Sunday, July 6, 2014

Novak Djokovic Defeats Roger Federer in 5 Sets to Win Wimbledon Final

Novak Djokovic Defeats Roger Federer in 5 Sets to Win Wimbledon Final

Novak Djokovic Defeats Roger Federer in 5 Sets to Win Wimbledon Final

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 10:22 AM PDT

LONDON — Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer in 5 sets to win Wimbledon final.


Watch Robin Roberts and Her Sister Tell Their Remarkable Story

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 10:14 AM PDT

Good Morning America host Robin Roberts and her sister Sally-Ann appeared together at the 20th anniversary Essence Festival Friday to share the remarkable story about how Sally-Ann helped save her sister’s life.

In June 2012, the ABC anchor announced she was diagnosed with a blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome, just five years after beating breast cancer. Two years later, thanks to the life-saving bone marrow donation her sister provided, Robin is healthy, happy, and most of all–grateful.

“You don’t take it for granted that someone is going to put their life on hold for you,” Robin said, holding back tears. But Sally-Ann said she never would have considered not providing the bone marrow that saved her younger sister’s life.

“I was born for this,” Sally Ann said. ” I believe that before I was in my mothers womb that God knew. I believe that God allowed me to be a perfect genetic match.”

Sally-Ann took a moving moment during their talk to thank God for her sister’s health. “Isn’t God good,” Sally-Ann said, before leading the crowd of festival-goers in a song of praise. “Look at Robin!”

The crowd stood when Sally-Ann, a broadcast journalist based in Louisiana, asked who in the audience prayed for Robin’s health and healing. They sang “Thank you, Lord,” when Sally-Ann began to sing a hymn of praise.

The sisters took part in a talk on sisterhood during the 20th Anniversary Essence Festival. More of the sisters’ story is shared in Robin Roberts’ new book, Everybody’s Got Something. The sisters used the word of God and their unwavering faith to speak to the power of believing–particularly in moments when faith is tested.

“Optimism is a muscle that gets stronger with use,” Robin said.

Hollywood Suffers Worst July 4 Weekend in Recent Memory

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 10:02 AM PDT

Normally a big weekend for movies, the Fourth of July holiday weekend was a disappointment for box offices this year, with new movies earning 44 percent less revenue than the same weekend last year — the lowest July 4 weekend in recent memory.

Melissa McCarthy’s new comedy Tammy, which she wrote with husband Ben Falcone, debuted with a $32.9 million domestic gross during the Wednesday through Sunday holiday period, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That figure falls short of her 2013 films — The Heat with Sandra Bullock opened to $39 million, while Identity Thief with Jason Bateman earned $34.6 million — but Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. distribution chief, defended its performance.

“There’s nothing wrong here,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s true that tracking was more favorable for us going into the weekend, but this was a $20 million movie. This is a movie Melissa did by herself with her husband. It doesn’t have a big supporting star like Sandy.”

Executives blamed weather on the East Coast for the lackluster box office numbers, suggesting moviegoers might not have been eager to sit in a darkened movie theater during Saturday’s summer sunshine after being kept indoors and at home during widespread storms on Friday.

Coming in at the number one spot again was Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, which raked in $53.8 million from Wednesday-Sunday, bringing its domestic gross to a total of $174.7 million. Internationally, it earned $95.8 million from 37 countries for a global total of $575.6 million — and it hasn’t even opened in much of Europe and Latin America as the World Cup continues.


Boehner Explains Why He Wants to Sue Obama

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 09:33 AM PDT

House Speaker John Boehner says President Obama has “not faithfully executed the laws” of the Constitution “when it comes to a range of issues, including his health care law, energy regulations, foreign policy and education” in a defense of the lawsuit he plans to bring against the president.

The Ohio Republican, writing in a CNN editorial, says Obama has “circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold — at times even boasting about his willingness to do it.”

Boehner announced his plans for the lawsuit in June. This month he will introduce a bill to the House that would grant the House General Counsel and the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group the authority to sue the president.

Obama has previously called the lawsuit “a stunt,” saying that he was “not going to apologize for trying to do something while [Congress is] doing nothing” during an appearance on Good Morning America.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has said he thinks the lawsuit is “the kind of step that most Americans wouldn’t support” and that Obama’s actions have been consistent with his presidential authority, according to CBS.

“The legislative branch has an obligation to defend the rights and responsibilities of the American people, and America’s constitutional balance of powers,” Boehner writes, “before it is too late.”


Randy Newman’s Faust: The Devil Laughs and Cries

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 09:10 AM PDT

Randy Newman stepped onto the City Center stage in New York City Tuesday night as the Devil incarnate: he sported a red-lined black cape and, on his gray head, a set of flaming plastic horns. He would be playing Lucifer, he told the audience at the one-night-only performance in the Encores! Off-Center summer series, in “my version of Goethe's Faust. His Faust, of course, is a masterpiece. I read the classic comic book, and I concur. Is my Faust the equal of Goethe's?” Pause. “Only time will tell."

Time moves slowly for those who would make theater of the folk tale about a man who is tempted to sell his soul to the Devil. Goethe began work on his two Faust plays when he was 23 and continued until his death 60 years later, in 1832. Nearly two centuries later, his unwieldy tragedy is ranked among the triumphs of German literature.

Newman, the 70-year-old Oscar-, Grammy- and Emmy-winning pop composer, has been Fausting for a meager two decades. The piece first appeared as a concept album in 1995, with Newman in the role of the Devil (Mephistopheles in Goethe’s version), James Taylor as the Lord, Don Henley as Faust, Linda Ronstadt as his beloved Margaret, Bonnie Raitt as Margaret’s friend Martha and Elton John as a British angel named Rick.

(READ: Corliss on the Randy Newman album Bad Love)

Newman might have devoted his energy to Broadway scores, as earlier pop songwriters like Irving Berlin and Frank Loesser had done. But Broadway didn’t welcome music in the pop-rock vein, until top-40 tunes had become classics suitable for greatest-hits shows like Jersey Boys and Beautiful. And maybe the collaborative discipline of writing for the stage didn’t appeal to the hermit-y Newman. At the Faust curtain call he seemed embarrassed by the theatrical tradition of cast members’ joining hands. Every note that night sounded full and fine, but when it came time to bow, Newman was out of synch. It may have been his first time on a New York stage; it may be his last.

So no Broadway. Newman created hits for others (“I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today,” “Mama Told Me Not to Come”) and himself (“Short People,” “I Love L.A.”); and his 1974 “Louisiana 1927″ (“They’re trying to wash us away”) became the anthem-dirge for New Orleans after the Katrina hurricane. Like his uncles Alfred, Lionel and Emil, and his cousins David and Thomas, he composed lush film scores (Ragtime, Pleasantville). And, in what some observers consider his career deal with the Devil, he contributed chipper jingles to Pixar movies, winning Original Song Oscars for “If I Didn’t Have You” from Monsters, Inc. and “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3. His only full song-score was for Disney’s The Princess and the Frog: nine lovely songs with a bluesy New Orleans lilt.

(READ: Corliss’s review of The Princess and the Frog)

Briefly, Faust looked to follow the trail of other pop concept albums — Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy, Evita, Chess, Les MisĂ©rables — that were turned into musical-theater standards. Shortly after the album was released, Faust got a staging at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse, and then at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, with David Mamet reshaping the libretto. Producer Lorne Michaels announced his intention to bring the show to New York City, but it never got here — until it played this week, a block and a half from Broadway, in an extension of City Center’s acclaimed Encores! series of musical revivals.

(READ: Why Encores! is the best thing nearly on Broadway)

On the evidence of this week’s performance — with a stripped-down book, a glittery Broadway cast directed by Thomas Kail, an 11-piece orchestra and the 15-member Inspirational Voices serving as the Lord’s gospel choir — Newman’s Faust may not quite measure up to Goethe’s, or to Gounod’s 1859 opera. As a song cycle, it’s also a bit below Newman’s finest albums, Good Old Boys (1974) and Land of Dreams (1988). The songs are a series of sardonic, occasionally angry, often moving statements that work individually but don’t quite cohere. It’s closer to vaudeville, of the most sumptuous, acerbic sort.

In tone and viewpoint, this is the anti-Faust, an atheist’s Faust. Newman proposes that belief in God, let alone in a human soul, is its own cosmic comedy. In his first number, the Devil offers the Lord (Isaiah Johnson, from Peter and the Starcatcher) a pocket history of organized religion: “Some fools in the desert / With nothing else to do, / So scared of the dark / They didn’t know if they were coming or going, / So they invented me / And they invented You. / And other fools will keep it all going / And growing.”

(READ: a 1954 review of Gounod’s Faust by subscribing to TIME)

In Newman’s telling, the Lord is kin to the God described by Peter Cook’s Satan to Dudley Moore’s Faust in their 1967 film comedy Bedazzled: an egotist who created Earth and Heaven for no reason other than to have his creatures perpetually glorify Him in speech and song. For a moment Cook plays God and asks Moore to be Lucifer: “dance around, praising Me,” for all eternity. Moore soon says, “I'm getting a bit bored with this. Can't we change places?” And Cook replies, “That's exactly how I felt.”

(READ: TIME’s review of the 1967 Bedazzled)

Newman’s Lucifer — called Luci by his divine frenemy — is no less rancorous toward the Lord’s complacency. Yet he doesn’t agree with Milton’s Satan, in Paradise Lost, that it’s “better to reign in Hell than serve in Heav’n.” Tired of the ease with which mankind falls into sin, and then into Hell, he’s eager to get back home. So he bets the Lord that he can convince a human, any human, to sell his soul to the Devil; the stake is Luci’s restored status in Heaven as God’s most beautiful Archangel.

The earthling in question is Henry Faust (Tony Vincent, who sang Judas in the 2000 Jesus Christ Superstar revival and St. Jimmy in American Idiot). Instead of Goethe’s noble scholar, this Faust is a selfish creep “in his eighth year as a sophomore” at Notre Dame — a true American idiot, and a violent one, who’s “got suicide and murder runnin' in and out my brain.” When the Devil tells him he can have all worldly glory in exchange for his immortal soul, Henry asks, “So what’s the catch?”; he doesn’t believe in a soul either. He befriends the sweet Margaret (Laura Osnes, who played the title role in the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella) and impregnates her; she goes mad, sings a lullaby to their baby — the lovely “Sandman’s Comin’ Soon” — and drowns it, then dies.

Margaret’s poignant Calvary is straight from Newman’s source. He drolly describes it as “the comic high point of Goethe’s original play, and one of the most delightfully urbane moments in all of German literature.” But it’s just one of the small atrocities Newman presents to strengthen his argument that God’s world is a place of egregious imbalance. In “Best Little Girl,” the Devil tells of a churchgoing sweetie whom he coaxes into a date with a lifeguard; the two “were found the next day / Drowned in their own vomit.”

(READ: TIME’s 1966 cover story, “Is God Dead?”)

Later, an Angel Child (sweet little Brooklyn Shuck) tries to console the Devil, singing, “Perhaps when you were little / No one held you in their arms / And told you that they loved you very much.” The Devil has to remind her that, two years earlier, the girl was shot and killed by a man who went unpunished, got rich and, when he dies, will “be whisked right up to Heaven.” Relating this tale gives the Devil no pleasure. “Why? / You may ask yourself why. / For thousands and thousands of years / I have asked myself why.” If life and death are unfair, then the greatest sinner must be the puppet master — God.

So Newman’s Faust is a cantankerous debate not between Faust and Mephistopheles but between a God who may not exist and a Devil reduced to cynicism by observing the pain that humans inflict and endure. That theme is more suitable for a balladeer whose lyrics crawl inside the bitter sentiments of the ignorant or the dispossessed, and which he performs in the croak of a surly hobo.

And as Newman’s song often encase misanthropic words in angelic ragtime melodies, so his listeners always had to infer the ironic abrasion between the songwriter and the views of the characters he creates. How many people heard his 2012 “I’m Dreaming (of a White President),” which mocks the attitudes of some of Obama’s most vicious detractors — and for which Newman suggested a donation to the United Negro College Fund — as a vindication of their wistful racism? “I'd like it to be clearer which side I'm on,” the deadpan satirist told Slate. “Of course, it comes a little late.”

(WATCH AND LISTEN: The video for Randy Newman’s “I’m Dreaming”)

A similar gulf opened in this week’s Faust. How much amusement were we to take from the world’s miseries, even when sung? Answer: Plenty. The author-performer provided some when his Devil, early in the show, takes a comic hit from the Lord’s dismissal of “those stupid old shuffle songs” that Newman has been writing for five decades; later, in the midst of playing and singing “Never Good Enough,” he mutters, “He could be right about those shuffles.”

The audience was in an exuberant mood throughout, taking Newman’s bleak jaundice as jauntiness, laughing off the apostasy and loving those shuffles. I think the crowd got a contact high from just being present at the only New York performance a Newman musical was ever likely to see, and given thrilling voice by the entire cast. Michael Cerveris, a Tony-winner for Steven Sondheim’s Assassins, parlayed his one song, “Little Island,” into a poignant requiem for the British Empire. Vincent tore the house down with Faust’s thunderous “Bless the Children of the World,” then Osnes lifted it up with the tender “Gainesville” (“I have tried all my life to be kind to others / Even when others were unkind to me”). Sweet music trumps sour lyrics every time.

(READ: Richard Zoglin on Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins)

The closest Faust came to having a hit song, or a pure love song, was “Feels Like Home,” performed originally by Raitt and covered by Ronstadt in a trio with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. A depressive’s prayer of redemption, it received a splendidly throaty reading by Vonda Shepard, the Ally McBeal piano-bar singer cast here as Martha, with Newman joining in. It was one of those moments unique to theater: you could sense the people on stage and those in City Center’s 2,257 seats united in awe.

At song’s end, the audience erupted in grateful cheers — and Newman quickly wiped a tear from his right eye. You see, scoffers and believers alike: the Devil Randy has a heart. Maybe even a soul.

Here’s Exactly What’s in Those Hot Dogs You Ate This Weekend

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 08:47 AM PDT

Happy Independence Day weekend! Did you happen to catch the most important event? No, not fireworks. Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Begun in 1972 and held in the same Coney Island, N.Y. location since then, the contest pits approximately 20 competitive eaters against each other, for glory (and processed meats).

The contest itself has garnered around 1 – 1.5 million viewers on ESPN since 2004, and the media furor around the event itself is nothing short of magnificent.

But in all the excitement, it's easy to forget that the contest itself revolves around the hot dog, that humble, All-American treat. Have you ever wondered how the sausage gets made? (Pun entirely intended.)

If you have, don't fret! Gizmodo has an impressively comprehensive article on the process behind the processed meat.

The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (NHDSC) notes that hot dogs, whether regular, turkey, pork or beef, begin with “trimmings.” A purposely-vague word, trimmings come in lots of shapes and sizes.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): “The raw meat materials used for precooked-cooked products are lower-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal skin, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products.”


Yum indeed! The rest of the steps—pre-cooking, meat emulsifying, batter extrusion, and casing—are similarly…gory. Bon appĂ©tit!

Pink Floyd’s First Album in 20 Years Due in October

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 08:45 AM PDT

The iconic prog-rock band Pink Floyd will release its first album in 20 years this coming October, according to the wife of band member David Gilmour.

Polly Samson tweeted that the new album will be called The Endless River and is based on sessions recorded in 1994, the year the band’s last studio album, The Division Bell, was released.

She also described the new release as the “swansong” of Rick Wright, the band’s keyboard player who died in 2008 at the age of 65. It is unclear whether Samson’s definition of “swansong” means the new album will be entirely based on old 1994 material or whether it will feature more recently recorded contributions, as Wright continued to record solo material after The Division Bell, according to the Los Angeles Times, whose requests for comment from Pink Floyd’s most recent label were not returned.

Deportations of Immigrant Minors Have Plummeted Under Obama

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 08:36 AM PDT

The number of immigrant youths under the age of 18 who are deported or turned away from entering the U.S. each year has dropped significantly while President Obama has been in office, new data from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency reveals.

In 2008, under the George W. Bush administration, the number was 8,143, but last year, the figure fell to 1,669, according to ICE data released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Los Angeles Times.

While a decade ago around 600 minors were deported each year from non-border states, that number also dropped to 95 last year, as the U.S. saw an influx of unaccompanied minors traveling from Central America that is five times greater than the number of unaccompanied minors who arrived two years earlier.

The data arrives amidst a debate about whether recent White House policies have led to the 52,000 immigrants under 18 who were caught by or surrendered to U.S. Border Patrol since Oct. 2013. The figures will lend credence to rumors, reportedly widespread in Central America, that the U.S. has softened its stance on deporting younger migrants.

The administration says the decline stems from a 2008 law signed by Bush that makes it difficult to send unaccompanied minors back to their home countries without putting them before an immigration judge. The Obama administration recently asked Congress for additional resources, including more judges, to more quickly process the spike in unauthorized arrivals.

Critics of the Obama administration say recent policies, such as a 2012 deportation deferral program for immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as minors before 2007, have worsened illegal attempts to cross the border.

[Los Angeles Times]

U.S. Seeks Probe Into Alleged Beating of American Teen By Israeli Police

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 08:03 AM PDT

The U.S. is asking for a “a speedy, transparent and credible investigation” into the alleged beating of a Palestinian-American teenager by Israeli police during riots in East Jerusalem earlier this week.

The Israeli Justice Ministry says it is investigating the incident after an online video clip appeared to show two Israeli police attacking and kicking a young person wearing a mask or head covering before dragging him away, Reuters reports. Although the target’s identity has not been identified or confirmed because his face is obscured and the quality of the footage is low, the family of 15-year-old Tariq Khdeir, who was visiting from Tampa, Fla., said their teenager was the victim.

Recent pictures of Khdeir show him with a black eye and a swollen face, injuries the high school sophomore’s family said he sustained while being taken into police custody in the video. Addameer, a Palestinian human rights organization, said Khdeir was detained without charge between July 3 and July 6 and denied medical treatment for hours. The organization also said he was released on bail on Sunday and will serve nine days of house arrest at his uncle’s home in Jerusalem.

Khdeir is the cousin of Mohammed Abu-Khdeir, a Palestinian teen whose burned body was discovered Wednesday, sparking a number of riots and protests. Palestinians believe Khdeir was killed out of apparent revenge for the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers, and Israeli authorities arrested a number of Jewish suspects Sunday.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Tariq Khdeir was one of six rioters, three of whom were carrying knives, who were caught and detained in the riots following the discovery of Mohammed Abu-Khdeir’s body. Khdeir’s father said he witnessed the arrest and that the boy did not take part in any violence, the New York Times reports.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said an official from the consulate in Jerusalem visited Khdeir on Saturday.

“We are profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force,” Psaki said in a statement. “We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.”

Red Cross: 22 Dead in Attacks on Kenyan Coast

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 07:43 AM PDT

NAIROBI, Kenya — Twenty-two people were killed in overnight attacks by gunmen in two counties on the Kenyan coast, where al-Qaida-linked militants last month claimed responsibility for killing 65 people, the Kenya Red Cross said Sunday.The Saturday night attacks took place in the towns of Hindi in Lamu county and Gamba in Tana River, Kenya Red Cross chief Abbas Gulet said. Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants from Somalia claimed responsibility for the attacks.

According to the Lamu county commissioner Njenga Miiri, a group of about 15 gunmen raided the Malamandi village of Hindi and started shooting at residents. The gunmen also attacked Gamba police station, Kenya’s police chief David Kimaiyo said.

Hindi is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Mpeketoni where dozens were killed in an attack last month, while Gamba is about 70 kilometers (43 miles) northwest of Mpeketoni.

Police said 13 people were killed in Hindi, while in Gamba nine others were killed and one person was missing.

The nine victims in Gamba included five inmates said to be non-Muslim, who were killed when the gunmen attacked the police station, said a senior police officer who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media. Three other inmates escaped with the gunmen.

The officer said the gunmen got to the police station by car-jacking a truck and killing its three occupants. Five police officers were wounded in the attack and one officer was killed, he said.

Kenya has suffered a spate of gun and explosive attacks since deploying its troops in Oct. 2011 to fight al-Shabab militants.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for an attack last month on the town of Mpeketoni on the Kenyan coast and another attack the following day on a nearby village. Despite that, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and the interior minister have blamed local political networks for those attacks and said they were planned locally — assertions that have been met with skepticism.

Late last month police arrested Lamu Governor Issa Timamy and charged him for murder, forceful eviction of population and terrorism charges in connection to the Mpeketoni attacks.

The attacks come as tensions continued to rise in the country over a planned mass protest by the opposition on Monday to urge the government to convene national talks over topics including security, increasing costs of living, corruption and the disbandment of the electoral authority.

Church leaders have warned Monday’s planned protest could further split the country along tribal lines.


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