Archive for May 2012

Calculator Shopping the Night Before the SAT

Q: What does “SAT” stand for?
A: It used to stand for Scholastic Achievement Test, but in 1947, the name of the exam was changed to Scholastic Aptitude Test. Then the folks at the College Board used their Critical Reasoning skills and came to the conclusion that a coachable exam could not be called an “aptitude” test. So officially, SAT stands for nothing, although at least one college refers to it on its website as the Scholastic Assessment Test.
Q: What time does Staples close, in case your child can’t locate his TI-183 calculator the night before the SAT exam?
A: Luckily, the Staples in our neighborhood closes at 9 p.m., as we discovered the night before our son’s exam. (Our son, who had “just had” his calculator the day before, volunteered to pay for the new one, which added up to about a week of his summer wages.)
Q: What are some good snacks for the SATs?
A: A power bar, a peanut butter sandwich and a banana Read more

Governor Romneys Job Growth Record Worse than Obama and Carters

Mitt Romney’s sole claim to the presidency is that his business experience will enable him to accelerate job growth in America.
The GOP debates revealed that Romney was a failure as governor, with Massachusetts 47th in the nation in job growth, and only one of the four states that did not recover to pre-2001 recession job levels before the Bush/Cheney economic collapse hit.
But, let us talk less about rankings, and more about actual jobs.
What is that story? Again, for Romney it is dismal.
During Romney’s four years as Governor of Massachusetts, he added 61,000 new jobs. At the time, Massachusetts had 2.5 percent of the nation’s population Read more

7 Things I Miss When Im Abroad

By the time you read this, I’ll be on a plane bound for Colombia. During my three-week trip, I plan to explore not only Bogot and other large cities, but also coastal Taryona National Park, the Colombian coffee belt and of course Cartagena, where all the Secret Service hooker drama recently went down.
But that’s not what this post is about. Indeed, as I embark on my latest adventure abroad, I’m mentally preparing myself to do without all the things I miss most when I travel.
1. The Internet
The United States has the fastest, cheapest, most reliable Internet in the world Read more

North Carolina Pastor Gets It For Wanting to Beat the Gay Out of Kids

What’s a parent supposed to do if their 4-year-old son starts acting like a girl? How ’bout punch him until you beat the gay out of him? That’s actually what Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in North Carolina wants you to do. Pastor Harris was caught saying some of the most vile and disgusting anti-gay remarks aimed at children who are perceived to be gay. You can also hear the audience clapping and giving their approval to his beat-the-gay-out-of-your-son sermon. These right-wingers are out of control and I’m not a Jesus expert, but I’m sure he would never beat a defenseless child Read more

The Los Angeles May Day Queer Contingent and the Politics of Inclusion

“I love a queer immigrant!” The words, amidst colorful rainbow flags, were part of the 2012 May Day immigration march in downtown Los Angeles, and emphasize the intersection of immigrant and Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) organized groups, communities and their issues. The LGBTQ community, still entrenched in a civil rights struggle that began well before Proposition 8 won at the ballot box, is also demanding legalization for all immigrants.
In 2008, the “May Day Queer Contingent” was organized to provide a space for LGBTQ immigrants to stake their claims in the larger May Day march for immigrant rights. Although the first efforts began in 2007 and 2008, the largest turnout came in 2010 on the eve of the passage of SB1070 in Arizona, when over 500 LGBTQ community members demonstrated and ultimately became ‘out and proud’ immigrants Read more

10 Weird Festivals For A Wacky Summer PHOTOS

Summer is a time for state fairs and carnivals. Not every town, however, is satisfied with corndogs and Ferris wheels. These intrepid communities celebrate quirky bits of history and time-honored traditions that that make simple petting zoos seem boring. While some of these festivals might look bizarre at first glance, they serve the same purpose as the more run-of-the-mill gatherings: get a bunch of people together to have fun Read more

A Stay At The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel In Jaipur PHOTOS

A charming and funny film about a rather cantankerous group of seniors (played by Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and others) who relocate to Jaipur to live out their twilight years, opened Friday. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel feels a bit like a beautiful photo book, bursting with richly colored photographs from India. A convincing argument to visit.
The retirees in question move into The Marigold Hotel, an establishment run by an affable young Indian man (Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionare) eager to please despite the failures of his surroundings. The hotel itself is played by the beautiful and tranquil Samode Haveli Read more

The Education Revolution

Claudia Gomez is a petite Latina with big earrings and even bigger dreams for the future. But her future wasn’t always this bright.
Despite being the valedictorian of her eighth grade class, Claudia was expelled from her high school as a freshman because of a fight with another student. She attended several other schools across town where she was suspended numerous times for being tardy and engaging in verbal fights with other students who teased her Read more

Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Recap May 04 2012 ESPN

Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets  Recap  May 04 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
DENVER — Ty Lawson scored 25 points and the Denver Nuggets raced to an early 24-point lead on their way to a 99-84 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night in Game 3 of their first-round series.JaVale McGee had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Nuggets, who will try to even the best-of-seven series at two games each on Sunday night at the Pepsi Center.The Nuggets grabbed a 55-39 halftime lead by stifling Andrew Bynum down low and forcing Kobe Bryant to work harder for his baskets.Although both Bynum and Bryant got it going after halftime and the Lakers cut their deficit to four points in the third quarter, the hole was too big to climb out of.Bryant finished with 22 points on 7-of-23 shooting and Bynum had 18 points and 12 rebounds.
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Mighty Movies Temple of Bad Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Like a black velvet reproduction of Guernica, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the movie, takes one of the landmark works of art of the twentieth century and renders it shallow, pointless and silly. Included in its list of crimes: entrusting the Beatles’ most innovative work to the likes of the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton, Steve Martin and Alice Cooper, among an almost infinite roster of incomprehensible casting choices; and placing the whole mess in the hands of a director who was clearly incapable of telling a coherent story (the magical musical instruments need to be stolen because why? And how exactly does that lead to the charming town of Heartland, U.S.A. being turned into Pottersville?), but never met a cheapjack, circa seventies special effects trope he didn’t love Read more

Remembering Adam Yauch

I met Adam Yauch only once. It was during a bathroom break, which came at the end of a heated session in a Tibet-China conference at Harvard in 2002. I rushed to the bathroom and found myself standing next to Adam Yauch, who was using the urinal to my right.
We greeted each other in Tibetan Read more

Chicago Bulls vs Philadelphia 76ers Recap May 04 2012 ESPN

Chicago Bulls vs Philadelphia 76ers  Recap  May 04 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA — Spencer Hawes scored 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds and hit the go-ahead jumper late in the fourth quarter to help the Philadelphia 76ers rally to beat the Chicago Bulls 79-74 on Friday night and take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.Hawes scored 10 clutch points in the fourth to give the eighth-seeded Sixers the surprising series lead.Game 4 is Sunday in Philadelphia.
Eastern Conference Playoffs
Get all the news and commentary on the Bulls-76ers matchup on’s matchup page.
• Predictions: Simulator | SportsNation
• More: TrueHoop | Schedule | Bracket
• Bulls Report | ESPN Chicago
Already playing the rest of the series without reigning MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls got another scare in the third quarter when Joakim Noah left with a sprained left ankle. Noah, who scored 12 points, returned in the fourth quarter and mostly hobbled around the court.With Rose out, the Sixers believed they were in perfect position to knock off the top-seeded Bulls and build a series lead on their home court.Good plan.The Sixers scored only 11 points in the third quarter and trailed by double digits early in the fourth before taking off against the battered Bulls.Hawes keyed the surge and buried two free throws to make it 71-70 with 3:28 left.After getting crushed on the boards all game, the Sixers scooped up a loose ball rebound and hit the open court, only to have Andre Iguodala miss a long and unnecessary 3-point attempt. Iguodala, bothered by right Achilles’ tendinitis, chucked the ball off the backboard to the dismay of a crowd that has seen him do that too many times to count.Nursing a one-point lead, Noah missed two free throws giving the Sixers new life.Hawes hit a 20-footer for a 72-71 lead and Evan Turner made two free throws for a three-point lead with 1:24 left.John Lucas III of the Bulls buried a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game and a send a shiver into a team that faded down the stretch after a 20-9 start.All of that is behind them now. Jrue Holiday hit two free throws to seal the win to the delight of 20,381 fans who packed the Wells Fargo Center.The Bulls missed 10 straight field goals over 5-plus minutes in the fourth to lose all of their 14-point lead.Holiday scored 17 points and Turner had 16 while reserve Lou Williams added 14.Carlos Boozer had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls and Richard Hamilton scored 17 points.Noah’s injury came midway through the third quarter when he stepped on Iguodala’s foot driving down the lane. His feet gave out from under him and he crashed to the court. Noah instantly grabbed his left ankle in pain — while a smattering of fans cheered the fallen Bull.Noah walked gingerly to the bench for a timeout but returned to shoot his free throws.He was on the bench after a few possessions and stayed there until the fourth.Noah hopped around trying to take pressure off the ankle. He put the pressure right on the Sixers and even nailed a 15-footer.The bumps kept coming for the banged-up Bulls.Boozer was whistled for his fourth foul with 4:36 left in the third and joined Noah on the bench. The duo had combined for 26 points and 15 rebounds by that point.That left Taj Gibson and Omer Asik in the frontcourt. With that lineup, the Bulls kept an ineffective Luol Deng in the game when he picked up his fourth foul about 2 minutes later.Before the quarter was out, Gibson became tangled with Thaddeus Young and was briefly down. No worries on this one. He buried a jumper for Chicago’s first double-digit lead of the game, 60-50.Hamilton hit a 3 for a 67-53 lead in the fourth and it appeared they were cruising toward the victory.Not so fast. With the Philly crowd standing and waving their rally towels, the Sixers seemed primed for a comeback. Hawes fought inside for a tough basket that pulled the Sixers to 69-64 to help them end the game on a stunning 26-7 run.The Sixers outscored Chicago 36-14 in the third quarter of Game 2, then followed with a 40-point first half on Friday. The Sixers missed 11 of their first 12 3-point attempts and shot only 30 percent through the first three quarters. Starting forward Elton Brand was scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting.The Bulls need to figure out a new way to play without Rose and to protect Noah if they don’t want this series to slip away.Game notes Hall of Famer Julius Erving returned to the Sixers as a strategic adviser. His deal runs through 2015 and he will be available to the franchise on an as-needed basis. … Actor Bill Murray was at the game. … The Sixers snapped a four-game home losing streak.
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Atlanta Hawks vs Boston Celtics Recap May 04 2012 ESPN

Atlanta Hawks vs Boston Celtics  Recap  May 04 2012  ESPN

Source:Associated Press
BOSTON — Rajon Rondo had a triple-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists to lead the Celtics to a 90-84 overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night and give Boston a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.It was the seventh career playoff triple-double for Rondo, who missed Game 2 because he was suspended for bumping a referee in the closing minutes of the series opener.
Eastern Conference Playoffs
Get all the news and commentary on the Celtics-Hawks matchup on’s matchup page.
• Predictions: Simulator | SportsNation
• More: TrueHoop | Schedule | Bracket
• Celtics Report | ESPN Boston
Game 4 is Sunday night.Ray Allen returned for Boston after missing almost a month and scored 13 points in 38 minutes. Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Paul Pierce had 21 points one game after having 36 points and 14 rebounds to help the Celtics swipe home-court advantage with a Game 2 victory in Atlanta.Joe Johnson scored 29 points and Jeff Teague had 23 for the Hawks. Tracy McGrady had 12 points — his highest total since he had 40 for Houston in 2008 — but 10 were in the first half, before he landed awkwardly on his right ankle and went to the locker room. He did not have a field goal in the second half.Rondo scored Boston’s first two baskets of the overtime — the second by posting up Teague and knocking down a baby hook over him.Boston never trailed from there.The Celtics went on an 11-1 run to open a double-digit lead with 7 minutes to play in regulation, but Atlanta rallied and tied it 80-80 on Johnson’s 3-pointer with 1:23 left. Both teams failed to score on its next two possessions, leaving the Celtics with the ball out of bounds with 3.9 seconds left.Rondo inbounded to Pierce, who was defended by Johnson and had to take a long, fallaway jumper that bounced off the rim at the buzzer.The Celtics got Rondo back from his one-game suspension and Allen back on the court for the first time since April 10. He played just five games over the final month of the regular season because of bone spurs in his right ankle and missed the first two games of the playoffs as well.The Hawks kept losing players. With top centers Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia already out, forward Josh Smith was scratched with a sprained tendon in his left knee.Game notes Hawks C Erick Dampier scored six points in 23 minutes. He played 83 minutes over 15 games and scored just two points in the entire regular season. … Pierce’s next playoff game will tie him with Dennis Johnson and Bob Cousy for 10th on the Celtics’ all-time list with 109. Next up is current Celtics GM Danny Ainge, with 112. … John Havlicek played in 172. … Johnson scored eight points in the first quarter and McGrady had 10 points and four rebounds in the second. … Celtics G Avery Bradley went to the locker room in the third with a sore left shoulder. The team initially said he would return, then said he wouldn’t. … Bruins president Cam Neely sat courtside with Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, getting a big cheer when he was shown on the scoreboard. … Allen, the NBA’s career 3-point leader, was 0-for-4 from 3-point range. He was 1-for-3 from the line and 6-for-12 from the field.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The

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Learning From Bin Ladens Death

With the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death and accelerating plans to draw down troops in Afghanistan, it’s a natural moment to look back at the decade-long “War on Terror” and consider how far we’ve come. Are we safer now than we were before the launch of our massive counterterrorism effort?
Those who argue that we are safer point to the killing of major al Qaeda leaders, destruction of the group’s logistic and financial capabilities, the success of drone attacks against terrorist targets, as well as the Arab Spring movements that — hopefully — represent an alternative engine of political change in places like the Middle East.
Critics note these victories, but focus on the struggle ahead. They point to the continued and, according to some, improved ability of al Qaeda and its affiliates to recruit young Muslims worldwide. This wave of radicalization has already led to dangerous plots and bombings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and in Europe, and potentially in the United States as well.
In other words, our “kinetic” efforts to defeat the terrorists have been successful, but radicalization and extremism continue to spread worldwide Read more

Half of Women Still Give Birth Alone or Without Skilled Health Care in Tanzania But We Can Change That

On International Day of the Midwife on May 5, our short film “What I Want Is Simple”, is airing on national television and radio in Tanzania.
For every 100,000 women who give birth in my country, Tanzania, almost 800 die (compared to 24 in USA ). This is an absolute scandal, as almost all of these deaths could be prevented if women had access to skilled health workers.
Yet there is a dire shortage of health workers with midwifery skills in my country, and half of women still give birth with no one to help them except neighbours or relatives. What’s more, the numbers of nurses trained in midwifery is shrinking with some training schools reporting less than 25 students in classes which used to have 300.
The White Ribbon Alliance in Tanzania (WRATZ) is working hard to reduce maternal mortality and to bring the issue of the shortage of midwives to the forefront of the political agenda. As part of this work, WRATZ is working to promote midwifery as a profession and to improve the status and working conditions of midwives Read more

Bloomberg Businessweek Pulls a Bait and Switch

Financial media mavens were quick to accuse Bloomberg Businessweek of a bait and switch when its April 30 issue hit the street. There on the cover was a photo of a menacing, slickly dressed businessman wielding a chainsaw behind the headline “My Life in Private Equity.” Inside, however, was a positive story about how a small private equity shop was using the much-celebrated Toyota Production System to improve efficiencies at manufacturing companies it owned. “Bloomberg Businessweek should be ashamed of itself,” scolded’s Dan Primack. He said that in the name of selling magazines, the rival publication went with a cover that’s “a direct misrepresentation of what Businessweek put inside its own pages Read more

Zakis Review Marvels The Avengers

One of my first memories of comic heroes on the screen — indeed, possibly one of my earliest memories ever — comes from when I was four years old and watching syndicated reruns of TV’s The Incredible Hulk, terrified and exhilarated at the sight of Bill Bixby metamorphosing into a green-painted, fright-wigged Lou Ferrigno. So different from the comic, but hey, it was the best we had. Cut to several decades later, and as I sat watching Marvel Studios’ mammoth superhero jam The Avengers, bringing to life the kind of spectacle that was, until recently, the exclusive purview of the page, I kept thinking about four-year-old me and wondering what he’d be thinking right about now.
In that sense — in a very large sense — The Avengers doesn’t merely mark the culmination of Marvel Studios’ sometimes interminable, slow-burn plan (initiated with 2008’s Iron Man) leading toward the creation of a shared movie constellation comprised of its brightest stars. Rather, it’s the ultimate expression of everything superhero movies have fitfully built up to in the thirty-four years since Chris Reeve’s Superman stepped out of a revolving door and first took to the sky Read more

Friday Talking Points Anniversary Week

If you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere all week, you may have missed the fact that an anniversary just happened. One year ago this past Wednesday, special operations forces killed America’s “Enemy Number One,” Osama bin Laden. When it happened, it was a time for some sober reflection — and some unsober and spontaneous celebration on the streets. Whether such was a good thing or not, it is what happened.
This week, we marked the milestone in two notable ways Read more

Once Again for the Cheap Seats Were Still Creating Jobs Where We Were Once Losing Jobs

Okay, we know it’s political silly season but sorry I still don’t see the reason for the outrage! When there is an addition to the number of jobs added and a subtraction to the unemployment number… how is that a bad thing! And by the way for those not clued in to the “real America”, not everyone who falls off of the unemployment rolls is a hard luck story. Many statistics show that some people who were unemployed are now starting their own businesses, in fact I have two friends who have been out of work for over 9 months who teamed up to start their own event planning company about 8 weeks ago and both are doing just fine. But for those who say those 115,000 jobs added mean nothing, again I say, ask those 115,000 people who finally got a job last month just how much it means!
Maybe I’m way too far outside of the so-called beltway, but I still don’t get it Read more

US Unemployment Rate Continues to Fall as Discouraged Workers Disappear

The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the United States supposedly “created” 115,00 jobs in April. Not even President Obama’s supporters are cheering loudly over this figure, as it indicates a slowing down of job creation — and that is if the number is accurate. As many know, BLS jobs numbers are usually a mathematical abstraction based on assumptions and inferences, not hard numbers. In any event, if there were 115,000 jobs created in April, that is below the approximately 200,000 new jobs that must be created in the U.S each month in order to keep up with population growth Read more

Changing Etiquette Between the Sexes

On the subway recently, a man near me rushed to sit when someone got up. I was a little taken aback, as I’m used to men giving up seats to women. Then a man boarding the train made a quick dash to sit down. This change in etiquette was surprising Read more

Lets Risk Destroying the Housing Market and Any Economic Recovery

The economic crisis began with the housing crisis, and it will only end when the housing crisis also ends. Unfortunately, the evidence of the past five years suggests that the Obama administration and Congress have never actually understood this connection. Despite massive numbers of foreclosures, the loss of almost $7 trillion in housing wealth (over one-half the nation’s home equity), and even unprecedented pleas from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, there has been a shocking paucity of innovation or even policy activity in the housing arena.
Now there is a a very real chance that Congress will destroy the limited policies the Obama administration does have in place, prevent additional efforts, and further widen the gap between the haves and have-nots in America. Moreover, the net effect of this congressional failure could be to further undermine the weak housing market and risk sending the nation into another economic tailspin.
The administration’s signature housing policy effort is now aimed at mortgage principal reductions Read more

The Curious Chen Crisis Spotlights Our Big China Conundrum

As if he didn’t have enough geopolitical crises already.
President Barack Obama got a complicated new crisis to manage this week, this one in China, where blind dissident icon Chen Guancheng — who, somehow, escaped house arrest in his village and made his way hundreds of miles to the U.S. embassy, where he received temporary sanctuary — “voluntarily” left the embassy and returned to Chinese soil.
With supposed new safeguards for his freedom, it was hailed as a diplomatic success by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Then Chen said that he had been coerced to leave the U.S. embassy by Chinese government threats to incarcerate his wife Read more

The Heartland Institute Self Destructs

It is an environmentalist’s dream come true. The once feared “Heartland Institute,” funded by the secretive Koch brothers in their campaign to undermine science and deny the plain evidence for climate change has just committed a very public suicide on the Eisenhower Expressway on the outskirts of Chicago.
That is where the first billboard appeared the other day to launch what has to be one of the kookiest public relations campaigns in history. I could scarcely believe my eyes when I saw the image on the internet — the disheviled “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski glowering down at commuters asking: “I still believe in Global Warming Read more