Browsing articles from "November, 2015"

L.A.’s Top Restaurant Charts New Waters In Sustainable Seafood

Nov 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on L.A.’s Top Restaurant Charts New Waters In Sustainable Seafood

Chef Michael Cimarusti, of Los Angeles' Providence restaurant, is pioneering the West Coast incarnation of Dock to Dish, a program that hooks up local fishermen directly with chefs.i

Chef Michael Cimarusti, of Los Angeles’ Providence restaurant, is pioneering the West Coast incarnation of Dock to Dish, a program that hooks up local fishermen directly with chefs.

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Chef Michael Cimarusti, of Los Angeles' Providence restaurant, is pioneering the West Coast incarnation of Dock to Dish, a program that hooks up local fishermen directly with chefs.

Chef Michael Cimarusti, of Los Angeles’ Providence restaurant, is pioneering the West Coast incarnation of Dock to Dish, a program that hooks up local fishermen directly with chefs.

Courtesy of Providence

Providence is considered by many to be the finest restaurant in Los Angeles, a gourmet seafood eatery run by chef Michael Cimarusti. He’s won several James Beard awards and two highly coveted Michelin stars. He is also a fisherman who is piloting a program to support local, small-scale fishermen.

We first told you about this program when it launched in Southern California in September. Called Dock to Dish, it’s a restaurant-supported fishery that allows local fishermen to sell directly to local chefs. It’s based on the model of community-supported agriculture, where members share the risks of food production by pre-buying weekly subscriptions. In this case, restaurants commit to buying local seafood from small-scale fishermen. The idea is to create a supply-based system, offering whatever is plentiful and in season.

Keith and Tiffani Andrews fish for ridgeback shrimp on the fishing vessel Alamo.

The first Dock to Dish program launched three years ago in Montauk, N.Y., and has been hailed as a revival of community-based fisheries. Cimarusti has been trying out its West Coast incarnation. How’s it going so far? NPR’s Mandalit del Barco recently checked in with the chef.

Cimarusti says it’s sometimes a challenge to come up with recipes for the unusual species that land in his kitchen thanks to the program.

“You know, the fishermen that go out — they fish, they land whatever they catch and that’s what we get,” Cimarusti says. “So you have to be flexible, and you have to be willing to experiment and deal with things that you might have absolutely no idea of how to prepare.”

Things like fresh live sea cucumber, wavy turban snails and Kellet’s Whelk. That’s the kind of sea life you find off the coast of Santa Barbara, an hour and a half north of L.A.

If you listen to Mandalit’s story on All Things Considered, you’ll hear as she heads out to sea with Cimarusti and one of the fishermen who supplies his restaurant.

Randy Graham, a fisherman who is also taking part of the Dock to Dish pilot, says “it’s kind of a revolution.”

“We’re trying to get the customer to get the idea of, Yeah, you’re paying a little bit more for your fish, but we’re not using nets, not using any unsustainable resources to bring the fish to you. This was what was caught in Santa Barbara today — get used to eating it,” Graham says.

The concept seems to be catching on; Dock to Dish L.A. already has other chefs and restaurants waiting to jump aboard.

Sarah Rathbone, cofounder of Dock to Dish L.A., says it’s taste makers like Cimarusti and other chefs who will reel the rest of us into making sustainable seafood choices.

“My goal is to make it something that goes beyond those who can afford the fine dining — to people who are just looking to make sustainable decisions when it comes to their seafood choices,” she says.

Top Paper’s Endorsement Doesn’t Always Equal Success In New Hampshire

Nov 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Top Paper’s Endorsement Doesn’t Always Equal Success In New Hampshire

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at a No Labels Problem Solver convention in Manchester, N.H, in October 2012.i

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at a No Labels Problem Solver convention in Manchester, N.H, in October 2012.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at a No Labels Problem Solver convention in Manchester, N.H, in October 2012.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at a No Labels Problem Solver convention in Manchester, N.H, in October 2012.

Jim Cole/AP

Chris Christie was giving thanks this weekend for one of the biggest prizes in Granite State politics: the endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

It’s a notable get for the New Jersey governor, who’s struggled to catch fire both nationally and in the early states. Christie had a good performance in this month’s GOP debate despite dropping down to the undercard face-off. He’s gotten some momentum after that performance and has been playing up his national-security experience in the wake of this month’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.

That experience is exactly why the newspaper declared they were backing Christie on their front page on Sunday. Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid wrote in the editorial:

“Gov. Christie is right for these dangerous times. He has prosecuted terrorists and dealt admirably with major disasters. But the one reason he may be best-suited to lead during these times is because he tells it like it is and isn’t shy about it. Other candidates have gained public and media attention by speaking bluntly. But it’s important when you are telling it like it is to actually know what you are talking about.”

Christie can only go up from here — he’s currently at less than 3 percent in the RealClear Politics average of polling in the state. But the paper’s endorsement isn’t a silver bullet. The Union Leader doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to picking the next president, the eventual GOP nominee — or even the winner of the New Hampshire primary.

In the last 50 years, the paper has endorsed only four New Hampshire primary winners — Richard Nixon in 1968, Ronald Reagan in 1980, Pat Buchanan in 1996 and John McCain in 2008. Of those, only Nixon, Reagan and McCain would go on to win the Republican nomination, and just Nixon and Reagan would be successful in his quest for the presidency.

So, in the last 35 years, the Union Leader hasn’t picked a president.

More recently, the Union Leader‘s choice has faded quickly once voting began. In 2000, wealthy publishing executive Steve Forbes finished a very close second to George W. Bush in Iowa. He fell to a distant third in New Hampshire, far behind winner McCain and the second-place Bush. He would withdraw days later.

But no endorsement by the Union Leader flopped more than their pick of Newt Gingrich in 2012. The former House Speaker looked like he was on the rise in late November 2011, but began to slide in mid-December. He would finish a disappointing fourth in the Granite State, but did rebound to win the South Carolina primary — the apex of Gingrich’s White House bid.

But the paper’s endorsement should not be outright dismissed, especially for a candidate deeply in need of a boost, like Christie. The candidates who have been endorsed by the Union Leader in the pasr have at least gotten a marginal boost in the New Hampshire primary, according to FiveThirtyEight.

In 2008, McCain climbed 21 points from where he was polling to how he finished on Election Day. Gingrich, went up nine percentage points.

So, while history may not be entirely on Christie’s side as far as winning the state goes, the endorsement is still a coup for him, espcially if he can leverage it right.

University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala noted that right now Christie’s campaign in the state is closely mirroring McCain’s from eight years ago — an aggressive town-hall schedule and strong retail politicking in every corner of the state.

“I think for Christie, it gives him something to hang his hat on,” Scala said. “He’s been all over the state trying to duplicate McCain’s magic. He can tell donors, ‘Look I’m getting traction. Even though I’m not at the top of the polls, stick with me.”

There are a few reasons Christie is likely to fare better than Gingrich. He has a more robust operation in the state than the former speaker ever did. And he is is natural in the free-wheeling town-hall events that are popular with New Hampshire Republicans. They showcase his blunt, no-nonsense style that made him a national favorite initially.

Plus, Scala noted, that Christie is stopping in many far-flung towns, where presidential candidates don’t typically stop, which could help him build deep support.

New Hampshire voters also traditionally decide late on who to support. So, while Donald Trump is still leading polls there, many in the state are skeptical he can keep that lead until the Feb. 9th primary. In 2012, Gingrich started at a distinct disadvantage. Not only was his organization shallow, but Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor with a home in New Hampshire, started with a commanding lead. Far more candidates are in the race this year; the contest is more unsettled, and there’s an opening for several candidates to still break out.

Still, there’s the question of how relevant newspaper endorsements still are in the age of social media and 24/7 news. While many conservatives in the state may respect and read the Union Leader‘s right-leaning editorial board, they also have far more sources to choose from than they did even eight years ago. While the paper’s pick of Christie could make them take notice, they’ll also likely be listening to talk radio and conservative TV like Fox News.

“Those New Hampshire conservatives who are certainly going to vote Republican next February, are they going to be hearing varying messages from other conservative messengers?” Scala asked.

The Union Leader’s endorsement does note a shift in thinking since the Paris attacks, though. McQuaid, the paper’s publisher, said on NBC’s Meet The Press that they only considered governors when making their choice. And it was Christie’s experience as a U.S. attorney that stood out over his two other gubernatorial rivals, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

“Jeb Bush doesn’t look like he wants it, and the public senses that,” McQuaid said on NBC. “I’m looking for somebody who can get the nomination, and I don’t think either Bush or Kasich can do so.”

In the editorial, he took a particularly noticeable swing at some of the freshmen senators running — Ted Cruz (Texas), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) — comparing them to President Obama eight years ago.

“We don’t need another fast-talking, well-meaning freshman U.S. senator trying to run the government,” McQuaid wrote. “We are still seeing the disastrous effects of the last such choice.”

And there was another dig that seemed aimed at Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina: “We don’t need as President some well-meaning person from the private sector who has no public experience.”

Another line that seemed squarely about Trump signaled that the paper would use their power to go after the controversial businessman: “Other candidates have gained public and media attention by speaking bluntly. But it’s important when you are telling it like it is to actually know what you are talking about. Gov. Christie knows what he is saying because he has experienced it. And unlike some others, he believes in what he says because he has a strong set of conservative values.”

Though this endorsement came around the same time the paper backed Gingrich, its pick has time to have more impact. The primary is a month later this time around.

If the paper spends time not only boosting Christie but attacking Trump, it could truly test whether the front-runner is bulletproof. On NBC Sunday, McQuaid even said some of Christie’s “Trump-like” qualities in the way he speaks could help him peel away voters.

“Americans seem to be fed up with Washington, and they are looking for somebody who speaks with the ‘bark off,’ as we say in New Hampshire,” McQuaid argued. “And I think Christie does that. But as we said in the editorial, he does that knowing what he’s talking about, as opposed to some others who don’t.”

Alaska Ships A Capitol Christmas Tree With All Of The Trimmings

Nov 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Alaska Ships A Capitol Christmas Tree With All Of The Trimmings

The Capitol Christmas Tree is unloaded from a truck following its journey from the Chugach National Forest in Alaska to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. After it is secured in the ground, the tree will be decorated with thousands of ornaments, handcrafted by children and others from Alaska communities.i

The Capitol Christmas Tree is unloaded from a truck following its journey from the Chugach National Forest in Alaska to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. After it is secured in the ground, the tree will be decorated with thousands of ornaments, handcrafted by children and others from Alaska communities.

Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images


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The Capitol Christmas Tree is unloaded from a truck following its journey from the Chugach National Forest in Alaska to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. After it is secured in the ground, the tree will be decorated with thousands of ornaments, handcrafted by children and others from Alaska communities.

The Capitol Christmas Tree is unloaded from a truck following its journey from the Chugach National Forest in Alaska to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. After it is secured in the ground, the tree will be decorated with thousands of ornaments, handcrafted by children and others from Alaska communities.

Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images

It started as a little tree, barely the height of an eager toddler hyped up on holiday treats, more than 90 years ago.

Now, it’s all grown up — 74 feet, to be exact — and has made it to the big leagues: Washington, D.C.

A Christmas tree in the capitol is nothing new. The tradition began in 1964, when then-House Speaker John McCormack (D-Mass.) proposed planting a tree on the Capitol Grounds. The Forest Service took ownership of the project in 1970.

Each year, a tree is cut from a different U.S. state and brought to Washington. The first tree was from Pennsylvania, a popular choice in the early years.

But, this year, there’s a twist: it’s the first time that a tree has come from a non-contiguous state, and according to organizers, the first to travel by boat. It also comes from a forest that’s notoriously hard to pronounce.

“A kindergarten teacher once said that you say Chugach like it’s a sneeze, and I’ve used that comparison ever since. It’s a miracle,” says Mona Spargo, who works for the Chugach National Forest in Alaska.

Needle In A Haystack

In a forest the size of New Hampshire, how do you pick just one tree?

This one was actually found 300 feet from a highway — in a national park that’s 99 percent roadless.

From the Scenic Seward Highway in the Chugach National Forest, Alaska to the streets of Washington, D.C. — this year's Capitol Christmas Tree made quite the journey.i

From the Scenic Seward Highway in the Chugach National Forest, Alaska to the streets of Washington, D.C. — this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree made quite the journey.

Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images


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From the Scenic Seward Highway in the Chugach National Forest, Alaska to the streets of Washington, D.C. — this year's Capitol Christmas Tree made quite the journey.

From the Scenic Seward Highway in the Chugach National Forest, Alaska to the streets of Washington, D.C. — this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree made quite the journey.

Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Trees have to pass rigorous requirements before being even remotely considered. The tree can be seen from all sides — so you can’t just hide flaws the way you do at home by stowing it in a corner.

“It can’t have any thin spots or branches that stick out a lot on one side or the other. It has to be a perfect conical shape,” Ted Bechtol, superintendent of the Capitol Grounds, wrote in a blog post for the Forest Service.

Perfectly conical? Check. Sixty-five to 85-feet high? Check. A uniform spread of branches, good density and rich color? Sold!

After three weeks of walking, silviculturist Mandy Villwock narrowed the selection to six. Then Bechtol flew out to help make the final cut.

It’s his 11th year helping to select the tree. When asked if he has a favorite, he wrote that’s like being asked if he has favorite children.

Bechtol wasn’t overly enthusiastic about any of the trees — until he saw the final contender.

“As soon as he saw it, he gave us a huge thumbs up. You could see that this was the one,” Spargo says.

Bechtol made the decision on the spot, but that was just the beginning.

Braving Stormy Seas

The tree traveled precisely 3410.94 miles over its two-week trip, a trip that Spargo, who rode along with the tree, says generated unexpected enthusiasm.

“We were amazed. I was surprised at how many people had connections to Alaska and just how everyone was so enthused about it,” she says.

Holiday enthusiasts could track the tree’s path and figure out community stops to catch a glimpse.

“Every bathroom break and every stop for gas became an event in itself, people were following us!” Spargo says.

She likened it to being on tour with a celebrity.

This year's Capitol Christmas Tree comes from White River National Forest in Northwest Colorado. The spruce is more than 70 feet tall.

“I don’t know how we will go back to regular life,” she says, laughing.

The tree arrived at 4 a.m. on Fri., Nov. 20, to avoid traffic, and now sits on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. But you can still see the complete path — including a jaunt in the Pacific Ocean — online.

Safely packed on a container ship, the tree faced stormy conditions during the three-day voyage between the Port of Anchorage in Alaska and Tacoma, Wash.

Organizers say there were 100 mph winds and 50-foot waves — making the tree, as Jimmy Fallon joked, perhaps the hardest working member of Congress.

Upon arrival in Tacoma, the tree was unloaded onto a flatbed truck and driven across the country by Alaska Trucking Association’s “Driver Of The Year” John Schank. He’s driven 5 million miles over the course of his career — and with flushed cheeks and a white beard, looks remarkably like Santa.

Welcome To Capitol Hill

According to Bechtol, a crew of seven people is responsible for sprucing up the tree when it arrives, infilling branches and making minor repairs.

Then, the tree is lifted by a crane and dropped into a concrete base — grounded with anchors to help keep the tree steady. Bechtol writes that gusts up to 45 mph haven’t toppled a tree yet.

As the home state, Alaskans are responsible for the tree decorations — and they didn’t disappoint. Artists, children and everyone in between handcrafted 4,000 ornaments for the Capitol tree as well as Christmas trees in federal offices throughout D.C. They also stitched accompanying tree skirts.

The tree will be lit by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Dec. 2. He’ll be joined by a special guest: fifth-grader Anna DeVolld from Alaska. She, along with hundreds of other elementary school students, submitted essays to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) describing why the tree is significant for Alaskans.

DeVolld drew parallels between the tinsel sparkling like glaciers and the tree’s height mirroring Alaska’s colossal mountain peaks.

“Alaskan Christmas trees are special because they are a symbol of Alaskan pride,” she wrote.

Kylie Mohr is a digital news intern at NPR.org.

University Of Chicago Cancels Monday Classes Over Threat Of Gun Violence

Nov 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on University Of Chicago Cancels Monday Classes Over Threat Of Gun Violence

The University of Chicago is canceling all classes and other events on its main campus Monday over online threats of gun violence.

FBI counterterrorism officials alerted the school on Sunday, the university said in a statement. They warned of online threats from an “unknown individual” that specifically mentioned a location, the campus quad, and a time, 10 a.m.

“Based on the FBI’s assessment of this threat and recent tragic events at other campuses across the country, we have decided in consultation with federal and local law enforcement officials, to exercise caution by canceling all classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus through midnight on Monday,” the school said in a statement.

Students, non-medical faculty and non-essential staff are being asked to stay away from the campus, or to remain indoors if they are on campus.

The school will also be increasing the police and security presence on campus, the statement says, and the FBI is continuing to investigate the threat.

“The picturesque University of Chicago campus is in the Hyde Park neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side,” NPR’s David Schaper reports. “President Obama taught at the university’s law school and owns a home nearby.”

Many of the University of Chicago’s other campuses will also be closed, including charter school campuses and the university libraries. The University of Chicago Medical Center will remain open, “with added security measures,” the school says.

An Iraq Vet And A Mother Of 2 Were Victims Of Planned Parenthood Shooting

Nov 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on An Iraq Vet And A Mother Of 2 Were Victims Of Planned Parenthood Shooting

The two civilians killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday were Ke’Arre Stewart, a father of two and Army veteran who served in Iraq, and Jennifer Markovsky, a mother of two who was reportedly at the clinic to support a friend.

The attack, which lasted several hours, also killed police officer Garrett Swasey, a father of two. Suspect Robert Lewis Dear is in custody. Dear referenced “baby parts” when he spoke to police after the attack, but police stress that his motives are still unclear.

Police have confirmed that the two civilians killed were “preliminarily identified” as Markovsky and Stewart.

Ke’Arre Stewart, 29, was an Army veteran who served one tour in Iraq, reports The Denver Post. He was originally from Texas, the newspaper says, and leaves behind two children.

His wife told KKTV that all the family wants is justice. On Facebook, Stewart’s sister asked for help and support for the family.

“He was caring, giving, funny and just a damn good person,” Stewart’s friend Amburh Butler wrote on a GoFundMe page raising money for his funeral expenses.

Jennifer Markovsky, born in Waianae, Hawaii, also leaves behind two children, reports Hawaii News Now.

“Her family said she was at the Planned Parenthood clinic supporting a friend,” HNN reports. “Her friend was shot in the hand.”

Markovsky, 36, was “a stay-at-home mom who was devoted to her children,” reports the Denver Post. She leaves behind a young son, daughter and her husband, her family tells the paper.

Markovsky’s father, John Ah-King, says she was “the most lovable person,” the paper reports:

“I couldn’t believe it,” Ah-King said through sobs. “I just messaged her Thursday to say happy Thanksgiving.”

University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey, 44, was killed in Friday's attack.i

University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey, 44, was killed in Friday’s attack.

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University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey, 44, was killed in Friday's attack.

University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey, 44, was killed in Friday’s attack.

Courtesy UCCS

Garrett Swasey, the police officer killed in the attack, also leaves behind two children, a son and a daughter. He was an elder at an evangelical church in Colorado Springs.

Swasey was a champion ice dancer in his youth, reports The Denver Post. After his successful skating career he found his calling in police work, his wife said in a statement.

“Helping others brought him deep satisfaction and being a police officer was a part of him,” she wrote. “In the end, his last act was for the safety and wellbeing of others and was a tribute to his life.”

When In Pursuit Of Positive Change, Better Drop The ‘Why Me’

Nov 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on When In Pursuit Of Positive Change, Better Drop The ‘Why Me’

An unidentified Freedom Rider sticks his head out of a chartered bus window in Jackson, Miss., in August 1961.i

An unidentified Freedom Rider sticks his head out of a chartered bus window in Jackson, Miss., in August 1961.

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An unidentified Freedom Rider sticks his head out of a chartered bus window in Jackson, Miss., in August 1961.

An unidentified Freedom Rider sticks his head out of a chartered bus window in Jackson, Miss., in August 1961.

AP

Today I was thinking about something one of the Freedom Riders told me a few years ago, when I had the opportunity — the privilege — to interview a group of them. Remember, these were the courageous men and women, both black and white, who rode the Southern bus routes for seven months in 1961 — facing vicious beatings, fire bombs, arrests and jail — all to draw attention to the fact that public facilities were still segregated despite the passage of laws saying it should be otherwise.

I was thinking that many of the people who boarded those buses were still very young, in their late teens or early 20s — and if not living under their parents’ roofs, were still subject to parental opinion. So I asked them, once they’d made the decision to go, who in their lives were they most afraid to tell. One woman, who was — even in her early 20s — well on her way to becoming a fearless and legendary leader, told me she wasn’t afraid to tell her mother, but was actually kind of annoyed at her mother’s resistance. And that annoyance made her say something she regrets to this day: “If you had gone,” she says she told her mother, “I wouldn’t have to.”

It was harsh, but if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Who among us hasn’t asked, “Why me?” Whether the task is taking grandma’s car keys when she’s no longer able to drive or even going to a contentious PTA meeting to challenge an incompetent principal, isn’t there a moment when we have all quietly said to ourselves something along the lines of “please take this bitter cup from me” — please release me from the responsibility of having to do this thing that I know has to be done, but I’d rather not do?

And yet, why do we ask that? Or more to the point: Why do so many people who offer themselves for leadership right now give you the impression that that’s how they feel?

Can I just tell you, I know this country has problems, but it’s still puzzling to me that the common language of our public discourse right now, uniting the right and the left, is the language of resentment.

Contrast this with the language of invention. When do you ever hear people say, “Why didn’t somebody else invent the airplane, the smart phone, solar panels, the tea infuser, for heaven’s sake, so I didn’t have to?” We even have commercials featuring the tiny garages and attics where supposedly this inventing took place. We understand that discovery is a joy that can feel like a physical sensation.

For decades, astronomers believed there was another planet hiding just out of sight behind the sun. It wasn't until Albert Einstein that this belief was finally debunked.

In his book The Hunt for Vulcan, about how Einstein’s general theory of relativity disproved the long-held idea that there was a planet between Mars and the Sun — the mythical planet Vulcan — professor Thomas Levenson writes that as Einstein cranked out his final computations, Einstein told friends later he felt as if something “snapped” within him. He was “beside” himself with joy.

Well, of course there’s a difference between toiling alone in your attic to invent the next big thing and getting your head bashed in by racists to make your country a better place. But short of that, if those offering themselves for leadership are filled with the joy of offering the gifts they believe they have in the service of the country they say they love, why are so many so fiery mad, and not fiery glad? Why is it such a bitter cup? How would they sound if they saw making the country better as something they had the privilege to do, rather than something they had to do?

In hindsight, it was clear that stepping on that freedom bus, as hard as it was, was something to rejoice rather than to lament. I wonder if that could be a lesson for the future rather than a commemoration of the past.

As Americans Increasingly Bypass Malls, What’s To Become Of Black Friday?

Nov 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on As Americans Increasingly Bypass Malls, What’s To Become Of Black Friday?



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now I’m not trying to be in your business, but did you decide to sleep through yesterday’s predawn shopping sales known as door-busters? If you did, it turns out you were not alone. Increasingly, shoppers are bypassing malls and big-box stores on America’s seminal shopping holiday. To find out more about this, we called Shelly Banjo. She is a retail and consumer columnist for Bloomberg, the financial news outlet. She actually writes for Bloomberg’s new commentary website called Bloomberg Gadfly. Welcome, Shelly, thanks for coming.

SHELLY BANJO: Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: Now, we’ve always been told that the holiday season is absolutely critical – as much as 40 percent of a retailer’s sales each year, according to the National Retail Federation. And historically, we’ve been told that Black Friday weekend used to be as much as 15 percent of holiday sales. Is that still the case?

BANJO: I think the 40 percent number can definitely still be the case depending on which kind of retailer it is. But what we’re seeing is that one day – that one, you know, you have to get out there and shop on that one day – has just really become the whole month. So it’s gone from Black Friday to Black Friday week to Black November.

MARTIN: Black November – so what have you heard about the 2015 holiday shopping season so far?

BANJO: So we don’t have numbers for the whole ecosystem yet. But for online sales, they’ve come in pretty strong. Mobile sales have gone up a lot. But we’re seeing a lot of people, who, you know, have signed online, clicked on things in their email and actually did go shopping.

MARTIN: What do you expect, generally, for this year? Are there any trends that are emerging so far?

BANJO: I think mobile is pretty interesting. I mean, people have been talking about it for a while. But this idea that you’re at home on Thanksgiving Day with your family and you also happen to have your iPhone on your lap and you’re shopping at the same time.

MARTIN: You wrote this past week that retailers should actually consider holding some of their inventory for the days leading up to Christmas. Now, why is that?

BANJO: Because the retailers put so much emphasis on Black Friday and, you know, you get your whole staff together and they’re all ready and everyone’s excited and the stores look good. But that’s not really when the brick-and-mortar retailers are really going to win. They don’t have any kind of advantage over Amazon on Black Friday. When they really have the advantage is that week – those last minute shoppers before Christmas who are going out to Wal-Mart, they need to get those stocking stuffers. That’s when these retailers can really win. But that’s when you show up, people are tired, the stores look all tuckered out, inventories picked over. You know, that’s when people really need to rely on those brick-and-mortar stores.

MARTIN: Shelly, you know I’m going to ask this – is there a hot toy?

BANJO: “Star Wars,” that’s the toy of the season. It’s all about “Star Wars.” And things are already sold out, according to some folks online. But I have a guess they’re going to kind of keep rolling those out, you know, as we go through the holiday season.

MARTIN: Anything “Star Wars.”

BANJO: Yeah.

MARTIN: “Star Wars” PJs?

BANJO: And “Frozen” – people are still into “Frozen.”

MARTIN: Still into “Frozen,” OK. (Laughter). That’s Shelly Banjo. She’s a retail and consumer columnist for Bloomberg’s new commentary website called Gadfly. And she was with us from New York. Thanks, Shelly.

BANJO: Thank you.

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Wladimir Klitschko’s Heavyweight Reign Ends With Loss To Tyson Fury

Nov 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Wladimir Klitschko’s Heavyweight Reign Ends With Loss To Tyson Fury

Britain's Tyson Fury celebrates after winning in a world heavyweight title fight for Ukraine's Wladimir Klitschko's WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts in the Esprit Arena in Duesseldorf, western Germany.i

Britain’s Tyson Fury celebrates after winning in a world heavyweight title fight for Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko’s WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts in the Esprit Arena in Duesseldorf, western Germany.

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Martin Meissner/AP

Britain's Tyson Fury celebrates after winning in a world heavyweight title fight for Ukraine's Wladimir Klitschko's WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts in the Esprit Arena in Duesseldorf, western Germany.

Britain’s Tyson Fury celebrates after winning in a world heavyweight title fight for Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko’s WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts in the Esprit Arena in Duesseldorf, western Germany.

Martin Meissner/AP

In a stunning upset, Tyson Fury defeated the world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko Saturday night.

Fury, an undefeated British boxer, was taking on the man who had been heavyweight champion of the world since 2006 — and who hadn’t lost since 2004.

As The Associated Press reports, emotions ran high during the match, which Fury won by unanimous decision:

After a bruising encounter that ended with cuts near both of Klitschko’s eyes, referee Tony Weeks went to the judges’ scorecards.

Cesar Ramos and Raul Caiz Sr. scored it 115-112 each, while Ramon Cerdan had it 116-111 in favor of the undefeated Briton (25-0, 18 KO).

Fury, 12 years younger than the 39-year-old Klitschko, taunted and baited the champion at various stages, prompting jeers from fans at the 55,000-seat soccer stadium in Duesseldorf.

Before the loss, some had wondered if the long-reigning Ukrainian might someday become an undisputed champion. He had only been missing one major title — the WBC, which had belonged to his older brother Vitali before he decided to focus on his political career.

But before he had a chance to unify the titles, Klitschko gave up his IBF, WBO and WBA belts, as well as titles from the IBO and The Ring.

After the match, Fury told the crowd Klitschko had been “a great champion,” Reuters reports:

“Tonight is that start of a new era. I will be the most charismatic champion since Muhammad Ali,” he said before serenading his wife in the crowd with a song by American band Aerosmith.

“I worked for six months for this in the gym, it’s a dream come true,” Fury said while draped in his new world title belts and unable to hold back the tears.

Barbershop: Black Friday, Black Lives Matter And Social ‘Cuffing’

Nov 28, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Barbershop: Black Friday, Black Lives Matter And Social ‘Cuffing’

The talk in the Barbershop this week is about Black Friday, Black Lives Matter and social “cuffing.” Wesley Lowery, national reporter at The Washington Post, Katie Notopoulos, a senior editor at Buzzfeed, and Jozen Cummings, an editorial associate at Twitter, join the conversation.

From Trembling Teacher To Seasoned Mentor: How Tim Gunn Made It Work

Nov 28, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on From Trembling Teacher To Seasoned Mentor: How Tim Gunn Made It Work

Project Runway host Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn at the Project Runway Spring 2013 fashion show in New York City. Today, Gunn is comfortable before an audience — but it wasn't always that way.i

Project Runway host Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn at the Project Runway Spring 2013 fashion show in New York City. Today, Gunn is comfortable before an audience — but it wasn’t always that way.

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week


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Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Project Runway host Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn at the Project Runway Spring 2013 fashion show in New York City. Today, Gunn is comfortable before an audience — but it wasn't always that way.

Project Runway host Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn at the Project Runway Spring 2013 fashion show in New York City. Today, Gunn is comfortable before an audience — but it wasn’t always that way.

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

As part of a series called My Big Break, All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Tim Gunn is famous for his catchphrase — “Make it work!” — his snazzy outfits and his calm, can-do attitude. As a mentor to designers on Project Runway, his unflappable demeanor soothes many a stressed-out contestant.

But Gunn wasn’t always so self-possessed.

Long before he made it big on TV, Gunn had a big break of a different sort. He transformed from a kid who was terrified of school into a teacher.

First, he had to overcome a debilitating stutter.

“The worst moment ever — ever — was in the sixth grade,” Gunn remembers. “I had to do a report on the Louisiana Purchase, and I couldn’t get ‘Louisiana’ out of my mouth. I went over and over, and I ran out of the classroom crying and ran home.”

All through his teen years, Gunn was not a fan of school. But after he graduated college, he needed a job.

“One of my very extraordinary teachers — Rona Slade at, then, the Corcoran School Of Art in Washington [D.C.] — Rona called and she said, ‘I just had a three-dimensional design instructor drop out for a summer-school class for high school students, and I’d like you to step in and teach this class.’ “

Gunn said yes. On his first day, he was a wreck from the moment he arrived in the parking lot.

“My palms are sweating, I’m visibly trembling and I can barely open the car door,” he says. “I’m finally successful getting it open — put one foot onto the asphalt pavement and I throw up all over the place.

“So I rally, sort of,” he says. “[I] stumble into the building — I’m a mess. I’m a basket case. I have to brace myself against one of the walls of the studio because my knees are shaking so badly I’m fearful that I’m going to topple over.”

As the students filed in, Gunn realized he’d need the class roster — which was about 6 feet away from him, on a table in the classroom.

“So I ask the student closest to me, ‘Would you mind bringing me that black notebook?’ And he looked at me a little bit like, ‘What’s the matter, can’t you move?’

“And if he’d asked me the question, I would have said, ‘You’re quite correct, I can’t.’

“This wasn’t a ‘make it work’ moment for me,” he says. “This was, ‘This is never going to work, get out of it.’ “

At the end of his first week, he went to talk to his old teacher, Rona Slade. “She looks at me and says, ‘Well, I trust that this will either kill you or cure you, and I’m counting on the latter. Good day.’

“I thought, ‘Well, after all that I’ve been through, it’s not going to kill me, sister!’ And sure enough, after a few weeks, things became a little bit more bearable, and I ended up really loving it.”

Gunn continued to teach at the Corcoran, before moving to Parsons School of Design in New York City. At Parsons, he was a faculty member and an associate dean before overhauling the school’s fashion curriculum.

And while he no longer teaches at Parsons, Gunn is still educating young designers on Project Runway.

“As someone who spent his childhood and teen years absolutely hating, hating, hating, hating school, to think that I would become a career teacher — that opportunity was a big, big break,” he says.

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