American theaters will join together today to raise money for their counterparts in Japan, who are still trying to recover from last year's earthquake. Performances in New York City of 10-minute scenes written by the likes of Edward Albee, Tony Kushner, Stephen Sondheim and Susan-Lori Parks will be downloaded and presented in venues across the country.
The people of Japan have been remembering the dreadful events of this date last year - when at 2:46 pm, a massive earthquake struck. Soon afterwards a tsunami crashed into the north east coast - taking the lives of nearly 20,000 people, destroying whole communities and bringing Japan to the brink of nuclear disaster. One year in rebuilding has not yet begun on Japan's Northeast coast and cleanup of damage continues. In a country where tradition plays a key role, many displaced Japanese are not returning to their traditional homes saying that it would be too hard on their children and themselves. At the National Theatre the Prime Minister and Employer bowed at a memorial, and promised greater assistance to the disaster region.
Americans stayed up much of the night watching in amazement the coverage of huge waves, earthquake aftermaths an then the weeks long drama of a nuclear plant in peril. We watched as people were swept away, along with cars, buses and even ocean going ships, as if they were leaves on a river. We watched video from people who would not survive to know that their video went viral around the world.
Japan has drastically cut back the amount of electricity it gets from nuclear plants, and former plans for building new nukes are shelved. That puts Japan, with no oil and little coal, between a rock and a hard place. Japan historically gets one third of its power from nuclear power plants because of Japan's lack of internal natural resources. Today several nuclear plants are damages and others are shut down as Japan sorts out what sort of power they want in the future. There is a large popular movement against nuclear power. Meanwhile the economy has tanked and the traditionally export based economy is now importing more coal and oil than total goods exported. The estimated cost is over 100 million dollars a year. Japan's commitment to the environment and reducing greenhouse gasses has been shelved until this crisis is over. Japan is dependant on peace in the Middle East, as most of their natural gas and oil comes from that region and is shipped through waters threatened by sabre rattling Iran.
Most Japanese are taking it in stride, as Japan has been through tougher times, the nation remains one of the wealthier nations in the world and technology spoiled citizens are also use to crowded conditions and doing without when they need to.
On Friday, five Irish immigrant laborers were laid to read in Philadelphia -- 180 years after their death. The bodies recovered, who were reported as dieing from cholera, were actually short and bludgeoned with shovels and share implements. Irish workers lie beneath many railroad right-of-ways across the country, considered expandable by the corporate barons who built the railroads. The remains to be buried were part of one forgotten railroad work crew that was buried in a mass grave under the very railroad tracks they helped construct. The treatment of the Irish, Chinese and other ethnic groups who slaved to build the Great American railroads and in doing so eventually connect a new nation from coast to coast, are an under-studied and little know underbelly to the American success story. .
A new exhibition at Washington DC's Smithsonian Institution shows for the first time extensive information about the slave community in Thomas Jefferson's beloved Monticello. The exhibition is titled "paradox of liberty. Washington, over the course of his lifetime, owned 607 enslaved men, women and children. Key founding fathers stood with Jefferson in the failed attempt to outlaw slavery, but the economic co-dependency of the states and the need to low cost slave labor in the staff put that decision off until the bloody Civil War, over 80 years later. While Jefferson believed in freeing the slaves, he did not free his won slaves until after his death, set forth in his will. The economics of slavery made Jefferson's wealth, education and his role in shaping modern democracy possible..
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won Kansas' Republican caucuses yesterday. Neither Mitt Romney nor Newt Gingrich spent any time campaigning in the state. The results may reflect on how Republicans might vote if it were not for a cluttered race for the dominant conservative portion of that party.
Despite his second place finish in Kansas, Mitt Romney scored victories yesterday in caucuses in Guam, the Northern Marianas, and the US Virgin Islands. He also won county conventions in Wyoming. But there may be trouble lurking for Romney, as the GOP race moves to the Deep South, with primaries on Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi. These reddest of states are proving to be a tough sell for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Votes in the areas Romney won were either split between candidates or non-committal at the National Convention. Romney did walk away from Kansas with 3 delegates.
It's a multi-millionaire white Mormon American running against an African with many who believe was not born in America, the answer is black and white.
the presidential candidates' religious beliefs matter to Southern GOP primary voters. Pendants feel that religion will matter less than Romney's perception of being "canned", non-authentic, out-of-touch with average folks and an "elite Yankee." But many grass roots Republicans feel that Mormonisms is a cult and a sin, not something you want to see in the White House. Of course among Republicans in the deep south, racism or at least a mistrust of a "liberal black"in the White House is some that must be done. Anti-Government southerners also see Obama as a Yankee and a puppet of big government.That said, whomever the Republican nominee is in the fall, the south will be Red country unless Democrats really sell voters, and it would be a very uphill climb.
Art Lynch, MA, SAG
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