By John Y. Brown III, on Fri May 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM ET
Watching great flick, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Thank goodness we only have to go through high school once.
We need the 50 years after high school to work through all the illusions we leave high school with.
And also need 50 years to let go of the delusions we take from high school
High school is where we come to misunderstand ourselves and the world we live in–while simultaneously learning to navigate the world we so confidently misapprehend. And after the glorious misadventure of high school only slowly and inadequately begin to see life a little more clearly and a little less confidently.
And the wallflowers of high school, the quiet ones, may say the least…. but they feel the most and see things most deeply and clearly. And make the truest friends and best all around human beings.
I found this handsome WWII navy pea coat at an antique store in the sleepy town of Winsted, CT, this weekend. Priced at $60, it was hard to walk away from the smart, sturdy-looking thing. It’s a size 36 (equivalent to a small) and in excellent shape. Check out the hand-stitched arm patch,
Read the rest of… Julie Rath: Rathie Spies: Vintage Military Pea Coat and Web Belts
By John Y. Brown III, on Thu May 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM ET
The world, real and virtual, cannot abide another moment without it.
It’s time to retire the acronym LOL…and any emoticon …to signify “I’m joking.”
And replace it with an asterisk followed by a parenthetical:
(Hey now! Don’t jump to the wrong conclusion. I’m not serious. Really. This was intended as a light-hearted joke. If you read it literally and didn’t catch the humor you aren’t alone. It was admittedly an inartful and flawed attempt at either understatement, overstatement or irony. And I apologize for any confusion. Please try reading through once more knowing it is an attempt at humor and see if it seems funnier. If you got it the first time, please disregard.)
True, it’s not as brief as an ideal “humor warning” could be. But it’s not as lame as the outdated acronym LOL or creepy as the overly cute sideways smiley face coming from a middle-aged man.*
* (Hey now! Don’t jump to the wrong conclusion. I’m not serious. Really. This was intended as a light-hearted joke. If you read it literally and didn’t catch the humor you aren’t alone. It was admittedly an inartful and flawed attempt at either understatement, overstatement or irony. And I apologize for any confusion. Please try reading through once more knowing it is an attempt at humor and see if it seems funnier. If you got it the first time, please disregard.)
By Artur Davis, on Thu May 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM ET
It may be a middle aged man’s perspective, but I recall the 80s as much more vivid and alluring than Joe Weisberg, the creator of FX’s “The Americans” suggests. In this drama about a pair of Russian KGB operatives who masquerade as married American travel agents in the early Reagan years, (Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings, Matthew Rhys as Phillip Jennings) the decade is not so much MTV slick as gray in the stolid pattern of, say, the late fifties. And it is not just the deliberate pace, or the square personas of the FBI agents, or the fact that the show’s obligatory generational gap between parents and children is so sanitized that it seems to predate the furies of the seventies and sixties: the real source of drabness here is deeper, and rests on Weisberg’s characterization of the penultimate years of the Cold War as a sluggish collision between two exhausted warriors, who are stumbling around each other in a fog of confusion and blunder.
This imagining of the early 80s as one long slog without purpose works its way through every layer of the “Americans”. The Jennings are laboring through a marriage that was conceived as a cover, has run hot and cold over the years, and is complicated by the fact that ensnaring espionage targets in sex traps is part of their modus operandi. Noah Emmerich’s Stan Beeman, an FBI agent who strains a metaphor by living next door to the Jennings, is fumbling his way through mid-life angst: his own marriage is collapsing from too many years spent chasing criminals during irregular hours, and the affair he falls into with his Soviet informant (Annet Mahendru) seems born out of opportunism and the fatigue from keeping ambiguous moral lines straight. Both the Jennings and Beeman are true believers but they also resemble thrill-seekers, who chose daredevil careers to supply the vibrancy that would have been missing in their lives.
And if the characters are drifting through a moral haze, so are their respective superpowers. In Weisberg’s account, the Cold War is less ideological zeal than bureaucratized routine. The shadow boxing between the FBI and the KGB’s domestic American operations is driven by miscalculations and measured retributions for offenses that themselves were often accidental or hastily improvised. It is noticeable that almost all of the killing is either retaliatory or unplanned, and in its own way, brutal but strategically incompetent. The show is hardly clueless about Soviet cruelty, but in this narrative, it is less the dark soul of totalitarianism, more the emptiness of an amoral enterprise that runs on autopilot.
In other words, the 80s of the “Americans” is far from the idealized political landscape that most conservatives remember. Is Weisberg’s revisionism a sub rosa commentary that the dying throes of the Cold War were just histrionics between adversaries who needed the polarity of the east-west struggle to sustain their fix? To be sure, at moments, the series dabbles with a liberal-leaning perspective: when Elizabeth tries steering their adolescent, and blissfully apolitical, kids toward a leftist view of current events, Phillip later rebuffs her with a tart “This country doesn’t create socialists”, a hard to miss jab at the far right’s insinuations about a certain early 21st century president. The depiction of a black KGB operative named Gregory (Derek Luke) is provocative: he is a disillusioned American, a former 60s civil rights activist who dons a cover as a drug dealer, and in his tortured relationship with his country, there is a hint of a meme that regularly surfaces on the left—the insinuation that the 80s drug war was just the establishment’s counter-insurgency at misunderstood young black men.
Or, Weisberg may only be doing what the best television drama has been honing into a style since, well, the 80s: protagonists who struggle to resolve their ethical dilemmas, good deeds for the wrong reasons and vice versa, and the disconcerting appeal of corrupt figures who are simultaneously charming. Perhaps this familiar enough take only seems jarring when it is exported to the context of the epic global fight of the post WWII era. (and it is fair to conclude that Weisberg’s Russians are more nuanced than “Homeland’s” jihadists or the shadowy right wing conspirators lurking in “24″ or “Scandal”, or any given “NCIS” episode.)
Read the rest of… Artur Davis: “The Americans” — Bad History, Great TV?
I want to warn everyone that reads this, if you are not open minded and are stubborn about changing the way you view exercise and nutrition please stop reading now. What I mean by this is these are 17 facts that I have learned through 8 years as a personal trainer and coach and 15 years of personal workouts. Some of these I have learned the hard way and others are as clear as day but all are a list of facts that will help you achieve your goals (as long as you choose to accept it.)
Steady State Cardio will not get YOU Results- I see it everyday, gym goers check in the gym and immediately head for the treadmill or elliptical. If you asked them what their goals were they would say body fat loss, increased muscle tone and weight loss. OK? Why are you heading for the treadmill then? Take a U-Turn and head for the weight section. And yes I am talking to you, all of you! Big, tall, skinny, small I don’t care we all need to spend some quality time with the weights. Period. Next!
Resistance Training will boost your Results- A continuation of number 1. All shapes and sizes should be picking up resistance training. Increased; metabolism, decreased osteoporosis, feel better and look better. What else do you need? Nothing that’s what.
The Word “Tone” Does not Exist- So stop saying it. In muscle anatomy and kinesiology there is not term muscle “tone.” When you use this term you mean less fat and more muscle or “lean.” Let’s lose this term please.
Static Stretching is a Waste of Time- Don’t stretch, warm-up. Doing the old school 1980’s Jane Fonda stretching routine is not going to make you more flexible and its not going to decrease chance of injury. Instead of bending over and touching your toes, get on a foam roller and roll your hamstrings out. Instead of stretching your hip flexors, do some explosive reverse lunges to a knee tuck. Stop stretching, thank you.
Bananas are not the only Food in the Universe that Have Potassium- quite the contrary there are better foods, with less sugar that has plenty of potassium. Broccoli, kiwis, and sweet potatoes just to name a few are packed with high amounts of potassium. Bananas have too much sugar, eat apples or kiwis instead.
Squat, Everyone- Everyone should squat regardless of what your doctor tells you, if you can’t squat you can’t use the toilet. Think about that. Enough said.
Deadlift, Everyone- “Dead lifts are for men.” Oh yeah? Have you ever picked a box off the ground? You just did a deadlift. Dead lifts are great for developing posterior strength (you need that mister I sit at a desk all day) and are a great overall body developer. Do them but do them right!
Stop Swinging the Dumbbell Around in an Attempt to Warm Your Shoulder- This doesn’t need much explanation but I see people do this all the time and it’s dumb. Your rotator cuff muscles are as thin as paper and applying this type of circular motion with added resistance is bad news. Just stop it!
Perform Multi-Joint Movements- if your goal is decreased bodyfat, increased strength and better overall bodies start squatting, deadlifting, pressing, and swinging. If you goal is to be a body builder and you want bigger arms, continue doing bicep curls.
Walking Does not Count As Exercise- Humans were made to walk, we are blessed with great mobility and the ability to run, sprint and walk. You cannot count walking around the block as vigorous exercise. You can do that with your eyes closed, try doing something more difficult. Maybe add a vest!
Less Crunches and More Planks- You want to work your core? Try doing more planks and concentrate on extending the amount of time you can hold it. Try doing less crunches, they are a waste of your time and bad for your lumbar spine.
Doing Abs will NOT give you a 6 Pack- Still flabbergasted that people believe this. Proper diet and nutrition coupled with great genetics and discipline is what gives people the 6 pack. Not crunches. Next.
Do More Pushups- One of the best exercises, period. Shoulders over hands, core and quads tight, head, shoulders, hips and ankles in a straight line. If you can’t do them, start doing them against a wall and progress from there.
Supplements are not the End All Be All- Supplements are just that, supplements for foods you can’t or do not get through food. They will not cure the world and will not give you the body of your dreams. Supplement when necessary. A few of my favorites; whey isolate protein, Branch Chain Amino Acids, Glutamine and Omega 3 fatty acids.
If you Sorta Eat Right, You Will Sorta Look Right- Want to look your best, eat your best. Next
Proper Form Rules All- Do not sacrifice weight for proper form. Learn how to squat/deadlift/press correctly. Stop bouncing and making trainers cringe. It will catch up to you one day.
Lift then Run- Lifting weights prior to cardio will burn twice as much fat as doing it in the reverse. A study showed men that did resistance training prior to doing 30 minutes of cardio burned a 100% more bodyfat than those that did the exact opposite.
Now you guys tell me which ones you want me to expound or defend. I’m ready, trust me.
By Krystal Ball, on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM ET
President Obama recently celebrated 100 days of being office for his second term. In recent months his approval rating has been wobbling, but according to a Pew Research Center poll released on Wednesday it has gone up to 51%. While it still lags behind his 55% approval rating a month after being re-elected, his rating is higher than the 47% he received in March.
However, even with his rebounding approval rating, the president faces persistent criticism about how much he has or has not been able to accomplish. With the budget talks at square one, the gun control legislation not passing the Senate (due to a GOP blockade), and both sides failing to rid the country of the sequester, President Obama’s 100 day mark didn’t seem to be filled with many accomplishments.
In this week’s episode of Political Playground Krystal asked her 5-year-old daughter, Ella, what she would ask President Obama if she was a member of the press like her mom.
“Why can’t both sides work together” Ella responded.
Americans agree with Ella. Pew Research Center also found that 80% believe that the president and Republican leaders are not working together. Forty-two percent blame Republican congressional leaders for the gridlock in Washington, while only 22% blame the president.
Ella does have some advice to help President Obama in his next 100 days: “Make your team work harder!”
By Michael Steele, on Wed May 15, 2013 at 8:30 AM ET
One of the hardest things to do in politics, believe it or not, is to standout. Sure you can go off and say something crazy; or even do something inherently stupid that will generate attention.
But most politicians and political parties don’t want that kind of attention. I’m talking about truly standing out: to be recognized for pushing against the conventional wisdom or fighting the status quo; or even better, standing against the prevailing winds of one’s party. That is a lot harder than you may imagine.
In a life spent advancing conservative principles, I have had the privilege of serving as a county chairman, a state chairman, a candidate and an elected official. When I assumed the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee in 2009 on the heels of humiliating defeats in 2006 and 2008, this would be my opportunity to advance those conservative principles in a new way; to go a bit against the grain, to push back on the “establishment” mindset that had led to these back to back devastating losses.
In short, for the party to survive it was time to turn the elephant to face its future. But have you ever tried to turn an elephant? Invariably, whichever end you start with will test your resolve.
GOP ‘lost its voice’
Republicans lost their voice on the things that mattered not long after the 2004 elections; and by 2008 that gap between our rhetoric and our actions had grown to the point that our credibility had completely snapped. From the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the implosion of the nation’s economy, more and more Americans began to view the party as out of step with the direction they believed the country should be heading. To make matters worse, what many inside and outside the arty failed to understand was it wasn’t the fault of our ideals or the principles we espoused, but rather the failure of our leadership to honor those principles.
Over time, our principles had morphed into baser motives. We became more interested in red vs. blue state politics, egged on by political know-it-alls and high-priced consultants. The net effect of their “leadership” diminished the noble vision of the Party of Lincoln—the party I had joined at the tender age of 17—as the GOP became the party of big government Republicanism.
It should be no secret to Republicans by now that the country has changed and continues to do so. You don’t need to spend a million bucks to figure that out. Nor do Republicans have to keep repeating “we need to reach out to [fill in the blank].” Shut up and do it already!
And that doesn’t mean sticking your finger in the air to check the prevailing political winds before “reaching out”; that’s blatantly disingenuous and the equivalent of the party giving voters the finger. Consequently, most Americans today see a Republican Party that defines itself by what it is against rather than what it is for.
Republicans will scream at President Obama for his spendthrift ways, but then fail to reconcile to voters their own spending habits. Republicans can tell you why public schools aren’t working, but not articulate a compelling vision for how they’ll make them successful. We’re well equipped to rail against tax increases; but can’t begin to explain how our policy prescriptions will help the poor and the middle class.
We’re great at talking about inclusion but not at actually including anyone.
2006, 2008 and now 2012 are painful reminders of the importance of owning our mistakes listening to the American people, and taking action on issues of importance to them — not us. If we are to regain the trust of the American people and restore the credibility of our ideas, a 21st Century GOP must reconnect with its radical past and focus importance on economic opportunity, civil rights, the environment, and individual liberties.
Party failed to heed warnings
During my last months as RNC Chairman, I warned the party that we stood on the precipice of Republicanism, ready to throw each other off, because some want a litmus test party. But that party of exclusion will not and must not succeed. For me, the Party of Lincoln was, and should be again, a party of opportunity and inclusion; assimilation and self-determination.
I still hold out hope that new voices consistent with the radical nature of Republicanism will give rise to a fresh approach to meet the challenges we face.
I will continue to be one of those voices. Let’s start that conversation on the healthcare, economic and political disparities that continue to cripple communities of color; let’s reframe the role of government not because we want to eliminate it; but because its purpose should be limited to serving the people and not itself; and let’s once again be the champion of the poor and middle class. Yes, a rising tide lifts all boats, but we can’t lose sight of those who don’t have a boat.
Republicans stand at the crossroads to their future and the voters are standing there with them wanting to know what we believe, how we will lead, and which way we intend go. They seek assurances that we are Republicans who see opportunity for every American not just those who donate to us or vote for us.
The Party of Lincoln was built on the uniting principles of hard work, personal responsibility, and self-determination. Republicans must once again call upon these principles to chart where the Party goes from here.
By Lauren Mayer, on Tue May 14, 2013 at 3:00 PM ET
As last fall’s election made painfully clear, we are a bitterly divided nation: liberal vs. conservative, urban vs. rural, blue vs. red. States in particular have gotten increasingly polarized, with many state legislatures in the control of super-majorities, and each with their own occasionally defiant ideology. Some are pro-business & anti-regulation, some have enacted their own abortion restrictions, some have legalized marijuana even for recreational use, etc. And many states have well-accepted images – Texas has cowboys and oil mavericks, Florida is the home of retired grandparents with New York accents, and thanks to the TV show Portlandia, Oregon is now known to be laid back yet trendy. And so forth.
But what’s happening to California? We’re still a lopsidedly blue state, known for our mild weather, tourist attractions, and botoxed spray-tanned movie stars, but we also used to be the proudly progressive state, or as my Long Island father-in-law calls us, “the land of fruits and nuts.” However, now 12 states plus the District of Columbia are ahead of us in legalizing same-sex marriage. And that includes all of New England, which used to be a bastion of Puritan conservativism. (In my freshman history class at Yale, where I was the only student from the west coast, we learned that the early colonial settlers preferred New England to Virginia because they feared the milder southern weather would encourage indolence and leisure - the professor helpfully added, “so that could explain what’s wrong with California.” Fortunately, I have neither blond hair or a tan, so no one realized I was one of those self-indulgent slobs who’d been corrupted by sunny weather.)
But I digress – Minnesota’s vote for marriage equality is a cause for celebration, and I also understand that legislators in California are waiting for the Supreme Court decision on Proposition 8, but it’s still just a little embarrassing to realize that the way state legislatures are jumping on the bandwagon, we probably won’t even make it to the top 20. And of course there are plenty of liberals in Minnesota, but we don’t exactly think of it as a wild and crazy state full of drag queens and hemp growers. Minnesota has always defied easy categorization, with stoic, independent residents who don’t mind the harsh weather, a place whose congressional delegation can include both Al Franken and Michelle Bachmann, a state which includes wide open spaces and the thriving Twin City area where Mary Tyler Moore threw her hat in the air. So sure, I expected they might come around on marriage equality, but I still thought California would get there first. Now is our only example of leadership going to be allowing right-turn-on-red, as Woody Allen once observed? (Congrats to any of you who recognized that as a line from Annie Hall, and yes, I’m one of those fair-weather fans who prefers Woody Allen’s funny movies . . . . )
Oh well, we can drown our sorrows in organic chai lattes and kale smoothies (which by now they probably have in Minnesota too), and sing this song celebrating the latest good news on marriage equality despite California’s diminishing hipness . . .