Browsing articles from "November, 2016"

Pump Up The Sound, Regulators Tell Makers Of Electric And Hybrid Cars

Nov 15, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Pump Up The Sound, Regulators Tell Makers Of Electric And Hybrid Cars

One of the benefits for owners of electric and hybrid cars is that they are quiet. While that is attractive for the driver, it poses a danger to pedestrians. But the U.S. government on Monday finalized new rules requiring so-called “quiet cars” to make alert beeps when traveling at low speeds.

The rules apply to hybrid cars and electric cars, trucks, SUVs and buses that weigh less than five tons. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says hybrids and electric vehicles “will be required to make audible noise when traveling in reverse or forward at speeds up to … about 19 miles per hour.”

“We all depend on our senses to alert us to possible danger,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. “With more, quieter hybrid and electrical cars on the road, the ability for all pedestrians to hear as well as see the cars becomes an important factor of reducing the risk of possible crashes and improving safety.”

Detroit Touts Clean, Efficient Diesels, But America Isn't Sold

The regulations come as a result of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act signed in 2011. The new feature will cost car companies $39 million annually because compliance requires an external waterproof speaker, according to Reuters, but the benefits of reduced injuries are estimated at $250 million to $320 million annually.

NHTSA projects 2,400 fewer pedestrian injuries once the rules are implemented. The agency says an electric or hybrid vehicle is 1.18 times more likely to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian, and 1.51 times more likely to be involved in a collision with a person on a bike, than is a regular gas-powered vehicle.

The Auto Alliance, an auto industry group, says its members (which include the major car companies) support the safety goal of the law.

“We’re still reviewing this final rule, however we already know that it’s important that automakers have the flexibility to equip vehicles with sounds that are sufficiently detectable yet pleasant to hear; consumer acceptance is critical and that hinges on sounds not annoying people inside the auto. Additionally, just as current conventionally-powered vehicles sound differently than one another, it’s critical that the noise requirements for their electrically powered counterparts are not so rigid they require a single sound signature.”

In a statement, the president of the National Federation for the Blind, Mark Riccobono, said, “This regulation will ensure that blind Americans can continue to travel safely and independently as we work, learn, shop, and engage in all facets of community life.”

Metropolis: 11/12/16

Nov 15, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Metropolis: 11/12/16

This week’s mix features new music from London trio The xx.

Laura Coulson/Courtesy of the artist


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This week’s mix features new music from London trio The xx.

Laura Coulson/Courtesy of the artist

This Week’s Playlist

  • Nick Murphy, “Stop Me” (Downtown Records)
  • Justice, “Randy” (Ed Banger/Because)
  • Whilk Misky, “Burn With Me” (Universal)
  • The xx, “On Hold” (XL/Young Turks)
  • Offaiah, “Trouble [Latroit Remix]” (Spinnin Deep)
  • Attlas, “Blood Work” (Mau5trap)
  • Ocsav, “Acting Like” (Anabatic Records)
  • Homepark, “Forever Walking” (XL)
  • Park Sons, “Pangea” (Afm Records)
  • French House Mafia, “Le Disco Chic Part II” (Home Computer)
  • Chris Carrier, “Feel Good Tonight” (Robsoul)
  • Volac, “Open Your Mind” (Night Bass)
  • Pezzner, “Evelyn” (Systematic)
  • NxWorries, “Scared Money” (Stones Throw)
  • Tom Misch, “Memory” (Beyond The Groove)
  • Hermitude, “Ukiyo” (Nettwerk)
  • Glass Animals, “Hazey” (Harvest)
  • A Tribe Called Quest, “Black Spasmodic” (Epic)
  • Snakehips, “All My Friends [feat. Tinashe Chance The Rapper][Prep Remix]” (Sony)
  • Mac Miller, “Dang! [feat. Anderson .Paak]” (Warner Bros.)
  • Goldroom, “Back To You” (Downtown/Interscope Records)
  • Tom Misch, “Beautiful Escape [Feat. Zak Abel]” (Beyond The Groove)
  • Bicep, “Just” (Aus Music)
  • Kisch, “Closer [Feat. Leela]”
  • Latroit x Rrotik, “Get Up Everybody” (House Of Latroit)
  • Deadmau5, “4ware” (Mau5trap)
  • Bonobo, “Kerala” (Ninja Tune)
  • The Japanese House, “Good Side In” (Interscope)
  • C Duncan, “Other Side” (Fatcat Records)
  • Phantogram, “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore [Attlas Remix]” (Republic)

SEC Chair White Says She Will Step Down At The End Of Obama’s Term

Nov 15, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on SEC Chair White Says She Will Step Down At The End Of Obama’s Term

Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White, shown at a press conference in 2015, says she will step down in January.

Seth Wenig/AP


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Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White, shown at a press conference in 2015, says she will step down in January.

Seth Wenig/AP

Mary Jo White, the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, will step down in January, a move that leaves the future direction of the regulatory agency more uncertain than ever.

“It has been a tremendous honor to work alongside the incredibly talented and dedicated SEC staff members who do so much every day to protect investors and our markets,” White said, in a statement released today.

“I am very proud of our three consecutive years of record enforcement actions, dozens of fundamental reforms through our rule-makings that have strengthened investor protections and market stability, and that the job satisfaction of our phenomenal staff has climbed in each of the last three years,” she said.

A former U.S. attorney, White is known as a moderate who tried to navigate a politically divided agency known for internal battles.

Under her leadership, the commission implemented most of the rules stemming from Dodd-Frank, the landmark financial overhaul law passed in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported:

“During Ms. White’s tenure, which began in April 2013, the SEC overhauled the regulation of money-market mutual funds, credit-rating firms, stock exchanges, and electronic trading venues. She frequently navigated political infighting at the SEC to complete Dodd-Frank requirements, and such friction could continue under a Republican chairman.”

But White was sometimes criticized by liberals such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for not pursuing Wall Street wrongdoers more aggressively.

With White gone, the commission which is supposed to have five members will be down to just two people, one Democrat and one Republican.

While President Obama has nominated two additional commissioners, the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to vote on them.

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to have an easier time getting his nominees approved.

Trump is expected to pursue a more conservative approach to regulation than his predecessor, but hasn’t spelled out what he will do, beyond repealing Dodd-Frank.

The heads of other financial regulatory agencies are widely expected to follow White out the door by announcing their departures over the next few weeks.

What Happened? How Pollsters, Pundits, And Politics Got It Wrong

Nov 15, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on What Happened? How Pollsters, Pundits, And Politics Got It Wrong

Polls, pundits, politicians, and journalists mostly predicted the outcome of this election incorrectly. How did they get it so wrong? Allan Lichtman says, the answer to this question gets at what’s wrong with politics in America.

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Polls, pundits, politicians, and journalists mostly predicted the outcome of this election incorrectly. How did they get it so wrong? Allan Lichtman says, the answer to this question gets at what’s wrong with politics in America.

John Locher/AP

The election of Donald Trump came as a shock to many Americans, but perhaps most of all to those in the business of calling elections. The pollsters on both left and right had confidently predicted Hillary Clinton would walk away with the race. They got it wrong. But one man did not: Allan Lichtman.

On September 23rd, Lichtman, a historian at American University, declared that Trump would win, and he stuck by that call through the tumultuous final weeks of the campaign.

Hidden Brain

Lichtman’s predictions are based on what he calls “keys.” These are a series of 13 true or false questions designed, in his words, “to gauge the strength and performance of the party holding the White House.”

Lichtman says elections are basically a judgment on how well the government has governed. The rest of the election season hoopla he dismisses as practically meaningless.

“All the twists and turns of the campaign, the ads, the speeches the campaign tricks, the debates count for little or nothing on election day,” he says.

Lichtman believes the reason pollsters and pundits got it so wrong is simple. First, polls are not predictors. “They are just snapshots at a given point in time.” And, he adds, an election is not a race to the finish line.

“The media makes money by covering the election as an exciting horse race, who’s had a good day and a bad day. The pollsters make money by keeping score in the horse race – who’s ahead and who’s behind. All of that is misleading or worse.”

Lichtman hopes that his success at predicting presidential winners – this is the ninth time in a row he’s called a winner in a presidential election – will make people rethink, even a little bit, the way they look at elections and politics. “And maybe, maybe bring together politics, governing, and history the way the keys do,” he says.

The Hidden Brain Podcast is hosted by Shankar Vedantam and produced by Maggie Penman, Jennifer Schmidt and Renee Klahr. Our supervising producer is Tara Boyle. You can also follow us on Twitter @hiddenbrain, and listen for Hidden Brain stories each week on your local public radio station.

Longtime Friend Expects President Trump To Be Different Than Candidate Trump

Nov 14, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Longtime Friend Expects President Trump To Be Different Than Candidate Trump



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Let’s take a few minutes now to check in with a close adviser to Donald Trump on matters of policy. Thomas J. Barrack Jr. is founder and executive chairman of Colony Capital. That’s a real estate investment firm based in Los Angeles. He’s been a member of the inner circle of Donald Trump’s economic advisers during the campaign. Barrack has experience in government, having served as deputy undersecretary of the Interior Department during the Reagan administration. He’s been a friend and business associate of Donald Trump’s for some 35 years.

He joined us from NPR’s studios in Culver City earlier this weekend, and I started by asking him about his suggestion that we could soon see a different Donald Trump from the one we saw on the campaign trail.

THOMAS J BARRACK JR: Now that he is the president-elect, I think what you’re going to see is the real Donald Trump – a kinder, softer, more compassionate, more conciliatory, professional executive. And I think the actions of the last couple of days, really from his acceptance speech, is starting to quell the fears of erratic behavior that many people had.

MARTIN: Can I just ask – will part of that difference be taking responsibility for or trying to discourage some of the rhetoric that has made so many people feel so disturbed? Do you anticipate him either taking responsibility for that or discouraging his supporters from continuing with that?

BARRACK: I think what you’ll see is his discouraging through positive action. It’s neither reprimanding his supporters or attacking his offenders. We’re done with the rhetoric. He now is the president-elect. And I think what you’ll start seeing is presidential actions which will be based on activities, policies and practices that both sides, both liberals and Republicans, will embrace.

MARTIN: One of the things that you did that people will – people may remember is that you vouched for President-elect Trump at the Republican convention as a person you’ve known for a long time both as a friend and as a business associate. And you vouched for him as a man who knows how to get things done through compromise. And in this arena, that will be getting laws passed and negotiating and so forth.

Can you give us a sense of the proposals that he has made? Because during the campaign, when he’s been asked about this, he’s generally doubled down – for example, building the wall with Mexico, demanding a special prosecutor to go after Hillary Clinton, subjecting would-be Muslim migrants to extreme vetting. Is there compromise possible here?

BARRACK: Totally and absolutely. Look, I think my belief is – and you have to ask him and we’ll see it in action – is you have an opportunity with a Republican Senate and a Republican Congress to elegantly move legislation through an otherwise bureaucratic process. Let’s face reality. He’s president of the United States. He’s not dictator of the United States.

So you have 535 people that you have to convince in every act that you take, even in executive orders, which cannot go that far. So health care, foreign policy, trade policy, those kind of things have to be done on a bipartisan basis. And I think you’re going to see President Trump in action, doing what he does best.

MARTIN: What kind of Cabinet picks do you expect that we will see? Is he looking for people like yourself, with deep business experience? Is he looking for people – give us a sense of what kinds of skill sets he’s looking for.

BARRACK: Yeah, all of the above. So let’s look at what President Reagan did. President Reagan had a little bit of the same fear set that President-elect Trump has. He came from California. Nobody liked that. He went to Eureka College, and nobody knew where it was. He was an actor. Everybody hated actors. He had no foreign policy experience, and people were very concerned about that.

MARTIN: Governor of the state – the country’s largest state. Not small.

BARRACK: With no foreign policy experience at all. So what did he do in the first five days? Chief of Staff James Baker, George Shultz, Cap Weinberger, Richard Allen – all in nine days. The world settled down and said, you know, we have very stable and competent hands in each of those positions, each participating in the establishment but not being a part of the previous establishment. So I think you’ll see him reach across the aisle, and I think the judiciousness of those decisions at the very beginning will be a good indication of what the man’s judgment is going to be in the future.

MARTIN: Speaking of James Baker, who served as both secretary of the Treasury and secretary of state, he put his holdings in a blind trust when he ascended to those positions. Now, Donald Trump broke with decades of custom and refused to reveal his taxes during the campaign. It’s also customary for presidents to put their holdings in a blind trust. Will you advise him to do that? And will you, if selected for a Cabinet position, as has been rumored, commit to doing the same?

BARRACK: Well, look, I think President-elect Trump has to listen to his advisers on what the best mechanism is. And I think everybody who would entertain those positions would opt for the most conservative method, whether that’s disposing of the assets, which, as I recall, both the president and Cabinet members can dispose of their assets tax-free. You need to get rid of the perception or appearance of a conflict.

MARTIN: Would you do the same if selected for a Cabinet position?

BARRACK: Yes. I’m actually not interested in one, but of course I would do the same.

MARTIN: Why not? Why wouldn’t you want to serve your friend, help him out?

BARRACK: Oh – which is a tremendous compliment. But look, I would do whatever the best thing for the country is, for the president-elect, for my family and for the shareholders in businesses that I have. My feeling at the moment is I can be the most impactive hiring people, starting businesses and conducting myself in international trade and finance, which is what my competitive advantage is.

MARTIN: That was Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a friend and economic adviser to President-elect Donald Trump.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Threats And Intimidation Against Minorities Reported Nationwide

Nov 14, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Threats And Intimidation Against Minorities Reported Nationwide



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And I alluded to this earlier, but since Donald Trump’s election last Tuesday, there have been many reports of threats and other types of harassment aimed at minorities around the country. NPR’s Eyder Peralta tells us more about that, and also about calls for dialogue.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: The ugliness has been on full display on social media channels. Here’s one video taken on a metro train in the San Francisco Bay area by a woman speaking a foreign language. A fellow passenger tells her she’s a terrorist and Trump might just deport her.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: And I think you’re an ugly, mean, evil little pig who might get deported. And I pray that you do because…

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: I’m a citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Oh, well, then you’re OK. Lucky you. Lucky you.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Lucky me.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: You made it just under the wire.

PERALTA: Since Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, has counted some 250 incidents like these. While they have not verified all of them, they include anti-Semitic, anti-black, anti-Muslim messages and, in the case of a Michigan middle school, a lunchroom anti-immigrant taunt – build the wall.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #1: (Chanting) Build the wall. Build the wall. Build the wall. Build the wall.

HEIDI BEIRICH: I think that the emotions that were unleashed by the Trump campaign’s use of bigotry as a tool to get elected has reached every part of our society.

PERALTA: That’s Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center. She says even though tracking hate is her job, she was surprised by the number of reports.

BEIRICH: We’ve been tracking those kinds of incidents for literally decades now, and you usually get maybe 250 of these in a three to a six-month period. You don’t get it in just a couple of days.

PERALTA: Beirich says in a situation like this, she looks at what happened after the attacks of September 11. In the face of attacks against American-Muslims, President George W. Bush told the country that they were our neighbors and our family. Attacks against Muslims, he said, would not be tolerated.

BEIRICH: We haven’t seen that from Trump. And that’s quite worrisome because that’s the kind of calls for calm we need right now.

PERALTA: On the internet, another video is also making the rounds. It was uploaded the day after the election, and right now it has more than 2.6 million views.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JASMYN WRIGHT: What if you’re too black?

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #2: That ain’t true.

WRIGHT: What if you’re too brown?

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #2: That ain’t true.

WRIGHT: What if you’re just not meant to do it?

PERALTA: It shows the third grade class of Jasmyn Wright in Philadelphia. Her kids, mostly black and brown, came in talking politics, but she didn’t engage. Instead, she returned to the affirmations she always starts her classes with.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WRIGHT: Why? Because…

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #2: I can do anything I put my mind to.

WRIGHT: Why? Because…

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #2: I can do anything I put my mind to.

WRIGHT: Barack Obama…

PERALTA: We reached Wright by phone this afternoon. She says third grade is a time of transition, with big words and big obstacles. So on that day, she wanted her kids to understand that despite all of that, they could accomplish anything. She wanted to tell them…

WRIGHT: There are going to be some things in the world that you’re going to disagree with. There are going to be some people who are going to limit you. However, our job is to push through.

PERALTA: Their job, she says, is to face adversity and defeat it. Eyder Peralta, NPR News.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

‘Minibrains’ Could Help Drug Discovery For Zika And For Alzheimer’s

Nov 14, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on ‘Minibrains’ Could Help Drug Discovery For Zika And For Alzheimer’s

This image is from lab-grown brain tissue — a minibrain — infected by Zika virus (white) with neural stem cells in red and neuronal nuclei in green.

Courtesy of Xuyu Qian and Guo-li Ming


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Courtesy of Xuyu Qian and Guo-li Ming

This image is from lab-grown brain tissue — a minibrain — infected by Zika virus (white) with neural stem cells in red and neuronal nuclei in green.

Courtesy of Xuyu Qian and Guo-li Ming

Some tiny clusters of brain cells grown in a lab dish are making big news at this week’s Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.

Known as “minibrains,” these rudimentary networks of cells are small enough to fit on the head of a pin, but already are providing researchers with insights into everything from early brain development to Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s and Zika.

At a Sunday press conference at the neuroscience meeting, researchers said minibrains are helping them figure out how the Zika virus can disrupt human brain formation in the early stages of fetal development.

Minibrains are highly organized structures that actually start out as human skin cells. They are then coaxed in the lab to become neural stem cells, then to differentiate into some of the different types of cells found in a real brain.

What makes these lab-grown structures so useful is that they replicate part of the cell diversity and connectivity of the human brain, said Dr. Thomas Hartung, a researcher and experimental toxicologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

“These cells are communicating,” Hartung said. “These neurons are talking to each other.”

As a result, the minibrains can help researchers answer questions that couldn’t be answered by studying animal brain tissue. “We need human systems to tell us about humans, and that’s why this is such a big step forward,” Hartung said.

The first minibrains were developed a few years ago by scientists in Europe. Since then, researchers at a handful of institutions around the world have begun cranking out these experimental structures.

At Johns Hopkins, Hongjun Song has been working to streamline the process and make minibrains that are closer to the real thing in the way they respond to viruses, for example.

When I visited Song’s lab recently, he took me to a small, windowless room at Hopkins that has a powerful air filtration system, to show me the result of his team’s effort. He opened an incubator the size of a dorm fridge and pointed to a device inside that was only slightly larger than a cell phone.

The device contains a complete factory for these organoids, he said; the system was built by three high school interns using a 3-D printer.

The lower half looks like a miniature muffin pan with a dozen separate compartments. “We can grow up to 10 minibrains in each one,” Song said.

The top half resembles a mechanized Lego project. A small motor powers gears connected to a dozen plastic shafts. They gently stir a precise mixture of cells, nutrients, and growth factors in each compartment.

The minibrains that emerge after several months in the incubator are barely big enough to see with the naked eye, said Dr. Guo-Li Ming, a professor of neurology at Hopkins who is married to Song and collaborates with him on this research.

“It’s basically like a ball of cells clustering together,” she said. “But if you open it up you really see something very similar to the early embryonic brain.”

Though it has only a tiny fraction of the number of cells of an actual brain, a minibrain grows much the way a real brain does during early pregnancy. And that has helped researchers solve a medical mystery involving the Zika virus.

When Zika began making headlines last year, scientists suspected the virus could interfere with brain development in the womb. “But you can’t study that in a mouse,” Ming said, because mice have very few of the developing brain cells that are most vulnerable to Zika infection.

A student suggested that Ming and Song use minibrains to figure out what was happening. So the couple contacted Hengli Tang, a research biologist they knew at Florida State University, who was studying the Zika virus.

That call led to studies of minibrains that showed precisely how the infection was attacking certain neural cells, especially at a point in development equivalent to the first trimester of pregnancy. “It was turning [these cells] into a viral factory,” Song said.

As a result, the minibrains infected with the virus early in their development actually decreased in size, which may help explain why a human fetus infected with the Zika virus early in pregnancy sometimes develops into a baby with a very small brain.

Members of the Hopkins team are presenting details of their Zika findings this week at the neuroscience meeting, and are already planning minibrain studies of other disorders, including autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s.

Elsewhere during the neuroscience meeting, scientists are presenting minibrain research as a model in brain cancer and in developmental disorders, including Down syndrome and Rett syndrome.

Minibrains’ greatest potential, though, may be for testing new drugs for brain disorders, Hartung said. Drug testing with animals has often proved misleading because animal brains just aren’t like human brains, he explained.

“One company after the other failed on things like stroke, multiple sclerosis, [and] also neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” Hartung said.

Those failures involved drugs that worked when tested in animals, but failed on people, Hartung said. So he has begun working with pharmaceutical companies to see whether minibrains might offer a better model.

One obstacle to the widespread use of minibrains in research may be public acceptance of the idea that scientists should be growing “brains” in the lab. But people would be less concerned, Hartung said, if they understood the differences between these very small, lab-grown structures and a real brain.

For one thing, minibrains stop growing when they still have only about 20,000 cells. A human brain has many billions. And these clumps of cells, he explained, have no way of learning or becoming conscious.

‘Prince Of Cats’ Melds Comics, Hip-Hop And Shakespeare

Nov 14, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on ‘Prince Of Cats’ Melds Comics, Hip-Hop And Shakespeare


Prince of Cats

Nonstop, jittery energy seems to rattle every panel of Prince of Cats, Ronald Wimberly’s Shakespearean street tale. Few artists can strike the kind of sparks that electrify these pages, and yet Wimberly’s powerful draftsmanship is only one aspect of a head-to-toe remarkable book. Focusing on Tybalt, the “Prince of Cats” in Romeo and Juliet, Wimberly conjures a distinctive vision of the early ’80s in the inner city. First published in 2012 by DC/Vertigo, Prince of Cats went out of print and has been more-or-less unavailable ever since. Now Image Comics is releasing it in hardcover.

A whip-smart up-and-comer — previous Image projects included Slave Punk and Sunset Park — Wimberly unabashedly demands recognition with this nervy work. Prince of Cats is packed with allusions: to Greek myth and Japanese folklore, The Warriors and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, video games and action movies and the ’80s art scene. Of course, the most significant of Wimberly’s grab bag of references is the Bard himself. Wimberly’s characters all speak in a mix of high-flown poetry and gritty, down-to-earth images — just as Shakespeare’s characters did. Here, Juliet describes the scene from atop a Coney Island Ferris wheel:

Look, Tybalt, the shimmering

window show. When evening

swallows Apollo’s light The yellow

lamps and blue TV glow doth

the projects Milky Way ignite.

Wimberly is hardly the first to make a connection between comics and hip hop culture. In the 1980s, both Marvel and DC Comics incorporated rapping characters into some of their books. In the early ’90s, Marvel published books about KRS-One and Onyx and a nine-issue series starring Kid ‘n Play. Other artists who’ve appeared in comics include Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, Eminem and Run-DMC’s Darryl McDaniels — the latter of whom launched his own comics company in 2014. Ed Piskor’s series Hip Hop Family Tree has already become a classic. And in October Marvel issued a hardcover collection of more than 70 hip hop-themed covers by such artists as Adam Hughes, Tim Bradstreet and Brian Stelfreeze.

But Wimberly is out to do something more than just combine elements from two compatible genres. He’s clearly aiming to translate the mechanics of hip hop composition into a visual form. In Prince of Cats’ introduction, University of California media professor John Jennings calls Wimberly a “See-Jay:” Wielding his pen the way a DJ mixes, he mashes up wildly diverse elements into a fresh creation.

Wimberly’s rhymes tend to have a rough, jazzy rhythm that offsets their formality. Commenting on his friends’ fighting abilities, one character says:

Petruchio’s sword game was gutter born,

Top form, yet Romeo delivered his fall. And

while you starched and pressed your school uniform,

Petruchio uniformly pressed Montague to the wall.

Wimberly’s perhaps at his cleverest when he repurposes Shakespeare’s original lines to fit an African American context. “What, dost thou make us minstrels?” one character demands angrily. “And thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but discords.”

His method has its successes and failures, but the sheer fun of his concept — and that vigorous, sparky artwork — make the latter mostly insignificant. As in Shakespeare, the poetry sometimes obscures what’s going on. The narrative doesn’t have a lot of pull; even when the characters duel bloodily with samurai swords (That’s the kind of world this is: The homeboys fight with Japanese weaponry) there isn’t a sense of urgency. At least, not until the grim conclusion.

But much of Wimberly’s tale is purely delightful — as with one character’s paean to an ice-cream truck:

When heat doth bind gelled sandal to sidewalk, listen —

For song that parts summer’s writhing miasma

And calls forth God’s wandering children

To the chariot of Mr. Soft-e.

Not many comic artists have as much fun with words as they do with lines. But Wimberly clearly relishes the opportunity to stretch in different directions at once. The heart of Prince of Cats might well be a single, short sentence midway through the book. A graffiti artist is surveying his latest rooftop creation, a tag of dazzling complexity, the ultimate melding of image and sign. “See,” he remarks, “a man caught in words can live forever.”

Rabbi Encourages Parents To ‘Fight For The Values We Believe In’

Nov 13, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Rabbi Encourages Parents To ‘Fight For The Values We Believe In’



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld leader of Ohev Shalom the National Synagogue here in Washington, D.C. We spoke with him earlier this year when he protested Donald Trump peacefully at a meeting of AIPAC earlier this year. He’s been communicating with his congregation since the election, so we invited him to our studios here in Washington, D.C., to ask him what guidance he’s been sharing with his congregation. I want to point out that we interviewed him on Friday in advance of the Sabbath. Rabbi, thanks so much for joining us.

RABBI SHMUEL HERZFELD: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: And I wanted to just start by asking you to read one of the communications that you’ve been sharing with the congregation. You’ve been writing special prayers for them, you know, throughout the week. Would you just share the one you wrote this morning?

HERZFELD: Sure. (Reading) Dear God, please give the president the wisdom and courage to guide the United States of America with fairness and kindness and to help keep all of us safe and secure. Please give all of us the wisdom and courage to remember that while the president of the United States is an extremely powerful person, there is something even more powerful – our voice of moral conscience.

MARTIN: Thank you for that. You also wrote a specific prayer for parents. What is their specific concern? It’s not just that their preferred candidate didn’t win, but that they feel there’s another issue here. What is that bigger issue?

HERZFELD: A lot of people in our congregation – they brought their children with them in canvassing and their children got all excited about the politics. And their children also now are facing the fact that a person who was such a bad role model, who used language that was really hurtful and to a large degree immoral, and now this person is the political leader of our country, people were struggling with how do their children understand the situation? And on another level, people themselves were grieving. Do we let our children know how we feel?

My feeling is that it’s OK, and it’s right to tell your children when you’re sad about something if that thing is of real meaning. I mean, this is not like a sports team losing. This is something that people’s values are so dear and deep and core to their principles, but at the same time, we are not going to walk around sad. We’re going to tell our children we’re going to use our energy for good things, and we’re going to do acts of kindness and try to fight for the values we believe in.

MARTIN: There are considerations going forward. You were sharing that there are people who might be offered the opportunity to work in an administration. Many people might agree on certain issues with President-elect Trump, but they don’t agree with the way he conducted himself. What should they do? What is your guidance?

HERZFELD: My guidance is that there are people who need to work on the inside, and there are people who need to work on the outside. I’m an outside person whose role it is to be a voice of moral guidance and conscience. But there are people who need to work on the inside, and people have to look within themselves and ask where they can make a difference for good. And if they’re going to go in for the right reasons, then that’s a beautiful thing. But if they’re going to go in for the wrong reasons out of vanity, that’s a terrible thing.

MARTIN: Do you have any final thoughts and reflections for the country going forward, what you would like to see?

HERZFELD: Well, first of all, I think that a lot of people are scared for other people. And some of the toughest people I’ve ever met in my life are immigrants, people who have worked their heart out just to get by, people I admire tremendously. They’re not going to be afraid of Trump because they got here through their strength, and they’ll be fine. And we’ll work for them. And so it’s not going to be helpful to anybody to be walking around sad or grieving.

We need to take our energy, our feelings of disappointment and turn it into something positive. Actually, much more important than who is the political leader and who is going to be the secretary of whatever is fighting for the core values and principles that we believe in. And those things are eternal and that will be here not only four years from now. They’ll be here 100 years from now, a thousand years from now. Those are the values we need to focus on from a spiritual perspective.

MARTIN: That’s Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld leader Ohev Shalom the National Synagogue in Washington, D.C. Rabbi Shmuel, thanks so much for speaking with us.

HERZFELD: Thank you. God bless us.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Where To Go From Here: Trying To Build ‘Possibility And Hope’

Nov 13, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Where To Go From Here: Trying To Build ‘Possibility And Hope’



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Finally today, we want to close this hour by talking about how we are going to move forward, how to start mending the divisions between us since the election. So we turn to someone whose job it is to help build bridges. He’s Richard Harwood. He is the founder and president of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. For nearly 30 years, he’s traveled around the country to help communities solve problems together. He joins us now in our studios in Washington, D.C. Mr. Harwood, thanks so much for joining us.

RICHARD HARWOOD: Good to be with you.

MARTIN: When you go into a divided community for your work or a community where a problem needs to be solved, what’s the first thing you do?

HARWOOD: Well, the first thing we do is we find leaders in the community who are willing to take a different path forward who believe that the path of the status quo is filled with frustration, with skepticism, with cynicism and that somehow we’ve got to jump to a path of possibility and hope. But to do that, we’ve got to forge different relationships, we’ve got to build more trust and we’ve got to build our civic confidence. So the question is – can you find enough folks to come together to start to work together and then to start to engage people across the community, not about just their problems or their grievances, which may be very real, but to then pivot to our shared aspirations about how we can move forward together?

MARTIN: Now, you, of course, watched this very divisive campaign just like everybody else in the country. Now that it’s been a couple of days past that, do you see those kinds of leaders emerging, people who are saying that they want to move forward? You know, the country is kind of a big neighborhood to work in.

HARWOOD: It’s a big neighborhood, but it’s very fractured at the moment. And I certainly don’t see those leaders at the national level. I think in communities, we find leaders who want to bring people together and do work differently. The number one challenge I hear Americans articulate when I go across the country even during the election season but long before that as well is can we restore our sense of belief in ourselves that we can come together and get things done together? And can we reignite our sense of can-do spirit in the country?

MARTIN: What would you say to people who say I don’t think they want me and that’s how I experience this? What would you say?

HARWOOD: I would say that there are a lot of other people like you who feel the same way, that there are the so-called white working-class in Kentucky where I’m working who feel that way, that there are African-Americans in Mississippi who feel that way, that there are Hispanics in Yakima, Wash., who feel that way, that there are in fact middle-class folks and folks with more resources who feel that way. Everyone feels disaffected to some extent. And the question is who will have the courage to step forward to start working together to demonstrate that we actually can bridge some of these divides? It won’t be easy, but it’s not as difficult as many people think either.

MARTIN: Why do you think that?

HARWOOD: Because I see it every day. It’s not simply a belief I hold. It’s what I see in these communities when – you know, it’s interesting, Michel, when people come together and we ask them to talk about their shared aspirations for their communities, people start to look around the table and realize that they’re hearing similar things from people with different skin color, with different ethnicity, and they recognize that. Do they share everything in common? No. Do they share enough in common that we can peel some things off and start to get to work together? Yes. And that gives people a sense of possibility and hope. We’ve got to turn it into action so that we can demonstrate that we can do it together.

MARTIN: That’s Rich Harwood. He helps communities get together to solve their pressing and most important problems. He was kind enough to join us in our studios in Washington, D.C. Rich Harwood, thank you so much for speaking with us.

HARWOOD: Good to be with you.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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