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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Teachers Turn to Crowdfunding to Open Preschools

Teachers Turn to Crowdfunding to Open Preschools


Teachers Turn to Crowdfunding to Open Preschools

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 10:43 AM PDT

In Chicago, VOCEL – a small education non-profit for children from under-resourced communities – is behind one of the first initiatives to use crowdfunding to open a preschool, the AFP reports.

“Many for-profit organizations have used crowdsourcing in the past several years to get off the ground, to spread their ideas among a wide crowd, and we thought why couldn’t we do this for a non-profit?” Jesse Ilhardt, director of education for VOCEL, told AFP.

VOCEL started a $70,000 campaign online, asking the public to contribute funds for a preschool center in Chicago. To learn more about crowdfunding in education, watch the video above.

NYPD Officer Loses Badge After Man Dies During Arrest

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 09:10 AM PDT

A New York City Police Department officer had his gun and badge removed after a man died in custody when the officer put what looked like a chokehold on him, police said Saturday.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who has worked for the NYPD for eight years, has been reassigned to desk duty following the Staten Island death of 43-year-old Eric Garner, the Associated Press reports. Another unnamed officer involved in the arrest has also been reassigned but will keep his badge and gun.

Video footage obtained by the New York Daily News shows an officer putting Garner in an apparent chokehold, a move that is prohibited by the police department and can be fatal, after he refused to be handcuffed. Garner can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” as officers bring him to the ground while trying to arrest him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on the street.

Police union President Patrick Lynch called the reassignment a “completely unwarranted, knee-jerk reaction” that “effectively pre-judges the case” in a statement.

Federal court records show that Pantaleo has been sued by three men in the past two years for racially-biased arrests on Staten Island. Pantaleo could not be reached for comment by the AP.

Though officials believe Garner died of a heart attack, a medical examiner’s office spokesperson said the exact cause of Garner’s death has yet to be determined.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio called the circumstances of Garner’s death “very troubling.”

[AP]

Transexual TV Reporter Becomes Turkey’s Face of LGBT Rights

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 08:50 AM PDT

Homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, but homophobia is widespread and activists hope to make the country an example of respect towards the LGBT community.

Michelle Demishevich, a prominent LGBT rights activist, is the country’s first transexual TV reporter. While Turkey’s gay and transgender communities enjoy better rights than their counterparts in most Muslim countries, her achievement is rather unique.

In the video above, reported by the AFP, the activist talks about the fight for LGBT rights in Turkish society.

Malaysia Airlines Ukraine Crash: Kerry Tells Russia to Take Responsibility

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 08:42 AM PDT

Secretary of State John Kerry asked Russia on Sunday to “step up” and take responsibility for the Ukrainian rebels who are suspected of shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

“It’s pretty clear that this is a system that was transferred from Russia,” Kerry said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Kerry said the U.S. observed significant arms supplies, including rocket launchers and tanks, moving from Russia into the hands of separatists in the Ukraine in recent weeks. The U.S. also intercepted conversations about the transfer of a missile system that the U.S. suspects downed the airplane, which was carrying close to 300 people. There were no survivors.

“The separatist are in control,” Kerry said in a separate Sunday appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. “And it is clear that Russia supports the separatists, supplies the separatist, encourages the separatists, trains the separatists, and Russia needs to step up and make a difference here.”

Israel and Palestinians Report Highest Number of Deaths Yet in Gaza Offensive

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 08:05 AM PDT

Updated 12:16 a.m. ET Sunday

Sunday marked the third and deadliest day of Israel’s latest offensive into the Gaza Strip, as both sides of the conflict reported a record number of deaths. At least 87 Palestinians died Sunday, Palestinian health officials said, the New York Times reports, while Israel’s military said Sunday that 13 Israeli soldiers were killed.

The deaths come as Israeli military forces escalated their ground offensive against Hamas militants on Sunday. Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which is targeting Hamas rocket sites and tunnels leading into Israel, began Thursday after several days of rocket and air attacks between Israel and Hamas as well as other Islamic factions in Gaza.

“From 12:30 a.m. until 4 a.m., all you could hear is heavy bombardment, the smell of fire and the smell of death. By 4:30, and after the call for the prayer, we were able to get in an ambulance,” said Jawad Hassanain, a Shijaiyah resident who fled to his sister’s neighborhood with his family after their house was shook by explosions.

The Shifa Hospital in Gaza quickly overflowed Sunday morning, with some doctors treating patients in the hallway. The Red Cross proposed a two-hour afternoon ceasefire to help evacuate the injured from the conflict zone Sunday, but that lull in fighting fell apart in under an hour, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Palestinian death toll has reached 425 people since July 8, according to Palestinian health officials. Before the 13 soldiers were killed Saturday, Israel’s military said seven Israelis, including five other soldiers, had been killed. Israeli hospitals say dozens of soldiers have been wounded as well.

The most recent wave of violence between Israel and Hamas began after the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers and one Palestinian teen in June and July.

[NYT]

James Garner, 1928-2014

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 07:30 AM PDT

There are actors who become stars because they strike awe–because they’re imposing, powerful, monumental. And then there was James Garner.

Garner, who died Saturday night of natural causes at age 86, was no toothpick of a man–he was a former high school football and basketball player who kept his rugged, weathered good looks long into life. But the characters he became famous for, especially TV’s Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford, won you over with their minds. They got through trouble with cleverness, charm and subtle wit. James Garner wasn’t the kind of star who won love because he seemed so elevated above you: he made you love him by showing you that he was on your level–had in fact spent some time down in the dirt, brushed off the dust, and moved on with a rascally smile.

Born James Scott Bumgarner in Norman, Okla., in 1928, Garner had experience rebounding from tough times early in life. His mother died when he was small, and his father remarried a woman who Garner would later recall was physically abusive. His family moved around the West, eventually settling in Los Angeles, where–after a stint in the Korean War–he was discovered for the movies.

The handsome Garner was a natural for Westerns and war pictures and adventure movies. But the characters that proved the best fit for his natural, easygoing charm were anything but typical screen stars. He came of age as an actor in the heyday of the TV Western, not by playing an upstanding lawman but as the wily, disarming card shark Bret Maverick in the action-comedy Maverick, a gambler and ladies’ man who had the fastest mind in the West.

Debuting in 1957, Maverick was a character ahead of his time in spirit, a forerunner of the little-guy heroes, the roguish, anti-authoritarians who would rule movies and TV in the 1970s. You can see a little bit of a proto-Bill Murray in the dry, sly Maverick, and if Star Wars had been made 20 years earlier, Garner would have been your Han Solo hands down. Garner stayed off TV for a decade after Maverick, but he had a great run in the movies in the 1960s, drama and comedy alike. (Support Your Local Sheriff! would be a great catch-up watch for anyone wanting to discover, or rediscover, his work.)

Garner’s most famous role, as Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files in 1974, was the perfect meeting of Garner’s talents and the spirit of the age. Like Bret Maverick, Rockford was a screen-hero archetype who became all the bigger for being cut down to size: a private detective who’d spent time in jail on a bad rap, always one step ahead of the bill collectors and one good night’s sleep shy of his peak. He was not a pressed suit; he was a rumpled jacket that could use a dry-cleaning. And that was what made him wear so comfortably.

The Rockford Files was a crime show where the characters were finally more important than the action: it had its share of brawls and car spin-outs, but you really tuned in for the ping-pong dialogue between Rockford and con man Angel or his dad Rocky. (It was a precursor of the more character-based dramas of today’s cable-dominated TV era, and in fact the show was one of the first writing jobs for David Chase of The Sopranos.) Rockford might get his man in the end, but what made him loveable was less his triumphs than his ability to roll with defeat. He could throw a punch if he had to; but what made him a hero was his ability to take one.

I was too young for the run of the original Maverick, but I relished the brief-lived revival, Bret Maverick, in 1981, and I caught Rockford both in its original run and reruns. As a nerdy, not-too-athletic kid, I was especially drawn to pop-culture trickster figures–Bugs Bunny, Hawkeye Pierce, scoundrels who outwitted their rivals instead of out-fighting them. Jim Rockford was the only TV crimefighter I really cared about, a charmer who could indeed win for losing.

I got older, and so did James Garner, but he kept working late into life–collecting an Oscar nomination in 1985 for Murphy’s Romance, making a return to TV in 2004 on 8 Simple Rules after the sudden death of John Ritter. But Rockford lingered somewhere in my mind, and I suspect the minds of a lot of TV fans from that era. Garner created him as a sunny, fundamentally decent example of how to get through frustrations and disappointments not with rage, but a wry comeback.

In the end, charm and humor wear more comfortably than rage and drama. Audiences love that kind of character. Fate loves that kind of character. If you need a quick thumbnail philosophy for living, it would not be a terrible one to simply remember to ask yourself, whenever you face adversity, “What would Jim Rockford do?” For posing that question, and giving it such an entertaining answer, thank you James Garner, and RIP.

Beyoncé Teases Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer on Instagram

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 07:05 AM PDT

Driver roll down the partition, please, BeyoncĂ©’s got a trailer and it’s quite the tease.

The pop icon is usually the star of her own Instagram account, but on Saturday night she shared the spotlight and posted a sneak peak at the trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey, the Twilight-fanfiction-turned-erotic-publishing-sensation that’s now headed to the big screen in 2015.

Perhaps BeyoncĂ© can’t resist the story of a young, innocent college girl falling for a kinky billionaire, but she’s probably in the sharing mood because of her music — catch Queen Bey singing a sultry version of the uh-oh-uh-oh line from “Crazy in Love” in the clip, which promises a full trailer on Thursday.

The film, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson and arrives next Valentine’s Day.

7 Signs You’re Drinking Too Much

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 07:00 AM PDT

Actors Shia LaBeouf and Robin Williams both announced last week that they're seeking treatment for alcoholism: LaBeouf as an outpatient following an outburst in a New York City theater and Williams in a rehab facility. A representative for Williams, 62, told People that the comedian is still sober—as he has been since a 2006 relapse—but wants to "focus on his continued commitment" to recovery.

Now, not everyone who drinks too much starts hitting strangers at a Broadway play like LaBeouf did. They could be having a more silent struggle like Williams. Regardless, alcohol problems are more common than you think. About 15% of people who drink go on to become alcohol dependent, says Carlton Erickson, PhD, director of the Addiction Science Research and Education Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

"Those who recognize the problem before they develop full-blown addiction have a greater chance they'll be able to cut down and minimize the role alcohol plays in their life," says John F. Kelly, PhD, director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

So how can you tell if you're developing a problem? Not all the clues are the same for all people, but here are common signs you could be headed for trouble—and how to turn it around.

Health.com:27 Mistakes Healthy People Make

You set limits…but can't stick to them

If you always try to limit yourself to a certain number of drinks and fail every time, you could be struggling with alcohol. "If you find yourself repeatedly going over your self-defined limit, that's a common early sign you're losing control over your drinking," says Kelly, who is also president of the American Psychology Association's Society of Addiction Psychology.

What to do about it: Figure out what triggers your desire to drink and try to avoid these people, places, and situations. This drinking analyzer card from the National Institutes of Health is a good place to start; the NIH also has a 4-week tracker to see how well you can stick to your limit. If you can't avoid a trigger, keep a list of reasons not to drink nearby, as well as a list of trusted confidantes you can call.

Your friends comment on your drinking

One of the first signs your drinking is spiraling out of control is when friends or acquaintances express surprise about how much you're drinking or how "well" you "handle" your alcohol. "People start to get feedback from [other] people long before they realize it themselves," says Kelly. "That's a sign."

What to do about it: Compare how much you drink with the limits for "low-risk" drinking, which, for women, is up to 3 drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week. The National Institutes of Health says that only about 2 in 100 people who drink within these limits have alcohol problems. But remember that "low risk" still doesn't mean "no risk." While alcoholism can derail your entire life, even smaller amounts of alcohol can raise the risk for pancreatic, liver, esophageal, and even breast cancer.

Health.com: How Alcohol Affects Your Body

The majority of your plans involve alcohol

If drinking becomes the center of your social and home life, if you're the one urging others to order another round, or if you find yourself cutting back on activities that you used to enjoy that don't involve drinking, you could be in dangerous territory.

What to do about it: Instead of meeting for drinks, ask friends to do things that don't involve alcohol, like meeting for coffee, taking a yoga class, going to the movies, or lacing up for a run.

You reach for booze whenever you're stressed

Everyone experiences stress, from a serious break-up to a biting comment from a colleague. Alcohol can give you some short-term relief from the upset but it can also backfire pretty quickly, leaving you with the stress of everyday life AND the stress of a drinking problem.

What to do about it: Find other ways to handle stress such as breathing deeply, taking a walk, or logging a workout (hey, playing basketball helps President Obama unwind).

Health.com:25 Surprising Ways Stress Affects Your Health

You worry about your own drinking

Your alcohol use could be problematic when your first thought in the morning is of how much you drank the night before. "You wake up concerned that you've broken your self-defined limit. You wake up thinking, 'I didn't stick to it'," says Kelly. "The worry comes from the innermost part of yourself. That's a sign of beginning of alcohol dependence."

What to do about it: Confide in someone you trust. And get a reality check and personalized feedback on your drinking patterns with the Drinker's Checkup, an online screening tool which also provides strategies on how to moderate your drinking.

Your doctor says you're drinking too much

Doctors' visits often involve answering questions about your lifestyle, including how much alcohol you drink. If you're honest and if your doctor comments that the amount seems excessive, you should pay attention.

What to do about it: A doctor's remark is not only a sign but also the start of a solution. "It has been shown that when physicians are astute enough to find out more about a person's drinking behavior, if they make a statement like 'I think you're drinking too much,' patients tend to listen," says Erickson.

Health.com:15 Signs You Have an Iron Deficiency

You frequently wake up with a hangover

Even a sometimes-drinker gets the occasional hangover but if it starts to happen more and more often, you could be headed for trouble. "If you're waking up three to four times a week with a hangover, that's indicative," says Kelly. And if you can't remember what happened when you were drinking or you have only a hazy recollection, that's a not-so-subtle clue that your drinking is out of control.

What to do about it: Monitoring your intake can help you stop before you go too far. Track how much you drink with the note function on your phone or an app—try IntelliDrink ($1.99, itunes.com) or AlcoDroid Alcohol Tracker (free, play.google.com). Just record the drink before you actually imbibe, which can help you slow down if necessary. You should include both the number of drinks and the size of each drink.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

Malaysia Airlines Ukraine Crash: Rebels Put Bodies in Rail Cars

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 06:54 AM PDT

The bodies recovered from the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 will stay in refrigerated train cars in the insurgent-occupied town of Torez until United Nations aviation officials arrive, a top Ukrainian rebel leader said Sunday. The comments from Alexander Borodai, the self-appointed Prime Minister of a pro-Russian “People’s Republic” in eastern Ukraine, come after other European officials said rebels had rounded up victims’ bodies and put them on rail cars bound for an unknown destination.

The rebels also said Sunday they will turn over the black boxes from the Boeing 777 to officials from the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN body that oversees global aerospace issues. The aircraft’s black boxes were earlier rumored to have been sent to Moscow for examination.

Flight 17 is widely believed to have crashed in eastern Ukraine after being shot down Thursday.

Both Ukraine’s government and the rebel forces have alleged the other was responsible for downing the Boeing 777.

A spokeswoman for Ukraine’s government said rebels forced emergency teams to give up the bodies recovered at the crash site without revealing where they were taking the corpses. Associated Press journalists had previously reported seeing bodies in bags piled together in the heat on Saturday.

Borodai denied that rebel forces were interfering with the crash investigation and said he was disappointed with how long it had taken Malaysian aviation experts to arrive at the scene.

The U.S. embassy in Kiev has concluded "that Flight MH17 was likely downed by a SA-11 surface-to-air missile from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine." It said Russia had supplied military equipment to the insurgents, though Russia has denied the claims.

[AP]

Police: Movie, TV Legend James Garner Dies

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 06:05 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES — Actor James Garner, whose whimsical style in the 1950s TV Western “Maverick” led to a stellar career in TV and films such as “The Rockford Files” and his Oscar-nominated “Murphy’s Romance,” has died, police said. He was 86.

He was found dead of natural causes at his home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles Saturday evening, Los Angeles police officer Alonzo Iniquez said early Sunday.

Police responded to a call around 8 p.m. PDT and confirmed Garner’s identity from family members, Iniquez told The Associated Press.

There was no immediate word on a more specific cause of death. Garner had suffered a stroke in May 2008, just weeks after his 80th birthday.

Although he was adept at drama and action, Garner was best known for his low-key, wisecracking style, especially with his hit TV series, “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files.”

His quick-witted avoidance of conflict provided a refreshingly new take on the American hero, contrasting with the steely heroics of John Wayne and the fast trigger of Clint Eastwood.

Well into his 70s, the handsome Oklahoman remained active in both TV and film. In 2002, he was Sandra Bullock’s father in the film “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” The following year, he joined the cast of “8 Simple Rules … For Dating My Teenage Daughter,” playing the grandfather on the sitcom after star John Ritter, who played the father, died during the show’s second season.

When he received the Screen Actors Guild’s lifetime achievement award in 2005, he quipped, “I’m not at all sure how I got here.”

But in his 2011 memoir, “The Garner Files,” he provided some amusing and enlightening clues, including his penchant for bluntly expressed opinions and a practice for decking people who said something nasty to his face — including an obnoxious fan and an abusive stepmother. They all deserved it, Garner declared in his book.

It was in 1957 when the ABC network, desperate to compete on ratings-rich Sunday night, scheduled “Maverick” against CBS’s powerhouse “The Ed Sullivan Show” and NBC’s “The Steve Allen Show.” ”Maverick” soon outpolled them both.

At a time when the networks were crowded with hard-eyed, traditional Western heroes, Bret Maverick provided a fresh breath of air. With his sardonic tone and his eagerness to talk his way out of a squabble rather than pull out his six-shooter, the con-artist Westerner seemed to scoff at the genre’s values.

After a couple of years, Garner felt the series was losing its creative edge, and he found a legal loophole to escape his contract in 1960.

His first film after “Maverick” established him as a movie actor. It was “The Children’s Hour,” William Wyler’s remake of Lillian Hellman’s lesbian drama that co-starred Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine.

He followed in a successful comedy with Kim Novak, “Boys Night Out,” and then fully established his box-office appeal with the 1963 blockbuster war drama “The Great Escape” and two smash comedies with Doris Day — “The Thrill of It All” and “Move Over Darling.”

Throughout his long film career, Garner demonstrated his versatility in comedies (“The Art of Love,” ”A Man Could Get Killed,” ”Skin Game”), suspense (“36 Hours,” ”They Only Kill Their Masters,” ”Marlowe”), Westerns (“Duel at Diablo,” ”Hour of the Gun,” ”Support Your Local Gunfighter”).

In the 1980s and 1990s, when most stars his age were considered over the hill, Garner’s career remained strong.

He played a supporting role as a marshal in the 1994 “Maverick,” a big-screen return to the TV series with Mel Gibson in Garner’s old title role. His only Oscar nomination came for the 1985 “Murphy’s Romance,” a comedy about a small-town love relationship in which he co-starred with Sally Field.

His favorite film, though, was the cynical 1964 war drama “The Americanization of Emily,” which co-starred Julie Andrews.

Unlike most film stars, Garner made repeated returns to television. “Nichols” (1971-72) and “Bret Maverick” (1981-82) were short-lived, but “The Rockford Files” (1974-80) proved a solid hit, bringing him an Emmy.

Among his notable TV movies: “Barbarians at the Gate” (as tycoon F. Ross Johnson), “Breathing Lessons,” ”The Promise,” ”My Name Is Bill W.,” ”The Streets of Laredo” and “One Special Night.”

He said he learned about acting while playing a non-speaking role as a Navy juror in the 1954 Broadway hit play “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial,” starring Henry Fonda and Lloyd Nolan.

“I had no lines, and I had trouble staying awake,” Garner recalled.

After “Caine Mutiny,” Garner found work in Hollywood as a bit player in the “Cheyenne” TV series. Warner Bros. gave him a screen test and signed him to a seven-year contract starting at $200 a week.

The studio cast him in supporting roles in three minor films, followed by the important break as Marlon Brando’s sidekick in “Sayonara.” When Charlton Heston declined a war movie, “Darby’s Rangers,” because of a money dispute, Garner assumed the role.

“Maverick,” which co-starred Jack Kelly as brother Bart Maverick, made its debut on Sept. 22, 1957.

Garner was born James Scott Bumgarner (some references say Baumgarner) in Norman, Okla. His mother died when he was 5, and friends and relatives cared for him and his two brothers for a time while his father was to California.

In 1957, Garner married TV actress Lois Clarke, and the union prevailed despite some stormy patches. She had a daughter Kimberly from a previous marriage, and the Garners had another daughter, Gretta Scott. In the late 1990s, the Garners built a 12,000-square-foot house on a 400-acre ranch north of Santa Barbara.

“My wife and I felt … we’d just watch the sunset from the front porch,” Garner said in 2000. “But then the phone started ringing with all these wonderful offers, and we decided, ‘Heck, let’s stay in the business for a while.’”

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