Mike Conley also scored 13 points for Memphis, which won for the eighth time in 10 games. Marreese Speights had 12 points and Zach Randolph added 10 points and 12 rebounds as the Grizzlies finished with a 48-36 rebounding edge, but committed 20 turnovers.”That was probably the only negative I saw — the 20 turnovers, and that we gave up 29 points (off turnovers),” Hollins said. “But the rest of the game was really outstanding.”Chris Paul led Los Angeles with 21 points and six assists, while Blake Griffin had 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. DeAndre Jordan added 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Eric Bledsoe and Randy Foye scored 11 points each.The Clippers snapped a two-game winning streak and lost for just the second time in 10 games.”I couldn’t make a shot,” said Paul who was 7 for 17 from the floor, and missed three of his four attempts from outside the arc. “I couldn’t throw a rock in the ocean. We had a lot of easy ones that we just couldn’t convert.”The Clippers pulled to 86-83 with 55.8 seconds left on Jordan’s dunk. But Memphis hit all six of its free throws, including four by Conley, in the final 31 seconds to preserve the victory.The Grizzlies led 52-41 at halftime despite committing seven turnovers, a prelude to a night of miscues. Memphis overcame the ballhandling problems by shooting 55 percent and controlling the boards, 23-18 before the break.”They are one of the best rebounding teams in the league,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “I thought we did a good job handling some of the pressure, but we did not rebound the ball well, especially in the first half. They were more physical, and we struggled to shoot the ball.”Memphis finished shooting 50 percent, while the Clippers were limited to 41 percent.Gasol led the Grizzlies with 12 points in the first half. No Clippers player had reached double figures, but Paul and Foye had nine apiece and Griffin had eight. Griffin also spent some time on the bench with two fouls.The Clippers, who committed five turnovers in the half, including two in the final minute, shot 37 percent before the break.Memphis extended the lead to 15 early in the second half, and maintained a double-digit margin through much of the third quarter. The Grizzlies led 71-60 heading to the fourth.Bledsoe’s layup got the Clippers’ deficit under double digits to start the final period, but Mayo scored a pair of baskets, extending the lead to 81-64 with 7 minutes left.Griffin and Paul were on the bench at the time. When they returned during the middle portion of the fourth, consecutive baskets by Paul pulled Los Angeles to 84-74 with 3:14 left.Paul’s 3-point play with 1:22 left got the Clippers to 86-81, the closest they had been since the latter stages of the first half. A dunk by Jordan with 55.8 seconds left got them even closer at 86-83.But Gay got a feed from Mayo on the baseline with the Clippers overplaying defensively and his dunk put the Grizzlies up five. Gay followed with two free throws after Paul’s turnover, and Conley converted the final four free throws.”We got stops,” Griffin said of the comeback. “We got in the open court and got some easy buckets. Once that happens, some shots start to fall. We fought back, but obviously didn’t finish it out, and that was the problem.”No one had to point out how close the two teams are or could ignore the possibility of a first-round 4 vs. 5 matchup.”We are right there,” Griffin said. “We are going back and forth. We very likely could (face each other), and we are excited about that.”"We wanted to get this win for ourselves,” Conley said. “We want to move up and get the fourth spot and go even further if we can.”Game notes Memphis assistant coach Barry Hecker was back on the Grizzlies’ bench Monday night. Hecker missed Saturday’s home win over Dallas with an illness. He said it was the first game he has missed since he began his coaching career in 1971. … Memphis recalled rookie G Josh Selby from Reno of the NBADL. … Randolph played despite being involved in a minor car accident earlier Monday. There were no injuries. Randolph tweeted shortly after the wreck that he was not injured except for a sore back. With the back end of that car falling off, Randolph drove his Rolls Royce convertible to the arena. “I was kind of scared,” he said of driving the Rolls. … Despite the loss, the Clippers still hold the tiebreaker with a 2-1 advantage in the season series. … Griffin, the league’s sixth-leading rebounder at 11.0 per game, had only six Monday night, his second lowest-game of the season. … Jordan had his eight double-double of the season.
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Baby names 2012 are already proving themselves to be very different from last year’s choices, with “The Hunger Games” taking over from “Twilight” as the primary cultural influence on names, the hottest boys’ names taking a cue from the girls, and musical names trumping Hollywood for inspiration.
In an analysis of nearly three million views of Nameberry’s individual name pages in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period last year, these names are enjoying the biggest jumps in attention. Here, the names we predict you’ll be hearing a lot more of in 2012 and beyond.
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Credit “The Hunger Games”, which has turned the spotlight on a range of exotic botanical names for girls, from the heroine’s name Katniss to gentle Primrose to Posy and Clove. But the hottest choice for babies, according to the Nameberry statistics, is sleek, simple, if somewhat mournful Rue, the name of the agile young girl who meets a tragic end in the series (continue reading…)
Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 5, Episode 19 of The CW’s “Gossip Girl,” entitled “It Girl Interrupted.”
Could it be? Has “Gossip Girl” finally recovered from the succession of terribly-written, clumsily-directed cheesefests that populated the middle part of the season? Is it actually making some modicum of logical sense and easing up on the tone-deaf movie homages? Signs point to “maybe” — with five episodes left in the season, there’s still time for the show to go all “The End of the Affair” on us, but I’m crossing my fingers that the rest of the year is nothing but soapy goodness.
Serena’s gone power-mad, Blair’s still in the midst of a (slightly more interesting) love triangle, and Lola shows signs of being a useful addition to the story. The outlook is good, gossips — or I’m just suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Either way, read on for our Top 5 OMG Moments from “It Girl Interrupted.”
1 (continue reading…)
I have a problem with Mitt Romney. And it’s big problem – one that extends beyond our ideological differences. Here’s what fundamentally disturbs me about Romney’s character:
It’s not even that he’s misstated facts, if they were just truly misstatements. Part of what really bugs me is that he’s carefully scripted and controlled, and still he has outright pants-on-fire lied more than any recent serious presidential contender, by a significant factor.
Added to the serial lying is not just that he’s flip-flopped; everyone knows that (continue reading…)