Thursday, November 27, 2008

News "Blackout" at CNN: What the Hell is Going on Here?

I sent this complaint to CNN Nov. 27, 2008 11:41 pm. I also sent similar complaint to (AP) The Associated Press.
Found this website sent by a reader of my blog, very helpful.

Why does there seem to be a news blackout of the attacks and especially of the Indian Commando takeover of the Chabad House in Mumbai? I am very upset there has been No News at all today Thanksgiving evening only special shows. What is going on? CNn cut out the outcome of what happened when the Commandos took over and entered the Chabad House or at least that is what I think happened. What did happen? This is important news to the whole world!! You were the only news channel covering the event and then nothing. What gives here. When will you be on again? Damn it!!!

What I sent above is unbelievable to me. I am so frustrated. I was watching the CNN news when I saw that Indian special forces (Commndoes) were pictured landing on buildings surrounding the Chabad house in Mumbai, India with the intent to end the hostage taking of the Rabbi and his wife and others who were thought to be there. I had no where to go as all the other stations that provide news were doing reruns of shows or special enterntainment for Thanksgiving or that is what I gathered. Was this purposeful because some government determined the people should not know what is going on. At minimum, we should have been told that for military reasons, there is a news blackout or whatever but this nothing approach is irresponsible. When will the damn news resume? At 11 pm the main channels did have their superficial news reports which said nothing too.

Sharon Raphael

P.S. I finally woke up this Friday morning after Thanksgiving and saw news coverage of what had happened in Mumbai. It appears that most of the action has died down and that the Indian military is mostly in control. I appreciated the e-mail from
the person who sent me a live news channel from India which summed everything up using a breaking news format. Unfortunately, the 5 people in the Chabad house including the Rabbi and his wife are dead. Something like 150 died and several hundred were wounded. I don't think either tally is complete. They say 2 Americans died at least that is what is said up to now. I don't think that includes the Rabbi and his wife who are said to be from Brooklyn. I will need to check that out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Attacks at Mumbai India: Far from the Scene

What is going on in India is just terrible. A coordinated attack struck 10 sites including the very fancy Taj Majal Hotel in Mumbai not the beautiful Taj Mahal built in memory of an (Mogul) Emperor's wife which is in Agra. I am listening to the reports from CNN and MSNBC. So many unnecesary deaths is hard to comprehend. I have one former student/friend and two relatives in India right now. The relatives are safe in New Delhi but they had recently visited Mumbai. I don't know where my student is. He went back for a wedding. I hope I hear from him soon. Obviously, India is a big country and only those in Mumbai are affected at least for now. 81 fatalities but this number will get bigger, hundreds are wounded. Americans and British tourists are the targets of this attack. There are reports of hostages. I am listening to eyewitness accounts of the attacks by ordinary tourists who say there are still gunshots being fired . Let us all hope this will all be over soon. No one reallly knows exactly what group launched the attack but it is clear it is a group that wants Westerners and Western influencce out of the region.

Sharon Raphael, long beach, ca.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sarah Palin's Turkey Horror Show: My Comments

I may never eat turkey again after seeing Sarah Palin's interview in front of a place where turkeys are killed one at a time placed upside down in a rendering machinge. Obviously Sarah Palin has no sense of public sensitivies to animal slaughter. What appears to be a huge political fiasco also reinforced the sense of Palin's gun toting "kill em"philosophy of life but it also brought up the huge differences between hunters, farmers who earn a living from animals who are used for food and most of the rest of us urban dweller and somewhat sophisticated types who do not like to see animals of any kind killed even for food. Of course, those of us who love animals who are not moral vegetarians know animals are killed in mass so we can have chicken, pork, and beef on the table. We hope they are killed humanely. In my case, I have a lot of guilt about eating the small amount of meat that I do eat. Now I am focused on turkey health and welfare. Who can help themselves from being nauseated after the Palin debacle!!!

So the question is Is Palin just plain dumb or does she represent a subgroup of the population that takes animal killing as a matter of routine, just done in the course of daily life which they witnessed growing up on farms and in our countryside and in many parts of Alaska I gather where people eat food they hunt regularly. I was apalled when I saw photos of Palin's children pictured smiling behind a moose dripping in blood that their Mother had killed. So the question that comes to mind are some of us unnecessarilly squeamish because we are twice removed from the reality of where our food comes from or is there a true difference in the degree of humanity among different individuals? I bet that there are plenty of cow farmers and even hunters out there who would never expose their children to the indecencies I mention. I do remember once going to a restaurant and sitting next to what appeared to be a nice middle class familly who were talking loud enough for me to hear about how much they loved hunting deer and other forest creatures and what a "high" they got doing this. I was so bent out of shape I wanted to go over to their table and pound on their table. Of course, I didn't. I restrained myself.

There was something during the election going around on e-mails about Sarah Palin shooting wolves from a helicopter with a high powered rile. This was a signal of sorts. It reminded me of Cheney shooting small fowl from an automobile. I place all these types in one category- inferior human beings. So what is up here? I do know one thing which is that Palin and Cheney don't need to kill animlas to eat. It is a sport to them. I find this type of activity, killing for the hell of it truly disgusting. I rather am envious of all the huge animlas like elephants, camels, horses who don't have to eat meat to survive, just some grass and leaves are just fine for them. Poor humans, we are omnivours and have the option to be vegetarians. I do believe it would be a better world if we all could stop eating animals so we could stop killing them. Unfortunately, eating meat is a time honored tradition esp. in Europe and the USA. Some areas of the world cattle are considered as sacred animals and only their milk is used not their bodies for meat. I realize this tradition will be hard to end overnight but could we at least develop a higher sensibilitly about the treatment of our better halves-(they don't eat meat and the animals who do don't kill for sport) turkeys, fowl of every kind, cattle, horses and all the rest? Please stop finding new types of animals for Americans to eat. Palin just represents a brand or type of human I find less than and I can hardly tolerate. Her brand of politics comes out of her upbringing and background but her uncouthness is quite something else. Maybe we can figure out a way to stop reproducing people like her. Thanks for listening and please I'd love your input.

Sharon Raphael

Monday, November 24, 2008

Great Concert at Disney with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Conducting

I enjoyed the concert described below very much. It was quite unusual and de Burgos the conductor was really special choosing Mozart, Beeethoveen and Respigghi both the PInes and the Fountains which were spectacularly played with every instrument you can think of including the Celeste (bell ringing piano contraption).
Los Angeles Times file photo of Frühbeck de Burgos

Richard C. Ginell

Review: Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos at Disney Hall
12:14 PM, November 24, 2008
The splashy, relentless, pounding, high-volume conclusion of Respighi’s “The Pines of Rome” tested the limits of Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sunday afternoon and drove the audience into frenzied applause ...

No, this is not reportage from a Gustavo Dudamel concert, nor a preview of these next two weeks when Dudamania hits town. The conductor was 75-year-old Spanish maestro Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos — and he was just following Respighi’s instructions as faithfully executed by a world-class orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Concert hall excitement, therefore, doesn’t necessarily have to come from a 27-year-old fireball.

Frühbeck de Burgos is keeping his travel bags packed this season, leading the best American orchestras from coast to coast. In the old-master phase in his career, he has definite conceptions and knows how to get what he wants.

For Mozart’s “Serenata Notturna,” Frühbeck de Burgos seated his small complement of strings across the front of the stage, placing the timpani to the extreme right and the string quartet-within-an-orchestra (two violins, viola and double bass) standing front and center. This heightened the concertante nature of the music, producing a three-dimensional effect in beautiful detail, with a slightly broad treatment of the Rondo’s theme offset by quicker tempos elsewhere. It was exquisite.

There were no slavish period-performance conformities in Frühbeck de Burgos’ Beethoven Symphony No. 8 — just vigorous, big-orchestra sonorities, rounded phrasing, tempos right on the dot. He tried something really different in the finale, slowing the tempo each time Beethoven prepares for his humorous discord, and then holding the misbehaving note out for maximum effect.

Besides the obvious thrills and chills in the extravagant climaxes of Respighi’s “The Fountains of Rome” and “The Pines of Rome” — which Frühbeck de Burgos brought off with exactly the right sense of timing and release — there are plenty of mellower meditations in which astute conducting can and did realize the depths within. The high-powered Philharmonic could have provided a more rapt response in these passages within “Fountains,” but the orchestra reached that zone in “The Pines of the Janiculum,” with Michele Zukovsky’s soulful clarinet leading the way. The Disney Hall pipe organ did its job too, with pedal notes that you could feel vibrating in your bones.

You don’t see “The Fountains” and “The Pines” programmed together in concert very often these days — and Frühbeck de Burgos made you wonder why not.

-- Richard C. Ginell

Los Angeles Times file photo of Frühbeck de Burgos

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