الأربعاء، 5 سبتمبر 2012

Mormon Caffeine Policy Clarified, Coke And Pepsi Officially OK For Latter-Day Saints

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Mormon Caffeine
SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) Maybe now, reporters, bloggers, outsiders and even many Mormons will accept that the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not forbid drinking cola.
On Wednesday (Aug. 29), the LDS church posted a statement on its website saying that "the church does not prohibit the use of caffeine" and that the faith's health-code reference to "hot drinks" "does not go beyond (tea and coffee)."
A day later, the website wording was slightly softened, saying only that "the church revelation spelling out health practices ... does not mention the use of caffeine."
The same goes for the church's two-volume handbook, which LDS leaders use to guide their congregations. It says plainly that "the only official interpretation of'hot drinks' ... in the Word of Wisdom is the statement made by early church leaders that the term' hot drinks' means tea and coffee."
That doesn't mean church leaders view caffeinated drinks as healthy. They just don't bar members from, say, pounding a Pepsi, downing a Mountain Dew or sipping a hot chocolate. Even GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been seen drinking an occasional Diet Coke.
This week's clarification on caffeine "is long overdue," said Matthew Jorgensen, a Mormon and longtime Mountain Dew drinker.
Jorgensen, who is doing a two-year research fellowship in Germany, grew up "in a devout Mormon household, in a small, devout Mormon town," where his neighbors and church leaders viewed "drinking a Coca-Cola as so close to drinking coffee that it made your worthiness ... questionable."
That view was magnified when the late LDS church President Gordon B. Hinckley offhandedly told "60 Minutes" that Mormons avoid caffeine. Several earlier LDS leaders, including apostle Bruce R. McConkie, considered imbibing Coke as a violation of the "spirit" of the Word of Wisdom.
It was dictated in 1833 by Mormon founder Joseph Smith and bars consumption of wine, strong drinks (alcohol), tobacco and "hot drinks," which have been defined by church authorities as tea and coffee.
Even so, many outsiders and plenty of insiders get that wrong.
Journalists -- from The New York Times' columnist Maureen Dowd to The Associated Press -- have often stated that Mormons don't drink caffeine. Last week, NBC News' hourlong feature on Mormonism made the same mistake, prompting the church's initial statement on its website.
That blog post was later tweaked, according to church spokesman Scott Trotter, "to clarify its intent, which was to provide context to the NBC piece."
Part of the confusion stems from LDS church-owned Brigham Young University, which neither sells nor serves caffeinated drinks. But BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins explains that is "not a university or church decision, but made by dining services, based on what our customers want."
There has not "been a demand for it," Jenkins said Thursday. "We are constantly evaluating what those needs and desires are."
Indeed, fully caffeinated colas are available in the church's Joseph Smith Memorial Building, and in the Lion House Pantry, next to the faith's headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City.
In the end, it's up to individual Latter-day Saints to decide what to drink.
"I can understand why the church is cautious," Jorgensen wrote in an email. "Saying that caffeine is OK might sound like saying that caffeine is healthy, maybe even an endorsement of caffeine. Plus, I think members need opportunities to work through questions of right and wrong for themselves."
Caffeine, he said, "is the perfect, low-risk testing ground for members to make decisions for themselves."
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White House Beer Recipe Released

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White House Beer Recipe
President Barack Obama drinks a Guinness at The Dubliner Restaurant and Pub and Restaurant on St. Patrick's Day, Saturday, March 17, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The White House has released its beer recipes in a blog post titled "Ale to the Chief."
Buzz about the White House beer recipes first began when Obama told an Iowa man his bus was stocked with beer brewed at the White House. A Reddit user then submitted a Freedom Of Information Act request for the recipes, and thousands signed a We The People petition to reveal the secrets behind the brews.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney promised the recipes would be released if the We The People petition reached the 25,000-signature threshold. Then, during an August 29 AMA on Reddit, Obama promised the recipe would "be out soon! I can tell from first hand experience, it is tasty."
See the recipes below, and watch a video about the White House brews above.

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Terrence Malick's 'To The Wonder' Divides Audiences At Venice Film Festival

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Terrence Malick To The Wonder
No wonder? At the Venice Film Festival premiere of "To the Wonder" -- Terrence's Malick's second film to debut in the last 16 months, but only sixth since 1973 -- audience members reportedly booed the romantic drama, much to the consternation of some critics in attendance.
"Booing a Terrence Malick film! Wow, almost as courageous and commendable as kicking Gandhi in the face," wrote Variety critic Justin Chang on Twitter. "Good job, guys."
Film critic Guy Lodge was equally appalled.
"Enough with the booing, people," Lodge tweeted. "You're professionals. Supposedly. Shut the f--k up."
The polarized response to Malick's latest shouldn't be too much of a surprise. Last week, "To the Wonder" star Ben Affleck told press at the Telluride Film Festival that Malick's film "makes 'Tree of Life' look like 'Transformers.'"
"To the Wonder" focuses on the strained relationship between Neil (Affleck) and Martina (Olga Kurylenko), who live together with her daughter in rural Oklahoma. Rachel McAdams co-stars as Neil's former love, with Javier Bardem playing a priest. Intrepid blogger Jeffrey Wells reported that Affleck was barely in "To the Wonder," despite playing the ostensible lead, and that seems confirmed by the screening. Wrote THR critic Todd McCarthy in a somewhat scathing review:
With the barest shards of dialogue to speak, Neil holds his women tight when love is strong, approaches them with concerned sympathy when they turn unhappy and broods in corners or while driving a car once a rupture looks inevitable. Regardless of whether there was once more for the character to do on the scripted page, the film as edited concentrates almost entirely on the women and makes Neil look like an ineffectual bystander. Of course, Malick has a history of drastically cutting down male roles; he essentially eliminated Adrien Brody’s leading role from The Thin Red Line, and Sean Penn didn’t fare too well in The Tree of Life. Here, it could have been a stand-in for all it matters, as Affleck isn’t given a chance.
As Deadline.com's Nancy Tartaglione wrote, Affleck "probably has less than 10 lines," mostly due to the fact that "To the Wonder" contains almost nothing but voiceover.
Despite detractors, some critics adored "To the Wonder," even more than "Tree of Life."
"It felt like a more coherent, deeply felt and satisfying film than its predecessor,"wrote Oliver Lyttleton in his review for Indiewire's blog The Playlist.
Echoed Lodge, writing for HitFix:
"To the Wonder" is structurally a more modest, more linear film than "Tree" -- no dinosaurs here, folks, though fans of sea turtles should prick up their ears -- but it's no less vulnerable to charges of excessive preciosity, particularly from those whose secularity applies to churches beyond the House of Malick.
Of course, this isn't the first time Malick's work has been given the Bronx cheer. At the Cannes Film Festival last year, "The Tree of Life" was also booed by restless audience members. Not that it mattered: "Tree of Life" won the Palme d'Or award at Cannes, and later picked up a Best Picture nomination at the 84th annual Academy Awards.
"To the Wonder" does not yet have U.S. distribution. It will screen again at the Toronto International Film Festival.
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Tom Cruise's Scientology Ties: Former Girlfriend Reveals Details Of Wife-Auditioning Process

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Tom Cruise
In the weeks following the news of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' split this summer, came various reports of the actor's search for a Scientology-friendly wife before he met Holmes. Rumor has it that Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johansson were also among those approached as marital prospects for Cruise.
And now, a new Vanity Fair cover story reveals that in 2004, Shelly Miscavige, the wife of Scientology chief David Miscavige, oversaw a top-secret effort to find the next Mrs. Cruise.
The search yielded Nazanin Boniadi, an Iranian-born, London-raised actress and Scientologist, who went on to date Cruise from November 2004 until January 2005. According to VF, Boniadi spent the month prior to the courtship being audited every day, and was forced to share personal secrets and details of her sex life with a high-ranking Scientology official.
The story reports, "Boniadi allegedly was told to lose her braces, her red highlights, and her boyfriend. According to a knowledgeable source, she was shown confidential auditing files of her boyfriend to expedite a breakup. (Scientology denies any misuse of confidential material.) The source says Boniadi signed a confidentiality agreement and was told that if she “messed up” in any way she would be declared a Suppressive Person (a pariah and enemy of Scientology)."
After a blissful first month, the relationship turned sour when Boniadi's behavior toward David Miscavige was interpreted by Cruise as disrespectful. Boniadi was later sent to a Scientology Center in Florida, where she made the mistake of confiding in a friend when she was unable to hide her emotional distress --despite having been strictly forbidden to reveal the details of her courtship with Cruise.
According to Vanity Fair's source, the friend reported her to Scientology officials. "Boniadi’s punishment was to scrub toilets with a toothbrush, clean bathroom tiles with acid, and dig ditches in the middle of the night. After that she was sent out to sell Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics on street corners," reports the magazine.
It looks as if the Church of Scientology's damage control efforts won't be put to rest anytime soon.
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Michael Strahan Named New 'Live! With Kelly' Co-Host

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Michael Strahan Live With Kelly
Michael Strahan is the new co-host of "Live! With Kelly" with Kelly Ripa.
The famously gap-toothed former New York Giants star jogged onto the set and gave Ripa a big bear hug, lifting her off her feet. "It's so nice to have a co-host literally sweep you off your feet," Ripa said. "I know that he can bench press me if he wanted to."
Strahan's selection marks the end of a year-long search in which Ripa auditioned 59 celebrities to see who would be the best fit since Philbin's retirement including Neil Patrick Harris, Alec Baldwin, Kim Kardashian and Jerry Seinfeld. Strahan had been rumored as the frontrunner for the position in recent weeks with both TMZ and Broadcasting & Cable both reporting that Srahan had been hired. Nothing was made official until the "Live! With Kelly" premiere.
Jerry O'Connell and Nick Lachey were also believed to be frontrunners for the gig.Ripa recently said her dream co-host would be Anderson Cooper, but his two shows could preclude him from taking the job.
In his audition episodes, Strahan was high-energy and had solid chemistry with Ripa. During a June "Live!" interview Channing Tatum, who was promoting his stripping film "Magic Mike," for example, Strahan ripped off his pants and broke into a routine himself.
The LA Times had previously reported that Strahan would keep his "NFL Sunday job" even if he landed the "Live!" gig, but there has yet to be an official word on that.
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Nicki Minaj & Romney? Rapper Appears To Endorse Republican In New Song

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Nicki Romney
Is Nicky Minaj in Romney's corner?
Today in mixtape politics: Nicki Minaj's appearance on Lil Wayne's new release,Dedication 4, includes a couplet that suggests she's voting for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Here are the lyrics in question: "I'm a Republican voting for Mitt Romney / You lazy b----es is f---ing up the economy."
The lines seem simple enough, but much of the internet refuses to take Minaj at her word. That's partly the rapper's fault, as she is known for adopting multiple personalities (Roman, Barbie, etc.) and generally obfuscating for the fun of it. Some wonder if she was impersonating a Republican in the first line, which would make Republicans the target of the "lazy b----es" insult.
Vulture noted that Minaj has tweeted at Obama before, imploring him to go further in his healthcare reform efforts. "Even with Obama Care, too much involved," she tweeted. "Just give FREE health care to all. @barackobama What can we do?"
Rapper Talib Kweli, who is no stranger to incorporating politics into his songs, tweeted that Minaj is just hunting for publicity:
Talib Kweli Greene
I doubt Nicki seriously supports Romney. Her lyrics ain't political. She just wants y'all to talk about her & she winning cuz it's working!
Minaj is hardly the first hip-hop figure to take a stance on the election. In an earlier interview with The Huffington Post, Minaj's sometimes collaborator 2 Chainz said that he could beat Romney if he wanted to ("he's just rich as sh-t, that's all").
Obama appeared (via video) at Jay-Z's Made in America Festival performance this weekend, asking the crowd to vote and saying he enjoyed the rapper's songs. The president has also courted the favor of Common, whose attendance of a White House event drew surprisingly harsh condemnation from conservatives who objected to the rapper's lyrics.
Republican rappers are far and few between, though 50 Cent has compared himself to George W. Bush and LL Cool J attended the 2004 Republican National Convention.
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Alec Baldwin: Hank Williams Jr. Is 'A Broken-Down, Senile, Racist Coot'

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Alec Baldwin Hank Williams Jr
Alec Baldwin is not a fan of Hank Willliams Jr.
Alec Baldwin took to Twitter Tuesday to bash Hank Williams Jr., the country singer who has repeatedly made incendiary comments about President Obama.
At a concert on Sunday, Williams Jr. again ranted against Obama, who he described as a Muslim "who hates cowboys, hates cowgirls, hates fishing, hates farming, loves gays." He also repeated an earlier rallying cry: "We hate him!" His comments were reportedly met with loud cheers.
I think we need to call Hank Williams Jr what he is.... A broken-down, senile, racist coot.

If Hank Williams Jr wasn't such a pathetic, wheezing fossil, I'd have a talk with him.
Williams Jr. wasn't the only target of Baldwin's scorn. The actor also dismissed Dinesh D'Souza, the director of "2016: Obama's America." The anti-Obama documentary became a run-away hit at the box office. Here's Baldwin's take:
I would say that Dinesh D'Souza is a black belt idiot. But it's worse than that. He's a liar.
If you're wondering if Baldwin's burst of anti-conservative tweeting is a bit curious, worry no more. The star admitted that he likes to prod "right-wingers," for one very specific reason:
I love to insult these right-wingers, draw them out, then block them. 
So, in short, just another day in the life of Alec Baldwin.
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Julian Castro Speech At 2012 Democratic Convention Wows Crowd

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro's keynote speech to the Democratic convention was a spicy blend of immigrant dreams and partisan bite.
The 37-year old Castro, a rising star in Texas but little known on the national stage, roused the packed audience at the Time Warner Center with a pointed message to voters: "Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn't get it."
Castro's tale was in part standard political fare for a party seeking to solidify its standing among immigrant voters.
Castro was raised by a single mother and a grandmother who both emigrated from Mexico, Castro and his identical twin brother Joaquin achieved happiness and success through hard work and a good education made possible by the American dream. But from there, Castro pivoted to an assault on Republican Mitt Romney, whose policies Castro said would "dismantle" the middle class if elected.
"We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others. What we don't accept is the idea that some folks won't even get a chance," Castro said. "And the thing is, Mitt Romney and the Republican party are perfectly comfortable with that America."
He added, "I don't think Gov. Romney meant any harm. I think he's a good guy. He just has no idea how good he's had it," – a pointed jab at Romney's considerable wealth.
Castro also taunted Romney for his shifting positions on issues like abortion rights, gay marriage and his own push for universal health care as governor of Massachusetts.
"Gov. Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it isn't pretty," Castro said.
The Romney campaign shot back at Castro's claim the GOP presidential nominee is insensitive to the middle class.
"Middle class families understand that they are not better off than they were four years ago because President Obama's liberal policies have failed to turn around the economy," spokesman Ryan Williams said.
Until now, Castro has enjoyed a spate of favorable media profiles, a landslide re-election last year and speculation about whether he'll become the governor of Texas or even the country's first Hispanic president. His well-received turn at the convention all but guarantees more of such chatter.
Castro was introduced onstage his brother Joaquin, a Texas state legislator from San Antonio now poised to win election to Congress in November
"My family's story isn't special. What's special is the America that makes our story possible," Julian Castro said. "Ours is a nation like no other, a place where great journeys can be made in a single generation. No matter who you are or where you come from, the path is always forward."
Julian Castro Speech

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Michelle Obama Speech: Being President 'Reveals Who You Are'

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michelle Obama was the overwhelming star of Tuesday night's Democratic National Convention, delivering a powerful personal narrative about her husband still being the same deeply principled man she fell in love with 23 years ago when they were both broke and watching their families struggle.
Obama's speech contrasted with barnburners from the rest of the night, which attacked GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on everything from his Swiss bank accounts to flip-flopping on abortion. But the first lady's remarks also touched on the message that others, including the keynote speaker, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, made earlier: Struggle and success aren't just Republican ideals, and there's nothing un-American about getting help.
Obama's speech, like Ann Romney's at the Republican National Convention last week, focused on her relationship with a candidate that she knows as a husband and a father. But while Romney's talk of saving money by eating tuna and pasta fell flat, Obama's stories of student loan debt and family hardships made for a more convincing case that the can relate to middle-class struggles.
During her remarks, the first lady said she knew Barack would make an "extraordinary" president when he first ran in 2008, but in her quieter moments, she worried about the toll the spotlight would take on their daughters. She said she feared losing "the simple joys" she shared with her family.
"Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at grandma's house," Obama said. "And a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn't stay awake for both."
Obama said she loved the life they had, and she didn't want to lose it because "I loved Barack just the way he was."
She described first dating Barack and painted a side to him that most people would find hard to imagine.
He was a guy who "picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by in a hole in the passenger side door," Obama said to laughs. "He was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he'd found in a dumpster, and whose only pair of decent shoes was half-size too small."
Still, she said knew she'd found "a kindred spirit" in Barack when they talked about their families. She grew up with a father with multiple sclerosis who would "prop himself up against the bathroom sink, and slowly shave and button his uniform," and a brother who, like her, relied on student loans to go to college.
Her story, said Obama, was just like Barack's story.
"I realized that even though he'd grown up all the way across the country, he'd been brought up just like me. Barack was raised by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills, and by grandparents who stepped in when she needed help," she said.
Now, four years later, after watching her husband go through "so many struggles and triumphs," Obama said she learned firsthand that being president doesn't change who you are.
"It reveals who you are," she said. "As president, all you have to guide you are your values and your vision and the life experiences that make you who you are."
The first lady kept a measured tone through the speech until the end. She choked up as she talked about her most important title still being "mom-in-chief," and as she said, repeatedly, that she loves her husband more now than when he first became president, and even more than she did when they first met 23 years ago.
"Today, I have none of the worries from four years ago about whether Barack and I were doing what's best for our girls," she said. "We must once again come together and stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this country forward. My husband, our president, President Barack Obama."
Obama got a standing ovation from the crowd, and as the camera panned around the room, several people visibly wept.
Castro also provoked a strong response from the crowd, which drowned out his speech at some points with cheering.
His message was similar to Obama's, speaking about his family and how he got where he is. He took a softer tone than previous speakers took toward Romney, but his speech was critical nonetheless and stuck to the theme of the night's attacks: Romney can't be trusted.
As Castro discussed his grandmother and his mother, a civil rights activist, he mocked Romney for telling a college student to start a business by borrowing money from his parents. "Gee, why didn't I think of that?" Castro said. "I don't think Governor Romney meant any harm. I think he's a good guy. He just has no idea how good he's had it." 

Castro didn't address Latinos specifically, other than praising the president's recent directive on immigration, but he and the Obama campaign have acknowledged the significance of his appearance. Castro has a narrative similar to Obama's: both born to single mothers, both Harvard Law grads, both early entrants into politics. His speech may give him the boost Obama received when he addressed Democrats in 2004. Obama campaign manager Jim Messina promised on Monday that Castro's speech would be memorable, telling members of the Convention Hispanic Caucus, "You are in for one of those moments that, 10 years from now, you are going to say, 'I was there to hear when he gave that speech.'"

Castro took some of the same rhetorical turns as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) did last week in his address to the Republican National Convention, but to very different conclusions. Both men spoke about their immigrant grandparents -- Castro's grandmother was born in Mexico, while Rubio's grandfather was from Cuba -- and their parents' blue-collar work. 

On his father, who worked at a bar, Rubio said, "He stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room." 

Castro's praise of his mother, a civil rights activist, used a similar line. "My mother fought for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone," he said.
He said he got there not just through the hard work of himself and his family, but with help from society, through scholarships that allowed him to attend Stanford University and Harvard Law. He said Republicans don't support those kinds of opportunities for people like him.

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