Sunday, November 1, 2009
She cried, wet swollen eyed, sobbing. She striped naked, in her thin slip. She laughed with her throaty smokers laugh. She twirlled, like a ballerina. She showered; water pouring over her hair, emerging drenched. Her mental deterioation perfectly paralled with her smeared red lipstick and bare feet. She. Cate Blanchette, preforming the most moving theatrical performance I have ever witnessed in my life. Cate Blanchett, preforming live in Tennessee Williams 'Streetcar Named Desire'. During the 5 standing ovations, Cate appeared bewildered, attempting to emerge from her character, fully engulfed in the flames of her flawless portrayal of New Orleans Blanche Dubois.
Liv Ullmann directed Cate. Liv wrote the following to her actors for today's performance:
"When the light fades and it is all over, great writers return what they have borrowed, miraculously enabling you to see yourself in a new and clearer perspective. They transfer the extravagant gift of their achievement to you, forever."
Tennessee Williams, was the child of an abusive alcoholic father. Why is it that lives full of emotional turmoil, trauma and pain, produce the most moving literature we know?
Why is it that Australia produces the best actors of our time?
Tuesday is election day, in four key races that are essentially a referendum on the Obama presidency. Click Comments and make your final predictions!
For perspective, here’s Obama’s margin of victory in the four key races:
Obama ‘08 Margin
Chicago Property Taxes Increase 9.6%; Obama's Property Tax Increases 1.0%The Chicago Sun-Times reports that property taxes in Chicago have increased an average of 9.6% this year. The property taxes on President Obama's home at 5046 South Greenwood Avenue increased 1.0%. Other Chicago politicians with below average property tax increases include:
- Alexi Giannoulias (Illinois Treasurer): 1.0%
- Richard Daley (Chicago Mayor): 3.5%
- Rahm Emanuel (President Obama's Chief of Staff): 3.7%
- Lisa Madigan (Illinois Attorney General): 4.4%
- Dan Hynes (Illinois Comptroller): 4.9%
David Brooks has been talking to military experts he respects -- "retired officers, analysts who have written books about counterinsurgency warfare, people who have spent years in Afghanistan" -- to get their view of the strategic choices facing the president. Brooks reports that these experts have responded not by discussing the ins-and-outs of the strategic chocies, but by questioning whether President Obama possesses the determination to wage a sustained war:
These people, who follow the war for a living, who spend their days in military circles both here and in Afghanistan, have no idea if President Obama is committed to this effort. They have no idea if he is willing to stick by his decisions, explain the war to the American people and persevere through good times and bad.
Their first concerns are about Obama the man. They know he is intellectually sophisticated. They know he is capable of processing complicated arguments and weighing nuanced evidence. But they do not know if he possesses the trait that is more important than intellectual sophistication and, in fact, stands in tension with it. They do not know if he possesses tenacity, the ability to fixate on a simple conviction and grip it, viscerally and unflinchingly, through complexity and confusion. They do not know if he possesses the obstinacy that guided Lincoln and Churchill, and which must guide all war presidents to some degree.
Their second concern is political. They do not know if President Obama regards Afghanistan as a distraction from the matters he really cares about: health care, energy and education. Some of them suspect that Obama talked himself into supporting the Afghan effort so he could sound hawkish during the campaign. They suspect he is making a show of commitment now so he can let the matter drop at a politically opportune moment down the road.
Finally, they do not understand the president's fundamental read on the situation. Most of them, like most people who have spent a lot of time in Afghanistan, believe this war is winnable. They do not think it will be easy or quick. But they do have a bedrock conviction that the Taliban can be stymied and that the governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan can be strengthened. But they do not know if Obama shares this gut conviction or possesses any gut conviction on this subject at all.
Man arrested at Disney World for carrying a loaded gun, is sentenced to five hours on the "It's a Small World" ride
"Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.*" (*"Negative racial and religious stereotyping" not included according to O’s adminstration)
Anderson Cooper has been consoling himself over falling ratings by living it up in Jaipur, India, at one of the world's most opulent hotels. The CNN star was spotted Tuesday with his muscular friend, Benjamin Maisani, an owner of East Village bar Eastern Bloc, at the Rambagh Palace, named the best hotel in the world by Conde Nast Traveler. Cooper's $3,200-a-night room features a four-poster mahogany bed and views of the gardens of the former Maharaja palace. Our source said, "Anderson's room has a large round bathtub. On the first night it was filled with bubbles and sprinkled with red rose petals." CNN declined to comment.
A three and a half metre shark that was almost bitten in half by a large great white shark in Brisbane, Australia. The great white, believed to be at least six metres long, has been dubbed Jaws by locals and visitors
Hundreds of thousands of people flood the city of Naha, Japan, to watch - and take part in - the Ryukyu Kingdom Festival Tsunahiki (or Rope Pulling Ritual). Each team is made up of 15,000 people, pulling a 656 ft rope
When Daniel and Tevyn East hit a coyote at 75mph along Interstate 80 near the Nevada-Utah border they assumed they had killed the animal and drove on. But eight hours later they found the animal embedded between the front fender and radiator, alive
Walking Away From Islam
November 1, 2009: Opposition to the clerical dictatorship continues to grow, both from inside the leadership, and at the grassroots. An increasing number of senior clerics are openly criticizing the "Islamic Police State" that has become increasingly harsh in the way it suppresses real, or imagined, opposition. Many senior clerics are aghast at the growing corruption among the clerics who run the government, and the pretense of democracy, with elections rigged so that only pro-dictatorship candidates can even run. At the grassroots, most young Iranians are fed up with the dictatorship. It offers no jobs for the poor, and few opportunities for the educated and ambitious.
Most worrisome to the clerics is the growing number of young Iranians who are giving up on Islam. Many of these kids are saying that Islam is "un-Iranian" and that everyone should return to the pre-Islam Iranian religion. The odd thing is that Christianity was never really big in Iran. Iran’s pre-Christian religion, Zoroastrianism, survived until it was largely replaced by Islam 1,400 years ago, after dominating the country for about 1,500 years. The government has been blocking Farsi language sites about Zoroastrianism, which have been growing in popularity over the last few years, apparently in response to the seemingly dreadful impact of Islam. Many Zoroastrianism customs survived the arrival of Islam, much to the chagrin of Moslem clerics. Efforts to stamp out these customs only makes them more popular. The only surviving Zoroastrians (about 150,000) are found mainly in India (about half of them), with small communities in Pakistan and other Central Asian nations. There are also thousands living in the West. There are believed to be over 10,000 still in Iran, where they maintain a very low profile. Zoroastrianism is a monotheistic religion (worship of only one God) that appeared about the same time as Judaism, in a period when monotheism was rare. The oldest major religion is Hinduism, which is polytheistic (with thousands of Gods).
Fish Oil May Protect Against Stroke From Ruptured Carotid Artery Plaques
ScienceDaily (Nov. 1, 2009) — Research led by Hernan A. Bazan, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Section of Vascular Surgery, at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, has found that unstable carotid artery plaques – those in danger of rupturing and leading to a stroke – contain more inflammation and significantly less omega-3 fatty acids than asymptomatic plaques.
This suggests that increasing the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in carotid artery plaques could either prevent strokes or improve the safety of treatment. This may be accomplished by increasing dietary intake of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Chewing Gum Can Reduce Calorie Intake, Increase Energy Expenditure, Nutritionist Finds
ScienceDaily (Nov. 1, 2009) — A nutrition professor at the University of Rhode Island studying the effects of chewing sugar-free gum on weight management has found that it can help to reduce calorie intake and increase energy expenditure.
Subjects made two visits to the URI Energy Metabolism Lab after having fasted over night. During one visit, they chewed gum for 20 minutes before consuming a breakfast shake and twice more during the three hours before lunch. During both visits, participants remained as still as possible as measurements were conducted of their resting metabolism rates and blood glucose levels at regular intervals before and after breakfast and lunch.
Women consumed 67 fewer calories at lunch and did not compensate by eating more later in the day. Male participants also reported feeling significantly less hungry after chewing gum.
CBO Underestimates Benefits of Malpractice Reform
A full accounting of medical malpractice reforms shows the benefits would be $242 billion a year.
Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said medical-liability reforms could save about $11 billion annually. This assessment is a gross underestimate of the potential benefits of reform and was intended to give cover to congressional Democrats who say malpractice-liability costs are trifling. But a full accounting shows the benefits would be a hefty $242 billion a year, more than 10 percent of America's health expenditures.