November 6, 2013 |
When M.I.A. flipped the bird during her Super Bowl performance last year alongside Madonna and Nicki Minaj, there was the typical water cooler outrage, which led the news cycle for a few days before some other pop star grabbed our attention. But the battle between the politically charged Sri Lankan rapper and the NFL raged on as the two have been at odds. Earlier this year news broke that the conflict between M.I.A. and the league had gotten quite messy and now she's finally speaking out about it. The league had been reportedly pursuing a $1.5-million fine and a public apology from M.I.A.
October 24, 2013 |
Remember when California mapped earthquake faults throughout the state? The ambitious effort trickled to a stop, with no maps completed from 2004 and 2011, according to records reviewed by The Times . Gasp. ALSO: A propofol-free colonoscopy? Some doctors say yes PHOTOS: Tea party backlash: Protest signs to cheer you up PHOTO ESSAY: Five women more newsworthy than Miley Cyrus Follow Ted Rall on Twitter @TedRall
October 17, 2013 |
While Uganda's parliament considers an anti-homosexuality bill, which would mandate the death penalty for serial "offenders," Western-supported megachurches flourish in the African country. Roger Ross Williams' incisive and absorbing documentary "God Loves Uganda" makes a compelling case for the link between the two situations without connecting all the dots for viewers, and without condemning the young missionaries who flock to "the pearl of Africa" believing they are saving souls. Williams' alarm is balanced by his measured observation of a group of twentysomethings from the Kansas City-based International House of Prayer.
October 8, 2013 |
They call it the "God particle. " It holds the key to humanity's presence on Earth - indeed, to the existence of all the matter in the universe. Feuding nations have set aside their differences and devoted billions of dollars to finding it. Scientists built massive supercolliders capable of producing temperatures nearly as frigid as the coldest spots in outer space in their quest to unravel its secrets. Even then, it took nearly half a century to get a glimpse of the thing. Now, in a crowning moment, two theoretical physicists have won the Nobel Prize in physics for having the gumption to envision that such a thing might have existed in the first place.
September 30, 2013 |
CAIRO - In politically fractured Egypt, there's one belief that almost every faction seems to hold in common: God is on our side. (And not, therefore, on yours .) Egypt's social and cultural mix is hieroglyphic in its complexity: Islamists, progressives, conservatives, and those marching in lock step with the powerful military. But in the Arab world's most populous and influential country, the many guises of piety are rarely absent from discourse. More than two months after the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood was driven from power and the country's army chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi, surged to the fore, Egypt remains deeply divided about the role of religion in public life.
September 14, 2013 |
TORONTO - The entertainment world these days is filled with hyphenates: bubble-gum pop queens trying their hands at acting, film auteurs flocking to cable TV. At the Toronto International Film Festival this year, a different trend was on display, as a number of longtime movie actors used their connections and leverage accumulated in front of the camera to nab the big gig behind it: directing. Every generation sees a performer or two who toggles easily between acting and directing - Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles and Clint Eastwood, to name a few. But these days, it seems to be more common for actors to take a whirl in the director's chair.
September 6, 2013 |
The story in Genesis of Abraham's willingness to kill his son Isaac at God's command still gets a lot of attention. But it doesn't get a lot of love. In every broadside against religion, God's horrifying demand for a sacrifice and Abraham's acquiescence is introduced as evidence that God is a tyrant, Abraham a sycophant and both of them abusers of poor Isaac, whom God decides to spare only at the last moment. Trust me when I say that this is not simply the view of professional polemicists.
August 31, 2013 |
At first, director Travis Preston wanted to seat the audience for "Prometheus Bound" at the Getty Villa where the actors would normally be: on the plaza in front of the museum that doubles as a stage for the Getty's annual late-summer outdoor productions of ancient plays. The drama would unfold high above the crowd, in the vacated rows and aisles of the Villa's steeply sloped Roman-style theater. The switch made sense for a play whose hero is chained to a mountainside above an ocean for having thwarted Zeus' plans.
August 21, 2013 |
ROME --Former Pope Benedict XVI, who shocked the world by resigning in February, has reportedly revealed that God told him to do it during a "mystical experience. " The first pontiff to step down in six centuries, Benedict said, "God told me to," when asked about his decision to dedicate himself to a life of prayer instead. The 86-year-old pope emeritus said he had not witnessed a vision of God but had undergone a months-long "mystical experience" during which God gave him the "absolute desire" to forge a deeper relationship with him. Benedict also said that the more he witnessed the "charisma" of his extremely popular successor, Pope Francis, the more he understood how his stepping aside was the "will of God. " The former pontiff's comments were reported by the Catholic news agency Zenit, which did not disclose to whom Benedict made the remarks.
August 13, 2013 |
In one recent week, time took two heroes. So far as I know, the legendary civil rights lawyer Julius Chambers and the esteemed public intellectual Robert Bellah never met. They lived on opposite ends of the country and traveled in different circles. But they were connected in an important, symbolic way, and their passing within a few days of each other provides the occasion to reflect on their common lesson for modern American life. Bellah was a sociologist at UC Berkeley. Though he began his professional career as an authority on Japan and the Far East, he made his most enduring contributions tracing the complex relationship between religion and civic life in the United States, and first came to the attention of the wider public for his 1967 article "Civil Religion in America.