After Three Years, Beck Is Ready To Share His Newest, Strokes & Talking Heads-Influenced Album

first_imgThough Morning Phase won him a Grammy award for Best Album, Beck never intended for the 2014 release to be so successful. In a new Rolling Stone interview, Beck says that the album was only released “just so we would have something out, because we were going on tour.” The real project in Beck’s mind is the album yet to come.Beck has shared a handful of tracks, including the pop oriented “Wow!,” and confirmed that his new album would be out in October. The untitled piece will see Beck fuse the dreaminess of Morning Phase with the more electronic loops and rhythms of his 90’s works. “It’s a summer night, people have their hands up… It’s a communal, celebratory thing. I wanted to take that into the studio, a kind of energy or joy. The thing that wakes you up a little bit.”“There’s a substratum to a lot of the songs – songs within other songs, choruses that became bridges… It’s not far from how I made my first couple of records,” says Beck about the process behind the new work. He also recruited Greg Kurstin to help write and produce the album.All in all, it’s nice to see Beck so enthusiastic about his new album, and we can’t wait for the release.  “It’s kind of life-sparking… I want to have some new things to say. I’m still filling out the picture. We do ‘Where It’s At,’ and you’re like, ‘OK, we needed that.’ Then you do another one. It’s all adding up to a picture.”last_img read more

HRES establishes 2010-11 rents for Harvard University Housing

first_imgHarvard Real Estate Services (HRES) manages approximately 3,000 apartments, offering a broad choice of locations, unit types, amenities, and sizes to meet the individual budgets and housing needs of Harvard affiliates (full-time graduate students, faculty members, or employees). Harvard affiliates may apply for Harvard University Housing online at huhousing.harvard.edu (click on Harvard University Housing). The home page also provides information about additional housing options and useful Harvard and community resources for incoming and current affiliates. In accordance with the University’s fair market rent policy, Harvard Real Estate Services (HRES) charges market rents for Harvard University Housing. To establish the proposed rents for 2010-11, Jayendu Patel of Economic, Financial, & Statistical Consulting Services performed and endorsed the results of a regression analysis on three years of market rents for more than 4,000 competing apartments which are either voluntarily posted at the Harvard University Housing Office by non-Harvard property owners, or are provided by a real estate appraisal firm or a local brokerage company, to provide additional comparable private rental market listings of competing apartment complexes in Cambridge and Boston. The results of this market analysis and of other market research indicate that Harvard University Housing 2010-11 market rents are, on average across the 3,000-unit portfolio, flat relative to last year’s rents, although within the portfolio, rents on some units have been adjusted up or down based on current market conditions. All revenue generated by Harvard University Housing in excess of operating expenses and debt service are used to fund capital improvements and renewal of the facilities in HRES’s existing residential portfolio.The proposed new market rents noted in this article have been reviewed and endorsed by the Faculty Advisory Committee on HRES Harvard University Housing* and will take effect July 1, for a term of one year.Proposed 2010-11 continuing rents for Harvard affiliatesMost current Harvard University Housing tenants who choose to extend their lease for another year will either receive no rent increase or will be charged the new market rent for their apartment, whichever rent is lower. Heat, hot water, and electricity are included in all Harvard University Housing apartments. Internet service is included in most apartment rents.Tenants will receive an e-mail from HRES in March with instructions on how to submit a request to either extend or terminate their current lease. Tenants who would like additional information or help in determining their continuing rent rates for 2010-11 may call the Harvard University Housing Leasing Office at 617.495.1459.Proposed 2010-11 rents for new tenants effective July 1The annual market analysis for proposed 2010-2011 rents resulted in a recommendation that average rents for affiliates across the portfolio remain unchanged relative to the prior year. Because Harvard’s fair market rent policy is applied on a unit by unit basis, the majority of individual unit rental rates will remain at 2009-10 levels, although market rental rates for some unit types and locations will increase and others will decrease, based on current market conditions.Written comments on the proposed rents may be sent to the Faculty Advisory Committee on Harvard University Housing, c/o Harvard Real Estate Services, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue-Holyoke Center 807, Cambridge, MA, 02138. Comments to the committee may also be sent via email to leasing@harvard.edu. Any written comments should be submitted to either of the above addresses by Feb. 18.The comments received will be reviewed by the Faculty Advisory Committee, which includes; David Carrasco, the Neil L. Rudenstine Professor for the Study of Latin America in the Faculty of Divinity and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS); William Hogan, the Raymond Plank Professor of Global Energy Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Howell Jackson, the James S. Reid Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Jerold S. Kayden, the Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design in the Graduate School of Design; Jennifer Lerner, professor of public policy at HKS; Daniel P. Schrag, the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in FAS; John Macomber, the Gloria A. Dauten Real Estate Fellow at Harvard Business School; and James W. Gray, the associate vice resident of Harvard Real Estate Services (chair.*In keeping with the University’s fair market rent policy that was established in 1983 by a faculty committee chaired by Professor Archibald Cox, the rents for Harvard University Housing are set at prevailing market rates. The original faculty committee determined that market rate pricing was the fairest method of allocating apartments and that setting rents for Harvard University Housing below market rate would be a form of financial aid, which should be determined by each individual school, not via the rent setting process. Additionally, the cost of housing should be considered when financial aid is determined.10 Akron St. (all utilities and Harvard Internet service included): studios $1,435-$1,635; one bedroom convertibles $1,804-$1,994.18 Banks/8A Mt. Auburn: (all utilities included): one-bedrooms $1,578-$1,813; two bedrooms $2,175-$2,250.Beckwith Circle (all utilities included): three bedrooms $2,285-$2,345; four bedrooms $2,700-$2,760.Botanic Gardens (all utilities and Harvard Internet service included): one-bedrooms $1,613-$1,726; two bedrooms $2,077-$2,214; three bedrooms $2,702-$2,809.472-474 Broadway (all utilities included): one-bedrooms $1,524-$1,583.5 Cowperthwaite St. (all utilities and Harvard Internet service included): studios $1,473-$1,645; one-bedrooms $1,814-$1,831; one bedroom convertibles $1,840-$1,970; two bedrooms $2,169-$2,577.27 Everett St. (all utilities included): one-bedrooms $1,715-$2,009; three bedrooms $2,807-$2,928.29 Garden St. (all utilities and Harvard Internet service included): studios $1,409-$1,484; double studios $1,953-$2,165; two bedrooms $2,385-$2,454; three bedrooms $2,913-$2,973.Harvard @ Trilogy (all utilities and Harvard Internet included): studios $1,461-$1,608; double studios $1,917-$2,485; one bedroom convertibles $1,962-$2,091.Haskins Hall (all utilities included): studios $1,310-$1,382; one-bedrooms $1,497-$1,622.Holden Green (all utilities included): one-bedrooms $1,428-$1,795; two bedrooms $1,890-$2,170; three bedrooms $2,324-$2,747.2 Holyoke St. (all utilities included): one-bedrooms $1,485-$1,595. Kirkland Court (all utilities included): one-bedrooms $1,520-$1,657; two bedrooms $1,930-$2,163; three bedrooms $2,576-$2,804.1306 Massachusetts Ave. (all utilities included): studios $1,363-$1,564; one-bedrooms $1,543-$1,924; two bedrooms $2,022-$2,180.65 Mt. Auburn St. (all utilities included): studios $1,353-$1,590; one-bedrooms $1,584-$1,803; two bedrooms $1,977-$2,126.Peabody Terrace (all utilities and Harvard Internet included): studios $1,121-$1,467; one-bedrooms $1,338-$1,707; two bedrooms $1,685-$1,975; three bedrooms $2,605-$2,969.8 Plympton St. (all utilities included): studios $1,430; one bedrooms $1,484-$1,786; two bedrooms $2,131-$2,200; three bedrooms $2,790.16 Prescott St. (all utilities included): studios $1,277-$1,312; one-bedrooms $1,445-$1,500.18 Prescott St. (all utilities included): studios $1,270-$1,320; one-bedrooms $1,416-$1,548.20-20A Prescott St. (all utilities included): studios $1,223-$1,361; one-bedrooms $1,401-$1,874; two bedrooms $2,110-$2,200; three bedrooms $2,769-$3,071: four bedrooms $3,180-$3,220.85-95 Prescott Street (all utilities included): studios $1,262-$1,432; one bedrooms $1,514-$1,743; two bedrooms $2,135.Shaler Lane: (all utilities included): one -bedrooms $1,458-$1,538; two bedrooms $1,875-$2,068.Soldiers Field Park (all utilities and Harvard Internet included): studios $1,352-$1,514; one-bedrooms $1,627-$1,796; two bedrooms $1,983-$2,338; three bedrooms $2,569-$2,814.Terry Terrace (all utilities and Harvard Internet included): studios $1,407-$1,462; one-bedrooms $1,552-$1,731; two bedrooms $2,100-$2,142.9-13A Ware St. (all utilities included): studios $1,261-$1,335; one-bedrooms $1,468-$1,617; two bedrooms $1,934-$1,946.22-24 Prescott St. (all utilities included): studios $1,273-$1,456; one bedroom $1,512-$1,700.19 Ware St. (all utilities included): two bedrooms $2,452-$2,512; three bedrooms $2,885.One Western Ave. (all utilities and Harvard Internet included): studios $1,469-$1,632; one-bedrooms $1,713-$1,948; two bedrooms $2,255-$2,446; three bedrooms $2,953-$3,199.Wood Frame Buildings, Agassiz Area (all utilities included): studios $1,378-$1,521; one bedrooms $1,555-$2,091; two bedrooms $2,025-$2,787; three bedrooms $2,348; four bedrooms $3,285.Wood Frame Buildings, Harvard Square/Mid-Cambridge Area (all utilities included): studios $1,293-$1,439; one bedrooms $1,675-$1,827; two bedrooms $2,280-$2,367; three bedrooms $2,885.Wood Frame Buildings, Riverside Area (older properties, all utilities included; all utilities and Harvard Internet included): one-bedrooms $1,335-$1,843; two bedrooms $1,805-$2,862; three bedrooms $2,135-$3,173.last_img read more

Chinese renewable energy developer CTG buys into booming Spanish solar market

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Chinese state-owned power company China Three Gorges (CTG) has agreed to buy 13 Spanish solar plants with a total capacity of more than 500MW from Madrid-based renewables developer X-Elio.The PV arrays were constructed between 2019 and 2020, and are fully operational, X-Elio said, adding that the deal was signed last Friday. Spanish media reports said that CTG was paying around €500m ($596m) for the solar assets.“This represents a landmark transaction for CTG… our first direct investment in Spain,” CTG chairman Wu Shengliang said. “We believe Spain is the biggest solar market and… will consider future opportunities to grow our platforms.”CTG is one of China’s biggest renewables developers, with an increasing footprint in the offshore wind sector. It has grabbed more than 7GW in the huge offshore wind pipeline planned off China and is a pioneer in plans for floating wind off the nation’s coasts.Like other large Chinese groups, CTG is also eyeing international expansion, including through an unsuccessful takeover bid last year for full control of Portuguese utility EDP. CTG is EDP’s largest shareholder with a 23.3% stake.Research from industry body SolarPower Europe forecast the booming Spanish market might add up to 19.5GW of new PV by 2023 and is among the top seven PV markets globally, driven by supportive policies and opportunities for corporate renewable power-purchase agreements.[Christopher Hopson]More: State-owned China Three Gorges to buy more than 500MW of Spanish solar plants Chinese renewable energy developer CTG buys into booming Spanish solar marketlast_img read more

The Dirt: Pipeline Pressure, New Beer for Morgantown, Linville Gorge Gun Range?

first_imgThis week in ‘The Dirt’—pipeline pressure in Virginia’s scenic Nelson County continues, the deets on a new craft brewery opening up in Morgantown, West Virginia, and controversy over a proposed gun range near Western North Carolina’s famed Linville Gorge Wilderness Area.Pipeline Pressure BuildsResidents in the Blue Ridge Mountain community of Nelson County, Virginia are up in arms after Dominion Power Company—one of the nation’s largest energy producers—proposed plans to build a 550 mile, 42 inch natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina. According to the Friends of Nelson County, “Dominion will have to seize private property through eminent domain, uproot farms and families, and disrupt businesses and lives in their attempt to complete the project.”Opposition to Dominion’s proposed pipe line project through picturesque Nelson County has been building since August of 2014. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has expressed his support for the project, but on April 16, Virginia 5th District Representative Robert Hurt contacted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to request more time for public comment.Learn more here.New Beer for Morgantown Chestnut Brew Works started back in April of 2013 as a small operation based in the forests of southern Monongalioa County, West Virginia. This month they opened a new taproom in Morgantown. Head Brewer Bill Rittenour, who studied trees and fungi at WVU, named the brewery after the iconic American chestnut, which was obliterated from the East Coast by an invasive blight in the early 19th century.Check them out here.Linville Gorge Gun Range? A proposed shooting range at the gateway to Western North Carolina’s renowned Linville Gorge Wilderness is drawing scrutiny and protests from residents and the Burke County Tourism Development Authority. The BCTA worries that noise generated by firearms used at the range could distract and ultimately deter hikers from visiting The Gorge. The range would be located near Lake James about 70 miles northwest of Charlotte and would occupy 3 of the Linville Gorge’s 1,300 protected acres. According to a study commissioned by the state of North Carolina, the range could attract as many as 10,800 shooters a year.Beyond the Blue RidgeBritish Snowboarder, Billy Morgan, breaks world tecord with a Quad Cork 1800…“I’ve been thinking about this for so long, it’s such a relief to have it done,” Morgan told his sponsor Red Bull after pulling off the historic trick. “It could have been cleaner, but I’m still pumped.” last_img read more

Brazil, Colombia, and Peru Engage in Joint Aerial Interception Exercise Over the Triple Border Region

first_imgBy Andréa Barretto/Diálogo August 09, 2017 An aircraft takes off from the municipality of São Gabriel da Cachoeira in the state of Amazonas and is identified by radar. Aircraft from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB, per its Portuguese acronym) are activated to intercept the unknown aircraft, which is forced to change its flight path. In doing so, it enters Colombian territory. Pilots from the Colombian Air Force (FAC, per its Spanish acronym) intercept the aircraft and force it to change direction once more. Finally, the suspect aircraft enters Peruvian airspace, where fighters from the Peruvian Air Force (FAP, per its Spanish acronym) force it to land in the town of Iquitos, terminating its flight. This was the agenda for the first day of the Amazonas I exercise, which brought together military personnel from Brazil, Colombia, and Peru against unlawful acts perpetrated in the airspace over the common borders of these three countries. The operation, including the deployment of aircraft to the exercise location and back to the base, was conducted June 19 th to 23rd, but the activities took place between June 20th and 22nd. “A wide range of crimes are being committed in the triple border region, and the number of aerial violations has risen a great deal recently. The Brazilian Armed Forces already pay special attention to this region. FAB is no exception, and it is always present, constantly undertaking operations to try and prevent transnational crimes,” stated Colonel Marcelo Alvim Agrícola, the coordinator of the training exercise as a FAB representative. Missions of this type are no novelty for the air forces involved in Amazonas I. These institutions have established rules and procedures to be applied in cases where air traffic is transferred from one country to another by means of the so-called Binational Airspace Defense Norms. The unique aspect of this particular exercise is that it involved the air forces of more than two countries. “Before 2017, we had staged missions similar to Amazonas I, where an aircraft would fly a certain route and used it to practice coordination among the different forces involved, the scrambling of interceptors, the transfer of traffic between the air defense centers, etc.,” said Col. Alvim. “But those missions were all binational. This operation was the first multinational effort,” he emphasized. Practical experience Amazonas I exercise was conducted over three days. Each day one country assumed the role of the target aircraft, beginning with Brazil, while the others had to operate the interception aircraft. In the morning, the target would take off from one country and would be intercepted and forced to change its flight path – one of the measures of airspace policing employed by the military forces. This way the target would be forced to enter another country’s airspace and intercepted a second time, and forced to cross the border into the third country. There, the target was again intercepted by fighter aircraft, whose pilots would undertake the necessary procedures to force it to land. In the afternoon, the same steps were repeated, this time on a reverse route. “The purpose is to have all our protocols [ready] so that, in a real interdiction scenario –especially aircraft involved in drug running– our three air forces can do their work very effectively,” Peruvian Minister of Defense Jorge Nieto Montesinos told the press. Amazonas I has been planned since 2015, after an initial meeting in Colombia. In order to improve learning, the nations involved in the training exercise also implemented an exchange program for pilots and military air operations controllers. FAB received a FAP pilot and two controllers, one from FAP and one from FAC. “The intention was for personnel to get firsthand experience on how things are done in the other countries,” said Col. Alvim. This way the controllers were able to observe how the control of interceptions and general procedures are conducted in countries other than their own and the pilots had the opportunity to fly with their foreign peers and learn each other’s routines. With regard to FAB, the experience and lessons learned will be shared within the force through individual reports written by the pilots and controllers who took part in the exchange program. “Everything is documented and processed within the Air Force so that the knowledge gained can be analyzed, possibly even leading to changes in our own procedures and doctrine. We will incorporate the most important aspects,” stated Col. Alvim. Assets deployed A C-98 Caravan was chosen by FAB to play the role of target aircraft. This single-engine aircraft is mainly used for transportation activities. “Its performance is similar to that of most aircraft used in unlawful activities in the border region, which usually fly low and slow,” explained Col. Alvim. As interceptors, the A-29 Super Tucano was chosen by FAC, which has 24 aircraft of this type in its inventory. FAP, on the other hand, deployed A-37 Dragonfly and KT-1P aircraft. FAB also mobilized the E-99 airborne early warning and control aircraft for the mission, which operated as an operations center secondary to the Integrated Center for Aerial Defense and Air Traffic IV, one of the FAB units responsible for commercial and military air traffic control, airspace surveillance, and aerial defense command and control in Brazil.last_img read more

Let your members carry your message

first_img 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Rob Goehring Rob Goehring is the CEO of RewardStream, a leader in automated referral marketing solutions for credit unions, financial services and telecommunications companies. Rob has 20 years experience leading high growth … Web: www.rewardstream.com Details Leading up to the CUNA Marketing and Business Development event in Las Vegas, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about marketing.Marketing is hard. The heady days of throwing some ads on a billboard or the local radio station and seeing an uptick in sales, or new members pouring through the door at your credit union, are gone. There are now so many marketing channels that most marketers spend much of their day schizophrenically moving between tools and campaigns, uncertain as to what is actually going to work.Of course, with the ongoing digitization of our marketing tools has come a welcome set of analytics and measurement tools. This has enabled the modern marketer to measure, down to the millisecond or mouse movement, when, how and in what manner, customers are interacting with their online marketing campaigns. The amount of data produced from these tools is astounding, and has turned many university marketing programs into part marketing, part data science degrees. In the technology world, the concept of a “Growth Hacker” has emerged in recent years – pointing to a role (or team) of marketing-oriented, engineering-enabled individuals who can drive marketing messages through multiple channels simultaneously, split testing each along the way to either scale or kill each component of a campaign. I’m not THAT old, and it’s amazing to me to see the difference in what is now required for a junior marketer to be successful relative to the seemingly straightforward fundamentals of the 4P’s that were hammered into me and my contemporaries back in my university days.Yet alongside of all of these great new tools and techniques has come an increasing level of uncertainty for marketers. What will work? What do I want to try? How do I spend my scarce budget dollars to achieve maximum results?These questions strike at the very heart of the marketing function, because the poor consumer is inundated with non-stop messages. No longer can we as consumers avoid marketing messages. In addition to all of the traditional mediums, we now carry a window into branded content with us everywhere we go – from the boardroom to the bedroom.As a result, the signal-to-noise ratio of marketing content is at its worst. We are all presented with thousands of branded messages per day, making it more and more difficult to make product or service choices based off of marketing messages alone. The signal is buried by the noise.Recently, I was reading an article on how marketing will look in 2020, and was struck by one statement:“Most branded content will come from consumers”– Chris Brandt, CMO, Taco BellThis is a very powerful statement, and one that I have witnessed taking shape over the last decade or more.In 2010, Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google, famously informed us that every 2 days we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. Think about that for a moment… the explosion of content creation tools for web sites, blogs, social media sites, cameras and video cameras on our phones has turned everyone into a creator of content.In many of those pieces of content, there are embedded brand messages and images. Individuals pick and choose which products and services they are willing to align themselves with in their communications. As a marketer, you must ask yourself – is your brand among them?One of the most powerful trends today is the rise of the consumer voice. Through social media, text messaging and more, the consumer voice has never before had the ability to become so widely amplified. It is because of this that we are such strong believers in the capabilities of “consumer to consumer” marketing tools. If a product or service is of high quality, and a brand’s core values line up with those of their customers, there is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the consumer voice. The only way a message now cuts through the noise is by the credibility of the sender. The most powerful of which are trusted friends and family.The bottom line? Let consumers tell your story. Empower and enable them to share content and your brand with their friends, family and colleagues. But don’t leave this to chance. Don’t hope that it’s happening – make it happen.We have recently launched a short survey for Credit Union marketers, which includes a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card! Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CU_MktgWe are also running a free webinar on referral marketing on April 8th. We hope you can make it!www.rewardstream.com/webinar-april8last_img read more

‘The Congressman’: Ex-Long Island Rep. Robert Mrazek’s Film Career Finally Takes Off

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York This Memorial Day weekend, The Congressman, the earnest new film by Huntington native and former Democratic Rep. Robert Mrazek, opens in Yellow Springs, Ohio; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Hartford, Connecticut and Kansas City, Missouri.Starring Treat Williams in the title role, it’s a heartfelt, gently humorous and strongly patriotic look at an elected public official whose idealism has almost run dry—like the sour mash whiskey in his silver flask.Mrazek, now 70, first entered office as a Suffolk County legislator, and then went on to serve five terms in Congress. He retired in 1993 to write military-themed novels and nonfiction—and he’s since published eight books.And so it was like a homecoming for him, his friends and his loyal supporters who’d worked on his campaigns, when his debut movie premiered April 29 at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington.After he left the Navy, he’d gone to the London Film School but he returned to the States in 1968 after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, saying recently that having a movie career at the time felt “kind of trivial.” He got a job working with Indiana Sen. Vance Hartke, one of the leading anti-Vietnam War Democrats in the U.S. Senate, before heading back to Long Island and beginning his own political pursuits. Decades later Mrazek’s film career is finally taking off, thanks to the intervention of Fred Roos, who produced Francis Ford Coppola’s films and liked his script so much he wanted Mrazek to co-direct the movie.At the pre-screening reception, Mrazek reportedly brought down the house when he jokingly told the Cinema Arts Centre’s co-director Charlotte Sky that he was running for Rep. Steve Israel’s (D-Dix Hills) open seat and needed the audience’s full support plus “about $10 million bucks, which is five times the size of the budget for the film you’re going to see tonight,” according to the Northport Observer.Interestingly, Mrazek is not the only Huntington-based politician with a creative streak. Israel recently published his debut satirical novel, The Global War on Morris, which the Washington Post’s Book World editor, Ron Charles, called “spirited and funny.”In Mrazek’s movie, Treat Williams, who played Sen. Ted Kennedy in HBO’s recent movie about Judge Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings, is Rep. Charlie Winship, a jaded nine-term Congressman from Maine whose life is a mess. His marriage is on the rocks, he’s drinking like a fish, and his idealism is shot. A former Vietnam veteran who saw combat as a Marine at Khe Sanh, Winship once vowed to make each day count after he held off an assault by the Vietcong.As you sit through the film, you can’t help but wonder how much of what you see actually happened to Mrazek and how much he invented for narrative effect.But when we first see Winship, he’s on the House floor with his feet propped on his desk while his colleagues all stand up to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Tellingly, the scene is shot through the lens of someone’s camera—and we soon learn that the paparazzi photographer had an ulterior motive: to paint Winship as an unpatriotic slime ball.Former Rep. Robert Mrazek has made the jump to film. (Photo credit: robertjmrazek.com)After the opening credits, a quick collage of 1960s’ images including JFK, LBJ and anti-war protests culminating in a demonstrator holding up a sign that says, “Fuck the Draft,” we see Winship on his way back to his office being stopped by a lobbyist who tells the Congressman that he’s just gotten him a twenty-grand campaign donation. Distracted (or more likely thirsty), Winship brushes past the man without expressing his gratitude, prompting the lobbyist to utter: “Then fuck you, buddy!”What follows is a news cycle blasting Winship for not standing up for the Pledge. The smear turns out to be a hatchet job perpetrated by another oleaginous operative played to perfection by George Hamilton, who could have stolen the movie if he’d wanted to. In this case, he’s Laird Devereaux, a smiling cobra fronting for a huge mega-giant corporate seafood monster that wants to scarf up all the lobster off the Maine coast. To make that acquisition happen, he’s trying to undermine Winship’s own chief of staff, an uptight young man named Jared Barnes (Ryan Merriman), promising to introduce him to “exceptional friends” and boasting that the “people I work for, or with, are going to run the country someday.”From Washington the film shifts to Maine, where for decades Mrazek himself has lived on Monhegan Island, 12 nautical miles from Boothbay. In the movie it’s called Catatonk. But before Winship and Martin board the Sea Hag to meet the hard-pressed locals trying to preserve their way of life from commercial exploitation, there are several poignant scenes on the mainland that show what Mrazek was aiming for.In one, Winship stops at his soon-to-be former residence, where his ex-wife is packing up their things because they’re selling the house. Right outside the door on the front lawn he’s stopped by an eccentric constituent who barges out of the bushes to beg the Congressman to give him a patronage post because its current occupant is in intensive care. Says Winship with shock and awe, “You’re asking me about getting a job while the man is still alive!” Once inside, surrounded by the debris of his failed marriage, he tells his wife that he never stopped loving her—he just stopped loving her well. It’s a touching vignette, because it comes after a hint that he’s been unfaithful. Then he admits he’s afraid of becoming “irrelevant” in Congress.As you sit through the film, you can’t help but wonder how much of what you see actually happened to Mrazek and how much he invented for narrative effect. Certainly, once the movie leaves the coast behind, you can feel Mrazek’s love for Down East way of life. At Huntington, he told the audience that “The Congressman” is “a heartfelt meditation…particularly upon what it means to be an American.” Williams, who co-produced the film, called it “a little movie with a big heart.” That’s a very apt description.But its creative formula won’t work for every cineaste. There are no space aliens or zombies, no evil terrorists, no sinister suspense, no ticking time bombs. And compared to the denizens of a typical indie art movie, these characters are much too normal with a few humorous exceptions.Sometimes you can see the plot twists coming a mile away, like when Winship meets Rae Blanchard, his multi-tasking tour guide, a 43-year-old divorcee who is the island’s constable, chief garbage collector and ombudswoman, played with a mix of tenderness and toughness by Obie-award winner Elizabeth Marvel. Congressman Winship has a bad back and, wouldn’t you know, among her many talents Blanchard also gives great massages.To some hardcore political junkies, “The Congressman” probably won’t have enough cynicism to satisfy them, but this is a movie about a disillusioned politician rediscovering his idealism so maybe it’s not meant for them anyway. Certainly, given Mrazek’s long career in public service, it’s a worthy achievement. And in the genre of movies about American politics, I certainly enjoyed it much more than the sickly saccharine “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Frank Capra’s 1939 take on corruption in Congress, which recently aired on PBS.Starring James Stewart, Jefferson Smith is a “perfect man, never been in politics,” who’s being recruited by Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold) , a crooked powerbroker in cahoots with Sen. Joe Paine (Claude Rains), a pol on his payroll, to replace a deceased Senator so a rigged land deal can go through.This movie had its premiere on Oct. 17, 1939 at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., at a screening sponsored by the National Press Club. More than 4,000 guests, including 45 Senators, were invited. The press and the politicians reportedly attacked the film as “anti-American” and “pro-Communist” because it dared to portray corruption in our government. Imagine that! A film so sentimental and sappy today that it’s hard to sit through without grimacing, especially when Gov. Hubert “Happy” Hopper’s children champion Smith at the dinner table because he runs the Boy Rangers (supposedly the Boy Scouts of America wouldn’t allow its name to be used), who put out a little newspaper when they’re not having good clean fun. The movie cemented Stewart’s Hollywood status as a star, as he epitomized the bumbling but earnest patriotic bumpkin thrust into the Senate by a vile political machine.But some scenes, such as the powerbroker’s brutal efforts to squash dissent and eliminate sympathetic coverage of Sen. Smith’s filibuster, did have an unmistakable edge, and I was not surprised to learn that it had been banned in Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain and Stalin’s USSR. When this movie came out, the allies were on the run in Europe. Capra made his classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” in 1946, after the war against fascism was over.In “The Congressman,” Winship refers to that Capra movie about what happened in Bedford Falls, not the film about Capitol Hill, telling his female companion as they gaze on the rolling Atlantic that he’s afraid Congress has entered “a moral and political Ice Age.” This movie may not melt too many hearts but it’s easy to see why Treat Williams jumped at the chance to act in it. As the lead, he gets to deliver a fiery speech in a high school back on the mainland to an angry crowd pumped up by a right-wing media propaganda campaign.Winship recounts his combat experience in Vietnam, defending American values on the frontlines, and says that patriotism is more than a bumper sticker or a soundbite. Needless to say, this movie has a happy ending. Some people won’t like that, but so it goes. I’m glad Mrazek got his chance to see his vision on the silver screen. Bravo, Congressman!last_img read more

The cracks begin to show

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Coronavirus cases rising in Saudi Arabia, UAE after curfews lifted

first_imgTopics : Saudi Arabia’s coronavirus infections have passed 200,000 and neighboring United Arab Emirates 50,000, with the number of new cases climbing after the Arab world’s two largest economies fully lifted curfews last month.Restrictions had been in place in both countries since mid-March and their gradual lifting has allowed commercial businesses and public venues to reopen.Other Gulf countries have also moved to ease restrictions, although Kuwait has maintained a partial curfew and Qatar, Bahrain and Oman did not impose one at all. Saudi Arabia, which has the highest count among the six Gulf states, reported more than 4,100 cases on Friday and on Saturday to take its total to 205,929, with 1,858 deaths. The daily tally first rose above 4,000 in mid-June, but had dipped.The United Arab Emirates, where daily infection rates recently dropped to between 300 and 400 from a peak of some 900 in late May, registered more than 600 cases on Friday and over 700 on Saturday, taking its toll to 50,857, with 321 deaths.Dubai, the region’s business and tourism hub is due to reopen to foreign visitors on July 7, although this has not been implemented at a federal level in the UAE, which does not provide a breakdown of cases for each of its seven emirates.Qatar, which has the second highest regional infection rate, has seen its daily case numbers fall from a peak of more than 2,000 in late May to around 500 on Saturday, bringing it near to 100,000 cases in total.In Oman, the health minister warned on Thursday that there had been a disturbing surge in infections in the last six weeks and urged people to comply with health measures.Iran, the epicenter for the disease in the Middle East with a total infection count of 237,878 and 11,408 deaths as of Saturday, has imposed new curbs to halt the spread of the virus. last_img read more